1:1 Time

step family, blended family, stepdaughter, stepmom, step mother, parenting
Invest your time with your stepdaughter.  Meaning go out and do things with her 1:1. But only do it if she’s already doing 1:1 things with her father.  It’s important that 1:1 time is spent with her father first on occasion before you do 1:1 things with her. I started spending time with my stepdaughter 1:1 here and there. I didn’t do it a lot but when I did I saw little changes in the way she would act towards me.  I felt the trust was building up between the two of us.  Do things with her that interest her or try something new with her.  Here’s what I did one day, we went out together and got our nails done together.  Then one time we went shopping together at the mall and got lunch together. I even took her out once to get a card for her Mom’s birthday. We even went shopping for Christmas or Birthday presents for her Dad.  There were a lot of occasions where she helped me cook dinner and learned how to cook something that was a family recipe or we did a lot of baking together which I truly believe she enjoyed doing too.  Almost every time I left the house to the store for something she asked to go with me, which was very nice, I really enjoyed our time together even if it was just running errands together.  There were a lot of times that she would come over on her nonscheduled time to help decorate or organize an event that I am hosting too.  I don’t know how she was able to come over, but she managed to have her mother agree to it.  The best thing is when she would open up to me and tell me things that were going on in her life with her Mom and her side of the family.  There were times I felt so close to her, that she would let me in more in her life.  Then there were times I felt her pull away from me too.  I think she would pull away because of her mother and felt guilty because she was enjoying time with me.  Even one time when we were out and about, a lady told us we looked alike, which was such an awesome compliment.  We even had girls’ days where my stepdaughter and my two daughters would spend the day together doing something fun like shopping at the mall and then would go out to lunch together while my husband spent 1:1 time with my stepson.  I think she will always remember those times and have some good memories. 
Do you do things 1:1 with your stepchildren? If so, what places have you gone with them?

Photo Drama Anyone?

photo drama, blended families, step parenting, step mom, step mother

Just recently, my husband got an interesting text from my step daughter asking him to remove a picture off of a website.  He didn’t understand what she was referring to, so he called her and she said she wanted the family photo with her in it taken off of my business website.  A little background about my business, I run a licensed daycare in my home and I have a daycare website that has an “about us” page on it and on that page there is a family photo of all of us that has been on the website for at least 3 years now.  So now getting back to the phone call… she said she is 18 years old and doesn’t give us permission to have that photo on the website and wants it taken down. He then asked her why she wants it taken down and all she said was that she had her reasons. He then asked what those reasons are and she said she wouldn’t tell them to him. He told her no and that the picture stays on there and there is nothing wrong with the family picture.  She hung up on him. He then called the ex-wife and told her about this conversation he had with their daughter and all she did was listen to everything he said and then said Okay, which surprised him because usually she has a lot more to say to him when it comes to drama.  So then shortly after he got off the phone with the ex-wife, he gets this nasty threatening voicemail message from the step daughter’s cousin (whom she is living with right now in Florida) which said to take down the photo and call him back or else, then telling him that he hasn’t talked to his daughter since she has moved there (which it has been a month). Which is not true, he has been in contact with her since she moved there and we have the text messages to prove it.  Then he gets a nasty text message from the ex-wife calling him the “A” word and telling him to take the photo down.  All of this took place when I was out grocery shopping and at my daughter, Megan’s cheer practice. When I got home and he told me all of this, I advised him not to respond and to just let it go. Then the next day he receives an email from the ex-wife saying she blocked his phone number from my step daughters phone and he can no longer call or text her anymore and that if he wants to contact her, he has to go through her first. 

So that’s why I don’t have a family photo of all of the children on this blog. Just want to protect me from any further unwanted drama.  Me and my husband thought that once my step daughter moved to Florida for college that the drama would stop because she is no longer under the influence of her mother, but it didn’t end, unfortunately, it’s just a continuation of more to come. And I am sure my step daughter and the ex-wife will figure out a way to blame me for my husband saying no to taking the picture down even though I wasn’t even there when all of this went down.

Tattle Phone

tattle phone, tattling, step family, blended family, step parenting, parenting, step mom

