Bio Mom is back(5 Posts)
For nearly 5 years DSDs now 11 and 12 have been living with us. This was due to a court order which came about following a refusal of contact - DP had not seen them for a few years. The culmination of this was their mom reacting in an extremely aggressive way towards the courts social services etc. Initially I empathised - whatever my feelings or experience of DP hers wasn't necessarily invalid, she was wrong to prevent them seeing their Dad but perhaps the authorities were over reacting. She was anti-establishment somewhat unusual but a care order and a limitation of contact was overkill. As time went by her behaviour during supervised contacts with the local authority became more bizarre apart from the framing of dad as generally evil, all authority as evil and theories such as flat earth encouragement of the children not to leave their rooms etc thus had a marked impact on the girls especially the eldest she would swing from interacting perfectly with everyone to retreating into desperate attempts to please her mom ( veganism to watching certain films parroting views etc) I took this as a normal attempt to connect with a mom she had lost. The girls agitated to see her more and DP and I supported with caution. All she has done is refuse to even let the local authority speak to her, view her home anything - again culminating in an incident with the police. The girls missed her dearly but they've grown with us and I've had to step in during all the growing pains and upsets and joys of being a tween. I did the birds and bees talk, dad was there for the first period the first boy, 11 plus exams for our little genius ( mom discourages formal education) first bra make up a boy she liked friends parties school play sleepovers being an Emo 30 minute school run all the costs family holidays and still mom would not budge but continued in her campaign against the authorities and I thought what about just cooperating for the girls? When the eldest dsd dared suggest mom spoke to social services so that they could see her she was told off by text. Now when she was getting married DP decided to facilitate some contact with mom because new husband came round to reason. I'm happy for the girls I really am but now and here is my step mom rAnt, I have bought them pads tampons etc - mom says that's not a good brand, bras sports bras - not cheap! Mom says they're not good ones these from primark are better. Our house is full of books - we watch films at mom's. and so on. I never wanted kids but they turned up unexpectedly we thought we would never see them, I threw myself in whole heartedly and I love them. I have listened to them blame dad for being taken away from her, he in fact opposed it, she in the first place asked social services to review him! And it backfired - This is the lament of step mom who feels like I have given all I have and will be left with nothing the courts will not let them live with mom so I and DP have to be taxi cleaner cook etc but mom is perfect I don't want to burst that bubble for themit is not their fault. I'm just tired and don't feel much appreciated. And no mom doesn't even acknowledge me just rubbishes anything I do- well lady I didn't ask for this I just love your kids - where the hell have you been? Glad that's off my chest.
OP, I totally understand how hurt and disappointed, but please don't blame them. It's a totally natural process to idolise your absent parent, and feel protected of the one that pose themselves as vulnerable, but it doesn't mean they are rejecting the other parents, even if it feels like this.
My situation is different in that I am the mum. I separated from their dad when they were very little and he showed very little interest in acting like a responsible parent. His view of parenting is fitting the fun aspect of it around the life he built for himself. He expects everyone to make him feel good about being a dad. This means that for years, I had to take all decisions, responsibilities, care, and support them financially as he didn't give a penny in maintenance. I had to swallow my anger and agree to his manipulative way so that my kids could grow up thinking they had a loving father.
Still I thought it was all worth it until they turn about the age of your SD and suddenly, their dad became God and could do no wrong. As said, he wouldn't pay a penny, when challenged he always had the excuse of not having a penny to feed himself, played the whole sob story, begging me not to go to the csa because otherwise it would ruin him and then he wouldn't be able to see them at all and it would be all my fault...but of came Christmas, he spoiled them rotten, so they came back going on about how poor daddy had so little money but he loves them so much, he saved some money by not eating properly so he could get them some Christmas presents...and of course, they gobbled all of it.
If I tried, even in the most gentle and fair way, to tell them that it was exactly like that, I became horrible mum who was mean to poor daddy who tried his best. I was mean to want him to pay maintenance because I earned a lot of money whereas he worked so hard but wasn't as lucky as me.... I could go on.
