Out of interest...

(37 Posts)
mumandboys123 Tue 03-Dec-13 18:22:18

...how many of you involve yourselves in your step children's schooling? My ex has literally just moved in with the latest girlfriend (third live-in girlfriend in 5 years, countless other women mentioned by children over that time as well) after knowing her for no longer than about 4 weeks. Children like her and all seems fine. I am put out, however, in that she has started writing in my children's reading record books. I know I should be grateful she is interested and supporting them (and I am, honestly, after several girlfriends who have behaved very badly towards our children) but I just feel she's over-stepped a bit? To add insult to injury, I work full time as a teacher and so can't attend my children's school plays. My mum usually goes on my behalf - the school only gives out 2 tickets per family. I have always asked my ex what day he wants and ordered him a ticket...I discovered today that he's removed the paperwork from the children's bags and ordered both tickets for the Xmas play without telling me (so my mum now can't go and presumably - I might be wrong- the girlfriend will be attending). I have never met her, it is a new relationship, she has seen our children about 4 times in total....

I know it's unreasonable. I'm just interested in at what point you got involved in this kind of thing or indeed, whether you consider it off-limits (or not).

jenniferlawrence Tue 03-Dec-13 18:28:28

My hubby and I were together acoue of years before I wrote in their reading records or went to school events. I didn't see that it was my place before that. Even now, after 8 years I leave most if that to my husband and just get involved if I'm needed.

She sounds pretty keen to get involved.

jenniferlawrence Tue 03-Dec-13 18:30:12

*a couple

I used to be involved when SS was primary age, as I'm a teacher and no one else was interested (ie SS's mum or dad). The tickets thing is absolutely out of order though!

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Dec-13 19:09:13

I don't involve myself.

Angelina77 Tue 03-Dec-13 19:18:19

I would happily be involved in my partner's daughters education but sadly his ex doesn't send her homework when she stays with us. And she also didn't even tell him that she was in a Christmas play. Spiteful cow.

Sorry, just wanted to get that out.

nefelibata Tue 03-Dec-13 19:22:57

Angelina, can I ask why your DP couldn't have found that out for himself? hmm it's not hard to check with school around this time of year to make sure you're in the loop with notices surely? I don't think spiteful cow is really merited!

Angelina77 Tue 03-Dec-13 19:34:33

She's in reception (4 yo) so it never occurred to him. He's phoned the school and the last show is tomorrow so he's going to try and go. He's going to introduce himself to her teacher tomorrow and try to get separate info sent to us from now on. (We live 50 miles away btw).

It would've been very easy to let him know, I think she didn't because she doesn't want to see him which is selfish and wanting him to miss out on this IS spiteful, imo.

mumtobealloveragain Tue 03-Dec-13 19:41:22

In our case, I am very much involved in the DSC schooling as much as my partner is and probably more than their mum is. We have 50/50 residency of his two primary aged children and they go to the same school as my two middle children who are nearly the same ages-ish.

We are not married so I guess not considered "step mum" by marriage but the school are very good and have no problems with me doing things for them. My partner works full time and I'm a at home mum so lots of school runs etc are down to me.

Your specific question/issue about reading books/reading records is one that my DSC's mum also raised abut a year ago. She was unhappy that I was reading/doing their homework with the DSC and unhappy that I was writing in their school link books. It wasn't/isn't always me, perhaps half the time and the other half the time my DP would do it. Their mother asked that I no longer did their homework with them, read with them etc as she felt it was a "mum" task and she felt put out that I was doing it sometimes. However, homework bought home when the DSC were with her was often not done ( was left til after it was due in and given to DO to do with them whilst they were with us. Their mum would only read with them occasionally not every night like the school ask for parents to do. This is still the same. Her reasons (perfectly valid and we appreciate it up to her what she does during the DSC time with her) was she was too busy sometimes, she had to work late etc. My DP pointed this out to her and he said surely if he wasn't available to read with them and do their homework then it's better they do it with me than not at all? She disagreed and said she'd rather they didn't do it at all! However I've carried on doing it and it hasn't been mentioned again so she must have realised she was being a bit silly and that he had a point!

With your ex.. Is his g/f doing it because he is not always able to and this she is trying to be helpful? Or perhaps she is just trying really really hard to make a good impression on the kids by showing interest in their work, on him by displaying what great step mum potential she has and perhaps on you by demonstrating she is being "nice" to your children.

