Step parents attending parent teacher interviews?

[deleted account] ( 148 moms have responded )

My name is Tara I am the step mom of a wonderful little boy and he has just started school this year. When we told his mother that I would be attending the parent teacher interviews with his father (my husband) she said that I had no more right being there then does his grandparents. My husband and I get to see my step son 4 days every other week and we both feel that since I am as much a parental figure as his own father that I should be there to talk/listen to his educators in an effort to better the way we educate him in the home. Any advice? am I being foolish in wanting to be involved in his schooling?

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Julia - posted on 03/31/2013

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Absolutely not! If the bio mom has said she doesn't want you there you have a lot of nerve to try to muscle your way in. Second marriages have a higher failure rate than first marriages and if you divorce the father some day you will likely no longer have a relationship with the child. I think there are a lot of step parents out there that WAY over step tge boundaries. I worked on a committee for my sons school for 6 months with a woman who presented herself as a parent come to find out she was the dads girlfriend volunteering at the school behind the mothers back. It was a terrible situation and embarrassing to the kids. Stop trying to play house with another woman's babies and have some of your own.

Colette - posted on 02/22/2013

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I think you are completely within your boundaries, especially since you have 2 more days than most normal visitation. I am a step-mother myself, and I've been around my stepdaughter since she was 2. We have normal visitation, every other weekends, plus the summer and holidays rotated. It's interesting to see how adament some women are that you have overstepped your boundaries, that it's the dads responsibility, not yours.....all of these comments must be from mothers. The problem is, they are forgetting that this is about the child, not them and not your husband. If you and your husband are concerned parents (since I believe that a step-parent should embrace a stepchild in the same manner as their own child), then I see no reason why you shouldn't attend parent-teacher conferences, or any school activities.

If the mother is throwing that big of a fit, then I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to just request a separate parent-teacher conference than the mother. We had to resort to that, and it works out just fine (the teacher's have never given us a problem about scheduling two meetings). Mom, Dad, and Step-Mom (or Dad) should do whatever necessary to be involved in the child's life, education and extracurricular, and to make sure you are informed just as much as the mom and dad, since you are going to be an integral person in that child's life. This concept of overstepping boundaries is nonsense, just bitter women who are mad that their husband moved on and found someone to be happy with that isn't them. They are right, those women will always be that child's mom, and it's not a competition, it's about loving that child and caring for them and helping them grow up and learn in the best environment possible.

Valerie - posted on 01/14/2012

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I think it is wonderful that you have a good relationship with your stepson and you want to be involved with his schooling. In fact there is nothing to prevent you from doing so. Attending a parent teacher conference is not the summary of your influence or participation in his life. In a blended family situation it is extremely important to respect boundaries set by both parents, not just one. While you are given permission by the father, the mother's consent is just as necessary and if you ignore her wishes you are stating to her, that her opinions or wishes when it comes to her son don't matter to you. You need to ask yourself what is more important, that you attend a meeting, or you maintain the peace of everyone involved with your son's life. You might make this small sacrifice for the overall good and show the mother that you respect her prerogative as the biological mother. In the end, this will create better feelings which will translate to your stepson when he sees everyone getting along. Children always sense when there is tension or peace and there is no reason why you can't be a good example of someone who can negotiate and compromise. To compensate for not going to the meeting, perhaps you could write down some questions you have for the teacher and have your husband ask them and relay what happened at the meeting after. This is coming from a mother who wishes those things were done out of respect for her.

Amber - posted on 05/05/2012

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Stepparents don't need to be in attendance at conferences or IEP meetings. If the parents are there that should be enough. If the stepmom doesn't understand that the parents can handle these things without her she is the one with the ego issue, not the mom.

VA - posted on 06/21/2017

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I'll comment as both the mom and the step mom, because I AM both. I'll go as mom first.

It is MY responsibility to ensure my kids are succeeding in school. That means with peers, level of respect, level of maturity, responsibility, homework...everything that comes along with school.

Because it is my responsibility, I will attend parent teacher meetings. Because what happens in my home happens IN MY HOME, my husband may or may not choose to come along with me - because whether my kids dad likes it or not, my husband is the "other parent" in the home. He supports ME - by helping the kids with homework if he wants to/can, by calling my kids out on their behavior if they need to be checked, and by enforcing any plans the teacher has suggested to curb unwanted behaviors.

He's not attending as a parent - he's attending as my household's co-authority.

As a step-mom - honestly I'm the one who takes on the homework... I'm the one who deals with regular kid raising stuff in our home... my husband is a great father to his son, but as biomom does not live in my home, she has no way what goes on in it - and if the way we do things in our home is that i oversee school stuff to support my husband, you better believe I'm going to be approsed of the information I need to know - because it's in the kid's best interest that I am aware.

As a mother, you should be thrilled that your kids stepmom takes an interest in your kids success... (not you specifically, you generally).

As a stepmother, you cannot care more than the parents... but neither do you bend to BM's will. You respect your husband's wishes - and if he wants you there, he can have you there, and she can suck it.

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Miakoda - posted on 05/17/2017

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As a stepparent, you are just much of a parent as your husband is. Whether the biological mother likes it or not, you are the one making the kids meals when they are in your home, washing their clothes, putting them into bed, guiding them, protecting them, and YES, helping them with their studies. So do you have a right to be in the parent teacher meetings? Most definitely. Your husband can also sign a form allowing the school to share information with you too. If the mother is feeling defensive about this, then she needs to check herself at the door, and realize that whether she likes it or not, you are and will continue to be part of the child's life. You are not a glorified baby sitter, you are their stepmother and should be respected by the children and school staff as such. I know of stepmoms that are more of a parent to the children than their own biological moms. I am sure that some of the readers heads are spinning on their shoulders right now, but reality is reality. Some of these biological moms are like dogs, they do not eat, nor allow anyone else to eat. Meaning...they do not step up to the plate and "mother" the child, but heck breaks out if you do. And let's not get into the topic of the NARCISSISTIC mother, it's all about her and using the kids as pawns to hurt the father with. YES STEPMOM, YOU ARE A MOM, AND HAVE A RIGHT TO BE THERE.
Anyone who says different is probably a biological mom, who #1 doesn't know how to co-parent and #2 Is jealous that you are married to her ex, and part of the child's life. REALITY CALL.

Turkeyburgers06 - posted on 02/15/2017

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I do because I'm responsible for dropping my stepson off at school on Mondays. I need to stay informed on what's going on.

KC - posted on 09/18/2016

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So I'm the mom on the OTHER side. :) My situation is more with a girlfriend, now new fiancé that has been a part of the kids' lives for a while. She wants to be overly involved. (In MY opinion). There may be something underlying there, as to her reasoning, or she longs to be the only "mother" figure in their lives. Having to deal with other parental figures is tough. I agree with Gaynor below. Be sensitive and respectful of her wishes- this will not go unnoticed. I also think this is harder if you do not have children, because you cannot truly put yourself in that other person's shoes. (The new fiancé does not have children). I hope this helps, and I really appreciate you posting this and asking.

