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SM cut my childs hair - AIBU?

(107 Posts)
nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 19:04:59

I can't tell if I am or not.

Right now I feel like sobbing and have a lump in my throat. My dd can tell something is up and I'm annoyed at myself for not being better at hiding it from her. She thinks its lovely - and I've told her I think it is too, but in my initial shock, I asked her why her dad and sm hadn't told me they were going to do it - something that is beyond a 6yold and not her problem. I feel bad about that:/

It was long, (not hugely) and now it's shoulder length. SM did it at home. Things are very bad between us for loads of reasons (one being over-stepping of boundaries in my opinion). I spoke to dd last night while she was at her dads and she didn't mention it. I asked her today why she hadnt told me on the phone and she said her dad told her not to tell me. I am desperately sad that my child is being made to do such things. Not the life I had planned for her at all.

That aside, aibu? Do I say nothing? To be fair, I've cut dd's hair in the past without 'permission' per se, but did text beforehand to mention it and send photos of finished version. I found out when I picked her up from school.

SM makes a point of giving dd instructions that she must follow in my home - to the point that dd defers to her knowledge an awful lot. I feel dd no longer trusts me to parent her. (Think giving me instructions not to wash xyz piece of clothing as SM knows how to do it mummy and you dont)

I always ALWAYS let these things go as I don't want to mess my child's head up- but I honestly feel like my child sees SM as the one who she has to listen to. I don't know what to do. confused

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 19:18:50


BrokenSunglasses Mon 30-Sep-13 19:20:50

Yanbu. That would drive me bat shit crazy.

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 19:23:36

SM is clearly going too far and she appears to be the one messing your child's head up. It is time to speak to your ex and ask him how he would feel if your partner/new lover was telling him stuff because "you aren't as good daddy."

BarbarianMum Mon 30-Sep-13 19:26:10

V difficult one. I guess you and her dad are going to have to agree who decides on haircuts. However many boundaries your dd's sm crosses if her dad is deciding it should be cut - well, he could just take her to the hairdresser's, couldn't he.

CailinDana Mon 30-Sep-13 19:28:43

How is your relationship with your ex?

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 19:29:26

Things are awful between us though. We are literally not on speaking terms. He took me to court this year - think a pair of bullies and you have it about right with ex and his wife.

The only way I have been able to gain some semblance of mental health was to go NC unless absolutely necessary now (ie arranging pick ups etc). To enter into another phase of communication with either of them would be catastrophic. SM continues to text me on occasion even though I've requested NC from her ( her last contact was to say my child had lice and giving me instructions on how to treat myself and other family members)

BarbarianMum Mon 30-Sep-13 19:29:39

I think you should ignore such 'controlly' messages coming through your dd tbh -in your house you decide how you parent. If you want to wash something, do so.

I can see you're in a very difficult position but don't let her undermine your confidence. It's really clear from your post that you are a very caring mum.

HopeS01 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:32:28

YANBU! I would be FURIOUS! Poor you, OP shock
Speak to your ex, the haircut sounds like the tip of the iceberg!
Good luck x

thebody Mon 30-Sep-13 19:32:59

fucking cheeky cow. I would be livid. you need to have a meeting with your ex and agree boundaries.

you however have been wonderful in putting your child's needs first and restraining your anger.

however do tell your dd that noone is always right, even her sm.

YANBU. That would upset me greatly.

I've never been in your situation. But I used to get the 'nana does it better/nicer/faster' comments from DDs.

I think I would let dd know that there are more than one way to do any task, and while you might both do things differently that neither way is wrong, just different.

I think I would also be clear that is is your house, your rules. And that Dad/SM can have their own rules for their own house. I think your dd should be able to cope with that. From Playdates, etc, kids understand that different houses have different rules.
There are usually only a few key things that you should all be in agreement with. So many 'rules' are just the small stuff anyway.

I wouldn't let dd off with a comment regarding instructions not to was a certain piece of clothing! (Unless you have form for being a disaster with the washing machine.)

I would also be having words with ExH. I don't think SM should be issuing any instructions to be followed in your house. Cheek of her!

OHforDUCKScake Mon 30-Sep-13 19:34:21

Whats SM?

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 19:34:55

People always tell me to let it all go- that dd knows who her mum is and that when she is older, she can work it all out. I have listened and held on to that advice for years (mostly from MN and my own mum!) but honestly now- I'm losing faith in that belief. My dd defers to sm's knowledge- she questions me. If I ask her a question about sm in any way she gets defensive, tells me that sm has said she can/can't do xyz.

The dilemma I now have is that I could ignore all the overstepping stunts if I had faith that my dd would still know that I was her mum and trusted me to parent her. I no loner feel that way:/

And don't let them undermine your confidence. Practice thinking 'silly cow - here we go again' and then put it behind you immediately when you get one of those txts.

Think of her as an ould bossy boots who has to be in control. Think of it as her problem, not yours.

CailinDana Mon 30-Sep-13 19:39:00

What a nightmare. I think keeping quiet about it will acrually do more harm than good to your dd. Kids pick up on these things and I think you need to explain things to her in very simple terms, such as, sm and daddy do a good job of looking after you but I am your mummy and always will be. Sm sometimes says silly things about me like (examples) but only because she doesn't really know me. But you do know me better than anyone and you know I can wash your clothes etc. So if sm says anything about me you don't need to worry about it at all. Ok?

Nancy66 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:39:35

I know you don't get on with your ex and his new partner but you really have to sit down with them and set some rules.

The step mother overstepped the mark. Do you think there's even a chance she did it to rile you?

Don't let it impact on your relationship with your daughter. Kids say stupid things and know how to push your buttons.

