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My boyfriend and I are talking about marriage. It will be the second for both of us. He has three kids - ages 12, 9, and 6. I have two - 4 and 2.5. I was wondering how many step-mothers are out there at mdc. also, do you have any books or websites that have been helpful to you? advice or any thoughts you'd like to share?
thanks,
Amanda
 

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You sound like you'll be a great step-mom. My step-mom is a totally academic person but she never put much thought into that particular role. Overall, we get along well but I really wish she was more thoughtful about this one thing. Actually, it's my only complaint. Good for you. Sorry, no other help...just encouragement. Perfect start!
 

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1. Remember you are not their mother. You can become a very important part of their life but you will not be their mom. Be respectful to their mom even if she is a ------------.

2. They will try to play one parent against the other.

3. Remember your new children will need their mom and dad together.

4. Don't get jelous when he has to put those kids first. Remember visitiation is very short amount of time to spend with your children.

5. Love those kids will all your heart.

6. Keep double standards down to a minimum. Pick and choose thoose battles carefully. Discuss rules and expectations with your boy-friend on issues like bedtime, boy/girl friends, clothing, religion, friends, music, acceptable language, make-up, et. Discuss your dicipline ideas and plans. (It is easier to disipline a child you are always around than one you see rarely. This can some times seem to be unfareness/prefrences discuss it fairly).
 

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Quote:
1. Remember you are not their mother. You can become a very important part of their life but you will not be their mom. Be respectful to their mom even if she is a ------------.
Just wanted to second this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote - "3. Remember your new children will need their mom and dad together." can you explain this?

like some of you, i come from a divorced family too. i have had two step-mothers. one i liked the other not so much. i've also had two step-fathers. one was the devil and the other one is wonderful. i'm sensitive to the issue, but have never talked with peers who are doing it.

i'm grateful for your responses. keep them coming.
 

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Raise them like your own.

If something should ever happen to you or your marriage, how would you want your children treated/raised ? You and your family will reap many rewards for your hard work throughout the years, it's wonderful.
 

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I guess that was unclear. Sorry.

They are divorced but they still need to be a team (together). They do not need to see a step parent causing a divide. They still need to interact at school functions, sporting events. It is so much better when this is done with out fighting.

Example of the "together" I am talking about: My first wedding my dad would not come too because my mother could not behave. She would also asked him to fork up some money. This wedding was her NOT MY WANTS. It hurt that they could not get along for one day. I needed and wanted them BOTH there. I did not need or want them to sit in oposite sides of the room. I was not asking them to dance or pretend to love each other but sit in close proximity.

It is hard on children when they cannot have BOTH parents. There are times you will have to step back a little. It will hurt at times.

***********************

I will argue about raising them "like your own". You have a thrid party influence to think of and what effect inforcing your rules will have on the relationship also their age plays a part (some of this is pick and choose your battles). Example: You are vegitarian. You don't allow your bio-children to eat meat. In your step-children's other home they are allowed meat. Now there is a picnic you are taking all the kids to (or even the "step") to. What do you do? If you refuse to allow these kids to eat meat then you create emotional you are the "wicked" step-mom. Yes, it makes it a little harder on your bio-children but that is easier to deal with because the step-children will often be around less. Something along the lines of Step-child's mother agrees to her eating meat. Even though I don't agree with it I respect her decission and her right to parent as she chooses. The meat issue does not effect your children much. Now it might be necessary to say "NO WAY" to something like media viewing and listening, but having the father back you up will help here. Having him say WE/I do not allow that type of media viewing in my home it must stay at your mom's.

Now if these children live with you things might need to play out differently.

Maybe a better statement to "raising them like your own" would be is "TO LOVE THEM LIKE YOUR OWN".
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Marsupialmom
They will try to play one parent against the other.

I just wanted to add the word 'may' to this. Personally, I am the child of a blended family and I never played my parents against each other, never even considered that, in fact.

