Houzz Logo Print

will the real mom please stand up!

9 years ago

I'm all confused. My kids bio-mom abandoned us with no explanation when my daughter was 5, and my son 1. As it turned out, she ran off with another man she fell in love with on the internet. Six months later she came back to town, tail tucked, and wanted a relationship with "her" children. I had filed for divorce and gotten full custody of the kids, which she didn't contest. Since I felt it was important that they know their biological mother, and have a relationship with her when it was possible, I began to allow limited visitations after about a year when I felt she was stable.
I remarried after two years, and my wife took over the role as mother to my two small kids. They have always called her by her first name. Over the years we have established a regular visitation with bio-mom, and they continue to call her "mommy."
My feeling is that she is getting that title, and the respect that comes with it, and my wife (the person who is a real mother to them) is being slighted. And bio-mom seems to revel in being "mommy" the twice a month she sees them.
So how do I help the kids understand where their "mom" respect should really lie? Should I make them start calling their step-mom "mom?" Should I make them start calling bio-mom by her first name too?? I'm confused. My wife is, for all practical purposes, their mother. My son (8) doesn't even remember a time when she wasn't, and my daughter (12) barely does. I know she feels kinda like the "hired help" sometimes, and it just isn't fair. She's a good mom. Help!

Comments (19)

  • southernsummer
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What does your wife want?

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Upon whom are you going to bestow these children when you get angry at your new wife or when she can't live with a vindictive, bitter, angry man any longer & looks for love somewhere else?

    Your ex *is* their mother, always has been, always will be.

    Of course she loves being 'mommy' twice a month;
    that's how often you *allow* her to be these children's mommy!

    You've kept her away from her children, you've made her 'prove' to you that she's 'stable', even though her crime was rejecting you (which doesn't indicate instability, it happens all the time), & even now you want to give her children to another woman.

    Eventually you'll run out of punishments, but your rage will still be there;
    please get some kind of help & support to get rid of this poison before it ruins your life & your kids' lives.

    Life is short;
    Relish it, enjoy it, give your children a father they can love without fear & uncertainty.

    I wish you all the best.

  • Amber3902
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago


    I think you were a little harsh on the OP. I agree making biomom wait an entire year before seeing her kids again was harsh, but biomom DID leave her kids to run off with some other man and didn’t come back for her kids until six months later. Maybe biodad’s reaction was a little overboard, but the mom did kind of bring it on herself.

    OP, a name is just a name. You should not make your kids call their bio-mom by her first name, or make them call your wife mom. You don’t have to call someone mom for them to be a mother to you. If your kids want to call their stepmom mom, let them come to that conclusion for themselves. Forcing things will only cause resentment.

    Now, I would caution you against the desire to have your wife step in and "replace" the kid’s mother. Not saying that’s what you’re doing, just be careful that your wife does not feel taken advantage of or that you push biomom entirely out of the picture. Even though biomom has made some mistakes in the past, don’t think that the answer is to push her out of the picture entirely.

    Let your children come to their own conclusions about their mother without you bad mouthing her. I’m not saying you’re doing that, but the temptation is there to let your kids “know the truth” about their mother. I’m sure you know talking negatively about their mother is not healthy.

    And if you don’t want your wife to feel like the "hired help", having the kids call her mom isn't the answer. What you need to do is always let your wife know how much you appreciate everything she does for your kids. She may say she doesn’t mind, but after time she may grow resentful of everything she has to do for kids that “aren’t hers.”

    Step parenting is a thankless job, make sure she knows she is appreciated, make sure the lion’s share of parenting does not fall on her shoulders, and be sure to be an active parent yourself.

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the critique, Amber, but I meant exactly what I said.

    You might re-read the original post;
    this man is filled with vindictiveness & anger.

    People are pretty consistent, & behavior reflects personality & character;
    a person who behaves in a hateful, vengeful, obsessive way to one person generally treats anyone who crosses him the same way, & it's because rage & entitlement ("How DARE she?*) *are* their personality.

    I couldn't find even a hint that he's as concerned with the effects on the children or the effects on the new wife, heaven help her, as he is with destroying his ex.

    A husband's obsessive, punishing personality might go some distance toward understanding why his first wife, a mother of three, was vulnerable to the temptation of somebody she met online.

