I'm tired of being a stepparent (VENT) - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
Selesai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Keeping it all together
Posts: 1,725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm tired of there being another person in our small house, and a room that we can never use because it's his.
I'm tired of the money for the braces and the traveling and the vacations and the presents and the constant treats, and of being the bad guy if I try to set any limits.
I'm tired of the mouthing off and the pee on the toilet seat (when it's down, that is) and the towels and dishes on the floor and the sugar all over the kitchen counter and the wet clothes dripping all over the bathroom.
I'm tired of years of court cases and of writing checks to someone for whom they will never be enough.
I'm tired of there being another family in my life that I don't like and never got to choose, but constantly seems to affect me.
I'm tired of being mocked and disrespected and made fun of, and of my parenting direction (FOR MY OWN CHILD) being ignored, and of my child never getting to be number one.
And most of all, I'm tired of never being able to talk to my DH about this, because then it suddenly becomes about HIM and is no longer about me and my feelings.

G** D*** I am tired.
Selesai is offline  
#2 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 04:20 PM
 
SkiMama36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: ESFP in 'Lil Rhody
Posts: 599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
First of all, take a deep breath. Know that you are not alone in this. I'm really sorry you are feeling so bitter. I've been there myself. A lot. I got tired of the same things you stated, but then I realized something: I chose this lifestyle when I married DH (bear with me here, we've been married 1 month yesterday-dated for 2 years) I knew when I started seeing him he had 3 boys (10, 8 and 5) and a greedy, bipolar ex-wife. But, I knew (know) that I'm up to the task of about 13 years left (until the youngest DSS) is off to college/life (about $280,000 in CS once all paid....but who's counting??? LOL).

Chose your battles. Inform DH that you are taking one night a week OFF. That means no dinner prep, no laundry, no picking up. Nothing. One night. Take off for the movies, or a Starbucks run or call up a girlfriend to bitch. Whatever YOU need to get into a better place. It doesn't suck all the time. There are times I want to just plaster a strip of duct tape over each angel's mouth (trust me, my ds (9) is sometimes included in this fantasy) before I have to hear one more complaint, one more dinner that is broadcast via wide open chewing mouths, one more whine....

Take heart, sister-at-step-arms. Take heart. Or as I say to the boys:
Don't make me release the flying monkeys! :-)

PM me if you would like to call me to vent sometime. It's easier when there is a ready ear available.

-Kim
SkiMama36 is offline  
#3 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 07:06 PM
 
~PurityLake~'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, US
Posts: 6,153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can so sympathize with how you are feeling. I've felt all of that and then some. Feel free to PM me if you need an ear.

Katreena, peace.gif 39 year old Alaskan treehugger.gif Mama to 1 hearts.gif and 1 lady.gif gd.gif
 
 
 
 

~PurityLake~ is offline  
#4 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 08:08 PM
 
Molliejo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 1,893
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

mom to sam arlo (5), olive loretta (3)....and twin girls Annie and Ramona Jean, born 3/10.

Molliejo is offline  
#5 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 10:07 PM
 
Oriole's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: by the ocean, lakes and mountains
Posts: 4,452
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Every stepmom needs a venting place! *it should be written down and notirized *

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
Oriole is offline  
#6 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 10:19 PM
 
AlmostAPpropriate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 670
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ohhh, mama, I feel ya. I feel so powerless sometimes too. I had been married for 2yrs before biomom told DH about DSS. I really get sick of it sometimes. Like what are these people doing in MY FAMILY???

