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Just wondered what your opinions were on this. How to manage DP's expectations.

(535 Posts)
MinesADecaff Fri 07-Jun-13 10:53:26

DP and I are expecting our first baby. He has a DD who's 5 and who lives with us about 60% of the time.

Three days a week it's his responsibility to arrange childcare for her after school. At the moment a childminder picks her up and then DP collects her on his way back from work. I work FT too.

But now he's started talking about how, when I'm on maternity leave, I can start picking up DSD from school. But I really don't want to. Especially not in the first few months when I'm still getting to grips with being a new mum and feeling knackered.

I don't have any family or friends where we live - everyone is at least an hour away. So I'd be on my own with new babe plus DSD until DP got home.

I'm not completely averse to the idea once I've got a routine established with the new baby and I've found my feet a bit. But I've got a feeling that DP is going to be expecting me to be doing the school run the first Monday after he goes back from paternity leave.

AIBU to say that for the first six months or so I just want to be able to bond with my baby and find my feet as a mum without having to provide childcare for his DD too?

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 12-Jun-13 14:57:07

Stepmooster, it really doesn't matter one tiny jot what I think. You feel you're making the right decision for your DD and family. It's not one I could justify making to myself, but I don't have to look after your kids, and you don't have to look after mine, so we have to decide for ourselves. I hope everything goes well with the birth.

Bonsoir Wed 12-Jun-13 14:52:13

I have always taken DD to stay with my parents for a few days during school holidays leaving DP and the DSSs alone at home. It makes DP appreciate all I do to keep things running smoothly when I am around for them!

catsmother Wed 12-Jun-13 14:44:55

I'm gobsmacked at your post Izzie - angry, and also very sad for you that what should have been a special time has been marred so badly by the complete lack of consideration shown by your DP - apart from anything, he totally disregarded your health (physical and mental) by the sounds of it. I really don't know how or if you can ever get over something like that.

I just hope the OP did get to enjoy her day off yesterday - which was a perfectly reasonable thing for her to want to do - and wasn't emotionally blackmailed or harangued into doing what her DP wanted her to do instead.

izziewizzie Wed 12-Jun-13 14:31:05

I agree Petal, and we are of the same mind on this, you and I.

I did not put my foot down enough in the beginning, and I should have, because that is how my situation was allowed to occur, which is why I say to the op it's the thin edge.

Granted, there were many other issues with my step children, which I have talked about on here, which led to resentment, just I have namechanged now so people don't know me grin

Op, you must never feel bad because you don't view dsd as your first born, or you love your own child more. You will do the best you can, like the rest of us.

Sadly there is no easy way for step parents. I think most of us are flailing about just trying to do our best, and sometimes failing.

Petal02 Wed 12-Jun-13 14:24:47

He had his children for 3 weeks last summer, when I had a 3 week old new-born, and my dd of school (she was 5). He did not take one day off. I was trying to breastfeed and there was no where I could go and just be in peace

Izzie, he didn’t have his children for 3 weeks, you did !!!!

It drives me insane when these men want their full entitlement of access, but someone else actually has the access for them. Just what is the point in that?????

Can you imagine saying to your husband “I’ve invited my mother over for the weekend” and then in the next breath telling your DH that you won’t be around to entertain her? It’s exactly the same principle.

Rightsaiddeb Wed 12-Jun-13 14:20:43

Thanks for the above needaholiday, would like to scream that at my dh at times.
I'm all for respect and appreciation and showing affection between sp and dsc, but there is no stronger bond than that, at least not in our house. And that is fine for everybody all round. It's really only dh, funnily enough, that has been trying to put me into the awkward position of substitute mother for dsc, probably some left over bitterness after divorce...

izziewizzie Wed 12-Jun-13 14:14:41

Op, you are taking a lot of crap on here. Ignore it. This is the steps board,where a strange universe exists whereby you must treat your step child as your own, put said child above your children and yourself, but also understand that whilst doing so you will be vilified for "over stepping". You can't win, and you don't need to justify yourself to anyone on here.

Fwiw, I was a fulltime step mum to one child, and a part time step mum to another. I had a dd of my own, and me and Dp have a dd of our own. Sad to say, my Dp was very much in the "taking the piss" category, and always felt I was free child care for his children. He went to work for very long hours, and insisted on his full entitlement to see his children, and saw no reason why I would mind looking after them eow and half the holidays.

He had his children for 3 weeks last summer, when I had a 3 week old newborn, and my dd off school (she was 5). He did not take one day off. I was trying to breastfeed and there was no where I could go and just be in peace.

