Thank You Notes To The Stepmom

by admin on February 20, 2014

I came across this story in the online UK Daily Mail last week and it really intrigued me.

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.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria February 20, 2014 at 3:20 am

I think thank you notes are for situations where you don’t thank the giver in person. So sending a thank you note for having stayed over at a family members house would never even cross my mind. I’d bring a hostess gift, I’d thank them in person, and that would be it.


Kate February 20, 2014 at 4:45 am

Writing a thank you note when its half your fathers home? Uh, no. It sounds like this woman is bent on creating a rift in this family. And how about the step mom who thinks that it’s rude that her step child just ‘waltzes’ into the kitchen to have a snack? Geez, these people clearly do not want united families.


Another Sarah February 20, 2014 at 4:55 am

Just as an FYI, the Daily Mail is notorious for putting up these sorts of ridiculous articles just to drive traffic to their site (see the Samantha Brick “I’m so beautiful all other women hate me” fiasco from last year/year before) – that’s where all the “he’s a left leaning liberal so he doesn’t tidy up or care about education” spiel in the article comes from. It’s like a child deciding that negative attention is better than no attention.

On the question, I think the writer needs to consider how far she’s willing to take the analogy – should she be writing thank you notes to her sister-in-law if she stays the night? Her mother-in-law? All connections by marriage, just like step children. But of course you don’t because those people are family, you might thank them in person, but you wouldn’t write a note.
On top of all that, she hasn’t mentioned custody – her father could very well have joint custody of his daughter (the one who’s willing to visit) in which case it is her home whether she lives there part of the time or not.


Melnick February 20, 2014 at 5:50 am

Wow. I actually felt ill when I read this. Really? No acknowledgement that many of the issues that they have actually came about because of the way they entered into the relationship? How naive! And I can’t give her any credit points for caring more about the level of education of the kids than their happiness. No relationship that starts so deceptively can ever be truly blessed. She put herself into someone else’s family as a destructive force when she had absolutely no business being there – absolutely no empathy for being paranoid about the ex-wife. There are massive consequences for putting yourself before a family. How revolting to complain that the relationship wasn’t the priority when the kids had just had their world torn apart! And thank you notes to her? Really? What exactly did she wish to be thanked for? She strikes me as a very selfish, self-serving woman. No wonder her husband’s kids have absolutely no desire to meet her!


KarenK February 20, 2014 at 6:57 am

All the other baggage aside, that’s the one thing that stood out. Why should a daughter write a thank-you note for staying in her own father’s house? Seems like it’s one more way to put up a wall between the wife and stepdaughter, although to be honest, there appear to be plenty of walls there already.


DGS February 20, 2014 at 8:09 am

From a quick Google search, it seems that the woman is at best, a vain and shallow publicity hound and at worst, a modern-day Cruella. I wouldn’t give too much credence to her alleged insults at the hands of her stepdaughters but I will say that a thank-you note seems a tad stuffy for family. Verbal thanks, hugs and flowers or rning an errand or making a special meal seem more of ab intimate way to thank a family member.


siamesecat 2965 February 20, 2014 at 8:22 am

I agree; I frequently visit and stay with family, and my mom. I don’t send thank you notes ever. I will bring goodies for us and them, usually bagels since they are great where I’m from, and not where they live. And even though they protest, I always try and take them out for a meal…same with my mom. I’ll cook, take her out, bring delicacies, etc. and help her out with whatever she needs help with.

But I don’t think its necessary to write an actual note.


Wendy B. February 20, 2014 at 8:34 am

I’m in agreement with the admin. I am the wife of a man with four children from a previous marriage. I will confess, they all drive me nuts to varying degrees. At the same time, I try very hard to get along with them, because they were there first. This woman seems to think that she and her daughter trump his relationship with his children and, I’m sorry to say, his furtiveness is probably because of her actions/reactions to them. Expecting a thank you note only says, “You are no longer family.” Wow, way to drive an even deeper wedge.


Jinx February 20, 2014 at 8:49 am

Writing a thank you note to your father and step mother for a visit seems pretty insane. In all fairness, that was somewhat the tone of the piece.

