or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › How to deal with a toxic birth mother?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How to deal with a toxic birth mother? - Page 2

post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

To me, I see the idea of using "bio" and "step" as a move towards equalizing the titles. They are both "mom", one is just "bio" and one is just "step". And I have to admit, if my kid had a stepmom who wanted to be equal with me in parenting my kid, Id be mad. I'm the mama, not her. I would want to just be "mom" and have the stepmom refer to herself as a stepmom. It seems like that is where a lot of people are coming from when they always get irritated about this language on this board. Even if it is selfish and wrong to feel that way.
 

This is a really good point.  

 

It made me reflect that perhaps "bio" and "step" seem "logical and grammatical" to me because I spend a lot more time with my step-son and do a lot more of the conventional "mothering" work than his Mom does.  However, she was still his primary caregiver the first 8 years of his life and he still loves and is bonded to her, so she - and she alone - is and always will be his Mom.  Intellectually, I'm very clear on that fact.  But in day-to-day life, I'm just as involved in caring for him as I am for my own kids (more so, because my older sons spend a lot of time with their Dad).  Meanwhile, Mom's interaction with DSS is (by her own choice) largely limited to a phone call every 3-10 days and spending vacations with him.  Understandably - but still falsely - I often feel like an equal mother to him, or even more of one.  I should watch that.

 

And furthermore, my own kids have a stepmother, but she has become a true friend and I don't feel threatened, devalued, or disrespected by her in any way.  That, too, is unusual.  If I had more typical tension with her, I might feel more sensitive about the idea of being called "bio" mom.

 

Sorry!  Back to the real issue...

post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post




 

But, they shouldn't be seen as equals - they aren't equal.  Step mom isn't mom, and step mom's who come in and act like mom, and try to replace mom, and act like mom should listen to all of their oh so great parenting advice shouldn't be doing that (I really hope my ex never gets married, I'm sure if that happens he'll take me back to court to get custody - again - b/c his new wife will be more suitable to parent than me). 

 

Some step-mom's DO have a more active role in a child's life - but that doesn't make them a parent on equal footing with the mom.  It doesn't make them equal, not at all.  In fact, I really don't like it when step-mom's do most of the actual parenting when a child has visitation - that's not what a dad's visitation is for.  It's for the DAD to parent, not for his wife to parent.  Or for anyone else for that matter, its for DAD - other people can certainly be involved, and can have a relationship with the child, but the parenting should be done by the dad - the parent.



Where it gets tricky is that a lot of us aren't every-other-weekend-when-you-visit stepmoms. Dh has had full physical custody of dss for 13 years (he's 16  now). He has not seen his mom in 2.5 years (his choice--addiction, jail time, etc. etc.). I know I am the primary motherish figure, and he wants me to be. I still call her mom, and know that it is important that someday he has a relationship with her. But what I'm saying is--all situations are different. In most cases, your are right, but dss doesn't "visit" here so dad can parent him. He lives here in our house 365 days a year  where I am the mom. Our relationship has evolved over the years, and I always tried to be what he need me to be (more of a mom and times, more of an "aunt" at times when his mom was back for a while). I get that some people will see her as more the mom than me (she birthed him and lived with him until he was 2), but I can't really hold her up as with some super special "MOM" status. I call us "mom and stepmom" on here, but I  don't see myself as less of dss' mom.

 

post #23 of 40

i can see why it would often be seen as inappropriate to use the term bio mom in reference to your step kids mom. i certainly would never do it. it implies that you are the kids mother, and their real mom has nothing to do with mothering them. in some cases, this may be true and i dont think its really fair of MDC members to jump down a persons throat for using certain terminology when the whole situation isnt and cant be fully known.

 

as for me, while i am not married to my partner, i sometimes call his DD my DSD. i am rather hesitant to do so in real life... i just imagine it getting back to her mom that i consider myself to be a parent to her daughter and i imagine it making her feel weird or as if i am overstepping.

