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Hmm... are we going to have a problem? - Page 2

post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
What if your precious baby girl had a step mother--a step mother who hated the way you parented or dressed her. A step mother who went on parenting boards and ran you--the baby's mother--down?
Just addressing this point...

*Many* of us here see the B&SFP board as a safe place to get advice about how to deal with people with whom we would not normally get along. We might post "my SD's mother is driving me crazy/is dating a convicted felon/dresses ugly/lives in a death trap/has a weird piercing that I can't bear to look at and now my SS wants one!" here so we DON'T bring it into the real world. We may be tempted as humans to just lay into someone who is bothering us, but that's rarely constructive (the bordering-on-stalker ex-boyfriend is a notable exception), so why not work it out in relative anonymity?

I suspect most of our counterparts (be it the mom or the stepmom) have never even heard of MDC.

I do not have biological children, but speaking as a human being with some sense of empathy, I would much rather someone post nasty things about me (and "she likes ugly clothes" is pretty tepid) on a message board so they can work through a constructive way to deal with me, than have that someone just say those nasty things unfiltered, to my face (or worse, in front of my stepkid).
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
Do you have stepchildren? If so, I really feel sorry for them if you can't love them as your own. Why is it that a step-mother can't love the child as the mother does?

My girls are all my girls, Maia, Madison, and Sage. Just because Madison came into my life at age 2 1/2 instead of as an egg, does not mean I love her any less.
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post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Just addressing this point...

.... I would much rather someone post nasty things about me (and "she likes ugly clothes" is pretty tepid) on a message board so they can work through a constructive way to deal with me, than have that someone just say those nasty things unfiltered, to my face (or worse, in front of my stepkid).
Yeah, that!

I don't post here often, but I read many of the posts and use this forum to gain other's insight into my own feelings on the blended family situation. Sometimes I need a reality check, sometimes I need a space where others in blended families can provide their insight. I don't have many friends that live in a blended family, so while they can be a great source of support emotionally, they just cannot empathize.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
I do not have biological children, but speaking as a human being with some sense of empathy, I would much rather someone post nasty things about me (and "she likes ugly clothes" is pretty tepid) on a message board so they can work through a constructive way to deal with me, than have that someone just say those nasty things unfiltered, to my face (or worse, in front of my stepkid).
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post #25 of 44
Back to the original issue for a sec: is it possible that in the cases described your DSD's mom was worried that DSD was "bothering" the baby or being too overbearing and trying to give you space? perhaps an "i don't mind, if you're worried about me or dd" would be good; even if it's not the reason, assuming the best can often help a situation

On relating to DSD's mom and these issues: my ex is not a very admirable person in a lot of ways; i have a lot of empathy for him but he is not at all as good a parent as my current partner; he has lots of incredibly difficult issues and is challenging to be around and work with and parent with; my partner would have every reason to be scornful of him; instead, he almost always tries to see the best in him, always talks him up to my daughter and anyone else, always points out nice things that my ex has done for my daughter, etc. It goes a million miles towards a harmonious relationship between the 3 of us and towards the security of my daughter.

I think it is worth trying to find the best in your dsd's mom and find a way to acknowledge that. No matter what choices you disagree with, she loves her daughter very much. Perhaps that is something you can find ways to appreciate and acknowledge even if her way of loving is different. I know you're in a really tough situation and I know you're just venting. And you don't get a lot of support from your husband right now. BUT, I do think it's possible that your dsd's mom picks up on your lack of respect for her and that it could have an impact. I would add that your dh doesn't have a lot of respect for her either. All of this can make for tough-going. I don't think it's about lying but about trying to find something to genuinely appreciate in her. Some bio-moms sound like nightmares (like HarleyHalfMoon's) but yours seems more like someone you disagree with, who can often be petty, but who is generally decent and loving and who you can build a relationship with. You have 13 years to go so I think it's worth really trying.

