Thursday, October 30, 2008

You're Not My Mommy

Today has been a really tough day. My 12 year old and I got into an argument about homework, she didn't feel like obeying the rules today. She wanted to do homework when she "felt like it", we have a rule that when you get home from school, you have your snack and then you do your homework. This has been the rule for 6 years now. Today, she decided she didn't have to listen to me because "you're not my mommy". This is the first time I ever heard this from her, and it hurt.

Let's start with some background. My husband and I got together 7 years ago. Before me he was in the military, he met a woman who we shall call Autumn (why? because that was her stripper name) and they got together. My husband was very young at the time, alone for the first time with no one to tell him how to spend his money or that strippers were bad news. He was 19, she she was 25.

He went to see her at the strip club everyday because he was lonely and thought that she really liked him, not that she was searching for a relationship with someone who had a steady job and medical insurance, not to mention money that she could help him "budget". She had two children, who have told me stories of having crackers for breakfast and at the age of 3 walking to the gas station to buy milk. Now, I am not sure if that stuff was imagined or not, but I tend to believe it.

They came back to Oklahoma from Florida, because of an injury that made him not able to be in the military anymore. She wanted to be on his insurance from his new job so they got common law married. (In OK, that means that you live as a married couple and state openly to people you are married, in this state it makes you legally married) Eventually, after they had a child together she started disappearing and leaving the kids with the MIL and husband found out she was cheating on him with a pot dealer. When he found out, she left him.

The problem is she not only left him, she left her children too. Not just their child together but her 2 and 4 year old too. She moved to Texas with this drug dealer, after she took everything out of the house my husband and Autumn shared together. She didn't call or anything for months. She decided she wanted to pick up the 2 and 4 year old, after that. My husband had already started custody proceedings, long story short she told the judge she will smoke pot everyday until she dies, and my husband won custody.

I came along, and I knew that these children were a part of the package and was nervous of the prospects of having 1 child multiply into 4. I had one child (Chloe) from a previous relationship. I fell in love with not only him but the children as well. So we got together and eventually engaged and married. I had more than 1 child like I wanted (I was told I couldn't have anymore after my 10 year old was born) and all was well with the world.

After she lost custody she didn't call, write, send gifts, no contact whatsoever for 6 years. The 14 and 12 year old (Lexi and Ashley) had problems, with being left. They didn't know what they did wrong. The 10 year old (Hunter) cried sometimes and said she wanted her mommy, but she didn't really know her since she left when she was 2. I think she cried because she thought she was supposed to, because the others did.

Eventually we had Audra, our miracle child and we started to settle into a real family life, instead of calling me Becca they called me Mom and got me Mother's Day presents, etc.

She started calling MIL around Christmas of last year, and being a nice woman (to nice for her own good) she let her talk to them. Well all she seemed to want to talk to was the 14 year old. The other 2 she would constantly blow off and act like they hadn't said a word. She showed up at the MIL's on Christmas day, the girls were there because they spend breaks over there because MIL is a grandkid junkie.

She proceeded to start to boss around Ashley and Hunter while Lexi could do no wrong, the others did nothing more than be children anyway. She also SPANKED Ashley for digging around under the tree, and tried to discipline Audra but the grandparents stepped in and saved Autumn's life. She was supposed to stay a few days, but she disappeared after a total of 4 hours.

She hasn't come since, but she has called. These calls have been causing problems, general defiance and breaking of rules. They say things like they will ask Mom (meaning her now, I am Becca again) for the expensive things they want (she got them mp3 players that first Xmas, I hated to break it to them but they were 15$ pieces of crap) and I just want to tell them sorry we can't afford all those nice things because your mother doesn't pay child support!

