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Raise your hand if you're a STEPMOM!

Raise your hand if you’re a STEPMOM!

So you’re in a relationship with someone who has kids. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “I had no idea it would be this hard!”

  •  “I’m a nice person!  Why do they hate me so much?”

  • “What does being a step-parent mean?”

  • “I would never do that with my own kids!”

  • “Why can’t his ex just leave us alone?”

  • “I might not be a mom, but my opinion should still count.”

  • “How can I get my marriage back?”

Are any of these things you feel but DON’T say?

  • “I married you in spite of your kids, not because of them.”


  • “I feel invisible.”

This website is a resource for YOU as you navigate the complications of combining families.

Email me at to set up a 1:1 session


WELCOME–I’m here for you!


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About Brenda

Brenda and Steve were married on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May 1998.  On Sunday, after spending the night in a hotel, Brenda and her dog Lucy went from living alone, to living with Steve, his four children: Jason, 14, Laura, 12, Shannon, almost 10, Amanda, 8–and their dog Phoenix.  They added Alexandra, a fifth …

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  1. Alyna

    Hi everyone!
    I have a step daughter who is 10. When we first met it was love at first sight, she was sweet, we did thing’s together, and got along. Her mom started feeding her real negative thing’s about me. Telling her she doesn’t have to listen to me nor like me. Has anybody had to deal with a pyscho path mother? I need advice on how to handle this.

  2. carol

    Need Advice;
    I’m struggling with my husband. For years I’ve dealt with my husband getting defensive and supporting my step kids instead of me. My skids are mostly out of the house now, but I have such hurts from the past and I fear…something else is going to come up and he’ll defend the kids one way or another. I read in “Stepmonster” by Wednesday Martin that this is the norm not the exception. I’m not sure how to deal with these hurts.
    Here’s an example that happened last summer….my nieces were visiting and I offered them eggs (as I raise chickens) my stepdaughter (whom I offered eggs just the week before and she flatly turned them down – she was vegan at the time)…she pipes up and said…I’ll take some eggs. To which I responded…I thought you didn’t eat eggs. It was an honest statement. She stands in the corner whispering to my husband…she won’t give me any eggs…she said you don’t eat eggs. My husbands replied…she didn’t say that! Then when they all left he lays into me…Why didn’t you want to give her eggs? I replied..I never said that…him…yes you did…you only gave her eggs because I was standing there…me..that’s not true…why did you say you don’t eat eggs? DON’T you KNOW she has an eating disorder…me how would I know that she eats eggs? I offered her eggs just a week ago and she didn’t want them! …This is pretty much how things go between us. I feel a need to defend myself. He sides with and defends “her”. I don’t even want a relationship with my stepkids anymore. She was working at a restaurant and I avoided going there. any suggestions?

  3. Dee

    I have been a step mom for 5 years now. Out now 17 year old has been very disrespectful towards me since he was 13 when ever I try to do chores or tell him wrong from good. My husband is horrible in supporting me and will only say “Hey you need to stop”. Last night all hell broke loose because he did not want to wash the diches. Let me just say I have 3 other adult kids now that had chores and responsibility around the house. Anywho long story short, every time I ask my hubby please ask the boys to help with any chore he does it instead of having them do it. They are very lazy now and disrespect me at times even the 12 year old. I think it’s all because hubby does everything for them. I feel very stressed and uncomfortable around them now. When my hubby is not home I stay in my room or just leave the house. I feel like this has taken a toll on our marriage and feel like jumping ship. Forgot to say we have a 10 month old daughter together which is his love and joy and only daughter. I am just wondering and I wrong somewhere? Should I just leave with my daughter and let him raise his kids they way he has been for the last 5 years? No respect , diciplines and responsibilities ? I have even been told by him they are not your kids! They do however need me for Doctor appts. School homework and meal
    Meal times. Any advice will be helpful. Trying to decide what to do.

    1. carol

      Establish “house rules” together. Come up with a list with hubby on what you can both agree with and why. Have consequences assigned if step sons don’t follow through with their chores. You both need to be on the same page. It’s tough…I’ve been there and as step mom’s we need help. Make it about the boys are growing up and we need to prepare them for their adult life and can’t keep doing everything for them….

      1. Dee

        Hi Carol,
        First I want to apologize for my typo errors :). In regards to your suggestion, I have tried that! However it does not work. My husband will get offensive towards me if I try to suggest or give opinions
        About how wrong he is in allowing them run over him or me. I am at a point where I just don’t want a relationship with them. Everyday it’s something new with them. This week the 12 year old was expelled from school and my husband thinks it’s because he misses his bio mom. My opinion is he knows what’s he doing and wants to go with bio mom because she has no rules and let’s him do whatever he wants! I wish he could understand me but, I am tired of arguing all the time because he over protects them and feels guilty that bio mom does not want to raise them. Honestly, don’t know what to do anymore :(

        1. Andi

          Hi Dee, it sounds like you and I should get together for a glass of wine. I can relate to what you’re saying. I came into a marriage with two kids that lived and were raised in a house of total chaos. The Mom never disciplined them and never cleaned her house and when my husband did try to discipline them and have order he was over ruled and made to feel like the bad guy. Both kids LIKE messes, they like living in squalor. Well I came in and was not having it and they hate it. So needless to say they want to be with their Bio Mom, especially the 13 year old girl who is a clone of her. The 13 year old repeatedly disrespects me, fails to follow house rules and is straight up failing her classes. And doesn’t want to live with us half the time because she has to tow the mark. At Mom’s it’s a free for all. They can eat what they want, the house is a disaster and Bio Mom doesn’t make them clean up after themselves because she’s a raging slob too. It hurts my husband to no end that he did all of the providing and basically the child rearing and gets zero credit for it. I feel lucky that he backs me up. But I have told his kids to please avoid speaking about her when I’m around. I’m away plenty. His ex was horribly unfaithful and took him for everything he had so basically I hate her. But I don’t talk crap about her, except when the 13 year old won’t stop talking about her. If you really love him try to tough it out but if not get out! I’m staying for now but moved far away from all of my family to be with him. Stay strong but do not suffer for no reason.

          1. Dee

            Wish you were close to me in Texas!!! This is totally me too. I have decided to tough it out and we did move out of the city away from his family and rumors. I am glad to say that he told them last weekend that they need to get their act together! He told the 17 year old that if he didn’t respect me he could leave because he was not leaving me or his daughter we have together! They seemed to have calmed
            Down a littler but I am just waiting for their next chaos. Lol

  4. Iris


    I’m not sure if I’m doing this right but I need help with my step daughter. As I read through some of these msgs i feel selfish and a little bit guilty to even put my stuff out there because it seems minimal in comparison.

    I have always had a good relationship with my SD. My husband have been together for 12 years, 5 of them we dated and we are coming up on our 8th wedding anniversary. my SD was 2 1/2 when my now husband and I started dating. She will be 16 this year :). There was a time where her BM was “mean” but things settled down when my husband hired a lawyer and was given 50/50 custody of my SD. Up until last November we still kept to that schedule.

    The BM recently got a boyfriend (shes had many) and soon after they started dating he moved in. My SD was not happy about it. She complains that she does not like him (we have asked her all the questions from does he treat you bad or has there been inappropriate physical contact) she continues to feel like that. Mom never informed us of it but my SD always complained. My husband and I encouraged her to be open to the new boyfriend and try. We only encouraged her to do that after she repeatedly said “she doesn’t know what she doesn’t like him , she just doesn’t” well things got so bad in November that my stepdaughter did not want to go back to er mothers house. There was a huge arguments and the mom kicked her out of the house. They did not speak for two weeks mom did not make contact and neither did my SD. we went on a trip out of the country and came back and still not contact. now three weeks have gone by. BM reached out right before christmas and she came to our house and had a conversation it was hostile between BM and SD, mom didn’t want to compromise and neither did my SD. my SD was adamant about not going back, she told her BM that she wants a relationship with her but does not want to live with her anymore. BM was really upset but agreed to see her out side of her home twice a week for a couple of hrs. My husband and I recommended counseling and that only lasted 3 weeks and mom said therapist said my SD “doesn’t need therapy” and canceled the sessions. the following week the BM didn’t want to bring her back home and it was chaos. it resulted in the BM stating ” i give up you have have full custody”

    So my question really is…

    How do i help my SD with this transition. She feels confortable in our home but I know she is hurt and sad. And i see her pain.

    PLEASE help

    1. Meg

      It might seem simple, but just keep doing what you’ve been doing for 12 years. Right now your SD needs stability more than anything else. Continue to listen to her, make her feel welcome in your home, and not take sides between her and BM. You are a third party support system.

      Do the BD and new boyfriend get along? Maybe if SD saw them together she’d see that her mom’s boyfriend is actually a pretty good guy. The family is just getting a bit bigger. Sixteen is a tough age to understand that adults need to be happy too. Her father moved on and married a great woman. I bet she’d want that for her mother, eventually, too.

    2. Alex Jensen


      Its so sad to hear about your stepdaughter and her relationship with her birth mom. I think with her being 16 maybe its a great way to talk about relationships. She can talk to you about her birth moms relationship with the new boyfriend and how it has affected her relationship with her. Maybe you can also start to touch on couples and why the birth mom is seeking companionship. You can help her come up with some ways that they can all spend some time together. I’m not sure how your relationship is with birth mom but maybe a big family outing to start easing some of that tension down little by little.

  5. JC

    Guys I am DROWNING!!! Little back story I have been a stepmom for 5 years since he was 2. I had two children from previously being married and he had one. We later added a fourth child and now have four boys. My stepson who we will call EJ. He has been a nightmare starting since about 3 1/2 years old. He began abusing children at his preschool (mostly girls) hitting, punching, kicking one girl in particular off the top of a slide then going down the slide, jumping on her head, threatening to cut peoples heads off, and it just gets so much worse from there! He tried to stab a child in the neck with a pair of scissors in kindergarten, tried to dislocate my 6 month olds arm and the list goes on and on. I am beyond frustrated and he does suffer from mental health issues but I feel like I am drowning! Help!

    1. Stephanie

      Hi everyone:

      I am more than a bit sad t=and depressed today. Yesterday was a holiday called Family Day where I live. My husband and I have been working non-stop on our house the last few weekends, and we were both tired and wanted a break. The sun finally came out that day, after lots of rain. We had planned to go on a picnic and roast some hot dogs together. Then, of course, the topic of inviting his 20 y.o. daughter comes up. She has been over at our house every weekend for the past month for one reason or another, while we are up to our armpits in new floors and paint. I had just hoped to get away just the two of us, but no. He invites her. She couldn’t make it because of work, so when I woke up that morning, I thought it was just the two of us going. Then, when I get out of the shower, I am being told to hurry up, I am holding “everyone” up. Pardon? Who is this everyone you speak of? His stepdaughter called at the last minute to say she would come, too. He never bothered to tell me. So I am a bit upset and telling him that this is not what we discussed. His response was “Whatever. Are you coming or not?” I said yeah how about no. When he gets home, he knows he was in the wrong and tries the old “So what did you do today, hon?” When I told him I sat on our balcony and cried, I get well you chose not to come. Right, Of course. I am so tired of Daddykins and the precious princess. I am so tired of being humiliated whenever I ask to just be with him. He just has to find a way to ruin it. Then he will complain that we are not very close anymore, I don;t want him anymore, etc. I told him flat out yesterday that all of that is true and a lot of it is about how he treats me and how he puts his 20 year-old daughter first constantly. Meanwhile, the bio mom is taking us to court for more child support for his other daughter who is about 8 months away from being an adult, legally. This is my umpteenth legal battle with him and the bio mom. My son is 20 too, off on his won, never bothers us for anything, hangs out when he can, etc. I keep thinking that all I have to do is get on an airplane and this is all over. One airplane ride to freedom. l know its not that simple, but man, it sure feels like it is right now. I am so tired of being sad, depressed, left out, treated badly, etc.

    2. Stephanie

      Sorry JC, I put my own comment in the wrong place! I meant to ask you if your stepson had been assessed recently. It seems like maybe his behavior is escalating? I’m no doctor but form your description, maybe a reassessment would be an idea if it’s possible. I empathize with you and I think I would be very overwhelmed in your situation, too. Ask for help wherever it’s available would be my suggestion, for your stepson and yourself. having a six-month-old child is hard enough on your sleep and energy cycles.

  6. Lily

    I have never done anything like this before, but I need to vent. I am 30 years old with a 12 year old son, and my boyfriend is 39 with two girls, 13 and 14. We met online and have been living together for a year and a half. My son and my boyfriend get along well most of the time outside of normal conflicts that all kids have with adults, but my relationship with his children is pretty nonexistent.

    His children live with their mother, and they only come over when they feel like it (despite the fact that his divorce order says he has them every other weekend and one overnight a week). Their mother says they are old enough to make up their own minds and as a result the kids do whatever they want. In addition, my partner was engaged to his former fiancé of seven years after he left his wife. She slept with her boss three months before their wedding and he ended the relationship. Sadly, she has continued to have a relationship with both his exwife and his children. She goes to every sporting event, has them on what should be his weekends with them, and we were even forced to pick them up from her on Christmas because they spent the day with her and her family.

    As a result of her and his exwifes continued friendship, the girls have completely shut him and me out. They only see us when they want something, or we plan an elaborate trip or vacation just so they will spend time with us. On the rare occasion they do come to our house they are rude, spoiled, and sometimes outright hateful acting to both me and my son. They have no rules at our house, and I am not allowed to say anything to them or try to parent in any way when they misbehave because they might get mad and not come back.

    My boyfriend told me that if roles were reversed he would do the same for me and bite his tongue so I could maintain a relationship with my son, but it is hard. He keeps saying that he doesn’t want to completely lose his children, but by allowing them to dictate every inch of our lives when they are present, he is being a poor parent. He lives in constant fear of losing them, and also in guilt because his exwife says it is all his fault. He is with me and moved my son in, so in her mind the girls have every right to hate him.

    He is a good dad and pays the agreed upon child support every month. He even goes above and beyond the court order by paying half of extra curriculars, dental, and medical fees. He loves his kids, and it hurts me to see how much they are hurting him. I tried to have a relationship with them but they have never opened up to me or been willing to let me in. I paid for a weekend trip and half of a vacation to try and bond with them, but it didn’t make a difference. I have had small breakthroughs with them, but the minute they go home the exwife and exfiance fill their heads with lies and I have to start fresh.

    As I write this, my boyfriend is being a good dad and attending a basketball game he saw his younger daughter had (he checks the school website). He wanted me to go, and I didn’t. He says he understands, but I don’t think he does. I go to their games sometimes (it took a year of living together before they granted me permission to attend with him) and it’s awful. The exfiance comes and brings the man she cheated on him with…. to his daughters sporting events!! They sit with his exwife, and the girls run right over and it’s all hugs and good stuff. He doesn’t get a hug, or even a thanks for coming. They don’t care if I’m there or not, but I try to go to support him.

    Through all of this, my own child has been hurt. My boyfriend won’t go anywhere without his kids because he feels guilty that he is taking my son and not them. If he does, he makes sure that he do a some special activity with just them to make up for it. It breaks my heart because he is so much of my joy, and I have more fun when he comes with me and my son. However, he is getting better at this as time goes on, but my son asks about his girls and feels their absence as well. He also sees that they have no rules or boundaries and doesn’t understand why he does and they don’t. He also lives on edge (like my bf and I do) when they are at the house because he feels he isn’t allowed to upset them either.

    This past summer I asked my boyfriend if he wanted my son and I to leave so he could fix the relationship with his children and see if it helped. I said this because I love him more than life and I didn’t ever want him to feel that he had to choose between me and his kids. As a parent, that is not something I would ever do. He said that if he let me leave it would be the biggest mistake of his life and that he wanted me to stay. Since then, we have tried to not discuss his exes and I dont bring up his children unless he wants to discuss it. I try to just listen and be there for him as I can. I have pulled back in buying them things and I no longer blame myself for their choices. If they would let me, I would love them but they choose to make me the enemy. I cannot change that. I am consistently kind to them and let them know I am here if they need me.

    I worry about my boyfriend and the impact his children have on our relationship. I know he questions our relationship and blames himself for the situation. I know he still has moments of guilt and I often wonder if he is sorry that we met at all. He says he loves me, but won’t even discuss the idea of marriage. He knows if he marries me that he will lose his kids, and so I sacrificed that dream. I try to just be happy with him in the present, but I always feel that without the commitment of marriage, everything could disappear in a heartbeat. I live in constant fear that his guilt will overwhelm him and one day he will just shut me out.

    Thank you for letting me vent. I feel better just expressing these thoughts and knowing that someone else has heard my struggle.

    1. Dee

      Hi Lily,
      As I read your story it reminded me
      Of my own situation. I have been a step mom for 5 years to a now 12 and 17 year old. I too am not able to parent them as I have been told they are not my kids by my hubby :(. They have no rules, chores or disciplined not the house. Oh, forgot to say they live With us because they dont want to be With their Mother. I too just recently asked my DH if he wanted to Part ways so, his relationship With his kids gets better as they have all made sure to not include me as Part of this family. My Heart does not want to leave my husband but, we have a 10 month old which i have to protect from the boys when they get upset and sometimes abusive towards him. I hope you can find a solution and you make this work. I would
      Love to hear how things go as I feel I am in your situation.

      Blessings and hope for the best.

