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StepMom Needs Advice!

bren1981's picture

I have been in a comitted relationship with a man who has been divorced for 2 years. I am the first woman he introduced his children to, ages 3 and 5. When I first met the children, the 5 year old instantly took to me, talked to me, sat with me, played with me. I am a firm believer in letting the children warm up to me so that they are comfortable with my presence. The 3 year old (she was 2 at the time) took a little longer to warm up, but I always reached out to her to play with her, include her when I was playing with her brother, helping prepare her meals, and holding her whenever she asked for "Up". While it took the kids very little time to warm up to me, ask for me, want to do things with me, my problem is their mother. I still, at this point in our relationship, have not met her - my own choice - however here are my reasons why:
1. She has bad mouthed my relationship with her ex-husband.
2. She instantly wanted her ex-husband back when she found out he had fallen in love with someone else.
3. She constantly creates issues where there are none - sudden want to change the visitation agreement, sudden "need" to seek co-parenting counseling, and so on.
4. Recently the 5 year old had a dr. appt to get his ears cleaned - I went with at his request. I went along with my future husband, and the day went great - he handled the appointment well, we went to McDonald's playland afterwards, it was enjoyable - as soon as the Ex-Wife found out I went with them she claimed we were both pathetic, and that I had no place being at the appointment, that my future husband had "no balls to tell me not to go with," and that I have "nothing invested in the children and that I do not belong."
5. She continuously bothers my future husband at work - making demands for information and expecting him to drop everything to accomodate her.

Here's my issue. I've had enough of her to know I would live a happier life never having to interact with her. My problem with that? I love my future husband and his kids. I do not feel we've ever overstepped any comfort level with the kids, and even though the oldest is 5 we always ask him first what he wants (If he wants me to stay the night, if he wants to eat dinner with just Daddy or all of us, if he wants one of us to stay in his room at night as he falls asleep - and he always answers yes.)

Are there some guidelines we should be following to make this transition time easier? Is she just controlling and out of line to make demands on us for how we live our life? It is our life together, not hers -- I feel as though she has no right to say anything bad, as long as the children are happy, healthy, and provided for while in our care.

For example - one day, when she came to pick up the children, and the 5 year old wanted to know where I was so he could say goodbye (I was at work) and as soon as the 5 year old said my name, the 3 year old popped up and said "I love B^@%*#"....their mother instantly went into attack mode. She has accused me of not having a life (because of the amount of time we spend together) and told my future husband that we are both pathetic - that I should have no involvement with the children and then threw in a "You'll find out soon enough--I can't wait" at the end of a text. What is that threat supposed to mean?

I have no biological children of my own, but I did raise my nephew for the first 5 years of his life. I feel that my future husband and I communicate clearly in regards to my involvement with the kids - remind them to use their manners, instruct them to use their words when they are upset, not screaming or throwing a fit, and to guide their diet - when the 5 year old asks for chocolate at 9 pm its ok for me to say no - that kind of stuff. I've helped bathe and dress the kids, and when the 5 year old has a nightmare he climbs into bed with us as if its as natural as anything else in his life. When the 3 year old wakes up in the morning she asks for me. I'm not saying I'm perfect - and I would never, ever try to be a replacement "Mom" to those children - but I was introduced into their lives at 2 and 4 - and we have the next 50 years or more to be a family in our own way. How do I deal with my anger issues towards their mother? I will not bad-mouth her or talk about her behavior in front of the kids. My future husband and I both feel as though the children's mother tries to badmouth us when we are not present - that she is attempting to manipulate the children - and the only people that hurts is them (while it does hurt me, I can react or choose not to react as an adult)...what can we do to ensure the kids realize that both homes are unique - what happens at the other house is not our concern unless it affects the health and well-being of the children, and what happens in our home is our business. How can we get her to back off without create a blowup, argument, etc.?


txstepmom32's picture

YEAH, you are in for the ride of your life..... From my personal experience... I say.....RUN.... and RUN like HELL!!!!!!! And don't look back. There are plenty of fish in the seas. PAS=NO FUN FOR ME!!!! I know what you are going through.... PISS on PAS!!!!

