Need help with an over-opinionated stepmother...

Samantha - posted on 07/10/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I am 24 years old and have one son (age 3). My sons father and I just got married March 15 of this year. We definitely want to have at least one more child, just not sure when. Financially we're not really ready for another child and we know that, but we will definitely have another. My problem is that every single time I see my stepmother she takes jabs at me as to why we should not have any more children and how one is plenty. It instantly angers me and all I want to do is snap at her. But she has been a great mother to me and I respect her. I listen to everything she has to say, but all of her reasons are selfish and demeaning. Saying I will miss everything with my son if we have any more, or saying my son wouldn't be loved the same and wont get the same, constant attention he gets now. What also enrages me is my step-brother, her blood son, had his first when they were 17 and continued to have 2 more over the next 3 years. It was rough on my brother and his now wife, but they had my stepmothers support 100%. She never said these things to my brother and I have reached my breaking point with her opinions on my life. How can I get her to stop saying these things to me? She will not change my mind, and I feel like it's hurting our relationship. What can I say to her to make her realize she has no say in our life?

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Samantha - posted on 07/11/2014

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I'm usually very good at not letting what she says get to me (she's very good at the subtle jab) but when it comes to motherhood, I won't take her comments lying down anymore. I personally feel that I am a great mother. My son is happy, healthy, and smart. Being her step daughter I've always sought her approval and listened to everything she had to say. Always thought she had the best in mind for me, but as you said before, it seems she has some deeper seeded issue with us having another baby.
I have always wanted more than one child, always wanted to be a mother. Since my little sister was born when I was 9 and I helped with her, I knew I wanted children of my own to care for and raise. So there really is no way she could change my mind.
I guess the only question left to ask is how can I tell her I don't want to hear it anymore without being disrespectful?

Chet - posted on 07/11/2014

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Very honestly, I would think long and hard about having a heart to heart with this woman about your family planning.

The way you describe the situation, it doesn't sound like you're going to get anywhere. Of you think it will do some good. or that it won't do any harm at least. you can certainly try. But it's a very real possibility that you may just need to continue deflecting the comments and choose to not let what she says get to you. If the things she says aren't true, don't let them get inside your head.

Samantha - posted on 07/11/2014

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Hi Chet! Thanks for your response, and yes, sometimes I do respond to her. But I usually just laugh it off or say something like "if we do it won't be for a while anyway". I really just try to avoid confrontation with her. I don't know if she doubts my abilities as a parent or if its genuine concern for us. But the things she says and the way she says them makes it seem like its personal. And heart to hearts don't really work with her. She is very good at dominating the conversation and basically bullying me into agreeing with her. Like I said, she is VERY over-opinionated. I mean, it won't hurt to try, but I feel like I can already see the outcome; Her shoving her thoughts and opinions down my throat, me resenting her for it. I appreciate her wanting to look-out for me, but i'm not a child anymore. I have told her before I appreciate her opinion but I think I can handle this, and she keeps coming back with the same thing. Also, they have 4 total grandchildren, all 4 boys, and I would love nothing more than to give them the granddaughter they want. But I honestly feel like she doesn't want me to be the one to give it to them, and that really hurts.
I definitely will try the heart to heart, but what if that doesn't work? What if she keeps coming at me about not having any more children?

Chet - posted on 07/10/2014

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I'm only guessing here, but it sounds like she has some unresolved issues with regard to siblings and parenting. Maybe she doesn't want to see you have a difficult time like her son did having three children. Maybe this is about something she felt as a mother and she doesn't want to see you struggle with the same difficulties.

Whatever the case, it's a very strange thing to be so fixated on. Your first child is 3 and you have no immediate plans. Your oldest would be school age, or close to it, before he had a sibling. It's one thing to mention something occasionally when the topic comes up, but it's something else to raise the issue every time she sees you and to be so aggressive with her opinions.

You could try talking to her if you think it will get you somewhere. If you think she'll open up, tell you what's really eating at her, listen to how you want another child when the time is right, a heart to heart could really help. However, if she's touchy about the subject she may just reiterate what she's been saying all along, and it might get you nowhere.

I doubt this is really about you though, or about you abilities to handle life with more than one child.

How have you been responding to her so far?

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