I am a stepmom who would like to be Mom and not just a caretaker

mommyno.1November 18, 2010

I am a step mom of a 9 year old and a 6 year old. My step children are adorable and love me very much. I love them a lot too. My husband and I had an year long relationship before we got married. Everything is wonderful except for sometimes I feel like no matter how much I love the family and howmuch effort I put into it, at certain instances, my husband makes me feel like just a person who takes care of the family and I never get the privilege of being their Mom. For example, I do not get to go to those Parent teacher meetings. The kids BM has a different schedule she meets the teachers at a different time so that I can go in with him to the school. But he doesnt want me to go. I hate to be a caretaker and just a person who is looked upto only when they need some help. It is pretty hurting. I need some advise on this ...

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This probably isn't what you want to hear, but you're not their mom... Now, if what you mean is that you want to be included in the family as a parental figure, then I'm right there with ya! I think you'll get more helpful responses from the ladies here if you mean the second one.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 10:14PM
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It sounds like a husband problem & my solution would be to stop doing the caretaker responsibilities until he is ready to include you as a member of the family, not like a maid & nanny. Let him do 100% for HIS children.

If he is worried you will get involved & it will upset the BM & that is what usually happens. But, if you just want to go with him & be supportive, not step on anyone's toes... then tell him that. It could be that he wants to keep the peace or protect you from what could be a hostile situation (not that it is, but bio parents are territorial & sometimes it adds fuel to the fire when they introduce a new person to what appears to be a 'parental' role. That is when the gloves come off, even if they get along fine now) The person you you should be discussing your hurt feelings with is your husband. If he brushes off your feelings or simply doesn't care because his mind is made up to keep things separate, there's your answer & nothing anyone here tells you will help.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 11:29PM
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I have felt the same way. I broke up with my boyfriend of one and a half years three months ago. We are now together again, but I am being more careful this time and have a different mindset about the situation.

I too felt that if he wanted to include me in HIS family that I should have the same parental rights as he. Well, I still think that. During the time I have had to reflect, I don't want all those parents rights, which equate to responsibility to a child who is not really mine. I prefer to take the time during school meetings my boyfriend and his ex attend to go out with friends, pamper myself, and anything else that means taking care of me. If I had other kids, I may take that time to hang out with them.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a fan of the ex. She is nice and all, but who really wants their husband to have a woman around who they once had sex with? I don't. Call it immature. A couple of people have told me this, but none of them have ever been in my situation...the girlfriend of a man who has an ex-wife who lives too close and is too comfortable in his space? Not me.

But...I love him and after being apart for two months I came to realize that I did need to grow up. Although I hate the fact that I have to live with a BM in my life (I always wanted to be the first for a man, but that is just not the way the cookie has crumbled), I would be a fool to lose a man that I love to another girl that means nothing to him all because I let her make me uncomfortable. I need to be stronger than that.

I just realized I am venting now and have lost sight of the topic. :-/ Sorry, but thank you for letting me write.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 12:40AM
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Mommyno.1 I understand your feelings in the situation. Being a stepparent is hard because you feel like you put so much time and effort in and then you are always reminded that you are "just" stepmom. I always say that being a stepparent is harder than being a parent.

With that said if bm is active in their lives then you do have limits and boundries. She is their mom and you can not take that title from her. With my own son I have been lucky because my ex's girlfriends (even his 5 year one) have always been my sons "friend" but have never tried to take over being "mom". When it comes to parent/teacher conferences I would not want my ex's women being there (even if they were married) because they don't have my son during the school week. I wouldn't want them taking my son to a doctors appointment. I don't mind them going to school functions or sporting events, but I feel that some things are reserved for just me and/or my ex to do. I have always been nice to his girlfriends though and they have never given me any problems. We have even sat together at events for my son and they have picked up my son for my ex at times.

On the flip side I am stepparent whose stepkids live with me full-time. When I first married my dh I was a little standoffish with some responsibilities because I felt like I am not their mom and didn't want to step on anyones toes. I tried to keep in mind what I would and would not want another women doing for my child. Over the years bm has had major issues and has faded out of the kids lives. She once went a whole year without contact. She has not even seen them since August as of right now. So my responsibilities have grown and I do more "mom" things. That is only because she does nothing. IF she were involved I would not do half as much as I do. But I still get the occasional "your not my mom" type attitude. It is just part of being a stepparent.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:49AM
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Mommy, I don't understand your DH. I want my DH to come with me to parent conferences for my DD (his SD). If I were in your place, I'd stop doing the things that make his life easier (not the things that make the kids lives easier, if you know what I mean).

