Step mother good – ex wife bad – children evil

(105 Posts)
noam Mon 18-Mar-13 13:26:07

I'm quite prepared to get some rotten tomatoes flung at me for this, but I've been lurking for ages on this board and I've now reached breaking point.

Okay, here goes.

Why did so many bitter, resentful (and sometimes just plain nasty) step-mums on this thread ever get together with a bloke with kids if they are so unhappy being step-parents?

I am just so sick of reading threads about saintly step mums who are battling 'evil' step children, feckless 'disney' dads or money grabbing ex wives.

Just today, I've read a thread wondering why step-children need to sleep over at Dads, another questioning what to do when you hate your dsc because they remind you of the ex-wife who you also hate, one questioning why the ex-wife needs to see the kids on mothers day and finally one about arranging a holiday that excludes the dss and wondering why dh might be upset.

It's as though the only version of step-parenting that's acceptable is one where it's just assumed that the step-parent is marvellous and in the right, the step-kids' mother just wants money/a weekend off (and why shouldn't she?) and the dad is Disney (because loving your kids and wanting them to be happy must be ridiculous.)

Maybe, just maybe, the step-kids are badly behaved because you make them feel unwelcome? Maybe the ex-wife needs maintenance because she's raising the kids on her own and knows every penny sent her way is resented by you? Maybe the dads are 'disney' to counterbalance your negativity and hostility?

There just seems to be so much hate and resentment and anger on this board. Why live with/marry a father if you resent the reality of his children so much??

Rant over.

You can start chucking the tomatoes now.

thelionessrichie Sun 24-Mar-13 10:12:16

Noam you are coming at this all wrong. If anyone on here is as rubbish a person as you say then you are just as bad. Try a little loving kindness. Understand that people are different and that high stress situations make us act strangely sometimes. If you've nothing supportive or constructive to add then it might be best to put your mind to more positive uses.

fruitypie Sun 24-Mar-13 10:30:15

This post actually made me laugh out loud ;)

I'm pg with my first (after a traumatic stillbirth) with my actual fairytale dh!! A year into our relationship/engagement dh found out he fathered a child before we'd even met. Absolutely 'tricky' situation, however I couldnt be happier. I love my husband absolutely adore his little girl don't really know the 'ex' as never really had the opportunity to speak to or get to know her but have a lot of respect for her for raising a child alone. His dd has enhanced our life in so many ways, though obviously it was unexpected!! We cannot wait for her to meet her new little sister this year smile

A lot of negative feelings did crop up when I first found out that I was a step-mum and my dh being a first time dad but they got quickly pushed to the side. The way I see it there's a child that deserves love, stability and consistency in her life. If we sat there and focused on all these negative feelings, problems obstacles etc then we'd just feel weighed down.

Everyone has different family situations. But the key word is FAMILY. there are always going to be troubles but think some people need to appreciate that as f****d up as it may seem at times you have a family which is a lot more then some other people have!!!!!

allnewtaketwo Sun 24-Mar-13 10:37:51

The "clue" isn't in the name - don't be so silly

Roles are determined by peoples' behaviours, values and beliefs, not by a word originating from the 12th century. I know a fair few people who are "god-parents". None of them have any kind of significant role in the child's life at all, and indeed many of them haven't seen them for years. The "clue" is most definitely not in the name.

allnewtaketwo Sun 24-Mar-13 10:39:17

X-post fruity, my post was in response to edam, not you smile

Petal02 Sun 24-Mar-13 12:45:40

Noam, I wish you could meet DH's step mother; she's 90, she married DH's widowed father 20 years ago, and wasn't around when DH was growing up - but she's definitely the archetypal wicked step mother! maybe it's just old age but she pretends to have "one of her funny turns" if ever we visit, and will let us have coffee, but not biscuits, and we can't sit in the lounge, we have to stay in the kitchen.

Me and DH think its hilarious!!!

