Re: My parents are driving me NUTS
Sorry to hear you're having such a rough time with all this! I think there is excellent advice offered above--set your boundaries (and rules), and stick to them. Learn to say NO!
I know it's hard starting out. If you've spent your entire life in toxic relationships with people dumping on you and no one ever sticking up for you, it can be hard to stick up for yourself, because those people in your life have taught you that you don't deserve better. But you DO DESERVE BETTER.
So practice your responses. Have prepared answers for anything they might throw your way.
They expect you to babysit at the drop of a hat? I'm afraid that doesn't work for me. Good luck finding a sitter! (Maybe give them the numbers of some sitter services in the area and suggest that they plan ahead next time.)
They just drop by and expect to come in and hang out? Don't even let them in the front door! I'm afraid this won't work for me, we have a lot going on today. If you let me know a few days in advance, maybe we can plan a play date to take the kids to the park.
They comment about how you have all this free time because you're on maternity leave? Actually, I'm on maternity leave because taking care of my newborn, our other two young children, and our household is actually a full-time job. I'll have to go back to work soon, and I need as much one-on-one time with the baby so that we properly bond before I have to return to work. Oh, and mentioning work--did you know that I'm still working from home while on leave?
Be firm with your NO, and every time that you say NO, clearly tell them what would be acceptable behavior and encourage them to do that in the future. Eventually they will learn, if you stick to it. That doesn't mean that you HAVE to accept every playdate that stepmom suggests. Figure out what would be an acceptable number for you. Once a week? Twice a week? If she starts inviting more than whatever limit you've decided on, you can decline additional invitations above and beyond that. The easy way to do that is to say, You know, the rest of this week is going to be pretty hectic for us, and I don't want to over-extend the kids. How does next Tuesday work for you? She can't really get upset if you suggest an alternate date when you decline.
Good luck! Let us know how things go.
~Happily un-married since December 9, 2013~