Befriending the Biological Mother to your step children.

Roxanne - posted on 02/16/2012 ( 29 moms have responded )

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Hello all!

My 5 year old son and i are about to move in with my fiancee. He has 4 children aged 15, 11, 7 and 5. He and his ex have a very civil relationship for the sake of the children. He gets them almost every weekend and helps put with them randomly through out the week. So far everything is great, I absolutely love his children.

I have met his ex several times, since the boys play hockey, and often we are all in attendance at the games. She has initiated conversation with me, seeming to want to get to know me. I have tried not shy away too much, but I simply just don't know what to say to her, I've never really had too many female friends. She seems (up front) to be genuinely happy for my fiancee and I; she is in a relationship of her own, and they've been together for a year longer than we have. However, he says to watch my back. She only partakes in something when it benefits her, and I can definitely see where having me around and keeping things on good terms can be beneficial, not to mention its great for the kids. I am attempting to take his words with a grain of salt. Yes, he knows her better than I do, and knows all of the games she plays, but he does have emotional grudges underlying the subtext, and I like to get to know people on my own terms.

One thing that kind of has me questioning though is that she offered to keep my son over the summer break when he's not in school. She runs a dayhome and has the room. I guess I'm just really apprehensive of the situation as I have heard that some bio/step-mom relationships can be very explosive. It would be amazing if everything worked out though, and I think that maybe I should just count myself as lucky and get rid of those fears. I guess I'm mostly concerned about giving her some control over my son, but this does let me understand some of what she might be feeling knowing that I have some control over her children. My fiancee is a little bit apprehensive as well, but thinks it might be a great idea. The 2 five year olds are only 2 weeks apart in age and are nearly inseparable when in the same house (even look like they could be twins.... for now, LOL). This could be great, not only for all of the kids, but for all of the adults involved too. Has anyone ever had this sort of situation? Can you give me some advice?

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Jenni - posted on 02/16/2012

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The only advise I can really give is to take things slow. Don't get yourself in too deep.



My SO's ex tried to befriend me in the beginning. And of course I was civil but I also kept her at an arm's length because I was weary of her intentions. She was coming on very strong and although I completely understood her wanting to know who would be helping care for her daughter. I was concerned about alterior motives. So talking on the phone, online, at pick ups fine. Going out to the bars with her (as she invited me) not so fine. I was honest with her about it and told her I am happy to get to know her and her to get to know me, but I think it's best for us and her daughter for us to take it slow.



Turned out I was right about the alterior motives as she began trying various schemes to break us up. Now, your situation sounds a bit different than ours. As she hadn't moved on yet. Just keep in mind, even though I doubt in your situation she wants your fiance back. Some women still view their ex's as "he was mine first" and feel the need to still have some level of control over them.



When my SO's ex started pulling her schemes. I drifted into the background and allowed him and her to deal with their issues. I'm glad I did this because now, 5 years later. We all get along great. We don't hang out or anything. But she has no ill feelings towards me nor I towards her. We share bdays, I babysit for her and on occasion her for me. We've never had a fight and no major issues other than the first 6 month "adjustment period".



Now I don't think your situation is exactly like mine. And it doesn't sound to me like his ex wife has some master mind plot to destroy you. lol But from what you said it is possible she is trying to maintain some control. Maybe this is what your fiance is picking up on. It may be completely innocent on her part however, it may just be that she wants a little control over what environment her children will be in. We really don't know. Which just means, take it slow and keep your ears perked up. Be cordial but don't put too much of yourself into the relationship yet. Don't share intimate details or secrets of your life.



Apologize for the essay I just composed! :)

Kay - posted on 02/16/2012

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In the end, it usually is better all around if you try to get along, so I would not be overly suspicious, but keep your eyes open, was my point. We of all folks should know how nuts otherwise completely rational women can get sometimes, being female ourselves. ;)

Medic - posted on 02/20/2012

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Vicki- the whole marry before you move in is ancient way of thinking. One can be taken seriously whether or not they are married.

