Being a mum can be tough but being step mum can be the most challenging roles in society.
From being small and watching the Disney movies such as Cinderella and Snow White as well as many more like Hansel and Gretal , children are taught from a young age that the wicked stepmothers from these children's classics are exact and real.
It is so hard to justify to a small child that the most loved Disney movies we have had them watching from being babies filled with magic and mostly end with happy endings are not all completely honest and true .
Step mums have already been given a bad name before having the chance to show the characters in those stories are totally untrue and you feel the need to so call 'Prove them wrong', We walk on egg shells, scared to raise a voice to the step child in case people look at you with glare eyes , talking behind your back with whispers saying
'' I bet she does not treat her child in the same way ''.
I have come across so many support groups and forums that help mums and dads but when it comes to step parents, it seems a total different kettle of fish when asking for help.
The answers usually given are
''let their dad deal with them ,look after your own, do not worry about them''
''Why should you deal with it all, they are not your kids, let their mother sort it''?
I am sorry but these answers are just not good enough.
In my situation , I was left with no alternative but to take my husbands children (now ages 5yrs, 7yrs and 12yrs) into our home due to their mother not wanting to 'Deal with them'! , In fact although their real mothers her way of 'Dealing' with disciplining her children were totally the wrong way to go around it hence the reason they are with me now and therefore there is no way I wish to raise a hand to the children .
My husband works , he is self employed and finds himself leaving the home first thing in the morning and not returning till sometimes after tea depending on the work he has and so I am left to get them ready in the morning, take them to school, pick them up and sort them with homework, teas and basic mother roles of the day being a mum.
I have no choice but to choose ways in teaching them right from wrong and disciplining them in a way I see suitable.
The usual routine of discipline is
At the minute having only two bedrooms shared between 6 of the children and one set of stairs we try to separate them when numerous are being naughty. We will place one on the sofa, one on the stairs, one on the table chair , one in each bedroom, luckily so far we have not got past struggling with finding a space for the 6th or 7th lol. We currently moved in to this home 3 years ago but had only 3 children , now that we have an extra 3 living here and one visiting on the weekends , we have had no other alternative but to put in for moving to a bigger home but the way the list updates each week and not many homes being bigger than a 3 bedroom we look to be waiting for some time as the least we are able to bid on is a 4-6 (very rare)
I have been in situations where the children have tried to 'push my buttons' many times, especially when family members have been in the same room.
The children will go and do something they know they are not allowed to do on purpose so that I feel in a position I can not say 'NO' but they know the family members will ignore what I say.
It is that feeling, you hear it every time in your head that 'You are not their mother and you have no say', it is a nightmare but I am beginning to realise it is wrong and I do have a say.
The children are in my care 24/7 , they have a mother but she has not seen, wrote or spoke to them in over 6 months and so I have to show them I am the step mum and if I say no , I mean no.
The children are always being naughty and at first I felt like after what they had gone through, I had to let them just get on with it at first so they did not feel even more neglected and unloved but how far do I dismiss their bad behaviours when I have three of my own children being told they can not do the same thing they are being allowed to do?
In my situation I have to think of my own children as well as the step children and it is becoming the most difficult part of the whole family relationship. After 5 years of being with my husband (their dad) , and with the drastic events that have ocured lately, things have changed and I do feel more a mum than I did before. I no longer have to send them home on a Sunday night and not see them till the following Friday . I am now full time mum to not just three but six and it has been a huge leap in my life that I love but find hard sometimes.
I walk the children to school and people automatically stare at me like I am the Pied Piper , They constantly whisper and have sometimes stopped me and said
''wow you have your hands full, you do not look old enough to be mum to all of them''
I feel the need to tell them I am their mum, they are in my care, I am 30 years old and there is only three of them I actually gave birth to.
Most of the time I find myself explaining my self to them with the full blown story of ''How I became mum of 7 '' and telling them what had happened for the children to be sent to us full time''.
Sometimes I can walk through town and I get the feeling people are looking at me with disgust. They think we are a young family with 7 Kids !
I used to look at people and do the same, judging young mums with a pushchair with a young toddler stuffing their face with a sausage roll and I suppose I now know how they felt too. I feel bad I have done it but this is what we are talking about. Today's society are full of judgement and therefore step mums just like single parents are judged before been given the opportunity to speak.
I can not treat any of the children differently in the household , it does not work when you try to mollycottle the step children and not your own or the other way around. I believe they should be all treat the same way even if you are getting the looks for raising your voice at them.
Having their father help me is the biggest step to making it work. If he says 'no', they know to listen and so if he learns to agree with me as he has been doing then things work a lot easier for everyone and most importantly the children.
