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I was only asking for more flexibility

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

As I don't get on with SD16, I recently asked SO for more flexibility about the visits from his kids, especially the summer when they descend on us for 3 whole weeks!! It's a situation I absolutely dread every year. The visits from SD16 and SS19 put pressure on me at home when I have my own DS1 to care for and I work full time. Recently, I hired a cleaner to help me but it's still a lot of domestic work when they're here and SD ignores me or is rude to me. Last time she was here things descended into an ugly row. I would like the visits shortened to one week or a long weekend so that it eases the burden, especially as our DS is so young. After discussing this with SO, he went mad accusing me of making him choose between me & DS and SS & SD. I find this ridiculous as I didn't want that. I am so unhappy. He's digging his heals in and won't budge. He said he'd choose SS and SD over me and our DS if I made him "choose" which was very hurtful. He said they've been in his life a lot longer than we have. Any thoughts or advice for me on how to tackle this situation? 

caninelover's picture

At least he was honest about it.  His SKs treat you with disrespect because he allows it - and apparently models it for them.

He needs to start putting your needs first as his wife.  Perhaps counseling may help.

Ispofacto's picture

I don't think it's fair to ask the NCP to give up parenting time.  These are his kids and he should see them as much as he can.


Disengage.  Don't cook or clean for them.  Let DH do it all.


Winterglow's picture

So what's he doing when his kids are in your home? He should be spending time with them or taking them to work with him, not leaving them with you (especially as your SD pretends not to understand English ...). He should be doing all of the parenting because they are there to see him, not to hang out with you. He should be making the most of having them there. Is he doing any of that?

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

He never does anything with them these days. They just hang around the house for weeks on end. He says it's too expensive to go out plus the pandemic. They're bored when they are here in the UK. That's why the problems start. Plus they won't help with chores. 

Your girl's picture

Well its your house.  Your rules.  Make up rules for any houseguests.  (Except parents).  And put it in with local sights to see, directions for outings, etc.  Even at a hotel you cannot be noisy and leave your stuff lying around everywhere outside your room.

Winterglow's picture

So he's lucky they are still coming to visit... so why isn't he making the most of their visits? 

GrudgingSM's picture

I find his comments enraging and personally feel he owes you an apology.

as for the visits, I agree with others about disengaging. They are there to see him so he needs to plan for things for them to do and be doing the cooking/caretaking. If he doesn't want to cook, sounds like three weeks of carry out.

You can easily back out of some of their activities saying your kiddo is too young to enjoy that and stay home. But also encourage him to take the kids on a short holiday in the middle of their visit. That will give you a break. Or you could go on your own holiday or visit family at the same time. 

also If the youngest is 16 you don't have many more summers to go!

but also also his comment is truly abhorrent and I'm the kind of person who would walk out at that and let him prove it.

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

Yes I'm very hurt right now. I don't know what to think. A short holiday in the middle would be good. 

Your girl's picture

A short holiday.

Plus dont buy groceries, etc.

A vacation to take baby to your family.

shellpell's picture

Are you in a financial situation where you can have a trial separation to see things more clearly? I can't believe he said he wouldn't choose you and your baby. What a jerk. 

AgedOut's picture

maybe this year you and the little guy should spend one of those weeks on an adventure of your own. what he said was very hurtful and I'm not defending him but put yourself in his shoes. Sadly once those words fell out of his mouth he did some real damage to your relationship. seek counselling for yourself. 

CallMeCrazy's picture

It's interesting to me, although unsurprising, that commenters are shredding dad for saying, if you make me choose, I won't choose you," but don't address the fact that OP wants him to see his children (including a minor) less because she just doesn't like it and gets stressed. Three weeks out of a 52 week year is nothing and OP wants to cut even that out. It's very selfish and cares not at all about her partner. So why is HE vilified and SHE is supported? Quite frankly, if you throw out demands you need to be prepared for an undesirable outcome.

OP, yoh did NOT ask for flexibility. You asked for him to give up time with his kids. How would you feel if tables were turned?

stepmomnorth's picture

This is my opinion as well! I have my own 3 children with me half of the time. When they are not with me I miss them. When I had my children, I would have never guessed that my time with my own children would be lessened to only 50 percent of the time! I am their mother. To have them only part of the time is hard for me. Try to keep this under consideration. He misses his kids and wants to spend time with them.  A few weeks out of the year is not very much time to see your own children. 

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

I will bear this in mind. I'm sorry you are going through a hard time. I will try to be mindful in the future. 

Winterglow's picture

I agree. But why doesn't he spend time with them while they are there rather than shunt them over to OP? He has precious little time with them so why isn't he taking advantage of that? 