Hugs and hugs, and ears to listen....
AlmostAPpropriate is offline  
#7 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 10:25 PM
 
kblackstone444's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: MA
Posts: 3,832
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Sometimes the only thing left to do is hold on and breathe.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
kblackstone444 is offline  
#8 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 10:26 PM
 
genericmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 112
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Gosh I can so empathize with you!!!
genericmom is offline  
#9 of 148 Old 07-26-2007, 10:34 PM
 
candiland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Waiting for Calgon to take me away.
Posts: 4,107
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can empathize with you from the other side. I live with my boyfriend (ah, that sounds so teenager, doesn't it? ) and I have two kids by a deadbeat ex who has a girlfriend 16 years younger than him...... and neither has a job or even the faintest grasp on reality or what it entails. So you can imagine what poor boyfriend goes through.... by the hundredth screaming rant of the day about lawyers and how freakin' UA violation my ex is, he's practically ready to run out the door to freedom!

I really hope your dp appreciates and understands how much you are doing/sacrificing for him, you, your children, everything. I try to let my luv know how much I love and appreciate him for sticking through all this with me, and I also let him know that it's okay for him to say "I cannot deal with this stuff today" if he gets overwhelmed and can't bear to hear me rant (again).
candiland is offline  
#10 of 148 Old 07-27-2007, 01:59 PM
 
TinkerBelle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,586
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I feel for you Stepmoms and the poor children in these scenarios, both yours and your stepkids. I know I am not up to doing what you do and putting up with what you put up with.
TinkerBelle is offline  
#11 of 148 Old 07-28-2007, 07:59 PM
 
EricaE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,040
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, how I understand. I really, truly, understand. Especially the not being to talk to your DH about how you feel.

DS:11 DD:8 DS:3 DS:13 months
EricaE is offline  
#12 of 148 Old 07-28-2007, 08:06 PM
 
sphinxie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,336
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
sphinxie is offline  
#13 of 148 Old 08-07-2007, 11:30 PM
 
Hailiesmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh wow! I felt like you wrote this for me! Couldnt have said it better. (((HUGS)))
Hailiesmommy is offline  
#14 of 148 Old 08-07-2007, 11:55 PM
JnB
 
JnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 378
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
JnB is offline  
#15 of 148 Old 08-09-2007, 01:22 AM
 
augustgirl69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 278
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
((((HUGS)))))

I so understand!!! It's hard, especially the part about not being able to level with DH. The minute i say anything derogatory about their behavior- I don't like his kids or I am mean (let it be know I have been their step mom for 11 years- since they were 3 and 1) but HE can say the same things about OUR dd and they are true....hmmmmmmm

Mine have been here for too long and they leave tomorrow TG!
augustgirl69 is offline  
#16 of 148 Old 08-09-2007, 09:47 PM
 
wifeandmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm a child of parents who divorced when I was 2, both remarried when I was 3, and both divorced again when I was 17 and 22. One has remarried again, the other has not. My answers are coming from that perspective, so take from it what you will. My father and step-mother raised me from the time I was 3 til they divorced when I was 17.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
I'm tired of there being another person in our small house, and a room that we can never use because it's his.
After reading more of your posts, seeing that you have a small child and another baby on the way, and only 2 bedrooms, I will say this arrangement doesn't make much sense. I can see the SS having the 2nd bedroom when he's there, but I certainly can't imagine dedicating that space ONLY to him when you obviously don't have much space to work with. What does your DH say about this situation?

Quote:
I'm tired of the money for the braces and the traveling and the vacations and the presents and the constant treats, and of being the bad guy if I try to set any limits.
IMO, the step parent *really* shouldn't handle the financial aspect of child support. Your DH should have some sort of financial agreement with his ex, correct? As in, he sends x amount of money each month, right? *He* is the one who needs to write and send those checks. If he is responsible for things like braces, then he's responsible. It won't be any different than when YOUR son gets older and you guys are told he needs x,y,z. You figure out a way to pay for it, just like you will if it's your own son.

As for the 'setting limits' part, I'm thinking you mean setting limits on what is spent on things that are in addition to agreed upon child support. Like the treats and vacations maybe? I think *every* family needs a workable budget, and these things need to be a part of your family's budget. Both you and your DH have to be on the same page when it comes to spending, no matter WHAT you're spending the money on. Otherwise, you're just asking for trouble.

