Thursday, December 16, 2010


... This year, when my step-daughter turned 14, it was once again our year to host her birthday party. About two months before her birthday, I told my husband that I was planning to give my step-daughter enough money so that she could either throw her own party or spend the money on school clothes. The choice would be hers, and I would not waste any time or effort in trying to plan something that would surely displease her.

A couple nights after I told my husband of my plans, my step-daughter told him she would like to take two friends to an amusement park for her birthday. Being that it was her request (and therefore, a birthday party that would please her), I considered what she wanted and agreed that I would take her and two girlfriends to the roller coaster park. Even though it was more money than I'd planned on spending, I figured it was a sure-fire way to give her a memorable birthday. We checked our calendars and found a date that worked for everyone. The plan was to leave our house early in the morning and get to the park when they opened. Being that it was the end of summer, the park was scheduled to be open until 10pm with a fireworks show after they closed, so we decided we would stay the entire day and watch the fireworks.

About three weeks before her party, my step-daughter asked if she could bring three friends instead of two. I reminded her that I was spending more than my original budget on her and her two friends, and told her that if she wanted to bring a third friend, I would not pay for that person. Either she could pay me, or her friend could buy their own ticket. My step-daughter agreed to this arrangement.

A few days after agreeing to bring a third friend, I went online to look for discounts and to buy advance tickets to the amusement park. There was a special ticket package available, in which an all-you-can-eat dinner was included with the purchase of a regular priced ticket. For those of you who have ever been to an amusement park and paid their prices for food, you'll know this package deal was a very good option. It meant I could pack a cooler of food & drinks for lunch, and then everyone would have a ticket for the dinner buffet, which included hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ chicken, side dishes, soft drinks, and ice cream. Although I wasn't able to use any discounts or coupons on the tickets, it was still a great deal.

Before I decided to purchase the tickets, I called my step-daughter (she had spent the night at a friend's house) to make sure her "extra" friend would be ok with purchasing a ticket at regular price. I explained the plan, and how with the tickets I was planning to buy, they would have dinner included. She said it sounded like a good plan, and I told her that if it was ok with her, I would purchase tickets for all four girls and that she or her friend could simply pay me back for the extra ticket. My step-daughter asked me if I would call her friend's mom and explain the cost and how I wanted her to pay for her daughter's ticket. I told my step-daughter that it wasn't my request to bring an extra friend and that it wasn't my responsibility to communicate the details to her friend or her friend's mom - it was her responsibility to do so. In fact, if my step-daughter had an issue with making her friend pay for her ticket, I reminded her that she could simply pay for her friend out of her birthday money. Of course, this was not an option she liked. I again asked if it was ok for me to purchase all the tickets at full price, and she said that yes, I should go ahead and buy them and I would be paid back for one ticket.

I purchased the package deal a few minutes after hanging up the phone, and printed out the tickets. Proud of myself for finding such a great deal and having planned the party my step-daughter specifically requested (and was therefore sure to like), I breathed a sigh of relief.

Five minutes later, the phone rang. It was the mom of the girl who was the "fourth wheel", and she wanted to know what the deal was. "I understand you have invited my daughter to a birthday party, but that you're only paying for some of the kids' tickets, is that correct?" (I could just hear my step-daughter explaining it to her "My mean ol' stepmom is making us pay for our own tickets for my birthday party.") So I explained how her daughter was actually not part of the original party I had agreed to, and that my step-daughter agreed to provide a ticket for her daughter - either paid by the friend or paid by my step-daughter. The mom explained that she had a free admission ticket to the park, so instead of paying for her daughter, she'd just send her with that free admission ticket. Which would have been great to know five minutes prior to her phone call. Ugh. So I explained how I'd just purchased tickets for all of the girls, and that the tickets were date-specific, as they included a dinner buffet admission as well as park admission. I understood that her daughter had free park admission, but that didn't help the situation. I told her the ticket was already purchased and that she didn't need to send along the free admission pass.

I'm very much a stick-to-your-guns type of person, and I believe that consistency is key in being a good (step) parent. Therefore, because I told my step-daughter she would be responsible for reimbursing me for one of the tickets, I held her to that. She agreed on the phone that I would buy tickets for everyone at full-price and that she would make sure I was paid back for one of the tickets. It wasn't about the money, even though I was over budget to begin with; it was more about the fact that I planned a and very nice party for my step-daughter, and she requested more. Since the plan was originally to bring her and two friends to the park, I felt I was being very accommodating by bringing a third friend and providing lunch for that friend. I wanted my step-daughter to know that the terms she agreed to were going to be upheld.

This did not go over well. She didn't understand why she had to pay me back for the extra ticket, if her friend had a ticket for free admission. I explained that the free ticket did me no good, since I had already purchased the package deal tickets as my step-daughter agreed to. I said it was unfortunate that things turned out the way they did, and that she might have communicated better with her friend, and with me, and could have avoided the issue. However, since I paid for the tickets and she agreed that I would be paid back for one of the tickets, that was the arrangement we would stick to.

Enter the Momster. My step-daughter texted her bio mom about how awful I was being and how I was being unfair and mean and ruining her birthday. Momster told her I was horrible and mean and ruining her birthday, and together they decided my step-daughter wasn't responsible for paying me back for the ticket. Nobody consulted me about this decision, it was just decided between the two of them. My husband told me I shouldn't address it with my step-daughter because it would only upset her. Sometimes I wonder if the three of them are trying to see how far they can push before I need medication...

We left our house early the morning of her party, and my step-daughter asked if we could stop at her bio mom's house because she forgot her money there, and wanted to bring along some cash for spending. My husband said he would lend her money so we didn't have to stop and bother the momster. For the record, my step-daughter paid my husband back within a week.

Two months after the party, I reminded my step-daughter that she still owed me for the cost of the ticket. She immediately became upset and defensive and told me she didn't have to pay me back. Then, she said that she paid her dad for the ticket already, when she gave him $20 after she got home. Nice try, but I recalled that the money she repaid to her dad was spending money he lent her when she left her cash at the momster's house. I reminded her of our agreement, and told her that even though things didn't turn out as she wanted them to (like I forgot she owed me money), she still had an arrangement with me and she needed to honor that.

Four months later, I have yet to be repaid. Again, it's not about the money, it's about her being accountable. Any ideas? I thought about taking part of the money she's sure to get for Christmas this year, but I just don't know if that's fair.

