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  #1  
April 23rd, 2014, 10:22 AM
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Hi there. I am new here and have some questions. I have 2 girls (7 and 2)-divorced and raising them for the most part on my own. (2 year old i adopted by me and 7 year old bio dad lives far but visits 4 x's per year). My partner has 2 (ages 7 and 10), their mom lives nearby and they share custody of the kids. There is no custody agreement per see, and I find it was tending to get a little sloppy, so I layed out some boundaries once he moved in our home, so as not to affect the structure of the house and my girls, but also respecting his visitation and parenting.
My main question right now is : They alternate weekends and then we have his 2 wed and thursday nights. He is at work on Wed and thursday nights, so I have his kids and he just sees them in am when hes back from work. Is it fair that I am watching his kids when it is his parenting time and not their mother?
Secondly, like I mentionned they were pretty sloppy with visits (they are close and probably have bad boundaries, but they call each other for help and back up and get along pretty well like that)-with that said, she has to work early in the am at times and when she does she drops them at our house prior to school, so #1 he can have extra time but #2 so they avoid paying the pre scchool day care cost. This is on her parenting time and I find it to be be very disruptive. Getting 2 kids ready in morning and us both having to get to work and then at 630 am she drops them off is a little chaotic. I have noticed it has been affecting my 7 year old and I am feeling stressed about it, as morning is an important time to set the tone of your day. i want to be fair with him and his kids but I also want to protect my kids needs.
thoughts on this?
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  #2  
April 23rd, 2014, 11:04 AM
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Honestly? I think it's great that they can work together like that. I definitely understand how it can affect your schedule, I'm a huge planner/ogranizer/scheduler, too. However, if it works for your SO and his ex and their kids, I would tend to say more of the burden is on you to adapt.

Now, that said, if YOU are the one bearing the brunt of the child raising with HIS kiddos, and you are not okay with this, that is a different story. Like, if you don't like keeping them on Wed/Thur nights while he is at work, talk to him about it. Let him know how you are feeling. I don't see it as a problem for you to have them, if you are okay with it, but if you aren't, then I also don't think he should expect it.

If the biggest issue with mornings is just the extra bodies and chaos in the house, but he isn't necessarily expecting YOU to be in charge of getting the kids ready/out the door, then that's where I think you need to adapt your expectations to meet him. If he is expecting you to pick up the slack, again, that's something worth discussing. Maybe he can do the parenting and getting his kids ready.

That said, DH and I have always viewed our kids as OUR kids, so my take on all this may be a little different. Yes, he and I did things differently and had different schedules, so we had to find a middle ground that worked for the whole family. But we don't view our kids as his/mine. They are ours. If DSD needs to go home from school early and I'm available, I pick her up, even if it's her mom's week. I have the most flexible schedule, so I can do that. But I have a late meeting one day and can't get DS from school, DH will drive up and pick him up for me.

That said, just because that works for me and my family, doesn't mean it will be best for yours. You guys both have older kids in the mix who are more used to the way things were. Maybe it's time to sit down and have a long discussion with your SO, or even a family meeting with everyone. See what the big issues are, what you can change, where you can meet in the middle.
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  #3  
April 23rd, 2014, 11:22 AM
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I'm with Amy. I think it's great that they can work together so well. Read threads on here & you will see that is very, very rare. A lot of custody agreements actually state that the other parents gets the right to have the children before a daycare provider is hired.

I'm sorry it puts stress on you and that it's affecting your child. I think you need to sit down with SO and figure out how to structure the morning so that he is more involved and the stress is minimized.
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  #4  
April 23rd, 2014, 11:28 AM
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well I needed to hear that refreshing view. I feel so negative and resentful sometimes and I have to look at both sides. i get that he wants every moment he can have with his kiddos and I see the point of view that yes it is good that they can work together like that. But I also see that he enables her and I told him if he wants to do that, its fine, but I will not enable her. They asked me to watch his kids one night because it was her night and she had a date!!
I have been teetering between the language and practice of "our kids" as well. We just moved in in September so this is all new.
I dont have a really flexible schedule and I have been a single mom with 2 on my own for a long time, so 2 additional children on a night that their mom could actually have them, is really hard for me to swallow if he is not there(especially bed time routine-his kids did not have much structure esp around bed time and it has been quite the struggle). When he is there though he is totally hands on.

