What divorced moms should know about stepmoms – a stepmom’s perspective

art-of-silence-vinoth-chandar
(Disclaimer: these descriptions don’t encompass all situations. There are outliers and extremes and hundreds of different scenarios. But these are the most common experiences for many stepmoms.)

1. She isn’t playing house with your child and your ex-husband.

Stepmoms are trying to build their own family, a very real family that includes their husband, and children who aren’t theirs.

Some of them will grow to love their stepchildren and some won’t, but they’re doing their best to ensure the child still grows up feeling happy and loved.

They’re nurturing a marriage and trying to figure out their role in the stepchild’s life. And while you knew your place in your child’s life from day one, stepmoms can spend years trying to find theirs.

2. It’s not about YOU.

A stepmom’s priority is her marriage. When she does something for her stepchild, often the motivation has nothing to do with you. It’s not about trying to make you look bad or make you feel “less than.”

The motivation is the safety and happiness of her stepchild. The motivation is the love she has for her husband.

She’s trying to do the right thing – just like you would.

Similarly, when she supports her husband, the intention is not to go “against” you. In fact, there are times when stepmoms actually side with mom, although — unless you have a decent relationship with the stepmom in your situation — you’d never know it.

3. Stepmoms often feel powerless and alone.

Stepmoms have no legal rights with their stepchild. They understand this; their stepchild already has a mom and a dad. But it gets difficult when they’re turned away for trying to obtain something as simple as a library card for their stepson or stepdaughter. Or when the doctor’s office won’t give them any information, even though they will be the one driving the child to the appointment and giving them their medication.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for stepmoms who have taken care of their stepchildren since they were very small.

It can make a woman feel unimportant and insignificant. It’s a feeling only a fellow stepmom could understand.

In addition, stepmoms are often powerless when it comes to their stepchild’s behavior. This is a struggle, because they are greatly affected by the unwanted behavior, but they don’t have the authority to do anything about it. If they’re lucky, their husband will be supportive and listen to their concerns, but this isn’t always the case.

4. When you contact their household, it often feels weird and disruptive. Stepmoms know you have the right to call your children as often as you’d like. And they understand you need to talk to your ex occasionally about parenting issues. But it can still feel like an intrusion.

Stepmoms are constantly struggling to find ways to bond with their stepchildren. And when you call, it interrupts the activity in the house and their stepchildren are immediately distracted. Any bonding that was going on is gone.

Stepmoms may feel as though you’ve crept into every aspect of their lives. And your calling their house is another painful reminder of that.

5. Stepmoms don’t cross your boundaries on purpose, they just can’t see them.

Many moms complain that the stepmom is trying to “parent” their child. But a fundamental problem seems to be, what moms consider “parenting,” stepmoms consider “being responsible” or “supporting their husbands.”

Remember, many stepmoms aren’t sure of their role.

They’re stumbling along, figuring it out as they go. And it’s difficult to try and do the ‘right thing’ only to realize you’ve just caused mom a coronary. It’s not intentional.

Stepmoms wish there was a rule book. They wish the situations were black and white. They wish they could be on the same page as mom and dad, and know how to handle every situation.

But they don’t.

This is where neutral, open communication would be to everyone’s advantage.

Unfortunately, for many stepmoms, their first experience of mom is an emotionally-charged phone call, email or text telling her she has “no right” to do whatever it is she did. To a stepmom, this feels like you’re kicking her when she’s already down. It comes as a shock — because again — her primary intention was to help her husband and care for her stepchild.

6. A stepmom’s marriage has a 60-70 percent chance of failing. And one Boston study reported that 75% of the women who were surveyed said if they had it to do all over, they would NOT marry a man with children. That says a lot about the difficulties stepmoms face.

This may not mean much to you personally, but it means your children will have to experience the prolonged process of a second divorce and deal with the aftermath.

7. Stepmoms are often disrespected or ignored by their stepchildren. There are various reasons for this, chief among them understandable and agonizing loyalty conflicts for the child, but regardless — it still hurts. Stepmoms are only human!

Life isn’t always flowers and butterflies at the other household. Many children feel weird about having a stepmom. They don’t know what it means or what to do with it, so they act out or just ignore the stepmom, which is awkward for everyone.

And most stepmoms don’t have “unconditional love” to fall back on. When a child misbehaves, wreaks havoc, or throws a tantrum, parents may get angry and frustrated, but their unconditional love makes it bearable.

Stepmoms aren’t so lucky. There’s no unconditional love coming to rescue them from wanting to scream at their stepchild or run the other way, sob somewhere private, and never look back. All they have are difficult feelings and nowhere to put them.

But they do come back, day after day, because they believe their marriage and their stepfamily are worth it.

8. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.

Stepmoms wish you’d give them even the smallest acknowledgement. For a lot of women, being a stepmom is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Often, their needs and wants come last, their schedules aren’t their own, and they’re affected by a situation they didn’t create.

Many stepmoms take excellent care of their stepchild, with little or no reward. They get no thank you, no love from the child, and no appreciation from anyone but their husband — if they’re lucky.

They make many sacrifices in order to be with the man they love. So to only be referenced as “she” (or even worse), or to be completely ignored by you, can hurt them deeply. What they wouldn’t give for a simple “thank you” or a nod in their direction.

I believe that kind of recognition can heal wounds.

Do stepmoms ever act from ego or a sense of competition with the ex-wife?

Sure, just as some moms do.

But it’s important to grasp the implications of a bigger context here: being a stepmom is uniquely difficult and confusing. If you’re a mom, could you see yourself struggling in her shoes?

Perhaps, one day, with a better understanding of each other, the mom/stepmom relationship will be one of championing the other, instead of automatic conflict.

© 2011 Jenna Korf      All Rights Reserved 

Comments

  1. Dina McCausley says

    I’m going to see what I can interject, in the way of ‘conversing’ with each item.

    #1 I can completely understand the SM’s need to ‘build’ her own family. She fell for a guy who happened to have kids ~ but those kids aren’t just “his” to go ahead and say, “Here, build your/our new family.” That’s akin (in a very abstract way) to if I were building my home and had a pile of bricks outside, and my neighbor walked over and took some of my bricks to help build his home. Walking into a place and deciding to use someone else’s supplies to build your home can be VERY intrusive to the person the supplies belong to. Especially given that, had I been asked, I would probably willingly share.
    Most women don’t even stop to consider how that would feel because they are myopic (and rightly so) in thier excitedness. They only see what is in front of them, and don’t check the periphery. It would behoove a woman to check out what’s going on prior to just ‘jumping in & building’.

    #2 I might not be the reason behind ‘why’ the other woman does anything for the kids (ie, not even in afterthought) but the facts are it IS about me too. If a woman comes into the kids lives and starts doing things she thinks are nice, that just so happen to fall into the category of “things mom usually does”, whether her intentions are good or not almost doesn’t matter. There’s a saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That saying is TRUE for a reason….intent is only half of the view. Perception is the other half and THAT is where a lot of things get hairy.

    #3 This feeling sucks and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Bio-moms can feel unimportant and insignificant too ~ especially when they’re doing the best they can and the ex and his new partner are undermining or trying to wrest custody from a hard working, involved mother.
    That said, I wish more bio-moms would step up and be thankful. Those two words can do SO MUCH to build a bridge. I can remember the first time *I* personally thanked the other woman…it made me choked up while I was doing it because it freed me from a grudge. SAY THANK YOU. BE THANKFUL. These SM’s don’t HAVE to be kind to the kids, but they choose to be. Choose to acknowledge and be thankful in return.

    #4 No offense,and I’m not speaking on crazy women who call and text 50 times a day, but if the kids are away, I WILL contact them. If my 2 phone calls, or random text or picture message feels intrusive to the other woman, then I think she needs to evaluate herself. Things only feel intruded upon when we are territorial about something ~ and no other woman, no matter how nice she is, has a right to feel territorial over the kids when it comes to ME. If someone else is messing with her the kids or their blended family on her time,then she has every right to defend and protect…but I am the kids mother, they are my territory by default. There needs to be some compartmentalizing of feeling there.

    #5 I can agree with this. It’s SO EASY to step on toes. That’s where the consideration comes in. How hard is it to find out, whether it’s through DH or, if you are able, through open communication with the mom, what the boundaries are? I realize some bio-moms will never budge, and I think that’s to their shame and their children’s detriment ~ but I’m not talking about those women. Boundaries can get trampled in both directions. Communication and understanding is definitely key here!

    #6 That’s a scary statistic (an applies to remarried bio-moms too!). :-(

    #7 I imagine this must be difficult. This is where I think bio-moms can come in and help bridge that gap. I know I’m trying in my situation.

    #8 YES IT CAN!! A simple thank you can start the ball rolling in the right direction!
    THANK YOU, You-know-who-you-are, for being so kind and watchful. Thank you for accepting the kids as they are and for not trying to change them. Thank you for communicating with me and for working on the ex in the background so we can ALL be a part of this extended, blended family. I appreciate YOU!

  2. says

    Dina, thanks for your comment! Jen and I spoke in-depth about #1 this morning , and I think it’s one of the main causes of conflict between moms and stepmoms.

    My hope with these posts is that moms and stepmoms will open themselves up, even the slightest bit, to make room for the possibility that something else might be going on the with the other person. That the intention may not be what is seems.

    My hope is that we can all realize that our perspectives and experiences are SO different, that the only way to come to an understanding is to listen to the other person and really hear them. :)

  3. JenniferJennifer says

    Thanks for your comments, Dina! I knew this post might stir up some really strong feelings for moms…. And as a mom, I totally get what you’re saying.

    It really *can* feel like stepmoms are just doing a “plug-n-play” thing with our kids. But what I’ve learned over the years is that what I mistook for that dynamic really *was* Carol (my kids’ stepmom) simply trying to have a feeling of *mastery* over her life and her household.

    Sure, later on, there was resentment and judgments of me (and vice-versa!) and we have both fully ‘fessed up to how much that influenced our behavior with each other. But I think the beauty of this article is that it shows moms how disorienting and challenging it really must BE inside the life of a stepmom – and that must be recognized wholly on its own, if we’re ever going to really form a bridge to “the other side.” (I mean, could *I* even do this? I’m not so sure!)

    I think the bottom line is, we’re both struggling to share space in the same role, whether it was foisted upon you or you willingly took it as a stepmom. That fact alone is going to create some issues no matter what, even if both sides have good intentions!

    Kudos to you for extending a hand to the other woman in your children’s lives. And the same to her for reaching back to you.

    As always, we appreciate your impassioned and thoughtful comments! :-)

  4. Dina McCausley says

    Jennifer, I can honestly say that if I were given the chance (one I hope I NEVER have), I would NOT get involved with a man with kids. Mostly because I know how *I* feel, as a biop-mom, and would never want to be in a position to have to go toe-to-toe with another woman over her kids. Forget the ‘baggage’ and things I wouldn’t be privy to with regard to the animosity between the ex couple….*shudder*…no thanks.

    I loved reading this though. Thanks, Jenna!!

    • says

      Dina, regarding #4, I’m not sure I agree that the only reason someone would feel “intruded” upon is if they’re being territorial. BUT, even if that were the case, it’s not about feeling territorial over the kids, it’s about feeling territorial in your own house. It can feel that way when mom calls her ex also, for whatever reason. It’s not about NOT wanting mom to talk to her kids, it’s about yet another interruption of whatever is going on at that moment, when they’re already struggling SO hard for some sort of structure in their home.

      My intent is not to tell moms to stop calling their children. I’m just letting moms know what effect that may have on the stepmom. All in the name of gaining understanding.

      Thanks again for your always appreciated comments! :)

  5. Elisette says

    I so wish I had a ‘normal’ girlfriend to deal with rather than an adulteress. Because #4, the intrusion thing? Yeah, I got that first. And #1, love the analogy of the above poster with the bricks.

    I can SO understand all these points, and I feel for step moms who are respectful. I’m thankful the woman in my situation is not trying to take a mother role or I might actually do evil things, I will never trust her fully. Or my ex. She *may* be trying to be respectful now, but her foundation is nonexistent. She has to build for YEARS to regain anything.

    While I would love this ideal “we’re all a great big extended family type thing”, I think I have come to accept that it will not happen. The best I can do is ignore her. I’m sick about this, but it’s not in me. It’s not in them, either. My ex wants less communication between us about the kids and I HATE him for that. Actual hate.

    I wish all step moms the best, those who developed relationships with the men after a marriage ended. If you have lousy/crazy mothers, I’m so sorry. Those are all over the place. Moms with lousy/crazy dads, same thing.

  6. says

    Dina you know I love you and you know I have to say something about your comments. KIDS ARE NOT BRICKS and they are NOT JUST YOUR SUPPLIES to build your house with. Just to try to share a stepmoms viewpoint under the same metaphorical situation that you used, when parents go through a divorce kids aren’t like a pile of bricks that you split in half and each go build your new house. They are more like the pool or a shared fence between your houses. Both of you have a right to enjoyment of this feature and both have a responsibility for it’s maintenance. Of course this requires cooperation and communication for things to go peacefully. When stepmom marries dad, though dad’s name is on the title of the house, stepmom is granted by dad a portion of the right of enjoyment of the “shared pool or fence” as well as the responsibility of it’s upkeep. Dad has a right to share his portion of the rights and responsibilities of being a father. It is his child too. And sometimes a stepmother can’t help but love a child that resembles and acts like the man she loves so much.

  7. Dina McCausley says

    NWS – I get that…and I even said it was a VERY abstract way of relating. Just trying to simplify the idea of ‘building a family’ using someone else’s building materials, and why a (not insane) bio-mom would feel uncomfortable. I certainly don’t think of the kids as bricks!! 😀

    I stand by my point of view. If this forum is for BOTH SIDES to be seen and considered, then I think I gave a balanced and non-judgemental response to what was said. Consideration goes both ways. I KNOW the Lady in my situation can’t say that I am inconsiderate of her. I work actively with her to help bridge her ‘issues’ with the kids.

  8. Dina McCausley says

    and Jenna, in response to your “in HER house” comment…those are MY KIDS in her house, not some random kids. I still think she (general here, not in MY situation) needs to evaluate ‘why’ she feels entitled to get bent out of shape over someone else’s kids simply because she’s involved with thier father….especially if the kids are older than toddlers.

    That said, I rarely call the kids at their fathers….I try to wait for them to call me so I don’t interfere. The counterpart in my situation has been very sensitive and made sure the kids call to check it, and I appreciate it! 😀

  9. Dina McCausley says

    In my view (and I’m fine if I’m the only one who feels this way), she hasn’t the right to claim them as part of HER foundation unless mom is unfit or missing or dead. Her foundation *should* be her couplehood with her significant other, with the kids being an awesome ‘addition’ to their home ~ like a bonus room!

    Ok, now this has gotten funny/weird and I’m not even sure what I’m saying!

    That said, I totally agree that there needs to be understanding/consideration about this from the bio-mom. I wasn’t meaning to fight or isninuate that no SM better EVER think of the kids as special or whatever…I was just giving a ‘counter-point’ to the point being made…a point that I agree with. SM should be able to build her home and find her own special place with the kids.

  10. says

    Dina I know if your case that SM is still just a GF at this point, but in my situation and I am sure many others, SM is not “simply involved with their father.” A marriage is a commitment and when I took on the role as my husband’s wife, I meant it forever-through his, mine and our kids’ first day of kindergarten, through puberty, HS graduation, college campus tours, tuition bills, grad school, wedding ceremonies, until the day I hold his mine and our kids’ babies in my arms and they ALL call me grammy, through the chance that they get divorced and need me to hold their heads in my lap while they sob, when they have to deal with their ex getting new gf’s or they have a stepchild say “your not my mom” and they need to call me to vent. FOREVER. There is nothing simple about it. And to expect someone who has made this commitment to just simply sit back and watch your child grow up and to not get involved is asinine.

  11. Dina McCausley says

    Not any more assinine than it is to expect an INVOLVED bio-mom to just step back and allow another woman to take over and comletely undermine her position, without having any feelings or hurts about it.
    A marriage certificate/commetment didn’t make you ‘mom’ to your ex’s kids. <<(general statement here, not you NSW)

    Look, I can only speak for myself in MY situation…and I've tried to say that repeatedly. I feel like I'm getting attacked for having my own point of view about my own life/kids/ex situation. All I did was offer another perspective ~ not trying to start WW III. I'm sorry if the BM in your situation is a bitch and doesn't consider you. I do NOT behave that way towards by ex or his GF and would appreciate not having my opinions touted as 'assinine' simply because you feel you are entitled to have 'rights'.

