If you are a SM and have a SM

(28 Posts)
AnneLovesGilbert Mon 25-Jan-16 15:30:44

…how has having a SM shaped how you are with your DP and DSC?

I’ve had a SM for nearly 20 years and we get on really well. I was a bridesmaid at their wedding. SM and DM get on really well and even happily meet up without my DF. Big family gatherings etc.

She was never any sort of parent figure to me, didn’t have DC of her own, never wanted any, didn’t really want us lot (4 of us and we were a handful) around much and was very hands off. Over time we've all bonded and she's more like an aunt.

Since I’ve been with DP certain things about how she and DF handled things back then seem odd. The first time we met her we woke up at his house and she was in his bed. After that she just showed up sometimes. She occasionally said pretty off stuff about my DM to us.

DF almost missed my graduation because one of SM friends had a minor op and she insisted them both being there was more important. She threw a massive strop when I took my DM dress shopping for my wedding (I took SM to choose flowers, and then bridesmaid dress shopping).

I’m sure they both found it difficult and did the best they could. The relationships are all now very caring and positive so no harm done. But my own experience has given me a completely different perspective on some things and I wonder if I've learnt as much about what not to do, than to try and do.

Jezebel555 Mon 25-Jan-16 15:49:48

I'm a step mum and have a step mum. I'm actually closer to my SM than I am my DF. And my SM will tell you every day of the week that my oh ex should consider herself lucky that I am such a good SM to her kids. As opposed to the lies she constantly spouts about me. Yet is happy for me to care for her kids so she can have a social life hmm

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 25-Jan-16 16:19:07

Good that you're close with your SM Jezebel. Can you think of anything you've learnt from your relationship with her that has shaped yours with your DSC?

Jezebel555 Mon 25-Jan-16 16:53:26

Yeah all the 'told you so's' grin
I learnt a lot about the playing parents off against each other because my mum and my step mum communicated between each other - there was absolutely no hatred or animosity between them because my parents had split up 15 years earlier.
My oh ex wife really could do with taking a leaf out of her book because her hatred and bitterness has been going on far too long and she doesn't seem to understand the detrimental affect it has on her children sad

Fourormore Mon 25-Jan-16 16:58:01

It's taught me that I don't need to be jealous of my DH's relationship with his DC. I can't really imagine feeling jealous of them but my SM was insanely jealous. She wouldn't make an effort with me and my sister as she "didn't like females" and was endlessly rude to both of us and our families and friends. I feel slightly guilty about it but I was honestly relieved when she died. I could never put another child through what she did.

Jezebel555 Mon 25-Jan-16 16:58:52

Wow fourormore that is truly awful thanks

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 25-Jan-16 17:02:14

That's shocking. I wonder what her problem was?! Did your DF realise what she was doing fourormore?

Kelsoooo Mon 25-Jan-16 17:06:29

I had a step mum, and been a step mum. Had a step father and my DH is a step father.

My step mum has been around my entire life. No relationship between us. When I was a step mum, I doted on my ss. He was a fantastic little boy. I adored him, worked both ways. Also had a fantastic relationship with his mum....but then again of course we did, he lived with us so she could be a disney mum.

My step dad and DH both the same actually. Came into their dsc's lives and just loved and supported them. Became a friend, a confidante and then a father. I was very lucky both times around.

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 25-Jan-16 17:13:50

The DM/SM relationship is a funny one. There was a far bigger gap between my DP and his ex splitting and my DM and DF divorcing and split was mutual in both cases.

I don't honestly know why my DM and SM have always made such an effort with each other but it's been wonderful for all of us.

My DP ex isn't my favourite person because of how she's been to him but we have no relationship at all. We don't need to. She and DP only speak about the DC, nothing else.

In that sense my parents have all done a better job than we have/will be able to.

But I can't imagine a situation where the DC were having a major life event and I'd either assume I had a right to be there (dress shopping) when they have their own DM, or that I wouldn't encourage DP to be there - esp if I had something else on.

They're only young, who knows how things will pan out. And I hate "you knew what you were getting into" as much as all of you on this board seem to, but they will always be his DC, nothing compares to that, and I hope I'll always do everything I can to help his relationships with them, not to make him feel torn between us.

Maybe I'm horribly naive!

Fourormore Mon 25-Jan-16 17:24:51

I don't know. My dad was never very good at putting me and my sister first.

My DH's ex is pretty awful. I just do everything I can to let me DSC know that I'm there for them if they need me, that I'll stay out of the way if they prefer that and that it doesn't matter to me what their mum thinks of me and that they don't need to worry about it. It's crap enough being a step child without having to deal with the adults' crap.

That said, I would find it very difficult if the ex's bitterness meant that I (and potentially my DC with DH) was excluded from weddings or Christenings. I can well believe that it would happen that way though. Still, it'd be my pain to deal with and I'd understand why they came to that decision.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 25-Jan-16 17:29:15

Those experiences that you have had may well make your step family a happy one OP, I hope so.

I'm an SM and have a SM. My step mum just didn't see us children as her DPs children, totally ignored us or went to great lengths to make sure her children, our half brother and sister were number one for my Dad. I really tried for many years to get to know her. Remembered all her birthdays, included her in everything.

It's only recently, now I'm a step mum it hits home how much she distanced her Dad from us. And yet in my situation, my step kids have done the same, really distanced themselves, never let me into their lives despite being fully around in their lives for years. Sometimes I wish they had my step mum instead of me!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 25-Jan-16 17:30:07

Sorry, distanced my dad from us... Oops

cappy123 Tue 26-Jan-16 01:40:40

Thing is, whether we're doing our best as a first and intact family or as a step family, we still end up parenting differently, sometimes better sometimes worse, than our own folks. Throw different personalities, ex partners, generations, status and marital relationships into the mix and even more scope for divergence. And then add age and sex of children and it starts becoming fruitless drawing parallels. We see our childhood through our own lense anyway both as a child child, and as an adult child looking back.