  7. Felicia

    I’ve been a stepmother for 29 years. I have three adult stepdaughters. They were heavily influenced by grandma and their mother to hate me. I tried for many years to find my place in their lives. I was met with hostility at every turn. Their tactics included passive aggression, shunning, gossip, rudeness and shredding me to my husband. About 10 years ago, I quietly backed out. Stopped trying, stopped engaging. If I was in their presence, I was polite and smiled, but I was done being their punching bag.

    Now that we are older there has been a sudden shift. They aren’t just polite, they are friendly.

    My feelings go from disinterest to suspicion. Why now. They had years to mellow and never did. They have been adults for years now, no longer obligated to listen to others once they became independent.

    My husband is joyous that we can now all finally be a family. What happens to my 29 years of being treated worse by them than anyone I’ve ever known? They will never address this. My husband told me I have resentment. Seems dismissive to call it that. I have huge hesitations combined with disinterest. I don’t like people who believe it’s okay to act like that, for any reason.

    And I’m burned out from holding on to feelings about being a stepmother, about being around hateful stepchildren, hoping for progress, etc. When they do make me laugh now, I still am reminded of all the years when they tore me down. A brief laugh, but no trust. Just sick of feeling like the joker.

    The whole history feels like a joke. Their reason for not liking me was simple. They didn’t want a stepmother, none of them did. And that reason alone is not good enough. Many of us have stepmothers and would have preferred the same, but didn’t use that as an excuse to carry on with hate for almost 30 years.

    Now I’m expected to respond with gratitude and joy that they have apparently turned a corner. Feels like another set up.

  8. Anne

    Hi ladies. I am happy to find this site. My husband and I have a very unusual situation. He has two daughters (ages 18 and 7) from two different ex wives. I have three children, the oldest being 16 (her dad and I are divorced) and the other two being 7 and 5. Their dad passed away suddenly when they were just babies. So, to say our lives are a bit complicated is an understatement. Hoping to find some support here and encouragement. Third marriages statistically carry a divorce rate of over 90%. My husband and I would desperately like to be the small percentage that make it. His two ex wives are both very greedy. So much of his paycheck goes to child support that he couldn’t survive did I not keep a roof over our heads and pay for all of the household needs here for our family. It is a very sad situation.

    I do have one specific question… as the mother of three children of my own in my home, should I allow BM to send SD to our home when she is running fever and ill? I understand in a perfect world, we could be civil about things like that, but she basically has no respect for the other children in our home and that burns me up. I find it hard to believe she would even ask. On the flip side, if any children in our home are sick, I would respectfully let her know that she might not want to send her and make a change in visitation for her own protection. I’m just having a hard time understanding!



  9. Marlyn

    Hello! First I want to thank you for this wonderful website and your support. I have been married for 4 years, and a part time kind of step mom of three boy 15, and two girls 18 and 16. When my husband and I married in 2013, my stepchildren where living 10 minutes from us. We will have them weekends and some weekdays, then four months after we got married they moved to Florida with their mother. Then we saw them major holidays and during the Summer. As of today things are different. They must live with us because the mother lost her job, doesn’t have a place to live and can not raise and have her children. I am That they live with us. I have no problems with that but I feel a bit overwhelmed because since I never live with them full time and now they will be always with us, I don’t know how to handle what it’s coming. I hope I can read some suggestions. Thank you so much

  10. Cassy

    Hello, I’ve been in a relationship for 8yrs now, my bf has an 11yr girl. We argue all the time about rules. They only rule I’m dead set on is going to room at 9pm to wined down then at 10pm take her cell phone away and go to sleep. Am I wrong for wanting it to be this way? I think she’s to young to be up at 1:30 in the morning playing on her cell phone… am i bring a big bih or should I stand my ground with her father?

    1. Anne

      Stand your ground! You are doing the right thing to set boundaries that are totally appropriate for that age!

  11. Shan

    I have a boyfriend that has 2 kids. I have a child that is an adult now. I feel as though I don’t get included in the good things with the kids. I don’t know about bday gifts, good grades, fun times or when they are coming over until they get here. I am only told about the bad stuff that they do and nothing else. But when they come over I am expected to cook for them, clean, wash their clothes, babysit them while he’s gone, buy them food, and all of those kinds of things. And when I said it’s not fair that I don’t get to be included on the good stuff, I am yelled at and then not talked to. I express how I feel about this and I get nothing other than well you know now so isn’t that good enough. I really love the kids and want to be apart of their lives, for the good things and bad. But I’m not included. I feel used, unappreciated and only around to babysit them and do for them when their parents have something else to do and need them to be with someone. How do I fix this? This is my 1st time being a step parent and I didn’t know it would be this way. This has been going on for 8 years now and I am at my breaking point, willing to just let them all go their merry way.

  12. Jackie

    Ok Fellow Step-Moms I need advice.

    I have been suggesting the idea of Chores for the 3 (6, 13, & 15) kids for when they are staying in our house. But he always sweeps it under the rug or tip toes around the subject. It’s been 2 years and I’ve enough.

    I always make sure the house is clean and organized before i go to sleep so when i get up to work or come home from work i’m not coming home to a mess and I can make dinner and relax. But when we have the kids. 5 mins after they walk in the door its a Mess, i’m sorry a mess is an understatement. a Giant Tornado has ripped through our home and things that i didn’t ever know could make a mess have added to it.

    The Youngest likes to take all the blankets in the house off of whatever they were on and throw them in a pile on the floor then walk away, before dumping the Basket of dog toys, spraying what ever bottle of cleaning product he can find (Which I’ved had to start locking in places he can’t reach or cant get into) on my walls, curtains, carpets Etc…

    The 13 year old will take food out and leave wrappers/napkins/Popsicle sticks wherever she was, all over her bedroom, in the couch cushions, under any table/nightstand etc… she also will throw her clothes where ever she likes then demand they get washed because they were on the floor. “If you put them away they wouldn’t have been on the floor”

    The oldest will come in and throw his backpack and school books all over the kitchen counters and leave them there while i’m trying to make dinner. i know we have a small kitchen but please move to the table.

    The kids are great kids, i love them, but i would just love if they would 1. clean after themselves 2. Help do chores.I started doing chores when my mom went back to work when i was in the 2nd grade. i was responsible for doing chores, doing my own laundry (with help from my older sister), and making my own breakfast and lunch on school days. These kids dont do any of it.

    They walk in and Demand “whats for dinner?” before grabbing an entire family size bag of chips and gulfing down the hole thing (No joke, each kid eats a whole bag of chip every day to themselves – how they are so skinny i’ll never know, but we go throw at least 5 family size bag of chips when they are with us. and yes this is another fight i have with their dad as well.”

    The issue really is, I work 50+ hours a week, and i come home exhausted but happy to make dinner. I cant do that when i come home to a Mess in the whole house, and a messy kitchen. which i dont understand. there wasn’t a mess in my kitchen before i left for work, and they’ve only been home from school for an hour and a half, how is it that bad? I want to relax and spend time with them after dinner, but i’m stuck cleaning after them, and anything that is left a mess their father then will call me the next day at work complaining about the mess he is picking up, but when I say something about assigning chores he gets defensive and says he cant talk then hangs up.

    How do I put in place a chore list without the big fight? Suggestions?

    1. Mary

      I know your frustration. Step kids leaving the house a tornado to where it looks like pigs live there can make you depressed. Talk to the kids and tell them to start cleaning up after themselves and make a chore list. If husband does not want that then he should not complain to you about the mess HIS kids made. He should complain to them.

    2. Emily

      We put major chores on paper and draw them out of a hat. Someone gets dishes, another floors, pets, laundry and no fighting because it switches after that week so everyone gets something different. . It works for us!

    3. Alice

      I started my stepdaughter on chores when she was 8 years old and have added more chores to her list as she got older (she will be 11 in March) the rules are simple and I’m sure to enforce them, even if my husband doesn’t help me. She must do chores as soon as she is done with all of her homework, she can’t do ANYTHING till all the chores are done. If the the chores aren’t done well or aren’t done at all then she looses electronic privledges. If she makes a mess through out the day, she is responsible for cleaning up after her self or else electronics get taken away. Chores are not a punishment, they teach her responsibility and accountability and she learns that she is a part of this family and lives in this house and needs to contribute.

  13. Alice

    I am not sure what to do as my situation seems to be so different to everyone else, and I am struggling to find people who understand.

    I met my now husband 6.5 years ago and his daughter had just turned 4, she lives a 3 hour drive away and at that stage my husband was only going there for a day about once a month (this was due to the mother not allowing overnight visits at the time). So I would go with him and we did that for about two years, then I managed to find a suitable place for us to all stay overnight and we progressed to overnight trips there with her – which was instigated by me, and we would do this once every 2 months. However she began becoming increasingly difficult during these trips and being very rude to me, my husband would not tell her off and would brush it off as nothing, however it would really hurt my feelings and frustrate me as I could see that she was very good at manipulating the situation. I told my husband I would stop going on these trips with him until he learnt to discipline her when she was being rude to me or him, it was affecting our relationship too negatively.
    Turns out my husband wouldn’t have a sleepover without me and went down a few times for days trips. He then managed to get the mother to agree to having her in our home for a few nights – something that was not discussed with me, and the discipline side of things had not been resolved.
    So shes been coming to our house once every 2/3 months for 2-4 nights and everytime I dread it – not because of her, but because of the way my husband treats me when she is there. I understand that she is a child and that she will push her limits and will be rude and lash out – kids do that. Its more that my husband allows her to be so rude to me. When she is here I cook, clean and tidy up after them both. Yesterday I just coudlnt hack it, she was being rude and grumpy, I did everything to try and appease her but it didn’t help, she then insulted the food I had made for her and refused to try some of it. My husband did nothing. I got upset after lunch and excused myself from the house after my husband made it clear that he thought I was in the wrong to be angry at the situation.
    This then blew into a massive argument, my husband was raised by a violent and horrible step mother, and I can understand why he is always choosing his daughter over me but I cant do it anymore. I feel like I am going to walk away from this marriage as my husband is refusing to see how much this whole thing is hurting me.

    1. Stephanie

      Hi Alice:

      My husband has three angel daughters with wings and halos who can do no wrong, so I feel your pain, believe me! One day I made up my mind that either the bad daughter behaviour and my husband taking their side like I am out to get them stops, or I leave. I told my husband that I would not stay in the marriage if he continued to defend his daughters when they treat me badly. I set boundaries for how I expect to be treated and would not let him or the daughters cross them anymore. Believe me, things changed.

      Don’t get into fights with them as all that does is solidify their view that you are the problem and they are your victims. Set boundaries and be firm with them instead. Don’t ask for anyone to agree with you or back you up – just do it. You will have to be the one to tell the daughter that her behaviour is unacceptable. If she rejects the food she is given, tell her she doesn’t have to eat it, but she does have to speak respectfully or leave the table. Say it with unshakable calm. Be reasonable with them and expect the same thing back. Do fun things with the daughter as well, if you can. That sets up some good memories for her, you, and your husband and should eventually decrease the nasty behaviour, at least to a large extent.

      Don’t expect to fall in love with your husband’s child. You might, and you might not. It’s not required anyway. All that is required is respect and as much warmth as the situation will allow. You don’t have to love her and there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t. She is not your child.

      As to your husband’s evil stepmother, you are not her and you cannot make up for her. That is your husband’s baggage from his past that he should not bring into your marriage now. My husband had all sorts of emotional crap left over from his ex who left him and took his kids at Christmas time. This led to many miserable Christmases with him, until I told him that he is absolutely not allowed to ruin even one more Christmas for me. He can leave the room if the festivities are bringing things up for him, he can go for a walk, he can talk to me about it, call a friend or a therapist, but he cannot take it out on me and ruin things for me. I support him, but I am not his emotional punching bag.

      The bottom line is you have a decision to make. Do you want this to continue? If not, take back your power and set boundaries. You have a lot more power here than you think.

      1. Dennine

        Great post and everything you said is true. Alice there are more people that understand what you are going through then you think. It is not easy being a step parent especially with the negative connotations it comes with. I have the same problems and i have a hard time addressing them with my sd because I want her to like me, but it puts a lot of strain on my relationship with my husband because I take everything out on him. So I am learning that I need to discipline as well and set boundaries especially in my own house you can still be nice and the authoritative

  14. Kayti

    Hi. I feel alone in my relationship. He doesn’t treat me near as well as he treats his son, who is 8. We have been together 6 years, and until today I have been responsible for all dinners, lunches, housework and feel a maid in my own home. I know my relationship with the father is strained—but the only time he ever “picks” me over his son is to fight about how I’m not doing anything right for them. My relationship with the father may be strained—but the stepson is super distant. I have known him since he was 2 years old, and I still can’t bring myself to actually love him. Why? He takes everything for granted and isn’t polite—he is very spoiled on sugar and gifts at his mother’s house and brings that attitude over here. Since I have been around so long, it’s easier for me to discipline sometimes, unless Dad is in a bad mood. If Dad is in a bad mood, all the rules change and he becomes king of the Castle. I can’t do anything and I get “banished” to my room in a house that I pay for?! I don’t understand—I know this isn’t healthy because I’m starting to hate my family. Please help me.

    1. Alice

      How often do you see the stepson?

  15. Savannah


    Recently my fiancé made a comment about being a single parent, which greatly upset me and he doesn’t seem to see my side. He has 6 and 8 year old daughters, that he has week on/week off custody of. We all moved in together about a year ago now, though I was a significant part of the girls’ lives before we officially moved in together as well. As my income is greater than my fiancé’s, I would say that I cover about 75% of finances related to the girls. Finances aside, I am very involved in their lives. I help them with homework, cuddle them, bathe them, make their lunches, do crafts with them, take them for bike rides, paint their nails, and love them as a biological mother would. They feel comfortable with me and we have all the “girly” convos about their bodies, or if they have been picked on at school, etc. Therefore, it greatly upset me when my partner used the term “single parent” because I do not think he is to any degree, other than perhaps legal purposes in the past (though we are now common law). Am I being overly sensitive about this? Thank you for allowing me to vent.

    1. Avia

      In my experience parents tend to call themselves a “single parent” when they are not longer with the other parent…which I feel to be wrong. In my eyes you are a parent who happens to be single (if they are single), I feel a single parent is a parent who gets no help from the other parent. If your fiance co-parents with his ex, then he isn’t a single parent. Of course, that’s just the way I see it. As far as how this comment makes you feel, have you talked to him and explained your point of view? My husband use to always go on about how he was raising his eldest all by his self (biomom was not in the picture at all for YEARS), even thought I’d been around longer than he’d been alone, I eventually told him he had to stop saying that as if he wanted to be accurate it was I who was raising “his” daughter. I told him everything I did in comparison to what he did, in a nice and calm manner, and he agreed…hes hasn’t made a comment about being a single dad in years.

  16. amber

    I am not married yet but he has two children. One is his biological son the daughter he raised from 3 on his ex wife had her in her previous marriage. WE have very simple house rules. Clean their bathroom and keep their rooms clean. She half asses both and most of the time her room is a mess. I feel it is disrespecting me to not follow house rules. am i wrong?

    1. Avia

      How old are the girls now?

      When my step daughter was younger (about 7yrs old) I struggled with the clean room issue, me being a “neat freak” didn’t make it any easier. We eventually told her that she could keep her room as messy as she won’t, however, her bedroom door had to stay closed and every Sunday her room had to be cleaned to our liking (the first couple Sundays we sat in her room while she cleaned and told her what we expected) anything left out would get donated. After about two months she never had a mess of a room again, that was about 8 years ago and she’s kept a tidy room since. As far as the bathroom, is it possible she just isn’t old enough to fully clean the bathroom to your standards?

  17. Stephanie

    Hi everyone:

    I am new here. I am writing because I feel this morning like the family court drama in my life will never, ever end and need to talk to people who might understand. My SDs are 26, 20, and 18, and on and on it goes. The 26 yo is from one baby mama, the other two from another. I have one son who is 20, never has his dad taken me to court, never have I taken his dad to court. We are friends. My husband and the baby mamas? Where do I start?

    The eldest SD is great. She is on her own,making her way. No issues there. The other two were born to a demonic creature. There is just no other way to describe her. My SD who is 20 moved in with us when she was 15 because her mother was absolutely horrendously emotionally abusive to her and heavily favoured the 18 yo. SD20 is very sweet – no complaints there. I raised her with no reservations after the demon mom would not speak to her for over a year after she moved in with her dad and me. SD20 and demon mom reconciled but on one visit last Christmas, demon mom’s boyfriend sexually assaulted SD20. Mom called SD20 a liar and took the boyfriend’s side, then proceeded to convince SD18 that everything that happened next was my husband’s fault. SD18 will not speak to him and now considers the rapist boyfriend to be her dad. Except the new daddy of course won’t pay for her, that’s our job. The BF has now been charged with sexual assault and will go to trial this coming May (2018). We called our child protection people, but they seem to have no interest in the fact that an 18 year old girl lives with a man who has been charged with sexual assault against her own sister, with mom protecting the BF all the way against her own children.

