Having a moan about DSSs's mum

(37 Posts)
balia Fri 29-Mar-13 14:26:22

I really try not to, (moan I mean) but it gets so wearing being messed about and never being treated with even basic courtesy.

We are supposed to be picking up DSS at 10am this morning for the start of a week's stay for Easter. We were meant to be heading to DH's Mums. It is court ordered, and DH wrote to ex to confirm all the dates at the end of January. So of course last night she rang and left a message saying we couldn't have DSS until 5pm. DH rang her this morning - apparently she's decided that as the court order says 'after school' on fridays, that means 5pm (even though DSS is not at school today, and every other Friday pick up in holiday time for the past 5 years has been at 10am). And she didn't mention it before because she didn't realise when the pick up would be because she hasn't read the court order or DH's letter (too upsetting, apparently).

Alright, it isn't the end of the world, it means we will be travelling at night which I hate, and arriving too late for the meal we've booked etc, but if she pulls this kind of stunt in the summer we'll have to go and catch our flight and DSS will miss out. As DH pointed out, if she interprets the court order differently from him he is happy to discuss it, be flexible etc, but not the night before!

Thanks if you read this far. Will now breathe.

99problems Thu 04-Apr-13 00:19:34

she was in her 30's when she had them so I can't reconcile it by her being a young mum

Ahh yes, of course, if she was a young mum it would be totally understandable.

hmm

DizzySometimes Tue 02-Apr-13 19:42:05

NADM - I did get that book after recommendations on this site (and I know you were one of the people suggesting that). You're right - the responses to being a SM (and having an opinion as a SM, and wanting an equal say in your partnership - oh, the horror) are not a surprise. I just get tired of the inequality of it all sometimes, and the bleating (perfect expression) of people saying 'but, I'm the mum, so what I say goes', without any consideration of the child or the dad. I shall have to remember the vision of bleating sheep in future when it's getting too much.

OP - I think you're right about supporting your DSS however you can. Good luck!

balia Tue 02-Apr-13 14:34:10

Many thanks for everybody's input. Firstly, we had a great time anyway, in fact it probably worked out better because we ended up going into the city to sightsee on Easter Sunday and it was wonderfully quiet and we practically had the attractions to ourselves!

In terms of the court order, I think it is only this tiny bit that leaves any room for her to 'interpret' things differently. Thanks to the way she behaves, DH has an incredibly defined order so ex can't wriggle out of providing DSS for contact. We will follow the idea of minimising the disruption as far as we can, but as has been said, we won't always be able to do that, and it is difficult to draw boundaries/call her bluff when that is exactly what she wants (eg for DH to say 'I have to leave by x time and if DSS isn't here he will miss out') because her feeling is that she loves DSS MORE than DH, so she should get to spend more time with him, even though she has been confronted with the evidence (from the Cafcass interview with DSS) that DSS wants to spend more time with Dad.

I know it isn't helpful to think of her as petty and vindictive, and I don't expect her to look forward to DSS being with us - she has MH issues and a pretty dysfunctional life and I do try my hardest to be understanding - but she is an adult, she makes choices for herself, and DH, myself, and most importantly DSS seem to be forced to take responsibility for those decisions. So supporting DSS and what he wants when he is the one most affected by it all has to be the priority. And if she behaves in a way that is petty and spiteful, then he has to have someone he can talk to about it. He told us when we were away that he has asked a family member if his older brother (different Dad) can go and live with them, so elder brother can have a chance to get away from Mum like he has. That's a pretty sad thing for a 10 year old to be saying.

allnewtaketwo Tue 02-Apr-13 07:50:25

OP, whilst it does sound like the court order shoud be more specific, I oes Los sound lie this person is being deliberately obstructive, using her child to se finically set out to annoy your partner and spoil your plans. Unfortunately, in my experience, someone who is so bitter that they will be cruel to their own child, is unlikely to change.