You’re right, family typically does more intimate things (flowers, kisses, cleaning the kitchen). From what I can tell, this woman wants to distance herself from these daughters as much as possible and not have that family-level intimacy.

If her concerns were actual concerns (as opposed to grasping to whatever she could criticize), it’s the kind of thing you’d bring up as a curiosity, rather than an argument. “I notice your daughter doesn’t write thank yous, and it’s something I’m used to getting. Is this just a difference in the way she and I think, or is there something I’m doing that’s offending her… because I want her to feel welcome in our home and that we’re a big family”

(in other words, something that addresses a true concern, but doesn’t make the asker sound like a fiery insane wolverine looking to fight)

This woman is heart-breakingly insecure and she’s more motivated by that than an adherence to etiquette.


InNM February 20, 2014 at 9:17 am

I’ve never heard of expecting a thank you note after a visit save for the most formal of occasions, like a job interview. Among family, to me, a verbal thank you, a kiss and hug, a token of appreciation for an informal visit seems about right.


clairedelune February 20, 2014 at 9:29 am

She’s also appalled at the idea of children helping themselves to food in their parents’ homes, it would seem. What a treat of a stepmom.


MrsL February 20, 2014 at 10:14 am

I read this article too and was horrified at this woman’s attitude towards her step daughters. As someone who both has a stepmother and is a stepmother, this article really got to me. My stepmother is a lot like this woman; she wants to pretend that her husband was neverartied before and that he doesn’t really have any children but the one she brought with her. She’s done everything she could to push me and my brother out of our dads life. She didn’t allow him to attend my brothers wedding because she wasn’t able to attend and she didn’t want my parents there together without her. She flat out said that they wouldn’t be at my wedding if there was to be any interaction between my mom and the two of them and she threatened to leave after my parents talked to each other the night before. She’s winning sadly. She’s managed to convince my dad to have nothing to do with me because I have different political beliefs. My dad hasn’t spoken to me in over a year now.
As for myself though, I adore my step kids. We get along very well and spending time with them makes my heart happy. They’re my little friends and I want to be a part of their lives. I’m secure enough in my marriage that we can actually have dinners with their mom and her husband and there is no resentment or pettiness. This woman is just plain mean and selfish.


hakayama February 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Yup! There are step moms, and there are stepmothers (fathers too) that make “step” a truly four letter word, and give step parents a bad press.
YOUR current situation does remind me a bit of a very old movie “Divorce American Style”. It came out shortly after “Divorce Italian Style”… Both quite amusing.


Cecilia February 20, 2014 at 10:21 am

I agree with OP & Admin. Expecting her stepdaughters to write a thank-you note after a visit is ridiculous.


Mae February 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

Expecting her stepdaughter’s to write her a thank-you note after each visit seems a bit crazy to me. When my stepfather was living, I visited his and my mother’s home 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes just to stop by & say “hi, do you need anything” or Sunday dinner and never sent a thank-you note.


PrincessButtercup February 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

Do you require your own daughter to write you a thank you note when you wash her clothes? How about when you fix her a meal?
Your new daughters (and that’s how you should view them, not as your husbands kids) will never grow warm and fuzzy towards you if you keep treating them like a burden that should be kissing your feet for you being bothered by their existence.


PJ February 20, 2014 at 10:28 am

I don’t expect a thank-you note from guests in my home. Even if I did, I can’t imagine I would expect grown children to send them after a visit. It feels to me like the LW is looking for offense. She is maybe expecting the step daughters to see the home as HERs rather than THEIR FATHER’s house. I can understand this to some extent– not wanting the step daughters to think of her home as available to them at a whim, but the letter makes it clear to me that they are in no way the only ones in need of an attitude adjustment!

My views on the thank-yous are shaded by my own opinion on them: that they are overused and ‘overexpected’. I think of the written thank-you as the substitute for an in person thank you, so I don’t expect a note for any gift or hospitality when a thank-you was already offered in person. I even feel this way about showers and birthday parties. Since I know I’m in the minority, though, I’ll follow the rules of etiquette by sending thank-you notes anyway in those cases.


