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Mixed Messages

PlumHalo's picture

The latest obstacle in our household is a duzy for my DH and I. We have been trying to get his twin girls (10YO) involved in a new activity (4H) on our time. They have been very excited about it on our time and we've helped them to achieve doing it on our time as their BM is dead set against it (we believe it is bc it is something I introduced them to but really don't know). The girls have obviously brought it up to their BM as she has told is on multiple occasions that it just won't work as the summer fair is on her time. My DH and I have already planned for her to not let them participate so we are planning on getting them in early for their projects on our time. The most recent tactic she has gone to is having discussions with the girls on her time on how much they "truly" want to participate. Now she has messaged us saying she called the 4H director, read the rule book and spoke to the girls and she believes it will be unfair to the girls bc they are not at our house "physically" enough to participate. She is also saying how one of the girls has specifically asked not to participate and wanted her to relay the message. She also expressed how she's been in contact with multiple legal and psychological professionals and says that this is "not right" but in her messages she is rude, degrading, and hurtful with her words. She says the girls make it sound like we are forcing them into this. On our end we have seen NOTHING of the sort. But we are worried the girls are getting confused by all the back and forth and trying to please both sides. We aren't sure how to proceed. We do know that she can't be taking the advice of her council because she specifically relayed a message from the girls and we were all told in our coparenting counceling that the messages from the girls must come from them. Not between parents. We already know she's bonkers and manipulative. And have been using the tactic of BIFF. But how do we approach this topic with the girls? I hate that they have to have this negativity and are expected to have multiple personalities in both houses. It's bull and we want to put a stop to it. But if they truly don't want to do it we want to know but also don't want it to be bc BM said so. We are the sick of having to change our lives to accommodate a HC BM. And we're finally gaining some independence here! 

CastleJJ's picture

Ultimately, the girls originally wanted to do it, so I say go for it, as long as it only occurs on your time and you don't expect BM to finance any part of it. I would ignore BM's antics. Her tactics are emotionally abusive and by including the 4H director, legal professionals, and psychologists, she is trying to alienate the public against you both and onto her side to get what she wants. I would really question if BM even contacted these people; she is likely just using it as an intimidation tactic. Our BM always pulled this stunt, that she talked to a lawyer, doctor, etc. who agreed with her stance and we are "damaging" skid. Don't fall for it, she is hoping that through intimidation, you will cave. BM would have a hell of a time arguing her stance in court that an activity is damaging to skids. She is also trying to prove that she is the custodial and only parent, hence her comment about them not being with you enough to participate. Enrolling skids in 4H isn't BM's call to make nor does it violate legal custody. If you only do 4H during your time, it doesn't violate physical custody either. If the girls want to do it, then do it; If they don't, then don't, but don't let BM make the choice for you. 

advice.only2's picture

Sometimes its good to remind the kids that it's okay to like different things than their mom or dad and that it's okay for them to want to try new things, and if they don't like it to say so.
As for the crotch gobblin ex I would ignore her and all her screaming.

Winterglow's picture

Alienation at its finest - "Do you REALLY want to go to this? " "You don't HAVE to, you know... "

My ex-SIL was a master at this... 

Survivingstephell's picture

The tactic my  DH took with YSD, (only one not to be estranged) was to acknowledge the loyalty pull between the houses and wonder why BM would not want her to participate.    You don't answer it for the skids (but help them by asking the right questions) and teach them critical thinking skills. 4 H is not psychologically harmful, we all know that,  but one parent disparaging the other is.  She knows the skids love it and does not care one iota about them, only her fragile ego.     

BM is fearful of losing her throne as The Golden Uterus and that is her motivation.  Dad should call her on it and everything she does that supports her quest.  My DH did.  Finally.  It was too late for the older 3 skids but YSD is 21 and still in contact , she's in college now.   These poor skids are stuck with a dysfunction parent and it's the duty of the healthy parent to teach them how to cope in the face of it, all at age appropriate levels.  IMO 

tog redux's picture

Well, sounds like the kids told you that they want to do it, and told her that they don't. Around here, people pitch a fit when BM schedules the kids for activities that falls on the father's time, so the same should be said for the father scheduling things that fall on the mother's time.  If you guys can accomplish everything they need on your time, and the girls say they want to do it (and act like they want to do it - ie, they are happy and having fun), then do it on your time, and don't expect BM to do it on hers. 