I think I'm going to give myself a nice tropical vacation for her sweet 16 birthday in two years. I don't think I can handle planning another party for this girl.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Party Hardly

Shortly after my July 21st post, things started to get complicated. Due to an unreasonable demand by the "momster", my husband and I are expected to host a birthday party for each of my three step-kids every other year. We are not allowed to throw a party on a yearly basis, nor are we to "skip" a year when it's our turn to plan and host the party. I think it's weird, but she claims she doesn't need to explain herself to us; we are supposed to simply smile and nod and go along with what she says.

Two years ago, for my step-daughter's golden birthday, I went all out. I am a planner by nature, and I came up with (what I thought was) the perfect party and surprise for a girl starting Junior High. Without my step-daughter's knowledge, I arranged for a limo to pick her and her friends up after school, where they would cruise around town for a bit, and then head to a "Hollywood style" photo shoot. My best gal pal is an amazing photographer, and offered her services for a couple hours so we could treat the girls to a photo shoot. The limo was to be stocked with sparkling juice (a.k.a. "kid champagne"), feather boas, and starlet sunglasses. It was something I was sure my step-daughter would love!

One catch; I couldn't tell her much about her party. I asked her to provide me a list of her most outgoing friends, and told her I would handle the rest. This did not go over well. She wanted to know what I was planning and the situation immediately turned stressful. I assured her I was planning a fun time for her and her friends, and reminded her that I knew her likes/dislikes, but that it was going to have to be a surprise. I desperately wanted to capture the look on her face when she walked out of school to find the limo waiting.

Anyway, it wasn't going to happen as I planned. The momster got involved and I ended up telling my step-daughter what the plan was, but asked her to keep it a secret from her friends so they could be surprised. Problem solved. Except, the momster planted a seed in my step-daughter's head that perhaps she'd be made fun of for having a limo pick her up. Maybe instead of kids thinking she was cool, they'd think she was nerdy. I received word that my step-daughter no longer wanted this party and instead she'd rather have a "normal" party with her friends. This, of course, was after I'd paid for the limo and made all the arrangements for the photo shoot. Shoot, indeed.

Big brother (my 15-year-old step-son) saved the day. He talked to my step-daughter and told her that in no way would anyone think it was nerdy to have a limo pick her up at school. In fact, some kids would be jealous, but most people would think it was really cool. Problem solved. Party back on. Whew!

Then I learned that the momster ordered the birthday cake for me. How NICE! By ordered, I mean simply "ordered". Not paid for. I received an email stating my step-daughter told the momster what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, and that the momster talked to her friend who makes cakes, and the cake was on order. The friend would be contacting me to give me the cost and collect payment. Needless to say, I was not at all pleased with this arrangement. It would have irritated me if someone I liked had intervened in this manner, but to have the momster step in like this was most unwelcome. Not to mention, my step-daughter does not like cake. She usually asks for jello with whipped topping as her birthday cake. To keep the peace, I paid for and collected the cake. As a side note, I learned a few weeks ago that for the momster's 5-year-old's birthday, the "friend who makes cakes" didn't make the birthday cake. Instead, the cake came from a local grocery store. I wonder why the cake-making friend didn't make the little girl's cake... my guess is that a $50 kids' birthday cake that feeds eight is a bit too expensive for most people.

What started out as a thoughtful, expensive (even before the cake) plan for my step-daughter, turned into a situation involving tears and tantrums and hurt feelings - and that was just me. Although the party was a lot of fun, and the pictures turned out great, and - for the record - nobody at school teased her about the limo, I swore that the next birthday party would involve minimal planning on my part.

UNTIL... (to be continued)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010 Christmas Card

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Update

WOW - time flies! I took a break this summer to regroup and the next thing I know, it's December! I'll be catching up on my blogging in the coming weeks, and will fill in the gaps on what's been going on here in stepped-on-mom-land.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Weekend Away

The weekend we spent at our friends' cabin was fantastic; very relaxing and fun! It was just what I needed, since I came home to a pile of work so high that I've yet to dig out from under it. Throughout our weekend away, my step-daughter - although not entirely pleasant to be around - was less of a problem than I feared. She brought along a friend who I absolutely adore (polite, helpful, outgoing, cheerful...) which seemed to prevent the horrible attitude I expected.

While I spent the weekend catching some sunshine and floating around the lake on an inflatable raft with my fantastic gal pal, our husbands took the kids around the lake behind the boat - tubing, water skiing, wake boarding and wake surfing. The guys and our kids had their share of thrill-seeking, and us ladies had our share or calm and relaxation. All-in-all, a perfect weekend!

That's not to say my step-daughter was perfect. She seemed to forget some basic skills I've tried hard to teach her - clean up after yourself, ask your host/hostess if you can be of any help, no wet towels on the carpeted floor, etc... Maybe she thought she was at a hotel and the maid/housekeeper would come by soon to tidy up behind her (believe me, I would not want to be a housekeeper at any hotel where she's staying!), but she certainly wasn't concerned about being a good guest. More than once, my step-daughter's friend asked if there was anything she could help with, although it didn't do much as far as encouraging my step-daughter to help out.

Not only was she extra lazy, but she was also a bit of a bad friend. Several times throughout the weekend, her friend was hanging out with my everyone but my step-daughter. I felt bad for her, but she is definitely a go-with-the-flow type of gal, and was having fun no matter what she was doing. I'm very glad my step-daughter chose wisely when deciding who to bring. It's hard to watch her be one of those "mean girls" to her friends, but I guess we all put up with people like that in Jr. High and High School, and eventually figured out that bad friends are not worth having.

With regard to the issues we've had over the past couple months with my daughter not wanting to be with my husband and I in our home, she seems to be in a bit of a "lull". We'll see how long it lasts (my guess is until the next time we need to enforce our household rules). Of course, since I've been working long hours since our vacation, I may be missing out on all her mood swings. If that's the case, I can't complain too much about the pile of work I'm facing.

Outside of work, things on the step-mom front have been pretty calm lately. I'm starting to see that it's definitely and ebb and flow type of lifestyle. I'm planning on taking full advantage of this quiet period to spend a fun weekend with my husband for his birthday - can't wait for some time with him!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


With this being "Independence Week" and all, freedom has been a topic of much debate and conversation in our home. My 13-year-old step-daughter feels we do not allow her enough freedom and claims that her biological mom (the "momster") allows her much more leeway during her custodial weeks.

