Sweets before dinner

(35 Posts)
user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 09:35:46

I am a mum of a 12 year old, been with my partner 4 years he has 2 children with his ex age 5 & 8. He has a pretty much 50/50 care arrangement with the children and due to this I am quite hands on with them when they are with us and have a good relationship. His relationship with his ex is on good terms 90% of the time. I have a reasonable relationship with her, although she does grate on me somewhat because I don't think she does as much as she can for the children when they are with her in some respects, but I try not to judge and keep this to myself as it is hard being a single mum to young children (been there myself).

My partner is having a few family issues at the moment with ill relatives and on there usual weekday night that they stay with us he needed to be elsewhere visiting hospital, so I said not to worry I will pick them up and take them home and then when he gets home he can spend a bit of time with them before bed. I have done this before, as it is easier to keep arrangements in place than start swapping days etc. I work full time, so text the ex during the day to say I will pick them up on the way through back from work. She replied to say can I feed them tea please because she's got 'nothing in'. I said ok, was a bit disgruntled, she doesn't work, so it probably wouldn't be too difficult to get to the shops and whip up a spag bol, but I agree as I will be making dinner for us anyway.

When I arrive to pick them up, they both sat in the living room each munching their way through a large bag of sweets. I said 'oh have they had dinner then?' she said no. I said 'oh because they're eating sweets, they might not want their dinner' she said 'yer but they said they were hungry and were asking for them'. I said nothing more on the matter, shoes and coated up the kids and took them home. I was seething a bit, because they were hungry because they hadn't been made dinner by their mum and had to wait for me to pick them up (5.30pm) and take them home and make them dinner. Which they didn't eat much of in the end, maybe because they'd been munching sweets.

My partner then gets in from hospital visit and asks what did I say to ex to upset her when I picked them up because she's been on the phone to him kicking off about it. She's given him the 'that woman can't come in my house and tell me how to look after my kids' speech! I don't think that I did a thing to provoke that reaction to be honest, or should I have totally kept my mouth shut??

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DuchyDuke Fri 27-Apr-18 09:40:15

Unfortunately ex is spot on here. You have no right to pass any kind of judgement about the way she parents in her own house unless they are coming to harm. The odd bag of sweets isn’t harmful. Imagine if the new partner of the father of your kid or kids did that; how would you feel? If you have concerns pass it to your partner and let him relay them.

On a side note your partner should not be using you as a substitute parent for his kids. 50/50 parenting is between a child’s parents; not between the child’s mum and stepmum.

user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 09:44:31

I really didn't think that what I said to her passed judgement. I was asking if they'd had dinner since they were eating sweets.

I certainly don't think I'd react like that, especially if said person was going to be making the kids dinner when I have said that I won't.

I am not a substitute parent, it was agreed by my partner and his ex and subsequently me that it was better not to disrupt the kids routine

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DuchyDuke Fri 27-Apr-18 09:47:07

Unfortunately it doesn’t matter what your intentions were, it was how your comments were perceived. Far, far better to keep silent.

Graphista Fri 27-Apr-18 09:51:06

Yea while I agree with not giving sweets right before dinner, not your kids, home or business.

I'd have just served them a smaller portion of dinner or served it later, an extra half hour or so wouldn't have hurt.

user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 09:56:08

I didn't go in her home and ask why they were eating sweets and I didn't say they shouldn't be eating sweets. I simply asked have they had dinner since they are eating them (thought it might be pudding and maybe she had decided to do tea after all) and when she said no I said that they might not want much dinner then, which is true and a fact and yes I did just that, I dished them out less dinner.

Her reaction though led to a torrent of abuse about me to my partner and then abuse towards my partner, calling all the names under the sun which I just feel is completely unfair and unnecessary.

