I've asked MNHQ...

(454 Posts)
ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 25-Jul-13 17:02:10

.....if we can have a little 'note' at the top of the Stepparenting board, with a list of acronyms that cause offence - to ensure that posters get support and threads aren't sidetracked by inadvertent use of common phrases that are less welcome here on MN;

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/site_stuff/1811572-Board-notes

bluebell8782 Wed 31-Jul-13 09:15:13

Well yes - I guess if someone is having a bad day the SP threads seem to be an easy target for someone wishing to release their venom even if it is unrelated to the topic.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 30-Jul-13 17:49:41

Maybe a polite statement that you didn't like it would suffice instead of such strong terms such as 'vile' etc.. the thread will only go downhill from there and completely detract from the help and support the poster needed

Unfortunately, it's clear that there are some posters who seek to do just that and look for opportunities (such as inadvertant use of a term considered offensive) to derail threads - particularly here on the Stepparenting board, for all the reasons explained by Wednesday Martin in her book!
There are other posters (who have explained themselves previously on this thread) who are so offended by the term that they are unable to exercise restraint and cannot help but respond in a hostile and aggressive way to use of the term - they are unable to make a polite statement, or accept an apology from the OP.

bluebell8782 Tue 30-Jul-13 17:26:25

Just to be clear though - I don't actually want to be my SD's mum. I'm just proud of her and how she affects my life.

bluebell8782 Tue 30-Jul-13 17:07:30

Yes brdgrl I also picked up on that step-'mum' bollocks as well. I might not be my SD's mum by birth but I certainly do parent her and I love her like I would my own - I'm not ashamed of the term.

Her mum is very much on the scene. My presence takes nothing away from her mum's role and I don't interfere. Her mum dislikes me purely because I exist - there's nothing I can do about that - this is just how it is in some blended families and she will just have to live with it.

I am a step-mum and proud grin

bluebell8782 Tue 30-Jul-13 16:54:42

I think the term is only offensive if said to BE derogatory surely? I think we are all big enough (or some of us are) to see through an OP - whether they mean it to be rude and minimise the role of the mother or just describe the relationship of someone that does little to parent the child they gave birth too.

There are lots of words that can do that. For example you can say the same for the word 'special'. 'She is so special' or 'She is so special You would be able to gather from the way the OP is written if it is meant to be nice or rude - does that make sense.

I think if you are offended by it when it clearly wasn't meant in that way is your problem. Maybe a polite statement that you didn't like it would suffice instead of such strong terms such as 'vile' etc.. the thread will only go downhill from there and completely detract from the help and support the poster needed. Also, as it is an accepted term elsewhere it is less likely there was offence meant.

China - I do understand the concept of adding it as a little note but I agree with another poster that that would somehow advocate all this 'attention' the term is receiving. We should ignore it! It is an acceptable term that can be used in some circumstances. If we can see it is being used in a derogatory way however, then by all means we should pull the poster up on it.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 30-Jul-13 15:35:13

Maybe there should be something warning people that swearing is allowed, you know?

There is - its in talk guidelines smile

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 30-Jul-13 15:33:45

All that's been achived is an -admittedly interesting - discussion of what Birth Mothering might mean.

MNHQ suggested that it might be helpful to have a thread that did exactly that - next time someone posts the term, a linky can be put to this thread which will go a long way to explaining why they have received blunt/rude/abusive responses to their post.

ArtexMonkey Tue 30-Jul-13 14:31:41

I see what you mean, but i think if you put up warnings about everything in every section that could cause an inadvertent flaming, there would be no room for any threads.

For example, you'd need a sticky in aibu warning people not to post threads about things they might, in their normal life, consider reasonable (such as expecting a seat on public transport if pg, or being pissed off about parent and child parking being abused when they have a new baby and feel like they're struggling), but which are actually a huge no no on mn. There'd need to be one in the sleep topic saying 'you might be on your knees with sleep deprivation but you will get some negative comments if you post asking for advice about sleep training'. Maybe there should be something warning people that swearing is allowed, you know?

The permutations of seemingly innocuous or mundane STUFF that can cause a flaming on here has never ceased to amaze me, and it can happen to anyone, in any topic, for any reason, not just steps. And sometimes some of it breaks talk guidelines and gets deleted, and sometimes it doesn't. But i have never ever in all my time here seen someone getting a completely unanimous pasting (unless they're obviously a troll). There'll always be someone who comes along to stick up for them, which is pretty great i think, and works well. Obviously if you're tLking about a deleted thread, i only have your word for it, but it's hard to believe that each and every post challenging the op's use of the term did so in an 'uncontrolled and visceral way' . Are you sure the current system pf the boards self policing is really that bad?

FrauMoose Tue 30-Jul-13 14:30:01

Well just in terms of this thread it hasn't really worked has it?

All that's been achived is an -admittedly interesting - discussion of what Birth Mothering might mean.

(And some swearing)

You might just as well say, 'Don't think of a lemon'.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 30-Jul-13 12:41:31

Oh well, if lots of people use it, then I guess no one should ever tell anyone not to then.

