step kids' "real mom" showed up and I'm not taking it well! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The back story: My partner and I have 7 kids between us- 4 mine, 3 his. We've been together for 2 years. We live in neighboring apartments in the same apartment complex. The kids were placed with dp by cps shortly before we met. In the 2 years we've been together, the kids' mom has been over to see them, maybe 6 times. She couch surfs around the area, so she's close by. I have completely taken over as mom for the kids- they do totally come over before I've had my coffee, which would be my last holdout as far as boundaries!

 

This summer, dp is taking a difficult class, and I have been the only care provider for 8+ hours a day, every day. My relationship with the kids has deepened and I feel more like a mother to them than ever. So when their mom showed up yesterday for a visit, I was floored. I didn't see this coming, I guess because she never comes here and it never occurred to me. It's so obvious that she's their "real mom"! I know, I know, I'm their rock, I'm doing a great job, I'm a hero and all that. Please, someone on this board must know how heartbreaking it is to see their total devotion to a woman who has brought nothing but misery to their lives! mecry.gif

 

But it gets worse. The court ordered, 14 months ago, that she could have supervised visitation, once a week, as their dad sees fit. She was supposed to come and fix dinner for them, spend time, and put them to bed. Needless to say, she's never done that. She was also supposed to continue therapy, and the therapist would tell the court when she was fit to have the kids unsupervised. She never did that either. She has promised to come countless times, and disappointed the kids. I am the one helping them grow up despite this massive upheaval and disappointment, and my opinion based on that is that she should only be allowed to come when she can do it regularly, at a specific time that she honors. Because of course the deepest wound here is the shattering of their trust.

 

No-one thought she would show up. When she wanted to spend the night, dp came and said he wanted to check with me. Hah! I said no, but he let her stay the night anyway, because the kids obviously wanted her to. This morning, he didn't want to wake her before he left for class (well, she does have a toddler with her too). So I'm expected to supervise her visit (or not, he thinks it's fine if she just stays with the kids), and then be there to take dss to his kindergarten assessment at 11, then to his day camp afterward. In other words, he expects me to facilitate this whole thing even though I think she should be banned until she shows the intention to be a consistent and positive presence for the kids. Ok, not completely banned, but I want there to be some boundaries, or if dp doesn't want them, at least he should deal with it!

 

I'm just so upset right now.

 

 


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#2 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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I do think he can choose how he wants to handle her coming to visit (and, though I understand you wanting to set very strict limits on her visits, I also don't agree with keeping her away from the children), but it is SO not ok for him to leave her at HIS house as YOUR problem to deal with. I think it's time for some major boundary setting. If he's going to have you be his children's primary caregiver (and you're doing it for free, am I right?) then you need to have some boundaries on how that happens. If he's ok with her staying with the kids, then he's gonna have to be ok with her doing everything they need that day. It's not ok to expect you to be responsible for her on top of being responsible for his kids.


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#3 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post

It's so obvious that she's their "real mom"! I know, I know, I'm their rock, I'm doing a great job, I'm a hero and all that. Please, someone on this board must know how heartbreaking it is to see their total devotion to a woman who has brought nothing but misery to their lives! mecry.gif

 

YES.  I get it.  I get it.

 

What is more unnatural than being in a position where the only decent thing to do is love a kid like he's your own...but he's NOT your own and the person he DOES belong to - and put on a pedestal - makes crummy choices regarding him, that you hate!?  I am there.  I understand.

 

I'll try to write something more helpful, when I get back from running my own kids around...


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#4 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 06:04 PM
 
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#1- I think you guys should be following the court orders.  There was a reason a judge ordered supervised visits for his ex.  That's not common, with mothers.  Clearly, the court has put your partner SOLELY in charge of taking care of these children, while it views their mother as someone they may need to be protected from.  Yet it sounds like he's willing to ignore the fact that she hasn't completed the requirements to have unsupervised visits; AND ignore the fact that the court hasn't lifted the order for supervision...NOT because she's become dependable and trustworthy, but simply because ignoring the stipulations is easier for him, than supervising her.  If the children are left alone with her and something happens, HE would be responsible.

 

#2- While I certainly understand your feelings (basically, she shouldn't come back at all, if she's not going to give the kids some predictability about their contact with her), it's still not defensible to insist that she can't have access to her kids at all, unless she becomes someone other than who she is.  For better or worse, your partner conceived 3 kids with this woman and they know she's their mother.  If the mere existence of the children doesn't inspire her to be a better mother - and to show up regularly, to see them - then dangling visitation over her like a carrot won't accomplish it, either.  All it might accomplish is confusing the court - making it look like the reason she doesn't see the kids is because you and your partner won't cooperate in giving her the supervised visits to which she's legally entitled.

