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Ok so I am really confused. What is my role?!

(21 Posts)
paperlantern Sat 31-Aug-13 09:06:46

talking from a mum's perspective you're doing fine.

your no kids don't need two holidays abroad (they don't need one) and if you are happier staying in the UK do that.

yes you dp must have more imput in school and this doesn't need to have anything to do with ex wife. schools will duplicate information sent home (provide stamps and they will probably send). dd's school it's done through email, if ex signed up to this I wouldn't even have to know. separate parents day meeting and arrive separately at events. dd notices exh is consistently absence, that he has no idea on what she's doing at school.

stepmooster Sat 31-Aug-13 05:00:20

No offense stepmumof1, but I'm pretty sure my DSS's mum would flip her nut if I decided to treat her son as my own and go all maternal 2nd mother on him. I wouldn't blame her.

And as a mother of 2 myself, I'm not going to dilute my precious mummy time I have for my own children to take on the parenting of another child who has 2 parents quite capable of taking care of him on their own. Why should DSS get 3 parents when my kids only have 2?

Fat chance am I stepping into the breach to do the nitty gritty of parenting just because one or both parents can't be arsed and wants to be all disney.

I can safely say that if I split from my DH and he met a new partner who suddenly decided she wanted joint custody of my babies (whatever that means) I would fight it with every fibre of my being. Only DH and I should have those rights, and if DH wanted to palm his children off to his new partner to take them to school or look after them most of the time because he's at work etc then I would be questioning the amount of contact.

If DH for instance wanted 50pct contact time then he needs to do 50pct parenting and be prepared to work closely with me as co-parent in the raising of our children. The new woman in DH life should not be involved.

OP your role is whatever you want it to be, you have a baby and you need to forge that maternal bond. And yes I totally get how frustrating it is to see how the father of your DC can be an excellent dad to your own kids when the DSC are not there for it totally unravel during contact time especially holidays, because they want to be fun dad and let you be bad cop.

You sort of feel you have to do it in order that the other children don't try to copy or get jealous of all the entitled step child.

Don't get me wrong I care a lot about my DSS and I do things for him, and have played games with him and I usually instigate family tine rather than let the TV care for him when he is here. But I'm not going to drive myself crazy trying to be something I'm not. I am a stepmum and I've embraced it. DSS and I have a better relationship because I'm not trying to be his mother. I am an adult in his life who cares about him and I am also the mother of his younger half siblings. If anyone has a problem with that then I let them lose sleep over it at night and not me.

You need to discuss your feelings with your DP, and let's hope he understands.

Stepmumof1 Fri 30-Aug-13 08:45:25

Hi, I don't know if this will help your particular situation or not but as my nickname suggests I'm a stepmum of one gorgeous little boy. Okay maybe not so little, he's ten now and I've been with his dad for 7 years.

In the beginning it was horrible, it was hard work, I remember DSS screaming at me that I was a tart and his mummy wanted to stab me etc etc, you know what I did? "But mummy doesn't know me" and that's all. I trie to remember that he wasn't his mum and that he didn't ask for his parents to split up. I always treated him as my own son, although I've never (and still don't) expect him to think of me as his mum. We've not had a holiday without him for a long time as we BOTH miss him so much that it ruins our own holiday and we sulk for the week. We also have joint custody of him and I think that's the key thing. I've spent a lot of time with him over the years and we've been forced to get along, otherwise we'd both have a miserable half week lol!!

Fast forward 7 years and to me he really is 'my boy' to the extent that last year he asked both me and his mum to his Mother's Day concert at school, and we both went and sat together (very civilised 😊) - a big achievement for us. I can honestly say that my DSS is the most important person in my life, I love my DH to pieces but I've grown to have that maternal bond for my boy. It wasn't easy but it was worth every ounce of perseverance.

The only thing that changed my situation from screaming child to amazing relationship is always doing what's best for my DSS...that's disciplining too etc and I took on the maternal role when he's with us. His mum sees that I love him and want what's best for him and so she knows he's well cared for when he's with us. And he sees it too. And that was it, always loving him for him and never letting myself fall into 'the stepmum' category.

