My 2nd 'bend' of the day

justnotmarthaJanuary 10, 2009

If some of you remember, SD's mom and SF gave her a cruise for Christmas last year. It was a trip for the whole family, but they wrapped it and packaged it as HER gift. They went over Spring Break, and it did not go well. They expected SD to stay in the room with her sis (then just turned 1) so they could go out and do their thing. She obviously resisted as she had her own thing to do as well. Apparently a lot of fun activities were missed out on because they were all angry with each other.

My thought? It's a family vacation. Don't take your kids if you want fun adult time. You lose the 'right' to an adult vacation if you take your 1 year old along.

Fast forward a few months, SF's family has offered to take the whole family (SF's and his brother's) to Hawaii come January. It's been talked up a lot. Mom emails us saying she doesn't know if SD should go because her grades weren't great (at that time) and besides, she wasn't much fun to have on the cruise and mom needs this to be a fun time so they don't know if they want her to go!!! Can you imagine?? We responded that she needed to separate the grades from the cruise - if she didn't want her there because of the cruise she shouldn't try to hide that behind grades. We hear nothing more about it.

Fast forward to December, and we hear from SD that she wasn't going on the trip because her dad said she can't miss school. We sat her right down at the computer and let her read the email from mom and to mom about the issue, saying nothing of the sort.

I'm so tired of mom making us into the bad guy and lying to her daughter, and SD was none too happy either. For years we've covered for the woman in situations like these, but we are done. SD is almost 14 - she's old enough to know the truth. She's figured it out on her own anyway - all we are really doing is preaching to the choir.

Then bonus upset - SD was at SF's parent's house for Christmas and of course the trip was the #1 topic as SF, mom, sis, step uncle , step uncle's fiancee and step g-parents are all going . . . SD was the only one there who wasn't. Sg-ma actually came up to SD and said "don't be sad - we just didn't have enough money to take you too, we could only afford to take immediate family." OH MY GOD.

SD was standing right next to mom, so mom said . . . NOTHING. Not a d@mn word to defend her daughter and her place in their family. SD went into the bathroom and cried. This all right after mom missed SD's performance because she went to step uncle's engagement party (to a woman she always tells SD she doesn't like because she hasn't made enough effort to get to know mom)and actually said "I'm expected to be there with my family." Because SD is WHAT???

The trip is in a few weeks and SD is getting more and more upset about it. I don't know what to say to make her feel better. The petty side of me wants to just book 5 tickets to Hawaii and take her ourselves, but I know Hawaii isn't the real issue. How do you deal with a daughter who feels like she's not "immediate family" to her own mom?

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The reason she feels like she isnt immediate family is because they dont treat her as such. There have been discussions on this board, and my reaction, is big trips, if mom or dad is going, mom and dads kids get invited. If little day trips, kids may miss if they arent around.

Dad has to face facts. Mom regards SD as indentured servant -- if they need her, they take her, if not the dont.

Dad has to do more than talk. As I tell my DD, not everyone can afford trips to Hawaii, but mom cant have it both ways. This is either her kid or not. Mom has made her bed. Tell dad he should go to court and get EOWs taken away.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:18AM
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PS if my DDs grade were such that she shouldnt go, THEN I WOULDNT GO.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:19AM
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I SOOO agree with kkny on this.... one minor disagreement though, if the parents want an adult only trip, they don't need to invite the kids... but that's only an adult only, 'no kid' trip... say a weekend alone, not a week or two weeks (personally, I think that's too long) But, a family vacation where the other side's steps are going and her own daughter isn't invited.. that just sucks for your SD. (PS. I'd want to buy tickets too!)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:48AM
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That's So Wrong. And I can see why you're bent about it.

