Moms - I want to be a good step parent - Please provide some guidance

Holly - posted on 01/25/2016 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Hi Moms - (Sorry it is a bit long but I wanted to provide background)

I am not a mom myself (I am 33 and an aunt) but I am in a long term relationship with a man who has three boys (4, 8, 12). We do live together and I will be their more official step parent some day. They are awesome but live out of state. We want them to visit more and they plan to. I have met their mother a few times and don't have any issues with her. We are friendly with each other but aren't friends yet as we just haven't had that time yet. I told my man that part of loving him is also loving his children and I plan to continue to do that. The kids and I get along great. They were up here over the holidays and we had a great time.

The oldest has severe asthma and nut allergies. When they were up here, he was having some asthma issues and no medication was sent with him (grandparents forgot it). I (former ER Tech) brought him with my boyfriend to the ER to get him treated as it was late at night and he was in rough shape although everyone else thought he was fine. I took incredible care of him and made sure that he took his meds for the coming days. The doctors said that my actions truly kept a bad situation form getting even worse. After we dropped them off back to his mom and step dad, I did mention to her everything that happened at the hospital, told her that included all the discharge instructions etc for her and because i had talked to the nurses gave her all that info as well. She was aware that we were taking him so it wasn't like this was surprise. My mom friend said that she would be incredibly angry if dad's new girlfriend told her about her kid, but I am just trying to give her all the info that I would want and to let her know that while her kids are with me they will be taken care of like my own. Dad was getting stuff out of the car and saying bye to the kiddos.

I do believe in respecting the parents wishes as long as it is not harming them. For example she feeds them pretty healthy, we eat incredibly healthy so there is no issue there.

My question is - I am not wanting to replace their mom nor come off that way to his ex. That is not my goal what so ever but I am also a very nurturing and loving person so some advice that I have seen is to not engage with the kids which I find to be kinda cruel. My goal is to keep my man happy, support and enjoy time with him and his kids and be a positive role model for his kids as another adult in their lives. I am asking you all as mom's when your ex gets a new girlfriend who is genuinely interested in the well being of your children, what things do you see as a helpful or things that would upset you? I am here to stay to its important that these kids have two happy families.

Thank you in advance for your feedback and advice.

4 Comments

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Holly - posted on 01/29/2016

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Hi Michelle - Thank you for your advice. I think you are right, we probably need to talk about it at some point. She seems like a reasonable person and I get it that we are evaluating each other.

I'll talk to my partner and see how he feels about the situation and we can all go from there.

Holly - posted on 01/29/2016

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Thank you Raye. You have good points and I appreciate the feedback. It was more of an inform her thing and not necessarily a one up thing and wasn't like "i saved your kid" sorta thing with her but just the facts. I put that part in here just because at the time I was feeling like well I feel like I am catching flack and in a way I do feel like I am being evaluated by a variety of people (grand parents on both sides, mom, dad etc) but I am the person that actually did something about this situation when the boys were here.

If I was her, I would have wanted the info that I passed to her and I definitely don't regret any of my decisions as related to this situation. Like discharge instructions are in the bag, we kept the prescription bottles for her review and to talk to his dr, this is what they gave him, he tolerated everything really well, we kept the second epi pen etc. She said thank you for taking care of them so I would like to think that she didn't think I was trying to one up her but more that I am aware of your child's needs and I follow them very carefully. There is a big difference in having the kids for a week at a time and having kids all the time so I respect her and I get that. Being a mom is a hard job.

I do agree with you its a damn if you do or don't situation and that is the balance that I am trying to find. I don't know if it is worth just straight up going to lunch with her one day when we are down there and having a chat and telling her that I am not a replacement for her nor is that my plan, but I am interested in being a positive influence in their life and have a discussion about it.

I am sure there are alot of step parents out there that aren't great just like the same with parents but for those of us who really want the best for kids that aren't our own by blood, it sucks to be in this limbo.

Raye - posted on 01/26/2016

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I am a step-mom, and have no kids of my own. So, I know where you're coming from.
1) by all means you should be friendly to the mom and try to keep the peace for the sake of the kids, but don't expect to be good friends. That is a rare thing when the mom and SM actually do more than tolerate each other.
2) as long as you are talking to your BF/husband and are on the same page with him on how the kids should be treated in your home, then don't worry too much about the mother. The kids' father should be the one dealing with her most of the time, and they should work out any major issues.
3) try to respect the mother's position as the mother. If you're relaying information, then fine, just give the basic facts. Really try to do it so it doesn't come across as you being better than her. Yes, you should do your best for the kids, and seek medical attention if needed, but don't try to one-up her. And don't pass blame for things, like not having the meds in the first place. Mistakes happen all the time, and blaming is not helpful.

You're going to be treading a slippery slope. I sometimes feel like I'm in a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" situation, because the mother definitely doesn't want a step-mom that mistreats her kids or ignores their needs, but she doesn't want one that she feels in competition with either.. so what can you do? The main thing is trying to have the kids best interests at heart. Then, no matter the mother's mood or attitude, at least you can feel you've done right. You can rejoice in your good deeds, like taking care of the asthma situation, but don't flaunt it. Stay humble in front of the mom, because there are probably many times she has saved the day just as you did, and she may not get a pat on the back for it either.

Michelle - posted on 01/25/2016

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Unless the Mother has told you she had a problem with what happened then don't worry about it. Don't listen to people who don't know the situation.
The best advice to get would be to talk with your partner and his ex about what THEY think your involvement should be.
The best thing all the adults can do is get together without the children around and have an adult discussion.
Any advice that you get here may not be right for your situation so discuss it with the people it involves instead.

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