Predictable stepmom vent on absent mom (long)

lobsterfunMay 9, 2012

I guess I�m just a baby stepmother who is only just coming to terms with the resentment that my husband & his family have had 13 years to deal with, so thanks for listening!

I am 28 and my husband is 31. My SS lives with us and his bio mom moved out of state a year ago. My husband and I have no children together, but plan to. My SS is 13 (I�ll save you the math, they were teen parents) and since he was 18 months old, his bio mom has always been far away (as in, at least a 6 hour car drive) and has only been around for birthdays and school holidays.

My husband and his parents worked together to help raise my SS and there�s always been resentment on their end towards the BM for choosing to skip out on the responsibilities of parenting and only pitching in when it�s fun (Summer break! No chores! No homework to scold you about! Video games all night!). Over the years, she�s had her share of abusive relationships, questionable choices, money troubles, even drug use, so SS was very protective of her growing up. We�re not sure how strongly he feels about that now because it�s very hard to get him to open up about his mom.

When we got married almost two years ago, I knew she was just a "Disneyland dad," so to speak, but without never having had to live the role of a custodial step parent, I really underestimated my ability to accept it and get over it. Lately, as we go through the ups and downs of parenting a young teen, I�ve just been getting more and more resentful of the BM. It�s the same old story � here I am doing the real work of a parent, without the true bio parent-child bond, and sometimes I�m mean old stepmom when I discover his homework isn�t done.

BM briefly moved to our area around the time we got married, but later moved out of state last summer, like I mentioned. When she was here (the only time she and SS have lived in the same town since he was 1.5 years old), she might as well have been the cool aunt who comes around every so often. BM only saw him every other weekend, not involved in school, etc.

She�s not getting off scot-free, at least not in terms of her relationship with her son. He rarely calls her and when he does, it�s usually to ask about some present she�s promised him. He�s going to be with her for the summer and has already told his dad he�d rather cut the visit short but doesn�t want to hurt her feelings. Last year, she moved out of state with her new husband and her other daughter (SS�s half-sister) and SS�s only comment was, "I�m used to her leaving."

My rant in general: She (and other absent parents like her) are biological donors and nothing more. I wish they�d get that through their heads, but these kind of people are so self-involved, they would never dream that they don�t deserve the title of "mom" or "dad." Is she my SS�s mother? Sure, if that means someone out there can say half of their genetic material came from you and you gave birth to them.

She is strictly SS�s biological mother and nothing more. She has chosen to take a backseat to parenting whether she lives near or far from SS. She has deliberately handed off all responsibility to my husband and now, to me. That, to me, makes her just the egg donor. Thanks for that � but what have you done for your child lately?

The parent title is earned and needs to be constantly renewed through your actions. Do you set up teacher conferences when your SS�s grades are low? Are you the one who asks him if he did his chores today? Does he come to you when he has a sprain/stomach ache/etc.? Do his teachers know your name? My husband and I can say yes to all of those things. And her? Well, she gave him $200 for Christmas. Well! I guess you really deserve that Mother�s Day holiday after all.

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She is the mother unless and until her parental rights have been terminated.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:49PM
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I'm a child of a mother who "skipped" out...and believe me I knew who my "real" mother was. The woman who at every turn wiped snot, cleaned up our erk, made birthdays, and every other thing a loving parent would do.
My other mother (step).
And I just hate to even use that step word in the same sentence as her name.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:15PM
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oh KKNY... yes she is! By golly she deserves that title because she got laid & the unfortunate (and apparently unwanted) child occupied her uterus for 9 months. After all, if she wanted the child, wouldn't she make more of an effort to be in her child's life?

Guys get slammed everyday for walking away... "deadbeat" used to be synonymous with "deadbeat dad" because it was unbelievable that a woman could carry a child for 9 months & not bond in some way... even women that give up the child for adoption tend to feel a loss. But, women can be a deadbeat just the same as a man. Guys that make a baby & don't live up to their parental obligation are not much more than a sperm donor. A woman that does the same, not much more than an egg donor. But, I will say that BOTH parents, even the one that sticks around to parent, share the responsibility because they CHOSE to have a child with the person that left.

But, I would disagree with OP that the BM did not leave the children for you to raise... she may not give a rats behind who takes care of & raises her kids, as long as it's not her... but dad is the other parent & if he is putting it on you to raise his kids because he chose to have children with a woman that left the children... then he has no right to request that of you. You, as the stepmom, have the right to offer your assistance... but then you do not have the right to complain that the mother put that on you. She didn't, he or you did.

