Bill of rights(14 Posts)
I found this online and thought I would share it with you all.
A Stepmother's Bill of Rights
1. I will be part of the decision-making process in my marriage and family at all times.
2. People outside the immediate family - including ex-wives, in-laws and adult children - cannot make plans that affect my life without my consent.
3. I will not be responsible for the welfare of children for whom I can set no limits.
4. I must be consulted about which children will live with us, when they can visit and how long they will stay.
5. I will not be solely responsible for housework; chores will be distributed fairly.
6. I will be consulted regarding all family financial matters.
7. Others may not violate my private space at home, nor take or use my possessions without my permission.
8. I will never be treated as an "outsider" in my own home.
9. My husband and stepchildren must treat me with respect.
10. Our marriage is our first priority, and we will address all issues together.
Yes, I saw this some years ago and didn't agree with all of it.
The woman who wrote it later got divorced, here is her blog:
Shame she got divorced. I agree with all of it, but it's how it's implemented that's important. A step Mum's rights are as important as everyone else's rights. It's easy to feel put upon and then try and demand your rights be acknowledged. Ideally no-one should have to read or want to live by such a thing, everyone in a family should be respected.
I hadn't seen this - strikes a chord!
When I first became a step mum I would have thought it a bit harsh, wouldn't have seen the point of 'exes etc cannot make plans' or would have left it up to my partner to 'set the limits'.
But now I very much DO see the point!!
However, my DP or DSCs would not agree - what about a 'bill of rights' of the whole family from different perspectives?
1.Completely agree works both ways
2. Get real - works both ways. New partners will not get pregnant and expect the old to just take the DCs at the drop of a hat because a baby is coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3.Very sad that people feel theycan dismiss anychilds welfare as not their responsibility. So if you see a small kid doing something dangerous because you can not set controls you will letthem injure themselves?
4.Ohmigod - does your DP have no say in his children
5.Completely bloody agree!
6. Completely agree!
7.That just happens in families and is not always malcious, annoying but will happen.
8. Agree - but your DP sets the tone
9. Sorry respect is earned, not a right. I do not expect my DCs to respect a woman who emotionally abuses them - be polite but that is it. She hsa done nothing to earn respect.
10. No your DPs children are his first priority - sorry your marriage should not be his priority
I think the question of whether marriage or kids should be a priority is interesting. Is it second partners/wives who must come second because other children were there first?
If you were married and had your first child, - would you tell your husband that he now comes second?
I think it's very normal in first marriages/relationships that children come first for period of times. As the children are usually joint of that relationship it doesn't appear to be as much of an issue as in second families. I don't know why insecurity maybe?
I'd say with 3 children between us there has been periods over our marriage were they definitely are first and our relationship second. Those periods are hard and we defiantly then need us time to rebalance it.
Some I agree with as basic principles for a family. Some I disagree with and wouldn't want applied in our family.
Oh if only these rules were followed.
The only one I object to a bit is the last one. I hate the phrase “the children come first”. It’s like get out of jail free card giving permission to treat your partner like shit because they are automatically second in line. Your FAMILY as a whole should come first and you should all respect each other’s place in that family unit. Priorities change according to the situation you are in and no one person in a family should automatically be elevated to a higher status, for any reason.
It varies whose needs must take priority at any one time, sometimes it's us, the adults, other times it's the kids, sometimes it's one kid in particular. I will say though, if our marriage failed, I honestly don't think my DSD would find it any less horrific than our DC would so actually I think it's in her interests that on occasion, our marriage 'comes first'.
I think point 2 is a bit ridic....they can and they will!
3 I think could be rephrased "I will not take responsibility for raising children for whom I can set no limits"
4 is interesting isn't it. I would have totally disagreed with this in the beginning. But now I think - yes it can in certain circumstances.
Particularly if the Step Parent is going to be in a position of being around the child a lot so will have to parent it - then it is crazy not to be part of this decision surely?
I am in the position of having a 19 yr old DSD want to come back to live with us - she's been with her mum for 8 months - and as a stay at home mum and her only part time college (her Dad at work long hours) I will be the main responsible adult. She does not cooperate with me and resents me and will treat it like being in a hotel. I do feel like I should have a say in this.
I agree with all of it, of course there needs to be give and take and maybe the tone of the rules comes across a bit strong, but they're all valid points.
I also agree that the marriage comes first, or at least equal to the DCs.
DH and I were close to splitting up a few years ago and we went for relationship counselling and the main thing he made us realise is that our relationship must come first, we must show the DCs that we are united, and by doing that it improves the whole family. It doesn't mean that any of our children are treated worse or get less time with us etc...but if we don't look after our relationship we'll end up losing each other and our children will be the ones who will suffer from an unhappy home or having to go through another break up, and that is not what we want for ourselves or for them.
So yes, our marriage is valued just as importantly as our relationships with our children.
Also by DH showing my DSC that our marriage is important, it has helped them to respect me, they were resisting the changes in their life because DH often treated them the same as he did before we were together, by seeing their Dad treat me and our family with more importance it helped them to realise that things have changed and they're never going back to how they were before he met me...which is clearly what they were hoping and longing for.
So everybody is happier now that our relationship is stronger.
CandyLane - it is very nice to hear a positive story! Which seems to highlight that this 'bill of rights' although a bit harsh in parts - could help a couple work together.
I think the number 4 one needs to be about routines and ground rules rather than every single time a DC will be in the house - "when they can visit and how long they can stay" does make them sound like barely-tolerated intrusions - I would never make a permanent change to the routine my DC have with going to their dad's without consulting DH - and I would expect him to do the same with me. But both of us frequently agree to DC/DSC coming round/staying over on a day to day basis for a whole host of reasons - we'd run it by the other one if possible, but more often we say yes first, and then just let the other one know what the agreement was. It's not as clear cut as either living here or else behaving like invited guests. This is a home to all of them, even though my DSC technically have their "main" home elsewhere.
If you have a strict rule that you can't ever agree to a DC/DSC being in the house without asking permission from your DP first, I think it would seem a bit to them that they weren't welcome in principle.
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