Step-parenting is not easy…

It is my step-daughter’s 20th birthday today. I haven’t personally wished her a “happy birthday” but I did buy the birthday card that the hubster wrote on and sent.

My relationship with my step-daughter has been a rollercoaster ride. It is not all her fault, I take some of the blame. It is amazing how maturity plays such a big part in relationship building and to be honest, my step-daughter is not maturing quick enough for my liking.

At first, my step-daughter hated me. In her mind, I was seen as a wedge between her parents ever getting back together again. In fact, my step-daughter blames me for the separation of her parents in the first place. Eventually however, we got past the blame and into good space. Unfortunately, she put me on a bit of a pedestal and as I am far from perfect, I ended up making mistakes and hurting her along the way.

The clincher was when the hubster and I separated for six months. At the time, I was going through an undiagnosed and untreated episode of cyclical bipolar. I didn’t make sense to myself, let alone my family.

My step-daughter took this quite badly. She hated me for hurting her father (fair enough) and to this day, four years later, she still has not been able to forgive me. In fairness, I haven’t had the discussion to tell her about my bipolar, I am waiting for the right time.

Things then got very nasty between us. She ignored me completely, disinvited me to her graduation, blamed me further for taking her father away from her (we moved to another state because of hubster’s work), told me I would never mean anything more to her than being her father’s wife and caused many more rifts between the hubster and I.

I tried to mend the rift. I sent flowers on the day she graduated (she threw them in the bin), I sent emails and text messages (these were never responded to), I agreed to many things that I normally wouldn’t in regards to spending money on her until eventually I gave up.

Even today, she continues to cut me out of her life. Whenever she visits, she refuses to take photos of me with her father, she ignores me completely and does not see me as part of her life. Today “we” wished her a happy birthday. The message back was directed only to her father. Today she posted a picture of those “close to her” – her parents, friends etc (I am excluded).

I have spent so much money and time going out of my way for this girl, that it really does seem so unfair. I have heard that a mother’s job is never rewarded. A step-mother’s job is worse – we don’t even have a special day to recognise what we do!