Stepkids are wearing me out. Any words?
I'm having a hard time coping with all the demands that my girlfriend's children are placing on our time and I'm hoping some of you might have some good tips on how to cope and if you think I'm being unreasonable or not.
I've known my girlfriend for almost 8 years, been together with her for 2 years and have been living with her and her 3 children (ages 9, 11 and 12) for 10 months. I'm 35 and she is 32. I do not have children of my own, for no particular reason, it just hasn't happened for me. I've always considered myself a pretty child-friendly person, I feel protective over children, I donate to charities that help abused and homeless kids, etc. I always wanted one of my own, but it hasn't happened, not due to a lack of trying. I decided long ago that if I didn't have a child by the time I was 35, then I would give up the idea and NOT have one. When I got together with my girlfriend I knew she had the 3 kids and the thought of a ready-made family appealed to me. When I moved in, let's just say it was quite the crash course for me lol. I went from being single and all the leisurely time in the world (not to mention money!) to living with a woman and 3 kids. All of you can understand the pretty drastic change in scenery that I experienced, I'm sure. Anyway, I have dealt with a lot of mixed emotions during the past 10 months, in regards to the children. Overall, I feel good about everything and I think I've done a pretty good job adjusting (and the kids seem to love me) to all their MANY quirks and iffy (as well as nasty) habits. I still have a hard time getting used to the CONSTANT noise and chaos throughout the house. All the bickering, everything they say is 20 times louder than it should be, they run and stomp throughout the house, slamming every door (as opposed to just turning the handle and closing it quietly), etc. It hasn't been an EASY ride for me thus far, but I think I'm managing ok overall.
The thing that is getting me these days is the high level of activity exhibited by these kids. In short....it's too much for me to friggin deal with and I feel overwhelmed at times! Their mom and I both work full-time AND she is also in nursing school full-time. She wants the kids to experience as many different things as possible, because she never had that as I child (neither did I). I get that. The thing is, our boy has baseball practice 3 days a week and as soon as the games start it'll be more like 5 days a week (just like it was LAST season). Our oldest girl just finished basketball a few weeks ago and is now doing soccer 4-5 days a week between practices and games. Both the boy and the oldest girl are enrolled in orchestra as well and have practices and concerts semi-regularly throughout the school year. The youngest girl isn't doing sports, but does gymnastics on and off and does each and every talent show or musical or play that is put on at her school, which is quite surprisingly often (every 2-3 weeks) and those require 3-4 rehearsals. Basically, what I'm saying is that literally EVERY single day we are going somewhere and doing SOMETHING lol. I'm just getting worn out, from all the activity. Are there any unwritten rules these days when it comes to how much time a parent SHOULD be devoting to kids activities?
I'd say that the relationship between their mother and I has been a bit strained, just due to the fact that we don't have much time together. We don't go on dates, because A.) The kids are always around and our extra time is spent shuttling kids to and from their various functions, and B.) All our babysitting favors from family are spent on them watching the kids when we are both working. We have no romance and we hardly ever have sex, because we are both stressed and exhausted all the time. I feel guilty in saying this, but I would like to take away just a little time spent on the kids and put it into our relationship, maybe even cut out some free time to, I dunno, get a little ME time, some rest and maybe a hobby of my own? I want to bring this up to my girlfriend, just not sure how to go about it. I don't want her to think that I'm resenting her children, although, I'm afraid it's starting to get to that point. I feel like ever since I moved in I help out with all the responsibilities and all our time gets spent on the kids. I get no real quality time alone with my girlfriend. Also, I've attempted, on two occasions to get away for a couple days just to go hiking and recharge my batteries. The thing is, I feel guilty for having to "get away" from the woman and kids, why is that? On top of that, I feel a sense of disappointment emanating from her when I tell her I'm getting away for a couple days. Am I seriously not entitled to that once in a while, considering everything I've taken on? I lover her very much and I'm committed to her. I'm giving this family thing a good try and I feel like we are practically married already. Everything is good enough for me, aside from the level of activity and the slight kid time/relationship time/alone time embalance. Anyone have any advice for me? Please, the more comments and views the better. Am I justified in feeling this way or am I being a selfish jerk? Is a marriage really 100% all about the kids? Is that how it is now? Thanks everyone.