How do I deal with my husband's ex-wife?

My husband got custody of his four young kids when he divorced - his ex didn't really want the kids. The littlest ones were still in diapers when he and I met, and we've been together for eight years. The kids spend well over 300 days a year at our house.

The kids' absentee mom criticizes everything I do, but won't even visit her kids unless we drive them to her mother's house 3 hours away. I am sure in her own way she loves them, but... she spends so much time criticizing me that she doesn't spend any time loving her kids - she's so focused on trying to turn them against me.

Is she just bitter that she chose a life different than mine? Is she jealous that I love the kids so much I gave up a really good career to raise them? How can I keep the peace? I've tried being nice to her, but she continues to talk trash about me to the kids when she sees them.


Asked by Anonymous at 7:13 PM on Oct. 10, 2008 in Relationships

This question is closed and filed in the CafeMom Encyclopedia.
Answers (8)
  • She is doing this because she has guilt about not being the "mom" to her children. I don't know of anything you can do to change her behavior, maybe just knowing why she behaves this way will help some. And as far as the children, in time they will see you and their mother for who you really are. Hang in there, you are doing a wonderful thing. Never say negative things about their mother in front of them...they will see in time. Just always tell them you love them and continue to be the "mom" that you are.

    Answer by robinann5 at 1:39 AM on Oct. 11, 2008

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  • "The kids will know who was there for them in the end."

    I totally agree!!!

    My ss has been living with us for 3 years now and tells everyone that he finally has a home and someone that  really  loves and cares for him.  Being a step mom is truly overwhelming sometimes but there are rewards too! I know that I am the one that is seeing to his needs now and his bio-mom never did; now he doesn't want to talk to her on the phone or even visit her he says all she does is lie to him ......


    Answer by Redsangel at 2:49 PM on Dec. 11, 2008

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  • The kids will know who was there for them in the end. If they are only with her maybe 60 days a year is this really an issue? I would ignore her shit and I certainly would not be doing the driving. If she loves them and wants time with them then let her prove it by coming to see or get them.

    Answer by salexander at 4:38 PM on Oct. 13, 2008

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  • I am a stepmom too and the only thing I have to say is if she doesn't think you are doing such a good job she should step up to the plate and obviously she has not intentions of doing that-so consider the source and pay her no mind-your home and your family needs to be your only concern and what makes ya'll happy...she is not worth your worries-keep your head held high!!

    Answer by AlabamaGrl at 12:52 AM on Oct. 12, 2008

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  • Just keep the peace in your own home. You can't control her, but you can control what bits of her float into your home on the lips of the kids and your reactions to it. Like Kenn'sWifey said, just keep saying, "that's nice." and they'll eventually stop telling you. I PROMISE that they will grow up knowing who loves them and who's just a bitter, dried up, beotch who couldn't be bothered to love her own children because she was too busy hating their stepmom. *hugs* All of us stepmoms feel your pain, both custodial and non. :)

    Answer by Avarah at 12:43 AM on Oct. 11, 2008

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  • if you have to drive the kids to her and she can't come and see them then she is not a mother i have two step children that have always tried to break their dad and i up but their mother is always kicking them out of her house and where is the only place they are welcome you got it i would try to go to court and do something you and they need a steady life and routine

    Answer by jodi205 at 10:55 PM on Oct. 10, 2008

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  • I'm also a full time step mother to my DH's 2 daughters. Luckily BM and I get along fairly well and she doesn't trash talk me to the children. My advice would be just to ignore it as much as you can. They will see who cares for them, who looks after their well being, and who took an active role in their life. When they tell you things that she has said, just tell them "that's nice" and change the subject. The more you feed into it, the more of an issue it will become with them. If they only see her once every blue moon she doesn't seem to have that much time to instill negative feelings towards you in them.

    Answer by KennsWifey at 8:09 PM on Oct. 10, 2008

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  • I don't think you'll be able to do anything. But in time, the kids will see things for what they are. Just try to keep at least being polite and continue to drive the kids to her if they want to see her. They will appreciate you for it later. Its a tough situation, but just keep being the best parent you can be and the truth will come out.

    Answer by chillemi78 at 7:22 PM on Oct. 10, 2008

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