Diana - posted on 09/14/2016

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I think you SHOULD be involved in your step-son's education. I don't know why anyone would have a problem with it. Now if you were completely taking over and doing everything while your husband did nothing, then I would see a problem. In my situation, my ex and I are in the middle of a child support modification and my ex's wife is doing all the calling, filling out forms, etc. She has contacted child support services about the case numerous times. She has also contacted the magistrate court about it. Whenever I text my ex, he doesn't reply, but SHE does for him! I'm sick of it. It's like he doesn't even exist. It's none of her business. She shouldn't have access to MY information. I would like to include something in the modification that makes sure that she does not get involved with the legal issues. I also heard that during her last divorce, she fought for custody of her step-daughter and lost. This makes me feel like my kids are with a psycho kidnapper. They recently went to live with their dad (my ex) because they have become good friends with her daughter and say that they have more freedom there than they do here. I just want her to stop controlling and budding into everything.

Kay - posted on 08/10/2016

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I am a step and bio mom, and I have been on both sides of the fence on this one... My daughter's former stepmom (I'm really happy her father and this woman broke up, honestly) took my daughter to the dr and put her on ADHD meds without consulting me, and was involved in every single parent teacher conference. It was a huge step over the bounds. She even took her to get her ears pierced when she was 5, despite my opinion that she was too young. Her ears became infected and we had to let them grow in. This woman was constantly butting into my own mothering, in a bad way. So, I haven't asked to go to my stepson's parent teacher conferences, but I have asked to have meetings (in our home, or wherever his mom feels comfortable) with just the 3 of us (if she had a boyfriend or significant other, he'd be welcome too), to discuss discipline and other things. This went really well, but she's bi-polar and recently flipped her stance on everything... Patience! lol Back to the subject; If you really want to go, have your husband schedule a second meeting with you, he, and the teacher? Teachers are usually more than happy to accommodate....

Gaynor - posted on 05/17/2016

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I wouldn't go if the bio mother didn't want me to go. I'd ask hubby to update me on the important bits. I think a bit of space and sensitivity towards bio Moms and Dads gets you further long term than insisting on your right to 'whatever it is insert in blank'. My partner never demands to go to my bio sons school stuff because he knows his bio Dad needs to occupy that space for his son and I am happy with that. My ex and I also attend all of our son's stuff together, that is the way my son likes it, bio Mum and bio Dad are still his parents and the step parents on both sides give him that right because he chooses it. Our son sees us uniting for him at his events and we sit together at them. He has a great relationship with both the 'steps' but he knows Mom and Dad are in it for the long haul come what may and we work to support that for him. It is sometimes harder to step back as a step, than it is to step forward. But long term offering people compassionate space to work through their feelings gets you further than treading on their toes. This is not a criticism it is just my experience offered as you sound a very caring and thoughtful step Mom.

Ally - posted on 01/19/2016

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Raye is right, they have to let you know if they move, where they move to. In my case, they never do. I always find out because of the kids but the second time they moved and first time I asked and reminded them of when it the court said it needed to be done, she laughed! I told her my kids had told me they were left alone while they went to work (they were 12 and 7 at the time) along with her own children (ages 5-13) and that I didn't find it appropriate, especially because I didn't even know where they were. She said she couldn't believe I was "That ignorant!" how could I not know that the legal age to "babysit" in our state was 13!!!! That would have been enough to try and modify at least, if not take custody completely from them. It wasn't the fact, it was the way she thinks!

Raye - posted on 01/15/2016

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Mandy, if your kid's father moves and doesn't let you know where, then go to court. Many states have laws that require any other guardian or person who has contact with the child to give notice when and where they plan to move, in writing, by certified mail, and 30-60 days in advance of such a move. If notice is not given, then the Court may use this as a reason for changing custody. You may want to consult with a lawyer in your area to verify the laws where you live.

Mandy - posted on 01/15/2016

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thank you so much...i am happily married for 6 yrs with 2 more children. my ex and i have 50/50 because i wanted to move out of state back home and the judge denied it and gave the ex 50/50 my twins were 4 at the time now they are almost 12. ( he can move anywhere he wants but i cant move more then 45 minutes from his mother) and things just get crazier by the week. his 3rd wife is just as crazy as he is. last week he told our children if the tell me that they had bought a house, where it is or even when they move he does not ever what to see them again, or that know they are 12 they HAVE to decide who that want to live with. my kids came home this morning and my son was talking about the parent teacher conference and my son said of carrie said that we she meet when it is better for them because they are both working PARENTS...their father really never has much to say she is doing all the talking. i am afraid that if i go to the school and talk to the teachers and principal because i am afraid of how they would try to pull something. i know that i am a good mother and they are proved for but i am afraid that the same thing with happen again and they will have to go live with their dad.

Ally - posted on 01/15/2016

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I fee you, Mandy. I went through the exact same thing, except it didn't get that far because I had to call the school and tell them NOT to give any information about my kids to anyone except myself or my ex-husband (not that he cared and went to ask). And I say I "went through it" because for now, things have calmed down a bit, after my ex tried to get custody of my oldest who is 15 and failed. I am on the lookout for their next step because after everything they have done to try and bring me down for 5 years!, it is a little strange that they have stopped, I just don't know what to expect. I would also go out of my way to leave them longer if they asked, they bring them back 15 minutes late, every single time because step mom works and she gets out late, and apparently, he is not allowed to pick up or drop off the kids without her being present! and I let it go. I am married and have a wonderful husband, I wouldn't think twice about looking back, there's nothing to see in this man. It is sad because he is the father of my kids and I will have to deal with this for as long as that is, and you will probably have to do the same. They also talk and talk about me and things the kids shouldn't even have to deal with. I let it go because I have realized that the attention one gives them is what they feed off of to keep doing it, at the end, the kids will realize what they are trying to do and if you "talk less and do more", your kids will soon see who the better person is, and believe me, they do and they learn. I can say now that it took me a while to understand it but I have seen it myself and I feel so proud of my kids because regardless of ALL the stuff they have done and said about me, they know who I am and have learned to deal with her and her issues the right way.

Mandy - posted on 01/14/2016

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my ex's wife does all the talking she interrupts the teachers and then tells my children " oh your mother did not say anything to the teachers. Their father has really nothing to do with it y she says and does all the talking and everything is around her schedule . what can i do does she have to be there who do i talk to or do i keep my mouth shut and just suck it up. it makes me feel like i am not the mother.

Mandy - posted on 01/14/2016

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yes i am a mother and my ex husbands 3rd wife is way over stepping the line, emailing the teachers about parent teacher conferences saying she tired to get a hold of me and i told her that i didnt not have time to talk, she told that to the teacher... i tired to talk to my ex about it and he said that is was i said because that what his wife said to him. she was really great at first i texted her about pick up drop off times when we needed to switch weekends and everything. then they got married and things started going downhill from there. she would not go over dated with him that i needed to switch or when its holiday time she didnt not let the kids stay a little longer with my kids family that they have not seen in a couple years because she had plans with her family not my ex's family or my children father's family. this is when the problem got worse. when they needed to switch i would switch, i tired to be a grown up and do what i thought was best for the kids. They would bring the kids how a day early which i am not complaining about but the reason they came home. and when the kids are suppose to be home in the morning my week starts and he dont bring them home until after 2 because step mother didnt work. is it just me or am i wrong in thinking it doesnt matter if she works or not that the kids should have been home at 730? my ex mother in law is a wonderful woman we talk offend and i love her she has told me so my times how proud she is off me and how i handle things. now it is getting harder because i refuse to talk or email or even to text step mom because you give her an inch she takes a mile....yes she does alot more with the kids because father works nights and sleeps alot when kids are there what can i do? the kids tell me everything that is said and does on there and i dont have to ask they just tell me how baldy they both talk about me, and say things to the kids that they should not say to them. i dont know what to do about school and with my kids.

