25 answers

Step Mom Overstepping Boundaries

I am dealing with my ex's wife who pretends to be the mother of my children. I have joint custody, the children live with me, but my ex doesnt deal with the children he lets his new wife do it. She comes to parent teacher conferences, parents meetings, takes them to doctor appointments without letting me know, plans b-day parties for them and the list goes on. The problem is I have spoken with her and let her know how I feel and that I wish she would discuss things with me, but she is very mean and says she'll do what she wants with my kids and that I need to just deal with it. I have tried talking to my ex but he is afraid to say anything to her because she is a control freak and he wont stand up to her. She is very disrepectful to me and there is no way to compromise with her. Any suggestions on how to handle this? Being nice isnt working anymore.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Honestly, I think it's wonderful that they have a step-parent who does care about them and does make such efforts in their feelings, health, education and welfare. To me, it would be worse for them to have someone in their lives who didn't really care about them and was only interested in their father. I know it's hard to share motherhood with someone else, but isn't this the best outcome to a divorce and remarriage situation?

8 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Honestly, I think it's wonderful that they have a step-parent who does care about them and does make such efforts in their feelings, health, education and welfare. To me, it would be worse for them to have someone in their lives who didn't really care about them and was only interested in their father. I know it's hard to share motherhood with someone else, but isn't this the best outcome to a divorce and remarriage situation?

8 moms found this helpful

So let me get this straight...your ex is a pushover who married a control freak. To add to that, you assume that because he chooses to not involve himself in the lives of his children, that you should be the only one to do so...even though you have a joint custody order. She comes to parent teacher conferences and parent meetings...because she cares about how your kids are doing in school and wants to have a proactive relationship with their teachers and a productive relationship with the parents of their peers. She takes them to doctor appointments...because she is concerned about their health, and knows that if they were sick with you, you would no doubt take them in....BTW, do you notify your ex every time you take them to the doctor? Birthday parties?? How dare she?!?! What right does she have to plan a party to celebrate the life of a child that she helps raise and considers one of her own? I'm sorry but non of the reasons you gave indicates to me that she is a control freak, or over stepping her boundries as a step-mother. If anything, it sounds a little like you may be the control freak in this situation. None of this sounds like she is being disrespectful in the least. She is helping to raise YOUR children, and frankly, you should thank your lucky stars that your kids have someone in their lives who cares so much about them. I can only pray that the day my ex husband finds a woman to share his life with, that she be as loving and kind to my daughter, and as involved as her dad SHOULD be but isn't.

6 moms found this helpful

I know you're upset cause you feel like she's tresspassing on your job. But from your question, it sounds like she's being a parent, and your husband isn't. As a child of multiple divorces, the best thing to do is for ALL of you to co-parent the children. She is now a responsible party in their lives, not their bio-mom, but the wife of their dad. She IS responsible for them when they are with her. I'm sure she feels just as threatened by you as you do by her. It's a stinky situation, and a sticky situation. If you can put your feelings towards her on the back burner, and do a team approach for the kids sake, that's the best thing in the world. Your children will thank you for it - believe me, I know.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful

I say a big, fat BOOOOO to the responders that say you should work around her and her wants. That's complete bull-sh!t! YOU are their mother! NOT HER! Would you just work around some random woman that walked up and claimed a right to your children? NO. This isn't any different! Just because she married your ex does NOT make her the parent of your child! It makes her a STEP-parent. HUGE difference.

Look, my ex-husband's wife is the same way and has been for years even though they've only been married for one year. She was also his best-friend's wife before we got divorced (which was already her second marriage) and she use to "jokingly" threaten to keep my son for herself back when we were friends because our hubbies were friends. Now she's actually trying to take my son away from me and tells people that SHE'S his mother. It's sick. No woman should treat another woman this way. It's tough enough to be women is a man's world, we shouldn't be stepping on each-others' toes on top of it.

Bottom line, you have rights here, she doesn't! Tell her to butt out! If your ex doesn't want to come to the PTCs then she doesn't need to come either. etc.. If she shows up, tell the teacher that you have no intention of violating your childrens' privacy by discussing them around someone that isn't their parent. Ask the teacher to ask her to leave. You HAVE to put your foot down. You can't allow this woman to confuse your children and make a laughingstock out of you! If you allow her to continue to treat you like this in front of your children, it is going to undermine your authority with them eventually.

It would be different if she had come to you and said "Hey, I really care about the kids. I know you and (your ex) have your differences, but I'd really like it if you would allow me to sit in and hear what the teacher has to say. I'd like to know if there's any way that I can be of help to them when they're at our house if that's alright with you." That would be completely different because it's respectful of your position and authority as their mother. Her just butting in where she doesn't belong like she has the RIGHT to is highly offensive and needs to be dealt with!