    & what was his vindictiveness & rage doing to those children, when their mother was in the household, when she left, during the time he was refusing to let her see the children, & even now?

    I'd bet that they've heard & seen a lot of demands, resentment, threats, yelling, & frightening facial expressions from their father, & that they still see it on a lot of days.

    Those children know that what he's dished out to their mother is exactly what they'll get if they disappoint him or cross him.

  • emma
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If I were in that situation I would just leave it the way it is. I think in the long run they will know who loves and cares for them. Don't make waves.

  • dotz_gw
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think the fact that you are so aware of your wifes feelings, the fact that she may be hurt speaks very well of you and bodes well for your marriage...Keep showing her that respect and your children will follow your example.The kids shouldn't be told, certainly not forced to call her mom, that may come on its own in time.They will recognize part time real mom abandoned them and didn't fight to get them returned, eventually..Sounds to me like you re on the right track..Did you use the wrong term tho, when you said you allowed visitation? Only the court determines that..The fact that you didn't fight against visitation shows your lack of bitterness.. You and the kids should just reinforce how much you do appreciate wife and her efforts, and I feel it will all work out...

  • cwh123
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for all the insight.

    first, my wife wants only what is best for the kids. If that means quietly accepting what may not be entirely fair, then that's what she will do. I was only trying to come up with ideas to help her feel as important as we know she is to our family.

    Secondly, it is true that I will never believe in or trust bio-mom completely. After a week of her absence she finally called and told me where she was, what was happening, and what had been going on with her since before we were even married. A week in which I had been telling my 5 year old little girl that mommy was on a "trip" and I didn't know when she would be home. I will never forget when, while cradling my infant son in my arms, I had to tell that beautiful little girl that mommy was not coming back.

    Even still, I forgave her long ago. And yes I gave her that forgiveness personally, verbally, and sincerely. I don't like her. I will never really trust her. But I don't hate or resent her either. Life is indeed too short for such.

    And I did specifically ask for visitation, at my discretion, be included in the divorce papers. This against the advice of counsel who advised "You don't have to giver her anything." I did, and still do, believe that my children have a right to know their mother and decide on how their relationship will develop. I chose to control when and how that visitation occurred because of what I learned of her lifestyle and activities outside of our home during our marriage (from her directly).

    The welfare of the kids was, and always will be my first concern. She was not well. She had been, for lack of a better way of saying it, leading a "double life" for a very long time. It's a long story, but it was imperative that her state of mind be considered in this situation. She has come a long way through a lot of counseling, but monitoring the situation is still prudent.

    I sought extensive counseling, both personal and family, immediately, and was advised every step of the way from the time she left t to the first supervised visitation. I have never spoken ill of her. I have shared nothing of the circumstances of our separation with the kids. First of all they don't need that information, and second it will be their her place to share it if she chooses, or when they ask. I don't resent their relationship with their mother. I wouldn't allow it if I did. Just the opposite in fact. I often make concessions to assure that the children have ample time with her. It is her that often doesn't have time for them. It saddens my heart to see her expressing little interest in them as they clamor for her love. If I have any anger, it comes from hurting for them.

    And finally, understand that I work every day to show in every way how much my wife is appreciated, and I am always sure to point out and illustrate just how much she loves and cares for our family. She loves them and they love her.

    Our home is a happy, functional, and honest one. I strive to do everything I can to ensure the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health of everyone in it. And I think it hurts my wife a little sometimes to feel like second place. And that hurts me.

    Dotz, I think you're right. I have learned that consistency is the one thing that children truly crave and respond to. We will keep doing what we're doing with the faith that our love, commitment, and honesty will prove what is real, true and right. It's working so far.

    And Sylvia, If I am, or ever become what you perceive me to be, I hope one of my children's mothers will have the good sense to kick me out. :-)

  • Amber3902
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sylvia - I did read the OP's post and I fail to see any “rage” or "obsessiveness" anywhere in it. Yes, there are always two sides to every story, and we’re only getting one, but a woman that is willing to leave her children behind and not try to see them for six months speaks volumes to me. My exH abused me but not even for a second did I consider leaving my children with him. The thought never even crossed my mind. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

    OP, just keep expressing to your wife how much you appreciate what she does and make sure your kids respect and thank her for everything she does. For example, when she cooks dinner, be sure the kids say thank you, when she drops them off at school, be sure you tell her thanks, etc. Be sure the kids pick up after themselves and that they help out around the house. Include your wife in the decision making process, does she think your daughter needs tutoring or does your son need to see a therapist for that stutter . . . you get the point. Don't let your kids dictate what goes on in the house. You and your wife decide where you're going on family vacation, you and your wife decide what you're going to do on the weekend.

