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Bm trying to figure things out

Posted by on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM
  • 14 Replies

I realize I am not a stepmother so I should not be posting to this group however I feel you ladies will be the best group to my question. To give you some history, my son's father and I never had a "real" relationship.  Things did not end on a good note.  However, that was years ago and both of us are moving on as best we can.  My ex dated a lot of women over the years and although I did not like the revolving door of women, he finally settled with a woman who is pretty good.  I am still perplexed they married after only knowing each other six weeks but that is their life not mine.  But it does scare me a little because as most people can concur you don't really know someone after that short period of time.  Please understand there is no love lost here.  I am just afraid that this woman who is pretty nice will leave soon and my son would have to try to understand why.  He is 6. 

But they did get married and just recently had their second child after 16 months of being together.  So even if the marriage does not work, those two children are blood related to my son. My question is how should I form a bond with this woman?  I want her to love my son like he is an equal part of their family.  I have read a lot posts here that made me feel so much more at ease. It is comforting to read other stepmothers caring so much for their stepchildren.  At the same time, I have read a few posts that said how they could not form a real attachment to a child that is not theirs.  And even though those posts were very few, it definitely raised some anxiety.

Yes, my ex and i will still fight over dumb things like child support and living far away from each other.  But I want to have some sort of bond with the woman who cares for my child when I am not there.  My ex will go to work even though he is not supposed to on visiting weekends so my son is in the complete care of his stepmother.  And I need to know that if something happens she will not put his life second because she did not give birth to him. We talk and text. I'm trying because I don't want her to not love him because we don't get along. But I'm still apprehensive. To be honest, I trust him with her more than I trust him with his father.  

I guess I am asking: what questions are allowed to be asked and what are not, am I allowed to critique her parenting style, and I allowed to state my parenting style and expect her to follow it with my son?  And I allowed to ask about the actions of my ex?  At the same time I don't think I should have to ask permission.  I am a great mother, she always says that she respects how I raise my child and not one of those mothers who feel the need to have a personal life more important than being there for my child. At the same time I am 34 and would like to also move on with my adult life.  I want to date and get married and have more kids. 

She realizes my concerns, she understands that my ex behaved not good for a lot of years.  But she insists that he grew up and feels badly for his past actions and truly wants to be the father he should have been.  And I am willing to go along with that.  I am smart enough to know that I need to have a relationship with her.  For those of you who are stepmoms and have an amicable relationship with your stepchild's birth mother, how did you make it work?

by on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM
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Polkadotted
by Gold Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:36 PM

I think it varies by what both of you are comfortable with. 

BM and I have a facebook chat relationship.  DH has custody BM gets semisupervised visits every year.  I think that we both had to let go of a lot of insecurities to make it work.  It started pretty casually after we got over the bitchy hate mail she sent me at first.  Just small talk.  I try to keep her in the loop and she thanks me for that.

BM and I were chatting earlier.  She asked me if it was ok for OSD, who is just above 50 pounds and really short, to ride in the front seat with her.  I tried to indirectly suggest that it was unsafe then after a few conversation turns it was clear she wasn't picking up on it so I just said that it wasn't safe. 

I defer to her a lot when we are together and I have made it clear that I know that she is mom even though they call me mom.  It went a long way and really helped to show her that we were not going to eliminate her from the lives of her children.  She tells me that she appreciates me and she respects my opinions.


momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:38 PM
How did she have a second child w/him after only being together 16 months? That makes not a lot of sense.
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Jaghd810
by Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Ok. I did not add up correctly. The first was born in April and the second was less than a year. February this year. What my mother would call Irish twins. Sorry. It seemed very quick. 

Jaghd810
by Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM

My son lives with me and I have sole custody. Dad gets him every other weekend. However, it usually runs once or twice every two months. Something always comes up why he can't have him all of the weekend he is supposed to.  And that is his doing not mine.

Like I said, I really want an amicable relationship. I am not looking for anyone to make this situation something else other than what it is.

Jaghd810
by Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:51 PM



Quoting Polkadotted:

I think it varies by what both of you are comfortable with. 

