December 15, 2020


This mum was less than impressed when her ex’s partner took her child for a Santa photo.

Co-parenting can be difficult at the best of times, but one step mum has shared her story in an advice column, recounting her experience of taking her step daughter for a (COVID-Safe) Santa photo. The child’s mother was less than impressed with the plan, calling her ex-husband to question the decision and express her anger about his new partner overstepping her role.

A Struggle On Both Sides

Things didn’t get off to a great start.

“When her mother heard about (the Santa photo) she hit the ceiling,” the step mother said. “She said I had no right to take the child anywhere and called my husband and really laid into him.”

The story highlights the struggle on both sides of a co-parenting relationship. For the mother of the child, the whole situation can feel like a total loss of control. She doesn’t get to spend the entirety of the festive period with her daughter, there’s a new mother figure in her daughter’s life, and she probably feels threatened by any unilateral decisions made without her input.

On the other hand, for the child’s father and his new partner, the mother’s reaction can seem like an overreaction and a petty way of controlling their level of involvement.

What’s Really Important

In situations like these, it can be easy to lose focus on what’s really important – the interests of the child. We think that clear communication and empathy is the best place to start. If the stepmother notices that the child’s mother is particularly sensitive about her making unilateral decisions, big or small, that affect the child, then perhaps she should take a step back for now. We also can’t help but feel that the child’s father should be a better mediator in these kinds of situations, asking permission from his ex rather than her hearing it from the child.

As for the mother, it should be reassuring to know that her child has someone in their life who cares enough about them to make their festive season as magical as possible.

Who do you think is in the right here? Have you experienced a complicated co-parenting situation? Tell us in the comments!

  • When you have children and you split then you need to understand that at some point the odds are high that other partners will move into the picture. No matter what you and your partner are connected via the children for life so its best if you can work together to raise the children and when they move new partners into their lives it will work to everyones advantage if you can all at least be civil. Communicate what you want without being spiteful or bitchy and work together.


  • Why don’t people ever communicate properly.

    If the mother of the child wanted to do the santa photos thats something she could have gone and done already and spoken to the father of the child about doing it.

    But the father of the child should have mentioned about taking the little girl to get santa photos that way they could discuss how many copies they wanted to get so that they could share it with both sides of the family.

    If the step mother made the decision and took the child without asking the father or mother if it was ok, i think she would be stepping over the line. However, if the father already was involved in the decision then I think it should have been up to him to discuss it with the mother.

    You don’t have to have a complicated relationship, you need to have communication and trust and to be polite to one another otherwise it’s going to reflect on the poor child and how they see their parents.


  • Communication is the key in this situation.


  • Some prior discussion should probably have taken place, but don’t think it’s the end of the world. Bigger things than this will come up in the future and the ground rules should be set out now. I wonder if the child was happy to have her Santa photo done? If so then I think her bio mum should back off a bit.


  • I think that’s wrong….


  • Understanding is the key to any relationship.


  • Like it or not the step mum is in the child’s life and will be wanting to do things with the girl to build a relationship. She took her to get a photo with Santa at a store not across the border! The mum can also take her daughter to get a picture with Santa at any time. Nothing says you can’t have more than one


  • I think the stepmom did the wrong thing by taking the child for the photo without the Father being there and not asking the Mom first. It’s not fair on the children who are getting pulled between the two parents either


  • I think she should have just checked first, just in case the mother had a day planned to get it done.


  • I’m fortunate not to be in a situation like this but can appreciate the threat and stress involved. However, communication is always key and keeping the children top of mind.


  • If the husband was with them it wouldn’t be a problem but I can understand why she got upset for this new woman taking her daughter to see Santa.


  • In all honesty it’s just a Santa photo. Did it really hurt anyone? No. Is the daughter scarred for life? No. In fact it was actually a nice thing she did. Bio mother needs to get over it. There are more important things to worry over.


  • Communication is a key in any of those situations


  • There needs to be better communication between the child’s parents and the stepmum shouldn’t be getting in the middle of it


  • They probably should of disused it together but I n saying that there is nothing stopping the mother getting her Santa photos why can’t they both do it there is nothing wrong with that communication so Important when co parenting and getting along with each other for the children involved


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