Trouble in Paradise
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Need to vent...

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.

SS 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. 

I have 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 address this.

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.

BM 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 strep.

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?

She 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.

So 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.

I 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.

Re: Need to vent...

  • Honey, this is a DH problem.
  • Did you not see any of this behavior when you were dating him?
    fiizzlee = vag ** fiizzle = peen ** Babies shouldn't be born wit thangs ** **They're called first luddz fo' a reason -- mo' is supposed ta come after. Yo Ass don't git a medal fo' marryin yo' prom date. Unless yo ass is imoan. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Then yo ass git a all-expenses paid cruise ta tha Mediterranean n' yo ass git ta hook up Jared Padalecki on tha flight over while bustin yo' jammies. But still no medal.
  • All these behaviors were there BEFORE you married him. Yet you married him, and got pregnant with him. This is the man you chose to marry. 
    He isnt going to change, because he doesnt have to.
    If you want changes you are going to have to make them. its going to get worse once you add a baby to the mix.



  • edited May 2014
    Somebody somewhere needs to read your H the riot act and wake him up --- I don't know who can and who will, and will have their talk hit home with your H.

    He cannot continue to be a wuss about just about everything, including issues that have to do with his kids.

    His child from the former relationship, his son from his marriage to you and the baby that is upcoming: THOSE kids. He needs to get on the stick and start being a dad who makes rules and has the rules take hold.

    He needs to be tougher with his former spouse.

    This is a coparenting problem: your H and his former spouse.

    The kid has no discipline at home. His parents went "Meh, whatever" whether it was said verbally or silently and your SS got carte blanche that way.

    I say it is never too late to learn.

    You bet when he is in your home he is to follow your rules. This isn't being mean: this is being realistic --- it will be the same whenever your SS visits friends or an aunt or uncle or whoever: their home, their rules. You do as they request.

    Tell him outright"At home you are a slob and lazy. That doesn't happen here" and your H needs to back you up.

    And if he doesn't, you have an H problem.

    The bills that are outstanding and all the rest that are your H's former spouse's creation: I don't know what you are going to do about that. 

    ANd yeah, you had to know he was a doormat when you were dating him. Too bad you didn't run like heck when you realized it.

    If he cannot be a responsible and upright parent now, oy boy to whenever your newborn enters the world. You'll wind up parenting the child alone and guess what: your H will be Doormat 2.0.


  • I laughed when I saw this:

    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.

    Typical guy mentality. Some guys don't get it how much work an event like that takes.

    Borrow grill from neighbors....or have a pasta and salad night.:)
  • While I agree that this is a DH problem, I think bringing up his ex's cheating when you two are fighting is hitting below the belt. Blaming his attitude for why ex cheated on him? You need couple's counseling a.s.a.p. IMHO, he needs to back you up and you need to learn to disagree without fighting dirty.
    Tofumonkey
  • I get why you're upset, and I understand how much a partner's family can complicate a relationship. But that being said, I also feel bad for your SS. Your post makes it very clear that you don't consider him a part of your family, and that puts your DH in an awkward position. He has to keep with peace with the BM for the good of your SS. He shouldn't let her walk all over him, but the situations you're describing are special cases: he wants you to help when his son is sick, and help him to have a nice birthday. Is that really so wrong? Wouldn't you want someone to do the same for your son, if you couldn't do it, or didn't have your crap together? It makes me sad to think that your SS might have felt like a huge inconvenience for being sick and for having a birthday. Yes, your DH has to step up, but you also need to step up, because SS is part of your family now too. If you treat him differently than your own son (don't feel responsible for him, feel like someone else should take care of him) don't be too surprised that he's acting differently than your son. And with the chores, maybe a family meeting with everyone would help to air the issues and come up with a solution together than everyone thinks is fair. I really wish you the best, and I hope that you can integrate SS into your family. Good luck with everything.
    TofumonkeyDisneygeek77Xstatic3333OtterJ
  • Sorry, I shouldn't post on a Friday as I don't usually get on the boards until Mondays.

    Before we lived together, how DH ran his own household had zero impact on me, so, while I would gently mention that -I- felt perhaps SS could pitch in more, DH didn't feel that way.  Your home, your rules.  Cool.

    When we did move in together, neither of our kids was really expected to do chores due to allowing the dust to settle, my son settle in to a new school district, high school, marching band and all of those things.

    We didn't broach the chores topic to be shared jointly between the boys until DH and myself realized that we were working, cooking dinner, doing dishes and cleaning house and DH finally flipped out about it.  At which point, we did a chore chart and off-and-on followed it (summers are weird since both boys are sporadically at home; SS at his mom's and DS at my parent's). 

