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Tsunami of Emotions

Alapheria's picture

Everyday is a whirlwind of different emotions. One day everything is perfect and the next is a disaster. I've been with my DH for 4 years now and I've acted as a full time mother to his 2 daughters from his previous marriage. BM sees the girls when it's convenient for her and not when she's supposed to by court order. I've looked up requirements to adopt your stepchildren in my state and we have the upper hand on all grounds. I can adopt both SD's on the grounds of BM being unfit, inadequate housing for the girls (she lives in a shed on her in-laws junked up property and the main house is a 2 or 3 bedroom 1 bath run down trailer that 4 adults and 1 child live in. So 6 adults and 2 children live on a property consisting of a shed and a cluttered run down trailer). She doesn't maintain a substantial contact relationship with the girls and can't even get them overnight like she's supposed to because the only place she has for them to sleep is a crib mattress toddler bed in the middle of a cluttered living room that is crawling with roaches and smells like urine and cigarettes. A 7 and 4 year old cannot sleep crammed together like that. I've brought all this to DH attention last night and he just dismissed it and said let BM burn her own bridges. Like I'm supposed to sit back and watch this narcissistic, lying, cheating and manipulative POS hurt the 2 girls I've raised since they were 3 years and the other 7months just so "she burns her own bridges and I can prove to the girls that I'll be the mom they need and can depend on.". DH is convinced it'll cause more problems by me trying to adopt them and won't even try to put BM in her place. He "lets her think she pulls the strings so she won't cause any trouble and it's all part of his plan". I've entertained the idea of disengaging from SD's or even just leaving the relationship, but then I feel guilty because BM left them (didn't even try fighting for them in the divorce), and I don't want them to grow up thinking no one wants them or loves them. Plus I love my DH very much but I can't keep feeling like I'm the only one putting all I have into raising the kids. Lastly me and DH have a 2 yo son together and I don't want him growing up having the same problems the girls are having with parents and stepparents. Most days I'm happy where I'm at (even though it's a struggle) and other days I feel trapped. I feel so much older than I am from exerting so much energy raising 3 kids and constantly dealing with SD7's attitude and lying. She's growing to be more and more like BM and I can't stand it! She lies constantly about her grades, behavior at school/when I'm not around, and even stupid stuff like when she told me she didn't step in spilled water when I obviously saw her step in it and her take her wet socks off! I was like "seriously?! You'll even lie about that?!" She's also went so far as to tell DH I've hit her on the head/face when the most I've ever done was a light pop to her bottom for continuing to misbehave after many warnings to stop and even a time out (I have nerve damage and muscle weakness in both hands and arms so I can't even hold my 2 year old for very long without my arms giving out and I can't even move my hands/arms very fast to even get the momentum for an effective spanking).  I'm furious I let myself get wrapped up in this circus but I know if I didn't I wouldn't have my baby boy. And like I said, I also love my DH very much. I feel like if BM would just go away, our lives MIGHT get better. 

later I'll rant about my MIL and my issues with her. WARNING: You may need therapy after reading that entry. 


tog redux's picture

Family court tends to favor mothers, even (maybe especially) train wreck ones, and it's not likely they will terminate her rights if she's having some contact with the kids.  What the guidelines say and what judges feel when confronted with a weeping mother promising to get better because she loves her babies are two very different things.

If BM is willing to give up her rights so you can adopt, that would be one thing, but if not, it's probably wise to avoid court battles. And yes, genetics are strong, it's not unlikely one or both of the girls will have some of her struggles.

Alapheria's picture

I just don't know how much more I can take before I lose it.... they say motherhood will change you, but I didn't know it turns you into a shell of your former self. 

tog redux's picture

It's a tough situation to be a stepmother in - you do all the work, but most likely their loyalty is to her, and she can get away with abusing and neglecting them.

I do think it's a good idea to call CPS if the conditions in her home are that poor, that's your best chance of at least getting her put on supervised visitation.

