I got my first ‘hate mail’ the other day. I say hate mail, it was really about as gentle a communication and truly heartfelt one as I could get, but we as stepmoms are usually defensive are we not?! She said she came to the page looking for insight and instead was crushed and could see why her young daughter was treating her so poorly after returning home from her dad / live-in girlfriend’s house. She felt we were bashing on biomoms and stepping over our boundaries and that she was being treated poorly by her daughter probably because a woman like us was trying to take her place. She said she was completely taken aback at how we could call ourselves mothers having never given birth. She had no idea that some of us were raising children full time in PLACE of biomoms who had walked away from their children. In fact it was clear it was unfathomable to her that a mother would be univolved at all and even more shockingly, that mothers would leave their kids for addiction or mental health issues and that was an entirely different angle for her to see this from. Instead of being angry or rude, I encouraged her to elaborate. I TRULY DO want to grow as a stepparent and when I say all feedback is welcome, that’s not just a pretty facade I put on for the readers, I really mean it.
Her response was not only honest, it was incredibly helpful. I wanted to share it with all stepmothers so you can see a different perspective. Not EVERYTHING about the biomom is bad, I don’t care what your situation is. We are taught as young children to find the good in everyone and yet we get so caught up in our own situation we don’t stop to think about the other person’s side of things.
I bring this to you so you can see that while there are many vindictive biomom’s who are coming across as rude and controlling as can be, I’d venture to say that most of them simply are coming from their own experience and background, have their own feelings that are getting hurt, and may actually be trying to make this work too.
DISCLAIMER: Yes I know many biomoms are just that, they are MOM. They win in many cases hands down by playing that biology card and they don’t want you to take over as the mother of their children let alone be anywhere NEAR their children. Of course I know this. Please understand, I am not trying to sugarcoat, I am a childless stepmom too, coming from an extremely dirty situation. I know all the games, manipulation, parental alienation, and hell that a stepmom can go through, I’ve been on the receiving end with my husband many times. Even still, the biomom in our life has some valid feelings, concerns and points. We cannot grow if we do not acknowledge our own piece of the puzzle and contributions to the breakdown of this co-parenting partnership.
That being said, the best part of this is that you can RELATE to it, but it isn’t directed AT you. That is why I found this so helpful. When you’re in the midst of it, you cannot see the forest through the trees. It is true genuine words from someone who is trying their best to make it work and I am confident you can understand and/or relate to at least some of what she is saying. I hope this sheds even a sliver of light into the other side of being a childless stepmom.
Biomom: “I am trying my hardest to have open communication with my ex’s girlfriend, as this women does care for and watch my child on a regular basis while she’s at her Dad’s house. I’m desperately trying to find a balance that works for all of us, and trying as hard as I can, which at times is incredibly difficult, to make this work. To have open communication, to be able to CO-PARENT. It’s hard for me to truly value her opinion. To be blunt. 🙂
Although I listen, to it- as often as she dishes the suggestions she has on raising my daughter. I cannot seem to put my insecurities aside and truly care what she has to say. This is a women who on a regularly bases talks about me on social media sites, bashing me as a Mom. She is sweet as pie when I speak to her on the phone or via email.”
The Childless Stepmom’s Reaction: Are you ever like this? Be honest. Have you ever felt yourself so irritation with the other parent in your scenario that you never EVER view them with fresh eyes? From HER perspective, if this stepmother is nice to her face but shitty behind her back of COURSE she’d find it hard to trust her opinion. And the same is true vice versa isn’t it? I went through the same thing. Biomom was always nice TO ME, but went off on her Facebook about me, ‘behind my back’ or at least not to my face. Not only does this send mixed messages, it means the relationship can never be anything built on a solid foundation and therefore, living daily co-parenting is nearly impossible. Note she says she has insecurities. She didn’t hide that. Biomoms have them, and they are very real. If you were in their shoes, it would frighten you to have another woman moving into their child’s life. I don’t think this only applies to biomom’s who are ‘guilty’ or aren’t doing ‘their part’. If I were a biomom, I know I would harbor the same jealousy and insecurity.
Biomom: “I think it def would be a difficult situation to be in, and she is a do-er. She likes to be involved, even wants to be involved. She is everything I could ever ask for a “step mom” for my 5 year old daughter. She takes her to dance class on Wednesdays, she picks her up when her dad is working, paints my daughter’s nails, I truly believe that she loves my daughter.”
