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Step family problems

“I don’t love my stepchildren”

“At 5.30pm, three evenings a week, a dramatic performance takes place in my house, with me centre stage. I’m in the kitchen chatting with my four-year-old daughter and two teenage sons. I relish these moments together, just the four of us. The windows steaming with the boiling pans, the smell of home cooking, the banter and anecdotes about their days. I feel bathed in warmth and love. Then I hear a key in the door and my heart sinks. It’s my stepchildren, and I must appear pleased to see them. I live with not only my own three children but my stepchildren as well What would they like to eat? Are they cold? Would they like me to run them a hot bath? A mug of cocoa, even? It’s pathetic and I know they can see through my saccharine platitudes as they dump their school blazers and rucksacks in the hall, and stomp to their room. Quite often my partner’s eldest child, will pop in unannounced, too, and I start all over again — gushing, cooking, fussing and smiling through gritted teeth. It’s a performance that leaves me exhausted (understandably, as often I will cook six separate meals from scratch to meet…

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