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New Stepmom's picture

Hi!! It has been a couple of days full of interesting stuff to share. First off, BM called DH last week to inform him that she has enrolled SD7 in a travel soccer team. Both SD's play Spring & Fall soccer, they are in dance and gymnastics and participate in several other things throughout the year. You would think that would be enough. DH decided that he would not have anything to do with this travel team - if any games fell on our weekends, then BM would have to come pick her up and take her herself. Well then BM calls again to let us know that practices have been schedule for SUNDAYs at 4:00. That's just ridiculous. We spend every night of the week that we have them running all over town getting them to their various practices. Then we spend just about all day on Saturday at the soccer field. DH told BM that he would not be taking SD7 to any practices on Sunday. That is our time to spend together, PERIOD. So we checked our e-mail this weekend and BM's husband sent an e-mail to DH! I could not believe it. This is what it said:

I have no idea how to even begin this e-mail. BM just called me and told me you won’t take SD7 to her practices on your weekend, nor will you let us pick her up and take her. I assume your reasoning revolves around your desire to spend time with them (which I completely understand).

However, don’t you think going to soccer practice, helping her become a better player, and even being involved in the practices whenever you can is one of the best ways you could ever spend time with her? She has been genuinely excited about being on this team since we found out about it last September. She’s asked on and off since then about when it was going to start. There will only be 7 or 8 players on this team. Given the competitive nature of the State Games and the fact she was selected to be on this team, if she’s not at the practices, she won’t play. The coach, I’m sure, wants to have the 7 or 8 best players he can find, but also has to know they are going to be there. He chose SD7 as one of those 7 or 8 and it really tickled us and her. I really wish you would reconsider and not take away this opportunity from her.

I realize you’re busy this time of year. We all get busy now and then. We’ll take care of whatever practices or games she has if you’re unwilling or unable to do so. In fact, you could even use the time SD7's at practice as your time alone with SD10 that we had discussed earlier. I’m just personally asking you to allow her this experience. The same can be said for SD10 coming up in about a month or so. BM and I really think she’s got a strong shot at making the Select team. I hope you’ll be willing to let her go for that goal of hers, as well.

I'm sorry, but isn't that sort of insulting? It's almost like he is telling DH how he should parent his children. I'm sorry, but my DH is one of the best daddys in the world and this guy, who is 28 and has no children at all, has no right telling my DH how he should be spending time with his children. What if I had sent an e-mail like that to BM??? She would have my head on a platter! Anyway, back to the story...so last night, the phone rings at it's BM. She asks DH if she can come over and talk about this soccer thing. He said no because we had company (my parents were visiting). So after the folks left, DH & I sat down together and discussed the situation and decided to jointly send an e-mail. This is what it said:

First of all, you say that this team is something that SD7 has been genuinely excited about since September; however she has not mentioned one word about it to us, ever. The first we heard about this team was last week when BM called. When we asked SD7 about it, she didn't have much to say except that she wanted to be on the team because one of her friends was going to be on it. We see nothing wrong with the girls being involved in activities, but does it ever end? They are involved in dance, soccer, gymnastics and numerous other activities throughout the year. When do they ever get time to just be kids? That is very important to us. We don't want their lives to be consumed by sports. We are a family unit, and we like to do things together when we have the girls. We already spend so much time during the week (on our days) running them to all of their practices, then spend pretty much all day on Saturday at soccer games. We refuse to do it on Sundays, too. That is our time together as a family - we like to have their friends over, play outside in the yard, go shopping, whatever we want. And now that it's getting warmer, we'll be making more weekend trips to the beach - we are not going to break our necks to get back on Sunday afternoon for these practices.

If we happen to be home on a Sunday afternoon and nothing else is going on, we don't have a problem with you coming to pick her up and taking her to practice, but we are not, and will not, commit to anything. We feel that the girls are involved in enough as it is and they get all the practice and coaching they need by playing Spring & Fall soccer, as well as the various camps they attend during the summer. The additional teams that you have pumped them up about are excessive. They have improved tremendously over the past couple of years just playing for the rec. We want the girls to be happy, but as parents, we have the authority to draw the line when we see necessary - we are drawing it on our side.

If SD10 makes the Select team that she intends to try out for, then that's great and we will support her, but again, it will be your responsibility to take her to any games. If the practices fall on a Sunday, then everything that we've stated above will apply to her as well. We are not trying to be difficult, but we feel very strongly about this and no matter what you try to do to plead your case, you are not going to persuade us to change our minds.

This e-mail should cover it all, there really isn't a need for us to all "sit down" and discuss the matter any further.