    I finally cracked down on both boys being responsible after we found out I was pregnant and DH started carrying more of the load around the house.  Which is when I told the boys I'll start taking electronics; because DH takes SS's word that his laundry is washed, folded and put away.  But, if I do a follow up, it's still in the basket in his room.  That's not finished.  DH -is- getting better about following up to make sure SS's actually done what he was told to do.

    I also own the fact that I saw some of this prior to the wedding; and did mention we should put the wedding on hold, but let myself be 'guilted' into going through with it.  My fault, and I've told him I'm embarrassed and mad at myself now that we're months out from the wedding.  And yes, I am pregnant; it was a planned pregnancy (we started trying in the summer, when the stress of school/work/kids was nil).  I was actually going to tell him this wasn't the right time as all of our issues ended up back in my face, except, too late.  Yes, I'm forging ahead, and it's why I told him there's a potential finite timeline on this marriage.  I'm not going to go on like this indefinitely.  So, he knows therapy's happening, and he's on board with it.  It's also why I'm willing to leave; because I'm NOT going to put up with this, or let another child be spoiled rotten.  Easier to just be a single parent again than deal with all this mess once again. 

    Over the weekend, I spoke with my sister who had some suggestions, at least in regards to the visitations:
    She suggested getting a mediator to sit down with DH, BM and myself to hammer out some guidelines about visitations and the medical issues.  She said it appears DH obviously isn't going to do it, so perhaps an outside force sitting down, and getting it in writing would be beneficial and alleviate THAT issue. 

    I do agree that SS has parenting issues.  And I admit that I've been hesitant until DH and I got married to start parenting.  My standards apparently aren't DH's standards when it comes to child rearing.  And by no means do I think DS is perfect.  DH will point out SS is a straight A student, while DS struggles with grades.  They each have their own personal strengths, and I'm genuinely proud of both of them for their accomplishments. 

    I also admit I'm hesitant about punishment; and usually make DH punish SS.  This is something I've got to just get over.  If SS wants to pitch a fit about my taking stuff away, then he can take it up with DH.  I think my problem is the one time I told DH I was going to punish SS by taking stuff away, DH flipped out on me, and then justified SS's actions.  So I just metaphorically threw up my hands and told DH that if this is going to be how it is, then I'm done listening to him complain that things aren't done when we get home from work.  "Ostrich with my head in the sand", as it were because I'm just tired of fighting about the same thing over and over and over again.

    @TarponMonoxide; yeah, he complained Sunday after everyone left how tired he was and how the house was a wreck.  I pointed out to him that he allowed BM to volunteer him, and this was the outcome.  I also didn't lift a finger to help prep the house or really do anything.  I was exhausted from an event we'd attended Saturday night, so I tried to sleep until people started showing up on Sunday.  I'm hoping next time, he'll learn his lesson.  ;) 
    Leftie22 said:
    Your post makes it very clear that you don't consider him a part of your family, and that puts your DH in an awkward position. He has to keep with peace with the BM for the good of your SS. He shouldn't let her walk all over him, but the situations you're describing are special cases: he wants you to help when his son is sick, and help him to have a nice birthday. Is that really so wrong? Wouldn't you want someone to do the same for your son, if you couldn't do it, or didn't have your crap together? It makes me sad to think that your SS might have felt like a huge inconvenience for being sick and for having a birthday. Yes, your DH has to step up, but you also need to step up, because SS is part of your family now too. If you treat him differently than your own son (don't feel responsible for him, feel like someone else should take care of him) don't be too surprised that he's acting differently than your son. And with the chores, maybe a family meeting with everyone would help to air the issues and come up with a solution together than everyone thinks is fair. I really wish you the best, and I hope that you can integrate SS into your family. Good luck with everything.
    Odd, perhaps I didn't explain myself properly?  Because I'm pretty sure I mentioned I was willing to try and take SS to the doctor if DH could squeeze it in along with my own son's appointment.  And that I was willing to try and cram it in between my own appointments, but that ultimately didn't work out.  Because, you're right; it's inconvenient for me to take MORE time off work when I need to save my leave for my future appointments and maternity leave, while both DH and BM don't have a long-term leave situation staring them in the faces.  Or, hey, why couldn't BM's new husband take SS to the doctor?  There are so many different variations and other people who could ALSO step up and pitch in.  I don't mind helping out, but I DO mind when no one else is willing to try and do the right thing.

    I also didn't mention all the times when DH has been out of town for work when I've left work early to get SS to baseball games, choir and band concerts and all of that other stuff, because I didn't really think that was necessary.  DS has also shuttled SS to things when I've been unable to break away from work in time to get him there.  I've made him cakes and stuff for birthdays and made a fuss over good grades and all that.  I make sure SS buys mother's day cards for BM, birthday cards for her and for dad, Christmas gifts and all of those things.  DS and I make sure to get SS cards and gifts for Christmas and birthdays.  Do I keep a tally sheet and expect the same in return?  Nope.  I do those things because they're the right things for me to do with and for SS.  It was rare for me to ask DH to go and pick up DS from school functions or after football games or if he was sick at school, and I've never EVER asked DH to take DS to the doctor.  I do those things.  Because that's what I do.

