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Still adjusting to being a childless stepmom - It's not easy. Who has advice?

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I've been a stepmom for seven months....and 2 weeks....and 3 days.  I'm joking on the exact days, but sometimes being a stepmom is so difficult that I feel like I could know exactly how many days it's been.  Perhaps it's completely selfish, but I have a hard time not taking things personal when it comes to matters with my husband and his daughter, my stepdaughter.  I never thought I would be sharing my newlywed husband with a child that was born years ago, and is not my biological child.  She is a wonderful little girl and our relationship is actually quite good.  But I have never been a mother before and when she is at our home, I don't get as much couple time and don't get as much me time, and this is difficult to adjust to.  

These are the times when I feel the most misunderstood:  When I am more strict than my husband.  Since I am the "outsider" looking in, I can see things that are not good behavior that my husband doesn't see at all.  I've made a few changes in our home, which my husband has actually thanked me for, so that's encouraging, but I am still praying for patience for the coming days and years...

I also feel guilty and misunderstood when I am looking forward to her absense.  I feel terrible about this - tons of guilt and shame.  My stepdaughter deserves to be here every day, but yet I am looking forward to the lower stress level days, which are when she is not here.

I am really looking forward to having my own children, so that I can understand this feeling of unconditional love that a parent has for a child.  I feel like I'm supposed to understand this already, but I just don't.

The book "The Smart Stepfamily" has been a wonderful help, as well as the Bible.  My husband is very supportive too and is a good listening ear, but I still feel like there's so much he doesn't understand, nor can I expect him to, since he's never been a stepparent.

Anyway, I'm just looking for others to connect with because I am so overwhelmed by all my feelings as as a stepmom.

by on Jun. 7, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Replies (31-40):
Humility1
by Member on Feb. 16, 2013 at 5:06 PM
1 mom liked this
Hello, I have been married for a year already and I am a new stepmom As well. I can relate to what you are going through, my husband is similar and u do agree that if you don't have your marriage centered around Christ it's going to be painful. The bible tells us to put our marriage first. My husband also expects me to treat his son like my blood niece which is hard to do because I'm human and I've only met his son 2 years ago. You cal always MSG me if u wanna talk I'm just looking for new friends who can relate to me on the same level)


Quoting amg7:

Thanks for sharing your frustrations and for being so transparent.  It has been so encouraging to hear that there are others who feel the same way.  

I too, feel exactly how you feel..  It's EXTREMELY stressful when my SK is at my home every weekend so much so that I dread when she arrives and the days leading up to it and is relieved when she is gone.  There is definitely a huge amount of guilt and pain knowing that I shouldn't feel this way.  I pray everyday that the Lord will change my heart towards her and give me that supernatural love.  It's just been so difficult and the fact that she is just so hyperactive with a father that coddles her and thinks she is a perfect angel, doesn't help.

I have been married to my husband for almost 4 months now.  I can say that it has been the most difficult and painful 4 months of my life.  I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life. Had I known a more realistic picture of what being a stepmom entailed, did some more research, and dated my husband a little longer, I would never have gone through with my marriage.  It's harsh to say but it's true.

Unlike yourself, my husband is not really supportive.  Although he will thank me sometimes for what I do for my SK, that is soon forgotten when I'm having a difficult day with her and am not as patient with her as I should be.  When that happens everything that I have done for this child is forgotten.  I am constantly criticized for not showing enough love to my SK, not telling her that I love her as much as he thinks I should.  I've also been questioned on why I can't give her more tickles!  He's accused me of not wanting to spend any money on her and has called me a "resentful b*tch" because I've disagreed with him buying her $300 outfits, an xbox, and everything else that is just so extravagant for a 3 year old.  Although I'm trying my best, nothing I do is good enough.  It's extremely hurtful and has caused so many fights between my husband and I.  If I'm not "perfect" during the weekend with her I'm an awful stepmother.  My husband has placed an enormous amount of pressure on me to where every weekend I feel like I'm walking on eggshells. 

Prior to getting married I spoke to my husband on how important it is that we be a united front and make sure that we keep our marriage a priority, even over his daughter and our future children.  We were in agreement that if we don't tend to our marriage first and keep Christ in the center of everything, that our family will fall apart.  If he did not agree to this I would never have married him.  Unfortunately, now that we're married, I see that he was just telling me what I wanted to hear. 

We have cancelled our honeymoon because of financial reasons.  He had already purchased the plane tickets prior to our wedding and now they will be wasted.  He says that he didn't want to spend anymore money on such "frivilous things" and wanted to save up for a house instead.  But after looking at a few lawyers bills that came in the mail, I think he just didn't want to spend anymore money on things that he didn't think were important. He has spent thousands and thousands of dollars on lawyers fees so that he could get more custody of his daughter.  I suspect he wants to save more for future court battles.  I confess that it has made me resentful and hurt.  It hurts that he hasn't done anything to invest in our relationship.  Everyday our conversations are centered around his daughter, his Ex, and his work. I am going through a lot of pain and stress right now because of unfortunate circumstances regarding my parents whom I am very close to.  Unfortunately, I see him give more sympathy and compassion to his daughter when she scrapes her knee than with me and my circumstance.  I constantly agonize over the question of whether or not I'm being selfish, but I come to the same conclusion.  I don't think I am.  It isn't selfish for a wife to ask that a husband love her and care for her, and make her feel loved and cared for as he promised and for a husband to ask that of his wife. 

