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Playing mum but not being mum

(21 Posts)
GreenGoth89 Tue 28-Jul-15 22:31:39

We've had my DP's 3 1/2 y/o son here for nearly 3 months now. I love him to bits. His mum has mental health issues and has a violent man around her, shes not seeing him often at all and her family have advised us to think about only allowing her supervised visits. She maybe talks to him a couple of times a week. I do everything that a mum would do with him (asides active stuff as I have a disability, but DP takes on all that stuff and more), but I'm aware i'll never actually be his mum. I find it really tough, especially when my partner overrules how I feel on certain topics (like him being brought up with some influence of my beliefs, going to a religious school just because its good, having him looked at ASAP by a SENCO person because we have worries about him having ADHD/ADD etc), because I'm not his biological mum. I've been in his life for more than half of it, and we were talking about that to do if anything happened to my DP and he said that DSS's mum would kick up a S**T storm if he made arrangements for me to have custody in event of his death - frankly I don't care because she's not safe for him to be around, she gave him up willingly because she knew she couldn't cope and provide what he needs.

What can I do about how i feel and all the rest of it?

mummyneedinganswers Wed 29-Jul-15 00:41:47

Well to be fair your aren't his mum and I don't think you should have a say in his schooling ect as that's for his parents to decide. Just because the mother has mental health issues doesn't make her a bad mum and certainly does not make her a danger to him. She obviously recognized that she wasn't coping and did the right thing by giving him to his father to look after until she gathers herself together. I think your being very harsh and judgemental on her for her health issues which you can't judge on unless u have experienced the reality of mental health. And the reason I probably sound very guarded with this is because I have bipolarand I struggled with mental health in the past with suicidal thoughts self harm and much more but I'm now 22 weeks pregnant and completely stable not on medication. It is possible for people with mental health problems to get better and look after there kids but you have to support them. Any way back to the issue. No matter how long you have been there In my opinion it still not your responsibility to insist on things like ADHD assessments etc that is the role of his father. You say he's 31/2 and that you have been there for half of it but actually that's not very long and definitely not long enough for your dp yo be discussing custody to you if something happens. That little boy should go to family member if anything happens eg fathers family or mothers. I would write mother out of his life as if she will never cope as mental health isn't always permanent.

frankly I don't care as she's not safe for him

Well who are you to make that decision she is his MOTHER not you. To be quite honest I think you are very ignorant of people with mental issues. In my opinion you are trying to be that little boys mother and your doing it far to quick you are not his mother and shouldnt be maiking decisions as if you are !!

mummyneedinganswers Wed 29-Jul-15 00:43:57

And Ithink you need to stop playing mum

mummyneedinganswers Wed 29-Jul-15 00:45:40

I wouldn't write mother out*

CamelHump Wed 29-Jul-15 00:50:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FluffyBumOnTheRun Wed 29-Jul-15 07:13:04

You sound lovely op, and I think you are right to be worried about mum making decisions regarding her little boy if she still seeing someone who is violent (that's not her showing good decision making until she gets better)

Like the poster above said, keep doing what you are doing. But before you look that far down the line of custody maybe look into PR for yourself. You may need it if you are going to be a big part of his life.

Penfold007 Wed 29-Jul-15 07:25:41

OP you are not his mother put bluntly you're his dad's girlfriend. If anything happened to your partner it's unlikely you would be awarded custody. Decisions re faith and education need to be made by the child's parents not you.

PeruvianFoodLover Wed 29-Jul-15 07:37:51

OP all you can do is ensure that your DSS needs are met while he is in your care, including providing him with a loving, stable home.

But, you can't overrule his parents decisions - your DSS is not your responsibility to mould as he grows up.

At the risk of sounding harsh, you need to emotionally detach in order to give your DSS what he needs from you - step back, and provide him with the support he needs as his parents make decisions that they believe are right for him.

GreenGoth89 Wed 29-Jul-15 13:25:26

mummyneedinganswers: I know very well what its like to be in her position as I have had my own struggles with MH, and have been in similar situations to her but I took help when it was offered where as she never will take help or her medication unless told she'll be sectioned. Social services have been involved several times and have urged her to hand him over to my partner but she always said no. Her family have said she is a danger not me! I am not trying to write his mother out but she seems to have little interest in seeing him, I can't force her to see him. I know he misses her but theres obviously a lot going on in her life right now.

I wouldn't expect to overrule my partner's decisions but I would like my thoughts to be taken into account on occasion. I do help bring him up. I understand I may need to emotionally detach myself but I have no idea where to start!

girlwiththegruffalotattoo Wed 29-Jul-15 14:49:45

I think you need to have an open and honest conversation with your partner really. What does he see your role as and what does he expect/want from you?

Glitteryarse Wed 29-Jul-15 14:55:19

My mother has MH do I know what damage it can do to a family and children.

