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Is this normal? Stepmothers relationship with my dd

(74 Posts)
pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 09:54:55

My dh left me for the OW when I had a 2 year old ds and was pregnant with dd. He went on to marry the OW so consequently she has been in their lives since they were tiny.

Whilst I have been amicable with exh I have never been able to have a good relationship with her because of what she/they did. I have never bad mouthed her to the dc because I always felt they needed to have a good relationship with her seeing as they were so little and it would make their childhood shit if I did this.

My exh felt such guilt about it all that during their primary school years he took on the role of 'fun' parent and didn't do much discipline. She took on this role, often to extremes it would seem, and for years I picked up the pieces when they came home from visits. At one point, my eight year old dd wished 'she would die'.

We have all since been to see a therapist because of issues with my ds and since then, the stepmother has toned it down and both dc say she is much better and they are getting on well. All good. And this is where I don't know if I am being unreasonable or not...

For dd's 13th birthday, SM gave her a card saying 'to my daughter'. She is not her daughter. She has a mum. Me.

Text messages include 'you are wonderful, my beautiful girl. I can't wait to see you at the weekend'. 'I miss you - - - - (full name, all 4 of them!) and can't wait to see you'. 'Hi beautiful girl, mexican tonight coz I know you love it'. etc etc. All littered with love heart emojis and kisses.

Is this normal? OK?

Now I know I should be pleased that she is nice to dd. But wtf? I have showed friends the messages and none of them even text that way to their own daughters. She is 13!

What makes it worse for me too is that she is at that classic eye rolling age with me. Nothing I say/do is right and she is a moody and short tempered at home. And whilst I know this is a normal stage in her development, it is killing me that she has this relationship with SM.

This woman was the OW when I was pregnant. We tried for years to have dc, including 4 IVF attempts and 3 mc. It feels like she stole my husband, stole my chance at the family life I had always dreamed of and now she is trying to steal my teenage daughter.

I hide all these feelings from the dc, please don't think they know, because I know that is not healthy, but bloody hell it hurts sad

Jazzywazzydodah Tue 14-Mar-17 10:00:48

She sounds unhinged.

I'd be inclined to forward the messages on you your ex and say you don't feel they are appropriate. How would he feel if your new husband (if you had one was behaving like this)

She seems to be swinging from one extreme to the other, I'd be concerned about her MH.

Jazzywazzydodah Tue 14-Mar-17 10:03:15

I'd also be solid and steady with your dd, my grandmother tried 'winning' my dd1 and for a while she did a good job of it, encouraged secrets etc.. she came back to me though - eventually.

LardLizard Tue 14-Mar-17 10:10:43

How do you think your dd behaves around her?

Maybe if your dd is super nice to her

But a bit rude to you i.e. Eye rolling etc

It could show that your dd trees on eggshells around her to avoid her turning into nasty step mum again
And she knows her dad won't step in and sort it out if step mum starts getting OTT mean again

Must be extremely painful but your dd will figure her out in time

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 10:39:14

My dc have always been perfect children when with their dad and sm. They have always found it hard to argue back and have seemed to put up with a lot, for fear of rocking the boat.

My dd will not wear make up to school if her dad is picking her up that night. If he is coming over in the evening for whatever reason, she scrubs her face clean of make up.

It is honestly like they are different children with them and it has always been this way.

My dd and her SM share a passion - horses. DD has only recently got into riding but it's like this is a thing that bonds them together (I'm not keen on horses which has always been a bit of a joke between us). They will always share a particular chocolate after riding, sm even goes so far to order them off eBay when they aren't available in the shops (easter related!). It's like it's another 'thing' between them. If that makes sense.

Which I suppose is nice? Right? So why do I find it so sickening?

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 10:44:07

Exh has this thing about positivity. He was apparently criticised a lot by his parents when growing up, so now he has had therapy he seems to be going over the top with the praise, approval, gushing loveliness, positivity etc etc. And SM is doing the same.

