Do you ever think about leaving?

momof5angelsJanuary 28, 2009

Because today that feeling is very strong. Being a stepparent is not for the meek. It's hard to remember back to the days that I was actually a strong willed person...I am growing tired of DH's lack of parenting (he just cannot say no and is ignored all the time yet does nothing about it.) I have long grown tired of BM and her alcoholic husband (who made an announcement earlier this month at the dinner table that BM was NOT to get them for the next scheduled visit because she needed to save her money to help pay bills...then he tells the stepchildren that if BM picks them up on this particular weekend he WILL kick her out.)

Total unending drama and everybody walks on eggshells with this woman and her husband...My DH, my stepchildren and even me.

But not so much me anymore. I have been setting back and watching this drama for so long...DH and BM being played back and forth by the kids...The kids "telling on me" to BM every time I try to step up to the plate. And it would be different if I just had responsibility for them EOW or something...but the fact of the matter is that I have been given 90% responsibility for raising these kids...I do EVERYTHING from meals to parent-teacher conferences to driving them to activities to helping with homework and even to driving 12-15 hours a month to "help BM visit her children" because SHE doesn't have much money and can't afford 100% of the travel costs. Both parents have left me with 90% of their care yet NO ONE seems to appreciate it or expect that they should respect me.

I feel used by everyone. Very depressed and highly unappreciated...and I've slowly started to let the little things get to me. The stepchildren tell me that BM serves oatmeal for breakfast and they love it. I think "wow, great idea! milk is expensive." I buy oatmeal and get told how disgusting it is...but it's the same oatmeal with the same honey that BM serves. What gives? I have sunk so far down that even these trivial things will ruin an entire day for me.

Everyone expects the BEST from me and nothing less...and I break my back to do for all of my kids bio AND step...but it's never good I feel inept. Not up to the task. And that I could give my ALL and it still would not be enough.

I am starting to resent DH AND BM for the position I have been placed in...It's like "raise my kids and do as they ask but understand that it is not your place to hold them to any responsibility." The sad part is that NEITHER of them hold them to any responsibility where are they going to learn responsibility? I've actually considered disengaging and we even tried it once...and I was so much happier. I got to be the good guy that just came in and said "Hey, how was YOUR day?" But that didn't last long.

I may be leaving because I just cannot see a change forthcoming and I cannot keep sinking into depression. After all, I do have 2 biological sons who need me and appreciate me regardless. Maybe I'm just not up to the task? If I do leave I know that I can't say I didn't try...I tried like Hell. Thanks for letting me vent.

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I completely understand. I was given the responsibility of raising my 1st SD33. Her dad was out drinking, her mom was sleeping around and I was raising their child. It was difficult. After having 2 children with that man I left him. SD was about 18 at the time and living her mom by then.

I stayed single for 12 years and remarried about 3 1/2 years ago. My DH is a much better husband and father yet he would leave it all up to me if I let him. I don't get it but that's the way it is. SD10's mom has passed away so that issue is not there for me this time around.

I had spoken to a friend the other day that is married and has 3 children under the age of 7. She is a stay at home mom and home schools. She told me that she had spent hours in her bedroom over the weekend crying. She asked me why her husband didn't do more around the house, why she felt so emotional and so forth. My answer to her was because as mothers and wives (which sometimes can emulate motherhood) we are invisible. She said "You know, that's it. I'm invisible!"

I have told my own children, now ages 16 and 20, that they needed to pick out a slave name for me. They said that they already had one. It was "MOM". They were joking but it really is the truth.

As women we have a very difficult time setting limits for how much we will do for another person. Especially our children. I was raised with the idea that a mother/wife taking time for herself was selfish. As an adult and a mom of young kids my own mother told me that I had no business going to the gym if there were dishes and laundry to be done.

I have spent days not doing anything for anyone lately. Why should I cook if I also have to do all of the clean up? I am disabled with chronic sciatica pain and have told my husband and kids just in the last week that anyone that has a disabled person doing things for them should be ashamed of themselves.

I often say...out loud...."I wish I lived alone."

