This is more of a Dear Abbie letter than a blog, but I can’t help it!
With less than 2.5 months to before the baby arrives, Rufus’s eldest son is trying to move in with us on the sly. I am livid. I don’t want to be an evil step-mum, but this boy is driving me nuts. We live in a two-bedroom apartment! There is no room for a stroppy, lazy, messy teenage boy to live here permanently. Especially one who does nothing but moan and complain and lie about doing nothing.
Part of the problem is my relationship with the boys is relatively new. I’m not their mum. I don’t know what my role is, exactly. It’s only in the past year that I have had a role to play in their life.
We have worked hard to improve the relationship between Rufus and his ex with regard to the boys, and get things on an even keel. But the upshot, it seems, is that the eldest son, who grew up hearing his mother badmouth Rufus constantly and accuse him of abandoning his children, told his father recently it’s “his turn” to pay for everything. (Rufus has always paid maintenance, but his wife seems to think she has no obligation to work. And the eldest son has this curiously entitled attitude – he is 17 and meant to be starting university like his friends, but he is only, very begrudgingly, taking a part-time course his father enrolled him into, and he is not interested in finding a part-time job)
Both boys came to stay a week ago, and it turns out the eldest is expecting to just stay on for a month, two months – who knows what is in his head?
Not so long ago, Rufus and I had our first big talk about how to manage stepson issues between us after his ex told him they wanted to come and stay every weekend, and he agreed, without even consulting me.
I thought we’d agreed to talk these things over, but then last week the boys arrived for what I thought was a weekend, and ended up being a week.
And Rufus’s ex confirmed last night that the eldest wants to stay with us. Which to me sounds a lot like “live with us”. She also booked a two-week holiday for the two final weeks leading up up to my due date – which I assume means she’s planning on dumping them both on us for that time as well.
Part of me feels awful for freaking out about this – I want his boys to be happy, I want Rufus to be happy, I want to contribute to the boys and have a good relationship with them. But I do not want them living with us in this tiny flat when I become a mother for the first time. I do not want to suddenly find myself parenting a teenage boy – because if he is living with us full-time that is what I’ll be doing.
I am not sure what to say or do at this point. Agree to him staying with us for a month? This is the month we were going to repaint the spare room, clear out the furniture and set up the nursery. How do I do all of that with him loafing about the place?
Maybe I should just put my foot down and say the boys are welcome to come and stay every second weekend, full stop. With all of the financial strain of IVF etc, I was just starting to feel we had a chance at getting back on our feet this year. And we badly need to do that, for our sake, for the baby’s sake, and for the sake of the boys.