Wow, how difficult this whole journey has been, and how much easier I pictured it in my head. Of the things I would do differently
1. I would realize that when it comes down to it, for me, there IS a difference between my kids and stepkids…they have a strong loyalty to their (crazy) mother, and I tried too hard to keep things equal and not do for my kids because I didn’t want anyone left out. I finally told DH last week that I am responsible for my kids’ clothes, healthcare, schooling, activities, and as far as stepkids are concerned, I’m not…sd never comes anymore, and ss comes but not as often…and he constantly throws us under the bus with his BM. I’m not going to feel guilty because I bought my DD clothes, and not ss because he HAS a BM who clothes him.
2. Pick my battles on what’s worth fighting about. DH CANNOT say anything/punish SS because he has a fear that he will choose as SD did, not to come, and SS plays this card WELL. He constantly ignores bedtimes, and I would get frustrated. I finally told DH that SS needs to know we have rules in our house, but if DH was willing to let SS ignore those rules, then I was done worrying about bedtimes with SS, and that DH couldn’t complain when SS ignores and shows lack of respect for his dad.
3. Not lose myself in this process. This comes with being a mother, but when I married DH, I let his emotions and feelings control our household. NO MORE. I acknowledge his feelings, but his kids’ BM WILL NOT run our home. This came to a head about a year ago, and we almost divorced over it. I told DH that if he’d wanted BM to run his life, he should have stayed married to her. I lost a lot of myself–emotionally, mentally, financially, physically, and I have take steps to gain myself.