Advice3

Q & A: stepparentsing advice sought from other stepparents.

Stepparents and professionals answer questions from stepfamilies.

Stepparents

Stepparents’ Questions and Answers

Stepparents and professionals answer questions about stepfamilies.

As the blended family becomes more prevalent, we findstepparents giving each other advice. This is a page for stepparents and professionals toanswer questions.

Question:

I would love to find someone to communicate who shares my (I think) unusual stepparenting situation. My stepdaughter (age 13) has lived with us full time for 6 years. She still visits her mom in Florida and talks with her several times a week.

My relationship with my stepdaughter is good and solid…the problem is that I am apparently not going to have children of my own, and I’m having a terrible time coping with the emotional connections between my own infertility, the fact that I’m not "mom" but have the responsibility of a full time child, and my irrational resentment that my stepdaughter’s mother "unexpectedly" got pregnant with another child and now gets to be "mom" again, while putting slim investment in her first child…..I could go on, but you probably get the picture.

I really wanted to be a mother, entered stepparenting with a conscious commitment to sensitively integrating my step-daughter into the family my husband and I planned to have. It never crossed my mind that there would be no more children. I get resentful sometimes that I don’t get to be mom, but I don’t get the benefits of a childless life (such as they are).

Its very emotionally confusing, and its a situation that few people can relate to…."at least you have your stepdaughter…." I am totally committed to being a good stepmother to my stepdaughter, but I feel like I’M getting lost.

Is there anybody out there who can relate to this?

F

Answer 1 of 3: I can so relate to your situation. I have been married to my husband for 3years now. I have a step-daughter (12–almost 13) who is wonderful. Her momhas custody, (so we pay child support) but she spends 3 1/2 days a week withus and 3 1/2 days a week with her mom. When I got married, I fully intendedon having my own children, too–but soon found that I would not be able tohave children. My role is a confusing one. After longing to be a mother withall of the joys and heartaches that go along with that role, I have becomejust "step-mom". My husband’s ex-wife feels threatened by me and thattranslates to the daughter, who passes that along when she comes over…she isafraid to be close to me–she is very protective of her mom, and if liking me(or loving me) causes her mom discomfort, she quickly withdraws. Her mom alsospoils her–and can afford to give her anything she wants. At her mom’s shehas no responsibilities. At our house, she has household responsibilities andhas to keep her room and bathroom cleaned up–it is a constant struggle,because she doesn’t have to do these things at her mom’s…I become the ”badguy". She also expects that I should buy her all the clothes she wants. Hermom plays a clothes game and will not allow her to bring clothes over to our house… In the past, I have bought her clothes, and those, too end up at hermom’s. I am so, so, frustrated and hurt. I am trying so hard and all I getis a lot of grief with none of the joy of being called mom. I feel like I amstuck in a web and I can’t find a way out…it intensifies my feelings ofgrief for not being able to have my own children.HM

Answer 2:

Yes, I can totally identify with you!!. I married aman who has custody ofhis 12 year old son. We’ve been married now for two years. Don’tmisunderstand, I love my stepson and he loves me. I too am havingdifficulty conceiving – and I very often have a hard time dealing with thefact that I am a full-time mother to someone else’s child. Well, since your stepdaughter’s mother is having another child and putting"slim" investments in the first one, and since you are unable to havechildren, (which some of us unfortunately can’t), then maybe this was theintent.

A friend of mind said to me, "this is God’s way of fulfilling yourdesire to be a mother." No, she is not yours biologically, but think aboutit, your desire to be "mom" has been been given to you. Accept it and makethe most of it. There is no need to dwell on it. Good luck to you.

Answer 3:

To the childless step-mom…Sister, can I relate!!! 18 months ago I married a man with typicalvisitation rights for his two children, now ages 6 & 8. I don’t want tohave children of my own, he agreed. I accepted my role as step-parent,knowing that anything I do for them will be a plus, a gift of sorts. When they are with us, their time is spent as they like. They play withlife long friends and cousins in the neighborhood. I am an elementaryteacher and share my love of reading and science with them. We makecookies and exploding volcanoes. I was prepared for all this. However,I fully appreciate the "advantages" of being childless, financialfreedom and free time among them. But neither exists. The children’s mother has moved them out of state after marrying herlive-in boyfriend because she can’t keep a job and he could supporther. Since this is her 6th move in the last four years with at least asmany jobs and the FOURTH school for the second grader alone, we decidedto file for custody. $8,000 so far! In addition, now we pay $400 permonth to fly them back 2 or 3 times a month. So much for financialfreedom! (She’s angry because she has to pay to get them back! Hersugar-daddy has told her he can’t afford the extra expense so she had toget a job. Aw, shucks!)We now get the children every school holiday. What do you think thatdoes to MY holidays? So much for free-time! My mother-in-law thinksit’s so nice that I’m off on school holidays so they don’t have to stayin day care. I would insist they go to day-care except we can’t affordit.I have all the disadvantages of being a mother, no money and no freetime, and all the disadvantages of being a step-mother. I was told by a sister step-mother, "DON’T SEE THE MOVIE ‘Step Mom’!"R.

Additional information about stepparenting,stepfamilies.

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Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.

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Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.

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