Post # 1
Hi all. I just need a little advice/insight, and maybe a little encouragement too.
I refer to my SO’s daughter as my stepdaughter (SD) even though we aren’t yet married. Ever since we started dating, I have always helped him in caring for her when she is with him. Getting up in the mornings with her, bathing and feeding her, entertaining her, etc. I have never minded doing that. He and SD’s mom used to have set plans as to when they were getting her. It’s been ever since April, that now they are not having a set plan and just expecting me to keep her whenever it’s convenient for SD’s mom. Since SO works all the time, I’m the one who cares for her, and he comes home and puts her to bed so he only has 30mins-1hour with her at night. Even on Sundays when he’s off, I’m still the main one who’s caring for her, feeding her, not my SO. <br />—> I have her about 4-5 days out of the week, while her mom only has her 2-3 days out of the week. I wouldn’t mind, if it were planned and everything wasn’t so last minute. If her mom has her and she has plans, she won’t tell us until the day of and calls and expects us to pick SD up. My SO’s parents took SD out of town for a few days to visit family on Tuesday. Before that, I had her from Wednesday-Monday, her mom picked her up monday night and dropped her off Tues. morning with SO’s parents. Now they’re back in town, I was expecting her mother to pick her up because she told me she wanted to do something with SD on Saturday. SO texts me and says that I need to go pick SD up from his parents because SD’s mom has plans tonight. I have plans early in the morning and although SO said he can keep her while I follow through on my plans, I feel obligated to cancel what I had planned. I just feel that it’s so inconsiderate of them to always drop what I’m doing to get SD. Why can’t they ever plan pick up and drop offs, why does everything always have to be last minute and always tailored to what SD’s mom has planned? Am I justified for feeling a little pissed off about this happening all the time? I feel a little guilty for being upset.
Post # 2
Hi! First, let me say that you are absolutely not wrong for feeling upset, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about this. Second, I firmly believe that we teach people how to treat us, and I think some of the blame for the situation has to be on your shoulders. It sounds like you want to have a good relationship with your SD, and want to kind of prove your worth to your SO by helping with his daughter, however, it sounds like you’re being treated as a unpaid babysitter. Your life is just as important as your SOs and his daughter’s mom, and this behavior isn’t acceptable.
I would first have a conversation with my SO about this situation, and firmly lay down the ground rules, he may not know you’re feeling like this, and you have to let him know so the situation can change. Do not cancel your plans, either your SO can take his daughter, or he can firmly let his daughter’s mom know that you both have plans and that isn’t convenient for you. Then he should speak with his daughter’s mom and set up a schedule for visitation/custody and ensure that schedule is kept. It’s also going to be your responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
On a side note, with no offense intended, I really hope your relationship with your SO is very serious, and you are planning on marriage. The only reason I say this, is that I was with my ex, and became very attached to his daughter, and we ended up breaking up, which was hard because of the loss of the relationship with him, but also the loss of the relationship with his daughter.
Good luck! I hope things get better for you!
Post # 3
People can only take advantage of you to the extent that you let them, and you are letting them.
They are all taking advantage of you including your SO. I assume that when you say SD is with you, you mean with you and SO. She is his daughter. I suggest you have a talk with your SO and tell him that you need some structure in your life and ask him to work out some sort of schedule with his ex.
Post # 5
MrsMu: Tell them you want to go back a plan and that’s that. Why on earth would you feel gulilty about this. Her mother should feel guilty.
Post # 6
I think it’s a fine line. You definitely need to talk to your SO, but you need to phrase it in a way that it doesn’t sound like you have a problem caring for his daughter, if that makes sense.
I would probably say something about scheduling? Say to your SO that it would be helpful if him and his ex worked out a schedule again. Point out that it’s difficult to get other things done or plan things when you don’t know if or when you’ll be called away to pick up or drop off daughter. It would make your life easier and probably be less confusing for the daughter if you were able to schedule around when and where daughter is/needs to be, instead of running around like a chicken with your head cut off never really getting anything done.
Post # 7
I suggest that you familiarize yourself with one word – NO. You sound like a very nice person who looks to please people by saying yes. This behavior over the long run guarantees that you will not be appreciated or respected by those whom you are seeking to please. Sad but true.
