The mask slips on the stepmother

(69 Posts)
Aimc1970 Tue 08-Oct-13 19:53:37

My daughter 13 has been visiting her dad every 2nd weekend for the last 6 years. At first his new girlfriend was great and done girlie things with her but now they have a sin my daughter is feeling pushed out and each time she comes home from his she is telling me how the now fiancé treats her and threatens her with telling her dad everything. Making snide comments like N what is for dinner ? Answer. - none of your business and whatever it is you will like it as you are having nothing else. Another one when she turns up to collect her on fri. When I'm at work She sits in the car and lets my daughter struggle with bag of clothes school bag for Monday and her cello.

The dad works most weekends so is not there so I feel that N resents my daughter being there as she "wants to enjoy her weekend"
There is lots if other examples so I really don't want to send her and she doesn't want to go but I have to work late on Friday night. Saturdays and Sundays.

Can someone please help with some friendly advice as I could confront him but he always just gets angry shouts and doesn't listen

Please help

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Oct-13 20:02:42

Oh dear that sounds awful. Something which strikes me as odd is your daughter being there at the weaken when her father isn't there. This clearly isn't working as the SM resents it. Do you and her father bth work every weekend? I don't know what else to suggest but I wouldn't be wanting to subject my child to this either, it sounds like her father needs to do the parenting but he's leaving it to his fiancé. What age is their son? She's possibly exhausted if he doesn't help at all

elliebellys Tue 08-Oct-13 20:05:36

Would it be possible to sit down nd have a chat with exh.maybe working out alternative contact time when dad is actually around to be able to spend more time with her.

3littlefrogs Tue 08-Oct-13 20:10:36

I expect the "stepmother" resents being used as free childcare while you and your exH both work. Perhaps having a baby of her own to look after as well is too much.

No excuse for the nastiness and comments, but I think you have to sort out contact child care while you are working as two separate issues.

Your exh should be available to look after his daughter when necessary, but you and he need to arrange that without involving anyone else.

TheWinterOne Tue 08-Oct-13 20:20:44

I think you really need to speak to your ex about this. The re is no need for snide comments but maybe SM is fed up of being what seems to be the sole carer of your DD when the reason she is there is to spend time with dad.

Maybe new arrangements need to be made. Why is your ex agreeing to spend the weekend time with DD when he is hardly there himself?
It can't be too nice for your DD either - knowing that dad is flat out working and that she's not going to be seeing much of him.

Whereisegg Tue 08-Oct-13 20:24:12

Yes I find it odd that your dd is there if her father isn't.

I very rarely have my dss if his dad isn't going to be in the house, I am happy to help in emergencies etc but all weekend, every weekend? No Thankyou.

How late are you working these evenings?
Is there a neighbour who would keep an eye on her if not too late and you consider your dd sensible?

Nothing excuses the sm's nastiness though hmm

Petal02 Tue 08-Oct-13 20:32:21

Like other posters, I wondered why you send your daughter off to her Dad's when he's not around.

It doesn't excuse the nastiness, but it might explain why there could be resentment.

needaholidaynow Tue 08-Oct-13 21:23:43

I would feel resentful if I was convenient "free childcare" when my DSD's parents were busy doing other things. Perhaps she does want to enjoy herself, or perhaps she wants to focus on being a mother to her son rather than being a mother and a babysitter at the same time. That would make me resentful too.

CountryGal13 Tue 08-Oct-13 22:08:34

'Threatens her with telling her dad everything' my mum used to always threaten me with this if I didn't behave! It certainly didn't make me feel like I was being mistreated.
Maybe the sm has made nasty comments to your daughter but on the other hand my step children could easily go home and tell their mum I'd said something they didn't like but I can guarantee that my side of the story would be different.
If my husband is working then he takes them to his mum's or back home. They come here to see their dad not me.

BlissfullyIgnorant Tue 08-Oct-13 22:18:02

You say DD is 14, OP. is she able to tell her dad she's unhappy about things? At her age she is allowed to demonstrate her feelings and make her own decisions. None of you should force her into an unhappy situation.

daisychain01 Tue 08-Oct-13 22:43:56

Blissfully at the age of only 14, it is probably a big-ask for DD to know how to express feelings of unhappiness to what seems to be an absent, remote and perhaps distant DF. The fact he leaves his daughter for long spells of time does not bode well. Poor kid probably just feels miserable and "in the way".

