Step parent advice/ reassurance(13 Posts)
This is my first post here so please be easy on me! I`m looking for some advice/ reassurance that as a step mum i`m doing an ok job.
I am a step mum to a wonderful little girl who is 6, i like to think we have a good relationship.
I have been with my now husband for 4 years, in the beginning i had little contact with my darling stepdaughter and we gradually built this up over time.
Bio mum is in the picture and to begin with made life difficult, which i understand as it must be horrible to know your child is spending time with another women. We are on civil terms now and husband has contact on a need to know basis.
For the last 2 years step daughter has lived with us 4 days a week, prior to this my husband worked nights so it was 3 days a week. We are technically her primary carer, husband does not pay child allowance because of this, but mother still claims child tax benefits. On the days step daughter is with her mum, she quite often ends up at her nans house or staying and additional day at ours due to bio mums work commitments.
Dont get me wrong i know bio mum loves her daughter and that step daughter loves her bio mum and i would never worry for her welfare whilst she is in bio mums care, but she just doesnt strike me as the maternal type and really dosent seemed that fussed about the time she misses out on. Never asking to have daughter for additional days when she can.
We buy step daughter everything, we pay for all her school equipment, passport, holiday care and obviously all the necessities she has in our home.
My step daughter calls me by first name other than when explaining our family dynamic to others or to her friends where i`m referenced to as step mum.
My husband works an hour away from where we live and start work early so is gone before step daughter wakes up on school days. I am the one that lays her clothes out on the radiator, gets her up, does breakfast, hair and face wash before dropping her at a before school club and then picking her up from an after school club. I also work full time close to step daughter school.
Bio mum does not tend to go to the majority of school event so i go if she isn't, step daughter gets upset if no one can go. I am polite to the other mums at school when i see them and have organised play dates with a few of them during the half terms.
I also buy my step daughter clothes, play dolls with her, bake cakes with her, read bedtime stories, take days off work to cover childcare during the holidays and so on.
I guess i would like to know if other mums think i`m over stepping my boundaries? Should i be going to school events when her mum cant, which is most of the time? Should i be trying to forge relationships with her friends mums, should i be doing all the things a mum would do, when im well aware im not her mum.
I love my step daughter as if she were my own, me and husband dont have any children of our own, although we are currently expecting our first.
I don`t introduce myself as step mum, if anything its `dads wife`.
I guess im doubting my self a bit and would be great to hear about the relationships others have with their step children when bio mum is still involved but not the primary care giver.
If, like me, you read a lot of stuff about "how to get it right as a step-parent" you will have seen a lot about not overstepping boundaries - and I can well understand why.
But it's obviously unique to each family.
My SD's father is so disinterested in "fathering" that he's almost welcomed me being far closer to a parent figure than perhaps the majority of step-parents are able to. Still detests my general existence in principle but approves that his daughters are well cared for.
I'm guessing it's something similar then? If she's not a strong maternal figure herself she's perhaps less resentful (and perhaps a little grateful) that someone has stepped up to the task - even if she might not outwardly admit it?
a) SD is happy (certainly sounds that way?)
b) Your husband is supportive of the degree that you're mothering your SD
c) Bio mum is at least not against it
..then I think you must be doing fine. Point (a) above is by far the most important in my opinion and it sounds like your SD has warmth, lovely and security through the level of commitment you're putting in.
It's probably also a factor that your SD was so young when you got involved - I think it must be far easier for you and your family to act closer to a biological family than if the child was older.
I do understand though - I signed up to this expecting I'd give these two girls everything I could, but always feel a distance and never close to a 'real' parent. Instead it's just gone so well and is better than I could have imagined - in place of the expected problems that never arose, I instead manage to worry about the situation in general... like things can't really be this good right?
As you said when a bio parent is not a strong maternal figure it maybe makes getting more involved acceptable.
Step daughter is a very happy little girl and bio mum other than in the very beginning has not expressed and ill feelings towards my involvement.
I guess i should count myself lucky that we are a truly 'blended family' and carry on doing what i am doing.
Attending school events when mum is not available isn't over-stepping. You're the reserve but doing it to support dsd which is the right attitude to have. If you were going regardless of mum's attendance then you'd be saying that it's all about your needs and school events should be about dsd. Basically dsd is lucky to have your support.
With regards to being friendly to dsd's friends then don't feel guilty- it's purely for dsd's benefit which makes you a good step mum imo.
The only problem with your post is the term bio-mum. Biological mothers are only appropriate when discussing adopted kids. Dsd is not.
Only using the term bio mum to to be crystal clear who i am referring to in my post. I am under no impression that i am step daughters mum and would not refer to myself as such. Was not aware it was an adopted child term.
Thank you for you input its nice to hear other don't think im crossing a line of some type.
As you are the primary carer and her mum isn't that fussed then yes you should definitely go especially as your DSD wants you/someone there! it doesn't sound like there is a boundary to be overstepped.
I don't go to school events unless DSD or DSS specifically ask me to. Like you, due to work commitments for DP I do most of the care when they are here and I do all the clothes shopping etc with them both although he will if I tell him it needs to be done and I am unable.
I don't think you are overstepping the mark, but I think that the mother is taking the piss. It's a shame that she isn't more involved in her child's life.
Well done, it sounds like you're doing a great job.
I don't think you are overstepping the mark at all. I was the one who went to all DSS's school things, uni open days etc as he lived with us full time. His mum wasn't interested (her partner didn't want children so she left them with DH when she left him for her partner) and was happy for us to take the lead. I thought it was a shame for him and his older brother but was delighted he wanted me there and we are very close.
Doesn't sound to me as if you're overstepping. And if DSD's mum seems ok about you being involved then all is easy. I think you'd be OK to go to school events, even if her mum can go tbh, unless you think she'd find it particularly difficult you being there. In some ways it's easier just to decide to go because you'd like to see DSD in the play or whatever, rather than making it clear you're only going because her mum can't go, as that could be interpreted as a criticism of her for not doing.
I usually introduce myself as step mum, rather than dad's wife and have done since we got married. And if you can manage it there's no reason not to be friendly to other mums. Asking people in for a cuppa if they're collecting from a play date is a good way to start.
(Nb - people generally use the term bio mum for cases of adoption or where the mum has completely left the child on this forum, and some people get offended by the term when applied to a mum who is still involved. Best stick just to "DSD's mum")
Another objection to "bio mum". She is the mum. No clarification required.
You sound like a fab step mother and not overstepping the mark at all.
But it does sound like you are a really super step mum, fulfilling the role with warmth, dignity and integrity. I don't think you are overstepping the boundaries by going to school events, speaking to other mums at pick up and arranging play dates. Not at all. (My dad's wife has a heart of stone.)
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