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Old 06-08-2006, 02:59 PM   #1
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Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

Okay, I posted this on another board but I thought I would ask the wise mamas here also. A little background my dss lives with us, along with our (dh and I) two sons, ages 6 and 10 months. My step-son's mother lives with her son, age 4 and sees my dss every other weekend.

So here is the issue today. Now I have to also say this is probably not a huge deal when I look at the big picture, but I am annoyed. Here is goes...

Okay, my 9 yo step-son lives with us full-time. His mom has been in and out of his life for years. She told my dh he could keep my step-son (she was moving out of state) "as long as I don't have to pay child support". At the time he was a baby. Currently, he sees her every other weekend. She promised him a month in the summer, but recently backed out because she does not want to pay for childcare while he is there. Now this is a huge disappointment for him and he has been acting out big time. It is also a pretty big disappointment for me because I was looking forward to the break.

So here is the issue of the day. We probably purchase 90% of his clothing. When he goes to visit his mom he packs a bag of his things and then brings the bag back. He told me this morning that he needs to take the clothing that no longer fits him back to his mother. His mother has a 4 year old. I told him the hand me downs are going to his 6 year old brother that lives with us.

I said, "daddy and I bought most of these clothes and we need them for 6 yo brother". So he told me the clothing his mother bought should go back to her. I lost it and said "well that would be true if she actually paid child support but she DOESN'T".

So I realize I should not have said that last part about the child support. I went in later and apologized to him and I told him "daddy and your mom will figure this out, we don't need to worry about it".

So I need opinions, I think if she wants to keep clothing she buys for him, then she should keep it at her house. If she sends it home, I view it as a form of child support and it should stay here. I don't want to have to keep track of "her clothes".

I realize this is probably petty on my part. Right now we are struggling financially and I have to go back to work. I am a teacher so I will start working again in the fall, but until then there is NO MONEY. We are putting groceries on the credit card. She "appears" to have plenty of money to take my step-son to amusement parks and go on vacations with her husband. Last weekend, they went to a water park, just the admission was $200 for their family. I am not proud of this but I am resentful. I think that money could have bought a TON of groceries if we had received it as child support.

I think this will bother me less once my paychecks start arriving, but it does bug me. I am going to have dh discuss this with her, to see if she even said she wanted the clothing back.

If she does want to keep the items she purchased, I think it should stay there and we should eliminate the packing of the bag for weekends. So the clothing we buy stays here and the clothing she buys stays with here. Does this sound unreasonable?

TIA...I know this was long. I think just getting it all out has helped.

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Old 06-08-2006, 03:29 PM   #2
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

Ok. Ive got to chirp in here as I have a very LARGE blended family (2 of mine, 3 of his, 2 adopted, and Dakota). Thats 8 kids. My husbands exwife doesnt pay a cent of child support and we have all of them full time. they visit her every other weekend (I might add that the 2 adopted are the exwifes bio kids from another relationship) so all in all we are raising 5 children she is biologically tied to. She is the disneyland mom. She has no rules at her house, provides no child support and is the one always to get all the cool video games, etc.
We also had a clothing problem, but just a tad different when our kids started going to her house every other weekend (this after a 2 year absence on her part). I sent clothing with the kids for summer and guess what I got back?? I got the clothing back... all dirty.. we are talking 13 black bags of wet, moldy, and dirty clothing.
That was when we put a stop to the bringing clothing back and forth. From that point (when I had a major melt down) the kids have their clothing here at home, and seperate clothing at her house. They are sent and returned in the same outfits. I just refused to deal with that again.
I am all for her purchasing clothing to stay at her house, and you guys having his clothing at your house. Makes for less problems in the long run.
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Old 06-08-2006, 04:58 PM   #3
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

It kinda reminds me of the "who should pay for the date?" question. So, look at what you lose and what you win each way.

If you don't return the clothes, dss gets an earful from his mom about how you've taken what's "rightfully hers." Since she didn't offer the clothing in lieu of child support, it's difficult to make the argument. Regardless of your side of the story, you look like the wicked witch.

If you return the clothes, you have the aggravation of sorting through and finding them, and sending them back, and you lose that resource for your 6 y.o.

Seems to me you have more to lose in the long run if you keep the stuff.

And, I agree 100% that you should make the new rule be that clothes that she buys stay at her house, unless she's willing to give them up as hand-me-downs. She can squawk about it, but you just have to make it clear; "if it comes here, we keep it; we don't have time to do your sorting and sending."
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:22 PM   #4
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

Oh man, I already typed out a long reply and DS hit my keyboard!!!! UGHHH

We have a blended family here too! We have shared custody and we buy our children clothes here and they are for here and not to leave this house. When they do take things home they never get returned and when the kids are here, they have nothing decent to wear if we want to go somewhere which makes me very upset because we do buy them nice things to wear....they just sneak them to their mothers! DH's daughters are very forgetful (talented at it infact) and they "accidentally" bring things home and they never come back! NEVER! Last week one of the girls had no pj's to wear because she had brought every set we bought her home to her mother's house...GONE! Now we have to go shopping for more! UGHHHH!!!! We are on a very tight budget and it burns me up! I wash everything they bring/wear here from their mothers and fold it and put it on their bed to take home with them each time they are here....nothing ever goes home dirty! DH's ex-wife is not married and doesn't have any younger children to pass the clothes down to, not even friends or relatives and she has NEVER once offered to give us any of the clothing that the girls have grown out of for our younger daughter...not once! My oldest daughter is 18 and has given DH's girls lots of clothing. Oh well, that's her choice, she bought them, she can do whatever she wants with them I guess. Now.....on the other hand, my exhusbands girlfriend has given us TONS of clothing (some even with tags) for the little ones and toys including a Little Tykes playhouse that never went outside! Some people are giving and some are not.....just the way of the world!