    Now because SD18 is alienated from her dad and won’t spend time with him, demon mom applies for more child support and we have been told by our lawyer to fork it over. Age of majority where I live is 19. She may be getting it until SD18 is who knows how old, because if SD18 goes to university, we will be nearly automatically required to continue payments as long as SD18 lives with the demon. It doesn’t matter that she has been poisoned and brainwashed. Demon mom can do whatever she damned-well feels like, scot-free, because of SD18’s age. Shut up and pay are the words we live by at my house. It’s so depressing. Sometimes I have awful thoughts about how this would all be completely gone from my life if I just left this marriage. My son is 20, happy, calm, doing his thing in his own place. I feel terrible because I love my husband and he has stood by me many times through bad stuff. I just feel like this is endless and I don’t know if I have what it takes to endure it all. We will be paying $1151 per month now for ONE CHILD. I know I signed up for this when we married. I am just so so very incredibly tired, emotionally wrecked, and totally beyond done. It’s been 10 years of non-stop court dramas with the demon mom. I am a rape survivor myself, so watching all this sexual assault stuff unfold is incredibly painful, especially as I love SD20 very much and can’t stand that this happened to her. I don’t even want to celebrate the new year, because what will it bring but more? I just wish I could move to another dimension right now. Where is God? Why is this happening? What did we all do to deserve this and for the love of everything, when will it end?

    Thanks for reading. Feels better just to type it all out somehow.

  18. Kristie

    help! I am married to a man with a 5 year old daughter he shared custody with , we also have a 2 year old son together . This Christmas his daughter is at her moms for Christmas morning then she will be back with us at noon , I don’t think she should get two Santa events one in morning then one with us at noon as my son does not get two Santa events , just thinking ahead to when she will be able to tell what she’s been given at her mothers for Christmas and him wonder why he’s only getting 1. My husband however does not want to stop being Santa for her every year. What do you suggest .

    1. Laurie

      Let it go. Your daughter’s case is different. The mother wants to have this same experience with her child. Not everything is fair and the same regarding your two children. Let it go. Learn to pick your battles. This is not one of them. Trust me.

    2. Avia

      While I didn’t have a child when Santa was still visiting my step daughter (who lives with use full time), Santa did visit her two times. I understand the want to make things fair for your little one, but she’s already getting 2 Christmases so he’ll wonder why he doesn’t have that too. By taking Santa away from your stepdaughter at your house you’ll have her wondering why Santa didn’t visit her too. I don’t think at her age she will understand that he doesn’t visit her at your house because he visited her moms. I’m realizing that I’ve really been no help, lol…i do hope you get it worked out and everyone is happy.

    3. josie

      Honestly, Your child has mom and dad at home for the holidays. That’s something your stepdaughter doesn’t have. Let her enjoy the perks of having two homes because the cons are things your child isn’t experiencing and to your stepdaughter that is going to be unfair as she gets older.

    4. Jackie

      Honestly i dont See the harm in the 2 Christmas. We tell our kids what you get at your moms stays at your moms. What you get at our home stays here. I understand Where you are coming from but if you’re concerned then give him an extra present while she’s at her moms, but she is only 5. She doesn’t understand really what’s going on. Let her expierencen the joy, that’s what the holidays are about.

    5. Nikki

      Heck yes, let her have two Santas. Let her have three. Pick your battles. Enjoy the day. Support the children experiencing their day together as siblings, and celebrate your partner being Santa.

    6. Brenda

      Hello! I thought I would weigh in as you have gotten multiple comments on the “let it go” track. How does that sit with you? I would love to hear your thoughts about the opinions you are getting.

      I think that your dilemma brings one of the challenges of stepfamily life to the forefront, and it’s this: what works in a traditional first family doesn’t work in a stepfamily. You would never have the inequity of two Santa events for siblings with the same two parents. In stepfamilies, though, sometimes that’s what works best. In stepfamilies, “fair” is not always translated as “equal”. Your son will develop opinions and, hopefully, tolerance, of the fact that his sister goes between two households. You will drive yourself the least crazy if you manage your own household, and pay very little attention to hers. Kids are pretty amazing at figuring this stuff out, especially if the parents involved refrain from competitiveness that puts kids in the middle.

      So, of course your husband wants to do Santa for his daughter! You wouldn’t love him like you do if he wasn’t that kind of father. There are all kinds of ways to couch this for your son and your stepdaughter….Santa IS a pretty smart guy—he would know if a child had two homes. Your son will probably grow to tolerate the two homes much more easily than the adults involved.

      Good luck!

      Brenda Snyder, Stepmom Coach

  19. Bri

    So I’m reaching out to vent. If been in a relationship for 5 years with a man that has a 5 year old girl with his ex. We now have a 2 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. We started having his daughter 3-4days a week for the last 4 years. She is a great kid and I treat her as my own. Her mother had ppd and he worked a lot so I had her most of the time. Well let’s fast forward to my daughter being born. She had to be in the nicu for 5 weeks. I had to drive 2 hrs to see my daughter everyday. I also had my SD 5 days a week and she wasn’t allowed in the nicu. Her mom wouldn’t help watch her so I can visit with my newborn. It’s was very difficult to handle not seeing the child I carried for 9 months and having to leave after 15min because my SD mom would drop her off as soon as I showed up to the hospital. She only lived 10 min away. We bring my daughter home she needed special attention from us. When she was 6 months old my SD would pinch her until she cried and would run way and say I don’t know why she’s crying. Later I check the cameras and seen her pinching her face making her cry. Later I caught her pinching her nose closed so the baby couldn’t breath. I would tell their dad and he would act like no big deal. I started to resent them both. Before all this I was the disciple parent. The SD mom didn’t believe in punishment. She would hit her in the face spit and bit at her house. At our house that was not allowed. So I understand being in a divorced family the child has a hard time understanding the difference in households. But what she was doing to my daughter is wrong. I started distancing myself from them. My SD always saying how mean and scary I was. But I was only mean when she was hurting my daughter. I shortly became pregnant again. I had my son. During the last 2 years I’ve noticed he spend more time with his daughter than our children. He talks to her when she’s angry or if she spits on him or hits him he asks her “why, and what’s wrong? Are you feeling sad?” Now if our daughter does anything he yells at her. He has grab her by the throat not hard but still not okay. For the last 3 year my SD sleeps in bed with us when she’s here. If our 2 year old daughter falls a sleep in our bed he sleeps on the couch. When my SD is over it’s all about her and making her feel good. My SD mom tells her “at mom’s house you don’t have to share. Mom only loves you I don’t have to share my Love with anyone. But dad does. Your my favorite dad can’t have favs cause he has other kids” so she comes over and makes him feel bad cause she says she doesn’t like it her because she has to share and she mom’s favorite and you don’t love me enough cause you have to love all of us. So then he spend all his time making sure she s okay. While my daughter is pushed away cause they need dad daughter time. When my daughter try and join them my SD pushes her away. Yells at her cause she see her dad yell at her. It’s to the point me and my kids leave. I don’t want me and my kids around her. But when his not her she s the sweetest girl to her brother and sister cause she knows I’m not okay with her being mean. And I would say spend time with her alone but he works so much our kids only see him on the weekend when she’s her. They wake up his working when his done at the end of the day they are sleeping. Does anyone else deal with dad showing favoritism to his child or children from the ex?

  20. kara

    Hi everyone,

    Reading all your comments and stories makes me feel a little better about how I am feeling towards my partners kids.

    So I have one son aged 7, who I didn’t have with my now partner
    He has twins aged 8 who he had with some crazy woman.

    We have been together nearly two years now and it has been amazing. He is the most incredible guy I have ever met, however his kids are not. I really struggle to connect with them. I have tried and put in so much effort and it has gotten no-where. They are brought up like their mother who has totally smothered them and made them feel like they are the only children on this planet. This has led to the twins having a perception of entitlement and having no life or social skills. They refuse to sleep in their own beds because there mother still lets them sleep in hers. They cannot entertain themselves for 5 minutes without freaking out that there is no attention on them. You can;t even take them out to dinner without them breaking down because its not about them. They have been spoilt and smothered to the point where they both suffer separation anxiety when they are not with their mother. At nights they will cry to the point they physically throw up when away from her, or when anything adverse happens to them.

    My partner knows all this deep down, he talks about it and doesn’t know how to handle it. But if I bring it up or say anything I am the worse person ever and he lets me know that. Its putting such a strain on our relationship. I hate coming home when I know they are here. The only fights we have ever had are about them.

    SO there is more to the story. Because of the way his kids are and the way the mother treats my partner he acts really negative towards my son. My son doesn’t see his father at all and really looks up to my partner but my partner doesnt give him anything. My partner has admitted to feeling guilt towards his kids whenever he is around my son.

    I want to be with someone who is there for me AND MY SON.
    It breaks my heart because I know my partner would be a great father figure to my son if his kids just disappeared. I want more kids but my partner doesn’t because he is so scared from the ones he has none.

    I just don’t know what to do.
    I feel like such a horrible person saying all this

  21. Jennifer

    Recently my stepdaughters’ bio mom lambasted me for everything wrong in her life. I have never spoken that way to her, but I never know what kind of person she will be when we interact…casual and neutral or friendly or insane. In the midst of her verbal flogging, one of the things she told me is that one of the things that makes her really angry is that the kids told her a couple years ago that I “so clearly prefer my younger daughter over the other.” I was able to hold my emotions together enough to tell her that my older daughter exhibited typical older divorced child behavior when we met, and for two years she treated me like an outsider. Minute by minute she would reject me then accept me. I lived trying to figure out what I had done in the last two minutes to offend her or win her heart. It is by all means easier with our younger child. It is because I have bent over backwards pursuing my older daughter and trying to win her heart that we have a relationship today. I like to do the activities that both of them have as hobbies, but our older daughter likes hobbies that her father relates to and is the expert at, like fishing, football and video games. So when we do those hobbies, it is awkward if we DON’T include him. One on one time with her is hard to create.

    Privately, hearing that my kids would actually think I prefer one kid over the other sent me into a tailspin of failure. It’s been two months and I’m still very depressed. I have worked so damn hard to connect with my oldest despite tens of thousands of times of being rejected. She also has often acted out and has a deep anger that sits below the surface, so there are times I yelled at her for her behavior. When I did, I hurt the relationship and I struggled with when to say something and when to not. And I thought I had succeeded at connecting with her over the years. I’m not her best friend, but I thought we were pretty close.

    What they don’t tell you about being a stepmom is that your existence is extremely performance based. You do not have a relationship, i.e. your role as a stepmom is invalid, unless your children approve of you and like you. Your bio mom is your mom, period. She is a given, whether you like her this month or not. But as a stepmom, I do not intrinsically belong in my own family, and I am dependent on my children’s approval for the rest of their lives in order to be the role of “stepmom”. They could decide tomorrow that I am Dad’s wife and that’s it. I already am a recovering perfectionist, and it hurt so much to realize my kids had the perception of loving one kid more.

    Talking to my husband about my feelings is met with an defensiveness of our children (this always feels odd and irrelevant because I am not attacking our children by having feelings), and “well, as a parent you just have to suck it up and do better.” I have discovered that a stepmom should never ever complain or have feelings to anyone other than another stepmom. Except the problem is that there are no stepmom groups. Even my therapist is a divorced mom, and this is one area where she automatically tells me how moms have it tough too. It’s like a reflex in defense of moms, as if a stepmom who has feelings is an attack on moms, even though I said nothing about their bio mom in my feelings of failure. It’s like no one lets you just have a feeling, ever.

    I have since talked to my oldest daughter twice and apologized, and told her it breaks my heart that she would ever think that. She told me she doesn’t think that I love her sister more any more. But I still feel like a failure. I can’t seem to shake the feeling. I even prayed and God told me I am not a failure, but I still feel like it.

  22. Tdparke

    I’m in step parent hell. I’ve tried everything and now I’m just ready to die and be done. These are cruel unforgiving double standard spoiled children in today’s society and the two that are in my world are little exception to this fact. They have good hearts. They use to be kind. The fact is they’re parents have been separated for 5 years before I came along at first they liked me loved me now they see daddy is really getting remarried they hate me. And are coming up with lies and excuses to get him and me fighting even gave the ultimate ultmatum. Me or them. So he’s trying to find away to let me go. Or at least it’s what it feels like. I’ma just tired of being hated and lied on and it doesn’t matter how I feel or what I think. I love him didn’t think I’d ever love someone as much as I do him. So this pure hell I don’t want to loose him I’ll fight as long as I breath but to what cost. I could never ask him to choose I would never ask that. I don’t need advice I just needed to vent thanks.

    1. Shelli Harris

      I totally understand this,its like this at my home as well, I feel alone most days and just wish for once someone would listen to my side and not just stare blankly into space……sometimes I wish I were alone and never met someone with children, its the hardest thing I have ever endured. I am majorly depressed and have anxiety and have gained a huge amount of weight and most days want to just go to sleep and never wake up. hoping for a miracle to happen……but I highly doubt it.

  23. carol

    I need some advice/help. When ever my step kids complain about me my husband gets angry and defensive and defends the kids. He claims he doesn’t defend them but he does. My one step daughter complains behind my back to him and instead of telling her to quit tattling (which is what she’s doing) he gets ticked at me. Instead of telling her I didn’t hear the conversation so maybe you need to talk to her about this instead of me, he gets sucked into her emotion and I get chewed out….basically he says I’m against the kids etc. I’m to the point where I don’t want to have anything to do with them. Last week was my husbands birthday. He told me the night before that his one daughter called and was going to come over (for his birthday). I worked late and then went to my guitar lesson so I got home around 9:00. I didn’t want to be there and I also figured he needs time alone with the kids instead of me being there. My one step daughter was over with her husband and 15 mo. old and they stayed overnight. We gave them our room and we slept in our spare/guest room. When we went to bed I even said…OH should I wrap on the door and let them know the register is closed (I like it cool as I’m in menopause). He said don’t worry about it. The next day SD commented…It must be 10 degrees cooler in there than in the rest of the house….Raigen’s arms were cold this morning. My DH chewed me out after they left saying…I don’t know why you have the register closed..LEAVE it open from now on! etc. he goes on and on. This makes me feel he’s defending his kids, not me. What do you suggest?

  24. Jackie

    I don’t even know where to start, I feel extremely overwhelmed and unheard. I’m sorry in advance if this is all over the place, I’m trying to get my thoughts together. I am a step-mom to-be of 3 amazing kids (6, 13, & 14). I struggle however with many things.

    Their father is a firefighter, and works 24hrs on 48 hrs off, as well as works 2 other jobs & I work 50 hours a week in a R&D Lab. Our schedule with the kids is every other week. I love all three kids, and have never treated them like step-kids, only how I would treat my own kids, and how I treat my nephews. However, when it comes to my opinion or how discipline is handled I don’t feel heard. My fiance spoils his kids, and does everything for them, he makes breakfast, lunch, makes their beds, cleans up their toys, does their laundry, throws away their garbage which is left all around the house, jumps when they say jump (no joke, they demand things at dinner and he jumps to get it. no please, no thank you.) After working a long day, I hate coming home to a messy house, and yet, every other week I do; EVERY DAY! I know kids like to have fun and i love watching them laugh and have fun, but why does the whole house have to be trashed? I understand we live in a small home, (2 beds/1 bath and the boys share the loft area) so there isn’t really space for us to do much, but we live on 20 acres, take the dog and go play in the yard.

    I have asked on several occasions that the kids respect the master suite and ask before entering and stay off of the bed, respect that this is my only place where I can call my own and get away, but often I come home from work and have found them laying IN the bed just playing on their phone, or going through the closet or our dressers, or using my towel in the bathroom. As a germ-a-phobe I freak out with people touching my bed. I have never liked sharing beds with anyone, friends, family, anything. I don’t like other people touching my pillow, nor do i like touching other peoples beds or pillows. My fiance knows not the cross the imaginary line in the bed or touch my pillow, but the rules go out the window when the kids are there.

    I love my fiance, but most of our conversations are about the kids, or his ex wife. she is 85% of our discussions and what crazy she thing she did last. At first it didn’t bother me, but not that it is more and more frequent, i just sit there and listen. i feel like most of the time its a competition between the 2 of them on who gets more attention/praise from the kids, or if the kids are struggling who is to blame. she is crazy, i’ll give him that, but why does she have to manipulate our daily lives, why does everything revolve around her. I tell him to ignore her, and let her dig her own grave, the kids aren’t stupid, they are starting to figure things out themselves on who she really is, but he can’t help it. Our daughter (13) has already asked to come live with use full time because she can’t stand being with her mom anymore.

    I have expressed several times i think we should put the kids, at least the older 2 in therapy so they can talk to someone about everything going on at the homes. i expressed also that i think they should see someone different than who my fiance sees (and his ex used to see). but he doesn’t like that idea, he wants them to see the same person. I think that since he knows both of them, the therapist could be biased. It wasn’t until his sister (who is a step-mom of 4) told him she thinks the kids should see someone else, that he even considered it.

    This is something that happens often. i will express my opinion about something but it will go unheard, then someone else will say it and over dinner i hear “So, this person said we should do this, and i think its a good idea” yeah I thought it was a good idea when i said a week ago.

    I Struggle with the youngest, he is 6 and can’t really talk well. He sees a speech therapist at school 1x a week for a half hour, and i said i think we should push for 1 hr. every day as well as other activities at home to do, and he gets really defensive and says “I work on it with him.” I get it, I had speech problems as well when i was younger, and i really struggled in school, but my concern is, We know that his mom isn’t working on it when him, the kids expressed how he is ignored when she has them, and he has no friends at school, any little bit can help. He results back to Whining for everything, everything he wants to eat is just a whine or when hes told to shower, he whines. no words just whining and sucking his thumb.