My stepdaughter got her first phone from the ex-wife when she was 11 years old.  The first few years of her having a phone were awful.  Only because any and everytime she was not happy with something we did or said, she would call or text her Mom and let her know.  Then my husband would get a phone with the ex-wife and she would lecture or tell him what to do in order to make my stepdaughter happy again. The first incident was when my stepdaughter didn’t like whatever my daughter’s response was to her, she hit my daughter and then we found out about it and sent her to her room and then of course she tattled to her mother about it and got her involved and, of course, my stepdaughter was never in the wrong for her actions. Over and over things would happen and the ex-wife would call my husband and they would have a huge disagreement on the phone.  Then when he would get off of the phone with her, my stepdaughter would conveniently get out of her room without having to apologize for whatever she did wrong to my daughters.  It was awful for me and a losing battle because I wanted my husband to tell his stepdaughter she wasn’t allowed to bring her phone here anymore. He did tell his ex-wife a few times to stay out of our business, but it was never enough.  
What happens at our house should stay at our house meaning when the kids misbehave, we should be able to discipline them the way we want. We shouldn’t have to console his ex-wife about any bad behavior.  Finally, he put his foot down after another incident and told her she wasn’t allowed to bring her phone over, but then she would sometimes sneak it over the house anyways.  
After a while of the phone calls and such finally it all stopped which I was really grateful for. Eventually, she outgrew the need to call or text her Mother after any little thing. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t against her talking to her mother while she was here at our house but not to be a tattle teller and get jail free card.  My husband’s phone works fine if she were to use it to call and talk to her Mother.  But this wasn’t the case she just only wanted to call her mother to get her out of punishment and it always worked in her favor.  She would even call her to ask her to pick her up and that she wanted to go home and once we did take her home early.  Finally after a while the ex-wife would tell her No to come home early. 

At what age do you think a child should get a cellphoneMy thoughts and views on the age would be between the ages of 13-14 years old. I just feel they are more responsible around that age to handle having their own cell phone especially considering how expensive cell phones are.  I wouldn’t be getting them the latest and most expensive cell phone right off the bat either. Just because I want to make sure they can handle having their own phone and that they don’t lose it, break or crack the phone easily either. At least this is what I plan to do with my daughters when they turn 13 years old.

Vacation Drama

blended family vacations, blended family, step parenting, vacation drama, parenting
The Cabin we stayed at in Gatlinburg

