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Overstepping boundaries?

(9 Posts)
NumTumDeDum Fri 12-Apr-13 17:28:46

I have a 4 1/2 yo dd with my exH. We separated when she was 2. He has been through 4 girlfriends since then and introduced DD to each and every one against my wishes. Anyway, the current girlfriend has now been around for 18 months so it looks like this relationship is more stable.

Lately whenever I have needed to speak to exH about dd I get the girlfriend who discusses things as if she were the parent. I am getting quite irritated by this. DD is with them this week for a stay. I received a text message from the girlfriend stating that she thinks it is important that dd learns to swim and can I commit to the lessons if she finds them and pays for them.

I'm afraid this put my back up for several reasons. Firstly, of course dd needs to learn to swim. I have paid out for several terms of lessons but the last lot were wasted on her as she refused point blank to try to swim and clung to me, so I decided to wait until she was older and wanted to learn. The way in which the message was worded implied that I had not thought about swimming and I should have and was in some way neglectful.

Secondly I have recently tried out some ballet lessons for dd to see if she likes it. She liked it enough for a second term but she has now told me that she wants to try something else so I have not paid for next term. The girlfriend tells me point blank she sees no point in ballet lessons as dd doesn't want to do it. I KNOW this, as I speak to my dd and I am there at the lessons!

I have a 4 month old ds and so swimming lessons are out at the moment as I have no one to mind him whilst I take dd in the pool. Around here, you cannot get lessons at the weekend.

I asked to speak to exH about it and she seemed huffy that I would want to discuss our daughter with him. He is now saying that he will only pay for swimming lessons even though I have explained the difficulty and won't pay for anything else even though I have suggested that keeping her active is just as important and I wanted to try out gymnastics or football to see if she liked it.

Anyway, the other issue with the girlfriend is that she paints dd's nails and makes her up with make up whenever she goes there. I don't approve and don't want dd being encouraged to think about her appearance at the age of 4. I don't see the need. If she wants to dress up I have no problem with this or even use facepaint but she doesn't need to be encouraged to wear make up. She now says to me that people are only beautiful if they wear make up. This obviously distresses me. ( I don't and it is something that I used to be criticised for by exH). When she came home from contact last time she had been given a set of make up brushes, some glitter eyeshadow and lip gloss and a hand held mirror.

I just feel that dd is my daugther and exH's daughter. Why is this woman forcing her views on her? I would never have dreamed of doing this with my step children - I was very aware of not treading on their mother's toes (unfortunately I did upset her on more than one occasion by accident but that's another story - all a learning curve!).

Part of me wants to be generous and think that she is just being kind and trying to bond with dd. The other part of me wants her to butt out thank you very much and let me decide when it is appropriate for her to wear make up and perhaps do it myself!

Sorry this is a bit long but it helps me to order my thoughts by typing it out. I really don't know whether I should say something or just suck it up and be grateful that at least she seems to like DD (unlike his last girlfriend).

WakeyCakey Fri 12-Apr-13 18:44:09

As a step mum I would say she is being ridiculous.
Next time she makes a suggestion on how to parent your own child I would make it clear that she has no say in what your DD does and that she has no place discussing it.

Make it clear to her and your ex-h that makeup is a no-no and that is final.

She has been in your DD's life for long enough to want to be a big part of it but I think someone needs to remind her that she isn't her mum.

I also think that you need to keep discussing things with her to a minimum and tell your DH that he needs to be the one you speak to not her.

This all sounds harsh and I don't mean it to be but I would never talk to DSD's mum the way she speaks to you and would never push my ideas on her at all

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Fri 12-Apr-13 20:15:36

Oh how annoying. She shouldn't be putting her views on to you about what SHE thinks should happen with your DD. She is out of order for thinking she can call the shots in anything regarding a child that is not hers. It should always be between you and your ex and there shouldn't be a middle person butting their nose in! Grrr how irritating!

* The girlfriend tells me point blank she sees no point in ballet lessons as dd doesn't want to do it. I KNOW this, as I speak to my dd and I am there at the lessons!*

^^ Does she think she knows your daughter better than you do? Tell her to do one!

