We are now an even more complicated version of blended family! Ex and I split up this summer. He had a daughter from his first marriage (my dsd, 12), plus we have two kids together (dd 6 and ds 3). I always make a photo Christmas card to send out to family and friends, usually just of the three kids. However, I'm not sure how to handle it this year!
Should I include dsd? She still calls me her stepmom, I'm still in her life, (mostly through her mom, who lets her come sleep over with me during her time every now and again, plus getting together with both families for parties, playdates, etc-her mom as 2 other kids as well from her second marriage-I told you it was complicated!). I generally send a card to her mom and will send one to her grandparents, so dsd will nearly 100% see the card and I don't want her to feel left out if she is not in it. But, I can also see how it is a little awkward to have her still in the card just from me....I assume her dad will do one as well, but obviously no guarantee since I was always the one to handle that.
She is 12 and I think would give an honest answer if I ask her what she wants to do (I'd ask her mom about it first just in case).
Anyone BTDT either as a parent or a child? Thoughts/opinions?!
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
Yeah, it sounds like she likely still considers herself part of your family- asking her mom first then her sounds like the best way to go about it.
Proud Formula Feeder, I support how ALL parents feed their babies. Breast or bottle, formula or breastmilk, and any combination thereof.
Happily married since 4/30/2009 Our first was born 4/23/2013
First, I hope you're doing alright after the break-up.
I have not BTDT, but I'd bring it up to your SD more in the vein of, "I'm planning on taking the picture when you're here to be in it," (and letting her tell you, if she has a strong aversion) and less, "If you want to, you can still be in it" - which, if she's already feeling awkward about the situation, will sound to her like she's having to ask - even though it's really you, inviting her.
I'd do the same thing with her mom. Ask, "Could SD visit me sometime soon? I need to take a photo for Christmas cards and I'd like to do it when SD can be in the picture, with her sisters." Mom can still make some polite excuse, if she's really opposed. But if she's already willing to give you her own parenting time, she'll probably appreciate that you care about keeping the sisters connected. If you phrase it as, "Is it OK with you if I..." that subtly implies that she should think long and hard about whether it's appropriate.
Good for you, for staying connected with your SD. It's hard enough that she's now been through two break-ups. The best message she can get is that her connections with you and her sisters still matter, regardless what happened with you and her dad.
I just realized I never updated this!
Thanks for all of your advice! I ended up casually mentioning I was taking photos for the Christmas card, and then went ahead and included her. I sent one to her mom's house. The kids and I went over there for a play date, and dsd made a point to pick one up and tell me how much she liked it, so I know she was pleased to be included :)
I also got to have her over a few days after Christmas to do presents, etc. (she already did it with the kids at their dad's, so we just did another one with me and my parents) Plus her mom invited us over for New Year's, so we've gotten to see each other a lot lately!
It is definitely more of an "aunt" relationship than a parent now, but I feel like that is expected and appropriate at this point.
I was debating about inviting dsd to go on vacation when I take the kids camping this summer, and it just feels like the right thing to include her. I will definitely run that one by her mom first, but even if dsd doesn't want to go for whatever reason, I feel like it is important to still make know she is wanted and loved.
I really can't thank her mom enough-our relationship started out really rocky (i.e. bad), but after the initial rough start (which was justified on her end, I completely admit) over the years she has really put her daughter first when it came to supporting our relationship and dsd's relationship with her siblings. It has been a really good lesson and example to me of how to act when it comes to ex's girlfriend and future relationships.