Yes I may of been wrong but really...........

(135 Posts)
sanityseeker75 Mon 08-Apr-13 11:13:42

I know that I may well get flamed on here today but just feel fed up and hurt and figured I would share.

We have DSC EW and EW on a Sunday I cook a full roast dinner, do all the ironing, make sure homework and showers are done before the DSC go home so they are ready for school and Mom doesn't have a stress on a Sunday night.

DH can not cook - and I mean really not even beans on toast(he is very good at housework though so I generally live with it).

This weekend I have felt really poorly. DS was still asleep at 11.00 so when DSS came downstairs to ask for something to eat I told him to just grab himself something from cupboard. He did - crisps.

DH was having to go out in afternoon so I decided there was no point cooking roast and kids are off school for easter holidays so I did them Ham Sandwichs on crusty bread and yes - they had another packet of crisps late in the afternoon. Had showers etc and them I dropped them home.

When DH got back he had had several text messages of ex slating me for not providing them with a roast dinner and saying as I have a son I should know that crisps are not acceptable and what was I doing letting them have nothing but crisps for breakfast and dinner.

Now I fully accept that crisps are not really the best option, I suppose because I cook during the week and generally do well balanced meals on the whole I thought it wouldn't kill them this once - I also know that mom does them smiley faces and waffles etc so that is not exactly full of nutrition food either so I feel harshly judged on 1 incident of poor judgement in the last 5 years or so.

Now I have put my foot down - admittedly because I felt so crap, so I spat my dummy and said that going forward so that everyone knows where they stand, I am no longer making sure they are showered before they go home and will not cook a roast dinner - they will have a lunch at 2-3 (cold sandwhich/snack) and she can cook them a roast for when they get home every week instead!

See how she copes with doing a roast and getting them ready for school every flipping weekend.

givemeaclue Mon 08-Apr-13 11:14:56

Teach your husband to cook, its ridiculous he can't make beans on toast

sanityseeker75 Mon 08-Apr-13 11:21:11

I agree but as I said, he is very hands on with housework etc - and as I also said he was out all afternoon so would not have been around anyway sad

flurp Mon 08-Apr-13 11:26:59

Why couldn't you/DH have let their Mum know that they wouldn't be having a dinner? That way she could have prepared something.
And being unable to cook is a cop out. Your DH could have rustled something up for them surely or even got them a takeaway.
Also, why did he go out and leave them with you knowing you were ill? I think you have been taken advantage of and I don't blame you for being annoyed.
To be honest I would angry if my dc came back from their dads having eaten crisps when I thought they would have had a proper meal but I don't think you should be shouldering the blame here either. They are your DH's kids too and he should have fed them.
Hope you feel better today.

MrscremeEgg Mon 08-Apr-13 11:28:11

you sound like you're doing an awful lot of the parenting of HIS children.

Let him bloody do it himself.

Won't you be missing out on a Sunday roast too though? I do understand that you had one day off in all those years, and you shouldn't have got flak for that, also agree your DH should be doing more of the 'looking after' of his kids.

Rainbowinthesky Mon 08-Apr-13 11:32:55

Yanbu because this is your dh's fault. I hate cooking and can barely do it but I have to so I do. It's a fab cop out your dh has that he "can't". My 9 year old can make basic meals and my 17 year old does his own food. Does he have a job? Is he able to perform simple tasks at work?

Rainbowinthesky Mon 08-Apr-13 11:33:41

Did he drive to go out? I really hope that someone incapable of making beans on toast isn't driving a car.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 08-Apr-13 11:35:31

they had a sandwich because you were ill

hardly neglect

although your DH should have stepped up to the mark

Rainbowinthesky Mon 08-Apr-13 11:44:42

Are you sure the ex wasn't trying to make a point about dh not providing care for his dc? It seems odd that she also assumes you are the care giver for their kids.

Heinz55 Mon 08-Apr-13 11:44:54

I don't think you were wrong. You chose to parent his kids to the (very generous) extent that you do - so you had an off day. That should NOT be such a big deal - for them or for their mother. If there were no skids involved would anybody be saying your dp should learn to cook, etc? I think by the sound of it you are doing a great job and not a word should have been said about the one off day (ham sandwiches sound just fine). Do what suits you - YOUR son has to get on with whatever suits you - so should your skids. Being on edge about having to be extra careful with them will only create a gulf and they should be able to slot in as part of your family - the good with the not-so-good.

BubblePopper Mon 08-Apr-13 11:53:41

Their DM is being ridiculous...they were fed. Ok so you spat out your dummy-no biggy. If you fancy making a roast one Sunday make one, if not and she wants DC to have one then she'll have to.
I don't think it's a big deal that your DH doesn't cook either.

Also. What is wrong with sandwiches??

sanityseeker75 Mon 08-Apr-13 12:02:41

For all those who are flaming DH - your right he should know how to cook basics but he was out - if he was in he could have done them sandwich or would have got them takeaway - but actually his ex wanted to know why they did not have roast dinner.

Ex knew he would be out all afternoon and because we have EW contact he is sometimes out at the weekends and Ex knows that I have them - she would prefer that than keep them at hers.

Even when DH was in hospital with kidney stones I still had to have them as I was told it is her job to make them available for contact and therefore if DH can't get them - I should. I would point out at this stage that actually the kids are no hassle - I have had them for so long it would probaly be weird without them.

LibertineLover not really bothered about a Sunday roast as I always do one mid week anyway and do have balanced meals anyway - I only started doing roast every week because DH ex asked me to years ago as it is only roast they get.

Rainbowinthesky you may be right and I wouldn't have cared if she hadn't text me saying with a child of my own I should know better.

Heinz55 thank you - thats sort of how I felt

It may seem that I do a lot of care giving to his kids and I do - I don't really see that as a bad thing though - its unavoidable with EW contact and we do all the holiday etc.

DH is hands on in other areas and has to look after my DS during week if I work late etc - it is just how it works in our house. If all the kids were ours then it would still have panned out the same just without the grief.

givemeaclue Mon 08-Apr-13 12:05:12

Ok so:

- don't do a roast on Sundays in future unless you want to.

-ignore crazy messages from ex. Who cases what she thinks?!

- teach dh to make basics such as beans on toast

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Apr-13 12:11:52

"I only started doing roast every week because DH ex asked me to years ago as it is only roast they get"

shock shock - you started to cook a particular meal because your husband's ex asked you to. Well that was were you went wrong. You did what she asked and now she is chastising you like a child for disobeying her.

Why on earth would you base your family meals around what someone else wants you to cook confused

hairtearing Mon 08-Apr-13 12:13:55

They are not you're kids, and you weren't very well.

What are you expected to do?

Your DP needed to step up in that situation.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Apr-13 13:01:19

I think that you have been very restrained!

If your DSC mum doesn't like the way you care for her children, then don't do it.
It's very convenient for her that you are prepared to care for them when neither of their parents are willing to - but if she starts dictating how you deliver that care, and demand you follow her rules, then it's time to stop. I've seen exactly the same advice given elsewhere on MN to grandparents and friends who look after DCs as a favour - this isn't a step issue, it's straightforward bad manners!