I'll second the idea for a 'family vacation' on your side.
It might also help SD feel better if you remind her that she won't have to spend her whole trip babysitting 'Sis' in Hawaii. (Hawaii's nice and all, but babysitting a 2 year old is work, no matter where you do it.)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 12:30PM
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Really, really wrong. :( I feel so badly for your SD. I agree with KKNY, dad needs to face facts and do something about this. At 14, SD should be old enough to have a voice in court.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:19PM
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Don't you HATE cleaning up BM's messes? I do it too, and I just get so angry. I can't imagine a mom (bio or step, but in this case bio!) going out of the way to make her daughter feel so bad. It just makes me sick when my SD tells me similar stories. I feel like all I can do is listen, give her a hug and try to plan something to keep her mind off the situation.

I'm sorry for your SD. And I certainly understand your feelings. Remind her that unfortunately, you cannot always count on people, and that even family will let you down. It's a sad truth for our kids.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 6:40PM
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terrible. I feel bad for SD. Bm sounds selfish, but....

explain to me somehting....seriously I am confused.
But maybe i am not fully getting the issue wiht famil vacations.

I think that it is OK sometimes to go on vacation wiht one kid, then the next time wiht the other kid. Sometimes you cannot take all kids because of schedule conflicts. especially in blended families. and with age difference.

I never expected X to take DD on every vacation he went. he also went on some vacations just wiht his son, and no DD. but then some vacations it was the other way around. all of his 3 children are very different age. 21, 9, and 3 months. could not possibly take them all together.

I don't have other chidlren but I went on plenty of vacations wihout DD when she was wiht dad or did whatever else.

maybe I am just confused wiht vacation issue. do you all take all of your kids on vacation trips?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:28AM
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FD, I dont think its so much the vacation, but the context in which this is happening. I agree, taking turns is fine, etc, when it is done in a fair way. And fair doesnt mean equal. 13YO might prefer to go on school trip and not on family trip. Family has to weight costs and benefits. But this doesnt seem fair to me. Its clear to me that they regard this child as a servant, and this is just one more issue.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:20AM
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I do agree that adults (parents) should feel okay about taking kid-free trips. My DH and I have gone to Miami for a long weekend getaway in February the last few years, and it's very nice to have time away. When I was growing up, Christmas and spring break and summer were reserved for FAMILY vacations. But my parents also took a couple kid-free trips each year, as well, and my bro and I stayed with our grandparents.

There is a BIG difference when taking a family vacation and the parents need to adjust their expectations. I would never expect a 13 yr old to be responsible for a younger sib while on vacation, just so DH and I could "do our thing." Adult-time kind of goes out the window on a family vacation! After all, isn't the purpose of a family vaca for everyone to spend quality time TOGETHER. We went to Michigan last summer and DH and I slept on the fold-out couch in the living room--because my dad and his GF were in 1 bedroom, and we put our two kids in the 2nd bedroom. We figured that way it would be easier to put them to bed at a reasonable hour--if they had slept on the fold-out bed, everyone in the house would have had to tiptoe around starting at 8 pm!

Suffice it to say, though, DH and I did not have ANY privacy! Oh well. we made great memories with the kids and I wouldn't trade that for anything!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 12:19PM
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KK I agree - it's the context. I don't think they have to take kids every time (and they've gone on several no kid trips) but this time they are taking everyone - including 2 yr old sis - and not her. They also have a countdown calendar posted on the fridge just for a little salt in the wound.

I'm most mad that a) mom tried to blame SD not going on us when it was totally her choice b) mom didn't defend SD's position in the family to her MIL. The step grandparents have done MANY things to make SD feel unwelcome (another post for another day) and they just piss me off. My parents are WONDERFUL with SD and she adores them, so it makes it even worse.

When I was 23 my parents took my brother (16) to Hawaii with their friends and their 16 yr old son. I was asked to watch the cat. Even though I was a grown, engaged woman I still got a bit jealous. I can only imagine what SD feels like, and it just drives me to drink. Thanks KK for understanding that. :-)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 8:27PM
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thanks for clarifications everyone, yes now I see, i didn't read the whole story carefully. Didn't notice all the is not even about a vacation... or taking all the kids. Ouch, poor SD.

