Is there really any support for step parents

(64 Posts)
easylover Thu 14-Jun-18 09:43:40

I think the majority of us step mums are trying our best and I think it's a tough job. We do get put down a lot and seen as evil but we're really not. I hear a lot how it's harder for the dcs and yeh that's probably true being a step daughter myself I remember how it felt, but we do have feelings too and sometimes it's hard to be the grown up all the time and just give give give and get nothing back. Why do people hate us so much? I love my life with my dp 2 dcs and 2 sdcs but sometimes I find it tough, anyone else? I just don't think there is much support x

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funinthesun18 Thu 14-Jun-18 10:10:15

I agree op. People are very quick to project and jump to conclusions because of their own situations.
When people say "you knew what you were getting yourself in to", that couldn't be further from the truth. Nobody tells mums the same thing when they find being a parent to their own children difficult. "Oh you knew what you were getting yourself in to when you got pregnant"...

Nobody knows the future. Things can turn shit in any life situation. Seems stepmums are expected to put up and shut up though.

Starlight345 Thu 14-Jun-18 10:14:48

I don’t hate step parents . It is a challenging role to be a step parent and get it just right.

I do think many couples move far too quickly when there are step kids involved and this then throws up a lot of problems.

swingofthings Thu 14-Jun-18 10:14:54

There's a difference between living your life as it but finding it hard and finding it hard to be a SM because deep inside you wish your SC didn't exist and believe your life would be perfect without them.

Some SM fall in the first category and are not considered evil at all. Then they are the others who give the first a bad name.

easylover Thu 14-Jun-18 10:23:33

Yes that's true there's good and bad step mums and good and bad mums! I also agree people jump into it too soon and then expect the step children to accept them just like that. My dcs dad has a girlfriend that is jealous of them and finds it hard to accept they are close to their dad but also it's hard for her to take on my teenage dd at 15!!!

On the other hand though I think we are put down a lot, unappreciated, quite often get the blame for everything and can't do right for doing wrong, we need more support I think !!!

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TryingToForgeAnewLife Thu 14-Jun-18 10:28:07

It really depends on the circumstances of how they became involved.

In my situation the "step"mum was the OW and met the kids 4 weeks after we split.

So l feel l have the "right" to not be pleasant.


Equally, she actually seems a nice person and if circumstances were different and they'd got together after we seperated I'd be welcoming her with open arms as she has made a huge effort with the children.

easylover Thu 14-Jun-18 11:27:07

Hmm and quite often it's presumed we are the OW and that's not always the case either. In my case my dp had been divorced 3 years before I came along but still their mum will say if it wasn't for her me and your dad would get back together! Can't win!

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Hengine Thu 14-Jun-18 11:40:37

I really don’t like the ‘you knew what you were getting into’ line
It never gets said to parents who are struggling,
It never gets said when people are in abusive relationships even if there were signs that the partner could be abusive.
In Other scenarios people get support, but it’s seen as fair game to blame a step parent when often they have least control in the situation

Magda72 Thu 14-Jun-18 12:22:36

I agree with everything you say @easylover. However I'm a mum & a sm & at the moment I'm finding neither easy. I've a good working relationship with my exh but he regularly shifts all parental responsibility onto his dp who never says no to him. This is causing a lot of issues between him & my kids at the moment & I'm sort of caught in the middle.
On the other hand my dp's exw hates my existence, regular badmouths me & my kids to my sdcs & also uses the line that their parents would still be together if it wasn't for me! - met dp when we were both divorced!?!
Honesty I just get periods of time when I'm exhausted by it all & you're so right there's not enough support at all!

Spanglyprincess1 Thu 14-Jun-18 12:31:26

I honestly agree. I care a lot about my step kids, I worry about their schooling and health and making sure there treated fairly. It's lovely how quickly my extended family have taken to them, esp my mom who is an ex teacher and therefore very good with kids. I mostly lean on her for advice and support tbh.
It's a lot to take on someone else's children as ypur expected to do everything but at the same time have no voice over sometimes important decisions in their lives.
The love and expirence though is irreplaceable and my life would be worse without them in it. I think many step moms feel the same, my sister's step son lives with them full time now and he is lovely, well as lovely as a 16year old can be.

