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Maleficent's Guide To Step Parenting

(327 Posts)
WhatWouldMaleficentDo Tue 25-Jan-11 09:39:03

Dear Reader,

I have been much maligned as a step-mother over the years and so misrepresented, even I sometimes wonder what is truth and fiction. The sad fact is that people will always believe the child over the step-mother, no matter how outrageous the story and accusations.

Take my step child, Snow White. Ran off and shacked up with 12 men in a squat. Doing so many drugs she thought she could speak to animals FFS. (Lets face it, she didn't get called "snow white" for no reason IYSWIM.) I rescue her from herself with an intervention and a stay at the Priory and what do I hear back? Magic Mirrors, wood cutters and poisoned apples! And people believed her. hmm

However, I know now where I went wrong and look back on those times thinking "If only I had had someone to show me the way". So here it is, dear step mothers. The Mumsnet Guide to being a stepmother. Instead of worrying, just ask "What would Maleficent Do?" and follow these 12 steps to become the perfect Mumsnet Step Parent.

All of the following advice has been given to step parents in one form or another on Mumsnet discussions.

1. You may call yourselves step mothers, because that is what you are.

2. It's wrong to refer to yourself as mother in any form as it detracts from a child's real mother.

3. You should not try to be a mother to a step-child as they already have one.

4. If you don't act motherly you are rejecting the child and this can damage them and cause emotional problems later in life.

5. It is OK to think your own child and the children of your friends and the children at your child's school are horrible.

6. Your DH or DP's Children aren't horrible it is you making them that way as they can sense that you don't like them.

7. You must not declare that you love your stepchild or expect your step child to love you as that is not natural and they already have a mum.

8. You should automatically love your step children and if you can't you are bad and should leave your DH / DP.

9. If the children live with their mum, you should never change any payments of maintenance as it is unfair on the child.

10. If the child comes to live with you, the mum should not have to pay maintenance as it is your job to support them as you chose to be with a man who had children already.

11. You should not distance yourself from your step children as they will sense this and it will make them feel unwelcome.

12. As an adult its up to you to put your emotions to one side and distance them from your step children as showing how you feel will make them feel unwelcome.

You know. Reading this back, I think I can summarise this so much better.

1. Damned if you do.
2. Damned if you don't.

Now, off you go and get back to being Man Eating, Child Stealing Whores wink

Love,

Maleficent x

swingofthings Sun 10-May-15 07:01:33

They are expected to switch "motherly role" mode on every time their stepchildren are there
But that's the point, for the rest of the time, they can pretend that the children don't exist, surely that makes it easier? They can take a step back during these two days and/or only get involved in the fun part of parenting if they wish.

Resident step-parents have to cope with spending almost all their time with a child that includes the big chunk of the not so fun part of being a parent, yet always knowing that they don't have the same freedom to do what they think is right because they are not the parent.

I would have thought that this made it much harder to cope with although I see your point about the opportunity to develop a relationship with less time available, but I would then have thought that it just took potentially longer rather than the limited time being a hindrance.

Of course I am referring to the arrangement that is most common.

3CheekyLittleMonkeys Sat 09-May-15 09:29:01

That's just one example though so please don't assume I mean all NRPs see their children twice a week.
We see dsd 50/50. And even then it isn't perfect.

3CheekyLittleMonkeys Sat 09-May-15 09:19:53

Stepmums live in the NR household (most of the time), so the dynamics are a bit different. They are expected to switch "motherly role" mode on every time their stepchildren are there, which could be two days a week, and then say bye for another almost another week. If the child misbehaves in that short time that they are with their dad, then no matter how "adult and mature" the stepmum acts, then that doesn't give a great opportunity to develop a great relationship with the child in that short space of time.

swingofthings Sat 09-May-15 08:39:15

I think what I have always wondered why there seem to be so many step-mums struggling to cope with their role compared to step-dads, despite the fact that they are much more likely to face at all the same issues to an even higher degree (on the basis of the usual eow arrangements). Of course, women are more likely to come on forums to share their feelings, but even in real life, I have heard so many sm struggling with their role when I rarely ever heard a sd saying they were unhappy.

