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Needing Advice on an Important Decision about Kids Living in our Home...Is 6 too many for us?

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This is one of my first posts here and I am a bit nervous asking for help but my family has an important decision to make and I need advice.

From the beginning...I have three kids of my own and now three more from my husband who I married in 2011. We have been together for five years and all six kids have lived with us for three. We brought them into our home when his ex decided she didn't want to deal with her life anymore and took off to lower WI with a boyfriend. She returned six months later and has been a big part of their lives. We get along for the most part except I know she wants them back full time and sometimes takes it out on me. The criticisim is a pain. I work full time and it drives her crazy. Funny thing, she's younger than me.

Well, the kids have all been driving eachother and us crazy. We live in a small 3 bdrm home and we have three boys in one room and three girls in the other, seeing as they are getting older this is getting much harder. I work evenings so my husband is the one who gets them off the bus and helps them with homework etc...reciently he started school again himself to get a degree in Auto Mechanics and things are going well except the girls are super clingy to him and the little boys are getting into everything, he has a hard time getting his work done. My two oldest are teenagers too and just started sports and dating. My youngest was just abandoned by his father (he moved away without telling any of us) and I feel like he is being neglected too. I can't change my shift because there isn't anything available. I'm starting to think my stepkids just need to go back to their mother. We don't get child support from her and I'm struggling financially as well.

The problem is I hate to see them go back to an unstable home. While she is a SAHM and is Married, they argue a LOT. Also they might lose their electric again soon, (in that case the kids aren't going anywhere!) I feel terrible for not wanting them with us anymore but I'm so frustrated with all the extra stress it's starting to cause problems with my DH. Not sure if we are making the right choice...any thoughts? Thanks for reading :-)

 

by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Replies (31-40):
annabl1970
by Gold Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Yep



Quoting liltigersmom:

One of my petpeeves is, couples that don't pick up, when they're struggling. More money needs to be going into the household, pure and simple. So either dh needs to go to school part time, and get a job part time, or put school on hold, and go to work full time.



Idk why everyones blasting the sm. She's working, and obviousily frustrated, I would be too.

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ColdSilveRain
by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:04 PM



Quoting Birdseed:



Quoting annabl1970:

Sure why not?
If HER Ex wasn't paying CS and Her CURRENT husband was supporting her kids and her for 3 years, and she complained about how hard it is financially and morally for her kids, and let send the SKs to mom, I would be FIRST to suggest her : "send your kids to Dad's of f... Get a job!"
But here the
HUGE difference with OP situation: stepkids have BOTH parents, BOTH parents are fully capable of supporting them. But they DON'T.
BF doesn't work.BM doesn't give a shit to foot any bill for her kids.
SM is the one who works and pays for Their kids. And her Ex pays CS. Why should her kids go live with the father?
IMO, here the solution:
Father finds the job or mom starts paying CS. Or kids will be send to mom's and I SURE 100% mom will get CS from dad no doubt about it.
Maybe it will motivate BF to start somehow supporting his own kids.



You can't get blood out of a turnip.  CS is determined based on several factors--one of which is income.  Neither parent in this situation has any income and theres's no CO for CS in place.  Therefore, neither parent could get CS at this point.  You can't court order someone to get a job.  If there were already CS CO'd then it's feasible that a parent could go to jail for being in arrears but that takes years in most states.

So like many single parents whose exes don't pay CS, DH needs to GET A JOB and take care of his responsibilities.  Maybe now is not a time when they can afford for him to go to school.  Lots of people have to put off things that they want to do in order to take care of themselves and their kids.  It's called personal responsibility.






annabl1970
by Gold Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:12 PM
This dad allowing his wife to support his kids and him for THREE years. I am sure if he really wanted to get Job he would already.
Suggesing that Letting kids live with their mom it's somehow equal to disposing them - sorry, it's freaking stupid.
If they live with mom, there is no bailout like SM. SM had enough.
Let mom and dad figure out something.
What you did was very nice. Not everyone can do it. Esspesially those who have their own kids to support.


