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momof5angels

Stepdaughter's photos of mom and dad

momof5angels
15 years ago

I feel petty for even discussing this but the fact remains that it bothers me. Don't get me wrong...I'm not bothered at all by the fact that my stepdaughter has family photos of her Mom and Dad together...but it is just the location of one of these photos that gets me every time.

Over her bed hangs an old family picture of her dad (my husband), her mom, her and her brother. Why does this bother me? Because we live in a ranch style home with a large hallway down the center. Her room is at the end of the hallway (with my room being just to the right of hers)...As her door is usually open, every time I walk down my hallway (which is typically dozens of times per day) I see this 11x14 photo of my husband in a family portrait with his exwife.

Trust me...I knew I was marrying a man who had been married before. I knew I was helping to raise children I didn't bring into this world...but I see this happy, smiling family portrait of my husband with his former wife no less than 10-20 times per day and as the months pass it doesn't seem to bother me any less. At times I look at the ground so I do not have to look at it. I've even bumped into a kid in passing because I was trying to avoid seeing it.

If the picture hung elsewhere in the room it wouldn't bother me at all...it is just so prominent that guests visiting have seen it from the opposite side of the house and asked "That's not you, is it?"

I've said nothing to no one...not even my husband...but it does bother me. Can someone give me a different way to "look" at this situation?

Comments (35)

  • Ashley
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    when did she hang it there? Was it recently? I can't blame you for being bothered by that. How old is SD?

  • momof5angels
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    No, it has been hanging there for at least 2 years...I know because it was not long after I painted her room. My mother in law, who I am sure meant no ill intent, sent her a package containing the photo along with many others. She stuck it over her bed with stick pins and it's been there ever since.

    My stepdaughter is 13 (almost 14.) I'm fairly certain she doesn't realize that it bothers me (although it's possible that I may be wrong there but still...I don't think she hung it there so I would "have to see it" every day. Which is why I am yet to say anything...It's like it's not a problem for anyone and then I come in with "I'd rather you not hang that picture there." It seems like it would portray a message I do not wish to portray (that I am bothered by her mom and dad's marriage.)

    I just walked through the hallway after checking on my pot roast in the kitchen and there it was. After all this time, it doesn't get any easier to view it.

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  • Ashley
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Would her Dad be willing to ask her to move it to a place in her room where it would not be something you would have to walk by so often? I don't know if that would be the best way to deal with it or not, but I think to just be honest about how you feel would be the only way you can handle it other than to keep quiet and continue to deal with it.

    Maybe you could buy her a poster that she would really like to hang in its place, or pick up a frame for her and tell her you think it would look nice on the opposite wall. I don't know. That is a tough one. I can see why she would want it, but I can understand how you would not want it in your almost constant view. Hopefully she can be understanding too.

  • doodleboo
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I do not blame you for being bothered. Most Ex wives/husbands would want to stare at pictures of their ex witht he new spouse either. It would probably bug me having to see it as well.

    Here's the thing though. It has been hanging for two years so if you say anything about it now you are just going to look petty. You let it go too long. If I was uncomfortable about the placement of the photo I would of mentioned itpronto to hubby wihout sounding accusatory.

    "Hey hon, I have no problems with SD having old family pictures up in her room but is there anyway we could move it to where I don't have to see it everytime I walk by her room? I know it may sound silly but it bothers me a little." It's honest and to the point and not really asking alot...just to put it where it isn't in your face.

    Good luck.

  • silversword
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Raek:
    "pick up a frame for her and tell her you think it would look nice on the opposite wall"

    That's exactly what I was going to say. :)
    Take her out shopping, tell her you wouldn't want the picture to get ruined since you're sure it's special to her. Put it on the wall opposite her bed "so you can see it when you're in bed", then pick out something to go over her bed that matches. There are some cute bedspreads/matching flower print pictures out now. Maybe you could get her a padded ribbon picture holder (the ones that are bulletin boards, but with ribbon rather than tacks) and she could put up a collage of her and her friends there. You could offer to do a fun photo shoot of them to get stuff to put in there.

    I'm sorry. I would feel the same way as you do. I don't think you're overreacting at all, I think that's a perfectly normal feeling. My daughter came home with a family picture of her, her dad, and his parents that she loves. I don't want to look at it, but she wants it, so I framed it and put it where she can see it but it's not in my common line of sight. Same with pictures of her dad. Only visible from one side of the room, and that's not where I'm walking by or hanging out!

  • sylviatexas1
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    what silversword said;

    You/she could even re-arrange her whole room.

