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?

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:56:31

OP do your children not do any activities?

secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:05:38

Frikadellen SM wouldn't do mediation, she views it that as long as their being kept alive and fed, her job is done - she is very disengaged, and me and EX already did it before going to court, so I doubt he will go for it again.

They don't have their own rooms there either - EX and SM brought a renovated pub a few years ago, of course only taking in their own childrens needs, they all have their own specially decorated rooms, but when DC go over the girls sleep in the very adult guest room and DS has a choice of ever sleeping in DT1 bed or the bunkbed in DT2 bedroom.

SM DD is the golden child as well, even in EX eyes (which especially hurts as he seems to favor her over DD1, who is the same age) according to them she is the most beautiful, smartest, talented and kindest 10 year old to ever grace the earth

It sucks doesn't it sad

secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:08:19

allnewtaketwo Sorry, I keep meaning to get around to you blush

No they do not. I am on minimum wage, barely keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table, and EX refuses to pay if I don't pay half.

hermioneweasley Sun 13-Jan-13 16:10:20

Yes, it sucks. It doesn't sound like there's a solution because your ex is either spineless or careless, and the OW is a bitch.

All you can be responsible for is your behaviour and what you give your kids. Time, love and attention are more important to kids than any amount of activities.

You can of course point out to your ex that it is crap for his other kids, and he is spending more on his other kids because you can't afford any activities at all.

He sounds like an utter arse.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 13-Jan-13 16:13:22

Of course the SM should not be expected to pay for activities for your children, do you pay for hers to do any? I doubt it.

Whilst its not very nice to be dragged along to a siblings activity, hundreds on here do it and claim its "part of life" but I dont agree with it as its boring watching a sibling do their hobbies if you dont share them.

You and the ex need to sort this out or change access to another day. Perhaps the two of you between you can cover the cost of the activity if you want your children to join in or reduce the maintainance to cover it if its so important.

She seems wise keeping their finances separate if she had an inheritance as the money was meant for her not her new partner. I dont actually see what her earnings have to do with it, she is supporting her own children and with that many would need a good job like she has.

WeeWeeWeeAllTheWayHome Sun 13-Jan-13 16:14:08

I'm assuming (hopefully!) that he does at least pay maintenance?

fuzzywuzzy Sun 13-Jan-13 16:15:47

Can he not spend the same amount he spends on his children with the OW on your children?

Surely if he did that as they have more children 5 by my count, he will be able to pay out for the extra curricular activities for your children as well (and still save some money as he has one less child with you.

Does that make sense?

It is unreasonable expecting the OW to pay for your chidlren tho.

doublecakeplease Sun 13-Jan-13 16:17:04

Could he not use the money he spends after the activity on softplay etc on the activity for your dc?? Then they all get to do it and they could do free stuff in the afternoon?

Haven't read the whole thread - sorry if someone else suggested this too!!

secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:17:18

Yes he does pay maintenance, but it's bare minimum and has only been going down and down with all these kids he's been popping out left right and center.

Arisbottle Sun 13-Jan-13 16:19:44

HappyMummy to be fair to the OP why should she pay for the stepmother's children . she has not helped to destroy one family. The Stepmother has chosen to become part of a wider family , that choice has consequences .

Even if she were not the other woman , by marrying a man who has children she has chosen a life of compromise .

everydayaschoolday Sun 13-Jan-13 16:24:06

I'm a SM. I have 3 lovely (teenage now) DSD who visit some weekends (they have a life now!) and DH and I have 2 little kids. I was not the OW. DH and I have separate finances for now while we earn equitable wages (we pay halfers on joint amenities and bills then the rest or his/my money is our own to do as we please - if he wants to spend it on DSD he's free to do so smile). I recognise my little kids are in a far more comfortable position than DSD, but this is because of my salary in comparison to DSDs DM. However, on 'kids weekends', we do stuff as a family and everyone is involved - DH and I share the cost. I'm thinking of starting swimming lessons for little kids, and if DSDs were younger, I'd prod DH for funds for DSDs to join swimming lessons (if they wanted) or just to go swimming. Nowadays, I think they'd prefer to have the quality time with their dad while we're at lessons. I couldn't bring them along to watch and feel left out. I agree with most other posters that it's not SM place to fund just because she has the money, but I'd be prodding your ExH (his responsibility) to find a better more inclusive solution ie him funding it or doing something else with them in that time. Your children are not at a disadvantage because ExH and SM have separate finances, your children are at a disadvantage because your ExH and SM are making a poor choice to have your kids 'sit and watch' every weekend.

Grapesoda Sun 13-Jan-13 16:28:16

I would like to think that in sm's position i would pay towards these
Activities. I mean, would a sm feed her own dc one meal and serve a cheaper alternative to her dc? shock But you can't expect her to and it sounds like it aint gonna happen.
I do feel for you. It must feel horrible.
It sounds like sm has compartmentalised hers and her dc's lives to be separate from your dc (and your ex). Imho he should take them to do something else when they visit. The current arrangement sounds lazy and thoughtless at best.

