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Mean Stepmoms: Who Cleans in Blended Families?

Mean Stepmoms: Who Cleans in Blended Families?

Cleaning is just part of life. It has to be done. But in a large or blended family where the members have varying schedules due to work or visitation requirements, not to mention differrent definitions of the word clean, keeping the physical household spic-n-span often isn't at the top of the to-do list.

It's not unusual to hear step-moms say they still do the bulk of the cleaning.

"It seems like every day I wake up and tackle the house cleaning and by the time I'm close to being done everyone comes home and well ... undoes everything I just did," writes Dawn T., a member of the Large or Blended Families community.

"I work 40 plus hours a week, my husband does as well but in the end, I still have to do everything," laments Jennifer N.

Her two biological sons - ages seven and nine - are responsible for cleaning their rooms and taking their clothes to the laundry. Her expectations for her 18-year-old stepson are no different. But his of her are. Jennifer said he expects to be paid for doing dishes and putting his laundry in the washing machine.

This dilemna is one Tami V. also understands. There are five children in her household: two older stepdaughters and the three biological children she had with her husband. Getting her older daughters to help just isn't happening, she reports. "At the ages of 14 and 10, it should already happen since they've been with us for six years."

This struggle over household chores isn't unusual for blended families, which parents and children typically enter into with divergent perspectives regarding cleaning and chores.

Kate is a member of the Mums Over 40 ... With Children of All Ages community. She's also a stepmom, blending three of her own children with the three children her husband brought into their marriage.

"We don't seem to agree on children doing chores or cleaning up after themselves," posts Kate. "His kids never had to clean up after themselves."

From leaving dirty dishes lying around, to wet towels on the floors and toothpaste all over the bathroom, Kate believes her step children are corrupting her biological children's sense of cleanliness, and lowering their sense of responsibility.

"Now ... my kids don't want to do any chores or their everyday cleanup because his kids don't have to," she writes.

While kids normally don't want to do chores no matter what therir family structure, the dynamics of a blended family can certainly work against keeping order. This is especially true when the custodial home includes a stepmom who is trying to curtail the mess left behind by family members who do not accept her legitimacy as an authority figure.

"How do I avoid being the mean stepmom?" is a question posed by Gina W in her search for answers on how to engage her stepdaughters in household chores. "It's killing me and making me feel like the mean stepmom when I have to reprimand them."

It may be best to set aside the titles and just focus on keeping the home clean for all who live in it.

That's the advice of Richelle T., a stepmom who also posted in the Large or Blended Families community.

Her stepson visits on the weekends, and she reports, "I make him clean up after himself when he is here because he still needs to know that no matter where you are at, if you make a mess, you clean it up. Remember, you are the one that runs your home. Not the kids."

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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