I love them all but I have never had anyone wait on me. Not as a child, not as a young wife and mother and not as a nearly 50 year old woman. I have never had anyone wonder what they could do to make me happy.

I understand how you feel. Step parenting is not for the faint of heart. I used to call my EX's X my exwife. Simply because she impacted my life so much more than his. This time around I don't have that problem. My best friend and I used to joke about getting remarried (when we were both single moms) that if we ever married again his ex would have to be dead and his kids would have to be grown. I, of course remarried, she has not.

I can't close without suggesting counseling. Do it just for you. Join a gym. Schedule one day a week that you do not do anything for anyone else. I am starting now to think about myself. Not something I'm used to doing but I'm going to do it. They won't starve. I don't care if they have clean clothes. The washing machine works for anyone that uses it. It does not have a secret code that only I possess. I'll do it if I feel like it. Period. This is your life too. You matter. If you died today they wouldn't starve nor would they walk around naked.

I also used to say...."When am I going to matter? In my next life?" Enough of that crap. People treat us how we allow them to treat us. We need to set higher standards. People let us do it all because they know that we will do it all. You can't always take out of the basket without putting something back in. You are stuck with an empty basket if you do that.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 11:34AM
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I read a wonderful quote the other day - probably here somewhere, that said essentially:
A wonderful mother is measured not by how much she does for her children, but by how much they can do for themselves.

I imagine my own mother much have heard this when I was growing up, because the last time she made weekday breakfast for me was, well -- I've forgotten because I was that young! (Come to think of it, it may have been when I said her oatmeal was GROSS!) She stopped making school lunches for me when I was old enough to complain about the way she did it -- which clearly meant I was old enough to do it myself.

In other words -- It's time to stop serving these kids and start teaching them to do for themselves. You like BioMom's oatmeal? Have them ask her to show them how to make it for themselves. Or there's always cold cereal, toast, bagels or Poptarts. And scrambled eggs in the microwave is SO easy. As Believer mentioned, the washing machine and dryer are not hard to use. One or two lessons per child should be sufficient, and a few days with "nothing to wear" (and no sympathy) is very instructive.

Then learn selective deafness! The whines and nastiness only work if you let them, and short, bland responses followed by quick exits are remarkably effective. The oatmeal's GROSS!? "OK - You can make yourself something else" then just walk into another room. They HATE baloney sandwiches!? "Sorry about that" then walk away. (They will figure out what to do.) They have NOTHING clean to wear? "You'll have to remember to do some laundry this afternoon."

Try it! Sure, the time spent teaching reluctant learners will be a little more annoying than just doing it -- at first. But the rewards are wonderful.

As for Dad's non-parenting? That's a tougher nut to crack and might require counseling.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 12:11PM
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WOW thats how I feel too.. Used and Un appriciated.. Im In the same situation.. Taking care of evberything and expecting nothing in return.. But when there is a problem Im NOT HEARD.. or Im picking on the SS.. WOW but what about the fact I take off work to get him to the DR.. or run around taking him here and there.. but then when there is a problem.. Im on the back burner and none of that matters.. I feel for ya..

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 1:19PM
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I just wanted to say I understand how you feel.

Step-parenting is one of the hardest things I've ever done. I love my DH but I don't love the drama his past relationship brings into our life. I DEFINITELY can relate to feeling like everyone has to walk on eggshells around BM. And there are many times I wish I could just go have a normal, nuclear family.

Ok, now I am getting depressed.

