The issue of the moment is her baby shower. She has dropped very broad hints that she wants me to host it. She has also told me where (a surprisingly expensive restaurant), when (she gave me two dates, one of which works for me) and who will come (68 guests). I’ve been kind of passive, although honestly being told what to do gets my back up. Her dad has his back up even more. He HATES her mom, and he says that he won’t go to any party that she is attending nor will he host her. (In fairness, her mom is a manipulative drug addict). He also is taking a stand on inviting some of his daughter’s friends whom, he thinks, have done her wrong. (He is a big grudge-holder while she is not). He also feels that, since she has no money, she should not be having a big party but should instead be focusing on saving for the baby while we should be putting our money towards baby needs and not parties with people we don’t like! He has always had issues with her whole “I must go to the bar every night/every weekend because one of my friends has a birthday party” lifestyle.
I can kind of see it both ways, and it is making me squirm.
I suggested two showers: We would host a small family one, and then anyone else could host the one for her extended peer group. She got very agitated and is adamant that she wants ONE shower, everyone together.
In my best of hearts I just want her to enjoy her pregnancy and mommy-hood as much as possible. Other days I think she is being a controlling, spoiled brat who shouldn’t be dictating what others do for her.
I tried contacting her best friend to see what was up and even suggested two showers; however, she immediately (while we were messaging) texted the mom-to-be, who weighed in with “ONE SHOWER!!” and chastised me about mentioning any issues between her parents to her friend.
I know. I’m running on. Can you offer some guidance? — Not really Step-mom In Over My Head!
Your stepdaughter (and let’s just call her your stepdaughter to make it easier) is acting like an entitled, spoiled, childish BRAT and not at all like a responsible mother-to-be. And, frankly, your and your husband’s even ENTERTAINING the idea of succumbing to her outlandish wishes is enabling her. It’s giving her permission to continue acting like a spoiled little brat instead of stepping up and taking responsibility for this life she is going to be, well, totally responsible for in a few months.
Here’s what you do: Decide how much you are willing to spend on a baby shower (and how much you want to put aside to help with costs of baby supplies, etc., which I strongly suggest you buy outright rather than trust your stepdaughter to buy with your money). Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you are willing to spend $250 on a baby shower. For that money, you could host a certain number of people in your own home (if you’re comfortable with that), providing a light lunch or refreshments, maybe a cake, and some decorations. OR you could host a much smaller number at a restaurant (depending on the restaurant, of course, the time of day you went, and their menu). Then you tell your stepdaughter those are her options, period. There will not be a 68-person guest list. You are not going to pay for that many people at a restaurant, nor are you going to squeeze that many people into your home. It’s just not going to happen. She can have a restaurant shower with, like, 5-10 people, or she can have a shower at your home with, say, 20-25 people (or whatever you’re comfortable with. Definitely give her a max number for the guest list though! But don’t dictate whom she can or can’t invite. If there are people you really can’t fathom hosting, then don’t agree to host a shower for her at all). Those are her options and, if she wants neither, then the third option is she finds someone else to host a shower and you put the $250 you would have spent on hosting towards necessities for the baby.
Obviously, an entitled brat like your stepdaughter is going to act like a brat when she doesn’t get her way. She’ll throw a tantrum and be ungrateful and try her best to make you feel really bad about not giving her the baby shower of her dreams. TOO DAMN BAD. When that baby comes and she needs help because she can’t afford to buy it the diapers and food and clothes it needs, she’ll have no choice but to accept whatever you’re willing to offer her, even if she doesn’t deem it enough or up to her standards, because she’s not going to have any other options.
I don’t know what kind of upbringing she’s had or what examples and expectations her mother or father (your boyfriend) have set for her, but, if she’s a grown adult acting the way you’ve described and making the decisions she’s made, I’m going to guess there has been a lack of clear boundaries and probably a lot of catering to her whims (maybe out of guilt?). That has to stop now. It has to stop or she will continue to take advantage of you and her father — especially as her responsibilities and needs grow, as they certainly will with a baby — and she will abuse whatever kindness you offer and demand help you haven’t offered. (I can see it now: For baby’s first birthday, she will demand you rent a bouncy castle and a pony and a space big enough for 50 of baby’s best friends and their families).
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].