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Wrong to think I should be able to go to Nursery Graduation?

(73 Posts)
Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:39:31

DSS is 4 years old and I have been with DP since he was 2. Due to his mother failing to tell DP he was the Father until she applied for Maintenance when he was 2, DP also missed out on these years sad
Fortunately since contact was established it has gone brilliantly. DSS mother however is lets just say not my number one fan. I think she had ideas of a happy family with DP (despite them being a one night only thing) and I ruined that.
I live with DP and his parents (starting to build our own house) and DSS is with us or with DPs parents at least 4 days per week. We were having between 2 and 3 overnights per week until Mother realised this would have an impact on Child Maintenance and cut it to 1 night only. We now leave DSS home at 7.00pm to collect him at 7.30am the following morning - ridiculous. DP has advised that he will not tell CSA and will sign a document to this effect but that the current routine isn't fair on DSS. She has refused. DP continued to ask for 6 months (he hates confrontation) she refused. DP went to Solicitor who wrote letter, she went mental but then ignored the letter. DP has now issue proceedings, Court date is 22nd June although we don't think she has been served with the proceedings yet confused.
Long and short is that in the last couple of months DSS mother really seems to not be coping. Before DSS started Nursery she wasn't working or studying either so it was all very relaxed. Now he has places to go and so does she it all seems to be falling apart. Teacher has told us that the days she takes him to Nursery he is upward of 30 minutes late and often misses a Monday (when she is also off work). Her house is apparently filthy, DSS has no clothes, DP had to buy new uniform despite her having a Uniform Grant, Maintenance, Benefits, Working Tax Credits, a wage and also no rent to pay. DP has gone as far as buying coal for the fire because he is worried about DSS. DSS is given nothing other than pizza and toast to eat.
There has been a 'Preparation for P1' class on for the last 4 weeks on a Tuesday evening for parents and carers. DP asked the teacher if I could go. I spend nearly as much time with DSS as he does. Teacher could not have been more than lovely and we have been going for the last 4 weeks and got to know some of the other Mums and it's been great.
It was his birthday last week, we organised a party with his school friends. Invited mother, maternal grandmother, aunt and uncle. Not one of them showed up and then at the party I was being told by other Mums that DSS hasn't been taken to their childrens parties. There was a Mum there who was a former friend and she told me that when she was friends with the mother she was so concerned as to DSS welfare that she came close to ringing Social Services and then DP came on the scene.
This made me so sad. DSS mother just appears to have totally given up. She puts on a good front to others but she really doesn't seem to be caring for him very well.
He is due to Graduate from Nursery soon and I really want to go. The invite is for parents and relatives and shortly after that there is an afternoon to meet his new teachers etc. His Mother doesn't even do his homework, she has no concern for his education. I really want to go, I will feel awful if I don't and DP and his family are insisting I go but I know she will hit the roof and I am worried about Court and about any impact on DSS.
Sorry for the essay but feel in desperate need of some advice sad
Also I am not slandering DSS mother, I have no doubt she loves DSS but I am worried about her level of care.

LadyV90 Wed 01-Jun-16 16:21:23


If I was you I would just go you sound like you really care about your DSS and from what've read how will his mum even know doesn't sound like the kind of thing she'd turn up for.

Janefromdowntheroad Wed 01-Jun-16 16:33:25

How do you know her house is filthy?

How do you know he only eats toast and pizza? From him?

Why would she want to come to a party at your house?

If he has no clothes what does he wear to nursery?

Not working or studying, none of your business

Not taking kid to parties, also none of your business. How many can he possibly have missed? Maybe she was working, tired, didn't feel like taking him?

If your DP is worried about her level of care he needs to stop being so fearful of confrontation and apply for residency.

Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 16:50:55


DP is in her house when he collects DSS, as is his mother and father and all report the house to be filthy.

He is able to tell us what he eats and he suffers from constipation, this is an issue which has been raised by the Doctor who has told her she needs to vary his diet.

DP has gone to her house, they are generally amicable. I would have thought she would have wanted to come for the sake of her son.

He wears the uniform we bought for nursery. He was wearing a paid of spare bottoms the school had for accidents for a long while as mother did not replace before DP bought new ones.

I am not complaining about her not working or not studying, I was simply saying that when DSS was younger she wasn't and now she is, which of course is only a good thing.

