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New Step Mother with New Baby

(25 Posts)
lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 10:53:51

My DSS lives with us full time and I've just had DD.

I'm feeling a bit guilty because the strength of my feelings for DD are so strong and I'm worried that DSS will pick up on the fact that I clearly don't feel the same way about him. He is a lovely 10 year old and he and DD adore each other.

I've just had frustrating School Holidays as his BM let him down constantly, either saying she was too busy to see him or changing arrangements at the last minute and generally being disruptive.

I'm a SAHM so his main carer and find her behaviour so annoying! And my DP expects me to just put up with it.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Mumpbump Tue 04-Sep-07 10:58:25

Yes. It has crossed my mind several times that it might be hurtful to my dsc to see how affectionate I am to ds, but not to them, but I have never set myself up in a quasi-parental position so I don't think they would expect me to be maternal towards them anyway. I don't think you can let yourself feel guilty about this. You are not his BM and I doubt he feels the same way about you that he feels about his mum, even if you are his main carer and she is unreliable. If anything, it might make him miss having that closeness with his mum, but life isn't always as we would wish it to be...

KaySamuels Tue 04-Sep-07 11:04:26

Please don't feel bad, it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job as a step mum, and dss's primary carer. It is also great that he is bonding so well with your new baby. I would say continue to spend time with him as you did before, make sure you talk to him and show you still care for him just as much as you always have - hell he is 10, tell him. smile It mut be hard for him if his mum lets him down so let hime know you will always be there for him, as he may be feeling quite vulnerable, worried about being pushed out.

When I had ds I couldn't believe how much I loved him, a felt the same guilt towards my step kids. I try to show them I am still there for them, it made me more aware of how much they must love their mum, and how it must be for them in general. I think a new baby can just mean more love all round.

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 11:30:16

I think it is hard for him as he is in the middle of his bickering M&D. My DP makes no secret of the fact that he thinks his Ex is useless and I've told him time and again not to slag her off in front of DSS - he has a serious bed wetting issue which is I'm sure a product of this.

I just felt bad because I got snappy with him a few times over the holidays when he was under my feet - we live in a small place and he's not the outdoors type - and I was feeling the normal pressures of new motherhood. I had to apologise and tell him that it wasn't personal etc, just tiredness.

Budababe Tue 04-Sep-07 11:51:19

It prob is all hard for him. But he now has a little sis who as you say adores him and he her.

Don't feel bad about snapping at him - I snap at my DS lots. Even snapped at him in cloakroom at school today (first day back) in front of others as he was messing about with his shoes and we were late.

I think if you make time for him on his own you will reap huge benefits. He doesn't ever need to know you love your DD so much more.

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 12:16:36

You are right, I gave myself a talking to about a week ago - along the lines of if anything were to happen to me and DD was brought up by someone else blah blah... and tried to look at it from that perspective i.e. how his mother would want me to treat him.

Also thought more that I have a huge responsibility to DSS that I haven't really acknowledged before, that even though I am not his BM I am his SM which is an important role in his life esp. as he lives with me.

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 12:17:38

It has helped loads and we've had a good laugh over the last week or so. Must remember this when he is getting on my nerves!

Budababe Tue 04-Sep-07 12:26:25

How do you honestly feel about him? Do you feel like a carer, a "friend", an aunt? Do you feel any love or affection towards him? Or do you feel like he has been foisted on you?

How old is your DD? Fairly new I think? I suspect that as she gets bigger and you see her and your DS interacting and (hopefully) loving each other it will prob affect your feelings towards him. You will prob grow to love him in part because of how he is with your DD. Sort of "love me love my kids".

NAB3 Tue 04-Sep-07 12:38:37

He is going to have mixed feelings about his mother. Wanting to feel loved by her but confused as to why she lets him down. May be hold off telling him arrangements until you know for sure she will turn up? He also may struggle with nice feelings towards you as a rejection of his BM.
The new baby bonds you all as a family and that can only grow and be a good thing.
Your DP needs to get more involved - it is his ex- and not just leave everything to you as the SAHP.

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 12:54:13

TBH before DD was born this wasn't even an issue. It's just that the difference in my feelings between DD and DSS is so massive, it's raised questions in my head i.e. Do I really love him? I feel like his SM for sure, and I feel loads of affection for him esp when I see him with DD.

I've only been with DP for 2.5 years so not sure if this is just normal feelings to have early on in relationship with SC. Does it make a difference that I haven't seen him grow from baby/small child?

aloha Tue 04-Sep-07 12:58:47

I think it makes a big difference but the biggest difference is that you are not his mother, and that he has a mother he sees, even if she is unreliable. You can't be his mother if he has another mother.
I think the passion you feel for a small baby can even be a problem for mothers with older biological children though. THe new baby is so new and helpless and your hormones are in protective overdrive, so even biological mothers can feel that they find their baby more beguiling than their other children. You just have to do your best, which you are clearly doing.

Mumpbump Tue 04-Sep-07 13:27:53

Lita - I have been with dh for over 5 years and have known his children for most of that time. I would never say that I love them - I am fond of them and definitely like them, but I am not their mum nor do I think I should try to be.

Whatever you know about the different feelings you have towards your dss and your dd, he won't know about it. But if you let this become an issue for you, you could make it into an issue for him and you certainly haven't said anything in your OP to suggest it is at the moment.

