Need advice off I

reagansDadDecember 20, 2012

My wife and I have been married for 7yrs, she has 3 kids that live with their father and who come to our house every other wknd and 2 weeknights, I have 1 son with my ex wife, whom I get every other wknd fri-sun. My dilema is this--I have worked every sat for the last 7 yrs and my wife thinks that by my 12yr old son being in our house while I am at work, that I am taking advantage of her. I say this is crazy, I am not out goofing off I am working! My wife knew I had a son when she married me and she knew I worked 6 days a wk. My wife is insisting that I take my son to my mothers house which is 30 miles away,and pick him up when I get off work. My son lives 100 miles away so the extra driving is very time consuming and expensive. Am I wrong to think that my son has every right to be in our house when I am working and that as his stepmother it should not be a problem?? She also claims that I should not purchase clothes for him to keep at our house and that he should always bring clothes from his mothers, while her children have closets full, mainly paid for by money that I made working..

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I can't think of any better way to make your son feel rejected than to do what your wife wants. He should feel like he has a home where you are, and that includes times when you're not in it.

You say your wife feels that you are "taking advantage of her". That's too general a complaint to be helpful. What are her specific issues? Obviously if your son has behavioral problems or is spoiled and demanding, or undermines her in some way, then those are problems to address.

Regardless, it would be helpful to sit down with your wife and try to negotiate specifics so that she feels heard and your son feels welcome.

I know this is a tough economy and you may be locked in to 6 days a week right now, but that is a tough road for you and your family. I hope at some future point you'll be able to cut back, have a bit of time to relax, and be more involved in family life.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 1:09AM
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--"She also claims that I should not purchase clothes for him to keep at our house and that he should always bring clothes from his mothers, while her children have closets full, mainly paid for by money that I made working."--

Curious as to 'why' this double standard? If your wife believes that your son's BM 'must' provide clothing for your home, why does she not believe her own ex who is primary residence of her own children provide the clothing for her children at your house for their weekend visits?

I've never quite understood the thought of 'sharing' clothing bewteen two houses to begin with. I also will never understand why a parent thinks clothing is a one parent concern. My personal belief is child should have clothes at both homes, each home self provided. Do they, any of them, need 'closets full'? No. But a few outfits, basic underclothings and pjs is not any different than the weekend home providing items like food during this period.

The 'who should watch your son on Saturday' is a question that would need more info than what was posted. Example: if perhaps (not saying he is, giving only reasons my opinion could go both ways) son refuses to listen to SM, I would not want to watch him on my own either. Or if son was spending the day fighting with the three other children making the day impossible...this one could also be her three making her day hectic. I think it really depends on what the issue really is, as readinglady suggest. You've not stated if SM actually has all the children all on the same weekends.

If Sm has her own on weekends yours is at BM's and then has yours on the weekends her's are at her ex's, is it possible she just needs one or two weekend days a month to herself? You don't mention if your wife works. While, it is not clear yet 'why' your wife feels/thinks the way she does, it may still be best for your son if there are issues/tensions over his Saturday visits that he does visit grandma that day. As a child, I would not want to spend the day with someone who did not want me around. Perhaps grandma's house on Saturday would be more enjoyable for son. Perhaps if your mother drives she could help part way with the transportation. It does give on and grandma bonding time if she is capable and willing....but with all that said, it does not address the 'whys' your wife feels and thinks as she does, and it's important that wife and you do sit down and address issues.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:35AM
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You say your wife knew you had a son and that you worked 6 days a week. Okay, it sounds like you made some assumptions about what role your wife would play towards your son. Just because your wife "knew you had a son" does not mean she agreed to be a babysitter for you. Because that's what she's doing, she is watching your son for you while you work. Remember, your son is not her child, he is not her responsibility. Your son is there to visit you, not his step mother.

Before you and your wife got married, who watched your son while you worked? For how long has she watched your son for you while you worked, and when was it that she asked you to have your mother watch your son? Did something happen or did her request just come out of the blue?

