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StepMOM and StepPARENT - please help me understand this

Posted by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM
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1 mom liked this

There are plenty of women who disagree that marrying a man makes you parent or "mom" to his kids, but there are a few out there who believe this is what happens when you do get married. That now his kids have a "mom" in the house or that they, the SM, ARE the other parent in that home. So, I'm asking this question for those ladies.

(Let's pretend that I am representing moms in general here)

I'm a mom who has been handling things for 13 years without a SM, who has kids who are either near teen years or is a teen (for this post's sake we'll pretend my oldest has had her birthday this year), and that my kids have been living with my rules, expectations, standards, beliefs, and values all this time. They do well in school and are active outside of school with sports. They both have some medical or food issues, one worse than the other.

Now, let's pretend you marry my ex (not that I wish that on my worst enemy).

Explain to me why either the kids or myself should view you as a mom in that house or a parent to them, especially since things have been one way for 13 years. I've managed to handle them without you this far, so let I would like to know why things should change, views should be altered.

Give me reasons why you think your opinions on say how things have been handled in the food and medical department have been handled should matter to me. Some examples of why your ideas on parenting should come into play after all this time.

Basically, why should any mom view you as a parent to her kids, a mom to her children just because you married her ex if she has been raising the kids without you for a while. What are the reasons you can come up with that would help a mom to see why you should be considered parent #3 or a mom to the kids when mom isn't around?

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM
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by Ruby Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM
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I don't think this is something you need to understand, your Ex is crazy so he will probably marry another crazy SM and I am sure you can handle her. Don't try to understand crazy.

by Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM
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Im not sure about the above situation... In that case the child is almost grown. the SM would be more like a friend, not a mother figure..

in MY situation I have been married to Dh, who has custody since SD was 2! I AM THE ONE who instilled all of those values, made all those rules, and built this child up to be the wonderful (almost) 9 year old she is! I deserve some damn credit!!

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 3:34 PM
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In OUR home...we just want to show stability, love and respect. My DDs will respect my DH. He provides for us and treats us very, very well. My girls needs to see how a man treats a woman, stability in being there for us and they know respect for adults. In OUR home, we are a team, we are husband and wife. If I just let them do whatever when I'm not here because he isn't their is that teaching them anything positive?

My girls witnessed things they should not have with my ex. A lot of unstability, moving around, yelling  and name calling from him and later turned into fighting from me standing up for myself. He spent more money on alcohol, pills, gadgets and his friends than he did on groceries.... Just was not a good life for them and I. I left after 6 years of his bullshit.
My DH...I don't want to get into his business on here...but his past isn't fun with women either. He admits to being and idiot having a child with BM...but loves his SD. When we met, we had a lot of the same upbringing and agreed on many things about how we would like to see our kids raised. We have the same values and we are making sure we instill them in the children. Stability and consistency.

BM can raise SD the way she sees fit. She doesn't like the way DH  has decided how her and his child should be raised?...well she shouldn't have left him if she wanted say in exactly what goes on in his home. Can she have input? Sure....but when BM is raising SD to be a spoiled princess by giving her what she wants, no consequences for her actions, gets to hit and yell, doesn't have to share with anyone at moms, takes her to SF the rapists home when she is not supposed to...well... I don't think he will take her opinion too seriously. But...BM is too busy hating DH and trying to get full custody and the Protection Order on SF and SD dropped so she can have full control.

Now...with that said. DH does the disciplining with his DD. I follow what he wants done and said to SD when he is not here, if she doesn't comply...then she deals with dad when he gets home.
And he does not get in my way in how I handle my kids. So, since we hold the same values and have together agreed on rules and consequences...there isn't much room to say I'm trying to be SD's mom and DH isn't trying to be my girls' dad. We are two married people trying to be a working, blended family.

BM doesn't have to think a damn thing about me. I'm her daughter's father's wife, living in this home and working with him. Not her. If BM has issues...she can say something to DH. I'm his wife. I am the other adult in the home. Children need to respect adults.

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM
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Well, a couple of things:

 I think it depends a lot on the circumstances. Kids are older, dad is noncustodial -- in this case, while I think the stepmother/parent/whateveryouwanna call her -- should be respected, but should probably not try to swoop in and be mom all of the sudden. I do think when they kids go to dad's, it's her house as well, and if she has rules, dad should tell the kids they need to be respected. For example, stepmom might be really opposed and offended by kids swearing. Mom and dad don't care .... but dad should expect the kids to respect that. I do think it would be odd if stepmom started going to p/t conferences, etc. The stepmom can have an opinion -- but probably should refrain from sending a lengthy email to the mom about it, and maybe should stick with discussing it with her husband.

