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Shower drama

GRITSinAL's picture

I have a son who is 15. He will be 16 in October. He is a pretty good kid. He is not perfect, but once you correct him on something, you don't have to ask again. He does what is asked the first time. I know this because not only am I with him at home, I am also with him at school because he goes to the small high school where I teach. I see him interacting with other adults/teachers in addition to myself.

DH has a son who is 12. He does not do what he is told, but I am disengaged and ignore his flaws. I have gotten pretty good at ignoring over the last 5 years. His behavior has also improved a good bit since we got together, but he still has to be given very basic instructions and also will NOT do what his dad says on the first time. DH has to repeat himself 75 times. I ignore.

Well, things have been pretty peaceful the last 6 months or so. Suddenly, though, my DH is obsessed with nitpicking my DS15. First it was that DS15 was up too late. I handed down DS a new rule about that, and he has not repeated the behavior and has followed the rule.

Now it is that DH thinks DS takes too long of showers. Every dang time DS goes in there, DH is obsessed with keeping up how long it has been and making snide comments. Keep in mind i do not make ANY comments about his son.

So I thought the shower thing was petty and was planning to make a household 15 min rule or something but had not gotten around to it. Well, last night DH flipped out on myself and DS while and after DS had a shower. I refuse to argue with him or even talk about it because I know how it would escalate, so last night I slept on the couch and ignored him and today decided to think things through on my own and make my own decisions and arrive at my own conclusions.

Well, you can bet I will now be the shower police. I gave DS a new 15 min rule, but like I told DH, SS also stays in there forever. DH beats on the door when SS is in there too long but SS still keeps staying and doesnt do what he is told. It is my fault that I had not addressed it with DS yet because I found it petty but was going to address it with both kids when we have them both. I just had not done so yet.

I told DS to just start taking a bath. Then he can stay in there as long as he wants (It is the use of water that DH is griping about). I mean, we have separate money and split our bills in half so I contribute to the water as well and have not seen a spike in use, but whatever.

But I will be timing everyone DH myself and SS in showers at 10 min. I will alert DH when 10 have passed when SS is in there so he can start getting him out because it will take 5 min of repeating himself at least to accomplish that.

I just don't get it. Anyways this morning he apologized for the rude way in how he addressed it and flipped out. I told him I don't mind him addressing things but it should not be handled in the way he did it. I still have not really accepted the apology. Maybe I have gotten to the point to where I feel I don't have to immediately accept things. I want to think about my life etc and come to grips with things myself. I don't want to be rushed into everything being suddenly like nothing happened. I want to be left alone about it for a while.

So this blog is probably very much rambling. I guess I just felt like venting.


DaizyDuke's picture

My land... of all the petty things to drop an atomic bomb over. geesh! Do you have some exorbitant water bill? Do you even have a water bill or do you have a well??

GRITSinAL's picture

lol No! I even logged online and double checked! It has been pretty constant and is like 105 bucks. That is pretty reasonable for 4 people and for my area.

GRITSinAL's picture

I sort of figured this was the case but also figured it was a normal 15 yr old thing to do. We have a natural gas hot water heater, so I do not know if this is why but no one has ever had to wait for the water to heat back up like if someone had used it all. That was my first thought too. DH is obsessed with the use of water according to his rants.

GRITSinAL's picture

that is a possibility. DS couldn't really pinpoint anything when I asked him in similar words, and DH has not said anything, but it may be something he has not mentioned yet. I MAY prod him and ask him to try to see. IDK right now I for some reason am still at the "i dont wanna argue but I also just wanna be left alone for a while" stage, so I may wait a bit before trying to figure that one out.

Ladystark's picture

Uh way to not read what Op wrote mustang.

No reason to even write that.

He can tell you rules because you seem calm, level headed, your son is a good kid. I think you need to defend your son a weebit more. Is something else going on and he is taking out on showertime??

Ss13 here maybe takes 2 showers a week. I have to time check him because he is in the bathroom for 30-40 mintues before he turns on the shower!! Sometimes he turns on the shower and he lets it run for 10-20 mintues before he gets in!! He is so loud you can hear when he stomps into the tub. His shower is maybe 10-20 mintues.... its so annoying. Thats a valid reason for time checks! Lol.

Anyway id poke at your dh see if something else is bothering him, besides shower time.