 

#3- Some step-moms would be OK with supervising visits from the non-custodial mother, and in that case it wouldn't be too much to ask.  But it's perfectly understandable that you're not OK with it, in which case it shouldn't be expected of you.  And I doubt even Mother Teresa could deal with having this woman sleep over!

 

I think something along these lines needs to be said to your partner:  "You can't ask me to play the role of full-time mother to your kids, and give me as much responsibility for them as you do, and then completely dismiss my opinions about them - and the custodial situation - as though it doesn't involve me.  It does - and by your choice.  It's already gut-wrenching for me, watching your kids' excitement to see their 'Mommy', after I've been the one raising them and loving them, and she has neglected them.  It's too much, to ask me to supervise her visitation.  I just can't do it.  And I think it's imperative that she have supervision.  The court has ordered it.  That order hasn't changed.  And we know she hasn't done what the court told her she had to do, to get it changed.  You need to schedule her visits when you can supervise; OR make her do what plenty of others do: arrange someone else to supervise, or figure out how to pay for a supervisory service.  And no more overnights.  It's just too confusing - for the kids AND me - to have the mother of your children sleeping under our roof.  We need some sort of clarity about what our family situation is, here."

 

Then you need to give him a reasonable amount of time (maybe even a couple days), to mull over what you've said.  This will be very inconvenient for him and his first reaction will probably be anger, or wanting to dismiss it.  If he never comes around and shows that he cares how hard this is on you, and tries to address your concerns, or find a compromise...then I'd say you need to ask yourself if you're with the right guy.  I just don't think it works, when a person is given a lot of direct responsibility (say, for raising kids), but no voice in how the job is done.  A person who thinks it's right that you live that way doesn't respect you, or care about you as much as a "partner" should.


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#5 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Jeanine, for your insightful response!

 

I don't want to refuse her visitation. I do *wish* she would either get it together or dry up and blow away, but those are just feelings- I know it's futile and damaging to try to stop visitation. Mostly, she has stayed away all by herself anyway.

 

What bugs me about how he did this is that he came over, paying lip service to my role in the family, saying he had to check with me. I said no, that I wasn't ok with her spending the night. I knew that he had to leave early and that I would be expected to supervise. I just wasn't up for that, because the whole visit thing was painful for me, and really hit me out of the blue. But she spent the night anyway, and sd was down here bright and early, asking for coffee for her mom.

 

Yeah, it's not ok with me that he pretended to be asking for my approval, then just ignored me when he didn't get it. That bugs me a lot. I'm dealing with the possibility that I have met a side of step parenting, which I'm not sure I can handle- not a good time to be dealing with my partner disregarding my boundaries, too.


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#6 of 12 Old 08-10-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post

I'm dealing with the possibility that I have met a side of step parenting, which I'm not sure I can handle- not a good time to be dealing with my partner disregarding my boundaries, too.

Just so you know that what you've described is not a "just accept it, that's how it is for everyone sooner or later" side of step-parenting.  Not every custodial dad you might date would act like that.

 

Sure, people can be weak.  They cave in, or take the easy route, when they know they shouldn't.  They say what someone else wants to hear, in hopes of getting what they need.  They say things they don't mean, when they're angry or stressed.  You certainly don't walk away from a family because your partner messed things up once or twice.

 

But if disregarding your opinion about the kids' needs; and manipulating you into doing things you say you're unwilling to do becomes a pattern...or if he doesn't see anything wrong with what happened; if he never comes to you and says, "Hey, I handled that badly.  I didn't want to tell my ex no about spending the night, but I should have.  Next time, I won't put you in that position.  I know it wasn't fair,"... then there's something wrong.
 

 


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#7 of 12 Old 08-10-2011, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 if he doesn't see anything wrong with what happened; if he never comes to you and says, "Hey, I handled that badly.  I didn't want to tell my ex no about spending the night, but I should have.  Next time, I won't put you in that position.  I know it wasn't fair,"... then there's something wrong.