I think you just have to be kind and loving and nurture him the best you can. Regarding the religious beliefs, you can't push that.

What make you think he might need assessing? It could just be a result of an upturned life by the issues his mother has and the move to yours

Glitteryarse Wed 29-Jul-15 14:58:31

I wouldn't detach from him - it sounds like he needs as much love and support as he can get. You can do that without making huge decisions about his life.

Your looking after some one else's child but you are in the position to be amazing influence in his little life.

wheresthelight Wed 29-Jul-15 18:18:38

The schooling and religious influence is a massive overstepping of the mark I am afraid. It is not your call and your partner is absolutely right to overrule you.

As to the custody in the event of his death, that again isn't your call. Your do needs a frank and open discussion with his family and his ex's family as the child should wherever possible be kept with a blood relative.

Sorry but you need to step back and I say that as a step parent myself

wheresthelight Wed 29-Jul-15 18:45:10

Sorry had to attend to screaming toddler...

Your post does show you love this little boy and that is a massive plus for you and you clearly have his best interests at heart.

However, he isn't your child and you need to find a role in his life without trying to replace his mum. I am not sure you mean to come across like that though. You do need to talk to your dp and set boundaries for what his expectations are re your role. He cannot expect you to raise his son and then allow you absolutely no say in how that is done but I do think the issues you have raised are not yours to have a say on.

GreenGoth89 Wed 29-Jul-15 18:46:41

Tbh, I'm pagan and all I want to pass on to him is a deep respect for nature...not really even a religious idea but I don't really know how or if I should breach this subject. Probably not from what you guys are saying!

He has spoken to them about what to do if anything happens and they basically said they would find it difficult to have him. but yeah, its not my place, I just want to make sure he's safe.

My partner has ADD and he's worried that he does have ADHD/ADD because he literally cannot keep attention when people are talking to him, but he doesn't want him looked at right now because he doesn't see the point (I think he doesn't want him to be put on meds like he was as a kid...even though he could say no to meds for him :/)

Where are the boundaries?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 29-Jul-15 18:51:36

If your stepson has ADD/AHD, then the earlier this is diagnosed, the better. A diagnosis does not necessarily mean medication. However, at the end of the day it will have to be your husband and the child's mother who decide

wheresthelight Wed 29-Jul-15 19:15:54

Can you not do that without labelling it as a religious thing?

ADD is a bug label for a little kid, he is 3 if I read your posts correctly so in all honesty a lot of the issues you have said and knowing a fair amount about the process for ADD assessment (dss just been through it) you might be right however it is equally and imho more likely to be his way of dealing with everything that has/is happening to him.

Rather than trying to force a diagnosis could you maybe suggest a conversation with his hv/social worker about some additional emotional support for him? He has had an awful lot happen to him at a very vulnerable age and I suspect your dp is worried that labelling him this early could have devastating effects especially if he had a bad experience.

I honestly believe your heart is in the right place but your role needs to be supportive rather than driving if that makes sense? Let your dp take the lead on things

theendoftheendoftheend Wed 29-Jul-15 19:27:28

Don't detach from the poor boy! You are playing a very valid and important part in his life, step-parents can be excellent, loving parents and be a vital part of a child's life especially when 1 parent has taken a step back for whatever reason. I think you should continue playing your role in his life and let things develop organically. It's still relatively early days

GreenGoth89 Wed 29-Jul-15 22:03:52

I think part of the problem here is that DP is often asking me to sort things out - finding nurseries, doctors etc. We still don't have a HV - we've asked the previous one to refer him to our nearest as the doctors wouldn't let us register until we had his child benefit forms back (which are also dragging their heels). What kind of additional emotional support could be offered? I've spoken to a friend who has trained as a SENCO and she said that at this stage it could be either or both, but nothing can happen before we get a HV!

wheresthelight Wed 29-Jul-15 23:59:43

Speak to a different gp, I have never needed child benefit forms to register and as soon as he is registered the hv should be informed!

In regards additional support, counselling would be my first port of call. There are some excellent therapists who specialise in young children. There may be a waiting list but you need to get him seen!

If your dp is expecting you to do certain things officially like doctors etc you definitely need to speak to his social worker and request some form of parental responsibility be granted. This can be done without removing it from his actual mum also. You need to protect yourself from any potential come back too!

swingofthings Thu 30-Jul-15 08:28:08

You only had him for three months full-time and you are already feeling that you should have a say on health and religious education? You seriously need to take an emotional step-back. However much you are involve in his care and getting attached to him, you are not his parent. The fact that his mum is currently deficient doesn't mean you have to take over. He has a dad to make all these decisions, and his views should without a doubt take precedence to yours.

You can encourage the child to care for nature without having to impose pegan rituals.

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