Regarding the clothes, I'm assuming your wife receives child support for her children, so it could be very likely that your wife uses the CS she receives to buy clothes for her children, while you are assuming that it's your money that is being used to buy them clothes. It would be helpful to know if your wife works or not and if she receives CS for her 3 children.

It would also be helpful to know if your son gives your wife a lot of grief and does not listen to her. Does your wife have your son in addition to her three children on the same weekend? All these answers would help give us a clearer picture of the situation in order to offer the correct advice.

If you pay CS to your son's mother, it may be your wife feels that the CS the BM receives should be used to purchase your son clothes. I agree with Justmetoo that each parent should have a few items of clothes for the children at each home, but it could be that your wife feels that the CS you pay to BM is more than enough and that you should not be spending more money on top of CS to buy your son things. Of course, it depends on the situation. Say, if you pay BM $1,000 a month in CS, I would find it hard to believe that BM can't supply your son with clothes. Or if you're buying your son brand name designer clothes that you really can't afford, that could be why she doesn't want you buying him clothes. We definately need more details.

Some people take a hard line with CS, and think that if CS is being paid, nothing else should be provided by the NCP, except for what's provided while with the NCP, like food and entertainment. I receive $400 a month in CS for my two daughters, and I send clothes over to my exH's house for the kids to wear while they are there.

So we need a little more info before we can determine if your wife is being unreasonable or not. Sounds like the two of you need to have a good talk about these issues.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 10:55AM
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"Just because your wife "knew you had a son" does not mean she agreed to be a babysitter for you. Because that's what she's doing, she is watching your son for you while you work. Remember, your son is not her child, he is not her responsibility. Your son is there to visit you, not his step mother."

Your son was 5 when you re-married, & now he's 12.

In your boots, I think I'd change my work schedule before I missed any more of his childhood/soon-to-be-adolescence.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:19AM
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1. All the kids are there together on wknds, so my son is being excluded
2. My son does not misbehave, he is very quiet around stepmom and does not cause trouble.
3. My wife does not receive CS she pays CS on her 3
4. He is 12 yrs old and really doesn't need to be "watched". But my wife still refuses to let him b there while I'm at work
5 I get home from work at 2pm so iits not an all day thing
6. My wife hates my ex. And I believe that is root of all problms, my wife actually went to jail for 1 day last week for harrassing my ex by sending vulgar txt messages to my ex and many of those txt were aimed at my son...I just can't understand how someone can hate a child and want to make their life miserable, my wife other children are very close in age to my son and they get along fine and do their thing, my wife just seems to want total control over the situation.
As far as the clothes thing goes, I feel he is my son and its our house and I should have clothes there for him, not expensive clothes at all, just stuff to play around in, my wife even hinted she would get rid of the clothes if I bought him any bc he is taller now than her kids and they cannot share the same play clothes... wife does not work she is sahm for our 6mo daughter

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Has she always had this attitude toward your son? What did you say to her about her texting these things to your ex? Why would you want to be married to a woman who feels this way about your son? You should move hell and high water to subject your son to as little of this toxic woman as possible.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:28PM
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If your wife does not work how does she pay CS for her three children?

The texts that your wife sent to your ex - what did they say?

You say that your wife hates your son - hate is a strong word, has she actually said she hates your son? What leads you to believe she hates your son?

I wonder if your wife resents your son and ex. Some second wives do not like it if their husband spends a lot of money on their children from a previous relationship. You don't mention how much CS you pay, if any to your ex, and if you pay alimony either. Whether it's justified or not, these things can cause resentment in a new wife.

Something else I noticed about the way you words things-
you say your son is being excluded, my son and our house. I notice men that remarry seem to think that they can create one big happy family with their children and the new wife. Often times the new wife does not feel the same maternal bond towards her husband's children. You seem to think that your wife should have no problem watching a child that is not hers. She does not feel the same way. Many women have a hard time caring for a child that is not theirs, particularly if they feel they are being "taken advantage of".

Does she resent the amount of CS you pay your ex? You may think your son does not misbehave but what does your wife say about your son's behavior? What reason did your wife give as to why she does not want your son there while you are at work? Details, details, details, man!