About the school play tickets. Our school also gives 2 per child. We have it so the child's parents (DSC and my own) have first dibs on one ticket each and if not wanted then step parents and other relatives get to go. So if he's ordered both then really he needs to give you one so your mum can go (your ticket) if you can't. If not wanted then he could have both and take his g/f with him. You need to get this sorted now this year as next year you may want to go yourself and he might do the same thing! I would speak to the school office first thing tomorrow if the actual tickets haven't been distributed as yet and explain, I guess they are aware of the shared residency situation anyway. Ask that he is given one and one is given to you. We often ask for things to have mine or DP's name on and left in the front office to collect as often things go home with DSC on a day they are are their mums and we never see them.

Or maybe she's just over stepping the mark and being an interfering cow! I'm guessing you're worried that this could just be the start of things to come

mumandboys123 Tue 03-Dec-13 19:55:40

I don't honestly know what I think. I know it's unreasonable to be annoyed about the reading so I'll have to live with it. I also know that it's not unreasonable to be annoyed about the tickets.

We don't do shared residency - I have a Residence Order. He does currently see them regularly but has a history of ducking out (for girlfriends) for months at a time. No maintenance. General shanningans!

Yes, I am concerned it's the start of things to come. And I can't bear it all again. My life is stressful enough without him point scoring continually and we did have a truce, albeit uneasy. We are now back to him refusing to say where he lives (fortunately, 20 minutes on the internet sorted that out for me although of course he has no idea I know where he lives now) and now this....We'll see what happens!

MatryoshkaDoll Tue 03-Dec-13 20:58:25

I don't involve myself in that stuff. But no doubt some on MN would think I'm a horrible person and don't care about my DSD because I'm not 'treating her like my own'.

This is why you can't ever win.

I never get invited to the school play either - even though DP and I always make the costumes together.

riverboat Tue 03-Dec-13 21:01:39

I would never write in my DSS's school book unless his dad wasn't able to for some emergency reason. And I'd be mortified if I thought I had stepped on any toes by denying other famiy members tickets to school things in taking them myself. That said, I might sometimes like to go to DSS's school plays/events myself. But DP and I would negotiate it with DSS's mum, who we get on well with.

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Dec-13 21:19:04

I don't involve myself in that stuff. But no doubt some on MN would think I'm a horrible person and don't care about my DSD because I'm not 'treating her like my own'.

This is so true!! Quite pathetic really.

MatryoshkaDoll Tue 03-Dec-13 21:25:04

Of course, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I entered into a relationship with a man who had a child, and therefore I should love her as if she were my first born, but GOD FORBID I should ever get involved in her education.

<sarcasm face>

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Dec-13 21:46:54

First born? Lol, yeah right. I don't recall pushing a baby out back in 2005 when I was 15 hmm

MatryoshkaDoll Tue 03-Dec-13 21:49:14

Someone said that to me on here once. That DSD was technically my 'first child' and for me to treat her as anything else was proof that I was a terrible, selfish person.

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Dec-13 21:53:31

Yep, someone said it to me as well and it really got my emotions going, because it took the specialness away from my own children, particularly DS1 who is my first born. When people say a stepchild is your "first born", they are completely disregarding the relationship you have with your own children.

MatryoshkaDoll Tue 03-Dec-13 21:57:05

I don't know why some people are so threatened or discomfited by the idea that a woman can have a perfectly nice, functional, caring, respectful relationship with a step child without loving them or wanting to mother them in the same way they do their own children.

Why is that so upsetting?

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Dec-13 22:07:16

I'm with you on that one. I have more of a "friend" relationship than a "mother daughter" one with my partner's daughter. She has a mum already and doesn't need me to be a sub for her mum on the days she is here with us. I am a female figure, and if people accepted that without getting all up in arms about how I should mother them the same way as I do my two boys then I would relax and enjoy the role that I play in her life and enjoy the relationship I have with her. But I am constantly defensive because of other's expectations of me and I become detached as I don't want to be a mother to my DSD.

needaholidaynow Tue 03-Dec-13 22:13:34

Hence why I don't get involved in her schooling, but just show an interest if she's telling me about something she enjoys, etc. But I don't do the school runs, do homework with her, go to parents evenings, go to school plays or anything like that. It's just something that I don't get involved with.

I pay for her dinner money though which probably gets overlooked. hmm

lunar1 Tue 03-Dec-13 22:21:29

I think a step parent who has a long standing role in a child's life is fine to get involved in homework, plays and everything else if that is how things develop.

I don't see how it can be appropriate for someone to be so involved who has met them four times. Do you think he uses his revolving girlfriends to fulfil his role as a parent? My boys have met the woman who works in the post office way more than 4 times but I'm not about to hand her today's reading book.

I've written in the reading records of children that I have babysat, so I think that it is reasonable for a step parent/girlfriend to do it too if they have been the one to listen to reading. I just thought it was who ever listened to reading that night.