  12. says

    Granted, some moms like to trumpet their “ownership” of their children from the rooftops. And some stepmoms seem like they’ve made it their life’s work to “show up” the mom as the superior parent.

    But we’re shooting for nuances and increased understanding here. Lest others take our passionate defense of our *own* experiences and position as an insult to them, let’s be extra careful with our language!

    It’s like we’re sitting around in a circle chatting, casually tossing around a few live grenades from person to person, trying to figure out **how these damned things work!** We’d all be better off if we diffused them FIRST… and then talked.

    Love to all… :-)

  13. says

    Dina, I think you bring up such an important point, when you say “Not any more assinine than it is to expect an INVOLVED bio-mom to just step back and allow another woman to take over and comletely undermine her position, without having any feelings or hurts about it.”

    I think this is where a big disconnect between moms and stepmoms occur. Because stepmoms aren’t expecting mom to “step back” or become uninvolved, they’re just looking for some space to step UP, when the kids are at their house and under their care, without a single thought of mom stepping back. But I suppose some moms feel that she’s trying to replace her or play “mom” when that’s just not the case. (and of course, sometimes that IS the case)

    These are things both moms and stepmoms can keep in mind. :)

  14. Breanna says

    This post is great, but i have a few things to say to Dina. When my life first started with my DH, i had no kids of my own. That being said, i lived two roles EVERY WEEK. I was a “girlfriend” during the week, and every friday to monday, i was a “wife/stepmom”. there was no consistency between the two roles, and i really struggled with it. building a life with him/them is NOT like someone coming and taking your bricks to build their house. not at all. building a relationship with them does not take Anything away from what you already have with them. i like the other analogy though, about sharing/maintaining the pool… bottom line, this post is to help BMs get a perspective of what it is like to be a SM. and I think it is very accurate.

  15. Dina McCausley says

    LOVE the grenade reference! I DON’T WANT TO PLAY WITH MINI BOMBS! Rather hold hands and sing ‘kumbabya’!

    And you’re right Jenna, I don’t believe for one second that most SM’s are trying to push mom out, and have admitted that those feelings can be irrational at times. I don’t feel in my situation that *she* is doing that, but that’s because she and I have communicated with each other and she’s told me she isn’t. I’ll take her word for it until proven otherwise.

  16. Elisette says

    @Breanna – as a divorced mom I live that same dichotomy. Only it feels like a removal of my legs when my kids are not around. To me (for perspective) “you” (as in the gf/sm) now have my legs, and you’re walking around on my legs. It’s not that I don’t live a grown up life and do grown up things, but to know that I CAN’T see my kids when I want, that sucks SO FREAKING MUCH.

  17. Dina McCausley says

    I believe it is accurate too Breanna…and my comments weren’t meant as a distraction or to take away from that reality. They were meant to further discussion and understanding from BOTH sides…and I’m feeling like I’m being VERY misunderstood.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not a crazy possessive BM. I have done the majority of the raising of the kids more or less by myself ~ some because of the marital situation and some because of restriction imposed on my by my ex when my Husband entered the picture. Because of that, after close to 13 years, I dont’ believe ANY woman has a right to come and tell me that she is entitled to ‘mother’ my kids. That said, I feel like I’ve been VERY giving and accepting of my ex’s GF, and have bent over backwards to make her feel welcome and to help her with her understanding and relatinship with my kids. If she doesn’t feel that way, I wish she’d tell me because I feel like I’m giving 100%.

    I just truly believe that the CONSIDERATION should go both ways. Any women entering into a relationship with a man with kids should be cautious and careful ~ not just for ‘the other woman’ but also for her own emotional well being. Entering anything like this with expectations is setting things up for failure…ar at the very least, a long road of hurt.

  18. says

    Dina I actually meant to separate you (and BMs like you) from other BMs in my comment because I know your SM is new to the pic and is still a GF at this point. My perspective was meant for BMs that have had SMs for some time. I wasn’t calling your point of view asinine. I was stating that the expectation that many BMs have for SMs to “sit back and support dad but not parent the kids” is foolish. I just wanted to speak for all the stepmoms out there that didn’t just marry the dads. I married my husband and his daughter. i wouldn’t have married my husband if I didn’t love both him and his daughter. It’s a package deal as they say. I get “bent out of shape over someone else’s kids” because for me “someone else” is my husband whom I love dearly. I also get bent out of shape because I WAS ONE OF THESE KIDS. My parents had a very hostile divorce. It was a take sides, “you belong to me” kind of divorce. I know how hard it is for these kids to be tugged back and forth. Kids need to feel like it’s ok to love all their parent figures as well as be loved by all their parent figures. I can tell anyone that reads this that I would love my SD the SAME whether her mother was in the picture or not. I CAN’T restrain my love for this child just because she has a mom. And even though she has 2 parents that love her dearly I still feel very responsible for the type of person she grows into. I can’t just tell myself that it’s not my job and not my fault if she grews up to be a drug dealer or a whore or a liar that uses all her friends or someone that can’t keep a job, etc, etc. I love her and care for her, dearly, as I said before. I NEED to do everything I feel I can take make sure she grows up to be a happy adult. I am so sorry if the things that I feel the NEED to do to positively influence this child’s life FEEL like UNDERMINING mom’s position, but it’s like the article says in point #5.

  19. says

    @Dina – for what it’s worth, I get you. I’m both a mom and a stepmom, an ex-wife and a wife. I’m remarried with kids – his four and my two. I wear both hats. I juggle both roles. I know what the mom in me feels when it comes to my stepkids and that voice guides me when it comes to their mom. On the other side, I know that my girls love me to the moon and back. They’re both in their 20’s now, so whatever relationship they have with their stepmom is their relationship. I don’t meddle, influence, or judge. I also have a mom and stepmom. Love them both.

  20. JenniferJennifer says

    This is all part of the first step in the book: KNOW WHERE THE **** YOU ARE!

    That involves identifying the feelings and challenges that are common to your “side” — and the other person’s too, including triggers and extra-volatile issues.

    When you do this, then you no longer feel as if the finger is being necessarily pointed at YOU when the other side has a problem….

    You can also start to separate out what is a problem for you *normally* in your own life — and what’s being stirred up by her!

  21. Dina McCausley says

    NSW ~ maybe that’s good because you came into your SD’s life when she was very young. :-) Thanks for clarifying!

    I would be VERY putt off with some woman “marrying” the kids when she marries their father. That would feel like a BIG breach of decorum and boundaries, to me. My Husband loves my kids very much, but he also respects thier father and his position in the lives of the kids. I certainly don’t expect *her* to do ‘know her place’ like that while I let my Husband have “all the rights” that come with parenthood. I know a lot of BM’s do that and I don’t think it’s right or fair.

    The main thing is EVERY situation is different…even if there are similarities. Can we see beyond our myopic point of view to allow ourselves to be empathic about what the other woman is going through? That’s what we’re here for….I hope. I know I am.

  22. Dina McCausley says

    Peggy Nolan ~ I don’t have a SM. I had a SF who pushed his way in and made us call him dad (among other things) ~ and my mother allowed it.

    I’m in NO WAY defending bio-parents who are overboard and unreasonable. I was just being part of what I thought was a conversation…maybe was a mistake.

  23. Suzie says

    I think I am the luckiest step child as my mom (as I call my SM) and I have had an amazing relationship for 40 years. The second time I met her, I whispered to my dad, “why don’t you marry her?” and his reply was “Why don’t you ask her?” so I did! She did nearly fall off her chair as she had only been dating my dad for a couple of months at that point.

    I know that she had a hard time with my bio mom due to her behaviour (mostly jealousy on bio mom’s part) and this article has really given me a perspective of what my SM went through. In some respects as my divorced parents lived on different continents it must have been easier for her (in those days you had to book international calls and were so expensive) as she could just get on with it, but she has subsequently told me that she never knew if she was overstepping the mark in disciplining my brother and I. Can assure you that we deserved what ever it was!

    My dad and SM added two great brothers to the family and she never treated my “whole” brother and I any differently to her own sons. She is the most amazing person I have ever met and has had a huge influence on my life in so many aspects and continues to be my most trusted confidant.

    I do also have a good relationship with my bio mom, but there is something special about my relationship with my SM. As I said, I was very lucky. Thank you for giving me some insight to what she went through from an objective point of view.

    • says

      Suzie, what a wonderful story! Thank you so much sharing :).
      And yep, I didn’t know what my stepmom went through either, until I became one myself. We’ve always had a great relationship, but it gave me a whole new respect for her ;).

  24. JenniferJennifer says

    Hey there, Aussie Girl!! (We’re old school chums from overseas.) I too loved your story…. it’s nice to hear about girls bonding with their stepmoms – a great reminder of all the GOOD that can come out of these situations. Thanks so much for posting!

  25. Suzie says

    Cheers ladies! Yes good things that can come from any situation and I just am lucky as I have not one, but two great moms. =) And Jennifer, how she had the self control not to murder me as a teenager is beyond me as wasn’t really “perfect” child material as you probably remember! Keep up this excellent work you guys do. Really proud of you Jen!

  26. says

    I’m both a stepmom and a stepchild and I will say that once I became a stepmom, it gave me a whole new perspective on what my stepfather was going through when we all became a family.

    I am curious to the Bio-Moms reading this what their take is on a stepmom who has stepped back in her own home. I used to be overly involved because I thought that’s what my husband wanted. (He travels during the week and isn’t home except on Saturdays and Sunday mornings, so I have helped — to varying degrees — my stepkids’ mom with things like watching sick kids, taking kids to appointments, taking them for haircuts, picking up birthday presents, etc. that you’d think dad should have done if he were here).

    Now I’ve stepped back from doing the things that Dad should do because I realized that I was losing myself and my identity by not knowing what role I was (was I Dad’s wife, Mom #2, Parent in Charge at Dad’s House, Dad’s #2?)

    Now my involvement is based on my own terms. I’m nice and caring toward my stepchildren but unless there is something that affects me directly – like who is in the house when, what we’re eating during the time we’re together, or say the kids want to use our house for a big sleepover, then I defer to their father.

    I was more helpful to my stepkids’ mom and my husband when I was more involved. Now that I’ve stepped back, they seem to be more upset with my not stepping up more.

    What’s your take on that?

  27. AmericanHoney says

    Erin, I get where you’re coming from. I’m a stepmom and although I’m very involved with my stepdaughter’s life I’m involved when she is in my home. She’s only 3, so taking her to doctor’s appointments, etc. are taken care of by her mom, or dad and I on a RARE occasion. At first I was very unsure of what role to take with my step daughter, as you explained. But after figuring out my relationship with my boyfriend, I realized what he expected of me because he is from a blended family and what I wanted to give to our family where very much insync. So, I would talk to your husband about it. Does he like it when you step up, does it make him feel like you’re helping him out? If you’re step kids are old enough to ‘get it’ ask them, in terms they would understand. You’re role as a step mom should first and foremost be about the relationship between you and your stepkids and your husband. Figuring out what role to take on when their mom is present or when you’re helping her out has to do with her and the kids, it’s kind of like your work life and your home life. Work life is professional and respectful at all times: the way you may want to be with the BioMom. Home life is relaxed and easy and paced at whatever pace you want: the way your home should feel when your family together. hope that helps!!!

  28. Emilina says

    When I read this article, I felt as though someone had invaded in my head and heart, as I am sure other step-moms who read this felt too. I have crossed many boundaries as step-mom, not knowing more than half the time how it would affect my step-son’s mother. Two years later, there are things I know I mustn’t do and times when I am still learning. I wish my step-son’s mother had privy to this article because maybe it would help her to see that I am not all that bad. When I read “What your stepchild’s mom want you to know about her life” tears came to my eyes because I never really understood the hurt I may have caused. I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. I was hoping and praying for help in my household. The animosity between me and my husband’s ex-wife is causing great turmoil in my marriage and the relationship with my three step-sons. I have relayed your website to the ex and I just hope she at least comes here to see what you are all about. I hope in time I can respond like some of these other ladies and tell you that this has all worked.

  29. says

    Emilina, we’re glad you’re finding our site helpful :). Give mom time, and in the mean time, try your best to not let the stress seep into your marriage and family. It’s so not worth it. And if you can look at it from a bigger picture, it’s really just one woman’s *opinion* of you. And that opinion is formed from her own past life experiences and her own insecurities and tons of other *stuff* that has nothing to do with you. The best thing you can do is work on being happy in your marriage and with yourself :)

  30. Jackie Wisniewski says

    It is so nice to hear all those comments from stepmoms. I am stepmom of two kids 7 and 5 years old. Its not easy to deal with bio moms. They think that as a stepmom, I am taking away the attention of the kids from her. My stepkids are always confuse if they want to love or not specially the older girl. I have no comment with younger boy coz I can feel his love towards me.
    The kids bio mom, cheated and disrespected my husband. I am so lucky to be married with him inspite I am dealing with his insane ex wife. The ex wife’s father told my husband (they are still communicating) that she is mentally unstable since she left my husband and now it affects the children specially the older one.

    About #4: This is what we are dealing right now. My stepkids comes and stay with us 2days on weekends. They come Friday night and go back to there bio moms Sunday afternoon. The case here is the bio mom calls her older daughter every night 7pm and after that call. My SD gets so upset and anxious of everything before bedtime. What we build relationship and she being happy all day is all gone. And everybody is affected specially his younger brother who is getting tire of his sister’s attitude. It is so tiring.
    I am a babysitter for 12 years, work with family full time but I never encounter this hardship with kids until now. Being a full time babysitter is like a stepmom. And as a babysitter of several family, most of the family told me before they leave the kids(from 1day to 5days) to me is just call them when its emergency. The parents (who understand the pressure between kids and the other person who takes care of them )told me that, it creates anxiety for the children if they communicate with the (absent)parent while the other person is trying do all the best to make things easier for kids. Now that I am stepmom, some bio moms doesn’t understand that pressure between Stepmom and Stepkids.
    We stepmoms wants to create neutral relationship, peace and whats for the best interest for kids but in my situation with ex. It seems that she’s being selfish and help the kids to create emotional downfall. I just wish that some bio mom understand how there behavior affects there kids too.

  31. celisa says

    This was an interesting topic. And I agree with all of Jenna’s SM perspective. I was, at one point, the BM in my situation, however, I am now dealing with a SM. I think that when you are experiencing interactions with the other person it can feel awkward or really comfortable depending on the attitude and mindset of the other person, whether you are the BM or SM it will vary. It wasn’t easy on either side of this scenario for me, although, she and I had our moments where things were really better than I could have ever imagined, we had equally disturbing moments where it seemed things would be irreparable. I think that it is important in the end that both parties try to be aware of eachother’s feelings, careful in their communication, and if you are aiming at a peaceful resolution, remain calm at all times. This can’t be easy ALL THE TIME. But if your goal is to create something good, you will always attempt the best scenario possible.

  32. Krystle B. says

    I am a step-mom and it the best thing I could ever be doing. My husband was never married to his son’s mother and they split up when he was really young. I have been in my step-son’s life since just before he turned 3-years-old, and my husband and I didn’t get married until he was 7. I find that some of the statements above are true in how I feel, but I also look at differently, because my husband has full- custody and SHE get visitations. She has 3 other children and has custody of 2 of the 3. She DOESN’T call her son throughout the week ever! She sees him just on the scheduled days and nothing more an sometimes she has other plans that she made during “parenting time” and then doesn’t see him for 3 weeks and we don’t hear a word from her till her next “parenting time” slot.
    So saying all of this, I am not trying to take her place, but I have always seemed to be there for her son MORE than she has and it is hard to except that everyone says that I don’t deserve any credit for raising him and that she should get all of the praise when she isn’t around.

    Very difficult situation huh?

  33. Abby Ryan says

    Okay then, here is what I see as the point of contention:

    First family vs. Second family

    Should the PRIMARY boundaries be between a stepmom and her kids or between the households? Should the man’s most important role be as partner to his wife, or a coparent with his ex? (BTW- both of those can be good fathers.)

    My view is pretty strong and I know that middle-of-the-road often works best, but consider, if the chance of the remarriage failing is 60-70%, then it seems that what needs to be focused on is the marriage first. To do otherwise would increase the risk of the kids being put through yet another divorce. Yes, whenever possible, it’s only right that a father and stepmom consider the BM’s feelings as they will also affect the kids, but their choices as a couple- which will likely include and SM caring for children, discussing parenting decisions with her husband, etc- come first.

