DH's ex has said we are to have DSD lots this Summer....(29 Posts)
....which is fantastic and something we have been pressing for for years (but not at the expense of DSD's wishes). However, DP's ex had made it quite clear that it is only on the table because she and DSD (her DD, I mean) are getting on so badly and she needs her out of her hair. AIBU to feel very miffed by this? Also, she won't give us enough notice for DH to get much leave, if any, so it will be me at home with DSD (13) and the little DDs.
I am terrified, I find entertaining teens so expensive too and impossible to do at the same time as toddlers. I don't want DSD to feel palmed off, but I don't know how much she likes it here (although I now know that she acts like she doesn't like it 'at home' which makes me feel better). It is to easy to let her play on the computer and read Manga all day. Should I insist on a summer school? We are in a big city and there's lots on offer...art, theatre etc. She is so apathetic though.
Just off loading really....any advice for getting on in the house with a big age gap?
NOt planing to try and organise 'play dates' for her, have tried in the past and it has never worked
Question: is the daughter mother issues just normal teens or does dsd have something else going on that dp's ex hopes that dp can deal with as she can't.
If she is into computers and manga is there the option of something that encourages her interest - there are lots of manga drawing books (not too expensive) and if she is creative enough you could get her to design her own manga and maybe computerise it. It might be what you want to do but might be right up her street and give her something to feel proud of. You can do a lot with basic graphics programs and if she is very enthusiastic (don't quote me) there might be some open source flash programs available and these can be mastered fairly easily to make very good programs/ animations/basic computer games.
Does she like to help with the little ones? Maybe you could give her a (nice) job to do for her little sisters every day? Or even occasionally. Like doing their hair or something (sorry, don't know how old your little ones are). Can she take them to the park so you can get on with something else? Depends a lot on dsd though.
I am positive it is all very normal teen suff at home, obviously compounded by being in limbo between two relatively recently established family units. My DDs are 3 and 1, her mum has DS, 3.
SHe doesnt like her sisters , but that is understandable, and I am over it [nervous twitch emotiocon]. DD1 is getting much calmer about having her here though and pestering her less (they both worship her).
Asking her what she wants to do is a dead end Mrs Jammi....should I just accept the hard to please thing and hope that if she is not actively unhappy, then we are achieving something? She has no friends to meet up with apparently . She is so uncomfortable in her own skin, it breaks my heart, but also takes me to a bad place, as my teendom was spookily similar.
Will investigate the Manga thing further, bet there is more that can be done with the art/ anime side of that. Last summer we booked her on Manga school, it was great but that was a one off, I was praying there would be a new hobby by this year!
Oh what a shame - I'll bet she doesn' dislike them as much as finding teenagedom hard - as you say yourself.
You sound like a lovely caring stepmum, btw, I will have another think about what to do with her when she's there.
Can you do 'girly' things together? Just the 2 of you. Again, depends on her being open to it.
I do think you are doing a fine job though
I made her up today and straightened her hair, 'twas lovely
Thanks for listening guys, it has been a diffucult and unexpected tranistion from big sis style figure (I am only 14 years older than her) to stepmum.
Just a couple of suggestions. Our local library have a lot of activities for older kids in the holidays and many of them are just half day sessions. They have things like using the internet to trace your family tree and even a mini film making session. They also have activities for the younger ones such as storytime so you can all go at the same time and do different things. It might be worth contacting your library to see if they have anything similar.
They also have day courses one on one for a parent and child at the local college this summer - things like cookery, scrapbooking etc and they have a creche for little ones.
Our kids range in age from 1 to 10 and I have another on the way. I find that things like a trip to the beach are suitable for them all as the little ones will make sandcastles while the oldest will read books and listen to her ipod.
How does she get on with you/OH wider family? Would they be willing to help out? I find it's really helpful sometimes to leave the yuonger kids with my Mum while I take the oldest to the cinema or bowling for example, or ask my sister to take the oldest on a shopping trip while I take the younger ones to soft play........
