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SM cut my childs hair - AIBU?

(107 Posts)
nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 19:04:59

I can't tell if I am or not.

Right now I feel like sobbing and have a lump in my throat. My dd can tell something is up and I'm annoyed at myself for not being better at hiding it from her. She thinks its lovely - and I've told her I think it is too, but in my initial shock, I asked her why her dad and sm hadn't told me they were going to do it - something that is beyond a 6yold and not her problem. I feel bad about that:/

It was long, (not hugely) and now it's shoulder length. SM did it at home. Things are very bad between us for loads of reasons (one being over-stepping of boundaries in my opinion). I spoke to dd last night while she was at her dads and she didn't mention it. I asked her today why she hadnt told me on the phone and she said her dad told her not to tell me. I am desperately sad that my child is being made to do such things. Not the life I had planned for her at all.

That aside, aibu? Do I say nothing? To be fair, I've cut dd's hair in the past without 'permission' per se, but did text beforehand to mention it and send photos of finished version. I found out when I picked her up from school.

SM makes a point of giving dd instructions that she must follow in my home - to the point that dd defers to her knowledge an awful lot. I feel dd no longer trusts me to parent her. (Think giving me instructions not to wash xyz piece of clothing as SM knows how to do it mummy and you dont)

I always ALWAYS let these things go as I don't want to mess my child's head up- but I honestly feel like my child sees SM as the one who she has to listen to. I don't know what to do. confused

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 30-Sep-13 19:58:43

I think you're facing two common blended family problems here.

I'm not sure what the right answer is to either but I can tell you I've faced both.

On the hair cutting I just sucked it up in the end because I didn't want to get into a situation where I was asking permission to do things like this with my DS. So I felt the fair thing was that I would ask for it in return. I would try and pre-empt haircuts by talking to my DS about his hair style and mostly I booked appointments to avoid a number 2 cut

On the perception that your DD is listening to her SM more and the projection that she thinks you're not as good at Mumming, so to speak.

One of my DSs has a step-mum.

My DS will often come home and tell me which meals SM cooks better than me, and talk about the mum things she does for him. I know he doesn't mean to put me down and he's just saying what's in his head, he's a child and hasn't really learnt yet how to use "white lies" to avoid hurting other people's feelings. Children have a wonderful way of thinking - that they think because they've just learnt something that everyone else needs to know it too. After all, could they really have been the only one who didn't know that?

I used to find it really difficult but over the years I've accepted it as normal.

I think this is because I have subsequently joined the ranks of the evil-step mothers myself. And now I'm told how my DSS's DM does special meals and how I should wash school uniform and the like grin

Thing is they (DSs and DSSs) also talk about the things I can do well .... I make the best cakes in the world, the nicest burgers and they ask me to help them buy presents for their other parents because I'm good at present buying.

I've also experienced the embarrassment that one DSS insisting on taking a cake design I'd baked him for his birthday back to his DMs to show her.

So I've taken to "detaching" from this sort of comment from all small children in my vicinity and only listen when they say nice things about what I do.

Good luck. It is hard.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 30-Sep-13 20:03:07

And I've been in the same hair and nit position as LtEve .... I made my DH come to the hairdressers. I may have told DSSs how to deal with nits, treated them and suffered the consequences. I was grumping around that my baby had been given them though.

knickernicker Mon 30-Sep-13 20:03:12

But the dad told the child not to tell the mum. That's deeply unpleasant. No excuse for that.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 30-Sep-13 20:08:26

Again I've been on the receiving end of that, and have said it to DS. Often it is said to make sure the DC isn't having to deal with the consequences whilst on the phone. It's hard for kids and their parents in these situations. Honestly, detaching and fighting for the things that you really give a shit about is the only way to get to the DCs 18th birthday without them being too scarred.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 20:13:06

Ok, thanks all- I'm listening to everyone.

She didn't have lice- it was the second time in dd's life that she said she had lice when she didn't (the first time was when she was a year old!)