Btw, I do think a stepmom can love a child as much as the mom does, esp if the relationship is developed early in the child's life. It may not be the same but I don't think you can deny that feeling. I know I haven't yet had to share my daughter with another woman but I honestly believe it's not about us but about our children - and why shouldn't they have the opportunity to have 2 people love them as a mother? Our children are not our possessions but their own people with their own relationships - we have to let them have that.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
Btw, I do think a stepmom can love a child as much as the mom does, esp if the relationship is developed early in the child's life. It may not be the same but I don't think you can deny that feeling. I know I haven't yet had to share my daughter with another woman but I honestly believe it's not about us but about our children - and why shouldn't they have the opportunity to have 2 people love them as a mother? Our children are not our possessions but their own people with their own relationships - we have to let them have that.
My ex is engaged and his fiance has been living with him since December. I can honestly say that I hope that she loves them as I do and as she loves her son. They love her and I encourage the relationship for the reasons you said. it is about the children. If I were putting myself first I would hold an attitude of "she can never love them like I can" but for the sake of my children, I hope to hell she loves them with her entire being. They deserve nothing less!
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post

Do you feel Stepmoms are not to give any care of the child what so ever? I have a young DSD who needs things done for her... if I were to simply stop doing them, then I'd be jumped all over as being a cold heartless UAV.

I really can't win ever, can I?


As for finding positive things to say about her... I have tried, I truly have. I have racked my brain on countless occaisons, but I have not come up with too much. I do not think I am better than her, really... we are just vastly different and she makes a lot of decisions that quite honestly make my skin crawl, and some of these choices are things that many women here on MDC would be quite upset about, as well. Her and I are just world's apart on the parenting front, as well as many other aspects of her personality.
Okay, there's a difference between "she made stupid attempts at mothering my child" and "stepmoms should never care." Her attempts were *stupid*. She was extremely young, had no children of her own and never once consulted me on how I parent my child who she barely knew. She'd met me all of a half dozen times before she married my son's father and decided she was suddenly qualified not to simply love and nurture my kid but to start being part of the decision making process. (For the record, my son's *father* is barely part of the decision making process. It's what works for everyone, him included. Not what lots of folks are used to, but we've got an awesome kid and an amicable relationship so naysayers can go suck an egg.)

I was, for example, fully aware that my son was struggling with oral hygiene at age 6. We were working on good solutions for helping him remember to brush his teeth. Sending him back to me (remember, HIS MOTHER) with "homework" on the matter was not okay. In what universe did this girl really think I was going to sign a tooth brushing chart everyday so he could report back to her when he came to visit? OMGWTFPOLARBEAR! There's trying to be part of his life and then there's WAY overstepping your boundaries.

The point is that you *can* win but there will be a significant amount of "big girl panties" on your part. There's a lot of outraged howling right now that I'm being soooo mean to the "stepmother" and expecting more of the "stepmother"... actually, who I'm advocating more effort from is the "person with the clarity to recognize the problem". You see that the issue is an issue and you came here for opinions. That shows a level of grownupocity that the biomom may not be up to showing right now. Good news is, you're a grownup. Bad news is, you may be "the" grown up right now. You know it's broken. You know it doesn't have to be. You know it would be better NOT broken. Now what?

You have choices. You can cling to "I can't find anything good about her, she's such a witch, it's not my fault." That's a choice. It's an easy one and a tempting one. It's one that I will absolutely admit to having caved to at moments in my life with assorted people. I'm not telling you I've never made these mistakes- I'm telling you I DID and boy was it a mess! Your other choice that I see is way harder, less fun and not at all appealing. You can rise above it. You can be the grownup. You can do what she hasn't and try hard to see the other person's POV and good qualities.

