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(25 Posts)
amberleaf Fri 13-May-11 11:30:22

Hello, Firstly im not a stepmum.

I read lots of threads on this board mainly at first because they come up on 'active' i have an interest as my children have a stepmum and because i was [still am] a step child.

Im sure that some of the issues that arise were the sort of issues my parents and stepmum faced at the time.

I can relate to lots of what i read here from all angles [apart of course from actually being a stepmum] but i do have empathy for stepmums situations even though i dont have personal experience of it.

I was lucky that my mum didnt negatively influence my attitude towards my stepmum although the situation was difficult as she was the OW I am grateful to my mum for that as i know it must have been very hard for her at the time but i know she had a positive attitude for the sake of my relationship with my DF and my general happiness and wellbeing.

I have to say for me it was hard at times seeing my dad firstly not with my mum and secondly happy with someone else when what i wanted was for him to be with my mum as im sure most children in this scenario would, it at times felt awkward seeing my dad doing 'couply' things with my stepmum and it did cause me some anxiety if im honest, i also felt torn at times for actually liking and enjoying being with my step mum, it felt on reflection like i was maybe betraying my mum for liking this 'other woman', but as i say my mum was generally positive and never did any of that 'dont do what she says shes not your mum' sort of thing. it was still hard though.

It was obvious to me even as a young child that my stepmum and dad loved each other very much and i know that my stepmum understood how important my dads relationship with me was. I know that my stepmum tried very hard with me because she loved my dad, im sure it wasnt easy for her too.

My stepmum did lots of nice things for me we all had lots of nice times together, she even on one occasion paid for me and my dad to go on holiday together just the two of us. I felt comfortable talking to her about normal mum type things and she sorted me out a more than a few times with girlie unexpected arrival of period stuff!

All that said i also remember a few prob lots 'issues' the usual messy teen, lazy teen, wet towels on floor/bed type of thing.

I know i wasnt easy to parent and more so for my stepmum as i wasnt her bio child also she didnt have any children of her own so nothing else to compare my behavior to.

But i did feel loved by her even if i maybe rejected it a little at the time due to my confused feelings/feelings if loyalty to my mum.

My reason for posting is this, as i say i read lots of the threads on here and i can see lots of people going through some of the stuff my family went through although some of it is more on the extreme side prob moreso than we experienced.

I hope its not patronising to say this and i hope its taken in the heart its intended.

Id like to share how my family is now; my 3 children all call my stepmum Granma she is their Granma, she isnt my mum but she is their Granma.

I see her as much a member of my family as i do my mum, of course i love my mum and shes the only mum i want or need, but my stepmum still means a lot to me and now im older and a parent myself i appreciate all that she did for me given that i wasnt her bio child.

I love her for the lovely person she is and also because she loves my dad, my children love her very much too as she does them. she was one of the first to see my newborn children.

Step parenting is probably one of the hardest things as the recognition for it is so tied up in politics it must seem like a thankless task.

I just wanted to say it does get better, i know it doesnt work for everyone and that sometimes there is too much negative influence, but from a step childs point of view i wanted to say 'i know we can be hard work but we dont mean to be difficult and we do appreciate you' even if it takes a long time for that to be apparent!

Thanks for reading and again i hope this isnt patronising smile

ConfessionsOfaFlask Fri 13-May-11 11:50:43

amber - What a refreshing post!

Thank you for sharing this. You don't sound patronising at all !

I find it most interesting to hear from an adult stepchild as even if I am 6 years into being a BoM and my resident DBD1 is moving towards Teenage years, I still doubt whether I do a good job or not. I can tell you I've lost more sleep on that than I do with my own DD, taking that her love is ''unconditional''.

I just hope that my step daughters will see me as you do your own when they are adults. Not a replacement but someone who enhanced their lives and gave them another perspective.

There's nothing I like more than DBDs squeezing me tight before bed and telling me they love me and that I'm a lovely stepmum even though I am quite strict with them, they know it's because I want the best for them, just as I do my DD. [soppy]

glasscompletelybroken Fri 13-May-11 11:52:27

Thank you - that brought a tear to my eye and I didn't find it at all patronising. It's what I hope for, in the future. Most of the time it seems at best a long way off, or at worst impossible.

amberleaf Fri 13-May-11 12:11:48

Phew! Im glad it didnt come across as patronising!

ladydeedy Fri 13-May-11 12:26:07

thank you SO much for taking the time and putting so much thought into sharing your insights on this topic. I am reading this in the office and have just had to wipe away a tear. Sometimes step-parenting is almost unbearably hard (just in that phase at the moment myself) and this post of yours has really lifted me. I echo what the other poster said about, this being what we hope for, in the future.

