LongTimeStepJune 2, 2012

I have been a stepmother for 20 years. My stepdaughter is 33, married and just had a baby. I realize I didn't raise my stepdaughter as she visited every other weekend. But she has always kept me at arms length and makes it clear that only her mom and MIL are important. The biograndmas are super super involved so even if SD liked me, I would always be the 3rd wheel. SD never calls, says no to all of my offers to babysit(while her mom and MIL get to babysit always), didn't invite me to the baby shower or the birth of the baby cause her mom would be there and she said it would make her nervous to have her mom and I both there. SD won't even refer to me as "Grandma" as she says its not fair for me to "steal" her mom's rightful name and that I must pick another grandma name as her mom is Grandma and her MIL is Grammy. Really why can't there be 2 Grandmas? But SD won't have it and says everyone needs their own name so not to confuse her daughter. SD won't even utter the words Grandma when referring to me. She just avoids calling me anything or calls me by my first name when referring to her daughter. I have a feeling I'll never be allowed to be a big part of this child's life and its just heartbreaking for me cause my own daughter who is older will not be having children so this was my only chance of having grandkids. Oh and SD always refers to me as a "stepgrandmother". I would think after 20 years we could get rid of the word step, but SD loves the word step and every chance she gets she clarifies that I am a step, not blood related. I definitely know where I stand with her. SD is content in only seeing me at holidays. I wish I could be involved more. My husband goes over often to see our granddaughter. I won't deny him going over and establishing a relationship with our granddaughter as I don't want to take that away from him just cause his daughter hates me.

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"I have a feeling I'll never be allowed to be a big part of this child's life and its just heartbreaking for me cause my own daughter who is older will not be having children so this was my only chance of having grandkids. " You're trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

If you were my stepmom I would love to have a "third" grandmother around to help with the kids, but in this situation it sounds like your SD wants no part of it. It appears like the two of you never had a chance to bond. You became her SM when she was already 13 years old, and only saw her every other weekend. She has never seen you as her mother so why now all of a sudden would she think of you as the grandmother to her child?

For whatever reason SD does not want you involved in her child's life. You are going to have accept that this is not your grandchild and stop pinning away for something that will not be. Suppose this SD wasn't in the picture? You'd have to get used to the fact that you don't have grandchildren. Don't try to force yourself into a situation where you are not wanted. Just because your own daughter does not have kids doesn't mean you can make someone else's child be your grandchild.

It sounds like you have lots of love to give, so why not volunteer to help kids at the local elementary school? In my daughter's kindergarten class, the teacher had an assistant that helped her with the kids. I always thought that was a great job for someone who likes kids, kids at that age are so sweet and adorable. Instead of wishing for something that will not be, why not look into something like this?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:06AM
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I was surrounded by 'real' gmas and a bunch of 'not real' gmas growing up. The 'not real' gmas were a special part of my life. They were my 'real' gmas friends. Some had no grandchildren of their own, some had older grandchildren who had moved away. They were a bunch of ladies who just missed having children in their life and who had a lot of love to share. (Lots of knowledge and hobbies and traditions to share too).

You can't make SD 'share' her children. I realize it must also hurt too that your husband is included outside of your home but the grandchild is not allowed to come to your home and be a part of your life also. I'm sorry for that, but it is what it is.

In the meantime, Amber suggested school volunteering. That is a meaningful act. My children had volunteer readers and art project 'gmas' . Lunchroom assistant who helped the smaller kids during meals ect.

May I also suggest you look into other programs that may be in your area. There are a lot of children who have no grandparents at all, real, step, or 'adopted' that community outreach programs help set up with willing volunteers.

You can't change what is between SD and StepGC, but you that should not stop you from sharing your time and love to give to other children if that is something that would interest you. There are children who do need a 'grandparent' out there who would be honored to have the chance to get to know you.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:39AM
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I see no reason for you to be 'Grandma' when there's another one. Since you don't already have g'kids you don't have that name & can pick what you want. Choose yourself a cute, enduring, unique name & have your DH start using it with the baby. I think he should insist that you be included in the visits. When the baby gets old enough he should bring her to your home for y'all to bond with her better.

When my DH & I married he already had g'kids so I chose to be called Granny _____. I had a g'child shortly afterwards & since DH was already Papa, we chose for mine to call him that also. With mine, we dropped my name & they call me Granny. There's great g'kids now & they say Granny ______. I have no idea why, doesn't matter to me.

