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Mom to stepmom suggestions?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
I want to keep peace here and in real life, really, I do. I wonder what is it that stepmoms do that drives moms crazy? (for a good reason and without)

*waving olive branch*
post #2 of 52
I would also like to know whether most of MDC even feels like we have the right to be here at all. I mean, I don't exactly feel the love from moms I meet in real life, but I don't feel it here either.
I'm not a bad person - really.
post #3 of 52
I really get along well with dd's stepmom. We're not buddy-buddy or anything but we joke a bit, can communicate and hold a conversation. It's her husband that irks the hell out of me

I think if she started telling me how to parent my daughter, started letting my daughter call her mom, or say that she loves my daughter like her own is when I'd start having issue with her. She seems to be great about letting me be my daughter's mother and she acts like a support person for her. At least so far...

My actual litmus test for boundries concerning things she says or does is this. If I wouldn't take offense to one of daughter's aunts saying or doing something stepmom does (concerning daughter), then it's OK. I have rarely had to think like this but it does help me judge when I'm being oversensitive
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
I think if she started telling me how to parent my daughter, started letting my daughter call her mom, or say that she loves my daughter like her own is when I'd start having issue with her.
Can I ask why "she loves my daughter like her own" would be problematic? While my SD's mom of course doesn't want me telling her how to parent (and I wouldn't -- I'd talk to my partner if I witnessed something truly and objectively problematic, which I haven't), she's also told my partner that she's glad he found someone who can love their daughter as her own.

I suppose everyone has their own comfort level...or, for that matter, their own definition of what "loving her like her own" really means. Maybe it's more semantics than anything. (Maybe I'm answering my own question here -- but I don't want to put words in your mouth.) To me, and I suppose to my partner's ex, it's different from "raising her like her own." If/when we have biological/adoptive children, I don't want to *treat* my SD any differently, but I understand I only have a hand in raising her, whereas my partner and I would have much more with a biological kid. (Hope this makes sense.)

Oh, and I like your analogy to an aunt. That's generally what I try to do (although I have been deputized in a role closer to a teacher with regard to discipline when my partner's not immediately available).
post #5 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Can I ask why "she loves my daughter like her own" would be problematic? While my SD's mom of course doesn't want me telling her how to parent (and I wouldn't -- I'd talk to my partner if I witnessed something truly and objectively problematic, which I haven't), she's also told my partner that she's glad he found someone who can love their daughter as her own.

I suppose everyone has their own comfort level...or, for that matter, their own definition of what "loving her like her own" really means. Maybe it's more semantics than anything. (Maybe I'm answering my own question here -- but I don't want to put words in your mouth.) To me, and I suppose to my partner's ex, it's different from "raising her like her own." If/when we have biological/adoptive children, I don't want to *treat* my SD any differently, but I understand I only have a hand in raising her, whereas my partner and I would have much more with a biological kid. (Hope this makes sense.)
I really think it is a matter of semantics. But as much as I love my neices and nephews (which is tremendously much!) I do not love them like I love my own. I would do anything for them, really. I would step in front of a bullet for any of them if necessary. I just feel that if a stepparent starts claiming to actually love my child just as she loves her own children it's crossing a boundry. If that's true, why would she be OK with me being my daughter's mother? What would stop her from taking my daughter out for her first bra or having the puberty talk with her or "stealing" the moments that should be shared with her mother? Why would she not want to have the child she loves like her own to live with her for her to raise along with her other kids? It' something of a slippery slope in my mind. It may not be the healthiest attitude but it's the best I can do right now. My daughter is still very small and I'm sure I'll grow and learn as the years go by. I've let go of so much in just the past year, I'm sure there is more letting go in store for me
post #6 of 52
Thanks for your reply -- makes perfect sense. SD's mom (along with my partner) have already given me the guidance on the "what to do when hard questions come up" issue. Basically: Just answer anatomical questions honestly (since both mom and dad are raising SD with proper terms), and say "why don't we talk about this with Daddy?" when the Really Big Issues come up. (And, if SD were to ask me if she could get a bra -- she's 5 so this is a long way off and the answer would be no right now -- either I or her dad would tell her mom. Although I could picture her mom asking us to take care of it, that would be her call.)