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 13:13:54

Honestly, the more I think about it, the quoting of specific threads in the OP is really low and misleading:

Just today, I've read a thread wondering why step-children need to sleep over at Dads

...well the point being made was that since everyone was asleep what was the benefit and wasn't it the 'conscious' time that should count. But even so, the vast majority of replies were hastening to point out why overnights ARE important, not just kowtowing to the OP as you suggest the board does generally.

...another questioning what to do when you hate your dsc because they remind you of the ex-wife who you also hate

I don't think the word hate was used by this OP at all. In fact the OP said herself that she felt guilty and bad for having these feelings and was looking for ways to deal with them and get over them. Isn't it a good thing that she posted? Isnt it what the forum is for?

...one questioning why the ex-wife needs to see the kids on mothers day

I can't find this one, but I can find one from a SM about how she felt sad for her step kids that they wouldn't see their DM on mother's day down to the DM's choice

and finally one about arranging a holiday that excludes the dss and wondering why dh might be upset

...which again had a variety of supportive and non supportive replies, and ended with the OP and her family having happily and peacably made the decision to include the DSS in the holiday with her parents after all.

hmm

Petal02 Sun 24-Mar-13 15:46:56

Riverboat, I agree that just quoting one sentence from a post, without including the context is misleading and unfair.

billingtonssugar Sun 24-Mar-13 17:00:54

I was excited about the fact my dh had a dd. I only wanted to have one child so a ready made sibling for my dd seemed handy. His dd was very sweet and I looked forward to spending time with her and being a four when she was here. Their arrangement was that she spent half her time with dad and half with mum. All great.

But if one thing is ceratin in life it is that things will change. Attitudes, dynamics, arrangements, and of course and children get older their needs change too. It's hard enough when this happens to children who live with you who you are the actual parent of, but when it happens to children who you are reminded constantly that you have no rights in regard to, but who live with youand become part of your family, it can be infuriating. And of course you don't have unconditional love that you have for your own children and that sees bio parents through the ups and downs.

I was very young when I became a step mum and I have grown up an awful lot through the process. An adult who suggests that someone "knew what they were getting in to" in the case of ANY relationship needs to look inside themselves and work out where they have missed the opportunity to grow and develop understanding becuase sooner or later it will become apparent that no one ever really knows what they are getting in to and when there is another woman in the picture who holds a lot of power over everyone concerned. It is never that black and white. The possibilty that the status quo may shift doubles. Then again for ach child, then again when Mum meets a new partner etc etc. Thinking you know how things will turn out is pretty precarious.

I have now learned to detach from the anger I had toward my DH's ex. I have learned to understand her little isms and I have also learned that my relationship needs to be built on trust and positivity if it is to stay strong. Not be assaulted every time there is something flung at us from the ex wife. But it's taken almost six years for me to get here. I'm very happy to lsten to anyone who is brave enough to come on here and reach out for some advice and support. Even if it does present as a rant initially.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Sun 24-Mar-13 18:09:19

It's pig ignorant when people say the following:

"You knew what you were getting yourself in to when you got in to a relationship with a man who has children."

Erm, no that is incorrect. Did I mention it is ignorant as well? PIG ignorant.

madonnawhore Sun 24-Mar-13 20:06:24

Step parenting.

Even if you think you know what you're signing up for when you enter into a relationship with a person with a child, there's no way you can reasonably know what to expect especially from the ex and ex's side of the family. You sign up to have those people in your life too, even if they're horrid. You have very little influence or control over anything and you're obliged to suck it up.

You're entering into a relationship where you will always be second best. Always. There's no honeymoon period where it's just you two and you're the centre of each other's universes. You enter into it as number two in the other person's life and you can't ever say anything about it or complain. Because that's actually how it's supposed to be.

You're expected to unconditionally care for this child that doesn't belong to you, yet walk the tightrope of staying in the background enough so that the ex doesn't get arsey. You never get invited to parents evenings or school plays even though you're the one practising reading and maths with them in the evenings and making their costumes.

