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SM - BM Whats the difference? Honestly.

(26 Posts)
JustBreathexoxo Tue 04-Sep-07 23:33:09

I have recently become a SM(hope that means step mom im a newbie)

And I have read a few threads here in step families and one thing that is mentioned often has me thinking, Your not his mother so why try to be, Your just his step mother nothing more.

Im curious what is the defintive difference between the 2? Ok asides from the obvious fact that biologically im not there mother, but in the roles we play in the childrens lives what is the difference.

Is there certain things a BM can teach that I cant? Is it because there are certain things the child will accept there BM to teach them but would not of a SM?


lojomojo Wed 05-Sep-07 14:20:13

Word to the wise I wouldn't use the word BM on here, the other posters will hang you out to dry!! BM on here is normally about the child's birth mother if they have been adopted, or the child never sees his/her birth mother.
If they live with their BM and you are the SM who only has contact when the BF has access, then you must refer to the BM as Step daughter Mum etc.

lojomojo Wed 05-Sep-07 14:21:05

Sorry, if I sounded picky there I was trying to help.

bonkerz Wed 05-Sep-07 14:26:09

I have often wondered this too. My step daughter comes to us every weekend. When she is with me i treat her as if she was my daughter. She gets the same as my ds and dd and in every respect except biological she is my daughter. When she is with her mother we text every day and still provide her with things etc. If DS and DD have a new item then we buy for DSD too! DSD is 6 and if anyone ever questions who i am she tells them im her special mummy. Me and her mother have a civil relationshi[ and TBH i am just as much if not more involed in DSD life than DH (he works weekends so its me that cares for DSD 90% of time when she is with us.

Anna8888 Wed 05-Sep-07 15:15:21

I'm a stepmother. I do not have the same relationship with my stepsons as I do with my daughter.

I don't wish to usurp the role of my stepsons' mother in any way. It is not for me to bring them up. I have no legal responsibility for them and no decision making power.

BrownSuga Wed 05-Sep-07 15:36:37

as my dh's dd's dm said, she comes to our house to see her father, not me. so i let them get on with it. i'd rather her view me as her dd's dw, rather than a "sm". if my DH is working, she goes to her GP's. while she's here, I make sure she's fed and watered but DH does the bath/bed stuff, as he should.

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 19:08:01

the difference between the 2 is whatever you want it to be.

Some step mums want to get involved and others dont, to varying degrees.

Im a step parent and my step son and i are very close, but im more like his friend, he already has a mum.

bonkerz Wed 05-Sep-07 21:44:47

i think how oyu are veiwed depends on age of step child too. I have been with DH since DSD was 17 months old so have taken a hands on role and maybe thats why i feel like she is my own when she is here. Im sure if she had been older things may have been different!

JustBreathexoxo Sat 08-Sep-07 15:29:30

Apologies if you took offence to the BM reference its just a term I had seen on MN.
Its a curious position to find yourself in, I think that I would much rather be the kids friend than any sort of mother figure as they already have a mum.

But I also have my own daughter to think of too.

How do I keep the two seperate if I'm raising them?

Its OUR house all of us but there are expectations and disclipines that I have taught my daughter for the last 7(shes 9 now but she got new step brother and sister at age 7) years.

Should my expectations and disclipines be different for SD & SS to the dismay of DD?
Just so I dont make them feel like im threatening the roll of their mum.

law3 Sat 08-Sep-07 15:32:34

Are your stepchildren living with you now or do they just visit?

nzshar Sat 08-Sep-07 16:22:56

Dont know if this will help but here goes. Have 13 year old dss have been with his dad since he was 7. I didnt have any children at that stage but was very clear at the start about the rules in our house. It was a rocky road at first and took some adjusting for all. Im sure dss thought that I was picking on him but since having ds 3 years ago we have become a lot closer. I think 2 things happened I loosened up a bit realising that parenting is about comprimise and respect not authourity (duh ) Also dss saw that a lot of the rules were also applied to ds (especially as ds gets older) so didnt feel I was being mean sm. I suppose what Im saying is that in our house the same rules apply to all children whether its dss, ds or even visiting children so there is no battles of they can do this but I cant etc etc etc.

beansprout Sat 08-Sep-07 16:28:06

Dsd already has a mum. I am someone quite different, a significant adult in her life, but not her mum.

law3 Sat 08-Sep-07 17:21:55

You cant keep the 2 seperate if you are raising them. Same everything. You cant have my DD, your DD. If they are living with you, you are a family regardless of who they belong to.

If they are just visiting, say at weekends, can be a bit more difficult. For example you obvious couldnt ground them for a week, or no ps2 for a week etc because they wouldnt be there.

