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Step-Mom's What advice would you give to the Bio Mom? - Page 2

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappiMomof4 View Post
"If she is good to them, allow her to be at the children's extracurricular activities. You don't have to sit next to her, or be her BFF, but to just allow her to be there. She probably feels some bond with your children and wants to participate in things."

I don't know about this statement..."allowing" her to attend things IF she is good to them. I think that's a bit outside biomom's scope of control, no? I feel that kind of attitude would put this new relationship right into the toilet. Whether or not she attends activities is between stepmom and dad. Biomom shouldn't be giving her permission if stepmom behaves....sounds condescending to me.
FWIW, I saw this as more of "allow yourself to be OK with it" than actually giving her permission.

My own advice: Remember you're only getting half the story (and we're only getting half the story, too). When your daughter says "stepmom showered with me while Daddy played on the computer," it doesn't mean Daddy is neglecting his daughter's care or allowing his wife to do inappropriate things. In my own house, it means "I asked ProtoLawyer to help me rinse the shampoo out because I can't do it well yet and I'm getting uncomfortable with boys, even Daddy, seeing me in the shower."

(Now, that doesn't mean ignore your gut if something seems wrong...it just means be careful about jumping to conclusions based on little information. )

Also, about that "neglecting parental duties" thing--my partner's been on the receiving end of that accusation a few times, mostly for things that just work a certain way in our house. In an "intact" family, people have different ways of dividing the work, and the same is true for a stepfamily. For instance, laundry is handled here kind of ad-hoc...whoever comes across a load pitches it in the washer. I'm not going to sort my SD's stuff out because it's "Dad's job." Segregating stuff related to SD's care would cause way more work for everyone. Also, when SD's mom heard "Proto went to Walgreens to get my medicine" from SD, she heard "Dad's not doing his job." In reality, I was taking care of the prescription so Dad could comfort the sick child.
post #22 of 34
Protolawyer, please tell me she didn't get upset that you were doing her daughter's laundry instead of her dad! Oh my...

My advice would be to never assume she is trying to replace you/undermine you/make your kids love her better than you. I think it is easy to feel threatened by this new woman in your kids' lives (and I would be the first to admit that the thought of somebody else "mothering" my dd makes me a little crazy!), but it seems like you are doing a great job of recognizing that YOU are the mom, and that your kids can have another adult woman care for them, love them, etc. without that diminishing your own relationship with your kids.
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
FWIW, I saw this as more of "allow yourself to be OK with it" than actually giving her permission.
That's exactly what I meant, sorry about the confusion.
post #24 of 34
I wear both hats, I have a 4 year old dsd, and my 4 and 6 1/2 year old dd's have a soon to be step-mom (she has been living with them since December)

Our kids are young, 6 1/2 and 2 4 year olds at our house, and 4, 5, and 6 1/2 at their dads. I stress that my dsd has a mommy, but in our family I do the mommy things, she calls me julie, but when we are all out we refer to me as mommy julie to all three of them, it is just easier. For my bio daughters, they know that i am their mommy, but when they are at their dad's house the family unit there has Rachel as the mommy figure to them all. IMO the kids deserve to be treated as the child of the parents of the household they are at for that parenting time. Major decisions should be made by the bio parents (school, choice of doctor, etc) but when madison is with us she is treated as one of my daughters plain and simple. now, the fact that they kids are so close in age also plays a huge part in the decision to have me in the mommy role for madison and matt in the daddy role for Maia and sage at our house, and the same at my kid's dads, being 4, 5, and 6 just makes it work to treat all the kids the same and to have all of the parenting figures at in the role of a parent.

we are actually on a 9 day family vacation right now (near Branson missouri) and we introduce the kids as ours and as sisters. i have been sending texts and pictures to dsd's mom on a regular basis and i hope, that when my daughters go to disney with their dad and soon to be step mom, they will do the same. They way I look at it is that the adults can hate each other for the adult issues, but the four of us are raising my amazing daughters together and as parents we have a duty to work together to do what is right for the kids. Same with dsd, she has 3 parental units and we need to set adult issues aside when it comes to raising madison!
post #25 of 34
I didn't read all the responses, so I'm not sure if this has been said. This is the advice I'd give my DH's ex if I thought she'd listen ^_~. I'm still hopeful that the day will come when her and I can speak comfortably.

Be open, and continue to persue a friendly relationship. You don't have to be close or anything, but friendly and communicating is good. This is the right path, don't let your Ex discourage you, he'll come around.

Listen. She'll be around your kids a lot, and what she see's might help. (My DSS1 has Aspergers and I'm the one that noticed his Seasonal Depression symptoms. We haven't diagnosed this, but now we make sure he gets out in the sun more and it's helped a lot.) Her opinion should never be the end-all, be-all, but it should be taken into account.

Kids lie and/or misunderstand. If they say something strange, talk to an adult before you get too upset.

Something as simple as, "You aren't allowed to have too much junk food, you'll get overwieght." can turn into, "Step-Mom says I'm fat!"