I hear ya girl!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 1:33PM
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I probably would have left my second husband if I had not been married before. He was not affectionate and I had to watch him shower his children with something I didn't get. But he had so many good qualities that far out weighed his coldness and he truly loved me. After reading in this forum for awhile I realized I didn't have it so bad.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 1:40PM
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Momof 5, It sounds like all stepmoms can truely relate to how you feel. It is hard being a stepmom. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and I have experienced alot of things. I have not posted in a long time but felt the need to let you know that you are not alone. The drama, manipulation, disrespect, etc. are things all stepmoms experience. Hang in there and just know that all stepmoms do know how you feel and truely respect you, understand you and praise you for being such a great stepmom to your family.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 2:17PM
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Wow...i dont know , but i would totally understand if you did leave.
But...have you tried going on a long vacation and just let it all fall onto DH?
Why doesn't your DH do the driving and also stay out of the parent interviews and let him do it?
Take a 2-3 week vacation. In europe. Do you have the cash to do it?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 3:42PM
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I think step moms treat their steps like their own and that sounds good, but not necessarily so. If you discipline your own children they get mad, but they love you in a way steps don't. Steps often resent you anyway, disciplining them is like pouring gasoline on a fire. In my case I left it up up their Dad. If my step daughter left her room in a mess I ignored it, which I did not with my own kids.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 4:53PM
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I totally understand your frustration! The BM in my case has driven me absolutely crazy at times. In the beginning I ended up telling my dh if he could stand up to me (the person that he loves and wanted to spend the rest of his life with) then he sure as heck better stand up to his ex! If he should be worried about making waves with anyone it better be with me!

Have you talked to your dh about your frustration? Can he take back some of the responsibility? Or can you go on strike for a bit and show everyone what it would be like if you were gone? Maybe they would appreciate what you do more if you stopped doing it for a bit!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:07PM
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Have I ever thought of leaving? You mean, and let BM win? I don't frigging think so!

You know the old saying, "to get respect, you first have to give it?" Or "respect is earned?" I don't really believe either one.

What I've personally experienced is that "No one respects anyone who doesn't respect themselves first." If you don't demonstrate that you believe you're worthy of being respected, they won't believe it either. As long as you allow them to use you as a "doormat," they will!

If you're thinking of leaving anyway, then what would you have to lose by telling them to go pee up a tree?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:31PM
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I don't think OP is allowing herself to be used as a doormat. And it's not a battle between the BM and the SM, if SM was to leave that doesn't mean BM 'won'.

I show respect for myself, and I give it to others, but there are still issues because of undermining behavior. This is what is happening for OP as well. She is undermined by her own DH and that is what needs to change.

Momof5, I also think that counseling would be a start, after your holiday to Europe. Or come visit the land downunder and I will make you a nice iced coffee because it's hot here!!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:46PM
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" think step moms treat their steps like their own and that sounds good, but not necessarily so. If you discipline your own children they get mad, but they love you in a way steps don't. Steps often resent you anyway, disciplining them is like pouring gasoline on a fire"

I would really have to agree with this. Well said.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:52PM
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I agree too, even though I don't have my own kids and only steps :-)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:54PM
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Please try to remember that "no one can take advantage of you without your permission". Kids don't have to get everything they want and they will grow up just fine and probably be more responsible adults. My kids were perfectly capable of fixing their own breakfast at an early age. My son did his own laundry in his teens. I really don't remember if I made him or he just did it. If he wanted spending money he often had to do chores like vacuuming to earn it. They didn't think it would be a good idea to be disrespectable to me. My skids were grown, but not mature, when I entered their lives but they soon caught on that the 'daddy gravy train' was over. They had kept him broke with their wants/needs but soon learned to adjust. They respect and love me as well as their dad and are all doing great. I believe we do our kids a disservice if we cater to all their demands. What are you gaining by doing so much for them? Evidently no one appreciates it. Why do the driving for them to see their mom? If she wants to see them let her make the effort while you do something enjoyable for yourself. If your DH wants to cater to her let him do the scud work. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 9:38PM
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And it's not a battle between the BM and the SM, if SM was to leave that doesn't mean BM 'won'


In saying that, I was referring to me and my situation, not hers.

If she "feels used by everyone" that kind of indicates she feels they're walking all over her, which is what I meant by "doormat."

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 10:17PM
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I think Sweeby is dead on with a 'right now' fix for some of the problem. But, I think it needs to go one step further - you need to extend it to DH. Him: "The kids needs to get their mom's after school Momof5." You: "It's great you are able to leave work to take car of that." It's time to straighten up your spine and stop letting them make you feel badly. It is very true that no one can take advantage of you without your permission. Though I understand 100% how little oatmeal comments can just cloud your whole day, you have to make the choice no just walk away from them. The less reaction they get from you the less reason there is to say such things.