 

DSD does live with us 50% of the time and i spend as much time caring for her, playing and adventuring and learning with her as DP does. she actually called me mommy the other day and when i corrected her (she often just says "mommy" accidentally) she said "yes you are, youre like a different kind of mom". talk about heart melting. 

 

in any case, i am letting the rest of the family (DSD, DP and his EW) as well as my own comfort level define what my role should naturally be in DSDs life. its falling into place nicely and i have a good relationship with her mom so im not going to mess it up by being thoughtless with my terminology. to DSD, i am Karla. no need to attach any other verbal meaning to my name... her and i love each other, everyone knows it and i feel blessed... thats all i need. 

post #24 of 40


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderinblues View Post

she actually called me mommy the other day and when i corrected her (she often just says "mommy" accidentally) she said "yes you are, you're like a different kind of mom". talk about heart melting. 

 

smile.gif

 

There's the awkward truth.  Certainly, if a child has a relationship with their mother, whatever the quality of the relationship, it is unique and cannot possibly be replaced.  But if a stepmother is going to be in the picture, she should be "like a different kind of mom"...even if that's hard for Mom to swallow.

 

Thank God I felt secure and confident as a parent, before my ex married my kids' step-Mom.  I know she isn't going to take my place in their hearts.  Since I'm not insecure about it, I can see that if my ex and I weren't going to stay together, the next healthiest thing for our kids is to see each of us in healthy marriages and to feel like complete members of the family, in each of our homes.  

 

I could get territorial and take offense to her attending Back to School Night; or volunteering with their sports team; or taking them to an eye appointment when their Dad was too busy to go; or the fact that my kids call her extended family members "Aunt", "Uncle", "cousin", "Grandma", etc.  But isn't it better for my sons that she cares enough to be involved in all those things and to embrace them as part of her family?  If she didn't, my kids would see their younger half-siblings being treated as more complete members of their Dad's family, than they are.  That couldn't possibly be better!

 

It's tricky, but ideal, when divorced parents can separate the value of their children having some sort of healthy, parental relationship with a step-parent; from residual disappointment or guilt over the break-up that created space in the family, for step-parents to exist.
 

 

post #25 of 40

OP, the best advice would be for letting your DH handle communicating with his ex. I am glad that your DSD has such an empathetic advocate and supporter in her corner! Keep being the loving, kind step-MOM that you are doing your best to be for her! And remember to be kind to yourself as well. You were trying to help and unfortunately got caught up in the middle. It's ok. You tried. Now, breathe and continue forward. Big Hugs!! Sounds like you can use many more of these.

post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post





Well, my ds doesn't have a step-mom, and I hope he never does (his dad's an abuser - I sincerely hope he never puts ANYONE through what he put me through).  But, I can say that your dsd's mother is probably not a big fan of yours either.


Actually, you are quite mistaken on that. Not that it's any of your business but she quite often tells people (including myself) how thankful she is that my husband married someone who loves her children and treats them amazing. I am now a full-time step-mother to my step-daughter because of her inability to cope with the fact that she is a lesbian. So yeah, I tend to have a problem with a mother that would rather give up her child than accept her and love her for the person that she is... So while I'm sorry that you may not like the idea of a step-mother in your children's life, there's no reason to get snippy with me. I love being a step-parent and I love my step-children with all of my heart, unconditionally and because of that, I am valued by their mother despite my lack of admiration for her.
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post


 

smile.gif

 

There's the awkward truth.  Certainly, if a child has a relationship with their mother, whatever the quality of the relationship, it is unique and cannot possibly be replaced.  But if a stepmother is going to be in the picture, she should be "like a different kind of mom"...even if that's hard for Mom to swallow.

 

Thank God I felt secure and confident as a parent, before my ex married my kids' step-Mom.  I know she isn't going to take my place in their hearts.  Since I'm not insecure about it, I can see that if my ex and I weren't going to stay together, the next healthiest thing for our kids is to see each of us in healthy marriages and to feel like complete members of the family, in each of our homes.  