It's all so gushing wonderfulness that to me just isn't real life. But dd (not so much ds) seem to be relishing in it. Will hug her dad, send love hearts to her SM etc and yet with me, will flinch if I even touch her and any declaration of love/praise that I give her, is met instead with scorn and scathingness (sp?)

Makes me feel like shit sad

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 10:44:32

God I sound bitter sad

xStefx Tue 14-Mar-17 10:48:34

She sounds a bit over the top, does she have any DC of her own?

LardLizard Tue 14-Mar-17 10:49:21

Are there anything you and your dd donor could start doing Together
You know kinda make your own special thing
I'm sure this must hurt like hell

Wellitwouldbenice Tue 14-Mar-17 10:52:52

Do you think your daughter is now old enough to be told, very factually, about the past? Also at 13 you could talk to her about your feelings, perception etc.

Beachedwh4le Tue 14-Mar-17 10:57:29

If she's been with them since they were tiny I think it's natural she would think of them as her kids. I know it hurts, but try and see the positives that she has a nice relationship and extra support if needed. Try not to be inside your own head so much with it. flowers

ItShouldHaveBeenJingleJess Tue 14-Mar-17 10:59:15

She called your daughter 'her' daughter? I'd be fucking furious. Massive boundaries issue.

Wellitwouldbenice Tue 14-Mar-17 11:01:43

They are not her kids!!! She is their step-mother - a difficult role, not clearly defined but definitely not her mother. And there are boundaries which she is over stepping. It's also about respect and however long ago it was the fact that she was the OW is still
pertinent (whether it should be or not).

ItShouldHaveBeenJingleJess Tue 14-Mar-17 11:04:42

Don't worry though - I'm sure there'll be plenty of OW who believe its absolutely fine to get involved with a married man who has kids along in a minute to tell you YABU....(yawn)

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 11:06:35

xStefx - no she doesn't. She has had a couple of miscarriages I think and is now probably too old (and exh certainly doesn't want anymore!)

I do do stuff with dd (went away for the weekend last weekend) but even that was sometimes strained because of her scorn for me at the moment! We did have nice times too though smile

Well - I have thought about that but I don't think she's old enough. I have never told her the truth because I didn't want it to cloud her feelings for either her dad or sm growing up. I have told ds though, when he was just 15yrs old. He asked me one night and i felt he was ready to hear the truth. To be honest, he's so laid back it hasn't changed a thing which is good. And I'm glad really. That was the whole point of me not telling them earlier. They have solid relationships already built that are harder to fall down iyswim.

Beached - I know what you are saying. It is good they have a good relationship. Hell, I've done my utmost to promote that over the years, but they are not her kids. And they never will be. They have a loving mum. They don't need another one. But you have hit the nail on the head with it being inside my head with it all. I've always been an over thinker and sometimes feel like my head is going to explode!!

xStefx Tue 14-Mar-17 11:20:36

OP, in a way I think the fact that your daughter is having the "normal teenage daughter tantrums" with you and not her SM is because you are her mother.

She knows her SM isn't her mum so is on her best behaviour with her I expect. Im not explaining myself very well but im assuming DD is with you 5 of 7 nights (just assuming) and so she is being her normal self with you. Its easy to be on your best behaviour when its only for 48 hours IYSWIM

Also: If OW hasn't got any DC's of her own then maybe she is fighting her own demons (maybe not before someone jumps down my throat) and is overcompensating because she knows she will never have any of her own.

Don't feel jealous, you don't need to. You have no reason to think nice of OW because in my eyes yes she stole your family but imagine how crap it must be for her not being able to have DC's of her own, she knows they aren't hers regardless of how many cards she buys them, she knows. Always be gracious and don't show that it bothers you.

The card, I meant to ask. Was it from both of them cos that would explain why it said daughter (obv being from her dad too) ? Also for SM's birthday does your ex make the kids buy Mum cards? that might be why she bought a mum one back. These are only thoughts though I could be wrong.

