It is assumed by both my husband and his ex wife that I will be taking care of my step daughter everyday this summer. I wasn’t asked. I never am. I always have…summers, sick days, vacations, early release, snow days…it is always assumed. Never asked. And you know what; this would be fine if the circumstances were different. But they’re not and I am feeling resentful.

The ex has a history of accusing me of terrible things. You may know the story by now. Won’t into it. But I do have reason to fear another false accusation as it could destroy me. Also, my step daughter is now 10 and getting quite the attitude. She is being fed by her mother that I am not a parent, not to respect me and that the rules at our house need not apply. She is told to keep things from us, not to listen to certain things and has even been told on several occasions to outright lie to us. Needless to say, this has started to feed this new found attitude and she is turning in to an exact replica of her mother. Something else I will not get into…but let’s just say…that is SO not good.

This morning was brisk and much colder. About 50 degrees. We have and have always had a rule that the kids are not allowed to wear flip flops to school. We have been told by several teachers throughout the years that they do not want the kids wearing them. The kids run around in gym and recess and clearly, they are not safe in those situations. At home, when it’s warm, they can be barefoot for all I care. But I want to listen to the teacher’s suggestions and I happen to agree that it’s kinda silly to wear flip-flops when the kid is going to be running around. When my step daughter was dropped off this morning (she is here every morning before school and every day after school…her mom has her 2 nights a week and every other Saturday and Sunday) she was wearing flip flops. I told her it was really cold this morning and she will need to change her shoes before school. She flipped out saying that her mom told her she could wear them and she was NOT to take them off. She said her mom said that she was the parent and it’s not up to me.

I have been taking care of this kid since she was 14 months. I have been her PRIMARY parent most of that time. But now, I am nothing more than a fixture in my home? I called her father who was driving on the freeway at the time (found out later) and gave the phone to her. He told her to change shoes and she again flipped out and started crying like someone killed her cat. He told her over and over and said he would not change his mind and that she needed to listen. She kept arguing and then handed the phone to me. He told me he was driving and we hung up.

She told me again how her mom said she was the parent and I just said, “Mackenzie, your dad is busy. Your mom isn’t here. So I guess you are going to have to make the decision on your own. You decided what you feel is right.”

She walked out the door flip flopping away.

I know this seems like a very stupid argument. But it isn’t AT ALL just about the flip flops. I think that is clear. So my question…how am I supposed to take care of her all summer when she and her mother think I am not deserving of respect?


I posted this blog on a mom site I sometimes visit. I wanted to share some of their comments as they do shed light and help me with decisions I have to make:

That (taking care of her this summer, being left alone with her again) I would NOT be doing.  Obviously, nothing has changed with the bb and the way she feels of you, and well frankly, I wouldn’t risk everything that you have worked for, to have everything happen again.  FUCK THAT!!  This family has ruined alot of things, including your name.  I personally, wouldn’t do it.  I know you have done so in the past, but i would tell you dh, I am NOT that kids mother, she doesn’t listen, and i don’t care to be left alone with her, the bb is still in her "higher than mighty" bullshit attitude, and seeing as she is telling this girl to defy you, your screwed.  No matter what, your never going to get the respect of this kid, especially when she is turning more and more into her bb.  I just wouldn’t do it.  Send her to her fucking mothers house while her father is at work, or send her to a babysitter.  Don’t risk what you have already been through, just to go through it again?? no way in hell.


Me: I know it is stupid to put myself in the situation I am in. Its just hard.


Your right, it is stupid. And understandably hard.  But after spending 2 days reading what i read, you know better!! You are not stupid, in fact quite the opposite, so why are you allowing yourself to be put in this position again?  You are now just getting past, from what i understand, what has happened in the past..and i would suspect your dh knows why you wouldn’t want to be put back in this situation, so why would he even try.  I would truly, back out of that situation for your safety.  Tell the bb, you are "NOT" that child’s mother, just as she suspected, so YOU will NOT be caring for this child in any capacity.  That is your dh’s job to do and hers as well…but not yours.  Don’t go back down this road, you lost to much the first time!! Your right, it is hard, but go back and read all of your blog (including what you removed) and tell me which is harder???


I would just tell them no.  Refuse to do it.  You are not the authority figure so therefore you are not allowed to babysit the child.  She doesn’t listen to you so therefore you cannot keep her.  Tell your husband that he needs to find another solution.  If he were to crack down on her and make her listen to you then you may be willing to keep her, but if he cannot do something about her attitude and she refuses to listen to you then you refuse to keep her.  End of story.  Stand up for yourself, no one else is going to.  Who cares if they get angry with you and hate you, at least you won’t have to deal with the drama over the summer. 


ditto.  if she doesn’t have to listen to you then fine…don’t make her listen, but don’t do anything for her either.  disengage.  when they all have a problem with that calmly tell them that YOU are NOT her parent there YOU are NOT responsible for taking care of her… they need to do that…it goes both ways.


 i agree with pp on this one. there is no way i would take care of this kid, basically doing a favor for someone else who is drilling into her head that you are not the parent! and if your not the parent, does bm or dh plan to pay you for ‘babysitting’? bc thats what it would be. even if dh gets mad, he will hopefully understand where you are coming from and hopefully you refusing to do this will teach bm a lesson. she will not completley undermine your authority but expect you to raise her kid. f that. and also there is no way sd would have left the house in flip flops if it were me. you should have put your foot down on that one.


i’d take it a step further.  tell DH that he and BM need to sit down and figure out a plan for daycare before and after school and on school holidays.  and those plans shouldn’t include you because you are no longer available to babysit unless asked (so that you can accect or decline), respected by all parties involved, and paid for your time.  read the essay on disengaging from the posts…you may have to do that.


