Friday, October 21, 2005

Stepmother's Rights REDUX

As the fate of my stepdaughter's custody still hangs in the balance (thanks to delay tactics on the part of bioMom resulting in an adjournment until next year), I have to continue to live with the facts, as they have recently been pointed out to me, that stepmothers have NO rights when it comes to their stepchildren. Sure, I can care for her, feed her, clothe her, help her with homework, help her make little crafty things for her bioMom on holidays/birthdays/Mother's Day, pick her up from school when she is sick (or when she has an early dismissal and bioMom FORGETS) or take her to the doctor because of an infected earlobe that swelled around a newly pierced ear and the earring had to be cut in order to remove it ... however ... I-have-no-rights.

Many of the aforementioned duties have become expected of me and, as a SAHM, I have willingly accepted them as part of my over-all parental responsibilities. Still, I can't help but to feel conflicted when I am advised not to claim her on the witness stand as one of "our" collective children or refer to my husband's custodial time with her as "our time." I have no right to do so, apparently. Nor do I have a right to contact the school, or her therapist or sign permission slips for school trips all on my husband's behalf because it implies that I think of myself as her parent/guardian. Well, duh! I may not be her mother, but I am THE mother of the house in which she lives and I do consider myself to be a co-parent along with my husband (and yes bioMom to a certain degree).

And yet, the same people who tell me of my lack of rights also look to me for feedback, input and advice where my stepdaughter is concerned. Such as:
  1. While sitting in my husband's lawyers office this week, I was asked to review a letter outlining a proposed alteration to the existing custody/visitation schedule. I, being a person of very little rights, yielded to my husband to which his lawyer replied jokinlgy "Get a backbone!" Get a backbone?
  2. And her own mother, not a week after complaining about my SD being left at home with "her stepmother" had no problems with dropping her daughter off at our home one day (unannounced) in an attempt to manipulate the custody/visitation schedule. Apparently, I have no rights except when it's convenient for her and her evil plot to destroy us.

How do I respond to being told that I have no rights, and yet still have all the responsibilities as any other parent? How do I do this without completely detaching from this child altogether?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

DO U and I have the Same BioMOM !!! I was TOLD this summer that I am nit to be involved in my Step sons life... and get this..they live with me and my hubby. So I guess I can only be involved when it come to making sure they are taken care of and nothing else

Library Lady said...

Oh my gosh, this sounds like what my new SIL has to go through with my ex-SIL (the witch). It's all a game to her (the witch), yet she doesn't even have a clue what she is doing to the kids.

Hope it gets better for you!!!

BTW - love the pumpkin! Cute idea!

Wicked Stepmom said...

It's so sad that stepmoms (and dads) have to go through all this unpleasantness. My stepmom and Mom got along great from day one -- my mother always said that it was impossible not to like her -- and I had always hoped things would be the same way when I married my husband. Sadly, his ex- had different plans. Call me naive, but I still remain hopeful that we can one day come together and form a cohesive co-parenting unit.

Grace said...

My future looks bleak!

Wicked Stepmom said...

Grace, I sure hope not!

BeautifulLegacy said...

WOW, I think you and my friend do have the same BioMOM. I feel for you the same way I feel for Izzy. Each time I see how Izzy concerns herself with her stepson or rather SON I just get so mad. I know that Izzy is torn inside. I am sending you a hug and all I can say is keep being the wonderful person that you are to SD. Also can you offer any insight on how BioMOM acted after you began having children of your own? (I will read more to see if you discussed it ;) )

Debbie said...

my stepmother took advantage of my brothers she said her kids are angels and my dads kids were devils
she was a great stepmother behind closed doors but we now found out other things she has done as we all get older.what do you do or say now.

Kathy said...

Sorry to post on such an old thread - but I'm new to this stepmom thing and really appreciate hearing that others go thru this too. Just this past weekend, I went outside our house to pickup stepdaughter as her mother was dropping her off and was told that she (biomom) would not give her daughter to me. (of course derogatory term inserted here.)

