Cant think of a title....a vent maybe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont really know how to title my vent. Its going to sound selfish, probably. But still. I have two boys, one is overseas(long story) and the other is 17, so pretty self reliant, and stays at his dads half the time and gone a lot of the time the other part, so hes not here much.

My vent is with my stepson. He is 9. I love him very much, we are super close already(dh and i have only been married since feb). He is a great kid, sweet and very fun to be around. My vent is this...and I know this is wrong. DSS is not dh's biological child. He got with this pregnant chic when he was 21, felt sorry for her, and took on her child as his own, since the dad was MIA. Sweet sweet of dh. Dss mom is pregnant also, with a singleton. When she was not pregnant, she would only let us get dss once a week, during a school day, if that. There is no custody papers in place, we just get him when we get him. Well lately, we are getting him during the whole school week. Again, great, but I am hugely preggo with twins!!!!!! And dh doesnt get home til 8pm which leaves me taking care of and entertaining a 9 year old child who isnt mine because mom doesnt feel good and cant be arsed to do homework/wake at 6am for school run, etc. I feel used.I know its wrong to feel this way, but I just am a little at it. To top it off, dss is super spoiled, because him and his mom live with grandma, and grandma waits on dss hand and foot. He cannot do anything himself, even simple things like pour his own milk. I do not feel it is my place as a stepparent to try to teach him to do this things on his own so when he is here I am up and down getting him this or that, and a lot of times I really need to be napping. I love him being here, because I know at least I am helping him with his math(he needs lots of help here, and nobody else does it with him) and also I snuggle with him lots watching cartoons, and play games with him. He even wanted me to take him treat o treating instead of his mom. Of course I couldnt but still, this just shows what time I spend with him.
I just feel aggravated that his mom wont be a mom!!!! I guess thats my vent more than anything. I feel bad for him. I dont want to be his mom!! I want his mom to do the things I do with/for him! For his sake, not mine. He is so sweet he just wants his mom to be with him. I dont know what I want by posting this here. I am just venting.

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#2 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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Well, i'm on the other half - my DD1 is DH's DSD and you BET he teaches her stuff like getting her own food/drinks (and she's 4, i can't imagine having to drag about after a big 9yo who cannot pour milk!). If i were you i would regard him as yours, since your DH does, and go ahead and teach him the stuff he needs to know, as much to make your life easier as to help him.

It's a shame his mom isn't more engaged, but you can't change her, only you. It must be tough, i can't pretend to "get it" since both the kids in my blended family are biologically mine, but i do know my DH regards DD1 as "his" though he also parents knowing her bio daddy is there for her too (the two of them took her ToTing together!).

Are you sure the pregnancy is what has changed the custody agreement? DD1 recently began having 2 overnights a week with her father, which coincided with, but was unrelated to, the new baby arriving. In fact she asked repeatedly for more time with him, so we decided to go for it and see how it went (it's going good).

Have you talked to your DH about all this? It might not change things, but being on the same page and talking openly about this might help you feel better. Hang in there mama, i know it's small consolation, but as a mother it warms my heart so much to see how XP is with DD2 and how DH is with DD1, you can't over-love a child and he (and his mom) as SOOOOOO lucky that there is another loving adult in his life. That doesn't mean you have to be a passive babysitter to him in your home, you have every right to set your own rules and teach him skills to help him fit into your family.
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#3 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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Well, I think it is MORE than okay to teach your dss things, especially since you are now the majority parent in his life. Dsd's mom has primary custody and I still teach dsd things like laundry, cooking, etc., because I felt like she needs to learn it (she is 9 also).

It sounds like a frustrating situation-did you actually agree to take dss for more time and be his primary parent? I get that you love him and want to be there for him, but I can see how serious resentment would build from having this thrust upon you, especially while pregnant with twins!

Also, I think 9 is really old enough to entertain himself for a good part of the time if you are tired and need to rest so maybe give yourself permission to take a break once in a while! I know ith dsd I used to spend so much more time trying to "entertain" her becauswi I wanted her to have a good time here than I ever do with my bio-kids, and it was a lot of pressure to put on myself and made me very stressed out.

Anyway, take care of yourself!

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#4 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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you teach him math but not how to pour milk? your husband should get a custody and visitation agreement asap.

