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coping with being a resident step mum

(9 Posts)
Fairy130389 Sun 07-Oct-12 19:58:05

Hi all, hoping you can help
My step daughter lives with me and my husband full time. I have been living here for 2 years. I adore my step daughter (7yrs), she is great and we have (most of the time) a great relationship. I do alot of the parenting, school runs, parents evenings, dr's appointments etc, because her mother is not really around.
DSD has lived with her dad since she was 1ish, her mother lives round the corner from us but only sees her once a week and never bothers between these times, she doesn't call or care about the fact that we have a hard time finding childcare as we both work full time, but swans in two days before saying she would like to have her overnight. This is not good for my SD, she comes back from there emotionally drained and it is horrible for her. I have tried really hard to build some sort of relationship with her mother, but she won't even talk to me, won't discuss any plans to do with my SD with me (and given I am doing all of the mothering, that makes life really hard), bad mouths me to my SD, and then texts me reminding me that she is not my child. How do I cope with this? I am trying so hard but I get so angry, first that she abandoned this amazing little girl, and now that she swans in and out of her life when she feels like it, and to top it all off, lets me do everything for her but gives me nothing but abuse. She does not pay a penny and all only makes life more difficult for all of us.

omletta Sun 07-Oct-12 20:01:57

I don't have any advise but wanted to say - well done, you are clearly an amazing step mum and I am sure you will make a real difference to your DSDs life.

Step parenting is hard, very hard.

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 21:37:25

Gosh, what a sad situation for your DSD, you sound like a lovely SM (actual mother?)
I don't really have any advice other than carry on as best you can. Your DSD will surely realise what her mother is like as she gets older. I wouldn't rise to any of your DSD DM's games. Just be there for your DSD. She is lucky to have you.

What about family counselling ? Not relevant?

Sorry, I have no experience in this type of thing but didn't want to read and run.

theredhen Mon 08-Oct-12 13:00:07

Yep, apparently the only reason DSD lives with us is because she is mentally disturbed and depressed. hmm

My opinion is she is the least "disturbed" out of all the 4 step children.

We also get no maintenance whilst paying out a pretty penny for the others.

And she has never bothered to even meet me or talk to me despite me being in her kids life for over 4 years!

I know it's hard, but you're not the only one. You can sleep at night for what you do for your DSD, she has to get angry and be abusive to try and "justify" her inability to parent her own child. Try and remember that.

Fairy130389 Mon 08-Oct-12 17:06:21

Thanks for all your supportive messages. It's nice to know I can come on here and rant - I don't want any ill feeling to be picked up by my step daughter. I think family councelling may be an idea - the problem is I just don't think she would be receptive of it...

It's difficult as well because my husband doesn't really get it, he just says to rise above it and realised that it's just the way she is - and that we should be thankful that she doesn't fight us for custody. He also lives in constant fear of causing friction because he is paranoid that she will take us to court (custody was never granted in court - she handed her over voluntarily aged 13 months), so when she texts him trying to stir it up if I try to make arrangements with her, say for example, to find out when she is planning on bringing her back hom after a visit so I can actually plan my day, he just says to leave it alone. So I just end up feeling so alone, got at by everybody whilst running around trying to arrange childcare, get washing done, get shopping done, lunchbox packed, homework done etc etc and work full time in a stressful job. I love my husband and my family but I'm just not my husband understands howit feels to deal with all this and only recieve abuse in return (from ex I mean, not my husband!)

anyway sorryfor the rant but thanks for the support!

ladydeedy Tue 09-Oct-12 12:26:12

I really sympathise. It is VERY hard stepparenting, especially when the child lives with you effectively fulltime and you feel you get no credit for it at all. However, a couple of things : no court would grant residency to the mother given that she has lived with you for so long so there is no real threat there, in my opinion. There is a difference between custody and residency. In fact both your DH and his ex have custody (this is rarely rescinded) but residency is where she lives and this is with you and has been for many years. So do not be unduly alarmed by ex's idle threats.

The other thing I would do is pursue ex via the CSA so that she pays what she is meant to, to contribute towards her upkeep. We havent gone down that route ourselves as my other SS lives with his mother so they are in effect quits, but I understand that it is relatively easy to go about. It may cause rucktions but honestly, what harm can it to do try as it appears that your DSD sees little of her "mother" anyway. Those would be my proposals anyway.

Good luck - you are clearly very much trying to do the right thing by your DSD and I entirely sympathise!

DharmaBumpkin Wed 10-Oct-12 14:12:31

Hiya I am full time SAHM to my DSD (8) as well. She's lived with us a couple of years now, although she has more regular contact with her BM than your DSD does.

I would second making sure contact is on a schedule. It's easier for you, it's easier for DSD as she knows what is happening day-to-day. In addition, you can apply for Parental Rights through the courts I think, whether the BM agrees or not - she could fight it I guess but I can't see she'd have much of an argument.

I've not had to do that as I get on relatively well with DSD's Mum - all contact if through me rather than DH, at her choice. It's taken a while to get there though.

When we were back at the abuse stage, I'm afraid I just found it best to rise above it. I didn't want to have DSD feeling like ALL the adults in her life were trying to manipulate her affections! I would sometimes offer alternative views along the lines of - DSD: Mum says you're a £#&*@#... Me: Huh. Well maybe she says that because she's worried that xyz - but I never directly critised or refuted. I'll know in about 10 years if that was right! We have a really good relationship though smile

Sounds like you do, too... I'd just focus on that as much as you can and vent on her if you can't take it any more!

MaBumble Wed 10-Oct-12 16:35:07

I'm not a step parent, but my husband is and I do understand how difficult it is when the non resident parent is so unreliable and (basically) selfish. At a guess you are getting the brunt of it due to her guilt and resentment. She will be aware that as the main carer the main person she is making life difficult for is you. You sound like you are a fantastic parent to this little girl. No advice, but good luck!

StaceeJaxx Sun 21-Oct-12 22:35:30

I feel for you. My DSD moved in with us when she was 9 (she's now 20), after living with her grandparents before. Her mum has never really bothered and picked her up and put her down as and when she felt like it. Which caused DSD loads of distress. Eventually as DSD got older she realised what her mum was like and now she's an adult she pretty much has nothing to do with her.

It can be exhausting though and so mentally draining, for both you and your DSD. The only advice I can give is to just be there for your DSD as much as you can and try and talk to your DH and make him see how things are for you.

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