Should I let my kids move in with their dad? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Should I let my kids move in with their dad?

Hi everyone. Thank God I found this forum because I became a stepmother last year and I also have two kids of my own, who I love with all my heart.

I'm no longer with my kids dad. He and I get along well, but our relationship wasn't the way either of us wanted it to be. The romantic love faded and we ended up more like lifelong friends than partners. Our two kids, DD15 and DS13 have adjusted very well and they were okay with us breaking up. I like to think it's because they know we love them always and will always be there for them. My kids were okay and even encouraging me to marry my now hubby. My husband was divorced for four years after the birth of his youngest daughter, who has severe mental and physical disabilities. Her mom didn't want to be a mom to her and my husband wasn't willing to give up his child for anyone, so they divorced and he has custody of the youngest and shared custody of their 11 year old twin girls.

My youngest stepdaughter requires 24/7 care. She's never going to be able to walk or talk or care for herself. My husband and I do our best to provide a comfortable life for her, but it requires sacrifices. We can't afford a house that would make everyone happy, so that meant buying a 4 bed house with a spacious living room and a huge master bedroom that my stepdaughter sleeps in, so we can get her around and so she isn't cooped up in her bedroom all day. My kids have been so understanding of us not having a lot of space and not having friends over like they used to. They also don't mind sharing a bedroom, which isn't ideal but we can't put my daughter and older stepdaughters in the one bedroom. But they've started resenting it more. I make as much time for them as I can and I do take them out for a movie on Friday nights and I make sure I spend a few minutes with them every day. They can't hide how much they hate it, though.

They were at their dads this Christmas. I was so glad they had such a good time with their extended family. But it hurt that their mood dropped within hours of them coming back. I know it's tough on them. I just hate knowing they're not happy here. I overheard my daughter telling my son not to glare at my stepdaughter and my son said he know he shouldn't hate her, but it's hard not to now that things are so different and her own sisters don't spend half as much time with her as they do. My daughter agreed and said it was why she tries to spend more time alone now.

There are issues with the twins and their sister. The twins have very little interest in their younger sister. Partly due to their mom, I think. But then again, not every 11 year old can deal with having such a severely disabled sibling and having their parents divorced, etc. My husband is very good at finding the time to spend with the twins and also doing everything he can for my youngest stepdaughter. But it's very, very tough. Especially when he finds it difficult to spend time with all three girls together.

My kids approached me recently and asked if I would be okay with them moving in with their dad on a more permanent basis. They said living in this house, in this environment, is very stressful and they would feel more comfortable having more space in their home. I was upset, but told them I would think about it. My husband feels we shouldn't let them leave because it could damage the relationship we have with then. But I worry that it would do more damage to force them to stay and have to deal with all of this until they're older.

I would appreciate any and all answers. I would love to hear your story if you've been in a similar situation and what you did or if things got better/worse. Thank you.
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#2 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 06:26 AM
 
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Sorry you are dealing with this. That would be a really tough situation to be in.

Is there anyway to spend more one on one time with your bios? How does your dh treat your bios? Especially your son? Do they have guy time only?
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#3 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kindofcrunchy82 View Post
Sorry you are dealing with this. That would be a really tough situation to be in.

Is there anyway to spend more one on one time with your bios? How does your dh treat your bios? Especially your son? Do they have guy time only?

Not really. I have tried, but with work/looking after my youngest stepdaughter and trying to get everyday things done, I don't have the time. If we could afford to pay a nurse to help us out some of the time, I would jump at the chance to spend more time with them. But we don't.

My husband is very good with my kids and they get along well. They don't get to spend a lot of time together individually because we're either busy, or I'm trying to get my time in with them, or he's trying to get time with his girls, or I'm with their dad. But they can sit and talk or sometimes my husband will drop them off somewhere, etc. It's not ideal. But it's making the best of a very tough situation.
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#4 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 08:24 AM
 
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it sounds like your household is very focused around the needs of your special needs child, and like it's tough for you or your husband to find any time to spend with the four other kids. It's also understandable that your kids would want to live someplace where they were able to have friends over.

You're making the best of a tough situation, but your teenagers have an alternative to being in that tough situation themselves.

You don't seem to have concerns about your ex's parenting, and your relationship with him seems to be low conflict. Given those facts, it might be a good idea to let your kids move in with him, assuming he's on board.

This plan should come with clear expectations about visits, calls, when the situation will be reevaluated, and so on. Moving is a big deal - they can't just switch houses at the drop of a hat.
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#5 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 09:40 AM
 
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It must be such a difficult situation to be. I think it's sad though that your kids probably feel that you traded them for your step daughter. That's not a good thing for your long term relationship with them. Sorry that's not a really supportive thing to state, but it might be a good idea to really think it through before you give up on relationship time with your own kids.

What did your husband do before you were in his life to manage the care of his daughter?
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#6 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 09:53 AM
 
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Is there any chance your DSD that needs care could actually live in the main living area? It might mean more interesting things for her to look at, and would free up a bedroom to space out the remaining kids better. Having a teenage girl and boy sharing a bedroom would bother the kids more than same sex siblings... I think.
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#7 of 8 Old 01-16-2016, 11:22 AM
 
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Assuming their dad is close enough, it could be a good thing to let your kids move. Instead of fitting them in where you have a scrap of time, spending time with them would be more intentional. Does it have to be all or nothing, would shared custody work?

The only alternative I can think of is looking into other services that might help, aside from a nurse, that might be more affordable. How much of your time would be freed up by having a cleaning service come once a week? Can you order your groceries online and have them delivered?
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#8 of 8 Old 01-18-2016, 05:17 AM
 
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Has your husband exhausted all the resources available? For extreme disabilities, kids often qualify for state healthcare (assuming you're in the us) which could help with costs. There may be organizations to help with expenses, or help provide a caregiver.

And, yes, what did your husband do before you?

Also- why can't they have friends over? At their ages, their friends should be able to understand how to not make things harder, and they'll probably entertain themselves and stay out of the way.

If you can't change anything about your situation, then, honestly, I know it's incredibly, deeply painful- but I think it would be better for your kids to split time with or even move in with their dad. Living with a special needs person is incredibly hard. They aren't getting the attention, space, or environment they need- and they have somewhere they can get that. It also may make it easier for you to devote one on one time to them when you do see them.
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