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Maleficent's Guide To Step Parenting

(327 Posts)
WhatWouldMaleficentDo Tue 25-Jan-11 09:39:03

Dear Reader,

I have been much maligned as a step-mother over the years and so misrepresented, even I sometimes wonder what is truth and fiction. The sad fact is that people will always believe the child over the step-mother, no matter how outrageous the story and accusations.

Take my step child, Snow White. Ran off and shacked up with 12 men in a squat. Doing so many drugs she thought she could speak to animals FFS. (Lets face it, she didn't get called "snow white" for no reason IYSWIM.) I rescue her from herself with an intervention and a stay at the Priory and what do I hear back? Magic Mirrors, wood cutters and poisoned apples! And people believed her. hmm

However, I know now where I went wrong and look back on those times thinking "If only I had had someone to show me the way". So here it is, dear step mothers. The Mumsnet Guide to being a stepmother. Instead of worrying, just ask "What would Maleficent Do?" and follow these 12 steps to become the perfect Mumsnet Step Parent.

All of the following advice has been given to step parents in one form or another on Mumsnet discussions.

1. You may call yourselves step mothers, because that is what you are.

2. It's wrong to refer to yourself as mother in any form as it detracts from a child's real mother.

3. You should not try to be a mother to a step-child as they already have one.

4. If you don't act motherly you are rejecting the child and this can damage them and cause emotional problems later in life.

5. It is OK to think your own child and the children of your friends and the children at your child's school are horrible.

6. Your DH or DP's Children aren't horrible it is you making them that way as they can sense that you don't like them.

7. You must not declare that you love your stepchild or expect your step child to love you as that is not natural and they already have a mum.

8. You should automatically love your step children and if you can't you are bad and should leave your DH / DP.

9. If the children live with their mum, you should never change any payments of maintenance as it is unfair on the child.

10. If the child comes to live with you, the mum should not have to pay maintenance as it is your job to support them as you chose to be with a man who had children already.

11. You should not distance yourself from your step children as they will sense this and it will make them feel unwelcome.

12. As an adult its up to you to put your emotions to one side and distance them from your step children as showing how you feel will make them feel unwelcome.

You know. Reading this back, I think I can summarise this so much better.

1. Damned if you do.
2. Damned if you don't.

Now, off you go and get back to being Man Eating, Child Stealing Whores wink


Maleficent x

WildistheWind Wed 26-Jan-11 07:23:51


catsmother Wed 26-Jan-11 07:39:21

Grrrrr ..... one thing I can't stand is the "you knew what you were letting yourself in for" brigade - I knew they'd show up sooner or later !

1st - this forum isn't just about step children - it's for any problems related to living in a step situation .... and that includes issues with your partner's ex, financial problems and concerns (of all sorts) about all the children involved in the so-called blended family.

Thing is .... no-one has a crystal ball and many of us have entered into relationships in all good faith after lots of thought, only to have the goal posts moved considerably after we commit ourselves. Believe me - some of the nastier human behaviour I've witnessed (from both adults and children) has been something I could never have imagined in a million years, because it was completely out of the scope of my personal experience (unless you include "Shameless" - and that's supposed to be fiction right ?). Does anyone still really believe that you'd willingly choose to enter a situation where you knew that you'd be a second class citizen in your own home, where major decisions which affect yours and your children's lives would often be made without any consultation, where you'd be harassed, threatened, emotionally blackmailed, insulted, and lied about on a regular basis, where all the "normal" rules of parenting (even when you'd previously "agreed" them) are constantly thrown out of the window, where an ex of many many years standing still has such a huge influence over your partner, where situations are regularly created through spite wasting time and money etc etc etc ???!!!

In any case ..... why the effing hell should the appalling and (in most other areas of the society we live in) completely unacceptable behaviour of others be deemed "okay" simply because the perpetrator(s) is an ex wife or a step child ? Why does that status effectively grant them a "get out of jail free card" where they rarely - if ever - have to face any consequences for their actions ? Saying "you knew what you were letting yourself in for" is crap and completely misses the point that you and your partner (and sometimes your children, and the step children too) are victims of someone else's bitterness and antisocial behaviour. Yet because we dare to "moan" we are apparently in the wrong according to some. Until you've actually lived through years of having your life tipped upside down by people who don't even live with you, you have little right to attack those who've actually experienced it. Being a 1st wife does NOT mean you are immune to the criticism of others as if you are some sort of untouchable saint ..... nor does being a stepchild mean you are exempt from discipline and boundaries (or it shouldn't do).

