Words of encouragement... please!

imamommyMarch 26, 2010

Well, I opened myself up.. once again.. to put myself in this position so I take my lumps if I must! But, I am absolutely DREADING tomorrow! I am throwing a birthday party for SD & her classmates at a local roller rink.

A couple of months ago, I told SD to check with her mom to see if mom has plans to make SD a birthday party for her classmates. I pretty much knew BM is not going to make her a party, but if I make the party without asking... BM will whine how SHE was going to make the party and I am overstepping and SHE is the mom.. blah blah blah. So, I expected SD to ask her, she would tell SD no & I'd be in the clear to plan a party for her classmates. BM is supposed to have SD on her real birthday, which is during the week. (This year, it happens to fall during Spring break and BM could come take her for the day since SD is out of school ~ but it's our year to have her for Spring break) So, SD calls BM and instead of asking BM if she is making a party, SD asks her "Is it okay for Ima to make me a party?" and then long pause, SD says "well yes, you can come to my party!" and just like that, BM is now an invited guest. (I think she told SD that I wouldn't let her go so SD told her she can... and I wasn't going to say "no she can't" and be the bad guy once again!) So, I went ahead and sent an invitation to BM (inviting older sister & BF's 3 kids) BM has since, sent DH a text telling him that their DD invited her and if that's okay? He responded with the time & place. Then, he went to pick up SD on Sunday and older sister walks SD out to the car and again, DH is asked about the time & place? (I had also sent an actual invitation with all the information on it by mail) Are they THAT dense? I mean REALLY!

So those that don't know we own a small family business, no employees... it's just me & DH. My dad, sister & BIL ran the other half of the business. Well, last week my sister's husband quit suddenly. My sister quit about a month ago. DH still works his day job so it's been me & dad and DH comes in on the weekends (because it is busy on the weekends). DH told me he won't be going to the party since one of us has to work & he can do more than I can. I also think he is not stoked about going to a kids skating party since the kids will be skating & adults will be watching... we decided to take SD out to dinner on her real birthday, with DH's parents & my dad.

When I told SD, she was fine with it. I told her she will be skating with friends anyway, dad doesn't skate... it's like getting two parties since they sing & give cake where we are having dinner on her birthday.

Yesterday, she called BM. Apparently, BM says BF's kids won't be able to go because their mother won't let them, but she will be there... with grandma & older sister.. oh yeah, older sister is bringing a friend. Needless to say, I am less than thrilled that BF's kids aren't going since there is a minimum # of kids and I included them so I am paying for them anyways now... and now BM thinks it's fine to bring older sister's friend without asking or even telling me. SD asked if she wants to talk to me and I guess BM said no... so I haven't even talked to her at all.

Then, this morning BM sends DH a text asking him if he is going to be there. He says no. She tells him how sad that makes SD! REALLY?! SD hasn't said a word to us about dad not going, she was fine when I talked to her... excited even since we are going to her favorite restaurant. She was a bit upset BF's kids won't be there because a couple of kids from school that said they would go have also canceled. It is just irritating that BM is bringing someone we didn't invite... but whatever! I want SD to have a good birthday so I will suffer through being in the room with her and ignore whatever she tries to pull to provoke me into being the bad guy.

She is now trying to make DH the bad guy for not going... or maybe she is trying to justify that if he isn't going, she doesn't need to go either. I know too much energy is being wasted on worrying about this but I AM stressing out on it a little and feeling guilty because I kinda wish she would bow out and make an excuse to not come, but then I know that would crush SD. IF I knew she was going because she wants to be there with her daughter, I think it would not bother me so much... but I feel she said she is going because she wants to stir things up with me or DH.

I kinda think she wants to flaunt it in DH's face that she had another baby with someone else... like it would bother him. Or maybe she thinks the baby is proof her relationship with BF is solid? I don't know. I get the feeling she wants us to react to her having the baby... she walked SD out to the car the week after the baby was born, bringing the baby with her when it was very cold.. then the next weekend said SD could stay with us because her and the baby were sick.