Thanks for the suggestions
TBH, I would expect most 13yr olds to spend most days in Manchester meeting friends (she lives in the sticks north of Manchester, private girls school so wide catchment area. We are close to the centre, very busable) but she just isn't the sort. SHe is very young really.
Have found her a brilliant art summer school though.
DSD's mother shouldn't be using you and your DH for emergency childcare . YANBU.
Summer school sounds like a very very good idea! If you can arrange an interesting activity away from the family every day, you should manage just fine at breakfast, supper and at the weekends!
How about using your DSD to take your DCs swimming with you? That could be fun.
Why not? If dsd's mum lived near us I'd expect us to be the first port of call if she needed emergency childcare.
I can understand your irritation BB if she is only coming to you as it doesn't suit her mum to have her now, and the lack of notice isn't on either.
When dsd comes here she is happy to spend all day straightening her hair and going on the internet - I think the apathy thing is pretty normal . If we do a lot of dd-centred activities (dd is 6) then I make sure I take her out to the pictures on her own or something like that. She loves shopping now too and she enjoys going swimming. She enjoyed going to the holiday club at the sport centre as well and doing trampolining.
Surfermum - and if DSD's mother needs emergency cash, do you pay up too?
I feel if you're divorced the other parent should be first port of call for childcare. Ex and I usually contact each other first. Husband gets upset because his ex phones anyone else she can think of before asking him to look after his daughter.
The more time I get to spend with my kids the better, doing emergency childcare is part of being a parent, resident or nonresident.
I think a lot of 13 year olds are a bit of a pain. I am lucky with dd in that she has lots of friends, but best friend is on holidays next week so she will be a bit lost.
One suggestion is to get her a digital camera - dd spends hours with hers, takes pictures of everything from flowers to the dog. She then puts them on the computer and spends hours more sorting them, editing them, sending them to friends etc. It has been the best value present we have ever got.
I'm not in your situation so I post this with some trepidation. I would just be wary of booking her into summer school in case she gets the vibe that you're packing her off to get rid of her.
It sounds great that you can do girly stuff together though - you obviously get on well with her, which (presumably) is half the battle in the whole step-parenting thing?
That's a good idea maryz.
Anna - if we had the money to give then of course we would help out dsd's mum in an emergency. I'm talking here about not having any food in the house type thing, not running out of cigarettes! Is that what you mean?
Yes, that's what I mean.
My DSSs fully support our (eg DP and my) stance that we are not to provide support services to their mother. They are totally fed up of her attitude that the world revolves around her and that everyone should be at her disposal to help her out. It is not a given that separated or divorced parents should provide emergency childcare to the other parent - no court of law would ever make that part of a childcare or residency agreement.
I don't see it as providing support to their mother, more making sure dsd is OK. Although we have supported her mother when she went through some difficult circumstances because it just felt the right thing to do.
If she took the piss over it perhaps I'd feel differently. You certainly always sound very angry at your dss's mum. But I think I'd still always have at the back of my mind to do what was best for dsd. I wouldn't have wanted her to feel like we wouldn't have her here, or allow her to go hungry just because her mum was being difficult or self-centred.
I'm not angry - I'm firm in my beliefs. And, in our case, we believe very strongly (and the DSSs absolutely believe this too) that we do everyone a favour by not letting their mother get away with having everyone else in orbit around her.
There's nothing wrong with having boundaries .... but equally there's nothing wrong with a child's other parent being the first port of call if they need looking after.
And this isn't emergency childcare. That to me is mum gets run over and someone needs to look after the children type thing. You wouldn't refuse to have your step-children in that sort of scenario would you?
can you expand on "she doesn't like her sisters" - has she said that to you or DH?
Obviously in cases of illness, accident you take care of the children. But the situation that the OP describes is still "emergency childcare" in my book eg unplanned, unforeseen and not taking care of the best long term interests of the child.
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