bren1981's picture

Not going to run from anyone or this relationship - I realize it will be a rocky road as it must be just inconcievable to her that he has moved on - and the kids are about the only thing she can hold on to. I will deal with all of it, and make our relationship even stronger by leaning on him and he on me when it is needed. I guess my problem is that I fight fair fights and this isn't one. Passing judgement without looking in the mirror first is one of human being's most grievous errors. Ignoring the ludicris stuff is easy - its the personal digs that hit deeper that are harder to ignore. Our relationship is solid and based on open communication, and revolves on creating personal time, family time, and strong support. We can make it through, and I don't want to turn away from someone who is a soulmate to me. I'm divorced but no children. I married young and it didn't last but there were no regrets or a messy divorce. Plain and simple, he won't ever have to deal with anything but the emotional scars I have from a previous abusive relationship. And when she starts her crap through texts he always shows me, or lets me know what she says - I don't feel he should have to shoulder it all- we are a team. Also, he has requested that she correspond only in e-mail form - so that way her issues and concerns are in writing - and she has refused. She told us "I'm letting you and my lawyer know I will not e-mail" -- besides the mud slinging she like to do, she is horrible at clearly communicating with my FH - it is always an argument, with ambush attacks when you least expect it....

desperately seeking for answers's picture

Waoh... That totally reminds my of my ex-husband's ex-girlfriend or should I say GIRLFRIEND:

Girl let me tell you that you are in for a ride of your life and if you dont put her in her place is never gonna stop. Eventhough my situation turned sour let me explain and I hope and pray that it doesn't happen to you...From the date that she found out that we had gotten engaged is when hell broke loose. She would never let him see his son unless it was in her house and would bother him at work and make him miss work to take her to the babies doctor's appointments, she would call me at my job and bad mouth me eventhough she never had the decency to meet me. I even offered to babysit so she wouldnt miss a day of work cause the baby was sick and her answer to that was she rather loose her job then to leave him with me. One thing that keeps popping in my mind from your letter is that she said to you "you'll soon find out cant wait". She use to tell me the same all the time and though she never would explain what she ment I did soon but not soon enough found out what she ment. We got married and to months into the marriage my husband started all of the suddent acting jealous with no reason. he soon started checking my phone and other things that didnt make no sense to me. He went away to visit his parents and I couldnt come because I own a business so he went by himself, from there he called me and asked me if I could give him the password to our phone account because his phone was not working, which soon brought suspecion to me because I had just spoken to him on the same phone. I didnt mension a thing to him but I told him that I was busy with a customer and that I would call him right back. As soon as I hung the phone up I borrowed a phone from a friend and dialed his phone and he answered, I hung up without saying a word, went on line to my phone account opened his phone log because something just told me he was trying to hide something from me. and girlfrield as soon as I opened his phone log there was pages and pages I even ran out of paper of phone conversations that he had with his ex and other women cause you best believe I went crazy and started calling all the numbers on the log. I called his ex and she said I guess is time that you find out that me and him are still together he never left me and he never will because he knows i'm the only one that he can always come back to with no questions asked.....What a slap in my face how blind was I to believe him, she was fighting for a reason and there it was the answer to my questions. I divorced him as soon as I could we where only married for 3 months. But I learned my lesson never trust baby mamas... So please open your eyes to everything that's going on around you and always trust your instincts and your gut...

A friend

StepChicka's picture

Speaking from my experience it sounds like she is threatened by you. She's had XH single for 2 years and has acclimated to just him and her opinions being involved in the decision making. I'm almost sure that since you've been around there's been some slight changes in your fiance towards BM...even if its just an attitude. Woman are very sensitive to details as a rule you combine that with her children and mother bear can come out the woodwork very easily.

Has fiance talked to her about this? Are you backing up their parenting style? Do you respect it? I'm assuming you are and all you're doing is following along with what your fiance is looking or in a woman. BM needs to understand that its good that you adore her (and fiance's) children. Would she rather have you hate them? You are a(positive) additive not a replacement of her. You should attend the co-parenting appointments. This where you have a chance to put her mind at ease. If you can't the counselor will.

bren1981's picture

Desperately - the threat of "You'll find out soon - Can't wait" was on his phone - not mine - she does not have my phone number, but she's kinda dumb that she hasn't figured it out yet - I work in the public's eye every day - my face, my office phone, my work cell are blasted on the front page of not one, but two local newspapers. Her message was along the lines of saying, "My BF doesn't get involved with the kids, your FW shouldn't be involved with the kids - You'll find out soon enough and I can't wait"

She's made plenty of threats to go back to court and change visitation and the parenting agreement. She's claimed she is documenting everything, but so are we. We write down every conversation, every occurance that leaves us wondering WTF is she thinking? Who does she think she is fooling?

