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Any advice?

Posted by proserpina (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 25, 07 at 0:06

I have posted here before venting my frustrations regarding the children's mother and her behavior with my husband. Fortunately, since then, he has cooled off and we are all back to our goodie old selves and our life with our children (and by this I am intending my 3 steps for the purpose of this post).

Today, when I was talking to one of the children's coaches, I received the uniform and handed it to their mother who was sitting at another field watching the others practice.

Later we received a call where she first complained to my husband and then directly to me that:
-It was completely inappropriate of me to be doing something that she as a mother should be doing.
-That I am not their mother and therefore, I should not be doing things like that.
-That she has spoken to several people who told her that I claim the boys to be my own.
-That she and my husband discussed it already and I am not to be doing things for the children.

Now, I don't get what picking up a uniform and handing it to someone has to do with mothering. I don't get what NOT being their mother has to do with picking up something in the first place (I thought I was just doing her a favor, go figure!). I have NEVER EVER claimed to be the children's biological mother, as a matter of fact I always claim the fortunate step-mother status when it comes to them. And as for her last point, we "run" our family as a family, not as them as a family and me as an external figure.

Granted, it seems that the closer I get to my due date (I am expecting), the higher the flames get from her... but really, does anyone have any advice on how to deal with an antagonizing former spouse who seems to find a problem with ANYTHING her ex-husband and his wife do? I thought their therapy was working, but in occasions like these I truly begin to lose hope. Any thoughts and advice are GREATLY appreciated. At this point, I am lost....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Any advice?

One word: Disengage. Do not respond to any of the ridiculous things except to say "Oh, OK." in a calm and neutral voice, and walk away or hang up. (Don't hang up on her, just say Oh, OK., thank you, talk to you soon.")

There is no need to defend yourselves or explain yourselves, and it won't do any good anyway. When you are having a normal conversation, (your 'goodie old selves'), that's fine, be perfectly normal and chat. But any time she tries to antagonize you or say whatever silly thing she's dreamed up, just disengage. Don't take the bait, just calmly say "Oh, OK." If you do this consistently, she will realize that her games have no effect anymore, and she'll give up. At first, she might step it up a little, because she's not getting the reaction she wants, but keep up your non-reaction, and she'll stop.

Good luck to you, and best wishes on your new baby!


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RE: Any advice?

proserpina
Although very new to this all and not sure of the best ways to do things I agree with weed30. Although every part of you may want to engage because you are right and did nothing wrong it's a lose/lose situation. I have accepted the fact that bio mom will always be unhappy or upset about something we do or don't do for that matter. So I mainly just try to avoid her and continue to be loving and supportive to DH and his kids. If this woman is anything like my DH's ex she just lives for the fight.
Don't let her spoil this precious time in your life
Best wishes for your family and new addition (:


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RE: Any advice?

Why were you talking to the coach? Was it about her child? - if so, that would have been more inappropriate than taking the uniform. I don't understand why the coach would have given you the uniform - that seems inappropriate on his or her part. If I happened to be chatting with a coach of one of my kids' friends, I doubt if he would have given me a uniform to give to the mother, at least unless I specifically asked for it.

Do you refer to them as "our chiildren" in public, as opposed to "my husband's children?" You don't have to specifically say "my children" for people to infer that they are your biological children.


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RE: Any advice?

TOS, why are you blaming the stepmother because the COACH handed her a uniform? Wha? Such a benign thing would cause you to blame someone for something? I'm quite sure that Prosperina has talked to coaches and teachers about the children. It doesn't mean that she's trying to sabotage anything. It just might simply mean that she's interested in their well-being--as any good stepparent should be. It is one thing to talk to them about the children, and it's entirely another to make decisions regarding the children's education--something that I wouldn't dream of doing myself. I talk about "my stepkids" all the time, and certainly talk to their teachers and coaches.

And why blame the coach? Thank goodness there are people willing to go out of their way to do these things with the kids. It is beyond my realm of comprehension that they should also have to play family politics, too. Give them a break.


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RE: Any advice?

I am not sure about coaches, but in my state, at least, teachers will not talk to stepparents about the children, unless a biological parent is right there to give permission. My ex-husband has to fill out a form, and the school has to notify me and allow me to contest it, every single year before he is allowed to receive report cards, etc., and he has joint legal custody. Without that form, they won't even talk to him.


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RE: Any advice?

Thank you so much for your advice. Disengage... I can't believe I didn't do that. I am always telling the boys that they can't control other people but they can control situations.... and there I was falling for it! Silly me, thanks for the reminder.

TheOtherSide, I am always very intrigued by your posts as from what I gather about what you say, we have very different views. I have so many questions for you, but I'll just start with a few: Why is it of relevance what I was talking to the coach about? Why would it be inappropriate for the coach to be talking to me about my step-son (he wasn't)? I refer to the children as our children and always follow with how I gained them through marriage (I am the fortunate step-mother, I say)? Why do you need to be notified about what information your child's father gets? Why are you the gate-keeper of such information even if you have joint?
Again, I come from such a different blended family situation that I just don't get the apprehension towards well-meaning individuals. I am assuming you have a very different position and I hope you can shed some light on my questions.

Thank you again all of you for taking the time to read and answer my post.And, JupiterJ, thanks for the best wishes, we are ALL very excited here at home!


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RE: Any advice?

I have to be notified that my ex-husband has asked the school to give him information because it's the law. It's a safeguard to make it more difficult to track down their children. I have never kept my ex-husband from getting such information; many times I have given him info that the school neglected to provide to him.

Yes, I do think it would be inappropriate to talk to the coach about your stepson, at least if the discussion were more in depth that one you might have about a neighbor's child. ("Boy, he's running fast today" is fine; "I think he is not at his best because he's upset about the divorce" would definitely not be.)

You may be well-meaning, but one can certainly not assume that stepparents are in general. Even when they are, there are privacy issues involved. I wouldn't want some teacher or coach to divulge any confidential information about my kids even to my closest friends.


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RE: Any advice?

Proserpina -- I agree with the other side -- in most, if not all states, stepmothers do not have rights. If you dont beleive, ask your, or DH's lawyer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think he will tell you if BM wants, she can go to court and get:

1. Right of first refusal -- if DH can not be with kids, he has to first call BM and see if she wants kids.

2. No third party (that would be you) pickups

3. Reminder to school that you are not parent.

You may think of yourself as parent, but in the eyes of the law you are not. Before you force everyone into a battle that will only hurt everyone, including children, make certian you understand what BM's and your, legal rights are

I think you have stepped over line, telling people you got kids through marriage. If I were BM and I heard that I would be furious. They are not your kids. They are BMs and DH. If you get divorced from DH (and statistically, yes, most second marriages end in divorce) you will have no rights to SK.


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RE: Any advice?

Personally,I have NEVER heard of any of these such "privacy" issues regarding step parents. My step dad always signed my report cards and stuff and there wasnt even a question about it from the school.
I'm not saying you are lying,maybe certain states do have these laws...but they seem a bit paranoid to me. I also think it is wrong to say most step parents dont have good intensions. Why wouldnt they???
I dont think Op really did anything to deserve this criticism from the biomom. I think it is clear that since she is pregnant,bio-mom is just suddenly feeling "territorial" over her own kids...enough to be silly over something as simple as a uniform.


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RE: Any advice?

I like Coolmama have never heard of this either.. my 2 stepdaughters live with my husband and myself along with my daughter. We both sign forms, report cards etc. Generally whoever is available does. If the school system has such laws I have never heard of them. I also take stepdaughters to dr's appt, physicals etc and again, I am never told I have no rights to information etc. I love my stepdaughters like my own, but they do have a father and a mother (she lives about 15 minutes away and sees the girls everyother weekend). Ex has told me before in the past that I have no rights to the children. Ok, that may be true but like prospernina, I am actively involved in my stepchildrens lives including attending functions, sporting events, driving them to/from playdates etc etc.. How exactly is a person who becomes attached to these "stepchildren" and very actively involved supposed to turn it off.. who determines what is correct or crossing the line.. We know most of the coaches, it would not be uncommon for myself or husband to be talking to one of the childrens coaches because we know them, in turn the may hand us paperwork, uniforms or give us updates. I have never told anyone that these are my children, I refer to them as my stepchildren and would tell anyone how lucky I am. It seems that you are dealing with an insecure biomom. Weed is right, act unemotional and detached when she brings this stuff up. Hang up quickly. If she thinks it bothers you or hopes you will attack back she is getting exactly what she wants.


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RE: Any advice?

The laws do exist, in every state. The laws are only exercised by:

1. Immature bio parents that need to make everyone's lives miserable.

2. Bio parents whose ex-spouse has married someone who is a problematic stepparent.

I have a friend where both scenarios actually applied. His ex was, (and still is, after 11 years), a miserable person who cannot let go, and causes trouble wherever she can. His second wife, however, totally overstepped her boundaries with the kids. It's very sad that the 'adults' in either situation can't get over themselves and see what is important: emotionally healthy children!

