Poly & Parents

Flowerchild

New member
This is a question for any polys out there who are also parents, mothers and fathers.

You and your partner have SOs. Your children are comfortable with the SOs in one or both of your absence. Is this A) Relieving (My children are safe when I'm gone, are comfortable with this other person caring for them) or B) Threatening (Oh, God, my children are replacing me with a new mother/father). Assuming the SO in question has made no indication of wanting to replace, but is merely trying to be accommodating to your needs.

Please only respond if you are actually a parent. Do not have to have experienced this personally. And please be honest.
 

Flear

New member
as our little one is 10mo, i'm not as concerned about this as my lady is.

she is adamant that she is little ones mom and no one else is to ever have that title for him. or to be acting as little ones mom.

as little one is only 10mo. he's a little young

as my lady has other b/f's currently, her concern has been to have them recognize and get along with little one, but that's it.

everything sounds reasonable to me.
 

Maleficent

New member
A!

I have never and would never leave my children with anyone I feel threatened by. If I'm not comfortable with them then they don't come near my kids period. The kids safety and well being always come first. Without question.
 

Vixtoria

New member
I'd have to with A as well. It hasn't happened as of yet, but my kiddos are all tween - teen aged and while they know of my OSO haven't had a chance to meet him in person. It's long distance but they have gotten their little faces in while skyping and have texted and all of that with him. There's few people I could see myself leaving my kids with but I think at this point and at this age they are well aware of who are parents and who are adults to respect and listen to when in charge. Not to mention my OSO is so NOT interested in taking on a father role at all. Supplemental or otherwise.
 

Atlantis

Active member
My kids are 4 and 6.
My ex has/had an SO, they are breaking up. She is a licensed daycare worker. I have never met her. But I know he leaves the kids with her sometimes.
A) I am relieved that they like her.
B) Relieved there is another adult in the home ( he drinks ).
C) Not threatened, they have a mum, me, other positive role model adults are a good thing.
 

Flowerchild

New member
Thanks

Thank you for the replies.

Maleficent, of course I would not want anyone leaving their children with someone that risked their security. My question was, if the children's safety is not an issue, if the children like and are comfortable with the children, would that in ITSELF threaten your role as their mother? Or would you be happy that the children had found someone who could take care of them in your absence. I am referring to irrational fear, not real.

Atlantis, thank you. I am hoping to find more people out there like you.

Flear, while your opinion is valid, I'm not really looking for people to speak for others. It would be more helpful to me if YOU had ever felt threatened (i.e. replaced) as a father figure by your wife's partners. Say, for example, if you found out the children had had a GREAT day with one of those partners....or perhaps he'd given them a birthday present that they loved.

It is not unheard of (nor unreasonable!) for a partner in that case to get jealous, not of their partner, but of their metamour.

I am very much interested in how people have handled that particular jealousy.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
I'm confused. You say "Do not have to have experienced this personally" but then you say you're "not really looking for people to speak for others" and are "interested in how people have handled that particular jealousy". Which is it? I'm a parent, but my husband has never had a serious partner so I've never had an opportunity to discover if I would be jealous or not. My boyfriend and I have an explicit agreement NOT to co-parent each others' kids. As far as I know my husband is not threatened by/jealous of my kids liking my boyfriend, and as far as I know my boyfriend's ex (mother of his kids) is not threatened by/jealous of me as far as interactions with her kids go.

Since I haven't experienced this myself, speaking for others is about all I can do.
 

Delphinius

New member
if you're a good parent....

....no one will ever replace you in your children's eyes as mom & dad.... if you are indeed a caring parent the answer to your question is A.

My 'birth' children know they are loved and cared for by our OSO's, they know they have two more adults they can count on and will be always be there for them and if they were younger, we'd leave them with either of the OSOs in a heartbeat, knowing they'd be loved and safe and happy.

Seems some families have kids call OSOs "uncle" or "aunt", some their given name or a made up one (Ashton Kutcher was MOD to Demi's kids - 'my other dad'). Kids are amazingly resilient and open to love in all the forms. They just want to be loved, so to them the more that love them the better but no one "replaces" their parents. Like poly people its not a zero sum bit of love, they can love more than one adult as a parent and they flourish with all the extra love and attention.

Maybe try to not be threatened but see it as a benefit, birth parents will always be special but so can OSO's, right?