Something interesting I learned several years ago when SD was going threw a big pit moms against each other phase and making many points about what mom did to me was that she was doing it twice as bad to her mom about me. It made me realize it was really less about me personally than it was about SD finding a way to get what she wanted and using it. I found that comments like Sweeby's suggested 'have mom show you how to make it and do it yourself' worked wonders.

It's time for you to be treated with respect. Stop settling for less - you are just allowing the treatment to continue.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:58AM
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You are all SO "in the know." Thank you so much for all of your suggestions and especially for the empathetic comments which means a great deal to me. So glad to know that I am not alone.

Of course, being a mom in any form can seem unrewarding at times but knowing that you are doing for your child that looks up to you, loves and respects you makes every minute of it worth it...I blindly came into this relationship thinking it would be the same with my stepchildren. Of course, reality slapped me in the face YEARS ago and I've spent nearly 4 years now trying to put things into place.

Yes, I do feel used...I AM raising 3 children I did not bring into the world. And I love these 3 children...but neither of their parents seem to truly appreciate it and because of their very obvious lack of appreciation, the stepchildren don't really appreciate me either. BM's past comments have included "I didn't ask Momof5 to raise my kids! I sent them to live with their DAD!" DH's past comments have included "Well, if I didn't have to work outside of the house I would raise my kids AND your kids. I would do it without fussing to you if I were in your position." Both parents seem to have logical viewpoints on the matter...selfish viewpoints but still logical.

Yesterday was "case and point" for my frustrations in this house. School was called off so all 5 of my kids were home for the day. Only my eldest DS15 did his chore. The rest of the house is trashed, no one else did their chores and their rooms are literally uninhabitable. I finished working and took SD to her gymnastics class (which is at a civic center where lots of other sports and activities occur.)

I stayed in the van for the hour so that all the boys could also go in and run off some energy since they hadn't been able to get out of the house all day. It had been a hectic day so I just grabbed some fast food for dinner and come home after activities. It must have been because our latest discussion was fresh in DH's mind but he shocked me when he came out and told the kids that he saw that they had trashed the house and had not done their chores. (He usually doesn't say anything.) He told them to have their dinner and then clean up their messes asap. For the 5th time this week he also told SS11 and SS9 to clean their room up. Fast forward to today...the kids are back at school and the house looks the same as it did yesterday.

Add to this that I just got an email from DH that the school had called asking permission to paddle SS9 because he didn't turn in his book report today and you can see that things in our house are OUT OF CONTROL.

The solution may be simple...Ground them all and tell them to get on it. That's easier said than done. If it seems I talk too much about my house being messy it is because you guys can't see it. We aren't talking little messes here. These children can turn a house upside down in 24 hours or less and do it every day. We are talking about spills that are left untouched. Refrigerated food left out on the counter. Dirty dishes on every piece of furniture in the house. Wrappers tossed to the side down the hallway. And how does dirty clothes get into the kitchen?

And every time I say "Okay, let's meeting!" and bring the kids in to talk to them about what they need to do, SD will appear while beginning a conversation with BM. Being the adult, this shouldn't bother me...but it does. It's almost like a little "Yeah, I'm calling my MOM on you" every single time. Please understand that a simple "don't worry about what she says to her BM" won't do the trick. This otherwise sweet, intelligent young lady has gone to extensive measures to get her way in the past...once injuring herself and her young brothers at the age of 9 and begging neighbors to call police because BM had "beaten them." (Her brothers ratted her out that night. She literally stood straight faced to police insisting that her story was true until her brothers reenacted the whole injury in front of her.)

So rather than taking the cellphone and perhaps turning it into a nice little vibrating coaster I have come to the realization that perhaps I will never be anything more than a puppet. I have legitimate concerns and it seems I am in an impossible situation.

BM may win this one. But I would come out a winner also...My biological sons would have a sane mother again. At least some of the time anyway.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 12:39PM
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"Add to this that I just got an email from DH that the school had called asking permission to paddle SS9 because he didn't turn in his book report today and you can see that things in our house are OUT OF CONTROL'

Ok, I have to ask--what state are you in???? I am in Missouri and I *think* it is still legal here but I have never ever heard of it happening! I would be UP IN ARMS.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:00PM
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Oh I live in the south...TN, in fact. It is legal here. We signed a statement not allowing this so DH reminded them of this. They are supposed to call back after they decide what his punishment alternative will be.