Ally - posted on 09/08/2015

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As much as I do not get along with my ex-husbands wife, at all! To the point of wanting to put a restraining order against her, I dont think I would stop her from going to meetings with my sons'father. Unless she wants to be there by herself and leave me out, I wouldn't have a problem. I remarried also and my husband tries to make it to as many school related events/meetings as possible.

Lynn - posted on 08/18/2015

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His mom is just wanting control. If you are married and you are going to be in his life you should be there. If she wasn't so angry she would appreciate your time and effort you put in his life. I'm just saying, wouldn't she rather have her son have a step mother who cares and tries then one that doesn't care and is not involved? Women like her are just not secure and are afraid you might as a step parent might take over. Not ever realizing that no matter what they will always be their child's mom.

Lib - posted on 04/23/2015

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If your encouraging this child's education and you are a part of his life. I feel marriage in these situations are crucial. Then you have every right to be there. I'm not only a step mom but I have a custody order for my own child. I encourage my ex's girlfriend to go. She is in my son's life and my son needs all the encouragement he can get. Bio mom's are to often snotty because they are sour because their man found someone better. If your a good parent you need to ENCOURAGE any one acting as a parent in your child's life to encourage your child's education. These meetings aren't about the parents they are about the child. It's too bad that to many parents are acting like child's themselves. Children aren't a game piece. So stop using them like one. Children have one job. SCHOOL!! why not have as much encouragement as possible? !stop being selfish and hurting your children. bio parents get over yourselves step parents jump into education for your step children!

Donna - posted on 12/15/2014

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Well it's not about bio moms feelings! Perhaps the bio mom is married or gets married and takes the step dad? It should be about the kids and respect of all parents even step parents.

Keriann - posted on 11/16/2014

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You should go! I went to my stepdaughter's pt conference with my husband and it was great. She needs to realize that you're a part of his life and lucky for her, you're cincerned for his education! She's being petty.

Amber - posted on 09/07/2014

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your not being foolish in anyway. your husband needs to talk to the ex and tell her that you need to be involved just as much. b/c if u two are staying together then your going to be around. My b/f' ex doesnt care that I go to things as long as hes there as wellfor his kids..

User - posted on 08/29/2014

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I'm not sure if this helps but here is a great article on legal rights of a step-parents:
http://www.frascona.com/resource/gag1004...
Here is also a recent blog that I thought was interesting and will help ease your mind:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-de...

Honestly, I think your husband needs to step in and explain that you are an important part in you step-son's life and you have the right to attend teacher conferences which will only benefit your step-son's education while he is at your home.

Stacey - posted on 08/27/2014

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Thank you FA for your response! I've only read a few and as a stepmom, I'm not happy with what I've read but honestly loved what you had to say. I love my ss very much, he lives with us full time and has for 3 years now (he will be 8 in Oct.). I have been a part of his life for 5 years now and I have been to every school function he has every had. His mom has attended his pre-k graduation and 1 PTC. She doesn't even have a single school picture of him. She has no idea that he made it on the honor roll last year. She has no idea what this years teacher's name is. She didn't call the night before the 1st day of school, or on the 1st day of school. She has absolutely no involvement in his life whatsoever and calls maybe once every 3 weeks and sees him every other Sunday for 2 hrs of supervised visitation and only stays for about an hour of that. When she calls she constantly throws fits to my husband about how we are raising their son. She doesn't want me to discipline him. She wants him put in daycare after school so he isn't with me at all and I have never done anything to harm my ss and I never would. It's me that sits and does his homework with him, me that works with him on his math and spelling words. Me that takes care of him when he's sick. Me that gets up with him in the middle of the night when he's had a nightmare. I put myself in my ss life like I do my 4 yr old daughter. He has never had a good example of what a real mother is so I do my best to set the example. She tells him not to call me mom, which I'm fine with. I've told my ss before, he can call me Stacey, Josie, Mom, Great White Shark for all I care as long as it's a nice name. He knows I'm his stepmom. I don't try to be his mother, he has one and I wish she were more involved. I know my situation is a little different from others but the way that I see it is, who cares if another woman or man loves your child, plays with your child, or builds a healthy relationship with your child - either way your child is benefiting. That's what's important.

Mary - posted on 08/15/2014

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As a stepmom I applaud your efforts and positive intentions to engage with your stepson but I do feel that going to parent/teacher meetings without his mother's approval is going too far. I've always got on well with my son's stepmother but I am the mother and would not have liked her stepping into my shoes.

I know it seems like walking a tightrope in these situations as I do agree that while in your house, while you may not be Mom, you are still an authority figure. You may not agree with the bio-Mom's position but you have to respect it.

FA - posted on 08/13/2014

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These responses are to be expected. I can offer another POV - I'm a biodad that shares my 2 kids with my ex 50/50. She fell in love with another person during our marriage (she still lives with him, btw) and I am recently engaged. I would like to start involving my finacee in things like this - parent teacher conferences, etc. If my ex is uncomfortable with her being there, then I would probably ask for a second P-T conference with the teacher - I'm sure the teacher can do this. In fact, I'm sure it's not the first time they do this - I think calling it a circus with more than the parents in attendance is a gross overexaggeration. I consider myself a VERY active dad in my kids' lives - I've always attended every one of their medical/school/athletic event and am very proactive with child rearing (I was a single dad for a while - had them most of the time). My fiancee is also very invovled with their lives and loves them dearly (thankfully that feeling is reciprocated). I see no reason why she can't participate in the PTCs with me since we are both rearing the children at home. As to the notion that step parents shouldn't be involved because of the failure rates of second marriages, that's just silly and another overreaction imo. Yes, I know what the stats say but if both the step mom and biodad are caregivers in the same household, why not? I'm not sure how you can compare the stepmom to a nanny or a Godmother - that's insulting to the biodad and the stepmpm.

EW - posted on 07/04/2014

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I think each situation depends entirely on the circumstances. You see the child 4 days, every other week? Is that 8 days a month? Or weekly?

Frankly, it would be more polite if you called and spoke to mom, if you haven't and asked. Sometimes, it helps to avoid triangulating the relationship. She may feel you are overstepping.

Good luck.

Laure - posted on 04/28/2014

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I would like to make a comment on this post. I am a divorced mom with 3 boys. I do shared parenting with my ex, one week on, one week off. I went through this same situation. I understand where both sides are coming from.

First off, my ex wanted to pull his girlfriends in on the meetings. The only problem I had with this, is that he was calling them his "nanny" and he's had several throughout the last several years. He would try to gloss things over which everyone, including the school knew was a lie. He did date someone for 2 years which I was ok with her having contact with the boys teachers. If she was going to be a continious part of their life, then I want the best for my children! My ex travels so I knew she was the one helping them with their homework.