Advising people not to use it is exactly what I am asking MNHQ to do!

If it was made clear to new users that regardless of the terminology elsewhere, the term BM is highly offensive to some MN members, then it's use would gradually decline and posts in which it was used inadvertantly could be deleted under the talk guidelines.

By discouraging and removing it, regular users of the StepP board would not be as repeatedly or frequently offended by the term, and the new posters who use it inadvertantly would not be subject to the uncontrolled, viceral response of those members who are offended. Win-win?

ArtexMonkey Tue 30-Jul-13 12:12:32

Oh well, if lots of people use it, then I guess no one should ever tell anyone not to then. Gosh, it's not as though posters ever take issue with one another's terminology elsewhere on the board is it?

The fwr section tried this thing where they wanted new rules for their own space. Yeah. That worked out great.

emilyeggs Tue 30-Jul-13 08:36:34

VB grin "I know you are but what am I?" Made me lol! No wonder debating abilities were brought into question

brdgrl Mon 29-Jul-13 01:26:26

Sorry, That fuck off was not aimed at anyone in particular. Just at the idea that step-mums cannot be mums. I apologise for the swearing.

brdgrl Mon 29-Jul-13 01:24:30

BM is, in some situations, the appropriate term. Like it or not. If those who are against it on this thread have declared it to be offensive when used about anyone who is the actual, involved (and, lets face it, usually resident) parent of their children then does this mean it is ok (with those interested in policing langauge on the SP board, I mean!) to use it when the original mum is not all of of those things?
Will MN then look at (or indeed, investigate) the back-story of every poster who uses the term?

BM as a reference used by a step-'mum' to describe their partners DC's mother is what's offensive.
Why the quotation marks here? Because a step'mum' clearly could never act as a mum to her DSCs? Fuck off.

Being a mum is about more than giving birth. That's a truth universally acknowledged on MN...except here.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 22:47:57

artex I was referring to bigreds thread, which she asked to be removed, having apologised for inadvertantly using the term, when bickering broke out between other MNers, totally unrelated to the thread.

In the last week alone, the term has been used in stepparenting by three new members - that's a lot of offence caused to anyone who has a viceral reaction to its use!

Artex - Certainly the thread that I thought it was based on.

ArtexMonkey Sun 28-Jul-13 21:00:03

Oh is that not the thread then? I apologise, it was a genuine mistake (so no need for the passagg 'unless you know better' ta). What thread/s was it you were thinking of?

FrauMoose Sun 28-Jul-13 20:40:34

I think in the family I stepmothered, although there were some very real difficulties about communication between my partner and his ex, the communication between myself, my partner, my stepchildren and my own daughter got stronger and stronger as the years went by.

I do think a lot depends on a) having a supportive partner and b) just having the courage and the principles and the guts to be who you are and trusting that the children will - over time - come to appreciate that.

By contrast the communication in my 'nuclear' family - self, siblings, parents - is absolutely and terminally screwed up.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 28-Jul-13 18:47:26

As a SM, you're expected to undertake all the domestic elements of child care, but don't usually get any say in decisions involving the children,

But the domestic elements must be carried out precisely in line with specific standards and methods, which are communicated psychically!

Laundry must be sent home clean and ironed - but is re-washed because the brand of washing powder/softener is substandard, and scented ironing-water has not been used.

Toys must be purchased and supplied, but must meet stringent quality and price standards.

Meals must be provided and cooked - using approved brands of ingredients and pre-defined recipes & methods.

Lack of compliance is used as evidence to support withholding of contact, verbal abuse and calls to social services.

Petal02 Sun 28-Jul-13 18:18:49

The dynamics are all wrong in step families.

Quetzalcoatlus Sun 28-Jul-13 18:15:38

It's not been much fun at times.

LoL Petal, that's got to be the understatement of the decade grin

Petal02 Sun 28-Jul-13 18:13:27

As a SM, you're expected to undertake all the domestic elements of child care, but don't usually get any say in decisions involving the children, even though those decisions can have a huge impact on you.

I could never work out whether I was "in the team" or "on the subs bench", it wasn't consistent.

DSS is shortly to depart for Uni. I'm very relieved. It's not been much fun at times.

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 17:18:31

Some good examples there Quetz

Quetzalcoatlus Sun 28-Jul-13 17:12:30

Exactly VBisme, As a step mum you. are. not. permitted, full-stop.

No you can't go to their swimming event.

You're just not interested in their achievements.

No you shouldn't discipline them.

Why are you so detached, you are an adult they expect your guidance.

No you can't take them for a party at your parent's

Why can't Quetz pick them up if their Dad can't do it?


get my drift?

needaholidaynow Sun 28-Jul-13 16:36:20

That's all you can do as a SM VB. What you think is best.

As someone said upthread, some mums like to think that their children's stepmum wants to be a second mum etc, and that they can step in and tell them otherwise. But yet when the stepmum doesnt want to be a mother figure then the mum has something to say about that as well.

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