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Repost -- Making Peace

Posted by kkny (My Page) on
Sat, May 15, 10 at 13:09

I am 25, involved with a 34 y/o father of three beautiful girls (8, and twin 4 y/o's). We have been together for almost 2 years, and for the last year, I have been involved in his daughters' lives. He has custody of his girls almost 40% of the time (Mondays and Tuesdays of every week and every other weekend). We have moved into a very comfortable feeling of family (at least, I feel this way). I do not spend the night when the children are staying with their Dad, and we have done our very best to go slow. (I met the girls in June of 09, and the word "girlfriend" was not used until December, when one daughter asked if I was Daddy's gf). We struggle constantly to keep life as simple and non-threatening for the girls as possible. No talk of marriage has been brought up in front of the girls, although that is most definitely where things are heading in the foreseeable future (1-2 years). I am madly in love with my boyfriend and am crazy about his daughters. They have been the highlight of my life, and I'm amazed at how my life has changed (for the better) since they've been a part of it. Before Mother's Day, the oldest girl asked Dad "What are we getting for Mother's Day?" He was shocked and so was I, as we had not put that thought into her head. We settled on celebrating a "Like a Mother's Day" on the Monday after (distinguishing the day apart from Mother's Day so as not to offend their Mom and also give me a special day all my own). The kids loved this idea. And for the most part, there have been few issues with the children or between my boyfriend and I in how we handle raising the girls, etc.
Except for one issue...

The ex.

She HATES me!

We recently were all together to celebrate the oldest's First Communion. While I made small talk with HER family and my boyfriend was cordial to HER new boyfriend... she refused to even look at me or say hello. Even when I wished her a Happy Mother's Day (the communion was the day before), she curtly replied "thanks" and walked away. It was obvious to the girls that there is tension between Mommy and me... and I hated that. I did my very best to be civil and keep the day about the child. But I felt defeated... because the mother couldn't keep her perspective and do what was best for her children.

Since that horrific day, she has called my boyfriend to express her concern that I am "overly affectionate towards the children" and that it is inappropriate for me to tell the girls that I love them. I was shocked at this! Her big complaint is that I love her children?!? I hug them? I say "I love you?" That's something to shame me with? Now my boyfriend and I are at odds about how to handle this. I say "this is her problem, her insecurity, her jealousy... not my problem. I'm not changing." And he is leaning in the direction of "if you don't do what she asked (be less huggy and cuddly with the kids), she'll never try to be civil when we're all together for events for the kids." I completely disagree. I think she's gonna hate me and be ridiculous no matter what I do... so I wanna just continue being me. That has worked for our new family (the boyfriend, me, and the girls) for almost a year... and we're all happy, as far as I can tell. But I also don't want to completely disregard how my boyfriend feels.

I am sorry for the ridiculously long post. But I need advice. How do you become a co-parenting step-parent if the biological mom won't even try to be civil? I


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I reposted this because it appears that there was some problem replying to original post.

I think you are taking things too fast. You are not married yet. Even if you were, as long as mom is around, you should not be doing be doing parenting, mom and dad should. Take it slow.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I did not get out of what is posted in OP that the lady is racing to be parenting SM or overstep parenting, all I got was BM objects to WBSM being over affectionate...touchy/feely.

Dad waited at least a year to introduce...that's a suitable timeframe to assure GF is considered longer term than hurrying to meet very lady Dad dates causually. WBSM isn't spending nights when child are present...that's good also. Kids need time to adjust to divorce and seperation of their homelife .

Mother's Day may have been a bit rushed, but it was the kids idea. I might have slowed that one down and suggested to kids they have a dinner night out with WBSM without the included Mother's Day bit being a part of it. Not living together, not married, still just a nice GF who does kind things for or with them.

As far as the huggies/kissies , OP might tone it down a bit, especially in public/group events. One can show affection without grand displays. I can see where BM might be unsettled with the "I love you", but I would bet it has more to do with wanting to be sure OP is not going to disppear and break the kids emotionally as they are still just adjusting to the break-up of one relationship.