(And yes, my friend apparently has really bad taste in women.)


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RE: Any advice?

The laws limiting access to records to non-custodial parents were put in place to help prevent parental kidnappings and abuse by noncustodial parents with restraining orders against them. One of the administrators in my child's school said that it happened to him - a guy and his wife came in, seemingly nice and sincere, looking for his kid's records, which they didn't get because of the law. Turns out the guy had a restraining order against him and was planning to kidnap the child.

Under HIPAA, a federal law, there are VERY strict limitations on release of medical records.

It is very common, perhaps even universal, for stepparents NOT to be allowed to authorize medical treatment. As an example, see the section on stepparents at this site of the California Medical Association:

http://www.cmanet.org/publicdoc.cfm/15/4/GENER/165


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RE: Any advice?

Never have had any experience with those laws myself. I've taken my stepkids to the doctor plenty of times, talked to teachers, coaches, etc. This is the first I have even heard of such things--though I can see why they might be necessary sometimes.

It would kill my husband though if those people had to have the ex-wife's approval before talking to him or releasing information to him about HIS children.

I am continually saddened by the amount of "law" that has had to go into the stepfamily/stepparent situation when a good dose of common sense would really do in most instances. (Not all, but most...)

....and don't get me started on HIPAA after I have spent the last 20 years working in health care....Gah.


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RE: Any advice?

Good point TOS, I forgot about that one.


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RE: Any advice?

How terribly sad for proserpina's step children that a bio parent is not recognizing that she cares deeply, is involved with their lives and yet not trying to overstep bio mom. All step children should be so lucky to have proserpina (vivian also) in their lives. Yes laws exist but as Weed pointed out - should/are only exercised in extreme cases i.e. protect child from kidnapping. Plus you a poster brings in medical information, that is so different from "he/she did good today, here is his/her uniform". But back to medical info, if a bio wants to exercise that then they should never expect step parent to bring child to Dr, pick up sick child from school or take care of child when he/she is sick. Why would any parent want to put children in such a tug of war situation? I think every child benefits from caring, loving adults in their lives.


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Reply to Weed

"The laws do exist, in every state. The laws are only exercised by:
1. Immature bio parents that need to make everyone's lives miserable.

2. Bio parents whose ex-spouse has married someone who is a problematic stepparent"

I think the detemination of a "problematic stepparent" is difficult to determine, and that my advice to OP is just back off. A little tack might go along way. I'm willing to assume that OP says she "gained" children out of trying to be there for SK not trying to push out BM, but a little caution would appear to be the prudent tack. It also seems like DH is afraid of confrontation -- or OP is pushy -- and that OP should gently discuss with him. Gently being the key word.

Maybe the flames from BM get higher becasue OP is stepping more and more toward the line.

OP -- if you fight this, you may end up losing.


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RE: Any advice?

kkny, I am so glad that you posted again because now I understand what you are saying. I really do think that it is a boundary issue and no boundaries were really ever defined (although, if I disappeared altogether, I think that would be the bio-mom's ideal one... tee hee!). But I thank you all for what you wrote. I have really learned so much (and I thought myself to be well seasoned at this point).
Being that I am pretty much the one who runs the home affairs as well as help my husband's in the leagues in which he coaches, I tend to step up if something needs to be done. Had I given the uniform to my husband, I betcha the "incident" would never have happened. Had I not taken the uniform at all... that's a whole other story! Anyway, I got it and giving bio-mom that space is something I understand now.

To explain, I say that I gained children and not that I GOT children (they are far from being a possession!) simply because we have children through marriage, adoption, and biology. I feel I have a responsibility TO these children, however they have come to me. I am part of that lucky group that absolutely ADORES her step-children so to not consider them to be part of my family simply because I wasn't part of their life until I met them, I think that would be reductive of what our family truly is, not bound by blood but bound by love and LOTS OF WORK.

These children are fortunate enough to have four loving adults looking out for them. It is a shame that the law seems to protect mothers over fathers and allows very little for step-parents to do. I think that with so much bad out there it is a good thing to have laws that can protect children from potentially dangerous and harmful situations. That said, this kind of legislation is also MIS-used by so many angry and vindictive parents. For the sake of the children and of the general peace, I will be MUCH MUCH MUCH more mindful about situations like these... In the long run, it is neither about me or about the bio-mom's territory; it's about the kids and the equilibrium in their life.


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RE: Any advice?

Federal Law supercedes state law. Look up FERPA. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The law guarantees BOTH parents the right to view the childs record. If there is a court order,(and it does take a court order!),restricting one parent from obtaining school records, then the other parent may not view records. The burden of proof is on the parent who claims they have the court order. A school can and would be fined heavily if they are not in compliance with this federal law. I am a stepmother and a teacher. I was told my husband and I could not obtain my stepchild's school records. I made one call to our state Dept. of Ed. and spoke with the Dept of Ed attorney. Within 24 hours the principal of my stepchilds school called and explained "miscommunication" , the records were at our home the next day. The stepparent can and is expected to sign any forms the school requests. EVEN if the other parent objects.


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ferpa

With all due respect, I think you are quoting FERPA a little one sided. Yes it guarantees rights to parents, both parents, as you say. Both means two. Yes, your husband is entitled to records. Noncustodial and custodial parents should both be getting records. That is not the issue being dealt with here. No one is saying the father is not getting access to records, etc. Father can give copies to SM, etc. Just like any parent can discuss kids situation with friends, grandparents etc. The issue is what rights does SM have. Unless BM steps out of the picture, the answer is none. If BM complains to school, they will say records etc only to, as you say, BOTH parents. Your situation appears to be different.

The problem that no one wants to deal with is that frequently DH is expecting SM to monitor situation for him, and that if BM complains, the school is not going to get in middle. In the end, the work always falls on women.

That is why I stand by my advice to OP, just try and tone it down a little


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ferpa, cont

Captan Kangeroo could probably sign my daughters permission and the school would probably take it; again if BM complains, it will have to be your husbands signature. His X may not know this, but if she goes to a lawyer he will


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RE: Any advice?

KK, are you saying step-moms are like Captain Kangaroo? ;O)


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kangeroo

No, I was not saying SMs are Captian Kangeroo. I am saying that when school gets back permssion slip with any adult signature, filled out correctly, they do not pursue it any further. They are busy trying to track down the slips for the kids whose parents havent replied.

My guess is that school starts getting complaints, they will look, which is why I advice OP to keep a low profile


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RE: Any advice?

proserpina,
Strip everything away and you are left with a jealous BioMom. One would think a mother would sleep peacefully at night knowing her children were in the care of a step-mother who loves her stepchildren. Doesn't seem to be the case here, perhaps she stays awake at night strategizing ways to disrupt, confuse, and assert her motherhood because she feels threatened. Let her lose sleep, you are doing a fantastic job!


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RE: Any advice?

proserpina, sounds to me you are doing a wonderful job as a SM! There are four people in my childs life that are 100% able to: 1.pick her up from school; 2.get any grade status from the school; 3.notified of ANY medical records, medical conditions; 4.have consultations with the teachers; 5. BE HANDED A UNIFORM FROM HER COACH!! ANY INFO that concerns my child can and is notified to: me, her stepfather, her dad and her stepmother!! For goodness sake people - it is a uniform! If a SM can be handed a uniform and she gives to the BM...what a blessing that EVERYONE is in it for the CHILD! (well almost everyone in this situation with exception of BM). It is obvious when there are problems in this family, it is due to the BM. A couple of follow-ups on this topic are not going to be satisfied no matter what...I have read from their posts that the SM should be nicer to the stepchildren, then when there is a post where the SM loves the children so much that they treat them as their own, then you say she has no business doing so!! Sounds to me that some of you are a jealous BM and NOTHING is good enough! No matter what proserpina does or says, it is wrong in your eyes! My husband refers to his SD as his daughter (especially to strangers) - my daughters SM refers to her as her daughter in the same way - and this is wonderful! There could be a time when the BM or BF may pass away...then yes the SM/stepdad will take the role of his/her mother/father. If some of you have to refer to "laws" where stepparents are concerned - you are 100% wrong. There may be some situations where this needs to be addressed in the "law" books, but the majority of stepparents are no where near capable of hurting their SK's. If any bio parents are this selfish to try and "control" these kind of things, are not fit parents in my eyes. You are teaching your child to hate and resent and if you love your child, you would not act that way. In this situation with proserpina, just because the BM gave birth - does not give her the right to treat the bio dad and SM this way. proserpina, if the coach gives you a uniform or even looks at you and says "your kid is a good kid" - you just say "thank you very much...I am proud of my kids"! See, there are stepparents who are supportive and try very hard to make their SK's a good person! So the one's of you who put down and do not support the stepparents...I think you should say "congratulations proserpina, you are a wonderful stepmother".