Ally February 20, 2014 at 10:32 am

I’ve never heard of writing a thank you note for a host. I was taught to always bring a gift or to buy dinner, or similar, but not about note-writing.

In the instance described here – I can’t imagine a thank you note for visiting their Dad’s house. Shouldn’t they view their Dad’s house as “home” or one of their homes? It seems very cold – not something you’d do as much with immediate family.


Miss-E February 20, 2014 at 10:58 am

I visit my parent’s house every other week! What a waste of paper that’d be!!


Anonymous February 20, 2014 at 10:58 am

Yes, exactly. The other part that stood out to me was the idea that it’s inappropriate for kids to help themselves to food from the fridge in their father’s home, just because it’s the stepmother’s home too. That, along with the expectation of thank you notes, reinforces the idea that kids of divorced parents are “guests” in their non-custodial parents’ home–that they have to be Invited in, and that they can be Not Invited in the future. I don’t think that that’s reasonable, no matter how old the kids are. In this case, “home rules” apply–everyone is welcome, everyone helps with the upkeep of the house as they are able to do so, and everyone respects one another. True, some of the behaviours of the father, and the stepdaughters, were inappropriate–exaggerated affection, pretending SM wasn’t there, etc., etc., but that doesn’t mean that the stepmother can turn around and treat the girls like they’re unwelcome in their father’s home. I think SM is afraid that, if her new partner’s home is also the stepdaughters’ home, at least some of the time, then that makes it not her home. Well, life doesn’t work that way–the home can (and should) belong to the whole family. Also, the “affair” part is important. It may not be entirely fair, especially if SM didn’t know that her partner was still married to the girls’ mother when they started dating, but it does mean that she’s going to have a harder time winning the girls over, because, well, their father was cheating on their mother, with her. In their minds, this woman was the reason why their parents are no longer married.


Elizabeth February 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

My Dad has owned a vacation home for decades; he married his second wife 5 years ago. I respect that his home is now her home also, but no, I wouldn’t had write and mail a thank you note after a visit. This is my Dad’s home, a home I lived in long before she lived there with him.

What I do is try to be helpful, say please and thank you, acknowledge the preparations prior to my arrival, ask if I can wash our sheets and towels, and always bring a gift of some form. I think my Dad would be hurt if I mailed a written thank you note – it seems so distant.

Perhaps this woman’s expectations are distancing her from her step-daughters. It seems her hyper-sensitivity to the 2nd wife syndrome may be a big part of the problem. And yes, I have to wonder if step-mom had something to do with the end of the first marriage – the timing doesn’t seem quite right. This also causes hurt that can’t just be ignored.


Justine February 20, 2014 at 11:20 am

After a one day visit, no I do not send a thank you. My thank you is done in person along with a hostess gift. If I get to stay overnight at their house, then yes. About a week later I find a pretty card and write out my thanks, again (because I also did it in person) for their hospitability and the money they saved me.


Silentclaw February 20, 2014 at 11:32 am

Wow, she’s . . . something. I’ve got a stepmother, and I would never dream of writing her a thank-you note after going over for dinner. Likewise, I don’t expect a formal thank-you note when I have her and my father over to my house!

I also don’t ask before opening the fridge at my helping myself to normally available food / drink in either of my parent’s houses, or putting water on for tea (another thing mentioned in the article). This is a normal part of life in my family; I’d act the same way when visiting either of my grandmothers, my aunts, or one of my sisters. I would certainly thank them (verbally) but not write a note.


Library Diva February 20, 2014 at 11:36 am

This woman sounds hideous all around. Even as an American, I’ve learned to take anything printed in “The Daily Fail” with a rather large grain of salt, so I have to wonder how much of this is even real.

Yes, thank-you notes to your father for allowing you the privilege of staying in his home over college break or a long weekend are a bit much. I’m with the OP: when I stay in someone’s home, I show appreciation in other ways. I thank them several times, I offer to help around the house, I do my best not to be an extra burden, and I usually come bearing some sort of host/hostess gift. I think thank-you notes for hospitality come into play more when people have you over for dinner or things like that.

