Issues with the mother of my step-kids.

Jenn - posted on 03/26/2009 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I'm a wee bit frustrated. I feel as though my step-kids mom takes advantage of me. The boys come over each weekend and she has the worst habit of sending her kids over in completely filthy clothes and extra filthy clothes in their backpacks for them to wear when they're here. I've tried talking to her about it but it's as if she just expects me to wash all her kids clothes and send them home in clean ones. Everyone tells me I should just send them back in the same clothes she sends but I feel like a bad parent if I do that. What should I do?

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Lisa - posted on 04/01/2009

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I totally understand your situation.  My Step kids used to come over with clothes soaked in cat pee, always smelled of cat pee.  Stains all over everything.  Hair never brushed...so I used to have nice clothes with me so they could wear them here, and then wear the outfit they came in home.  Then they went to school.  Well.  I used to wash and iron all their clothes for a week, put them in rubbermaid container and keep them at her place, but not where it stunk.  That was quite a chore.   Now they live here.  But, she is still dirty.   It is tough to see them like that, and it is hard to deal with. 

User - posted on 03/31/2009

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I have been on both sides of this fence.  I used to send my kids to their dads wearing their best clothes.  I just got sick and tired of the complete oposite happening.  My kids would leave all shiny and looking like they stepped out of the sears catalouge, and come home looking like they just left skid row, in different clothes.  After spending loads of money to replace clothes that they wore a few times and never saw them again I got wise.  Now I send them in their school uniforms or matching sweats.  They are clean but only cost about $30 between the 3 of them.  If they don't come back i don't really mind but I am pretty sure their dad and stap mom got the hint. 



On the other side my step daughter who used to live with her mom until we got custody, used to visit us and the same kind of thing was going on.  She would show up with no change of clothes and the ones she had on were rags. We bought her new clothes and made sure she kept them at our home, and she would return wearing the clothes she came in, just a bit cleaner.

[deleted account]

My SD's mom was actually taking her clothes and wearing them to only God knows where, so i couldn't, but I always washed them and made sure they were clean.

Christine - posted on 03/31/2009

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I have a similar situation, but not to that extreme. Sometimes the clothes that my ss comes over in are not the cleanest, because of the bio mom, because of my 3 yr old ss, or a mix of the both. I have kept a stock of the clothes that she sends him in. Baiscally, I send him back in clothes that I may not care if i never see them again. That gives me time to wash the clothes he came over in, so i don't have to do a special load, and the next time i send him back, i send him in the fresh clean clothes.

[deleted account]

It's not being a bad mother at all to send them back in the same clothes.  We have custody of my Step daughter now, but we went through that for a while.  You have to just hang in there and do the best you can for them.  They will realize if they don't already who dresses them and keeps them nice and clean.

Polly - posted on 03/31/2009

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despite her behavior, you should know that you ARE doing the right thing. if she is doing this maliciously rest assure that you are the victim of jealousy, immaturity, spite, and regret. her behavior only speaks to who she is as a person (probably why she is the ex). You should continue to be who you are and do what you do! The kids will look to you for what is right as they mature because they see you doing the right thing. sometimes people do things like this so that they can get under your skin and if you justify that with some response (regardless of HOW you may respond) she is still getting what she was looking for!

Polly - posted on 03/31/2009

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despite her behavior, you should know that you ARE doing the right thing. if she is doing this maliciously rest assure that you are the victim of jealousy, immaturity, spite, and regret. her behavior only speaks to who she is as a person (probably why she is the ex). You should continue to be who you are and do what you do! The kids will look to you for what is right as they mature because they see you doing the right thing. sometimes people do things like this so that they can get under your skin and if you justify that with some response (regardless of HOW you may respond) she is still getting what she was looking for!

Polly - posted on 03/31/2009

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despite her behavior, you should know that you ARE doing the right thing. if she is doing this maliciously rest assure that you are the victim of jealousy, immaturity, spite, and regret. her behavior only speaks to who she is as a person (probably why she is the ex). You should continue to be who you are and do what you do! The kids will look to you for what is right as they mature because they see you doing the right thing. sometimes people do things like this so that they can get under your skin and if you justify that with some response (regardless of HOW you may respond) she is still getting what she was looking for!