While at our home on an every-other-week basis, my step-kids (ages 16, 13, and 11) are responsible for the following:
  • Bringing their dirty laundry from their upstairs bedrooms to our main floor laundry room and placing them in the correct hamper (whites, darks, or colors)
  • Collecting the clean laundry that their dad sorts and folds and hangs, and putting it away in their drawers or closets
  • Bringing their dirty dishes from the dining room to the dishwasher, and scraping leftover food into the compost bin
  • Occasionally empty the dishwasher. I'd say that my husband and I do this about 90% of the time; the kids do the rest
  • On a three week rotation, cleaning the bathroom that the three of them share. This means that every six calendar weeks they each have to clean up their own mess in the bathroom, as well as the mess left by their siblings.
  • Maintain a somewhat clean bedroom. We do expect the kids to not place wet towels on their bedroom carpets or leave food/beverages open in their rooms (to keep funky smells away).
That's it. Simple tasks that I feel are the basic minimum a person can do to keep their environment livable. My step-daughter; however, feels that this is asking too much. The momster has a cleaning service clean her home on a regular basis so the kids don't really have to do much of anything at her house. Hmmmm - I'd like to have a cleaning service, too, but we're already paying for the one at the momster's house, so we can't afford one of our own ;)

The past few weeks have been a struggle with my step-daughter. For some reason, although she has the utmost freedom to come and go (as long as she lets us know where she'll be), she feels that we're being too strict and mean. I honestly don't have a clue what she's referring to. The momster won't let her have a faceb*ok account (we allow it), the momster won't let her ride her bike farther than a couple of miles (we allow it), the momster won't let her stay home alone (we've allowed it for years), the momster won't let her attend high school sports activities (we allow it), and the momster won't let her wear a two-piece swimsuit (we allow it).

When I think about the things she's allowed to do at the momster's house but not here, I cannot think of anything except being totally lazy and not having to lift a finger and do any chores whatsoever. Which, by the way, I don't agree with at all. I think we're being a bit too lenient the way things currently are - the kids should be expected to help out around the house with chores like dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, etc...

Last night, my husband asked my step-daughter what rights she feels her biological mom offers her that we don't offer. She had nothing to say - not one example. So I have no idea what the issue is. She maintains that she doesn't like being here because we're mean, and that her mom is so much nicer than we are. All I can think is that she has a different mom than the one I've known for years - she certainly isn't talking about the momster.

To make matters worse, we've been invited to spend this weekend with another family at their cabin. The other couple has two daughters (ages 10 and 8) and my step-daughter is adamant that she will not hang out with kids all weekend. I have a feeling if we end up bringing her with us, she will make everyone's weekend miserable. Although we've had this trip to the cabin planned for over two months, she made plans last week to spend this upcoming weekend with a friend and her friend's family.

Part of me wants to let her go with her friend, but another part wants to make her come with us. We planned this as a family - we were invited and accepted an invitation from our friends - and for almost all of the other weekends during the year, my step-daughter is free to do what she wants and hang out with her friends when/where she wants. This is a family weekend and it's important that we don't set a precedence to let her know that when she throws a fit (literally bawling and yelling and acting like a two-year-old last night) she will get her way.

I'll be sure to let you know what we figure out. I have a feeling that I'll be needing a cold beverage and a day on the lake soon!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Profanity Insanity

Today marks the start of another step-mom week for me. Last week, my husband was out of town for work and I had a "single gal" week. Not exactly my ideal situation, but I did enjoy certain aspects of it. Nobody to consider but me; can't complain about that!

My 13-year-old stepdaughter recently told us she would like to spend the entire summer living with her biological mom (who lives about 8 miles away from my husband and me), instead of spending every other week with us in our home. My husband told her this was not an option and that we are not going to alter custody arrangements. I agree with him; we are not going to change our schedule (and potentially increase child support payments - which are already substantial) just to please a teenager. And as we all know, you can't really please a teenager anyway.

For as long as I've known him, my husband has had a rule - cussing/swearing/inappropriate language is not appropriate or tolerated in our home. We do not use this language and we expect that his children follow suit. It's not that we feel they aren't mature enough or free enough to express themselves using such language; it's simply that both my husband and I feel that swear words demonstrate a lack of intelligence. Therefore, we have a rule: "If we say it, you can say it", and it's been strictly upheld.

...until this week.

My step-daughter is allowed to have a faceb*ok account at our home; something her biological mom does not allow any of her children to have. I don't agree with the bio-mom's prohibition of faceb*ok, but I do respect her wishes. However, during our custodial weeks, my husband and I allow his two oldest children (ages 16 and 13) to use faceb*ok as a way to socialize with their friends. There are a few rules:
  • Appropriate behavior/language is essential
  • No using this service after 10pm on school nights
  • Homework and chores must be finished before the child(ren) access faceb*ok
  • My husband and I must have access to everything the children do/say on their and their friends pages
That's it. Simple, straightforward rules (and nothing too outlandish or controlling, if you ask me). Since I use faceb*ok more frequently than my husband, I tend to be the parent monitor the my step-kids' use of this site to ensure they are being responsible and they deserve the permissions they've been granted.

Last week, my stepdaughter posted on a friend's faceb*ok thread, and for some reason (although I can't determine the reasoning from the context of everyone's messages), she decided to post "f*ck you" on faceb*ok. I saw this, and brought it to my husband's attention. I didn't handle it or address it beyond that, but I did want him to know that his rules were being disrespected.

Tonight, at the start of our custody week, my husband told my step-daughter that he was not pleased with what she wrote, and that it was very inappropriate for her to use that language. She instantly became defensive and argumentative. I stayed out of the conversation, but observed her becoming increasingly upset and argumentative.

The bottom line: she feels she's not given enough "freedom" here to express herself and use whatever language she sees fit, and her biological mom gives her that freedom. She wants to live with her mom so she can be free to act how she wants.

Keep in mind, this is the same biological mom who allowed no freedom for this teenager to even access faceb*ok; the same woman who won't let her 13-year-old daughter to attend high school sports/functions because she's not truly a "high schooler"... it is obvious to me that we're dealing with a girl who will always see the grass as greener on the other side.

What to do? Do we hold to our values and expect her to do the same? My husband is adamant that his daughter not be allowed to live full-time with her biological mother. I agree that she's making a purely emotional/hasty request. However, part of me wants to see her move in with her mom full-time. Knowing the biological mom as I do, I have a feeling this will backfire in a matter of weeks (if not days). I'd really be curious to see how that would play out.

We're scheduled to vacation with another family over this 4th of July weekend, and my step-daughter is incredibly upset that we're making her participate in this family event, when she's been invited to another friend's house to spend the weekend. I'm absolutely dreading her attitude and the horrible demeanor she's sure to bring with us on our pleasant weekend; not to mention how she could ruin the other family's vacation.

Please say a prayer she's on her best behavior - for everyone involved.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Schedule for the Summer

It's been decided that my step-kids will be spending their summer days at their biological mom's house.

