Jealousy & Hatred – Blended Family Edition #CreateinMe

I’m in a Stepmom Group on Facebook that has around 15,000 members in it and time and time again the same topic comes up. Bio Mom’s unbelievable jealously and hatred toward the new Stepmom. It can be relentless at times.

Today I was reading a weekly devotional by Amie Dockery of Covenant Church from her new bible study called Create in Me. She went on to tell the story about King Saul, the ruler of Israel, and a young shepherd boy named David who was a man after God’s own heart (despite his personal sin issues and mistakes including adultery and murder… It’s really such a redemptive story that everyone should read y’all. Anyway) She said,

After David slayed Goliath, King Saul became obsessively jealous of David [As Baby Mama did with me after I married her ex]. King Saul lost sight of who he was [the biological parent] and his insecurity [compared to the new wife] drove him mad. He resorted to strange games [lies, false testimony, perjury, theft] and tests of loyalty [head games with the kids like “you need to choose between me – your real Mom – and her”]. He stopped leading and gave into jealousy and comparison and hardened his heart against David. At one point, David snuck into Saul’s tent while he was sleeping and took Saul’s spear and water jug but did not harm Saul. Had David wanted to kill Saul he could have, but he didn’t. [We have had MANY opportunities to wound bio mom if we wanted to. We even have new info now but haven’t done anything with it yet while we pause and process everything].

In the handout homework, the question was: You and I can find ourselves in either role. Which one, David or Saul, do you most relate to in this story and why?

From my Stepmom position, I very strongly relate to David. I honor and respect Baby Mama’s POSITION with the children though I don’t respect her behavior just as David honored Saul. When the kids asked if they could call me Mom, I told them that might hurt their mother’s feelings and they would need to talk to her about that. After Hubster got custody of all of their kids, I felt empathy for her and warmly invited her into my home with all of my family, my children, and her children for Thanksgiving. When she called me crying pleading with me to convince Hubs to let her daughter move back in with her at the age of 12, I felt sorrow for her and worked on her behalf because she was so upset about being “all alone” and promised that although she couldn’t handle all 3 kids she could handle 1 (which was a fiasco but that’s a different blog). And then as soon as the ink dried on the new agreed court order, she turned on me. Hard. And she’s pursued me as Saul pursued David ever since (for about 6-7 years now). The attacks, lies, and division she sowed in our home was unbelievable. The false allegations made against my biological children were unreal. And unfounded. And the Judge did not believe them. One of my bio kids even wanted to pursue slander and perjury charges against her on his own (not only do her kids see her issues, her own stepkids and my bio kids do too).

In the Bible, the enemy is a liar, a deceiver and works to create division, & to kill, steal and destroy. And that is all we have seen in our blended family situation from Baby Mama and now from her new husband as well. (We aren’t alone though. She attacks me, my husband, my biological children, her new husband’s mother, her new husband’s children, her new husband’s ex wife, her own sister, and anyone else that she feels gets in the way of her King Saul position or that she feels threatened by. In fact, she repeatedly says “don’t threaten me” even when no one threatens her because she FEELS threatened – insecure – by others).

One thing I’ve learned about Blended Family Life is WE ARE NOT ALONE. This Saul and David battle often occurs today. Though it can “feel like hell” some days, it’s not. It’s a SEASON.

As for me and my family, we are going to keep pressing on despite the attacks and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day.

Iced tea cheers your way.

P.S.  I often encourage others in the Blended Family Groups to have all of the parents and stepparents meet together with a counselor or pastor present and I encourage the use of parenting apps such as TalkingParents.com or OurFamilyWizard. We have been asked how that has worked for us, but in truth we still have not done it yet. We have asked Bio Mom and her husband to meet with us with a third party present and we’ve asked her to sign up for the app so that communications can be verified, tracked and used in court but they have refused to do either of those things. For whatever reason, they don’t want accountability. When they are finally ready one day, we are here (accompanied by 6-7 kids and lots of documents).

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Be a Warrior

I firmly believe that it’s an honor to speak up for others who don’t have the strength or courage to speak up for themselves. Especially when they are minor children.

For the past couple of years, one of my stepsons has really struggled with his relationship with his bio mom. He’s asked on many occasions if he can stop going over for visitation. Now the other, younger stepson is asking the same.

They’ve lived with my spouse full time since birth except for a brief 1-2 year period immediately following Hubs’ divorce in 2008 which was really due to Hubs not having the finances to fund a trial. The kids are now 12 and 15.

