or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › The role of the Stepmother
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The role of the Stepmother

Poll Results: How involved should a Stepmother be in her stepchild's life?

 
  • 11% (10)
    I'm a Mother and I think a Stepmother should be as involved as much as possible.
  • 14% (12)
    I'm a Stepmother and I think a Stepmother should be as involved much as possible.
  • 9% (8)
    I'm a Mother and I think only when the Mother is not available.
  • 1% (1)
    I'm a Stepmother and I think only when the Mother is not available.
  • 2% (2)
    I'm a Mother and I think according to the children's Father's wishes.
  • 3% (3)
    I'm a Stepmother and I think according to the children's Father's wishes.
  • 0% (0)
    I'm a Mother and I think no part of her Stepchild's life.
  • 0% (0)
    I'm a Stepmother and I think no part of her Stepchild's life.
  • 18% (16)
    I'm a Mother and I think it should be up to whatever the child's comfort level is.
  • 23% (20)
    I'm a Stepmother and I think it should be up to the child's comfort level.
  • 15% (13)
    Other
85 Total Votes  
post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I've been reading alot of posts in this forum lately between Stepmothers and Mothers and I'm curious as to how Stepmothers and Mothers feel about what the role of a Stepmother should be so I'm making this poll and, after you vote, please feel free to add what other thoughts you may have on the subject.
post #2 of 43
I answered "other" because there are just too many variables.

I am a stepmother and I'm very involved in SD's life when she's here (mostly weekends), and will occasionally head to her mom's for things like birthday parties, recitals, etc. When she is here, my partner and I are a team -- he handles more of the direct child care, I handle more of the household stuff (with enough overlap that SD's not getting the idea that Daddy gets to play but Stepmom only cleans), but that's how the division of labor works, and it works for us. He's told her she needs to listen to me, so we both handle in-the-instant discipline, but he handles the big stuff (in conjunction with his ex, if appropriate). I'm better at remembering medication schedules, appointments, what time the pool opens, so I handle more of the schedule.

But when she's not here my involvement is limited to saying "hi" on the phone when she asks her dad to hand the phone to me, that sort of thing.
post #3 of 43
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)
post #4 of 43
I'm a stepmom and my stepson lives with us full-time. He's four. His mom is great with him when she puts her mind to it. She just has a hard time remembering to call him when it's scheduled and being on time for her visits with him.

I am more of a friend to my stepson than a stepmom I guess. Most of the discipline is done by my husband. I'll intervene if he's going to physically hurt himself or put himself in danger, but that's not often. I cook and do household stuff, but I don't consider myself to be in a mothering role to him. I want him to know he can count on me and trust me, but I don't want to take the role of his mom. That's what she's there for.
post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)

You sound like a great stepmom!
post #6 of 43
I am a mother and answered that I thought a SM should be as involved as possible. IMO, involved as possible doesn't mean replacing me. My dd is at her dad's house 2-3 nights per week, so I would want a SM to love her and play a huge role in her life. I would also like her to look at dd's father, me and dd's SD as her partners in parenting, and look to all of us if there is an issue or if a big decision needs to be made.

(dd's dad isn't married, but has a serious GF that I am pretty sure will be my dd's SM eventually.)
post #7 of 43
I'm a mom. I stand by my current thought that the stepmom should fill the role of a "favorite aunt". Oriole hit the description on the head.
post #8 of 43
i voted "other".

i was both step-mother and mother...

as a step-mother, i had my step-child on a full-time basis. she's my daughter, through and through...after my husband and i split, i kept hailey until she was almost twenty. she calls me "mom" and her mother "carol".

my husband's woman, on the other hand...while a very nice lady...only sees my kids once per year. and it's NEVER a good experience for me...(their christmas ritual is for all the adults save one to get totally plastered).
post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
I'm a mom. I stand by my current thought that the stepmom should fill the role of a "favorite aunt". Oriole hit the description on the head.
Yes, I like that description.

And Oriole, you give me warm fuzzies. I wish my daughters step mother was like you.
post #10 of 43
Yeah. I love sunflowers description of a "favourite aunt." I'd disagree with Oriole avoiding the big discussions- because frankly, I'd rather my child talked about sex and contraception and racism and losing their virginity with a sane and rational adult than with a bunch of their peers still negotiating the same milestones. It's a real privilege that those kinds of conversations are initiated at all.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)
Yes to all of this. Unfortunately, dsd's mother killed herself and I was thrust into the full time mom role too soon. It was disastrous and we are working things through in therapy now after 3 years of sheer hell.