I would suggest that not taking him to parties is, if not mine, at least my DPs business. She takes DSS to no extra curricular or social activities whatsoever. I am not nit-picking, of course not every birthday can be attended but she also didn't tell DP when the parties were on his days and he could have taken him. DP feels providing child with social life is important.

DP is trying to be mindful of DSS and obviously his relationship with his Mum. We are hopefully moving to a position of Joint Residence with the upcoming Court but sole Residence is not a realistic aim, I'm a Family Solicitor so I am speaking from a professional opinion here.

I can't help but notice you didn't actually comment on my actual question?

Like I said in my OP I am not hear to slander DSS Mum, just voicing concerns.

Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 16:54:41

Thank you, I do really care about him and I'd love to be there for him.

I'm pretty sure she will be there, she does like to put a good front on even if she isn't actually that bothered about school.

Just don't want a confrontation or anything awkward for the sake of DSS but at the same time if I didn't go I'm pretty sure he would ask where I was.

Maybe time to just be brave hmm

NomadDaisy Wed 01-Jun-16 16:55:58

Good for you, you sound like a very caring step-mother and its fab that he has you looking out for him. Some mums do struggle and its important that you and your DP help him as much as possible as it sounds like he's missing out on alot. Why not try and get more residency, you sound like a good family unit and its a good solid base for a child to grow up in. Id go to the nursery graduation, you are a close person in his life

PreciousVagine Wed 01-Jun-16 17:13:01

I feel a bit sorry for the mum. She doesn't get to do anything school or nursery related without you being involved, does she? She obviously gets gossiped about (the friend and SS comment) and she's probably aware that you're there lapping up any negative things about her you can. I don't think you should go. Give her a bit of space.

Foofoobum Wed 01-Jun-16 17:24:05

From what I've read it sounds as if the mother is struggling. It's possible to be in poverty while working or claiming benefits and that could account for the majority of what you've said. Add to that possible depression (many possible reasons in your post alone) and she's probably having a really shit time.

I think it's great you care for your stepson but (and I'm sorry if this sounds obvious) you're not his mother. It sounds as if his mother is being excluded from his life (school friends mothers, do and you going to school things etc) and if she is depressed with low self esteem, she'll have convinced herself there's no point.

It sounds to me from what I've read that you want to be more involved than is perhaps appropriate for this particular relationship. My step mother never came to any of my school things or got involved with my life. I had a mother for that, albeit a far from perfect one.

Why can't you and your partner support this woman to get more involved in your dss's school life instead of criticising that she doesn't do it your way?

Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 17:37:28

Ok taking all comments on board.

First and foremost I want to say that I in no way have any bad feelings toward this woman. I have gone out of my way to try and be as friendly as possible and reassure her that I am not trying to replace her. I have passed on messages that I am more than happy to meet with her to reassure her, I have passed Halloween tarts (baked by DPs mother) and always say hello and be as nice as possible despite the fact she point blank ignores me and won't reply even in front of DSS.
Before DP and I were in a relationship we were great friends and at this stage she was lovely to me, then as soon as we started a relationship she instantly decided there was 'something about (me) she just didn't like'. I was bitterly disappointed at this as we had actually got along so well.
I have to take the comment about poverty with some skepticism because I do know the amount of maintenance she gets (rightfully so) each month.I am also aware she parties every weekend. I am not criticising, she has every right to. I just don't think poverty is the answer.
Perhaps depression? That honestly hadn't occurred to me and it does seem to make sense. I do not enjoy talking ill about this woman, I wanted nothing more than for us to be friends and I genuinely thought we would be.
I don't want to make her feel uncomfortable but I spend nearly as much time with her son as she does. I am not his mother, I am not pretending to be but when other family members are welcome to events it makes it seem odd that I am not there. I don't want to spend the rest of my life avoiding events in my DSS life. I just wish we could get along but she won't even look at me without complete hatred in her eyes.
I want to help, the be supportive but also to allow my DSS the right to the best upbringing as possible. How can I help and try and make us all a somewhat dysfunctional family when she won't even look at me? It does hurt when she says things like 'she (me) means nothing to DSS' when I put him to bed and do all those things. Not trying to replace just trying to make life the best for DSS sad

lateforeverything Wed 01-Jun-16 17:59:30

I would go. I've always been very involved in my dss' life and I don't really agree with comments that this is 'inappropriate'.

