Originally Posted by Lilypie32
Sounds like only your DF should deal with the Mom and not you. I'd step back and let him deal with it.
I agree with stepping back in general, but I don't think OP had a chance here...
First of all, the kids are with her full-time. Mom sees them 6 hours a week. That alone implies that OP is very likely to have to deal with their mom directly.
At the same time, if instead of getting in the car and driving to pick up a kid (and I know something about pick ups, and all kinds of obstacles, and changes of plans, been there done that since dsd was 7 until she was 14
), or trying to contact the dad via text message to make sure everyone is on the same page, a person calls police, then whoever opens the door is stuck with dealing with situation.
Here are my general thoughts on the topic...
* Mom doesn't pay CS shows lack of interest to support the child financially. In our situation, DP paid pretty penny through thick and thin, so I'm not looking very favorably at people who skip this part. We are not receiving any CS either, and it's not always easy.
* Mom is a mom, she probably loves her children very much, but it doesn't sound like she makes them her priority. *shrug* Backing away from overnights? 14 DSS cases open (even if it's only 5 it doesn't look good), not paying CS? Calling police the day of pick up instead of text-messaging or actually driving to see her kids? All of this doesn't paint a good picture...
* I think OP feels a bit defensive in the whole situation, and if I was in her shoes, as I mentioned before, I probably would relax a few rules. At the same time, I don't believe one has to be married to be anything to anyone!
With such high rates of divorces, a piece of paper is just that, a piece of paper. Obviously, the kids care enough to want to call her mom! Let me tell you
, unless you were in "stepmom" shoes, you probably won't understand how challenging it is to get kids even look at you favorably, but to call you "mom" of their own accord - well, they must REALLY need a mother figure there, and she was missing obviously for a good while for them to know that now they have two.
DP and I are not married, but even so, our relationship has lasted 8 happy years, and I was here for pick ups, cs, broken finger, camping trips, parent-teacher conferences, F's in math, play dates, sleepovers, doctor's when her allergies were eating up her eyes, and flu that resulted in fever that drove me to the pharmacy at 12 in the morning after a full day of school and work, and orthodontists' visits (ask me later how many of her appointments were made by her mom
), her chorus recitals, her first kiss, her first break up, first job search, soon enough I'll be teaching her how to drive! Please, don't put the piece of paper between us... She lives here FT now, and we bake, we cook, we talk about school, friends, and boys, we go to the gym, we cry and laugh together. I love her and she loves me, and to me she is my stepdaughter, I am her father's wife, and our lives, finances, and house are connected in multitude of ways that make us family.
Going back to the "mom" comment... Kids don't use words like that lightly. Goodness, I was all kinds of patient, and understanding, and playful, and loving, and dsd only saw me as a threat to her relationship with her father, it took years for her to warm up to me (she calls me by my first name, and I'm more than fine and dandy with all of it, she has a mom she loves and needs heh), but whenever children choose to call someone "mom" or "dad", not because they were told to do so, but because they want to, that should say something to the community that prides itself on listening to children's needs and concerns. At least that's what I think about the situation.
P.S. If I have my child's interest at heart, I won't be calling police to see whether or not I can pick her up, you BET I'll be there at 12, and if possible, at 11 to my kid I missed for a week. I speak of personal experience, we did 100% of driving despite court stipulations. For her sake, we never involved police, and even now are not taking her mom to court for CS so that she doesn't see her parents fighting in court, money isn't everything, yk?