Y’all. This is such a struggle for me. I firmly believe that kids should not be in control of their visitation schedules and that the adults in their lives should work together to encourage the kids to build strong relationships with both of their parents (and stepparents if applicable). On the flip side, I’ve personally watched these boys have unnecessary emotional meltdowns, stress, anxiety, hurt, anger, and fear over the continuous mind games and guilt their bio mom puts on them when they are with her. Spring Break this year was a doozy for them. Rather than a 48 hour visit, they were there 9 nights in a row. And they returned beyond upset because Bio Mom is now bullying the younger boy and making him feel guilty for not wanting to live with her full time. He says she “whines and cries” to him to make him feel guilty. Then the 15 year old chimes in that she’s done that MANY times but it doesn’t work on him so now she only talks to the younger child alone.

In 2011, Hubs initially had a TRO and bio mom didn’t have them at all. For the next few years she only had 1 weekend per month and no extended visits. For the past 2-3 years she’s had every other weekend and extended holiday visits and the kids are far more stressed out now than ever. They really don’t want to see her at all anymore. At least that’s what they tell us.

Yesterday we attended the Easter event at Bio Moms church because the 15 and 17 year olds really wanted to go. They love the youth leaders and have friends there and, even though it was our time, they asked us to take them. However, as soon as Bio Mom showed up the 15 year old crashed emotionally and firmly said that he wanted to leave immediately.

We have tried with all of our might to help them, encourage them, and support them to “be themselves” regardless of which parent they are with but … it’s just not going to work y’all.

I’m not sure what the next step should be but we MUST stand up for these kids. Maybe they just need a break for a short period. Maybe counseling. Maybe time. But something must change.

I firmly believe there is nothing more difficult than seeing people you love deal with pain. It’s hard to watch things you know you can’t fix. My little sister is going through that herself with her son right now. It can be a difficult journey.

My note to self is this reminder: Stand up for others because it’s the right thing to do. Be an advocate.

Be a warrior.

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Love the Kids More Than You Hate Your Ex

It’s no secret that in our personal life we have tons of “blended family drama”. Though I am a very confident and vocal woman, I do actually work very hard to avoid conflict if at all possible. Unfortunately, conflict avoidance has become a habit that has created problems in the lives of our children.

For example, my ex was released from prison a couple of years ago and I have intentionally avoided him in order to avoid conflict (I had a restraining order on him for 6 years so we have not had contact in a very long time). But, avoiding him also meant avoiding my kids at times. When my son graduated, I sat apart from the rest of my son’s family and quickly left when it was over so that he could go mix and mingle with his dad and grandparents. Earlier this month my son told me he was planning to move into a new apartment and I told him I would take the day off to help. He then told me that his Dad was going to be there so I quickly told him I would just stay home and would stop by the next day.

Hubster’s kids attend a youth group at their moms church. They stay the night with the leaders. They participate in Sunday morning performances. His daughter is part of the choir. They’ve asked us several times to attend or to take them and we’ve always declined. Why? We want to avoid conflict. Last week the 17 year old asked us to take her to an Easter event with youth group this weekend since she will be with us on Easter and our first reaction was no. Just in case Hubs’ ex was there which could create conflict or uncomfortableness among all parties.

Honestly, we are done living by FEAR and missing out on our kids’ events simply because the ex spouse could be present. No more. That ends NOW.

I’ve heard it said “love your kids more than you hate your ex” and I think that’s a great reminder to hold onto.

Who knows? Maybe the more we are all present at the same place the more the kids will be used to it so that future graduations, celebrations, weddings, etc. won’t have to be so awkward and uncomfortable for the kids. It’s been a long time coming but better late than never.

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Is there a Double Standard? #blendedfamily #stepparent

In one of the blended family groups I am in, a woman made the comment yesterday that as a stepmother she cannot do enough whereas the kids’ stepfather can do no wrong. That there is a huge double standard in blended family society based on whether you’re male or female.

Can I get an Amen?

As a stepmother, the kids biological mother absolutely, positively trashes me and makes it very clear that she does not think that stepparents should have any rights or rewards (though she doesn’t mind me handling the responsibilities LOL). Yet on Father’s Day, she posted a love message on social media to her husband, the kids’ stepfather, about how it takes a real man to STEP UP and be a STEP PARENT and she posted all of these photos of the kids with their stepdad.