    I’m several years younger than my fiance, and I told him I wanted a baby in a couple years. His words back “Well that is something we need to discuss with the kids.” Why? did you ask the older two if it was ok before you had the youngest? Why do they have a say in this? Why does he give them so much power, and run everything through them? We are the adults! he does this with everything, vacations, every house we look at to buy, what we are eating for dinner that night, what car he should buy.

    I’m sorry this has been so much and all over the place, I the only other step mom i know is his sister, and i can’t talk to her. this is my first release and first reach out. Please help!

    1. Brenda

      Hi Jackie,
      Welcome to the site! I apologize on the long delay in approving your comment, and hope you stay tuned for some awesome responses from the great ladies reading this!



  25. Cheyanne Hodge

    How do you explain you are a stepparent, but not an actual parent to your partner that already has a child?

  26. Jas

    Today, my husband told me how he offered to help pay half of his 6 year old daughter’s karate classes to his ex. I shared my opinion about how he already cares and provides for his daughter and does not need to provide extra money for karate classes. He pays child support weekly and he takes care of his daughter whenever he can per his visitation rights and whenever his ex is unable to. His response to my opinion was, “I don’t know.” I have a feeling he will give his ex money to help pay for the karate classes regardless of my opinion. The mother works and in my opinion could pay or budget for these karate classes on her own. She also has a man that could help her financially. I feel like if he gives his ex the money essentially it would be helping her financially not necessarily going directly toward the karate classes. We are not hurting for money thank God we both have decent paying jobs but it’s more the act of him being generous with his ex that bothers me. If my stepdaughter ever needed food, clothes, water, or a roof I would provide for her out of my own pocket.

    On another occasion he offered to buy the daughter a television because she mentioned that she only had a tablet to watch videos on. I didn’t say anything but secretly felt uneasy about it since I believe his ex should buy it for themselves since it is her apartment.

    Am I being selfish or irrational or a jealous b*tch? Does my opinion as a wife matter ? Do I have a right to have an opinion about how he spends his money or who he gives it to ? Can anyone relate ? I feel like I should be his number one supporter but don’t know how.

    1. Jul

      I think it’s wonderful he is paying for half. This is an extra activity which will be good for your stepdaughter. These kinds of things aren’t taken into account when calculating child support, only the basic necessities. So I understand you feel it shouldn’t be your responsibility, but it definitely is HIS. Try to put yourself in her shoes, and it was your ex husband offering to pay for half of karate for your joint child. Even if you weren’t hurting for the money, it’s a joint responsibility. She shouldn’t be left picking up the tab for everything. It’s just the right thing to do.

      I hope you feel peace with this and continue to vent! It really helps!

    2. Jackie

      Jas –

      No you are not being selfish, I totally understand where you are coming from. My Fiance does the same thing with his kids. His ex wife is notorious for taking the child support and maintenance money and spending it on a new car, or all her gluten free/soy free food, and not using it on the kids. we are constantly getting them in dirty small clothes, and we pick them up starving because they are not allowed to eat “mom’s food” but she doesn’t’ buy them food they can eat.

      at our last court date, the judge ruled she must pay 60% off all activities and we will pay the remaining 40%. she claimed she can’t afford our daughters dance and refused to pay any of it, which mean our daughter can no longer dance, which is heart breaking because she is a beautiful dancer. when our daughter asked why, her mother replied, “well your father isn’t willing to help.” when the correct reason was, she wasn’t willing to pay at all, and she makes way more money then we do, and she still gets money for chile support and maintenance.

      its not selfish for you to say something, i have said stuff over and over and i know i look like a bitch, but we are trying to buy a new house, and it is your money too, not just his, you are in this together, so he listen to your opinion. its obvious you have his back, but there are somethings you have to say no to, they can’t have everything.

  27. Shannon

    I am reading everyone’s posts and I can pick something out of everyone’s that hits homes with me.
    I met my soulmate at age 44 and have been married now for 6 years. He has two boys, who have really been quite good to me. The youngest – 17 moved in with us last year and i cannot believe how difficult being in this situation is. I say situation cause I really cant say I am a step parent. I just do not see myself in that way.. I really do not know what my position is I guess. I feel like a guest in my own home – that I have owned for years. I have no real connection to my stepson, nor do we have a comfortable relationship. But what really bothers me is the stress it puts on my marriage. I now see my husband in a new light – one who sets no consequences for his son’s behaviour. This is opposite to how I view parenting so there is a lot of strain. To add to this he and his son moved out late last year without telling me anything. It was planned in front of me and I had no idea. I came home one day from work to find them both moved out. We have all moved back in after a lot of counselling – but I feel us failing apart as a couple and family once again.

  28. Nat

    Oh i hear ya my stepson gets everything he wants from his dad. He sometimes does chores but very rare . Im to the point where id rather do it myself then listen to the sighing and complaining but i just need to stand my ground but its hard. We all supposed to be in this household together we need to work together as a team right! Funny thing i realized also, i dunno if anyone else feels the same, when i do the dishes or Clean something i never get thanked, maybe like once in a blue moon, but when they do it i feel like i have to thank them! Why? Why should i when i dont get them same in return? Weird right? I dunno maybe im overthinking it haha. Even if my step son wanta something hell say i have to go to my moms to get something we need to go there, i just stand there and say WE dont need to do anything, untill you say can we pleaee go to my moms and get what i need, im not doing anything. Maybe im a crazy manners freak but i think it should be mutual in a home right?

    1. Danni

      Having major issues with a stepdaughter who just moved in with us – it’s a scam between her and her mother to get what they can out of my partner.
      I’m depressed, anxious and pretty much angry a lot of the time, but have to keep it all inside so I don’t push my partner away, or put him in the middle of all this.
      Exercise, meditation, etc aren’t working anymore……UGH!!

    2. Tonya

      absolutely agree

  29. Fiona


    My story is quite complicating, i am a Step-parent to 2 children (18&13) have been for 5 years. I also have 2 children of my own (15&12), however my children do not live with me and i have them every second weekend and we have my husbands kids every 2nd week, so we have all 4 kids in the same weekend every fortnight

    Our kids get along amazing and we are very lucky for that, however a lot can be said about my husband and i.
    I absolutely struggle with being a step-parent, i find it hard to talk to them and don’t really have a close relationship with them, i’m just not interested which makes me feel horrible. I feel it is best to leave him so he can carry on without me around as i seem to zone off when his kids come home.

    I miss my kids a lot and maybe that is why, i really don’t know. I miss being a mum to my kids and i don’t have that maternal instinct with his kids, i don’t get that same satisfaction doing things for his kids as i would with mine.

    I feel like a complete b***h and hate myself for it. I feel the best thing to do is leave and it does cause issues between my husband and i. I don’t want to lose my husband or my marriage but i feel i am letting him down.

  30. Kate

    Hi there,

    Could someone please, please help me or at least make me feel like I am not completely alone because I am at my wits end.

    I don’t even know how I am supposed to begin explaining…

    I live with my partner, and he has a 15 month old with a girl who, as he describes it, was ‘a drunken mistake’.

    Their little boy is absolutely beautiful. The pair of them have a very fractious, shady history. She tried to exclude him from absolutely everything during her pregnancy and she has said to a number of people that she literally ‘targeted’ him 24 months ago when they were out – she had allegedly been looking to get pregnant because she was bored and didn’t want to work any more.

    Fast forward to the present day, and my relationship is bliss apart from this situation. I am saturated with fear and jealousy when they communicate – which would be most days. He goes to her house twice a week to collect his son. The line between feeling insecure in myself and not trusting him is quickly beginning to blur and I shamefully admit that it has gotten completely out of control in my head. I have a good job, I had a Degree and a Masters by the time I was 21 and there are a lot of places I want to go. I am ambitious and hard working and I do absolutely everything I can for him and his family – I give my all to this relationship. I know that I am a productive, good person but when I compare myself to the birth mother (which is every single day, without exaggeration) I feel like I fall short in every way. I feel so irrelevant and unimportant. The stress of this has actually begun to lead to hair loss and stress induced IBS. All my friends and family tell me that this is insanity and completely unnecessary for the sake of a relationship. I am starving for understanding from an external source that is not in my relationship.

    My partner is very patient, kind and understanding. He has sat up through many nights with me to discuss this. Has put up with tears and frustration so intense that words fail me and I’m a mumbling, snivelling mess. But I fear that the reason his understanding is not helping me is because, as much as I adore him, he is part of the “problem” (for want of a better word.

    I love the child. But there is something stopping me loving him completely. I look at him and love him because he belongs to my partner, but at the same time I look at him and I am completely baffled because how can he belong to my partner but not to me?? Does this make sense? I feel ridiculous even writing this down.

    I really just need to know someone else out there gets this. I don’t know if there is a solution and I am not looking for a magic answer – but I do feel really alone and wish I had someone to talk to when things get particularly tough. I am driven to distraction in my job and have even had to leave work early sometimes because of this.

    Can anyone help??

    Many thanks.

    1. Tanya

      Did this clear up for you? I watch about an hour of self help on you tube every day. I have also started to make my world revolve around me and all the good I have to offer

  31. theresa


    I stupidly put my foot in it. Last week I came home and spotted antibiotics on the kitchen table. I asked who’s they were and my step kids said they were their younger brothers ( their mum’s latest child from a new relationship ) but she was giving them to my step son as he has a cough. I refused to give him them as they are not prescribed to him. I got on my high horse and messaged her to explain why I was not going to give him medication not prescribed to him. And did she not understand the dangers of not taking antibiotics as prescribed. She replied telling me I was nothing to the kids and stay out of it and a long go at me. I should have left it there but I said fine if I’m nothing to the kids then I won’t bother to nit comb them any more, but please do it yourself as I’m sick of them bringing headlice round here. Next thing she’s banging on the door demanding I got the kids out of bed and take them home. I’m now banned from seeing the kids.

    Normally my partner has them one night a week. Since this she’s upped it to two nights a week. He works 5 night shifts a week, sleeps all day at his house has his kids after sch. I won’t get to see him any more and he doesn’t want to upset her so won’t say anything. I’m so upset. I didn’t realise being a step mum was so hard. I’ve bit my tongue till the other week. The kids have ill fitting shoes, I’ve taken them to get new shoes. The 4 year old feet are ill formed, his toes are growing over each other as clearly worn too small shoes when smaller. He grinds his teeth in his sleep and yells out and kicks about bathed in sweat. Stress causes this but his dad won’t talk to the mum. The kids always have nits and wear shorts and t shirt , no coat, regardless of how cold it is. ( I live in Wales, uk) I’m at my wits end. :( please help.

    1. Mrs. K

      Hi Theresa!

      Wow, I’m really sorry that you’ve walked into such a stressful situation. I can definitely sympathize with how you feel about your step children. It’s extremely difficult to love these little ones and see that their own mother doesn’t take good care of them. It’s difficult to know what’s best for them, know how to implement it and have the desire, but to have your hands tied by your role. The best advice I can offer you is how I handle similar situations in my own house. When my stepdaughters’ mother is doing something I disagree with, such as your issue with the medications, I keep quiet about it in front of the kids and I take the issue to my husband. If he agrees with me, he takes the stand against the issue and I’m just there to support him. If he disagrees, I have to respect that as their father, he has the right to choose for the girls.

      It does seem that your step kids mom is really neglecting them in certain areas and I completely respect and understand your desire to right the wrongs. I think your best course of action is always to deal directly with your man and let him be the one to deal with the ex. Hopefully there’s a way to smooth things over so that you can be around them, but judging from what you’ve said about this woman, it will only happen if you’re the one to apologize. I feel for you and I certainly pray for the best for you and your man and your step kids.

  32. Diana

    I don’t have a specific question to ask, or any tough situation in particular, but what I really need right now is to vent just a little bit. I love my husband and my step-children very much- I’ve been there since they were quite young and so we have a strong bond. There have been some issues with the BM in the beginning but over time things have smoothed out. Even with all the positives I still find myself feeling frustrated from time to time. Frustrated because I find myself dealing with emotions that I feel can only be understood by other step-mothers.

    Recently the children have started school and I find a whole new set of insecurities rising. I drop them off and pick them up from school, I attend parent-teacher conferences, I come to school plays and activities, I donate to the classroom, and I help them do their homework. Sometimes I feel that I do all the work of a mother, but I don’t get any recognition. It’s not that I seek recognition either, but I think this is where my own personal insecurities come into play. This is because of shared custody the BM will always be involved. When it comes to attention from teachers, or even conversation with other parents at school I feel I that I am second in line.

    There was a time that I dropped my stepchildren off at school and I saw something in my stepchildren’s friends’ reactions when they saw me. One child asked “Is that your mom?” and I listened as my stepchild very lovingly explained how I was their mom, and how they had two mom’s. This has happened a few times- sometimes they explain how I am their “other mom” or I am referred to as not their “real mom” but I am their mom. For this alone I feel a bit of guilt that my stepchildren will always have to explain this to their friends that may not understand, but I am proud in their understanding and grasp of the situation (it is the kind of thing that builds character). Once I was hurt when I wasn’t referred to as their “real mom” – but I later accepted that it was the only thing in their vocabulary to explain that I wasn’t their “biological mom”. My husband would reassure me that it doesn’t matter what my stepchild’s teacher may think or what their friends may think. Deep down I know that that is true, but I can’t help how it makes me feel. I don’t know how to get over it. I think what confounds the feeling is that if I am seen as second in line, I know exactly who is first in line (the BM). This is a fact that I cannot get mad at because she deserves it, she is the birth mother and should be given this respect. I feel some stigma being the step-mother at the school events, that if people are friends with the BM that they do not try to get close with me because I am some sort of adversary to the BM.

    Another feeling that I find quite hard to put away is the tinge of jealousy I feel every time that my husband interacts with the BM. I know there is nothing to be threatened by, but I almost prefer it when there was animosity between the two sides. I just hate the fact that she is his ex, they share two beautiful children together, and the fact that they have to interact. Why didn’t someone tell me that I would never have my husband completely to myself? I would like to think that I am strong, confident, and secure, but I know that I am not as strong as I would like because I still can’t get rid of this jealousy feeling.

    I have been a stepmother for more than 6 years now, and I am so glad that I found stepmother support forums. At times I feel so alone and alienated from friends and family who just don’t understand my struggles, and not only that, but guilty because they were the ones who advised about how hard it would be to enter this relationship.

    1. Pauline

      I relate so much to your struggles. I’m new to being a Step Mom. My husband and I have only been married for a few months, but already there are so many little things that keep coming up. I keep feeling the need to talk to someone who can relate, but none of my close friends and family have experience with being a step parent.

      For instance, what should they call me? When we got married, all on their own, the boys started calling me ‘Mom’ but their BM wasn’t comfortable with that, which I understand. So now they call me by my first name, which also doesn’t feel quite right.

      Also, expectations between the two homes are very different. My husband has always enforced, brushing teeth, regular bed times, limited screen time, eating nutritious food, etc. This is one thing that my husband and I are in the same page about. Instead of screen time, we have lots of family time. The boys are still young enough that they love family time. But lately they have been sad to come to our house. I worry that it’s because of the higher expectations.

      Then there is my issues with being around BM. She is a good mom. She is a fine person. I have no issues with her when I’m not around her. I can think of her as the mother of the boys and I’m happy with that. But when I have to be around her, I then think of her as the ex wife of my husband. All of my insecurities come out. As I sit there I smile, and listen, and react appropriately to the things she is saying; Internally, however, I am imagining how happy my husband once was with her, just like he and I are now, I notice how she and I are very different from one another and wonder if he misses those things about her, I notice how platonically comfortable they are together and how she has known my husband for so many years and maybe she knows him better then I ever will…. On and on it goes. Afterwards I feel drained and emotionally beaten up. Then when I break down that night, my sweet husband is left to console me. He tries to help, but ultimately he is confused by my feelings. He tries to fix it by telling me things like: “you are the only one who feels this way, everyone else at the birthday had a great time”, or “you shouldn’t feel like this”. Poor guy. I should really just write him a list of comforting things to say when I am sad.
      Back to my unhealthy mental spiral. I know these are unhealthy, irrational thoughts. I know it’s driven by insecurity. I know… I am the one who needs to change these thoughts. I’m working on it. That’s the beauty of this forum, right? We get to express our deep uncensored struggles. No excuses needed.

      There is something to be said for venting. I do feel lighter. Even if nobody reads this. I feel like I can leave some of the weight that’s been on my shoulders here, in cyber space. My struggles aren’t gone, but I don’t have to carry all of them, all the time.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. It is comforting to know that I’m not the only one.

  33. Sharon

    Being a mom is hard enough with all the challenges, but being a stepmom is even more challenging not due to raising a child, heck I have that down. The problem comes from the other parent. I choose to not disclose all the biological mothers hateful words and actions towards me because my time is more valuable to talk about other worthy things. I truly have the child’s well being, education and health at heart. I truly care less about what the biological mother does with her life but I do care about the child’s life and I have stepped up not as a step mother but as her role model, the one who will take and love her unconditionally even if the biological mother tells her mean things that the child can only love the biological mother! The moral of the story is this lady almost broke me down, I have cried, gotten angry, laughed but I have also WON!. I do not need to retaliate with hate when I look at that child when she hugs me and says she Loves me and says my mom was wrong I can love you and your not mean. The ending being I get the upmost respect from the child just because I have shown her more as a mother and not someone who is a negative influence in her life. Keep our heads up high and do what is right in our hearts and the reward will be endless! The children will eventually see what is right and wrong no matter what someone says about you.