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oh it will be fine...SD will be just busy with friends and ignore everything else. frankly BM did so many bizarre things that nothing new could happen. she already did everything possible. don't even worry, during the party just think how you are going to make us laugh on the GW. LOL

oh and my favorite grandma is coming, could she walk? i remember she was having heart attacks when you could not find those pants. seems she is feeling better. Put her on skates tomorrow. haha
honestly next time just have a party for SD and then mom has hers, don't do combined parties and don't invite mom. you don't have to.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Yeah, Ima, you'll do fine. Bringing Gma even lets you off the hook of having to overly socialize with BM while the kids skate. She'll have somebody to chatter with, SD will enjoy having them there and I'd hope they'd both behave in front of a bunch of kids.

Surely they won't trash a kids party without knowing full well they'd really hurt SD? If you skate, put some on and go out and do the hokey pokey and enjoy yourself.

Let DH remind SD that he has to work hard to do special things for her because he loves her every much and he really hates to miss her party blah blah but he's really glad she gets to have it even if he has to work blah blah. No 'bad guy' here, just dad and Ima trying to make her special day special.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 6:28PM
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Definitely, put 'em in skates!
And don't give them any free space in your head --

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 6:35PM
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I guess what annoys me a little is that I am going in alone & she is bringing her entourage. It wouldn't be so bad except I rented a private room where we will be for 45 minutes... for the kids to eat pizza, cake & soda. Then SD opens gifts and they spend the last 90 minutes skating. It's the 45 minutes in the private room that I dread. She is the "MOM" so she will probably want to run what is going on like she is the hostess & treat me like I'm the outsider. She is a bit more outgoing than I am & it IS her daughter. I don't want to cause a scene so I would definitely back off if she did that. It is just uncomfortable for me. I'll get over it I'm sure.

and it's not a combined party. I didn't want to invite her but SD invited her without asking me (or discussing it with me) so this may be the last party I plan for her that isn't a surprise party. I get that she wants her mom to be there, but I should not be thrown into being the weapon SD uses against her mother. I am tired of that.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:14PM
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I truly think you should not be inviting her anymore, and if it is not possible, then i would stop giving SD parties. i don't want to sound mean at all, and SD should be having parties, it is just that it is way too uncomfortable. you are the one paying, and organizing, SD does not even live with mom, and she will act like it is all her. of course it has to be about a child, but it is just a bit much for you to endure. hopefully time will fly by fast, 45 minutes is not that much.

why wouldn't you bring your DD or DS just to keep you company?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:09PM
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Can you bring a couple of your own friends to hang out in the private room with you? Or even just one friend? I think if it were me, it would be a comfort to know that there was someone there who was on my team, for want of a better way to put it.

Also, if there's someone there who the BM doesn't know, maybe their presence will put a check on some of her behavior?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Oh yes - bring a friend. And a bottle of wine. And a lamp.

I would honestly say something to BM if she started to take command like "I appreciate you being here for SD, but I've got this under control" but that's just me, and I had too many years of standing by while BM pulled crap like that. I've lost all patience for it. You could also go the nicer route with "You have your hands full with the baby, I've got this" but truly I'm a fan of calling a spade a spade these days.

You always handle her BS with SD's best interest at heart. You will do great. But take back up!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:09AM
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When she says or does something (and we all know she will) consider the source. It doesn't matter why she does anything or even why she is coming, it's some crazy thinking that got her there. And, everyone there knows, it's not like they are going to come up to you to say, yeah we know her mom is a lunatic and we know you planned it all. But they know. It's one of those awkward situations where everyone knows whats what.