Findthemiddle's picture

Seems like  and is kids can spend their visit time however they see fit as long as he takes care of them. 

Winterglow's picture

But apparently he ISN'T taking care of them, he's working and expecting OP to do it for him. 

stepmomnorth's picture

None of that really matters. Who's to say bio mom isn't working full days that week also and coming home to the kids at night. It doesn't matter. Same as it doesn't matter if they are at home in the evenings playing cards in the kitchen rather than being on a vacation. Time with the kids is time with the kids, period. Even if they're just chilling in the same room. Its the time spent together. Just plain normal life is just as important! It's being around your children. Even if you're at work for part of the day. 

Winterglow's picture

That's exactly what I had in mind, just spending time together, but he doesn't even do that apparently. It's kinda hard to chill out with your kids if you're not even in the same building... Maybe if he took a day off here and there to be with his kids it might be easier on OP?

Findthemiddle's picture

OP I am not quite sure what response you expected from your DH when you asked him to cut his time with his kids down to as little a " long weekend" per year?   Of course he was offended and found your position unreasonable.  He shouldn't have said what he said - but I can see how things got out of hand and how your unreasonable demand was read as demand that he choose.   The solution is for him to care for their needs when they are visiting and for you to politely disengage.  Sorry, you overstepped and I am sure that he is also thinking about what you requested just as much as you are thinking about what he said. Y'all should both apologize. 

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

Oh I'm sorry they visit him frequently throughout the year. I forgot to say earlier. Sure I appreciate your pov thanks. 

Findthemiddle's picture

Thanks for the clarification.  If you are having to deal with hostility and rejection on a regular basis- then you sadly have to confront your DH and hash it out.  You will hear how you are wrong and asking too much.  But, that is not your problem.  I believe that that parent will pass off as much discomfort experienced by the step kids and step parents as they can - that way it isn't their problem to solve.  Clearly, this is unacceptable.  Don't allow yourself to be pitted against the step kids, the real issue lies between you and your husband.  He needs to stop using you as a "common enemy" to bolster his screwed up  relationship  with HIS kids.  

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

I don't mind frequency. It's just the summer break, especially when his kids are so horrible to me. If they visited more often but for shorter increments this would be better for me. 

shellpell's picture

They visit frequently, according to OP, not just the three weeks a year.

Merry's picture

Both of you are wrong. Instead of trying to understand the other's point of view, you're arguing, and arguing ugly.

I think it's wrong of you to expect him to give up time with his kids. It's wrong of him to turn this into a you vs. his kids and hurl hurtful words at you.

Get to the real issue: the stress the visit puts on you. Is he doing enough as a parent, or does he expect you to do all the planning, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and parenting? HE is the parent, and those kids are there to see HIM. They are 100% his responsibility. Neither one of you should assume that the woman is the better, more natural parent. It's not 1950.

If he steps up his parenting, is that enough? Or does their mere presence in your home drive you nuts? If that's the case, can you get away yourself for a few days? Family or friends you can visit for a week or long weekend?

There are solutions without all this hurt and anger between you. Maybe you could both benefit from a marriage counselor to help you mutually solve problems and communicate better.

simifan's picture


This. You are both wrong & Communicate poorly. 

Even if he won't go to counselling. Go yourself to learn how to communicate better and deal with the situation. 

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

Their presence does drive me crazy but their behaviour is awful and there has been such a 4 year long build up to this argument. I'd like to get away from it all so I don't have to see them but I'm trying to strike a balance too. 

Stepdrama2020's picture

Yea its not good to expect your DH to take his kids less. BUT he should be doing the heavy lifting NOT YOU. He wants this time with the kids, that is they are under your roof, but he isnt spending time with them. He is having his cake and eating it too.

His comment totally SUCKS. OUCH. Unforgivable. So now you know where you and DS stands. Remember that. Proceed accordingly. I would do nothing for the rude skids like ever. As for your DH unless he genuinely retracts his statement treat him like he is seconds. Cause thats what you and DS are to him.

Blessings lady good luck

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I agree. OP is wrong to ask to reduce the already small amount of time. But - the kids (well, one at least) are rude to her and DH pushes all the work onto OP. Her feelings are justified but the ask is wrong. She should have asked her DH to do more to make it so the visits are more about DH bonding with his kids and less of a burden on OP.

Does this guy even want to be around his kids? Doesn't sound like it. The comment about her and *their* child being second to the stepkids is, IMO, possibly unforgivable. They should go to counseling but in the meantime, OP needs to be taking care of herself and her baby first and foremost. I wouldn't advocate leaving, since there is a baby, so they should try to repair the relationship.

