I love him, but I don’t like him…

December 15, 2010 in Latest, Life

My name is Julie and I’m a stepmum. I didn’t ask to be a stepmum, but I fell in love with a man with kids. 2 of them [kids, not men!].

At first it was great – every second weekend we’d go off and do something fun, the novelty was there for me and for the kids, and everything was great.

But my youngest stepson was only 3 then – and now he’s not.

Cupboard for naughty children close-up

Image by Laurie Pink via Flickr

See, I don’t hold myself up as a great example of motherhood, and I’ve done things wrong with my own children, but being a part time step parent has to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And I love that little boy; should anyone try to hurt him I’d be the first one there to stop them.

I love him, but I don’t like him.

There, I said it out loud – the big taboo.

Because us stepmums ‘know what we were getting ourselves into’, ‘chose to marry a man with kids’, ‘will always come second to his kids’, and a whole host of other “told you so” type comments.

But let me tell you this; NO stepmother knows what she’s getting herself into. Not one, even if she has kids of her own.

Every 2 weeks my house is turned upside down (metaphorically and physically) by two little boys who would rather not have their routines upset and have to share a bedroom.

I love:

* waking up to the sound of all our children playing together
* planning fun things to do
* listening to their hopes, dreams and what they’ve been up to

But I don’t like:

* an 8 year old who still doesn’t recognise when he needs to go to the toilet
* who rubs himself sexually on our guests
* who spoiled a £3500 holiday with his bad behaviour
* who ignores everything that is said to him unless it involves him getting presents
* who can’t dress himself because his mum does it for him at home
* who will come to our house having not brushed his teeth for 2 weeks ‘because his mum didn’t have time to supervise him’
* who will lie constantly over such trivial things
* who doesn’t understand the concept of how to get dressed (underpants over trousers, anyone?)
* who’s first words upon entering the house are ‘can we have the TV on?’ followed by sulks when we say no

And that’s just the beginning!

Don’t think I’m knocking his mum, either – I have full respect for her with a full time job and 2 kids. I’ve been a single parent and I know how difficult it is.

But the main thing I don’t like is the fact that the child’s mother refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem, refuses to address it and sees it all as ‘our’ (ie me and my partner) fault.

And in turn that makes me dread the visits, dread the 3 weeks in the summer that we have them, and this year, dread Christmas.

Were he my child, we wouldn’t have these issues I’m sure, as we would have asked for professional help. And we certainly wouldn’t lie that there were no issues at home, when it is clear that there are.

So in the meantime I spend my time pretending to be a great stepmum, while secretly hoping that this time the youngest has decided he doesn’t want to visit.

And you know what? I think that’s the thing I hate the most – I love him, but I don’t like him, and what sort of stepmother does that make me?

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Mother of three wonderful girls aged 16, 7 and 6.
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