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!!

1 comment:

  1. So, how did your trip turn out? I've been thinking of you!!!