Even couples who are together get the whole 'daddy is better than you, you're rubbish at this' thing.

You are her mother, she loves you and you need to focus on that.

parakeet Mon 30-Sep-13 19:40:09

I don't want to sound harsh, because it sounds like you're very upset, but to be honest, none of the examples you have given so far sound that bad to me. Maybe there are other things they have done that make them bullying or boundary-overstepping, but to me, this stuff isn't.

Why shouldn't her dad get to choose when she has a haircut? He could have taken her to the hairdressers, as another poster says, but with six-year-olds, it's very common to get a family member to do it. A text message to say she has lice doesn't sound that unreasonable to me, and passing on advice on how to get rid of it, well, meh, so what? So your daughter said you weren't supposed to wash an item of clothing? I would have laughed it off and slung it in the wash, saying something like "Dirty clothes go in the wash, in this house." Are you sure you're not building this up to be more than it has to be? None of it sounds worth getting desparately sad about, in my humble opinion.

gamerchick Mon 30-Sep-13 19:40:41

everything combined in what you've said I would go NUTS.. especially the don't tell on the phone thing.

I would be knocking on the door (I have done in the past with the exs wench) and telling them both in no uncertain terms the score.

with regards to the instructions.. I would simply say each time that 'i'm your mother.. not [insert name here].

I appreciate that you may not want to do the confrontation thing though.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 30-Sep-13 19:41:41

I'd completely ignore any communication from this woman. It has fuck all to do with her how you look after your child in your home. If you want to wash your child's stuff (ffs!) in your house go ahead and do it. As for the message about lice treat tea te first line "DD has lice" and ignore the rest and treat it as you would do so anyway.

The haircut... Well I guess what's done is done hmm it will grow back. I certainly wouldn't dream of cutting someone else's kids hair (obviously tho your ex gets a day as he's her dad) especially if I wasn't a qualified hairdresser. I remember my own home haircuts from childhood with a feeling of horror and revulsion!

The SM sounds a sad pathetic control freak tbh. She wants to pretend she is top dog or whatever. You don't need to enter into battle with her. Your the mum (and a lovely one by the sound of it) not her. She's not all that important in the grand scheme of things. That said I'd be boiling with rage under the surface if anyone ever acted this way with me and my DC! Where do some people get off?

Yorkieaddict Mon 30-Sep-13 19:42:35

I think if it was the hair cut alone I wouldn't be too bothered. It sounds like that is just one of many many incidents though, and I can see why it is bothering you.

I think you are doing the right thing by not engaging with it. It sounds like you lack some confidence in your own parenting though, which SM is playing on. I would be saying to your DD that everyone does things differently, and just because SM does it one way, doesn't meant that your way of doing it is wrong. You don't need to tolerate being told how to do things by DD or SM. I agree thought that when she looks back as an adult your DD will see that you were the bigger person. The SM must be very insecure if she feels the need to try and use a child to get at you!

pigletmania Mon 30-Sep-13 19:43:26

The sm sounds awful, and is overstepping te boundaries and undermiming you, making you doubt yourself as a parent. Bloody hell ignore the cow, your dd mother not her, trowel her booming lice instructions in the bin. I am sorry no good advice bu really angry,
For you

I think you need to take a stronger line with your dd. Insist that you are mom, and you know what you are doing. In a nice way, but staying strong and calm.

I also think it is OK to tell your DD that she hurts your feelings when she speaks like that.

Again, I would stress that there always more than one way to do something. And that is even something you can show her in day to day things she does herself.

And that nobody is right all the time!

auntmargaret Mon 30-Sep-13 19:54:53

How old is your DD? The poor child, she must be very confused.

knickernicker Mon 30-Sep-13 19:55:08

I would keep a log of inappropriate conversations dad and stepmum are having with dd and get some advice on controlling their access to her.Its emotionally abusive to tell a 6 year old keep secrets from her mum. Do you go on any websites for single parents? I wonder if you could get some help with this. Otherwise they're going to step up the undermining.

LtEveDallas Mon 30-Sep-13 19:55:33

I am a SM and I once took DSD for a haircut that her mum went doolally about.

I did it because:
1. DSD wanted her hair cut.
2. DH wanted DSD to have her hair cut.
3. DSD teacher kept telling her she needed a haircut and it was upsetting DSD.

I posted about it on here and got absolute skinned by other posters because it 'wasn't my place to get her hair cut' 'I was overstepping my boundaries' 'I was a control freak' and so on. I'm not.

Funnily enough I also had an issue with nits that ended up with me giving DSD instructions about how to deal with them - instructions that she possibly may have passed on to her mother.

Two sides to every story and all that.

I think you're facing two common blended family problems here.

I'm not sure what the right answer is to either but I can tell you I've faced both.

On the hair cutting I just sucked it up in the end because I didn't want to get into a situation where I was asking permission to do things like this with my DS. So I felt the fair thing was that I would ask for it in return. I would try and pre-empt haircuts by talking to my DS about his hair style and mostly I booked appointments to avoid a number 2 cut

On the perception that your DD is listening to her SM more and the projection that she thinks you're not as good at Mumming, so to speak.

One of my DSs has a step-mum.

My DS will often come home and tell me which meals SM cooks better than me, and talk about the mum things she does for him. I know he doesn't mean to put me down and he's just saying what's in his head, he's a child and hasn't really learnt yet how to use "white lies" to avoid hurting other people's feelings. Children have a wonderful way of thinking - that they think because they've just learnt something that everyone else needs to know it too. After all, could they really have been the only one who didn't know that?

I used to find it really difficult but over the years I've accepted it as normal.