I think most of my big moments like that were shared with my dad -- not because my mom was absent or lacking, but because she was (and is) super-uncomfortable with all of it. (To put this in perspective: At 30, I had to sit my mother down and ask for a detailed health history and explain it was for my own well-being because she didn't even want to address that with me. And there was nothing controversial in her health history, just a couple of gyn procedures that she still had trouble discussing.) My dad was (and is) at ease discussing sex, drugs, and life. Just more differences between people, I guess.
post #7 of 52
i think i would love to hear someone say "i love him as a member of our family"

or "i would find it impossible to not care for your child as a part of our family. lets talk about how i can feel free to do that without interfering with your relationship"

or "thank you for sharing your son with me. he's a wonderful child and i'm glad to be a part of his family"

the key is a family relationship rather than a mother/child relationship. it could build from there but as a mom i like to think that my child doesn't need another person to "love her like her own" and even though i know it's quite possible for someone completely unrelated biologically might assume the full role of parenting that love, like the above poster mentioned, really is a kind of propriatary thing at least while kids are young.

like i said though, it would be wonderful to hear that another person knows just what a special little guy i have and how lucky they are to share in his growing up
post #8 of 52
Oh boy.... I could think of lots of things to say! But to keep it to things I see more as "big stuff".

Our parenting situation is not solely my doing. Please don't demonize me for what it is. Especially in front of my (and your husband's) children. It honestly will not endear you to them.

Know that I have made it clear to them that they are to follow the rules of their Dad's and your home when there. If they don't, please don't blame it on me.

Please remember that, however much you may care for them, parenting decisions regarding them are between their father and myself. I realize that he will discuss the issues with you. That's fine. But please don't feel it your place to tell me what the two of you have decided on their behalf.

Please do not tell me everything you feel I am doing wrong wrt raising the kids in my home. The fact of the matter is that they are both doing exceptionally well in school, are active in many areas, are well liked by their peers & all adults they encounter, are polite and are well-behaved. So I'd think I'm doing something right. Unless, of course, you'd like me to reciprocate wrt the problems I see with your parenting.

Please help your husband understand that our son needs his father as much as our daughter does. He *knows* he looks a lot like me. He *knows* he has a lot of my mannerisms. He *knows* his father hates that in him. And he feels that his father, therefore, hates him. It's not helping their relationship. Nor is it helping the relationship between Dad and our daughter - she sees more than she's given credit for. And at the end of the day, she *will* take her brother's side.

And lastly... there are some things that a daughter wants to share with her Mom. I can understand if Mom's not around or is incapable of sharing those things - then someone else needs to step in. But I am around, and I am capable. It's my place to take her bra shopping for the first time. It's my place to talk to her about her maturing body, helping her decide what sanitary products to use, and yes, taking her out to purchase them. In the future, it's my place to take her shopping for her prom dress. And then, in time, her wedding gown. You will have the opportunity with your daughter - please don't take that time from me and mine.
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebarkingbird View Post
i think i would love to hear someone say "i love him as a member of our family"
I like this. I feel this way about my DSD.

I think that there could be cases where a stepparent would love a stepchild as their own, but I'm not sure that you could make that statement unless you had children of your own. You wouldn't know what to compare it to, kwim?

My expectations on how I should feel about my DSD have changed since having DS. I have realized that I will probably never love her like my own child, but do love her like the very important member of my family that she is.
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebarkingbird View Post
like i said though, it would be wonderful to hear that another person knows just what a special little guy i have and how lucky they are to share in his growing up
Heck - I'd like to hear that from their DAD, let alone stepMom. I know I'd be pushing to hope for "hey - you've really done a great/decent/okay/not abysmal job raising them."
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
I really think it is a matter of semantics. But as much as I love my neices and nephews (which is tremendously much!) I do not love them like I love my own. I would do anything for them, really. I would step in front of a bullet for any of them if necessary. I just feel that if a stepparent starts claiming to actually love my child just as she loves her own children it's crossing a boundry. If that's true, why would she be OK with me being my daughter's mother? What would stop her from taking my daughter out for her first bra or having the puberty talk with her or "stealing" the moments that should be shared with her mother? Why would she not want to have the child she loves like her own to live with her for her to raise along with her other kids? It' something of a slippery slope in my mind. It may not be the healthiest attitude but it's the best I can do right now. My daughter is still very small and I'm sure I'll grow and learn as the years go by. I've let go of so much in just the past year, I'm sure there is more letting go in store for me
I need to suscribe to this thread. I love my stepdaughter as much as I would love her if she was my own. I'm not sure how that's wrong. I let her Mother have her Mother time, I let her Father have her Father time, and she gets her Stepmother time. Of course I would love to have her to raise all the time with my son, but I know it's not possible, so I don't bother with it. When we're clothes shopping or putting her hair up fancy at our house, is that really "stealing" her from her Mother? Or if we do "girl stuff" like painting our nails? I'm not trying to start an arguement here, I'm trying to see from another prospective. I don't know HOW to not love her as my own, to not treat her as my own. I would die for her if it would save her life.
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
When we're clothes shopping or putting her hair up fancy at our house, is that really "stealing" her from her Mother? Or if we do "girl stuff" like painting our nails?
But there is a difference between doing hair or nails together, and taking the child shopping for a first bra. To put it another way, how do you think your husband would feel if another man preemptively took his son to buy his first razor and then helped him with his first shave?
post #13 of 52