    Your wife will only feel like second place if you don’t put her first. Many times people will say “my kids come first.” That is true, when it comes to their NEEDS. A child’s needs always come first, but their WANTS should not come first.

    Also, have you told your wife that you worry she may feel like second place? If you talk to her about it, she can tell you if she feels that way or not. It may be she doesn’t even feel like that. Or if she does, she can tell you what you can do so she doesn’t feel that way. Communication is the key.

    My BF does something that I really like, I call it "relationship monitoring". He will ask me Is everything okay? Am I happy? Most of the time the answer is yes, but sometimes it's not and that's when we talk about whatever's troubling me. I think him doing that helps catch and resolve problems before they grow completely out of control.

    Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, and despite the hurt your first wife has caused you have determined to move on with your life. Good for you. You will make mistakes on the way, but if you continue to talk to your wife I think ya'll will be able to work through things.

  • dotz_gw
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    C, Your wife sounds like a keeper, sigh if only more stepfamilies could operate this way..."Our home is a happy, functional, honest one" Great job, I don't think you need advice, sound s like you have it all covered...Congrats!!!

  • deborah_ps
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm the product of a bio mother who ran off...left three children behind, ages 6, 8, 9.
    My "other mother" (real to us) stepped in to not only parent, but to love each one as if we were the best thing to have happened in her life. Our younger half sister was never favored and in fact I cringe a bit to write the word "half".

    Our father had one particular iron rule: Never (and he meant) NEVER were we to disrespect nor sass our other mother.

    I do remember collectively deciding to call her Mom instead of her first name unprompted by our father. I think we were being naughty one day, knowing that when my dad got home we would catch heck. Mom didn't tell and I know for a fact we knew she had our back from that day forward.
    My bio mom was rarely in our lives, yet resented and forbade us to call our step mom (cringe at that word) "mom" in front of her and let us know in no uncertain terms who our mother was! Of course one of us would slip and get scolded, which was just so wrong of her on so many levels.

    Please CWH, just know that we kids knew who was who and what was what.
    Our bio mom didn't fool us us for a minute who mothered us. Yours know too.
    All these years later, me in my 60's now, my other mother IS my real mother.
    Our bio mother loved us I'm sure, she just wasn't the person who cared for us.
    And if push came to shove, my other mother gets my loyalty. Hands down.

  • cwh123
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you so much deborah. You are so spot on. I know in my heart that they know who their mom is (both moms), and you just helped me see it through the eyes of one who's been there. Bless you.

    This has helped me so much. Thanks to all of you who responded here. I feel validated in what we are already doing at home, and that's what I really needed. I need to be sure I don't miss anything that I should (or should not!) be doing for my wife, my kids, and the kids bio-mom.

    On a really happy note, we just made an offer and were accepted on a new house. My wife and I have dreamed of a home in the country, and we finally found the perfect one! All four of us love it, and we can't wait to start this fantastic new journey for our family. :-)

    I just don't have anything more to say. Thanks again to all of you! And if you ever need a dad's point of view, don't hesitate to ask!

  • Amber3902
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Deborah, great post and I agree with you. The kids know who their "real" mother is.

    Congrats on the new home, CWH. Feel free to visit here, it's always nice to have a dad's point of view.

  • Mom-of-all-trades
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I may be reading more into this as well but, we all make mistakes. There may be more to the story then CWH123 is saying. Is there a reason he is concerned that his wife feels slighted? Have you given her the impressions that she is your children's mother? Whether you like what she has done or not bio mom is mom. We all make mistakes and I think your children's mom knows she made a big one. If your son was so young could it be that she was suffering from postpartum depression? You elude to a double life but not to the possibility that the children may not be biologically yours. Are you angry with her about the time she spends with your children when in fact you admit you are the one controlling it?
    Many children in the past spent every other weekend with dad. That was just the way it was done. That did not make him a bad dad or that he loved them less.
    You can not make a fantasy life and pretend your ex wife does not exist. I think the person that may have to look in the mirror may be you.