Unbelievable that the DD is only there every 2nd weekend and yet the father works so doesnt have any quality time with her! How sad is that!

I would definitely have a conversation with xH and highlight that it isnt good in so many ways (SM feels frustrated and takes it out on DD, DD feels rejected and lonely, XH isnt building a proper relationship with his daughter during her early years, and so on). He has to get a grip, and fast!!

wickedwitchNE Tue 08-Oct-13 22:45:08

To be honest there is nothing you have said about SM which is that unreasonable. All the things the SM said to your daughter my own mum said to me. Of course she will threaten with telling her dad - he is her parent whereas SM is not, it is his job to discipline and parent her and know what she is doing.

Which also means your daughter should not be left with her SM for extended periods of time. It is not SM's responsibility, and her dad is out of order allowing it to happen. I have looked after my DSD on occasion, but it is rare and when there is no other way DP could realistically see her.

As for the nasty comments, there is no need. Clearly your daughter isn't happy with the arrangement, but you need to talk about it like adults not be picking holes in each other's parenting or encouraging DD to do so. For all you know she could just not like being told off or made to eat all her dinner - at 13 I would be surprised if she had nothing to complain about! It sounds like DD could do with having her dad around more to listen to her whinges though, especially if she really does feel pushed out - can you do anything to make sure he steps up and is there for his daughter more??

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 08-Oct-13 22:53:30

13 year old girls are damn hard work, and your DDs stepmum is coming to terms with being a Mum - it's hardly surprising she's losing it, tbh.

This comment made me smile; Making snide comments like N what is for dinner ? Answer. - none of your business and whatever it is you will like it as you are having nothing else
I know my fair share of 12-14 year old girls and none of them would ask the civil, neutral question what is for dinner?. It would undoubtedly be accompanied by eye rolling, sighing, attitude and generally disrespect. The answer your DD got from her stepmum is almost identical to the one my own DD was given when she just asked the same thing this evening!

Don't underestimate the influence that you are having on the situation, either. Your DD undoubtedly knows the lack of respect you have for her stepmum - your OP is littered with barbed comments and thoughtless remarks which your DD will pick up on as a green light to behave as badly towards her SM.

As for Dad letting your DD struggle with her bags - good on him! It's a lesson the staff at DSS school beg the parents to teach their DCs. She wants the gear with her, she carries it. He's clearly not a DisneyDad if he's teaching her those lessons smile

I'm lost for words regarding your attitude towards your DDs SM when it comes to you and your DDs Dad working though. No wonder your DD is acting up if you have given her the impression that neither of her parents are prepared to take responsibility for her because they are too busy working.

Xalla Wed 09-Oct-13 06:47:40

I agree with all of the above. Your DD shouldn't be left in the care of her SM when clearly neither of them is happy with the arrangement. It's up to you and your ex to rectify that. She isn't there to be an unpaid childminder while the two of you work and like you say, she has her own child to care for. If she works during the week I can fully understand her wanting the weekends to spend with her son.

Perhaps dividing the weekend up would be an answer - you take Fri - Sat off work and your ex takes Sat - Sun off work or something to that effect.

As far as the comment about dinner goes, I say something along those lines to my own kids pretty much daily! "You'll eat what I go to the trouble of cooking you" is hardly brutal parenting imo.

Mojavewonderer Wed 09-Oct-13 07:22:08

I would not like to baby sit my husbands kids every other weekend either if he is not even going to be there.
No excuse for her odd behaviour towards her though, although I do suspect she resents being a free baby sitter.
If you don't want this situation to carry on then you need to sort out other child care arrangements. You need to have a word with the ex and get it sorted out pronto.

FrauMoose Wed 09-Oct-13 07:49:44

I think by the time children are in their teens they should have a choice about when they want to see the non-resident parent.

A teenager doesn't need to be minded and supervised. Communication via phone, email etc is much more easily done. Plus teenagers have their own social life.