NumTumDeDum Fri 12-Apr-13 23:46:35

I wish I could tell her to do one but she's built like an amazonian giantess and I have a sneaking suspicion she could flatten me with one hand. I'm not very good with confrontation as you can probably tell! I did ring exH however bolstered by your comments (thank you). I have said no to make up. He has basically said where's the harm and I think he will ignore me. He never did things the way I wanted when we were married so I've no chance now. I haven't specifically said gf should shove off but I spent a while talking to him about dd and I shall simply try to sideline gf and insist on talking to him in future. Don't want to rock the boat too much as I hate rows but I suspect exH knows this as he knows me too well and probably plays on it. I am my own worst enemy.

mumandboys123 Sat 13-Apr-13 08:19:41

broken record technique - doesn't need to be a confrontation, just say the same thing over and over and over....make up is inappropriate every time she comes home with it, I will speak with my child's father only about her health, well-being and development...

Latemates Sat 13-Apr-13 12:34:02

Girlfriend is over stepping but may have best intentions.

Regards the make up - thats more difficult as surely the father has a say too and if he thinks its harmless fun and its happening when he is parenting then I not sure you should be dictating what does and doesn't happen when your daughter is with her Dad - although it is natural something that can be discussed between both parents. The same as I'm sure you wouldn't want Dad dictating to you about what you and daughter do during your time together. For example Dad may not agree with gymnastics/ballet for whatever reason - he can discuss his reasons etc but he can not stop you taking her to a class in your time.

I would just communicate with Father unless you find girlfriend is more open to listening to your views/concerns

dignifiedsilence Sat 13-Apr-13 12:49:08

I think you are right in saying she is over stepping boundaries. You definitely should be only communicating with her dad over any issues as you 2 are the parents. My ex is a bit useless and his OH sounds great with my DD so I would be more than happy to communicate with her rather than him but saying that I would not be happy if she spoke to me like she speaks to you. Would you think differently if her pitch was different? Say if she said, 'Would you mind if I bought X swimming lessons as its something I would like to do?' Maybe her pitch is all wrong?

I wouldn't personally get involved in painting my DSC nails, doing their hair or even bathing them as I feel thats stepping over the mark.
Hope you get something sorted out x

NumTumDeDum Sat 13-Apr-13 19:34:01

Latemates, yes that's a concern of mine that she may mean well and by making a stand I am potentially harming a previously good working relationship. On the other hand I think she should respect my wishes more. As for dad you are right I cannot dictate what he does and I don't tend to ever word things in that way, I will say that I'm not keen and it's up to him whilst she is in his care. Trouble is, dd ends up with two sets of rules when we disagree and it's hard for her to have to adapt from house to house. Dad does like to wind me up sometimes so I try not to bite.

Dignifiedsilence you are quite right to pick up on the issue of her tone. I think it is that as much as anything which tends to upset me. She does imply she's been there and done it all because she has a 9 year old boy and a two year old girl. We have different parenting philosophies and whilst neither of us are wrong, they are not always compatible. I suppose I feel that there have been more disagreements over things since she has been around as exH did seem to do things more along my way before she was about. I get the impression neither of them respect me as a parent which does upset me. He has not been very reliable or consistent with contact until this year - contact was sporadic at best often going for two to three months between contacts. He pays no maintenance as neither of them work so I would like some financial help with the classes as I am a stay at home mum at the moment whilst I care for my 4 month old and my DP supports us all financially so things are tight. Exh has had four foreign holidays over the last 12 months so I am aware that money is not as tight for him. I believe he is doing up cars and selling them and his mother also came into some money and has been paying for some of the holidays. It is a bit annoying therefore that he tries to exert control over the small contributions that he is willing to make such as the swimming lessons.

balia Sat 13-Apr-13 21:35:48

If it is any reassurance, DSS has had to cope with 2 very different sets of rules/expectations all his life and he has managed admirably. But at least he has had a clear message that 'when at Dad's it is his rules' and vice versa. Although the make-up thing may annoy you, for lots of people it is a bonding activity and not very far removed from styling hair or picking out pretty clothes. I just think if you try to control what happens when your DD is in her Dad's care that is confusing, it blurs the boundaries.

If they want to take your DD to swimming lessons and pay for them, great. You've said you can't do it on your weekends - they will just have to accept that.

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