Sm has pulled all sorts of stunts that I defy any mother not to feel upset about- taking her for her first pair of shoes, buying her a new pair of glasses the week after I bought dd a pair, and telling me mine were unsuitable and dd wasn't to wear them anymore, speaking to her teachers independently of ex, showing up at parent helping events (without ex) arranging play dates with my friends, I could go on....I am not drip feeding, I wanted to know if the haircut was unreasonable in isolation to other stuff because I know that haircuts on their own have been a contentious issue.
DD has a wart on her finger - dd won't let me near it because sm told her I am not to treat it....the list is endless. It does make me sad, yes. Battling an alpha female is exhausting and seeing the confusion in my dd's face when i asked her why she was told not to tell me about the haircut on the phone makes me feel sad for her as well

springybuffy Mon 30-Sep-13 20:20:14

I would get in touch with eg Womens Aid to see what you can do about this woman. What she is doing is not 'just one of those things' (I strongly disagree with the poster who said you were making a fuss about nothing; also the poster who cut her SD's hair) - she is undermining you as a parent at every turn. imo you need legal advice and to set in place an order that restricts what this woman is doing. You're going to have to get it in black and white.

imo this will get worse, not better. Ignoring it isn't going to sort it out, ignoring it is a green flag to carry on. imo she is trying to push you out of the picture - and, from what you've said, she is succeeding. Get as much advice as you can. Go to war.

I'm so sorry your little family is being significantly undermined in this appalling and poisonous way sad

daisychain01 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:22:27

If this post were to be put onto the Step Parenting board it would receive a completely different 'treatment' altogether. On here, people are quick to vilify a step parent whilst only knowing one side to the story. Unfortunately that is the nature of MN - you pick your audience (i.e the board) depending on what response you wish to receive.

IMO, if the SM is doing it with the agreement and support of the father, it isn't such a heinous crime as being portrayed here. Its not always "the evil SM". I believe in taking an even-handed approach rather than flaming a SM when, for all we know, that person really cares about the child, but only gets the 'negative press' and blame for everything.

And it shouldn't be a competition about who does what best - but sadly it often is.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 30-Sep-13 20:22:30

That's not good. All I can do is reassure you that your DD will recognise her for a controlling cow as she gets older.

Like I say, I plan those things that I want to do the first of in advance and make sure I get in there first. I miss out on some stuff .... didn't see my DS on his first day of secondary school but he put on his uniform for me the day before. He looked so lovely and mature I forgot about the first day at school, I was the first to take a photo of him in his uniform.

My DS's father is like this, he always was, he was EA and very controlling. I have a stock answers for situations with my DS to stop him feeling in the middle and reinforce my knowledge and position .. "that's nice but as we're both here now I will sort out your wart rather than wait another couple of days." I have stopped giving a shit about what happens on his time too ... because, for me, it was the road to turning me into a controlling loon. The serenity prayer has really helped me parent on my own terms and ignore the crap coming my way. I have it pinned to my wall.

I hope you get the peace you need to enjoy your relationship with your DD.

zoobaby Mon 30-Sep-13 20:22:30

That whole "don't tell your mother" attitude is bad!

imnotwhoyouthinkiam Mon 30-Sep-13 20:23:23

I feel for you! Luckily for me my dc are very fussy about who cuts their hair, and as far as I know ex has never tried. Obviously as their dad he tecnixally.can,.but he'd give them a grade 2 all over and they'd hate it!

However. They have done similar to the nits things, and its infuriating. Ds1 suffers with verrucas, which I have been treating for ages. I've been to the Dr who told ne to keep doing what im doing. Doesn't stop the ex, and his oh, telling ds1 I'm not looking after him properly, and that he should wear a special sock at all times to treat it confused (the only verruca socks ive ever seen are to prevent them spreading when swimming, not curing them!

jacks365 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:25:21

Can I ask what the actual contact arrangements are ie how frequently and how long your dd is with her father and sm.

if it was just the hair cut, i dont think i would be that bothered well maybe a little

but when you add it to everything else you have mentioned, i would not be happy at all. YOU are her mother... for someone else to tell your dd that you should not do things for her, with her, treat her etc etc is not on at all.

lunar1 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:34:37

If it was just the haircut id say suck it up and pick your battles, but with everything else i'd want to bury her under the patio!

Sparklysilversequins Mon 30-Sep-13 20:35:31

Rightly or wrongly I would undermine the SM relationship.

So dd says "SM says not to wash that mum or it might get ruined"

You: "really? Don't worry sweetie I think I can manage it, I've been washing your stuff for a long time, don't worry about it, it's lovely isn't it? So I will be doubly careful".

