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#1 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For every Christmas of my son's life, and every Christmas I've had with my stepdaughter, I buy them a new ornament for our Christmas tree. Last year, my stepdaughter asked her Mother to start doing the same thing. At first, I was a little upset- that's MY tradition, but I got over it- it's still my tradition and if anything, my stepdaughter's Mother has to follow it, so she should be the one upset. Anyways, my stepdaughter was telling me about the ornament her Mother picked out for her for this Christmas- a chrystal house shaped ornament that says, "Home is where Mom is." (As a little backstory, her Mother has been ingraining into her head for the last several years how me, my son and my Hubby are not her "real" family and how my stepdaughter should be with her and her only, how she "belongs" with her Mother and that her Mother is "forced" to let us have her for visitation, even though she misses her sooooo muuuuch when she's with us.) How the heck am I supposed to respond to this without tearing her Mother apart like I want to?

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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#2 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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I've seen a lot of things that say that or something similar, on t-shirts for example, I doubt she had it custom made. I understand why you would be irritated by it because you have the "adult" level background. But, if her mother has physical custody that is her home, her home is with her mother.
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#3 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:47 PM
 
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Wow, that's seriously bitchy of her to do that. I can see the ornament being cute in another context, but this is just rude. It's like she wants to alienate her from you two, but is doing it in this passive-aggressive way.

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#4 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:50 PM
 
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Wow, that's seriously bitchy.


Yeah, her home is with her mother, but her home is *also* with her father and stepmother.

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#5 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:51 PM
 
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dude - I'd find one that says "home is where I am loved" and give her that!

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#6 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:53 PM
 
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I've seen a lot of things that say that or something similar, on t-shirts for example, I doubt she had it custom made. I understand why you would be irritated by it because you have the "adult" level background. But, if her mother has physical custody that is her home, her home is with her mother.
Well, one of her homes is with her mother. I think a lot of blended families use that paradigm that the kids have 2 homes.

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#7 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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I don't really have any advice, but I'm sorry that things are so contentious. As for the PP, that's beyond harsh. Not nice.
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#8 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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Well, one of her homes is with her mother. I think a lot of blended families use that paradigm that the kids have 2 homes.
The parents can think that and I think the kids should know that the NC home is their home too, but the custodial home is what the child views as home, you can't force anything else.
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#9 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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Honestly you could have wrote that post for me. Ours is the same way and I too would like to know how to explain messed up things to my children w/o too much info or inappropriate comments.:
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#10 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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The parents can think that and I think the kids should know that the NC home is their home too, but the custodial home is what the child views as home, you can't force anything else.
That's an awfully blanket statement--how do you know what the OP's stepdaughter views as "home?" And is it really a good idea for the mom to be reinforcing that idea, with the obvious implication that the other family house is not "home" (especially given the history here)?

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#11 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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That's an awfully blanket statement--how do you know what the OP's stepdaughter views as "home?" And is it really a good idea for the mom to be reinforcing that idea, with the obvious implication that the other family house is not "home" (especially given the history here)?
I would bet that most kids from blended families would tell you that the custodial home is their home. Whether its mom's or dad's.

Its not a bad things for the kids to have one place to call home, kids in split custody situations typically have a hard time and don't feel like either parent's home is home, but that its mom's house and dad's house.

I have never heard one child, teenager or adult from a situation where there is a custodial home and a non-custodial home (the home they visit every weekend) call the NCH home. Its home and NCP'c house.
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#12 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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How do you respond? Like the adult in the situation. "Wow! It sounds beautiful!" You don't respond in anger to the child, she's done nothing wrong. You don't show the mother that you're annoyed, because if that was what she was shooting for, well then, she knows that she's accomplished it. From the point of veiw of the CHILD in the situation (for years and years and years...)? Do nothing but be positive. You are SO GLAD that she likes the tradition enough that she has asked her mother to participate. You are SO HAPPY that she LOVES the ornament her mother has chosen. You are excited for her to open the one from her father and you, as well. and, WOW, isn't her tree going to be BEAUTIFUL when she's a grownup and has one of her own, with allll those ornaments that she'll have gotten through the years?!

And leave it at that.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what WE think, or the mother thinks, about where the child's home SHOULD be. She occupies both homes, and it's your job to make it as comfortable for HER as possible. She didn't choose this situation...and is excited about her ornaments, as she should be!