 

I could get territorial and take offense to her attending Back to School Night; or volunteering with their sports team; or taking them to an eye appointment when their Dad was too busy to go; or the fact that my kids call her extended family members "Aunt", "Uncle", "cousin", "Grandma", etc.  But isn't it better for my sons that she cares enough to be involved in all those things and to embrace them as part of her family?  If she didn't, my kids would see their younger half-siblings being treated as more complete members of their Dad's family, than they are.  That couldn't possibly be better!

 

It's tricky, but ideal, when divorced parents can separate the value of their children having some sort of healthy, parental relationship with a step-parent; from residual disappointment or guilt over the break-up that created space in the family, for step-parents to exist.
 

 


I think I love you... you are so well-spoken on the issues of being a step-parent and often put my feelings in perfect wording. You're a very wise step-mommy/mommy, indeed. smile.gif
post #28 of 40

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah View Post


Actually, you are quite mistaken on that. Not that it's any of your business but she quite often tells people (including myself) how thankful she is that my husband married someone who loves her children and treats them amazing. I am now a full-time step-mother to my step-daughter because of her inability to cope with the fact that she is a lesbian. So yeah, I tend to have a problem with a mother that would rather give up her child than accept her and love her for the person that she is... So while I'm sorry that you may not like the idea of a step-mother in your children's life, there's no reason to get snippy with me. I love being a step-parent and I love my step-children with all of my heart, unconditionally and because of that, I am valued by their mother despite my lack of admiration for her.


Really?  You think your step-kids mother values someone who openly dislikes and doesn't respect her?  Yeah, good luck with that.

 

post #29 of 40

I'm pretty sure this is considered "thread crashing", even though I myself am a product of a very blended family (my mother and grandmother have both divorced twice), but here it goes.

 

First, OP, kudos(!) on being allied to your dsd. As a queer and non-binary-gendered adult who is entrenched in my local queer/trans community, thank you.

 

Super Single Mama, Attached2Elijah never said she didn't respect her dsd's mother. You made that presumption based on her proclaimed lack of admiration and admitted frustration. I don't think that total lack of respect is a fair conclusion, based on that evidence. It's not the same thing.

 

Jeannine, I'm don't want you to feel like I'm picking on you, but I literally cringed to see TRANSPHOBIC in "quotations". It's like putting "trans" in quotations! EEEk! It illegitimizes transphobia as a problem, when in reality, its effects can and do kill. Anyone who intentionally doesn't use her daughter's preferred pronouns is, without a doubt, as transphobic as the day is long. It doesn't make her position easy. It doesn't make her an innately awful person. It doesn't remove her motherhood. It doesn't even make her unwilling to learn and improve. But it does make her the very definition of transphobic. And that is just as bad as "racist", "homophobic", "sexist", etc... Period. Try putting any of those in quotations to a parent whose child has died of a hate crime or hate-induced suicide. Transphobia is real. It's been proven dangerous to young people and it's a tragedy that it often is trivialized in the mainstream consciousness.

 

I really wish people who don't think they know a trans or gender-variant person would take these issues seriously, as the likely hood is that someone close to them is, or will be closeted, and the effects of trivializing their struggles are real.

 

OP, I think you're doing a great job at being supportive of your dsd in terms of her gender identity. Awesome job. Don't forget though, that an equally-important facet of being supportive is to promote a long-term ideal of a healthy and communicative relationship between she and her mother. No one will profit from long-term contention, regardless of "who started it". Dsd's mother's current attitudes of transphobia are - though appalling - socially conditioned. Don't write her off as hopelessly intolerant and unhealthy for the rest of her life. Being an alienated mother is an incredibly grievous and traumatic position to be in, no matter who we blame or why. A little understanding and positive communication (preferably by her co-parent only) in regards to her relationship with Dsd is your only hope, IMHO.

 

Does your Dsd have a trans community to turn to for issues pertaining to her identity? Does she have a therapist that specializes in queer & trans issues, etc? Just thought I'd check, as people who can be reached through trans/trans-allied networks like this have A LOT of experience dealing with problems involving estranged/unsupportive family members. She needs support from people who have BTDT.