You are in love with a man I assume you respect and admire. You value his opinions. At some point in time, he found this woman lovable and worthy. She was good enough for him to love. She was good enough to produce a child you love- and while you say you hate her parenting, bad parents don't produce good children by random accident. She has to have good qualities, even if you have to look hard through the drama to find them. If you can't compliment the way she dresses her daughter, find something else. That was an example, not a solid. She's doing something right somewhere and it's no fun to go find it but that's what could fix the drama.

Yes, it's her drama too. Yes, she's certainly partially to blame. Yes, in a perfect world you'd all be grown ups all the time and everyone would get along. That's not what you got. What you got was a mess that is not all of your making but you're the only one who is putting forth effort to fix it. I can't give advice on how to make HER make it better. You can't make her pull her share of the load on this one. What you can do is pull your share and accept that right now you might need to take on more than half the work. You can be fair or you can be productive. The chances of her stepping up later on are dramatically increased if you do it now.

She may be the biggest jerk in the universe, but she's still this little girl's mother. In 20 years, DSD will remember how you treated her. If what she remembers is you being graceful under trying circumstances... well, that's worth everything, isn't it? Above and beyond the call of duty is where the heroes are made and good step-parenting is nothing if not heroic.
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Elsa View Post
Okay, there's a difference between "she made stupid attempts at mothering my child" and "stepmoms should never care." Her attempts were *stupid*. She was extremely young, had no children of her own and never once consulted me on how I parent my child who she barely knew. She'd met me all of a half dozen times before she married my son's father and decided she was suddenly qualified not to simply love and nurture my kid but to start being part of the decision making process. (For the record, my son's *father* is barely part of the decision making process. It's what works for everyone, him included. Not what lots of folks are used to, but we've got an awesome kid and an amicable relationship so naysayers can go suck an egg.)

I was, for example, fully aware that my son was struggling with oral hygiene at age 6. We were working on good solutions for helping him remember to brush his teeth. Sending him back to me (remember, HIS MOTHER) with "homework" on the matter was not okay. In what universe did this girl really think I was going to sign a tooth brushing chart everyday so he could report back to her when he came to visit? OMGWTFPOLARBEAR! There's trying to be part of his life and then there's WAY overstepping your boundaries.

.
Sounds like an issue with between you and your son's father, not necessarily the step-mom. I am assuming his father has overnight visitation (tooth-brushing makes me assuming overnights) and that the courts see him as competent. In that case your son's care at his fathers house is something that is between his father and his step-mother (unless of course they are putting him in danger- a tooth brushing chart is hardly dangerous)

Sounds like a reward chart to me. We did something similar with my step-daughter about not screaming for us in the middle of the night (walk downstairs and climb in bed or talk softly over the baby monitor) now we did have one chart for our house and one for her mom's and did seperate rewards, but how is a tooth brushing reward chart overstepping her boundaries? Do you have to sign it? No, of course not. But acting like she is some horrible person for trying to come up with ideas just seems a bit off.
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Elsa View Post
Quite a bit of it was my over reacting to her making damn stupid attempts at mothering my child.

I'm able to enjoy seeing him with his younger half siblings and she's able to respect the fact that he's a good kid because I work hard at it, not because of a fluke and her influence EOW. .

I also took your first statement to read like Jen did. That she was not to mother your child at all. After you explained, I can see that you thought her mothering attempts were stupid.

Really? Don't you think your son deserves a lot of the credit? I see lots of good kids (I teach middle school) with crappy parents and lots of nasty kids with great parents who really try. I am sure that a lot of the credit belongs to you as his primary care-giver, role model, etc, but your son, his father, his step-mother, teachers, friends, have all helped to shape him.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
Sounds like an issue with between you and your son's father, not necessarily the step-mom.

It was certainly something I took up with his father... only to discover he had NO clue she'd done it. Much like when she talked to my then two year old about the possibility of spanking him. She wasn't even consulting the non-custodial parent, she was just making it up as she went along on her own.