The good news? Dh actually told me he was glad I (finally) talked him into therapy.
post #12 of 43
Just found this site ,,

I feel my role in my step-son's life is to be whatever he needs me to be..
Whether that be mother, friend, teacher, nurse, counselor, the person he shoots with the lego gun he's made.

Kids are smart and as long as there isn't any disrespect , they can decide what our roles should be in their lives ...
post #13 of 43
I think that ideally the biological parents should be the ones doing the main raising, rules, ext., and the step-parents are second to that, doing the fun things, helping with the homework, ext. It's different for every family, however. Some step-parents are more involved due to an absent bio-parent our out of necessity of the situation. Communication and understanding is absolutely essential in blended families, but I think it's very important for step-parents to know their role and not over-step it. I know that's hard when you sometimes don't agree with the way the biological parents are raising the kids, but really, it's up to the biological parents how the child will be raised. This is coming from a mother and a stepmother (although I don't get to see my stepson due to a situation between his mother and my dh-it's whole 'nother thread).
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)
I also agree with this. My dsd is quite a bit younger than Oriole's dsd, so I do have to do a teeny, tiny bit of discipline-related things (And by this I mean saying things like "Please don't hit the dog."), but DF does the vast majority of it.

I also help with hygiene things, getting dressed in the morning, just typical things that she will eventually do on her own but has trouble with due to age.

I do not want to be her mom - she has a perfectly good mom. I just want to be an additional supportive adult in her family.
post #15 of 43
I hope it's okay that I'm responding. I'm a step child, not a step mother or mother with an ex.

There are so many different step mothers and step children. As a step child, my step mother is wonderful. She has treated me as her own child. Helped send me to college and is more of a grandparent to my children than my own mother has been. She is their grandma. She is at each game, each school event. If I call or they call, she's there.

But I haven't always wanted that. I have a mother and whatever issues we've had, she's still my mother and I do want that to be respected. It's complicated, as it always is and it's everybody's fault. For awhile I blamed my stepmother for the kids liking her more, but really, she's just being who she is, and that's a loving person. I'm lucky and so are my kids. So if I were to vote based on that, I'd vote that the stepmother should be completely involved.

But I work with a woman who is ugly and mean and I've felt awful for her step daughters over the years. When she was pregnant with her older ds I had to tell her to stop her behavior because she kept telling the poor sdd's that they couldn't touch "her" baby's stuff, etc. So if I was voting based on her, I'd vote that there should be limited involvement.

It varies. Widely. In the general population, as a sweeping generalization, I think that step parents aren't so hot. It takes a special and not-the-norm person to wholeheartedly love someone else's children. As this group here is self-selected, I don't think that applies. But what I see out here in the suburbs is less nice on the whole and I worry. And I know that I really won the lottery.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelpie545 View Post
I think that ideally the biological parents should be the ones doing the main raising, rules, ext., and the step-parents are second to that, doing the fun things, helping with the homework, ext. It's different for every family, however. Some step-parents are more involved due to an absent bio-parent our out of necessity of the situation. Communication and understanding is absolutely essential in blended families, but I think it's very important for step-parents to know their role and not over-step it. I know that's hard when you sometimes don't agree with the way the biological parents are raising the kids, but really, it's up to the biological parents how the child will be raised. This is coming from a mother and a stepmother (although I don't get to see my stepson due to a situation between his mother and my dh-it's whole 'nother thread).
when my step-daughter moved in with us...my husband and i discussed how we would handle discipline and all of that jazz. it was decided that i would be completely in charge, just as if she were my flesh and blood.

and so i was. school, doctors, college, dates, dances, movies, talks...i did it all. i taught her all her life-skills...and have always treated her just the same as my blood-children.

when my husband and i split, hailey had just turned sixteen. she was placed in MY custody...where she lived until she was almost twenty. *crosses fingers* she might be coming home in january...

we didn't treat her a lick different...since i was already in charge of OUR girls...it made sense to just add her right on in. (probably helped that dh didn't WANT to be much involved). my family would have fell apart if we had different rule sets for each.



