Post # 1
So I wrote a post after my DH’s brothers wedding about my new SIL.
Basically her attitude towards her step-kids (she refers to them as BIL’s kids, never as her own or with any affection) is the most heartbreaking to watch. If it were just her fake-ness to us, or towards MIL/FIL I think I could have let it go. Well, she just announced on the Bump that she is 3 weeks pregnant. BIL caved (he wanted to wait) and they started ttc right after their wedding.
I have thought about this a lot, and why she bothers me so much, I really am not jealous of her. I thought that HAD to be it, why else would she bother me so much? But Darling Husband and I do not want to be parents yet, and we are enjoying our new marriage. I just feel so bad for these kids, and it makes me angry to think how they will be treated now. ( Almost all of my friends growing up had divorced parents and step parents, and I just remember how hard that was for the kids, especially if there were half siblings later) SIL has already told us they are putting bedrooms in the basement (currently unfinished, and it will be done ‘on the cheap’) for the existing kids, which I think is awful for a 5 and 6 year old.
We see them at least once a month, and we see MIL/FIL about once a week, and they like to talk about BIL/SIL, and its just hard for me. I do not know how to deal with it. I don’t know what I am looking for either, I know saying something won’t help, and Darling Husband agrees that this situation is not good, but he would never say anything. If it were an acquaintance I would avoid them at all costs but the family is ALWAYS talking about them (I can’t imagine how much more after they find out about the pregnancy) and Mother-In-Law is always trying to get us to hang out together beyond our once a month. (She hasn’t/doesn’t want to figure out that we don’t get along). And I really don’t want to have to avoid DHs family, because I really do love them and enjoy being around them.
I don’t know what I’m looking for by writing this, I just needed to get it out and not think about it anymore but I don’t know how to stop letting it bother me, maybe you could offer tips?
Post # 3
Do BILs kids live with them full time? I don’t have much advice, honestly there’s not much you can do other than maybe encourage your husband to talk some sense into BIL…though if he puts up with this at all that’s not a good sign. Really the best thing you can do is let the kids know that you love them and be there for them as they grow up. They will need a resposible adult to be close to if their parents are treating them poorly. I wouldn’t get into the middle of the situation though. Maybe when she has her baby she’ll gain a new perspective and start being kinder to BILs children…let’s hope. From how you’ve described her behavior I wouldn’t be surprised if their marriage doesn’t last long anyway.
Post # 4
Oh that would bother me as well! My first husband and his second wife were always trying to get custody of my daughter, UNTIL they had kids of their own. Suddenly my daughter became a second-class family member at their house. Her lovely room was promptly given to the new kid and she was banished to the sewing room. They didn’t even change it into a bedroom for her – she slept in a cot in the sewing room! I was so totally enraged!
My daughter was well aware of her new status in her father’s family after the kids came. She deeply resented her father and stepmother – although she adored her new siblings. Your BIL’s kids will quickly realize the situation as well. I can not tell you what to do but myself, I would start having those poor kids over to my house for a visit, at least once a month – where they could be treated like the treasured family members they are! As for SIL? Politeness is all that is required, not friendship. If she or Mother-In-Law asks why, I would tell them. But I’m like that!
Post # 5
look on the bright side – maybe becoming a mother will spark something in her, and it will help her connect with the other children as they gain a new sibilng etc.
also – you only see her once a month – is it possible that you’ve sort of made up your mind about her already? (i’m just playing devil’s advocate – she doesn’t sound great)
i say that because the way your post is written, you assign her ownership of everything bad and nothing good.
SIL has already told us they are putting bedrooms in the basement (currently unfinished, and it will be done ‘on the cheap’) for the existing kids
this is clearly a decision made by her AND her husband
BIL caved (he wanted to wait) and they started ttc right after their wedding
another way of saying this is ‘BIL changed his mind’ – but your way of saying it assigns blame to her.
i have family members that i don’t particularly get along with too – so i get where you’re coming from! it just reads to me like, you don’t get along, so when something bad happens it’s ‘her’.
this could turn things around – and help her see what being a mom is! some people don’t do well as step parents, becoming a mother might enhance their whole family and the relationship she has with her stepchildren.
in addition – my friend’s stepmother didn’t refer to her and her sister as ‘her kids’ – when asked about it AGES later, the stepmother said that she was acutely aware that they had a mother, and she was trying not to step on any toes while navigating that difficult relationship. perhaps this is why she doesn’t refer to them as her children.