  • Kleigh_s
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This situation seems mostly resolved, but after reading the replies, I cannot leave without adding something:

    Sylvia: You are completely and entirely out of line. As a counselor, I recommend counseling for you. Your name-slinging and accusations fall way out of the spectrum of rational, and you somehow misinterpreted this father's best intent for all involved as some type of delusion of grandeur. Any type of hesitation towards giving the biological mother time with the children were a result of a very parental instinct to protect his children, and also a very human tendency to self-protect.

    To all: Yes, a year was a bit long, but honestly, I've seen situations where parents have gone off, then came back wanting to see their children, then ran off again, doing double-damage to their children, or even sticking around but still being so unstable that they did lasting damage. I am not saying the original poster has done everything correctly, but I am posing one question, and it's because I've seen this double standard as a glaring example of something we can benefit to look at closely- If the father had run off with another woman and then come back, wanting to see his children, and the court already allowed full custody to the mother, how many of us would be in support of the father's rights to see his children? In my experience, not very many.

    Our system is out-of-date and sexist. It sounds like this man has a nice wife, a nice life, and is trying to do what is best by the children. If some professional counseling was involved to see the entire dynamic, and they were deemed healthy, I'd give this father a thumbs-up.

    As far as the question goes about why his current wife would feel slighted, I get why he would ask that, and the readers not need be suspicious regarding his intent. It was because he stated his children call their stepmother by their name, and their biological mother "mommy". That should entirely be the choice of the children. Regardless of whether or not she's a lousy mother, she's still the mother. However, if you're not sure if it's an issue of comfort, you could always pull the kids aside and tell them NO PRESSURE, but they are 'welcome' to call their stepmother "mom". Sometimes the kids just don't know. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you can likely rest easy knowing that your wife is happy being the stepmom and knowing she's with them the majority of the time, and regardless of title, she gets to be the mom more times than not. That is surely reward enough.

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Kleigh, if you really were a counsellor, you wouldn't be diagnosing me based on what I've posted on an internet forum.

  • bellesinga
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sorry, Sylvia, cannot agree with anything you've suggested.
    I've just married a man whose ex ran away when he discovered her infidelity and after years of making him the emotional timekeeper in the marriage.
    She was an exhausting drama queen and he was glad finally it was over after 20 years of trying to please her. He's not even sure his daughter is actually his.
    She moved into the adjoining flat and screwed 8 men in ten weeks, using his credit card to get glamour photos of herself while he remained upstairs caring for their 16 month old baby daughter and 6 year old son.
    She only stopped when she caught the clap off the last one-nighter - and was doing this while both children were sick with chicken pox. She did not once nurse them.
    Her next stunt after catching herpes was to use his money to buy a one way ticket to the UK never to return. She used his credit card to live off until she found a job. In the meantime she didn't give a rats arse that the father of her children would have lost his job and the family house - HIS mother saved him and came in to help rear the children. HE organised Skype sessions for the children - she was often not there. He paid for their son to fly over for a visit.
    She rushed back suddenly 18 months later when she thought he might be moving in with another woman (couldn't stand the idea another woman might want him) but they broke up just as she got there. She took 50/50 custody but handed the children to her own mother to look after and then got bored just another 18 months later so left AGAIN to move four hours away with a new man. Didn't take her children and now sees them once a month and half school holidays.
    She otherwise has been disinterested in them (phone calls almost never, cheap gifts they cannot bring home, never ever pays for anything and now pays 35cents a week in support which is the minimum she can get away with and has refused extra time with them) UNTIL I came into his life.
    Now she's backing HER mother to sue US for the same visitation rights, she has worked both children over and succeeded in PASing her son to the point where he believes his father has been 'terrorising' her with email demands for money (how does such a bolshie get terrorised by emails??) and has apparently 'psychologically abused' the children since their separation. Hmmmm, but she's never wanted to rescue her own children from this so-called abuser and take custody fact, she wants the judge to order him never to offer her custody ever again.
    Sylvia, there are plenty of BMs out there who are very good indeed at working their children against the father just because it serves their nasty damaged egos and twisted personalities.
    Read up about PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome). Most children who suffer this become willing supporters of the alienator and never understand how they have been used and abused but they never recover what should have been a normal relationship with a loving father.
    Those of us who become the stepmothers in these scenarios get to understand and witness the damage without the enmeshment suffered by the children and we DO fight for the fathers left behind who are torn apart by a vicious underhanded action they don't see coming until it is too late.
    These men deserve much MUCH better.
    I know one day my SS is going to attack his father over all this rubbish he's swallowed from his mum and when that day comes, he will get a piece of my mind too - and I am his full time carer.

