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why don’t they get it?

(61 Posts)
Mamma66 Wed 20-Mar-19 17:32:55

My Stepson’s relationship broke down February 2018 and he has lived with us pretty much ever since. He has three children aged 7, 5 tomorrow and 2. They come every other weekend from 5pm Friday to 5pm Sunday. They are lovely children and pretty well behaved, but it is hard work. My Stepson’s contact with the children has to be supervised and to be honest I don’t actually know why he made such a fuss about seeing them, if he spends 2 hours with the children over the weekend I’d be surprised. My husband and I both work full time and his shift patterns mean he only gets 7 weekends off a year. The lions share of looking after the children falls to me, hubby helps when he can, Stepson does nothing.

Added to this my Dad is 86 and has Parkinson’s. Since my Mum died six and a half years ago, Dad alternates coming for lunch (and the whole day) to one of my two brothers or us. He is no bother, but obviously we don’t have him when the kids are here as we feel they’re too much for him. Tbh, they’re too much for us at times!

My younger brother has asked me to have Dad on Sunday and I’ve had to say we can’t because we’ve got the children. He hasn’t grumbled, but I know he’s annoyed. He knows how much pressure we’re under, and that we are permanently shattered with no end in sight at present. I feel a bit miffed. Yes, he’s had to change his plans, but at least he gets a chance to have some, we have no social life and if the kids aren’t here we are cleaning up or undoing the damage inflicted on the house by three small children or just collapsing in a heap. Just venting really...

Feelingmyage55 Wed 20-Mar-19 17:40:58

This is very difficult for you because you obviously care very much for all the generations of your family. Could your stepson organise to have the children on his days off? I presume he gets other blocks of time off due to his shift rotas. He must be working very hard but he needs to help you help him. Hopefully he does the bath and bedtime routines which should be fun and means he is taking over from you at the end of tiring days. Others will be along with more insight and better advice but I wish you all well.

Telly Wed 20-Mar-19 17:53:49

I would think it is time to hand over the responsibility of the children to him. He is their father after all. It does seem sometimes that when adult children return home they fall into old routines. Talk to him, tell him what you need him to to ie clean up, undo the damage, look after his children the whole time. That way you can see them for an hour or two and do something fun with them which would be more normal.

MissAdventure Wed 20-Mar-19 17:57:58

Why is your son doing so little of the child care?
I would say because you're allowing it.

DoraMarr Wed 20-Mar-19 18:00:36

1. If your stepson has to have supervised access, that doesn’t need to be done by you. Presumably social services are involved, so you could contact them, explain your situation, and see if different contact arrangements can be made. 2. While you’re negotiating new arrangements, you and your husband should talk to your stepson. It seems your stepson isn’t that bothered about spending time with the children, so the burden falls on you. It shouldn’t be a burden, you should be able to enjoy your grandchildren at times that are convenient for you. Perhaps you could explain this to your stepson, and say that from now on he will be responsible for looking after the children- bedtimes, activities, mealtimes.
You and your husband sound like lovely, caring people, it’s a shame your duties are exhausting you.

Mamma66 Wed 20-Mar-19 18:45:12

My stepson only works one day a week/fortnight, invariably it’s the Saturday the kids come. My husband works shaifts. We have to supervise contact between the children and my stepson, it can’t be just anyone, it is currently a requirement by Social Services. We have the children for their sake, to give them some much needed stability and security, it’s not for the benefit of my Stepson. He makes a big thing of having the kids, but actions speak louder than words and I look after the children. He has no interest or involvement in anything like getting up with them, bathing them, feeding them, putting them to bed, looking after them when poorly, it’s down to me and the hubby when he’s here. I don’t think that there’s much I can do about the children at present. As for Stepson we have told him he has to stand on his own two feet and move out by 1st June. What I am irritated by is the attitude of my brother, he knows what we’re going through and why and yet he is annoyed because we can’t have my Dad this Sunday. I would love to have weekends that belonged to us again, this situation is not our doing

Mamma66 Wed 20-Mar-19 18:46:35

Sorry that sounds really moany! ?

SueDonim Wed 20-Mar-19 19:16:42

A family I know were in a similar situation, although it was't a stepson. The father was spending so little time with his children, often leaving them with his 21yo girlfriend while he went out in the town. Social Services got to know about it and stopped all contact for a while because of the detrimental effect it was having on the children.

What is your stepson doing while you care for the children? Is he around or does he go out?

