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Step parents and school

(167 Posts)
StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 12:22:12

Hello everyone,
I am a parent of an 18 year old girl and step parent to a 4 year old boy.
I have been a 50/50 step parent for over a year now, my step son stays with us 50% of the time and I parent him exactly as I parented my own child (except I have to admit I'm a bit less uptight this time!)
My partner and I agreed before we moved in together that we would parent equally, and that we would back each other up etc. As you would expect, and we do, we are a great team. I am the main carer when our step son is here.
I take him to school, doctors, dentist, after school & weekend activities, parties, bath, bed feed, read, play, discipline etc. I am basically his mother when he's with us and he's amazingly settled and happy to be with us, there are no barriers at all and I love him very much, as he does me. But I feel really irritated that I don't get to go to parents evening, assemblies etc, and that his care isn't discussed with me. I don't have much to do with his Mum but we do speak, she tends to tell her son that she doesn't like it he talks about me and the such, which I understand, I would be a bit perturbed if another woman was parenting my child! But I haven't just come along and joined in at playing Mum, it was agreed by all three adults that there would be a 50/50 agreement which included me. The dynamics work really well but I'm worried that I'm becoming resentful because I feel it's important for me to be involved in things like his schooling. Obviously I do homework, reading diary, costume making etc!! . The teachers all know who I am and discuss any immediate issues with me when I collecting him but I feel like all my hard work, especially being a parent to a small child again after watching my daughter spread her wings, is not recognised as anything more than a glorified babysitter! I am feeling a bit used really I guess. I feel that I have earned the right to be involved in his school life without feeling like I am intruding. I truly believe that his Mum buries her head in the sand when it comes to recognising exactly how much I parent and I genuinely feel that's unfair. I selfishly feel like I am doing all the work without any recognition. When I consider what extra involvement I would like I try to think how I'd feel if I were in the same situation, and because I know I'd be a bit of a cow about it I guess I'm finding it hard to approach...

Not even sure if this post needs an answer or if it's rhetorical. I think I just need to get some stuff off my chest!!!! Any advice is gratefully received.

ArmfulOfRoses Fri 01-Apr-16 12:26:20

Why is none of this your partner's fault?

Bonkerz Fri 01-Apr-16 12:31:29

This is how it's been with me for the last 13 years. If people ask I say I have 4 children. When dsd is here she is the same as my own children. Been like this every weekend and half all holidays since she was 18 months old and she turns 15 in a few weeks.its a totally thankless task and hurts more when she says hurtful things because I chose to love dsd this way.

agapanthii Fri 01-Apr-16 12:38:51

<I am basically his mother> No you are his father's partner. You love and care for him but you are not responsible for him. My childrens' nanny feeds them, takes them to get haircuts, helps with homework and is responsible for their well being during her working hours but has no overall responsibility for them.

If you feel that there is a lack of recognition, do not seek to get that from his mother or even his teachers; surely your partner should be the one to recognise your value and support?

Do you work outside the home, or is this your primary day to day role?

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 12:48:20

My partner doesn't help in the sense that if I am told something by my dsd (what does dsd stand for?) that I have a concern about or that needs wider discussion with his Mum he'll contact her insinuating that it was him who has the issue/has been told something etc. thing is, there's no way my step son goes home then never mentions my name again! since we do everything together when he's here so it would be impossible even if he was told he's not supposed to talk about me!! He came home (we consider both houses as home) saying Mummy doesn't like it when I accidentally call her your name, and that really hurt my feelings! am I being completely irrational? he calls me by my name, or Mamma or, as I have told him, anything he likes as long as it's not smelly!! smile I figure he shouldn't feel any pressure and he balances that by telling me that I am the mummy doggy and he's my baby puppy! I think my partner is trying to be sensitive toward my step sons Mum's feelings but it's kinda defeating the object! I have spoken to him about this but still don't feel like I am described as a prominent parent figure when it comes to discussing my step son. Maybe I need to reiterate how I feel.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 01-Apr-16 12:49:35

Your role is a thankless one. Why can't you ask your partner these things? He can provide you with the answers you need.

You are putting a lot into your step child but remember he is not yours and your role although it is very important is not seen as essential because if you were not in the picture his mother and father would be fulfilling his needs.

I take my hat off to you as I would never go this far for someone else's children. My hands are full with my own and I feel SC can be a nightmare scenario

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 12:49:53

I feel for you, no doubt the teenage years will be a challenge for me too!! Luckily my partner always supports me so fingers crossed!

ArmfulOfRoses Fri 01-Apr-16 12:53:16

You are being irrational about the name thing, but then so is his mum.
It's easy enough to mix names up as an adult imo.

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 12:54:56

agapanthi - I feel like a nanny but I don't just perform perfunctory tasks for a child who, like work, is forgotten about the moment I get my own time. it's not a job, it's a vocation that I take very seriously. My partner does recognise my value and support, it's just a little bit one sided. I work from home full time and it is definitiely easier for me to fit in the school run etc as I can choose when I take lunch, to stop working at 4 and do an extra couple of hours after 8pm etc.