Second, I have been with Mike for over 4 years now and there are times I ask for him to step in for me when I can not be there for a conference or meeting. Because he works 3rd. and gets up when the boys get home from school, he will sometimes sit down with them and help them with their homework. This works out nice, especially since he is good at math/algebra.

What I'm trying to say, is that if a ex is going to have girlfriends/boyfriends in and out of your childrens lives, then no they shouldn't be allowed to attend. It's not only an embarrassment for the children, but also confusing for the school. If they are in a stable relationship and they are helping your children to do their best and succeed then yes why shouldn't they be?

Believe me, my divorce was hell and we went through the court system for 5 years. Let go of the past and move on...quit being bitter!

Julia - posted on 04/25/2014

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There is a key person in this scenario no one has mentioned, the poor teacher. Remember if you push yourself in against the bio moms will it will be a stressful situation for everyone and it isn't a teachers job to mediate the grown ups. Most schools only give 10-15 minutes. There is barely time to do what needs to be done if you have a perfectly good kid with no real issues (behavior, academic or social emotional) to discuss. If your child has any behavior or academic issues to resolve all these competing adults in the room is a recipe for disaster. It might be better to just have one bio parent go then bring the circus to school. It isn't really an issue of if step parents should or shouldn't. It is an issue of being someplace you have been told you are not wanted. That is the real issue. It will do more harm than good and the teacher will not be able to have an honest and open confrence because she will have to manage all the competing adult personalities.

Christy - posted on 04/22/2014

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Hello, I have been reading many of these posts, some very negative and many positive, and I just wanted to add in my two cents. First, I am both a mom and a step mom to three wonderful girls. The blended family thing was a completely new, scary situation for me as I have had primary custody of my own daughter her entire life. I really cannot imagine what it would be like to have to share my own daughter with another female parental figure, however, I do know that the love between a parent and a child cannot be duplicated with anyone. With that being said, I think what many people are missing the point of here is that a step parent is a parental figure. Whether you like it or not, a step parent is a caregiver, who is doing what you cannot do because you are not there to do it. And guess what? They chose to do this! They could have walked away from this responsibility, but they did not and are taking it on!

I am one of the lucky ones who has an open and friendly relationship with their biomom, but it certainly has not always been easy. What I think is that every situation is different so there is no black and white here of what is right and wrong. As a step mom I have always treaded lightly - I have never tried to "strong arm" my way into situations or over step my boundaries. However, the fact of the matter is I take care of my stepchildren, I sit with them while they do their homework at night and help them study for their tests and sign off on assignments when my husband is not available to do it. I have thought about attending parent/teacher conferences but in the end, I have felt that my husband can always relay the information back to me. Also, despite my easy relationship with the bio mom, this is an awkward situation I would just prefer to avoid. Some people may feel that all parents (steps and bios) need to be a part of this and there could be scores of reasons for this. What about special needs children who may have more complex needs for their school work help at home?

In any case, I love my girls, and they love me. They know that they are loved in our house just as much as they are in their mother's house - this back and forth tug of war stuff will only cause them hurt in the end. Mothers - if having all caregivers attend a parent/teacher interview is in your childs best interest, then swallow your pride and let them attend! Step mothers - if attending a parent/teacher interview means making waves in an otherwise peaceful situation - let it go and just get a summary from your hubby after the fact!

Jillian - posted on 04/18/2014

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I have read all of the responses on this page, and thought I would like to stand up for "step mom's". I know this was posted a while ago, but it just really touched a heart string. One person mentioned the "step mom" having an ego issue. However I look at it this way, a step mother or father is just as much a parental figure as the biological mother. This is a case of the HEART not the blood. It seems more the mother having an ego and jealousy trip, because shoud she not be happy that the step mother cares that much for her child? I look at it as it means one more parental figure in that child's life to help him/her grow to be the best person possible. Why would you want to take that away from your child? Of course my situation is completely different as the mother takes NO interest in her children until she suddenly comes out of the woodwork for a day or two. So when she told me I was just "transportation" I laughed at her. I AM my chldrens mother, and before me their father was both mother and father. (He has custody, she has them every other weekend. She's bothered to see them MAYBE four times in a year, and then only because we have brought them to her WITH food.) However I still believe that the most important thing is the CHILDS well being. In that case ALL parents have a right to be there and work together to help the child. Again just my opinion and I know my situation is a bit different. However I love those kids like my own - as any step mother should. The fact that they wish to be there means they care - that should be considered a good thing! However I can see where if both sides get along and communicate it may not actually be neccessary for all to be there - again I know that my circumstances are completely different!

Anna - posted on 04/10/2014

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Wow. Just stumbled upon this thread. Unless dad and stepmom are preventing biomom from meeting with the teacher, what's the problem? Assuming, of course, the focus is the child, not biomom's ego. Some stepmoms are involved in their stepkids' education and some are not - that depends on the stepmom and her husband. I am not involved in my stepson's education (though I do volunteer at the school with my husband sometimes). I have no interest in taking time out of work to attend a teacher conference b/c I personally feel I have no need to be there. My husband said I'm welcome to attend if I want to, but I know he can handle it - with or without me and with or without biomom. My decision to not go has NOTHING to do with biomom, nor should it. I wouldn't go to spite her and I wouldn't stay home to appease her. I simply don't care what she thinks - my relationship is not with her. If I did go, and she couldn't deal with it, she's welcome to schedule her own meeting with the teacher at a separate time. The parents do not need to attend together - they each need to have the info though. They can get it separately and help keep each other in the loop by sending an e-mail summary, if necessary. This whole topic seems so blown out of proportion and it seems that it has nothing to do with parenting, it is about whether biomom feels her status is threatened. A stepmom attending a conference does not prevent biomom from attending or maintaining communication with the teacher.

[deleted account]

To Most of you. I have never heard such a load of rubbish in all my life. I am a Step Dad to 3 Lovely Children, I treat them the same way i would treat my own Children. I would not turn up to a meeting if it involved my own children so why should i stay away because it involved a step child that will also give out a sign that you don't care or you are not bothered because it is not your bio child. I can't have children myself so when i hear or see rubbish like this it really gets to me because the children should be treated the same weather they are yours or not.

Janina - posted on 02/22/2014

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Children benefit from knowing their primary care-givers will step up to the plate and be there for them in important matters. Children have the right to experience all healthy adult care-givers in their lives providing nurturing and love. If a child turns to a step-parent and asks for help, it is to the child's benefit that the step-parent is able to act in a way that will help the child and demonstrate she/he takes the child's interests to heart. It is beneficial for a child to see each parent doing the things parents do to nurture and support him or her. The strong feelings presented by many biological mothers on this blog condemning the involvement of a step-parent are powerful examples of non-love -- of putting their own selfish needs to be the #1 care-giver ahead of the child's need to experience love and support from each of their parents. The only reason a parent would not want another parent involved in supporting a child is for selfish reasons, aimed at protecting the territory of ownership of a child, which is a very non-loving way to think about and treat your own child. The most important thing for a child is to know that each parent, including step-parents, care and act to promote the child's growth and development. How could a mom stop her child from receiving love and nurturing from an important and influential adult care-giver by demanding that person have strict boundaries around how he or she may show love? It all boils down to selfish fear of being replaced or having to share the role of being a loving mom. Please don't treat your children like possessions. Growing up, my father was not the biological father of my brother; yet, he is my brother's father in every other sense of the word, attending meetings with his teacher's and doing everything a loving parent does to bring about a child's happiness for life. There is too much emphasis on "step" versus "parent". Step-parents are often loving parents by their own choice. I hope you all love your children enough to allow them to blossom and grow in the love of all their parents, including their step parents! As regards the comment about second marriages failing, my belief is that the primary reason second families fail is that the institution of marriage being a most intimate partnership is derailed by the notion that the partnership of the exes trumps the new marriage partnership. It is destructive to assume the divorced adults have decision making power over a new married couple's household and life. A married couple needs to act as a team in arranging their life matters; the decisions of this team need to trump the decisions of the divorced parents as relates to the management of their own affairs. Our society has mistaken ideologies that contribute to high divorce rates amongst second marriages and encouraging selfish parenting amongst divorced and blended families.

