~Welcome to my personal story as a first time wife and stepmom. I use this space to share real life happenings in a blended family, funny stories, my personal frustrations, failures, and occasional victories as I journey through this life with two beautiful and challenging stepdaughters. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something to help you have a better day!~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Daddy Effect

At times, I feel like Jane and I are subconsciously fighting little dirty fights to see who can get more attention from my husband. If she feels or senses that I'm getting a little too "comfortable" in this family, or a little too "cocky" with everything I think I know about J and her and Kate, she will bring up something from "before my time" to make me immediately feel like an outsider or like I don't really belong here. I don't think she really is intentionally pushing me out or hurting my feelings. She just wants to feel like she has more history and connections to her daddy than I do. She tries so hard to please him and do things she knows he will like--WAY harder than she tries to please me! =) Over the last week, there were two different instances where this "Daddy effect" really started getting under my skin.

Scenario 1:

We were dropping the girls off at surf camp, and J pulled over to let us out while he went and parked. (They're always reading or on electronics in the car, so we have to warn them that "we're here; unbuckle; get out") Anyways, I had to tell Jane 3 times to put her book away and jump out. The last time I raised my voice:


Jane: (Proceeds to stomp out of the car, slam the door, and walk noticeably in front of me.)

Me: (Caught up and ignored it.) "Have a good day at surf camp and don't be rude to your sister like yesterday."

Jane: (Turns up nose and starts walking in front again.)

Me: "Is something bothering you? You're acting like you might be upset."

Jane: No. (Walks away)

Me: (Gave it a minute to blow over and tried to help her with sunscreen.)

Jane: (Standing with arms folded and pouty face.)


Jane: Smiling really big, skipping up to him, "Daddy, daddy, can you watch me surf today?"

My thoughts: "What the heck just happened? Is this not the same kid who was just giving me such attitude? Wow. I feel like I just got slapped in the face. I feel so belittled and unimportant to her. I'm just a means to an end, unless there's a better means around. Then I'm just nothing."

Scenario 2:

We're all out playing on the beach, and I had to ask Jane to please start sharing the rafts with Kate.

Kate: "I'm sorry Jane for not playing nicely. Want to help me with this raft?"

Jane: (Turns her back to both of us and stomps away.)

Me: (Go help Kate get her raft out in the water to where Jane is brooding. "Y'all play nice. You can't be mad all day."

Jane: (Turns back on us both and swims away)

Kate: (Comes in from water crying because Jane won't play)


Jane: Swims over as fast as she can all smiles. "Daddy, daddy, help me with my raft too!"

My thoughts: "Well, what am I, chopped liver? I feel like I completely don't even exist to her sometimes. Does she really hate me? No, I honestly don't think so. But how can she be so hurtful without even knowing it? Maybe she does know it. Maybe she doesn't mind making me feel bad, but she doesn't want J to know or suspect how she treats me behind his back. I can't process all this. I just need to cry."

I tell my husband later what is actually happening when he walks up, and he is shocked. He had no idea any of that drama was even playing out. There was another time that Jane got so mad that J wouldn't take her with him to run an errand, that she stormed out to the garage and waited there the whole time. I asked her to come in and join us in a game or movie, and she literally screamed at me and slammed the door. As soon as J got home, she was all sweet and smiley and asking for ice cream. REALLY?? J told me not to let it bother me because there's just something about Daddy's and little girls.... I sure hope that's all it is and not that she really hates me!

1 comment:

  1. I identify with this so much. My husband's girls live in another state and his eight year old is attached to him at the hip. While we were on a vacation I spent months planning, sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows, she announces she had a dream he and her mom were in a forest getting married. She attended our wedding. I get she's eight, but wow that stung. I feel the same way as you - like it's almost a silent competition to get attention from my husband and it makes me feel stupid because we live 1,800 miles away from them. We see them a few times a year. Anyway, I'm rambling. Thank you for this. I am not glad you have to go through it, but I appreciate the commiseration.