Why is the new wife / stepmum ALWAYS wrong?

(154 Posts)
milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 09:53:51

I've read a few threads on this in the last few weeks, and I can't honestly get over some of the responses.

Step mums (and potentially dads but it's usually step mums who write the op) are always wrong according to at least half (probably more) of mumsnet.

You see your stepchild often - you are too involved and should let the, have dad - child time on their own.

You don't see your stepchild often - you are not interested and your stepchild will know you don't like them

You have your own child from a previous relationship - focus on them and leave dad and stepchild to it

You don't have your own child - well you obviously know nothing about parenting

You have a baby with a man that has children already - you've ruined his current children's lives

You speak to the ex - you are too involved and over step the line

You don't speak to the ex - you should communicate better

You help your dp/dh with childcare - no you are too involved your significant other should give up work immediately and spend all his time with his child and not you

You don't help - you don't like your stepchild, you are selfish, you should act like part of the family

You have a good relationship with your stepchild - you have overstepped the line you are not their mum or their friend

You are not overly fond of your step child - you are pure evil and that's that

Oh and last but not least...... You knew what you were getting yourself into

Oh and let's not even get into maintenance, or the fact that obviously ex's are never wrong, never abusive, never threatening and always perfect mums who only want the best for their kids.

Rant over

And before you say it I know all step mums are not great and not all mums are shits I'm just saying mumsnet seems to think all mums are great and all step mums are shits

Pagwatch Sat 17-Sep-16 10:07:03

I think you are ignoring the fact that people posting here are usually needing to talk about a problem.
I think starting a thread saying 'my DDs step mother is perfectly reasonable and our relationship rubs along just fine' would be a bit pointless.

I dislike the way MILs are endlessly discussed as a bunch of vicious, deranged, bitter women but I remind myself of who is writing the posts. It's perspective + problem.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Sat 17-Sep-16 10:10:53

IME it's in the job description! - But if despite this you do somehow manage to get it right most of the time overall then it's pretty cool having a grown-up step-daughter smile

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 10:14:35

pag I'm not talking about the threads the mother starts about the stepmum, I'm talking about threads that a stepmum writes and then gets absolutely flamed over usually not very much!

I agree though not everyone's MIL is a bitch either!

Pagwatch Sat 17-Sep-16 10:21:19

I've seen the 'well you took on a man with children' thing but I've usually seen it criticised.

I haven't noticed it as a big thing when the stepmum posts a problem so I'll have to take your word for it. I have seen the mil thing almost daily. And the casual rudeness about older women. I also think the number of women who post incredibly unpleasant stuff about their DPs ex is as high.

I still think it's about the audience. All the threads about relationship/family issues/parenting issues are about problems and people like to have someone to blame.

Pagwatch Sat 17-Sep-16 10:22:24

Btw - I'm only saying that, not because I don't believe you but because it's sad if you ever start to thing that attitudes on here really reflect RL. smile

MyWineTime Sat 17-Sep-16 10:22:56

I completely agree with you!
In so many of the stories I read, it's the kids I really feel for. They seem to get lost in all the fighting and bad feeling.

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 10:25:14

I think anyone's entitled to post that their mil is a shit, or their dos ex is awful orphan they do t like their mother or whatever.

We might think they'd being harsh but they obviously know these people and we don't.

What I mean is a stepmum say posting that she's having a hard time and all she gets told is to do the complete opposite of what she's doing and then told that she knew what she was getting herself into!

There are a lot of supportive posters but it's almost like whatever the op says there's a few posters who will just tell op they're wrong and awful no matter what they've actually said or done!

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 10:26:18

pag yeah I think a lot of people's views on here can be extreme and don't usually reflect real life (ie most people I know!)

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 10:26:41

*or not orphan blush

Chippednailvarnishing Sat 17-Sep-16 10:27:44

MN isn't real life!

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 10:29:37

chipped I know, and believe me I am glad.

However, a lot of step mums post on here because they have nobody to talk to in real life who has been through the same thing, and so post on here and half the time never come back because they get absolutely ripped to shreds!

You forgot the assumption that all second wives were the other women and so must be hated.

I saw a thread the other day about if the second wife should be paying towards maintenance and a few posters thought that she should be.

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 10:33:49

Ah yes glen! I forgot the ow thing but yes. Every new wife or partner must have been the other woman because clearly none of us have morals and all men are cheats!

Can't believe people actually think that!

MaddyHatter Sat 17-Sep-16 10:39:49

we used to have a sticky thread in the step parenting folder because of the absolute flack we used to get.

As a stepmum, you can't win on MN, you're judged worse than a lot of other people.. its ridiculous.

tbh, i'm glad my stepdaughter is now an adult and i'm not having to negotiate the minefield of co-parenting with 3 other people!

MaddyHatter Sat 17-Sep-16 10:41:45

oh god yes, the OW assumption..

I met my DH when dsd was 8 and he'd been divorced (after his ex left him for the OM she had an affair with) for 6 years .. i STILL got treated like the OW!

yodaonthebars Sat 17-Sep-16 10:46:28

I think its a very difficult situation. I am not excusing the crap comments but it must be incredibly hard to give your child over to your ex knowing another woman will also be parenting your child. Especially in those situations where Dad has left the birth Mum for them or where the Mum has been left in general rather than doing the reading.

I would want my child to have a step Mum who loved them and took care of them like their own. Who was able to talk to me etc.