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#5 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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i cant help but laugh at what kawa kamuri said about teaching math but not milk pouring. :giggle and i agree with the paperwork being in order.

i think it is not about the milk pouring, but that you feel put upon and un appreciated. lay down some good rules, write them out with ss there helping, so he is part of the changes to come. let him contribute with the things he knows he is capable of doing. getting his own afterschool snack, his own drinks and then washing up and putting the dishes away that he has used. bringing his own laundry to the hamper or laundry area. the beginnings of learning to cook easy things for himself such as grilled cheese or eggs. offer these changes up as positives for his future life when he is out on his own or in college. they are life skills. he is more than old enough to take out the trash, peel vegatables, sort his own wash and even do his own clothing himself. there are directions right on the tags and the bottle or box of detergent. try not to make it about your not having the time or energy, which i am sure you dont and wont for a good long while to come. but about his maturing and independence training... at this age i began telling mine that they were on the brink of young adulthood and with that comes responsibilities. everyone has them. kids and grown ups alike.
if dh isnt there a lot, then making the chart will be up to you and ss but if dh is there then he can put his two cents in also. who can say, ss might really like his new found self esteem in being thought to be capable of beginning to become a young man, he might not like it at first either... it could go either way. but if you stand your ground, you will end up with a smart capable young man you can feel proud to have raised to be independant and able to look after himself when he gets to college.
he also might really like to know that he is a huge help to you with these two wee ones on the way, it is nice to be needed and to feel like people can trust you to be relied upon when asked for help. it might make the transition of having two new babies in the house easier also, better to feel like the helpful trusted older brother, than a diaper fetching baby watcher kwim. if you start helping him to feel the former now, things might be a lot smoother when the bebies arrive.

hth~

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#6 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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Thing is, unless your husband has actually adopted the kid (or is considered the legal father - which is possible if they were married when she gave birth), he likely has no standing to file for custody or visitation. So he really is at the mercy of the mother.
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#7 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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#1- If your DH has always voluntarily played the role of Dad, then he is Dad. Put this "he's not actually DH's bio. child" business right out of your head and leave it there.

#2- You married a guy - and have conceived twins with a guy - who has a kid. Under some circumstances, DSS might live with you guys all the time. Keep your (perhaps valid) criticisms of DSS's mother separate, in your mind, from the fact that your DH is the father and it is perfectly reasonable for DSS to be in his father's home, whenever.

#3- Power and responsibility go hand-in-hand. At least that's the way it's supposed to be. If you are expected to care for DSS while your DH is working - if you have the responsibility of carting him to school, or supervising his homework, or fixing him snacks, or feeding him dinner - then you have the right to decide how that is done. When you tell him (with a smile), "Oh, sweetie - in my kitchen, 9-year-olds pour their own milk. Maybe you forgot I'm pregnant with twins? I need to put my feet up," if he cries or whines...so what!! You are obligated to welcome your DH's child into your home, regardless that you're pregnant. You are NOT obligated to care for him the way his mother, his grandmother or anyone else does. If someone wants him waited on hand and foot, they can do it themselves!

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#8 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
#1- If your DH has always voluntarily played the role of Dad, then he is Dad. Put this "he's not actually DH's bio. child" business right out of your head and leave it there.
Possibly not - legally. Just sayin'.
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#9 of 23 Old 11-02-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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The thing is, Jeannine, if there's no legal basis to claim paternity then he ISN'T dad. He has no rights he could fight for, no way on earth to actually care for and protect this child when it comes right down to brass tacks. If the mother died, he wouldn't get custody of this child. It doesn't really matter who is biologically the father - but it matters a great deal how the law regards the situation. And depending on the state the OP lives in and whether or not there is a support order or any other kind of court proceedings that went on in the past, that one could really go either way.

OP, my response depends a lot on whether or not your DH pays formal support for this child. If he does, it's time to go to court and hammer out a formal custody agreement that is binding on all parties. If he doesn't - well, time and energy and money are limited things, and you and your DH are about to have twins who are going to need (and deserve) pretty much all you can muster. I would decline to be an unpaid babysitter for another person's child. For me (and YMMV), it would be a formal custody agreement or nothing.

Not that your DH would walk away and never speak to an of these people again, but the whole "two homes" thing just doesn't fly when there's only one person who is legally a parent. It sounds like what is actually happening is - due to his mom and grandma wanting respite, this child is getting babysat 40 hours/week by his mother's ex-boyfriend's new wife. Presenting that to him as a "blended" family is a LIE, and unsustainable long-term. He deserves to have a dad who can legally claim him, and who actually has the power to stand up for him. Unless I misread your post, your DH can't offer that. If he can't get (or doesn't want) legal paternity, then a more honest approach would be to take on an "uncle" role and maintain the relationship that way.

