Stepmom Central

Is it fair to have stepmother watching kids all the time? Need advice please!
March 3, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Hi everyone!  SO glad to have you all to tune into.  It makes me feel less alone in thiscrazy world of stepmothering. 

I have two SS, ages 8 and 9 1/2.  My husband has full custody, the BM is a real treat and not really around much and basically does much more harm than good with the boys.  My husband and I have been married going on 2 years.  I do not have children of my own so coming into being a mom was pretty much overnight.  It hasn't been easy.  My SS's, although they like me, want their BM as would be expected for children their age.  I cannot take her place nor do I try.  I see myself as a second mom and show respect towards their real mom (even though she doesn't deserve that respect).  They do have behavior problems due to the pain and feelings of rejection from their mother and we have them in counseling.  The behavior issues really become apparent when I am watching them and their dad isn't around.  My question for you all is this.  Do you feel it's fair to have me be expected to watch the boys frequently or do you feel it's more his responsibility?  I'm always good about putting myself in the other person's shoes and if it were my kids, I personally would feel they were my primary responsibility but I could ask him to help out once in a while.  I know this doesn't compare what so ever, but I came into the marriage with 2 cats which are the closest thing I have to my own children and I don't ever ask him to take care of feeding them, changing litter boxes, vet visits, etc.   The cats love him but I still feel like they are my responsibility.  Some background information, I work although not as many hours as my husband but I definitely make up for it by my domestic responsibilites in which I do 85% of it all. 

Any comments, words of wisdom, advice, etc is much appreciated.  Thank you in advance!







  • lovemyfriend
    March 3, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    I think you're going to get a lot of "if the dad isn't around than the kids should be with their mother".  Personally, I don't know your situation or why DH has primary custody.  I think people will also ask you that.  It could be important. 

    For me, that is hard to answer since my SDs parents are both actively involved.  I would think that if you and BM live close enough and there isn't a SERIOUS issue, maybe she could have some afternoon time with the kiddos until dad gets home from work?

    I don't think its fair of him to expect you to watch them that much.  But I don't know your dynamic or the BM's reason for not having custody.  Last night DH had to work on his visitation with SD.  It is a very rare situation so I of course planned a girls night, and we made a big cake and cards for his "homecoming" lol.  But if it was every weekend, I would absolutely not feel right and want BM to have that opportunity to be with her child instead.  But, every situation is different.

  • Shoesy
    by Shoesy
    March 3, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    I think it depends on the situation.  If you are watching them for an hour or two after you get off work until he gets home, then that's party of the "family" pattern you've joined into, but what did he do prior to your marriage?  How did he handle that without you?  If, on the other hand, he has you watching them so he can go to happy hour, or out to play golf every weekend, or any other elective event, then I think he's being selfish and shirking his responsibility on you. 

  • LuckyMomma86
    March 3, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    My fiance has two sons 11yrs old and 13yrs old, the 11yr old doesnt want to be with his mom and the 13yr old somewhat does. The bm is horrible, she doesnt know who to be a mother. I dont have to watch them much. The 13yr old is okay. The 11yr old has problems, he acts like a 2 or 3 yr old sometimes. He loves me, he's told me. But he does ignore me sometimes. Me and my fiance have a 2yr old together. So I have to watch her around the 11yr old because he has behavior issues too....He has tiny little toys and he gets mad when we dont want him to play with them around our daugther because we are afraid she's going to put them in her mouth and swallow them and choke. My stepson the 13yr old lives with us so I dont have to watch him, he's kind of mature for his age. He's grow up fast since he's been with us. My fiance watchs his kids, teachs them, talks to them. He's a great father. The bm isn't hardly around them. She hasnt called her son the 13yr old since december and its march now.

    How was it before the marriage? Well I dont know really how it is with your family. but I'm sorry.

