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3 Bumps

How to get along with the birth mom? adult content

(I'm going to try and come across as nice as possible, but at times I don't know what else to say)

I've been my step daughter's "MOM" since she was 2, she's now 7. We (DH and I) told her that I was NOT her mom and to call me by my first name. But after about a year of this, we figured that if that's what she wished to call me, then that was just fine. Although it has taken me a couple years to actually realize what it takes to be a "mom" = ) I now have a 6 month old baby girl, so it has all come quite clear in the past 5 years on what it's like to be a mommy. Anyway, her BM's barely in the picture. After she found out that our daughter was calling me "MOM", she was furious and ever since she has tried to portray herself as HER mother, although she has come to terms with me being the full time "mom". I'm having a hard time trying to understand how I should respond to certain things that BM does and says. BM's border line Bi-polar, but won't deal with it. So it's really hard to handle at times. It's like she will say one thing to our daughter to make her happy and believe what she wants her to believe or try and make herself come out looking like a saint. But then come to us and say the complete opposite. It's so hard because now that my daughter's 7, she's coming to me with all these emotional feelings that I just cant' believe I'm hearing (from a 7 year old~she's a very smart girl by the way) It's so sad to me already, to know that she's had to deal with this but now I'm having a hard time knowing what to say or do (I cant' imagine how hard it is for our daughter). Our daughter has said that she doesn't know her birth mom and it's hard for her to ask her questions or even say things to her, simple things, like how she feels or even things like what she likes (I'm thinking, BM doesn't really know how to connect with our daughter?) BM is very hyper and very influential to everyone, so I can understand why our daughter feels like it's hard to come across with saying anything. Although I know that our daughter has fun with her (she's told me this and we always ask her how it goes when she's with her and things like that) BM only sees her once a month, if that maybe. This is the MOST she's ever seen her, so it feels to me and DH that it's almost doing more bad than good? Which there's usually a ridiculous situation that occurs and our daughter doesn't feel comfortable at times and she will call to come home. It's life I know but at the same time it's like I want to explode on the BM, but I try to relax and when I get our daughter home, it's like a huge relief and we know that she's ok. But how I see it is, that every child NEEDS their parents.....and eventually our daughter will decide what she really wants to do. As long as she feels comfortable when she's with BM, then that's all that matters. So I guess what I'm really looking for, is am I doing what's right here? What am I missing? Any advice (good or bad) will help me. Thanks for listening to my love to everyone who reads this : ) Parenting is hard at times, but Step-parenting is waaaaaay harder. Especially when you REALLY care for your child and you want whats best for them!

Oh and by the way, DH has full custody and he has since our daughter was 1. He has complete say on what and when BM comes to see our daughter but he has always been open to allow her to see her, as long as our daughter is ok. But at times it's hard to draw that line since there's always drama. We always remind ourselves that our daughter will let us know. So I really hope we are doing what's best and most of the time I feel we are, but there's always that ? in the back of my mind and now, especially, with these feelings that our daughter's come out and told me. Ok, I'll be quiet now, I could go on and on and on. Thanks again!!!

Answer Question

Asked by Hethrjo at 9:53 AM on May. 29, 2012 in Parenting Debate

Level 2 (7 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • These are difficult waters to navigate, for sure.

    Honestly, it sounds like you're doing everything right. My only suggestions would be to make very clear to your daughter that she has you and her dad to talk to about her feelings, even if they're conflicted. Let her know you'll help her to come up with a solution or answers.

    Second, I think I'd get more structured on BM's visitation. Since she has no legal right to see her daughter whenever she wants, or in what venue, I would advise that supervised visitation would be appropriate at this point.

    Answer by BrawnwynII at 9:57 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • I think it would be good to check into counseling for your daughter. What she's going through is very challenging, especially since she is intelligent. she needs some support, somebody who isn't involved in the situation, and can help her to handle things with her mom.

    If money is an issue, I'd check with the school...also check with your health insurance or employee benefits, sometimes there is help available through them.

    Good luck, it sounds like you are a loving caring 'step' mom.

    Answer by ohwrite at 9:59 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • In my opinion, mental instabililty mean no taking my child anywhere at any time. I don't care who you are. I agree with Brawnwynill about supervised visitation.

