i've tried --long rant-sorry :(

mom_of_2.5April 27, 2009

I have tried. I have tried to be the kind of SM I would appreciate one of my kids having. I try to earn the support and respect of BM by simply NOT stepping on her toes. I don't think it's my place to take him for hair cuts, or to pick him up from school. I never talk bad about her infront of or around SS even though I think she's an awful person and I wish her face falls off.

She has taught SS to be rude, disrespectful, just downright awful to me. And he is happy to make his mommy proud.

I have tried to foster a relationship w/ SS. Making it REALLY clear I'm not trying to be his mom, he has one, and she's the best one he could have. He will tolerate me if I buy him things, NEVER a moment of gratitude or so much as a mumbled thanks. Every Birthday, Christmas or just becasue gift has been at my initiation, my searching for what would make him happy, to be flat ignored. DH hasn't picked or purchased gift one in 5 years. Last summer his mom said we needed to buy him a bike, trying to make everyone happy I went right out and bought him a bike for his birthday. He's rode it a handful of times and recently complained that bike sucks and he needs a new one (because he peeled off the pads). I have NEVER bought either of my kids a bike brand new out of the store, they've gotten hand me downs, or garage sale bikes. He's SO ungrateful!

I have tried playing board games with him. Complete disaster, he sucks the fun out of everything insisting someone else cheated if he isn't in the lead.

I have tried worming my way in through his tummy :) Once he said he liked spaghetti and meatballs! GREAT! Next time I made it- he hated it. Every meal I prepare he picks apart with his fork and looks for something new to declare he dislikes. (tricked him this weekend by using chopped olives instead of sliced, he couldn't see them to say he didn't like them and he asked for seconds!)

I've accepted that yes, this kid is difficult. I've accepted that a good portion of my frustration is with my DH's lack of attention to SS...especially in the discipline arena. I think DH has made HUGE improvements since he realized his son has the potential to end our marriage, but he's still not where he should be, but okay he's making progress.

So, I have tried.

And still, the Tuesday before he comes on Friday my mood goes south. The day after he leaves I'm still not okay. I dread him being here. I happily calculate only 9 more years of support payments (for a kid who wears rags and hasn't had a haircut in over a year). I HOPE when he's a teen he'll be busy with friends and not want to come here.

Yesterday when we dropped him at his moms as he was crossing the yard, I actually said aloud "see ya, 2 weeks isn't long enough!" I know that's awful. I know it makes my husband feel terrible. I'm tired of trying to be liked or respected by this kid. I'm tired of trying to like him.

This weekend, SS spoke to me 3 times. Fri he said hi when he walked in, Sat he asked for more dinner (ha ha olives and all) Sunday he asked me where the garbage was and I pretended not to hear him because he knew full well where the trash was he just wanted to show me that he was throwing away a HUGE piece of cake I said was too much. It filled a paper plate! I should be thrilled he had such little contact, but I'm still annoyed.

Sorry so long...but I do feel better just getting it off my chest.

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You have my sympathy! It sounds like you try so hard and are just trampled on! What does dh say about this situation? I forget, how old is your ss?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 10:31PM
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SS is 9. DH left BM when he was 4. Not "for me" but we ended up together. We've been friends for 10 yrs. For along time DH had the blind eye to SS out of guilt, since then I've heard him blame BM, shake his head and say I don't know what to do. Well, for 5 years DH did nothing, so I'm sure it's hard to get in the groove now. When he was 4 and 5 he was just a baby and couldn't possibly do things intentionally, but now DH is seeing a bit more. BM is too, her "perfect kid" who "doesn't do that at home" has starting creating issues in her marriage and she's FINALLY getting him into counseling he has needed for years. Back to...cut the kid a break, it's really his parents fault. I never thought this would be easy, I just really thought we'd be a lot farther by now.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:21AM
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the best advice I can give is: STOP caring! Not that I would say don't care about your SS. Just stop caring what he thinks. Every time you go out of your way to please him and he craps on it, he is in control and has the power. Take your power back. Learn to say "oh well, sorry you don't like it." and move on. I wouldn't run out and buy him ANYTHING as long as he treats you that way. "Oh, your dad can take care of it...." and not worry when dad lets him down.