I've known people who are just hug/kiss touchy/feely crazy and always to be unable to be near others without actual hands-on contact...it drives me nuts. Occasional affection and a true sense of really liking each other and enjoying each other's company is one thing, but don't be ridiculous about it and don't smoother me. Some people are just naturally bubbly, hands-on, and maybe OP is one of these, maybe she just needs to make an effort to tone it down a bit.

As a GF who is attending family events, I think OP does have to be respectful of her surroundings and not overstep her role at event. I assume she's there because the kids wanted her to be and BF wanted her to be included to share the moment. It's too bad BM did not just accept the greetings and good wishes for a Happy Mother's Day, with a more pleasant 'thanks', but she should not be expected to overly socialize at event, anymore than say Dad would socialize at event with BM's BF if he were also present. The event was not meant to be about you (or the BM's BF)it was an event for the child hosted by the child's parents (which is not you).

Hopefully BM will warm up, it's very early yet in your relationship both between you and Dad and you and his children. It was likly unsettling to see somebody fawning all over her kids, she has the best interest of her kids to consider and if Dad agrees than maybe you need to tone down the outward actions. That's not to say OP can't acknowledge fondness and genuine affection for the kids. I'm happy OP wants to built loving/caring relationships with the kids, so tired of reading here about 'I hate my stepkid' or 'my stepkid hates me'...but as a WBSM/GF and/or an actual stepmom if you push it, you'll destroy all chances.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

When someone tells me they are getting married in 1-2 years they do not have stepkids. Thats why I said pushing it.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I think she's gonna hate me and be ridiculous no matter what I do... so I wanna just continue being me.

You're probably on to something there.

It sounds as if she is looking for something to complain about.
Odds are that if you were standoffish with the kids she'd say "Why won't that cold-hearted b**** be nice to my kids?"
Since you have a warm relationship, then she complains about that you're too affectionate.

It's got to be hard to be a BM and see another woman bonding with your children. But as my SS's BM wisely said "I have to put aside my own personal jealousies and know that it's best for him."

My brother's exW once eavesdropped on a call between my brother, his daughter and my SIL (she used the other handset). After they all said "Love you, good night" and hung up, my exSIL called back irate, irrational and screaming that my SIL shouldn't love my niece. How totally insane! My brother flat out told her that this was crazy and that she should be glad that another adult cares about their DD. He said it's OK to feel jealous, but that she shouldn't mess with the relationship between DD and her SM (my SIL).

In short: keep on doing what you're doing. Try to respect that BM may be insecure or jealous, but know that the bottom line is that the girls should feel loved by every adult in their life!


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

There's 'pride' and 'being right' and 'being yourself' --
and there's being pragmatic, diplomatic, and not antagonizing BioMom by deliberately pressing her hot buttons.
You might be 'right' and 'authentic' in being affectionate and loving toward these sweet little girls. But if their Mom teaches them to hate you for it, is it really in their best interests?

Do what's best for the girls, and tone down your public displays of affection in front of BioMom. When BioMom is there, take a step backwards and stay in the background. Tell BioMom (and her parents if you see them again) what delightful children they are and what a great job she's doing raising them. You might even consider telling her that because the girls are so kind and well-behaved, that any future StepMother they have (either you or someone else) will be sure to love them, and that that will certainly make their lives so much happier and healthier than if they were adversarial.

That may feel like falsely kissing BioMom's backside. But don't ever forget that she can make your life living He!! if she wants do, and screw up her kids in the process. Sadly, many BioParents don't seem to realize how badly turning their kids against their stepparents hurts their children.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"I am madly in love with my boyfriend and am crazy about his daughters. They have been the highlight of my life, and I'm amazed at how my life has changed (for the better) since they've been a part of it."

If that's true, then that's the most important thing. If BF's daughters don't mind your affectionate ways (many kids do) then that is all that counts. If they are uncomfortable with you being touchy/feely/huggy Then you should back off. So many people have very unaffectionate(to put it mildly) relationships with their stepkids so if you have one that is loving you are blessed.

This is clearly BM's personal problem. Also, BF's if he allows it to be.