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RE: Any advice?

Thank you so much Jenny and MoodyBlue. Unfortunately, the bio-mom belongs to the category of litigious kind and this "incident" just fuled her to go back to her lawyer for some other reasons. This is why I have a hard time believing anyone when they say, "in the best interest of the children" because it seems like a stamp BM labels all of her actions... but it is clear that she is being territorial rather than really ask herself, "Is my boys' step-mom REALLY trying to take my place by picking up the uniforms?". I giggle; thinking about the phonecall we had, when she brought up ALL THE YEARS she was married to my husband.... I know it's not about me nor my actions, and it is definitely NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST of the children. It's a territory issue.

Because I deal with animals, I tend to put everything in "nature terms" and mean no offense by this. She acts like an animal that has been abused (if you only knew what a gem her mother is! I am being beyond sarcastic); therefore, even if someone is offering her a treat, she goes to bite the hand of the giver with a growl of the sorts "I never asked for a treat").

In Spain they have a saying, cuanto mas a azucar, mas dulce es la vida, the more sugar you put into it, the sweeter life becomes. I'm of that train of thought.

I have backed off of volunteering or helping out in a way she can "notice"; however, this will NEVER EVER stop me from taking care of my step-kids.

And for those who believe that biology makes love stronger, I couldn't disagree more. Carrying a child is a wonderful thing, but how great is it when we have other children we get to love love love? Our family structure is SO elaborate, far from the traditional one... and if we were really to look at blood for the measure of our affection (what about our adoptees?), we would be left with very little! Again, I can't judge those who have difficult situations; I can say that I am part of the category of parents and step-parents who are blessed to be able to say that they love so much and in so many different ways.


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RE: Any advice?

Even though prospective adoptive parents are evaluated and go through a training process, and they are highly motivated to become parents, failed adoptions, especially of older children, are not all that uncommon.

You have to admit that based on the posts in this forum, becoming part of a step family does not look like a very attractive option for stepparents or children.


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RE: Any advice?

A study cited here: http://www.amfor.net/statistics.html found that 15% of adoptions failed.


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RE: Any advice?

Seems pretty low to me! I can tell you that in my family we are all still loving and loved, each and every one of us, this after nearly 40 years.

As for this forum, I think it's a GREAT and SAFE space for people to vent their frustrations and bounce ideas off of people that might be going through similar issues around the globe. I betcha, the percentage of people that post ARE indeed going through a hard time... but does that mean that those people are always unhappy? No. Who in life is? Step-families are undeniably a lot of work, but I wouldn't trade my entire family (nuclear and non) for anything else in the world. Again, I am in the fortunate category of parents (and as a child) to love unconditionally (except around the children's mother), but would I go back and marry my husband knowing what I know now? ABSOLUTELY. Are we the perfect family? Absolutely not, but who is?

The day before we got married, one of my aunts (who is not related to me by any sort of blood) gave me a framed quote that we have hanging in the house where all of us can see it daily that reads: we either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves Strong. The amount of work is the same. (By Carlos Castaneda).
I think that goes with everything and even more so in families with complex structures like ours. We can't control other people, but we can control the situation. My husband is my ally; when we disagree, we work on it until we find a common ground that we can both live on... but we never give up, not on one another nor on our family.

Perhaps you are right, TheOtherSide, maybe we should spend more time in this forum talking about what works instead of what doesn't. There are plenty of families that don't belong to the bleak statistics we all know about. I could start by saying that, in order to be part of a successful step-family, you need a great amount of moxie, an open mind, and a partner, not just a "spouse".
What do you think?


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RE: Any advice?

This is totally a territorial issue. I went through the same thing with my husbands ex. My advice, completely ignore her. Do not do her any favors because she sounds exactly like my husbands exwife. Anythign you do is wrong and what ever you do she will look for things to blame and be judgemental.
It came to one point that when i helped my two stepkids with homework she would throw it away or try to sabatage it. Her eldest daughter stops her but her son lets her throw his work away. Me, i keep helping them with homework and let her do what she wants. Her kids are goign to hate her in the end. not me.
Ignore her completely. Disengage from her. concentrate on your life. And yes teh day you give birth she will boil!!! My husbands ex truly dispises the fact that my husband has another child. For the main reason that she has full custody of the kids and she did this to hurt my husband. On an emotional scale to take the time from him with his kids and on a financial scale. She wanted him to suffer. Well i came along. He doesn't suffer financially and emotionally he now has a son. yes he still misses his kids and my child does not replace the others but it does help him to deal emotionally better. She hates me. Hates the life i've given to my husband. But in general she has a massive chip on her shoulder and will use anyone as an escapegoat.
So concentrate on your family. Yes that does include the step kids. Whether the ex likes it or not. You cannot segregate yourself from them when they are over. Remember. YOUR HOUSE, YOUR RULES NOT HERS. WHAT SHE DOES UNDER HER ROOF IS HER BUSINESS. You set the rules to your family home. She can discuss issues with her ex husband pertaining to her kids but inthe end its your household and you will run it as you see fit. Let your husband deal with his ex wife.
That is waht i do in my household. When my stepkids come i dont exclude them. When they are here, they are part of us and we all do thigns together. They love their baby brother to pieces! and are very happy under our home.
Yup, i work with animals as well:) and tend to take a very nature approach to many things.


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RE: Any advice?

I think a rate of 15% is pretty high. To have fifteen out of every one hundred kids given up at some time after the adoption process is complete is shocking. It must be devastating for the children, and probably for the adoptive parents as well.

My impression is that the majority of posters on this forum, both stepparents and children, are not merely unhappy but absolutely miserable. Many have stated that they would not marry their current husband if that had it to do over again, knowing how difficult being a stepparent would be. These posters are not, for the most part, talking about transitory problems or temporary adjustment issues. Their lives have become increasingly difficult as time passes and the stepchildren have grown older. It is a rare poster who has claimed to love her stepchildren, and a number of them have admitted hating them.


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RE: Any advice?

Biological mothers have been accused of being "territorial" when they did not appreciate stepmothers doing things that are normally the province of the parents. Why would anyone expect a mother to be happy if some random person took over parental responsibilities or "loved" their children.

Years ago, a good friend suggested (purely in jest, I hope) that because we had so many children and she only had one, we give her one of ours, who was a good friend of her child. My husband and I both found that kind of creepy - I think he was bothered by it even more than I. Would you call him territorial to be bothered by that?

A stepparent is one of the few people in the world over whom the other biological parent has absolutely no control in terms of how much or in what way the child interacts with them. You can change your child's teacher; you can limit interactions with grandparents, or even not marry someone in the first place if you think their parents would be a bad influence on your future children. There is nothing you can do to limit, supervise, or even evaluate the quality of interactions with a stepparent. Would you send your child to stay with someone whom you didn't know, didn't trust, and in many cases who had played a large part in destroying your marriage and family?

You certainly can't say that you should trust the judgment of your former husband, because if you were confident that he had good judgment, you might still be married to him. Even many of the stepmothers on this forum have questioned the judgment of their current husbands. After all, he once had chosen to marry the "crazy" biological mother.


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RE: Any advice?

TOS, according to this post, proserpina seems like a good person. She has the best interest for her SK's. So why is she being treated as a "wicked stepmother"....because the BM is jealous and obviously is not looking out for the best interest of her kids. If she was she would be appreciative that this woman is kind to her children and not try and cause problems! When I married my ex it was because I knew he was a good person and I trusted him. So since we have divorced, I have to believe that he knows what is best for our daughter and he has chosen to spend the rest of his life with a woman that has a "hand" in helping him raise her...same with my husband...my ex knows I would do nothing to put our daughter in danger and he trusts my judgement in who I chose to spend the rest of my life with. Why would you want to control what the stepparent does? That is just hurting the children. No matter what the reason is for a divorce, adultery, arguing...what ever it is, it is done. If you chose that person to begin with - then you had to have trusted him/her at one time. If you do not trust him/her after the divorce - then your the one with the problem. My husbands ex is the vendictive one...and because of her, his kids are have no relationship with their father. HOPE SHE IS PLEASED. The whole point to this is that there are very few stepparents who would hurt a child (I am sure there are some - but when I here of a child being abused or even killed...it is at the hands of their own parent). This thread is for proserpina, not everyone in general. She is doing nothing wrong. When some of you start coming up with percentages..that is a load of crap...just something to justify your own insecurites. I know in my state, if a non-custodial parent can't go and pick up their child from school or be notified of school or medical problems, it is because the custodial parent made sure the principal or doctors were told NOT to do this...and MOST of the time it is because that custodial parent is angry and trying to hurt the other parent. I know with my childs school and doctors...you list who has access to the child and their well-being. There is no law stating otherwise (unless there is proof of possible kidnapping or abuse - which would come from the courts). If any custodial parents are trying to keep "control" and not letting the non-custodial parents have access - YOU ARE WRONG and vendictive. To me - if you love your child, you WILL give that stepparent a chance and welcome him/her in your childs life. There have been so many times I have called my daughters SM and asked her to pick up my daughter from school or take her to school. My husband and I invited my ex and his wife to Thanksgiving and they came! It made my daughter happy and made them feel a part of her life, which in turn is a part of our life! Even though my ex and I divorced..(and in most cases...it does take two to destroy a marriage)...we worked through our differences and hurts and we did this because we love our daughter the same. And that in turn - helps his wife to trust me and give my daughter all the love she has to give, and me to trust her to do it...I AM her mother, she knows this of course and her SM knows this. She has taken my daughter to ball practice and has been there with me....and she HAS received a uniform for her...why not - they help pay for her sports as well! I have even been standing close to her and heard her say "my daughter" - and I just smiled. So basically when people start quoting laws and who has the right to know what - do you think that is showing love to the one thing that a woman and a man DID do right in their marriage? I do not.


