Sorry, this is long. I really, really appreciate this group and wanted to share my experience to get some perspective, even if its not what I want to hear. I've been in my skids lives for 6 years, me and DH dated for 3 years and then moved in and got married 3 years ago. I have a DS and a DD, he has a DS and a DD. All the kids are now around pre-teen age. When I met DH he had just got full time custody when BM moved over 1,000 miles away to go live near her parents. DH contested his kids moving so far away and since he couldn't move due to his job, BM either had to give him custody or stay in the area. BM did not work but started receiving SSDI. After BM moved away there was a big custody battle and DH was granted full legal and physical custody, BM was given 1 week of supervised visitation a year. BM called the skids regularly but never visited them.
BM completely ignored me at first, I tried to say 'hi' a few times, then I gave up. Then one time about 2 years ago I answered the phone and she proceeded to tell me off because of an incident I had with discliplining SS. (This incident was minor). After she did this I started to HATE BM. I was so angry that I was raising her kids, providing them with a loving home, structure, activities, my whole extended family has included the skids in everything, etc. I stopped supporting my DH trying to fly his kids to see BM (he had done this a few times a year and I was on board because even though she was only given 1 week of visitation, the skids missed her and wanted to see her). I stared getting really angry when I heard her voice on the phone (my SS always talked to her on speaker phone turned up full volume).
In the meantime, BM started suing DH, one suit after another. She sued for custody a 2nd time, she lost again, got no extra visitation and also had to pay DH's atty fees, she then sued for lifetime alimony support.
This all culiminated for me when my SD had a life event (coming of age party) a few months ago. This is a very big deal in our community. BM and her whole family attended this big party that DH and I put a ton of work into and paid for. BM ignored me during the party, I tried to make nice once and say 'hi' once but she turned away and said 'Don't talk to me'. I was so upset during the entire event. I just couldn't handle being around BM and her family. No one knew I was upset, not even DH.
After the whole thing was over I was ready to end my marriage, I couldn't take the stress of even being around BM that one day and feeling like I was doing for HER kids and not getting an iota of gratitude. I also couldn't stand to hear her voice on the phone so now the skids talk to her quietly in their room, they were told that they need to do this. I wanted to leave my family because I couldn't take this part of being a stepmom.
A few months have gone by, all is back to normal and I haven't heard BM's voice in my home in months and I'm happy again. I know this is not ideal for my skids, but this is the only way I'm comfortable. If you are still reading, I'm really glad to get this out of my head and would love to hear your thoughts.