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It's all about the money, honey

blessedwithstress's picture

Let me start by saying I’ve been blessed with pretty good SKIDs. I’ve known them since they were in preschool. They’ve never been malicious or openly disobedient. I have a feeling their BM has made nasty comments about their BD and I but if she has, it hasn’t affected their behavior toward us.

They seem grateful for everything we do for them; however they can be a bit unenthusiastic at times. Forking over huge amounts of money for a class trip or extracurricular activity produces the same level of gratitude as you would give someone who just made you a peanut butter sandwich. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve come to us at the last minute saying they need money for something and it’s due the next day – with no please and thank you involved. Just “I need money” with the implication that we just have to hand it over, no questions asked. Are all teenagers like this? Seems like when I was a teenager I made sure to warn my parents well in advance when something I did was going to cost money and I made sure to show an appropriate amount of gratitude.

Maybe we haven’t done a good job of teaching them how much it costs to run a household and what a delicate balance it can be trying to juggle all the bills and variable expenses. Their BM sure doesn’t give a sh*t about money. Actually, that’s wrong. All she cares about IS money and when the child support check is coming. Among the long list of things I’ve lost count of are the number of times she’s texted us (at all hours!) reminding us that we need to get the check to her by Friday. She’s also a good one for saying “YES!” to anything and everything the kids want to do and then telling us how much “our half” is supposed to cost. Without consulting us about anything first. Excuse me – our half? We pay a significant amount of child support and she still wants MORE on top of it. And my DH gives it to her! I’ve given him pep talks about standing up to her, reasoned with him about how the child support we ALREADY GIVE HER should be covering these things, told him over and over again that all he is doing is hurting OUR family (we have two children together) so that SHE can have it easy! But his dad guilt has him totally blinded. He’s convinced that if he doesn’t pay for these extra things that his kids won’t have it better than he did as a kid and they will suffer for it. Um, no. It’s called teaching your kids that you can’t always have everything you want and to be grateful for what they do have. We are headed for a sh*tstorm now that my SS is nearly old enough to get his drivers license and wants a car, but that is a topic for another post.

Now excuse me while I go have a drink and try to lower my blood pressure.

Comments

ndc's picture

I don't think the "unenthusiastic gratitude" is unusual for teenagers.  I don't remember acting particularly grateful when my parents would pay for class trips, activities and the like.  That was what parents did, and all my friends' parents were doing the same - it didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary.  Maybe that was a function of growing up in a fairly affluent area, but it sounds normal to me.

As far as the extras for his kids - are these things that would normally come out of child support?  Does the CO say anything about extras?  It seems like these are things your husband WANTS his kids to do and he's willing to pay for it.  Are his kids with you unable to do activities because he's paying for the first family kids, or do you just not want him to pay anything in addition to child support?  Does he expect you to pay more than your fair share of the expenses of your household because he's paying child support and extra on top of that?

blessedwithstress's picture

The "extras" I'm referring to are things like clothes, participation fees for extracurricular activities, car insurance for SD (for a car that we had no hand in buying). IMHO these are things that should come from the child support, especially the car insurance since the car is in BMs name and we had no say in the process of picking it out. As a result of the all the extras DH pays for, we are strapped for cash most of the time. He works extra jobs on the side (after working his normal 40hr job) and ends up giving a lot of it to BM. We have zero room in our budget for our own biokids to do extracurriculars even if we wanted them to. Our money is pooled so there really is no distinction between his paycheck and mine beyond what he makes at side jobs. 

strugglingSM's picture

If you pay CS, clothes should definitely be covered. Extra-curriculars might be covered and might not be, depending on the CO. 

As for the car insurance, if BM bought the car, she should definitely pay for the insurance...or better yet, the kid pay for the insurance. That was my deal when I was a kid. My parents "gave" me my mom's old car and I had to work to cover the expenses associated with operating it, including gas, insurance, repairs, etc. 

Thisisnotus's picture

When you say "us" does BM Actually text you asking when the check is coming? Does some of your money to go CS?

It's normal for teens not to really care about class trip money...or anything related to school b/c I think that just comes with being a parent.

I can totally relate to DH paying all those extras...mine is so super guilty of it. It drives me insane....daddy I need this...daddy I need that..daddy..mom said you have to buy me this.....these damn kids don't even know their dad pays CS...and a shit ton of it. They are 16 and 12 for god's sake.

