I am my fathers oldest child. He didn’t work out with my mother. It was a short marriage- I was born- and they both went separate ways and remarried. I was always more integrated with my two younger sisters my mom had after me, I never thought as them as “half” or not real. This to me was my immediate family and primary caretaker until I left for college at 17.
My father went on to marry a very strange woman. That’s the best I can put it. She was severely disturbed and it got worse with time. I know we don’t hear about it a lot with men- but he was *absolutely abused* for years and years by her. They divorced in 2018. He had 2 kids with her (Irish twins basically) who I’ve **never** had a relationship with. This is who I’m referring to in this post. Almost 2 years ago, this woman up’d and left to no one knows where. I believe she talks to them on Facebook a lot. She abandoned her two kids basically leaving my father (who is now health compromised, suffered a major heart attack) to be a primary caretaker. I knew he couldn’t do it alone, so I stepped in immediately. I also felt bad their mother “abandoned” them so immediately everyone overcompensated and it backfired.
We all live together. It’s NY so of course the place is not spacious (ex: we all share a bathroom) even though he “secured” the place, I am financially independent and contributing to the house. I do all the domestic work and groceries. Everything involving their school, I also do, as he has to work long hours and almost everyday. I had to change my entire lifestyle. It’s been almost 2 years and I am turned to for everything. Everyday all I feel is a glorified nanny with no pay in a dead end situation. I resent them because I feel they do not appreciate me. Yes, they have manners and say thank you. But true gratitude? No. The more time passes, the more demanding and “have it coming to them” they act. I feel no one acknowledges how much of my youth and life I gave up here. This has been my reality everyday since I been out of college.
I love my father to death. I am a Daddy’s girl. I do not want to leave him and walk away. When it’s just me and my father, everything is peaceful. He can not do this alone. He will die. But a lot of hostility is building in me because of them dominating my life. I would be happier if they helped with basic stuff, listened, had gratitude- but that’s getting worse over time.
How old are the two kids? Does your father only pay for rent? Are you otherwise both financially comfortable?
Could you potentially pull back on some of the things you help out with? For example, stop doing the teens laundry, stop doing the cooking, the cleaning etc?
They probably won’t step up and fill the gap, but it’ll at least bring the situation to the whole household’s attention and put an emphasis on how much you’re doing.
It seems like there just needs to be some boundaries laid for your own sake.
Your post reads like you’re in denial about your (justified) anger at your dad, and you’re redirecting your resentment towards your half-siblings. Should they be more grateful? Yes, and maybe they will realise all you did for them it when they grow up. Meanwhile, your father – an adult – is silently letting you waste your best years as you take care of his kids. You’re his child too! You have every right to feel resentful, and you absolutely have the right to live your life. Don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped, you’ve already helped more than anyone could have asked of you.
You sound like a burned out mom. What’s so unfair is you’re still a kid, and these aren’t your kids. You are doing so much for your dad and the kids. You’re a hero and you deserve recognition.
But they’re you g teenagers. If you don’t nip this in the bud immediately, it is only going to get worse.
13yr old can do their own laundry. If they refuse, that’s fine. They can go to school in dirty clothes.
They can pack their own lunches. If they don’t, they miss lunch. It’s not going to kill them.
They can wash dishes. If there are no dishes available, you can’t fix them meals, so I guess they’ll just go hungry while you grab takeout for your and and yourself.
They’re going to whine and complain and cry and play victim. *Don’t feed into it.* This is a common tactic amongst teenagers in general, regardless of family situation. Stand your ground.
It is awful what they’re going through. However, catering to their every need *hurts them in the long run*. They need to know how to do things on their own. They need to learn how to take initiative. Otherwise they’re going to grow up to be whiney, entitled adults that never move out. Being tough on them now will ensure they grow up to be good adults.
Also….you deserve a break. Can you take some time off work? Go spend a week with you mom. Pick her brain. She raised teenagers. She might have suggestions for you. If nothing else, she’ll understand what you’re feeling and can listen to you vent. Plus, a week without your help will help these kids realize what all you do for them.
What you are doing is not healthy. You need to tell your dad that he is going to kill himself at this rate and you need him to police your half-siblings and tell them to shape up or else you are out of there.
