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Don't think of DF's wife as step-mother

(37 Posts)
Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 09:09:24

Please give me an insight - my DF and DM had a very acrimonious divorce 20 years ago. I was in my 20s and had left home. My DF remarried. His wife is part of my family, an important part of my children's life but I would never describe her as my step-mother. Her DC are not my step-siblings in my view, although again I would consider them part of my extended family and they are close to my children. I feel strongly that, as an adult, I should be able to define my relationship with them. My DF disagrees and insists they are step-family and should be described as such. There is a huge back story of me seeing my DF as being selfish and not empathic. So I find it hard to know if I am kicking against his need to control by defining my own terms or if it is fine for me to do this. Thoughts?

Floralnomad Fri 05-Jul-19 09:11:52

Technically she is your step mum but in reality she is not because she never acted as a mother figure to you so I agree with you entirely and would be standing my ground with your father .

MorrisZapp Fri 05-Jul-19 09:14:56

Hiya. I have a step mother who has been in my life since I was a teenager, she's fab and I adore her. But I've never thought of her as a step mother, or referred to her that way. It's just 'my dad and Susan'.

I think it's probably because I've never lived in a house with her. I have a stepdad who I refer to as a stepdad, he lived with us for many years.

She used to be my dads girlfriend, now she's my dads wife. She's an integral part of our family but she's never expected to be referred to as any kind of mother.

Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 09:20:20

Thanks for responding! That is really helpful.

crosser62 Fri 05-Jul-19 09:20:54

My dads wife is just “Anna” to me/us.
They have children together that are technically my children’s aunties, they are younger than my kids!
They are technically my half sisters.
But they are just part of my extended family, I don’t see them often.

My dads wife by the way I bloody love but she is just “Anna” to me. She is also 10 years younger than me!!!

It’s quite a tricky one to explain to people, my kids especially!

BiscuitDrama Fri 05-Jul-19 09:22:20

What would the name step mother mean? Is there stuff that goes with it, for them?

Cornishmum00 Fri 05-Jul-19 09:23:13

I see my step mum as that, but do not view her dds as my step sisters as hardly ever see them

Itwasntme101 Fri 05-Jul-19 09:48:11

My dad remarried after my mum died. I was in my 30s when they met, she's about 5 years older than me, I didn't grow up with her child. Yes they are family but she was never a mother figure so I refer to her by her name or my dad's wife not step mum.

Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 09:50:09

@Biscuitdrama - I think it's a 'status' thing? My DF let something slip once about D'SM' not feeling accepted by his family. It is a little strange as it is only recently that he has insisted on the 'step' thing. We all had a rocky start in our relationship but it has been good for years, particulalrly since the DC came along.

It just doesn't feel right to call them step-family when we never lived together and don't see her DC that often.

Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 09:54:44

@itwasntme - yes she's not a mother figure at all. We have no sperate relationship. It is always the 2 of them or DF alone. She has never initiated an individual relationship with me. She does have an individual relationship with my DC so if they wanted to consider her a 'gran', that would be fine. But she's really a package with my DF to me. A lot to think about but I feel ok about being a bit more explicit about defining things in my terms. Kindly of course and making clear we are still family. But that insisting on labels isn't helpful. Thank you all.

poshfrock Fri 05-Jul-19 09:55:11

My mum died and my dad has a new partner. They have been together over 10 years. But I was in my 30s when they got together and even if they married she would never be my stepmother. She is simply Mabel to me. I have only met her kids once or twice and we didn't really click. I certainly would not consider them step siblings. I couldn't even tell you all their names. I have four full siblings and we all feel the same. My dad is 80 now and I am glad he has a new partner to look after him and give him companionship as my mum was ill for a long time and their last years together were hard work for him. So I am pleased they are together and she makes him happy. But she will never be a stepmother. And to be fair has never positioned herself as such. Sorry this was longer than intended but I hope it helps.

poshfrock Fri 05-Jul-19 09:55:11

My mum died and my dad has a new partner. They have been together over 10 years. But I was in my 30s when they got together and even if they married she would never be my stepmother. She is simply Mabel to me. I have only met her kids once or twice and we didn't really click. I certainly would not consider them step siblings. I couldn't even tell you all their names. I have four full siblings and we all feel the same. My dad is 80 now and I am glad he has a new partner to look after him and give him companionship as my mum was ill for a long time and their last years together were hard work for him. So I am pleased they are together and she makes him happy. But she will never be a stepmother. And to be fair has never positioned herself as such. Sorry this was longer than intended but I hope it helps.

newmomof1 Fri 05-Jul-19 09:59:47

My dads long term partner (girlfriend sounds weird - they're in their 50s!) of 19 years is my step mom.
None of my moms partners have ever been my 'step dad'.

I have a weird family dynamic with lots of siblings that aren't 'real' siblings, including step/half siblings. We just all refer to each other as brothers and sisters.

If my mom was to marry a man with children now, I wouldn't refer to him as my step dad. With his children, it would completely depend on whether they're adults or children i think.

newmomof1 Fri 05-Jul-19 09:59:47

My dads long term partner (girlfriend sounds weird - they're in their 50s!) of 19 years is my step mom.
None of my moms partners have ever been my 'step dad'.

I have a weird family dynamic with lots of siblings that aren't 'real' siblings, including step/half siblings. We just all refer to each other as brothers and sisters.

If my mom was to marry a man with children now, I wouldn't refer to him as my step dad. With his children, it would completely depend on whether they're adults or children i think.

Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 10:23:56

Thank you @poshfrock. Not too long and very helpful smile

Warmhandscoldheart Fri 05-Jul-19 10:29:33

My husband has a daughter whom I'm close to and we have a caring friendship but have would never call myself her SM.
I had no role in her childhood and she's never lived in our house. She calls me 'W' and if she has children I would be known as 'W' to them too.
IMO if you've been there through a child's childhood and upbringing then SM or SF are the right relationship titles to use but AC shouldn't be pressured in to using them.

Warmhandscoldheart Fri 05-Jul-19 10:32:20

have I

Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 10:32:27

@Warmhandscoldheart thank you for a SM perspective. And thank you everyone for sharing your experience x

iheartgin Fri 05-Jul-19 10:37:57

My father in law passed away several years ago and my MIL is due to remarry soon. Her partner has 2 kids and there is a lot of emphasis on their part to integrate him and his kids into the family - lots of talk about bringing the families together and forced family fun at Christmas etc.... given that we are all in our 20s/30s with our own families it feels a tad unnecessary.

My DH doesn't see him as a stepdad or as a grandad to our children as we have only met him a handful of times and he has little involvement in our lives as we live far away and don't see each other often.

We are happy that she's happy and has a partner to spend her life with but we don't feel the need to get caught up in the technicalities of the relationship, we don't see him often enough to consider him a step parent or grandad.

Hecateh Fri 05-Jul-19 10:39:41

My kids were adults when their father remarried. It's always Dad & xxx. They like her and get on with her and I think they, well my daughter anyway, gives her a card on Mother's Day.

It wouldn't bother me if they did - we've been apart for years and they didn't get together until years after we split.

They didn't call the OW a stepmum either thinking about it. They went approx EOW but were resented by her children so it wouldn't have been acceptable. (They did used to call their childminder mum when they were little though. She had kids the same age and it was just for convenience)

MothralovesGojira Fri 05-Jul-19 10:50:29

I know exactly how you feel.
My Dad didn't even introduce us properly. I'd already left home and one day when I went to visit Dad he'd already moved her in after dating for about 9 months. There was this awkward "Um... this is xxxx" and that was it. My Dad just thought that I should just make the effort to treat her like my 'new' mum and her two adult children as 'new' siblings straight from the word go - utterly bizarre really and a tad surreal. I already had a DB and I wasn't looking for a replacement mum as I had one who I was NC with due to her being very abusive.

My Dad died a few years back and when he was dying he asked me if I loved my stepmum? What do you say to that? Of course I lied and said yes as this made him feel easier. Since his death contact from her has dwindled to a few emails and a meet up once a year at christmas and over the last year I've left the ball in her court. 'D'SM has made it very, very plain to DB & I that her DC's + DGC's come first and has sold all my Dad's estate and written a new will leaving everything to her DC's despite my Dad's wishes. She won't even let me have my grandparents things and photo's even though she never met them or any of my Dad's things that are sentimental to only me. She has proven to be an utter cow.
My Dad for whatever reason just thought that I should make all the running in building step-family relationships and told me it was all my fault that I wasn't close to my step-siblings - step-sister made it plain from day one that she didn't like me and was very blatant in making my Dad play favourites in her favour. I was always the difficult child who wouldn't play along.

Isthebigwomanhere Fri 05-Jul-19 10:53:29

My dad married his wife when I was 16.
She is a lovely woman and we have always got on but she is not my mum.
I've never referred to her as such, it's always been Dad and Mavis.
I've never bought her a Mother's Day card and she has never been bothered by this.
When my Dad was Ill in hospital and the doctor kept referring to her as my mum, I never corrected him as it wasn't the time or place but I still called her by her name

Politicalacuityisathing Fri 05-Jul-19 12:40:11

@mothralovesGojira I am so sorry. Our introduction to DF's now wife was very similar. A bit brutal and like our thoughts or feelings on their relationship was irrelevant. Which makes this "she's your step-mother' line all the more bizarre.

The more I see other people's responses I feel sure my DF is overly controlling this and that's not ok. Thank you all for sharing x

ChillUrBeans Fri 05-Jul-19 14:43:19

I think it is just a title - yes in the legal sense she would be your step mom but if you have always referred to her and her children in a certain way then I would not let your dad bully you into questioning it so it suits him.

My DSC's call me by my name and that is fine with me - it's who I am, when talking about me DSS will say my step mom and if someone says your mom he will say oh you mean Chill, she's my step mom (even though I got with his dad when he was 9MO) where as DSD will never correct and if I refer to her as my SD she says "er you mean daughter". She is expecting first baby and is adamant child is very much going to be calling me granny and that is fine also but I have expressed that I don't want to upset her mom, she says her mom is nan so that's that in her head.

My DS calls DH by his name but in cards he will put dad and refer to him as dad to other people because he says it is easier. Your dad trying to force the issue could end up making you that pissed off with the situation that you start trying to distance yourself from them - tell him that if you are all happy then really that is the most he should hope for and to stop trying to bully you all and cause issue where there is none.

HeckyPeck Fri 05-Jul-19 22:06:10

I mean she is your step mum and her kids are your step siblings. That’s just a fact.

I would think what do I gain by refusing to acknowledge that and what does it cost in terms of your relationship going forward.

It feels a bit unkind to refuse to call them your step family when it sounds as though your dad is the one you have the difficulties with.

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