Looking for opinions, advice...

Anne - posted on 12/31/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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Okay... This may get long-winded, but I'm looking for honest opinions. Let me first explain that I have three kids from my first marriage, but also have a 6 year old stepdaughter. I DO understand that being a stepmom is sometimes not the easiest job in the world, but I am very fortunate that the BM in my case is someone I've actually come to like after getting to know her. As a matter of fact, when something needs to be done concerning my stepdaughter, she prefers to communicate with me about whatever it is rather than with my husband. We have a great relationship that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.



All that being said, here is my issue. My children's father has been remarried for about a year and a half now. We have just concluded a custody battle that has taken almost two years. Here's a quick rundown on the custody issue... In December of 2007 he filed a motion for emergency custody based on a material change in circumstances. His claims were that I was living with someone I was not married to, that we were both drug addicts, and that we had no water or electricity in our home. True enough, my husband and I were not married at the time, and my husband did have a history of some not so wise decisions in his younger days. There were no issues with our utilities, but since I was served less than 12 hours before I had to appear in court, there was no way to gather the documents to prove that in time. Long story short on that part, he was granted temporary custody.



Let me point out that he had the kids future stepmom living with him on and off for roughly a year and a half before this happened, but moved her out about a month before filing. From the time he got the kids he would make overtures, implying that if I would do certain things for him, I would see the kids when I wanted, not have to pay child support, etc. Needless to say, he was turned down. In the meantime, the future stepmom would go around telling people (including my own family) that I kept trying to sleep with him. Funny, considering that the day he told me they were getting married he made the comment that things should be okay between the two of them as long as he didn't have the opportunity to be alone with me. Which was thoroughly inappropriate on his part but not particularly surprising. What made it even more appalling was that he said it in earshot of my husband.



After their marriage, she decided that she had control of my kids. They would not allow any kind of regular visitation (unless they wanted to go to the bar and needed a babysitter) and many times would not answer the phone when I tried to call the kids. When I would try to get in touch with him, she would go ballistic and tell me that if I needed something about the kids that I could deal with her, because she didn't want me talking to him.



Let me explain that had she even been DECENT to my kids, I could have tolerated most of her crap. But she couldn't even do that. She would fawn over them in public, even making posts on her FB about HER kids, but treated them horribly when she thought no one would see. The two of them transferred the kids to another school, where she acted as though SHE was their mother.



I ended up regaining custody after all of the turbulence (two years and $12,000 later) and thought that maybe things would calm down after all of their lies had been proven to be totally untrue. But it has only continued and possibly gotten worse. The day I went to pick the kids up I told their father that they would need to send a few school uniforms, as I was picking them up on a Thursday afternoon and they had school the next morning. The few uniforms they sent were received with grease rubbed into them and holes cut in them.



Here is my latest run-in with her though... I went to the courthouse yesterday to pick up their first child support payment. When I got there, the clerk asked me if they needed to change their records, as the last names did not match. Even though I am remarried, I chose to keep the same last name as my children. I told the clerk that what was on their records was correct, and the last name on the check was my husband's last name, not mine. When I left the courthouse I sent the stepmom a message (she was the one who wrote the check) with this exact text-"Just picked up the check. For future reference though, my last name is still Thornhill. Thanks." Her reply was to tell me if I sent her another message I would be charged with harassment.



I'm not exactly sure what to do about her. She's evil to my kids, she does her best to thwart any efforts their dad and I make to get along, and she makes things as difficult as she possibly can. I would really appreciate any insight any of you may have as to what I can do to remedy this. I look forward to your responses.

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9 Comments

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Anne - posted on 01/07/2010

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I thoroughly agree. I grew up without my dad and know how it affects me even now that I am an adult. Which I suppose is why I'm so angry with the whole situation. I'm trying my hardest to get along with him whether I want to or not because I don't want my babies to be emotionally torn as I was.



I definitely agree with the statement about reaping what you sow also. I have learned this the hard way, and karma can sometimes be a real bitch. When you see things come full circle enough times it makes you a believer, and will definitely make you reassess and change your ways! I know I did!

Jennifer - posted on 01/06/2010

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It's why I suggest counseling. You need the unbiased 3rd party in court. An adult that has no ties to the Jerry Springer moments.

Me and my husband have learned and accepted we can not control what goes on at BMs house. We are simply there for the kids. It is hard for my hubby knowing decisions he had no part of MAY hurt the kids. I stress may because you never know what a child will deam hurtful when they become adults.

I am comforted with the saying ...you reap what you sow...

So no matter the conflicts between bm/and I... when one of the kids vent about her... I cover with...your mommy loves you. Cause at the end of the day even if I don't agree with her I know she loves them.

They kids will hold me and my husband accountable for our actions and decisions as they will hold their mom and stepdad. That belief and faith in god get us through the rough times.

Anne - posted on 01/06/2010

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Jennifer,



I certainly understand where you are coming from in your comment, and in most cases it definitely takes two. Where our whole situation becomes complicated though is in events that took place before my ex and I were divorced that tied in with things that happened between her and her ex.



