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  • New Stepmom Needs advice stepdaughter very attached

    My stepdaughter have grown very attached to me. I have known her for almost 3 years now. My husband has joint custody with the biological mother, he takes her thursdays - sundays and pays the mother $200.00/month for support. The mother has remarried and has another daughter with her new husband. They have moved to new hampshire about 20 minutes away. He picks her up from school thurs. bring her to school fri. pick her up and keep her for the weekend and bring her back sunday. When my stepdaughter is here my husband and I take turns to watch her.
    One year ago I was more invoved in my step daughter's life. I picked her up from school and watched her until my husband came home, fed her, bathed her, bought her clothes, read to her and helped put her to bed. Until recently I noticed that his ex called my husband almost every day not just to talk about their daughter but about everything she wants to talk about. I asked him to limit their cnversations to just about their daughter and to be more conciderate to myself and her new husband. This upsetted her.
    She calls less now but is always aggrevated when he calls about his daughter. I have started law school and do not get to spend as much time with my step daughter when she is here. She is still very attached to me. When she had an activity like a birthday party or a field trip to go the zoo she asks me to go along but her mother objects. She thinks that I am trying to take her daughter away from her. When I call her regarding her daughter she does not talk to me confronts my husband.
    There is a field day and my husband and I have volunteered to attend. His daughter is looking forward to see us there. Her mother objects and threatens to take her thurs and fri so I will not be involved in her school.
    What do I do? My step daughter is turning 7 soon and she needs all the support she can get.

  • #2
    Without going to court mom cannot just change visitation to suit her.

    As far as the fieldtrip, that's touchy. This one should not be as bad as your husband will be there. If it was you alone it MIGHT be different, only on the basis that mom objects. Going in itself isn't bad, it's how mom takes it.

    I too am close to my step-daughter and bio mom has no issue with that as long as it suits her. However, despite our closeness I am VERY respectful of my place. My husband has 50/50 where she spends 2 weeks in our home and 2 weeks with mom. DESPITE where she is or is going to be her mom is informed of everything and given the opportunity way before me.

    For instance she came home one day talking about a mother-daughter tea party asking me to go. Without looking at a calendar to know where she was I told her she should call her mom and ask her to go. My step-daughters answer was her mom would likely work... that doesn't matter... I told her to ask and if her mom wasn't available I would go.

    As a step-mom the MOST important thing is to respect mom's feelings when they are involved in their children's lives. You don't have to agree, you just have to respect. My step-daughter has ASKED to call me 'Mom' and I have had to tell her no. Not because my husband or I disagree (just as he would have been fine if she called her step-dad, dad) but because mom has expressed her feelings about this.

    If mom doesn't want you to go and she can, despite where she is staying at the time then mom should be allowed to go. If it's for other reasons then you two need to have a heart to heart about things with you reassuring her you aren't trying to take her place.

    Oh, and by the way, I do agree with mom about you calling about their daughter. That is a mom/dad thing and if mom doesn't want to discuss anything with you, then she's not obligated to. You are obligated however to respect her wishes.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Suzy72. I have a similar situation also. My stepkids were very attached to me for a long time. It is very threatening to the bio-mother - and that is normal. It is very hard in these situations to understand what is best for the children and taking into consideration everyone's feelings. It is extremely hard to be a step-parent where you are expected to be the "mom" when the kids are with you, but yet not over-stepping the real mom at the same time. A lot of times I've found myself trying to do what is best for the children (treating them like my own kids) only to have to tell myself to back-off because they already have a mother. It's very difficult. But like Suzy said, you really need to respect the mother's feelings. In my situtation, when the kids became more attached to me, the mother would start telling the kids stories of when she and dad were married and what they all used to do and show them old pictures, etc., in an attempt to erase me and keep thier family togther, which isn't reality. She would try to hurt me on purpose. It was very hard, but when I realized that there is a fine line and watched my step, things were a lot easier and less confrontational.

      The way we handle it as far as school things, etc. For parent-teacher conferences, we schedule separate time with the teachers so I can attend with my husband, but not with the bio-mom. For field trips, I would never, ever cross this line. I would only volunteer to go if the bio-mom could not go. The child doesn't need 2 mom's and this is one place you need to realize you are the 2nd mom, not the 1st. As far as phone calls, it is reasonable for you to request that they only talk about the kids, but you can't control either of them they are adults.