Now, this is going to be worse on him. His teachers are already frustrated beyond belief with his lack of paying attention, I can't get DH to really focus on it and deal with it and now the teacher's last ditch effort to hold him accountable (a paddling) has been blocked. My response to DH's email was "Okay." No point in pointing out what we NEED to do...SS9 will most likely fail this year because he honestly just will NOT make any effort. I have talked to DH until I am blue in the face. Offering SS9 rewards for completed work doesn't even get a response. He just will NOT do the work. Taking video games and television away doesn't get a response. He hasn't had recess at school in MONTHS. He just does not seem to care at all. But he got away with this for SO long that it's like it's hardwired now to just find ways to get out of doing his homework. For a month last school year he came in every day and told me excitedly "I don't have ANY homework today!" It seemed strange that his teacher had suddenly stopped giving homework to him when she had been giving it every night for the whole school year...but I believed him...until it just seemed SO prolonged that I figured something had to be up. I called the teacher at school and found that he had been leaving his homework in his desk every day and was getting straight F's on his upcoming report card. She hadn't called because he just did not seem at all motivated and we hadn't really been dealing with him so she made the decision to focus on the other children whose parents seemed concerned about their children's education.

I felt one inch tall. How can I properly help this child when everyone wants me taking care of him but when he doesn't do as he should they want me out of it? DH then gives him a talking to and then lets it go for weeks. You have to follow up and stay on top of these things! A child won't continue good behavior if you don't follow up for 2 months to see that he is doing what he is told!

You know, I have actually considered taking DH AND BM to court and filing for custody myself. I mean, I am the one raising them after all. And then both parents would need to go through me if they had a problem with me trying to hold them accountable and teach them right from wrong. I already do all of the "good things" for them, from activities to sleepovers and parties. If I had custody of them and had the final word I think I could actually do this...I LOVE these kids which is why is drives me insane to just sit back and watch them fail in life repeatedly because both of their real parents are too busy trying to play "favorite parent." Has anyone ever done this? Because I would do it in a heart beat.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 2:26PM
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"so she made the decision to focus on the other children whose parents seemed concerned about their children's education."

Ok, as a teacher, I find that to be really wrong. Did this teacher actually SAY that to you? If so, I would report that to the principal. There are always going to be challenging situations with students but that does not mean it's okay for an educator to drop the ball!

As far as you filing for custody goes....I really don't know. I *think* some states, like maybe California, allow anyone to file for custody. But to me it seems there would have to be some serious, serious issues at hand for a court to give custody to a stepparent---and even though failing school is terrible, I don't think the courts would see it as grounds for a dramatic custody change.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 2:49PM
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Being a SP is a thankless job. And I don't mean from the kids. Generally, the kids will eventually come to see what the SPs mean to them and what they did for them. They may be 30, but it usually happens. It's the BP's that are never thankful. Of all of the weekends I have given ip and all of the little extras I have done for my SO's DD, I have never once got even so much as a "thank you" from either parent.

Once or twice, SO has said "thank you for caring about my daughter". But in 6+ years, is that really a surprise? I'm not doing it for him. There are lots of things I do for him (in regards to her) that he could thank me for. But "caring" about her isn't about him. Cooking a turkey for a huge Thanksgiving get-together for about 300 that's something I did for him.

She left some stuff here so I wrote a little card telling her what a great time we had and all this great stuff and mailed the card and the stuff to her. Postage wasn't cheap because the stuff was heavy. NO ONE bothered to thank me. As a matter of fact, no one even acknowledged it got there. See if I go out of my way to do that again!

