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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 13-Jan-13 14:14:59

I would find the money to go halfs even if it meant i had to cut back in other areas.

Reaa Sun 13-Jan-13 14:17:11

No harm in asking

Pseudo341 Sun 13-Jan-13 14:17:39

YABU It's not because of her financial situation that your kids are missing out, it's because of your and your ex's financial situations. She's not finanacially responsible for your kids. It does seem a bit off that they have to go and watch though, they should be doing something else with their Dad while the others are off on their expensive activities. I have to admit she does seem a bit mean, I'd like to think in her position I'd be bending over backwards to make step DC feel welcome and treated fairly, it's hardly going to be encouraging brotherly/sisterly love if things are so uneven, but ultimately her money is nothing to do with your kids.

wewereherefirst Sun 13-Jan-13 14:20:04

They're not her children, a FF wage is quite a good wage overall and he should pay as should you. Your DC's are of no financial responsibility to you and why beg her?

wewereherefirst Sun 13-Jan-13 14:20:31

No responsibility to her

heyannie Sun 13-Jan-13 14:22:01

I don't think she should pay for children who are not her own to do things, but can't your ex take your children and the twins elsewhere to have fun rather than have them sit on the sidelines looking at what they could have won?

She sounds mean, not because of the money thing but because she expects the children to have to sit around watching, when really they could all do something affordable instead.

If she wants your ex to spend the same amount of money on all of his children, he should also spend the same amount of fairness and attention on them. If it were me, I would say "well on my own I can't afford to pay for all of them to do X, so I will take them to Y instead which is affordable for all, rather than just pay for half of them to do X".

Have the children said how they feel about it? Do they feel left out or jealous? Sometimes as a kid I used to stay at weekends with a friend who had tap and ballet classes on a Saturday morning. There was no way my family could afford that kind of thing, so I had to sit watching through the window. I really wanted to join in but it didn't make me sad or envious as such, it just meant I made up my own dancing at home. But that was less frequent than what your children are facing, if it's week in, week out, I can see how it might build up to resentment.

RedHelenB Sun 13-Jan-13 14:22:31

Two separate issues imo. No, your dcs should not have to watch the others do activities BUT it is up to your ex to fund them not the step mother. He really needs to put his foot down & say he is treating all his kids the same.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 13-Jan-13 14:22:40

It sounds to me that this woman has cleverly ring-fenced her money so that HER children benefit. In my experience, few step-mothers think that children from a previous marriage deserve the money they get from their fathers. If your daughter gets half a pony, that's half a pony less for her own kids. That's her maths and I think you'll find a pretty stony wall around it.

I don't think you're going to have any luck with this and if you're already fighting with our ex, she's not going to be too pleased, either.

VonHerrBurton Sun 13-Jan-13 14:23:45

I spend a lot of money on ds's activities. To the 'outsider' it would appear we had money to burn. We most certainly don't. However it's not her job to pay for your kids' activities and if it was me I would find a way of going halves, for my dignity's sake if nothing else.

What wouldn't go down well with me is my kids watching hers. No way. Just no way.


trixymalixy Sun 13-Jan-13 14:26:14

No I don't think you should ask her. You should be asking your DH to do something different with the DC than making them sit and watch their step siblings.

atacareercrossroads Sun 13-Jan-13 14:26:15

Yabu, you and he need to sort this out. Would you want to go begging to her anyway? Id rather shit in my hand and clap tbh

twinklesparkles Sun 13-Jan-13 14:26:18

Yabu... He pays for half and she pays half for the kids they have together

You should pay half and he should pay half for the kids you have together

Tryharder Sun 13-Jan-13 14:26:42

YANBU. Your XH and his DW should treat all their children the same whether they are 'full' or 'half' siblings. Your DCs are being treated like fucking Cinderella.

You can't afford to pay for ponies and what not which is why your DCs don't have them at your house. But when they are at their Dad's, they should have access to exactly what the other children have.

I can't understand why anyone would think that is unreasonable or why this woman is mistreating her own children's siblings.

ThingummyBob Sun 13-Jan-13 14:28:15

Firefighters are on a very good wage imho. THey also have more than 50% of their time off work and very many of them hold second jobs.

Get your ex to either pay for his kids activities or to arrange a suitable alternative for their time together. Its not fair on his first children to have to sit and watch their siblings week in week out. I don't think that even children who live together all the time would be expected to sit and watch the others' activities week in week out, with no chance of ever being ale to join in, or without their own activities to look forward to, iyswim?

catsmother Sun 13-Jan-13 14:28:17

Difficult situation.

TBH, I don't think you can ask SM to pay for your kids' activities as they are the responsibility of you and your ex which mean any activities they do should be paid for between you - however you divvy up the percentages.

