I have often wondered whether my husband has in fact, ignorantly or intentionally, contributed to the situation that I find myself, in keeping myself and his ex wife apart. During the time she dropped their daughter to our home, I would sit in the lounge and wait for my husband while he disappeared outside to discuss any issues or concerns that may have occurred during the week. I couldn't hear the conversation, if any, so this would exclude me from any arrangements or changing of plans should they be made.
I felt I should be considered; after all, this was my weekend too. Now whether my husband's reasons were to protect me or keep me from any potential confrontation I will never know. Rather than being a visible part of her ex husband's new life, I felt unimportant and dismissed so perhaps my husband gave his ex wife an invisible indication in excluding me, he didn't really feel I was important enough to be considered. Maybe is was his self preservation by not allowing his ex wife to think maybe it was now me pulling his strings, which has never been the case.
All I ask is to be considered in any change of plan that may happen, but sadly, this still isn't happening. Parties are being accepted by my husbands ex wife, on our behalf when my stepdaughter is supposed to be with her daddy. This means anything we have planned, would have to be changed. If I questioned where the lack of consideration shown for me, the reply would be that my husband didn't want
it to look like he was running back to the little wife and he was quite capable of making decisions for himself.
Understandable, I accept that, but this isn't just about him. This involves my daughter, myself, his new blended family in addition to the child we have together. But more importantly what about the little time my husband has with his daughter and she her daddy? What continues to frustrate me is any decision that involves my children from my previous marriage, are all discussed with my husband so decisions are made together.
October 2004 we moved into our new home we had purchased together. I had been fortunate to receive a sum of money from the sale of my old home, so we were able to look for a new home substantially larger than the one we were currently squeezed into, and shortly afterwards in the November, we married. My husband still continues to exclude me from the ex wife, my husband, their daughter equation. He drives to his ex wife's home to collect his daughter alone. Due to the upset our respective ex's had been causing, we decided when we moved to start a completely fresh new life, we didn't want either ex spouses anywhere near our home.
We needed it to be a fresh start, untainted from confrontation and almost sanctuary-like. It was our home, not theirs to invade bringing problems and issues to our front door, but apart from all of this, my husband would have control when collecting his daughter. Quite often we would sit twiddling our fingers waiting for the arrival of my stepdaughter while his ex wife was repeatedly late, or wonder, "is she actually coming tonight?" I often passed comment to my husband that the drop off time of 6.30pm was a touch late in the evening for a four-year-old, which incidentally, often crept on till 7pm, so to have to wrestle with her to go to bed at 7.30pm started to become impossible if not unfair for both my stepdaughter and my husband.
To be whisked off to bed the moment she stepped foot through the door instead of spending some time with dad seemed undeserved but I had to consider my daughter who would then open up the debate to stay up later because my stepdaughter had. Just what I needed! Collecting my stepdaughter would also give me the opportunity to become more involved with her. I have suggested I would be more than happy to drop my stepdaughter home on Sunday. There would be no need for me to climb out from the car, as long as I waited until her mummy opened the door and she was safe inside would suffice, perhaps I could even offer her mother a friendly wave!
But there is still absolutely no communication between his ex wife and myself at all. I am expected to be involved with my stepdaughter when she is over the threshold of our front door, but it has been made it perfectly clear that I am not part of the equation, my husband their child and his ex wife.
In a recent conversation with my husbands ex wife, she told him that their daughter was reluctant to spend the weekend with us. My stepdaughter has told her mother that she wants to see daddy; she wants to see my daughter and our daughter, her new sibling, but she doesn't want to see me. Naturally this excludes me even further from my family, but his ex wife has suggested perhaps my husband take my stepdaughter out on her own somewhere nice and make her feel special. We try and spend quality time with the family on a weekend; days out, fun at the park, but it can be exhausting when trying to fill the time with exciting things to do simply because my stepdaughter is present. Sometimes its just nice for my husband to relax and chill out after a stressful week at the office. Apart from this, constant day tripping can deem very expensive for a family of 5!
We have taken the children to Blackpool and played ten-pin-bowling on the pier. The girls have flown in the aeroplanes and built sandcastles on the sand. Now and then a simple walk will be enough, but how many children like to walk? It's an adult pastime. I do get cross when it is expected, especially from my husbands ex wife, to do something exciting every weekend just because my stepdaughter is here. She has passed comment to my husband claiming their daughter has mentioned that daddy doesn't get out of bed on Sunday until 9am! When my husband needs to re charge his batteries, I am happy to take the girls to the local park for an hour, but I'm sure my husband would receive a call reminding him that while his daughter is in his company on weekends, it is his contact time and not mine.
So is this normal family life? I was lucky to have accompanied my parents to the pub and dumped in the beer garden when the weather was nice! Its not always feasible to do something every weekend before ideas are exhausted. But why does she think she is able to suggest this? Why does she feel justified in suggesting to her ex husband that their child only wants to see daddy so he should take her out? What about daddy's new family? What is he expected to do with us while he's off entertaining his daughter, just take a back seat and be done with it? What about our daughter we share together? What happens when she asks where daddy goes every weekend? Is she going to grow up feeling less important? How come my husbands ex wife and her new partner are able to play happy families? Why is everything on her terms?
In hindsight, if I had been given the chance to look into the future, I would have considered very carefully, if not, taken the triple jump and hop, skipped and bounded a mile away before involving myself with someone who has children. Have you heard the saying that love conquers all? Well let me tell you it doesn't. I love my husband very much, I completely adore the man but and as I have said before, love is blind and an interfering ex wife will take its toll on any relationship if you really are not strong enough to accept that your relationship with a man who has a child or children, will be far from normal.
