Well, if y’all wanna hear about my current stressful situation, sit back with a cold one and continue on. Make that two cold ones, since I can’t currently have my own.
My boyfriend, Mark, has a daughter. She’s going to be 9 soon and she lives with her mother across country. My understanding, from both Mark and his parents is that the relationship was verbally abusive and there were a lot of issues between him and her. She’s doing better now I guess, in a different relationship and they just had a baby like maybe 7 or 8 months ago now. She had her baby right before I found out I was pregnant I believe. Their custody agreement is that she spends the summers here with her dad and they rotate holidays. Like last year he went up there for her Thanksgiving break and this year she comes down for her Christmas break. He doesn’t get to see her as much as he’d like, obviously but with the costs of travel and hotels, etc., they make it work.
I have yet to meet this lady. I haven’t talked to her. I know nothing about her and she knows nothing about me. I get that she might be concerned about her daughter coming down and spending time with a woman she doesn’t know. It’s like letting your kid spend the night at their friend’s house even though you’ve never met the parents, except it’s across the country and there’s really nothing you can do. I met his daughter last summer on a couple different occasions and talk to her on the phone all the time. She’s a hoot and this summer is definitely going to be fun and interesting.
Since we got the house in December, we’ve been decorating and putting all the rooms together bit by bit. We waited to paint the kids’ room until we found out the gender of this little one since our baby will be living here 100% of the year, not just a couple visits. His daughter and I always talk about different colors to paint different things in the room and what decorations she wants in there, etc. I don’t want her to feel like everything is about the baby. I want her to know that it’s her room too and we want her to love everything about it. I guess ever since her mom had the baby last winter she’s been feeling like her mom isn’t paying as much attention to her. We don’t want her to feel that way here, but obviously babies require everything you have and then some. Every time I get a bow for the baby, I’ll get one for her. I’ve been buying her bedding and some different decorations and necessities like crazy this past month because she’ll be here on the 4th of June. I’ve put a lot of time, energy, and care into making her feel secure in her spot in her dad’s life. Which is why it hurt so damn much when her mom put it into her head that she doesn’t really know me and maybe she shouldn’t spend a lot of time with me. Like sorry lady, but we’re having a baby and we have a house together and I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon. Are you just going to keep her away forever? How are we supposed to bond and get to know each other if we’re never given the opportunity? How is that supposed to change if you put it in this impressionable child’s head that I’m basically a stranger. It really fucking hurt. My instant thought was all the money that I’ve spent trying to make her dream room come to life when I could’ve been spending that money on shit for my own kid. My biological first child, who still needs crib sheets and a diaper bag and countless other things. But because his daughter was going to be here before I had the baby I put her as a higher priority so her room would be nearly finished when she got here. It just hurt. I’m putting my all into making this work because it’s so important to Mark and I get it. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who didn’t love my kids like they were their own. But I don’t think he understands how much that hurt me. It might just be the pregnancy hormones making me emotional but it made me wonder why I’m even trying. But I know why I’m trying. I’m trying because I love him and I want him to be happy and he’ll only be happy if his daughter is also happy. So I’m going to continue to exhaust myself making everything perfect for her and just hope that I have the time and money to make things perfect for my little girl too.
I don’t want to be jealous or selfish of his other child. I have no right, or reason, to be. But I commend step parents everywhere. It’s not easy. I couldn’t imagine having her here full time. I don’t know if I would treat my baby differently or treat them equally. It makes me question myself as a person because I just don’t know if I would be as good of a parent to his daughter as I want to be for ours. Any advice? Any comforting words? Anything at all?