My first choice, obviously, would be for your DH to take this to mediation/court and seek parental rights, a custody order and a support order. But depending on the details of the situation and the laws where you live, that may not be feasible. If your DH has never paid support and doesn't want to start paying it now - then he's not the dad. He's mom's very nice ex-boyfriend who loves this kid and wants to stay in his life, which is great, but not the same as the "dad" role in what it demands from you, the new wife. I do not spend 40 hours/week taking care of my nephews, even though I love them and they love me.
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#10 of 23 Old 11-03-2010, 12:38 AM
 
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Just chiming in to agree with what Jeannine said. Your house, your rules. Being hugely pregnant is a great excuse to teach kids to take on more responsibility.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#11 of 23 Old 11-03-2010, 08:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
The thing is, Jeannine, if there's no legal basis to claim paternity then he ISN'T dad.
If further issues have been discussed in the thread, unfortunately I haven't had time to read them. I was responding to the original post, in which Strong Mama - quite understandably - seemed to be expressing frustration that this boy is spending a lot of time at their house; and, due to her husband's work schedule, a lot of time in HER care...and she's pregnant...and this kid isn't even technically her husband's son, etc. To that, I say that if her husband volunteered to play Dad to this kid, since before he was born, then it is right for her to treat this kid as her husband's child (which, again, doesn't mean treating him like a little prince, just accepting him as part of their home, for as much of the time as her husband is willing/able to have him there).

Regardless what can be proven or supported in court; regardless whether biology allows the kid's mom to unilaterally and whimsically decide how much time DH gets with the kid... If he has chosen to play the role of Dad, then it is in both the kid's and the man's best interest that he be consistent and committed about that relationship. If the OP entered the relationship with her husband with the understanding that he was a parent, then regardless of inconvenience or frustration with the mom, she should not hope/ask for him to step backward, into a "nice-guy-but-not-your-Dad" role. It would hurt the kid AND their marriage.

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#12 of 23 Old 11-03-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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Smithie, I think you raised an important point. It may not affect the issue of how OP will deal with the kid in the kitchen when it's time to get a snack, but in the long run it makes a difference.

In my state, if a person has taken on the role of parent, with the biological, custodial parent's encouragement, then he or she can request a visitation order. If he has been having the child over for visitation on a regular basis, as allowed by the mother, he has gone a long way towards acting as a father. But if he doesn't pay any support, is he really acting as a father?

See, it matters because parental relationships aren't expendable. Once you establish that kind of relationship with a kid, it's important to protect it, for the kid's sake. I think I might have heard this story on here before- and it seems like high time to try to take this to court and get a permanent visitation/support order in place. If the judge won't go for that, maybe you and dh could write up an agreement with the mother? Then you could get down to being a stepmom, instead of an unpaid babysitter.

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#13 of 23 Old 11-03-2010, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all replies, and I agree with all of them. Particularly smithies.
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The thing is, Jeannine, if there's no legal basis to claim paternity then he ISN'T dad. He has no rights he could fight for, no way on earth to actually care for and protect this child when it comes right down to brass tacks. If the mother died, he wouldn't get custody of this child. It doesn't really matter who is biologically the father - but it matters a great deal how the law regards the situation. And depending on the state the OP lives in and whether or not there is a support order or any other kind of court proceedings that went on in the past, that one could really go either way.
This. This is why dh does not have custody agreement/visitation. He does pay child support, not court ordered.
At times we did not get dss for weeks, dh told the mom he was going to file for custody of some kind, as we never get dss on fun days like weekends where we could actually do something, its always when mom needs a sitter, shes working or in school, etc. She told dh that if he did, she would just have the dna done and of course he is not the father so that would be the end of him ever seeing his son again. So he just accepts the way it is. I know when I met dh and married him he had a son. I have tried to tell dss to pour his drinks, showed him where snacks are, towels are for the bath, etc, but he still reverts to asking for everything and whining about where is this, i need that. I just kinda gave up on it for now.Dh has talked to dss about listening to me, it worked for a while, but now its tapering off. I did finally get him to start taking his dirty clothes to the washroom now. I suggested to dh that dss have a chore chart here for an allowance, dh was on board with this, so this is going to take place now. This may help a lot. Thanks for suggestions!

