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To really hate the saying "took my kids on"

(37 Posts)
Machli Tue 16-Apr-13 02:23:26

In relation to a new partner becoming part of an established lone parent family. "Oh he/she are really good, they took my kids on".

Just makes me think of onerous and unpleasant jobs or tasks that no one wants to do. "Oh alright I will take it on".

If you insist on using it then equally your children have "taken them on" too surely?

No one takes my dc on, anyone I decide to be with would be lucky to have them in their lives.

VelvetSpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 02:41:21


This massively grinds my gears.

I hate women saying it about their DP/DH, it smacks of feeling grateful that they were accepted by a man despite being SUCH a burden...ugh.

I also don't like other people saying it to women with DCs who meet a new partner- for years everyone raved on about my ExP 'oh what a great bloke he is taking on your DS ' etc when in fact I already had my own house, decent job and savings - whereas he was still living with his parents. Oh, and he also turned out to be an abusive arsehole. But according to some of my friends he still deserves a pat on the back because he accepted my DS hmm

ComposHat Tue 16-Apr-13 02:53:36

Yes when my Aunty met her now husband, my mother and gran were praising him to the high heavens because he was 'taking my cousin on' when in fact he was moving into my Aunty's house and if anything he was getting a much better end of the deal. What d mother think he was going to do? Make her go and live in the shed and thrash her soundly every night?

If someone doesn't want to have a relationship with someone with children -fair enough no one is forcing you - but you shouldn't expect or get kudos for acting like a decent human being.

It is the same with fathers, for a lot of women of my mother's generation, any man who pays even a passing interest in his child or changes the odd nappy is praised to the heaven as a 'brilliant dad.'

DoJo Tue 16-Apr-13 08:06:03

I think it's probably more a lack of another term, although as a someone who was 'taken on' as a child I always thought it sounded quite nice, kind of like someone knowing the responsibility involved and that it wouldn't all be beer and skittles but choosing to accept it regardless.

apachepony Tue 16-Apr-13 08:23:21

I know what you mean, although going out with someone with kids requires a lot more responsibility and self sacrifice than going out with a childless person. So you are taking on that responsibility.

breaktheroutine Tue 16-Apr-13 08:24:21

People on mumsnet use that terms on a daily basis though to step-parents "you know what you were taking on when you married a man with kids"

exoticfruits Tue 16-Apr-13 08:30:56

I hate it- I feel that DH was very honoured to be given a close relationship with my DS - he did not 'take him on'.

Trillz Tue 16-Apr-13 08:32:18

YANBU to dislike the phrase, if in your experience it only relates to unpleasant things. Id don't think that is the definition but that won't stop you disliking it.

I agree with apachepony that having a relationship with someone with children is a bigger responsibility than having a relationship with someone who does not - it's not just two adults who are responsible for themselves, there are other people who don't get to make the decision but who could get hurt if it goes wrong.

So YABU to think that there is nothing to "take on"

take on
THIS ONE 1. To undertake or begin to handle: took on extra responsibilities.
2. To hire; engage: took on more workers during the harvest.
3. To oppose in competition: a wrestler who took on all comers.
4. Informal To display violent or passionate emotion: Don't take on so!
ALSO THIS ONE 5. To acquire (an appearance, for example) as or as if one's own: Over the years he has taken on the look of a banker.

Someone who "takes on" someone else's children is undertaking a set of responsibilities and is also acquiring the children as if they were their own. Definitions 1 and 5.

exoticfruits Tue 16-Apr-13 08:32:18

He 'took on' the cat- but he was quite open that he didn't like cats and it was a relationship that was a bit grudging on both sides!

Samu2 Tue 16-Apr-13 08:33:43

I said it once about my husband, he hated it, told me it really offended him so I never said it again to him.

Like Do-Jo said it is just said as a lack of another term.

I didn't see it as a horrible term, he did take on responsibility for our children. It isn't that it is an "unpleasant job" he was very lucky to meet us and have them in their lives but he still took on the responsibility of helping to raise them, love them and provide for them.

Sheshelob Tue 16-Apr-13 08:34:08

I never saw it as that. I always thought it meant taking the kids as their own. At least that's what my stepdad did.

aldiwhore Tue 16-Apr-13 08:36:37

In some contexts it grates, in other it doesn't, but it's probably easy for me to say as I've not been in that situation.

I don't think YAB completely U.