N0tinmylife Mon 08-Apr-13 13:10:15

What a bizarre over reaction from DSS's Mum! If you were giving them crisps all the time instead of meals I could understand her being annoyed, but once, because you are ill, is really not a big deal! I have never heard of anyone suffering health problems due to a lack of roast dinners!!

fuzzywuzzy Mon 08-Apr-13 13:10:54

how old are the SC?

A sandwich is hardly starving them tho is it?

On weekends we eitherhave a massive fry up and lots of food all day or sandwiches and eating the last bits in the house beforehten ext major shop.

Sandwiches are fine for a meal, I have them a lot at work. Since when did it become nutritional neglect?

Do exactly as yuo want OP, cook what the heck you like and teach your DH to cook basics and get him to teach his kids too while he's learning, they can then fend for themsleves without the risk of starvation if you fall ill or go on holiday!

Pinkshaman Mon 08-Apr-13 13:13:01

I think he could have made sure they were fed as you were I'll, and I'm pretty shocked that he won't cook. There's no way though that you should feel obliged to cook a roast because their mum has asked you to! Do whatever you want to do.

Rainbowinthesky Mon 08-Apr-13 13:21:46

It seems like you have been too nice in the past and dh and ex are too used to this. I would start to be more assertive about what you will and won't do.

sanityseeker75 Mon 08-Apr-13 13:28:17

Kids are 9 and 13, I did give them sandwiches with the crisps. DH wasn't there and ex knew he wouldn't be because he told her and I was doing drop off. If he had then he would have done something but it would still have been sandwiches and crisps.

I have learnt my lesson well and truthfully - and actually can't believe that I feel hurt that the ONCE I let things slip it gets such a reaction

TomDudgeon Mon 08-Apr-13 13:36:15

I'm not very well at the moment
Currently sat on the sofa wallowing

Yesterday dh was out with the two eldest so the two youngest had
Dairy lea Dunkers, a packet of crisps, an ice cream and some had cakes.

So bloody what? It won't kill them for once and anyone who wants to judge me can do one.
She has no right to comment like that. If it were all the time then fair enough but its not and if she doesn't like it she can change it.

flurp Mon 08-Apr-13 14:46:13

My youngest two are 9 and 13 and they know how to make a light meal - beans on toast or omelette or something. I obviously am around to supervise but they can pretty much do it themselves and have done when I've been ill in the past.
Maybe this is a good time to give them (and their dad) some cookery lessons

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Apr-13 14:56:14

flurp Is it really up to the OP to teach her DSC to cook so that their mum doesn't get upset with what the OP feeds them?

If Mum is so damn precious worried about their diet, why doesn't she teach them, rather than expecting the OP to deliver meals to order?

This thread is laughable - blaming the OP for being too nice, suggesting that she teach her DSC to cook so that their Mum doesn't get upset - some people really can't accept that a mother can ever behave badly, can they?!?

flurp Mon 08-Apr-13 15:08:18

I'm not saying that NADM - the OPs ex is totally unreasonable and I wouldn't pander to her at all.
I just think that at 9 and 13 they should be able to feed themselves a basic meal and yes their mum should have taught them but if she hasn't then it would make OPs life easier if she taught them to be more independent.
Sometimes I do a roast on a Sunday, sometimes I can't be arsed don't but DP or I always let the ex know so she knows if she has to cook for them. Ad if she ever told me to cook a roast dinner she would find herself wearing it!!!!

Petal02 Mon 08-Apr-13 15:25:39

This links in very neatly to the thread currently running "if you knew what you know now, would you have got involved with someone with kids" ......

OP - ignore the ex !!!!

mumandboys123 Mon 08-Apr-13 16:42:38

I missed the bit where the OP said that the children's mother was explicitly informed that the weekend had been difficult for one reason or another and that the children had eaten, but not their usual roast....assuming no one told mum - and the only info she had was from the children who were no doubt excited about getting 2 packets of crisps in a short period of time - then it's really not unreasonable to be a bit annoyed...of course, she could have handled it better... but by the sounds of it, so could the OP who has effectively spat her dummy out over one incident in at least 5 years?!

OP - ignore her! It's not your fault you didn't feel well. You did what you could and the children had food and more than likely, won't be keeling over and dropping dead of starvation any time soon. Don't let it bother you.

Petal02 Mon 08-Apr-13 16:55:39

The OP has effectively spat her dummy out over one incident in 5 years

That’s a bit unfair. Maybe I’ve interpreted this incorrectly, but it sounds like you’re saying that the OP shouldn’t react to the ex’s bizarre behaviour? The ex is completely in the wrong here, I’m not surprised the OP got upset.

millie30 Mon 08-Apr-13 17:06:55

Mumsandboys, why does anything have to be explicitly explained to the ex? According to the OP the mother wants the children gone every weekend even if they end up in the sole care of the OP so she can't have it both ways. She needs to relinquish control and let them get on with it. They had ham sandwiches for dinner, it's hardly something that requires explanation.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Apr-13 17:07:47

"the OP who has effectively spat her dummy out over one incident in at least 5 years?!"

Ermm - because it's the first time in 5 years that the OP has disobeyed the request for a roast dinner. So 100% track record of ex getting annoyed the minute the OP doesn't feed the children what has been requested

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Apr-13 17:36:50

mumandboys You really think that the OP is the most unreasonable party of the two?

That her DSC mum "could have handled it better" than making direct contact with the OP to criticise the care the OP has given to her DCs, but that the OP has 'spat out her dummy' by saying that if that's how their Mum is going to behave, then she'd rather not take responsibility for that aspect of their care?

If that is your genuine belief, and you conduct yourself in that way then it's no wonder that most SM have said that if they'd known about the ex, they would never have got involved. Nowhere else in society would that be considered acceptable. Identical situations elsewhere on MN involving DCs being cared for by aunts, grandparents, family friends are unanimous in their support of the OP. Social norms are suspended for SM, though aren't they?

Pinkshaman Mon 08-Apr-13 17:44:02

What about the Dad who refuses to cook and doesn't look after his own children when his partner is ill? If he had done that then there wouldn't have been upset between the mum and stepmum.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Apr-13 17:52:45

Presumably, the DCs Dad was happy for them to eat what the OP provided - the OP and he have an agreement about the distribution of household responsibilities (one that many wouldn't agree with but it works for them)
If the DCs mum has an issue, then why not take it up with the DCs other parent, rather than someone who was doing her a favour despite feeling under the weather?

Why should the OP continue to put herself out for the DSC mum when she clearly isn't appreciated? If the DCs parents can't/won't care for them, why should the OP fill that gap when the response from one of the parents is criticism rather than thanks?

flurp Mon 08-Apr-13 18:05:24

How hard is it to text and say "sanity seeker is not well so X and Y won't be having a roast today". Then she could have made them a dinner.
If my kids (same ages) had only eaten crisps and sandwiches all day they would be chewing at the furniture when they got home!!!
I wouldn't have sent such a shitty text, that was totally wrong but I can see where she is coming from.
And I also agree that it isn't the OPs responsibility. Her DH should have sorted something out before he swanned off for the afternoon.

Petal02 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:06:26

NADM, you're spot on; in any other walk of life the behaviour of the ex would not be tolerated. And indeed, social norms are definitely suspended for step mothers. It's the ex, and often the step kids, who call the shots.

