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What is wrong with some step mothers??

(50 Posts)
unsureofthefuture Mon 07-Jan-13 23:01:05

Long long story but exdp and his partner got together wks after we split(quite probably something happened between them about 5 months previous to us splitting, so she probably (but will never know) was the OW). months later they were living together and barely a yr later were married. exp and i have several dcs together.
Basically there has been huge amounts of provocation from them both from not long after they got together, but now they are married it has increased tenfold.
I cant get away from it! they have moved very close to where i live, she has put her child in the same school as mine, so therefor i see her on a daily basis.
I have to put up with her being a major part as because of the times exdp works she does all school runs, all the reading/reading records, pretty much 80% of caring for my children is her- exdp has also been known to go to work on a contact weekend whilst she has the kids- so he can have a weekday off to spend with his wife!!
we had to block each other on fbook as i couldnt cope with her statuses-along the lines of "My (combined number of all our children) fantasic children doing this or that blah blah. They are NOT your children!
One dc came back from contact last week saying "i wanted sm to play a game with me, but she said only if i said shes the best mum ever!!!" who does she think she is!? dcs also say they are not aloud to ring me from their dads and that they were told by sm not to listen to me(not sure if that was in any context or just dont listen to her in general) and they say they get told off and shouted at for calling their step sibling their step sibling- apparently they are only allowed to say sibling not step-even though thats what she is and has only been part of their life 18months!!

Its getting to the point know that the situation is becoming too stressfull, I think about moving further away from them on a daily basis so that it might stop/reduce.sad

Anybody going through similar?

IrisGirl Sun 27-Jan-13 21:57:42

its so hard being in this situation, i can totally see things from both points of view.
i am a step-mum to two teenage girls (13+16) and also have a dd with their dad, their half-sister. there are loads of times when their dad is working when they are staying at our house and they are with me quite a lot, that being said i do try very hard not to tread on their mum's toes, i don't get involved in major decision making with them, although i am kept in the loop so to speak, when it comes to personal care, that's their mum's territory, although they have spoken to me about it at times and i'm happy to answer questions, but do feel uncomfortable as i feel like i shouldn't be as it might upset their mum!!!
to be honest, in your situation i do feel like the sm is being a bit over the top and trying just a tad too hard. its great that she cares for your kids, but she has to remember they are your kids, not hers, if it makes you feel better putting her in her place (don't mean that aggressively lol) then do it, your priority is your children,not her feelings!! x

kday Sun 27-Jan-13 10:55:24

I was a SDaughter to a stepmother who used to take every opportunity to talk about "her" four kids (my two SSis and two half siblings) and "my DH's daughter from his previous marriage". She even had a family portrait by her bed with her, my Dad and her four kids (not me). 30 years on it still makes me wince with sadness and rejection. You might feel she's overstepping but what do your kids think about it? If they're happy that's great - they didn't get divorced.

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 23:16:50

I wasn't talking about the children I was talking about DH and I - but once You introduce new children - half siblings - then you are a family - because they are a part of you all.

People may not like that - but its a biological fact.

I don't think allowing dcs to play everyone off or their mother to interfere helps. Plus professional childcare is out of our financial reach so it was never an option and dhs work not flexible to allow collection, nor do I see way a childminder/school club is preferable to me anymore than dhs ex policy of scs being left with anyone because anyone at all is preferable to their father.

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 23:13:26

I wasn't talking about the children I was talking about DH and I - but once You introduce new children - half siblings - then you are a family - because they are a part of you all.

People may not like that - but its a biological fact.

I don't think allowing dcs to play everyone off or their mother to interfere helps. Plus professional childcare is out of our financial reach so it was never an option and dhs work not flexible to allow collection, nor do I see way a childminder/school club is preferable to me anymore than dhs ex policy of scs being left with anyone because anyone at all is preferable to their father.

LPplusOne Sun 13-Jan-13 23:10:21

Then I consider our family quite lucky that no one has been coerced or 'forced' into being a part of it. hmm

It must feel horrible for anyone (of any age) who finds themselves in such an unfortunate situation.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 13-Jan-13 23:02:38

I don't believe that you can force anyone to consider themselves to be part of a family.

You can coerce/demand that DCs behave in a certain way when they are with you, and expect them to accept adult roles, but the feelings of family membership cannot be generated on demand.

A requirement on a DC to integrate into a family, full stop, will undoubtedly lead to resentment.

