Originally Posted by JSMa
Wow... I hope I'm reading this wrong or mis-interpretting... You think it is better for a Step-MOM not to parent and be involved in their step-children's lives?
I just can't see how that is healthy for the children... To feel like an outsider in their home, even if it is their part time home... it's still their home.
No, it was my brother's home, and the home I'd grown up in. She was there too, and that took some getting used to, but there was no sense of being an outsider. When they moved later, and I was out of college, my dad made it clear to me that this was no longer my home, and that I was expected to go out, get a job, and make my own home (sounds cold and was in fact hard -- I graduated into a major recession -- but it was possibly more important than my college education in turning me into someone who could make it in good times and bad, and that's benefited my daughter). Then I became a guest in their home, but a welcome guest. My brother lived there part-time, and for a while lived there all the time.
To me it was akin to the relationship I have with a close friend's young children. We spend a lot of time together; I love them and they're wonderful kids. They'll come to me for help and conversation, and if their mom is busy I'll take over. It's a big family with lots of boys, so I'm also there to help the oldest kid, a girl -- I'll take her out with us for Girls' Days Out, bring her over to our quiet house so she can read and just be in peace. When I've got a tight deadline, their mom will often bring my daughter along with them and let me get some work done. So my friend and I support each other, but I'm not her kids' mother, and she's not my daughter's mother. We are very careful to defer to each other on parental decisions and even matters so small as whether or not the kids can have cookies. "You have to ask your mother" and "That's something for your mother to decide" are things they hear a lot from us. Everyone is clear on this, and if anyone is hurt by it, I'm certainly not aware of it. All the kids know who their own parent is. There are occasional boundary issues when the kids want to confide things in us, and we deal with that by explaining that if there's trouble or something's hurting them, we can't keep that from their parents, and that it's best if the parents know, because then they can help -- and we offer to help them confide in the parents.
The main difference in my dad's relationship with his wife was, of course, the marital one, and for us it was confusing -- just because she wasn't our mother, and we were too young/inexperienced to understand what early marriage is. I think we both had an overwhelming sense of "Ewwwwww!" Time solved that.
The other difference was that my dad's wife had no kids, because she didn't want to have kids. We knew that. In many ways she was as different from my mom as could be. But she certainly was never cold to us, and I can't speak for my brother, but she certainly never made me feel unwelcome. It was just clear that my father, and not she, was our parent there. She's a very quiet, private woman, and not as talkative as the people we'd grown up with, so that also took some time to understand. But she's enormously kind, and with each passing year I feel I owe her a deeper debt of gratitude for loving and looking after my dad, who can be a difficult man. There are times when I wish she wouldn't put up with so much from him, but of course that's her affair.
|I refuse to beleive it best to step away from parenting DSD. I will have children with her Dad and I think it would be HORRIBLE to treat her differently in our home just because she isn't my bio-kid... WHO CARES? Seriously... Wether I gave birth to her or not, she is one of my kids. Plain and simple.
Unfortunately, the law disagrees, and depending on the birth mother, she may disagree. So may the child. When push comes to shove, even the father may disagree. That's why I say that you take on that role at your risk, and that it's likely to lead to many of the hurt feelings that come through on this thread.
|I cannot even fathom the hurt that a child must feel receiveing a gift ONLY from their Dad and not their Step-Mom... like what kind of message does that give?
My dad's wife always gave us her own presents. I found it very moving. From her, you always knew it was genuine. She put a lot of thought into them. She knew us differently than our father knew us, and so it seemed to me natural that they didn't go in together. My dad likes to give gifts based on our longrunning private jokes, and she wasn't in on those. More often these days he gives gifts of money, and again...I think I'd have felt weird, accepting a gift of money from her, even back then when I was in school. She's not my mom; she's herself, and my father's wife.