Pinkshaman Mon 08-Apr-13 18:08:47

I agree - her beef should have been with her ex, not the op. The op hasn't done anything wrong. Sounds to me like both her dp and the ex are taking the piss.

allnewtaketwo Mon 08-Apr-13 18:16:25

Fluro but would the ex be expected to text the NRP if she feeds the children sandwiches/crisps one day instead of a hot meal?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Apr-13 18:26:08

flurp so do you think the OP is being unreasonable to disengage and put a stop to her doing the DSC ironing and providing the Sunday roasts that were solely for the DSC benefit, at the direct request of their Mum?

I think the OPs decision could have been predicted had the DCs mum stopped and thought about it before she sent the text - so either she didn't think, or she was prepared to take the risk. Either way, she has to live with the consequences of her decision to send it.

Petal02 Mon 08-Apr-13 18:29:32

If I were the OP, I would be serving ham sandwiches from now on, and saving the roast til the step kids have gone back to their mothers.

catsmother Mon 08-Apr-13 20:53:10

Jeez - they had sandwiches one weekend ... it really is a non-issue. No-one died, and I guess if said sandwiches left them hungry they would have said and could have then filled up with shock horror more sandwiches, or similarly easy to grab food.

I'd have told the ex to bog off.

And the way the OP and her DH arrange their household - sound like they're both happy with it - isn't the issue here, and needn't be dissected along the lines of "he should have done this" and "she should have done that" just so the ex is kept "happy". While the kids are in the care of their dad - and by extension the OP - which the ex obviously knows about and has been quite happy about for yonks then what goes on - short of actual neglect or cruelty - is nothing to do with her. A normal person, used to their kids coming home with stories of the delicious dinner they've just had every weekend probably wouldn't need to be told that the OP was having an off - they'd have simply assumed it.

FWIW, when I have off days everyone gets the sort of menu TomDudgeon described. So what. There is a certain sort of ex (not all, some) who'll grab onto the most ridiculous thing in order to shit-stir and/or try to exert control. Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Pigsmummy Mon 08-Apr-13 21:00:28

Hindsight says that maybe your DH should have told his ex that the children hadn't eaten a hot dinner? I would be stressed if dc were dropped home without having had a meal.

DontmindifIdo Mon 08-Apr-13 21:02:33

OP - you were sick, but your DP went out anyway? What was he doing that was so important? Quite frankly, you sholdn't have been left with his DCs if you wreen't well enough to care for them, he didn't have a good alternative childcare in place so eiher his plans would have to be cancelled or he should have taken them home early.

As for the roast dinner, I think you are quite right to refuse to cook something the EXW insists on, if between exW and your DP they agree they should have a roast each week before returning to their mum, then either he learns how to do it himself (and you can always offer to teach him, not rocket science), or he can take you all out for a pub lunch each week.

Basically as well, both your DP and his ex are taking the piss.

Pinkshaman Mon 08-Apr-13 21:22:01

I'd feel the same about him if there was no ex in the picture. It's not about keeping her happy, it's about a man who thinks its ok to go out and leave a poorly partner to look after your children and still do a drop off.

BruthasTortoise Mon 08-Apr-13 21:36:29

Next time you're feeling ill and you are in sole care of your stepchildren order them a pizza. The same way I, and most mums I know, would do if I were sick. Very few mothers would stand ill to make their children a normal Sunday roast dinner and in most households this would be more than acceptable. I have no problem with certain standards of care being expected from stepparents, I hate when those standards are higher than those expected from the parents. The ex is taking the piss and you'd be well within your rights to tell all concerned that the kitchen of sanityseeker is closed.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Mon 08-Apr-13 21:42:17

You cook a roast because his ex wife asked you to? Fuck that for a game of soliders.

You did the right thing - send them home unshowered and after lunch, let her deal with her kids - stupid cow.

An apart from anything else, there's nothing wrong with ham sandwiches & crisps for tea sometimes - they wont die from not having a hot dinner fgs.

Well, she's shat in her own nest hasn't she - tough luck and if DH utters a WORD give him the 'death stare'.

sanityseeker75 Mon 08-Apr-13 21:49:06

Thanks for the supportive comments people. This is quick reply but I would like to say DH was having to work so wasnt around as sometimes I have to work and he looks after kids, it does happen, just never on a Sunday before. He told ex that he doesn`t question her so she shouldnt question what they are fed here as one off. He was annoyed and hurt on my behalf. He isnt perfect but appreciates what I do for all kids and him.

BriansBrain Mon 08-Apr-13 21:49:45

I don't think you were in the wrong at all op, you were ill!

Why did your DP go out and leave you with DSC (I refuse to type skids for children!) knowing you were unwell?

I would have told her to get knotted if she dared to text me, you sound lovely making sure they are all ready without rushing when they go back to her.

I wouldn't stop doing roasts though, I bet everyone likes the Sunday roast but wouldn't expect one if you are ill.

My DH is great at housework but he could cope with making a meal if needed, roasts are easy.

Snazzynewyear Mon 08-Apr-13 22:11:48

Re 'how hard is it to text to say the kids haven't had a roast' flurp - well, how hard is it to knock up a hot meal from what you have in (e.g. pasta in sauce, jacket spuds, fish fingers and oven chips) if your kids, on one Sunday in 5 years, come home hungry for a full meal? The ex sounds as if she takes the OP's care of her kids for granted in a big way.

OP, think you have got a rough deal here - definitely stick up for yourself next time as well as your DP doing it for you. One thing I would say: you never know when serious illness or disaster can strike and I really think that your DP should know how to make at least a couple of meals to cover that eventuality. Say you ended up in hospital for a couple of weekends - sure, the kids wouldn't starve on ham sandwiches again, but their dad ought to be capable of a bit more for them than that. You say he's good at housework, but I bet you can manage both housework and cooking as required. Don't see it as an either/or.

purpleroses Mon 08-Apr-13 23:16:38

Poor you. sad You're not well. You manage to look after DSC whilst your DP has to work. You get them some perfectly adequate food. But their mum then sends you rude texts and tries to tell you what you should be feeding your household angry I'm not surprised you said you'd never cook for them again!

flurp Mon 08-Apr-13 23:18:01

I have said that the OP isn't at fault but surely it's courtesy to let someone know that their kids might come home hungry when you are expecting them to have had a roast.
The ex was a cow to text the OP but it wouldn't have hurt them to prewarn her so she could have got some food for them!

olgaga Mon 08-Apr-13 23:29:58

I agree, OP this is unfair on you but it must have been very annoying for the DM for them to arrive home having not eaten.

I think it would have been better if you had texted her to say you weren't well, and the children will just have their usual breakfast and a sandwich that Sunday.

However, the underlying problem here is that your DH doesn't seem to be very bothered about you being poorly, or the care of his children during their contact times.

Why do you have to have them every weekend anyway? (I'm assuming that's what EW means). Is there a court order to that effect, and is she perhaps a bit unhappy about that?

olgaga Mon 08-Apr-13 23:33:44

you never know when serious illness or disaster can strike and I really think that your DP should know how to make at least a couple of meals to cover that eventuality

Too right - it's absurd that a grown man can't cook anything - unless he's illiterate and unable to read packet instructions. Get some easy meals/ready meals in the freezer for these kind of eventualities in future.

You know, I was incredulous that anyone would get so arsey over the lack of a roast dinner on a Sunday. But now I've seen two people defending the behaviour, my mind is well and truly boggled.

