Why can't she give us just one day? Why does she have to take over everything? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-26-2007, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A little background- Halloween has always fallen on a day when my stepdaughter was at her Mother's house, therefore her Mother got her for Halloween. The last 6 years. This year, Halloween falls on a Wednesday, "our" day. The next Halloween we will have Katherine will be in 2011, when Katherine is 11, provided she's still Trick-or-Treating at that age. Now here's the story...

Katherine's Mother is upset because she wants to see her on Halloween (she will an hour and a half before school), so she's insisting that my Husband pick her up right before Trick-or-Treating starts (6, instead of right after school, as planned). She also completely took over the costume, though we haven't been "allowed" to have anything to do with Katherine's costumes on the other Halloweens. She told us Katherine's being "Hannah Montana" and that she will provide the costume. I was really looking forward to costume shopping with Katherine, since we never had the chance before. So we didn't buy her a costume. Apparently, Katherine's Mother waited until yesterday to go costume shopping and guess what? You guessed it, nothing still available, except for a wig and sunglasses. Now why would she wear sunglasses outside in the dark, anyways? No way would I have bought them- safety hazard in the dark- but now she'll be wearing them, because her Mother bought them for her. So anyways, Katherine has a Halloween party to go to tonight, but no costume, no boots, no jewelry, as she's been looking forward to. FIVE STORES LATER, we have everything except for the jewelry. So, Katherine's at a Halloween party with her Mother (even though it's "our" time right now) and my Hubby's going to get her at nine, when it's over. On Halloween, even though I'd taken the day off from work so the four of us can celabrate together, eat dinner together and get our costumes ready together, Katherine will be with her Mother until it's time to grab her quick for Trick-or-Treating. Katherine also already has instructions to "call her after Trick-or-Treating to let me know how you made out" and "call me any time whil you're Trick-or-Treating, so I know you're having fun". And if my Hubby doesn't let her have her during "our" time, she will cause trouble (fake sick kid, something like that) at the next big event on our time. I know it's hard not to have your child for a holiday or a special day, but her Mother had her for most days of the year, EVERY year for Halloween so far and every year after this year, with possibly when my stepdaughter is 11 being the exception. Is it too much to ask for one day? Can't we be a family together, without her Mother dictating and not letting us have any of those "special" days or events, unless court ordered? She'll even take those when she wants to. : Is it really too much to ask for her to, sorry to put it this way, for her to butt out just once? It's HIS daughter, too!

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.
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Old 10-26-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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I'm so sorry .. That really sucks ,, !!!!

My husband saw this happening in our future so he made sure to put all holiday's on the visitation order,, we switch every year ,
My ss mom had my ss for Halloween last year so we have my ss for Halloween this year..
We do this for every holiday even if it doesn't land on a visitation day.
Maybe you should look into doing something like this.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My Husband and his Ex put all the holidays, but somehow forgot to include Halloween. She's usually good about other holidays, unless we do something to piss her off, which this might turn into if we make a fuss. Now I'm afraid that she might do something, like switch visitation days, so that she can have her all night. Both kids are very excited about Trick-or-Treating for the first (and last- my son says this is his last year) time together. We've faked it before- dressed them up and brought them to friends and family houses on a day near Halloween, but it's not the same. We're all looking forward to this year when we can do it "for real".

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.
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Old 10-27-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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no it is not too much to ask. ours is the same way. go ahead and take her shopping and do everything your way this time. the more you let her control things the more she will keep doing it and get worse.
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Old 10-27-2007, 01:16 AM
 
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It really can be difficult sometimes. Let me tell you, tonight especially, I feel your pain (annoyance, sadness, disgruntlement).


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Old 10-27-2007, 05:30 PM
 
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We've had the same situation many times. Actually, not only were we NOT allowed to have DSD on Halloween even though it was our day - we weren't allowed to see her, either. Even though they go trick or treating with friends who live past our neighbourhood (meaning that they had to literally drive right past our house on their way to trick or treat.)