Oh, I second the think about being supportive of the mother, regardless of anything that happens.
 

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I'm a stepmom, and I'm so glad you started this thread. I'm pretty new here and was trying to find a place to ask if there was an area for blended families?

Dss and I have had a pretty rocky relationship, but I think that's mostly because he's had a rocky life. I find it hard to tell someone to love someone else. I do love him as my own, but I feel that that's because we bonded and it just happened that way. We've ranged from him calling me mom and snuggling while I read him The Chronicles of Narnia to him correcting strangers in public when they refer to me as his mom: "NO, she's my stepmother!"

I will pass on one piece of advice a dear friend gave me (she's not a stepmom, but a mom to 5 who did this with each of her previously youngest children). When my dd was about 3 months old, I left her with dh for about an hour and took dss out to dinner (sushi!). It was really special.
 

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My parents were divorced and both remarried...so here's the perspective from the kids POV.

ITA with marsupialmom: don't get in the way of the mother and father spending time together, even if it makes you crazy. I would resent any stepparent who tried that. And DO try to promote harmony when the three of you are around the children. My biggest source of hurt now is that my mother refuses to be around my Dad if he's with my stepmom. All my "events" like graduation, birthdays, I have had to have 2 celebrations. And now with my own children, it's going to be the same. And it SUCKS. For god's sake, no matter what happens between the adults, smile and play nice with the ex when the kids are around.

The other thing I want to second is keeping your kids FIRST! My Dad's second wife (my first stepmom) was very jealous of his relationship with us, and the time he spent with us. When she began taking steps to curb that, it backfired on her. She basically said "it's them or me" and so out the door he went. I will never forget how much it meant to me to have Dad stick up for us when she was unfair to me or my brother. Know that while a marriage is important, children are more important.
 

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Quote:
2. They will try to play one parent against the other.
I second what IdentityCrisisMama said about this. They may do it; just like children may do it in a situation where their parents are married. I'm a stepmom to three, and this was never a problem in our situation.

There has been a lot of good advice so far. I would add, don't feel bad if you don't feel like you love his kids as you would love your own. I love my stepkids, but I'm not their mom and it's a different kind of love.

I wish I would have had the Internet when I became a stepmom; it would have been nice to have a community who knew what I was going through!
 

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I'm a step mom to four adult kids and find that the most challenging thing is not chimming in when everyone else (including them) bad-talks their loopy bio-mom. I'm very interested in hearing what advice everyone else has though 'cause I'm pretty new to this.

This is probably only my problem, but I am much closer in age to my step-kids than I am to my husband, and that I'm sure is an entirely different dynamic - like the other day we were in the grocery store and some lady asked me if 15yo dss was the father of my baby! good thing we all have a sense of humor about it.
 

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I just wanted to second (or third or fourth!) the statement about not badmouthing their bio mom.

I'm very fortunate in that my mom and stepmom get along well. They've always gone together with me to important events (surgery, wedding prep, graduations, etc) and talk on the phone about important events too. This has meant a great deal to me, now that I'm older I realize that it could have been much different. I realize this isn't always possible and I feel very lucky that it was possible in my case. I really feel like I have two mothers there for me.

In fact, I get to see them both this weekend at my family baby shower, and can't wait!

Good luck!
 

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I just wanted to chime in here as well! We have a blended family too... my DH has an older daughter who is my DSD. We have a little bit of a unique situation, as DH and DSD bio-mom had already broken up when she discovered that she was pregnant--- and DH and I started dating when DSD was about 6 months old... so she and I have had a relationship for about as long as she can remember. We actually have a pretty great relationship with her mother, although we parent as differently as night and day. That's been the hardest part. There is good respect in both houses-- and the attitude has always been that "just because something happens at Mom's doesn't necessarily mean it happens here..." in regards to food, tv, etc. Overall it goes okay, but it does cause rocky terrain sometimes-- especially now that she is getting older (she's almost 10).