Sandwiches are food. I really don't see any need to text someone to say that the kids hadn't had a roast dinner. No one needs a roast dinner every week. Roast dinners are not required to sustain life. It appears that the kids are eat tea at their mother's on a Sunday. So what if she had to dig out some chicken nuggets, potato waffles and peas from the freezer rather than making sandwiches?

Sure they OP might have over-reacted a bit, but it's very clear that the children's mother is absolutely taking the piss so that's understandable. Indeed, the OP was quite restrained. I would have been far ruder (I guess because I'm not a stepmother and don't have to deal with the politics of dealing with someone else's unreasonable ex; H is a stepfather and does though, although my ex would never dream of complaining about what I feed DS1).

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 06:08:54

"The underlying problem here is that your DH doesn't seem to be very bothered about you being poorly"

WTF, the OP has said he went to work. I cannot afford to take a day off work when my DH is sick, nor for DH to when I am ill. not many working families can. You think he should have taken a day off work and lost money so that the children could have a cooked meal in accordance with his ex's demand request?

The OP did well to keep the children at her house when feeling poorly and on her own, most people might have asked a relative to have the children (a relative like their actual mother for example?). But no doubt she would have been wrong to do that as well.

millie30 Tue 09-Apr-13 07:29:36

Olgaga the OP clearly says that the mother choses for the DCs to go every weekend even if they will be in the sole care of the OP. This thread is crazy.

Xalla Tue 09-Apr-13 07:35:42

I take it Mum has them every week day? Does she cook a full-on meal for them EVERY night? I doubt it.

This is ludicrous. As others have said, she could quite easily have rustled up a quick meal for them on the Sunday evening if they were hungry, she's their mother FFS and it's her duty far more than it is yours. Where does it say that a roast dinner each Sunday is pre-requisite for good parenting?!

It isn't up to you to make sure they're fed. It's your DH's and their mothers. OK you could have texted her but if you were feeling awful then it probably (and understandably) wouldn't have crossed your mind. You're not her childminder - you don't have to answer to her. Allnew is right - you did well to have them at all when you were ill and on your own.

The ex wants you and your H to have the children every weekend, and you have agreed to this. I don't think the ex has a right to micro manage how you feed and look after them. Either she trusts you with her children or she doesn't. Also they were not sent home having not eaten! They had a sandwich. Which is fine.

It is great that you feel appreciated and backed up by your dh.

mumandboys123 Tue 09-Apr-13 07:55:23

snazzy - no, it's not hard to knock up a meal quickly when the children come home, I agree. However, it is reasonable to expect that the other parent lets the PWC know that the children haven't eaten a full meal that day. It's called 'communication' and seems something of a novel idea between ex partners! Communication in this case would probably have prevented mum's outburst (or it may not, I accept that). It is also reasonable to let the PWC know that things haven't been 'normal' that weekend (the reason for it doesn't need to be imparted, although it helps put things in context) it's not the end of the world that they've only had a sandwich and there is an expectation that the PWC 'picks up the slack' if the children are hungry but the PWC needs to know about it.

I would also add that much depends on what time the children were returned on the Sunday - mine are returned around 6pm and frankly, with young children who are then bathed and sent to bed, it's too late to be eating a full meal. Indeed, this is something my ex and I argued over for sometime - he wanted to return them at 7pm unwashed and unfed but refused the compromise of returning them at 5pm if washing and feeding was an issue for him. We finally agreed on the 6pm because washing is an issue but feeding isn't, apparently...

nkf Tue 09-Apr-13 07:59:24

Ignore the texts. Cook the roasts if you feel like cooking them. I'd bail out of the ironing though. And DH should learn to cook.

HelenDaniels Tue 09-Apr-13 08:00:03

What chippingin said, every word.

The silly bugger. What a ridiculous thing to get het up about, everyone has moments where they feel to knackered, Unwell or lazy to cook. You fed the kids. I would absolutely not bother cooking a roast dinner every weekend from now on. As you say o have one in the week anyway so why bother with the faff of making one every Sunday as well.

Since when have roast dinners every Sunday been the law anyway? If they are that precious to her she can make her own every week ready for when the kids get back.

Ad of course she could have rustled up something for the kids for dinner, if she didn't have anything in the house she could quickly cook she has a problem.

HelenDaniels Tue 09-Apr-13 08:00:14


Ariel21 Tue 09-Apr-13 08:06:06

We now drop ours off at her mother's at seven on a Sunday (every other). That means eating and packing up by six, which is stupidly early to have a full meal. We often have something light or even (shock horror) if it has been an especially busy one, have a packed tea in the car.

She often turns up at ours unfed on a Friday night, depending on what time her father has arrived (he goes straight from work.) It's not that hard to feed one more mouth unexpectedly. She should get a grip.

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 08:09:30

"However, it is reasonable to expect that the other parent lets the PWC know that the children haven't eaten a full meal that day. It's called 'communication' and seems something of a novel idea between ex partners!"

So should a pwc be contacting the nrp on each day they are not fed a hot meal while in the pwc's care?

Or does your rule only apply to duty on behalf of the nrp/nrp partner?

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 08:14:32

DH has to leave DSSs back at 6.30 on a Sunday (as per the court order issued 11 years ago - they are 17 and 14 now). It's absolutely ridiculous trying to get dinner cooked and eaten in time for that drop off. Actually now I've read that myself in black and white I can see how ridiculous it is. There's all kinds of stress and rushing around going on when they're rushing dinner in a tizz and forgetting stuff in their hurry to get home in time.

nkf Tue 09-Apr-13 08:14:47

This business about communication makes more sense with a very young or non verbal child. "Have you eaten?" you say and the answer determines what you do next.

Xalla Tue 09-Apr-13 08:16:22


Ariel21 Tue 09-Apr-13 08:17:05

Also I don't understand the 'they are not your children' opinions on this thread. I know my stepdaughter isn't my child but we parent together, and we did do even before we were married. If he needs to work - I look after her. I accept that there are lines I wouldn't cross (I.e. would consult him if decisions needed to be made). But would never say 'she isn't my daughter' as we are a team. She has a stepfather who i am sure feels the same.

outtolunchagain Tue 09-Apr-13 08:17:06

But these are not little children they are 9 and 13 , can't understand why the 13 year old didn't make the sandwiches .

Frankly if the worst thing that happens to a 13 year old is that they have 2 bags of crisps in a day ( not saying that is good)then the mum should be pretty happy

Xalla Tue 09-Apr-13 08:17:07

To All new's comment about the rule only applying the nrp that is!

FrauMoose Tue 09-Apr-13 08:17:11

I'm surprised that it all still revolves around an ancient court order. With teenagers it should be much more about what they want - and what fits in with their now very different lives. (Study, socialising, their choices generally.)

NotaDisneyMum Tue 09-Apr-13 08:19:53

mumandboys Would it really hurt the DCs to have TWO sandwich meals in one day?
If mum usually feeds them sandwiches when they get home because they've had a cooked meal earlier in the day, is it really going to hurt if they have the same 'sandwich meal' with their mum even if they have had sandwiches earlier in the day?

I wish I could say I'm surprised that there are critical comments aimed at the OP in this thread, but I'm not - she's a SM and even if her behaviour was on a par with Mother Theresa, the mere fact that she has regular contact with another woman's DCs is enough to generate hatred in some.