    This doesn’t mean a stepmom should be communicating with the BM about parenting decisions as that would be disrespectful. But it is also disrespectful for someone to attempt to but boundaries up between a woman and her husband.

  34. amy says

    Well…this is the crux of the problem, isn’t it.

    In general, if you ask a mother which she’d throw overboard if forced to choose, her kids or her husband, she’ll toss the man. Her priority is the kids, and for good reason. Thousands of daytime-TV hours are devoted to this dynamic.

    On the other hand, the kids are not the priority for the next wife, also for good reason.

    I don’t think there’s really a way out of this unless both women are reasonably secure and okay with how things are going, are able to negotiate well, and are independent people. The worst outcome is to leave things to the hapless man, who hadn’t stopped to think about any of this stuff anyway and is just trying to get through life in one piece. The more the women depend on him — financially, emotionally — the more potential for trouble there is.

    My advice, if you’re the more secure and independent of the two, and it doesn’t matter which wife you are: Let go. Just let go. It’ll be easier (and possibly more rewarding) to do whatever it is on your own than it is to fight a woman whose priority is not yours and who’s white-knuckling the guy’s time, money, attention, whatever. If there’s something you must fight for, choose the battle carefully, go in and score your KO as neatly as possible, and get out again.

    Frankly, I find the “do it to spare the kids another divorce” argument disingenuous. If you’re that worried about putting the kids through another divorce, then hell, leave the man alone, find a guy who hasn’t got kids. I think it’s as well to recognize that the priorities are just different.

  35. amy says

    I’d also like to remind the stepmoms posting that many moms take offense at being called a “biological mother” or bio-mom or BM unless they have in fact given up their children. If we want mutual respect, let’s start with how we refer to each other.

  36. amy says

    Unless, of course, by “bio-mom” you mean Bionic Mom.

    Which I think I like. A lot.

    Better, stronger, faster. Check. We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

    (I’ll leave the part about the Six Million Dollar Mom alone.)

    Bionic Mom.

  37. Abby Ryan says

    amy –

    I would hope a husband could swim. I’d toss mine off too to save my child. But that’s an extreme example. We’re not talking about drowning, we’re talking about preserving a marriage.

    My point is not that the stepmoms should cease to think about the children, or that the husbands or mom should never make kids a priority. Simply that the marriage SHOULD be the first priority for the sake of the children involved because stability is paramount to child’s well being. And I would challenge BMs to think that way too about their new relationships, and hopefully to extend that need for stability i nto respecting their ex’s new partnership. It is what is best for the children.

    As the issue of the BM acronym, feel free to think of it as Bionic Mom. Or Best Mom even if you choose. I am also a mom to my stepchild, however, and for a long time in the early years the primary one, so BM is just used to clarify. :)

  38. amy says

    Abby —

    As someone who fought long and hard to preserve a marriage for exactly that reason, I hear what you’re saying. But in the end, I separated from my ex because I could no longer take care of him and our daughter simultaneously, and he was not at the time good for either me or her. It’s an unfortunately common story.

    My sense that my daughter comes first — well ahead of a man — was born then. There are many divorced moms like me.

    What it means is that the stability of your marriage is, to us, only one factor in determining what’s good for our kids, and it can be outweighed. If our kids are begging not to go because of problems they have with the stepmom, and the dad’s insisting that they just “get used to the new normal” or somesuch, then sure we’ll do whatever we can to protect our kids.

    Or maybe all of a sudden a dad who’s been very generous and paid for sports and other things that were large parts of their lives suddenly wants to spend the money on a home with the new wife, pulls back hard on spending, and fights to cut child support. Maybe he’s insensitive about it. That’s not rare. In that case the mom is watching the kids’ dad drop them, and watching them go through the pain of losing their dad’s attention and their activities and activity-based friendships and sense of competence, and maybe at the same time she has to work more to make up lost income. Result: the kids are in pain, she’s too busy to help them emotionally, and she’s more stretched than she was before. So no, of course she’s not going to be friendly about it. She and the kids may not be too interested in the marriage’s stability then.

    Consider what happens if she decides to be the grownup in this situation: She gets a lot of heartache and stress, she and the kids get poorer, she’s probably giving up things that help her get along — like maybe daily exercise — in order to buffer her kids from their dad’s being lousy. Is anyone likely to thank her for this, or even recognize how she’s being harmed? No. For all she knows, all she’s doing is teaching the dad and his new wife that she’s a pushover. So again, I’m not seeing great motive to protect the stepmom’s marriage.

    I don’t think most moms are looking to damage or sabotage the stepmoms’ marriage. But we want the kids well-supported and well-cared-for, and the stepmom’s definition of those things is not going to displace our own ideas of what our kids need. If a stepmom walks in and essentially says, “But look, they get all these other benefits having me around,” — well, you know, they may not agree. If someone comes into your home and redoes it without your knowledge or permission, and then tries to tell you how much *better* it is this way, you’re probably not going to be too friendly about that, either.

    I think that in the end, all the adults need to recognize that both the mom and the stepmom are competing for scarce resources: the dad’s time, attention, and money. The mom’s competing on behalf of her kids — which is going to make her formidable — and the stepmom’s competing on behalf of herself and her marriage, and her own kids, if she has any.

    If they can be grownups about it — and that’s a quality in short supply, too — then they can sit down with a mediator and talk about needs. And negotiate. What it requires is that the dad be active in these discussions and be able to talk, realistically, what he has to give and what he needs himself. Because in the end, if he’s bitten off more than he can chew in terms of responsibility to both the old family and the new, there’ll be trouble. But it needs to be faced squarely by all parties or you’ll have a long simmering battle.

    I think that in normal mom/stepmom negotiations, we really wind up relieving the man of much of this work, by the way. And I think the picture of mom/stepmom relations would change pretty dramatically if we didn’t, and if the guys were held responsible for managing — out in the open — their commitments.

    I think that too often, the men simply give up rather than manage those commitments, change their behavior without warning, refuse adamantly to take blame, and hope it’ll all be cool. They do not negotiate much, and do not seriously consider what’s important for the kids and the ex-wife’s sanity and why. Nor are they thinking seriously about what promises, implicit or explicit, they’ve made to the new wife.

    If that’s what happens, then yes, I think you can reasonably expect the ex-wife to be bitter, and not to care if your marriage succeeds. From her pov, her children’s father has harmed both her and her kids in order to please you and himself. And no doubt this falls on a heap of other old slights, broken promises, etc.

    If on the other hand all three can recognize that the father is a finite-resources guy, and negotiate something that works for all three of them, and stick to it honestly…then you have a shot at something good. But I can also see a lightbulb moment in the mediator’s office where the guy realizes he’s overpromised…and shares the news with one woman or both. If the women are angry then, they’ve every right to be, but at least they’ll be pointing the finger in the right direction, and can get to work figuring out how to handle this reality.

    If you get a good mediator, you also have someone who can help the mom understand that it’s reasonable for the guy to have a life, share himself with a girlfriend or wife, and that she can’t expect so much for the kids that he has no freedom to do that. So yes, it may mean less attention and money for the kids, and now the question is how to help the mom and kids with that. The mediator can also break it to the stepmom that maybe there are things you guys talked about doing together that aren’t going to be possible till the kids are grown, because he has this prior commitment that maybe he didn’t explain to you was so large. And then the question is how can the stepmom still get what she needs.

    Honest assessments of needs, expectations, and resources — they’re so very important. I think that in tense situations mediators are also good because they’re disinterested third parties, and because it creates a record: you guys all agreed to do X, so if someone’s playing games or going back on his or her word, you can say hey, you promised to do X, please man or woman up for the sake of the kids. You can also go back to the mediator if one of you is trying to make it work and just can’t.

  39. amy says

    I just realized the above didn’t touch on things like different ideas of childrearing, living conditions, etc — other things that go into defining the stepmom’s role. But again, openness with a moderator handy, it’s so helpful.

    About the biomom thing: yeah, Abby, I know you use it as a shorthand. But if you were accustomed to calling some kid down the street Squinty, because you thought it was cute and that was your private name for him, and finally his mom came and said look, you’re hurting the kid’s feelings, please stop — I think you’d stop. At least in public, and, more than likely, in private too.

    If the moms are saying “please stop, we find it insulting”…I think it’s polite (and sensible) to stop. Similarly, if I was hearing from stepmoms that the name was insulting to them and they preferred something else, I’d switch.

  40. Abby Ryan says

    Culture and individual family structure always affects a stepmom’s role, but I do not feel that is anyone’s role to define except her own with the agreement of her husband and children.

    And this is a group, not kid on the street. Groups are comprised of individuals and even within the community here I believe you will find many who are fine with BM as well as others who agree with you. Similarly, there are many stepmoms who do not want to be referred to as the stepmom, and some who also reject the term “Bonus Mom” for their own reasons. From what I have seen they are afraid to speak up because they are repeatedly told that asking to be referred to as a Mom of any sort is disrespectful.

    I will happily refer to my son’s other mother as his FM, since she came first, or his other mom when differentiating, but the current consensus among this community has been for TM or BM and I do find the use of the former personally insulting. Restricting the use of the term Mom or The Mom to biological moms (as often naturally happens in stepfamily discussions due to the necessity to clarify) slights my own relationship with my son. At least BM and SM are accurate descriptions as opposed to descriptions which intentionally limit the value and importance of the other woman involved.

  41. amy says

    All right. Let me clarify, then. Please do not call me a “bio-mom” or a BM or any other such, or refer to moms that way when talking to me, because I do find it insulting. I am my daughter’s mom. If you’d rather I not use “stepmoms” when speaking to you or call you a stepmom, that’s fine, I won’t.

    If we can’t extend even that much respect to one another, then I think there’s not much hope of getting along, so it’s worth swallowing hard and doing it. What we do in the privacy of our own skulls is something else.

    (Oops — I see that we’ve gone asynchronous here. I had another comment before the last one, but it looks like it’s still in moderation. The bit in the published one about mediation doesn’t make much sense without it.)

    As for negotiating roles — I understand that your husband’s ex-wife wasn’t much involved, and my guess is that someone like that would probably not show up to mediation in the first place. But where all the parents are involved, I think that laying things out on the table and hashing them out in a controlled and constructive way — which is where mediators are helpful — can prevent significant trouble. A while back a woman posted in tears, having just recognized how she’d unintentionally made things tough, repeatedly, for her husband’s ex, and how that had contributed to hard feelings. If they’d sat together and been able to say these things directly — hey, it might have saved a lot of time, anger, and bitterness on both sides.

    I have no idea what my ex’s gf wants or doesn’t want in terms of a role in my daughter’s life, or what she’s looking for in her relationship with my girl’s dad. For now the gf doesn’t want to meet, let alone talk. But I’m sure those wants and needs are in there, and that if she sticks around, they’ll play out. It’d sure be nice to have them articulated, so that I know when I’m about to touch a third rail, or so I could say, “I get that, but there’s this competing need over here, so what do you figure we ought to do about it.”

    As for the place of the mom’s, dad’s, or stepmom’s wishes in the two homes…well, you can pretend that there’s a bright line, but the ones who pay for that are the kids. Which is why all the grownups need to come together and do the grownup work of compromising and finding ways to whittle down the areas of disagreement and discontinuity. Again, preferably with a neutral moderator. And if there’s an untenable situation in the mix — a mom refuses to accept the new marriage, the dad’s made promises he can’t keep or figures it’s his new wife’s job to keep the kids happy, the stepmom believes the mom should “accept the new reality” and find money and parenting for the children somewhere else, too bad so sad — I think it’s best to get it out in the open right away and deal with it, before it festers and contaminates the rest of the relationships.

    Having these kinds of discussions also makes all the parents responsible for saying out loud what they want, and need, and object to, and for finding a civil way of doing it. It can’t be taken into consideration if it’s not brought up.

    It doesn’t mean that there’ll be no disagreements. If my ex’s gf, for instance, wanted to start taking my daughter to church, I’d say no, and since we have religious matters spelled out in our decree, that’s something she’d just have to live with. I would not negotiate on that matter. Similarly, if I wanted the gf to go veg for her, and she didn’t want to, that’d be the end of that story. But if the parents are earnest I think a lot of areas of contention can be whittled away.

    Obviously it’s not something all families can do. A woman upthread is supposed to co-parent with her ex-husband’s mistress, the homewrecker. I think that’s deeply unreasonable to ask, and I’d support legislation that provided — in divorce due to one partner leaving the other for someone else — that the children remain with the wronged parent, exceptional support ordered, and that the lover be barred from contact with the children without the express permission of the wronged parent. A dad abandons the kids, then reappears and wants some custody and say-so: no, of course it’s not reasonable to tell the mom and stepdad that all of a sudden they should rearrange their lives to accommodate this man. Or that they should do it serially, as he drifts in and out of their lives.

    On the whole, though, I think it’s probably possible for most to talk about these things explicitly. What I see happen IRL is that the turf-dividing conversations do happen one way or another: either informally, or in a mediation room, or in front of a judge. The more you can avoid the judge, though, the less bitterness and misunderstanding there’s likely to be. I think, too, that in an atmosphere where there’s an able mediator, a lot of childishness may fall by the wayside. “That unreasonable bitch” doesn’t stand up too well in the face of a neutral third party who can show that the needs and demands are really not unreasonable or crazy.

  42. Cindy says

    So, in short: its hard for SMs to get any respect and unable for BMs to give any respect?

    My situation is the opposite. I never see my daughters fathers wife (interesting: I never call him my ex-husband…) nor hear something about her taking care of the children. She functions as a ‘babysit’ sometimes when their father has to go to an occasional meeting.
    If I take the girls to his house she hides/works? (or runs up to!) in the attic. In 2 years only one time I met her face to face on which occasion I was screamed at for 10 minutes (about she being married to him now, not me, about that she spend hundreds of dollars on presents for the kids, etc) untill I hugged her and started crying. I was startled. Apparently she doesnt get any respect from the children or her husband (the ones she should get if from) or is that much focused on me… But I dont know her, I dont even recognise her, and hardly hear anything about her.

    I asked the girls father a few times to invite her to come over for tea. She never did. Or: he never took that message to her I found out the moment I met her, in which I was able to ask her directly. She agreed but never turned up.

    I think it would be a good idea to know the woman who lives in the same house my children live in. I would like to talk about things concerning the children since their father is a man, she is a woman and my children are girls. I would like her to know my perspective on the girls as well.

    Of course I understand all things stephmoms are getting through, especially the ones faceing wicked ex-wifes (note: (B)M’s, try to act like (B)M’s and not like EWs!)’. But I think the SM’s should understand that they did choose for a relational situation including children AND their mother. And that since they are the ones entering this system, they should try to be open for a relationship to all actors.

    But she is not and I am.

    And I am because, even if I did not ask fo a divorce and a quick marriage to the other woman and I did not aks to miss my children but for their sake I give them the possibility to stay with their father, this is the situation I have to deal with. And since this is the situation all I ask is to get to know the woman my girls are at least influenced by, if she is not taking care of them. I dont want to know her so much as a person but surely as a SM.

    The world is probably filled with willing SM’s and angry BM’s (of EW’s?!)… but I am stuck in an opposite situation.

  43. A stepmom says

    Here is what I don’t get. I am a sm who has been watching dh deal with a very high conflict ex. What is so wrong with a sm caring for a child while under her roof? When a child goes to a friends house doesn’t the friend’s parents in a sense parent/guide that child when there? What about babysitter? Aren’t they hired in a sense to parent a child when the parents are not there? Daycares? Etc……. What I am trying to say is this. You have all these other “child care” providers guiding and implementing their and the parents rules. The children grow to love them and want to spend time with these appointed caretakers YET when a stepmom steps into the dynamic and looks to team up and partner up with the mother becoming an asset and be a support structure for the father of said child, the mother in a sense flips out. Why, Because she married the man she loves who happens to have children with another woman? I find that hypocritical.

  44. A stepmom says

    Please don’t find offense in what I posted. I am just trying to understand why it has to be so hypocritical.

  45. Dina says

    I can see what you’re asking, A stepmom ~ I think the difference might be that babysitters, teachers, and daycare providers actually implement the parent’s rules…they don’t usurp them or think that their rules are better than the parents.
    Much of the conflict I see comes from that ~ stepmoms who think they know better than the moms (I’m talking about NORMAL moms, not completely dysfunctional ones) or have ‘rights’ because they are in partnership with the dad.