My 16-year-old and 11-year-old step-sons didn't have much of an opinion either way, so it was up to my 13-year-old step-daughter to decide where they'd spend their days. She chose their mom's house, so that will be the plan for all three kids. Their bio-mom (the "momster") lives about 8.5 miles from our home, so instead of having them bike to the momster's house every day, my husband said he'd keep their bikes locked up at his office, which is only about 3.5 miles from the momster's house. The kids can ride to work with my husband every morning and pick up their bikes, then bike the 3.5 miles to their mom's house. In the afternoons, they can bike back to his office and ride home with him.

It's actually easier/faster to have the kids bike to their mom's house from his office than it is for him to bring the kids there in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. The commute to the momster's house is horrible and takes around 30 minutes per trip, due to traffic and congestion.

The boys (who didn't have an opinion about where they spent their summers, and therefore deferred to their sister to make the decision), are a-ok with biking the 3.5 miles to their mom's house. My step-daughter is absolutely livid that we expect her to actually bike anywhere this summer. The moment the plan was determined, she called her mom and started crying and complaining about how horrible my husband (her dad) is for making her bike.

Biking a total of 7 miles a day every other week as a 13-year-old is not what I would consider to be cruel or unusual. In fact, when I was 13 years old, I willingly rode my bike upwards of 10 miles each day because I thought it was fun, and my bike was the key to my independence.

Nonetheless, my step-daughter feels differently. I think she will forever be one of those people with a victim mentality. Everything happens to her and nothing is ever her fault. She has been incapable of considering anybody but herself for as long as I've known her, and it's frustrating to see her become more and more vocal about her dissatisfaction with each and every part of her life.

She told my husband earlier this week that she'll just live at her mom's house all summer instead of having to bike back & forth to his office. She'd rather not see her dad for the summer than have to pedal a bike for a half hour every other week. Of course, she does not get to make the choice to live with one parent or the other. Believe me, if she could make that choice, she'd be flip-flopping between houses every other week, like she already does under the legal custody arrangement. Every time one of her parents did something that wasn't favorable, she'd pack up her stuff and move houses; that's just how she operates.

In any case, it's been settled. For the summer, the plan will continue as my husband laid out. The kids will bike from his office every morning, and will bike back to his office every afternoon. Of course, when it rains, he'll go out of his way to bring them to the momster's house and/or pick them up.

I'm glad this issue has been settled! We'll see what happens next summer - it's always an adventure.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Vacation

It's been a while since I've written anything, and there hasn't been too much going on in my step-momming world lately.

School ended just over a week ago, and we're ready to start another summer. I'm not quite sure what our schedule will be like for the next few months. My oldest step-son (age 16) landed a job teaching swimming lessons and lifeguarding at a local pool. My 13-year-old step-daughter has hopes of sleeping in, sitting on her butt, and being as lazy as humanly possible until early September. And my 11-year-old step-son will be participating in a summer soccer program for the fourth summer in a row. Although his mom won't be bringing him, she will allow him to bike to/from practices and games during her custodial weeks. It's a 6-mile bike ride through town, but he's willing to do it, so it all worked out for him.

The big question for now is how the kids will be spending their days during our custody weeks this summer. I work from home full-time, which involves a lot phone calls/conference calls, and a heavy workload. Last summer, the kids chose to stay here during the day, and they were horribly bored. Without something constructive to occupy their time, they logged numerous hours playing video games, sitting on their butts, facebooking, and arguing with one another.

I don't want a repeat of last summer. It was difficult to have them here, making messes, begging to have friends over (although they knew I had to work, and had to have relative quiet during my office hours), and fighting. This summer, they have yet to decide what they will do during their days with us. Either they can be dropped off at their biological mom's house every day, where they have access to an outdoor pool and have friends nearby, or they can stay here and figure out something to occupy their time.

I have absolutely no say in what they do, which is frustrating. After all, it greatly affects my ability to work effectively from home. I can't handle doors slamming, shouting, screaming, singing at the tops of lungs, movies played at top volume, etc... Of course, I can continually remind them to keep the noise level to a minimum, but reminding soon becomes nagging, and then I'm the "bad guy" for ruining their fun.

Anyway, I will soon know how things will shake out. My fingers are crossed that if the kids choose to stay here every day, they are able to co-exist with me as well as with each other.

Here's hoping the next three months go smoothly!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Madness

My 11-year-old step-son is scheduled to start his summer soccer program tomorrow. This program has been his one and only activity for the past four years, and he is incredibly excited for this season. He spent last week in the yard doing drills and practicing ball handling and kicking goals. The kid loves soccer.

For the past three seasons, my step-kids biological mom (a.k.a "the momster") has refused to provide transportation to/from practices and games during her custodial weeks, saying her medical condition prevents her from driving, going outdoors, and committing to any sort of transportation for her children. She has M.S., and I know it can worsen or flare up if she's exposed to heat/humidity for extended periods of time.

However, for the past two years, the momster has been driving her two little kids from her current marriage (ages 5 and 3) to/from preschool three days a week and to/from swimming lessons three days a week, with no health issues arising from her duties.

For the past three seasons, my husband and I have spent two nights a week - both during our custody weeks and her custody weeks - at the soccer fields. Last summer got to be a bit much, as we had a lot of activities ourselves during our "non-kid" weeks.

This year, as we signed him up for soccer, an email was sent to the momster, letting her know we would not be to providing transportation during her custody weeks. I figured this was perfectly acceptable. My husband and I have gone above and beyond to make sure my step-son had rides to every soccer event for the past four years. Since she is obviously capable of driving her youngest children to/from activities, she can certainly do so for the children she and my husband have in common.


Dead wrong.

This morning (the day before my step-son's soccer season starts), she notified my husband via email that she has no ability to provide transportation for this year's soccer activities. She stated that we've done all the transportation for the previous years and it needs to remain that way if my step-son hopes to participate this year.

My husband emailed her back, and suggested she bring her son to soccer tonight and try to find a parent there who would be willing to provide transportation to subsequent soccer practices and games during the momster's custody weeks.

Her reply was that she was not about to go there tonight and beg a ride off some parent who she doesn't even know. She also stated that she doesn't know the layout of the soccer fields and hasn't had the luxury of learning how it all works over the past four years, so she will not be putting herself in this awkward position.

Um, EXCUSE ME!?!?! How could a parent be so obviously pathetic and selfish... in writing, nonetheless??