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On Making Peace

Sweeby is right, BM can make your life a living hell.
Accomodating BM will bring a peace. Just be aware that her Do's and Don'ts for you with her daughters may grow. And then again, she may come to see that you just really like her daughters and they really like you.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

If you have to leave the house when kids stay over night, you are not a stepparent and there is no family yet. Why rush?

Kids probably go home and tell mom how dad's GF always wants to kiss them and how they had to celebrate "Like a Mothers day" the next day after Mother's day. It looks like you are competing with her and are playing house, it might not be the case but that's how it probably looks for her.

and what's with kissing? If it was mom's BF always kissing and hugging and saying "love yous" to the girls how would dad react? Probably not too happy. so why is it OK for you then, just because you are of the same gender? why are you doing it, if it clearly aggravates the parent?

Take things slowly, don't rush, you not even married yet.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"It's got to be hard to be a BM and see another woman bonding with your children. But as my SS's BM wisely said "I have to put aside my own personal jealousies and know that it's best for him."

Amen to this.

I can empathize with a BM seeing and knowing that her children have another female/mom figure in their lives. I know that I would at times feel threatened and insecure and even hurt. I HOPE to God that if I was in that situation, though, that I wouldn't outwardly express those feelings, at least not to my children.

Sweeby hit it dead on when she said bio-parents don't realize how much they harm their CHILDREN when they cause friction between a stepparent and stepchild. My SS's BM tried to alienate him from me (and DH) for YEARS. She did it all in the name of "protecting" him, and professed her love for him, her "heart, world & soul." Yet it was ALWAYS all about her own insecurites and feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. She felt frustrated with her own life and didn't like the fact that I was a teacher with a good job, my own condo, and doing well as a single mom. Then when DH & I were dating seriously, she didn't like that we did "family activites" with the kids, nor did she like that my DD had a bedroom at DH's house. EVerything I did was wrong. If I took SS to a Disney on Ice event, I was "trying to make him gay." If I celebrated my DD's birthday with DH on a night SS was with his mom, I was excluding him. If we celebrated altogether, I was favoring DD.

And she told him all of this! Not always in those terms, but her actions AND words made it crystal clear to HIM that I was the enemy, and that if he loved HER, he wouldn't like me, let alone LOVE me.

I am hesitant to say you should give in to BM's demands here. If the worst thing that happens is you show her kids too much affeciton....I mean, come on! It's WAY better than the opposite! And really, I think she would have the opposite issue....if you didn't show them affection, then she'd be b*tching about how you are cold to her children. Can't win for losing here.

I WOULD tone it way down in front of her. On those rare occasions when I do have to be at a function for SS, and BM is present, I stay out of the way and let HER be the mom. I don't want to step on any toes, and I also would just plain feel uncomfortable showering him with hugs and kisses in front of her.

I think in your home (or your BF's home) you should do what feeels right, as long as the GIRLS are okay with it. It sounds like they are really receptive to you and that's GOOD. Keep doing what you are doing with them, but just tone it down around the BM and take a step back in that area.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

The girls began saying "I love you" to me about 4 months ago... and I responded because that's what any loving person would do. And now it is just standard. It is said before bedtime, before parting ways, or whenever the girls (or I) choose to say it to each other. Hugs and kisses came with time... and are now also standard. It is an affectionate household that I am a part of (unofficially)... it is not affectionate only because of my presence! The girls are very huggy and snuggly as is.

The First Communion situation was this: one of the younger daughters had a belly ache. She had first gone to Grandpa and he was holding her for a while. Then she wanted me. Grandpa and I were in the row behind the BioMom, my BF, the kids and godparents. I suggested to child after a few moments that she should probably go sit with her family in the main pew. She refused. Said "No, I wanna stay with you... I don't feel good." What could I do? If I made a scene of putting her back in her seat, she would have screamed. She's 4. And it was at this time I got a dirty look from BioMom. I don't regret my decision. But because she sat in my lap for the remainder of the time, it has caused this huge issue of my "over-affection" with the girls. I think it's jealousy/insecurity on the mom's part, and I don't feel like I need to appease every one of her little whims... however, I don't wanna get into a "pissing contest" with her over this. I didn't do it to push her buttons. We had been at one other "family" event before where I also had one of the girls sitting in my lap (Daughter's choice) and nothing was said then. So, how could I have known it would become an issue now? Is it my job to alter how I love and care for the girls just because BioMom is struggling? I'm not trying to antagonize her, but I'm not going to be a doormat either. The girls are affectionate towards me and I respond. I wasn't raised that it was bad to love a child. And I never heard of loving "too much" no matter what the family dynamic is.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