No one ever says thank you. Even though, unlike a parent, you don't have to do it, you're literally doing it out of love alone.

In fact if you reach out and admit that you find it fucking hard and you couldn't have had any idea it was going to be like this when you entered into it and sometimes you don't like it very much, you get flamed.

A new bio parent would get sympathy.

I really think people expect step mums to be superhuman. As if a successful, happy family dynamic is entirely their responsibility, even though the break up of the previous family was nothing to do with them and they're just trying to manage to situation other people have created and they've innocently walked into because they fell in love.

End of rant.

Eliza22 Sun 24-Mar-13 20:48:28

Billingtonssugar oh yes, I was like you. Not young but with an only child of my own. I was literally thrilled and felt very grateful to have met a man with 3 lovely kids and who clearly put them first and was 100% there for them. My reasoning? If he could be like that with his own, maybe, just maybe, he would be like that with my son. He is.

How wrong I was. I have 2 x steps who I get on well with and one who refuses to acknowledge me. Hasn't seen us for nearly 2 yrs and is now a young adult. It's illogical, damaging and soul destroying. My self-esteem has plummeted.

As I said higher up the post, the OP knows nothing of our lives.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 21:17:57

Yup, Eliza and Billington I was also happy with the thought that DP was a father. I could see that he was responsible, caring and more mature in many ways than other childless men I'd been with and those are some of the reasons I fell in love with him.

But obviously it was a while before I met DSS (4 at the time), and even longer before I started to spend long periods of time with him. By that time I was hugely in love with DP and our relationship already felt quite serious. I had no children of my own, neither did any of my friends and there were no young children in my family. I was completely unprepared for the realities of having a child in my life on a permanent basis, and sharing my home with this child. I had forgotten what it means to be a child and behave in a childish way. It was a big shock and I had a period of probably two years where I was wondering if I could really deal with this forever, or if I should leave - I just didn't know if my expectations towards DSS were reasonable or not. Finally, and largely down to some great advice I read on mumsnet, I managed to deal with a lot of my issues and now I feel much happier in my relationship with DSS and much more able to deal with being a stepmum.

And all this was without even having a particularly 'difficult' DSS, and with having a great relationship with DP's ex and no problems on that score! Compared to some other posters here, I know I had it easy. It just didn't feel easy at the time and I certainly had no way to 'know what I was getting into'...

NotaDisneyMum Sun 24-Mar-13 21:23:46

The problem with the "you knew what you were getting into" principle is that life throws low-ballers when you least expect it.
An amicable, low-conflict co-parenting relationship between ex's can transform overnight if the NRP is made redundant and can no longer support his DCs to the same degree, for instance. Faced with the prospect of a reduction in standard of living in order to continue to meet the DCs needs, many RP lash out at their ex, and any family they may be living with.
Similarly, a new half-sibling can create fear that the first DCs will be neglected/ignored and when a mother is fighting for her DCs, woe betide anyone who gets in her way.

Of course there are also bitter, jealous ex's who can't move on. It's so common that there are businesses which target exactly those women - if it was as unlikely as the OP have us believe then they wouldn't have been identified as a target market wink