ElChan03 Thu 14-Jun-18 12:50:51

I agree with most pp in this post.
It's a hard life and non stop.
My heart goes out to all the SM who don't have their own children first as a point of reference.
We don't know what we get ourselves into AT ALL.
You think you'll get support but you don't and it's such a tough line to dance to be involved but not too involved, to parent but not parent, to love but not love too much etc.
Especially hard when there is a challenging EX in the background making things 900 times harder.
My dp ex for example has now completely abandoned her dc to our care and is pregnant with a new child and a new life. Meanwhile we fight social services to get support for existing children. I don't generally get listened to at these meetings as I am not the children's mother.
I like to think though that there are lots of like minded SMs on this board to help and support.

easylover Thu 14-Jun-18 13:03:03

Aww bless you all I can relate to what you all say, and the ex w mum in the background making things worse, why do they feel the need to do this. I'm happy if my ex's gf takes mine out does things with them, I tell them you don't have to like them but you mustn't be rude to her and they promise me they are not. We should support each other I do unfortunately see some posts on here which are not very supportive x

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swingofthings Thu 14-Jun-18 16:27:00

*My heart goes out to all the SM who don't have their own children first as a point of reference.
We don't know what we get ourselves into AT ALL.*
I totally agree with this. Bringing children is quite different to what most of us parents have envisioned. I love the saying that states 'before I had children, I had principles'. This is oh so true!

So yes, it's hard enough to adjust as we are going along, having got to know our children well in the process, I can totally respect how hard it must be to thrown into it with none of that preparation.

What I do have an issue with is anyone coming into a child's life with the belief that they know better than their own parents what is right for said child because they have the best principles without taking into consideration that indeed, principles don't always work best as a method of education.

Myboys2018 Thu 14-Jun-18 19:40:52

I agree with this. When setting we struggle
With certain things or perhaps word things not as well as they could have been and you get a tyrade of abuse for it. We all work bloody hard as step parents, it's not always going to be easy and especiallly dealing with ex wives. Xx

Bananasinpyjamas11 Thu 14-Jun-18 23:45:37

I agree OP. It’s one of the reasons that I find it very unhelpful if people struggling as SMs are jumped on this forum. It’s similar to real life, there is very little tolerance for SMs from society. We have to fight just to tell our side and generally it is so much trouble we keep quiet about the struggles instead. That’s not healthy for anyone.

swingofthings Fri 15-Jun-18 06:38:28

I don't think this site represent the reality of life of SM, at least not in my word. I have got to know many SM through friends and work colleagues (changed quite a few jobs) and those who struggled have been the minority.

Of course there are struggles and moans and the rest, but no different to moans about our own children, husband, MIL, sisters, bosses! Relationships are hard because we have a fantasy idea of what they should be like and when it diverts from it, we feel hard done by.

This forum inevitably makes it sound like being a SM is harder than anything, but going on the single parent forum make it seem that being so is that harder thing, as reading posts on relationship would put any one off getting married!

Hengine Fri 15-Jun-18 06:44:51

We get judged to impossible standards and the goal posts move all the time.
So many blogs and posts about from parents who need a break or need a glass of wine after the children have been a nightmare and they get mostly support and sympathy,
a step parent says they need a drink/break after a tough day and its a different response and how dare you say they are a nightmare they are just children.
but then we knew what we were getting into wink

ElChan03 Fri 15-Jun-18 06:52:13

I have so much respect for single mothers. My mum raised me pretty much by herself and worked really hard to give me a happy life. So I really appreciate how hard that would be if you were on your own without a support network to help you.
But I will say that step parents will always have the tougher end of the deal because even if we do the best job in the world and we've been 1000000 % committed to the well being and happiness of the step children. We still will never be acknowledged as a parent to that child/adult... see all the threads re weddings and cold shouldering etc.
We put so much in and you're not always guaranteed that anyone will appreciate it.
I can thank my mother for raising me, but I'm sure my sc will thank their father when they are older.
Don't get me wrong there are some appalling step parents out there and lots of posts on here that show self absorbed women that basically imply that they wish the sc would disappear.
Not all of us are like that though.
So I do think you should remember that it is hard because a single mother is a MOTHER... I do all the same things a Mother does and I'm not one. Go figure.

swingofthings Fri 15-Jun-18 07:14:19

I do all the same things a Mother does and I'm not one. Go figure.
And I think that's the point I was trying to make higher up. I think what makes it very difficult is that the role of a SM is largely defined.

We rarely hear of SF moaning, yet they do face what SM do, but on a daily basis. If anything, they should be the one screaming how undervalued they are. However, I think that in the majority of cases, their role is clear, they do very much act as a second father, if not first. They are usually the main earner and provide support. They don't tend to get as involved in the education of the kids or think further as to how they will grow as adults.

SM though are either expected to take on the full parenting role when the kids are with them, or not get involved at all, and then there is the grey area in between. The reason why it worked ok in my family is because we were all on the same page. I definitely didn't want my kids SM to bring in her principles into raising my kids and that's something I felt strongly about. Thankfully, she had no interest in getting involved to that level and roles were clear between her and my ex that he was responsible for the kids when they were with him, including cleaning, etc...

The conflict comes in when the threesome doesn't work. The couple might be on the same page, but totally at odd with the ex. Sometimes as we read this the two parents are the ones on the same page but not with the SM. And then you do have the times when the women agree, but the issue is with the father happy to delegate all his responsibility to the women involved in his kids' life.

