Alicia - posted on 09/17/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )
I am having a problem recently with my 8 year old step-daughter and step-son. We are actually very close and I love them as much as if I had had them myself. I feel like their mother is constantly trying to edge me out, though - and without putting the kids on the spot, I am not sure how to handle it.
For example, this week, we picked them up from their mother's and I noticed that my daughter's fingernail polish was all chipped up. I offered to redo them - and she told me no. The next day, her brother had forgotten something there, so we drove them over there to pick it up. Lydia ran in the house long enough to tell her mother hello. Her mother paints her nails while she is in there and sends Lydia back to the car with wet nails. Yesterday, she asked me to do her nails, because they are, again, all chipped up. I told her I would redo them. Her brother has a soccer game tonight. Since this is our week with the kids, we are taking them to the game, but her mother will be there. Her mother wanted to bring the stuff to the game and do her nails and got upset with her when Lydia told her that I was already going to do them.
I was helping Lydia with a school project that required photos this week as well. She had several of both families that she wanted to use. Her mom also knew about the project and sent photos to school for Lydia to use instead - so now, instead of there being both families in the project, there is just her mother's.
She used to enjoy crafting with me, but doesn't want to do that anymore either because she is afraid that her mom will get upset. Her mom actually threw a fit last Valentine's day. She was sending store bought cards, so I made a craft with the kids for them that would complement the cards. Her mother told them that I was just trying to take something away from her and should find my own holidays to celebrate with them. The same thing at Easter. They were with US for Easter - celebrating it with their dad and they were afraid to dye Easter eggs.
Nathan has started soccer. They went to Canada with their mother during picture week. She didn't tell us she came back early, so we didn't have the opportunity to order pictures. We went to the game and the coach handed us the pictures. I wrote down the re-order code so we could get some, too. She even got angry about that and accused my husband of rifling through her things when the code was clearly visible through the plastic overwrap.
It doesn't matter what we want to do with them, or whose parenting time they are sharing, they are afraid to do anything with us (and me in particular). It's not the same with their step-father, though. They have been shooting with him and built a playhouse with him, camping etc. These are all things their dad wanted to do with them first, but hasn't made a big deal out of it. There is no talking to their mom - so adult communication is not an option. How do I deal with my feelings that I am (and my husband) are being left out of important events in the kids lives without making them feel like I am trapping them in the middle?