Will his kids be enough?

lucky_ladybugSeptember 28, 2010

I'm new here. I've been lurking in Kitchens for awhile and just noticed this forum. My life has changed significantly this year and as it turns out finding you guys couldn't have come at a better time.

I met someone wonderful at the start of the year. He has two young sons and was separated when we met. His divorce will be final any day now.

I am 37, no children, never been married (not even close really). I'm a career girl - good at my job, well compensated, well traveled. I've been enjoying life and hoping that Mr. Right would show up eventually and I believe with all my heart that he's finally here.

I have never been happier or more at ease with anyone. We are already building a future together that will include his sons. Terms of the joint custody agreement has them with us two nights a week and every other weekend.

The other night my Hunny asked "Do you want to have children or would you rather just be a part-time Mom / StepMom? We could spend our time & energy making every other weekend great for the boys and then have the off weekends to ourselves. We could travel and relax and just enjoy each other."

I didn't know what to say. I couldn't answer definitively one way or the other.

Did I always imagine that I'd have children? Yes. Does my heart beat a little faster when I hold my newborn nieces and nephews? Yes. Do I already enjoy the time we spend with the boys? Very much so... they are smart and funny and like their Dad in a lot of ways.

But on the other hand, there is something very appealing about the idea of having him to myself every other weekend. Maybe its just because we're still in the "honeymoon phase".

Maybe its because I work hard and look forward to that downtime at least every other weekend. Maybe its because I wouldnt want to have a baby only to turn him/her over to daycare at 12 weeks old. And working only part time might be detrimental to the career I've spent years building.

So my question is, will having his sons with us half time fulfill the urge / desire to be a Mom? I would love to hear from the ladies who've been where I'm at today. What decision did you make? Are you happy? Would you go back and do it differently if you could?

TIA for your help.

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That just might not be a question you can answer right now. But perhaps it would be a good idea to tell your DH exactly what you said here word for word.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 8:18PM
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You did say that you are 37. If you were younger I would say that you had lots of time to think about if you want kids in the future. But as a person who experienced infertility issues I would say that you need to make the decision about having kids soon.

Will having his kids fufill your urge to be a mom? From my experience stepparenting is quite different from being a biological parent. I love my stepkids and they live with us full time. But I am just their stepmom and when their mom (who is a deadbeat) comes around my stepkids act like she is the best thing ever. I feel jealousy when that happens. With my own son I am the one and only mom and it is a different feeling. This is just my perspective though.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:15PM
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Ditto what mom2emall said.

I've never really thought about children myself, when I met my FDH his daughters were 6 and 8 yrs old. I saw it as kind of a bonus where I still get to experience having kids around and seeing them grow up, even though they're not mine, I'm not their mum and we don't have them all that much.

Now, 6 yrs later, I can tell you that the 'bonus' feeling isn't always there anymore. BM has always had this thing where she thinks I want to 'take over as a mum' but this has more to do with her own insecurity then my evil intentions ;-)
BM's constant poisoning has had it's effect and we are not as close to the kids as we could have been. We have a pretty good bond, but it's becoming more distant as they are growing older. But having said that: our BM does have mental issues, alcohol abuse issues and the kids are in a carer-position so they feel the need to protect her, be there for her etc etc. Coming to our house is like 'betrayal' of the one person that matters, BM. If your DH has a more 'normal' exwife who will not sabotage your relationship you might experience the closeness that I would have loved to have had with FDH's girls. It's not in my hands though, and that is something I'll need to accept.

If your BM is going to demand 'loyalty' from the kids in this way you might be in for a long and frustrating time trying to keep close to them...

So I don't know how that compares to your situation. All I'm trying to say is that in our situation I'm still happy not to have my own kids, because I never really planned on that anyway, and I don't feel like a 'mom' person to these girls at all. If I wanted to be a mom I would definately have my own kids, no doubt about it. And I wouldn't let other people talk me in our out of this decision either, you do what's in your heart.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:04AM
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Your FDH & his kids aside... in your post you are saying that you have worked hard to build YOUR career & YOU would not want to give up your career & dealing with a baby takes up ALL your time & energy... at least for a good while. Putting them in daycare to work is necessary unless you stop working & be a stay at home mom. Are you longing for that baby enough to do that? and it is also appealing to think of having your DH to yourself when his kids are with mom. For THOSE reasons, I don't think it's unreasonable or selfish to choose not to have children. I agree that you don't have a long time to choose, but it also sounds as if your FDH is not eager to make another baby & be tied down 24/7. Since the divorce rate is so much higher with second marriages, my opinion is don't make a baby with someone that is not sure they want to be a parent again (because they know what is involved already) or more so if they say they know they don't want more children.. no point in trying to change their mind. You may end up raising said children alone & resent the guy when he wasn't all that interested to be a daddy in the first place.