On the other hand, it's undeniably "off" (at best) and arguably "cruel" (at worst) to expect children of very similar ages - and who, after all, are close relations ! - to regularly sit through (I think occasional spectating is okay as siblings often have to do this - but only when the do-ers and the watchers even out), as spectators only, the sort of things they themselves would really like to experience too. It's very divisive and for young kids, who don't understand finances, let alone the emotions in a step scenario, they would probably most likely think that their dad's "other" kids are being favoured.

If your ex and his wife want their kids to do particular activities then that's fine - up to a point - but when sorting out both finances and practicalities they also need to consider the impact of that on his other responsibilities - i.e. his other kids. So far as I can see - the answer would be to either ensure that his "other" kids only do said activities when their half-siblings are not there - so there's no "them and us" sitiuation, or, your ex should speak to his wife and firmly point out it's rotten to expect small children to have to watch exciting stuff their brothers are doing on a regular basis and that if she wants them to do this it's all the kids or none of them. At that point, if it means that he stumps up "more" money for the children who don't live with him then so be it. The alternative is that all the kids do some other form of cheaper activity all together. I don't think in a situation like this you can ever be completely and totally exact down to the very last £ but it's more the principle that you simply don't carry on with a situation where some kids are being left out. Kinda strikes me that your ex needs to put his foot down with his wife if she'd object to either of the solutions I've suggested.

Alternatively, she organises someone else to take "other" children to their activities so the non resident children can stay with their dad and aren't having their faces rubbed in it. Though it'd be much much better of course if all the kids could do something together with their dad.

wewereherefirst Sun 13-Jan-13 14:28:36

'She' isn't doing anything its all down to OPs XH

YWBU to ask her to pay for your kids to do activities, would you pay for her children to attend something your children do?

I think you need to ask your ex to take them somewhere else and do something else though, your childrens time with their dad shouldn't be taken up by watching other kids do activities.

allnewtaketwo Sun 13-Jan-13 14:34:25

It's up to her what activities she finds for her own children. She has no obligation or need to fund yours. Your children should be living within the joint means if both their own parents, as they would be if you were still together. I think the issue here is how your ex spends the time with your joint children. Would it make more sense for him to collect them after the DT's activities, then they wouldn't have to watch?

sue52 Sun 13-Jan-13 14:35:05

I can understand your anger OP. Your ex is way out of line to flaunt the inequalities in front of his children. Horrible to treat his own kids from his first family as second class cinderellas. He and his current wife should have more empathy.

CSIJanner Sun 13-Jan-13 14:36:13

What Cats and Trixy said. It's unfair for your DC's to spend their time with their father watching siblings do more exciting or expensive activities from the sidelines. Either XH & DW find someone else to take the twins, rechedule or find something cheaper to do all together. You can ask DW to help fund but I think she would probably and rightly say no as it's not her responsibility to find yours and your XH children. XH needs to stump up.

XH DW does realise that she will be seen as the evil stepmother in this scenario (akin to rubbing your children's noses in it) even though she is essentially thinking of her biological children? Trouble is that step siblings can be forgotten and as Red Helen says, XH needs to grow some balls and state that he is now treating all of his children the same.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 14:37:23

YANBU to want them to be included.

I don't think it's practical to expect your daughters to be able to take part in show jumping competitions if they only spend ever other weekend with their Dad. But,you say the Step mums older daughters have multiple ponies? Couldn't their Dad take them to ride the ones not being used whilst Step mum takes the other two to the competitions? They cannot need all the ponies with them for each show? No extra money would be spent and the ponies would get a ride out when they otherwise might not/might have to pay the stables to do it.

I do think that how they do their fianances is none of your business at all though. And for what it's worth,their way is the only way I would even consider doing it with a partner. Even though I am the lower earner.

CrazyChristmasLady Sun 13-Jan-13 14:40:11

She should not have to find activities for yours and your exs children at all and you shouldn't ask her. How they split their finances has nothing to do with you and if your ex won't fund these activites and you cannot afford to meet him halfway then unfortunately they can't take part in them. They sound like very expensive hobbies.

However, they should certainly not have to go and watch every week. That seems cruel. Can't your ex take them somewhere and meet his wife and their children after? I don't see why they need to be dragged along each time!

SkinnybitchWannabe Sun 13-Jan-13 14:40:35

YABU to expect her to pay. Its up to you and your ex.
Why do your dc have to go and watch all the time? Couldnt your ex take them somewhere else whilst the other kids do their activities? Seems very unfair of him to drag them along all the time.
He could find activities to do with them that dont cost the earth, go to a park, bike ride or have a games morning at home?

SantasENormaSnob Sun 13-Jan-13 14:42:19

I don't think it's up to her to pay towards your dc.

Maybe you and your ex could pay half? Or he could take them elsewhere.

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