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December 15, 2020

79 Comments

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.”

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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!

  • 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.

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  • I think that’s wrong….

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  • Understanding is the key to any relationship.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Communication is a key in any of those situations

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

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  • 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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  • They probably should have discussed it first.
    It definitely would be hard after a separation. Especially at the start where each person is trying to enforce their dominance.
    They should let the child choose who she would want to have taken her to get her photo worth Santa.

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  • I like the reasoning mentioned above, that loss of control can really send people into a tail spin so I hope they can work it out


    • Yes, loss of control can really send people into a tail spin indeed !

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  • It is hard when parents have different views. The parents need to work it out in a positive way so the kids don’t bear the pain

    Reply

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