I think this is because I have subsequently joined the ranks of the evil-step mothers myself. And now I'm told how my DSS's DM does special meals and how I should wash school uniform and the like grin

Thing is they (DSs and DSSs) also talk about the things I can do well .... I make the best cakes in the world, the nicest burgers and they ask me to help them buy presents for their other parents because I'm good at present buying.

I've also experienced the embarrassment that one DSS insisting on taking a cake design I'd baked him for his birthday back to his DMs to show her.

So I've taken to "detaching" from this sort of comment from all small children in my vicinity and only listen when they say nice things about what I do.

Good luck. It is hard.

And I've been in the same hair and nit position as LtEve .... I made my DH come to the hairdressers. I may have told DSSs how to deal with nits, treated them and suffered the consequences. I was grumping around that my baby had been given them though.

knickernicker Mon 30-Sep-13 20:03:12

But the dad told the child not to tell the mum. That's deeply unpleasant. No excuse for that.

Again I've been on the receiving end of that, and have said it to DS. Often it is said to make sure the DC isn't having to deal with the consequences whilst on the phone. It's hard for kids and their parents in these situations. Honestly, detaching and fighting for the things that you really give a shit about is the only way to get to the DCs 18th birthday without them being too scarred.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 20:13:06

Ok, thanks all- I'm listening to everyone.

She didn't have lice- it was the second time in dd's life that she said she had lice when she didn't (the first time was when she was a year old!)

Sm has pulled all sorts of stunts that I defy any mother not to feel upset about- taking her for her first pair of shoes, buying her a new pair of glasses the week after I bought dd a pair, and telling me mine were unsuitable and dd wasn't to wear them anymore, speaking to her teachers independently of ex, showing up at parent helping events (without ex) arranging play dates with my friends, I could go on....I am not drip feeding, I wanted to know if the haircut was unreasonable in isolation to other stuff because I know that haircuts on their own have been a contentious issue.
DD has a wart on her finger - dd won't let me near it because sm told her I am not to treat it....the list is endless. It does make me sad, yes. Battling an alpha female is exhausting and seeing the confusion in my dd's face when i asked her why she was told not to tell me about the haircut on the phone makes me feel sad for her as well

springybuffy Mon 30-Sep-13 20:20:14

I would get in touch with eg Womens Aid to see what you can do about this woman. What she is doing is not 'just one of those things' (I strongly disagree with the poster who said you were making a fuss about nothing; also the poster who cut her SD's hair) - she is undermining you as a parent at every turn. imo you need legal advice and to set in place an order that restricts what this woman is doing. You're going to have to get it in black and white.

imo this will get worse, not better. Ignoring it isn't going to sort it out, ignoring it is a green flag to carry on. imo she is trying to push you out of the picture - and, from what you've said, she is succeeding. Get as much advice as you can. Go to war.

I'm so sorry your little family is being significantly undermined in this appalling and poisonous way sad

daisychain01 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:22:27

If this post were to be put onto the Step Parenting board it would receive a completely different 'treatment' altogether. On here, people are quick to vilify a step parent whilst only knowing one side to the story. Unfortunately that is the nature of MN - you pick your audience (i.e the board) depending on what response you wish to receive.

IMO, if the SM is doing it with the agreement and support of the father, it isn't such a heinous crime as being portrayed here. Its not always "the evil SM". I believe in taking an even-handed approach rather than flaming a SM when, for all we know, that person really cares about the child, but only gets the 'negative press' and blame for everything.

And it shouldn't be a competition about who does what best - but sadly it often is.

That's not good. All I can do is reassure you that your DD will recognise her for a controlling cow as she gets older.

Like I say, I plan those things that I want to do the first of in advance and make sure I get in there first. I miss out on some stuff .... didn't see my DS on his first day of secondary school but he put on his uniform for me the day before. He looked so lovely and mature I forgot about the first day at school, I was the first to take a photo of him in his uniform.

My DS's father is like this, he always was, he was EA and very controlling. I have a stock answers for situations with my DS to stop him feeling in the middle and reinforce my knowledge and position .. "that's nice but as we're both here now I will sort out your wart rather than wait another couple of days." I have stopped giving a shit about what happens on his time too ... because, for me, it was the road to turning me into a controlling loon. The serenity prayer has really helped me parent on my own terms and ignore the crap coming my way. I have it pinned to my wall.

I hope you get the peace you need to enjoy your relationship with your DD.

zoobaby Mon 30-Sep-13 20:22:30

That whole "don't tell your mother" attitude is bad!

imnotwhoyouthinkiam Mon 30-Sep-13 20:23:23

I feel for you! Luckily for me my dc are very fussy about who cuts their hair, and as far as I know ex has never tried. Obviously as their dad he tecnixally.can,.but he'd give them a grade 2 all over and they'd hate it!

However. They have done similar to the nits things, and its infuriating. Ds1 suffers with verrucas, which I have been treating for ages. I've been to the Dr who told ne to keep doing what im doing. Doesn't stop the ex, and his oh, telling ds1 I'm not looking after him properly, and that he should wear a special sock at all times to treat it confused (the only verruca socks ive ever seen are to prevent them spreading when swimming, not curing them!

jacks365 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:25:21

Can I ask what the actual contact arrangements are ie how frequently and how long your dd is with her father and sm.

if it was just the hair cut, i dont think i would be that bothered well maybe a little

but when you add it to everything else you have mentioned, i would not be happy at all. YOU are her mother... for someone else to tell your dd that you should not do things for her, with her, treat her etc etc is not on at all.

lunar1 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:34:37

If it was just the haircut id say suck it up and pick your battles, but with everything else i'd want to bury her under the patio!

Sparklysilversequins Mon 30-Sep-13 20:35:31

Rightly or wrongly I would undermine the SM relationship.