Telling us "moaners" to get "out of the kitchen" means that you are effectively saying it's okay to be an utter bitch, or a nasty spoilt spiteful brat ..... us leaving wouldn't actually solve those problems would it ?

And I say all this as an ex single mum myself (for 9 years) so I know that you can conduct yourself with dignigty, fairness and honesty if you make the effort and it's really not so hard to NOT use your children as weapons if you truly have your children's best interests at heart. Similarly, though my son was (and still is, though now an adult) a step child, I NEVER allowed him to behave the way I've seen my stepchildren do and as any responsible parent should do, he was punished if naughty - he was NOT allowed to plead "step" in defence, by either my ex or myself and, as he got older, he was expected to accept more and more responsibility for his own actions (isn't that how most parents bring up their kids ?) .... again, he was NOT allowed to plead "step" to avoid judgement.

Why the hell should we be "jealous" of our partner's past ? Most of us have pasts too so don't be so childish. What we object to is the way his past can unfairly dominate the present in such an often very difficult and stressful way. This isn't obligatory for God's sake - there are plenty of mature and honest exes who are getting on with their own lives and communicating fairly and respectfully with their exes about their children. Consequently, those families generally rub along fine without any major problems ...... and you won't find "new" (how long is it before you can drop the "new" I wonder ?!) partners in those set ups on these boards - why should they be ? Unfortunately, those of us who are here usually have significant problems and if we didn't care we wouldn't seek advice.

Oh ...... and moving on, here's another 1:2 for Maleficent's list:

1. You must accept without moaning (God forbid) all accusations and name calling from the ex along the lines of that woman, that whore, that golddigger, that slag-of-questionnable-morals-who-is-corrupting-my- children-because-her-child-is-a-bastard, that harpie, that scum etc etc etc

2. You must also accept without moaning (God forbid) all demands for short notice babysitting - when your partner has genuine reasons for being unable to look after his kids - and the ex demands "why can't she do it" ..... even though the suitability of someone hitherto known as that woman, that whore, that golddigger, that slag-of-questionnable-morals-who-is-corrupting-my- children-because-her-child-is-a-bastard, that harpie, that scum etc etc etc, as a babysitter must surely be questionnable ? (or so you'd think)

SoupDragon Wed 26-Jan-11 07:46:02

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

theredhen Wed 26-Jan-11 07:54:52


What a rather nasty and narrow minded generalisation you have just made. I pity any child brought up with you!

I was single for 8 yrs before meeting DP who was single for over 2 yrs. I suspect the vast majority of step parents on here, have a similar story.

And for those who did have an affair with a man with kids, where is the slating and abuse for the man that did it? Why is it only the "other woman" who gets slagged off?! confused. As the saying goes, it takes 2 to tango.

I suspect it is because a lot of "wronged" women still harbour feelings of love for their ex and because of their own issues of not being able to detach from someone who has obviously wronged them, they choose to put all the blame on the other woman, because it is easier.

cobbledtogether Wed 26-Jan-11 08:07:49

Hey everyone, I saw some lovely passive aggressive hepplewhite chairs the other day. I just wasn't sure if they'd go with my borderline table.


KaraStarbuckThrace Wed 26-Jan-11 08:11:59

Catmother - well put!

Malificent - what a great thread.

WildistheWind Wed 26-Jan-11 08:14:02

Oh BH that sounds lovely - would go great with the non-issue fruit bowl I spotted at PA4U.

cobbledtogether Wed 26-Jan-11 08:17:30

<BH enjoys the irony of the comments on this post whilst sat on the comfort of a paranoid sofa>

catsmother Wed 26-Jan-11 08:18:57


I met my DP more than 2 years after he split - mutually - from his ex. I was his 1st girlfriend since the split. Ex wife meanwhile was out with her new man within 2 weeks and introducing him to the skids almost immediately (the 1st of many such "friends" but if you call them a "friend" that apparently makes it okay - even when "friend" disappears soon after never to be seen again). Ex wife also had affair with the married father of her children's schoolfriend - the kids playing together was used as a cover up for them to meet. Ex wife had pregnancy scare where she didn't know who the father was - nice.