StepChicka - there is no real parenting style between the two - the two houses are completely different environments - in ours, we have routine - games, playing, etc..dinner with everyone at the dinner table, more games, playing, nighttime snack, bedtime, with stories or a movie playing. The 3 year old goes down easy, its a struggle with the 5 year old. Now from what we can assume, since he was married to her and lived in their joint household and this stems from how things were in the past - there is no order or semblence of order in the other house. She has a teenager from a previous relationship who is unruly and out of control (was before their divorce) that rules her attention. I must add in here that the 3 year old has special medical needs - she has a G-tube and always has a daytime nurse present. So, the 5 year old is left in the middle - the youngest has nurse's attention, the oldest has Mom's attention, and he's left to keep himself occupied. BM has claimed he has behavioral issues - we don't see them in our household - he is loving and affectionate, plays constantly with books, puzzles, Wii, and toys. He asks politely 95% of the time, and is reminded to use his manners that other 5% of the time. That is one of the reasons we spend a lot of one on one time - techinically the 3 of us - we feel as though he isn't getting enough attention at his other home. When we take him to school, I drive and Daddy rides in the back with him - or vice versa. When he asks for one of our attention he always gets it - we do things as a team when the kids are here and when they aren't. Our visitation is pretty liberal - my FH works 4 or 5 days straight then has 3 or 4 days off - he rotates monthly from nights to days, and EVERY day he is off work, regardless of the shift, we have the kids. It is very routine, and I am a constant on days when the kids are with Dad.

StepChicka's picture

Personally speaking, its empty threats...if not then let her go to court. She'll be told otherwise. BM will have a very humbling experience.

She's just unnerved that your fiance realized he is as an important of a parent as she is. She's also worried that he has a "complete" household without her therefore can provide a more stable one. Possibly something she's regretfully missing. Can be very threatening indeed. But BM will learn...the easy or the hard way. She'll find out.

On second thought, let fiance deal with her. You have plenty to focus on like your new found family. I would still go to the co-parenting class though.

bren1981's picture

She would flip her lid if I went to those classes. We have discussed seeking our own class of sorts - whether it be a marriage counselor or what-have-you. Not because there is any problem in our relationship - but that we both become so upset and angry whenever we have to deal with her. It should be simple - pick up the kids, we have a blast our way - she comes and gets the kids, and she should uphold her end of the parenting agreement that says she won't badger the kids about time spent with Dad.

We have a happy, loving, healthy relationship. We've had no arguments between us - only a few misunderstandings, normal in my opinion since we have different communication styles.

I need help controlling my irrational anger. I'm a MAMA BEAR over my future husband - and protective as all hell. I don't want him to hurt, or to not see the kids - he's a wonderful father, loving and providing, stern but not strict - we parent the same way - something that she doesn't understand.

StepChicka's picture

Let her flip her lid. She'll be pissed off the first few times but she'll understand quickly the boundaries. Let her get mad. I believe its her tactic and probably a little spoiled of how good things were (for her) before. The fact ARE parenting fiance's children. So you should be included. Maybe not the first couple classes but soon after.

Everyone here can tell you all about

Check out the book Divorce Poison--How to deal with a vindictive EX.

The BM you're dealing with is threatened but she's also being unreasonable. Those co-parenting classes I'm sure are with a therapist/mediator of some sort. She'll probably listen to them...if not the court will. She won't have choice. Fiance can tell her " Do you really want to go down this road? Do you want us to be unworkable forever? " I seriously doubt it.

I know the feeling of protecting your man...and his children. SD's BM has pulled some dirty things against us and I raised HELL! DH and I wouldn't speak for days.

Trust me, BMs issues are all out of fear mostly. Sometimes parents lose sight over what they can control and what they can't. They also lose sight of what is best for the kids. She needs to be reassured and defuse her fears. She may scream, piss-moan, hiss, and fight and for what. She'll soon realize she's wasting her energy. Meanwhile you'll be sitting pretty and be willing to extend the olive branch...that is if you still want to. I'd like to think you would. You're in for a rocky road ahead of you if you don't...speaking personally from a BM and SM herself.

StepCHill's picture

BM still pulls this crap with us and guilts DBf into stuff. She always throws out snotty little comments and it was really hard for me to get over, still is. I don't think there is a way of every completely getting used to someone always saying what a horrible person, homewrecker, slut, etc. It sucks but now we just try to laugh at all of the stuff she says because its soooo DUMB. LoL. Its easy to say "oh just ignore it, shes stupid" but its not so easy to actually do. She told DBf the other day that I was pregnant. Umm, ok??? NO we are not... anyway she screamed at him on the phone "well have a great life with your new wife and baby!!! Why couldn't you have given me what you give her?? Thats all I wanted!!!!" Yeah, thats the way to get it! She was referring to us always laughing with eachother, smiling, treating eachother with RESPECT and making decisions as a team. I don't think the BMs every get over the fact that the "new" girlfriend/wife is getting to spend the rest of their life to the man she treated like shit.