It's hard to believe that a woman would have a problem with a 12 year old who can pretty much fend for himself, being in the house with them if there were no behavior issues or other problems going on. I mean, she didn't just wake up one morning and say - I don't want your son here anymore, no reason. SOMETHING had to have happened, or it could have been a build up of something, this couldn't have just happened out of the blue.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:40PM
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No its not out of the blue, its been going on for a while, and yes she does hate my son, she will not call him by his name to me, when she speaks to me regarding him he is called the "kid". He is not a bad child, he is very quiet around her and does not cause trouble..just normal 12yr old stuff.....I pay 125 a wk. But I bring home approx. 1100 a wk so money is not the issue....control, spite and hate I guess....I know she would never lay a finger on him but I. Just hate the thought of him being treated different than her children....what really pisses me off is she believes her children are better than mine and should be treated that way. She will take one of her kids to soccer and leave others at home with me and that is ok to her but not ok for me to leave him at home while I'm working..just tired of double standard and pettyness...

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 1:06PM
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So what specific reason did your wife give as to why she doesn't want your son there while you are at work?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 1:47PM
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She says that he is there to see me not her and he is not her responsibility, and she is tech. Correct, but I feel these are things 2 married people do for one another, I am not asking for all day everyday, just a few hours on sat eow... if I was out playing golf every sat. I could see her point but I am working to keep a roof over our heads.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Well, it sounds like you married a real prize.

If she spent a day in jail for harrassment and says she "hates" your son (who sounds like a good kid), then you have much bigger problems than your OP indicated.

What amazes me is that your son still wants to come to your house because based on what you're saying this treatment borders on abuse.

You will have to consider very seriously what your priority is here and whether or not there's a realistic chance of working out these issues with your wife. Unfortunately, your heavy work schedule doesn't leave much time for counseling or even being in the home to mediate.

If your description of the situation is accurate, I would worry that she might escalate or that your son will ultimately decide being with his dad comes at too high a price. He's just on the cusp on young adulthood and once he opts out there's not much you can do about it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:21PM
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--" My wife hates my ex. And I believe that is root of all problms, my wife actually went to jail for 1 day last week for harrassing my ex by sending vulgar txt messages to my ex and many of those txt were aimed at my son."--

Oh my! Not good at all. I could ask 'why', but it really mmatters little in my repeating what I wrote earlier: Call grandma and see about your son spending some time the every other Saturday with her. While this 'power control' tiff is going on, texting are being sent and police are being called, is this really where and with who you want your son to be left in charge with? If nothing else, until you all sort it out, get the son out of the line of fire.

If your wife is a sahm and pays CS, where does she get the money to pay this? Does she get disability or some other type of income? Or is the CS paid out of your pocket from your working? I would think she paying cs for three children a month is a decent chunk of money, where your wife gets this money to pay the cs is a point of curious interest.

A suggestion. If you get off at 2pm, on the Friday you get son, you might consider picking up son and spending the evening out just the two of you. Whether it is dinner and a movie or a trip over to visit grandma and a quiet relaxed evening together....I guess what I'm saying is I would not be in a hurry to race home to WW3 nor an evening of babysitting your wife's children while she's off to a sporting event with just one of her children...I'd be spending my time with my own son in a nonhostile environment.

I'm sure there's more to all sides of this story, but until all the fireworks cool down a bit, I'd not let this SM babysit and/or care for my child without me being around if even then.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:44PM
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You say it has been going a on a while. Did it start after the 6 mo old was born or during the pregnancy? Could she be going through Post Partum Depression? It sure sounds like she has some problems and needs help.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:50PM
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I agree with both of you. Your son is there to see you, not her. However, I don't see how she could have a problem with him being in the house while you work, since from what you say he doesn't cause problems and at 12 years old is pretty much self sufficient.

However, it really doesn't matter who is right or wrong. If the two of you can't agree, it doesn't matter who is in the right. The only person you can change is yourself. You can't change how your wife feels about your son.

