Father needs help, stepmom wants kids to move out

zapruder75September 9, 2006

I need advice.

I am a 31 yr old father of two boys (8,6) Ive been divorced from thier mother since 2002, at which time they lived mostly with her. In 2004, they boys came to live with me after their mother went on a drug binge and suicide attempt. At almost the same time I remarried a wonderful woman who moved to my city to marry me. A new court order gave me physical custody and joint legal custody, and the boys have lived with me since.

My current wife has taken over every responsibility and gets along very well with my sons. Over the past two years, she has become increasingly bitter and resentful of her situation, thinking that she isnt getting what she bargained for wheh agreeing to get married (before I had custody). She feels as if she has given up everything for my kids and hasnt had a marriage of her own.

The situation has gotten worse since last december when she had a miscarriage on our first attempt to have kids of our own. Now the boys mother, who has contributed zero financially over the past two years, is pregnant and single. This has added to my wife's depression.

We have arranged for the boys mother to have them three weekends a month, but my wife wants them to move full time to live with their mother. I feel like we provide a better lifestyle for them and dont want them raised by an essentially trailer trash woman. We fight about this constantly, my wife accusing me of not living up to our marriage commitments. I feel like I need to do whats best for my kids, but dont want to lose my wife which is where it seems like this is headed.

Should I move the kids out, or move myself and the kids out?? Help

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I have very little sympathy for people who marry people with children and don't think it through enough to realize that there is a good possiblity that those children could live with them at some point and that they may have to actually function as a parent.

You take care of your boys, Zap.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 7:31AM
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I agree 100% with Vivian. She married you knowing you had two sons, it was a package deal. Your wife has zero right to expect you to send your boys back to your ex, ESPECIALLY since your ex lost physical custody with good cause. I'm sorry, but what kind of person thinks that this is a good plan for anyone? (Except herself.)

You said that she has taken over every responsibility. What exactly does that mean? Lifting some of that from her might help things.

Counseling might be of benefit, separately and together.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 10:54AM
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You are a package deal and she should have known that when she married you. No one should ever expect a parent to give up their children. These children need you and should stay with you. Please dont send these children back to a mother, who the courts felt was not able to take care of them.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 12:20PM
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"Should I move the kids out, or move myself and the kids out?? "

Neither. If anyone goes, it should be the stepmother.
But first, please try counseling to see if what you have is worth saving.

Your wife does have a valid point -- that she didn't get the marriage she thought she was getting. But the dream marriage she wanted just isn't an option. And at this point, she needs to take a good close look at the reality of the marriage she has, and see if it's one she wants to keep. Or not.

I can understand her depression and resentment, but she's totally out of line to even contemplate suggesting that your kids move out. It shows either that her thinking has gotten way out of whack or that she's very selfish and immature. If your wife "has taken over every responsibility" for your kids, she's probably exhausted and needs a break. The more you are able to do, the less she'll have to do, and those children are your responsibility. (Providing them with a nice stepmother and a paycheck does not mean you've done your job.)

Please read some of the posts here written by angry stepmothers. Some of the things they say and do to their stepchildren will horrify you -- and they should. The kind of anger and resentment your wife feels is very harmful to your sons, and needs to be dealt with immediately. And for goodness' sake, DON'T have another baby now. There seems to be some sort of basic biological urge that kicks in after the birth of a 'natural child' that makes some stepmothers even more desparate to 'push out' the other woman's children.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 1:43PM
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OUTSTANDING post, Sweeby. You said every single thing that needed to be said, in the perfect way. Well done, thank you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 10:59PM
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Completely agree with everyone above. Sweeby hit it dead on the nose!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 8:06AM
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I agree with every one of these posts. No one should ever ask a spouse to give up their children for them.

Please take the times to read the step parent forum. It is an eye opener. And sweeby is right. After many of these women have their "own" baby, they are even more anxious to get his children out of HER "nest".