    Answer by zetajen at 10:03 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • That's what we have talked about. I set up the once a month visits and I told her that if she couldn't make them then we would have to talk about the supervised visits. It's hard to not judge and jump on it right away and of course the legal fees suck you dry but that the same time it's what's best for our daughter. I have also developed a veru close relationship with our daughter, she pretty much only talks to me. I'm so thankful for that!! Thank you for the feedback, i appreciate it!!

    Comment by Hethrjo (original poster) at 10:17 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • I should have added that we have been going to counseling. We couldn't afford the 100$ per visit but it sure did help with the visits we were able to make. The counselor told us that it wasn't a good idea to have the BM around, there's so much more to this than what I put out there. There's other kids involved with her and other men but that's a different story but it does show how mothering is not one of her good points, I guess I could say? But anyway, our daughter does go to a counselor at school along with these special kind of classes that are helping her with her communication skills. So that's helped soooo much! I am now working back to full time, so I'm considering going back to counseling with our daughter. Now that she's so more in touch with her feelings and able to communicate better. I tell her all the time that no matter how she feels, that ok to feel that way. It just depends on how you act.

    Comment by Hethrjo (original poster) at 10:30 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • I should also add that I'm scared (we all are) that our daughter will develop her BM's actions and past (current) behaviors. The BM has tried to tell us she's changed but by how things go and what our daughter tells us, it's obvious that nothing has changed. BM has managed to get away with quite a bit of BS...but I guess I'm just caught up in what the heck should I do? As a mother, I just couldnt' imagine leaving my baby! No way on this earth or anywhere else for that matter or no matter the situation, could I do that! I also couldnt' imagine treating my daughter the way that she treats her's? Like trying to manipulate her to love her? It's pretty messed up and the BM makes us look like the bad guys by saying we don't let her come to see her when she wants? Or whatever else she can come with. I am to the point where I try not to think about this and I try and focus on US, on OUR family and OUR LOVE!

    Comment by Hethrjo (original poster) at 10:40 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • Some of it sounds like she just wants the validation that she is the girl's mother. You mention not knowing how to respond to some of what she says - is that stuff about her being the girl's mother? If so, I'd start with giving her validation while making it clear where she stands - "I know you're her mother, but John and I have been raising her all these years and while we're glad you want to be a part of her life, we're not going to change everything at this point just because you want to be a part of her life." That may not apply perfectly to your situation, but you get the idea. I would get a specific visitation schedule in place, and if her behavior is that erratic, I'd limit it to supervised visitation. Even though the child talks to you, you can't count on her telling you if she's really uncomfortable. Even though her mother hasn't been around, she's still likely to feel some kind of loyalty to her...

    Answer by wendythewriter at 11:05 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • and therefore, might hold back on some stuff. As the adults in this situation, I think you and your husband need to be the ones to set the limits and make the decisions here, and as she gets older, then allow her to have a say. Also, bipolar can be hereditary, and if (and I'm not saying she does or that you should be worried) she did inherit it from her mother, the mental issues from that could also lead to her feeling conflicted and holding back, even if you think she's being really open and honest. I think you being able to see the visits taking place yourselves would be a much better idea than relying on a 7 yr old to tell you everything. I'm sure she is very smart, and I'm sure she does tell you a lot, but this is just not one of those situations where I'd be willing to completely trust a 7 yr old's judgment in being able to know what's okay and what's not.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 11:09 AM on May. 29, 2012

  • There is nothing to do when it comes to the biological mother's actions or conversations with your husband and you. Why bother? It isn't worth the extra stress or effort. She can say whatever she wants and will. If your husband allows visits or of it is court ordered, nothing you can do. All you can do is answer your daughter with compassion and kindness. Or your husband can deny visitation or take bio mom back to familiy court. Sometimes by responding directly to the adult it makes it worse. So don't. She can't argue with anyone who refuses to argue with her. You can nod and smile but continue with what you always do. If she is truly Hell bent on your awful then biological mom can take your husband back to court as well.

    Answer by frogdawg at 12:42 PM on May. 29, 2012

  • You just described my situation almost exactly. I've been in my son's life since he was 2 (he's 6 1/2 now). I've been his primary mom throughout that time. My SO has had custody since he & BM split and, visitation has decreased over the years. BM is allowed to see DS twice a month for supervised 8 hour long visits. PM me if you'd like to hear how we are dealing with things in our situation (I'm just more comfortable with that).
    You are not alone!

    Answer by BubbaLuva at 4:17 PM on May. 29, 2012

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