Melanie - posted on 03/31/2009

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I agree with the mom's house clothes and your house clothes idea. It kills me to but new clothes and have them disappear. After a few weeks of getting those dirty clothes back at the end of the weekend, she's stop sending them and do her own laundry.

[deleted account]

My SD's BM told my husband he had to provide everything for SD for our once a month visits (we live about 8 hours away so we stay in hotels) from toothbrush, toothpaste, to clothes, underwear. I think her attorney pointed it out to her that she looked bad by demanding he provide everything for such short visits. BM now sends everything though occasionally she will "forget" stuff like enough clean underwear and socks or a brush for SD's hair. I think when SD is here for longer periods in the summer we will have to take her shopping for things for our house. Thanks for the advice ladies!

Valerie - posted on 03/30/2009

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we have our boys 4 days and she has them 4 days - we send them to her in our clothes and when they come back they come back in the same clothes we sent them in.  I too got tired of her sending them looking like they come from an orphanage! 

Amy - posted on 03/30/2009

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Quoting Katie:

my husband's 3 boys live with us during the week and see their mom on the weekends, she is similarly bad at keeping them in presentable clothes. When they come home from their mom's house on Sunday afternoons they all take their clothes off right away and put them into a plastic bag that they immediately take down to the washroom. Sometime during the week I wash that load and set it aside, then on Friday morning they put the 'mom's house clothes' (that's what we call them too =) on and she picks them up after school. Every once in a while I can't send them to school in what she has sent them home in, but that's no big deal really.

(I just have to add this b/c I think many of you will understand, last week she apparently didn't have a clean pair of pants for my oldest step-son so she sent him home in a pair of her old jeans cut off at the bottom!! Poor kid, he thought he was going to have to wear 'lady jeans' to school the following Friday...I wouldn't do that to him though, so we just sacrificed a pair of pants from here...she's crazy!!)



Poor boy.  I understand how you feel.  My ss's live with us during the week and everyother weekend as well.  The BM has made it a habit to send the 7 yr old home with no socks.  Happened 4 times in a row.  When I mentioned it , the next time she brought them home he was in a pair of lavender socks adult sized.    I thought of making an issue out of this but, after reading all these responses, I feel the need to just let it go.  Thanks Ladies!!!!!  (oh not to mention sending him home in black heavy cordaroy pants 2 sizes too big when it's 80 degrees outside).

Heather - posted on 03/29/2009

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good luck hun at least she sends dirty ones my fiances ex sends them in clothes that dont fit and doesnt send any extra.. but i dunno girl keep doing what ur doing they will grow up and realise how much you do for them..

[deleted account]

my husband's 3 boys live with us during the week and see their mom on the weekends, she is similarly bad at keeping them in presentable clothes. When they come home from their mom's house on Sunday afternoons they all take their clothes off right away and put them into a plastic bag that they immediately take down to the washroom. Sometime during the week I wash that load and set it aside, then on Friday morning they put the 'mom's house clothes' (that's what we call them too =) on and she picks them up after school. Every once in a while I can't send them to school in what she has sent them home in, but that's no big deal really.

(I just have to add this b/c I think many of you will understand, last week she apparently didn't have a clean pair of pants for my oldest step-son so she sent him home in a pair of her old jeans cut off at the bottom!! Poor kid, he thought he was going to have to wear 'lady jeans' to school the following Friday...I wouldn't do that to him though, so we just sacrificed a pair of pants from here...she's crazy!!)

Rachel - posted on 03/27/2009

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I just joined Circle of Moms and have several issues with the BM. It can get very trying and annoying, but I just have to keep reminding myself that I can only be the best parent I can when my step-kids are in my home. I can't control them when they are at their BM, I can't have any input on how unkept they are going to school everyday...I could keep going. All I know is that these two girls will never know a time that I wasn't involved in their lives and that I have always loved them unconditionally and have done everything I can to make them better and know that the best will always be wanted for them...at least when they are with myself and their father :)

Di - posted on 03/27/2009

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Quoting Jenn:



Quoting Di:

Please Jenn, I really object to the term evil. I have had it levelled at me plenty of times except it was step not bio. I know she isn't doing the right thing by her child, but that doesn't make her evil.





