I think I know what I need to do.

nikki_2010April 8, 2010

I am new to this site and it is very interesting to see other stepfamilies struggling with the same things I am...makes me feel not so alone.

Anyway...I have reached a point in our family where things need to change or I need to leave but I am incredibly scared.

I have three boys of my own- 6,2, and 8 months. My SS is 4 and my SD is 8.

My oldest has a different dad than my husband and my youngest two are ours together. My oldest goes to his dad's EOW and 1 overnight during the week. Our schedule used to be two dinner visits a week with stepkids and EOW, which we aligned to be the same as my oldest son's. Slowly, it has become every Th-Fr-Sa-Sunday and I can't stand it! I feel like my weekends are taken over by these ill-behaving children. I resent the fact that we have to have them EVERY weekend, while their mom goes out and has freedom every weekend. The weekends where my son is here isn't as hard because my 6 yr. old and his 4 yr. old are buddies and play. But, when my son isn't here, I feel a bit guilty spending time with another little boy when mine is gone. Plus, my stepkids have to constantly be entertained. I have children that play on their own for bits of time, then we play together, do activities together but my SD and SS are on the other end of the spectrum.

It's a thousand things I disagree with. Letting kids have seconds when they haven't finished everything on their plate, teaching kids to pick up after themselves, flush toilets, wash hands, have good attitudes. He fights me on all of this every step of the way- why? I don't know. He says kids need to be kids and I agree but I don't think that means letting kids walk all over you.

Not to mention, their mother is a NIGHTMARE! Whenever she is dating someone, the kids are over here 24-7. When they are not here, they are at their grandparents or stay late at after school programs. Both children have gotten massive infections down there because she hasn't bathed them for 5+days. She doesn't remind her daughter to change her underwear so SD just doesn't- for a week, until she is over here. She sends them over in socks that fit my 8 month old and underwear that is 3 sizes too small. They tell us about all the movies and video games they play- and I really believe(by the amount in one day they have talked about)that she sits them in front of a tv all the time. I have tried to talk to my husband about this and he doesn't think she is neglectful. I feel like I am trying to take care of 2 kids that aren't even mine that need parental affection and love, and their dad is in denial and their mom is selfish and only thinks of her needs.I have talked to my husband about filing for full custody and he says, Absolutely not. I asked him what it would take for him to do that and he says, Something REALLY bad, like where one of my kids got hurt. I think it would be better for the kids to be in a home 24-7 where they are at least getting their basic needs met. But I can't be the one to file and he doesn't see the need. I am sick of having to redo whatever their mom messes up for kids that aren't even mine. They take away from my time for my boys and I am so DONE! Everytime I bring up a solution, he knocks it down and blows me off.

I have told my husband that I want to go to counseling- he has told me that he thinks counseling is crap. We have gone rounds and rounds about our discipline methods and we can't come to an agreement. I am more disciplined and think it is absolutely inappropriate to ever have a child talk back to you, give attitude, hit, disobey. My kids have consequences for that and his don't. I feel like I am constantly fighting against him to have set boundaries in our house.

I want to leave but am scared out of my mind. I was a single mom of 1 and it was SO HARD. To be a single mom of three small boys feels overwhelming to me but I KNOW I can do it. I have school money I recieve, some child support from my oldest son's dad, I would recieve child support from my husband and with working part time- I could definitely make it. I am afraid though- it's hard to leave, start a new life, do it on my own. Harder emotionally than anything.I have talked to my aunt about this and she tells me I need to wait until my kids are out of diapers, until my youngest is 3. This feels like an eternity to me-how do I keep living like this when I am so unhappy?

I need advice.

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not bathing young kids and not changing their underwear is a form of neglect and stuff like that needs to be documented. But if dad does not think there is a problem and refuses to file for custody, then there is nothing you can do.

I think you made right decision. If dad does not do what needs to be done (like teaching kids appropriate behavior or modify custody) then get out of there.

