Lose Lose Situation!

(87 Posts)
needaholidaynow Mon 24-Jun-13 08:05:21

For the first time in a pretty long time DSD's mum kicked up a fuss about me last night.

Basically, DSD has got a dance show coming up soon, it's her first one since starting doing dancing. I've not seen her dance yet but DP says she's really good at it and she loves doing it. This show was a chance for me to see her dancing.

However, as I have 2 very young children aged 2 and 4mo to look after I can't go. We've asked around for a babysitter and tried really hard to get it sorted but we can't find one. I don't think it would be fair on DS1 to have to sit still for 2 whole hours, and to get all frustrated and it be a horrible experience for him. It wouldn't be fair on him. DS2 is fine, he's a baby and will probably sleep through most of it. But DS1 is a toddler and very restless and would get upset. DP told his ex I won't be going and she really wasn't happy about it.

She said if it was my son I'd be there watching him. Well, yes I would as he would be the one performing and obviously wouldn't need looking after. If DS2 couldnt go and we didnt have a babysitter then again unfortunately only one of us could go to that one! Same applies and I don't know what makes her think her daughter's show is an exception! This emotional blackmail was the thing that got to me. As much as I would like to go and watch her, I have to think about DSs' well being and ensure they are comfortable and happy. An environment like the show would not be suitable for DS1 but she just doesn't seem to understand this.

It is just unfortunate that I can't attend this show. My dad is away on holiday, ILs won't look after them (yeah they're not going either), my mum is at work that day. Hopefully the next show I can attend as I'd really like to see it, and in the future when they are older we can all go as a family to watch her and DSs will enjoy it, but this one is near impossible and DSD's mum doesn't understand that my commitments mean I can't go. I think if it was any other commitment like work the. She would fine with it, but because that commitment is indeed my children, she doesn't like the fact that I am putting their well being before her daughter's show. That's the impression that I am getting and I don't appreciate having to justify myself.

It's a situation where each outcome will mean someone is unhappy. If I don't go then DSD's mum will be angry at me, but if I do go then DS1 will have to switch off being a toddler for 2 hours, which ain't going to happen as its impossible!

SidneyBristow Mon 24-Jun-13 09:16:30

You don't have to justify yourself. What's best for your children is really none of her business. Why was she even told the reason you couldn't make it? Of course your children's well-being is your first priority; that's as it should be and anyone who has a problem with it is being completely unreasonable.

needaholidaynow Mon 24-Jun-13 09:24:41

She was asking last night how many tickets DP needs and he said just the one as he is going, then she asked why I'm not going. So DP told her the truth (why should we hide the truth and make up some lie?) and then she started. After thinking about it this morning I'm not upset anymore but really really angry with her. Like I said, if it was DS1 who was performing and there was nobody to look after DS2 then only one of us would be going. angry But of course as a stepmum I am expected to make an exception!!

TakingTimeOut Mon 24-Jun-13 10:37:24

TBH I don't see the big issue about it. Her dad is there - if it was you going and dad couldn't make it I'd kind of understand the kick-up. But really?

You can't expect a 2 year-old to 'switch off' that's just not possible. How would she react if during the performance your DS plays up due to boredom?

needaholidaynow Mon 24-Jun-13 10:53:15

Exactly. The main point she needs to remember is that her dad is going and that's that. Both of her parent's will be there and will enjoy watching their daughter. It isn't like my DP isn't going, he should go and support her!

My DS would do just that. He'd play up and get bored and I wouldn't see any of the show anyway through running around after him and trying to console and entertain him, which would probably annoy her and others too. Why should I put my son through that?

She thinks that I should go anyway with DSs and make that special effort to see her daughter perform. She doesn't want to see her daughter hurt (what parent does?!) and think I don't want to watch her, but I DO want to. It's just that in this case I HAVE to put my own children first as it isn't fair on them. And the next show as long as we don't have the same issue I will there! But I won't have her trying dictate like that for the next few years.

DonutForMyself Mon 24-Jun-13 11:20:17

As long as DSD knows that you'd really like to go, but don't want your little DSs to spoil the show for her by acting up, then that's all that matters. With school plays etc they usually ask if possible not to bring younger siblings as they can disrupt the performance, so you are doing entirely the right thing, not just for your DSs (who, lets face it, won't really appreciate the show and will just get bored of sitting still) but also for all the performers.