Lauren - posted on 02/17/2012

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Unless (and some may say until) she gives YOU a reason not to trust her, I wouldn't be concerned. The dynamics of the relationship she had with her ex are very different than the relationship with you. It sounds like she is "all in" to have a positive relationship with you and her ex for the sake of the children and that is what is most important to keep front of mind! I've had experiences with both....a horrible step parent and a wonderful step parent. Without getting into all of the details of the story, I'd like to say that it turned out much better when everyone got along! As an adult I do not have a relationship with the "bad" step parent or my step siblings, or even my own parent for that matter! However, my relationship with my "good" step parent, step siblings and even my step siblings biological mother, is AMAZING! I am so thankful that we all get along and are in each others lives! And, my parent and "good" step parent would baby sit all of the time for the ex's son! I wish everyone could be like this!!

Lacey - posted on 02/17/2012

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listen to your fiance! He knows her better. Im all for being civil for the kids but i don't know many moms and stepmoms that are friends. Just watch your back because most will just try to get into your head so they can figure out a way to control you. At least that was my experience.

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Pamela - posted on 02/23/2012

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Proceed with an open loving heart in all sincerity but do be aware that perhaps she can be manipulative.



Consider this...what would the benefit be to have your son gone for the summer vacation? Is it really necessary for you to have that much free time from your own child? It could be that she wants to be able to manipulate your child, or that may not be an ulterior motive. At this point it is difficult to say as the relationship between you is so new. Plus we are only hearing your side of the story.



Don't assume that your fiance is correct about her. Be open to learning about who she is own your own. Pray for answers that are difficult to come to on your own and for guidance to choose correctly in such things as a long term separation from your own child.



Has she asked you to keep all of her children for an extended time? If no, why not? It could be easy to be manipulated in his situation, so be very careful.



The highest and best to you as you go forward with this new relationship. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open!

Carol - posted on 02/21/2012

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Personally, I would miss my child for that long. Maybe a night or two would be ok but for the whole time no. I would be cautious to her intent. Better safe than sorry.

Roxanne - posted on 02/21/2012

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I agree. I think that if it all hinged on marriage than there would be a lot of seriously under-rated people in this world. My parents lived together for 26 years before they got married. In fact my mom surprised me one day by calling me to tell me that they had gotten married that afternoon. Although, their children from their first marriages never did accept the relationship, it had nothing to do with them not getting married, and more to do with the fact that

a) my dad's ex-wife would not allow him to have any visitation time with the children, and at that time, the courts almost always ruled in favor of the mother.

b) my mom's ex-husband abandoned my half-sister when she was 7, and she still to this day has abandonment issues.



I think that if the parents all respect one another and try to get along, than there is no reason for his children to take me seriously, and my son already sees him as a father figure in his life.

Regardless, the marriage issue is so far off-topic here, it really does not factor in to the question at hand, in my opinion. But thank you for your opinion Vicki.

Vicki - posted on 02/20/2012

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Marry before you move in. You cannot be taken seriously as her children's stepmom until you really are. It's the best investment you can make in your future and theirs.

Roxanne - posted on 02/19/2012

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Well I am developing more and more respect for my SK's biomom. Tomorrow in Canada is a Holiday that is referred to as Family Day. There are usually little minicarnivals and free things to do around the city. She invited us all to go to the Lake and skate together. She feels that this would be a strong symbol to the children that we are all on the same page. I think its great, and it really makes me feel accepted.



My SO now believes that she is being quite genuine about the situation being what is best for the children. She has said to him that is her children see that she accepts my son and I as part of the family, than it might help strengthen the bond that is already being built, and help ease any future issues.



Although together my SO and his ex were toxic, apart they are wonderful people. They both seem to recognize that whole-heartedly. They separated amicably and have kept the peace for the sake of the children. Now that they each have found partners that compliment them, the friendship they maintain for the children seems a lot less strained. And the children definitely sense it.



I received some advice from someone else that I should test out the childcare situation with a few off-school days, sleepovers, or weekend visits to see how it goes before committing to the entire summer. And I definitely will do that. I think I should try it out at least, and keep a backup just in case things go south. But in my experience the more thought you put into the negative possibilities, the more likely they are to happen. So I will continue to think and stay positive about the whole situation and just keep an ear out for how the children are feeling about it all.

Kymberly - posted on 02/18/2012

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It's probably an offer made honestly. Do understand that if the two boys get into fights while at her home, she likely will take her son's side...THIS IS NATURAL. I'm not saying she would be a monster, but for an hour or two, your son might be in an uncomfortable situation. If you feel she could handle such a situation with a somewhat fair balance...don't worry about it. If you feel she would be completely unkind to your son should such a thing happen, making him feel miserable and uncomfortable the rest of that day and perhaps more days afterward...try to rethink all your options. Good luck.