Where am I not perfect in all of this? Here's the rundown... I am on my third marriage. The second was an absolute rebound and an absolute mistake. I didn't want to be alone and married someone much younger who was great with the kids, but sucked at marriage. Not that I was that great during that one, considering that the kids' dad and I continued to see each other on and off through my entire second marriage. That situation stopped when I had gotten divorced and had started seeing the man I am married to now. Which seriously pissed off the kids' dad, and started the whole attempt he made to try to change custody.



As far as the issues with the stepmom, she and I have had issues ever since her ex cheated on her with a friend of mine, who was a coworker of all of ours. Shortly after that, a guy she had been cheating on him with hit on me. I had nothing to do with him, but she was still highly pissed about it, blamed me instead of him, etc. There is long standing animosity there that has nothing to do with my children, and it pisses me off beyond belief that she would take out her problems with me on my kids. They are the only ones innocent is this whole Jerry Springer special.



I am a stepmom myself. I understand how hard a role it is. But I also know that it is the birth parent's place to sort out what needs to be done for the sake of the kids. I don't interfere in dealings between my husband and his ex involving my SD, nor do I allow him to get in between me and my ex involving my three. I consult my SD's mom before doing ANYTHING she may possibly disagree with, and most of the time I end up talking to her about it more than I talk to my husband.



Have I ever been rude to her or confronted her? Yes, in such instances as her yanking the phone from my daughter's hand while we were talking, or when she left my son (who is 8) alone in the house with her 12 year old while she went somewhere 45 minutes away, or when she signed to have one daughter's ears pierced the day after the other daughter was diagnosed with a staph infection (all three kids are made to sleep together while at their dad's house.) So no, I have not been all sweetness and light. Nor will I be as long as she treats my kids the way she does. If my husband treated them that way, his ass would be out the door so fast his head would spin. She has not yet had the balls to try anything that would be considered physical abuse, but she has narrowly avoided psychological abuse and/or neglect. And the minute she lays a hand on them she will wish she had never met any of us.

Jennifer - posted on 01/06/2010

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If she is harming the kids report her to CPS. If it can't be reported to CPS then it's probably not something that is going to remove visitation.



I also want to say I find it difficult to believe it's all the stepmom. I am a stepmom. I find that it takes 2 to tango and to disagree. I have had disagreements with my BM and some have been 100% me while others have not.



I'm not saying that the things she has done are right by any means, but you are acting like she is 100% at fault and you have no blame.



Focus on what you can control. Get the kids a counselor and let the counselor start documenting their concerns.



You state you are far from perfect and you are first to admit it. You have admitted no flaws or errors in your ways.



Again let me state that I'm not saying the majority isn't the her fault..I find it difficult to believe that you have had no role to play in the disinegration of the relationship between you, your ex, and the stepmom.









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Anne - posted on 01/06/2010

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I never considered taking them to talk to the judge, but that sounds like a great idea. The GAL in our case had recommended counseling, but my ex refuses. He apparently thinks it's a sign of weakness. Or maybe he's afraid of finding out that he is NOT perfect. (I'm far from it myself, but will readily admit it! :)) I am so thankful to have ended up on this board with people that not only have good advice to give, but who can also show me that not all the stepmoms out there are evil! Of course, my own stepmom was pretty awesome, but that's another story.

Amanda - posted on 01/06/2010

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I think you should take them back to court and suggest counseling for the children as well as parenting counsling for everyone above. This will show the courts that you are trying to make things work and then you have documentation on how crazy the woman is when you start telling the counsler all the issues as well as when the counselor sees her acting crazy. Because it sounds like the woman is brave, so she will act a fool. Then once the counslor is involved she can make the suggestion on how visitation should work and the courts will listen to her.

Renee - posted on 01/06/2010

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Arrange a meeting for your daughters and the judge that handled the case. Let the girls tell the judge how they feel and what is going on. You stay out of the room let it be just the girls and the judge. My friend pretty much delt with the same thing you are going through and she arranged a meeting with the judge an her kids. By the time her kids were done talking to the judge, the SM had to stay somewhere else while the kids visited their dad. their dad also noticed a change in the kids when they were with him and eventually wised up and left the SM. Hope this helps

Anne - posted on 01/05/2010

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I'm not really sure if I could get a restraining order on her or not. And honestly, I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't comply anyhow. She seems to have him pretty well fooled. I've tried to talk to him, the kids have tried to talk to him... It's a never ending battle, it seems. The kids will tell him the things she has said to them and the things she has done, and his response is always that I have convinced them to lie about her. I'm really at wit's end. My daughters told me yesterday morning that they don't want to be at his house on school nights anymore. But at this point, I can't afford to go back to court AGAIN to modify visitation. Any ideas?

Debbie - posted on 01/05/2010

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Gosh! It's SM's like that that give the rest of us the bad name. I have no idea what to do n your situation, exept document everything (which you probably are) and pray to god that he see's sense. It sounds like he does love the kids, just wait for him to wake up. With all your documentation, should you be able to go back to court and get a restraining order put on her toward the kids?



Good luck :)

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