I really do think your DH needs to start laying the groundwork with SD about not trying to gain Moms approval. or SD is going to be in for a world of hurt for a very long time. I wouldn't allow SD to invite Mom to the birthday parties or ask permission for things. And also, I do think your DH needs to be talking to SD about not taking you for granted. This shouldn't be done with you, Ima. Look, if SD was my kid and her stepfather was doing all this for her while her father acted like an a$$....you bet I wouldn't be standing by and letting DD pretend that Dad is still the best thing since sliced bread. She can do it on her own time but when it comes to things with her stepfather, she needs to acknowledge the good and the relationship they have. Otherwise, she'll grow up with even more dysfunction and thinking it's ok to ignore people or their efforts for them all because Mom and Moms approval is the most important thing in the world. It doesn't work like that.

And one last thing, I remember the posts and pictures of the other birthday party for your SD. It was absolutely beautiful and that cake was awesome. Enjoy yourself, Ima. This woman doesn't have a thing on you.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:53AM
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Imamommy said "and feeling guilty because I kinda wish she would bow out and make an excuse to not come". You're feeling guilty that a basically uninvited guest to a party is showing up with an entourage of more uninvited guests, complaining about who will or will not be there, eating all of the food and drink which YOU will be paying for, and then acting like she had something to do with any of it whatsoever? And you only "KINDA" wish she wouldn't come?! I know you want a nice party for your SD but no sane human being (with the possible exception of Mother Teresa) could honestly be 100% thrilled with this.

We tell our son when he is afraid to do something (he's shy sometimes) that it's OK to be scared; it's what you DO and not what you feel that counts sometimes. So, same words to you - I think you're being incredibly considerate,thoughtful and loving to go through all this and I don't think you should remotely feel guilty for secretly hoping that she doesn't come.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:35AM
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Wow this brings back memories......I do not envy you Ima, prayers going out for you today

Pretty much every single BDay Party we had for SS went like you described...DH & I paying for everything and then BM swooping in and taking over like she was mother of the year..it was disgusting..and if I had it to do over again..would not have done it..but oh well hindsight 20/20

Hoping your day is going well and quickly!!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 5:10PM
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Well, It's OVER!

(sigh) She did show up... 40 minutes late. We booked the private room but she spent 15 minutes hanging out in the main lobby.. like she wasn't going to go into the private room where I was. When I found out my SIL couldn't be there (she was going to be my reinforcement), my MIL came.

Finally, SD kept going between the private room where I was with MIL & her friends from school to the area where her mom, mom's BF, baby, older sister & sister's friend were congregated. The server came in three times to see if we were ready to do the cake so I asked SD if her mom is coming in, they are waiting to do the cake. A few minutes later, BM came in but totally ignored me. (which is fine I guess) but she was blocking the door so when the server came back with the cake, she had to move... which meant a foot closer toward ME. Oh! The agony she must have endured.. being in the same room with me. She came and sat on the other side of MIL (who was sitting right next to me) and started talking to her but wouldn't acknowledge me or look at me.. (hmmm, suspiciously SD's behavior! Guess it was surreal to see it live, where SD gets it from!) BM's BF came over & sat next to her and said hi to me... THEN BM looked over to my direction and smiled & said "oh hi" ~ whatever, at least she will force the words out to not look like a complete b*tch in front of her BF.

She just sat at the other end of the room from SD, holding her baby... not really seeming interested at all in SD's birthday festivities. I got up and handed out the utensils for the cake & ice cream. Then I handed the gifts to SD for her to open. ~none from her mom~ I guess mom is gonna take her shopping later... yeah right. (again, whatever ~ mom tells her that thinking she will forget... but she won't forget & mom probably have an excuse she can't take her.. no money.. it's our fault or the baby.. not BM's fault) UGH!

So, time in the room expires.. kids go get their skates & are skating. SD comes to me & asks if she can go with her mom for an hour after the party.. tells me her mom will drop her off at our house. I say I have to ask dad.. I call dad & he says fine. At the end of skate time, SD runs up to me "what did my dad say?" "dad says that's fine!" so she goes to BM, who is now standing with MIL and me. BM tells SD she needs to get home, the baby needs to get home. SD starts to get her sad "I'm about to cry" look but holds it together. BM buys her a soda to drink in the car with me... (probably knowing I have a no food/drink rule in my car) but I say okay because she is already upset & I'm not gonna let BM make me into the bad guy that won't let her have a soda. UGH!!!