You'll get there one day, just remember that it's not always this hard and although the exW sounds horrific now, given time she will hopefully become much easier! WRT having DSD dumped on you at inconvenient times, join the club...I had a tonsillectomy and the next day had DSS dropped at my house whilst DH at work...I now think of extra time with him as a bonus and it stops me teetering over the edge lol!

I know it must sound like I'm being sickly but what I'm trying to say is no matter how hard it is now, we've all been there - it's never easy to be a stepmum, but it should get easier so hang in there. Plus your DP is just a man, you've got to excuse their imperfections lol...they'd surely cease to exist without a good wife helping them along! 😉


Soundofraindrops84 Wed 14-Aug-13 20:32:03

Thanks china think il read that and I have started looking into things in our area to do with dsd that we will both enjoy. Also have discussed with dp how I feel about the involvement in dsd schooling and how I feel it's important and he agrees ad says he will be contacting the school to see what involvement he can have without having to go through EXW! Thanks for all ur answers, got a slightly clearer picture and things to aim for now smile

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 14-Aug-13 09:36:07

Of course we get judged as a step- ; it's far far harder then being a parent!

If you're struggling with that side of things, I recommend 'Stepmonster' by Wednesday Martin - it's a brilliant narrative of why Stepmums are condemned, vilified and generally considered wicked!

My coping strategy is to embrace the Wicked StepMum identity and run with it - I joke that my broomstick is parked outside and that the DSC life would be one long Disney holiday without a WSM in their life wink

I learnt that you can't 'push' your DP into parenting the way you think he should - talk it through, set your boundaries as to what you will accept and then leave him to it - support him, but don't lead him.

eslteacher Wed 14-Aug-13 09:08:30

I think it could help to make more of an effort. My DSS (8) loves playing board games and doing baking projects. I am rarely 'in the mood' to do either of these things on a one on one basis with him, but I go ahead and try and do it once a weekend anyway, and I always feel better for having sat down and spent one on one time with him. I think its easy to get into a pattern of feeling resentful when you think of all the lovely child-free things you could be doing with your weekend, but I have to snap myself out of these feelings whenever they come along. I went through a difficult phase when DSS was 6 where like you I was questioning whether I could really accept the stepmother role and the impact it would have on my life long term, re things like always having to live near ex, holidays always including DSS, Christmases always being a nightmare to organise, plus some other more personal specific stuff. But I came out of it the other side eventually and things have been a lotbetter in ythe last two years.

My DP is also a fairly laid back parent, though he does tell DSS off over certain things. As I am not a parent myself and don't have much experience of kids it was and continues to be hard for me to distinguish between when DSS is just being a typical child and when he is doing something unreasonable that should be dealt with. Even I can see that he is generally a good kid so I try to just detatch from all the little things he does that make me think 'if you were my child I wouldn't be happy with you doing that' EXCEPT a few things that are particularly important to me, particularly admitting fault for something instead of blaming others.

Dont know if any of this strikes a chord with you. RE your holiday...I have conflicting thoughts, part of me thinks it would be a mistake to go on the 'nicer' holiday abroad without DSD because you want a break from her/the issues around her. But then again if you would do one holuday with and one holiday without her maybe its not so important which is in the UK and which is abroad.

Soundofraindrops84 Wed 14-Aug-13 09:06:10

Aw china it's like he just agrees with me for an easy life so I don't know how much he genuinely agrees with. He say what I want to hear to shut me up I think. I've been in dps life since before solicitors were involved so I helped him through that and to be honest I pushed him to sort it or else we wud have been over, I thought by now he have learnt to think on his own but seems I'm still havin to push him to deal with things eg finding out about being more involved with schooling etc.

Thanks purple, I have been avoiding being in my home some of the contact time we have as it is so stressfull, probably baby blues also. I think I will have a look online for things we could do in the area together and try and get some enjoyment instead of being stressed all the time or things could go pear shaped.

Do any of you feel you get judged as a step and how do you deal with it?

purpleroses Wed 14-Aug-13 08:41:38

Doing naughty things right in front of you is almost certainly to test the boundaries. My DD has done that a fair bit at times - she just seems to have a need for very clear boundaries. Once she knows what they are, and what the consequences are, she's fine. You and DP should agree between you exactly what the house rules are, but your DP should communicate them to DSD and he should always be the one to enforce them if possible (ie you only enforce it if he's not around). Playing the bad cop to your own kid is a much healthier dynamic that being chummy with them and letting the stepparent be the baddie.

