Unexpected Parenting Time

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My stepkids are supposed to come back at the beginning of August sometime for another long weekend.  Ack.  Two long weekends are more expensive than one full week because the gas going to their state and back gets doubled (and if it was a full week, hubby would get his child support back that week but that's not happening now).  Hubby told me about this unexpected trip, I was surprised and questioned the affordability of it, and that was the end of that conversation. I honestly didn't think it was going to happen because we really can't afford two more round trips to their state and back two weeks before school starts.  It's happening. I guess we can make August's car payment in September...:(

I let hubby know we weren't going to be going somewhere every day entertaining them (like their last trip) because we are stretched financially.  Disneyland Dad is so NOT happening! We have school fees, school supplies, and clothes for four coming up in 3-1/2 weeks.  I can't believe how fast this summer flew!

If this next parenting time goes like last parenting time, I will SCREAM! Literally.


Spammed the Friend of the Court

>> Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I just spammed the Friend of the Court (and the ex).  Oops.

My Yahoo mail was hacked yesterday.  Emails were sent to everybody in the my address book with a link.  These emails didn't show up in my sent mail though (?).  Weird.  The ex got three of them (she let me know, asking me if my computer had a virus).  I'm not sure how many the Friend of Court received, but I know for sure they received at least one because I got a vacation automatic reply from the person it was sent to (oops).

I changed my Yahoo password and it seems to be fixed now.  Thankfully!


Extreme Coupon Anyone?

>> Friday, July 15, 2011

Who coupons?  I've tried it in the past but never stuck to it (and no, I haven't seen that Extreme Coupon show on television that everybody is talking about).  Within the last few weeks, I've done some research online along with coupon cutting and printing and gave it another go with the new information I've learned (about stacking coupons, buying when on sale).  I don't want a year's worth of stockpile in my basement and if I get more than a small supply of extra things for little to nothing spent, they'll get donated to the retirement home up the road or a shelter.  However, knowing I'm not going to run out of toilet paper, shampoo or toothpaste with all these kids is a bonus.  I have to admit that walking out of CVS with several bags of stuff with only a few bucks out of my pocket felt good too!

I'm not ready to take my coupon binder into the grocery store yet (probably because of the whole Extreme Coupon craze where I've heard of people walking out with a hundred candy bars for nothing - it has to make sense to me instead of embarrass me or be bad for my family)...but maybe eventually I'll hit Kroger with my binder. I also won't steal coupons like some Extreme Couponers do, dumpster dive, or clear shelves of inventory.  I want my dignity left, a small supply of necessities, and some money saved.  Yeah me!

A coupon person recommended Ebates the other day on her blog and I used it to sign up for a subscription for All You magazine (they have good coupons every month inside).  I got the subscription, a $10 credit on the magazine, plus a $5.19 rebate that showed up today in my account.  With six kids, four dogs, four cats, two horses, and a child support bill, saving money is just fine with me.  I just won't take it to the extreme though.


Kids are gone...marriage damage?

>> Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The kids have come and gone.  I question the future of my marriage - will it make it through until our own kids become adults?  Will I want to remain married after they're grown?  Right now, I'm too livid to know the answer to that.  It's not even the kids.  They're being kids who just do what they're allowed to get away with!  I'm thoroughly disgusted with my husband's parenting after this.  He became somebody totally different and I can't say I liked this new him much.

What bugged me?  Disneyland Dad Syndrome?  Yeah, that's about it. Here are a few things that happened...who could know that so much crap could happen in so little time.

He put on a DVD that his daughter had said was really good (it was a scary flick, rated R) and allowed ALL the kids - his and ours - to watch it (down to the six-year-old).  We NEVER allow our young kids to watch these types of movies.  We even watch PG-13 movies FIRST before allowing any of the kids, including our 12-year-old and 14-year-old, to watch them.  When we want to watch PG-13 or R rated movies, we send them from the room or watch them after they go to bed.  Hubby being "cool dad" allowed all six kids to watch while I was editing computer videos and I was left with the fallout with my scared kids.  My ten-year-old scared, my six-year-old crying her eyes out.  My oldest two were ok, but the youngest two - grrrr!!  Then my husband comes into the bedroom wondering what is going on when he finds our two youngest scared and crying in our bed.  Really?  Are ya dense?

Then the swearing!  After all the issues that we have had to deal with on my stepson's vulgar mouth on facebook where his siblings can see it (I contacted the ex about it), my husband was swearing it up being "cool".  Parents swear sometimes.  It happens. I do it when I slam a finger in a drawer, etc.  He did it repeatedly to be funny.  His kids found him hilarious.  I found it disgusting, insulting and irritating that he'd behave like that in front of our kids.  Not only did he sound stupid, his kids will now see ME as the sole person who had a problem with all my stepson's vulgarities on facebook because obviously, it's all ok with dad!  My stepdaughter did all the correcting with her brother, telling him to watch his mouth too.  Dad didn't do squat.

Dad built a bonfire in the backyard one night and was outside with some of the kids.  Fireworks started going off down the street from our house so he sent our oldest in to get his son to go watch them.  He didn't ask if I wanted to go with our youngest two who were inside with me.  They left.  We were excluded.  I found out yesterday he was joking about mooning me as they walked out of the driveway to go see those fireworks. Really?  Not only do we get excluded but do you now have the maturity level of your teenaged son?