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RE: Any advice?

Jenny,

You are hopping around with a lot of different points.

A court order would be needed in order for a non-custodial parent not to access to medical or educational records of a child. Perhaps you are confusing a stepmother with a NCP? Yes, the school or health care provider will withhold records/access from a SM if a parent complains. A SM is not a parent, custodial or otherwise.

Some may beleive that a SM should function as a parent and have access. That is not the law. Only in very rare situations will a SM be able to convince a court that she should have those rights.

Accordingly, my advice to OP is to back off.

Jenny, you may have a great relation with your children's stepmom. Others do not. I have friends who I trust to pick up my daughter. My daughter has others friends who I do not want their mother to pick up my child. I am certain there are some adults you would not trust your children with. I can share my daughters records with my friends and relatives, at my choosing. These are my decisions as a parent.


I think the OP actually seems like a relatively warm and helpful person. I think she has unknowingly overstepped. If I heard my X's GF saying she "gained" my daughter, I would be annoyed. There are enought blended families, that no one should feel embarrassed to say that teh children you are with are your husbands children.


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RE: Any advice?

Jenny,

It does not follow that just because you trusted someone at one time, that you should trust them now - you could have been wrong to trust them, or something could have changed and they could have become untrustworthy. Does your husband trust his "vindictive" ex-wife, and if not, is it therefore his problem, as you said?

Actually, the risk of a young child being injured or killed by a stepfather, or a boyfriend even more so, is high enough to be quite scary:

http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/buller/reply to david buller.pdf


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RE: Any advice?

"Why would anyone expect a mother to be happy if some random person took over parental responsibilities or "loved" their children."

It always makes me happy when someone feels affection for my daughter. If there is a teacher or someone who tells me,"This is my little buddy here.I really love having her around me" That warms my heart! To know someone else also sees how wonderful I think my own child is.
To turn the situation around a bit,does that mean I should feel threatened my step children care for my daughter too although they arent her REAL sisters?
That because they arent blood sisters they are incapable of loving her as they would a real sister?
So what is a bio-moms problem with a step mom caring for her child? I'm more on the side that if my husband and I divorced I'd be MORE MAD if I found out the step mom was being mean to my child.
Only someone jealous and petty would see it any other way in my mind.


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RE: Any advice?

kkny - I am not confusing SM with NCP. I was referring to the comment TOS stated "I have to be notified that my ex-husband has asked the school to give him information because it's the law. It's a safeguard to make it more difficult to track down their children. I have never kept my ex-husband from getting such information" - normally this is because the custodial parent has made these stipulations to the school/doctor THRU a court order. I know a stepparent can not go to a school/doctor and get records, unless she/he has permission to. I DO believe a stepparent IS a parent, that is why PARENT is there. My point is how selfish a bio parent to be to not allow an adult that is in the childs life access to such info. No matter what anyone says - that SM/SD IS a part of that family. Just because a person is a bio parent, that does not give them the right to "control" everything the NCP does. In most situations, the bio father is the one who gets the short end of the stick! I do not see where prosserpina overstepped any boundaries...she received a uniform - not a form for life support! She says she "gained" her step children...I do not see anything wrong with that. No matter if she says she gained the children, they are her children, or they are her husbands children, the SM will be wrong in the bio moms eyes BECAUSE she is a jealous, vendictive bio parent.

TOS, to me if a custodial parent has to go to the extreme to "control" the other parent by not letting them have access to records of their own child, then it would be wise not to let the NCP even have visitation, if they are that "untrustworthy" - then I would think they have no visitation rights (unless supervised). As far as my husband's ex...she has been vendictive from day one - even when my husband married her. He only married her because she was pregnant. Lived in 15 years of hell...usually if the spouse has these "bad" qualities from the start - they will continue! I still stand by the fact that if a bio mom/dad sat down and put EVERYTHING aside of why the marriage failed and who's fault it is...then YOU are for the best interest of your children. You have to give things a try and be civil to each other. If a bio mom passes away (God forbide) then that stepparent will take the place of the bio parent.


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RE: Any advice?

Jennifer,

It is much likely that a SM will divorce the X, than BM will pass away. Most second marriages, particularly those with children involved, end in divorce.


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RE: Any advice?

TheOtherSide:
The website is published by a Lori Carangelo. While it seems she does much good, how did she gather her stats? Who is she to begin with? Also, the two disclaimers at the beginning show that these stats are open to MUCH error. Moreover, it says that 15% of adoptions fail, it doesnt say how. As sad as that number is, it makes me happy that 85% of adoptions succeed. It seems as if the glass is half empty in many of your posts or are you playing devils advocate?
As for the history between my husband and the mother of the children, that is ENTIRELY their business. Where do you get the fact that step-moms many times are the reason for a break-up? Also, I have never said that the childrens mother is crazy; by calling her names, in a sense, I am insulting the children NO GOOD ever comes of that NOR to make assumptions about the bio-parents breakup.

All of my friends who are stepmothers ADORE their stepchildren. All of my friend who have adopted, have done so SUCCESSFULLY. I might live in a bubble, but I like it! This is the way things are supposed to be: we love each and every one of our family members and we look out for one another! And I am more than happy to have surrounded myself with people who are positive and actually trying to do a good job in life; that is the support system I think we should all have when we are down and out.

I gained these children because I dont believe children to be possessions in the first place. By saying they are mine, people may assume that I "made" them, which I didnt. By saying they are my stepchildren, I am putting distance between us that I dont believe exists. By saying I gained them through my marriage, I am validating and honoring the role we play in each others life.

I never trust statistics because, much like priests and pedophilia, they are loudly condemned, but few realize that it is actually BIOLOGICAL family members that commit the crime. We can spin a reality however we want to I dont care for statistics; I care for facts and the HOW-TOs to live a better life.


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RE: Any advice?

They will not end in divorce if you truly love your spouse. I have not looked at the percentages of second marriages lasting and frankly I am not concerned with them. Surely you guys agree with what I am saying...when you re-marry - you are not concentrating on percentages...you should be concentraing on how you can make your childs life happy with the situation. What happened to just "good people" - I guarantee you that if you go into a court room, a Judge would much rather see bio's and steps getting along FOR THEIR CHILDREN. A couple may divorce from the second marriage and they may not...a bio parent may pass and they may not...let me ask you - if you, kkny were in this and you passed - what would you want...someone quoting you as looking at the percentage of your justification of why your children's SM should not parent your child - or would you want people knowing you left this world - but you know your children will have a compassionate person to hopefully help heal your child with as much love that she can give? It does not matter who passes first...what matter is what values you teach your children...you a person leaves this world angry at the ex and jealous of the stepparent...how is that helping your child? They will look back on memories on how their parent worked to help her/his life as happy as possible


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RE: Any advice?

proserpina - You could not have said it better or more elegantly!! Lets all live by facts - not statistics...statistic are why we have so many more murderers, welfare, and divorce! We as a nation are EXPECTED to become victims of statistics...very sad!


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Advice

"They will not end in divorce if you truly love your spouse"

OK.

This was supposed to be advice to OP. As long as bio mom, even if divorced is good mom, no judge is going to take her rights away, even if SM is supermom. So I stand by my advice. Do not push the enevolope, or it may end up with disastrous consequences.


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RE: Any advice?

I agree that this is advice to OP...that is what I try and refer to....we are not talking about a judge taking a bio mom's rights away...not sure who originally brought that one up. This is about a SM handing a uniform to a bio mom who was not there at the time the uniforms were being handed out.....nothing about her trying to take her place! So the advice proserpina seems to be getting is back off - do not voice any concern, opinions, love and if your SC is laying there bleeding and thier father is at work...let them bleed to death??? because you may overstep your boundaries!! Come on - lets get to what really needs to be done here....laws of "stepping over boundaries" do not save a child if they are hurt or if they need to go to ball practice and the SM is the only one to take them..."stepping over boundaries" is when it is conveinant to the bio parent that has the insecurities. If I were in that situation and was b****** out from a bio parent for something so silly - then I would tell the bio - "ok, do not call me to help when you are stuck somewhere and can't get to the kids for whatever reason...disengage...that is a complete selfish and hurtful attitude. There is no way that proserpina should back off being a mother figure to these kids.


