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Just to clear the air


Forum: Blended Families

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  • 3 Post By Ember Rose
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  #1  
February 12th, 2013, 08:34 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 28
Perhaps I have not fully explained my situation. I have certainly been surprised by the tone I have been met with. I am probably to blame for this myself to some degree. I just thought this was a blended family board but it seems like it's a stepmother support board.

The thing is, I myself have been on both sides of this equation. Neither is easy and they have their own challenges. And given which side one might be on, you view things differently.

Before I had my son I was an engaged stepmom to be. For all intents and purposes I was stepmom, kids called me as such. And that was very difficult. I got into conflicts with birth moms, ex pulled me into the middle, and ex and I both pulled kids into the middle at times. It is that experience, and seeing the way my ex parented and things that happened are what now color my opinion toward my ex. Along with a healthy dose of outrage I will freely admit to for everything he did, and continues to do. The fact is I did a lot of things wrong as a stepmom. But I truly do understand the emotions.

My main issues with him are his continuing to smoke, especially in the car with all the kids, his lack of communication with me, his lack of supporting our child, the ways he talks to me in front of our son, attitude toward women in general. He just is not in this for the kid or to coparent. He is in it to punish me for leaving.

It also really irks me that I made countless settlement offers with a more generous split of time, and out of spite he turned them down, and combined we spent nearly $70k on a pointless legal battle. That is easily college fund money for our kid. From Day 1 I told him WE should work it out. HE filed on me, and since he filed for ALL the marbles (not even shared parenting) HE burned HIMSELF on child support and stuff, but it's always my fault. And I'm sure whoever he dredges up who is willing to be stepmommy to three kids 13, 8, and 2, from three different moms (not to be down on that, I'm sure there are wonderful women who do that but knowing where my ex looks, it won't be pretty most likely) will think we are all insufferable female dogs who are not fit mothers and put an unbearable financial strain on him (something of a common sentiment here- and I'm sure there are HORRIBLE BMs just as there are horrible BDs).

As far as safety and court goes, I have had to get more zen about it. I knew I would look irrational demanding supervised visits, like he did, especially since violence against me did not equate to violence against his children. I know his environment probably is not the safest, or best, but legally I just did not have extreme enough standing to prevent visits. So I deal with it. I found once I let go of the constant fear, things went much more smoothly. If I assumed the best, as long as no evidence told me contrary.... it's a good thing for R. He enjoys seeing his sister and brother, and I'm sure they delight in him. When I see stepparents stressing about it, I get it. But the only way to find peace (absent obvious abuse, danger, etc) is to let some of the anger and worry go.

That was one of my mistakes as stepmom. Purposefully or not I drew the kids into the middle by asking about living conditions, etc. They knew where things stood and despite it all loved their BMs so they felt torn, knowing WHY we were asking and not wanting their moms in trouble. Again if there is obvious danger.... ok. But asking is hard on them even then.

I favor adoption not just on a "fairness" level, but because R and to a lesser extent I are just property to my ex. He does not spend his time with R, with R. He drops him at his mom's or sister's. He takes him just to take him and does not pay his CS. R is a tool to him to hurt me. Whenever it gets hard with R, my ex is always out as fast as he can go and rarely helps with the tab. Chicken pox, vomiting flu, brief but scary weight loss.... poof, my ex disappears. He willfully ignores his schedule and will call me a ***** while holding our son, and will not even help with vaccines or hearing screenings.

Despite all that. I think my son should know his dad and spend time with him. Otherwise he becomes forbidden fruit, or my son is hurting thinking his bio dad didn't want to be part of his life, and I don't want that. Kids can see on their own and I am sure in time mine will. But he does not deserve the dad title if he isn't going to be one, if he is content to let another man do everything for HIS bio son and swoop in to take him for fun overnights where my son doesn't sleep. If he doesn't want the responsibility, he shouldn't have it. Even if he consented to adoption, I would still let R see my ex.

If there are any more questions, feel free to ask. Privately I am happy to share my order as proof of what I am saying. Our magistrate clearly lined out how my ex is.
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  #2  
February 13th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,684
It's kind of ludicrous to walk into a new place and assume that your way is right and your way is wrong and that people have been languishing without you.