On the way home, SD tells us that she is sad her mom won't spend time with her... and that her mom can't hang out with her on her real birthday either. (BM is supposed to have her for 1/2 the day but told her she can't come up) I told her that it's her mom's loss, not hers. Couldn't think of anything else to say. Poor kid hasn't had a happy birthday in the 5 years I've known her... she's ended up in tears the last three years.

I need that bottle of wine (even though I don't drink!) and forget the lamp... I get the feeling she can be beaten to a pulp with the lamp and she still wouldn't get it!

SD says she had a great time, so that's all that matters.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:20PM
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I am glad sd enjoyed her party. And from what it seems bm was the one feeling out of place! Good for you for not being the bad guy and letting sd focus her feelings on bm not spending time with her. If you would have not let her have the pop or said she couldn't go with bm then the focus would be on how mean ima is instead of how her bm can't take an extra 30 min out of her day to spend with her.

I think it is sad what bm does to her dd, but at least the poor girl has you there to show her the things a mom is supposed to do.

As for next year I would seriously rethink letting bm attend. She seems to take away from the party instead of adding to it!

I had images of her swooping in and playing "mommy" in front of everyone and taking over the party as if she had planned it. I am glad she did not.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:09PM
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I forgot to mention that as we were leaving the skate rink, BM (who was wearing flip flops) was pushing the stroller & SD was walking next to her... kinda bouncing around and stomped on BM's foot. BM let out a loud "OW!!!" and SD says "oops, sorry... I stepped on mom's foot." but she was smiling when she said it. Wonder how 'accidental' THAT was?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:18PM
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Ditto, with not having BM attend next year. Thank goodness this little girl has you in her life.

It is really sad BM couldn't even bring her a little something-come on. That is awful..

Kudos to you, you did great.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:53PM
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I knew you would come out okay. And maybe even more than okay . . . sounds like SD got another eye opener as to her mother's true self. A shame it has to happen on her birthday, but maybe that is the biggest gift of all.

Time for a bubble bath!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 1:35AM
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You certainly showed grace under fire Ima --
And I imagine SD saw it and is silently thankful.

For next year, maybe you could just say "Let's just do our 'Dad's-side-of-the-family' party here, and let your Mom do her own thing with you when it works best for the two of you."

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 12:05PM
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Maybe her eyes are opening to her moms behavior. Stepping on her moms foot while smiling is a pretty good indication!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 12:28PM
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poor girl..you did a good job juggling craziness, seems grandma missed a party though..yeah don't do it like this next year, have a party for SD and no mom please

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 6:53PM
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Glad it all worked out in the end.

Just a small observation and I am really not trying to critize you here because you sound like an awesome SM! But if you or your DH would have called the BM yourselves and not relied on your SD to talk to her mom then maybe just maybe the BM would not have been invited. Who knows, she sounds like the type that would somehow invite herself anyway. I am just saying going forward maybe it would be a good idea to just not put your SD in as the communicator.

I know, I know easy to throw stones. I need to listen to some of my own advice here.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 7:11PM
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I agree. Kids should never be the communicator. We did not tell her "ask your mom if she can go". I asked her if her mom is making a party for her & if not, I will. Instead of asking her mom "are you making a party for me mom" she asked her mom "can Ima make me a party".

Yes, DH should have called her and asked her, but we have had an ongoing problem with BM telling SD lies. So if DH asks BM "are you making DD a party?", BM might say yes and then tell SD "daddy doesn't want to make your party so I am" or she will say yes, then at the last minute.. she will make an 'emergency' excuse that she can't do it. (something like she doesn't have enough money... tells her that daddy takes it all for child support, etc.)

In the five years I have known SD, she has never had a good birthday.