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Wow I am astounded at some of the vitriol posted here! As a mother of 3 children with my ex, a step-daughter and now a biological child with my "new" husband (we've been together for 5 years), I have experienced both sides of this. My 3 older kids have experienced a step parent on both sides, plus step siblings on both sides. My partners daughter has experienced step-siblings on both sides too. There have been many ups and downs, plenty of ongoing mediation and stress,and I well I understand it can be incredibly difficult to navigate the whole blended family thing. It can be very hard to wrap your head around another person- anyone- being involved in your child's life on a regular basis when you aren't present, *especially* when it involves your ex partner and *especially* when it's been acrimonious. The feelings that arise are often helplessness, fear, anger- all perfectly normal responses to the unknown.
I felt sick in my stomach whenever they were away from my care, the questions that would go through my mind- "would she take my place? Would he convince them it was more fun living with them? Would she have too much influence? Would my kids be left out by their dad?" etc etc.
It took ages for those thoughts to settle down for me- ultimately I looked at my kids, who were happy to spend time with their dad, and their step mother was nice to them, gave them hugs when I wasn't there to, and I knew they were safe. She had an active interest in their lives and I was grateful that she did- far better than the alternative- her being indifferent, or mean. It now comforts me to know that when they aren't in my care, that at least they are being nurtured.
The reason I came on here was I googled a similar question myself- my step daughter spends time with us 60/40- only one day less than 50-50 care. Her dad has always been a major part of her life (she is almost 9 now). As I am now at home with a new baby, and her mother and my partner both work long hours, he has asked me if I can attend a parent info session at her school in his place (not a one-on-one, it's a group thing for all parents in the grade)- he has always gone to these things, and her mother usually doesn't, but this time he cannot get the time off work, and really wants to know what is happening and wishes to be represented by me. I already take my step daughter to a number of her extra-curricular activities while she's in our care, and this has never been a problem- I have previously attended Christmas concerts at her school, sports carnivals etc and taken photos not just for my partner but for her mother because I felt bad for her mother that she also couldn't attend (having been in that situation myself before and having no one to try and capture the moment for me).
So fast forward to now, and coincidentally, since this baby was born a couple of months ago, she is now saying that she doesn't want me going to the school anymore or having anything to do with her schooling. All I have done is be present- never once have I interfered. But apparently my very presence is now considered just that- interference.
My step daughter specifically asked me last week if I could come up and be a classroom helper in her class this year because she wanted her teacher and all her friends to see her baby brother and the other reason she wants someone to do this also because neither her mother or father have ever been able to with their work schedules, and almost all of her friends have had a parent participate at some point, so she feels left out. I have no qualms about helping, as this year I am also going to help out in my daughters class once a week. I am in a real bind because I get that she's her mother, yet if my kids asked my ex's partner if she could help in their class I have no reason to object other than what, that i don't like the idea of someone else being there when I'm not? Which would just be petty.
I feel sad for my step daughter- my partner feels upset because he feels invalidated as a father, as though his choices while she's in his care are not important. She's now saying that only he can do school pick-ups and drop-offs because "he is her dad so he should do it himself"- even though she gets her family to pick her up some afternoons on her days in her care. Him doing it himself is unrealistic- for any parent, including those who are still together- sometimes with work schedules there are afternoons where you need someone to pick up your child from school. And sometimes that involves the teacher handing them a note to pass on, or telling you a bit about that child's day. She says that us having a baby is "unfair" because now things have changed for her daughter- I assume she feels naturally threatened as a result of her daughter saying that us giving her a baby brother was the best present she could wish for in her whole life, as she never thought she would ever have a "real'' brother or sister of her own. But I'm not trying to replace her. I try to put myself in her mothers shoes- how would I feel if my kids said that, if their dad had a baby with someone else? How would I feel if my kids wanted to be at their dads house more often to see their new sibling? Probably not great. But the reality is, life changes, families change, kids get older and more resilient and grow with change and its not always a bad thing (as long as its not harmful change). But my actual point is this- as an adult, i suck it up- because it isn't about me. It's about the kids. As long as they are happy, healthy, safe and being nurtured, that is what is most important. Not my inner feelings about it feeling sad or awkward that someone else is actively involved in their life.
At mediation with my ex, a couple of years ago, I was told this (and my partner was told the same at his mediation with his ex)- when the child is in the care of a particular parent, the other parent has no right to intervene in the day to day decisions that parent makes- only in the major decisions, like medical, religious, living arrangements, what school to go to etc. Those things are to be discussed between the parents and decisions made by the biological parents only. But transport arrangements, and being there at school events etc- no, the other parent doesn't, purely by "right of biology", does NOT have a right to dictate if a step parent can be involved in those day-to-day things or not- the person who gets to decide that is the parent that the child is in the care of that day.
And in my friends experience the court stated the same- each parent, in a shared care arrangement, had a right to quality time with their child without interference from the other parent. Even those with "every-other-weekend" arrangements had a right to enjoy spending time with their kids without the interference of the other parent. In her case that included the step parent being involved- not in decisions- but in being a participant in the child's life. Which on a day-to-day basis involved the biggest and most obvious thing- school. The reality is, things change when you separate. People move on. New families are often created. Communication is the key. Whilst I cannot understand why his ex cannot put her own feelings aside and accept that we too are also her daughters family now- not just her dad but her new brother and her step-siblings and myself, I try to as best i can to understand.
I know full well that kids only have one mother- and just as my kids know that I am their mother and no one can replace me- so too does my step-daughter know I will never be, and never try to be, a replacement to her mother. What she does know is that I will care for her the same as I care for all the other kids when she is with us- that I don't play favorites with any of the kids, and that whether she grazes her knee and needs a hug, or needs help with homework, or someone to cheer her on during sport, or to taker her to soccer, or excitedly tells me some news from school and wants a hug because she's happy- that I'll be there to do that very thing.
Why some mothers have to engage in such petty vitriol just breaks my heart for the kids involved- it isn't fair on them, putting adult feelings on their small shoulders. In the OPs example, or any similar scenario, If both parents organise separate meetings with the teacher (and IME that should not be an issue with most teachers, because they are familiar with blended family situations in most cases) then so what who attends when the other parent goes? If that happens to be a step-parent, so what? As a teacher myself, it heartens me to see any parents/grandparents/step parents actively interested in a child's education. As long as they aren't interfering in decisions, why is it such a bad thing? Reading some of the comments here, it appears that some people are taking the line of "well I'm the mother and what i say goes"- it doesn't work like that- we might be the mother but they also have a father- and like it or not, they too have a right to be involved (I'm obviously not talking about cases involving violence from a parent etc). It is NOT about us- it is about the kids having a right to a meaningful relationship with both families- and like it or not, that also often includes new partners.
Sometimes I cannot help but wonder if these types of issues are more to do with jealousy and resentment at the other parent moving forward, than anything else. In our case, we have both moved on from our previous relationships to have this wonderful relationship together, we have good communication skills and a nurturing household- and we are NEVER negative to or around the kids about their other parents/step-parents. Our respective kids see that positive relationships can develop and DO exist (like ours) post-separation, which is important. His ex has had a number of relationships since their break-up and none have worked out for her unfortunately- and now she tells her 8 year old daughter "I'll always be on my own, I wish I had a boyfriend" :-( BTW she told us her mother said that, and while I genuinely felt sad for her mother we also felt outrage that such a huge emotional outpouring would be placed on such small shoulders. There are no winners with this kind of thing- i think it is important that some parents examine why they are acting this way when it is in many circumstances a simple case of "I don't want you to be involved "just because", and maybe take steps to move forward because jealousy and resentment ultimately affects the kids. Trying to undermine the other parent or step-parent will often backfire when the kids are older- because they will see what is really happening- they aren't stupid.

