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 abnormal 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. I would be the perfect girlfriend and eventually the perfect step-mother. Surely I could do this and do it well?
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. She was 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 this child’s sake. In the end we both discovered that it wasn’t about the child, but the mother and her issues. I regret agreeing to not be around the child because it has taken so much longer to bond.
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 never seem to know where that line is. I worry about it constantly. What if they grow up to resent me or hate me? What if their dad and I break up and I lose not only the man I love, but his children too?
I cannot compete with a 2 year old for her father’s time and attention. It isn’t right. I don’t know how to balance needing him, but not being able to have him because 2 other little people need him. 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 feel like there isn’t much room for me. We seldom go on dates. 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 when all I wanted was his arms wrapped around me.
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 overshadowed by the knowledge that he had done this before. And in my heart of hearts I am scared he doesn’t really want more children. He tells me he will give me children to make me happy. I haven’t reconciled in my mind how all this works. And like his ex said, “three children from three mothers? How is that supposed to work.” Because I needed her to say that, to poison it, to take away from something that should be special for us.
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 graciously with the mothers’ while still keeping my boundaries. I lose my mind when the crazy one calls constantly and texts him just to text him, and tries to control our lives. I get upset when I go to his parents house and her photo is still on the wall and his dad calls me her name by mistake. I cry when I give him a special gift for Christmas and sh e gives him the exact same gift “from the child”. I don’t know how to have my needs met without asking sounding like an ungrateful b**ch that I am: sleep, sex, time together, romance, boundaries…
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 – not because I do not love him, but because he deserves so much better. His children deserve so much better. I have to leave, to walk away. I just don’t know how.