Based on what you wrote, it still seems to come back who pays or does what being what matters which might be true for you but judges don't really care about that. This is a blended family board (there are plenty of bio moms here who deal with stepmoms or stepadads) and we're also a group of ladies where most of us have been in and out of court over these kids.

You seemed to come here ready to "advise" the lot of us (in fact you seemed to come in here with the sense that we NEEDED your insight) and not be very open to insight on your own situation. Which is fine because it's up to everyone to live their own life in their own way. But don't be surprised if that's not met in a positive way. Give AND take is important in any interaction and that just doesn't seem like what you came here to do.
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  #3  
February 13th, 2013, 08:52 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 28
I would respectfully disagree. People ask for opinions. I give mine and explain my thinking when questioned.
Yes. Parenting is who does what. Kids need parents who will provide for them and be there no matter what. Parenting is about sacrificing your convenience for your kids. Being a fun time parent who does diddly squat for a kidexcept the dubious benefi t of spending time with them IF it fits into their schedule does not make you a true parent.

As for give and take.... sure. But heed your own words, because my opinion was attacked for being different than yours....
I don't feel like anyone needs my advice. Not sure where you got that.
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  #4  
February 13th, 2013, 09:26 AM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near the land of cream cheese
Posts: 5,360
I don't think I could say it better than Ember.

You will not find very much sympathy here if your intent is to go on a crusade against your ex, who is actively using his time regardless of what you believe his motives to be, with the goal of forcibly removing his rights to his child because you've decided that you want to play house with your new man. If he's great with your child and is willing to support your family, I think that's fantastic. I agree that it's hugely disappointing that your child's bio-dad doesn't pay support. However, it is your child's right to form opinions of and relationships with people in his life. It is not yours to make those choices for him. Period.

Regardless of your personal feelings, family judges are REALLY hesitant to delve into the world of interpreting motives. While I understand YOU think that he doesn't really care about his son and only cares about you, what the court sees is that he is actively spending time with his child, and the fact that child support and visitation/custody are handled by entirely separate institutions has already been explained at length in the other thread. You're welcome to try, but you will not be able to force an adoption based on what you believe his motives to be. The court deemed that your ex was safe enough to obtain standard, unsupervised visitation, regardless of what the magistrate knows about "how your ex is". Is it fair? Maybe not, but it's the reality of the family court system. Is the "title" of 'Dad' more important to your husband than the relationship he has with your child? Is the title worth all of the drama you would put your entire family through to "win" in this way?

If you would still "allow" your ex to see his child if you were granted an involuntary adoption, I'm not sure that I'm understanding why the adoption is so important to you. It sounds like absolutely nothing would change in practice and day to day life. It sounds like your son would live with your and your husband primarily, who cover the vast majority of the financial responsibility for your son, and your ex would visit his child. For that reason, it feels, to me, like this is a lot more about spite or control than anything else.

I will also admit that I have huge feelings about your claims that every interaction he has with his child is about you. My dh's ex runs similar talk about him, and it couldn't be further from the truth. In her twisted little mind, she has decided that everything my husband does or does not do (even if it has nothing to do with her) is about her, is an attempt to control her, is an attempt to "punish" her, etc. I can assure you that we have a happy, loving marriage and we are deeply enjoying our lives together. We love when my stepchildren are with us. We have had to draw boundaries with their mother, mainly in terms of what kind of communication is appropriate, and there have been a couple of arguments over time, but our goal has always been to minimize the opportunity for her to show off her crazy and start drama. We don't think or talk about her unless it's a drop off/pick up day or we receive/have to send an email from/to her. But in her mind, it's all about her, and I'm having a REALLY hard time not projecting that onto you with the constant, "My ex doesn't care about the kid that he spends time with on a regular basis. He's just trying to spite me."

"Outrage" is a pretty strong word. I would suggest working through some of your own emotions towards your ex, and perhaps revisiting your own posts to see where you may be guilty of projecting onto the women on this board.

I'm very bothered by this...

