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#1 of 40 Old 09-19-2011, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Today was the most recent phone call of many. DH's ex-wife wants more contact with DSD. The thing is, DSD absolutely hates her birth mum (to the point of calling her 'Dad's ex'), and from what DSD has told me, this is very justified-DH's ex was very strict, and also very transphobic, trying to kick DSD out of the house when she came out.

 

The latest phone call seems to prove that. The ex started out very nice and kind, sweet as sugar...then when I told her that DSD didn't want any more contact with her and wanted to leave that in the past, I got screamed at. I got told I was an overcontrolling b**ch who wanted to keep DSD away from her. I got told I was a pretty little trophy wife (me and DH have a five year age gap, and I look younger than 30/31 anyway) in over her head. I got told I was a pervert trying to corrupt her 'son' into being a girl for my own sick reasons. I got told that I was a horrible mother who should be ashamed of herself and have her kids taken away and given to parents that'll care for them.

 

I haven't told DSD this. I think she hates her birth mother enough that something like this would be superfluous.

 

Does anybody have any tips for dealing with someone like this? I really don't know what to do.


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#2 of 40 Old 09-19-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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Leave communicating with the ex to your husband.  And perhaps he should try to limit it to writing.  It gives both sides a better chance to think over what to say.  And if someone does get upset and go off half-cocked in an email, at least in the midst of all the emotion, no one can be accused of saying something they didn't say; or failing to share information they were supposed to share.

 

Naturally, it upset you to be insulted as you were.  Naturally, it upsets your SD to feel she was born in the wrong gender; to have grown bold enough to say so publicly; and to think it disgusts and upsets her mother.

 

Naturally it is ALSO distressing for a mother to be separated from her child; to be told that's the way her child wants it; and to have that statement come a woman Mom feels in competition with - a competition she's losing!  You have replaced Mom, in your husband's life.  You seem to have replaced her in the child's life, too.  And if Mom calls you "trophy wife", it's because she thinks you're younger and prettier than she is, on top of everything else.  Imagine for a second how all of that feels, on her end.

 

I won't defend the things Mom said to you.  But many people say angry things when they're angry.  To fault her because she stopped being sugary-sweet after you told her the child she carried in her womb wants to "leave her in the past" is as unreasonable as having a friendly chat with a cop, then complaining when he puts you in handcuffs after you pleasantly mention the illegal drugs in your car!  It's not fair tell a person something that's designed to upset/devastate/infuriate ANYONE in their position; and then say, "What an angry person!  See why I don't want her around?"  

 

Maybe Mom is an all-around angry person.  Maybe there are good reasons for her child to stay away from her.  I'm just not seeing them, in your post.

 

>  She was strict?  I know some stellar parents who were strict.  Their kids complained, while they were kids.  But now those kids are productive, well-adjusted adults with good educations, good jobs, and the discipline to chase their dreams even when it's hard, exhausting or discouraging.  They have deep respect and gratitude for their strict parents.  Maybe it's different with your DSD's mom, but strict - IN ITSELF - is not evil.

 

>  She's "transphobic"?  No doubt, any child navigating the shark-filled waters of gender uncertainty should have someone in their lives who will be only loving, supportive and positive.  That must be a hard enough journey, without feeling all alone!  So it's lucky DSD has you.  But these days many people pat themselves on the backs for being politically correct and progressive enough to show sympathy, acceptance and non-judgmentalism toward historically picked-on groups (like homosexuals or transgender).  What about showing "sympathy, acceptance and non-judgmentalism" toward people who TRULY have different world-views from you own...like DSD's mom?  Trying to understand her perspective doesn't mean changing course and agreeing with her.

 

Although you don't agree with Mom, can't you put yourself in her shoes a little?

 

>>> She may have been raised since earliest childhood to believe homosexuality or changing genders is "wrong", or offensive to God.  She may think trying to change the gender God or nature gave you is just as "wrong" as YOU think "transphobia" is.

 

>>> ANY parent who thinks their child is on the wrong path hopes to guide them back to the right one.  If one of your bio daughters started saying insulting things about gays, would you be open and accepting of her different view and try to embrace it with her?  Or would you counsel her on what you think is correct; and try to keep her away from bad influences?  It's likely the same, with DSD's mom!  She may think the loving thing, as a parent, is to look for some way to help her son get back on what she believes is the right path; and that accepting a gender change encourages and enables him to continue doing something wrong.

