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New Here! BM drama, per the usual

Annoyed_'s picture

I’ve been putting off posting here for about a year now, but I think I need some support. I have a kickass therapist and a great friend group, but I know no other step parents closely. My father was one to my two siblings but we’re not close anymore.

My partner and I live together with his son, all school year round. We have most of the time with him. I am a mother figure to him, but his mothers is very much in the picture. To keep this concise I’ll call him my SS. SS goes to his moms across the country every summer; that’s her time. She also flies in once a month and visits. She takes him out of our home for a week and they stay at her friends house. I HATE IT. but it’s not my choice. She also calls twice a week, scheduled, per the parenting agreement. It’s always during dinner time, and lasts hours. I HATE IT. But it’s not my choice.

As of late she’s been causing a lot of drama and threatening court. SS came home with ONE bad spelling test score (he’s in 3rd grade) and she now feels she needs to tutor him and call him every single day to help him study spelling, during dinner time. The parenting agreement does not allow for this, but she keeps saying it does and wants to go to court about it. Meanwhile SS is doing great in school and doesn’t need the extra tutoring (and my partner and I already help him as it is). When my partner says no to BM, she finds a way to retaliate, such as not take SS to his dance classes or reschedules my partners schedule FaceTime call at a time when my partner is at work and can’t pick up the call. It’s gotten to the point where her emails are so manipulative and overwhelming. I feel she’s overcompensating because she doesn’t feel in control, but it’s not my problem she moved across the country! SS needs uninterrupted time with us in his own home and he surely needs to be eating dinner at normal times, with his family, not on FaceTime for hours being drilled on spelling homework!

I’m so tired and my partner is so tired. If she takes him to court over a spelling test, I’m going to lose my shit.


Siemprematahari's picture

The parenting agreement does not allow for this, but she keeps saying it does and wants to go to court about it.

^^^^^^^^^^^^Follow the CO, if she wants to go to court so be it. It can be a blessing because you can address the constant interruptions and her not following the CO. Don't stress too much about it. Call her bluff and if she does you can address this issue that is affecting SS and your home. I know its frustrating but don't feed into her BS, the more you do the more ammo you give her. Don't allow her the satisfaction.

Annoyed_'s picture

Thanks for the reply! You’re so right, no need to give her more ammo or reasons to bother my partner more. Her constant negative energy and harassment has invaded our home and lives more than ever as of late. I wish I knew why, but I guess it’s not really important ! What’s important is saving as much sanity as we can to be good parents and good partners to each other (without her invasive BS). She’s a drag, what can I say.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

-how long ago did she move away? How long has this arrangement been in place?

-what does your SO say/feel about this arrangement? 

-how does BM manage to be away from work for 1 week a month?

Annoyed_'s picture

she moved away right before the divorce was finalized when SS was about 3, he is now 9. 

- my SO is already feeling like he has to overly protect his time with his son because she finds ways to take more or disrupt it. He does not approve of her taking him out of his own home every month into basically a strangers home where he doesn’t have his own room or even his own bed and is living out of a suitcase. It frustrates him a lot since it’s a very inconsistent lifestyle for his son. It’s not against the agreement so he has to let it happen. 

- we have no idea how or what she has set up so she can leave work so often! She’s a professor so we think she works via Skype or has many TAs helping her out. We don’t ask questions, she’d think we were attacking her.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

What does the CO say specifically? I'd strive to stick STRICTLY to the CO. 

Annoyed_'s picture

It says both parties have to agree on any additional calls outside the three calls per week, scheduled on certain days and times. In this case both parties are not agreeing, so she feels that means she can demand and get what she wants. I am no lawyer, but I assume if my SO says no and she doesn’t like what the agreement says she’s be going to court to change the agreement or a mediator would have to help settle a middle ground. I don’t see my SO ever allowing additional hour long phone calls during dinner time every single day of the week so she’d have to cave or they’d be sitting in mediation for a long time. 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

If your SO says no she can't push it (well she can try, but it would have to go to court and most judges owuld find her calls illogical as well). Excessive calls are disruptive. They don't agree, she doens't get them, and he has a good reason not to agree as well. 