I think the 'you knew what were getting into' relates to this. How many SM get into a relationship knowing whether their expectations/principles/values are aligned with their partner and the ex? Of course they don't have to be with the ex, but if that's the case, then they do get into the relationship with some knowledge that this difference might make their lives harder.

I don't think anyone fully appreciate how hard it is to start, build and maintain a relationship when children are already in the picture but it doesn't take away the fact that we are all responsible for the choices we make and how we make them. I really believe that one big error people make is to rush things assuming any issues will resolve themselves because they will bring changes to the relationship, rather than spending more time testing whether they could cope with the family dynamics before committing to it.

Hengine Fri 15-Jun-18 07:57:22

I think that step father probably do find things hard, they are just less likely to be on a forum.
However there are posts from women saying my children don’t like my partner etc.
I think that there are higher standards set for women all round though- lots of posts about great dads who really don’t seem to do anything special so maybe they have less of a hard time as expectations are lower

easylover Fri 15-Jun-18 08:43:49

I disagree swingofthings, I've was a single mum for 6 years, yes it was tough I had no family to help either, I dealt with everything myself and I had my own business. I find being a sm far harder, emotionally draining and feel far less appreciated. Having the jealous ex wife doesn't help either

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Snappedandfarted2018 Fri 15-Jun-18 08:48:06

Personally I think step fathers take on a more active role because often or not they are living with the resident parent especially if contact with the nrp is eow or twice a week. My dh has been in ds life since the age of 2, he was the one who took ds to nursery put him to bed extra. Ex and his dp went away on child free holidays and could come and go as they please throughout the week, where as we had to cater our lives around ds even the hours I worked so I can do the school run. Both ex and his dw have been able to work full time with zero restraints. I do find it annoying and I know it’s only the minority of SMS who moan when the dc come over eow, when as the RP I’m the one doing the school runs, dentist appointments, hospital appointments, taking time off work because ds was sick.

As it stands now ds goes to his df every tues although I pick him up from school and one day over night at the weekend. He now had him 2weeks a years where as I have to put ds in childcare or my parents have helped to cover the holidays. It’s not an attack on SM but more an acknowledge of the role of a SF and my DH is a bloody good one. In 8years he’s never moaned once.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Fri 15-Jun-18 08:52:55

@elchan totally agree with you
But I will say that step parents will always have the tougher end of the deal because even if we do the best job in the world and we've been 1000000 % committed to the well being and happiness of the step children. We still will never be acknowledged as a parent to that child/adult... see all the threads re weddings and cold shouldering etc.

There’s a bitter irony that even in this thread asking where the support is for SMs, that we are already having to justify to other posters why there might be a need for support for SMs!

Instead of, you know, just getting support for SMs!

I would say that being a SM has been my toughest mothering job. It has offered no rewards either, has broken my relationship and gave me significant stress.

And I’ve spent years being a single parent, and am also a parent to a child with severe special needs.

@hengine I know my DP finds being a step Dad hard. He had an easy ride when he was smaller and now is a bit shocked! There are several differences. He works long hours so he doesn’t have to be step Dad on his own ever (unlike me), his SS is pretty nice to him and he doesn’t have a manipulative bitter SS Dad undermining him as step Dad.

queeniebeez Fri 15-Jun-18 09:06:22

I'm full time step mom to 2 boys, dad is a widower. I'm not an evil witch and I love both boys however last night whilst I'm at hospital with chest pains the 10 year old announces to his 20 year old brother that he thinks he is more important than anyone, he enjoys causing trouble between me and his dad because he wants us to get a devorce..This was out of the blue, there has been no conflict between my husband and myself or myself and my stepson...He does random little things aimed at me which I've just ignored thinking it was all part of his development, the only time he gets into trouble is when he doesn't tidy his room, this has come as a shock as we are quite a well functioning little unit...Husband and I are hireing a machine to turn logs into mulch and this morning he commented that it would be really funny if one of our family dogs ended up in the machine....I'm now totally stressed and traumatised 😱

Disco2018 Fri 15-Jun-18 09:16:52

I hate the 'you shouldn't have gotten involved with a man with children then' line.

You can't help who you fall in love with.

Also the you knew what you were getting into.

I had no idea. Sc was so young I assumed it would be easy, 10 years later they still treats me like a stranger and with contempt. I had no idea their mother would constantly bad mouth me and dh making a relationship impossible. I had no idea I would be treated as the ow even though I'm not. I had no idea his dad would take the credit for every nice thing I do, and day out I plan, so it doesn't matter how hard I try my efforts to get them to like me are fruitless. I had no idea that dh would spoil sc and feel it completely inappropriate to tell sc off when their with us, regardless of how badly they behave.

Being a sm for me has at times been shit . Most sm post I read when they don't get on with the kids it's the same issues. Disney dad and mother causing conflict.

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