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I can't beleive this!

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Okay this was briefly mentioned in the other thread about DSD starting kindergarten next year or some form of it...

I also mentioned that DH hasn't been grilling his ex for info... he told her a month ago that he wanted to know what she was going to do and places she was thinking of sending DSD. He did say he wanted to be involved... but then left it at that.

I think he has always given his ex the benefit of the doubt for some reason even though in the past I have seen that when he is demure with her it gets nowhere and he only acheives results when it's a constant fight.

I think DH got tired of the confrontation and this is why he has been more mellow this rear. (I've been doing more thinking on this as the therapist asked me to understand why DH doesn't want to fight with ex and keep the peace, because when they did fight his ex would always use his DD against him.)

Anyway.... DSD's Mom and her BF drop her off last night and Mom is all proud and tells DSD to tell me were they went yesterday...

KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION.

WTF!!??

It took everything in me to not flip on her right then, as it was not my place to do so, but DH's. But it also took everything to not cry. I have been mentioning to ex that we really wanted to attend interviews/orinetations for school. Then she just picks a place and goes to orientation with her boyfriend and doesn't even breath a word of it to us??!!!

How can you possibly live with yourself knowing full well you are trying to cut the Dad out of the picture?? This isn't the first time something similiar to this has happened.

When ex told me that I was like, "so was this the only orientation there will be or will there be others because DH and I really wanted to go and we really want to know where DSD is going to school."

Her and her boyfriend sort of waffled like anytime we ask an important question and boyfriend said they needed to make an appointment and they were just checking the place out. then ex said she has a packet of information to give me if we wanted.

WHich I'm not going to hold my breath about getting, because I'm sure that ranks up there with the info I requested last year on the dance school, or the bloody insurance card we have been asking for ALL YEAR!! THat ex said two weeks ago that she would bring a copy of and still has not!!

I don't even know how to react to this... it's like we are nothing but the bankroll parents and I'm livid for my DH and myself and hurt for both of us....

I just am completley floored that she enrolled DSD in this program and went to orientation all without a single word to DSD'S FATHER!!! Why would she do this???

I can sort of see why DH feels so defeated and took a break from yelling at her this year and keeps telling me he can't change her. If someone tried to cut me completley out of my DD's life after so long I'd hit the defeated stage too I'm sure... but my personality is different than DH's... I'm a fighter. I get mad, then I get pro-active. I told him this BS of doing things behind his back has to STOP. We need to have a serious sit down with his ex.

He agrees and he was LIVID last night. His other big thing is that he thinks ex is trying to get her boyfriend to replace him as he gets to go to all these functions for DSD that we are never even told about. He was nearly crying when he realized that he probably knows more about what is going on with his DD right now than he does.

Then last night DSD kept talking about her Mommy and Daddy's house... referring to her Mom's boyfriend.... ouch! DH went on his usual speel again about DSD only having one Daddy. And DSD just laughed and said she knows and went oops, I meant Mommy and J's house.

*sighs*

If your ex took your kid to school orientation without ever breathing a word about it to you... what would you do? Your kid only starts school once... it's not like you can get these milestones back.

THen I worry about DSD... what does she think?? SHe remembers a lot and I know a week from now or whatever she will say, "Mommy and J took me to kindergarten, why weren't you and Daddy there?"

I know she will do this because her Mom decided to not go to her preschool graduation last year and the whole time DSD kept saying, "you and Daddy went to graduation, why didn't MOmmy?"

If we would have known, we WOULD have been there. This is so upsetting and troubling on so many different levels.
post #2 of 56
I'm not quite sure how to say this gently, so I'll just jump right in and muddle through.

First, let me preface everything by saying that she should be keeping him in the loop much more. Absolutely. HOWEVER... She is not the only bad guy here and not the source of all evil no matter how large her flaws and failings are.

The dynamics of what goes on between him and her in regard to your DSD are not rooted in their divorce but in their marriage and pre-divorce parenting relationship, and then complicated by their divorce.

Given what you have posted about all the absolute crap he is putting you through and his total lack of initiative and refusal to step up to the plate where his daughter is concerned, I would bet my right arm that he pulled similar (or worse) crap on her and was just as willing to fob off his parenting duties on her when they were married as he seems to be with you.