So dd says "SM says not to wash that mum or it might get ruined"

You: "really? Don't worry sweetie I think I can manage it, I've been washing your stuff for a long time, don't worry about it, it's lovely isn't it? So I will be doubly careful".

Haircut "it looks beautiful darling. I wonder why Daddy and SM said not to tell me, I LOVE it!"

And so on.

Positive responses to everything (within reason) so that dd begins to wonder as she gets older why Daddy and SM make such a to do about everything.

YOU are number one woman in dd's life, so put yourself there. Oh and I think there's such a thing as protecting children too much.
A few "well that's a bit daft isn't it? Ha ha ha, but if it keeps them happy" wouldn't go amiss here. They are trying to dismantle your relationship with your dd. DON'T let them.

I think you need back up on this WA would be a good start.

You also need to challenge dd on her belief that SM is always right.

The not treating the wart- you are her mother and "the wart will only grt better if you all treat it".

The hair cut - does it look ok or does it look shit? If it's pants take her to a proper salon and get it fixed (preferably one where they really make it a nice experience for her!)

Your dd is 6 if my dd's told me I wasn't to do something because x said so I would hit the roof, I accept you have played nicey nicey so far but it has got you nowhere, now you need to be one step ahead of her. With court backing if necessary.

WilsonFrickett Mon 30-Sep-13 20:39:27

I want to talk about your DD - the fact she is so 'SM is great' with you isn't a sign that she thinks SM is great. Far from it. It's a sign that she knows SM must be obeyed, that her affection is something that can be withdrawn if DD doesn't do the right things.

Please don't let it affect your confidence with DD. She is desperate to please SM for a reason - probably because in her little head she thinks if she does everything right then everyone will get on OK. It's not because she doesn't love you, at all.

Unfortunately you have to smile and nod to an extent - lots of 'oh, is that what SM thinks?' with a smile, then do it your own way. But please, please don't think DD loves you less. You're her mum. You're the one she is 100% secure with - you are her rock. SM is someone she wants desperately to please - not the same thing. At all.

Sparklysilversequins Mon 30-Sep-13 20:40:52

In fact what callindana says is just right. I agree you need to let your dd know what is or isn't acceptable. As for the health stuff, finger etc? I am afraid I would be quite firm about that, YOU are her Mum and it's dangerous to undermine her trust in you caring for her.

Nanny0gg Mon 30-Sep-13 20:43:55

This woman is clearly overstepping boundries here.

What are the contact arrangements? And does she have children of her own (I suspect not).

Hellonewworld0 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:51:28

YANBU. Coupled with the other things you have mentioned in your posts it sounds like she is trying to take over and push you out. I would be so upset too. I'm also angry that your ex lets this woman treat you and your feelings with such little respect and as you being the mother of his daughter. Good luck x

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 30-Sep-13 20:53:57

Who lives where and how often?

By that I obviously mean who does dd actually live with and how often does she go to the other parents?

The wart thing and the head lice, are they trying to build up a picture of neglect?

RandomMess Mon 30-Sep-13 21:00:50

Does the SM have any dc of her own?

It does sound to me like she is trying to demote you and push you out of your dds life sad

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:00:53

Contact is EOW ( days) and one midweek every other week (so 4 in 14 nights)

They took me to court this year to ask for every weekend contact. They didn't get it- but that wasn't before he put me through 4 hearings and then accepted my offer of EoW at the final hearing. What's all this to do with SM you might ask? Well given that the court application was in her name - it's kind of a giveaway.
I have no real reason to launch more court action - think I would look nothing short of mental if I took it back to court over haircuts and shoes. I cannot put myself or dd through that again anyway - his reasons for wanting every weekend access was, according to him and sm, was because they had concerns over how I parented dd and that more time in their house would redress the Imbalance of care (yes- they wrote that in the application from both of them)

Now that the contact schedule is written in stone, I have a modicum of peace in my life - until little stunts like this throw the equilibrium off centre.
To the poster who said if this was posted in step parenting - that is the very reason I didn't post on there. It's become unpleasant over there.

Sorry if that offends but I used to post there a lot and couldn't face it tonight.
Given that this board is mixed, I feel that the views will be more balanced.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:01:59

Yes she has 3 other children of her own.

Wilson is right

needaholidaynow Mon 30-Sep-13 21:04:39

I posted about it on here and got absolute skinned by other posters because it 'wasn't my place to get her hair cut' 'I was overstepping my boundaries' 'I was a control freak' and so on. I'm not.

Damned if you do, and damned if you don't!

If you'd have just ignored the fact that her hair needed cutting and shrugged it off saying "Not my problem", you'd have been skinned for that as well.

The fabulous world of Step parenting everyone! What a joy.

RandomMess Mon 30-Sep-13 21:05:24

I'm a great supporter of SMs but her attitude is out of order. You are clearly the parent with care so all things medical like the wart should be dealt with by you for consistency. As for getting involved with the school she sounds barking, certainly intruding to make some sort of point.

Can you laugh off some of the ridiculous things with your DD "Ha ha ha, silly SM thinking I can't do x y z"

RandomMess Mon 30-Sep-13 21:06:45

Agree with Wilson as well.

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 30-Sep-13 21:07:27

You have to nip this in the bud OP, it starts in your own home. No more 'instructions'. If you need to, google things like wart treatment so you can assure yourself that you are doing things the right way and inform DD of that too. Definitely do not bring up SM in conversation anymore, and quickly distract DD when she does. First step is to get her out of your environment. If you want to wash a top you were told not to wash, wash it. DD will see that the world did not end.