Quote:
I'm sure whoever he dredges up who is willing to be stepmommy to three kids 13, 8, and 2, from three different moms (not to be down on that, I'm sure there are wonderful women who do that but knowing where my ex looks, it won't be pretty most likely) will think we are all insufferable female dogs who are not fit mothers and put an unbearable financial strain on him (something of a common sentiment here...
1. I am a stepmother to 5 children, one with special behavioral needs. They have the same mother, but going by this statement you seem to have a lousy general opinion of women who choose to be stepmothers to more than one child (the backpedaling you added after the fact wasn't very convincing). I'm certainly not perfect, but it was not a decision that I made lightly and my husband and his family believe that I'm doing a pretty wonderful job. Is it a lot? Of course it is. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

2. I do think my husband's ex is a miserable *****. I have formed that opinion based on my own interactions with her, and the horrible, petty attitude and unwillingness to put her children's emotional health above her own bitter vendetta against my husband. I made every attempt to be on good terms with her when I started dating my now-husband (as did he). I don't believe that I step on any toes, and I was sensitive to the fact that she was having a difficult time with the concept of my meeting the kids. She played along for a short while, and then decided she wanted no part of being cordial once she realized I wasn't going anywhere. My understanding and patience has long since run out, and she very much needs to be move on with her life.

3. I'm not sure what you mean by, "something of a common sentiment here". Are you suggesting that our husbands don't pay support, or that we don't want them to? If so, I'm not sure which board you've been scouring because that is certainly not an opinion that has been expressed here. Some of our members are custodial stepmothers and the biomothers of their stepchildren are the ones who should be paying support (and don't). I have expressed frustration about the fact that my stepchildren's mother works off of the books and has lied about her income during child support calculations in the past... but that's because it's blatant fraud, not because my husband pays child support. I have also complained about the fact that my stepchildren regularly go without while their mother buys herself new iPhones, computers and TVs. I don't recall anyone on this board ever complaining about the fact that support exists.

Other than that, I'm not sure what else to say to this. We have stepmothers, biomothers and some women who are both. Some of us are custodial, some of us are non-custodial, some of us are long distance. All of our families look different. The fact that your words have been met with the tone that you have has nothing to do with the fact that you are not a stepmother and everything to do with the fact that most of your posts come off as incredibly judgmental and self-righteous. We don't always agree with one another on this board, but we also haven't walked in each others' shoes and what works for one family may not work for another (and that's okay). A little humility would go a long way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJRPete View Post
I would respectfully disagree. People ask for opinions. I give mine and explain my thinking when questioned.
Yes. Parenting is who does what. Kids need parents who will provide for them and be there no matter what. Parenting is about sacrificing your convenience for your kids. Being a fun time parent who does diddly squat for a kidexcept the dubious benefi t of spending time with them IF it fits into their schedule does not make you a true parent.
But I still don't understand why what's on a piece of paper is so crucially important to you. If your ex is truly a deadbeat, your son will see that for himself as he gets older, and will know who supports him and loves him all the time. I don't understand the extreme importance of money and titles in your mind.

Quote:
As for give and take.... sure. But heed your own words, because my opinion was attacked for being different than yours....
I don't feel like anyone needs my advice. Not sure where you got that.
As someone who has posted on this board with Ember for a very long time, I couldn't disagree more that she "attacked" your opinion because it was different than hers. I have seen her express disagreement respectfully in MANY situations.

You're getting a strong response because you waltzed onto the board, insinuated that you know better than all of us and are completely unresponsive to any constructive insight onto your own situation.
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  #5  
February 13th, 2013, 08:03 PM
K.A.T's Avatar Enjoying her Sticky Bun
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 13,499
Hey Kayla, bend over girl I'm jumping on your bandwagon again.

I really don't have much to add since Kayla put it so well. I for one am a biomom and a stepmom. I've been at this game for 10 years and seen a lot in that time frame. I've gone from being the visiting stepmom to the custodial stepmom. We've been to court more than once over the years. I've also worked at a law firm dealing with family law for a few years until just last year. So I've seen tons of other family dynamics as well.

As I said in another thread, it sounds like your reading more into what is being said. Tone can really be misunderstood online. Maybe there is something I'm missing since I've been really busy lately. Anyways, this group is very different from you'll come across throughout JM. Here thick skin is needed along with the compassion, tact, and respect for each of our individual situations.
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  #6  
February 15th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 21,659
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJRPete View Post
I just thought this was a blended family board but it seems like it's a stepmother support board.
to this. no it's not. I am not a step- mom and never will be, but I'm still here and still give and take alot of support from these ladies.
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