16 answers

Dealing with Step Childrens Biological Mother

I have been married to my husband for almost 5 years. He has 2 sons ages 7 and almost 10 from a previous relationship(we also have 2 daughters together). They have lived with us since we got married. I can proberly count on one hand how many times me and the ex have gotten along! I have tried to remain civil with her for the sake of our kids. But it never remains that way. We moved to SC from Ct in July of this year. She lives in Ct. Before moving we set up visitation, giving her plenty of time we the boys. Visits during holidays,8 weeks in summer, weekend visits, phone calls everyother day and online visits via web cam . So we were more then fair with her. WE pay 70% of there transportation cost, and she pays 30% plus $80 a week in child support(which is a whole seperate issue)We also are giving her the oppertunity to come down here and see them whenever she would like. Well she just had another child a little over a month ago. She had a visit with the kids the first weekend in September, and her next visit is during Thanksgiving. She has started making a big fuss about her wanting us to send them up to Ct. in October(which isn't a scheduled visit) For the most part I handle issues with her regarding the kids, any problems, school info stuff like that. So i explained to her that we could not send them to her in Ct. because we could not afford to, or afford to take time out of work to do it.And she responded saying "it's not fair that i have to wait to see them or there new sibling see them, i have a right to see them... on and on..and this is why we set up a visitation schedule for her so there would not be any problems like this. But she is someone who is not happy unless she gets what she wants and how she wants it when it is convient for her. So i explained to her that she was more then welcome to travel down here, stay in a hotel and spend the entire weekend with them. Well that wasn't good enough for her she said no why should i have to go there to see them?? So needless to say she was very unhappy with me and precceded to tell me to stay out of anything that had to do with the boys, I had no right to be involved in decisions on what they were going to do and so forth. And that is about how every situation ends up when i deal with her. I do not know what ele to do to keep peace between us. I have tried over and over and it gets me no where. And this has been going on for the 6 years me and my husband have been together. I realize i have no choice to put up with her because she is there birth mother, but there has got to be a better way. It effects the boys and how they treat me and i don't like it. I have raised them for the last 5 years because she felt she needed a break!!!! And I feel like i deserve more respect from her that what I get(which is none) She has even gone so far as to mail me nude pictures of her and my husband(from when they were together)she showed up at my wedding while I was walking down the aisle!!! I thought when we moved things would get better because any contact we would have would be over the phone or in an airport transferring the kids, but it seems to have gotten worse. What can i do to lessen the stress on all of us?????

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This is not your problem. It is your husband's issue to handle. That will lessen the stress on you. She sounds like the loonies I dealt with (with my husband's exes). If it's legal, tell her to take it to court if she doesn't like it. Then hang up the phone. And email helps. Then you have a record of conversations and civility, if it ever comes up in court. My advice- since I've TOTALLY been there- is to take yourself out of it and let your husband deal with his own baggage.

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You have done everything and more than what would ever be expected to try to come to a resolution with the boy's mom and she is still not satisfied, although it sounds like she agreed when it was composed. Unless she is willing to get a lawyer and contest custody then she really doesn't have a leg to stand on. and if she did indeed grant custody to you and your husband simply because she wanted some time off I seriously doubt that she would be able to get custody, and might find herself getting a worse deal if he did have to go through family court. If things don't get better I would make that suggestion to your husband about getting a family court involved. They would take the child payments, they would also conduct all visitation and ensure that the times agreed upon were kept. I would maybe consider consulting with a lawyer about it. It sounds to me like she is unstable and a very unhappy woman and you have been more than kind and accomodating. I know when my parent's divorced my dad made child payments til I was 18 through the court and I went to visit every other thanksgiving and Christmas (rotated), and two weeks a summer. as I got older my parents let me choose more, but when I was younger it was the letter of the law and they never had any problems. usually my stepmom and mom would decide about travel arrangements and they were able to be peaceful with each other so it can be done. I wish you the best.

J.,
I have been there, myself! It sounds as though you are more than accomodating in the visitation. My husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary and his children are now grown (one with a child). My husbands ex and I were friends before he even came into the picture. He set up councilinig for the two of them (before the divorce) and she would never show up. Those years as the children were young were very stressful and a lot of hard work. Every family vacation we took, it seemed the kids were sick the whole week. It is hard work but I know you can make it. My husbands ex also came to our wedding. She showed up at my house the morning of the wedding in tears-trying to ruin the happiest day of my life! She threw him out! She was cheating on him! IT was HER choice to end the marriage. She showed up at the Church in a black dress and black vail! Unfortunatley she has never grown up! She would go as far as to tell the kids that "if daddy loved you, we would still be together". She now spends her time "partying" with her kids! My advice would be to be sure everything is documented. I would be sure that you have a good lawyer handling things. We spent so much time and money on court and lawyer fees. I won't tell you that it gets easier, because until they are grown, it will always be an issue. Just stand your ground and as long as you have the childrens best concern at heart, you will be fine. I know the kids are young, but perhaps you need to sit down with your husband and go over everything and even sit down as a family and discuss it with the kids. I know they are young, but they see and know more than you think. Just assure them that you love them and that you are there for them. I learned to just "smile" through the hard times and prayed for the strength to be strong. As hard as she tried, I wouldn't let her see how it affected me. I knew I was a more mature and responsible person than she was. "You reap what you sow". Be strong! It is a long uphill battle. Best Wishes!