Age 6: No party. We did have cake/ice cream at MIL's house & BM came. (this was when we were dating & BM was being super nice to me & DH was her 'best friend' ~ all that changed when he proposed to me)

Age 7: DH & I were out of the country on SD's birthday and BM did nothing with her. Age 8: BM planned a bowling party after I asked if they are doing anything for SD's birthday. They agreed to a joint party & split the cost. The day of SD's birthday, BM went ballistic at DH's work over the cost & they ended up filing court papers & started a long hostile custody battle. (at the conclusion of the custody battle, BM met BF 2-3 weeks later & moved away, giving us custody of SD)

Age 9: Since BM moved away, DH gave her 1/2 the day (after school until 6pm) of SD's birthday every year on paper. In reality, he said she can have the whole day if she's not in school. So, I planned a party for her the day after her actual birthday, assuming BM would have her on her birthday (her birthday was Saturday, my party was Sunday) SD told her I was making a party and BM continually asked if she is invited. SD asked me & I told her that her mom will have her on her real birthday & this is a party for classmates. BM decided that she would rather plan something on her own weekend & not see SD on her actual birthday. Then, the day of her party.. BM's mother & sister show up toward the end of the party to bring SD her gift ~ a bouquet of tulips & a card. My MIL asks her if she wants to stay & have cake and she makes a big deal so everyone can hear and says "oh no, I WASN'T INVITED!" and they leave. SD ends up in tears that night because we wouldn't let her mom be there. I decided then that next year, she can have her mom plan her party because I spent lots of time, money & energy to make it special for her and all she cared about is that her mom is there... and I didn't think her mom would have come if I had invited her. So, threw my hands up and said "let mom take care of next year" (btw, BM never did have a party on her weekend. The day she was supposed to make a party for her, BM decided to go out to a party with BF and left SD with BF's parents... when we picked up SD, she burst out crying)

Age 10: DH asked BM if she is getting SD on her birthday and BM said yes. That was last year. She was supposed to have her from 8am-8pm. She got her at 9am (well, grandma got her and BM came around 10 or 11) They did nothing that she told SD they were going to do... go to Sizzler & roller skating. BM had already sent two nasty text messages to DH before SD was picked up so we knew she was in a bad mood. She had SD call DH halfway through the day to tell him she got a rodent from the pet store & DH had to tell SD that she can't bring it to our house. Then at 6pm, grandma says she is dropping SD off at our house. We had gone out to dinner & weren't planning to be home until 8pm, the pre-arranged time. So, grandma brings her at 8pm and proceeds to demand all the clothes that SD has ever brought from BM's house. I take all I can find out to her car & she starts screaming at me because I don't have a pair of jeans she bought. (look up the thread "those damn pants" because it was utterly ridiculous! I tell her to leave & go back into the house to find SD in tears. I was thinking she is upset because grandma and I are yelling at each other in the driveway and she says she is upset because BM went back with BF at 4pm and she thought they were going to do all that fun stuff, but did nothing. What can I do? There's nothing anybody can do for this little girl if her mom doesn't care and that's what she wants.

Age 11: So, this year I relented and offered to make a party if her mom isn't. I really didn't want to step on toes and I needed BM to tell SD that she isn't making the party instead of it coming from us. Deep down, SD knows her mom won't make the party, that's why she didn't even ask.. she asked if it's okay for me to make the party. Now BM is on the defensive of trying not to look like the bad guy... so she says "fine, but they aren't going to let me come" and SD says "sure you can come" without asking us. We are going to call her bluff and we did. She was going to call mine so it was a standoff and I was worried that now that she has called my bluff, she will swoop in and steal the show. BTW, I would have let her. I am not going to get into a pissing match or do anything to upset SD, especially on her birthday. I feel terrible for SD but at least she is getting older and she is seeing for herself what her mom is doing and I am doing all I can to be the bigger person.

