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Worried about upsetting DDs stepmum

(13 Posts)
PeruvianFoodLover Thu 08-Jan-15 17:49:42

My DD (14) is shared parented 50:50 between me and her Dad; both he and I are remarried, so DD has a stepmum and a stepdad.

My DH has never had a parental role in DDs life; he backs me up and acts a responsible adult but at arms length. My DDs stepmum has always had more of a parental role; attending school meetings, dentist appointments etc in place of me or ex. Yes, it used to piss me off when DD was younger (they've been married 4 years) but I've learnt to live with it. I have no idea how DDs stepmum feels about it; my ex always gets very defensive when I try and discuss it with him (backstory is that when we split he didn't seem to think there was a difference between my role in DDs life and his mum and sister, so not a surprise he thinks the same about his DW). So, she might love beings mother figure in DDs life, then again, she might resent it, I just don't know.

A few months ago, I discovered, after the fact, that ex had been away for several nights during the time that DD was with him, so DDs stepmum was solely responsible for her. I made it clear to ex and DD that if it was going happen again, I'd like to know, so I could talk to DD about whether she'd prefer to come here.

So, I've been told by DD that ex will be away for 4 days/nights in a few weeks time. Unlike the previous time, this will be a weekend and school holidays, so DDs stepmum will be responsible for her all day, not just before/after school. I'm more than happy for DD to come to me - she'll undoubtedly make plans with friends etc, so will be out and about. DD is a typical teen; doesn't think she needs an adult around at all and in that typical teen way says that she "doesn't mind" where she has to sleep/check in with, or which wifi she's using!

My question is, should I insist DD is "with me" on those days, or will that upset stepmum? As I say, I don't know how stepmum feels about it - I think I'd be a bit pissed off if my DH cleared off for 4 days leaving me with his teen DD though? Despite DDs age, being responsible for her is still a commitment and responsibility.

I'm worried I'm projecting my own values; if my DH was away and I was child-free, I'd be looking to chill out in the bath, slob in my onsie, have a girlie night with friends - but if DD was here, we'd have some girlie time together; so should I give DD that opportunity with her stepmum?


SnowWhiteAteTheApple Thu 08-Jan-15 18:23:45

If the circumstances were reversed and you went away for a few days, would you be upset if your ex said your DH was not to care for her and he would have her for that time?

If your Dad is happy to go as usual then let her. Far better she has step parents who treat her as their own than ones for resent her like so many do.

needaholidaynow Thu 08-Jan-15 18:24:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ladybird20 Thu 08-Jan-15 18:32:31

I'd be honest and say what you've just said here.

Ask your DD what she'd prefer to do, ask her stepmum if she wants her and that you understand if she'd like some time to herself whilst her DH is away.
Would she be taking time off work to look after her?

I wouldn't insist on anything, but just have a conversation and let them know that you're happy for DD to stay with you during that time.

It sounds like she's a lovely stepmum, you're very lucky x

PeruvianFoodLover Thu 08-Jan-15 18:59:46

ask her stepmum if she wants her and that you understand if she'd like some time to herself whilst her DH is away.

ladybird I'm wondering if that's part of my problem, tbh - I don't have the kind of relationship with DDs stepmum that I can "ask her". Other than a polite hello in passing on the odd occasion we've been at the same events, we haven't spoken at all - I don't have her phone number or email address. I assume that she's got mine - but I can't just call her up and ask. Although I've not pushed it, I get the feeling that ex wants to keep us apart; he rushes her away if we run into each other, for instance.
I assume he's worried I'll share some of the skeletons in his closet - or he's painted me as a psycho - whichever it is, I'm not that bothered, but want to make sure DD is happy and isn't considered a nuisance.

yellowdaisies Thu 08-Jan-15 23:00:04

I've been in pretty much that position as a step mum - DH prefers to leave the DSC with me if he's away - and this has included him being away overnight for a night or two, if it's a time when they'd usually be here. He feels it's easier for the kids to have a settled routine and not to be shipped between houses out of their usual routine just because he's away. He's always checked that it's OK with me, but has usually not mentioned it to his ex.

However he did mention it to her one time recently because I wasn't able to drop them back, so he asked her to collect and she said she didn't want them staying just with me, so could he drop them all back early (this meant getting them all up out of bed on a Sunday morning, so wasn't popular with them). She's asked in future for DH to drop them at hers if he isn't going to be around.