 

>>> When a child does something a parent sees as "wrong", or when a child rejects a parent, the parent naturally wants to believe it's the fault of outside influences.  ANY parent wants to believe their child is inherently good and - left to his/her own devices - will love the parent, want to continue a relationship with the parent, care what the parent thinks, and share the parent's values.  Don't you want to believe that about your bio kids?  Even if she's wrong, it is understandable that your DSD's Mom wants to blame you (and your DH, I assume) for turning DSD against her, and against her values.  That's a way for Mom to acknowledge behavior on DSD's part that Mom finds unacceptable, but to avoid blaming or faulting DSD for it (by faulting you, instead).  Convoluted as it is, it's a way of being loving.  Maybe the gender identity issue could divide you and her, instead of dividing DSD and her?

 

Clearly, it sounds like Mom's emotions get in the way, when she has difficult situations to handle - be it a phone call with you, or DSD coming out.  Don't you think it upsets her, too; that she can't figure out a way to handle DSD's gender identity issues without driving away her child?  But this isn't a parent who found out her son wanted to be a girl and decided, "You're dead to me forever."  This is a mother who still wants to be in her child's life.  That's why she keeps calling, even if she can't figure out a way for any of those calls to go well.  

 

It's easy to be the hero to DSD - to be the mother she "really needed" and to stand by her while she rejects and hates her Mom.  But counseling - or occasional supervised visits (where DSD has some support, if Mom gets upset) - could eventually bring DSD and Mom together, a bit.  Cutting off contact forever cannot possibly ever accomplish that.  

 

The more challenging role you could play would be to help DSD understand how hard the gender issues are, for her Mom - and why.  It's not nearly as simple as Mom hating her.  If Mom hated her, she'd quit trying to have contact.  Deep down, no kid wants to believe the woman who gave them life quit caring about them, or quit wanting a relationship.  And that is NOT the case, in DSD's life.  Her Mom just needs help - maybe a lot of help - figuring out how to conduct that relationship.


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#3 of 40 Old 09-19-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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Hmm. We also have a truly toxic ex wife around here, with many mental and addiction issues. Dss also just refers to her by her first name. Dh has had full physical custody of dss since he was 3. Her younger children have been removed from her care and she has been jailed for child endangerment, probabtion violation, and drug possession (just adding this as my BTDT and I'm not just subjectively calling her toxic, the courts have as well).

 

How old is your dsd?

 

My dss is 16 and has also completely cut his mom out of his life. He has refused to see her for 2.5 years. On the one hand, I understand. If this was a family member or friend who was an addict, manipulating his emotions, hurting his younger brothers, lying to him, etc. we'd pat him on the back for having the strength to cut this toxic person out of his life. Because it's his mother, it is messier. You are supposed to "come to terms" with your parents. Figure out how to have a relationship. I dont' know if it is possible at this time. I understand it is hard on her, but I don't think dss has to have her in his life just because it makes her feel better about herself and her choices. She sends him occasional text messages and cards. I know she wants to see him, but he has never responded.

 

At first, when things were a little better, I did most of the communication between dh and exw. I have a cooler head, and dh really couldn't talk to her for more than 1 minute without hanging up. Later we moved to email/text messages only. Now that they can text, dh deals with her the most. There is less to get upset over since dss is set in his decision to not see her.

 

I do feel that completely ignoring your mother is not the best long-term solution. I think it is probably necessary now, but eventually there will be a time when dss will want SOME relationship (I imagine). My role has been to be dh's partner in bringing up from time to time, the suggestion that dss might want to see his mom. Maybe meet for lunch? Meet at park while her mom is visiting? Coffee? She could come to his sports activity? So far he has turned down all these suggestions, but we do bring it up still. We also, since he is 16 now, are open with him about her issues. He wants to understand more about addiction, bipolar disorder, etc. I think it helps him to know that it wasn't about him. I know that in many ways I've "replaced" her. I've been with him everyday since he was five. From the first day of kinder, playdates, birthday parties, vacations, hard times, teacher conferences, etc. etc.  He doesn't feel the need for her at this time, but I imagine that some day he will. I'd like to help him get to a place where eventually he can have some sort of relationship with her, even if it is casual, or friendship, or whatever they can work out. I think he will be happier that way.

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#4 of 40 Old 09-19-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylie1 View Post

The ex started out very nice and kind, sweet as sugar...then when I told her that DSD didn't want any more contact with her and wanted to leave that in the past, I got screamed at.