Being a step-mum must be one of the hardest thing to cope with and I admire all those who take it on. What I don't respect is those who refuse to learn and evolve from their experience as a step-parent and expect everyone to change their ways to suit them.

My dh is struggling with my ds's behaviour at the moment. I can understand why my ds acts the way he does, and I can understand why my dh feels the way he does. However, my dh has the maturity to recognise that my son is not a horrible person because of the way he acts at the moment, has the maturity to appreciate that it is not for him to change my ds, and more importantly, has the maturity to appreciate that as the adult, he is the one who is expected to make changes towards my ds so that my ds will change towards him. I know it must be very hard for him, but I can see him making an effort, and that makes me love him even more.

We all make mistakes, all look back and can then see how we could have done things differently. It is suffering from a rigid mind that is the essence of conflict. If as adults, we concentrated more on what we can control, ie. ourselves, rather than how we can control others, which ultimately we can't, things would work out much better for many.

hoobygalooby Thu 07-May-15 16:36:02

This thread made me laugh when it was first posted.
Shame that the double standards still apply and the humour of it is lost.
Whatever happened to Maleficent - she always talked a lot of sense and I found her advice helpful ?

Angelina77 Thu 07-May-15 13:40:37

Wow, talk about over-thinking it. WTF? It's a joke

bluebell8782 Tue 05-May-15 14:24:23

NickiFury I just think it's the usual "feel sorry for myself" and "me, me, me" whining so often found on this board.

That's what the board is for...... confused People come on here for advice and support because of PROBLEMS they have in their lives. Just like the Relationships board, the Lone Parents board, the Divorce and Separation board etc... only on Step-Parents do we encounter such disbelief and speculation (normally from posters that have no experience of step-parenting...)

There are hundreds of split couples that get on well and are able to co-parent - but it is very rare that you'll get someone on here to say "Just so you all know, my life is great. My partner and his ex get on famously - everything is hunky dory" - doesn't mean those people don't exist, they just don't need to post as they don't need advice or support. This a forum for people that do.

The people that are posting here do describe similar situations, because, they do actually occur. Step-parenting is a highly volatile, difficult minefield - very different from anything else. You are disbelieving of the amount of posters with 'cliche' situations which doesn't make sense, because, this is where posters who have problems come to vent and ask for advice. As I said, the majority of split families probably all get on very well in comparison - you're just not going to see people posting about that on here. I don't understand why anyone would come on a forum for people going through SIMILAR problems to sneer and speculate just because there seems to be too many in their opinion.

madamtremain Mon 04-May-15 08:10:26

I think there is a real need for some people to make sure a stepmum is in her place and very rarely any assumption that she is an intelligent woman who has considered things. When I first arrived on this board I was very young and suddenly had this hugely complicated thing to deal with and it was at times pretty scary to post.

But I did need a lot pointing out to me. Now I am longer in the tooth I find it very irritating to have to disclaimer everything lest some do gooder pick each post apart to make sure I'm not blaming the children, that I'm aware my husband isn't perfect, and asking had I considered that his ex wife is actually maybe a nice woman with her children's best interests at heart (she's not, btwwink)

It's fairly insulting and isn't done anywhere else on MN, other than in lone parenting actually which is odd.

Reginafalangie Mon 04-May-15 07:39:37

Nah Peruv not the case at all.

The one thing I will say is consistent is that the majority of the time the SP comes on here and blames the DC for this and that. Turns out after a few more posts it is actually their DP/DH that is in fact the issue and the root case of the SP frustration/anger/upset.

Nicky tis a bank holiday no need to muster anything grin

NickiFury Mon 04-May-15 07:35:19

I agree with nothing you say Peruvian, under this posting name or your other, so that's nothing new. Your pontificating and repetitive posting style makes for dull reading I am afraid and as usual I am unable to muster up the interest to actually consider the content in any meaningful way. It's probably for the best though.

