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-   -   Here we go again with the step mother to be (http://www.friendsandfamilyforum.com/showthread.php?t=8350)

rattlesnake February 3rd, 2018 07:03 AM

Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
My DS's fiancee is angry with me, and I'm left feeling hollow that we are not going to get along well or be close, as I was hoping we could be.
As I have said elsewhere, I have always been quite involved with my grandkids' lives. They are now 8 and 9 years old, but the 9 year old was born when DS was just 19 and his wife was 18, graduated from high school about a month before he was born. They both encouraged my help and so I feel like I'm almost a third parent, but of course have no legal rights like a parent. But the love and concern is there whether I have legal rights or not.

The parents split after 6 years of marriage and xDIL quite frankly left DS for another man. While I will never condone the way it came about, I know she had plenty of reason to be unhappy with him, but I guess that is all beside the point. The fact she immediately put this new guy in the kids' lives and referred to him as their "step-father" is annoying to me and I do believe it contributed to some emotional and behavioral issues the kids have. They still are not married but have been living together ever since the split in late 2014.

I'll try to leave out most details and judgements about the "step-dad" but for the most part I'm going to give credit where it is due. The kids rarely mention him and when they do, it is not to complain. I would have to say overall, they must like him and he must be reasonably good to them.

My DS quite frankly has never been nearly as involved as a father as I feel he should have been. He got 50/50 custody of the kids but during his time with them, he mostly barks orders, or finds ways to just not spend quality time with them, always upset with them when they "interrupt him" when he is on the phone (which is about 90% of the time he is not sleeping or at work).

He of course does not see himself that way or believe it to be true.
Enter new girlfriend, now fiancee. She is a social worker and thinks she knows everything kids need and how to be the best parent (and step-parent) ever and thinks that the bio mother and the grandparents should all comply with her "rules" and DS is supporting that view. She is 30 and does not (yet) have any bio children.

So GS (age 9) likes to play this computer game Roblox. It has settings for "under 10" which is what it is always set to, but I agree it was still not that great that young kids could pick games where their "character" could be mainly shooting zombies, or some other such thing involving heavy violence and shooting.

So I started to monitor it more heavily and supposedly their mother said he could not play Roblox any more or watch any more Youtube videos. I know their mother and her ability to enforce that by having her boyfriend enforce it while she is at work or school, or having her sister or mother enforce it while they watched the kids, was pretty unrealistic. I don't remember the details but in a group text I got about this situation, I believe I did agree that I would also go along with the new "no Roblox, no Youtube" rule. But I'm human and I'm a grandma. And yes, one day I let him work on building a roller coaster in Roblox on my work computer, when I was right there with him.

So this weekend when he is with step-mom to be, he asks if he can play Roblox when she of course says no (because she is the biggest rule maker and enforcer of all) he says mom, step-dad and Grandma let him play! Boy are we in the doghouse, but especially me.

So she writes a Group text, acting like she really wants to know if GS is lying, but I took it more as accusing. And I sure was not going to lie and throw GS under the bus (even though he threw me under the bus telling on me but he is too young to realize that so no I'm not blaming him, of course).


So I admitted it to it. And she writes back (group text again) telling me basically I had been told this "rule" at least 3 times. I could debate the 3 times blah blah blah, but what is the use? Well, once again, I could apologize for breaking the rule (and already have and will and will try to do better) but I did stand up for myself and I wrote to her only (not the rest of the "group") that I have told her that I don't like group texts accusing me of things and I thought it was mean and hurtful. I have discussed THAT with her before that I don't want to talk about important things that could be controversial through texts.

And before writing the text I tried to call her. But she would not answer the phone. So I stood up for myself and wrote that text. I'm going to guess all will say I was wrong for letting him play Roblox even a little in those circumstances. I can admit when I'm wrong so that is okay.

I can tell you this, before this woman came into their lives, I was 100% trusted with my judgement by both the mother and by my DS, what I would let the kids do in my home.

But was I wrong to tell her that her texts are hurtful and there are better ways to communicate with me?

I know from DS, because he did call me, that she feels I don't respect her because of this stuff. Well, I do think I respect her as a person but I don't agree with all her philosophies. I don't think she would be happy unless I 100% agreed with everything she does and says and "enforces" with the kids.

That does not equal "don't respect" in my view. I also recognize I am a 59 year old grandma who raised 3 kids, two of whom are very well adjusted, very successful young ladies who were both valedictorians of their high school class, and both now have Ph.D.s and lucrative professions. DS is doing okay by most standards but there is no mincing words, he was very different from his sisters though I believe I raised them all in the same way.

