step-mum feeling a little sad today! aibu?

(103 Posts)
Fluffydeville Sun 10-Mar-13 12:08:35

I don't know if step-mum's generally get any recognition today, just a card or a text would be nice I guess, my DSD is 15 and we have a great relationship this is my first mothers day officially as a step-mum since DH and I got married last year. For fathers day I took DSD shopping and bought gifts for her for both my husband and her stepdad, just feel like I am the only one getting left out here, a little acknowledgement would mean the world. am i being over-sensitive and un-reasonable?

AmberLeaf Tue 12-Mar-13 08:33:22

theoriginalandbestrookie Bang on. Excellent post.

DoJo Mon 11-Mar-13 18:20:02

Just to clarify, my post was regarding step parents who aren't doing the majority of the child care, specifically those who see their step children at weekends or similar. I totally agree that a step parent who is 'step' only in biology as it were is a special case, although I would be surprised if they accounted for more than a minority of cases.

IceBergJam Mon 11-Mar-13 16:55:11

I agree Honey. My siblings and I never felt any burden, and my stepchildren feel no burden . I know of 3 stepfathers and one stepmother performing the full time role, and apart from normal teenage or family agnst, they fuction just like a normal family.
I guess MN is a sqewed (sp?) view because people come on here for help.

HoneyStepMummy Mon 11-Mar-13 16:35:04

My step son is 7 years old and makes a card for both his mum who he lives with 60% of the time and for me. He considers me to be the 'mummy' at Dad's house. He does not find this at all confusing and is very comfortable with this.

My 16 year old stepdaughter lives with us full time. Her mother is someone who my DH dated very casually when he was in the Air Force (and young and dumb). She "accidently" got pregnant. This resulted in her raising neglecting DsD in filth and squalor and abandoning her at 2 for my DH to raise.

It's interesting that some posters thinks she deserves a sign of appreciation on Mother's Day simply because she gave birth to my DsD. By the way DsD refuses to have any contact with her.

I understand that if you're an adult and your dad gets remarried you most likely don't feel the need to get his new wife a Mother's day card. Makes sense. However I still strongly believe that a sign of appreciation to the woman or women helping to raise you is the kind and right thing to do. A stepmother can be just as much of a mother as an adoptive mother. You don't see hoards of adopted kids sending cards out to strange women all over the world just because they happened to give birth to them.

BTW there isn't any more burden placed on my DsD to recognize me on Mother's day than there is for her to remember her Dad on Father's Day or his birthday.

We are all very comfortable with our family's arrangements, and my parents also consider my stepkids their grandkids.

I don't want to be celebrated on Step Parents Days, as it implies that I'm doing less of a job than a biological parent.

I would never dream of not getting my step mum anything.
My step mum does my childcare, Is one of my best friends. I call her by her name but in conversations I have two mums.
One northern mum and my southern mum- step mum
I might be a bit biased as I've known her since I was 2, she can't have children. She's been the best mum, and a fantastic grandma.
My mums are both fantastic- they used to come to parents evenings together!!

IceBergJam Mon 11-Mar-13 16:26:38

As an adult stepchild, one of four, we always celebrate mother/fathers day with
blood and step parents.

As a stepparent, my dsss bring me a token gift. I don't expect the same gift as their mother but they always show appreciation.

I guess I got very lucky. I would not change my broken family.

Slightly off subject here but some of these posts remind me of a mother who asked when I was going to give my daughter 'proper siblings', saying her half brothers didn't count. I think it was the 'you're just a women ' post.

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 11-Mar-13 16:06:12

But the remark that a step mother is not the DSD's mother is just a statement of fact. It doesn't matter how wonderful the step parent is, they are not at the end of the day the biological parent. Ditto the child may well have an idealised version of reality where the two natural parents are together, or if not then they don't get a new partner.

No matter how wonderful the step parent is I feel that it places an inappropriate burden on a child to expect them to have the maturity to recognise that the step parent may want appreciation for their role, particularly when that recognition is apparently also meant to happen on the day that the child is meant to recognise their biological mother. It must be tremendously difficult for a child to process that. Even in the situation where say the Step mother is the one that provides all the caring and the mother doesn't - as a child you are programmed to want your parents to be perfect despite evidence to the contrary.

I agree that being a step parent or a parent in a successful blended family must require a lot of maturity. I would have thought that the maturity would extend to not expecting the step child to recognise a step parent on a day that is really meant for the natural parent.Listen to what the adult scs are saying, many of them say that they wouldn't dream of giving a step mum a card for mothers day but it does not mean that they don't appreciate what they do.