I agree about them working together but its almost like they are still together. call each other for everything. talk at least 5 to 10 times a day and while I am sure nothing is going on bewteen them, their lack of boundaries stinks!
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  #5  
April 23rd, 2014, 12:41 PM
AtomicMama's Avatar CopperBoom!
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Quote:
I agree about them working together but its almost like they are still together. call each other for everything. talk at least 5 to 10 times a day and while I am sure nothing is going on bewteen them, their lack of boundaries stinks!


To me, THIS is the big issue, and I think it may be making the whole situation more difficult for you to adjust to. I would talk to him about this, about boundaries with his ex and how it affects the relationship between he and you. Even see a couples counselor if you need it. It's a big deal though. While communication between parents is great, if you're feeling that it's crossing a line, that may be the big issue that needs to be worked through.
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  #6  
April 23rd, 2014, 01:32 PM
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I agree with what others have said. I think the communication thing would bother me too. Actually I KNOW it would lol.

I would try not to think of it as "watching the kids for her while she's on a date," and try to think of it more as, "Extra time for them to get to see you and their dad." It may stink that she tries to use you guys as a free babysitter, and there might be some instances where you have to say, "Sorry we have plans." But I think it's awesome that she is willing to give you guys extra time when she has something to do.


Back when we shared joint of my 9 year old SS with his mom, she would go out all the time and just drop him off at her parents house. Or if DH had to go out of town for 2 days, instead of letting him stay with me like we both wanted him to, she would refuse, and then drop him off with her parents again, just so that I wasn't getting time with him while DH was out of town. It was petty and childish.


You guys are definitely on the right track to what can potentially be a very well blended family. I find that when I was willing to take a step back and give a little with my DH, he was willing to see things from my POV, too.
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  #7  
April 23rd, 2014, 02:48 PM
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I'm mobile but for now I'll just say that everyone else is spot on.
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  #8  
April 24th, 2014, 07:47 AM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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Okay, I have a couple of minutes and a real keyboard so I'll try to add something a little more substantial.

It sounds, to me, that you feel kind of like you're being left with all/most of the responsibility for the children with limited input when it comes to the structure, schedule, etc. (or lack thereof). That's very valid, and I absolutely think it's normal to feel some resentment given the situation. I think it's great that you can voice those feelings and be willing to process them instead of bottling them up and potentially taking them out on the kids.

If this were us, I would do a couple of things:

1. Get something on paper. A parenting plan, a visitation schedule, whatever it's called in your state. It doesn't need to be a big court battle - if they're happy with this alternating weekends and a couple weeknights set up, they can just go put that on paper. The reason being that, while things may work right now, if something changes neither of them has any recourse or standard to work with, and that can get ugly and messy. It sounds like their co-parenting relationship is very civil (and like pp have said, that's a good thing), but even the friendliest of coparents will clash occasionally and it's helpful to have a place to work from. It doesn't mean they can't be flexible, but it protects both of their interests. I know that's out of your control, but it might be worth mentioning to him. It would also offer the predictability and stability that you (and all of the children) are craving.

2. Talk about boundaries with the ex. This is something that will look different for everyone so I'm hesitant to give specifics (our boundaries are pretty strict but my dh's ex is also a delusional, pathological liar with passive aggressive tendencies) but if it feels intrusive and excessive to you, it's worth talking about. We asked bm to communicate with us by email only because she had a habit of saying one thing on the phone but putting another in writing and she also called, IMed, etc. about things that were really not important on a daily basis, and it WAS disruptive (and when I say "things that were not really important" I mean things like, "Hey, did you see that Target has a sale on right now?"). Email allowed us to respond when it was a good time for us and it also allowed us to think about our response before we gave one. In some situations, it allowed us to not respond at all ("Hey, I was just wondering if you could help me fix my computer.") if it wasn't relevant to the kids. Which parts of their communication feels disruptive to you? Do you have an alternative in mind? If they're talking all the time and making decisions without your input, I can see how that would make you feel a little resentful, maybe talked over, maybe like you're the babysitter and have no say. Would you being part of some of these conversations help?

