Dear my stepson’s mother

I do not hate you. You must think I do, since I wrote you that letter outlining the issues you were causing with your constant schedule changing, but I do not. Hate implies violence and I can honestly say I do not wish violence upon you. You are my child’s mother and I could never wish for him to experience pain. I would hope, if I ever interfered with your life to the same extent or my impulsive desires ever affected your son as dramatically, that you would write me with the same sort of complaints as I wrote you. I had hoped that you would read my letter and answer my issues one by one, proving to me that my view of the situation was wrong and your demands were made with your child in mind. You did not, and I now believe you cannot.

A lot of stepmoms crave recognition or thanks from the biological mother in their child’s life. I do not. You, in fact, attempted to give me such recognition a year ago and I found it hard to believe because your manipulative actions did not match your grateful words. You still showed my partner and I no respect as your child’s other family.

No, I wish for neither your recognition nor your demise. I do not feel we owe each other anything. What I want, and this is all, is for you to actually be a parent. You need to put our child’s needs in front of your own- not to the extent that you are unhappy, but at least enough that you recognize it is harmful on him to change the schedule every four to six months and to not be able to trust the calendar he looks at nearly every morning to see where he will be sleeping. If you would like yearly discussions and potential schedule changes, of course we would accommodate that, but you never propose discussions. You demand schedule changes, both immediate and last minute, based around your day off and without any regard for the amount or quality of time your son will be experiencing with you or his father because of those changes.

Being a parent means also recognizing that your choice to separate from my current partner meant that you relinquished control and influence over a part of your child’s life. This is not easy, but it is a fact. You have no right to demand that his father change plans to accommodate yours, or that he help you pay off your debt to school when he has consistently paid his half on time. Coparenting does not equal having a say in the other parent’s life. It means consistent rules between houses, communication, and planning, none of which you participate in unless you want an immediate change. This is extremely disrespectful.

You demand that your son’s father tell you every babysitter he employs, and inserted a 12 hour right of first refusal clause that is inappropriate to our joint custody situation, yet you do not inform us of every new person you bring into your child’s life to watch him, nor do you follow that clause with any consistency. It is infuriating, and even more so when you expect us to cover for you when you mismanage your money. You make more than we do combined and have only yourself to support most of the time!

What I would like is for you to step up and step back. Step up as a parent and step back from my life. I have tried disengaging from you, but your constant interference into my family makes that impossible. I have tried disengaging from our child, but neither he nor I is ready for that since he views me as a parent and has no memory of life without me. I have consistently stepped back in areas I consider to be the consignment of the mother, but you have never once stepped in to fill the void. You are more concerned with impressing your friends and latest boyfriend than creating consistency and support. Your son has noticed this and it hurts him terribly.

I do not know whether you are selfish and invasive on purpose, or whether you are simply thoughtless, but I very much hope you change. My wonderful stepson needs to be able to trust the adults in both of his homes, especially the parents he calls Mommy and Daddy, or he will never learn to trust at all and life will be very hard on him.

Please. Just think about it.
~The Stepmom

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on January 17, 2011.

2 Responses to “Dear my stepson’s mother”

  1. Your first problem is this is not your child. This is your husband’s child and his ex-wife’s child. You should not be emailing anything regarding the child. I think you need to step back and maybe she can feel like she can step up. And maybe your husband should step up and write his own email. Maybe mom is so uncomfortable and ‘thoughtless’ because she is forced to parent with the new wife instead of the father that she chose to have a child with. They decided to have a child, they decided to get divorced. This is their battlefield, not yours. She didn’t pick you and so therefore maybe it would be easier for her to not seem so demanding or last minute if she felt that the playing field was more neutral and between the two parents and not left up to the new wife to ‘handle’ the ex wife.

    On another note, I will agree with your frustration that she changes schedules and doesn’t consider anyone else but in that case, your husband should demand to follow a strict standard order set by the court. That should keep any of this from being a problem. And when she can’t get the child because her schedule has changed, then your husband gets his first right of refusal. First right of refusal was intended to give the child more opportunities to be with their biological parent when the other parent is not available instead of a sitter or stepparent. Your husband should disclose babysitters and such and the mom should be listed as an emergency contact with that person. And mom should have to disclose the same information. If she refuses, your husband should invoke his first right of refusal each time. And you and your husband should stop financially supporting mom when she is low on cash. This is probably the reason you feel so much animosity towards the bio mom because she is dipping in to your family’s checkbook and that is not right.

    People are not manipulated, they allow themselves to be manipulated.

  2. Stepmom, please know that you are not alone in your situation. I am in a similar one myself, BM decided to move hundreds of miles away with an BF that does not care to be in my stepsons life and the turmoil my stepson goes through is horrific for any child to endure. I’m sure you know. I agree with your concerns as you are doing this in sole the benefit of your stepson, it’s all about him and he obviously comes first in your life. I commend you for having the courage to draft such a well written piece, I plan on doing the same. Mine is going directly to biomom though.

    Amommyandexwife: you do understand that by leaving her son in the care of stepMOM, biomom DID CHOOSE HER. The court systems provide excellent resources for fighting custody battles. If biomom did not want her son with stepMOM she could fight it.

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