Monday, August 12, 2013

The Bad Guy

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.

Here's hoping...


  1. Good luck! It sounds like you're doing the right thing. You don't want her to feel like you are over -stepping your boundaries (which you're not). Hopefully this change will help bring you closer!

  2. I cannot imagine how hard it is to parent a child that is being raised differently than you raise your own children. Constantly undoing what has already been taught has got to be exhausting. I think Letting G handle things is the best thing for YOU and your children. Hang in there, I am always here!

  3. Hi Steph, I actually "LOL"-ed after reading the sentence that starts with, "I will admittedly say..."! Not that it's funny (cuz it isn't), but it was as if I was sitting right across from you as the words came out of your mouth. I could HEAR YOUR VOICE...and I love that.
    The rest of it is such a bummer. The age is tough, my girl is the same age, and sometimes I feel my eyes widen and my jaw drop, b/c we don't teach some of the things that are said and done. Prayers, best wishes, and hugs.

  4. Hi Stephanie, I found your blog through Stefanie's blog :) It is so good to 'meet' you and I look forward to getting to know you! I read all of your About Me sections, you sound like wonderful person with a lovely family and I look forward to becoming friends :)
    I can totally relate to this post, although my two step kids are grown now, I still went through a bit of what you are talking about when they were younger. I hope it gets easier for you, in fact, I am sure it will. She will get older and grow up and hopefully respect everything you have ever done for her. Your kiddos are all very lucky to have each other :) Good luck and have a great day!! Kerry

  5. I've taken some time to let this sink in, & the sudden cut off from any communication with me sort of makes sense now.

    That being said, I know better than anyone the struggle with Reg lately as far as her attitude & general apathy towards a lot of things. However I HAVE seen an improvement in our home which is why I shared with you what works & what doesn't. It's not excuses for her behavior in the least, but she doesn't respond well to constant harping, & that to me explains her response that it's YOU causing the problems. We're moms. We don't take shit & we don't sit back & let things slide, but for Reg, the negative attention only fuels her even more. We've talked about this & you know what I mean.

    What I am gathering from this though is that you are just completely stepping out of her life, hence the cut off from me as well considering we discussed 99% of her life. That DOESN'T sit well with me for many reasons. It honestly reminds me of what certain parents did to your other children & I know how you felt from a momma bear perspective, & that's where I'm at right now as well. Reagan may not act like it right now, but you are an integral part of her life & I can't see this making the relationship between you 2 any better - especially when you know how she's already having issues with feeling like she "fits in" compared to the babies in her life who don't have to leave mom or dad. Years ago when shared custody happened, you knew Reagan would 90% of the time fall on you during George's time as far as parenting due to his schedule. That wasn't an issue then & can't become an issue now, especially when she's already having a rough time sorting through life & emotions & figuring out how to express herself & be heard without hurting anyone.

    I can't change what happened or what was said, but know that we've both had your back in all of this shit lately. Even R said when I told him what happened re: twitter that Reg may be doing things purposely (attitude for example) to cause strain on you & I because she wants back in control. The last thing I want is for things to go back to the way they were 15 months ago, & while I can respect & 100% understand your need to be present for your other children, I need you to not give up on mine.

  6. HUGS. I know what it is like to see disrespect and I feel for you. I am always here to chat.

    Stepping back to not only be the bad guy is a good idea. Having her see you as someone other than that could help it click in her mind that you really are not that.

    I hope everything goes smoothly. You deserve that!

  7. Just found this through your Instagram step-mom post. I can completely relate! Completely!

    We have had a rough summer and a lot of the disrespect I knew was going on was found on twitter. Because my husband works and I stay home, most of their summer time with us was spent with me. That means I did pretty much everything for them, and I actually enjoyed it. So finding mean things about me on twitter was pretty hurtful. We are never appreciated and whoever said being a mom was the hardest job has never been a step-mom. :)

    When we found out I was pregnant last time and told our then 13 yr old, she was really unhappy. When she found out the baby was a girl, she was furious and even refused to come to our house. After 2 boys, I was elated, but couldn't express that when she was around because she was so upset about it. It was devastating for me, the people pleaser.

    We've had a rocky past 4 years, but her 12 year old brother, who is my step-son has been awesome. It's amazing how they can all be so different.