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Hi all! I've been searching the net for a place to connect with other step moms and finally found a board that seems reasonable.
My fiance and I are getting married this summer. He has two boys from his first marriage and I have one son. We've had a few rough patches concerning kids and exes, but always manage to work through them. The biggest issue is that the boys' BM and I have huge differences on childrearing and DF has a hard time deciding what is best for the kids. Her version of "discipline" is to pay the kids for being good. I guess when you get $2500 a month in child support and alimony you can do that. The kids are very picky eaters and so she basically gives them snack food for meals (yogurt, crackers, cookies, chips).
The oldest has ADHD and doing the Feingold diet to prevent outbursts. While the diet is supposed to encourage healthy, natural eating all she does is feed them McDonald's and snack food without the food coloring and certain preservatives. She often tells us that even though such-and-such has TBHQ in it (something he's not supposed to have) he's never had a reaction to it so it's ok, but if we give him something that she doesn't approve of with TBHQ then we are responsible for his supposed outbursts he is having at home. The only time DF and I ever see any outbursts from him are in the morning when he's gone without his meds for too long.
She continues to come after him for more money for "medical expenses" even though she is living in a $200,000+ home and getting $2500 in alimony and child support. It's very frustrating for both of us. We want the kids to be taken care of but also don't want to be taken advantage of. She often uses DF as a babysitter even though he already gets them 2-3 nights every week. (Not every OTHER week--every week.)
So there's part of my story! Lol, didn't realize it was gonna be that long but this has been going on for months and I just needed to get it out there. Any helpful tips would be great.
The first thing I would recommend is to take a giant mental step backward from how the kids' bm parents. I know that it's frustrating, but you really can't control how she parents during her time if the kids aren't in any immediate danger. It's part of the deal when people co-parent in separate houses. It would be nice if everyone was on the same page and kept things consistent, but the reality is that that rarely happens. I would focus on keeping things consistent and enforcing the things that are important to your dh and you at your house and find a good outlet for venting your frustrations about the poor diet choices at her house.
I'm assuming that there is a court order in place detailing the support payments. Personally, I'm a big believer in not paying anything outside of the order. The support numbers are based on income levels as well as what should be required to care for the children in question. It's not up to your df to send extra if she chooses to spend it poorly. I'm not sure what your CO says about medical expenses. Ours says that dh is responsible for 50% of uncovered, necessary and agreed upon expenses (like co-pays, for example). We don't pay anything without an original receipt on the advice of several attorneys. If she doesn't provide one, we don't reimburse her for it. Granted, in our situation, she's been habitually dishonest and shady about the medical receipts from day one and has been deceitful in the interest of self-benefit in several other areas, so we don't trust her as far as we could throw her. If she does provide us with a receipt, we file it and include our 50% on her next support check.
If you don't have a CO in place and the support amounts are just random numbers they decided on, I would seek to have something put on paper. I don't know your financial situation and it may not end up being much different, but having something on paper offers every benefit in all aspects of coparenting life.
Does your CO include the right of first refusal, which means that both parents must ask the other parent first if they're going to need a babysitter for more than a certain number of ours. If it does, she may be asking your df first in the interest of following that guideline. If it bothers your df to have them when it isn't his time, he's welcome to say no.
Hi! I agree with a lot of what Kayla says I know that DSDs BM parents very different from me and my DH. It's hard, but it isn't anything we can change. As far as food, again, not something you can change. DSD gets a lot of take out/fast food at BMs, so we try to feed her as healthy as possible. If she complains about what you do, try to let it roll off. I know it can be difficult