Karen - posted on 02/18/2012

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With your kid and her kids soon to being related through marriage it seems like she is trying to keep the kids together durring the summer insted of letting them feel like there is more that seperates them. But it is up to you to choose what happens with your kid.

Tara - posted on 02/18/2012

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I would definetly be very cautious!!! My husbands ex girl friend and him have a child together so I spend quite a bit of time with her. And my husband and I also have 2 children together. In the beginning, his ex hated me with a passion! Then all of a sudden she started to try and be friendly with me, well I found out it was because she tried several times to split my husband and I up because she still wanted to be with him. She finally moved on and remarried, and said she was over him, so I believed her, but still had my worries... I was right to have my worries, she offered to watch my oldest daugther so I could take my youngest daughter to get pictures done. I was gone for probably 4 hours at the most. When I got back to pick my daugther up she was so ready to get out of that house. When we got into the car i asked her what was wrong, well my husband's ex had grilled her by asking her several questions and she hit my daugther! and she didn't let her eat dinner. I confronted her on it and of course she denied it, but she acted very funny so i knew she was lying. Please just watch yourself very carefully, she may be being nice to you now, just so she can take her grudge out on your child.

Rosemary - posted on 02/18/2012

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It is good to be friendly on both sides. This is a time to build up a relationship for the entire family. That way you will not feel odd when she comes visiting your home. She might make it regular especially if you end up marrying her ex-husband.You don't loose a sleep being friends. On keeping your son during the summer, that depends if your son is eager to be with her. You can give it a try of allowing both five years old spend a week-end with her and see how they feel. I have my son spend the Winter holiday from the 26/12/11 to 20/01/2012 with her step mum in London. Though my son is 13. He seems to like it each time he goes on holidays with her half brother to her. I have a strong faith in God that no harm can come onto anything entrusted into the hands of God. Let go of your fears and let God rule your every minute of your life.

Leighanne - posted on 02/18/2012

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Getting along with the ex when their are children involved is tricky. The ex needs to know who is taking care of he children and she wants to be able to trust you. Sometimes how she wants to get to know you is weird. It is a difficult trying to get to know the other new person . It is best to keep talking light, I would not go out with her but I would an ddid sit through lunches with the children.

Remember the children can talk and they will say if they do not like to be around someone or in their care. I think it is important to give her a chance around your child especially of the children are close and as they get older will want sleep overs at both houses.

Suellen - posted on 02/18/2012

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Remember! They are all kaniving and the kids are 3rd party! They love to stir just make sure your guards up all the time!

Suellen - posted on 02/18/2012

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Remember! They are all kaniving and the kids are 3rd party! They love to stir just make sure your guards up all the time!

Monica - posted on 02/17/2012

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My daughter was 5 and my step daughter 6 when I met my husband. My daughter's father and I have a civil relationship. When my daughter was 7, she invited my step-daughter to her dad's while I was working in the summer. He works 3-4 12 hour days and has off more. She really liked it and it helped them bond. However when my step-daughter's mom found out about it, she was really mad. Well a few years later, my daughter goes over to her mom's house for sleep overs and to play ect. They love it and it shows everyone gets along. However, I have never really spoken to my husbands ex, at least the kids can get along

Jackie - posted on 02/17/2012

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You should give her the benefit of the doubt and take her up on her offer of daycare. Do insist on paying her something, because as you said, it's her main source of income, and you don't want such a big favor being held over your head later on. But if you're going to be helping to raise her kids, you have to be willing to keep working on a positive relationship with her and not shut her out.

Maree - posted on 02/17/2012

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I didn't experience this. My sons step mum is awesome and i consider myself a good person as well. I can trust her and she can trust me. i don't try to get info about my ex from her,i have no interest in that....however,i have no doubt that my husbands ex would do things like that,her and i will never be friends though so i guess it doesn't matter

Dawn - posted on 02/17/2012

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I think it is a great idea to get to know her better however I wouldn't suggest being best friends with her or divulging things to her about your relationship. Keep it cordial for the kids sake

Wendy - posted on 02/17/2012

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I think it is great to have a civil relationship with your fiances ex but I also think that it could come between you and your soon to be husband at a later time. If they both weren't happy together then I can see your husband not wanting any more time then necessary with her.



