Hello wondering if I could get some advice for my VERY complicated situation for both being a SAH working Mom involving sharing finances and outside influence when trying to do waldorf at home. This is a mouthful and may be my life story. I know there will be harsh criticism :)
My boyfriend has a 9 year old boy. I met him when he was 4 almost 5. We share a 3.5 yr old together.
Some background information:
We lived together very unpeacefully. We argued a great deal about his son's behavior - hyper, erratic, media influence (call of duty, non stop TV and video games), jealousy towards our son, and the lack of boundaries and structure in his life. We also argued over his lack of financial support - we kept everything separate. I paid for pretty much everything for our son except his insurance because he claimed that our farm food and organic groceries were out of control in terms of money. My son didn't eat the standard diet - he had a lot of digestive problems and vaccine problems. I have spent his whole life trying to help him alternatively and holistically and ive paid for pretty much all of it. My boyfriend has a very generous income (about 6x mine) while I bring home 27,000 and have always raised our son with no daycare. He claimed that paying the rent and utilities was enough for him to support and that I needed to pull my end too. I started becoming interested in Waldorf when my son was 1 yrs old.
I decided to move back in with my mom and raise our son there alone. The fighting had gotten bad. We lived there from his age of 2 - March 2012 till this past July 1, 2013. While my son had a lot of outside influence from my mom buying him lots of plastic and mainstream toys, I knew that it wasn't too big of a deal because they were age appropriate - no violence etc and one day we would be on our own. I didnt know if his dad and i would get back together. Support from his dad was 150 every month until I requested 350 a month in our therapy sessions (pathetic I know). I didn't take him to court because my son and I were together 24/7. I didn't want him using the law to control me when I had raised our son pretty much alone his whole life because his dad was working or coming home late or hanging in his son's room because we didn't get along. My son saw me as his brick - his safety. My son also was going through a rough period from the vaccine damage. Any slight change in his diet sent him into a meltdown. His digestive system was a wreck.
While at my moms she babysat for me for a whole day and night so I could go to the office and get my weeks worth of work done. Work stayed at work when I left. We eat Weston price style of food so I was pretty consumed with cleaning cooking and playing with my son when he wasn't playing with his cousin or kids we knew. I had more time to teach him, tell stories, and force myself to live in the moment with him. We started homeopathy and vaccine clears while living with my mom and my son became a different person - pooping everyday, happy, social, observant...no more regressions, toe walking, head tapping....he looked great
We decided to give it a second try and we moved in July 2013 almost 2 hrs away with my boyfriend and his son. I love his dad and felt bad that our son was missing out on his dad. I came here and decided to try to work from home with no help and obviously still play the SAHM role but with more people to clean up after. I am overworked. I feel like a robot which is OK but as a result I am more broke now because I am still paying for pretty much everything and more without my boyfriends help. He still just pays the rent utilities, and some odd stuff here and there but mostly only for him and his son. So that is a problem already in itself and its half of what is going on. If I want something for my son I have to buy it. All his food, supplements, clothes, toys...I buy.. The homeopathy I buy. .... if its for our son...I pretty much buy it. His dad will just use the excuse - he doesn't need it . I am the one that wakes up for my son 24/7 while his dad sleeps in even when I am juggling my payroll entry. . When he watches my son so i can work does it basically consists of his son getting our son worked up and they scream and run around like maniacs. I sit there clenching my teeth because his son is so intense and hyper that my 3 yr old has been hurt a bunch of time - once involved glueing his cut chin at the hospital. My work is now spread out all over the whole week. I am finding it hard to wear this many hats at once. cook, cleaner, teacher, employee, nurterer
His son has a lot of anger towards our son is mean to him but then alternatively will decide he wants to be nice and will share. I am VERY happy to see him share because he literally baracades his room from our son. He runs up to shut and lock the door if he sees our son go near it. He comes to us with a lot of anger. His father and I still argue over his son's behavior - highly attention seeking, very up and down, very obnoxious at times. He runs our son around in circles but then 10 mins later gets a wind up his behind and decides hes pissed off and goes to his room. He treats our son like a toy at his disposal. This happens about 10 times a day when he first comes by the 3rd day its a little better but he still tries to stir our son up. I will be trying to get my son in bed and he's trying to get him to act crazy. If you ask him to stop he persists. Our son is playful but not hyper by any means. So this is causing a lot of frustration between his Dad and I. He sees it as no problem but I see that it is disturbing the peace that we have when he isn't around. I also see the up and down behavior as disturbing to my son's emotional development. Yes my 3.5 yr old is a lot calmer than the 9 yr old. Strange I know. I do dread when he;s here. I don't know any kids that play with my son like this. In my opinion its attention seeking to the max. He doesn't have adhd because he can turn it off when he wants. Is it normal for a 9 yr old to be so impulsive and energetic? Like never having an off button. I wont even mention mealtimes... I give up trying to get anyone to sit down and eat when he's here.
