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I want to be "just" Dad's wife
July 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM

I am re-defining my role in my own head... I want to be "just" Dad's wife.  I don't want to "be" stepmom to my sd anymore. 

I feel like in my head being defined as stepmom carries with it responsibilities to the child.  But by defining myself as just Dad's wife, it is a totally different role in my mind. 

The recent decline in my relationship with my sd has brought me to this conclusion.  By allowing myself to only consider myself as dad's wife, I feel like I mostly just need to support my husband but not make "raising" or parenting my sd my concern. 

I guess to me it just feels like one more step in disengaging from my stepfamily situation. 

My sd has become increasingly disrespectful and I feel like the only recourse I have right now is to step back... way back.  I have my own son to take care of and worry about.  My husband is currently unwilling to address the situation with my sd.  Honestly, I am not completely innocent in contributing to the current situation, but I feel like I haven't really "done" anything to make things the way they are.  I mean that maybe I could have reacted to a few things differently, but my behavior and attitudes toward my sd haven't really changed.  The main problem is I'm not willing to just let my sd's disrespect happen to me.  I really feel like sd's bm has had a huge impact on the way things currently are.  I also think my dh has allowed things to digress to the current situation. 

I feel powerless to really change my sd's behavior, so I feel like the only action I can take right now is to step back and just be a wife to my dh and a mom to my ds. 



  • sparrow2013
    July 26, 2013 at 5:11 PM
    This is a really difficult situation. My as is a great kid but he has issues like anyone else. I have found I am far more strict with him than his father.We have great differences of opinion when it comes to discipline. Of course being the step parent your opinion gets vitoed more often.

    How old is you sd? Have you had a real conversation with her or your dh about this?

    The biggest thing to remember is that you can't change what happens at bm's house or her opinion of you. Also, remember that you marry someone with children those children become your responsibility, even though it can be difficult.

    Let me know how things are going. Believe me when I say I am truly sympathetic. Step parents have very difficult tight rope to walk.
  • pepper504
    July 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    There is nothing wrong in you stepping back and being "dad's wife."  That is how I view myself as well. 

    DH allowed SS14 to disrespect me.  BM would tell SS to not talk to me, to ignore me and to not listen to me.  DH would "address" it, if you want to call it that, and SS would tell DH, "I like Pepper."  Hate to see how he would have treated me if he hated me, then. 

    So, fast forward a few years and my relationship with SS14 is great.  In fact, over the Christmas holidays, he told my DD16 and his cousins that I am a cool SM. 

    So, sometimes taking a step back and letting DH deal with EVERYTHING is what has to happen in order for there to be some sort of change. 

  • jules2boys
    July 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    A couple of thoughts. 

    First, there is nothing wrong with just being dad's wife.  Nothing.  You are, in fact, dad's wife (as long as you're married anyway).  If this is the route you want to take, then do so.  If you've had a 'parental roll' in SDs life up until now, giving BF a break in some of it, you'll need to let him know that you want to simply concentrate on being DSs mom and DHs wife, so he'll have SD all to himself, and then stick to it.  You may need to define what that means.  Will you still cook for SD when she's over if you're cooking for everyone else?  Will there be two separate meals, one for you and DS, one for the others?  Will you ask DH to do all the cooking when SD is around?  Will you still pick up SDs favorite snacks if you're at the store or will he need to from now on?  Anything else you currently do that you fell falls into the SM role rather than DH's wife's role... Give him a heads up but then stick to it. 

    Second, you say you've nto changed in your attitude or behavior towards SD but hers has.  I don't know how old  your DS is but I can tell you, my behavior and attitude changes for each of my boys depending on their age and my expectations of them at those ages.  That's natural to me. Maybe part of the problem is you haven't changed, but SD has?  I don't know how old SD is either but maybe some of this is natural and not all because BM has 'influenced' her.  I guarantee you I influence my boys and their attitudes and actions.  So does BF, so does SM.  So does everyone they meet!  That's life.  I do not treat ODS15 the same as I did when he was 5.  They grow up and we all change with time... or we should! 

    Lastly, you can't change your SDs behavior.  No one but SD can do that.  You can't change ANYONE's behavior, only your reaction to it.  Once you let go of that things may be easier too. 

    But, ultimately, there is nothing wrong with being DH's wife and your DSs mother.  You have a marriage (to DH) certificate, not a stepmom certificate.  Go with it if this is where you feel you need to be.  :) 

  • KellyReedy
    July 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    After doing it all when they lived w/ us and putting up w/ their crap. Then them moving back w/ BM and becoming very disrespectful to me, I told my husband I was disengaging!  He said HELL NO. This is a family. But when I say no you can do this or whatnot, they run to mom and all hell breaks loose. So, I let them stay up as late as they want, don't eat dinner, I don't care. But you won't sit and eat cookies and chips all night either. They leave their plates on the table. I REFUSE to clean up after them. They are 11 and 13. Old enough to clean their mess up.

    Yes, I decided to be just dad's wife. That's what they wanted. (even after being in their lives almost 10 years). My husband can feed them, clean up after them and deal w/ them being brats the next day cause they were up till 3am. ( I got tired of the big fuck you looks when I'd say don't stay up too late as I'd go to bed at 10)

    Do what makes your life livable!

  • Rae706
    by Rae706
    July 26, 2013 at 6:02 PM
    Sounds good...but what exactly does that mean? What specifically are you going to do differently?
  • faerie75
    July 26, 2013 at 6:44 PM

     yes. and also make this clear to DH that he needs to make arrangements w BM where SD is concerned.

  • phoenixhuntress
    July 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Actually they aren't YOUR responsibility.  A wife may want to help her husband with his kids but they truly are NOT the SM "responsibility".  

    Quoting sparrow2013:

    The biggest thing to remember is that you can't change what happens at bm's house or her opinion of you. Also, remember that you marry someone with children those children become your responsibility, even though it can be difficult.

    OP: I think stepping back & "just" being DH wife is fine.  I have done this myself & can tell you it's a HUGE relief but in my situation my DH is totally on board with this choice.  You can't control how the child responds or thinks about you but you can control the stress of that upon yourself.  When you disengage it can be a kind of relief.  DH would have to care for those children himself if you were not in his life. You are his life partner not his co-parenting partner.  

    by ROBIN-C
    July 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I think if there are issues then stepping back is a good solution. 

    All replies to Sd would be "go ask your dad"

    all replies to DH about would be "talk to her mom"

    ya know it really could make your life so much easier! 

  • whatIknownow
    July 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    My thoughts are, it is always a stepmother's prerogative to have no role at all in childcare. The "dad's wife" role is always an option to any SM.

  • DeliteCrazy
    July 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM
    What is your goal, and what happens if dh doesn't see it your way?

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