In the case of my 'step' children (in label only, these boys ARE my boys, my heart every bit as much as my 'birth' children) their mother was NOT a good, caring, responsible mother. She's an alcoholic and could have some undiagnosed mental issues as well and made lots of really lousy decisions; she essentially abdicated her maternal duties in search of selfish ones. So, I'm the first healthy mother figure they've ever known: I love them, praise them, hold them when they're hurt and I also get them to do chores & brush their teeth & eat vegetables they've never had to or tried before....

They love & respect me like a mother because I treat them like a mother so yes I've essentially "replaced" their mother. Even with all that, our most fervent wish is that their 'birth' mother will get the help she needs, heal and eventually begin to repair her relationship with the boys. We've made it very clear to the boys, their mother loves them she's just not making good decisions right now so we're also protecting them. They needed a mother and I love them, so I stepped up willing and wanting to. But I will always be "Delph" and their mother will always be their mother and hopefully she'll get her shit together & choose to behave like one again in the future; we've left that door WIDE OPEN with her and the boys.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Maca and I married when my daughter was 6 and his son was 2. So our kids immediately had 3 parents when we got together. In the meantime, we've had a son and we have a daughter who is biologically the child of myself and GG.

My ex married when Spicy Pea was 8 or so. At that point, she had 4 parents legally.

BUT-from birth, Spicy Pea considered my sister her "other mom" as well.

More recently a close friend has been claimed as an adopted grandmother by my grandson too and with his choice, Spicy has claimed her as a third mom.

I am not at all threatened by metamours being good parental figures for my children. In fact, I'm totally ok with my kids even calling them mom also. The fact is-the kids who were born of me are mine because they love me and I love them. The kids who have claimed me (like my Godson) are mine because they love me and I love them.

Sour Pea is our youngest. She calls Maca daddy and GG "My GG". Her biology is NOT a secret in our home, family or groups of friends. SHe's well aware of the biology. It's just how the names fell together (because she heard the other kids call GG uncle and she knew he wasn't her uncle).

Each child lays a claim to each of the adults in our circle in their own personal way.
Sweet Pea tends to be more possessive about who he calls mom or dad. He never ever refers to anyone else that way. But-he adopts "aunts" and "uncles" easily.

I think that there is MUCH to be said about understanding that love and commitment are the keys to a relationship and regardless if it is child to parent or lover to lover-pet names aren't ever going to mean one person has replaced another.
 

Flowerchild

New member
Hope this helps.

I'm confused. You say "Do not have to have experienced this personally" but then you say you're "not really looking for people to speak for others" and are "interested in how people have handled that particular jealousy". Which is it?

Sorry for the ambiguity. What I meant was, I'm looking for mothers or fathers who have experienced this. I don't really want opinions on how your spouse might feel. However, if you are in a situation where you feel you might have a partner's SO become more involved, well, if you thought about it, what are your gut feelings? Surely, you must have thought about this....
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
FYI-Maca will likely never log in and answer this-he is way too busy.
And, I know you don't care for spouses answering for spouses-but

I thought I would mention. He was nervous about it.
But it has proven itself absolutely arbitrary for us.

GG on the otherhand is like me-maybe because he was only 17 when we met and he spent all of his growing up and maturing years from then to early 30s watching how I raised my kids.

He claims my oldest as his (no biology there). Our youngest is his-but he has never pressed for her to call him daddy. He said it was too confusing and that was cruel-he promoted her calling Maca daddy.

He's VERY VERY close with all of the kids.

Our wills (all 3) are written to give custody to whichever of us three is alive in the case of a death. We run everything in our lives as a trio (except sex) and that totally includes the raising of the children.
 

Flowerchild

New member
For further clarity

I would appreciate any PMs regarding this, but do not feel comfortable publicly talking about my situation. But that would clear up any confusion, probably.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Flower-I will be on and offline for the next two weeks. But you are MORE than welcome to pm me ANY questions about how we handle this stuff and what makes it easier etc.
 

Maleficent

New member
To clarify: in our triad we are equal as parents. I love my wife's kids as much as I love my biological kids. We are a solid unit when it comes to the children and I am not the least bit threatened by my wife's relationship with my bio-children. She feels the same about me and my husband.
 

sparklepop

New member
Hi Flower :)

I'm a poly parent - I live with my GF and her husband, who have a four year old daughter (I'll call her Baby). She is now considered by all of us as my daughter too. I have been a part of their family for just over two years... so I can speak both as the 'other partner' coming in as a new parent - and as the existing parent dealing with 'other partners' coming into the mix.

From the side of being the 'other partner/parent' first....