And to "finedreams"... I don't leave at night because I'm asked to by my boyfriend. It is a personal choice we have both made because we are Catholic and are raising the girls that way. We want them to see a good example. Until we are married, there are no sleepovers for me and my boyfriend. I am not an "outcast" as your post made it seem.

Furthermore, I haven't rushed anything. We have followed the girls' lead. We never used the word "girlfriend" until they asked one day "Are you Daddy's girlfriend?" Then we answered honestly. They said "I love you" to me first... each one at a different time. And now it has become standard. And the Mother's Day thing... honestly, I was a little uncomfortable at first. But the oldest asked Dad "What are we getting KP for Mother's Day?" It was my boyfriend and I who suggested toning it down... celebrating on another day and calling it something else. I was trying to keep BioMom's feelings in mind. But this accusation of being overly affectionate is how I got paid back for it. So... you can see my reluctance to go out of my way to accomodate her demands anymore. It's frustrating for me too... but it's unfair to accuse me of rushing something that I didn't rush. Dad and I have been together for 2 years. That's already been a long time of me trying to do what's best for all of them... even BioMom. And I'm just frustrated, so I was asking for advice. That's all.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

If heard of GF talking about how "we handle raising the girls, etc" I'd be furious. WE dont raise the kids. He and I RAISE the kids.

YOU dont co-parent. He and I co-parent.

So yes, I think you are overstepping. You dont think you are. Thats life.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

Well that does not sound so terribly out of line or overly affectionate. Daughter chose to come sit on your lap. You made the best of it. Rock meets hard place...BM would have been equally annoyed if you'd demanded child to get off and go sit upfront creating a scene.

Being the girls are just 4 and you've been a part of their lifes since they were small...it's normal for small toddlers to want to sit and cuddle. I would imagine the dirty look had more to do with BM feeling displaced at a family event.

From what you've said in your second posting , it does appear BM really is now saying 'backoff my kid'. If the entire family is huggy/feely routine hands-on, the child is only doing what comes naturally to her and has been taught to her by her mom and dad...openly sharing affection to the people that are close to her.

I still suggest toning it down a few levels in open events where both you and BM are present. She does indeed have the abilty to make your life hell and she could do it to the extent of making the kids feel loving /reaching out to you is wrong.

You're going to have to pick your battles so to say. Annoying BM at times of family/public is not something you want to deliberately do. On the other hand, you also don't want the kids to feel you are suddenly rejecting them or that it's a bad thing to feel close to you. What to do, what to do? You're going to have to find a happy medium. At age 4, child is old enough to sit in chair (not lap) next to you at such events... you could still show concern for her tummy ache by holding her hand, reaching out to rub her shoulder a bit. Simple nondistracting affection but in ways that might not make BM feel uncomfortable, annoyed, B$tchy, threatened ect.

If you chose to make this situation at family/public events your 'Gettysburg' it will likely push BM into full battle mode. You don't have to be her 'doormat' but know when to retreat. Live another day to continue getting love and hugs from a little girl that loves and cares for you.

--"I think in your home (or your BF's home) you should do what feeels right, as long as the GIRLS are okay with it. It sounds like they are really receptive to you and that's GOOD. Keep doing what you are doing with them, but just tone it down around the BM and take a step back in that area". [Lovehadley, above]

I agree.


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re: Making Peace

KKNY, your advice is really not helpful for me. My boyfriend and I decided to become a united front when dealing with the girls. We are the adults, the authority, the people who say "mind your manners, don't hit your sister, it's past your bedtime, etc." I didn't force that role on myself. It was a role my boyfriend asked me to share with him. He is looking for not only someone to love HIM but also to love and HELP raise his children. That is our decision. And it's very clear that you are an angry BioMom who doesn't support relationships between stepchildren and stepparents (or would be stepparents). I am looking for advice from other step-moms or at least biomoms who respect relationships between children and "steps." We are a family because we are a group of people who love each other... that defines "family" for us. And the girls consider me part of their family. You seem to have no tolerance for anyone who doesn't put the BioMom first and foremore (even above the needs and wants of the children), and I just can't support that viewpoint. Thank you for taking an interest in my query, but honestly, I'm finding your advice hostile and filled with anger (which you're directing at me instead of perhaps who you're really angry at).


