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WWYD... Blended family-need advise please
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 7:57 am
We have a blended family. I have 4 kids (3 older teens & 1 whose 10) that live at home full time and there father rarely sees them and if he does it’s not to take them out for any really fun activities. My kids see there father a couple times a year at most.
My husband has one child. His child and my youngest are the same age. For various reasons, he had a break from seeing his child. Now that he has him this weekend, he wants to do something really special. I understand that completely and would want to the same if the situation was reversed. All I said was please don’t tell my youngest what you guys are going to do because she will feel jealous and I would like to avoid jealousy. It’s important to know that, I don’t do things with my daughter on sundays only because I never have money to go out. We struggle tremendously. All of a sudden this week he has money for the new amusement park that opened up near MetLife. My husband got angry when I asked him not to mention the plans to my daughter. Keep it special between you two. He says no way am I hiding it and she shouldn’t be jealous. It actually turned into him yelling at me. When I do something special for one kid, I tell them not to tell their siblings so they don’t feel hurt. If we were actually in a position to some fun things, so I would think my child would understand because she gets things too but unfortunately that’s not the case.
He doesn’t understand my point of view and I don’t know what to do. Personally I don’t care that he is taking him out one on one. It’s the bragging that irks me. We’re talking about a child who gets nothing from her father and I can’t do a lot vs. a child who goes to Aruba, Cancun, Disney and goes out and gets lots of nice stuff. What would you do? How can I get him to understand that it’s about sensitivity? Am I wrong?
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 8:01 am
I don't think you're wrong, but it's also super complicated. It sounds like balancing DH's feelings against your DD's feelings is going to take a lot of negotiation.

How long have you two been together? Does DD understand that DH's child has a very different set of circumstances, and that she can't compare?

I hope you can come up with something affordable and fun for your kids. Maybe some of the posters here who are familiar with your area can make some good suggestions.
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abound




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 8:37 am
Why does he specifically want your other children to know about his outing with his child?
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 8:38 am
abound wrote:
Why does he specifically want your other children to know about his outing with his child?


I honestly don’t know.
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amother




Babypink
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 8:43 am
I'm assuming he wasn't seeing his child because his child's mother was making it difficult. In that case right now his emotions are all over the place. Give him space to be a little unreasonable.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 9:01 am
amother [ Babypink ] wrote:
I'm assuming he wasn't seeing his child because his child's mother was making it difficult. In that case right now his emotions are all over the place. Give him space to be a little unreasonable.


Even when he didn’t have a gap in seeing his son, he acted like this. It’s not like I said no you can’t take him out. I said go for it. I understand but please don’t tell my daughter. I don’t want her hurt.
I wouldn’t do something to intentionally hurt his child or anyone’s child’s feelings so why is ok to hurt my child’s feelings?
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groovy1224




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 9:06 am
I think there's a middle ground between keeping something a secret and bragging about it.

I don't think you should go out of your way to hide that dh is taking his daughter out. You can't live like that as a rule, where you shield your kids from others who have more and get to do more. It's an unfair fact of life. If DD finds out about the outing, she may be jealous but thats a good time to have a talk with her about different people having different situations. She might not understand completely and may still be mad about it, but trust me it's better to learn this lesson at a young age.

At the same time, dh shouldn't be 'bragging' about this outing. There is no need to run it in her face.
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amother




Forestgreen
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 9:20 am
sorry I cannot understan dyour dh's point.

I was raised in a blended family where one part was rich and one was poor. when I was going on a skiing trip the stepsiblings got a pyjama party and pizza and I brought them a toy. I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO MENTION THE TRIP unless our parent was presend to make sure it doesnt rub the other kids wrong or sounds bragging.

also the aprents discussed clother setc. so that we looked 'similar', just to make us feel as a 'team'.

money was NEVER discussed in our presence, I remember my mother ones payed a huge bill for the poorer part, their kitchen desperately needed some mending and new oven. she juts didnt want her children to visit stepsiblings who dont have heating/ a kitchen and she begged my stepdad and his exwife NOT TO TALK ABOUT IT!!! its none of our business, I never got branded clothes and tehy didnt have to wear torn hand me downs, we found a middle ground.
im soo sooo soooo grateful that the adults handled it maturely.


why on earth does your daughted need to know about dh's trip to the park? how can she benefit from this info? I hope your dh changes his mind and will ahve a great day with his son. some things are not to be discussed with children in my opinion.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 9:46 am
Also my daughter has the day off tomorrow so she’s not going to be in school. She’s going to either come to work with me or sit home with her older brother. Then I’ll come home and get ready for shabbos. She will do absolutely nothing tomorrow while they go out. I feel bad for her. She already has to deal with the haves and have nots. Her friends pretty much all have and do things. Last week there was something and it was only $40 but I couldn’t send her while everyone else went. She was mature about it and really understood. But also in her own home? Home should be a safe haven.
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amother




Floralwhite
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 9:57 am
He definitely should be more understanding. Are you going to counseling? If this is not a one time issue, you should consider counseling before everyone gets hurt and it spirals into a bigger mess.
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dancingqueen




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 9:57 am
Can you possibly take some time off tomorrow and do something with your dd?
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 10:06 am
dancingqueen wrote:
Can you possibly take some time off tomorrow and do something with your dd?

I wish but the other person I work with won’t be in tomorrow otherwise yes I would be able to do it.
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pbandjelly




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 10:07 am
I really don't know the dynamics of your family but would it be possible this time for your husband to take your youngest as well? I know he wants a special trip with his child but because you are a blended family perhaps having one more (his step kid) come along it would still be fun! As long as his son is ok with his step sibling joining.

Also do you and your husband have a joint bank account? You mentioned that you don't have money for these things, but now he does?