GRITSinAL's picture

"is something else going on..." See that was one of my thoughts today too. Not that I can tell and not that DS knew when I asked him in similar words, but who knows? It may be something like that and DH just hasn't mentioned it or anything. I really don't know.

Aniki's picture

"...yanking it like a monkey in a mango tree..."

Dammit, Fruity, I was in the middle of blowing a bubble with my gum when I read that. I snorted so hard, the gum shot out of my mouth and stuck to my computer screen. Bubble intact.

IslandGal's picture

LMAO!! Same here..I was dragging my cig and almost swallowed it cuz I breathed in and burst out laughing.! I gotta tell my SO about the monkey..Im still giggling..

Obviously losing with my quitting..dammit.

zerostepdrama's picture

He's nitpicking.

DH does this sometimes with my BS. Usually when his kids are extra shitty. I put him in his place. I don't have the time nor energy for petty shit.

GRITSinAL's picture

That is how I feel and I no longer even want to spend the time and energy to rehash it with him. IDK what is wrong with me lately. In the past this would have stressed me out more wanting to fix everything and everyone. Now I am just like, meh leave me alone.

GRITSinAL's picture

Oh and I should add, we have 2 bathrooms. No one is "waiting" while DS is in there. I mean I get it. He should not be wasteful. But the way DH was just so obsessed about it to the point of ranting about escapes me. I just found it not worth battling, like a pick your battles thing. I suppose if he is my husband and it was bothering him, I should have realized it and been quicker about addressing it. I just honestly was like, so he takes long showers. So? He keeps his room spotless, he doesn't lie, he makes decent grades, he helps around the house, this summer he was even set to literally WORK with DH (DH builds houses and DS is smart about handyman outdoor things like building and working on cars) but I have scrapped that idea. I wouldn't want to risk DS irking him about something else. DS can get a different summer gig. DH just either won't have any extra summer help or he can hire some other teen. I don't care.

GRITSinAL's picture

DH and DS have NEVER argued before or had words or anything. There's never been any backtalking or anything like that between them. IDK why this sudden new thing with DH. I mean they aren't super close like father/son, but they like each other and are friendly etc. The relationship has always been comparable to a uncle/nephew sort of (because both BM AND my exH are still in the lives of our kids as well, so we both have sort of been background only support for each others' kids. There was no need for a mother father replacement type role).

GRITSinAL's picture

Yes! I have been on stalk since maybe 2012? I used to have some other account I never could remember the password for. Anyways, I have learned a lot! I say zero. I don't even tattle. SS is up on the internet at 2 AM? I say nothing. SS leaves trash out and about? I won't pick it up and leave it for DH, but I literally say zero. Once I learned to let that stuff go and not even let it bother me, I found a lot of peace in my marriage. There were times when I was actually able to enjoy ss a little tiny bit at times. He can be funny sometimes, and since I was able to sort of not be bothered by his flaws, it did help me a tiny bit to appreciate some of his positive qualities. Soooooo yeah. I don't even give SS commands like do this or that. I just make small talk convo with him.

The thing is though, ss is here like 8 days a month only when school is in session, and my son is here 5 or 6 days PER WEEK so like 20-24 days per month. Obviously he is with us more. IDK maybe DH just needs a break from my son. I wouldn't know why he would, but even our own kids annoy us moms sometimes.

GRITSinAL's picture

idk i mean he is not a poster child or anything. He makes A's and B's with an occasional C in math so he's not a straight A student or anything. He is probably what you would call just your normal everyday kid. He plays football and runs track so is busy with that a lot, but I am the one who handles those rides to and from. I don't do things like transport SS to practices or get him from school, so I do not expect DH to do those for my DS either. I take care of mine, and he takes care of his.

So I don't want to give the image that my son is perfect. He is very polite and well mannered...I will say that. But he is not like a straight A genius kid who is already self sufficient or anything. He's just your typical 15 yr old probably, with possibly maybe a more "kind-hearted/polite/well-mannered/hates conflicts" personality (because his personality is exactly like mine)

Stepped in what momma's picture

Maybe downsouth is on to something......I know what it is.... your DH needs to go take a load off in the shower, lol. :jawdrop:

sunshinex's picture

People who complain about people who take long showers are the worst. Like, I get it, water is expensive, but personally it's something i'm willing to splurge on... If you can even consider it a splurge, like I have to get clean lol

I used to hate going to my grandparents house and having my shower time limited. It made me so uncomfortable... It's not even the whole idea of timing it, but the idea that someone doesn't want to waste money on you enjoying a shower. That's an easy way to feel unimportant...