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

You've asked me about whats going on with you and the kids mom. I made a suggestion. You dont have to take it. You can regard yourself as a family.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

As a BM, I would think it extremely strange if Dads girlfriend treated my DD that way, like she was trying too hard and that would honestly make me nervous. Not that I'm insecure, but really, what is she trying so hard for?

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but until they're married or have firm plans to be married, I don't really consider them family. I think it's a bad idea to lead children on believing that as well. It's up to the adults to be responsible with their romantic partners and their children. The situation you describe, I would not consider it responsible. It's naive and I wouldn't want my kid dragged through it.

But again, my Ex has had two Stepmoms for DD, so that's my perspective from having to deal with the ups and downs of Ex's romantic life for DD.

What's that song? If you like it, better put a ring on it? Well, that's what I think lol.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"And it's very clear that you are an angry BioMom who doesn't support relationships between stepchildren and stepparents (or would be stepparents)"

"You seem to have no tolerance for anyone who doesn't put the BioMom first and foremore (even above the needs and wants of the children)"

"I'm finding your advice hostile and filled with anger (which you're directing at me instead of perhaps who you're really angry at)."

D*amn, girl, you are one smart cookie. You absolutely nailed KKNY's outlook, (or inlook, as I consider it), and only after 2 of her posts.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

oh I am so hurt (saracasm on)

But OP will go back to fighting with the kids mom.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I wasn't trying to 'hurt' you. You do a fine job of that to yourself, sadly. You should seriously consider counseling/therapy. I don't say that with sarcasm or any malicious intent. You have some good root opinions, but they are always colored by your own very focused experience. You don't need to forgive your ex, but you do need to let the hate go. It's eating you up, and preventing you from fully enjoying your life.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"I think it's jealousy/insecurity on the mom's part, and I don't feel like I need to appease every one of her little whims... however, I don't wanna get into a "pissing contest" with her over this."

Totally! It's absolutely jealousy, and probably also embarrassment at being passed over in favor of you in public -- especially so visibly and in front of her family. Surely you can imagine how she must feel at that? Anyone would be annoyed and angry, and blaming you is so much easier than blaming her daughter or herself.

"I was trying to keep BioMom's feelings in mind. But this accusation of being overly affectionate is how I got paid back for it."

Just goes to show you your instincts were right on target, but that 'Murphy' is alive and well and his laws still run true. Really, it doesn't sound like you were the one being all lovely on the little girl, but rather she wanted more 'mothering' than her own mother was able to give her at that particular time. BioMom wanted to watch DD #1, and DD #2 was feeling sickly and slighted. She went to where she knew she would find loving attention...

"I am looking for advice from other step-moms or at least biomoms who respect relationships between children and "steps."

For what it's worth, I'm one of those BioMoms who has a good relationship with my son's StepMom. But those good relationships are difficult to achieve and take time to build, and you may find yourself walking on eggshells for a few years until BioMom comes to realize/agree that you're actually a better alternative than 'nobody' or most other possible StepMoms. 'Turf Wars' are a big deal. You do NOT want to step into Mom's territory because you know how a Mom will react when her kids (or her relationship with her kids) is threatened. I am very conflict-averse; but the one person on earth I never shied from confronting was StepMom. When she interfered with his teachers and doctors (at Dad's specific request), believe me, she got both barrels. I know she meant well -- but that wasn't her place. I know you have Dad's support, and that certainly bodes well for any future marriage. But until that marriage happens, please, please for the sake of the girls, step back and think of the 'war', not each battle.