Let me tell you I had myself worked up for months over SD approaching 16 and waitng for BM to ask DH to help pay for car and insurance....hell. to. the. no. I would have completely lost my shit probably to the point of no return.....SD turned 16...failes her driving test and it hasn't been mentioned again....but it will come up and I am ready.....b/c it is a hard no from me. DH has his kids half the time, pays a large CS, and half of most everything......so what exactly is BM doing for kids financially? Oh yeah....the electric bill.....water bill.....mortgage....all fine and dandy except for the fact that kids only live with BM half the time.....so DH is supposed to pay BM's bills with CS, share any kid bills with her, buy them all of their clothes...and now lets add in a car payment and insruance payment.....laughable.

blessedwithstress's picture

Yes, BM texts me. She texts me most of the time for nearly all things unless she is making some particularly outlandish request. Then she goes straight to DH because he'd rather give in than rock the boat. DH can't stand her and prefers not to deal with her so it usually falls to me to interact with her. As for "my money", its like I told one of the other commenters. Our money goes into one account except for side job money. We don't have "his money" and "her money"...although I'm starting to think we should.

The majority seems to agree that non-gratitude is normal teenage behavior. Maybe my parents were just hard on me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I was generally expected to acknowledge when my parents shelled out big bucks for something for me. I'm not saying these guys aren't grateful at all, but for example when we paid over $1200 for our half of their Disney trip with the HS band, they were grateful for about a day and then went right back to "I need money for..." almost without blinking. Like it wasn't that huge of an expense. That stung a little. And now SS15 seems to be taking it for granted that we are going to buy him a Jeep when he gets his license. I plan on having a chat with DH before he makes any promises. If I had my way, SS15 would be required to have a job, make his own car payments (we're talking like $50/mo for a total of $2K) and buy his own gas. We'd cover the car insurance. And that's not because I'm a jerk and don't want to pay for anything. It's because we CAN'T AFFORD more than that. If this SKID wants a Jeep, he's going to have to earn it.

And I have to say, the last part of your post was EXACTLY how I feel! We give her this huge chunk of money for child support. I'm 100% POSITIVE that it covers everything they need every month and then some! What on earth does she need MORE for besides being greedy?! God forbid HER household should have to budget a little tighter in order for her kids to have something. No, let OUR household go without!

Siemprematahari's picture

Your H pays CS while I get on occasion he'll pay for "extras" I'd have a problem if it affects us and we are strapped to the point there is zero room for budget for your own bio kids together. This is impacting you so he needs to stop with the guilty daddy BS and think of the other children that have to deal with a tight budget because your H is lacking a spine to stand up for himself and say No.

ESMOD's picture

I will speak to the car issue.  My DH has two daughters and the older one.. he bought a car.  Yeah.. it was kind of a beater.. 1500 dollar car.. but was decent and reliable transportation.  From the start she was a bit snobby about it.. she definitely is the kind that likes appearances and will readily admit that she is materialistic.  then when she graduated HS.. we helped her further to buy a car then and put another 2500 into it.. plus my dad kicked in a grand.  and we used proceeds from first car.  Well.. she liked this car.. but still was not respectful of the privilege we gave her.  did burnouts with it the first week.  basically just didn't appreciate it.  her next car was one her husband helped her buy.. and now he tells her when she can and cannot drive it.. so I'm wondering if she misses having those paid for cars with no strings attached.  But, bottom line she just had an entitled attitude about it all.

YSD.. we made a deal with her that she had to pay half of a car and that we would match her money up to 1500 dollars.  Well.. shrewd kid she was.. she decided to buy the 1600 dollar car.. so she only had to kick in 800 and we matched that.  She drove that car happily for a few years till she got a FT job then got a loan (ON HER OWN).. and bought a nicer used car... a few years later.. she got a loan for a brand new car on her own with her own salary.

Guess which kid is more successful.. 21 yo or 25 year old? 

Make the kid have skin in the game.  Make them understand how hard it is to put a thousand dollars together.  make them cover their insurance.. gas.. repairs.

simifan's picture

Seems to me DH needs to shiny up his spine to BM or you need to put your foot down and stop joint funds. I'd be livid if my kids lost out because of extras to BM. I'd hand him a bill for half of household expenses and child support for your 2 until this stopped. It's fine if you have the money, but your joint children are being treated like second class citizens. 

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

I have to occasionally remind my grown up children to say thank you but they appreciate things.  They never ask for things. my stepkids are much more ungrateful, with a shallow thank you so they can ask for more, more more. If I wasn’t thank for car insurance, I wouldn’t pay it again. 

CLove's picture

This whole situation is really out of balance. Your children go without while BM and the "first family" live it up.

Meanwhile your DH works himself to the bone, earning this money, jumping through hoops to keep the BM happy, or to "keep things nice" (I get this a lot...because we have a high conflict BM I call Toxic Troll, who is very abusive.)