LPplusOne Sun 13-Jan-13 22:08:55

Agreed. In addition to DSC we've got DC together, too, and I feel the same way - we're a family. Full stop. smile

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 19:14:42

L.P. we have children together and I am not having a them and us thing going on.

I read here somewhere "a stepmother is the mother in her own home".

SMs are generally expected to do all the crap and reap none of the benefit.

LPplusOne Sun 13-Jan-13 18:52:36

Izzy I like your sense of reason regarding dealing with the (often complex) practicalities of blended families - I really respect your point of view!

NotaDisneyMum Sun 13-Jan-13 18:51:12

in this house we are a family - and that's how it works for most mums with a resident SDad.

Says who? What MN has shown me is that there isn't a "norm" or "most" - every single household is different smile

We tried your approach - the one family, two adults, both fulfilling parental responsibilities for all DCs - it didn't work.

My DD (50:50, technically resident with me) doesn't consider my DP to be an equal parent figure; she is comfortable with him, and enjoys his company, but prefers to spend extra time with her Dad than with my DP if I'm not around for a few hours. She doesn't consider him my equal, and she struggled when I expected her to accept his direction, discipline and even praise!

My DSC's (non-resident) were unhappy about a single household model and it created stress, anxiety and emotional conflict for them.

Perhaps that was because, like the OP, their Mum was unhappy about it. She made sure that the DC's knew where her boundaries were with regard to my involvement in their lives, and they adopted those for themselves.

Everyone is far happier now we've stopped forcing things; I don't do DSC school pick ups except in exceptional circumstances, and formal childcare is the option that we choose to use rather than DSS spend time home here with me when DP isn't able to get home during contact time.

DP tells DSS to get ready for bed, put his shoes on, brush his hair; I do the same for my DD. If DP is cooking a family meal and DSS wants his attention or needs his support - then either I take over cooking, or DSS joins in with the food preparation. DSS would not be happy with me fulfilling that role, and I'm not going to force him to.

LPplusOne Sun 13-Jan-13 18:49:09

It's funny OP - when I read the title of this thread I thought the exact same thing, only I was taking out the word 'step'!

Obviously, in my situation (which is very different to yours) we're having a difficult time dealing with DSCs absent biomum. It's like she's just given up on parenting. It's really frustrating and sad.

I agree with setting up firm boundaries. We've had to do a lot of that and it really does help the dynamics.

LPplusOne Sun 13-Jan-13 18:44:09

Ha! If we went by the 3hr timeframe breathe suggested then my DSC's biomum would never have her children! (Yes, that's how often they get pawned off to sleepovers, play dates and childcare during the very little time she actually has responsibility for them.) confused

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 18:20:49

Oh - lost half my post.

Resident S Dad.

I'm wouldn't have divided the DCs into your, mine, ours.

I for example - hate driving. DH likes driving - so he tends to do night time drop offs and collections, I do (did) school runs as he is in work and im home. That works for us and is none of exes business.

She has to do what works for her and is none of our business.

breatheslowly Sun 13-Jan-13 18:19:17

From another thread, some parents have an arrangement that if the other parent is unavailable for 3hrs or more of their contact time then they get first refusal on having the DC. This might suit you as the point of your DC spending time at their DF's home is to see him, not the SM.

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 17:38:59

I get that - but in this house we are a family - and that's how it works for most mums with a resident Dad.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 13-Jan-13 15:42:26

I think the problems come with the definition of of 'household tasks'.

My DSC mum does not consider the DSC a member of our household, they come here to visit DP, and she considers primary responsibility for them lies with my DP as they are visiting him - he just so happens to share a household with others (me and DD) as well.

Her view is that my DP is responsible for feeding the DSC, entertaining them, caring for them and otherwise interacting with them when they visit - if that includes contact with me then she will tolerate it - but she does not consider her DCs to be members of our household, so their care and welfare is not a household task to be shared between DP and myself.

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 13:52:13

Im with ladydeedy. I think the division of household tasks is down to ex and partner, however other things, such as trying to discuss parenting on the doorstep - those need to be tackled.

I will say though, in my experience, the behaviour (or otherwise) of the SCs impacts massively on all in a household and I think SPs do belong at parents evening etc, especially where there are issues as the SPs own children are usually impacted as well.

izzyishappilybusy Sun 13-Jan-13 13:50:05

How were you an ex co-parenting successfully before she was on scene if he has been with her since weeks after you split?? What happened to create a change in his parenting??