I remember expecting my stepdad to royally mess up like my mum's previous partners. Waiting for it even. But my mum messed up instead. Big shock. I say this because I've often heard people looking back trying to make sense of their parents during their own childhoods and it's worth remembering that we don't always have all the facts (about our parents pasts, struggles, their marriage etc) that would have shaped them. We only have what they choose to tell us (and we shouldn't know private things anyway) and what we experience and observe ourselves.

I tend to think just be thankful that parents gave us life and did what they could. My bio dad never lived with us but I saw him pretty regularly until my stepdad moved in and then he took off. I mean for 20 years! I tracked him down and reestablished the relationship about 10 years ago. To this day I've never questioned him about it, even though I'm his only family and carer now. I simply assume he did his best.

lunar1 Tue 26-Jan-16 07:54:09

I had several step mums. One lovely the last one a complete bitch. The main thing I got from it all was that I will never under any circumstances be a step mum myself.

sportinguista Tue 26-Jan-16 09:44:19

I was a step mum before I had a step mum.

My DSS is a wonderful young man now and I can't believe the time has gone so fast since he was a tiny boy. We all love and value him. He has support from my DH his DM and myself and his brother my DS loves him to bits. That's what we're there for to support him to do his best and be happy.

My SM is a different kettle of fish entirely! I had left home when she moved in and my sister moved out soon after. Over the years her behaviour towards us has deteriorated to the point where we no longer go round as she is openly awful to not just us, but our partners and on one occiasion my DSis inlaws.

We hardly ever see my dad now because he doesn't want to drive without her (heart condition) and she won't come. We don't feel comfortable going to their home at all. It is difficult for me to get away due to work commitments etc so I can only go down occaisionally, so now DS has not seen his GF for 3 years which is half his life sad

WSM123 Tue 26-Jan-16 21:03:33

Fouro... mine too, my SM was insane, if I sat on my dads knee she would get me to do something and as soon as I was up she would leap on him. Among other jealous clingy behaviour. and she was a right bitch. DF left us with her at times and she was evil. I still cant stand her, She was the OW and the other day she tried to lecture me about cheating (I didn't cheat on my ex she just didn't happen to know we had split coz it wasn't her business).
As a result, if DP is having a cuddle on the couch etc I do something else, I go out at times so they have one on one (2) time and only look after them with out him in emergiencies

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 27-Jan-16 11:22:08

Thank you bananas.

Very thought provoking cappy, makes me think about the different versions of all 3 parents figures my siblings and I have had!

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 27-Jan-16 11:23:43

So good you were able to establish a relation with your Dad as well. Must have been a big change having him back in your life. Can't imagine how grateful he met have been to you for another chance.

heavens2betsy Wed 27-Jan-16 11:35:12

I hated my SM.
I try my best to be the total opposite of her by making my DSC feel welcome in our home and accepting that DP can love them as well as me, something my SM never managed to grasp.
(And also not shagging my way round all his family and friends behind his back but that's a whole other story!!!!!)

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 27-Jan-16 15:20:20

Tell the story heavens! Sounds very dramatic.... And sorry your SM was such a bitch.

WSM123, I've been a long time lurker and occasional poster round here in my efforts to be good a SM and learn how to balance my life with DSC and you're always very wise.

I try to take exactly the same line on respecting their time with DP, having my own activities with each of them (e.g. baking with one while the other crafts with DP), but only having them on my own in exceptional circumstances.

Helps to have his complete support, so far!

And maybe it's easier for some of us these days, my SM didn't have the books and forums I do which have been a lifeline.

Wdigin2this Wed 27-Jan-16 17:25:45

I had a SM, but my siblings and I were grown when she married my DF. She was a lovely woman, but didn't over involve herself in our daily lives, which was fine. My DC were all grown, when DH and I met...as were his, I wouldn't have considered seeing a man with young DC, for all the reasons described on MS....I would never have had the patience!

heavens2betsy Wed 27-Jan-16 17:39:43

I can't say too much or I may out myself but rumour has jt that she was also the OW in my uncles marriage but my aunt found out and put a stop to it so she moved on to my dad. My mum threw him out and he stupidly married her but she carried on her fling with my uncle and another family member (and god knows who else!) throughout their marriage.

Busybuzzybumblebee Wed 27-Jan-16 18:20:17

I have made a very big effort to not be like my stepmum. I was worried before meeting my dps kids that I would be jealous of their relationship as my sm was so jealous it was ridiculous but as soon as I meet them I knew I would never be jealous, the relationship between me and dp and dp and his kids is totally different, something she never understood. Everything was a completion. I also make an effort to give them their alone time with their dad, my sm couldn't bear us being alone with my dad. Looking back now I am even more appalled at her behaviour as I am now in her situation and I would never in a million years treat my dsc the way she did us. Made me see her for the jealous, selfish woman she is

Jezebel555 Wed 27-Jan-16 19:39:41

Wow heavens sorry if this sounds a bit vulgar but your SM is an absolute slag!
How horrid for you to have to witness such behaviour sad

heavens2betsy Thu 28-Jan-16 09:54:43

I called her a lot worse!!!
This was all years ago now and my dad eventually divorced her after she broke his heart and bled him dry.
It grates that she still uses his surname and calls herself a widow on Facebook. I've blocked her fat arse now and have not seen her since his funeral 10 years ago when I gave her a full mouthful of pure venom.
But seeing your parent hurt is nearly as bad as seeing your kids hurt and I've always kept that in mind and tried to treat kids both exes and all family respectfully so I guess I have her to thank for that!

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