DH & New Stepmom

We felt that this e-mail really stated how we felt and got the point across. DH is at the beach today fishing and his cell phone doesn't work, so I've been dying all day to know if she has called and left him a nasty message, or if our inbox at home has a response sitting in it. I get back from lunch, and look at the e-mail I have sitting in my work computer from BM:

Hello New Stepmom –

As unhappy as I am about the email that you and DH sent last night, I had made up my mind this morning that I was going to extend the olive branch and that’s what I’m going to do.

It really bothers me that we can’t all seem to act civil to one another and I’m going to put forth the effort to change that. I know the girls think it’s odd that the four of us don’t speak to each other at soccer games or other activities, I certainly do.

I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be speaking from now on, so you wouldn’t be shocked. I mean, other mothers and step-mothers get along, I don’t see any reason why we can’t try to do the same. Whether or not compromise is ever in the cards, civility will be… on my part, at least. :jawdrop:

I am floored! I mean, this is the first sign of "nice" that I have ever gotten out of her. Could she be coming around? I sure hope so. God knows I get tired of the never-ending drama and always feeling so stressed about our situation.

Sorry for the drawn out post, but please let me know your thoughts! And I'll post my response to her e-mail in a little bit.

Comments

stamina's picture

Why do they have the need to organize all of their children's time. The most important aspect of childhood is having time just to be a kid...to play...to spend time with family. I agree that not all of that time needs to spend running from commitment to commitment. We are creating a generation of self-indulged kids who can't entertain themselves.

Little Jo's picture

This is an example of the shit I'm sick of. You do, you do, you do, you stand up for yourself and it's gets that 'spin' on it. 'How horribly selfish of you. Well, I'll give myself another point for being nice. I obviously care more than you do about their success.'
Excuse me while I stick my finger down my throat.

To answer Happy's forum post. No there is no way you can be friends with the BM's. !! Case in point!!

I'm sorry if my recent events have tainted any of my views.

Hang in there. Jo

"I'll be alright in a year or two after I calm down". Detective Donahue - Soap

Bonus Wife's picture

Your letter was wonderful and yes I thought the first letter to you WAS a little condascending. I agree with your train of thought completely. I am also sick of my skids having "practices" and therefore not being able to come over for when we might want them...YET, somehow when it's moms weekend, if she has plans they can miss practice that week. Just doesn't add up. We are second class citizens over here.

In any event, I wish schools and clubs would take into the account that when you are from a divorced family it is not so easy to make practice every week and they really should start scheduling things for every other week to accomodate those athletes, or little dancers who can only make "every other week."
Good luck.

loonybonusmom's picture

can't tell ya if I spelled that write but the actual wording in bm's email/communication is exactly word for word basically of what I saw four years ago. This is not the words of a mother communicating with a father, this is the words of a lawyer trying to show that the father is trying to stifle the "natural existence, activities etc. of a growing child" I don't understand why these "timmy ho mom's" canada speak for "mom on the sidelines with coffee chat" think that everyone else (the poor saps who volunteer) should teach their kids how to play and behave after 9-5 is over. My two cents....this activity, and friendly communication by bm is not innocent..someone is waiting for you to say no. our experience...a good judge will tell bm that children in blended families must compensate for sharing home and time, and bm will ultimately be responsible for compensating for pickups and making all signed events

CplStv's picture

The most logical Reason I can think of why so many parents put their kids in so many activities is so They DON'T have to Spend Time Dealing With The Kids...

When I was a kid, I would have LOST IT if My Parents had tried to schedule Me to constantly be at some organized crap, I would take off for Hours and ride The Trails at a Local Wilderness park, or wherever,or Reading when I wasn't working to make Money...since I was like 8...

Steve

Steve

Kids are the Best and Worst Things We can do to Ourselves. When We have nothing else worth living for, We'll go on, for Them, but Oh How We Miss Our Freedom...LOL

Gwen's picture

I want to emphasize I don't intend to weigh in on the value choice; these are tough questions and it does sound like the kids have a lot of activities going on. But I wanted to say that I think there is room to see the initial email as a valid and respectful attempt co-parent by explaining a different perspective in child-rearing values. I think it was nicely written, balanced and adult. I don't see it as an attempt to insult your DH. There is room for two valid but different viewpoints on this question. Again, I'm not in any way saying that they are right and you are wrong; indeed, I may have made the same choice in your shoes. But I don't think that necessarily means that their view is wrong -- just two different value choices about parenting between a divorced BM and DH. We go through this in our home a lot too.