You can also explain to the girls how their mother might feel if they show too much affection for you in front of her. Don't go into too much detail, and keep it on their developmental level -- but the older girl is certainly old enough to understand how one friend feels slighted when another friend is shown favoritism. You can tell them that you'll hug them a little less in front of their Mom and suggest they hug her more and you a little less when you're all together just so she doesn't get her feelings hurt. There's nothing wrong with the girls becoming a little more sensitive to Mom's feelings, and it may help them process any mixed messages they get.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"My boyfriend and I decided to become a united front when dealing with the girls."

you are not a united front, you are dating their dad, not married, not living together, there is no front. It is nice you treat children kindly and you should do that, but kids are too young to know what is the best for them, so just because they want to cuddle does not mean you are a family.
it could be jealousy on moms' part but it could also be insecurity on GF's part. GF likes to play "our little family" and wants to rush into things and act as she is the mommy and compete with mom for kids affection. it could be seen this way.

I think public display of affection towards someone else's children could cause trouble. I don't think dad would want to see some man kissing and hugging his children in public. One thing when an aunt or grandma does that, very different when parent's date does that.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I'm a SM and I disagree with KKNY 99% of the time, but I have to agree with her here:

*If I heard of GF talking about how "we handle raising the girls, etc" I'd be furious. WE dont raise the kids. He and I RAISE the kids.

YOU dont co-parent. He and I co-parent.

So yes, I think you are overstepping. You dont think you are. Thats life.*

I would be furious too. In fact, your comment even puts up my hackles and I am not even a BM. It's fine to have a united front, as well as help set the rules in you home whenever you are married, but you should not be the one to enforce the rules unless someone is doing something dangerous. I just think for several different reasons it's a bad, bad idea. Their mom isn't MIA and she sounds like she is quite active in their lives.

You sound like a very nice, caring person and I am sure your heart is in the right place. I think it's great that these kids take such a shine to you, but I agree with some of the others who say to tone it down. I bet you'll probably have kids of your own one day and that's when you can fully raise your child/ children together.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"(I met the girls in June of 09, and the word "girlfriend" was not used until December, when one daughter asked if I was Daddy's gf). "

And now you are already telling them you love them. This seems way too quick. If I was BM I would also be a bit worried that you are over the top.

Also I agree with Gerina that you sound nice and like you got your heart in the right place, but this is the difficult reality of being in a stepfamily. Things can be very delicate. Just take it easy.

And you're not staying the nights when the kids are with your BF? So you haven't all lived together yet? This will also change dynamics in a big way once you start doing that. And not just impact on kids, also on yourself and BF.


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Taking it easy

"We have moved into a very comfortable feeling of family (at least, I feel this way). I do not spend the night when the children are staying with their Dad, and we have done our very best to go slow"

I'm sorry to be picky, but this is what I was referring to. You are not like a family when you don't stay the night. And why do you need a special "Like Mothers Day" on the Monday. You are not their mom, they don't wake up in the same house as you, you are not their parent yet you are happy to be honoured as one. Over the top.

I would be annoyed if I was BM too. And why jump to conclusions that she "hates" you? THis sounds like an interpretation to me. She didn't use those words, she just rang and expressed her concern to your BF, which is different. And nothing wrong with it.

Let these parents parent their kids how they choose, don't let you pride and need for recognition get in the way of things. It's nice the girls like you, it's great you get along, but take it easy :-)


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"If BF's daughters don't mind your affectionate ways (many kids do) then that is all that counts. If they are uncomfortable with you being touchy/feely/huggy Then you should back off. So many people have very unaffectionate(to put it mildly) relationships with their stepkids so if you have one that is loving you are blessed." lamom

I'm going to repeat myself here. You are lucky that the girls like you and that they are someone else's children that you like. I can't disagree with everything else everyone above said because they are thinking about the BM's feelings and how she can affect her daughters and your relationships. I haven't read too much in any of the above posts about how these little girls would feel if you "tone it down."

And that is the central problem. The BMs so often are thinking of themselves, their rightful place with their children. Not the children themselves. The girl sought you out by your description. You didn't grab her and sit her on your lap, she cuddled up to you. I can't disagree that having fewer displays of affection when BM is around might help her discomfort and would be pragmatic.