Boundaries

I have a hard time with my son stepmom. Especially since she was the mistress at one point. So it is hard to forgive her. I smile and wave at her but honestly she crosses the line when she tells my son that the songs I listen to in the car are not "Jesus approved".


Or the other nite when I called my son, he asked me to read him a story so I did from a childrens story book. I could hear her in the background saying " I dont think that is an approipraite story."

I honestly feel that she is trying to wedge my relationship with me and my son. Just like she was able to wedge my relationship with my x-husband.

- I wish I could like this women but it is so difficult plus she is about 7 years younger than me, so maybe she will grow out of the "I am the more fit mother phase."
post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtnmumma View Post
I have a hard time with my son stepmom. Especially since she was the mistress at one point. So it is hard to forgive her. I smile and wave at her but honestly she crosses the line when she tells my son that the songs I listen to in the car are not "Jesus approved".


Or the other nite when I called my son, he asked me to read him a story so I did from a childrens story book. I could hear her in the background saying " I dont think that is an approipraite story."

I honestly feel that she is trying to wedge my relationship with me and my son. Just like she was able to wedge my relationship with my x-husband.

- I wish I could like this women but it is so difficult plus she is about 7 years younger than me, so maybe she will grow out of the "I am the more fit mother phase."
You're son's Stepmom is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY over the line! Geez!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
But there is a difference between doing hair or nails together, and taking the child shopping for a first bra. To put it another way, how do you think your husband would feel if another man preemptively took his son to buy his first razor and then helped him with his first shave?
What if you don't know what's important to her or not? I can't never do anything with my Stepdaughter because I'm afraid it will upset her Mother. Some of the things I would have thought were a big deal (Tooth Fairy coming after losing the first tooth, teaching her to ride her bike), her Mother didn't care about, even acted relieved that someone else did that with her and other things, like my Hubby handing me the phone to wish my stepdaughter Happy Birthday or me being with my Hubby to drop her off at her first day of Religion Class (which her Mother did not attend), are a big deal. I never intentionally step on my stepdaughter's Mother's toes, but it seems that, unless I completely ignore my stepdaughter and let my Hubby raise her 100% when she's at our house (we both agree on any move we make with either child or any major home decisions), I'm offending her. Some things I learn- like I'm not allowed to come to Parent-Teacher Conferences even if Katherine's Mother doesn't go and I'm not allowed to go to Back-To-School Night, even though my stepdaughter asks me every year, so I don't do it, even though it kills me. I guess my point is, the important things sometimes seem to be different with everyone and as a Stepmother, I never know what's gonna upset my stepdaughter's Mother. If the Mother won't tell you (until after the fact), how can you keep the peace?
post #15 of 52

Yup

[QUOTE=harleyhalfmoon;9207617]You're son's Stepmom is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY over the line! Geez!


Thanks, I think so too. In her mind I am an unfit parent. I wish she would stop and think about who is impacting before opening her mouth.
post #16 of 52
Quote:
I just feel that if a stepparent starts claiming to actually love my child just as she loves her own children it's crossing a boundry. If that's true, why would she be OK with me being my daughter's mother? What would stop her from taking my daughter out for her first bra or having the puberty talk with her or "stealing" the moments that should be shared with her mother? Why would she not want to have the child she loves like her own to live with her for her to raise along with her other kids? It' something of a slippery slope in my mind. It may not be the healthiest attitude but it's the best I can do right now.
:

I totally agree. My problems with my daughter's step-mother started immediately when, 5 years ago, after my dd's dance recital I was on bended knee telling her what a great job she did & she (she was my x-h's girlfriend at the time) literally turned my dd around (while I was still talking to her) to hug her & tell her "how proud of her" she was. I was very polite & let it go but what I wanted to do was scream "Who the F are you to be proud of my daughter?!".

