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I just want outside opinions on the things myself and my husband have to go through with his exwife.  It seems like we get trapped in a bubble.  Can't always see the non crazy. Haha. 

Some background.  My husband has full custody of his 4 y/o daughter.  She sees her mom on the weekend, for one day.  This is her choice, she could see her two days a week and her one day weekend, but she chooses not to (fine by us).  She has three kids with 3 different dads.  Has lost both of those children because of neglect both physical neglect and educational (not having fitting clothes or not wearing shoes to school, she failed to get them into school).  She lied to my husband about these kids, made herself all normal looking and got him to marry and have a kid with her.  Then fell to pieces.  My husband divorced her quickly, and took his child.  He and I are raising her and our own son together as a family. I've been with my husband and K since she was 2.  I've always told K that I am not her real mom, and that I'm not trying to replace her.  She calls me Emmy for extra mom, plus my name starts with an M.  My son calls me Mommy and K wants to too, so sometimes it's ok. 

Gripe #1.  She regularly fails to miss her pick up time.  She picks up K at school on fridays, but regularly misses this time and only tells my husband 20 minutes before the end of K's schoolday.  Then K cries because she does want to see her mom.  It's awful that she doesn't understand how much she lets her own daughter down.  I just want to protect her from that.  Is there anything we can do?

Gripe #2:  When she goes there she comes back super hungry, tired and smelly.  She's only there for a day! I don't understand how hard it is to feed an always hungry child.  We've asked if she eats and her mom says she does eat.  But we're not so sure. She comes home usually asleep from her moms, and always wakes up crying that she is hungry.  We give her food, but no amount helps, she still says she's hungry.   She doesn't have a bedtime there, we assume she only eats junk food which is why she's so hungry all of the time and tired.  We know she doesn't clean because of the way she "kept house" when she was living with my husband.  Not sure what we can do here either.

Gripe #3: K has said she wanted to stay at her mom's because she can do whatever she wants there, and there are no rules and no school.  We've tried to explain to her that if she stayed at her mom's full time she would still have to go to school.  Will she ever learn that bedtimes and school and eating good food are good for her? We're not the bad guys.

Gripe #4:  The ex's new boyfriend who is living with her is bipolar and off meds most times.  In the past he has scared K, and punished her for things she couldn't help, like falling down, or stepping on his foot.  She still likes it there for whatever reason.   He has two daughters of his own, one was taken when she was younger, one still lives with him.  She is 4 also, but severely developmentally delayed.  She talks in one word phrases and doesn't go to school at all.  I think she stays in that house all day.  When K is there, K starts talking like that.  She loses everything she's learned, like how to write her name.  It takes a few days for all of that to come back.  It's really sad because K is so smart.  Apparently, the little girl D, told K she was going to punch her.  K is very scared of her.  But she still wants to go back every friday.  Not sure what to do. 

Are these normal gripes for a stepparent dealing with an ex?  Sorry for rambling and venting. 

Any help would be nice.

by on Feb. 11, 2013 at 5:58 AM
Replies (11-13):
by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:31 AM

 I agree with the first two responders. The only thing I would add to the first gripe is make sure you give her food before she leaves your house, after school on fridays, to her bm's place. That way you know she is being fed.

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 7:38 AM

Sounds to me that you need to talk to the courts about all of this.  I would ask for supervised visitation, a home study, and periodic inspections.

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM

The pickup time change would be an easy fix for the missed pickups/last minute changes.  Also, I wouldn't tell SD that Mom is coming.  Have the bag packed and ready to go, but assume she's not going and let Mom showing up be a good surprise.  That should cut down on the disappointment.  

The food thing doesn't quite make sense.  It sounds like more of a comfort/attention seeking behavior than hunger based on what you posted.  I would be very careful about feeding her a lot in that situation because in my non psychologist opinion, you might be setting her up for emotional eating. 

You said she usually returns asleep.  At 6pm?  That seems odd to me.  I think I'd wake her up when she gets home and have a game/puzzle/family activity planned for 30-60 minutes of "reboot" time.  While I've not dealt with a step that age (mine are older), we've found that having a routine for transition evenings has really helped the kids settle back in.  For us, it's Taco night.  We have tacos, we play a game, we settle back into a routine.  Having that "standard" routine when they come home gives everyone something to look forward to and is reassuring...we're back in the program.  KWIM?

Maybe in your case, a game and snack while you all play could remedy this issue.

As for the BM's are you getting this information?  It sounds a little odd....

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