New "Step-Mom"

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2011
New "Step-Mom"
10
Wed, 07-03-2013 - 6:01pm

Hello all out there, 

My name is Jessica, I am 26 (soon to be 27), and am recently engaged. My fiance is 9 years older than me, divorced, and has 2 children. 2 Girls, ages 6 and 9. We became engaged this past April, and as of the middle of June 2013, we have all begun to live under 1 roof. 

I have lived my 20's as a (mostly) single, successful "career" woman. Never, married, never had a any "live-in" boyfriends, and no children. I Went straight to college out of high school, and became a Registered Nurse by the time I was 23. By the time I was 25 I purchased my very first house, all on my own. So, needless to say, I have grown to embrace (and enjoy) all that my accomplishments have brought me, as well as my "alone time". All my space I have had, and to share with no one but my 2 pups! ;-) So, when discussing with my fiance, the topic of him and his 2 daughters (which he has 1 week on, 1 week off), I would nearly hyperventillate at the thought of me losing all my "space". I felt so guilty, but, I knew it was all emotions that were natural, and that I needed to go through. So me being the way I am, I hurried to amazon, to purchase nearly every self-help book on becoming a new step-mother, and marrying a man with children that there is haha. the books have actually been very helpful and enjoyable to far! 

As move-in day approached, my emotions went hay-wire. There was panic, a lot of tears, a lot of stress and worrying about when I would every get my "me" time again, etc. etc. Well, The first weekend was of course an adjustment. It was a bit high stress and emotional on everyone. Once I made it past the first weekened, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel though lol. I began to see, it isn't quite as bad as I had built up in my head. Granted, when the kids are with us, I still do very much miss having the entire house to myself, and all my "me" time.  But, slowly but surely, i'm learning ways to still get what I need for ME. 

Being that I have never had children...it's safe to say I think I am terrible in the parenting department. (Ok maybe not terrible...but defininlty a bit ignorant and lacking in training lol). I don't know the how's, what's, when's, where's of discipling...I wouldn't even know where to start. I'm scared to death to be left alone with the kids, becuase I have no clue what to do with them! I know a lot of this is going to be all trial and error, and I will learn in time. But, anyone out there have any simple words of advice and/or encouragement as I delve in to this very new world of helping to parent someone elses children?? Thanks so much!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 07-04-2013 - 1:21pm

First of all  you need to relax.  Unlike nursing where things could be life & death, most decisions in parenting are trial & error.  I am speaking as the parent of a 24 yr old (nurse) and 17 yr old.  Luckily you have gone past the baby stage, so at least you can communicate w/ these kids.  I think it needs to be their dad's decision on discipline, primarily.  You might have some input but he should be the one deciding the major things like what they are allowed to do, what time they have to go to bed, where they can go, etc.--you just go along with the program.  If you are alone with them, your main job is to keep them safe and reinforce dad's decisions.  You should also feel free to talk to them about things that are bothering you, like "please don't leave your used dishes in your bedroom, bring them to the dishwasher."  "I am on the phone now, so please don't run around yelling at each other." etc.

If you are talking about what kind of activities to do with the kids, try to find out what they like to do.  They probably like to play some games, do arts & crafts, maybe they like sports, shopping, going out for ice cream.  If you play it right, they'll look at you as the fun person to be with--did you ever have a single aunt or mom's friend that you enjoyed doing things with?  Let the dad be the heavy for a while until everybody gets adjusted.  Hey, at least you get a week off to rest up. When I married 2nd DH, he was a widower so we had his DD ALL the time--and she was difficult!  Her grandmother used to have her sleep over once a week when we were dating--after we got married it seemed like her GM never wanted her to visit any more, or at least she would never do it when it was a good time for us.  I'm divorced so my kids were at their dad's quite often, but I never got a break from SD!

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 07-05-2013 - 3:21pm
I think it's awesome that you are going into it with the right frame of mind and good attitude. Heck, I worry about getting my "ME" space and I have children of my own, it's very natural! They should be pretty self sufficient at their ages, just take the cues from dad and make sure you know what the rules are that they need to follow like musiclover suggested. Good luck and keep us posted on how it's going!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2013
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 11:58am

Hi!

I also am a young “step-mom” (my boyfriend and I are not yet married). I am 23 and he is older than me with 3 kids. First of all, do the girls go by their mother’s at all or do you have them 100 percent of the time?

In my situation, my boyfriend’s children go by their mother 50 percent of the time. The longest we have them is 5 days in a row and then they are back by her. We all have lived together for 7 months so far, and it has definitely been hard for me, since I don’t have any children of my own either! I do enjoy them when they are with us, but it is nice to enjoy alone time with their father on days they are with their mom :)

Being worried about “me” time is definitely normal. I think it’s super important that you and your fiancé plan “date nights” or something where the kids are not around, whether family watches them or a babysitter..(especially if you have them every single day). That’s what we do! But there are also times where just I will leave the house and have a “me” day where I go bum around in town by myself or with a girlfriend. I need those breaks sometimes. Then when I come back I feel like I am more refreshed and have more energy to deal with what’s at home.

In the parenting department, I don’t have my own kids either. But I was raised with a lot of discipline, and when my parents divorced when I was a kid, my dad pretty much relied on me to help raise my younger siblings, which helped me some. I don’t discipline my boyfriend’s kids, (don’t send them to their room, don’t put them in the corner, etc)…I know that is my boyfriend’s role as their dad and I feel that I shouldn’t cross that line. If he asks me for advice or my opinion, I will tell him, but the disciplining is his job while he is there. However, I DO scold them when they are doing something wrong in front of me, such as fighting… and I do make them have respect (pick up their things, put their dishes away etc).

