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.