Committing to a person who comes with their own kids from a previous relationship can be so
. It can also be fraught with
and constant battle.
That's the lesson one mum has learnt over the past 15 years, but when she finally opted out of the whole "
treat everyone equally
" thing, her
called her out on it.
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The gifts were put away for the future. Source: iStock.
My sister-in-law is threatening me over baby clothes
"Ever since we said 'I do' things have been rocky"
"I married my husband 15 years ago. He was no longer with his kids' mom (they were never married, had their first kid senior year of high school and stayed together for five years)," the woman
wrote in her post to Reddit
"Ever since we said 'I do' things have been rocky. My stepkids' mom ended up being left at the altar and it made her bitter toward me and my husband."
What followed was three years of the children's mother alienating the children from their father and stepmother. She encouraged them to run away and tell people the stepmum had "seduced their dad and made the family break up."
Custody was then awarded to the couple for two years while their mother attended therapy and parenting classes and custody slowly worked its way back to the mother.
"We had two kids of our own during all this," the woman continued. "Our boys. My stepchildren never accepted them as their brothers."
During the children's teenage years, the kids chose to spend most of their time with their mother, and now the youngest has graduated high school and they have made it clear they want nothing to do with their stepmum and stepbrothers.
Stepmum’s shocking photo demand
She is not welcome at the graduation or any future events. Source: iStock.
‘I loved one stepkid and loathed the other’
"We're not welcome anymore"
"My stepkids are now 23, 21 and 18 and my boys are 7 and 5," she said.
"The youngest one graduated high school this summer and that was when the kids got together to tell my husband they were having a dinner for the youngest graduation but I was not welcome and neither were our boys, that there was no place in their lives for us and we were not welcome to try and play a part anymore."
It was this final act that made the woman decide she would no longer make an effort with the three stepchildren. She had been wanting to buy her young boys something very special for quite some time and finally did it.
"They're little matching items that I want to give them someday, but I'm not sure when yet. Each item has a personal message from me to them on it," she said.
The items were put away for the future, but her helpful sister-in-law stumbled across them while helping look for a missing pair of earrings.
"She told her parents (my husband's parents) and the three of them confronted me and said I should have bought something for my stepkids too," she said.
"That while things are bad now I have been a mother figure in their lives since they were young and I shouldn't give up on our relationship.
"And not getting anything makes it a certainty things will never get better."
Her husband stood by his wife, explaining she doesn't need to "keep getting sh*t on" but the woman has asked on Reddit if she was wrong to exclude her stepkids after they had clearly cut her out of their lives.
Respecting their boundaries includes gifting
A few people on Reddit admitted they thought the stepmum would be in the wrong on this one, but after reading the backstory, they agreed the woman had every right to exclude her stepchildren.
"If you and your children are not welcome then neither are your gifts," commented one person.
Another said that they're all adults now and have made their decisions, adding, "So long as the husband and OP are still on the same page about their relationship with each other and with their two boys, it’s now the husband’s job to figure out how to handle his adult children."
And one person suggested the stepmum respect the now-adult children's wishes: "I don’t even think it’s about your needing or not needing to treat the kids equally or any history. The stepkids are now adults and have enacted boundaries. IMO respecting that includes gifting."
Do you think it's fair to quit putting in the effort after your stepchildren have so clearly cut you and their half-siblings off completely? Let us know in the comments on Facebook!