Any words of wisdom for a potential future stepmom? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-27-2007, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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My SIL is involved with a man who has two children, ages 5 and 9. He's a great guy and seems to be a very involved father with a good co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife.

Things are beginning to get serious between my SIL and her boyfriend -- any words of wisdom (from moms or stepmoms) for what she can expect or things she should keep in mind? She hasn't met the kids yet, and wants to be sure to handle things "right" (if there is such a thing) moving forward with this relationship and interacting with the kids.

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#2 of 10 Old 10-28-2007, 01:42 AM
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I'd advise her to ease into the children's lives ..
Take things slow and let the children decide the pace of things.
She's stepping into their turf , their home , their safe house ...

You said the children are 5 and 9 so they aren't little and they are well aware of the situation and things (children are very smart and observant) ..

Let the children decide how close or how distant they want to be with her ..

I'd advise her NOT to come in and act like a big happy family or come in expecting to become mother or even mother # 2 ..

I'd advise her not to be a push over and don't try very hard to get on their good side , children will see right through that !!

I had it easy
I came into my ss life when he was about 6 months old (he is now 7years )
but even then my ss waited until he was 1year old before he would let me hold him (before that he would scream if I even touched him)..
And he didn't decide to call me mom until he was almost 3 ..

Oh and be sure that her boyfriend and her are on the same page ..
Lots of communication between the 2 of them is needed ...
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#3 of 10 Old 10-28-2007, 03:37 AM
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i'll pray for her. just be slow, patient, and respect the bio parents authority.
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#4 of 10 Old 10-28-2007, 06:06 AM
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Just be mellow about everything, that makes it easier for everyone. Really nothing much is happening after everyone meets each other, besides slowly getting used to the new people. Embracing that mellowness is much easier anyway.

Pretty soon you're looking back, wondering how they got so old so fast!
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#5 of 10 Old 10-28-2007, 07:53 PM
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The only advice I can give her is expect the unexpected and don't expect it to be easy.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#6 of 10 Old 10-28-2007, 08:56 PM
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Being a step-mother is emotionally the hardest thing I have ever done. I have had to make some huge sacrifices in my life for myself and my other children, I have virtually no control over the life of one of my children (that would be my step-child!), and for the rest of my life I will have a relationship with someone I would never choose to be friends with. Having been married before to someone without children from a previous relationship, I can say for sure that you need maybe 10x the commitment to the marriage if you are going to be a step-parent.

But I do it all because I get to share my life with an absolutely amazing little girl (not to mention her incredible father) who I love dearly. And I would do it all again. I wouldn't trade having her in our life, even knowing what I have to go through to make that happen.

It is not for the faint-of-heart!

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#7 of 10 Old 10-30-2007, 11:01 PM
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Look carefully at how your significant other parents, because it won't change. Don't think you can change or 'improve' the kids. When you make a committment to your SO, it's a commitment to his children, as well. Oh, and things do get better.
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#8 of 10 Old 10-30-2007, 11:37 PM
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Sometimes it really feels like I am in a plural relationship. DSD's mom has so much control and power over our lives.

My relationship with DF would be so much better if we didn't have to have a relationship with his ex.

Going slowly is definitely the way to go. I have been a part of DSD's life for over two years now (she does not remember a time when I was not around), but it is only recently that I have really started taking an active role as a stepparent.

With kids that are older, expect it too take longer to develop a good relationship. They may be suspicious of the new person's intentions. My stepmom has been in the picture since I was in high school. We have only really warmed up to each other in the last couple of years.


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#9 of 10 Old 11-09-2007, 01:49 AM
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Advice from my 11-year old DS:
  • Play games with me. Take time to get to know me.
  • Don't act like it's a contest which mom I like the best -- I love both of mine.
  • Let me call my mom "Mom" when I am at your house. Don't make me call her by her name. That makes me sad.
  • Don't say mean things about my mom. Sometimes I don't want to go with my stepmom, especially if I know she is going to be with grandma because they are going to be rude about my mom.
  • Never, ever, ever tell me I can't have pictures of my family because my mom will rip them up. That made me cry for a long time because I knew she wouldn't do that to something I cared about.
  • Make sure I get to call my mom when I am at your house for a long time.

I can't tell you how much damage control I have had to do over the past 10-years, how many tears I have had to wipe away, how many emotional wounds I have had to help heal simply because my former hubby's wife can't seem to figure out that we are in this together. I don't want to go spend the day at the spa with her, but I keep hoping for the day that she realizes that this is a partnership and the end goal is to raise a healthy, well-adjusted young man who has the capacity to love and be loved.

My advice to your SIL is to just go slow with the kids and make a sincere effort to befriend his ex (I know--this is hard sometimes). She doesn't have to go on vacations with her, but if she approaches it with an open, sincere desire to be a partner in raising the kids, the kids' mom will most likely respond (eventually!) to her kindness and sincerity. Not all of us ex-wives are the devil incarnate all the time. Some of us would actually welcome the chance to build some kind of relationship with our former hubby's new spouse. After all, this woman is going to be caring for and helping me raise this amazing boy--it would be a good idea to at least be on speaking terms with her!

Dissertating wife of Mr. Amazing Man, mother to Boo Bear ( ) Captain Knuckle (13), and The Professor (5). Expecting Penelope Rose 5/10/2010 via planned c/s.
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#10 of 10 Old 11-09-2007, 06:11 PM
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My advice is to spend as much time as she can with the children. I did not do this and now I regret it. I think I would have had a much better picture of the dynamics within the group. I would still have married my husband as he is wonderful, but I would have had a better idea of what I was getting into. I had not realized, for instance, what a disruptive influence the ex wife would be to our lives. However, it sounds like this guy has a good relationship with his, so it is probably ok.
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