It sounds as if for one reason or another, more flexible arrangements could be good for everybody.

I think the main thing is to talk about it in a way that avoids blaming and rows, and which is more centred on helping your daughter to grow up happily.

TheMumsRush Wed 09-Oct-13 07:50:00

My dss asks what's for dinner. This weekend I said well, you have two choices, take it or leave it grin. I wouldn't worry too much about that one. I think every mum gets a bit peeved at that constant question at some point....along with "how long will it be?" confused. You do need to sort child care though if neither you or your ex can look after your dd. I'm not a glorified babysitter and don't have thine kids if DH has work. It's his time with them, not mine, I have my own ds to look after.

redcaryellowcar Wed 09-Oct-13 08:57:15

I had a evil stepmother growing up, since my sister and I got older and more independent our relationship has improved but I dreaded spending time with her without my dad, luckily my mum supported this so we went less frequently but when we did go we saw lots of my dad, seemed pointless to go and not spend time with him. please support your daughter in this as the relationship between step daughter and step mother is difficult and I would almost describe my step mothers actions as jealous!

redcaryellowcar Wed 09-Oct-13 09:08:57

p.s I think the what's for dinner question could be quite innocent, my husband would ask if I had said I was cooking but he would know that I would only make him something he would eat, if step mother is reasonable and rational surely she would just say 'spaghetti' etc rather than being confrontational for the sake of it!

heidiwine Wed 09-Oct-13 09:17:22

I agree with the other posters who say that the SM should not be routinely looking after your daughter while your ex is at work. That puts pressure on both parties - neither of them want it by the sounds of things.

My DP has a 13 year old and our relationship has changed massively over the past 6 months. I find her extremely difficult simply by virtue of the fact that she is a 13 year old girl who (like most 13 year old girls) is demanding of attention, judgemental of everyone's actions and an authority on almost everything (including my dress sense and cooking). This is really hard work when I can't snap at her like I would with my own child - most of the time I just nod and let it wash over me but every now and then I do snap. I am sure that she complains about me with her mum (who will love hearing about my failings). My 'mask' hasn't slipped I am just worn out and I have my partner there for support all the time.

I think you probably need to talk to your ex and work out an arrangement that means he's caring for your daughter and not delegating that responsibility.

Kaluki Wed 09-Oct-13 10:06:57

The "what's for dinner?" question sounds innocent enough, but my DSC often ask then when I tell them they whine that they don't like this or that so I say the same thing to them. I wouldn't cook something they didn't like but I refuse to cook separate meals when they are just being fussy and don't fancy something.
Your DDs stepmum might be tired, stressed and taken for granted and just snapped.
It sounds like she needs a break and your ex needs to step up.

PurpleGirly Wed 09-Oct-13 10:14:46

Hbving been in the DSMs position, looking after DSS when mother was on holidays and DH was working. I have sympathy with her. I had PND and struggled, and resented the fact I was used as free babysitting - being a teacher meant I was there in the holidays and to her it meant weeks at a time 'off'.

When she had more DC she wanted him back in the holidays to babysit for them!

theothermrssoos Wed 09-Oct-13 12:12:12

Hmmm. Tricky.

I have an almost 11YO step son who behaves/talks like a stroppy 14 year old the majority of the time, and I have my own kids: a 5 and a 2 year old girls. We have him every other weekend, Fri-Sun. If my DH had to work that weekend, I wouldn't bat an eyelid at "babysitting". I would happily do it. Even if DH only got a few hours in the evening with his son, it would be better than him getting none because I won't have him.

DH does school runs on occasion for me, looks after them if I have a lot of errands to run, he will do bedtime if I'm poorly etc. When you marry someone who was child/ren with an ex, you have to accept that and be prepared to look after them like they are your own children.

My ex is currently dating a 19 year old (hes 27) and that is causing some friction due to her wanting to go out on the lash all the time and him caving in to her teenage demands. I would much rather my ex be with a woman who is willing to love our girls the way my DH loves them.

My Dads 2nd wife was a fucking horror bag nightmare, who despite having 3 kids and grandkids of her own, hated the fact that my Dad had 3 kids from his first marriage. My Dads 3rd wife is amazing, they've been together ten years and she is like a mother to me, and that has included arguments, fighting, cuddles, support.