ArmfulOfRoses Fri 01-Apr-16 12:55:33

I really wouldn't be encouraging him to call you 'mama' though.
That would be something I'd kick up a fuss about as a mother and a step mother.

hownottofuckup Fri 01-Apr-16 12:58:45

shock just shock
You seem really unable to see this from any point of view other than your own and what you want.
You've been playing step mum 50% of the time for just over 1 year and are upset that you are not on an equal footing with the child's DM.
There are no words.

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 13:02:08

I don't encourage him to call me anything, I answer him if he slips up or calls me by a pet name etc. I simply don't tell him it's a problem if he calls me something other than my name. I just want him to be comfortable and not have to think "I'm not allowed to say that".

ArmfulOfRoses Fri 01-Apr-16 13:07:01

Answering to it is encouraging it.

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 13:07:27


I didn't say I want to be on an equal footing, I have done my job and my 18 yo still needs guidance and support, she's fully my responsibility. I just said that as I do everything else for my SS I feel I should be able to go to parents evening, assemblies etc. It's harder to step back and take less responsibility for him than I do now, and neither my partner nor I would want that, but I am 100% aware that I am not his mother but if I am to assist in his development I don't think I should feel like I'm his child minder.

mouldycheesefan Fri 01-Apr-16 13:08:39

What is it you want to happen? Do you know?

You want to go to parents evening? Instead of or as well as his parents? If his parents go together I don't think you can tag along. If thy go seperately you can accompany your husband.

Anything else?
You seem distasified yet you have a good relationship with stepchild I am not seeing the problm

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 13:08:43

And telling him "you shouldn't call me that" makes him anxious but I do take your point.

whatdoIget Fri 01-Apr-16 13:12:27

I think if it was me I'd be quite happy to not have to take on the extra responsibility of dealing with school. Why do you want that?

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 13:13:28


They do go to parents evening together. I guess the best way around this is to arrange 2 slots, one for his Mum and one for me and his Dad!
I want to feel more valued for doing a decent job I guess, and I'd like his Mum to recognise me as more than the home help.

Thegirlinthetrousers Fri 01-Apr-16 13:17:06

I'm an ex wife. I don't see why you can't go to assemblies either, but I would draw the line at parents evening, and chats with the teacher, that's for the parents really....other than if you are collecting him and you need to be told about something that happened that day or pass a message on.

And you're not his mum, I wouldn't be comfortable with my kids sm taking them to the doctors dentist etc...but then I have 99% of the care so it's a bit different here. However, when they do go my kids sm behaves in the way you are saying you do....and personally I find it crosses boundaries.

So actually, I think you need to take a step back. You shouldn't be doing medical appointments and I think if your partner is implying that he's trying to be sensitive to your ss mum, then maybe you are overstepping the mark.

It's very hard to let another woman take care of your child, particularly if they were the ow ( not that I'm implying you were!) and there are some things that I wouldn't be happy about in your post.

OllyBJolly Fri 01-Apr-16 13:17:47

"you shouldn't call me that" No wonder it makes him anxious if that's what you say. What's wrong with "I'm not mummy, silly, I'm Stepup" He's 4.

I don't agree that being a step mum is like being a nanny, but I also don't agree it's exactly the same as being a DM who has been with the child since birth. It does sound as if you are doing a great job as a step mum.

I'm also not sure what it is you want - recognition? gratitude? praise? I think you have to manage your expectations really. As a mum, I don't think I got much of any of these from any quarter!

ArmfulOfRoses Fri 01-Apr-16 13:21:30

His mum has no responsibility to make you feel anything.

You can't be demanding access to parents evening and assemblies as a pay off for doing school runs.
You either do them to make this little boys transition between houses as easy as possible or start to pull back and tell your partner he needs to arrange wrap around care on his access days as you are struggling with all the responsibility.

CantWaitForWarmWeather Fri 01-Apr-16 13:22:02

I think you need to put your foot down and stop running around for the parents. Parent*S*. Plural. They are both relying on you too much.

StepUpParent Fri 01-Apr-16 13:22:31

I don't, have never said 'don't call me that' I just don't correct him if he slips up. However after reading this I will definitely consider gentle correction, I thought I was protecting him from being worried about what's 'right' but I can see that may not be the case.

agapanthii Fri 01-Apr-16 13:22:33

To his Mum you are simply the woman to helps her ex partner fulfil his parenting obligations. I think you are being unreasonable if you expect her to recognise or thank you. She didn't ask for you exist.

It's good that they go to parents evening together. Why would you wish to rock that boat? Often with two working parents, and children at home who cannot be left alone, it's very common for only one parent to attend the parents evening anyway, and then fill in the other resident parent afterwards. The school really do not need 2 visits from 3 people for one four year old.

veryproudvolleyballmum Fri 01-Apr-16 13:23:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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