It's so infuriating. Of course, this is the same woman who says, in court, that of course she will do everything in her power to make sure DSD has a good relationship with her dad.

It took a very long time before DH would stand up to her and say NO to demands like that... it's hard because he feels so much guilt and she's very good at manipulating things to seem like we always get what we want.

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Old 10-27-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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I do understand that you're upset, and why. You want to celebrate hallowe'en with your whole family together.
But in the OP it sounded like you guys never get holidays with your step-daughter when you say things like "can we have her for just one day?". And then you say she's pretty good about holidays in general etc. in a later post.
Is hallowe'en a really important day for your step-daughter's mother? I have some friends who say it's their favourite holiday and the one that means the most to them. Is this the case for her mother? If so, it honestly sounds like a pretty good compromise to me in that she gets time with her mom, and also trick-or-treating time with you guys. This way, your step-daughter gets to spend hallowe'en with her whole family, and it's about the kids really anyway right?

I really don't think that momsadvice's advice (? that sounds weird ) is very good in this case. Of course I don't know the whole story. But I think that if there ever is a route to take that is the least adversarial but everyone gets their needs met (often with some compromise on everyone's part---preferably the parents) then that is the route to take. In this case, your step daughter gets hallowe'en with everyone, her Mother gets to see her in her costume and hang out with her before trick-or-treating, and you guys all get to trick-or-treat together. To me it sounds like the best case.
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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I will be honest and say that Halloween is a very special time for me. Its more than just trick or treating. Its our biggest holiday. So I have always wanted my dd with me. Luckily, my ex lived in a town that did trick or treating on the weekend before Halloween and I live in a town that does it ON Halloween. So dd always got to go twice every year. Usually I get her costume for here, and he gets it for there. I think one year she wanted to wear the same one he bought her and that was fine with me.

All other holidays we switched back and forth, or made it so that she was able to do both with us. The years I dont have her for Christmas day, we just celebrate a bit early.

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Old 10-28-2007, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
But in the OP it sounded like you guys never get holidays with your step-daughter when you say things like "can we have her for just one day?". And then you say she's pretty good about holidays in general etc. in a later post.
Seh's pretty good at letting us have her on holidays. She's not pretty good at letting her go on holidays. Here are two examples.

Every other Christmas, we have Katherine either from 11am Christmas Eve until 10am Chritsmas Day or 11am Christmas Day until 7 pm Christmas Day. Last year, we had her for the Christmas Eve half. We pick her up at the usual time 10am on Christmas Eve. Her Mother calls around 1 pm to see what she had foir lunch. Again after dinner to see what she ate for dinner, what she did with us and where we went. Christmas morning, we wake up at 7 am. the first words out of Katherine's mouth is, "Merry Christmas, family.", right? Wrong. The first words out of her mouth are, "It's morning. Mom said I have to call her first thing so she can tell me Merry Christmas." So she calls her Mother. Her Mother calls again around 8:30 to see what she got for Christmas and see what we fed her foir breakfast. She asks what Katherien is wearing and Katherine tells her- a short sleeved dress (it's 50% out and our landlord has out heat up around 70 all the time). Her Mother then tells her that she's gonna be cold and to go get a sweater on over her dress. Before breakfast, we open the Santa presents and after breakfast, we open the rest, so we go open the rest at this point. around 10 (remember, Katherine has to be back at her Mother's by 11 and it's a half hour drive), her Mother calls again. She just wanted to "comfirm" that she'll be home on time and remind Katherine that she has "lots of big presents at home" and to "hurry up, I miss you so much".