Were you really surprised to get screamed at? I'm sure there are lots of issues with the ex, and perhaps your DSD's desire to cut her out of her life is completely justified, but you were not the appropriate person to deliver that news, especially in what sounds like an almost cavalier way -- nearly anyone would become angry in that situation. 


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#5 of 40 Old 09-19-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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Leave these communications to your husband. If he wants to support his daughter in refusing contact eith her mother, for a good and sufficient reason such as extreme transphobia, then that's his prerogative if the courts say it is. You have no place in that exchange, except to support your husband's decision.

By the way, your DSD's mother is not a "birth mother." She's the mother, no prefix necessary. You're the stepmother. I know that what you're doing here comes from a place of love for your DSD, but it's not fair to the mom to have to negotiate with you for access to her kid, and it's not fair of your husband to let you take on that role. He needs to be a grownup and communicate with his coparent about their shared child who is going through such an extreme psychological ad behavioral transition.
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#6 of 40 Old 09-19-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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Yeah that.

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By the way, your DSD's mother is not a "birth mother." She's the mother, no prefix necessary. You're the stepmother. I know that what you're doing here comes from a place of love for your DSD, but it's not fair to the mom to have to negotiate with you for access to her kid, and it's not fair of your husband to let you take on that role. He needs to be a grownup and communicate with his coparent about their shared child who is going through such an extreme psychological ad behavioral transition.


 


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#7 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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Leave these communications to your husband. If he wants to support his daughter in refusing contact eith her mother, for a good and sufficient reason such as extreme transphobia, then that's his prerogative if the courts say it is. You have no place in that exchange, except to support your husband's decision.

By the way, your DSD's mother is not a "birth mother." She's the mother, no prefix necessary. You're the stepmother. I know that what you're doing here comes from a place of love for your DSD, but it's not fair to the mom to have to negotiate with you for access to her kid, and it's not fair of your husband to let you take on that role. He needs to be a grownup and communicate with his coparent about their shared child who is going through such an extreme psychological ad behavioral transition.

I agree that leaving the communications to your husband is not only in dsd's best interest but also your's. I've been doing this step-mom thing for over 10 years now... My lesbian step-daughter lives with us full time now (as of April) and I still let him do the communicating. It's not our responsibility nor is it our place to be the go-between, even if it means an easier time for DH. I know that seems hard... and it still is for me because I really, REALLY like to run my mouth... it's in my nature and well, I really dislike his ex but she's not my child, no matter how much I love her, she still has 2 parents that love her and need to communicate and parent together. Sometimes it's hard to step back and let that happen because we have so much hostility towards bio-mom but just remember, they were in this together before he ever met you and just because their marriage is over, doesn't mean their parenting responsibilities together are over. Just try to learn to trust him enough to deal with her... that was always the hardest part for me but he knows her better than I ever will. He knows what to say/not say, do/not do in order to get the job done. Things have been MUCH smoother since I have realized that and just stepped back.

The fact that her mother still wants something to do with her despite her beliefs on transgender is telling me that she still loves her and is trying her best to come to terms with that. We have nearly the same issues here as DSD's bio-mom (and just FYI, PP, differentiating between BM and SM is common practice on step-parenting boards, I don't think she was trying to say that bio mom wasn't her REAL mother, just differentiating between the roles) because she has been raised to believe homosexuality is wrong and is trying to come to terms with DSD's sexuality. It was hard for me to walk in her shoes because I thought she should just accept DSD as she is... The problem with that is, she's not my child. When I thought about it in terms of my own child, I realized that while I would ultimately accept it and love him/her regardless, it would still be hard for me to come to terms with. Not because I don't agree with it, not because I believe it's wrong but because I know that there are a lot more challenges to face for her than if she were straight. I know that people can be incredibly cruel and it hurts me to think of my child facing those difficulties... sometimes it's easier to accept those things in our step-children than it is with our children and not because we love them any less but simply because we aren't the only influences in their life.

I am a step-mother... but I am also a step-child and I know from experience how much it hurts to have a rocky relationship with a parent. If you really love DSD, you will ENCOURAGE a relationship with her mother no matter how much you may dislike her. No matter how angry she is with her mother right now, eventually, she will understand how difficult this all has been for her to accept and see that despite it all, mom was still trying to have a relationship with her. As parents, we rarely make perfect decisions and hopefully some day Mom will realize that and hopefully DSD will be able to have a relationship with her as well. If DSD looks back and realizes that you were trying to help the relationship, she will respect you more for that than knowing you were encouraging the distance.

