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Stepmums intense relationship with my son

(117 Posts)
Needanothercat Sun 20-May-18 21:50:04

I'm a long time lurker but I'm posting to get some perspective/advice.

My dad and step mum have my son to stay one night a week as my step mum looks after him the next day while I am at work (yes, for free, before any one asks this! 😁)

I feel like my step mum crosses a line with her relationship with my son. To give some background on our relationship- we get on great and I consider her my second mum. She worships my son and would do any thing for us both.

What I get upset with is, I get the impression that she sees my son almost like a surrogate son for her (she only has daughters).

She has more clothes for him than he has at home, more toys than at home, she buys him new clothes weekly, follows her own routine with his naps/bedtimes ect, baths with him, sometimes sleeps naked with him (don't know whether I'm being precious about this), all this is fine on its own and I know she adores spoiling him but what irks me most is her constantly, "accidentally" referring herself as Mummy.

She will say "come to mummy.. ohhh I mean nanny" in almost every exchange with him.
I found it funny when he was small as it seemed like she was just used to being the mum to a child and not me, but he's almost 18 months now.
I am even getting a little concerned that when she has him, and I am not there, that she pretends that she is his mum!

Every time I drop him off, it's getting to me more and more and I don't know if I should broach it with her and even how I would go about doing that.

I obviously want her to have an amazing relationship with my son and he loves his grandma so much, but she is his grandma, not his mother and I feel like she is blurring boundaries that I didn't even think I had to put in place.

AIBU in feeling like this?

If not, please can someone give me some advice on how to go about this with her?
I really don't want to upset her or jeopardise my son's relationship with her, but I also don't want to feel so awkward and upset every week.

LovingLola Sun 20-May-18 21:51:10

I would rethink your childcare situation.

Mummymummums Sun 20-May-18 21:55:37

The thing I'm getting stuck on is the sometimes sleeping naked with him. I appreciate it's innocent but I cannot imagine my parents sleeping naked with my DCconfused

MyNameIsTotoro Sun 20-May-18 21:56:05

Does any of this ring true?

www.justinstum.com/blog/helicopter-grandparenting-parenting-boundaries-family-when-helping-becomes-hovering-and-harming/

But yes, alternative childcare

Niamhanna Sun 20-May-18 21:57:54

New childcare needed.

The financial cost doesn't matter - what matters is the emotional cost for your son for years to come.

Jael003 Sun 20-May-18 21:58:01

I have no advice to give really, but I am quite disturbed by your account, her behaviour doesn't seem normal. Can you talk to your dad about it?

maxthemartian Sun 20-May-18 21:58:18

Sleeps naked with him?! shock
Wow. That's really not okay.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Sun 20-May-18 22:00:11

Find some new childcare

Then decide how brave and honest you can be when you explain why . She is crossing too many lines

BoyWithApple Sun 20-May-18 22:00:16

I don't think sleeping naked with him is fine actually, it's firmly crossing a boundary and there's no reason to do it. And accidentally calling yourself mummy repeatedly isn't on either, I don't know any grandparent who does that.

I don't know what you can do other than say this stuff is making you uncomfortable - tell her he doesn't need more clothes, does not need to nap naked with anyone, should be following your routine, and should be learning that she's granny and not mummy. And I'd correct her every single time she did it. Of course she may decide not to provide you with childcare thereafter but that'd be a risk worth taking for me.

Pippylou Sun 20-May-18 22:00:17

No, that's weird. Seriously weird.

waterrat Sun 20-May-18 22:01:47

who is naked - him or her? To be honest I think she should ask direclty if it is okay to sleep with him - has she done that?

On mumsnet people always go so heavy - this is your stepmum who you love - before ending the childcare surely you could speak to her honestly? I know us Brits are not good at being assertive (ie. clear but not rude) but you can give it a try surely before actually stopping sending him there. This is a grandparent relationship and is important to him.

Smallhorse Sun 20-May-18 22:02:28

So she and your son are both naked ?

MistressDeeCee Sun 20-May-18 22:04:01

New childcare arrangements. When my mum helicoptered my DC that's what I did. She was enraged tho, and actually tried to find out childminder's address so she could march round there and confront her.

I hope your stepmum is more reasonable than that but if you don't put your foot down - and sometimes as mums we have to do that - then things will only get worse.

Needanothercat Sun 20-May-18 22:06:45

The sleeping naked- he wakes verrrryyy early and we often get him in bed with us for cuddles and we have never considered whether we have clothes on as an issue as we are his parents and nakedness is no issue for us! However, I know they do the same and cutch him in bed which is fine, but things that have been mentioned, he bit her on the boob of all places etc makes me realise they don't have clothes on. I did the same as a kid with them but also don't ever remember doing it with my grandparents!

