What is wrong with some step mothers??

(50 Posts)
unsureofthefuture Mon 07-Jan-13 23:01:05

Long long story but exdp and his partner got together wks after we split(quite probably something happened between them about 5 months previous to us splitting, so she probably (but will never know) was the OW). months later they were living together and barely a yr later were married. exp and i have several dcs together.
Basically there has been huge amounts of provocation from them both from not long after they got together, but now they are married it has increased tenfold.
I cant get away from it! they have moved very close to where i live, she has put her child in the same school as mine, so therefor i see her on a daily basis.
I have to put up with her being a major part as because of the times exdp works she does all school runs, all the reading/reading records, pretty much 80% of caring for my children is her- exdp has also been known to go to work on a contact weekend whilst she has the kids- so he can have a weekday off to spend with his wife!!
we had to block each other on fbook as i couldnt cope with her statuses-along the lines of "My (combined number of all our children) fantasic children doing this or that blah blah. They are NOT your children!
One dc came back from contact last week saying "i wanted sm to play a game with me, but she said only if i said shes the best mum ever!!!" who does she think she is!? dcs also say they are not aloud to ring me from their dads and that they were told by sm not to listen to me(not sure if that was in any context or just dont listen to her in general) and they say they get told off and shouted at for calling their step sibling their step sibling- apparently they are only allowed to say sibling not step-even though thats what she is and has only been part of their life 18months!!

Its getting to the point know that the situation is becoming too stressfull, I think about moving further away from them on a daily basis so that it might stop/reduce.sad

Anybody going through similar?

theredhen Mon 07-Jan-13 23:13:59

There are certainly women on here who share similar stories to yours, although I'm not one of them.

What I do know is that this woman is overstepping and it's probably all down to her own issues which she's trying to "fix" by being super step mum. This, in my opinion, is not natural behaviour towards step kids.

I feel for you.

unsureofthefuture Mon 07-Jan-13 23:22:42

The other thing they do is when dropping the children off/picking up(thats a new ish thing used to be me all the time doing it) they BOTH come up to my door. what is that about? i dont drag my bf out the car to their front door if hes in the car with us, he just waits in the car. why cant she? would i be unreasonable to tell her to get out my garden/off my property? obviuosly not in front of the children but before they next pickup/dropoff?
And parents evenings, why does she have to go to my dcs parents evenings?? -exp wont go with me to them, but then expects to come to his dcs bday parties- i really hate that because to me it gives the school a bad impression that we cant sit down and talk about our dcs for 10 minutes, but yet hes quite up for attending a dcs bday party for several hours!!

I wish i could flick a switch and make her stop, me and exp were coparenting fairly sucessfully until they got engaged and then it seemed to give her free rein to say and do what she likes with my children and tensions between exp and me have increased 100%

notsoevilstepmum Tue 08-Jan-13 08:07:42

sounds like shes trying too hard to me! i think maybe you should explain to her civilly that whilst you appreciate the effort shes making with your children that shes over stepping the mark. they are yours and your ex's children dropping them off, parents evening etc is to be done by their father.

i will point out tho it is hard to find that happy medium as a step mum because you are expected to look after the children but then play no part in the decisions about them. i myself have never wanted that responsibility but i can see from some threads that some step mums do and frequently overstep the mark

mumandboys123 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:04:33

I have been through this with the 'other woman' but she was also the other woman who behind my exs back wasn't interested in the children, only to his face so it was very difficult to deal with. Mostly, the children didn't know whether they were coming or going. At one point my then 4 year old asked me what a 'f***ing dirty sl*g' was and when asked why he needed to know that, he said that was that 'other woman' called me when daddy wasn't there.

You kind of just have to hold your head up and ignore the provocation. I find reducing my contact with the ex helped enormously and it is far easier to see yourself as a family unit - just you and the children - and deal with that than it is to try and include him in your decision making or emergency plans for childcare or anything else. Being self-sufficient in every possible way reduces the need to have to deal with either of them. E-mail him rather than speak to him. Never pick up the phone unless it is a genuine emergency. If the e-mail you are sending is being sent in retaliation to one of his that has annoyed you, wait 24 hours before sending your response. The chances are you will send a very different response then. Focus on the children and nothing else - your relationship is done, he is with her now, that is not your concern.

You should also realise that this is her issue, not yours. She has a man she doesn't trust. For reasons beyond me, they seem to think that we see in the ex the same thing they do - and for me all I see is an aggressive, abusive man I would no longer touch with a barge pole so I won't be fighting her for him! She, however, is threatened by your relationship and the need for you to continue a relationship, albeit a very different one, for the sake of your children.

