Recently, we asked this question, “What do you struggle with most?” on our facebook fan page. Teresa and I decided to respond to the biggest struggles on the blog.
One stepmom responded, “Being treated like a live-in nanny; having to do all ‘mom’ things, but not being allowed to discipline or say anything and not being asked my opinion about what goes on in the house even though I do all the work and pay bills. Invisibility.”
This is a classic case of ‘we get what we tolerate’ in the stepmom world. Why are you choosing to take on the parental responsibility of someone else’s children especially if you feel you are not getting the support you need from your significant other? Why are you allowing someone else to make up the rules? If you want a voice in your home you need to speak up!
First and foremost, you must be a partner with your partner. Sit down with your significant other and form a parenting plan addressing the following issues:
- General rules for the household
- Consequences for breaking the rules
- How rules will be enforced
Once you have a plan in place it is vital for the adults in the home to work as a team. When children see parents as a united front working from the same page they are more likely to follow rules.
Your next step is to step back. If you don’t want to be the nanny it’s up to you to fire yourself from that position. “No” is a complete sentence. So is, “Go ask your dad.” Do only what you feel comfortable doing when you feel comfortable doing it. Hand the rest of the child rearing responsibilities back over to your partner.
In this particular statement, the words “not being allowed to” raises a red flag for me. If fear of abuse is the motivating factor for your silence, please consider your safety. Ask friends or family members for help or call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799 -7233(SAFE) TTY 1-800-787-3224
Peggy will respond on Friday!