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#1 of 6 Old 08-01-2008, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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So I'm new here as well and haven't posted a formal introduction - I've started several times and it always seems like I'll be typing forever if I actually did it so I always end up quitting. I've been kind of lurking (i hate that term) for about a week now.

My boyfriend and I have been together now for about 2 years just recently bought a house together. I have one DD (4 years) from my marriage before and he has 2 children - DS (6 years) and DD (8 years). He's from CA and moved here about 2 years ago the children used to live in CA until 3 weeks ago (almost 4 weeks ago). They spent the summer here last summer but he had his own place so when things got rough we'd each be able to go back to our own places. This summer they moved here - a week after we moved into our new house. So we are a new family of 5 (hence the screen name - pretty original eh?). The ex-wife also moved here (which is NY by the way) she arrived last Saturday. We've had our ups and downs the past couple of weeks. I have a feeling it's going to be quite the roller coaster ride of emotions for all involved. Anyways more to come eventually I am sure, but had a question -

At what point is one considered a stepmom or a stepdad? Do you all have to be married or just living together. Camden - my daughter - who is 4 and has been living with Nathan and I for the past year is finally adjusting to the fact that Nathan is not going anywhere and just recently started to say stuff like - she has 2 daddy's. I don't correct her or even really address it we just talk about it a little bit. Like my initial response was "who do you think are your two daddy's" to which she responds well I have my Daddy Brian and my Daddy Mathan. She doesn't call Nathan Daddy - she calls him Mathan (and she can totally say her N's so I'm thinking that's just what she'll call him forever. The other children who just moved here are slowly adjusting. The first week we had them Ashley who is 8 was very - Kari is not my Mom and would say some pretty hurtful things. It's a tough job this gig we all have here. Anyways the other night she came up to me and hugged me goodnight and said "you know kari i've been thinking and i think that you're a good stepmom you could be mean but you are very nice and i think that it's a good thing that i have you as my stepmom" she then continued on with "i think it's cool to have 2 moms you know in case one passes away or something" Oh out of the mouths of babes right?

Their mom is having a rough time right now. Apparently Ashley asked her last night at dinner if Kari was her stepmom. It upset her a lot - I personally don't think she's mentally stable and this move has been quite trying on her. She did move all the way across the country so that the kids could be with both her and Nathan so I'm trying my best to be patient with her craziness. Last night was rough though - after this conversation with Ashley she freaked out and wanted to bring her back to the house - she arrived and spent about 15 minutes in her vehicle with Nathan and Ashley freaking out. Both ashley and her mom were crying hysterically. I feel horrible for Ashley - she's 8 and just trying to figure it all out - who the players are, where she stands in the whole thing and if it's going to be permanent or not.

So little background - sorry for the rambling - and the question at one point when are you officially the stepmom? Oh and I'm not asking that they call me anything but my first name. I've got two books that I'm in the process of reading "blending families" and "the enlightened stepmother".

Totally babbling - oh by the way my name is Kari. I was so relieved to have found this board you all seem like a very supportive group and I've already learned a lot. I often feel like I'm flailing helplessly in this new world that is now mine. So here I am
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#2 of 6 Old 08-01-2008, 12:21 PM
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Good luck to you and your new family. I don't know when it's 'official' but it sure sounds like you're a step-mom to me.
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#3 of 6 Old 08-01-2008, 12:32 PM
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I say it's official to you and your DSK's whenever it feels that way in the relationship.

I know I have been a Step-Mom to my DSD since about October...

However, from what I have seen here and such... it isn't likely that the Mom will see you that way, as she will feel threatened by it. And until there is something "more permanent" in place like marriage, she figures you are disposable...

Beleive me I HATE it and hated it the first time it was told to me... but I can just tell that is how the Mother's usually think...

But in the end none of that really matters... it does suck for your DSD though if she thinks of you that way and her Mom is telling her she can't... it is only going to screw up the kids.

I would say to reassure her at your house that you aren't going anywhere and are honored to be her Step Mom.


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#4 of 6 Old 08-01-2008, 12:46 PM
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I have been permanently in my DSD's life since DH's divorce was finalized and we moved in together. DSD was 2.5yo at the time. We lived together for 5yrs had one chld and were pregnant with our second before we actually decided to make our families happy and get married. We never felt we needed a marriage license to cement our relationship. We could have gone on living like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell for the rest of our lives. kwim

Anyway, I have always felt I was in the step-mom role with DSD since we moved in together, and I was having to deal with her at every visit. She felt the same way. That is the most important part of it. Now, her mother would not acknowlege me as her step-mother until we had officially married. She was and is very threatened by me. I don't think that will ever change.

Mama to Ava (12/03) , Leila (4/06) , Violet (11/08) , and bonus mama to Madison (7/98)
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#5 of 6 Old 08-01-2008, 12:55 PM
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Welcome! (From one unmarried stepmom to another.)

I agree that, aside from the legalities, you become a stepmom when you feel like a stepmom.

As for what the kids' mom might say, some moms are like that, some aren't. My stepdaughter's mother isn't. She does give us grief about a lot of other things, but she does recognize me as a permanent and stable presence in her daughter's life. I'm an emergency contact at SD's school, and an authorized picker-upper (and she, not my partner, filled out the forms). She's on my family cell phone plan (saves all of us $$). She even told my partner--waaay before I was ready for this, BTW--that it would be OK if their daughter called me Mommy (she's Mama). (For the record, my SD calls me by my first name or a nickname most of the time, but might call me Mommy, Stepmommy, or something similar if she's very tired, scared, sad, etc.)

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Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#6 of 6 Old 08-01-2008, 01:06 PM
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I am not a step-mom but I am a step-daughter. I think what is important is what you and your boyfriend consider you. Does he consider you to be their step-mom? Do you have authority over them and are you treated as an equal parent in your house? This is not the way it was in my dad and step-moms home when they raised my brother (I had to stay with my mom) and it made it very hard on my step-mom. I moved in with them when I was 17 and she was allowed more authority (supposedly because my dad didn't know what to do with a girl ) and I think that worked out better in the end.

Can you talk to Ashley and let her know that you can see this is a difficult time for her and her mom, that you are not replacing her mom but that you are an equal parent in your home? Keep the communication going and let her tell you what happened in the car from her point of view. Let her tell you how she felt about all of it. She probably also needs to understand that her telling her mom that she has another mom is very hard to hear. My mom took it very hard too and I have always tried to think of it not as I have two moms, but I have one mom and a Kelli (my step-mom) and that's the best deal in the world to me.

Good luck, I hope things smooth out for you and Ashley.

Mama to my sweet Sophia, born at home on 4/6/11.

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