The alternative childcare- cost isn't an issue, it's the explaining why I'm doing it. She is a fantastic grandparent and parent and I don't know how to make different arrangements without clearly offending her and my dad.
I suppose I could raise it with my dad as we are very close but how??? What does one say in this situation???

Totoro- that link is very interesting and could see my own mother completely undermining me but they have always backed up my decisions with discipline ect and have never undermined me or questioned my decisions. It's almost the subconscious blurring off boundaries that worries me more as I think she does it without realising.

Looselytranslated Sun 20-May-18 22:08:03

All I can think is no no no

I'm so sorry OP but this is wrong on many levels. But nobody sleeps naked with my kids, or ever has. We have had weirdness about DH's distant family that have hardly ever seen our kids thinking they can go into and weirdly hover in DCs bedrooms at bedtime. I had to stand my ground to get them to leave.

This is way worse.

Have you spoken to your Dad about this? Or shown her in any way that you're uncomfortable about it?

Chapman31 Sun 20-May-18 22:08:18

Why the hell is she sleeping naked with him?!
Calling herself mummy is crazy and I bet that’s what she does whenever you’re not around!

I think you need to set very clear boundaries and stop the overnights or rethink your childcare...

What do your partner and Dad think about it?

Needanothercat Sun 20-May-18 22:10:47

Ahh more replies!!

She is very reasonable and would be absolutely devastated if I told her that she upsets me doing this. She would be distraught if I said I was making other arrangements because of it.
I just don't know HOW to broach it with her.

I just don't feel it I appropriate "in the moment" as it is never malicious but when is the appropriate time to bring it up??

To clear it up, she is nakey, not him- he wear pjs and nappy.

riceandpeas123 Sun 20-May-18 22:11:27

Oh wow. The mummy thing is weird but I'm also totally stuck on the sleeping naked bit. Absolutely not ok confused

MyNameIsTotoro Sun 20-May-18 22:12:16

OP glad the link was interesting, there's a sub link in there for how to enforce boundaries.

Tbh though I think your step mum IS undermining your decisions - she's following her own routine, ergo not respecting the one you and your DP have put in place. And calling herself mummy (my DM does this) is absolutely undermining you, repeatedly and hard.

You could try a simple "childcare arrangement no longer works for us do we're changing it, thanks so much for all your help"....??

Is DC in nursery/childcare other days? If not you could say that you want him to mix more with other children?

Clutching at straws though tbh, you might just have to raise it with both of them directly.

Returnofthesmileybar Sun 20-May-18 22:12:56

I have no problem with nakedness either but sleeping naked with someone else's child is all kinds of wrong, that and the bathing and the mummy thing, nope sorry, hand that rocks the cradle. I wouldn't allow her unsupervised with my cat not to mind my child

Needanothercat Sun 20-May-18 22:13:02

I've not told my partner just how uncomfortable it makes me as he doesn't seem to get the Mummy comments like I do.

My brother in law accidently said come to daddy to him when he was small but straight after said wtf?! And we all laughed it off. I could laugh it off a couple of time but going on so long actually upsets me.

KarmaStar Sun 20-May-18 22:13:02

Hi OP
Sit her down and explain calmly but firmly that you would like the naked sleeping and shared baths to stop.
Also the self calling of mummy.
The rest,because they help you out,i.e.the buying of clothes and toys ,own rules at meal times etc,,you may have to let go,but don't let her make excuses about the former habits.they are not acceptable.
If she won't agree then tell her you will have to find alternative child care.And stop bath times and over night stays.
If she continues with the 'accidental 'mummy ' self naming correct her firmly.every time.
I hope you manage to sort this out amicably op,she's crossing the line and needs to accept you are mum and you decide what happens in your son's life.
Good luck.flowers

Jael003 Sun 20-May-18 22:14:30

What about writing her a letter? You can put in it that you didn't know how to broach the subject in person and felt that writing it down was easier, being honest about that might make it sting less? I'm just guessing. It will mean you can get it all out, all the different things that bother you, without being interrupted or going off on tangents etc, that often happen when talking in person.

MyKingdomForBrie Sun 20-May-18 22:17:10

I think stopping childcare without even a conversation is over the top and will cause pain that isn’t needed.

Just talk to her. Yes it’s sensitive and difficult but it sounds like you’ve a good relationship with her and she’d be devastated to upset you - so give her a chance to change.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 20-May-18 22:17:11

Of course your baby bit her on the boob if she’s sleeping naked with him he associates it with being nursed.

Sleeping naked with someone else’s child is not on.

Calling yourself mummy to someone else’s baby is not on.

I’d use alternate childcare, tell her you want him to socialise and play with other children.

I think you’re under playing it. I’d really lose my shit with one of the above.

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