Block SMs number from your phone. If you want zero contact, make it so. And I hope SM doesn't contact her at your home either.

I feel you are sacrificing your relationship with DD because you don't want her caught between you, but it's damaging your relationship, and you don't know that she will suddenly see you made all the sacrifices. I wouldn't leave it to chance. Start rebuilding your bond with her and reassert your authority as her mother - home needs to be a SM free zone.

BlatantRedhead Mon 30-Sep-13 21:07:39

I'm sure I remember a previous thread about a SM over stepping the mark by setting up play dates. Was that you OP? If it is then I'm so sorry to hear you're still having problems.

I'm currently dealing with exactly this but sort of in reverse. I'm the step mum and DSD tells me all the time how I'm 'supposed' to do things, what I'm not allowed to do because mummy says so, how mummy does this and that better, how I'm ugly and mum is pretty, how I'm skinny with small boobs and mummy has nice boobs (??? Ffs why is anyone saying this to her ???!) hmm it goes on and ON!

We've created a list of House Rules (DSD came up with most of them herself) and been clear with DSD that in Mummy's house it Mummy's rules but in Daddy's House it's these Rules.

Maybe you should do something like this with DD. It can apply to treating that wart, denitting the nitless hair, washing your own child's clothes and any other petty thing SM tries to ban. Explain to DD in the nicest possible way that in Daddy's house SM can say what she wants but you are her mummy and in your house, DD follows mummy's rules. This my help with your DD's confusion over these spiteful boundary breaches. It really is a shame they are confusing DD like this - makes you wonder how they can consider themselves good parents.

FWIW I'd never cut DSD's hair without running it by her mother first and you are NOT being unreasonable. No reasonable mother would over-step like that. But then we are not dealing with reasonable people, and control freaks require a noose special handling.

tripecity Mon 30-Sep-13 21:09:49

so SM and ex lost in court and so are doing this to 'pay you back' and exert some control over DD and you and the situation

Whereisegg Mon 30-Sep-13 21:12:13

Ok, I am a SM.
I have (occasionally) had a giggle at things my dss has said, gently put him right, then been told "well that's what mum says" so I have panicked that she thinks similar of me.
Hopefully not, as it was things like "you shouldn't have salt on your food because it's full of calories" and "I'm not allowed coke, but I am allowed diet coke as it's good for my teeth."

If he says things that are madness but mentions that his mum has said so before we react, we will say something more like "oh that's interesting, let's have a google of that later"

Anyway, people will always disagree on how to do things op, but I don't think that is what is happening here.
It sounds very sad for your dd, and it is awful that you are in this position.

The only thing I can think of, is to thank them for their advice and that (whatever they suggest) is just what you were going to do - isn't it great we all agree!
I think that would really piss her off!

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 30-Sep-13 21:15:13

So he has the every other weekend contact then?

If so you need to stop reinforcing his/ her view points on your lack of care and start asserting yourself.

Then using texts about things like you not treating lice is the slippery slope to handing them unchallenged evidence on a plate,if she claims she has live when she does not then reply with check your kids dd has been checked and does not have them.

Anything medical go I to overdrive and take her to a docter and get treatment perscribed and inform SM that she is not to instruct dd to refuse essential medical treatment as doing so is clearly option her best interests.

And none negatively readdress the balence with dd

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:20:04

Thank you all so much.

Yes it probably was my post about the play dates (although that's one area she hasn't ventured into again)

The poster who said that I was waiting in the hope that dd will see I've made sacrifices really struck a chord with me- that is exactly how I feel. It's like I think if I just let all this shit go, dd will thank me for oh eventfully and she will have come out of it will unscathed. Trouble is I am no longer sure about that.

BlatantRedhead Mon 30-Sep-13 21:22:04

Just seen what you said about the court order being in her name - WTAF??

miffybun73 Mon 30-Sep-13 21:22:24

YANBU, I would be furious and very sad.

sugarandspite Mon 30-Sep-13 21:22:39

Oh nickname, I want to give you such a massive hug.

It really sounds like your ex and his wife have pushed you and ground you down and trashed your confidence. You sound worn out.

I dont know much about step parenting but 2 things really struck me:
1. Clearly the court didn't award residency to your ex - so they weren't fooled by all his bollocks of you being an unfit mother. If the court had any concerns, they would have explored them. So you have objective confirmation that you are a good mother

2. You grew your DD, you birthed her, you nurtured her as an infant, held her hands as she learnt to walk and helped her become the little person she is now. You are her mother - the person she has loved best and longest for all of her little life.
Please do some work on being confident in this role in your DDs life - maybe with a counsellor. If you allow yourself to be pushed out of believing in the importance of your relationship with her then you rock the foundations of her world. She needs you to be confident in your position as her mum.

I almost think it doesn't really matter how you handle your ex and the SM - whether you fight back against them or just let it slide past you and try to not care. But what matters is that you show your daughter that you are confident that nothing they can do will effect your relationship with her - because if you're not confident then how can she be confident in the importance and the invincibility of your mother-daughter bond?

Sorry that's massively waffly, I hope you can get a sense if what I'm trying to say!

It will happen.

My 12YO DSS barely tolerates me now even though he used to adore me and I have done nothing different. He is approaching teenage years wink.

My 11YO DS, with the controlling father, has started to finish sentences with things like "you know what Dad is like".

Wilson's wise words to assert yourself will be your friend in the long run

Unfortunately you have to smile and nod to an extent - lots of 'oh, is that what SM thinks?' with a smile, then do it your own way. But please, please don't think DD loves you less. You're her mum. You're the one she is 100% secure with - you are her rock. SM is someone she wants desperately to please - not the same thing. At all.