It sounds like overall things are very positive, and that's great. Boundaries are key with blended family situations, though, so I would definitely talk about those sooner rather than later.
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  #9  
April 24th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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If the times were correct I would think this was what I do.

My ex and I only have a verbal agreement. When it is my week to have our daughter I drop her off at his house in the morning so he can get her on the bus. I do pick up everyday. This is what works for us.

Yes it's crazy sometimes but it means extra time with our child.

Good luck!
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  #10  
April 24th, 2014, 10:42 AM
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Ah I see. There is always more to the story. What I read into your last post (correct me if I'm wrong) is that you feel like you are the built in babysitter. I'm guessing you feel like you can't say no even if you want to. That's not fair! It's different if she has a date & he's home & wants the time with his kids but it's not fair to use you.

You need to sit and talk to you SO and tell him how you feel. And I agree that you need to set some boundaries. There is not reason for them to be talking 4-5 times per day every day. Even though nothing is going on, it would make me feel like the 3rd wheel. I know years ago, dh & his ex would plan visitations (they live 4 hours away). He would check his schedule, she would check her schedule, she would check their dds's schedules but no one would ask me about my schedule. I'm a full-time working mom. Inevitably they'd always pick the 1 weekend that was bad for me & my dd. I didn't even realize how much resentment it build up until it came to head.

My advice is talk to your SO now and be honest and open about how you feel. Come to a mutual agreement that works for BOTH of you.
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  #11  
April 24th, 2014, 11:09 AM
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WOW!! thank you all for the great advice. We went to our counselor last night and talked about all of this ...it was so good, but I am a little raw, etc. Basically the issues that came up were that he defends his ex and doesnt hold her accountable and basically enables her. He was unaware of this dynamic until the therapist helped us realize this is what has been going on and how it makes me angry and resentful! So, I am still really processing this fresh info, and how these actios made me feel rejected and gross and he is dealing with why he does and it and how hes going to change it.

Wisey, thanks for your insight, I am pretty sure that is really his goal, to get more time with his kids, but sometimes I just feel like his ex gets so much free time and I cant even stop for a cup of coffee on my way to work.( my daughters dad lives 1200 miles away so I have my 2 FULL time).
Im not generally an angry person , unless something is hugely off balance and last night helped me realize that yes something is. Just getting it out and getting validation was a relief and hopefully we have the tools to work through it. Really I didnt know how angry I was until the session and Im a little upset as to why they have these really crappy boundaries. Keakie, I cant see the talking via email, they are palsy walsy, like they talk ten times a day about stuff related to the kids. But she is also the type to comment on the target sale, etc etc. She tells him a lot, and not stuff about the kids...and it just infuriiates me!! Their bad boundaries gross me out atually-its not a jealousy thing, just plain GROSS.
thanks for your help in all this
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  #12  
April 24th, 2014, 11:48 AM
Stepmom2Be's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shyloh88 View Post
WOW!! thank you all for the great advice. We went to our counselor last night and talked about all of this ...it was so good, but I am a little raw, etc. Basically the issues that came up were that he defends his ex and doesnt hold her accountable and basically enables her. He was unaware of this dynamic until the therapist helped us realize this is what has been going on and how it makes me angry and resentful! So, I am still really processing this fresh info, and how these actios made me feel rejected and gross and he is dealing with why he does and it and how hes going to change it.

Wisey, thanks for your insight, I am pretty sure that is really his goal, to get more time with his kids, but sometimes I just feel like his ex gets so much free time and I cant even stop for a cup of coffee on my way to work.( my daughters dad lives 1200 miles away so I have my 2 FULL time).
Im not generally an angry person , unless something is hugely off balance and last night helped me realize that yes something is. Just getting it out and getting validation was a relief and hopefully we have the tools to work through it. Really I didnt know how angry I was until the session and Im a little upset as to why they have these really crappy boundaries. Keakie, I cant see the talking via email, they are palsy walsy, like they talk ten times a day about stuff related to the kids. But she is also the type to comment on the target sale, etc etc. She tells him a lot, and not stuff about the kids...and it just infuriiates me!! Their bad boundaries gross me out atually-its not a jealousy thing, just plain GROSS.
thanks for your help in all this
This might not work being it's very early in the morning, but if she's dropping kids off before school, can you ask that she at least have them ready before she drops them off? I got the impression you were getting pajama clad hungry little ones added to your morning routine, and that would irritate me too.