Alapheria's picture

As if DH would dare to call CPS... he'd say it'll just stir up the $#!t pot then get mad I'd even suggest that. Then proceed to tell me to let BM "burn her own bridges".... plus when they do go to her, she rarely takes them to her home. They just spend the day at a playground where she just takes pics to show how she's the "mother of the year" then hangs out with her friends there as the girls play with her friends kids. Sometimes they spend all day there and SD7 complains that BM didn't even feed them lunch and all they had to drink was from the park water fountain

Disneyfan's picture

You don't  need your husband's  permission  to call CPS.  If you truly believe  the kids are in danger, make the call.  If mom is making the choice to live in squalor, BUT isn't  taking her kids to her den of nastiness, that may be viewed as a good thing.

As the NCP, she is free to exercise her visitation as she sees fit.  If that means spending the day in a park orvatca friend's house, that's fine. I wouldn't be so quick to believe that kids aren't fed when they are with her.  Chances are they are offered food but declined it. How times have we heard kids telling BMs they didn't have anything to eat while with dad when the truth is they refused to eat what was provided. 


Alapheria's picture

She can't take them to her home because we made comments to her about all the rusty metal laying around and all the trash. Plus her MIL will show off the girls as "the grand babies she loves even though they're not blood" on social media, but doesn't like having them at her house (trash yard trailer) because they're loud and noisy. And I know when they eat and when they don't because BM will actually say they haven't eaten after I ask the girls in front of her how their day was and what they had for lunch. I even have recorded convos and texts from her saying they haven't ate. One time they didn't eat because BM didn't have money to feed them but there she was that night eating dinner out with her friends and her friends gushing in the comments "thank you sooo much for treating us to dinner! Next time it's on me!" Stating that she paid for their dinners but didn't have money to buy 2 $1 cheeseburgers from McDonald's 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Your DH needs to stop with the "it's all in my plan" and put his foot up some arses, starting with his 7 year old that is being disrespectful to YOU, his the wife, the saint that has been raising his kids while he plays ostrich with his head in the sand, apparently.

What is HE doing to straighten out his daughter? What is HE doing to make her be respectful and stop lying? If BM is as bad as you say, and if they have visited the hole that BM lives in, both girls likely need therapy to deal with the feelings of abandonment they likely have AND to help them cope if/when their mental health issues emerge that they share with their mother.

It is 100% NOT YOUR JOB to fix this mess, but it mostly certainly is 100% your DH's job. And I don't care if he is working 80 hours a week - HE is their father and no amount of you stepping up and in will replace their mother. They have a mom, she's a crappy one, and your DH doesn't get to both not rock the boat with her while letting you wallow away trying to raise two damaged girls that are partially HIS FAULT for damaging since HE CHOSE TO BREED with subpar stock.

Put a foot up your DH's rear and tell him to get his act together. That you'll no longer be doing ANYTHING for SD7 since she lies to and about you and he isn't doing anything to modify that behavior. Let HIM worry about her schooling and lying and finding child care for her. The minute she lied about you hitting her (and for the love of all, don't do any more spanking/swatting on her) is the minute she became a danger to you. That accusation could result in you losing your son. STOP being alone with her and make your DH flex those parenting muscles.

You clearly care, but the solution isn't taking on MORE responsibility. It's recognizing that the responsibility was never and never will be yours. Those girls will never want you as their mother; they will want THEIR MOTHER to grow up and be their mother, which either means they will come to appreciate you while being eternally hurt by their mother's own failures (a hurt that your DH needs to feel to his core as its partially his fault) OR they'll resent you and your son for being everything they want and can't have. SD7 sounds like she is falling into the latter category.

Disengage and put your DH on notice that things have to drastically change. STOP fighting for the girls and START fighting for yourself and your son. Your DH should be the one fighting for his kids, and if he won't, that's an issue with and reflection on HIM.

