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Is it a good choice to be a step parent?(54 Posts)
I'll start by saying that I'm airing these views on an anonymous forum, I would never dream of saying anything in real life. I know it's none of my business, but I'm interested in the views of mumsnetters and to see if anyone shares my view.
Firstly, I am a step mum to two almost grown ups. I am very fond of my stepchildren but to say it's been hard (and continues to be) is an understatement. If I knew then what I know now, I would NEVER have entered into a relationship with my DH, as much as I love him, the heartache has probably not been worth it.
Anyway back to my AIBU. My friend has a son, aged 22 who is due to marry later this summer. He is a lovely young man, very sociable, good with people, did well at school, has a good job, talented musician, lots going for him. He's young to be marrying these days, but it used to be the norm. His fiancee is the same age and has two children aged 6 and 7, she was a very young mum. AIBU to silently judge his choice? I don't know very much about his fiancee and it's none of my business but just the fact he's going to be a step dad at such a young age. I guess I'm a little biased due to my own experience.
We hear lots on here about step mums and how they can do no right. This is a question about whether its a good choice to be a step parent at all and whether, given the choice, we would all be better if we didn't choose a partner with kids from a previous relationship.
What’s to judge? It’s not a crime.
Marvellous. OP asks a constructive question and the first thing someone does is make a judgey comment.
Honestly, this place sometimes.
YABU. There is currently a massive thread about stepparents.
whether its a good choice to be a step parent
It was for me. It won't be for others. Every situation is different.
we would all be better if we didn't choose a partner with kids from a previous relationship
I chose my partner based on the fact that we fell in love. I love his daughter. I love kids in general. Him having a kid was almost (but obviously not totally) irrelevant.
Just checking the ages! I was thinking the same
Difficult one because I have three children to my ex husband and have since re-married and had another child. My DH has no other children. I’d hate to not be with my DH purely because I have children and I don’t think he thinks my children have made his life particularly difficult or horrible at all. Not saying it was a walk in the park for someone who had no children to suddenly become a step-parent but they do all adore each other. It would hurt to be cast aside by men purely I already had children.
On the flip side, I purposely chose not to date a man who already had children because blended families sound so complicated and crap.
I don’t think the man in question is wrong to marry this woman, I actually think it’s quite noble of him to accept her children at such a young age.
You sound like a judgemental snob. I got with my dh at 23 and had a 2 year old. So glad I wasnt judged by his family or their friends. We been together coming 9 years and have two other dc, his life has been fulfilled and enhanced with additional dc. Here have a
Not a judgy comment, just checking it wasn't a typo.
Have you not had your cornflakes this morning?
I think it's daft to judge on your own experience only.
I adore my step-son. He calls me Mum, I don't call him step. We didn't have anything other than the usual teenage issues with him (same with my girls and DH). My experience of being a step mother is one that's happy, fulfilling and brilliant - I just got to dodge the 47 hour labour he inflicted on his late Mummy!
However, I'm not daft enough to use that experience to say to everyone "be a step parent! It's brilliant!". Step parenting is like anything in life that involves people - it varies massively from family to family.
Judging someone else's choice soley on your experience is just silly when you know other people have better experiences, especially when you say you know nothing about his fiance.
I wouldn't admit this in RL either but I would never recommend someone became a step parent. I am lucky though - I have found a bloke who happens not to already have children. I'd never want to be a step parent as I had 2....both not great as a child, 1 more acceptable as an adult but I can appreciate how hard that position is.
If I was unlucky and met my man late though I'd have to choose between being a step parent and being without him. I think in that situation I'd go for it however
I can only say I wouldn't want my 22 year old son to marry someone who had 2 children. If he had children himself, that would be different.
Unless of course he doesn't want his own children and the father/s of the stepchildren is a pleasant person to get on with.
I'm not an SM...my SIL is, but when you're late 30s as a woman (like she was), I don't think you can be that insistent/fussy on finding a man without kids if you're being realistic.
I love my stepdaughter and I wouldn’t change things but I wouldn’t recommend it; it’s very hard work and often quite thankless
AIBU to silently judge his choice?
Well, yes. It’s the same choice you made, and now you have the benefit of hindsight and feel that you would make a different decision, but he doesn’t have that. Plus his life might work out differently to yours - all families are different and some blended families are happy and functional.
You don’t give any detail on what has been so difficult with your step children but I assume “two almost grown ups” means two teenagers? My sister and I were little shits as teenagers and I’m pretty sure there must have been points when my parents (who are my biological parents and are still married) questioned whether the heartache was worth it. 15 years later we’re all very close. The teenage years are difficult for lots of families and you might feel differently again in 10 years time.
So glad I wasnt judged by his family or their friends
You might have been and they just didn't vocalise it to your hearing.
Lots of family and friends don't necessarily approve....they just keep it to themselves.
Sandy after my dh having an unhealthy relationship prior to getting me they didn't judge but were happy dh was happy. Dh was abit unsure however his Nana god rest her soul told him to go for it as it's the person who counts
I think it all depends on your partner and his ex in regards to how your experience goes.
Saying that the example you give of a male step parent its not the same as a step mother. Step mothers are judged step fathers are praised.
And I do think yabu in regards to judging that situation.
A lot of it depends on the age of the children (younger is usually easier to blend), whether there's a father(s) in the mix and simply down to the couple. I know lots of very happy step families and unhappy ones too.
We all silently judge, whether we make those thoughts public is an entirely different matter.
No one thinks "Oh, I hope my daughter is let down" or "I hope my son has to pick up where another man left his responsibilities" - these things are not what you hope for your children. But this isnt an ideal world and most people muddle along, doing the best they can with the circumstances given. Some will make a better job of it than others.
She is 22, her children are 6 and 7. She had them at 15 and 16.
I think it's a very difficult choice. Blending is tough. And there are issues that are sometimes impossible to solve 'fairly'.
Having said that, she is so young and her children are quite old, it would be possible to raise them to adulthood and have another family!
I bet most of the people judging them for getting married young/him being a step-parent young are actually judging her for having children so young. They just won't admit that.
Thanks for some great replies. It is the same choice I made, but I was a lot older than he is, he does have the benefit of dealing with their teenage years while he's still relatively young himself and enjoying their adulthood in his 40s. A pubescent teenage girl and a pre-menopausal woman are not a great mix!
I'm 40s and my stepchildren are teens. A quick glance at the teenagers forum shows how hard even biological teens are, throw in the step element and, certainly in our case, it's been tough.
Thanks for the biscuit - I find that one of mumsnet's most annoying, non-original, cliquey traits, but that's a whole different thread.
I’m confused. Who are you you judging?
I would't judge but I would worry. Their marriage is going to more challenging straight away than if children weren't involved.
However good luck to them. Hopefully they'll make it work