I didn't really mean she is "evil", I just mean that some of the things she does seem evil.  I'll change it to manipulative...  Seems more appropriate. 






Thanks Jenn, I appreciate that :-)

Francesca - posted on 03/27/2009

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the reason why we started dressin the boys in our clothes was because their bio mums clothes r terrible!!! too short, not warm enough,dirty,and smelly she hates the fact we change them and makes out the boys do 2!!! (they love choosing wat 2 wear.She said that we should buy some clothes as present for the oldest so he could come to ours in them so he doesnt need 2 change, but some times she wouldn't return them or they smelt cos she never washes them. we have now stopped it!!

Amber - posted on 03/27/2009

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I went through this exact thing also, just wash the outfit that the child is going to wear home and leave the clothes in the backpack dirty, you dont need to do her laundry, do u keep clothing at your house for the child? if so tell her there is no need for her to bring the dirty laundry, if you keep washing the clothes she will expect you too keep doing what you are doing and keep washing them, just get some clothes for your house and tell her to stop bringing over the clothes and if she doesnt then just let the clothes go back home dirty and put him in the washed outfit he came in.

Amber - posted on 03/27/2009

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That is what we do too.  One of my SD's lives with us and one lives with BM.  We keep clothes here and BM doesn't send any.  I usually do wash the outfit she wore here on Fri though so she can put it back on clean to go home in on Sun.  However, BM does not keep clothes for the one that lives with us at her house so I have to send a bag (clean clothes of course) with her but she never washes any of it when SD comes back on Sun I have to wash all the clothes.  We used to have problems with all the clothes coming back but I have told her she needs to bring everything back so she has them here for school and she is 12 now so usually remembers to bring it all back.

Jenn - posted on 03/27/2009

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Yeah, that sounds like a plan.  I'm not going tohave her expect me to do all her laundry for her.  I do have a dresser full of clothes for the boys so I think I will do that, "Mom clothes" and "Here clothes" thing.  Great idea!!!  Thanks!

Megan - posted on 03/27/2009

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I agree with Francesca. My SSs stopped bringing a bag with clothes about 4 years ago. We have our own clothes. They change out of "Mom Clothes" after first night's bath and wear our underwear/pjs/clothes for the rest of the weekend. We also bought winter coats and accessories for our house since they often fly out of their Mom's house without these things.



After bath on Sunday they put "Mom Clothes" back on. This has made our lives easier! We have a basket in their room for all "Mom house" items and at the end of the weekend we stick everything, jackets, I-pods, phones, etc. in a shopping bag and send it with the kids. This is somewhat annoying b/c I believe clothing the kids is supposed to be something done with Child Support money, but it has made my life easier. That way you can choose whether or not to launder the kids Mom Clothes. But , if not at least they are in clean clothes all weekend. Next time Mom hands you a backpack full of dirty clothes you can say "No Thanks, we'll take care of clothing them this weekend." I recommend though that you by different brands of socks and underwear and put names in all of your clothes. It makes sorting easier!

Ashley - posted on 03/27/2009

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Quoting Cynthia:

Having raised a stepson who is now 21, I can honestly say that the best thing I ever did (aside from give him unconditional love) is never to criticize or try to play "games" with his mother, even though she made it a constant habit. When you stay above the fray - no matter how trying it can be - you will never find yourself in a position where you have to explain your actions to your (step)child. My (step)son is now 21 and he absolutely knows the games his mother played - he saw them without me ever having to bring it up. Our relationship is wonderful, because he knows that I put his interests first even when it meant biting my tongue over and over and over . . .


..... even when it is bleeding...



Well said Cynthia. My SD is 18 and I think I know where you are coming from.

Jenn - posted on 03/27/2009

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Quoting Di:

Please Jenn, I really object to the term evil. I have had it levelled at me plenty of times except it was step not bio. I know she isn't doing the right thing by her child, but that doesn't make her evil.