It is also easy to say but be grateful that she is generally nice to the children because trying to deal with your children being slapped across the face by the girlfriend is very, very hard (been there, done that). You will probably find that given a bit of time, things will settle and she will be less defensive - the more you battle her, the longer that will take. Take as big a step back as you are able. Before you open your mouth think about whether the issue will matter in a week, a month or a year's time. And if it won't, just ignore it.

Facebook blocking is good. You don't need to see that and frankly, why would you open up your life to your ex's scrutiny? Give yourself a break!

Be kind to yourself. These things are hard to deal with and take time to come to terms with.

HungryHippo89 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:39:21

I think i would tell her to back off ... as a step mum to a SD ... on pick-ups/drop-offs I will never get out of the car unless i was the adult picking-up/dropping off ... i certainly 100% would not attend parents evening (even though i share an interest for DSD's school life) it is not my place to attend a parents evening ... I certainly would never make my DSD call me step-mum never mind "brilliant mum" .. I would however attend her birthday party but that would be on an invite only basis ...To be perfectly honest she sounds like a sad desperate woman trying to mark her place within the kids lives .. It's horrible that you have to see her everyday ... maybe try being polite and accepting towards her maybe achknowledge her in the playground ... she might feel like she has to put on less of a show ... or that she doesn't bother you and you are the bigger person ... FWIW she sounds like a right looney to me!!

Fenton Bosnia-Herzegovina Tue 08-Jan-13 15:48:13

It does sound like she is overstepping.

Your bigger problem though is your ex, he should be doing the majority of the childcare on 'his time' - they go to him for contact time with their father not with their stepmother. Her dealing with children in her home is of course inevitable and something you have to accept but 80% her ? That's not on.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 08-Jan-13 15:58:28

OP - personally I sympathise with you but it does seem that 'overstepping' is currently in fashion; schools, Drs, and other professionals seem quite happy to involve step-parents in child related issues these days, regardless of the parents opinions.

I've come to the conclusion that it is 'the way things are done nowadays'.

Frankly, I'd hate it if my DP, DSC or other people had those expectations of me as a SM but fortunately, my DP and I agree that I am a bonus in my DSC life, they have two parents who are responsible for them and I have my own DD for whom I am responsible.

I don't think that there is anything you can do - this has become more and more commonplace and gradually accepted by society. You and I are fighting a losing battle hmm

poshfrock England Tue 08-Jan-13 16:19:36

Well I am a stepmum to 2 kids ( one lives with us and one doesn't although the other used to) and my husband is stepdad to my DS. We also have one together and my DS has a stepmum as my exDh remarried.
I have never asked/expected nor wanted my DSC's to call me anything other than my name but we don't tend to use the terms step or half in our house and my kids all call each other brother/sister. When people ask how many children we have I always say 4 - close friends and family know all the ins and out but I don't feel the need to explain my family history to someone on first meeting.

As for the practical side of parenting - doctors/parents' evenings etc I have attended many of my DSC's parents' evenings (alone) due to the fact that their DM lives 130 miles away and their DF works shifts (police officer). Secondary schools in particular only seem to offer one evening so it's either I go or nobody goes which does not send a very positive message to the child. There have also been many occasions when my DS was younger and having regular medical appointments that either my DH or my ex's DW would take him ( ie one or other of his steps). It all depended on who was available on the day. None of us would ever take a day off work to take a DC ( step or not) for a medical appt if the another person was already off.

I am the one who gets phonecalls from school when the DSC is sick and I get given ( and sign and return) all the relevant letters re school trips/immunisations/ after school clubs etc.

I think this woman is trying very hard to give your kids comfort and stability and engender a family atmosphere. Yes I agree that coming to your door is not necessary if you feel uncomfortable and asking your kids to call her "Mum" is definitely unreasonable. Havng said that I have heard my own DS call his stepmum "mum" and he has called me by her name too - it didn't bother me. I was actually quite pleased that he had such a positive relationship with her that he felt happy doing so. But in that case it came from him - not from either of us.

I think you need to talk to your ex about the specific things that make you uncomfortable but it sounds to me as though she is doing her level best to give your children a happy home and I think you should view that as positive ratehr than negative.

financialwizard Tue 08-Jan-13 16:55:58

I do wonder if she really does not know how to deal with the situation and is in need of guidance as opposed to meaning it maliciously.

My DS goes to his Dads very infrequently and he lives so far away that his Dads gf has little to do with DS. Although DS does say she is nice, and I do talk to her and her me if there are any problems as my DS can be a handful.