It's certainly a different situation that yours, since I have been her step-mom since she was really young-- but my experience has been that being a step-mom, like being a mom, is a constantly fluid experience! We've gone through the times when she corrected that I was her STEP-mom when introducing me, then there have been the times when she was horrified to hear me called "stepmom," insisting that I was her "other mom." But, I have always tried to be really respectful of her mom... and have described how I feel about her in the term that I feel very much like her parent, but not her mother. I defer to her mother, but I also am very active in decision making and her family... but when it comes to calling the shots, it's my DH and her mom. And I think that's how it should be.

Good luck to you! You sound like a great mom, and I'm certain you'll be a great step-mom too!

Love,
nimamom
 

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I think there are two big possible differences in the blended family dynamic, which is why the advice people give varies so much and can even be contradictory.

The first big difference is the age of the children. If you marry someone with teenagers, you're going to have a completely different kind of step-parenting experience than if you marry someone with small children. It's hardly even the same thing. The younger the child, the more she will not be able to remember a time before you were around. You are going to be a huge part of creating who that child will be, even if only through your relationship with the child's parent. That's not true for teenagers.

The second big difference is whether the other parent is a normal person, with both virtues and flaws, with whom your spouse has normal disagreements and conflicts, or whether the other parent is batshit insane and/or interested in wreaking revenge in financial and other ways on their ex. A lot of stepparenting advice out there pretends that the second situation never exists outside your mind, which is really unhelpful when you're dealing with an actual nutjob. While it is true that under stress it can be tempting to bitch about a normal other parent who is pissing you off as if they are batshit insane, if you've ever run into a situation where someone's mental instability and desire for revenge are playing themselves out in family court, you know that there is a profound difference between the two.

So if someone's advice sounds wrong, it's probably coming from a diffrent place on the stepparent spectrum from where you are. If you've got stepchildren who still need help using the potty, it's just bizarre to hear "be a friend, not a parent!" Um, friends don't wipe friends' butts, usually... and advice to try to see it from the other person's perspective isn't helpful when the other person's perspective includes the belief that you are following her around and filming her (as my stepsons' mother likes to accuse me of).

I think these two differences are much more important than anything else - amount of visitation, number of children, etc,
 

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Well, there has been a lot of good advice given here. I have realized that discussing your expectations and family rules first is very important. Make sure your partner is fully aware of what you absolutely will not compromise on and why. Realize that unless you have custody,your influence on them will be minimal and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship.

There are going to be things, maybe even big issues that you have no control over. I have found in my specific situation (we have some special extenuating circumstances) that I need to leave all of the disciplinary issues, etc with DH- I rarely interact with my stepkids at all. I also do not interfere with DH's relationship with them, UNLESS there is an immediate safety issue for our children. (This has happened,more than once.) I encourage him to attend their school functions as his work schedule allows even though I do not. (I cannot get along with his ex-wife, so I choose to avoid situations that will put me in contact with her unless one of the children specifically requests my presence- then I suck it up and deal.) Not everybody has our circumstances either- I have a wonderful relationship with both of my step parents, and all of my parents made an effort to be present at all my important moments, it just really depends on your specific situation.

A book that I have found to be very helpful to me is The Truth About StepFamilies by Anne O'Conner. She interviewed ALL members of blemded families from different backgrounds, with different levels of interaction, disfunction, etc. It really helped me to realize that we are not alone and that I don't have to try to do it all for my step children. I highly recommend this book to anyone in a blended family.
 

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I agree with MM, and again from the kids' perspective don't buy them things (ecspecially clothing) and thenexpect them to appreciate everything that went into it. Don't expect them to have the taste you weant them to. Seems pretty basic and fundamental but I *suffered* because this was not known, or cared about.
Also, don't belittle the father-kid ritual no matter how silly, or unimportant they seem.

(Thanks to a stepparent I have not spoken to a parent in over 10 years. )
 
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