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justnotmartha

Open Arms

justnotmartha
14 years ago

When my DH and his ex split she moved she and their daughter 3 hours away. Often DH would go there for the weekend to see his daughter as mom wouldn't 'allow' SD to come back to town, and as mom took EVERYTHING (seriously, it was scary) he didn't have the resources her to provide for her at the house. Once DH stood up for himself and was 'allowed' to bring SD back they would stay at his parents house for the weekend as it was furnished and his parents could also see their only g-kid. When I moved in (along with a houseful of furniture!) DH wanted to create structure for SD who was at that point 3.5 and have his visits at his - our - house.

The very first thing I did upon moving in was make SD a room. I painted and stenciled, purchased a bed and bedding, sewed curtains, pillows and lampshades . . . the works. I hung pictures of she and her parents on her walls. I went shopping for clothes and toys. I will never forgot the first day BM and SD came up. BM wanted to inspect the house as she had left it in a shambles and was sure it was not fit for a child and SD would not be staying. The look of complete and total shock on her face when she saw her daughter's room - the only fully decorated room in the house at that point - was wonderful. She turned to me in awe and said "You did all this for a little girl you hardly know to spend a couple nights?" I replied "no - I did all this for *DH's* daughter. It's her house, too." Mom gave her daughter a hug and left.

I've never swayed from that precedent to this day. DH got custody 1.5 years later and I can honestly say I do more for my SD than either of my bio kids. I fought harder and sacrificed more for custody of her than anything I've ever worked for in my life. She is my daughter now as well, and not even her mother would say any differently.

So if that ain't open arms TOS, I don't know what is. Any of you other stepmoms care to chime in?

Comments (20)

  • imamommy
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When my husband moved in with me (into my house which became our home), my oldest son had already moved out when he decided that he was 'grown up' and could do what he wants at age 18. So, I had an empty room. My DH (just boyfriend at the time) came up during the week his daughter was with her mom. We first painted the room, put up shelves in the closet, then moved her furniture in. I went out and bought her new clothes, he had a few but it was starting to get cold and she had no winter clothes. BM said she wanted to inspect it, but kept making excuses about why she couldn't make it over to look. A couple of weeks later, he proposed to me and BM started to have fits over what we were doing in our house, even though she had never been there. She kept refusing to come see, but drilled SD every chance she got. She finally came to see her room when she had to pick up SD from our house, seven months later because it was summer vacation and she HAD to. (she was getting her from the school before that)

    From the moment I met my DH and he told me he had a daughter, our weekends that she was there were centered around her. We'd go bike riding, watch movies (G rated) and take her shopping or out to eat. When I'm out shopping by myself, I usually end up buying things for her just because I will see something cute that she might like. I did that with my kids, it's something I enjoy... seeing the look on her face when I surprise her. I also enjoyed girl scouts when my daughter was young and since she became a teen, she lost interest, so I was happy when my SD wanted to do that with me. I love children and even though I didn't anticipate meeting & falling in love with someone that has a young child (I actually avoided guys with young kids because mine were grown), I'm happy that I did. She is a handful at times and can be difficult, but our relationship is getting better all the time.

    I would agree with JNM, that I have sacrificed more and worked harder to make her happy than I ever did with my own kids. Everything I have done for my step daughter, has been met with bitterness and anger from her mother, who resents my efforts. At first, I held back because I didn't want to step on her mom's toes (I respect the fact that she is mom). However, I have decided that it's unfair for me to hold back and not be a mother to a little girl that desperately wants one. I know she'd rather have her own mom than me, but if her mom isn't going to be one, then I will. and I do this with an open heart & open arms.

