Someday you might be a step-mom how would you want to be treated?

Meredith - posted on 10/10/2015 ( 7 moms have responded )

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With 50% of marriages ending in divorce it is highly likely that you will become a part of a blended family one day.
As a step-mother and a bio-mother I had come to Circle of Mom's looking for advice on being accepted as a step-mom and dealing with a bio-mom who unfortunately just wants to make things hard for everyone.

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Jodi - posted on 05/25/2016

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Meredith, to be fair, your initial post didn't come across as you looking for advice, it came across as a bit of a general statement. And therefore, when I read Hannah's advice, I read it as being the general "YOU" rather than pointing fingers at the individual "YOU".
You can't dictate who responds or how they respond or if it goes in a direction you don't agree with. If you don't like the response, then ignore it.

Noone here has been "step mother bashing". I think you are being overly sensitive about it and taking it way too personally.

Hannah - posted on 04/25/2016

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I agree. However, in cases where the step mom actively broke up a marriage she cannot expect to be respected. That may seem harsh but it's true.

If this is the case the only way it can be better is if you apologise to the bio mom : yes it may not be just because of you that the marriage broke up and that she is forced to see her children less but you played a huge role. Her life and her children's life has been turned upside down. Acknowledge that you broke the "let no man put assunder" and ask her to forgive you and make the best of the situation. Let her understand that you will respect HER rules in parenting even if you didn't respect the sanctity of marriage. I think this is the only way you can hope for some kind of reconciliation. Also never, ever, ever say ANYTHING bad about the mother in front of the children, even if you feel it is waranted. You are just the woman who shacked up with Dad - you are no Mom to these kids.

Ev - posted on 10/11/2015

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So my point of this conversation is this......
....."Try to remember all of you bio-moms that do not want step-moms to be part of your child's life."
---I have to disagree with this statement. Not all of us bio-moms will become step moms. Some of us won't marry again. I am one of those. Its the choice I have made for myself.

" Some day you may meet a wonderful man with children and get married an you may become a Step-mom too and you may want to be part of your step-children's life and create a blended family. Would you want the bio mom treating you that way?
Always try to remember this and ask yourself why you are responding to the step-mother this way. "
----As I said in the first statement, I made the choice not to marry again. But IF I BECAME A STEP MOM: I would strive to be mother like to my step kids and work with the parents on any and everything involving them as they would allow me to. I would not make comments on visitation, child support, and other issues that I would not have any real say in. Now if for example they needed to come to my house again another weekend that was their mother's for some reason, I would want to be consulted on that but sometimes it has to be done because things do happen suddenly and can not be helped but otherwise I would want to be asked about it but would leave the final decision to the parents. Also I would want to know the issues any of the kids have so I could become educated on that (disabilities, issues at school/home) so that I could be effective in the family. Most important is being a supportive addition to the family unit for the kids and spouse. (My kids have had two step moms and I will elaborate further.)

"I am sure there are some bad Step-mother's out there yes, but most are not so you might want to ask yourself why you are acting this way... 9 times out of 10 it is about {{jealousy}} either with your children or your ex or most times both and if it wasn't and if this woman is really just trying to be part of your child's life then why is it a problem? Just saying .."
----I agree there are bad step moms just as there are good step moms out there. But when you put the point of how a bio mom is acting about things and mix it with JEALOUSY then you are not totally right on that point at all. Jealousy is not always the root of why a bio mom is acting the way she is. Maybe the kids had a previous step mom or dad had a previous girlfriend that did not treat them well or interacted in any shape or form with the kids. Maybe the step mom tried to run things even when it came to the choices, visitation, and other things that the PARENTS were to decide. Maybe it was other things. Maybe it was those reasons alone that mom was defensive of her children and herself because of a former GF or step mom and the way they were.