  • macbudsmom
    March 3, 2013 at 11:41 PM
    Before getting married did you discuss each other's expectations? Have they changed?
    Is it possible for you to work more so Dad can work less so he can do more of the parenting?
  • momof2ex1
    March 3, 2013 at 11:46 PM
    I think it's worth discussing seriously with your husband. Let him know that sometimes you feel burned out and need a break too. Do they ever attend child care of stay with a sitter? I feel the way you do in regards to my dd and your cats. My daughter my responsibility. My husband is my partner but I carry a bit of guilt leaning on him too much to fill the role of caregiver to my child. We work equally, I actually work more hours but his job is more stressful. I lean on others. I try to even it out. If he is available i ask him to watch dd for a little bit like grocery store runs. But for long periods like if I work on a Saturday when he is home, I get dd to stay the night with a friend or call up grandma and have her keep dd. he needs is weekends off just like anyone else. And while he does love my dd a lot, i don't feel it's his job to pick up the pieces for me. I can't call her father bc he is unavailable as well so I spread it out across several different people. My dh, a couple of friends, my sister, my mom. Maybe if your dh can secure child are in other areas as well this will help you to get a break and to not feel that you are the live in babysitter. I do this also so my husband doesn't feel I'm taking advantage of him. He would say that is ridiculous that he knows I never would but I prefer to not grow any resentment between us and this is one area that might.
  • Steamedpuddle30
    March 4, 2013 at 12:03 AM
    I'm like momof2ex. I have my dds FT. My Dh helps of course but I do most of the running around. I feel it's my responsibility. When I worked nigh shift,I worked ever weekend. I would ask my mom or SIL to watch them during the day so that when I was asleep he could enjoy his time either w his sons or just alone.

    OP,I feel you. My Dh would eave to work and BM would drop off my skids on her week at my mom. Idk why! They were like 10&14! It felt overwhelming and it sucked. I do feel if even if its dhs week and BM is avail compared to me,she should have them.

    I think your Dh probably doesn't even know you feel this. He just assumes you are ok w it. Men are dumb. Lol. Talk to him. But I don't see the babysitter part as realistic. It cost a lt of money so it's not always easy to say get a baby sitter.

    Dh needs to ask his family to help out if possible.
  • needadvice1983
    March 4, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I'm a stepmom of two. Honestly when you marry a man who has full custody of the kids you have to know you are walking into the mom role and everything that comes with it. Including possibly being the one watching them the majority of the time. Just because you aren't their "real" mother you are one of their parents now. That means even though they aren't yours you need to treat them like they are. And yes that may mean you have to suck it up and watch them just like you would your own. If you didn't want to have to be a "mom" you shouldn't have married a man with full custody of his kids. 

  • spotsmom
    March 4, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    They are primarily his responsibility, bottom line. But I guess, from what you saying, is the BM is not really artound, or can't take them as much, or is out of the picture altogether. Either way, she can't take them so they have to spend less time in your care...I guess(?). And I guess he's at work a lot, leaving it to you. The only way I could see to remedy this is to have him cut back his hours so that he is with the kids more, and you perhaps take more hours to make up the difference. Or find a way to have the BM take them often, if that's at all possible. At the very least, if nothing else changes, make him start cleaning the cat pan....

  • Birdseed
    March 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    What it really comes down to is what you and your husband agree on.  There's no "normal" or "fair"--it's what you two determine you want to do.

    Ultimately, the kids are his responsibility and his alone. 

    But generally, when people couple, they go into with the thought that they are now sharing responsibility for things.  I think that men (in general) have an expectation that the wife will participate in child care/parenting more so than when women remarry.  WE (as SMs) assume that they've been doing it and will continue doing it but THEY (the BFs) think something more along the lines of "replacement mom".  

    Like you, I don't have kids of my own, but I have pets.  I've never asked or expected my husband to take care of my dog or my horse.  Those are my responsibilities.  But he has not only asked but basically assumed that we are "parents together" when it comes to his kids.

    I have a more flexible work schedule, so if the kids were sick, needed to be picked up unplanned, needed dinner at X time and a ride at Y time, then I became the go-to for him...and for BM honestly.  Of course, wanting to be the "good little wife and SM" I bent over backwards at first to accommodate that. I quickly started feeling resentful because not only was I taking care of his kids and thus cutting back on things I wanted to do, once he got home he went into parent mode and I was kind of brushed to the side.'s not a matter of fair or not fair per se.  It's a matter of what works for you guys.  If you need/want more time to yourself, ask for it.  Have that talk.  Carve out some time for you and make sure that you are a backup not a primary if that's what you want to be.

  • Panda113
    March 4, 2013 at 11:09 AM
    Maybe once a week I'll help DH our and watch SD for a few hours if he needs to be gone for work. He managed the logistics of child care before I came though and can continue to do that. Don't get me wrong, I love both of them but that doesn't mean I'm down with watching SD all the time. I think that it'd be easy for me to get unhappy and resentful in my marriage if I did that for them all the time.

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