I'd tell him to go to hell, to be honest. Your son can take as long of showers as he wants, as long as you split the water bill. He's being cheap as hell with that.

sunshinex's picture

Haha I'm usually in there for half an hour because I'm the type to have a million different products to use... I shampoo, condition, use a hair mask, use a body scrub, shower gel, face wash/scrub, it's a process... Smile

Willow2010's picture

I would say, "Is that the best you got? Are you bitching about the water usage because you just can't find anything else my son is doing that's so awful? It makes me feel like a pretty awesome parent if the only thing you have to complain about is something as petty as how long my son takes a shower. Thank you."

THIS! ^^^

GRITSinAL's picture

I mean I work full time and pay half the bills. I would probably have been more open to his complaints if he were footing every single household expense for myself and my son, but at the end of the month we look at the bills and split them right down the middle. During the summers and school holidays we do have ss full time with no breaks (summer is 9 weeks), but maybe possibly I should offer to pay more of a percentage since ss is not here full time right now? Like instead of me paying half, maybe lessen his half and add to mine?

I probably won't offer that though because with the summers and school holidays, it might not be a true 50 50 split with his kid and him vs my son and me....but it is pretty close. Plus Dh makes more than I do now (in the past he did not. It has only been the last 2 years or so that his profits have exceeded my teacher salary, which isnt really that hard to do lol.)

Stepped in what momma's picture

This is how we do our bills, he pays more in water, electric, groceries and gas when his kids are in town because I don't have any kids and I am not paying for the extra cost of them being there.

Stepped in what momma's picture

Evil and proud! Wink

But for real they drive up the bills being home all day and this kid ----->ME<------ isn't going to be paying for it.

ybarra357's picture

Right??? We also live in a drought region and in a locale where there are hefty fines for exceeded usage.

GRITSinAL's picture

Well I don't want to give off that we have a perfect marriage. It was pretty rough at first getting used to blended life and just a 2nd marriage in general. We got married in 2012 but had been living together since 2011. The last couple of years though life is usually somewhat OK for quite a while until something outrageous happens, like a rollercoaster. For example in May I glimpsed and screenshot ss walking thru my living room. Forgetting we had a doggie cam....and he had on my lingerie. Yes you read that right. I believe zero and Daisy have seen pics. Anyways, I finally got over that shock around late June and things have been OK since then....and now this.

But I am gonna wait a bit and talk to him about it. I know how weird it can feel having someone else's kids in close quarters for long periods of time.

GRITSinAL's picture

I had screenshot them because I was thinking I had lost my mind. I had a few stepmom friends who we would often communicate outside of this blog, and when I needed someone to talk to I told them and let them see. It was pretty rough but actually the counselor said it is not as rare as you might think for 12 yr olds to do weird crap like that. We didn't give him a consequence for that so much as for going thru my things, invading my privacy, and being in our bedroom
The stuff was in my dresser.

GRITSinAL's picture

Oh I didn't handle it well at all! Ds and i stayed with my parents for a while. I had all sorts of strange feelings. It was a mind trip seeing your most personal things in that way with someone else. Let's just say the months of May and JUNE were pretty rough.

We installed a lock on my bedroom door, and I made dh move ss into his own room because he was sharing one with my son, and I felt this was a clear sign there was a need for him and prob my son as well to have some privacy. It wasn't easy, but we all got past it.

And things have been smooth for a while, and now this...which is not near as bad I know! I feel what dh is doing now is prob a combo of some sort of work stress, some sort of retaliation or regret of his parenting of ss and ss behavior, and the fact that he probably really does need a bit of a break from DS, which being a step parent myself I can understand. I don't feel like addressing it tonight though, so I have not mentioned anything. I might tmro.

GRITSinAL's picture

We were both at work. It was the last day of school around 2 pm. I logged on to check on my dog bc she has low blood sugar episodes, and there he was! He had been given permission to stay home alone because he goes to a different school and didn't have school that day. Dh was working nearby, like 10 min away. I called dh in tears and told him and sent the screenshots. He came immediately home and talked to ss. Ss had forgotten about the camera. As soon as dh got home yes he was aware I had seen it all. It was pretty pretty bad.