Tell her mother and your dh that you will not do it unless certain conditions are met. It is your home, and while the mother may have birthed her, YOU are the one taking care of her, which means your rules are absolute and must be followed. Is she allowed to disregard what her teacher says? No? If not, you deserve more respect than the teacher as you are the step-MOM. Lay it out for dh also. You are not the hired help. You are his wife and should be treated with the respect that position deserves. This involves your life also, which means you have every right to say no.


After reading your story, I don’t know why you are alone with this child ever….or why BM allows it if she accused you of it all.


Well, you can take care of SD during his time (provided tha’ts what you want), then he can read her the riot act every morning, make clear to her that HE is the parent and HE tells her to do exactly what YOU tell her to do.

During HER time BM can find somebody stupid enough to put up with this shit.


YOU are not safe around your SD because of prior accusations.  Your DH is not there so he can’t take visitation.  He needs to put HIS kid in daycare or stay home.  End of story.


I agree that you should not be spending time alone with this child right now, if at all possible.

Best case scenario would be for your DH to make other arrangements for SD during his CO’d time and for BM to have to deal with it on her time, even if that means she has to pay someone or put her in daycare.  It’s not fair for the entire responsibility to fall on you, especially after accusing you of abuse.  So which one is it?  BM thinks you abused her child *OR* she wants you to be her nanny?  It can’t be both.  And you can’t trust her to want you as a nanny, so it’s obvious she will just have to work it out without you. 

I know it makes matters worse for your DH to have to find someone else when you are "available" but given the circumstances, I would insist.  If you are willing to give in and keep SD, then it needs to be made crystal clear to SD, by BOTH bioparents, that YOU are in charge when no one else is there.  If BM can’t back you up, then you just have to refuse to do it. 

At some point, you are going to have to make up your mind what you really want.  Do you really want SD out of your care?  Or do you really just want the respect you deserve?  Pick one, and enforce it by any means necessary.  If respect is all you want…demand it.  And if you don’t get it, don’t give in to BM’s or even DH’s wishes.  Make them find someone else to put up with their crap.  If you want SD to be in  someone else’s care…you have to say it and mean it.  You can’t keep saying "I don’t want to do it" and keep taking care of her at the same time.  You are sending the message that what you say doesn’t matter because you will, in the end, keep her anyway.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  And demand that people treat you how you want to be treated.  Otherwise, you will keep getting walked all over and accused of shit that you did not do. 


Sweetie, get a job or go back to school. Have your own life and stuff to do. These bio parents are both taking terrible advantage of you and have almost ruined your life in the process as has this ungrateful flip floppin’ child.

Don’t delay. Begin your dreams.


This.  Stop being available.  They will figure it out.

Your response needs to be – (and I don’t give a shit if BM recanted – has your record been cleared?  Until then, BM can kiss your ass) "I am sorry.  I have been accused of terrible things, and I am not going to allow myself to be placed in the position to be accused of anything ever again."

BM can drop her kid off at school.  A lot of schools have before school care.  It’s not your problem.  And DH can be home to take care of her – if not, he can look into after school care – our schools offer both.  Repeat this over and over  "Not my kid, not my problem."

In case that does not work, repeat this "Allowing myself to be helpful lands my ass in court.  Fuck them both."


2 thoughts on “No Respect

  1. Clifton,Thank you very much for taking the time to lend you words and wisdom. Please know it is very appreciated. I hope we have some of the issues worked out…and hopefully the rest will fall in line. Thanks again!!!Heather

  2. Forgive me but I am guy and I felt that I had to help here. From the example posted above, it is clear that the problem isn’t the little teenager but the parents involved. More so, the dad carries most of the blame for failing in his capacity to set clear rules limiting his ex and protecting his home.Teenagers will always be teenagers. It is a transitional phase and attitudes vary from kid to kid. If she was a little bit older, with the ability to discern, do you think her actions would have been the same? Certainly not!I grew up in the Caribbean. A common saying back home " two women crabs can’t live in the same hole." This is clearly the case. The dad has to dislodge one of the ladies from his hole (house). It is evident that his ex is using his daughter as wedge between him and his wife. Put mildly, his ex is a trouble-maker and must be dealt with. The ex must be given clear limits by the dad since her intentions are not good. And yes his wife is correct “there is a clear lack of respect on her part.”Cliff

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