I am feeling I'll never agree with fiancee's strict set of rules as I'm just a softer person, with education and creativity being my go-tos for children, along with watching them closely. I have been accused many times with my own children and now my grandchildren about "worrying too much" about where they are and what they are doing, so she should not really be so concerned about their safety on the Internet when they are with me. I do keep tabs on that. If I were allowed to give her an opinion that she would respect (which is not going to happen), I'd tell her to stop being the bad guy. The way I see it when GS asked to play Roblox, it would have been nice if SHE would have been the one to break the rule, saying, okay, I'm going to sit here with you for 1/2 hour while you play and show me what this is about and maybe we can talk about it another time whether you should be able to play with close supervision.

Any thoughts?

KayKay February 3rd, 2018 01:35 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
This is a tough one, rattlesnake. :(

I'm going to tell you that I agree with everything you've said and with the maturity of a 50mumblemumble year old, totally support your POV.

There just seems to be a big power struggle going on in your family that you've never had before. With your DS and your xDIL, they were willing to pretty much abdicate their parental role to you (well, not completely in the case of your xDIL, but she did look to you for guidance). So you aren't used to the push back.

The fact that your FDIL threw the word "respect" out there... well, I get that. I'm a parent, but not yet a grandparent. The thing about being a parent is that when you are trying your darndest to be a good one, there are all kinds of forces out in the world that are trying to undermine you. You have to have unquestioned loyalty and obedience from your kids in order to be effective in keeping them safe. You can't take 2 minutes to explain to the kid that they need to stop running out in front of that car that is speeding towards them. You have to say "STOP" and have that kid freeze like a statue. This is really for the kid's benefit. It isn't just when they're little. When they're in high school and getting influenced by peers, they need to revert back to that freezing like a statue when Mom or Dad says "STOP."

I'm a softy too, and I certainly would have let my 9yo son play a video game with the settings set to 10 and under, and especially if I was available to watch him play for 30 minutes. I think though, that where your FDIL is coming from is that you have now set a precedent that you will allow him to disobey her. It is not in your GS's best interest to disobey her. I think the reason that "especially" you are in the doghouse is because she didn't expect better of the mom and stepdad, but she did think you were more trustworthy.

Just to make clear that I understand she is maybe too full of rules - I realize that you have been in your GS's life a lot longer than she has and she maybe doesn't have the authority to make those rules.

The thing is... she's trying. She seems to want to be a good parent, even if she doesn't quite have the experience yet. I guess that's where my thoughts go. She is on the learning curve (even if she doesn't realize it) and she has to figure it out on her own. Maybe that's why you're struggling with her a little bit - your xDIL was on a learning curve and was happy to have you teach her. If your FDIL is a social worker (my son is studying to be one) she has a big heart and has seen a lot of parenting - good, bad, and ugly. She may have different ideas of parenting than you do, but that doesn't mean either of you are wrong.

I dunno - I completely understand how you feel. It stings. For the record, I don't think you should have replied the way you did in the group text. If she didn't answer the phone when you called, maybe you should have left a message or replied privately. I'm not a fan of airing dirty laundry, and now everyone in the group text knows about the problem. :( There's nothing wrong with standing up for yourself, but it seems that you could have done so privately? Now your FDIL has been publicly shamed, and I worry that it's just going to go downhill from here.

ETA: My apologies! I didn't read correctly. I take back the part about replying in the group text. Upon re-reading, I see that you had replied privately. I had misunderstood.

rattlesnake February 3rd, 2018 07:30 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Thanks for your perspective, KayKay, I was going to further clarify that I texted only her, but I see you did catch that and updated.


When she and I got into a disagreement last summer, she tried to make GS eat lettuce salad at a family picnic. He was sick. It turned out he had strep throat which he has had three more times since then. She says he likes salad and makes himself sick just because he can get away with it and thinks someone like Grandma will rescue him. I know he likes lettuce salad but I'll bet it is not on anyone's list of something to eat when that sick. I would never make a kid with a sore throat eat lettuce and in fact yes I would baby them with soft, easy to swallow food.

She was angry with me (about rescuing him from eating lettuce with strep throat) and tried to do the "lets argue by text" thing and I called her and made it (what I thought was quite clear) that I wanted to TALK it out rather than text it out. Things smoothed over and yet I have seen her force him to eat salad yet another time when he had strep throat. I shut my mouth, recognizing everything you said, KayKay is true and I have to try to look at her good points (which she has many) and try not to let my loving maternal instincts get in the way of what she does with GS. I think right now, I am more upset that she insisted on texting the group text to me, the kids' mother and step father, rather than just call me to discuss.

I am not sure whether I did the right thing or not in standing up for myself, saying her text was hurtful and mean. I certainly have not changed my mind in feeling hurt and that she was mean (about that) but maybe I should have just lumped it down and never expressed that to her. If she had answered her phone the two times I tried to call her I still think it could have been dealt with better. I know from experience I can tell someone what they said was "hurtful and mean" and it does not have the same impact as when you put it in text. I HATE TEXTING FOR THIS PURPOSE. I really do and this case just makes me feel even more that way than I did before.