As it happens, I met my dss when he was 2, we were given full residence when he was 7 and he is now 12 and I've started the adoption process.

I understand what posters mean when they say that dss' mum might need support etc but sadly some mothers don't care a great deal for their children and to be honest if you wrote your comments about a man I doubt that you would receive replies encouraging you to offer more support and less criticism to the less than perfect father hmm

swingofthings Wed 01-Jun-16 17:59:35

First and foremost I want to say that I in no way have any bad feelings toward this woman. I have gone out of my way to try and be as friendly as possible and reassure her that I am not trying to replace her
Frankly it is very hard to believe the above reading your OP which comes across as if your actions are more about trying to discredit her as a mum rather than help her.

If your intentions to be supportive were genuine, then you would need to post here about want to go to his nursery graduation and understand that to keep things civil, you were better not intruding.

The best you can help is actually show that you respect her as his mum, even if you don't think she is a great mum. Don't make assumptions that she has given up. She is struggling, so what she needs is help with encouragements that she is doing her best rather than judged that she is rubbish and that you can do a much better job than her.

PreciousVagine Wed 01-Jun-16 18:30:36

My reply would be the same if it was a man rather than a woman. These type of threads always have a list of how awful the other parent is but the dp of the op never does anything about it. There's always a nod to it finally being in the courts or something (after months/years of nothing) but that's about it. If my child was living in filth, being fed only two types of meal and had a doctor concerned about that, had no clothes etc and all the other stuff in your posts, I wouldn't be dithering about no matter much I hated confrontation. If I had concerns, I'd have called social services myself never mind a gossipy person having to mention they'd thought of doing it.

So when I read threads like this where the parent has done nothing with their concerns, I always assume exaggeration. A "filthy house" becomes "a house a little scruffier than ours". Only ever served pizza and toast becomes pizza and toast are the go to favourite meals. No clothes means clothes that aren't to our tastes or as expensive as we'd like (because the kid isn't naked is it?).

Tbh, the thread reads like the script of childless young woman gets with man with child and wants to be incredibly over involved in parenting said child (up until the point she pops one out herself).

Thymeout Wed 01-Jun-16 18:59:55

Ime, as a teacher, it's unusual for both mother and stepmother to be present at school events. Father and stepmother or father and ex-wife, or one of the three on their own.

Yes, it would be nice if everyone got on, but more often than not, they don't. If I were you, I'd back out of this particular event unless you are sure she won't be there. Whatever her failings as a mother, she does have more right than you to be there and the occasion will be soured by her antagonism towards you.

As to the future, wait and see how it unfolds. It does sound as if she is struggling. That needs to be sorted. The chances are that you might be more involved with the school than she is. Your dp needs to talk to them about your status regarding sickness and liaison with class teacher.

Just5minswithDacre Wed 01-Jun-16 19:22:57

You again hmm

Janefromdowntheroad Wed 01-Jun-16 19:24:32

Sorry if I came across like I was attacking you. I've been on MN long enough to have seen so many of these threads over the years.

They invariably go the same way. List of reasons why mother is crap, list of how different home life is at dads, mention of applying for more custody, then question over why SM shouldn't be allowed at parents evening/sports day/school play.

I've honestly never once seen a SM come on here and say 'step child's mother is a really good mum however I would like to go to X because I am also involved with child's life'. For what it's worth in that scenario I would agree with the SM.

My own DCs SM is lovely. I have extended invites to school plays/sports days etc and she does attend. Not parents evening though as that's a bit different.

As with anything in life there are always two sides to a story and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Lots of four year olds have a limited fussy diet. Lots of four years olds have the same old crap clothes for nursery as they get trashed so you don't send them in the good stuff. Secondhand biased gossip about the cleanliness of a house I would ignore, unless we're talking animal faeces on the floor no bedding etc. Suggesting that the mother was hoping for a family life with your DP is conjecture on your behalf. Child was a product of a one night stand, I'd be surprised if that was the case but only you know why she turned on you. I'd guess that she resents having another woman in the mothering role, especially if she is struggling and you aren't.