i guess my point is that there's a different dynamic for each and every family...and each and every one has to come up with a plan that's comfortable and right for them. there's no "one size fits all"...what worked for us might not for others, and vice versa.
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriforeman View Post
when my step-daughter moved in with us...my husband and i discussed how we would handle discipline and all of that jazz. it was decided that i would be completely in charge, just as if she were my flesh and blood.

and so i was. school, doctors, college, dates, dances, movies, talks...i did it all. i taught her all her life-skills...and have always treated her just the same as my blood-children.

when my husband and i split, hailey had just turned sixteen. she was placed in MY custody...where she lived until she was almost twenty. *crosses fingers* she might be coming home in january...

we didn't treat her a lick different...since i was already in charge of OUR girls...it made sense to just add her right on in. (probably helped that dh didn't WANT to be much involved). my family would have fell apart if we had different rule sets for each.



i guess my point is that there's a different dynamic for each and every family...and each and every one has to come up with a plan that's comfortable and right for them. there's no "one size fits all"...what worked for us might not for others, and vice versa.
I think it makes a huge difference if the mother is involved in the childs life. Ideally, if she is involved at all...then the things you stated above don't seem like they would work to make everyone feel respected in their roles.

Of course, you can be in charge of your home and the rules in it.. but specific rules to the child should be a joint effort between the parents. If they want to involve you, and have it be open communication involving all of you... then thats great!

Obviously your situation was different and the mother chose to not be involved much so might not have cared. I dunno..
post #18 of 43
I'm a step-daughter too, and my stepmom has been a part of my life for almost 30 years.

The way I see a successful stepmom/stepchild relationship is to follow the lead of the child. My stepmom did not enforce houserules, though all kids were expected to follow the same houserules. My dad enforced them with me and my brother, and my stepmom enforced them with her kids. My dad and mom decided on consequences regarding broken rules if they were overarching both homes (poor grades, etc) but for rules that were house specific, my dad and stepmom made the rules, but my dad enforced them.

However, my dad and mom never put my stepmom in the position of having to parent without the authority to do so. I like the aunt analogy as well. My brother and i were expected to give my stepmom the respect and authority given to any family member, but when the chips were down, my dad and mom made the final decision.

And, now, my stepmom is my son's grandmother, not his step-grandmother. i know this whole blended family thing is so complicated. After 24 years of marriage, my dad and stepmom are still negotiating some aspects of their relationships with their stepkids. i am still shocked that my dad isn't leaving any inheritance to my stepbrother and stepsister, but it isn't my place to say anything...
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature View Post
I think it makes a huge difference if the mother is involved in the childs life. Ideally, if she is involved at all...then the things you stated above don't seem like they would work to make everyone feel respected in their roles.

Of course, you can be in charge of your home and the rules in it.. but specific rules to the child should be a joint effort between the parents. If they want to involve you, and have it be open communication involving all of you... then thats great!

Obviously your situation was different and the mother chose to not be involved much so might not have cared. I dunno..
yeah, we didn't see her much for a few years...originally, hailey started staying summers...then i made an agreement with her mother...i'd continue to pay full child support if she would allow hailey to live full-time with us. she agreed, and we didn't see her but twice in four years.

when hailey was sixteen, she started coming around...she'd take her out for an evening, buy her some clothing...and then take her home. at seventeen, she moved to our state. now, they have a sort of friendship...and are finally starting to heal. that's a GOOD thing, hailey needed that peace.

it's strange, now she buys MY kids things...in sort of a repayment for all of the child support that i paid her, i guess. she's changed a bit, grown...and we all have a positive relationship that works to the benefit of our grandson.

i can't tell you how scary it was when she first showed up on my doorstep, without warning. it was so very hard to let her in...to let her take hailey for a bit. but hailey was ready, and apparently so was she...and things have been good.

i never cared if carol would have approved of my rules, since she had no bearing on my family. my husband, on the other hand...was another story. we discussed regularly how i was handling things, and he was in full approval.

now, she's a beautiful young woman, 22, and a mother herself. i've been truly blessed.



that's where i was going, you know...each family is different. each mother and step-mother have a different relationship or lack there-of. each child has different needs. hopefully, we're all pushing for the good of the kids...whatever that may be.
post #20 of 43
This is a great thread. My SO and I have been talking about this lately. I have a daughter with my ex and he has two children with his.

Our plan is love 'em all to pieces. I know it's more complicated than that, but really that's the base of it all. As long as they know they're loved and they're happy in our home, it's all good.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › The role of the Stepmother