Quote:
I'm tired of the mouthing off and the pee on the toilet seat (when it's down, that is) and the towels and dishes on the floor and the sugar all over the kitchen counter and the wet clothes dripping all over the bathroom.
Disrespect is unacceptable and wouldn't be tolerated. The messes can be cleaned by SS, and if he refuses and your DH refuses to insist he pick up after himself, your DH can do it himself. I would not play that game with either of them.

Quote:
I'm tired of years of court cases and of writing checks to someone for whom they will never be enough.
Unfortunately, these things seem to be a part of life for families who are divorced. It sucks. I would recommend you not be the one writing the checks though, as I personally think your DH should handle that himself.

Quote:
I'm tired of there being another family in my life that I don't like and never got to choose, but constantly seems to affect me.
Were you unaware he had a child when you married him? I have a *really* hard time feeling much empathy for someone with this issue unless they were completely unaware of the step-child/ex-spouse when the met, dated, and married their current spouse. As long as you knew about his child, you DID *choose* to become a part of the situation. Doesn't mean the situation doesn't stink, but it *was* a choice (again, assuming you knew he had a child when you married him).

Quote:
I'm tired of being mocked and disrespected and made fun of, and of my parenting direction (FOR MY OWN CHILD) being ignored, and of my child never getting to be number one.
Again, disrespect is not ok. Not by your SS, not by your DH, not by his ex. Not. Ok. Who is ignoring your parenting of your own child? The only two people who should be parenting your son are you and your DH. The two of you need to work together on this, but you'd have to do this regardless of him having another child.

Why do you feel your child doesn't get to be 'number one'? Perhaps your DH believes focusing on the SS (I'm totally guessing here and may be way off, so forgive me if I am) while he is there is acceptable because your son is there all the time? It would stand to reason that obviously the SS isn't the sole focus of the family if SS isn't even there for the bulk of the month.

Quote:
And most of all, I'm tired of never being able to talk to my DH about this, because then it suddenly becomes about HIM and is no longer about me and my feelings.
This is where I would very strongly urge counseling, even if it's just for you. The divorce rate for remarriages is horrid. Assuming you do not want to become another statistic, you NEED to figure out a way to communicate your feelings with your DH if you have any hope of making your marriage work. Having someone who is impartial to the situation can be critical when figuring things out in a mixed family.
wifeandmom is offline  
#17 of 148 Old 08-09-2007, 10:10 PM
 
augustgirl69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 278
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
wifeandmom
very well said!

IME- my dh has too much guilt to talk rationally about their behavior, but i know he knows he's being unfair to our kids and tg it doesn't happen often.
augustgirl69 is offline  
#18 of 148 Old 03-06-2008, 09:56 PM
 
Mamasota26's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know this was posted quite awhile ago but I completely understand where you are coming from. I think every stepmom has the right to vent sometimes because frankly, it is HARD to be a stepmom. It is HARD to be completely loving to children who are not yours when you don't always get a say in their disciplining, when they don't listen to you and your dh doesn't help out....I too am tired of many things. I'm tired of the toys in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the living room, under the couches...I'm tired of the writing on the walls(literally), the pee pee accidents because he was too busy to go to the bathroom until it was too late, the NOISE, the lack of quality time I'm able to spend with my dh....I'm tired of a lot of things, so I completely understand...but as a few people said, it isn't always bad...We just have to have our days to vent. Go off somewhere with some friends. Go spend the day getting manicures and going shopping, catching a movie, going to lunch. You need some girl time, you need a breather!!
Mamasota26 is offline  
#19 of 148 Old 03-10-2008, 11:14 AM
 
SimpleJoys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Somewhere out there
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am new at doing quotes so bear with me.

"IMO, the step parent *really* shouldn't handle the financial aspect of child support. Your DH should have some sort of financial agreement with his ex, correct?"