FlexibleFriend Wed 20-Mar-19 19:20:17

Tell your stepson to step up, they're his kids and he needs to be more active with them. You'll be doing him and them a favour.

cornergran Wed 20-Mar-19 19:46:18

You describe an unsustainable scenario mamma66. You must be exhausted physically and emotionally. It’s so hard to watch children suffer and I totally understand the choices you have made to provide them some stability. My only thought is whether there is a Child Contact Centre in your area where your step son could go (be required to go) and spend time with his children. The supervision would be provided by staff/volunteers attached to the Centre and you would get some time off. It might need an intervention from Social Services or the Court but the outcome could be worth the process. I suspect your brother asked you in hope, knowing your situation in theory won’t give him a true understanding of your reality. I’m sure he wasn’t being deliberately unkind, just hopeful but it’s understandable you found his request a bit thoughtless

sodapop Wed 20-Mar-19 21:03:41

What Cornergran says is absolutely right Mamma66 you cannot continue like this.
Your stepson has to take on care of the children, I think tough love is called for. I understand you want to support the children but you have other responsibilities and need to stay in good health.

Mamma66 Thu 21-Mar-19 03:51:28

Thank you for your replies, it has given me some much-needed perspective. You’re right in that we can’t keep this up for the foreseeable and my annoyance at my brother is misplaced. There is an end in sight in that we have told my Stepson he has got to find alternative living arrangements by the 1st June. Knowing him he won’t believe we will stick to it, but we have to, we’re both shattered. We have decided after that we’ll have the children regularly but from Friday tea time to Saturday tea time. That’s the plan anyway ?

rosecarmel Thu 21-Mar-19 04:45:15

I find myself feeling impatient and frustrated in situations that involve the giving of my time, energy, finances, forfeiting privacy, so on... and doing so full well knowing that I'm being taken advantage of- Surely expectation is at the core of my disappointment at such times- Learning to keep my mouth shut, my hands in my lap and thinking about things first instead of so eagerly volunteering has helped - Helped me as well others by not reinforcing unhealthy habits, be it their habits of my own - smile

rosecarmel Thu 21-Mar-19 04:47:38

"or" my own .. Not of .. smile

petra Thu 21-Mar-19 07:43:39

The old adage comes to mind: don't rescue to the point where you have to be rescued.

Mamma66 Thu 21-Mar-19 08:11:29

Petra you are entirely right - something I need to remember - thank you

Poppyred Thu 21-Mar-19 08:35:53

What Flexiblefriend said!! No messing.

B9exchange Thu 21-Mar-19 09:03:08

That's a good phrase Petra, I will remember it too!

eazybee Thu 21-Mar-19 09:38:39

This is a difficult situation for you, as you clearly love your grandchildren and are helping to replace the dire parenting of their father. This is conflicting with the care you and your siblings give your father, and adding to your exhaustion.
Social Services are clearly concerned with your stepson's lack of parenting skills by insisting on supervised contact, but have off loaded the responsibility on to you; I feel the contact has been put in place so that the children may develop a relationship with him and he has no desire to do this. Contact SS and insist that they take some part in the supervised contact and that they work with him on his relationship with the children.
Do you have a relationship with the children's mother? It would be good to develop this as I think that the father may not be on the scene as far as the children are concerned for much longer. Would it be possible for you to have the children singly occasionally? Three young children for a whole weekend is very hard work, but having them singly would give her some respite and be more fun for you.

BradfordLass72 Thu 21-Mar-19 10:00:42

Just wanted to give you a standing ovation - how wonderful that you alone seem to know and appreciate children need stability, love and continuity.

I do hope this gets sorted out before you both collapse from exhaustion. You are SO brave flowers flowersflowersflowersflowers

Willow10 Thu 21-Mar-19 10:01:40

You have given your stepson a deadline to move out but what happens if he doesn't? Is he actually doing anything to find his own place at the moment? Have you spoken to him about taking more responsibility with his children or has it all just become the norm? It sounds as if he has a lot of growing up to do. Maybe a serious conversation with his father is called for. If you change nothing, nothing will change. flowers

Aepgirl Thu 21-Mar-19 10:06:43

I hope you don’t let your ex DIL know how you feel as she may stop you seeing your grandchildren (many post to this effect on GN).

Candelle Thu 21-Mar-19 10:21:46

I have no concrete advice except to encourage your step-son to try and find more work which may possibly increase his self-worth.

He really needs to know how exhausting looking after three children can be. Can you try to take a back-role when the children are with you, so he experiences a whole day of child-care and can understand how hard it is and how tired you feel?

I think others have summed it up, your step-son does need to grow up - but none of this helps you!

Do you feel able to perhaps print off or show these messages to your step-son? Shows you are not alone in your thoughts as we are all of one accord.

Apegirl is also correct, you have to tread a fine path.

Sending a virtual hug.

silverlining48 Thu 21-Mar-19 10:24:00

Working one day a week/fortnight isn’t going to pay the rent, suggest you contact SS to discuss. It’s unfair to expect to you to supervise contact for so long in your own and as another poster says they must make decisions about helping the father make a better relationship with the, father if he wants to. You can still remain involved but to a lesser extent.Well done for what you are doing but it is clearly too much.

silverlining48 Thu 21-Mar-19 10:24:42

....With them typo.