There are so many instances where her two youngest children (from her current marriage) receive special treatment, whereas my step-kids (the kids she and my husband have in common) are left to fend for themselves. She refuses to provide transportation for my three step-kids to any activities, and tells them their dad and I can pick them up if they want to go somewhere. Yet, she repeatedly tells my step-kids that husband and I are horrible people who make horrible parenting decisions. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Has anyone else encountered this type of situation with a biological mom who has children from a new relationship? It angers me that the momster is willing to make such distinction between the two "sets" of kids in her home. She's even gone so far as buying twice as many presents for her younger kids for birthdays and holidays, claiming that since they live with her full-time, they deserve more from her. The most messed-up part of it all is that my step-kids (ages 16, 13 and 11) accept it for what it is. They see nothing wrong with her reasoning and look to their dad and me to provide all the things she's unwilling to give them.

I just don't get it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gift Registration Demands

While chatting online with my sister-in-law this afternoon, I told her how much I dislike the idea of wedding gift registration. Here's why:

Today, most people getting married have lived on their own (or with their partner/fiancee) prior to marriage. Therefore, they don't need household goods like toasters, blenders, etc... to start their new life together. The purpose of such a registry is to ensure the couple has all the necessary household appliances and furnishings to start anew, so gift registration applies to essentially nobody these days.

I've seen such ridiculous gift registrations over the years, it's laughable. Not too long ago, some acquaintances were obviously using their registry to outfit him for his upcoming hunting trip. And none of it was in my price range. I do not want to fund his trip into the woods, thank you very much - aren't I supposed to be buying a gift for the newlyweds?!

Another annoyance is the overpriced gift registry. A couple to whose wedding I was invited registered at some of the most expensive boutiques you could imagine. My budget would have netted them one silver spoon from their entire requested flatware collection. The nerve!!

Overall, I think the process is horrible. Couple walks into store. Couple picks up scanner. Couple spends a day saying "I WANT!!". End of story. How rude!

I've never been ok with someone telling me what to buy for them as my a present/gift to them. It's presumptuous and tacky to simply give your guests a list and say "Buy me something I've requested here. Wrap it and pretend like it was your idea. Oh, and I'll know I'm getting it before you've even written your name on the envelope because I check my gift registry status daily. Thanks."

Here's my take: If you know me well enough that you've invited me to witness your special day, chances are I have some idea of what to get you. If I can't think of something, I'll give you the wonderful gift of cash or a gift card. But let it come from me; let me figure out what to buy you from me. Please.

If I'm invited because I'm friends of the brides/groom's parents, I can certainly address a nice card and stick some cash inside. I don't need to wander all over main street trying to find the only gift in my price range that someone hasn't already checked off your list.

Oh, and there is one exception. If I'm not that great of a friend but you're inviting me because you figure I'll spend more on you than you will on me for the cost of dinner, think again. If there's an open bar, I'll be there. And you will lose in this equation. I'll even buy you a nice set of $10 hand towels from your registry if that's what it takes.

Gift registry is a joke. There. I've said my piece.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Round Two... and a Revelation

For the second day in a row, my 13-year-old stepdaughter is displaying a horrible attitude. Tonight, her dad explained that unless she change her ways and display some courteous, respectful behavior over the next couple weeks, he will not sign the permission slip allowing her to participate in a school trip to a nearby amusement park. Her response was to tell him that if he won't sign it, then her mother (the bio-mom) would. Ah, the old "divorced kid" standby; the other parent. She gave absolutely no thought to telling her dad that his punishment was ineffective, which to me displays a major lack of respect.

To properly explain this, I should go back to when I first met my husband - nearly seven years ago. From the time he and I met, his former wife/the bio-mom has made many attempts to undermine and belittle him (and later, me). From name calling to explaining to the children that the rules in our house aren't "real rules" and telling the children that we are "stupid" and "liars" - all of these statements were volunteered by the children at different points throughout the years - she has really been on the offense since she and my husband separated. In fact, even though we have the children in our home fifty percent of the time, and are very much part of their lives, when the children are in her home they must address their step-dad as "Dad" and they must call their real dad (my husband) by his first name. This was done long before the bio-mom and her (now) husband were married, and it's something that bothers me on a daily basis.

It has always, always, been my husband's standpoint (which I adopted when we started dating) that we never ever badmouth or undermine the kids bio-mom. When they complain about something she's done or some rule she's set or some punishment they've received, it's been a standard response to remind them that she is their mom, she loves them, and she probably has a good reason for making the decisions she does. Believe me, there are times I nearly bite a hole in my tongue and I get a bit of indigestion from swallowing the hard truth (really, she makes some crazy decisions!). But... in the end, she is their mom, and we can't change or prevent anything she does, so why hurt the kids in the process?

In recent years, it's becoming much more obvious that she's "winning" this battle. I guess when the "enemy" is bombarding us with weapons of mass destruction, our "balloons of kindness" (for lack of a better term) are a bit silly and fluffy and ineffective.

Here on "our side" of the trenches, we are now viewed as weak, ineffective, poor decision makers who are incapable of real parenting. These teenagers (and pre-teen) have gradually decided that when they don't like what we say/do or deem appropriate in our home, they can simply ignore it (per the bio-mom's long-standing instructions).

Tonight, after my husband had a loooong discussion with my step-daughter about her attitude and how she needs to work on kindness, he came downstairs looking plainly defeated and heavy-hearted. "Am I a bad parent?" he asked. I know for a fact that he is an amazing parent, capable of kindness and patience and consideration beyond anything I can ever hope to possess. Regardless, I knew what he was getting at, and I offered him this analogy:

Suppose you worked in a small office; it was you and four coworkers. Your four coworkers are John, Jane, Bob, and Betty. Every day you go to work, John and Jane tell you how utterly stupid Bob and Betty are; Bob and Betty are worthless employees who can't be trusted with even the most simple of projects. They are - in a sense - morons. Conversely, every day Bob and Betty tell you how wonderful John and Jane are; how they handle things appropriately and efficiently. Even when you tell them that John and Jane are always badmouthing and undermining them, they reply that they like John and Jane and respect them as fellow employees of the company.

Which coworkers would you respect? All conversations and accolades are obviously in John and Jane's favor. Bob and Betty don't stand a chance.

I'm beginning to feel this is something we will never ever overcome. Perhaps it's too late - HELP!!!


Monday, May 3, 2010

New to This

Today marks the start of another "kid week" for my husband and me. My 11-year-old step-son got off the bus from school at just before 3:00 this afternoon, and my husband picked my 13-year-old step-daughter and 16-year-old step-son up from track practice at about 5:30 today.

The minute they walked in the door, I got "the look" from my step-daughter. She walked upstairs to her bedroom without a word, and shut her door. I was in the middle of making dinner, so I just finished with our meal and had her younger brother knock on her door to let her know dinner was ready.