Being a parent is not the same as being a step parent... and being a weekend or shared custody step parent is not the same as being a custodial step parent. In my opinion, it can be as rewarding as YOU want it to be. Some people that can't have children volunteer with organizations that deal with children so they can be involved & fulfill a void or longing. Some have great relationships with the step children so they feel that is rewarding. and there are parents with bio kids that don't have as close of a relationship with their own kids as some step parents have with their step kids. The main difference is that step kids come with another parent that may not approve of you having a relationship with their child & may do whatever they can to create a rift. Some step kids simply don't want a step parent & it's nothing the step parent did, just their existence is too much... every family and every person is different & only YOU will know if you can find it rewarding to focus on his kids when they are there & not have your own kids.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:59AM
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Just a word of caution here. First, you met him when he barely begun his divorce, and thus he would be very nice to you because you were the life vest that filled his void. Probe him as to why he left and what lessons he learned from it. Otherwise, history will repeat itself if we don't learn from our mistakes and change.

Secondly, you are not the bio mom and never will be. Their bio mom will always be a big part of their life. So like others have mentioned, many moments of jealousy and conflicts w bio mom will arise. So be REALISTIC about the whole situation. You will have to accept what is, and not what should be because many many factors will be outside of your control. DOn't come in with the expectation that you are the best person for his kids and thus they have to respond nicely to you. EXPECT NOTHING is better. I used to date a woman who thought she was so hot and nice that my kids would see that. They did not and then she called my children "B*CHES", after that I left her.

My advice is to seek clarification w your bf now about his expectation of your role as the step mom. THink through what you expect from his kids. How about when you have your own chidlren?. Expectation about finances should be clarified, esp about college education, car, insurance because they will come out of the father's budget (part of which is yours). THere will be no manual in dealing w step kids and the bio mom. The only manual you will find is through reading the posts from others from different boards.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:34AM
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That just might not be a question you can answer right now. But perhaps it would be a good idea to tell your DH exactly what you said here word for word.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:53AM
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I met my DH when I was almost 40; I'd always been single career woman, never close to marriage either. DH had had primary custody for years before he met me, so I walked right in to being a full-time SM. When I was younger, I'd always expected that one day I'd get married and have kids, but as I got older and that didn't seem to be happening, I became accustomed to the idea that instead I'd be a single career woman with great friends who got to travel, take interesting classes, etc.

It's not really likely that I will have biological children now - we'd like to, but due to my age the odds are against it and we've already decided that fertility treatments are not going to be best for our family.

So I cannot speak to how different it would be to have bio-children instead of SKids. What I can say is that having kids (and a husband) full-time is incredibly time-consuming. (Hey, I hear those snickers from you moms out there!) Seriously, I knew that obviously I'd lose a lot of my free time, but I had this deluded idea that I'd still get 30 minutes or an hour every evening to read a book, paint my toenails, work on a project, whatever. Instead I feel lucky if I get a free hour or two each week. And yes, having a child will affect your career, travel, dining out, taking classes, and many other things.

"will having his sons with us half time fulfill the urge / desire to be a Mom?" Only you can answer that. It may be presumptuous to say but the fact that you're 37 and never married with no kids makes me think that your desire to have kids may not be as strong as it is in some other women, which is fine. If you've been reading this site for a while you'll know that bearing a child does not make you somehow superior to women who choose not to.

In your case, if BM is a reasonable woman you may have a great situation - some mothers would love their kids to have a happy SM who enjoys spending time with their (BM's) kids rather than favoring her own kids at BM's kid's expense, or trying to get DH to ignore his own children. And you'd still have the free time to pursue your interests.

Happiness is a choice that you make. Sometimes (not often) I do feel a pang at not having my own bio-child, but then I remind myself of what I do have. If I have or had my own child who knows what my life would be like, and I'm pretty happy with my life and plan to make the most of whatever it brings.

I think if your choice is to not have kids, then don't waste time second-guessing yourself. Travel, enjoy the free time, have leisurely Sunday mornings reading the newspaper, and enjoy it. If you do choose to have kids then become a PTA member, Girl Scout leader and learn to clean playdough from the carpets (and let me know how you get it out - I've never been able to do it). Just embrace your choice and enjoy your life!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:45AM
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Thanks everyone. Your honest answers have given me a lot to think about.

Have I always wanted to be a Mom? Yes. Did I ever imagine that I would be single until I was almost 37? No. As a few of you pointed out, I dont have the luxury of waiting 5 years to make a decision.

Thank you Mattie... seeing things from your perspective is really helpful and I couldnt agree more, happiness is a choice. I am happier today than I have ever been.

I think I will let things progress / unfold at their own pace and keep the lines of communication with FDH open. Eventually the right thing will be apparent.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:35AM
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Do it - have that baby you always wanted. Stepparenting is NOT the same - you can love them with all your heart but, when push comes to shove, they have a mom already. I loved my career, I loved the way it fullfiled me but NOTHING compares to the way my son and being a mommy fullfils me now. To be perfectly honest, I remember sneering at women who were "domesticated"!!! Wow, did that come back to bite me because once my son was born, my entire world turned upside down. I never would have imagined how much joy I get out of wiping that runny nose!!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 9:54PM
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No, someone else's children will not fulfill your desire to be a mother. Plus they do have a mother. Plus EO weekend and two days a week is not the same as raising a child (does nto even sound like joint custody, more like they live with mom and visit dad).