The 9 yr old's play is very aggressive and influenced by media, violence, warfare etc. He is still playing videogames and watching tv in his room because his dad doesn't want to limit or take it away despite my requests. I asked for it to go in his room because my son doesn't really watch TV and I don't want the influence or noise around. (I see him act better without it). When he roleplays with my son he is constantly teaching him gun actions - like loading and backing up the gun...shooting people...its not your everyday cowboy play...this looks like some serious warfare with guns that shoot off 100 rounds or something (I have no clue about guns)....its basically taken from an action film or video games
He has been sharing toys with my son but they are all ninjago legos, transformers, ironman, toy guns, etc etc. Now I do make exceptions for my son to have legos and playmobils in addition to his costume clothes and other mostly wooden and waldorf toys. I find that my son has become so obsessed with these types of unattractive toys shared by his half brother. He battles me everyday to play with them. he asks me to buy these toys everyday all day. Everything out of his mouth is ironman, spiderman, shoot this person, make him die, transformer... I am at my wit's end! If I had it my way my son wouldn't even have the legos except for the bricks and standard plain people. He is a technical child and will sit there for an hour taking them apart and reassembling them. He is a connector and is social - he loves people and fantasy and adventure. Hes not the car type. The other toys lately just sit there.
I know his dad and I need to be on the same page but how in the world is going to happen? I am making a huge compromise right now and I feel that it is shifting towards less of a compromise for me. We have so many difficulties in so many areas. What do I do about the lack of sharing finances, his son's behavior? How do I approach this without a fight? Am I crazy to feel resentful and angry about it? How do I handle the constant influence with the toys and violence? I am constantly telling my son "we don't do that....Brandon is older...his dad and mom let him do that" He is starting to feel excluded and controlled I can tell. Hes so little he doesn't get it.
Everyone always says well you should have known what you got into. My boyfriend was not like this before I got pregnant. I thought I could help his son but I was never allowed to because it was always seen as extreme or not necessary. I never had a kid - i had no clue what it was like - especially dealing with a kid that had no structure in his life. We are in this situation now. I want peace in our home. When I tell my son fairy tales and act them out with the ostheimers he loves it....he'll play with them but then its back to the violent based legos people keep buying him and talking about cruddy mainstream stuff all day long. I don't want to be the evil mom constantly taking these types of toys away and hiding them because he cries like someone hurt him. Its literally traumatic for him. Its like a double standard- his brother plays with them, he plays with them when hes here...but then I am switching it up...it makes my head spin even writing about it!. I feel like an evil tyrant trying to lay down the law but no one is backing me up. Its a losing battle.
Hello there and welcome to Mothering! Whew that is a complicated situation!
I just want to clarify, as moderator. I hear in your story elements of Waldorf and wanting to raise your son in more of a Waldorf fashion, and feeling hopeless about the older son. There are so many different ways to go at the situation you are in--this post could be in this forum for the Waldorf perspective, or our Blended Families forum, or even Couples. You have a very difficult situation. You may want to cross post in different forums here at Mothering.
My gut impression on first read, is that the challenges you have with your partner are so pervasive, that they go well beyond the question of Waldorf vs not Waldorf. You and your partner are so far from being on the same page about so many critical things, it seems, as you said, impossible that you'd get closer to one another's views on Waldorf. You are not even in the same "book" let alone same page on huge issues involving your son, so much that he's not even supporting him financially. Whew! That's big.
Let's see what the others say.
Wow, life is difficult over at your house isn't it? Taking a big step back, I would just remark that it seems as if you have firmly held convictions about a life well lived. Good for you! You've got to picture the life you want before you can create it. Unfortunately, it seems as if your boyfriend does not share these same convictions. You're into homeopathy, organic foods, and nonviolence. Your boyfriend thinks your health & wellness efforts are unnecessary and that video games are harmless fun. Have you two ever had a heart-to-heart about this? I get the feeling that what you are doing is not just a "choice" or a "preference" but a way to express your innermost self in the world. Sorta like how some people become vegans. Your boyfriend sounds like the kind of person who doesn't need to express his innermost self that way and probably cannot understand why other people would feel the need to. So...as romantic partners....have you ever discussed this? I think that if you guys are going to work over the long term, he has to be able to support you in living the life you want to live and being the mother you want to be. It is ok to haggle over the minor details like does EVERYTHING have to be organic if you can't afford it? Or, maybe you could have a movie night once a month? That stuff is small potatoes. But it sounds to me that he is not entertaining anything about the lifestyle you want. I suppose that is his right, but it certainly does not make for a great relationship or a warm environment to raise your son. Both of you deserve to be in a great relationship and your son definitely deserves a warm family environment. If you are at polar ends of the spectrum on this "how to live the good life" question, it is probably best to just acknowledge that and figure out what needs to be done next.