Stepparents are coproducers of income in the family whether they have an outside job or not. My money is my husband's and his is mine, at least here in Tx. So when CS goes out, it is my money going out. I don't begrudge it, but I will be happy when DSS is 18 and we have more disposable income.

"Were you unaware he had a child when you married him? I have a *really* hard time feeling much empathy for someone with this issue unless they were completely unaware of the step-child/ex-spouse when the met, dated, and married their current spouse. As long as you knew about his child, you DID *choose* to become a part of the situation. Doesn't mean the situation doesn't stink, but it *was* a choice (again, assuming you knew he had a child when you married him)".

I have a *really* hard time with those who can't empathize with those of us who honestly didn't know how hard it would be to become a stepmom and have a little stranger in our home. I had no idea that the stress would be so much or that the ex was so horrible. Others can tell you about it, but until you experience it yourself, it doesn't seem so bad.Yes, I knew he had a child, but I didn't know that child was a thief, a liar, an expert manipulator and violent. I also didn't know that the mother was borderline personality and dishonest. I didn't choose these problems, I chose a man. How could I choose those problems when I didn't even know they existed? I respected my DH because he didn't "badmouth" either one of them. I had to learn their difficult natures on my own.

OP I feel for you. Everything you said struck a cord with me. Try to talk your husband into going to some parenting classes or counseling with you. IMO guilt makes dads do weird things including allowing disrespect to their wives and stepmothers of their children. He may just need his eyes opened by an outside party.
SimpleJoys is offline  
#20 of 148 Old 03-11-2008, 01:27 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
"Were you unaware he had a child when you married him? I have a *really* hard time feeling much empathy for someone with this issue unless they were completely unaware of the step-child/ex-spouse when the met, dated, and married their current spouse. As long as you knew about his child, you DID *choose* to become a part of the situation. Doesn't mean the situation doesn't stink, but it *was* a choice (again, assuming you knew he had a child when you married him)".

I have a *really* hard time with those who can't empathize with those of us who honestly didn't know how hard it would be to become a stepmom and have a little stranger in our home. I had no idea that the stress would be so much or that the ex was so horrible. Others can tell you about it, but until you experience it yourself, it doesn't seem so bad.Yes, I knew he had a child, but I didn't know that child was a thief, a liar, an expert manipulator and violent. I also didn't know that the mother was borderline personality and dishonest. I didn't choose these problems, I chose a man. How could I choose those problems when I didn't even know they existed? I respected my DH because he didn't "badmouth" either one of them. I had to learn their difficult natures on my own.
Sometimes you are in too deep before you have any earthly idea of what it is like. When DF and I decided to have a baby, I knew DSD, but it was an EOW kind of arrangement. Completely different from the 50/50 situation we have now. At the time, I really didn't know what to expect, and didn't really know if/when his parenting time would increase. In fact, at that time DSD's mom was planning on moving to CO, so we would, in theory, see DSD rarely. Fast forward to now, where she lives with us every other week. I make her lunches and do her hair. Read her books while she is in the bathtub. Argue with DF over discipline. I could not have possibly known what it was going to be like. You just don't understand until you are in it.

It is also difficult to live with a pint-sized version of your SO's ex.

So, yeah, I knew he had a child. But I didn't know the reality of it. I think this happens to a lot of stepparents.

ETA: Your dh really does need to deal with the disrespect issues as well as the potty-training one.

love.gif

pinksprklybarefoot is offline  
#21 of 148 Old 03-11-2008, 11:47 AM
 
boobybunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,361
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post

So when CS goes out, it is my money going out.

The courts an most reasonable people see it as the children's money. Now I think I understand my former spouse and his wife's attitude about braces, co paying medical bills and general bitching about money. It is not the children's money, it's not part of the income to support HIS family, not some pint sized stranger, it is YOUR money.


