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To ask my DC stepmother to pay for their extra curricular activities?

(478 Posts)
secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 14:10:24

Backstory:Ex-DP and I broke up 7 years ago, he left for another woman, we already had two DC - DD1 now 10 and DS now 8. After being splitting up I found out I was pregnant with DD2, but ex decided to stay with other woman and they were married 2 weeks before I gave birth. 6 weeks after I had DD2, OW discovers she is pregnant and gives birth to twin boys, so EX now has three DC who are 6 years old, as well as OW already having a DD who is only a month younger than my DD1.

Well that was an info spill; now onto the real issue:

My DC stepmother not only has a high paying job but when her first DH died he left her a very considerable amount of money and because of this, as far as I'm aware, her and EX keep separate finances, both contributing a percentage of their wage into a house hold account and then whatever is leftover is their own to spend on what they see fit (I know this seems like a ridiculous amount of information to know about EX finances but how I know will become apparent in a minute) Ex is a firefighter and earns a pretty average wage.

SM spoils her DC (Her and Ex have had a further three DD's), they have the best of everything - toys,clothes, electronics activities. Her eldest two DD's are both in competitive dance and own multiple ponies that they compete with , something my DD's would love to do but will never get the chance as I can't afford it.

My DC spend every fortnight, Friday evening through to Monday morning, at their fathers and most weekends follow are the same; SM and her daughters go off to a dance competition or horse show, while EX takes DTS to whatever activities they are doing that weekend, all fine and dandy, except neither me or ex can afford for them to do these activities, so my children just have to go and watch their brothers angry This is how they spend almost every weekend with their father!

Naturally this has caused more then a few fights between me and ex, as I think it's cruel to get my DC up every Saturday morning to go watch their siblings do all these fun activities knowing that they would never be able to do them. Ex has said he would pay half if I payed half, as this is what He and OW do,because it's not fair on his wife and other DC if he pays the full lot for our DC. He doesn't seem to understand that I earn a low wage and cannot afford to even pay half.

This is especially hard as the children are all such similar ages.

EX does take them all to soft play, wave pool and movies ect after, which is fully paid for out of his own pocket after ( I know, what a saint), but that doesn't make up for the fact his children have been forced to sit around all morning watching their brothers have fun.

It just seems my children will forever be getting the blunt end of the stick because their father and stepmother have decided to have separate finances.

So, would I be unreasonable to ask their step mother to either fund or give permission to EX to fund these activities? After all it is because of her financial situation that my children have to miss out, as she has made it clear to ex that she expects him to split everything evenly between all his children, and spend no more or no less on our children then he does on theirs, and she could afford it or would that just make me bitter, jealous cow? How should I go on from here?

secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 15:19:42

cakebar From what I understand twins are trying out ranges of activities and tend to do one for a month or so and then move on, which in theory is fine, their 6 years old, but I don't think it's fair that my children have to suffer for this to happen.

Viviennemary There are 9 children - 3 mine, 5 theirs, 1 hers - They also have DH nephew who spends the week with them then the weekend with his father in London, so he doesn't count here. Strangly, SM is a model mother figure towards him.

bamboostalks Sun 13-Jan-13 15:22:54

Well what are you going to do about this appalling behaviour? You need to be focused on your dc here. It all sounds manic, easy for them to be overlooked. I mean we're talking about 10 children's needs here.

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:23:46

Secretagent have you considered my idea?

WeeWeeWeeAllTheWayHome Sun 13-Jan-13 15:23:57

I'm probably being slow, but what was the reason that he gave for not wanting to do something different with your DC whilst the twins were with their DM?

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Sun 13-Jan-13 15:25:57

wtf? How would it hurt their mouths? Ponies at riding schools manage to be ridden by god knows how many different children!

While I don't agree with excluding your dc from activities I do understand just how different a competition ponies mouth is to a bog standard riding school pony. Yank mine in the gob and he'll have you off, so I wouldn't want mine ridden by someone who didn't know what they were doing. <- SM may be thinking of your dc's safety as well as the fact that horses are easily ruined and very expensive wink I do also own a rather lovely bog standard ex riding school plod who is teaching my friends dc to ride

SantasENormaSnob Sun 13-Jan-13 15:28:35

The ponies having soft mouths is a valid issue tbh.

secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 15:32:21

allnewtaketwo There are court orders in place.

