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Question
Posted by: Confused | 2011/08/11

Instant step mother

Tragedy struck my parnter yesterday. Firstly we have been living together for 7 months, he has a 7 yr old that lives withher mom 5 hours drive away. Mom bought a new car three weeks ago, yesterday she went to get the dauhghter from school, on the way home, the car rolled, mom didn''t make it and the daughter is in icu, she will pull through. She will come and live with us when she comes out the hospital. I have a 2 bedroom hom that I bought for me and my daughter, now we are an instant family of 4. Need a new home, get her school organised. My partner is unemployed, hoping for him to start his own business soon. I have been carring us for the last 3 months, my salary can''t afford to feed a family of 4. But my main concern is, how do I step in as mother to a 7 year old emotionally and metally to get her through her heart ache of losing her mother, that her whole world has been turned upside down. I am scared I will neglect my own daughters needs to fofull his daughters needs. I am scared I make a mess of things to come. I am a single mom, trying to do the best for my own daughter, now I have to do it for two daughters, what if I can''t cope, what if I mess up there lifes and the rebel against me. I have so many fears going through my mind at this moment. I am scared I fail my own daughter and my step daughter. I am scared I fail my man, and myself. I am just plain scared and not sure I can deal with the future.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

What you are aiming at doing is highly admirable. And there's no easy recipe to follow, because almost every relevan factor is highly individual - the child's personality, yours and your partner's. Follow your heart, and be prepared to wait to understand, to recognize what the bereaved child may need when she needs it - to listen to her, and open a freedom to chat with her about this and any other concerns she may have. Maybe you can involve your own daughter, too, explaining to her what has happened, and how her advice and thoughts on how to help the other girl, will be important and valuable ; and explain in advance that she herself will always be vitally important to you, and that this other little girl will be aded to your love, but can never replace your own daughter who will be forever dear to you.
I like Caro's idea about discussing the situation with the children's schools, and seeing to what etent they can be helpful.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Caro | 2011/08/11

Hi MomConfused
What do you mean you left God? You are proof that he is in your heart because the goodness and concern that is there is Him. You may have left the human idea of religion but God id always with you.
May you find the strength you desire. Your daughter will be fine with a Mom like you and so will your step-daughter because you always put the children first. Love is so much more important than material things that money can buy. If children have all their basic needs covered in a loving home, it doesnt matter how poor the family is.

I also have a 12-year old daughter and if they''re raised properly, they love younger siblings and taking care of others especially if they themselves are made to feel special, which you obviously do.
I hope the young one gets better soon, and that she overcomes her tragic loss. You will cope with the new addition.

Reply to Caro
Posted by: Jenni | 2011/08/11

When you get home tonight, tell your daughter that she will always be your number one. She''s at a good age- she understands perfectly. It''s great that they all get along. That will help the situation. I doubt your daughter will ever resent you in anyway- as she gets older she will understand more about what you are doing, and she will respect you emmensly for it. Maybe it would be a good idea to explain your fears to her too, so she knows how you are feeling. You may have left God, but God never leaves you. :)

Reply to Jenni
Posted by: Confused | 2011/08/11

My daughter is 12 (only child as well). She has met her " step"  sister as she calls her. She came to visit us a few times, cries sometimes to leave, because the two of them got on so well. I did speak to my daughter about what has happened and what is going to happen, but i never told her that she will always be my number one. I love my duahgter with my life. I am just scared this situation might push her away from me. My daughter and boyfriend get on very well, she kisses him good night and when we do talk she said he is her " step"  dad, becasue she doesn''t like her own dad becasue as she states " her treats me like a slave when I am visiting him" . I have never prayed like I did since yesterday (even though I have left God), I just needed Him so much, for His strength the get her well, for the strength of her dad to stay strong, for the strength of my daughter to never let go and for my own strength to stay well, strong and never let go. but no matter what at this stage I have fear all over me. thank you for your wise words and advise. I will keep you posted as time goes by as I am sure I am going to need you guys to make me feel strong in my moments of feeling weak, failure and scared. God bless you all.

Reply to Confused
Posted by: Jenni | 2011/08/11

Shame that poor little girl. First, I would suggest having a big heart to heart with your daughter. But first, how she feel about your boyfriend? Has she met his daughter? Do they get along? A child at any age understands that a parent has died if you explain it to them, and they do understand the seriousness of the situation (I know this from experience). If you explain nicely to your daughter about what happened to your boyfriend’ s daughter, explain that now that her mother is gone, she will be living with you guys. Explain that she is going to need a lot of attention because of the loss, to help her through. AND explain that just because the daughter is coming to live with you and she will be getting a lot of attention, it doesn’ t mean that your love for your daughter is any less. I know that, once your daughter understands the situation, she will be accepting to the new addition to the family. In fact, she may look forward to having a sister. Again, I know this from experience, from deaths in my family that left my cousin without parents. It is a very tragic story, and unfortunately your boyfriends daughter is old enough to remember this for the rest of her life, she may act out later in life, but it will be through no fault of your own. I agree with Caro- the school that your daughter is at should allow for exemption from school fees, seeing that her father is unemployed and her mother has died. They should be understanding. With regards to how you are going to cope financially, can your partner not get a temporary job in the mean time, just to help make ends meet until his business starts? Cashier, shop assistant, etc- just something to help bring a little extra income into the household. There will be hospital bills as well- did the mother have a life insurance plan? That could go a long way in helping paying off the hospital bills, new expenses, etc. There are some very economical meals you can make- they may not be the tastiest but it will do. Toasted sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, anything with chicken (chicken seems cheap these days), papa, pasta’ s... Make tinned food your friend- beans are very good for you (and nice on toast), mixed veggies, sweetcorn, sprouts, etc. When we were struggling we lived off potatoe wedges and toasted sandwiches. Change where you shop, and keep your eye for specials (you can actually save a bit if you buy items on special). You will be able to deal with the situation and you will be able to cope. I doubt your boyfriend will feel like you have failed him, if anything he will be in awe and he will be appreciative of what you are doing. And you won’ t fail yourself or your daughter, your maternal instincts will kick in and you will be able to handle the future. Good luck, and please keep us posted.

Reply to Jenni
Posted by: Caro | 2011/08/11

You have to be commended for taking so much responsibility and putting the children first. How old is your daughter? Can you sit down and talk to her about the changes which will soon take place in the family? Find out how she feels. talk to your partner about what the two of you will do to improve things financially and emotionally. Go to your daughters'' schools and explain the family situation and ask them for a rebate on schoolfees until your partner finds a job. Do not get into new debt. Your partner can offer his services at the school even on a voluntary basis as sports coach and be involved in the kids lives.
Vegetarian meals are cheaper - lentils and beans - and healthier. If your partner does not find work soon or will be working from home, he can do the cooking and cleaning to ease the burden. You will have to set down the rules and have a game plan.
You will do better than most people who really dont care about the consequences because you show so much caring.

Reply to Caro
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/08/11

What you are aiming at doing is highly admirable. And there's no easy recipe to follow, because almost every relevan factor is highly individual - the child's personality, yours and your partner's. Follow your heart, and be prepared to wait to understand, to recognize what the bereaved child may need when she needs it - to listen to her, and open a freedom to chat with her about this and any other concerns she may have. Maybe you can involve your own daughter, too, explaining to her what has happened, and how her advice and thoughts on how to help the other girl, will be important and valuable ; and explain in advance that she herself will always be vitally important to you, and that this other little girl will be aded to your love, but can never replace your own daughter who will be forever dear to you.
I like Caro's idea about discussing the situation with the children's schools, and seeing to what etent they can be helpful.

Reply to cybershrink

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