 

 

So far, this is where we are at with this. This is raising red flags for me that I didn't know to look for before. Mostly because their mom hardly ever shows up. I've worried about it in the back of my mind, but mostly I'm too busy with seven kids and school to let it get to me. I did look up the laws in my state about what would happen if we split up, and I'm sure I would have a very good case for visitation. But what if Mom decides to show up and make regular visits? The woman is a train wreck, and he goes out of his way to get her together with the kids if she makes a peep. I understand, and I would do the same thing if my ex were like that, but only to a point. I wouldn't abandon the court order! I feel it's too likely that if she had a place to take them, he would have let her. And I wouldn't leave him to deal with the situation like that. Especially if he told me that he didn't want to.

 

This scenario could split up our family really fast. We aren't married, and he does not want to get married. I have no legal custody of the kids in any way- we don't even live at the same address. I am going to grad school in two years, and I have to move away. So far he wants to move with me. But if she shows up for visits even semi-regularly, I honestly can't see him leaving the area and taking the kids very far. This is bugging me. A lot. When I voice my concerns to him he says, "You are their mother. You are the one who takes care of them. No-one can take them away from you." But this is ridiculous. After more than six months without a visit, she merited an overnight and unsupervised visitation. Does he expect me to believe she will have fewer rights if she continues to come? Obviously not! And if I have no say this time, what kind of say am I going to have if she starts showing up and acting like a mommy again?
 

 


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#8 of 12 Old 08-16-2011, 10:16 PM
 
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So far, this is where we are at with this. This is raising red flags for me that I didn't know to look for before. Mostly because their mom hardly ever shows up. I've worried about it in the back of my mind, but mostly I'm too busy with seven kids and school to let it get to me. I did look up the laws in my state about what would happen if we split up, and I'm sure I would have a very good case for visitation. But what if Mom decides to show up and make regular visits? The woman is a train wreck, and he goes out of his way to get her together with the kids if she makes a peep. I understand, and I would do the same thing if my ex were like that, but only to a point. I wouldn't abandon the court order! I feel it's too likely that if she had a place to take them, he would have let her. And I wouldn't leave him to deal with the situation like that. Especially if he told me that he didn't want to.

 

This scenario could split up our family really fast. We aren't married, and he does not want to get married. I have no legal custody of the kids in any way- we don't even live at the same address. I am going to grad school in two years, and I have to move away. So far he wants to move with me. But if she shows up for visits even semi-regularly, I honestly can't see him leaving the area and taking the kids very far. This is bugging me. A lot. When I voice my concerns to him he says, "You are their mother. You are the one who takes care of them. No-one can take them away from you." But this is ridiculous. After more than six months without a visit, she merited an overnight and unsupervised visitation. Does he expect me to believe she will have fewer rights if she continues to come? Obviously not! And if I have no say this time, what kind of say am I going to have if she starts showing up and acting like a mommy again?
 

 

It seems to me that their mother is going to use them like a revolving door. When it is convenient for her or when she is "missing" them, she will show up. This will probably be the case from now on (same case with my dss' bio mom). The best thing that I have found is that my dh uses the court agreement as it is written. He has a very hands on approach to visitations and letting dss' bio mom know that there will be no deviation from the court order.  The way he sees it is this. He doesn't want to deal with her. He has no want to see or hear from her again so. If she wants to see dss, she must follow the order to a "T". With that being said she has made no attempt to have a visitation since October 2010. Every time we have contact, we abide by the court order but it is the very order that has kept her at bay. 

 

Sticking to the court order is not too harsh. It is good for your relationship together, your relationship with his children and in turn the relationship with your kids and his.This isn't just about her and you and him. You have seven little ones who view both of you as mom and dad. I am worried about the impact that this woman staying overnight could have on your children and how they view your family situation. Setting boundaries is a must. I doubt you could see yourself asking him to supervise visitation between your kids and ex, so why should you for him? You shouldn't. It's a precarious situation and with school and seven kiddos, you have enough on your hands.

 

I would tell him that the overnight visit cannot happen again. Not only is it against the order but it should be against his judgment as someone in a relationship. That should be set in stone. And by all means abiding by what a judge says is not keeping the children from their mother. It is using the boundaries that the judge put in place to make sure that the children have a secure and steady place and environment to call home. I hope your conversation with dp goes well. goodvibes.gif

 


 

 


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#9 of 12 Old 08-21-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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Ditto these! I think you should consult with your lawyer or however you go about getting her back in to court. She isn't doing what the court ordered. Being a parent when someone "feels like" being a parent isn't cool at all. :-(  It can leave lasting scars on a child. Some children may grow up to recover from such treatment and some may not. It sounds like they would be better off being raised by your DP and yourself and she should be excluded from their life until they are all of age and adults and can decide on their own if they want to have anything to do with her. Just my two cents.
 