The only problem I see is that your kids will go to their dads on the weekends and face the same issue like dad is not teaching them etc

I think you had to discuss parenting styles before you married and definitely having children with him. I am surprised you did not notice his parenting style prior to getting married.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 5:51PM
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Thanks finedreams for your reply. It just helps me know my decision is right.

I have thought about that too- that at least now, I can protect my kids 24-7 and teach them the right things. If I am not around when they are at dad's, he will do what he pleases.

He CAN be a really good dad, but I have waited long enough for him to step up to the plate. I know he will once I leave but too little too late.

Also, we rushed into having kids very shortly after we met. My kids aren't mistakes but the decision to have them together wasn't well thought through. It's really sad that now my kids have to pay the price.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 7:47PM
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Nothing says that you have to leave permanently. It doesn't have to be "too little too late." Revenge is sweet but that doesn't mean that your husband can't have a wake-up call and get his ducks in a row. It's obvious that the current way that you're communicating is NOT working... Do you talk reasonably? Do you scream? Do you cry? Perhaps if you changed the way you're communicating it will finally sink in. Or perhaps you'll have to leave to get him to pull his head out of the sand and open his eyes - but miracles do sometimes happen.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 11:22PM
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I have cried. I have talked calmly. I have screamed. I have scheduled time to talk to him and then sat down calmly and discussed it. Nothing works.

We did go to a counselor for about 2 months when I was pregnant with my baby. He didn't take it seriously because he didn't respect the man that was our counselor. I have even told him, ok, well then find a counselor you like. One guess as to if that ever happened.

It's just incredibly sad. The whole situation. Everytime I think about it, I want to bawl.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:22PM
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My heart goes out to you because my experience has been so very similar. If you can make it on your own, then I say go. You can do it temporarily to begin with, there's nothing to say it has to be permanent immediately. It may very well make your husband wake up to the reality of his life and his kids' behavior. If not, then you're better off doing this now rather than later. My SS now has serious issues because of his BM's neglect and those have affected our lives in a horrible way. I wish I had listened to my own heart and gotten out earlier.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:56PM
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I agree with everyone else...look years down the road and imagine these 2 as teenagers.. you want to be around for that?....it will only get worse..and there will be nothing you can do to stop it

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Thank you everyone! I have knots in my tummy because I know what the right thing to do is. I am going to try one more time this weekend to let him know how serious I am about counseling and give him an ultimatum about scheduling a time to meet with someone.

If he refuses, I am going to start the plans for leaving this fall. At least, that way my baby will be 1 and not nursing anymore.

Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 3:50PM
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Good luck Nikki. You can do it!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 10:23AM
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Nikki, how was your weekend? I really hope that you had a productive conversation, but best of luck whatever happened.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:39PM
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I have had the BEST weekend people!!

I tried a whole different approach. I tried bringing up the subject of his crazy ex wife and his son's very agressive behavior but after a very nice day where we were both relaxed and content.

For once, he LISTENED to me! Yay! We came up with some strategies for dealing with some of the issues that have been upsetting our family.

I know it's small steps but I feel very encouraged! Plus, I made a comment before our combined birthday party for our 6 and 2 year old this weekend, that everytime we have a party, I feel very ignored by him. Like I don't exist to him and it's not because he's running around being host- because I AM!

The whole party- he was so attentive to me, like asking if I needed a drink, getting me my plate of food and bringing it over, taking the baby without being asked, telling me to sit and relax, etc.

I don't want to forget all that we need to work on however I feel that this weekend has refreshed us. :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:42PM
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good news! good communication is a key! hope you keep working on your marriage, keep us posted. glad you have a nice party.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 7:37PM
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That is very good news! I'm glad to hear it. Even if it was just a small steps this time, since the new strategy of talking to him when you're both relaxed worked so well hopefully you'll be better able to have those strategic planning sessions!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Yay! I'm happy for you :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:42AM
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