      You can be a great support to her, but you really need to be careful. As she gets older, if you step on bio-mom's toes too much, the daughter will begin to resent you, not because she doesn't love you, but because her loyalty to her bio-mother will be very strong and she won't want you to hurt her bio-mom. Be there for her, but realize you are the 2nd mom - a back up mom. It's really a fine, fine, line.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have always had my step daughter put her mother first. When she is with me I encourage her to call her mother and always had checked in with her mother when I had my step daughter. Everything was always; check with your mother and call your ex and let her know your daughter is giving us a hard time. There is only so much I can push. Eventually I feel that she's here half the time if things are to be done to my step daughter's best interest sometimes it should just be done. It's hard to call her mother every time about every little thing. Then she get's aggrevated and think we are not capable to take care of her daughter. It's a lose, lose situation.
        Of course the mother was happy when there was an activity and it was just my husband, herself and their daughter that showed up. Yes she may feel that I am intruding into their family when I show up to support my step daughter. But can someone please just think about the situation.!! They have been divorced over 5 years now. Didn't she ever prepare for the day he remarried again. To always put up the mommy, daddy, daughter only scene, will only frustrate the child. What a slap in the face to learn that it's ok to do something for the child only when asked but to actually show intrest is crossing the line. Give me a break.!!
        What I don't understand is why can't the mother feel comfortable with everyone in the child's life, (myself & her husand included) just because I'm involved nobody kicked her out of the picture. But when she's involved it's ok to kick me out because I'm not her mother. You don't choose between your children but why is it crossing the line when two mother's are involved?! ESPECIALLY WHERE THERE WAS A VOID THAT WAS CREATED WHEN THE TWO PARENTS SAPARATED.
        When does the mother start caring about what the daughter wants instead of worrying about being replaced. Why would I want to replace her. I can have my own children with my husband, can't the mother understand that I am only thinking of the child when I care for her. I don't want her to always feel her home is broken.
        What's going to happen when I have children, discriminate against the step child. Please.. People need to grow up. She knows who I am, I am her step mother. When she comes over I care for her when her father is not home. I embrace her and not just keep her at arms length. How rejected must she feel if I treated her that way. No matter who tells her that I am not her mother she still comes to me because as a child with divorced parents she needs to see that there is a mommy and daddy figure at both homes and I encourage that. I am not here to replace her mother but I am the mother figure missing when she comes to stay with daddy.
        Sorry to say, but when she comes over I make it a point to make the house a home for her. Her mother should do the same at their house. My step daughter knows it's not just mommy and daddy anymore and to see me missing at activities would only sadden her and remind her of how broken her family is. Like I said, no one thinks of the child. No one cares when my step daughter cries if I'm not there. People only here the cries of the mother accusing me of stealing her daughter.

        Comment


        • #5
          I do totally understand how you feel. I would say the exact same things you are.

          But when I say it's a fine, fine line - it really is! So you misunderstood what I meant by being the 2nd mom. When she is at your house - you ARE the mom, you should NOT have to call her mother to make any decisions. You can step in and be the mother because that is your role when she is at your house (and you aren't stepping on the bio-mom's toes because it isn't her time to have the child). That's what's hard is when you play that part, then she goes home and you aren't the mom anymore so to speak. It is very hard to walk that fine line.

          I also hear you when you talk about activities where it is just the bio-mom, your husband and the daughter. NOT healthy. It's sad, because it should be a mom and dad and child. But the reality is that her parents are divorced and her dad is remarried. The daughter does need to realize that. In our situation we try to avoid that circumstance at all times! (Having the bio-mom, dad and kids without me, stepmom). In the case of the field trip, if it were me I'd make a choice - either the bio-mom goes by herself to the field trip. Or the dad goes by himself, or you and the dad go together without bio-mom. The problem is that the bio-mom has first say. If she is going, you and the dad should not go. I know, you're going to say - but the dad wants to support her. I agree, but this is where you decide where that fine line is. We've had to do this many times, our explanation to the kids is that mom and dad aren't married anymore, it's mom's turn to be with them for this activity and he will go on the next one. He explains that he loves them and would like to go, but sometimes thats not how it works. We even go as far as to explain to them how we don't interfere in the stuff thier mom does when it's her turn to have them, and therefore we don't expect bio-mom to interfere with our plans we do at our house. Some activities we all go together, like performances, etc. when there's only one opportunity to go. But I'd say a field trip is different. However if you can all 3 go, that would be better than he and bio-mom together without you. It just seems that a field trip usually only allows for so many parents to attend and when you have one child with 3 parents attending, that's a little much.