Post # 8
I told my SO that we needed to go back to a plan this summer and that I was feeling upset that I’m always the one expected to drop everything and take care of their kid. Of course I said it in the nicest way possible, and he responded so rude to me, saying all sorts of hurtful things and making me feel so guilty. He told me he doesn’t need my “help” with his daughter and he can have his mom take her every day, and I said why do you ask SD’s mom what her plans are and if she can get her kid, but you don’t bother to ask me if I have any plans? And he said it has “nothing” to do with that because SD’s mom already made plans with his mom to keep her, which I know is not true because I heard him on the phone asking his ex if she had plans and if she was going to get her.
He didn’t understand what plans I have that are so important. I’m so taken back by what he’s said. If he’s viewing our relationship in regards to whether or not I take his child, then I’m not sure he’s someone I would want to be with, although I was sure of it from the past two years we have spent together. He didn’t bother asking his ex what plans she had that were so special that she couldn’t get her own kid, but he asks me that? It’s so rude and hurtful, I’m very hurt that he would get this angry and “rethink” our relationship because I asked him to coordinate with his ex better and to communicate better.
Post # 9
MrsMu: so let me ask you this. What plans did you have that day that you couldn’t pick up stepdaughter? I think you are a nice person and you want to put others before you but I was just curious on what your plans were that you couldn’t pick up your stepdaughter. Also how old is she?
Post # 10
MrsMu: First thing, I haven’t read any responses so I hope I’m too redundant.
Now: WHOA. I’m a stepmother too, and I’m going to be very clear and say that you are being taken advantage of here, by your partner and more importantly by his ex. This has got to stop right now. It’s wonderful that you care for this little girl, absolutely! But 1) plans need to be arranged well in advance and adhered to generally, and 2) your partner should not expect you to pick up all the slack that is really his responsibility! If he wants to let his ex walk all over him with last minute plans and demand, then he can deal with it and he should not be expecting you to step up.
Now that we’re married I see my responsibility for my stepchildren as greater than I did before, but I’ve always being more than happy to help my partner, eg. if he had to work late, I’d drive to pick up the kids, care for them while he’s at work, etc etc. What’s inappropriate in this situation is that you’re being walked all over by both this child’s parents!!!
I’m sorry to sound harsh but you need to set some healthier boundaries for yourself and you need to expect your partner to set healthier boundaries with his ex.
Post # 11
MrsMu: It’s completely inappropriate for him to respond like that to a reasonable request. You’re not saying you aren’t willing to care for her; you’re asking for a set schedule so that you can have time to yourself and make plans that don’t then need to be rearranged for the sake of someone else’s convenience.
For example: some things with children come up that require you to change plans; eg. they come home sick from school, eg. their mother is sick and would appreciate just resting in bed so you volunteer to pick up the child on a day that’s not “your” scheduled day. Those are totally appropriate. But what’s not appropriate is that he’s getting angry and blaming you when really his ex is the one changing the plans and making social plans that are more important than her child. She’s the mother, not you.
Being a stepmother is tricky because on one hand you never want to imply that you’re unwilling to care for the child, but on the other you AREN’T their parent and shouldn’t have the responsibility of a full parent, quite frankly.
Of course, there are lots of custody/care arrangements of every end of the spectrum; but here it seems that scheduled visits were the norm and working for both parents until you came along and became a built-in automatic free babysitter for his ex and he seems a-ok with that and not only is ok with it, has the total audacity to blame you when you ask for a clearer schedule. There’s some red flags here, I must be honest.
Post # 12
MrsMu: Absolutely what cdncinnamongirl: said. You are not a built-in free babysitter, and for your SO to question you on your own plans because they interfere with his and/or the mother’s plans, is completely inappropriate and I think it showed his true stance on the situation. I would be a little worried moving forward in a relationship like this. You might end up being the one blamed for everything that goes wrong.
Post # 13
Do you work? You say you have her 2-4 days a week …so i was just wondering if it is Days vs. Nights. I may have missed it if you posted that.
Post # 14
You will definitely experience some resistance when you stop saying yes, as you have seen based on your latest update. Your Boyfriend or Best Friend and his ex have become way too used to you picking up their slack. Stand your ground and stop feeling guilty. If you don’t stick up for yourself you won’t be respected. Don’t teach people to treat you disrespectfully.
Post # 15
MrsMu: He’s using you like a babysitter and completely taking you for granted. Why is it that even when he is home, you’re still the primary caretaker? Take note of his attitude and lack of respect, especially if you consider ever having kids with him in the future. You deserve to be treated better than this.