You are very fortunate that you have a husband that is a good listener.  You seem to have someone that you can talk with and who will at least hear you out even if he doesn't completely understand everything that you're going through.  I would really embrace that and build on it and gently remind him to keep your marriage a priorty. 


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LordLeadMe
by Member on Feb. 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM
2 moms liked this

You are NOTTTTT alone. I just today was OVER IT w/ the kiddos. I have THREE stepkids...I feel you dear w/ all you've shared. You are NOT on your own...we all on this site know what you've felt and we can offer empathy and sympathy. It's a lot to take on. Today, for example, I had guests over. It's a friend and her soon-to-be hubby. I am the ONLY one w/ stepkids out of all my friends, so I already feel like a freak sometimes. So, as we're eating lunch the littlest stepkiddo (age 8) kept talking about his mom. Okay, first of all, I was embarrased as it just makes things awkward and two, it reminded me of how "different" I am from everyone around me. I love my man...he's worth all of this. But, dang! Some days feel like an eternity. It is, as you said, the difficult aspect of "sharing" your spouse...and, it's odd to have a permanent ex in your new marriage. You factor in the cost (child support is CRAZY)... and it's only by the grace of God ;-) I cling to the Lord and the fact that I love my husband dearly... he is worth it! In the end, the kids will grow up. And, I have to fight the bad feelings towards them (BTW, I do NOT take it out on them... I am cordial, kind, serving, etc. but I battle internally a lot in these first few months of marriage). The mind is a battlefield at times ;-) God cover you, bless you and lead you!!!

Humility1
by Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Yea i hear everyone, I am so glad tht they have this website because all of my friends have their own children. Don't feel bad that the skid is gone we are only human:) I've been married a year now and I'm not going to lie I used to feel guilty but I stopped because I've realized that its only fair that if my husband was single the skid would be gone anyway to see his parent. So, that helped a lot for me not to take it so personal:) so when my sson is gone, I totally take advantage of that time. I spend time with friends, husband it took him time to adjust but over 1 year he accepted it, I work out, and pray:) yes I totally agree with you that my husband will never understand because he is not a step parent and it just sucks:(
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Humility1
by Member on Feb. 20, 2013 at 12:06 AM
I just wanted to say thank you guys for all your support and its a blessing to feel validated and know that I'm not alone:) you guys are wonderful
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Humility1
by Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 1:15 AM
Hi leahjanell, I completely know how u feel my husband lets my sson do whatever he wants so I do the discipline because there are times that sson gets out of hand. And yes, me too I really want and desire a child of my own, I also get very jealous of my sson too because my husband used to tell me things like I miss him and wish that he was here and I used to tell him that he needs to appreciate the time he has wih me to make our marriage solid first and foremost. Anyways, I'm here to chat if u wanna talk:)


Quoting Leahjanell:

I am going thru the exact same thing right now, except my husband would rather give in to bio mom and we end up arguing about her. I am having difficulty getting pregnant, we are seeing a fertility specialist, and sometime even tho i want nothing more than to have that unconditional love from my own child, i wonder if i should because i am the only person who diciplins my stepson his father lets him do anything he wants and treats him like he is till a baby (he's 8). Everything my husband and stepson do together drives me nuts sometimes. I do care for my husbands son, but sometimes i feel like my husband is shoving him down my throat, we cant have a conversation without him saying i wonder what _ would think about that or i bet he would love that. He is 8, he loves video games and tv! Pretty much it! Its nice to know people do understand, and i would love some feedback! Tell me im being an emotional jealous freak. I can take that also! Thanks!

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newlySM
by New Member on Feb. 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Dear tlouise_60,

Thank you for sharing this. I have just joined this club to read for advice and about people in similar shoes like mine (and apparently yours).

I have become a step mom in October '13 and I am so struggling with it. My stepson is a great kid, but he is very much like his father: quiet, calm, timid and not even the tiniest bit adventurous like you would picture a little boy 8 years of age. I am the exact opposite, I am always on the extreme high and lows, always on fire always going always doing something, which could be very tiring for a lot of people but we balance out each other with my DH very well. But... on the same note, having two "fishes" (I joke discribing them always with this for their basically non-existant temper) in my tank is just too much and I am having real hard time connecting to this little boy.

Plus, most importantly, as I am childless myself, I feel like I have been thrown into this new situation. I KNOW I am supposed to handle so much better, I know but there are a couple of factors just do not play on my side even though I THOUGHT I knew what I was getting into (ergo, now I know I had nooooo ideeeaaa).