I do think you should probably do some more fun things with DSD so that you get more out of the relationship - especially if you used to but have dropped it since being pregnant/having DS. 4, nearly 5 is a great age for getting a bit more independent and enjoying going places. Doesn't necessarily need to be girly things (though can be) - pick whatever things she'd like to do that you'd quite enjoy doing with her. Swimming pool, cinema, swing park, shopping, reading stories, board games, climb a hill, whatever you enjoy. And get her involved in helping care for your DS or play with him - eg he sits in a bouncy chair and she entertains him.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 14-Aug-13 08:39:20

....can't solve this without your DP on board. Does he know how you feel? Does he listen or get defensive? Is he prepared to work at it or does he expect you to make all the compromises?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 14-Aug-13 08:38:01

I'm starting to feel resentful and feel like my life wud be better without them in it and walking away

That might be true.

The issue you have is that you can't 's

Soundofraindrops84 Wed 14-Aug-13 08:31:42

Hmm well he was like that at the start but he's getting better at disciplining now. He's not very consistent though. I think he maybe lets her away with more when its just the 2 of them which puts me in a bad situation again as she will probably rather be with her dad alone so she gets more. Also dsd is totally out of routine with us, she must get off with murder at her mothers which also makes things more difficult for us. She has been doing things on purpose right in front of us and I think she's maybe seeking attention? I don't do much with dsd, I used to but not just the 2 of us for about a yr, should I make more effort doing girly things or watching films or doing fun things. I need to find a way to get some happiness out of it because I'm starting to feel resentful and feel like my life wud be better without them in it and walking away.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 14-Aug-13 08:13:44

It's beginning to sound like your DP is a DisneyDad - allows his DD to get away with things, doesn't enforce boundaries, hates being 'bad cop' because he wants his DD to like him and maybe even relies on you to do the disciplining?

Soundofraindrops84 Wed 14-Aug-13 07:54:58

Yeah I understand that but I don't feel satisfied with the whole thing. It doesn't feel like a family to me. Should I not be able to have a relaxed holiday abroad I feel surely I deserve that?? As much as she's not my responsibility I can't just turn my head and let dp deal with it all? I wouldn't feel comfortable!! He's very laid back and if I wasn't here dsd would run riot. Aaaa I just don't know what to do anymore

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 14-Aug-13 07:41:20

Your DSD won't be your responsibility when you are on holiday, she'll be her Dads. He's her parent - not you.
It's up to him how he chooses to parent - and entirely your decision as to how much encroachment of that into your relationship with him you can cope with.
He'll always be her Dad - that's part of who he is.

There's no shame in saying this isn't for me - most Stepmums on here are honest enough to admit that if we'd known how hard it was, we wouldn't have got involved.

purpleroses Wed 14-Aug-13 07:40:23

I think it's for you and your DP (and DSD) to work out between you what your role is really. It can be just to support your DP in his parenting or you can do it more as a team when DSD is with you.
The only things you definitely should leave to your DP are making arrangements with his ex. Other than that it depends what works for you. DP and I do very much share parenting of our DCs (mine and his) and it seems to work. Eg I might take one shopping with me, play a game with them, fix a toy, remind them to brush their teeth,etc. But DP is the only one who liaises with his ex over things. And he and his ex are the ones who make the big decisions over the DSC (choice of school, etc). I'm just there to offer advice/support over the big decisions.

Agree that your DP could try and get his contact time extended a bit. Doing one school pick up a week is a really good way to meet other parents and feel more connected. But your DSD may always have her main home with her mum and be closer to the sibling she has there. I don't think that's anything to worry about. My DCs have a half brother at their dad's. They're still fond of him. It's all just a different and more complicated set up than what you probably had in your head as a model for family life.