DH's ex used to pull all sorts of stunts. She was absolutely desperate to control DH and our plans that she was only too happy to use her children to help her in this. Meaning they missed out on all sorts of holidays and experiences that could have been great fun for them.

Thankfully DH was unwilling to let her control our lives. Unfortunate for the children, they continue to be 100%under her control. She doesn't care about that, in fact I imagine that's exactly the way she likes it. 11 years after leaving DH, she is still desperate to "own" the children and limit DH's time with them.

So my experience is that all you can do, when faced with someone like this, is to limit the impact and control over your life. Not knowing what to expect when you're just about to catch a plane/take a long trip is no way to live. Id guess she got a great big kick out of spoiling your plans. You just cant change someone like that. Not sure what age your DS'S is. Dependent upon his personality, he may one day defy her. Equally he may not. Don't depend on it (my DSS is 17 and does and always will do exactly as she says).

NotaDisneyMum Tue 02-Apr-13 07:32:53

dizzy Read Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin, it's a revelation!

The social conditioning to demonise stepmothers is just too great for many to resist.

I now imagine the anti-SM brigade here on MN as bleating little sheep, following the flock rather than thinking for themselves; it takes their sting out of the words wink

DizzySometimes Tue 02-Apr-13 06:39:50

Couldn't agree more, babyheave. In one thread, I stated that sometimes mums are not the saints they are sometimes portrayed as, and I then got told that SMs weren't saints either, and mums were given a hard time! It kind of missed the point, as I wasn't saying SMs were saints. All I was saying was that mums do NOT always have children's best interests at heart. It's a fact, and just because other posters wouldn't dream of mistreating their children, that is not true for everyone.

I find it interesting that if a poster on here complains about her mother, she gets a lot of support and isn't told that perhaps her mum struggled or was misunderstood, nor is she told to just get on with it or 'suck it up'. However, if a SM complains about the fact the mother of their stepchild may not be doing something in the child's best interests, it seems that people automatically assume the SM is the liar. Why is that? If the SM wasn't involved in the breakdown of the initial relationship, why should it be assumed that what she is seeing isn't the truth?

I think this forum is a wonderful source of support, but I do feel that sometimes people project unfairly (and I'm sure I've done it too), and therefore don't end up helping the OP, who could be having a really hard time.

OP - I'm sorry that you're dealing with this. I think the basic lack of courtesy can be really draining, and hope there is a way to resolve this. I like the idea of calling mum's bluff - sets some boundaries about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, maybe?

nenevomito Mon 01-Apr-13 22:50:28

<sigh> It doesn't get better on here does it.

Go and read the threads in relationships and elsewhere written by grown up children of mothers who behaved badly when they were young and still do now when they are old. The sad fact is that not every mother has the best interests of their child at heart and it fucks up children.

Now in an ideal world, mothers and fathers would do the best for their children regardless of whether they were married / separated / divorced / with a new partner / re-married, but sadly some don't as they are twats and I this is in pretty even measure both mums and dads.

When a step mother on this board says that their DP/DH's wife is selfish / mean / doesn't have the best interests of a child at heart, they are not talking about YOU. Just because YOU are a decent person doing the right thing, doesn't make the step mother automatically wrong about the woman she is dealing with. Every time I come on here there are always stacks of women ready to project themselves onto whatever is being written and stick in their two'penneth worth about how they are decent and their ex isn't.

Well here's the news: You have a complete dick of an ex? Well some have decent exes and some don't. Just because yours is a dick, doesn't mean that everyone's is a dick. The SM who has problems with the ex? Well some exes aren't decent, in just the same way that some ARE decent.

I am so glad my DSD is grown up now so I don't actually need this board for support any more as frankly its got no better in terms of silly people with mahooooooooooooooooooooooosive chips on their shoulders coming along and refusing to take at face value what someone is posting JUST because they are a step parent and therefore must be wrong.