For instance, I fully think a stepparent should have a say on a custody change. But I think that opinion should be shared with the dad, and he should respect his wife enough to come to some sort of consensus with her.

Things are a little different if a stepparent comes in early, when the kids are tiny, and marries the parent with majority custody.

I think when a stepkid lives in your home, regardless of whether the other parent is involved, you should get a larger say in the parenting of that child. I would never have a kid living with me who I couldn't discipline. 

by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM
EVERYTHING is situational. In the above are almost grown. Opinions on food...I don't know...what do you mean? Like...your DD should eat more carrots sort of thing? or more along the line of...Hey let's try sushi one night?

or how about this sitch..BM telling BD that she still gives her 3 year old a full bottle of milk to go to sleep the the baby falls asleep (and apparently has always fallen asleep according to the BM) with a bottle in the mouth...SP says...hey...not only is that dangerous...but could cause bottle rot I would be careful on that....
by Ruby Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 3:52 PM

I don't think a SP necessarily becomes "parent #3" but they can at times offer a unique perspective that if offered respectfully, can help either one or both BPs.  I know I value that perspective from DH and my DDs were 12 and 14 when we got married.

For instance, SD was 15 or 16 and she was (is) a handful.  Failing school, drama queen with the boys, just generally disrespectful and stubborn.  Yes, some typical behaviors of teens, but some quite extreme.  She really liked me at first.  I wasn't a parent, I was cool, I connected well with teens.  When she exposed shit to YDD that I was not comfortable with, I engaged her as a peer and older sister role model type to stop with DD rather than stop all together.  Not my decision how she spends her life online.  So that sets the scene.  

Back to SD failing.  DH invited me to a meeting with SD and counselor and principal.  BM was of course there.  She never said my presence at these things was unwelcome.  I listened and stayed background.  One of the things that everyone felt was important was that she seek tutoring help in math.  Every adult there except me tried to get her to agree to tutoring.  No way.  She refused.  Even though she was failing algebra for the second time, she dug in and refused.

Later on that evening, for some reason SD and I were home alone.  I brought up the tutoring and after a long conversation, she agreed to an exploratory meeting with a tutor.  We got online together and set it up.  I immediately emailed DH and BM.

Rather than see the value in what my honeymoon cool SM period was able to accomplish, BM held that over my head as one of the worst acts of overstepping I ever did for years.  Years.

I guess I saw it as me helping them in a new way with a really tough child.  I wasn't a parent, I made no decisions, but I was additive to the situation.

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 3:56 PM
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Because I bake awesome cupcakes....and covet your sweeties.
by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 4:02 PM

well in my situation, my SO is custodial. i am with them more often than their mother. so i do feel that stepsons view me as a parent. 

mom is very active, and very much involved -- but they live under my roof and follow rules we make and we enforce.

if SO wasn't custodial and visitation were reversed, i doubt i would consider myself much more than "dad's girlfriend"

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM
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Quoting malinda74: Because I bake awesome cupcakes....and covet your sweeties.

Pshaw... that should go without saying. Everyone should covet them because they are awesome.

Not that I'm biased or anything.

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM
Most likely the SM wants to be fully included in DH's life. Kids and all. Not that she should try to change anything, though. It shouldn't matter to you, and I'm sure you made sure she understood that. ;). I wouldn't blame you. Any Mom would do the same when it came to her kids. SM is probably just trying to establish her "presence" in her home. Letting it be known that life will be lived with her in it. Hard to swallow, and I understand your argument about respecting the already established routine before her. Like it or not, this is the ugliest part of divorce. When we get divorced, we have no choice but to accept that there will be another parental figure in our kids' lives. Other parental figures with OUR title. Just with the word "step" in front of it. Doesn't mean anything has to change on your side, but we don't get a say in our ex's homes. We can try, but a judge will be quick to tell us that we don't get to govern the others house or rules. If the EX and you agree, there shouldn't be an issue. If he decides that new wife is an involved parent, there really is nothing you can do. Sucks, I know. In my situation, since I couldn't do anything about who else was parenting my kids, I changed my thought process. Decided kindness was key & NEVER speak Ill of the other household to my kids. Not that you do, but it was a struggle for me. We get along for the most part, and if she calls or drops them off instead of the ex, i let it go. Not worth my time worrying, and she will never have the power to upset me & tarnish my valuable time with my babies.
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