From a very sane step mother

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  • Mommy doesn’t care if we fight and beat each other up at her house.
  • Mommy doesn’t care if I brush my teeth before school – why do you care about my teeth, it’s like you are trying to control me!
  • You are making me try a piece of potato as punishment.
  • Mommy says we don’t need a bedtime, she doesn’t care when we go to sleep so why are you telling me sleep is important?
  • We are allowed to eat all the candy we want at mommy’ house, she buys it for us. Why are you being so mean and trying to tell me about nutrition?
  • Are you trying to tell me mommy doesn’t care? (totally unprompted but in follow-up to many of the above conversations)

 

How do you answer these questions and very nasty accusations as a step-mom? Either when these questions are directed right to you or your husband?

 

I’m either very insane to think these questions are odd. Or as I would prefer to think, I’m sane and I’m dealing with someone who for whatever reason doesn’t follow societal norms. That is ok in most cases, really it is; I do believe that everyone should do as they wish for the most part as long as no one else is getting harmed in the process. Except in my case I have two children of my own who see their step-siblings “getting away” with things that I would never allow and then question why there are two standards. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary.

 

I guess one might suggest talking to the mom, but there is no way you will talk to me, and Angelo has tried that numerous times. You won’t even communicate with him verbally unless you by hap chance run into him at a rare kid event when I’m not there. Talking to Angelo on the phone upsets you, so the only option is texts and emails. He has emailed you hundreds of times to try to talk about the kids and the only types of responses het gets are nasty, cruel and somehow turned into me(?) being a monster who hates Kelly and Billy. Me? Me who is never mentioned in these aforementioned emails. Yet I’m accused of trying to control them with some nefarious rules. I’m accused by you to me, my husband, my in-laws, my step-children… anyone who will listen really; or has to read an email from you.

 

Six and a half years have now elapsed since you and Angelo split up and started sharing custody of the kids. I’m asking you to please start the New Year in 2017 with some level of collaboration and kindness for the sake of Kelly and Billy. It would be so wonderful. Not to steal the words of people past… but it’s so relevant “Can’t we all just get along?“.

 

I’ve been accused of being mean, picking fights with you & your children, having an eating disorder, being money hungry, “going after” doctors, using your husband to put my kids through college, being abusive, causing damage… the list goes on. You actually don’t know anything about me. If you did, this would sound as absurd to you as the people who know me. I don’t know anything about you either. Although women are 50% of the population, we are a minority in so many ways. Instead of putting one another down, is there anyway we can lift each other up? Especially when there is something like our children’s upbringing at stake? Seeing two grown women get along would help them in so many ways to be good, kind, collaborative, understanding people in their own lives as they grow into mature adults themselves. How can I encourage you to work with me and Angelo to be a shining example of the change we’d like to see in the world?

 

No more rumors about me. No more sob stories. How about acknowledging that I had nothing to do with your unhappy marriage to your ex-husband . If you’d like to know why you are no longer married to him, perhaps you should ask him  and  stop telling me how I ruined your life? No more nasty grams. No more talking about made up things you wish to be true about me to anyone who will listen including parents at school, mutual friends, your children (my step-children), my in-laws, my in-laws friends, etc. Please.

 

Angelo and I always think it might stop. After about a week or two of no un-pleasantries, we actually feel like we turned a corner and feel a little hopeful. But as recent as this morning when Angelo received a text about your mother’s 75th birthday party over in Santa Barbara where you stated you will take the kids on his weekend next month so plan for it…. we realize the lack of collaboration or common courtesy to ask if we already had plans that weekend just continues.

 

This text comes in follow-up to the 75th birthday party that was supposed to take place this weekend actually. Christmas weekend. On Angelo’s year with Kelly and Billy for Christmas Eve into Christmas morning. For some reason you took it upon yourself to single-handedly ignore the divorce agreement and give Kelly who is only 16 a choice to come with you to see grandmother or go to dads. She was upset for weeks about having to make a choice. You hadn’t discussed this with Angelo or anyone else who was planning Christmas with the kids including her other grandparents and my children. Why would we hear about it through Kelly and then have to watch her have heart-wrenching anxiety about what to do? She shouldn’t have had a choice. There is a plan in place through the court system for a reason; and it’s to avoid undue heart-ache on the children. Now that she is there with you and we paid for a train ticket back to our neck of the woods the on the 23rd, suddenly this 75th birthday party was just moved to next month? And you are telling Angelo what will happen rather than asking?