The best thing you can do in this situation is step back. Love her, support her, be her friend, be her guide, let her come to you about any and everything but when it comes to mom, let her, Dad and Mom deal with it. The times I have actually stood up for Bio-mom and even tried to explain to DSD why she feels the way she does, it makes ME feel good because it makes for an easier time for DSD in dealing with her. It's not always easy and being a step-mom is usually a pretty thankless job with very little support but in the end, it's worth it to know you helped shape them to be an awesome human being and maybe someday, with your help, she will have a great relationship with ALL of her parents and be a happy, healthy adult and THAT is incredibly rewarding. (Or at least I'm hoping it will be!)

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#8 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 12:35 PM
 
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Not to derail the thread but my kids have a step mom and if I was ever referred to as a bio mom I would be angry to say the least. I am also adopted and have a bio mom- she left me at the hospital at birth. Totally wrong wording and should be stopped.


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#9 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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Not to derail the thread but my kids have a step mom and if I was ever referred to as a bio mom I would be angry to say the least. I am also adopted and have a bio mom- she left me at the hospital at birth. Totally wrong wording and should be stopped.


I'm not trying to be snarky or anything... but can you explain why that's upsetting? I guess I would understand if you were their adopted mother and was mistakenly referred to as bio-mom... but if you are biologically their mother, why does that upset you? Granted, my kids don't have a step-mother but I am their bio-mom and that wouldn't bother me. I'm honestly just trying to understand why so I may be more empathetic in my wording.

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#10 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 01:29 PM
 
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Due to the fact that it has always generally been used as a term in adoption. The birth mom or biological mom who gives up the child. There is no need for ME to have a prefix on my MOM. I am my kids mom. Just because my kids have a step mom now does not change the my relationship to my child. It makes me absolutely sick to think that a step mother would call the mother of her step kids biological or birth mom. Even if the relationship is strained.

 

I am going to take some time to think about this and get back to you with more of a reply.  I am also going to talk to my friends here who are step mothers and mothers and see their take.

One question.... 

Are you your kids mom? Or are you their biological mom?


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#11 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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And to add to the confusion, my dss's mom would call herself the "biological mom" when she used to introduce herself to teachers and such who were used to dealing with me (I always introduce myself as the stepmom). In my head I probably think of her as the "biomom" since dss hasn't seen her in almost 3 years and she has not been very present in his life. Though,  she likes to yell things like "I'm the REAL mom and nothing can change that!" But on this board I just use mom and stepmom. And yes, I'm my kid's mom, but he's not being raised by another woman so I can't really put myself in those shoes.

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#12 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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And to add to the confusion, my dss's mom would call herself the "biological mom" when she used to introduce herself to teachers and such who were used to dealing with me (I always introduce myself as the stepmom). In my head I probably think of her as the "biomom" since dss hasn't seen her in almost 3 years and she has not been very present in his life. Though,  she likes to yell things like "I'm the REAL mom and nothing can change that!" But on this board I just use mom and stepmom. And yes, I'm my kid's mom, but he's not being raised by another woman so I can't really put myself in those shoes.


I'm the biological mom, raising the kids with their step-dad. My son especially has become uncomfortable with referring to his birth dad as 'Daddy', as they haven't seen him in 4 years. I introduced the term birth dad as a way for them to differentiate between my husband,who they call dad, and their biological dad, who I doubt they'd even recognize anymore. I can understand why it rankles with some people, because if XH had a partner who saw fit to call herself even 'step-mom', I would find it preposterous. To me, the parent names belong to the people doing the parenting.

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#13 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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Just a word about parent names, from someone who has been around here a while:

 

In this forum we seem to have sort of come to an unspoken agreement to use "mom" and "step-mom" regardless of what we say in real life, what role either plays in raising the children, whether or not we are married to our step-child's parent, or even what the child calls or how they feel about that parent. It keeps people from being offended, regardless of their reasons or whether or not anyone else thinks another person should be offended. 

 

People seem less concerned with how other refer to fathers and step-fathers, though personally I think the men are owed the same respect as the women, at least when posting here, and refer to each as "dad" and "step-dad" regardless of roles, involvement, marriage, etc. 

 

In either case, if explanation is needed, it can be added on its own, like: "My step-son's mom (who has chosen not to see him in 5 years)" or "My son's dad (who the court said isn't allowed contact other than by phone)." But in general if you stick to the generic mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, you are less likely to offend someone when posting here.

 

Whether or not you feel people should be offended, or you mean to be offensive, or you feel it accurately reflects you situation, or whatever the reason for not liking it... using those terms for those people seems to keep the conversation from getting totally sidetracked into a debate on the issue of who should call who what and why. And then everyone can focus on being helpful and giving suggestions rather than getting hung up in the name debate.