This thread should provide reassurance to all those SM who doubt themselves and ask themselves 'is it me?'. No, it's not you - there really are people who consider that mothers can behave in any way whatsoever when it comes to their DCs stepmum wink

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 08:21:52

Fraumoose assume that's to me?
Yes you would think! They are absolutely terrified of their mother and do exactly as she says. She insists on the rota to the absolute letter and apparently she goes ape if they're as much as 5 minutes late (yes despite DSS1 being 17!). They recently said that she's told them they're "not to ask her ever again" if they can see their dad outside of access time.

They don't have social lives so there is no other driver for them not to abide by access time.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Tue 09-Apr-13 08:25:39

The children's mother had no place texting you regarding this OP.

She should have texted their FATHER. And asked HIM why HE didn't make sure their children hadn't eaten.

I don't blame you for banning roasts on a Sunday from now on. Let her do it!

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Tue 09-Apr-13 08:26:59

*had eaten.

Not "hadn't eaten"

FrauMoose Tue 09-Apr-13 08:29:00

What are the kids like? They sound like they get rather a rough deal at home in some respects. (i.e. they are not treated like people with minds of their own).

Could the OP ask them what they'd like to eat and when - given the constraints of when their mother expects them back. If they really like a bigger meal, perhaps they can learn to help make it. It's very useful to be able to cook...

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 08:37:50

No they're certainly not treated like actual individuals with minds of their own. On DSS1's part, he has never showed any inclination to have a thought of his own, so she has a very easy job in controlling him really. Tbh it's like having 2 very young children round to stay -DSS1 hasn't changed at all in the 10 years I've known him. DSS2 has thoughts of his own buy these are quashed by his mother and of course DSS1 has set a precedent of compliance which makes it harder for DSS2 to break the mould so to speak.

flurp Tue 09-Apr-13 08:47:59

So you refuse to coin roast dinners and do any ironing now on a Sunday. Who suffers? The ex? Your DH?
No it's the kids. Why should they get caught in the crossfire?
It's not about the need for a roast dinner but if kids are in your care and usually have a hot meal if is just manners to tell their mum that they might need more than usual when they get home.
My dc would be starving if they had only had a few packets of crisps and some sandwiches to eat for a whole day.
Again, the mum handled it badly but the OP could have just let her know!!!!

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 08:53:04

Does the school let mum know if the children don't eat their school dinner? DS's school certainly don't, and he's not yet 5. I have a conversation with him and try to glean what he's eaten, and then base what I give him for tea based on that. I'm sure this process is much much easier with a 13 and 9 year old confused. In fact you shouldn't even need to ask - at that age they are more than capable of voluntarily saying they're hungry OR, heaven forbid, go and help themselves to something in the kitchen when they get home.

thepig Tue 09-Apr-13 09:02:39

Firstly unless I missed it why is it being assumed the kids were starving? They were fed...heating something doesnt make it more filling.

Secondly some people need to get a grip. This is not an issue for the kids welfare its a first world problem.

So bloody what even if the kids had 10 packs of crisps that day, its a one off, an anomaly. Some people need to relax a little, theyre just children...not time bombs that will go if not fed a roast dinner.wink wink

nurseneedshelp Tue 09-Apr-13 09:06:03

You sound like a really lovely step mum op and I'm sure you're doing a fab job.

Pinkshaman Tue 09-Apr-13 09:08:09

It wasnt until much later in the thread that the op said he was at work, initially she said a couple of times that he went out.

And it was him that received the texts, not her and he didn't explain that the op was ill.

But even if he hadn't been at work and had been at home, he wouldn't have been able to cook them a meal. That's the bit I don't get. That he couldn't even put a pizza in the oven.

Ragwort Tue 09-Apr-13 09:10:57

Why this utter obsession with 'hot dinners and proper meals' hmm - sandwiches are a perfectly acceptable meal.

Snazzynewyear Tue 09-Apr-13 09:23:31

Pink, I agree. If the OP wasn't in the picture, would these kids be eating sandwiches forever because their father would be unable to cook anything at all? He really ought to work on that.

FrauMoose Tue 09-Apr-13 09:26:25

It sounds as if absolutely everybody has got trapped into a tight routine. A mother who is inflexible about visiting times.
A father who when present can't/won't/doesn't cook
A stepmother who always provides a traditional Sunday dinner - of the same type and same time.
Two teenagers who don't see their mates or go to parties and who seem pretty passive, and unable to adapt appropriately when somebody is ill. (Or perhaps the routines were so rigid that nobody thought to ask them to help out.)
Stepmothers can't always do a lot about mothers. But I might want to make the structures a bit less tight/rigid within the time my stepchildren were visiting. It might be a way of modelling a more healthy kind of family life...

NotaDisneyMum Tue 09-Apr-13 09:58:35

Lets take the SM out of the equation, shall we? Lets assume the DCs normally have a roast dinner with their paternal grandparents while their Dads working every Sunday. Not a particularly unusual set up, ans one which may well have been in place for these DCs if the OP wasn't a part if their lives. Does anyone think that the grandparents are obligated to text the DCs mother to tell her what they have eaten ??

There seems to be confusion between two different families - as far as I know, it's not the OPs DSC who have a rigid routine and no friends; that's another poster.

The OP did say that she received a text directly from the DCs mum complaining about her care of the DCs after she had dropped them home..

Cavort Tue 09-Apr-13 10:07:16


I am a step-Mum and a similar scenario for me would result in a very harsh reply going back to their Mum.

I agree with your proposed course of actions, even if you only do it for long enough to make your point.

sanityseeker75 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:14:26

Thanks for all the replies, I feel a bit like I need to defend/explain some of the points.

The DSC come EW and have for over 5 years because it is court ordered contact. DH's ex wanted this.

DSC do have a social life - DSS goes into town with my DS as they have a cross over of friends and she will join DS at High School in Sept.

I gave them options of beans and cheese on toast/ soup and toast or cold lunch and they asked for the sandwiches instead.

Before DH lived with me he used to take DD to MacDonalds/Cafe etc.

He is capable of making sandwiches or getting takeaway, I agree that because I always do it he has never had to.

We both work FT and I prefer to cook and iron (yes I prefer Ironing) to cleaning and washing - he does general cleaning and washing and washing up. I really never realised that this would cause such offence to people.

I have a DS who is nearly 14 and he is also capable, as is DSD of doing a couple of sandwiches (DSD sometimes has to look after DSS at moms and does indeed do sandwiches for them both).

When they have roast dinner they normally eat it around 3, this is about the time they had lunch still. They then go have showers etc and go home at 5pm. They live 5 min drive away. They are normally the first to say if they are still hungry, I had snack foods in fridge and they could of had them if they had asked but they didn't.

Ex text DH and then me complaining. It hurt and upset me because this is the first time I let the ball drop, if DH is away and she runs out of medicine etc for kids she doesn't mind texting me to ask me to pop some in, happy for DSC to come to ours straight from release from hospital after ops etc so despite the fact that we do not always get on she knows I would never neglect the DSC's and that is what actually really upset me. That and dragging my DS in to it and saying I should have known better having a DS of my own.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 09-Apr-13 10:21:25

seeker You did not let the ball drop - despite what some people have commented here.
You have put yourself out for your DSC for years, accepting them as a part of your family and taking responsibility for them, because of your live for their Dad.