Quoting Birdseed:

I don't think SM should be working her ass off to support everyone either if she doesn't want to.  But that still doesn't mean that the kids should be considered disposable because times are hard.  

My take?  I bet her situation started out a lot like mine.  DH was laid off, I had a good job.  I didn't think he'd be unemployed/unpaid for YEARS.   So I was willing to support everyone temporarily.  I did it voluntarily (and we weren't even married at that point).  But after awhile, I started getting resentful because I saw my money going out the door to BM who wasn't working (and DH didn't want to not support the kids so he wouldn't file for a modification to CS), for the kids who lived with us 50% or more, all of their ECs and clothing and whatever else, etc meanwhile, I was sacrificing a lot on my side.  Taking a total loss on my house, getting rid of one of my horses, stopping training and showing, no more going to the nice hair salon, no more going out with friends.  And yet no thanks and no real changes on anyone elses' end.  And to boot, crappy behavior from the kids at home that made me dread coming home every day.

So I'm speaking from experience when I say...DH NEEDS A JOB.  The CS angle is worthless.  And it's absolutely ludicrous to consider getting rid of your kids in lieu of GETTING A JOB.  It's just awful.  Any SM that would suggest it would be run out here and any BF would would think of it is someone I don't have any respect for.

BM already bailed once in this case. (and in mine too)  So thinking that sending the kids to BM would be the logical solution is just ridiculous to me.

That said, the solution to our problem was moving to where DH could find a job that paid better than mine.  As a result, we don't have the kids living with us right now.  They're finishing out the school year and then they're coming here.  And THEN? We're moving overseas.  I had to quit my good paying job and get a PT crappy job here to help us get back on track.  So sometimes you have to really shake things up to get out of the financial rut.

That's what I'm suggesting.  



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Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM



Quoting annabl1970:

This dad allowing his wife to support his kids and him for THREE years. I am sure if he really wanted to get Job he would already.
Suggesing that Letting kids live with their mom it's somehow equal to disposing them - sorry, it's freaking stupid.
If they live with mom, there is no bailout like SM. SM had enough.
Let mom and dad figure out something.
What you did was very nice. Not everyone can do it. Esspesially those who have their own kids to support.



Maybe he hasn't gotten a job because he doesn't realize how tight things are?  Maybe he doesn't pay the bills, she does?  Maybe she has been encouraging him to go to school and it's only now that they're feeling the pinch?

How is having the SF support the kids different than SM supporting the kids?  What happens when SF doesn't want to do it? Kids move again?

In this situation, it sounds like everyone BUT the actual parents are the ones being expected to pay for the kids.  SM or SF.  NEITHER parent has a job.  NEITHER parent seems to have a sense of responsibility to cover that base on their own.

I think that fundamentally, you and I agree.  However, I feel like it's an issue that should be addressed in the current home rather than moving the kids to another home.


ColdSilveRain
by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:28 PM

The reason DH is going to school is that he can't find work. We live in rural Upper Michigan where jobs are scarce and daycare would be ridiculous for us obviously, a part-time job wouldn't pay. It is in our best interest to have him in school at the moment and a SAHD. He spent two years applying for work everywhere before I went for my CNA and was able to find work. You talk about personal responsibility, we are working for a better life. Again however, the money isn't the main issue, we have made it on my income for three years. You can live on 28K a year.  BM has never worked in her life so CS wasn't expected, my husband actually still paid her for several months after we took his kids. The issue is more discipline and stress. Like most SAHD's he hasn't had much experience being home and dealing with every day issues. I don't like his ex coming into my home and "supervising" when I'm not home. She even orders my kids around, he just lets her to keep the peace. Then she criticizes everything we do. The kids don't want to listen to me because I'm not their mother and since she is around they think she is in charge. She also doesn't place importance on having a clean household so trying to get hem to even pick up dirty clothes is like pulling teeth. And since I work afternoons I only see them twice a week during the school year and I have to be the bad guy. Technically we don't have custody because she wouldn't sign the papers so my DH feels we should have to tiptoe around her (she is pretty nuts). I'm just tired of the whole situation. 

Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM
1 mom liked this

No kidding?  We just left MI ourselves.  I totally hear you on the job issues...MI has just gone downhill.  My husband had a very very good job--6 figures--but much of his work was based on state gov't funds and that evaporated.

If the issue isn't financial but behavioral then I guess I don't know what to tell you.  I was lucky in that my husband listened to the counselor and made changes.  BM in my sitch was very critical of us having the kids do chores or have responsibilities.  But once they were doing that consistently at our house, she got on board at her house.

If they don't live with her, I don't really understand why it's a problem though.  He just needs to enforce the rules in your home.

If he doesn't have legal custody then you do realize that she can simply take the kids.  Simple as that.

annabl1970
by Gold Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:36 PM

 


Quoting Birdseed:

 

 

Quoting annabl1970:

This dad allowing his wife to support his kids and him for THREE years. I am sure if he really wanted to get Job he would already.
Suggesing that Letting kids live with their mom it's somehow equal to disposing them - sorry, it's freaking stupid.
If they live with mom, there is no bailout like SM. SM had enough.
Let mom and dad figure out something.
What you did was very nice. Not everyone can do it. Esspesially those who have their own kids to support.



Maybe he hasn't gotten a job because he doesn't realize how tight things are?  Maybe he doesn't pay the bills, she does?  Maybe she has been encouraging him to go to school and it's only now that they're feeling the pinch?

How is having the SF support the kids different than SM supporting the kids?  What happens when SF doesn't want to do it? Kids move again?

In this situation, it sounds like everyone BUT the actual parents are the ones being expected to pay for the kids.  SM or SF.  NEITHER parent has a job.  NEITHER parent seems to have a sense of responsibility to cover that base on their own.

I think that fundamentally, you and I agreeYEP:)  However, I feel like it's an issue that should be addressed in the current home rather than moving the kids to another home.

 I can see SM not happy either to send them to their mom. So then BF should find job ASAP.


 

kristinbugg
by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:45 PM
So you'd send these children back to a home you KNOW is unstable?

If too many kids are such a problem, why don't you send YOURS to live elsewhere? After all, you admit your youngest is having emotional problems and that is causing chaos.
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annabl1970
by Gold Member on Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:46 PM

 

If she never worked her entire life, doesn't mean she can't start working now..

I would never let BM in our home. Put your foot down on that one for sure!

And no way in hell she would "order around" my kid.

Quoting ColdSilveRain:

The reason DH is going to school is that he can't find work. We live in rural Upper Michigan where jobs are scarce and daycare would be ridiculous for us obviously, a part-time job wouldn't pay. It is in our best interest to have him in school at the moment and a SAHD. He spent two years applying for work everywhere before I went for my CNA and was able to find work. You talk about personal responsibility, we are working for a better life. Again however, the money isn't the main issue, we have made it on my income for three years. You can live on 28K a year.  BM has never worked in her life so CS wasn't expected, my husband actually still paid her for several months after we took his kids. The issue is more discipline and stress. Like most SAHD's he hasn't had much experience being home and dealing with every day issues. I don't like his ex coming into my home and "supervising" when I'm not home. She even orders my kids around, he just lets her to keep the peace. Then she criticizes everything we do. The kids don't want to listen to me because I'm not their mother and since she is around they think she is in charge. She also doesn't place importance on having a clean household so trying to get hem to even pick up dirty clothes is like pulling teeth. And since I work afternoons I only see them twice a week during the school year and I have to be the bad guy. Technically we don't have custody because she wouldn't sign the papers so my DH feels we should have to tiptoe around her (she is pretty nuts). I'm just tired of the whole situation. 


 

Mommyof5247
by on Mar. 31, 2013 at 3:34 PM
This.
I am SAHM & CSM (custodial stepmom). I have 2 teens, SD7, SS5 DD2 & DD2months. We don't live in a large house but we built mores rooms to do our last round of musical bedrooms so everyone's comfy.