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TwoDots Fri 27-Apr-18 10:29:21

I don't agree with the sweets at all, but unfortunately, like ex's, us step parents also have boundaries, and your comments crossed those really

Best to just ask if they've had dinner. No mention of sweets. No mention of them likely not eating much dinner (comes across as a dig at the mum). Just ask factually then discuss with your partner

I do understand your point of view but you crossed a line


Aprilmightbemynewname Fri 27-Apr-18 10:32:51

In future leave all drop offs and collection to their df if your opinion counts for naff all. And df can make tea also - bet he will be pd off cooking and it be wasted.

TwoDots Fri 27-Apr-18 10:34:13

I do completely understand why you'd be miffed though. She could of fed them dinner if she's not working

lunar1 Fri 27-Apr-18 10:40:41

It's also unfair and unnecessary to have a third party who the mum never chose getting involved in parenting decisions between two parents. You went into her home and made her feel you were looking down on her.

My children often get a bag of sweets on a Friday followed by a late dinner. Nobody's business but mine and their dads.

I imaging the way you said what you said it the issue, there is a lot of sly digs in your posts and she's probably had enough of you.

user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 10:50:50


My partner told ex he wouldn't be able to make normal pick up time due to hospital visit and offered to swap days, she said she preferred to keep routine and asked if I could do pick up, so it was her choice.

I didn't want to enter her home, I was going to stand on the door step, I knocked door and she shouted from inside the house to let myself in and come in, kids in living room etc.

The sweets issue has been brought up by their dad before with her, as it seems whenever he picks them up they are munching sweets, if we bump into them when out and about on days we don't have them, they're munching sweets, and eldest ended up needing dental work a little while ago so it has been discussed, and amicably, before.

Maybe this made it a sore point to her.

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TwoDots Fri 27-Apr-18 10:52:02

Hang on lunar, but the ex is happy to text op asking her to feed the kids when she's been working all day and the ex hasn't. It's fair then, right?

I do feel op crossed a line with her comments but telling her to but out completely is both harsh and unrealistic

For those saying her DP should be doing all this......the op has explained that these are not normal circumstances. She's trying to be supportive of her partner and keep to routine for the kids!!!

colditz Fri 27-Apr-18 10:52:11

You are coming across as rather disingenuous.

She TOLD you they hadn't had dinner. Why comment on the sweets under the guise of not knowing whether or not they've had dinner? You KNEW they hadn't.

You walked into her house and judged her parenting - you didn't have the right to do that and you stung her with it. That's why she is loosing it and having a rage fit - you, a woman she never chose and doesn't want anything to do with, came into her house and looked at the decision she had made for her children and judged it lacking. It comes across in your tone and it would definitely have shown on your face.

NorthernSpirit Fri 27-Apr-18 11:06:47

This is a tough one for you. Personally I think you are right. No sweets before dinner in our house as it ruins the kids appetite (plus sweets are a treat in our house not something to be munched on all the time) but it’s one to keep tight lipped about. How old are the kids?

If the mum doesn’t work and you work PT then it’s poor of her to send them to yours without dinner. ISweets before dinner is a no in our household (so I understand your frustration).

We used to get the same thing. Kids were 7 & 10 when it started. Mum doesn’t work on Fridays. My OH woukd pick them up at 5:30pm for the hours drive back and they would say it’s ok, mums given us dinner - a jam sandwich and a bag of sweets for dinner. Not acceptable as far as i’m concerned. The kids when they got back after 6:30 were starving.

So my OH emailed the EW to say we’d make them dinner on the Friday pick (to save her?) and if she wants to give them sweets give them to my OH and he’ll give them to them after dinner. The kids are now old enough to know if they do eat sweets before dinner and then don’t eat their dinner then there’s nothing else (I don’t run a restaurant) they are old enough to realise.

NorthernSpirit Fri 27-Apr-18 11:07:47

OP - I would say from many of the posts today, there’s lots of EW’s on here but not many SM’s!

user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 11:08:23

Over the 4 years I have been with my partner, ex has always been happy to leave kids with me, often being the one to initiate this request. For example, I have had the kids when it wasn't my partners usual night so he was away with work, but she needed to go to a christening, so asked me have them and I did. Over the past 4 years, there have been a few occasions like that, we have never had a problem between each other, we aren't friends but have always been polite to each other.