I started thinking more about your OP and I realized you said you only have your son every other weekend, no weekday visit? So this means you only get to see your son EOW- and part of that time you are working. WOW, we've missed an important point. You should be trying to spend as much time as possible with your son, since you only get him EOW.

I would talk to your boss and see if you could take off every other Saturday to be with your son. I don't see this as an unreasonable request and it would kill two birds with one stone. It would keep your wife from having to deal with your son, protecting him from your wife's negative attitude towards him, and more importantly, you would spend more time with your son. Really, is the extra six hours of work twice a month worth losing time with your son and all the headache it's causing with your wife?

Talk to your boss. Don't tell him your wife was watching your son for you because then your boss will just say your wife needs to keep watching him. Tell him the "babysitter" you had watching your son can't watch him anymore for you on Saturdays. Or if you could cut your hours back to four hours, anything, just so you can spend more time with your son. (I was able to get my work hours cut back so I could spend more time with my D14 who was going through some issues) Really, what's most important is being there for your son.

And then I'd see about counseling for your wife, to see if you can get to the root of her issues with your son and ex. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Another idea on work, might be to ask about longer work days during the week (maybe an hour or two longer each day Monday-Thursday) if your work has a second shift already scheduled. Just a thought in case just losing the income of what you make currently is not an option. You don't have your son on those days so it might give you your Saturday home with son and still keep your present salary.

But of course, a change in work day hours might set your wife off more. If she is depending on YOU to babysit her children while she takes ONE of hers to an event...she'd lose her babysitter.

Actually I think it's beyond 'pot meet kettle' for your wife to expect you to babysit her kids while she's busy if one of her kids has event on her nights of having her kids. Afterall, her line of thinking seems to be kids are there to see their parent not their yes, very double standard to then leave her own children with you while she goes out with just one of hers on their nights to visit her. But she refuses to return the favor when it falls on the other foot. It does seem to appear that at least part of this woman's problem seems to be her resentment and hate towards your wife...why else would she expect you to babysit her kids, but blow a gasket at the thought of her watching your son aka your exwife's child.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 3:51PM
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What would she do if your ex wife died and the child had to live with you?

Not calling him by his name is a very bad sign. One of the most abused children in this country was called "it" by the mom. She never acknowledge him as a child or as a human.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 9:09PM
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I can see where the Saturday work schedule may be causing some issues, however, it seems to me that a few hours is not out of the question. When you married, you both knew about the other children - to me making the committment to be married with children on both sides coming into relationship, you agree to take on the responsiblity of caring for those children together. It is very sad for your son. On the flip side, if she hates him as you have stated, I dont think I would want my child left alone with her either way.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 1:53PM
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"I have worked every sat for the last 7 yrs"

That's insane, & it's especially callous & unreasonable for a divorced parent who demands that someone else, *anyone* else, take responsibility for his "time" with his own child.

I'd bet $5 that, if we were to hear OP's wife's story, it would include a lot of years of thankless effort & a lot of pleas for help/relief falling on deaf ears.

This is not to excuse a grown woman being hateful to a child.

So often a 2nd wife will resent/blame a husband's child for her exhaustion & sense of being used rather than disengaging & forcing her husband to take responsibility, & it isn't right, but nothing she does or doesn't do lets the husband/father off the hook.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 4:30PM
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"I'd bet $5 that, if we were to hear OP's wife's story, it would include a lot of years of thankless effort & a lot of pleas for help/relief falling on deaf ears."
I completely agree Syliva! I have a feeling we're not getting the whole story here. OP has not answered a lot of my questions - leaving me to wonder what he's not telling us.

Questions not answered:
Before the OP got married, who watched the son while he worked?

How can his wife pay CS for her three children if she doesn't work?

The harassing text messages that the wife sent to the ex-wife regarding the son, what EXACTLY did they say?

OP says his son does not misbehave, but what does the wife say about the son's behavior?

Other things to consider:

He says the wife leaves him at home with the other kids, they have a 6 month old together, maybe that is the child that is being left home with him, which is why the wife feels she can leave the child home with the father.

