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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?

Writehand Wed 16-Jan-13 18:59:31

I'm a stepmother. YABU to expect her to pay - it's absolutely nothing to do with her. She has no obligation

BUT, BUT, BUT...

I wouldn't have dreamt of doing this to my DSD. The only way half-siblings are going to grow up with the kind of bond anyone with half a heart hopes for is if they are allowed to share as equals at least sometimes and be treated siblings. In her position I would be very happy to pay if I could afford it. Either that or change the activities so all the DCs could share whatever it was. I would want to encourage them to enjoy themselves together.

I suppose the pony business is pretty impossible - I mean no one could expect her to buy extra ponies - but if she's a nice woman surely she could think of something they could do together? I loved spending money on my DSD because I loved her (well, I grew to love her). This woman doesn't seem to be learning to love your kids, which in my view is a waste.

In the end, though, it's down to your Ex. The current situation sounds very dull & frustrating for your kids. He needs to entertain them separately. If she's not going to offer - which would be the simplest solution - then I can't see he's got any excuse for the poor quality attention he's giving his kids with you. I would've become very bitter and resentful if my Dad had treated me like this. It's like something out of Cinderella.

And isn't that the most important thing - actually spending time with dad/siblings and building the relationship?

I think adults can become too focused on spending money/material things when other activities can be done that don't involve money and which allow the kids to spend time just as happily with their parent that they don't live without feeling they are being ignored in some way financially.

Its the adults that create the financial disagreement not the children.

elizaregina Wed 16-Jan-13 16:55:10

I think its dependant on the child really irish, my DS was alot older than me and was married when I was 9, she had horses - and lovely houses in the countryside and dogs etc, I would always do different activities with her than at home, when i went there during the holidays for one or two weeks at a time, she was younger than my mum, and i cant deny it was more fun at her house....she would also help out my mum with costs occasionally...

but a childs happiness surely isnt soley dependant on horses and fun even? I never yearned to live with my sister or go there more often than I did, I didnt love my mother any less at all, infact I much prefered my mothers personality and well just loved her and missed her when away from her! My life wuoldnt have been bleak had my sister not been older and been able to provide these extras into my life...

However, I did look forward to visiting - it was a nice bonus if you like.

what I mean is - I think ops children can be exposed to this life and not feel like they are missing out on other days of the week. i also dont think them not going to private schoolis an issue unless the adults around them make it one....

HOwevr it happens - ops children neeed to look forward to visiting thier half siblings.

Crinkle77 Wed 16-Jan-13 15:44:42

I don't think it is fair to ask the step mother to pay for your children's activities. If your husband feels strongly enough about it then it is up to him to broach the subject. Can't he take your kids somewhere else while she goes out with the daughters?

irishkitkat Wed 16-Jan-13 15:38:22

I complete agree eliza, it's entirely up to the adults to deal with their feelings and I would hope that in the OPs situation I would be able to deal with it but I honestly don't know if I could.

I think there's also a danger that if the SM were to provide an extravagant lifestyle for the DC three days a fortnight then in the long run the DC would end up more unhappy. I probably haven't worded that well but I'm trying to get at the idea of would it not be worse for the DC to be completely dissatisfied every day in their 'real' life's with their DM than for them to be dissatisfied EOW.

Obviously the simplest solution would be for the DF to 'man up' and spend his time, money and energy on the DC he only sees EOW, when he has them. From what the OP has wrote it doesn't seem likely to happen any time soon.

pigletmania Wed 16-Jan-13 15:12:30

Pink that is shock, some adults are bloody awful!

elizaregina Wed 16-Jan-13 14:31:30

Irish I thought you made a good point of how one would feel - its a shitty situaiton for the op - absoltuy no question, but as pink says

its down to the mum to deal with that - ie spending more money on the children...I am not sure how happy I would be with it -but the bottom line would be my DD being happy I guess?

Ie - its about the children not how the adults feel or who perceives what as what which will always usually be subjective.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Wed 16-Jan-13 12:50:41

Pink, keep on harassing them and get any evidence you can of things they have bought.

I dont know why CSA, dont look at taxes and lifestyle.

Pinkshaman Wed 16-Jan-13 12:04:48

Yes, I've had 2 payments in nearly 2 and a half years through an attachment of earnings. He lost his job and although he has been working since then, he hasn't made any attempt to pay me anything. They are reassessing him though, so I'm ever hopeful!

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 16-Jan-13 11:48:42

Pink. That's awful! sad How could anyone be that stupid that they wouldn't see the effect that would have!

Have you tried csa for the money?

Pinkshaman Wed 16-Jan-13 09:56:56

I think it's pretty shocking what she is doing, and how the Dad is allowing it to happen. Very thoughtless.

My own dd has been out with her dad and SM and the other chlidren - she had to take her own packed lunch, and the other children were bought food and ice creams and she wasn't sad. It was only because her older sister was there and had money with her that she didn't actually notice what was going on.

The very first time she met her dad's girlfriend and children was when they turned up unannounced to my sister's house where dd was, everyone was introduced and they then announced they were off to the beach and dd couldn't go as there wasn't room in the car sad. DD was devastated - not only had she not seen her dad for a few weeks (his choice) but she was immediately left out when she did see him and the "new" family. I was also told that she couldn't go there to sleep because there wasn't room I rather kicked off at that point. She had to go along with a blow up mattress sad and I was told by her SM that they would "try" and see what they could do - that had been our family home and she had had a bedroom there!

I think things are better now, but I don't think she has ever forgotten it. She was really hurt by it and it really didn't help things I believe with getting things between the new family and her off to a great start - and it didn't really give me the best impression of xh's girlfriend either. But more importantly I think her relationship with her Dad was affected and that with the newcomers. I think xh and his gf handled it really badly.