Yet, just about a month ago, she was all well and good with dropping step daughter off to me when she had plans to go out and my fiancee wasn't home yet from work.

Its funny how they are so similiar...one day, we're good enough,the next day, we aren't...

Thanks for this board - its a lifesaver!

CG-Step Mom said...

This is a really old post but the problems happen everyday. Just remember to stay true to yourself. IF being true to yourself means being a mother in reality but not on paper, then be all that you can be!

Anonymous said...

From Smummy...

That's what my girls(stepdaughters) call me. Thank you for all the comments. It's funny how the bioparents (especially biomoms), play such games with the "new" family. This is so common. However, very sad at the same time. This is not a game, rather, these bio moms are playing with peoples feelings, especially the innocent children. It seems we all (steps) have very common situations. The bio's want you around and need your help when it's convenient for them, then turnaround and don't want you to be a part of their life or be known as a parent, especially a mom. Whether bio likes it or not, I'm in their life, will continue to be and my girls have every right to love me as a mom because I take care of them like a mom. Here is just one of many examples of how bio has failed as a mother...Our oldest had her 13th birthday a couple of weeks ago and her birthday fell on a Saturday. We actually had her that weekend. My husband and I had planned for weeks to have a family party with relatives, presents, out for dinner and cake. I had beautiful ballons for her waiting at the restuarant in honor of our daughter for her special day. I found out bio mom didn't have anything planned for SD and didn't even call her the day of her birthday or the entire weekend. Bio was too busy with her life to be interupted by a 13 y/o birthday. Our youngest daughter's b/d was back a few months ago and she didn't have any kind of party, cake, presents or anything for her as well. Yet, she reminds her girls she's "mother of the year". Wow, then I must be Mother of the Century!! It doesn't take paper to become a mother. It's as if you've adopted the children in your heart w/o all the legalities. I'm also the one who made the comment "the four of us were ready to be loved, we had open arms and found it". I'll never stop the relationship that I'm building because I truly believe God put me in this situation so our girls could experience what a loving Mother should really be....it's me, Smummy!

Keep on loving them. If you do, they'll love you right back!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriends 12 year old son lives with us. He has full sole, physical, and legal custody after a lengthy custody battle. Biomom is anything but a quality type f person, mother, or human being yet the kid proclaims her as the best mother in the world ( I guess that's what happens when biomom doesn't care if you brush your teeth, eat a vegetable, or do any of the non-fun parent stuff). In any case, I love the line of " I am the mother of the house you live in" AAmAZIng! I will surely be using that phrase as needed. Really helpful and easy way to clarify my role especially for thev12 year old.

Anonymous said...

