Stepmom-to-be, and scared out of my mind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2012
Stepmom-to-be, and scared out of my mind.
3
Thu, 04-19-2012 - 10:28pm
I am engaged to a wonderful man who has a 4 year old daughter from a previous relationship. I am 23, he is 26. I am the first woman he has introduced to his daughter, who he has every other weekend. I first began joining them on her weekend visits about 7 months ago. She took to me very well in the beginning and I felt like everything would just fall into place with our new little family unit. Boy, do I feel stupid. 3 months ago, my fiance and I moved into a new apartment together...everything has changed. I adm completely guilt-ridden about these new feelings of jealously and resentment I feel toward this poor little girl. After all, I'm the adult...so why am I acting like a child?? I have no children of my own, and I don't believe I'll ever want them. I do my best to find my maternal instincts when SD comes to visit, but it seems as if I don't have any! It's clear to me that BM lets her rule the roost and I don't want to be the evil SM for having different expectations in my home. Fiance seems to be blind to her being very spoiled, and I have never witnessed any sort of discipline further than, ' That's not nice,' or ' Don't do that again,' in a sugar sweet voice. Don't get me wrong, the child is not a monster...but can be very demanding, rude to adults, and will look at me like I'm crazy if I tell her to put away her toys. They co-sleep and have since her infancy. I am very uncomfortable with this, and it usually means I sleep on the couch for the weekend. This tends to fuel my jealousy. The child doesn't even HAVE a bed of her own! I have brought up the need for a clear set of expectations for her to my fiance...he got defensive as if I was questioning his parenting abilities. I was honest about my feelings of jealousy and he was appalled. I am worried that my inability to fall perfectly into the role of SM is going to cost me my relationship. Help!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2011
Fri, 04-20-2012 - 3:16pm
I might sound harsh, but I expect any kids that enter my house to follow my house rules, regardless who their parent is! 4 year olds can just be difficult, so you might have to give a little, but that doesn't mean she gets to be in charge when she's over. I'm sure her dad is willing to give in because he doesn't spend as much time with her, but he's not doing her any favors.

You really have two options, you can try to get him to enforce some ground rules, or just stay away from both of them when she's over. It's not fair to you for him to not work with you on this, you both live in the apartment. You can get her a bed and set it up, and work on getting her to sleep in it. Clearly let her know what the rules are and make her follow them. If she's rude, correct her. If she doesn't pick up her toys, don't back down. Just be firm and matter-of-fact, stand your ground!

The bottom line is that you can't expect immediate love from someone who isn't the parent. Life doesn't work that way, and your feelings are very understandable. There should be no expectations on your part to be the perfect SM, that's not realistic at all. It takes time to grow the relationship and learn how to wear the role..
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2003
Fri, 04-20-2012 - 10:26pm

Hi Bella,

Your feelings are very understandable and you are not doing anything wrong.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2012
Fri, 04-20-2012 - 11:50pm
Cyngb-We have known one another for nine years. We grew up in the same town, worked together for two years, and my sister married his brother last year after dating for 7 years. (Wild, right?) It just sort of hit us after years of friendship how good we are together.

Had a good conversation with the fiance after considering these suggestions, and it went very well. He seems to be supportive in my desire for premarital counseling. I read a believer in it before, but especially with our unique situation I believe it could be even more valuable. He also seemed to be very understanding about my issues with co-sleeping and agreed she was getting to old for it, she's not a baby anymore. We got her a bed and she comes over tomorrow morning for the weekend, so let's hope he will stick to his guns on it as well as the discipline issues we discussed. I really appreciate your comments, it was very helpful to get some reassurance.