I never really thought about it because, honestly, it doesn’t influence or change my day to day life in any way. But, it is good food for thought. As bio parents, can we accept our ex’s new spouse in the same manner we would want our new spouse accepted? Can we follow the Golden Rule in treating others the way we want to be treated?

Let’s at least give it a try 🙂

 

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Support Groups – Do They Help or Hurt

I recently joined a few stepmom groups on social media and LOVE IT!!! In my opinion, it’s helped (1) make me feel like we are not alone in this, and (2) it’s given me some great perspective. Even in the best, healthiest traditional families, marriage and child rearing is tough and it definitely feels 10 times tougher in the blended family arena. That said, these support groups drive other people batty because there are some people who always complain, or want pity and sympathy for really small things, the occasional drama queen, etc. But isn’t that real life y’all. Whether its at work, church, the gym, or social media there will always be some people who want all of the attention. I just IGNORE them! Move forward. Disregard the negative and hold onto the positive. We can do this!

Coffee cheers to you all 🙂

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Christmas 2017

Good morning y’all 🙂

Did everyone survive their blended family Christmas? We did! I must say, after 7 years, that I’ve noticed that there are some perks to add to my blended family survival guide (fresh outlook, changed perspective, growth, peace). Initially after a divorce, Christmas can be kind of sad, especially if it’s your first Christmas without your kids at home. It can be a little too quite, you may notice fewer stockings on the fireplace or that there are less presents under the tree. But fast forward a few years and you’ll find your groove. That just may be the key to blended family holiday bliss. Finding your own groove.

Since I’ve remarried, Hubs and I now plan family activities on the Christmas breaks when his kiddos are here and we try to travel or take a staycation on the years they are away and then enjoy our break with them over New Years. For me, I’ve found that having something to look forward to helps tremendously. Having a week of family time and then a week of vacation time has been a great perk.

This year, it was our year to have Hubs’ kids for Christmas, so we planned the family fun events this year around that. We went to the movies, baked cookies, had dinner in the formal dining room (all fancy smanchy ya know), played cards, and watched more Hallmark Christmas movies than we could count. Weather permitting, we will also get to go to Holiday at the Park at Six Flags.

On the flip side, I did still notice the “odd parts” of blended family life but they just didn’t frustrate me the way they used to when it was fresh. For example, this year while my 17 year old stepdaughter was with us, her Mom and Stepdad were texting and calling her about the gifts they got her, how one was so big it wouldn’t fit in her stocking (I said then it’s not a stocking stuffer and they should wrap it and the 17 yr old agreed), and saying things to make her miss being with them so the kiddo was talking about how excited she was to get back home to have Christmas. Was that really necessary? We don’t do that with the boys and wouldn’t do that. We truly believe that the kids should enjoy their time with both sets of parents and we don’t embrace the competition game. The kids may try to make their other parent jealous for their benefit, but that’s another blog altogether LOL.  On our side, we feel that the more people that love and support the kids, the better. We embrace it. A few years ago games from the Ex like that would ruin my day but as I’ve grown and as the kids have gotten older, things like that – though still annoying and rude – don’t carry much weight anymore. Annoying for a moment does not equal annoying for the whole day or vacation. It’s not a competition. It’s not a sprint. It’s a journey. It’s a marathon.

On my side, my bio kids have a HUGE family network on their Dad’s side of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, long-standing family traditions, etc.) where at my house it’s just me and hubs and in odd years his 3 kiddos are also here. My kids stop by and give a hug, exchange gifts, say hi, but they really cannot wait to get to their Dad’s side of the family for their large Christmas celebration there and that’s where they have “real Christmas”. Years ago, that would really sting. But, the longer time goes by and the older I get, the older my kids get, the more I am HAPPY that my kids have family and support and love rather than me being sad because I don’t. It’s not a competition. It’s not a sprint. It’s a journey. It’s a marathon.

Though nothing much has changed as far as our situations, my perspective has changed and I’ll take it!  I’m just thankful that everyone is safe, whole, happy and healthy.

Merry Christmas to all of you single, divorced, widowed, remarried and blended families out there. It may never be easy but it can still be very merry and enjoyable.

Hugs to each of you.