  • organic_maria
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I did have open arms at the beginning. Wheni first came into my DH's life he had nothing. Barely any furniture. She really left him with nothing but the clothes on his back. So i came in with furniture and all. I saw he only had a single bed for both kids. I bought my SS bunkbed and also the mattress. He only had one bedsheet for that single bed. I bought ten more for the kids. He had no money for christmas. I bought them christmas presents now for 5 years. I bought them clothes when their mother sent rags.etc..etc.. I cleaned his entire apartment and said no smoking in the house. THe walls dripped with cigarette stains. Its was DISGUSTING! Andi painted every darn room! my expense.
    Well she came in to inspect. She was in awe from the apartment first. It was clean. Filled with wooden furniture not borrowed steal cabinets from god knows where. then she inspected the kids room and all she had ot say to my DH was the bunk bed looked unstable and that it shook. mMMM its a high IKEA bed made that way to withstand movements to prevent the wood from breaking...obviously she didn't take physics.
    Either way. She didnt look at me, she didn't say thank you for the kids room, she didn't say thank you for have another bed with clean new sheets. For the decorations inteh room. Nothing!
    Instead she hated me for making my DH happy and the kids were happy even with her constant poisoning. And now her poison has made her daughter so jaded that i think matters with her will just get worse.
    So i'm so happy it worked for you. I truly am. I did my best and now have wiped my hands clean cause biomom has poisoned and made every effort on my part look liek a lie. I would have tried being friends with her but from what i've seen and heard she backstabbs her own mother and fahter so its one of those casesyou just walk away and pray the kids survive it.

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  • dotz_gw
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Last 3 posters,Unreal that three exs wanted to see inside your homes!!!I would find that way too intrusive!!!! If she wanted to see it, she better come with a court order and the National Guard!!!!!When my 2 SSs started visiting about 6 years ago,it wouldnt have occured to me she d want to see my house!!!Youngest was 11 or 12 then, I guess he could have told her if it was unsafe or dirty or whatever, but even if at a younger age,I wouldnt want her judging if my house was up to her standards..You are giving and generous people to have allowed this....

  • cawfecup
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Have your husbands been in mom's house to check out the kids room?

    Would he even think of asking?

  • sweeby
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What lovely things you all have done --
    Now I'm going to admit something small...

    When my Ex got serious with the woman who is now my son's stepmother, they went on (it appeared to me at the time) a campaign to 'buy' my son's love and loyalty. Ex bought a house barely 3 blocks from mine "so when DS came to live with them he wouldn't have to change schools". He had DS ask me how big our house was, and told DS he would buy one that was bigger. He also asked DS how big his room was, and promised that DS's room in his house would be even bigger!

    Well, it absolutely is -- They turned the entire attic space into a four-room apartment for then-11 year old DS -- about 1,000 SF in all. And StepMom went to town decorating it! The bedroom has a raised platform bed; the kitchenette has a dorm-sized fridge and microwave, and the game room has DS's computer, TV, video game setup and stereo. Of course, DS has a private bath. The decor theme is kind of 'urban loft / bachelor pad' with exposed brick, new hardwood floors, and red and black accents.

    DS's new digs were ready just in time for his 12th birthday -- not coincidentally, the day on which, in our state, a child can choose which parent he wants to live with. So for his birthday, Daddy presented him with the keys to his new room and a paper to sign stating that he wanted to now live with him...

    I'm not suggesting that this is what Martha, Ima or Maria was doing. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not --
    But that could be why some BioMoms appear bitter, unappreciative and even suspicious of the effort...

  • terrig_2007
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We bought our current house with DH's teenage sons in mind. They have an entire finished space on the lower level--about 700 square feet. (My mom calls it an "apartment.") It includes a big living room area, an office where their computer is housed, a kitchen area complete with their own full-size fridge, microwave and table, a full bathroom, and two bedrooms. We weren't trying to "buy" their love or loyalty or affection or anything like that. We simply wanted everyone to have their own space. BM has a tiny two-bedroom apartment and the boys have to share a bedroom, so space and privacy--two very important things at their ages--were our gift to them. Now we fear they may never want to leave!! :-)

  • colleen777
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes, from these examples, I can definitely see why biomoms are bitter, unappreciative and suspicious. It isn't like this for all of us though.

