The mask slips on the stepmother(69 Posts)
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
regardless of the comments, why on earth doesn't your daughter make three trips with bag of clothes school bag for Monday and her cello to the car? School bags don't weigh that much & surely she can't need THAT many cloths for the weekend?
Are you able to talk to your ex's new partner in a civil way? Perhaps a chat between the two of you might help?
My two stepchildren (full siblings) used to fight like cat and dog. They still have a rather complex relationship as adults, and are not conventionally close. One of the things that has always brought me joy is the way my stepchildren enjoyed having a little sister. My daughter and stepdaughter have a very affectionate relationship.
Eliza22 thats pretty much what I meant, I don't think I worded it properly.
My Dads 2nd wife was a nightmare. Openly hated all 3 of us from the off set (we were 8, 6, and 3 at the time) She was the OW and I was
still am a Daddys girl so I couldnt stand her. I've had a few arguments with my Dads 3rd wife (she's been around for 10 years, since I was 17) but she is still the first person I call when I have something on my mind. (I dont have a relationship with my "mother.")
From my experience with SMs, SDs, step-sisters, half-sisters, and full-sisters plus step-brothers (in total, on both sides, there are around 16 of us) people just naturally clash, don't get on for no particular reason. Blood or not.
I think we've established that it is NOT the responsibility of the SM and that the access needs to take place when dad can actually be physically/mentally present.
As for loving and treating your steps as your own? I treated mine as individuals who were in my life because of their dad. They had my attention any were welcomed; each treated the same; fuss was made about birthdays, Christmas, big events, achievements a new outfit....whatever! Years on I have two lovely young adults who are happy, seem well adjusted and visit as and when their busy lives permit. I also have one (their sibling) who hated me from the off and hasn't been to our home in over 2 years.
Now, some might argue (and this young woman has accused me of this) that I "let the motherly "mask" drop when no one else was watching and I was (absurdly) unkind to her. It is untrue and her siblings and my DH would say the same. However, there's no doubt in my mind that I am "the wicked stepmother" to youngest ds and her mother.
Equally it could be that the father is one of these men who insists on ‘access by proxy’ and considers that as long as the child has been removed from her mother’s care, he is having meaningful access, whether he is there or not
I agree, and I've minimised the amount of time my dd spends with xh's gf alone because she clearly doesn't want dd or dsd around, and they know it.
But she's not just seeing the SM is she, it's her weekend with her Dad and he will also be there when he's not at work? And as it's his time with his dd maybe he should be the one to give up work so his dd is happier. He's the one who has opted to work during contact time and not drop those hours or negotiate seeing his dd at a different time.
By stopping contact it means that she misses out on seeing her Dad too. That's where it gets more tricky. I think the general consensus on here is that in a together family things would have to be worked out and the children don't have another home or parent they can run to. And RPs have been slated for colluding with a child who doesn't want to go to their Dads. They don't get a choice about going to school, it should be the same with one of their parents, etc etc. I don't really see this thread as any different.
Early in my relationship I was in the position of the fiance in your story. DSD's mother would dump her here for indefinite periods but dh worked and still works 6/7 days a week so I did all of the childcare and entertaining as I worked (or didn't in those times) from home. Neither parent was bothered as they got on with their work/free time. I did my best with DSD as felt that as stepmother I should have a good relationship with her eventually though I said I thought it was ridiculous - the alternative was that she would sit at dh's work for the day. She stopped coming (as presumeably despite her and my best intentions it wasn't each other we really wanted to be with) and to this day it's my fault that I didn't put up and shut up according to her parents. Maybe the fiancee is protesting in a clumsy way to being a free babysitter. Can you blame her?
Equally it could be that the father is one of these men who insists on 'access by proxy' and considers that as long as the child has been removed from her mother's care he is having meaningful access, whether he is there or not.
If my 14 yr old were unhappy spending EOW with her step-mother who clearly want to do the ‘childcare’ either, I wouldn’t send her there. My need for ‘childcare’ or a break wouldn’t come into it.
Allnew – your point is very reasonable. But I do wonder if the OP is one of these women who insists on despatching her child, as per the rota, regardless of whether the arrangements are working or not?
In this case it sounds as if both the stepmother and the OP's DD are pissed off with the situation. And they are both perfectly justified in being so!
If my 14yo was unhappy with spending EOW with her step-mother who clearly didn't want to do the 'childcare' either, I wouldn't send her there. My need for 'childcare' or a break wouldn't come into it.