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#14 of 23 Old 11-04-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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"She told dh that if he did, she would just have the dna done and of course he is not the father so that would be the end of him ever seeing his son again. So he just accepts the way it is."

I really think that your lives might be changed for the better by a conversation with a lawyer about this. It varies by state, but she may be absolutely wrong about the DNA angle.

Regardless, she's playing games, and your DH is enabling them by sending her support in the absence of a court order. You really need to think hard about where you draw YOUR line - but support money out of my household budget and endless babysitting in the absence of a legal relationship aren't things I would agree to. If she's that coldblooded about it, ultimately she will "sell" you regular visitation in exchange for the support check. But right now she gets the check AND she gets total control, and that's just completely unbalanced. This may be one of those "be his extra backbone" moments. Your DH knows he's being jerked around, but he may have so much bad history with this issue that he can't break out of the pattern.
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#15 of 23 Old 11-04-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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I also encourage you guys to check into your dh's legal standing wrt dss. I have looked into it, because my stepkids and I have developed a mother-child relationship, but their dad and I don't want to get married. Their mother has pretty much (but not legally) abandoned them. I don't see us splitting up, we have a fabulous relationship. But now that me and the kids are getting so close, I feel the need to protect our relationship. I don't want them to ever go through what they are going through right now with their mom, no matter what happens.

This is Washington, but other states might have similar laws. If someone performs the responsibilities of a parent, with the encouragement of the custodial, biological parent, then he or she can petition the court for visitation- whether or not they are married to that parent. Your dh is paying child support and taking responsibility for dss' daily care. He is the father, for all intents and purposes. All of you deserve to have this arrangement settled legally if at all possible.

That said, the milk pouring situation is one of those things you probably will have to deal with as best you can anyway.

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#16 of 23 Old 11-04-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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i am not sure about the states, but here in canada if a man steps up to the plate and is a child's father for any length of time... even as little as three months. and if the mother accepts him as the father and there have been birthday cards, christmas cards, etc if he has been paying any support at all and has been accepted by the child as his father, then the man who has been 'daddy' has all the rights of a birth father. dna or otherwise, it is how the child feels that matters and in a case such as this where the boy is 9 yo. any court here would award your dh anything from custody/guardianship to primary residency and c/s from the child's mother. even if the bio father has been in the picture and has been having access, the man who has been the primary dad in the picture has the bigger part of the rights of the parent.
i would check your legal rights and responsibilities with a lawyer and your state and make sure where you stand. it isnt fair or in any way just that his bio mom could just rip him out of your life at her whim. and with all the time he spends in your care, what if something happend to him, would you or dh have signing power so that he would receive care?

good luck to you

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#17 of 23 Old 11-08-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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OMG! This woman is just playing him to get all things her way. She gets financial support and a "babysitter" whenever she needs one, but has all the say in WHEN you and DH see your DSS and when you don't, and threatens him with pulling DSS completely out of HIS DAD's life if she doesn't get everything she wants the way it suits her! I would definitely get legal help, because if she's wrong (and I hope she is, given your DH is the only father this child has known for 9 years, his whole life, then it would be a horrible injustice to take that father away simply due to genetics), then it's only fair that he know the truth and get things hammered out legally to protect both himself and the boy.

I am the only mother my DSD has known because her BM died when she was 13 mos. old. I have been with her and her dad since she was about 1 1/2 and the 3 of us have been living together for nearly 4 years now. However, we are not married. Before that they lived with his parents for about 2 years, and while his mom thinks she was the mother figure for that time, I instead simply think of her as the grandmother who was helping him care for her, but that's another post. Anyway, I was just sharing this thread with him because he needs to get off his butt and change his own will. When his wife, DSS's mother, was sick, he named their good friend as DSD's guardian should anything happen to him. She moved away shortly after he and I started, and we have not seen her since, and he hasn't even heard from her in a couple of years. I'm not sure if she would fight for custody, but legally, she is who is named as her guardian. I don't think his parents, or DSD's maternal parents, would fight me, but legally, it might be mute point. I don't even know what our state law says about it. I might not even be considered (though I hope I would be given my involvement and commitment over the past nearly-6 years) as a legal guardian.
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#18 of 23 Old 11-08-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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It's definitely more than alright to teach things to the child in a blended family. Before I came around, these kids had everything done for them in the world. I was completely shocked since they were 8 and 10 and couldn't do anything for themselves. I know they resent me for some of the things I make them do on their own now, like make their beds and actually rinse their dishes, get their own drinks and things, but it needs to be done to save your sanity and allow you some more rest.
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#19 of 23 Old 11-09-2010, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all replies. Small update:
I had a long talk with dh and he has started making dss do many things now:
He is making his own cereal, popping his own popcorn in the microwave, pouring his own drinks, taking his dishes in the kitchen,cleaning up his messes, and showering without prompts. This is a BIG success!! It didn't take long, either. We have had dss for a week now and he is loving the responsibility, he told me he felt proud he could do these things himself. Now he doesnt ask for drinks/food, he just goes and gets them himself, its amazing!!!!