If your DDs step mum is having her at the weekends when your ex isnt there, Id be grateful, not moaning. Teenagers are hard, even more so when they arent yours and you cant discipline them.

Theyre just my thoughts on the subject.

TheCrumpetQueen Wed 09-Oct-13 12:17:50

I too find it odd she goes there when her dad isn't there.

Much as I loved my stepmum, I wouldn't have wanted to hang out with her all weekend without my dad!

theothermrssoos Wed 09-Oct-13 12:32:06

I suppose Im lucky in that I (so far) have a good relationship with DSS. I let him play on xBox a little later than his Dad does, play out a little longer, and he talks to me about things that worry him that he doesn't want to talk to his Dad about cos he's worried about upsetting him. (Latest example: Mums boyfriend yelling at him, calling his Dad names. GRRR.)

NotYoMomma Wed 09-Oct-13 14:11:27

so she has been a solid in your dcs life for over 6 years
has a young child
is left alone while you all work

and you take a couple of totally reasonable comments to be 'the mask slipping?'

that implies you have just been waiting for any little episode to pounce on you realise? it is grossly unfair on the sm!

tell yourself and dd to get some perspective (and possibly a grip) - dont encourage tattletales as you of course will only get one side of the story and to will be 100% pro dd the innocent only enquiring as to what was for tea and against the sm

Eliza22 Thu 10-Oct-13 08:20:30

If your ex is at work and therefore not doing his "access", why do you let your daughter go? When my ex isn't available to look after ds, he skips a weekend.

You and your ex have to sit down and discuss how (with all the work commitments) he is going to accommodate his daughter. Yes, the stepmum has been in her life for 6 years but, the fact that she has a young baby and her partner disappears and she is the childcare really isn't on!

If your EX cannot step up then you have to look at either different shifts or, some other child care arrangement for when you want to go to work. I am an ex nursing sister. I worked nights for years but I couldn't do it when my ex left. I had to fit in days shifts "as and when". That was just how it was and I would never have asked my ex's partner to step in.

WaitMonkey Thu 10-Oct-13 11:04:49

op are you coming back ?

racmun Thu 10-Oct-13 11:22:59

I think the step mum is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. I'm sure you say things to your daughter that she doesn't like!

With regard to the dinner comment you don't know what had been said/gone on before. Children can be very selective as to what they report back. Tbh my mum would say similar comments to me as the step mum did to your daughter and I agree that if you don't eat your dinner you don't get anything else not should a special meal be cooked.

Also leaving her to struggle out of school? Presumably she's got the baby in the car, so she's got to faff around getting car seat out etc. I don't know many 13 year olds who get help to carry their bags Maybe the cello can be left at school until Monday?

I also don't understand why the step mum has your daughter all weekend. In her situation I would (and have with regards to ss) say that I'm not prepared to be used as free childcare and you and your ex will have to make alternative arrangements.

TheWinterOne Thu 10-Oct-13 11:55:36

I'm guessing when your daughter is struggling with her stuff that you are not there? SM does the picking up for your DD to see her father. What time does she get picked up? Why is SM picking her up each week? Is it because dad is already in work?

How much time does dad actually spend with his daughter during the weekend?

I may be slated for saying this but your DD is the responsibility of you and your ex. I say fair pay on SM being so hands on with your daughter. Willing to care for her while you are both at work and do pick ups. But if she's been doing it for six years with no change in arrangements I can see why she might be a bit resentful of the situation not your DD.

Have you thought maybe DD doesn't want to go because she senses the tension of the situation? Seems like SM is delegated with the responsibility of your child every weekend. If she's not seeing much of her dad - what is the point of the weekend access.

Your DD is obviously not happy with the situation either so other arrangements need to be made.

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 11:59:15

The 3 things that stood out to me were:

- Why is your dd going there if her Dad is at work? Can't they arrange a time when he is at home for her to go round, for dinner in evening or whatever.
- What do you do about work on the weekends when she is home?
- Perhaps the evil stepmother stays in the car, because her baby is in it. If she took baby out, she'd have a carseat and then wouldn't be much help to your dd anyway.

