am i being silly

mom_of_4March 30, 2011

So, today BM called Dh to ask about one of my ss getting baptized. She has been taking them to church recently when she has them and this is not the first time in recent weeks that this has come up. I have my own strong opinions on church and religion but I strongly believe that I was able to form my own beliefs so the kids should be able to form their own as well.

Dh basically told BM he didnt think ss was ready and he thought he should really know what he was doing and that he would talk to ss and to the elder at the church to get a better feel on the situation. Which I think it great!

My problem is that I only really heard this conversation second hand and when DH got off the phone he didnt discuss it with me at all. Now mind you I am the go to ... everything caretaker, transporter, homework helper, punishment enforcer. But, now with something that is really very important to a lot of people there is literally no discussion with me. I mean I would never dream of trying to enforce my own beliefs or make a big stink over it. And, I honestly believe that this is not a decision that I have a right to make for the kids... but as far as husbands and wives go... especially a wife who is the primary caretaker of the kids and is expected to make decisions on a daily basis (both simple and long term) for these kids... it really bugs me that he wouldnt even discuss it with me.

And well honestly, (in the back of my head) I can figure out which kid was being talked about by what was said and this is the same kid who just likes to volunteer for everything... doesnt matter what it is ... he likes to be involved. And just last week he was telling me that buddhism is a religion that he thinks that he can relate to and might even believe in. I think he is just trying to be "in" at church and has no real idea what he is getting into.

By the end of DH's convo with BM they were talking baptism pretty soon. I am not sure if I can go. I really dont support it (not that I was even asked my opinion) And, on top of not supporting it ... this is the same church that implied that my marriage to DH was never valid in the eyes of god and I really don't want to be there... but if worse comes to worse and this does happen I dont want ss to think I think bad of him or whatever...

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Is dad custodial, why is mom making these decisions?

I don't think that it is wise to force SS into religion that he might not be in support...But most religions baptized rather early, don't they? way before kids make their own choices?

We are Jewish and raised DD as such but if at some point she decides to be someone else, then I have no control over it. I really doubt she will choose something else but options are there.

as a SM I don't think you have much power in this though. You might not support the decision but there us nothing you could or should do. You don't have to attend, but if he wants you there, maybe you should.

If DD's SM said she does not think DD should be Jewish I would be perplexed.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:37AM
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No, you're not being silly. You're being real.

You have a feeling about this kid and the intent and you find religion to be a serious undertaking that you don't want the child to take lightly. I can understand that.

My daughter is also Jewish, but that's by blood and by choice. Something that Catholicism does not share. My daughter IS Jewish. And she practices Judaism. Two seperate things.

Unfortunatly you probably don't have much say and you know this. It's a helpless feeling. Kind of like when my SD's mom wants her to get waxed and SD is scared and asks my opinion and I have to tell her, honey, there's plenty of time to get waxed, but it's ultimately your choice, and your mama's.

My hands are tied. Even though I think it's perverse to wax a little girl and I think it's wrong to baptise a child who is not ready. Especially since you are such a big part of his life and know him. It must hurt not to be even consulted, even if your vote does not ultimately count.

I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:46AM
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that is just it... I realize that I cant make the final decision .. but I really wish Dh would have at least asked for my input...

and the fact is I know he is not ready...

in all ways that matter we are custodial... but anyone can "make a decision" on religion... it doesnt really matter who is custodial.

I wouldnt dream of overriding DH and BM even if I dont agree... the biggest point is I know them better than they do. I spend every single day with them in one way or another... but even my own husband didnt say Hey hun this is what is going on ... what do you think?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 1:02AM
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I don't think one parent can make unilateral decision though? i have never been through this, but I would think? if dad says he is not ready could mom do that? I am not sure?

How old is SS? Does he have actual faith or just follows along?

My ex actually converted into a different religion later on. People do make choices. It is not set in stone.

But I don't think mom has rights to make that decision if dad does nto agree? Who knows why DH did nto tell you, could you ask him?

Our Rabbi has strong opinion on not forcing religion on kids. We had talk about it awhile ago when DD wanted to quit Hebrew school, she didn't quit and went all way through the high school but when she entertained the idea he said "we can encourage but if we force them, it would build resentment against the faith, and it is better to let them choose". So i hope mom and dad do nto force SS.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 1:28AM
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You are absolutely not being silly. I would be fairly irate if I were you. It is ridiculous that you are supposed to act as "parent" if and when it suits BM and DH, but then all the sudden you are relegated to some form of unpaid babysitter? Of course you wouldn't force your religion on the child, of course your opinion could have been overruled, of course both bio-parents might have (privately) vehemently disagreed with your opinion - but the fact is that main caretaker of the child, good manners if nothing else would require a simple heads-up and "What is your opinion?" from your DH.

I would expect the same if it were a grandmother, aunt or other relative who watched a child every day, as a matter of simple courtesy. There are actually some practical reasons for this as well - what if bio-parents decide child is going to be Jewish, Catholic or Muslim? All of them have some dietary restrictions (I realize that everyone does not choose to follow them). If DH and BM decided on behalf of SS that he was suddenly going to be very strictly religious and you were expected to prepare kosher food (with the separate meat and dairy or however that works), would that be fair to suddenly spring upon you and expect you to just cooperate? How would you be supposed to remind SS to pray five times a day to Mecca if you didn't know which direction it was in? What if you did have some strong objection to a particular religion for some reason - would it just be expected that you, as a primary caretaker of the child, just automatically comply with a decision that you vehemently disagreed with but about which you had not even been consulted?

