The topic of kids ending up with more visitation with Dad has come up in several threads recently.
I made a statement in one of them that I think SMs should be prepared for custody changes with the step kids. Whether it's due to death, health issues (including mental health), job loss, etc--a good father will always have an open door for his kids and want them should BM be unable or unwilling to maintain her time/home with the kids.
As solid as COs are legally, it doesn't take a legal change with lots of lead time to go from an EOWE visitation or 50/50 living arrangement to a full custody situation. BM could just fail to pick up and "disappear" for awhile. BM could show up on your front porch and hand the kids over. BM could be hit by a bus. No one wants that for the kids of course, but they are very real possibilities as evidenced by recent threads.
In the 4 1/2 years that I've been with my DH, the CO has never changed but in practice, it's gone from 50/50, to the kids not seeing their mom for weeks at a time, back to 50/50, then to EOWE/holidays/summers and next year that will flip flop again. Maybe even with one child living with us and the other with mom. It CAN be rather fluid.
As such, it seems to me that it would make sense for new SMs to think hard about what a change like that would mean for their household and have those discussions in advance with DH. No one can know what the future holds, but it seems like a lot of hand wringing and frustration could/would be avoided if SMs spent a little time wrapping their minds around the possibility that they could end up being CSMs.
Because the general societal assumption is that any woman is motherly, will fill a motherly role, etc, I don't think it's a big stretch that most husbands would assume that their wives would happily step in to help raise his kids in the event of a change. That if he works long hours, she'll care for the kids. That if the kids are sick, she'll stay home. That if the kids need to get to soccer, dance, band, whatever, SM will happily step in.
Maybe that's an unfair assumption. I don't feel that it is per se. Especially if DH is the primary bread winner. Especially if SM is a SAHM. But if that's NOT what any given SM is okay with, I'd propose that she have those conversations well in advance.
By the time kids are sitting on your front porch or mom has disappeared, there are bigger issues at play than SM's feelings. Dealing with confused/upset kids takes priority and any discomfort on SM's part being voiced sounds awfully selfish IMHO. I'm not saying it's SM's responsibility...just that it's a convo and a position to consider in advance because once the situation is upon you, you are not the priority.
What say you?