I came across this story in the online UK Daily Mail last week and it really intrigued me. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2544201/My-warning-second-wives-Hell-dote-stepdaughters-itll-drive-wild-jealousy.html
The author of the article is author Anna Pasternak (descendent of the great Boris, for anyone interested). If you don’t want to read it, the upshot is the difficulties in developing a relationship with step-children, specifically, her husband’s daughters from his first marriage. His acceptance of fairly infantile behaviour and his attitude towards them as if they were some kind of fairy princesses, is my reading of it. Along with their casting her as the evil step-mother who broke up their parents’ marriage (which may or may not have been the case).
Now, leaving aside the fact that she seems like a truly appalling woman, the aspect of the story that interested me most was to do with Thank You notes. As we all know from our e-hell handbook, you should always write a thank you note after a visit. Hand on my heart, though, I don’t. I much prefer to give my thanks in person with a gift to my host(ess) – wine, food, a potted plant or a gift specifically from my region of the country. Maybe that’s a cultural thing. I don’t think Australians really do the Thank You note business – maybe it seems a bit pretentious or stuffy to most people. You say ‘Thank You’ in person and leave it at that. But I digress.
Ms Pasternak writes of her rage at his daughters never writing her a Thank You note after a visit. I’d be interested in other e-hellion’s views on this. Is it at all reasonable to ask children (admittedly in their late teens / early twenties) to write their step-mother a Thank You note after a visit to their own father’s house? Shouldn’t they be welcomed as members of the family rather than guests?
I wouldn’t dream of accepting or expecting a Thank You note from a close family member for any kind of visit. I’m more than happy with a kiss on the cheek, a hug and a ‘Thanks for having us’, although a little something in the way of a loaded dishwasher (e.g. when my sister and her horde come for dinner), or a small gift from relatives / friends staying for several days never goes astray.
What do others think? 0128-14
I’m with you. When family stays for a visit, I’m more than happy with hugs, “I love yous”, help with dishes and making the bed. Expecting a written thank you note would be quite legalistic. With that kind of draconian formality, no wonder her stepdaughters aren’t fuzzy warm about her.