I'll preface by saying this is going to be long, and sorry in advance.
I've always known blending a family was hard. I KNEW it.
Perhaps it's my pregnancy hormones going nuts, or maybe I'm just getting to the end of my rope, but every little thing is driving me nuts lately.
is 12. DH has primary custody. They don't have a formal visitation
order, but she "usually" takes him every other weekend. We usually
don't know if she plans on taking him until she calls or texts DH,
usually late in the day/evening on Friday night.
specifically asked DH to PLEASE tell her to not wait that late, because
we can't make plans with OUR family (there have been at least 3
different occasions where OUR plans were trashed because of this
situation). His stance is that they don't have a formal order, so he
feels like he really can't deny her access to her son since there's
nothing formal. This is annoyance one.
SS really isn't the
cleanest of boys. He has to be reminded to take a bath (he'll literally
go DAYS unless someone tells him to take a bath), brush his teeth, wear
deodorant, etc. He wears glasses. A few weeks ago, BM texted DH that
she was taking SS to an eye appointment, and that he mentioned (since
he's in baseball) that he hated wearing his sport glasses (they fog up),
so she was going to get him contact lenses. DH texted her back and
said he didn't really think that was a good idea. BM got SS contacts
anyway. I told DH that this was a MEDICAL decision and she made a
unilateral decision about THEIR son's health, despite him saying he
wasn't fully on board. I wear contact lenses, and I pointed out to DH
all the potential medical complications that can come from dirty fingers
on contact lenses going onto eyeballs. He said "Well, she's already
spent the money, so, whatever." Annoyance two.
There is an age
gap between our boys (mine is 16, his is 12). Until about 2 years ago,
it was just DS and myself in a house. I taught DS to do ALL of his
laundry at the age of 11. He had to hand wash and put away ALL the
dishes, and if it wasn't done right, I made him do them again. He also
had to clean the cat box and make sure the dog and cats had food and
water. He also wasn't allowed to leave his backpack, or socks and shoes
in the livingroom where I could trip over them. He also was
responsible for cleaning his bathroom, and taking out the trash from the
ENTIRE house once a week and taking the can to the curb. Honestly,
these (excluding the laundry and the hand-washing dishes) were all the
chores I did as a kid. For the past 2 years since I've been living with
DH, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY SS has to be reminded to get his dirty socks and
shoes out of the living room. I -think- he's mostly broken of leaving
his backpack and all of it's contents strewn all over the house. I have
a calendar that I write the chores each boy is expected to do on what
day and they're to check it. We had a family meeting and I told BOTH
boys, if the chores aren't done to the standards written out (they're
typed out HOW and WHAT is expected of EACH chore), then they lose ALL
electronics (phone, laptop, handhelds) until the NEXT time it's their
turn to do chores. DH and I discussed it and he said he's behind me.
Except, when SS doesn't do the chore right (this has been going on for
MONTHS now), he's just told to do it again. I'm sick of it, and told DH
I feel like he's undermined me. Now SS knows that I have no "bite" in
the house and that he's not REALLY going to lose his electronics. DH
always ends up finishing off SS's laundry because SS will throw a load
in on Friday night as he runs out the door to his BM's, and DH won't let
him wear 'dirty' clothes because he thinks it looks bad on him (DH).
So, I set DS and SS different nights of the week to do their laundry.
And, big surprise, it's not getting done. The hypocrisy is driving me
nuts. And I know it's something DS notices and it bothers him. He does
his chores, with OUT having to be reminded, but SS gets 'gentle'
reminders all the time, and DS has mentioned a few times how he doesn't
feel it's fair. I agree. But, again, when I mention this disparity to
DH I hear "Well, SS is ONLY 12, while DS is 16. There's a BIG age
difference there." It's so very frustrating and I don't know how to
My most current frustration. SS went to BM's over
this past weekend and he came home Monday morning after having had a
sore throat most of the weekend. One of his step-sibs was diagnosed
with strep throat late on Monday. We kept thinking it was allergies
(they're BAD here in Texas) because he didn't have a fever, and he
seemed mildly congested. He stayed home Tuesday and didn't feel any
better. Wednesday I had to take off work for my own doctor's
appointments and dental appointments. DH asks me to try and squeeze in
the time to take SS to the Urgent Care clinic between my appointments.
Ultimately, I didn't have time, but here were my complaints.
has a MASSIVE unpaid bill at the clinic I myself currently go to. This
is the same clinic that DH and SS used to have their doctor's at. But,
because she has this massive unpaid bill, they're not allowed to go
until the bill is paid off. She has ZERO intentions of paying it off;
despite being a nurse herself. DH has since found a doctor for himself,
but SS does NOT have a doctor. Anytime he's sick, DH or BM take him to
urgent care. DH also doesn't have a copy of the insurance card. No,
BM texts him a photo of it, that he forwards to me, in case I can take
SS to the urgent care clinic. One, my last name is still my maiden
name. I have NO proof I'm a 'legal guardian' of SS. Two, I'm
pregnant. I do NOT want to expose myself to a bunch of sick people.
