Tag Archives: custody

Blended Family Rant

I’m cranky these days. Must be the steroids that I am taking that are not doing diddly squat for this back pain. But people, some people, lately are really ticking me off.

I am always trying to figure out the best way to introduce myself, especially in an environment where being a mom is respected and applauded. Most people don’t really want to hear more than a short sound bite, so I generally say – I am a mom, my husband and I have seven kids. (It’s true. I have 4, he has 3, together that is seven). When asked the age range, I give it – 8-15. Yes, sometimes people look at me and wonder, but 9 times out of ten, they just wish me luck and we move on.

I am not interested in telling everyone my life story. That’s why I have a blog! But recently I was talking with a new acquaintance and she asked me if there were any multiples amongst this gigantic group of children that we have. I said no, in fact we are a blended family. There was a distinct change in attitude from the person I was conversing with. Oh well, it isn’t so amazing then that you have seven kids. Three of them aren’t even yours.

Them’s fighting words!! Life would probably be much easier if they were all “mine”. The blended family dynamic, especially when there are other parents involved and other homes where children live some of the time, is much much harder than the biological family dynamic. Just because they are not “mine” biologically doesn’t mean they are not “mine” emotionally. I love the KoD’s kids so very much – they are a part of him, how could I not? They are part of our family, just like mine are. I have a place in my heart for each and every one of our children. Whether they were born of my womb or not, they are OUR children…

Look, I don’t need kudos or awards or anything like that, I love being a mom and a step-mom and that’s reward enough for me. But don’t dismiss my mothering as “less than” because I only birthed four of the seven of our offspring. I am sure this person would not have dreamed of saying something similar to an adoptive parent – that would just be wrong, correct?

I dunno, it just sticks in my craw. Pass the grumpitol….

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WWYD – ex husband and religion

A reader – “Marsha” – asked me if I could post this so my readership could help her with some solutions. I know that if I were in the same shoes as this devoted Jewish mother, I would be so angry too. In fact I found myself livid after reading her letter.

So…I found out that my ex has been bringing our twelve year old son “Max” to CHURCH on the weekends that he has him.  Max has been afraid to say anything to him about not wanting to go because he was afraid his dad would get mad.  The ex let it slip last time he dropped Max off that he had gone to church that morning, with Max.  When I asked our son how many times he has gone to church he said, “A lot!”  He takes his Nintendo DS and plays games the whole time and doesn’t pay any attention to what is going on but it is still the principle of the whole thing.

Thing is, when I was married to him, he didn’t believe in G-d so religion didn’t matter to him but his new wife is religious and goes to church every Sunday – so understandably he wants to be with his new wife.  I just don’t agree that he needs to take Max along. This is a Jewish child, MY JEWISH CHILD!

I tried to talk to him about it, explaining that even though I feel it is important for Max to learn about other religions and to respect what others choose to believe, our beliefs prohibit us from going to church.  I asked that he respect my wishes as Max’s mom and his custodial parent.

I also acknowledged that he would like to be spending that time with his new wife which I totally understand but his response to this all was that if Max is with him he is going to church and that is that.

I AM FURIOUS!  I don’t have a clue what to do.  Our divorce decree is silent on religion since it wasn’t an issue for him since he didn’t believe in G-d back then. I let him have Max for an extra day on the weekends that he has him so he can spend more father-son bonding time – but I can cut that out and insist on picking up Max Saturday night. As per our original agreement.

I just don’t know what to do. I know Max needs to have time with his Dad, and I really don’t want to get in the way of that but there is no way I will stand idly by and allow him to be shlepped to church. Max doesn’t even want to go. He hates it there. But he’s a child who has been taught to respect his parents. This has been so confusing for him.

The above letter is from a Jewish mother, but it could easily be written by any parent of any religion whose ex spouse is deliberately acting against the express wishes of the custodial parent.

How do you suggest that Marsha handles this? What advice could you give her? How would you feel if you were in her shoes? How would you advise her to handle Max so that she doesn’t paint his father as a bad man for taking him to church, but in a way that Max understands that going to church is wrong for him as a Jewish boy?

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Poll for divorced parents

When your child is / children are with the other parent – how often do you call on the phone? Do you feel like you are imposing? Or just keeping lines of communication open? When the kids are with you and their other parent calls to speak to them do you see that as an imposition? How often is too often to call when the kids are not with you? What system do you find works best for you? Are you the custodial or non custodial parent, or do you have shared custody?

I am trying to figure out whether I call my kids too much when they are not with me, or whether I fall into the normal range. (I called them twice this weekend, but they know they can call me at any time and they do.)

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Poll for Non-Custodial Parents

If you were offered extra time with your kids, would you

a)      Move heaven and earth to make it happen?

b)      Try your hardest with a caveat that sometimes life gets in the way.

c)      Say you have a set schedule that you’d rather not mess with OR

d)     Deny it outright. If you had wanted the kids more you would have fought for custody. Leave things as they are.

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