LadyV90 Wed 01-Jun-16 20:13:26

Speaking as a step child myself I still think you should go as you said your dss would ask why you weren't there and as his nursery graduation is all about him it should include all the people he wants there so long as there's space/tickets available.

In an ideal world it would be great if everyone got along but unfortunately that is very rarely the case in these situations. My dad met my sm a year after they separated and regardless my mother as well tried to paint her as the wicked witch of the west and for no other reason than to make life difficult for my dad.

Just5minswithDacre Wed 01-Jun-16 20:15:05

You're intruding, as you always do.

The fact that you consider it appropriate to take it upon yourself to host DSS's b'day party and then feign disappointment and astonishment that his mum didn't attend shows that you have the emotional intelligence of a pygmy.

Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 20:18:28

I would just like to point out that I posted these concerns on an anonymous website. I would not and indeed have not spoken about this woman in this way to anyone who would identify her or in fact anyone apart from DP. Believe it or not I do actually respect the fact she is DSS mother. I am not trying to blacken this woman's name!
If I'm being honest sometimes it is very difficult to try and remain positive and as open as possible in the face of such hostility from DPs mother.
I do not know the reasons behind the mothers apparent struggling because she won't talk to me and very little to DP. I do find it hard though that I have to be excluded because she won't entertain a conversation with me and therefore through fear of a reaction. Surely she'll just continue to openly hate me because she believes it acts as a deterrent! How is that fair on DSS? Things are not civil where I am concerned. She has effectively thrown her toys out of the pram in the hope she'll get what she wants. This will be the first ever thing I've attended at school, I've spent 9 months staying away to please get but she is never going to be happy about me no matter what.
I am not trying to replace her, I am not saying I'm doing of What I am saying is that I would like for us to get along for the sake of DSS and then we could help her but I don't think it's fair that she can throw a tantrum in order to get her own way all the time.

Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 20:22:58

What do you mean again, like I always do? I have no idea who you are. This will be the first event I've gone to so I don't know what you are talking about. As for the birthday party I didng host it, DP did for his son, do you deem that appropriate? As for the intelligence? I have enough of it that I actually use it for purposes other than to offend people

Kez437 Wed 01-Jun-16 20:25:05

'Tbh, the thread reads like the script of childless young woman gets with man with child and wants to be incredibly over involved in parenting said child (up until the point she pops one out herself).'
Is nothing short of extremely offensive. You know very little about me and this is a horrible conclusion to jump to but thanks a the same

Just5minswithDacre Wed 01-Jun-16 20:27:00

Lots of four year olds have a limited fussy diet. Lots of four years olds have the same old crap clothes for nursery as they get trashed so you don't send them in the good stuff. Secondhand biased gossip about the cleanliness of a house I would ignore, unless we're talking animal faeces on the floor no bedding etc.


How do you know she "doesn't do his homework"?

How do you get from that to "she isn't concerned about his education"?

Maybe she disapproves of homework for preschoolers?

Maybe she is a bit slack or relaxed or anaemic or frantically busy or depressed or just freewheeling.

She's clearly nothing like you but that's fine she doesn't have to be.

What she is is his mother; get off her toes!

Just5minswithDacre Wed 01-Jun-16 20:28:40

I said EMOTIONAL intelligence OP, not intelligence.

PreciousVagine Wed 01-Jun-16 20:29:22

It's not offensive. Your post mirrors so many others that follow that same script. All it's missing is you having your own baby and suddenly despising the stepchild now you get to play mum for real.

And it's not the first school thing you've attended. You said in the first post you intruded on the the p1 preparation.

Dozer Wed 01-Jun-16 20:29:30

Yabu and being intrusive about the nursery and party thing: just let DSS's mother and your DP go.

There are obviously much bigger issues for DP and the mother of his child to sort out. You can support your DP as you're doing.

Agree with PPs that your DP has apparently, despite concerns about her parenting, taken his time over sorting out formal arrangements for care of his DC: the court will determine what will happen.

Just5minswithDacre Wed 01-Jun-16 20:30:04

'Tbh, the thread reads like the script of childless young woman gets with man with child and wants to be incredibly over involved in parenting said child (up until the point she pops one out herself).'
Is nothing short of extremely offensive. You know very little about me and this is a horrible conclusion to jump to but thanks a the same

Offensive? Vagine sounds bang on the money to me. confused

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