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#13 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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I would bet that most kids from blended families would tell you that the custodial home is their home. Whether its mom's or dad's.

Its not a bad things for the kids to have one place to call home, kids in split custody situations typically have a hard time and don't feel like either parent's home is home, but that its mom's house and dad's house.

I have never heard one child, teenager or adult from a situation where there is a custodial home and a non-custodial home (the home they visit every weekend) call the NCH home. Its home and NCP'c house.
In my state (WI), every weekend wouldn't be considered CP and NCP--it's joint physical placement. Anything over 25% of the time is joint. Anyhow...

We have weekends, vacations, and much of summer--it's about 60/40 when all is said and done. When SD is here, here is "home." When she's out and wants to go "home," she is not talking about her mom's (when she wants her mom, she says "I want my mom"). When she's with her mom, I'd assume mom's house is "home" the same way. This is what she says, though--I obviously don't know what's in her head.

Even if we assume that the OP's stepchild believes mom's home is home--is it really a good idea for mom to reinforce the idea? That ornament, in this situation, just implies: "Home is where mom is. Therefore, when you're with your dad and stepmom, you're not at home." (Again, in another situation, this ornament may be very appropriate, but when the mom is sending her kid the message that her "real" family is her mom's and dad is irrelevant, it's not.)

On edit: That said, I agree with a PP who said there isn't much you should do about it. If the girl likes the ornament, that's important. If you think that the mom is trying to undermine your husband (and you, but specifically your husband) as parents, this ornament is probably just a small part of a much bigger discussion, and your husband should be focusing on that bigger discussion. I don't know what to do about that--if it rises to parental alienation, you may have a cause of action, but not really much until then. It might just be something to vent about here, and keep away from your child unless it becomes necessary.

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#14 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 05:50 PM
 
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Right, its not a big deal and nothing that the child should know annoys the OP. The PP courtenay said it very well. I just think it seems like a strong reaction to a gift that a mother is giving to her child, even given the situation. That is something a lot of mothers and probably other family members would give a child.
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#15 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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I believe that family is where love is, and mom is no more of a family than dad, provided both parents love the child. Therefore, it is cruel to the other side, and immoral for one parent to be trying to reinforce "THIS is real family, and THAT is not your real family... THIS is your house, and THAT is just a place to visit".

It's one thing if a child decided that on their own, and a whole other story when it is repeated over and over by custodial parent to the child....

That being said... I think you need to let it go. I'd be very hurt too, BUT! Trust me, they know where they are loved, they will understand the "games" adults play regarding telling them where real family is where the fake home is. She might not see it now, but she will look back and see it for what it is: her mom feeling insecure in this whole situation.

You don't need to say anything, you don't need to fight it, you don't need to get an ornament that says "home where love is", all you have to do is to love her, and tell her how much she means to you, and how grateful you are to have her in your life, and that your family wouldn't be complete without her. She'll figure out the rest on her own

P.S. I might be well off base here, but that's the approach that I'm trying to take with DSD and her mom making "real family" comments. Same boat here, and I think my strategy is working pretty well

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#16 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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How the heck am I supposed to respond to this without tearing her Mother apart like I want to?
By just ignoring the preceived insult and moving on.

Either Mom meant to slap at you or she didn't. If she did, I can't think of any reaction you could have that would make any difference so why expend the mental and emotional energy on it. If she didn't mean it that way, then saying something just opens up a can of hate worms.

I have to be honest, it would never have occured to me that my ex's wife would even care about decorations or household articles I bought for my house.

The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me was to keep my head in my own game. I can't do anything about other people, I can't make them change or stop them from doing things. All I can do is live my life.

So live your life with your SD, enjoy that relationship. In the long run, that's all that is important, right?

And DUH! If I had read before posting I would have know that Oriole said the same thing already!
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#17 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
How do you respond? Like the adult in the situation. "Wow! It sounds beautiful!" You don't respond in anger to the child, she's done nothing wrong. You don't show the mother that you're annoyed, because if that was what she was shooting for, well then, she knows that she's accomplished it. From the point of veiw of the CHILD in the situation (for years and years and years...)? Do nothing but be positive. You are SO GLAD that she likes the tradition enough that she has asked her mother to participate. You are SO HAPPY that she LOVES the ornament her mother has chosen. You are excited for her to open the one from her father and you, as well. and, WOW, isn't her tree going to be BEAUTIFUL when she's a grownup and has one of her own, with allll those ornaments that she'll have gotten through the years?!