Edited by habitat - 9/30/11 at 2:17pm
post #30 of 40

 

"Dsd's mother's current attitudes of transphobia are - though appalling - socially conditioned. Don't write her off as hopelessly intolerant and unhealthy for the rest of her life."

 

All of habitat's advice is great, but this is particularly great. 

 

Transphobia is more than socially conditioned - at this point, it's socially normal. By our societal standards, the OP and her husband are freaks and the OP's husband's ex is the normal one. To deny, reject, and cast off an atypically gendered child is to do what has always been done. 

 

OP is obviously indignant about this - she sees her stepchild being hurt, and her momma-bear kicks in and she wants to defend her little one. But since the "danger" in this case is coming from the mother, then there's going to be hurt either way. Mom's intolerance will hurt. Losing contact with mom will also hurt. It's kind of a no-win, and hopefully dad and stepmom can give some cultural perspective on the problem ("it's not you, it's not even her, it's the world and the world takes time to evolve") without condoning mom's behavior meanwhile.  

post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat View Post

Jeannine, I'm don't want you to feel like I'm picking on you, but I literally cringed to see TRANSPHOBIC in "quotations". It's like putting "trans" in quotations! EEEk! It illegitimizes transphobia as a problem, when in reality, its effects can and do kill. Anyone who intentionally doesn't use her daughter's preferred pronouns is, without a doubt, as transphobic as the day is long. It doesn't make her position easy. It doesn't make her an innately awful person. It doesn't remove her motherhood. It doesn't even make her unwilling to learn and improve. But it does make her the very definition of transphobic. And that is just as bad as "racist", "homophobic", "sexist", etc... Period. Try putting any of those in quotations to a parent whose child has died of a hate crime or hate-induced suicide. Transphobia is real. It's been proven dangerous to young people and it's a tragedy that it often is trivialized in the mainstream consciousness.

 


Sorry - I didn't mean anything by it.  I am not familiar with the term and thought it might be the OP's own construction.  It's obvious what it means, but I used quotations because I thought I was repeating her word.  I wasn't trying to imply that the concept is only fake or theoretical (though I can see how it seemed that way).

post #32 of 40

If the parents this kid lives with refers to his mom as bio-mom.. I think it would start building animosity inside subconsciously. If my husband's new wife told me I wasn't wanted any longer by MY child and to get out of his life I would do a lot more than cuss up a storm! Sounds like she loves her kid a lot!

post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

 

Really?  You think your step-kids mother values someone who openly dislikes and doesn't respect her?  Yeah, good luck with that.

 


Thank you habitat, you are exactly right. I never once said I don't respect her. I respect that she is my step-children's mother, I respect that she has ultimate say in her children's life and I have never once tried to step on her toes over that issue. I respect that she has raised them for 16/14 years, respectively and has done a fair job at turning out decent human beings (or as decent as any teenager can be, lol) I am not her biggest fan and I don't agree with very many choices she makes. I have been doing this for over 10 years now and am quite adept at it and my step-children AND their mother DO, in fact, value me. We have a mutually respectful relationship in my step-children's life. I strongly disagree with the way she treats my step-daughter (and people in general, really.) When it comes to my step-son, I have very few issues with how she is with him. (Other than maybe a few lax rules but nothing major) I just am of the belief that you should love your children and respect them for the people they are even if that means accepting differences in them. You have no idea what kind of pain my step-daughter has gone through at her mother's hands because of her inability to accept her sexuality. I can strongly disagree with her and still respect her as their mother. Again, just because you dislike the idea of a step-mother does not give you the right nor authority to speak of my relationship with my children's step-mother.