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    'Sorry, bellasinga, cannot agree with everything you'vesuggested.

    Your story has too many gaps, leaves too many questions unanswered, & involves too many accusations that have nothing to do with the children.

    "Catching the clap" isn't something that affects the children, & it's not your place to get righteously incensed about it.

    Why did husband not cancel credit cards after the first incident?

    Do you, the father's second wife, have legal custody so that the children's maternal grandmother can sue "us" rather than "him" for visitation?

    If their mother didn't care for the children when they had chicken pox, who did? somebody, right?

    She "took" 50/50 custody?
    Why did husband go along with this, with a woman who may have abandoned/endangered the children?

    You seem to have an image of yourself as a member of a sort of Joan of Arc sorority here, *fighting for*, maybe saving, one of "these men".

    Firstly, many stepmothers who see themselves this way are actually being manipulated by their husbands, actively or passively;
    stepmom takes all the responsibility for the children & the father.

    She sees herself as heroically throwing herself into the breach;
    he sees her as the solution to a problem.

    Secondly, her behavior may actuallly exacerbate the problem;
    by inserting herself between the parents, she may keep the kettle boiling rather than bringing down the heat.

    He's a grown man;
    he can, he must, be responsible for his own welfare & for the welfare of the children.

    'she wants the judge to order him never to offer her custody ever again.'

    Well, then. Problem solved!

  • bellesinga
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Sorry, bellasinga, cannot agree with everything you'vesuggested.
    Your story has too many gaps, leaves too many questions unanswered, & involves too many accusations that have nothing to do with the children."

    It's 'bellesinga" and ask away. I'm happy to fill in any gaps in this reality - not "story" and I beg to differ, everything I've said here affects the children in some way.

    "Catching the clap" isn't something that affects the children, & it's not your place to get righteously incensed about it."

    True and I wasn't however, I'd say the behaviour of this BM should rightly inspire questions and it IS my place to understand the measure of the people with whom I have to deal and who have an effect on my household and the people I love - this is my family.
    Balanced women do not immediately devolve their responsibilities to their (very young) children upon the demise of a marriage in favour of sleeping around in the very house in which they are all living. One cannot sneer at this man's decency while seeking to absolve indecent behaviour by his ex - and it is indecent. I have no objection to free adults sleeping around but I DON'T think bringing strange men past the front window of the house where your children can clearly see you and ask why Mummy isn't coming in to see THEM is a decent thing to do.
    Just two days ago I was introduced to an old friend of hers who suddenly said how shocked she was when BM said she was leaving, saying "I'm so excited...I can't wait to go and start my new life - I can taste it!" When asked what was to happen to the children, she said "Oh they'll be just fine - XXX can look after them." She hadn't even told the father but thought it appropriate to 'crow' (not my description) about it to a friend.
    She then told her ex she had to run away as she had made a mess of her own life.....different story? Now she asserts in court papers that she DID sort custodial arrangements for the children before going..Trouble for her is, her ex's lawyer is the lawyer who drew up the papers which prove the very opposite. Sorry, it isn't hard to to call a spade a shovel and if it is a case of second guessing BM, we'll do it every time for good reason.

    Look, balanced women work out what is to be done with the care of their children FIRST. BM turned her back on her responsibilities to gratify herself and she had/has a very long history of doing so according to at least a dozen witnesses over the years. You don't know her but, regardless, we all make decisions about people based on their actions. Do you have a better methodology?

    "Why did husband not cancel credit cards after the first incident?"