WOW WOW WOW sign me up for the newly enlightened club. I really understand now why my children are treated the way they are at their father's home. This is not a snark... I am grateful for the new understanding, as now I can help my children feel more at home there.
boobybunny is offline  
#22 of 148 Old 03-11-2008, 02:41 PM
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
The courts an most reasonable people see it as the children's money. Now I think I understand my former spouse and his wife's attitude about braces, co paying medical bills and general bitching about money. It is not the children's money, it's not part of the income to support HIS family, not some pint sized stranger, it is YOUR money.

Not to be difficult, but I don't think most "reasonable people" see it as the children's money. When you bring home a paycheck, some of which will go towards care of your kids, do you think of it as your money or theirs? I would say that if you think it is their money you would be in the minority. Further, if the money were spent as "part of the income to support HIS family," as you say, then we would be spending it, right? It would be spent to buy them food or clothing or transportation, health care, etc. It isn't. It gets sent away, not to support our family (our family includes the kids, and we have greater expenses than she does for caring for them, especially considering our visitation costs), but to support hers. The kids have two families, you know? Her family uses our money to put the kids in private school for a faith we don't practice. (among many other things that money covers) .

And, if my DH and I make the same income and live the same standard of living, then certainly it is reasonable to view that half of the money going out of our household in this way is "my money." To clarify, I think angilyn was referring to "my money" as opposed to "his money" not "my money" as opposed to "the kids' money." As in, we both contribute to the household, so it's my money as much as his. She was responding to someone who said stepmoms shouldn't be responsible for the financial aspect. But how can we not? It's our money too, you know? [Note: This is also why stepmoms can feel slighted when left out of parenting decisions and authority: we support them by parenting them in our own home, plus we pay for their care. So to be dismissed as "just the stepmom" can be infuriating.]

Having said all that, we don't bitch about paying it. We know she's entitled to it legally and she didn't write the law that says how much it should be, and we just send it along. We certainly don't hold it against the kids. Ever. We love them dearly and unconditionally. But that doesn't mean we see CS as the kids' money. It's a separate issue entirely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
WOW WOW WOW sign me up for the newly enlightened club. I really understand now why my children are treated the way they are at their father's home. This is not a snark... I am grateful for the new understanding, as now I can help my children feel more at home there.
Wow, I'm glad you feel you're getting insight! Me too! That's why I like this community, where we can hear from all sides of these issues. I'm sorry to hear, though, that you feel your kids are treated poorly at their other family's house. Can I ask what idea this gave you that can help them feel more at home there?

violet_ is offline  
#23 of 148 Old 03-11-2008, 03:03 PM
 
SimpleJoys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Somewhere out there
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks Violet for supporting me. CS, like the rest of our income, is ours, not the child's, and is turned over to his mom willingly for his use. My Dss is not out earning this money, it is earned by us. When he is 18 we will no longer be obligated to turn our money over to his mom for his care, though I am sure we will help him in other ways. Like car insurance, college tuition, etc. I think when it comes to giving extra money, say for braces, we are already spread so thin with large CS, paying all insurance, half of copays and half or all of extra curriculars that sometimes we do balk when asked for money for other fees. I think, boobybunny, maybe you do need to have an enlightenment about the other side's view. I hope you were not being silly when you said you understood more now, but were actually trying to walk in another person's shoes. I do disagree that most people think it is the child's money. You are the first I have heard say that. Yes, it is child support money and it goes to the child, but it is not the child's to spend how he may, but for the CP to use wisely for his support. It is every NCP's nightmare that this money is not going to the child but is being used for the CP's whims, such as solar nails, or hair perms for herself, that is if the CP is the mom. The IRS considers it our money and we pay the taxes on it, not bio mom or the child. If we had a child in our home living here, the money for his care would be ours, not the child's. Where I live, all a child's belongings, including income from a part time job legally belongs to the parent until the child is 18.
SimpleJoys is offline  
#24 of 148 Old 03-12-2008, 09:14 AM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Being a step-parent is hard. *nods* And no... you really don't know everything entailed when you get involved, and by that time you are too deep to just leave. You can't choose who you fall in love with.