But tonight I texted her an apology and she seemed to accept it so I guess life goes on.

KayKay February 3rd, 2018 08:01 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
The thing I like about you, rattlesnake, is that you are good about seeing what part you have played in the problem. :)

I think it's perfectly fine to stand up for yourself. Here's a question - what was hurtful and mean about the text? Was it what she said or the fact that she said it in a group text? (side note, I wonder if she said it in the group text as a "hint" to the mom and stepdad?)

I was thinking earlier about her good points. You have mentioned before that she genuinely cares for the kids (despite mistakes she makes) and that she is good for your son. I wondered about that, because it seems that the things that are good about her seem to cause a power struggle between the two of you, even though you like those things about her. It's going to be a change for you, that's for sure, having someone so (perhaps mistakenly) self-assured about her parenting, to the point of being strong-willed.

This argument with your FDIL isn't too unlike the argument you had with your DS at Christmas. :( Do you think that doing something that the mom had said no to and she was trying to enforce (it sounds as though with everyone's agreement) reopened that wound? Your FDIL is going to find parenting your grandkids very frustrating, I'm afraid, if she's battling with everyone the whole time. :(

rattlesnake February 4th, 2018 05:37 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
KayKay, My gut tells me that it was much more FDIL that is worried about the rules and whether he plays Roblox than the bio mother even though she is the one who stated that was her rule in their home. I think it was probably to impress FDIL as much as anything. I’ll explain.

xDIL has calmed down in the last year and I think she is perhaps more focused on “parenting” than she has ever been before, even though the kids are now 8 and 9 years old, but certainly not to the point she is concerned about her DS playing a video game that allows him to shoot animated zombies. In fact she is into zombies and stuff like that and buys the kids clothing that presents that, much to my DS’s dismay. DS and FDIL hate “monster high” themed stuff but xDIL just had a Monster High themed birthday party for my GD. Not a big deal to me, but I am just trying to paint a realistic picture of the people involved.

But during the first years of the kids’ lives, xDIL did (neglectful) things that I probably should have called child services about. One time in particular I found the kids in an extremely dangerous situation when they were just 2 and 3 years old, and she was passed out on their couch from partying the night before, apparently. Instead of calling services, I became even more intent on involving myself more regularly to make sure those kids were okay and being cared for. I took them one or two days a week for overnights, and both DS and his then wife were happy to let me.

Quite frankly, at this point, I think that xDIL is afraid of the new Social worker lady in the kids' lives, and her answers in texts that are quite polite to FDIL surprise me since she had DS arrested for doing the same thing in the past, calling it harassment (I'm not kidding and don't want to get into that awful saga right now). During happier times when I have talked to FDIL we have talked about the past arrest, which she knows about, and she has told me herself that she believes that xDIL knows better than to try that number with her (crying harassment, etc.) because she knows all right people and it would backfire big time.

You asked what was hurtful or mean about FDIL’s text. First of all, I made quite a point with her in the past telling her I did not want to discuss controversial things through text. I wanted to do it in person or at least through a phone call. I guess I think she should have remembered and RESPECTED that.

I said maybe I’m “old school” and maybe I am. But this recent incident re-enforces my view of that even more. And in her text she emphasized that I was told “3 Times” about not playing Roblox. Who’s counting? I wasn’t and only recall one brief thing about it where the bio mother said she was making a rule he could not play.

The meanest part by far, to me, was that she knew I was trying to call her, but refused to answer the phone, and she PROBABLY knew I wanted to discuss it on the phone rather than text and she DID NOT CARE.

Even though I think she should apologize too, I know she won’t and it is time for me to let it go. I felt so much relief when I sent her the apology text and she wrote back to thank me. I guess I just want to get along.

KayKay February 4th, 2018 12:46 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake
You asked what was hurtful or mean about FDIL’s text. First of all, I made quite a point with her in the past telling her I did not want to discuss controversial things through text. I wanted to do it in person or at least through a phone call. I guess I think she should have remembered and RESPECTED that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake
The meanest part by far, to me, was that she knew I was trying to call her, but refused to answer the phone, and she PROBABLY knew I wanted to discuss it on the phone rather than text and she DID NOT CARE.

Okay, so it wasn't as much the "what" as the "how." Then I'd have a gentle talk with her next time you see her. Apologize again for allowing him to play, and explain to her that the two of you are on the same side and should be working in tandem with the kids, and not putting it out publicly (airing the dirty laundry) when there is an issue. Tell her that you were embarrassed and upset that she made it public, and tell her that in the future you will not reply to text messages about issues but you will be happy to talk to her in person.

