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Question
Posted by: tired | 2012/07/23

stepkids

It''s both my husband and my second marriage. He has 2 boys from the previous marriage and I have a girl. My daughter stays with us permanently as her father is out of the picture. My husband has the usual " every second weekend and second Tuesday"  arrangement with his boys. His ex is constantly chopping and changing the arrangements and now often " dumps"  the kids on us for any and every excuse. My husband and I have turned into glorified babysitters for her enjoyment. She has a new boyfriend every now and then, and moves in with them or after them. Her social life is way to busy to take care of her own children, which my husband and I now have to do. Thing is, housework, cleaning, cooking, etc. is not my husbands " thing" ... So everything gets dumped on me: the extra cooking/cleaning/lunchbox packing/etc... All so that his ex can enjoy her " freedom" . How do I handle this sensitively? I can''t tell him his kids are a nuasance, as they aren''t but the added workload is (and I work 8-5). And the total unfairness of me being under such pressure and stress, while Mrs Ex is havin a total ball, is getting me down, and is definately impacting on the marriage. And I don''t think the flipside, that he also had to accept my child, is valid, as I still do all the cooking and cleaning and taking care of, for her anyway (not him).

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

OK, let's see. His ex sounds like an irresponsible and selfish mother. If there was a court settlement in the divorce establishing custody and visitation rights, maybe this should be revisited. Are you both sure that she is not definitely neglecting the children ? It might be easier for you and better for the kids, to revise that arrengement, setting a definite program for when she can leave them with you, and she must simply plan her social fun around that - those are the responsibilities of a parent.
But as they are his children, and in any case, your husband should be pressed to recognize his responsibilities for sharing the household chores with you, whether or not his kids are visiting you. One is not entitled to demarcate one's "thing" without regard to someone else's rights, interests, and "Thing". Tell him calmly but clearly that while his kids are not a nuisance, the extra work-load IS, and you don't like having all this loaded on you to fit the frivolous whims of his ex.
Your husband certainly has a responsibility to sort all this out. I disagree with Been There, that the Ex is no martyr if expected to "sacrifice" some of her fun to her responsibilities of caring for HER children. Presumably she sought and received custody of them, and placing their needs at a priority to her own, is part of what custody is supposed to mean. If she asked for and accepted majority time custody, then the children's needs during that time and raising them well and selflessly is her chosen responsibility. She can't expect YOU to do the work for her, or to sacrifice your own time at the drop of a hat, to suit her fun.
Maria's comments are useful ; as are others - Jenna's examples are worth considering.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Tanya | 2012/07/23

All the step-moms, excuse me for butting in because I have no experience with the situation you find yourselves in, but ...
If your husbands are paying maintenance for their children cant you work out how much per hour this maintenance costs and deduct from maintenance payments the time the child/children DONT spend with their wayward mothers? This just might make them wake up!

Also, and this is just curiosity, does the cause of the divorce ever play a role in how looking after the child/children turn out.
Does the bitterness between biological mother and father ever affect the raising of children?

I''m not criticising, just asking questions?

Reply to Tanya
Posted by: P | 2012/07/23

TIRED........ I too walk 30miles in your shoes and back and can relate. My hubby ex does not have a job now for the past 6years, she drops the kid off every weekend without checking if we have plans or not. Every school holiday without fail the kid is there the thursday before the friday when schools are due to close. Last year without checking or asking she send a sms to hubby instructing us to take the kid as she is going for sugery and is not able to take care of the kid while she is recovering (HELLO the kid is 11 and she is, like you all mentioned old enough to do her own chores including bathing, making sandwiches, cleaning her room etc). The kid got dropped and only collected after 6weeks.

this year the ex smsé d again that she is going to Cape Town with her bf and that the kid should stay with us (REALLY.... a mother would holiday without her only child and take the bf along - lame)

but on top of all this the ex sends monthly reminders of the her maintenance money, the kid needs this or that or the other, clothes, toileries, school trips / you name it. And like good servants hubby obeys...

so after 6years of talking calmly to hubby, I have decided that he has been allowing this womans behaviour since day one, so he will from now on deal with her and I will have nothing to do with this. This does not change how I feel about the kid cause she is a good kid generally and always helpful when she visits but as far as her mother goes - I am no longer going to entertain her anymore

Reply to P
Posted by: Jenna | 2012/07/23

How old are the children? Are they not able to do their own chores?

We were FIVE kids in the house when we spent our weekends with my father (I have two blood sisters and two step sisters, the steps lived with my dad and step mom). The youngest was 7, oldest 14 years old. We had rules, like we had to be out of bed by 10:00 in the morning, and we had to make our own beds. We had to pick up our clothes, etc. Keep our rooms more or less clean.