I should have set another place for her attitude. SHEESH, I don't know what got into her today (or this past week), but SHE. IS. CRABBY. She came into the kitchen, took one look at what I was preparing (a new meal for my step-kids, though I've cooked it several times for my husband and myself) and turned her nose up. I asked what was wrong, and she said "I don't like that", referring to what I made for dinner. I explained that it was something new for her and her brothers, and that she had no way of knowing if she liked it or not. She then explained (or should I say "huffed"?) that I "did too" make that dish and that she was "absolutely certain" she'd had it before and she "didn't like it".

If she'd communicated this as a normal, non alien-possessed person, I would have been ok with it. Today her body language, vocal tone, and choice of words all communicated very clearly that SHE. IS. CRABBY.

I understand she's a teenage girl and she's hormonal and emotional, but I truly don't know how to handle these situations yet. As a female, I know what it's like to be crabby, but I just can't deal with the disrespect that goes along with her attitude. After trying to chat with her for a minute, it was clear to me that she just wanted to be rude, so I asked her to please go back up to her bedroom and "try again". I told her to come back down and try to be nice when she greets her family.

She has two opposite personalities, and not much of a range in between. One day she is bubbly, delightful, and a true joy to be around; the next, she is rude, snide, spiteful and a real pain. One day she is talkative and won't let anyone get a word in edgewise, and the next day she barely says a word, even when I ask her a direct question. What gives?

Tonight, I asked her very directly why she was acting the way she was, and I questioned whether she'd had a bad day and wanted to talk about it. She said in a very monotone voice that she "didn't think she was acting any differently" and that "nothing" was wrong.

So I let it go. I do have to say, though, that as a female I tend to let these things get to me. It absolutely sets me on edge.

I take great comfort in knowing this is not a step-mom issue. It's a teenage-girl-in-the-house issue. My husband and I are both dealing with this as new parents, and it's nice to have his company.

Can I please just fast-forward through the next five years until she's a lady? PLEASE???

Monday, April 19, 2010

Double Standard of Living

After a blissful week with my husband (while my step-kids were at their mom's house), Monday reared its ugly head today - the start of a new "kid week" for us.

I think this transition is not only hard on me, but the kids as well. They are switching gears and re-setting their lifestyle every other week, as are my husband and I. I love having them around and I truly enjoy them, but that's not to say things can't get a bit frustrating or complicated from time to time.

Last week, as the kids went to school on Monday morning, it occurred to me that they were scheduled for dentist appointments today. Knowing that I wouldn't see them until after school today, I needed to communicate their appointment information to their mom so she could let them know the plan. At 4pm today, all three kids were to be at the dentist office for their 6 month cleaning/exams. My oldest two step kids are involved in track this spring, and both had practice after school. But... as any parent knows, getting after-school appointments for three kids can be a bit of a scheduling nightmare.

Appointments during school are out of the question for a few reasons, namely that my husband and I both work full-time jobs and it's not feasible for us to just take off for a few hours mid-day to bring the kids to their appointments. Especially when the kids' mom doesn't work and has ample time to do this.

Also, my husband and I are hesitant to allow the kids biological mom to bring them to appointments because the cost of treatment is no object to her. My husband and I are responsible for 100% of the premiums and 89% of everything insurance doesn't cover. I have a feeling all three kids would be in orthodontia if their mom brought them to even one appointment.

So back to last Monday, when I sent a very brief email asking the kids' mom to notify them of their dentist appointments that were taking place today, and reminding the kids to let their track coaches know about the appointment - so they wouldn't get in trouble for missing practice. I finally heard back from the bio-mom on Friday evening and she said simply "I'll let them know". I have no idea why it took her four days to respond, but at least I know my message was received and the kids were aware of the appointments.

This morning at about 8am, I received another email from the bio-mom, stating that my 16-year-old step-son and my 13-year-old step-daughter did not want to go to their dentist appointments, and would instead be attending track practice. She suggested I reschedule for a time that's more convenient to the children, perhaps during school hours or maybe wait until summer vacation to schedule them. My 11-year-old stepson, however, was "looking forward to" his appointment and would like to see the dentist today, as we'd planned all along.

So much for waiting until 4pm for "kid week chaos" to begin...

Overall, today has been frustrating. The point of my email last Monday was to ensure the kids had ample time to prepare for missing track practice and to make sure the appointments could be confirmed with the dentist office the day before they took place. In one email, bio-mom negated my efforts of scheduling, arranging and communicating.

I responded with a very kind message, letting her know that unfortunately the children do not have a choice with regard to these appointments, and asked her to please communicate that they need to be at the dentist's office at 4pm as we'd previously planned and as we confirmed with the office last Friday.

In the end, my 11-year-old step-son and my 13-year-old step-daughter attended their appointments. My 16-year-old step-son declined to attend his appointment (having been given the "ok" by his mom to not go), and instead he went to track.

I will not be rescheduling his appointment. He can wait until next fall when his siblings go again for their 6-month checkup. I know it's unlikely he will die or suffer long-term effects from missing one checkup; that's not what frustrates me. What does frustrate me is that through my entire relationship with my husband and his kids, there have been double standards enforced by the bio-mom. She actually believes there should be (and tries her best to enforce) one set of rules for my husband and myself, while she adheres to a completely different set of standards.

I'm not yet sure how to deal with this issue. It's not the first time I've experienced something like this from the bio-mom, and I'm certain it won't be the last. She is the most inconsistent person I've ever come across, and she has a justification for everything she does, no matter how irrational or inconsistent it might be.

Just like me. Right now. Justifying my frustration. Huh, maybe she and I aren't all that different after all.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Parents Night Out a Possible Cause of IQ Drop in Children

I wouldn't have believed there was a direct correlation between a kid/teenager's IQ and the presence of his/her parents. However, I found this today, after my husband and I had a night out and the kids dined on delivery pizza:

Note: In our home, we emphasize eating healthy and getting proper nutrition. I'd estimate about 90 percent of our dinners are made from scratch, using fresh ingredients and fresh produce. My step-children usually have a glass of juice (no sugar added) with dinner, as my husband and I typically have a glass of red wine with most dinners. On a very very rare occasion, we will buy soda (or "pop" as my MN friends call it) and the kids can have a can/glass.

I picked up a few cans of the soda shown above when they were on sale at our local grocery store. My husband told the kids they could each have a can with their delivery pizza (another rare occurrence in our home).