JNM I do think that DH you and, I forgot how many other kids you have, should all go on vacation, not Hawaii, but somehting fun and the type of vacation where all of the children would feel like IMMIDIATE family. take plenty of pictures with SD is having fun and show to BM or even better send it to everyone, including all those famous "step-uncles" or whoever else.

BTW I am sending you a lamp, a big one.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:24PM
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thanks Fine . . . please make sure it has a real heavy base. :-)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 2:40AM
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This is wrong as h*ll! Ugh! This just disgusts me!

Taking trips without a child is one thing if they've talked it over and it's all out in the open. We went on a trip without my BF's daughter over Thanksgiving, but SHE was the one that decided she wasn't going. We didn't just automatically count her out. If she wanted to go, we would've worked around her schedule to make sure it was as inclusive as possible. My brother offered to buy all our plane tickets INCLUDING my BF's daughter's. He would've never excluded her.

This particular post DISGUSTS me. It's terrible to treat a CHILD this way. Granted she is almost 14, but none of this is her fault. there any way to get visitation modified to exclude your SD from being exposed to SF's family due to emotional damage?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 4:40PM
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JNM what a cr*ppy situation. I feel for you and your SD.
And what can you do to make SD feel a bit better, because I can just feel how bad you want to make this better for her...

To be honest I don't think there's a whole lot you can do. As much as you want to, she's old enough to understand what is going on here. Her BM has really hurt her, and it is very damaging, but some things can't be fixed by anyone else, and I think this is one of those things.
I feel like that at times with the skids, where I so desperately want to make things better or easier for them, but some things we just can't make undone. Even if you take SD away on a holiday yourselves, her mum still hurt her and that doesn't go away.

I can imagine that SD14 might stop wanting to go to BM's place soon, can she live with you 100% of the time if she wanted to? Since she's 14 she could have her say in court, my SD10 and SD12 got their say and most of the judge's decision was based on their views. (Of course it's a shame that that really was BM's view, but anyway..)

Here's 2 options I can think of:
Maybe allow SD to not go back to BM if she doesn't want to. I would be prepared to see BM's response to that, even if she would take it to court on some ridiculous kidnapping charge or something. You have everything documented right?
Of course this really depends on the emotional state of SD14 I should say. Is she ready to have her say in court or would she feel like she'd be betraying her mum and the 2yr old sis? In that case I would probably not risk it.
Take it to court yourselves and try and get full custody, that way SD14 can go and visit her mum when she wants to, or not if she doesn't. At least that way BM cannot take SD for granted anymore as a free baby sitter, to use and abuse whenever it suits. That might wake her up a bit. And it would empower your SD14, which could be really good for her emotional wellbeing.

It's always like choosing between two evils isn't it? Good luck with everything!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 5:19PM
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I am SO confused. I don't sleep. I really don't sleep. I am so exhausted. I just don't know what's expected of me. I have four kids. My partner,who lives with me...two years now though not married..has two kids who live with his ex. I have four kids who live with us.

1. The kids are small. Mine 5,6,10 and 13. His 4 and 9. I just cannot bear the thought of going on vacation with 6 kids.

2. Do I have any right to say no? Will I never have the right again to go on vacation with my own kids without being obliged to take his along? I didn't hook up with someone with custody of his kids. I didn't hook up with a widower with two kids. They are here two evenings every week and every other weekend.Three of my four kids hate it. They really do. They feel so invaded. I really hurt for them.I just want to be able to take them on vacation and dedicate myself to them. I have to work hard to help my ex pay child support, so I'm not there for my kids as much as I'd like to be. Is it so wrong to want to take them away without having to bring my partner's kids?

3. What are the rules on this? Who writes the rules? In my house it feels like he writes the rules. If I try toprotect my kids I'm accused of wanting him to abandon his kids.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 4:55AM
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