LardLizard Tue 14-Mar-17 11:23:57

Suppose the only thing is you can't do anything really about how the step mum acts

So I guess your gonna have to try and just thinkin about you and your dd and how you guys are going to do things

In other words can only control what you do and how you react

It could be that dd just feels able to be herself around you

It could be that dd feels like she's able to be a typical teen around you but not them

Maybe that's good that dd is so comfortable around you

Or it could be that dd needs to be made to respect you more

But in the first instance I'd just try and increase the stuff you can do with dd
A weekend a away sounds fab but maybe something. A bit more regular

Is there anything dd is into that you could enjoy together ?

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 11:27:30

DD goes to their house EOW and the occasional night during the week. So less than 48 hours really.

Exh has always said 'she is not trying to be their mum' but just lately she has stepped it up and for some reason, I am really not handling it very well at all sad. I do try and be gracious. dd doesn't know and nor does sm.

The card was only from the SM. Not her dad. He gave her a separate one. I know this because ds told me - even he found it weird and inappropriate. I don't know about the 'mum' cards. God, that would send me over the edge if dd sent a mum one to her - or a mothers day card for that matter!! shock shock

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 11:29:11

jinglejess - thanks for that! I'm glad it's not just me smile

pasanda Tue 14-Mar-17 11:31:35

Lard - I guess you're right. I have been wondering whether to say anything to exh though. About SM overstepping the boundaries and how it makes me feel.

But I know from past experience he will probably get pissed off with me and claim that all the positivity is a good thing for dd and tell me to stop being so bitter. I've learnt to shut up before now, it just causes shit..

WatchingFromTheWings Tue 14-Mar-17 11:36:37

She called your daughter 'her' daughter? I'd be fucking furious. Massive boundaries issue.


I remember my DD's primary school had the kids make Mother's Day cards every year. I turned up at ExH's house (not quite yet divorced, he was in the marital home) to collect the DC to see MY Mother's Day card on the unit!! DD had been encouraged to write out and give the card to ExH's GF if a few weeks!! I was livid!

WatchingFromTheWings Tue 14-Mar-17 11:39:40

guess you're right. I have been wondering whether to say anything to exh though. About SM overstepping the boundaries and how it makes me feel.

I don't know how you haven't said anything! I'd have gone nuts! My ExH's DP overstepped the mark a number of times in the beginning.....interfering in parenting issues that had nothing to do with her, etc. She's been well and truely put straight!

MumOfTwoMasterOfNone Tue 14-Mar-17 11:50:06

Her relationship with her SM isn't based on unconditional love of a parent. She's her friend. Being a teenager is tough. Take it as a compliment that she is secure enough with you to push those boundaries and just show her that you'll always be there. You're her mother and you're irreplaceable.

DP has two DC and I would never ever say I was even their SM (not married but even if we were). I'm nothing to do with parenting those children, but I do have my own 2 with DP. Even if I didn't, I would never consider them my children (known them from 3 and 4). Even when I've bought them presents/cards etc they've been labelled off 'us' but they only ever mention that it's off their Dad. I do find it a bit creepy but it's hard without knowing everything. I know a lot of people who call their stepfather 'Dad', even when they still have contact with their Father.

Skooba Tue 14-Mar-17 11:50:15

I was wondering if you have a busy or interesting life? And if it isnt that to DD then at her age you seem a bit boring but DSM is more fun.
But this would be a sign of DDs immaturity
And I'm sure she will see through Dsms behaviour as she matures.
Living with two personalities growing up would have been awful in the long term. Thankfully she and Ds can be themselves, with all its flaws, when with you.

xStefx Tue 14-Mar-17 11:50:48

I find it strange that her SM and dad gave her separate cards, obviously the card off her dad would have said daughter so I don't understand why she felt the need to buy another one just from her. Does your Ex even know his partner bought her this card do you think?

I also wonder her reasons for all of a sudden turning it up a notch, perhaps she has come to the realisation that she may never have children of her own and is panicking? perhaps they have been having problem's and he told her to make more of an effort with the kids and she is going overboard. What I would say is this, if she wanted to take over trying to be her mum she would have tried that years ago, I would say its an internal issue on her part she is fighting and your DD is the outlet.

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