  34. Lindsay

    Hello all,

    I’m at a total loss on how to deal with my current situation. My husband and I have been married for 3 years. He has 4 adult children and none of them like me. I am quite a bit younger than my husband, 28 years younger. I can understand that that would make people uncomfortable but the people that know him and me see how happy we make each other happy and they don’t even see the age difference at all. We have a great relationship. The thing that causes us the most strain is the situation with his children. They were not accepting at all in the beginning for the obvious reason but more so because they blame me for their parents getting divorced. The facts are that his ex wife packed up and moved out of their family home and told him she wanted a divorce. I had been working for him for about a year when this happened. We had only ever had a 100% professional relationship. I actually hardly ever even spoke to him because I was the type of employee that did my work, minded my own business, and left at the end of the day to be with my boyfriend. When Joe’s wife left it was a very awkward time at the office. Joe was devastated and would cry in his office that was next to mine. Months went by and my boyfriend and I broke up. At some point I realized I had feelings for Joe but I was far too mortified to tell anyone let alone him. It was 6 months after his wife had left that he and I were drunk at the office Christmas party that we revealed to each other that we had feelings for one another. At that time all I knew was that his wife had moved out, asked for a divorce, and told him to move on with his life. Now I’m not saying that being involved with a married guy even though they were separated was 100% the right way to go about things but I’m sorry I will not accept being called a “home wrecker” or that we had an affair or whatever. We never would have been together if she hadn’t made her intentions of being done with the marriage so clear. He had also been on a date with a woman the week before we were together. In any case literally two days later Joe told me that the ex had called and said she wanted to try to work things out. At that point I said ok and in fact encouraged him to fix his marriage. We never saw or spoke to each other outside of work again. I eventually changed jobs and even moved across the country to go to finish college. Ultimately Joe decided he did not want to stay married. He told me that because she left he could never trust her again not to break his heart and leave him again. He admitted to the ex that he had feelings for me and so now and forevermore I’m to blame for the ending of their marriage and for as his oldest son puts it “destroying their family”. His older 2 kids didn’t come to our wedding and I’m sure the only reason the younger two did come was because it was an all expenses paid trip to Vegas. After awhile everybody seemed to move forward and the oldest 2 started speaking to Joe again. Everybody seemed to be on the path to being civil to one another.
    That being said I’ve never felt comfortable around his kids and every occasion his ex wife is present. None of them will even try to say more than 3 words to me. I don’t push myself on them to act as an actual step parent. I know they don’t want that. I just want to get to a place that we can all be comfortable in each other’s presence. A few weeks ago his oldest son took the opportunity to start a fight with my husband on the grounds that I had disrespected his home. He claims I left a mess in his barn which is entirely untrue but not really the point anyway. I think he was just looking for a reason to come unglued on me. He said horrible things to both me and his father and said I wasn’t welcome on his property and said I was never to contact his family again. I can’t imagine treating my worst enemy the way he treated me and even his own father. Now Joe and his son are not speaking and I’ve told Joe that I’m done trying with his son and frankly the other kids as well if they share the same feelings as their brother. I just won’t subject myself to their selfish spoiled BS anymore. I feel terrible that my husband is at odds with his son because of me but I really don’t know what I can do about it at this point. I told him I would never ask him to choose between me and his kids. I told him he can see and talk to them whenever he likes but I will not be involved with them anymore unless we both get a sincere apology and I doubt that will ever happen.
    Here is my biggest concern. I know that my husband will calm and soften in his anger toward his son and they will go back to normal without even discussing the whole ugly issue. That’s how they operate, just act like nothing ever happened. The problem is I don’t know how to not feel betrayed when he does. I don’t want to feel hurt by it but I can’t help it. I would never allow someone in my family to be so vile to Joe. The other issue is I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when he and I have children. How do I explain to my children that their siblings aren’t in their lives because they hate me so much. I know how much all of this hurts me and my husband, the last thing I want is for my kids to be hurt too. Sorry for the long story.

  35. Kate

    So my issue that seems to be ongoing came up again this past weekend. We (me, my husband, two year old daughter, and 9 year old stepdaughter) went to visit my husbands family. I get along very well with my step daughter and like her a lot, however sometimes I feel she can be disrespectful to me and other adults. She is kind of starting to get an attitude and acts like a know it all. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but after a weekend of it I feel so aggravated and drained. Her grandpa even got upset with her this past weekend and told her she needed to respect her elders. What do i do about this? I have tried talking to my husband but he just gets defensive most of the time. I want to get past this and enjoy my time with her and not have it eventually take its toll on my relationship with my husband and her.
    Thanks Kate

  36. Kate

    So my issue that seems to be ongoing came up again this past weekend. We (me, my husband, two year old daughter, and 9 year old stepdaughter) went to visit my husbands family. I get along very well with my step daughter and like her a lot, however sometimes I feel she can be disrespectful to me and other adults. She is kind of starting to get an attitude and acts like a know it all. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but after a weekend of it I feel so aggravated and drained. Her grandpa even got upset with her this past weekend and told her she needed to respect her elders. What do i do about this? I have tried talking to my husband but he just gets defensive most of the time. I want to get past this and enjoy my time with her and not have it eventually take its toll on my relationship with my husband and her.
    Thanks Kate

  37. Erin R.

    Hi Ladies,

    Has anyone else in the group been involved in a nasty custody battle with their significant other’s ex? That is the situation we find ourselves in with my husband’s ex-wife over their seven year old son. In 2011 my husband was awarded primary physical custody of their son and she was given visitation (this was after she decided to move our of state). After being away for over three years she moved back just a few minutes away from our home. She immediately filed for full custody but then had to drop the complaint due to being low on funds, this of course was after my husband and I spent $10,000 preparing for a trial. Earlier this year she picked up the case again because she has found some financial backing. It has gotten really nasty and getting worse by the minute. It is so so sad what is happening to my stepson, his mother puts all of these unnecessary pressures on him and carries on an inconsistent life that we can see is having a negative effect on him. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating. My husband and I are having to spend every dime to pay our attorney’s fees, we are making sacrifices for our family we shouldn’t have to be making. We have an 18 month old son together (whom my stepson has an incredible bond with) and we have even had to consider lesser quality daycares because of the amount of money we are having to spend on this case. We even had to set up a GoFundMe account (which was humiliating by the way) – if you feel you want a little more insight to the story you can see it at But for those of you who have been through something similar how did you get through it? I am so stressed out about it all. I am heartbroken to see and hear what my stepson is going through. I despise her for what she is putting him through and for her selfishness – I don’t want it to be this way. The financial and emotional stress is putting a strain on my marriage, I am not worried about us as we have been going through this for the past five years but it’s a lot to handle. What did you all do to get through it all?? Our next trial is scheduled for February of 2016.

    Thank you to all in advance.

    1. Ky

      Hi! First off, I’d like to say you are not alone! I have never been on one of these sights, I typed “step parent support group” in Google and your post was the first to come up. Which is crazy because we just finished a round of nasty nasty custody battle with my fiance BM back in August of 15. We went through this battle from 2012-2015. And it got heartwrenching bad. My stepdaughter will forever be changed by the actions of her very own mother. This time was so incredibly difficult and emotionally draining that when it was finally done (for now), we were so drained that it was hard to even be happy, we were just relieved that we got custody of her and she is in a much better place now.
      I’m not sure what type of step parent you are (super involved, like a mother, a friend to the child ect) but I am a very involved parent, we have three kids all together so I have to be just as involved with my step child as I am with the two that are biologically mine. This made for an even more challenging road. I really just did the absolute best I could on our home side and caring for my step daughter. I had to learn to let go of wanting to control the environment she was subjected to there. It is so difficult (that doesn’t even sum it up) but is necessary to maintain your relationships. I’m not sure where you are located, but know that some states in the US are so pro-mom that it is nearly impossible for a father to gain custody, regardless of the situation. There have been 3 CPS investigations opened against the BM, two of which were of sexual abuse nature, she not only willingly had sex with another man in front of our stepdaughter but then downed on her for “lying and making up stories and he has never even been to our house”, she was 3 at the time, when trial came around, the apartment she lived in was in his name and they lived together. In a matter of 3 years she lived in 8 different places, with five different men, had 10 different jobs, got into two car wrecks, one DUI, got arrested for shop lifting, had Internet dating profiles with multiple pictures of our stepdaughter posted and banned from multiple bars due to violence and fighting, all while having our step daughter. Even with/after all of this, we had to hire a PI(private investigator) in order to gain custody. HIRE A PI IF YOU HAVNT ALREADY! We learned the hard way that this system is so skewed it’s sickening. Don’t lose hope or get discouraged!!! Just know that this is a fight you will have to put everything into for that child. Had the environment been safe, healthy, loving and stable, we would not have put our child through all this. Times when things get too hard to handle, just tell your self “it’s temporary” because it is. This is going to be a battle until your son is 18, which seems like so long, but it is only temporary! Do everything in your power to love that child, accept him and conciously make the choice to not place your anger, resentment, stress on him.
      We to had to create a gofundme, which I got ALOT of hate messages for and backlash, but I took those with stride because we were doing everything we possibly can to give our daughter a good healthy, stable safe, loving life and environment.
      Keep strong and head up! Being a step mother is a struggle in its own, but being one that has to fight for their child with everyone disregarding your importance or even existence (in my case) is exhausting. If you know in your heart that what you are fighting for is the best for your child, then keep going at it like a steam roller! Be his advocate! I am open to privately talking with you if you need. If so, reply your email to me and I can send you one!
      I really hope this helps, if anything to let you know you are not alone!

  38. Shannon

    I’ve been married for almost three years; and my husband has visitation of a 6 and 9 year old every other weekend. Things were fine for awhile, but the 9 year old boy has taken to lying over the past year; seemingly for attention with his mom.
    We took him to coinciding, but his mom has medical POA and forced us to stop taking him. The lies got so bad DCFS got involved (but found all to be unfounded). I’m pregnant now and am struggling with the disrespect, talking back and complete lack of anything but selfish behavior from this child. He lashes out every chance he gets.
    I’ve honestly never been around anyone so hurtful, regardless of age. We try talking about it with him, but he just waits us out until he can go back home to his mom where there is no bedtime, school is optional, and he can play video games as much as he likes.
    It’s painful all around, but harder to deal with as I concentrate on the type of life and home I want my new baby yo have. I’m desperate for advice.

  39. Jennifer


    Ive came here looking for someone to talk with and maybe some advice and support. let me explain you my situation
    I’ve been on a long distance relationship for 3 years with a man who has a teenage daughter who lives with him. Next month I’m moving to live with him and get married. Im from Peru and He is from USA.
    Her daughter came out as bisexual at age of 12, last year she said she’s pansexual, she got her hair cut short, and since this year she got it ever shorter and started dressing like a boy. I’m really concern she might turn out transgender at some poing.She used to be a very girly girl, but (my fiance says) when she started high school girls and boys started rejecting her and bullying her, so, she started to have other friends, specially lesbians, even one of her friends is transgender. My fiance says he thinks it might be a phase. since other kids rejected when she was girly, now she doesnt want to dress girly and for him, its like an act of rebellion, trying to be different. Im not really sure about that, since she had already told she was bisexual before starting high school. the pansexual thing started this year.
    I’m 36 years old, no kids, and come from a conservative country, I’ve been living for 4 years in a more opend-minded country which really helped me and i had several gay friends who i love, but still, I fell overwhelmed with this situation and I dont know what to expect. She’s not my child, and as i just said, i havent ever seen her face to face, so I dont have big feelings or any bond with her. we have a good relationship tho and she’s excited I’m coming and she want to meet me.
    Im not homofobic, i have read tons of articles, forums, about transgender people, how they feel, how they realize they r transgender, how hard is the world with them and i really feel sorry for them. I dont judge them nor reject them and i wish ppl would be more opend minded and accept them for the person they are and not for the gender they chose and i really think their parents do a great job supporting them even if its hard for them.
    the thing is, i dont know if i want that in my life. I’m 36 years old, no children. I love my fiance, but having a long distance relationship and having seen him only 2 times in 3 years havent helped to set strong bonds between us. Also, we have had some issues in the past that mined our relationship and i can say things right now are not as they used to be 2 or even 3 years ago.
    Im worried i wont get used to this situation, that i would feel ashamed of going out with the girl and maybe other ppl would stare at us bc shes different.
    I wouldnt like to have a transgender daughter. I gues any parent want it of course, and they have to accept them and love them and support them, but she is not my daughter, and i dont love her, and why do i have to change who i am for her? why do i always have to accept all the weird things my fiance has in his life?
    when i think of him, i feel happy and i want to do everything with him… but i dont see us as a family… my world is only him and i.. not her daughter.
    sometimes i feel like if i had known things were going to be this ways i would have never started a relationship with him.
    I feel confused and i feel like a bad person. I dont really know what to do, I love my fiance, but im not really sure ir ill be able to handle this situation.
    I know I havent arrived there yet, and I dont know if maybe i will love and accept my step daugther. I know I’m talking before having lived there, and Im talking out of fear, fear of facing something new and different, maybe even facing the fact that ppl would see us, that i wont have a “normal” stepdaughter and a “normal” family.
    Its like, I know transgender ppl are normal and i support them but not if is in my own family.. I want the perfect family, I think it would be easier if she wouldnt dress like a boy or that she lived with her mother.
    I really dont know what to expect, what to think. I know it would be coward from me breaking up now, but sometimes thats what i want to do bc im afraid of facing this whole situation.
    I wish no one tells me not to go there, not to get married, bc i want to do it, but im having a lot of distress for this situation.
    i have even though of going to counceling once im there, to make it easy for me, but then i think again, why do i have to do all this thing for them? i feel really confused.
    of course i cant talk with my fiance about that, even if i want to, but i know that he will hate me and dump me.
    i hope someone can give me a word of wisdom and not a criticism

  40. Courtney

    Hi Everyone!

    So over this past week I have had some things happen and I was just wanting some feedback and maybe some advice if anyone has any on the situation. Do any of you all feel like you are not good enough for your stepchild or do/did you compare the relationship you and the child have vs the child and bioparent?

    I ask because this past week we had my boyfriends daughter with us and it was a very tense week, each week seems to be different though there are days that she is all for me and then there are days she wants nothing to do with me. But this week she was like that pretty much all week it was all daddy all week, I got a lot of eyes cut at me and faces being made when her dad and I would talk or he would hug me. So I pretty much stayed quite and to myself while she was awake or with us which he started to pick up on and thought something was wrong. Unfortunately I am not comfortable about telling him about this because he usually gets very defensive or tells me I am just being too sensitive that “you know she loves you” but “she’s just a daddy’s girl”.

    Honestly I tried not to pay too much attention to it until I picked her up from camp and she acted like she did not want to be bothered at all and then we get home and she became a completely different child once he was around her. I just felt like I was chopped meat or not good enough to pick her up because I’m not daddy.

    It just scares me with her acting like this right before the switch is coming for her to be with us more than she is. I get worried that I am just going to go from this happy person to being miserable because she is going to act like this and it will just be daddy/daughter time until she goes to bed and then our time and that is not what I want. I want all of us to be together and interact. But that is not how the last week was it was very much a secluded week they did everything together, they camped out no one included me and after the week we had I felt no want to just throw myself in the mix. It was already a tough week because our babysitter backed out on us so I have the stress of finding another one in 3 weeks and then her acting like that on top of it left me having a lot of emotional breakdowns and trying to figure out what I can do differently and how can I fix or change it.

    Any help or words of wisdom would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance!


    1. Mrs. K

      Hi Courtney!

      Yes, ma’am. I’ve been there. As a matter of fact, it was a problem for years. And I want to encourage you to work on this and be proactive right away. This feeling can build and it will become not just a problem for your relationship with your boyfriend’s daughter, but your relationship with him as well. The fact that you feel you can’t talk to him about this magnifies the issue of isolation.

      My best advice for how to handle this directly is the old idea of “fake it til you make it”. Little kiddos just don’t have the skills to consider others like most adults do. And no matter what is driving the attitude she’s giving you (it may not be you at all, it may be she’s missing mommy, it may be she wanted a toy she couldn’t have, you never know), she doesn’t have the tools to work through it on her own. So, what might work best is for you to fake it til you make it. Turn on the high energy, overly interested, not overly sensitive self that you can be. It will most likely be fake for a while. I know for myself it wasn’t natural to be so interested in all my husband’s daughters were doing or saying, and it wasn’t easy to pretend I didn’t feel left out or unwanted. But when I chose to fake it, the girls responded in a positive way. And when they responded positively to me, the nice rapport became natural and genuine.

      So, in a practical sense, when she seemed like she didn’t want to be bothered, you can “be” enthusiastic about seeing her. “I’m SO excited to see you today! What did you do at camp that was fun? What do you want to do when we get home?” When you hug Daddy and she cuts her eyes at you, you say “let’s have a GROUP hug!” and get her to join y’all. Or when you’re done hugging Daddy, go tickle her, chase her, hug her. It can be emotionally exhausting to do these things when you’re not feeling it, I know, but I think she will react well to it.

      It really should be up to Daddy to make sure both his girls are included, but you have an opportunity to impress him and draw her in by just really overdoing the positive feedback you give her. And if you’re pouring out this energetic positive attitude towards her and she’s not receptive, Daddy will see that and hopefully address it with her.