Tell them to get jobs, stay out of trouble, contribute and be mindful of your family’s situation. If they can’t then you need to make the tough decision to save yourself.
> Almost 2 years ago, this woman up’d and left to no one knows where. She abandoned her two kids basically
Does your dad receive child support? If not, does he plan on looking into it? Because he should.
You’re his daughter. He should be encouraging you to go, explore what the future holds, to live your life, to be free and independent. Not staying in his home to financially support him, his kids, and act as a parent.
Your father is being cruel. I’m sorry, but it’s true. No parent should ever expect their child to give up their future for them. You’re angry at the children, but the truth of it is, they’re not remotely responsible for the situation. Your father is. It’s easier to be mad at the kids, and his ex, than to look at the responsibilities your father has, because you love him and he’s your dad. But the basic fact is, this is his mess to clean up, and you’ve been doing all the work. You’ve been making sacrifices that he never should’ve accepted from you.
Go. Live your life. You deserve it.
I would atleast talk to him and tell him they need to get jobs and help out.
you can’t help anyone or you are suffocating yourself . seek professional help .
how many more years before the kids are 18?
You need to move out. If you can hire a nanny and maid services for them. Or stop by and straighten out the house and cook meals and freeze them. But you deserve your own life. Don’t do this forever. You have a right to your own life. Help out for sure, but not full time.
Tell them you’ll call CPS and put them in foster care if they dont straighten up lol.
At 13 and 15 (ESPECIALLY 15) they are plenty old enough to be self sufficient.
Stop doing everything for them. Oh no, they have to learn responsibility or there will be consequences!? Tough shit!
And if the 15 year old, WHO IS PLENTY OLD ENOUGH TO CARE FOR A RABBIT UNAIDED, refuses to do so, the rabbit gets rehomed whether Princess Precious wants that or not.
Personally, I see 0 shame in letting your father lie in the bed he made. These kids are not your responsibility monetarily or otherwise. I’d leave. But if you’re determined to stick it out, the word NO is a full sentence and needs to be added to your vocabulary. Find your inner goddess and unleash that chick!
I feel for you completely. Unfortunately society still sees women as the default caretakers and it feels like your dad has settled into this stereotype more that he is single again. However you are his child, not his partner (not that it would be fair if you were his partner). He is an adult and needs to step in to patenting even if does not have a clue.
The fact that you have been fulfilling this role from the age of 21 and in your prime and have managed to navigate it without prior knowledge and experience of parenting means that he literally has no excuse having had 30 years experience himself even if his was in the periphery.
He needs to step up. Your siblings behaviour may even echo the fact that he is also,in essence neglecting them by neglecting his parenting responsibilities (and of course being abandoned by their mom)
This isn’t your responsibility and I am sorry that you have been put in a position where you are having to parent your own father. It’s not easy but he needs to understand that he has put you in an unfair position. Wishing you the best OP.
Okay so reading your responses to comments this situation is not your stepsiblings’ fault. Should they be doing more? Yes, absolutely. But they’re kids: they need to be taught and reminded. They shouldn’t have to be grateful that their basic needs are met. And of course they don’t understand what you’re sacrificing because they don’t have the life experience for that. But there is one person in this scenario who does. And seems pretty damn content with the status quo, not really doing anything to change or help. Your dad. Why on earth are you choosing to be angry at the children in this scenario instead of the person who has the ability to change the situation? He’s an adult. You can give this responsibility back to him. It was never yours.
You need to get out of that house. I get that your dad might be in a tough place but this is what he choose to do. They are his children not yours. They are teenagers not little kids anymore. They are going to have to figure out a way to make it work. Your still young and your not their mother even if they have been using you as such. It is okay to be selfish and think of you first. As long as you live there they you are going to work, take care of the house and everyone in it. And it’s not your responsibility. Your allowed to have your own life and live it your way. Your allowed to live some where else can be able to act your age without having this extra stress added to you. Are they going to like it? No. Are they going to try to guilt trip you? Probably. But your dad choose to have more kids that’s on him. If his children don’t have a good relationship with him then his going to have to learn to be a parent. Get yourself out of there and put up boundaries so you can grow as an individual.