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#14 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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I'm not trying to be snarky or anything... but can you explain why that's upsetting? I guess I would understand if you were their adopted mother and was mistakenly referred to as bio-mom... but if you are biologically their mother, why does that upset you? Granted, my kids don't have a step-mother but I am their bio-mom and that wouldn't bother me. I'm honestly just trying to understand why so I may be more empathetic in my wording.

I made the same "mistake" - with the same benign intentions - and received the same reactions, when I first posted on MDC.

 

Many people feel "bio" mom always implies the mother's only substantial contribution to raising the child was biology.  So, if you look at the term that way, obviously it would be very insulting for a woman who did NOT give up her child for adoption to be dismissed as contributing little more to her child's life than if she HAD.  If there are complicated tensions - such as the child living primarily with father and stepmother - then referring to Mom as (only) the "bio" mom risks adding insult to injury.

 

Certainly, it's valid to look at the term a different way, as you point out.  (If you ARE the biological mother, why the sensitivity?).  Quite frankly, distinguishing between "bio" and "step" mom seems logical and grammatical to me.  I don't associate all the other baggage with the term.  Therefore, I have lapsed into using "bio" sometimes, as I get caught up in what I'm expressing and forget all the context others ascribe to the term.

 

But since it does seem to be the accepted etiquette on this site, to avoid using "bio" mom (unless you really mean that Mom has contributed little beyond genes), one conveys one's meaning most effectively, by observing the etiquette.  And, as Smithie (more succinctly) said, it's just as easy and accurate - but less offensive - to simply use the term "Mom", and distinguish the step-mom by giving HER a prefix.

 

 


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#15 of 40 Old 09-20-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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Thank you. I actually am a long time user here on MDC just changed my username since it had been awhile... I have been here since 03 and I had never run into this before suprisingly- or if I did my children did not have a step mother at the time so maybe I was not so sensitive. I appreciate your eloquent replies.


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#16 of 40 Old 09-21-2011, 05:02 AM
 
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I appreciate all the replies... didn't mean to sidetrack the original post but wanted to understand a bit more. Jeannine, your post was incredibly helpful as I, too, did not have any negative connotations with the word but I guess I do understand where some would. I've been around MDC for quite some time and never have run into this reaction before so was not aware. I will definitely be more aware in my postings. I am not a big fan of my step-children's mother but I can begrudgingly admit she has done more than just contribute DNA. wink1.gif

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#17 of 40 Old 09-21-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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"I am not a big fan of my step-children's mother but I can begrudgingly admit she has done more than just contribute DNA. wink1.gif"

 

I promise, nobody is asking you to be a big fan, or any kind of fan. thumb.gif

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 I am not a big fan of my step-children's mother but I can begrudgingly admit she has done more than just contribute DNA. wink1.gif


Well, my ds doesn't have a step-mom, and I hope he never does (his dad's an abuser - I sincerely hope he never puts ANYONE through what he put me through).  But, I can say that your dsd's mother is probably not a big fan of yours either.

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#19 of 40 Old 09-22-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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To me, I see the idea of using "bio" and "step" as a move towards equalizing the titles. They are both "mom", one is just "bio" and one is just "step". And I have to admit, if my kid had a stepmom who wanted to be equal with me in parenting my kid, Id be mad. I'm the mama, not her. I would want to just be "mom" and have the stepmom refer to herself as a stepmom. It seems like that is where a lot of people are coming from when they always get irritated about this language on this board. Even if it is selfish and wrong to feel that way.

That being said, my stepmom is "mom" and my mother is "my mother" most of the time because I dont communicate with her and she is pretty awful.

OP, have you or your DH called DSD's mom to tell her about the attack on DSD at school? I wonder if that would really affect her opinion about how she is treating DSD about this whole issue.

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To me, I see the idea of using "bio" and "step" as a move towards equalizing the titles. They are both "mom", one is just "bio" and one is just "step".


 

But, they shouldn't be seen as equals - they aren't equal.  Step mom isn't mom, and step mom's who come in and act like mom, and try to replace mom, and act like mom should listen to all of their oh so great parenting advice shouldn't be doing that (I really hope my ex never gets married, I'm sure if that happens he'll take me back to court to get custody - again - b/c his new wife will be more suitable to parent than me). 