You have had that thrown in your face and quite rightly you feel hurt and unappreciated. You have no obligation to the DCs, and they certainly won't suffer if you no longer iron for them, or provide a hot dinner every weekend - the impact if your decision will lie where it should; with the DCs parents.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 09-Apr-13 10:25:39

flurp I envy you your DCs if they have such high standards that they care whether or not their clothes are ironed and would suffer greatly if they weren't.

If their Mum wants the DCs clothes ironed on a Sunday, then perhaps she could teach the DCs to do it themselves when they get home from Dads (after their Sandwich tea, maybe?), rather than rely on SM to do it wink

FrauMoose Tue 09-Apr-13 10:26:32

Sanity I got my postings muddled earlier. I can see why it was upsetting and hope that putting it all down here has made things better rather than worse.

Petal02 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:32:03

I think NADM sums it up very neatly by suggesting we take the "step" element out of the equation. It all looks very different then, doesn't it .... ?

millie30 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:51:52

If I posted in Lone Parents that my ex sent me nasty messages because I didn't cook DS a roast dinner he would rightly be called a controlling idiot.

If I posted in AIBU that I sent my ex nasty messages because he didn't cook DS a roast dinner I would rightly be called a controlling idiot.

I fail to see how this situation is any different.

Pinkshaman Tue 09-Apr-13 10:53:49

Not to me, there's still a woman who was ill and feels bad that she didn't do what she would normally do. One of the people around her didn't help and the other had a go. It's unacceptable in any scenario.

flurp Tue 09-Apr-13 11:10:55

So why drip feed? Why not say from the off that you offered them beans on toast/soup etc and they refused. Then the replies would have been a lot different.
If my dc went to their grandparents for Sunday lunch and didn't eat much when they normally do then they would tell me. Why is that such an unreasonable request? My DS went to tea at his friends last week and the Mum text to ask if I was OK with him having a McDonalds as they were going out. Its just courtesy.
I'm not saying they will suffer because of unironed clothes or lack of roast dinners but from the feeling that they are being punished because their parents can't be civilised adults and discuss things like parents should do.
If the OP doesn't want to cook a roast every Sunday she shouldn't have to do it, she shouldn't have to iron her DSCs clothes if she doesn't want to but to suddenly stop doing it now to 'show' the ex will impact on the dc.

olgaga Tue 09-Apr-13 11:14:35

As I said OP I think this was very unfair on you, but if my DD (12) had not had a proper meal during the day she would be hungry later!

A sandwich with crisps is a usual weekend lunchtime snack in our house followed by a cooked meal later - but both DD and DH are the slim/hungry types.

So it depends on the children. My only point is if she was expecting the kids to have eaten a proper meal as usual before they arrived back on Sunday then she might well have been annoyed not to have been told that on that day it hadn't been possible.

I agree that she was probably unnecessarily confrontational and over-reacted when she texted your DH, and then you, but that is more likely to be the result of unresolved hostility between her and your DH.

I think you should put it down to that rather than make all the children go without a cooked meal every Sunday!

Plus if they are home by 5 on Sunday, at their age they can surely organise themselves to have showers etc when they get home rather than having to do all this at yours.

Perhaps you should sit down with the children and have a chat about how they would like their weekends to be organised. If you had to go back to court to change the order, they are old enough for their views to be taken into account.

Petal02 Tue 09-Apr-13 11:39:57

Olgaga, your post is a pretty balanced view. I'm never quite sure why step families and exes seem to get into a very set way of running weekends; it's only in the last six months that we've stopped having to take DSS18 home at 6pm on Sundays (EOW) showered and fed; I can understand why a toddler may need to be fed, bathed and ready for bed when they go home on a Sunday night, but given the children in the OP's post are 9 and 13, I think this is unrealistic. There seem to be too many "set in stone" arrangements; children grow, things evolve, life changes. What was appropriate for a 3 yr old at one time, won't remain appropriate forever.

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 11:43:32

This thread has really made me question why we're continuing with the mad dash for dinner and home by 6.30pm on a Sunday. The deadline has no chance of moving, but we have the power to remove the madness of the rush preceding it. I see a shift in my Sunday meal schedules coming soon.

Petal02 Tue 09-Apr-13 11:51:45

Allnew, it used to be just the same in our house. We couldn't go very far on a Sunday afternoon, because we had to get back home in time to cook dinner for DSS, DSS had to eat it, have a bath/shower and was then driven home. And as DSS rarely used to get up before 1pm on a Sunday, it often meant the whole day was essentially written off, just so that the 6pm return procedure could be adhered to. It was the most ridiculous, artificial, pointless deadline imaginable. I can understand the point if DSS were small, but not at age 18. Thank god we're not doing that any more.

Your household situation is so similar.

sanityseeker75 Tue 09-Apr-13 11:59:48

Flurp It wasn't intended as a drip feed. My initial post was more bullet points of DH not in DSC's fed sandwich. I got in trouble for not doing a roast I clarified points later as people raised questions, so I tried to answer in more detail.

There was no school the next day and tbh, it didn't occur to me to text Ex as the kids still were given food.

It is not my intention to spite kids and I will still obviously feed them EW (I may even do the roast on a Sat if they want one that weekend). I will not be treated like a glorified, unpaid childminder by either of their parents though and yes she may have been annoyed - she could have said if it happens again etc and I would probably have said fair enough but she didn't - it was an attack.

I did respond advising that she can now do roast every Sun when they get home and showers. If it is that important to her that they have one then she can go to the expense and routine of providing one going forward.

It will make Sundays more relaxed in our house and means we get to spend more time together than slave to the kitchen.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Tue 09-Apr-13 12:15:45

OP you have got nothing to feel bad about here.

If you doing the cooking and DH cleaning etc works for you then thats fine so not sure why some posters are up in arms about that bit. And why would you need to text the ex about the roast? The kids still ate something decent didnt they? Really confused about that bit tbh.

Good for you on knocking the roasts on the head, if its a meal you enjoy then you can do it in the week instead, and you can have a relatively chilled out weekend.

Stick to your guns, you are not in the wrong here. The loon of a mother is putting far too much importance on a meal of chicken and potatoes, I actually feel a bit sorry for her.

Op, you did nothing wrong. The ex was being a bitch and stirring up trouble for no good reason!

You sound like a brilliant and generous SM, and you are doing abreast job with her children, shame she doesn't appreciate what she has in you.

Not abreast. A. Great. Job!

purpleroses Tue 09-Apr-13 14:43:18

Still struggling to comprehend the nutritionaly difference that some posters seem to believe exists between a roast dinner (say pork and roast potatoes with Yorkshire pudding) and a ham sandwich and packet of crisps - as the ingrediants are almost exactly the same confused If they're hungry they could have eaten two rounds of sandwiches couldn't they? There's no nutritional value in food being hot!

Ragwort Tue 09-Apr-13 14:50:09

I agree purple - there is a typically British obsession with 'proper, hot dinners' grin. You get the same mentality on threads about packed/school lunches - why people can't have two cold meals in one day I genuinely don't know. It's not the temperature of the food that determines whether or not it is a nutritious meal.

