Lessons Learned
Three Suggestions from Veteran Stepmoms​
Overworkedandunderpaid's List
I have been with BF since 2002 and married since 2006. BF became CP in 2003 just over a year into our relationship when SS was 6 and SD was 4. When we got together he never made it clear that he had any intention of gaining full custody and that I would go from being a weekend SM to a CPSM in just over a year. Overall, I think we have done a great job of raising well behaved and intelligent children. What I didn't know was how hard it would be, how resentful I would feel, and how the feelings of being taken advantage of and feeling like a nanny/servant never really goes away. I feel like my life is dedicated to the sole purpose of raising their children and have little to show for the past ten years of my life.
If I had to do it differently:

1. I would never have quit working to stay home with SD until she finished kindergarten and entered first grade.I should have used daycare though at the time it just didn't make financial sense. Since returning to work, I would never allow myself to be the only parent felxible enough to adjust work schedules to pick up sick skids, stay home with sick skids, take skids to doctors appointments, school and social functions, or accomodate skids and BF and BM schedules. These are BP responsibilities and even though I could accomodate them, I should have made them take care of their responsibilities. Now I am expected to do it and am viewed as a bad guy if I don't do it happily with a smile on my face. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. The BP chose to have kids, the BF wanted full custody, so he should fullfill the duties that come along with it. It DOES feel good to know my skids know they can count on me, they know I keep my word,they call me first in a time of need,
but it is still unfair to the step parent. The BM and BF's time and jobs are somehow always more valuable then my own and it still angers me because I am still going through it. BF even gets mad at me if I dare call the skids HIS kids instead of ours but they are HIS kids, geesh.

2. I would have demanded more seperation of our finances. I certainly want to contribute but I feel bitter and mad that I can't buy or do things for myself and have nothing to show for my hard work because every cent I have goes to the skids and their needs. Mean while BM gets new cars and gadgets and can renovate her home while I'm struggling to pay rent and buy school clothes, school supplies, pay skids medical bills, and mounting credit card debts from expenses incurred from raising them. BM can go years without buying so much as a card let alone a present for Christmases or birthdays but I feel obligated to spend my time and money on them...trust me the skids don't love/like her any less for not doing these things and they certainly don't love/like me anymore for doing these things. I wish I could say "ask your mom" when they ask me for things I have to struggle to get them but I know she won't and I want the kids to have what they need and be happy because it is not thei
r fault. I have started to do this recently because we really are in a financial crunch and when BM says no or doesn't do it, the skids still expect me to make it happen which is my fault because I always have.

3. Every weekend and holiday BM was a no show for visitation, I should have done something for myself by myself. BF always makes me feel bad for being mad for getting my hopes up for a break and being disappointed when plans are foiled because BM doesn't show up. BF always says," Imagine how the kids feel." I do imagine how the kids feel and I know it is a bad feeling but it is just as bad for me. Yet BF expects me to spend those weekends going out of my way to make the kids feel happy and have fun when it should have been OUR alone time as husband and wife. So if you are a new SM or about to be, doNOT do this to your self. My husband would NEVER even let me get a babysitter EVER unless it was summer vacation and I had to work; never so we could do anything recreational alone together. Thankfully, now they are old enough to be home alone for a few hours here and there and we do get alone time regardless of BM, but it took years to get to this point. Demand a babysitter for a
night out every few weeks from the beginning for sanity purposes Ladies!

There are certainly many MANY things I would do differently, because hindsight is 20/20. I wish I didn't feel so bitter about it all and though I find joy step parenting, I wish there was more of it. BUT I have two healthy, intelligent, beautiful, generally well behaved skids and I thank God for that. They have definetly enhanced my life and made me a better person and shown me I am capable of things I didn't know that I was. I never saw myself as a mother and I KNOW I have become a good one. I am just entering the teenage years with them and I know it will probably get harder as we go. I am in it for the long haul and only want the very best for them. I am glad I found this blog. Sometimes I feel terrible for my feelings, like I am a bad or selfish, and it is a big comfort to know that they are natural feelings that most SM experience at some point in their parenting adventure. Thank you.
Stepmoms on a Mission®
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Cathryn@smoms.org