Alapheria's picture

When he disciplines her, he just talks to her and it's clear she isn't retaining any info. She can repeat it all day long but she doesn't follow the directions to act right and show me respect. Sometimes she will but it never lasts long. Very rarely will he spank her or even ground her. Going to bed early means going to bed 10 mins early, not an hour early. You're right. I can't be her bio mom but I've tried being as close to a mother as I can get for her and her sister because DH doesn't know how to handle girls. Plus he had emotional issues and substance abuse problems up until me and him started getting serious so he doesn't have that "fatherly bond" to the girls. He sees them as his children but he looks at them and doesn't feel that warm hearted unconditional love that comes with having an actual bond with ones children. He has that bond with our son and I'm glad. But it makes it hard if I ever feel like giving up on trying to have this stepfamily, taking my son and moving out. I don't want my son to have parents and stepparents because I see what it's doing to the girls and I wouldn't want to put anyone through what I'm going through. My parents tell me I'm either really strong or really stupid for putting up with this. I think it's both. My parents will tell it how it is and I have to put on this face of me being strong so I don't hurt DH, my son or even the girls by feeling weak and wanting to take my son and skip town on my DH, the 7yo terror and the 4yo whiny banshee. I don't get much support from his family. They say I knew what I was getting into when really I didn't. The cover didn't match the pages inside this book.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Please read what Lt Dad wrote over and over and over. 

SD does not "follow the directions to act right"
Because HER FATHER ALLOWS IT. He has no follow-through.

DH doesn't know how to handle girls.
HORSEPUCKY. "Handling girls" is not rocket science. If he "doesn't know", he can buy a book or attend a parenting class or ten.

he looks at them and doesn't feel that warm hearted unconditional love
What he fails to feel has NO BEARING. He is their father. He needs to sack up, step up, and PARENT.

 I have to put on this face of me being strong so I don't hurt DH, my son or even the girls by feeling weak and wanting to take my son and skip town 
This is NOT feeling weak. 
This is realizing that healthy boundaries are NOT in place. And they never will be as long as you keep allowing your DH to basically steamroll you.


What will happen is that your son will grow up in this craptastic dysfunction believing it's how things SHOULD be. If you can't love yourself more, love you son enough to raise him in a HEALTHY environment.

Mandy45's picture

As long as they are her children no matter what she like there will always be a battle and chaos. Even more so if you lot are doing well and she not. Especially If your thinking of adopting your step kids be prepare for war. I know your trying to do the right thing. Because there only young kids at the moment. You think they need to be protected. There mother might be a oxygen thief but her kids wont see it that way they just think well she my mum. You will have problems with them as they get older. And she will use them to stir any trouble she can. Sometimes it just better to step back. Then run in head first. 

Alapheria's picture

They know she's their mom but they complain about having to go over there. The oldest (7) says she hates going over and doesn't want to go anymore. DH doesn't think she's old enough to make that call and tells her she has to go for now. When they come back, the attitudes and disrespect is refreshed and worse than before they left. Then it quiets up until whenever BM decided to get them again

tog redux's picture

He's right, she does have to go. One parent should not interfere in the other parent's visitation, no matter what they think of that parent. Why don't you guys pack them a lunch when they go with BM?

Alapheria's picture

She left it in her hot trunk until lunch and by then it was spoilt

tog redux's picture

Then strap a fanny pack on them and stick some granola bars in it.  To some degree, DH is right - it's best for this to fall apart because BM isn't doing what she needs to do. You'd be surprised how many women like this convince a court that they are the victim and the father is withholding the kids from them.

If all she does is forget lunch, CPS won't take that anyway.

Alapheria's picture

Hopefully that will work. And her forgetting lunch isn't the only problem. When she goes around her family, we have to make sure the girls don't be left alone with certain family members. BM's mom is a drug addict who let her bf have his way with her daughters (BM and her mentally disabled sister when they were younger) so she can get her fix, one uncle of hers is a sex offender and the rest are just druggies, violent or criminals.

tog redux's picture

In that case, CPS needs to be called.

I'm sorry, I know this is all hard, and exactly none of it is YOUR job. Can you make DH do more of the parenting, etc. of his daughter?

