Double standards...(107 Posts)
Why is it ok to rant about your own kids and say they can go and fuck themselves for not wanting to eat their tea, and the person gets a huge "there there" and a pat on the back for it?
Where as if a stepmum said the same thing about her stepchildren she would be ripped apart?
Now I don't agree in either case that the children should go and fuck themselves, but I see it all the time on here, people ranting about their own children and are at the end of their tether. But if a stepmum does the same she is ridiculed and told "you knew what you were letting yourself in for" and "they are children you are an adult" etc, etc... Yet a MUM gets sympathy!
How is this ok?!
It is not OK. But is IS Mumsnet. It will never change unfortunately and Step Mums will always get a hard time on here. From one step Mum to another
Yeah that's true Cats. It IS Mumsnet after all! I feel better after my mini rant anyway
needa Have you read "Stepmonster"? It's an eye opener in terms of exposing the social conditioning that has happened for generations regarding stepmothers.
By the age of 5, most DCs associate the term stepmother with the word wicked. Unless they have direct life experiences to change that, those children grow up into MNers who think the same way!
would you accept someone close to you - aunt/cousin/sister/best friend - being so pissed off with your child they were happy to rant and rave about how awful they are in public? Or do you think you might take some exception to it and try and protect your child, not matter how much you might understand that in any particular given moment, their behaviour might have been awful?
It is OK to slag off our own but it is limited, I think, to our very own. Fine line. Step mums cross that line - in just the same way other people who might otherwise be close to the children would. I don't think it's step mums who are singled out like that. These boards are full of people struggling with their relationships with close family because of how they behave towards children.
Wakey no I've not read it but I have heard of it. I might have to purchase a copy as it does sound very interesting.
And I can believe what you have said unfortunately. It's so frustrating when stepmums just want support or a shoulder to cry on but they get ridiculed and torn to shreds. Whereas a mum could do the same and she would be given huge amounts of sympathy. All because "the stepmum knew what she was getting in to" and therefore should put up and shut up.
Sometimes I feel like turning around to some mums and saying "You knew what you were getting yourself in to when you fell pregnant"! But that's just silly, because we don't all own crystal balls.
Which don't work anyway IMO
Ah, but fedup, that presumably depends on the perception of the relationship between stepmums and DSC?
I was recently referred to on another thread as my DSD immediate family. Even though we are currently estranged!
If that is the case, don't SM have the same privileges as other immediate family members?
Certainly the aunts/cousins/sisters/best friends you refer to aren't expected to parent a child in a day to day basis like SMums are - don't mop up their vomit, have their belongings stolen, watch as yet another meal is scraped into the bin. Stepmums have an intimate and unique relationship with their stepchildren and yet are expected to remain emotionally distinct and not be hurt, upset or frustrated by their behaviour.
I love the title of a wicked step mother !
I may shout etc but they always know I am a soft touch underneath ! Money lifts etc.
One of mine said he was more scared of me than his mum and dad. Scared of being told off By the way.
fedup If my children have been naughty or misbehave then whoever is looking after them will feel annoyed and upset. They might even have a moan to someone else about my children either face to face or on a forum like this one. I fully understand why they would be frustrated.
An auntie might come on here and say how hard work her niece has been and how she really doesn't want to look after her again. She would be told "it's not your responsibility to do so anyway so don't do it again."
If a stepmum didn't want to look after her stepchild again and wants support from her DP, she will be told something along the lines of "Didn't you realise that when you got with a man with children you would have to do these sorts of things whether the child misbehaves for you or not?" Or "If your stepchild sees you with that attitude they will feel rejected and their behaviour will only get worse because of you".
There is so much difference between a stepmum and another close family member. The SM is writhin that close family unit so a lot more expectations are out on to them. The fact they came in to the family knowing that the child existed is something that many people on here like to throw in the SM's face.
I agree with you need a holiday! When u become a step mom you try your very best with every intention of loving the child, like you love your children that you having giving birth to.
It's all sweetness and light when your taking(ALL) your children out places and doing fun activities, but when you tell your birth children off! Their isn't even an eyebrow raised then you tell if your stepchild and the whole household falls apart
ilovemykids I know what you mean. When my children are naughty I tell them off or discipline them. My 3 year old is going through a very naughty phase of hitting his little brother so I have to give him time outs (not the chocolate as that would be a reward!) but quiet time away from his toys and stuff. If he was my stepchild and my youngest was my only biological child, people would see me as being pfb and mean on the stepchild. And that it is not my right to pretext my child from getting hurt by an older child.
And when my dsd is being naughty, I always feel like its a very soft, half arsed "telling off" when I tell her because I feel like whatever I do will come back and bite me on the arse. So I have to be soft. DP's SIL once told me that I have no rights to discipline dsd as she isn't mine. Yet she can because she is her auntie!
Pretext is meant to say "protect"
Totally agreed, there's a massive double standard of unrealistic expectation; Love my child, look after my child, but don't be upset/frustrated by their hostile behaviour or dare critisise them............
I took a timeout of Mumsnet for a month or so, I thought I'd done well to overcrome alot of challenges re the dsc. That was with the help of Mnetters and also the Stepmonster and Stepparachute book, but came back again, because I'm just feeling so frustrated and sad.