When I started to read your post I thought it was going to say that DSD's mum didn't want you there (that seems the more common response) so its actually quite nice that she wants you to attend and sees you as an important person in her DD's life. Perhaps she's more annoyed that the ILs aren't going either and feels sad for DD that there won't be many she knows in the audience, but they will be the two most important people, so she's lucky they can both be there. Perhaps you could suggest a little treat like all of you going out for a meal afterwards to show your support?

needaholidaynow Mon 24-Jun-13 11:33:59

As well it's only 1 out of many many shows. I will be there at the majority of them in the years to come. I think DSD's mum needs to cut me some slack really and realise that I do want to go but can't. DSD knows I want to go, and knows I take an interest. I get her to show me what she's learned each week as I can't make it to her lessons. Sometimes she shows me sometimes she doesn't want to, but the fact is I take an interest.

I do think her mum is being a bit precious. DSD has never had a hobby before, never done a show before and it's the first one. All of her mum's family are going and DP, so there are plenty of people going to support her. Give it about 2 or 3 shows she won't be thinking twice if I can't attend. As long as DP is there it isn't an issue. But like I say I will try and make every one of them.

PrettyPaperweight Mon 24-Jun-13 14:52:46

No matter what reason there is for you not being able to go, it seems absolutely outrageous that your DSD mother is dictating what your involvement in her DD's life should be shock

It really does seem that Step-mums can't do right for wrong; it's almost as if we lose our own identity when we commit to a man who has children from a previous relationship - and no matter how we feel, what we think, or what we believe, we are expected to fulfil the expectations of our DSC parents/grandparents/friends/strangers at the expense of our own lives.

holiday - it's time you put yourself and your DC's first. So what if your DP's ex is giving him grief about you? That's not your concern; it's her problem, and if he is prepared to give her airtime and headspace, then he can seek support he needs from someone other than you.

needaholidaynow Mon 24-Jun-13 15:38:33

Thankyou paperweight Donut and TakingTime

Paperweight, i know exactly what you mean. You do lose your identity. My thoughts were that as long as DP is there then it wouldn't matter if I can't make it. How wrong I was. Even after DP explaining to her that the same would apply to all 3 of the children she still said she thinks I should make the effort, basically disregarding my thoughts and feelings and the way DS1 would not enjoy it. She basically doesn't give a stuff that by me attending it would be at the detriment of DS1.

She really upset me last night, this expectation that I should just drop everything as soon as she says so outrageous! Like I said, she doesn't seem to like the fact that I can't go because of MY CHILDREN and is implying that I am putting them before DSD, but maliciously. I am putting them before DSD there's no denying that, but far from maliciously and more, I don't know... lovingly, because I don't want them to be uncomfortable.

At the beginning of our relationship we didn't have children together, so all school plays and swimming lessons, dancing had she done it back then etc.. were easy, but now DS is a boisterous, active, full of life little toddler who is not superhuman and can't suppress his typical toddler traits, it is much much more difficult, just as it would be if DSD was my own child and me and DP would need to manage the children between us so that they were all happy, and consequently one of us potentially missing seeing our child perform. She doesn't seem to like the fact that there are other children involved and that it complicates things, meaning I can't always drop my life commitments for her daughter.

needaholidaynow Mon 24-Jun-13 16:39:12

Oh and she said to my DP something along the lines of.. "She is your DAUGHTER, and X should be taking on a motherly role and coming to watch her with you. I bet she would be going if it was X."

angry <---- understatement!

bluebell8782 Tue 25-Jun-13 14:12:12

Wow - so strange hearing an ex say that rather than the usual 'You're not a parent - you shouldn't be going. You mean nothing to MY daughter blah blah..' Not nice for you OP at all - just find it odd that a mother is angry that you are NOT going!!

As long as you make it clear to your lovely SD that you want to go and explain why you can't that is all that matters.

needaholidaynow Tue 25-Jun-13 15:04:01

DSD really does understand why I'm not going. If anything she is very fortunate to have both of her parents going together to every show she does, as I will always be here to look after the children whilst DP goes to watc her. If this situation arises in the future when DS1 is doing something like this and someone needs to look after DS2, then unfortunately one of us will have to miss it. I'm not resentful about that at all, it is a reality that you need to work around your children, and when both parents are still together you don't have someone like myself to look after the younger ones so that both parents can go and watch their older child. Unless there is a babysitter on the scene!