Fight the things worth fighting, keep an open dialogue with your daughter about how you do things and why. This will not last forever.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:30:51

Sorry lots of spelling mistakes in last post- damn autocorrect! My biggest hope is that dd has a childhood that she looks back on with happy memories. I am not perfect though and have occasionally told dd off for refusing to let me do something regarding her care or for example, if she says something that sm has said. I do feel bad about that but there have been days in the past when one comment too many has pushed me over the edge and I will make a comment I probably shouldn't. I then torture myself that dd will be scarred by it all:/

Regarding the unchallenged evidence, I did reply to sm's text via ex. I completely refuse now to answer any correspondence from her. I also completely ignored the 'advice' on how I should treat myself and my family.

When we were in court over access, ex wrote a letter to cafcass about my parenting. He admitted that SM wrote it. It was basically a massive slur on my inadequacies regarding her diet and health. Cafcass completely dismissed it.

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 30-Sep-13 21:31:36

I think that a bit of tactical undermining is in order. Nothing obvious and nothing that can be parroted back at SM, but don't let her word be the last word. Take her to see the nurse about that wart.

Is your DD fairly young? The younger she is, the easier it will be to press the re-set button!

Don't contact them about things like haircuts anymore, keep it to emergency contact only.

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 30-Sep-13 21:32:45

x-post, sorry!

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:34:19

Aww those last few posts have made me blubber a little bit. I'm going to print wilsons words and put them on my fridge!grin

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:37:53

Sugar- such a lovely post. I think I know what you mean. Like perhaps building a 'bubble' (for want of a better word) for myself and dd where she has complete faith in my love for her. I am going to do some serious work on myself to create this, and I guess a little work on dd as well because I don't always feel that she does trust me.

nickname .... don't beat yourself up. Of course you say those things. We all do. None of us are perfect. We are the best we can be parents, all of us. I've apologised to my DS a few times for saying things about his father I shouldn't have, have explained I was angry and moved on.

I think you are handling a difficult situation marvellously. Keep it up.

Do you have a RL friend in a similar situation who you can bitch about the feckers with? If you don't please feel free to call on me. I can rant for England about the knobby controlling things my ex does - who sounds very like the SM in this situation - we can make each other laugh at the stupidity of the situation. Feckers.

pigletmania Mon 30-Sep-13 21:40:50

My goodness what a nasty woman, very toxic. It looks lie they are trying to make you out as the bad parent, do you thnk they want full residency! Sounds very suspicious

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:44:37

Gator (love your name btw!), I did try to treat the wart but it wouldn't shift and I know myself these things just resolve in time. SM is going at it every week though with feeezing kits, determined to show me up yet again I would imagine. (Before anyone says 'damned if you do etc, that is not a slur on the sm's who do these things for their DC, but if you know their mum is meeting the child's needs, I personally would let them crack on)

Yes her name was on the application to court. Go figure. Their statement was 9 pages of 'we' 'us', 'our parents'., 'our family'. I was not referred to once except in slander.

pigletmania Mon 30-Sep-13 21:47:01

I agree sugar it is a lovely post and true, carcass and the courts has seen right through them. It does not look good when Sm is doing all th wrk and ex s not, lie tat letter to Cafcass

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:48:41

She wrote the letter for him - he admitted it (isn't very bright)
So in a way, they are oblivious to her actions as it was signed off by ex

pigletmania Mon 30-Sep-13 21:49:23

A good step parent is everything this woman is not!

pigletmania Mon 30-Sep-13 21:52:41

You are her mother, ad by the sounds a pretty good on. Dd s your daughter not hers, just ignore her 'advice' it's not relevant and don't communicate with her only through legal channels. She sounds like she is trying to take dd away

Re the wart. Next time you are at the Dr, ask if they would freeze it off for her (cryotherapy). Our minor injuries clinic does this for free! It is the only thing that got rid of verrucas for both DDs - and I believe it works just as well with warts.

sugarandspite Mon 30-Sep-13 21:55:08

Thanks nickname smile

I do think that a bit of counselling or even something like hypnotherapy might be really helpful to you in maintaining your confidence and attempt at serenity - for want of another word.

Those fuckers aren't going to change. So I think focusing your energy on yourself and your position as DDs mum is the best thing you can do. And should also mean that if there comes a point when they really do cross a big boundary that you decide to address directly, you'll be feeling so much more empowered to do so.

Good luck, I so hope that you can find a way to not let this tarnish your enjoyment of DDs childhood.

Tasmania Mon 30-Sep-13 21:56:53

I'm sorry, I will go against the trend... but a SM is in essence a mother, too.

What's the problem with the SM giving her a haircut? It's a haircut! The dad was there. Is he not allowed to say his DD needs a haircut??

What's the problem with the shoes?!? It's shoes!

This shouldn't really be about the mother (who is an adult). It's about the child who has already gone through her parents divorcing. As long as DD has fun with her dad and her SM, I think it's fine. As far as I can see, the child is a LOT better off than some children who really don't get on with their stepparents. At least SM seems to care about the child. There are some who really don't give a sh*t about the child, and the bio mum then smugly goes on about the evil SM... but is that great for the child?!

I just think that at some point, somebody should say that the child is lucky to have two people actually wanting to be the child's mum. Some don't even have one... sad

BlatantRedhead Mon 30-Sep-13 21:57:20

They definitely want residency. There's no good reason to slander the other parent other than to try and convince the judge they are not fit for purpose. If they were interested in co-parenting they'd be cooperating with you, they wouldn't be undermining and belittling you. I think they are making a record of your "inadequacies" to return to court with. What they clearly don't realise is the judge wouldn't transfer residence without hard evidence of neglect, certainly not based on hearsay from one side. If they can't prove that you've been neglectful of DD or negative/uncooperative about contact the judge shouldn't give them the time of day...