StepCHill's picture

oh she lost that a LOOOONG time ago when she "bribed" with DBf with the divorce b/c she didn't want to give up the free house, medical insurance, groceries, etc. The only way she would give him the divorce was if he supported her through school. Its rediculous but she's so horrible that its easier to do that. We pay her rent, she uses his car that he pays for, he pays her phone. That is also on top of all the CS that she's getting. She gets food stamps, daycare assistance, and low income housing. Well, we didn't know she wasnt going to claim it on her taxes b/c if she did she wouldn't qualify for all the crap she gets. That all ends June 1st and we can't wait for that day. We literally have a countdown. She is the most pathetic person I've ever met. She works 4 hours a day, 4 days a week and goes to fake school. She always bitches about "how hard" her life is. DBf said she tried to enlist in the military but she didn't qualify b/c of her asthma. I would never trust deploying with someone like her because she can't do anything on her own. She still calls and stuff asking for DBf to hang up shelves and stuff (of course he says no.) I can't imagine her going to Afghanistan or Iraq. And the worst part is, that little brat can't be an ounce or grateful. That makes me more mad than anything. Ugh, I never thought women could be this horrible. Now I know why DBf was nervous about getting serious w me... Its because of stupid women like that!

bren1981's picture

Steve - again - I don't want to run,and won't run. I realize its a rocky road - and I realize we will deal with BM well past the 18 year old mark when the child support to her stops. But I love him enough to know that we can make it through this if we lean on each other and he always clearly knows how I feel in regards to his XW. I am idealistic - I do think it should blow over...but I'm pretty reasonable and non-argumentative - and she's apparently not. My future in-laws know all the crap she pulls and stay supportive to him and I. I'm not alone in this battle - but I am so glad there is a forum where I can vent and seek advice.

stepmom2one's picture

Well this may be a different view than what the others have but here it goes.

It sounds like this is a typical BM/BF/SM or GF relationship. I would think (by the post here and what I have heard) that these things happening have to 90% of blended families. This is what we deal with, and if you love your BF and want to work with this than great. Everyone here certainly has made the same choice you have, to stick with it and get through. Besides it could get better, you are not doomed for this to get worse. The situation I have with BM was good/bad/good and now I am not quite sure where we are at. All well I live my life, have my family (DH and BSs), whatever SD or BM do I have DH deal with.

So I am just going to go over the list you put down Smile

1--90% of them do--they are ruining their kids (PAS). just stay your usual nice and kind self. Hopefully the kids will see BM in a different light and not you the way she hopes. My SDs BM does this here and there BUT over all it is kept at bay--not anything you can do to stop it so put it out of your head.

2--That is becuz she is still in love with him, if the little on was just2 when you guys got together it hasn't been that long ago she was with him. Hopefully she will move on quicker than later BUT this is her problem--again put it out of your head.

3--alot of BMs do this too. When they feel like they have been forgotten they start drama to force you back to thinking of them, even if it is in a bad way. BF needs to have all of her calls go to VM--call her back if it is about child otherwise ignore her. If she wants any of these things she can seek it through court. Which I am nearly positive she won't.

4--you can go to appts if you want! What happens on BFs time is up to him to decide, not BM. Again if he let it go to VM he could just delete the message right away. If she says call me back he shouldn't whatever she needs she can say or email.

5--She is a control freak and flipping out becuz since you arrived you have made her feel like she was lossing it. He needs to put his foot down tell her to stop calling work--if he picks up and it is her he should say "an emergency?" if no then hang up. Or if he has a secretary tell her all calls from BM need to be messages.

All in these are just my opinions but my overall advice as a SM of 7 yrs....

Keep BM out of your head. She is those childrens mother but as long as you treat the kids good then she has no biz with you. Anything that she and BF have going on, concerning the kids is between them. The less you know the better but anything that is to effect your schedule should be discussed prior to BF responding to BM (be sure to have this talk with BF ASAP). Focus on your relationship and making the kids apart of "your" new family.