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RE: Any advice?

To OP

1. What does DH say?

2. Other than the child you are expecting, and scs, do you have any children?

3. What did coach do with shirts for kids whose parents werent there?

4. Where was DH?

5. Why were you talking to coach?


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RE: Any advice?

1. My husband is more of the idea that I do what I do regardless of the children's mother. Together, we are learning that it isn't so constructive. So, as I back off, he is taking a front role when it comes to matters where the children's mother could be involved.

2. Biologically, none.

3. Oops, he gave it to me (there was only one kid missing): because my step-son and this child are involved in another activity I was later in the day going to see them at, he gave it to me to pass on. No issue with that mother, even if we are mere acquaintances.

4. Busy with the children.

5. Couldn't even tell you at this point... maybe league stuff? I really couldn't say.

But KKNY, I got it, I am backing off. If I am given a uniform, I will give it to my husband... but more importantly, I will be sure to avoid those circumstances altogether! :o) Your earlier posts actually really helped me "understand" what was happening and what the best approach to take right now is... Who knows what the future holds.

The rest for now will be decided in court in the next few months... and I will be sure to let you know!

JennyA, thanks for the support. In terms of dynamics, I think we are in the same situation...

And CoolMama, your name says it all in my mind. I have great respect for your posts!!!


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RE: Any advice?

proserpina, I am glad you have come to "peace" with all of this...that is what we are all after! Please do keep us posted, just do not be surprised that even though you have completely taken yourself out of the picture where your SC are concerned (which I just hate to hear), no matter what you "do not do" at this point - it will be brought up by the ex! It may take 2 years, but guaranteed there will be another incident that "you DID NOT pick up a uniform" - which in turn caused HER an inconvience and you are just being spiteful....been there, done that one!! But of course I am sure you already know that....kill them with kindness!! And watch who you talk to next time :)


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RE: Any advice?

Lori Carangelo appears to have a strong background in adoption issues:

http://www.loricarangelo.com/

but the 15% figure was cited from a book written by Marsha Riben, "Shedding Light on the Dark Side of Adoption."

"statistic are why we have so many more murderers, welfare, and divorce! "

And how, exactly, is the existence of statistics responsible for crime??

"I never trust statistics because, much like priests and pedophilia, they are loudly condemned, but few realize that it is actually BIOLOGICAL family members that commit the crime. We can spin a reality however we want to I dont care for statistics; I care for facts and the HOW-TOs to live a better life."

I hope you are not claiming that all those children who have been molested by priests were lying and were actually molested by family members.

Statistics are by definition a summary of numerical FACTS.

Of course people pay attention to statistics when making decisions. Would you ignore the statistics on smoking and lung cancer death (80% - 90% of which are due to smoking), and assume the statistics wouldn't apply to you?

If a teacher tells you that they love having your child in the class, that obviously does not mean that she loves your child. I would feel uncomfortable if a teacher were to say that she did. Love is a far cry from feeling some affection for a child.

You can not compare step sisters and brothers feeling affection for each other to having some stranger claim to love your child.


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RE: Any advice?

"As far as my husband's ex...she has been vendictive from day one - even when my husband married her. He only married her because she was pregnant. Lived in 15 years of hell."

And I suppose he was an unwilling participant in the activity that resulted in his ex-wife becoming pregnant? I am not buying the claim that he stayed married for 15 years, hating every minute of it. Sounds like rewriting history to me.


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RE: Any advice?

My BF was married for 28 years. He said he was miserable. He said the first 5 were OK. Both BF and X traveled a lot. He would have left earlier, but for the kids.


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RE: Any advice?

To me - people blame why their children are the way they are, which in turn makes them the adult they are in the future, on all these disorders that children have (not saying all). Alot of the parents are at fault. You have an unruly child - then that child should be diciplined. No one wants to discipline their children anymore. They allow their children to rule them, to act out, they treat them as a friend vs a parent. Why, I think it is because statistics show that spanking a child is "abuse" and more detrometnal to the child. How is this? Statistics show that being molested as a child, or going through a divorce is what causes children to act out and therefore have trouble as an adult. Do not get me wrong, molestation IS terrible, I went through it as a child at the hands of my uncle and my own father. I cope with this but I also know that I as a responsible parent am stable enough to raise my daughter, educate her and look for the signs that it could be happening to her. I chose to have a child, so therefore I put my past aside and learn from it. If anyone ever hurt her in that way...I will go to jail. The more we label our children, the more crazy drugs they will be put on and most of the people I know on these "drugs" are not functional. We have statistics for everything, divorce, abuse, dysfunctional familes, unruly children, death, high blood pressure, colds, serial killers, adultery, one day veggies and fruit are good for (2 months later they cause cancer), welfare, we could go on, and on...but right in front of the mirrorare most answers. People read these "statistics" and assume what the doctors and the media are saying, is why their child acts up and hits their parents. (Statics, which in turn are MOSTLY excuses). We should all talk to our children, starting at a very young age, but when your child is doing these ungodly things, maybe it is our faults...not society. It is OUR responsibility to correct these mannerisms. I use many ways of diciplining my daughter, time out, restriction, and spankings. I just believe people rely so much on "statistics", because somebody else "said so" and not enough on their parenting.

When a teacher tells me she loves my child...why can't they? Maybe you do not want anyone other than "blood" to love your child, but I am so proud when a teacher, principal, or a stepparent says they "just love my daughter" - what a wonderful feeling to know your child behaves and respects other people enough to be loved by others. There are different levels of love. To me looking at it any different is selfish. You should never deny your child to accept "love" from anyone.

Yes my husband was a willing participant in the "relations" with his ex.(at 19)..and yes he married her for the wrong reasons..that is because he was taught - you screw up - you accept the responsibility. And that he did. He was in the marriage for 15 years because of his kids...why else does anyone stay in a marriage that is miserable? He was in the Army - he traveled ALL the time. He stayed with his ex when she was pregnant with her 2nd child - not his - he was off fighting in a war when she got pregnant....why did he stay? Because his first child was his and he knew she was "crazy" (really just trash) to raise him by herself, hoping he could have a positive influence on them. All this said - it makes me love him even more because he is exactly the kind of man that makes this world go around. Responsible, caring, everyone he loves comes first.


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RE: Any advice?

Almost all major decisions made by industry, government, medicine, education, etc. are based on statistics - whether we are talking about design, development, marketing... If my doctor wants to prescribe a drug to treat some illness and I ask what the success rate and the rate of side effects are, I don't want him or her saying, "Oh, I don't put much stock in statistics - how you react to the drug has nothing to do with how all the other people who have taken it reacted. My gut feeling is that it will cure you, not kill you."

As to staying "for the kids" - if he married her because she was pregnant, and left after 15 years, the older child must have been only 14. Adolescence is hard enough as it is, without having to go through the breakup of your family. The "staying for the kids" excuse is just that - especially if you don't actually stay until the kids are on their own.


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RE: Any advice?

"If a teacher tells you that they love having your child in the class, that obviously does not mean that she loves your child. I would feel uncomfortable if a teacher were to say that she did. Love is a far cry from feeling some affection for a child."
Come on,as women how can you believe this? We are meant to be maternal. I cant tell you how many other people's kids I've become attached to and felt love for.It's that motherly instinct.
For stepmoms who are often with these kids from a young age,it is not uncommon to feel love for them and even though you know they are not yours,start to think of them that way.


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RE: Any advice?

coolmama...exactly!

tos....I guess I did not go into detail about my husband and his ex...she cheated the whole 15 years. When he retired from Army (in Colorado) and moved to Alabama, she was seeing someone. She told my husband the affair was over and wanted to come here and make ago of it...did not want to raise the kids alone. They were here 2 months and the weird phone calls started. He went to Korea and when he came back - SHE told HIM to leave, he walked out with 2 suitcases....two days later she moved in her BF from Colorado. So SHE is the vendictive one, not him. He cared so much for his children that he lived off perdiem and his paycheck went into her account (this lasted for 8 months), totally my husbands fault for being taken for granted...when he stopped the money (keep in mind the BF was living off my husband) - she used him seeing his boys as a weapon. So this is totally NOT his fault. She turned the boys against their father. Now she is paying for her "evil" ways...she no longer has her BF (he finally got smart) and she can not handle the boys on her own....what goes around, comes around!


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RE: Any advice?

tos....for your comment: "As to staying "for the kids" - if he married her because she was pregnant, and left after 15 years, the older child must have been only 14. Adolescence is hard enough as it is, without having to go through the breakup of your family. The "staying for the kids" excuse is just that - especially if you don't actually stay until the kids are on their own." Now that I have explained that the ex IS to blame...any comments? Do you agree? I would like to know if this would be my husbands fault or not.


