Hard time living with boyfriend and his kids

helen

Hi! I'm living with my boyfriend and his two kids, under 5yo. He has the custody and the mother isn't really present, he basically raised them himself. She only sees them a few hours every week, if she doesn't make up so excuse and cancel. She doesn't do anything for them besides spoiling them with sweets and toys those few hours. They come back frustrated, agitated, and pick up all sorts of bad habits/words. Nevertheless, the kids love her and are always excited to see her. When I moved in I knew how my life would change. I'm Basically living for them as if they were my own and I try to do all I can so my partner can relax (he's Job is pretty demanding) and we still get some time together. It's all of their everyday needs (wake up with them, cleaning, taking care of laundry, food, meals, changing diapers and their "accidents", taking care of them when they're sick) and I also get involved in their education (I follow my partner's ways) . Both kids have always accepted me and listened and we've grown close to each other. Theyve come to rely on me too when they need something. On a very few occasions over the past year, they've told me that 'i was a mommy' . It only happened very few times, normally they call me by my name. However, even though I should feel lucky but I can't seem to feel happy about it and I don't know why. Seeing that we are close but I'm not their mother and being reminded of it just makes me sad. Sometimes I resent it too, it's even hard to see pictures of them when they were babies (before I met him), mothers day is a sad day too, going to kindergarten and seeing other parents is hard. I feel extremely frustrated every time my partner interacts with his ex (even though it's limited to the basics as she doesn't get involved nor coparents). I try to control it but it's hard and it's not about him nor her (I never interact with her besides a few hellos). I also resent the fact that he had kids with her, and I cant seem to féel fully happy whenever we share fun time because the kids aren't ours but his, and we don't share them (he has stated he would like kids in the future,although Im afraid he will change his mind once they grow up a bit and he'd prefer to have time for just us). Sometimes it's like I feel I have no right to be happy for them, to act like a parent, to care for them, even to say I miss them or love them, or take pictures with them. Anyway, I don't know how to change the way I feel, my partner is 100% supportive and always tried his best to make me happy but I don't know how to get rid of this resentment nor where it comes from. I know it's not the kids nor what I do, it's my own choice and Id do anything for them, overall I am very happy, I just hate feeling frustrated or resentful sometimes. Any advice?

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Bluebell66

You need to get to the root of why you aren't 100% happy. My guess it's that you don't really have a commitment....that everything could be taken away. Or maybe underneath it all, even though you love the kids, you're resentful you're doing all the work but you're not the parent. If you can't figure it out yourself, perhaps counseling is in order - for you, not couples counseling.

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Eileen Lamparelli

Why is he not marrying you? Are you being played for a babysitter?

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Kim Aves

First of all, I'm guessing you are too young to be in a situation such as this--a free babysitter, with extra benefits for dad.

You can debate the benefits or lack of benefits or morality of living together all you want. But, pro- or con-, the reality of the situation is when you are living with a man and taking care of someone else's children, there is no "legit." relationship there to protect you. And, by "legit.," I mean a recognizably legal and binding relationship.

Having been a step-mom for years and blogging quite frequently with other step-moms, it is difficult enough to be married to a man, a wife to this man, and yet at the same time be a "step-mom." Like it or not, the term "wife," does give you a legitimacy that the term SO or girlfriend does not. "Wife" means you are in it for the long-haul vs. possibly just daddy's flavor-of-the-month.

You have to look at these things from the kids' perspective. Realistically, most of them don't want to or have trouble even accepting dad's wife. Even though it may be years since the divorce and dad and his wife (step-mom) exchanged vows, they still carry this fantasy of mom and dad getting back together somehow, or feel that mom and dad are the real couple. Step-mom, on the other hand, is just dad's piece-on-the-side, so to speak. At least, when you are married, dad and his wife (step-mom) can push or say, "Hey!, we are married. We are a couple," to the kids, as a source of legitimacy. Over the years, the step-kids may come to accept this. I will add in here too, that with adult SKs, a long-term SO may and should take on the legitimacy of a married couple.

On the other hand, when you are younger, not working, just staying home taking care of someone else's kids, cripes!. What a life--you are giving up your life for someone else's kids!? Who wouldn't be resentful. Even if you are working, along with taking care of someone else's children, you are still sacrificing for them! Them, meaning a mom and dad who will use you, either on purpose, accidentally, or accidentally on purpose, to make things easier for them and their children. Where are you in all of this? No one, not even your SO, is really looking out for you!

Also, all kids tend to be cute and adorable when they are younger; however, as the kids get older, more than likely, their mom, whether she is largely absentee or not, will make sure her kids see her as the one and only real mom, and "real" mom will be in a position to poison the well with her children regarding how they feel about you--step-mom. Their dad may or may not be able to counter this. He may just sit there like a lump on a log and permit his ex- to run the show not only with the kids, but with him as well. Believe me, this happens often enough even with women who are married to dad. So, if you are not married to dad, you have no legit. rank with this family whatsoever, so you are at the end of the priority list every time.

You basically wind up being another family's lackey, or, as I mentioned above, a free-babysitter with extra benefits for dad. You wind up more as a concubine, kowtowing to the ex-wife and her ex-husband (your so-called SO). This is a not a life any young woman should sign up for. You could just wind up being collateral damage in another family's war with itself. And, no one wants to be just an asterisk in the life of someone they love.

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