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 10:52AM
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I agree with everything above! I came here to see if I could figure out why people marry people with children if they can't accept the children.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 3:00PM
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I hope zapruder75 will think long and hard about the path he is about to go down. I understand that you love your wife, but your children need a stable home with morals and guidance. It sounds as if your ex is a bit of a mess and can't offer your boys the kind of life you can. Please don't send them back to the ex. Help your wife with the children as much as you can so that she feels she is not doing it all, all by herself. Let her know that you appriciate all she does. Resentment will set in if she feels she is getting no help with raising "someone elses" kids. Please keep the childrens best interests at heart while making this decision, they NEED you. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:36PM
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I am also a step-mom and it has not been easy, but having alone time with my husband has helped alot! I came to the marriage with 4 children of my own (3 live with us) and he with 2 (1 lives with us) and will never have any more children due to a hyster. I can not say that I know exactly what she is feeling, because I do have my "own" children. What I can say that I do get, if I read right, is that she gave up her life to come to live where you are and has taken over all aspects that a mother is expected to attend to. I also moved to where my husband is from and gave up much of what I was use to. I do not resent my husband, as it was as much my decision as his. What I personally have asked my husband to realize is that no one gave me a handbook on stepparenting and it is not as easy as if they were mine. I will make mistakes (and have), but the kids welfare and safety have to be paramount! We have both finally gotten to a point where our marriage is coming first about 75% of the time (better than none) and share as equally as possible with ALL chores, disappline, and family activities. Make some time for her. Ask her if she would be willing to go to couples therapy. This unbiased person might be able to help you two sort out what the root is here. Good luck and keep your kids! If she wants this bad enough, she'll come to the "table" with you and work on this. Oh and maybe get her hooked up to one of these step-parenting groups! It helps to vent! There are quite a few that also do not have children either. May be the support she needs too!!!!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 7:53PM
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This poor woman.

She's just had a miscarriage, she's depressed, the woman whose children she's raising is now pregnant, & her husband is all offended because she's unhappy?

It sounds like she's shouldering a burden that's about to crush her, & the only thing she can see is that her husband has what he wants/needs, the children have what they want/need, & the ex, who has reneged on her own parental responsibility, has *what she (the wife) has just lost*.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 6:15PM
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Well, I was going to have a " I need to vent post" but looked through some of the other postings and decided to jump in here. I'll probably post that anyway. Totally, totally agree with Sylviatexas. Give the wife a break, she had a miscarriage and is depressed, she needs help. I know the kids are part of the package but, the kids can really be miserable, little manipulative creeps, and that - along with bio-parents who aren't doing a good job... Don't know if that is the case here, the kids may or may not have behavoiral issues. Sorry, but I guess I am just another ANGRY STEPMOTHER whose comments will HORRIFY you!

I really think the bio-dad needs to step up to the plate, because he has handed over too much on his wife. I'm thinking another divorce won't make him happy.

And, this is just not a step-family thing; intact families can be equally disfunctional and damaging (but step-families have sort have a "multipier" effect on problems). I come from an intact family, that had and continues to have some issues. And I've learned that you can't make other people change. And it is difficult to cope with people that you have to interact with when are miserable , manipulative, etc.

So, I don't like that the wife seems to be issuing an "ultimatum" which only works for the person issuing it. But counseling is in order. Do something for her, talk to her, get through this rough time with her. I know people in intact families, with happy, healthy kids, that suffer when they've had a miscarriage.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 11:08PM
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Excuse me, we should be kinder to consider the stepmom's (SM) feelings at this point. The world has gone crazy, 10% of the responsiblity of raising those children should fall to the SM and the rest, 90% should be divided among the people who have chosen to bring those kids into the world. The bio mom has totally given up her responsibility to those kids and is now having another child? Like hello.

The SM should be supported, encouraged and told thank you. If she werent there, the bio dad would not be able to have those kids living there in the first place. As we all know, in reality it is the woman in the house that cooks. cleans. does laundry. grocery shops. plans activities through the school/dentist/eye dr and much much more. Why has all this responsibility fallen on this stepmom? We call out to hurt her. These bio parents are the ones we should be discussing.

