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Assistance pls - new here!

Posted by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:48 AM
  • 13 Replies

Hi everyone; I'm new to the group!  I have a dilemma I'd like assistance with, but a little about myself.  I am a 34 yo divorced mom of 2 girls (2 & 4) and I work full time outside the home.  I met a wonderful divorced man over a year ago with kids of his own (g 10, b 8) and we live together.  His kids live out of state (only sees on breaks and summer).  I first met them for a day last year during their spring break.

My dilemma - I'm not a kid person to begin with; his kids seem to need to be constantly entertained and I don't know how to relate to either of them.  I've seen them for about 8 weeks this last year; but its been in the capacity of: watching them b/c he was at work or evenings after I get home from work (or they get home from whatever outing they've been on).  I know BF hasn't seen them and try to give him space to spend time with them; he wants to do everything for them and they are constantly there.... I mean they spend all day out doing activities, yet still full of energy at 10ish at night; I'm ready for bed 1 and 2 want some couple time.   I know that sounds selfish.  Anyhow this past week; it was brought to my attention that it seemed I was relieved to see them leave (which I was) but that most of the week I was "walking on eggshells" (which is true to - due to the giving him space, not relating and really not spending time with them).   I need to work on that but don't know how... I love this man and know he comes as a package deal (like me - which he's great with my kids); but I think he spoils them and I'm used to kids not needing that constant entertainment.   (I should also note, my ex had a child from a prior relationship - so I'm not new to the whole concept of step parenting.  But it took a while to warm up to him, like a few years (he was about the same age as BF kids when we got together) because he only visited on the same scheduled as BF's current vistation.  He and I have a great relationship and still talk now even though his dad and I aren't together anymore)

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:48 AM
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1SpaZZedMom
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:17 AM

 If it took you a few years to open up to your ex's child, then, it more than likely will be the same with this stich. Teaching your children to be self-reliant is okay, however, at 2 and 4 - they need your interaction moreso than you think at their ages. My 8 yo DD has been very independent since the age of 2. I love it, but, I still help her out with a lot of things. Sometimes she will have to tell me to back off. I do.

As for bedtime, if you're ready for bed, go to bed. I did that when I worked while DH stayed up. I had to in order to wake up on time...

BioNerd
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:26 AM

First of all, kudos to you for recognizing where you need to work on your step relations, and embracing doing so!

I have one question - you said you really aren't a 'kid' person to begin with, does that apply to your own two children as well???

It sounds like you are doing the right thing, giving them space to be with their Dad, keeping your distance. That doesn't mean you have to walk on eggshells though. No one needs to live that way.

Honestly, if it took that long for you to warm up to your last step child, the possibility of the same happening this time is high. I would just keep being patient. Is it possible that you need to go talk to a counselor, someone who can give you professional tips and strategies to help with this?

ejsmom4604
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Instead of completely being out of the picture maybe do one or two things all together. As a group. Like going out to eat, or to the zoo or something like that. The only way you will be able to start to form any kind of relationship, even if it is just on a friendship level is to have some involvement. 

It's commendable that you want them to have all their time with their dad, but if you and your SO are looking at the possibility of the rest of your lives, then you will have to not come off as so "standoffish". 

INObalance
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Thank you; I know that was a high level view of my dilemma.

I guess I have this perception of what kids should do by a certain age (I'm a 1st born, very responsible, independant).  There are parenting differences between us not to mention maturity levels of all 4 kids (this is how I refer to them - my girls or the kids (meaning all of them) and not mine or yours).  I am involved with my girls (outings, coloring, playing outside, teaching them what they need to know for the age they are, etc.) but they also occupy solo or together (which is a godsend for considering how young they are and allows me to get stuff done).

The comment about being a kid person - I don't know how to relate to them.  Put me at a park, I might feel closed in; a convention with adults, I'll meet people - talk, etc.  My ex's son, he was about 11/12 when we started building a good relationship; I guess I do better with that age.

I want to take steps to address this before their next visit because me and BF are talking long term (rest of our lives), moving, etc and right now this is the only issue we have.  But at the same time I'm glad we can discuss this openly without either of us getting defensive or being offended at our candidness.

