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Thoughts?

Posted by lovehadley (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 10, 10 at 11:03

I had an interesting encounter with some moms on my DD's swim team.

I was helping sort ribbons the other morning during practice with three other moms.

It is a very Catholic team---it's a small independant pool, and many of the kids go to Catholic schools in the area. I am not Catholic nor does my DD attend a parochial school. But anyway, perhaps it is some of their faith/beliefs that perpetuated this.

There is a little girl on the team---well, she is not really little, she is 12 yrs old. Her grandparents own the pool. This girl is an Olympic-bound swimmer. She holds records in our STATE set when she was 6 yrs old that have yet to be broken; she trains in Colorado Springs 2 weekends a month, she is phenomenal.

Her parents are divorced and from what I learned from these moms, they have been divorced since she was 2 or 3.

Both are remarried.

They also seem to get along FABULOUSLY. They are at every meet, and her dad (son of grandparents, the ones who own the pool) helps run the meet every week.

I always see her mom and dad chatting, laughing together, and hanging out with their daughter together. I've watched this girl hang on her dad, joke around with him, throw playful punches with him and her friends---they just seem like they have a good relationship, and she clearly loves him. According to these moms, the girl spends equal time with both parents.

Well--anyway---one of the moms mentioned that DAD has two kids with his second wife. And the other two moms fell all over themsleves.

"Oh how sad! How awful for her. Poor little girl."

I was dumbfounded. WHY is that sad?

I mean, sure, it's sad that HER parents are no longer married, but this girl certainly seems to have two loving, involved, supportive parents. I've watched her at meets for the last three years and she seems happy, close to her dad, close to her mom, and well-adjusted.

It was so odd to me that these moms thought it *sad* that she has two siblings (half) from her dad and his new wife.

Thoughts?

I wonder if their attitude would have been different if it were MOM that had more children. Somehow I think that would have been acceptable to them.

It's like there is this double standard/negative connotation with dads remarrying, having second families, but not moms.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thoughts?

Because not always, but moms tend to always care about their kids, but dad can leave the kids from the first family behind.


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RE: Thoughts?

As evident on this forum, moms can do the same thing.

I get what you're saying--dads are *more likely* to do so. But with this situation, it's clear that the dad has NOT left his daughter behind. It was just an automatic response on the part of these moms at swim practice, and that's what I didn't get.


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RE: Thoughts?

perhaps it has to do with money... when dad has another kid, he has more kids to support... maybe it's less money for the previous kids.

since a higher percentage of non custodial mothers don't even pay child support, when they have another child there is likely less of an impact to her children... after all, the new child's father presumably will provide the support for that new child. (which is probably true if it's a custodial mom too)

I agree love, I don't get that attitude when they can see an involved dad... but then I think it's terribly sad that BM had another baby.. another child to suffer like her first two, but also another child that takes the time & attention (and apparently financial resources) away from SD, who is already starved for her mom's attention. But, if she were involved like the dad you describe... there would be nothing to feel sad about. I don't even think it's necessarily sad that her parents are no longer married. Sometimes it's best for kids to not be in a situation where the parents don't get along, don't love each other, or there is other problems.


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RE: Thoughts?

I read these forums from time to time, but I've never commented before. I found this interesting, because I've experienced people having similar reactions when I mention that I have half-siblings.

I think a lot of has to do with a general stigma with divorce- that if parents split up children will remain with their mother and have limited contact with their father. Therefore, if a father were to remarry and have more kids, he would focus much more attention on his new family and his already marginalized first children would be pushed further aside. Now, I feel like this certainly isn't the case all the time, but people who have little or no experience with divorce might see it that way.

In my own experience, I've found that it's almost a natural reaction for some people to assume that I must not be close to, or even that I must have issues with, my sister and brother when they learn that they're my father's kids from his second marriage. It sounds similar to the scenario you described, I can be talking about my sister and things will be progressing normally, but if I mention that she is my father and stepmother's daughter occasionally people will start reacting differently to what I say. It's like, even if they should know better based on the information I've just given them, they can't help but fall back on the assumptions they already have about stepfamilies.