Cbarton12's picture

Don't agree to additional calls. She is badgering the child and interrupting your time with the child. 

As someone said, call her bluff. Let her involve the courts if she wants to, it will be a frivolous suit and court may grant your SO attorney and court fees because she's being petty. 

Hmm maybe she shouldn't have moved so far away if she truly wanted to be involved in his life. 

Annoyed_'s picture

My SO told her he is not agreeing to additional calls outside of the scheduled calls per the agreement (m-th-sun, at scheduled times.) She of course freaked out and says hell be hearing from her attorney. He also agreed to making some adjustments around spelling, where SS will practice a little more (not with her, with him). 

Hes being more then accommodating, following the agreement, and keeping SS a priority. Honestly the kid doesn’t need more tutoring, he’s doing wonderful in school.

Im worried he’s not getting enough down time as it is, he barely has enough time to shower and get to bed on time on the nights she calls because she makes the calls so long. I worry all this stress over school is going to make him anxious and act out against it. The kid just wants to play a little Nintendo and play some soccer, not be doing school work for 12 hours a day. He’s too young to be this high pressure with school. Why can’t he just be a kid! 

Siemprematahari's picture

Since the child is mainly with you both try to do something like M, W, & F with whatever time is convenient for you (not dinner time) and once that time has been established have SS end the call. You have to be consistent with it and don't allow her any room to manipulate what goes on in your home (the calls). You both have power over this. If she doesn't like it, let her go to court and there you can all establish certain days and times of the week and stick to it consistently.

If this is such an issue for her she shouldn't have moved the distance that she did, since she made that choice she has to accept what comes with it.

Annoyed_'s picture

The agreement clearly states on what days and at what times she can call and the same goes for when my SO can call when SS is with her. So it’s been established for YEARS. She’s just now blowing this up. It’s INSANE. All I can guess is that she feels threatened by me in the picture becoming more of a parent figure to SS (I’ve been around for 2 years) or she’s starting to realize what a mistake it was to choose a job over her own son. Who knows. I’m just assuming. 

tankh21's picture

Everyone here gives good advice and I agree follow the CO and ignore BM's idiotic threats. BM cannot control what happens in your home while SS is there. BM over here has tried numerous time to control what goes on in our home but I told DH he better fix that really quick or I would be gone. DH took the cell phones away from the skids for awhile because BM told SS to take pictures of our home I am guessing she wanted them to try to use against DH in court. Then BM tells my DH that the skids will have their cell phone will them at all times when they are at our house and DH simply told her that she does not dictate what he does in his own home and then she threatened to take him to court. We just ignore her when she tries to pull that kind of crap. But she still doesn't learn. I mean you can't fix stupid you know!

Annoyed_'s picture

You are correct, you can not fix stupid. Lol!! Omg I can’t believe that’s even happening in your own home - whenever I see Bparents use their children as pawns to get dirt on parents it drives me crazy. My parents divorced when I was 12, so I know how one parent will try to use the kid to get proof of literally nothing just to throw at their ex in court. It’s petty and it’s sad. 

I have to wonder why these people choose to funnel all their energy into revenge and negativity instead of valuable, loving experiences with their kids instead. 

We already have a pretty strict screen time rule in our home that we find works for everyone, but making SS put his cellphone away when he keeps texting and calling will be a hard one for us. I guess we’ll see how to handle this when it comes. Good thing it’s a WiFi only device! 

Youre all so right / call the bluff, follow the CO, be strong ! 

justmakingthebest's picture

I totally agree with the others- follow the CO and call her bluff. 

Also- phone calls that interupt dinner time- Just don't answer. Turn phones to Do Not Disturb while you eat. Turn it back on when you are done and have SS call her back. Let's be real- eating dinner is less than 30 mins, with a 9 yr old probably more like 15 mins. If BM calls before dinner just tell your DH to say "Son, I need the phone for a sec.- BM, SS will call you back after dinner" Then hang up and turn off the ringer. 

If BM chooses to retaliate, she is only hurting her kid. So let her. Let SS get angry at his mom for missing things he sees as important. You can't control BM, only how you react to her.

