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I just wanted to say goodbye and good luck...

(76 Posts)
Fenton Mon 10-Jun-13 11:16:59

I am not flouncing from MN but I will very soon be hiding the Step-parenting topic.

Help with step-parenting problems is what first brought me to MN, and through the crap I got a lot of support from some lovely, wise and experienced step mothers, and I'm so grateful.

Most of my SP woes are in the past now and I do try to post help and support where I can - but I'm sick of the views against step mothers on here, the taring with the same brush, the massive assumptions, the sweeping generalisations which seem reserved just for this area of the site, - it's been the same since I've been here but recently it seems intensified - it's relentless and exhausting and I don't have the fight to keep arguing 'our' corner.

I did everything I could for my step children to help them feel important, included, equal, part of my family. - When my own children arrived I made massive sacrifices and compromises to continue this and it sickens me to constantly read the view 'you knew what you were taking on when you got with someone with children..'

No-one knows what it will be like to be a stepparent, do we know what the rest of our lives as parents will be when we have our first child? of course not.

A parent posts "I am at the end of my tether, my child is so badly behaved/ won't sleep at night - I'm so tired/ he says he hates me/ she's jealous of the new baby/ she won't do her homework and lies to the teachers.." do they get told "suck it up, you knew what you were getting into when you had children" ??

Enough said.

Good luck to you all, it's been emotional.

Dumpylump Mon 10-Jun-13 17:23:53

Ah Fenton I totally get where you're coming from, but have to say how sad I am that someone who could give advice and help from a position of understanding, is no longer going to be hanging around here.
I have been a step mum for four years now, have been a mnetter for longer, and quickly learnt that sometimes it wasn't the best idea to post here looking for a bit of support or a friendly ear when a vent was needed!
It seems to be a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing...and if I hear "you knew what you were getting into" one more time....! No I didn't actually, nobody does - not really. My life definitely hasn't panned out the way I thought it would, some bits are better, and some bits, well, they're not.
Anyway, sorry you're leaving us, but don't blame you thanks

olibeansmummy Mon 10-Jun-13 17:54:04

I don't blame you tbh. I was once told I was an evil step mum for asking for advice on how to stop my teenage step son from physically hurting my toddler son and stealing from us... Apparently he stole from me because I stole his dad from him. Wtf! And no I wasn't the ow by a long way.

Somethingtothinkabout Mon 10-Jun-13 17:59:26

I am not a SP, have no kids and don't have any step parents myself, and even I have been shocked at how frequently, recently, every single thread by a SP descends into a real hard time for the OP and eventually 'you knew what you were getting into"...

It's almost like some Step Parent addendum to Goodwin's Law angry

morethanpotatoprints Mon 10-Jun-13 18:00:11


I am not a sp but happen to know the most wonderful sp and she is all the things you mention in your post.

Do people assume you are a sp because they presume you were responsible for the breakdown of your ohs relationship? Is this why people are so nasty?

All I can say is it is such a shame that somebody like you has been treated in such a way. Do people not realise that they too could be a sp in the future. Nobodies relationship is that secure they can say "It will never be me". What a sad post. sad

StillSlightlyCrumpled Mon 10-Jun-13 18:31:29

Oh as soon as you mention you are a step mum anywhere, it is assumed you were the other woman. I found myself forever explaining DH' marital breakdown with complete strangers. Utter madness! As others have said, was younger, naive etc.

IneedAyoniNickname Mon 10-Jun-13 19:04:12

How awful that you have been made to feel that way sad

I am not a step mum but my dc have one, so I lurk on this board to try and see situations from her side. I also try not to blame her for my exs shortcomings as a parent, although the fact he has changed since he met her makes ne think she is, in part, responsible.

Ultimately though, I don't judge all step parents based on my experience of her. Incidentally, I happen to have step parents of my own, who have also influenced my opinion of step parents in general.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 10-Jun-13 19:15:16

My dh has a sf who was better than his own father in every sense he could be.
I would like to say that lurking occasionally on these threads I find that sp are taking their role seriously, they come across as genuine caring people who have welcomed their sdc.
There will always be people who will judge and be nasty, perhaps it is their insecurities that make them like this.
From what I have read on here, you have been a constant support to others and i know that many will miss your wisdom, please reconsider as you obviously have lots to contribute thanks

brdgrl Mon 10-Jun-13 21:16:19

Do people assume you are a sp because they presume you were responsible for the breakdown of your ohs relationship? Is this why people are so nasty?
I do think this is a huge part of it. I married a widower. But still come up over and over again against the assumptions that
1) I was the OW,
2) There is a poor abandoned mother out there who I am plotting against or otherwise reacting to the presence of,
3) This is not my DSCs home or that we only have them 'part-time', and
4) That my presence in the kids' lives is automatically to be framed as a negative, something to be 'overcome', managed, or apologized for - that this is the default position

And I find it truly fascinating that even though I don't have the same circumstances as some other stepmums, we so often have the same issues. Which, to me, shows up how many of the other assumptions about why things happen the way they do in stepfamilies, are wrong.