I think, for your own sanity, you need to take a step back and cut your DH's ex a little more slack than you do and remind yourself that she is not the one doing all this to him in a vaccum. He is not blameless in all this. And it goes back to well before you were in the picture.

That said, I do have a concrete suggestion. Have HIM set up a shared google calendar to which all three of you have access and the ability to add events. Then, put in any and all DSD-related events (parenting schedule and whatever) for the next 6 months or so. Then, tell his ex about it, send her the link, and ask her to use it for all DSD-related events (dr's appts, birthday parties, etc.).

There is slight a chance that she'd be more willing to do that than she has been to call him each and every time for events...

Edited to add: Re-reading your post, I am once again struck by how involved you are (which is mostly good) and how often this is about information *you* (not *he*) requested time and again.

Quite frankly, *he* should be the one requesting the information if he (and thereby you) hopes to get it. Since you're obviously hurting, I'll spare you my stock tirade about NCPs who are only involved because their new spouses push them to be involved or do the involving for them. But it very well could be part of the problem. No matter how well you and her get along, and no matter how much better you two deal with things than him and her, as long as *he* is not the one pushing her for the information/etc. himself, then she will probably never take this seriously.

Like it or not, and no matter what *he* claims, *you* do not have (at least in her eyes) the same right or claim to the information and involvement that he does. As long as you're trying to do his job (or what she sees as his job) for him, none of you are going to get anywhere with her.
post #3 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
THen I worry about DSD... what does she think?? SHe remembers a lot and I know a week from now or whatever she will say, "Mommy and J took me to kindergarten, why weren't you and Daddy there?"
As for this aspect, the only answer I can think of is: "We would have loved to come but no one told us you were going to go."
post #4 of 56
Contact the school and get them to add you so that all the mailings they send out go to you as well as DSD's mom and then you will not be relying on her to inform you about what is going on. Good Luck this sounds super hard and yucky
post #5 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione View Post
As for this aspect, the only answer I can think of is: "We would have loved to come but no one told us you were going to go."
Yes, make sure you let your stepdaughter know this. We've had to do this with my stepdaughter for years now, and it's been a key factor in saving our relationship with her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myra_mcgray View Post
Contact the school and get them to add you so that all the mailings they send out go to you as well as DSD's mom and then you will not be relying on her to inform you about what is going on. Good Luck this sounds super hard and yucky
:
post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by myra_mcgray View Post
Contact the school and get them to add you so that all the mailings they send out go to you as well as DSD's mom and then you will not be relying on her to inform you about what is going on. Good Luck this sounds super hard and yucky
Would love to, except ex hasn't told us what school she will be going to. Would her current pre-k school have to know which school she is going to be going to? How can we get this information if ex won't tell us?

Ione, I do appreciate your insight. I completely agree that DH is not blameless in this. But I would think a mother would think to mention kindergarten orientation to the father too, no matter what set backs screw ups he has done, he has a right to know.

As for info requests... actually DH does do most of it. I do too as I actually see ex more than he does because of his work schedule and the drop off pick up times. Plus for awhile ex was emailing me, so DH would tell me to email her back about xyz whatever the case was at that point and time.

I don't know if google calendar would work... I'm the only computer savvy person out of the three of us. I think the only time ex uses the computer is to use email at work, and google is likely blocked, at least I know it is at my work. DH barely knows how to turn a computer on. lol It's just not their thing....
post #7 of 56
If google calendar won't work, what about a planner that is kept in your DSD's backpack (If she doesn't have a backpack now, she'll need one in a few months for kindy, so might as well just get it now)?

We have a plastic sleeve that homework info and announcements go in. It gets sent in her backpack on Fridays when we switch. DSD's teacher usually provides a calendar for the month, and that stays in the folder. It has been really helpful for us.

DSD's school does not mail things out. Nearly 100% of all vital information is sent home with the kids.

You could get one of those sleeves and throw a calendar in it. That might set up a tangible reminder that information needs to be passed back and forth.

Your DH really does need to call his ex and ask point-blank what school she will be attending. She can't really hem and haw about that. She's already been there! Then he needs to call the school and ask for an orientation packet, etc. and get his name added to her records. It would probably be better for him to appear in person.
post #8 of 56
Honestly? If you believed that your dsd was well-cared-for by her mom and would have a very nice life with an essentially absentee biological father, I'd be telling you to back off and let her build a life for your dsd that doesn't depend on your DH except for the support check, because that has been the way he has let things progress since the divorce.

