Gransnet forums


Children as parcels

(15 Posts)
Luckygirl Sat 01-Aug-20 09:50:27

I am following a thread on Mumsnet and it has horrified me.

A stepmother is angry because her OH's 9 year old DD (well maybe not so dear) who lives with her own Mum, is coming to them for a few weeks in the summer, and this has interfered with the Step Mums plans for various days out with her mates.

Her OH (the biological Dad) has said that he cannot take on the child care at that time as he will be working and cannot get the time off.

The mother has virtually said that she will dump the child on their doorstep and they just have to suck it up.

The poster (step-mother) is getting lots of sympathy from posters about being put in a position where her plans have been disrupted. And there is a lot of criticism aimed at her OH.

Every now and then I feel moved to chip in and ask who loves this child - who holds her in their heart? To whom is she anything but an inconvenience? It seems to fall on deaf ears.

I know of many split families who make it work without detriment to the children, because all the adults (whether biologically related or not) recognise their duties to those children and the importance of loving that child to create a sense of self-worth.

What do grans think?

midgey Sat 01-Aug-20 09:56:01

Heartbreaking, poor child.

Rumpunch Sat 01-Aug-20 10:16:09

Unfortunately this can happen so often. Parents are still trying to score points off of each other without realising it is their child/children they are upsetting more.
There is so much more going on here than it appears. This should have been sorted and planned further ahead of time. If the mother knows Dad cannot rearrange work at the drop of a hat, then Mum has done it deliberately.Putting in on Mumsnet means she gets the sympathy she craves.
Its so sad for the child who is probably very insecure now.
There are two sides to every story and I don't believe we have the full story here.
Mum cannot force Dad to have the child if he doesn't want to and it sounds like stepmum is not interested. I never had my stepdaughters to stay over night because Mum felt she would lose control. I could tell you some tales about how manipulative she was/is but that would bore you to tears and she is not worth the breath.

geekesse Sat 01-Aug-20 10:19:51

Happens a lot in blended families, I’m afraid. Working in a boarding school, I asked one 16 year old boy if he was going home for the weekend. ‘Dunno’, he said, ‘it depends if either of my parents wants a babysitter for one of my baby half-brothers. If not, they won’t want me there’.

Callistemon Sat 01-Aug-20 10:23:59

Poor child - yes, she does sound unloved. Mum wants to be rid of her for a few weeks, father won't put himself out for her (or perhaps he is worried about his job or business) and step-mother feels resentful at being landed with a 9 year old to look after for weeks when she had other plans.

The two parents need to sort this out between them and the step-mother could be more kind and helpful towards the child. However, I don't think she should be expected to shoulder all the responsibility for keeping a 9 year old entertained for weeks. They could take it in turns.

quizqueen Sat 01-Aug-20 10:26:04

It is the father's responsibility to sort out childcare for his own daughter. If his new partner worked full time or travelled for business regularly, would you expect her to take time off as holiday or give up working to look after her step child just because she is a woman!!

Illte Sat 01-Aug-20 10:26:39

Hard to know without all the details isn't it?
Is the Mum working? Maybe she can't take time off either.
Did the dad know his daughter was going to be his responsibility but is ducking it?

Actually I don't really see why the stepmum should be expected to take responsibility when there are two parents in the frame.

But I agree. Poor little girl.

Callistemon Sat 01-Aug-20 10:30:29

Perhaps Mum has a business or job which has been put on hold and she has been at home for months, home schoolong and needs to get back to work.

Father needs to be more pro-active.

Namsnanny Sat 01-Aug-20 10:30:39

rumpunch very sensible post.
geekess heartbreaking

paddyanne Sat 01-Aug-20 10:34:25

Does the mother have the child full time? In my experience, my daughter had her eldest two all the time their father was too busy with a string of GF's to bother with them ..he didn't pay maintenance either ! Now and again and for the childrens sake my daughter would tie him down to having them for a week or two during the summer holidays ,my GD was always thrilled as she dotes on her dad.

Sadly his mother usually saw more of them than he did at that time.
When he remarried his new wife was keen to make them part of the family and they visited quite regualrly for a couple of years .
The wife and my daughter are now good friends and she visits the GC at their mums with her own children .Their dad still finds anything more important than the children he was desperate to have the minute they were married .
Thats SOME men 's attitude and sadly its far more than it should be and possibly the mother is just tired and needs a break

trisher Sat 01-Aug-20 10:43:38

The child care and contact should have been sorted out in mediation at the time of the divorce. If the agreement was the father would have the child for x weeks in the summer holidays then he should have arranged his holidays to accommodate this. If he didn't do that he and the step mother need to sort it out between them. It's not the mother's fault. She may be working herself and have used her holidays, or looked after the child during lock down full time and feel they both need a break. That said I couldn't have dumped any of mine with their father if they hadn't wanted to go. But who knows? this 9 year old may be heartily sick of their mother.

Doodledog Sat 01-Aug-20 10:53:40

It's not possible to know what's gone on without being there (and even then, there are usually two sides to a story). I agree that the arrangements should have been worked out between the parents.

The stepmum doesn't have a duty to love the child, but she does, IMO, have a duty of care towards her. If she has other arrangements for the time the parents have arranged for the child to visit, I think the dad should step up, but I also think that the stepmum should make the girl welcome and not let her know that there have been any issues.

For all we know, the mum may have deliberately chosen a time that she knew would be inconvenient, the dad may have ducked out of previous arrangements - there are numerous possibilities - but the little girl should really be everyone's priority, and should not be allowed to feel like she is a pawn in whatever games are being played.

Luckygirl Sat 01-Aug-20 12:44:39

Yup - pawn in a game indeed. How is this going to result in a well-adjusted and happy adult? I just know what my unconditional love for my children meant to them - and still means. It all makes me feel very sad indeed.

Summerlove Sat 01-Aug-20 12:58:38

I’m betting the arrangements were worked out.

The father assumed his wife would do the wife work.

This isn’t about the mother not loving her child. She could get In trouble for withholding the child, even if the father seems uninvolved.

This is a father failing.

I don’t see the mother using the child as a pawn, but the father not caring.

Sad for the child to have an uninvolved father.

sodapop Sat 01-Aug-20 13:18:49

I agree Summerlove usually seems to be woman who is expected to do the bulk of child care.
As others have said though we don't know the full story.

That was a sad little story geekesse