I think the thing about a set up where the NRP and partner can provide a lot more for the child than the mum can is that it's the mum's stuff to deal with. I can find it hard when I hear of all the things they are doing and buying (because I get no maintenance as apparently he has no money) - but it's absolutely fine because it's for me to process and deal with. In the case of something directed at or around the child means it's their emotions that are affected by it and that's not on.

olgaga Wed 16-Jan-13 09:04:00

Those children will be adults one day, and realise just how unfairly they have been treated.

olgaga Wed 16-Jan-13 09:02:07

No it isn't sarcasm! You neglected to finish the quote: "and questioning the general and financial restrictions on life with their mum".

allnewtaketwo Wed 16-Jan-13 09:00:58

Daddelion I haven't seen one single poster saying the father is doing the right thing. There is a range of possibilities for what he could be doing - it's not simply a choice between spoiling the children rotten and lavishing them with expensive treats niether of their parents can actually afford, versus treating them like poor left out relations with the DTs do activities

Daddelion Wed 16-Jan-13 08:57:44

Working on some of the views, the Father could be doing completely the right thing then.

If he and the SM paid for everything and spent more on the children than the Mother ever possibly could, this could make living with the Mother seem second best and they would be accused of trying to buy the children's affections.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 16-Jan-13 08:23:13

Wow! Only read the first few pages but this is so cruel! How can the dad and step mum think its ok? Its awful!

If i were the step mum i would put up the extra money for all kids to be able to do the same activities. It might not be legally necessary but it would just be the right thing to do.

Its not the kids fault that they keep their finances separate. If they didn't the dad would be able to fund the kids. Its weird and cruel.

allnewtaketwo Wed 16-Jan-13 08:16:10

I get what you're saying olgaga. I can just picture an OP from a single parent on minimum wage whose children were spoiled rotten by high earning SM, 'buying' them with ponies and expensive treats, feeling very pushed out and struggling on a low wage to even provide basics for the children.

Daddelion Wed 16-Jan-13 08:10:46

It would be worse if the children came home from contact saying what a wonderful time they had?

Was that sarcasm?

olgaga Wed 16-Jan-13 07:44:56

I agree with this line of thought. How awful it would be if the children came home after every contact session raving about the wonderful time they'd had, and questioning the general and financial restrictions on life with their mum.

I think that would actually be a lot worse!

irishkitkat Tue 15-Jan-13 23:02:24

If I were the OP I know I would be a completely bitter about it all. I would be completely torn between wanting my DC to have it all and wanting my DC with me.

The best I think the OP should aim for is providing her DC with a similar standard of living to what they would have had if her DP hadn't cheated. So it's probably unreasonable to expect her DC to have ponies and private school but perfectly reasonable to expect them to have some form of extra curricular activity. And on his weekends it is the DFs responsibility to provide those.

Also if by some miracle the SM did decide to provide the OPs DC with the same as her own DC and did offer to pay private school for all the DC, I think the OP should be very very wary about accepting it. It can only be dangerous to put your DCs future stability/happiness on to the success of a marriage between two known cheaters.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 15-Jan-13 22:40:37

irish, that's actually a fair point but at the same time, in that position, I'd find it pretty galling if my ex was then pleading poverty re paying for activities for half his kids while living in that set up!

I agree with the view that ultimately it's the children's father who is at 'fault' for creating a situation where his eldest child is feeling like the poor relation next to his SD.

irishkitkat Tue 15-Jan-13 21:04:07

I'm trying to imagine what I would want to happen if my DH had left me for an incredibly wealthy woman while i was pregnant and TBH a completely detached SM is exactly what I would want. I genuinely wouldn't want the OW to be buying, spoiling and providing for my DC. I would send them for contact with their DF and I would expect them to spend that contact time with their DF. I would be terrified that if the SM was providing things I wouldn't have a hope of ever providing then my DC would end up wanting to live them. In this set up I wouldnt want the SM buying my DD a pony or taking her to expensive dance lessons or paying for private school. I would expect their DF to provide them which age appropriate activities. Maybe I would get over it all to make my kids really happy as the OP seems to have but I don't think I could sad

allnewtaketwo Tue 15-Jan-13 20:36:47

Actually one ift fondest memories as a child is the time I spent withy father whilst we were waiting for my elder sister to finish a weekly class she used to do. Granted she was older and I wasn't being left out in the same way. But it was quality time nonetheless

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Tue 15-Jan-13 20:33:54

Don't some activities require you to pay for every week for a set number of weeks if you want to keep your dcs place in the group? If these are the types of activity the op wants her dc to join in, in then she should pay half since she has the dc EOW so would be taking them as well. If it's a one off activity then the Ex should fund it if it happens on his weekend.

Suggesting that SMs dc can't do their activities, esp if those activities require weekly attendance in order to progress/maintain their place, as your dc can't is bull. Siblings have to watch each other to activities at some point and they do get to do fun activities after the boring bit. Your Dc could use that time to catch up with their dad instead of sulking, I had some of my best dad time while we were watching DB play football.

If the financial differences bother you that much then you need to re-evaluate your own job situation and stop expecting the 'rich' stepmum to give you/your dc money to fund activities.

I have a feeling that if the SM took a more active role in your dcs lives you would be on here complaining that she was making you look bad as you can't provide the funds for whatever it is your dc want to do and that your dc were moaning as you were no fun...

allnewtaketwo Tue 15-Jan-13 20:22:17

I don't know of many activities where it's pay as you go. Out of the 4 activities DS does, they all have to be paid for in a block and if you can't attend then it's hard luck

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