futuremrs.k's picture

How do you become the matriarch of a family that is currently made up of someone else's biological children?

I have always dreamt of being this loving mother who makes everyone comfortable as soon as they are home. Makes the cookies, dinner, overflowing with hugs and advice, etc. Which I feel I have successfully created at my household for the most part. But, then there are the times when I go to school events and not only am I not in the front seat of my own life anymore, I barely feel like I'm in the car! How do you SM's have the confidence to just stand up and be who you are while BM is around? I get so self concious because I feel like she has to throw out the Mommy word to everyone. She introduces herself with her married name from FDH and as SD's Mommy! Ugh, I feel like it just tosses my existence out the door! Help, I know this is going to come up a whole lot this summer and next fall! I need to be better prepared next time!

mermaid33's picture

I am right there with you

I am right there with you FM.K. I just try to tell myself that SD wants me here and I am a part of her family and that is that.

SteppingUp's picture

I know what you mean and sort

I know what you mean and sort of touched on this subject with my blog I wrote earlier, if you want to check it out.

I think it's hard to juggle being step-parent mostly because you fill a parenting role yet there is something always there to remind you that you are NOT the parent. I look more like my step kids than either of their real parents...so most people automatically assume they are my children. Of course, when a random stranger mentions that to us, my step daughter is quick to announce that I AM NOT her mom. So I tartly respond, "Yes, I'm the evil step mother" with a little knowing grin that my SD and I share, because she knows I am anything BUT evil. Smiling And yes, I feel as you do, that I am in the driver's seat at home and with my guy and his kids...and the minute BM is at an event, I don't seem to matter.

I think that step mothers like you and I are very common. We want to be a part of the skid's lives in a very meaningful way...we don't want to "disengage" as so many other step parents do (for various reasons). I think the success of our effective parenting depends a lot on how sensitive those around us (especially DH's) are to our delicate situation.

In any BM's defense, I'm willing to bet they feel the same way. I'm sure that your BM wants to exhibit some control (let's face it, we all like control over our situation!) and to ALSO not feel left out of a situation.

In the future, I plan to introduce myself directly to teachers or coaches as the skid's father's wife...just take it into your own hands to be just as upfront as the BM is, as you are just as important in the children's lives. I think you just need to be sensitive to the situation so that it doesn't seem like you are trying to one-up or grab the spotlight...so depending on the event you may want to do this on a more private level with the coach/teacher/etc. Another thing that I would do is ask my husband to introduce me during things like this. It's much easier for him to say, "Hi Mrs. Teacher, nice to meet you. I'm ___'s father, DH, and this is my wife ____. Let us know if you ever need anything..."

futuremrs.k's picture

Thats great, Steppingup!

Thats great, Steppingup! Thank you so much! I know what you mean about being sensitive. I am overly sensitive right now to where I feel like I fade into the background! But, next time I will be sure to ask DFH to introduce me or muster up the nerve to just be myself! I am in sales and have rarely ever met a stranger! I am typically outgoing, but I turn into a hermit in these situations. Ugh, so tough! But, thanks for the support! Your skids are lucky to have you! You seem to really care!

WifeVersion2.0's picture

It can be especially

It can be especially difficult to attend "family" events for the kids and suddenly feel like an outsider. Especially if the BM has any kind of relationships already established with teachers, other parents, etc. Some of it just takes time. I found the following a huge help with this type of situation.

1) I ALWAYS look my best. Nice outfit, hair done, nails done, make-up touched up, etc. I work during the day and often make my choice for work clothes based on if I have to deal with BM that evening after work. It makes me feel better about myself and more confident in general. It helps that BM 9 times out of 10 wears the same purple shirt, black pants, and old sandals. Evil

2) I look for ways to help to keep myself busy. Serving cookies/drinks at a party or art show, helping clean up, setting out chairs, etc. It's a good way to make a positive impression on the kids' teachers, PTA parents, etc. and makes introductions easier. My DH isn't great about making introductions. We've been friends for a long time and he sometimes forgets that I don't know everyone he does! Smiling So, I'm not afraid to stick my hand out and say "Hi, I'm WifeVersion2.0, it's nice to meet you." I usually leave titles out of it, they'll figure it out on their own if they have any common sense at all!

3) DH is very good about staying close, and making it clear that he is there with me. He will talk to BM but will hold my hand or have his arm around me while doing so.

4) I always say something nice and smile. Doesn't matter if I've had a crappy day or had a fight with DH on the way there, BM will NEVER see me rattled.

5) FOCUS on the KIDS. I might smile and be nice to the ex but I'm there to support the kids. I also ALWAYS have my camera with me. It's a good escape from the situation sometimes. Oh, gee I need to walk over here to get a better picture, etc.

Hang in there, this part really does get easier.

Happiness is an inside job!

stepmom2one's picture

I think that us women, as

I think that us women, as SPs, need to demand it in the beginning. Take it as your own....and over time you will realize that steperg is right.

It most important to be you, not a matriarch to anyone.

stepmom2one's picture

I don't feel like an

I don't feel like an outsider....I don't care if BM is at things or not.

I love SD and if she asks me to attend something I will. If it is a family event then why shouldn't we be there? We are family.

I am a BM (with DH), and a SM. Nearly everyone I know is a BM, we are everyday people. My SDs BM is just a person, a woman I barely know. She has a family and so do I. This womans (BMs) daughter comes to my house to visit her father and half sibilings (my kids). That is just how I think of it.

Don't get all wrapped up in caring what another person thinks. It is not that you don't belong somewhere or are stepping on someones toes....you are looking at it from the wrong direction.

Change your way of thinking and it will set you free. In your relationship and stress of being a SP.

HeatherM's picture

I hear what you're saying.

I hear what you're saying. Although I'm not the 'Mom" that you describe you want to be.. (ie I don't bake, I wish I was more patient, and I spend a lot of time on my career)... having a close knit family is equally important to me. The thing is in my situation is BM is always too Busy to do anything. Up until very recently I did everything... Doctors Appointments...Birthday Parties... Parent Teacher Interviews...etc etc. All of the parents assume I'm his mother, and like someone else mentioned..my stepson is quick to point out "She is not my mommy". Sometimes the 'childish' part of me tries to beat him to the punch and say "He is not my kid"... but whatever.. I digress... I don't however feel that I'm in competition of her or anything.. I think she's useless. At events like Soccer, school events etc..she crawls up in a little ball in some corner drinking her moocha poocha latte while I mingle with all the parents and kids... She looks like ass, and like someone else said..I go over the top when I know she's going to be around... I may look like an idiot glamor girl at the soccer game..but I'm okay with it... anyways..bottom line is I hope when my SS is older he see's all of the things I've done for him, and how I've made time for him.. until then though I think it is what it is... I don't think it will change. I've pretty much stopped doing the things I used to do with him because I think his parents..BM and DH should really step up to the plate for the sake of their child...