          Anyway, I just wanted to say I know exactly where you are coming from. It's hard to deal with. Good luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            Glad to know....

            I was reading these posts and realizing how many step-moms are in the same situation that I am in........We have 50/50 visitation of my step-daughter.....I used to try and run over the ex and try and be the better mom and show her up......I called school, did the parent-teacher conferences etc,made major decisions regarding my step-daughter...It wasn't until my son was born that I realized how wrong I was..... I love the way one poster put that at my house I am the mom, but realizing that she has a mom that she loves every much and she will alway be mom #1 took me a while...... My husband and I dont' call when we have problems with my step-daughter we handle it at our house and her mom handles any problems at her house....However there are specials events I ALWAYS defer to her mom first....I dont' go to Muffins with Mom...even though my step-daughter doesn't understand why..She tells me that she has 2 moms and she wants us both to go.....I still do not go though I feel like I am invading her mom's space.....I let her mom be the "mom" at sporting events and i just sit there and clap in the stands...I am there to support my step-daughter at events but I dont' share the lime light with her mom...I let her mom be the mom....
            My step-daughter does call me mom and always has...(I met her dad when she was 4, she is now 11),,,,,I am sure it was hard for her mom to let that happen,but she said she put her daughter's wishes first and sucked it up...I think she might be a better woman then me...I don't know that I would ever let my son call another woman mom.....
            I agree that it is a fine line to walk and we walk it all the time....I don't always agree with her mom's decision, but she is the mom and I will never go against her wishes......Most decisions regarding my step-daughter are made by all three of us.....
            The Majority of the time we all sit together at her events and have parent conferences together...we even go out to eat together after recitals...mom and boyfriend have been over to our house several times for her parties and church events.....Do I like it? Not really...but mom is not a threat to me and we do it for the sake of our daughter.....My husband and her seldom talk and there is no relationship between them other than being parents together ...
            Having 50/50 visitation is hard....there are a lot more phone calls back and forth .........
            No matter how much I love my step-daughter and she loves me I do know that her loyalities lie with her mom .....and if there is ever an issue of who to betray it will be me....So I keep that in mind if I find myself getting too cozy as her mom...
            I wish the best for step moms out there...it is hard...but please realize that no matter how much you might not like the "other " mom she was there first!
            Last edited by stepmominTX; 04-06-2006, 06:08 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by stepmominTX
              I was reading these posts and realizing how many step-moms are in the same situation that I am in........We have 50/50 visitation of my step-daughter.....I used to try and run over the ex and try and be the better mom and show her up......I called school, did the parent-teacher conferences etc,made major decisions regarding my step-daughter...It wasn't until my son was born that I realized how wrong I was..... I love the way one poster put that at my house I am the mom, but realizing that she has a mom that she loves every much and she will alway be mom #1 took me a while...... My husband and I dont' call when we have problems with my step-daughter we handle it at our house and her mom handles any problems at her house....However there are specials events I ALWAYS defer to her mom first....I dont' go to Muffins with Mom...even though my step-daughter doesn't understand why..She tells me that she has 2 moms and she wants us both to go.....I still do not go though I feel like I am invading her mom's space.....I let her mom be the "mom" at sporting events and i just sit there and clap in the stands...I am there to support my step-daughter at events but I dont' share the lime light with her mom...I let her mom be the mom....
              My step-daughter does call me mom and always has...(I met her dad when she was 4, she is now 11),,,,,I am sure it was hard for her mom to let that happen,but she said she put her daughter's wishes first and sucked it up...I think she might be a better woman then me...I don't know that I would ever let my son call another woman mom.....
              I agree that it is a fine line to walk and we walk it all the time....I don't always agree with her mom's decision, but she is the mom and I will never go against her wishes......Most decisions regarding my step-daughter are made by all three of us.....
              The Majority of the time we all sit together at her events and have parent conferences together...we even go out to eat together after recitals...mom and boyfriend have been over to our house several times for her parties and church events.....Do I like it? Not really...but mom is not a threat to me and we do it for the sake of our daughter.....My husband and her seldom talk and there is no relationship between them other than being parents together ...
              Having 50/50 visitation is hard....there are a lot more phone calls back and forth .........
              No matter how much I love my step-daughter and she loves me I do know that her loyalities lie with her mom .....and if there is ever an issue of who to betray it will be me....So I keep that in mind if I find myself getting too cozy as her mom...
              I wish the best for step moms out there...it is hard...but please realize that no matter how much you might not like the "other " mom she was there first!

