Just wondering if anyone else has experience of this � My DP and I have been together for 7 years. My DD is 8 (to a previous relationship) and my SD is 10.
SD lives 100 miles away we have her EOW and for most of the school holidays (as often as we can really). We are definitely what I would call a successful blended family and SD and DD have a lovely sibling relationship. My issue is how you deal with inequalities within different households. My DD goes to brownies, attends swimming lessons and gymnastics. I think extracurricular activities are really important and she really enjoys doing them. Yes it�s a pain sometimes doing all the running around (especially working full time also) but the value she gets from them is really worthwhile.
The difficulty we have is that SD�s mum refuses to take her to any activities at all! DP is happy to pay for any activity she might wish to do but obviously she lives too far away for us to take her. SD attends gymnastics when she is here with us EOW but she can�t do swimming lessons here (mid -week only) and dance classes will not let her join as she could only attend EOW also!
I really do feel for her it must be upsetting for her to see my DD doing lots of activities while she is unable to. SD has recently asked for a Cornet for her birthday as she would really like to start doing lessons in her school. DP said yes that�s fine, we both thought it would be lovely for her to learn how to play. After discussion with her mum however it appears she doesn�t really want her to do it as she would have to take her back to school for the lesson one evening a week! It�s then left up to us to explain why she can�t go. The only solution would be to pay for a private lesson EOW but this seems crazy when her school is offering weekly lessons for free!
Her mum doesn�t work, we said we would cover all costs including her petrol ! The only reason she has a car is because DP contributed money towards it, she said she would withhold contact unless he gave her the money!
I am concerned that poor SD will end up with feelings of resentment towards DD (or us) and that will have a detrimental effect on the lovely relationship she has with DD. Just left feeling frustrated and can�t for the life of me understand why any mum would not jump at the chance for their child to get the most out of life.
I know we are all different and have alternate values but my god it just seems to stem from sheer laziness!
Does mum work? I know I find activities a nuisance as I'm running around like a mad woman and it's hard enough finding time for the every day stuff without adding in extra complications. I am also not sure I would be happy to have my ex have some kind of financial hold over me and a hold over my time with my children - I may not do as many activities as some but that doesn't mean I am lazy or miserable or not spending time with my children, does it? Has he offered to pay directly to the activity or pay the ex? I would be reluctant if he wasn't paying me - it's pretty embarrassing to turn up at an activity with a cheque from the ex or to have to say 'here's the ex's phone number, ask him to deal with payment'. Coming at it from a different view point might help.
Few people would buy a cornet for a child without having tried it out for sticking power first - she may hate it. Cannot she not borrow an instrument from the school in the first instance? Are you sure your DP isn't just trying to buy his dd whatever she wants to compensate for not seeing her as much as he would like? Mum may feel she has to counteract this kind of behaviour by not giving the child everything she wants?
I am not sure there is anything you can do about it other than to suggest it's up to the parents what the child does so the 'we' comments feel a bit...full on? Maybe if you're coming across to mum as being over-involved in decision-making about her child she is digging her heels in?
I think it's a little harsh to assume the reason is laziness. If you post on MN and ask for opinions about whether kids benefit from doing lots of after school activities (ignoring the whole issue of blended families), you'll get a wide range of answers - it's one of those issues where there is no clear right or wrong answer, just different opinions.
Keep treating DD and DSD fairly when they are both with you, and don't worry about what is outside your control. Eg you can't give her swimming lessons, but you can all go swimming as a family - most kids much prefer that!
Hi yes mum doesn't work , I know full well how time consuming it can be ferrying Kids here there and everywhere as I do it myself . SD has had cornet lessons previously at primary school and loved it and we were only intending on buying her a second-hand one to start with. Dp is certainly no Disney dad and we don't excessively spoil either off them.
dp does usually pay for anything additional directly as he has provided money for school trips previously only to have sd tell us it hadn't been paid. As the lessons are with school he can pay online so I can't see how that could embarrass her, she certainly doesn't get embarrassed asking for additional items, a £300 pet dog being the latest necessity.
Of course when we have sd with us she is fully involved in everything we do together and we always go swimming together as a family. It just breaks my heart when inevitably over summer holidays etc she sees dd going to her activities and says how much she wishes she could go too. Dp would just love his dd to have the same opportunities as my dd has.
I never get involved in discussions between dp and mum , there is no bad feeling between us , believe me she is more than happy for me to be involved and has even told me how much she appreciates the fact that I treat sd like my daughter.
I suppose it is down to individual ideas of what benefits your kids and I can understand that people have very different parenting ideas. Having known this person however for several years I think I can safely say that when it comes to doing anything that would benefit her daughter she does have a 'can't be bothered' attitude'. That includes parents evenings at school and dental appointments. things have improved slightly since social services paid her a visit a few weeks ago.
Sd's mum is never badmouthed in our home however it is getting more difficult to explain to her why she can't do the same things as her ss.
I suppose there is no answer but appreciate the responses.
Can your DP take the opportunity to have some 1:1 time with his DD while your DD is at her activities? They could created their own routine and traditions that are less dependent on organised clubs but become "their" special time, just the two of them? Even a regular trip to feed the ducks can become something special to just them as they give the ducks names, learn their personalities, see the babies learn to swim, etc.
Family time is important, but it'll be good to give your DSD the opportunity to create memories with her Dad independently of you and your DD. And dare I say it, it may also benefit your DD to learn from the experience of not having taken part in something that her stepsib has.
Can you investigate your local sports centres and high schools for extra curricular programs Over the holidays that your dsd could have a go at? Lots round here run summer school type things so that might help even up the perceived inequality
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