One thing I have learned is that kids will say whatever the parent they are with wants to hear. My SD is EXCITED about some things with us, and does this lukewarm thing when with her mom--kids are good at picking up subtle vibes. Who knows which way the cookie actually crumbles?

Valuing family time and avoiding overscheduling is a VERY good thing. So is striving for excellence. The parents are the ones who get to strike the balance. Tough choices. I think good parents can make different choices, and still be good parents.

If she's never been nice before, then I don't know what the implication in that last email is about, but here's hoping it leads to positive change.

Cruella's picture

My husband and I are working constantly just to keep up with the bills and all of the children's expenses. He gets very little child dsupport. We have a home to maintain and our hours flucuate. We cannot and will not have anyone scheduling our weekends for us. I know the importance of the children staying busy and sports and activities are a good thing but we barely have quality family time. We are in a survival mode and quite frankly we are exhausted from the demands of our jobs and children. I would love nothing more than to have Skids be able to participate in sports but we cannot afford it and we can't take time off of work to do this since we don't even get home most nights until 6:30 pm. We don't know a sole in town that would take them to practices while we are working and around here practices are usually right after school. BM lives around the world and had made snippy comments about wanting HER children to participate in sports. Funny she can sit by her pool from around the world and bark orders but she is not the one who has to put all the time and money into getting HER children into sports. I feel if BM wants the kids to participate in all of these activities then she can schedule and help pay for it. Let it be on her time and at least half of her money. My husband is facing surgery right now and can't physically participate in anything.

Krissy's picture

The wording of BB's DH's email was fine. I agree that it was well-written and adult. However, my problem is that it was written by the SF and not the BM.

In my experience, I have found that when ss's SF got too involved, it caused all kinds of problems. Once he started, he enver stopped and it got to the point where he'd call stbx at night and accuse him of ridiculous nonsense re: BB and SS. He felt that he had an open forum to chastise stbx whenever he felt like it because he was married to BB and I think that was wrong. The judge did too, and so did a co-parenting counselor. The email either comes from the BP, or even both, but not JUST the SP, imo.

Re: the soccer issue--I totally agree with your decision. Not that I think THEY are wrong, but it's just a personal preference. It's a style of child-rearing. You don't agree with them and that's that. It's not as if the kids are not involved in ANY activities. At some point, you have to teach your kids that they can't always do EVERYTHING that they want to do. No, the kids shouldn't suffer because of the situation, but it doesn't seem like that's even remotely close to being the case. I think that any judge would agree too...that spending time with the parent FAR supercedes any positive experiences that come from playing on a team.

Finally, the "olive branch" email seems suspicious. It appears to me that she's got something up her sleeve and probably is hoping to guilt you into talking to DH about the traveling team in hopes that it will somehow affirm the friendship that she claims to want. I'd be leary. There is nothing wrong with communication--in fact, I think among blende famlies, it's great. But again...any direct contact OTHER than at pick up/drop off, social/sporting events, etc., should be left between the BPs if that's feasible. To that point, I find her contacting you at your private e-mail is inappropriate and I'd probably respond that you haev no problem being civil, but that you'd prefer if she has an issue, that she contact DH directly next time.

Good luck!

New Stepmom's picture

So here is my response to BM's e-mail:

Thanks – I am really glad to hear that. 

I just want to take a minute to explain something.  After DH & I got engaged, I had actually decided that I would start making an effort to be friendly with you, but then the e-mail confrontation happened and it all went downhill from there.  When you made the comments that you did in your e-mail to me, my feelings were hurt. I am not one who easily takes insults from someone, especially someone that does not know me personally. So at that point, I decided it was better for me to start ignoring you altogether.  Thankfully, that is all in the past now and since you have sent this e-mail, it shows that you are making an effort, so I will do the same.  I do not want the girls to feel uncomfortable when they are around the four of us.  You’re a good mother and I try my hardest to be a good step-mom, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get along. 

As for our e-mail last night, I am sorry that you are unhappy, but DH and I really just want you to understand where we are coming from.  We both want the girls to do things they enjoy, but sometimes they can do too much.  We want them around for us to just be able to spend family time together, doing whatever we decide to do for that day.  It probably would not have been such an issue if the practices weren’t scheduled on a Sunday.

Thanks again for sending me the e-mail.  I hope that we can have a fresh new start from here on out.       

I really hope she doesn't have something up her sleeve. I definitely have my guard up, that's for sure. I will be civil with her - and God knows I don't need any additional enemies in my life - but I will never trust her. It would be nice to have a civil, cordial relationship when dealing with her and her husband at the different events we have to attend. I will say that she has recently started going to church, so maybe that has something to do with her change of heart - I don't want to be too naive though. We'll see what happens!