The situation doesn't sit well with me and if it were my decision, I would want to play it safe and take him somewhere else, and still maintain the relationship, maybe taking him there occasionally (for a day or two) if needed.



Whatever you decide, always have a backup plan for care if one doesn't work out.

Maree - posted on 02/16/2012

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Trust your instincts,if you trust her then go for it...hopefully it won't blow up in your face.



Not all exes are bitches. Maybe this one is one of the good ones. Just because your fiance said to watch your back,i wouldn't stress too much. Probably there was things that went on between the 2 of them but it doesn't make her a bad person.When people get divorced...both parties change,not just one of them...I'm sure there are people that may have said not so good stuff about your husband as well but if you feel he is a good person then you are probably right.



I am good friends with my exes wife and our kids are close. She was in my wedding and so was her daughter (my sons half sister) . People think we are crazy and they wonder why i would wanto to be friends with her but she is a nice person and hasn't done anything wrong so why would i automatically hate her because she is with my ex??? She is good to my son and i am greatful for that.



If she truly is a good person then i think being friends with her or at least getting along can only be a good thing for the kids. There is no greater gift to a child than a happy family and parents (including step parents) that don't fight all the time. There will likely be bumps in the road but from experience i can say that those are much more easily overcome if you have a relationship with the bio mum,if you trust each other and can talk openly.



Good luck.

Gwen - posted on 02/16/2012

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If you can get along with her and have a friendly relationship, that is awesome! As I can tell you from personal experience, not all exes are lying or manipulative. Some people just want to know, and have a decent relationship with the person who is helping care for their children. While I probably wouldn't take her up on the child care or bar outings, I see absolutely nothing wrong with sitting together at games and having a pleasant chat. The children will benefit from your example.

Roxanne - posted on 02/16/2012

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I have a few months to think it through and figure this out, thankfully. I will definitely weigh this out, 45 hours a week is a significant amount of time for my son to be spending with her. But its about the equivalent of what her kids spend with me when we get them for the weekend. Regardless of the decision, I'll make sure that she understands that I put a lot of serious thought into the decision. I don't want this to be about my own apprehensions, but what is best for the children. I think that this would force us into a friendly situation, and I agree with taking things slow and cautious. I don't want to go into this blindly. My gut keeps telling me to stay sharp, and its never steered me wrong yet. Thank you very much for the advice.

Jenni - posted on 02/16/2012

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Sounds a bit like territorial pissing to me. Meh, personally if it were me... I'd have the attitude "if it makes *her* feel better... have at it."



But of course, you have to set boundaries at a certain point. It sounds like you may be pushed to the point where you will have to make those boundaries clear. Just be prepared.

Roxanne - posted on 02/16/2012

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Yes, I agree that is a little bit awkward. What really sets off red flags for me is that she doesn't want me to pay anything. I mean... all summer, and you don't want me to pay you? I don't want anything hanging over my head. I can understand a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours type of thing, but.... I don't know.

This feels like it could get rather invasive very quickly, if the cards aren't played exactly right. But then again, it could just be a nice gesture.

I guess I need to sit down and prioritize my boundaries here. The dayhome is her main source of income, I highly doubt that anything horrible will happen, as it could wind up being a disaster for her. So, what's the worst that could happen? She lays on the 20 questions to my 5 year old? Not like I anything to hide.

Kay - posted on 02/16/2012

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I think it is kind of an odd offer. If you do take her up on it, I would write down and have both your signatures on any agreement--pay or no pay, how much, how long, etc.



Even if she is in a relationship, she can play games. My fiance's ex has openly admitted to me that she still loves him and wishes everything was different, despite the fact that she is still with the guy she left him for and they have a child together. That doesn't mean we don't get along--we do--but I am more cautious I think.



Good luck, and I really hope she is being sincere.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/16/2012

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I think it is awesome that she is trying to get to know you on good terms. It is important for parents to know and like the step parents in my opinion. I mean you will be taking care of her children. She wants to trust you and get to know you.



As far as her taking your son, well if your kids are good friends and your son is invited for a sleep over, I do not see a problem with that. But for her to just want your kid over to take care of him...that is kinda weird.

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