It's such a shame that that is what is on her mind. Not considering first that her girls are around a loving, kind woman who likes her children and might be a a plus if she does join the family.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I totally agree with lamom.

I can't agree that only mom and dad are co-parents. At the moment, I am "co-parenting" with my DIL for my DGS. Not only parents co-parent. All the adults that 'parent' the child.. including step parents, grand parents, and even other people (related or not) that "parent" the child should work together to co parent. And when I say "parent" the child, that is a broad spectrum. Yes, dad is the parent and he is the one that is responsible for the child, but it is a good thing if he makes it clear to his children from the beginning of his new relationship, that they are united & on the same page. Some kids look for ways to manipulate the situation for their own benefit. If dad makes it clear he is the parent & GF cannot have an opinion, then kids may use that to pit dad against GF. It happens all the time with divorced parents... kids figure out how to get more sometimes by pitting their own parents against each other. GF should not be making decisions but presenting a united front is probably better in the long run... and all of the adults trying to be on the same page and do what is best for the kids is what co-parenting is about. Parenting is not supposed to be so territorial.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

--"Now my boyfriend and I are at odds about how to handle this. I say "this is her problem, her insecurity, her jealousy... not my problem. Im not changing." And he is leaning in the direction of "if you don't do what she asked (be less huggy and cuddly with the kids), she'll never try to be civil when we're all together for events for the kids." I completely disagree. I think she's gonna hate me and be ridiculous no matter what I do... so I wanna just continue being me. That has worked for our new family (the boyfriend, me, and the girls) for almost a year... and we're all happy, as far as I can tell. But I also don't want to completely disregard how my boyfriend feels. "--

keywords: "I'm not changing...I disagree...our new family

And *YOU* are not the mommy/daddy, you are not the 3rd parent who can dismiss what the children's actual 2 parents want and/or over rule them. *You* don't have a NEW family as in to heck with what the previous mother of the previous family.

I actually think OP and Dad created this problem if one stops long enough to review the timeline.

Previous event BM had no problem with daughters being affectionate with WBSM. So what's different now? It seems obvious that BM got wind of the planning of "Like A Mother's Day" to be held the day after Mother's Day on an evening of daughter's visitation to dad's house.

At First Communion BM is snarly when OP wishes BM a Happy Mother's Day. BM shoots dirty looks towards WBSM when she sees daughter being all clingy/huggy blah blah on WBSM's lap instead of on Grandpa's lap where BM thought child was.

On Sunday, girls are home with BM celebrating Mother's Day.

On Monday evening girls' are at dad's celebrating 'Like A Mother's Day' with dad's girlfriend who is not a mother herself, is not engaged to dad, is not living with dad, and who considers herself to be a co-parent.

Ding, ding, ding... and now OP/WBSM wants to do as she pleases because it 'works for our new family', even though both BM and dad are trying to suggest things be toned down a bit, especially in public/family events.

If OP/WBSM continues on the path of 'our new family' as if she is now in possession of control of these girls and disrespecting both BM and dad's opinions, I foresee this just the beginning of a stormy miserable battle of wills where nobody is putting the kids first.

Nobody is saying stop loving and caring for the daughters, or saying no more kissies/huggies...but at this current time in OP's relationship this ---"there have been few issues with the children or between my boyfriend and I in how we handle raising the girls"---has got to be reviewed. Dad and Mom are handling raising the girls, OP is the loving, kind, non-live-in (as far as the kids know) GF who wishes someday a year a two down the road to be dad's partner in assisting him in his role of parenting his daughters.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I don't think BM "hates" you. BM is probably hurt, embarrassed, concerned about the welfare of her girls, sad that her dream family is no longer, and many other things. And technically BM was civil; she didn't cause a scene, have a screaming fit, tell your BF that you are never allowed around the kids, etc. I agree with the other posters to take it easy around BM.

I don't really see how you could have handled the Communion issue much better, in that there was no outcome that would have pleased everyone. But just because you didn't do anything wrong doesn't mean an apology might not help - Sorry, didn't mean to overstep, wasn't sure how to best handle it, didn't want the girl to start crying in the middle of the ceremony, and it won't happen again.

