Feeling undermined

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Feeling undermined
5
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 3:50pm
Hi guys...I'm sitting here feeling undermined and thought I'd share my feelings here with you where I know I'll be understood. My husband and I each have two kids and we all live here in our home. This afternoon I had my step-daughter grounded in her room until it was cleaned...that meant closet, floor, clothes, junk...you know, the works. My husband knew of my plans and was in complete agreement. Well I get a call from him saying that her mom called him and wanted to come and get her for the rest of the day and all of tomorrow. Seems she wants her to babysit tomorrow. He called to tell me she was on her way and asked what I thought about it. I told him that she had just gotten started on her room, and he realized she was cleaning her room, but said she could do that when she comes back on Sunday. I told him that pretty much undermines my authority. He started sounding frustrated and said he felt in the middle and didn't know what to do. He asked what he should do. I wanted to tell him to stick with me...tell her mom no, have her come get her after her room was done...but I didn't. All I said was that I didn't want to tell him what to do because that makes me the bad guy. I told him he had to make his own decision. Was that a good thing? Should I have told him what to do? I think he would have gotten upset with me. He called me back and told me that he told his ex about the grounding and that she was already on her way. So...her mom came to get her and she left. Guess she'll just have to finish it on Sunday when she comes home. So what are your thoughts on this issue? Do I just take my place as the second fiddle step mom? That's how I feel sometimes. Thanks for listening.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 8:12pm
I'm not in a 2nd marriage but read your post and since no one else responded thought I'd give an objective opinion. Sounded like you handled it all right. However, if I were you I would have told my husband how I felt if he would have said something to the effect of not knowing what to do. If the daughter had already started to clean the room I don't see any problem in just waiting till she was done then taking her over to her mother's place. If the mother got pissed off about that I would have simply said something calm and logical in response, in a way that if the mother did respond negatively it would look bad on her part (in my job I work with a lot of "difficult" people so have acquired this non-confrontational and anti-confrontational way of speaking and it takes practice and patience to utilize this type of stuff). Does the mother "butt" in on some of your decisions? From your post I got that impression. I mean was she aware that the daughter had chores to do? Don't sweat it. It's got to be hard dealing with a 2nd marriage and step kids. Takes a lot of patience and communication and compromise. I've grown up with step and half siblings so from that end I know it's hard. It makes it harder when the grown ups can't get along too. As long as you and your H have good communication, which means saying how you feel and what you want, then it should be all right. Even if he doesn't agree with what you say at least you know you put it out on the table and he will know where you stand. And you will know where he stands too. Best wishes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 7:22am
Though continuing with the punishment is the right thing for you to maintain a certain level of authority and respect with your sd, you can't do what is always rights. If you put your foot down, then the mother is mad, the daughter is seeing you as coming between her and her mother and you are the bad guy. I would have let her go just to maintain the peace, but would have made it clear that the room gets cleaned as soon as she walks in the door. Also, I make it a point to tell my ex when our son is grounded. Though I won't keep them from seeing each other, if the ex chooses to continue the punishment at his house fine. It shows the parents are working together. My son at least gets a lecture.
Avatar for mellen130
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 2:13pm
In this instance, I think you handled it correctly. You do not want to get yourself in the middle between mother and daughter.

Do you guys have a set visitation schedule or is BM able to just come get your SD whenever she wants? If there is a set schedule, I would think that you should try to schedule chores like room cleanings, etc., for times when she is supposed to be with you so that you won't have a conflict.

However, if there isn't a set visitation schedule, then I could see that this could be a recurring problem for you. In that case, I think you do need to speak with your DH about staying firm with you in future cases like this. Basically, the fact that he called you to say that his ex called him and was on her way to pick up SD and that he wanted to know what you thought about that shows that he KNEW he wimped out on it. Yes, he felt he was in the middle, but hey, he IS in the middle and he needs to have a backbone -- he should be telling BM that SD is cleaning her room because she has to and that he'd be happy to drop her by when he's done! Even if he felt it was important for your SD to babysit for BM, he should have said that she was in the middle of cleaning her room and that you guys would bring her by later that evening. That way, even if she didn't finish, she would have gotten a bunch of it done rather than just getting out of it completely.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 1:20pm
I agree!!! I think SD was just trying to get out of it, so she used her BM to get out of it. LOTS of stepkids use "the one parent against the other" to get off the hook on doing various things.

I think that it was good of you to let BM pick SD up. Otherwise, you would be accused of coming between the two of them. However, I would let DH know that in no uncertain terms that you felt the way he handled it was not appropriate and that the two of you need to be on the same team on these kinds of things.

Does DH *want* you to discipline his kids? If so, then he needs to stick up for you when it comes to that. Otherwise, if he is going to keep undermining you, then maybe the discipline on your end should stop. Let him be the heavy and let him be the one who dishes out the discipline and let him deal with it on his own.

I know when my stepkids were younger, I let my DH handle it for the most part. No matter what I said or did, I was the "bad" guy. So, he gets to handle it himself. Any issues they have now, he gets to handle it himself -- I stay completely out of it, except to tell him how *I* feel about certain situations. But I don't get involved when they are in a discussion or argument -- I stay out of it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 12:24pm
I would have asked if mom could come after the room was cleaned. If he said yes, ask him to please call mom and have her come at such and such time. If he said no, mom had to come at that time, I'd let it go, and then tell SD that mom is on her way and the punishment will continue when she returns.

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