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My first post...need to vent!

Posted by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 9:54 AM
  • 30 Replies

I will try to keep this as brief as I can!  And I don't know all the abbreviations I can use, so I apologize for that.  I have been with my husband for over 5 years and we've been married for almost 3.  I have a 9-yr-old son from a previous relationship (his father isn't involved at all in his life, except for CS), my husband has 2 boys (13 & 9), and we just had our daughter who is 9-months.  

My stepsons live about 45 minutes away from us, BM has physical care & they have joint custody.  THe arrangement is that we get them every other weekend and about half of all school breaks and holidays.  In the 5 years that I have been in the picture, my husband definitely doesn't get them as much as he should.  There's nothing in writing in regards to his visitation with them, just "reasonable and equal" visitation.  

My SS 13 tells his dad everything, including what his mom says about him and us.  It's unbelieveable to think that a mom would want to say these things to her children, most of which are unfounded.  Unfortunately, since she has them for the majority of the year, they believe what they hear most of the time.  We don't get them enough to prove to them that those things aren't true.  We also don't have them enough (2 days every other week=4 days a month, if that) to have any kind of influence on their upbringing.  Our households are very different, to say the least.  And it is mainly my husband's fault that he doesn't get them more.  He doesn't want to fight with her and he doesn't want to put the boys through going to court to change the order and force them to come more (her words, they actually want to come to our house more than she lets them).  I see his point, but I really wish he would get the order amended.  It punishes him and gives her a great deal.  

My biggest issue is that she is holding these boys back.  They are 13 & 9 and are not growing up and learning how to be young men.  We try to instill responsibility and maturity in them, but it makes the few days we do get them less fun when they have to pick up after themselves and chores, so we usually drop it.  They don't really have any interests outside of school because she doesn't sign them up for any activities.  Their grades are failing, they are rude and seem to have a sense of entitlement to whatever they want.  

I've tried to gently discuss this with my husband (he feels the same way), and we've talked about taking her back to court, but he just won't pursue it.  So, I'm just going with the flow.  But I really want what's best for these 2, and I know they need more time with their dad and us, and they need to learn how to take care of themselves.  I'm just frustrated, and I guess I'm turning to this forum to see if I'm out of line, or if I can get some advice or support.

by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 9:54 AM
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Replies (1-10):
amantonacci
by Gold Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 10:32 AM

I would take step back and stay out of it... If mom is choosing to raise her kids that way unless dad wants to take the chance on going back to court there is nothing you can do! Welcome

ramita
by Silver Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM
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I agree with previous poster. If he's not willing to take the steps needed to get an amended visitation then unfortunately it sounds like he's letting those boys down to. If he's not willing then its time for you to take a step back and just enjoy them while you have them. Also just do the best you can when y'all have them to let the kids know y'all care and that you are there for them.
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OvrMyHead
by Silver Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

 Bummer.  The boys need their dad, but your DH doesn't sound like he wants to rock the boat.  Can he drive out there once a week for a dinner with them, just him?

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM
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You're not out of line to feel that way.  But as others have pointed out, there's nothing that you can do about it.  Your husband has to decide that he wants a change and pursue it in court.  From experience as a CSM, however, I would suggest that the odds of him changing how the boys are at this point - even if he had them full-time - are pretty slim. 

I had always heard a child's personality was mostly set by the age of 7.  That's not something I believed until I met my DH and became a CSM.  My SD is "stuck", for lack of better description, in an angry state of victimhood and entitlement.  She's a great kid, but that attitude is just there, has always been there, and is probably there to stay unless she seeks to understand and change it one day when she's a mature adult.  I will say, however, she's not as angry she was.  SS was an absolute brat when DH got custody, but as much as he was a hell spawn at that time, he was young enough still be very malleable.  He has none of that "I hurt and everyone owes me" attitude that SD has, though he very clearly had been on that same path.  IMO, ya'll are past the point of no return with regard to helping create your SSs' outlooks and attitudes, regardless of how much or how little you see them.  You just have to try to be the best influence and strongest mentors you can be with the time that you do have.  Rather than focusing on chores, try teaching independence through fun tasks, including them in ways they don't necessarily associate as "work" (e.g., helping dad grill, working on a vehicle, participating in family projects...).

icarefor4
by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

And that's pretty much what I've come to realize, I need to just stay back and let him do what he's gonna do.  He works very long hours and coaches at the high school, so he is limited to the amount of time he can devote to driving there and back to spend extra time, unfortunately.  He does do his best to get to music programs and other activities that they might have going on, which aren't many.  

What do you all do when your DH is the typical man, doesn't help much with housework (cooking, cleaning up, etc.) when his kids are at your house?  He spends his time with them, which I understand, but I think it would also do them good to see their dad do housework and help his wife out.  Just clear the table, or wash up a few pans, take the garbage out.  When we have them, I spend my time cleaning up after 3 kids, a baby, and a grown man.  I feel like a slave :(  I've told him how I feel many times, but he always brings it back to spending his time with them.  He's not all bad, just wondering what you all have experienced.

FoodIsLife
by Bronze Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM


So you can read this wonderful comment better... 