      It’s a long, LONG road to getting to where it’s comfortable more often than not. As she transitions to being with y’all more, you’re going to likely have a LOT of days where you feel inadequate, unwanted, isolated. But keep in mind that your relationship doesn’t have to be the same as the one she has with her mom. You get to CHOOSE her. You get to be more of a friend than a disciplinarian. Your boyfriend probably knows she really loves you, but as a woman who hasn’t had 4 years of parenting with her, you’re not going to be as in tune with that. And that’s ok. Keep with it. Be patient. Overdo the excited and positive things you say and actions you take with her, and it will get better.

      1. Courtney

        Hi Mrs. K! Thank you for your words I greatly appreciate them. And I agree there are definitely days when I don’t feel like giving all that energy because it feels unwanted, but I will take your advice and stick with it and try and hopefully over time it will get better. I really appreciate your advice! Thanks again :)

    2. Brenda

      You bring up a situation that so many stepmoms can relate to….that feeling of being left out, even invisible sometimes. It is the classic effect of most stepmoms I work with putting a huge amount of emotional energy into a relationship for which there is often little return. Relationships with stepchildren take a long time to evolve… current research shows that it takes 4-7 years for a stepfamily to evolve into a cohesive unit. And even then, a stepfamily does not look or feel like a traditional first family.

      It is important to have open communication with your significant other about your feelings, and his daughter should never be allowed to be openly disrespectful to you. However, affection and her desire to be with you grow over time. Sometimes it helps to dial back your expectations. She didn’t choose you, and her preference for her bio-mom and her dad is not personal—it truly has nothing to do with you, your love for her or your commitment to your family. It has everything to do with her loyalty conflict and her desire to be with the daddy she misses whenever she’s not with him. She might even perceive you as taking her daddy away from HER, which is ironic, isn’t it?

      All this to say that your best bet is continuing to be positive and affectionate, but letting your stepdaughter set the pace of your relationship. That doesn’t mean you should be excluded for the entire visitation weekend, but it does mean that daddy/daughter time is important…..and gives you time to go out with your girlfriends!

      Brenda Snyder, LCSW
      Stepmom Coach

      1. Courtney

        Thank you Brenda for your advice! I whole heartily agree with it. I try to remind myself of these things as well and let her set the pace.I just get confused when some weeks she is great with me and others not. I also get confusion because in the past month or so she has called me mommy a few times at different times and not in a confused way or an oops that’s not what I meant way. But its certain times she does it usually when we go bowling she will come running back to me going “mommy mommy” and then she will giggle and give me a hug. Her dad and I usually don’t bring attention to it I just respond to her and let it be. But then there are times where I get the cold shoulder and that is when I get confused by it.

        That is another issue I have I just recently moved in with my boyfriend in October and I’m now out of town so I don’t have any girlfriends or people I can hang out with. Which is something I am trying to change and hopefully it will happen when I start my classes, but until then my boyfriend and his daughter are who I hang out with and sometimes it can get lonely when I want to hang out with them but don’t feel included and then not having any one else around to take my mind off of it by getting out of the house or just letting them have their time.

        I do also have a question. Should daddy/daughter time be in the house where it is “our house” or should it be outside of the house? I was talking to my mom and she said it might bother me more because it is in our house so therefore I feel more left out vs if it was out of the house I might not feel the same way.

    3. Leanne

      Hi Courtney,
      I have been with my partner for 6 years and married the past two, so been in my stepdaughters life for 7 of her 9 years. I remember this constant feeling of being left out and not included when she was with us. I used to go and sit in my bedroom for hours trying to read a book or distract myself from the isolated feelings. I tried talking to my husband with similar answers ‘you know she loves you blah blah’ and sometimes I even noticed that there were just days, no matter what was happening that I would feel the pits. Often when we are in public, my stepdaughter seems to distance herself from me and many friends and family notice this. It really can get you down. I’m so pleased though that over time these feelings and moments of the glares getting directed at me and noone else have really started to happen less and less. I’m very open with my stepdaughter and often ask her how it makes her feel if someone ignores her, or gives her mean looks, and then go onto explain that it also makes me sad and ask her to try a little harder not to make me feel like this. This has been the best approach for me. My stepdaughter is 9, she is a beautiful girl with a big heart, but unforutantely is conflicted by her mothers distaste of having me in her life. For most part, I think my stepdaughter is the wise one. Good luck, and I hope you can work through it. Bottling it up and letting yourself feel down about it is a terrible road. I ended up taking time out for me when I felt like this and made sure that whilst I was feeling like an outsider that there were things that I enjoyed without them too. The daddy daughter bond is beautiful and sometimes I spoil them with a ‘daddy daughter date night’ which gives them this one on one time and acknowledges there bond. Kindest Regards, Leanne

  41. Courtney

    Hi Everyone! Hopefully there is someone who is or has had this issue or maybe just some advice on how to handle it. I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years in December he has a 6 year old daughter I came in to her life when she was 2. We waited probably 6-9 months before my first meeting with her and I have personally had my own ups and downs with my relationship with her since. She is very much a daddy’s girl and I had a hard time building a relationship with her. We are now preparing for her to come live with us more frequently then with her mom. I moved in with my boyfriend in October and his daughter had mentioned multiple times after I did how excited she I feel like we are leaving the “honeymoon phase” of me moving in and she is starting to change how she acts towards me.

    She has been in a big girl bed since I have been with him but recently within the last month or so she has started asking multiple times on the weeks she is with us to sleep in the bed with him, she has even went as far as to make the comment of us moving to a new house and me sleeping in my own room so she can sleep with him. This has frustrated me and made me feel like crap. I try very hard to have a relationship with her but I just always am left feeling like there is a missing piece or that I am only good for her when I am doing her hair or the girly things that her dad doesn’t do with her since I am in the picture. I guess in a sense I feel used. But I also feel like I am in a competition with her as well. There are days that we have a great time as a family and then there are days where I am more reserved because of her attitude or the way she is acting for instance if her father is affectionate with me ie hugs/kisses then right after she insist on a big hug or she needs to be sitting in his lap or right beside him or hanging all over him I feel like its anything to take the attention away from me and be put on her even though we both shower her with love and attention.

    The other new thing that she has recently started doing is calling his name when he and I are speaking just to simply interrupt our conversation not because she actually has something to say. Am I just being over sensitive or is she acting out more now because she has realized that I am here every time she is. I just worry that things will get worse in September when she is with us majority of the time. I would just like some advice on how to go about handling the situation and how to deal with the emotional feelings that this leaves me with. I am at the point now where I feel like we take 10 steps forward and 20 step backs on some days because its definitely not all the time. I also try to remember that she is 6 and the back and forth between parents is difficult I just don’t know what to do. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!


    1. Kate

      Hi Courtney,
      I can sympathize with you completely. Although my stepdaughter doesn’t live with us full time I have been through similar situations. She used to crawl into bed with us (when she was 5 or 6) she is now 9 and has stopped. But, she also liked to do the hair and makeup thing with me which she still does, but we have kind of set some boundaries on that. I used to do it all the time so she would like me and quiet frankly I didn’t always want to. So I learned its ok to say no not right now. It kind of sounds like your stepdaughter feels a little threatened by you also. (maybe thats not the right choice of words) but like she’s also fighting for daddys time. Maybe encouraging them to spend quality time with just the two of them will make her feel better and all of you together. I think maybe she needs to know her dad still loves her too. (this is more her dads issue to deal with than your I think!) But, I also think it shows just how much you really do care! It sounds like your boyfriend needs to sit down with her (and you) and talk about things. Does he know how you feel? I by no means am an expert I struggle still with many issues. I have learned though that its great for my husband to show his daughter he loves her with affection that it will make her a better person for it. I am sure your stepdaughter will grow out of this! Just give it time! :)

      1. Courtney

        Thank you so much for your words Kate! And I agree there are times where I do not feel like doing her hair or taking her with me when I want to have me time to get a pedicure or just doing her nails at home. Sometimes it is not always my idea its usually an idea thrown out my boyfriend to her and then at that point I feel like I just have to go along with it because it’s usually in situation where I am put on the spot so I just deal with it. Unfortunately I am not open to him with how I feel only because it was something that we struggled with in the beginning of our relationship and it caused issues because he is very territorial (may not be the right word) with her so if I am saying anything that maybe negative about the situation that involves her he gets very defensive about it and then we end up just arguing and not discussing it. We talked about it a little in therapy and the therapist helped him realize that he has to help us with finding a relationship (me and his daughter) because he expected me to just put myself out there and invite myself into things and I saw it back firing because she started pulling away so I tried to tell him that he has to invite me into it or bring me in vs just expecting me to jump in.

        When it comes to them spending time they spend a bunch together and majority of the time she is here I honestly feel like I just kind of sit on the back burner if that makes sense. For the most part he does bath time he does bed time, he reads bed time stories, they color together, they play mario together. Occasionally I will get asked but for the most part I don’t and I just try to help out where I can. But there are times where I see her face change when he ask me to take part in something in the house and when I notice that I usually opt out of whatever it is. But I do encourage their time and he undoubtly shows her love and affection. And I agree my best friend feels the same way that you do that my stepdaughter is threatened or jealous and that is why she is kind of acting out. And as much as I hate to say this because I feel so silly and immature but I am kind of jealous of her and that is really hard for me in this position. I love kids I am a nanny so its hard for me to be around a child who kinda does and kinda doesn’t take to me. I take it very personally.

        1. Kate

          HI again
          I know how you feel and it is not a good feeling at all. It sounds like your boyfriend really doesn’t include you and that is not right. He is still trying to play the single dad role when he clearly isn’t anymore. He isn’t respecting how you feel. It sounds like when she is around he gives all his attention to her and none to you, not even including you in bed time, or anything. That is why you feel jealous you deserve his attention also and he isn’t giving it. There needs to be a balance. I am sure he cares about you too and doesn’t want to end up alone. Maybe you need to go about talking to him in a different way. Like I really like your daughter but sometimes when she is around I feel excluded what can we do to mend this? I think maybe you are reading too much into her behavior and letting it get the best of you. I like what someone else said fake it til you make it because if they know how to get under your skin they will so if you fake like everything is fine they will realize its not working and have to accept you. Don’t be scared to talk to about how you feel your boyfriend he needs to know. If he can’t respect you enough to at least hear you out he doesn’t deserve you.

          1. Courtney

            Hi Kate! Thank you so much for your advice and words! It really helps to come on here and have you all give me advice and words of wisdom vs talking to him honestly. Because I do feel like sometimes I may read too much into it but also because you all know the point in which I am coming from and he doesn’t. He was with a woman who had a son but she basically let my boyfriend do whatever with her son she wasn’t as hands on so I feel like he got the easy end of the stick in that situation he didn’t have to struggle to be apart of their world if that makes sense. Where I feel a struggle. But I definitely take all of your words and advice to heart and will start practicing them and hopefully things will turn around. I try to just chalk it up to she is just a daddy’s girl and I wasn’t so I don’t fully understand that bond but it also helps ease my mind when I see that she acts similar with her grandmother as well so its not always just me. Basically if you aren’t daddy she isn’t nearly as interested in you.

    2. Mrs. K

      Hi Courtney!
      Wow, I know exactly how you feel! After my husband and I got married, his oldest daughter started coming into our room at night to sleep. I was never comfortable with this. I often felt like there were situations where we were in competition. I think it’s natural for you to feel that way. But let me assure you, it’s no contest. We’ve been married 4 years and the girls are 2 years apart. I can tell you that I think it’s an age thing. Just about the time the older girl phased out of this (though she still asks sometimes), the little one phased in. If Daddy was letting your little one sleep with him before y’all lived together, she’s going to be bummed that she can’t now, and it’s going to take time to get over it.
      Also, the interrupting when you’re talking – I believe that’s an age thing too. Both my bonus daughters are still in the process (though in different stages) of learning their little voices aren’t the most important thing to be heard at all times. It’s a respect thing that your little one will learn with practice.
      My advice to you for both situations is that you explain in private to your boyfriend that you’re struggling with these things, but you don’t want to hurt his daughter. Ask him to be the heavy. The best way he can support your relationship with her is to hear you out and work with you to fix behaviors. The best thing you can do for your relationship with her is to keep it up with the hair fixing and other girly things that she enjoys with you, and whenever possible, let Daddy be the one to workout behavior issues.
      Take heart, she’s still a youngster with lots to learn and this whole living together situation is still pretty new. It will absolutely get better!
      – Mrs. K

      1. Courtney

        Thank you so much Mrs. K for your words that definitely help! I agree I have tried to chalk it up to age and she slept with him occasionally when she was 2 but she has not slept with him since we have been together so its been about 4 years and she truly went from never asking to sleep with him to now she ask multiple times on the weeks we have her even after he has explained to her. I’m so glad to hear someone else understanding that I feel like it is a competition and I have kicked myself multiple times for feeling that way and have discussed it with a therapist multiple times but yet it still seems to sneak back in to my feelings and I get frustrated with the situation and myself all over again. And you mentioned your oldest would come into your room and that reminded me that about 3 months ago she was doing the same thing she was waking up in the middle of night and coming to wake him up for random things she was thirsty or hungry even though she had water in her room and snack for this reason. It happened for about 2 weeks and he finally put a firm foot down on it and as quickly as it started it stopped. And at the point I felt like she was trying to push her boundaries to find out how far she could push him because sometimes he is not as firm with punishing as he could be which he chalks up to daddy guilt because he doesn’t have and see her as much as he wanted to but now with that changing I feel like he can be firmer on it and if he did that with her asking to sleep with him or interrupting then it would stop just like her waking in the middle of the night. I appreciate the encouraging words! It really feels good to know there are step moms who feel the same way at some point in time!

    3. Courtney

      I also forgot to mention that my boyfriend does not allow her to sleep with him or us. The last time she asked which was sunday he explained to her that “you sleep in your big girl bed this isn’t anything new it has been like this for a few years now. when we camp out downstairs then you can sleep with me (which was my idea but as a family which ended up turning into just daddy/daughter. I have to admit I did feel left out but said nothing) but other than that you have your own room and your own bed” and he explained to her that him and I share a room and she has her own room and that doesn’t change. So he handles it but it doesn’t stop her from still asking even though it has been explained to her multiple times.

      1. Mrs. K

        I think she will continue to ask for a long time. When camp outs down stairs start happening, she’ll probably ask for that instead, but she’ll ask for it often. It’s hard not to feel left out (especially when it was your idea). My husband and his girls used to get rowdy playing on the floor and laugh and laugh, and I would just feel like an outsider. It’s been about 6 years, but I feel less and less like an outsider. I think it will just take time of you having your alone time with your boyfriend, alone time with his daughter, and being alone while they share time together, but it will become natural and things like that won’t feel so divisive. Give yourself time. Recognize your feelings of being left out when they happen, and talk to someone about it. it sounds like you’re being very proactive, and that’s going to pay off for you in these relationships!

        1. Courtney

          Mrs. K, it’s funny that you say that because when I offered it out as an idea I didn’t even think of it like that but I will say that it happened a few weeks ago and she has asked probably 2-3 times since then for a camp out and my boyfriend has told her no. This has helped so much because my boyfriend and his daughter do the same thing and I’ m left just sitting there feeling like an outsider. And I just don’t fully understand why I let this bother me as much as I do I feel like I am being immature or selfish when I let it bother me and then that starts a whole different issue with me internally its like a vicious circle. I look forward to the day when it feels natural and not so separated. Thank you so much I am trying to be as proactive as possible. I have been feeling like I just needed other step moms to talk with. I am 24 years old so none of my friends are in this position and my best friend is a dear and she listens to me vent and cry but she can’t relate and that is what I was missing was someone(s) to relate to!

  42. Ana

    I’m hoping I can find support here because I feel like I’m going nuts.
    I’ve been with my husband for 3 years, he has a 3 year old daughter that he has full custody of because her biomom is, let’s just say not in her right mind. I’ve been a stay at home mom for her for 2 years now and always took care of her. Well here lately she’s been so rotten and talks back very mean and rude. Throws fits like a mad man. I feel like a can’t take it anymore, its so stressful. I feel like I can’t tell my husband though because I feel like he’ll get mad or hurt.
    l gethad every other week visits with her biomom but she went to prison for aggravated robbery and recently got bailed out but we’ve been withholding her because it doesn’t seem safe. Whenever she acts out she reminds me of her mom…
    We had a son in January and Its been very different.. I feel horrible for saying this but I feel a much different love for him than my stepdaughter. My husband tells me I love him more than my stepdaughter and I feel terrible. Is it just me or is this normal?

    1. Brenda

      Well of course you love your son differently, even more than, your stepdaughter! Moms are built to have a visceral bond with their own flesh and blood. Your husband might want you to feel the same way about both of his children because he does, but it is unrealistic, and you will drive yourself crazy if you expect that from yourself. You can be affectionate, and even love your stepdaughter, but you’re not her mom, and you’re not going to feel like you are! You do have every right to expect your stepdaughter to behave and be respectful (within her developmental ability to do so), and I hope you find a way to discuss her behavior with your husband. Remember not to take her behavior personally. Three-year-olds throw fits because they have limited ability to get what they want—it probably doesn’t have anything to do with you. You’re just an easy target.

      Hope things get better soon.



      1. Ana

        Thank you so much, your words really put me at ease and made me.feel better about myself. I actually talked to my husband about it last night and asked him to help me more with my stepdaughter and hopefully things get better soon. Thank you so much again!

