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Need the point of view of stepmums!!

(67 Posts)
fizzymum Sat 21-Jun-08 16:09:01

My exh and I have 2 DC's together. I am remarried and so is exH. Ex is married to the OW so understandably I've never been particularly fond of her but we get on to some degree for the sake of the kids plus it's not in my nature to be nasty or horrible to anyone. I don't see as it matters anymore as we have all moved on with our lives.

The only person with a problem however seems to be ex's wife. It's hard to describe. I don't have a problem with her as such, as long as she is kind to my DC's and they like her is all that matters to me but she seems to be hell bent on going out of her way to be awkward(or should I say to make things awkward between me and ex) and to prove that she makes a much better mother than I do.

At the moment she's got a thing about how often the kids are having a bath when at home with me. The kids have mentioned a few times that Stepmum has asked them when they go to there for the weekend 'when did you last have a bath?' and has told my 5 yr old ds that he can run himself a bath whenever he likes when at home with me. WTF?? I find this comment really irresponsible as ds could scold himself if he went and run himself a bath on his own.

Ds started school in January and I bought a pen for writing his name on the labels of his uniform. A couple of weeks later she had ironed over the top of what I had written with proper iron on labels.

Ds has a school reading diary where we have to write what he's read, to whom and for how long. If I do 10 minutes of reading with him, she does 15, if I do 15 she does 20!!! And it goes on and on....

Ex and I get on fine when she's not around but when she is, he will barely speak to me. Don't get me wrong I don't particularly want to talk to him but I would rather that there wasn't such a strained atmosphere, especially in front of DC's. She can also be really rude to me(obviously when ex isn't around to witness it) and it makes my DH so cross that she thinks she can speak to me that way. DH doesn't particularly like my ex but is always polite to him and respects the fact that he is dc's dad and certainly wouldn't dream of speaking to ex the way that she speaks to me. I never say anything back to her because I don't want to cause a scene in front of DC's and I don't want to bring myself down to her level. It's getting to the stage now where I feel like saying that I don't want her to come to our house anymore to collect DC's but then i'll be seen as being awkward, which is maybe what she wants.??

Can anyone help!!?? Is this the way it is between all 1st and 2nd wives or is it just us?? How the hell do I resolve this??

TheArmadillo Sat 21-Jun-08 16:14:03

I don't know about being a stepmother, but carry on being reasonable - don't sink down to her level as she wants you to.

Carry on doing what you would normally do. Bath your children however often you would like to bath them (and remind them daddy's/OW rules at their house and your rules at yours if they try to run a bath). Read with them for however long is necessary/however long you have time for. Be polite in all encounters however rude she is.

You can't start a competition or an argument if the other person won't. SO don't let her. She isn't going to stop seeing your kids so you have to grit your teeth.

And when she gets to you remind yourself that you are the better person for not rising to it and not giving in under the strain.

I feel for you, I really do, but you have to be the better person thru this.

fizzymum Sat 21-Jun-08 16:18:04

Thanks Armadillo. I know what you're saying and I completely agree but I've put up with this for nearly 4 years now and the thought of having to go on like this for years to come is quite daunting!! I never bite back as I don't want to give her the satisfaction, so what's driving her???

TheArmadillo Sat 21-Jun-08 16:20:45

She's bitter and twisted. And unreasonable.

It's hard to work out other's motivations when they are not logical.

It must be incrediably frustrating for you and you are doing well if you haven't risen to the bait in 4 years!

MAke a voodoo doll.

TheArmadillo Sat 21-Jun-08 16:21:43

And I also bet she thinks you're better than she is. She wants to bring you down. She's insecure.

fizzymum Sat 21-Jun-08 16:21:50

LOL!!! Gonna try it, it could be my only resort!

fizzymum Sat 21-Jun-08 16:24:15

I've always had the impression that she thinks she's better than me, infact I've always had the impression that she thinks she's better than anyone else!!

youcannotbeserious Sat 21-Jun-08 16:32:50

Hi!