Annoyed_'s picture

I wish it took my SS fifteen minutes to eat! He eats so slow!! Haha besides the point. I agree, it also helps that we don’t allow devices at the table. It’s really the only time we have to talk and be a family. I know that not everyone agrees about dinner time, but my SO and I agreed dinner time is family time, the rest of the evening is free time or homework time. 

On the days she is scheduled to call, because of the time difference, it’s always at 6:30, right when dinner time is. So SS eats in his room at his desk and talks to her. It’s so distracting it takes him over an hour to eat his food. It’s depressing that he’s even eating in his room in front of a phone on FaceTime as it is. But it’s within the agreement so we can’t do much. All I can do is rush to get home from work and make dinner faster! I got to a point where I’m not rushing for nobody! 

Im guessing now that SO said no to extra calls she’s going to try and FaceTime on the extra days that aren’t in the agreement and luckily the phone will be in his room - he can call her back after he’s done getting food in his body. 

justmakingthebest's picture

She is welcome to call during dinner time. SS will just have to call he back when you guys are done eating. Eating at 6:30 is pretty normal for those who get off work around 5. It isn't y'alls fault that she has a time difference. Just end the call for SS and tell BM that SS will call her back shortly. You and your SO just have to take a stand. 

Imagine this in court- "Your honor, I was told that my son, my baby boy, was going to have to get off the phone to eat dinner and would call me back in 30 mins.!! I need to be on the phone with him for hours on end every night! This is unacceptable. I don't care when THEY  eat dinner, this is all about my needs!" 

I mean really.... LOL

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Has your partner been documenting how long these calls last? This would be useful info court. I mean, no wonder the kid did poorly on a test if BM kept him on the phone when he should have been studying.

tog redux's picture

Usually women like this start kicking their ex in the shins when their life is not going as they hope. 

The best thing he can do is let her know he is not agreeing to more phone calls at this point, that he's arranged tutoring and will ensure that SS gets the help he needs, then IGNORE THE WHORE.  Let her call her lawyer and spend thousands filing petitions and flying to your area just to get a couple more phone calls.  She won't, she's just a bully.  If she was really so concerned, she would file for a change in custody.

Your DH can safely ignore any repetitive, demanding, or threatening emails from her.  He doesn't have to reply to everything she sends.

Annoyed_'s picture

Good.Point. I think my SO is so used to being bullied and fearing her doing something insane that he answers all her emails. He recently started texting her again and got into a huge fight and I was like THAT NEEDS TO STOP. So he emails her back whenever she texts to establish where he’ll allow communication. 

I had assumed maybe something was going bad in her life where she needs to control something to feel better, but who the f knows anymore. She’s always been a spoiled brat from what everyone says. 

She agreed to give her son to my SO during custody arrangements way back when, so she honestly has nothing to stand on in my book. If she really wants to take unnecessary tutoring calls to court, I guess she’s going to be wasting a lot of her time here. 

Makes me feel bad for her partner - she’s always here trying to control everything when she should be there having a meaningful relationship. But what do I know. 

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

yes, I agree with everyone else. Your SO needs to follow the CO strictly. He needs to start being a little more assertive with boundaries. 

From your phrasing, it feels like maybe you are inserting yourself into this kid’s life a lot more. Just to clarify, you aren’t his parent. You are dad’s.. gf? 

BM is not “taking SS out of your home”. She’s his mother, she’s using her parenting time. I’m curious about this bizarre one week a month set up. Since it was put in place before SS was in school, perhaps it’s time to go back to court and get a new agreement that is more conducive to a school schedule. 

Just like BM isn’t allowed to dictate what happens on your SO’s time with his son (extra phone calls, how homework is completed), it is also BM’s perogative to take SS to activities that your SO has signed him up for. If BM decides not to take him on her time, for whatever reason, it’s unhealthy to label it as retribution. Even if BM does do things for that reason, it makes me wonder what is happening that  makes her need to assert authority in her son’s life.

ok, she moved for a better job. So what? There’s dads that do that and they don’t have the stigma of being a shit parent. BM is clearly trying to be an involved mom. 