I know one of my biggest things to deal with is the fact that I will never have the "perfect" little family I always envisioned. I love DSD with all my heart.. but I will never have a full say in how she is raised because I'm just the Step-Mom... forget the fact that I do contribute to raising her with money, time, love, care, everything!

It is a tough place to be.

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
#25 of 148 Old 03-12-2008, 11:56 AM
 
ProtoLawyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,021
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Being a step-parent is hard. *nods* And no... you really don't know everything entailed when you get involved, and by that time you are too deep to just leave. You can't choose who you fall in love with.

I know one of my biggest things to deal with is the fact that I will never have the "perfect" little family I always envisioned. I love DSD with all my heart.. but I will never have a full say in how she is raised because I'm just the Step-Mom... forget the fact that I do contribute to raising her with money, time, love, care, everything!

It is a tough place to be.
Indeed--the hardest thing I've found about being a stepparent is the lack of control over many facets of my own life. (Not that having biological kids is all about control, but you know what I mean.) When I "signed up," I knew I wasn't going to just be able to go away for a week, or even a weekend, with my partner without first clearing it with a third party. I knew the "honeymoon" period would be different--there would never really be a "just the two of us" time. I knew there would be expense. I knew Mommy would be lionized when SD was here, and I knew SD would at times wish her parents had never split up, even though she liked me and on some level knew I wouldn't be in her life if her parents were together. While all of these are challenges, they haven't been too problematic because they were expected.

What I didn't know was that someone not living here would declare a room in my house "too sparsely furnished" (SD's bedroom--all of the bedrooms in our house are tiny, it's a city flat, and to furnish it more would create a fire hazard; SD has plenty of toys, games, and a desk outside her bedroom so I don't see the problem), and not only send over some awful plastic crap, but blow a gasket when we didn't actually use it.

What I didn't know was that my choice of laundry detergent (Trader Joe's hypoallergenic) would be a topic of discussion with someone who does not use or wear the laundry. I didn't know the fact I was entering a profession that pays well would be a source of tension with someone who neither lives here nor is supported by my income.

What I didn't know was that I would have to watch someone who does not live here threaten to move a child I'd begun to think of as my child (different from "my own," but again, you know what I mean) clear across the country, away from her dad and away from me, with proposed visitation of a week at Christmas, a week in Spring, every other Thanksgiving, and two, two-week periods in the summer (because a little girl used to seeing her dad 40% of the time now only needs her dad 12% of the time because "mommy isn't happy"?), and there wasn't a damn thing I could do except hold my partner and say "I'm sorry honey."

What I didn't was that someone I hardly talk to would have this much power over me, if even in my own head.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
ProtoLawyer is offline  
#26 of 148 Old 03-14-2008, 05:10 AM
 
mama41's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Protolawyer, I'm sorry about the proposed move.

On the other hand -- welcome to having children. And that loss of control isn't just to do with stepchildren. Unless you go to a sperm bank, there is always the risk of your husband divorcing you and filing for custody, of having to move or give up careers to stay near your child, the involvement of courts, the hostility of grandparents, and the appearance of stepparents you don't know when you have a child. These things happen depressingly often. Having children means ceding tremendous control over huge parts of your life, even when the children are healthy.

(And had I mentioned school? Yeah, control, not so much.)

All that said, I think you guys do an incredibly tough job. I have no intention of remarrying while my daughter's under 18, but even later on, I don't really want to deal with a man's children. Their parents are bad enough. Their grown children would have to be solvent and exceptionally nice, with sane spouses. I won't even go out for dinner casually with divorced men who start telling me about their children. I don't want to be involved, and I sure don't want to meet the kids, even as an honest-to-God friend.