I think she texted about it in the group text more to reprimand your xDIL and the stepdad (knowing that they were allowing it too) than to confront you. But that's just my opinion without reading the texts.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 85711)
Quite frankly, at this point, I think that xDIL is afraid of the new Social worker lady in the kids' lives, and her answers in texts that are quite polite to FDIL surprise me since she had DS arrested for doing the same thing in the past, calling it harassment

This might not be a bad thing for the kids. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake
Even though I think she should apologize too, I know she won’t and it is time for me to let it go. I felt so much relief when I sent her the apology text and she wrote back to thank me. I guess I just want to get along.

Getting along is good. There is a saying - "The best way to win at tug of war is to drop the rope." I really think it would be in your best interest to not get involved in a power struggle with FDIL/DS. Your xDIL and DS put you in a parental role with your grandkids, and while it was what was best for the grandkids, it was unfair to you. You're having to step back more into the grandparent role now, which is hard!! Going forward, now you know that FDIL/DS get mad when you break rules even if it's something you think is okay. Maybe you should use an abundance of caution for a while. It's tough to say no to your GS, but if he wants to play the video game, text FDIL or DS and say "GS wants to play the game. Would it be okay if I sat with him for 30 minutes while he played and made sure he didn't kill any zombies?" I think that's really all they want. If they say no, then GS knows that rules stick.

I have mentioned before that I had this same issue with my MIL. It really hurt me when I'd explain to her a rule we had and why, and her reaction would be to deliberately do what I asked her to NOT do. I wasn't making up rules to be a jerk. I was making up rules in the best interest of my kids. For example, I asked her to not let my highly active toddler run around the pool which had uneven stones as decking. My MIL is not physically active and could not have gotten to him had he fallen in the pool (and I was about 8 months pregnant at the time). My DH is a doctor and told her about the number of kids he had seen in the ER who had drowned in a split second. And she would (and did) literally scoff and say "Oh that's ridiculous" and continue on with what she wanted to do. I can promise that wasn't the best way for her to endear herself to her grandkids' parents. :D Sadly, because DH and I couldn't trust her, she never spent time alone with our kids. I worry that your FDIL, in her effort to be the good mom the kids didn't exactly have, may think she needs to start limiting their time with you. :(

rattlesnake February 4th, 2018 02:40 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
KayKay,

As a parent myself, I can definitely empathize with why you limited your children's time with the inlaws. Safety was the issue. Everything you say makes sense but neither bio parent is concerned about the safety of the children with me; if anything DS has always told me I worry too much and should just let the kids play in the yard, stuff like that, without much supervision, other than checking now and then. He would have an attitude more like your inlaws. And believe me there have been more close calls than I care to mention for those kids with either the mother or the father (yes my DS) being the one "watching" them.

And these are part of the reason I have a hard time stepping back, but I know time is changing and you are 100% right that I will be a more traditional grandparent now, rather than having an almost parental role to the kids. And you are also right that it is hard to try to make that step. I love those kids so much and they love me the same way.

You are also right that I must be ultra careful to follow FDIL's rules right now or risk her limiting time the kids spend with me on HER CLOCK. I fear that anyway but have already talked to their mother after the Christmas fiasco and she has assured me that she would always allow me to spend time with the kids as I always have so the bigger worry is I just plain want to get along with FDIL. I really do. I hate families fighting and not getting along more than you can imagine. I never took my own XH to court for exactly that reason! I had plenty of reason to do so, but figured it was better to be peaceful, stay out of court, for the kids' sakes.


I love my DS and want him to be happy! I've said it many times: she has many good qualities to be appreciated.

Back to the texting topic, I don't think she sent the group text for any special reason other than that's what FDIL does. She doesn't think it is airing dirty laundry. She thinks it is good "communication." I am willing to admit for me it may be partially a generational thing. That is NOT what I would do! And if it is not directed at me, I do my best to ignore it. The last time it was about recurring lice. She just wanted me informed that time, I guess since I had nothing to do with why the kids got lice, but was always involved in helping treat it. I did not respond in any way that time.

But the way she did it was so much the same topic my DS got arrested for it sent chills down my spine. Yet xDIl and her bf responded somewhat rationally, admitting the lice came from her sister and they were going to stop having her watch them. This was deja vu except this time xDIL did what she should have done instead of having DS arrested, the previous time. By the way the judge flat out said he believed her and not him, and would not listen to any other testimony, look at any texts or anything! And DS got a summary offense and $700 fine.

Bottom line, I appreciate having someone to discuss it with, so thanks. Do not worry, I get it. I get that regardless of my different reasons for concern, the situation is changing.

rattlesnake March 11th, 2018 02:44 PM

Update
 
Hello All,
I just got back from a lovely 2 week vacation.