Now about your relationship and your Mr. Right, I find it somewhat strange that he already plans how he will be spending life with you while he is still married to someone else.

I am surprised custody agreement allowed his children spending time with you while their dad is still married to mom. I think even just introducing you to them while still married to their mom is inappropriate.

I would be extremely careful starting anything with someone who is not done with his past and is already excited about new adventures. He might be on rebound, and he probably is.

And of course he told you that his marriage was emotionally over, or she cheated or anything else. I would be very careful with this guy.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 11:40AM
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While I agree with PO1, there are cases where there is no TOW/TOM and a divorce takes forever. I met my DH while I was still married. It took me nearly 3 years to get divorced.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 10:02AM
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wow silvers, why so long? 3 years?

SO's divorce took awhile too because his ex kept demanding things (she got none of what she demanded) but she kept filing for more and more dragging SO to court. First she wanted alimony (didn't get it of course not a penny), then claimed SO has secret retirement accounts (it was a lie but since she claimed it had to be investigated), then demanded he sells his possessions like expensive camera equipment and give her a half(LOL) and more more stuff. Mine took 3 months because we agreed on everything.

I also met SO he was finishing up his divorce, we didn't introduce each other to children neither DD not his, we thought it was very inappropriate. We also didn't make life plans or played house. And all of our children were adults at the time. I generally disapprove of dragging people to children's lives. It only causes problems.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 10:14AM
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Yeah. Because it took forever in mediation (he was unreasonable) and I was trying to keep it out of court. I didn't want anything but custody of DD. He wanted everything, including to control where I lived, how I lived, etc. It was a really really hard time. Very verbally abusive to the point that everyone was pulling strings to get me the heck out of there.

When I met DH it was very soon after I filed. And I wouldn't do it that way again... just because it did complicate things. But there were a lot of other complicated factors too... and we are very, very happy.

I'm just saying, I wouldn't recommend it, but it doesn't mean it won't work either. Just like I wouldn't recommend marrying out of high school, or because you got pregnant from a one night stand, or because of lots of things. Sometimes it works, and more often it doesn't.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:00PM
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IMO it is OK to start dating but not OK drag kids into new relationships. just my opinion.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:14PM
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Well, she was very young. What should I have done with her?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:35PM
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it is just general opinion/observation, it is understandable that things happen sometimes that you can't avoid it and in your situation it did work out.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:45PM
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Some divorces CAN take much longer than others.. reasons:

Military ~ If they are deployed.

Money ~ May sound silly, but sometimes people don't qualify for a waiver but can't really afford a chunk of money for filing & all the other fees & costs involved. In CA, the filing fee is $359 and BOTH parties have to pay that each.. once when it's filed & the other when the respondent files their response.

Representing yourself ~ If you don't have the money for an attorney, things don't always get filed properly or filled out correctly, which can cause delays because the court rejects them. Finding time in our busy lives can also cause delays... it's easy to hire an attorney & let them handle all the details & worry about deadlines for filing things. But that's why they get paid the big bucks too.

Unable to serve the other party ~ either they can't be found or they avoid service to prolong the process. ("They can't divorce me if they don't get me served" idea)

The other party is uncooperative ~ won't agree on anything & files motions for court hearings (which also goes back to the money issue), and wants to battle over every little thing. That can drag it out for YEARS...

or it's simply not a priority... apparently, it's not a priority for SD's BM or her DH to divorce. It's been 'lingering' for 14 years. In her case, I believe she wants to keep the temporary spousal support going that would probably end when she finals her divorce... and maybe she is still on his health insurance?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:51PM
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LOL Ima.... My divorce cost thousands... but if I had gone to court he had a ton more money than I did and could have fought dirty... luckily my state really smiles upon mediation so we were able to slog through that first, even though it took many sessions per month for many months to even get things slightly agreed upon.

And yep. X was very uncooperative, we'd have something settled and he'd come back to it and we'd have to start at square 1.

PO1, I could have avoided it. I chose not to. Sometimes I wonder if DD would be better off with a single mom, without having to compete with others for my attention/affection. Truth is I'd probably be so exhausted her quality of life would be worse in a different way.

I think parents should screen the people they allow in their lives and who have influence on their children very carefully. And then, I think parents should live their lives as best they see fit. Although I didn't and don't like my dad's choice in women I'm happy he's trying to find happiness. And if my mom had never remarried I would be an entirely different person, and I don't think for the better. Even though I hated the situation at the time, at times.

We're all just doing the best we can with the tools we have.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 2:12PM
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yeah you never know what's best, DD turned out just fine with me being single, but she would be fine otherwise probably too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 3:01PM
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