Julia - posted on 02/15/2014

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Also, my nanny does homework with my child 4 days a week, lives in our home, and loves my son dearly. I don't bring her to the teachers meeting. Too many people in attendance makes it a circus and little us accomplished. Just like too many cooks. Be confident in your husband, let him go and relay the information. Why turn the PTA into a power struggle, and that is what this is, unless your goal is to make the teacher uncomfortable.

Julia - posted on 02/15/2014

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Melissa, dear, there is a tremendous difference between bitter and educated on a subject. Do your homework, read up. 2nd marriages have a higher fail rate than 1st marriages. Most steps are long gone from the kids life once divorced. I agree many people can love you. My sons Godmother adores him but she wouldn't strong arm her way into a teachers Confrence. We all have a role to play. If you have to strong arm your way in you don't belong. I have been on the step mom side and my son has a step mother who knows her place, and doesn't fight to be where she doesn't belong and a confident woman doesn't need to push her way in. She trusts her husband to attend a teachers meeting or whatever without her and she respects that she is not in fact the mother. If you are fighting this hard to take a role that isn't yours that in itself us an answer for you. Calling people names does not make your point stronger.

Mary - posted on 01/22/2014

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Yes but I think when both bio moms and step moms or dads are bashing each other they are being selfish and both parties are emotionally abusing the children. The children are the ones that are caught in the middle. It is the children who suffer on all levels in these situations. And it is only the children that need to be thought of !! And I agree if parents step parents are bashing each other around the children that is abuse!!! And someone else needs to step up and advocate for the children involve and protect the children. And I don't believe it is just one parents fault ! It's all that is involved! They are to blame we are the ADULTS but acting like children. Bio mums step moms get over yourselves address the issues come to an argreent and due it all for the sake if the children. As it is exhausting and depleting all of the energy and do not do any more damage to those children that have already been done!! This is just my opinion weather it is right or wrong it is what it is!!

Susan - posted on 01/22/2014

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Its great that u have that sort of relationship with your step daughter. Its also great that the bio mum trusts you with these things. And good for you in doing the right thing for your family. You sound like a good woman.

Whilst im in my daughter's life 100% I cant see why anyone else but the father needs to. As and when my daughter reaches an age where she can decide and would like her to attend, i'll support her. However, in the future, I may personally find that I would like her to attend such matters and may actually think its a good idea. I dont know. But for now, while the ex's girlfriend is acting weird, jealous and has done things against me, i'm having this clause written down as part of our custody agreement. If the ex would like for me to reciprocate ref a partner of mine, then i'd respect and understand that.

I personally wouldnt overstep the mark with a bio mum, I just wouldnt dare. I have too much respect for mums and their part in their children's lives. These matters would be the only times i'd take a back seat and trust my partner to keep me posted.

I'm a step daughter by the way and met my step mum when I was 4; she's always been mum to me and my bio mum didnt have any part in my life sadly. She took on 3 step and had 3 of her own. How she coped remains a mystery to me, 8 of us living under one small roof. I would have done a runner I think LOL. We were quite a rowdy bunch of teenagers. Anyway, her staying power paid off and she is now surrounded by 15 grandchildren and loves it. I take my hat off to her:-)

As of next week, i'll be handing over my 21month old to a potential step mum who will be moving in with my ex in a house that overlooks mine in a tiny holiday village. Its tough, however, reading a lot of step mum posts, its helped me realize how beautiful and caring a lot of step mothers are and how it can actually be a beautiful thing for my daughter. But for now, i'm protecting myself and having this clause down as part of the agreement. She may last with my ex, she may not, there maybe many steps.. She may stop the jealousy and stupid stuff and we join eachother in the local cafe, I just don’t know. All I want is healthy children and for that reason, ive done a lot of mental work in which to accept another mother. Had I not, the gut wrenching feeling I have thinking about her with my baby would be a million times worse.

I think bio mum's 'hurt' is mistaken for 'jealousy' btw. And i'm sorry bio mum feels hurt and has to say bad things about you all infront of her child. That is abuse.