There are a handful of meal rules we follow, no matter what. One of them is that there is never, ever (did I mention ever?) food or beverages allowed outside of our kitchen/dining area. There are a few reasons for this, but it all boils down to the fact that food belongs at the table; we do not sit in front of the TV watching shows while we have dinner. Also, for reasons that escape me, my step-children are unable to deliver food to their mouths without dropping a ton of it on the floor - this WITH a table under their chins. I'm afraid of what even one living room meal would do to our carpeting.

Anyway, to wake up this morning and see the empty soda can sitting on the oak ledge in our living room - without a coaster - convinced me that, in fact, there was a significant IQ deficit here last night.

My step-kids are very aware of the following:
  1. No food or beverage allowed in the living room
  2. On occasions when we have company, we use coasters when beverages are brought into the living room.
  3. If you fail to follow rule #1 - and subsequently rule #2 - above, maybe - just maybe - it would be smart to REMOVE THE EVIDENCE!
Some things will never make sense to me.

Oh well, it was totally worth it to have a mid-week date night with just my husband and me. We saw a show/concert and had a great time. I guess we'll deal with the sweat rings on our oak ledges after the kids move out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


As a step-mom, uncomfortable situations go with the territory. There are times I'm just plain unsure how to handle them.

In the early days of my relationship with my (now) husband, I was eager to get to know his former wife. After all, she couldn't be too bad of a person if he'd loved her and remained with her for nearly fifteen years, right? So, I dove in. Whenever I would see her, I would attempt to engage her in conversation. I love people; it doesn't matter who it is, most everyone has an interesting life story and I love to hear 'em all. So I tried to get to know her better at every opportunity.

It became increasingly obvious that she really wasn't interested in getting to know me. I didn't take it personally, but I was a bit saddened for her children that she didn't seem to care who I was or what I was about. I was spending so much time with her kids and she didn't seem concerned about who I was or what kind of influence I was on them.

Over the course of my relationship with my husband and his kids, I've had my fair share of trials and head-scratchers where the bio-mom/ex-wife was concerned. She's certainly a unique person and is as unpredictable as the weather. Regardless, it's really not my place to judge her or - at this point - regard her as anything more than my step-kids mom. She's just not my kind of people, if you know what I mean. Even if we didn't have all this "stuff" between us, I doubt very much we'd be friends who'd chat on the phone or go out for coffee.

There are times when mutual acquaintances (usually other parents) approach me and tell me how "weird" or "mean" or "odd" my step-kids biological mom is. No matter who it is approaching me, it always makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I know she's "weird". I know she's "mean". I'm painfully aware how "odd" she is. But it doesn't make me feel good to talk bad about her with other people. It certainly doesn't help anything, and I'm sure it only makes me seem catty and a bit "weird", "mean", and/or "odd" myself. There's just no winning in this situation; either I defend her or I agree with the statements made by others.

On the flip-side, there are some days when the bio-mom has done something so irrational or selfish or mean that I'm practically begging for someone to walk up to me and start a conversation that revolves entirely around how much she sucks. It never happens when I want it to.

For those of you in my position (or even those of you in the bio-mom position), has anyone found a way to combat this awkwardness? Short of moving out of our small-ish city, I'm out of ideas. Is there a tactful response I can use in these situations?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

...And They're Back!

We returned from our Cancun vacation late Monday night/early Tuesday morning. Although we all had a great time, we were ready to come home. My clothes were starting to fit tighter at the belly, and my liver was screaming for its own vacation; there's only so many fruity drinks ones liver can withstand.

All-in-all, the vacation was a success, and I'm glad we decided to take a trip with the kids. We spent a majority of our time at the resort - swimming in the ocean, drinking, lounging by the pool, eating, watching the entertainment/shows, drinking, eating... Did I mention we did a lot of eating and drinking?!?

We reserved two hotel rooms for our vacation; one for my husband and me, and one for his three kids (step-son age 16, step-daughter age 13 and step-son age 11). My step-daughter was none too pleased at the prospect of sharing a room with her brothers for a week, but she was even less pleased at the prospect of staying home in order to have her very own room at her mom's house. So... with no small amount of complaining, she decided to grace us with her presence. Lucky us.

Throughout the week, she made sure to tell us at every opportunity how unhappy she was with the sleeping arrangements. I was determined to ignore her complaining, and would often just break out into song whenever she started to whine. Trolololololololo....

My step-daughter is quite possibly the messiest/sloppiest person I've ever encountered. The state of her bedroom at her dad's and my house is a constant point of contention between us; she feels it's "her room" and she can therefore keep it in whatever state she would like. I (and often her dad) feel that she'll be forever sloppy if we don't help her change this soon. So far, she's won out and her room is a huge disaster at all times. On vacation, however; she took advantage of the room-sharing situation as a way to boss her brothers around. At one point, I actually heard her say, "There is a place for your shoes to be put away, and you need to put them in the appropriate place; this room is a disaster". Now, I'm all for her being neat and orderly and wanting her room to be clean - but COME ON! This is the same girl who leaves a trail of clothes and school items each and every day she walks through our door after school. Not only that, but I walked into the kids' hotel bathroom immediately after she delivered her cleanliness lecture, only to find HER clothes piled three feet tall under the bathroom vanity.

I think it bothers me so much because the kids' mom often delivers double-standard messages to my husband and myself, and I do not want my step-daughter to turn out like that.

Regardless, we were on vacation and I just wanted to hit the pool and read a good book. So I kept my comments to a brief "Wow, would you mind if I went to get my camera and got that statement on video?", to which I received the glare of all glares. No worries, though... it's nothing seventeen Strawberry Daiquiris couldn't fix for me. KIDDING, only kidding! It was only thirteen.

Really, it was a wonderful time. We managed to squeeze in a zip line adventure - something we all really enjoyed, and we swallowed enough saltwater to last until our next visit to the ocean. I'm very glad we went on this vacation as a family. We made memories that will last a lifetime, and as a step-parent who missed out on the early years of these kids' lives, I am glad to have these types of experiences that they can look fondly upon as they age.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

...And They're Off!

As a single gal, I loved nothing more than a good vacation. Sandy beaches, palm trees, fruity cocktails, and a good book were the keys to happiness. Since marrying my husband (and his three kids), vacations are fewer and farther between.

My husband is from a different state about sixteen hours away by car. Most of my "vacations" now involve the five of us driving cross-country to visit relatives. Not that I mind this - his family is wonderful and I really enjoy spending time with them. The down-side is that my frequent tropical vacations have gone to the wayside in favor of the dreaded road trip.

Three kids in the backseat of the car spells all sorts of fun: "Name That Smell" is at the top of the list, followed closely by "Stay in YOUR Space" and "Who Drools Most While Sleeping". Good times...