Thank you so much. Not patronising at all but extremely helpful and insightful and I am very grateful that you took the time to share that with us.

amberleaf Fri 13-May-11 12:38:30

Thanks everyone, im really glad i posted it now and pleased that it came across as i intended it to!

pickyourbrain Fri 13-May-11 16:00:46

Thanks Amber grin

amberleaf Fri 13-May-11 17:30:23

You're welcome pickyourbrain your thread re maintenance sucked me into reading more on the step parents board and was in fact instrumental in making me think over what step mums deal with and how it must feel to have such a huge outside influence in your relationships with your DH/Ps and to want to post that you [stepmums] are appreciated.

Im sure there were similar 'blended family/EXwife GAAAHHH!' issues with my family, thankfully most of it went over my head and didnt influence my relationship with my dad and step mum.

Ive read lots on here like your thread and others where members here 'vent' and seek advice from people in similar positions, I have posted on a few but not many as 1 Im not a step mum so im aware that my view may not be welcomed [or needed!] 2 I appreciate sometimes its just 'venting' and the OP def doesnt need it pointing out that they may be being unreasonable!

Im sure if the internet was around back then my step mum may have posted similar threads herself!

I know step mums often get stick on Mumsnet, sometimes its warranted but mainly it isnt and its just other posters projecting their own situations onto others, to be fair i think both sides and even the negative ones are valid as its just people trying to work through their own experiences and we should all probably show a bit more 'comradeship' as afterall we [bio mums/step mums] do share a common interest.

As i mentioned my DCs have a stepmum, she was the OW but i bear no malice towards her, she doesnt have a great deal to do with my children but they see her regularly and thankfully there are no issues, i have made a point of being positive about her and my DCs younger sibling and hopefully this has helped. I mentioned feeling guilty for 'liking' my step mum because of the situation so i want to make sure that my DCs never have to worry about feeling that way-I hope they dont!

So again yaay for step mums smile

pickyourbrain Fri 13-May-11 21:51:54

Yay for stepmums indeed, I thank god that my DD has a nice one.

Mummynumber2 Sat 14-May-11 17:00:19

After purposely avoiding the step parents section for a while I've just come here today and read this. Thanks so much for posting this, it's really cheered me up. Maybe we're not all as bad as everyone seems to think after all grin

Smum99 Sat 14-May-11 18:06:36

Thankyou Amber, It is so helpful to hear from children of step families as I really do believe most step mums try their best to support the stepchildren but it is definitely more challenging that raising your own children. With my dd I go with my instinct and I know that I can parent her without interference however with my DSS I'm always aware that I can't over step the mark so I tend to think through my actions before acting.

My DSS is going through a tough time with his mum as she has divorced for the 2nd time (and moved the OM into the home straight away) DH & I were thrown at how to react to the situation until I spoke with a mum at an after school class who had something similar happen to her when she was growing up.She reflected that her father and stepmum became the anchor during that time and as a result she was able to grow up without as much emotional damage.

One other point - why do you believe you are able to be positive to your DCs about their stepmum? What process did you have to go through to get to this position?

amberleaf Sun 15-May-11 11:39:25

One other point - why do you believe you are able to be positive to your DCs about their stepmum? What process did you have to go through to get to this position?

I think i just knew from the outset that it was the only way for me to be for the childrens sake.

I think its worked, one of my DCs said when talking about what he'd done on a visit to his dads a while ago 'she is quite nice mum' i know he was testing for my reaction so i said something like 'I'm sure she is' he then asked me if i minded him liking her, I told him That i didnt at all, i also reminded him of some nice /kind things shes done with them so he could see that i see her in a positive light.

The childrens happiness and wellbeing is the main thing so i just wouldnt allow any potential ill feeling regarding a situation that is long passed to take over.