She sounds more and more horrible with every post. She clearly wanted you out of the picture altogether and since her bullshit about you didn't stand up in court, she's trying to do it through manipulating DD.

Namegame, you are a good mum and your DD knows that. She loves you, with that unconditional love that's reserved specially for mummy. SM does NOT have that bond with DD and can't, no matter how hard she tries to push you out. I say this as a SM with full respect for the mother-child bond. There is nothing like it, it's irreplaceable.

sugarandspite Mon 30-Sep-13 21:59:43

Oh and (sorry!)

You say about 'building a bubble in which DD can have total faith in your love for her'

But actually I think you have that the wrong way round. Your bubble needs to be one in which you give yourself permission to have total faith in DDs love for you. She knows you love her because your a good mum, but you need to let yourself have confidence that she loves you more than anyone in the whole world.

pigletmania Mon 30-Sep-13 22:03:47

Tasmania, a sm should not undermine the mother, and try and dictate to her what she should do, and to knock her to the ground as a mother. The haircut, shoes are all part of this sm way of knocking op confidence and trying to break her so tat they can get full residency. She does not sound like a kind woman.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 30-Sep-13 22:07:25

If you mention the wart to dd's doctor then you have it documented that you sought medical attention and then have evidence that you are not neglecting her medical needs.

And SM needs to be told to stop using over the counter treatments more frequently than recamended,she also needs to be told not to use treatments without permision when those treatments could cause harm or interact with other treatments given that the child does not live in her house.

BlatantRedhead Mon 30-Sep-13 22:07:28

Tasmania are you serious? Have you read the thread? OP is being told by her own child that she is not to treat her wart or wash her clothes because StepMum says so. What gives stepmum the right to say that to say that? There is nothing that makes this acceptable. SM is confusing the child - she has no right to do that.

RandomMess Mon 30-Sep-13 22:09:34

I remember the thread about the playdates - it was the actions of an insane woman.

Pilgit Mon 30-Sep-13 22:11:52

Oh darling. You have been bullied and cowed into a corner by these people (at least that is what your posts sound like - yes there are 2 sides to every story but the examples here sound like it). All the insidious undermining is in the little things - the things that when taken in isolation sound ridiculous to any normal person, but when taken as a whole serve to undermine and erode ones confidence. And as you are a normal person it has eroded your confidence precisely because you look at these incidents and know they are 'silly' because you feel shitty because of it you label yourself as 'stupid' for feeling a perfectly natural and normal emotional reaction. [sorry pop pyschology from the armchair]

You cannot control or influence what they do but what you can do is change your reaction to it. Stop letting it erode your confidence as a parent. stop caring what they think. I have very little experience of step families (I have my own wicked step mother but she only entered the scene when i was already an adult) but there are basic rules with other people's children - you don't undermine their parenting being the main one.

You are in control. You are a fabulous mother and have an incredible amount of resilience to face all of it down as you have - and take the court result and cafcass as external validation of your parenting skills (if you need it).

ivykaty44 Mon 30-Sep-13 22:13:23

I agree with you can't speak to your ex or the sm so concentrate on your relationship with dd and make sure you are both well wrapped up in a good relationship, do the girly treats and lovely things together and have a lot of fun and laughs. Dd and me often go for a coffee and cake on a friday after school - it is our time when we can chat and being out of the house we do talk to each other a lot more.

I would also agree on under minding this woman in a very gentle but broken record way

soemthing like

oh goodness sm is silly to think that - of course mummy can wash the clothing

oh goodness sm is silly thats not how mummy does it and then wink

you are a great mum as you care so much and no one will ever replace you as mum

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 22:14:30

Blatant, another lovely post. Thank you. It never actually got in front of the judge for the final hearing. Ex didn't submit one piece of evidence to support his slander- whereas I submitted over 20 pieces to refute it. My barrister said he was advised by his to avoid cross examination (in the face of so much evidence, I like to believe he would have looked very silly). In essence, the court thing was a circus, a waste of time designed to 'sort me out'. It didn't work.

Tasmania- I think it's probably easy to assume that I am the stereotypical step parent basher. This just isn't the case. I don't see my dd as a possession that I own or feel jealous of other people's love for her. I love the fact that other people care so deeply for her. She has siblings at her dads and I'm glad for her as she has none here. The thing is though, I don't believe that any stepparent needs to show love for child by undermining and slandering the actual parent. That can't work. My dd's sm doesn't just feel the need to control her own home, but mine as well. I believe any parent will rally against that.

Retroformica Mon 30-Sep-13 22:15:36

In think your DD feels SM must be obeyed. SM obviously sets lots of firm boundaries.

So from now on talk and act like you are the solid steady parent and laugh off SM quotes from DD. if she says washing has to be done a specific way just laugh and say ' don't be daft in my house we do x and x'

I wouldn't mention the hair. I would ask your DD what hair style she wants and in a month or so text DH telling him DD's preference hair style wise.

Retroformica Mon 30-Sep-13 22:19:13

Your DD will see through SMs controlling behaviour eventually. It may take years. In the mean time make your relationship with DD as wonderful and close as possible.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 22:19:40

For the record, I agreed to shared residency by consent at the last hearing. Ex and sm were whooping about that but not sure why really. It means nothing at all in terms of the access arrangements.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 30-Sep-13 22:30:22

I'm not sure why either it means bugger all in practise given that you also have the contact order.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 22:30:52

Residency shared between whom, though nickname?

Has SM got PR? She will have automatically if she's named on the residency order.