BM and I have a facebook chat relationship.  DH has custody BM gets semisupervised visits every year.  I think that we both had to let go of a lot of insecurities to make it work.  It started pretty casually after we got over the bitchy hate mail she sent me at first.  Just small talk.  I try to keep her in the loop and she thanks me for that.

BM and I were chatting earlier.  She asked me if it was ok for OSD, who is just above 50 pounds and really short, to ride in the front seat with her.  I tried to indirectly suggest that it was unsafe then after a few conversation turns it was clear she wasn't picking up on it so I just said that it wasn't safe. 

I defer to her a lot when we are together and I have made it clear that I know that she is mom even though they call me mom.  It went a long way and really helped to show her that we were not going to eliminate her from the lives of her children.  She tells me that she appreciates me and she respects my opinions.



Thank you. I appreciate your response.  My situation is more opposite. He only sees his dad once or twice every two months.  Not that that diminishes his stepmothers role.

aeELE
by Bronze Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM
1 mom liked this

You don't have to be a stepmother to post here; it's an open forum. 

You are afraid she will leave bc they only knew each other for 6 weeks before getting married, but they have been together 16 months and have had two children together in that time? I don't really understand your concerns, but more importantly, the timeline here seems off... Can you expand on this? 

I love my SS very much and cannot imagine ever thinking of him as anything less than an equal member of our family, but everyone is different. I don't have a close relationship w BM. I have nothing against her, and we talk when we run into other at the grocery store or wherever, but it is for DH to communicate w her about their son, not me. 

As for your questions...

You are "allowed" to do anything you like, but the reactions your choices recieve my vary based on the individual.

I'll start by asking if you would like her to critique your parenting style? I'm guessing you wouldn't. If BM had a problem w how SS is parented in our house, I would expect her to discuss it w SS's other parent (DH), not me. I should also mention that my situation is a parallel parenting setup due to fundamental disagreements in acceptable behavior. So in our case, we would not conform to any requirements BM laid out. On the flip side, we do not try to make her have a bedtime/bedtime routine, lay down expectations for consistency, etc.. It's parallel. :) 

Any questions probing me about DH's actions would not be met warmly. I would expect BM to deal w him directly and not involve me in any of their issues with one another. 

I think it's great that you want to have a relationship with SM, but I'd temper that w the reminder that BD is the other parent, not SM. 

jlg12678
by Gold Member on Jul. 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm a bm who has a good relationship with her son's sm. Things are good because I took it very, very slow. Also, I had to accept that I was not a part of my ex's home and while I could make my requests known to him the final way things went came down to what he wanted for his home. My ex is a good person and i knew that he wouldn't marry anyone who was bad to our child. 

I'm also a sm who has no relationship with my dh's ex. Long story, but I learned what not to do as a bm from my interactions with her. It would have been nice if things were different. 

I think you need to take it very slow. If you start out making demands of her and critiquing everything she does she is not going to want anything to do with you. Realize this is a learning experience for everyone involved and try to keep an open/positive mind. Mistakes will be made but they can be learned from if approached correctly. 

Regarding putting your child's safety second....while I get why you'd worry it's a bit silly if you think about it. Most adults caring for kids make sure all are kept safe...they are very rarely situations in which one has to chose who to save. I've had a few situations, nothing huge (tornado warning, power outage, etc) and when my dh isn't around I just treat his two like I do my own and include them in getting to safety or whatever.Try to get some peace and not worry about the likely never to occur scenarios. I know it's scary not having your kid in your care. My ex and I do 50/50 so he is with sm just as much as me. I try to just stay positive and realize that she is a good person and cares for him well.

Jaghd810
by Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 12:10 AM



Quoting aeELE:

You don't have to be a stepmother to post here; it's an open forum. 

You are afraid she will leave bc they only knew each other for 6 weeks before getting married, but they have been together 16 months and have had two children together in that time? I don't really understand your concerns, but more importantly, the timeline here seems off... Can you expand on this? 