Mary - posted on 01/22/2014

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Crystal ,

I thank you and can appreciate all you have said and written :) and you are one of the very few and I have to say regardless of my feelings towards my ex hypothetically if you where in my sons and daughters life the way you act feel respect the mom the kids and the whole situation I would embrace you into my family and become my extended family. But I have to say again there is not to many out there like yourself respecting mom:). Obviously I agree that maybe mom is going thru a jealousy stage unfortunately. One question for you and please don't get insulted and I might have read this part wrong are you married to the man or a girlfriend. And unfortunately I think it is an issue on most not all biological moms the word step mom. This is a societal and personal issues for moms. Maybe if you approached the kids and bio mom as a very good friend that is only trying to love and support and have the best interest of the kids. I think it's great that you have a great relationship with your adoptive parents and biological parents. But in my opinion and it is just that it is easier for people to deal with adopted parents then the step mom or dad unfortunately . As your biological mom gave you up for adoption for whatever reason. And myself as I biological mom think that is the most unselfish act for a mom to do. The fact that for whatever reason she had so much unconditional love for you that she wanted to give you the very best and in order to do that she provided you with a family that could give you all the things she couldn't at the time. But know that she always held a close bond with you and no matter where you where she sent you all the prayers love and angels to watch over you and to take care of you :) and my point is a lot of people seperate for a lot of reasons. And most times this is the hardest things a parent has to go thru. As the saying goes kids would rather come from a broken home then an unhappy one. But the parent who leaves or is left always fears that another person is going to come into their children lives and try to take over or replace them. It is a fear for many!! And it is very unfortunate like I said that all women or men taking on the responsibility a partners children are not as concern responsible like you. I guess my point is can you step back from calling you the step mom or step dad and just be you. It may be less threatening to other parent involve. As it is after all just a label that gets placed on people in relationships with other partners and their children. And it may help the bio parent realize that you are very important person in their children's live, with less fear of feeling threatened by your relationship with their children. As I truly believe that if the other person ( step mom /dad) if they see the label is causing conflict should try to resolve the issue by calling themselves a very special person who loves your mom or your dad. I as the other person realize you love both your parents very much and I just want to be your friend. And to help encourage and support you. I realize that you have a mom and dad who love you unconditionally and do their best to protect and support you. And I want you to know that I too want to do that for you and help your mom and dad in this factor of your life. I don't want you to feel your in the middle of their conflict, just know I love mom/ dad and I want to be your friend!! And crystal like I said if you were the women with my x and in my children's live I would be eternally greatful for your respect of me as a mom and for my kids!!! Don't give up and try to help mom the best way you can to understand how much you respect her not trying to replace her or take special moments or occasions from her and her children. You merely want to love and support the kids to do the best they can and that you are just a very special friend to her kids. I think once mom gets past her insecurities and realizes that you are not trying to make major decisions about the children yet they like you and want you to take part in their sports dance school concerts etc it will become easier and maybe reassure her that you and your husband if that's what he is to you are only their to help her and support her and the children. I hope this helped and I hope mom realizes what a gem in you she has being around her children. However if you are just a girlfriend of their dad anything that has to do with the children is really nine of your business as unfortunately girlfriends or boyfriends come and go but mom and dads are for life!! And if you are just a gurlfriend then there are defiantly boundaries on what you should say or do ! And as all involved you should all sit and civilly all put the cards on the table and decide how much the girlfriend or new wife have a say in anything regards to the children. And even though you have boundaries on certain things. The one thing you can do is appreciate how this makes the child feel seeing one of the parents hurt or upset. At the end of the day the kids didn't ask for the break up of mom or dad

Crystal - posted on 01/21/2014

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What if the children want you involved? What if you are the only parent in their lives not spitting poison about the "other" family and parents?
This is my situation. My step-son comes to me to talk about how his parents constant quarrels affect him, and make him so sad. He comes to me because I remind him about how much his Mom and Dad love him- no matter how much they can't stand each other.
What I can't comprehend is that even when I do so much as offer to take my step-son to an appointment when my husband and his bio-Mom are not able, I get accused of "disregarding her as a mother". I am involved with all aspects of my step-son's life, from school work, to arranging time with his friends, and I even pay for many of his activities (I actually paid for all of them when both of his bio-parents were out of work temporarily). Yet I get treated like a stranger and and accused of trying to take over, when I have never done anything but make sure my step-son has everything he needs, and that he feels loved.
It is as though his Mom is jealous that I can be there for him when she is not. She actually does a lot for him, I'm not saying she's a deadbeat, but she has no reason to be spiteful about my treating her son as I do my own.
I was adopted, and don't place a whole lot of emphasis on "biological" because my parents were everything to me, and I to them. I also met my bio-parents as a young adult and they too became a big part of my life. My adoptive parents and biological parents were mature enough to notice that with them all supporting me, I was very fortunate. That it was in my best interests to have as much loving support as possible.
I will continue to support my step-son in every way. I am fully aware and respectful of the decisions that my husband and his ex-wife make for their son. I will never understand, and always be hurt when I am "disallowed" to be there for him by his Mom because of her jealousy (that stems from ?, I came to be 5 years after the divorce), because it is ultimately him who loses out.

Susan - posted on 01/21/2014

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I'm going through the exact same thing! Hope you're better now... Also, i'm about to draw up an agreement where no partner of his attend/have any say so in the schooling/medical/etc/call herself mother, bla bla bla. I'm active in my children's lives, therefore, the stepmother has to take a respectable step back!

Mary - posted on 01/20/2014

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I agree keep the faith and work hard for the sake of the children! But I do not believe a step mother girlfriend or whatever have the right to attend any school meetings that have to do with children that have a bio mom or dad cape able of attending as it is only up to the two biological parents to decide what is in the best interest of their children!! And other parents have to support and encourage the children's to do their best !!

Mary - posted on 01/20/2014

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Melissa,

I have a question for you?? You say how dare people say you are less of a parent to a step daughter or son? Are you married to this guy or just a girlfriend? Do you respect the bio mom? As from what I am reading it doesn't seem you do! Children have one MOTHER n one FATHER!! Nobody can and should want to over step that bond. For whatever reason the first marriage didn't work. But for you as a step parent coming in your place per say is to be a friend to those children and but out of the biological parents decisions . You have no biological rights to those children and yes you can love them and be there for them in support . But you have no right in the legal educational health or religion decisions of those children. I feel you have a negative attitude towards bio moms regardless of who are what they are they are those children's MOMs and you can not replace that!!! Maybe if you didn't talk so badly of the bio mom weather you do or don't you could have a better relationship with both the children an the mom. Yes women are emotional and feelings get hurt. But if you or any step mom out their respect the bio mom their choices for their children and support them you may have a better relationship with the kids and bio mom. Remember something when two people divorce or seperate for whatever reasons their are two sides to every story and the truth!! And you are judging that mom on what your ex husband has told you about the bio mom. And hey maybe she is crazy or not all there. But no one is perfect and their is no perfect parent out there !! Everyone makes mistakes but at the end of the day it is all about the kids wishes and wants. And the step moms that are trying to bash or control the children it is your insecurity as they are not your Biological kids!! Sorry if this is all over the place but Melissa after reading some of your blogs you have my back up a bit!! We are all women and most of us are nurturing creatures and love and want to see the best for any child. An I get it is challenging and hard being the step mom or the other women or whatever !! But don't critize or Jude the bio mom until you walk a day in their shoes. And I you truly love your step kids you would understand that when two people have children regardless I they are together or apart it is those people who decide what is best for their children!! And should not have interference from any other person unless that person is a professional. If after the bio mom and dad discuss things and the partners want to share what is discussed and ask for your opinion it is then that you give it. But make sure you do not do it in front of the children as they hear and see everything non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication!!! Sorry if I have offended anyone this is my first time to comment on any of this and no I am not a bitter bio mom!! Like most bio moms just want our children to be happy an not caught in the middle of any disputes between bio mom dads and other relative partners!!

Karra - posted on 01/07/2014

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Melissa I do agree that being a parent, specifically a good parent has it's challenges. However co-parenting in my opinion in many instances can end up in failure, because often times due care and due diligence are ignored by "both" parties. In my own humble opinion too many times children get lost in the back and forth tug of war that occurs. It's really quite a shame and I'm sorry no mother/father/stepmother/stepfather is exempt if they allow it to occur. How many times does one think "how will the child feel about this? We often times take for granted that they are so resilient, and everything will pass due to our own selfishness on not being able to put their feelings first. They are in truth people too, that are presented to us as gifts, and as responsible parents we need to think of them first before ourselves. On a happy note being a co-parent can be extremely rewarding but only through love, compassion, trust, and respect. I'm not an expert, just sharing my personal success as a co-parent. I truly wish everyone here the best of luck.