First of all, I moved across the ocean from England to be with my husband (understanding that geograhically he is not as mobile as I am who has lived already in 4 different countries). I have left literally my whole persoanl life behind for this to work - because I had faith in it. Only telling this because adjusting to everything new in this country, not knowing anyone apart from my hubby and his friends, his family... his... his... plus this new situation is just overwhelming and I am wrecking under it.

Secondly, I travel for living, so I am away from home from Monday to Friday, which again doesn't help my case in adjusting especially because I only see my husband on the weekends. For the same reason though, when I only get to see him about 8-10 days a month of which 4-6 is filled with basically babysitting (that is how it feels to me being childless) it really really challenges my childless-newlywed me. I have thought about quitiing my job and working in the same city/state/country as I live, but this is how we met (this is my package if you will) and I love what I do... after giving up all personal things, can I really be expected to give up the last bit of my "before-hubby" me? I am just not ready to do it...

So suffice to say, I am having a very very hard time especially with myself - feeling the guilt, feeling the shame as you said but I just cannot help it. He is a great kid, and I really do not have anything against him, I just have super hard time adjusting to kiddy weekends and not being able to be just with my husband, enjoying his lovely company...

I really do not know what to do, how to make this change and how not to be frustrated with the "lost" weekends when we have to run for practises and lessons, then play cards and watch Mary Poppins for the trillionth time....

I feel like a bad person, but I know I am not... I am just a struggling newly-wed stepmom far away from home and friends with a husband that listens but we do not know what we could do to make this better...

I will purchase the book you have mentioned, hoping it will help somewhat... but what i most need is likewise companion in my journey as it will be a very rocky one with steap cliffs I was not prepared to balance next to... :(

 

Humility1
by Member on Feb. 11, 2014 at 8:30 PM
This reminds me of me, my ss is also 11 and I would cry all the time because my dh and I always argue over him, I look forward to days when he is not here, I totally know what you mean!

Quoting LainaSue:

I'm a childless CSM (custodial step-mom) and have been for 4 years.  SS is now 11.  For the first several months I was here, I cried every day.  It was awful.  And he's a great kid.  So what I can tell you is...as long as you leave your heart open to her, things should get better.  4 years later, I still look forward to the times that SS is gone because my house is quiet and peaceful and I get to be alone with the hubs.  But I also look forward to when he comes home. 


You'll get there.  Just be patient with yourself and try not to be too hard on yourself.

memmie480
by New Member on Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:05 AM

Hello,

I am so glad I can read over here that I am not the only stepmom who struggles! I have 3 SS and I love them, but I am also glad when they are not here. I am a childless stepmom and I am from Holland, here I couldnĀ“t find a site like this, so I hope you will excuse my poor English and let me share my thoughts with you!

savedbyfaith
by New Member on Feb. 23, 2014 at 3:48 AM

Amen to that!

 It takes immense strength, selflessness, and prayer. God is so good to help us with the process, otherwise we would be a wreck. I also love my SS's and would be honored to die to protect them, having said that, time with your DH is needed and encouraged. The relationship with your spouse should come first (after God of course), so when you have that time w/o the kids its refreshing. I think through all your trials you will gain love and understanding like no other. 

Quoting luv2teach981:

I don't think you should feel bad about looking forward to days you don't have the kids. I've been a stepmom for 3 years and I used to look forward to the weekends we didn't have the kids (I have 3 stepkids).  As a stepmom, especially a childless stepmom, you are going to have a wide range of emotions stemming from that.  Some are good, some are not, some are really unexpected.  It's a total rollercoaster ride and no matter how much you think you have prepared yourself for it, you are never fully prepared.  This is especially true if you have problems with BM (like we do).  I've have been angry with some of the things the BM has done and angry at DH for having kids with her (unreasonable to feel that way but felt it just the same). Jealous that BM had something with DH that I don't have yet and jealous that I don't have kids myself.  Pressured to be a good stepmom and a good parent without being the "evil" stepmom.  Love and sacrifice for the kids.  You are expected to sacrifice for the kids and you do but you almost never receive anything in return or a thank you.  It's a very difficult place to be and I don't think anyone could ever fully understand until they have been a stepparent themselves.  You just have to pray that God helps you do your best everyday.  Keep praying for the kids and praying for your family and praying for BM (which is difficult for me sometimes given the extenuating circumstances surrounding our BM) even when you don't want to.  You pray the kids will understand someday and hope that you are the best role model you can be.  By the way, I love my stepchildren and I would literally give my life before I let anything happen to one of them but I'm not sure I could say I love them like they are mine because I don't have any yet and I am not sure the love I feel is equivalent to their mother's love.  I know it's not.  So please don't feel badly for not understanding it.  I think as your relationship grows and evolves, so does your love for that child.  You just have to know God's in control of it all and things are going to work out.


youngstepmom512
by New Member on Mar. 29, 2014 at 9:58 PM
Im the stepmom to two boys, ive been here for a year, their BM is gone but still tries to call my hubby. I get so frus, the boys have major behavioral problems and I feel awful saying this but I resent not having time alone with my husband...ever! I would love to have my own children too, but thats on hold... lots of prayer going on here
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