Post # 6
@trueblue14: This makes me so sad: I *was* your daughter. My dad and stepmom got custody of me right as my stepmom got pregnant for the first time. My dad treated me the same, but she always introduced me as “these are OUR kids and this is _____ daughter.” It bothers me to this day.
Post # 7
So keep in mind this is coming from someone who hates children, but has watched plenty of step/sibling relationships growing up. There’s a lot to be said for being the Aunt. The one that his kids can come to when they’re feeling left out. I certainly wouldn’t exclude the new one, but make sure the older kids know they have someone to talk to, who takes them out for a treat when they’re upset.
Post # 8
@VioletSky: half time, and about 1.5 hours away from us
@peonyinlove: My mind is made up, we’ve known each other three years at this point and I definitely do blame her, but agree that BIL is also to blame, especially for not standing up for the children. I have lost so much respect for him as I watch how he allows his children (and parents) to be treated. (example: The trip to Disney that he promised them before his wedding? cancelled so that they can go visit her sister in Vegas again. they still ask him why they cant go to Disney, so sad)
@MariContrary: I try so hard to do this for them! I really hope it will be easier for them when they are older and understand the situation better.
@VioletSky: I pray that she becomes a better mom to these kids through her pregnancy, I am just not very optimistic about it.
Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions, its so hard to watch and not be able to do as much as you wish you could.
Post # 9
@badabing88: That’s so horrible. I think that’s one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. The feeling of supposed inadequacy would never leave me. I hope your life is much better off now. 🙂
Post # 10
@edgebee: I’m mostly appalled that her husband puts up with her crappy treatment of his other children. As a father, he needs to be the one setting boundaries. I’m sure it’s hard to love a step-child as your own, but they come with the package when you marry a parent.
I can see why you’re upset, the whole situation is a trainwreck waiting to happen 🙁
Post # 11
This is so sad. I once ended a friendship after my girl friend married a man with a child from previous marriage and demonized the child. So I know how hard it is to watch.
Having bedrooms in the basement is actually not recommended for safety reasons. If there’s a fire, and parents are on second floor… Ugh. I know you can’t do anything but these situations make me sick.
I hope she doesn’t talk badly about the kids or their mom in front of them.
those kids are going to need a kind aunt.
Post # 12
Those poor kids. It sounds like you’ve already decided to just be there for them when you can which is all you can really do.
Post # 13
Maybe she says his kids because his ex would be upset if your SIL thought of herself as mom/replacing mom. But you know the situation better, so I will assume it is not so she doesnt tread on their mother’s toes.
Post # 14
@edgebee: I’m so sorry you are in the position. My exSIL was a single mom for a long time (father disappeared when she found out she was expecting) and it took her a while to meet someone. She met a great guy that treated her kid like his own son. A year after dating him, she got PG and had another son. Her now husband started to treat the stepson bad. It was bad.
I had a lot of issues w/my exSIL b/c she was WAY too attached to my exH. Our biggest fights were about her. My counselor (yep it was that bad, I sought counseling) told me to be the bigger person and try to find even the slightest good in her. Then be nice to her (b/c my exH thought I was incredibly mean to her and it was my fault) so I did…she never changed, maybe it made family events better for me, but it didn’t take long for her own family to realize SHE was the one with the problem not me.
I know that might not pertain to you as much but you could always try it. Don’t fake it obviously but try to find one thing you like about her and think about that when you are around her.
I’d also make sure to treat ALL the children the same. The one thing that my exSIL used to tell me was that even though her and I didn’t get along, I never let my nephew know….I couldn’t help though, I absolutely adored that kid and would drop everything to see him. I was the BEST soccer aunt ever!
Post # 15
@edgebee: Is it possible for your husband to have a talk with his brother? A starting point might be, that each child should have an equally good bedroom.
I’ve no idea if it’d work. I’ve seen some horrible unequal treatment of stepkids and it breaks my heart.
Post # 16
@badabing88: I’m the same. My dad and stepmum threw my half sister a huge party, then completely forgot about mine. Didnt even say happy birthday let alone a card. It sucks, but it was a good life lesson on how to treat others.