Since you DON'T believe that dsd's care is up to par, and I think you have some decent reasons for not believing it, then you as an adult have a responsibility to dsd as a child in your life to make sure that she is OK and remains OK. Finding out what school she'll be at is an obvious step, and something that I'm sure you'll succeed at now that mom has picked one. Get on the mailing list, get a copy of the calendar, etc. etc. and show up to stuff. You love your dsd and she loves you. That will always be true.

But when it comes to making choices about what will happen to her, that's got to be between the parents, and I think it's probably time to accept the reality that either mom is going to make these choices, or that YOU are if mom goes so far out of line that dsd comes to live with you. What's NOT likely to happen is your DH suddenly insisting on equal say in the logistical aspects of his daughter's life.

I know you are just eating your guts out over this, and I'm so sorry, but I think you might need to start letting go of the dream of being more than a weekend/special event parent to your dsd. Your DH controls that outcome.
post #9 of 56
His ex will continue to act this way as long as your husband allows her to. That is the bottom line. If he wants it to be different, he is going to have to make it different and quit letting her get away with the BS that she has been getting away with for what seems like a long time.

We have gone from my husband's ex feeling like his rights and access to his daughter were 100% at her discretion and on her terms, to getting the information she is required to give us when she is required to give it. Then, once it became habit for her to fulfill her part of their custody agreement and she was used to being held accountable, she started holding herself accountable and just doing what she was supposed to do. Recently, their relationship has progressed to something much more peaceful where they actually seem to be working together and not just doing the minimum required by the agreement.

But it ONLY changed when my husband became less afraid of conflict and confrontation and started believing that he had as much right to make decisions and have information regarding his daughter as her mother had. My role was to continually remind him of that, research laws, remind him of agreements... but HE had to change what HE believed and how HE interacted with her and start standing up for himself as an equal parent with equal rights.

It WILL make things worse for a while. She will probably escalate any bad behavior and try new ways to make life miserable. It might take some serious dedication on his part, and some support on your part. BUT, from having been-there-done-that with an ex, I can say that 1) it is the only way to change it, and 2) in the long run it makes it better.
post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
His ex will continue to act this way as long as your husband allows her to.
I hate to say it, but I think this is true.

For whatever reason, I don't think he keeps the communication flowing between him and his ex, and there is nothing you can do about it. HE has to make a decision to do it. As in pick up the phone three times a week as ask direct questions: "When and who picks her up this Friday? Any news about kindy research? Which places did you visit? Phone, address, contact information? How did that doctor's appointment go? Plans for this weekend? Nice talking to ya! Can you pass the phone to Alex?"

Since you can't control what she does, and you have limited control over your husband's involvement into this matter, you have to either:

1. Take full control over communication with the ex (which I wouldn't be comfortable with, but it works for some families).

OR

2. Accept the fact that you will not have a say in decisions regarding your dsd. As hard as it is, and no matter how much you love this child, she is not your daughter, and her parents, for good or for bad, will always have a final say about things. It is a painful realization, but it is what it is. This is exactly what I try to remind myself when DP or dsd's mom make a choice that I wouldn't have done in regards to dsd. She is their child first. It helps me, and I hope it can help you too.
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by myra_mcgray View Post
Contact the school and get them to add you so that all the mailings they send out go to you as well as DSD's mom and then you will not be relying on her to inform you about what is going on.
I am not sure this idea will work. I work the front desk at an elementary school, and a guy calling or coming in saying he was so and so's father and put him on the mailing list would get nowhere fast. I'd politely take his information, but wouldn't add him to anything until I contacted the parent who brought the kid to our school, to see if it was on the up and up. So in all likelihood, DSD's mom will still have the final say on that - unless he has legal paperwork. Sounds messy.

I agree with others that if DSD asks why you weren't at K orientation, you say the absolute truth - "we wanted to go, and would have if we'd known when it was. We were really sad to miss it. Tell me about it!"