It was actually surprisingly easy!

pickyourbrain Mon 16-May-11 09:19:22

I found it suprisingly easy to be positive about DD's stepmum too. I think it helps being a stepmum myself. I am also incredibly secure and confident in my role as her mother. There's no way her stepmum could ever take that role.

i think once you realise that, you can't help but not really care and to actually like the fact that they have a good relationship. I think children need as many positive role models as they can get. I also think that being a girl, she will benfit from having a woman around as she gets older if I am not there.

aurorastargazer Mon 16-May-11 10:10:56

thank you so much for your lovely post amber, i am not quite a step mum but my dp is a father so sometimes i feel awkward about stepping over some imaginary 'line', i have had to say ' .... that was uncalled for' and he will apologise straight away, he is lovely. i also respect that dp might find it awkward with my dd although that hasn't yet come across.

i think i will go back and read this thread properly now smile

meemu28 Tue 17-May-11 00:05:19

What a lovely post. I think stepmums are sometimes villified and underrated even though they can be a great positive in a childs life. I am proud to say I am still in touch with my SD 19 even though her dad and I are not together any more (I have known her since she was 3) and yes I still now tell her off if i see naughty pics on her FB page.

hsurp Sat 28-May-11 09:14:29

I don't think you were patronizing at all! I have a good relationship with my step-son (although I am not married to his Dad) and his Dad and Mom. They all call me his Step-mom and I do also, because they called me that and I will follow that. I have known my stepson for 8 years. He will be 16 in August. However, punishment is hard when he is between two homes. But we stick to what we stick to at our home and if his Mom gives in, that is her prerogative. But he listens to me when I punish him. For example, he damaged a bed side table of mine. I explained that I could, technically, call the police because it is damage to my personal property (I did this because he was having a bad attitude) and I want $20 to get another. I then compromised at $10 but he said he will earn the $20 and will pay me. His Dad has since explained that it could be fixed and I'm ok with that so I haven't brought it up, though I know that's not correct. I should stick with my guns but if my stepson fixes it himself, I will feel fine and he will know he took care of his mistake. I am hoping he will continue to always talk to me about stuff.

onclefestere Tue 07-Jun-11 11:42:00

what a great post amber - many many thanks!!

booboomonster Wed 08-Jun-11 15:51:07

Thanks Amber for writing this. It has made me cry. Not because I have a bad time of it with my step daughter, but just the appreciation part. I think it is easy for us step mums not to feel appreciated. Even though lots of people often tell me I'm doing really well - actually I just want my DSD to realise. So thanks, I am crying in a good way! smile

amberleaf Fri 10-Jun-11 11:05:18

Thanks for all the replies smile

booboomonster smile How old is your step daughter? I think as with bio children the appreciation part often doesnt come till much later!

I remember liking my step mum as a child but quite probably i didnt fully appreciate the lengths she went to for me until i was a parent myself, when i saw how hard parenting can be generally it made me realise how hard it must have been for her being thrown in at the deep end when she was actually quite young [mid 20s] and also not having any children of her own.

Much love to you all smile

booboomonster Wed 15-Jun-11 22:15:48

Amberleaf - sorry only just checked back in here. My DSD is 13 - just. I think she does like me, I think you are right about the appreciation. I suppose because I don't get the hugs and kisses (and obvious neediness) that I get from my bio kids (who are toddlers!) then it can make you feel a bit unloved. Also I am emotional - lost my Dad recently, hence tears at the ready.... anyway, thanks again.

Dollymouse Tue 02-Aug-11 20:39:29

Very reassuring to read - sometimes I think my steps don't notice what I do - but they will later in life!

mdoodledoo Tue 02-Aug-11 23:30:44

Thanks for taking the time to post Amber - the perspective and underpinning messages were lovely. [Big Big Grinning Smiley with an Enthusiastic Thumbs Up!]

MarathonMama Thu 04-Aug-11 20:54:56

What a lovely post, thank you Amber. I really hope my DSDs think the same when they're grown up. I love that they're part of my family and hope they feel the same one day.

Talking of it being a thankless job, my PILs sat me down and thanked me the other day for having such a good relationship with their granddaughters (my DSDs). It made me really emotional.

SteelCityGirl Sun 07-Aug-11 17:21:37

Thanks Amberleaf....just logged on after a day with DP and DSD and felt in need of a boost and your post gave it. It's really, really hard at times. THank you.

LaDolcheRyvita Sun 21-Aug-11 18:27:19

This makes such a lovely, refreshing change from the usual postings here.

I have three step kids. Actually they're 22, 21 and 17. The eldest, a sd is lovely with me and I always look forward to seeing her. The middle one usually ignores me, though he is good with my 10 yr old son, when they see each other from time to time. My dh noticed that his son would ignore me and eventually addressed it. His youngest, I think, swings between tolerating me and looking at me like she wishes I'd just go away. After years of this, I know I have to give up on the idea we might one day be something of an extended family. I will always be the outsider. My family is me, my son and my dh. No amount of trying on my part will ever make me acceptable.

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