Floral_SM's picture

I would just do it on your side if the girls are keen to do it and ignore BM's tantrums. Remind the kids sometimes their mother has a different opinion on what you have and that's ok. Tell them to remember it's about them, not BM. 

I have a HCBM to deal with and SD was nagging us to pick up dancing. DH pays CS yet last time we organised an extra curricular sport for SD, BM gave us grief! So we leave it up to her now. Damned if we do and don't. 
She is lazy and expects DH to do everything. I ended up being a bit cheeky and played BM at her own game. When SD asked me that she wanted to do dance, I told her 'Ask BM, she's your mum. I am happy to help you if she won't do it, just ask her though and I will enroll you like I'll help my daughter with her dance in the future'. Wouldn't you know the week they were with her, we got a text saying SD was enrolled in dance. She is so threatened by me being a better mother, I knew she would take that bait. 

Thumper's picture

Dads time IS dads time. I would not suggest sd participate during moms time...nope nope nope.

I am sure the head of this acitivy is well aware that divorced kids with visitation schedules will want to sign up too.

Good Luck with everything...ignore bm's hissy fit.



Rags's picture

BM is full of shit. Since she is claiming counseling with attorneys and therapists, call her on her bullshit and demand she provide contact information for her league of professionals. She won't because in all likelihood they don't exist.

Seek counsel from your own legal and therapy team, who will invariably say something counter to BM's claims.  Have your attorney send her a cease and desist order regarding her attempts to manipulate the Twins time in your home with their dad.

Be clear with the twins that their mother does not get to say what they do in your home on Dad's time and they do not have to try to make her happy about what they do with dad, in dad's home, on dad's time.

IMHO what BM is doing is trying to avoid being found as the bad guy when the girls wan to to go to 4H events on BM's time.  

It is okay for them to have activities and experiences that are theirs when they are with dad that is different from the things that they share with their BM on BM's time.

I would go for BM's throat, figuratively of course,  to get her to shut up and keep her nose out of the experiences that YOUR family choose to engage in.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

If BM is so adamant about SKs not doing this activity. I would be concerned that if you started it in your own time, she would work in SKs until they said they didn't like it and didn't want to go. 

What I do Is plan things not tell SKs and surprise them. This way BM doesn't have time to find out before the fact and once they do it and like it. She won't be the bad guy in their eyes by saying anything.

What goes in during your parenting time is none of her business. 

I don't discuss squat with my ex, because he would discourage any activity he doesn't personally find interesting. But if my DS likes it he pretends he is supportive and likes it too. Because he has to look good in DS eyes.

Rags's picture

TMI often bites StepFamilies in the butt.  It is better for a toxic X to find out about something after the fact rather than giving them the opportunity to inferfere in something if they have prior knowledge.

This is the model we used when we enrolled SS in boarding school.  We notified the SpermGrandHag after we dropped him off to start his Jr. year of HS. She flipped a bitch.  Not because she gave a shit about SS, but because she did now want to get stuck with the bill for boarding school.  "WE BETTER NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR THIS!!!!!!!".  

We let her stew for a while on that ..... 


When SS went to SpermLand for Winter visitation during his Christmas break from school, she started in on him with her crap. "You are going to have to go into the military since you are in military school!"  He just laughed and told her that military school is not the military.  SpermGrandHag took every chance she had to undermine the SKid's happiness and demonize my DW.  THe Skid loved military school.  When he shut the Hag down on that crap, she then started in on him about how it wasn't fair that his three younger also out of wedlock SpermIdiot spawned half sibs did not have the same opportunity and how the CS was paying for SS's boarding school.  That pittance paid for new homes, expensive cars, boarding school, and nice vacations ........  According to the SpermGrandHag.

We learned early to not share with the toxic blended family opposition.  Of course they never shared with us.  The SpermIdiot moved across the country and never told my DW.  SpermGrandHag kept taking the SpermIdiot's visitation and SS did not see  his SpermIdiot for more than 2 years. Of course SS told us about it when he got home from the first visitation after the SpermIdiot moved, so... we grilled SpermGrandHag about it every visitationafter that until the SpermIdiot returned to SpermLand.  "So, is your son back yet or is he not going to see his son... as usual?"

TMI, avoid it as much as possible with the toxic blended family opposition.

IMHO of course.