 

Six and a half years later and you are still making demands that make no sense and attacking me unnecessarily for no reason. Just 3 days ago Angelo responded to your monthly charges for the children by saying he wasn’t going to pay for clothes since we buy so many clothes for them and never charge you. What is the response? Not oh my goodness, gosh I didn’t realize, silly me…. please ignore that (what a normal person reading his email might expect). But it turned into you copying me asking me to read your divorce agreement and produce receipts. Um…. What? I know your divorce agreement better than you. It says nothing at all about $600 worth of winter coats that are sprung upon the other party out of nowhere, where the other person is required to just pay. If you are going to spend so much, why not ask if it was ok? I actually had a 40% off coupon to Abercrombie that we could have used and saved money (thanks to Billy’s incredibly heavy jacket that fell on me because he hung in so junkily in my closet which happened to still have the Abercrombie tag still on it). Why do Angelo & I just have to fork over money for whatever you decide you’d like to spend? We don’t spend that much in a season for all 4 children’s clothes. There are much more cost efficient ways to buy what you’d like without spending $600 a pop. And all the stuff you’ve charged us for in the past 6 years, we have never seen a single receipt. The divorce agreement clearly says that no parent shall be charged with his or her cost of anything that if he or she has not given prior approval. So what is your point by asking me to produce receipts and read your divorce agreement? Where are your receipts and where is the prior ok to spend over $600 on winter coats? How about all the years we paid for unqualified childcare where the divorce agreement clearly states qualified childcare? Qualified means someone paid on the books who may not have stipulations about where they can or can’t drive and can actually see what the kids are doing in the house instead of sitting there in an elder state staring off into space. We paid anyway for subservient service so you can work and go to fancy dinners or whatnot when we asked to have the kids those evenings anyway. And how about the dozens, perhaps hundreds of days you traveled? Where we paid for their transportation, gas, heat, hot water, dinner, carpools, etc? You are going to attack me over $600 winter coats? We have paid for more than our share of your expenses throughout the years. Little of which have anything on earth to do with me, so why attack me and ask me to read your divorce agreement and produce receipts. We should be asking you to do that right?

 

Actually that part of the divorce agreement I’m referring to comes right after the part that states “The parties will consult with each other in a thorough and timely fashion before committing the children to any extracurricular activities, private school attendance, events, or summer activities“. I don’t believe Angelo has been consulted on at least if not more than 90% of all of these aforementioned activities. They are sprung upon us at the last minute with no choice because they kids have already been promised whatever it is they were promised. Parties with pick ups you arranged in obscure places at obscure times without even asking if we had plans with or without the kids those days/evenings. Clubs, sports, music, camps, summer schools, etc where we were just told after it was all set up and the kids knew and were all excited, that we’d have to pay & pick them up from some out of the way place at some very inconvenient time. How is that part of the divorce agreement of co-parenting? Not to mention when you sued Angelo 2 years ago for Kelly’s private high school. He has hundreds of emails saying he didn’t want to pay and didn’t believe in this particular school you had her applying to, not to mention private schools in general where he talked about over & over why. He was actually worried about her mental health since you told her since birth that if she didn’t get into Arbor Rose Hall her whole life would be over. Kelly really believed that. From 5th grade on there were emails where he pleaded to not go down the path of this elite school. You insisted she will apply there. When asked, Kelly would respond like a robot that mommy told her that she will be applying there, and that no matter what she will be going to private school. Against Angelo’s wishes you took her to numerous open houses, arranged interviews and even a flute “audition” which wasn’t really an audition, but it was really. You didn’t even work with Angelo who is amazing at the flute to help her prepare. It was something we heard about after the fact. There were several dozen emails back that you would pay for private school even if he didn’t. You told this to Kelly and Billy as well as my in-laws. Everyone we know knows that you lied because you told everyone we know you would pay for it. Kelly didn’t get into Arbor Rose Hall… and you enrolled her in Skipons despite the fact that you told her for years that Skipons was only for losers who didn’t get into Arbor Rose. You told Angelo you would pay and 2 weeks into her start date you sued him for half of small fortune cost of Skipons. You sat on the stand and lied in court. You hired a bully lawyer who was literally snorting and smirking around the court room pushing back his suit jacket and poppy cocking his leg up on a chair to make a trashy point over and over that just ticked off the judge enough to say you and Angelo make enough money – just split it and get it over with. The judge stipulated the way that Kelly learns about the outcome of the court case… and you completely ignored it. Now we are about to face the same battle with Billy. It’s old Gertrude. Your tactics are just old and tired. You didn’t care what it did to our finances. Or how Kelly’s attitude that her whole life would just be over if she didn’t go to private school divided your children against mine. They have to live together, but they have no respect for one another for so many reasons that you filled their heads with. As far as schooling, it’s not like we live in Harlem. We live in a wealthy suburban California town in a public school district that constantly comes up on the nation’s top 500 list. There is nothing wrong with the public school in our town. However you have made Kelly and Billy believe that only thugs go there and as a consequence they view my children as thugs who don’t know any better.