The view from our deck overlooking the Smokey Mountains

We decided to take all of the kids on a week’s vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Everything seemed to go good but then on the second day of vacation I can tell things were starting to go wrong. When we were out looking for souvenirs to take home, my daughter, Grace was getting cranky and fussy about finding something to remember her trip by and everyone noticed it.  I didn’t really pay that much attention but I did notice a little that my stepdaughter keep whispering something to my youngest daughter, Megan and then about 5 minutes later she would do something to Grace that would get her upset.  I didn’t put it all together at the time that my stepdaughter was telling Megan to do things to Grace until later on. Later on when we returned home, I can tell something wasn’t right with the kids, but I just ignored it and went on my way doing things and cooking dinner. Later on, all of the kids were in the hot tub at the cabin we rented. I heard a lot of bickering going on, but nothing sounded alarming so I finished cleaning up from dinner and went to our room and was getting things ready for the next day.  Then all of the sudden my stepdaughter came in from outside saying that Grace is being a Brat.  I heard it and came down the stairs and told her that’s not very nice to call her a Brat and I would appreciate it if she doesn’t call my daughter a Brat. Then she said Brat, Brat, Brat, Brat. I looked at my husband who was just standing there doing nothing and I said to her “You know the only one that is acting like a Brat right now is you”.  Then of course she got mad at me and said: “You’re a terrible mother” and then stormed into her room.  Then my son, AJ said to my husband “I can’t believe you’re going to let her talk to my mother that way, you’re a pu**y, that you can’t stand up to her and get her to stop.” I couldn’t believe what just happened and then all of the kids were there.  Before my husband could say anything to AJ I told him that was totally uncalled for and that he needs to go to his room.  I didn’t know what to do at that point I was in shock that all of this just happened. He went into my step daughter’s room to talk to her and I heard her yelling at him and crying and saying she wanted to go home.  
I went and had a talk with AJ about everything and he told me that my stepdaughter was teasing and doing things all day to Grace and that they were picking on her.  I told him he shouldn’t have said the things he said and should have stayed out of it and he agreed but it just angered him that my stepdaughter would say what she said to me and that I am not a terrible mother.  AJ said he would go and apologize to my husband soon and that he felt horrible about what he said.  Then my husband and I decided to go outside to talk about everything. I apologized for AJ saying that to him and he understood why he did say something because he was only protecting his mother meaning me. Then we were thinking about turning around and going home. I told him to call the ex-wife and see if she could meet him half way to get her that way we don’t have to all leave and go home.  I just told him to call her and tell her everything that happened and see what she says.  Even though it was going to be hard to do and have to listen to her, he did call her.  She told him to let my stepdaughter cool down and then talk with her and tries to calm her down and see if we can work things out. 
In the meantime while he was on the phone with her I started packing my stuff up because I really thought we might end the trip and go home. Grace noticed I was packing and starting crying because she didn’t want to go home yet.  I told her we need to pray that God works everything out so we can stay here and continue our vacation.  Then I went into the bathroom and cried and prayed by myself asking God to come in and fix this whole mess so we can continue our vacation. I went into the bathroom and prayed and cried about all of this. 
My husband came and got me and we went outside to talk again and it turned out my stepdaughter had a change of heart and said she wanted to stay and make things work.  So I was really relieved to hear that and thankful to God because it was him that answered my prayers.  Then all three of us sat down in the living room and I apologized for calling her a Brat and she didn’t say one word to me or apologized for calling me a terrible mother or for calling Grace a Brat.  All she did was cry and hyperventilate.  So then I left and she went in the room for the night. 
The next morning, we left to visit my brother in law’s house which was 2 hours away or so from where we were staying. My stepdaughter was giving me the silent treatment on the whole way there.  She didn’t speak a word at all until we were pulling into their house my girls said they can’t wait to ride the horses that they have.  Then my stepdaughter said you have to ask first, but it was the way she said it was a little snarky. So I responded with of course they will ask first before riding the horses.  Then I was mad all over again which was hard because of just getting to their house.  The whole visit there I was really tense because of everything, it was very hard being there. 
Then the next day we went to a water park and everyone paired up to go on water slides, but no one wanted to be with my stepdaughter, most likely because of what went down the other day.  In one way made me happy that all of the kids were upset with her for the way she treated me and the things she said, but in another way I felt bad.  I told my husband to go and ride slides with her and I will go with my girls and do slides with them.  Then after a while we all came back together to go eat lunch together and then after lunch everyone ran off to go back to the water slides and left my stepdaughter behind and I can tell she was really upset this time because she couldn’t find them at all.  And I could tell she didn’t want to hang out with my husband and me.  Eventually, she found my step son and the two of them went off and did slides and my three kids went and did slides too. Everything was just like walking on eggshells the rest of the time we were there until 2 days before the last day.  Then everything went from walking on eggshells to really bad. 
We went to this outdoor mall for the day and AJ wanted to go to play arcades while the other kids wanted to go into this indoor fun house.  So then afterward AJ had all of these tickets from playing and was going to divide them up evenly amongst all of the kids and he told them all that.  But then the bickering had already started between Grace, step daughter and step son about how my daughter kept disappearing on them in the fun house. Grace came up to me crying saying my stepdaughter was being mean and telling her what to do, so she walked away from them so they would stop being so mean to her. So I was feeling bad for her and starting walking with my kids to the restaurant we were going to be eating at for dinner.  Then AJ said instead of dividing it all up, he was going to give all of his tickets to my one daughter instead of all of the kids.  I told him not to do that, it would be wrong of him to do that after he told all of them what he was going to do with the tickets.  I know why he was saying that only to cheer up my daughter since she was so down and feeling out of place. I told him to wait and we will talk about it some more after dinner.  So then we sat down for dinner and no one wanted to sit next to Grace which made things even worse. It was like they were all against her, all but my older son.  Then it was quiet and I was still angry because of the way my stepdaughter and stepson were treating Grace. My son asked if he could go quickly somewhere with my daughter and said he would be back soon, I didn’t know where he was taking Grace, but I just thought he was going to buy her something somewhere to cheer her up.  I told him to go ahead and that was fine.  So he went off to do that.  When he returned he came back with stuff for both of my daughters but nothing for my stepdaughter or stepson.  Turns out he took her to the arcade to use up the tickets he won, which I didn’t say he could do that because the tickets were supposed to split up between all of the kids, not just my two girls.  Megan (my youngest daughter) started crying because she felt left out because they went without her to get something even though they brought her back something.  Then my stepdaughter spoke up and said it’s so unfair and not right. Then she started going off on me and how terrible I was for excluding them in the prizes and she wouldn’t stop talking so I can get a word in. When I really didn’t know AJ was going to take Grace and spend all of it on her and Megan. Then I told my husband are you going to do something about her, why are you letting her talk to me that way.  Then he asked me to come outside and we went outside to talk and I was very mad, we were yelling at one another outside of the restaurant. It was awful, in the meantime the kids inside were yelling at each other too.  AJ was calling my stepdaughter names and then my stepson told AJ to shut the F up and was defending his sister.  My two girls were crying when we came back inside. It was an awful ordeal.  I ended up taking all of the prizes and throwing them out in the garbage can outside of the restaurant then I had both of my girls crying. I told them all it wasn’t fair to do that and so no one gets anything.  To say the least, the night went really bad. It was so bad that we got up early and left  a day early and both my step daughter and step son were quiet the whole trip home and when we stopped to eat they would sit by themselves away from us.  It was awful and horrible.
One week after we got back they sat down with my husband and their mother (ex-wife) and had a long talk and told my husband they are never coming back to the house or around me ever again. They even said that they were mad at him because they felt that he always takes my side and never their side and that he should put them first instead of me. They agreed to only see my husband every other Saturday from noon to 6:00 pm and it can’t be at our house or around my kids and me.  It’s been a little over a year now and they have only been to the house once to pick up something.  I have seen them a total of four times this past year because of events or holidays that took place.  It’s been very hard on me emotionally and mentally. I miss my step kids a lot and wish we could work everything out, but my step kids, mainly my step daughter always holds grudges and won’t get over what happened on our vacation. She never apologizes for anything she says or does wrong. I really miss our family all being together as one family.  Every time we did something fun this year, I always felt a little sad wishing my step kids were there to have fun with us.  I feel like there’s a big hole in my heart because they are no longer coming over to the house. Every time he gets back from visits with them I ask how they are doing and what’s new with their life, so I can still feel like a part of their life.  I just hope and pray that one day they will look back at this and see that I really only want the best for them and love them a lot. Have you ever had a vacation drama with your step children? Please share your story.