Now the wedding will be in less than 3 weeks! For the time being all is well, we are all getting along. Just went to a shower for them today put on by their church. It was nice.

LucyVanPelt March 11th, 2018 06:18 PM

Re: Update
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 85804)
Hello All,
I just got back from a lovely 2 week vacation.

Now the wedding will be in less than 3 weeks! For the time being all is well, we are all getting along. Just went to a shower for them today put on by their church. It was nice.

Welcome back! I'm happy to hear all is well for the time being. I hope it continues!

rattlesnake March 30th, 2018 01:17 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
The weekend of the wedding has arrived...I'll post more in the section for "all grown up" (adult children.

rattlesnake July 25th, 2018 07:07 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
And so the latest update...she is too strict with the children and for the most part I just shut up and stay out of it, but secretly cry for my grandbabies, who are by no means perfectly behaved little angels, but they are not the terrors that she claims they are on Facebook and elsewhere, either! I am very annoyed she puts her one -sided rants on there but of course I never respond. The rants are about the kids (she was upset they did not "get her anything" for mother's day). But more of the rants (like today) are about the children's mother, my DS's ex. I wish she would realize that there are MANY mutual friends of his ex that would see her posts and wonder if there is "another side" and maybe even tell xDIL about the rants.

My DS just seems to flatly support her as a mother figure, allowed to make rules, allowed to use her "social work degree" as some badge of knowing what is best for children, knowing what behavior should be expected and more.

One weekend, I was going to be allowed to take the kids for the weekend as she and DS had something planned. But the kids were "bad" so she cancelled it. They are not allowed to go to Grandma's, watch TV or do fun things when they have been "Bad" and the grounding is usually for more than a week.

So on that weekend, my H and I accepted what I considered a consolation prize. They invited us over to have s'mores with them by a fire outside so H and I went, just happy to spend time with them and the grand kids. The problem is that GD (who is 8) took too long eating her potatoes and said she "didn't like them." She eventually did eat all on her plate, since DIL stood over her making it happen. When she was finally done, DIL said she could not have any S'mores because she took too long eating! DIL is overweight and I do think she has issues with food and should not be so obsessed with what these kids eat and don't eat.

I've been around kids a lot and raised three of my own and I absolutely believe these two have BETTER eating habits than most American kids their age. I recently picked them up at "summer rec" and was watching the kids eat their provided lunch. All the kids had broccoli on their plates. I only saw two actually eat the broccoli....my two grandkids! I didn't "make them" I just observed, they ate theirs and the other kids threw theirs away. They eat veggies at my house regularly with no fuss, but if there was something in particular they did not like, I would not make them eat more than a tiny bit of it.

So another recent episode was once again I was to have these kids for a weekend while DS and DIL did something fun together. This time she did not cancel but wanted me to ground them because once again they'd been bad. It had been worked out in advance with their mother that on Sunday she would get them to go to their step-father's (not married, but to them he is their step-father) work picnic at an amusement park (normally DS's time with them, but just an exception to agree to that).

I was told that GD could not go to the amusement park after all because she'd been bad! This was apparently over DIL once again forcing her to eat a sandwich for lunch and GD said she didn't like it. I was not there and know it went from bad to worse to the point I'm sure GD did get mad and disrespectful, which resulted in the severe grounding.

Well as could be predicted (IMO) xDIL was livid. I would have been too. I can't imagine my XH and his wife doing something like that when we had kids together! He or she would not be making decisions about whether I could take my kids on a planned outing to an amusement park! Well, to try to shorten the drama that ensued, DIL grudgingly conceded to allow them to go to the amusement park, but managed to send a group text that included me that stated xDIL was guilty of "bad parenting." I have to give the step-father-person credit for writing a well written text back, stating he would think a social worker might know better than to use such terminology in a text to them.


Well, now we are up to today. Once again, I see the vague rant on FB about how my DIL is sick of being so compassionate and understanding with his X and there will be NO MORE! So I felt sick to my stomaching wondering what this time....


So then later tonight I get a call with DS and DIL on speakerphone, and DS starts off with "so I understand you took GS to a doctor's appointment? I said no, where did you get that idea? And he seemed confused...I said didn't you both get a text from xDIL saying SHE took him to an appointment and the doctor said it was allergies? Somehow, the queen of group texts (see my above posts if you need to review why I say that) misunderstood xDIL to be me! It was pretty clear our names are not similar and that text originated from her! But DIL thought I took him to the dr. at the request of xDIL, and of course all behind her back. So DS is having issues with his phone and he never did get the text but was going by what his wife said!