My second example is last year on Katherine's birthday when she turned six. It fell on a day her Mother had her so, of course, we didn't get to see her. My Husband calls in the morning so that we can all say, "Happy Birthday". No can do, her Mother says, she's busy getting ready for school. Later that night, we call again, asking to speak to Katherine. Her Mother say's they're getting ready to go out to dinner, but she'll call us when they get to the resteraunt so we can all say, "Happy Birthday". It doesn't happen. My Husband calls later, around 8 (Katherine's bedtime at her Mother's is 8) and her Motehr's cell is turned OFF. She finally calls back later that night, after Katherine is asleep (around 10) and tells my Hubby that she'll "tell Katherine tomorrow that we called". Two days later, Katherine is with us. We ask if she got our "Happy Birthday" messege and tell her we tried to call her, but we didn't get ahold of her. "What birthday messege? Mommy didn't tell me you called me."

That's what I mean, we can't have a single day when she's just "ours", we're not allowed to bond with her without her Mother calling to see if we're taking care of her right or calling to see what color lollipop Katherine wants her to pick up at the store for her. (Seriously, she's called about what color lollipop before.)

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Is hallowe'en a really important day for your step-daughter's mother? I have some friends who say it's their favourite holiday and the one that means the most to them. Is this the case for her mother?
All holidays are very important to all THREE of Katherine's parents.

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This way, your step-daughter gets to spend hallowe'en with her whole family, and it's about the kids really anyway right?
Believe it or not, she actually wanted to be picked right up from school and come to our house. She was excited to be spending Halloween with us because (as she put it), her Mom had a turn last year and now she gets to go Trick-or-Treating with us and she never did before.

Another thing is, we invited her Mother to come Trick-or-Treating with us (something she would NOT do for us) and she turned us down (which, honestly, I'm glad- too stressful). If it was really that important, don't you think she would have taken us up on the invitation? I would have, if it was another year when it was reversed, even if it meant I had to be stressed out spending time with her.

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.
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Old 10-28-2007, 01:29 PM
 
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We don't have the obsessive phone call problem, but we do have a solution to interruptions during your special time.

When our special time together is limited, like on holidays and other special days, we don't answer the phone very often. I don't mean we screen calls from the other parent, I mean we just turn the ringer down and let everything go to voicemail until we are ready to allow the outside world into our celebration.

In your Christmas example, Mom had a chance to see her on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, so I don't think there is a reason she needs to speak to her on the phone unless your stepdaughter asks to call her. If she wants to call on Christmas morning, I would probably say something like "Sure, why don't you give mom a quick call to wish her a Merry Christmas before we go open presents?"

I have been working very hard to realize that so much of the time the other parent can only interfere if we let her. If things fall on your day, they fall on your day, and if there is a legal document saying it is your time, there is no reason to give up time that you don't have to. As the step-parent, though, the most frustrating part for me is that I have to rely on someone else (my husband) to be the one to enforce those boundaries. He happens to be pretty good at it, but it is still incredibly frustrating to want something so badly, and to have to rely on someone else to do fight the battle for you.

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Old 10-28-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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My ex husband and I did not do the obsessive phone call thing to each other. Sometimes when she was with him and it was a big day for some reason, like.. a gymnastics meet she had, or when they went on vacation together to Mexico... I asked that when she gets a chance to call me, or email me. And she's always called to say hello or I miss you.

I make it a point to not interfere when she is with her dad. Because honestly, I wouldn't want him calling over here 24/7 and interrupting things we had going.

Simple answer? Turn off your phone, let it go to voicemail. Never deny your step daughter the right to call her mother of course. If its her idea, by all means let her! But you don't have to keep taking calls from the mother and feeling stepped on.

Just for the record.. not all mothers treat step parents and ex's with that much disrespect either.

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Old 10-28-2007, 03:34 PM
 
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Whoah, the phonecall thing is a bit over the top! Is it possible to have it written into the visitation agreement? My kids' dad and I did that. He was allowed to call once each evening before 7. And We were to make it so the kids were available for the one phonecall a day.

