Question for older (ish) stepmums(8 Posts)
Having been a stepmum to four for the past 20 years I naively thought I'd experienced it all - but am up against a new issue that I'm not sure how to handle - so any advice would be welcome.
So as not to dripfeed - I am a SM to four (all now in their 30s with families of their own). I was not the OW. The SC's DM left when they were in early teens and DH (who I met two years later - yes I was a glutten for punishment!) had parental responsibility.
The SC's DM is now dead - she was hands off after leaving DH and kids and any contact was sporadic and caotic. This got worse because of her health problems and the DSCs severed contact in their early 20s. She was never a GM figure to any of the SCs kids - she died when the eldest GC was two and was never in any of the DSCs lives for the previous years.
DH and I have been "stable" influence since DSCs were in their early teens. All DSC have partners and children of their own now - in spite of their problems they managed to all go to university, get good jobs and find caring and supportive partners and we are very proud of them.
DH and I have a child of our own who is very much seen as a full sibling to the other kids (despite age gap). I'm mentioning this so you know I have experience of "having my own kids". My DC is now 16.
Since my youngest grand child (step) has been born(9 years ago) I have been fairly hands-on - happy to have over at weekends, for special occassions, sleep-overs etc... Never been an issue.
To clarify I have two step daughters (with four kids between them) and two step sons (with two kids between them).
My problem (if it is one) - is that the DM of my latest grandchild (step I know - not presuming anything!) is very wary of me looking after him.
Now this is her first child (18 months old now) and I fully understand any reluctance to trust others. However I get the impression that she thinks that because I am not the child's "natural grand mother" I am not to be trusted.
My question is, is this a normal MIL reaction - her DH is my DS. Is this standard fayre for the "mothers" of boys?
She comes from a very stable and loving family (and therefore has no experience of "extended" families). This is her family's first grandchild and obviously her DM and DF are very much involved.
I think she thinks that becasue her Ds is not "natuarally" my GS (which he isn't and I wouldn't argue with) that I do not care as much as if there was a natural family bond - does that make sense?
Has anyone been in this situation - any advice on how to handle - or is this "normal" DIL/MIL dynamic?
Thanks for reading this far!
I didn't want to read and run even though I have no experience of this and am not a young step mum.
When my step kids have kids I will probably see them the same as grandchildren, especially as I will know them from birth and see them as often as dp- a bit like how I see all my aunts and uncles as aunts and uncles despite half of them being through marriage- as my relationship with them is the same as with the biological one. SO I would assume your step kids would see them as your grandkids especially if they see you as a mother figure.
I wonder if this is an easy excuse not to leave her child with people other than her parents- I am pregnant and I bet I will struggle with leaving my child, if your ds has introduced you as his only mother figure then there is no reason for her to question this role- so especially as you are a mother yourself- I think her problem is probably more with leaving the child at all.
I think this is more likely a MIL problem rather than a step parent problem to be fair
I agree I think this is very common in mothers of sons. Still not nice but a little easier to deal with (perhaps).
In fact my own (fabulous) DM experiences it.
What's that saying about when a son marries I do think there is often some truth in it.
I agree it's a mil issue opposed to a step issue. I am a new mum and to be fair I would far rather my mil (if she were alive) looked after dd than my own mother but dsc's mum was always reluctant to allow dp's parents to have kids unless no other option.
Girls normally defer to their own parents opposed to those of their partners as they know them better.
Don't take it personally!
Phew - glad you all think this is normal - I wasn't sure whether it was MIL thing or not. I shall relax and not let it worry me. I thought I'd avoided this dynamic by having a DD - but hey hum!! Thanks again
Definitely a MIL issue - very common, judging by MN.
I don't think this is a step issue either but I understand why you might worry.
I have a 13 month old + even though my MIL is great, I wouldn't leave my lo with her yet. She only sees her every few weeks so I don't think lo is familiar enough with her yet. I do leave her with my own mother but she's had much more contact with her so I feel confident to leave her there. I still haven't let her stay overnight though.
Other than when I'm working I rarely ask my mum to look after her. I just don't feel like a need a break from her so I don't feel the need to ask people to look after her anyway x
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