So now I am fairly certain her vague rant on FB was all about this situation that probably wouldn't make a normal person that angry even if it was true (just my opinion of course) but the fact is she had it completely wrong. I know she won't go on FB and say she misunderstood something, and there is no need to since she didn't really include any details but I sure hope she is feeling embarrassed right now, home with DS. Once again, how do I even put into words? I want my DS to be happy. There is much to like about my DIL. I want them all to be happy and healthy together. But I do think that DIL has some issues. I wish I knew how to help; I know she needs to see a counselor or something to help her realize that she has to mellow out with these kids a bit, and stop trying to control things out of her control. But I am the last one on earth who could ever suggest anything to her for reasons that should be obvious from my posts so far. I want to get along with her. I have to. I walk on egg shells and try to play everything her way, knowing full well she has the power to keep my grandkids from me.

Well actually she does not have that power and maybe deep down she knows their mother will not keep them from me. But if it ever comes down to her telling me that I can't see my grandkids, it will put a horrible strain on my relationship with DS and I sure don't want that! DS does not seem to have what I'd call natural parenting instincts or the desire to protect his kids that I wish he had. He just sees this as she knows best and that is the end of it.

Well, thanks for listening.

LucyVanPelt July 26th, 2018 03:40 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
I'm very sorry, rattlesnake. :(

KayKay July 26th, 2018 02:03 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
When I was a kid, I was pretty good about being in the clean plate club. But once my SM made mashed sweet potatoes and I wouldn't eat them; sweet potatoes gross me out. It was out of character for my SM, but it became a battle of wills. She was determined that I would eat them and I was determined that I wouldn't. So I was told I couldn't leave the table until I finished what was on my plate and when it became evident that I was content to sit there and not eat, my SM decided that for every fifteen minutes that went by, I was going to get another spoonful of sweet potatoes.

So fifteen minutes after this proclamation, another spoonful of sweet potatoes got put on my plate along with the assurance that I wasn't going anywhere until they were all gone. I finally decided to just hold my nose and eat them, and I took a big bite and swallowed quick.

My SM's relief at "winning" only lasted a second... I barely made it to the bathroom in time for that bite of sweet potatoes and the rest of my dinner to come up.

She never made me eat sweet potatoes again (and to this day, I still gag at the smell of them even though I make them for my family).

Your DIL will have to learn the hard way.

Question: why isn't your DS feeding them? Him making their lunch or dinner would take a lot of this food-related conflict away.

rattlesnake July 26th, 2018 05:23 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
KayKay,

Quote:

Your DIL will have to learn the hard way.

She seems more stubborn than your SM so far. The kids have thrown up when she forces them to eat. She says they are faking being sick and making themselves throw up somehow. I believe (in this long thread)I may have mentioned my very first argument with her about a year ago now, when my GS was actually sick and threw up that day, he had strep throat (didn't know it was that at the time but I sure knew he was not faking being sick). She forced him to eat lettuce salad at a family reunion and I got protective of him and she got very angry and felt I was undermining her and disrespecting her.

Quote:

Question: why isn't your DS feeding them? Him making their lunch or dinner would take a lot of this food-related conflict away.
I wish I could simply answer that. My DS, like his new wife, has some issues. He is very content to let her do the cooking and very content to "support" her mothering efforts. DIL does get him to help with the cooking, but she definitely runs that show, plans the menus, etc. and expects the kids to eat it. My only hope is that she will mellow in time. I think she should have been eating crow about her mistake in thinking that I took GS to the doctor behind her back. Thanks for listening. I can only hope and pray she mellows.

KayKay July 26th, 2018 08:38 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 86309)
She seems more stubborn than your SM so far


Just ftr (because it would be unfair of me to not clarify) my SM wasn't stubborn. The incident I relayed was completely uncharacteristic of her. :) My SM was a wonderful woman and I loved her dearly. (Just needed to say that)

rattlesnake July 27th, 2018 04:01 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
KayKay,

Thanks for clarifying. I truly hope that someday my grandchildren will look back with the same affection for their step-mother. As I have said many times, she has many great qualities, but I think she has some issues.

PeeWeeMomOf3 July 28th, 2018 04:18 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
This sounds like such a challenging situation. You are wise, rattlesnake, I hope you can find a way to build a bridge to your DiL.

rattlesnake September 9th, 2018 05:04 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
So it continues with my DIL. She continues to post negativity on FB and feels she will get support and sympathy and does seem to get some. I absolutely try to pretend I don't see it. I'd love to somehow block her posts since they are upsetting to me, but I have other reasons that I won't be doing that. The most recent post was about how upset she was to be picking the kids up at school Friday, my GS running out of school excitedly, but then his face dropped and he started walking very slowly when he saw her.