    Girls love to re-arrange furniture.

  • kkny
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When I was growing up, one of my friends lived in a truly elegant house where if one left open the door to the powder room (off of the central hall), the first thing visitors saw was a reflection of a toilet. The mom was always telling people to please please keep the door almost closed.

    In any event, you could try to buy a frame, etc., see if it can be moved. But it should be her room.

  • sylviatexas1
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    kk, I once sold a house where the guest bath/powder room opened directly into the den.

    Fortunately the buyers weren't bothered by it, but I wouldn't have liked that.

    Years ago, an old real estate instructor had the class laughing about what he called the "North Dallas I-Have-Arrived" house plan.

    can't remember exactly how it went, but it was something like,

    the front of the house featured a huge picture window opening onto the living room, in which there sat a baby grand piano.

    The drapes were always kept open so everyone could see that the homeowners had a baby grand.

    A door at the back of the living room opened to a hallway, & the bathroom door was at the back of the hall.

    So passers-by could see your baby grand piano...
    & your bathroom.

  • kkny
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This was, I kid you not, a grand 3 story Colonial, on an acrea. in an estate section in surburban NY. the main entry was open two stories, and the powder roon was toward the rear of the central hall, with door with a mirror on the door (that was poor planning).

  • justnotmartha
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What about picking out a cool, more to scale as an over the bed picture with SD to hang there instead? Does she have any other art? SD13 and I did several cool art things in this new room as the paint makes it too busy for real art - big frames with smaller pictures over cool scrap paper as a 'frame', painted abstract canvases she and her friends did, big blown up pictures of her and friends in sports, etc.

    OR - chalkboard paint! We painted SD's walls pink, and then I made chocolate brown chalkboard paint and we did a 1 ft tall stripe all around the room. She and her friends LOVE to write on it. What if you proposed a chalkboard square over her bed and painted a 'frame' around it?

    If her room isn't very decorated this could be a fun bonding chance as well as a way to shift this picture to a different wall and maybe group it with some other, more recent, pictures.

  • serenity_now_2007
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm trying to imagine myself in both positions (SM & SD) and here's my thoughts so far:

    -I do understand SM being bothered by having to see it numerous times per day and having to field questions about it from guests.

    -I also understand where SD is likely to take any suggestion to change her room as potentially invasive, especially this one. I think it's likely that she'll quickly figure out that it's a ploy to get the picture moved, which I think she will resent as 'phony' or 'manipulative'.

    -Therefore I think it would be better for SM to be as honest with SD about it as possible, one-on-one, in private, but in a nice way. Still offer to provide soemthing to replace the picture in its spot, or even a full-on redecorating of the room if you wish, but don't be coy about your motivation for doing so. And also give SD the option to ask a similar favor of you. If you phrase it nicely and candidly, with the respect of granting her the ability to understand your perspective "girl-to-girl", I think the result will be much better.

    If I was SM, here's how I'd phrase it: "Hi, SD, do you have a minute? Okay, there's something I want to share that's kinda awkward and difficult for me to share, but I am hoping you will understand. First off, let me say that I know how much you love your Mom and your Dad, and that they will always be special and important to you. I understand why you want to keep that picture of them up and in your room, and I'd never suggest that you should take it down. The only thing I want to ask is if you'll consider moving it another wall. Only because ---I'll be honest--- soemtimes it gets a little awkward and difficult for me when people come over and ask if that's me in the picture and it isn't, and well, I think you'll understand that there's a certain amount of wierdness between first wife and second wife and all that stuff. No different than if you saw the boy you like with a girl he knew who was cute and who's known him a long time and who he has a lot in common with. Maybe they even dated before. I mean, they may not be doing anything 'wrong', they could just be friends, and there will always be other girls in the world that he will sometimes be around, but you'd feel a little wierd about it if it was all the time, like several times a day. Not jealous so much as just awkward about it, and not wanting to start becoming jealous or feeling like the third wheel. Do you know what I mean? [Pause for response.] So, that's why it would mean a great deal to me if I didn't have to see the picture all the time, if it was on another wall. If you want, I will either help you choose soemthing to replace it on the wall above your bed, or I'll pay for something you yourself choose. And SD, I understand that our blended family situation is sometimes awkward and difficult for YOU, too. We're all human and a lot of these feelings are natural. And if there's ever anything YOU feel uncomfortable seeing or hearing regarding me, I hope you will share it with me like I've just shared this with you. Because whatever it is, I think we can come up with good ways to make it so that no one has to feel bad. Sound fair?" [And a hug afterwards might be good too.]