Being left alone with the kids is still a struggle for me sometimes. I try to keep them busy and tell them to use their imagination. They sometimes feel like I should be their entertainment. But really, being alone with them really isn’t as bad as I thought it would be!

Hope I helped and good luck! :) Feel free to message me anytime!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2013
Mon, 07-22-2013 - 2:18pm

I love your honesty. I am in the opposite position of your situation of a blended family :) my husband was the younger of the two of us, and I have two girls, now 6 and 9. They go see their other dad, and step mom during the summers and school breaks. I remember when my husband and I got married, it was an adjustment too! He had been single, living the fun bachelor lifestyle, and now had a 3 and 5 year old around 90% of the time. The thing that helped us out was giving it time, and I allowed him to form his own relationship with the kids...he loves sports so he put them in soccer and they do that together. I stressed to the girls that they have big hearts and can love all of their family members, step dad, step mom, extended family, ect...it is not always easy, but we try to make it a positive that they have such a big special family! Good luck and best wishes

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2011
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 8:08pm
Thank you so much for your input! I JUST saw all these replies (a month later lol) for some reason, I never received any e-mail notifications that I'd gotten responses! Any clue how to fix that?! ;-)
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2011
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 8:13pm
Thank You!
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2011
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 8:13pm
Thank you for your reply and advice!
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2011
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 8:42pm

It's been a few years since i've used iVillage, and I clearly need to re-learn how to use these boards lol. Well, thank you all for your input, as I mentioned in my previous comment, I unfortunately didn't recieve any e-mail notifications that I got any replies or else I would've responded sooner! 

It's now been almost a full 2 months since the official "move-in". I'd like to say things have gradually gotten better, but I feel as though in the last 2 weeks or so, I've "regressed" in a sense? We have the girls for 7 days at a time, every other week. For the last 2 times we've had them, I've been much more "to myself" than I have been throughout this all. I've....(dare I say it)..."dreaded" their arrivals these most recent visits. I've been shutting myself off from all of them the minute they arrive, whether that be spending all of my time out of the house, or locked in the bathroom taking a 2 hour long bath just to "get away". I know it's not all "them". I've personally, had a lot of emotional stress unrelated to them, going on simultaneously, so i'm sure that hasn't helped. There's been so many emotions flowing through me, that I have been responding by just distancing myself. Between stressors of work (dealing with the death of a very close patient-turned friend), trying to plan my own wedding, having to deal with a very stressed out fiance due to a new custody battle his ex-wife has decided to bring upon us (wanting to take the kids and move 2 hours away where her boyfriend lives), and the overall adjustment of living with kids, and sharing everything that's ever been mine with these kids....I haven't exactly been the "model" soon-to-be step-mom. All the "little" things have started to get to me now. For instance...it's bad enough that I have lost a tremendous amount of my "personal" time and space. But, I started feeling resentful, like the kids were "taking over". I feel like I don't have my own living room anymore! Any time they are here, I no longer get to watch MY TV in MY own living room. And if I want to sit on my own couch in my living room to watch TV, my only options are spongebob squarepants or something as equally as obnoxious. The only time I do get to watch what I (or we-the adults) wants to watch, is usually after 9pm after the kids have gone to bed. I don't get to watch my morning news before work anymore, because It's morning cartoons instead now. I think after going through this the fist couple weeks....it finally started to set-in, and I started to feel like I was losing control of my own life?? And yes, I do realise that I did emphasize MY (in regards to the TV, the living room, etc) A lot, and I do so out of my own selfish frustrations. I do understand that all these things that used to be "mine mine mine" are no longer just "mine mine mine". I'm just going through the natural process of learning to let go of one life and opening myself up to my new one. I'm just hoping this "phase" is only a phase. I know this is a learning process that will never end, I just hope I don't always feel the way i've been feeling...like I just want to run and hide for the entire week the kids are with us :-/

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2011
Wed, 09-25-2013 - 10:55am

You are a good person.  I am a new stepmom too, and I don't have my own children.  I am going through all the struggles too. When my husband (boyfriend at that time) fought for custody with his ex, I used my saving to pay his lawyer because he was behind the payment and his lawyer would drop his case if he didnt pay. I am like you I consider myself as "career" woman.  I had my own place, my own stuff, payoff my car.  Sometime I ask myself why I put myself go through this.  I think it is because none of the guys I dated before made me feel I wanted to do so much.  You want to learn to embrace his children because you love him so much.  It is hard and scary, I have anxiety when i think that I need raise a boy who doesnt call me mom.  but if I can do it, it actually makes me a better person.  Keep in touch. you are not alone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2011
Wed, 09-25-2013 - 10:55am

You are a good person.  I am a new stepmom too, and I don't have my own children.  I am going through all the struggles too. When my husband (boyfriend at that time) fought for custody with his ex, I used my saving to pay his lawyer because he was behind the payment and his lawyer would drop his case if he didnt pay. I am like you I consider myself as "career" woman.  I had my own place, my own stuff, payoff my car.  Sometime I ask myself why I put myself go through this.  I think it is because none of the guys I dated before made me feel I wanted to do so much.  You want to learn to embrace his children because you love him so much.  It is hard and scary, I have anxiety when i think that I need raise a boy who doesnt call me mom.  but if I can do it, it actually makes me a better person.  Keep in touch. you are not alone.