New Stepmother- used to be the babysitter (and it gets worse)

Sara - posted on 04/25/2016 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hi there. I need some serious insight into this very difficult and complicated situation.

My children have recently acquired a new step-mother. This is their first step parent. Background: This woman used to be on of our babysitters, after our divorce, over this past summer. She is also a teacher at my children's elementary school. She is 20 years younger than their father. She also had a miscarriage last spring, apparently with some other man. She and my ex dated about four months and then gave the kids a day to process that they were married. (Conveniently right before our custody hearing)

She's been their step-mother for less than 20 days. She has already put them on her insurance, without talking to me first. I know they don't need my consent, but considering I've had the children's insured for the last 5 years or more by myself, a discussion would have been appropriate. That is co-parenting and being respectful.

But what is most alarming is she is referring to herself as their mother, not their step-mother, not only to strangers, but to the children. They don't want to correct her because she is apparently very sensitive about this. They have already talked to the children about them having a baby, too. Please keep in mind they have been dating FOUR months before getting married.

I am afraid that all of this is happening so fast, and the children aren't being given proper time to adjust and absorb and feel. I am also increasingly alarmed at the boundaries that are being crossed, and at the lack of willingness to effectively co-parent. I have relayed my concerns to the children's father for months now, since they started dating. Most recently about her role as their step-mother. He refuses to address these concerns.

Their father and I have a very contentious relationship, as there is a history of abuse. He recently went behind my back and went to court to try to take my children away from me, giving the court a wrong address for me, so I didn't receive the summons. That final court date was this past week and we got 50/50. Before, for 3 years, he didn't have any custody because of the abuse. I was apprehensive to revisit custody terms legally because I felt he wasn't stable, and even up until this past October, he was saying how he wanted me back. Now he's married, has legal power, and his new wife is seemingly wanting to take over. Plus I feel like both of them lied to me a great deal during the time she was our babysitter. They were each saying the other was crazy, and so I finally fired her because it just got too weird.

I just don't know what to do. I don't want to be the crazy ex and hate on the step-mom, but I am seriously concerned for my children here, and of both of their intentions. I have welcomed his previous girlfriends into my children's lives, btw. It's just with this one, she seems a little off, a little desperate, and she deceived me when she was sitting for me, as I feel all along it was an attempt to get to their father, and my family. I'm not sure if I should try talking to her directly. I'm just not sure where to go from here. Help!!

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/25/2016

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I don't see anything "over the top" here, other than the claim that she wants the kids to refer to her as mom.

If you have 50/50, who's responsibility is it to provide insurance? If it is Dad's, then he's doing so, just through his wife. It is not uncommon, btw, for the wife's insurance to cover the family rather than the "traditional" route of the man providing.

Are the children in counseling currently? If so, have the counselors address the situation with the kids.

Sounds like you started coming across as the crazy ex the day your ex started dating the nanny, to be honest, and if your divorce was finalized, you have nothing to say in the matter.

Raye - posted on 04/25/2016

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I understand your concerns. But you can't control what your ex or his GF/wife are doing. If the kids are not in physical danger, then let it ride for a while. If the father and his wife are acting against the well-being of the kids, then you can keep a journal of the occurrences and present these things to the court to try to get custody changed. If there is physical abuse, take the kids to the doctor and get it documented. If there is emotional abuse, get the kids into counseling. If the counselor agrees that the father and step-mom are harming the kids, then hopefully the counselor would testify in court. Until you have evidence, though, there's nothing you can do but love and care for your kids. Comfort them and try to give them the stability they will need when they're with you. Do not confront the step-mom. You can voice your opinions to the father, since you're supposed to be co-parenting, but you still cannot dictate what goes on in their home (as they cannot dictate what goes on in your home).

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Sarah - posted on 04/25/2016

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" My attorney said there would be no way to reverse the 50/50 since that has been what's happening."
That is untrue. YOUR order was changed. Any court order can be modified at any time if grounds to show the change is warranted. If you were the victim of domestic AND can prove he committed mail fraud; then for sure you can get another hearing.

Sara - posted on 04/25/2016

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No, I did not describe the abuse. It was in 2012, but this is why we still have a contentious relationship, and why he lost custody of the children before, and why I was able to get a protective order for all of us at that time. Now, after what he just did with court, our relationship has been further severed, even after I started to trust him again. Now he is being unbearable with this new wife. We had agreed that he be with the kids more, as this provided them opportunity to see each other and me time to go to school and work without having to pay crazy amount in child care. But in the end he just went behind my back and used it against me. My attorney said there would be no way to reverse the 50/50 since that has been what's happening. But now with this sudden and very impactful change, I am worried for my children that they are not being given the consideration this situation deserves. I am going to recommend counseling for them when we go to co-parenting counseling.

My children said verbatim, "She wanted a family so Dad gave her one." I feel like I'm in a combo of Single White Female and The Hand That Rocked the Cradle over here.

Sarah - posted on 04/25/2016

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Abuse? you don't describe abuse in your post. if you can prove he gave the wrong address the case should be reopened. Also court summons are usually either directly deliverer to the person or at lest send via certified mail so I don't know how you did now know about the hearing.
None of what he is doing is terrific but you aren't together anymore so he can choose a life partner if he wants to. As far as them calling her mom or her addressing herself as their mother; I'd get on your ex for that and tell her to back the heck down. Maybe she is so insecure about being identifying as a sister; she is going overboard with the "mother" bit. Isn't the insurance issue itemized in your divorce decree? If it says he must provide insurance; then he is but just thru her plan.

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