WeeWeeWeeAllTheWayHome One twin has some kind of mental thing going on where he cannot speak to or around people outside their immediate family, and only whispers to a few other selected people. He will speak around my DC but will only actually speak to DD2, not my other two. Which in its self is also a poor excuse in my opinion as he can sign and other twin understands him and can speak perfectly fine.

thegreylady Sun 13-Jan-13 15:32:23

I think the problem is time not money.There is no reason why your ex cant do something else with the twins while the sm does what she does with the other children.They should not have to watch their steps doing things they cant join in.
I am a stepmum and my dd had a pony-dsd said she had always wanted a pony so we offered to get one on loan to see if she enjoyed it and if she did to buy one for her.
She hated it when she tried but the offer was there.When you marry someone there shouldn't be your kids and their kids just our kids-all of them.

bamboostalks Sun 13-Jan-13 15:33:08

Yes am sure pony mouths is valid but it's not THE issue here. Forget about the animals and focus on these kids being treated like second class offspring.

Well, I expected to say YABU, but thinking about it I was a bit concerned by " she has made it clear to ex that she expects him to split everything evenly between all his children, and spend no more or no less on our children then he does on theirs".

A few points on that :

Firstly, if the Ex-DP is paying half of the current activities of his twin boys, that must come to a fair amount by the sound of it. He then takes them ALL to, for example, the cinema. So the twins are having his money spent on them AGAIN, to the same amount as he is spending on OP's DC - so when (if ever), does he spend the same amount of money he spent on the twins activities, on his first three children? Something tells me he doesn't, so he's probably not spending equally on each of his children, as per his wife's demands.

Secondly, consider an imagined scenario - she wants her twin boys to do a very, very expensive activity which she can afford to pay half of, but he can't. Would she tell her twins that they couldn't do it? Or would she pay the whole cost? I'd hazard a guess that she'd pay the whole cost, just as she presumably does for her older DDs. But, she is happy to insist that he cannot act similarly.

Thirdly, the 'no more no less' might seem fair on the surface, but it's not actually fair in practice. Because she can match what he spends on the twins, doubling the money; and presumably knows the OP can't afford to do the same. She must be able to see that, in a child's eyes, daddy gives his twin boys lots more than he gives me, so he must love them more than me. Or maybe that's the plan; rub the kids noses in it until they tell OP that actually they don't want to go see daddy this weekend, and then she doesn't have to have these pesky reminders hanging around her house. So much for blended families, huh?

Lastly, the way they run their finances - why does she have any say in how he spends what they have both agreed is his personal money? Ring-fencing her money as hers means his is ring-fenced as his, and she has no more say in how he spends it than he has on how she spends hers.

So although I don't agree that the stepmother should pay for OP's DC's activities whilst visiting their father, I do think the father should grow some balls and treat his children better, by putting his hand into his pocket a little deeper for his first family.

lljkk Netherlands Sun 13-Jan-13 15:34:42

I don't understand why the OP's children are being hauled along at all to the dance/pony competitions. If they aren't participating in (fun activities) then why are they there? Why doesn't the ex-H do something else with them, go to the park or whatever? So that's how I would put my foot down. Someone else drops off the twins/step-sis at their clubs and the OP's ex-H does something fun with his kids, like play cards or computer games, whatever. Get back together for meals and stuff that everyone will be doing together. This is how big families function; today I have one in the city doing his thing, 2 at swimming with dad & one at home pottering on poota.

WeeWeeWeeAllTheWayHome Sun 13-Jan-13 15:35:42

Does he have selective mutism? It is a real condition (which most children grow out of) but I can't see why exDP needs to be there. I've worked with children with selective mutism who won't utter a word to anyone in the building but have managed to still communicate their needs just fine (youngest was 2).

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 15:37:40

Nothing I know ponies can have soft mouths,I used to have one. I just meant,how as in...surely they would be taught how to handle the pony not just chucked on the back of one and sent on their way .

I need to remember to use all the words important to a sentence sometimes! For someone who is quite articulate in real life I can be the complete opposite on here grin

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:37:45

She very possinlt perceives that the OP can pay half though. I doubt ALL these activities are prohibitively expensive, given they vary every month.

OP do you children do no weekend activities at all?