We had to have eaten breakfast by 11:00, lunch was strictly between 13:00 - 14:00 and then supper was done whenever it was ready. We also had to clean up the counters and put our dishes in the dishwasher. These rules were imposed so we weren''t always in the kitchen, always making crumbs, dishes, etc for my step mother to have to clean. My step mother also inlisted us to peel potatoes, cut onions (us older kiddies), etc.

When we were old enough (us older kids helped the little ones), we actually did our own washing... my stepmother and father helped us loading and measure and stuff, but basically we hung and took down our own washing. My stepmom ironed.

My father did help a lot- he did the grocery shopping, cleaned after supper, etc. He also made the lunches (even if we stayed until the Monday). He drove the kids to school in the mornings as well. So I do like the idea of giving him a couple of things that he HAS to do as suggested by Maria.

Your kids are never to young to do chores- I have a photo of me making my bed when I was about three years old (my parents told me when I got old enough I wanted to do it myself). We did dishes, made our own food (simple sandwitches), etc by the time we were 9 (obviously helping the little ones).

It''s easy if you all pitch in, it won''t kill the kids to do some chores and it may help you if you invest in a dishwasher and bigger washing machine. Maybe get a domestic in just once a week to help you catch up.

That way the ex wife won''t be spiting you, you won''t feel the stress and your hubby will be impressed that you are able to keep the peace.

Also very glad you aren''t resenting the kiddies for this.

Reply to Jenna
Posted by: Tanya | 2012/07/23

@Tired .... Life certainly sounds hectic and unfair for you. Maria is correct in saying that your husband should step in and assist around the house. There is no excuse why he shouldnt do his share. And ALL the children should be made to do their bit according to their ages. Both divorced parents should take their responsibilities seriously regarding the children. Your husband should put his foot down and speak to the ex. Next time she wants to leave the children with you tell her you actually have plans and cant have them just to teach her a lesson and make her wake up to the fact that you also have a life.

As for the ex having a ball while you ''sit'' with the children - let her. You can be sure she may look and behave as if she''s happy, but guaranteed she''s not really.

Do the best YOU can with the whole situation, think of the children - they did nothing to cause the problems. Be persistant with the children, they are the most important factor here. Your efforts WILL be amply rewarded when they grow up into wonderful adults and only you will be able to gloat and know in your heart you did your best. Good Luck xx

Reply to Tanya
Posted by: Maria | 2012/07/23

Make a list of all the chores you do. Then sit him down and explain how tired you are, gently pointing out that it''s hardly fair for you to do all the work in the house while both of you work full time. Ask him to pick 2 chores that he will do. Don''t mention the kids at all.

How old are they? Kids can, and should, also do chores.

Can afford a helper, even if only once a week?

Lower your standards. If you are one of those people who feel you have to wash floors every day and vacuum once a week, let it go. It''s not that important.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2012/07/23

Sorry I meant vacuum 2 or 3 times a week!

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Been there done that | 2012/07/23

You husband will never help you nor will he understand you dilemma, because he got away with taking the responsibility of taking care of his kids when he was still married to his ex. His ex-wife doesn’ t have to make life easy for him nor you because she is not married to him anymore and she doesn’ t have to do you or your husband a favour by sacrificing her time by taking the bulk of raising the kids on her own. You can blame the ex as much as you like, your husband is to blame.

Reply to Been there done that
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/07/23

OK, let's see. His ex sounds like an irresponsible and selfish mother. If there was a court settlement in the divorce establishing custody and visitation rights, maybe this should be revisited. Are you both sure that she is not definitely neglecting the children ? It might be easier for you and better for the kids, to revise that arrengement, setting a definite program for when she can leave them with you, and she must simply plan her social fun around that - those are the responsibilities of a parent.
But as they are his children, and in any case, your husband should be pressed to recognize his responsibilities for sharing the household chores with you, whether or not his kids are visiting you. One is not entitled to demarcate one's "thing" without regard to someone else's rights, interests, and "Thing". Tell him calmly but clearly that while his kids are not a nuisance, the extra work-load IS, and you don't like having all this loaded on you to fit the frivolous whims of his ex.
Your husband certainly has a responsibility to sort all this out. I disagree with Been There, that the Ex is no martyr if expected to "sacrifice" some of her fun to her responsibilities of caring for HER children. Presumably she sought and received custody of them, and placing their needs at a priority to her own, is part of what custody is supposed to mean. If she asked for and accepted majority time custody, then the children's needs during that time and raising them well and selflessly is her chosen responsibility. She can't expect YOU to do the work for her, or to sacrifice your own time at the drop of a hat, to suit her fun.
Maria's comments are useful ; as are others - Jenna's examples are worth considering.

Reply to cybershrink

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