This isn’t your mess. Call CPS and leave this toxic environment ASAP.
Something obviously needs to change. But I wanted to make sure you understood something.
I know that you aren’t their mother or trying to be, but that is essentially the role you are currently filling. Every mother is underappreciated, very few children show true gratitude to their primary carer and in fact, you don’t want them to until they are adults. Why? Children who show gratitude, do so because they are worried that what they have will stop, that their parent will leave. They do not feel secure at home, something every child deserves. The unfortunate side of security is a lack of understanding of how lucky you are.
What does this mean? It means you are doing an incredible job. But you need to be getting validation from the other adults in your life, not the children. I want to repeat that, do NOT look for validation and appreciation from the children, that’s not their responsibility and it’s unfair to put that on them. That should come from your dad and even your mum even though these aren’t her children. Therapy for you and the children is also a good idea. Especially if they had an abusive mother as you mentioned.
Onto practical things: you can definitely get them helping more with household stuff. Try and figure out what would be the easiest for them to help with. Maybe laundry?
Can you afford domestic help?
Can you get a babysitter every 2 weeks to give yourself a day off to have your own time?
Can you find something fun to do together so you can have a break from just being responsible? A boardgame or video game or puzzle? Especially a cooperative legacy boardgame that builds on itself so you are working towards something together.
Does school have tutors or after school programs that can help with homework?
Move out fast.
I admire the role you’ve taken: both as your father’s caretaker, and as pseudo-caretaker for his teenage children.
It’s time to have an honest conversation with your father. I think it’s important that you establish a dialogue around how this situation is making you feel, especially if there is another able-bodied parent for these boys who can chip-in, if not step-in and assume their parental responsibilities.
If you’re not honest with your father about your feelings, and continue in your current situation without saying anything, then you’ll find yourself with a lot of emotional weight to deal with in the long run. The foundation of your relationship with his other children is already resentment, you do not feel appreciated, and you feel hostility building up – on top of that foundation of resentment.
Please do yourself a favor and be honest with your father about how you feel, and how you’d like your relationships with him and his boys to look like, so that you can potentially change course before things get worse.
My heart goes out to you I wish I had all the answers for you I wish that I could help in anyway your situation makes me cry and I pray that you get all the help you need and return back to school…….I’m so sorry
Get some counseling help for yourself and the family. Someone must explain to your father how they are all taking advantage of you. And your siblings need help in processione their loss, and in maturing.
You need to have this conversation with your dad. Be honest with him, and tell him everything you’re telling us. He needs to have a chat with your siblings, and they need to start helping out and pulling their weight. I know it’s hard for your dad to enforce this because he’s working, but there has to be an attempt to change this situation.
It’s an unfair situation all around, but you can’t sacrifice your life and happiness. If you don’t plan on leaving the house, it’s going to be another 5 years of filling the mother role.
Not only that, but it’s important life skills that your siblings need to learn. They should be doing chores, keeping their area clean, know how to prepare dinner for themselves, etc. Maybe after having a chat with your dad, you can start teaching your siblings these sorts of things.
I’d also have a chat with your siblings honestly. They’re smart enough to understand the situation, so just be gentle when communicating how you’re feeling and that you’d really appreciate if they could help out around the house so that you can sometimes go out and enjoy yourself too.
This post reads more like a rant or an off my chest. I completely get your father needing help, but everyone here is manipulating you to keep you around to clean up their messes, physical and otherwise. The truth is you could leave. Find peace, enjoy life, only give what you can spare, and put yourself first. Or don’t. Set no boundaries, but the reality of that is essentially putting off the inevitable.
I think it would be beneficial to call a family meeting. Share how you feel unappreciated and like a maid, and that if longterm and sustained change is not made then you will leave. *Don’t* set a time limit. Say if you guys fall into old behaviors, then no amount of crying will keep you around. Mean it. Otherwise you will continue to be their servant, with no life outside of that servitude.
Those children are old enough to do many of the household chores themselves. It’s time to start putting yourself first. Your dad may have to move or get some other help.
You need to get your belt out and give them a solid belting when they don’t help or misbehave.
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