I know what you are going through. My husbands ex is alternately understanding and cooperative to completely unreasonable. She called me one night at 2am to tell me her fiace was cheating on her and then a few months later tries to convince me my husband is cheating on me, not to mention the emails and letters she would send to me. My husband finally had to threaten her with a restraining order to get her to stop. Is the visitation schedule legal or is it something you all agreed to? If it's not legal you should probably make it so. It may cut down on any arguments with her. Also, I would get child support through the courts and not just an agreement between all of you. My stepson gets $410 a month from my husband and he is 7 years old. I know it's expensive, but it really is worth it to make everything legal. Good luck!

Why isn't your husband dealing with his ex instead of you? You were not married to her and the boys are their biological children. Your husband needs to take this off of you. It is his responsibility to deal with communication because he was the one who married her.

I would tell her when she gets this way and is pushy about see her boys and acting ugly to you. Just say to her I will pray for you and the way you are acting and when I get done praying I will call you back and see how you are after I take 5 mins for myself on this.
Hope this works for you
J.

Well, Its difficult when dealing with ignorant people. If shes going to remain totally out of control, then you should simply tell her that if she is unhappy with the visitation order, that she is more then able to go back to court to have it modified. If she chooses not to, then thats on her plate, she can either be respectful, or she can get your answering machine.

She should be grateful that you are being a good mother to her children, when SHE chose not to raise them. As for teh boys, you are prolly going to have to let them know that they cant treat you disrespectfully and let them know, withoutbashing their mother, that her behaviour is childish and unacceptable and that them acting like that towards you will NOT be tolerated. I think that over time, the children will change. Good Luck with that woman though..

What I would do is make it so that most or all communication (between you and her) is done through email, that way, you can save everything(Plus you wont have to hear her voice). But, you and your husband need to definately sit down and talk about what is going on (if you havent already). I had a similar problem with my husbands mom. So, I cut off all communication between her and I and let my husband handle everything. As far as the boys, I would let her talk to them on the phone but monitor the conversations. There is no telling what she is telling them if you and her dont get along. They have to respect you, you are their mom now. Their boilogical mom doesnt have to deal with problems conserning them as you do( sickness, trouble in school, etc.)Furthermore your husband really needs to step in and take responsibility with the ex. But, dont forget the emails, they could really be helpful legally. You want to do everthing by the book.

I really believe that there is no solution to this. I can relate totally with this. I have three step kids who live here with me. Their father is a truck driver. Their mother is awful. I keep in mind I have to respect in a way that doesn't intfer here because that is that their mother and if it wasn't for her. I wouldn't have them. However until your husband puts his foot down nothing will change.

J.,
I feel your pain. I'm the stepmother of a wonderful 17 yr. old young lady whom I've raised since she was 5. Her mother chose to leave and for years I had to deal with her trying to interfere in both my relationship with my daughter (we no longer use the term step in there) and my husband. There are a couple of suggestions I can give you.
1- document everything. I used to keep a word doc. on my desktop so that it was easy to open and add to. I just added the date and the incident, I listed both good and bad just to keep a reliable record.
2- be sweet! this will be exactly what she doesn't want. Kill'er with kindness, as much as it irritates you to do, imagine how much it aggravates her to try and piss you off and still get the nice ness!
3- get your husband involved. But you must make sure that you two are in agreement about everything. This will help to avoid issues between you and him.
4- have a family meeting and be sure that the boys know that they cannot disrespect you. Even if their mother says bad things, that doesn't give them the right to act out on them. Never talk down about her in front of them, that will only give them justification of anything that she has said. They must realize that she may be their Mom, but you are their step Mom and by marriage their guardian, and they need to respect that. Being their guardian means that you have as much rights as their mother.
5- this being the most important. If the agreement that you have is not legal,, make it so. If he has custody, then having thing done legally will help resolve all issues and will allow you the ability to tell her the next time she has a problem, to take it up in court!
On a final note, have patience, this will come to an end. In doing things the right way, you are only protecting yourself and your family, boys included. One day you will look back and say, all that, it's a shame people can be so vindictive as to try and ruin what they want and what you have.
If ya need to talk, I can be reached at ____@____.com big thing is not to stress about it, stress definitely doesn't help.
S.