The school play thing on the hand sounds entirely inappropriate to me.

stepmooster Wed 04-Dec-13 04:16:29

Well I help my DSS with his homework, I'm a maths and science geek and DH is not. DH signs the diary, although the ex doesn't like DH to sign anything. DH doesn't get letters from school even though he's always nagging HOY. We've only just got the photo form after 6 weeks of asking.

I think DH would order the 2 tickets if he were ever able to get hold of the form. After years of the ex and whoever she wants to take along getting first dibs he'd want to go along with a plus one for a change. Usually DH has to go on a waiting list for spares.

Maybe your ex thinks as your side had the spare ticket (the one you didn't want) last time its his turn now?

I think if you're not going then don't kick up a fuss. If you make a battle out of everything you're relationship with your ex will never improve.

Be quietly miffed that some other lady is being introduced to your children's lives. If she is nice and the kids like her then cut her some slack.

Its not easy staying in a long term relationship with someone whose ex is very critical of everything. Its early days and she's probably trying too hard, but at least she is trying.

Why won't your ex pay CM? What is his reason/excuse?

ZombieMojaveWonderer Wed 04-Dec-13 07:14:33

I don't get involved and nor do I want to be as I have enough to be getting on with regarding my own children. We never hear anything anyway about his kids in between visits and we certainly don't know anything about christmas plays not that we would be invited. The ex is slowly trying to faze my husband out of his kids lives but he's hanging in there.

mumandboys123 Wed 04-Dec-13 07:49:23

ah yes, stepmooster, don't know why I expected anything less.

It is not my ex's 'turn' at school plays. I am a fair and reasonable person who has ensured that he has the ticket he wants for the school plays every time, on time. What he has done this time is deliberate, aimed at causing problems. All he needed to ask was 'would you mind if just this once, I had the second ticket? I know your mum enjoys attending but I'd like to take X this year' and that would have been the end of it. But instead, it is all cloak and dagger and forgetting that the children have two families and two sets of people who want to be in their lives. It was a hostile move on his part, he knows it, and it was intended to cause upset and hassle. And yes, I will make a fuss because it was unreasonable and is an attempt at removing my family from our children's lives. But I guess it's OK when it's the NRP doing it and not the PWC, eh?

Are you suggesting that there are situations when it is OK not to pay maintenance? (Other than periods of illness, unemployment?). You would have to ask my ex why he pays no maintenance. He gets away with it because he's self employed - when together, he earned more than £100k a year. He's mortgage free so he should be able to afford something. The CSA are about to go to court for a Possession Order of his home so we'll see how that pans out. In the meantime, I manage and my mum has helped out which has been a godsend, particularly in securing the roof over our heads. Did I mention that my ex let the family home go to repossession so my credit is shot, I have no access to credit anymore which has made life very difficult. My mum's contribution meant we are now mortgage free. So perhaps it's acceptable, on that basis, that he makes no contribution? After all, I just sat on my fat backside the whole marriage - working three jobs until we had children, as well as helping him build a business which didn't pay our mortgage but did pay his girlfriend a salary for many years whilst we were married? I owe him, don't I?!

I am not hostile or critical of the girlfriend. I have nothing at all to do with her and as little to do with my ex as possible. I have not mentioned anything. I was simply taken aback by her contribution and wondered if it was 'normal', particularly so early on. I have no real issue with it. I do, however, have concerns about the 'type' my ex goes for - the woman he left me for used to slap our children across their faces, hence why I have a Residence Order and he was ordered not to see them with her. At one point, he moved in with her for 18 months and had no contact with our children during that time - his choice. This latest girlfriend knew him less than 4 weeks before agreeing to move in with him (if she knew him any longer he was cheating on her/the previous girlfriend) and at that point she had never met our children. She also has a child of her own so forgive me if I am somewhat cynical about a woman prepared to 'risk all' and expose her child to a relationship with someone she couldn't possibly know in any shape, size or form.

Dumpylump Wed 04-Dec-13 08:02:25

Gosh.......you might not be hostile or critical of the girlfriend, but you certainly are with stepmooster!

I would try to look at it that at least they have someone else in their lives that is interested in helping them and achieving what they are capable of. I wouldn't be happy about the tickets though especially since relationship is so new and presumably your mum would like to go too. my sc have the four of us who are all involved I imagine sometimes when we are all nagging about the same issue they wish we weren't but they have four adults who love and support them and who they could turn to if they needed help and surely that can only be a good thing even if it is a bit hard to get used too. perhaps if they stay together it could work out u do u Derraid your concern though if it's a regular thing to change girlfriends and such

Do understand your concern that should beblush

AliceinWonderhell Wed 04-Dec-13 09:05:07

It all depends how much energy you have to deal with these issues and which have the most significant affect on your DCs.