Once your dd gets a bit older and starts to interact, I am sure he will have a very rewarding relationship with her and you may well find that you feel closer to him as a result anyway... That has certainly happened for me anyway!

NAB3 Tue 04-Sep-07 13:51:30

I find some of this quite sad and I am no way judging. Clearly a child can only have 1 mother but as a step mother you are there to fulfil a motherly role, surely? I am sure you are but some of the comments seem quite ambiguous about the children.

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 14:05:32

I do totally provide a motherly role for him. That's why I said I feel like his Step Mother. I am also completely aware of the fact that he has a BM and I don't try to fill her shoes in any way. We are both fully aware of what our relationship is and is not, and I agree with you, I'm pretty sure he does have an internal battle going on regarding his positive feelings towards me being in some way disloyal to her. I'm really careful and respectful of his feelings I assure you.

I just wanted to know that some of the things I was feeling were 'normal' as if there is any such thing and that I am not alone...

Mumpbump Tue 04-Sep-07 14:07:34

If the children were living with us, I might feel differently, I suppose, but they're now (an indepdently minded) 10 and 13 so too old imo to "mother" anyway!

As a teenager (and in fact even now), I was very resentful of the man who came between my parents and I suppose that I am extra wary of being seen as trying to usurp my dsc's natural mother as a result. Dh's marriage had already ended a year or so before I met him, but I insisted on being introduced as a "friend" because I didn't know if it was serious, didn't like the idea of the children potentially being exposed to a string of "girlfriends" and it was important to me that they didn't feel that I was competing for their dad's attention at a time when I think they were still adjusting to the reality of the situation. It took us just over a year to tell them that we were together and we only told them that we were engaged when we actually moved in together (about 10 months after getting engaged).

Perhaps if I had already had a child before I met my dsc, I might have felt more comfortable with being physically affectionate with them, but I have never been the "maternal" type and had never held a baby nor wanted to before ds arrived. Don't get me wrong - I do care about my dsc and have said that if he and his ex wanted me to, I would look after them if anything happened to dh's ex and him (she has been very ill recently which brought the question to the fore), but I just wouldn't feel comfortable trying to act like their mum.

Kewcumber Tue 04-Sep-07 14:08:46

I think what you are feeling is pretty normal. I think you not feeling as strong a bond is also (in addition to the dependancy of a baby vs the independance of a 10 yr old) partly down to the fact that his BM does have a relationship with him. I'm sure you would feel differently if you had had 2.5 years of him seeing you as his only Mum.

Someone gave me a great piece of advice when I was worried about bonding with my (adopted) DS - pretend! It will be real enough in time.

NAB3 Tue 04-Sep-07 14:10:05

lita2000 I wasn't in any way criticising you. My observations were about the thread in general. I think you are doing a great job and sound very empathetic with your SS. I am sure all is fine and the strength of your feelings for your baby has surprised you.

I loved the children I nannied for but nowhere near what I feel for my own children.

Mumpbump Tue 04-Sep-07 14:11:16

Sorry - thought NAB3's comment was directed at me 'cos of reference to children... Ignore my ramblings!

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 14:23:16

NAB3 That's OK I didn't think you were criticising, just being honest! This has all been v. helpful in any case, just to get it out without being labelled "Evil Step Mother"

NAB3 Tue 04-Sep-07 14:24:36

You are very much not the evil step mother!!

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 14:27:50

NAB3 you are also right about the strength of my feelings for DD suprising me. I feel very very strongly in love with her. It feels perfect yet completely new and a bit scary (in the sense of 'what if something happens to her etc etc)

Mumpbump Tue 04-Sep-07 14:36:13

But that can be a very good thing too. Just last night, dh and I were having a conversation about his children getting the train together. They have never been on the train without an adult. Dh was saying that he didn't trust his son (the 13 year old) to be responsible for his daughter as they bicker quite a bit. I said that I could understand why he thinks his ds is immature - because he likes pratting around to get attention - but that as someone with a more objective viewpoint, I thought his ds was quite mature enough and the fact he liked to act the fool didn't mean that he was actually immature. Dh said today that he thought I was right and I hope that he might re-evaluate his opinion of his ds.

Sorry - rambling again... Anyway, the point is that the chances are that your dss will benefit from your slightly more distanced perspective as he gets older...

lita2000 Tue 04-Sep-07 14:48:04

Mump I think you are probably right, his dad still gets nervous about him making himself a sandwich just in case he cuts himself! He's 10!! I am a lot more sure of his ability not to do himself an injury and I think he likes the trust that goes with this.

I also think he's relieved when I take him to his mother's as he knows there won't be any arguments (I get on fine with her), so this is also a plus for him.

Anyway, must go get him from school!

Cheers smile

Surfermum Tue 04-Sep-07 20:05:51

I think it's completely normal to feel like you do, I felt exactly the same when dd was born. I love my dsd, but it's a completely different sort of love to how I love dd.

SuperMonkey Tue 04-Sep-07 20:12:24

Completely agree - I have an overwhelming love for DS and I can't help kissing him all the time. Then I feel guilty that I'm not kissing DSD in the same way. I don't think it can be helped. DP of course gives them both equal affection, which I think is important.

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