 

Some step-mom's DO have a more active role in a child's life - but that doesn't make them a parent on equal footing with the mom.  It doesn't make them equal, not at all.  In fact, I really don't like it when step-mom's do most of the actual parenting when a child has visitation - that's not what a dad's visitation is for.  It's for the DAD to parent, not for his wife to parent.  Or for anyone else for that matter, its for DAD - other people can certainly be involved, and can have a relationship with the child, but the parenting should be done by the dad - the parent.

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#21 of 40 Old 09-22-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

To me, I see the idea of using "bio" and "step" as a move towards equalizing the titles. They are both "mom", one is just "bio" and one is just "step". And I have to admit, if my kid had a stepmom who wanted to be equal with me in parenting my kid, Id be mad. I'm the mama, not her. I would want to just be "mom" and have the stepmom refer to herself as a stepmom. It seems like that is where a lot of people are coming from when they always get irritated about this language on this board. Even if it is selfish and wrong to feel that way.
 

This is a really good point.  

 

It made me reflect that perhaps "bio" and "step" seem "logical and grammatical" to me because I spend a lot more time with my step-son and do a lot more of the conventional "mothering" work than his Mom does.  However, she was still his primary caregiver the first 8 years of his life and he still loves and is bonded to her, so she - and she alone - is and always will be his Mom.  Intellectually, I'm very clear on that fact.  But in day-to-day life, I'm just as involved in caring for him as I am for my own kids (more so, because my older sons spend a lot of time with their Dad).  Meanwhile, Mom's interaction with DSS is (by her own choice) largely limited to a phone call every 3-10 days and spending vacations with him.  Understandably - but still falsely - I often feel like an equal mother to him, or even more of one.  I should watch that.

 

And furthermore, my own kids have a stepmother, but she has become a true friend and I don't feel threatened, devalued, or disrespected by her in any way.  That, too, is unusual.  If I had more typical tension with her, I might feel more sensitive about the idea of being called "bio" mom.

 

Sorry!  Back to the real issue...


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#22 of 40 Old 09-24-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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But, they shouldn't be seen as equals - they aren't equal.  Step mom isn't mom, and step mom's who come in and act like mom, and try to replace mom, and act like mom should listen to all of their oh so great parenting advice shouldn't be doing that (I really hope my ex never gets married, I'm sure if that happens he'll take me back to court to get custody - again - b/c his new wife will be more suitable to parent than me). 

 

Some step-mom's DO have a more active role in a child's life - but that doesn't make them a parent on equal footing with the mom.  It doesn't make them equal, not at all.  In fact, I really don't like it when step-mom's do most of the actual parenting when a child has visitation - that's not what a dad's visitation is for.  It's for the DAD to parent, not for his wife to parent.  Or for anyone else for that matter, its for DAD - other people can certainly be involved, and can have a relationship with the child, but the parenting should be done by the dad - the parent.



Where it gets tricky is that a lot of us aren't every-other-weekend-when-you-visit stepmoms. Dh has had full physical custody of dss for 13 years (he's 16  now). He has not seen his mom in 2.5 years (his choice--addiction, jail time, etc. etc.). I know I am the primary motherish figure, and he wants me to be. I still call her mom, and know that it is important that someday he has a relationship with her. But what I'm saying is--all situations are different. In most cases, your are right, but dss doesn't "visit" here so dad can parent him. He lives here in our house 365 days a year  where I am the mom. Our relationship has evolved over the years, and I always tried to be what he need me to be (more of a mom and times, more of an "aunt" at times when his mom was back for a while). I get that some people will see her as more the mom than me (she birthed him and lived with him until he was 2), but I can't really hold her up as with some super special "MOM" status. I call us "mom and stepmom" on here, but I  don't see myself as less of dss' mom.

 

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#23 of 40 Old 09-25-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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i can see why it would often be seen as inappropriate to use the term bio mom in reference to your step kids mom. i certainly would never do it. it implies that you are the kids mother, and their real mom has nothing to do with mothering them. in some cases, this may be true and i dont think its really fair of MDC members to jump down a persons throat for using certain terminology when the whole situation isnt and cant be fully known.

 

as for me, while i am not married to my partner, i sometimes call his DD my DSD. i am rather hesitant to do so in real life... i just imagine it getting back to her mom that i consider myself to be a parent to her daughter and i imagine it making her feel weird or as if i am overstepping.

 

DSD does live with us 50% of the time and i spend as much time caring for her, playing and adventuring and learning with her as DP does. she actually called me mommy the other day and when i corrected her (she often just says "mommy" accidentally) she said "yes you are, youre like a different kind of mom". talk about heart melting. 