Easy solution....you keep what you buy, she keeps what she buys and that's the end of it. It shouldn't be put on your SS to decide who gets which clothes when he grows out of them...poor kid!

I know what you mean about the vacations too.....We cannot afford to do that stuff, sadly, there are 7 kids and it's just not in the budget....while the ex can take the kids to lots of fun places and vacations. I just hope that what they get here at home is a lot more valuable because it's real and it's good and it's special....it's family.

Blended families is NOT easy....anyone who says it is is lieing!
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:48 PM   #5
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

I definitly think what she buys should stay at her house and what you buy should stay at your house. If she buys something then she should get it back for hand me downs for her son. If you buy it it goes to your son for hand me downs. Regardless of whether she pays child support...since that wasn't ever in the "deal". I think you'll save yourself alot of work if you just let her know clothes aren't going to be going back and forth...and neither are toys....JMO ((HUGS)))
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:23 PM   #6
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

I didnt read the responses but I have a 13 yr old stepdaughter. We provide her clothes here and her mom provides her clothing at home. So no bags on visits. So of course, our clothes are almost brand new. She generally wears them a couple of times before she outgrows them and I pack them away for our other daughter. Her mom has asked us to chip in for school clothes and we declined b/c we do pay child support and we still have to clothe her here. Having separate clothes eliminates a lot of arguements b/c I care for clothes, her mom just washes them so they always have stains and stuff.
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:48 PM   #7
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

Well even though I don't have step kids, I have been around enough blended families. And the kids leave with clothes on their back and (hopefully get washed) and come back with those same clothes, which means no bags go to the other house,etc. But I do see your dss point, if she bought the clothes they should go back to her. JMO
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:07 PM   #8
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

well heres an idea, If you have a 6 year old, couldn't some of the hand me downs that he has outgrown be passed to her child? Maybe not your favorites but some decent stuff. Its not like you'll save all that stuff for 5 years and take it out and it still be in style.
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:44 PM   #9
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing UPDATE

Thank you for all of your responses.

My dh called BM to see what was up because the story was a bit strange. So it turns out she never said she wanted the hand me downs back.

DSS just didn't want my 6 year old to have the clothing so he made this story up. This has been an issue in the past, dss not wanting ds to have his old clothing.

She did say "make sure you bring clothes next time" because all he brought was a pair of pjs and then had nothing to wear. That is what we get for letting a 9 year old pack himself. So we agreed he would take a bunch of "her" stuff up tomorrow to leave there. We asked both of them to please leave any "special things" she wanted to keep for her son at her house.

So I am feeling much better now that we have cleared the air. I am trying to give up Pepsi so I am overreacting today. I almost lost it when dss told me I needed to wash the shirt ds was wearing tonight because it had to go back to his mom's tomorrow. I controlled myself though and said "we will discuss it your father when he gets home".

I think I may pack up dss "special items" that no longer fit to go to his mom's anyway. My dss has some pretty serious emotional issues. If it bothers him this much to see ds wearing an item BM purchased, I can respect that. I don't see the point in pressing the issue.

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Old 06-08-2006, 08:54 PM   #10
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Re: Blended family issue with hand me down clothing

My cousin had the problem with his daughter where she would pack a bag to take to her mother's house and then "forget" to bring the clothes back home. She was a teenager when it really got to be an issue so it made sense for him to discuss it (calmly and rationally of course ) with her and make the rule that she wasn't allowed to carry clothes back and forth. With a younger child, I think it makes more sense for the adults (preferably your dh and his ex...you shouldn't have to deal with this!) to work something out so that the child doesn't have to get involved. If it were me, I'd let dh know that we provide the clothes (and food and toys and everything else) here, she needs to do the same at her house...and he needs to let her know that. One of my really good friends just went through a divorce with 3 small children and she was sending them every visit with a suitcase full of clothes, a bag of diapers, cans of formula and babyfood for the baby, medications, etc. and her ex sent them home with nothing. The final straw was when he told her he didn't have a carseat for the two little ones so she gave him two old crummy hand-me-down ones. They were safe, but not nearly as nice as the ones she had. Next visit, he forgot to put them in the car so he needed to borrown her good carseats. She let him take them and guess what...he sent the kids back home with the crummy ones and kept the nice ones!! She wound up having to go back to court and get some kind of ammendment to their custody agreement that said he had to provide everything for them during his visits.

And by the way, what state are you in? Here, child support is mandatory, whether you want it or not, whether the non-custodial parent has visitation or not. I thought it was like that everywhere?

Good luck, I know it's a hard situation...
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