Sunday, June 7, 2009

Being a StepMom

I hate being a stepmom, I really do. I love my two stepsons, but I am sick of being the "Stepmom". Who raised the boys until they were old enough to be in school full-time? Their step-mom. Who makes sure they know when their games and practices are no matter whose house the boys are at... Their stepmom. Am I perfect? Far from in, but I do my best for them, and do my best to put their needs first.
We do our best, we pay child support, we buy them clothes for school, and if they seem to need a haircut or new shoes or anything when we have them we usually take care of it, and don't complain. But their mom is remarried and they both work full-time she receives child support from us and from another child's father. She has four kids altogether. We have five and survive on a single income. She is always asking for more money for things that are covered under child support. When she was single and on her own, and we didn't have three other kids of our own to support we did pay half of any expense on top of child support, and give her extra money when she needed it. But now, she really should be able to support them on her own, and our child support should be helping her.
In our state, the custodial parent is to supply clean, clothes in good condition for their stays at our house. We keep a few sets of clothes here for them, so we don't ask for clothes for short weekend stays. However when they come over in 30 degree weather with no coats, jeans with half the legs missing, and their shoes falling apart, that is an issue. We send them home in new jeans, coats, and shoes. The next week they come back in the same condition, wearing the old shoes instead of their new ones, or sometimes no shoes at all. The mom insists that's all she has and she doesn't have the money to buy them new clothes all the time. Okay, what happened to the new stuff we just sent home the weekend before?? Who knows.
Now she does do things for them, she signs them up for a ton of sports that we have to drive hours each way to their games on the weekends, she always has the money for the best looking cleats or some fancy jersey replica. So she looks good, and makes them happy buying them what they want while we supply everything they need.
Case in point today was my oldest stepsons soccer game, they were supposed to come home with us after the game for the week. We have asked numerous times for her to please send some shorts and stuff for the summer, since we have them all summer. We show up to the game, the oldest only has his soccer uniform. The younger has stained clothes and shorts that are so big they go down to his ankles. She sent no clothes for them, and the younger didn't even have shoes. He's 9! I had sent home brand new shoes with him the day before. I was furious, because that meant we would have to go buy new shoes again! The game was an hour away from either of our houses in opposite directions so going to her house to get them was not an option. She also said she was not buying summer clothes for them and had nothing to send to our house. I had already bought several outfits, but I don't think they want to wear the same 3 outfits over and over. I was furious I admit I lost my cool and went off on her.. Here is the argument that transpired:
Me: "That's what child support is for. You are still getting it while we have the boys all summer. You have no idea how hard it is to raise these kids on one income with no outside support."

Her: "Get a Job"

Me: "I would love to but I have your kids, so you can work, so you can go to school, so you can do whatever you want. I raised them for the first 6 years of their lives until they were old enough to be in school."

Her: "I raised my kids." I don't have the money to buy them clothes.

Me: "We give you the money, Child Support!"

I was out of line, yes. But I am sick of my children suffering too. I can't get my child a haircut this week because I have to buy yet another pair of shoes. I buy my kids clothes from Walmart, Goodwill and the Clearance rack and they are happy with that. My step-sons clothes have to be brand name or they won't wear them. I tried buying them some nice shirts, jeans, and shoes from Sears because they have the Kidvantage program, if they wear out we can exchange them no receipt required. My step-sons picked out their clothes and were very happy with them, and were excited to show their mom, their mom said they look dorky and we never saw the clothes again.
I would never want my step-sons to go without, but we are sick of being the money tree, yet when we want the boys for something it's a hassle, we never see their report cards because she always forgets them, luckily now their school has online grades. My husband emailed the teacher about one son's reading grade that was failng, the teacher stated that the son's work was not being checked, and the son was not doing the assigned reading. My husband asked the boys' mom about it who got all defensive and then told the teacher that he was not allowed to talk to us, it all needed to go through her. We never said anything about her to the teacher, and the teacher still keeps us posted and answers any questions we have. He even tells the son when his dad emails him, and it makes the son very happy when he knows we are checking on him.

I am so frustrated I did not mean for this to turn into a basking post. She tries to be a good mom, but to her that means being popular, and making sure she looks good, and the boys can do whatever they want and she will spoil them, but she won't do anything they NEED. Because she knows if she doesn't we will. How can we break this cycle without making the boys suffer. If we had the money I wouldn't care, but it is hard enough without all these extra expenses that we should not be fully expected to pay for.