Need advice on how to approach biological mom

Mommabird - posted on 03/16/2015 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Im the stepmom of 17 mth old twins. The bio mom and my husband had a one night stand during our separation and we've been working together to co parent since we got back together and found out he was the father. There is no legal paperwork on visitation, child support or anything. All of it was worked out between themselves when the twins were 4 mths old. We've had them every other weekend and 2 days the other weeks until a few mths ago...now we have them Wednesday through Monday every 2 weeks. My husbands schedule at work changed and he works opposite weekends we have them now. I love them like my own and do not have a problem having them here even when hes gone but I have health issues and dont feel capable of handling twins plus our two children for a whole weekend by myself. I have pain 24/7 and Dr's cant find whats causing it, which makes me think its fibromyalgia or something like it. I have memory issues, migraines, pain in my muscles and joints, and anxiety. Oh and i dont sleep well...wake up every 2 hrs even when I take melatonin. Sorry im just trying to give as much info thats necessary. My question is this...how should my husband approach her in asking for a better schedule so hubby is here when theyre here to take care of them. Were both leery about it to begin with because she has stated in the past that she doesnt want to switch weekends because she has a 5 yr old who goes to his dads the same weekend and she needs her free weekends for rest and sanity. I need to mention the fact she lives with her parents and her mom watches the twins on a daily basis (while she works or goes out)so she never has the children by herself. We have to be careful how we word things with her or she gets mad and defensive. But she is a selfish person and we dont know how to approach her to make her think about how we feel...or how the twins might feel, since they have to spend most their time with me instead of daddy. We need suggestions. Any advice is welcome...im open minded.

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Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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Thank you Raye. ..and I agree with your advice. I will refer to some of your wordings when I bring this to their attention. As to why I put up with it...I've been told by family members its because im an unselfish person living amongst selfish people...and that's exactly why my health is taking me to the grave! I focus on everyone else's needs and happiness before my own. So im miserable...and exhausted...and fed up....but the kids are happy and that's what I try to preserve. Thanks again everyone for the input and point of views.

Raye - posted on 03/17/2015

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You don't know what the courts are going to award for child support. It's not like it's cut and dry that 2 kids = $X amount. It is decided based on what they feel he can afford. Now, their idea of what he can afford vs. what you feel he can afford may be different, and they may want him to pay more. But he chose to have sex with this woman and that resulted in kids. So, he needs to deal with it.

You must be either really strong or really stupid to put up with the bullshit and stay with this man. Okay, so you were separated when he had sex with her... but, if you were trying to work it out, then he should have still honored his marriage vows and not fooled around. So, he fooled around... that's one thing, but he also was irresponsible regarding using protection and got her pregnant. That's avoidable and stupid. And he's still wanting to dodge his responsibilities and make you deal with the fall-out. Wow!

He needs to get custody/visitation set up in court. He needs to pay his child support. The mother needs to make it so his visitation days are days he will actually spend time with the children. It's not about HER, it's about the best interest of the children and that is to have a relationship with their father. They can't do that if he's not there.

Not trying to be mean, because I am a step-mom too, but you are nobody in this situation. It's not your circus, not your monkeys. He got himself in that situation and you need to step-back and let them get it straightened out. Not saying that you shouldn't support him and help him out, but you should not be de-facto babysitter because your husband and his baby-mama can't talk to each other. They need to act civilly toward each other, because they're in each other's lives forever now. They both need to grow up.

Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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I won't disagree that he is an ass...but I'm getting the brunt of this arrangement and I don't know how to get out of it...without leaving. Our 2 children were miserable when we separated and I don't wanna go through that again.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/17/2015

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The thing is, if your husband doesn't already understand...then he's an ass. And, unfortunately, you can attempt to illuminate the situation for BM, but she, most likely, will ignore it.

Sorry that I misunderstood your intent ;-)

Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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Shawn...the letter was not directed to anyone here...I was just sharing it and suggesting i let Bio mom and hubby read it. I was in no way suggesting any of you don't understand.

Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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These are not My words these are my husbands words on the lawyer thing....We dont have money for a lawyer and even if we did take her to court to get it in b&w she will insist his CS go by the charts and we cant afford that either. In my personal opinion I actually know that 100 week is not much and he Should pay more for two children...but unfortunately we cant afford more than that. Im not working anymore...I couldn't physically handle a job and taking care of 4 kids...3 of which are toddlers. So I had to quit. So I cant help support our family...much less hers too.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/17/2015

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Mommabird, please do not presume to lecture me on handling chronic pain. I was one of the ladies that started the 'support for disabled spouses' page here. My husband has been disabled, and in chronic pain (with no real solutions) for the last 15+ years.