IME as a stepmother you have to treat DSC identically to your own DC for some issues and you have to treat them differently for others and that largely depends on the role that their own mother plays in their life. Each blended family is going to have different boundaries and so you need to go into the whole thing with a very open mind, being prepared to take on a lot of responsibility (or not) according to the personalities of everyone concerned.
What doesn't work is when parents treat stepparents as the "unpaid help" and dump the child-related chores they don't want to do on the SP while creaming off the fun for themselves.
I think that in our house my partner wanted me to treat my stepchildren - in many respects - as if they were my own. Certain important outside decisions regarding education or health certainly weren't mine to make. (Though I might do things like 'fill in' with parents evenings etc if neither he nor his ex were available.)
I think this is partly because children feel very strongly about fairness and to be seen to favour one's biological child - by heaping more praise on that child, taking that child's wishes more into account etc - isn't going to make 'blended' family life easier. I think it was also because he and his ex were just very different people. Her 'wiring'/personality whatever seemed to mean that she'd wanted to take all the decisions to do with the children when they were together, and his input was just seen as wrong. (Though he was permitted to take care of the children on those occasions when she declared that she was too exhausted, couldn't cope etc.) I think my partner had really missed out on the experience of jointly bringing up children with his first wife. Which meant he did want to involve me when my stepchildren were with us. And my stepchildren who were quite young seemed to very much want me to engage with them.
So although his ex saw it as her 'allowing contact' between the children and their father, what it was like for my partner, me and the children themselves was - I think - rather different.
What parent would insist on a scenario that their child us unhappy with, just because its the fathers "access time" and therefore his problem?
One who thinks that a relationship with the NRP is really important and that stopping contact is absolutely the last resort. One who doesn't want to interfere with what is going on in the other home, feels it best to raise the issue and leave them to find their own solution. One who thinks that after 6 years of there not being a problem with the SM, that it could be sorted out between the Dad, SM and teenager by them sitting down and having a talk. Or maybe even one who is afraid of the reaction from the ex or maybe courts if she didn't send the child.
And contact with the NRP is absolutely an opportunity to work and not have childcare opportunities. And a gift if, like me, you are the sole provider for the child and not getting maintenance.
Just want to add in here how much I agree completely with that allnew. I have 1 DSD and a DD on the way, a couple of people have raised the idea of me treating them both exactly the same, as if they were both mine. Have found it v difficult to explain why I don't want this, DSD and her Mum wouldn't want this, and it is completely unnecessary. I think the best SMs can maintain some 'distance' while still caring for DSC practically and emotionally, which I imagine can come in very useful as DSC grow up.
"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"
I would never, under any circumstances, want any woman to look after my child as if she were his mother. Most mothers, I suggest, would have a very large problem with another woman treating her children like she was their mother
Am I right in assuming that stepmum is the 19 year old?
@allnew - don't want to hijack, was just responding to @needaholidaynows comment about my post. was basically saying be grateful her ex has a partner willing to look after her kid, cos my ex is currently with a 19yo who cant stand my kids and causes a ridiculous amount of problems.
@needaholidaynow - I don't want to hijack the thread but this 19 year old has caused so many problems. Ex not seeing the kids because "we want to go out this weekend." Sodding off on a fortnights holiday abroad and not paying his Child Support because he needs the money "to spend on holiday." To name just two of the things that have made my blood boil in the last year. She cant stand the girls. Doesnt want to share my ex with his kids (and he sees them very little, 3 nights a month if they're lucky, and mostly he sods off out with her and leaves his parents to babysit, as thats where hes been living for the last 2.5 years)
I know step parent relationships are complicated. My Dads on his 3rd wife. (2nd wife was horror bag, his first wife was my mum, the less said about her the better) I don't speak to my Mum but I do speak to her 2nd husband who was in my life for 20 years (so much so that he attended my wedding this year and she did not.) And my kids call him Grandad 2.
I've got step parents and now I am a step parent. I've had a terrible SM and a fantastic SM.
What parent would insist on a scenario that their child us unhappy with, just because its the fathers "access time" and therefore his problem.
One who views 'contact' as an opportunity to work while avoiding childcare costs.
The OP says it herself - I really don't want to send her but I have to work.
I'm not unsympathetic to that, but equally, I have (in the past) changed my working hours/job in order to remove my DD from a nursery, and later an after school club, where she was unhappy.
At present, contact with Dad is linked to Mum working in this DDs mind. Who/what will DD begin to resent if Mum insists that contact continues despite DDs unwillingness?
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