New Here - Background and vent
I have been reading here for a few weeks, and found the site to be so insightful. Background on my situation:
I have 3 daughters, 19, 15 and 12
I am SM to 5 kids, SD16, SS14, SS12, SS10 & SS7
I have been with SO for 3.5 years and we have been living together for 2 years. Life is stressful to say the least. We have all of the kids most of the time DD19 and SD16 100%. My DD15 and DD12 go to BF 5 nights/fortnight and all to the SS's go to BM EOW
We are very lucky, that all of the kids get along well and have blended beautifully from the moment they all met, and that has continued since we moved in together.
Some days I just wonder what I have gotten myself in to!
SO is military so at times away for work, and I am solo with all 8 kids. Thankfully I have one adult daughter who helps where she can with driving her younger siblings to various commitments, however she is very busy with university and multiple part-time jobs.
While my SO if a wonderful man, he has a lot on his plate with work, so a lot of the parenting is left to me. I work part-time from home, which can be a blessing and a curse!
I mostly struggle with SD16 and SS7. SO tells me that SD16 suffers from social anxiety, she never leaves the house other than school, or work one afternoon a week. For a few months a year she plays netball. School holidays, she does not leave the house. She only has one or two friends, but never sees them outside of school. She is just ALWAYS here. SO and I tend to go out on the weekends we don't have most of the kids, just to have 'alone' time. It's frustrating, it's unnecessary $$ spent every other weekend, when we would be quite happy to just stay home, but SD tends to want to hang out with us sometimes (never when the other kids are home), and I just don’t want her around. I don’t mind for a short while, but SO will never tell her, ok off you go now, this is our time. I don't feel that SO pushes her out of her comfort zone, at all, ever.
It causes conflict between myself and SO, because he says he doesn’t need a break from the kids. I have put my foot down, and said one weekend a month SD needs to go to BM’s with her brothers, and just recently, I have told him if he’s away for work, and the boys are going to BM, SD has to go to. If I am going to parent all of his kids alone, while he is away, I need the break EOW. Am I being unreasonable?
I also have issues with some of his parenting (or lack of). Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good dad, and generally his kids are well behaved and they love and respect myself and my daughters. There are just a few manners lacking, that I would have thought they should have been taught when they were young, such as table manners, not interrupting others, greeting people when they see them, asking adults how they are etc.
I have raised these issues, and he says, I am the one that has a problem with it so I need to address it myself. Which I actually do, however, I think he needs to be aware, and to teach them some social skills and basic manners (particularly SD16 and SS7)
I also expect that SO be the one to follow up and check they have done their chores, showered, brushed teeth, check they are in bed etc, when he is home. SO is ADHD, and struggles to remember to check these things, and I just feel like I’m constantly checking, nagging, bossing everyone around, so much so that the mental load has gotten too much for me. I run the kids around everywhere (between them all there is one sport or another 7 days a week), I cook for everyone, and up until recently I was washing for SO, myself and his 5 kids (my DD’s wash their own clothes/sheets/towels voluntarily)
I decided to take a step back (even before reading that disengaging was a thing) and told SO I’m no longer washing clothes etc for anyone other than myself. I have handed him back the responsibility of booking/taking his kids to any appointments, and if he needs my help he has to ASK me, not just expect me to do it. I take his kids to their sport training, but expect him to let me know if he is held up at work and can’t get there on time to pick them up, and ASK me if I am available to get them for him.
So I’m very new to this disengaging, and I feel a lot of guilt about it. I hate that SO hasn’t washed their clothes or even remembered to tell them to pack for BM’s and they are taking their dirty sport uniforms out of the laundry to take with them. I am so used to looking after these little people who had no mother in their life when I came on the scene. Thankfully BM seems to have gotten her life in order and is now capable of having her children EOW.
I just wonder if I have it in me to do this for another 10 years. I certainly have worries that SD16 will never launch and will be living with us for a LONG time. SO and I have had conversations regarding that, and have agreed that once they have completed university they are out on their own. Hopefully that happens!
Thanks for taking the time to read