And leave it at that.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what WE think, or the mother thinks, about where the child's home SHOULD be. She occupies both homes, and it's your job to make it as comfortable for HER as possible. She didn't choose this situation...and is excited about her ornaments, as she should be!
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#18 of 30 Old 12-13-2007, 10:39 PM
 
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I believe that family is where love is, and mom is no more of a family than dad, provided both parents love the child. Therefore, it is cruel to the other side, and immoral for one parent to be trying to reinforce "THIS is real family, and THAT is not your real family... THIS is your house, and THAT is just a place to visit".
The ornament that her mother got her said nothing about real family or not the real family. It said "home is where your mother is".

Children that live with one parent the majority of the time are going to view that home as their home, regardless of whether anyone likes it or not. Kids who are split in two are just going to be confused. If a child spends every other weekend and one day a week with the NCP you expect that they will feel like that is there home? No way, and there is nothing wrong with that. Children need a home, one home that is theirs, where their stuff is, where their room is, where they feel safe. Not to say that they won't feel safe at NCP house but its not the same. Most people who were children of a split family will tell you this is true.
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#19 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The ornament that her mother got her said nothing about real family or not the real family. It said "home is where your mother is".

Children that live with one parent the majority of the time are going to view that home as their home, regardless of whether anyone likes it or not. Kids who are split in two are just going to be confused. If a child spends every other weekend and one day a week with the NCP you expect that they will feel like that is there home? No way, and there is nothing wrong with that. Children need a home, one home that is theirs, where their stuff is, where their room is, where they feel safe. Not to say that they won't feel safe at NCP house but its not the same. Most people who were children of a split family will tell you this is true.
It's funny that you would assume that you know what my stepdaughter thinks of this home or that home, when you don't even know me or her. Given what her Mother feeds her, I'm surprised that she sees her Dad or her Dad's family as any kind of family, BUT, my stepdaughter, although she will sometimes tell us it's hard switching between homes, thinks of both homes as "home". If she needs to specify which one, she says, "Home with Mommy" or "Home with Daddy and Krissy", but they are both "home" to her. And the ornament does have to do with real family- if you knew all that my stpedaughter's Mother tells her to try to turn her against us, you would know that, but I'm not gonna sit her and write down example after example of how her Mother tries to make us look like we're nothing to my stepdaughter, that there's something wrong with my stepdaughter for wanting to come to our house when it's time. She should not be made to feel like she is only allowed to love one home, one parent, but she is.

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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#20 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 05:45 AM
 
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I was a blended kid, and I called both places home. Usually, when I casually referred to "home," it was wherever I was at that time. In referring to the other, I'd say, "home at Dad's" or "at home back east" or "home with Mom".

DD refers to home as whichever one she's at. She has, in the last 8 months, talked a lot about her other home, as her Dad just bought a new and awesome house, where she has her own awesome room. She talks about it as, "my other home" or, "Daddy's house," or, "My new house in Virginia." I don't know how she refers to here when she's there.

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I would bet that most kids from blended families would tell you that the custodial home is their home. Whether its mom's or dad's.

I have never heard one child, teenager or adult from a situation where there is a custodial home and a non-custodial home (the home they visit every weekend) call the NCH home. Its home and NCP'c house.
Well, now you have heard two!

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#21 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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Honestly, I don't see the big upset over her mother getting her an ornament every year. A lot of people do that for their kids, so you didn't corner the market on that certain tradition. Heck, MY mother does it for my kids, as do we. I just figure that when they are grown, there will be more ornaments to give them for their own trees.

However, I see why you would be bugged over that one ornament, considering the history I have read about your situation. I am sorry things are that way with SD's mother. It is sad.

But I wonder if it is best, IMO, like the other poster said, to let it go.
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#22 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 09:47 AM
 
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the same. Most people who were children of a split family will tell you this is true.
I won't speak for "most", but it is true of my two. When they're with their Dad and refer to returning to his place from an outing with him/the family, yes they say they're "going home" as that's Dad's home. But both feel that this is their home. Not because it is with *me*, but because it is where they live the vast majority of the time, where their stuff is, their friends, their pets, their schools. It's where their lives are.