Haircut "it looks beautiful darling. I wonder why Daddy and SM said not to tell me, I LOVE it!"

And so on.

Positive responses to everything (within reason) so that dd begins to wonder as she gets older why Daddy and SM make such a to do about everything.

YOU are number one woman in dd's life, so put yourself there. Oh and I think there's such a thing as protecting children too much.
A few "well that's a bit daft isn't it? Ha ha ha, but if it keeps them happy" wouldn't go amiss here. They are trying to dismantle your relationship with your dd. DON'T let them.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Mon 30-Sep-13 20:36:30

I think you need back up on this WA would be a good start.

You also need to challenge dd on her belief that SM is always right.

The not treating the wart- you are her mother and "the wart will only grt better if you all treat it".

The hair cut - does it look ok or does it look shit? If it's pants take her to a proper salon and get it fixed (preferably one where they really make it a nice experience for her!)

Your dd is 6 if my dd's told me I wasn't to do something because x said so I would hit the roof, I accept you have played nicey nicey so far but it has got you nowhere, now you need to be one step ahead of her. With court backing if necessary.

WilsonFrickett Mon 30-Sep-13 20:39:27

I want to talk about your DD - the fact she is so 'SM is great' with you isn't a sign that she thinks SM is great. Far from it. It's a sign that she knows SM must be obeyed, that her affection is something that can be withdrawn if DD doesn't do the right things.

Please don't let it affect your confidence with DD. She is desperate to please SM for a reason - probably because in her little head she thinks if she does everything right then everyone will get on OK. It's not because she doesn't love you, at all.

Unfortunately you have to smile and nod to an extent - lots of 'oh, is that what SM thinks?' with a smile, then do it your own way. But please, please don't think DD loves you less. You're her mum. You're the one she is 100% secure with - you are her rock. SM is someone she wants desperately to please - not the same thing. At all.

Sparklysilversequins Mon 30-Sep-13 20:40:52

In fact what callindana says is just right. I agree you need to let your dd know what is or isn't acceptable. As for the health stuff, finger etc? I am afraid I would be quite firm about that, YOU are her Mum and it's dangerous to undermine her trust in you caring for her.

Nanny0gg Mon 30-Sep-13 20:43:55

This woman is clearly overstepping boundries here.

What are the contact arrangements? And does she have children of her own (I suspect not).

Hellonewworld0 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:51:28

YANBU. Coupled with the other things you have mentioned in your posts it sounds like she is trying to take over and push you out. I would be so upset too. I'm also angry that your ex lets this woman treat you and your feelings with such little respect and as you being the mother of his daughter. Good luck x

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 30-Sep-13 20:53:57

Who lives where and how often?

By that I obviously mean who does dd actually live with and how often does she go to the other parents?

The wart thing and the head lice, are they trying to build up a picture of neglect?

RandomMess Mon 30-Sep-13 21:00:50

Does the SM have any dc of her own?

It does sound to me like she is trying to demote you and push you out of your dds life sad

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:00:53

Contact is EOW ( days) and one midweek every other week (so 4 in 14 nights)

They took me to court this year to ask for every weekend contact. They didn't get it- but that wasn't before he put me through 4 hearings and then accepted my offer of EoW at the final hearing. What's all this to do with SM you might ask? Well given that the court application was in her name - it's kind of a giveaway.
I have no real reason to launch more court action - think I would look nothing short of mental if I took it back to court over haircuts and shoes. I cannot put myself or dd through that again anyway - his reasons for wanting every weekend access was, according to him and sm, was because they had concerns over how I parented dd and that more time in their house would redress the Imbalance of care (yes- they wrote that in the application from both of them)

Now that the contact schedule is written in stone, I have a modicum of peace in my life - until little stunts like this throw the equilibrium off centre.
To the poster who said if this was posted in step parenting - that is the very reason I didn't post on there. It's become unpleasant over there.

Sorry if that offends but I used to post there a lot and couldn't face it tonight.
Given that this board is mixed, I feel that the views will be more balanced.

nicknamegame Mon 30-Sep-13 21:01:59

Yes she has 3 other children of her own.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 30-Sep-13 21:03:38

Wilson is right

needaholidaynow Mon 30-Sep-13 21:04:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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