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RE: Any advice?

Why did he leave his kids when she "told" him to leave? Why didn't he tell her that if she wanted a separation she had to leave, but the kids were staying there? There are almost no circumstances under which it is ok to leave your children, and if your spouse is not a good person, that would be all the more reason not to leave your children.


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RE: Any advice?

so then what your saying is that my husband is still in the wrong? So you would stay in a marriage that no one wanted you to be in? The biggest thing is that my husband had to travel. He was goine 2-3 weeks out of the month. At that time he could not take care of his kids. I would not stay in a marriage if my spouse did not want me in it...


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RE: Any advice?

Why would you take a job that required that much travel if you had kids? First of all, I would not leave my kids, and second, I would not leave my marriage because I married once and forever.


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RE: Any advice?

I am sorry to just jump in here because I have only been reading but let me just say this. Until you walk in someone elses shoes you can not say you should or should not have done this or that. It is easy to judge someone from the sidelines when you are not actually in the middle of it. TOS, I guess I don't know your story and it really isn't any of my business but you seem to be hurt and angry or something. I am sorry for that if that is the case but I am having trouble understanding how you can know exactly what everyone else should do in certain situations or how you know how you would handle something unless you have experienced it. Some things are simply easier said than done. I think you are not seeing that there is more love here on these boards than hate. Sometimes somebody can come along in a persons life and be exactly what that person needed. This is true for children also whether it be because of foster parents, step parents, adoptive parents, big brother/sister programs, pastors, sunday school teachers, etc., I think you get my point. I think we can all think of someone that meant a great deal to them in their life and sometimes it may just be the bio mom and dad. That is wonderfull too. My husband happens to be the best thing that ever happened to my children and myself. I am thankful that his ex couldn't appreciate what she had. Now, I get to spend my life with him and his children. I am very close to my step children and I don't ever try to debilitate their relationship with their bio mom. She does that on her own and we just pick up the pieces. We pray for her every day that she will become better for their sake. I wish that they did have four people in their lives to love them and always look out for their best interest. Again, some kids have just that. Some kids also have two bio parents that aren't worthy of having children. Bottom line ,every situation is different and everybody is different and the only time whats good for one is good for all should apply is among siblings in a family. What may be good for me and my family might not work for yours. Again, sorry for jumping in but I guess that is what this board is for. I am not claiming to be an expert but that is just my opinion.


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RE: Any advice?

blessedmomx9,

jenny_alabama directly asked me for my opinion:

"any comments? Do you agree? I would like to know if this would be my husbands fault or not."

I gave her my opinion. I think it is inappropriate for you to criticize me for giving my opinion when it was specifically requested, just because you don't agree with it.

Are you saying no one has a right to an opinion unless they have been in exactly the same situation, which of course is physically impossible? There wouldn't be much activity on this board if no one expressed their opinions.


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RE: Any advice?

blessedmomx9...thank you for your encouragement...it helps having someone that has similar situations.

tos...maybe it come across as asking for your opinion but really after I stated what exactly happened I was trying to make you understand that HE DID NOT leave the marriage....she made him leave. Do you see the wrong his ex has done or do you just hate men at this point in your life and you are one-sided and not understanding that men have it just as hard? Is there any blame when a woman does something so horrible to her spouse that it does not justify him having some self respect? You ask why did he have to travel? That is called joining the Army to make something better for himself. They got married after he joined. His missions of course REQUIRED him to travel. Then his career in the Army is what his job in the civilian world stemmed from. This was his job so he could support his family. Or he could have been like some men and do nothing to better himself and his family. If this was you and the situation was turned around and YOUR husband did all of the things my husbands ex did - you would stay? Just a run down: SHE...had 8 affairs during the course of 15 years (that my husband knew about), had three abortions...one of which was my husbands and she did this without him even knowing, was caught doing cocaine on a military base, tried to have my husband kicked out of the Army by accusing him of abuse (did not work - was a lie), druged my husbands oldest child while she had a man in the apartment (MIL caught her in the act - called police - the boy was 3), got pregnant by my husbands friend in the Army (my husband had the "honor" of arresting him and getting him dis-honorable discharged), gave my husband "bugs", alienated him from his family, fought my MIL, kicked him out of the house numerous times (one of these times he ended up homeless - wanted to keep providing for his kids so all his money went to her), **last time he lived with her, she kicked him out and brought the BF to live with her, lied that youngest son's bio dad was dead, introduced son to bio dad (behind husbands back), has used his ss # to get credit cards (this is ongoing leagally to have her prosecuted), told her son to "hit", "kick" my then 6 year old daughter, has said no big deal that 15 year old (not my husbands bio son) that he threatened me and my daughter with slitting our throats. (the last couple since they have been divorced). Now, tos, you can actually sit there and say "the marriage is once and forever"??? I am a good christian woman, I believe firmly in God....but God gives us sense to take care of ourselves, which is what he created. People make mistakes in life. My husband IS a wonderful, honest, hard working man...he has NOTHING to be ashamed or feel guilty for. Through all of this, he stayed in a marriage because he did not want to leave his kids. I stress again, HE DID NOT LEAVE. He did not love her...but he loved his children more than himself. Now I ask you...now for your opinion....WOULD this be his fault?


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RE: Any advice?

Do you actually want my opinion, or do you just want me to agree with you?

No one can make you divorce them. With the advent of no-fault divorce, your spouse can divorce you against your will, but they can't make you file for divorce. You may have mentioned it previously, but did he file or did she?

No matter what, and especially if my spouse were abusive, I would not leave my home, if that meant leaving my children behind.

In my opinion, being career military is not compatible with having a family - unless you can guarantee having a job that requires little travel, or only travel where your family can accompany you, and I would imagine that would be hard to accomplish.

In my opinion, it is rarely wise to remarry (and even less wise to cohabitate) when there are children involved, at least until the children are grown. I have become even more convinced of that since I began to read this forum.


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RE: Any advice?

Personally I don't care who files for divorce. If the parents are not happy then the children are not truly happy either. You would not believe how much kids actually know what's going on no matter how well you think you are hiding things.

So, then what? Bide your time until the kids reach a certain age and then allow yourself some happiness. The last time I knew kids are not supposed to be the end of your world . I know my kids want to see me happy as well. They also know I would never do anything to harm them. Basically if getting remarried makes everybody happy then what is it hurting? Let's see....stay in a marriage where everybody is miserable because it is supposedly what is best for the children or get divorced and if somebody wonderful comes along that is a true blessing to you and your children then look the other way until the kids are of age because marrying that wonderful person who has all the potential to help give the children a stable environment, can't possibly be the right thing to do.

Jenny, I also believe in God. I believe He had my current husband picked out for me and my children and me for his children long before I knew. I thank Him everyday for giving us that gift. I would love it if my husbands ex was more like you but He also gave us the ability to get through anything. After all, He is on our side. We know that what we are doing is right for everyone involved and that after all the miserable years with ex's and the hardship it brought to our chldren (I guess I mean more my children I don't know everything about your situation), we now have our reward...truly wonerful men. Jenny, you sound like you are level headed and just want what is best for your children also. I am happy to be able to read everybody's posts and get support when needed and I guess that is the purpose of this board. It sometimes feels so lonely in our struggles. My family is worth it though. I wish people did'nt have to go through some of the things they do but unfortunately we are not in a perfect world, we just have to do our best.

TOS, I have nothing against you. I don't even know you. I don't agree with everything you say. You are entitled to your opinion as much as I am to mine. I have to laugh though at the fact that I looked at when your Birthday is because I thought you were somebody I knew. My husband said the same thing when he read your posts...again, not that you are wrong about your feelings, it just isn't right for me and my family. I would never do anything differently. If I could have had my life now all along then I would have but that was not possible no matter what I did. My kids were absolutely miserable and now they are not. I know I did the right thing.


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RE: Any advice?

"f the parents are not happy then the children are not truly happy either. You would not believe how much kids actually know what's going on no matter how well you think you are hiding things."

I know of too many cases where the children and the spouse were blindsided when the other spouse suddenly left to buy the "kids know what's going on" theory.

"So, then what? Bide your time until the kids reach a certain age and then allow yourself some happiness. "

Are you saying that it is not possible to be happy without a man in your life?


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RE: Any advice?

Without a doubt I am sure that there are spouses out there that have been blindsided but does that mean that EVERY situation is the same? I never said that was the case. I believe I have said that what's good or right for one family may not be for another.

Where in the world did you get out of what I said that I HAVE to have a man in my life? I absolutely don't think that at all. In fact I was determined to not be with a man for a long while. My husband felt the same way about being with another woman after his divorce. I just happened to have a wonderful man walk into my life as well as my childrens lives. He helps to complete our lives as does his children. In fact, my theory after my divorce was that it is better to not be with anybody rather than being with the WRONG somebody.