I can understand that their Dad may not like that much. But... a place where you spend less than a month a year really can't be expected to feel like "home".
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#23 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 11:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
How do you respond? Like the adult in the situation. "Wow! It sounds beautiful!" You don't respond in anger to the child, she's done nothing wrong. You don't show the mother that you're annoyed, because if that was what she was shooting for, well then, she knows that she's accomplished it. From the point of veiw of the CHILD in the situation (for years and years and years...)? Do nothing but be positive. You are SO GLAD that she likes the tradition enough that she has asked her mother to participate. You are SO HAPPY that she LOVES the ornament her mother has chosen. You are excited for her to open the one from her father and you, as well. and, WOW, isn't her tree going to be BEAUTIFUL when she's a grownup and has one of her own, with allll those ornaments that she'll have gotten through the years?!

And leave it at that.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what WE think, or the mother thinks, about where the child's home SHOULD be. She occupies both homes, and it's your job to make it as comfortable for HER as possible. She didn't choose this situation...and is excited about her ornaments, as she should be!

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#24 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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I won't speak for "most", but it is true of my two. When they're with their Dad and refer to returning to his place from an outing with him/the family, yes they say they're "going home" as that's Dad's home. But both feel that this is their home. Not because it is with *me*, but because it is where they live the vast majority of the time, where their stuff is, their friends, their pets, their schools. It's where their lives are.

I can understand that their Dad may not like that much. But... a place where you spend less than a month a year really can't be expected to feel like "home".
I agree, when I was at my dad's house for the summer, when I was over a friends and needed to get going for dinner I would say I have to go home, as in to my dad's house. It was never my home though, my mom's home was my home as that where I lived the bigger part of the time.
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#25 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 11:41 AM
 
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It's funny that you would assume that you know what my stepdaughter thinks of this home or that home, when you don't even know me or her. Given what her Mother feeds her, I'm surprised that she sees her Dad or her Dad's family as any kind of family, BUT, my stepdaughter, although she will sometimes tell us it's hard switching between homes, thinks of both homes as "home". If she needs to specify which one, she says, "Home with Mommy" or "Home with Daddy and Krissy", but they are both "home" to her. And the ornament does have to do with real family- if you knew all that my stpedaughter's Mother tells her to try to turn her against us, you would know that, but I'm not gonna sit her and write down example after example of how her Mother tries to make us look like we're nothing to my stepdaughter, that there's something wrong with my stepdaughter for wanting to come to our house when it's time. She should not be made to feel like she is only allowed to love one home, one parent, but she is.
I never said I know your stepdaughter. The problem is not the ornament or what it says, its the situation with her mother obviously.

This is an internet board, of course I don't know you or your stepdaughter, but I have read other posts about your situation. I just don't think that the ornament is a big deal and you you should not give her (sd's mom) the satisfaction of getting upset by it.

Your stepdaughter is getting it and the older she gets the more she will see what her mother is doing and she will not ultimately be swayed by it, if anything she will resent her mother because of it. It sounds like you have a good relationship with her (dsd) and that you are being the bigger person (you and her dad) in the situation and trust me, she will figure it all out, you don't have to do anything but continue what you are doing. Loving her, being a good role model, not badmouthing her mom, making her feel welcome in your home.
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#26 of 30 Old 12-14-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
How do you respond? Like the adult in the situation. "Wow! It sounds beautiful!" You don't respond in anger to the child, she's done nothing wrong. You don't show the mother that you're annoyed, because if that was what she was shooting for, well then, she knows that she's accomplished it. From the point of veiw of the CHILD in the situation (for years and years and years...)? Do nothing but be positive. You are SO GLAD that she likes the tradition enough that she has asked her mother to participate. You are SO HAPPY that she LOVES the ornament her mother has chosen. You are excited for her to open the one from her father and you, as well. and, WOW, isn't her tree going to be BEAUTIFUL when she's a grownup and has one of her own, with allll those ornaments that she'll have gotten through the years?!