Soundofraindrops84 Wed 14-Aug-13 07:34:38

Your probably right, the situation is causing relationship issues. We get on great when dc is not here however when she's here Ive thought about leaving dp as I just see the situation unbearable. We are meant to be going abroad next year, I don't feel comfortable taking dsc as she is only going to be 5 and don't want that responsibility, plus she is going on holiday abroad with her mother, we'd rather have a summer hol in uk with dsd and go abroad later in the year. What's the opinions on that, does sldsd need 2 hols abroad in one yr?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 13-Aug-13 23:29:49

Just because contact was set out in a particular way when your DSD was small doesn't mean it shouldn't change as she gets older, starts school, becomes more independent etc.
Your DP can seek to change things - ask for flexibility at work, and get more involved in day to day parenting by getting involved with school etc.

But it's up to him. There isnt a right or wrong way to do things, each situation is unique. You will only ever play a supporting role.

But, If he isn't fulfilling your expectations as a parent to his DD then that's a separate issue that may impact on your relationship.

Soundofraindrops84 Tue 13-Aug-13 22:15:40

Thanks for your answer. She will be 5 in a few months. Well it's difficult as dp leaves house at 7 and works Monday to Friday and everything is set through a solicitor. It's just the way it has turned out. We don't even get contact at all on Christmas day (ever) we get her for one week through the summer, one week at Easter and in all a week over the Christmas period (excluding Christmas day) this has been worked out as per dps holidays from work. EXW often makes change if they have something on and expects us to change weekends which isn't always suitable if we have things pre arranged.
We have a baby boy who is coming up for 4 months old and I don't have the car whilst dp at work which makes things more difficult. Dsd seems happy with the contact and things were changed quite a bit while contact was being settled through solicitors which took 2 years!!!!! We have learned to live with it but I still struggle with this role.

Xalla Tue 13-Aug-13 22:03:50

he could probably....

Sorry - it's been a long day!

Xalla Tue 13-Aug-13 21:58:09

I'm assuming your DSD is 4ish now? What kind of hours does your DP work? Are you working?

I think he probably negotiate his contact up to every other weekend Fri (pick up from school if you can) to Monday (drop off at school) and possibly a weekly overnight as well (say Wednesday after school to Thursday school drop off). If your DP's working 9 - 5 though it will only be possible if he uses breakfast / after-school clubs or you do some of the pick-ups. Think carefully before you commit to that though... I started doing it for my DH when my own babies were tiny and regret making the commitment now.

Plus he should be able to have his daughter for half of all the school holidays. If he manages to get an overnight midweek, he could start doing a hobby with her each week too.

Your role? It's a tricky one but essentially, you're there to support your DP in parenting his DD and not much else I'm afraid. It's a tough role, made all the harder because it's often so undefined.

Good luck.

Soundofraindrops84 Tue 13-Aug-13 21:34:26

I am sorry if this is a bit muddled and a bit long but there is so many things I actually don't know where to start but here goes:

My dp and I have been together for just over 3 years, I met his dc when she was only 18 months ( about a month into our relationship) which I felt was a bit soon to be honest but it was kind of sprung on me. We barely knew each other and I'd never had experience with children at all really. He was in the middle of a rather messy separation and only got little contact with dc. Dp and I moved in quite quickly, so I had to get used to a new man, his dc every second weekend and support him through dealing with the ex w. she left him for another man and to be honest it was obvious he wasn't fussed about her but heart broken about not seeing dc as much.

I won't get into everything EXW has done as it will take forever but put it this way she has not made things easy at all. She would start and stop contact, try and make dp feel bad for not doing things for her, would text constantly about utter shit but worst of all she insisted that dsc called the new man daddy.

So as has went on things still aren't great with EXW, we live quite close to them, still only get dsc every 2nd weekend and some holidays. So dsc doesn't see our home as her home and because of problems we have had with them we haven't had much to do with dsc schooling or hobbies as that's the time she is at her mothers.

I'm finding this all so difficult. I know Ive been in dc life for over 3 yrs now but I still don't know what my role is? Dp is a great father and we take dc on holiday and she gets loads of love and attention and she is happy when she is here but that's it, all other aspects of her life we have no involvement or control over. I wish I knew how it's supposed to be. Should dp be more involved? He work full time so it's not even like we could have more contact as Dc has other siblings/ step siblings at main home too so they want to spend time with her on alternate weekends.

A big part that I've not mentioned is that dp and I have newly had a baby together and it's like dsc sees her brother at her main home more as a brother than our baby. I just don't like the way things have turned out and would like to know if there is anyone in a similar situation to me.

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