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 16:31:51

If your on min wage don't you get tax credits. With CB and maintenance on top, can you really not even afford to pay half for swimming lessons or something?

ajandjjmum Sun 13-Jan-13 16:43:58

Have your DC had much to say about this OP?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 13-Jan-13 16:44:37

allnew I'm guessing that paying for 3 kids' activities while (I assume) being a lone parent on minimum wages is pretty impossible. I've only got 1 and know for a fact I couldn't afford to pay for more than that, and I'm not on min wage but still get some tax credits too.

Grapesoda Sun 13-Jan-13 16:45:03

Whether or not the op can afford swimming lessons is not really the point though is it? Having to spend their time with their father watching step sibs take part in expensive hobbies, which they are not able to join in with is not fair on them.

newNN Sun 13-Jan-13 16:50:48

I think that if you are the OW and instrumental in breaking up a family, then you have a moral obligation to ensure that life is as nice as possible for the dc from the marriage you helped to break up.

However, the sort of woman who will shag someone else's husband (esp when that someone else is pregnant) is unlikely to feel any moral responsibility for anything. OP, you would be banging your head against a brick wall to even try.

Your spineless ex is the real problem here - he and OW have popped out a bunch of kids, without him thinking/caring about how he is to afford to treat them all the same. If I've read this right, he has eight dc?

I would refuse to allow my dc to visit until the twins have finished their activity and also talk to him about how he is spending less on the children he has with you, that with the dc he has with skanky wife

Arisbottle Sun 13-Jan-13 16:58:45

I agree NewNN, if I were in this situation I would just move away with the intention of stopping access.

probably the wrong thing to do, but I would best bloody angry.

secretagent007 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:03:13

ajandjjmum DD1 gets angry at me sad She is very jealous of SM DD and wants everything she has; her bedroom, her clothes, her hair (she thinks SMDD is prettier then she is) She would love to take the dance and art classes she takes and would kill for a pony. SMDD has three, and she gets to ride them every now and then, but it's not the same. SM is very much the fun, artistic mum every girl wants; she watches Disney movies, paints pictures on the wall in nail polish and all that jazz. Unfortunately neither her or her DD are that interested in my DD, and I am just not that cool mum and that hurts DD. sad

DS is the least effected as EX seems to spend sometime with him, teaching him how to ride motorcycles and all that, and occasionally takes him out surfing, just the two of them.

DD2 and twins spend their time fighting for attention, twins usually win out as mummy adores them and in public they are novelty (identical)

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Sun 13-Jan-13 17:03:56

I don't think it is reasonable that SM should have to pay for your kids, but I do think it is entirely reasonable that their father should put his foot down that all his kids have the same opportunities available and that if he can't afford for one of his kids to do something then the others shouldn't get it.

However, good luck getting them to agree to this, it is up to them to decide how to parent in their time, not you. It sucks and your kids loose out.

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 17:08:04

The thing is, all these suggestions about what the SM or the father should do, none of that is ditching the OPs control. The fact that they've been to mediation before yet access is court ordered, suggests she won't get far negotiating with him over activities.

Hence my suggestions, either access from Sat lunch, or else OP goes half for something chespish like swimming lessons. The OP needs to think of solutions within her sphere of influence

JumpingJackSprat Sun 13-Jan-13 17:08:16

regardless of the circumstances around the marriage break up she has no obligation whatsoever to spend her money on your children. i choose to spend my money on days out, clothes, toys etc for my DSS but that is totally my choice. no i was not the OW in my relationship before someone comes out with that old MN chestnut.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 13-Jan-13 17:09:04

she has money so she can pay for your children's ex-curric activities?
what planet do you live on?
outrageous! i suppose she should buy you a new dress and shoes, and pay for you to have your hair done and a night out, while she's at it? after all, her late husband left her money, you must be entitled to it!

breathing deeply.

asking if your dp can pay is totally reasonable. ask him, not her. if their household is awash with money, he might not mind paying. give it a go.

but don't think your children are entitled to money left to a woman by her late husband. or to money that she earns. that's going too far.

parttimer79 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:09:17

I'm rather gobsmacked by this. I would agree with those who said that your DCs dad should be making sure a saturday morning activity is one all the DCs in his care can do - hwo many activities do 6 year olds really need to try out??

My DP has 2 DCs (5 and 3) and we have a baby on the way. Before doing this we sat down and talked about how we can make sure all the DCs feel equally loved and provided for. We make sure we have a house big enough that they can have their own rooms here even though their DM is going for a child-led approach and won't let them stay over until they ask to (contact has been weird, totally another thread).

Whilst I hate the "you know what you were getting into attitude" to partners with children from a previous relationship on here , I do feel that you need to consider that when you get into this kind of relationship you are becoming part of a wider family, all of who have their needs to be taken into account.

You exH needs to be working with you to find a solution to this.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Sun 13-Jan-13 17:10:25

Her finances are nothing to do with you, so you are being unreasonable to ask HER to pay. What she pays for her DC is again none of your business.

I appreciate that they both contribute towards their household, but it should be your EX paying extra not her funding it for him.

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