StepMom Needs Advice!
I have been in a comitted relationship with a man who has been divorced for 2 years. I am the first woman he introduced his children to, ages 3 and 5. When I first met the children, the 5 year old instantly took to me, talked to me, sat with me, played with me. I am a firm believer in letting the children warm up to me so that they are comfortable with my presence. The 3 year old (she was 2 at the time) took a little longer to warm up, but I always reached out to her to play with her, include her when I was playing with her brother, helping prepare her meals, and holding her whenever she asked for "Up". While it took the kids very little time to warm up to me, ask for me, want to do things with me, my problem is their mother. I still, at this point in our relationship, have not met her - my own choice - however here are my reasons why:
1. She has bad mouthed my relationship with her ex-husband.
2. She instantly wanted her ex-husband back when she found out he had fallen in love with someone else.
3. She constantly creates issues where there are none - sudden want to change the visitation agreement, sudden "need" to seek co-parenting counseling, and so on.
4. Recently the 5 year old had a dr. appt to get his ears cleaned - I went with at his request. I went along with my future husband, and the day went great - he handled the appointment well, we went to McDonald's playland afterwards, it was enjoyable - as soon as the Ex-Wife found out I went with them she claimed we were both pathetic, and that I had no place being at the appointment, that my future husband had "no balls to tell me not to go with," and that I have "nothing invested in the children and that I do not belong."
5. She continuously bothers my future husband at work - making demands for information and expecting him to drop everything to accomodate her.
Here's my issue. I've had enough of her to know I would live a happier life never having to interact with her. My problem with that? I love my future husband and his kids. I do not feel we've ever overstepped any comfort level with the kids, and even though the oldest is 5 we always ask him first what he wants (If he wants me to stay the night, if he wants to eat dinner with just Daddy or all of us, if he wants one of us to stay in his room at night as he falls asleep - and he always answers yes.)
Are there some guidelines we should be following to make this transition time easier? Is she just controlling and out of line to make demands on us for how we live our life? It is our life together, not hers -- I feel as though she has no right to say anything bad, as long as the children are happy, healthy, and provided for while in our care.
For example - one day, when she came to pick up the children, and the 5 year old wanted to know where I was so he could say goodbye (I was at work) and as soon as the 5 year old said my name, the 3 year old popped up and said "I love B^@%*#"....their mother instantly went into attack mode. She has accused me of not having a life (because of the amount of time we spend together) and told my future husband that we are both pathetic - that I should have no involvement with the children and then threw in a "You'll find out soon enough--I can't wait" at the end of a text. What is that threat supposed to mean?
I have no biological children of my own, but I did raise my nephew for the first 5 years of his life. I feel that my future husband and I communicate clearly in regards to my involvement with the kids - remind them to use their manners, instruct them to use their words when they are upset, not screaming or throwing a fit, and to guide their diet - when the 5 year old asks for chocolate at 9 pm its ok for me to say no - that kind of stuff. I've helped bathe and dress the kids, and when the 5 year old has a nightmare he climbs into bed with us as if its as natural as anything else in his life. When the 3 year old wakes up in the morning she asks for me. I'm not saying I'm perfect - and I would never, ever try to be a replacement "Mom" to those children - but I was introduced into their lives at 2 and 4 - and we have the next 50 years or more to be a family in our own way. How do I deal with my anger issues towards their mother? I will not bad-mouth her or talk about her behavior in front of the kids. My future husband and I both feel as though the children's mother tries to badmouth us when we are not present - that she is attempting to manipulate the children - and the only people that hurts is them (while it does hurt me, I can react or choose not to react as an adult)...what can we do to ensure the kids realize that both homes are unique - what happens at the other house is not our concern unless it affects the health and well-being of the children, and what happens in our home is our business. How can we get her to back off without create a blowup, argument, etc.?