This year, though, I convinced my dear husband that I am desperately in need of a tropical vacation. After countless hours of research on locations and prices and packages, I found an incredible deal for the family; an eight-day/seven-night all-inclusive stay in sunny Cancun Mexico. This is truly the only way I can imagine traveling with my step-kids; having pay for restaurant meals for three (pre)teens is not my idea of great money management.

My husband is not necessarily excited about this trip (his idea of a vacation is an "adventure" - snowboarding, climbing, rafting). He does understand that sometimes I need to have a "win", so we compromised. I get my sunny vacation... but we bring the children, and include them in the experience. Not that I am against them coming along; but it does change the budget for our vacation.

As of Monday morning, the five of us will be headed out to Cancun for a week of relaxation. I have a stack of books, my iPhone is loaded with movies, and I couldn't be more excited for a vacation!!


Friday, March 5, 2010

"Where's My...!"

That's what I constantly find myself saying: "Where's my (fill in the blank)?!?!"

Ever since moving in with my husband and his children, over three years ago, I started to "lose" things. I'm used to having a stash of my favorite goodies to nosh on when the urge hits me. The urge, I'll admit, is a daily occurrence (sometimes several times a day), and I enjoy having a collection of sweets and treats to choose from. My weakness is chocolate, but in a pinch I'll settle for most anything sweet. Except for those weird Asian candies; have you ever tried those things?!?! BLECH!

Anyway, earlier this week, I went a-huntin' for some Hershey Kisses that I knew were in our pantry. My husband was out of town for work, which meant I got to raid the stash guilt-free and load up on sugar without him being there to remind me of the likelihood I'd end up diabetic... blah, blah, blah. So... I went to the pantry and *GASP* - no chocolate! Hmmm... maybe I'd eaten it all the night before during a sleep-walking quest for sugar. I'm not prone to sleep-walking, but maybe I'd done it...

So I decided to grab a few Twizzlers that were left over from a recent road trip. The bag of Twizzlers was there... but there were NO TWIZZLERS left in it. How is this possible?!?! I would never leave an empty bag/box/carton/container in the pantry. Throwing the empty bag is my means of getting rid of the evidence that I've eaten an entire bag of (insert diabetes-invoking sweet here). In desperation, I grabbed for the gummy bears (also a left-over from the road trip). Again... empty bag. Well, truthfully, the culprit left three or four gummies in the bag, perhaps thinking I wouldn't notice that the other two hundred went missing.

Angry - and with very low blood sugar - I sat on the kitchen floor and stewed. Those rascals ate my ENTIRE stash of sweets.

It's now a few days after the incident, and I'm still a bit ticked off. I know having kids means sacrifice. But I didn't know I'd have to share my candy!!!

Ok, ok, I think I'll live. But the thing that actually does bother me is that someone thought they could just take without asking. That is no ok with me; it never will be. Whether it's stealing money or clothes or personal items or - in this case - my prized candy stash, it's all the same to me; it's all done with the same intent. So how do we (my husband and I) teach this lesson?

I refuse to lock up my candy; in a critical situation, I don't have time to look for the keys!

Where's my sanity?!?!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Rules... Today

After being reminded of my rights last week, I was emailed by the bio-mom this week with questions about my step-daughter's eye doctor appointment. So apparently, I am an appropriate person with whom she can discuss such matters... this week.

What I wish for is consistency on her part. Why is she unable to decide on our level of communication and leave it at that? I am tired of guessing whether or not it's appropriate for me to communicate certain information, but I think I may have found a pattern:
  • Monday = I'm ok to discuss school issues, clothing purchases and lunch accounts
  • Tuesday = no communication allowed; it is not appropriate for me to discuss anything regarding the children
  • Wednesday = I'm ok to discuss only via email, and only regarding clothing purchases
  • Thursday = I'm allowed to transport the children or their items
  • Friday = no communication allowed; it's not appropriate for me to discuss anything regarding the children
  • Saturday = I can send emails regarding the children, but they will not be replied to until early next week. At that time, the level of response depends on the date of the response - not the date the communication was initially sent
  • Sunday = lottery day; depending on what the bio-mom's week has been like, I may or may not be an appropriate communicator of any information regarding the children
That pretty much sums it up. Ok, ok... maybe it's a bit sarcastic, but it does seem like the bio-mom's feelings regarding the level of communication she has with me are truly this random and ridiculous.

It's kind of a fun game. Kind of. Unfortunately, I've lost the rules and I'm playing with a 5-year-old who is deciding on the rules with each shake of the dice. It's hard to keep it all straight in my head.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Being "Reminded" of my Rights

I am so tired of the kids' bio-mom "reminding" me in a very unfriendly way that I have no say about anything having to do with my step-kids.

I cannot encourage or discourage them from participating in activities
I cannot tell them we do not have a budget to pay for every activity they would like to be in
I cannot communicate to the bio-mom that there are fees we've paid, requiring reimbursement
I cannot speak with teachers
I cannot contact the school for any reason
I cannot access the kids' lunch account information to check the balances
I cannot... I cannot... I cannot...

How much TIME does this women have, to be able to govern not only her own household, but mine as well?!?!

Within my home, and within my "family" (my husband, and my three step-kids), I am the keeper of the schedule, the planner of the budget, the doer of the dishes, the cleaner of the floors, the... well, you get the idea.

So to be "reminded" again and again that while I do these things, I shouldn't; and while I do a darned good job at it, it's unappreciated and downright unwelcome, I get frustrated. Not only do I work hard at all of these things, but now I have to defend my labors? Some people have nerve. Or maybe I should say some people have no shame.

After all, I am the one making sure school information is communicated to the bio-mom (conferences, field trips, etc...). If not for me, she might not have that information. I am the one who reminds my husband to put money in the kids' lunch accounts. I am the one who remembers the Jr. High choir concerts come with a requirement for black pants and white shirts. Yet every few months, I'm "reminded" that it is completely inappropriate for me to be doing these things.

Part of me is eternally grateful that my husband's first wife is not normal (or even human), because if she were, they might still be married. So I guess I get what I get, and her craziness and unrealistic expectations come with the territory. I guess that's mainly why I blog. Because even though I "asked for it", sometimes it gets to be too much crazy for me to contain in my head, and I just have to let it all out.

So I do my best to remain the "silent partner" in my marriage. Of course, I'll never stop discussing issues with my husband (poor guy is always stuck in the middle; it's like he juggling two wives sometimes) and voicing my opinion when it comes to how things are handled within my home. I'll keep plugging along, until the next "reminder" shows up, and I'll have to - yet again - justify in writing why I do what I do.