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#1- I think you guys should be following the court orders.  There was a reason a judge ordered supervised visits for his ex.  That's not common, with mothers.  Clearly, the court has put your partner SOLELY in charge of taking care of these children, while it views their mother as someone they may need to be protected from.  Yet it sounds like he's willing to ignore the fact that she hasn't completed the requirements to have unsupervised visits; AND ignore the fact that the court hasn't lifted the order for supervision...NOT because she's become dependable and trustworthy, but simply because ignoring the stipulations is easier for him, than supervising her.  If the children are left alone with her and something happens, HE would be responsible.

 

#2- While I certainly understand your feelings (basically, she shouldn't come back at all, if she's not going to give the kids some predictability about their contact with her), it's still not defensible to insist that she can't have access to her kids at all, unless she becomes someone other than who she is.  For better or worse, your partner conceived 3 kids with this woman and they know she's their mother.  If the mere existence of the children doesn't inspire her to be a better mother - and to show up regularly, to see them - then dangling visitation over her like a carrot won't accomplish it, either.  All it might accomplish is confusing the court - making it look like the reason she doesn't see the kids is because you and your partner won't cooperate in giving her the supervised visits to which she's legally entitled.

 


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#10 of 12 Old 08-21-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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And I know you probably don't care if you hear it or not because you're just doing what comes naturally to you as a mother...but Kudo's to you for all that you do for these children as well as your own!! Being a mother is hard work and it's even harder when you are thrown in to being a single mom after divorce. :-)


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#11 of 12 Old 08-21-2011, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 Being a parent when someone "feels like" being a parent isn't cool at all. :-(  It can leave lasting scars on a child. Some children may grow up to recover from such treatment and some may not. It sounds like they would be better off being raised by your DP and yourself and she should be excluded from their life until they are all of age and adults and can decide on their own if they want to have anything to do with her. Just my two cents.
 


I agree with you, but dp does not. I've seen signs that they are having trouble dealing with this from the first time I met them, but he thinks they're fine. DSD 9 has a lot of problems with jealousy and clinginess. She seems to go around with a chip on her shoulder. She throws monster tantrums, like a much younger child. DSS 7 has had rage issues in the past, but he has improved A LOT in the two years I've known them. DSS 5 really does seem like a normally happy 5 year old with the usual ups and downs. I worry about DSD 9 so much, and I try to point out to dp that I think she has problems x,y, and z because of her mom. It seems like a no brainer to me. How could kids not be affected by their mom abandoning them? She has asked me on several occasions if she can go to counseling, but dp thinks it's useless. He told me the other day that he doesn't want to treat his kids like they're abnormal. When I say I'm worried about DSD because she seems angry, he gets mad and starts pointing out how my kids are less than perfect. He thinks I'm trashing his kids, and he's defending them by trashing mine!

 

After this visit (we haven't heard from her again, big surprise), I talked with DSD 9 about how she might wish that everything could go back to normal, that she could be with her mom again. She lit up like crazy- obviously she had been hoping for that. Her mom had told her that if it was ok with the judge, when she gets an apartment the kids will come see her there every other week. Obviously this is not going to happen- and I gently explained to DSD that we don't even know if her mom will come and visit for a long time. I'm afraid that this starting from square one in the grieving process, every six months or so, is very very hard on DSD.

 

I'm in a hard place, too, because I have four biological children who honestly are not taking nearly as much of my time and attention. I've been alone at home with the seven of them this summer, and I feel a little guilty about not interacting with my bio kids that much. I just don't know what to do.

 


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#12 of 12 Old 08-23-2011, 02:57 AM
 
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After this visit (we haven't heard from her again, big surprise), I talked with DSD 9 about how she might wish that everything could go back to normal, that she could be with her mom again. She lit up like crazy- obviously she had been hoping for that. Her mom had told her that if it was ok with the judge, when she gets an apartment the kids will come see her there every other week. Obviously this is not going to happen...

 


I don't have anything helpful to say about this, only sympathy.  ARGH!...the frustration of feeling like a child you're raising needs guidance, but feeling like you can't speak honestly and openly with him/her, because you'd be criticizing his/her other parent!  If your SD has a friend who treated her poorly, was unreliable, let her down, broke her heart, behaved inappropriately...you'd tell your SD in no uncertain terms that the other kid wasn't being a good friend to her; and that the other kid's inability to be a good friend doesn't reflect on your SD, or what she deserves from people in her life!  But because it's her mother, you can't say these things and your SD wouldn't be receptive to them, if you did.


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