  • imamommy
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I can say that I was shocked the first time DH (BF at the time) told me BM wanted to 'inspect' my house. I was only 'babysitting' SD a day here or there,when she had a day off from school and he was working (on his weeks only). I would never have gone into (or even asked to go into) my older son's fathers' home. He moved five times in six years (all within the same town) and I never once even thought of asking. First, BM didn't show up to inspect when I was babysitting, then she didn't show up when they moved in here, I realized it was just 'lip service' to see what I'd say. Well, nothing to hide here. She was living with her mom, sharing a bedroom with both her daughters and there was no 'competition' between her house and my house, because she didn't have a house. The more I said, "fine, no problem, come by anytime you like.", she always had something else to do. But, the first time she had to come to the house, I would have been happy to just send SD out when she got here but then she asked to come in. (She spent more time staring at our wedding picture on the wall, than she spent looking at SD's room)

    I realize that my SD's BM is probably jealous that she wants a relationship like my husband and I have, why else would a mother dump her kids for a guy she's only known a week or two? She likely doesn't know how to have a relationship, her parents divorced when she was young and her mom never remarried. Her dad did, but he lives out of state and I'm not sure how much she saw of him growing up. I don't think she wants my husband back, although I'm not sure. I think if she isn't happy, he shouldn't be happy.

    What I wish BM's like my SD's and Maria's would realize, is that their children should not suffer because of how they feel. When a mother gets angry that another woman has done something nice for their child, it makes me wonder what kind of mother would do that? Why would any mother antagonize the woman her children are going to spend time with? Unless she is going to punish the other parent by discouraging or try to keep the child from visiting, which really only punishes the child. I didn't like my son's step mother. But, I recognize that he was lucky to not have the kind of step mother that apparently TOS's only knows.

    PS. And yes, when BM moved to where she lives now, she told DH that he can come into her house and see SD's room. He told her she was moving to a six bedroom house that her BF owned. Then, for weeks she brought SD back to a nearby town where her mom lives and had him pick her up there. Finally, about two months after she moved, he got to see the house where BM lived. She invited us in and when DH asked where SD's room was, she ignored him. We followed BM upstairs and it was pretty clear, the house didn't have ANY bedrooms. BM and her BF sleep in a loft at the top of the stairs. He (BF) made his walk in closet a bedroom for his daughter. There was a mattress in a crawl space that we assumed is where SD slept. Don't know because BM wouldn't answer DH. Later, SD told him that she sleeps where ever. Sometimes on the couch, or the floor or on that mattress. Since then, BM has told DH that she set up a space in their 'office' as a bedroom with SD's bunkbeds. SD says that sometimes, her mom's BF's kids sleep on there and she still sleeps on the floor or couch.

  • mom_of_4
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hmm open arms--
    I can remember the conversation so very vividly when my then BF said "I would really like for my kids to come and live with me but I know my kids are a lot to handle and if you don't feel like you are up to it please just let me know." At the time, DH was living with me and had only his couple of bags of personal items and clothes. And, we were living in my two bedroom apartment that I had picked out because the playground was just outside of my door so I could watch my DD play while I was in the house cleaning or whatever. So, me being me I said "Ofcourse your kids can come and live with us..how could I say no... they are your kids" Then tada 6 people living in my aparment that was perfect for two. It was crowded and well very very hectic at first. The adjustment for everyone wasn't exactly the smoothest. My only child daughter suddenly had three additional people to share with and "be nice" to and I had FOUR kids in my house. Me, the person who grew up as the oldest of four and swore at the most I would only have one or two kids. So, realizing pretty quickly that there was no way this was going to work in such tight circumstances I broke the lease and looked for a bigger place. I found a house with three bedrooms and a fenced backyard and went to work making a place for everyone. (Not really having the money to buy a bunch of new furniture and for some reason I will never understand Dh and bm seemed to have no furniture and no toys for the kids... ) I went to thrift store flea market every where I could think of to search out and find furniture I could fix up and furnish the kids rooms with. I found beds and dressers and toy boxes and painted scrapped and refurbished them all and then painted and apliqued the boys room for super heroes and the girls room pink and purple with princess curtains and appliques... It was a ton of work but I was determined that if we were going to do this we were going to do it right and make a home for everyone... Not just the kids and bf "crashing" at my house. I went to work very hard working with the boys with their studies (they both were doing poorly at school) buying dry erase boards for practice and all those nifty poster boards from the teacher supply store that remind you what a noun is and the multiplications tables and what not. I instituted family night and hunted through all of dh's things so I could frame baby pictures of the kids and started to take a bunch of candid shots of the kids to hang up along with the dozens of pictures I had of my dd everywhere. (which for whatever reason highly poed bm, who also btw felt like she should be able to inspect my home)To this day I make sure that I do the same for everyone.. I put the boys into sports and the girls are starting cheerleading or dance (whichever they finally decide on) I volunteer for the school where the kids go to school and work just about every day trying to find some new way to get the oldest to do better in school.