It also seems that some people fail to realize how many stepmums have also been lone parents or "the ex" themselves - so that they actually do see both sides of the equation, in a way that someone who has never been a stemum cannot.

All I can say is it is such a shame that somebody like you has been treated in such a way. Do people not realise that they too could be a sp in the future.
Or that their kids could have a step-parent?
I was thinking recently that we are like the "after" picture, trying to talk to the "before" picture.
But yes, people don't want to think that their marriage could fail, or they could die, or that their partner could. It's an incredible arrogance, really.

allnewtaketwo Mon 10-Jun-13 21:20:27

Oh Fenton, you're one of my very favourites grin. But I know exactly what you mean. As a SM, so many posters will assume automatically that your every thought and intention is malicious. I find mumsnet massively anti SMs. Actually. I find mn massively anti fathers in general actually.

LtEveDallas Mon 10-Jun-13 21:26:59

Fenton, it is a great shame to see you go. You were another voice of reason on the SP board that frankly has been hounded off of some nasty pieces of work. I am pretty disgusted at events over the last few days (I'm sure you know why I mean) and horrified that MNHQ felt that bile like that should stand.

I fully understand your reasons and I am sorry that I will no longer be able to see your NN pop up in Active Convos and think "Oh thank Fuck for that, another intelligent poster to stem the tide of shite"

See you across the boards.

34DD Mon 10-Jun-13 22:38:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rightsaiddeb Tue 11-Jun-13 07:06:39

34dd, have visited this site on occasion too. Some of the situations are truly mind blowing so that I always come back to mn, because despite all the maligning, it does offer balanced views.
Regarding the bile, I haven't been on here long, but the usual suspects pop up regularly to back each other up. I take no notice of these, like someone already said, theyre bitter,,insecure, and begrudge sm any support.
I like the thought that our bad press stems from the fact we are the after picture, and it could happen to anybody. How ironic if those spewing hate today would be seeking advice on their dsc in the foreseeable future....
All the best Fenton.

catsmother Tue 11-Jun-13 08:01:41

Bye Fenton - am very sorry you feel the need to leave, because, as others have said, with Stepmums so often under attack (especially lately) it's good to have sensible, articulate posters who can bite back!

I do understand though ....

I admit that I don't post 100% honestly about my own situation. I don't mean I lie outright but I do omit stuff IYKWIM - but that's not because I'm scared of being pitchforked (too much) but because MN is an open board I'm always wary of the possibility of family coming across my posts and recognising the situation. However .... I don't hold back because of the witch-hunters ..... for those of you who have less qualms about privacy, remember that the vast majority of nastiness comes from people who've never been in your position and IME, I think it's very rare for a SM to get slated for no good reason (at least on the step boards - go into AIBU at your peril!) without fellow SMs stepping in and supporting her against the attack. On rare occasions when I've had some snidey remarks I really do try not to let it get at me and try very hard to think of it all as "just" being "words on a page" - which could well have been written by a hairy trucker or similar.

Quite obviously belief in Grimms' fairytales is alive and well in some parts ...... added to which, I do personally feel that SMs in paricular often get such a hard time because we're female aren't we and we are supposed to be the nurturing sex aren't we, and love every last little child no matter what a brat they are regardless. Any of us who have the temerity to voice some sort of dissent just aren't natural ! hmm

Anyway, best wishes Fenton.

likesnowflakesinanocean Tue 11-Jun-13 08:08:55

I'm sorry your off Fenton you have always given clear advice and I respect that. its hard enough without feeling like your being judged. I am a step parent and I love it, I honestly do they bring different things to my life but I'm sure if I posted how things are in our time that I would be told I'm too involved and I have been told on many occasions its not my place to punish but in my house there are rules I expect following, it works for us anyway. I am likely to say ss or sd has been a total bratbag if they have I am also likely to say it of my own ds if the need arisesgrin

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 11-Jun-13 10:15:28

I know how you feel, I joined mn purely because I needed some advice and support about dp's ex, I got some wonderful advice and our situation is much better but recently things have taken a turn for the worse again and I would love to post about it and get support from other step-parents who understand but having lurked I'm just not willing to put myself in the situation of having to defend myself.

It's sad that a board that's meant to offer support is more often than not taken over by mean opinionated people with no idea what they are talking about.

Kaluki Tue 11-Jun-13 11:56:46

Are you reading this MNHQ????

Fenton Tue 11-Jun-13 12:38:58

The thing is, I'm a nice person, I almost always post nicely but the views expressed against step-parents HERE ON THE SP BOARD PARTICULARLY give me the absolute RAGE, still, after years, same old, same old.

And I want to be articulate and explain it nicely to the ignorant fuckers but I just can't find the words anymore and I want to get all SHOUTY and SWEARY and post not so nicely, and that's just not me.