I love my SS very much and cannot imagine ever thinking of him as anything less than an equal member of our family, but everyone is different. I don't have a close relationship w BM. I have nothing against her, and we talk when we run into other at the grocery store or wherever, but it is for DH to communicate w her about their son, not me. 

As for your questions...

You are "allowed" to do anything you like, but the reactions your choices recieve my vary based on the individual.

I'll start by asking if you would like her to critique your parenting style? I'm guessing you wouldn't. If BM had a problem w how SS is parented in our house, I would expect her to discuss it w SS's other parent (DH), not me. I should also mention that my situation is a parallel parenting setup due to fundamental disagreements in acceptable behavior. So in our case, we would not conform to any requirements BM laid out. On the flip side, we do not try to make her have a bedtime/bedtime routine, lay down expectations for consistency, etc.. It's parallel. :) 

Any questions probing me about DH's actions would not be met warmly. I would expect BM to deal w him directly and not involve me in any of their issues with one another. 

I think it's great that you want to have a relationship with SM, but I'd temper that w the reminder that BD is the other parent, not SM. 


Thank you for answering. I believe I answered your question about the timeline in a post or two beforehand.  I realize that I do not have to ask "permission" for anything but at the same time I am not looking for a power struggle. The stepmother did reach out first. She did call and ask me some questions and asked how I would like the situation handled.  That definitely meant a lot to me and from that moment on I decided to keep an open relationship.  Yes a lot of things should be handled through his father, but to be quite honest she plays more of a role in my son's life and his father does.   No, I don't think I would like her to critique me. I am very dutiful in responding to my sons actions and I'm not afraid to ask for psychological help.  But at the same time, I need to be realistic and appreciate the fact she has three other children.  I don't think any birth mother wants to be told by his stepmother how she should parent. I guess it is a pride thing.  At the same time, like I said before I really want an amicable relationship.  I realize in your situation you would not conform to any birthmother requirements, but my situation is different.  And since the stepmother wants to be involved, then she should be.  As for our situation, talking with his stepmother is more reasonable and easy then trying to talk to his father.

Jaghd810
by Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 12:15 AM



Quoting jlg12678:

I'm a bm who has a good relationship with her son's sm. Things are good because I took it very, very slow. Also, I had to accept that I was not a part of my ex's home and while I could make my requests known to him the final way things went came down to what he wanted for his home. My ex is a good person and i knew that he wouldn't marry anyone who was bad to our child. 

I'm also a sm who has no relationship with my dh's ex. Long story, but I learned what not to do as a bm from my interactions with her. It would have been nice if things were different. 

I think you need to take it very slow. If you start out making demands of her and critiquing everything she does she is not going to want anything to do with you. Realize this is a learning experience for everyone involved and try to keep an open/positive mind. Mistakes will be made but they can be learned from if approached correctly. 

Regarding putting your child's safety second....while I get why you'd worry it's a bit silly if you think about it. Most adults caring for kids make sure all are kept safe...they are very rarely situations in which one has to chose who to save. I've had a few situations, nothing huge (tornado warning, power outage, etc) and when my dh isn't around I just treat his two like I do my own and include them in getting to safety or whatever.Try to get some peace and not worry about the likely never to occur scenarios. I know it's scary not having your kid in your care. My ex and I do 50/50 so he is with sm just as much as me. I try to just stay positive and realize that she is a good person and cares for him well.

Thank you for your response.  I am definitely taking it slow. As is she. I am beginning to wonder if a positive relationship between a stepmother and birth mother is a new idea.  I think that if birthmother truly has no romantic feelings towards the birth father and really wants a positive life for her child, then trying to have an amicable relationship with his stepmother shouldn't be that hard.  The act of two adults communicating should not be so difficult.  I understand what you are saying about my child's safety.  As it may seem silly to you, it really does not seem silly to me.  Obviously my child's well-being is my highest priority.  But reading your response definitely puts more ease in my mind.


DeliteCrazy
by on Jul. 29, 2013 at 12:17 AM

I would stay clear away from asking about your ex. Just start off casual, maybe send her pictures of ds on your cell or through e mail, than you'll be able to tell if she wants further contact or not.

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