She is over stepping, I cannot imagine why she is coming to your door, I certainly wouldn't, but the best advice I was ever given was not to worry about what happened when I wasn't there, as I couldn't change it and to worry about what happened when I was as that was what I could impact on.

akaemmafrost Fri 11-Jan-13 23:13:02

Their not they're Dad

akaemmafrost Fri 11-Jan-13 23:11:40

I think she sounds like an utter twat! And I just would not engage with her. Any discussion attempted on the doorstep would be met with "we will discuss it via email ex H" with a big smile. I just wouldn't deal with her. At the end of the day he's their Dad and he makes his childcare choices when they are with him although having to be away from my dc while they aren't even with they're Dad would boil me that's for sure angry. But the rest of it ie interacting with her is unnecessary and you don't need to.

ladydeedy I am sure you mean well but I think no one could be able to display the level of acceptance of this situation that you seem to think the OP should. I think the OP has been very gracious in dealing with all this actually but there HAVE to be some boundaries or she will be walked all over.

bamboozled Fri 11-Jan-13 19:23:39

Not that I'm drawing on my own experiences of ex's girlfriend buying my daughter her first bra without discussing it with me or anything...

bamboozled Fri 11-Jan-13 19:19:57

Would it help if I said she sounds like a stupid cow smile There are some fantastic step mothers out there but if you are stuck dealing with one that drives you mad and oversteps the mark, it's enough to make you want to punch her scream...

Harbles Fri 11-Jan-13 19:10:20

ProbablyJustGas I was really reassured to read your posts. They are full of sound reasoning. I'm not a new step mum (3 years to DSD who is now 4 and a half) but I am new to mumsnet and have been scared by reading some of the step parenting threads. I think I have been participating as you describe "attending nativity plays, dance recitals, parent/teacher meetings (we both help with homework), taking her to swimming lessons, looking after her on bank holidays if she's at ours the week of a bank holiday (bio parents not always getting these days off work), etc." for the past two years since we have all settled into a routine and a norm. Although her mum has seemed fine with this, through occasional texts and requests for me to help out, reading some of the posts on this and other threads has made me feel unsure of myself and the way I am involved in her life. Some people would seem to have very strong opinions on how SMs should avoid involving themselves past a very basic cordial relationship.

Being a step mum is hard and I have always been nervous of overstepping boundaries and hurting either DSD, her mum, DP, myself or all of us by getting it wrong. But at the same time I enjoy spending time with DSD, helping her to develop and being involved in what she's doing. My DP and I are very much a team and I rarely look after her alone and certainly don't make decisions without him. I would find it really difficult and alienating to sit on the side-lines of it all when she is with us for just under half of the week every week. I want to have confidence in my role; as her step mother and not a second mother.

OP I really hope that this situation manages to resolve itself into something more healthy for you and your DCs, and sooner rather than later - The SM is in danger of burning herself out trying so hard to assert herself only to discover that what she is trying to do is impossible .

NotaDisneyMum Fri 11-Jan-13 19:05:14

In my experience, DSC need a great deal more than just 'being well looked after'.

Regardless of how they appear, or what they say, the DCs will be feeling a range of emotions about the fact that their SM, someone who hasn't been in their life very long, now shares their bedtime routine (and other routine tasks) with them. This is something that had been the probably exclusive domain of their parents up until very recently.
Suddenly, another person, with whom they don't have a strong emotional bond, is sharing parts of their lives during which have previously created special memories with their parents and each other. These familiar routines are particularly important when there is significant change in parts of their family life - like a separation, or new parental relationship.

I'm not for one moment saying that SMs should never read their DSC a bedtime story, or supervise bath time, but it does need to be handled sensitively.
The impact of the emotional conflict created in the DCs can stay hidden for along time - and eventually come I out in unexpected ways; anger, withdrawal or regression are all things that we have experienced and are undoubtedly attributable to the clumsy way in which we blended our families in the early weeks and months.

ladydeedy Fri 11-Jan-13 16:27:50

It sounds like you are very unhappy about the way in which they got together which may be colouring your outlook to some extent.
Really though, how your ex and his partner manage things in their house when the children are with them is not for you to judge. If he cooks and she is doing other things with them, really what is the problem? I think you need to step back from scrutinising all aspects of their lives and deciding what is wrong in your view. They are a couple, they live together and how they manage day to day life is up to them, much as you may not like it, it doesnt sound as if the children are having a tough time, far from it in fact. It sounds like they are being well looked after at their Dad's.

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