I might also recommend that you guys take a day when you have all the kids, and go out for a stress free picnic at a park or something.


I love my stepson as if I gave birth to him. However, when his bio mom does things that irritate me, (which is ALL the time,) sometimes when Owen does something in that same day that needs correcting, I'm more harsh in the way I do it. I tend to take out my anger towards his mom on HIM sometimes. I'm working on it, and getting much better because his mom isn't around anymore, and he resents her just as much as I do. But make sure that you make time where you guys just have a stress free time, to remind yourselves why you started this whole journey to begin with.


DH and I did that, we had what we called a "Drama free 24 hours." Owen was at a sleepover, and we vowed to not talk about our court battles for 24 hours unless an emergency came up. It was glorious, and it really helped strengthen our already pretty solid relationship. But sometimes it just helps to remind yourselves why you're doing all the hard work. KWIM?
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  #13  
April 24th, 2014, 02:49 PM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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I think everyone has this covered. Everytime I've dropped in I've been mobile and I'm a bit of a talker so I couldn't reply.


We have the super close relationship with the ex. But in our case it's she and I who get along the best and are very buddy buddy. If it was them, I'm sure her husband and I would feel a lot different about the situation.


Good luck!
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  #14  
May 2nd, 2014, 09:39 AM
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This week (and this is very rare and hardly happens) but we were struggling over some serious issues and I asked bf is hs kids could be at their moms wed and thursday night (which are usuually his night). He said he would let her know and wed came around and they did, then thursday came and he confirmed to me they would be there and then suddenly at 6 last night he called me somewhat yelling saying "my kids will get dropped off at 8 at our house", well I got upset because it was almost as if his ex suddenly decided she was not ok with it and that it got put on me. You see he is at work when I have them wed and thursdays. So her and I exchanged some words via text (first time ever things got a little heated) I explained to her that we agreed on this earlier in the week and he was supposed to tell her. She was very adamant they come saying this is their schedule, etc (which I begged them both to stick to the schedule originally and she only seemed to stick to it by convenience). Anyway I believe she had a date last night. I get it that it is the kids night with their dad but we made arangements (we are having a really hard week, because of things going on with his divorce that are not final). I just have such strong feelings about me feeling since he is at work and its his night that I am a babysitter for him and her (while she is off having a social life or getting a pedi-things I do not do, because I am a mother of 2 and their dad is in another state). This woman appears to me to be very selfish, puts her own needs first and I actually dont understand why she wouldnt want her kids if their dad isnt home, rather than a stranger (well not really) watch them. Shes always putting her needs first.
Again, I dont know if I should just suck it up and accept I care for them on those 2 nights. Its disruptive to my 2, bedtime with 4 by myself is horendous and I dont feel appreciated at all.
Is it right to make parenting time when he is there only? (he works nights m-f?) I feel like I have no peace or downtime
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  #15  
May 2nd, 2014, 03:43 PM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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As kindly as possible, this sounds like a bf problem moreso than a bm problem.

I don't blame you for feeling unappreciated and resentful. Arrangements get made or plans get changed without your knowledge or input, and you're the one left with all of the responsibility. While I can understand his desire to have his kids at the house and can even understand bm's frustration about them not coming on a night that should be your bf's, it sounds like it isn't a very good visitation plan for your bf's schedule. How did it work before you moved in to care for them while he works? IMO, if your relationship is serious and you're considering a future together (which I'm assuming you are if you live together), then both of your schedules need to be taken onto consideration and it sounds like a rework of the visitation plan that is less disruptive to your children and that allows your bf's kids to actually get to spend their time with their dad would be in everyone's best interests. He needs to be willing to balance your needs and especially the needs of your children with his and those of his own children.