    In the end, those other support givers (teachers/daycare providers/babysitters) respect how the parents are choosing to raise their children and they don’t interject without being asked. I often see stepmoms VEHEMENTLY disrespecting their stepkid’s mothers while being angry that the mom doesn’t want thier input. That is hypocritical too. I personally don’t understand why stepmoms feel the need to have ‘say’ over kids that aren’t theirs ~ why can’t they just back up their partners co-parenting relationship with the kids other parent? Why the demand for respect and recognition while not respecting or recognizing the mom’s authority and position? (same goes for moms who don’t respect and recognize their ex-Husband’s equal rights to the kids too)
    It’s incredibly invasive for a mom to have a woman jump in and decide she has equal say, or is entitled to ‘rights’ over her kids ~ especially if the mom has been doing a majority of the raising and the children aren’t infants. Why is that hard for stepmoms to understand?

  46. amy says

    stepmom, it’s really a pretty simple thing.

    Do you have any idea what kind of craziness most mothers go through trying to find good childcare for their children? It’s an exhaustive and exhausting process: we research, trade notes, visit, observe, visit again, compare notes, research more. Why? Because we want to know who in hell the people who’ll be taking care of our children are and how capable they are of doing it well. Only after a lot of inspection do we trust other people with our children, and then it’s limited: yes to sitting while we’re out, no to staying over, or yes to staying over, but no to the child going to the sitter’s apartment, etc. Sitters and daycare people understand this. When I advertise for a sitter, I get resumes and references, without asking.

    When a stepmom walks in, we have no idea who you are or what you know about taking care of children. We don’t know anything about your values, your education, your ideas about discipline, your experience with enforcing it. All we really know is that our ex-husband likes having sex with you. The odds that he’s all that careful about choosing someone to do childcare aren’t great; likely he wasn’t much involved with the childcare research first time around. And we know that you’re okay with being with our exes, which, depending on the guy, may not be a plus in our eyes.

    We also know that tangled up in your care of our children is your sexual/romantic relationship. Odds are pretty good that you’re trying to prove something through the care of our children, which means that you’re using them. We don’t want our children used as tokens in your romantic relationship. We wish you wouldn’t do it, and know that you probably will anyway.

    About friends’ parents: Apples and oranges. First of all, unless the kid’s a teenager, nobody just sends a kid over to another kid’s house without knowing who’s there. You go, you meet the parents, maybe you stay a while, glance around the house, see if the parents are with it & all there, whether there’s anything dangerous, etc. Chances are it’s fine but you’d be irresponsible not to check. Second, the stepmom or girlfriend is not a friend’s mom. She’s the dad’s woman. The kids know the difference, and the stepmom should too.

    Mostly we’re worried about — well, a few things.

    – That you’ll have no idea what you’re doing and will want to learn parenting on our kid.
    – That your values will be in conflict with ours.
    – That you’ll hurt our kids but be too wrapped up in your relationship to notice or, maybe, care.
    – That you’ll be insecure and use our kids to prove something — to yourself, to your man.
    – That you’ll be unstable and mess our kids about.

    Just as a litmus, ask yourself this: The kids are at the dad’s house why? To be with their dad. What do you think it means to them that he’s taken off and left them with you? Frankly, I don’t want to hear talk about all the things the man deserves to do and the living he has to earn. I’m the mom who arranges my work and play around my child’s schedule. If she’s here, I’m almost always here. If I’m working, I don’t have an ad-hoc arrangement; she’s either with a babysitter she loves, or playing with friends, or in a program which isn’t about killing time till I’m done, but is about her growth, friendships, and education. I’m posting this at 3 am because I’ve been up till 2 working. She’s asleep: now I work. At home. If it means taking the income hit, so be it. I don’t hand the kid to a lover who just happens to be there and take off.

    To you, the man “happens to have kids”. To the mom, the kids are the major fact of life. Do you not see the difference?

    All that said, if the stepmom is great and can get along, can slot herself into this divorced but pre-existing family without making my life harder and the kid’s life unhappier, wonderful. Great. Otherwise? No, not enthusiastic.

  47. Krystle says

    I guess you would say it SUCKS be in the Step-mom catagory! I am NOTHING like those other women that are so horrible to the children or BM. I am my husbands 1st wife! He was young when he had my SS and he is a wonderful person because of it. My SS’s BM isn’t around much and comes and goes when ever she pleasesm She went over 6 months without any contact with her son. My husband has Full Custody of his son and is supposed to be getting child support, but we don’t see much of it because she doesn’t work often. It is amazing how I am the one who has been by my SS’s side for EVERYTHING, and BM hasn’t. I have been the person he talks to for anything. Now I want to stop being compared to being such a horrible person when all I am doing is being a Mom to him because his isn’t around! He doesn’t call me Mom- he calls me by my first name and that is fine. I have never said he has to call me mom, and My Husband & told him I was trying to take over like she never existed. So Please to call me out as a bad person, because I feel like I am a lucky person to be by my husbands side to help raise our son. I did say it, but I don’t care!

  48. Lola says

    My husbands ex-wife refused to meet me after our engagement. I wanted her to know me since they have split custody and 50% of the time their child would be with her father and myself. She was 6 at the time we started dating, and they had been divorced for 2 yrs. and had been apart since she was born ( mom had several affairs and dad left after he found out about the last one. )

    I have 2 children from my previous marriage, now my ex and I do not speak at all ( he had an affair during the marriage we had been divorced about the same time/ separated the same length of time/ he is also remarried), his spouse and I couldn’t get along after incidents where she refused to feed the children while he was at work (when he kept them during breaks from school), she embarrassed my daughter after she started her period and called to inform me of what I “SHOULD” train her to do because that’s “trifling”, and final straw she pushed my sons head into the wall to punish him for not going to sleep cause her “husband” had to be at work. Done we don’t talk or see each other!!! So, I have been on both sides. I have always been a cant we all just get a long type of person, slight hippie and a bit eclectic… She HATES me.

    Both of them. But my husband ex-wife thinks I am sub-standard right off because I am with her “sloppy seconds”, and she can’t hide the disgust in her face when she sees me (which is rare, because she refuses to speak to me unless it about an accusation, she texts my husband to let me know she’s on the way to drop her off when I’m the only one home, she texts him when she’s outside the door ( once I caught her because I was watching from the window ), she tells him all of her business with her life ( the man she had an affair with is now her husband… Their trying to have a baby) she made sure my husband knew it, she went over the top to invite us to her wedding ( which was 1yr. & 6 days after ours ) she at first played like it was the same day to my husbands family. If I comb the child’s hair because we have been swimming or it gets messed up, she IMMEDIATELY redoes her hair even if it’s intricate braids. She just a little over a month ago accused me of forcing a 7 yr old to clean an entire house by herself ( I mean, come on this is not Cinderella! )

    She found out me and my husband had a big arguement and called im to say. ” See I wasn’t that bad after all, huh?” oh, and when she found out we discuss their conversation to come to resolutions as a couple, she told him ” I though you and I conversation we’re private?” I won’t call you anymore.

    I don’t know where her toes or bricks or boundaries are, because I don’t think she even understands the words. If I am nice to your and my husbands child is is not an affront to you, I do it because I like/ love the child, and I respect her enough not to belittle you or battle you where she is concerned ( something’s are common sense ).

    Analogy of my own… I would do ice things for a friend, I would buy them thing and/ or take them to special places. If some part of their life concerned me we would discuss it, and I would find things we have in common or share an interest in and we would share some of those things. I would most certainly care for my friend and show up when she wanted/ needed me. And, Yes, if she is a girl we would do each other hair. We would argue and debate, and if she/he is dong something I feel is wrong I would freely express that. That doesn’t mean I own her or that I am trying to replace anyone in my friends life. There are bonds gained in friendships too, other friends may get jealous, but that is normal. Our friendship IS personal.

    I have nothing to prove to my stepchild (which is a word we don’t use), and she does call me mom after about 1 yr. Yes she chose to.
    Whew the s**** hit the fan that time… Anyway.

    Don’t be so selfish, and catty. We have the ability to love SO many people in our own special ways, none overshadowing the others. Let the EGO go. Your children are not property they are responsibility, and legacy. Truth, we all need all the help we can get so why shut someone else out, before you have even opened the proverbial “book”.

    After we have let our EGO’s dig a hole can we turn it all around is the question… Some, yes. Others, maybe. Yet more, Heck No! Either get with the program or let it go. I just want to be as comfortable in this life as possible, but I’m tough enough to also ” fake it, til’ I make it. How about you?

  49. Alrighty Then says

    Amy wrote:

    When a stepmom walks in, we have no idea who you are or what you know about taking care of children. We don’t know anything about your values, your education, your ideas about discipline, your experience with enforcing it. All we really know is that our ex-husband likes having sex with you.

    It bothers you knowing an ex husband enjoys sex with someone else.Like a current wife,doesn’t it?I’m a first ex-wife AND married to a man with children.As a Mom I understand you should at least meet the person,know enough to not have to worry about your children being abused,etc.But Amy,it’ ex wives with attitudes like yours that cause a Step-Mother to not only resent an ex-wife BUT also the children.As long as your ex husband is not having sex in front of your children it is none of your business.The only business you have is knowing your children are being treated decently and that you should take up with….their Father…. to ensure that is the case.It also means encouraging your children to behave like decent kids as opposed to little terrors toward the Step-Mom.

     Amy wrote:
    – That you’ll have no idea what you’re doing and will want to learn parenting on our kid.
    – That your values will be in conflict with ours.
    – That you’ll hurt our kids but be too wrapped up in your relationship to notice or, maybe, care.(that is also up to Mom to a point and Step-Mom is not responsible for your kids..the Father is-arrggg)
    – That you’ll be insecure and use our kids to prove something — to yourself, to your man.

    Well Amy,guess what will happen when your children go out into the world?Also a lot of Step-Moms go out of their way to be good to the children not to use them but because they desire their husbands children to like them.Many times though efforts are futile and Step-Mom backs off or completely disengages after repeated rejection and even abusive behavior toward her from the kids.Many times children are influenced by what they hear come out of the Mother’s mouth toward the Father and the current wife.Which is why I try very hard to say nothing negative about not only my ex husband but also his wife.I also encourage my child to have some respect for his Fathers wife.This makes it easier on MY CHILD even in adulthood.

    Now this is opposite of my husband’s ex wife.They have been divorced for many years(years bf I met my husband)and she still tries to take on role of wife in some ways.She interacts with husband’s family like she is still the wife(the kids are grown,btw).Enlists her daughter to call her Father,turn on water works to coax him into agreeing to things that will make her life easier with no regard to the effects it has on our household.She assumes this daughter has the power to get results and she is right to a point but that is waning as my husband is catching on to it and is tiring of it.

    If my husband and I have something good going on in our life it is not long before a phone call and some drama starts.This woman has a relationship of her own but STILL in one way or another makes darn good and sure her presence is felt by ALL and works to make sure she stays relevant in her ex husbands life and former in-laws life.It’s to the point I can not form a relationship with my husband’s family because this woman INSISTS putting herself out there to a high degree with them.Even with people who were not in the family when she was with my husband.This started as the relationship between my husband and I started getting serious.And continues to this day…

    Is this the type of pathetic woman you want to be?And it is pathetic to hold on to something long dead that tightly instead of moving on.Even at the risk of damage to the children’s relationship with their oyher parent, a current relationship and to make married life a misery for someone who had absolutely nothing to do with the prior marriage failing.

    You want someone who will treat your children decently?Give your children permission to form at least a friendship with the Step-Mom.Be cordial with the ex in-laws but back off some and move on.Realise even though you share children with your ex? You are no longer the wife and your ex has no obligation to you only responsibility to help raise and provide for the children.Don’t make whiney,feel sorry for me comments to your ex in-laws on social networking for pity and pitting purposes. And don’t request an invite from your ex-there is phone and email.

    And Amy,just because your children spend time in your ex and current spouses home does not give you the right to go inside their home,snoop around and hang out.You were once married to your ex if the ex can’t be trusted to provide a safe,clean environment for his children then you shouldn’t have agreed to visitation in his home for your children.The Father is the PARENT not the Step-Mom.The Father is responsible for the children NOT the Step-Mom.The Step-Mom is not a babysitter or your personal go to girl for relief from duties.Want a babysitter?Hire one.Same goes for husbands who put this off on their wives and expect far too much and fail to put the ex,Mother of children or not,in her place…her own home,life and relationships NOT her ex husband’s.

     

  50. Alrighty Then says

    Just as a litmus, ask yourself this: The kids are at the dad’s house why? To be with their dad. What do you think it means to them that he’s taken off and left them with you? Frankly, I don’t want to hear talk about all the things the man deserves to do and the living he has to earn.

    Ok(Amy),I see you don’t agree to a Step babysitting after re reading.I happen to agree with you only because it should not be put upon the Step who is not responsible.If Dad has to work to provide for not only the kids but pay his bills and won’t hire a sitter?Keep em at home with you and collect your CS.That way the Dad will not expect his current wife to be the sitter.This is Dad’s expectations not the Step-Mom’s in many cases.Put that blame where it truly belongs.And yes children are at their Dad’s to see the Dad.But when one is married a home is shared between spouses.Therefore it is current spouses home as well and just because your kids are there does not mean the wife should just disappear….it is her home too.If you ever remarry is this the way you want your ex to view your household and time the children may spent with your husband?

    You attitude does stink though….towards Step-Mother’s.That will only hurt your children in the long run and yourself too.

  51. Debra says

    Amy,

    I love your post and think it was very concise & well written. I am, frankly, shocked by the responses to your post. They highlight to me just how very, very differently mothers and new wives view this topic.

    Alrighty Then,

    It doesn’t bother first wives that the ex is having a sexual relationship, it’s just doesn’t necessarily mean you are qualified to provide adequate child care.

  52. elaine says

    Amy:
    I love your comment and find myself feeling the same way about most of what you have said. The problem that I’m readin in it are ones that I am also experiencing. Like you I am happy to have a great Stepmom be involved but I expect to know who she is, my ex getting into a sexual relationship with her does not qualify her to become a caregiver in my mind.
    I think a lot of the frustration in my case comes from having.no introduction or knowledge of the SM type figure in our situation. Several years have passed and they are obviously in a long term committed relationship which means I am expected to be agreeable to allowing their relationship be a huge part of our child’s life but I have never actually met her. She’s an unknown and unfortunately my ex (though not a bad guy) has difficulty putting others needs before his own, even where his kid is involved. I tried to extend an invite to meet several years ago, which was ignored and now feel helpless. I don’t want to put on white gloves and check her dusting but we have had some issues with exposure to unnecessary things and I would like to feel safe when our child is there.
    I don’t think pointing out that the SM is an unknown makes you difficult, it makes you responsible, which I believe both SM and BM should agree is better for th.kids

  53. Kris says

    Amy, two things:

    First, it is clear how little respect you have for stepmoms in general when you say that all you know is the ex likes having sex with them. Really? Then i assume that was the only reason he was with you, as well? Your hostility and dismissiveness show through right away here.

    Secondly, we are not “child care.” No, of course you don’t get to choose and interview us like you would a babysitter, because that is not our role. Your children’s father is in charge of their care at his house. If you don’t trust him to do that, and to have people around your kids who are good influences, well, then maybe you shouldn’t have had kids with him. If you do in general think he is a good father, then i think you ought to work on letting go of the conviction that you ought to be in charge of what goes on at his house as well as at yours. I know that is a hard thing to swallow. But frankly, it is your only emotionally healthy response, both for you and your kids.

  54. says

    As a mother and ex-wife, I was really understanding where Amy was coming from… but she lost me at “all we really know is our ex-husband likes having sex with you..”

    Right then and there, I realized I was reading a well thought out and nicely written bitter rant. Likely a response fueled by jealousy and obviously lacking any real knowledge of who it is that is helping to raise and care for your children.

    I am also a step-mother, and a step-child.

    If all you know is that your ex-husband likes having sex with his wife, then maybe you might want to invest a little time into getting to know the woman. If you believed that there was any value to your now failed marriage before the divorce, what would make you think that the man is incapable of loving or sharing the most intimate parts of himself with his bride? Do you assume that because you are the mother of his children, you will always be the best choice he ever made? I have some news for you… Your uterus has nothing to do with his marriage.

    I cannot imagine how hard it is for a childless step-mother to come in and navigate her way into a family, my heart goes out to many of these women. But for those of us who have lived life as a single parent, successfully provided for our children, then met and fell in love with a man with similar history and circumstance… Your comment to this article sounds extremely belittling to women everywhere, while placing yourself on a pretty tall horse.