PO1 and others, I'm not sure I ever did update on our situation. DH can now unilaterally make a decision on SS's religion. In the mediation session he and BM came to an agreement, and DH now has sole legal custody. (As most of you know BM has never been involved in medical or educational decisions anyway.) One of the reasons that DH wanted sole legal is that BM has begun sporadically taking SS to a relative's church, said relative then providing a home-cooked meal after. DH is familiar with said church and is very much against it - it is fundamentalist of the worst and most hypocritical kind (i.e., these are the words of our God, which we shall pick parts of to condemn others and say that they are going to hell - the parts which apply to us we shall choose to ignore and dismiss as "outdated".) DH had been hoping to allow SS to make his own decision - of course he will still be able to later in life, but for right now DH must choose a religion for SS in order to pronounce that any other variations or religions are not compatible with SS's religious upbringing. Sigh. (DH did consult me however - he wants us all to go as a family, which I can understand).

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 9:18AM
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--"She has been taking them to church recently when she has them and this is not the first time in recent weeks that this has come up."--

Raise our kids for us for like seven years (all but 24/7) and then now it's mind your own business'...yeah, has to hurt and leave a sense of confusion for you. You have a very valid point, you likely do know these children/teens better than their parents do.

But I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Dad is already aware of your thoughts and opinion on the subject. It's been being discussed for a while now and you've been a very hands-on active parental role in these children's lives. Problem is he has chosen to block you out this time. But it may not be because he does not at least partially agree with you or respect your opinions...he seems to have tried to give your thoughts and view consideration with 'it's too early, need to talk to Elders first'...yet call ended with 'baptism is happening soon'.

I'd think if nothing else, I too would have expected a discussion after the call. How'd it go from 'I dont' think so' (or not sure) to 'it's happening soon'? I'd think at least there should have been a normal discussion between Dad and you stating/asking what made him change his mind so quickly. And you listening to the whys he now feels this is the right thing for his children. It's a big decision and he seems to have puttered out mid way through the call. I'd think it'd be only natural afterwards to then state to you the whys. Afterall it was a pretty major switch. You've been raising these kids as a family unit and of course you have a interest in the events that affect the kids and of course you have a normal wife interest into why and what your husband thinks/believes.

Not so much that the convo should be about confrontation and/or a disagreement/debate...just a 'I've changed my mind and thinking and now think this is ok because_________ and I'd like to explain/discuss my decision with you. But to shut you out? I don't get that at all. I will assume this is not the norm in your household when it comes to decisions on anything else especially the why this time?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:28AM
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My feelings would be hurt too Momof4. How disappointing/invalidating not to even be asked. Can you talk to your DH about it or would that just cause issues?

I think what PO1 said just shows how different people can be because our Rabbi said it's very important for children to have a religion and it doesn't matter much which religion, but that children should not be able to choose for themselves until they are grown.

I'm more of the "expose them to different religions, let them feel out what's right for them".


    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:33AM
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I am not sure why this time? It is generally not the norm. We have had an issue in the past where Dh will have entire conversations with BM get off the phone with her and then when I asked what is up he could only remember bits and pieces and would say things like oh we are supposed to have the kids ..ummm... one day next week or plans changed and we (really me since I do all of the transporting) have to get them at x time instead of y today (no notice, no is this okay with you) I finally blew up one day and told him this is unacceptable freaking right it down if you cant remember and if she wants to change plans he needs to just say let me double check on that and get back to you and ask me what my plans are. But, we havent had this issue pretty much since.
That is what is bugging me.
I too am all about exposing the kids to all kinds of religions and letting them decide for themselves. I also happen to like to point out the similarities between the religions... similar stories, similar values etc.

It is just so aggravating not having my opinion even considered and even more so feeling helpless about it.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:58PM
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that's interesting, silvers, it is very different from our Rabbi! Are you Conservative? I am Reform. Could that be why our Rabbis see things differently? Or maybe your Rabbi meant very young kids, ours was talking about more like starting 12-13 and older when they have more educated opinion on things. I was talking to him about it when DD was in the middle school and then again when she was in high school.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 6:44PM
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That could be tricky. haha I just recalled how I and SO were fed big chunks of pork at SD's in-laws house this winter. (I am jewish he is Muslim and very much so, no doubts there)hahah

haha mattie what if one child is Jewish and a stepsibling is Muslim, one has to face Jerusalem and the other must face Mecca for praying. haha At least it is the same direction. One eats kosher, the other Hallal and a third one wants pork chops. What if SM is required to cover her head now. hahah sounds almost like my household.

I think it is respectable to discuss this with other family members. I still think that parents and a child are the ones to decide but others have to be able to at least be informed especially if they actively raise a child and are going to be involved in daily activities.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 7:03PM
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In my orders, both parents have exclusive right to guide the child religiously. Meaning of I am Christian and BD is not, he can guide DD to not be and I can guide DD to be Christian. Neither one can say a word about the other's religious beliefs since we both have equal rights in this.

If I want DD baptized, I don't have to ask BD permission and vice versa. However, I do think it's courteous to inform the other but well... We've already discussed this situation...

OP, I'm sorry you are in this situation and my feelings would be hurt if I were you. I don't think you are being silly at all.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 11:29PM
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What a confusing situation! Bm starts going to some church and feels the need to get one of her children baptized? If this is of such importance why is she only wanting to get one of them baptized?? What happens when she changes churches or religions or conpletely drops the church stuff? What kind of message does that send to the kids?

Unfortunately like myfampg said most custody agreements do not prevent this from happening.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:16AM
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