Becoming a mother-in-law before being a mother: Some women take on a parenting role before they have tasted the joys of motherhood. In a relationship with a man who is already a dad, they are confronted with the daily life of a “mother-in-law,” the days when children are on duty at their father’s house. What relationships to establish with the children of his companion, when you have not had the experience of being a mother? Decryption with Catherine Audibert, author of “Oedipus and Narcissus in a recomposed family.”
How to become a mother-in-law before being a mother?
At the hour of sleeping with her lover, Jessica has to get up to prepare breakfast for the children of her new darling. Like her, many young women are in a couple with a man already a dad. They often give up the comfort of living like a couple “without children” even though they have not yet experienced motherhood. In practice, they live in a blended family and have to be accepted by children. Not always simple.
Being a new companion and mother-in-law at the same time
“I am the” mother-in-law,” as they say, of a little boy of 2 years and a half. My relationship with him is going very well; he is adorable. I quickly found my place by keeping a role a little fun: I tell him stories, we cook together. What was difficult to do is to realize that even if he likes me, when he is sad, he rejects me and claims his father, “testifies Emilie, 26 years old. For the specialist Catherine Audibert, everything is a matter of patience. The trio formed by the new partner, the child, and the father, must find its rhythm of cruising to become a family reconstituted in its right. It is not as easy as it sounds. “The recomposition of a family often creates problems in the couple and between the step-parent and the child. Even if the new companion does all she can to make it happen, she is confronted with the reality that, in most cases, is very different from what she had imagined. Everything will depend on what she has experienced in her childhood, with her parents. If she has suffered from an authoritarian father or a complicated divorce, the pains of the past will be revived by the new family configuration, especially with the children of her companion, “says the psychotherapist.
Finding your place in the blended family
One question mainly challenges these women: what role should they have with their companion’s child? “Above all, you have to be patient to establish a stable relationship with the child of the other. One should not brutally impose a way of educating, nor be in perpetual conflict. A tip: everyone has to take his time to get tame. It should not be forgotten that the children already have an experience, they received an education from their mother and father before the separation. The new mother-in-law will have to deal with this reality and habits already installed. Another important thing: everything will depend on what this woman represents in the mind of the child. It must not be forgotten that it takes a new place in the heart of their father. How was the divorce, Is she the “responsible”? The family balance that the mother-in-law seeks to establish will also depend on the role she has had, or not, in the separation of the child’s parents, “the specialist explains. Change of house, rhythm, bed … the child sometimes finds it difficult to live differently from before divorce. Accepting to come to his father, to discover that he has a new “darling,” it is not simple for a child. This may take time. Sometimes even things go wrong, for example, when the mother-in-law asks to do something to the child, the child can answer him dryly “that she is not his mother.” The couple, at that moment, must be supportive and coherent in their position. “An appropriate answer is to explain to the children that indeed it is not their mother, But that it is an adult referent who lives with their father and who forms a new couple. The father and his new companion must answer with the same voice to the children. It is also necessary for the sequel if they ever have a child together. All children must receive the same education, children from the former union, and children from the new union, “observes the specialist.
For the woman who is not yet a mother, what does it change?
Young women who choose a family life when they have not yet had a child will experience a very different sentimental experience from their girlfriends as a childless couple. “A woman who comes into the life of a man, often older, having had children before, first renounces being the first female to make him a child. She will not live the “honeymoon” of freshly formed couples, thinking only of them. The man, meanwhile, has just separated and will have in mind everything that touches the children near or far. He is not in a 100% love relationship, “says Catherine Audibert. Some women may feel isolated from their companion’s main concerns. “When these women, who have not known maternity, choose a man who is already a father, It is, in fact, the paternal figure that seduces them. Often, in my psychoanalytic experience, I find that these fathers-companions are “better” than the father they had in their childhood. They see in him protective qualities that they appreciate, that they seek for themselves. It is the “ideal” man, as it were, a potentially “perfect” man-father for the future children they will have together, “says the shrink. Many of these women think, indeed, of the day when they will want to have a child with their companion. A mother testifies to this delicate feeling: “Taking care of her children gives me desperate to have my babies, except that my spouse is not yet ready to start again. I also have many questions about how his children will accept it When they are bigger. Instinctively, I tend to think that the closer the children are, the better it will happen in a recomposed sibling. I am afraid that this new baby is not accepted by his big brothers since they will have a big gap. It is not for tomorrow, but I confess that it disrupts me, “testifies Aurelie, 27 years old woman, in couple with a man and father of two children.
Accept that your companion already has a family
For other women, it is the current family life that can be worrying for the future project of the couple. “What bothers me is that my man, in the end, will have two families in fact. Since he was married, he has already experienced the pregnancy of another woman; he knows perfectly well to look after a child. So, I feel a little lonely when you want to make a baby. I am afraid of being compared, of doing worse than he or his ex-wife. Moreover, above all, selfishly, I would have preferred to build our family to 3. I sometimes feel like his son is like an intruder between us. There are difficulties related to custody, alimony; I did not think I would live it all! “, Testifies Stephanie, 31, in a couple with a man, dad of a little boy. There are, however, advantages, according to the psychotherapist. When the mother-in-law becomes a mother in her turn, she will welcome her children more serenely, into a family already formed. She will have lived with young children and acquired a maternal experience. The only fear of these women would be not to live up to it. Just like those who become mothers for the first time.