Snazzynewyear Tue 09-Apr-13 15:52:20

OP, I think you are doing a good job for these kids and have been underappreciated on all sides. Do they help you make the roast? If not I would be roping them in now if you do decide to do it... maybe then they can teach their mum! (or dad!) wink

Re the 'causing people offence', how you split your household tasks is up to you if that's a matter of preference - if you would genuinely rather iron than wash up so that's how you split the jobs, then of course that's OK. But I am assuming that you can do the washing up if needsbe. What bothers me about your domestic set up is your DP's inability to cook. I once became ill unexpectedly and could never have foreseen it, and ended up spending 5 weeks on hospital. Now (hoping not, of course), say something like that happened to you, presumably your DSC would be consigned to McDonalds and café food all weekend every weekend. And while I'm sure they could manage ok on that, their father ought to be capable of doing more for them. I would really want to say that to him in your position.

Has there been any response from the ex to your text about how she can do the roasts now? grin Will be interesting to see. Quite a few posters have said 'well, go easy on her, maybe she was just stressed and spoke out' etc. IMO, it says a lot about her that she didn't do that for you, and when her kids came home having not had a roast dinner for the first Sunday in years, she didn't think 'That's odd, but as they always usually get well fed, there must be some good reason for it so I'll let it go'. She has shot herself in the foot there.

flurp Tue 09-Apr-13 18:04:25

Really? Ham sarnie and a packet of crisps is nutritionally the same as a roast dinner and as filling????
Are you sure???
I'm not coming round yours for Sunday lunch then gringringrin

Petal02 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:14:36

OP - I know this is taking things slightly off-topic, but how come you have the step kids every weekend? Wouldn't alternate weekends be better for you and DH?

colditz Tue 09-Apr-13 18:24:22

Op, we also have the hassle of roasting and showering on a Sunday. My dsc are nearly eight and ten and get back to their mothers home at 7pm, there is no reason why they can't shower then, but no. Showers have be be done slap bang in the middle of Sunday afternoon, straight after a roast lunch.

Although if I received a shitty message like the one you received, I'd advise her that if she contacted me again shed be subject to a restraining order, because I am NOT a fucking servant.

We shower the kids because they get whined at if they come home I showered. We feed them because apparently, she can't, and believes an adequate meal is noodles on toast. But it is Not My Job.

mumandboys123 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:27:20

allnew So should a pwc be contacting the nrp on each day they are not fed a hot meal while in the pwc's care?

Or does your rule only apply to duty on behalf of the nrp/nrp partner?'

what a ridiculous comment. Like most PWC, I trust my ex to care for our children appropriately when they are with him. I don't question this. I expect him to provide decent food for our children, to keep them clean, safe and appropriately engaged. I am sure he expects me to do the same and sees no reason to question it either. I see no reason for him to tell me the finer detail and he certainly feels no reason to ask me the finer detail of what goes on in my home.

However, if something has happened prior to me handing them over to my ex, I will of course let him know. Been up late so they might be tired? One of them didn't have breakfast as he was having a tantrum - might be hungry later? I've not been well so they've not eaten anything other than soup and sandwiches for 48 hours? These are issues which may well affect how the children behave or feel or interact with other people when they are with my ex. It is polite to let him know what has been happening. It is right to let him know what has been happening because it may well change how he deals with them that day, what they do, where they go, etc. It is reasonable that he knows so that he is able to respond to the children's needs appropriately.

And I don't expect our children to have to act as go betweens between us. I don't expect them to understand that because they went to bed late last night, they might be grumpy by the afternoon and therefore don't expect them to convey that to their father. I expect, as a co-parent, to be kept informed and to inform. Why is that so hard for you to understand? Are you threatened by parents who are able to communicate effectively for the sake of their children? would you prefer that it was all about falling out and arguing so that you feel 'safe' that the PWC's ex has no interest in her? Is it in your interests to be constantly stressed? If one of my children hasn't eaten anything other than a sandwich in the 24 hours prior to him coming to your house, wouldn't you be cursing me for sending you a hungry child and muttering about 'neglect' and 'abuse'?

purpleroses Tue 09-Apr-13 18:28:46

Flurp - Ham and roast pork are both made from pigs
Crisps and roast potatoes are both made from potatoes with a little oil and salt.
Yorkshire pudding is made mainly from flour, as is bread.

You might prefer a roast dinner, but you'd live just as healthily from sandwiches. As to which is most filling, well that depends how much you eat surely?

allnewtaketwo Tue 09-Apr-13 18:30:40

No, I wouldn't curse anyone who looked after my child whilst ill, I would thank them and say I hope they feel better soon hmm

racmun Tue 09-Apr-13 18:44:42

The ex has a bloody cheek.
Different situation but I got blamed for everything with sc and I have taken a step back and refuse to get involved anymore. I have better things to do than be the scapegoat for a jealous exw.

The ex doesn't appreciate what you did for her children. She must know what her exh is capable of making food wise and I'd leave it up to him to make meals for his kids.

With regard to access when he's not around the access is for him to see them not you - if he can't and it doesn't suit you then tell her so.

I am really annoyed on your behalf.

sanityseeker75 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:45:08

Petal We have EW because court ordered and mom wanted it. Yes EOW would be great as my DS goes to his Dads on that basis so me and DH would get some time alone for me to teach him to cook grin

sanityseeker75 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:57:18

Actually momandboys they had eaten more than sandwich in 24 hours. They have in the past come here at 9 on a Sat morning knackered from staying up late and not had any breakfast (so therefore def not eaten in 24 hrs). Ex doesnt inform us of this, they do. DH does not text to question it and neither do I, I just feed them hmm

NotaDisneyMum Tue 09-Apr-13 22:13:51

mumandboys No-one here would dispute that open communication between separated parents is best for the DCs involved, and its abundantly clear that that you have the ideal with your ex - are you oblivious to the fact that most who post here find themselves in less than ideal situations?

If my DP were to tell his ex that DSS had slept badly, not eaten a full meal or been upset after school it would provide her with an excuse to withhold contact. Several SM have posted here about Social Services investigations which have been initiated by the ex using "evidence" of exactly the type of texts/emails you suggest.

Some high conflict couples are actually prohibited, by the terms of court orders, to communicate in the way you describe.

Of course, the majority of SM in those situations know it is not ideal, and many, like myself, recognise that their DP has/is contributing to the ongoing hostilities.

The overwhelming advice given to SM by professionals and experienced SM veterans is 'disengage'. When parents are at war, the Stepparents to often become collateral damage and are advised to stay out if it.

In the case of the OP, the ex wanted to score points against the DCs dad and used the OP to do it. It doesn't matter how the OP chooses to behave, until the parents choose to engage positively, she will continue to get caught in the crossfire.

olgaga Wed 10-Apr-13 00:30:15

What strikes me most about this entire thread is that it's a one-off situation.

The DH told the ex he doesn`t question her so she shouldnt question what they are fed here as one off. He was annoyed and hurt on my behalf.

The more I think about it, the more I'm struggling to understand really why it has become such a huge issue, simply for the sake of a one-off incident. There must surely be more to this.

She has every right to question why the kids hadn't eaten a proper meal - I don't accept that a sandwich and crisps equates to a roast dinner, and my DD (12) certainly wouldn't.

OP you have every right to feel unappreciated and hassled and these feelings were magnified by the fact that you weren't well. However, I think your underlying feelings about the way you seem to be taken for granted are a problem you need to resolve with your DH, not the ex.