CSM: custodial step mom

DH: Darling husband

SD: Step daughter

SS: Step son

IMO: In my opinion


In the comments on this link you can find all the abbriviations. Welcome!

http://www.cafemom.com/group/416/forums/read/11442691/The_CafeMom_Help_Desk_Ask_Questions_Here_FAQs_Tips_and_Abbreviations?ct=search_grouppost

Quoting Derdriu:

You're not out of line to feel that way.  But as others have pointed out, there's nothing that you can do about it.  Your husband has to decide that he wants a change and pursue it in court.  From experience as a CSM, however, I would suggest that the odds of him changing how the boys are at this point - even if he had them full-time - are pretty slim. 

I had always heard a child's personality was mostly set by the age of 7.  That's not something I believed until I met my DH and became a CSM.  My SD is "stuck", for lack of better description, in an angry state of victimhood and entitlement.  She's a great kid, but that attitude is just there, has always been there, and is probably there to stay unless she seeks to understand and change it one day when she's a mature adult.  I will say, however, she's not as angry she was.  SS was an absolute brat when DH got custody, but as much as he was a hell spawn at that time, he was young enough still be very malleable.  He has none of that "I hurt and everyone owes me" attitude that SD has, though he very clearly had been on that same path.  IMO, ya'll are past the point of no return with regard to helping create your SSs' outlooks and attitudes, regardless of how much or how little you see them.  You just have to try to be the best influence and strongest mentors you can be with the time that you do have.  Rather than focusing on chores, try teaching independence through fun tasks, including them in ways they don't necessarily associate as "work" (e.g., helping dad grill, working on a vehicle, participating in family projects...).



legobaby
by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM
I have SD about the same amount of time. We don't have a court order because her parents have always agree on something themselves. We used to get SD (step-daughter) every weekend plus Wednesday nights for dinner or bowling or something. But we live 3.5 hours away now so we get her EOWE (every other weekend) as well as some in the summer and breaks. Her mom always wants her for major holidays, and we don't rock the boat on that even though it's a pain.

Anyway, my advice is to leave it alone. My SD is making As, Bs, and Cs when we know she I capable of straight As. She is overweight and eats terribly sometimes. She watces way too much TV and plays way too many video games.

However, I learned long ago that nothing I can do will change that. We aren't trying to get custody of her because her mom is a good mom in a lot of ways and loves her kids and is basically just not of an active lifestyle like we are. But SD loves her mom and lives with her primarily, so there is really nothing we can do that will drastically improve her character or health. I used to try to cook healthy meals and get SD outside more when we have her, etc., but we learned that she was starting to resent us for it since her mom was always being the fun one that let her sit on the couch all day. So we just realized it wasn't worth the fight since our 5 days a month or whatever wouldn't make a huge difference anyway.

If you feel like BM (bio mom) is being abusive, I would try to get custody. Otherwise, I would leave it alone and just try to have fun with the boys when you have them.

Just my two cents!
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Derdriu
by Gold Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM
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Remind him that he can spend quality time with them while also enlisting their help.  Part of teaching is being the example.  He and their SF, if they have one, serve as the strongest role models for how a gentleman should treat a lady and how a husband should treat his wife.  If he refuses to help and take part, what do they learn?  It may be that he is very helpful when they are not around, but they don't have the benefit of witnessing that interaction.

Your DH probably harbors some guilt over the time he doesn't get with his sons.  It's only natural he would want to entertain them and spend time with them in fun ways while they're there.  Since ya'll are looking for ways to constructively teach them responsibility and independence, and because you don't have the opportunity to teach those things as part of a normal daily family dynamic, it's even more important that he find ways to actively lead them by being the most eager participant.  If that means embodying a Tim Allen-type persona to show those girls how a real man cooks dinner and cleans up, making a rowdy mess of it and unorthodox clean up, then so be it.  It's a difficult task at hand to gain the cooperation of two entitled kids on a "visit", but there are ways to do it, have fun doing it, and simultaneously be setting a positive example and teaching life skills.  Encourage him to take the lead and be creative.


Quoting icarefor4:

What do you all do when your DH is the typical man, doesn't help much with housework (cooking, cleaning up, etc.) when his kids are at your house?  He spends his time with them, which I understand, but I think it would also do them good to see their dad do housework and help his wife out.  Just clear the table, or wash up a few pans, take the garbage out.  When we have them, I spend my time cleaning up after 3 kids, a baby, and a grown man.  I feel like a slave :(  I've told him how I feel many times, but he always brings it back to spending his time with them.  He's not all bad, just wondering what you all have experienced.


 

amantonacci
by Gold Member on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM


Does he do this stuff when his kids are not over?

Quoting icarefor4:

And that's pretty much what I've come to realize, I need to just stay back and let him do what he's gonna do.  He works very long hours and coaches at the high school, so he is limited to the amount of time he can devote to driving there and back to spend extra time, unfortunately.  He does do his best to get to music programs and other activities that they might have going on, which aren't many.  

What do you all do when your DH is the typical man, doesn't help much with housework (cooking, cleaning up, etc.) when his kids are at your house?  He spends his time with them, which I understand, but I think it would also do them good to see their dad do housework and help his wife out.  Just clear the table, or wash up a few pans, take the garbage out.  When we have them, I spend my time cleaning up after 3 kids, a baby, and a grown man.  I feel like a slave :(  I've told him how I feel many times, but he always brings it back to spending his time with them.  He's not all bad, just wondering what you all have experienced.



kristinbugg
by on Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

None of this is any of your concern.  They're not your children.  Let Dad handle this situation and you stay out of it.  Stop pushing Dad to have more time with his children.  If HE truly wants it, he'll push the issue.  Visitation is for the children to spend quality time with their father, not for them to spend time with SM and her children.

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