Breann
Devoted June 2020

a question for the ladies who have a stepmom

Breann, on June 7, 2020 at 4:00 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 12
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I've been so, so fortunate that my FH's daughter has been friendly with me since the start. I met her when she was 9 and she's 11 now. We only get her about 25% of the time (if we're lucky). I don't know what it's like having step parents and I don't have children of my own.

So my question is: what are some ways to make her feel special on our big day? We are eloping and she'll be the only guest in attendance. She and I will be making and decorating the cake, she'll be doing a "first look" with her dad after she's all dolled up, and I'm writing vows to her that will be a surprise for both of them. We are also doing a sand ceremony so we'll have a special keepsake to honor us officially joining together as a family.

I just want her to know how special it is that we're gonna be family and how much both of us love her. I think I'm a little paranoid that since we don't see her very often, she won't grow up feeling close to us. She keeps to herself and doesn't talk about how she feels very often, so I'm doing the best I can to make sure she's happy but I want any advice you have!

12 Comments

Latest activity by Breann, on June 11, 2020 at 4:29 PM
  • Kathryn
    VIP August 2020
    Kathryn ·
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    My dad and stepmom didn't even include us in their day, so I just want to applaud you for wanting to include her and taking care of her. I like the idea of a first look, and maybe you can do something like plant a tree or a bush together as part of a unity ceremony. I think you're already doing a lot by making her feel included. Maybe also have her be a junior bridesmaid? I think what you're doing is plenty - you're going to be a great stepmom. Just remember that she is probably feeling a lot of feelings, and she might take time to come around to accepting you. Hopefully not - you guys already sound like you're trying to put your best foot forward.
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  • Mrs. S
    Super November 2019
    Mrs. S ·
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    My dad and stepmom got married when I was 9. My stepmom spent time picking out my dress, painting my nails, making me a hair piece, had my hair done at a salon and got me a cross necklace. I and my (step)brothers sat in the front row and stood up for a family prayer. I was with my dad and stepmom 8 days a month, and I am somewhat close to them but there are some things that come between us. My mom has been kind of crazy and been mean to my stepmom in the past. I know that. Growing up it was hard being in the middle. But now I’m 29 and my relationship with my mom is none of my stepmom’s business and vice versa. They still like to put each other down and made some snarky comments during wedding planning that made me angry because they have no right to put me in the middle of their animosity. Luckily they were cordial at the wedding but they were both so tense I don’t even know if they had fun. Growing up my stepmom was always very judgy and couldn’t understand I lived most of my time in an environment that was completely opposite. All the rules were different between houses plus having to pack my bags twice a week as a kid was very stressful. I think she and her sons could have been more sensitive to that. She broke my trust one time when I was crying and she promised I could talk to her without my dad, but the first thing she did was tell my dad what I said. It wasn’t an emergency, just a personal clothes shopping situation. The last thing is that I love my dad very much but don’t feel super close to him. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while. We used to have bedtime stories, things like that and once my stepmom moved in that all stopped. So I felt replaced. From middle school til now he’s also been judgy and overly critical and I don’t feel like I can confide in him. He only sees the negative, and I saw a lot of that get worse when he married my stepmom. He is getting softer as he gets older and I live my own life, but I still don’t feel safe being myself.
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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
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    Oh really? Wow, I'm sorry!

    She has asked what her "title" is for the wedding, and I've told her she's all of the above since she's definitely my maid of honor, the ring bearer, etc!

    Thank you for sharing that. Especially that she might need some time. I never thought of myself as a "kid person," but she's so wonderful and I'm honestly kind of surprised how effortless this has been. There was a lot of tension between my mom and I as I grew up and we're not close, so I didn't think I'd be capable of being a good mom figure.

    I am putting in my vows to her that I am not going to try and replace her mom. And I'll never expect her to call me "mom". I want to respect that relationship and how close they are, although I can't actually wrap my mind around how that works.

