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POV of the step-child... need some help

(8 Posts)
Confuzzled128 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:31:01

You guys seem alright on here so I thought I'd give you a shout. My Mum & Dad spilt around 9 years ago. I have two younger (full) sisters. I'm now 18, and both have remarried. My Mum remarried first (I have a feeling it was an affair). My Dad remarried 3 years later.

My issue would be that my Mum seems to think that our step-dad is our dad. I'm 18 and he keeps talking about how he's going to be a great grandad, I don't know why I don't get a say! And when I try to counter this with 'Oh Dad's wife is going to be a grandma too then' she gets really angry. It annoys me because we still have extremely frequent contact with our Dad and actually our step dad is only 30 - you do the math. It's just bloody irritating! Is it unreasonable to feel like this?

Also, my Grandma told me something that makes me suspect that SDs mother had something to do with my real 'rents spilt. I didn't like her before but now I actually loath her. It could be that I need to blame someone, but she's not a nice woman and she's really weird. She keeps trying to convince my mum to have another baby!

I know I sound childish and/or naive, but I feel sick all of the time from butterflies. I'm not quite sure how to feel. sad

brdgrl Tue 05-Jul-11 14:06:57

You sound perfectly reasonable, I think.

As far as any children you have in the future, of course you have a say in what they call your parents/steps. It will be up to you to decide how much time your kids spend with each, and what kind of contact they have. You may decide later you are happy enough for your kids to have four grandparents on your side, but you certainly don't have to toe any kind of line on that score. Obviously you can't control how your future kids will feel about it all - but you do have some say in how it develops.

My husband's dad had affairs, and has had three wives, including my DH's mother. She is deceased, but the other two wives are alive, and wife #2 is the mother of my husband's half-siblings, so she is still a part of the wider family. Technically, then, my little girl has three living 'grandmother' figures - my mum, DH's first stepmum, and DH's second stepmum. But only my mum is called 'Grandma' - DH and his older kids always call first stepmum by her first name, and that's probably what my daughter will call her, too, but everyone loves and feels close to this woman, anyway - the label does npot seem to be the most important thing. My DH says that he never thought of her as a MOTHER, but he loves her for who she is, and his older kids do describe her as their grandmother, even if they don't call her "Grandma". Second stepmum is also called by her first name, but never talked about as a grandmother figure - and she hasn't ever even acknowledged my daughter really, so I don't think she is interested in having that role.

My confusing in-laws aside - I guess my point is that families are really sort of made up of whoever you WANT included, once you are an adult. You may not have much choice now about the shape yours has taken, and I trust you are doing your best to accept things as they've been, but I would try not to let your mom and stepdad's assumptions about the future bother you too much.

You may well end up feeling like "the more people my child has to love him or her, the better!" Some people do. But you may decide that you'd rather have some limits, and I think that is ok, too. I don't know what your relationship with your stepdad is like, of course. You are moving on into an adult world, though, and the relationship is bound to change, hopefully for the better. You will find what works for YOU, in the end.

brdgrl Tue 05-Jul-11 14:13:31

I should add that my SD is 16. Her mum passed away. When SD talks about the future and having kids, it is pretty clear that she won't be considering me a "grandmother" to her kids; I will always just be her dad's wife. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt, a little, and I have NO idea how I will feel about it when the time comes. Will I feel sad that she doesn't involve me more, or will I just feel OK about it? I don't really know. Things change so much, though, and the relationship I have with SD now is different from the one we had two years ago, or will have in five years time. I guess because I have a daughter of my own, too, I know I might get my chance at being a grandmother with her kids, so it doesn't bother me as much... Anyway, I know it is up to SD, really. If she wants support when she becomes a mum, I will be there for her, even if she doesn't want me to be a grandmother. Families are so strange.

mdoodledoo Wed 06-Jul-11 11:16:16

I agree with the previous reply that it's entirely up to you to decide who is involved with any children that you have in the future, to what extent, and what name they are called. That might cause a few ruffles with your Mum or other members of your family, but that's just the way it is - you can assert your right to choose.

I am a step child (my Mum has been married twice since my Dad) and I've been reflecting on what I called my two StepDad's parents.

