Who's really to blame here?!!!

perdue2March 23, 2009

So, BM is supposed to pay $50 a week in support for "her babies". Since 2003, DH hasn't seen a dime. BM moved half way across the country and was uninvolved. No support, but then again, no issues because mom is too involved with herself. Now that DH remarried and SC have a new SM (me), BM has decided to claim her "parental rights". She wants a say in how we raise the kids, but still contributes no support either physical or monetary. Raising three teens is not cheap, especially the cost of field trips for school. So we told the kids (mine and his alike) that the OP would need to contribute half the cost for anything over $50 for them to go. We don't ask BM for anything, so we told SS to ask BM for her half of the cost of trip. BM tells SS, sure, I'll send it for you. That was three weeks ago and the $ is due tomorrow. Do you think BM could send a measly $40? Nope, not even a dime of a contribution toward it. After not even sending as much as a Christmas card for "her babies", she drops the ball...again!

Then at dinner last night, SS is in tears and is angry. When asked what was wrong SS says, "You can spend all kinds of money on landscaping but you can't come up with the money for me to go on the trip." WTF! I can't even garden now without being given a guilt trip because his mom bailed on him...again. He's mad as us, even though we have our half of the money, just waiting on mom...

No one expects SS's SF to help, but I, the SM, is regarded as uncaring because I expect BM to take responsibility for her own. When told he needed to tell BM how upset he is, he says he's not upset with her. Again, WTF! He refuses to see anything that BM does as being wrong...he always justifies her actions each time she disappoints him. What will it take to open his eyes? I don't want to hurt him, but I hate to see him hurting because his mom is a loser.

DH tells me that I shouldn't let it upset me because we can't change her. I don't want to change her, I just want to see the situation change! Grrrr!!!!!

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But to see the situation change SHE has to change. They really are one in the same.

IMO, asking SS to ask his mom was wrong. Putting a kid, regardless of their age, in between parental issues like support is never right. If you and DH have an issue with her lack of support it needs to handled with her, or with the courts. Making SS's attendance predicated on BM stepping up to do something she has never before done is a recipe for disaster, as you are now finding out. And, all of a sudden cutting of funding isn't the way to go, either. You've paid before, but suddenly no more? How else could SS see it but that you have 'better' things to spend your money on?

I can't fault you at all for wanting mom to step up and put her money where her mouth is, but I don't think making SS pay for her shortcomings is the way to go. She's already proven she doesn't really care, so why would this make her step to the plate now?

As far as him opening his eyes, that's a whole 'nother story . . .

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 12:21AM
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His eyes are OPEN. His mom has been uninvolved in his life and he knows it. He lives it. He just isn't ready to pin her to the fence and call her on it. Especially if she is now 'acting' involved. Calling the shots is NOT the same as being involved. Unless she has moved back and can actually do something about her 'demands' or so called 'parental rights'... I'd respond to her requests with 'whatever' or "we'll see" and disregard it if you can. What is she going to do? The fact that you are trying to pin 'responsibility' on her is engaging her in being 'involved'... remove that battle of trying to make her be responsible and she will probably give up. It's no fun to make your life miserable when you ignore her. If she's in another state, it takes time & energy for her to bother you. It's only worth the time & energy when she gets something out of it...

I agree with JNM, it's not a kids' place to ask for half the money from a deadbeat that you know is going to let him down when you have always done it before. It has backfired and you guys are the ones seen as selfish. SS already knows he can't count on his mom... now he will see this as dad or you throwing mom under the bus and denying him a trip (and he may end up feeling like you are punishing him for his mom being a deadbeat).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 2:11AM
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Sorry Perdue, but I'm going to have to agree with JNM and Ima.

While it is certainly fair to expect BioMom to pay for half, it simply isn't reasonable to expect that she will, given that she never has.
And since you and Dad have always done everything before, why would the kids expect any different now?

If you were to simply say to SS "I'm sorry for putting you in this difficult position. I shouldn't have expected BioMom to contribute anything." Then hug him and walk away without muttering the inevitable "Why should SHE pay anything? She never has..." then you'll be leaving it to him to mutter those words. And if he's a typical teen, he will.