Three, this is THEIR SON. ONE of them needs to take the time off work
to do the RIGHT thing for their son. Why is step-mom doing this? Yes,
DH was out of town on business, but the bull about BM having back to
back patients...I could care less. Your son is SICK. Do the right
thing by him!! How hard is this?!!!
I told DH to call his doctor
and see if they couldn't somehow squeeze in SS early Wednesday, since I
had to take time off work to take DS for a follow-up appointment to
this doctor, I could take SS too. Well, there wasn't an opening until
later in the day on Wednesday and DH was like "Do you HAVE to go to work
on Wednesday?" Yes, yes I do. I'm trying to hoard my vacation and
sick and all my leave for my maternity leave.
Of course, while I
have DS at the doctor's office, I mention DS' throat has been a little
sore, but I thought it was just allergies since he never had a fever and
his glands weren't swollen. They did a rapid strep test; that came
back positive. So, now I know SS' been exposed to TWO people with
Yesterday was SS' birthday, but DH made him go to school
since he'd missed 3 days. Ugh. Not a great idea, but...whatever. SS
texts me in the late afternoon to say his mom's taking him out to dinner
for his b-day. I call DH and suggest he call BM and have her take SS
to the urgent care clinic since she IS a legal guardian, she HAS the
insurance card AND she has the time.
I ask him later if she's doing it. His response; "Well, SS says he's feeling better, so, we're not going to take him."
I know I saw red. I KNOW I did.
The absolute capper?
calls DH at 6am on SS' birthday. No biggie; I think they're trying to
figure out what to get him and finalize their trying to buy him a $400
laptop (which I was against, because SS' broken his current laptop
twice, and broken I dunno how many handheld devices and phones). I'm
still asleep and DH asks me if we have plans on Sunday. I crack an
eyelid open and tell him "I have NO idea without looking at my personal
calendar." And go back to sleep.
Last night, while we're out
getting water for DS to take on his band trip, DH mentions to me that BM
told him we're going to grill burgers and her family (her, her husband,
and the 3 kids in their house) are coming over. I almost lost it. She
TOLD him?! I asked him who's BUYING all this stuff?! We're on a tight
budget (DH just took a second job to help pay down bills and pay for
the coming baby), we don't HAVE the extra money. Nevermind the fact
that the house is a mess, that he's working tonight, we have plans for
Saturday, his best friend is coming in to town to stay with us, and that
we do NOT have the room to entertain people. We also don't have a
GRILL!!! I asked why couldn't we just take SS and his 2 friends out to
dinner and everyone could join us. "By the time we do that, it'll cost
too much." Yeah, because buying meat to feed potentially 11 people is
cheap!! He's planning on grilling on his little propane grill he takes
camping. This sucker will do MAYBE 6 burgers at a time? We also don't
have enough SEATING in our house for 11 people. We have a couch and a
loveseat. That's it.
I'm just furious because he can't seem to tell his ex-wife "No" or stand up for OUR family.
instead of getting to go home and relax tonight, I'm going home to a
sink full of dirty dishes (because I KNOW SS won't have them done),
sweeping, mopping, cleaning and laundry to try and get done TONIGHT.
just don't know how to handle this all. I've told DH he'd do well to
keep BM away from me. With this pregnancy, my filter seems pretty much
gone. I'm furious she won't take time off work when her son is sick to
take him to a doctor. I'm furious that DH allows her to dictate things
to him that impact my family. I'm VERY unhappy he didn't ask me if this
plan was okay (He told me this is what SS wants, so I feel like a total
biznitch if I put my foot down). I'm uncomfortable with her in the
house (this is the same house they bought together, so it makes me SUPER
uncomfortable when she comes in). I REALLY just want to spend all day
Sunday in our room and plead some kind of pregnancy 'issue' to avoid all
of this bull.
Sorry, I know this is so SUPER long. I just needed to get it all out SOMEWHERE.
I've told DH to his face he allows BM to literally WALK all over him. He ALLOWS it, and it disgusts me and turns me off. I also said this is perhaps why she cheated on him; she knew she could do whatever she wanted and he wouldn't stand up for himself. I've told him once summer comes and SS goes to BM's for the summer, we ARE going to couple's counseling.
I also told him we have until DS graduates from HS to either fix this relationship (we have more issues than just this), or I'm filing for a divorce or I'm moving out. I'm beyond tired of living like this. But, I know I can gut it out for 2 years. It gives me the time to save up for first/last months rent in case I need it, and for an attorney. I also know change isn't an overnight thing. I also know I'm no saint in all of this. I've screwed up too, and I'm sure he could point out my shortcomings. This tirade is ENTIRELY from my side. Which doesn't excuse him, and he owns that. I also own my screw-ups. BUT, I needed to vent, and if someone can come up with some way that I could communicate my frustrations to him in some alternative fashion, that'd be great. I've told him ALL of these things I've already mentioned. I've spoken, I've yelled, I've screamed, I've threatened to sleep at my sister's house for a night. He'll try to change, but then he backslides into his old habits and patterns. And I don't know how to mention that without coming across as a nag. I dunno. I'm just frustrated and depressed, and I'm unsure how much of this is pregnancy hormones, and how much of this is my real emotions.