    In any case, my belief is that the more people involved with a child who love him/her, the better. Unless you feel that your child is being abused or neglected on some way by his other family (because like it or not, step-mom IS family), than swallow your pride and attempt to be a good role model for your children. Intolerance is a learned behavior.

  55. Jess says

    @Amy and her sympathizers … wow! Listen to @Tiffany, she was right that yours was a bitter rant from a ‘high horse’ belittling well-intentioned women who take on an impossible role. Is it wrong for a Bio-Mom to seek reassurance that her kids are with someone responsible? No. But when her kids are with Dad and Step-Mom, that’s Dad’s responsbility (as others have stated, if he’s not responsible, seek to have the custodial arrangement changed).

    “All we know is our ex-husbands like having sex with you.”
    Hahaha.. um, Amy? That’s all we know about you, too — how do you think your kids/our step-kids entered the scene??

    “The odds that he’s all that careful about choosing someone to do childcare aren’t great.”
    So he wasn’t carefully considering your maternal abilities when he was porking you, either, is what you’ve said… *yawn* OK…

    Let’s look at your individual concerns:
    – That you’ll have no idea what you’re doing and will want to learn parenting on our kid.
    [Kind of like you did, learning as you went as a first-time parent? Kind of hypocritical… plus, not all SM’s are first-time parents]

    – That your values will be in conflict with ours.
    [Apparently your ‘values’ conflicted with Dads otherwise y’all would still be together… and SM’s just have to abide by Dad’s wishes/values while the kids are with him. The truth is, not every bio-parent agrees with the other about rules, values, etc. The kids may end up w/different ‘rules’ when with mom vs. dad. Frankly, it’s not a SM’s job to ensure the kids abide by BM’s values (unless that’s what Dad agrees with) – SM’s just have to uphold those values/rules that Dad imposes (you know, the ‘other’ biological parent who has just as much say as BM?)]

    – That you’ll hurt our kids but be too wrapped up in your relationship to notice or, maybe, care.
    [If a SM is ‘hurting’ a kid in any way, it’s incumbent on Dad to step in and stop it.. don’t trust him to do so? Then why the bleep did you have kids with him if you can’t trust his parenting skills? Besides as article says, most SM’s want to help, not hurt your kids. Are you complaining that Dad brings another loving adult into the house that has the gall to care for your kids?]

    – That you’ll be insecure and use our kids to prove something — to yourself, to your man.
    [See comment above — kids are not a SM’s vanity project, nor should they be yours. Judging by your mean-spirited post, your insecurity level is off the charts. Do you have a particular concern? Then be an adult and approach Dad and SM to discuss it. If kids are being mistreated, it should be pretty obvious to you as an observant and caring mother.]

    – That you’ll be unstable and mess our kids about.
    [Huh? BM’s can be just as unstable, e.g. trashing SM for no reason when she’s just trying to lovingly be a part of Dad’s family, which involves your kids, w/o any benefit to her… if there’s a problem Dad should handle, or seek a custodial change.]

    Dad has a right to pursue happiness with another person who can accept and love his kids — you have that right, too. If either of you finds someone else, you each have responsilbity to make sure they abide by your parenting decisions and are good with your kids. Your rant above is just paranoia that something *might* be amiss… it actually sounds bitter that Dad left you and may have found someone that makes him happier.. or are you really just worried that your kids will end up having emotional attachment to another woman aside from you? If the SM is a good person, and a loving and good caretaker to your kids, you should be happy! The kids get the benefit of having another adult who cares for them and wants them to succeed! You should THANK her, not hate on her! That was the saddest diatribe ever…

    Keep in mind a SM is sometimes giving up the ability to have her *own* kids, or certainly the ability for those kids to be her and Dad’s only concern.. She and Dad (your ex) may have their own, but his kids w/BM will always be Dad’s first committment. Both Dad and SM will devote time and money to BM’s kids and thus, have less for their *own*. This is an incredibly UNselfish sacrifice to be envied, whereas you are making it an object of scorn. I find that shameful and really hope your attitude changes, for the sake of all involved (kids, Dad, SM, and yourself included).

    Best of luck.

  56. the moms perspective says

    it all depends.
    In my case the stepmom refuses any basic contact with (me) the mom, e.g. to greet the mom and even exchange mobile number in case of an emergency. When I call on their landline and she gets the phone she puts it down instantly. When my son had an accident she refused to call me with my son being in A&E. And and and the list is countless and it is just tyring….

    Kids are 30% of time with me. Dad would like to have more time. But with this total nutcase this is not possible.
    By the way stepmom started an affair with my husband while being my friend and living in our house…
    Sad situation for everybody and no prospect that stepmom will ever become reasonable.
    Of course I am the terrible Ex whois so jealous and destroys her life (!!??).

  57. Amber says

    I guess I’m the odd mom. I’ve been searching the internet trying to find “mom and stepmom open communication”. I want open communication with my ex’s gf. To do so I think would be best for my daughter. I have tried sitting down with my ex and the gf that is helping raise my child so I can go to school and make a better life for my daughter, after my daughter came home and told me that “daddy said it was ok to call X, “mom”. This, of course is not ok. I asked to arrange to sit down and talk to the both about it and all other issues with my daughter, but it has been blocked, I thought is was my ex blocking the communication but come to find out, its not. I called my daughter yesterday to check on her, she has the stomach bug :(. I was having a lovely conversation with her when the phone went silent. I did the normal “hello, hello, are you there” before I hung up and called her right back. I hear the gf in the backround tell my daughter “ooooh, mom hung up on you”…. isnt that nice!

  58. Christina says

    Wow I wish my step children’s BM would try to be nice and understanding and would read this article. I love my husband an his three children from his first marriage. I am a fairly new step mom but I had one daughter from a previous relationship and now my husband and I have a son together. We are making this blended family work! I love being a step mom. And PS Amy, it’s about more than the sex! A woman can have sex with any man
    If she’s in a relationship where the man already had children and she has to deal with a pyscho ex, it’s because she loves him and wants very hard to make things work all together!

  59. Halo says

    I frequently research sites to see what I can do differently or better. I’m engaged to a man who has 2 boys 14 and 17. He has been divorced for 5 years. I have no children but want some of our own eventually. His ex-wife is so incredibly rude to me. I can really appreciate this article because after reading it I felt understood. I don’t want to be their mom. I just want to be someone they trust, they can rely on, and of course, someone that supports them. And I do. Their mother sent me a text through her son’s phone telling me not to call her son ‘Sweetie’ that it was inappropriate. I sent a message back saying, ” No worries, I am afraid you might have taken it out of context. It was used as a term of endearment and that I can respect her wishes. Also, if you’d like to meet I think that would ease some of your concerns’.

    She responded by saying ” I don’t want to meet you because I might like you. And if I like you, I will feel sorry for you” That just pissed me off to no end but I will tell you that for someone who is so concerned for her children, you would think they would want to meet the woman who her children spend time with on the weekends.

    It is like I can do no right. If I get his son a birthday present, I am undermining her. If her son asks me for help on his homework, she calls me from her sons phone, telling me it’s not necessary. So which is it lady? I’m really tired of these first wives sounding off like their womb made them queen of the world. Listen, you got divorced. It sucks, it’s tragic but what the hell did you think was going to happen when you decided to leave the marriage? Other women will be around your kids. And the more you act like a dictator the more your child will see you are just a unreasonable. Again.. I don’t want to be their mom. They have one. Just be happy that someone buys your kids birthday presents, takes them to the skatepark when their dad is working, or helps them get a homework project done. Someone please tell me what can I do to improve? She doesn’t want to know me but she wants to tell me what I can and can’t do. How do you ex wives prefer me to handle you?

  60. V.K. says

    Amy – I think you may wish to reconsider some of your thoughts in your post. Many other people have responded, but I wanted to take issue with just this one thing: “All we really know is that our ex-husband likes having sex with you”

    That is unbelievably disrespectful. it is disrespectful to your ex and to the woman who is his wife. If they married, then it’s love sweetheart and not ‘just sex’. Simple as that. Messy, challenging, heartfelt and beautiful. You may not approve of his choice. Guess what – it’s none of your business. The stepmum is not your personal babysitter. You don’t get to interview for that position. You have no say. You are not his wife. It is nothing to do with you.

    If you have some rules you want to negotiate with your ex about child raising, then have that conversation with the father of your children.

    Creating a family and a home with a man who has children is a seriously difficult thing to do. We face bitter ex-wives like yourself who think that because they popped out some children with this man, that they automatically come first in everything – long past the dissolving of the relationship. We deal with all of that and deal with the fact that you disrupt our homelives and are ever present in our marriage.

    Asking for a bit of respect from you in return is not that much to ask. If you care for your children and want what’s best for them, you’d make efforts to develop a healthy and respectful relationship with your ex-husband’s wife. Simple as that.

  61. Gabrielle says

    I truly enjoyed this post. I thank you for it. I am engaged to a man that has two beautiful girls. They are young and this makes it much easier and harder. Easier because they will have more time with me to know them and yes love them. Harder because I do love them and often take care of them as my own. This is hard because I am constantly demolished by their true mother. The girls have begun calling me mommy on their own and at their mother’s house they are spanked for this. Loving them is difficult because of the strong emotions that come with it. I have yet to have any of my own. However, I cannot imagine how strong maternal instincts are when I already feel so strongly now. The sundays my fiance and I have to bring them back kill me every time. It is so incredibly hard to make myself return the girls and leave them with her when they are begging to stay and for us not to make them go back. Even though I feel that the girls do love me they already have their family with their father and often times I still feel like an outsider or intruder. The mother is constantly trying to start problems and we feel she is neglecting the girls. She is however, not a drug dealer and has never committed a felony. This means in the State of Texas she will continue to house the girls until we have the money to hire a worthy attorney. Honestly, this is a difficulty considering the bills she left him with and the child support. The mother continuously starts arguments, attempts to take all of my fiance’s custody, and refuses to allow us to talk to the girls because of me. She truly hates me. Once my fiance picked up the girls without me at her house. She came out to the door in only the lower half of her undergarments… I am terrified that eventually this will ruin my fiance and I. We both love the girls, but the mother still being in the picture places an incredible strain on our relationship.

  62. Rebecca Acevedo says

    Ok moms take a breather. I am a mom and a stepmom. Your ex isn’t with me just because of sex. Your ruined marriage made him very trepidatious about relationships. If he is great father who cares about his kids, then he made sure I understood his kids were first to him. That I was good with not just kids, but HIS kids. I am there when you won’t let him see his kids without giving more money than the 900 you already get, and you only get that because you refuse to work, and use the child support like it’s alimony. I buy your kids clothes and teach them right from wrong… after all, it takes a village to raise a child. It is my moral responsibility to care for them, as they cannot care for themselves. I watch what I say and how I say it to them. I help them with their homework and science fair projects. I make them lunches for school, take them to school and pick them up, because my husband is working multiple jobs to support your lazy butt. I understand the kids challenging my authority as a stepmom, on top of challenging authority that comes with certain ages. I bite my tongue and take a deep breath. MY husband and I have talked with the kids about my role in OUR home. We have 2 children together now so it is a blended family. You are fine with me doing things with and for them for 5 years… until they start making comments about how I do more than you. That is not MY problem, it is YOURS. I treat them as though they are mine and handle situations fairly. My birthchildren are done the same way, and will have the same rules and expectations your children do now at the appropriate ages. NEVER question my intentions with your children when they are now in MY home more than yours, because they choose to be. I do NOT kiss their butts or bribe them. If they choose to be at OUR mouse more than yours… it’s not MY fault, it is YOURS. And quit assuming we are trying to make you look bad or take your kids away from you. I do the things my mother did with me. I am not going to ignore YOUR children because I didn’t give birth to them. They are CHILDREN and be treated as such. Quit using them as pawns. And stop asking MY husband about OUR relationship. It is NONE of your business.

  63. Albe says

    Amy sums it up, we should be able to get to know the woman thats spending time with our children. Maybe Amy upset a few people with he comment about the only thing we know about this woman is our ex’s like to have sex with her, but that doesn’t make her post wrong.

  64. Kristy says

    Actually, Amy’s post is very wrong. it may pertain to her situation, but it certainly is not a reflection of all situations. My husband and his daughter’s mother were never married and never in a relationship. We met when his daughter was only a year old, and I loved her like my own from the very beginning and she always loved and respected me back, despite her BM’s attempts to manipulate her. My husband and I got married because we LOVE each other; not because I happened to be the woman he was having sex with. That comment is ridiculous. Should a father say that about the man you decide to marry? No. Both parents are adults who choose their relationships. In our case, my husband and I have always been the only resemblance of a real family unit in my stepdaughter’s life, since her mom has four kids with 3 different daddies and has never been married to anyone. As a stepmom in my situation, none of the comments said by Amy pertain to me. I’m a waaaaay better parent and role model to my stepdaughter than her mom is. My husband and I have a son who we teach to be kind, hard-working, respectful, and all the other things that GOOD parents teach their children. On the other hand, we are put in a position to try to teach these things to my stepdaughter who was never taught by her mom to be a good person or care about other people. We do not allow disrespect towards adults in our home (no matter who the child is), and we are constantly trying to undo the damage of her mother. So, let’s not get hasty and think the birth mothers are always concerned parents worried that the stepmom is basically the next hot thing to come into her ex-husband’s bed. Many of us put in more effort to parent than the actual birth mom and do everything we can to show the child unconditional love and provide a stable home that is not being provided by the mom.

  65. SurvivorMomof2 says

    I really appreciate the combination of responses here. Having been a childless stepmom from 1985-1995 when my ex husband and I divorced, even though I came from a divorced parent situation with a step mom, I really didn’t see what was really going on until after my marriage ended. Now, in my second marriage that I left while both of our children were still in diapers because of an array of abuse tactics that were not at first evident, I see things so much more clearly now.

    Some things to keep in mind:

    1. Most men DO NOT going into a relationship or marriage away from one that has children, often have internal problems that they ignored between relationships. There is most likely some level of intimate partner abuse. It doens’t necessarily have to reach physical abuse to be extremely damaging to the bio mom or the children.
    2. In his new life with you, he can easily bury what he has done, put on a good face and treat YOU like a queen to try to prove to himself that he is not really the person who did the things he did. He often uses this as an abuse tactic simultaneously toward bio mom. This is emotional abuse to both women as far as I am concerned.
    3. If there was domestic violence that the bio mom found particularly harmful or if it was done during pregnancy or in front of the children, the real problem is her terror of being forced by the courts to send her offspring with someone she knows can be dangerous. It is terrifying.
    4. Expect that your new man will denigrate and downgrade the bio-mom and make her out to be the most horrible person ever. Understand, she is most likely damaged from abuse in the relationship has already been “knocked off balance” so her behavior will seem to back up his claims.
    5. It was a HUGE pill for me to swallow as I slowly learned that my first husband lied and manipulated me and his family to make my step-daughter’s mother look like trash. I started to look at things different and I have apologized to her at least 5 times over the past several years when I see her (and even before I became a bio mom).
    6. I have experienced it from a child of divorce perspective, the step mom perspective and now asthe XXXxinsert train wreck mom description hereXXX bio mom, it is beyond painful. I said after my first divorce that I would never get involved with another man that had children. It’s not because I don’t love children though. It’s because if a man isn’t with the mom and the child)ren) he doesn’t share the values I seek in a man anyway. No good man with good intentions is going to walk away from the mother of their child or their children. The truth is, they likely didn’t not really care for the bio-mom (another slap in the fact) and found the child(ren) an inconvenience in their life. Conversely, a good man with good intentions is not going to drive a woman with children away from him if he is treating her right. Example: I have a platonic male friend that I have known for nearly thirty years who was married to another friend of mine. I had seen neither of them since they were married. I ran into him last year and found they divorced. I needed to use him as a contractor where I work so we have a work relationship that led to us talking over lunch. She’d cheated on him and then left. After many discussions, things started coming out from his end that he was no even in tune with that she told him was abusive. When he would admit what he had done, I very frankly told him he was wrong. We often don’t do that with these men so they can grow and be better people. Too often, we just believe it all (just as I did when I was step mom) and are really in the dark about the whole situation.

    I guess my advice would be to tell step moms or those contemplating such a relationship to be very careful. I would do as much fact checking about the man before becoming too attached to find out if there is something you should know. Check things out. Gather information. Ask to speak to the bio mom and make sure that contact IS NOT through the man. If you try to set it up, he is going to tell you that she didn’t want to meet you. Had I known in the beginning, what I eventually learned about my first husband, I would have never been involved with him.