If you start pushing the kids away and no longer responding to them when they tell you that they love you, it's going to hurt and confuse them. I think BM just needs reassurance and time and hopefully it will get better.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"I can't agree that only mom and dad are co-parents. At the moment, I am "co-parenting" with my DIL for my DGS."

imamommy, you are his grandmother, OP is dating their dad, not married, not living together, not related. it is different.


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bad idea

"Furthermore, I haven't rushed anything. We have followed the girls' lead."

Kids are 4. you are adults. bad idea to follow 4-year-old leads. when I first read your posts i though they are teenagers since you assume they already know what's best. but 4?


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"Kids are 4. you are adults. bad idea to follow 4-year-old leads." FD

Well, when DH's grandson SGS9 was five he spent the night at our home with then 3 year old DS. I overheard SGS telling my little boy that "everyone hates your mom", that being me while they lay in DS's bunkbeds. Now, that kind of talk starts with adults but coming out of the mouth of one so young had a huge impact on me. Not to mention that the vitriol was meant to hurt my son.

Yep, I followed the five year old's lead. As his behavior worsened, my outreach to him lessened. It's not that young children know best. But, they are people, albeit little people, they know who they like and who they don't.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I don't know about your situation lamom, but in OP's situation following little kids lead is silly. they can't know what is right. little kids start conversations with strangers, and child molestors are usally very soft spoken and kids like them, no, adults should not base their decisions on who their children like or don't like. as parents our job is to make those decisions especially when childen are 4.


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

"the mother couldn't keep her perspective and do what was best for her children."

You knew the girl's mother was going to be unhappy to find you at her daughter's First Communion, & you showed up anyway, & she's the one who can't do what's best for the children?

about that "help me raise the children"...

If bf really said that, you need to be wary.

I had a boyfriend pull that on me years ago, & it still creeps me out.

The children's mother was doing a fine job of "raising" them:

The children *lived with their mother*.
Their father went to their home one weeknight so she could get a breather, & he took them to his apartment every other week-end.

My thought, then & now, is that a man who tells his girlfriend that he "needs someone to help me raise these children", unless he is a widower or his ex is in jail or a mental hospital, is not doing it for his children.

He's stirring up trouble to hurt his ex, or he's manipulating his girlfriend, or both.

That Monday-after-Mother's Day celebration sounds a lot like manipulating the girlfriend;
make her think she's "like a mom", & she'll take on all the responsibility that belongs to him, with the added benefit that it aggravates his ex.

& how do you plan to "raise" the children in the Catholic faith when they still have a living mother, & how do you reconcile spending the night with him when the girls aren't around with Catholic teaching?


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

He's stirring up trouble to hurt his ex, or he's manipulating his girlfriend, or both.

exactly


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

I know just how you feel. My BF and I waited a year until I was introduced to his daughter, and she's still a baby, just 2. I hold her if she asks me to hold her, I change her is she wants me to change her. Just this last time I saw her, she insisted that I comb her hair and dry it for her, not her dad or her grandma. I tell her I love her and give her hugs and kisses and she tells me she loves me right back.

BM of course hates this, because BM has always hated me. I am lucky that I have a boyfriend who is 100% supportive of me and his daughter forming a close bond.

My advice? Love those girls the way you have been. You very well may be their step mom one day, and they need to know you love them, not see you pull away - it will only make them think you don't care for them. Let them be leaders, just as you have been doing. They will let you know if/when they aren't comfortable with something.

Having many people that love them can never be a bad thing


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RE: Repost -- Making Peace

FD,

OP's BF's kids are warming up to her. BF has encourged this relationship with his daughters. If the girls didn't like her, even at 4, she would know it. Or their father BF would know it. They could have been the type of kids who only want Mommy.


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lamom

nobody says kids don't like it, they are 4, of course they like the attention, we aren't talking about what kids like or not,

of course BF encourages the relationship, he said he wants someone to help raising the kids. sure he encourages.

she is a GF, not live in, not engaged, not married, in her position celebrating "like a mothers day" the next day after the Mother Day or saying we are united front and are parenting the kids and are a family is silly. they are just dating, and she should act accordingly.

and after BF tells her to slow down she still insists on doing things her way, not a good start


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