Arisbottle Sun 13-Jan-13 15:38:25

As a stepmother I could not stand back and allow my biological children to have a better standard if living than my stepson. However I am not the kind to stepmother who steals other women's husbands and then marries them whilst the first wife is pregnant. I also do not get myself pregnant if that means I cannot give all of my children the same, and that includes my stepson.

However your ex is more to blame than she is, he had the affair, he then left your pregnancy and then got another woman pregnant and allowed them to get into this hurtful situation.

Although as a stepmother in this situation I would pay up, the onus is in your ex.

lljkk Netherlands Sun 13-Jan-13 15:38:39

Okay, I'm making more sense of OP's posts, now.

Selective Mutism, that's the odd thing the twin has, and yes he will have to learn to cope. I know quite a few kids with it and they get left at clubs by themselves from age 8 or so. 6yo might be a bit young, but as OP points out, the other twin can help.

Why can't the SM do all the chauffeuring, is it to do with hauling a pony trailer or travelling too far in wrong direction?

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:39:09

I think the way you described one of the twins as having some "mental thing" is awful by the way

Arisbottle Sun 13-Jan-13 15:40:32

IMO the father and stepmother need to realise that they have a financial and emotional responsibility to all 9 (?) children and if they all can't have it, that will usually mean that none of the can.

JumpingJackSprat Sun 13-Jan-13 15:44:25

i cant get over the fact that you think she should pay for your kids to do activities just because you cant afford to meet your DP halfway? why should the twins have to miss out on their weekend activities? i think you either need to find half the money for them to join in or suck it up.

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Sun 13-Jan-13 15:44:34

Still think it would be unreasonable to expect SM to pay for you dc, you could ask your ex if SM would mind putting money towards an activity that all the dc could do together.

I'm not a SM but wouldn't think it fair to make my hypothetical sdc sit and watch ds doing an activity - Fair enough if I/GPs couldn't take him so DH had to or if the sdc had tried it and didn't like it and then did something inclusive after...

Do your dc do any activities?

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Sun 13-Jan-13 15:47:49

*Nothing I know ponies can have soft mouths,I used to have one. I just meant,how as in...surely they would be taught how to handle the pony not just chucked on the back of one and sent on their way .

I need to remember to use all the words important to a sentence sometimes! For someone who is quite articulate in real life I can be the complete opposite on here*

LOL I was just chucked on the back of mine and told to get on with it, if you do ok you can have lessons grin but some people really don't understand that sort of thing

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Sun 13-Jan-13 15:48:12

* Not sure why that didn't bold?

Arisbottle Sun 13-Jan-13 15:49:53

jumpingjacksprat why should one set of her OP's children have more than another.

This is especially bad as the children getting the least are the children he the ex decided to forget about when he was shagging someone else.

Frikadellen Sun 13-Jan-13 15:53:39

OP

I suggest you ask for some mediation on this with your x likely his wife and yourself involved

I am reminded of the saying " treating your children equally does not mean treating them the same" However in this case your x is neither treating your children equally or the same.

IMO you need to state your concerned about your childrens welfare. I would also ask if it would be acceptable after your x has taken the twins to their activity if he was to take your children to an activity that the twins would not take part of but had to watch. (after all he is expected to spend equal on all his children)

I do think you have a point in the equality Imo the simple way around this is that on the weekends your children are with your x his twins do not attend their activities. . (likely will not be acceptable - but this may be the way around her agreeing to pay full for her children if dh pays full for the ones he has with you) However I think you need to stress the importance from your point of view for your childrens welfare. This is not taken into consideration here.

As for the private school etc can you look into bursaries etc but also simply state to your children that you are unable to afford it but step sister/ half siblings mother is. They wont love you any less for being honest with them.

For what it is worth having grown up with a step mother similar to this. (one darling daughter who could do nothing wrong and was spoilt beyond sense my full blood brother who lived with my dad and step mother permitted to do any sport/music/activity he wished and myself who was sooo like my mother that I was just an eyesore and could not be trusted nor should I have a room to live in (despite her dd having a sspecially decorated room for her - she was with them every 2nd weekend) I grew up resenting her and my relationship with my father suffered badly..

lljkk Netherlands Sun 13-Jan-13 15:53:48

I doubt selective mutism hasn't been explained properly to OP. It is a kind of mental/emotional rather than physical impairment.

SM is a swine, I have a lot of sympathy for parents trying to figure out how to manage it.

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