              VERY WELL SAID!!

              Our relationship is much like that with my step-daughters mother except the "Mom" thing as I mentioned. Like you my step-daughter was 4 when we met and is 10 1/2 now.

              One year Dad couldn't go to the parent teacher conference so it was just me and mom as I took his place. However, my husband is now disabled and can go to them so I drop him off and he and his ex goes together and he just tells me after what was said.

              We have my step-daughter more than 50% due to her mom's job but I also run not only her but her half brother (her mom's older child) to dentist appointments, sport practices... etc. We have kind of a unique situtation because when there is a major issue mom often times comes to me and not dad because they communicate like oil and water. However, I ALWAYS defer to dad on the major things and MAKE her talk to him because mom's fine with coming to me as long as I agree with her... It's when I don't that there is trouble and I soon learned that and decided not to put myself in that position. When there's a major issue, yes I will coach my husband, usually more than normal because of their communication issues but I will sit in my car while they have a 'meeting' a her house or whatever. He generally knows my feelings on the situation before they talk and I compromise to whatever decision that they make together.

              Comment


              • #8
                alike

                we do seem to have the same situations
                mom calls me 95% of the time when wanting to discuss something with my step-daughter.....I too know that she is doing this, because I usually agree with her on whatever it is and she knows she has a better chance of getting what she wants with me...I also defer all Major decisions, especially MONEY issues to my husband...of course I let him know ahead of time how I think it should be handled.....There have been times when I didn't get involved like my step-daughter's first communion...even though mom is not Catholic I did not go up with parents for the first communion blessings......I felt like it was my step-daughters'parents place to be there her mom and dad,,,,not step-parent
                When my step-daughter's grandpa died (mom's dad) my husband was asked to be a paulbearer.....He didn't do it because it was his ex father in law but did it because it was his daughter's grandfather....we were even asked to sit in the family section......None of this bothers me because I see how well adjusted my step daughter is and she never sees or hears any negative comments about any one of us(not to say that there aren't any,,,just they are voiced out of her earshot)
                There are many times when it is just the ex and myself at functions...My husband travels and can't always be there...There are also times when it is just myself and my step daughter mom couldn't be there either.....
                It takes work to get to where we are at..there have been a lot of compromises on everyone part......

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by stepmominTX
                  we do seem to have the same situations
                  mom calls me 95% of the time when wanting to discuss something with my step-daughter.....I too know that she is doing this, because I usually agree with her on whatever it is and she knows she has a better chance of getting what she wants with me...I also defer all Major decisions, especially MONEY issues to my husband...of course I let him know ahead of time how I think it should be handled.....There have been times when I didn't get involved like my step-daughter's first communion...even though mom is not Catholic I did not go up with parents for the first communion blessings......I felt like it was my step-daughters'parents place to be there her mom and dad,,,,not step-parent
                  When my step-daughter's grandpa died (mom's dad) my husband was asked to be a paulbearer.....He didn't do it because it was his ex father in law but did it because it was his daughter's grandfather....we were even asked to sit in the family section......None of this bothers me because I see how well adjusted my step daughter is and she never sees or hears any negative comments about any one of us(not to say that there aren't any,,,just they are voiced out of her earshot)
                  There are many times when it is just the ex and myself at functions...My husband travels and can't always be there...There are also times when it is just myself and my step daughter mom couldn't be there either.....
                  It takes work to get to where we are at..there have been a lot of compromises on everyone part......
                  It's like looking in a mirror! It's so nice to see another step-mom that knows her place..hee hee. I say this because I see and hear so many step-parents who don't and over step that line and then are ticked that the biological parent is upset.

                  I totally hear you on the child not hearing anything. That is the way it is at OUR house... not so much at mom's. We always laugh because one time we were talking to my step-daughter about just this issue because she does hear things from her mom. I looked at her and asked her if she's ever heard me call her mom a 'bit**.' Her eyes got really big and said "no, You would NEVER say that." I told her flat out that I've thought it but she'd never ever hear it from me and that when we have issues with her mom it is all done without her knowing. We wanted her to know because we didn't want her to think that when things did blow up that it was out of the blue. WHen they do it's because it's built up.