I believe JNM has some mojitos.....I'm thinking we should all have one right about now.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 4:00PM
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lovehadley, I totally understand your views on this teacher's comments...but calling the principal would accomplish nothing because the principal feels the same way. These teachers (current teacher and the last 4) plus the principal have gone to extreme lengths to help SS...I do mean extreme. In second grade it came down to me calling the teacher each night AT HOME to confirm that he had brought home all of his homework. In 3rd grade, the teacher would sign off on his student handbook to insure he had written down everything he was supposed to do each night...but she had to stop because he would never have it written down at the end of the day...she said she would put him in a chair and say "Do you see the list of homework on the board? Write that in your handbook..." She would have to do this numerous times every day...he would just sit there...After 3 months she stopped initialing after a child missed the bus because she was trying to get SS to fill in his handbook (like all of the other kids in class had already done the first time they were told.)

Last year was the same thing...started with initials and then the teacher stopped because it was taking so much effort to get him to write it down. For one week she completed it (he would have one lesson copied down so she would fill in the rest.) She had to stop because HE stopped even making an effort to write down anything.

This year, the Principal decided that SS9 was to report to her office every morning to show her his completed work. The teacher would provide the principal with a complete list the afternoon before so that the principal could check it appropriately. Over a 2 month period, SS9 didn't have all of his work with the exception of ONE day. The principal said this was getting them no where and suspended him for a day...No more reporting back to her. She said every attempt of reward and punishment failed...She asked US to develop a system to help him. I tried but cannot get DH to stand by me on this. He says something on the day of the call from school and then never follows up so SS goes back into his old routine.

I check this handbook every day but many days there is nothing written down. He swears they had no homework...of course that isn't true...they did...and he gets zeros. And F's.

I cannot expect a teacher to do his work for him and it literally has come down to this. Two weeks go by with him having his handbook filled out and having his work complete and I'm praising him for his effort while he swears that he has been doing every single page...then the phone call comes. He hasn't turned in 8 assignments over the last 2 weeks...complete deflation of the balloon. But I can't blame the teachers. In fact, they blame us...and they are right to do so...that's the sad part of it all.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 6:08PM
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"" think step moms treat their steps like their own and that sounds good, but not necessarily so. If you discipline your own children they get mad, but they love you in a way steps don't. Steps often resent you anyway, disciplining them is like pouring gasoline on a fire" "

Agree with this 100%. I used to treat my SS like he was mine when he was a teenager. Got nothing but resentment from him and hurt feelings for me.

A trip to Europe(or just to visit relatives for a week) does sound good as a start to detaching yourself from this job. You don't have to leave your husband, just the SM job. If his kids grow up wild and uneducated, well, who was really responsible? DH and BM. If you feel used and unappreciated you probably are.

It will probably be hard to let go but if BM's oatmeal is wonderful, give them Pop Tarts at your house and keep moving. Or, better still, let your husband give them the Pop Tarts, Oatmeal or whatever. And do the laundry, play chauffer, attend school meetings, correct their grammer and manners, and generally parent them himself along with BM.

Let your own kids feel your love.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 7:02PM
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Wow, I can see what you mean now about the teacher. I should not have spoken so harshly about her.

I also don't think YOU should feel you have to take any of the blame in this, though. It sounds like you have tried and done as much as you possibly can to help SS be successful in school. Your DH and BM really need to step up and PARENT their child. What do they think about the school issues?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 8:22PM
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"I have come to the realization that perhaps I will never be anything more than a puppet. I have legitimate concerns and it seems I am in an impossible situation."

You're Not! It's a difficult situation certainly, but NOT impossible. On the discipline and household chores issue, the book 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk' is a fabulous resource! It's an easy read, and filled with very practical, hands-on solutions that really work. They really do work.

For school issues -- Has this SS been tested for learning disabilities? If DH asks (in writing), the school is required (by federal law) to provide something called a 'Comprehensive Individual Assessment' to test for the presence of disabilities -- learning disabilities or other disabilities that manifest as behavioral problems. Any kid who is THAT reluctant to do his schoolwork is likely to have underlying difficulties. Is the work too hard for him? Or perhaps he's actually very bright but BORED out of his skull. Or he may have ADHD or another similar condition that just makes it harder.

