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Have you ever just broken down randomly?

MommaLlama13's picture

Have you ever just had one of those days, where you just break down? I was literally filling my car up at the gas station this morning, on my way into work - and just lost it. It wasn't like something drastic just happened, it's just the weight of everything hitting me all at once.

Things with my DD6's father are awful, and we're going through yet another custody battle. DD6 never wants to go there and constantly asks me why I'm making her. (I've tried to explain the situation to her, and she gets it to an extent, but she's 6, so...) Her father keeps taking important papers out of her book bag, on the days she picks up from school. I asked him about it, and he has 'no idea what I’m talking about'. He's also not bothering to show up to sporting events, or bring her when it's on his time. So DD6 just gets even more upset.

Things with my SD6 are awful. She lies about everything, and soils her pants 4-5 times a day (no medical issues, she's refusing to use the toilet because she knows it bothers me...and yes she's in therapy). DH is now trying to cover it up, so I'm getting even more upset. One minute he's not letting her get away with it (i.e. making her clean it up and get changed) and the next - he's acting like he didn't see her do it. So then I'm like, oh, he must not have seen, so I remind her to get cleaned up and then clean up the mess she made, and then it starts the drama. I'm an evil stepmom, I make her do everything, etc, etc. DH goes from my side to hers, in the blink of an eye. He's 100% enabling her behavior, but doesn't see it. He's just tired of her being in trouble all the time, and I get it, but we have 2 other kids that are younger, and we hold them to an even higher standard than SD7. They always end up asking ME why SD7 gets away with everything and they don't.

DH is also not working very much these days - it's contract work. If there's work available, it always ends up being somewhere too far or a time that doesn't work with our custody schedules. I have a flexible job, which lets me work from home when I need to, but there's obviously a limit. So every week I'm presented with a decision: talk to my boss (again) so I can be home to get the kids on and off the bus, or another week without an income from DH. I keep telling DH he needs to start looking for other work, or apply for unemployment, but he just says he is... (Also keep in mind, he's refusing to take the BM for child support for their 2 kids, because she can't even hold down a waitressing job for longer than a few weeks). His income is great when he's working, and that's his drive to stay, but he doesn't understand how difficult it is to manage finances when you never know when he's going to get paid or not. So I just keep redoing the budget and trying to keep us afloat.

I'm having a hard time sleeping and eating, meanwhile my DH just keeps reminding me that everything will work out eventually. Who knows, maybe it will...

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent.


An exhausted wife, ex-wife, mother, and stepmother


hereiam's picture

I'm sorry that you are going through a difficult time. Financial uncertainty is very hard to deal with, on top of everything else that you are dealing with. Many ((hugs)).

Monkeysee's picture

I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. Is there any way you can just stop doing all this for your skids, SD in particular? 

I dont know how I’d handle that situation. I’d likely end up simply moving out with my DD in your shoes & forcing DH to deal with his own kids & financial issues. You can’t keep doing it all for him. What did he used to do for childcare before you came into the picture?

SteppedOut's picture


There is no way your husband should be leaving you to carry all this weight for so long. You would be way better off with just you and DD. He is dragging you and your daughter down.

sunshinex's picture

I'm never one to say "move out/leave" but in this situation, you're dealing with so much and he really is dragging you down. If you weren't dealing with him and his children, you would have more time, money, and happiness in your life. Your daughter would get the best of you, too. If you absolutely can't leave (you don't have to leave the relationship, but get an apartment for you two), then please consider disengaging. At the very least, don't pay any attention to SD7 and her antics.

Again, I also don't typically recommend disengaging because I think it's important to be fully invested in your marriage. But in this case, you need to disengage or you're going to lose it. If SD poops herself, who cares? Let her. Don't feel the need to point it out or fix it or clean her up or anything like that. Leave it until DH notices. 

Surely a 7-year-old should know better than to crap themselves and not clean themselves up. If she gets some sort of infection from it because you're not saying "SD, go clean yourself up" or whatever, so be it. She knows better. 

advice.only2's picture

This might give you some insight. My BS suffered from chronic bedwetting, and just regular during the day wetting and yes on occasion soiling himself. He finally grew out out of it when he was in his pre-teen years. BS was also diagnosed with tourette syndrome when he was around 8 or 9, so I do believe that had something to do with the bed wetting/day wetting issue.