Jen,

I am a step-mother of a 11 year old boy. My husband and I have had him living with us since he was 2 1/2. I can relate to your situation a lot. The best I can say is good luck because the older they get the harder the ex can be. My husbands ex-wife and I are civil, Just pray about it and be patient. I have come to realize that being "second" whether it be wife, or girlfriend,is just what we are second. We carry the problems from them no matter how hard we try to get rid of them. (My husband and I have been together for 8years.)
GOOD LUCK!

well i just got out of a relationship that i delte with two diffrent biological mothers my ex fiancee had two diffrent ex wifes, the 3 yr olds mom and i got along but the oldest threes mom was terriable she did anything she could to make my life bad and she sat there and talked about me while her kids came to visit and then they came home and were terriable to me i dont know what to say some people wont ease up and try to get along it was 10 months of stress and part of the reason i left my heart goes out to u cause it is so diffiucult to be in that situation

Hey J. I am kinda gonna give my advice from a different perspective. I am the ex and my ex husband as a grilfriend (might as well be his wife though) that I have had to deal with for 3 years. Things have been bad btwn us from the beggining simply because she is not mature enought to handle the fact that we have children, it makes her insecure and because we were married before. I'm not saying your being immature, just giving you some details. But I have always been the one trying to stay on good terms with her but until just a few months ago she was just flat out rude. But what I wanted to say was she likes to handle a lot of the calling when they are suppose to get my daughter, and she is the one usually that comes to the door to get her when they come together..very rarely is it that their dad comes to the door. But the way I feel is that if me and her don't get along we should not have to deal with each other when he is completely capable of handling his own buisness and relationship with his children. He says that she doesn't even want him to call me to talk about the children unless she is there (he does anyway though because we are friends and get along well) so she will call me do discuss whatever it is he wanted to discuss and then relay it to him. I'm nice to her but really prefer not to talk with her ecspecially since they are not married or anything. So I think the best thing would be to tell your husband that he needs to be the one to communicate with her about the boys because she probably won't argue as much with him. And if she does you simply tell her that you are not trying to make things difficult for her or upset her but you made the visitations because it works best for all of ya'll that way and ya'll need to stick to it the best you can. If she wants to continue to see them even when it is scheduled she needs to learn how to respect you and your husbands decisions (I'm assuming that ya'll make these decisions together). Plus she does need to grow up and be thankful that you love her children and are good to them. Maybe she is just mad at herself for choosing not to raise her children and is taking it out on you because she is jealous that you spend more time with them. But that is something that she needs to deal with herself and not take it out on you. So I would just reccomend let your husband handle all or most of the communication with her because she probably sees things how I do and would rather deal with their father than his wife, ecspecially if she has issues with you (even if they aren't valid). Goodluck I know its not easy dealing with difficult people when you really don't want to but have to. Just distance yourself from her as much as possbile...Hope I said something that will help.

J.,
I've been through this (as the Mother not with the children)
and my ex's new wife thought she had to handle EVERYTHING and wouldn't even let me talk to my boys father because she was so insecure. To make a long story short, I gave her courtesy and respect and lost all my respect for my ex-husband, WHY? Because he was not man enough to handle anything. From talking to me about the boys or talking to his wife about her disrecpecting me all the time. Every situation is different but you need to have your husband handle most of this. He is the father and (even though you are helping to raise his boys) you are not their mother. She was there first and so were the boys. I know this is hard to hear, but try real hard to make your husband realize what a toll this is taking on you and have him handle this situation. If he can't or won't you may need to go to counseling. You two have ALL the children to think about here and as time goes by it should get better. Take Care

J.,i feel your pain...my first suggestion to you would be to get your husband involved. start letting him do all the communication between her and your family. its hard, your actually the MOM and yet you have to deal. i'm in the same situation actually i have to deal with my ex's wife but i have custody of our daughter. at first we did do the between us vistation and make everything so nice but you may have to get the court involved. sometimes doing things thru the court is so much easier. as much as you wanna be the nice guy your gonna have to put your foot down and let the rules be known. even though their not your kids biologically, you have been there long enough to dicate what these children are able to do. if going somewhere doing school time is not an option then say it. you paying for their mother to see them to me is unacceptable. the less you deal with her, the easier it will be.

well honestly, jenn....you cant do anything about that ...
you made your point to her that the kids have school and that you guys dont have the time for that so she is just going to have to deal with that.... i have been married for about 2 yrs now with my husband and i went through a similar thing and i just had to let it go( meaning that it is what it is, if you cant do it then you just cant....that's it!)....and the reason why she was sending you those things was b/c she is jelous of you...you are where she should have been!....the only thing that will make it better on you is to give up on you life that you have now with your family......AND I NO THAT YOU ARENT GOING TO DO THAT....SO YOU JUST HAVE TO STICK UP TO HER AND STAND YOUR GROUND!!!!! no means no........and by the way....any thing that isnt court ordered ....you are not obligated to do!!!!!if she wants to see the boys then...let her do the arrangement to see them ...not you.....she will come if she wants to see her kids like that.....please dont stress over it.....you need your sanity.......dont let her get to you......you just focus on your wonderful life that you have now and let her be her.......p..s....

REMEMBER THAT WE CANNOT CHANGE PEOPLE......THEY CAN ONLY CHANGE THEMSELVES IF THEY WANT OR NEED TO.....

GOOD LUCK.........SHAN~

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