I think it's fascinating that you think a virtual stranger should be free to demand a parent report to her about her child's progress and to make unilateral decisions about his care. It's a very interesting point of view and one I have not been previously exposed to, so thanks for a new experience.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Elsa View Post
It was certainly something I took up with his father... only to discover he had NO clue she'd done it. Much like when she talked to my then two year old about the possibility of spanking him. She wasn't even consulting the non-custodial parent, she was just making it up as she went along on her own.

I think it's fascinating that you think a virtual stranger should be free to demand a parent report to her about her child's progress and to make unilateral decisions about his care. It's a very interesting point of view and one I have not been previously exposed to, so thanks for a new experience.

So after at least 4 years she is still a virtual stranger? You said she talked to him at age 2, the tooth thing happened at age 6. She was not a virtual stranger. If she "demanded" you "report" to her then that is wrong, but a toothbrushing progress chart doesn't seem like something that is a big issue. So helping him to remember to brush his teeth (something you also said was an issue) is suddenly making unilateral decisions? I just don't see it. Progress charts are commonly used in schools and in other households, I take it you don't like them, but it doesn't make it bad or wrong. Now if she thrust it at you and said "I decided that you need to chart this so I can punich him if he doesn't brush" there is an issue. If he brought a toothbrushing progress chart home and said step-mom wants me to keep using the chart (I am assuming there was a reward involved) I just don't see it being some big attack on your parenting. And according to what you have posted she had been his step-mom for 4 years at that point, that is hardly a stranger.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
I understand you love your SD. (It will never compare to the love her mother has).
umm...how do you know that? It's a big assumption that just because someone is a biological mother they must love the child as nobody else ever could. I'm not a stepmom, nor do I have one...but I do know that both my brother and my son have stepfathers who love them far beyond anything their "real" fathers were capable of. I know at least one stepmom who was a total nightmare for her sd...and another who is the closest thing I can think of to a saint. Can I, personally, imagine anybody else loving my children like I do? No - but that doesn't mean I'm right.
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
So after at least 4 years she is still a virtual stranger? <snip> And according to what you have posted she had been his step-mom for 4 years at that point, that is hardly a stranger.
Yes, after 4 years the stepmother was (most likely) still a "virtual stranger" to the child's mother. I seriously doubt they got together regularly for coffee or to hang out. No where was it said that the stepmother was a stranger to the child at that point. The posts were discussing the relationship between the adult women. So, yes, the stepmother was still a "virtual stranger" in that context...
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Elsa View Post
You are in love with a man I assume you respect and admire. You value his opinions. At some point in time, he found this woman lovable and worthy. She was good enough for him to love.
What does that have to do with anything? I loved my ex, too - doesn't mean I can find much, if anything, positive to say about him now, or that dh should be able to pull something out of thin air.

Quote:
She was good enough to produce a child you love- and while you say you hate her parenting, bad parents don't produce good children by random accident.
Really? DS1 is a pretty good indication that this doesn't always hold true. His dad was a very bad parent, and I was...probably slightly better overall, but worse at my worst. DS1 was exposed to a lot of yelling, both at him, and between us (most of the yelling was me), neglect (mostly his dad), and a just horrifyingly emotionally unhealthy atmosphere in which to live for most of his childhood. He is, nonetheless, an amazing kid, and I've heard very little negative about him, ever, and have had multiple people seek me out to say, "you're ds1's mom, right? He's such an amazing kid - so kind/respectful/mature/fun/creative/determined/fill in blank". He's a good kid. He had crappy parents. He was also gifted with a wonderful stepdad at the age of 8, which has made a huge difference in his life...but he was a good kid before that.

I certainly agree that the OP should try to find whatever good qualities she can in her sd's mom. It's always easier to make a relationship - whatever the nature of that relationship - function, if you can find some common ground and respect for each other. But, the "her dd's a good kid, so she must be a good parent" logic falls flat.
post #35 of 44
"I understand you love your SD. (It will never compare to the love her mother has)."