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The Money … My View #golddigger #pityparty

I’ve heard so many rumors about things Baby Mama has said to people over the past 8-9 years in order to get people to (1) feel sorry for her and (2) give her money. Attention, pity, sympathy, playing the victim… it’s all part of her game and it definitely gives her the results that she wants. Innocent and kind people are still falling for it and giving her money “for the kids” along with the pity, sympathy, prayer, attention and so forth that she so desperately craves. Ok, that’s fine. BUT, please don’t judge my husband or myself for Baby Mama’s decisions, inability to handle money, refusal to work, and failure to spend the money she is given on the kid(s). Her choices in how she earns and spends her money is up to her and her alone and is NOT my or my husband’s fault. Sometimes, with some people, you can never give them enough or do enough and we have found that to be the case with Baby Mama. Over and over and over and over again including this past weekend.

Someone at Baby Mama’s church asked the boys recently if they have what they need at their Dads house – our house – and they said yes. Why would they ask that? Because at church they are treated like a charity case which embarrasses them. They’ve been treated like a charity case by Baby Mama for over 9 years now regardless of her income level. Just this past weekend someone from Baby Mama’s church gave the kids $50 each as Christmas money. But the kids complained that their mom made them use it to buy a shirt for the Christmas program and to buy their own lunch at Arby’s or Wendy’s after church. Curious church person, please give me a minute to explain to you from my perspective why we just don’t feel sorry for her anymore.

First of all, before I even get started, let me tell you that Hubs has given Baby Mama over $45,600 in cash alone since their separation in 2009 including $5,000 this year, and he is the one who has had full custody of 2 of their 3 children since June 2011 (and had all 3 kids June 2011-June 2012). When Hubs agreed that Child 1 could go back and live with her Mom (she was over 12 and really missed mom so he allowed for her to go back – which he regrets and has been a nightmare), neither party was ordered to pay child support because the Child Support Calculator showed that Mom would have owed HIM child support since she had 2 kids to pay support on over a longer period of time. They went back to court again in 2014 or 2015 and again the court found there was no reason to have Dad pay child support to Mom  because each parent was to support the child(ren) in their care and split the medical bills 50/50. Despite the court making that decision, Hubs volunteered as part of an AGREED settlement plan to pay $400 per month to the Mom on behalf of the child. (If you’re hearing crazy stories about how we just “took” the kids, go read the public open court records for yourself. She told Hubs she did the best she could and GAVE him the kids out in the hallway prior to the hearing ever even taking place and she signed an agreed order giving him back the kids. There was no “taking” them. Heck when she left him and filed for divorce she left the kids with him and didn’t get them back until she presented her lying sob story to the Judge).

With the $400 a month Hubs voluntary gave to Baby Mama, she never said thank you, never seemed grateful, and only continued to complain about Hubs. She promised to use the money on the child and swore the child would have so much more opportunity if he would just “help out more” financially. However, as soon as she got that $400, she went and bought HERSELF a BRAND NEW CAR (I only buy used cars but ok). And guess what, the child did not get anything, is 17 years old and has not even been enrolled in driver’s ed, and the child’s personal expenses have been covered on her own with money from the kids part time job. The school records even showed recently that Mom didn’t pay the child’s $10 art fee for school. The 17 year old has said that her mom won’t take her for a professional haircut so she wants to save money to get her hair done herself. Strangely enough, the mom has the money to get her own hair done. Coincidence? I think not. (In the past we would have taken the child to get her hair done ourselves but that created even more expectations and the “ask your Dad to do it” card got played more and more and more and it had to stop.) Hubs gives Baby Mama way more than enough money to care for the kiddo, she just won’t use it on the kid(s) because she has her own life to afford and supports herself with the money.

The reality is that you cannot change someone’s heart and make them VALUE a child. Whether Baby Mama’s bank account had $500 per week or $1,000 per week deposited, it has not been spent on the kids. When she received $300 per week in child support (yes, $1,250 per month) in addition to earning $400-$600 per week at her full time job, she kept all of the money from all sources and DID NOT buy the kids the things they needed. We have emails from her begging for help for school supplies because her $1000 per week income was just “not enough” (and her car was paid off at the time and the bankruptcy had consolidated her debt so I’m not sure how she didn’t have the money. She actually made MORE than Hubs did after getting support but still treated him like a loser). She paid her rent, but that’s where it ended. The kids had a place to sleep but that was all. She would not buy the kids clothes, backpacks, or school lunches. She told the school that she was a single parent that did not receive child support so that she could get the kids on free meals at school where they were all 3 required to eat breakfast and lunch daily. Yes, that is illegal. Yes, that is welfare fraud. Yes, the fraud was reported to the school and Baby Mama was caught. But they did not press charges and so her fraud continued. She told the church that she just needed some extra help as a “single mom” and they too gave her gift cards as if she was a charity case. All while having about $1,000 per week in her bank account. Not to mention the kids had warts, were failing school, their teeth were decaying. I guess homework and dental floss weren’t in the budget either. I’m not sure. And don’t even get me started about the lice infestation she couldn’t get under control.