Eliza22 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:20:32

The more I read of this....the more it rattles me.

This is your child, you and your ex. This SM has been doing the "job" for 6 years!?! I'd be pretty hacked off myself and now, she has a young baby of her own and you and your daughter are not happy that this woman isn't carrying daughter's stuff and providing ^ suitable^ food while you and your ex aren't there!

Please. Sort yourself out.

Eliza22 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:22:01

Poor woman! I think under the circumstances, SM's done well to hold onto that "mask" until now.

Bonsoir Thu 10-Oct-13 14:36:27

I'm not surprised your DD's stepmother is pissed off if she is caring for your DD every weekend while both her parents work!

mynewpassion Thu 10-Oct-13 15:50:01

Its not her problem that the ex is working on his ACCESS weekends instead of spending it with their daughter. The SM needs to take it up with her DH, not the OP. Also, the OP should not have to curb tail her working hours so that she can satisfy her ex and SM's need to not care for the daughter.

The OP takes care of child care when it is her time. The ex and SM need to work out a solution to take care of child care when it is his time.

Dontlaugh Thu 10-Oct-13 16:01:58

Mynrepassion, HOW on earth can sorting childcare be the role of the SM?

TheWinterOne Thu 10-Oct-13 16:08:28

Actually I think you're wrong Mynew. It's not the SM's responsibility. It's up to both parents to come to an arrangement between the two of them about childcare when the current situation clearly isn't working.

Daughter in question is the responsibility of the ex and OP not SM so it is up to them to come up with something that suits all.

mynewpassion Thu 10-Oct-13 16:26:31

Fine. The ex needs to find child care when it is his time, not the OP. The SM can offer an opinion.

horsehatred Thu 10-Oct-13 16:39:38

I would feckin' HATE having somebody else's kid around at all, let alone be expected to look after them by myself. I would find it extremely hard to be civil in that scenario so I sympathise with this woman.

Get your kid out of this arrangement (the SM isn't free childcare!) and if the dad ain't happy, well he can put some bloody effort into sorting things out so he sees his daughter properly.

daftgeranium Thu 10-Oct-13 17:26:07

I agree with the comments that look at things from the stepmother's perspective, it seems to me that the two biological parents aren't taking their responsibility for the daughter seriously and are landing it all on the long-suffering stepmum, who after all shouldn't have to do this stuff. Particularly the father needs to get things in better order and show some respect for his partner.

I find the title of this thread really offensive to stepmothers in general. What 'mask' ffs? Is this Snow White? OP, you need to change your attitude. This is a real woman with real feelings who didn't ask for a 13-year-old to be part of her relationship, and she has been spending a lot of time looking after YOUR child. Perhaps you should be grateful?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 10-Oct-13 17:50:57

I find the title of this thread really offensive to stepmothers in general

Stepmothers generally develop fairly thick skins - that kind of attitude and comment is fairly typical of even the most benign Stepmums life hmm

I'm sure the OPs DD is aware of her Mums feelings towards stepmum, dad and her half-brother and that is no doubt influencing the DDs emotions about being in her Dads home. Factor in the teen attitude and frankly, I'm impressed with Stepmums tolerance, tbh - I'd have told her to walk/get the bus - not been acting as taxi only to have my efforts thrown back in my face.

Ungrateful parents lead to unhappy stepparents in my experience.

Tuckshop Thu 10-Oct-13 18:17:16

I agree with new passion. If he has to work when he has care of his child he needs to arrange childcare or negotiate a different arrangement for contact. Perhaps he thinks its ok for his partner to have her. If the girlfriend isn't ok with this it's down to them to sort it out - not for the OP!

She's said that bringing it up would lead to him being angry. Perhaps he's the sort to insist on contact whether he is there it not, or who would drag her through court to get it, then palm off the care onto his partner. We don't know and the op seems to have disappeared.