" No matter what, and especially if my spouse were abusive, I would not leave my home, if that meant leaving my children behind. "

Are you saying that it is better to expose your children to abuse and teach a son it is ok to be abusive to his wife or a daughter to take abuse from her husband? Is this what would be better? Would it make your children happy to watch their mother be abused and unhappy? Would they just love to come home every day to that? How about if they were having an affair? Is it better to get exposed to disease and possibly lose your life from a disease (such as AIDS) and leave your kids behind that way instead of leaving the marriage?

"In my opinion, being career military is not compatible with having a family - unless you can guarantee having a job that requires little travel, or only travel where your family can accompany you, and I would imagine that would be hard to accomplish. "

My husband happens to be career military also. I am very proud of him and it provides our family with not only a stable income (the military isn't going anywhere) but also excellent health benefits. Also, are you saying that every soldier that fights for your freedom doesn't deserve the wonderful blessing of having children or a spouse? They are just good enough to fight for your freedom?

"In my opinion, it is rarely wise to remarry (and even less wise to cohabitate) when there are children involved, at least until the children are grown. I have become even more convinced of that since I began to read this forum"

I realize this is your opinion so in my remarried opinion rarely is not giving enough credit to many remarried people. Why deprive yourself of even more happiness outside of your children (who grow up and go on with their lives) for so many years? I think you would be suprised at how many people on this forum would disagree with you there. This just happens to be a stepfamily forum so if you go to a non-stepfamily forum you will still hear about problems within the family. After all nobody is perfect. People are just coming here for support and advice because there has to be somebody out there who may know how to deal with certain situations better or look at something in a different way from the outside. Just because somebody feels overwhelmed by a situation doesn't mean that they regret their family. Does a parent in a nuclear family regret their family when the going gets tough?

My husband and I have had so many people tell us that they can just tell how happy we are. Actually, we have been just sitting in a waiting area and have had somebody tell us that. Many people have said that we have such a good family. Do I think we are rare? Absolutely not. Do I feel blessed each and every day? Most certainly.


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RE: Any advice?

Truthfully, Blessedmom, I think that your situation IS rare. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that stepfamilies are HARD and ten minutes spent looking at this forum could tell anyone that. I've been married to my husband for six years, with him for longer than that, and it's why most of my advice for people considering becoming stepparents is to "run the other frigging way!"

....and I have a good situation.

I just don't think that the majority of people are cut out to be stepparents--and possibly in this world there are only a handful who DO make good stepparents. The enormous self-sacrifice required really isn't part of human nature. Maybe you're one of them.

.....and FWIW, theotherside isn't the only one who thinks that divorced parents ought not remarry before the children are grown. It actually makes a great deal of sense. How many posts titled "I hate my stepson" or "Ungrateful stepdaughter" does it take to make that point? It doesn't matter where the fault lies that created that situation, the problem is that the situation even exists. Anyone who thinks that divorce and remarriage doesn't put enormous stress on the children is fooling themselves and that reason alone is enough to convince me.

I love my husband. I love my stepkids more than I can tell you, but in their best interest I have had to step back and take a more reserved role in their lives because I totally disagree with some of the choices that their mother and stepfather have made. Not what I wanted to do but when it comes to them, what I want isn't important. I stepped back in the interest of consistency for them.

I'm glad things have worked out so well for your family, but most certainly you are the exception rather than the rule....


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RE: Any advice?

"In my opinion, being career military is not compatible with having a family - unless you can guarantee having a job that requires little travel, or only travel where your family can accompany you, and I would imagine that would be hard to accomplish."

That statement stuns me. Are you serious??????

blessedmomx9 said it very well:

"are you saying that every soldier that fights for your freedom doesn't deserve the wonderful blessing of having children or a spouse? They are just good enough to fight for your freedom?"


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RE: Any advice?

I think any job that requires you to be away from home for more than half the time is not compatible with having a family. It doesn't matter whether or not your job is useful - I would say the same thing about someone who spent that much time away from his family, donating his time to rescue people from natural disasters. It is not about what the adult "deserves;" it is about what the children need.

I am sure there are wonderfully successful relatively stress free stepfamily situations out there - but as Vivian said, that is not common.


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RE: Any advice?

blessedmomx9...you are a very wise person. You said everything exactly the way it should be said. You are truly blessed...as well as I. I do feel all stepfamiles could get along as a family...but there is always that one that will stand in your way (if you let them).

tos...I am not trying to win your approval, I was just trying to open your eyes to the real world. No, wait, I guess in a way I was wanting you to admit that there are people out there that are mistreated and that do deserve a second chance. I do not know what has happened to you in your life...I have seen nothing where you have told your story. Obviously you are on this forum to judge the rest of us. You have not one time, that I have read, encouraged anyone, said a kind word to anyone...just "flat toned" judgements. You seem to see nothing good in anyone. You know your whole life my turn completely around one day and you may run into a person who you know in your heart is the one to spend the rest of your life with. If you do not, then I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry for your children who may one day wish that their mom was as happy as some of us on this forum are. My mom made my sister and I her whole life. She was divorced from my dad when I was 4. She had a couple of opportunities to re-marry to a wonderful man. But she was too worried of how her children would react. Now, I am 41, my sister is 46, and my mother is 67. I speak with her often of why she just did not pack us up and have the life she so deserved. She now regrets never making that choice. We would have loved a father in our lives. She still has us daughters...but not all the time. We have our families. She lives alone. She is very lonely. This breaks my heart to know that she raised us and made us her "only" - but you know what - we grew up and left. She has no one to share the grandchildren. She goes home alone on holidays while we are with our families. She has no one to hold her hand while someone notifies her that someone close has passed away. She calls us 6-10 times a day just to hear someone on the other end. Kids adjust - better than most adults. They definitely will adjust better with a stepfather/mother in a loving home, rather than a home with bio parents who are hit, yelled at, commiting adultery. You CAN NOT hide this from children no matter what you say. So I agree with blessedmomx9. Especially with the military comments. TOS...you have the right to speak your mind and to judge other people...only because men like my husband gave that to you. And men like that give and will give life to children who will continue with the same values that you should love everyone, even strangers...because that is what our dads and husbands in war do. Also - my husband filed for divorce. Not going to stay married to a woman that has a live in boyfriend! I am not asking you to agree, because I know I am right, you are not. I would like to know your situation....or are you just here to vent your anger with stepparents? IF you do not have stepchildren, or you are not a stepchild, then I for one do not think you belong here. This is for encouragement and you just seem to make people angry and resentful. I feel like you are an ex-wife who is hurting by the hands of an ex (I hope not) - and maybe your ex has remarried or getting remarried. Something is not right. If any of this is similar to you, then I hope you have a change of heart and give life a chance. The more a parent makes a child their life and does not have one of their own, the more the children will resent you for not having done so. I know for a fact it makes a parent more controlling and "nosy" if you choose no life. Although I try not to, I have to tell my mom to mind her own buisness sometime. It can drive your children away.


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RE: Any advice?

I suspect that pretty much everyone has on occasion wanted to tell his or her mother to mind her own business.

"I do feel all stepfamiles could get along as a family"

That statement is a bit overly optimistic.

I have a life. One does not need a husband/wife in order to "have a life." When I am your mother's age, I expect that I will still be working full-time; if I were to call each of my children 6-10 times a day, I wouldn't have time to eat or sleep.


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RE: Any advice?

Jenny, I think our situations are pretty similar. I know that God gave us the ability to love others has He loves us. I feel bad for people who seem bitter and can't see past hurt and anger and realize how letting go and forgiving can make life so much more fulfilling. I can't say I have perfected this but I do work hard at it in order to be more pleasing to God and ask for forgiveness for all of my shortcomings. I know there are alot of situations told here that need prayer.

I don't know about all of your situation but I think part of the reason why I can love my stepchildren as my own is because I have been raised to love others not only in being brought up in a Christian home but my parents have been foster parents since I was five. I have been a daycare provider for the last 14 years. God prepared me years ago to be a stepmom. He knew His plan for me and then revealed it to me when I was ready.