I'd turn the phone off for sure.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Everyone suggested turning the phone off. I wish we could. It's my Hubby's cell phone she calls (I'm pretty sure she doesn't have our home phone number, unless Katherine's told her), but he will always pick up or call her back in a few minutes for two reasons- first of all, he can't turn off his phone because he has to stay in contact with work all the time (), but mostly, SHE will stop answering the phone when he calls. She can and has denied him phone access to his daughter, not just on that birthday I mentioned, though that was the worst. She's already limited the contact Katherine can have on the phone with me and my son (none, unless my Husband sticks us on real fast during one of his phone calls) and if Katherine asks to call us (my cell, my Hubby's cell, my son on our home phone), she is not allowed. Katherine got yelled at one day for trying to call my cell. The law in NY is one phonecall allowed a day from the parent who isn't with the child.

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If she wants to call on Christmas morning, I would probably say something like "Sure, why don't you give mom a quick call to wish her a Merry Christmas before we go open presents?"
I have no problem with my stepdaughter calling her Mother whenever she wants, even if she did want to call three or four times a day. It would get on my nerves, but hey, that's her Mohter. What gets to me is, last Christmas, she woke up and, if you could have heard the tone in her voice, she didn't want to have to be bothered with making a phone call, she wanted to open her presents. She only called because she was told (by her Mother) that she had to. She felt like she wasn't "allowed" to enjoy Chirstmas with us until she enjoyed Christmas with her Mother first, if only with a phone call.

I have a question and I hope I don't get flamed for this. I swear I'm not saying this out of spite (my Hubby thinks so , but he cannot see any bad in ANY Mothers.) but I'm worried and have been worried that her Mother is overly dependant on her. We had her recently for an extra day because my Hubby had the day off and her Mother was home sick with the flu. When I went to tuck her in that night, she was hysterical crying- she didn't know if "my Mom would be okay without me with her", "my Mom needs me to be with her". Is this normal? For a then 6 year old? She always seems to think of her Mom's needs over her own, even when it hurts HER. She's not like this with other people, just her Mother and, I could be wrong, but from what I've seen and how she acts when I see them together, they don't look like they're super close, just close like any parent is to any child in a good parent/child relationship. Is this something I should be concerned about? (Not that I could do anything about it, but she's been acting out lately, not wanting to talk to her Mother on the phone, pacing and not even paying attention when she's on the phone with her Mother, etc. She actually told us that she wishes we lived with us because, "then I can talk to you and Daddy all the time and Mom would call, too, and then I can have all of you all the time. I don't want her to feel smothered.

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As the step-parent, though, the most frustrating part for me is that I have to rely on someone else (my husband) to be the one to enforce those boundaries. He happens to be pretty good at it, but it is still incredibly frustrating to want something so badly, and to have to rely on someone else to do fight the battle for you.
You got that right!

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Just for the record.. not all mothers treat step parents and ex's with that much disrespect either.
I know, I know. I'm a "real" Mother, too. My son hasn't seen his Biological Father since he was three years old, but before that, I literally bent over backwards to make sure my son had a relationship with his "other family". I probably went overboard. :

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.
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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Hugs! I'm sorry!

Halloween has always fallen on a day that I have my ds, but I have always tried to give ds to his Daddy and step-mom for any parties they had planned, etc, and given them part of the evening... Halloween is my dh's favorite Holiday, so this is really hard. Independence Day is my favorite, and it has never fallen on my day... they've never reciprocated.

This year, they took ds shopping for a Halloween costume, and bought him a ninja costume w/ all the weapons to go with it. I am totally against this. - Black costume? A gazillion weapons? Eek. Not to mention, we normally do family costumes, but how am I to work this out for my younger ds? Dress my 18 month old as a ninja too? But, this is what they bought, and apparently what ds wants... It is all about the kids...