Does your Ex's new wife have kids of her own? It seems like a bl*8dy irresponsible thing for any one to tell a 5YO it's OK to run a bath.
I have two DSDs and when they were that age, I wouldn't have left the children unspervised for either the filling or the bathing...
FWIW, I think you should point that out to her / your Ex!!

Regarding the whole first and second wife business, i think it is different when the second wife was the OW. Just as you aren't fond of her, she isn't fond of you (Not saying this is justified and I'm sure you are going to say 'but what did I do to her?' and that's true, but you are the competition. Or you were, and most probably as your kids are young, most of their lives revolve around yoru kids (I know a lot of wives whose husbands leave just assume that the ExH never thinks of the kids and is busy off having this rgeat life, but the reality is far more likely of having to figure out how to split holidays so that he sees the kids enough and how to spilt wages to ensure CS / maintenence is being paid. that's a lot more stressful when you have an ExW AND a new wife both calling the shots!!!! grin

There is always another side to the story and very few women get themselves tangled up with married men without being told at least a few lines along the way. Just remember that, while you only see the worst side of her, the same is very possibly true for her. And she might have been told of your less than finer points (it's probable that your EXH hasn't mentioned all the things you were really great at!! grin

As I said, I'd reckon on her not having kids and her thinking that she'd do a much better job of it... (Again, I'm assuming, but if she's seen your Form E she knows just what you are claiming to spend on everything from hairdressers to flowers...)

Without knowing you, her and your situation, it's impossible to honestly say why she's like this, but it could be anything from that she thinks you get too much money in maintenence or she thinks the children are grubby when they appear...

As long as you and your ExH are happy with the way your children are being raised and your kids are happy, then I think TA is right. Best leave it. But I would mention the bath.

Have you met up with her (just the two of you?) My Dh's Ex and I did that to talk abou tthe kids and it did help. We're never going to be friends grin but, 10 years down the line, it's easier for everyone.

Sorry for the long post.

youcannotbeserious Sat 21-Jun-08 16:37:37

TA is right, though, at the heart of this is insecurity.

Sounds like you are a great ExW - She allowed pick up the DC and she writes in their reading books.

My ExW (well, DH's but you KWIM!) would have freaked about those things when the kids were around 5YO.

jammi Sat 21-Jun-08 17:13:35

Message withdrawn

fizzymum Sat 21-Jun-08 17:25:26

It's hard but I only have the kids interests at heart which is why I don't understand why she is the way she is.

Wife is pregnant with her first child at the moment. I was hoping that when she did get pregnant that perhaps all this would stop, working on the theory that she would have everything I had with ex and more because she's got the relationship with him but it seems to have got worse.

I don't get given a huge amount of maintenance and ex doesn't contribute towards the costs of school trips or any extra's. When DC's started to go to ex's one night during the week as well as every other weekend she made sure that the CSA knew straight away, so they could reduce the amount of maintenance they gave to me. As you can imagine it took the CSA several weeks to calculate this and when they did she worked out all the back payments down to the very last penny of giving me too much and reduced the weekly amount until in effect I'd paid back all the overpayment I'd received!!(and believe me we were talking a minimal amount!). Don't get me wrong, I'm not greedy, I'm all for only receiving what I'm legally entitled to but what I did object to was finding a piece of paper, showing me how it was all being worked out, written by her, shoved into the DC's overnight bag when they returned from a weekend with their dad.

fizzymum Sat 21-Jun-08 17:28:21

Jammi, yes I think she is trying to make a nasty point, to make me feel like shit and it works!!

ProfessorGrammaticus Sat 21-Jun-08 17:29:11

Rise above it, rise above it, rise above it. Use MN to get it all out of your system!

duomonstermum Sat 21-Jun-08 18:05:18

keep humming. i go for the blah blah route myself. tis all petty point scoring. fwiw i never used to sign DSDs homework diaries unless they specifically asked, and then i forged DHs signature grin she'll get bored with it eventually and if she still has the mental energy to try after the baby is born good luck to her.! ignoring bad/undesirable behaviour is always the best (but damn hard) way. my dad always used to tell me to think as if i was training a dog....(can you tell he doesn't like DH's ex???)grin

youcannotbeserious Sat 21-Jun-08 18:09:49

Fizzymum

Jammi is right. Firstly, most step mums wouldn't dream of writing in books etc., and most mums would go mad about it. I certainly wouldn't have done that. In fact, I wrote a cheque for my DSD1's ski trip and I got DH to sign it (we have a joint account) because I thought it was nicer for it to be DH's signature.