The issue though is over the SM and the dd's relationship. It could be embellishment or the dd playing you off against each other. It might not be. What I did OP - if you are still reading - when xh's gf was being vile to dd was stop any contact when she was going to be alone with the gf. It forced xh to talk to me and dd about things as demanded to know why. He hadnt listened to me until that point (despite admitting that his gf was jealous of dd).

allnewtaketwo Thu 10-Oct-13 18:34:53

"Childcare" doesn't really apply for a 14yo. It's all very well saying he has to sort something out as its "his access time" but this is not a small child needing looked after and the child is clearly not happy with the arrangement anyway. What parent would insist on a scenario that their child us unhappy with, just because its the fathers "access time" and therefore his problem.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 10-Oct-13 18:38:08

tuckshop It may well be the case that Dad in this case is taking advantage of his DP and expects to be able to delegate parenting his DD, but it's clear that the OP shares that view - which is what the replies are challenging.

Dad may be expecting stepmum to collect his DD for contact, but it's Mum who is complaining that stepmum isn't acting as porter as well as taxi driver when she does this.
Dad may well insist that stepmum cares for his DD while he's at work, but it's mum who is complaining about the fact that Stepmum reports back to Dad when DD plays up.
It's mum who is complaining that stepmum doesn't willingly give up her weekends in order to care for the daughter - we don't know if Dad is insisting or not.

Yes, Dad may well has created the situation which may prevent the OP from working her shift pattern, but the OP is pointing the finger of blame at stepmum; who is the only adult of the three with no responsibility towards this child.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 10-Oct-13 18:53:13

What parent would insist on a scenario that their child us unhappy with, just because its the fathers "access time" and therefore his problem.

One who views 'contact' as an opportunity to work while avoiding childcare costs.
The OP says it herself - I really don't want to send her but I have to work.

I'm not unsympathetic to that, but equally, I have (in the past) changed my working hours/job in order to remove my DD from a nursery, and later an after school club, where she was unhappy.

At present, contact with Dad is linked to Mum working in this DDs mind. Who/what will DD begin to resent if Mum insists that contact continues despite DDs unwillingness?

needaholidaynow Thu 10-Oct-13 20:05:11

I would much rather my ex be with a woman who is willing to love our girls the way my DH loves them

Good luck with that one then!

theothermrssoos Thu 10-Oct-13 20:21:16

@needaholidaynow - I don't want to hijack the thread but this 19 year old has caused so many problems. Ex not seeing the kids because "we want to go out this weekend." Sodding off on a fortnights holiday abroad and not paying his Child Support because he needs the money "to spend on holiday." To name just two of the things that have made my blood boil in the last year. She cant stand the girls. Doesnt want to share my ex with his kids (and he sees them very little, 3 nights a month if they're lucky, and mostly he sods off out with her and leaves his parents to babysit, as thats where hes been living for the last 2.5 years)

I know step parent relationships are complicated. My Dads on his 3rd wife. (2nd wife was horror bag, his first wife was my mum, the less said about her the better) I don't speak to my Mum but I do speak to her 2nd husband who was in my life for 20 years (so much so that he attended my wedding this year and she did not.) And my kids call him Grandad 2.

I've got step parents and now I am a step parent. I've had a terrible SM and a fantastic SM.

allnewtaketwo Thu 10-Oct-13 20:27:44

What 19yo? confused

theothermrssoos Thu 10-Oct-13 20:32:39

@allnew - don't want to hijack, was just responding to @needaholidaynows comment about my post. was basically saying be grateful her ex has a partner willing to look after her kid, cos my ex is currently with a 19yo who cant stand my kids and causes a ridiculous amount of problems.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 10-Oct-13 20:37:27

Am I right in assuming that stepmum is the 19 year old?

allnewtaketwo Thu 10-Oct-13 20:43:35

"When you marry someone who was child/ren with an ex, you have to accept that and be prepared to look after them like they are your own children"

I would never, under any circumstances, want any woman to look after my child as if she were his mother. Most mothers, I suggest, would have a very large problem with another woman treating her children like she was their mother

needaholidaynow Thu 10-Oct-13 21:57:10

I actually misread your post theothermrssoos I thought you said you want your ex to be with someone who loves your girls as much as your ex does. Hence why I said "good luck". Sorry.

wickedwitchNE Thu 10-Oct-13 22:00:40

Just want to add in here how much I agree completely with that allnew. I have 1 DSD and a DD on the way, a couple of people have raised the idea of me treating them both exactly the same, as if they were both mine. Have found it v difficult to explain why I don't want this, DSD and her Mum wouldn't want this, and it is completely unnecessary. I think the best SMs can maintain some 'distance' while still caring for DSC practically and emotionally, which I imagine can come in very useful as DSC grow up.