ETA: I keep going back and reading momsadvice and thinking that maybe I should do just that - take control and just take my son to the costume shop and let him choose theme costumes for him and his brother. Then he could just use his ninja costume for dress up... it was a cheap costume and broke already, anyway. I was going to sew it back together, but I am tired of them always taking my holidays and not showing any appreciation.
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Old 10-28-2007, 11:11 PM
 
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I have a question and I hope I don't get flamed for this. I swear I'm not saying this out of spite (my Hubby thinks so , but he cannot see any bad in ANY Mothers.) but I'm worried and have been worried that her Mother is overly dependant on her. Is this something I should be concerned about? (Not that I could do anything about it, but she's been acting out lately, not wanting to talk to her Mother on the phone, pacing and not even paying attention when she's on the phone with her Mother, etc. She actually told us that she wishes we lived with us because, "then I can talk to you and Daddy all the time and Mom would call, too, and then I can have all of you all the time. I don't want her to feel smothered.
I think the best you can do is to be there to support her as she goes through whatever she is going through. If there is something unhealthy in her relationship with her mother, it is unfortunately something between her and her mother. There is little you, as her step-mother, can do to change that relationship, but you can give her your love and support and let her see you model a healthy parent-child dynamic at your house. If there is a need for therapy, a change in the custody/visitation situation, etc, your husband has to deal with it. Again, the most frustrating part of step-parenting for me is seeing things that I know should be different and being absolutely powerless to change it.

I like to think that my step-daughter is lucky in that she will grow up seeing multiple ways for people to behave, relationships to be, parents to parent, etc... children who only live with their biological parents only get to see whatever their parents do, and when that example isn't healthy they don't get to see a better alternative.

P.S. As for the phone calls... it sounds like until your husband is going to enforce that boundary there is nothing you can do (except talk to him about it). Try to figure out how to make the best of it for yourself and the other kids, and to support your step-daughter as she struggles to figure out how to make it work for her. Maybe figure out with your husband how he is going to continue allowing the multiple phone calls with minimal impact on you and the other children.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Kris, you may have already answered this but if it is a day that is officially your dh's visitation day then why is your dsd going to her mom's? My dd is going to her dad's on Halloween because Wednesday is his weekly visitation day. Yeah, I would have really liked to go trick-or-treating with her but it's his day & that's that. But I realize that your dh doesn't want to step on any toes for fear of future aggravation.

I also have a question for you mamas: I took dd to pick out her costume, her dad knew I was taking her & that she was picking it out. She ended up picking out a military-ish costume. No gun or weapon, just army green & camo with cute pleated skirt, badges & hat. Anyway, it wuoldn't have been my first choice, but that's what she wanted. My first instinct was to nix it because my dh (dd's step-father) is in the military & my x-h more than dislikes him (and me for that matter - we've been in court lately with the issue of him not paying cs). So I was afraid that he would give my dd flack about the costume. So th eother day dd comes back from her father's & says he said "why do you want to be that? Just because you want to be like your step-father? If you want to be in the army I'll ship you off right now" WTF!!! I was so mad because 1. yes, he talks to his dd this way, 2. I knew he would do this & did not try to make her choose another costume and, 3. because she will be with him on Halloween & he will probably tease her all night.

I asked her if she wanted a different costume & she said no, she likes this costume. She also told me she thinks her father is "an idiot" for saying what he said. I was shocked that she said that & just told her she cannot call her father an idiot but that what he said was not nice. Any advice?

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Old 10-29-2007, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kris, you may have already answered this but if it is a day that is officially your dh's visitation day then why is your dsd going to her mom's? My dd is going to her dad's on Halloween because Wednesday is his weekly visitation day. Yeah, I would have really liked to go trick-or-treating with her but it's his day & that's that. But I realize that your dh doesn't want to step on any toes for fear of future aggravation.
If we make a fuss about not letting her Mother have her for three hours first, even though it's our day, then her Mother will get back at us by having her "get sick and need to stay home", next time she knows we have something big planned at our house.