    My complaint is that I don't have the leave time to take SS to the doctor if it falls outside of time I've already planned to take off and been given leave through work to take off.  Or that I don't have the insurance card to present to the doctor, or even the proof that I'm legally ALLOWED to take him to the doctor.  Because I personally, as a mom, cannot wrap my head around NOT taking the time off work to take my child to the doctor.  Maybe other parents are okay with their child having a prolonged illness and not taking their child to be checked out?  I have trouble buying that.  I blame DH as much as I blame BM for not taking time off work.

    We have done family meetings; nothing comes from them.  Each boy, when asked, if they have any ideas or suggestions, or if they can think of a better way to run the chores has any ideas.  I've kicked around the idea of family therapy; but figure that might wait until after DH and I see if we can iron out our own crap first. 

    I'm a bit verbose, sorry everyone. 

    I guess in sum: therapy is a yes.  Leaving is most definitely on the table, and DH knows that's a very real possibility.  I'm HOPING the therapist can distill my words and pass them along to DH in a fashion that perhaps DH can understand just how his actions and lack of actions impact me.  And I'm hoping a therapist can distill DH's words and pass them along to me about what I do or don't do that bother DH.  Because I'm aware a relationship takes two, and as I said, I'm not perfect. 
  • I think couples' counseling is a great idea. 
  • This mess needs to be fixed.

    His word to both kids should be "you are to follow rules. That is how it is here and that is how it is in school; you listen when a teacher tells you what to do. Otherwise your privledges will be revoked."



  • This mess needs to be fixed.

    His word to both kids should be "you are to follow rules. That is how it is here and that is how it is in school; you listen when a teacher tells you what to do. Otherwise your privledges will be revoked."


    Seconded on fixing the mess.  I sometimes wonder if perhaps I'm not clear in what I'm saying and he doesn't grasp just how serious this situation is, or if he just is that oblivious.

    I do love the idea of telling the kids that home is like school.  We've tried to convey that school is like a job, so you have to do your best all the time.  Time to pay that forward in to the way the chores are done too. 

    Thanks!!  :)
  • I'm with Leftie on this one, and was going to post something similar. This kid must feel like an obligation to you rather than a part of your family and your son. I know you are venting but that is really how it comes across.

    That's got to really suck as a kid.

    There are things that you can do to blend your families - but a my son vs your son isn't really the way to go.
    image

    Chronically hilarious - you'll split your stitches!
    I wrote a book! Bucket list CHECK!
  • There are times that it feels like an obligation; but that's usually when DH is out of town on a fun motorcycle trip with his buddies, and I'm at home parenting.  I don't mind parenting when it's for DH doing work related things.  I do mind it when it's an unnecessary trip, and I've told him as much (he's gone out of town for 'fun' multiple times).

    Honestly, when DH isn't around, SS and I usually will hang out some and chit chat and things like that.  But when DH is around, SS kind of goes off and does his own thing and I kind of do my own thing.  Really, as a "family unit", we're not cohesive, and it's something that bothers me.  We don't eat together as a family.  Dinner is spent with the TV on and people sitting on the couch.  I make it a point to usually seat myself at the dinner table, but I usually end up eating alone.  The entire family is guilty of it, and despite DH mentioning it bothers him as well, this just seems to be how it is and even asking for just one meal a week as a family never seems to gel. 

    And family time together?  That doesn't happen either.  Rather than do a "Game Night" or "Family Movie Night", it's everyone go do their own thing.

    Again, my deep-rooted problem wasn't that SS needed to go to the doctor.  It's not even that I feel he STILL needs to go to the doctor (he's got a lingering cough that won't go away).  It's that DH doesn't seem to care that his son could still be sick.  Or do what needs to be done to get him seen by a doctor.  I can understand BM maybe not 'getting it' as she only physically sees him every other week or so, and doesn't know where he's at health-wise; except for the times he's gotten sick at their home, and even then she'll put off doctor appointments (he had the flu for days before she took him to the doctor).  But, some of that might be because she's a nurse, she feels qualified to 'doctor' him up at home without actually taking him IN.  I genuinely don't know.
  • You really should have had a serious conversation about how discipline etc. would go in your house before getting married. H and I didn't and don't have any children yet, but we sure as hell made sure we were on the same page regarding raising them.

    Since you didn't do that before, that's going to be something you need to sort out, in therapy if necessary but you absolutely need to be in complete agreement and present a united front. It's no good if your H is going to make excuses for his child because 'he's younger.' Yes, he is, but 12 is old enough to know better.
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