Rights of a stepmother - FamilyEducation
Rights of a stepmother
05/13/2008 at 09:58 AM

I am involved with a man who has 3 amazing daughters. we all get along very well until recently.  father has recently received overnights during the week as well as every other weekend and we as a family have gotten closer.  Biological Mom has had a real problem dealing with, as she puts it, "father taking her children away from her".  She tells people she is getting use to the idea but we know different.

the girls like to hang out with me and their father allows that to happen. Mom claims that the time they should be spending time with the father and spend it with me, she should have them. although, she can drop them off to her sisters or mothers house whenever she needs to do something.  father spends quality time with them and alot of times he asks to do things with them and they rather run with me and do things, so he allows it. mom objects. she has even told one child that if she is not with her father she should not be with me, she should be with her mom.  mom tells us things the children say and recentlyt, she has told father that the middle daughter says she doesn't want to hang out with me, but does it becasue dad only watches sports on tv. that is so not true. when asked the daughter about it, she denied it.

my question is , is it wrong for me to want to do things with these girls. Is mother right when she says if father is not spending time with the girls, than mother should have them.


Hi. First let me say that I'm a stepmom too, so I know where you are coming from.... However, I can definitely see the birth mom's side of this. Let me ask you this, you said you are involved with a man that has 3 daughters. Okay, does that mean you are married to him? Or just a girlfriend. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that if you are his girlfriend your relationship means less. I'm just saying maybe the mother feels like you are just another girlfriend who will be gone in a few months, and that you don't really matter. Also, I'm sure the mother is jealous and resentful about her girls spending time with another woman. Which is actually normal. I would feel the same way. Maybe she just doesn't know how to deal with all of this. And yes, I do feel that if you and the dad are not married, he should be spending most of the time with them. Sure a few hours here and there with you are fine. But what you must realaize is that these people are a family. Like it or not. they were a family before you came along and will be IF you leave. Now, if you and he are married then yes the mother is going to have to learn to deal with the fact that her girls have a stepmother. Because that means you ALL are a family. I would suggest NOT questioning the children about any he said she said stuff. It will surley make them uncomfortable and they will feel caught between the two camps. Let the adults deal with the adult matters. Let the kids, be kids. Just my 2 cents.

No we are not married. We do not intend to get married because of different issues. The girls know that and tell us that they do not want us to get married nor do they want their mom to get married. I have been the one and only girlfriend he has had, as she has had one boyfriend (fiance) for the last 4 years. We are commited to one another as mom is with her fiance. She has been "engaged" since before the divorce was finalized and has no plans as far as we know to marry. I in now way want to be their mother. they have one. I do not want to take her place, children need their mother as well as their father. She is reassured of tis every time the argument comes out and she claims that she doesn't feel that way. i enjoy spending time with them. i also don't want father to lose time with the children because mom feels some kind of way of me taking them out. Just because we are not married does not mean we are not family. just as her and her fiance are not family. they are family, we are all family. I also would feel that way if roles were reversed, it is only human and probably a mother instinct. I could see if I was new and father had tons of girlfriends since the breakup of the marriage but 4 years later this comes up. it is also like father does not spend time with children, as she takes it. i just wanted to see if I am wrong in feeling that i can take these children out with me, especially if they ask to go. i enjoy the time that they are with us and miss them when they are gone, does that make me such a horrible person or does that make my boyfriend horrible for his life partner, as we call each other, to spend time with his children.

Give the girls a bit of a break. If she tells her mom she does not want to go with you it's because she believes that is what her mother wants to hear. She wants to please her mom and agreeing with her or taking her side is her way of doing that. Don't confront the girls with what mom has said. If the girl tells YOU she does not want to go then discuss it with her. You are allowing the mother to dictate your friendship with her daughters. The girls father is in charge of how he spends his time with the girls. If he decides the girls can tag along with you for the day it is his right to decide how his parenting time is spent. The mother is in charge of her own home and her own parenting time. Don't let her dictate how you run your home.

I am in a similar situation to yours. We tried the route you are on and the bio-mom just got more and more bent out of shape and took it out on the boys. So, we have taken a different route and it is working better: Dad nearly always picks up and drops the children off by himself. (He still does not go into her house which bothers her, but he refuses to give in on that point as he feels since he is married to me, not her, there is no reason to go in.) He spends equal time by himself with the boys, and with the boys and me. The boys now very, very seldom do anything with me without Dad. It was an adjustment, but is well worth not having the contention. The boys are much happier now that their mother does not have as much to complain about. Hope this helps!

I think stepmom has a good point about making some concessions in order to maintain peace and happiness. Some ppl might think (as I did) that you are allowing the mom to decide how you live, but in the end it seems stepmom has more peace in her family and the boys are happier. Can't argue with that!

thanks for all your comments and advice. I really do not care what bio mom thinks. Father and me are very good to those kids and that is all that matters to us. What I was really looking for was if bio mom had a right to say what dad can and cannot do when it is his time with children.

The girls father is in charge of how he spends his time with the girls. If he decides the girls can tag along with you for the day it is his right to decide how his parenting time is spent. The mother is in charge of her own home and her own parenting time. Don't let her dictate how you run your home.

Like it or not, and hard on you is that they are still a family - divorce doesn't divorce the kids from the parents. The best thing that you can do is talk to the dad. He needs to approach the mom and work out better co-parenting. Your relationship with the girls is hurting them because dad isn't supporting mom's relationship with the girls. The same rules need to apply at both homes. If dad won't do it, then you can try to approach mom and work something out. It smells like to me that the girls are in avoidance mode with mom - it's really important to find out why. Then you can move forward intelligently.

For the sake of the children you HAVE to care what the biomom thinks. Otherwise she will find a way to make the children's lives difficult. This is not about you or how good you are to the children but about what is best for the children. You will probabloy have to consult a lawyer to find out about your legal rights.

Stepmothers/fathers should have some sort of respect because they are also leaving with you and taking care of the children. Taking to much control can probably result in family issues though, especially in the teen years.

I am a stepmom and a mother too. One thing in particular that you said caught my attention, the part about hearing second-hand what the daughter said to her mother and then denying it when you approached her. In a situation like yours where mom is clearly jealous of the stepmom, the kids will say things they don't mean to protect their mom's feelings. I'm sure she likes you very much and didn't ever intend for that to get back to you. I really feel for this girl, who is probably feeling very guilty and caught in the middle. I feel for the mother too, because she is likely feeling threatened by your relationship with her daughters. By the sounds of things, you have a very good friendship with her daughters and I'm sure she envies that. It is tough being the mother and having to set rules and enforce them. Try to imagine yourself in mom's shoes when you are feeling frustrated with her. I would leave the kids out of it at all costs, otherwise you risk putting them in the middle and damaging your good relationship. The reality is they will always side with mom in the end and you will lose.

can i say i myself involve with this married man for 7 years now had a child for him and now his wife found out we both women had several arguments and this woman want to play the roll of my child stepmother but i refused to have it.sorry i badly need some advice myslef,what must i do??