I have a DSS that we have seen infrequently until recently (we have had to live overseas due to hubby's job) and I don't expect anything from him apart to abide by our household rules when with us. I do tell him off very rarely but normally without thinking because there is so little age difference between my son and him I often forget they are not the same child! I never have anything to do with his education apart from when my husband asks me to decipher DSS school report, and unless I do the drop off I don't go to his Mum's.

Maybe a sit down conversation on neutral ground without malice would be a good idea. I am not saying it will instantly be a win - win situation but it might open the lines of communication.

Fwiw my exh played me and his current gf off against each other for years. It is only when I picked up the phone that we found out the truth about the situation.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Tue 08-Jan-13 20:10:04

Oh god that's awful sad

OP, in most cases SMs are normal and just want to get everyone to get one, without crossing those major boundaries such as pretending they are "mum". In other cases, such as yours, you get a SM who just gives us SMs a bad name. I really do not know what advice I can give to you, only to raise your concerns with your ex (if you can get the chance to speak to him!)

I'm a mum and a stepmum. As a mum I would hate to be in your position with a stepmum like your children have got, and as a stepmum I would never dream of acting like that and would be mortified if anyone thought I did act like that.

I hope it all improves for you. Just remember our children know who their mum is, and that is you.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Tue 08-Jan-13 20:15:08

Blummin eck, some spelling mistakes there!

OP, in most cases SMs are normal and just want to get everyone to get on

I hope it all improves for you. Just remember your children know who their mum is, and that is you.

Lasvegas Wed 09-Jan-13 14:08:32

This step mum sounds like a stalker. Moving near to you, using the same school! As a step mum, I want to have nothing to do with my husbands x wife, no interest in her at all. But if this step mum was OW then she is possibly very insecure and worried you may get back with your x. Maybe its a case of keeping her 'enemies close'.

Step mum doing childcare this is probably because your x is lazy to do it, like many men I have come across. My DH thinks nothing (during access time) of leaving his visiting kids to watch football or play golf etc if he gets a too good to refuse invite. In his case he will ask his parents to mind the boys as he knows I am too busy working.

financialwizard Wed 09-Jan-13 15:24:16

Is it really common for nrp's to leave their children on the care of the step parent if something like golf comes up? Genuine question. My husband would just never do that. He insists on only having DSS when he can give him all of his time. Maybe it is just down to the distance between our houses (180 miles). It never occurred to me (apart from exceptional circumstances) that anyone would do it.

Lasvegas Wed 09-Jan-13 21:39:50

Financial I meant common amongst the families I know that mum ends up looking after kids more than the dad. This is in family's with no steps. not an observation about NPR parents and contact. My dh will admit that he is selfish and he would prefer to have a fun day (if it was suddenly offered)rather than spend time with his kids when they are visiting. He would genuinely think that if he spends 5 out of 6 days with them during a weeks contact this is fine. I don't get it myself.

ivykaty44 Wed 09-Jan-13 21:50:55

I have no ideas on how to handle awkward step parents and fortunately my dc step mum lives a little way away - but she over steps the mark, tried to ring up my parents to tell them how to be grandparents, states on facebook that the step children are her children which in itself doesn't bother me as we have no shared friends and I don't have to see this but upsets the children as they feel she is pushing herslef on them and hse is not their mum.

Strangely there was a OW and she become a mum to my dc sibling - she never over stepped the mark, and even now she is divorced from thier father they still all play an active part in each others lives and we see her and her family at Christmas.

financialwizard Wed 09-Jan-13 22:46:06

Las I see what you mean.

curlychocs Fri 11-Jan-13 07:56:56

I am a step mum to a 4 year old. We have her every week so sometimes OH will go out and I look after her. However if she accidentally calls me mum I correct her. I leave decisions to OH and his ex. I wouldn't go to parents eve. We talk about her mum and step dad and grandparents a lot in a positive manner. I think you need to have a calm conversation with her. She is a mother and should understand. I think its great that your child has her father near. However i think maybe she feels a bit threatened so is making sure you know she is there. I think it is better that she cares than hates your kids. Talk to her.

Bonsoir Fri 11-Jan-13 08:06:27

If you don't like it, tell her what your boundaries are.

I do an awful lot for my DSSs, but their mother is all too happy to outsource everything to do with her DCs upbringing to their father and me and to be a Disneymum.

purpleroses Fri 11-Jan-13 12:13:29

Financial - DP and I commonly leave our DCs in each other's care - not for routine childcare in the week, but if one of us wants to do something social at the weekend on their own - seeing friends, shopping, etc - i'm sure if either of us played golf from time to time we wouldl then too.