It got complicated when my g'son was born & the other grandparent was already Papa to his g'kids. So he had 2 Papa's & figured it out on his own how to tell his parents which he was talking about. He would say Papa at Granny's house, or Papa at Grandma's house.

I have 3 (step)children that I love dearly. They all call me by my name unless the g'kids are around but 2 of them consider me their Mom. The other one is close to her Mama but if she's talking to someone or introducing me she says 'my Mother'. I didn't raise these sweet kids but we have a good relationship. I attended all 3 of their weddings, their mama didn't.

All this rambling to say ~ the name doesn't really matter, just pick anything you like except Grandma. Your DH should not be allowing his DD to ignore you. I wouldn't tolerate that.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:31AM
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OP, does your SD really hate you? If so, is there more to the story? What was your relationship with her like other than just "arms length"? Why is it so important to you to be called Grandma? Why can't you be Nana, or Granny or GG, or whatever? I can see why your SD would want to reserve the name Grandma for her mother and to not have to have Grandma X and Grandma Y. That does not mean that she hates you. And just because she calls you her step mother or her daughter's step grandmother also doesn't mean that she hates you. It's just reserving a special name for her mother. Do you choose not to go visit because of the name situation, or does your SD not want you around? I can also see why she wouldn't want you at the hospital. That is a stressful situation and if there is tension between you and her mother, it's only natural that she would choose her mother. You shouldn't take it all so personally, IMO.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 4:39PM
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I m with Raek, you seem to be taking it way too personal...DH has a grandchild and another one coming, SS doesnt seem to want my involvement, I m fine with that....Gajopa, ..I remember some of your old posts, and I know you got things straightened out and had a good relationship with the SK s and DH, sorry for your loss...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 10:23PM
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Thank you Dotz. We were together for 26 years and he died of lung cancer. HaHa, you're probably remembering the story about him moving out for 2-3 weeks during the first year but thinking he could still monitor everything I did. Our last years were the best ones.

I think we're all talking amongst ourselves. LongTimeStep hasn't been back. Maybe she didnt like our suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:53AM
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LOL Gajopa, that was the story...Long Time Step I guess just has to realize you cant bend people to fit your expectations...If you have no expectations, you cant be disappointed...Ignore those people and go where you re celebrated, not tolerated :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:12AM
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I am a 29 year old step mother and I have had a step mother for almost 20 years. So I'm on both sides of the fence.

The 2 relationships are extremely different. I would be extremely hurt if my step daughter ever excluded me from the birth/life of her child. With the exception of having me at the hospital. I must say that it would be wrong of me to hold it against her if she wanted her Mom there and not me. A birth is a very private emotional event and however many people the expectant Mom wants and doesn't want at the hospital is her choice. Why would anyone want someone they are not close with to be there? She did not ask for you. She got you as a stepmother as a consequence of her Father's choices. My SD and I are very close. Thank goodness she was accepting of me but I dont think my husband would have tolerated bad feelings on either side. If there were ever any issues between the two of us she knew she could voice her concerns and we'd listen and try to fix the problem or explain things without judging her or telling her that her feelings were wrong. Communication is very open and she knows she's allowed to have feelings, emotions and opinions without being judged for them and we usually talk them out.

On the other side, my step mother wouldn't even care to know if I had a child. We were never close even a little bit and have a strained relationship to this day. She was VERY jealous of my sister and I and didn't want us included in anything. Only her 3 children from a previous marriage were important.I tolerate her for my Dad's sake. He has to live with her and listen to her gripe so I dont give her anything to gripe about.

If you know you have an "arms length" relationship with someone why would you be surprised/hurt when they exclude you from a major life event? That's just the way the cookie crumbles. Not sure what age you came into her life but Dad should have made sure she at least respected you and tried to work out issues or bad feelings before she became an adult. She doesn't need or want you as a part of her life and you should respect her feelings. If she wants you to choose another name besides Grandma what's the big deal? Choose another name. Such a small issue. She shouldn't have to do what you want because your own daughter did not have kids. That has nothing to do with her. If the groundwork for a good, loving relationship wasn't laid 20 years ago, I really don't see it happening now.

I hope this is not too harsh.

I'm in agreemnet with raek.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:25PM
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I agree that the "Grandma" name issue isn't important, but it's pretty clear that the SD in this situation is cold and unwelcoming to Longtimestep. That does hurt, especially after 20 years. Maybe the SD has good reason to be cold, or maybe she's just a problem person - we don't know. The girl is 33 now, and she's not going to change unless she wants to.