    So, yes I would say I welcomed everything and everyone with open arms and although I have definately had my doubts along the way... and I am sure made some mistakes... I can honestly say I have done the very best by my kids and will continue to do so.

  • helpwiththis
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When I met dh he was living in a 3 bd apartment with sd. When his ex left she took EVERYTHING! She even took sd's clothes and toys, and when dh got custody soon after she never returned anything. He had to get furniture. DH had an old brown blanket on sd's bed, bare walls all over the apartment, and when I met sd her wardrobe consisted of sweat pants and sweatshirts and jogging pants. There was nothing around to show proof that he actually had a daughter except for her!

    After we became serious and I met sd I began turning her back into a girl! I would suprise her with girly clothes in her size, I bought her a girl conforter set, etc. When my dh and I talked about moving in together we moved into his place because where I lived I had to put my dd in private school.

    He really tried to clean, but the place always looked icky before I moved in. I scrubbed it down and did some painting and it looked good as new. We never invited bm inside. When she picked up sd on occassion she would stand in the doorway staring around. She was probably amazed that he could go out and buy new furniture without her!. Then one time she brought sd home and we were not there because she came hours early and sd told us they went in the sliding door because it was not locked and bm walked all through the apt.-even me and dh's room!

    I was mad and dh told bm that the next time she walked in our home when he or I was not there she would have charges pressed against her!

    So back to open arms-I welcomed sd with open arms but not bm. I was always nice to her but did not appreciate her snooping when we were not there.

  • doodleboo
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We allowed Biomom to see the inside of our apartment when she handed over the girls. I figured she had the right to know her kids were in a safe, clean suitable environment.

    We have since banished her to staying in her car simply because she always had some smart comment to make or would just generally "hang out" way too long. It was taking us an hour just the switch the girls off for crying out loud and daddy get's sick just looking at her standing in his living room. (They had a pretty nasty relationship and there is no real love loss...sadly)

    I will say that as much as she hates my guts she DID make the comment (sarcastically of course) that the girls room was "So clean". Oh well, I'll take what I can get:)

  • lonepiper
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have a great relationship with my teenage stepdaughters, however, I don't think I can truthfully say that I welcomed them with open arms!!! I was awkward, unconfident, nervous, timid of offending them and/or stepping on their toes!! I very much liked them (and they knew I liked them) but I had never been married before, I had no children and as soon as I said "I do" I immediately had a full-time instant family - yeah, I was a bit fearful!! They, however, welcomed ME with open arms! My stepdaughters taught me the ropes so to speak - I was the new kid on the block and they, without hesitation, guided me with grace and humor through the first few rocky months!!! It was a truly unique experience for us all and it built the foundation of our relationship that we share today.

  • doodleboo
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My experience exactly. I have no children so going from 0 to 2 full time was tuff at first. BioMom had custody of the girls when daddy and I first started dating so we would get them for dinner twice during the week and then keep them all day Sunday and return them to mama Monday morning. I got to bond with them and just be the "friend" so it wasn't hard.

    When BioMom gave the girls over to us full time however, the ballgame was different. I was no longer just the friend. I had to assume a more motherly role and the responsibility was overwhelming at first. The girls attached to me like super glue immediatly and for the first few months I thought I might not be ablt to hang.

    I went threw the awkwardness of people telling me how beautiful my children were in WalMart and not knowing what to say, or not knowing how to react when the girls called me Mama.

    Its all second nature to me now. They still call me Mama.