The Childless Stepmom’s Reaction: Notice the genuine nature of these words. She may be lacking by not SHARING this with the stepmom in her scenario (I never asked her if she ever told her what a great job she thought she was doing), but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel it. She acknowledges that she thinks being in her situation is hard and she seems thankful that this woman is good to her child.
Biomom: “Again, thankfully, we are lucky to have all mature adults while in the presence of my daughter. It’s when she isn’t around when it gets nasty. My ex has a difficult time speaking to me, as he says it brings up too many memories that he tries to block out. So for this reason, there is little to no communication between her bio parents, which to me is really sad. I think she feels she needs to fill that gap, because she and I do believe in open communication. And it’ll be good for a while, until something happens when it goes downhill, quickly. Either I’ll see something on the computer that she has said about me, or a text is taken in the wrong interpolation and I get upset feeling as though she is trying to control me. And all the communication is bitter. I’m trying to find a medium ground, where everyone is happy- and there are boundaries set in place to where everyone knows their roles. Although this woman is given free range in their home- she is yet only 25% of the say. I think it is genuinely in her nature to be the best at everything she does.”
The Childless Stepmom’s Reaction: They suffer from what most blended families suffer from: an inability to behave like adults while the child isn’t around, a heated debate at most turns. At LEAST she says they can be good in FRONT of the child which is sadly a far cry from where many parents are in this situation. But she is so blatantly clear and honest about what is happening with the communication breakdown. Is this you? What are you doing to better this? I tried often to have clear and good communication with biomom. She was often receptive when she felt she wasn’t being threatened or ganged up on. MOST people do respond that way. I love how she mentions boundaries.
WHY ARE THERE NO DAMN BOUNDARIES SET BETWEEN ADULTS CLEARLY IN OUR SITUATION?
That would have been incredibly helpful to me! We never sat down and said this is where I think you fit, this is where I wish to fit, etc. etc. Truth be told, I never initiated this myself either, but looking back I wonder how much of a difference it could have made. I don’t believe this will always work and our biomom changed the boundaries and where she wanted me to be and where she wanted herself to be almost weekly. But still, it couldn’t have hurt to try and draw clearer lines. And I think that’s what this biomom is trying to convey.
Biomom: “You are truly an amazing writer, and are definitely the kind of person who should be running a page such as this! You truly do care, and want the best for everybody and that is inspirational! I can only imagine what it’d be like to be in your shoes. I feel like if I were you, I’d be doing this same thing : ) I think it just caught me off guard, how another women could refer to herself as a Mom, when indeed no baby ever grew in them. But you have clearly shown yourself as someone I would want raising my child, if anything were to happen to me- as is the women my ex is with now! Although the insecure part of me, would never want my daughter to think she had another Mama other than me, the other part of me would never want my daughter to feel as though she had no Mama at all!”
The Childless Stepmom’s Reaction: She goes on to award me an astounding compliment which I do NOT take lightly and was very humbled and thrilled to receive. But more importantly, look at the compliment she awards the bonus mom: she has shown herself as someone she wants raising her child if something were to happen to her. She addresses her insecurities, but is at least honest about what’s really important to her daughter.
I believe (because sadly I’ve seen it myself) that there are mothers who couldn’t be further from earning that title. They act like they are good people but they are really just living for themselves. Who knows how this particular biomom actually interacts with the bonus mom and how the bonus mom would respond to this. Perhaps she tries to be calm and collected but they bicker so much it’s so hard to convey positive and encouraging dialogue.
I didn’t post this as a catch-all for everyone. I know some of you may never have interactions with biomom like this. But I wanted to show that while not all stepmothers are wicked, not all biomoms are insensitive flakes out to ruin your new position. I hope some of you can take these words as encouragement and maybe look to establish a safe place for communication within your relationship because let’s face it, we married the ex too whether we like it or not. This was very helpful to me to see things from a different perspective. A parent’s job is to protect their children at all costs. Take it from me, sometimes you wish you could interaction with a parent who truly cared enough to fight for the well-being of their child. In that respect, you should consider yourself blessed. Moms are moms forever, you should focus on establishing your place in the child’s life and building your relationship with biomom in whatever form is healthy for you. Be that none, a little, or whole-heartedly. But don’t shut off communication until you’ve examined yourself.