    Because she did not have a job and he felt obliged to support her, The card was for her to have funds while things were sorted. He only found out when he got the bill. When she left, he supported her until she found work because he did not want the mother of his children on the streets. She returned the favour by never paying him back and as soon as she was in a good financial position, she reneged on the pact they made to each other to always cover the costs for the children 40/60 by going to the CSA and choosing the minimum visitation she could to avoid paying any more than the minimum support. Her son needed extensive dental work recently, we invited her to pay half - she refused citing her 'extreme poverty". He took her to the CSA for evaluation where they discovered her hoarding away $40 a week into an account. WE can't save $40 a week! It isn't a hard stretch to evaluate this BMs attitude, actions and behaviour and conclude she ain't a saint and should be regarded as a consistent liar.

    "Do you, the father's second wife, have legal custody so that the children's maternal grandmother can sue "us" rather than "him" for visitation?"

    Of course not and you know the answer as well as I - step parents have no legal standing in regards to these matters so why be unnecessarily combative in asking this? Regardless of legalities, I am entitled to use 'us' because it is my household being affected, my wage paying for this action and my efforts as a full-time stepmother dragged into it. I am named in the court papers and my opinion in a supporting Affidavit has been requested and filed. I will be called for questioning in court. Obviously some part of the system regards my contribution as worthy of note.

    "If their mother didn't care for the children when they had chicken pox, who did? somebody, right?"

    Yes, the father and his mother - their paternal grandmother. Your point?

    "She "took" 50/50 custody? Why did husband go along with this, with a woman who may have abandoned/endangered the children?"

    There is no 'may' about the abandonment. She bought a one-way ticket out of the country without warning OR consultation and left her children behind. Yes, she filed for 50/50 custody without warning on return and he did not contest this as he did not have the money but also felt it right that the children have good contact with the mother. He thought time away may have changed her. As for 'endangered', where did I say this? Is this a referral to her ignoring her responsibility as their mother to nurse them through the chicken pox? Listen, when you are living in the same house as your children and not working while your ex IS would it not behove you to look after them and most especially when they are ill and do not understand why Mum isn't spending ANY time with them?
    What entitlement did she have to expect the paternal grandmother to do this during the day and to leave all other duties to her ex when he came home from work?? Can I ask why you have so little to say about what a mother might reasonably be expected to do for her own children?

    "You seem to have an image of yourself as a member of a sort of Joan of Arc sorority here, *fighting for*, maybe saving, one of "these men"."

    Woah - please don't intimate things unsaid here. You don't know me so have the courtesy to keep such opinions and assertions controlled. I have not used these words and don't feel any such thing. What I do feel is that there are opposing sides to any story which deserve consideration and I have presented one such story to illustrate an opposing view which may support the initial post and suggest an alternative to your own view.

    "Firstly, many stepmothers who see themselves this way are actually being manipulated by their husbands, actively or passively;
    stepmom takes all the responsibility for the children & the father.
    She sees herself as heroically throwing herself into the breach;
    he sees her as the solution to a problem."

    I've no doubt in some cases that is true.

    "Secondly, her behavior may actuallly exacerbate the problem;
    by inserting herself between the parents, she may keep the kettle boiling rather than bringing down the heat."

    Thankfully I am not one of them. I've never allowed the children to call me "Mum" athough I've been asked. I've always demonstrated clear guidelines about my role in this family, I've been consistent in my support of the children's time with their mother and although the BM has asked ME three times to be the liason between herself and her ex and take on the role of facilitating handovers etc because (in her own words) "you're neutral and clear, we have no history together and so things can be kept calm", I have withdrawn in the face of her escalating manipulations and subversive actions which one could reasonably assume (given we have considerable verbal evidence) has arisen from her jealousy over my good relationship with the children. Equally there are many BMs who "keep the kettle boiling" by agitating when they realise their children are happy with another woman's ministrations - none of this has ANYTHING to do with the best interests of the children.
    Again, I have to point out the anomaly here. Women who put the best interests of their children above themselves do not otherwise agitate for discontent unless THEY are the ones with the problem OR can prove their agitation comes from a real concern for the children. Being jealous that the children are happy in their home, not allowing them to express that happiness to their mother, suggesting we would 'prevent them from coming' to her wedding (ridiculous, we sent them a congratulations card - never acknowledged!), claiming psychological abuse with the utter nonsense attitude that despite such 'abuse', she wants the children to remain with the 'abuser' is pure Parental Alienation. Now, in the US Court System this is punishable and for very good reason. Our own laws have yet to catch up, unfortunately for the children. Further, please don't espouse the idea that one can be a full-time stepmother and 'disengage' from any parenting - that is a nonsense. Commonly fathers work fulltime and it more often than not falls to the female partner to organise and caretake the children. Those children inevitably require some form of 'parenting' in the absence of the BM doing so herself. This isn't done for the self aggrandisement of the SM but for the growing needs of the children on a day-to-day basis.