  • organic_maria
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sweeby,
    In my case, the mother was pist off that her ex husband was not down in the dirt any more. It had nothing to do with her kids. She uses them as weapons most of the time. Things have subsided cause she has problems focused at her house now and has not much time to delve into my house.
    As for the kids room. I thought the least they could have was a bed for each of them to sleep on and for it to be clean, for them to have a dresser drawer.
    I did from what i see the minimum. Not over board. I didn't give them a videogame or tv or new computer. They got none of that.
    But she could at least appreciate that her exhusband got someone who at least has respect for her kids and their feelings. Unfortunately she didn't and now 7 years later has been poisoning them against us for the only reason. She watns to see him miserable. He has now started to wash his hands free and finally seeing the light as to what she has done to his kids and that he is not responsible.
    He told my SD, his DD that if she didn't want to coem anyomre to stay up with her mom . He told her he loved her but since she made that choice that to remember it was her choice not his and that she will have to live with the lose. He is started to wahs his hands.
    They both are getting older and he sick andtired of feeling guilty. I told him focus on the family you have now. The one you are in control of. The one you can make a difference and enjoy the child you have in front of you. Dont me miserable because you dont have the other two and then let our son be without a dad either mentally. Dont' do that to him.

    Biomom is a miserable person inside and out. That will never change. At time i do feel sorry for her casue i dont liek seeing another human being that way but she puts herself in situation and then blames other.
    I told my husband that seh will not 'inspect ' our new home when we buy one. I felt she needed to see the improved room where we live now cause of the state it was before. But that new house, will be mine and i dont want a mean spirited ungrateful hateful person in my house. She can keep her negative auro outside my loving home. And yes it is a loving home! to anyone who accepts it! I'm a loving person! I've accepted his two kids and now i get nothing but competition from SD and biomom and my husband had to feel guilty between the two families. Well they can both stuff it now and the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree!
    I still care for SD. I just do not liek how she is behaving. And i dont care to have a person liek that around me.

  • kathline
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I wouldnt let my husbands ex anywhere NEAR my house. When its necessary, we make exchanges in a neutral place. The kids all have their own rooms here, because I feel it is important to have your own personal space ,decorated the way you like it. Over the years, with all my kids, I have always let them choose the decor> sometimes their taste has been absolutely horrible imo, but its their space, so I live with it.

    In my sk's moms home, the boy has his own room. The girl has to share with her stepsister. Her stepsister had the room before her dad married my stepkids mom. It was decorated in army camo, as ss is a tomboy type. My SD is a girly girl . She isnt allowed to change anything of the camo decor, and cant even put up her own posters. And then her mom wonders why she likes her room at our house better.

    Sometimes, its just sour grapes.

  • dotz_gw
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    True, sour grapes and a whole lot of nosy interference....If you have enough faith and trust to let the guy out of the door to stay with, and care for your precious child, why isnt his judgement of where his children stay enough??? He is after all, 50% of a parent,just like busybody, wanting to get in the house BM....

  • ceph
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, when I got together with BF I knew that I'd have to include A__ in my life too, and also BM because she and BF are semi-friends (they don't really hang out, but they get along and talk lots). I'm not saying the conversion from being a single, childless grad student to being part of a serious relationship, and caring for 9 year old every weekend has been 100% easy, but I think I've done really well. I've tried to stay on the fine line between open arms and being pushy.

    When BF's place flooded last month while he was out of the country, I moved him and A__ to my place. A__ didn't have his own room at BF's (he crashed on the couch because BF's brother was living in the second bedroom) and didn't have much in the way of toys, books or clothes (and what he did have was scattered all over the place).
    To move A__ to my place, I gathered all his books and toys into a couple boxes with pull-off lids and put them at the end of the futon in the living room (which is where he sleeps at my place). I bought an under-bed storage rubbermaid container and put his clothes under the futon too(including some new ones that I bought him). I designated a set of sheets, a pillow and a comforter as A__'s and they are also folded neatly under the futon. I also went to the drugstore before the first time he came over and bought all his toiletries (toothbrush, shampoo etc). He knows this area of the living room is set aside for him and that all of his stuff can be found there and is to be returned there when he leaves.
    While BF was gone, and I had A__ with me for an evening, I asked BM if she'd like to come in while A__ cleaned up his markers and got his socks on and such (his socks are often a fifteen minute event). She seemed surprised to see a photo of A__ on my shelf and seemed happy when A__ said "This is where Ceph put all my stuff so that I always know where it is!" and seemed content with that he has the futon to sleep on and all that.
    It's not that we particularly need her approval to have BF and A__ move in with me for a few months while his place is under construction, but she probably feels better knowing where A__ is when he's with us.