I also don't "openly dislike" her. I am very kind and generous to her. I can disagree with someone without disliking them... Like I said, I am not her biggest fan but I don't dislike her. Even if we were not parent/step-parents of the children, I would not be her friend in outside life, we are two VERY different people and we don't have very much in common (beliefs, morals, hobbies, rules, etc) but again, that's not a equation for dislike or disrespect. The fact that I can still communicate and treat her with kindness despite our differences should show that I do, in fact, respect her.
post #34 of 40
I think we are splitting hairs. since when did not biggest fan on dislike not mean the same thing.
post #35 of 40
Who cares if I DO dislike her? (I really don't... there are very few people in this world that I truly dislike) That still doesn't mean I can't respect her as their mother or that she can't value me as their step-mother. We can have a working, respectful parental relationship and still dislike one another as a people. To assume that I don't respect her is unfair and incorrect.
post #36 of 40
kids know.
post #37 of 40
I don't see how demeaning her as bio mom and telling her she can no longer see her own kids as respectful.
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

I don't see how demeaning her as bio mom and telling her she can no longer see her own kids as respectful.

Uhm, I think you have me confused with someone else... I have never restricted access to my step-children's mother. NEVER. Nor have I ever "demeaned" her as bio-mom. I asked the question about WHY it was demeaning but I don't think I've ever referred to her as biomom. I usually refer to her as my SKs mother.
post #39 of 40

i can relate to this. i cant say that i am DSDs moms biggest fan either. i disagree with some of the things she does and some of the choices she makes, but thats my problem. she is a good mom to DSD. they have a great, healthy relationship and i will never try to tell her how to raise her kid, bad mouth her to anyone (well, me and DP get our bitch on sometimes ;) ) or try to interfere in any way with her relationship with her daughter. i will try to provide a loving family for DSD and all the support i possibly can when she is in our care. DSDs mom thinks im great and is happy i am in her daughters life, which shows great emotional maturity that i am still struggling to master. 

 

on thursday, when i was dropping DSD off, i talked to her mom about a matter that i immediately realized should have been left to DP to discuss with her. as soon as i got to work, i sent her a text apologizing for overstepping. my phone was cut off so she couldnt text back, but she called DP at work to apparently "gush" about how wonderful i am and how she loves my relationship with DSD, how i dress her and so on. 

 

i am so, so, so grateful that we dont make each other miserable like we so easily could. and it was her who took the leap to act super mature about it, long before i had any idea how to act around her and her daughter. she and i dont have anything in common and have no interest in being friends, but we can have a warm, mutually appreciative relationship and that is a great benefit to DSD. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah View Post


Thank you habitat, you are exactly right. I never once said I don't respect her. I respect that she is my step-children's mother, I respect that she has ultimate say in her children's life and I have never once tried to step on her toes over that issue. I respect that she has raised them for 16/14 years, respectively and has done a fair job at turning out decent human beings (or as decent as any teenager can be, lol) I am not her biggest fan and I don't agree with very many choices she makes. I have been doing this for over 10 years now and am quite adept at it and my step-children AND their mother DO, in fact, value me. We have a mutually respectful relationship in my step-children's life. I strongly disagree with the way she treats my step-daughter (and people in general, really.) When it comes to my step-son, I have very few issues with how she is with him. (Other than maybe a few lax rules but nothing major) I just am of the belief that you should love your children and respect them for the people they are even if that means accepting differences in them. You have no idea what kind of pain my step-daughter has gone through at her mother's hands because of her inability to accept her sexuality. I can strongly disagree with her and still respect her as their mother. Again, just because you dislike the idea of a step-mother does not give you the right nor authority to speak of my relationship with my children's step-mother.
I also don't "openly dislike" her. I am very kind and generous to her. I can disagree with someone without disliking them... Like I said, I am not her biggest fan but I don't dislike her. Even if we were not parent/step-parents of the children, I would not be her friend in outside life, we are two VERY different people and we don't have very much in common (beliefs, morals, hobbies, rules, etc) but again, that's not a equation for dislike or disrespect. The fact that I can still communicate and treat her with kindness despite our differences should show that I do, in fact, respect her.


 

post #40 of 40

 

"I can strongly disagree with her and still respect her as their mother."

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTxXsSUj9q7o5ycxxvvJ6pERi60eP8zO8GBIi9MFL7M9NwP6DMc

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › How to deal with a toxic birth mother?