Yes, absolutely. Both my GF and her husband have had moments of feeling threatened (even though they have always been hugely encouraging of the relationship between myself and Baby). Moreso Hubby, as he isn't in a romantic relationship with me. Baby is like my best friend - we adore each other. As soon as we met, I was a novelty to her. She often prefers to sit by me in restaurants, hold my hand when we're out, etc. We are very close. This could be hard at times for GF and hubby (understandably!!!). Of course this would upset them.

From *my* side, as the 'new parent/partner' (I'm giving this first, to give you food for thought), I have been eternally grateful for their approach to this. To feel their trust... their admiration... their appreciation for everything I do with and for Baby... it's honestly the most beautiful thing. I know, and they know, that I really do enrich her life. Not only does she have an extra person to love and to be loved by; but there are tangible benefits to her little life - and to GF and hubby's lives. They have an extra babysitter who they trust ~grins~. They have someone to give an extra hand with clothing her, feeding her, entertaining her, applying bandaids, dealing with tantrums. There are also unique things that I bring to her life, simply because of my own experiences and personality, and it makes me feel absolutely wonderful that GF and Hubby appreciate this.

However, still from the perspective of *me* as the 'new partner'. I've never, ever wanted, or dreamed of 'replacing' GF and Hubby as Baby's parents. They each bring countless wonderful and unique things to Baby's life that I couldn't bring so effectively. If we are good parents, nobody can break that bond. We also all can't be everything - I can't simultaneously be playful older sister, Auntie, Mother, Father, band member, fashion police, authoritarian, chef, etc. I can be a little of all of those things -but I excel in some areas and am complete shit in others. What does work is when the three of us put our skills together. GF is great with discipline and Baby respects that. I'm great with talking to Baby and helping her to express herself. Hubby is great with education and spoiling her ;)

So, this brings me to the point worth considering. When we are threatened, it can mean that we feel a person is doing something 'better' than we are. Absolutely, it's usually to do with kissing or sex, on these forums. But of course it applies to parents too. I thought I was a rocking first-time parent over the past two years, until my platonic friend came on holiday with us. Pffft.... Baby totally shirked me! It was all about him! He was an absolute natural. She completely adored him. Now... because he is my friend, I didn't think much of it except "sniff, sniff, she's not holding my hand". If he'd been my GF's secondary, I probably would have been very, very uncomfortable.

What does that tell me? It tells me that I not only fear being replaced as a parent; but replaced as a family member. That's my shit to work on :)

Alright, so, moving onto *my* perspective as the existing parent.

We don't currently introduce Baby to our secondaries, for two main reasons. The first is that we are quite fickle wenches - our secondaries don't last long. We don't want her to become attached to them and then have them disappear on her, time and time again. The second reason is that we are protective - and yes, in turn, possessive - over Baby and the family unit in general. The model we have signed up to is that love and all that is great; but in terms of Baby and co-habiting, we'd like to continue as a V - myself, my GF, her husband. We don't want to move other people in or have the conflicting opinions of a whole group of people raising her.

Some of this, I feel, is logical. I do think children need stability and protection. But of course variety is great - of course a colourful and rich childhood, meeting many different people and losing many different people, could actually be extremely productive for her development.

Ultimately, to give you advice: there is nothing wrong with admitting that you feel threatened about other partners bonding with your child. There is also nothing wrong with adopting whatever model of relationship and parenting suits you. Where you have conflict is if you decide it's totally cool to have people over at your house, or even move in with you - but expect them not to bond with your child. It either has to be separate, or it has to be encouraged.

So, how can you work on your feelings of replacement, if you decide to involve other partners in your child's life? Essentially, think of the benefits to your child and you will find peace. Think of their happy little face. Then, think about what this other person is doing that you might not be doing and what you could learn from this. Do you recognise that you could communicate more with your child? That you could play with them more? Anything at all that you can see you could make an effort to do better? Or, is it simply the novelty of this new person? Their natural ability with children? Finally, what do you see that you do well, with your child? What do you already provide for them that you know they need and appreciate? All of these things will hopefully help you to feel more at ease.
 

london

Banned
You and your partner have SOs. Your children are comfortable with the SOs in one or both of your absence. Is this A) Relieving (My children are safe when I'm gone, are comfortable with this other person caring for them) or B) Threatening (Oh, God, my children are replacing me with a new mother/father). Assuming the SO in question has made no indication of wanting to replace, but is merely trying to be accommodating to your needs.