Bouncingturtle Mon 10-Sep-07 08:00:26

Have you met your dh's ex - what sort of relationship do you and you dh with her? That can make all the difference, especially when your dsk(dear stepkids) aren't living with you. If you both have a fairly cordial relationship, then I would expect that you and your dsk would treat each other like members of the family. Having said that, if you haven't been with your dh that long, you need time for you and your dsk to get to know each other.
If on the other hand there is tension between you, dh and his ex, then that will make life more difficult. Again you and dsk need to get to know each other, but all contentious matters such as discipline should be handled by your dh.
I think a distinction needs to be made with regards to you acting as his mother. You are not, and nor should you try to be - he already has a mother. But you should always treat him as a member of your family. You will be a very significant figure in his life as the two of you get to know each other. Remember kids are pretty sensitive to relationship changes. He/she may still feel resentment that you have "took away my daddy from my mummy" (I'm just looking at this from the point of a view of a child). They can also be demanding, manipulative and disruptive. But that is what kids are like. As the adult you have to be the one to keep your cool and to try not to take personally any slights. I was a absolute bitch to my SM when I first met her, hated her for stopping my daddy going back to my mum. But now, I get on really well with her.
Good luck - hopefully one day with a lot of hard work and patience you will be rewarded by your sk going up to you and giving you a big hug and telling you they love you.

LilyDaisy Mon 10-Sep-07 11:08:25

I am very close to my husband's children from his first marriage - I like to think my relationship with them is like that of an auntie maybe - a close family member who has a degree of influence in their upbringing.

I cringe a bit when people call me their step-mum - I don't feel comforatable with the mum tag, because I'm not their mum.

I definately consider them as my family though, and all my family have welcomed them too.

Bouncingturtle Mon 10-Sep-07 12:05:22

Lily - yes I feel the same way about the stepmum tag, and DH's ex doesn't like it, so we don't tend to use it.
My dss has met my mum and really liked her - has only met her a few times (she lives a long way off) but she made a big impression

evilreturns Mon 10-Sep-07 12:24:31

i think your circumstances help to define your relationships tbh.

my dss and dsd live with me and their father all the time and have done since they were very young.they see their BM* a couple of times a month. As i am their carer 90%+ of the time and do everything for them that mums do,i feel we have more of a mother/child relationship than they do with their own mother. i treat them as if they were my own and always tell people i have 3 children, not 1 (though I then explain circumstances.)
dh and i are bringing them up, so we expect them to respect and live by our rules, standards and lifestyle. BM gets little to no say in this as tbh she doesn't really care. if she did, however, while we would listen to her, if it did not fit in with our household then we would expect her to respect our decision.

however, if my dsks did NOT live with me, even if i saw them on a regular basis, i would expect dh and bm to make key decisions in their upbringing. while i would not treat them any differently to my own child while they were with us, i would not expect them to see me as a mother-figure, but would expect them to respect me and my house. i might even want them to like me too! (sorry, this post has a rather dictatorish tone to it. i am SO not like that in rl!)

btw - i feel i am justified in using BM so please don't jump on me....grin

JustBreathexoxo Tue 11-Sep-07 03:08:03

Yes both children live with us and their mum lives an 8 hour drive away
different part of the country.I dont have a relationship with their mum.(im just going to be honest if I want honest advice I geuss it starts with me). There mum and dad were together 12 years and split off and on for 3 years before I came along.Both of them lost care of oldest dss due to drugs,drinking and violence between the 2 of them and he went to live with his grandma leaving lil miss 6(dd) being shuffled between mum and dad and there mess of living until dad moved away to where I live(and not because of me,he moved to get away from the lifestyle he was living e.g the drugs and violence)

Im a pretty straight cut person no drugs like a drink but believe in raising my daughter with an open mind to all the possibilities of the world incl religion,sexuality,race all that stuff in my dp opinion im a square.

I dont have a relationship with dp ex because in my opinion she has thus far done a shit job raising, protecting,nurturing and teaching her children.You can hate what im saying but your not living my perticular situation and I could elabohrate more on dp ex but this is already a long read,but my opinions of dp ex are my own and i would not share them with the kids ever it would only harm any hope of building a relationship with dsk.And to top it off the behaviors and expectations that dp brought to our relationship were learnt from his previous and its doing my head in trying to unteach him the crap she put in him.My honey(dp) had no idea what it truely meant to trust and respect but he's getting it now.Obviously I should not have to state that I never disrespect dp ex in front of children at all, I dont talk her down to dp either he is aware that if I dont like someone I dont fake it I will be civil but Im not going to have a conversation about the weather with them.

From this thread I have sat down with dp and asked that we try something new.
He is going to take a more active role in the kids disclipine.I dont want to anymore,if they step out of line or are disrespectful it is something me dp and the child in question will sit down and discuss once he is home(he works long hours so i have the kids most days).

As they live with us, I will continue to ensure they abide by our house standards when it comes to cleanliness and respect of each others property and each other and dp will also.

I dont know if this is the best way to handle things its just something else im willing to try like i said before im sick of feeling like the evil step mother and i dont want to be labelled there mum either as i know they already have a mum,in time i would love to be a close friend or reliable aunty.In my heart I would love for them both to think of me as someone they can truely depend on.