That is NOT the issue here. Your husband's lack of action, and both of your unwillingness to try to find an attorney that will help you for a sliding scale or payment schedule is. The children's biological mother needn't take into account your situation, personally, as (technically) you have no real 'say' in arrangements. Since your husband refuses to take that into account (ass that he is), and his fling doesn't have to...YOU need to step up, be firm, and set conditions.

Condition #1: WE WILL do what it takes to retain an attorney to get these things ironed out in court.

Raye - posted on 03/17/2015

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I agree with Shawnn, get the custody arranged through the court. You don't need a lawyer, although having one would probably give you a better chance of getting what you want out of the deal.

If your husband is not available on his scheduled visitation with his kids, then it needs to be switched. It is not your responsibility. If she wants her free weekends, she should also try to switch her other kid. I do want to say, though, just because she imposes on her mother to watch the kids, doesn't mean that it's right to do that, or to add more on her mother.

Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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I was just on my support group site and read a letter someone shared..its for people to understand what we go through with chronic pain. Im sharing it here and im thinking bio mom might benefit from reading it..and maybe have some understanding about my feelings..and be willing to compromise because of it. Here it is.
Letter to People without Chronic Pain

Having chronic pain means many things change, and a lot of them are invisible. Unlike having cancer or being hurt in an accident, most people do not understand even a little about chronic pain and its effects, and of those that think they know, many are actually misinformed.
In the spirit of informing those who wish to understand ...
... These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me...
Please understand that being sick doesn't mean I'm not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion, and if you visit, sometimes I probably don't seem like much fun to be with, but I'm still me-- stuck inside this body. I still worry about school, my family, my friends, and most of the time - I'd still like to hear you talk about yours, too.
Please understand the difference between "happy" and "healthy". When you've got the flu, you probably feel miserable with it, but I've been sick for years. I can't be miserable all the time. In fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So, if you're talking to me and I sound happy, it means I'm happy. That's all. It doesn't mean that I'm not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I'm getting better, or any of those things. Please don't say, "Oh, you're sounding better!" or "But you look so healthy!¨ I am merely coping. I am sounding happy and trying to look normal. If you want to comment on that, you're welcome.
Please understand that being able to stand up for ten minutes doesn't necessarily mean that I can stand up for twenty minutes, or an hour. Just because I managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday doesn't mean that I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases you're either paralyzed, or you can move. With this one, it gets more confusing everyday. It can be like a yo-yo. I never know from day to day, how I am going to feel when I wake up. In most cases, I never know from minute to minute. That is one of the hardest and most frustrating components of chronic pain.
Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, "sitting", "walking", "thinking", "concentrating", "being sociable" and so on ... it applies to everything. That's what chronic pain does to you.
Please understand that chronic pain is variable. It's quite possible (for many, it's common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I'll have trouble getting to the next room. Please don't attack me when I'm ill by saying, "But you did it before!" or Oh, come on, I know you can do this!" If you want me to do something, then ask if I can. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel a previous commitment at the last minute. If this happens, please do not take it personally. If you are able, please try to always remember how very lucky you are--to be physically able to do all of the things that you can do.
Please understand that "getting out and doing things" does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse. You don't know what I go through or how I suffer in my own private time. Telling me that I need to exercise, or do some things to get my mind off of it¨ may frustrate me to tears, and is not correct if I was capable of doing some things any or all of the time, don't you know that I would? I am working with my doctor and I am doing what I am supposed to do. Another statement that hurts is, "You just need to push yourself more, try harder..." Obviously, chronic pain can deal with the whole body, or be localized to specific areas. Sometimes participating in a single activity for a short or a long period of time can cause more damage and physical pain than you could ever imagine. Not to mention the recovery time, which can be intense. You can't always read it on my face or in my body language. Also, chronic pain may cause secondary depression (wouldn't you get depressed and down if you were hurting constantly for months or years?), but it is not created by depression.
Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/stay in bed/or take these pills now, that probably means that I do have to do it right now - it can't be put off or forgotten just because I'm somewhere, or am right in the middle of doing something. Chronic pain does not forgive, nor does it wait for anyone.
If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don't. It's not because I don't appreciate the thought, and it's not because I don't want to get well. Lord knows that isn't true. In all likelihood, if you've heard of it or tried it, so have I. In some cases, I have been made sicker, not better. This can involve side effects or allergic reactions. It also includes failure, which in and of itself can make me feel even lower. If there were something that cured, or even helped people with my form of chronic pain, then we'd know about it. There is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with chronic pain. If something worked, we would KNOW. It's definitely not for lack of trying. If, after reading this, you still feel the need to suggest a cure, then so be it. I may take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.
If I seem touchy, it's probably because I am. It's not how I try to be. As a matter of fact, I try very hard to be normal. I hope you will try to understand. I have been, and am still, going through a lot. Chronic pain is hard for you to understand unless you have had it. It wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It is exhausting and exasperating. Almost all the time, I know that I am doing my best to cope with this, and live my life to the best of my ability. I ask you to bear with me, and accept me as I am. I know that you cannot literally understand my situation unless you have been in my shoes, but as much as is possible, I am asking you to try to be understanding in general.
In many ways I depend on you - people who are not sick. I need you to visit me when I am too sick to go out... Sometimes I need you help me with the shopping, cooking or cleaning. I may need you to take me to the doctor, or to the store. You are my link to the normalcy of life. You can help me to keep in touch with the parts of life that I miss and fully intend to undertake again, just as soon as I am able.
I know that I have asked a lot from you, and I do thank you for listening. It really does mean a lot.
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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We dont have the means to hire a lawyer yet. Im frustrated with the whole thing because they are the ones who created the twins but yet Im the only person expected to sacrifice my time and energy to care for them without help. Its hard on my health and I keep saying What will they do if my health condition becomes so bad I am no longer here to take care of them...what will they do then?? Spend money to hire a caregiver..? He wont ask her to compromise and give me a break..because hes afraid ofspissing her off. So yes it hurts me to know neither of them care enough about my health or my needs because its not convenient for them. Yes..theyre both selfish people.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/17/2015