Yes, she is trying to make you feel crap, but it's her that is feeling insecure.

TBH, it doesn't surprise me that she's involved in the money. They are probably having to budget (err.. aren't we all?) and feels that 'your' money is a bind. I'm afraid, though, that this is likely to get worse if she is due to have a child of her own.

One of the first things DH and I agreed on when we had DS was that it should in no way impact DSDs or his Ex. We have not reduced payments at all. It's up to us to manage our finances and I strongly feel that payments to the 'first' family should not be reduced solely because there is another child. (Just IMO)but sounds like this step mum will have you straight back to the CSA to get a reduction based on the new child...

I'd say that what's going on here is that, when she was the OW, she thought that all of this would stop once she and her DH were together. That all of the stress relating to the ExW / kids would go away. And she's having a reality check that it doesn't.... And as Jammi said, he left you for her... She might well not have too much confidence he won't do that again......

None of this, however, is your problem.

All you can do, I suppose is try to ignore her...

dittany Sat 21-Jun-08 18:23:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

youcannotbeserious Sat 21-Jun-08 21:24:25

FLippin' hell - your ears pierced? How old were you? Did you not say no????

My DH's ex would (rightly) go ballistic.

As I would if anyone did that to my DS without my permission.

Something as serious and final as a piercing is bang out of order!!!

jammi Sat 21-Jun-08 21:26:30

Message withdrawn

youcannotbeserious Sat 21-Jun-08 21:32:25

Agreed, Jammi.

I take my DSDs to the hair dressers for a treat, but wouldn't have a cut - just a blow dry!!!

Anna8888 Sat 21-Jun-08 21:35:20

Your exH's new wife seems to be overstepping rather a lot of boundaries.

I am a stepmother and I have quite strong negative feelings about some of the things my partner's ex does in her role as mother (along the lines of dirty children smile). But it is not my business to tell my stepchildren what to do at their mother's house, nor for me to sign their homework book. Basically we have one set of behaviours at our house, there is another at their mother's, and we try to fill in the gaps wherever possible.

I think you need to speak to your exH (not his wife) about your expectations of him as a father (he should be doing reading homework, not his wife).

Anna8888 Sat 21-Jun-08 21:37:03

My partner's ex never, ever takes her children to the hairdresser and is, in fact, absolutely delighted that I do it (which I find very odd indeed - I would be devastated if someone else chose my daughter's hairdresser and hairstyle). And I choose nearly all the boys' clothes (with them, and their father, but I take the lead) and she is delighted with that too. Most peculiar.

youcannotbeserious Sat 21-Jun-08 21:37:30

Hi Anna!
Agreed = one set of rules at your house, one at thier mums... But I think as far as possible these should be harmonised.

FWIW, even when I do the kids homework, DH signs fro it. That's not my call.

<<<YCBS waves at Anna>>>

Anna8888 Sat 21-Jun-08 21:38:38

<hello fellow stepmother of two and mother of one> smile

Anna8888 Sat 21-Jun-08 21:44:12

Basically, I don't do things for my stepsons unless I know their mother is OK with it. Since she is pretty pleased to outsource what she thinks are childcare chores, I pick up a lot of fun stuff like haircuts and clothes shopping smile. But if ever I got wind that she minded, I would want to stop immediately.

My partner does the boys' doctor and dentist appointments, and I don't do these because a parent needs to be present. Sometimes I do homework (but not in a heavy duty way - my partner does that) but I never sign the homework book (no authority to do so).

poppy34 Sat 21-Jun-08 21:47:58

would never ever sign anything for dsc to do with school - about as far as it goes is I'll help if asked a direct question re homework but school stuff is for their parents not me.

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