I agree with Amber and Justmetoo that it's time for Longtimestep to move on and find other ways to feel fulfilled in her life. This SD, and her child, aren't available to her in a meaningful way. Time to focus on building other relationships with friends, other relatives, community etc.

It wouldn't surprise me if, a few years down the road when the SD has more kids, and they aren't adorable babies anymore, she doesn't come around looking for a little extra babysitting help.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:53AM
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My grandson came up with a name for his step grandpa all his own...."dapdap" lol, its stuck and we think its really cute!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 2:35AM
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Don't push it. I am a stepgrandmother - and believe me when they get older and should you say the wrong thing (unintentionally). You will have more grief than you ever bargained for. I ate crow and apologized and now my husband just threw it back in my face when I thought all was resolved. I have written him a long letter asking if he wants to put his kids name on our marriage certificate, if he can't make up his mind I have plan B. Oh did I say we have been together for 25 years? It NEVER gets any better. sign me - FED UP

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:45AM
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I grew up in an intact family and had two grandmas. When there was a reason to distinguish who was who we added their last name. My children call their stepgrandmas by the same name that their bio grand kids do.

I think there is a bigger issue with respect here. Why does grandpa visit without you? That started happening in my family and the reason was because he had to hide he was visiting. If there is a strained relationship, did you contribute to it? You mentioned you were not invited to SD baby shower. Could you have thrown a separate one for her? I think that mom does want you involved and SD is responding to that.

The best you can do right now is to start going with your husband for visits and let the little figure out what to call you. If you have a loving relationship with the little one does it matter what you are called?

BTW... The first grandchild is a very special kind of love. I can't explain it but it is! Grandma probably wants the little one to know who she is. Little ones grow up and figure it out anyway!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 4:02AM
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I really feel for you. These situations are so difficult. It sounds like this 33 year old has been allowed to act nasty to you for years. She must not really care about her father if she treats you this way. And how does he react? I agree with the person who said you should be included when he visits. I am so tired of hearing about so many people who allow bad behavior. It isn't easy to fight against bad behavior, but in the end I think it is worth it!

It sounds like your step-daughter's mother has encouraged her to treat you badly. She can't be much of a mother if she allowed her 13 year old daughter to start treating an adult woman badly and not called her on it. Maybe I am making too many assumptions, but I know how powerful ex's can be in the lives of kids, and how they can manipulate their kids to the point of hurting them just to get back at their former spouse. I have said of my own situation that my husband's ex-wife hates him more than she loves her own children! Otherwise, why would any parent allow their child to treat an adult with disrespect. And to anyone who says some adults deserve it, I say that if you think the adult deserves it, then it must be a situation where you should prevent your child from having contact with that person rather than allow bad behavior!

You are probably saving yourself from future heartache by not pursuing a relationship with your step-daughter's child. She obviously doesn't understand that the more people who love her child, the better off that child is. If you became involved, this poor child would probably start hearing negative things about you from mom and grandma, and be very confused. Some people are just rotten and who knows what the future holds for this 33 year old. Someday her child may have a step-parent, or she may be a step-parent herself. Life has a funny way of turning out.

The issue that would bother me the most is that your husband doesn't seem to be concerned that you are excluded and that it hurts you. He should have put his foot down about this 20 years ago and now it is too late. He needs to acknowledge his part in this situation, and maybe that would be a start to your feeling better.

Good luck to you and your family.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:33PM
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1) I agree that you should choose another name. I love "Gigi" or "Mimi" "Grandmommy" or maybe use a part of your name to create a name (ex.turn Carla into "LaLa".

2) why don't you accompany your husband when he goes over for a visit? That sounds reasonable.

3) Forget the past, except, if you owe your SD an apology of some sort. Just offer the apology and let her know that you would like to move forward from this point in a positive an amicable relationship.

4)Ask your husband for support in including you in visits and family gatherings. You don't want to make waves or cause stress during this very special time, but showing up and having your own grandmother name chosen and shared should be fine. Make this a project for the two of you (your husband and yourself) to navigate together.

5)As time goes by and the "new-mommyness" wears off, things should get easier, less stressful, less tense (as mentioned in another response).

6)Listen to your SD. What is important to her in raising the baby? When you give gifts, make them items that she is particularly fond of. Smile at her and let her know that you know what a wonderful little blessing she has received. Let her know that she can count on you if she needs something.

Finally, pray about it and breathe. you have lots of love to give and you won't do yourself or anyone else any good by getting down in the dumps about it.

Good Luck and God Bless!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:06AM
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