This isn’t anyone’s dream. No one grows up wanting step children and baggage. I told myself firmly that I was not interested in a man with 2 children from 2 different mothers. I was so sure that I would not fall in love with him. Why would I get myself involved in such an unsavory situation?
But I did. I fell in love and told myself that we would find a way to make it work. I had always wanted children. I had always wanted to adopt children. I was so certain that I could be selfless and loving and play happy families. I imagined I would be an exemplary step mother who embraced the exes so that the children would see us all getting along. I thought I would excel at nurturing and taking care of small people; of helping them to be unscathed by any of us adults. I imagined a home and a family that was mine even though the children weren’t. Surely I could do this and do it perfectly?
All I have discovered in the last six months is that I am not anything other than selfish and immature. I am shallow. I am not cut out for motherhood. The fact that they aren’t my children probably doesn’t negate this fact.
I had no idea that I could resent an innocent 2 year old because she was the bone of contention between us and her mother for months. The more difficult the mother made my life, the more strain she put on our relationship and the more I was asked to sacrifice for someone I had never met – who didn’t have the decency to greet me – the more I wished that this child didn’t exist. Who wishes for a beautiful, little girl not to exist? What kind of a monster does this make me?
I was not allowed around the little girl for a long time and therefore we did not bond like I did with the other child. Even now I feel a huge disconnect from her. She is the reason so much went so wrong for us early on. I nearly left because of her mother and the lack of boundaries between my boyfriend and her. Everything that nearly ended our relationship I was expected to grin and bare for her sake.
I have discovered that there are grey areas. I am trying to learn to be normal in an abnormal situation. I am expected to do a lot of mothering without any of the rewards of being a mother. I have to make sure I don’t step on the mothers’ toes as I learn my role. I am constantly reminded that I am not their mother just in case I forget that I did not give birth to these children. Don’t try and take the mothers’ place. Don’t post a picture of me and the children on social media. Don’t help the children to make their mothers Christmas cards. Feed them, read to them, carry their stuff, spend money on them, clean up after them, cook for them, play with them but don’t try and parent them.
I like to sleep. A lot. Last night the 2 year old cried for 3 hours. She ended up in our bed with the lights and tv on. I was annoyed because I am exhausted. It is my biggest day at work today. I have been stressed for weeks, working long hours. I have been working towards this day for 3 months. I ended up getting 4 hours sleep and am frazzled. Not so selfless now, am I? I have started to dread sleepovers at my boyfriend’s house.
I cannot compete with a 2 year old for her father’s time and attention. It isn’t right. Last night I was distressed about my family back home and ended up crying. A two year old cries louder. I needed my boyfriend. She needed her daddy. I was left alone sobbing in the bathroom at 1am. I cannot be held because she needs to be held. She is 2. I am 32 and an idiot.
I wanted some quality time with my boyfriend after a few hectic weeks. This never happens when there are children around. Plans and schedules change on a whim. I have to fit in. My life is squeezed in around them. There is barely room for me. Between 3 jobs, 2 kids and 2 mothers, I don’t exactly rank very high. We don’t go on dates. I’m not wined or dined. There is no money because there are children. Every evening that the children are there I am lucky if we get half an hour of “us” time in front of a tv. No dinners or concerts or parties or cocktails or romantic weekends away….there is no money. Now I see how shallow I am; how much I love all the traditional parts of dating. And I like sex. A lot. We were about to have sex last night: clothes were coming off, kissing, touching…I had looked forward to it all day and then the 2 year old woke up. No sex. Again.
I fell asleep by myself. No cuddling. I ask God what I am doing with my life. I live out the boot of my car between 2 houses. I am the one that must drive home in the cold and dark in the middle of the night. I am not selfless like my mother was. I resent the joke that my life has become. I resent all the inconvenience. I resent the sleepless nights and early mornings and lack of quality time together.
I look at my boyfriend and realize that he has done the baby thing already. All the firsts that I dreamed of will not happen. He has gone through 2 pregnancies with not one, but two women. He has his first born son. He has his precious daughter; the apple of his eye and the love his life.
When we started dating he didn’t want more children. I wanted to be excited about having our own children together, but it was always ruined by the knowledge that he had done this before. And in his heart of hearts I know he doesn’t want to do it again. He tells me he will give me children to make me happy. I resent that this will never be something we can do together just us. Other women have already had the best of him. He will continue to compare us to everything that came before. Maybe that is unfair of me.
All I know is how much I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be a step mother. I don’t know how to deal nicely with the mothers while still keeping my boundaries. I don’t know how to have my needs met when I am bottom of the pile: sleep, sex, time together, romance…
I am tired all the time. I am stressed. I am anxious because I know this cannot work out. I am not meant for this role. All the fun of a new relationship is overtaken by crazy exes and children who will always trump me. And so they should. I am selfish. I am immature. I am a horrible, horrible person. If I know anything it is that I need to end this. I just don’t know how.