PeruvianFoodLover Mon 04-May-15 06:46:07

I just think it's the usual "feel sorry for myself" and "me, me, me" whining so often found on this board.

Much like the rest on MN then really; but, as the OP of this thread says - expectations are often higher on this board than elsewhere wink

I don't read it as nasty and spiteful, but it is interesting that nothing seems to have changed over the last 4 years - if you read the other posts near the top of this board, the advice and judgements being made about step mums are still totally contradictory by different posters - there is rarely a consensus as to what is best. Stepmums are still damned if they do and damned if they don't.

I wonder why opinions are so divided as to what a stepmum "should" be? And why the strength of feeling is so great? Why some people insist that a stepmum should behave in a certain way, only for someone else to not only dismiss that as wrong, but often go as far as to claim that such behaviour is selfish and abusive? Step parenting is not one of those issues about which people "agree to disagree". Often, threads here become personal and insulting; more so then generally across discussion forums.

NickiFury Sun 03-May-15 22:50:34

I just think it's the usual "feel sorry for myself" and "me, me, me" whining so often found on this board.

madamtremain Sun 03-May-15 22:02:57

Oh it's not that bad. I think some are choosing to be offended.

3CheekyLittleMonkeys Sun 03-May-15 21:45:55

Seriously, I know this thread was started in order to make a point, but it isn't that bad. What exactly is nasty and spiteful about it?

madamtremain Sun 03-May-15 21:37:00

I've seen it at the top a few times over the years

Reginafalangie Sun 03-May-15 18:45:52

Nope sorry never seen it at the top of this board before MumsRush bumped it. I also have never seen it referred to either.....maybe I am on the wrong thread hmm

I think it is a horrible part of MN history and will be thankful when it disappears in to obscurity again.

PeruvianFoodLover Sun 03-May-15 18:43:11

Also I have been on this board for quite a while and NEVER heard of this thread let alone seen it until today.

It's been bumped back up the board on 5 different occasions since it was originally posted, and has been referred to or linked in at least 6 other threads over the years, both here on the step parenting board and in AIBU, as well as making an appearance in at least one OTBT thread.

No, it's not actually in classics as far as I know, but it has certainly become part of MN history - hence its regular reappearance at the top of the step parenting board.

Reginafalangie Sun 03-May-15 18:22:19

Also I have been on this board for quite a while and NEVER heard of this thread let alone seen it until today.

Very similar to the bingo threads...........didn't MNHQ delete one of them?

NickiFury Sun 03-May-15 18:20:12

What a laughable claim grin.

Reginafalangie Sun 03-May-15 18:19:12

Really is it in classics because I can't find it confused

It is a nasty spiteful thread and one I doubt MNHQ would put in to classics.

NickiFury Sun 03-May-15 18:15:44

Generally considered a MN "classic"?

By whom exactly?

PeruvianFoodLover Sun 03-May-15 18:02:12

This post has been bumped, quoted, blogged about, referenced and generally considered a "MN Classic" more or less since it was first posted - why has it caused such consternation now? confused

Tbh, The underlying message is fundamentally accurate - opinions about what constitutes "good" and "bad" step-parenting are so wide that it's not a surprise that this is one of the most contentious boards on MN.

There have been lots of threads where the OP has been given totally contradictory advice by different posters, a bunfight ensues between the posters with vastly differing viewpoints with the OP left bewildered & unsupported.

Is there anyone who has first hand experience of being a step mum who has always been confident about their actions? Who has never had the thought in day to day family life "it doesn't matter what I do or say in this situation, Someone is going to be aggrieved"?

That's how I read the OP - that sometimes, no matter what step mums do, they are indeed "damned if they do, and damned if they don't".

NickiFury Sun 03-May-15 17:05:22

grin

MsColouring Sun 03-May-15 16:04:59

Is this a good time to point out that Snow White's stepmother isn't actually Maleficent - Malificent was the bad fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

PerpendicularVincenzo Sun 03-May-15 12:46:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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