So, tonight while catching up on some blog reading I came across a recent post from Jacque Fletcher on her blog "http://becomingastepmom.wordpress.com/"
I have read much of what she has written, and have always felt she is right on target with what she says. However, this recent post really struck a nerve and I felt the need to make my own comments about it. First, here is her post:
Here you can see just one of my rebuttles to this:
***The fact that anyone is still talking about how step-parents need to basically just “suck it up and deal with it” just keeps step-families from progressing. To say that step-parents should ALWAYS get their way is obviously never going to happen, and I don’t think we demand control. What we should be demanding is a discussion and respect that we live in the same household and should have a say in how things run.
#1. It says “MY marriage and family”. MY is the key word. In MY house why should I not expect that my husband will come to me to discuss things that will change MY marriage and family? Things like moving, custody changes, financial changes should be discussed…if not, why are you even getting married??
#2. These times WILL happen. Anyone living in a step situation (and frankly any “regular” family feels this as well) knows that it is impossile to control all members of a family. However, she is really caught up that stepmoms live in a “fantasy” world by believing it might be too much to ask to be consulted/notified. We have my fiance’s kids 50% of the time…for me to expect that 50% of my life is going to be run by everyone else is unacceptable.
#3. I have always read this as “hey listen, if you aren’t going to let me discipline or put my foot down with the kids…don’t expect me to bend over backwards for them either.” I think that’s plenty fair. I am not going to be driving them to/from their activities, buying their clothes and lunches, doing laundry for them, etc. if I have no say in setting the limits in the house. Ie: cell phone use, talking back, chores, etc. Yes Jacque…let’s be doormats instead.
#4. You write this as if we are talking about terms previously set up before we came into the picture. I’m pretty sure this is about changes made. I accepted that we would have his kids every other weekend when we started dating and living together. Then he talked about 50/50 and WE discussed it and how it would affect me also before fully moving forward. This should not be unreasonable to have a say. Will you get your way all the time no…but you never do in life in general. Do you think that so many of the marriages that end from a second marriage might have something to do with the fact that the step-parent might be treated as less than a partner and gets sick of it and bails? Hmmm…maybe the focus here should be on how to better discuss these situations with the hubby that you feel like a doormat instead of telling women to just keep taking it and eventually you’ll be so worn down that you’ll be numb to the fact that your husband doesn’t think your feelings matter. Great advice…
#5. Oh, ok…she agrees about this one.
#6. You’ve GOT to be kidding me with this one! Child support is understandably a legal agreement that was in place or can change from time to time. HOWEVER…things like clothing, phones, cars, extra curricular expenses, etc. should be discussed with your spouse. Considering that many stepmom’s paychecks go into the family you can not expect her to not want to have a say if unusual/unanticipated expenses come up. Oh, you’re right…”honey, I know that you already pay money in child support to help with those things and can barely help pay all the household bills…but go right ahead and buy whatever your kids need.” You are out of your mind if you think we shouldn’t have a say in how money goes out of the house.
#7. Ok, again…she agrees.
#8. Again, MY home. MY HOME is the key. I had this same issue, and it never really goes away, BUT I have discussed with my fiance and his kids that “hey, this is MY home too, and I deserve to be comfortable here. I can watch TV in my living room too, even if you are here, I don’t have to go in the other room and be treated like I don’t belong. You wouldn’t like it and neither do I.” We all know we aren’t blood, but my home is where I relax and escape work and all sorts of things…I am not going to feel like I don’t want to be in my own home.
#9. She agrees! Great…she wants respect, but contridicts that in most of these points.
#10. YAY..she agrees…OH WAIT…she just contridicted herself again. This is like a summary to everything above which is basically saying, “hey…we are married and we vowed to be there for each other for better or worse and that means we should put the marriage first to make sure it’s healthy enough to deal with all the good and bad that will roll our way.” If you agree with this, then you should be agreeing with 1-9 of all other things that are basics about being part of this marriage.
To sum this up, these are points that should be discussed BEFORE getting married to someone with kids. My fiance and I discussed this when I first came across it many months ago. It helped us to see if we were both on the same page for these issues. Although you can’t just follow this so called bill of rights to a tee, it is great for opening up communication about these points. Especially for those women struggling with the decision of marrying a man with kids or not.
Sorry for my rant, but this really turned my stomach!