  • finedreams
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    DD has a picture of her dad framed with her and a picture of me with her. she does have pcitures of us together but certainly not on the walls. we are not married anymore, so why have pics of us together on the wall? ianppropriate. I would ask her to remove it.

  • kkny
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Serenity, you are so deserving of your screen name.

  • serenity_now_2007
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thank you!

  • momof5angels
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you everyone for all of your suggestions!!! I finally broke down and had a talk with DH last night. I told him that I needed to tell him something, no matter how petty it may seem to be...but it was important to me so I hoped he would hear me out. I started out (as I usually do) with an analogy..."Let me ask you something...If you had to walk into the living room each day and see a family photo hanging up of me with my ex-husband...how would that make you feel?" He immediately said "I know what you are talking about...I've not been very comfortable with it either. But I didn't know if it bothered you so I haven't said anything."

    It actually was a relief to get it off my chest...even just to him. We discussed it and he offered to speak with her about it. But I told him that I would like to talk to her calmly myself. Serenity, I am taking your suggestion and just being honest with her. You mentioned an analogy yourself (the bf issue) and that is how I have always explained myself so it fit perfectly into my personality. I am going to offer to buy her a new poster or painting for the spot. I want to make sure that I explain to her that I understand why it is important for her to have this photo and that I would never ask that she take it down completely...but it would definitely be a plus for me if it could hang in a less obvious place in her room. I will definitely be very gentle and kind...the situation is touchy enough already...

    I'm going to discuss this with her on Saturday. Wish me luck!

  • stepmomofthree
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I had a photo issue a couple of years ago - although not quite as bad as momof5's. My husband put up pictures in our hallway of his kids in the livingroom of their old house, the one they lived in when he was married to the BM. Everytime I came up the stairs, I got a big view of the old livingroom - complete with furniture, pictures etc. I hated it and I told him about it. At first he was defensive because he felt that the pictures were an important memory of his children's childhood.

    I accepted his position, but I explained that I would also like to have some images on the wall that celebrated an important time in my daughter's early life. I decided to put up a few photos of our vacation several years ago on the east coast. I took that vacation when I was with my former boyfriend and my husband is rather sensitive when the topic comes up. He very quickly got the message and took the photos down. We had a very interesting conversation after that, and we agreed that we would limit photos on the walls to those that reflect the composition of our new house. We still keep our old photos, but we put those on our desks, which are more personal spaces.

    I agree that you should speak to your stepdaughter, but I think that your husband should be part of this conversation. This isn't a situation that's just uncomfortable for you. It's a situation where your stepdaughter doesn't understand a very subtle point about social behaviour, so she's inadvertently doing something that makes you and your guests uncomfortable. She's old enough that she will benefit from learning how to be more sensitive to these issues.

  • serenity_now_2007
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hmmm... Stepmomofthree, I disagree with you that hubs should be part of the conversation. That would effectively kill the intimate and honest "girl-to-girl" nature of the talk and make the kid feel a bit ganged-up on, or expect it to be somehow disciplinary. I think the best time (and really the only necessary time) for the Dad to get in on it is when/if SD has a less-than-understanding reaction to the idea. If she's fine with it, there's no need to get Dad involved. If she's not fine with it, she will either go running to Dad herself or if she doesn't, then Dad should come in and say pretty much the same thing as SM but ---only if necessary--- make it more like an explanation than a request.... that is, be a bit firmer about it, like he's "making the final call" on the situation and "sorry, hon, but this is what I've decided is the fair solution for everyone". Hopefully it won't have to come to that, though.

  • kkny
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Serenity, I agree, this isnt a situation where anyone has done anything wrong -- ganging up may not be productive to gentle conversation. If it doesnt head where you want -- you can always say, lets think about, and you can always bring DH in later.

  • ceph
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with KK on this.

  • justnotmartha
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I do as well. It seems like the honest discussion would feel like more of a 'you've done something wrong' attack with dad there. If dad feels uncomfortable with it and wants to discuss that with his daughter, that should be separate . . . but I think it might be overkill.

  • thermometer
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I only read a few of the responses and disagree that you should bring it up at all. It has been too long and would only be petty. Therefore, any discussion about it or any attempt, by you or her father, to have her remove it will turn out awful in the end. Even if she does not show resentment initially, she will resent it but keep it to herself (for a while).

