Non-Custodial BioMom Drama
A little background on my current dilemma. BM lives 3,000+ miles away from my husband, and her two sons, 9 and 12. Even through the distance, she has tried to maintain an extreme control and involvement in the kids' lives, from daily FaceTime conversations, mandating they send her pictures of all of thier schoolwork, not study with me, but rather study over the phone with her, etc. It has seemed excessive, considering she willingly chose to move away from her children, and even given the opportunity on several occasions to be closer, has turned them down and chosen her romantic relationships instead. My husband and I have tolerated her inconsistences, her lack of consideration to the kids needs, and generally allowed the staus quo to exist where she is concerned, because it seemed easier to allow her whatever access she wanted, rather than restrict their relationships with her further. But IMO, she repeatedly crosses the line with the kids, and it is becoming detrimental to the kids well-beings.
I feel the time has come to limit her exposure to BOTH kids. While the youngest (9) may not be adversely affected by her actions yet, I feel that you can’t claim she is unfit to interact with one, but then turn around and say it is okay for her to interact with the other. Ultimately, even if SS-9 can continue to have good interactions with her, it does not mean it is good for him, or healthy long term, to see a woman, and his mother to boot, in such an emotional and volatile state frequently. A 9 year old does not have the ability to compartmentalize her feelings and understand her reactions may not be directed at him, or because of him. The 12 year old is even struggling with it. Whatever is done, it has to be done unilaterally, across the board.
From my perspective, the best path forward is to unfortunately eliminate, or highly regulate, her exposure and interaction with the boys. I understand this is not going to be a popular decision, and may seem extreme. But she has repeatedly crossed the line, repeatedly failed her children, and by her own admission is so severely affected by PTSD from a relationship she chose to stay in even knowing the abuse that was occuring/having the means and opportunity to leave and still not taking them. She has stated that she feels her 12 year old son is abusing her. To label a child, your OWN child, as an abuser, all because he called you multiple times in order to work things out, after his mother hung up in his face repeatedly, is detrimental and a dangerous game to play. That label can follow him, weigh on him, and no matter what my husband and I do to counteract those feelings, to work through and address them, there is no guarantee we can convince him they are untrue. The more he hears it (which 1 time is one too many IMO) the more he will believe it. The more someone, even his parent, is allowed to say that about him without any repercussions or major interference on our end, the more he will let self-doubt, insecurity, and the natural inclination to believe his mother win out, and cause him to believe the labels, believe the accusations. Comparing a 12 year old to a grown man that hit his mother repeatedly, that his mother has had arrested multiple times, filed restraining orders against, gone on and on about how horrible of a person he is…. On what planet is it okay to say “My ex boyfriend is such a horrible person, he has hurt me so much, and caused me so much grief… and SS-12,you are JUST like him.. it is exactly the same” Never mind the fact that the kids should not have intimate knowledge of her circumstances regarding the ex-boyfriend situation to begin with, for a plethora of reasons including the sheer emotional burden it places on them both… that is an entirely separate issue I can’t even get into right now.. but because they DO know what has gone on, they are aware of exactly how much of a dirtbag he is… a mother CANNOT give her SONS that information and then in the same breath compare one of her sons to the big bad wolf she has gone on and on about being so horrible.
She can throw around her PTSD diagnosis, say she is in domestic violence groups, and that the kids need to be sensitive to her current state, but I disagree. It is not a child’s responsibility to have enough emotional maturity and social awareness to navigate the land-mine ridden field that is their mother. If she can’t compartmentalize her issues, and take 30 minutes out of her day to set aside everything else and not let her drama and issues interfere with her very small window of time to talk with her children, then shouldn't she forfiet that time? I don't want this to be a punishment for her poor life choices (although that is a bonus in my book) but ultimately an executive decision on my husband's part to put his children’s wellbeing first.
What would be the best way to approach the restrictions? Explain that she very obviously needs time to heal, time to process, time to work through her issues, and in order for her to be able to work through her issues and move forward, she needs to focus solely on her issues, and take a step back from her role as mother? She has proven she is incapable of managing her emotional and physical issues while maintaining a healthy relationship with her children. As a mom, I feel she should sacrifice and put her own selfish desires aside, and consider the negative impacts her emotional outbursts are having on her kids.
In theory, the most ideal situation is to request a hiatus from her communication with her children. I think requesting she abstain from all face to face communication with them for one month, and in that month she seek therapy, counseling, psychiatric treatment, whatever she needs to do to work through her issues, and then we all re-evaluate her emotional stability in that time, and see where the kids are at emotionally as well.
Is this totally outside the realm of possibility? Are my husband and I wrong for feeling we have to step in and regulate contact between a mother and her children? It isn't like this is a first resort plan for us, but how many times do we have to idly sit by while she curses out her children, calls them names, accuses them of being abusive to HER, compares her son to her abuser, tells her kids she will call at a certain time, then texts them that she can't because she is at a party, or has friends over, or there is some other mild inconvenience on her end that she feels entitles her to shrugg off her kids, or rearrange ALL of our schedules to better suit her social calendar.. ? I have always tried to be an advocate that the kids deserve a relationship with their mother, but at what cost? How do my husband and I continue to allow unlimited and unfiltered influence from her, when we see the kids hurting?
Sorry for the vent session here, I just need some reassurance or guidance that we are not wrong in stepping in, and that we are not over-reacting somehow and adversely affecting the kids, when the entire reason we are considering taking such an extreme measure is to protect them.