DH busts his butt working everyday, then being my superhero husband at night, cooking, cleaning, helping me with kids, homework etc. He also has a 2nd job every other month on weekends & will do other jobs during weekends if we need extra income. My teens dads rarely see them but do contribute financially. BM of SD & SS pays minimal cs but is often trying to avoid it, she has them EOWE.
We wouldn't dream of giving up any of the kids. Try not to think about what the other families aren't doing at all, it can only add to your frustration. You need to be determined & tackle whatever little issues you can. It gets tough if you feel you need to solve everything at once.

Talk with DH about rules & consequences. Make a list/chart & post it if you need to se each of you can fall back on it if tired/stressed/forgetful. Stick to it ever time the kids act up. Give them chores. If they misbehave give them tasks to do to keep busy, preoccupied, separate from each other if need be & to feel a part of the big picture. Making the kids do separate things while awake may help make sharing rooms easier at bedtime. Do little things to make the night flow easier for each other.

The decision is completely up to you & your DH but talk to each other about your frustrations. Neither of you may feel appreciated & need to boost each other up frequently when times get tough. A lot of ladies posted some great ideas here. Pick some & give them a try. Good luck & hugs...I know how it can feel sometimes.


Quoting Birdseed:

IMHO, there are two separate issues here.

First of all, I understand first hand how stressful it can be to be the only one working and supporting kids that aren't your own.  It's one thing to work hard to take care of yourself and your responsibilities.  It's quite another to be working hard, missing time with your own kids or friends/actvities for someone elses' kids.  I'd venture to guess that SF wouldn't be so hip to that either.

So issue one is financial.  I get that.  IMHO, your DH should get a job so that he's contributing towards the household. I realize that in this economy, it can be tough to find jobs in certain fields in certain areas.  But even if your DH picked up some odd jobs off of craigslist on the weekends, he could at least be contributing.  I realize that education is important, but he's got children who are still dependents.  You're not going to get any money out of BM because she's not employed.  So the CS angle is a moot point.  DH needs to generate some income.  It might mean that he comes home after school and cares for the kids, then when you get home, he goes to a PT job second/third shift.  People do it all the time.  Does it suck?  Yes.  But it sucks less than being homeless or not having food on the table.

YOU should not have to support 6 kids.  If you choose to and you can, that's fine.  But he needs to work out a way to support his 3 if you can't/don't want to.

Next, the kids.  I can imagine that it's not super fun for them to be crammed 3 to a room.  But that's the situation and they need to adapt.  It's normal for tween/teen girls to get a little snotty and cop an attitude from time to time.  That doesn't mean that they have to get away with it.  My SDs are 13 and 15 and they have their moments, but generally, they know that's not acceptable behavior.  8 & 9 YO boys left to their own devices will get into trouble.  That's normal too.  Again, they need to be watched more carefully and when something like that happens, some natural consequences would go a long way.  Show them how to clean it up and make them do it.  If his son is being rude to you...for the love of Pete, he's 8 and has been living with you since he was 5.  He's testing.  Have a boundary with him and enforce it.

The solution is not "sending the kids away".  The solution to these issues is for DH to get a job and parent his kids with boundaries and expectations.  

Any person who was working to support 8 people, who was living in close quarters with teenage girls and mischevious little boys would be frazzled having a husband who was not pulling his weight financially or in the parenting department.  ANYONE would.

And by him even CONSIDERING "sending HIS kids away" makes me think that when the going get's rough, this guy just gives up and wants someone else to take over.  He's letting you do it and now he wants to do that with his ex.  So many dads would LOVE to have their kids, FIGHT to have their kids and barely get to see them more than 4 days a month. Why?  Because society sees Moms as more stable and less likely to abandon their kids the way Dads do.  This is just the kind of situation that perpetuates that.

I'm not slamming you.  I get your frustration and think you're well within your rights to BE frustrated.  But I'm fairly disgusted that your DH would even consider dumping his kids off because it's getting "hard".  Parenting is hard.  Life is hard.  "Giving up" when things get hard is not something I have respect for. 

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