He also says his son does not cause trouble - "just normal 12 year old stuff". I wonder what he calls "normal 12 year old stuff"?

OP claims money is not an issue, but when the solution of not working on Saturday is offered, there's no response. I guess he didn't hear the answer he wanted to hear.

When you marry, you marry that person, not their kids. Just because she "knew he had a kid" does not mean she knew that she would be a free babysitter, cook and taxi service for someone else's kid. I'm dating someone right now and I DO NOT expect him to babysit my kids. If he offers that's fine, but I don't EXPECT him to watch MY kids for me, which is what the OP expects of his wife.

Really, OP needs to concentrate on spending more time with his son instead of trying to get someone to watch his kid for him.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Before I was married to current wife, my exwife and I took care of our son

My wife recieves 600 a month in unemployment, I guess some of her CS gets paid with that but I am sure that money I contribute to our family get sent to her ex husband, along with the gas that takes them all over the area for soccer, the food that feed them while her kids are here, the morgage, cable, water etc.. that I pay for but by judging by some answers here, I must be in the wrong for expecting my 12 yr old to be able to stay in my house while I am working.

Not working Sat. is not an option, its mandatory, so now when I get up at 3am to go to work I wake my son up and he goes to my parents house which is close to my employer, all the while her kids are sleeping all warm and cozy.

My wife will leave her other kids here with me on occasion

My son does not cause trouble

Personally I feel that if u marry me, my kids are a package deal, as I have no troule watching her kids bc it does not bother me....

Amber I hope I have answered all your questions

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Hi Reagan,
thanks for answering my questions!

There's one that you missed, can you tell me, the harassing texts that your wife sent to your ex-wife, what exactly did they say?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:20AM
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--by judging by some answers here, I must be in the wrong for expecting my 12 yr old to be able to stay in my house while I am working.--

Not wrong in a sense that many households do indeed work like that...helping each other out with whatever needs done...but your wife refuses to. There is the issue. You can't make her by stomping your foot and demanding she step up to whatever expectations you have and/or expect from a spouse. Fighting over who would do what and when isn't really a matter of right or wrong. She says NO. Do you really want to leave your son with someone who feels the way she does? As mentioned above, she does not even refer to child with a name.

Now of course, you are building hurt and resentment towards the spouse and her children and recounting all you do do for them and/or are willing to do. You can either continue to build this division and resentment towards each other or you can do some serious reviewing of your relationship and your expectations of each other and decide if this is a marriage you both want to continue. Think about it. Surely you didn't think by coming here if 'we' (any responders) had said 'yes, your wife must watch your child' that you could just print out this post and claim 'see, it is so'.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:08AM
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I guess I just have way different views, I view marriage as a partnership, with give and seems some here don't, and that's fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I guess I was a little naive in my thinking

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:29AM
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I guess I just have way different views, I view marriage as a partnership, with give and seems some here don't, and that's fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I guess I was a little naive in my thinking

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:30AM
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Actually, as I stated, many homes do fuction and fuction well with the 'package deal' thing and give and take. Some homes start out that way and have good intentions and really do give it their all to run the home as you suggest. But then sometimes unforeseen issues/problems arise.

I'm not saying any of the following happened in your home (I have no idea), but sometimes good intentions and early agreements become tarnished due to numerous reasons. Sometimes BM does not like another woman caring for the child. Sometimes bad feelings develop over boundary issues. Sometimes it's a conflict of personalities between bringing different sets of children together who have all up until then been raised differently and/or with different behavioral manners. The examples could all be but endless as to why and what happens to bring hardship and stress unto any given individual household.

Again, I don't know what happened in your household and/or when/how things got to be the way things currently are. I can only assume either the wife and you want into this marriage knowing how each other felt and hoping things might change, or something has happened (maybe not even one big thing but an accumalation of many little things) that has brought the situation to a head.

It's just not a clear issue of right or wrong or people having different personal opinions...I usually post a response on what I am actually reading a OP state and the facts they present. If I gave only my own personal general opinion based on my own household and beliefs, I'm sure my 'advice' would be maybe different. But this is not a general moral question nor is there a simple solution to just hand over that can 'fix' everything.

