Question for biomoms - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 09-11-2006, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,
I am wondering if any BMs would have any advice or suggestions for new stepmom. I am new to this board (although I have been lurking for a little bit now).

I am recently married and now have two stepchildren. I feel very fortunate in that they are very sweet, affectionate, and open to new people in their lives (BM remarried as well). DH’s relationship with ex is not so great. I would say that they are civil or coldly polite. They pretty much ignore each other’s existence unless they need to talk about the kids, visitation, etc. He is not the custodial parent (we see them every other weekend), but he is a very involved parent so I generally do not speak to her because he deals with all that. It's a little awkward esp. when we are a the same activities together.

Soooo….if you could say anything to your kid’s new stepmom what would you say? What would you like her to know? What pitfalls should I avoid? Any suggestions to make life easier on DH, DSC, and myself.

Thank you,

The Wicked Stepmother
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#2 of 9 Old 09-11-2006, 05:53 PM
 
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LOL Sounds like my relationship with my ex and his DW. I am the custodial parent and sometimes it seems like it is their life's goal to undermine me with our DD, age 14.

My advice would be to smile and say hi. You obviously love the children so tell her what wonderful kids they are. If you are having any questions about discipline ask her advice. Be patient. If she is nasty with you be the bigger person and simply apologise for anything you may have said or done to upset her. Bite your tongue if you have to. She may feel threatened by you. Try to imagine how you would feel in her place. But if none of that works take a step back and let you DH handle it. Even though you are a big part of their lives now it is still between them. What ever you do don't talk negative about her any where near the children. Do it when they are not at home. Little ears hear more than you think. My DD has over heard her DD and DSM many times. Try not to make it a competition.
All in all be respectful, friendly, and courteous.
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#3 of 9 Old 09-13-2006, 02:08 AM
 
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Wow, fuzzycat -- I'm impressed! As a BM myself, I really appreciate your attitude. That is really the key in dealing with messes like this! It's obvious you want what is best for the children and that is what is most important.

The best peice of advice I can offer you is that it not about you -- its about the kids. In other words, don't take ANYTHING personally, don't attack the BM or her choices in any way (assuming there is no abuse, of course), and NEVER, EVER make it appear as if you look down on the BM. This is really important for the self esteem of the children -- after all, they are partly from her, which means that if oyu look down or belittle her, you are belittling them.

You are allowed to disagree, of course. I handle this by telling my DD that her father isn't wrong, but I would do it (whatever it is) differently. Then I explain to her why I think the way I do and why her father thinks the way he does (as much as I can explain it -- he and I are really different).

Good luck -- I think you will do great!
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#4 of 9 Old 09-13-2006, 10:46 PM
 
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I am both a BM and a StepM. I have a very good relationship with my ex’s long term girlfriend and a relationship which sounds very familiar to your husbands with my ex.

One word of caution - be very very careful about discipline. We have the yours, mine and ours and what we have found after 8 years is that it is best to have any discipline done only by the bioparent.

also, never ever, ever say anything negative, even in what you think is a hidden negative about the biomom. Children pick it up. My DSD told my Dds this summer that she really appreciates that my husband and I never criticize her mother and that it bothers her that her mother criticize us all the time.

I talk with my ex’s girlfriend about 2 times per month (it is easier to talk with her than my ex) about issues we are having with the kids or things that have come up. I developed this by simply calling her one day and saying “we both have a mother role in these kids lives, we can work together and it will be much better,” I did ask her to respect me as their mother and I would respect her as a significant role. In their lives.

I can’t say that I have a good relationship with my husbands ex. I have reached out to her but it hasn’t worked. It has taken years to overcome the damage done by the things that she had done and said to my DSD. However, taking the high road -always - has finally resulted in our DSD coming around and having a great relationship with us.

I think have written way to much... but hope this helps.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-14-2006, 05:16 AM
 
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hi.... i have no real advice but to say its obvious you care for the kids and honestly its about them. each family has their own way of doing it and making it work .

good luck
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#6 of 9 Old 09-14-2006, 03:35 PM
 
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The only suggestion I'd have is, during those special occasions where the mom is also present, I'd make sure to stay out of any sort of spotlight, and let it be her celebration. For instance, my kids birthdays are REALLY special to me because *I* gave birth to them on that day, so it's my celebration as well. Having my ex's new wife at a party would be very strange to me (unfortunately or fortunately, we live far apart and never have shared activities).

Also, if/when you have more children, be careful to treat your skids with as much love, tenderness, forgiveness, etc. as your own biokid.

Good luck with your new family!!
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#7 of 9 Old 09-14-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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I'd also look for opportunities (if they ever present themselves) to build a bit of trust with her. Meaning, if you think the kids are great and an opportunity presents where you could tell her, I would. As an example, if your dh only has his kids every 2nd weekend, she is really doing the bulk of the parenting and letting her know that you think she's doing a good job can go a long way for future interactions.

I agree with others not to take anything personally.
Keep it all about the kids.
Make every opportunity to see the best in her and be friendly or at least kind to her. If you treat her kids with respect, hopefully, she'll see that you are a decent person.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-20-2006, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,
Thank you so much for the advice...I am still getting use to this role. I don't see BM and I ever being buddy, buddy because of DH's relationship with her, but I don't want to step on any toes either. I got the feeling early on that she resented me in their lives and I do not want to aggravate her further.
FC
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#9 of 9 Old 09-20-2006, 11:04 PM
 
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I am the Step Mom not the Bio as you asked for but I have developed a good working relationship with my DSDs mom. We have had our rough spots over the last ten yrs and we have overcome them.

My husband is the only one that discusses discipline with her. We will not undermine her authority, much like we do for each other, she has been gracious enough to do the same in return. When picking up or dropping off, I always go to the door or just inside and strike up the "Hi, how are ya?" conversation. No matter how I may be feeling!!! When she comes to my door I always invite her and her children in. Always. If we throw a party for my DSD, I always invite her. This included our wedding, again she graciously accepted. We save her and her family seats at school events, even though she always runs late. She is not very decisive and I am, I am always aware of this and deal with it gently.

Bio Mom gave birth to my baby girl. I will always love her for that and treat her accordingly, no matter what!!!! Regardless if it is ever returned.
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