And leave it at that.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what WE think, or the mother thinks, about where the child's home SHOULD be. She occupies both homes, and it's your job to make it as comfortable for HER as possible. She didn't choose this situation...and is excited about her ornaments, as she should be!
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eta - On the subject of two homes, we have had that struggle too, both where DD referred to my house as home only, and her dad's as 'Dad's.' Then we started saying 'mama's house' and 'dada's house'... but noticed she wasn't included in that. Now we talk about her two houses, what other kids have two houses, and we call them by the street names. That works really well. She is primarily at my house but I see no reason to try to corner the market on 'home,' I want her to know she is home at either place.

So I think the mama is being really petty and power struggly here with the OP. But ITA with courtenay that the proper response is not to power struggle back with the mama via the child (as getting another ornament with a contradictory message would do). Just let it go, be the bigger person, and do what you can do not to put the child in the middle of adult issues.
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#27 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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How do you respond? Like the adult in the situation. "Wow! It sounds beautiful!" You don't respond in anger to the child, she's done nothing wrong. You don't show the mother that you're annoyed, because if that was what she was shooting for, well then, she knows that she's accomplished it. From the point of veiw of the CHILD in the situation (for years and years and years...)? Do nothing but be positive. You are SO GLAD that she likes the tradition enough that she has asked her mother to participate. You are SO HAPPY that she LOVES the ornament her mother has chosen. You are excited for her to open the one from her father and you, as well. and, WOW, isn't her tree going to be BEAUTIFUL when she's a grownup and has one of her own, with allll those ornaments that she'll have gotten through the years?!

And leave it at that.

Honestly, it doesn't matter what WE think, or the mother thinks, about where the child's home SHOULD be. She occupies both homes, and it's your job to make it as comfortable for HER as possible. She didn't choose this situation...and is excited about her ornaments, as she should be!
What a graceful response.

I have to wonder what exactly the OP would hope to accomplish by ripping into the SD's mother. It seems to me, given the context of the situation, that it would only serve to make the mother extremely happy that her little plan 'worked' and upset the step-mother tremendously. Dang if I'd let her know I was upset over an ornament.
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#28 of 30 Old 12-18-2007, 08:47 AM
 
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I would be beyond annoyed. It does seem passive-aggressive on the mothers part based on how the OP described the situation. But really what can you do?

It's not fair to the SD to have to listen to this argument. I doubt she is reading into the situation as much as the OP is. To her, it is likely nothing more than a nice ornament her mother gave her as a loving gesture, like the ornaments she gets from her Dad and DSM.

Let her enjoy it and just leave it be. Because anything you do or say is going to likely end up looking petty on your part. And the mom can just come back with "All I did was give my daughter a nice ornament and look, you are making a fight out of it" (or something along those lines) And in a way, that's exactly what it would look like, even though that may just be the reaction she's looking for. I wouldn't give her the satisfaction.

FWIW my DSD enjoys coming to our house, but her moms house is her "home". I think she views our house as the fun place where she gets to stay up late, eat different foods, not have any chore, and see her baby sister. I think our house is more "fun" for her, and she knows she is ALWAYS welcome. But her moms house is "home" to her.
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#29 of 30 Old 12-19-2007, 01:47 AM
 
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I would bet that most kids from blended families would tell you that the custodial home is their home. Whether its mom's or dad's.

Its not a bad things for the kids to have one place to call home, kids in split custody situations typically have a hard time and don't feel like either parent's home is home, but that its mom's house and dad's house.

I have never heard one child, teenager or adult from a situation where there is a custodial home and a non-custodial home (the home they visit every weekend) call the NCH home. Its home and NCP'c house.
Well, come meet dss. He has always insisted that his mother's house is also his home, even when she lived 300 miles away and he had never even been there. And, that's ok with us. It makes him feel good. If you ask him his address, he'll give you two. If you ask him his phone number, he'll give you two. It has been especially important to him, now that his mother has other children, that he doesn't feel like a "visitor" in his mother's home. We respect that. We say, "when you go home to your mom's" or "when you come home here" even though we have custody.

In regards to the ornament, that does seem so calculated. Think of all the hundreds of other ornaments available! Just take the high road.
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#30 of 30 Old 12-19-2007, 01:49 AM
 
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In regards to the ornament, that does seem so calculated. Think of all the hundreds of other ornaments available! Just take the high road.

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