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.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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If we make a fuss about not letting her Mother have her for three hours first, even though it's our day, then her Mother will get back at us by having her "get sick and need to stay home", next time she knows we have something big planned at our house.
Our time is our time and mom's time is mom's time. If my step-daughter isn't feeling well and is supposed to go for a visit with mom, we let mom know ahead of time that she isn't feeling well and they might want to plan some quiet activities for that day. If she is there for a visit that is not an overnight, and my step-daughter is really feeling sick (like she throws up or whatever) then her mom calls to see if she can bring her back early so she can go to bed early. The same thing goes the other way if she is at mom's and is scheduled to come to us for a visit. This isn't because we have some fabulous relationship because we really, really don't. It's because neither parent will put up with the other one interfering with their legal right to see their daughter.

If there is a court order in place giving your husband specific visitation, it is his time, regardless. She can lie in bed not feeling well or watch videos on the couch at dad's house just as well as she can at mom's.

I'm frustrated with the situation on your behalf... I can't imagine how frustrated you must be with it.

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Old 10-29-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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This isn't because we have some fabulous relationship because we really, really don't. It's because neither parent will put up with the other one interfering with their legal right to see their daughter.
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It so unfortunate that you have to deal with what seems a whole lot like spite. I wish I had some good advice for you. Just sounds like you'll have to continue to be the better person.

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Old 10-29-2007, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It so unfortunate that you have to deal with what seems a whole lot like spite. I wish I had some good advice for you. Just sounds like you'll have to continue to be the better person.
You know, sometimes I really wish I wasn't the better person in this situation. The ONLY reason why I don't make my Hubby's Ex a living Hell is because my stepdaughter loves her Mother. Yes, I know that's a very unhealthy attitude, but I've put up with her crap for 6 years now and I'm full aware that I will be forced to for at least the next 11 years, probably more- she's already prepping for the next generation- she's told my stepdaughter many times that I will not be her (my stepdaughter's) children's Grandmother, should not have any Grandmother/Grandchild relationship with Katherine's future children and under no circumstances should I ever be called "Gramma Krissy" or anything like that. I'm pretty sure that my stepdaughter will see right through that by the time she has children, but her Mother has pretty much promised to poison our furute grandchildren against me. (How sick is that?) Sometimes, I just DON'T WANT TO BE the better person. Know what I mean?

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.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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If we make a fuss about not letting her Mother have her for three hours first, even though it's our day, then her Mother will get back at us by having her "get sick and need to stay home", next time she knows we have something big planned at our house.
Maybe it's different by state, but here the only 'sickness' or 'not feeling well' excuse that can be permitted is if the illness is life-threatening.

A sick child absolutely cannot be hidden/kept away from the parent.

That is not a legal option, around here.

Not only is it not legal, it makes no sense.

Why would a child only be allowed around their nc parent when they're 100% well? Don't both parents have to deal with their child when they're ill?

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Old 10-29-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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My ex would always let me know dd was feeling ill, and then sometimes ask if I still wanted her to come. Usually those times were when dd had the chicken pox and I was pregnant, or when she had a really bad stomach bug and my youngest was only a few days old. I think those are the only two times she didn't come because of illness. I absolutely would not have allowed illness to be used as an excuse. Truth be told my ex would have probably loved to drop her off with the chicken pox, but he realized it might be an issue so he asked first.

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Old 10-29-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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Why would a child only be allowed around their nc parent when they're 100% well? Don't both parents have to deal with their child when they're ill?
I think some people view visitation as another activity -- you keep your child home from school, home from ballet class, why not home from visitation? (This probably happens more in an actual "visitation" situation than in something closer to 50/50...one place is "home" and the other place is "away.")

In our case, we've kept my sick SD a night longer so her mom could work...Mom lives a bit of a drive away, and sending SD to her that night would necessarily mean her mom would have to take the next day off, whereas my partner had that day off already. But in general, illness doesn't change our schedule.

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Old 10-29-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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I can totally understand the predicament you are in and how frustrating it can be. I always feel so powerless in dealing with DH's ex. As mentioned above some custodial parents see visitation as an activity rather than time at home with family. My husband ex puts time with us in the same category as time for sports and extracurricular activities when in comes to how my DSD's time should be split, while time with her side of the family is sacred and comes behind nothing.