I tell you this, because it is easy to fall into a trap of being pushed into these things, and it becomes the thin edge of the line, because once you have done it once, it's hard to say no next time. If you don't feel you can do it, then don't.

My baby was (and is) a nightmare sleeper and very full on. After 3 weeks with all four children here and no help from Dp I was a physical wreck. I did put my 5 year old dd into a play scheme because it was really hard (just shows you, if it can be done for my dd there's no reason why your dsd can't stay with her childminder too)

I still look back on that period with resentment, that no one realised how hard things were for me.

If I had this time again, I would not be pushed into what I wasn't comfy with. This is your first baby, it wasn't for me and I struggled to do it all.

It won't kill dsd to stay in her childcare and she won't feel pushed out. And trust me, a 5 year old and a newborn can really be very wearing together grin

I hope it goes well for you. Take the good advice on here, and ignore those who frankly know sod all about these things. It's very easy for people to spout how it should be, while they do not live a step parents life.

Good luck x

needaholidaynow Wed 12-Jun-13 13:19:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stepmooster Wed 12-Jun-13 11:50:29


I must be the shittest mother going in your eyes! I am due in September and DD will stay in nursery. My DD was in neonatal for a few days, then it took us a long time to get her feeding sorted. Midwives didn't discharge her from their care for ages. Then the health visitors were around for ages all trying to get her to feed. It was not a pleasant atmosphere at home, it was stressful, heart breaking and once DH's leave was up something I had to go through alone.

I am hoping DC2 will be normal and healthy, that my birth will be straightforward. I really don't want DD to spend her days at home watching TV with mummy having a meltdown over why the newborn isn't 'thriving'.

I think unless you've got family around to help, which I dont and nor does OP you can't just assume everything is going to be perfect with your new DCs.

Anything can happen, good or bad to you and the baby. If you've got no back-up plan you're up shit creek without a paddle!

OP has said she will do the school run once she's got her head around it all.

Is that really so bad?

My DD will be home FT once DC2 and I are well enough, so that I am there for my DD when she needs me too.

mrsshackleton Wed 12-Jun-13 11:12:43

Of course you're apprehensive about the newborn. Of course the thought of any obligations is frightening. Your dp should realise and acknowledge this. I too can't see how it will help the sd to be yanked out of her routine and into a house with a probably exhausted and nervous new mum and a screaming baby. But then again you might find you enjoy the company and the structure of a school run, so keep your options open and don't commit.

babyhmummy01 Wed 12-Jun-13 11:06:31

NADM & brdgrl which one is batman and which one is robin lol

Why is it Jemma1111 that when you are challenged to qualify why you feel you are qualified to vilify SM's who interact in a way different to how you feel it should be done you feel the need to insult them?

Living in a country that allows each of us freedom of speech and choice we are all entitled to have differing opinions just as we are entitled to parent our biological and step children how we deem fit - the only person who is allowed to have a valid input into this is the father of the child.

This post has long since stopped being about the OP and has instead become a forum for people to attack others based on what they deem is the only way to parent - wake up folks, what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. I believe is was brdgrl who has posted several times the phrase horses for courses. Each to her own quite frankly.

Respect that others do it differently and it works for them

needaholidaynow Wed 12-Jun-13 10:28:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Petal02 Wed 12-Jun-13 09:18:36

I think you can treat SC very well without having to pretend that you are their mother. That is not healthy for the SC or the SM

Excellent point.

Thousands of new mothers, and millions worldwide, will be keeping an older child in childcare when a new baby arrives. Yet despite this cultural/society norm, when a step mother does it, this is apparently “treating an older child as an annoying add-on and second fiddle to your glorious life

Another excellent point. I know we’ve had debates before, where it’s fine for a bio child to be despatched to granny/sister/auntie etc when mum goes into labour, but if anyone suggests doing this with a step child, well, light the blue touch paper and stand well back !!!

Mycatistoosexy Wed 12-Jun-13 08:09:17

mynameisnotmichaelcaine exactly! Most SMs do treat their SC with a huge amount of love and care (and being a SM is different IMO to a SD as women seem to be more responsible for childcare all round it seems). However we do not have the same obligations nor rights as "biological parents". I wouldn't expect them to either.

I think you can treat SC very well without having to pretend that you are their mother. That is not healthy for the SC or the SM.

DumSpiroSpero Wed 12-Jun-13 08:01:15

I've only read half the thread so will steer clear of the heated debates about step parenting and stick to the OP!

YANBU to expect to have some time to adjust to having a new baby without having to factor in the school run.