MatryoshkaDoll Thu 10-Oct-13 22:20:22

WickedWitch I'm in the same position - DSD and my own DD on the way. I feel exactly the same as you do.

No one - not me or DSD or DSD's mum - wants me to treat DSD 'like my own'.

The only people who want that seem to be women who aren't step mothers and who have never met me or my family.

Tuckshop Fri 11-Oct-13 08:47:10

What parent would insist on a scenario that their child us unhappy with, just because its the fathers "access time" and therefore his problem?

One who thinks that a relationship with the NRP is really important and that stopping contact is absolutely the last resort. One who doesn't want to interfere with what is going on in the other home, feels it best to raise the issue and leave them to find their own solution. One who thinks that after 6 years of there not being a problem with the SM, that it could be sorted out between the Dad, SM and teenager by them sitting down and having a talk. Or maybe even one who is afraid of the reaction from the ex or maybe courts if she didn't send the child.

And contact with the NRP is absolutely an opportunity to work and not have childcare opportunities. And a gift if, like me, you are the sole provider for the child and not getting maintenance.

FrauMoose Fri 11-Oct-13 09:01:43

I think that in our house my partner wanted me to treat my stepchildren - in many respects - as if they were my own. Certain important outside decisions regarding education or health certainly weren't mine to make. (Though I might do things like 'fill in' with parents evenings etc if neither he nor his ex were available.)

I think this is partly because children feel very strongly about fairness and to be seen to favour one's biological child - by heaping more praise on that child, taking that child's wishes more into account etc - isn't going to make 'blended' family life easier. I think it was also because he and his ex were just very different people. Her 'wiring'/personality whatever seemed to mean that she'd wanted to take all the decisions to do with the children when they were together, and his input was just seen as wrong. (Though he was permitted to take care of the children on those occasions when she declared that she was too exhausted, couldn't cope etc.) I think my partner had really missed out on the experience of jointly bringing up children with his first wife. Which meant he did want to involve me when my stepchildren were with us. And my stepchildren who were quite young seemed to very much want me to engage with them.

So although his ex saw it as her 'allowing contact' between the children and their father, what it was like for my partner, me and the children themselves was - I think - rather different.

Bonsoir Fri 11-Oct-13 09:14:53

IME as a stepmother you have to treat DSC identically to your own DC for some issues and you have to treat them differently for others and that largely depends on the role that their own mother plays in their life. Each blended family is going to have different boundaries and so you need to go into the whole thing with a very open mind, being prepared to take on a lot of responsibility (or not) according to the personalities of everyone concerned.

What doesn't work is when parents treat stepparents as the "unpaid help" and dump the child-related chores they don't want to do on the SP while creaming off the fun for themselves.

allnewtaketwo Fri 11-Oct-13 09:21:00

If my 14yo was unhappy with spending EOW with her step-mother who clearly didn't want to do the 'childcare' either, I wouldn't send her there. My need for 'childcare' or a break wouldn't come into it.

Bonsoir Fri 11-Oct-13 09:22:41

In this case it sounds as if both the stepmother and the OP's DD are pissed off with the situation. And they are both perfectly justified in being so!

Petal02 Fri 11-Oct-13 09:50:07

If my 14 yr old were unhappy spending EOW with her step-mother who clearly want to do the ‘childcare’ either, I wouldn’t send her there. My need for ‘childcare’ or a break wouldn’t come into it.

Allnew – your point is very reasonable. But I do wonder if the OP is one of these women who insists on despatching her child, as per the rota, regardless of whether the arrangements are working or not?

basgetti Fri 11-Oct-13 09:52:34

Equally it could be that the father is one of these men who insists on 'access by proxy' and considers that as long as the child has been removed from her mother's care he is having meaningful access, whether he is there or not.