Even if she wasn't looking to "play mommy" her instincts will be there, and she's likely to become attached. You -should- be able to trust that their best interest will be at the heart of it. She obviously doesn't want to replace you in your kid's lives, I'll bet she'll be pretty accepting of a relationship with you.
post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thank You

Thanks so much again for all the replies.

As for now, I have no contact with her whatsoever. I am open to it, she is not. In fact, they take the kids out of town and dont' even let me know. (I sent a nice email asking to please just give me a heads up)

I can only hope that someday she will communicate with me and that it will be positive. I am 100% committed to being amicable.

Is it wrong to want to know what they do when they are not with me? I mean, my son has Asperger's, my daughter food allergies and reflux. I update my X almost daily with cute anecdotes, how they are, how they feel, what they enjoyed doing that day, etc. I hate just hearing random toddler type stories when they come home. I can't make sense of it and wonder what is real and what isn't.

I know I have to get over that part. But they are so young...

Anyways, thanks again!
post #27 of 34
I'm a stepmom and one of my best resources has been my friends IRL that happen to be biomoms whose kids have stepmoms. One friend of mine in particular is someone whose general judgment I respect and whose parenting style I would like to emulate. It is great to ask her her opinion on a variety of issues etc. She does not know my DH's X so it is neutral. It enables me to take the high road and treat my DH's X like I would treat his other woman I respect. So if you come across a gal IRL that you like and happens to be a stepmom - cultivate it.
Of course this forum can do the same thing for you, but I think that a living breathing person in your life can be really helpful. Truth is, blended families are way hard across the board and it can bring out all the little pieces of yourself that aren't the best example of who you try to be. Advice from the other side (IRL or virtual) can help you keep your bearings.
post #28 of 34
And a comment on your last question about wanting to know what is going on when your children are not with you...
It is perfectly natural for you to want to know these things. I can't imagine how hard it is for you to be separated from your babies.
On the other hand, in the particular case of my family, if X was "updating DH almost daily" back in the early days I would have felt she was trying to keep her relationship with him alive and I would have considered it very unwelcome. However, families situations are all unique.
I would try to depersonalize it. Say you suggest to your X that an "anecdote & incident" notebook be passed back and forth that all "caregivers" can jot things down in. Could make a nice keepsake as the kids grow and will help establish boundaries about the type of info that each side would like to exchange. This may not be a good option in your case, but I would suggest you be creative in conveying that your interest is in information about your children and not an attempt to interfere in their lives. Good luck!
post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneybeeWaterfall View Post
And a comment on your last question about wanting to know what is going on when your children are not with you...
It is perfectly natural for you to want to know these things. I can't imagine how hard it is for you to be separated from your babies.
On the other hand, in the particular case of my family, if X was "updating DH almost daily" back in the early days I would have felt she was trying to keep her relationship with him alive and I would have considered it very unwelcome. However, families situations are all unique.
I would try to depersonalize it. Say you suggest to your X that an "anecdote & incident" notebook be passed back and forth that all "caregivers" can jot things down in. Could make a nice keepsake as the kids grow and will help establish boundaries about the type of info that each side would like to exchange. This may not be a good option in your case, but I would suggest you be creative in conveying that your interest is in information about your children and not an attempt to interfere in their lives. Good luck!

Thank you so very much for this.

I send the updates pretty much just like I have their entire lives. The reason being that Dad works massive hours but is a good Dad. He usually loves to hear all the cute stories. Now that we are divorced, and that I have primary custody, I honestly feel for him that he misses out on the day to day little things. He was always very involved in nighttime/early morning parenting. I'm trying to keep him invovled as much as I can. Hearing from so many Dad's that their ex-wives prohibit contact, respect and information. I do not want to be that ex-wife/mother.

I think I will bring up the notebook idea. It could take pressure off of both of us and make X more comfortable, I think.

I have yet to meet a RL Step-Mom or Bio Mom that handles divorce/blended family in a way that I would want to emulate.

I have no desire whatsoever to keep any part of our relationship alive. However, I do have issue with X's almost refusal to answer emails/written requests about important matters such as schooling, scheduling, medical issues and the like. He IS their father and has not only a legal right but a responsibility to contribute to decision making. They are his kids too - but this is part of his passive aggressive crap. I need to stop writing about this part now.

I will try the notebook and update you!
post #30 of 34
It should be part of your separation agreement for mom and dad to inform each other where the kids are at all times.
I am extremely impressed with you!
I wish my stepkids' mom were open to a relationship with me. PErhaps guilt is behind her reluctance--she doesn't want to look you in the face?
I wrote a letter to my stepkids' mom a number of months in my relationship with my now-husband, inviting her to check me and my place out (the kids were staying at my place b/c his was so small), and saying how cooperation between us would help the kids, etc, but received no response. That was about 7 yrs ago. Aside from a drunken phone call where she weirdly gave me total responsibility for her kids' happiness, I have not had a conversation with her beyond exceptionally brief small talk.
Usually she doesn't even say hello back. She is angry, and always will be. SHe can't talk to her ex-husband either. She doesn't hide any of her animosity from her kids. I am polite when I am faced with her, but I no longer go out of my way to say hello. It's sad b/c it could have been different.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Joseph View Post
I am recently divorced. My ex left me for his co-worker and they are still together and planning a life together. Despite being devestated by the divorce....I sincerely want to develop a workable relationship with StepMom.