Well, these are just my thoughts as a random person on the internet. Your sister sounds like she has some good things to say, knowing you in real life and all! :) Best wishes.
What bothers me is that it seems you both are treating your son as only yours. From your writing it appears as if so, I hope I'm wrong.
He pays for rent, but hey, you clean and cook that's one trade off, then your son, he is yours together, and responsibility taken should be half and half. He should not babysit for you, he should father!
I do have lots experience in father not being on the same page! Thank god for marriage! I'm a modern woman and feminist, so I wasn't all about marriage, until I was in a relationship in this country. I knew that if I'm going to have this guys baby, he better marry me. This country is so expensive and so insecure.
My husband was so not waldorf and so not holistic, but because we are married, he is stuck paying for the bills... the school and organic food, otherwise we are propably cheaper this way ;)
I have educated him so much, so tiredlessly that I'm sure it has taken a big toll on our romantic relatioship. But it has worked a little. And what works so much more than me lecturing, is having him hear it from other people. When I wanted homebirth, my friends told me to have him read the books too, but... he does not read! So I took him to a movies, orgasmic birth and business of being born. I took him to waldorf school open houses and events. I learned that he needs to be given the opportunity to form his own opinion about these things. Usually he would still complain and resist my ideas, but then I would hear from his friends how he raves about the wonders of natural birth (before we actually did it), or while he complains about this expensive school, all of a sudden he has talked two of his friends into the same school!
But your battle will probably never be over, and you also have to give in a little. you can't dismiss everything he is and does as a father, otherwise you push him away as a father. I'm not saying you did this and caused it with your alternative ideas, because he obviously didnt start on the right foot in fathering when he would just pay for HIS son and not "yours". But if you can teach him the importance of being a good dad to your son too, and have him get involved and learn somethign about what you believe in, then maybe also you have to give him some credit as a father. tell him you notice and appreciate every time he is a good dad, and I think he'll start wanting to do more. if he doesn't do anything at all... leave him... But you also might have to start the game of good first. you might have to give in a little first. Still never loose your message, why these things are important. Tell him, maybe this will not work if we are so far apart, ask him to please come with me to (waldorf school event or holistic doctors appointment..), if you want to save this relationship, and I'll let go of something that annoys you the most.
Hard to know from here, but it does sound that you see only negatives in his son. But realize that he is 9, its big, it's not the fairy and gnome age for sure! But, also, it's little. you are the adult. Sounds very 9 year old to hate the little kid, and not let him in, and then totally loosing control and being childish playing with him wild... take them ouside, in the nature. Go together as a family, If you cannot forbid him to play video games in your house, you are still the adult and you can tell him that we are going to the forest now like it or not, and he will love it. To better understand your step son, read about the 9 year change from steiner/waldorf literature.
About the toys. It's a constant battle between me and my mother-in-law about the action figures. They keep coming in, if I think they are unhealthy plastic, as soon as kids forget them in the corner they start disappearing. My rule is, they have to be non toxic, non-talking, and that I don't want them seeing movies of the same characters as the toys. A waldorf teacher has also told me that its totally ok if they hear stories about star wars etc from other kids. if they haven't themselves seen the movie, then it doesnt rip them off their own ability to imagine, because it's like hearing any story. Granted, a knight with a sword is much more appealing to us waldorf mamas, and WE know the horrors of machine gun wars, but if your son has not seen the video games or news from middle east, then he doesn't think its any more disgusting than two knights battling.
We started waldorf at first grade, so I don't know what my sons would have thought of the puppet theatre if they got to do it themselves, or had their amazing teacher perform it, but visiting a holiday fair, at another school they hated the puppet shows, and I thought they were super boring too...just saying, it doesnt fit all boys, make waldorf fit your family and not only the other way around. All glory to moms who can keep their kids in a total bubble. but most of us live in the real world, and to some, relationships with relatives and family members are more important than obsessing over having your kids life look like a waldorf catalogue. it was also healthy for me to become part of a real world waldorf community, to see that it can fit so many different families, and how people leave and take things from it what ever they like or fits their family. I have yet to visit a family who's playroom looks like a wooden toy catalogue. I first thought there was one kid who seriously never has seen tv, but after getting to know them better, I find out that the mom is so upset the grandparets show him tv all the time....!
Not saying you should not believe what you do, just give in a little, since you and the father are sooo far apart right now, you both have to budge a little to make it work.