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The mask slips on the stepmother

(69 Posts)
Aimc1970 Tue 08-Oct-13 19:53:37

My daughter 13 has been visiting her dad every 2nd weekend for the last 6 years. At first his new girlfriend was great and done girlie things with her but now they have a sin my daughter is feeling pushed out and each time she comes home from his she is telling me how the now fiancé treats her and threatens her with telling her dad everything. Making snide comments like N what is for dinner ? Answer. - none of your business and whatever it is you will like it as you are having nothing else. Another one when she turns up to collect her on fri. When I'm at work She sits in the car and lets my daughter struggle with bag of clothes school bag for Monday and her cello.

The dad works most weekends so is not there so I feel that N resents my daughter being there as she "wants to enjoy her weekend"
There is lots if other examples so I really don't want to send her and she doesn't want to go but I have to work late on Friday night. Saturdays and Sundays.

Can someone please help with some friendly advice as I could confront him but he always just gets angry shouts and doesn't listen

Please help

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Oct-13 20:02:42

Oh dear that sounds awful. Something which strikes me as odd is your daughter being there at the weaken when her father isn't there. This clearly isn't working as the SM resents it. Do you and her father bth work every weekend? I don't know what else to suggest but I wouldn't be wanting to subject my child to this either, it sounds like her father needs to do the parenting but he's leaving it to his fiancé. What age is their son? She's possibly exhausted if he doesn't help at all

elliebellys Tue 08-Oct-13 20:05:36

Would it be possible to sit down nd have a chat with exh.maybe working out alternative contact time when dad is actually around to be able to spend more time with her.

3littlefrogs Tue 08-Oct-13 20:10:36

I expect the "stepmother" resents being used as free childcare while you and your exH both work. Perhaps having a baby of her own to look after as well is too much.

No excuse for the nastiness and comments, but I think you have to sort out contact child care while you are working as two separate issues.

Your exh should be available to look after his daughter when necessary, but you and he need to arrange that without involving anyone else.

TheWinterOne Tue 08-Oct-13 20:20:44

I think you really need to speak to your ex about this. The re is no need for snide comments but maybe SM is fed up of being what seems to be the sole carer of your DD when the reason she is there is to spend time with dad.

Maybe new arrangements need to be made. Why is your ex agreeing to spend the weekend time with DD when he is hardly there himself?
It can't be too nice for your DD either - knowing that dad is flat out working and that she's not going to be seeing much of him.

Whereisegg Tue 08-Oct-13 20:24:12

Yes I find it odd that your dd is there if her father isn't.

I very rarely have my dss if his dad isn't going to be in the house, I am happy to help in emergencies etc but all weekend, every weekend? No Thankyou.

How late are you working these evenings?
Is there a neighbour who would keep an eye on her if not too late and you consider your dd sensible?

Nothing excuses the sm's nastiness though hmm

Petal02 Tue 08-Oct-13 20:32:21

Like other posters, I wondered why you send your daughter off to her Dad's when he's not around.

It doesn't excuse the nastiness, but it might explain why there could be resentment.

needaholidaynow Tue 08-Oct-13 21:23:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CountryGal13 Tue 08-Oct-13 22:08:34

'Threatens her with telling her dad everything' my mum used to always threaten me with this if I didn't behave! It certainly didn't make me feel like I was being mistreated.
Maybe the sm has made nasty comments to your daughter but on the other hand my step children could easily go home and tell their mum I'd said something they didn't like but I can guarantee that my side of the story would be different.
If my husband is working then he takes them to his mum's or back home. They come here to see their dad not me.

BlissfullyIgnorant Tue 08-Oct-13 22:18:02

You say DD is 14, OP. is she able to tell her dad she's unhappy about things? At her age she is allowed to demonstrate her feelings and make her own decisions. None of you should force her into an unhappy situation.

daisychain01 Tue 08-Oct-13 22:43:56

Blissfully at the age of only 14, it is probably a big-ask for DD to know how to express feelings of unhappiness to what seems to be an absent, remote and perhaps distant DF. The fact he leaves his daughter for long spells of time does not bode well. Poor kid probably just feels miserable and "in the way".

Unbelievable that the DD is only there every 2nd weekend and yet the father works so doesnt have any quality time with her! How sad is that!

