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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just got married last year to my wonderful husband after a year of dating and I jumped right into mommy role to his 8yr old, 14 yr old and 16 yr old. My husband has full custody of only the 14yr old so she lives with us and goes to her bm house the usual every other weekend. When I dated my husband her mother never really was a mother to her. It wasn't until recently that she started making an effort to be involved in my step daughters life which I think is great. However, her standards of parenting are different than our households. We are stern and expect the best from her when she goes to her mothers she sees things and is allowed to do things not appropriate for her age. BM recently told her daughter to talk to her counselor about attending a summer program 2 1/2 hrs away at a university but never once did she talk to my husband about their daughters education. I told him what my step daughter told me and he got upset with me because I won't tell bm anything. BM lets our 16 yr old drink and thinks it's ok. I brought him home one day hung over and with a mark on his neck from his gf. I told my husband and he confronted her but I stayed quite which upsets him and in turn ends up creating a fight. Am I wrong for not speaking my mind and backing him up against bm. The hardest part of this is that my husband works out of town 3-4 mths at a time so I'm full time mom and dad to my step daughter. If it comes down to having to talk to bm I'm left doing it alone. Is there ever a time that it's ok to step in and confront her about what she is allowing my step daughter to do? I feel it's my husbands duty as her father to talk to bm.
 

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Ooof, tough situation. Okay: How long have you been together, how long have you lived together? That matters a lot. If you've been together for 12 years, that's a very different situation from you getting together two months ago.

There aren't set guidelines or rules. A lot of it depends on the individual personalities. If you've been there a long time, you should already have an idea of how the ex feels about you. If she'll be receptive, or if your input will make things worse. If you're new, I think you're wise to stay out of it.

Imagine if you were working a job for 16 years, working with another manager you don't get along with and have very bad history with. Then he brings in some new assistant that you aren't convinced is even qualified for the job, assigns her to your most beloved projects, and then this new assistant gets up in your face. Would you appreciate that? That's what having a step-mother can feel like to the birth mom.

It's your husband's job to deal with his ex. It's also his job to deal with his kids. Frankly, if that's what the job situation is, you're lucky she isn't filing to get full custody while your husband is out of town. Dad's time is DAD'S time. Not "time with step mom".

I'm very concerned that this is turning into fights. He's putting too much on your shoulders (full time "mom", expects you to confront his ex, etc) and gets angry at you when you resist. He should be listening to your feelings and concerns and try to find a fair compromise. Now, my partner and I are horrible for this- we do fight a lot, but after the fight is out of our system we work together and work it out and make sure both of us are happy with the situation. So fights aren't always a problem, but a fight that leaves you questioning yourself isn't a good sign.

Now, to the kids:

It's illegal to provide minors with alcohol. I don't know what the law is for turning a blind eye to it. I hope someone else here can give some insight, it may be good to involve CPS. And also find some way to record that his son is showing up drunk, especially a way that makes it clear it isn't your husband's negligence that's letting it happen.

Sex, however, is something that teenagers do. Not ALL teenagers, but enough do. It's irresponsible to assume they won't or think you can punish them out of it. Your husband should go back over the sex talk and should probably buy him some condoms.
 
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Your husband doesn't probably realize that adding you to his fights might make them MUCH uglier. Biomoms will become monsters if the stepmom is trying to enter the fray.

I agree with sillysapling. It's not your place to be involved with discussions with the biomom. They aren't your kids, and I credit you for being aware enough to realize your place in the equation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The example you gave makes sense I wouldn't want to have someone that I didn't see fit tell me what to do or how to do it. The reason why my Husband has full custody of my step daughter is because bm didn't want that responsibility of taking my step daughter with her. See my husbands 8yr is from a different bm the 14 and 16 yr old are hers. So when she left my husband she left both kids to be raised by my husband. After a few years she returned for my step son only. I don't know why she made that choice and it's really not my place to judge. Even my step daughter hated going over to her mother moms until just recently when she started letting her get away with things we don't.

My husband and I fight but just as your husband and you we cool down and he understands where I'm coming from. He understands that sometimes I'm not comfortable with the situations that arise and he feels that I should be comfortable to share my thoughts and feelings. We all have that mutual respect for each other where we can get together all 4 parents and discuss the problems but sometimes even that seems kinda uncomfortable for me though. I discuss only simple things and expect him to handle the tough stuff. But there are days I wish I could just rip her a new one especially when she lets my step daughter down. However I know if I did more likely than not the relationship with my step daughter would change and she would dislike me for disrespecting her mom even if it's because I'm trying to protect her.

Does it ever get any easier. I came from a blended family and it was nothing how it is today. My father would come over for Christmas, thanksgiving and all important holidays to my moms and step dads house. They never had any issues hell my bd got my step dad a job working in the same place 20 yrs later they still work side by side with no issues. I guess that's wishful thinking but I try to have have that type of mutual relationship with her.
 

