Being a stepmom definitely isn't glamorous. In fact, I'd say it's the most difficult and thankless role of my life. I'm not looking to be thanked all the time, rather just appreciated at times. Even though "You're not my mom" hasn't been said since she was 3 1/2 years old, the difficulty lies in fulfilling the role of mom in my household, but not being her mom.
It's easy for a kid who goes back and forth between homes and parents to want to blame someone when their life doesn't look like they wish it did. Despite the communication with all parties functioning, my part is still the same. I get to be the bad guy, the scape goat. Overall, I accept that.
What I'm unwilling to accept is the blame for others' choices---kids included.
On this particular rollercoaster, my relationship with my stepdaughter is currently in a valley. It's actually been there for some time. As she's gotten a little bit older, it's gotten a more difficult for the two of us than when she was younger.
Last week a lot of her choices and actions came to a head. Only this time wasn't with me. The difficulty lay with her dad. She made some choices that angered, disappointed and hurt him. None of that seemed to matter to her. When it came time to come back to our house from her mom's after this happened, she didn't want to come. It's hard to face someone you've hurt, of course.
Only that wasn't how that played out. It was that she didn't want to come back because of me. You know, the bad guy. I didn't make the choices, I didn't disappoint my dad. But, it's easy to blame me instead of learning the lessons of being accountable for your own feelings, choices, and behaviors.
I will admittedly say, I have zero tolerance right now for bullshit. I don't have the energy to play the "oh woe is me" game with anyone. That being said, telling any of the kids in my life something for the 932543927304th time, has me with no patience. Especially when they're old enough to know the day-to-day expectations. Or I have no patience when I'm told that it doesn't matter what I say because, "I'm going to do what I want anyway since all you can do is yell at me." I refuse to accept backtalk and mouthy, disrespectful kids. I don't have to accept that.
Last week had nothing to do with any of that. Last week had nothing to do with me.
Yet, the return conversation was all that those choices, actions and behaviors are because I'm always grumpy and cause everyone here to be agitated with each other. Ohhhhhh realllly?
My frustration level is ultra high as a result of the disrespect, being the bad guy, and a handful of other inappropriate behaviors. When the apathy of the child outweighs the desire to contribute to the family dynamic positively, I have hit the end of my ability to handle it.
I don't like the lessons I'm watching be learned and since my contribution just has gotten the "bad guy" rap, I have to step away from it. Of course, my husband and I still will parent together--all of our kids--but my role in accepting the blame is changing. I'm no longer willing to be the enforcer for my stepdaughter. Yes, I realize I will hear, "Well, she doesn't have to... or she didn't..." from my son, but he's old enough to understand the issue whether he chooses to agree or not.
The expectations won't change, but if they're not met, the consequences won't be coming from me. And with the nature my husband's schedule, that makes it more difficult for her during the time he is home with us because his time at home is limited.
I guess I'm adopting a step back.
Something has to give. I have two kids plus one on the way who have no other mother except me and it's unfair for them to have to deal with this drama all the time and my resulting frustration and anger. I feel like I'm gypping them out of their mom.
It's a good time for the transition with a new school year starting as she will be attending a new school. So a fresh start all around.
Again with the nature of my husband's schedule, much of the day-to-day falls on me. That has honestly been fine with me all this time until the disrespect hit an all-time high. So, with a new school year, she will work on being more independent---especially since she will only be here during the school week. She's absolutely capable.
We'll see how it goes. I'm simply not willing to accept being the bad guy any longer and I have to be the one to change my role in order to achieve a different outcome.