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My first concern as a stepmom

Posted by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 2:55 PM
  • 41 Replies

Hi, I am new to the site so I guess a little background would be in order before getting to the issue at hand.

(Me and the Kids) I'm not technically a stepmom, but I have been dating my boyfriend, seriously, for over a year.  He has two boys 7 and 10 and we have a very solid connection.  They consider me an important part of their lives and I love them unconditionally.  I don't have any children of my own (I can't have children). 

(Me and the boyfriend): We have a good relationship we are both in our mid 30's, very stable income, educated and get along pretty well. I stay at his home 7 nights a week, but I do still have my own place (irrelavent to discussion, but it's a personal decission of my own).  we discuss marrage, lightly, but know that neither of us are ready right now and neither of us feel rushed.

(Me and the Mom): I've only seen/ met her a hand full of times(very briefly), but she always expresses pleasent indifference, which is about the same way I behave towards her. We are pleasent with a few lines of small talk (about the weather). I try very hard to follow the "rules" of a stepmom (via reading studies, articles, blogs, ect). And thus far neither of us have expressed a need to express our feelings (for good or bad) to eachother or anyother party (for what it's worth, I have no angst for her, I have no idea what she feels towards me). She is apprehensive of me doing anything besides "just being there" ie, I can't pick up the boys from day camp when dad is stuck at work (she has boyfriend's dad, who lives 30 min away, pick them up instead of allowing me(I live 5 mins)) but, on the other hand, she knows that I am very involved (her youngest has a book he likes read to him before bed, I read one chapter, he takes it home for mom to read next and we've continued that for awhile)

(Boyfriend and Mom): They were divorced 3.5 years ago. My boyfriend was not a good husband towards the end and she was very bitter (understandably so) for a long time. They can now at least communicate on a superficial level appropriately. (this change of events occured tangent with my becoming on the scene, not to "toot" my own horn, but I did try very hard to get my boyfriend to compromise with her and at minimal be tactful). My boyfriends fathering skills have greatly enhanced over the last year also (the mom has even commented on how attentive he has been regarding the kids).

Now, if I didn't bore you, here's my issue:

My boyfriend has his children every Sunday (among 2 week days and every other weekend) from Noon till 5pm.  My family lives 2.5 hours recently, my family has had a few family functions (birthday parties, family reunions, ect). The boys mom is "unconfortable" with the boys going to my family functions; understandable, I guess,(I've never been given a reason as to why) but, this puts me in a very difficult position.  My options are to not go at all, or to go by myself. Both of these are an issue.  My family doesn't/ hasn't had the opportunity to get to know my boyfriend well at all and they don't get to know my step children in anyway.  This not only upsets me deeply, because the boys are a huge part of my life and I want my family to know this part of me, but also because it feels like I am forced to choose who is more important. 

Same goes for holidays.  My boyfriend has the children 1/2 time on all holidays which puts me in the same predicament. 

Part of me wants to believe that this will change when I am officially the stepmom, but part of me is concerned this will always be the case. 

Anyone have this issue before?  How did you deal with it?

 

 

by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 2:55 PM
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Replies (1-10):
DDDaysh
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM
7 moms liked this

I see a big disconnect here with the fact that you and the boyfriend aren't ready to committ to being married, but you want to have his children involved in family functions on your side.  I guess when you start including kids in your family, you're basically opening them up emotionally.  

It seems odd to me to be more willing to committ a child's heart than to eachother.  I think if you really want to view the kids as a part of your family, you have to be willing to be there for the long term, and so far neither you nor your boyfriend is ready to committ to that.  

shanlee42
by Silver Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM
I think Daysh hit the nail on the head as to why mom has asked that they not get involved with your family. That and the distance may also make her uncomfortable because if something happens she would not be able to be there quickly. You said it yourself that dad wasn't always a great dad so she could be reacting to that.
crissie202
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:23 PM

DDDaysh If you're suggesting that once we get married things will change,  thank you, but I didn't join the forum and ask this questions to be exposed to condescension.

I appreciate your opinion on marriage, however I find the fact that we are not legally married  irrelevant to my concern.  

Shanlee, I didn't think about the distance thing from her point of view which could very much be a legitimate concern (except we have been on vacations at farther distances for longer tiem periods).  I should also point out that this is not a marriage issue as the children are around her boyfriends family on a consistant basis and they do not live together and do not have plans to marry.

 

wyomom4
by Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM
5 moms liked this

 I don't think daysh was being condescending at all, it came across a pretty respectful actually. And I think she is right, not that being married per se is the issue, but that the level of commitment isn't there.  And just because BM's boyfriend is allowed closer contact than you doesn't negate that as BF girlfriend she wants to limit the amount of contact. She knows her boyfriend really well, you are the newcomer in her mind. She doesn't know you and that makes it hard to trust your child to someone.

I don't think getting married will fix this reluctance in and of itself. I think it is going to be more about you just being there, show you are in it for the long haul and that you will treat her kids fairly. All of that takes time. Hang in there, and if your boyfriend wants to start taking them to meet your family, then HE needs to address those desires with BM, and handle HER concerns about it.  Good luck, sound like it just needs time.

Quoting crissie202:

DDDaysh If you're suggesting that once we get married things will change,  thank you, but I didn't join the forum and ask this questions to be exposed to condescension.

I appreciate your opinion on marriage, however I find the fact that we are not legally married  irrelevant to my concern.  

Shanlee, I didn't think about the distance thing from her point of view which could very much be a legitimate concern (except we have been on vacations at farther distances for longer tiem periods).  I should also point out that this is not a marriage issue as the children are around her boyfriends family on a consistant basis and they do not live together and do not have plans to marry.