 

My children are smart. Both have been on the honor roll and obtained great SAT scores – in this “dastardly” public school no less. My daughter is going to school on an academic scholarship and my son is well on his way to getting even better merit offers. I don’t personally believe one is a loser and your life is over if you don’t go to an Ivy. I would never preach what my believe system feels is ignorance to my children.  It’s really sad that your children need to view mine as substandard to them because they didn’t go to private school and didn’t strive for Ivy’s.

 

Like it or not, there are so many blended families out there. Telling the children that it’s not a real family and they have no loyalty to our side is only hurting and confusing them. We are good people. We care and do good things. Mocking us is hurting them. It’s hurting them. Your two beautiful children as well as my own.

 

Please Gertrude. You’ve stolen 6 1/2 years from your own children at some of the most important years they needed a role model. When we tried to at lease be a role model in our house, you made fun of us for having family dinners, for insisting the kids even try the healthy pretty normal American food we spent a lot of time, money and energy getting in front of them at a decent meal hour. You had no interest in trying to collaborate bed times, phone rules, TV limitations, chores (or completely lack there of in your home) or anything normal parents do to instill a sense or routine, values or responsibly for their children. And instead of at least acknowledging the difference between our homes you had to blame those very normal things on me being some kind of angry witch that has these rules just to make your children miserable. It’s not true.

 

You have not wanted to collaborate on birthday or Christmas gifts, leaving the kids to have to do some crazy coordination of telling different people different things they’d like, which didn’t always work and caused an enormous amount of waste – including on my own children’s limited budgets. You’ve told Kelly you don’t support her acting because it won’t get her anywhere and don’t go to her plays because it upsets you. You insisted Billy keep playing Lacrosse at the expense of us spending 4-5 nights a week taking him to practices and games in & out of the state, but you won’t attend games yourself.

 

The kids told us that your own therapist told you to cool your anger. We hear that you are fighting with your latest finance. You couldn’t think about Kelly’s flipflopping houses and doing whatever she pleases recently because you are too stressed. You didn’t go to many of the kid’ events with the excuse that I was going to be there and you couldn’t deal with it. You lost your first marriage due to an obsession with work and then took a job in Missouri and nearly lost the respect of the kids. All to learn [hopefully] that work will never care about you like your family or loved ones because they laid you off without a care in the world about anyone’s feelings in name of the bottom line.

 

We truly are nice, normal, happy, beautiful inside people; who care deeply about making the world a better place and nurturing the kids. Your ex-husband and I share these values and try to instill them within all 4 children. But Kelly and Billy are confused, understandably so. Please help us to not have them feel confused. We have nothing but good messages coming from a very good heart. We are not being difficult, we are trying to work with you. Work with us?

 

Please – new year, new beginnings?

 

A very sane step-mother asking to work with you,

With all the love in my heart,

Erin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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