And anyone who says that stupid line "she knew what she was getting into" is ignorant. As in not educated. When you entered marriage you had some idea of what life would be like, but did marriage meet all your expectations? Were there things that you could not predict? A stubborn mother in law? Old girlfriend that came back? Here's an easier one for you to understand, when you buy a hot cup of coffee why is it that you sometimes dont expect to burn your tongue? It's hot you know! Yah, but sometimes even a hot cup of coffee can be hard to predict.

Those kids have to stay with their dad, for now. However, that father should take some responsibility off the stepmom and stand up for her rights. She needs his encouragement and graciousness.

Help the stepmom find a stepmoms group because there is beauty in being able to express yourself in the company of ladies that understand and dont make hairbrain judgements.

She can do it. But she also wants time to focus on HER marriage and the family she wants to have. And you better believe it...some stepmoms, although look like they arent doing a good job, are doing a whole load full of a better job than some bio's. She will also dedicate her life to her own kids, unlike this bio mom. That is because most step moms try stepmothering because they love kids.

Been a stepmom for 10yrs, stepmoms-take care of yourselves too because everyone else is. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 3:21PM
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"And anyone who says that stupid line "she knew what she was getting into" is ignorant. As in not educated. When you entered marriage you had some idea of what life would be like, but did marriage meet all your expectations? Were there things that you could not predict? A stubborn mother in law? Old girlfriend that came back? Here's an easier one for you to understand, when you buy a hot cup of coffee why is it that you sometimes dont expect to burn your tongue? It's hot you know! Yah, but sometimes even a hot cup of coffee can be hard to predict."

VERY well said. I don't think I can say anything better than that!

I, too, think this woman (SM) needs help. It sounds to me like she is angry and overwhelmed. Often, depression manifests itself as anger--so I would definitely consider the possibility that this woman is clinically depressed. OP, you said she had a miscarriage last December. So it's been almost a year and she is still not pregnant. Forgive me for being so personal but I wonder if you have been actively trying to conceive since the miscarriage? If so, it (obviously) isn't happening, and I think that alone could be the reason behind your wife's *issues.* I know so many women who have struggled through infertility and want a baby so badly, and it seems to beat them down after time....the disappointment and frustration...and then, of course, the fact that BM gave up her kids and is now PG with another. I can totally see how that could have just pushed this SM over the edge.

I would urge your wife to seek counseling or a support group for infertility---if that is something you think you are dealing with at this point.

As far as the stepparenting/parenting goes, she needs more support from you. I don't see it as any different than if this were a nuclear family--and mom were depressed--dad would probably need to pitch in more with childcare/household duties. If a mom OR SM is going through a rough time emotionally, then the HUSBAND needs to figure out ways to support her through that.

I do think it is not *okay* or *fair* of her to give you, OP, such an ultimatum. No one should have to give up their children and I am sorry you are even having to discuss this issue on here at all. DO NOT SEND YOUR KIDS BACK TO THEIR BM BECAUSE SHE SOUNDS COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT---THE COURTS GAVE YOU CUSTODY FOR A REASON. YOUR KIDS NEED YOU.

That said, your wife needs you, too. I think she needs counseling, a support group for stepmoms, and time to heal emotionally. You said she was a "wonderful woman" in your OP so I really doubt that she has suddenly turned into a spiteful, mean person who would ask someone to abandon their kids--I really think her thinking and judgement has been clouded by anger and depression, and she needs help.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 5:33PM
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Look at the dates ladies --
The OP is over 2 years old...

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 7:11PM
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I agree with the posters that show sympathy towards the new wife. Saying that she already new that you had kids isn't the same thing as actually being a full time mom to them. It's a lot of work and responsibility and can be overwhelming to a strong person let alone to a woman who has suffered the loss of a baby and is mourning that child while watching a unfit Bm easily have another one.(When she won't even take care of the 2 that she already has).

I knew what being a step mom was all about when I married for a 2nd time but that doesn't change the fact that it is important for my husband and I to have a relationship a way from the kids. I am not just a mother, a housewife, a cook, a maid, I am a woman and I need to be treated like one by my husband to feel close to him.