I think we should start to recognise step parents days a bit more, then the step parents can get recognition on an appropriate day that doesn't clash.

IceBergJam Mon 11-Mar-13 15:52:53

It is annoying when people throw out those kinds of comments. And I don't understand why people expect stepfamilies to be dysfunctional and the children described as victims. I guess this forum attracts those looking for help.

The stepfamiles I know function healthly, with the stepparent playing a key role in the childrend lives, and appreciation and affection demonstrated by the children.

When I think of these families, I think it is the emotional maturity of the 3/4 adults involved that made this possible. People who make those comments above may lack that level of emotional maturity.

HoneyStepMummy Mon 11-Mar-13 14:30:24

Happy Belated Mother's Day OP! And thank you for the above comments IceBergJam. If someone had posted that they would like to give a card and gift on Mother's Day to an aunt or Grandmother who had been supportive and helped raise them, the response from posters would have been supportive and admiring. To me Mother's Day isn't a "special day" (yuck) to fawn over mothers but a reminder to show your sign of appreciation to the person who raises or raised you. So why would it be so wrong for a stepmother to like a sign of appreciation?

Comments like "you're not her mother" and "you're just a woman who happens to live with her father" are downright insulting and very outdated.

There's lots of different types or step-parenting, just like there's lots of different types of parents. I love my step children very much. I also provide private medical insurance for them, help to support them financially, cook and clean for them...the list just goes on and on. When my stepdaughter had to go to the emergency room I was the one who stayed up all night with her. I passed my beloved sports car onto her, and pay the insurance. When my stepson is sick or has toilet accidents guess who takes care of it? I'm just like any other parent, only I didn't give birth to them.

It annoys when when people say how unsual it is for a step parent to be "so nice" as if what I'm doing isn't the norm. As my little step son says, "Step parents are parents too".

DoJo Mon 11-Mar-13 13:10:36

Doh - "whether their parents have moved on happily" is what that was supposed to say!

DoJo Mon 11-Mar-13 12:54:30

I'm not saying that there's any way around any of it, just responding to the post by Whois about the expectations on step parents. I honestly don't think there are any right answers - having a good relationship with your step-children can be down to luck as much as anything, as there are so many factors which are beyond the step-parents control including the ages of the children involved, the manner in which their parents relationship broke down and whether their parents have . However, the list of 'expectations' seemed to overlook the fact that these expectations don't come from the children in the equation, given that the thread was about children showing appreciation for their step parents.

And I'm not saying that children don't want step-parents, more that their expectations don't necessarily include a step parent doing the things listed by Whois. I would have been happy for my step-mother just to be pleasant to me whilst I was at my Dad's house - I never asked her for lifts, money or even love and certainly would have been disappointed had I wanted her to treat me the same as her own son. If she felt obliged to any of these things then the expectation wasn't from me, so feeling disappointed that I didn't express any gratitude for this would have been a little misguided and would have run the risk of giving her a negative attitude about our relationship which was unwarranted.

I personally like the idea of step-parents day, where you can acknowledge the contribution that they make to your life, whatever that may be, and not feel as though you are being disloyal or introducing an element of competition with your parents.

Fluffydeville Mon 11-Mar-13 12:02:33

Just interested in the posts above, of course step-parents start a relationship with their step-child as a part of their relationship with their partner, what would be the alternative, finding a child you like with a single parent and start a relationship with them so that you can become a step-parent to the child - that would be ridiculous.
No it's not a totally selfless act, but nor is any type of parenting (some may disagree). As to say the child didn't want it - how do you know that, if the child has seen one parents be single for a long time and the other happily settled, how do you know they wouldn't want to see their single parent happy and settled too? My DSD welcomed me with open arms, she was excited to meet me and has always treated me like she is happy I am there.

IceBergJam Mon 11-Mar-13 11:51:58

If a stepmother performs the role of a day to day mother, so as an example (jointly with the father), school runs, homework, study buddy, cooking, cleaning, chatting, reprimanding, guiding, days out, gifts, finacial support, with the whole list of issues thown in by being part of a stepmother, but the stepmother does not love the children as she would love her own children, then surely she is to be admired. To be able to perform that role, when there is no love, maybe just affection takes guts, resiliance, determination and strength. It is far harder, in my opinion to stepparent, than parent. As a parent, you can fall back on love.

And who expects it? The father obviously, and would not the mother? She may not want or like it, but if children were staying over at another adults house, would you not expect that adult to provide a safe and homely environment? And the children? Of course they expect it. They may not want it, but I fairly sure if a stepmother performing that role above, withdrew her services, they children would wonder what on earth was going on.