Perhaps I should just not worry about my nice poster record and let my inner SHOUTY post here? hmm

theredhen Tue 11-Jun-13 12:48:35

I read on chat earlier a message from a mum who says she just wants a break from her kids. She sounded fed up and exhausted. Every reply was warm and empathic about how everyone deserves a break and how she should be kind to herself etc.

Why do step mums never get that sort of response?

ALL kids are tiring and hard work. But you would think that step kids are complete little darlings that you should never want a break from if you read some of these posts on this board. Of course those same step kids are also bio kids and it seems that it's ok for the bio mum to get a break from them but not the step mum?!

HumphreyCobbler Tue 11-Jun-13 12:54:16

I have noticed what you are posting about Fenton. I am not a step parents so I tend not to comment, but I cannot believe the crap that gets dished out. I am sorry you feel you have to leave.

catsmother Tue 11-Jun-13 13:16:20

Ha ha - what's inside my head and what comes out onto the virtual page are two different things entirely. My thoughts about my own - and often other people's step situations too - are often a maelstrom of extreme swearing which would make a docker blush! The only reason I don't let it all out is because then the witch-hunters would be able to claim the moral high ground against the foul mouthed SM .... and no doubt, one or more would be bound to say "well, if that's how you carry on in real life no wonder you have problems" .....

(^whispers^) I've long harboured a personal little theory - based on all the step stories I've read and heard about over the years (not just on MN but elsewhere where I've sought support) - that the non steps are maybe just maybe a tad insecure in their own relationship(s) and maybe if you're not sure what the future holds and where you'll end up, then a stepmother and/or a second wife or whatever is a scary representation of where your DP/DH might end up if you can't work things out. I could be totally off the mark of course and I don't want to generalise - nor set myself up for a flaming - but this thought has repeatedly popped into my head over the years ...... because really, I just can't imagine why non-steps would otherwise sometimes make such a huge effort to get involved in step threads (and then behave like a dog with a bone, refusing to acknowledge that whilst they're fully entitled to an opinion, they don't actually have any direct experience of what's being discussed and at best, can only imagine) ......

.... I dunno, I like to read about stuff I have no personal experience of just to expand my horizons, educate myself, satisfy my curiousity, or because I'm bored sometimes, but I'd rarely proffer an opinion except perhaps in the most general terms - offering someone sympathy, wishing them well or whatever - I just wouldn't steam in and blast someone who's clearly upset/worried/frightened/at the end of their tether when their story relates to something I only have superficial knowledge of. Because I wouldn't want to get hold of the wrong end of the stick, unwittingly make someone feel worse, offend by what I say etc.

Yet there does seem to be quite a number of non-steps who have no such hesitation and yes, it grates. And I do wonder what their motive is - hence my half baked amateur psychologist's theory ..... or maybe, who knows, they were once cheated on - and automatically assume that all SMs must therefore be husband stealing harlots - so they're justified in giving us all a good old verbal bashing ?!?

catsmother Tue 11-Jun-13 13:23:35

Yes Redhen - you could probably find at least one new example like that where double standards apply every day somewhere on the board!

What also gets me so often is how, when someone's poured their heart out about a particular problem that the very first response they get (from someone who's almost certainly not involved in a step situation) is "are you the other woman ?" I'm sure I've seen this asked in relation to a SM who was posting for advice about her stepchildren because their mother was using them as weapons, telling them lies about their dad and his new partner, trying to divide their loyalties, obstructing contact and so on - which, to my mind, misses the point completely .... which would be how to deal with someone like that, how to reassure the children, how to maintain contact.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 11-Jun-13 13:33:20

Fenton - maybe you should keep 'Fenton' for your normal, lovely, friendly posts and use a 'NewName' to let the inner shouty out - some people Just Need Telling.

It is diabolical that a board which is FOR SP's can't be supportive sad

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 11-Jun-13 13:38:52

I'm not a step anything Catsmother and I think your accusation is a bit unfair tbh.

I tend to get involved on the 'step' threads when they come up in active convos - I don't haunt the SP boards hmm

I have also asked, on occasion, whether the poster was the OW or not - though if that was on a 'step' thread or not I couldn't tell you. But sometimes it is relevant.

No need to tar us all with the same brush. Just as not all step parents want to be tarred with the same brush.

Fenton Tue 11-Jun-13 13:49:04

That's an idea Chipping - I could be Fenton'sEvilTwin grin

Yup -'are you the OW' thing ...

For years whenever I mentioned that I had step children, or was explaining my childrens' older half siblings, or that my husband had been married before, I would always feel I needed to trot out the P.s. "my husband and his first wife split up years before we met" and really want to add "and by the way she had an affair and is still with the man who broke up the family" - but never did.

allnewtaketwo Tue 11-Jun-13 13:52:09

Just now there's another thread where a poster has said to a SM (posting about difficulties with DP's ex) "I'm sure she would tell a different story". I asked her directly if she asked the same on other boards of mumsnet and she admitted no. Some people really do reserve their hostility and suspicion for this board.

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