mumandboys123 Sun 24-Mar-13 21:24:06

and you have no idea what it's like to have you give your children to some woman who thinks she has a 'right' to make your child's school play costumes; who believes that your child is in some way neglected or abused because your parenting styles are very different; who believes that you should stand at the back of the queue at parent's evening whilst she discusses your child with your child's father and teacher; who judges every item of clothing you dress your child in (supermarket clothes and you're obviously spending the maintenance on vodka, designer clothes and you obviously don't need the maintenance); who has contact with people who previously counted as friends and tells them all about how awful your children were dressed last week/how you forgot to send your child with a fancy dress costume to school/how you still haven't bothered to potty train your youngest; who posts 'happy family' pictures of herself and your child on your child's Facebook wall stating 'me and my son'; who tells anyone who will listen that you're a bad mother/whore/both because you deign to have a night out with friends twice a year (forgetting that if it's OK for her partner to have 'moved on' it must logically be OK for you to move on too); who calls you a bad mother/whore/both because you ask your ex to look after your child whilst you have a few nights out with a new boyfriend prior making sure you get to know them properly before you introduce them to your child; who comments that you're a bad mother/whore/both when you have no choice but to introduce a new boyfriend to your child earlier than you would have liked because your ex refuses to have the child more than one night a week and to be able to enter into a proper relationship, you quite literally need to mix 'business and pleasure'; who calls you benefit scum because you struggle to find a job after being a SAHM for years when with your ex; who calls you benefit scum when you work part-time in an attempt to balance your children and work; who calls you a bad mother when you work full-time and suggests to your ex that he should 'fight' you for 'custody' because she could do a far better job than you're doing; who has children...and much, much more.

I didn't ask to have a step mother in my children's lives any more than many of you asked to fall for a man who already had children. It works both ways. I have yet to meet a 'step mum' who is able to say anything vaguely positive about the ex and yet every ex I know is someone trying desperately to get on with their lives as best they can.

madonnawhore Sun 24-Mar-13 21:33:56

Of course it works both ways and everyone's circumstances are different.

Stating the bleeding obvious but it bears repeating.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 24-Mar-13 21:41:09

My DDs dad tried very hard to replace me in my own DDs life with his DW, who was a willing participant - so I am very aware of both sides of the coin.

To DDs dad and his DW, I am the unreasonable, bitter exW that I see in my DPs ex, yet I'm not starting MN posts slating all SM's; it's the OP who did that, so maybe she hasn't walked in both pairs of shoes like many of us have? wink

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 21:42:30

mumandboys, I'm sorry that you are being called a whore, I don't think anyone on this board would say that is right.

This is probably no consolation, but if you want a stepmum who has positive things to say about the ex, I am one. As I said above I hugely respect my DP's ex and appreciate the good relationship we have.

NatashaBee Sun 24-Mar-13 21:42:32

^^Even if you think you know what you're signing up for when you enter into a relationship with a person with a child, there's no way you can reasonably know what to expect especially from the ex and ex's side of the family. You sign up to have those people in your life too, even if they're horrid. You have very little influence or control over anything and you're obliged to suck it up.
^^

This. If someone had tried to explain the complete loss of control I'd have over my life when I became a step parent, I'd have laughed at them. It's very difficult to picture how the situation will actually work, until you're in it. If you're someone who generally approaches meeting new people with the thought that they are reasonable and trustworthy until they prove otherwise (as most people do, I expect), the way you have to deal with some ex-partners is completely alien to most people, I think. And of course most people would choose to cut someone out of their life if they behaved as badly as some step-parents/resident parents do, but it's not that easy when you have to have some kind of relationship because there's a child involved.

Yes, the division between ex wife and stepmums is ridiculous - not least because as not a disney mum says, many step mums on here are ex wives too.

DSs stepmum has become one of my best friends so I hope she would say nice things about me!

Many of us can see both sides of the story, unlike the op whose post was goady and devoid of compassion or experience.

edam Sun 24-Mar-13 22:56:29

It's nice to hear positive stories, like yours, Thisisaeuphemism. Obviously there must be plenty of step-parents who have good relationships with step-children and exes, we just tend to hear less about them. And people clearly react more strongly when there's a controversial thread.

I think people tend to say 'you knew what you were getting into' when there's a stepmum posting in a nasty or unfair way about her stepchild - as in, you had far more choice about the situation than the stepchildren, who had none. I don't think it implies massive expectations that you had perfect foreknowledge of how your relationships as a family would develop - because who the hell has that?

Eliza22 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:20:45

Natashabee and Thisisaeuthemism I'm with you there.