And a mother at times wants appreciation. It's human to want it. So why can a stepmother not want it too?

I admire my stepfather more than my father. Simply because my stepfather took on 3 additional children, and performed more of a parenting role than my father. Thats not to say I don't love or respect my father.

I understand though that my opinions probably are not that popular.

AmberLeaf Mon 11-Mar-13 11:30:52

Good post DoJo.

I missed Whois post before.

I agree that step mums do what they do because they love their DH and its a package deal. It is not a totally selfless act we are talking about.

With regard to Mothers day, it is difficult because you are asking for thanks for something that on the whole the child never even wanted and it is the child that the thanks/recognition is expected to come from.

I remember my Dad asking me to send my stepMum a card when I was younger, telling me that I should because she does so much for me But everything that she did used to be done by my Dad and I remember thinking 'dad, its you that should be thanking her not me!' but I didn't say that, I just felt awkward and torn.

Whois, your list of what a SM is 'supposed' to do, who exactly is asking for all of that?

DoJo Mon 11-Mar-13 10:56:03

whois
Wow, I think this thread more than any has reconfirmed my thoughts that I would never get with a man who has kids. Opening yourself up to a whole world of pain.

"She's not your daughter"
"She only has one mum and that's not you"

Wow. Fuck that. So a step mum is supposed to treat husbands kids the same as any she might have, pay towards their care, run around after them, love them, but fuck that nasty cow if she dares to feel like she's doing a 'mum' role.

Unfortunately, because I acknowledge that it's a very tricky relationship to negotiate, your post highlights one of the problems - who is 'expecting' this behaviour of a step mum? It isn't the kids, who are generally quite nonplussed about sharing their dad with someone new and have to muddle through with whatever situation the adults in their lives have decided upon.

The mothers would probably rather there was nobody else in their children's lives too - I'm sure not many people become parents expecting to split up and remarry - so although it may be the way things work out, expecting someone to be pleased that you get to spend time with their children is possibly a little too much to ask unless the dust has well and truly settled and everyone's lives have moved on happily. Bear in mind there doesn't have to be another woman involved for a mother to feel betrayed by the break up of a relationship so in a scenario where the split has been acrimonious, the chances of some residual resentment bubbling under are fairly high.

Also, very few step-mothers take on the role for the children's sake - they do it because they want to be with the man they love, and although feelings may grow towards his children, and they may go on to have a really deep relationship, they are very much a 'part of the package' in terms of the basis of their relationship.

As I say, it's difficult and I'm not sure I can do it, but to be anything close to a mother, you have to accept all the facets of your role, still loving the kids when they show no appreciation, loving them because you can't help it rather than because anyone 'expects' you to and trying to ignore the times when it feels like a thankless task in favour of doing all those things because you want the best for them even if nobody says 'thank-you'.

Fluffydeville Mon 11-Mar-13 10:20:46

thanks Whois - now I feel a bit silly for letting it bother me in the first place :-)

whois Mon 11-Mar-13 10:10:16

Glad you got a token of appreciation OP :-)

thegreylady Mon 11-Mar-13 09:49:38

I never get any acknowledgement from my adult dsc even though my own dd always buys dh a Fathers Day card. My dsc are great about birthdays and Christmas. They have a difficult relationship with their own mum so I think Mothers Day is a bit complicated for them. Yanbu but I wouldn't let it bother you too much.

Fluffydeville Mon 11-Mar-13 09:38:24

Whois - it can seem that way from soecific posters. However, this is the first time I had got seriously involved with a man with children, had it not been for the fact my DH and his ex get on great, they are really good friends, been broken up a long time, she is happily married and very welcoming and lovely to me and DSD is a delight, I think I would have avoided. From what I know now it can be difficult enough even when the circumstances are as ideal as could be, I would certainly suggest any friend of mine to avoid the situation if there is any anymosity at all

Xalla Mon 11-Mar-13 09:11:47

Whois - perfect post!

INeverSaidThat Sun 10-Mar-13 21:44:37

That's really nice smile

StuntGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 21:38:12

whois is spot on.

Flixy102 Sun 10-Mar-13 21:24:46

That's lovely fluffy! So glad you got something from your DSD. smile

Fluffydeville Sun 10-Mar-13 21:01:25

Yes I did, didn't think it would have been possible due to logistics etc, very pleased

2rebecca Sun 10-Mar-13 20:47:40

So your stepdaughter did get you a card then.

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