I also loved the bit about her friend who hated to see her stepdaughters “rummage” through her precious fridge…how she started making the bed every day for no other reason than his ex-wife didn’t bother…how she felt like a dirty secret when he said “I’m in the car” instead of “We’re in the car…” oh yeah and this line: “As a Left-leaning liberal, he didn’t place great importance on education…” (maybe things are different in the UK, but most left-leaning liberals I know are all about education to a fanatical degree).

I remember reading an article a while ago about selling your soul for page views, about people writing articles in which they are cast as the villain, knowing it will rile up a lot of people, get many online comments and page views, and possibly go viral. The author cautioned anyone who is tempted to write in this style to carefully consider whether they’re sacrificing their long-term reputation for short-term gain. We remind teens that anything they post online has the potential to stick around forever, but adults could use a similar reminder, and ask themselves whether they really want to be known as “the evil stepmom.”


Harley Granny February 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Ahhh….Stepmothers…I am one and I have one so this is a subjet I know all too well.

I learned how NOT to do it by my own sweet dear step-mother….insert sigh.

She too decided that we needed to thank her for letting us come visit. It truly was a no win situation……she deemed how often we needed to visit my father…complain if we didn’t do as she “asked” and then when we did come so found some slight in anything we did.
The one thing my siblings and I agreed on was that we were never going to “thank” her for allowing us to visit with our Father. 30 years later I still refuse to do so. There are many issues with this woman but that’s for another subject.

Luckily for the woman in this article…she realized her part in this problem and worked to correct it.

So no…one should never have to write a thank you note for visiting their parents.
When I visit my step-son and his wife, I thank them for their hospitality. when my step-son and his wife come to visit us, I thank them for coming.


lakey February 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Here’s my take on this. The children are “visiting” at their own father’s house? As an adult I and my siblings often stayed at my parents’ home. We thanked them in various ways, but never with a written thank you note. For a step-mom to expect her husband’s children to write thank you notes for staying in their own father’s home strikes me as bizarre.

Also, I’ve known women who have had affairs with married men, wrecked the marriage, and married the guy. These things happen. There is no point in outsiders laying blame, it’s a personal problem. But in my experience, the children often resent, even hate, the step-mother. Children know how to push an adult’s buttons, and in a situation like this, they are highly motivated to cause trouble. We don’t know the circumstances of Ms. Pasternak’s entry into this family, but she probably had unrealistic expectations going in, and the children may have good reason for resenting her.


wintershere February 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Are talking about a visit for an afternoon or are you referring to an extended overnight stay?


KarenK February 21, 2014 at 7:30 am

I don’t think it matters. It’s their father’s home. The only one who has visited – the 16 year old – is a minor child. The older children (in their 20s) still refuse to meet her. In a perfect world (which we know doesn’t exist!), the daughter should feel as much at home there as at her mother’s home. No need to write a note, bring a gift, or any of the other things we do when we stay at someone else’s home, because it’s not someone else’s home. It’s her home.


GEna February 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Well, as a stepmom I can tell you she is way off base. It is not your j0b to raise your stepkids (assuming they have 2 functioning parents), it is your job to assist your spouse. Now, I certainly give my DH my opinion on how he needs to handle certain situations, but I never interfere. yes, he spoils them. Yes, he lets them get away with murder. But he does insist they are respectful to me.

I was shocked at the comment about the stepdaughtter getting food from the fridge without asking. Really? I hope my stepkids feel that our home is their home as well, and they should feel free to get a snack anytime they want. (depending on age of child of course).


MissChris February 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Her friend’s step-daughters help themselves to food in their father’s house? Oh, the humanity!


Kimstu February 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Pasternak and her husband are trying to get talked about in order to generate publicity buzz for their book, a relationship guide called “Call Off the Search” that came out last year. So take all her outrageousness with a grain of salt. (The UK Daily Mail specializes in giving a platform to this sort of infuriatingly clueless and self-absorbed “self-help” promoter because of all the eyeballs they attract when exasperated readers complain about how awful they are—Samantha Brick, anyone?)

That said, I completely agree that it’s way over-the-top to expect bread-and-butter notes from immediate family members when they visit. But that’s the least of this lady’s problems.