Annoyed_'s picture

I appreciate playing devils advocate here - but I think she’s negativity impacting her son with her behavior masked as involvement. She has plenty of involvement with him, and it’s appreciated. She doesn’t need to be calling him every day for spelling practice, it’s a bit much. She has every right to do what she wants during her parenting time, we have never said otherwise. I just wish he was going to stay in a home that was hers or a family members home during her monthly visits so SS feels like he has his own place and things were less chaotic for him. Kids are resilient so it’s not that big of a deal. We’ve never approached her on it, it’s her time. 

Yes, people move for jobs. But if she wants to be more involved, then it’s probably best she move back. I can’t change my own schedule around so she can parent whenever she sees fit outside of her agreed upon time. 

Cbarton12's picture

I agree with you that she had the right to get a better job and move. She did that. Great. Good for her. But doing that has a natural consequence and that result is she gets less parenting time by her own doing and her own choice. 

Yes she has the right to continue to be an involved parent. But this hyper focus on spelling and excessive phone calls does not that meet that. She is being controlling and a bully. 

Maybe she shouldn't have picked up and left and left her son. 

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

may I point out that BM’s one week a month is more parenting time than someone who lives in the same town and has every other weekend. 

I don’t feel like BM’s job location is a factor here.

Annoyed_'s picture

I mean, locations aside - everyday scheduled tutoring calls about spelling tests=overkill. He’s in third grade with an A average, not studying to get his masters. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, of course it is - she's asserting her control, and your SO is allowing it. 

He can tell her that if she doesn't stop harassing and threatening him, he will return to court for a restraining order and a change in the phone call schedule. Oh, and for Child Support if she doesn't pay it yet. 

shamds's picture

Does it state how long calls must be? If it does then your husband needs to send a screenshot of co with the applicable section highlighted. If the length of call isn’t mentioned then he should say give 30mins because if its during reasonable dinner time, in court this is what you can say and make sure its in writing or written communication to bio mum...

Annoyed_'s picture

Agreement says calls can be between 4pm-7pm, she calls at 6:30 because she’s at work prior to that and SS is at school and then his after school program. All of this is fine, except the calls last until 8:30pm sometimes. My partner will walk in the room and kindly say “hey it’s time to get ready for bed...”. BM will keep talking and taking. The last time this happened, she got mad that he was basically telling her it was time to hang up that she threatened to take him to court in front of SS. I was shocked. Why was that even necessary?

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Document every time that happens. That could actually be used to show there's an issue with the calls and get them stopped or a VERY defined time.

shamds's picture

it means when she chucks the hissy fit in court “oh but your honour i care about my son, he got a bad grade in spelling test and i need custody of him now”, your husband in response “your honour these are copies of call logs when she called screaming and shouting at my son every night during dinner for 2-3 hours to lecture him about bad grades. He couldn’t eat dinner or do homework and when i told him to end calls it’s bedtime at 9pm and its already 8.30pm she got abusive, please see the screenshot of my message to her by email/phone stating she needs to stop that this is over the top and outside the court order and she replied she can do what the friggin hell she want”

yeah she’d be shitting her pants while the judge gives her a total stare down

Annoyed_'s picture

Omgggg the thought of that situation and the look on her face with said documentation present in court would make my year.

Harry's picture

Make BM take you to court,  Make her travel to you to go to court,  Maks sure you postpone the court date at the last minute a few times.  So she travels for nothing.  See what she gets.  Unless BM is willing to move back to your  area and become a 50/5O parent.  She is just blowing smoke 

Ispofacto's picture

When things get out of hand, DH needs to quietly take the phone out of SS's hands and hang up.  Then ignore the incoming spew.

Keep a record of how long these calls are, and if she tries to lie, subpeona her phone records.  That will make things worse for her.

Our BM literally cried in front of our judge that DH "wouldn't coparent with her", booo hooooo hooooo.  We presented her phone records, 1790 calls in a year.  None of them about the kid, all just to bitch and yank DH's chain.  The judge burned a hole in BM with his eyes.