    2. Kate

      Hi Ana,
      i Just wanted to put your mind at ease. I have a 2 yo (full blooded) child. Sometimes she is soooo stinking sweet and other times she’s a nightmare! She bites, hits and tells me to go away. Mostly its when she is overtired or gets woke up from a nap! Its nothing you have done wrong! Don’t stress about it too much! And the great thing about you having a child now too is he/she will have a sibling to play with!

  43. Kate

    So I have been with my husband four years almost a year of marriage. We have a two year old daughter and oddly enough so does his ex with another man. He has a nine year old daughter and she comes every other weekend. Sometimes I feel like if he has other things to do he won’t go and get her. He says well this would be boring for her anyway. Ok thats fine I guess. Before me I think he took her to do all kinds of fun stuff on his time with her and never disiplined her. After awhile he realized that he couldn’t always afford to take her to do things. But, if I want time without her around I feel like a bad person. Now that we have a daughter I can see theres a difference in how he treats her and my step daughter. I don’t think its fair. Sometimes when she comes over I feel like the outsider. I like her a lot and she likes me too. But, I feel like its my husband that is always jumping right to her defense and making me feel like I am a bad guy. I want to add his ex is a very nice person and even helped me with good behavior chart for my step daughter. How can I cope with my insecurities and still keep my sanity? I want our marriage to work I don’t want to be another statistic.
    Thanks kate

    1. Brenda

      I bet it’s really tough on your husband to have a some time relationship with one of his kids and a full-time relationship with the other. I’m sure he feels guilty about not being as close to his older daughter and he wants to do whatever he can to strengthen the relationship with her when he can. Try to be supportive of your husband when you discuss your concerns. There are going to be differences in how a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old get treated just because of their age differences. You aren’t specific abut the ways he treats them differently…household rules, privileges, other stuff? Give us a little more detail, and I bet you get some great responses!


      1. Kate

        Hi Brenda,
        I guess the differences in treatment are everything you mentioned. A good example of discipline is at dinner table, 2 year old sometimes doesn’t want to eat so she dumps food out, pushes it away or just throws fits. The 9yo will also have bad manners like feet up on chair, eat with fingers instead of fork, and mouth open, The problem I see is he never says anything about that behavior but gets mad and puts our 2yo in time out. I feel like one day our daughter will notice and it will be a big issue. Which I do not want! He sometimes will say well he is not the one raising the 9yo. i disagree.Sometimes I feel responsible for his guilt even though I met him after he was already divorced! I can be very hard on myself. There is times where he has blamed me for not seeing his daughter because of the way I act, but I have tried to encourage him to see her. The only thing that has really upset me is how she talks to people. She will point out peoples flaws and hurt their feelings. Im afraid she will make people not like her because of it! For example she told my mom she has sunken in eyes and yellow teeth! My husband thought it was funny and said oh if you want the truth ask a kid. I thought it was rude and disrespectful. For one my mom didn’t ask her opinion and I feel she’s too old to be saying whatever pops in her head. This has caused many fights and he has tried to compare it to my mom telling me I look bigger. I know thats rude too but I am not raising my mother.

  44. Luna

    We were sort of thrown together.

    I have been with my fiance for nearing three years now. We have been engaged for nearing two and have known one another for near a decade. Needless to say, we have been friends through thick and thin, supported one another through some pretty fucked up shit, including his sons mother running off with his son.

    One day, we get a letter in the mail, a fifteen day letter, meaning if you don’t respond in fifteen days your rights are to be severed in court. No proper WORKING contact information. I had to help and enlist help in obtaining and checking actual correct contact information. He hadn’t even known cps was involved let alone had his son yet here they were saying they had HAD him awhile.

    He did the services, went up hundreds of miles halfway across the continent(and all the way to the other end where an opposite border with another country is) to visit his son. I am being vague to protect them.

    Anyway, I read the paperwork, things shouldn’t have gone down that way. Mom was supposed to get all three kids back, judge had ordered it etc etc etc, lots of dirty dealings and lots of ‘shouldn’t happen this way’ and ‘not supposed to happen this way’ went down with what they did to her and still do to her. Anyway, while he had established a repor… I was not included in that despite it was recommended. It was not approved by ‘the department'(cps, mostly the higher ups, the worker herself had suggested it despite her previous foibles, and was thwarted by the higher ups). So anyway, suddenly he is here and confused and emotionally screwed by what the foster family did and didn’t know what to make of me at first. We had a lot of difficulties because of that. We have worked through them.

    Now though… I don’t know what to do. I mean, yeah, mom is still involved. Her rights weren’t severed. Their were a lot of back-room dealings in this case. They don’t call it that but that is what it is and what everyone else refers to it as. Anyway, he loves her dearly but today, he said he didn’t want to talk to her after only a short time, that he wanted ‘luna’, me, and I just didn’t know what to say. I know he loves his mom and often asks for her, but he has never asked for me over her, not ever. He also asks for his sister however his mother doesn’t have the information to give us on how to get into contact with her and the worker is apparently being a wall about that issue of contact.

    And i was wondering, what can I do to be supportive of their bond between mother and son? I mean, yeah he loves her but… I am scared shitless if he likes me too and wants me sometimes and I embrace that, that I will somehow come between them. I am his step-mom, of course I want a good healthy and hopefully a relationship with the least turbulence possible, but I really also don’t want to step on his mommy’s toes or hurt her feelings either. I want as peaceful a home as possible and yeah, I know I will never be his mom. Unlike many foster parents, I have no intention of confusing him or creating conflict by trying to take his mothers place. I just want a good relationship and I guess, just want to know.

    What can I do to you know, make sure I am not coming between them but also, not be a doormat either? I try to be assertive on some things, but more in e mail when my stepson is asleep so as to minimize conflict and keep the illusion everything is all hunky dory. Me and my fiance work hard to keep any conflict, most of which is his mom(which is what makes it so incredibly hard-because she wants to take my place with my fiance and wants to be in my place with her son too, and I am just like ‘but can’t we just be friends and help one another out for chris’s sake even if we are never going to be actual friends in anything else?’ I think her biggest thing is I am in her way, she has been proclaiming feelings for my fiance ever since the talks for him to get custody began… and… I don’t really know what to do without causing conflict though so far my fiance has simply let her down easy or pretended he didn’t realize what she was doing and merely talked about ‘my fiancee’ to her to remind her he was taken and not planning to change that merely because it is convenient for her so I have not had to). Anyway… while he has his issues my step son is sweet.

    How can I do what I can to not come between them but still have healthy limits? Is it OK that he did that this evening? That he wanted me over her? I mean, most of the time he is between ‘i love you’ and ‘go away’ when he is angry at me because I am not her and cannot just make her magically appear. I mean, make no mistake the bond is strong and I don’t want to replace her. As I have told him, I am not a foster mom nor am I going to try and replace his mommy. I am something else entirely. His mommy will always be his mommy, I am just something else. His dad told him it is OK to like me after my aunt suggested it, guessing some of his outbursts were probably because he likes me and feels guilty. I about smacked myself, because I remember how it felt when I liked people who weren’t my mom after she died. I remember how it felt when my brother was adopted too, like betrayal. I never wanted anyone else while I was in foster care, never when mom was alive. It wasn’t till many years after she died I even allowed myself to even entertain the idea someone was warm like her and even then, never would they ever replace her even if they tried to do so. bonds in those cases just aren’t the same and I know my bond will never be hers in this case either, it never is.

    So, I guess I am just worrying and I want to know, is their anything I can do to make this easier on him and on his mom? To try and… I guess… since I will never be her friend what with always having to defend myself against her claims and manipulations(because yeah, we have had that problem), but at the very least I don’t want to come between my step sons bond with his mother.

    All the stuff I have read. Is it OK if he likes me? I mean, I know his dad told him it was OK to like me and I know my aunt said it was good and that I was a terrific step mom but… I guess I just don’t know myself. I have been too afraid to ask. Is it OK for him to like me? I mean, truly accept me and like me and for me to accept that? I mean, I love the boy dearly but I just am scared shitless of messing up and coming between his mother and him.

    I do not have custody of my two boys who are about his age and have no contact with my children, nothing I have tried to change that has worked. I guess I am scared that if I embrace this, I will become that sort of monster and I don’t want to be. I am terrified of it. He is a wonderful sweet little boy. I do not want to do that to him or his mother. It is not a fate I would wish on anyone, least of all my adorable stepson(and yes, parental alienation is damaging to the children as well).

    Any suggestions for me?

  45. Kristy

    My husband and I have known each other for three years, together for two and married for one. He has three children from his previous marriage and we have one on the way. Up until the past couple of months I’ve had no issues with the children, the youngest two even call me mom. But the oldest, a boy eight years old, has taken to giving me attitude, screaming horrible things to me, and making me feel like a pariah. We have full custody of the children, something that we fought very hard to get. I don’t know what I did to make my stepson hate me or what I can do to change it. I’m at a loss here.

  46. Katie

    I have been with my husband for five years, married for almost three years. I have three step kids with two ex wives to deal with. My husbands first ex wife is extremely nice to me. I like her as a person but not as a mom to my stepson. He has recently made the decision to come live with us during the weekdays and go to his moms every other week. His first ex wife was best friends with his second ex wife for a few years and recently they have stopped being friends due to the decisions and life changes his second ex wife has made. Which seemed to make the first ex wife really open up to me and seems to have a interest in me and my life and relationship with my stepson. I’m needing advice on how to handle my relationship with the exs. I really love my relationship with my oldest stepsons mom. We can be polite to eachother at his activities, she has always made me feel included with decisions being made with him. We can sit together at baseball game. It’s just easy. On the other hand with his second ex wife I can do nothing right. I quit my job and stayed home with the kids when she decided a year ago to move 30 minutes away from us and where the kids go to school to move in with her rich boyfriend who the kids honestly hate. We felt like someone needed to be close and available if the kids needed anything since they are too young to stay home alone after school. I find myself bending over backwards not wanting to do anything to upset her. I watch what I say, at events I hang back try not to be up in everything, if she needs something I’m there no matter what. Recently since she has lived with her new boyfriend it seems like more and more stuff comes up and it’s always our/my fault. I reached out to her a few months ago to meet so we could hash out things and try and move forward. That backfired because the boyfriend wanted to come with. So my husband and I met them for a drink and we talked things out. But I found myself feeling more hurt after our meeting than I did before we met. It’s been 5 years and we have always supported her in all her life moves that she had made even if we truly don’t agree with her changes. I just don’t know what to do to help our relationship out. I just want a friendly relationship one that I don’t freak out before I pick the kids up everyday. I just don’t understand why it can’t be easy. I need help!

  47. Jenn

    I have been with my husband for 10 years now. Up until almost 2 years ago, we only got his 3 boys every other weekend and various other times. Two years ago his oldest, Domenic moved in with us. He is now 17. He has NEVER liked me and has made it very known. But he has no problem texting me after sports practice to come pick him up from school….which I do and NEVER get a thank you. A while after he moved in we got into a heated argument and he got in my face a actually drew back to hit me. That’s when I jerked him up by his shirt. That’s the only time things have ever been physical between any of his kids and myself. Well, about 2 months ago the other two boys moved in with us. They are 11 and 15. The reason the kids live with us now is that they do not get along with their stepdad at all! Well, on Father’s Day my husband was working and long story short, Domenic and myself got into another physical argument. This time he shoved me BEFORE I grabbed him by his shirt. The police were called and they said there was really nothing that they could do so they left. When my husband got home he took him to get a protective order against me. Another long story short…I’ve been staying at my sister’s house for the past several weeks. The protective order got extended 15 more days because my husband didn’t show up for court (he wants it all dropped) but my stepson did and the judge questioned why he was never appointment a guardian ad litem. So now I’m back at my sister’s waiting to go back to court. Has anyone ever gone thorough something like this? What can I expect? I can’t afford an attorney and my husband has told him that he’s dropping everything but he says he’s not. He’s playing games right now and I’m the one paying. Any advice or suggestions on what I should do???

  48. Stacey

    My name is Stacey. I am a stay at home, currently looking for work. My husband and I have known each other for 20 years. We have been married for 3. We have 5 children combined, 15b, 11b,10g, 5g, & 3g. The youngest 2 our ours. The oldest girl is his from a previous relationship.
    Recently we have begun proceedings to obtain full custody at minimal joint. His daughter, who already didn’t like me because her mother told her I took her dad away, has begun to act out. When I attempt to speak to my husband he says I am being partial and treating her differently. She has severe emotional issues. She is also not being taken care of by her mother. Three months ago my husband picked her up and had to take her to the er. She had a uti so bad she had blood in her urine. Her mom said she was being a baby and told her to go to bed. She constantly misses appointments. When we finally made her go to a dentist she had to have 6 teeth removed because she was never made to take care of her teeth, she had been in pain for a month. She has issues with personal hygiene, refuses to take a shower, where’s her under clothes days at a time, etc. I don’t want to be the bad person bit I am seriously concerned and I don’t know how to proceed. I have tried talking to her but she goes back to her dad and says I was on her which causes a fight, then she adds to it by saying untrue statements to her mom. It has became a war zone when she is here. I need advice before my marriage is ruined.

  49. Nat

    Hey so i have come here to get some feedback on what i am going through as a stepmom. I will try my best to explain what i am goinng through. I feel like i am stuck and have no one to confide in so here i am! So my husband and i have been together 5 years and married 1 year. He has a 12 year old son with his ex and has been split with his ex for approx. 10 or 11 years, she is married and she and her husband have a 4 year old.
    Anyways that being said we all get along for my stepsons sake of course. It is joint custody half and half which is good.
    My husband had a bad child hood his mom and dad were never around and he was the oldest to basically raise his 3 other siblings since he was basically in grade 6. He obviously doesnt want his child to grow up the way he did. He feels his ex is a “drill sargent” and when his son goes to his moms he feels that she probably puts him to work to do chores and what not. So when my step son comes to our house my husband feels he shouldnt have to as much because he probably has tons to do at his moms. I get it! But how should this be different. It especially is frustraing when my husband just buys my stepson whatever he wants and lets him do whatever he wants but when we ask him to do things like laundry or cut the grass or empty the dishwasher its like the end of the world. I
    Constantly feel like iam a bitch because i ask to do things or help out he get mad when i ask my step son to do things and its always a huge deal. My husband just says well think what he has to do at his mothers of course hell be mad. My husbands excuse all the time is that hes still just a kid still. But i always grew up knowing if you want things you have to earn them. Not just be given things or just expect them. The other day for instance i picked my stepson up from school i asked how his day was per usual. He then says i need to go to the store and get snacks for Last day of school, i said thats fine we can do that but you have to do your homework cut the grass and finish your last bit of laundry which his dad told me to tell him to do as well.. And he procedes to cry and throw a fit becuas he had to help out around the house. This frustrates me! And then i feel like a horrible person for yelling and getting mad that he doesnt want to help out. Then my husband gets home after work andans after my stepson cut the grass, i tell him what is going on that i feel he shouldnt just expect things that he should at least help out. He agreed but then He says to my step son ill buy you something for school if your mom wont take u. He always has to be the good guy i feel and i feel he never cares what his som does. Im sure he does but i am the one who always feel like the bitch and that i always care waaay too much! Then i always just do things myself becasue whats the point in asking when everyone just gets bitchy about it. I dont work at the moment i am going through school to upgrade credits to go to college. My husband feels that he works all day so its up to me to cook dinner and do housework it gets overwheling when your step son ans husband dont even ask to help and when asked they just get pissy! Its exhausting i get to the point of why should i care if the house is clean or laundry is done or dinner is cooked when no one else seems to care! No one th aks me for for doing the dishes but im expected to say thank you when they do it. Its just a never ending circle i feel. My husband just doesnt even discipline its always hes a kid what do you expect or its just a dont do that again. He always says too that he has the money to do things for his kid and he doesnt want his kid to go theough the same thing he did. I have said to him many times that i feel like im the only one who gives a crap about anything and he just throws in my face that bills are paid i have a car a phone, and that his job is so stressfull that i have no idea what he goes through in a day. Im supposed to just put on a happy face and be a pushover to my husband and stepson apparently. Am i crazy? I certainly feel like it sometimes
    Sorry for the novel and i hope i have explained what i am going through somewhat. All the feedback is welcomed

    1. Ky

      I can sympathize with what you’re going through. It’s difficult to discipline your step son because you have to be the bad guy or in my eyes the “adult”. Your husband tries his best to shelter his son from the gruesome reality. That his sons parents are split up and to keep his son happy no matter the cost. You’ve done a fantastic job trying to raise a young man since his 12. Your husband has to realize that. He cant form this easy life for your step son because then your step son won’t be ready for reality, and reality as we know it. It’s very scary.

      Don’t worry about the rant. You’re completely justified in what you’re saying and how you feel. Don’t think different nor should you ever feel bad for feeling the way you do. Someone as to continue to think about the best interest of the kid. Than to cater to what your step son wants. You give him what he needs. They’ll never see it or understand it when they get older.

      Just know you’re doing a great job.

      And that you’re not alone.