Glitter February 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm

So…she wants them to thank their father for allowing them into his home? That’s ridiculous.

Well….most of the article is ridiculous actually and I agree, she sounds like a not-so lovely woman.


Rodinne February 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Just FYI, she says he was married to someone else when they met, and that they realized they had fallen in love within weeks after meeting.

Now, children often have little insight into their parents’ relationships, and it’s possible they had a marriage in name only, and that divorce was inevitable and she was just the catalyst. However, even if that is true, to the children, she will look like “the evil step-mother who broke up their parents’ marriage.” Dealing with that isn’t easy.


Enna February 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I think admin and the OP are right about the thank you notes that does sound a bit too much to me. However it is interesting the way both spouses have to back down and come more to the middle ground. Feelings can run very high with second families and it can be a case of everyone needs to behave and be senstive to the feelings of everyone else.


Ellex February 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm

When I was dating my husband and visited his family for the holidays I brought a hostess gift and I sent his mother a thank you note.

I wasn’t family yet.

My mom called me this morning and asked if she could crash on our couch on her way back home from a business trip. It’s not a necessary stop, but it means she’s not flying half the night and pulling into her driveway at 2AM.

After making sure it was okay with my husband I told her “Sure. But all we have is a futon mattress on the floor because the frame broke in the move and only 75% of our stuff is put away so the place is a disaster.”
And mom said. “Yay! That means you love me if you’ll let me see your place looking like that. Also, I want to take you guys out to celebrate your test scores.”
The next day I will take my mom to the airport and she will give me a hug, say thanks for the lovely time, and then she’ll give me a call when she gets home.

That’s how family visits.

Do you want your step-kids to be family or not?
(Lest anyone get the wrong idea, my in-laws and I do consider each other family now. So instead of a bottle of zin and a thank you note, I strip the sheets, change some lightbulbs, dry dishes, and rig up wasp traps.)


Elizabeth February 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Ellex, that is non-narcissistic family visits and I’m happy that you have this experience!


Sara February 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

While my parents are still married to each other, I am a grown adult with my own home and life. If my mother got a thank-you note from me for ‘letting’ me visit them in the house I grew up in, I’m pretty sure she would think I had just gotten a terminal diagnosis or something similar. Not because I lack in writing thank you notes (I do when appropriate), but because it would come off as so odd. I feel that a thank you note to a parent for visiting would be an indication of a strained relationship.
Also, I noticed in the article the mention of a stepmother being irritated that her stepdaughter felt ok opening the refrigerator at her (and the girl’s father’s) house and helping herself. I am not sure about the rest of you, but one of the first things I do when I get to my parent’s home is look in the cabinets for cookies and chips I don’t buy for myself (because I overindulge when they are around), but my mom buys for my dad!


Sarah Jane February 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I am a mother of a teenager and the stepmother of one adult and two small children. I certainly have much to say about this article, but I will try to limit my response to the etiquette question.

Except to say that will all the information and resources available today on the subject of blended families, someone who proclaims herself such a stickler for education should have been better prepared for the issues she faced.

Thank-you notes from your children for your hospitality? Please. I agree with admin…if she were treating these girls like family (the way she should have), she wouldn’t even think of it.


ValB February 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Also with you. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that maybe this is cultural, and this particular woman was raised with a heightened sense of propriety, but I think that deep down she just does not feel like her husband’s daughters are part of the family. She mentions her own daughter being only 8 years old, but I wonder if in the future she will expect her to write a thank you note to her step father every time she visits from college, or if that will seem superfluous.
She talks of her two oldest stepdaughters refusing to meet her with a mask of understanding, but in reality I don’t think she has any interest in meeting them either. She also tells of her husband taking their phone calls in his car of outside of the home as a betrayal, as though she wasn’t the one who pushed him into it. The guy’s a psychotherapist, I think he can sense disdain and judgement when its aimed at him. The whole article reeks of “I’m the most important woman in his life, I won”‘.


NicoleK February 20, 2014 at 1:48 pm

It’s very unreasonable. Children see their parents’ house (or houses) as “their” house. So they don’t consider themselves visitors. Thanking someone for letting you go to your own house? Um, no.