The thing is -- With a diagnosis, you have more leaverage with the schools to get them to work with you to provide the supports he needs to succeed. This could include having the teacher write down all assignments in his notebook. (It did for my son -- Now he writes them down and they check.) It could involve having the teacher's maintain a website with their assignments posted -- That's standard at our schools anyway. It might mean shorter assignments so the homework isn't overwhelming, or adopting a policy of 15 minutes per class per night, or 90 minutes total, maximum. They might accept answers dictated by him but written by you, or assignments shortened as you see fit. ALL of these options are available to kids diagnosed with special needs. And they MAY be available to you even without a diagnosis if you ask. The school DOES sound willing --

As for 'tattling' to BioMom, you may want to take a pre-emptive stance and email her that things have gotten out of control and that you will be taking a firmer stance. That you will be requiring the kids: to clean up their own posessions (or have stuff tossed or put into time-out), to fix their own breakfasts and school lunches (but that you will have easy-to-fix foods available), and to do their own laundry and clean their rooms. That you absolutely will not beat them and will yell as little as possible, and that given SD's prior crazy tales against her, she should expect to hear some crazy stories against you as well. Maybe also send a copy to the counselors at each kid's school.

You can do this Momof5 -- But NOT if you throw your hands up.
I'd start with the book and general household discipline, then step up on SS once things have improved a bit at home.
If Dad won't support you 100%, I'd threaten to take that vacation. And if that doesn't work -- DO IT.
If he's not part of the solution, he's part of the problem.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Like i said in my previous post, i honestly think you should leave for a long vacation. You are not leaving or are taking a break.
I think the vacation should be 3 weeks at least. To make sure laundry runs out on them..etc..etc.. and they LEARN to appreciate their 'MOTHER FIGURE IN THE HOUSE!.
I heard one mother went on strike...LOL. I saw her on the news a few years ago.
SHe litterly had a picket sign in front of her house. She had the camp tent up to sleep outside. She was interviewed and said she was tired of feeling used and unappreciated by her entire family so she decided she is going on strike.
Conditions: That household chores are to be shared by all , and since it is not she now not:
1. Not cooking.
2. Not cleaning the dishes,
3. Not washing or hanging the laundry
4. No dusting or vacuuming.
5. SHe is not going to pick up after everyone in the house.
6. she is not going to take the kdis back and forth for games since they dotn listen to her.
7. She's angry at her husband for not covering her back so she not giving anythign to him either.
Well...hubby was interviewed as well and he totally understands and he said he was overwhelmed doing her job.
Now keep in mind this mother of 3 was also working full time!
She was just fed up and i agree with what she did and several other mothers on the street began to join her. She proved her point.
Now, either go on vacation or do something this blatant...i think it was so cool that this mother went on strike. I loved the idea.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 12:25PM
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As far as the school issues are concerned, BM and DH SAY that they "had better see an improvement." But neither them are consistent and consistency is our big problem here. Fussing for a day or two when the report card comes in is one thing...staying on top of it and making certain they are doing as they should is another.

DH and I talked last doesn't look good. But I am at peace. By the end of our discussion there was this understanding that we were going to "fix things" and "do things right." Both of us admitted that we loved each other but didn't feel "in love" with each other. I told him that the lack of accountability is WHY I feel the way I do and he told me that he doesn't understand what I want him to do so he does nothing.

My feelings are that the Dad in the household should have 2 major functions. Of course, to love his children...but also to teach them accountability. Mom should also teach accountability but usually the mom should be the more lenient one at times...especially when Mom is the one who spends the most time with the kids day after day...otherwise this can cloud the day with upset feelings. My mom always held me to the simple rules but when I wouldn't listen she sent the info over to NOW you are dealing with Dad since you wouldn't listen to your mother...Isn't this the way it works? In our home, saying "Alright, I'm calling Dad" gets no reaction at all because Dad doesn't really do I don't have that ace in my back pocket. It's all me and only me.

Anyway, as I said it doesn't look good. It wasn't a shock to hear that DH was feeling the same way because DH would carry on like this for years without ruffling any feathers. His demeanor is always the same. He never gets excited. He never gets angry (unless we get into a huge fight which is very rarely.) I kept waiting for that moment when he came to me and said "I love you and don't want to lose you." That moment never came. I have very little hope. Our relationship has become one of habit and convenience on both accounts. (More convenient for him than me however there is still convenience in this for me...I love the house that we are buying but can't afford it alone. That's not a reason to stay married though.) At one point he asked me how long I was going to stay with him and be miserable...when I asked him what HE wanted his response was "Don't put this on me."