If the ex wife/partner is reasonable and is happy to accept the new hen in the henhouse, then everything should be ok. You can potentially lead a normal happy life. I don’t think my husband’s ex wife has any idea the affect her actions will have on her daughters future.
I constantly feel this whole stepfamily situation is getting way out of control and quickly becoming a farce. Apart from exclusion, the clothing debate is another irritating topic that repeats itself week in week out. My husband asked if, when packing his daughters overnight bag, could she please have appropriate clothing. A t-shirt and party shoes are not suitable when attending a farmyard party while the unpredictable British weather launches rain and changing temperatures of five degrees centigrade. He did call his ex wife to ask if he could perhaps call over the next morning, Sunday, before his daughters party, to pick up a warm jumper and a waterproof coat. His ex wife told him it would not be convenient as she was going shopping first thing 9am that morning. I wonder, what is more important, shopping for the weekly groceries or her daughter warm and suitably dressed for a party?
So here comes the overnight bag, the following weekend, packed with party shoes,
trainers, wet weather coat, Wellington boots, umbrella, jumper and to top it all, a pair of gloves! Now it's the middle of June and the weather has been twenty-four degrees centigrade the last few days subsequent to the previous weekend. Why am I suicidal over a pair of gloves? Why am I distraught at the fact this woman has reacted to my husband's request by going completely over the top? Why can I not see this as utterly laughable? Because I feel that I am the target. In her eyes, I am the woman behind the instigation, who is influencing her ex husband over decisions regarding their daughter. He is all of a sudden, confronting her over issues that he normally wouldn't pass comment on to avert any confrontation with her, simply for the quiet life.
The clothing debate, because this is an instigation of yet another time wasting conversation, has always been a problem for me. I accept that I am not a Donatella Versace, but having my step daughter arrive in a black near floor-length length skirt at the tender age of six, is something I wouldn't have dressed my own child in. In my opinion it's far too old, but I have to accept that my husband’s ex wife will not have the same tastes as me. Unfortunately it becomes another unnecessary issue wondering what she will be wearing on her next visit, instead of accepting if her mother dresses her in a certain way that’s her prerogative. I should allow it to go straight over my head!
On the other hand, to send her in white floral shorts with a large brown stain on the backside, looking like she has soiled herself, to me is also inappropriate, especially when some weekends she is dressed head to toe in John Rocha! So then it begins, minor annoyances become major issues, constantly looking for flaws in her parenting skills that confirm my suspicions. Yes she is completely clueless at motherhood. Heaven help me.
My husband pays an obscene amount of child support, so he does feel justified when asking for his daughter to be suitably dressed. We have bought clothes for her to wear when she is with us, but this reduces the amount of clothing that is packed by her mother and my stepdaughter quickly grows out of the clothes we have and with all the infrequent visits lately, cloths are left hanging in her wardrobe completely unworn. I have in the past, washed and ironed the clothes that my stepdaughter has arrived in, but I have been told via my husband, "my ex wife has requested that you stop washing her daughters clothes thank you." So, at her request, they are packed back into the suitcase my stepdaughter brings with her, and sent home dirty
I purchased my stepdaughter a pair of white sandals as during the summer she would have a pair of trainers to wear which caused her feet to become hot and sweaty, so she was delighted when she could wear cool summer sandals with the pretty dress I had also bought for her. My stepdaughter asked if she could wear them home at which I said of course. I was reluctant to appear petty but sometimes clothes my stepdaughter wore home, took a while to re-surface which again left less choice if she needed to change. She arrived the following weekend without the sandals and I didn't catch sight of them for the next few weeks. When they eventually found their way back to our house, they were handed to me in a scruffy carrier bag. They were ruined, completely covered in mud and dirt with the white polish totally worn away. I had no choice but to throw them away.
Needless to say, not one item of clothing I bought ever ventured to my husbands ex wife. I can never understand what leads some ex wives/partners to play this silly game with clothes, using their children. Sending their children to their ex husbands/partners home in clothes that are too small, t-shirts in winter time, clothes that are worn or broken that should really be in the dustbin. Why do they do this? Is it to get back at their ex's? Why is it the children that are exposed and used as a weapon? It is the children that are being used in this tug of war break-up. Surely these women should be getting on with their lives, or perhaps it is because they have so little or are so resentful they need to get their sick satisfaction from somewhere and the only way to achieve it is through their children in antagonising the other party.
All I can say is to me they are sad individuals who have little or no respect for their own flesh and blood and have no pride in how their children are dressed. What they actually achieve is making themselves appear childish giving the likes of me, a stepmother, the satisfaction of knowing that I really am a better mother because I don't play these games with my children. I am however, unwillingly drawn into this game, having to send my stepdaughter home in the same attire, unwashed or too small, while keeping the small scrap of clothes I buy for her here, otherwise I may never see then in the same state again.
I respect my kids and am proud of how they look. They are my children and I love them but above all of this they are human beings not tools or weapons so in my opinion the parents who play this game have no respect for themselves and even less for their children. Perhaps it is my reaction to this matter that causes a degree of conflict between my husband and myself as I immediately jump on the bandwagon. If my husband’s ex wife desires my stepdaughter to look like an orphan, then it is a reflection on her, not me. I should try to take a step back and if my husband and his daughter’s mother have a dispute over something, whether it is a clothing issue or contact agreement, by not jumping on the bandwagon and involving myself in the situation, I can be a better wife to him rather than him feeling he is constantly in the middle.