While it would be nice if kids expressed more gratitude for their parents, it’s unrealistic that they would thank the parents for merely allowing them to be in their own home.

Reply February 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I read that article and it made me really sad for the daughters of that woman’s husband. I am from a blended family and I have never been treated that way by my stepfather or my father’s partners. I don’t want to get too sidetracked about how I think that woman should really change her attitude towards the children of her husband, so I’ll just say that regarding a “thank you” note: I love writing letters and notes to people, but even I don’t write thank you notes to my immediate family when I stay with them. My parents or my sister, since it’s family it seems like the thank you note is an unnecessary formality. And the fact that a stepparent would expect the notes would make me further think that they did not accept me as the child of their spouse but merely as a guest in their home.


LizaJane February 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Oh dear. There’s a lot more wrong here than thank you notes. I wonder if the step mother writes or wrote thank you notes after visiting HER parents. heir father, brothers and me.
I’m thrilled if my husband’s daughters visit. I can’t imagine expecting them to write a note after visiting their father, brothers and me.


gb February 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm

As a step daughter myself, if my step mother asked me to write her a thank you note because I visited my father, I would feel like I was a guest and not family. As a teen, the father still has an obligation to provide for his children, which would include meals, room, board, and hopefully quality time and love. That is a child’s right, and demanding an official thank you note could make that child feel less worthy, maybe a even a burden in her father’s home. Of course all children should be taught to appreciate their families, but it is shown through love.
This step mother has her own issues about not feeling close to her step daughters, and receiving a thank you note gives her physical proof they appreciate and love her. What she does not see is that this demand is harmful to her step daughters’ relationship with their father. That is selfish of her, especially as the adult in the situation.
Way to tell the girls they aren’t as important as biological family!
I hope they see through this self serving step mother’s behavior and learn from it instead of being scared by it.


ValB February 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

My thoughts exactly, since she says that the older 2 refuse to meet her, obviously she is talking about the teenager who is being ordered to go there by a custody agreement. Expecting her to say thank you at all implies that she should be grateful that her father is being a parent, and that step mother is allowing it to happen. She won’t have to be upset for too long though; something tells me that as soon as this girl hits 18 and no longer has a piece of paper dictating where she needs to go, she’ll make the choice to follow in her sisters’ footsteps and stay away.
I’d love to know whether she shares custody of her own daughter with her father, and how outraged she would be if another woman made the little girl feel unwelcome in her father’s home. I bet that she would change her tune pretty fast regarding which relationship needs to be the “primary” one.


Kat February 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm

The only time I ever write a thank-you note for a visit to my parents is when I want to show off the cute stationery that my mom gave me as a gift. In-person thanks and gestures of thanks (making breakfast, helping with chores, etc.) are enough, in my opinion.


Kristin February 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Perhaps in a situation like this, the step-daughter should send a note that opens with something like “Dear Mrs. Wilson”.


gb February 20, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I just read the article. I don’t understand why a second wife should be jealous of a child, even an adult child. This boils down to the second wives (not all, just some) that are insecure in their marriage and themselves. The author admits to being jealous of her husband’s first wife… the daughters being a physical extension of first wife. Her own insecurities are being imposed on the step girls. The author acts add if the daughters’ have an Odipes (I know that’s spelled wrong) complex, when is really them putting the daughters in that role in their minds. If you cannot handle your husband’s past, you should not be in his future. No, you weren’t first wife, but you knew that. How selfish to enter a marriage knowing there are previous children and begrudge them! That was the second wife’s choice. I’m sure the second wife wants her husband to treat her children like his own. There’s a double standard.
The children come first, as a mother the second wife should know that.

I was a very cuddly child, especially with my father. In turn, that makes me a cuddly adult. I cuddle my husband, I cuddle my animals, I love to show physical love. That does not make it a sexual act, as the author suggests.
My grandfather was not a physical love shower, so when I visit my aunt, she loves my hugs. She says I give a sincere, warm hug that she can feel love through. Since my uncle died, I am the only one to hug her like that.
I personally am a fan of communication through touch… I pat my nephew for doing a great drawing, and I don’t have to speak for him to know I love and appreciate him.