If your Mum not being at the play, or their Dads DP signing their spelling book, causes the DCs significant distress, then that's what should be prioritised for change.
If the effort of pursuing child maintenance is creating stress and exhaustion and without it, your DCs will be homeless or in poverty, then it's probably sensible to let the lower priority issues slide and pick your battles.

If you have the energy&time to address everything they your ex does that you dislike or disagree with - can you share your secret, please?!? wink

stepmooster Wed 04-Dec-13 09:09:02

Pls point out where I said your ex should not pay you maintenance!

Ffs I never think acceptable if the nrp has means to do so.

My point is you can choose to let your ex wind you up and bite every time or you can get let it go.

You have to stop assuming every stepmother on the planet either the ones your children have or the ones on here are like the lady who slapped your children. We are not.

If you rant away to your ex like you do to me then he's going to behave like an arse some more.

My DH ex is a complete bitch and when she does something last minute or cuts DH out or has a dig about our family. I have to calm DH down so he doesn't bite. For the life of me I don't know why she cannot accept that DH is happy and I guess she gets a kick out of messing with him. If you ignore this shit he will get bored.

So at the end of the day your childs homework diary has been signed off by another adult when not in your care, and your mum can't go to the play (which if you both went as a together family) she wouldn't go either.

Yep carry on biting and ranting to your ex, or just ignore the small stuff and save your energy for screwuing the bastard for CM.

stepmooster Wed 04-Dec-13 09:11:45

Btw are you expecting to approve of every new girlfriend your ex has?

Maybe he introduces them early cos he's a twat and knows it gets to you?

MatryoshkaDoll Wed 04-Dec-13 09:23:45

Your ex is a prick. He's the problem you need to worry about. Not whether his current girlfriend is trying too hard with your DS.

Kaluki Wed 04-Dec-13 10:39:23

I signed DSD's reading book for the first time this week. I heard her read and she gave me the pen and I signed it for her without thinking. I have been wondering if his ex would mention it but so far she hasn't! My dcs stepmum often does it too and it has never occurred to me to mind!
As for the tickets, we always get 4 and I give 2 to my ex and I either take DP or my Mum. Fairest way.
DP has never been to a school play for his dc. The tickets are all given to his exs family. A friend of his has dc at the same school and he recorded it last year and gave DP a copy but his ex found out and accused the friend of shit stirring so I doubt he will do it this year!!!
You see not all exs and stepmums are the same. I am a PWC and don't see my dc as possessions, they are mine and my exs and we both love them and want the best for them. DPs ex thinks they are just HER kids and if she had her way DP would never see them again.

mumandboys123 Wed 04-Dec-13 15:35:04

my mum not being at the play will upset the youngest child, yes. Very much so. It probably won't be so much an issue to the other two. I have no issue with the reading - just felt it was a bit 'crossing the line' given the early stages of their relationship. It's obviously a grey area - some step parents are involved, some aren't. I can live with it and I wouldn't have said anything because I see how silly it would be - why complain the children are seemingly being cared about?

Stepmooster - my apologies. I had a bad night last night! There is no ranting at my ex. I have no contact with him other than a handover once a fortnight (takes less than 2 minutes) and the odd e-mail or text, neither of which could (rarely) be described as 'ranty'. He doesn't get bored - I have ignored it and ignored it and ignored it....for over 5 years now! It's a huge game he plays - only when a relationship is 'serious'. I guess he needs to prove to any new girlfriend that he's in charge. Hence the concerns we have another one who doesn't know where the line is.

stepmooster Wed 04-Dec-13 17:43:06

Apology accepted.

Ive been thinking, in the run up to their hearing, DH ex did some pretty annoying stuff to get at him. Its like she knew the judgement would be in his favour and she was determined to blindly go along with it wasting tens of thousands of pounds.

Perhaps your ex is the same, using the kids as pawns to get at you because he knows deep down he's wrong but can't admit it.

You are winning and he doesn't like it.

Hopefully once its all over and you hopefully get what is owed to you things will improve.

mumandboys123 Wed 04-Dec-13 19:32:45

Oh yes, he's very much in the wrong, about so many things, and he'll never admit it. The re-writing of history that has gone on is....incredible. I step into the twilight zone on an almost daily basis!

I'm not sure we'll ever get the maintenance the children are due. I would happily settle for far less if only he would pay something, regularly. The loop holes around self employment are huge and I'm not sure we'll get the Order in court anyway. We'll see.

allnewtaketwo Wed 04-Dec-13 21:00:56

I personally think its wrong of her to write in the child's reading record. Not in all SP situations, but certainly in the one you describe. I personally take nothing to do with my DSC schooling a) I have neither the time nor the inclination and b) they already have 2 parents.

The play tickets is also wrong, you and ex should each have a say in how your share (I.e. 1 ticket each) is used

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