The children are only little and they are there to be taught right from wrong and if you can help them learn those simple rules in life then there is nothing you can do wrong while disciplining them the right way, we never raise a hand to them, I do not believe that is a good way to learn a child . In my opinon if you raise your hands to a child because they do something you do not agree with , then they will grow to do the same and it can become a vicious circle , that circle needs to be broken and using your verbal skills instead of physical teaches them to approach things calmly in the right way.
Feelings can be an emotional roller coaster to everyone but when a step child is treat differently to your own children they will feel unloved, unwanted and so you must learn to share your time and affection with them all equally. Do not hate your step children because you feel they are a burden, they are not a burden , they are small children in need of parents who love them . Showing respect, love and compassion to them is something that can be given in return once the family have learnt to allow the fact that you are a family and that's all that matters, it is not a competition, children are not their to be fought over like a prize.
I am finding it easier as the weeks go on and the children are learning slowly, its a slow process but eventually they will learn that I am here to love them and treat them as my own as feel I am doing , they just need to learn to trust me. Some days are fantastic , others can be bad, there has even been times I have shouted at them , felt I had done something wrong by shouting and walked outside in The rain for an hour or so but I , like them will learn it is all for the right reasons. The family will always have issues but living them together is a lesson ,our biggest challenge with many more obstacles to leap over.
The way I see it is I am giving another woman's children the love that their mother can not , I do not feel selfish , I feel better for it.
Do you judge step mums, are you one?
10/3/2014 06:40:03 am
Wow, you are doing amazingly! Parenting is parenting,and you've got a great approach.Stick with it
10/3/2014 09:19:47 am
thankyou , i have even been tested today already, lillest one came out of school shouting 'wheres my bloody dad'' just showing off but i obviously had to tell him off, its not nice to hear and they know better but like i said when they do it fornt of people to try and get away with it it makes it harder , i would tell my own of too if it were them x
10/3/2014 08:53:00 am
I think you are doing an amazing job.
21/3/2014 01:22:33 am
thanks hun , yes it annoyed me quite alot too especially as i am the only one involved along with my husband , x
10/3/2014 09:52:46 am
sounds like you have your hands full ;) I have four children and two step children - although the older two are now grown up. It's really tough striking a balance between parenting them in your own home, and not trying to be their mum - but in your own home, your rules apply! xx
10/3/2014 10:23:52 am
wow, that's quite a task. things will definitely get easier with time, and you are going to gain so much life experience!
I have been on the other side. My parents divorced when i was 11 and i ended up having to move in with my mum and her new boyfriend. I hated him and i played up and made his life hell. As i got older, i started to respect him more and realised that he wasn't his fault and he was just trying to be a good role model for me. I apologised and now, even though my mum is no longer with him, i see him around the town and i talk to him. I feel bad for how i have been with him and realise now how hard it must have been for him x
21/3/2014 01:23:40 am
thankyou for sharing your own experience hun, im glad you and him became close in the end , i am hoping that happens with these lil ones too x
10/3/2014 11:10:27 am
Oh my goodness, I cannot imagine being a mum to 7 at any age - wow!
10/3/2014 11:16:16 am
My boyfriend has a 15 year old son and it was tough at first but things have settled down now but I totally see where you are coming from. All the best with everything.
21/3/2014 01:25:01 am
i think in the sense they are only small , i am quite lucky . I can not imagine what it s like to be a step parent and come into their lives as teens, i could imagine it being more harder xx
10/3/2014 11:23:30 am
You are doing an ace job , don't pay any attention to other people and their comments.I am sure the kids feel loved and see that you don't treat them any different to your own.
This was a really interesting read. I myself can't even imagine having kids, not even one day (I'm far too lazy and can barely look after myself) but it really does sound like you're doing a great job. I always think it's really inspiring when people such as yourself take on the role of stepmum or adopt! x
21/3/2014 01:25:57 am
i used to say i never wanted any either look at me now lol, one day you may change your mind hun x
I only have the one child, but there is someone in our family who was totally abandoned by her mum and we have seen first-hand how hard that can be on both the child and those who take over their care. You are doing an amazing job, simply by taking them in and thinking about how best to raise them. Do you have any support from social services at all? Our family members didn't for years and they have found since they got support it has helped so much for everyone concerned as there is suddenly support available for them all.
21/3/2014 01:28:56 am
I think the hardest thing for me is that they have no contact from their mum at all which is hard for them and me. I know they must want t see her but we get no support and if we wanted to take any steps forward to securing the childrens fears of being returned , we would have to pay thousands just to go to court which we dont have , at the moment i am doing my best in raising them as my own but theres always that boundry and them knowing i am not their real mum soo push their limits on a daily basis, infact more lately now they are settling x
10/3/2014 12:59:36 pm
It must be very difficult being another Mum to someone else's children. I would like to think I would treat them the same as my own.
