Hello all. I have been married one month tomorrow with one step-son (6) and one step-daughter (8). We actually have a very good relationshipe, and my husband is VERY supportive of me in the role of step-parent. He reinforces that they need to love and respect me, and, for the most part, we get along great.
My question is how to create normal and positive boundaries where my step-daughter feels loved. My DH (is that the lingo for husband?? I'm new to this forum stuff!) has created an environment in his house-hold where the children are constantly surrounded by him and played with by him. They do nothing by themselves, nor are they able to entertain themselves. We've had them for two weekends since marriage now (and two days during each week). Every weekend, I play pretend with them (separately) for an hour each day. I then play pretend with them together for a half an hour each day. I make up stories about a family character while we're driving places, before bed-time, and while they take a bath (they don't do that alone either). I color with them after that; we have coloring contests. I do 'chores' with them to teach them to clean up after themselves. Etc. etc. This starts at 6:30 every morning and ends at 10:30 when they finally get to bed. This is in addition to doing homework with them, reading books to them, having family time where we play board games, family eating time, praying together, etc. We recently went to my in-laws house, and I couldn't even talk to them because my SD monopolized my time. After they leave, I spend a day cleaning up the mess from the weekend. My step-daughter says I barely play with her. I approached how I could create healthy boundaries to my DH where I could tell her I need to do a few things for my own life, and he said that being a parent means you give up your own life. Essentially, when the children are here, I put my life on hold to interact with them.
I understand that being a parent is non-stop, and it is hard. I understand that I will have a hard adjustment. But is it normal that I'm not allowed to answer my phone when a friend calls because the children can't entertain themselves for a few seconds? Isn't it healthy to teach them to have a little independence for their own well-being? How do I do that and still create a healthy environment of love? I'm conflicted, because I love my family very much but I feel like we're doing a disservice to the children by micro-managing their every minute, AND I'm extrememly drained. How do I toughen up and/or set some healthy boundaries?