    I think you should try some other tactic altogether. If you and she get along really well, suggest a shopping trip to spruce her room - one or some new furnishings or even a whole new bedroom makeover if you can afford it. Then, find a reason to change the room around so the headboard of her bed is against a different wall that you cannot see from the hallway. If you cannot afford much, even a new large area rug (perhaps with matching curtains) might warrant the furniture to be rearranged to show the rug off adequately. That might be a matter of placing the bed alongside a wall rather than the headboard being against the wall (or vice versa since I don't know the position of her bed).

    Another reason to change the room around is you can gently and considerately suggest she move the bed from being viewed from the hallway since she is getting older and should be allowed more privacy. Again, I don't know if her bed is actually in view from the hallway. I assumed so since the picture is over the bed and the picture can be seen from the hallway.

    At any rate, find a way without mentioning the photo to her or her father. And just for the record, I really do think it is petty but at the same time can understand how you feel. I guess that means I would be petty also if this were my situation. In the very least, hubby travels the same path that you do and looks at the picture, too. I wouldn't want that constant reminder for him either. Good luck.

  • momof5angels
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks to all for your help! Helping her to rearrange the room isn't exactly an option. The room is sort of "shotgun" shaped and because her room is directly next to hers, we prefer her bed be against the opposite wall for... well...obvious reasons. With the position of her bed in the room (and the photo in question) if you are standing on the other side of the house you can look straight through the hallway and see her bed and the photo. Redecorating in general is not really an option either. I totally remodeled her room last summer...I realized after adding up the time since I redecorated her room that the picture hasn't been there for 2 years. It has been one year or less. Maybe it just felt like 2 years. LOL! Anyway, last summer I spent 3 weeks painting and redoing her room in purple camo...She LOVES purple. I did her entire room in purple and lime green. She freaked out when she got back from her summer visit with BM and saw it for the first time.

    Anyway, all of this is for naught as the talk is already completed...and the way it happened shocked me beyond belief. She unknowingly set it up perfectly for me. See, she recently had a "boyfriend" and her bf broke up with her for her best friend. The friend apologized, saying "I didn't know you two were talking, etc, etc..." (This poor friend has some issues...extremely boy crazy...I mean, I was boy crazy more so than I have ever seen...) SD13 mentioned today while I was cleaning the bathroom that her best friend has a picture of herself and my SD's ex-bf on her myspace...she just couldn't understand how a friend could do something like that to her. I said "It must be tough seeing a picture of your best friend and ex-bf together..." She said "Yeah, it is..." I stepped out of the bathroom and over to her bedroom door and said gently, "If I was speaking to you with all honesty and like a woman to a young woman I would have to admit...that's the way that picture makes me feel sometimes. Please, please don't get me wrong...I know that that is a very special photo to you and I would never ask you to take it down...but maybe you kind of understand where I am coming from?"

    She said "I never thought about that!!!" She went right to her room and moved the picture over to her computer desk. She came out and said "There!" I looked in and said "That looks like a perfect place for it! Thank you so much for understanding. But now there is a blank space over your bed...we'll have to do something about that when we go shopping today."

    She said "Well I sure wouldn't want you hanging up a picture of XXX and XXX in this house!!!" It went much better than expected!!

    Thanks to everyone for your help!

  • catlettuce
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, that is great it went so well!

    You have really good communication with your stepdaughter, that is wonderful :0)

    ~Cat

  • justnotmartha
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That has to be such a load off your shoulders! So glad it went to easily, and that you can walk down the hall carefree now!

  • doodleboo
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's great! She sounds like a very understanding kid. I'm glad it went smoothly for everyone and no one's feelings got hurt:)

  • silversword
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Perfect! I'm so happy for you!

  • stepmomofthree
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's a great resolution because she learned from personal experience how you feel - and that it's not just a "stepparent" issue.

    I do think that she should find a new best friend though!

  • sweeby
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just love happy endings!
    And I think you handled it perfectly!

    And it sounds like your SD is turning into a lovely person --

  • ashley1979
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What a good kid! And what a great relationship you must have with her! And she set you up so perfectly! LOL! Could never happened in a million years that way again. And you even went a step beyond what you had to do and offered to get her something to go over her bed. It's like you were rewarding her for being a good sport about it.

    YAY! I love happy endings!