At this point, I really just view it as another assumption about divorce, and it doesn't bother me that much anymore. The fact that my sister and brother are "half" siblings, isn't even something I bring up unless people ask questions about the significant age difference between us (which they often do). I don't think of them that way, and I think that's what matters.


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RE: Thoughts?

I get strange reactions when I say DD's dad has 2 more children, DD's brothers.

I agree with violet, it is just general stigma that dads usually ignore kids from previous marriages. When people find out that DD's father is very involved, they act very surprised. Like most fathers are not involved or something? Weird.


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RE: Thoughts?

I have had people tell DS7 that they think he is lying when he mentions he has an adult brother and sister. When I verify it, I get the strangest reactions as though nothing could be more weird. In fact, I really don't mention my skids, DS's brother and sister too often anymore because of the stigma that I've experienced and that DS has experienced over and over. Not to mention the overall relationship issues. I just allow many people to perceive him as an only child which of course has it's own set of stigma.

You have to get to know us pretty well before you learn that there are other kids much less learn that there are grandkids from the first marriage. I rarely volunteer it but never lie about it either. Unless you count the lie of omission. Many of our friends have been told but only really remember when prodded. Frankly, it' easier that way.


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RE: Thoughts?

It's probably unfair to blame it on Catholicism (at least in my experience with Catholicism). (not that you were doing that, I got that you were just questioning if that world-view influenced their attitudes) I grew up in a very predominantly catholic area and, if nothing else, my experience (not to be too stereotypical) but is that there are expected to be lots of siblings with likely significant age differences. Even with the introduction of half- and step- opposed to full-sibiings, I'd honestly not expect a lot of stigmatism to that concept. Family, and extended family, is a big deal, and considered a blessing.

it might have to do with unfamiliarity? They just don't understand how families with half- and step-sibs work? Or maybe they were just a couple of judgmental biddies? (oh, wait, was that just judgmental biddy-like of me?)


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RE: Thoughts?

It's so funny I read this post just this morning after what 'happened' last night. I don't want to hijack so I'll start another thread (or just update my last one since nothing ever changes).

Violet said "..., but people who have little or no experience with divorce might see it that way."

I would've agreed with that before last night. After SD's call to DH, I'm convinced that even children and adults in divorce situations see it that way.

Or maybe it's that they keep the stigmas going. Almost like creating the reality, or a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, if the stigma is that non-cudtodial fathers are deadbeats, even the fathers that try really hard get treated like crap because that is the expectation.

And if the stigma is dad's kids aren't 'real' siblings or even close with 'original' (using language from previous threads) kids, then less effort is made to keep them close.


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RE: Thoughts?

I also think--and I may get blasted for this---that moms tend to harbor more jealousy and possessiveness over their children.

I really think it is one of those primal things--an innate biological tendency to protect your own---that fathers don't have *as much.*

IE--with my SS's BM, she has (in the past) been snippy and irritable when SS refers to my DD (his stepsister) as his "sister." She has complained to DH (not recently but within the last two years) that she doesn't like that because they are not *real siblings.*

I get it. BUT that does NOT change the fact that SS and DD DO refer to one another as "my sister" or "my brother." That's how they introduce each other to friends, it's how they refer to one another in conversation, etc.

They both call DH "daddy" and they really just do view and love each other as siblings. And more power to them! I think it's adorable and sweet, and if they choose to not use the term "step" (which they never ever have) then I'm not going to go out of my way to "correct" them.

BM was irritated by this. Some form of jealousy on her part comes into play.

Then there is my DH. He has, from the getgo, been SUPER accepting of SS's two (half) sisters from BM. DH always, always refers to those girls as SS's "sisters," and he oohs and ahhs over pictures SS might share with us, laughs at funny things SS says about them, etc. DH, in essence, has always fostered a healthy relationship and made it abundantly clear to SS that it is good and wonderful that he has sisters at his mom's.

Same goes for his SF. DH is always, always positive to SS when talking about his SF. IE, his SF took him fishing a month or so ago, and DH said how great that was, how he hoped SS would have a great time, catch a lot, etc.

BM is just not that way with me and MY relationship with SS, though she is getting better.


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