So I massively reject this 'I'm some woman that has waltzed into her life and is telling her what to do'. I do appreciate the position she is in and how she might view me, no matter how well things get on, I have been there myself with my exP and a new partner. However, I don't think any of it warrants being an absolute a** to someone who generally tries their best to help you out and be there for the kids if I am needed

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swingofthings Fri 27-Apr-18 11:11:50

I would have been greatly annoyed in your shoes but you can't really defend that your words implied that she was irresponsible or lazy. Indeed better to keep your mouth shut in such instances and let your OH have the discussions with her.

user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 11:15:35

NorthernSpirit you are hitting the nail on the head there. I am not a restaurant. And our Friday night pick ups have been through the exact same situation you described. So Friday's is standard that I make dinner, and they have dinner with us, maybe they eat sweets then too before pick up, they don't always eat much dinner, but I don't care, its Friday and I am glad to be at home, chilling out with loved ones.

Sometimes being a SM, is just being the bad guy no matter what you do

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NorthernSpirit Fri 27-Apr-18 11:23:53

OP - keep your chin up, you are doing your best. Remember you can’t control what goes on at mums house (so never interfere) just like she can’t control what goes on at yours.

Food has been my biggest big bear. The kids eat rubbish at mums (jam sandwiches are a regular dinner item). When I met the kids the only vegetable they ate was baked beans (it’s not even a vegetable)?!

Mum asks what everyone wants and cooks 3 different dinners. My DSD told me last weekend that she’s eaten burger and chips for tea 5 times last week. But you know what? I keep quiet. If mum wants to feed them fast oven food that’s fine.

I cook from scratch healthy home made meals (child appropriate). We agree as a family what we are going to eat and I cook one thing (I don’t run a restaurant and i’m not a short order cook). You aren’t allowed to say it’s horrible (as that’s rude to the person who cooked) and if you don’t eat it (because you’ve eaten a bag of sweets before) then tough, that’s all there is.

Kids soon learn.

Magda72 Fri 27-Apr-18 11:31:37

Well tbh I'd be pretty fed up if my exh's dp passed comment on my giving my kids sweets in my own home.
HOWEVER, if I had specifically asked her to feed my kids as I'd nothing in the house then I would not have disrespected her by asking her to feed them & then stuffing them with sweets before she arrived!!!

user1473756940 Fri 27-Apr-18 11:33:44

NorthernSpirit This is exactly the same as me! Mum doesn't cook and is mostly jam sandwiches, tins of spaghetti etc, but she is very up front about the fact she is a rubbish cook, which is fine and that's up to her and I have always seen it that way. I then make a special effort when they are with us to make fresh meals with plenty of veg and get them exploring some more interesting foods.

On this occasion, it wasn't a normal night they would eat with us, but as she had asked me to feed them, I had picked up something on the way home (meatballs and pasta) that I knew they would like and eat with no complaints.

I don't think she is lazy or irresponsible, I have been a single mum I know how hard it is and sometimes the best you can do is whack some beans in the microwave.

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Bananasinpyjamas11 Fri 27-Apr-18 11:44:13

I think if you are parenting and picking them up then it’s fine to say what you did. You were taking over the role of carer and it’s just something she either had to suck up or have a word with you if she was unhappy.

The fact she wanted your DP to take sides is jeuvenile and manipulative. He’s not her mate!

Bananasinpyjamas11 Fri 27-Apr-18 11:46:46

Also I think I’d be cross with DP, if he doesn’t want you parenting then he can do it!

swingofthings Fri 27-Apr-18 12:03:00

So another case of a SM working FT yet doing being responsible with the SC duties. Why? It's the husband who is the issue he should be sorting meals for his children. Why can't he do the cooking when his children are with you?

TwoDots Fri 27-Apr-18 12:37:55

Swing read the op, op is helping her dp our at the moment. Sometimes that's what partners do for each other

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