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 09:58:17

Hmmmm the OP hasn't been back hmm

MillyONaire Fri 11-Oct-13 10:05:53

Early in my relationship I was in the position of the fiance in your story. DSD's mother would dump her here for indefinite periods but dh worked and still works 6/7 days a week so I did all of the childcare and entertaining as I worked (or didn't in those times) from home. Neither parent was bothered as they got on with their work/free time. I did my best with DSD as felt that as stepmother I should have a good relationship with her eventually though I said I thought it was ridiculous - the alternative was that she would sit at dh's work for the day. She stopped coming (as presumeably despite her and my best intentions it wasn't each other we really wanted to be with) and to this day it's my fault that I didn't put up and shut up according to her parents. Maybe the fiancee is protesting in a clumsy way to being a free babysitter. Can you blame her?

Tuckshop Fri 11-Oct-13 10:14:03

I agree, and I've minimised the amount of time my dd spends with xh's gf alone because she clearly doesn't want dd or dsd around, and they know it.

But she's not just seeing the SM is she, it's her weekend with her Dad and he will also be there when he's not at work? And as it's his time with his dd maybe he should be the one to give up work so his dd is happier. He's the one who has opted to work during contact time and not drop those hours or negotiate seeing his dd at a different time.

By stopping contact it means that she misses out on seeing her Dad too. That's where it gets more tricky. I think the general consensus on here is that in a together family things would have to be worked out and the children don't have another home or parent they can run to. And RPs have been slated for colluding with a child who doesn't want to go to their Dads. They don't get a choice about going to school, it should be the same with one of their parents, etc etc. I don't really see this thread as any different.

Petal02 Fri 11-Oct-13 10:23:20

Equally it could be that the father is one of these men who insists on ‘access by proxy’ and considers that as long as the child has been removed from her mother’s care, he is having meaningful access, whether he is there or not


Eliza22 Fri 11-Oct-13 12:34:13

I think we've established that it is NOT the responsibility of the SM and that the access needs to take place when dad can actually be physically/mentally present.

As for loving and treating your steps as your own? I treated mine as individuals who were in my life because of their dad. They had my attention any were welcomed; each treated the same; fuss was made about birthdays, Christmas, big events, achievements a new outfit....whatever! Years on I have two lovely young adults who are happy, seem well adjusted and visit as and when their busy lives permit. I also have one (their sibling) who hated me from the off and hasn't been to our home in over 2 years.

Now, some might argue (and this young woman has accused me of this) that I "let the motherly "mask" drop when no one else was watching and I was (absurdly) unkind to her. It is untrue and her siblings and my DH would say the same. However, there's no doubt in my mind that I am "the wicked stepmother" to youngest ds and her mother.

theothermrssoos Fri 11-Oct-13 17:32:45

Eliza22 thats pretty much what I meant, I don't think I worded it properly.

My Dads 2nd wife was a nightmare. Openly hated all 3 of us from the off set (we were 8, 6, and 3 at the time) She was the OW and I was still am a Daddys girl so I couldnt stand her. I've had a few arguments with my Dads 3rd wife (she's been around for 10 years, since I was 17) but she is still the first person I call when I have something on my mind. (I dont have a relationship with my "mother.")

From my experience with SMs, SDs, step-sisters, half-sisters, and full-sisters plus step-brothers (in total, on both sides, there are around 16 of us) people just naturally clash, don't get on for no particular reason. Blood or not.

FrauMoose Fri 11-Oct-13 17:36:39

My two stepchildren (full siblings) used to fight like cat and dog. They still have a rather complex relationship as adults, and are not conventionally close. One of the things that has always brought me joy is the way my stepchildren enjoyed having a little sister. My daughter and stepdaughter have a very affectionate relationship.

Nellie72 Tue 15-Oct-13 20:03:36

regardless of the comments, why on earth doesn't your daughter make three trips with bag of clothes school bag for Monday and her cello to the car? School bags don't weigh that much & surely she can't need THAT many cloths for the weekend?

Are you able to talk to your ex's new partner in a civil way? Perhaps a chat between the two of you might help?

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