About money and whose it is: Both child support and most of the money I earn are for my daughter. I maintain this house, yard, car, lifestyle for my daughter. I sure don't need it; I used to live happily on about a third of what this life costs, but a scroungy writer's life in a tiny apartment with no play space and a crummy local school -- not so good for kids. General savings are for her summer camp, music lessons, trips to cities with decent museums and theatre, her inevitable expensive career (please, please don't be an artist), plane tickets to visit relatives I'd quite happily lived without seeing for years, and other extras that may do good things for her. The money I save in college and retirement accounts is for her. The college money so she isn't crushed by debt the minute she walks out of school; the retirement money so she isn't obliged to support me when I'm old and she's trying to take care of herself and her own kids.

People aren't tremendously good with money in general, so it doesn't surprise me when they marry and have children without thinking the money through carefully. But it does seem to me that if there's any hint that you might resent the state's counting your income towards child support, you shouldn't marry a guy who owes it. Live with him, do as you please, but don't oblige yourself legally. No good can come of it.

If your state doesn't count your income, of course, then it's probably wise to view yourselves as being independent people incomewise, or to understand up front that he's poorer than he looks on paper, because he has a prior longterm obligation. So he pays it out of his own income, and the rest he puts into your family pot. If you begin to look at the child support money as "that should be partly mine" (which is what you mean by "ours"), you're going to be unhappy. Understand ahead of time that you're marrying a guy who's got a 10-, 15-, whatever-year income reduction, just as if you were marrying a guy with tremendous student loans, or a guy who works a poorly-paid job. The income isn't and never was available to you or your family with him. It's what he owes.

That's true even if the ex-wife has enough money to take care of the child herself and then some. If I were suddenly making enough to cover everything, I'd put that CS away for dd, and then she'd have a fund for grad school, house down payment, health insurance post-college, whatever. (Many single mothers do just that.) The father's financial obligation to the child doesn't go away just because the mother can carry everything herself, or has married another man. That's an ethical matter as well as a matter of law.
mama41 is offline  
#27 of 148 Old 03-14-2008, 05:23 AM
 
mama41's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by angilyn View Post
I have a *really* hard time with those who can't empathize with those of us who honestly didn't know how hard it would be to become a stepmom and have a little stranger in our home. I had no idea that the stress would be so much or that the ex was so horrible. Others can tell you about it, but until you experience it yourself, it doesn't seem so bad.Yes, I knew he had a child, but I didn't know that child was a thief, a liar, an expert manipulator and violent. I also didn't know that the mother was borderline personality and dishonest. I didn't choose these problems, I chose a man. How could I choose those problems when I didn't even know they existed? I respected my DH because he didn't "badmouth" either one of them. I had to learn their difficult natures on my own.
angilyn, I understand this; I had no idea about the severity of my ex's mental illness when we married. I was under the impression that he was just kind of depressed sometimes, and that's annoying to live with, but nothing unusual. I certainly wasn't expecting delusional, disabled, mental-hospital-visiting, etc. Nor was I expecting to be a caregiver and amateur psych nurse. Nor was I expecting to deal with in-laws who did all they could to avoid seeing their son's problems, blamed me for the problems when they were forced to see them, and got mad when I asked them to help out.

I stayed married only because we had a child, and by that time I was convinced that the stability of an intact family was very important for children, and that I could find other ways of making myself happy. But if you haven't got that sort of situation, and the marriage is making you that unhappy, may I ask why you don't step it back down to a two-household, non-married situation? Say, "Sweetie, I love you, but I can't hack your ex and your kid, and I'd like my money back, so let's undo the legal part and I'll get a nice little place of my own down the street"?
mama41 is offline  
#28 of 148 Old 03-14-2008, 10:17 AM
 
SimpleJoys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Somewhere out there
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My marriage is not making me unhappy. In fact the exact opposite. I adore my husband and he, me. He can't help it if his ex wife and son make problems. He does the best he can. His presence and love are more imortant to me than what they do. I did not know the level of stress I was marrying into, but I have accepted it and try to help the situation through retreats, counseling and classes with DSS, DH and the ex.

