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step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

Posted by ckaral61 (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 14, 09 at 11:49

I am also a step mom to a 5 and 8 year old. I was the only mom in their lives at the age of 2 and 5. Their bio mom has recently hit 2 years of sobriety and now takes them regularly on the weekends. They both call me mom and did so on their own. I completely support their needs with my husband financially, physically, emotionally, sign them up for sports, buy their school clothes, put them to bed, set the rules, etc. My problem is that bio mom still feels that they are 2 and 5 and treats them as such. She missed out on those years and the problem comes when they come back from her house whiney after they've grown up and learned to do things on their own under our roof. They will be 6 and 9 this fall. I have my first biological child, their half sibling on the way. I don't feel like a step mom and i aslo cringe when my oldest writes about times with her 'real' mom. I firmly believe that carrying a child for 9 months and then leaving their lives is just as bad as donating sperm. I feel just as much if not more their mother at this point. until their mother is out of her "alcohol controlled' environment, living on her own and helping out financially, my husband will still decide when and how long they can go for visits. Though I know it is important for them to have a relationship with her (i grew up with a non-existant dad), I still sometimes feel protective and maybe a little jealous that there is more than just me now. How do I cope and release some control because I am having difficulty with that issue. for example, in the morning- they get themselves dressed, get their own cereal because we are teaching them to be self-sufficient but they go there and she dresses them and cooks and involves them with every step of the day, every meal, arts and crafts all day long...we often have the kids go play, occupy themselves and of course spend a lot of time together too...any thoughts, feelings or suggestions

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

Mother is probably doing it out of guilt and trying to compensate for those missed years and if she battled alcohol issue she feels guilty about that too. Maybe she is overdoing it by being there 24/7 and doing everything for them because she is trying to make it up to them.

i understand how you feel but unfortunatelly what happens in other parent's house is beyond our control. not only wiht stepkids but wiht your own kids when they go to other parent's house, they follow different set of rules and different routine and there is nothing we can do (except abuse and neglect of course).

I understand you feel a bit jealous because you were their only mom, but they know it too and they love you as much as you love them. Could you share your feelings with DH? Is he supportive?

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

I completely understand your jealousy with bm now being involved and the kids acting like bm was never gone. My skids bm has been in and out of their lives for years and each time she called or saw them they acted like she was so wonderful and was mom of the year. Nevermind that it would be months till the next call....or that her boyfriend would be drunk the whole time the kids were there...or that bm would just sit them in front of the tv all day and the kids heard "noises" coming from bm's room during the day when the door was closed (afternoon quickie perhaps??). Anyways it would upset me so much down deep to hear them say anything good about her because all I could think about was the bad!! And how much time and energy I was putting forth to do the motherly things she did not do. It just about killed me for her to get any credit!

There is no easy was to deal with those feelings. You just have to let them go somehow. Realize that the kids love you both. And she gets it easier because she is the bm....she has their unconditional love. And they will put the absent parent on a pedestal and hang on every good thing that parent does. But when they are grown they will have so many more memories with you and remember all the things you did for them. When they have their own kids they will remember talks you had with them and things you did.

As for her babying them, well you can't change it. Just keep on with your normal routines at home and they will soon see that they can do XYZ at their moms house and they have to do XYZ when they are at home.

But look at the bright side. They are getting to see their sober mom and have a relationship with her, which is better for them in the long run that having her absent and them blaming themselves for it. And if she spends the whole day playing with them be greatful....she could be spending the whole day sleeping and letting them do god knows what! OR she could be having boyfriends over all day.

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

I've posted about what a wonderful SM (other mother) I had, we lived with her and my father.
Try to remember that the more people that love your children the better adjusted they are.
You've had the opportunity to shape the young lives of your kids and they will be better people because of it.
I speak from experience in that these children will always think of you as their other mother, and no matter what experiences they will share with their bio mom, you will always be in their heart as their "real" mom too. And I'm sure when they grow up, they'll stop using that term.
Maybe your hubby could have a quiet talk about what the term "real" might mean to them? I bet you'll light up when you hear their thoughts :)

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

Since my daughter's adopted I hear the term "real" mom from other people quite a bit. I tell them "saying real mom implies I'm the fake mom!" My daughter only said that once... when she asked me for ice cream immediately after saying that, I drew a picture of an ice cream cone. Explained to her the difference between real & fake (in a very light hearted way)! She never said it since & will also correct other people when they say it!! Just a thought on a way to explain real & fake!

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

I don't really have any advice. I totally understand your feelings of jealousy, though.

Rest assured though that all you've done, continue to do, and will do for the rest of these kids' childhoods MATTERS immensely. You were there for them when their BM wasn't. And while they need not be angry with her for her absence, that doesn't mean they won't look back someday and appreciate that you were there. Trust me--as they get older, they will know that you were there.

Two years sobriety is great. And I agree that having a sober BM is best for the kids. It is far better that she got her life together and is there NOW. She cannot make up for being absent but she is doing what she can to be there NOW and that's what is best for the children.

The more people that love and care for them, the better.

Hang in there, though---I think you are totally justified in feeling jealous and I know if I were in your shoes, I would feel the same way. Just keep doing what you're doing, keep being their "mom" when they're with you, and trust that all will work out.

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

Sassy, a story I love. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, who was adopted, was asked in an interview about his "real parents". He interrupted the reporter and said my real parents are the jobs, next question.

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

Thanks for all of the great comments. I still do at this point get a say and my husband takes in what I do say realizing it has been me over the past 3 years. She does get her visits but we do have the last say. We are still waiting for her to get out of the controlled 'no alcohol' environment and to help out with some of the financial responsibilities because that is also very important..but to her credit, she improves every day and I'm just afraid of getting pushed out completely...We do a lot of great, fun things...but I am on the strict side of parenting. I want to raise good, responsible citizens...though we do have a ton of fun too...hubby and I prefer more of a schedule during the week..

RE: step mom vs bio mom (I was the only mom for some time)

I can totally relate to being the stricter parent who gives the kids a schedule. With my bioson he goes to see his dad at least EOW usually. When he is there it is fun school or homework and no bedtime. It is relaxed. Weekends at home are similar, but the school week is longer so my son seems to only remember how strict and routine we are during the week. When he thinks of his dad he thinks of all fun. It stinks being the parent who has to be stricter. But if I tried to compete with his dad and only be fun my son would not grow up to be the type of person I hope for!

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