BTW, I'm also a step-mom and I am VERY careful not to step on the toes of my hubby's ex. My step-son is HER child, not mine. I care about him deeply, but I know that I can never care about him as deeply as his own mom does. I know because I have my own children. I get it. I always defer to her preferences unless my husband has his own that differ. Then it's between them. I don't work to actively build a parent-child relationship with him. That's not right. It's not my place. I work only to be his friend and the adult presence in the house when his dad is at work. I make his favorite meals in rotation with the other kids when he's here. I make sure that Christmas gifts are equal between the kids when he's here and that everyone gets treated fairly. I listen to his stories and I help him when he's upset about something, but I make sure to maintain the proper relationship with him because I am NOT his mother. He already has one that loves him very much. I wouldn't DARE interfere in that. It's a sacred bond and I have no place in it since he's not my child.

I wish more step-parents understood this! SIGH!

4 moms found this helpful

I'm a mom and a stepmom so I can understand what you are talking about. For school conferences, my husband makes his own appointments with the teachers and his ex makes her own appointments. It's the same with me and my ex - I go when I go and if he wants to he can set up his own appointment. You can always discuss with the school that you and the father are to receive grade reports, school work and such, but that the stepmom does not have permission. If it is something like a school wide parent meeting, there is not much you can do about her showing up with everyone else. As far as doctors appointments go, are these appointments that the father is supposed to take them to? Do you schedule them or does she call and do it herself? I think you may be able to stop that with the confidentiality rules now. You and your husband can take the kids, but if you do not give consent for her to deal with medical issues, then that may stop her from being able to take them. It's worth a call to the doctor's office anyway. For birthdays, you probably will have to get used to the fact that they will always have 2 birthdays, 2 christmases, etc since there are now two families. On the one hand it is nice that she is involved, especially if your ex is not, but on the other hand it sounds like she does a lot of it just to be mean to you. Since your ex is not going to step up and say anything, there is no reason you can't assert yourself and see what you can do legally since she is not the bio parent.

4 moms found this helpful

I am coming at this question from a place of having a stepmom who was like this as well. She was kind, loving and did things like bring us cupcakes to school on birthdays, make our Halloween costumes, take over activities, etc. As a child I loved what she did and am now as an adult so thankful for her love. As an adult now I get to hear my mom’s side of things for the first time. She stayed out of it and put her feelings on the back burner, my stepmom was nasty to her (and still is) and my mom “lost” out on so many things that were really for her to do as the mother. I didn’t see what was happening and have to say I think that is best to keep the kids out of it. It is her job to be caring for your kids and loving to them, but not to parent them at your expense. I really think the issue is COMMUNICATION. You MUST get together with you, the stepmom AND your ex to put this all on the table. If the three of you can sit down (maybe the kids can go to a friend’s house for a bit?) and maybe set some rules that’d be great. If you’d like to be at the Dr appointments, let them know. If you can’t make one maybe you can ASK her to help. It is not her place to take those things from you, but man, be thankful that she is kind to your kids and PLEASE keep the kids out of the middle, which if you don’t can create issues they will carry for their entire life. Best of luck and remember keep your head high and know that this will (hopefully) pass!

2 moms found this helpful

I think you are very lucky to have a step-mother caring so much for your children. Trust me, it generally doesn't turn out this way. There are step mothers that want nothing to do with the kids or are very mean to them. This lady sounds like she is doing the best she can and cares about your kids. I don't think it is about her trying to take over. I think she really cares for them which is a win-win situation.

I can understand that you may feel jealous that someone else loves your kids and will care for them but really it is in the best interest for everyone. Search on this site alone and see how many posts there are about the step parent not caring or being mean or not treating the child very well. I would hope that if anything ever happened between me and my husband and a step mother were involved that she would be as nice as this lady sounds. It really sounds like she has your children in her best interest. Now if you said she was starving them or constantly yelling at them or making them clean the house while she sat on her butt it would be a different story. You should appreciate her for the caring person she is being. I know it is hard...but it really is in the best interest for the kids involved.

I can't believe the response you got saying to tell your kids to make her miserable. Give me a break! Really you are going to use your kids like that for someone that cares about them.

2 moms found this helpful

First I would think that you are protected by HIPA as far as the doctors are concerned. She has no rights unless you let her be the legal guardian and signed her those rights. All you have to do is call the doc's office and tell them she is not the parent and they must have your permission or at least notify you if they see your children. Now this doesn't stop your ex from stepping in, but it sounds like he is pretty weak and won't do anything.

You can also call the school and let them know that these are your children and information is to be forwarded to your ex or yourself only.

You can also go to a lawyer and fight out parental rights again too. You are the mother and have more rights than her. If you feel she is not acting in your best interest or your children's then you have a fight.

Good luck! I can't imagine having to share my children with a stranger and a nasty one at that.

2 moms found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.