Moneywise, I am happy that I help support DSS. He is the only child of my much beloved husband. I would not want him to be a deadbeat dad. But the truth is, I do help support him. The new house we are moving in will be mainly paid for with my savings. The reason we are moving from my current fully paid for home, is to have a bedroom and gameroom for DSS. That is the only reason we are moving. I knew and understood the money situation completely before we even discussed marriage. I knew huge chunks would be going out, and got more work to counterbalance it. But will my DSS own this room and gameroom in the new house, no. Will he own this house, no. Will he own the furniture and other things in the room, no. Will he inherit this house, he will only get one fifth of it as I have four other children. Do I constantly think about how I spend my money is for my children, no. I do like my children to have nice things but I have never considered my money, their dad's or my current Dh's money to be anything other than the adults who have earned it and their spouses who sacrificed for them and worked along side them. It is our choice, duty and joy to share in the family bounty/riches with all the children, but it is still our money. When the children earn the money, pay the taxes on the money and take responsiblity for the money, then it becomes theirs.
SimpleJoys is offline  
#29 of 148 Old 03-14-2008, 10:32 AM
 
mooninjune68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If I had a dollar for everytime I heard or read about someone's 'borderline ex," I would leave the child support behind permanently for complete freedom from all this drama. Child support covers only a small fraction of child-rearing expenses. For the stepmoms who have never been single moms and who believe that because they are married to the man involved, they are giving 'their' money away, will you feel the same way when your marriage dissolves and your current hubby decides to find someone else (be ready for how quickly it will happen and how soon you'll find yourself labeled with previously undiagnosed disorders that the poor man had to suffer living with in silence)? Will you walk away with your child and not expect that he follow court guidelines to establish some kind of equity between households?

It's a major red flag for me to hear a man talk about 'his crazy ex.' It means he is weak and unable to see his part in the dissolution but prefers to project blame and relies on female sympathy (and the awful competitiveness we women have all internalized against each other, particularly when in comes to our status in relation to a man).
mooninjune68 is offline  
#30 of 148 Old 03-14-2008, 11:40 AM
 
SimpleJoys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Somewhere out there
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My ex didn't label DSS's mom as borderline, I did, after observing her behavior throughout my marriage and courtship period. My ex said very little about her at all and I respected him for that. I feel our CS payment of $1,000 a month and insurance, half of copays and extracurriculars is more than generous. Bio mom started the divorce process by leaving DH and taking his son and his stepdaughter who he had raised as his own for ten years so I feel very little empathy/sympathy today for any of her problems. She has tremendous debt that she has racked up and won't even pay for a haircut for DSS because she must have her own enjoyments such as the tanningbooth and expensive vacations. Her most recent fiascos include lying to DSS's teachers and hurting our credit by opening up and maxing out a credit card in DH's name. Just yesterday a creditor called our home looking for her. She has a decent job.

And by the way, I was married previously and did suffer financially from the divorce. My children still do even though they are grown. Been there, done that, survived it and overcome it without child support or alimony. I usually like all people, female and male, regardless of race, religion, color. When people are cruel to others, are cruel to our loved ones, do we have to like them just because they are our same sex? I was prepared to like and respect DSS's mom but her actions and words have prevented me from doing so. It has nothing to do with competitiveness. I also think that any lumping together of one group is uncalled for, such as a man talking about his crazy ex is "weak and projecting blame." Sometimes there is male bashing on this site and I don't care for it, no more that I care for female bashing. Both are uncalled for. There are crazy ex's out there and I don't blame anyone if they need to vent about their experience with the craziness. That is very different from someone lumping all men together or all ex's together. There are some on this site who have great relationships with their skid's moms. That is wonderful and something I wish I had.

Now the thread has been derailed and I for one am not commenting on this any more except to say to the OP that she is not alone and that many of us stepmoms feel the same way. Just keep up the good work with your step child and hang in there as we are there for you.
SimpleJoys is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off