When A Stepmom Feels Like A Glorified Babysitter

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I’m a wife, stepmom x3 and mom x 1 who when I couldn’t find the stepmom support I was looking for, decided to create it myself. I love mac + cheese, distressed denim, sauvignon blanc and all things Dateline. 

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Stepmoms often struggle with not being on the same page as their partner when it comes to the kids. Specifically when it comes to rules, discipline, expectations and even how her stepchildren are allowed to treat her. 

This is especially frustrating when when the stepmom and her partner SAY that they are on the same page, but when it comes to execution, the partners doesn’t follow through. This leaves the stepmom looking and feeling like the evil stepmom.

I’m a firm believer that for the most part, as humans, we behave in a way that works for us. When something gives us gratification and the benefits out weigh the negative consequences, then we keep doing what we’re doing. 

When the negative consequences outweigh the gratification, most times the behaviour stops. 


Your stepkids are disrespecting you, because it’s working.

Often stepmoms feel like they have issues with their stepkids, when in reality, the issue is with their partner. Specifically how their partner is responding to their kids behaviours.

In many blended family situations, a stepmom is expected jump in and provide some of the parental duties in the household. This happens over time, more in some families than others, but especially in families where the father has full or split-custody with the kids. As natural caregviers, women often taken on certain jobs …. (again for the most part)

Whether a stepmom should provide structure or discipline in the home is a HOT topic among stepfamily experts. In my opinion, it depends on so many factors and there is no one size fits all approach. 

Regardless of the stepmoms role, a child should ALWAYS treat an adult with respect. I don’t care if you’re the aunt, stepmom, babysitter, neighbour, teacher or bus driver. You should be treated with respect.

I spend a lot of time connecting with other stepmoms in The Exclusive Stepmom Community.

When stepmoms are not on the same page as their partner about house rules and consequences, I encourage them to have a good chat with their partner about what their role will be.

The goal is to be on the same page

  • But what happens when a stepmom enforces these rules, but their partner doesn’t?
  • What happens when a stepmom enforces an agreed upon consequences, and their partner overrides or doesn’t follow through?
  • What happens when the partner believes the kids over their wife?
  • What happens when a stepchild continues to be disrespectful to a stepmom and there are little to no consequences for their behaviour?

If you’ve experienced this first hand, and scrolled through that list expecting to find an answer that is going to solve all your stepfamily problems, then I am sorry, you’re not going to find it here. 

A cold hard truth of stepmom life is that you CAN be trumped by the parents. At the end of the day, no matter what your family dynamics, they are the “real parents”

When it happens you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut… and hard. 

Why?

Because you’re trying so damn hard
or
You love the kids like their you’re own
or
You really thought you were on the same page.

As stepmoms, there are so many situations in our family dynamic that are totally outside of our control, and unfortunately, this is one of them! 

You can only have so many conversation about being on the same page. You can only have so many conversation about what the rules and discipline will look like in your home. At the end of the day, it’s not about talk, it’s about actions and follow through. 

If your decision/agreements continue to be overridden, it may be time to re-evaluate what your role looks like in your family. 

Because if you ask me,  you can only get punched in the gut by the same person so many times, until you have to take responsibility for putting yourself that situation time and time again

So, what the heck you do? 

In a previous post “A Stepmom Confession: Some Days Are Just Shitty”  I said that as stepmoms, we often feel like we’re good enough, until we’re not.

We’re good enough to make the lunches, do the laundry,  the dishes, do the running around, coordinate schedules, organize celebrations, etc. etc. etc but when it comes down to making decisions about the kids or participating in those “special milestones” it’s not our place.

As Zoe Hardy put’s it, many times stepmoms feel like a glorified babysitter

When any of the above happens,  my advice is to take a step back. 

  • Maybe you re-evaluate what you do as a glorified babysitter
  • Maybe you stop going above and beyond
  • Maybe your answer becomes “Ask your Dad” or “Not until your Dad gets home” to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you will look like the bad guy
  • Maybe you put the parental responsibilities back on the “real parents”

The thing is, caring about behaviours and things that the other two parents clearly don’t see an issue with, will likely be a waste of your valuable time and energy… 

You’ll end up looking like the bad guy.

Take a stepback. Re-define what your relationships and responsibilities are . Protect yourself from getting punched in the gut.

Unfortunately, in many situations when step-parents and parents are not on the same page, the stepmom truly is, the glorified babysitter. 

… and I know I personally outgrew the whole babysitting thing about 20 years ago. 

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