At the very least I'd want to keep the childminder in place for 8 weeks, which allows for baby being a couple of weeks late and having to have a CS. Ideally I'd suggest 12 weeks by which time you'll have got the 'shock to the system' out of the way along with the most frequent/regular midwife/HV/baby clinics and jabs.

I'd remind your DP that there is a lot more to having a newborn than sitting at home watching daytime TV and actually, a return bus journey 3x a week could put quite a spanner in the works re important appointments as certain things only run at specific times. Certainly where I live, there are 2 set baby clinics per week, and midwifes have 1 day per week for home visits.

Another thing to consider - if you know you will definitely be going back to work after maternity leave, it's not going to be a good idea to mess with DSD's routine too much (sounds like her own mum is doing enough of that already) or potentially relinquish reliable childcare.

Having said all that, it sounds like you have a good relationship with DSD on the whole and that she wants to spend time with you, so compromising and picking her up directly from school once or twice a week for the remainder of your mat leave would be nice (depending on what suits you and what will enable you to keep the CM on).

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 12-Jun-13 07:21:04

Obviously I am not anyone's child, being 34 years old - I should probably have put "I am not my step-mum's daughter".

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 12-Jun-13 07:20:18

Oh no, I absolutely judge non-step parents who do this WAY more than steps! As far as I am concerned, I am not my step-mum's child. She treats me as though I am, which is absolutely to her credit, but I don't feel that she has the obligations to me that my Dad does.

My own dear late Mum worked as a cm, and I have worked in a nursery myself. I have a great deal of respect for the cm who looks after my kids. However, I definitely see professional childcare as being a second-class substitute for kids being at home in their own environment. Do I use it because I don't want to be unable to work for the rest of my life? Yes. Would I use it when I am at home with another of my children? Absolutely not. And I just don't understand why people do. Obviously, I would never share this opinion with friends who do it (of which I have many). I personally like to keep my judgey pants firmly covered by open-minded trousers when communicating irl.

allnewtaketwo Wed 12-Jun-13 07:13:00

Kind of proves the point that there is no "should" about how to parent a family. Each individual has their own views and makes choices based on their specific values and circumstances. Each board on mumsnet shows that on a daily basis. Only on the SP board are those choices used as a judgement of your bad character, showing you are treating children as an annoyance/add on/secondary to your other children

NotaDisneyMum Wed 12-Jun-13 07:06:54


.......shoved in childcare......

No doubt what your views on professional childcare is, then!

I'm actually quite impressed that a mainstream MN argument has made it to the step- boards; makes a change to be berated for something not step- specific grin

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 12-Jun-13 06:23:48

I would absolutely not dream of keeping my kids with the cm when my baby arrives in September. Way to make them feel pushed out! Cannot understand this mentality and never have. Neither do I get it when people send one to nursery and keep one off in the hols or whenever. To me, a family unit is a family unit.

Perhaps it's just the way I was brought up. The kids get one on one time, but not through their sibling being shoved in childcare whilst the other one goes off on a jolly to the cinema. Can't see how this would do anything other than breed massive resentment.

Rightsaiddeb Wed 12-Jun-13 06:21:37

When I had my (only child) ds I was happy to have my mum come and stay for 3 weeks, to look after me as much as my baby (c section).
Dh1 was more than useless, wanting looking after himself. I dread to think what a first time mum must be going through, knowing that this extra pair of loving hands will be happily employed elsewhere. A great scenario for causing future resentment all round.
Dh should be supporting OP first and formost here, she's in a vulnerable position and will probably love him and his dd all the more for giving her consideration, respect and that bit of extra attention she so deserves.
Granted, having a second baby is usually not as frightening and older dc may even be around for the birth, but can't comment on that as I only have the one (dh2 didn't want more, different story...).

allnewtaketwo Wed 12-Jun-13 06:07:20

Thousands of new mothers up and down the country, and millions more worldwide, will be keeping an older child in childcare when a new baby arrives, for consistency, bonding with the child and generally also to make their lives a tiny bit easier during a very busy sleepless time. Yet, despite this cultural/societal norm , never questioned, when a SM does it, this apparently = treating the older child as an "annoying add on and second fiddle to your glorious life and your kids"

brdgrl Wed 12-Jun-13 00:13:32

Thank you NADM! I will just give the badge a good polish and get it back to you all shiny. smile

NotaDisneyMum Wed 12-Jun-13 00:09:33

brdgrl you're far better at the one liners; this ones all yours!

brdgrl Tue 11-Jun-13 23:56:39

NADM, I was hoping that one would get past you - it is the first time I have ever been 'anybody' on MN, warranting an actual sidekick. Awwwwww....please let me have it?

(to be honest, I think I'm the sidekick...)

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