Yet when I was introduced to the skids several months after meeting DP all hell broke loose and I was officially named whore etc etc. I have never so much as looked at even a casually attached man, but do you know what .... Redhen is right, even if you have had an affair, and I'm not saying it's right, at some point everyone involved has to move on (for their own sanity) if nothing else and nothing justifies some of the behaviour I've read about towards the second wives regardless of how their relationship began. I know of one woman (though can't remember her circumstances) who was physically attacked and kicked in the stomach by an ex when she was pregnant. Did she deserve that shit ? Did her baby ?

Claiming that all sceond wives are husband stealing sluts is narrow minded and pathetic.

cobbledtogether Wed 26-Jan-11 08:19:31

A non issue fruit bowl you say. Are you sure its not just hiding something deep down?

I was thinking about returning my paranoid sofa to IPEA as its feeling opressed.

WildistheWind Wed 26-Jan-11 08:20:00

<fluffing her projection cushions>

cobbledtogether Wed 26-Jan-11 08:21:53

<adjusts her transference lamp>

silverfrog Wed 26-Jan-11 08:23:44


what about the stepmothers , fathers partners , erm hang on what are we supposed to call ourselves? anyway, whatever it is you decide (not actually being in the situation, but hey, you get the call, after all you're a mother) - what about the ones who didn't sleep with a married man, wiht or withou a pregnant wife? or are we just supposed to not shag men who have children (sorry, your post was a little unclear on this)

but do we deserve "all the shit that comes our way" too?

and do you really think that feelings, between adults, about a situation shoud not be separated out from any situation involving the chldren?

that they should not be used as pawns,by either side, and emotionally blackmailed in the process?

because I can tell you this now - if dh were to shag about, and we separate, I would never put my children through what my step children have been through. living your life through your children is not on.

WhatWouldMaleficentDo Wed 26-Jan-11 08:49:21

<strides in regally and benevolently>

Dear, sweet posters. This is not a discussion about what a non-step parent thinks a step parent should be called. No, no, no!

<tinkly, yet gracious laugh>

It is about conflicting advice and furniture with issues.

Apple anyone?

silverfrog Wed 26-Jan-11 08:50:05

only if you've got a really, really shiny red one smile

WildistheWind Wed 26-Jan-11 08:54:33

<bows down to her greatness>

<crunch & munch>

WhatWouldMaleficentDo Wed 26-Jan-11 09:03:29

<hands silverfrog the shiniest apple from her basket>

One has had to send back her PA table to PA4U.

It was just too unstable.

KaraStarbuckThrace Wed 26-Jan-11 09:13:28

Catsmother - you don't have to justify yourself to anyone.

I am lucky as DH and I have a good relationship with his ex, she got pregnant through for-old-time's-sake sex after they split up, they didn't have any interest in getting back together and since she had been told she would never be able to have kids she was over the moon to have a baby.

I actually knew her from when they were going out and in fact dated him before they met (we have a lot of mutual friends!).

So she has always been quite supportive of our relationship - in fact she came to our wedding (DSS was a page boy).

bratnav Wed 26-Jan-11 09:43:41

Message deleted

bratnav Wed 26-Jan-11 09:47:34

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mjovertherainbow Wed 26-Jan-11 10:22:39

Message withdrawn

silverfrog Wed 26-Jan-11 10:26:32

bratnav - bonus points depends on whether you allow stale crusts with her stagnant water, or mouldy crusts...

<cellars also better than understairs ( so Harry Potter!) or cupboards. but I realise that geography does not always permit this. maybe you have a wood to abandon her in?>

SMummyS Wed 26-Jan-11 10:27:05

singleproudmum you clearly have issues if after 5years you still can't let go. I've read your thread 'how to treat a step mum'. Your issue is with her and not every other step mum!!!

bratnav Wed 26-Jan-11 11:02:32

Message deleted

bratnav Wed 26-Jan-11 11:03:26

Message deleted

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