    Best wishes to all!

    P.S. While it is a great comfort to me that my girls have a step mom at their dad’s place, I also worry now about HER and MY KIDs when it comes to his antics. She is much more gullible and submissive than I am and after 5 years of marriage is just now starting to realize some things. My kids comment about it when the come home. I feel sorry for her because she seems like a decent person but she doesn’t realize what she sleeps beside every night.

  66. Jeanette Collins says

    First of all to Amy, its not when a step mom “walks in” like she is off the streets. Most men date a women for a certain amount of time before marrying them. You both chose to leave the marriage giving someone else the right to co-parent with the children. Ex wifes often try to run their household and their exes, and you lost that right when you ended the marriage. I will be a step mother and i am also an ex wife. My ex husband is dating a 25 year old and i had major concerns, but like a good mature women i let her show me who she was. Shes very responsible for being 25, just finished her masters degree, does not participate in gossip, and adores my son. Im glad i stepped back and kept my mouth shut. If you are concerned that youre ex husband is going to pick someone horrible, what does that say about you and the man you married, and your poor choices? If you step back and truly are only worried about the kids, you will build a relationship and get to know the other women who raises them.and cares for them as well. If you are still upset about the marriage ending, or maybe even jealous about the new women, then you will start problems that dont exsist, and try to make it look like its about the kids when its not. However it will be clear to everyone else that you are the problem and not the step mom.

  67. Amanda says

    I found both articles, this one and the one for step moms to understand bio moms, very useful. I do not find the responses welcoming. I feel like this is a great forum for moms/stepmoms who do not know eachother to bounce ideas off of and to gain a different perspective about the other. Lets not project our real lives into these articles… They should be read with an open mind and pondered. Some of the responses were very narrow minded and is exactly what the article was about, not understanding on another. For the bio-moms that read this article please read the article to step moms about bio moms, just to get another point of view.

  68. MommaBear says

    Jenna, you say these are the most common experiences of most stepmoms. I wonder how you derived your information, who did you poll? How many people did you poll? How much of it reflects your own experiences? I’m gonna speak from my own experience and respond to you based on that. I acknowledge that you generalized common experiences, but it’s just easier, more real, to respond to a person instead of a generalization.

    You wrote: ‘…She isn’t playing house’ with your child and ex-husband.’
    Me: She’s a grown woman, this is real life, I don’t see it as’ playing house’ at all. And… take him, he’s an ex for a reason. Best of luck to you.

    You wrote: ‘Stepmoms are trying to build their own family, a very real family that includes their husband, and children who aren’t theirs….’
    Me: Wow, are you for real?! Your OWN family with children who aren’t yours? Do you get what you’re saying? Get a clue… it’s NOT YOUR OWN when you’re blending families.

    You wrote: ‘It’s not about YOU.’
    Me: Yes, it IS about me, the birth mom… and the father, and kids, and stepmom. Take the spotlight off your new life with a new husband and instant family. Like it or not, it’s about TWO families. You are jumping into a pre-existing family where you are, indeed, trying to fit in. It doesn’t matter if the family was broke up 2 days ago or 20 years ago. That’s the plain truth of it. If you want to make a life with a man who already had a family, you don’t get to jump in and dismiss any of the players. You are piecing together a family with a real mom’s very-real kids. Therefore, your new family wouldn’t be possible with her. A simple ‘thank you’ could go a long way.

    You wrote: ‘When you contact their household, it often feels weird and disruptive’…, ‘…when you call, it interrupts the activity in the house and their stepchildren are immediately distracted. Any bonding that was going on is gone. Stepmoms may feel as though you’ve crept into every aspect of their lives. And your calling their house is another painful reminder of that.’
    Me: Really, do you hear yourself? The birth mom is disruptive and ruining your bonding time with your stepchildren? And she crept in to your life? Wow!
    They are HER CHILDREN; You are the one who crept in; you are the one who disrupted the mom-role that the kids grew to understand; you are the one who made the mother-child relationship become ‘weird’ when you came into the picture.

    You wrote: ‘Stepmoms often feel powerless and alone.’
    Me: This speaks volumes to me about your marriage. I’m truly sorry that you feel alone, I’ve been there.

    You wrote: ‘A stepmom’s marriage has a 60-70 percent chance of failing’
    Me: Another statement that’s sad to read. Why do woman put themselves in this situation if they know the odds? Isn’t this fact enough to make women leery of taking on the role? I’ll never do this to myself and my kids, nor to someone else’s under-age kids. Life is tough enough. I know and hear of too many cheating, abusive, lying and selfish men. I never wanted a cheating husband or divorce, but it is what it is. Now, I found peace and I’m surviving just fine. There’s much to revere about the ability to be alone, to find happiness within and not need to find it elsewhere.

    You wrote: ‘… being a stepmom is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done.’
    Me: Birthing 2 children, being a stay-at-home mom, putting my kids before myself, years of dedicating myself to my kids… only to watch a stepmom enter the picture late in the game, wait on the sidelines for my husband to end the marriage, then push her way in to my kids lives… is one of the hardest things this birth mom has ever done.

    You wrote: ‘Often, their needs and wants come last, their schedules aren’t their own, and they’re affected by a situation they didn’t create.’
    Me: Boo hoo! Are you kidding?! Any mom can say this, it’s not exclusive to stepmoms. And… ‘affected by a situation they didn’t create’? Did you get dragged to the alter and get forced to marry? I think not. You helped create the situation as soon as you said ‘I do’ to a man with kids. You bought in to the stepmom role and you created it because you got involved. Own it.

    You wrote: ‘Perhaps, one day, with a better understanding of each other, the mom/stepmom relationship will be one of championing the other, instead of automatic conflict.’
    Me: Perhaps, one day, with a better understanding of respect for the family unit & respect for children, woman who want to be stepmoms will champion the sanctity of birth moms and their children, instead of trying to justify stepping into, or taking over, a role that was not surrendered.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment, MommaBear. I’m not going to respond to each of your points because they are your truth, but I will answer a couple of your questions. I derived my information from working with many moms and stepmoms through this page and my stepmom coaching practice, being a stepmom myself and running an in-person stepparent support group which has over 150 members.

      From your last sentence you say “… a role that was not surrendered.” I’m wondering if infidelity was present in your situation? Or if you didn’t want the divorce? If so, that makes the situation 1000 times harder for you, I’m sure.

      You don’t have to like my points or agree with them, yet they are the truth for many stepmoms. My hope is that women will just read these and at the very least, sit with the possibility that these are the experiences for some. Not everyone is at the place where they can do that, and that’s OK.

  69. CKSmom says

    Ditto to Jenna’s comments. MommaBear, your comments are your truth and don’t ring true for many mothers or mom who are also stepmoms. But your points and feelings are very valid for your situation, I’m sure. We are all in very different situations in this blended life, Jenna was referring to some universal feeling shared by many stepmoms who deal with similar situations with their stepkids and dealing with a territorial, antagonistic or bitter mother. As her disclaimer states in the beginning of the post, this doesnt apply to everyone’s situation. Hoping that you are able to find peace and blessing in your situation!

  70. MommaBear says

    Thanks Jenna and CKSmom for the replies. Just wanted to give a voice for birth moms who deal with an ex-spouse who cheated with another woman who, in turn, became stepmom. I know it doesn’t apply to all stepmoms.
    He cheated, he played in porn shops, he has an abusive mouth. I didn’t want divorce, I was willing to forgive and work through it. I was given 2 weeks to get over everything and get back in the bedroom… he spit out, “well that’d sure be a good way to rebuild the trust!” That was my line in the sand. His loss.
    I deal with his emotional and verbal abuse. He’s said that his new wife is my son’s ‘new mom’. The stepmom told me that she considered my son to be her ‘family’ and my presence was unwanted, unneeded and a headache to them and I was to leave my son alone (at 16, he ran away to his dad’s to run from pending fatherhood. His dad let him ignore it for 9 months.). I strongly believe parental alienation came in to play because I used to have a great relationship with my son; it seems irreparable now. It’s baffling and devastating. It’s all too common. My son recently told me he stayed over there for the freedom and money. 99% of the time he ignores me, won’t visit or answer my calls/texts. Thankfully, I have a great relationship with my grandbaby’s teen mom and other grandma. The mom and my son are back together, yet he still ignores me. There are no words to describe my hurt. I babysit the grandchild every week, a huge blessing in my life.
    One last thought: my ex took many opportunities to be mean and hurtful when his wife wasn’t around to witness it. Stepmoms should keep that in mind when they can’t figure out why the birth mom is so defensive and retaliating to the ex.
    My situation is all too common for many birth moms… this is what I wanted to give a voice to.

    • Rhonda says

      I know exactly what you’re going through! Also like you said I know not all step moms are like this, but many are. And its only fair if we are going to discuss all the bio moms giving step moms disrespect, we should discuss the disrespectful step moms too. You say that most step moms want to help and they respect the bio mom…but you are gathering this info from step moms who come on these sites, come in to speak with eachother for support, step moms who are actually trying to make things work. You’re not taking into account all if the step moms out there who are absolutely horrid, disrespect, and brainwash children! I find it great to stick up for and praise the step moms who are trying to do good, but I find it wrong for you to take that praise to a level of generalization, because that’s like saying all moms are insecure and jealous of step moms, sure some may be, but ALL moms are not. Sometimes there is a very good reason for their hurt and/or hostility!

  71. Tamitha says

    As far as the stress you BMs may feel over BF and SMs apparently sex-fueled, all consuming love that they can’t contain around “your” children?…That’s all in your head…that IS YOUR insecurity consuming your brain. The kid(s) being around aren’t/isn’t exactly a TURN ON!, okay? If the kid(s) are at dad’s for the weekend, then chances are he and SM will be waiting till Monday to have sex again. And on the flipside of that, did it ever don on you that maybe it is a GOOD thing for your kid(s) to witness a functional, healthy, loving relationship between a man and a woman? In the case of my SD, BF and I are literally the ONLY couple that she has ever seen at as a normal couple should. I feel that having a man and woman around as a child, to demonstrate the kind of mutual respect, affection, and communication she/he should strive for and expect one day in a partnership with another is vital.

    Lastly, I can totally understand BMs concern for what kind of woman is now in a position to influence, care for, parent, etc “her” children, when a SM enters the picture. HOWEVER, #1-BF is just as much a parent to the child as you are, and his opinion and judgement are valid, therefore, you must realize that he is 100% qualified to make the call of whether a woman is ok to be involved in your kids lives. #2- If you are unsure, then byGod, MAKE YOURSELF SURE! I hear time and time again, SMs who have been dissected and judged and labeled by BM, yet BM HAS REFUSED TO MEET SM!!! You must at least be woman enough to give us a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised. And a little-known secret of BMs is that of having SM to compare notes with. I cannot tell you how many times my SDs BM has texted me something like “Angel is pointing at the computer repeating ‘Elmos-a-moos!!!’ and I have no idea what she wants! help!?” Which I, being with her most days, instantly know she means that she wants to watch a youtube video called “Elmo’s Got the Moves”. Mystery solved.. She has helped me out the same way. We figure things out together a lot of times. I am SDs full time caregiver, and make the decisions in my household. BM has basically no legal rights (her every-other weekend visits are supervised), but I still run things past her (and BF, of course) before acting on them, with SD. She ultimately has no control, and I could do as I please if I chose to, but I show her this respect, and find it beneficial to always make sure she knows that I know my place. I am able to do this because she, in turn, shows/expresses appreciation to me for, well, basically stepping in for her as much as I have been able to, providing SD the things BM can’t. We made a mutual decision to put SDs happiness above our egos, and THAT is what a real mom does. A SM is to be respected. She is NOT a babysitter, regardless of the fact that she has no legal rights to her s-kids. SMs make sacrifices that no one could ever understand, unless she/he is a step-parent. A BM is to be respected, also. She is not just “the over-bearing ex”, regardless of the fact that she appears so obsessive. She gave birth to her child(ren), and feels a biological need to protect him/her from any harm. Both women are so crucial in a step-family situation, and if they are smart women, they will at least TRY to join forces and reach peace.

  72. says

    After reading many of these comments, all I can say is that I wish the stepmother of my children were more like you guys. Unfortunately, she is not.

    She has bought every awful thing that my ex has said about me, 99% of which is untrue. Funny, but I thought that with a new relationship, you were supposed to leave the old ones at the door. He emotionally abused me for years, and he’s doing the same to her, but she doesn’t see it.

    She has stalked and harassed me, both in person and online. She has kept my children from me, because he has her convinced that after being a stay at home mother with my children for over 13 years, I am a danger to my children (how they survived when I was their primary caregiver, I don’t know, if I’m such a danger to them).

    One of the last times I spent any time with my children, she let loose, yelling and cursing at me and causing a scene when all I said was hello. Truthfully, after the abuse I lived through with my ex, she scared the living daylights out of me. I was literally frightened that she was going to start hitting me, but all she did was ask me to hit her, which of course I would not do.

    When we were late getting my boys back to them, and actually called to tell them we’d be late, she called my son on his cellphone and told him to run away from us in a crowded public location, then accused my current husband of assault because he told my son to come back since I was worried about him.

    She regularly accuses me of lying when I have proof that I’m telling the truth. Anytime I have a problem with something they have done, she calls my children’s attention to all that I have done wrong without taking any responsibility for her own actions. Even if she were willing to share the blame with me, I’d be happier than her putting 100% of the blame on me for her actions.

    I wanted to get along with her at first, but she started out attacking and has not stopped since. She has not just usurped my position as a mother, but actually attacked it. She has told me that I’m not a good mother. She has lied about me, harassed me, attacked me, and then wonders why I don’t like her. I’m over my ex. She can have him. I don’t like her because she has disrespected my position as the children’s mother, and won’t allow me to be a mother to them, even going so far as to tell me that I cannot leave her sight when I have my children. There never was anything said ever about supervised visitation, yet she chooses to try to supervise it.

    There are other things that she has done but the list is just too long.

    I must admit, I would like to ask stepmothers who are actually reasonable, how do I keep my sanity in the midst of this? I never thought we would be best friends, but I would like to at least get along with her for the sake of the children, but she will not allow it?

  73. Proud to be the stepmom says

    Amy and realmom: you both make me sick. I am a stepmom and the way you (Amy) portrayed us is disgusting and obviously your own personal and jealous feelings. Step back and take a look at why your ex is now your ex. Did you ever think it is because he couldn’t stand to be with someone like you?? Maybe it is better your kids have another female point of view so yours is not the only one they see. You sound ignorant and it pains me to think that you are an example of what is raising the future of our planet. I would never treat BM with any disrespect even though she has spoke very ill of me to her kids on several occasions. We (my husband and myself) have custody of the kids. I can promise you that they are happier and more content with how they live now as opposed to how it was when BM and dad were married. Women like you and realmom are the reason that BM and stepmoms rarely get along. What if your kids grow up to love a man/woman with kids and they become the stepparent. How will you feel then? Quit being so closed minded and learn a thing or two about life. There is a reason you are an ex…from your post I can see what that reason is.

    For the woman who took the time to write this article…you are amazing. As a stepmom I thank you. You, my friend, NAILED it!!

  74. rayna says

    I have a 5year old stepson and i love him like my own son and he loves me like im his own mom. In my case we dont have any trouble getting along or bonding we do EVERYTHING together. So not all stepmoms arent the same i see him as my child and i care/love him as my child and always will so some moms should appreciate some stepmoms for loving there child and caring for them.

  75. Crystal says

    wow mommabear, bear is right. You seem angry. As both a biomom whose kids have a stepmom and as a stepmom, I can tell you that for me personally that being a stepmom has been waaayyy, waaayyy harder than being a biomom whose kids have a stepmom.

  76. 2monkeys says

    I think everyone needs to take a step back and stop villainizing mom and/or step-mom. Each situation has a completely different dynamic and it isn’t right to paint each one with the same brush. It’s difficult for everyone involved, and the truth is that there are some amazing moms, as well as stepmoms. Likewise, there are just the opposite. It is a damn difficult thing for a mother to leave her children with another woman that takes a similar role to her – and frankly, this is healthy. Nobody can understand the bond between mother and child until they have birthed one of their own. This should really not be as minimized as it has been recently. It is also extremely difficult to enter a situation where children are involved, knowing full well that you may become attached to these little people, yet should your relationship fail, you have more than just your husband to lose. Being a step-mom is not an easy role to be in, and I respect it fully.