For the record, yes, my husband and I are total partners in raising our children and running our household (we have his, mine and ours)...but we did not have anyone else involved (not opposite BD or BM) and for the most part all the kids were raised the same way. Yes, my husband has many 'Daddy Duties' and he steps right up. Yes, I took on many 'Mom and SM Duties' and stepped right up. But I'd be lying if I stated each and every other household can and/or should run exactly the same way that mine did and has. Different people, different situations, and different paths which may have led to where you are now.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:25AM
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I think what justmetoo is saying (and I agree) is that while your thinking that marriages should be give and take is how many work, it doesn't look like that's happening in your case.
You should be able to expect that your wife care for your son while you are at work (especially given that you care for her children and apparently subsidise her child support payments), but you can't MAKE her. If you were to compel her, and in light of your comment that she won't refer to him by name, favours her own children over him and is generally hateful towards him, don't you think her behaviour in respect of your son would be even worse? Why would you want that for your son?
To be honest, with this behaviour and the fact that you say she has just got out of gaol for sending nasty text messages to your ex-wife, I don't understand why you are not sitting down and seriously considering if this is a woman you want to continue in a relationship with. Because to me she isn't coming across as a keeper.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:33AM
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You are not wrong. And I don't think anyone here is suggesting that.

But if your wife is unwilling to care for your son and makes him pay in various ways when he is in her care, then for your son's sake you have to re-assess.

You don't have the wrong expectations. You have the wrong wife.

What you do with that information is entirely up to you. You might decide to continue your present arrangement with the grandparents, no matter how inconvenient, until your son has "aged out" and no longer requires your wife's care.

We are talking about a finite span of time and you may have other reasons for sticking with the marriage. But for right now you are naive if you think you can somehow magically make your wife into another sort of step-mom.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:20PM
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You're are giving and she's taking so yes your marriage is give and take. I would let him sleep over at grandmas as much as possible on fridays and even if you have to spend friday nights at grandmas ... if you are getting up at 3 am sat for work you must go to bed early on friday night anyhow correct so how much "time" are you really spending with him on a friday night anyway... thinking talking to ex she might be easier to deal with than your wife ...

See if he could stay with mom till you get out of work on saturday to make life easier for your son.

Doesn't seem like wifey is going to "get over it" anytime soon .... have you or anyone thought about post partum depression??? no matter what you are in for a long battle with your wife .... but your son needs you to defend him now....

(wouldn't it be wonderful) to tell wifey ok since you won't watch him we are moving closer to his mom so I can have him during the week plus saturdays and she can drive every weekend to see her kids it would be easier because after all wouldn't want her to have to watch a 12 yr old who probably sleeps til 10 on a saturday then entertains himself til you get home anyway ...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Wow! What's with the hostility toward a child?! Your wife sounds mean spirited. Do your best to keep your son away from her. Maybe you and your son could spend Friday night with your mom, and then you would have Saturday morning with him. He needs you to assure him he is a priority. Kids come first. I can't imagine a twelve year old needs a sitter?

Some people are Awful toward step children. They are wrong, but that doesn't help the child any. It's sad, but you really need to protect him from her hostilities.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:05AM
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IMO, readinglady said it best: "You don't have the wrong expectations. You have the wrong wife."

I don't think you'd leave your son w/a babysitter who refuses to call him by name, let's you know she hates him and is acting out like a criminal lunatic w/your child's mother. Would you? So why leave him w/your wife? Maybe you need to think deeply about what you and your son truly deserve.

I liked justmetoo's suggestion for letting the time your son is in your custody be time just for the two of you. That seems to be your decision - and hard as it is to lift him from his cozy bed @ 3 a.m., to bring him to your mother's, you are protecting him. Since you've decided to spend more one on one time w/him, I'd be especially vigilant and not allow your wife near him. Based on what she's done w/your ex, she make take out her jealousy on your child even more harmfully than she has already. She needs psychiatric attention asap.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 3:18AM
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