There are benefits that come from being a parent. If there weren't, no one would do it. Benefits include hugs and kisses and cheering at games and getting artwork and clay lumps that are the most beautiful kitty cats you've ever seen. If he's not willing to share benefits, he shouldn't expect you to share his workload.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:18AM
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You need to step back and look at the whole situation. Your H would like nothing more than for his child to have a good, caring mother like you, but the situation is quite sensitive and has so much ramifications from a wrong move. your H probably is quite sensitive when dealing w his xw and does not want to stir the pot up too much. Your presence at the Teacher Parent conference would infer that this is YOUR child, and implies that the other mom does not exist.
My daughter while in highschool, did not want my wife, her SM, to come to watch her soccer game. I knew it hurt my wife's feeling but we had to respect that. Bonding and relationship take times and history together to develop. Now as she is in college and mature some more, my daughter's attitude toward the SM has improved quite a bit. Had my wife forcefully pushed her way into my children's life (though their BM had died), our family relationship would explode to the point of no return. Guess what, I love my wife but I will not tear my own children's life apart for her own ego to be that "perfect step mom".

several years prior to my 2nd marriage, I had dated this beautiful woman who thought my children would love her INSTANTLY because she was simply a nice person and when they did not, she got angry and called them b*tches. That woman then asked me to leave ALL my assets, including those of my 1st wife to her, again because she thought she was a nice person. I left that "nice" woman shortly after that.

You seem to have a very generous and good heart, please keep that up. Don't let these little things and bumps in your blended family affect who you really are. Love asks nothing in return. Anger and revenge do not dissolve hatred and discord, but love can. Use your love to dissolve hatred and anger out there. You love your ss just like you love any other god's creatures. Just be patient, take a little step along the way. Lower your expectations, then everything you get is BONUS.

Hopefully, one day you will have children of your own and then you can experience FULLY as a BIO MOM.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 12:04PM
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"Your presence at the Teacher Parent conference would infer that this is YOUR child, and implies that the other mom does not exist."

So doing laundry, making food, earning money for rent and gas and shopping, helping with homework is fine, but in public she should pretend she doesn't do those things, that "mom" does those things?

I don't think going to parent-teacher conferences "infers" that bio mom doesn't exist. OP already said BM goes to the meetings on a different schedule. We tell DD's teachers that SF is SF not BF, and that BF lives in another state.

"Love asks nothing in return"....

Fine. But it goes both ways. I can understand not trying to take the place of the bio parents but I get the feeling a lot of people think stepparents should work their butts off to make life good for the family and support the family but get no respect or equal treatment or get to participate in the public life of the family!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 12:13PM
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My DH and I had this exact conversation the other day.
My SS11 is looking for a new BBall team for this next season. He has played on same team with all his friends since he was old enough to play. He play a year up so the other kids are going to school ball and he is still to young. So my DH & BM have been discussing teams with his former coach and each other & SS. I was not part of any of it and did not need to be or ask to be. But once a decision was made I was not made aware of it at all. I over heard my DH talking to another Bball dad about the new team. I had no idea they had decided. So my feelings got hurt. I told DH my feeling were hurt. hid reply " you dont have anything to do with SS Bball". What? I was mad. I told him that if he did not think I should even be told of the decisions they make about their kids that I should not be expected to do all the things for them that he just assumes I should.
He wants me to love them, care for them, treat them like my own which for the most part I do. But then when it comes to any decision makeing or simply just being made aware of whats going on with them he does not feel or even think of telling me.
My Skids have a great Mom, she takes care of just about everything (school, dance, sports, dr's, ect..) so there i sno need or want for me do those things. I just want to be informed of whats going on.
I have decided that I will let DH take care of them when we have them. They usually come to me when they want or need something. I am going to tell them "go ask your dad" I would recommend the same for you as well.

Good luck, I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 1:57PM
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I can see why your feelings would be hurt Jess. I don't tell DH things in a timely fashion, I admit. Often I kind of forget that he needs to know. And, I will also admit that I call DD's BF first after conferences to let him know how they went.

It's a good lesson for me, as BM, to be more open and make a bigger attempt to include him, even though I don't exclude him more effort could be made.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:34PM
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"I told DH my feeling were hurt. hid reply " you dont have anything to do with SS Bball"."

Don't get mad. When he asks you to drop him off, pick him up, take him his gear, etc. because it's convenient for HIM... sorry honey, I have nothing to do with SS Bball.