It took me several years to realize that because my SD's mom moved away, leaving her DD in our home which made me the primary female "parent" but the reality is that she left her daughter with no mother.

As in deborah's situation, some kids grow up & appreciate the relationship with the one that stepped up to parent when the person who gave birth walked away. Some kids do & some kids don't, so good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 12:30AM
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Not sure what the point of the thread is unless to vent that mothers can be just as deatbeat as fathers can be. I think most already knew that. If writing it out helped OP feel better, well then I guess the vent was worth her time.

But what did it change? For OP? For Dad? For the child? Zip.

The child has a biological mother. She's in and out of his life on a limited , but fairly regular, basis. Is it my idea of how a 'mother' (or father for that matter) should be and/or parent their child? No. But it is obviously all this child is going to get out of his biological mother. Who's to say the mother does not actually love the child and tries in whatever selfish means she is capable of. Yep, she's 'mother' no matter how much or little she actually participates in a parenting role.

I guess what I don't 'get' is why OP resents it now? I mean, she knew going in that 'Mother' was a very limited parent in this child's life. Child had been raised for years between Dad and grandparents. So why the resentment? Why is it suddenly like a newsflash that the BM does not live up to the standards you think she should be? She's the same mother behaving in the same manner she always has for years. If you're expecting the child to stop loving his mother it likely is not going to happen. The child has accepted what little role his mother play in his life. Exactly what do you want from the child? To say 'OP you are my real mother and Im not telling my biological mother happy Mothers Day this year'? Or perhaps 'Dad, I don't want to get visit that biological mom this summer I'd rather stay home with my wonderful stepmother'?

You really got two choices. (1) let the resentment consume you and with each passing day of your acting caregiver ways fill your head with how she's not doing her job. Allowing anti biological mother feelings fester and seep into your daily life (even though she only sees the child a few times a year) or (2) Go on ahead and co-parent with your husband in a way that you find acceptable for you. If you think too much parental type role has been thrown onto you, step back and let Dad do all the things you're now doing for the child.

If Dad is demanding you to step in and take on the 24/7 role of raising his child, than that's on him. If you're readily and eagerly taking the role on, well that's on you.

I was in a position many many years ago in that I took on my husband's son. One that he had single raised with some help from his parents. The BM in my case was totally absent. No summers, no gifts, no nothing. Was I his mother? Nope. Did I mother the child to the best of my abililties and love him through good times and bad? Absolutely. It was an honor to be a part of my SS's young life and a blessing now to be involved and loved by him in his adult years. It's been well over 30 yrs now.

Why does the father and grandparents resent the biological mother so? All you've stated was because BM skipped out on them? I'm going to assume it was by choice that grandparents stepped in and helped their young son in the raising of the child. Nobody made them. I'll also assume that Dad has custody and has single raised the child because he loved and wanted his child. Not only wanted the child but wanted the child enough to be the 24/7 parent even if it meant doing all the parenting himself. I guess I find it rather unproductive to worry, fuss and resent someone for not being who you thought in the beginning to be. He picked his partner. It didn't work out. Not only between the two of them but the lady also decided she did not want to be a 24/7 mother. After 13 yrs, why is everybody still expecting her to change now and step up? She is who she is, resenting her is not going to change that. Actually what you perhaps may be resenting is that the child still loves his mother in spite of how she mothers?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 7:16AM
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This family dynamic has been going on for years before you entered the picture, & it seems that everyone has been functioning pretty well;
you're the newbie here.

Why do you have such powerful emotions about it & such a vindictive attitude toward someone who hasn't hurt you at all?

You might find it helpful, when you go to bed tonight, to tell yourself that you'll find insight in your dreams (really your perceptive, right-brain mind).

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:48AM
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"The parent title is earned and needs to be constantly renewed through your actions. Do you set up teacher conferences when your SS�s grades are low? Are you the one who asks him if he did his chores today? Does he come to you when he has a sprain/stomach ache/etc.? Do his teachers know your name? My husband and I can say yes to all of those things."

Maybe you can disengage & have husband do all those things?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Hello everyone -- it's been a while since I've posted here. I've been lurking on occasion and have read many of your posts, but this is one that I feel I have to weigh in on, because I so understand what Lobsterfun is saying and what she's feeling.