Her income. Her work ethic. Let’s talk about that for a moment. In the 8 years I’ve known Hubs, Baby Mama has had at least 12-15 different jobs in various cities. She’s lived in 4 different cities in DFW so far, each time changing jobs time and time again. She lost her one steady job at the bank after getting into our bank records without legal consent in 2013 or 2014 (oh yes, no wonder she kept talking about how much money Stepmom made), and then went through 5 jobs in less than 18 months trying to find “something” that would work for her. The year all 3 kids lived with Hubs full time, Baby Mama could have taken the opportunity to do whatever she wanted to career wise or school wise, but chose to do nothing different. Then there was her worker’s comp claim. Then her car wreck claim. And her new marriage in October 2016. After she got married she decided not to go back to work at all (shocker LOL….) and she started taking online college classes which I’ll discuss again in a minute. She lives off of her current husband, her ex husband, and I guess whatever church support she can get. Her new husband has no idea what’s about to happen to his finances. I actually feel a bit of compassion for the guy. Self improvement is great. College is great. But with only 1 child at home who is 17 years old and a senior in high school, I don’t see how or why Baby Mama is not able to work at least part time. And why not work full time and wait one more year to go to college to help the child in her care finish strong? Ya know, put the kid first for a change? The other 2 kids live with us full time and we both work and pay for everything for them, her 3 stepchildren live with their mom full time and I’ve heard they don’t even stay the night with them so they aren’t part of her financial responsibility as far as food and clothes go. Yet still, Baby Mama will not get and keep even a part time job and she’s been delinquent on her half of the kids medical bills for over a year now.

Her spending. That’s a BIG issue. Some how some way, Baby Mama has managed to fly out of state to visit relatives, travel to the Beach, get her nails done, get her hair done, buy herself new clothes, buy herself new shoes, buy herself brand new phones, buy herself a brand new car, pay for a wedding, go out to eat weekly if not more often than that for herself, but she “just can’t” buy her kids the small things they need when they need it at her house even if it only costs $10-$20 though she gets child support and promised to use it on the child (but didn’t). And for college, she’s enrolled in an extremely expensive private Christian school. Hopefully it’s on a grant or scholarship, but probably not. Not in full anyway. Hubs and I got our degrees at community college for about $500 per semester. My adult kids attend community college. But Baby Mama is going to ORU which is insanely expensive and she’s pursuing a degree that can’t even really be used anyway. She’s going to need at least a masters or doctorate to even be employable. But that goes back to her “spending” issue (which somehow will be Hubs fault too I’m sure LOL).

I know written blogs don’t show voice tone but truly I am laughing. I’m just tired of hearing the lies and one sided stories. There is ALWAYS two sides to every story y’all and it is about time that you heard our perspective because I’ve been watching this pity party for 8 years. Also, facts are facts and for what I’ve said in this blog, we have attorney general records, school records, cancelled checks, certified court documents, police records from the frauds, her deposition transcript, letters from our bank, and plenty of other supporting documents scanned into our computer to verify our facts. Meanwhile, Baby Mama only has the false story she tells to people to gain their pity, attention, pretend that she is a victim, and gets people to give her money and assistance and feel sorry for her “for the kids”.

Baby Mama, I give up trying to get you to stop complaining about my Husband but please know this, this blog is so the people you trash him to will at least have the opportunity to see your situation from another perspective. So they can see the truth.

Hopefully one day YOU will see the truth too, stop talking smack about my man, and may even tell him THANK YOU for helping you and all of the kids as much as he has. He has done so much for those kids and for you even and you’re still not satisfied. Nothing he has ever done has been enough for you. Never has been. Probably never will be.

5 years to go. We’ve got this ☕️<<<<<<<

P.S. about one month after this blog was published she finally paid for the 17 year old to get a cut. Miracles happen. Or maybe she finally read this blog.

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