 

in any case, i am letting the rest of the family (DSD, DP and his EW) as well as my own comfort level define what my role should naturally be in DSDs life. its falling into place nicely and i have a good relationship with her mom so im not going to mess it up by being thoughtless with my terminology. to DSD, i am Karla. no need to attach any other verbal meaning to my name... her and i love each other, everyone knows it and i feel blessed... thats all i need. 


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she actually called me mommy the other day and when i corrected her (she often just says "mommy" accidentally) she said "yes you are, you're like a different kind of mom". talk about heart melting. 

 

smile.gif

 

There's the awkward truth.  Certainly, if a child has a relationship with their mother, whatever the quality of the relationship, it is unique and cannot possibly be replaced.  But if a stepmother is going to be in the picture, she should be "like a different kind of mom"...even if that's hard for Mom to swallow.

 

Thank God I felt secure and confident as a parent, before my ex married my kids' step-Mom.  I know she isn't going to take my place in their hearts.  Since I'm not insecure about it, I can see that if my ex and I weren't going to stay together, the next healthiest thing for our kids is to see each of us in healthy marriages and to feel like complete members of the family, in each of our homes.  

 

I could get territorial and take offense to her attending Back to School Night; or volunteering with their sports team; or taking them to an eye appointment when their Dad was too busy to go; or the fact that my kids call her extended family members "Aunt", "Uncle", "cousin", "Grandma", etc.  But isn't it better for my sons that she cares enough to be involved in all those things and to embrace them as part of her family?  If she didn't, my kids would see their younger half-siblings being treated as more complete members of their Dad's family, than they are.  That couldn't possibly be better!

 

It's tricky, but ideal, when divorced parents can separate the value of their children having some sort of healthy, parental relationship with a step-parent; from residual disappointment or guilt over the break-up that created space in the family, for step-parents to exist.
 

 


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#25 of 40 Old 09-27-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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OP, the best advice would be for letting your DH handle communicating with his ex. I am glad that your DSD has such an empathetic advocate and supporter in her corner! Keep being the loving, kind step-MOM that you are doing your best to be for her! And remember to be kind to yourself as well. You were trying to help and unfortunately got caught up in the middle. It's ok. You tried. Now, breathe and continue forward. Big Hugs!! Sounds like you can use many more of these.

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#26 of 40 Old 09-28-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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Well, my ds doesn't have a step-mom, and I hope he never does (his dad's an abuser - I sincerely hope he never puts ANYONE through what he put me through).  But, I can say that your dsd's mother is probably not a big fan of yours either.


Actually, you are quite mistaken on that. Not that it's any of your business but she quite often tells people (including myself) how thankful she is that my husband married someone who loves her children and treats them amazing. I am now a full-time step-mother to my step-daughter because of her inability to cope with the fact that she is a lesbian. So yeah, I tend to have a problem with a mother that would rather give up her child than accept her and love her for the person that she is... So while I'm sorry that you may not like the idea of a step-mother in your children's life, there's no reason to get snippy with me. I love being a step-parent and I love my step-children with all of my heart, unconditionally and because of that, I am valued by their mother despite my lack of admiration for her.

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#27 of 40 Old 09-28-2011, 10:42 AM
 
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smile.gif

 

There's the awkward truth.  Certainly, if a child has a relationship with their mother, whatever the quality of the relationship, it is unique and cannot possibly be replaced.  But if a stepmother is going to be in the picture, she should be "like a different kind of mom"...even if that's hard for Mom to swallow.

 

Thank God I felt secure and confident as a parent, before my ex married my kids' step-Mom.  I know she isn't going to take my place in their hearts.  Since I'm not insecure about it, I can see that if my ex and I weren't going to stay together, the next healthiest thing for our kids is to see each of us in healthy marriages and to feel like complete members of the family, in each of our homes.  

 

I could get territorial and take offense to her attending Back to School Night; or volunteering with their sports team; or taking them to an eye appointment when their Dad was too busy to go; or the fact that my kids call her extended family members "Aunt", "Uncle", "cousin", "Grandma", etc.  But isn't it better for my sons that she cares enough to be involved in all those things and to embrace them as part of her family?  If she didn't, my kids would see their younger half-siblings being treated as more complete members of their Dad's family, than they are.  That couldn't possibly be better!

 

It's tricky, but ideal, when divorced parents can separate the value of their children having some sort of healthy, parental relationship with a step-parent; from residual disappointment or guilt over the break-up that created space in the family, for step-parents to exist.
 