  50. Sierra

    I’ve read a lot of these posts and most of you have been doing this longer than me so maybe you have advise? Here is my story:
    My husband and I met when I was in high school. We were both dating other people. His girlfriend wound up pregnant and eventually they married for the child. Two years later after he had separated with her and I was out on my own, we have started dating. I knew things were more complex than any other relationship before I got into it because he had a daughter. I love her dearly! She and I clicked from the very first date! Long story short, my hubby and I have had custody of our daughter since day one and her bio is always in and out of the picture. She is supposed to pay child support and supposed to pay half of the medical bills but we have yet to see a dime of any of it. The money isn’t the actual issue though. The bio is always complaining that we don’t allow the child to see her which is nonsense! Everytime she asks (which is rarely) we allow her to spend a few hours if not most of the day with her. She is always making excuses though. She doesn’t have a phone. We both work full time jobs and she only calls and wants the child when we are working then complains that she can’t see her that day. Hello what about scheduling? She found out she is pregnant again and is soooo excited about it. I’m over here trying not to be rude but hello! If you aren’t willing to take care of the one you’ve got why would you want another? Our daughter asks about her bio occasionally but she doesn’t understand (she’s 4).
    We only have joint custody bc we were trying to play nice. Now, we want full! We don’t have the extra money for a lawyer. I get nervous bc in the papers it says she gets her every 2 weeks and such but she doesn’t (of course she’s never asked). Plus she is living with her bf and we wont allow the child to stay the night but the papers also say NO opposite sex (besides family) is allowed to stay over. I know she isn’t going to do anything but I’m also afraid to push for what we want. Any advise guys? I’m in Ga btw so the laws may be different.

  51. lisa

    My current boyfriend for 2 year are in a custody battle with his son who’s 4 with his mother who has a drugs and alcohol environment. I have proof from snapshoots. She has 3 others kids with 2 diffrent guys. And we’ll I been snooping to find out information on his mother. And we’ll while on facebook I contacted her other baby daddy to see if things where going well and i found out that he felt the same way about her that she’s unstable. And how she did come around for 8 weeks to see her kids and that it was hard to contact her. So I told him our situation With custody.WAS I WRONG.??????

  52. CJ

    I’m a 29 year old full time stepmom to 4 (14g,12g,9b,7g) for 5 years. Bio mom is not in the picture much. No visitation due to poor choices and only calls when it suits her and doesn’t pay child support because neither state will enforce the court ordered child support without us shelling out more money for court and the minute a lawyer hears dad has full custody not mom they question it and are automatically biased. Most recently she told my husband she has two stepsons now and can’t send bday/Xmas gifts anymore bc they’re more important and since she doesn’t see the other kids what’s the point. The oldest refuses to talk to her biomom and the youngest doesn’t remember her (last visitation at 9 months old). The 12 year old is most effected and diagnosed with RAD and signs of early onset bipolar (won’t officially diagnosis till 16). I was able to get her on meds but dad doesn’t think needed so she’s not on them anymore. I’ve fought to get her back on but as SM not much I can do. We clash big time. Me just being in the same room will set her off on a meltdown. No exaggeration. We are constantly yelling at each other. She’s told me multiple times she hates me and wishes I would I away so it can just be her and dad because I don’t love her (because I have rules). She’s been in trouble for stealing at school and suspended multiple times. She’s doing better this year but its starting again. My oldest has run away threatened suicide and although she isn’t vocal has written down for me to find that she hate me I’m a step monster that stole her dad from her and she would rather live with biomom (that she refuses to talk to and openly hostle against). Te younger two he just started being disrespectful seeing their older siblings. The youngest only knows me as mom but spoiled rotten by dad. Dad is a softy and expects me to do all the discipline but fights with me in front of kids because I’m to hard on them and expect to much. I don’t feel I should be their maid nor do I feel I should allow them to ignore me, disrespect me and destroy my things as unintentional as it may be. But he feels I should clean after them, I’m too hard on them and kids will be kids things get broke it’s whatever. I’m extremely frustrated and feel that it’s them against me. Everytime I talk to dad about this I’m told I’m being a baby and I don’t understand because I don’t have children of my own. I’ll never understand. He’s so busy trying to be their friend he loses sight of what needs to be done. He’s an amazing father and they’ve all been to hell and back 10 times over. I feel I’m being punished for biomoms mistakes by the older two and I don’t feel much support from dad to remedy this. I love them all unconditionally but sometimes I feel so backed into a corner I’m forced to fight my way out. Aside from our disagreeing over parenting my husband and I have a wonderful relationship and I couldn’t imagine life without him or the kids. I just wish I dad would back me up with them more. I don’t know anyone in my position. I know one other stepmom but not with the same circumstances. Most are reverse mom custody with dad visitation, which is completely different and I find myself unable to relate.

    1. Strong Mommy 79

      Wow! This is almost my exact situation. Bio mom gets monitored visitation only because of her poor choices and demands 3 calls a week. Which is tough with dad’s work schedule and we also recently had a baby of own. The calls have to be supervised because she will say upsetting things to the kids and is often intoxicated. If he can’t make the call when she wants she calls the police on us. The local police department knows us and the situation and are very friendly. The children will listen to dad not me most of time. Sometimes I just want take a week vacation alone to get away from it all.

  53. Carol

    I’m really frustrated. I get stuck doing just about everything. I mow our lawn ( which is several acres), I keep our house clean, who purchases toilet paper, tissues, laundry detergent? Who weeds the garden? I make a little request of my husband that I would like my stepdaughter to help out more and he gets defensive and says he’s tired of me complaining about his kids. What am I to do? She does help with the dishes, but that’s all she does. I want to disengage but I don’t know how.

    1. Nat

      Im in the exact same position! Its so frustrating! My stepson gets everything he wants and asks for especially from his dad. But when it comes to helping outaround the house its the end of the world! Im so sick of it and i always feel like a bitch like im doing something wrong. I get he does chores at his moms house too but why should it be different at ours. He thinks when he comes to our house he can just play video games and do whatever he wants. Sure thats fine but helping out would be nice too! My stepson is 12 almost a teenager! My husband feels hes still just a kid he should be able to do kid things. I constantly feel like the bad guy. And when i get frustrated i get looked at like im crazy!!

      1. Diva

        I totally understand how both you ladies feel!! And it is frustrating!! We have father’s who simply don’t get it, so if the father doesn’t get it, why would the child!! I have gotten to the point that if my 14 year stepdaughter can’t help around the house or do her chores then she gets NOTHING from me!!! I don’t reward bad behavior!!

        1. Nat

          Thank you for your reply! I dont reward bad behaviour , since my post ive been trying to be a little more strict. My step son will be 13 in a few months so im trying to not be such a pushover or else it will just be worse when hes older. And im glad im not alone being a step mom is tough work so is being a mom in general!

      2. Audra

        I can relate, Nat. We have a 13 yr old boy and 15 yr old girl in the house (his kids) and they’ve never really had to do chores. I think their mom used to do everything for them, and then she basically cracked up because she created a couple of needy, whiny kids who make messes wherever they go, and who have no responsibilities for themselves or around the house. They are exhausting. The boy doesn’t ask for money very often – he is better at saving the big checks he gets from his grandparents and aunts. But the girl is always asking for money. It’s not completely her fault that she doesn’t do anything in return for the cash – that’s because of the way she has been raised – but yeah, when my man asked them to unload the dishwasher they acted like they were being asked to do slave labor. He gets too exhausted and overwhelmed by it all, himself, and so unless I clean their crap up regularly, the place becomes disgusting. Oy vey.

    2. Marie

      I hear you. My frustration with this lies in how communication about it goes with my DH. I cannot speak to him about his daughters. Even when he is able to agree with what I am saying his entire body stiffens and he becomes angry. I cannot discuss chores, bedtime, scheduling, how to help them with schoolwork, attitudes (they’re 14 and 15) or any other subject related to his daughters. I have finally expressed to him that if he was looking for a partner when he marrried me he’d better return the favor. If I’m not allowed to speak to him about how our household functions in relation to his children then he can’t expect me to always be present and helpful around the house. Now it’s like we’re roommates, the house is a pit, and we rarely spend “family” time together. I get along fine with the girls, I’m not sure what his problem is.

  54. robert

    I am not a stepmom, but i need an insight about the way a stepmom thinks. My son is eight, my wife says she loves him to death. We get him on the weekends. Well, this weekend we had him, sunday evening his mom, my ex, called and asked if we could keep him one more day due to her vehicle needed to have the brakes fixed. This rarely ever happens to get to keep him an extra day. Of course i called my job and let them know. My wife was off the next day. I never ask her or expect my wife to keep him. I want it to be her choice, not made to. Problem is, she told me she was off and wanted some alone time, it blew my mind. I.don’t know how to take it. It is making me feel that is it going to get worse. There has been other times she could have kept him when she is off on a weekend and i work, but i don’t ask. Alot off times she brings it up she has alot to do, like in her way of telling me don’t ask if he can come. Then she ends up sleeping and watching movies all day. Is this going to be wedge driving in our marriage? What do i do? Hope this makes sense?

    1. Wanda

      Robert, I am a stepmom. I love my kids. I believe your wife loves her son, too. Just because she needed a time out doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him. It means your wife needed to take care of herself that day. It wasn’t about the boy. I love my kids, but I’m an introvert, and spending time with them drains me of energy. Your wife had the day off. She said she needed time alone. She was taking care of herself that day. She could have requested that day off and not told you because she needed time to herself. Our kids are adults, so it’s just us, and there have been times I wanted to make plans for my husband to hang out with his dad so I could be alone.

      That being said, have you tried asking her about it? That’s really the only way you will know what the deal really was.

    2. Carol

      I can’t speak for your wife as it sounds like your son goes between you and you ex. We had full custody of my step kids. I can tell you if she’s a childless stepmom as myself, she welcomes time alone and time with you, an adult. She’s not being mean. I commend her for speaking to you and bring honest. Maybe you can ask her, why do you need time alone? Are you facing stress at work.? Often women convey desires indirectly. Men tend to be more direct and shoot from their hip, women tend to beat around the bush. Don’t take it personally, but find out the deeper reason why. There were times when I didn’t care to participate in family situations. I wasn’t against my husband or step kids, I dimply needed time alone to recharge. Is she an introvert? If she is she needs alone time. My best to you. Just make an effort to better understand.

    3. Aussie Stepmum

      I’m not sure if you’ve resolved your issues since your post, however my emotions and resolve have been challenged time and time again on this topic over the years. When my partner and I met, the court arrangements were every wednesday and every 2nd weekend. Reality is anything but. I work in a high pressure job and do not get alot of hours outside of work during the week and am often exhausted. Every time we made plans the ex had a way of driving a wedge between them. I was always between a rock and a hard place as I didn’t want to be the one saying no to having our little girl, but all of the changes were last minute. Children need routine, and I’ve worked out that so do I! Over time I’ve found it easier to adjust, namely to support my husband and also that it is not our girls fault. I would rather her be in bed at our bed than have her sleeping at all different places which happens with the ex, so I take a deep breathe and wherever possible I say yes. If there is something steadfast locked in that is important and planned, hubby now lets me know that he’s already said no because of this which I appreciate immensely as in the past, it would always be thrown to me for this decision. This stuff takes time and patience, but also open communication to understand the reasons for saying no.

  55. steee

    Hi Brenda.
    AV bin astepmother for 6yrs taking care of 2gals aged 12yrs n 10yrs.we AV gud relationship at times wit de kids bt whenever dei visit dea mum.
    ….she interogates de gals wanting to knw ow we r leaving.Am also living wit his niece aged 26yrs n anephew aged 17yrs too.its soo had for me dat am thinking of calling it quites.av my son aged 18yrs staying with my mum.he never assists me in any way neither does he buy food in the being treated like aslave in my hse.he never appreciates anything I do for her gals instead seeing my wrongs.he even warned me to never yell or beat death gals because himself his never raised ahand on them.pliz Brenda help me…I feel used n tired.yesterday he. told me am a curse to him not blessing.

    1. Brenda

      It sounds like you have some decisions to make about this relationship. Stepmom challenges CAN definitely be overcome, but commitment on both sides it important. I am happy to help you sort out your options in a 1:1 session. Email me at for details on setting up a web session from anywhere in the world.

      Best, Brenda

  56. Abbiecollins773.Wordpress.Com

    I love looking through an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for allowin mme to comment!

  57. Kerry

    Hi Lee,
    I can’t believe how hard it is to find some kind of suport Forster parents. I have a step daughter who is driving me insane. I have been married for 11 years. I came in to this relation with 3 girls and his daughter, then we had 3 more girls. My girls get along wonderfully but no matter how we try my step daughter does not. My in laws thinks she walks on water, can do nothing wrong. They buy her everything she wants. And the others see this. If my girls get anything from any one all I hear is poor poor SD, she didn’t get anything. My SD is now 18 and treated like a queen while other girls aren’t. My eldest is 19 and works hard for everything she had. But now my husband and his family have turned against her because she is skinny, prettier and smarter. She works hard and my SD does nothing. I can’t take fighting any more, my younger girls are seeing this treatment and are getting upset. What can I do. I’ve tried a worker but my SD then called CAS laying about things I’ve done. I have done so much for her since I’ve even win her dad. But can’t take it. I can’t go to bed every night upset after a fight with he father. I need help. Thanks forthis page

    1. Brenda

      I hear from so many stepmoms who are so weary and don’t know where to turn! I’m glad you found this site, and I hope you find support here.

      I work with several stepmoms/week on a 1:1 basis via the beauty of the internet! When you’re ready to come up with a new way of looking at things and a new plan for your marriage, contact me at

      Together, we can figure out a way for you to quit fighting every night, and feel better!


  58. Kara

    Dear Brenda,
    I am a 28 year old step mother of 4 Ages 13-4. For the past year, the oldest has wanted nothing to do with her father or myself… She was very negatively affected by her mother and told a lot of false information… These things have a way of working themselves out and we knew that her absence wouldn’t last forever. It’s been difficult for my husband and myself, as this child has acted out in ways that where very hurtful and disrespectful to us both, which the biological mother has gotten a lot of pleasure from. But, no matter what, my husband kept pursuing her… And she has come around. It’s great news and we are so happy to have her in our home and staying with us… However this new development has completely changed the dynamic with the other three children.
    We have a system, boundaries, rules and consequences… All have really helped these kids to grow in such positive ways, they have also become more respectful to their siblings in our home, and they can relax in knowing that if anything happens, or if they were wronged, we will desk with it fairly. We’ve got happy kids! But our home has also become the place for the younger three to escape their older sister.. The kids are anxious now and are having a hard time with this adjustment. We want to ensure that every kid is getting the same quality time they were before… How could we manage this in a weekend? Having mid-week sleep overs with just 1 or 2 kids might help or special dates but how can we factor in quality time when we have all 4 kids? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Brenda

      Hi Kara,
      Thanks so much for visiting the site. I hope you find a lot of useful tips and find ways to connect with other stepmoms!

      You are a perfect candidate for utilizing personalized tips to get things on the right track, and I would love to set up a coaching session with you (or you and your husband)! Email me at and we can get started right away!

  59. Rony


    I am a stepmom of two, but have a child of my own. Well I had two my eldest son passed away, and what really upsets me is that i wasnt given time to greave my sons lost when i was bulllied into my husbands child to live with us cause the mother got married and my husband wasnt pleased with where she was going to live. So she isnt working and I am. I have no right to dissipline the child as I would my own, cause it would be like I don’t like the child. The other child lives with the other mother and doesnt respect me as well cause I am too strict.
    My husband never stands up for me towards his kids, and I feel like our marriage wont make it because of this. I am getting frustrated and tired of everything, that’s why I am seeking help. Cause I am about to give up on everything.

    1. Brenda

      Hi Rony,

      I am so glad you reached out for help! I have on-line sessions with stepmoms all over the world from the privacy of their own homes. Email me at for more information and to schedule a session.

      Looking forward to giving you the help you need!


  60. Shannon

    I need stepmom advice.

    1. Brenda

      You’ve come to the right place!
      You can get comments on the board “Stepmom to Stepmom” on your situation, or many readers benefit from 1:1 time with me! Go the the board “1:1 WITH BRENDA” for more information on how to set up a session from anywhere in the world. You can also e-mail me at

      Looking forward to hearing from you!

  61. Lee

    I need help. I have been a stepmother for 12 years now (my stepdaughter is now a 24 year young mother of two.) She is incredibly spoiled, has no boundaries, no consequences for her actions, etc.
    To make a long story short, I am thinking of leaving my husband because I can not say one word that might suggest my stepdaughter isn’t perfect without us getting into this horrible fight. It has been this way throughout my marriage and I just don’t think I can take it anymore.

    Please help.

    1. Brenda

      I am always sorry when I hear a stepmom get to this point! I am a big believer in marriage, and I KNOW our non-traditional step-marriages can be incredibly fulfilling! Do you think you’ve tried everything? Message me at about getting some direct help with a remote coaching appointment. We might be able to get the two of you back to the common ground that brought you together!


      1. Lee

        Thank you so much for your quick reply!

        I have issues with self esteem, depression and anxiety. After this recent fight I found myself riding the anxiety train.

        We haven’t fought over my stepdaughter in over a year…..mainly because I made a vow to NEVER say anything remotely negative about his daughter. I forgot my vow.

        It’s hard for me to turn a blind eye to some of the things she does but I’ve learned to disengage. I’ve learned that my stepdaughter and I will never be as close as I had hoped we would be because we are two very different people. Perhaps if my husband would have allowed me to participate in her growing up by setting some boundaries etc things would be different because maybe she would be different. Then again maybe not.
        She treats me fine and includes me in everything and that is better than nothing.

        I just have to remember to keep it to myself if her actions bother me.

        Thank you!

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