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  • Kathryn
    VIP August 2020
    Kathryn ·
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    Yeah, he just kind of informed us he was getting married that next week without us there. So yay childhood trauma!!! The three of us ended up haaaaating her because she was just dropped into our lives without us even knowing they were dating. But that's a whole lot of trauma wrapped up in a teenage angsty package.



    Definitely give her time to process the changes. I'll give you the example of my mom and my stepdad: she told us when she started dating him, she allowed us time to get to know him, and all three of us were part of their big day. In comparison, my stepmom kind of materialized into existence as the new lady in our dad's life. We did not have the best, or much, of a relationship when I was still in high school or in college. Just kind of tolerated each other because she was forced on us with no real finesse.
    Now we're ok. But she and my mom do not get along. Idk how to explain it, but she and I have a mutual understanding. My stepdad and I have a great relationship. He's a lot more of a dad to me than my dad for obvious reasons, and we had a lot of time to get to know each other before he was suddenly family. So give her space to adjust, let her know she can come to you. It's not about being her mom but more about being someone she can trust and rely on.
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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
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    Thank you for sharing that.

    Our house is more consistent and based on routine than at her mom's. We are very careful to keep our opinions of the ex to ourselves and act like we're amicable. In my vows to her, I want to make sure she knows I love her for who she is, will always support her, and be someone she can confide in. She has already been acting more comfortable sharing things with me since she thinks her dad will over-react with some topics (like her theoretical first boyfriend....lol).

    So far, she seems to try and keep the two households entirely separate. For example, her dad will ask about how things have been going at her mom's house and she is very reluctant to talk about that. He never lets on how he feels (about the ex and how she parents), but I've noticed that his daughter gets awkward when the mom will call her, etc. So I try to not bring it up, although I want her to know we are (trying to be) encouraging and unbiased. I just don't understand her perspective, and she doesn't like to be put on the spot, so I don't ask.

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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
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    Thanks so much Kathryn! I will remember that!

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  • Mrs. S
    Super November 2019
    Mrs. S ·
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    I think the main thing is to remember that she loves her mom because that’s her mom and it’s not against you and your husband. When parents try to compete everyone loses. My dad’s house was strict and orderly and my mom’s house was open and relaxed. They had different parenting styles but one wasn’t better than the other, they both had pros and cons. She probably is going to feel awkward and that’s ok but I would let her have her space and give her positive reinforcement when she is open. Do some fun activities like decorating cookies or shopping.
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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
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    Thanks so much for that insight! I appreciate it!

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  • Rebecca
    Master August 2019
    Rebecca ·
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    My dad and stepmom got married when I was 19, and I was one of the only guests at the courthouse.

    First of all, you're including her in the day, so that's huge. Secondly, by recognizing her, and having her included *already*, you're doing a great job creating that relationship.

    But, as Mrs. S. said... you're not her mom. Whatever her relationship with her mom, it's not *you*. For instance, my relationship with my mother is ... currently non-existent. Whenever my stepmother tries to act like she's the mom, we have huge blow ups and it's no good. When we operate more on an aunt/niece or mentor/mentee mode, it works out much better. The two of you need to figure out, together, what works best for you. At 9, she can maybe help guide this (a therapist wouldn't be amiss, because they can help guide these conversations, in a neutral place).

    Honestly, just listen to her, work as a unit with your FH and her mom, even when it's hard, and that will go a LONG way.

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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
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    Thank you Rebecca! I'll keep doing what I've been doing then. I've been trying to not bombard her with affection and it's sometimes difficult since I almost feel I have to make up for all the time we miss out on. On the flip side, I worry I'll come across as cold if I hold back too much (my mom was distant and I don't want to become that). I'll aim for middle ground since I feel pulled both directions!

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  • A
    Super August 2020
    Alex ·
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    What you are doing sounds perfect! The only think I could think of adding is if you wanted to get her a little necklace or bracelet as a gift/thank you for welcoming you into her/her dad's family. I think that would be cute!

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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
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    You read my mindSmiley smile


    I bought this to give her after she's all dressed up:

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/738207568/step-daughter-gift-bonus-daughter?ref=yr_purchases

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