I am going to cover a few other things and please do not take offense of them. These were experienced and might shed a few things to light for you where certain kinds of step moms are concerned. As I said some are good for the most part but there are the ones that don't care or do not want your kids in the picture whether or not she has any of her own. My children had two step moms within 14 months or so of each other. The first one did not really care much about my kids and let them do whatever they wanted, thank goodness I had taught them better than that. She did not want to meet me and try to work out anything for the kids' sake. The second one was another story. At first she was very into being "friends" with my daughter until she had babies. My son she did not get on with at all and he did not like her. You have to bear in mind that kids do not have a say in who their parents marry or date and therefore they can not force parents not to be in the relationship with people they do not like. This second step mom tried to decide visitation, make legal choices that were not hers to make, enforce her will on a lot of other things (homeschooling my kids, keeping me out of doctor appointments which happened time and again, and just nick picking me), She thought she knew my kids well enough to talk to doctors and others about them when she did not. During all through the years, I tried to be polite and work things out but she would not let me and him discuss things and take her words into consideration instead of insisting her way was it. It was not jealousy. I was defensive because she thought she knew it all and she had all the answers and could have a say in legal issues where my kids were concerned. I did not mind her signing permission slips for school field trips or other similar things, taking them for sick visits to the doctor since she had dad's permission, taking them places they needed to go, and making them mind in her home. What I had problems with were stated above. So, in essence she was treating me nasty because she did not try to get to know me on her own terms and took what people told her as the gospel.

So step moms can also treat bio moms like crap. It is also of jealousy I am sure in a lot of cases. She came in the picture after the kids were there. She is just getting to know them and the family. She is trying to get herself set up in a certain light. But she has to be careful how to do that. A step mom (kids or not) has to not have certain expectations when taking on step children. She has to get on their level and work at it with them to make a relationship. She has to understand that their world for whatever reason (death or divorce or separation) has been changed and this is another. She can not expect to be loved right off nor considered trusted until she has earned the trust and respect of the children. She can not expect them to respect her initially but she should at least be given a degree of respectfulness as an adult in the lives of the kids. She is to be a support for the family and she is going to have to sacrifice some things to gain a peaceful family. She should be a champion of the kids when their parents disagree and support them on the whole. She should also know that no blended family is going to be perfect and that all involved have to work on it. She should be able to voice her opinion to the parents about things and let them decide if her suggestions merit being used in the final decisions of the children. She should expect to be heard and thought of as a person just as much as the parents. She should be respected on her requests and not taken advantage of. She should expect a certain amount of respect for her authority in her own home in regards to rules and consequences to a certain extent. This also should apply to step dads as well.

"I still feel 100% that when such ridiculous provisions are put on relationships and events; i.e. fathers sitting away from wives and sitting with bio-mothers at weddings etc.. I think it boils down to 1 thing, well now maybe two now that I am thinking of it, jealously and immaturity ... If an ex-and his new wife want to make a blended family that everyone including the step-mom feel an equal part of first who is the bio mom to stick her nose in that and second what other reason would she have a problem with it if it was not jealously?"
----Your comment here about ridiculous provisions on relationships and events I have to disagree with to a point. Weddings: The step mom should be part of this no matter what is going on. I have heard from too many people I know that the step mom tried to run the show. My daughter got married around 4 years back. I knew that I would have to at some point deal with her step mom on details when her wedding came around. To put a simple point here, the groom's family paid for the whole thing. So a lot of decisions were out of my hands and her dad's. I contributed my time and talents to the wedding. I was there when my daughter picked out how she wanted to do her dress with her mother inlaw. I was there when other plans were made. Her inlaws reached out to her dad time and again about things but he never replied to them. Neither did his wife. When the day of the wedding came, her dad and step mom showed up with the other kids (step sibs and half sibs). Dad walked her down the aisle, they had the meal at the reception, and then left without helping to clean up. The step mom complained about a lot of things at the wedding. One was why not all her own children were in the wedding party like my son was. Her daughters and youngest son served as the flower girls and ring bearer. He only did that because the groom's nephew did not get to be there. The other two boys were too old for some things and too young for others. And my son...he was an usher. And that was a last minute thing too. Step mom complained on seating. She had to sit 4 rows back but that was because of a mislead on seating arrangements by mistake. The father in law married my daughter and his son, and he set up the seating arrangement. I sat in the first row with my sister and kids' uncle, behind me was the grandparents of the bride--both sides--and then the groom's family took up the whole of the third row on accident and the fourth row was dad, step mom and the other kids. (The pews in the church were supposed to be halved between the groom's side and bride's side and the third pew got taken up by the grooms family.) So, in all essence of the situation, I did not plan anything in any form or fashion. And it saved me and her a lot of getting in each others faces. I know she was jealous though because she was not in the lime light. By this time, she had only been my kids' step mom for 5 years and had known them about as long.
----The only other real big event she had a cow about anything was graduations. The newspaper here runs a insert with the senior class. Both times with my kids her name was not listed with the parents names under the picture of the senior (my son and daughter). She had a fit. Also when it came to Senior Sunday at church for my daughter she made it hard on my daughter to choose things. When my daughter chose my church over her dad's, step mom would not go to the special day at church because my daughter did not attend there. As far as graduation itself, we sat in different places both times. But we put on good polite graces for the kids.
---I do not know where you get it is all about jealousy here.