 

 

faerie75
by Platinum Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM
2 moms liked this
Is there any way that bf can compromise w BM and alternate holidays instead? That will help in the future. For now I'd just go ahead and attend family functions alone if it is during his parenting time.

packermomof2
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM
2 moms liked this



Quoting crissie202:

DDDaysh If you're suggesting that once we get married things will change,  thank you, but I didn't join the forum and ask this questions to be exposed to condescension.  That wasn't condenscension.  It is a legitimate question.  Why are so many rushing to involve other people's kids in their family things when they aren't willing to become the kid's family?

I appreciate your opinion on marriage, however I find the fact that we are not legally married  irrelevant to my concern.  

Shanlee, I didn't think about the distance thing from her point of view which could very much be a legitimate concern (except we have been on vacations at farther distances for longer tiem periods).  I should also point out that this is not a marriage issue as the children are around her boyfriends family on a consistant basis and they do not live together and do not have plans to marry.  No plans that you know of...I didn't tell my ex I was planning on getting married until I asked him to keep the kids on a different day so I could get married. 

Mom doesn't have to explain why she isn't okay with this.  When it is just you and dad she might feel better than if it is a bunch of people that only one of you know really well... it could be a trust thing.  And I don't blame any parent who doesn't trust just because others do.




"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
Thomas Jefferson
to James Madison

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Ben Franklin
American Statesman
crissie202
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:48 PM

 


Quoting faerie75:

Is there any way that bf can compromise w BM and alternate holidays instead? That will help in the future. For now I'd just go ahead and attend family functions alone if it is during his parenting time.


 I wouldn't ask for this arrangement.  Both parents (and kids) would suffer at this time if they couldn't see all for any holiday.

 

newstepmom61811
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM
3 moms liked this

 Wow, Crissie, if you want a pat on the back to go on your way and keep struggling, go right ahead...if you want input as to what the issues are that you really might have to change...you're going to have to open up to some serious inner searching...DDDaysh nailed it...I'm also a childless SM, now MARRIED to 3 SKs who DH has custody of...I didn't have my family seriously meet the kids until we were engaged, for both their sakes...to protect my family and the kids from emotional attachments...this isn't playing house. There is A LOT more at stake...you haven't even let your own place go yet...honestly, your relationship may be going well but you still have one foot in, one foot out...you have to understand a mother protecting her children here...BM in my situation finally relaxed when we bought a home together and got married. She has met my mother once in passing at my SDs orchestra performance...honestly treated my mother like crap but at least she has seen and met her...she has not said a word about the kids around my family in a couple of years...but it takes time, and a certain level of trust...BM can't stand me, but she knows my family and I will not hurt her children, that she knows and of all her accusations, that has never been one. But it takes time...and honestly from one childless SM to another, your position right now is not looking good to BM, it's just the reality. The kids and your family don't need the entanglements when your relationship is in the place that you still have your own place and marriage isn't squarely on the table...being with a father is a whole different ball game.


Quoting crissie202:

DDDaysh If you're suggesting that once we get married things will change,  thank you, but I didn't join the forum and ask this questions to be exposed to condescension.

I appreciate your opinion on marriage, however I find the fact that we are not legally married  irrelevant to my concern.  

Shanlee, I didn't think about the distance thing from her point of view which could very much be a legitimate concern (except we have been on vacations at farther distances for longer tiem periods).  I should also point out that this is not a marriage issue as the children are around her boyfriends family on a consistant basis and they do not live together and do not have plans to marry.

 


 

DDDaysh
by on Jul. 26, 2013 at 4:04 PM
1 mom liked this

I wasn't being condescending, I was pointing out what I see as a disconnect.  The fact that you're not legally married isn't irrelevant.  It speaks to your actual commitment to this relationship.  If you're not willing to go truly "all in", that's fine.  That doesn't make you a bad person, but it is relevant when considering expectations for the children.  

As a mother, I would not go out of my way to expose my children to emotional danger.  Making things more convenient for my child to get emotionally attached to people that I have no reason to believe will be there long term isn't something I would do any more than I would go out of my way to expose my child to any other type of danger.  

You obviously have some reasons why you're not willing to legally committ to this man. And that's fine.  But it does mean that you need to be more careful with the emotions of the children.  I've seen first hand what kind of damage can be done when caution isn't taken.  It's not pretty.  

As for whether things would change if you were legally stepmom - maybe yes and maybe no.  If their schedule is court ordered, then you'd probably need BM's consent to get a schedule change.  She may or may not be more ameanable to that if she sees you as a permanent fixture in their lives.  

I don't think you can count on it changing though.  The schedule you are explaining is not a "standard" order, and so that means it's probably one he agreed to.  If it is working well for BM, she may decide she doesn't want to change it, and will be well within her rights to refuse.  So if it's a schedule you truly can't live with, then you might need to find someone else simply because this is the reality of his life and you can't count on it changing.  

Quoting crissie202:

DDDaysh If you're suggesting that once we get married things will change,  thank you, but I didn't join the forum and ask this questions to be exposed to condescension.

I appreciate your opinion on marriage, however I find the fact that we are not legally married  irrelevant to my concern.  

Shanlee, I didn't think about the distance thing from her point of view which could very much be a legitimate concern (except we have been on vacations at farther distances for longer tiem periods).  I should also point out that this is not a marriage issue as the children are around her boyfriends family on a consistant basis and they do not live together and do not have plans to marry.



KnowItAll
by Silver Member on Jul. 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM
1 mom liked this
I don't understand why bm's opinion is being taken into consideration when it comes to what bd does with his children during his time. Your problem is not bm's hesitance, but your boyfriend's. Why doesn't your boyfriend change things to accommodate you?
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