    When we move back, A__ will have his own room and BF has said that A__ can pick his own paint colour and I have volunteered to take him to the fabric room to let him choose fabric and I will sew a duvet cover, curtains and an oversize floor pillow for his room. He's pretty excited and asked me if I can help him "make some picture frames and stuff"

    As for my relationship with A__, I took things carefully and slowly. I made sure that I let him set the emotional boundaries, but that he knew that I was always happy to have him around.
    For months I asked if I could have a hug and kiss rather than just giving him one, but now that we have a good established relationship, I just give him good night hugs and kisses or take his hand in a busy parking lot without asking.
    I would say things like "I'm happy to see you, Kiddo!" or "Have a good sleep, see you in the morning" but I waited to let A__ say "I love you" first. When he first started, I'd of course respond with that I loved him too, but I waited awhile to volunteer it. Now that A__ says it freely and often, I do too. I tuck him in with "Dad and Ceph love you!" or give him a squeeze when we're on the couch with "Love you, Kiddo!"
    I always ask him about things to do together - for example "Would you like to go swimming together tomorrow?" rather than just say "We're going swimming tomorrow" like I do with my N&Ns or would if I had my own kids.
    I try to make sure that he knows I love him and want a strong relationship, without feeling pushed into it.

  • forms
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I feel like I entered the relationship with my stepchildren enthusiastically. My then 7 year old, now 11 year old stepson has never been too receptive (he's attached to his mother--whom he seldom sees--and has emotional problems, so I don't expect too much), but my then 4 year old, now 8 year old stepdaughter and I have bonded. She never lived with her mother; my husband got full custody when she was about 2 weeks old because mom fell into psychosis and fled with her a couple days after she was born. My SD ended up in the hospital very ill, and was released to my husband when he proved to social services that he'd divorce their mother thus 'keeping them safe' from her. Their bio-mom has very severe mental illness that involves psychosis and has spent much of the last decade struggling with involuntary hospitalization, health, relapse, eviction, homelessness, hospitalization, rebuilding, illness, etc... In 2007, the kids saw her 3 times for maybe a total of 8 supervised hours the entire year.

    My husband and I sold our 'single parent' houses and bought a large house on a cul de sac in a lovely neighborhood with good schools, a pool, a lake, and so forth. I married my husband KNOWING I'd be a fulltime stepmom, and I was enthusiastic. I didn't know how their mother was going to fit in, but I assumed she'd be jealous and difficult. Surprisingly, she has been fairly decent. When she gets ill, she drops out of sight and 'hibernates' until she is evicted and Baker Acted, so she doesn't bother us. My ex is an alcoholic living out of state in a Days Inn motel. He pokes his head out of his alcoholic fog a couple times a year and calls or emails something weird, then we don't hear from him for months.

    So essentially, we have been able to consolidate ourselves as a family without divided loyalties or interference. My hubby's ex is jealous, but not specifically of me: I had what she wanted and used to have, but lost (I met my hubby 18 months after their divorce, so I wasn't involved); she's just envious and in despair about what she could have had, used to have. She drives my husband crazy with insisting on her rights, and asking him for 'a break', and demanding that she get to be their mother (mostly she's desperate to have someone take care of her, because her life is just one failure after another, and alot of it isn't her fault).

    But my SD has started calling me mommy, more and more, and once slipped up and referred to me as 'mommy' in front of her bio-mom. Bio-mom was nice about it. "But I'M your mommy." "Oh, I mean my other mommy." Big points go to bio-mom because she didn't berate SD for calling me mommy; I think almost most bio-moms would have been horrified and upset. I MYSELF would have been very hurt and indignant. Bio-mom was hurt, but she did the mature thing and let it go. She is not always so mature (she is always telling the kids how poor she is, how little she has, worrying them about her safety, making extravagant promises, disappearing suddenly out of their lives, complaining their father won't let her see them enough, etc... But as far as we know, she's always supported our blended family. May G-d remember that and return that blessing to her.