GRITSinAL's picture

I am not sure how much residual issues remain with them since it happened. It was humiliating for all of us, and I suppose mostly for ss to be caught. It was hard for dh to see his own son wearing his wife's lingerie (it was like a nighty). We don't really bring it up anymore, but for a while we did (dh and I in private) and of course we immediately found a counselor

GRITSinAL's picture

The doggie cam is only a live view of my living room and kitchen, no other rooms. Ss was sitting on a stool in the kitchen in the nightie fixing cereal or something.

grace8205's picture

I would be timing DH'S shower and the second he was over the allotted time I would go shut off the main water shut off valve and wait for him to complain. My bet is he takes long showers too.

GRITSinAL's picture

He does! He has long long hair, like below his shoulders. Ss also has long hair below HIS shoulders.

My son has somewhat of a thick head of hair but has really tight curls like me...Picture a Caucasian male with a
strawberry blonde afro.

Really it probably takes several minutes to wash ALL 3 of the male heads of hair in my house. Another reason I was like, why worry about it?

GRITSinAL's picture

Yes the counselor was mainly for him actually. Dh and I had a couple of sessions alone, and dh and ss had some together. I did not want tohave a session talking about what happened with ss and myself in the room together at that time. I felt it would be too hard at that time for both of us.

Ss still sees the counselor monthly. He says he was just being silly. I don't pry about it so don't ask dh about new topics or his current progress. I will say his behavior although not great has been better than it was in years past, not including the weird nightie incident.

GRITSinAL's picture

Your last few lines is likely what I will do. In the past I wouldn't because I've been doing well at being disengaged and actually not even tattling etc., but in this case I feel the alert, perhaps politely, to DH is warranted if we are going to have the rule for the whole household.

GRITSinAL's picture

Thanks everyone for your comments. They help shed some possible reasons and will help me start a convo about it with dh in a day or two. Some made me laugh too, lol. As they say, things could always be worse.

Acratopotes's picture

I agree - DH knows he's a crappy parent and now he's trying to make you out as one as well....

ignore him..... if he complains about DS being in the shower to long, laugh and say - as if I'm not paying 50% of the bills? Parent your own kid and leave mine alone...

Oh and never sleep on the coach again... go the the bedroom first, neatly place a blanket and pillows outside the door and simply lock yourself in the bedroom... DH can sleep on the coach, if you act like a bratty child you will be treated as one

GRITSinAL's picture

When I think about dh rant it does make me a bit proud of my son. It happened in DS room. I had gone in there right after the shower to address a new 15 min rule calmly to him. I was doing that, and I didn't even mention DH. Well DH storms in there ranting and raving to both of us water this water that blah blah shower too long blah. He was pretty much yelling, not at the top of his lungs but raised voice shaking head and pointing fingers.

DS was still respectful and kept his cool. He was like, "Yes sir. Ok. Yes sir. I understand."

See, still no back talking even though if he had, it might have been warranted. I think it shows him as respectful etc

Gimlet's picture

I'm proud of you for not snapping. This would have made me go from zero to rage in about 3 seconds.

Edit: I agree with MorriMom that your son acted like an adult and your husband like a petulant child.

IslandGal's picture

Sheeatt!! Your DH is being a petty, picky jerk. My SO tried doing the same thing a couple of years ago. Bitched to me about the length of time my BS was in the shower. He also knew that SS would take just as long. We alsp split bills 50/50. Back then, SD was still visiting..and there would be times when she'd be in there for over half an hour. Did I bitch and whine? Hell, no! I respect their privacy and remember being that age once, so it didnt bother me.

When SO bitched about mine, I told him to stfu and get over himself. Made him open his eyes and see the double standards. I also told him he was free to find somewhere else to live with his kids cuz there was no way in hades was I going to allow him to make my Son feel like he was committing some kind of sin. I pretty much said "you're a know what its like to be a teen boy so why the hell are you behaving like a tight ass moron??!! Dont you ever..ever try to make him feel guilty over something YOU probably did when you were that age! Keep it up and you can move the hell out!" I was furious cuz I knew he was doing it cuz he was upset with the situation with SD. He never raised it again.