I feel very bad for the kids of these men… there’s women out there who’d love to have them as a step daughter.


The Elf February 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I’m not even going to go into the fact that they started dating while he was still married, and then they married quite soon, making it absolutely no surprise that his kids had trouble accepting the new stepmom.

From the article:

“For the first 18 months of our relationship, our blissful highs were punctuated by damning lows, raging arguments and periods of hyper-insecurity.”

“In the early days, I would literally feel sick every time he made the fortnightly, four-hour round trip to see his children, convinced they’d persuade him to leave me in our beautiful Oxfordshire home and move back to their seaside Sussex town. ”

“Andrew once let slip that they’d never made the bed during their marriage, so I became fanatical about making our bed almost the second we got out of it. I wanted to be different to ‘her’ in every possible way.”

“Because of my attacking nature, he began to creep out to phone his children on his mobile, speaking to them in his car, which created this weird energy of betrayal”

Yeah…… I don’t think the problem here is thank-you notes…..


ArtsBeatLA February 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

MrsL – you wrote – “She’s managed to convince my dad to have nothing to do with me because I have different political beliefs. My dad hasn’t spoken to me in over a year now.”

Call your Dad. Keep the door open.


The Elf February 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Not sure it would make a difference, if it was his choice to close that door. A conversation requires two. And if all MrsL’s Dad is going to do is harp on her different political views, is it really worth keeping that door open?


InTheEther February 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Does anybody else feel like the whole article was a little bipolar? The woman seems to swing between fully acknowledging that she is being ridiculously paranoid and over anxious, and then going on about how her paranoia and anxiety are fully justified. The whole tone of the thing just seems off somehow. I’m sort of wondering if they frankenstiened several different submissions to create something sensational.

I’m also kinda disturbed by how much focus is put on the husband’s tone when he talks to his daughters. They are his children, he changed their diapers and everything else. Of course his tone will be different when talking to them. I’m in my mid 20’s and my dad still calls me kitten, and him and my mom both will lapse into mommy and daddy mode when talking to me and my brother. That doesn’t mean my parents want to have sex with us, which is what the writer seems to imply. The writer (or editor if this was spliced as I suspect) is really giving me the creeps.

As to the thank you notes, basically of the same opinion as everyone else. Formalities are for formal occasions in formal relationships. For all else there is just a smile and “thank you”, along with the tacit understanding that you’ll be by to help take the Christmas decorations down in a few weeks.


Kirst February 20, 2014 at 4:25 pm

It’s in the Daily Mail, therefore it’s probably not true, and it’s definitely exaggerated to be outrageous clickbait. Nothing in the Fail is worth the time or thought the people on this site are giving it.


Aliciaspinnet February 20, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I don’t have any experience with step-families, but the idea that children should have to write thank you notes after visiting their own fathers house is ridiculous. All that does is put up a barrier between her and them. I moved out of my parents house over 10 years ago, but I was always told that when I come for a visit, I don’t even have to knock on the door, I can walk straight in because it will always be my home. Similarly if my parents get to come for a visit (I live on the other side of the world at the moment), I hope that they will make themselves comfortable, feel free to come and go as they wish, raid the fridge, in general treat it as if it is their home too. And I certainly wouldn’t expect a thank you note or even a hostess gift. Having them there would be gift enough.


nk February 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Reading that article, the woman comes off as not just a horrible stepmother but a horrible human being in general. She was shocked and angry that her husband SMILED at his daughter during lunch and that he seemed “jolly” around her? If she seriously thinks that being happy and smiling around your children is jaw-droppingly inappropriate, then I pity her daughter. Besides, if she’s so insecure that she can’t stand her husband showing affection to ANYONE but her, why on earth would she marry a man who had children? Did she expect him to sever all contact with them after the marriage?


Tara February 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I think this woman is so insecure because she’s well aware that her husband can be lured away from a marriage by someone else. Just desserts.


kit March 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I think you are spot on – she has every reason to believe that her husband could as easily fall in love with someone else during *their* marriage and divorce and remarry as fast as he already once did.


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