co-parenting with my kids step mkther

Ashley - posted on 09/25/2015 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I'm looking for questions I need to ask my kids step mother when we attend court. I'm having a hard time wording them, also looking for some advice as to how much more I can do to reach out to her so we can successfully co-parent and raise chideren.

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Jodi - posted on 09/25/2015

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"why does she feel it is okay (and in the kids best interest) to provide care for them when their father isn't around but not have contact or communication with me, as a mom that makes me feel uncomfortable."

Before I elaborate on this one, can I ask who provides care to the children when it is your turn to have them if you can't be there?

I also want to point out that the question you have posed here is actually quite confronting - by asking in this way you are immediately putting her on the back foot. This isn't a question that shows you are "reaching out", but rather, quite accusatory. It isn't HER that feels it is ok and in the kids best interests, it is your EX that feels it is ok. Don't blame her for this. If he doesn't have the balls to make a decision in relation to your children, then that is an issue HE has, not her.

To be quite honest, the step mother won't be allowed to have a say in court, and your questions to her will be pretty much irrelevant.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/25/2015

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You're actually co parenting with your ex, not his wife. Yes, it is a great idea for you all to be on the same page, and in agreement, but the reality of the situation is that any decisions regarding the children will need to be made by you and your ex. If you can all work together (you, ex, his wife and your partner) it will definitely make the kids lives easier.
Why do you feel that you need to ask HER questions? Why is your ex not addressing things? She's not going to be allowed to go before the judge, except as support for her husband, and the judge isn't going to take her into account in deciding for the arrangements for the kids.
I do think it is best if everyone get along, but I hope you understand that it may not happen that way...Is she demanding to be fully consulted about everything?

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Raye - posted on 09/28/2015

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I am a step-mom of two. My husband has primary custody, but the mom is a big part of their lives. She and I are civil to each other when we're together and make small-talk, but we do not discuss care of the kids. My husband and her make the decisions. It's not that I'm against speaking to her about it if she were to bring it up, but it's not my place. My place is to help raise the kids how my husband decides to raise them and be on the same page with him.

I know my husband and his ex have differing parenting styles sometimes, and that happens in many families. It's not my business to tell her how to raise the kids in her home, and it's not her place to tell us how to raise them in ours. Generally it is better if we can agree on most things, so it's not such an adjustment for the kids to go back and forth, but it's unrealistic to think that we'll agree on everything. As long as I am on the same page as my husband, there doesn't need to be any co-parenting between me and the kids' mother. If there's an emergency or something that I think the mother should know immediately, I will inform her. But all other things I talk to my husband about and suggest that he speak with her if he feels it needs to be discussed with the mom.

Your ex should have confidence enough to work with you on any issues regarding the kids, although I feel that he should also communicate with his wife to make sure there's no conflict and keep her in the loop. She is his wife after all and the kids' step-mom. I'm fond of a saying called "not my circus, not my monkeys" where the bio-parents are the ringleaders of the circus. The mom directs the action in her ring. The dad directs the action in his. If they're not focusing on their own acts, and trying too much to control everything, then the whole show suffers and the tent comes crashing down. Being the step-mom, I am the father's assistant and help him as necessary. I love the little monkeys and help train them, but I leave it up to the parental ringleaders to come up with the rules of the show.

Who was ordered to take the parent coordination class? All of you? If so, then I would direct questions at both of them in such a way as to not be confrontational with either of them. Say something like, "I feel that none of us should have any unease about discussing the children's care. Do you have any suggestions on how we can open the lines of communication so that we're all more comfortable speaking with each other." If she still wants to stay on the sidelines, don't take it personally. Trust that their father and her have things under control in their home. Work more on communication with him so that you feel more at ease. Let him know (by words and action) it's not a competition between you and her, and maybe he'd wouldn't feel so anxious about it.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/26/2015

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Well, knowing that your ex is being spineless explains things, but the new wife isn't going to have any say in any court dealings you have. The judge will only consider the biological parents. He's going to have to man up and speak for himself.
As far as her caring for the kids while dad 'isn't around' (I'm assuming for work), I don't see anything wrong with that. After all, you aren't with your kids 24/7 when they are with you, due to work commitments, etc, and you have someone else care for them, correct? Is that person in communication with their father while they are caring for the children? There's really no difference there. The children need to be cared for, and if the parents are at work, someone else must be the caregiver.
This boils down to your ex not wishing to make an effort at communication. He needs to be the one to communicate with you. Yes, it would be nice if she would as well, but it's not up to her, it's up to him.

Ashley - posted on 09/25/2015

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My ex has a problem speaking for himself. When she is around, he and I don't speak, our communication is -5 and he can't make a decision without her opinion. But when she isn't around he acts as if he's my best friend. This has been going on for 2 years now. I've tried numerous times to reach out to her (when I feel it isn't even my place to do so) and get turned down every chance. As far as questions, there for our parent coordination class were ordered to take such as: why does she feel it is okay (and in the kids best interest) to provide care for them when their father isn't around but not have contact or communication with me, as a mom that makes me feel uncomfortable.

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