I have a similar kind of non-relationship with his ex as yours sounds - no hostility really but she doesn't really acknowledge my existence if she can help it.

So to answer your question - I genuinely don't mind much whether the DSC are here with me or at their mum's. They're the same sort of age as your DD and I don't find them that needy. I would appreciate his ex offering to have the DSC if DH isn't around at a time when they'd normally be with us, and I would very much appreciate her picking them up so I don't have to. If she'd like to take the opportunity to spend some quality time with them, then that would be lovely (they're with us every weekend so she doesn't get much)

But I do feel a bit put out by the way she's brought it up which has very much been telling DH that it's somehow wrong for him to leave them with me. She's implied that he's let them down by being away (less so if it's work, but very much if it's a social thing he wants to do) and that she's been dumped on again hasn't she? so she'll just have to have them for the day, poor her, kind of thing. No, no, I shouldn't have them as that's not my job. I'm left feeling that she doesn't want me around them, and the DSC end up feeling like they're a chore I think if they get wind of the conversation.

So in your position I would offer to have DD any time your ex wants if he's away (or at least invite him to ask you whether it suits) But if he wants to leave DD with his DW, and DD is happy with that, then I don't think I'd push the issue.

My own kids have a DSM who most definitely isn't happy about ever looking after them when my ex isn't around. It's not hard to tell that this is the case, so I'd guess if your DD thinks her DSM is alright about it, she's probably right.

JorgiePorgie Fri 09-Jan-15 09:27:42

I was going to say give DD a choice. If she's happy and wants to go with her DSM leave her go. If she wants to stay with you instead that's fine also. But then I read she doesn't mind either way. Typical teen with the vague answers.

What is your relationship like with your ex? Could you make the suggestion to him about her staying with you? Would DD have a contact for her DSM that you could get hold of her on?

Maybe it might be best broaching the subject of you and your ex's wife having each other's contact details - especially if she is going to be solely responsible for DD quite a bit. It makes sense in case of any emergencies or delays of sorts when her dad isn't present.

Clueing4looks Fri 09-Jan-15 09:36:27

Does your DD have her stepmum's number or email address?

TheJingleMumsRush Fri 09-Jan-15 10:52:32

Personally I'd prefer my DSC to be with mum. I'd love her to think of me and ask! Is that something you can do? I don't really see the point in contact if the dc isn't with the parent.

TheJingleMumsRush Fri 09-Jan-15 10:53:52

Sorry, just read you can't ask. Could this be a good ice breaker (you could clear it with Dd first)

yellowdaisies Fri 09-Jan-15 11:20:13

I don't think I'd be inclined to ask her direct if your DH normally expects you to deal with him. If she's not told him she doesn't want to have DD she's very unlikely to tell you. And if he is putting pressure on her to have DD when she doesn't want to (and he knows it) then again, she probably won't tell you and if she did, would you really want to get involved in a dispute between them? I think your ex, and possibly DD too, might think you'd gone behind their backs rather disbelieving them when they tell you DSM is happy to be at home with DD.

If my DH's ex approached me direct about something like that, I'd be a bit suspicious of why she'd not gone through DH like she usually does and I'd feel I should be loyal to DH and wouldn't tell her anything she hadn't already heard through him - ie even if we had just had a row about me looking after the DSC I wouldn't want to be involving her in it.

newstart15 Sat 10-Jan-15 09:04:42

I do think that if the DSM is acting in the parental role you should each have the others details and feel able to contact each other.What if there was a medical emergency for your daughter whilst with DSM? The stepmum doesn't have parental responsibility so can't act in dd's interests.
I would explain this to DSD and then discuss with the ex (even if its difficult) as the current position isnt the best approach.At best you and the stepmum need to be able to have some contact or your dd should be with the person who has parental responsibility.

alwaystryingtobeafriend Sun 11-Jan-15 10:43:42

I think it's really old of you to consider stepmum. I know my dsc mum would never think to ask me although she may well ask dp to ask me if it was ok.

I would ask dd what she wants then relay that to your ex or his wife whoever you communicate with. Dds stepmum will I've to be ok of you dd chooses to be with you. Its not really up to her.

Wish my dos ex was as thoughtful!!

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