Silver is right, attending a conference does not infer the bio parent does not exist... even if both parents meet together for the conference. In my opinion, it's rather immature for either parent to get bent out of shape to have a stepparent involved because really, what's best for the child is for as many people to care, love & do things for them. You don't have to like the stepparent, but as long as they are trying to do nice things for your child, why would you begrudge that? Jealousy or insecurity? But, at the same time, it would definitely be overstepping for the stepparent to try to make decisions, when the parents are there & capable of making the decisions. If the parent is not involved in the process, then of course a stepparent might give input & help make decisions. Of course, decisions that directly affect the stepparent (such as when the stepparent is expected to pick child up from school, help with projects, etc.) they should have more input in the decision.

It would be so much easier & better for the children if the adults weren't territorial or possessive, but perhaps it's just human nature & instinctual. But then kids get caught in the crossfire or adult issues all the time.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 3:08PM
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Thank you so much for all your views on my issue. It really feels much better after I read all this. Just to give a clearer picture I would like to answer some of the questions posed in there. My husband has a full time custody of the kids. I take care of all their needs. I have them do their home works I have them do their projects. I am the one who signs their assignments in school. I plan their birtday parties and other stuff for them. I do shop for them. I am glad I am able to do all this for them and I understand I am able to do this only because my husband allows me. Now the BM moved into town few months ago. And she gets to pick them up every Friday evening and drops them off on Sunday evenings. She is just a weekend Mom and I am the one who take care of their academic, personal and other regular stuff. The reason I wanted to be at the conference was since I am the one who work with them on a regular basis, I would like to look at their progess, feel proud of their success and get the first hand information to decide on what needs to be done if there are any issues. I thought that was not much to ask for. Moreover the kids were badly wanting me at the conferences. Today I had a discussion with my husband and asked him to clarify to me if he wants me to treat his kids as I treat my own kids or if he just wants me to be there for him to support them and treat them like I would treat my brother's kids. I am waiting for the clarification from him. I said that would help me set everybody's expectations. I definitely understand i am a stepmom and cannot replace their Mom. I definitely am not trying to.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 4:48PM
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A custodial stepparent is not the same as an every other weekend or a few times a year stepparent. You are the primary "caregiver" and should not be treated like the hired help.

Many of the ladies here are custodial stepparents, I am one. For the last three years, I have done all the things you do for your stepkids and thankfully, my husband did not limit my involvement. However, BM did & has successfully interfered with her daughter having any kind or relationship with me, therefore I have disengaged & now my husband does EVERYTHING for his daughter. If my husband had tried to limit my involvement with SD, but still expected me to be the primary caregiver, that would not have lasted long at all.

It's bad enough when the BM tries to keep you out of the loop, especially when you are the primary caregiver... but your husband is the one that should be supportive of all you do and how you feel. I'm a little taken aback by the attitude that he gets to have all the say so & make the final decision on how involved you get to be with his kids that he has no problem with you shuttling or planning their parties, etc. I would not plan my brother's kids birthday parties, nor would I help them with their homework every night, drive them to practices, or bring cookies to their school on a regular basis. (well, I might do one of those on occasion, but not on a regular basis!)

You can't replace their mom but your role is more than hired hand that isn't entitled to share in the rewards of raising a child.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 6:14PM
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"...therefore I have disengaged & now my husband does EVERYTHING for his daughter." Ima - How has it been going?

Bonnie Garcia - Vent away! I found your post quite refreshing and honest!

Mommyno.1 - I'd submit an invoice to DH for the outstanding charges he has incurred using your services as maid/chauffeur/babysitter, etc. If he wants to treat you as an "outsider" then by all means bill him on an hourly basis just as any other "employee" would do!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Wow, lot of conflicting stuff here. First the title says you would like to me mom, then your latest entry says you dont want to be a mom

I agree there is a difference between a SM married to a guy with custody, and EOW, BUT I still think it is wrong to say mom is "just a weekend mom". It is wrong to refer to either parent as that. IMHO if mom senses your atittude on this, she will get more territorial.

It seems that Dad is afraid of upsetting the kids mom. I would very gently ask him why. It could be that with mom recently moving closer he is afraid she may ask for more parenting time.

I think refusing to do stuff for kids is fine, IF one accepts then all household stuff will not be divided.

I see mixed messages on the PT conferences -- first as priviledge of being mom, then as help in communication. In my DDs school district, there are a number of events. First the meet the teacher. These are open to lots of people. No confidential info is discussed, but the teachers lay out expectations for the term. Then there are open houses, where anyone, including GPs etc can come. There is a difference between PT conferecnecs and the first two.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 8:14AM
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