I didn't really mean she is "evil", I just mean that some of the things she does seem evil.  I'll change it to manipulative...  Seems more appropriate. 



I have ended up buying things for just here, such as church clothes and all that, since when I'd ask her to send over "nice clothes", we'd end up with ripped jeans and stained shirts.  I guess I shouldn't really be so upset over this, it's just that you'd figure a mother would have more respect for her kids and how they appear to others in public since they represent you as parents.  I just can't stand seeing those kids get such a short end of this stick when I see her with new items all the time...  It's not hard to put that purse you want back to buy socks and underpants for your kids instead.

Francesca - posted on 03/27/2009

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Buy clothes for your house only change them before they leave, that way you dont need to worry. thats wat we do x

Di - posted on 03/27/2009

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Please Jenn, I really object to the term evil. I have had it levelled at me plenty of times except it was step not bio. I know she isn't doing the right thing by her child, but that doesn't make her evil. It just means like everyone else, she is trying to come to terms with the abnormal situation she finds herself in. Hey at least she sends clothes, my sd's used to line up every weekend with no clothes. I learnt very early to keep the clothes with us so that they had some clothes. If the girls were brought new clothes they went to their mums place and that was the last we saw of them. Maybe as they are with you every weekend, go and get them other clothes that stay at your place. When she picks them up you can joyfully hand her back the bag that she packed, complete with the grimy stinking clothes. Just make sure that you smile the nicest smile when you hand back the bag and say don't worry about sending clothes next week, they have there own clothes here. Its an easy solution that puts it back firmly in her hands.

Sherri - posted on 03/27/2009

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Quoting Jenn:



Thanks so much for your help ladies.  I understand how things are now.  I will continue to be a great SM to them and try my hardest not to let the evil BM annoy me... Lol, we all know how easy that is! 






jen - you sound like a model for step moms.  You're doing the right thing - taking care of the kids and using places like this to vent rather than in front of the kids!

Jenn - posted on 03/26/2009

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Thanks so much for your help ladies.  I understand how things are now.  I will continue to be a great SM to them and try my hardest not to let the evil BM annoy me... Lol, we all know how easy that is! 

Cynthia - posted on 03/26/2009

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Believe me when I say I feel your pain - my ex's first wife came over to our house one time and took a picture off the wall! (She walked right up to it and said - "Oh, that's really mine." She used to bring my son home with none of the clothes we had sent, failed to feed him dinner, used to tell him she was taking him to Disney the next week (imagine his disappointment when it never happened), that she had gone to court and he was moving back in with her, . . . always leaving me to pick up the pieces of his broken heart. All I can say is "hang in there", take a lot of deep breaths, and remember that the welfare of this innocent child was put in your hands for a reason. If you keep doing the right things for him it will come back to you 100 fold (and if she keeps playing games the same will be said in reverse for her).

Jenn - posted on 03/26/2009

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I'm the first oneto get things for the boys when they need them.  If it was upto the BM, they'd be i size 4 underwear still (one is 6 and the other is 8)!!  It just makes me so mad when I open their bags to find urine covered underwear and shirts covered in grime.  I'm trying so hard not to let it bother me but that smug look I get each time she hands me their bags just brings my blood to a boil.  It's as if she's just too lazy to do a load of laundry before they come...

Cynthia - posted on 03/26/2009

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Having raised a stepson who is now 21, I can honestly say that the best thing I ever did (aside from give him unconditional love) is never to criticize or try to play "games" with his mother, even though she made it a constant habit. When you stay above the fray - no matter how trying it can be - you will never find yourself in a position where you have to explain your actions to your (step)child. My (step)son is now 21 and he absolutely knows the games his mother played - he saw them without me ever having to bring it up. Our relationship is wonderful, because he knows that I put his interests first even when it meant biting my tongue over and over and over . . .

Jennifer - posted on 03/26/2009

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I would keep doing what you are doing!  Just remember you are washing the cloths for the children not the BM!  I have the same situation but my SS comes with his jackets smelling like cat pee.  I just do my best for him. 

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