  • roseplanter
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well Momof5angels, can I share my touchy pictures-of-mom-and-dad story?
    I have the same situation, except it's not one picture, it's a bedroom full of pictures like this. Childhood pictures of the three of them, or pictures and drawings of just her mom. I think I'd be more understanding if (from all their accounts, I've never met her) she was a loving wonderful mom. They tell me she was/is a drunk, a user, a seller, and had several BFs behind dad's back. One of SD's complaints is that her BM would come home from work, go to her room and ignore all 3 of her children.
    Dad made major life changes and wanted his then wife to clean up her act too. She didn't want to leave her BF and partying ways, so he divorced her and they shared custody. (Only the SD is his. Other 2 were fathered by someone else.)
    Five years later, I enter the picture. Dad has since gained full custody of his then 14 year-old daughter. It was SD's choice to leave mom's filthy, unkept house where the live-in BF hung around drinking all day.
    Well, my custody arrangement w/ my ex requires that I live in my current town. I let my then-just-dating guy know this immediately and he let his daughter know she'd have to choose whether to live with us (4 hours away) or stay at her mom's. BM flipped out! She threatened to have a friend of hers come over to the dad's apartment (while we were house hunting) and rape her own daughter to punish her for even thinking of moving away! What kind of mom threatens her own daughter to have some thug rape her as punishment?
    Well, SD decided to come live with us. (14 then, 19 years old now.) I know it's hard to leave your home town and move away from friends! (I'm a former military wife, moved 20+ times over 9 years!)We made all sorts of accomodations to try to ease her pain of having to move away: taking her back for every school holiday and summers to visit her friends and family. (Expensive!) Unlimited Internet and cell phone access to her friends/family. I certainly don't expect SD to deny her past! I want her to treasure the happy moments, like we all do from our childhood. BUT! We all eventually move on into adulthood.
    I was a professional photographer and we have TONS of current photos of all sorts of family functions. I do scrapbooking, painting, collages, sewing etc. and have let her know she can invite friends over from her new school or our new congregation for any of these or other activities, but no. For the first 2 years of our marriage she spent her free time online or talking to all her old friends w/very little effort to make "new memories" to hang on the wall. I talked with my husband letting him know I appreciate we all have previous memories to treasure, but she seemed stuck in "Little Girl Land" and was in denial. We had a discussion with her once to encourage her to do things with us, make new friends, start taking the steps to becoming a young lady. She bawled (literally) about "not having a childhood." She was 18 then and had no plans regarding her future. A job? College? Move out eventually? I'm just the meanie "not letting her have a relationship w/ her dad." Our parent-child relationships evolve over time. She was 18 then w/graduation just weeks away and it still hadn't dawned upon her to make plans for schooling or employment!It's not that she doesn't know, it's that she doesn't want to learn ... at least not from me!
    I was stunned. Oh yeah, you had a childhood, I told her. Unfortunately, it was pretty crappy since your BM neglected all 3 kids! (So why is she the one STILL adorning the walls?)
    I try to be understanding that since BM didn't teach SD any personal hygiene skills or etiquette, it isn't automatic. But, I ask my husband, she's been living with you for 4 years now. So why does she still belch w/o saying 'excuse me'? Spit phlegm out the window? Take food of my plate? Keep her room in total disarray?
    I'm "the bad guy" for expecting her to not sleep in till noon, take a shower and be presentable every day, (not just when we'll go to services), further her education so she can become self-sufficient some day, and bother to include us in her major life decisions?
    I'm the one driving her back and forth twice a day to two different schools so she can take foreign language classes, to doctor appointments, etc. I don't WANT to replace her mother. I want her to learn from my varied experience, not criticize my cooking, home decorating, etc. I love her dad, and she's part of him.
    I guess it must be crappy to have to accept that your mom is a disappoint. Maybe she feels she'll be disloyal to mom if she likes me? I wonder this because now she does do things with other people here. And I mean other people MY age(40), not just with other teens. She goes to their house to watch movies, eat dinner, etc. I ask her dad, how does letting her do this promote family unity? Sure, I think these other women are great friends to have, but now even they replace me and take her to functions I should. They'll have some congregation event and my SD, not me, is the one invited to share a dish. Am I the wife, or is she?
    Example: I recently invited my husband to go to bed early for once, so we wouldn't be so tired for our "private time." His response? "When do I get to spend any time with (SD)?"(They spend hours watching movies together almost every night of the week!)
    Anyway, I'm going on and on ... guess it's not just the pictures of "Mommy Dearest" still on the wall that bother me.
    BTW, I am also a high school teacher and deal with some pretty rough teenagers every day. My students send me cards, give me hugs (nothing inappropriate) and say "thank you" for sharing life's hard lessons.
    My husband's response to discomfort over walls of BM photos? "It's her room."
    Excuse me? If my 18 year-old or 9-year-old hung a photo of their father, or our former family, in "their" room, I would talk with them about part of healing is moving on. My girls' dad left me for another woman, has since left her and is now shacking up with a third. (I only hear this through the grapevine, I don't ask!)So does he have a place in my home? No. In their lives, yes. Hang those pictures on your apartment walls, not my house. I gave my ex tons of family photos to give to our daughters, but no, those will not hang on the walls of where my current husband is to be respected.
    Am I being too sensitive? What do you all think? THANKS! No one I know personally understands this from their own experience.