    "He's a grown man; he can, he must, be responsible for his own welfare & for the welfare of the children."

    Yes he is, yes he can, yes he does, yes he knows it and he could not have demonstrated this any better than he has - by shouldering full custody in the face of her abandonment, by facilitating 50/50 custody when demanded, by shouldering the full-time responsibility in the second abandonment and by doing everything possible to facilitate access for the children to HER side of the family in the face of her not lifting a finger to do this herself.
    AGAIN, please don't assert the idea that full-time stepmothers are not to assist in the 'welfare' of the children to whom that vast majority care is given. We have the children 85% of the time. 100% of that time, I share parental responsibility regardless of biology. The same is true for any adoptive parent or parent of a child concieved by egg/sperm donor. Are you a fulltime stepparent?

    "'she wants the judge to order him never to offer her custody ever again.' Well, then. Problem solved!"

    Sorry, what is solved? We've never opposed the custodial arrangement between my husband and his ex. This case is not about the BM, it is about HER mother. The BM has taken the opportunity as a Respondent being interviewed by the court officer (who reports to the judge prior to the Interim Hearing) to accuse her ex of abuse which means the judge has ordered the children into court when we've tried to keep them out of such stress and give the son, who is 16, the consideration to choose for himself where he spends his time.
    Since this, we've discovered written proof and a confession from the son that BM AND her mother have enmeshed their adult feelings onto him with the result that he is now Parentally Alienated from his father. How do we know? How do you explain a boy who espouses attitudes and words he has never used before and doesn't otherwise exhibit any such animosity while with us which should support his wanting to be as far away from his father as possible YET wants to stay living with his father? It is utterly heartbreaking to realise this child is unable to express his love for his father because he feels such pressure from his BM to choose sides when we are NOT fighting HER and demonstrate some misguided 'loyalty' to her because he desperately wants to believe that doing so will ensure she really does love him and didn't run away from him.....Its seriously corrosive to his development.

    So we now have try to address the damage done so this young man can have a chance at growing up unencumbered by the adult feelings pushed onto him (which are not his own) and undamaged by the untrue assertions crippling his own formation of affection for his father.

    Once again - you cannot be a full-time stepmother and not 'parent' especially with young children, so the 'we' refers absolutely to me and my husband AND his mother who actually lives with us and has been witness to the entire story for 20 years.

    If you think PAS has nothing to do with you, think about this:
    These damaged children will become your co-workers or employees, your own children's partners or spouses, your neighbours etc etc. This affects our entire community. Stop PAS now and allow those who offer their ministrations support to ensure these children grow up to have their own feelings and opinions about their lives.

    This post was edited by bellesinga on Thu, Oct 2, 14 at 1:00

  • anarana
    9 years ago

    @Slyvia, the OP didn't sound bitter, but you do. The biomom's "crime" as you say was not rejecting the OP, it was abandoning her children and that IS a sign of instability. Obviously, the courts agreed and awarded OP custody. As the custodial parent, he IS in the position of "allowing" visitation and if the biomom thinks she is worthy of something more, then she should pursue that through the legal system. I agree with the OP that the woman who abandoned her kids does not deserve the "mommy" title, but the kids deserve to call someone mommy. I think it would be traumatic for them to be instructed NOT to call the sorry-excuse-for-a-parent they know as mommy anything but that. However, given that the stepmom is really the one raising the children, they should be free to call her mom, too, if they are comfortable with that and if the stepmom is. Or, perhaps they can find some other affectionate title for her. Dad and Stepmom should not worry, though - when the kids are older, they will look back on their childhood and know who actually cared for them and who raised them and they will appreciate her and respect her stability. Dad has a good head on his shoulders and it seems SM is a good mom to them - they are lucky to have two decent parents.