December 6, 2019


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 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 the a co-parenting relationship says. 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.

Have you experienced a complicated co-parenting situation? Tell us in the comments!


  • They may have just been shopping and Santa happened to be there. That has happened to me befreo.


  • it is a tough situation


  • I guess it’s not easy to say unless you’re in this situation, but it should be about what’s best for the kids. I do understand though, it’s easy for me where I sit to make comment.


  • It is not easy. But over a photo with Santa, seriously?


  • Its a tricky situation to co-parent. Not for the new partner to make this decision though!!


  • I am married so no issues with needing to do something like this but I don’t think any harm was done? If the child wanted a photo its nice that it got one.


  • It’s very difficult to know what to do when you are in this situation. Maybe the Dad should have asked his ex if it would be okay. Who knows, the child may have asked to have a photo done with Santa and she wouldn’t have wanted to disappoint. It’s always the child that gets pulled in both directions and they would be having a tough time as it is.


  • I believe that this STEP Mother acted correctly and wisely she took the child to see Santa and have a photo. No harm there! Her Mother can do the same and the child get a second visit. many kids love seeing and talking to Santa. They need a bit of fantasy and Christmas is all about love and families coming together. The Mum better change her attitude as kids grow up into adults real quick and they do remember if there was animosity between parents. Let kids be kids and parents be nice!


  • oh that must be hard. i dont know anyone who’s co-parenting..


  • The term is step MOTHER while the child is in the care of the father his new partner is playing the role of a parent. Provided nothing harmful is going on taking the child on outings is perfectly acceptable and the mother needs to respect this and get used to it.


  • How sad to fight over this. Poor child is between 2 camps.


  • Sorry but the dad is also a parent he is intilted to take his kids for Santa as well imagine how he feels When their mother takes kids for Santa photos
    There is nothing wrong with the mother taking them again for photos


  • I never got experience like this.


  • I probably would have been upset to but they could both take kids to Santa


  • Obviously the child was happy about this otherwise there would have been tears in the Santa photo. So long as the child is happy, let sleeping dogs lie, I say.


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