I'll give two examples from my family: SD was 5 when I met her. She didn't have a birthday party when she turned 6 or 7. When she was about to turn 8, I suggested to DH that if BM wasn't going to throw her a party, maybe he could. DH called BM and right away, BM said she had plans for a party. They agreed to split the cost.. yadayadayada. It got ugly when DH put the brakes on the cost, BM whined that he wasn't paying enough... big fight... result: custody battle. So, SD had a party at a bowling alley on her 8th birthday with BM and DH at opposite sides of the room scowling at each other and nobody from school showed up.. BM's mom didn't go and it was less than pleasant. I felt terrible. So, before SD turned 9, BM had met BF and moved away and her 9th birthday was approaching. DH had already decided no more joint parties. BM could have SD on her birthday but chose not to, saying she'll make her a party the next weekend. I decided to go all out. She invited all the kids in her class (about a third showed up), we had a tent with a ton of balloons, castle bounce house, popcorn machine, and the cake I made looked like a three tier wedding cake with butterflies and roses. (it was a princess party) and she was truly a princess that day. She had a blast! THAT DAY.... The next day, she reverted back to not talking to me.. not looking at me.. and I felt she was ungrateful and unappreciative... I felt a little used. She had been so chummy with me as we planned the party, shopped for everything and I stayed up three nights baking & decorating her cake... got up at 5am to start filling balloons, etc. and then she wouldn't even talk to me? So, I had to let it go. The reason I threw such a lavish party was because I felt she had been shortchanged the last few years.... and of course, it probably wasn't MY place to step in and try to make up for it. I guess I also hoped it would be a bonding experience for us.... to help us get along better. I know her mom was laying guilt on her, telling her how I refused to invite her and she couldn't be there so I'm sure that had a lot to do with SD treating me that way. (to make matters worse, the following weekend when her mom was supposed to make her a party, her mom left her with her boyfriends parents and went out... no party with mom. The boyfriends parents sang happy birthday and gave her some cake. She was very upset by that) Anyways, I vowed to not make a party for her this year. (not my kid, not my problem... because her attitude continued for a while) As her 10th birthday approached, I asked DH if he was doing anything... no. I kinda made him feel a little guilty so he took her to pizza with his parents and I made her a small cake. She was supposed to be with her mom on her actual birthday so DH put BM on the spot and she agreed to take SD. Well, she sent her mom and I've already posted about how that turned out. She spent the day calling & texting us and trying to start a fight, instead of actually celebrating with her daughter. She left at 4pm to go back home when SD expected to be with her until 8pm... they did nothing BM had promised. SD came home in tears. I think it made her think about all I do for her. I don't know if she thought about the party I made her but I noticed a difference in her attitude with me. I don't think she would have ever had the opportunity to appreciate me in any way if I didn't back off and let her experience that. It was tough and sometimes I want to jump in and figure out a way to make her like me... I finally realized it will never happen as long as I am trying. It has to be HER idea, not mine.

My second example is my dad's relationship with my stepmom's biological daughter. My dad knew her before he knew my stepmom because she used to be my younger sister's best friend in high school. He would do favors for her, like drive her home from work because she would want to hitch hike at 16. After he married her mom, he treated her like his own daughter. For 22 years, he did more for her than her biological father, who treated her like crap. When her mom had an aneurysm, my dad continued to help her and her family... treated her entire family to a trip to Disneyland. I guess the day her mom had the aneurysm, she was planning to leave the next day to Disney with her family and they had to cancel the trip. A few years later, my dad wanted to make up for it and took (and paid for) a week at Disney for her, her husband and their kids. That was something he hadn't done for any of his own kids. She would give him cards on Father's day, his birthday, etc and call him Dad. She would tell him how thankful she is for him and loves him as a dad and so on.... Well, a year before her mom passed away... after she had gotten all the possessions that belonged to her mom.. and then some, she joined her brothers in a court case against my dad. It really crushed my dad.. to this day he still gets upset when he talks about her. He honestly believed she thought of him as a dad and for her to turn on him like that was a slap in the face with a Mack truck! and on a smaller level, I can relate to his pain because my SD will hold my hand, hug me, tell me she loves me and treat me like we are family as long as she is getting her way... then I am the b*tch that said no.. as soon as I impose a rule or say no. I have had to accept that she is someone else's child that is never going to love me, no matter how much I love her. I have to choose to love her knowing it won't be returned and give, knowing it won't be appreciated. Now, someday she may mature and love or appreciate me, but I cannot do for her with that expectation... I do it because I want to. I feel bad that her mom treats her like crap, but that's HER mother. I can't make up for it. I feel bad that her dad isn't 'into' planning fun parties for kids and she may never have another party.. unless her mom makes one or if she asks me. I won't offer ever again.

It's the hardest thing to wear your heart on your sleeve and keep a child at arms length at the same time. Over time she is seeing that I won't be manipulated and yet, I still care about her and will do whatever I need to for her protection, but I am not going to kiss her ass and I am not going to allow her to use me. I do what I want for her and when I don't want, I say no... sorry ask your mom or dad.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 1:36AM
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"I've accepted that yes, this kid is difficult. I've accepted that a good portion of my frustration is with my DH's lack of attention to SS..."

I'd venture to guess that this is the likely cause of SS's frustration as well. Whether or not he's fully consciously aware of it (and most kids aren't about such things), it sounds like he has some anger about this and shows it by being "difficult" and hard to please. He probably sees you as the reason his Dad doesn't have enough time/attention for him. He may even see you as the reason his parents are no longer together, simply because you were a figure in their lives before his parents' divorce (and BM likely blames you for breaking up her marriage, whether or not it's true, and probably some of that is filtered down to her son.)

I agree with Ima that you shouldn't go out of your way to try and "please" him, that's not going to address the underlying problem and it's only going to make you more exhausted and upset. The kid needs more time and attention from his Dad, it sounds like. And you need that to happen also because you need a break. It's natural and understandable for both you and SS to resent the fact that you're doing more for the kid than his own father is, and from the sound of it, around him for significantly more time.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:59AM
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I can really relate to what you are describing. My SS is 7 and he exhibits a lot of the same characteristics. He is very hot/cold with me, and sometimes it feels like a never-ending up-hill battle. I understand how you feel.

I think what Ima said about disengaging is a very good idea. That doesn't mean you don't care about your SS, but just that you are not going to let YOUR mood be affected by him.

I would seriously take a step back and let his DAD do more of the parenting here. It sounds like that really is probably what your SS is craving more than anything. THat has been one of our own issues--DH works so much, and I am the primary caregiver for him on Wednesdays, Friday nights, and Saturdays. It breaks my heart when I put him to bed on Wed. evenings and he says in a sad little voice "when is my dad going to be home?" And I have to remind him that he won't be home until 9:30, but that he will sneak in and give him a kiss while he's sleeping. :(

In my heart I know a lot of how my SS relates to me is because a) he misses his dad and b) his mom has really poisoned him against me---but still, it is so hard to not take things personally.

I feel your pain. (((HUGS)))

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 11:35AM
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