Honestly, if it was my oldest (bio or step) and I missed K orientation, I'd be livid too. But having three kids and been there/done that, it might not be as bad as it seems right now. There are SO many family nights, curriculum nights, parent/teacher meetings - you will be able to be involved in many more things. I do understand being upset about missing orientation, but hopefully this gets resolved and you are there for important days in the future.
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I hate to say it, but I think this is true.

For whatever reason, I don't think he keeps the communication flowing between him and his ex, and there is nothing you can do about it. HE has to make a decision to do it. As in pick up the phone three times a week as ask direct questions: "When and who picks her up this Friday? Any news about kindy research? Which places did you visit? Phone, address, contact information? How did that doctor's appointment go? Plans for this weekend? Nice talking to ya! Can you pass the phone to Alex?"
I've gotta admit, no matter how much it annoys me that DH and DSD's mom talk on the phone several times a week (and DH, to hear him tell it ), it does help things immensely. It is hard for two people to parent a child if they don't both work at it together, regardless of the status of their relationship.
post #13 of 56
It's entirely likely that dsd wasn't at the orientation.

Our school does not like the children to attend since it is a bunch of boring speaking and then some tours. The kids do it on a seperate day, without the parents.

It must be frustrating, though. Im really not sure how much of the mom's behavior stems from her and your H's previous parenting relationship. I know that my ex got tired of the seemingly endless notifications about doctor appts and then the long and tedious years of EI therapies. He told me tat he didn't want to know the minutae of her appts... just let him know the outcome. I'm betting his wife wasn't aware of this and I'm also betting that he treaded around the truth when she may have brought the subject up with him.
post #14 of 56
kindy orientation is not all that exciting, just make sure to get on the list to go on field trips and get the class email, newsletters and you won't really have missed out on anything.
post #15 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
His ex will continue to act this way as long as your husband allows her to. That is the bottom line. If he wants it to be different, he is going to have to make it different and quit letting her get away with the BS that she has been getting away with for what seems like a long time.

We have gone from my husband's ex feeling like his rights and access to his daughter were 100% at her discretion and on her terms, to getting the information she is required to give us when she is required to give it. Then, once it became habit for her to fulfill her part of their custody agreement and she was used to being held accountable, she started holding herself accountable and just doing what she was supposed to do. Recently, their relationship has progressed to something much more peaceful where they actually seem to be working together and not just doing the minimum required by the agreement.

But it ONLY changed when my husband became less afraid of conflict and confrontation and started believing that he had as much right to make decisions and have information regarding his daughter as her mother had. My role was to continually remind him of that, research laws, remind him of agreements... but HE had to change what HE believed and how HE interacted with her and start standing up for himself as an equal parent with equal rights.

It WILL make things worse for a while. She will probably escalate any bad behavior and try new ways to make life miserable. It might take some serious dedication on his part, and some support on your part. BUT, from having been-there-done-that with an ex, I can say that 1) it is the only way to change it, and 2) in the long run it makes it better.
This is pretty much how it is. My DH IS NOT an absantee father. He has never missed any event that he has actually known about. I was in the room with him when he asked ex a month ago about kindy stuff. Granted he only asked that one time, but he said he expected ex to keep him in the loop after he told her he wanted to be involved with it.

He used to aske her every week about doc appts, school ect. But when she stopped giving info and it escalated into a fight everytime he asked, slowly things dwindled. He couldn't stand the confrontation anymore. I have watched this happen for the past two years. Anytime he asserts himself and tells ex that he is the Father and should be involved and he needs xyz information, she flips out and it becomes a screaming match between the two of them.

The same thing happened last night when DH called to tell her he demanded the name of the school, teachers name, phone number, that he be listed as second on the emeregnecy contact sheet... And then all of a sudden ex flipped out and started screaming at him.

I am proud of my DH though, because for the first time in awhile he didn't back down to her and he pressed and made it abundantly clear that he is going back to the way he was with her if that is what he has to do to get the information he needs, deserves and has a right to.

Ex hung up on him after about 15 minutes of screaming at him. But then he called her back and they actually talked a little more peacefully and we did get the name of the school. DH even mentioned monthly meetings to ex about going over stuff... I don't know how receptive she was to it, but I am proud of DH bringing it up.