I didn't think of my Mum's second husband as a 'dad' (I called him 'uncle **'), but I did call his Mum 'Nana' - I was fairly young then and everyone else called her Nana so I did too. It never felt uncomfortable and I did think of her as a grandma figure and used to sleep over every now and again and toast bread on a fork in front of the fire (really happy memories).

I do think of my Mum's third husband as a 'dad' and frequently describe him just as my Dad (rather than my StepDad), or myself as his daughter, to make things easy to explain, e.g. if I'm ringing his office. However - I don't call his parents any grandparent'y name - I call them by their first names. But - I don't have a granddaughter'y relationship with them so much - it's more of an extended family relationship - like with any close'ish relative.

I have known grandparents called all sorts of weird and wonderful names - I called my Mum's parents Momma and Dadda and I've known kids call their grandfather 'Bankan'. So - it could take all the sting out of this situation if you decided to give your Mum's husband an entirely unique name in place of 'Grandad'.

So - I suppose from my own (complicated!) background I would conclude that, for me, things can look very different depending on the type of relationship you, the children and the other adult want, and the depth of relationship which evolves over time. But...BIG but - don't feel under pressure to conform to what someone else wants if it's not right for you and any children that you may choose to have. Send those butterflies packing because you can assert your choices - you don't have to be dictated to and live your life according to other people's desires.

TheFeministsWife Fri 08-Jul-11 21:59:56

I can completely understand where you're coming from as I'm sure we may come into these problems when my DSD (also 18 funnily enough) has children. Our situation is a bit different as I've been with DH since DSD was 2.5 and him and his ex were never married. His ex is also an bloody awful abusive mother. DSD has been living with us since she was 9. So when she eventually has kids I want to be known as "nanna" (even though I'm only 14 years older than DSD) although I'm sure ex will kick up a bloody stink at this, it's going to be me and DH who will babysitters DSD wouldn't trust her mum with a baby.

In your situation I would just let your mum get on with it. You know that your dad is your real dad and will be grandad to future children. I wouldn't worry about it until you were actually having children.

Pandygirl Sat 09-Jul-11 10:44:12

Hi, I'm not suprised that you're fed up about this, of course it's your decision who is called what by your own child.
I'm step-mum to two boys and I would never presume to take their mothers place in either their lives or the lives of their children. I love them, they seem to love me, they call me by my first name and I would expect their children to do the same.
We are getting married next year and ESS asked "do I have to call you mum after you marry daddy?" I think the look of horror on my face said it all and he burst out laughing. But clearly it had worrying the poor chap.
I wouldn't listen to gossip about how your parents split occurred, it sounds like they've both moved on successfully, and it's all in the past.
If you don't like your dad's wife then try to avoid spending time alone with her, it's difficult when you don't like someone you're family is close to.

swash Mon 11-Jul-11 21:53:04

Another one who thinks you are being entirely reasonable.

Your mum sounds a bit desperate that you accept your SD in a fatherly role - but she is wrong to do this. If you can, just think 'Oh there goes mum being a bit weird again' and let it go. I promise you that when you have a baby you will find your own way to deal with parents and step-parents - and at 18, you really don't need to be thinking about that. In fact, you could just respond 'Mum, I am 18!!!' when she says this.

Very best of luck to you.

harassedandherbug Tue 12-Jul-11 14:47:39

Do you actually know why your parents split in the first place?? It sounds like your mum is trying to encourage you to "accept" your SD if you get what I mean, so maybe she does feel guilty about something. You're quite old enough not accept an explanation I would say.

I'm a mum, step mum and grandmother. We have quite a weird family set-up in some ways: I have two ds's with xh who are 22 & 20, 12 yr old dsd and 5yr old dd with my dh. I also have a 2 yr old gorgeous granddaughter (ds1's dd) and am preg again!!

My dil's parents are also split up, and I think in someways it's made it much easier. She doesn't see her father at all unfortunately. But her SD & ds1's SD (my dh) are both Grandad, as well as xh! Easier for dgd to remember and tbh dh couldn't love dgd an more.......

Might also be worth pointing out to them that you're 18! You've got plenty of time to be a mum so the conversation is irrelevant in the first place (although I had ds1 at 18, so am a fine one to talk!). Situations change, and how it is now, isn't necessarily how it will be in 5 or 10 years time.

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