I don't allow our kids to have energy drinks.  I think they're dangerous and send too many kids to the doctor and emergency room.  I've told my husband several times of stories I've heard of kids becoming ill from them.  He knows perfectly how I feel about them and it's not something we've ever bought for our kids.  We wouldn't. When he got back from picking up his kids last week, his son had a huge energy drink when he walked in our door.  Whatever, maybe his mother bought it for him so I let it pass.  She allows him to drink them daily.  Yesterday, on the way to spend the day in another city with all the kids, we stopped at a gas station.  He bought one lemonade for five kids to share and an energy drink for his son and handed it to him right in front of me.  Boy, if that didn't feel like a big "f you" right there.  Not only does his son get his own while the rest have to share, it's the drink I won't allow kids to have but sure, go ahead and drink it in front of them.  Later that day, my oldest was asking to drink one and why couldn't she drink them too.

My husband works 3rd shift.  I do 99% of the parenting, rule setting and discipline in our house.  This past weekend just made my 'almost single parent status because of his work schedule' harder. Thanks a lot.

Before going to see fireworks, we met a friend at McD's with her kids.  My stepdaughter bought my daughter a Frappe (we don't give our kids coffee - - don't want them getting into the caffeine habit and that is something they can decide to do when they're a little older) and then my daughter was wondering why she was buzzing and feeling sick at the fireworks.  I told her it was from the Frappe and hubby said no, it wasn't.  Yes, they have three times the caffeine than a can of pepsi and she's not used to it.  Like the food wasn't bad enough.  Nobody asked me if she could have it.  Hubby took that upon himself or his daughter did and he didn't bother contradicting her.  See, if I'd been sitting with him, maybe I would've had some input but he didn't leave me a seat to sit with them at McD's.  Excluded again.  Another big "f you"?  My daughter told me now she wants a Caramel Frappe every time.  Not happening.  Thanks a lot for the parenting help, dad!

Forward to the fireworks at a local festival.  We bought the two folding chairs we own and a couple blankets.  The chairs were for the adults and the blankets for all the kids.  I said that as I was getting things together.  We get there and get them set up and my stepson calls "dibs" on a chair and parks his behind in it.  I look at my husband who just looks at me back. Really?  You are not going to say anything? Another big "f you"? Well, back atcha.  My stepdaughter speaks up and tells her brother he can't call dibs on it.  I told my stepson that the chairs were for the adults and blankets for the kids and that I would be sitting there.  He just looked at me, I looked at hubby and hubby didn't say a word.  I left to look for a friend who was there with one of my kids, found her and returned to our area and stepson still had his butt parked.  I waited and nothing.  Finally, dad quietly said the chairs were for the women (the friend and me) and the rest would sit on the ground.  My stepson didn't budge from the chair.  I stood there and waited...and waited...and waited.  Our friend tried to pretend she wasn't seeing what she was seeing.  Finally, dad tells his son to sit on the blanket.  Gee, thanks.  Glad you finally got around to it.

My stepson also took MY expensive guitar off the wall to play it, knocking it on an amp that was on the stand while he was at it.  Nobody touches my guitars.  My husband wouldn't ever allow any of our kids to play my guitars (like I would never allow the kids to touch his guitars) without asking me first.  Not only did he see him take it down and knock it into an amp, he let him walk away with it into his bedroom.

I get that he doesn't see them often.  That's his own damn fault. He should've insisted instead of letting the ex and the kids dictate to him. There's a court order.  Use it.  Instead, he doesn't see them as often as they should be spending time together and instead of the same rules apply for all of our kids like they used to (within reason because obviously older gets get some additional privileges) when we saw them on a regular basis, he totally undermined our own rules for our kids and turned into Disneyland Dad.  He will go back on his 3rd shift schedule, working all night and sleeping all day, and I will be single parent mom to our own four kids and try to keep the boundaries and privileges we've always had for our own kids despite his total disregard for them, and me.

I don't know. There were just so many instances where he excluded, where he disregarded our normal everyday rules, where his behavior to be "cool" wasn't good for our own kids.  It felt like a slap in the face so many times.

I could handle an adjustment period, a few irritating things to overlook.  His cussing up a storm to be funny?  OK, he hasn't had his kids here in awhile and it'll take time to get the parenting groove back on instead of trying to be cool dad.  Problem is, cool white trash dad stuck around the entire time.  Cool dad's behavior made our own kids cry, disrespected me in front of them, snubbed me several times and a couple of our kids at times, and allowed some of our kids to do things they aren't allowed to do and now they want to know why I say they can't when dad let them and his own kids over the weekend.

At this point, I am glad they went back to their state and that has nothing to do with them.  If things kept building up, I'd have lost it.  My stepson did what he was allowed to get away with.  It has everything to do with how dad behaved.  He turned into white trash disney dad and he's lucky I didn't turn into white trash jerry springer mom and throw all his stuff out the front door screaming like a banshee.

I have never felt so excluded, disrespected, trivialized, disregarded as a parent (not to his kids but to our own after his destruction of our own household rules/expectations).  When he excluded me from sitting with them at dinner, it literally felt like a physical slap.  I flinched.  I shopped, I cooked, I cleaned, made appointments for things to do, set up beds/linens and made sure to have favorite meals for his kids while they were here, gave him my more dependable car to use to get his kids there and back, etc.  Next time, I am thinking we'll trade states. When his kids come into town to see dad, our kids and I will head to their state and see my family.  I don't see myself ever wanting to do this again with him. I can't even look at my husband right now.  

We used to be united when his kids were with us.  We were a team.  We parented as a team.  Our marriage was important.  Before, he'd never intentionally hurt or disrespect.  Who was this guy?  There was such a huge divide between us this time.  It opened up the day they got here and the rip is still huge right now after they're back at their mom's.  Makes me wonder if we'll make it through the blended family minefield with a marriage at the end of it.


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