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September 17th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Keakie View Post
I have 5 dsc. When I started going along with dh to pick them up, they were 4 hours away and I was on limited time with him, being internationally long distance (I could only stay for a few weeks at a time). Not going would have meant losing entire days with him and during our time living apart, those days were precious. In 2010, 2 of those 5 needed help buckling into their seats and visitation was every 6 weeks and 2 weeks in the summertime, so they had next to nothing at dh's house - which means we had a lot of bags to bring with us. If I didn't get out and help dh with buckling and packing things up, bm would come out and chit chat with us for forever. He prefers that I help him so she stays in the house and we can be on our way quickly.

In 2010, we were also vehicle swapping with bm, so not getting out of the car meant I would have been hanging with her for the week or I would have awkwardly slunk from our car to hers.

Now only one kid needs help buckling, they bring less with them week to week and we have our own van - but that was the standard for over a year and we're both accustomed to doing it together (and so are the kids). They would think something was wrong if I stayed home or stayed in the vehicle at this point. I don't insert myself into anything; I hang back with dh, help kids carry things if they approach me and ask me to and am otherwise a harmless entity. If she has to give something to dh, she gives it to him (and he'll usually pass it to me to put in my purse). If we have to give something to her, I'll sometimes be the one to hand it off - again, though, because I probably tossed it in my purse for convenience. I don't barge into her house and start picking up children just because I'm the stepparent and I feel entitled to.

And like I said, I don't have any biochildren I would have to drag along. It works for us.

I just feel like a stepparent or partner having to hide out in the vehicle or the house almost de-legitamizes their role in the family. Why shouldn't she be allowed to come out and wave goodbye to the kid? Is it necessary? Not really, but given the way the bm in this scenario approached the OP's presence at trade offs (i.e. randomly in the middle of a tirade about not communicating with her about PT in person) it sounds to me like it's a lot less that she feels the OP is inserting herself beyond the point of reasonable and a lot more that she's ticked off already and just looking for things to lash out over. She sounds like the kind of person who, if the OP *did* stay in the house or the car from the get go, would pitch a fit about never seeing the OP/why is she always hiding out/blah blah blah.

The way I see it, the crazy is going to take stupid things out on the kids no matter what we do. It's infuriating and it's not fair, but we simply can't be the crazy police. If it were something I didn't care about, I would roll with it for temporary peace. If it's something I *do* care about, I'm not going to go into appeasement mode for someone who will just find something else to act badly over. Like I said - I would rather stay the course with the things that are important to us and important to our emotional and mental well being so that we have the emotional energy to counteract the crazy she's going to dump on them regardless of what we do/don't do.

Edited to add: That's not to imply that if you don't care about going with, or you would rather stay inside the house that there's anything wrong with that. Not everyone values those things the way my dh and I do. I'm just saying that if the OP *does* feel like she's trapped in her house and just wants to wave goodbye to the kid, why should she have to feel those things because the (engaged!) bm can't handle her existence? At what point does it stop? Is she allowed to be present when they get engaged too? Married? What about graduations, weddings, etc. down the road - should the stepparent not be allowed to attend because another adult can't manage their big feelings about it? At what point does the demand for partners to separate themselves to keep an ex happy become unreasonable? Like I said - if that's not a big deal to others, that's totally different. If it *does* matter and *does* hurt the OP's feelings, it's a problem IMO.

Kayla it seems to work for you guys, so I wasn't suggesting that you were inserting yourself, or that you should change the way you do things. And if BM doesn't care that you're on her door step, then what's the harm anyway?

I'm just saying in the OP's situation, it seems that her BM is annoyed by her presence as would Neely's ex be annoyed if we both walked to the door to retrieve his 11 and 13 year old children. It doesn't take both of us and even if it weren't so, she would accuse me of doing it to stir up trouble. I have, once, gone to the door with Neely and that was only so I could communicate with her something that I wanted her to hear from me and not second hand from Neely.

At any rate, I don't think even the OP is inserting herself, I'm just suggesting that the BM thinks she is, and that's enough for most BMs to go off the deep end. I just prefer to pick my battles, kwim?

Originally Posted by plan4fate View Post
To Doodle:

My mom was a Girlfriend for 17 years to my father. That made her no less his partner or stepmother to my sister. My sister was two when my parents started dating, and I was born 2 years later. They marred when we were 15 and 19 respectively. It was mom who took my sister for visitation every other weekend, not my father who got 4 weekends off a year, because it was the right thing to do. I personally think it doesn't take marriage to make a family committed.

Having known some pretty awful parents on both the biological and step sides, I think it's awfully great when someone is willing to love another person's child as much as they would love their own. Cause the flip side, ain't pretty.
This. Neely and I aren't married and though we do plan to be at some point, the fact that we're not doesn't make me any less step-mom to Will & Clayton. Even the school acknowledges me as stepmom. Hell, we've been together longer than BMs last marriage and longer than she's been with her current husband.

Originally Posted by Ember Rose View Post
Some folks will never make sense. And trying to figure it out will make you crazy. Don't do it. Don't go there. And honestly, until your BF is willing to get legally aggressive with her, your hands are tied. And I would get another lawyer. So what you went to mediation and worked out an arrangement? That doesn't give her carte blanche to be unstable for the rest of C's life.
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