In the end, I think as you do that all parents involved, steps and bios, that it should be about the kids. But its a two way street here and you sound like it should be all on the bio mom to be nice, respectful, and polite of the step mom. It should work both ways. It does not always work that way. Most times if you stop to look at a situation, the bio mom is not always jealous but could be trying to protect her children from more hurt too. Also the bio mom does not know the step mom well and is not sure at first how she will treat the children. So a bio mom does have the right to be hesitant in her reactions to the step mom unless they have gotten to know each other a bit. Bio moms also have the right to feel how they feel. A step mom has to look at it from the bio moms side too not just her own.

Jodi - posted on 10/11/2015

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"I do understand and respect what you are saying however all situations are different and it sounds as though mine is very different from yours. "

Absolutely agree with you :)

It isn't okay to act like children. We all need to be able to step up and act like adults, which includes having respectful relationships even if we don't want to sometimes. This is how we set examples for our children about respectful relationships. But some people just don't have it in them.

However, there are also those times the biological mother has a right to be upset at the step mother (and the father has a right to be upset at the stepfather). I've seen situations where that has been acceptable too. But it all comes down to how the behaviour affects the child.......

Jodi - posted on 10/10/2015

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"However "butt out" is pretty un-supportive... anyone that cares enough to seek advice doesn't deserve "butt out" for a response.... I just personally find that rude and most people would not consider the response at all because it started with a butt out.. a better thing to say might be while you mean well and I know your are trying to help maybe you should ... and then give the response.."

I didn't "literally" mean "butt out"........I meant "butt out" in so many words, LOL :)

But I will be honest, my son's step mother has very little to do with his life, and his father has barely been involved in raising him to be the young man he is today, so I wouldn't put up with her trying to stick her nose in all over the place. And as a stepmother, I also stay out of the arrangements, and I have been a stepmother for 11 years, so not like I'm the new stepmother. To be honest, my place is and always will be beside and supporting my husband in HIS decisions around his children, but certainly not making him change arrangements, etc. I would actually be very understanding if the mothers of my stepchildren got upset if I started to get overly involved in some things, and it truly IS the time to say "back off".

Dove - posted on 10/10/2015

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I won't ever be a stepmom and in 'my' situation... I won't ever respect my ex or his now wife. Sure, they are great to my kids when my kids are there (which I do appreciate), but they are not a real part of the lives of my children.... and there is a LOT of very unstable history involved there.

My situation may color my 'step mom responses' a bit, but our life experiences will always tend to do that. If I see a stepmom speaking harshly about her stepchildren... yep, I'm going to jump on that. If I see a stepmom slamming the biomom... yep, I'm jumping on that too. If I see a stepmom who is seeking for what is best for the children... I will try and advise, but if the biodad and biomom are not cooperating w/ that... then there isn't much to say.

Jodi - posted on 10/10/2015

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"I notice that all the conversations here and everywhere paint the Stepparents, especially step-moms very unflattering and with no real advice to help things get better just topics to add fuel to keep the fire going .."

Actually, on this point, I am going to disagree with you. I don't believe all posts here paint stepparents in an unflattering way and give no advice. Sure, they may often tell the step-parent to butt out, because ultimately, they are not the parent, but I don't see many unsupportive posts. Butt out is still valid advice.

Advice like "get family counselling", "get your husband to step up and be the parent" are also completely valid statements in a blended family situation. His kids, HE has to step up, not the step parent.

Anyway, I am generalising, because I am not sure why you are finding that so many here are painting stepmothers in an unflattering way.

PS, just for the record, I am a step mother AND a bio mother.

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