I would definitely have a conversation with xH and highlight that it isnt good in so many ways (SM feels frustrated and takes it out on DD, DD feels rejected and lonely, XH isnt building a proper relationship with his daughter during her early years, and so on). He has to get a grip, and fast!!

wickedwitchNE Tue 08-Oct-13 22:45:08

To be honest there is nothing you have said about SM which is that unreasonable. All the things the SM said to your daughter my own mum said to me. Of course she will threaten with telling her dad - he is her parent whereas SM is not, it is his job to discipline and parent her and know what she is doing.

Which also means your daughter should not be left with her SM for extended periods of time. It is not SM's responsibility, and her dad is out of order allowing it to happen. I have looked after my DSD on occasion, but it is rare and when there is no other way DP could realistically see her.

As for the nasty comments, there is no need. Clearly your daughter isn't happy with the arrangement, but you need to talk about it like adults not be picking holes in each other's parenting or encouraging DD to do so. For all you know she could just not like being told off or made to eat all her dinner - at 13 I would be surprised if she had nothing to complain about! It sounds like DD could do with having her dad around more to listen to her whinges though, especially if she really does feel pushed out - can you do anything to make sure he steps up and is there for his daughter more??

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 08-Oct-13 22:53:30

13 year old girls are damn hard work, and your DDs stepmum is coming to terms with being a Mum - it's hardly surprising she's losing it, tbh.

This comment made me smile; Making snide comments like N what is for dinner ? Answer. - none of your business and whatever it is you will like it as you are having nothing else
I know my fair share of 12-14 year old girls and none of them would ask the civil, neutral question what is for dinner?. It would undoubtedly be accompanied by eye rolling, sighing, attitude and generally disrespect. The answer your DD got from her stepmum is almost identical to the one my own DD was given when she just asked the same thing this evening!

Don't underestimate the influence that you are having on the situation, either. Your DD undoubtedly knows the lack of respect you have for her stepmum - your OP is littered with barbed comments and thoughtless remarks which your DD will pick up on as a green light to behave as badly towards her SM.

As for Dad letting your DD struggle with her bags - good on him! It's a lesson the staff at DSS school beg the parents to teach their DCs. She wants the gear with her, she carries it. He's clearly not a DisneyDad if he's teaching her those lessons smile

I'm lost for words regarding your attitude towards your DDs SM when it comes to you and your DDs Dad working though. No wonder your DD is acting up if you have given her the impression that neither of her parents are prepared to take responsibility for her because they are too busy working.

Xalla Wed 09-Oct-13 06:47:40

I agree with all of the above. Your DD shouldn't be left in the care of her SM when clearly neither of them is happy with the arrangement. It's up to you and your ex to rectify that. She isn't there to be an unpaid childminder while the two of you work and like you say, she has her own child to care for. If she works during the week I can fully understand her wanting the weekends to spend with her son.

Perhaps dividing the weekend up would be an answer - you take Fri - Sat off work and your ex takes Sat - Sun off work or something to that effect.

As far as the comment about dinner goes, I say something along those lines to my own kids pretty much daily! "You'll eat what I go to the trouble of cooking you" is hardly brutal parenting imo.

Mojavewonderer Wed 09-Oct-13 07:22:08

I would not like to baby sit my husbands kids every other weekend either if he is not even going to be there.
No excuse for her odd behaviour towards her though, although I do suspect she resents being a free baby sitter.
If you don't want this situation to carry on then you need to sort out other child care arrangements. You need to have a word with the ex and get it sorted out pronto.

FrauMoose Wed 09-Oct-13 07:49:44

I think by the time children are in their teens they should have a choice about when they want to see the non-resident parent.

A teenager doesn't need to be minded and supervised. Communication via phone, email etc is much more easily done. Plus teenagers have their own social life.

It sounds as if for one reason or another, more flexible arrangements could be good for everybody.

I think the main thing is to talk about it in a way that avoids blaming and rows, and which is more centred on helping your daughter to grow up happily.