I do understand your meaning evilreturns and agree to what you say exactly,I am still getting them to learn our house rules only taking a different approach to it by getting dp to enforce and encourage my expectations rather then me constantly reminding them or checking up on them.I also am quick to say I have 3 children and also explain the circumstances.

These 2 sk are in my heart it was a slow process but i care and love them deeply im just so exhausted from constant bickering between dsd and dd,my house being a mess,having to constantly check that dear step kids have done as asked or cleaned and tidied properly,being told by dsd that I only care for dd cos im always picking on her about tidying her things or clearing them away properly, then being told by dd that I let dsd and dss get away with things that I would not let her do e.g leaving her room in a mess with rubbish and clothes and food.

At the moment it feels like a lose lose situation and im sorry this reads like a novel and after reading all this you probably dont have the energy to reply but please do be blunt be honest but mostly be advisable if you can.

law3 Tue 11-Sep-07 08:48:32

I think you have done well to be able to be frank and honest about the situation.

I would say that i dont think one parent handling disclipine would work, i think it would have to be a joint effort. Otherwise the kids will think you are divided and divided we fall!!!!

Could you and your dh sit down and perhaps write down what the rules are, what the consequences will be if broken and then let the kids know, then that way everyone is clear and you cannot then be accused of not applying them to everyone.

I also think you have to be clear on what 'tidy your room' means. How about a list of things you expect them to do and put it in their rooms to remind them, ie make bed, cups and plates to kitchen, put toys away etc and you/them could tick it off as its done. For example at the end of the week, if they get 5 ticks, they get to spend 15 minutes with you doing something of their choice, 8 ticks you buy them a special desert, 10 ticks and so on.

That way even if they dont manage to do everything right, they are rewarded for making and effort and will try harder the next week.

evilreturns Tue 11-Sep-07 12:25:42

justbreathe we sound very similar, inc our feelings toward the sks bm and dh previous relationship!

you sound like you are doing a great job. really.i know it can be so so hard but keep going and it is great that your dp is going to back you up etc. i try and make it clear to all the kids that this is everyones house and therefore everyone has to live by the same rules and is treated exactly the same. i think whether you are the old woman who lived in a shoe or whether you have given birth to identical twins, no matter how fair you are the child/ren will always think otherwise at some point!

you're not alone smile

JustBreathexoxo Tue 11-Sep-07 21:46:32

Oh law the reward system is definately something I will look and talk more into with dp, its something I use to do with dd but just found myself a lil overwhelmed with new family lol some days it just feels like I dont even have time to breathe then I look at friends and family with more commitments than myself and think what the heck you so tired for womansmile

Evilreturns thank you for your reassurance its been very empowering giving me that lil extra boost from wearing down a bit home with the consistancy of routine and repetitive difficulties.Please keep in touch if you feel that our situations are similar(which in a way I kinda hope they are as its nice to have experienced opinions.Thou I do hope you find yourself in a smoother faze than myself)we could compare notes on the outrageous thoughts and moods our dp's have than ponder on them together wondering how they ever managed to think the way the do.

So whats the difference between BM & SM.
Its still a mystery to me,I think it depends on alot of outside influence e.g.the kids,the parents,time,family and your own feelings.
Whatever my role may be I dont require a label to tell me that these preciously growing sometimes terrors are in my care and care for them I will to the best of my ability.

Thanks everyone for your thoughtsgrin

law3 Wed 12-Sep-07 10:30:07

Justbreath - its hard being a parent and even harder being a step parent, you seem very level headed. The fact that you are even bothering to find out if there are better ways of doing things, makes you a great parent!!!!

law3 Wed 12-Sep-07 13:36:55

justbreath - are you asking whether your step kids should call you mum or not, in a around about way?

Or have i got the wrong end of the stick?

JustBreathexoxo Wed 12-Sep-07 22:23:24

No not thinking they should call me mum, lil miss 6 DSD use to call me aunty to her mothers disgust to which she put an end to. It was quite sad actually because she would become visably upset everytime she would forget and accidently called me aunty, so I had a chat with her and said its fine with me and dad for her to call me aunty or by my name whatever they are comfortable with.

It is extemely hard at times parenting but the rewards also at times can be overwhelming, DP has within the last few days been far more involved than ever in this area and for now its working well(fingers crossed)but I'll be round here awhile yet resourcing new ideas and different approaches.

Great post by the way law on racisim it makes interesting reading.

law3 Thu 13-Sep-07 09:42:32

Justbreath - oh right, its just my dss asked me once if he could call me mum, wasnt quite sure what to say, as he doesnt live with us, he is a 'weekender and holidays', although he has now started to come one day during the week as well now.

In the end, i told him i didnt mind and in fact was quite flattered, but that he should also check with his mum, and it was never mentioned again!!!!

He used to call my mum, nan and his mum put a stop to that.

Thanks for that, i think its an interesting subject that people try to avoid!!! one post on there now is really out for an arguement, geting personal, trying very hard not to sucumb.

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