 


I think I love you... you are so well-spoken on the issues of being a step-parent and often put my feelings in perfect wording. You're a very wise step-mommy/mommy, indeed. smile.gif

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#28 of 40 Old 09-30-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Actually, you are quite mistaken on that. Not that it's any of your business but she quite often tells people (including myself) how thankful she is that my husband married someone who loves her children and treats them amazing. I am now a full-time step-mother to my step-daughter because of her inability to cope with the fact that she is a lesbian. So yeah, I tend to have a problem with a mother that would rather give up her child than accept her and love her for the person that she is... So while I'm sorry that you may not like the idea of a step-mother in your children's life, there's no reason to get snippy with me. I love being a step-parent and I love my step-children with all of my heart, unconditionally and because of that, I am valued by their mother despite my lack of admiration for her.


Really?  You think your step-kids mother values someone who openly dislikes and doesn't respect her?  Yeah, good luck with that.

 

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#29 of 40 Old 09-30-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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I'm pretty sure this is considered "thread crashing", even though I myself am a product of a very blended family (my mother and grandmother have both divorced twice), but here it goes.

 

First, OP, kudos(!) on being allied to your dsd. As a queer and non-binary-gendered adult who is entrenched in my local queer/trans community, thank you.

 

Super Single Mama, Attached2Elijah never said she didn't respect her dsd's mother. You made that presumption based on her proclaimed lack of admiration and admitted frustration. I don't think that total lack of respect is a fair conclusion, based on that evidence. It's not the same thing.

 

Jeannine, I'm don't want you to feel like I'm picking on you, but I literally cringed to see TRANSPHOBIC in "quotations". It's like putting "trans" in quotations! EEEk! It illegitimizes transphobia as a problem, when in reality, its effects can and do kill. Anyone who intentionally doesn't use her daughter's preferred pronouns is, without a doubt, as transphobic as the day is long. It doesn't make her position easy. It doesn't make her an innately awful person. It doesn't remove her motherhood. It doesn't even make her unwilling to learn and improve. But it does make her the very definition of transphobic. And that is just as bad as "racist", "homophobic", "sexist", etc... Period. Try putting any of those in quotations to a parent whose child has died of a hate crime or hate-induced suicide. Transphobia is real. It's been proven dangerous to young people and it's a tragedy that it often is trivialized in the mainstream consciousness.

 

I really wish people who don't think they know a trans or gender-variant person would take these issues seriously, as the likely hood is that someone close to them is, or will be closeted, and the effects of trivializing their struggles are real.

 

OP, I think you're doing a great job at being supportive of your dsd in terms of her gender identity. Awesome job. Don't forget though, that an equally-important facet of being supportive is to promote a long-term ideal of a healthy and communicative relationship between she and her mother. No one will profit from long-term contention, regardless of "who started it". Dsd's mother's current attitudes of transphobia are - though appalling - socially conditioned. Don't write her off as hopelessly intolerant and unhealthy for the rest of her life. Being an alienated mother is an incredibly grievous and traumatic position to be in, no matter who we blame or why. A little understanding and positive communication (preferably by her co-parent only) in regards to her relationship with Dsd is your only hope, IMHO.

 

Does your Dsd have a trans community to turn to for issues pertaining to her identity? Does she have a therapist that specializes in queer & trans issues, etc? Just thought I'd check, as people who can be reached through trans/trans-allied networks like this have A LOT of experience dealing with problems involving estranged/unsupportive family members. She needs support from people who have BTDT.


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#30 of 40 Old 09-30-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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"Dsd's mother's current attitudes of transphobia are - though appalling - socially conditioned. Don't write her off as hopelessly intolerant and unhealthy for the rest of her life."

 

All of habitat's advice is great, but this is particularly great. 

 

Transphobia is more than socially conditioned - at this point, it's socially normal. By our societal standards, the OP and her husband are freaks and the OP's husband's ex is the normal one. To deny, reject, and cast off an atypically gendered child is to do what has always been done. 

 

OP is obviously indignant about this - she sees her stepchild being hurt, and her momma-bear kicks in and she wants to defend her little one. But since the "danger" in this case is coming from the mother, then there's going to be hurt either way. Mom's intolerance will hurt. Losing contact with mom will also hurt. It's kind of a no-win, and hopefully dad and stepmom can give some cultural perspective on the problem ("it's not you, it's not even her, it's the world and the world takes time to evolve") without condoning mom's behavior meanwhile.  

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