    Don’t forget – each dynamic is different, but somehow this tends to be forgotten. Even courts have a cookie-cutter prescription for each situation.

  77. says

    It occurs to me, that there is a great deal of time spent categorizing the new wife as the same as the old husband. I’ve been a step mom for 8 years, raised the younger ones with my husband, as well as bringing a few of my own into the mix. I too am an adult child, a product of a divorced and blended family. Something I never ever wanted to participate in as a mother or married adult. But here we are. Both of us have our kids full time. We are one BIG family. And at this point in time, I could honestly say about my husband who I love dearly – I probably understand the ex’s frustration with him, I see the male side that isn’t always paying attention to the kids, the male one track mind of which I became a part of – but I hear how lucky the kids are to have me around. Ms. Ex and Ms. New have a lot more in common than we talk about. We both care about the kids. We both care for the kids. But I’ve heard all the mean words about myself or my intentions, even when they were not fairly deserved. For the lone reason that I married a man with children and live in the same house with them all. It seems to be the norm, jumping to negative conclusions about the one who replaced your spot in the ex’s life. I get it. I’m lucky…my ex never remarried nor dates that I or the kids know about. I am SO glad. But as the one on the receiving end, perhaps if/when it does occur, I might be a little bit more positive to not label her – immediately. Maybe. After all, why do men find a partner? Not just sex. In a large part, to clean up their lives and take care of the responsibilities they aren’t inclined to manage – i.e. children. And who does it better than a good woman? He picked you didn’t he?

  78. Mom2four says

    As a bio mom with an ex (who has a girlfriend) AND a stepmom full time, I can see the points of both sides. In my case, however, I am able to identify with my ex’s girlfriend. My kids have been spending weekends with my ex and her for many years. Sometimes he works and its just her and the boys. Probably that scares her more than them. My husband and I got together 10 years ago. At first it was complete confusion! I went from 2 kids to 4 of them, the youngest two were both age 3 at the time. Bio-mom was not really in the picture because she had had the kids taken away for being abusive towards the oldest girl (then 10). I guess point on SM side, news flash. Not all Biomoms are better to take care of the kids than SM are. It’s been a long long battle with biomom. She has had the children on and off through bribes, alienation of myself and their father, it’s cost hundreds of thousands for counselling, legal fees, ect. She has taken everything we give her and demanded more. The children have lived full time with us for 2 years and she is still expecting child support for herself. She hasn’t paid a penny for anything, yet trashes me, my family, and my 2 sons every chance she gets. She doesn’t want me to have anything to do with “her” kids, and wants dad to spend time only with his children. But hey, after ten years of putting up with all her crap and still sticking around, I feel as though I do have a right to include those kids in my family, along with my own. And no, sorry, biomoms, but you don’t get to be the boss of your exes new household. On the other hand it has helped me deal with my ex and his home in a classy and non-aggressive way. Thankfully I do get along with stepmom to my kids. I get where the bio-moms are coming from, but from experience I tell you it is SO much easier if you just accept the SM and treat her as part of your children’s family. As if she were an aunt or something. Of course you trust your kids with her. Your ex wouldn’t have chosen her if she wasn’t right for HIS kids. Petty jealousy has no place in rearing children. My stepchildren are with us and their mother is alone. Because of her attitude and actions. I hope this gets out to some of you. Spend more time teaching your kids to love and less being a petty jealous person. Peace to you all

  79. AMP says

    Mom2Four – I am Mom2Five 😉 Same story here with BM. Same story here with what I feel is my right, after 8 years of heartache, sleepless nights, showing up, shutting up and loving – to have a say and be considered as “family”. And yes, my side of SM and BM, combined in one household, will shed light on my ex’s relationship if it occurs. *cheers* to you fellow Mom2Many! :)

  80. Angie says

    Wow. I’m a stepmom and can really feel for a lot of bio-moms. And a lot of stepmoms. What it really comes down to is the Golden Rule and common sense. The Golden Rule: don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself. And common sense: if anyone’s looking after your kids, be it the twelve-year old next door or a professional nanny or, yikes!, a bona fide Step Mother; that person needs the support of both “real” parents. Otherwise, your children–whom I expect you to put ahead of your egos–end up as spoiled, manipulative, abusive brats. Sorry to speak plainly.

    My husband’s ex-wife left her marriage, gifting me with the special-needs child she didn’t want to care for any more. “It’s your turn now,” she said of her seven-year old. She wanted to “have fun.” Yet, she interferes and undermines, even now.

    I respected her boundaries and reinforced her authority. I expected her to do the same for me, and she didn’t. She modeled disrespect. She even stole money from me–she got my husband’s dental plan to pay for her dental work one time. When I asked her for the $360 I paid out of pocket for work that should have been covered for me, she refused, saying that she put the money into “my” share of one of the children’s expenses. In fact, I’m not obligated to pay for her children, though I did supply about 30 hours a week of childcare for many years, allowing her to work full-time (My career didn’t flourish.)

    Bottom line: the kids come first. Kids need love, encouragement, support, positive role models, and moral guidance. Old-fashioned, but true. Disrespecting any parent, step or otherwise, just is a big no.

  81. Momof2boyz says

    Survivormomof2, thank you so much! You summed up my situation and fears so well. I applaud you for being willing to step outside of the box and see the situation on the other side of the fence.

    After 7 years of marriage and 2 children, I found out my ex was watching child porn and once his secret came out, he became a monster to me; mentally, physically and sexually abusive. I can’t prove it because he destroyed the hard drive, though the physical abuse was documented for the time he held a gun to my head. Though he is mostly gone for now, only seeking supervised contact with the kids on a bi-monthly basis, I worry about the day he will hoodwink another woman into believing his “woe is me” act, and do exactly what you are describing. I’m sure he will treat her like a queen, the same way he treated me while he was gas lighting me, manipulating me, and lying to me- I thought how lucky I was to have a man that thought the world of me… Once I knew his secret, his real opinion of me and all women came out. We are all whores, nothing to him, untrustworthy, emotionally manipulative, etc…

    I don’t begrudge any woman his love, though I doubt he has any to give. I do however dread when he uses the ole “I *lost* my wife AND kids, and it’s all her fault” jig. He will use a sob story to manipulate her, she will try to fix his issues by encouraging he participate with the kids, when he is a danger to the kids who is only using this ploy to excuse being a douche bag to her or anyone else.

    Good luck to all mom’s, step, single or bio- because it’s a jungle out there with men these days and their “porn addictions”.

  82. Joy says

    I ran into this looking for help perhaps re-evaluating my own interactions with my Step-son’s Bio mom. I have been in my SS life since he was 20 months old, he is now 12. We have a great relationship and I have never tried to take the “MOM” title, he calls me by my first name and if he feels the need to clarify my position to others, he will refer to me as his step-mother, to which I have no problems. In the beginning of my husband’s and my relationship, I stayed WAY our of their way. I feel my SS looked at me as more of a friend who was around his dad, I definitely did not parent nor try to get into their ways of parenting. I had no right at this point. Were there things I thought were not being done the way I would have done them, YES. I had concerns over their parenting agreement, how little legal rights he had as a father from their parenting plan, how they were handling their child support agreement, and all the while he said, she’s fine, I don’t need them on paper, we always work things out and can be amicable. Now, my concern was valid, as if I chose to be with this man, I would have to live with the mess that was this awful agreement they made, yet weren’t following. Did it work for them YES, UNTIL NEW WIFE COMES INTO THE PICTURE. See her need to control every little thing on the parenting agreement, and then her “willingness” to bend was all manipulation and protection. Manipulation to try and get him back and give her what she wanted ( time and money, mostly money), and protection in the event she ever wanted to punish him she had the upper hand.
    In the begging, she was cold but eventually warmed up to me and I think found it nice to have another person there to help with the child. I found myself with my SS often alone, she would call and ask me to watch him for her when she got called into work, or if he was sick, she would ask me to watch him on my days off. When I got married and became a stay at home mom, she began to use me even more. Dropping not only my step-son off with me, but her other child from a new marriage at a moments notice. Until one day I told her NO MORE! I am not a babysitter, you can not use me as such. See she never respected or viewed me as anything but a cheap or free babysitter for her children.
    When I became his wife, my SS step-mother and eventually added two more children of our own into our family, my role significantly changed. I became the MOM IN OUR HOUSE, not his mother, but a mother figure, YES! I am the mother in my own home, and that is my RIGHT, it is my life and my home and I will not be treated as anything but a parent in my own home by ANY of the children. I make sure I treat every child equally, provide the same to my SS that I provide to my own bio children, we ensure that he is included in every family activity, has his own toys/clothing/room/space, has the ability to be involved in sports, arrange playmates with neighbor hood children, etc.. does this bother his mother? maybe, maybe she feels I am stepping on her motherly rights, but in all honestly, I’d love for bio-mom’s to write a do and don’t list for us Step-moms, so we know what you consider stepping on your toes, and how we are to make your child feel integrated, welcomed and loved without doing these things.. that is of course, unless, it really is just your intolerance for your child to be loved by anyone other than you.. OH did I hit on something? I think so.. Hey I’m a mom too, and I can feel how painful it would be to be away from my children and let another mother “love” them. But I also know that I am mature enough to understand that no-one will ever replace their real mother, and I would be grateful that someone loved them and gave them what I was unable to in my absence. I have also seen the pain that my step son feels being separated from being with both his parents when he confides in me, I have seen the pain in my husband eyes and wiped his tears when his child is withheld from him, and I am the one that has to make it better for them both when they are in my care, because in my home, I am the mother, and that is the role I chose to fill.

    While they still are the co-parents to my SS, their actions, interactions, plans, fights, agreements, etc.. ALL impacted me sure, but most importantly MY children and their relationship with their brother. Their everyday life was in turmoil because of her intrusive nature into our lives, the lack of legal protection for his rights in the parenting I had worried about when we fist met, came to fruition. She became desperate in her communication with my Dh, playing all her manipulative tricks to try and hold onto an inappropriate relationship that was far beyond just co-parenting or friendly. I’m talking calling drunk at 2am, crying to my DH about things that happened to her at work, asking him to bring her coffee and lunch to her work and finally asking my DH to bring her a tampon to work from my bathroom. When I put my foot down that HE WAS TO SET BOUNDARIES WITH HER, and he did, She became bitter, vengeful and mostly entitled. She felt entitled that my SS was HERS alone, she failed to see the need or importance for his father to be in his life, and she used me as her scape goat for her childish, and inappropriate behavior. She would act of spite, with-holding my SS from time with his father, became petty about money, refused to let him go on vacation with our family, etc…
    After a few years of waiting for her to settle down, hoping it would get better, my husband made the decision to go back to court and have his parenting plan re-written. Of course you bet your butt that I took the wrath from her on this. She believed that I was the one to do this, that somehow, she failed to believe that my husband could really be tired of playing her games and wanted legal protection from her and her behaviors. Of course I did too, but to be honest, If I was the driving force, It would have been done when I first stepped in the picture. My role was never to initiate such a thing, but you better believe that when my husband had enough, I was in his corner cheering him on.
    Once this happened, all bets were off. The once ” cordial” relationship we had turned nasty. She text me death threats, nasty slurs, her barrage of harassment included texting my husband bodily harm threats towards me, texting me threats, telling third parties that if she ever found me in a dark alley way she would kick my ass. She was loosing control of the ability to manipulate my husband, loosing control of the power she held over controlling my SS, and it was way easier to look at me as the culprit, rather than look at how her actions played a role in his choice, and ultimately how the choice benefited the child.
    I think long and hard about how to mend a relationship with her. I have reached out via text, tried to make amends. While I do not want to be her best friend, I am an important part of her child’s life, weather she wants to admit that or not, and it is in the child’s best interest if she and I can be friendly toward each other. I am in no way wanting to set ground rules for their parenting, but I do have influence as now, the way the co-parent concerns me as it affects my own children. SO you bet I have every right to protect my own children and to be involved in discussions with my husband regarding the best way to handle things and what is best for our family. Do i need to talk to her and make daily plans, NO, but to say that step-moms should butt out entirely is UN-fair and UN-realitic.

    I( your child’s step mom), am not your child’s babysitter. I should never be treated as such, and you have no right to interview me as such. I am a partner to your ex, his new family, a person he chose to spend the rest of his life with and start a new family with. I am a part of your child’s family as they are a part of mine. I respect you as his mother, but may not always agree with your choices. That is my right as it is yours. I have the right to set forth my own rules in my own house, and enforce those rules as a parent in my own home. I have made a choice to be un-selfish in my love, to give it to a child who is not my blood, to financially support a child that is not mine, to care for and look after the well being of a child that is not mine, to attend sporting events to cheer him on, to drive your child to and from practices, to help with homework,etc etc.. and I do all this with no legal obligation to, with no legal protection from him being ripped from my life, no mother’s day cards, no gratitude, and absolutely no acknowledgement, that while yes, I am not his mom.. I may just be a very good and important person in his life.

  83. Amanda says

    Are you kidding me? Guilt? Shame? These narcissist self-absorbed traits are EXCUSES to not be a Father & parent.
    They all come down to a basic fundamental lack of caring. Self preservation of image is more important than sucking it up & parenting = NOT CARING!!!

    Put a pretty bow on it but it’s still a lack of character. Lack of sacrifice. Which all equal not caring about the child. Not caring about anyone but you. Let’s give absent parents more excuses because that’s exactly what the generation needs.

    Pathetic!

  84. The Ex says

    I came across this while doing research on how to approach the new wife to be. My son is special needs and the new wife to be has a young child as well. I need her to understand that parenting a special needs child takes a lot of patience, can be financially tough, etc. What may work for her child does not always work for my child. I have read some really good articles and gotten many different perspectives that is for sure. I do not want to be a part of the new womans life but I want her to respect me and my child. I want her to understand that he is different and needs lots of patience and time. My child is Autistic, has severe ADHD, has Impuslsive Control Disorder and is BiPolar. So as you can see he requires a lot of supervision. It is her job to me to Co-Parent with the father when my child is in his fathers house. It is not her responsiblity to care for the child when the father is away. I feel if we make an arrangement for a certain period of time then the father needs to be there. I asked that he not travel while our child is there and he has graciously agreed. He sees his child a few days a year and I think that he needs to be there and not traveling. His first reaction when he decided that his child would come visit for 5 weeks during the summer was, I need to find a day care. No you don’t, you need to spend time with your child and if you cannot spend that much time then we need to shorten the visit. I agree with some of the other comments yes we do not know this new woman but we need to get along for the child sake. I didnt say we needed to like her just that we needed to get along. I find it difficult to not say what a dirt bag the dad is. That he is a liar, cheat and theif and will never change. Heck he comes to visit his son and text and talks to other women. So no he hasnt changed in my eyes. I tell him that I hope he is sure because 2 children will be affected by this decision. I don’t think he takes it the way that he should.

  85. Debb says

    Amy I find this quote of yours hilarious “All we really know is that our ex-husband likes having sex with you. The odds that he’s all that careful about choosing someone to do childcare aren’t great; likely he wasn’t much involved with the childcare research first time around. ”

    he chose to shag you …. the first time round and have a child ( or 2) with you… so what you are saying here Amy is that all “first wives” are probably more crap at parenting than the step mum’s are ….

    and here is my gloat …my daughter’s father and I have a fantastic relationship, we agreed from the moment I found out I was pregnant that no matter what our lives where about her not us … to this day 16 years later we still live that way … no child support agreement, no custody agreement no court …. he can take her overseas … she even has “another mum” (as we disagree with the words step mum or dad). I have married since, and our children especially our daughter has an amazing STABLE life … and that is what it should be about… stability for the child not how to piss off our ex … that is the end of my rant … more women could learn valuable life lessons from me..

