Ex - spouses

If your significant other has an ex-spouse and they have children together and you all live in the same community, do you go out of your way to be extra friendly to her in front of their kids?

What are your thoughts on getting the kids together and doing an arts and crafts project to give to their mom on her birthday and mothers day?...Do you have a planning session with the kids beforehand to see what they want to do for their mom?

    Erik and I did a lot of family counseling in the beginning. At the time, we were dating for a year and engaged for 5 months. Our counselor said that because Erik & their mom are active parents in their kids' lives it would complicate the dynamics if I was referred to as the future step mom or assumed the current role of one. She recommended I take on a caretaker role in lieu of step mom, since we weren't married yet, and if we broke up, they might get confused about Erik's next significant other and have abandonment issues. Now that our engagement has been extended and the kids are expecting a sibling, I've been signing their holiday and birthday cards as "Your Friend". Since I've been doing that, I think their mom has been more welcoming around me when we do the kid exchange, and she even blessed me with some maternity clothes :-)
      After we marry, I think I'll continue to refer to myself as the kids' friend and let them know the step mom title is another way to define a closer friendship and by no means would I nor the title ever replace their mother. As an added benefit, I won't feel the competition of pleasing them or meeting expectations which were hinted earlier on by yours truly when they were less than satisfied. Due to some noticeable contention between Erik and his ex which their kids also notice, I tell the kids often that I will support what their parents decide. During this interim I can gradually phase into a parental authority figure only when both parents aren't present.
        I'm grateful that Erik's ex has been cordial since day 1. She makes it real easy for me to like her. It kinda weirded Erik out that I wanted to do something for her the first year we were together. My initial motive was to show Erik and the kids that I am secure about my position with Erik and them. Plus, my family comes from a generation of having multiple layers of step families. It was normal for me to see ex-in laws and ex spouses at reunions or big family socials.
        About MaryJane
        Birth: March 25
        On Moms.com since: Apr 18, 2014
        Pregnant back to back. I have a baby girl and another on the way. I'm also a pseudo-step mom to 2 tweens.