Gifts Taken Back

One weekend my stepdaughter came over with big surprises for my both of my girls they were ages 8 and 9 years old at the time.  I had no idea what she had for them.  Then she brought them out two American Girl Dolls that used to be hers, she was giving one doll each to both of my girls since she outgrew them and didn’t play with them anymore. I was really surprised and even thanked my stepdaughter for giving the dolls to my girls, it was just the kindest thing she has ever done for my girls up at that point. My girls were so excited and so happy and gave her a big hug for the dolls. My stepdaughter even had a bunch of accessories that she also gave to them to have. Then the next kid weekend we had them my girls didn’t do something that my stepdaughter liked and didn’t play the way she wanted them to play with her. She got very mad and called each of them both Brats. Then my husband punished her and sent her to her room. I was in another room at the time when all of this went down.  So I didn’t know what was really going on at the time. Then all of sudden a big loud cries came from my daughters room and then I rushed into their room to see what was going on.  My stepdaughter had come into their room when she was supposed to be in her room for punishment and took both of the dolls and all of the accessories that she could grab out of their room and told the girls they will never get the dolls back and that they are gone for good. My girls were crying so hard. And of course, my husband and I got into it with one another because he didn’t tell my stepdaughter to give the dolls back to my girls. I was really mad at her that she would give the girls dolls and then take them away like that. The fact that my husband would let her get away with taking something she has already given to someone else back because she was mad at them made me furious. She insisted on wanting to go back to her mother’s house, which was totally fine with me since her behavior ruined the rest of the weekend. 
The following year I ended up getting them each a new American Girl Doll for each of their birthdays to make up for the great loss of the ones they used to have. Even after that all happened my girls still loved and adored their stepsister, which I was grateful that I didn’t raise daughters that hold grudges. 
The valuable lesson I taught my girls that weekend was to never take back something you give to someone else only because you’re upset with them. When you give something to someone else it’s theirs to keep, Taking gifts back after you give them is never okay.
Has anyone dealt with this issue with your stepchildren? If so, how did you handle it?

Graduation Ceremony

My stepdaughter recently graduated High School this past June.  I really wanted to be there, in fact, I bought three different sundresses for that special day and I really wanted to be there to celebrate it.  About two months before the big day I was going to buy the tickets for the graduation ceremony, the ex-wife called my husband and told him she does not want me there because she doesn’t want their daughter under any stress and she’s afraid of it really putting her through a lot of stress. When he came home to tell me this, I was so hurt that I cried because I have missed a lot this year with his kids and yet here’s another thing I couldn’t be a part of.  At first I was hurt, but then I got angry and said I have every right to be there and that I was going to go to it anyways and my husband agreed with me.  Then as the weeks came closer I had mixed feelings about it all and felt that if I went that she would make my husband pay for it somehow or another.  After talking to a lot close friends and family about whether I should attend or not. The day before the ceremony I decided that I would not attend.  It was not any easy decision to come to because I hate the fact that I feel like she’s not just the boss of my husband most of the time, but she’s now the boss of me and I hated the fact that I was letting her have that power over me.  I also really hated the fact that no one else on my husband’s side of the family could attend the ceremony which made him going by himself.  Having a child graduate High School can be an emotional day and to have to attend it alone without your spouse being able to be there is very hard and then to have to deal with the ex-wife and her family being able to be there is very hard on top of it.  That’s why it was also hard for me to not go because I really wanted to be there for my husband beside see my step daughter graduate.  
The day of the event all I did was cry at home, feeling so hurt from it all.  As soon as it was over and my husband came home, all he did was hold me and let me cry and he cried with me feeling bad that I couldn’t be there. The other bad thing is that all of the pictures he took didn’t come out; they were all blurry which made things worse. Sometimes I just feel like she still is married to my husband because of all of the control she still has over him.  He rarely argues with her on things which make me mad, but I do see why he does do what she wants, because he’s afraid of her taking him to court and having custody taken away from him, which she has done in the past. Overall, that was a very hard and emotional day for my husband and me.
Have you ever missed an event due to the ex-wife telling you, you can’t attend it? How did you deal with it or handle it?