Boyfriend and Baby Mama Boundaries: How to Deal With a Difficult Baby Mama
So maybe your man has a child or two. That's not necessarily a problem. After all, it's the norm these days. He's a great provider and a responsible and caring parent. You even enjoy spending time with his kids. Your relationship continues to develop, and you've discussed taking it to the next level. However, there's one huge problem—the baby's mama.
She's calling at all hours of the night as if she has some type of radar that tells her when you and your man are in the middle of . . . sleeping. She's making unreasonable demands on his time and money. Her demands are way beyond what you would even ask of him. Maybe she's making rude comments or threats toward you.
Long story short, you're not willing to put up with it anymore. It's causing a rift between you and your sweetheart, and you have the sneaking suspicion she's enjoying every minute of it. But how do you put a stop to it? What's the cure for this baby mama drama?
Before you get to the cure, you have to understand the cause. Here are the four main reasons the baby's mama serves up the drama to you and your man:
- Proper limitations, restrictions, and boundaries in regards to communication and interaction between the father and baby's mama have not been established.
- The child is used as a tool of punishment and intimidation when interaction between the parents is strained or displeasing.
- The baby's mama may have a vendetta against the father because she feels she was in some way wronged during their relationship. Although she may insist that she doesn't care about his current relationship with you or any other woman, she doesn't think he deserves to be happy in his current relationship.
- She may feel she bears an unfair share of the responsibilities for raising the child and may resent the sacrifices she's made as the custodial parent.
There Are Two Sides to Every Story
Check out this short video that highlights the dynamics of baby mama drama from the perspective of the baby mama. This young lady gives well-spoken tips and important warnings.
Simply put, your man holds the key to the cure, not you. You have to face this fact: he must have a working relationship with his baby's mama in order to co-parent their child. And honestly, do you want to have a relationship with a man who's not interested in parenting his own child?
The good news is he can have a healthy and appropriate co-parenting relationship with her while simultaneously having a loving, strong relationship with you without all the drama. Grown and mature men and women do it all the time. However, he's going to have to man up and make some changes.
Remember, he is the key to the cure. No amount of nagging, pouting, and threatening breakups you do will effectuate a lasting change. Keep reading to find out what he can do to stop the drama and how you can stand by his side in support and love.
Step 1. Check Yourself
Understand and keep this in the forefront of your mind—it's not about you or your relationship with your man. It's actually about his baby's mama and his relationship with her. Be it good, bad, or indifferent, she has a past with him. Something you probably know very little about or, at best, what you know is one-sided. So go easy on rendering judgments about her or their relationship.
Step 2. Check Him
Even though you may not be willing to put up with the drama anymore, he has to be fed up with it too. In fact, he has to be more fed up with the drama than you. He has to be willing to do what is right and what is necessary. If he's not ready to "rock the boat" a little, then it's best to leave it alone until he gets to that point.
If he's capable of managing the drama within the current circumstances, then he may not possess the fortitude to stand behind the decisions he will need to make in order to change things. Your part in the implementation of this step is not to convince him to do it but rather to allow him the latitude to be truthful, even if it's not what you want to hear.
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Step 3. Get It in Writing
If he's not done so already, he should go through the proper (legal) process to substantiate visitation rights to his child. In this situation, words speak louder than actions—if the words are written, properly executed, and mandated by a judge. The document should be a specific agreement as to when visitation should occur and how visits will be carried out, including parent communication and transportation (delivery and pick-up).
A special note here—although it's tempting to play the queen bee, you should not insist on being allowed to participate in the delivery and/or pick-up of the child. Trust him to handle it. It's not about you. Instead, try waiting at home for him to return with the kids while preparing for a special event or meal for you to share as a family.
Step 4. Learn the Lanes
Boundaries, limitations, and restrictions are important because they establish order. Just as clearly marked traffic lanes reduce auto crashes, order reduces baby mama drama. You also need a plan for a response when boundaries are crossed. And with very few exceptions, you should always appropriately address (minus the eye-rolling and attitude) or point out when boundaries are crossed.
Especially in the beginning, it's important to be reminded of these boundaries and to stick to them. Let him establish the boundaries and ask him to share them with you. Do not make your own demands. Here are a few suggestions of areas to consider for restriction/boundaries:
- Phone/text communication—except for emergency situations, there should be no communication between the established hours of day/night.
- Respect and courtesy—refrain from bad-mouthing and name-calling, especially in the presence of the child.
- Protocol regarding relationships of the opposite gender—how long should you wait to introduce to the child? Are there certain events they should not attend (ie- birthday parties, school events)?
Step 5. Walk the Talk
Here's the hardest part. In the most cordial means possible, he needs to have "the talk" with the baby mama and relay the boundaries to her. Preferably, he should choose a time to talk to her when they are on good terms, not in the heat of drama. He should allow her to give feedback and to adjust or add to the boundaries if needed.
