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I'm tired of being a stepparent (VENT) - Page 5

post #81 of 148
Many second marriages don't work out, that is true. But where there are step-parents involved, 0% of the first marriages worked. So, the second marriages can't do much worse than that.

I guess for me it doesn't matter how my DP's daughter's mom sees me. She certainly doesn't see me as someone who stole her partner, she's moved on with her life (which I think can have a huge impact on how the first wife sees the second partner) and has her own partner. She could care less if her child spends time with me alone while she's visiting her dad, or if I sleep over (her dad was more concerned about that in the beginning, DSD actually suggested a sleepover shortly after I met her. Of course, she told her dad that he could sleep on the couch and she and I could stay up all night doing "girl things".)

Her mom has never tried to put restrictions on things like that (which, thinking about it now, I very very glad for, I think I had taken it for granted.) And I don't think that DSD sees me as "the new" anything. I'm her dad's girlfriend, someone fun who likes her and loves her, someone who makes her dad happy. Just another person in her life to love her.

Second marriages, second relationships - they can be very happy, loving and permanent relationships that are very very good for the kids involved. I know some people have had terrible step-parents, or are having a difficult time adjusting to their former partner's new love (or even the thought that there will be a new partner), which is where they are coming from when they post here. I hope that they can find healing and resolution to their issues, just like I hope that the step-parents struggling with our issues can find healing and resolution.
post #82 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
Many second marriages don't work out, that is true. But where there are step-parents involved, 0% of the first marriages worked. So, the second marriages can't do much worse than that.
.

Again, what would be the point of making a comment like this one? It's NOT a competition . . .

Someone who has been through a divorce, who has witnessed her parent's divorce (or other friends' or family members' divorce), or who had observed cultural messages about subsequent marriages' failure rates and then has a more cautious attitude toward these relationships, particularly when her children are involved, is not trying 'to rain on your parade.' She's simply being a realist.
post #83 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
I'm not sure that requesting basic politeness demonstrates a need for validation, but ok. How about she should say I'm on the phone because I am?
Why should she pretend I'm not? Seems kind of rude. Plus, in a more practical sense, the kids seem to react differently when she does that. And sometimes she'll let them just grab the phone and say "hi bye!" and then they don't even know I called at all. It doesn't ruin my day -- I just find it rude.
Hi, Violet. I think I'm not understanding why you are calling their mom's house at all. I'm new to these boards (longtime lurker), and now I'm realizing that my experience is very different than most folks. It seems like there's a lot more interaction between stepmoms and biomoms than I had realized. My ex-h and I parent our kid. He then has a relationship with his wife, which is none of my business. Since we co-parent without third-party interference, I know firsthand that he's a terrific, devoted dad and have no anxiety that can be misinterpreted as jealously or kookiness. My sense is that he's smart in keeping the boundaries clear because he then eliminates static and can be a partner to his wife, a dad to his kid, and a co-parent with me (a colleague-like relationship). I think I would lose respect for him if he handed off responsibility for parenting, including interacting productively with the co-parent (me), to someone else.
post #84 of 148
Wow, this thread has been thought-provoking . . .

I have an old friend who married for the first time in her mid-30s about 8 years ago. She's taken on the main role in parenting her sd, who was around 9 or 10 when the marriage happened. She's expressed that she has spent more time/energy than either parent in raising this child. She's also received most of the fall-out for that role (the girl has acted in a manner that I would describe as hateful toward her step-mom). If I were her, I would be angry at the dad/husband for putting her in this position. He got to go about his life, develop in his profession, have a lovely home, and have someone else parent his kid.
post #85 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
Hi, Violet. I think I'm not understanding why you are calling their mom's house at all. I'm new to these boards (longtime lurker), and now I'm realizing that my experience is very different than most folks. It seems like there's a lot more interaction between stepmoms and biomoms than I had realized. My ex-h and I parent our kid. He then has a relationship with his wife, which is none of my business. Since we co-parent without third-party interference, I know firsthand that he's a terrific, devoted dad and have no anxiety that can be misinterpreted as jealously or kookiness. My sense is that he's smart in keeping the boundaries clear because he then eliminates static and can be a partner to his wife, a dad to his kid, and a co-parent with me (a colleague-like relationship). I think I would lose respect for him if he handed off responsibility for parenting, including interacting productively with the co-parent (me), to someone else.
A step-mom, if she is around the kids at all, will form a relationship with those children. And they may want to talk to each other on the phone, or email or whatever. That doesn't mean the dad is handing off his responsibility. The new family becomes a new family unit - it is not compartmentalized into Dad = father to son or Dad = partner to Wife, or Wife = Partner to Dad and Wife = ? to child. The new family will function as a family unit, with dad (or mom) doing most of the parenting, and interaction between the new partner and the children occurring all at the same time like a big stew, not like an egg carton or something. And sometimes the mom and step-mom will interact productively (wouldn't that be a good thing?) when it comes to coordinating things with the kids.