What would you wish the bio mom in your life would have done to make the relationship better? Or what advice would you give?

I am blessed in that she is nice and my children really like her. I have made it very clear to my babies that it is just fine that they like her, fine to love her. That nothing changes that I'm their mom and they are their own people who can choose who to love.

I know myself, I am the hovering, overprotective mother I never wanted to be (haha!) but I do want to try.

Thanks in advance for your input!





WOW! I like you, what a "huge" attempt you are making!!! I am so very sorry for your divorce, and I understand the pain of being left for "another"woman", I am not sure I could do what you are doing , but here is my advice......

Invite her out to a cup of coffee, or over for a chat, sit down with her, make sure she knows it is just a friendly chat for the childrens sake. See how you both feel about the care of the kids, and make sure, she knows in a polite but firm way any boundaries you are not comfortable with her doing with the kids. It doesn't sound like your ex and her have been together long, but if they are truly going to make it work, fighting her the whole way will not work, and it sounds like you already know that, but there are boundaries you are allowed to have, kwim? Make sure she feels she has an openness with you about the kids and make sure the ex isn't trying to get in the way of that. But yeah, I think having a nice friendly cup of coffee with her would work best, I tried that with my ex's new girl, ( he left us for a girl on myspace, was gone for a year, came back, and is gone again) and it did work well. BUT< she ended up having major drug problems and thought that they were going to keep my kids so I would have to pay there bills with child support, ok Im rambling...


Communication is key really, and I know it is hard to do, but if you want to know what i going on in your kids lives while they are with the other half of their life, sometimes we just have to suck it up and play nice
post #32 of 34
Wow, I SO wish my DSS' biomom was like you. Congrats.

After skimming through some replies, my only advice is to keep at it (meaning communication). And keep reiterating that the only reason you're doing this is to keep things friendly and open for the sake of the children. Finally, I'd make sure that you respect how your children's new stepmom is going to grow into her relationship with your children. At first, she may not want to talk to you, but perhaps that'll change later, and if you keep the door open, she may walk through eventually.

I have a stepson and I've been in his life for 6 years now. In the beginning, his mother just outright hated me, probably because my DH had just been involved with a very unstable woman with whom he believed he had a child. My poor stepson spent two years developing a relationship with a little boy who turned out not to be his brother (the woman slept around like no other!). The separation was horrid for my stepson and there was lots of anger left over from it.
When I came into the picture, biomom was understandably afraid that I was another promiscuous girl who'd hurt her son...she constantly asked my DH if I was pregnant or if I planned to be. At heart, she's not a very friendly person, so I found her demeanor difficult to deal with. DH and I proved to be stable and I thought that she'd realize that I wasn't a freak who'd hurt her son. Quite the opposite, I started trying to help him in school and do some fun activities with him, kind of like a big sister figure...but then biomom hated me even more, because she thought I was trying to replace her.

I WISH we had been able to have an open and frank discussion about our respective places in my stepson's life, but she was way to insecure and uptight for that. When biomom got married and pregnant with twins, I made her babies little bunting bags and wrote her a card, saying that I hoped we could be friends. I never received a thank you or any acknowledgment that I'd done anything for her. It still stings to this day.

Eventually though, DSS grew up, DH and I continued to be stable and we moved to another province, taking DSS with us. For some reason, distance made things a lot easier. Now DSS's mom is very cordial over the phone with me, and even took the time to return my call when I offered to go pick up DSS' train tickets for him. So we're not the best of friends, but we can talk. I still wish we didn't always have to go through DH for stuff, but she's never shown a willingness to talk to me so I try to respect her.

Good luck and I hope this helps!
post #33 of 34
Speaking as a person who'se parents were divorced and both remarried (And mum soon to be divorced again), I think you're doing exactly what you should be.

I am so grateful to have great step-parents and mature parents who helped me understad that just because 'mom and dad don't love each other anymore" doesn't mean they loved me any less and to have two extra parents in my life would be a blessing, and IMO, it was.

I didn't ever wish for my parents to be together, I knew it was better that they weren't, and I loved my family situation and that my mom and step-mom got a long great and so did my dad with my step-dad

HTH
post #34 of 34
I think the notebook idea is great in theory, but in practise it could easily end up becoming competitive.
It seems the woman is a mom herself, so she should be sympathetic to your needs as a mom.
Good luck! Although it didn't work for me, a letter may be the way to go. It did work for a friend of mine. In a letter one can clearly state one's position in a way that you can't otherwise.
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