But, yes, asking that is wrong, but this guy allowing disrespect and not pulling his weight on top of OP having recently had a baby may have pushed her over the edge. And yes, i will probably always look at things from the stepparent's point of view first on this board, because as i've said before, i believe this, an anonymous board on the internet, may be the only place a stepparent is ever "put first." I will acknowledge and own my bias. 

Tried out's picture

she was just asking for flexibility, not reduced time. She would rather they visit more often but for shorter periods of time.

If this is true and Dad understood this, his reaction is ridiculous, given that he doesn't do anything with them anyway.

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

I suggested they visit for Easter as well as their February visit which is one week.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Hold up, never did i say they always come first, i was defending you. I don't blame you for feeling like you do.

ETA even if you did want them to come less than 3 weeks per year, what i was saying is, that even though that is wrong, i understand the feeling behind it. If it turns out that isn't even what you were asking, you have absolutely nothing to feel sorry for.

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

Oh yes I understand. I still think my request was wrong though. I don't know why he's not taking a few days or even a week off this year to spend 1 to 1 time with them like he has done in the past. I'm sure the kids would appreciate this time with their dad when he's not working. It would give us all a little break from each other too. 

Maria10's picture

What an effing jerk!

He should get off his a** and clean up after his kids and spend time taking them out or something. I believe working around schedules and making sure that EVERYONE is taken care of is a very adult thing to do. 

Heck to the NO! If my DH said at any point that I come second then he would feel the hurt! Who's gonna date a father of three( all that child support)?

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

He should be making sure we're all happy here and also planning fun activities for them during the day too. Sitting in the flat listening to me on endless conference calls during the day must be boring for them. There's so much for older children to do around here. Even little trips out that don't cost anything would help get them away from computer screens! About the 3 kids issue - I knew he came as a package deal and he does pay maintenance for them. I agree that he should pay this as he is their father. Their needs must be taken care of. It's what he said that was hurtful. 

Rags's picture

Lawyer, divorce.  Make him live his choice to prioritize his failed family progeny over his wife and baby.

Nail his ass with another two decades of CS.

Kaylee's picture

The kids who come and stay are 16 and 19?

Why is your H still paying for the 19 yo? Isn't this young man working or at university? He's not a child for Gods sake! He's an adult. 

As for the 16 yo girl, she needs to be told to pull her head in and be respectful to her dad's wife. 

Honestly, I think your H said a very hurtful thing to you when he said he'd choose them over you and his infant son! WTF? I'd be inclined to let him go with that choice hahaha!

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

Yes they are 16 and 19. In Europe, child maintenance is paid until the child finishes full time education. As SS is at university for 5 years this must be paid until he graduates. But of course he doesn't need to stick to any previously agreed arrangements now, he can visit us when he wants, catch the train on his own etc. 

Kaylee's picture

Yes true.

And a 19 yo shouldn't be sitting round the house like a lump, expecting to be entertained. Not should the daughter, for that matter.

I mean, in the case of the 19 yo, you'd think, at his age, he'd be wanting to hang out with friends, have a part time job etc. Why does he want to come and visit Daddy all the time?

Reluctant_Stepmother's picture

I'm not sure. Hopefully he enjoys spending time with his dad? I'd like more help with chores though instead of watching me heavily pregnant, struggling to put the bins out for collection and not even offering to help me when I asked him to. Not nice at all. This is even more difficult with an infant in my arms who weighs over 10kgs!

ESMOD's picture

Your SO needs to make sure you get the help you need with the chores.. either by HIM doing it.. or assigning his kids a task when they are in your home.

But,  I think you should go back and reframe what you are asking of him.

SO,  I am sorry if you took my request as trying to make you choose between your kids and me/our child together.  I guess I didn't really explain myself well and I want to clarify what my concerns and reluctance to the long visit were.  IN the past, all the extra work having the older kids at home has fallen on me.  I cook for more people.. clean more messes made by more errands...and honestly, I have done all of this without much respect or thanks or recognition by your kids and even from you.  I guess suggesting a shorter visit was a way I saw I could reduce my workload. With the baby in the house.. I do already have a lot on my plate and looking forward at those long visits.. and the extra work I could see piling up.. I got kind of overwhelmed thinking about it all.  I guess what I'm really asking is that you help us to figure out how the visits can happen without putting a whole load of new chores on my already full list.  And.. if you can work to encourage your kids to be more civil to me and your other child while they are here.  It's no fun being here when they can't be bothered to say hello. right?  So, if you could take on or get them to take on the extra work.. cooking meals.. cleaning.. laundry etc???  the longer visits are fine.  I just am not going to be able to be up for the big workload all on my shoulders.  The kids are here to see you.. so you should definitely take time off so that you can entertain them if that is what needs to happen.