I have also seen overly reliant relationship you speak of. My DSD always feels guilty when she is here for the holidays because, "Mom misses me and needs me for it to be Christmas." So does Dad, but he chooses not to use DSD as a pawn.

So frustrating. I have so solutions other than to stand your ground. If you let her manipulate your plans she will always do it. You need to get DH to be more proactive. Good luck. Thankfully, when DSD is a little older she will see the games her mother is playing and appreciate some time away at your house.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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I can totally understand the predicament you are in and how frustrating it can be. I always feel so powerless in dealing with DH's ex. As mentioned above some custodial parents see visitation as an activity rather than time at home with family. My husband ex puts time with us in the same category as time for sports and extracurricular activities when in comes to how my DSD's time should be split, while time with her side of the family is sacred and comes behind nothing.

I have also seen overly reliant relationship you speak of. My DSD always feels guilty when she is here for the holidays because, "Mom misses me and needs me for it to be Christmas." So does Dad, but he chooses not to use DSD as a pawn.

So frustrating. I have so solutions other than to stand your ground. If you let her manipulate your plans she will always do it. You need to get DH to be more proactive. Good luck. Thankfully, when DSD is a little older she will see the games her mother is playing and appreciate some time away at your house.
I always felt bad and worried about my mom when we woudl go with my dad, always. Not because of anything my mom said to me, she never made us feel bad about going, always encourages us.

It was just something I felt on my own. I missed her, I would have preferred to be with her, I had a stronger and closer relationship with my mom, it wasn't about my mom making me feel guilty or relying on me too much.

Don't just assume dsc's moms are doing or saying something to manipulate them into feeling bad. I would guess that many times the dsc are quite capable of coming up with feelings like these on their own.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Why would a child only be allowed around their nc parent when they're 100% well? Don't both parents have to deal with their child when they're ill?
Her Mother insisted on putting two things into the visitation order- if she's too sick to travel (1/2 hour drive between houses), she doesn't have to travel. Unfortunately, since she's at her Mother's house when she's too sick to travel, she stays there. It's also put into the visitation schedule that is she's at our house and becomes sick and asks to be brought back to her Mother (something that has never happened yet), we need to return her immediately. Unfortunately, it leaves a whole bunch of grey in between for her Mother to play in, since my Hubby isn't willing to play the same game back.

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I always felt bad and worried about my mom when we woudl go with my dad, always. Not because of anything my mom said to me, she never made us feel bad about going, always encourages us.

It was just something I felt on my own. I missed her, I would have preferred to be with her, I had a stronger and closer relationship with my mom, it wasn't about my mom making me feel guilty or relying on me too much.

Don't just assume dsc's moms are doing or saying something to manipulate them into feeling bad. I would guess that many times the dsc are quite capable of coming up with feelings like these on their own.
Definately something to keep in mind- I suspect if my son was visiting his Biological Father, he would tend to be like you, but I truly believe my stepdaughter is a different issue. It's all, or at least, mostly, Mother initiated with her. Gushing about how much she missed her when she was at our house, calling repeatedly to make sure me and her Dad are taking care of her right, making sure she reminded Katherine how she brought her to Disney World when we bring Katherine back from a camping trip, telling her she'll be "waiting for you to come back" when we pick her up. You'd have to hear her to understand exactly what I'm trying to say. In short, her Mother tells her at every turn that Katherine is her life, her only life and that she just cannot function until Katherine is home, with her REAL family and that she knows how much Katherine will be missing her while she's at our house, but don't worry, you'll be home, soon. She makes Katherine choose who to love most- HER, instead of letting Katherine love all her family, like she wants to. You don't know what I would give for my stepdaughter to have a Mother like yours, who lets her know it's okay to love someone besides Mommy and that it doesn't mean she loves Mommy less if she loves Daddy or me or her brother or that her Mother CAN function without her. That's too much pressure to put on a little girl. Or anyone, actually. My stepdaughter was so excited to actually be spending Halloweeen with us and Trick-or-Treating with us. She did not sound happy to find out that first, she will be dropped off (compliments of Hubby) at her Mother's work for three hours and then picked up (compliments of Hubby) in time to drive back and start Trick-or-Treating, but as she put it, "My Mom needs to spend time with me on Halloween.", not "I want to see Mom." or "I want to show Mom my costume.", but "My MOM needs to see me on Halloween." That's why I worry about her and her Mother, even though there's nothing I could do about it, even if I knew what to do about it. Everything's "How will my MOM feel about it?, What does my MOM want?" It's not supposed to be all about her Mother' it's supposed to be all about her. If HER feelings were clinging to her Mother, that would be one thing, but it's her Mother's feelings, clinging to the child. She's getting old enough so that she's realizing that nobody else's Mother does this and she's been getting... I don't know how to describe it. I think it makes her wonder why her Mother always needs to be right in there, no matter what she's doing. I think she's feeling smothered, though not in so many words, in 7 year old words.