ADD to this the time taken away from your bios, plus hes probably way too tired to really put much energy into his life with you all. And hes feeling guilty, because your bios with him have dadee 100% (but not really) and the children from the "first family" only have 50% of dadee, so you are having to deal with that too.

With your co minglilng of fundage, it makes possible all these additional expenditures. Im assuming your bios are younger (ie cheaper to sustain) than the skids, so you should track the expenditures, make a list, and quantify HOW MUCH is going towards this "first family". I have a background in numbers and do bookkeeping for a living, so to me, this really helps to get the big picture.

My DH, when we first got together 5 years ago, I was pretty destitute financially (for different reasons...) and I have no bios (too old now). So basically he supported me completely for the first 2 years. Now we make equal money, almost exactly. We have separate bank accounts. We split the household bills exactly in half (forget about the fact that we have munchkin SD13 50/50, I pay half rent, will pay half mortgage, and pay half cell phone that has her on the plan...I dont want to dicker over 200$ month.)

I buy groceries sometimes, other times he does. Because I am still new at my new job, I am not tracking, but because we had  recent discussion over my borrowing $200, I will begin tracking.) When munchkin SD13 is with us, he generally buys the groceries. I sometimes, because I WANT to, and I CAN, will buy her stuff when we are out shopping (I like resale shops, and goodwll stores, so its rarely over $20 spent on her).

When we do fun things, like concerts or trips, we pay equally. DH also does side jobs, but he also has $347/mo CS $300/mo spousal support, and $500 car payment, none of which burden me.

I would reccomend really tracking all household expenses. If he treats your joined income as his income well to draw from for skids, then you will definitely need to start your own separate bank account. And simply split bills according to what your current arrangement is. As to your bios, and his responsibility, that would be interesting to have him pay same amount to you for them as he pays BM for the skids!

All you can do there, is to really track things you spend on bios and then ask him to split that cost with you...

So frustrating!

As to the lack of appreciation. If they work for it they appreciate it.

blessedwithstress's picture

YES! 1000 times yes. DH is drained. The phrase he frequently uses is 'working his d*ck into the dirt'. We've had conversations about this over and over...even saw a therapist a few times (which helped for a while) but the message hasn't sunk in. The skids won't die if they have to cut back on one extracurricular activity - or God forbid - BM has to dig a little deeper into her own pockets to pay for stuff! You are right. Our littles (DS4 and DS6) are fairly cheap to sustain. SS15 and SD17 are heinously expensive and getting worse. DH has promised that things will ease up once they are both 18 and we can decide together how much we can help them with stuff (meaning, BM will have no room to dictate our finances) but my thought is - aren't we supposed to be deciding together NOW? His track record with keeping promises in that department is shoddy at best. There's more history that I won't go into but he made promises and immediately backed down the second BM started losing her mind about the changes he wanted to make. 

I don't want to make DH sound like a spineless a-hole. He's not. This situation brings out the worst in him. The rest of the time he's a stick-to-his-guns kind of guy who really does want to work his butt off so his whole family can have a nice life. I just wish he would see that the skids and BM are benefiting from it more than anyone else. I may take your advice and do the numbers once just to see what it looks like. Maybe it's as bad as I think...maybe it just seems that way. Either way, it has potential to be an eye opener. Thanks!

By the way, I love that the abbreviation for the ex is BM. She really can be a piece of sh*t sometimes. Lol

CLove's picture

Keep suggesting, and after a while it will seem like it is HIS iea. lol.

MyDH is a big Burly hardworking blue -collar type, a total worker bee. I told him last night that he is the kind of man that fathers tell their daughters to marry and get knocked up wth. LOL. JK>

My DH - he has always had this irrational fear of Toxic Troll - when we first together he did not want to anger her, because he wanted an easy trouble free inexpensive divorce. They  were legally separated at the time ((yes I know, I was naive) and it still got uglier than ugly. Then we chose to elope to escape her wrath (and to escape debt!) She still sent rude texts, and claimed the "children" were upset and inconsolable (a big word for her 11th grade education!), which was disproved after picking up munchkin the next day, who was laughing and happy to have me around permanently.

Cut to after divorce and after marriage and 2 weeks after wedding, she filed for a child support modification, and got her child support. So now there isnt anything more she can really do, but he still doesnt want to "upset the apple cart and lock horns with the beast, if he can help it."

All Id asked him was to mention that she needs to do back to school shopping as he is handing her child support check. LOL. Fear of BM is mighty in this one lol.

Yes, you really MUST do a financial analysis of your household!!!!