I feel like I'm walking a tightrope here, and I need some advice before I fall off! I have been in my dsc's lives for a year and a half- I know, not that long. But in that time, their mom has abandoned them except for occasional phone contact, and I have taken on the role of mom for them. They call me Mom, I go to all their school stuff, I put them to bed, I help them with their homework, I cook for them, I hold them when they cry, etc etc etc.
Their dad is a great parent, and for the most part, when he does something I disagree with, I don't say anything. But sometimes, I really feel strongly that I have an important perspective to offer. I have four of my own kids, and I know a couple of things, and some issues are just big. I don't expect to make the decisions myself, but I think that as a partner in the relationship and in parenting these kids, DP should listen to my point of view and give it fair consideration.
A big one is school. The older two are in first and second grade. They hate school, and I see their struggles in different subjects, as they try to learn things the way they're being taught. Schools here are not that flexible, and if they don't get it, they just get a bad grade and that's it. My first grader is in a Montessori program, and from what I've experienced, I think it would be a great fit for both of them. My DP is fine with the public school, in huge part because he's an immigrant and wants his kids to be Americanized. I'm trying to explain to him that Montessori isn't "wierd" (this program is through the school district), and that the kids might enjoy school, while succeeding academically. I know it's his decision, I don't want to make it for him, I just feel like he's not even willing to entertain the idea seriously at all. It's obvious when we talk about it that he doesn't really even understand it (sometimes it takes a while to get past the language barrier). I feel offended- is this totally wrong? I really think if he would just listen and understand what I'm talking about, that he might agree with me.
Is it ok for him to be totally fine with me doing the work of mothering the kids, but to act like my thoughts on raising them don't count?
Step mom to Malakie, Cameron , and Aurelia
No, I don't think that's okay. You're helping raise them, you get a voice. He gets final say, but he should hear you out! I'm the bio-parent, SO is the step, usually when we take the time to hear each other and hash an issue out, the agreement we eventually come to is more sound than if I'd just done exactly what I wanted without considering his opinion. Sometimes we're doing what I wanted to anyway, but he understands why and can back me up better, sometimes his insight makes me change my mind and we do things his way. Usually it's somewhere in the middle.
Maybe you could find some information on Montessori in his native language, or ask him to come to your DDs school and check it out. If he goes there and sees that it isn't weird, that the kids there don't look different from the public school kids, he'll warm up to the idea. For your part, try to think of ways to help 'Americanize' the kids... how many generations has your side of the family been in America? Maybe your influence IS Americanizing for them. It sounds like he wants his kids to fit in with the society they're going to live in... he may see it as key to their happiness and success. It's important that you hear that. He might become more open to schooling options if he feels like his concerns are being addressed.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.