Alapheria's picture

I try to get him to be more involved especially in punishments and discipline but the most he does is have talks that don't get absorbed into her brain and when he finally talks to her, it's been so long since she's misbehaved that the talk seems almost irrelevant. He puts it off until he finally gets around to it

Alapheria's picture

But he lives in the same area. I think no more than an hour from there

Alapheria's picture

My last entry "What to do when bio mom emotionally hurts the kids" explains what BM does that makes be mad because it hurts the girls emotionally and mentally.

BethAnne's picture

I would be tempted to call social services or whatever local authority deals with unsanitary living conditions. 

As for adoption, it sounds nice, but without your husband on your side it will be impossible.

Hopefully you will see more clearly a path ahead of you soon if you should stay with or leave your husband. 

Alapheria's picture

I hope you're right. As much as I love him, I can't be the mother to his kids that he wants me to be. And I can't keep sitting back doing nothing but watch BM emotionally and mentally damage these girls more than she already has.  

Siemprematahari's picture

I love my DH very much but I can't keep feeling like I'm the only one putting all I have into raising the kids.

This is not going to work if you're the only one raising these girls. The problem here is your H who is not stepping up and owning his role as a father. He's leaving all the heavy lifting on you, which is why you're exhausted. He's sitting back with his head in the sand with no worries about how those girls live but here you are ensuring they are cared for. Don't you see something wrong here?

I've entertained the idea of disengaging from SD's or even just leaving the relationship, but then I feel guilty because BM left them (didn't even try fighting for them in the divorce), and I don't want them to grow up thinking no one wants them or loves them.

You can't live life based on guilt. You are placing everyones wants and needs before your own and trust me in a few years you will be a shell of your former self. You'll look back and regret not leaving this toxic situation. You can't carry guilt that is not yours to begin with. BM and your H have to answer to those girls. Your son is your priority and raising him to see all this dysfunction is a whole other situation you will have to deal with. Really reconsider this relationship, because if your H is not willing to change and step up for his daughters you stand no chance in this.

Also, you can always make an anonymous call to CPS if you are concerned about the living conditions at BM's house.



Alapheria's picture

The only reason I haven't left yet is because I do love my husband and I also don't want my son to have to deal with the parent/step parent problem

Siemprematahari's picture

Darlin' all the love in the world isn't enough for anyone to deal with this BS. This isn't love.......


Alapheria's picture

How do I leave this situation and still protect my son from going through this?

ESMOD's picture

First piece of advice.. You cannot care more than the bio parent does.  

Second piece of advice.  Do not EVER lay a hand on a child when you are in a potentially high conflict step situation.  And that means even your "light boop on the butt".. don't do it.  There is zero way that any CPS officer will find that acceptable.  

Third piece of advice:  Make your husband parent his children.  Stop taking it all on as your saintly mission in life.

Now.. about BM:  So she is not taking the kids for her full allotment.  As NCP, she doesn't have to and in fact, it sounds like due to her living situation that is actually the BEST decision for her to make.  You have in one breath said the girl(s) lie.. then in another claim they are saying they didn't eat.  Now.. it could be they didn't get offered food.. could be they refused to eat what offered.  Missing ONE meal in the middle of the day is not abject abuse and CPS won't likely be hauling her in for that.

Whether you agree with how BM parents.. or takes advantage of her opportunities to see her children.. they ARE her children.  If they are being placed in DANGER.. of course.. you are morally obligated to call the authorities.. but most of what you describe just sounds like a mom that really doesn't have her crap together too well.. and does "the best that she can under the circumstances".. and stop believing anything you see on social media.. BM is likely mooching and never paying for those meals.

Would you be a "better" mother to the girls? maybe.. but they already have a mother and even their father doesn't seem particularly interested in pursuing the act of taking the kids from her permanently... so.. again.. it really is up to HIM to decide to make this a fight.. he doesn't want it.

All you really should be doing is making him step up and parent.. and if you feel the kids are in danger.. call CPS.. otherwise.. unfortunately, you can't "save" them from their mother really.. just be there as a steady influence is all you can do.

