First reader submission! This is from a re-married biological mother who’s ex husband was remarried. Let “Elle S.” know what you think in the comments or on the Facebook! – Step Mommy Dearest
This is written anonymously to protect the dad and child. Most stepmoms aren’t evil, wicked, mean, or even bad at all. We all know that whether we’re the bio mom or have had our own stepmom. I don’t know what happens in the moments a bio mom meets a step mom, but for whatever reason, they don’t like the girlfriend, fiancé, etc. Maybe it’s the third girlfriend in two years, and they don’t want to get attached and have given up on having a stable second mother figure for their child, or maybe the bio mom feels threatened. Who knows? Most of the time it’s a baseless fear, and while they accept other female figures in their child’s life such as a teacher or grandma, they don’t see stepmoms that way. I wasn’t going to be that bio mom. Ever. Why be irrational when you can be excited that you won’t be the only mom?! Two moms are awesome. I love my bio mom and my step mom they’re wonderful women in their own ways! So when I met my child’s future stepmom, who had her own bio child, I was excited. His dad is great, but maybe a bit too fun so the added mom’s touch would be fantastic. There would be routines in his life and a sibling that I could never give him. Although it was quickly evident, we had differing life philosophies, her ultra-religious and myself not so much, and different political views, it wasn’t anything we couldn’t work through. This was going to be so great! Famous last words… The first issue came up when my child came home telling me about how she was spanking him. We’d discussed parenting philosophies, but maybe I’d forgotten to mention that we didn’t spank. So, I shot her a message letting her know that we didn’t spank, and while I’d done much research to reach that decision that I didn’t care what she did with her child, but that we handled it differently. I didn’t agree with it morally and was glad to offer suggestions on other ways to discipline our shared child. She quickly responded apologizing and open to my methods. Oh my gosh, I loved her. This was great. Next, though, was the Facebook incident and my inability to keep my mouth shut. She vaguebooked about something, and I got defensive. It was about visitation. I was driving a thousand miles, literally, a month so that my child could visit her and his dad. Occasionally, I requested a change in plans, though, because it was about a $200-$250 trip each time, and we made about $30k a year. This time, I believe I’d requested skipping a visit, for reasons I don’t remember now. I commented how visitation was a two-way street and I’d love it if they came to visit. It turned into a, probably, nine-person argument, more than half of which weren’t directly involved or affected. I was willing to compromise, but I couldn’t drive the 1000-mile round trip that month. From that moment on, I was blocked from seeing many Facebook posts, but my best friend wasn’t. I found out stepmom was considering a lawyer for visitation rights. When I enquired about it, so that I knew if there was a need to prep to go to court…500 miles away, I was reassured it was for her bio son’s father. Though, she soon quit considering it and “it was a dead end” according to another post. The irony of this situation is, if it was true, she was fighting to prevent her child’s bio dad from visitation, but I was a terrible person because I couldn’t come down one month? Anyways, maybe it was an off day… Suddenly, my child didn’t want to visit dad anymore. He would say, “I love my brother, but I don’t like my stepmom.” Well, okay I’m sure he felt that way about his stepdad sometimes too, probably about me also. Upon his next return home from a visit, on the nine-hour car ride back my child told me that when he was in trouble, she would flick his ears really hard and that it hurt. I was livid. If spanking wasn’t okay, why would she think this was okay with me? I immediately messaged his dad on Facebook at 2 am when we arrived home to let him know the situation as speaking to the stepmom felt volatile at this point. The read receipt came back, but I never got a response. Great. He thought this was okay too. Fuck them. My child returned from the next visit, telling me that she felt he didn’t brush his teeth well enough (she’s not wrong) and was brushing his teeth for him (he was 5 this was kind of acceptable?), but she was brushing too hard, it made him cry, and his gums would bleed (WHAT THE HELL THIS ISN’T OKAY?!). I had to keep my cool. I’d talk to his dad again. My child continued, as his talking continued this went from a chat to a horror story. She was pulling down his pants and underwear and spanking him. Even in public. Any time he had a “bad attitude” she smacked him on the mouth or cheek. Red. All I could see was red. Then, he told me he was really, really scared of her and that he didn’t want to visit his dad anymore. Shit. What was I going to do? I called my mom the next day. I couldn’t call CPS. They would never take a bio mom calling seriously. After about two hours, we determined she couldn’t call either. She was third-hand information and the maternal grandma. She called my sister, who had a friend who worked for CPS. That friend reported back that all those things were abuse, but only at the discretion of the worker and she couldn’t touch it because it was a conflict of interest. This continued for six months. During this time, I found out that stepmom was intercepting dad’s text and Facebook messages. That’s why he’d never responded. She knew that I knew. Fuck. Now what? After his six-week summer visit, which I was terrified the entire time that something bad would happen, my mom reported to me that she’d talked to paternal grandma. Paternal grandparents, whom I couldn’t talk to anymore as everyone feared stepmom at this point, were receiving the same reports from my child. Paternal grandma was fed up; she’d decided she was calling CPS and her son would forgive her. The happy ending here is that dad saw the fear in our child’s eyes and as soon as he knew our son was safe with my parents, he left her. CPS never had to get involved. My child started kindergarten the next week, and after about a year he was comfortable visiting his dad. No matter how many times I told him that she was gone, he didn’t believe me. It took many visits for him to realize it was for real. Sadly, at age seven he was diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD. We’ve been on a nearly four-year journey to undo the roughly 2-3 years she was in his life. I tried so hard to be a nice, calm, and cool bio mom. I probably still am, but I’m less trusting of other women in my child’s life now. I know there are good stepmoms. My mom is a great stepmom. My stepsiblings didn’t always like her, but they still LOVED her and never feared her. My stepmom is fantastic, but I was in my 20s when she came into my life. Stepmoms, you guys have a hard job, but now I understand why bio moms are sometimes total freaks. The bad apples spoil the whole bunch for us it seems.
– Elle S.