Which brings us to this point. I am not Mom anymore, I am Becca, I am the governess who helps them with their homework, goes to their school functions, buys them Xmas and Birthday presents, pays for the food in their mouths and the electricity they see in the dark with. I am the one who cleans up their vomit and nurses their wounds, I am the one that goes without so they can have things that they need. I'm not their Mommy, but I try to be, which is more than I can say for "Mom"

I really don't know what to do anymore, if I punish her for the defiance and rule breaking will I be further shoved aside? Or should I just let her walk all over me because she's has a tough life? If things were the way they were before she would have had no TV, but I don't know what I am doing anymore. Any ideas?

I have 5 kids, 3 of them just don't know it right now. At least some of them call me Mommy.

8 comments:

  1. I certainly was never in your situation...but having raised two daughters, and being one very stubborn, defiant teenager...I can tell you that this is just the beginning...and it will get worse. It is typical with girls as they start hitting puberty. You will be the dummest, most ridiculous person alive to them for a few years. But when they hit about 18-21 then it is like a light turns on and you will become their best friend. they will then realize everything you have done for them...and that you are "mom", not the one who irresponsibly had them, then left...that is not a mother.
    It's gonna be tough, but in the long run...the rewards are tremendous...hang in there!!

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  2. Oh your heart must be breaking. Just remember the children are confused and going through a rough time now. My daughter lost her mind around 15 - 16. They're trying to assert independence and figure out who they are.

    I'm proud to say, my daugther came to her senses around 18 - 19. We have a wonderful relationship now. It was an experience for both of us, but my relationship with her now was worth each struggle.

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about this. Stay strong, she's being a "teenager" I know its hard but like the others have said when she gets older she'll come around. I'd say try to talk to her calmly but don't let her walk all over you try and find some middle ground.

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  4. Be strong. Set rules and make them follow them. Yep, they've had rough lives, but so have a lot of other people and it's not an excuse to be a dork. I think what you've got there is pretty typical teenager stuff, which would be happening step-mom or not.

    It's rough right now. But I can 99% guarentee you that a few years from now, they'll come to you and thank you for all you did, having realized for themselves that "mom" wasn't what they thought she was.

    It's hard... but you're doing great. hang in there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I found your blog through another, and was intrigued by the mention of a heart surgery. Our foster baby will need surgery on his heart very soon.

    This post made me really sad for you, as it must be so hard. I could hear the frustration in your words. I feel like your other commentors that she will come to in several years. It will be difficult in the meantime, but if you continue doing as you have been, you will all thrive.

    It sounds like you are an amazing woman to create your family as you did, and everyone in your family is lucky to have you as a wife and mom. Don't ever discount your worth and all that you have done thus far.

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow. amazing story, and an amazing woman you are!! i'm so sorry that you're going through all this. and i'm so sorry for the kids. if only this woman could see that not only is she hurting you and other family members, but she's hurting her own children. how confusing for them! be strong - and remember that blood doesn't make someone a mom. love, nurturing, serving, caring for these little ones makes YOU their mom. not her. you rock. keep up the good work!!!

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  7. You have really opened up, they don't realise it now, but YOU ARE THEIR MOM. - THey will realise thei very soon, as Tammy said, a light will turn on!
    You sound such a good woman, keep strong.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can relate to your story, and it is very painful. I went through that for a long time. I try to remember that kids really just want to be loving deep down inside, but they are torn by these guilty feelings of trying to make the biological parent happy by treating them like the only "real" parent. It doesn't help when the out-of-the-picture parent is a manipulator.

    It gets hard to parent children who have that attitude and act accordingly.

    Looking forward, just try to remember that your kids are old enough to start seeing the manipulations of the biological parent, and to start appreciating the stability you and your husband provide. They know you'll always be there; they don't know whether their mother will come or go at any given time.

    As for them calling you "Becca" - if they don't want to call you mom anymore, fine. But they can't go to school and call their teachers by their first names, and they definitely should not disrespect you in that way. If they don't feel like "mom" fits anymore, give them 2 options: Mrs. (Last Name) or Ma'am. I bet they won't opt for those names after all. They're your kids, not your friends. They don't have to like you, but they do have to respect you.

    Hang in there!

    Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice)

    ReplyDelete

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