You say I am no longer making sure they are showered before they go home and will not cook a roast dinner. Well that's fair enough - you need to tell your DH to step up and pull his weight on a Sunday. As you said, he hardly ever needs to work on a Sunday, this was an unusual situation.

There's no need to go on roastie "strike", or refuse to have the kids showered - but you and your DH are entitled to organise your weekends in a way which suits you. I don't think it's reasonable to insist children of that age are delivered back showered - they can easily shower at home, there's plenty of time before bed given their respective ages.

Perhaps you could give more thought to the suggestion that you and DH start to explore with the kids how they would like their weekends to be organised?

At their age, it's probably about time things evolved and became a bit more flexible.

By the sound of it, she's hardly going to start denying contact!

CalamityKate Wed 10-Apr-13 01:20:29

Sorry but I don't believe your DH can't make beans on toast. My 9 year old can make beans on toast. I'm pretty sure you could teach a chimp to make beans on toast.

A grown adult who can't make such a simple meal is either:
A) unsafe to be allowed out alone or
B) lying out of laziness and the knowledge that if he just acts pathetic enough someone will do it for him.

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 07:40:21

I don't get the showering thing either. People shower and then go about their day right? What is this drama of having to shower children? It's like cleaning your teeth. Just something you do. I keep thinking I am reading a thread about very young children but they are not. Do you think you've all got a bit stuck in routines that worked a while ago and now need to be rethought.

fllowtheyellowbrickroad Wed 10-Apr-13 08:42:42

Well, this is just mental isn't it? Why are the kids being "showered" before going back to their mum's? Who has a shower before the conclusion of the days activities??? Surely people shower before bed/ when they wake up. Ridiculous. And as for the dinner I dont really know where to start.

Theyre not babies. It's not like they were handed back in to mummies arms and left to starve because no one communicated that they hadn't been fed ffs. No one has a god given right to a roast dinner and given that the 13 year old is the age they are I wonde how much longer they'll even be around for that. My DSD is 13 and I don;t think she's made a meal time in the last year. She lives off of sandwichs and plated up this and that. She is usually directed to the pasta and a jar of sauce if she has missed the dinner I have prepared and I sure as hell wont be found slaving over a hot stove when ill to provide her with the meal that her mother deems suitable.

What happens if you have a day out, OP? Do you need to make sure you are at home every Sunday in order to prepare this roast?

If you want to get really finikity (sp??) then is her maintenenace pro-rated? If so, why does she expect you to cater for all these needs on a day that she has them in the evening? I would obviously never ever condone such pettiness but seriously - she can't demand this kind of rubbish.

fllowtheyellowbrickroad Wed 10-Apr-13 08:44:08

I also agree about leaving their domestic arrangements out of it. If it works for them that she cooks, and he cleans then so be it. I don't think that's the issue at all and if he was there I'm sure he would have made the sandwichs etc.

Poor kids that they can't get back home on a Sunday evening and have a shower/snack when they want one!

The mother is micro managing everyone, including the op. am surprised she's allowed to get away with it.

fllowtheyellowbrickroad Wed 10-Apr-13 08:47:39

And furthermore, if I discovered that my ex had gone to work and left my DD's poor stepmum in charge of her I would have asked why she hadn't called me to fetch them and wished her a speedy recovery- not chastised her cooking. Although, my dd is much smaller. Given the ages of the children in the op, if I were their mother I would have asked why they hadnt had the wherewithall to make their own dinner and not make their poor ill stepmother do it.

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 08:49:45

OP, if it's made you rethink your weekends, then brilliant. But please do drop the language of "I got in trouble." You are a not a child.

And these children were given the choice of soup and toast, which they turned down!

Petal02 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:54:26

I keep thinking I am reading a thread about very young children, but they are not. Do you think you’ve all got a bit stuck in routines that worked a while ago and now need to be rethought?

Excellent point nkf. I think Allnew would also agree with you.

OP, just because an arrangement works at one point in time, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever more. Maybe a more age-appropriate arrangement would be better? Even if the ex kicks up a fuss, there’s not much she can do about your choice of menu and whether (or not) the children shower before they go home. Otherwise I could see you ending up in a situation like Allnew and I, whereby you have step children of age 17/18, who still need to be home by 6pm sharp on a Sunday, fed, showered and ready for bed.

allnewtaketwo Wed 10-Apr-13 11:48:40

Agree - sort it out now because they get much older. The rigid routine and requirements that come with it becomes so set in stone that nobody questions it any more (except the lone ignored voice of the SP!) and it almost becomes against the law to do otherwise. Break free and don't end up with young adults so welded to these rules they can no longer be broken sad

sanityseeker75 Mon 15-Apr-13 11:15:29

Thanks everyone - some very useful feedback so I thought I would give a bit of an update.

This Sunday was bliss! I never realised just how tied to routine we were. DH and I sat the kids down on Sat and said we didn't think things were working for everyone as they were so lets come up with a plan to make things better for everyone. DSD let us know that mom had been in "a right mood" (her words all week) so we explained that sometimes adults get just as fed up as children.

I still did ironing yesterday and then went out and met up with a friend for an hour or so for a coffee (this has never happened on a Sunday and I felt like a bit of a rebel). Whilst out I popped to supermarket and got some sub rolls and bits and pieces for kids light lunch. When I got back the kids prepared the stuff for their lunch and made it a bit of a buffet, they seemed to enjoy this (the elder two very much light heartedly lording it over the younger one).

As we were all much more chilled - I had shown DH this thread and said there were some good points about his cooking so once DH took the kids home he actually came in kitchen and helped me get our roast ready (mainly prepping veg etc but little steps and all that).

The only strange part was that DH's ex text at 1.00pm asking if she was having to do the kids dinner still, even though they had been with us all weekend. DH just replied that they would have had a light lunch but if she wanted them to have a roast then yes she would need to do it as agreed!

I am so glad for the advice - especially about the tied routine, I think we had just got so set in routine that we just didn't see how much it was restricting our weekend - anyway this is one very happy bunny todaygrin

piprabbit Mon 15-Apr-13 11:37:27

Sounds like you had a successful weekend.
Dropping a roast dinner on a Sunday lunchtime/afternoon can be very liberating for everyone. Suddenly the family has an extra day to go off and do stuff, visiting people or places, going swimming etc. instead of hanging round the house, preparing/eating/washing up.
It sounds like this minor row might have an unintended silver lining.

olgaga Mon 15-Apr-13 11:49:47

Fantastic news OP!

Petal02 Mon 15-Apr-13 11:53:36

Great news!!!!

ivykaty44 Mon 15-Apr-13 11:59:56

sanityseeker - can you be my dc step mum? They would all love you for the roast dinner each week.

The probelm was the step dc went home and said they had had crisps but didn't say why and then the mum didn't ask why was that then was their a reason was op sick or the cooker broken etc? if she had then it would have been clear.

but I agree with Op best their mum makes their sunday roast from now on and everyone will know where they stand

ChippingInLovesSpring Mon 15-Apr-13 20:31:16

Great news smile Go you!! & thank you for the update, it's always nice to hear what happens afterwards smile

dutchyoriginal Mon 22-Apr-13 15:38:39

So what happened this Sunday? Was it as relaxed?

Petal02 Mon 22-Apr-13 15:52:59

Do update us !!!

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