This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Hi, I'm just wanting to ask any other step parents a few questions....
My partner has her own child and she is also a step mum to mine and she is amazing at what she does.... however I am
Worry she is struggling with the aspect of been a step mum.... she doesn't always seem herself when my daughter is around and she says she's fine but I'm really worried she's not.
I thought I heard her upset the other weekend we had her. She was in the bedroom and I asked her if she was ok and she said 'she's fine carry on entertaining the kids'
I've asked her if she loves my daughter and she says she likes her.
Am I expecting a bit too much from?
I really just want ways that I can help her, I know she is anxious and stressed when we have her. I know her too well and I know she covers it up but I just need ways to help make it easier for her. Because she is amazing with them but I think emotionally she is finding it very hard.
How long have you been together? How long has your OH known your daughter? How long gave you lived together?
It does sound like you are putting a lot of pressure on her. It’s not easy. I remember my OH being upset when he asked me if I loved his children. I’m very fond of them but I don’t love them. They have a mum and dad who love them. Let these things develop and don’t put pressure on.
Have you sat her down and asked her about it properly or just in passing? How long have you been together? I wouldn't ask her if she loves your daughter, she is instantly put in an awkward position to reply to that and feelings of love take time and can't be forced.
We have been together for 3 years but only starting living together the last year. As we both rented and wanted to buy a house. But she's seen her for the past year and a half 2 years.
I've tried talking but she says she's fine. I can tell she's not and ive tried to say she can talk to me but she still insists she fine.... does she not want to upset me? I just want her to help me and yes I guess I worry a little that she might say she doesn't like been a step parent or that she feels she can't do it as I've read on a lot of forums that this is how women can feel in this situation and I'm worried that if she feels like that I might loose her. So I just want to know if there are any ways I can make it easier something that might work better for us both on the weekends we have her.
She's a fantastic mum and I just don't want her putting her self down or feeling down because of the situation. I accept it can't be easy.
Ok so I won't ask her if she loves her as now you have pointed it out I can see it's unfair on her, but what if she ever loves her? Is that ok too?
Because I've taken on her daughter and I love her like she's my own.
Hi there! I was a single parent living with 2 kids until I met new partner who had a child living in Cyprus. (We have a 3 year old together). Last year his child went from living in far off lands to coming to stay for a while weekend every other weekend. My partner always asks if I love his child. I always answer with the truth. No I don't love him. I am not even that keen on having him at the weekends..... But I have to deal with it as best I can. It's not the kids fault and he is trying to do the right thing as a dad. It's really hard to love someone else's child like your own.
PS you sound like you are a very understanding and kind partner and parent/ step parent
Being a step parent can be really hard.
You're expected to be a parent with most things, but not involved with things like discipline etc etc.
She doesn't need to love your daughter. As long as she likes her and is kind to her then that is enough.
So if she doesn't ever love her thts ok too I guess...
that's my next worry.... I don't think she really enjoys the time we spend with my daughter.... I just know she's different them weekends and when my daughter has gone back to her mums my partner is herself again and I really hate the fact that is how she feels but I just want to help her and just any tips to make them weekends easier?
She knows that I'm been a good Dad by seeing my daughter and been involved and I know she accepts this and I respect her doing that.... maybe I'm asking too much from her?
I went through a bad patch as I had a lot of trouble with my ex and I didn't feel myself and we have had our ups and downs but I worry that she's falling into the same hole I fell into and I just want to try and help her because ultimately I know it's been a step parent that is the cause.
She often gets headaches and says her neck is tense when we have her over and I need to try and make it easier as I don't want to loose her.
It’s hard. Give it time, it’s all still new. Don’t ask her if she lives your daughter if it comes in time she’ll tell you. By asking you are putting pressure on her. And I think it’s ok not to love your stepchildren. These things can’t be forced.
You sound her caring and understanding. Your OH needs to open up to you. Give her the opportunity, maybe she’ll open up in time?
Thank you.... what if she worries she might hurt my feelings.... which now I understand that it is ok not to love my daughter, and just because I love her child doesn't mean she has to do the same and I will let her know that I understand now and I'll just stop asking her.
Do you think some weekends I should take my daughter out and let her have a weekend with her child or do you think we're now a family so that we have to do everything together?!
I think it's great that you're seeing a problem to be honest. So many don't.
What are you doing when your daughter comes over. All doing things together? Or you and your daughter alone? How does it work?
I don’t love my step daughter but I have some sort of a bond with her.
Don’t take her not loving your child as a negative thing, a friendship can be a good a bond as any and you may also find that that bond strengthens as your child gets older.
I have always found one on one time helped me and my step daughter and I can tell if we haven’t had that time for a while as we both start getting unnecessarily ratty with each other so it’s imperative to us. I hope this helps x
We all do things together....
I have her on a Tuesday night for a couple of hours and my partner sort of suggested when we moved in that she would like to keep that time so she has time with her child and I can with mine but I kept saying so I'm not allowed back home now and it caused a few arguements but I can see how stressed and anxious she is and so maybe tuesdays I can keep as separate times.
She makes lots of effort and she gave my daughter a lovely Christmas, helping me buy presents (she didn't pay for them) helped me decide what she might like. We agreed that she will buy her daughters and I buy mine each year and if we have any more children in the future then we just do that jointly which I think is a good idea.
I think what makes it hard is that we struggle sometimes with money.... she is unable to do overtime at her work and so I did but of course csa have demanded more.... so the overtime I do doesn't pay for the Ammon tom expected to pay.