Several of her friends gave her very good advice, told her to give it time, told her that it might take years before the kids really warm up, etc. Well, today I see her post is gone and she put a new post, upset with those who are suggesting she is trying to take the place of their mother, putting the mother down, etc. And she was very defensive claiming she does none of that. But it is not true, IMO. She posts negative stuff about the mother on FB, which of course the kids don't see or at least I don't think they would, but still, I'm sure she does not completely hide her dislike for their mother when she "prays" with the kids to help the mother live the way DIL thinks everybody should live.

DIL obviously cannot take criticism and has no clue that most step-parents go through a lot of adjustment, and that is the ones who are actually nice. Though she claims she is so wonderful and nice and does nice things like getting them into dance and sports (which is true, and I do think that is good), she certainly has not mentioned any of the extreme discipline, often based on what they eat or don't want to eat, the time she forced my GS to eat salad when he said he was sick. She forced him until he threw up, and then accused him of faking just to get sympathy and get his way. It turned out he had strep throat at that time. She is not perceptive enough to realize that her daily interactions with them at ages 8 and 10 are going to outweigh her part in getting them involved in dance and sports.


Her husband, (my DS) cannot take criticism either, so it is pointless and counterproductive for me to try to suggest anything to either of them.


I just hate the negative impact on their whole family, especially the kids.

LucyVanPelt September 9th, 2018 05:14 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
I am so sorry that your grandchildren are going through this.

IMO, your grandchildren are being abused, not severely, but still suffering emotional and physical abuse. As a mandated reporter, I would have to make a call to the child abuse hotline if I heard these stories about one of the children I work with.

That doesn't mean I think DIL is a bad person. She needs help. :(

snafu September 13th, 2018 03:58 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
(((hugs)))

rattlesnake September 15th, 2018 01:00 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
It's gone from bad to worse. I have finally gone to see a therapist over this because I can't sleep at night, and yes I was presented with an awful revelation since my last posting, that now may very likely put my relationship with DS and his wife beyond repair...


I've tried to keep peace and do things her way. Well, I now see clearly that is not working and won't work.

LucyVanPelt September 15th, 2018 03:54 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
I understand your pain. I don't want to minimize that.

I do want you to hold off on any confrontations. This "living will" is not the right fight. The document is stupid.

Honestly, DIL sounds like she's trying to start a fight over a hypothetical situation. Walk away from it and do not engage. If you fight back, you'll be blamed. Time will fix this without you having to do anything.

Instead, be prepared and be present so that you can step in when your GC really need you.

I am so sorry for your pain. :(

rattlesnake September 15th, 2018 12:02 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Thanks, Lucy.

I do plan to hold off until I talk to the therapist again, at least. I'm not planning to "fight" about this. If that is how my post came off, I need to clarify. I just want to simply let DS to know that I know they did it and it was the most hurtful thing my DS has ever done, but I will leave it at that . I plan on being very methodical, and keeping this brief, and leaving before I get emotional or mad.

I will tell him that I still love him and always will, then I will leave. That is my plan but I feel I need to go over this with a professional before I even think about it. There are a lot of reasons that this act is huge, and not characteristic of my DS that I cannot simply ignore it this time. I certainly get that the "living will" is a stupid and worthless document, but that is not my concern. My concern is the message is VERY clear they wanted to hurt me, or she wanted to hurt me and he was perfectly fine supporting that.

KayKay September 15th, 2018 12:54 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
If it were me, I wouldn't let them know they hurt me. I'm stubborn that way. If they are trying to hurt you, then I wouldn't let them know they succeeded. That will give your DIL more power.

snafu September 16th, 2018 01:15 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
ITA with don't say anything - vent to us and vent away (I used to bring all my drama IRL here. I got good advice, shoulders to cry on, and a kick in seat when I needed it)

But as you said the chances of all parents/step-parents passing away is between slim to none. Don't catastrophize - you'll drive yourself nuts (I've done it before).

In addition, maintain a relationship with your grandchildren - IF the worst case scenario happens - the kids (depending on age) may be allowed to legally say who they'd like to live with.

rattlesnake September 17th, 2018 04:57 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

chances of all parents/step-parents passing away is between slim to none. Don't catastrophize
Thanks everyone, for letting me vent here. I will continue to work through this with a therapist. The thing is that I can't give enough details to really explain my relationship with my DS. The problem is not and never has been the content of the "living will" as I do understand the unlikelihood of that.

The issue for me that is huge is this is extremely uncharacteristic of my DS, who has been married since April 1st. He is also smart enough to know that document could never hold any weight and is ridiculous. So why would he embarrass himself by signing it?

LucyVanPelt September 17th, 2018 05:55 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 86386)
So why would he embarrass himself by signing it?

Because it's easier to sign it than it is to fight with the woman he's sleeping with. Men (all people, really) do some dumb things to avoid a fight. He's probably thinking that the paper means nothing and he won't get caught.