Oh... on another note... DH does call several times a week and speaks to ex first then DSD. And that is one thing he brought up with ex, that he has asked herabout stuff on these phone calls apparantly ( I wouldn't know as he makes the calls on his lunch break at work. ) But I know he must and did as I was next to him listening to his convo with ex. And ex's excuse for not telling him about the kindy thing was that she figured he'd be sleeping. He told her when it comes to his daughter it wouldn't matter, if he would have known he'd have changed his schedule.


So after that... just like you mentioned aricha... all of a sudden ex said she can no longer do Friday drop-offs because it interfers with her life too much. She has to rush home from work then and bring DSD all the way down here. She wanted to know why she had to do it anyway, and DH told her because it was helping me and if she couldn't do it then the only other option was for him to pick DSD up after he got off of work. Ex agreed to that so she didn't have to drive. I nearly cried because I think my DH finally GOT IT that I really can't do the pick up.

Not related to this particular thread, but I'm putting the update here: DH saw how run down I was this Friday night and yesterday and has been an absolute doll. He kept asking what he could do to help and he has let me sit and relax and made me tea and kept the kids entertained so I could get in an extra nap. He has even brought up some things from therapy and has been really thinking about things before he has been saying them.

I think him seeing me in real bad shape Friday night when he came home really made him realize the truth of my statement that I cannot physically pick up DSD on Fridays. So that all worked out anyway.

But yeah, back to other stuff... I know ex won't be doing us any favors for awhile I am sure of that...
post #16 of 56
I have to make a confession as the bio-mom. I do things all the time for my daughter without talking to her dad/my ex first. And I really, truly don't do it to exclude him. I would really love an active, engaged co-parenting relationship with him but often don't even realize that it's happening. Because my partner and I live with my daughter 90% of the time or something like that (she usually does 1 overnight a week, sometimes more, totally ad hoc, no parenting agreement, i'm open to her being there as much as he/she wants), we tend to make most of the key decisions just as we talk about our days/lives. I'm trying to think through the reasons this happens because it really isn't malicious on my part. I think it's really hard to sustain a really equal co-parenting relationship with divorce. I think if you want to make it work then you have to work at it. This is something I myself am working on right now.

One thing that might help with his ex is acknowledging to her and to yourselves that this is hard work, not always comfortable, that in some ways parallel parenting would be easier, but that you think Alex needs this. And then agree together on how to make it work. It sounds like your dh and his ex have a very conflict heavy relationship and things escalate quickly. This is not necessarily the fault of one or the other of them but just a bad dynamic they have. I could easily see her having done the kindergarten thing and not thought about it, telling him after to share the excitement, him confronting her, her getting defensive and all hell breaking loose. I wonder if some kind of mediation would help them work through these issues.

Sounds like counseling is really helping you guys - so glad to hear it.
post #17 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thanks bronxmom. DH actually did tell ex exactly what you said about that he is sure she doesn't always want to talk to him, but bottom line is Alex and she loves all of us and wants all of us too be a part of her life and that we all need to work together and be part of the info loop for her.

DH actually said a lot of profound stuff to ex on the phone yesterday. I was quite proud of him.
post #18 of 56
I'm so happy to hear the update! It will work. Persistence beats resistance!
You have every right to know what's going on, and it shouldn't be a battle.
post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
I am not sure this idea will work. I work the front desk at an elementary school, and a guy calling or coming in saying he was so and so's father and put him on the mailing list would get nowhere fast. I'd politely take his information, but wouldn't add him to anything until I contacted the parent who brought the kid to our school, to see if it was on the up and up. So in all likelihood, DSD's mom will still have the final say on that - unless he has legal paperwork. Sounds messy.
The schools here have a written policy for cases like this.

The schools here send out a letter to every parent, married or not, saying what their procedure is in these cases. The non-cust. parent must send a request in writing, and then the school has X many days in which to confirm with the cust. parent, and then they go from there.
post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momtwice View Post
The schools here have a written policy for cases like this.

The schools here send out a letter to every parent, married or not, saying what their procedure is in these cases. The non-cust. parent must send a request in writing, and then the school has X many days in which to confirm with the cust. parent, and then they go from there.
All it should take is a copy of the birth certificate and his driver's license. They should never assume that one parents has custody unless they have been given a copy of a court order.

Also, this wouldn't work at our local schools because they don't mail things, lol. It comes home in the kid's backpack.
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