    I wasn't sure how we were all going to fit together and work it out, but I was absolutely committed to being the best parent I could be without upstaging mom. I have a beloved stepfather (my father died), and assumed my role would be beloved stepmom. I already had my own bio-kids so I didn't need to be their mother or prove anything; but I did want to be one big happy family--my husband, me, my kids, his kids.

    I decorated my SD's room bright pink with Laura Ashley blue and violet sprigged quilts and a net canopy and antique white furniture. I had all boys, biologically, so it was fun. SD LOVES pink.

    Bio-mom wants to see it. And I say 'no'. I don't want her in our house. There are several reasons. One is I want a clear distinction between our family and bio-mom's family. We are not co-parenting with bio-mom, we are raising the kids, and she pretty much has the title. I don't want her to get confused and think she's going to have any say about how we do things in our house or even give us any imput. My husband doesn't want her opinion, nor do I. She's not stable enough, around enough, or really capable of making good decisions. I want to make it clear that this is not her turf in anyway, altho her kids live here.

    Also prior to me coming, when she did have access to my hubby's house she stole money and a blank check. She also has criticized his housekeeping to the court trying to imply he was an unfit parent. I don't trust her.

    Also, I am aware that we have a lot, and she has very little. She is jealous of our material well being. We are not rich, but we are affluent. We do have to juggle and budget and be careful, and the taxes and medical and utilities bills are big, but we manage to live comfortably. She's homeless a couple times and year, and when she's Baker Acted and evicted, she usually loses whatever she's managed to acquire since her last hospitalization. She lives on about $700 a month (it would be more but she committed benefits fraud and has to repay about $40K). Her life is one financial set back after another. She feels it keenly, and has tried several tricks to get money out of my husband. I don't think it's a good idea to let her know too many details about how we live. I don't think the kids care ONE BIT about the difference between our socio-economic level and hers, but I know she feels it keenly.

    I saw on the other thread one poster stating that she'd never met a stepparent who welcomed their stepchildren with open arms. I feel I did, without trying to upstage bio-mom. And I KNOW my husband has as well (and he got the raw end of the deal since I brought 3 young teens into the mix--and you know how much fun teens are). My husband has turned himself inside out, made BIG sacrifices to encourage my kids in sports and do scouting with my youngest son.

    Not just open arms, but OPEN HEART.

  • norcalgirl78
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Reading these posts is so heartening, but intimidates me a little bit too. My BF and I are about to play host to his DDs 5 and 9 for their spring break week. Usually since they live several states away he goes to them once a month or once every other month, as much as he can, for visitation - BM never brings them up every other month as she is meant to because of their school schedule and not wanting to disrupt them.

    So whenever they see him they're in hotels, eating out and doing activities - no kind of normal schedule. On the couple of occasions they have been in town I had a lot of fun with them, but I did feel a little awkward being young and not having kids of my own. We have bonded and they seem to really like me. And why wouldn't I love two adorable, well-mannered and smart girls!

    BF and I moved in together a few months back and one of my "musts" in selecting an apartment was an extra room where his girls could play and feel welcome when they'd come (in our area rents for 1 bedrooms w/ den start at $2k/mo). Previously I lived in a small studio by myself ($900/mo) and he lived in a slightly bigger studio by himself ($1450/mo). We found the perfect place...and they're coming...but we're still trying to furnish the place, and it is small.

    They aren't going to have painted and stenciled rooms, or new bunkbeds...and I wish I could do better, and their dad does too, but w/ half his salary going to BM and the rest for struggling with their debt from the marriage, it's very difficult. My thing is that they feel welcome. I am nervous about BM dropping them off - am I supposed to make coffee and bake something!? We don't even have a dining room, and this woman lives in a 6 bedroom house. Ay...=-(

    My arms will be open, just hope I don't say/do the wrong thing and manage to get through the week without being too nervous!

  • ceph
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Norcal - don't worry!
    The fact that you chose a place with a room for the girls is great. You do the best you can with what you've got, and that pretty much has to be good enough! You don't need to bake, but it might not be a bad idea to make sure there's some lemonade in the fridge or something. Hopefully she'll just drop off the girls and go, but just in case...

    A little idea that wouldn't cost too much money (definitely My mom did this for me when we moved to a new house when I was about 9 and in hindsight, it made a big difference to my new room feeling like mine.

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