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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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I would like to request that someone with a background in step-parenting

Customer Question

I would like to request that someone with a background in step-parenting please answer my question (either personally and/or professionally).

I am a step-parent to two girls, one is 15 one is 11. I also have an infant with Down Syndrome. The eldest girl was raised by my husband from age 2 until 14 (until she moved away to live with her grandparents on her mom's side). When I met the two girls, they instantly liked me. Mom had moved in with the new guy 3 weeks after leaving my husband (after a 10 year relationship) and I was the new girl who was different from mom. I had a career, my own place and my own interests and they took to me right away--they were 11 and 7 when i met them.

They immediately all wanted to spend time with me every day. With my career, that was hard to do but 4 months later, I moved in with their dad and about 15 months later, we were married.

I have had many fights with my husband because I have told him that he simply wanted to get a substitute for his ex. I say this because he has "checked out" many times--falling asleep for hours at a time and it means that I have to make them dinner and put them to bed. He will also go play video games or watch TV or stay out longer at his sports games (having a drink) and I am left with the kids. He even left them with me when I was in labour with my daughter!

Now the older one has moved away for the last 8 months but is returning this summer. Her mother has stated that she is not allowed to be at our home because I act too much like a friend to her. she says that it is too hard to parent her because of this. My husband is apathetic over the whole thing, saying that if she wants to keep her, there is nothing he can do because he is not her biological father. He is not willing to fight for rights since it is the 15 year old's choice of where she goes. We are leaving this alone because we are tired of fighting with mom.

My concern now is that she will say the same thing about her 11 year old. I will describe the last weekend with her (we have her exactly half the month by the way). I had a party with a group of moms that I hang out with every month; on occasion, people bring their children. I took the 11 year old with me--she knows one of the moms very well (from prior to the group). She likes to come out with me a lot because my husband doesn't plan much and her mom has two other young children plus a step-child and barely works so she is short on money. She came to the party, the women know her from prior parties and she likes to feel included and loves to raid the appetizers with me!

The next day, we did some volunteer work in the morning and then we went to a baby shower in the afternoon. Again, she wanted to see some of my friends who would be there and who already know her from prior events, plus raid the appy's! We went home and her dad took her to a birthday party with her friends and then later in the evening, she had a friend sleep over, my husband wanted to play video games so I played a board game with the girls and then went to bed.

Next day, took her shopping but this time we all went. She used her allowance money to buy herself some shoes and I treated her to a scone at a local bakery--I often will treat her to lunches and treats when we are out because I enjoy going out to eat as well. I also take her to the gym a lot just so you're aware! I forgot to mention that we were out this weekend and she had borrowed a pair of my flat shoes since she is the same size as me. she said they were tight and she has been needing flats for months. I found a cheap pair for $12.50 and bought them for her.

I spend a TON of time with her. In our home, we have chores which I reinforce with her and was the one who implemented them since her parents had none when I met the kids. I also have helped her with homework and ask her to do additional things on top of her chores. She usually listens no problem.

My concern is that her mother will accuse me as well of being her friend. As a step-mom, I find my role is ambivalent. When I was hard on her for acting up a while ago, she accused me of acting too much like a mom and then emailed her mom and said that our vacation was terrible because of me. Most of the time though, she is very affectionate towards me and very loving, she always wants to accompany me on outings because I am NOT one to stay home and get bored (her parents are home-bodies). I take my infant daughter with us most places as well and she is very loving and close to her little sister as well. I do spend a great deal of time with my infant daughter of course when my step-daughter is at school. Both of my step-daughters confide in me and of course, complain about their mom. I bite my tongue MOST of the time but I am not perfect and have screwed up on occasion with how I feel.

My question is: what am I doing right and what I am doing wrong?

Thank you!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are experiencing in your family situation. There are a lot of issues going on in your life and therefore you have become extremely understandably stressed. As long as you are a loving wife and wonderful mother to your step-daughters and provide for their needs, then their mother should not be so negative. It sounds as though the mother may have jealousy issues with you because you seem to be more well off than she is with her "new" family. Who knows, she may have never completely gotten over the break up with your husband and is out to bad mouth you. Being a step mother when the mother is still in the picture is often awkward. But whatever you continue to do, do not let the mother push your buttons. She wants to feel like she has the power and is in control...even when her daughters are with you. No matter what, do not give in to her negativity. You remain positive. You cannot control what the mother says or does. You can only control your reactions to what she says or does. She will always remain full of bitterness and tries to instill that into her daughters to make them dislike you or have a negative perception of you. No matter what garbage she may feed your step daughters about you, the only thing that you can continue to do is to be yourself and the best step mother that you can be for those young girls who need to have a role model like you in their lives.


Hope I have provided some insight. Thank you and have a great day.Laughing

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I just needed more concrete assistance so I have posed the question to another expert but I do like your positive suggestions.

Thank you.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
OK no problem. Thank you and have a nice day.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
***for a helpful answer, I am willing to tip. Thank you. *****