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#20 of 23 Old 11-18-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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That is excellent! I am always somewhat taken aback when I run across kids, who are incapable of even the smallest bit of independent action. A friend has a 19yo nephew who can't make tuna salad because his Mom doesn't let him. Uuuuhhh... oooookay.

 

Personally, I want my kids to know how to do the basics of caring for themselves. They can both do laundry, clean, cook. Know the basics of some home repairs (i.e. how to stop a running toilet, etc) and car repair (how to change the oil, change a tire, etc). Basic, important stuff people need to know.

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#21 of 23 Old 11-18-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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I'm happy for you, too, Strong Mama!

 

Re: mtiger's comments (for some reason, I can't type BELOW your quote, but it's down there...)

As a former single mom of mild-moderately Autistic twins (formerly single, not formerly a mom!), sometimes it's just EASIER to do everything yourself, than to deal with all the added time and sometimes-frustrating incompetence of kids doing things for themselves, when they have special challenges (like mine) or they just have no internal motivation (like Strong Mama's step-son).  Many times, I have to consciously remind myself that doing everything myself is more about MY convenience and not always good parenting.  If I never let go and let THEN do things (even if it's worse than I would do), they'll never be independent of me.  And they have to become as independent as they're capable of being, to keep feeling good about themselves.  But life is busy and sometimes I FORGET to remind myself.  So, I'm sure the same thing goes on, with other parents.  It's not always intentional.

 

On the other hand, sometimes parents (especially mothers) do things for their kids (way past the age when the kids should be doing those things themselves), because they want to ensure they remain *needed*, which is a really troublesome dynamic, indeed!
 

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That is excellent! I am always somewhat taken aback when I run across kids, who are incapable of even the smallest bit of independent action. A friend has a 19yo nephew who can't make tuna salad because his Mom doesn't let him. Uuuuhhh... oooookay.

 

Personally, I want my kids to know how to do the basics of caring for themselves. They can both do laundry, clean, cook. Know the basics of some home repairs (i.e. how to stop a running toilet, etc) and car repair (how to change the oil, change a tire, etc). Basic, important stuff people need to know.




One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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#22 of 23 Old 11-20-2010, 05:19 AM
 
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Those are both good and valid points, Jeannine. Of course, there will always be kids who need more help than others. just as there are some who simply will never be able to do what the majority can. With the latter... one has to be realistic, I think...

 

With the former... I can imagine that it must be hard to not just jump in and do what needs doing. But ya know... even parents of kids without those hurdles face the same thing. I can't tell you how many times I thought to myself "Geez - why didn't I just do it myself?" First time my son cooked a full on dinner - there was not a clean dish, utensil or surface. But... the look of pride on his face was worth it. It took time, but he learned that cleaning as you go can make things a lot easier and less daunting. We went through quite a lot of no white clothes, because they all ended up pink, or dingy blue, or.... And so on and so forth.

 

And when they do go off on their own (whether to college, or another path)? The mess and aggravation will have been worth it. Trust me.

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#23 of 23 Old 11-21-2010, 05:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
#1- If your DH has always voluntarily played the role of Dad, then he is Dad. Put this "he's not actually DH's bio. child" business right out of your head and leave it there.
Possibly not - legally. Just sayin'.


Honestly, this would require consulting a lawyer.  In some places, if dad has acted as dad the kids entire life, and the mother, and everyone else acknowledges this person as "Dad" - courts recognize that its not in the best interest of the child to be suddenly removed from "dad" just b/c there is no biological relation.  In NY, acting as dad and holding out as dad, make you DAD - responsibilities and all.

 

Some states may be different, but the OP's husband would need to consult a lawyer and find out if he has standing.  When a child is a BABY, or has no one "holding out" as dad, then its dependent on a paternity test - as children get older and have attachments things get more complicated.  OP - if you want a set schedule thats completely fine, but your DH needs to find out if he has standing in court.

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