Things are tough and sometimes it is hard not to get angry about all of this but remember that BF is the parent and an adult. Anything BM says about you is becuz she is upset--she has not even met you before. BM has no basis for attacking you, try and let it all go.....I know easier said than done Wink

fedup315's picture

I would ask you simply, what is your BF's reaction to all of this.. does he take her calls? Does he heed her warnings? HE needs to put his foot down.. this is his baggage and he should be protecting you and his kids from this nonsense.. plain and simple.. he needs to make a choice and stick to it... no contact unless is an emergency... no more calls, no texts nothing.. they are divorced... she is using her kids to hold on to a memory and to keep him in line, he needs to break free.

desperately seeking for answers's picture

I so agree with you (fedup). Men always tend to feel good when women fight or argue and they are in the middle no matter what the situation is. But right now he is the one with the control, he needs to put his foot down and tell her to back off of you. As long as you are not hurting those kids she has no business getting involved. He needs to put her in her place and until she sees that he's serious about what he says trust me she's not gonna stop.

bren1981's picture

Was away for the weekend with the FH, Skids, and Future In-laws. BM pickup was at 9pm and seemingly went fine. We have a two-story home, the downstairs is a walkout living room, bar, bathroom - so I hang out down there when BM comes to get kids - the great thing? I can hear everything and she has no clue I am there. No major issues this time around - backpeddled a bit about me going to doctor with SS5, but said in the future I need to wait in the waiting room - NOT IF HE ASKS ME TO GO IN WITH HIM - SCREW THAT! I've taken the time and patience to bond with each of these kids and I am not going to say no to them when it comes to something as basic as sitting in a doctor's office with him. Anyways - my f-hubby is leaving on work detail for the next 5 days - thanks so much for the advice - we are setting up our own counseling appointments when he returns...

Couple notes about responses - my FH is a State Police Officer - she contacts him on his cell and cell only. If he ignores his cell, she'll call the home phone (another cell, but always at home) repeatedly. She'll never dare go through the dispatcher at his Headquarters because they know her antics and wouldn't even pass along a message. He answers because the 3 year old has special medical issues and always wonders if its an emergency with her. Problem is - her messages always say, "Hey its me, Call me Back"....I know I probably overthink a lot of it - its just my personality - I'm a pleaser & a pacifier - and I love him and the kids and never want that to be destroyed by someone who can't handle the fact he's moved on.

Another note - about the timeline - with the youngest born 3 mos early and barely hanging on through infections, bowel removal, on life support for the first 9 months of her life - their marriage was over the day she was born - not because almost losing her destroyed them - BM caused the early birth. The pregnancy itself was one of those things that didn't stay in Vegas --- and I literaly mean, what happened in Vegas resulted in a baby.....they hadn't been on good ground before the trip but they went because a friend was getting married. And SS5 was born 3 months after they got married. I know it doesn't matter what happened in their relationship, but it shines a little light on the rocky relationship it was from the get-go.

On a brighter note, not that I wish a nasty divorce on anyone - their divorce brought a wonderful, generous, and amazing man into my life after my own series of bad relationships. We compliment each other and its hard to see where one begins and the other ends. I've taken the time to bond with him, his family, and those kids, and he has taken the time to bond with me, my family, and my nephews (who I am so very close to). On another note, we dated for 7 months BEFORE I ever came to meet the children, and 8 months before I ever met his family - we decided from the get go that if this was going to be one of those relationships in passing, I didn't want to get emotionally involved with the children, and he didn't want them to get attached to me.

Well folks, I have my gown fitting at 11am tomorrow. Gonna take lots of pics to send to my honey since he'll be at the state capital for training. Thanks for the advice, and if anyone else wants to pitch in, feel free. I'm sure when the next chaos sets in, I'll be right back on here sharing it all with you - this is a great resource!!!

belleboudeuse's picture

It sounds like your relationship with FH is a good one. You are right to worry that anger at the BM can infect your relationship, though.

My suggestions are 2:

1) Train yourself to not care, or to care much less, about what she says. After all, what she thinks and says doesn't have any effect on what you guys decide to do. She doesn't have to like what goes on in your house but she can't change it. Ditto for things like you going to doctor's appointments. Let her rant, and don't listen. On that note, you should try to have no contact with her whatsoever. Through experience, I've learned that even though it's tempting, any attempt to communicate with her when she is hostile toward you will do no good. So just don't do it at all.

2) The two of you need to decide and train yourselves to minimize the effect she has on your relationship. For example, if something is going on with her and you NEED to have a conversation regarding what to do about it, limit the amount of time you can talk about it, and then move on. Don't let conversation about her pervade/invade your life. If you're not careful, you'll find yourselves talking about problems with her almost all the time that you are alone together. Don't let her take control of your relationship like that. Even in the hardest times, 1/2 hour of discussion about a BM-related problem per day will be more than enough. The rest of the time, declare your relationship a BM-free zone.

Remember that a lot of the reason she intrudes on your life is that she doesn't like the idea of you two in love and happy. So she throws crap into your lives hoping it will cause trouble and make you less happy -- and therefore establish her as in control. Don't let her do this.


You are not second best, you are not second class. Do not ever let anyone make you feel that way. - 2BLoved