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If there's no legal paperwork (and if I recall correctly, you've been told this before) GET SOME. That is the only legal protection your husband has.

Until the two of you are willing to go the legal route and get everything established in court, there's always the chance that she can take off with the kids, demand support, GET support, and claim abandonment to get restricted or no visitation for him. DOES HE WANT THAT???

So, again, GET PAPERWORK. Stop dilly dallying about it. Either your husband WANTS to step up fully for these kids or not. If not, he's an ass. By not going to court to get his access and support documented, he's not demonstrating that he's that committed, in my opinion.

Mommabird - posted on 03/17/2015

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There is no legal paperwork on anything...She originally turned him over to CS office and was going to make him pay but didnt want him involved with the twins. We both convinced her we were adults and that everyone can get along and make it work for the twins sake. So we all sat down and made an agreement regarding visitation and child support. Ok she said she would give him joint physical custody when they turned 1 if things were still going good. Well it was good except for when we confronted her about her abusive boyfriend and how concerned we were for her and the twins. She told us to mind our own business(even though shes the one who told us he abused her) and when we asked for joint custody she stated "Im not giving up anymore of my time" so my question is....were not asking for More time..were actually asking for less temporarily so whats the problem? Im just frustrated because we dont have money for a lawyer but we also dont have 250 week to pay her in CS if we make her mad and she decides she wants more money. Were currently paying 100 week agreed support. But we provide everything they need here and theyre on our health INS. But she still has them on meMedicaid...along with food stamps. Shes got it made but he knows she wants more. She has no rent, no utilities to pay, groceries are paid, lives with parents who dont work, and works at sonic.

Rebekah - posted on 03/16/2015

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Is there a formal custody arrangement in place? Does it define the terms of visitation?

There are going to be many years ahead of co-parenting with this woman... your husband needs to not be afraid of communicating with her, and not being afraid of her emotional reactions. She has her needs, and you have yours... both of you need to respect the other's situation if this is going to work well.

If there is a custody arrangement, he is entitled to time with his children. If the current schedule falls on his working weekend, then it seems reasonable to plainly ask her if she can switch weekends, to best comply with the custody arrangement (and for the best relationship with his children). If she makes a big stink about not having enough free time to herself, maybe there can be a compromise and one weekend a month can be on his off weekend, and the other weekend can be on his working weekend. That way, each one gets a little more of what they want. (I don't know how that would affect the other days of the week... just addressing the weekend issue, here)

Hopefully, if your husband can present it from the children's best interests (i.e., him wanting to spend more time with them, bonding with them, etc), that would appeal the most to her and she would be more receptive to compromise.

Is there any chance the 5 year old's schedule is flexible enough to be switched to the other weekend as well?

Does she understand your health issues? If she is not compassionate to that, and the schedule can't be changed, is there any way you could have a "mother's helper" kind of person part of the time on the weekends to help alleviate your situation? That isn't the ideal (I agree that it would be best if dad could be home to care for them), but I'm just trying to think of other options for you, in case it doesn't work out the way you would like it to, or in case it takes a while until another solution is found. Good luck.

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