I still believe that some of the people posting on this board are not regretting their family situation as much as it may seem. When we come here to post alot of times it is to vent because a bad situation arises (again something that happens even in a nuclear family). I know when my husbands ex put us through some pretty trying times a couple of years ago I wouldn't have been posting in the "right" frame of mind. We do have a wonderful loving family but I can't say that it is always perfect. No family ever is. I do think that as others have said as well that there can be one or two people who make certain situations even harder whether it be the child,ex,grandparents.....) but that doesn't mean that when all is said and done and the bad is behind you that things don't look alot better. I guess my point is that I have been so upset by things that my husbands ex has put us through that I couldn't even think straight but God got us through it and we are stronger now because of it. We didn't get two see two of my step children for over a year because she poisoned them. Now that they are back they would rather be here all the time if they could. We didn't have to say or do anything other than let them know that we still loved them and they are always welcomed with us. (it is a long story) Obviously things haven't always been perfect and I don't want people to think we are without problems but we got through them and it didn't change any feelings between any of us. It made us closer. Maybe that is rare too? I know that no matter what we all had to go through that it would have been alot harder to not have our family together at all. I believe that when it comes down to it life is so short and why not fill life with as much love as you can? My stepchildren are worthy of my love now....not when they are adults and it would be more convenient for the adults to be together when the childen are grown. I care about making my childrens (all of them) lives easier not worrying about what is easiest for me. Parenting is never easy whether they are step or bio children. I find it is the adults that makes things so hard. The children are the innocent ones caught in the middle between the adults and confused by the adults where their loyalties should lie.

TOS, all I can do for you is pray. You seem to be bitter and I guess in a round about way I was wondering your motivations here as well. People do come here for support and I don't think you are a step parent or have the capabilities of extending your love that far at this time in your life. I am sorry if that is a quick assumption but as another poster said we don't know anything about you. It is none of our business and you are entitled to you privacy but why then do you have to put everyone down? Nobody comes here to have to defend themselves...that is what court is for. Please don't take it that I wish you were not here but again I am just confused also by your motives. I will remember you in my prayers though.


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RE: Any advice?

Sometimes the best form of "support" is a good swift kick in the behind. I refuse to mollycoddle people who are behaving badly--and there's a lot of it to be seen in this forum. There's a lot of selfishness and a lot of territorialism--things that just aren't conducive to making a stepfamily work.

I suspect that TOS feels much the same way as I do.

"People do come here for support and I don't think you are a step parent or have the capabilities of extending your love that far at this time in your life."

WOW, what an assumption....! Speaking of them. Just because someone doesn't share your opinion they lack the ability to love? I'm amused, and a bit horrified. This is a public forum and everyone is entitled to their opinion should they choose to voice it. Whether you agree or not, it's a heck of a leap to assume that someone is short in the affection department. Choosing NOT to be a stepparent is certainly not something that deserves criticism. Much of the time it IS the right choice.

If that were the case, then just because I didn't squeeze out my kids I know nothing about parenting and I'm not entitled to a voice. Horse hockey.

We don't all have to be nice all of the time. We have to obey the forum rules, but being nice is optional. I don't think that there's anyone who is a regular here who goes out of their way to be mean, but what I think you're seeing as "non-supportive" is strictly just a difference of opinion.

Don't think that I didn't notice that you completely ignored my post.... Again, amusing.


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RE: Any advice?

Vivian, I apologize for hitting a raw nerve with you because I don't know you and really wasn't trying to say anything directly to you and I most certainly wasn't trying to ignore your post. I didn't know I had to reply. I am sorry if you wanted to converse and I failed to do so.

I think you are misunderstanding me. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. We were all born with the ability to think for ourselves. I don't even consider that what I say is right for someone else but it is right for me and I have said that in my posts. I am not even here to argue with anyone. If you knew me you would know that is definately not in my nature. In fact my husband is amazed if I get a "bad feeling" about anyone because I usually get along with everyone. I love people and love being social. I definately don't want to come across as being harsh and judgemental because that is not my job but Gods. The only thing I was wondering about TOS is why is she so hard on everyone? I feel bad for her because it is obvious something is going on with her or has happened to her to make her seem bitter. When I mentioned it didn't seem that she is a step parent well, that is because she seems against the notion of step families. As for me saying that she doesn't seem able to extend her love that far in her life didn't mean I think she is a hateful, unloving person but she isn't open to the idea of having a blended family. She has pretty much said that herself. I never said she is less of a person for that and it is her choice. Her family is better off not in that situation if she knows it wouldn't work for her. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody isn't cut out for it. So therefore I don't think anything less of people who choose not to be a step parent...again, the kids involved are much better off if that person makes that choice and knows their limitations. But for those of us who have chose to have a step family it doesn't mean that we are "out of our minds" and so when the going gets tough why can't we ask for constructive advice and gain support from other step parents ? That is what I thought this board is for. That is the original title of this very thread. Not tell me how dumb I am for being a step parent. Why am I not allowed to wonder what drew her to this board if she doesn't believe in what everyone here is doing? I said that doesn't mean she shouldn't be here but it seems discouraging when somebody is just picking apart what is wrong with a situation and being so critical instead of helping to figure out how to make things better. As I said I will pray for her and have. Did it offend me a little that she basically said my husband shouldn't have a family because he is military...she later said that anybody who travels away from family.....yes it did. He and many other soldiers are the reason everyone can come here and express their opinions...they fight for our freedom. He is a wonderful loving husband and dad. We have what we have because of the many men and women like him and it seems unappreciated when someone says that people like him (or anyone else that is away from home for any extended period of time)shouldn't necessarily have a family.

I never said everyone had to be nice all the time. Nobody is perfect but I do think people feel better about themselves when they are nice and helpful.

I think the more people here to support each other the better. I certainly don't think I am in a position to tell somebody they shouldn't be here...I wouldn't even want that position because I would keep everyone....I just don't think that when we have a problem and ask for help that we whould have to defend ourselves(I know that is our choice whether we defend ourselves or not) but to find the support that is being sought. My opinion...not saying you have to agree. I know I have pretty much said the same thing over a few times here but I am not being understood and apparently unintentionally offensive...wow that is not me at all. I think the problem is we can't type and use tone because mine would be soft spoken.

Is everyone ok then?

God Bless


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RE: Any advice?

blessedmomx9, you just say everthing exactly the way I want to say it, although you have a much better tone!....although I still believe that if the statements from someone are always negative, and there is no "help" from some of the people on this forum, it is evident that they are not going through what 97% of us are going through. If we had this same "stepfamiles" conversations in person, once a month..."coping with blended families, hard to deal with stepchildren/stepparents".....with a professional....I am pretty sure someone who is not involved in this situation, would not be allowed in the meeting. Same as an alchoholic...if you go to meetings, someone who is an "AA" basher would not be allowed to come in and demean an alchoholic, they are there to get help and encouragement. I am not sure if everyone on here is blended family related, but they should be. Not a bio-mom or father that is angry at a former spouse or former relative. Yes I was justifying my husbands divorce and re-marrying me...and I should not have...I know what I have and I am proud of it. My husband tried his best at his failed marriage, and I guess I am grateful to his ex...because it all worked out wonderful! I know the kind of person I am and the person he is, and we both deserve to be together.


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RE: Any advice?

Jenny, I do agree with you and as I said it seems our situations are so similar....except I may have a few more kids than you.

You shouldn't have to apologize either for justifying your husbands divorce. We protect and honor the ones we love and so it is natural to want to defend them...or so I think. Some people might think we are just getting defensive but we know the actual circumstances that were surrounding our situations. We didn't "steal" our husbands from anyone the ex's chose someone (or several somone's) else. Who would want to be second when you should always be first? Anyway, you sound like you have a wonderful marriage that also includes God. I think He is the key. I am sure your husband is just as nice as you seem to be. My husband and I know it was God that brought us together and we wouldn't dream of messing up His plans. I am just thankful He gave me the family He did. I love all my kids the same and we do work very hard to treat everyone equal. My 18 year old bio daughter and 12 year old step dauhter are very much alike and my husband and I are bracing ourselves for the next couple of years. The 18 year old is starting to come out of her bad behaviors and the 12 year old is just starting. You know sometimes I wonder if the difference on how people handle bio/step children is that we tolerate more from our bio children. Just a thought. I know it complicates things when you throw a bitter or insecure bio parent in the mix but the kids just get caught in the middle and it's not their fault. It is hard sometimes to see in some situations which is the adult and which is the child. If only it were a perfect world though.

By the way, we may not have stole our husbands but I think we did steal this thread....sorry prosperina.

Well, it is quiet time here...sssshhhhhhh....I have to be careful of my tone here....don't want to wake them.

God Bless


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RE: Any advice?

"You know sometimes I wonder if the difference on how people handle bio/step children is that we tolerate more from our bio children."

I think you are absolutely right about that.

I think it would be helpful for any adult, with or without kids, who was even considering marrying and entering an blended family situation, to spend some time on this forum or others like it.


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RE: Any advice?

I think it is not only that people treat bio kids differently than step kids (and I think that is only human), but also that at least one parent (sometimes both) have major pluses with divorce (or at least some pluses), but there is really no advantage to child. In some cases, big minus.

Parent might be happy with new spouse -- friend. child frequently has loss to bear.

yes, I think that forum points out a lot of issues that a future SM would be well to consider.


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RE: Any advice?

blessedmom9x....thanks so much for your kindness. I believe our situations are very similar except for the closeness of the stepchildren. I hope one day I will have this, right now it is just not possible. My husband is very close to my daughter, right now that is all we have.


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