DSD is very fortunate to have both of her parents there every time. Her mother needs to remember that instead of finding something to nit pick about.

bluebell8782 Tue 25-Jun-13 17:23:10

She is very lucky indeed, also very lucky to have you! As a regular adult in her life you are very important to her as well as her parents smile

needaholidaynow Tue 25-Jun-13 18:28:26

Well yeah that's very very true smile I know she looks up to me as a good role model. Not necessarily as a mother figure, but a good friend and a positive female figure. If people could agree with that instead of trying to force the, "You should see her as your own and be a second mother to her" thing on me then I would be much more relaxed in my role and maybe relax a bit more in general. I'm all for being in her life, i love her and care for her, but there need to be boundaries about what people expectations are of me smile

daisychain01 Thu 27-Jun-13 07:15:57

Just to concur with what has been said - you dont need to 'please' DSDs mother. The way I tend to approach these matters is to think "just get over yourself!" Complete mountain out of a molehill IMO. Totally agree that the normal scenario is "you are not the Mother, you are not important." That said, this situation is equally as frustrating and unhelpful. It will all blow over! Dont start bending over backwards trying to make amends, you have quite enough on your plate, than having to deal with trivia like this.

daisychain01 Thu 27-Jun-13 08:39:25

Btw just to clarify, I meant that your DSD's mother is making a mountain out of a molehill, you are rightfully upset by her making the fuss!

Jan45 Thu 27-Jun-13 16:45:55

Sorry but I can kind of see her point, and I'm assuming she's kicking up a fuss because the daughter is upset you are not going - why can't a toddler sit for 2 hours, especially if he is being entertained? So, whilst everyone is there watching the show, you are at home doing nothing - sorry, it sounds to me like in this instance, you should pehaps make a big effort to go along too and see the little girl perform, it sounds like a big thing to her and that's probably why the mum is kicking up such a storm about it.

needaholidaynow Thu 27-Jun-13 17:00:43

Jan, why should I make more of an effort for DSD's show than I would of it was DS1 performing and I needed to be at home looking after DS2 whilst DP goes? As a stepmum I won't show any special treatment just because her mum wants me to. Her mum doesn't know my DS1 at all, and what environments he is comfortable in and which he is not. Therefore she has no place telling me what to do with my child. If he will be frustrated and upset then I have to take that in to consideration. I'm sorry but she is being completely unreasonable even thinking I would ever make an exception just because she would do it differently. Not my problem if she disagrees.

Jan45 Thu 27-Jun-13 17:09:58

I don't understand why you can't go along with your children, I don't think you are showing special treatment in doing so. I can only imagine her mum is upset because the child is upset, if you had another engagement then fair enough but you don't, you're choosing not to go in case your toddler kicks up a fuss, sorry, I think you're making too much of this being uncomfortable for your son, why would it be, can't he behave for two hours in an environment where there will be other children just like him there? At the end of the day, it's up to you, we don't know you at all and you no doubt no what's best for you and your child, I'm just trying to fathom out why this is such a big deal and the only thing I can come up with is it's very important to this little girl, it's her first show and she wants you there.

needaholidaynow Thu 27-Jun-13 17:26:26

Maybe the other children there have parents who are on the same wavelength as DSD's mum? But equally so there will be others like me. I shouldn't have to explain myself to DSD's mum about any of my choices. DSD is ok with it, she understands that DS is very young and will end up running away and if I make him sit down he will get upset. She understands and is more excited about doing the show than dwellin on the fact that I won't be there. Her mum is (just stealing this phrase from daisychain) making a mountain out of a molehill.

It all boils down to her thinking I don't care about DSD and her not liking that that I am putting DS1's well being before DSD's show. If we had a babysitter I would be going and she knows this. If DS1 was older I would be going and she knows that too.

purpleroses Thu 27-Jun-13 17:46:58

Do you think maybe her mum is OK about you being in DSD's life, but rather jealous of your new DCs taking your energies and her dad's energies away from her?

Not defending her actions in the slightest - it's really none of her business whether you go or not and I think your reasons for not going are sound. But that may be where she's coming from - she may feel that her DD isn't getting the attention she used to now that it's being shared with two new DCs.

needaholidaynow Thu 27-Jun-13 17:52:46

That's exactly what I think it is purple. But it would be entirely different if DSD's siblings were her children. She wouldn't be jealous of the fact that her daughter would have to share her mum etc.. Before DS1 was born all of our lives did indeed revolve around DSD, but when DS1 was born life now revolves around both of them. The same would apply in a nuclear family, the attention will be shared.

needaholidaynow Thu 27-Jun-13 17:55:07

And because DS1 isn't hers, she has no feelings for him, so she feels threatened by him as she has no control over someone very much a part of her daughter's life.

dufflefluffle Thu 27-Jun-13 17:56:06

My DD is performing in her dance show next week and dh will not be able to make it - that's the way it is. Are we throwing tantrums??? Not a bit. I will record it (if I figure out how to) and DD will be fine too. Your DSD's Ma is mad!

dufflefluffle Thu 27-Jun-13 17:57:04

PS Would she love it if your baby or toddler kicked off throughout the performance grin

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