10/3/2014 01:05:09 pm
Being a parent is a hard job but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job for all of them! x
10/3/2014 01:21:06 pm
I can't imagine having to be a step mum as well as a Mum. Sounds like you're doing a great job
10/3/2014 01:25:48 pm
I think you are quite right, now they are living with you full time the house rules have to apply to them the same as your own children. Sounds like you are doing a fabulous job, and I am sure they will appreciate everything you do for them. I am a step mum too- but mine is 28, I am not sure I could put him on the naughty step if I tried, ;)
21/3/2014 01:30:34 am
thankyou hun, some days we take 3 steps forward and things feel settled but i truly dont think it ever will be and often its a fight to get them tounderstand they are in safe hands now and im helping them for their sake x
21/3/2014 01:32:47 am
i get told that soo many times and i do try to treat them all the same although people see me treating my 4 year old differently to the step child who is 5 years old , its hard to make my children feel like they havent lost their mums love and attention when others have been brought here and having time with all of them x
10/3/2014 01:41:55 pm
Aw lovely children :) your Doing a great job!
10/3/2014 01:54:36 pm
Lisa, you do an amazing job with all your kiddies xxx
10/3/2014 02:05:32 pm
Oh sweetheart, you're doing an incredible job - I cannot imagine how hard it must be to find a balance where you feel like you're not doing them a disservice but where you're not being walked all over too. Sod all those looks you get, as only the only thing that matters as that you're all happy and loved - and by the sounds of it, you're doing a great job of that xx
21/3/2014 01:34:48 am
thankyou hun, i think because my husband works all day every day i just feel i have no support as family are no where close and i have no friends close by, we are trying to move closer to my husbands parents and brothers so i can have some support from the inlaws which i would really appreciate. its tiring but i am soo blessed to have them all and would not change it x
You are doing so well in circumstances that can sometimes be difficult. It always hurts my eldest son's feelings when his step mom refers to him as "my husbands son", she can't even call him her step son. It is such a shame, we are all one family now and should act as such. Well done you x
it sounds like you are doing an amazing job. Children are challenging at the best of times and being a step parent only makes it harder. My husband is step-dad to my eldest two and often gets it thrown in his face if there is a difference opinion. It is hard treating them all the same, especially when we have such a variety of ages and the older ones do forget that the smaller ones will naturally get more attention. I hope your hubby continues to support you and that the kids get to see their mum again soon
21/3/2014 01:38:36 am
we have tried form day one to resolve it all, from the day they were brought here we asked the mum to see them supervised but she obviously thought her pride was worth more and so we are still to do this day struggling to even get any contact unless through solicitors which we have had no contact response from her for them, we are looking into trying to resolve it ourselves now though i think the children are wanting to see their mum and i think she should be able to see thm , having it contrilled though is the important thing to us and being supervised is necesary but we have no support from social services or anyone which means unless we pay thousands which we do not have , then nothing will get done . I am hoping our next idea will help us move to the next level for the childrens sake x
10/3/2014 02:42:11 pm
Oh my word, what a handful!. It sounds like you're doing a great job though and I'm sure it will get easier. As long as you're happy that's the main thing :)
10/3/2014 08:26:38 pm
I can only imagine how hard it is, when I was a teen I dated a guy who had a child and I found it very hard - although he was a lovely little guy I must say. x
I'm not a step mum but had one that hated me and never really let me see my dad or my half sisters. As a parent now I understand how hard it must be for any step mum but I'm afraid mine felt threatened by me for reasons I do not know as since they have split up, my dad still doesn't have anything to do with me. Great post and good luck
11/3/2014 03:07:56 am
You are doing a great job!!
I take my hat off to all Stepmums and it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job. Parenting is hard, whether the children are your birth children or otherwise. I imagine they will love you for disciplining them and treating them the same as your own kids - well done :)
21/3/2014 01:40:16 am
thankyou hun, i just want the children to be safe but happy too, i can see how much they have come out of their shells and are starting to settle now but its hard with no support from their mum , who in my opinion shoud be in their lives even if it is just writing to them now and again x
11/3/2014 03:39:05 am
It is difficult being a parent, I can only imagine how much more so being a step-parent. But from what I've read I can see you are doing brilliantly.
21/3/2014 01:21:17 am
thankyou hun, its a daily test and seems great at times but love having a big family x
11/3/2014 05:56:21 am
It must be so hard to be a step-mum but I'm always so admiring of anyone who steps up to take on that role.
12/3/2014 01:03:25 pm
Sounds like you've got your hands full but you seem to have it under control x x
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