You like it. He loves you. Your love story could have ended there, but he has children. Suddenly, you become a "mother-in-law" and your couple takes a family tangent. Ready?
In popular culture, “mothers-in-law” cannot be said to have a good reputation. We need only think of that of Cinderella, probably the most cruel of all (perhaps apart from that of Aurora, the child martyr). But in reality, mothers-in-law still suffer from these prejudices, often maintained by the ex-spouse (the mother of the children). Still, we should not rely only on these nasty stereotypes. It is possible to live well in your role as mother-in-law with your spouse's children, even if it is often complicated, difficult and causes countless questions.
A blurred role
Second mom? Great friend? Enemy? For the child, the mother-in-law represents the one who ensures that his real family will not return as before. Indeed, children have long wanted their two parents to resume living together. The mother-in-law comes to break this dream. This is why some children react so badly, no matter how nice you are. Before embarking on a relationship in which your lover has children, youcan't predict how it will turn out.
Indeed, you are in front of children who are not yours, whom you have not "desired" and carried and who in addition are perhaps the opposite of what you imagined as a child. You may also have never considered becoming a mother one day and find yourself immersed in a similar role without any preparation or instructions. It is indeed a bit scary. It is normal to doubt, to ask yourself lots of questions and to evaluate this dive well. But it may also be an opportunity to capture a whole life experience. Perhaps you are relieved to now have children in your life without having any responsibility for them. Perhaps this new role will make you decide whether or not to have children. Perhaps this reconciliation of family life and love life will enchant you more than you think…
Actually, becoming a "mother-in-law" is an adventure that you don't really choose. Few are those who are clearly looking for a lover with children from the start. It is rather the adventure that chooses you! You have the choice: you remain completely detached, you invest yourself too much or you dive and take your place little by little. The first two options are much more risky in terms of the survival of your romantic couple. The last option takes a lot of work, perseverance, and compromise, but it does create a he althier blended family life.
To build a good relationship with your spouse's children, it would be easy to say that you just have to put your mind to it and that the children, their dad and their mom will do the same. There is more than that. Everyone comes with their own baggage, experiences, wounds, dreams and desires. A whole mix, sometimes explosive and often emotional.
Time would be a great ally. There is no point in shaking everything up and quickly arriving at magical relationships. Your efforts and initiatives are commendable, but you may hit a wall if you try to do too much. Adapting to everyone's pace of life, living with their fads and habits and gently taming yourself is a process that only leads to success with time and patience.
To make sure everything goes well, many have tips or recommendations from friends or colleagues who have already been there. But what also matters is trusting your instincts.
You are not his mother. You don't really want to be her "friend" either. So who will you be with your lover's children? Be yourself… Don't try to play the "too nice" or "too understanding" role. Wearing this role a few times is fine, but would you be ready to do it in the long term? You have to be sincere and real with the children otherwise they feel it.
Take your place… without taking up all the space
You will feel like you are dancing a strange tango. Say what you think? Silence your comments? Imposing certain rules? Never saying anything is not a solution, you will feel frustrated one day or another. But knowing how to be quiet on occasion is also a good option sometimes. In fact, there is no miracle recipe. You must therefore impose yourself without breaking everything. Being too disengaged would ensure that a real relationship could never exist between you and them. This will require skill, diplomacy and a lot of patience.
Go to them
Children have special detectors! They know when an adult is being real with them and when they're playing fake. Make the effort to reach out to your spouse's children and offer them talks or activities. Be lenient if they don't react as enthusiastically as you would have liked. You will have to be tolerant. A separation leaves children fragile and suspicious; it will take time. In fact, much more theirs than yours.
Learning to accept yourself
His children will never be yours. Surely you wouldn't have raised them the same way. You have never been a mom. They didn't choose you. Starting a relationship is not easy! You will therefore have to learn to "accept" each other! There will be adjustments, discussions, spats, etc., but if everything is done with respect and with the common goal of finding a way to live well together, you will get there.
R. E. S. P. E. C. T
Yes! You want yourrelationship is good. Yes! You want to do everything you can to get these children to accept you. Yes, all of it! But you must also be respected. You don't have to bend over everything. In the face of a lack of respect, signal it clearly to the child and from the start (otherwise, the message will become vague!). His attitude does not change? A three-way discussion (with his father) is in order. Respect is the basis of everything.
The best help will be… your spouse. His attitude will make the difference in the future relationship between his children and you. So get ready for a good dose of discussion! Don't be afraid to say how you feel. It's better this way… Your spouse must give you the freedom to act in your own way - in accordance with their methods of education - and make sure that their children give you a chance. He must also understand and accept that you do things your way. Establish new rules together for the smooth running of your new household. Children need to feel that you are a team and that the rules are yours (both of you!). You must feel that you have his support; it's important not to feel like you're going your own way in front of your children and your new life.
The ex and you
Your spouse's ex can give you a hard time, make you feel incompetent, judge you, and even turn his children against you. With her, confrontation is to be avoided at all costs. She won't become your friend either (not at all).beginning, at least!). Base your relationship on deep mutual respect. Make it your duty never to speak ill of her in front of the children. And if a conflict persists, resolve it between adults, leaving the children out of the discussion.