It's also pretty lame of him to tell you it was fine to change the plans and then blindside you with am angry phone call. I'm sorry.
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  #16  
May 6th, 2014, 07:48 AM
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Thank you Keakie! feel very validated and understood! I think I will stomach this plan until school is over and rework it for fall. And yes I 100 percent agree with you that it is BF playing a big role here. Now if I have a change, I text them both so she realizes I gave him a heads up too and doesnt get the info last minute.
I actually found a tect from her saying "I am dropping them off with S at 7:30, deal with it" and his response was "good luck". I was infuriated!!!
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  #17  
May 7th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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Now on her days we have the kids in am becasue she has to be at work early, so were doing her a favor and also hes getting extra time to be with his kids. She keeps dropping them off non showered from the night before , homework not finished and no lunch packed. (we have 6 people and 1 bathroom btw). I feel like he is enabling her becasue he says "well I would rather wash their hair anyway and I dont mind the extra work". I strongly feel like she is dropping the ball in her responsibilities and then more work for us and she is allowed to do minimal (not to mention what kind of mother does minimal?)
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  #18  
May 7th, 2014, 09:47 AM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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Is he the one doing the extra work? If so, there really isn't much you can do. No, it's not cool of her to do the bare minimum every time. If he wants to enable her to, though, I mean... What I said before still stands about the disruptive factor and the fact that everyone's needs need to be considered. But if he's willing to cater to her every whim you can't really stop him (and aside from just asking her to help more, which may or may not go well but I'm going to guess it would be the latter, you can't really stop her from sending them dirty or unfed. When other people refuse to do things that should be their responsibility, my go to response is to not do it for them - but obviously if you did that on this situation the only people who would suffer would be your bf's kids).

If YOU are doing the work, well, of course it's easy for him to say it's no big deal, and there would be big problems here if that's how either my dh or myself handled the arranging of tasks that the other person will be the one actually doing.

I'm not understanding the dynamic between them. Is he afraid of her or something?


BTdubs, that "good luck" text message = not cool. Not cool of him to play it off like it was just you and he didn't agree to it, not cool to tell bm like that, not cool to effectively involve her in your relationship issues.
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Last edited by Keakie; May 7th, 2014 at 09:50 AM.
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  #19  
May 7th, 2014, 08:44 PM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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I never wanted to be a stepmother for all the reasons you've said. Schedule, inconvenience, taken advantage of. My mom is a step mother, and it was awful (BM's fault) to watch growing up. I swore I wouldn't do it. Lo and behold....



I think the biggest issue here is your BF. If he cannot be there when the kids are, he needs to redo his visitation to when he can be there. BUT, if you two are going to get serious you need to get to a point where you stop thinking of them as "his kids" and "your kids" and rather think of it as your family.






I'm lucky in the way our family works, but it works because this is what Reme's mom wants. She was a step child to a step mother who hated her and make sure she knew it. That's no life for a child to live. If you cannot be a step mother, don't be. It's not fair to the kids.
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  #20  
May 8th, 2014, 07:31 AM
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Ok Ok, good advice! thx
Yes I realize I do need to take the plunge and think of as "our family", but its just so hard when its me dealing with 4 kids at bedtime 3 nights a week when he is at work. Their mom drops them at 7:30-totally disruptive because I put my kids to bed at 8 (I have a 2 year old) and as soon as my kids hear them come in-they areent going to sleep anytime soon. HE IS AT WORK and yes when he is there he does stuff. But he also DOES act like its no big deal for me to put them to bed.. he has no empathy or does not validate the challenges of having 4 myself. His kids cale from no rules and they actually share a bed with their mom st her house so there doesnt seem to be much bedtime structure.
Keakie, I am not sure he is afraid of her, maybe because they are recently filed and she isnt asking for anything...but as we speak they are driving their son to his allergy specialist, so they really get along.
Their boundaries are crap and I dont doubt that I am made out to be the one who is wrong here. I am so frustrated, he asks me "if I cant hadle it" and pushes my buttons, I know I can handle it but I am not sure I WANT to handle it
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