I'm sorry things haven't got better for you (We've chatted before - think Mickey Mouse wink ) and I had hoped since the court order things would have settled.

On its own, the hair could be a genuine mistake on a SM part - in your case, no; definitely not.

Mummyoftheyear Mon 30-Sep-13 22:31:01

Really feeling for you. I'd feel as you do. Accept your feelings rather than consider you're wrong. But maybe try to also give the benefit of the doubt to sm and consider it as a helpful way for her to show care for and give attention to your son. As long as he is happy with it, that's great.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 22:48:08

China yes that's megrin
No she doesn't have PR <shudders>
I guess things have settled in their own way- mostly because I've gone NC. We literally don't break breath and although I think that must be awful for dd (she is largely shielded from it for now) she won't be blind to the Cold War forever, sadly. Not engaging with them really helps me though, which is why I know I can't bring up this new issue- it would kick it all off again.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 22:49:15

Sorry shared residency is between ex and I. We also have a contact order so it all bollocks really.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 30-Sep-13 22:52:52

Out of interest if the application was in SM's name how did you end up with her not being named on the residency bit?

springybuffy Mon 30-Sep-13 22:54:08

You would not look mental taking this to court over haircuts and shoes. You absolutely must screw this woman down by any and every means - she plans to take over your role (entirely) and push you right out. It means nothing to her that it's your dd who will be split down the middle.

I also can't agree that DD will 'see through this eventually'. this is wishful thinking imo. YOu have to get in quick and you have to get in decisively OP. Have you read Lundy Bancroft's 'When Dad Hurts Mom'? There is a chapter on the continuing abuse post divorce/separation. It may not speak directly to your situation but it helps to get the gist of what it is like for the kids to be manipulated, heart and mind, in this way. It is very serious and I really would do all you can to put a stop to this very damaging and manipulative behaviour. I hope you can see that, at 6, your daughter is already viewing you as an idiot (who can't even wash clothes). You must move on this. It is domestic abuse - in stereo.

LadyBigtoes Mon 30-Sep-13 22:55:28

No experience myself but just wanted to say do keep a log/diary of all the kinds of things you've described, and talk to someone official (eg solicitor) about it, then continue keeping the log. Partly because it will back you up in the event of them trying to edge you out. But also because it will make you feel powerful, and every ridiculous/nasty thing she does will be "one for the diary" and you will feel better recording it and knowing you are collecting it.

Agree with all the others who've said be confident about your role in your own home with your own DD.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 22:56:55

Sorry I should have made that bit clear. The application was in ex's name but when we got the papers, she provided her contact details as the point of contact for the court - weird or what? All info from my sol went to ex's sol via her email address.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 22:58:42

Springy that scares the hell out of me:/

ballstoit Mon 30-Sep-13 23:38:27

The only way your DD will trust you to be her parent, is for you to trust yourself.

You are doing exactly what a caring, loving parent does, by trying not to hurt your child. But in this case, it's time to step up and be the Mum your dad needs.

Spend one to one time with dd each day (phone and TV off, do DD's choice of activity), lavish care and attention on her. And use humour to deflect sm's shit wherever possible 'she thinks Mummy can't wash clothes? Who does she think does the washing here, Cinderella? Haha.' 'Stepmum knows better than the Dr about your wart? Well, that's a bit silly isn't it? Hahah.' DD needs to know that it's okay not to believe the controlling bitch, but she also needs to not be responsible for your feelings.

It's hard, but you can change things. 10 days of a loving, caring relationship can stand up to 4 days of manipulative weirdness wink

ballstoit Mon 30-Sep-13 23:38:57

dd not dad...thanks auto correct

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 23:51:09

Love MN, thank you all so much. Gonna do some love bombing on ddgrin

pigletmania Tue 01-Oct-13 00:04:48

Yes no contact, if you have to through ex and not sm, whatever she thinks she is not dd parent. There are some good suggestions of how to talk to dd with regards to sm, you are dd mum nt her!

pigletmania Tue 01-Oct-13 00:07:17

There is no reason why she turners up at your dd events, it should be her dad! And arranges playdates with your friends shock. Tell your friends to not talk to her, and that they should contact you to arrange your dd playdates

pigletmania Tue 01-Oct-13 08:15:19

This woman sounds pretty toxic, is everything a good step parent is not! She is nt the girls mother, op is, dd only has one mum, op! She is undermiming op, and chipping away at her confidence. She is also gas lighting dd, messing with her head so tat she doubts her own mother. I believe all this is probably in aid of getting full custody of dd, which is nt working thank goodness. As little contact as possible, only with te girls father, teir is no need to seak to stepmother. And a whatever approach to stepmother is needed

springybuffy Tue 01-Oct-13 22:27:17

Hear me right when I say this: I'm glad you're scared. imo you have something to be 'scared' about. This woman is stealing your daughter from right under your nose.

I hate to say this but I have the t-shirt on this. I also thought time would tell, that she couldn't do much damage in 4 hours every fortnight. Sadly, I was wrong. As I said above, please move quickly on this. Don't think anything is too petty - it is all very damaging. She is making her intentions crystal clear. yy ex is very probably feeding her a truckload of bullshit about you [also getting her to do his dirty work so his hands look clean - a favourite tactic of an abuser] but that's besides the point - she is carrying it out to the letter - and how angry

Move quickly OP. This is very damaging for your daughter as well as for you, of course. Nothing is too petty - get moving!

springybuffy Tue 01-Oct-13 22:29:28

(It was my complacency that had me standing back, not wanting to make waves for the kids, trying to keep the peace - which gave her all the space to march in and take what she wanted. She made it so clear what she wanted but it was so outlandish I didn't take her seriously. I wish I had gone to war when I could.)

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