We made him be in charge of cleaning himself up and of cleaning up his bed and sheets. We also invested in adult diapers to help. BS was embarrassed and ashamed about the whole thing, and we did the best would could to let him know that this just was happening and it was something to deal with.

We would limit his liquid intake and we would also remind him regularly to use the bathroom. Yes it's a challenge, but holy crap why do so many people think that having kids should be this easy walk in the park? It's not, it's hard and it ugly and you do the best you can. If your DH is unwilling to put in the leg work to help his daughter with this problem then he should really consider giving custody back to BM and being done with it.

MommaLlama13's picture

So here's a little more of a backstory:

DH and I were best friends. Our kids were around the same age and were best friends, and we've known each other since high school. We both ended up in terrible 1st marriages, and when we finally left it took everything in us to rebuild our lives (separately). For me, it meant getting my own apartment, spending every minute I could with my DD6, and when she was away, I'd work like crazy. I saved up enough to buy my own house (albeit, small townhome) and things were great. We'd hang out on the weekends with my DH and his kids, everything was perfect. For DH, his mom was alone in a house she couldn't afford or take care of, so he moved back with her. She became very sick and couldn't work, so she helped with his kids and he worked all the time. Over the years, the house wasn't safe anymore, so they did one of those quick sales and took the money to pull them both out of debt (for the most part), and she wanted him to buy a more suitable house. She decided all of this without really talking to DH, so he was basically given 30 days to move them all out and get them into a new place. She ended up passing away, and they had no where to go, so they moved in with me and DD6. 

He's never been good with his finances, so I took over. At the time they moved in, he was working a ton and bringing in a ton. We started really paying down on things and saving for a bigger house. But then things started falling apart. BM convinced SD7 that I was the bad guy, BM moved 2 hours away and decided to only see her kids randomly (and told SD7 it was my fault), DH's company took a turn and stopped offering consistant work, etc. Before I knew it, we had his kids all the time, and his work schedule got out of control (not with the frequency, but with the different shifts and distance to the job), which meant I had his kids all the time (and I work full time). Now he's home more, but not working.

When it's just us, we're great. When it's us and my DD6 and SS6, we're great. When SD7 is involved, it's a war zone. We have her in therapy and we've talked to the school, but it just seems like we're not getting anywhere. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about leaving, but 1. the house is mine 2. he'd end up losing his kids because he couldn't afford a sitter that would work random shifts, but alternatively, he couldn't afford to have a full time sitter either, because he's not bringing home consistant money. 3. My DD6's dad would do everything in her power to use another failed marriage as a way of taking DD6 from me (he doesn't want to pay child support anymore) 

As for disengaging - I have her everytime he does have work, so... Sad

Looking back, I know I brought this on myself. I made my bed, time to lie in it.

Monkeysee's picture

No, you do not have to lie in this bed. Your DH & his work schedule isn’t working for your family anymore. He needs to do something about that, and pronto. It’s not your job to clean up his mess. He had these kids, he’s had his hours cut. That’s life. He still has children to provide for & putting all the work onto his wife, especially with SD in the state she’s in, is too much.

If he’s at risk of losing his kids if you were to ask them to leave so you can have some peace, that’s an issue he needs to look at. Seriously. It is NOT all on you to hold everyone together.

SD is old enough to be held accountable for what she’s doing as well. Yes her mum left her, but that’s not an excuse to do what she’s doing. It’s disgusting. I’m glad she’s in therapy, but I still think you should disengage from her crap. Literally!

If your DH gets mad because he’s frustrated SD is always the root of contention, that’s HIS issue. She’s his kid, he needs to deal with it. Making you the problem isn’t helping SD, and it certainly isn’t helping you. You aren’t a stomping ground, and you haven’t caused these issues. It’s up to him to resolve it, and sooner than later. You’d be well within your rights to ask the three of them to leave. 

SteppedOut's picture

No you do NOT NOT NOT NOT have to take it! Especially since he is not only not doing anything to correct anything, but he is doing things that are making it worse! 

He is dragging you down both financially and emotionally. Do not live this life, or let your daughter live this life for this man that clearly does not give a crap about you or your daughter -- only what you can do for him and his kids! 