Alapheria's picture

How do I make him be more involved? I've talked to him, fought with him and stepped back to see if he'll step up and he didn't. He acts like watching tv with the girls for 30 mins is quality bonding and that's enough for today. His discipline is lacking and I don't know how to make him step up more

ESMOD's picture

You do it by not being there to do it.  You leave the kids with him.  You also don't step in to save the day.. but if his girls make a mess..

Oh.. honey.. the girls just pooped in the tub.. come in and clean it up.

Oh honey.. the girls broke the remote.. you will need to buy a new one.

Oh honey.. the girls messed up the living room.. you will need to clean it.

Alapheria's picture

Oh honey, SD7 failed a math/spelling test. You need to work harder with her on it.

Oh honey, SD4 can't open the bathroom door. Get up and open it for her.

Oh honey, I know we're visiting with your parents who you haven't seen in weeks maybe even months, but you can make sure all 3 kids don't break anything or get into anything they're not supposed to while I sit in the living room watching tv or playing on my phone.

ESMOD's picture

It's not your responsibility to care about his kid's schoolwork.  He needs to be involved.. if he won't.. crap parent is what he is.

I would sit right there while the kid whined to get in the bathroom.. and say "honey.. your daughter needs help".. if he didn't get up and do it.. he would be doing the pee soaked laundry.

And.. if his kids tear down his parent's home?  they aren't your kids.. you watch out for your ONE kid.. remove that child from the chaos.. and let your husband.. or his parents deal.  If they say something to you.. look at your husband and say.. your parents need you to corall your kids.

Alapheria's picture

This is when we visit MY parents who I don't see very often because they work so much and we live almost an hour from them yet he sees his parents everyday and we live 12 mins from them

ESMOD's picture

Ahhh.. that is a one time trip with those kids then... the next time he gets the riot act in advance.. or he can stay home with his two..


justmakingthebest's picture

Here is my take on it:

She sees her kids. The courts won't take away her rights, even if the things you see online makes it seems like you could adopt.
If you are worried about them going there and their ability to even eat, offer BM things to do and fund it. I know that this is enabling, but I did it with my ex SS and his mom who was homeless. When she came I would have something planned for them and paid for it while she had him. Groupon is great. I also gave her gift cards, not cash. For you, $20 to McDonalds and 3 tickets to the local children's museum would take them away from the situation. TO ME- it was worth the money. 

I realize that you have a husband who for some reason can't find his balls when it comes to BM, this will not help that. However, if this give you some peace to know that the children that YOU are caring for are safe, clean and fed- it may just be worth it.

Alapheria's picture

DH refuses to pay anything for her to do something with the kids just because of how she is if we do. He's sick and tired of her and complains that he has to deal with her. He does her no favors since she can't do anything to support the girls or make any effort to be in their lives unless it's convenient for her. 

justmakingthebest's picture

They aren't favors for her. They are safety and food and something for your kids. 

He has to make that distinction in his head. This isn't for HER. It's for them.

ESMOD's picture

Yep.. and so he is going to make his kids intentionally hungry.. just so they hate their mother?  is that the goal to let her alienate them from herself.?

Alapheria's picture

Maybe if I sit him down, he'll listen to reason. Then again he's stubborn, hates his ex with a passion and doesn't want to do her any favors because he believes she should be able to take care of the kids while they're with her and if she can't, she needs to not get them

bananaseedo's picture

True- the problem with him enabling her is that he will be bailing her out from failing her kids ALL the time.  We've all preached her to stop doing for bm's and let her handle herself. 


ESMOD's picture

Plus.. you can pack a lunch that isn't "spoiled" by being in a trunk of a car.. there are things that can stand that.. also you can buy cooler lunchboxes.. and include some of that blue block frozen reusable ice.  

Alapheria's picture

He says she won't send the cooler/ lunch box home for next time and she'll use it for herself or give it away

Ispofacto's picture

You could probably bribe BM if you really wanted to, but adopting kids that aren't your own is a really risky decision.  Really, really risky.