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first time posting - looking for advice... how to be an involved SM

thankful's picture

I am a stepmom of a 5 year old boy. His dad and mom have a great relationship... there were times when it was rocky and I think we all agree it is WAY better to have a team effort approach to parenting.

My difficulty lies in this. How do I fully invest in this child, without being able to be 100% part of his life? I see him as my son, but then something will come up (like first day of school) that my husband thinks its better for just the parents to be a part of. It feels like red light - green light to me, and makes me want to withdraw a little - I know this sounds so childish... but I have no clue how to deal with these feelings.

Also, to be noted, a lot of these times where it is good for just the 'parents' to be there - BM's fiance is there. My husband tells me its too much stress on BM for me to be there - that if she feels threatened its no good for anybody. Which has truth in it - she will make it harder on everyone when she feels like it.

what I've been doing is telling myself, just pull away - its not your place, this is for them. But that is crappy because then I put myself on the periphery. I dont want to just me his dads wife - I want to be involved and part of his life.

any advice or inspiration would be great... this is my first time opening up about this..


pat's picture

I see red flags here. Why should he care if psycho BM is there ? Who cares what she feels ? How about your feelings ? Lots of questions here that have red flags flying ! Sorry, for being so blunt.

Moon Child Step Mom's picture

Yeah… this sounds like a problem. And a giant miscommunication issue between you and your husband.

If you came into this child’s like openly and lovingly with all of the trials and tribulations that come along with (co)parenting a child I think it’s absolute BS that you should be asked not to participate with the “parents”. ESPECIALLY by your husband!!! How dare he ask you to take on the responsibilities of caring for this child and then be asked to stand behind the curtain when it comes to special moments. That’s some old B-S as far as I’m concerned…

Have you talked to him about how this makes you feel..?
As far as BM goes… she’d better know that you’re here, you’re helping raise this child and you’re due the basic respect that comes along with it. And it’s up to your husband to make sure she shows you that respect. So what if she has a bug up her butt… you’re his wife! Isn’t he proud of that? You two are a team… the second there’s a division in that team everything is going to fail. My husband always says… no shadows in the corners, nasty things tend to grow in the shadows. My husband would laugh in Mother Russia’s face and say “how DARE you” if she ever tried to make a stink about my being at one of their events. I committed… I’m entitled.

Talk to him… tell him how much you love this kid and how much the bums rush is hurting you… then evaluate his response.

antidrama's picture

Just because you can't physically be there for the Bio Parent only situations, doesn't mean you can't be there for him emotionally and show your full support for him. I agree that there are some things that should be handled by the bio rents but it does feel like being left out sometimes! It's a TOUGH position to be in, BUT you just have to make it known to your stepson that he is loved regardless of whether you are physically at certain events.

now4teens's picture

Here's where I see a huge red flag with a controlling BM who wants to "have her cake and eat it, too"...

You wrote, "Also, to be noted, a lot of these times where it is good for just the 'parents' to be there - BM's fiance is there."

DING. DING. DING!!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a double-standard, control-freak here. Yet, also note the beautiful subtlety of the "poor me" victim role as well:

"My husband tells me its too much stress on BM for me to be there - that if she feels threatened its no good for anybody."

Oh, my Lord! Here we go again.

Honey, if I can offer you any help, it would be this:
BM is a control-freak, plain and simple. She's manipulating your DH, and he's letting her, under the guise of using the child as a pawn.

It's classic manipulative behavior which will only get worse if you do not put a stop to it now. YOU are the #1 woman in his life- not his ex. I'm not saying that you have to be a "bull in a china shop" when it comes to ordering him around and demonding him, but there are more certainly more eloquent ways to putting you foot down and making sure you do not get walked all over in this relationship, while the EX gets treated as "first priority".

Too many of us on this site have had to literally had to "fight" to remind our husbands that we are NOW their CURRENT wives, and it is OUR feelings that they should be worrying about- not their EXES!

DaizyDuke's picture

this is ridiculous, your hubby is putting the feelings of his exwife before yours!!

So next time he expects you to cook dinner for, taxi around, or watch your step son, you should tell him that it would be better if "just his parents" handled these things and since you're not a "parent" you don't feel qualified.

Not really, but seriously maybe saying such a thing to him would help him see how ridiculous it is of him to treat you like a "parent" only when it's convenient for him and BM. UGH! Sad

thankful's picture

Thank you all for the great advice, opinions and personal experiences. It's silly to think I felt maybe I was the only one! ha!

I will plan a talk, to discuss how I feel and what I need. Together we can come up with what is best for SS without excluding my feelings.

I think he will be receptive - he is a great and fair guy. I need to make sure I'm heard otherwise he will assume I dont want to be involved.