Please contact Evil Stepmom at ESM@evilstepmom.org with your questions or ideas about stepfamily living with 17-30 year olds.

 



Dear Amy
Small Things Add Up

Dear Amy,

My step mom isn't really that evil, she is very nice and cares for me like her own. She and my dad have been together for three years now and she has two kids with my dad. I live with my birth mom but I still live with my dad twice a year for about two months.

The problem is that my stepmom has started to care less for me, like I am not that important. Whenever the babies are sleeping she always tells me to be quiet or they will wake up. She keeps on asking me if I can take care of them, and then she goes and does absolutely nothing and leaves me with two babies to take care of.

The biggest is that she really does not like how I dress, she has a very formal style and very girly so she won't let me wear sneakers with skirts or leather jackets, and I don't know why she has a problem when my mom doesn't.

Please help me it would mean a lot to me,

Thank you,

Small problems and has no idea.

Dear Small Problems and No Idea,

First, know that how you're feeling is completely normal. I understand how hard it can be with young siblings. My dad and stepmom had a kid when I was 13, and I remember it being frustrating having a baby around the house. It's especially hard as a teenager, because it's a time when you're going through a lot of changes yourself.

As for your stepmom telling you to be quiet around the house, I think it's good to remember that you'd probably rather keep the noise down than listen to crying little ones if they woke up. I know it doesn't seem fair that you have to change your habits because of your siblings, but unfortunately that's often what happens when there are little kids in the house. I urge you to try and find some things to do outside the house while the kids are napping. You could use that time to go to the park, play outside, read some good books at the library, or hang out with a friend. That way, you don't have to worry or be frustrated about having to keep quiet, and you'll get some good time doing an activity you enjoy.

I know it's hard, but try and remember that your stepmom is probably very tired. It's exhausting raising kids, and can be challenging when they're young. So when she asks you to babysit and then just relaxes, try and remember she just needs a little break. That being said, if you feel that she is taking advantage of having you around to watch your siblings, I think you need to talk to her about it. Let her know that you're happy to watch the kids sometimes (if you are), but you need time to yourself also. Let her know it's important to you that you have time to see your friends, do the activities that make you happy, and have some time to yourself as well. I think if you can talk to her about this in a calm way, she'll understand. She probably hasn't thought of how it's affecting you, and she should. But try and cut her a little slack too.

The same thing goes for how she reacts to your clothing choices. I think your stepmom is probably trying to push her own clothing style on you, which adults sometimes do. That being said, she'll probably ease up as your younger siblings get older. But, I do think it's important for you to talk to her. Let her know that the clothes she wants you to wear aren't your style, and you don't feel comfortable in them. It will help if you can tell her why you like the clothes you do – it'll show her what it means to you. If she still pushes you, I suggest talking to your dad. Let him know how you feel, and see what he has to say. He might have a good suggestion or a compromise you could try, or maybe he could talk to your stepmom and ask her to ease up. But be respectful when you talk about your stepmom – remember that she's important to your dad.

I hope that at least some of this is helpful to you. I know it can be a challenge to have a stepmom and young siblings, and I promise it gets easier (and better!). Please feel free to write if you have more questions or just need someone to talk to. I'm always here.

Amy

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