I also have had a very similar thing. We have only been doing this for about a year,but bio-mom insists on claiming how godly of a women whe is yet tells her daughter (my step-daughter 4yrs old) that I talk to the devil and that I don't have God in my heart. Step-daughteer told Dad that she is afraid of me because of what bio-mom is feeding her head with. Granted he and I didn't meet under the greatest of cercumstances but that is no reason to drag the children into this. I feel myself drifting further away from step-daughter because I don't want her to feel forced to love me.Prio to this step-daughter (4) and I had an unbelieveable bond and I think bio-mom feels very threatened.She very arely speaks to me and avoids me at all costs if she can. Dad has another daughter (2yrs) she and I have a great bond. I don't know what to do about bio-mom and this situation. Any advise would be GREATLY appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I HAVE A QUESTION I AM A STEPMOTHER AND I LOVE IT. I WISH THERE WAS A WAY WE COULD FIGHT FOR FULL CUSTODY AND WIN ALTHOUGH THE MOTHER WOULD NOT LIKE THE IDEA. WELL MY QUESETION IS AS FOLLOWS WHEN I GOT MARRIED MY HUSBAND ASKED ME IF I WAS WILLING TO ACCEPT HIS CHILD AS MINE AND WILLING TO HELP HIM EDUCATE HIM AS A MOTHER WOULD. I AGREED TO BE A MOTHER AND A ROLE MODEL FOR HIM EVEN AT TIMES WHEN HE IS NOT WITH US. WE ONLY SEE HIM EVERY OTHER WEEKED. I WANT TO BE MORE INVOVED IN HIS EDUCATION SO I ASKED MYHUSBAND IF HE MINDED ME GOING TO THE PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE WHICH HE WAS NOT ABLE TO GO HE HAD NO ROBLEM WITH IT. I ENEDED UP GOING EVEYTHING WAS GREAT I RECIEVED GOOOD NEWS FROMHIS TEACHER NOW THEN I BUMED INTO HIS MOTHER AND SHE WAS VERY UPET. SHE MADE A SCENCE AT HIS SCHOL AND I STAYED QUIET IT WAS NOT THE TIME OR PLACE. I WOULD NEVER ACT A FOOL IN FRONT OF CHILDREN OR IN A PUBLIC AREA. THEN SHE TEXT MY HUSBAND SAYING THAT SHE UNDERSTOOD I WAS HIS WIFE BUT THAT I NEED TO STAY IN MY PLACE. THAT I WAS ALWAYS CROSSING THE LINE AND THAT HE NEVER TOLD ME ANYTHING. AND THAT SHE DID NOT WANT ME PICKING UP THE CHILD NOR FOR ME TO BE THERE WHEN MY HUSBAND DROPS THE CHILD AT HER HOME. NOW IVE NEVER BEEN RUDE TO HER OR SAID ANYTHING MEAN TO HER FOR HER TO BE THIS WAY. I LOVE THE CHILD I READ WITH HIM HELP HIM WITH HIS HOMEWORK BATHE HIM WASH HIS CLOTHES FEED HIM TAKE HIM HIM TO THE PARK WE TAKE HIM OUT AS A FAMILY IVE NEVER MISTREATED HIM OR ANYTHING. YES I DISCIPLINE HIM AND MY HUSBAND KNOWS BUT NEVER HAVE A LADI A HAND ON HIM. NO SEH WORKS A FROM 8 TO 6PM HES HAVING TROUBLE AT SCHOOL AND AT HER HOME AND SHE SAYS HERSELF THAT IT MAKES HER UPSET THAT SHE HAS TO TELL THE CHILD "IM GOING TO CALL YOUR FATHER" IN ORDER FOR HIM TO LISTENT O HER. AND I TOLD HER SHE HAD NO DISCIPLINE OVER HIM AND SHE LETS HIM DO WITH HER WHAT HER WANTS I THINK SHE GOT MAD ON THAT. WHEN I FIRST MET HER SHE TOLD MY HUSBSND YOUR BROUGHT THAT B... TO MY HOUSE BUT SHE WAS THE ONE INSISTING ON MEETING ME. THAT DAY O RMEMEBR CLEARLY SHE CAME OVER TO MY DOOR AND OPENED IT AND DROPPED HER BABY I THOUGHT SHE WAS GOING TO HIT ME BUT I REMAIND CALM AND I DIDNT SAY ANYTHING MY REACTION WAS TO PICK UP THE BABY AND HER OLDER CHILD ALSO CAME RUNNING WITH EXCITMENT PUSHED HER MOM OUT OF THE WAY AND I REMEMEBR HER SYAING "MAYRA MAYRA" AND I HUGGED HER. AT THAT POINT I KNEW SHE DISLIKED ME. THE DAUGHTER TURNED OUT NOT TO BE MY HUSBAND CHIKD WHICH WAS A VERY HEARTBREAK FOR MY HUSBAND. AND NOW WHEN WE DROPPP OFF HER CHILD AT HER HOME IF HES SICK I LET HER KNIW HEY WE TOOK HIM TO THE DR OR HER I ALREADY FEED AND BATHE HIM. MY HUSBAND FROMTE BEGINNING TOLD HER THAT I AWS ALWAYS GOING TO BE THERE WETHER SHE LIKED IT OR NOT. AND NOW I NEED SOME ADVICE