And you do have to be careful what you say here, sometimes I just want to be able to vent what I cannot say to my dp about his dc or their awful behaviour. But you've gotta pick your words... It's the biggest challenge of my life and nothing ever seems to change. It's really hard being so actively disliked and having to spend time and input in a positive, caring way to those who dislike you. In a normal situation you wouldn't do it, you'd cut those people out of your life because of the negativity. It's harder than being a parent and guess what, you also don't get any thanks/love/gratitude to balance out the rough parts.
So I guess, although sometimes you don't quite get the handholding you need, it still is support and the varied opinions can help some. I'm back so... Although that thing Mnetters do, when a stepmum is having problems with the ex/kids - they assume/ask whether the stepmum is the OW, lolz, rude! I'm like just go away and find another thread...
would you accept someone close to you - aunt/cousin/sister/best friend - being so pissed off with your child they were happy to rant and rave about how awful they are in public? Or do you think you might take some exception to it and try and protect your child
But that's just it, this is not in public, it's an anonymous forum. I find SM come on here and rant because they cant discipline a dsc without criticism where as generally "real" family member can.
I agree MumsRush. SM's are in the position of sharing their lives, homes, holidays, Christmases etc on a regular long-term basis with another person's child. A child that has been and is being (to varying degrees) raised and moulded by others. You probably don't feel the same all-consuming love for this child as you do your own children.
MN acknowledges and gives a wry smile to a poster who is stressed and incredulous and ranting about looking after another person's naughty or just annoying child for the day, but SMs, looking after another person's child FOREVER are subject to very different respinses.
I understand that lots of MNers, like fedup, find it distateful to see SMs moan about or criticise their DSC. But I think also most have no idea as to the reality of stepparenting, and are very naive if they think even the nicest people can do it while never getting frustrated or thinking about themselves sometimes instead of always always the 'poor child'.
I have nothing against non SPs trying to help, or offering genuine constructive criticism, but when they post on a frustrated SM's thread just to stick the boot in and say 'poor child' it drives me MAD.
Incidentally I do think there is a line - when I see venemous posts about DSC sometimes I don't like it, but unless the poster seems like they are actually being awful to their DSC in real life, I don't reply rather than posting to criticise.
I'm new to this group and finding it really hard to understand certain short texts. Not sure what sn or dsp means not even sure if I wrote it right.
Of you are on the computer you can click on acronyms and it smells you them all
ilove - brief guide!
SP = step parent
SM = step mum
DSD = (dear) step daughter
DSS = (dear) step son
DSC = (dear) step children
It's a mumsnet thing to put D for Dear in front of all family abbreviations, like DH = dear husband, etc.
Thank you so much river! Helps so much
Most of the people who post on these boards have children. Most who post live with their children full time or are the RP.
In every situation that people post about the reader puts themselves in the position of what they can most relate to, so 99% of the time it's the position of Mum and how they would feel if that was their child.
Now quite simply, a parent (regardless of whether Mum or Dad) only has the people they like/love/have an external relationship with. When you remove choice from a parent about who is involved in their child's life there is usually going to be an element of unease, possibly resentment also.
So ultimately the step parent when deemed to be having a go will always be the bad one is any given situation (most of the time). Of you are not a step parent who had a hard time I'm going to guess it's very difficult to comprehend and unfortunately as with many situations it's easier to judge when you don't understand.
Just my two pennies worth.
I've found that it tends to be other Mothers who's child/children have step-monster ( I am one myself) that are really, really vile and try to make you feel like shite!
Think this stems to it being taken far to personally and is counter productive if someone needs to vent, or needs help.
We can all moan about our own but you will be hung drawn and quartered for saying anything about a step-child, no matter how bloody awful your life is being made.
I have seen the double standards here more than in any other forum, also general nastiness that I have never encountered in all the years of being on forums!
thistle I'm a mum and a stepmum and on more than one occasion I've torn my DD off a strip for her (IMO) appalling behaviour towards her SM, and I've highlighted to my ex during conversations that his DWs opinion/feelings won't be the same as his (or mine) towards DD.
Surely on the step board, you would expect most posters to be stepmums and therefore like me, relate to to the plight of other SMs?
As you say, Most posters here have children; but they don't wade onto the Pregancy boards applying their experience and judgements - they acknowledge (or at least I do) that posters are seeking interaction with people who are, or have recently, had that experience - my opinions and views based on my experience 10+ years ago is pretty irrelevant.
I keep banging on about social conditioning and it's very evident on this board at the moment - it's widely socially acceptable to criticise and judge a stepmother in a way that would be socially unacceptable for any other category/subgroup (except MILs, who also get a hard time!).
I think it basically comes down to the assumption that a parent at the end of their tether loves their DC's and are temporarily struggling. A step parent is assumed to not care about the DC's so it is seen as a symptom of that if they are struggling.
It will always happen though. Whether it's liked or not step parents to many on these boards are the misunderstood and human curiosity gets the better of many and then they retaliate in a fictional solidarity to the Mums. I say fictional because the Mum in many cases hasn't been mentioned but people make a scenario up regarding the mother and seem to automatically side. I am not saying it's right or wrong just offering an opinion
I think a lot of the nasty non-SP commenters on the step-parent board are angry because they are divorced and worried about their children's treatment by a new step mum / potential new partner of their ex. At least that's always how I've understood it. People sad and angry that a step mum might come into their own extended family situation and not love their kids enough or be mean to them.
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