                  In the beginning I thought 50/50 was just ate up and wrong but I have learned over the years that it matters not what situation you have there are always going to be issues and at least with 50/50 the child gets equal time with the parents and I also firmly believe that it helps in preventing PAS. Also, at least in my husbands case there is no child support to deal with so that is one less worry. Actually since my husband's accident he could file for CS but he doesn't and that's fine... it's all about time and raising his daughter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ladies, as a mother that used to deal with an overbearing pushy woman who actually had the audacity to tell my daughter that she was her "new mommy" before they were even married, can I just tell you how refreshing and nice it is to read this? I can only wish that my daughter had been given the chance to have someone like you in her life. I never wanted my daughter to have a step-child/step mother role, I was hoping for a loving, caring relationship where she felt comfortable to go to either of us. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that you hit exactly the right balance. These children are very lucky.
                    HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
                    How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
                    (unique up on him)
                    How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
                    (same way)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      WOW I am so relieved!!

                      Hearing how close you all are with the step child's mother is a great relief for me. It gives me something to look forward to. I know it doesn't happen over night but eventually I would like for everyone to get along and understand each other. Yesterday her mom and I had a really big arguement. But today my husband told me that she is alot calmer now and does not want to be the "bad guy". I hope that we will never argue like that ever again. But I would like for her to tell me right away if something I does bothers her and not let it build up.
                      I am still hopefull. I am really glad I found this website. I would like to thank everyone for responding to my thread. You all probably know how appreciative I am since you have all been in my position. I'm glad I am not the only one with a kind heart and (at first) resentful stepdaughter's mother. Like I said, I understand where she's coming from but it's good to know that there is hope.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm a mother and I have also been a step mother. I have to disagee with one thing.

                        "When she is at your house - you ARE the mom, you should NOT have to call her mother to make any decisions. You can step in and be the mother because that is your role when she is at your house (and you aren't stepping on the bio-mom's toes because it isn't her time to have the child). That's what's hard is when you play that part, then she goes home and you aren't the mom anymore so to speak. It is very hard to walk that fine line."

                        That's WRONG in so many ways. A STEPMOM has no business making any decisions concerning the child. That should always be left to one or both of the PARENTS to do, unless there is an emergency.

                        A STEPMOM also NEVER has the right to step in and play mommy. EVER. PERIOD. It doesn't matter who's house it is. Your "role" is always STEPMOTHER, not mom. That is stepping WAY over that fine line. When you step over that line, you run the risk of losing you foot.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          to ceara

                          does your biological children and step children grow up together? Do they all get along or do they always have to remeber that their sibling is only their "Half Brother or Sister". What age was the child when you became her/his stepmother?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know and have seen alot of children from broken families. The majority of them are miserable and live troubled lives. Their parents are always resentful of each other which creates a very negative environment which the child grows up in. What kind of life can a person live always watching where the line is. HONESTLY THE LINE SHOULD NOT BE THAT FINE. The line is crossed if a stepparent abuses the child or threatens to take the child out of town, everything else is very grey.
                            It really all depends on the individual. If the mother is over the past relationship with the father and has truely moved on then there is less friction. But if the mother is still hung up about the break up. Like she still desires to be with the father but the father does not, then all these emotions build up and she will make it a point to make a problem about everything and draw lines everywhere.
                            I realize that the only children who are happy and live a postive life are those who's family gets along. Whether biological or not. What I don't understand is why would a mother cause such aggrevation in their own child's life when the child's life has alot of aggrevation already.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cpang
                              does your biological children and step children grow up together? Do they all get along or do they always have to remeber that their sibling is only their "Half Brother or Sister". What age was the child when you became her/his stepmother?
                              She was almost 2 years old at the time. All of the children STILL have a good relationship. My step daughter lived with me for several years while her mother got her live straightened out. Once mom was back on track, she got HER child back. I never had to pretend I was her mother, because even when her mother and I couldn't get along with each other, the CHILD was never allowed to try and play us against each other. Other then general rules that would apply to ANY child that came to my house (like no jumping on the funiture) I would have NEVER crossed the line as a step mother.

                              As a MOTHER, I don't allow ANYONE to cross the line with MY children. I am the mother. I make the rules. I enforce the rules. I handle the discipline. My children also know that they are expected to follow the rules whether I'm there or not.

                              Comment

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