I have no problem paying by the way however I know it gets my partner down because she doesn't get a penny from her ex as he just doesn't work so it pays for nothing. And my ex is always so dolled up when I pick up my daughter, new shoes, she smokes and it does feel like I'm paying for her habit and lifestyle. It my daughters but that's another story and I know and I would pay for my child I just wish it was spent on her or put sensibly in a bank account.
But my partner says she feels horrible and has no clothes and I think this doesn't help either.
Definitely think 1-2-1 time with your child is important (and i’m sure your child will thank you for it). I make sure my OH and his kids get time alone, they don’t want me hanging around all the time and it’s important they spend time alone with dad. In fact they make a point of asking me to come to stuff sometimes! You definitely don’t have to do everything together.
One to one time is important, as well as time together.
The maintenance part must be tricky but it is what it is. Basically you're doing overtime but then barely seeing any of it, while your partner sees you less because of it.
You don't necessarily know your ex partners financial situation. Dressing up nice etc doesn't need to cost a lot. Just because your partner doesn't, doesn't mean your ex can't.
The weekend where she was upset, had something happened? You might not be aware of it but something obviously did.
I remember when my step children stayed I used to feel anxious all weekend. I could never relax. Everyone was on best behaviour. His kids couldn't do anything wrong, never got pulled up on rudeness, even when rude to me. It was so hard!!! I relaxed the second they left
Yes I know but we struggle to pay the bills each month. And my partner would like to buy some new shoes but she knows we really can't afford too. So I feel hard on her that she's walking around in shoes falling apart.
My ex doesn't work, she never has.... but there's no contact between me and my ex, court situation and I was been harassed.... contact is between my mother and her as a 3rd party. Anyway my mum often received messages on a Friday asking if I can pick my daughter up from school to drop her home as she's having her nails done. I don't do it because I'm not a taxi service and if it was to have a few extra hours with my daughter that would be nice but it's literally to drive 5 minutes down the road to drop her off.
Csa is £60 a week, but I don't earn no where near that in overtime. So it's ridiculous how it's worked out.... the stupid thing is I've tried calling them up and they can't find my national insurance on the system.
Anyway like I say I pay because I know I'm responsible.... I guess I just wish I could cheer my partner up and allow her to have a few nice things herself.
I think the two children had some sibling type rivalry and her child was very upset.... I can't recall what actually happened but something along the lines of not sharing or playing nicely and we try and encourage to play nice and share like any parent would for children if they were normal siblings....
Could that of upset her too then?
Sorry for all the questions I just want to try and understand and help and prepare myself to talk to her and basically understand however she says she's feeling is ok and normal
Did you side with your daughter when that happened ?
I think maintenance is worked out fairly in most cases? I'm not sure. Mine pays £40 a week.....for FOUR children
Becoming a step parent is a hard thing to do and as much as you have met your partner's child before moving in together it's still more intense when you live with your partner and it becomes your life. Give her time and don't push her too fast to be a blended family. Have time to yourself with your dd and her to have time with her dd. Everyone is still getting used to the new arrangements. I'm sure she would find it upsetting to have to manage a conflict between her child and yours and I'm sure some of her reluctance to talk about it is fear of upsetting you. She probably felt unable to intervene as she would with just her own child. There is a very thin line where step parents are able to discipline another person's child. She probably found this hard as she felt she couldn't act as she normally would.
Give her time and talk about your parenting ideals with her and share how you plan to raise your child. She may have a better idea how to act around your dd then.
Also please please please don't ask her if she loves your dd. That's such a loaded question.
I've lived with my partner and his two dcs for a year and known them for 3 and I would not say that I love them. I care about them and I do my best by them. But I don't love them. They already have 2 parents who love them and that's enough. Love sometimes doesn't happen right away and it's ok to not love them. That's what a lot of soulsearching and advice from ss and parent support officer. Hope you and her have a good heart to heart about how you both feel things are going.
I wouldn't agree with £40 a week for four... I would think it should be more and yes I do side with mums on them getting it but think how they work it out is unfair. Someone I work with pays £60 for 3 children.... earns a bit more than me and I pay £60 for 1.... yet the system
Doesn't know who I am so I'm unsure how they are even able to calculate it each year.... but that is another issue.
I dont recall siding with either just said to play nicely. I try and be equal. We set the same rules to both. Which I think is fair.
In the end, if she won't speak to you, then she has to accept responsibilities for matters not getting better. Maybe she doesn't because like you might have read this, she will accept that the issue is with her, not you or your DD. Or maybe she might indeed hurt your feelings if she was to say that she thinks that the daughter you adore is a brat, with bad manners and she can't stand her.
Or maybe without realising, you are expecting too much from her and to treat your DD like hers, cook, clean etc..., or that you are desperate to see your unit as a happy family when actually, from her perspective, she doesn't see your DD in that picture.
Or indeed, she resent the money you give to your ex, or that you spend in other ways. Who knows, certainly not us, clearly not you, so you need to get her to open up if she wants you to help.
I'm going to say that when she feels she can tell me how she's feeling that I will Listen and I'll accept whatever is said and we can try and work it out.
I understand I was been too hard in saying love and that it comes naturally when and if she ever feels it I know I should just be grateful she likes her and try's very hard with her.
She tries helping educationally with my daughter as my daughter says her mum doesn't read to her and the school have mentioned it too.... my partner has a good understanding of primary education so tits nice that she wants to help... I don't ask her too she offers. I find the aspect of phonics hard myself...
Swing of things.... what if she doesn't want me to help but I can tell she is finding it hard?
I don't want her to stay quiet and eat it up inside....
Is there anyway she could perhaps talk to people in similar situations of course IF she was to want that?