He NEEDS TO step up or step out - his choice. YOU are not doing anything wrong, HE IS! Time for you to have a come to Jesus meeting with him. He is a grown ass man with kids. He needs to start acting like it. 

tog redux's picture

It might help to stop personalizing SD's encopresis  - she's not likely doing it "because it upsets you", but because of other emotional issues - after all, her mother did abandon her, and she's now in the middle of a conflict between you and DH. So it's highly unlikely that she thinks, hey, it's just SM here, let me poop on purpose!

That being said, let DH deal 100% with her pooping issue. If she smells bad, don't tell her yourself, just pull DH aside and tell him so he can deal with it. He does all the cleaning of clothes, bedclothes, whatever.

MommaLlama13's picture

It's really hard to not take it personally, when at least half the time, she stares at me, lifts her leg and goes...followed by a giggle. 

You're right though, I just need to let DH handle it. It's just hard when the other kids are complaining that she smells, and then when he's not around.

tog redux's picture

I know - she may be directing some of it AT YOU, but it's more about her emotional issues and DH's crap parenting than it is about YOU as a person.  Obviously, only a disturbed child would behave this way. 

I personally would not ever agree to be alone with her if DH didn't set a limit and make a plan about this. At the very least, if he didn't have my back 100% of the time in regard to this issue, I'd tell him I was no longer going to watch her. 

Monkeysee's picture

100%. If this was happening with one of my skids & my DH stuck his head in the sand & didn’t do anything to resolve the issue, I’d simply stop helping him out. Let him deal with the fallout.

sunshinex's picture

Here's what you can do.

Walk SD through cleaning herself up. Next time she poops herself, you take her to the bathroom, hand her toilet paper, tell her to wipe what she can/take the poop out of her clothing as much as she can. Show her how to turn on the shower. Remind her to wash. When she dries off, hand her the dirty clothes and take her to the laundry machine and show her how to do it. 

Do this ONCE and next time, whether or not DH is around, tell her "you know what to do" and leave it. Don't talk to her until she's done it. If she tries to say no, fight about it, doesn't do it, whatever - ignore her. Tell her you will talk to her when she doesn't smell like her own feces. 

Who gives a crap, at that point, if she sits in it all day? She knows what to do. 

For what it's worth, my SD has been cleaning up her own accidents (pee only) since 5 years old. She gets her clothing into the washing machine, showers, etc. all on her own. 


ITB2012's picture

you aren't breaking down every day, every hour. That's a lot going on and you seem to be the only life-preserver on the titanic.

Definitely get your SD7 therapy and a doctor's appt. And, I agree with others that it's not you. You're just the target right now. And I'm sure it's much harder than I imagine not to react to her, remove yourself as the target. If she lifts her leg like a dog and does her business, maintain a poker face and just walk away. Personally I wouldn't even let her see you go to your DH. Just text him or figure a secret phrase to say that lets him know she did something and he has to take care of it.

Now, she may choose another target, but that's helpful to know, too. Does she choose another target or does some of it stop?

And, I'm so sorry. It's hard to even suggest that you get a weekend away, just you and your DD, because your finances seem to be so volatile.

Could you kill two birds with one stone and convince your DH that his wild work hours and schedule are contributing to SDs behavior? Get him steady, regular work and she has him as a steady parent? My OSS picked up on the big anxiety from DH and BM when they were fighting and he got what I called "frenetic happy." He was all out of character and he really had no idea why, he was just a divining rod for their emotions.

still learning's picture

Yes it's exhausting to be mom, SM, wife, ex-wife.  I'm in all of those roles as well and it's riduculous sometimes.  I too take full responsibility for all the drama I've created in my life but it doesn't make it any less hectic.  

My advice is to your DH and BM be responsible for their kids.  If sd is soiling herself then oh well.  No emotional reaction from you. I know this is hard but just pretend she's a giant baby who can't help herself.  Why is DH fighting for custody when he doesn't even care for his kids? About dd6's father, paying child support is not optional and a "failed" marriage is no reason to change custody.  You have a stable home and employment so you are fine.  

Stop facilitating DH's life for him and let the cards fall where they may.