Stepfather issues with mother
Help! My wife and I married one year ago. I loved the opportunity to share life with her and her 11 y/o daughter. I am so lucky that I have loved this young lady like a daughter and she has responded in kind. Wonderful relationship. My issue is that, although her Mom wants us to share this relationship, the Mom continues to treat me as an outsider. I've tried to institute family traditions: dinner together, Friday night family time, evening prayer. When M. had H1N1, I was the one to stay up all night. I take her to school each morning, do her homework with her. etc.
The Mom tells me by her daily actions, "She's my daughter, not yours." I have little say about their time decisions. For example, when we agreed that I would take the XMAS holiday week off to be with M (who was out of school), Mom decided last minute to have her stay with her cousins, leaving me with a week off to myself and my plans dashed.
I have embraced all the responsibilities of parenthood but there is always the implicit,"I AM THE MOM and I have the right to do with her as I please without consultation (as to how it affects me, what I may have already planned). I have requested to Mom that we discuss and come to agreement on family plans but I am consistently given the feeling that my input is neither requested nor desired nor heeded....just keep loving my daughter like a real father.
Mom relishes her daughter having a loving male figure in her life, but pulls the Mom card at will with little consideration of my feelings. She is not given to introspection that brings about personal change, therefore discussing it nicely has been unproductive.
It's a true double-standard. There are many mothers that disenfranchise father's involvement with the family. it's almost as if they say," Go make the money to support the family's comfort, but don't really expect to be a true family member..but you can join us at times and pretend to be part of the family unit."
I've worked too hard at the relationship with this little girl to be treated like a distant step father. I feel like telling Mom that I can play the role of caring, but slightly detached, step father, but I know that we'd all prefer that I continue acting as the loving father.
I'd rather feel like a parent with the level of input commensurate with the level of involvement, caring and love that I've shown. I feel as if I've earned it and I keep getting the Mom card pushed in my face.