Yesterday, my son (12) came back from his weekend at dad and stepmum's. We all stood around and chatted for a bit "isn't it freezing/what did you get up to/how's her new job?/thanks for the home made cupcakes (they'd made that morning" Etc etc. Now, whilst we're not big buddies, I'm aware that my son is very lucky to have this woman, in his life. She seems nice, they get on, he gave her a big kiss and cuddle, when dad and SM left. I'm happy that since I'm an older mum and won't live forever, she is much younger than me and I think, will "be there" for him, with his dad. I love that. Selfish, I know.

My step kids and dh's ex are a very different kettle of fish. I can't go to anything she (rightly, as their mum) goes to, or she refuses to be there. She has blanked my hello and looks past me, even when we are sitting 4 feet from each other. Her youngest (the one we haven't seen for 2 yrs) is now permitted to ignore me. She's now 19.... Not a little girl. The other two, I have to say, are lovely with me and ds.

Sometimes, the stepmum ends up with a situation she couldn't have imagined. I certainly didn't. And I agree NatashaBee, if dh's daughter were just "a person" and NOT his daughter, I would never have put up with her antics. I'd not have been nasty....just would have cut the relationship, loooong before it began to upset me as much as it did.

Eliza22 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:22:58

I was not the OW. Dh's ex had a 2 yr affair that ended their marriage. I met him 3 yrs later.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 25-Mar-13 08:37:53

Some women do appear to re-write history though - whether it is because they are too ashamed/guilty to take any responsibility for their part in the ending of their marriage, or whether underlying personality traits/disorders mean that they can't see the link between their own behaviour and the subsequent consequences.

Sometimes it is just unrealistic expectations - my DPs ex had an affair, neither wanted the marriage to end but whereas he wanted to work at making things better, all she offered was 'trying to be nice' to him. She refused marriage counselling and referred to DPs desire to 'fix' their marriage as unreasonable when they mediated over child arrangements.

Any woman who believes she is so desirable that her DH should tolerate whatever relationship dynamic she dictates is not the kind if person I want to exchange the time of day with. Her attitude is now the same with the DCs - she tells them that they are 'lucky' to have her as mother, so they should accept their lives as they are, not seek to have a relationship with their Dad as well.

Targetpractice Mon 25-Mar-13 10:48:42

Nadm we seem to be living in a parallel universe. Dh has come to his own conclusion that exw is a narcissist and that his daughter is being heavily influenced to turn out the same.
Luckily dss is the lesser loved child and is moving in with us half time next week.
As dsd basically does all in her power to get her own way, I was upfront with dh and told him dsd could only live with us, even as a remote possibility for now, if she and I went for some counseling. He agrees, because he's a doting dad but no longer blind to his dc faults.
But as Eliza said, no matter how good the other dcs relate to you, if one child hates you it can be devastating to marriage and self esteem.
Sorry, mumandboys that you're having such a rough time. Thankfully my ds sm is really nice and supportive, we're not best friends but getting there perhaps. Ds is so happy we talk and invite both dad and sm to school functions etc. I feel proud to be appreciated by my ds in this way, it gives me the strength to deal with dsc mum! Xx

billingtonssugar Mon 25-Mar-13 10:54:15

Mumandboys, sounds like you have been particularly unlucky. No one would argue with that.

I don't think in the five years that I've been on this board I have ever seen a stepmum refer to their stepchildrens mother as a whore. You don't deserve to be called that.

I don't want to suggest that anyone isn't welcome here but I wonder about the merits of someone like yourself being on the step parenting board. You don't seem to offer any constructive advice to us stepmums (which is a shame as you must hold a lot if experience and wisdom), and get very angry a lot of the time. Is it a good thing for you emotionally? Maybe being here gives you the opportunity to lash out at us, in a way you wish you could lash out at your children's step mum. That is understandable. But I still don't think you are doing yourself any favours.

We need a place where we can vent so that we can be happier and more relaxed and ultimately, better partners and step parents. There must be a safe place where you can vent too?

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