It is mentioned that 3 weekends a month the BM has the kids and that is good. Are you two then doing things together that you would not be able to do if the kids were with you?

I have never had a miscarriage but my mother did and she told me that she couldn't even look a other women with babies for a long time without bursting into tears. You wife may need some professional help....counseling, hormones whatever. She definitely needs some TLC and I feel sorry for her.

There is now way to see inside of your home to observe what family life is like for you guys but I know from experience that it is easy to make a family all about the kids and forget that it really starts with the relationship between the husband and wife. I would do everything possible to help your wife through this time and then if she still does not want your kids I would cross that path when you got to it. Of course you have to put your kids first in this type of situation....I just wouldn't count you wife out yet.

It really ticks me off when I see a BM decide that after her ex gets married that it's time to pass the kids off to him and his new wife. That happened to me in my 1st marriage and while I was doing all of hard work she was free to play. I resented it too. Your new wife should not be expected to just pick up where Bm left off. Don't forget that she is you wife and friend and lover and not just a step mom that now is expected to do it all while at the same time grieving for child that you and she lost.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 12:11AM
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Wow! What do you expect when you let your wife "take over every responsibilty"?? We hear your story, it would be interesting to hear hers. Even the bio moms perhaps, because you say yourself your ex is "trailer trash", but you have no problem sending your kids to her for three weekend out of the month. If she were that trashy, then why send them at all?
I mean if your wife is a good women, which you elude to because you say she does everything, then don't you think that she would have a problem sending them to their moms if she were that unfit? Since when does being a single mom make a person a bad mom? Is she still drinking? You didn't say. I would assume not, since you do let your kids go see her. Also, no court did find her unfit, she just didn't contest your full custody is all. Doesn't mean anything about her. Dad's do it all the time without the stigma of being a bad father.
Cut your wife some slack, and take on your kids as your own responsibility, because that is what they are. Don't make her do it all. That is a sure recipe for disaster and your marriage will end if it stays the way it is.
You should be taking them to school, practice, etc. Not her responsibility at all. Yours and your ex.
See this is what I mean by step moms getting trashed all the time. It is such bull. They do and do, and when they can do no more, then they are the fall guy.
Angry stepmothers...indeed.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 11:53PM
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I personally believe that your wife, and yourself, and then the two of you together, need some help to deal with the miscarriage. It is a very hard thing, I know. Hopefully if that can be worked through, the rest will work out as well. Otherwise, I don't think she has a right to make you choose between your kids and anything, not even your marriage. I'm an angry stepmother myself and I know that I have no right, his child was his child before I met him and always will be, there is no guarantee that I will always be his wife.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 2:21PM
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Sylviatexas is so right...I had two miscarriages and grieved for a very long time not to mention the hormonal fluxuations and the fact that my milk came in right after I came home from the hospital and I had no baby to nurse...The poor woman has shouldered the burden of raising someone elses children and now that she has lost her own is feeling resentful. Give her time and understanding. Validate that she has every right to feel resentful and hurt. Lovingly let her know that you still have small boys to raise and get in there yourself and help her a little more with this situation...Do more for your boys yourself...Chances are, with time and patience she'll come to realize that she doesn't want the boys to leave.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Have compassion and listen to her feelings. Help her more and lighten her load to prevent the resentment from getting even worse. Remind her that she has input (not veto power, but input) and choices and rights. But draw a line in the sand. Her *feelings* might be valid but any action or insistence of hers that has the effect of pressuring you and/or kids to get them out is not valid *behavior*. And once you have taken real steps to fairly address the problem and rebalance the workload more to her satisfaction, after a certain point, then, any remaining resentments are on her to figure her way out of.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 2:49PM
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Bottom line is this....you married your wife for life....she is your priority. You need to figure what you can do make things bearable for your wife. Sounds like you need to step up to the plate and start taking on the responsibility of your children. You are their father. When your children are grown and raised, you will either still be with your wife whom you've cared for and cherished as you told her you would when you married her or you will be a very lonely man. The best thing you can do for your kids is to guard your marriage and provide a good solid foundation for them.....take care of your wife and find out what you can do to help her.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:20PM
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