  86. want what's best. says

    I have a different. Situation. But I have seen through these post how a step mom may feel. That has been very hard for me to see.
    However…. in my situation step mom married my ex husband without knowing his children. My daughter was furious. She felt totally left out. They got married on my birthday. And immediately after ward decided they wanted more children. When a woman comes into a situation like mine it’s not just about her and him.
    She wants my kids to love her…… my children ask to be alone sometimes with their father. It’s not allowed. But he is allowed to adopt her child and be alone with him.
    She has 2 other children that she doesn’t have with her and we knew nothing about her. Other than he married her on moms birthday.and was told by family not to .
    When you become a step mom I understand the desire to stake your claims on your man. But when you sent cut up pictures of you back to you thru your children how can I really feel that you evencare about my children.
    All most children want is to feel secure. When know one knows you and everyone is gonna start digging. Including the kids. My daughter hasn’t spoke to her father in 6 month.
    This is just a bit of my situation.
    I wish I could have had a chance to get to know her. But my children were not given the chance. And neither was anyone in his family. And then he has the nerve to cry because no one wants any thing to do with them. Well when all you do is make it all about you and you new wife and children and my children’s whole life was flipped upside down I’m not gonna like her…and neither are my children.
    I have been put thru hell. All because his family doesn’t like her. And it is because of the way she has treated my children. She wants me to think she loves my kids……. she doesn’t even love him she loves herself and being in control. She has shown me how much my ex loves her. I understand….. we all decide to have a better life and not mess up again. I get it. I want my ex to be happy. But when you allow your new wife to disrespect everyone it’s not being a man…. if my man treated my children the way he has allowed her to treat them he would be gone.
    One lady on here was talking about how his ex was involveded with his family. I feel bad about that. But in experience their is a reason you can’t get to know the family. And it isn’t because of her or you. Its him and his choices. He needs to makes things within family right. He needs to apologize he needs to humble and make things right. The reason they are ok with the ex is because they see the way he does his kids and it pisses them off. At least that’s how it is in my situation.

  87. StepMonStepsIn says

    I loved this post. I’ve read through all the comments on this post and forgot what it was I originally Googled for in the first place. I am struck at how much hurt is out there between step moms and bio moms. But I feel I should share my story, as I haven’t seen one like it yet.

    My husband and the biological mother of his children were never married. When they broke up, he allowed her to stay in his house while he went to work (he’s a fisherman in the great white north), so that she (who had never really held a job) could collect her resources, find a job and get herself an apartment. He paid the bills for her to live there for 5 months. He and I had met some time after they broke up, but I lived several states away. When we married and I came to live with him, the kids were living with him while he was home from work, full time. When it was time for his to return to work he and his ex talked about the kids staying with me. He put it to me this way, “they can go live with their mother, and she will make sure they don’t die before I get home from work. But it will not be a happy time for them”. So the kids stayed with me, with bio mom’s consent. I came to find out she had no place to live and no job either and had spent those 5months partying and destroying my husbands home.

    She would come visit the kids sporadically over the next 3 months, came over drunk and fell asleep on my couch, called without warning that she was in m y driveway, and then claimed to be taking the kids camping in the mountains in February. They were both toddlers at the time. She and my husband hadn’t had a divorce, so there was no custody agreement. That changed, and she became quite mean. The kids would come back form visits telling me she said they weren’t allowed to love me anymore. It hurt the kids.

    Her visits were always traumatic for everyone, and the kids came home with scabies more than once. But her visits became more sporadic over the years, until one fateful visit where the kids never came home. She hid them for two months, and abused them while they were with her. Once her visits became supervised, she never asked to see them again.

    Are all bio moms like this? Of course not. I would hope most are loving, kind and wonderful parents. But neither are step moms the stuff of nightmares. I have loved my children since they were toddlers, and they have proudly called me Mom for years, despite many discussions what that means and being told they don’t have to. I am a Step Mom, but in my home, I am the ONLY mom. And when my husband is at work for months at a time, I am the only PARENT. I am dismayed when bio moms feel angst towards step moms (although, yes, there are wretched steps moms out there too, and I feel for children in this situations….). I wish my husbands ex was a decent person. I wish she was reasonable and not abusive. But those things will never be, and I am all my kids have now, but I will never be their mother. A pain I cannot describe.

    I tell my story not to incite anger among the mothers out there who deal with mistresses-turned-wife or stepmoms who seem to over step their place, but to add a different tale to the ones already being told: Every situation is different. And postings like the one Jenna has done helps ease the pain of a life, that while we chose to step into, was probably not the one we envisioned as dreamy-eyed children long ago.

  88. B.A. says

    I wish my kids’ stepmother was like most of the ones posting here. I was actually happy about the ex remarrying and thought his new wife might be a positive influence on my children and on our coparenting which was often troublesome. Not so. My ex is angry, vindictive and full of drama and she seems to be exactly the same. She was never interested in meeting me or getting to know me and refused to even greet me or look at me in the beginning. She believes all the lies he told her and how he’s a victim (which being married previously, you’d think she know better. I know when I meet a man, I take what he says about his ex with a grain of salt.)
    ONe of my children has Aspergers and is easily manipulated and influenced by negativity. My ex does subtle passive aggressive moves to alienate him from me and constantly create drama and she is right there with him. I constantly hear the negative comments they make about me, and whenever I attempt to talk to him about MY child she is always chattering away. She has a BA in Psychology but works as a claims adjuster. Which in their know it all world makes her an expert on special needs. She even once commented that if my son gets along with me (which he does once he is away from his father’s house for 15 minutes) it must be because he is “adapting” to being with me. Seriously? It couldn’t possibly be because I was his mother for 9 years before she even knew he existed.
    If I had the privilege of being a step mother I would do my best to treat the REAL MOTHER with respect and try to build a relationship that is good for the children. I can’t understand how this woman or anyone else like her could not do the same.

  89. Elaine says

    B.A., your story is almost identical to mine. I’m still counting the days until my youngest child turns 18, just so that I won’t have to deal with her just to even have contact with him anymore. I’m lucky enough to be within 3 years of being at the end of this, and I will be grateful when that time comes. As it is, I only have to deal with her anymore to see my youngest child. The older children are able to come and go at my home as they please, and I’m able to see them more often, and without conflict. It’s so nice.

  90. AnnaBleu says

    I receive email updates once in awhile on this thread and am always surprised to see it’s still going. I guess I shouldn’t be, as this is a deeply emotional and life altering issue. It saddens me to see so much hatred and disgust between the adults who are raising children. The children who are pretty much in the whim of whatever atmosphere the adults around them choose to build. And it is normal for children to change their behavior to adjust to who they are with and attempt to make a connection with THEIR biological parent they love. We’ve given up trying to cooperate with the BM and I’ve received a fair share of nasty comments about myself that are complete lies. So we keep our heads down and raise our kids, providing them with stability, daily support and love. Which is what should be on everyone’s top priority list, instead of trying to control each other, with the kids caught in the frey. I wish our situation was different – I surely do. But it’s not realistic to expect a change. The kids are number one and all the other stuff is distraction.

  91. Step Momma says

    The truth is, many mothers are jealous of step mothers because they hate seeing their ex husbands happy. They are also terrible naggers who will complain about every little thing because they are bitter. My husband’s ex wife cheated on him, left him for another man, had 3 children by that man, and still manages to try and control what we do. I have spoken with her and tried to be reasonable, but she is completely crazy. So I no longer am worrying about it. I told her if she had any issues to take them up with my husband. My husband is also done trying to deal with her because she wants her way like a child and doesn’t understand the idea of compromise. I love my stepson, I just can’t stand his mother!

    • Helen says

      I have to agree with Stepmomma. I TOO am both an ex wife, the 2nd wife and somewhat of a step mom just in my case the “step-children” were adults so I pretty much didn’t get a chance at all. I’d like to point out to bio moms that have some kind of gripe whether it’s some kind of childhood based insecurities they have festered whether it’s jealousy, lack of having the power or control over their ex husbands or finding themselves not being able to hold themselves responsible for their actions as well… (from what I understand, it takes “two” to divorce, and it most cases it’s the wife who initiates it)… in turn leading to the “gripes” against stepmothers, especially those bio moms that come to post messages on sites that the topic does not relate to them. It makes me wonder why they make the effort to do that unless they too, have “other” problems so to speak. I find it kind of hard that if a bio mom has a problem with a step mom, I’m sure they can find boards and blogs that support that topic, instead they come here, why?

      But aside from that, like I said before, I am an ex wife with a teenage son from my previous marriage as well as being a new wife to my current husband. The difference is that even though my ex husband and I are divorced, we both realize that our son is important to us. So important that we are not that immature and we put our own personal interests regardless of whose “fault” it was aside for his sake. That is why my son is not bitter or defiant against me or my new husband and vice versa, is growing into a mature, responsible and considerate adult despite the divorce.

      On the other hand, after my husband’s ex wife had 3 affairs which he even forgave her for the first 2 and was even willing to forgive her AGAIN for the third, she was not compliant, which lead to their divorce. And afterwards, when she found out that her ex husband was marrying again, she promptly started harassing us, threatening us and manipulated her adult children against both their father and myself. And yes, she was that good as a master manipulator. Most of the destructive, narcissistic women like this are. It is disgusting, heart breaking and extremely difficult for any newcomer. I give credit to every single new wife and stepmother who are going through this living hell, putting up with this lunacy and still have not only the perseverance, but the devotion they hold towards their husbands and their step children is astronomical in numbers, and even though you’ll never get a medal for it, you should be applauded.

      Bio moms who act like this should have really reconsidered having children to begin with, being that they are not much more than a child themselves. What makes it more unfortunate is that they don’t even think they have a problem!

  92. Jo Ann says

    For whatever it’s worth….I think that in general, stepmom/stepdads who love on your children just as much as you would should be praised for loving them even at all. Sure their household rules are different than yours but using a guideline to determine if the child is being treated unfairly or poorly would be a factor for moms and dads to raise the red flag. But if they are doing nothing more than loving your child and building a good foundation even if they have structured rules to allow the child to grow in a positive way, then embrace it and be THANKFUL that your child is being loved they best way they know how to love them! There are many stepparents out there who treat their stepchildren poorly. It can be worse. Don’t create this damn if I love them and damn if I don’t love them attitude. Be mature enough to embrace the good that the stepparent has to offer your child. It’s the greatest gift any child whose parents are not together could ever wish for. I have kids of my own and so does my husband, I would LOVE to see my kids happy with their father’s fiance, but they are not because his fiance would treat my kids different from her own kids, put my kids on restriction for text message conversations they have with me, and accuse my kids of stealing things from her kids. It’s painful to see my kids go through this but even though they share their bitterness with me, I confort them at the same time I expect my kids to respect her by not calling her names or doing anything bad to harm or hurt her feelings. They can simply just move in with me and stepdad. On the other hand, I have a stepson whose mom gives my husband a hard time to arrange visits. She is SUPER sweet to me anytime she makes contact with me but would blast my husband and tell him I’m a bad person when I don’t think I’ve ever given her any reason to think I am a bad person. She got angry at my husband just because she found out her son has my phone number and that he has been texting every night to say good night and I love you. Then I noticed those messages stopped coming from my stepson. It hurt but I continue to love him and treat him no different than I do my kids. House rules apply to all kids in our home. Whatever my kid’s father allows my kids to do in his home is their thing. His rules may or may not differ in my home and same with my stepson.

  93. Cj says

    I am a step mom. And together we have added 2 children together to our blended family.

    Not all biomoms are evil. My husbands ex is not my friend, in fact we barely nod or look at each other in person, but she’s not horrible. She is a great mother to her children, and I’m extremely thankful for that. We’re all involved with the children 50/50. Which does make it difficult at times, but it’s not about us. Our responsibility as “parents” is to raise these children as best as we can with love and wisdom. I quote parents, because as a step mom, it’s sometimes taboo to address yourself as such. Depending on whose on the receiving end, and they’re perspective.

    I have learned, that I cannot live my marriage and raise my family ( yes I said it) according to anyone elses opinions and convictions but my own. If I were to live them through the exs comforts and her demands, my marriage would fail. I would be a robot living for someone else. I chose this life, but so has the bio parents. When you divorce, you did so knowing there was a chance of remarriage and a stepparent somewhere. To not see that is pure ignorant.

    As a step mom, I’m expected to love and treat my step child as if they are my own.. This expectation coming from the biomom. She would never admit it, but if I had treated her child any less I would be cruel and she would be livid. But seriously, biomoms… Ask yourself that question, why be so territorial when in the same breath expect the step mom to love them?

    Boundries: biomoms or at least the one I’m dealing with oversteps….. Quite often. It’s the reason why I do not get along with her. She doesn’t understand the boundries of my marriage. when another woman, regardless of who, is creating a relationship aside from you with your husband, it’s going to get nasty. Let me explain…. Yes, they HAD a relationship prior to you. YES, they may have had a system that worked prior to you. BUT, when divorce happens and new relationships arise, boundries need to be set.

    Calling within professional times, for important/emergency children situations are acceptable. Calling to ask personal questions, advice or to speak ill about the new addition is not. Creating a new schedule for pick ups / drop offs and financial communications are acceptable. Not compromising regardless of who the drivers are and the inconvenience it may place on schedules is not. Not allowing or accepting the stepmother to be involved in life decisions, but expecting the stepmom to be there for emergencies and pickup runs is not fair or acceptable.

    A clear understanding is this, either your all in or your all out. Being in the middle, compromised will only leave confusion and failure. For me and my husband it’s this, we’re all in. If you want me involved with the little things, getting the kid up for school, drop offs, pick ups, advice, finances, doctors, sports etc. then I’m all in, involved with convos with ex, emails, life decisions and disipline.
    For others if you don’t want me involved with disipline, advice, sports, schools, docs, communication with ex…. Then don’t expect me to be involved with pick ups, drops, finances and etc.

    It’s simple. And it may seem extreme, especially for the biomom. But HE ( my husband ) and MY household is not her family. What she chooses to do in HER household, and whomever she decides to add to it, is not my business or my family. Divorced…

  94. Sally says

    I was a stepchild and my stepmom trwated me like Cimderella , I cleaned the house and she got my dad to pay her kids for it. As an adult we tolerate each other for my dads sake. I can’t forget how she treated me though. But I think everyone’s case is different. One day I may be a stepmum but I will try to treat his kids like I’d treat my kids friends that way the mum hopefully will be happier. But who knows some mums and stepmums are resentful and angry and will take it out on you. My ex husband was abusive and I warned his third girlfriend as she had kids. She believed his lies dropped me in it he took me to court as revenge… And a year later they are engaged and although I supervise contact in public as he’s abusive she came along last time. I was polite and watched as she played with my kids in front of me, stroked their heads and talked of them meeting her kids, and of how my child should have singing tutors like hers. And she got in my face and said why can’t we get along. I said aren’t we? And she went into a childish strop and ignored us all. Then my ex gave the kids 4 Easter eggs each from her. Now as much as I want to get along she overstepped the mark by touching my kids, playing with them without asking me first and talking about things that are not her decision to make. But I’m willing to overlook that. What I can’t overlook is that she expects me to suddenly realise that my ex and her will make a safe environment and to admit I lied or something. I told her to check with police they have proof. She obviously ignored that. Anyway my point is that I’m sure she’s a lovely person and thinks I’m a nutter but one day she’ll see the truth. What is dangerous is that believing the mans lies puts kids in danger. And causes us women to hate each other. I dislike someone that considers me a liar and is trying to get me to put my kids in danger going anywhere near my kids. I will allow her to come along now and again to put her mind at rest but these visits are for the kids and their dad and in her mind we are having an affair or something but reality is I can’t deal with the extra stress from her And her strops I already have him to deal with. The kids just want to see their dad. So step mums I understand that if a kid lives in your house you should have more say but some are prone to imagining bonding when really just let the kids bond with their dads and relax their mum can be the mum. I’d love to leave my kids with their dad and stepmum knowing they are safe I could go out.

  95. tarah says

    I like this post. I came into my step daughters lives when they were 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 yrs old. My previous boyfriend had 2 kids, and I swore never to date a father again. But alas, my now husband is worth it. He is what I was searching for, ‘the father for my future children’ :)

    So 3 1/2 years later, we are married with a 2 1/2 and twin 1 yr olds.

    It can work. His ex babysits my kids. Why? ‘because they are my kids siblings’. As much as she annoys me (disorganized, arrogant, sees herself in the right all the time), too bad. These are the cards we’re dealt with.

    We’re all mature about the situation (luckily), and we’ve always told the girls that ‘there’s no secrets between us. Anything we do or say can always be told to your mother’. (So we’ve made sure not to dis her out aloud).

    I’m not here to replace her. I have an expectation in my household of kids behaviour, and there is no special treatment. (Oh yes, I have never laid a hand on my step daughters, though I have given my oldest a smack to her bottom a few times). My youngest daughter told her mum that I hit her all the time. In our situation, her mum saw through the lies and shut my step daughter down.

    It is hard at times with disagreements, but we keep our cool and agree to disagree. That’s where mediation or lawyers may help.

    I have it very lucky, but it is tiring at times when you have someone in the background trying to dictate certain things to you

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