Theicingontop Tue 16-Apr-13 08:41:56

I understand where you're coming from. And when I read the phrase I hear it in my mothers' voice when describing what my brother when he met his girlfriend who had a child from a previous relationship. "He's a plonker for taking on someone else's kids" hmm

But I agree with some other posters in that you do take on responsibility. Yes, you choose to. Yes, you do it out of love. But it's still taking on something new, especially if you didn't have children going into the relationship. Being a step parent can be a challenge, no? I think context is key.

namechangea Tue 16-Apr-13 08:43:47

Do you never have bad days with your children? I have a 5 month old who still wants to be held/fed by me ALL the time. my nearly 3 year old talks incessantly and I mean incessantly and has the odd tantrum about the most stupid things, she's wonderful and funny, stubborn and belligerent. Some days I want to shake her but don't because she's mine and we connected through the pregnancy and all through her life. Plus I can occasionally scream like a banshee at her. Most new partners are not able to discipline/shout for a long long time.

I'm with my DH, their Dad but if we split up and I got with someone else I would praise them and anyone else for taking on my kids (but probably more so for taking me on, definitely past my prime)

namechangea Tue 16-Apr-13 08:44:51

Sorry forgot to answer, YABU

flaminghoopsaloohlah Tue 16-Apr-13 08:52:57

It depends on the context. If the phrase is being said in a derogatory way, or to use as an elevating tool in an argument then yes, it's a horrid thing to say.

badguider Tue 16-Apr-13 08:58:15

I have no direct experience myself (though my Dh comes from a step-family) but I'd say that being a step-parent is an EXTREMELY challenging job and that it does require 'taking on' as both a challenge and responsibility.
Slightly less-so if the child has no contact with their NRP but in a family where there's already a very present father then to be a step-father is a very tricky role (far trickier than being a father imo).

Machli Tue 16-Apr-13 09:11:46

Yes I do understand that it is "taking on" a lot of responsibility to join a family where there are already children.

I've just only ever heard it/read it in a faintly negative way. I am finding it hard to put into words what I mean. But the previous poster who said about her mother saying "he's mad to take on someone else's kids" is close and the women who use it to praise men they are having relationships with by saying "he's great, he's taken on my kids" in a grateful way. To me it sounds like the children are above all, a burden.

I just don't think it's something to be particularly grateful for.

flaminghoopsaloohlah Tue 16-Apr-13 09:20:42

I see what you're saying OP....and perhaps in a way some of those women are grateful - perhaps they have been led to believe they themselves are a burden therefore their kids might be too...which is, I feel, more sad than offensive in that context.

VelvetSpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 09:36:56

I don't see anyone will be taking on my DC. They are, and will remain my responsibility. I provide for them financially (I get no money from my ex) and emotionally and that won't change whoever I do or don't meet.

It just seems a phrase designed to put women in a position of servility and gratitude. The more I think about it the more I dislike it.

pictish Tue 16-Apr-13 09:44:33

I agree to some extent...if you examine it, it doesn't sound all that positive.

But there's no getting away from the fact that a partner with children comes with a lot more responsibility and compications, than those who are childless.
Anyone who successfully commits themselves to becoming part of an already established family, IS taking a lot on!

By the same token I agree that he or she may consider themselves blessed to be entrusted within the body of that kirk.

It goes both ways requires a lot of compromise on both parts. I think quibbling over the term 'take it on' is looking for things to be annoyed about really. It's for want of a better expression.

Machli Tue 16-Apr-13 09:46:05

That's exactly it velvetspoon.

RatherBeACyborg Tue 16-Apr-13 10:01:19

My dad (I can't call him my stepdad) 'took me on' his daughter. He adopted me and took on the emotional and financial responsibility of having a child. I understand it can sound negative sometimes but I don't think it is meant that way.

pictish Tue 16-Apr-13 10:08:53

I agree rather.

My aunt's husband adopted her daughter as a tiny tot, and has brought her up as his own. He is a true father in every sense of the word.

I know my aunt says 'took xxx on'. It's uttered with no malice, or gratitude. Matter of fact.

They are an aspirational family in some ways. My cousin was loved and secure owing to her dad, in a way that I never was with my own father.

I don't see the term in a detrimental way...even if some of what is said here makes sense.

VelvetSpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 10:10:25

But I am the only person who is and who will be financially and emotionally responsible for my children. I don't expect or want a man to support me (amother phrase I loathe) so surely any use of the term taking on is incorrect? What IS there for a man to take on in such a situation?!

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