OP, has the bio-mom asked to spend Mother's Day with your SS? I sense that this may be the issue you're having, and if that's the case, then I understand completely. You do all the Mommy things and are, in all senses of the word, his "Mom". But, on the one day that women get special recognition for doing everything we do for our kids, you get left out in the cold. It's very unfair, and it sucks! This year my 17 year old will be spending Mother's Day with his birth mom for the first time in 10 years. Not because we didn't want her to have him...but she just couldn't be bothered to have him. Your SS's bio-mom sounds very much like my son's bio-mom -- selfish and not wanting to play the "mommy" role ...just show up every now and then at her convenience and play favourite aunt or big sister. Now she's getting older (and so is SS), and she treats him more like a friend and confidante than a son. He has switched his loyalties from his father to her -- mainly because Dad lays down all the rules and SS doesn't like it.... long story. \\

Hang in there, Lobsterfun -- it will get easier to take the disrepect that comes with the job of being a Stepmom. It took me a few years to grow a thick skin, but now most things role off, and I just detach from it all.

I wish you luck.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 12:24PM
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"we got married almost two years ago"

& stepson is now 13, so he was about 11 at the time of the wedding...

I dunno, is that enough time, with a young enough child, for a new wife (26 years old at the time, no history of motherhood) to have formed such a bond & such a routine that she feels like "mom" to the extent that she blasts the child's mother?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 6:19PM
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Sylvia, I think that if the OP is doing the everyday "Mom" things 24/7, no matter how long she's been in the role, she has every right to feel the way she does. It's not unreasonable for her to resent the fact that she's in the trenches doing all the dirty work, while "disney mom" is off doing whatever she damn well pleases without demonstrating even the least bit of responsibility towards her son.

And, some may say that it was her choice to take it on and she should have been more prepared. At 26, and childless, the OP couldn't possibly have known everything that was involved. I was 44 with a son of my own and a lot of experience, but I was NOT prepared for all the land mines I encountered as a full time parent to someone else's child. I don't believe there is any way of preparing for it... every situation is different, and there's no way of predicting how it will turn out.

As I said, I got used to the disrepect and I adjusted my reactions accordingly.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 7:58AM
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But I have not yet read, that the OP is being disrespected...only that she feels resentment. I have not yet read any reason for OP to feel she is being disrespected or treated poorly as a second class citzen playing stepmommy.

Do you have a special insight into how what and why, OP feels?

And yes, going in she knew full well the make-up of what had been going on with this child for 13 yrs. Don't matter if she was 26 or 44. I assume this lady dated and knew the entire family pre marching down the isle to say 'I do'. How do you get to saying 'I do' without having known by who and how this child was being raised and who/how the caregiving was coming from? It rather gets tiresome to hear the old excuse of 'I did not know what I was getting into'.

If indeed this woman is being disrespected, I would assume the disrespect is coming from the father. How does a distant mother disrespect OP? For that matter, why is OP dealing with the BM to be disrespected. BM is Dad's problem.

If the child is indeed disrespecting OP than that is also on the father. He raised the kid, he taught him how to behave and how not to.

And lastly, is it truely 'disrespect' of a stepmother, any stepmother, for a child to love and want some involvement with the child's birth mother?

I honestly did not read one word in the OP that stated the OP was disrespected, just that she resents BM because BM is not a more active parent. Resents BM getting to be without much of a parental role model to the child.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 8:50AM
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To me this sounds like someone needed to vent her frustrations. And an online stepparenting board is the best place to do that (instead of taking it out on people in your real world).

As a stepmother who stepped into the same shoes of dealing with a deadbeat mom I get it. I knew what I was walking into, but there have been surprises along the way. It is difficult to be the one to fill the traditional role of "mom" but not have the natural bond and perks that come with being a "mom". Being a stepparent is the hardest thing many people will ever do.

No matter if you went in with your eyes wide open or not nobody could prepare you for the heartache you will feel when you watch your stepchild being let down continuously. Nothing will prepare you for the jealousy you may feel when you have to be the "bad guy" pushing education, responsibility, chores, etc and get to watch the deadbeat parent only come around for fun or when it suits them.