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.
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Old 10-31-2007, 12:00 AM
 
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In short, her Mother tells her at every turn that Katherine is her life, her only life and that she just cannot function until Katherine is home, with her REAL family and that she knows how much Katherine will be missing her while she's at our house, but don't worry, you'll be home, soon. She makes Katherine choose who to love most- HER, instead of letting Katherine love all her family, like she wants to.
That is a lot of emotional responsibility to put on a little girl. Yeesh.

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Old 10-31-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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I think all you can do is disengage as much as possible. Provide a loving and solid place for Katherine and don't involve yourself with a power struggle. If the mom deviates from legalities, you can take legal recourse. Other then that, you have to be patient and wait for Katherine to grow up and make her own choices. And hopefully, with your gentle guidance and respect for her space and her relationship with her mom, she will make the healthiest ones.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:22 AM
 
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I don't have much advice, but maybe a *tiny bit of perspective.
My ex and I haven't been together since ds was a year old. He pretty much didn't give a fig about holidays until he got married a few years ago and suddenly decided that family things were important. And I still don't think that he cares as much as she does. Ds's stepmom and I have a decent relationship, better than ds's *father and I. But it was still hard for me to adjust to sharing these things after years of having them all to myself. I'm getting better at it, but I think it'll always be a work in progress.
The first year, whatever holiday it may be, is always the hardest. Once that's out of the way, maybe you'll find it easier to get an agreement to alternate in the future. My favorite time to discuss future plans is right before ex's turn, so he's in a good mood knowing he's getting his way in the immediate future.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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"My MOM needs to see me on Halloween." That's why I worry about her and her Mother, even though there's nothing I could do about it, even if I knew what to do about it. Everything's "How will my MOM feel about it?, What does my MOM want?" It's not supposed to be all about her Mother' it's supposed to be all about her. If HER feelings were clinging to her Mother, that would be one thing, but it's her Mother's feelings, clinging to the child. She's getting old enough so that she's realizing that nobody else's Mother does this and she's been getting... I don't know how to describe it. I think it makes her wonder why her Mother always needs to be right in there, no matter what she's doing. I think she's feeling smothered, though not in so many words, in 7 year old words.
This isn't that out of the ordinary for a child to feel this way. When my parents got divorced I always sided with my mom. Not because she made me, or talked bad about my dad... because she was my MOM. I always thought "How will my MOM feel about it?" "What does my MOM want?" I cared so much about her feelings and worried about her constantly. My mom is completely self sufficient and never gave me a reason to think she couldn't take care of herself and yet I felt I had to be there for her. I have a very close non-manipulative relationship with her to this day. I think you are assuming a lot about their relationship and you sound extremely jealous about it. Maybe DD is crying to her at night about how she doesn't want to go to her dads house and so the mom reassures her. I mean, you just don't know.

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