<and breath>

Seriously. Its tiresome. Most step parents are just trying to do the right thing in the same way that you try to do the right thing as a parent. Deal with it.

billingtonssugar Mon 01-Apr-13 22:32:28

Well said NADM

NotaDisneyMum Mon 01-Apr-13 18:45:15

It can feel quite threatening to be asked 'how do you do it?' when you spend regular time apart from your DCs.

I remember how much of a failure as a mum I felt when wellmeaning NCT friends emphasised how they couldn't bear the thought of bring apart from their own 6 mth old baby when I was thoroughly enjoying being back at work full time blush

My DD spends half her time with her Dad (one week with him, one with me) and I don't think I've ever considered how I feel about it, anymore than I've considered how I feel about her going to school! This is something that she does, for her benefit, not mine smile Sometimes there are things I do which it would be nice to share with her, and other times I'm thoroughly grateful for the break - but neither have influenced the contact schedule we have in place.

I've got much thicker skin now; but I understand the guilt that the 'how can you cope being apart from DD for so long?' comments can generate sad

allnewtaketwo Mon 01-Apr-13 18:37:08

Who said anyone was a bad parent hmm. And you do realise we're actually all separate people, not a stepmother "collective" of "ladies" all with one opinion

mumandboys123 Mon 01-Apr-13 18:30:16

seriously ladies, you can't have it both ways. One minute you're stating 'the mother' is dreadful and you're having to instigate court proceedings to be able to see the children and then in the next breath, that a PWC who quite enjoys not having their children for a couple of days a fortnight somehow makes them a 'bad parent'.

I need my free time to get housework done, catch up on university work, and get things in order for the next fortnight as regards my work commitments. I have to work full-time now as my ex refuses to support our children and I have very little time during the week to catch up with myself. None of that is 'enjoyment', it's about putting my life in order so that I can a) maximise the time I have with the children during the next couple of weeks ensuring I focus on them and not my work when they're with me and b) makes sure that I am suitably organised at work so as not to put my job in jepoardy which would impact negatively on the children if I had to go onto benefits if I were to lose my job. When I'm lucky, I might meet with friends for lunch or catch a film or even go on a date or even just enjoy an afternoon doing some shopping just for me.

If I were a widow, I would be far better off financially due to life insurances that would have kicked in on my husband's death. My children would also spend time with my family to give me a break - something that doesn't happen now as they need to spend time with their father. And yes, I would feel 'entitled' to a break every now and again although I appreciate the sentiment that it isn't always possible, for a whole host of reasons. Indeed, my ex went AWOL for a considerable period and I had my children for 100% of the time then and I got on with it and managed perfectly well. But just because I can manage perfectly well on my own doesn't mean that is the right thing to do for our children - they have two parents who are alive and well and living within close proximity to each other. Two parents who both want to be involved in their upbringing. Why I should feel guilty about enjoying a few hours to myself is beyond me.

allnewtaketwo Mon 01-Apr-13 17:58:24

Well done you hmm

billingtonssugar Mon 01-Apr-13 17:52:05

Well I'm pleased it doesn't "kill me" to spend two days out of two weeks without my daughter as she is incredibly perceptive of my feelings and I would hate to project that level of emotion on to her over something as basic as her spending time with the chap who is jointly responsible for creating her.

allnewtaketwo Mon 01-Apr-13 17:44:23

Colditz did you deliberately set out to misread my post and take it as a personal attack, or was it a mistake? I gave an opinion on how I would find it, not a judgement on how anyone else finds it. I am entitled to my opinion. If you choose to misread my opinion as anything else then go ahead, but don't put words into my mouth that weren't there

NotaDisneyMum Mon 01-Apr-13 17:43:10

colditz Would you feel that you were entitled to child-free time if, for instance, you were a widow?

If the DCs father had died when they were young, you would be in exactly the same position as you are now.