I've reached the end of a very very long road, I believe. If our hearts are no longer in this, how can it improve?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 12:48PM
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momof5angels, I've learned in my marriage and previous relationships that the best way to really see where things stand is to pull back. that's always been the best test of my feelings, DH and the boyfriends before him.

It sounds like that would be hard for you given your devotion to those kids. But, if you divorce, his kids won't be with you anyway. I live in CA and I think lovehadley is right, anyone can file for custody. But, even here, things have to be really bad with the parents or they need to be caught doing something over the top. Your skids parents don't sound abusive just lazy and that's not enough for them to lose their parental rights. Plus, do you really want a fight like that?

Give yourself permission to take a break. The vacation idea is a good one if it's feasible. Let DH feel life without you a bit. Let those kids feel the same. Scale back on what you do for them. That's a matter of discipline on your part. Marriages can change even if only one person changes the rules. Your husband might find new love and respect for you. Pardon the cliche but "You don't miss your water 'til the well runs dry"

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 6:02PM
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wild_thing heart to you.
I know the road you are on. One exception is that my dh told me that he didn't want to lose me.
I can't say that hearing it made me feel any better tho.
In fact probably worse.
Cuz then you are stuck and he is stuck.
He ends up feeling like he has to choose. You end up feeling like you have to choose too.
But at some point I think the kids need to be held accountable for their actions and behaviors and know that it is most certainly NOT okay for them to behave and act the way they do. Period.
For too long society has told us that kids of divorced or separated / broken families do these things and behave this way, as if it is all normal and we should coddle them to no end.
I say it is B.S.
I say tell them the truth. Mom and dad are no longer together and will not be again. They love them but not each other and they will find someone they will love again eventually or have. They do not have to like it but they have to respect it. Because I do NOT believe that a childs happiness preceeds the parents when it comes to a parents new relationship. We are allowed to be happy too.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 6:22PM
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Thanks guys. Strangely we are back where we were before the talk. It's like we both kind of "pretend." I am at that odd point where I don't see much hope but won't let go because I really wanted this to work out. I love my stepchildren but I just can't feel that I can teach them anything in the position I have been placed in and the stress it causes me leaves me unable to properly even parent my own bio children. I do believe that if DH suddenly had total responsibility he would be cracking down within a week.

Unfortunately taking a vacation right now is not really a possibility. Today is DH's last day at his "old job." He starts his new job (same company but now a 40 minute commute to a different location) on Monday. In addition to a longer commute, DH will have longer hours. He is now working 8-7 5 days a week plus an extra hour and a half driving per day. I work from home but just started working for 2 new clients last week with another new one starting on February 9th. This is the worst time in the history of our relationship for a vacation.

I'm actually looking forward to him being gone more. This may actually be the best thing we have going for us right now.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 9:37AM
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Only for the past 16 years in a 20+ relationship! Got pregnant, stayed for wrong reasons! Wow, if only I listened to my gut! Now I have a manipulative, vindictive diva SD in upper 20s that I took care of since she was just starting school. BM is drug addict and left her and her brother with DH. BM was around a few times a year. Put her kids in dangerous situations and DH let her. SS had severe anger/stealing/bullying issues before I came in picture. DH wouldn't let me get him help. They lived with us. Always had prob with DH disciplining the kids, esp. her. Even our own son. DH always has to be the good guy. Always kept his head in the sand. He is afraid of his own daughter! Something has not been right about that. Never believed me when kids were doing stuff that we needed to address as caring responsible parents, even with our son. Now she is doing everything she can to turn my own child against me because I have the nerve not to be treated like her personal assistant and babysitter and chef anymore. Listen SMs and SDs, if DH or SO does not discipline his/her kids and allows them to disrespect you, run! I thought my son needed a dad more than my happiness. NO, No No!! Am now disabled and stuck, changed forever from this. Anyone else have similar problems?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 2:28AM
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