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It's not the time period, it's the individuals. When I was a kid, I had friends with divorced parents who were as bad if not worse than your situation. Now, I know people who are very amiable and prioritize the kids and get along well. It's all about the parents. One parent can't make everyone get along, but one parent can prevent it.

I agree with your instinct about not laying into birth mom- your step daughter will almost certainly leap to her mother's defense and blame you.

It sounds like their mom is threatened by you, which isn't uncommon. In that case, the more you can pull back the better. It's very common for one parent, especially the non-custodial parent, to be the "fun" one. It's not harmful for kids to have two sets of rules, it can actually be beneficial. The problem is that she doesn't have reasonable boundaries and it sounds like she's letting her kids do really bad things, like the drinking, sacrificing her kids' safety and well-being to "win".
 
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I agree the relationships vary depending on the parents. My husband has foud kids from two moms. The one mom is awesome. She's been friendly, encouraging, and works to facilitate time for my stepson to see us whenever it works.

The OTHER biomom is everything you never want to see in a biomom. SHe has done all of the items you listed above, and actively goes out of her way to do things for/to the kids because she's trying to upset my husband. For example, she's buying a tattoo for our 19 year old with her tax return money. The kid is rolling in debt because of student loans and she's spending $400 for him to get a tattoo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's not the time period, it's the individuals. When I was a kid, I had friends with divorced parents who were as bad if not worse than your situation. Now, I know people who are very amiable and prioritize the kids and get along well. It's all about the parents. One parent can't make everyone get along, but one parent can prevent it.

I agree with your instinct about not laying into birth mom- your step daughter will almost certainly leap to her mother's defense and blame you.

It sounds like their mom is threatened by you, which isn't uncommon. In that case, the more you can pull back the better. It's very common for one parent, especially the non-custodial parent, to be the "fun" one. It's not harmful for kids to have two sets of rules, it can actually be beneficial. The problem is that she doesn't have reasonable boundaries and it sounds like she's letting her kids do really bad things, like the drinking, sacrificing her kids' safety and well-being to "win".


The two sets of rules I see can be beneficial but she argues with my husband when he tries to lay down the law and rules of our house hold. When we explain to the kids our house rules they understand and then she learns about it and next thing you know the kids lash out and think my husband is overacting. I don't feel my husband is being to strict. I'm worried that with time my daughter might end up leaving us and going with her mom and that's something that I think would not be in her best interest. For instance in August my step son disrespected my husband when he tried to correct him he got in my husbands face and didn't want to stand down so my husband stood his ground and took him home.We tried talking as parents about what he did and all his mother had to say was that he was a teenager and my husband shouldnt talk to his son that way. My husband reached out for 6 months to my step son and he told his dad he bothered him to leave him alone. I feel like my husband is losing the battle with his kids because of that woman. Then to top things off we are trying to get pregnant which this would be my first baby and my step daughter does not seem thrilled about siblings since she will no longer be the only one in this household anymore. It makes you feel like it's your fault at the end of the day because your the change in the equation. I know that change is going to bring more issues. My husband and I have been trying for a year with no luck so we started going to the doctor for help. So I know when it happens my husband will be over the moon since we haven't been blessed yet. I don't know how the kids will react to his over excitement. They don't understand our struggle with infertility so far.
 

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The two sets of rules I see can be beneficial but she argues with my husband when he tries to lay down the law and rules of our house hold. When we explain to the kids our house rules they understand and then she learns about it and next thing you know the kids lash out and think my husband is overacting. I don't feel my husband is being to strict. I'm worried that with time my daughter might end up leaving us and going with her mom and that's something that I think would not be in her best interest. For instance in August my step son disrespected my husband when he tried to correct him he got in my husbands face and didn't want to stand down so my husband stood his ground and took him home.We tried talking as parents about what he did and all his mother had to say was that he was a teenager and my husband shouldnt talk to his son that way. My husband reached out for 6 months to my step son and he told his dad he bothered him to leave him alone. I feel like my husband is losing the battle with his kids because of that woman. Then to top things off we are trying to get pregnant which this would be my first baby and my step daughter does not seem thrilled about siblings since she will no longer be the only one in this household anymore. It makes you feel like it's your fault at the end of the day because your the change in the equation. I know that change is going to bring more issues. My husband and I have been trying for a year with no luck so we started going to the doctor for help. So I know when it happens my husband will be over the moon since we haven't been blessed yet. I don't know how the kids will react to his over excitement. They don't understand our struggle with infertility so far.
Boy this all sounds so familiar.

We had a similar problem a while back. There is nothing wrong with having stricter rules, and explaining why you feel they aren't that bad. Just realize that it's going to be a fight.

And that is NOT your fault. The example you listed was your stepson getting into his dad's face about something. That was between the two of them.

Teens aren't easy. It's worse when a parent lets the teen feel empowered to be disrespectful. But as parent, if you two stay respectful and consistent, you may not always win the battles, but once the kids are adults and have kids of their own, they will understand.
 
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