All I can say is that as I'd hoped (sometimes cried), they did grow up and they did start to realise that a lot of what their father was telling them was fantasy. They are now 14 and 17, and yes, they are still protective of them. I think it is engross in them and that will never really changed, but they are not naive any longer. They now even laugh at some some of his sob stories, telling me 'well, you know how dad is with his stories'. I'm glad that they love him because that's what I desperately wanted, but I'm also relieved that they see him for who he is now.
All this to say, I expect the same will happen with your SD. In the meantime, however hard it is, try to be supportive and swallow your frustration as most likely, nothing you say to contradict them will be accepted as facts.
This part of being a step mum is so difficult.
I think it's a taboo to say you feel rejected by your step kids. We are supposed to give, give, give. Quite often with a kick in the teeth at the end.
My ds has always been keen not to see the faults in his Dad but I can deal with that a lot better than the rejection (which is MUCH worse anyway) from my DSC.
My life turned upside down when dsd2 decided to move in full time. As a step mum I got no say on when or how.
I was there for school plays , parents evenings, lift giving, washing, cleaning, entertaining her friends, I have worked hard to help provide for school trips, driving lessons, laptops, phones, a car etc.
Her mum has never paid a penny. But her mum has also not been to school plays, not been there on prom night, not taken her on holiday, not listened to her complaints about school and friends.....
She's gone to uni now and her mum won't visit her, but she'll manage a two week foreign holiday with her BF each year.
So when dsd2 announced a few months before uni, that she wanted to go back to Mums, I was gutted.
I regularly hear from all 3 step kids, how great their mum is, but this is how she treats them all.
Dsd2 only stayed because we explained some financial implications.
I completely sympathise, it's so very difficult.
You have my sympathies. For me this is one of the most difficult parts of being a step-parent - everything you do for them out of love and care, and then get told how great the parent who has been completely absent, through their own choice, is. It makes me so sad some times as we've had to cover for her when she wouldn't see them and pick up the pieces when she left, again. Bottom line is that it's really hurtful and very rejecting. And I'm sorry, I don't have an answer to this as I still feel sad when this happens.
But, I do have a glimmer of hope - some kids do see through this and while they may never actually tell you direct, they become aware of what that parent is like. I remember a friend telling me how upset they were by how rude their kids could be, while behaving perfectly with the other parent who'd done some really awful damaging stuff through the divorce process. All I could point out is that if you feel safe with someone, know they will love you unconditionally and not reject you, you are safe to behave badly. If you don't know that someone won't reject you, suspect that if you behave badly they might leave you again etc, then you will be on good behaviour so as not to trigger them to leave. When I hear the 'my mum said x,y,z', or 'my mums the best because...' if I start to feel sorry for myself I remind myself, they feel safe saying this to me because they know that whatever happens I've never left them yet, and never left my own DC. I suspect this is the same with you - you are the safe, steady, reliable one. Yes, it hurts like hell, but maybe one day they'll be able to properly acknowledge your contribution?
What makes me angry though is how their Mum has never once acknowledged what I've done for them. I didn't choose for her to leave them each time she left - in fact begged her to remain for their sake, and yet she's lied about me to them, the school and friends, she's actively tried to cause trouble and most unforgivable (and this is when solicitors were involved) caused trouble for my own DC.
Stick with it, love your DSCs as much as you can and fingers crossed they'll be able to tell you how important you are one day
I expect they won't appreciate that stuff you do for them until they are much older (eg when they have kids of their own)
I am a step mum, i also have kids of my own, and I guess one day my kids may have a step mum too. The key to me seems to be to not try and compete, but to just accept that you are one part of their lives and their mum is another.
take the high road, don't stoop to her level, and never slag her off.
accept you are both in their lives. You have the classic "parent doing all the hard work role" and she gets to be "fun mum" and that's hard. But they need both of you. It must be a very very confusing time for them.
Fwiw - on the films, why can't they watch a few more if that's what they want? I feel I missed out a lot in my teenager years by growing up in a v bookish house ...not that I am not grateful to be well read, but there are so many great/funny etc films out there!
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