But we live close and have his DCs every weekend, so I think it's quite a different situation from when the DCs are going there specifically to visit their dad who they don't see all that often. We just consider that the DCs live here at weekends. DP doesn't have the feeling (that I'm aware many NRPs do) that his time with his kids is in short supply or to be treated as special time - like you would if you go and visit family at the other end of the country. I do think this attitude makes life a lot more relaxed and normal for everyone. As a parent, I don't think it would help to start insisting that your ex spends all his contact time in the same house as the DCs - it just turns them into something to be fought over, rather than just people you live with and care for.

ladydeedy Fri 11-Jan-13 12:59:57

well I think you should be very glad that she is in your DC's lives. Sound slike she is doing a lot of the practical stuff and trying to give them as normal and stable a time as possible. Coming up to the door though with your ex is overstepping though a bit in my view. But honestly, I dont know why you are getting so wound up at some things which are, I think, not worth it. And as for the things you are hearing from the DCs, dont forget they do often get things out of context etc. As she and ex are nearby, this is a real blessing (think of the alternative, from your kids' point of view), so I can see a number of positives. I would never be hooked up on facebook with my husband's ex though so I think it's good you've split that connection. As a stepmum myself I have often looked after the DSCs when my husband is working and it's just "normal". In fact one now lives with us. Try not to find things to get cross about - but look at what is positive. In time I suspect things will calm down - seems to me like she is trying very hard and being a stepmother is VERY tough!

OP, try to remember that no matter how much effort this woman puts into your kids, they'll never love her the way they love you. And they'll never love her more than they love you. Accepting this has kept both me and my DH sane so far. And I think it might have kept DH's exW and her DP sane too.

Her Mum's DP and I do a lot for my SD - that includes attending nativity plays, dance recitals, parent/teacher meetings (we both help with homework), taking her to swimming lessons, looking after her on bank holidays if she's at ours the week of a bank holiday (bio parents not always getting these days off work), etc. Mum's DP and I both support our spouses parenting, but we'd be fools to think all of those tasks could make us replacements for Daddy or Mummy.

I don't let her call me "Mum" - it's just not right. Sometimes, she did say to me, "You're the best Mum ever," but I would respond with, "I bet you say that to all the Mums." :-p (hint: she did :-p) Eventually, she started to understand all the meaning attached to "Mum" and felt more satisfied with using my first name.

FWIW, I have come up to Mum's door twice with DH - once was on DSD's birthday, the other was just before Christmas. Both times at DSD's request, and I have turned other requests down. DSD requested because she wants us all to get along with each other.

Anyway, if you feel boundaries are being overstepped, I would definitely try talking with either your ex or with her. And if your kids don't want to tell their SM that she's the "best mum ever", it would certainly be reasonable to remind them that they don't ever have to call her that. And that as their real Mummy, you will always be there for them.

financialwizard Fri 11-Jan-13 14:59:33

purpleroses I suppose if we did have DSS every weekend we probably would do what your family does. The distance, and time my husband is away (he is forces) makes a huge difference to our set-up I suspect.

Sorry to hijack op.

unsureofthefuture Fri 11-Jan-13 15:10:25

I have tried talking to her on many occasions to try and get her to see my point of view. The trouble is exdp and herself see no wrong in the fact they got together v quickly, forced all the kids together as a blended family etc, theres no trying to get the point across by using her ex either as hes not on the scene so she hasnt got to deal with having a sm for her dc.

Alot of it is probably laziness on exdp part, hes never been great father material, quite happy to do the fun bits but not the hard graft that goes into parenting. she has been delegated most parenting tasks eg hes gone before theyre up in the mornings so she does all the bf/school run and when they go back after school he hides in the kitchen "cooking" whilst the reading/baths etc are left up to her.
Yes i agree it could be worse and she could hate them but that makes me feel no better when shes all over my children acting like she actually is their mum. Perhaps she does feel theatened by me, perhaps thats why the wedding was so shotgun and why she behaves the way she does, id be threatened by me if i were her too, exdp and i were first loves, went through an awful lot of bad stufff together, spent a decade togther and have several children.

They do live close by and have them several weekends a month but i still think it should be safegaurded time with dad as for all their lives till we split they had him everyday at home, I certainly wasnt impressed with him outsourcing the kids to her on a weekend so he could work and then take a weekday off (when the kids arent there) to spend with his wife- who has him everyday anyway!

Ladydeedy- The whole coming to the door thing- i guess this really irritates as there is no real need for her to get out the car and come to the door-also they have been occasions when theyve discussed big things at my doorstep-eg changes to contact/them basically telling me how to do certain things eg potty training or whatever, considering her dc is young and all mine older i do not appreciate her playing "nanny mcphee", and trying to teach me how to suck eggs!
mumandthreeboys-some great advice there thankyousmile

Hope this gets easier over time.

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