Is it the fact that the DCs Dad has made a choice that gives you the right to child-free time - or is child-free time the right of every parent who is left raising DCs alone when they expected to co-parent?

colditz Mon 01-Apr-13 17:30:52

I did not single handed lay decide to have my children. It was a joint decision, made on the agreement tht the children would be raised jointly by both their parents.

It is not my fault my ex renaged on that agreement, and left me to do it on my own, and as the expectation of being a parent was to be a JOINT parent, then if I'm nearly always doing ut on my own, I need some TIME on my own too, to recover and rest.

colditz Mon 01-Apr-13 17:28:33

Allnewtaketwo, not everyone is you, children deserve to spend time with their father and I refuse to mope around weeping about it. I DO deserve child free time. I do everything, all on my own, every day, and I pay for it all too. Why is it not realistic to expect the other parent to take up some of the slack and be a parent? Why is it a sad thing for a child to spend time with both parents?

allnewtaketwo Mon 01-Apr-13 17:17:57

Agree Flurp, in a position where you are separated from the dad then you're right, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with making the most if that time.

What I don't get is this agressive defence on mn of a PWC's god given right to child free time. No parent has a right as such to child free time, we all gave that right up when we decided to have them!

flurp Mon 01-Apr-13 16:55:18

I hate it too. Always have, especially now they are older but I do appreciate that he is their dad and they need to see him regularly too. I try to make the best of it and get lots done when they aren't around under my feet grin

allnewtaketwo Mon 01-Apr-13 15:27:51

It would kill me to have EOW without my child, certainly wouldn't be looking forward to it hmm. I didn't hav a child to spend EOW childless enjoying my adult only free time

mumandboys123 Mon 01-Apr-13 14:38:56

yes, it is a full time job, but few of us signed up to having to do it full-time, alone, without the support of the other parent. In which case, it's not unreasonable that the parent with the minority of care steps up and gives the other parent some time off. I personally think it reasonable that both 'sides' have an expectation that the other will bear some of the load at least some of the time.

However, I take the point that things can change when there is a boyfriend in tow and I would agree that's not acceptable. Either the NRP is a good enough parent all the time or none of the time and the PWC needs to live with those decisions if making them themselves.

billingtonssugar Mon 01-Apr-13 09:50:17

I don't really understand all of that either stepmooster. Surely being horrified by what people would think if their children went to live with Dad is treating them like possessions? My dd will see how ever much of her dad and I as is right for her needs - not what makes me look good in the eyes if society. Fortunately that means I "get every other weekend off" which has enabled me to do lots of things with my partner that we otherwise would have had to miss out in doing as a couple. We're 5 years in now so not in infancy but given that for 12 days out if 14 he cares for a child who isn't actually his, I think he deserves a break too. "Entitled" is a funny word as no, none of us parents are entitled to time off as we chose to have kids and it is a full time job.

flurp Mon 01-Apr-13 09:44:13

I think the point is that you can't be possessive with your dc and not let them see their dad one minute then demand they spend EOW with their dad when you have a new boyfriend and want them out of the way.

mumandboys123 Mon 01-Apr-13 09:32:10

am I reading that right, stepmooster? you seem to think it unreasonable that a parent who is caring for children the majority of the time shouldn't be allowed to EXPECT to have every other weekend off? so out of 14 days, the PWC shouldn't expect to have 2 off?

Stepmooster Sun 31-Mar-13 22:41:19

It might be controversial but I don't think enjoying having every other weekend "off" particularly when building a new relationship makes you a bad mother.

No I don't think that is controversial and is probably quite healthy. But is expecting EOW off beyond the infancy of your relationship normal?

Some mothers treat their children as possessions, they will use them as tools to get back at their ex partners. some mothers, mine for example would have died of shame if my sister and I had gone to live with dad. She used to say, "what would people think if you lived with your dad."

It must really get on some mothers nerves that the children haven't taken their side in the split because afterall they were the ones who gave birth to the children?!

Thanks Taxiforme I have come to terms with what happened. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

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