Ok, my child had a step parent (K) for two years. I can't see how that is much different from an ongoing poly relationship, if anything, it's "worse" because the child(ren) only see their parents being affectionate with their new partners. I have absolutely never felt that K was trying to replace me. If anything, I did my best to make sure she felt included and wanted. How could she replace me? I'm his mum and we have a warm, loving, close relationship. If, for some reason, I hadn't been a very good mother to him, then maybe I'd worry that she will get in there before I have a chance to salvage things, but that isn't the case so it was never, and wouldn't ever be a threat to me. My son was conceived in a monogamous relationship, but my attitude would be no different in a polyamorous relationship. A metamour could be absolutely no threat to the relationship between a parent and child. Anyone that intends (notice I said intends, because nobody actually could be one) to be a threat isn't suitable to be part of my family.
 

Flowerchild

New member
Interesting

How could she replace me? I'm his mum and we have a warm, loving, close relationship. If, for some reason, I hadn't been a very good mother to him, then maybe I'd worry

Hmmmm, the implication here is that if a parent WERE feeling threatened that a new partner was replacing them.....then it's because s/he secretly believes that they were not properly loving with the children, that the children would have some unfilled need that this other person could potentially fulfill. Again, this assumes the new partner made NO indication that was their goal (in that case, the fears would be justified by an entirely separate factor).
 

Flowerchild

New member
Additionally

London,

While I have no doubts that you are a good mother to your children, I must say I disagree with your statement that nobody could replace the biological mother or father. Parents can, unfortunately, be guilty of taking their children for granted, and it is possible to permanently damage your relationship with your own children. I do not like saying so, but children are absolutely capable of feeling betrayed/unwanted/etc. by a parent.....and disassociating themselves from said parent.

And....if another adult figure in their lives fills the void, yes, they may very well accept that new person as their parent. Will the child ever think of the new partner as their "mother" or "father"? Likely not, but good chance they'll let them fill that role.

I guess my cautioning is, I'm very glad you have a good relationship with your children, but I'd warn new parents entering poly that, hey, you do this poorly enough, you can seriously f* up your relationship with your partner, your friends, and, yes, even your children.
 

london

Banned
Hmmmm, the implication here is that if a parent WERE feeling threatened that a new partner was replacing them.....then it's because s/he secretly believes that they were not properly loving with the children, that the children would have some unfilled need that this other person could potentially fulfill. Again, this assumes the new partner made NO indication that was their goal (in that case, the fears would be justified by an entirely separate factor).

Nope. My assumption is that the vast, vast majority of parents are good parents and consequently have nothing *real* to feel threatened about by a new partner (poly or otherwise). However, if someone is generally feeling low, they might feel like they are a bit of a shit parent even though they aren't. Just because of their general state of mind. Because they feel like a bit of a shit parent (again, even though they aren't) this might lead them to believe that their child(ren) has/have "unfulfilled needs" that "this other person could potentially fulfill".

London,

While I have no doubts that you are a good mother to your children, I must say I disagree with your statement that nobody could replace the biological mother or father. Parents can, unfortunately, be guilty of taking their children for granted, and it is possible to permanently damage your relationship with your own children. I do not like saying so, but children are absolutely capable of feeling betrayed/unwanted/etc. by a parent.....and disassociating themselves from said parent.

And....if another adult figure in their lives fills the void, yes, they may very well accept that new person as their parent. Will the child ever think of the new partner as their "mother" or "father"? Likely not, but good chance they'll let them fill that role.

I guess my cautioning is, I'm very glad you have a good relationship with your children, but I'd warn new parents entering poly that, hey, you do this poorly enough, you can seriously f* up your relationship with your partner, your friends, and, yes, even your children.

Ok, in some of this, you more or less agree with me: if you fuck up with your kids, they will seek parental type relationships with other people to replace the one they should have had with you. I went further by saying that even if you quite wrongly believe that you have fucked up, you might feel that you are at risk of being replaced and therefore be very insecure about allowing others who could potentially fulfill the role you feel you have not. I'll add here that this, itself, can be "fucking up", and drive children towards the seemingly more stable "other person".

What you say at the end is something I wholeheartedly agree with, and it's the reason why my son has never met anyone I have dated thus far. The reason why he hasn't met them is because I didn't see them still being around in five years. I'd love to introduce a partner to my son one day, and share all those bits of my life with them, but it can wait. I have raised my son with the idea that cheating means breaking an agreement, and that if adults agree to it, more than two people can be in a relationship. There are no limits, as long as everyone agrees. I think it's far better to introduce these ideas to children as general concepts, if you can help it, rather than having them experience a situation right off the bat.
 
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