Step-in-laws talk about each other…
“It's usually not with the children that you have to deal with a problem, but with the new spouse. What is most difficult is that not everyone has the same ways of raising children, and not everyone has the same values. If I had one piece of advice to give, it would be to think very carefully before embarking on a relationship where there are already children. I'm not saying not to do it, but to explain yourself well and dot the i's, because it's not easy to make requests when you've waited too long to explain your own values, and what we find unacceptable or not. »
“Not very good, but after a few years, it is replaced! It is not always easy for a child to see another woman take the place of his mother! But today it's going very well with both the child and the mom! If I had one piece of advice: be patient! »
“This is hell! It will be 3 years that I am with the father. The little one tells me that I am surely not good because the mother talks about me in front of him. I find that very flat, but I know he doesn't really mean it, so I'll be patient. »
"I'm fine,but with 6 children in total (3, 6, 9, 16, 19 and 21), our secret is simple: it takes 2 houses! When we move on to living together, well, we'll see! For 14 months now, we see each other 5 days a week. We don't see the “rush” of living together at the moment. It will come ! »
“Being the mother-in-law or the father-in-law - because I think it's the same - is very difficult. When the children are young or teenagers, there are different ordeals. It takes a lot, a lot of communication, understanding, but above all a lot of love between lovers to face all the trials. So PATIENCE and you have to tell yourself one day at a time! »
“Having lived the experience of the child side, I can tell you that it is not easy. Good advice: never try to replace the mother, otherwise be careful! Especially with teenagers! Without you necessarily wanting to do badly, teenagers are looking for the little beast and they are very good at finding it. And, believe me, no child needs bad comments from their mother to form an opinion about their mother-in-law. So trust their intelligence. Children are capable of a lot of naughtiness when they feel someone is taking the place they think should be exclusively theirs in Dad's heart. »
“With dad's perseverance and support, everything went very well. I never heard any nasty words fromchildren despite the fact that I heard some coming from the mother. I never belittled their mom. She is and will always remain their mom and I would never denigrate her in front of them (even if I don't carry her in my heart). The best advice is not to be apart and to get involved in their evolution. To not just be a couple where everyone has their children, but to be a family all together. To be there for the other's child as we would like our spouse to be there for our own child. »
“If I may say so, for those who read English (the book has unfortunately not yet been translated into French), I recommend you read Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin. The situation of mother-in-law is not easy on a daily basis. Several situations become more difficult: our patience is not always what it is with our own children, we are confronted with situations that nuclear families do not have to manage. In short, Ms. Martin, PH. D. in psychology, tells us about the recomposed family, but from the point of view of the mother-in-law and not of the child. We relieve ourselves of guilt, we realize that we are not the only ones going through what we are going through. It gives us possible solutions… Our well-being is taken into account first. It feels good. Yes, the well-being of the child is important, but we also have feelings, we aim for different emotions and I believe that it is important to experience them fully. A reading that was recommended to me and that helped me get throughdifficult times and who helps me again and again. »
“When I started the relationship with my husband, he practically had his daughter full time, the first weeks were not easy because before living a family life, you had to learn to s to tame as a couple. Then came joint custody and it taught us to know each other better and appreciate each other more. As for the little one, she was 2 years old at the time and was so endearing that it was not complicated to bond. I am not her mother and I do not want to replace her, but rather to be a complement. We have a great relationship and we are now an extended family with the little boy we had his father and me. It's going so well that we plan to have a 2nd soon. Like what the beautiful relations with the children of his spouse are more than possible… My husband who had to combine with a preteen (my daughter) succeeded very well in creating with her a superb complicity and he repeats to me constantly that he loves him as much as his own daughter, so I think that's great. We are really lucky! »
“I don't have a child, I never wanted one, but my boyfriend has a 3 and a half year old. I've known him since he was a year and a half old and saw him take his first steps. We cannot not love a child, even if he is not ours. And I was surprised to find it less worse than I thought. It goes very well with him, he is a little ball of love, I try tonurture her and give her the best love I can without playing at being her mother. We have been having difficult times with the mother for a few months now, it's the most difficult thing in the story these days and it's a shame because communication is broken between the two parents. So, it's a little destabilizing for the child, for the parents and their spouses…. For our part, we would like communication to be reborn for the good of the child and so that he lives in harmony…. We cross our fingers because the important thing is the child! »
“The beginnings are necessarily delicate, because the children already have a mother and we have to build our relationship with them on a new basis (a basis that is neither friendly nor completely parental either), for which we have no social model. If I had to give advice to a friend who would also do this big parachute jump, I would say to her: build your couple: build your family. Do you speak. Listen to yourself. Because if we don't have a stepmother's social model, the father in a blended family has no model either! And in a blended family where the father doesn't do this couple work, the stepmother almost necessarily becomes (1) a servant or (2) a weekend blonde or (3) a constantly misunderstood and frustrated person. I'm exaggerating a bit, but hey. There's a reason I've been blogging about this for a year and a half! »