TheMumsRush Wed 09-Oct-13 07:50:00

My dss asks what's for dinner. This weekend I said well, you have two choices, take it or leave it grin. I wouldn't worry too much about that one. I think every mum gets a bit peeved at that constant question at some point....along with "how long will it be?" confused. You do need to sort child care though if neither you or your ex can look after your dd. I'm not a glorified babysitter and don't have thine kids if DH has work. It's his time with them, not mine, I have my own ds to look after.

redcaryellowcar Wed 09-Oct-13 08:57:15

I had a evil stepmother growing up, since my sister and I got older and more independent our relationship has improved but I dreaded spending time with her without my dad, luckily my mum supported this so we went less frequently but when we did go we saw lots of my dad, seemed pointless to go and not spend time with him. please support your daughter in this as the relationship between step daughter and step mother is difficult and I would almost describe my step mothers actions as jealous!

redcaryellowcar Wed 09-Oct-13 09:08:57

p.s I think the what's for dinner question could be quite innocent, my husband would ask if I had said I was cooking but he would know that I would only make him something he would eat, if step mother is reasonable and rational surely she would just say 'spaghetti' etc rather than being confrontational for the sake of it!

heidiwine Wed 09-Oct-13 09:17:22

I agree with the other posters who say that the SM should not be routinely looking after your daughter while your ex is at work. That puts pressure on both parties - neither of them want it by the sounds of things.

My DP has a 13 year old and our relationship has changed massively over the past 6 months. I find her extremely difficult simply by virtue of the fact that she is a 13 year old girl who (like most 13 year old girls) is demanding of attention, judgemental of everyone's actions and an authority on almost everything (including my dress sense and cooking). This is really hard work when I can't snap at her like I would with my own child - most of the time I just nod and let it wash over me but every now and then I do snap. I am sure that she complains about me with her mum (who will love hearing about my failings). My 'mask' hasn't slipped I am just worn out and I have my partner there for support all the time.

I think you probably need to talk to your ex and work out an arrangement that means he's caring for your daughter and not delegating that responsibility.

Kaluki Wed 09-Oct-13 10:06:57

The "what's for dinner?" question sounds innocent enough, but my DSC often ask then when I tell them they whine that they don't like this or that so I say the same thing to them. I wouldn't cook something they didn't like but I refuse to cook separate meals when they are just being fussy and don't fancy something.
Your DDs stepmum might be tired, stressed and taken for granted and just snapped.
It sounds like she needs a break and your ex needs to step up.

PurpleGirly Wed 09-Oct-13 10:14:46

Hbving been in the DSMs position, looking after DSS when mother was on holidays and DH was working. I have sympathy with her. I had PND and struggled, and resented the fact I was used as free babysitting - being a teacher meant I was there in the holidays and to her it meant weeks at a time 'off'.

When she had more DC she wanted him back in the holidays to babysit for them!

theothermrssoos Wed 09-Oct-13 12:12:12

Hmmm. Tricky.

I have an almost 11YO step son who behaves/talks like a stroppy 14 year old the majority of the time, and I have my own kids: a 5 and a 2 year old girls. We have him every other weekend, Fri-Sun. If my DH had to work that weekend, I wouldn't bat an eyelid at "babysitting". I would happily do it. Even if DH only got a few hours in the evening with his son, it would be better than him getting none because I won't have him.

DH does school runs on occasion for me, looks after them if I have a lot of errands to run, he will do bedtime if I'm poorly etc. When you marry someone who was child/ren with an ex, you have to accept that and be prepared to look after them like they are your own children.

My ex is currently dating a 19 year old (hes 27) and that is causing some friction due to her wanting to go out on the lash all the time and him caving in to her teenage demands. I would much rather my ex be with a woman who is willing to love our girls the way my DH loves them.

My Dads 2nd wife was a fucking horror bag nightmare, who despite having 3 kids and grandkids of her own, hated the fact that my Dad had 3 kids from his first marriage. My Dads 3rd wife is amazing, they've been together ten years and she is like a mother to me, and that has included arguments, fighting, cuddles, support.

If your DDs step mum is having her at the weekends when your ex isnt there, Id be grateful, not moaning. Teenagers are hard, even more so when they arent yours and you cant discipline them.

Theyre just my thoughts on the subject.

TheCrumpetQueen Wed 09-Oct-13 12:17:50

I too find it odd she goes there when her dad isn't there.

Much as I loved my stepmum, I wouldn't have wanted to hang out with her all weekend without my dad!

theothermrssoos Wed 09-Oct-13 12:32:06

I suppose Im lucky in that I (so far) have a good relationship with DSS. I let him play on xBox a little later than his Dad does, play out a little longer, and he talks to me about things that worry him that he doesn't want to talk to his Dad about cos he's worried about upsetting him. (Latest example: Mums boyfriend yelling at him, calling his Dad names. GRRR.)

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