Good luck!
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amother




Coral
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 10:09 am
Is your husband usually nice to your children? Does he act like a father (or almost like one) to your children?
If he usually tries hard then you should just let it go.
Chances are your daughter might not even want to go along with your husband and his son. Sure, she would want to go to an amusement park but probably not with them.
I’m in a blended family situation and I get you.., you wrote things that I can pick up on that are causing underlying feelings... I understand because I’m in a similar situation too.
It’s hard.. it’s not the way we wanted things to be but for the sake of peace, let it go.
At the moment, I’m sitting home with 2 kids who were born to myself and my husband while my husband is on a weekend trip with his other kids. It’s fine... it’s not like this on a regular basis so we just let it go.., my kids know that they have to share their father with another family! There’s nothing to do about it. Yes, our situation is unusual but we have to make the best of it.
So your husband wants to take his son on a grand trip... it’s fine. He really does need to give this confused child a good time and you know that.
He wouldn’t do this if his son lived in your house all the time. You know he’s doing it because the situation is unusual. Don’t make a whole big deal. Yes, you have a right to look out for your children but just know that the love and care they get from you on a regular basis is not something you can buy with money. And you can’t buy your kids love by spending lots on them and taking them on grand trips either.
Life is not fair but we can still walk around with happiness. Leave the anger and just let things go..
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 10:35 am
This is reminding me of something I heard from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz. There was a divorced couple who were on different pages religiously, and the mother had custody of the child. The father felt that on the occasions he saw his child, he should make them as much fun as possible, involving big trips, gifts, etc. because how else was he going to make Yiddishkeit exciting for the child. Rabbi Horowitz said, spend the time with your child doing normal things. You CAN offer your child something he doesn't otherwise have, a father. Just spend the time being a loving father.

I'm not saying it over well, and it's not fully analogous to your situation. But I do think that there's a middle ground. Yes, his getting to see his child IS a big deal, and a happy occasion. But I really think that both of you would benefit from ongoing counseling (and I'm sorry if it's not in your budget, I hope you can make it work), together and separately. Frankly, a LOT if not most people entering into this situation should have some form of coaching/counseling.

Big hugs, and hatzlacha!
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amother




Babypink
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 1:21 pm
This is interesting. When my son goes to my remarried ex they all go out together, Him, his wife, step child and my son. He never takes him anywhere by himself anymore...since He remarried.
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amother




Wine
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 1:45 pm
I think Coral said it best

they are going to have time just them together which they certainly need, the child for sure, and if DH wants to take him for a big outing -- fargin.

I would make it that on another day you will all go to the same place. I would think to make it a teachable moment -- the secret thing is too tense, too hard and unecessary to stress over keeping secrets like that and not really fair to DH's son-- who DH can tell about not bragging since we don't want to make anyone jealous- a common lesson all kids need to be taught-- while you can explain to your daughter, while validating any feelings of jealousy, that she is so fortunate to get to live with her mommy! and live in a happy household, etc...And after agreeing with DH tell her you will all go to that place during winter break or whenever works for you.

I would make a plan with DH for both of you to take your youngests or even everyone to this park/big outing. And enjoy.

Life is never apples to apples fair and good to teach kids not to cherry pick but to look at the big picture and to look at all we have to be truly grateful for. Comparing never helps. Hashem Knows what is best for each of us. Bitachon and emunah. A lifelong learning.

Though obviously some of this is exacerbated/made more complicated due to blended family dynamics I would try to distill it down to the normal dynamics such as have/have not, fair, jealousy, not making people jealous and the good middos we have to encourage in all our children.

And do something special with your child she likes, could be baking cookies or whatever, or a chesed activity, or art project, or going to a pizza place -- or somewhere big brother could take her she wants to go -- there are so many things kids like mostly just getting to be with their parent and have undivided attention. A bring your daughter to work day with mommy can also be very special. Your attitude will also be picked up by her. You can make it very exciting and so special like you are so HAPPY that everyone else is busy and you get to take just her with you! And maybe go out for ice cream or whatever too.

The monetary issues you need to work out with DH; but if it is limited to this one example as Coral said better I would totally let it go even while your feelings are most understandable. It can be very tricky to separate out our emotions and reactions from our kids. Yes you are sad that your kids don't get to see their father much. Many people may need professional help to separate out all the different pieces to blend a happy harmonious whole.

Its complicated -- maybe the "fight" between you and DH stemmed from him wanting you to be happy for him that he gets to have an outing big or otherwise with his son. Who he hasn't seen for a while while you do get to live with your children B"H.
Communication is key. not always easy.

hugs and hatzlocha
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amother




Coral
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 2:09 pm
Op, I think the problem is really coming from somewhere inside you-
“MY daughter will be home with no plans while HIS son is going on a grand trip”... your issue is deeper than the fact that your husband didn’t ask your daughter to join (and you really know that)
Don’t create such tension after he finally gets to have his son or he will Chas shalom resent your children like you feel resentful now.
You will find an opportunity to enjoy a nice outing with your kids. You know that your husband doesn’t get this chance often at all.
Be positive. Pack them lunch and snacks and have something ready for them to eat when they get home. You’ll see that your husband will appreciate your support and it will only be to your benefit.
Stop walking around feeling like he’s leaving your child out because he lives with and sees your children every day. He has a right to spend $50 to give his son a nice time. It’s not like they are taking a trip to Israel and leaving you behind.
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amother




Blonde
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 2:21 pm
I'm not sure I agree with the previous posters. Sounds also like OP is bothered that there's money to spend on his son, but not for her kids.
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amother




Ruby
 

Post  Thu, Nov 28 2019, 2:29 pm
Plan a nice outing with the whole family, Motzae Shabbos or the next available.

Doesn’t have to cost a penny. Park and bring picnic. Check websites that tell you the free happenings in your city.
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