A great book for situations like this is "Free To Be a Family", a spin off of the Free to Be You and Me, and one of the songs is "A Friendly Neighborhood" -
(hmm, no luck finding the lyrics on line, but it's great.)
post #86 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
Again, what would be the point of making a comment like this one? It's NOT a competition . . .
Hmm...

I don't mean to offend, but you seem uneasy with the possibility that a second marriage can work. It is an equally realistic possibility.
post #87 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
Hi, Violet. I think I'm not understanding why you are calling their mom's house at all. I'm new to these boards (longtime lurker), and now I'm realizing that my experience is very different than most folks. It seems like there's a lot more interaction between stepmoms and biomoms than I had realized. My ex-h and I parent our kid. He then has a relationship with his wife, which is none of my business. Since we co-parent without third-party interference, I know firsthand that he's a terrific, devoted dad and have no anxiety that can be misinterpreted as jealously or kookiness. My sense is that he's smart in keeping the boundaries clear because he then eliminates static and can be a partner to his wife, a dad to his kid, and a co-parent with me (a colleague-like relationship). I think I would lose respect for him if he handed off responsibility for parenting, including interacting productively with the co-parent (me), to someone else.
I'm not calling their mother. I call to talk to the kids. Is that what you meant?
We live 2000 miles away from the kids, so even though we travel to see them as often as possible (usually monthly), they need lots of phone and other interaction too. We send cards, call on the phone, and use a video phone. That's why I call their house. I think it would be pretty cold to not talk to them on the phone just because I didn't birth them. And lately when their mom acts like it's just Dad on the phone, they get confused and specifically ask for me.

I'm glad your situation works for you. I'm not sure from your description if your situation is all that different from ours or not, but it may be. In our case, I'm the wife, and when the kids are in our care, I make decisions with DH as a team. It's not a handing off of responsibility -- it's a family. Our governing paradigm is that the kids do not have one broken family -- instead they have two functioning families. I am a part of one of those families, as is DH. If we ask the kids to draw their family, they (unprompted) always draw self, sibling, DH, and me. I don't know, but would assume that at their mom's house they draw her instead of us.
post #88 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
I'm not calling their mother. I call to talk to the kids. Is that what you meant?
We live 2000 miles away from the kids, so even though we travel to see them as often as possible (usually monthly), they need lots of phone and other interaction too. We send cards, call on the phone, and use a video phone. That's why I call their house. I think it would be pretty cold to not talk to them on the phone just because I didn't birth them. And lately when their mom acts like it's just Dad on the phone, they get confused and specifically ask for me.

I'm glad your situation works for you. I'm not sure from your description if your situation is all that different from ours or not, but it may be. In our case, I'm the wife, and when the kids are in our care, I make decisions with DH as a team. It's not a handing off of responsibility -- it's a family. Our governing paradigm is that the kids do not have one broken family -- instead they have two functioning families. I am a part of one of those families, as is DH. If we ask the kids to draw their family, they (unprompted) always draw self, sibling, DH, and me. I don't know, but would assume that at their mom's house they draw her instead of us.
I like that.
post #89 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
Many second marriages don't work out, that is true. But where there are step-parents involved, 0% of the first marriages worked. So, the second marriages can't do much worse than that.
Exactly!

So the success rate for second marriages *is* necessarily higher than first marriages for the people who have second marriages. As in, it's higher than zero. People tend to learn more what they want and need. And I bet a lot more would work out if there were fewer bickering exes and related step-drama. It all adds stress that first marriages don't have.

I want to add that I say this as a person whose first marriage failed spectacularly. And I hope my ex's second marriage fares much better. I know mine is.
post #90 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
A great book for situations like this is "Free To Be a Family", a spin off of the Free to Be You and Me, and one of the songs is "A Friendly Neighborhood" -
(hmm, no luck finding the lyrics on line, but it's great.)
I have that book! It's good in general, but the skit where the babies meet in the park seems to fall back on stereotypes that could be perceived as racist.

As I said, my experience is very different. I don't make parenting decisions with step-mom, but I sure as heck hope that they function well as a family unit within their own home. I don't get involved in their stuff since my kid seems happy.

Healthy boundaries do not always equal some artificial compartmentalization. I'd feel weird having my partner call my ex's house to talk to my kid on his dad-time. Leave them be to do their own thing. Maybe it's different because my son sees both parents every week? That distance Violet describes must come with its own challenges.
post #91 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
I'd feel weird having my partner call my ex's house to talk to my kid on his dad-time. Leave them be to do their own thing. Maybe it's different because my son sees both parents every week?
I suspect that's the key difference. It felt weird to me at first too to call like that. But the kids seem to need it since they see us infrequently. I hate to feel intrusive, too. I know she feels the video phone is intrusive, but she knows the kids love it, and her having to walk out of the room (her choice) while they talk to us is really a small price to pay for the kids to stay connected. Truth be told, I hate when she calls during our family time with the kids. But I always tell them Mommy's on the phone and act excited like it's such a treat. Fortunately, since she's the one who usually has them, there's less need for her to call. To minimize the intrusion of the phone and video calls, we do have agreed-upon times for the calls to occur. She does tend to berate us a bit if she doesn't think we call the kids enough, so I guess it can 't be that big of an intrusion!