This is not to say that all step-mothers are like this. It depends on the person. But in my case, this woman steps over the line all the time. She has three kids of her own, she can leave mine alone.

Quote:
I have a hard time with my son stepmom. Especially since she was the mistress at one point. So it is hard to forgive her. I smile and wave at her but honestly she crosses the line when she tells my son that the songs I listen to in the car are not "Jesus approved".

Mtnmumma, you should tell her that adultery is not "Jesus approved" either.
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtnmumma View Post
I have a hard time with my son stepmom. Especially since she was the mistress at one point. So it is hard to forgive her....I wish I could like this women but it is so difficult plus she is about 7 years younger than me, so maybe she will grow out of the "I am the more fit mother phase."
Wow! That's exactly how I feel. My children's step mother has a degree in Child Development (or something similar), so, naturally, she is an expert on children.

Now that she and my wasband have a child together, it seems as though she wishes that my children would disappear from his life. I hate to send my children to their house, knowing that it's not a very friendly environment for them.

General advice to Step Mothers:

1) Don't try to "be the mother". I realize that there are extreme circumstances where this advice will not apply, but, in general, just don't go down that path!

2) Don't resent the children because they look/act/speak, et cetera like the ex partner. It's nothing they can help, and degrading them for it will make them think less of themselves. (And of you, come to that.)

3) Don't be evil. (This covers a lot. Take it as you will.)
post #18 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post


1) Don't try to "be the mother". I realize that there are extreme circumstances where this advice will not apply, but, in general, just don't go down that path!

2) Don't resent the children because they look/act/speak, et cetera like the ex partner. It's nothing they can help, and degrading them for it will make them think less of themselves. (And of you, come to that.)

3) Don't be evil. (This covers a lot. Take it as you will.)
Hm, I completely agree with the first two, and a bit hurt about the last one... I AM NOT AN EVIL STEPMOTHER!
Why is it assumed by default?

Yes, I do have a natural "mothering urge", that I try to be very careful about. I don't want DSD's mom to think I'm trying to steal her moments, and I see it as something that many stepmothers might want to do, and how it can be offensive to the mom.

Yes, I do realize that kids should not be punished just because they are the children of their parents and act like them, and enjoy things that their mom does. I recognize it, and I see it as a potential problem for many stepmoms...

But the evil comment?! Not nice
Too many Fairy Tales?..
post #19 of 52
OK, a few points.

First of all, as the stepmom, accept that you weren't present when the marriage went wrong. Accept that if a woman divorced your husband because he beat the crap out of her, it's possible that she's not lying. Watch the way your dh treats her with eagle eyes: because if anything goes wrong in your relationship, the chances are he'll do the same to you too. I hate it when stepmums here assume that the ex is lying about how the relationship ended, because every so often someone comes back and says "I was wrong "

Secondly, never EVER compare your biological children and stepchildren. Just don't- not out loud, not in your head. Suppress all competitive parenting urges, it's just not friendly.

Don't treat my kids like your children. Treat my children with the love and respect and understanding that you would a friend: talk straight to them. Reason with them. If you disagree, feel free to tell them so, but in an "I think xxx way" not the "you are wrong because you're seven" way. It is not your place to discipline, to sit them on the naughty step or to make them feel like crap about themselves (unless you're in their life 24/7. I don't have experience of that kind of stepfamily.) It is your place to be the woman who loves their daddy to little squishy pieces and who loves them because they're part of their daddy and their daddys' life. As well, maybe, as loving them for who they are.
And above all else, be true to yourself. Offer your stepchildren a piece of who you are, what interests you, what drives you and motivates you in the hope that your offering makes it easier for them to share in return.

post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by katybear mama View Post
Mtnmumma, you should tell her that adultery is not "Jesus approved" either.
Don't forget the ExHusband! It takes two to commit adultery!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
But the evil comment?! Not nice
Too many Fairy Tales?..
This is a sore spot for most Stepmothers. I don't think anyone except a Stepmother realizes just how much the "Evil Stepmother" comments hit home. As for "Don't be evil.", it can go both ways. Sometimes it does.
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