Melissa - posted on 01/07/2014

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I'm just going to say Karra, and you know I'm right, being a parent, specifically a mother, a decent mother, is an under appreciated, over worked, under paid Crap storm that has those rare moments that make us forget that when they learned how to draw that first smiley face it ended up in marker all over all of their walls! All we can hope for is to do our best so that maybe they will do theirs. And, when you have more than one, it just makes it harder to hide from them on occasion. LOL

Karra - posted on 01/07/2014

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Melissa being a parent in my opinion is a multifaceted experience. I say experience because having a child, and raising a child is truly a gift. You can't pick and choose which pieces of that role you want fulfill. It's either all or nothing. In both my posts I stressed that love/compassion/nurturing is extremely important to the development of a relationship between a child and parent/parent figure. Not every man or woman is capable of that, and I think you know that already due to your experiences with the ex. I want nothing more than for my son and his fathers girlfriend to have a great relationship. In fact I've asked my ex to take a more active part in that, and his response was "she's just never had that relationship with him". Again you don't pick and chose which "chore" you want to be responsible for. As a parent/step parent it is truly a gift and a blessing that has been bestowed upon me, and anyone else who whole heartedly want to take on that type of role. It's all about love and respect in my book.

Melissa - posted on 01/07/2014

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So, Karra, what your saying is that even though she takes on the responsibilities that any biological parent, which I am also to 2 kids, would, like homework, which around here with both of our sons(yes, my step son is also, my son) is a demanding chore in itself, she doesn't care enough about him because she doesn't necessarily get to the fun stuff all the time? Because the majority of loving, caring, biological parents don't get to do that stuff either because they are actually too busy with the unpleasant parenting. And you are correct in your assumption that my husbands ex is a worthless parent but that doesn't change the way her kids feel about her and still want her to do better. But in the meantime maybe it's hard for that bond to form because at the same time your son is so worried about hurting your feelings as well that he makes it hard without realizing it and maybe just tells you what he thinks you want to hear? And, also, anyone in positions we are in, wether it's your side or mine, we should all have professional help at times! And, if your accounting of things is the 100% facts with no emotion tied to it! you can't change other people and if that means you have to work a little harder as a parent to make sure your son is first then do it and stop trying to dismiss her as a decision maker. She's one half of your exes parenting time, maybe more since he obviously has other priorities. You should be great full for the help. And, show your son that she counts as a parent figure to him and it's okay to rely on her.

Karra - posted on 01/07/2014

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Wow......lady? Really? I need my head examined? That is pretty rude, the only person that seems to have an issue with dealing with an ex wife might be you. So you can stop attacking me because I'm not the mom that abandoned my kids in your care. Unfortunately, there are men and women who fall into that category and they're called deadbeats. I don't believe this is what this column is about. For the record I have never spoken poorly of my ex or his girlfriend to our son, that would be counter productive to what is important to me and that is his happiness. I never said she abused him, she just never bothered to have a complete relationship with him. That nurturing/loving factor just isn't there. I've spoken to my ex and his girlfriend about it so that they could address my sons feelings to help mend her relationship with him but my advice has fallen on deaf ears. Maybe take him out to the park, throw a ball around with him....just a suggestion. When you truly care about a child you want to be close to them. You care about how they feel about you, you want their trust, and you want them to know without the shadow of a doubt that you can be counted on. There's just a completeness about being there in every way. Sure practicing problems with him is a piece of it, but not the only piece, and if she wants to truly have a relationship with him she should try those other areas in his life. Which I whole heartedly encourage. Lastly, I'm very secure and harbor no jealousy towards this woman, I applause her for dealing with my ex and all his shenanigans. You see he has a serious weakness for the ladies. I'm the one that wanted a divorce, and I have no regrets about it. We wanted different things and therefore we parted ways. Even Steven....It was actually a very pleasant experience. Because unlike some others, I actually cared enough for him to want him to be happy and have a good life. We've done a great job as far as I'm concerned when it comes to how we project how we feel about one another to our son. Divorce is never an easy thing especially on kids, they don't ask for it, nor do they deserve it, especially a nasty one. So I still stand firm in my opinions for situations like my own. If you have two parents who are very involved in their child's life I do not believe a parent teacher committee is necessary. However if the child has developed a bond with either of the parents significant others and wants them there, then their wishes should be respected. Good luck Melissa!

Melissa - posted on 01/07/2014

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Julia, Julia, Julia...bitter much? Talking with someone may help. You and Karra should start the, "they're my toys and I won't share club" it's abhorable that so many moms think that way! Parents insert themselves into your lives wether you want them to or not! At least if they care, and just because they didn't give birth to you doesn't mean they don't care! Maybe even more than someone who would fill your head with that nonsense!

Melissa - posted on 01/06/2014

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To Karra: You are just completely wrong lady. And, as far as your step children go, you are not their friend first, you are a parent, married to their biological parent, in their household, and you may want to talk to a professional. I've heard the divorce excuse for so many years every time someone messes up. Well guess what, it has nothing to do with the divorce and everything to do with the fact that you are a co parent who doesn't co parent with either your ex, or your current husband. Stop destroying your children's lives and be a grown up. Now, if she is abusing your son in some way or is a horrible human being I can see the problem, but she's trying, against all odds, and whatever hate you whisper in the poor child"s ear about her. Trust me, one day he will start seeing everything for what it really is and you will lose. Find some peace in your new life and be happy that your son is blessed to have more than two parents he can turn to if he needs.

Karra - posted on 01/06/2014

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I really think what matters most here is how the child feels about it. My sons father has a girlfriend that from day 1 took the authoritative role with him. She never developed a loving relationship with him in which I mean she's never hugged him. Now I'm quite sure there are many households where that works, it's just not the type of household he's accustomed to. Because of this I firmly believe she has never developed a good relationship with him. She does however involve herself with my sons work when he visits his father. She can get to be a bit much in which my son will call me after a few hours of work complaining that he hasn't had any time with his father because she has him locked up doing work. She told my son a few times that she would like to go to his parent teacher, and my son ran to his father saying "dad why does she need to go, I don't want her there". Mind you I take a very active part in my sons education, so when I send him to visit his dad he's expecting to spend time with his dad. His father lives more than an hour away. I've spoken to my ex about this, and he refuses to address it. End result.....my son wants to see his dad less and less. Divorce is tough ESPECIALLY on kids, and in my case I think two parents is enough for them to deal with. I remarried and I show my step kids how much I love them by being their friend first and showing compassion to all the change they've had to go through. If they need me I'm there, but I by no means force myself somewhere they don't want me to be. This should be about the kids and how they feel, and whether they want to share that personal space with a step parent or girlfriend/boyfriend. How dare anyone feel they are entitled to be a part of it just because they're dating/remarried their parent. It is the parents responsibility to care for their children, and a privilege for all the others those children choose to share it with.

Melissa - posted on 01/06/2014

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As a step mom who ALWAYS was the only parent at parent teacher conferences, we had custody of his 2 children and he deployed, you have every right to be there, speak up, and anything else as long as you have an active role in your stepsons life! Why do these mothers, who do a half ass job of even being one, find it so offensive that someone actually cares for their child?! It just proves what kind of person they are. I've dealt with it for almost 7 years, having custody for 4 of those, still have custody of our teenage stepdaughter, who calls her father and I, "her parents". It will never change and there have been times that I have just snapped, but how dare anyone tell you just because you are a step parent, that you aren't a parent to that child. It infuriates me.

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