As his woman, you have a very important part in this talk—do not be present. He has to do this alone, and you have to trust him. Period. If it doesn't turn out as planned, let him know it's okay to back out. I know that's hard, but at the end of the day, if he's not ready to "walk the talk" or stick to the boundaries he proposes, the drama will undoubtedly increase, and you may be in a worse position than when you started.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: What if the baby mama reaches out to you talkin crap?
Answer: Try not to engage. Let your man know, and he should handle accordingly, if appropriate. Remember, he should set the pace/energy for communication. She also needs time to adjust to you being a part of her life. Because if he stays in relationship with you, you will become part of her life. That’s not easy for her. Especially if she’s used to having “control” of everything.
Question: How do you deal with a baby mama that insists on drama no matter how high of a road you take?
Answer: Who is engaging with the baby mama - you? Your man? Is the child involved? What do you consider to be a high road response? The question is not really detailed enough for me to provide a specific response. But generally, it starts and ends with the man. Remember, he is responsible for setting the tone.
Question: What if my significant other has tried making boundaries ect with his baby momma but she keeps calling and causing unnecessary problems? Even finding my number at some point to threaten me?
Answer: You need a binding mediator, even if you have to take legal action. In fact, if she’s being a bully and threatening you without provocation, you may need to handle it legally anyway. Also, make sure you are aware of how and what he is communicating to the baby mama. Listen carefully to both parties.
Question: What should one do if the baby mom barges into the house at all hours?
Answer: No ma’am! Lock the doors and don’t open them for her unless she calls first to get permission to come over. That’s some fraggle naggle BS!
Question: Say you’re in a new relationship with a man fathering a child that’s not biologically his. You need to understand what the relationship looks like between him and the mother. But he keeps telling you he’ll handle it and to just trust that he’s got it. But you are at a standstill because you don’t want to further emotionally invest feelings, in fear of flipping out latter on if his idea of “handling it” was not enough?
Answer: It depends on how new of a relationship it is. Out of the gate, I don’t think he owes you any details. However, if he has expressed interest in exclusivity or any level of emotional and/or physical commitment, and longevity, he needs to spill the beans. Communication is key in any relationship. He shouldn’t want to keep you in the dark. Make it clear that you’re not asking for details with the purpose of judging or scrutinizing the situation. Use your ears more than your mouth the first time you talk with him about it. But above all, listen to your intuition.
Question: What should I do when my boyfriend's baby's mom comes over with the kids when she has "fights" with her boyfriend?
Answer: You and the baby mom must be best friends, right? If not, she needs to drop the kids off and keep moving. And if it keeps happening, the kids need to be placed in a safe and stable home, be it yours or someone else.
Question: How do you suggest dealing with a man who has different parenting skills? His child doesn't want to be at my home because there are rules and "he’ll take my side". She doesn't disrespect me. However she is disrespectful to them and has become physically aggressive towards them. I notice w/ dad the rules don’t apply to her or there is always a rhyme & reason why she can do differently. And in her behavior, I see her manipulating . How do I end this relationship?
Answer: At the beginning, you’re asking how to deal with him. At the end of the question, you’re asking for breakout techniques, and how to end the relationship? Those are two totally different questions. If you’re staying with him, it’s very simple- you two must get on the same page as far as how to raise your children. If you can’t , then you need counseling. You can’t raise kids together without being in agreement. Plain and simple. The kids will suffer and your relationships will be destroyed. Not only must you agree on the standards of raising children but also on how to apply those standards.
Question: What if she refuses to give him back his house key and now makes it a task to drop the kids off and post herself in his room?
Answer: I hate to be short with you Sis, but...CHANGE THE LOCKS! Her bad behavior is being allowed and supported by your man. Period. He could have put an end to that nonsense IF he wanted to.
Question: How do we handle baby mama drama for a kid that isn’t his? She cheated on throughout the relationship and the OAG did a DNA test to confirm the 9-year-old boy wasn’t his son. But she still drops him off.
Answer: I think the first thing to do is to understand how your man feels about this. Assuming he has acted as father to this child for 9 yrs prior to finding out it’s not his biological son, there are probably deep and complex feelings involved. You can’t necessarily undo a parent-child relationship because of test results. Start with him. And be open to hear his true thoughts on the situation.
Question: One baby mama works in a law firm and takes advantage to initiate legal threats on the man to give the money she demands, portraying the man as the irresponsible one yet he has been supporting her above board. The man feels tricked and pushed beyond the possible, yet he has his family to take care of. What should he do to tame the baby mama?
Answer: He needs to get good legal advice. Fight fire with fire. If she’s coming at him legally, he needs to fully understand how she’s portraying him as the bad guy and why the courts are agreeing with her. Also, you point out that he has his family to take care of. Make sure you include his other kid(s) from previous relationships as his family, too, because they are. And news flash sis: if you are married to him, those kids are your family as well. Be open to hear the Baby Mama’s perspective. Be careful not to be too dismissive. Sometimes acknowledgement can go a long way.