KayKay September 17th, 2018 07:34 PM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 86386)
So why would he embarrass himself by signing it?

Because his new wife wants to exert her power and he wants her off his back. I'm not sure why he would be embarrassed to sign it? :confused:

When my DH and I were newlyweds, his mom did something really boundary-stomping (although nothing egregious like what your DIL is doing) to us, but really more to me. My DH wasn't nearly as offended as I was, but he called his mom and told her that she shouldn't have done that and knock it off. It was more to show loyalty to me - the whole "leave and cleave" thing - than anything. But it was good for our marriage for him to stand up for me.

The way I see this, rattlesnake, is that it's not really about you. It's hard not to take it personally, but I don't think the DIL has a problem with "you" per se. I think the problem she has is that your DS has, in her opinion, relied too heavily on you to bail him out and raise his kids. I think she thinks that as a father your DS has been somewhat, hmmm, what word do I want? Lazy? Irresponsible? She wants him to stop shirking his duty and she sees you not as a bad person, but as an enabler. I think in her mind, she wants to cut that cord between you and your DS that causes him to be so dependent on you.

I could be wrong. This is just my opinion and my take on it.

Please know that I don't mean any of this to be ugly towards you. I know you are a fine person who is doing the right thing by your son and grandkids. I just think your DIL thinks that this is her family now and is trying to claim her position as stepmom. She feels for some bizarre reason that she needs to push you out of the chain of command.

rattlesnake September 19th, 2018 12:49 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
KayKay, you wanted to know why he should be embarrassed to sign it. The reason he should be embarrassed to sign it is because it could never be enforced, and I know him well enough to know he is smart enough to know that.

It seems to totally ignore that his children have a biological mother who would get ALL RIGHTS in the event of HIS death, and I am certain that he cannot "will" his parental rights to even his own wife, if the bio mother is still living. But even assuming that his ex-wife was also deceased, this document went further, to suggest that if both he and his wife were deceased (so unlikely, but anyway...) that the children should be with his wife's sister, in a state 10 hours away. The sister has met these kids maybe twice, both times in wedding planning circumstances.

And if the sister cannot take this role for any reason, next on the list is two of HER friends, who were bridesmaids at the wedding. They live in distant states and have only seen the kids once...at the wedding. I believe that is the only time DS met them in person as well, and yet he signed this "living will" that lists them as HIS friends.

As time passes and I keep trying to make sense of something that makes no sense, I think the theory he did it to keep his wife happy, thinking it would make no difference and I'd never know, might be right. But then this makes what his wife is doing even more concerning since she sent a copy of it to my oldest DD. There was no note or explanation, just the copy of it, clearly with DIL's return address and handwriting on the envelope, but the document inside was a copy of what DS signed and had notarized.

LucyVanPelt September 19th, 2018 03:34 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 86400)
KayKay, you wanted to know why he should be embarrassed to sign it. The reason he should be embarrassed to sign it is because it could never be enforced, and I know him well enough to know he is smart enough to know that.

...

As time passes and I keep trying to make sense of something that makes no sense, I think the theory he did it to keep his wife happy, thinking it would make no difference and I'd never know, might be right. But then this makes what his wife is doing even more concerning since she sent a copy of it to my oldest DD. There was no note or explanation, just the copy of it, clearly with DIL's return address and handwriting on the envelope, but the document inside was a copy of what DS signed and had notarized.

If DIL meant this to be hurtful, she's got a win-win. Does he know it was mailed to your DD?

The same reasoning which illustrates that it was stupid for him to sign it are the same reasons why you should ignore it. It's not legally enforceable, not likely to be executed, and not worth the consequences of fighting over it.

This is a power struggle. You've heard the term "Drop the rope." In a game of tug-of-war, when you drop the rope while the other person is still pulling, the other person will fall under their own effort. The person dropping the rope retains the dignity of remaining standing. It's a great analogy to these power struggles. Drop the rope.

KayKay September 19th, 2018 10:57 AM

Re: Here we go again with the step mother to be
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rattlesnake (Post 86400)
The reason he should be embarrassed to sign it is because it could never be enforced, and I know him well enough to know he is smart enough to know that.

I totally get that it can never be enforced, and that it's ridiculous. I'm just not sure I'd say that he should be "embarrassed" to sign it. I mean, even though the chance of winning is practically nil, I'm not embarrassed that I buy lottery tickets. ;) Your DS had some reason for signing it that you don't know.

Did your DD send you the document? Have you actually seen it? I keep stumbling over the fact that it ignores the biological mother.

But I'm with Lucy. Drop the rope. You don't have to be in a power struggle with the DIL. You won't lose access to your grandkids because they want to see you, you still have a good relationship with your xDIL and frankly, your DS will always rely on you no matter what your DIL does.


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