I am very, very, very sure that this is not a universal truth.
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione View Post
Yes, after 4 years the stepmother was (most likely) still a "virtual stranger" to the child's mother. I seriously doubt they got together regularly for coffee or to hang out. No where was it said that the stepmother was a stranger to the child at that point. The posts were discussing the relationship between the adult women. So, yes, the stepmother was still a "virtual stranger" in that context...

My kid's soon to be step-mom has been in their lives for ten months, living with their dad for 6 months. She is not a "virtual stranger" but I have never "gone for coffee" or "hung out" with her either. If, after 4 years of your child being with this woman every other weekend, you still consider her a virtual stranger, you should make an effort to know more about her. I would never let my kids spend that much time with someone I had not at least spoken to/texted/e-mailed a few times. I know you have to give the parenting time, thats not what I mean, I mean that an effort should be made to know more about the step-parent, even if it is just information shared by the child (not pumped rom the child, but shared just like a kid would talk about their teacher. In fact there is a great example, most of us have not "had coffee with" or " hung out with" our kids teachers, but would you consider them a "virtual stranger?"
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
umm...how do you know that? It's a big assumption that just because someone is a biological mother they must love the child as nobody else ever could. I'm not a stepmom, nor do I have one...but I do know that both my brother and my son have stepfathers who love them far beyond anything their "real" fathers were capable of. I know at least one stepmom who was a total nightmare for her sd...and another who is the closest thing I can think of to a saint. Can I, personally, imagine anybody else loving my children like I do? No - but that doesn't mean I'm right.

Yep I purposely left out the biological part because I wanted to see what her answer was. because if she is equating biology to love, then that is a huge slap in the face to the millions of adoptive families also. ( I am an adoptee )
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
My kid's soon to be step-mom has been in their lives for ten months, living with their dad for 6 months. She is not a "virtual stranger" but I have never "gone for coffee" or "hung out" with her either. If, after 4 years of your child being with this woman every other weekend, you still consider her a virtual stranger, you should make an effort to know more about her. I would never let my kids spend that much time with someone I had not at least spoken to/texted/e-mailed a few times. I know you have to give the parenting time, thats not what I mean, I mean that an effort should be made to know more about the step-parent, even if it is just information shared by the child (not pumped rom the child, but shared just like a kid would talk about their teacher. In fact there is a great example, most of us have not "had coffee with" or " hung out with" our kids teachers, but would you consider them a "virtual stranger?"
Maybe some of it is definitions. I wouldn't consider having spoken to/texted/e-mail someon a few times to make them any less of a virtual stranger. I have an in-law with whom I've interacted at family gatherings, including some informal playdates, and have even visited in the hospital...and she's the next best thing to a stranger to me.

And, yeah - my son's teachers have almost all been virtual strangers...certainly all his high school teachers. A 5 minutes parent-teacher conference twice a year (if that, because I don't speak to all his teachers) hardly qualifies someone as anything other than a stranger. I've had fellow commutes on the bus that I've talked to more than that...and don't even know their names.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
So after at least 4 years she is still a virtual stranger? You said she talked to him at age 2, the tooth thing happened at age 6. She was not a virtual stranger. If she "demanded" you "report" to her then that is wrong, but a toothbrushing progress chart doesn't seem like something that is a big issue. So helping him to remember to brush his teeth (something you also said was an issue) is suddenly making unilateral decisions? I just don't see it. Progress charts are commonly used in schools and in other households, I take it you don't like them, but it doesn't make it bad or wrong. Now if she thrust it at you and said "I decided that you need to chart this so I can punich him if he doesn't brush" there is an issue. If he brought a toothbrushing progress chart home and said step-mom wants me to keep using the chart (I am assuming there was a reward involved) I just don't see it being some big attack on your parenting. And according to what you have posted she had been his step-mom for 4 years at that point, that is hardly a stranger.
Lets see... in that 4 years there was:

-1 1/2 years where she saw him precisely five times because she informed her husband they needed a "fresh start" and they moved out of state.