We stay out of her parenting decisions, though, and she stays out of ours. We know she's a good parent and she (usually) seems to know we are too.
post #92 of 148
I like the two functioning families too Violet. Good explanation!!
post #93 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Sun View Post
I won't be the next dairy queen.
That's not what Mama41 said. She said "it's next to the Dairy Queen." I don't know if they're all over the country, but DQ is a fast-food place. She was making a comparison about permanency. People will say "Holiday Inn? Yeah, it's right next to the Dairy Queen." In reality, DQ has been gone for 7 years, and they still think of it as being there or that everyone knows it's there. She was saying that for her (and many others) a second spouse often seems like a temporary situation for many years before it sinks in that it's real.
post #94 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
Hmm...

I don't mean to offend, but you seem uneasy with the possibility that a second marriage can work. It is an equally realistic possibility.
No, that would be an incorrect assumption. I am not 'uneasy' with this possibility at all.
post #95 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
Hmm...

I don't mean to offend, but you seem uneasy with the possibility that a second marriage can work. It is an equally realistic possibility.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post
No, that would be an incorrect assumption. I am not 'uneasy' with this possibility at all.
Hey guys? Let's play nice, ok? We have a good thread going here. I think my comment about 0% could be seen as a bit snarky, which I didn't mean. I mean, we've all had relationships fail miserably, right? I mean, if we want to get technical, every single relationship I've ever been in has failed (except the current one.)

Let's get back to the topic at hand, if anyone can remember what that actually is... :
post #96 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
Hey guys? Let's play nice, ok? We have a good thread going here. I think my comment about 0% could be seen as a bit snarky, which I didn't mean. I mean, we've all had relationships fail miserably, right? I mean, if we want to get technical, every single relationship I've ever been in has failed (except the current one.)

Let's get back to the topic at hand, if anyone can remember what that actually is... :
LOL . . . and here I was trying to address what I felt was an inaccurate characterization in a very simple, non-inflammatory way so no red flag would be raised.

Failure, schmailure. They were part of your life's journey! I will never forget a student in a community college writing class I taught many moons ago. She was going through a divorce and said she really hated the idea of thinking about her marriage as having 'failed' because it had really, in many ways, saved her life (she had a history of abuse as a child). It had a certain lifespan and needed to be honored, even if it didn't last a lifetime.
post #97 of 148
It was just a fly by night observation not intended to be offensive (as mentioned).
post #98 of 148
Hello, Ladies! I am going to thank you again for being as open minded and calm as you are being in this discussion, and to ask you again to remember to continue to foster the "comfortable and respectful atmosphere" for members and guests. You all continue to amaze me lately with the wonderfully deep discussions and great dialogue you're having! Keep it up, I'm learning a lot.
post #99 of 148
I wanted to add that co-parenting can be done with more than just two parents... I don't know if that would be co-parenting squared or what? lol

But anyway... DP and I actually communicate a lot with his ex and her BF about different things with DSD. But we don't neccessarily do everything the same.

Violet said it best. DP, me and DSD are one family unit, and DSD's Mom, her BF and DSD are another family unit.

In both there are two parents, comprised of one bio and one step, but they work together to raise the child in their home, and the other set does the same... on drop-offs all four of us sort of compare notes on how DSD is doing and such, and if there are any big issues that we want to get more input on, we bring it up and discuss it.

In the begining I certainly did not have as much say as I do now... but over time my opinion became respected, and even DSD's Mother asks my opinion on things at times. We have always been civil to one another, which from what I know I should be grateful for. She does a lot of things that make my head want to explode, and certainly not things I'd do with my own children, but overall she is a good Mother.

But both DP and I do not bend to her rules for DSD because DSD's Mom lets her do whatever she wants and lets her eat McDonald's like every day, and lots of other things that we just don't agree with. Actually that was a big conflict in their marriage... they were never on the same parenting page.

DP and I are blessed that we think alike on a lot of things on how we want to raise the children.


So after all that... I think it is quite possible for ALL parental figures, step or bio to parent together, but not neccessarily defer or have to do everything the same, but still provide a balanced environement for the children in two functioning homes.
post #100 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
I wanted to add that co-parenting can be done with more than just two parents... I don't know if that would be co-parenting squared or what? lol

So after all that... I think it is quite possible for ALL parental figures, step or bio to parent together, but not neccessarily defer or have to do everything the same, but still provide a balanced environement for the children in two functioning homes.
It seems like there are so many variations, no? I think of co-parenting as involving the biological parents only (maybe because it's how I was introduced to the term in all the divorce literature I read). I also wonder if there's a difference in experience when the step-parent has no biological children. I would have a hard time, I think, if someone who had no children of her own came into my son's life and assumed a strong parental role simply because she and his dad decided to get together. I'd imagine it would be harder for this person as well to know where she fit with no experience to draw on.
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