  • finedreams
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree that SD behaves inapproriatelly and it is ridiclous of her not wanting to grow up. it is also weird that DH wants to spend time wiht his grown DD every day! Not healthy. but...I disagree about pics. She has to be able to hang whatever pictures in her room. DD has pics of her dad in her room and it is entirelly up to her. yes no pics of X in my living room but in DD's room, yes. you should not bother wiht what she hangs in her room. it si her mom, even if she is not a good mother. now, i do agree with everything else, pretty creepy situation...

  • elizabethg216
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My two stepdaughters have pictures of their Mom everywhere and I am supposed to accept and encourage it because they were very close to their mother - up until the day she committed suicide. That was in early 2005. I married their Dad in September 2007 and we live in the same been-in-the-family-house for over a hundred years. Their Mom's touch is everywhere.....same dishes, same furniture, same pets, same decor - everything she had picked out and the way she had arranged the rooms. I have no personal touches or items anywhere but my little corner. There is no room for my things anywhere. House is full of antiques and just old junk from husband's parents and grandparents - that stuff wasn't hers either, so it stays. I had to rent a storage unit just to have somewhere to put all my family pieces and other stuff when I moved out of my old house. To the 18 and 19 year old SD's,(they were 14 and 15 when she died), their Mom was a saint among saints and did no wrong. I keep waiting for the day when one of them finally asks why did she kill herself. They have NO idea. Anyway, how long are you supposed to wait until you start putting your own personality and ideas into the home you share with your husband? I put a picture of my own 20 year old BD on top of a bookcase and saw one of them shooting a surprised look at it. I feel a little like an unwelcome guest that only gets to sleep there and clean and cook, but not anything else. Advice?

  • justnotmartha
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Elizabeth, have you talked to your husband about any of this? He may not have any idea you feel this way - most men just see something to eat on and somewhere to sit rather than HER dishes and HER furniture. If he doesn't know you want things changed you can't exactly complain that they aren't.

    Now on the other hand, if he knows and refuses to do anything about the shrine to mom, you have a much bigger problem.

  • serenity_now_2007
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, Elizabeth... sounds like "Rebecca" (did you ever read the book by Daphne du Maurier or see Hitchcock's adaptation? Good stuff.) Anyway, I agree that there's a difference between a full-on shrine and nice ways to preserve the deceased mother's memory with some well-chosen objects on display in well-chosen areas. The other stuff doesn't have to be thrown out, just that *every single thing* of hers doesn't have to be out and about, or at least not simultaneously.

    It would be good to discuss this with your husband and try to find areas of compromise. JNM is right that he might not care so much about the more practical items like dishes, etc. That could be a good place to start mixing things up a bit. And for your part, you might try to detach her memory from some of the items in YOUR mind. My long-time boyfriend's girlfriend before me tragically died from a brain tumor, and when he and I first started dating he lived in her house and there was her stuff everywhere. I admit it sort of got to me that it was almost *everything*, and he was good about slowly stowing some of the items away as he was ready to. I would have never told him to throw any of it out or get rid of it, but on his own accord eventually he did get rid of some stuff entirely. But as it happens, she had exquisite taste (at least in my opinion) and many wonderful things. (I think she and I would have been great thrift-shopping buddies, with similar kind of 'vintage-y' tastes). So in my mind I just sort of detached from the objects the fact that there was this other woman he loved very much and almost married... and just looked at them like "wow, that's a really great vintage _______ and I'm lucky to get to live with it and use it." I mean, it's much easier to do that with "neutral" objects than with personal things like photos, clothes, etc. and you'll only be able to do that up to a point. Also, of course, it won't work if you don't like her taste!

  • colleen777
    15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also think spending that much time with daughter is unhealthy. Even in marriages that are still intact you can bet your bottom dollar mom wouldn't be thrilled if husband was spending that much close time with an adult child and neglecting any relationship with her.

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