-1 year where she saw him for 1 1/2 days once a month

-1 1/2 years where she saw him roughly every two weeks for 1 1/2 days.

So yes. Virtual stranger. He had a closer bond with his 4th grade teacher, his speech therapist and possibly the waitress at his favorite restaurant.

This is not a parent who happens to not be biologically related to him. This is not a person like my husband who raises him and loves him and makes him a priority. This is a person who happens to have married the guy who sired him and is around during visits. There are all shades of step parents and while she's not evil, she's not his parent either. Her actions have always put him firmly behind the interests of her own desires and her own kids and trying to compare her to non-related people who parent with their whole hearts is an insult to those folks.

What's wrong and bad is someone with no real bond with my kid thinking she gets to organize his life and I need to go along with her ideas. I'd be a negligent mother if I let random people in his life run around harum-scarum disciplining him without my input. If you don't get that there's nothing more to say.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Elsa View Post
Lets see... in that 4 years there was:

-1 1/2 years where she saw him precisely five times because she informed her husband they needed a "fresh start" and they moved out of state.

-1 year where she saw him for 1 1/2 days once a month

-1 1/2 years where she saw him roughly every two weeks for 1 1/2 days.

So yes. Virtual stranger. He had a closer bond with his 4th grade teacher, his speech therapist and possibly the waitress at his favorite restaurant.

This is not a parent who happens to not be biologically related to him. This is not a person like my husband who raises him and loves him and makes him a priority. This is a person who happens to have married the guy who sired him and is around during visits. There are all shades of step parents and while she's not evil, she's not his parent either. Her actions have always put him firmly behind the interests of her own desires and her own kids and trying to compare her to non-related people who parent with their whole hearts is an insult to those folks.

What's wrong and bad is someone with no real bond with my kid thinking she gets to organize his life and I need to go along with her ideas. I'd be a negligent mother if I let random people in his life run around harum-scarum disciplining him without my input. If you don't get that there's nothing more to say.
Not to contribute to the derailment of this thread, but this one struck a chord with me...

I have to be honest, the toothbrushing issue must have been *really* bad for someone who was around this infrequently to even know about it. I'd have to give her kudos for noticing - unless his teeth were falling out, it isn't something that *I*would have noticed on a once-a-month overnight visit.

Also, where was the dad during these visits? If she had time to notice the problem, construct a chart, institute a policy, and talk to the child about it, his dad must have been gone the entire time. I just don't see how it could have happened without his knowledge if he was around.

Although I don't support her making a decision like that if she truly only sees the child so little, to me it seems like the father of the child is the one that needs to take responsibility here. For something like that to happen, he would have to be completely unengaged in the happenings of his home or just plain absent.

We had a chart like that, and it didn't get instituted without several days of DH and I debating the merits of it, and it took some time to make it and start using it. There just no way that I could have done something like that without DH's knowledge, nor would I, because DH and I have had many conversations about what both he and I feel my role is with regard to DSD. Although I do discipline DSD, it is always me carrying out the policies set by her father (FWIW, what happens at our house does not go to the other house and vice-versa - if it did, there would be a conversation between the parents, not a chart sent in a child's backpack). And she with with us over half of the time. When he only had her EOW, 1) I didn't know enough about his policies to carry them out and 2) I wasn't alone with DSD for longer than it would have taken Dh to run to the store because with that small amount of parenting time, he was going to make the most of every minute of it.

So there is a bigger issue here than the stepmom overstepping boundaries - the father appears to be out of touch with what is going on during what is a very short amount of parenting time. He really should be involved enough in what is happening during these visits that things like this would not happen. It bothers me that we automatically blame the stepmom for doing too much instead of blaming the father for doing too little (and possibly the mother and father for not coparenting together to solve what must have been a fairly serious problem).
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