As far as BioMom wanting input now, continue to ignore her and feed her the same kind of bland non-responses your teens probably feed you. "OK" "Uh huh" "Yeah"

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Agree with Sweeby entirely. And I'm truly sorry for your situation :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:18AM
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I agree with everyone who posted so far. Essentially you're punishing the child for the actions of the BM. How can that be the right thing to do? BM's actions in not paying are wrong, but so are you if you make the child pay the price by missing the field trip.

The reality is that BM isn't ponying up her share of child support. Your DH's options are to live without it as he has been doing, or to go after her legally. That's his choice.

In the meantime, he (and now you) have the responsibility to raise these kids to the best of your abilities. If you can afford the field trip, you need to pay. If you can't, then there really is no justification for spending the money on the garden instead.

Kids do grow up. And although right now he may be too young to understand or in denial about what BM is doing, eventually he will come to realize how things are and have been. When that happens, don't you want him to look back and see that when BM wasn't there for him, you were? Emotionally, physically and financially.

As far as her wanting a say in how the kids are raised, I agree that ignoring her is best. I'd do the same as imamommy, just give noncommital answers (don't argue or refuse or engage in any kind of confrontation) and do as you and DH see best.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:32AM
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Are you going to have the same gardening problem when it is your BS that isn't getting the yearbook or isn't going on the fieldtrip. I don't expect anything out of my ex ever. He has always lied to my face and the kids. Does SS not cut the grass or help mulch. The OP is never going to do what is best for the kids. DH's Ex gets her nails done and has the kids wearing dirty pants to school cause they only have one pair of uniform pants WTC. So many op just don't care like they should. If you can help it I wouldn't make him miss out. They are only kids once.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 1:26PM
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Thank you to all of you for your posts. In hindsight, I can see where you are all coming from. (Funny, as a matter of fact Nikemama,I have had to keep BD from a trip b/c we did not have the $ and ex did not want to give 1/2.)

His trip has been paid for (by us of course), and he is going. He had the opportunity to earn money to go (as my DH has always done with his kids) and he chose not to until he found out that BM was not going to contribute. He then decided helping GM out was worth it.

I do want to be able to say I was there for him when his own mom was not, it is just very hard to do and do and do, then get put down for doing. We would not have withheld the money for the trip just b/c BM wouldn't help (since we do have the $ this time), but we did not have the opportunity to say, "We are sorry BM let you down, we'll pay.", before this whole incident transpired. SS assumed he wasn't going to be able to go and reacted as such. We all make mistakes, especially when placed in extraordinary circumstances such as the SF dynamic. Hopefully we, and others, can learn from them. It's all trial and error!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:09PM
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He had the opportunity to earn money to go (as my DH has always done with his kids) and he chose not to until he found out that BM was not going to contribute.

I like this. So in the future, I'd totally leave BM out of the equation. Especially if the field trip is expensive. Let him know that it's his responsibility to EARN a certain amount or percentage and that you will kick in the rest.

Now here's the kicker. Make it clear that whether or not BM chips in, he is still responsible for his share. Of course this assumes that he has the opportunity and resources to earn the money. There is no question in my mind that kids appreciate things so much more if they contribute to the cost in some manner. Not only that, but it also gives them pride of accomplishment.

I think you're on the right track!! Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:16PM
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Perdue all I can say is I'm so sorry because I know exactly how it feels. Mom is mom no matter what and my SD always sticks up for her Mom as well. Even though I suspect down inside she knows what's up.

It's such a tough situation. Like telling a drug addict they have to quit. lol. You just can't do it. They have to do it. Try to manage as best you can. And perhaps have your DH talk to him and tell him how it is upsetting you. I'm sure he would not feel so good if he knew he was hurting your feelings. My brother is 17 and he has "teenage" outbursts. Almost like he knows what he is saying is not right but he needs to lash out at someone who he knows will love him anyway......???

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:40PM
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