HopesNDreams
by Silver Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM
1 mom liked this
Realistically, how bonded are you supposed to be with kids you've only spent eight weeks with? Both you and DH need to adjust your expectations. I think you are doing fine. In a long distance situation, you are really only there to be a friend and support dad. With so little time together, they will want to see their father. Just be friendly and let things happen naturally.
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OvrMyHead
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:24 AM

 Would you describe yourself as an introvert?  Someone who needs time alone to recharge?  If so, make sure you get that time.  It takes a while to really adjust to a new family life and with the skids at your home so seldom I don't know how long it will take to feel normal and comfortable. 

I also think its a good idea to do a few things with the skids but focus on yourself and your kids first and let your BF focus on his kids when they are here.  Plan 1 thing to do all together each day, even if its dinner.  Kids that age usually love amusment parks, petting zoos, playgrounds, ball games, etc. 

INObalance
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 12:56 PM

I do need me time- its right after DDs go to bed (unless its their dad's night, then its when I get home from work) and before BF gets home.  I told him that b/c the SKs kind of interupted that during the summer since they weren't really on a "bedtime schedule" (same for Xmas break and now spring break - he feels they don't have to have bedtime set since they aren't having to get up and go to school; which I agree to some extent - but based on age they should have some guidelines).

I thought this time we actually made some progress - Easter was great, we spent time together... granted a hair situation came up twice with SD that did irritate me (an hour each time - could have been prevented, and SD should know how to take care of it on her own - IMO).  But all week while they did their own thing - I worked and had my DDs care for in the evenings. 

Birdseed
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Since they're there so infrequently, I think it makes sense to just treat it as a vacation time.  I realize that's hard because you're used to a sense of order and process with your kiddos 100% of the time.  But think about your expectations if you and your girls are on vacay.  For these kids, it's vacation.  For dad, it's a short period of time that he gets to see his kids.  It's truly not enough time to to reasonably affect change in behavior and he doesn't want to be the bad guy when he's so excited just to have them home for a bit.


kristinbugg
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

If BD only sees his children on breaks and summer, it's not like they get a whole lot of quality time with their father.  Of course they're going to want to spend a majority of time doing things with him.  That's the way children are, particularly if they have a parent who is absent a majority of the time.

You've just got to remember that these are HIS children and he can raise them the way HE sees fit.  He doesn't have to parent HIS children to YOUR standards.  If he wants to spoil his children a bit and, when they are there, spend large amounts of quality time with his children, that's okay.  You and your children get to be with SO a LOT more than his own children do.  If anyone is at a disadvantage and should feel left out, it should be SO's children.  They have to deal with Daddy living with another woman and her children and having most of Daddy's time go to this woman and her children.

INObalance
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 2:07 PM

But when we move its not just going to be "vacation time" for him and SKs, since he'll get them more frequently.  Perhaps everything will change.  I mean SS(17) lived with BD & I before my DDs were born; that's when we got closer b/c we seen each other more.  I don't expect everything to magically come together - but at least we are aware of each other's views and can take steps to change what we can is all I'm saying.  

Random question - Are people normally "catty" on this site?  I'm asking for advice -  not drama and demeaning statements like "spending time with another woman and her kids" and "raising his kids as he sees fit, not to my standards" --- 1. its my home they are in, 2. there are rules to be followed in said home (which I obviously want us to be in agreement to), 3. I'm not telling him how to raise his kids - just as I don't expect him to tell me how to raise mine and 4. We need to have mutual respect since we are all (6 of us) in this together.


Quoting Birdseed:

Since they're there so infrequently, I think it makes sense to just treat it as a vacation time.  I realize that's hard because you're used to a sense of order and process with your kiddos 100% of the time.  But think about your expectations if you and your girls are on vacay.  For these kids, it's vacation.  For dad, it's a short period of time that he gets to see his kids.  It's truly not enough time to to reasonably affect change in behavior and he doesn't want to be the bad guy when he's so excited just to have them home for a bit.




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