I’m the Stepdad and all the real dad does is walk in and out of the child’s life whenever he wants to when he wants to play daddy. The dudes a total loser and the mother lets the guy do whatever he wants and it pisses me off. – Rob
I wish I could say your situation wasn’t common. It is! There are a lot of good fathers out there, but it seems a large portion of Stepdads deal with the same issue you’re struggling with. You’re a good man. Your heart is in the right place. You see the negative effect the father’s actions have and you’re concerned about the kids. We all get frustrated sometimes. What most people don’t understand is frustration usually comes from our inability to do something. You can’t control another person’s actions. What you can control is your your actions. And that’s good news!
I often tell Stepdads they should enter the marriage with no expectations of the father. It’s good to be hopeful that he’ll be a good, present and responsible father –but you can’t control that. Don’t expect him to be there. Don’t expect him to contribute financially to the kids support. This puts a heavier financial burden on you, but it frees you from having to rely on his contribution to the household budget. Developing this attitude allows you to have less stress. The reduced frustration will help you develop a better working relationship with him. That will have a positive impact on the kids. They won’t have to see the parent groups argue and struggle. You’ll be more relaxed and be able to parent better.
Raise Them Like You Made Them
Stepdads who assume full responsibility for the family often find it liberating. Most fathers will do their part, but sometimes even the most responsible fathers run into financial problems and can’t make child support. If you don’t rely on the funds it’s not a problem. In the case where you’re used to him doing very little you’ll be pleasantly surprised when he does makes an effort. This attitude frees you from the frustration and annoyance you’d otherwise struggle with.
Any good father will make an effort to spend time with his kids as often as possible. Many fathers don’t. Kids do better when they have a stable home life. That’s a fact! It’s your job to help provide that. Being completely responsible for the kids doesn’t take the place of the time the father should be spending with them, but it gives them a sense of normalcy. It also reduces the stress in your life and helps you improve your home life. The frustration this issue causes has a ripple effect in your home. When you’re annoyed and frustrated you can’t be the parent and husband you need to be.
It’s easy. Just take a deep breath and start expecting nothing. Now go be the best parent you can be.