But I always think that in the end the children will realize who were their "parents" and who really "parented" them. And the reward for those who choose to parent is that you get to share a lifetime of memories with the children. That is not something anyone else can buy or compensate for not having.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Hey everyone, OP here. I sure needed to vent that day that I posted! I just wanted to say that I appreciated all of the constructive feedback, even thought it took me awhile to get back. I was kind of embarrassed to have let it all out on the Internet, even if it is anonymous.

It was good to hear from others, especially who have been in my shoes. I really hope no one would begrudge a person the chance to vent, especially when this experience is all new to me.

Just to clear one thing up, I don't feel disrespected in any way. Normally what the BM does or does not do is not on my mind, but on that day I posted, I really had it.

Since then, "in real life" my husband and I had multiple conversations about this frustration and a few others. I proposed disengaging, just like sylviatexas and another poster I believe suggested. My husband was on board 100%. That is, my husband fully took on the task of telling SS to do chores, clean up, school work, take a shower, etc. instead of splitting it about 50-50 between us.

We were only able to implement it for a week before my SS left to spend the summer with his BM. But my home life improved immensely just in that one week. It eliminated the cycle of my feeling stressed about the delicate dance of parenting an SK, which turned my thoughts towards the BM and resentment towards her for skipping out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We will continue this as our M.O. when he returns home next month.

I had assumed too much as a SM and really needed to step back. I realized that in the back of my mind, a part of me erroneously felt that if I as a custodial SM didn't step up and enter into the Mom role, then I was no better than the BM that I criticized.

At the end of the day, my SS has two parents and it's their job to see to it that he is well cared for. Although BM isn't the mom SS needs, my husband sure is the father he needs.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 6:43PM
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I have a for instance for you. There's been talk about the biological parent always being a parent regardless of their involvement. Well, I've been with my boyfriend about 18 months. We've lived together almost 7 months. He's got a son, who is seven. Ever since he was 18, months, his mother has been absent. I mean, lives across the country, doesn't call or send gifts for his birthday, doesn't visit, nothing. In my book, she's not his mother. Yes, she gave birth to him. But that's it. Even when he was a baby, it was his dad who took care of him, who fed him in the middle of the night even though he was the only one working. If you want to talk about a dead beat parent, that's her to a tee. And it infuriates me because I have 2 kids of my own. And I love them so much. To think that a fellow mother could essentially abandon her child and make no effort to be in their life, is heart breaking to me. I have no respect for this woman as a mother, or a human being.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 12:55AM
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--"There's been talk about the biological parent always being a parent regardless of their involvement."--

Actually, I think 'always being a "mother" (or "father") is perhaps more in line with the 'thought' process. I don't recall ever saying 'every parent "parents" their child/children' regardless of their amount of 'parenting' time. Nor do I recall ever stating a non-involved bioparent is a good 'parent', 'mom' or 'dad'.

But fact is fact...give birth to a child and 'you' are the child's parent. That does not necessarily mean the person is a 'good' parent or even gives much, if any, thought of playing an active role in raising the child. There happens to be no magic wand to wave to make a non-active 'parent' poof. No matter how long and hard a different person 'parents' ( actual caretaking and raising child), can the clock be turned back and make the birth parent a non-issue unless the person giving birth legally relinguishes parental rights.

--" To think that a fellow mother could essentially abandon her child and make no effort to be in their life, is heart breaking to me"--

That goes two ways. I, myself, find it just as deporable that some women come on these type of boards and rant on and one about a 'father' involvement (or lack of). Seriously, how many people honestly feel a 'father' is being a 'father' to his children if the 'father' sees the kid a couple days a month or a few weeks in the summer? What kind of 'father' banishes his children from the home because 'having this other kid in his home pooh's on his "bonding" time with his new family, or takes "couple" time away from a new GF or wife?

--" I have no respect for this woman as a mother, or a human being."--

Nor do I. In either of our presented scenarios. Do we both feel better now?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:25AM
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There is a wand that can be waved to make a non-active parent poof : ADOPTION
If the child(ren) agree to it, and if it has been a relationship with some time (5+yrs). Then sometimes it is what is in the best interest of the child(ren). It isn't cheap nor is it easy but if you are hellbent on being the mom, that is the true legal way to stake that claim.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:27PM
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It sounds like you are angry with this woman because she is hurting (although he isn't letting it show much) a young man who you are treating as your own. You are a good person to be a mother to this boy who hasn't ever had one. You have a right to be angry at her on his behalf. We become most angry at people who hurt those we love. This anger means you are truly becoming a parent! Congratulations.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:31PM
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