But I know I would also find it REALLY hard for my child to come home raving about how amazing the step mum was and if my parenting methods were questioned.

I know that is incredibly selfish but it must feel like you have lost your husband and your child.

lookluv Sat 17-Sep-16 10:55:55

What an overly dramatic post - nothing is ever that black and white.

The majority of people posting and saying step back etc are fellow step mums - it is a balance and a hard one to find.

Yoda - sums it up completely. Until you are in the other position - of having to give your DC up and "trust" that the EX will look after and protect them - you can not know how ahrd that is.

I had to and their DF failed on all counts and now acknowledges this and my DCS were emotionally abused, excluded and denigrated by their fathers DP. It is sould destroying to know that you can not stop it and it is mega kick in the gut - if the other person is the OW. Which does happen a lot more than people on this board admit.

milkyface Sat 17-Sep-16 11:02:27

*What an overly dramatic post - nothing is ever that black and white.

The majority of people posting and saying step back etc are fellow step mums - it is a balance and a hard one to find.

Yoda - sums it up completely. Until you are in the other position - of having to give your DC up and "trust" that the EX will look after and protect them - you can not know how ahrd that is.*

I had to and their DF failed on all counts and now acknowledges this and my DCS were emotionally abused, excluded and denigrated by their fathers DP. It is sould destroying to know that you can not stop it and it is mega kick in the gut - if the other person is the OW. Which does happen a lot more than people on this board admit.

I appreciate its hard to 'give up' your child to be looked after by someone else. I wouldn't like to do it, but if I had to I would and I wouldn't use that child against my ex as many do.

I said that there are a lot of supportive posters, but some that are not (and certainly some that are not step mums, which is fine)

My post was not about incapable dads, my post was about the fact step mums can do no right. If you can't trust your child's other parent to look after them and not abuse them you've got a completely different issue on your hands than the one I'm posting about.

Oh and there you go with the ow bullshit. You clearly hold step mums in high regard hmm

DoreenLethal Sat 17-Sep-16 11:07:35

What an overly dramatic post - nothing is ever that black and white.

If you read the actual post you will see that it is detailing the inconsistency in the responses/abuse towards step mums. Nothing in the post is black and white! And yes, step mums get all the flack as they can do no right.

StripeyMonkey1 Sat 17-Sep-16 11:15:55

I agree with you OP.

Step mums are expected to put aside their own feelings for the good of the child on mumsnet.

The mum however seems to be entitled to her feelings of possible inadequacy even where the step mum cares for the child well.

It is awful for the step mum to have to deal with either a hostile ex wife or hostile children who pick up on the ex wife's feelings. It is also awful for the children who are drawn into conflict.

I never see the mum get the message "poor kid" where she is unable to put her own feelings aside for the good of the child. On the other hand, certain people feel free to dish this out to the step mum.

swingofthings Sat 17-Sep-16 11:18:11

You could return the question and ask why are SM always so defensive? Personally, I don't think it is ever about being right or wrong. I don't think facing issues being a SP is that different to facing issues in any kind of relationship.

I think that if anyone is unhappy with the situation they are in, one should look into what THEY can change to make it better rather than expecting others to make changes and moaning when these changes don't take place or not as desired. We control others, only ourselves, so that's why if I'm going to give any advice to anyone, it is always about which of their behaviour they can possibly change to make things better for them.

I expect the same from my friends/family/strangers if I share some worries and I find it amazing how most of the time, I found that another perspective helps me see how I usually do/say/thinks things that don't help the situation and how adopting some changes myself can make such a difference.

I do think that many people are not interested in advice though, especially if it is to point the finger to their actions, but only care for sympathy to validate their feelings. That's fine if that's all they care, but when you post on a forum, you are likely to get both.

How about ignoring what you don't want to read and only focus on the posts that make you feel better?

peppatax Sat 17-Sep-16 11:22:22

I agree.

I also think, even when circumstances are complicated, so much energy is wasted on the 'wrong' adults' feelings which affects children so much. So many step-parents are just expected to 'suck it up' and do so for the good of the children.

swingofthings Sat 17-Sep-16 11:24:48

I've seen the 'well you took on a man with children' thing but I've usually seen it criticised.
I've seen it and I might even have written it once or twice. That's because it is a fact often forgotten. It is not a criticism though. I've moaned about my ex and my parents rightly reminded me that 'well you picked him for the father of your child' and well, they are right indeed, you've got to accept the choices you've made at a time you thought was right.

I think we all make the same mistakes in our lives, make choices focusing on the positives it will bring to our lives and putting aside the negatives until we face the negatives and somehow think that we didn't bargain for them so they should be removed.

It reminds me of me when I decided to go for a job that involved further commuting. My OH did say to me that I might find it a bit difficult but I was so focused on the actual job and how great it was that I assumed it would overcome the commuting. At time it does, but at times, when I am stuck in traffic, or late for a meeting, I feel like crying and wish the job was closer. It was never on offer though!

StripeyMonkey1 Sat 17-Sep-16 11:26:33

Swing - I don't think it's fair to say SM are always defensive. Some might be but not all. Some mothers are defensive (see above in this thread even for examples) in their relationship to step mums too but that does not make them bad either.

I agree with what you say however about only being able to change your own behaviour. I do think it's a shame when abuse or unhelpful comments ("poor kid" being my pet hate) are piled on as they make it harder for the OP to receive genuinely helpful advice that some posters give.

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