As for next year, I think we may let SD invite a couple of friends and go to an amusement park... BM can go if she wants... lol, at her own expense. She won't do it. She looked like she was being forced to come to the roller rink. Next year, she will have a one year old... and since I have custody of my 1 year old grandson, I know how that will be. [if she thought traveling 3 hours to the party... 2 hours in the party... and 3 hours home was a lot for a 7 week old baby... try a much longer drive and all day in an amusement park with a one year old]

and finedreams, Yes grandma came. She left the party to go pick up her prescription (because she hasn't transferred it to the town she now lives in & the party is in the town she used to live in) but she didn't bother to ask for 'those damn pants'!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 10:34PM
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I think a small (think SD and one or two friends you KNOW will RSVP and attend) party is a great idea. Plan it for the day after her birthday so even if she is disappointed on her actual day, the next day more than makes up for it.

Poor kid. What a lot of adult junk for her to sort through. What a bunch of loony losers...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:54PM
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You know what I would do? I would stop calling it a "party". Maybe if you take her and her friends next year to the amusement park, you could just call it "hanging out" with her friends. LOL! Maybe that would lower the expectations so that any disappointment would be less devastating.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 2:45PM
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Ima, I know this is off topic, but I was wondering about how your son is doing and what the latest is with your Grandson and DIL.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:39AM
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My son is doing okay. My grandson is standing, not yet walking. He's with me more & more. My son told DIL to get a job so now she shows up mid afternoon usually to pick up DGS and keeps him until late afternoon... it's been varied depending on HER mood or schedule.

I don't believe she is really seriously looking for a job. So, I'm putting my foot down & putting him in daycare. She shows up dressed like a stripper, not looking like she is interviewing for jobs like she says. Well, at least she isn't going to get a job dressed like that unless it's with a slimy guy hiring her. Or she will tell me she has an interview and later I guess she forgets her excuse and says something else, like she had a personal appointment. Sometimes she is on time to get him... I never know what to expect.

I bring him to work with me at 7am and she is supposed to have him from 10am-5pm. It's usually noon-4:30. Anyway, she bounces back & forth from being flaky to doing what she needs to. When I told her she can pick up her son earlier now that I am working more hours, she told my DD that I am taking a backseat because I offered her more time. She said that I forced her to give her son to me & now I want to dump him off on her for my convenience. (which is one way of looking at it I guess, but I need to work) but I thought she would want more time with him... guess not.

I have to keep reminding myself that she is mentally ill... even when she starts behaving herself. Out of the blue, she called my daughter and demanded that we come fix her car. She couldn't get it started and said she had a job interview. I sent my daughter to give her a ride so she wouldn't miss the interview and she refused to go.... then yelled at her that she has a life to live and NEEDS her car. So, as much as I would like to believe she will someday assume more of a parental role with DGS, the more it is clear that she may not be capable of it. I am hoping she matures but there may also be drug issues and not sure how much of a role the mental illness is playing in it. DGS needs a haircut, she declined to go with me but asked me to save a lock of hair for his baby book. So, there seems to be some desire to do "mommy" role but it's kinda warped with not wanting to DO things that take up her time or inconvenience her.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 4:26PM
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I know how you feel. My adrenaline starts pumping everytime I even see his ex, just because there has been so much bad blood between us.

Not to mention, that she still DESPERATELY wants my husband, and does things like talk about her love life, wear low-cut tops and bend over in front of him. Luckily, even on her best day, she doesn't surpass me in looks on my worst day.(That was kind of snarky, but oh well)

It gets annoying. Be the bigger person! You can do it!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 7:52PM
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I know how you feel. My adrenaline starts pumping everytime I even see his ex, just because there has been so much bad blood between us.

Not to mention, that she still DESPERATELY wants my husband, and does things like talk about her love life, wear low-cut tops and bend over in front of him. Luckily, even on her best day, she doesn't surpass me in looks on my worst day.(That was kind of snarky, but oh well)

It gets annoying. Be the bigger person! You can do it!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 8:53PM
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Oh Ima.... My heart goes out to you. Stay strong.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:04AM
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