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Old 10-05-2014, 07:40 PM
 
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This may seem strange but I am already getting stressed out about Christmas, due to my stepdaughter. For some backstory, DH and I have been married since 2008. He has one daughter, 15, and I have twin daughters of my own from a previous relationship. SD lives with us full-time during the school year because her mother travels for work. SD spends the entire summer with her but very few holidays. She may send gifts or stop by and bring them but normally she can't stay long, maybe a few hours or a day.


The problem is that her mother doesn't know when to stop- Bath & Body Works, Victoria Secret, Mac make-up, designer purses, and a truckload worth of other items and so forth. Last Christmas several hours were spent opening her gifts, throwing out the pounds of wrapping paper and then folding all the clothes, organizing the make-up and other items and looking for a place to PUT the stuff. The girl only has one bedroom.

Of course my SD is happy for several days and enjoys her gifts. But then the honeymoon period ends and the stuff ends up bunched up on the floor, under the bed, bathroom in disarray and everything ends up overflowing. I will never understand the concept of owning expensive clothes and make-up if you end up trampling over it, but what do I know? SD is messy, but DH thinks it's normal because his ex-wife was messy too. He thinks women are like this in general.

Also my own daughters are both sixteen and don't receive as many gifts. I do a lot for them and they do get their share of presents but nowhere near what SD does. Around the holiday this can cause some hurt feelings, also some animosity from both my girls and SD. They all have their faults. My girls get jealous, and my SD has made a habit of showing off, trying to prove house rules don't apply to her, etc. Then she doesn't want my daughters using her stuff (understandable) but all of her things take up all the space in the bathroom and the hall closet upstairs that they share. Perfume, bras, hoodies, mascara, lipstick, shower gel, hair extension clips etc. There is just no room to put this stuff. Explaining this to DH's ex wife has caused more hurt feelings. No I do not think she is a bad woman and she has never disrespected me. She is very sweet and I believe she means well. But the gifts and the spoiling (which isn't just during the holidays, but year round, let's just say we keep the postal service in business) has got to calm down. SD has developed a little shopping problem on her own. She loves going to the mall every day after school, which would be fine excepts she lugs home more candles and clothes that she doesn't need. I fear when she gets a car next year because can you imagine?! She'll have a trunk to tote more things.

It wasn't this bad back when SD's mother had her own place where she had a room to keep things. But then she start traveling for work and sold her house and lives out of hotels. I worry about the spoiling but it's more of an issue of there is no place to put anything. Back when SD had an additional room it never bothered me as much it really didn't.

Am I being a grinch? Is the only option to buy a bigger house?! I'm kidding but I am frustrated.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:46 PM
 
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I can see how that situation would upset the equilibrium in your household. Can your step-daughter's father speak to his ex about the situation?

In the meantime, I'd maybe get each girl one of those Caboodle type boxes for their own toiletries, with the stipulation that whatever doesn't fit inside, has to stay in their bedroom. It isn't fair for one to overrun the available space in either the bathroom or a closet.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
I can see how that situation would upset the equilibrium in your household. Can your step-daughter's father speak to his ex about the situation?

In the meantime, I'd maybe get each girl one of those Caboodle type boxes for their own toiletries, with the stipulation that whatever doesn't fit inside, has to stay in their bedroom. It isn't fair for one to overrun the available space in either the bathroom or a closet.
Excellent points.

Or it can be handled just like other room mates handle shared space, One drawer and one shelf for each teen daughter and the rest stays neatly in their room. If she shares a closet, it get shared equally.

Can you imagine when SD has to share a tiny dorm room with someone her freshman year of college? Clothes, candles & shoes all over the floor can be a major, major problem between room mates. One of my daughter's sorority sisters was a little messy (nowhere near as bad as the OP's SD) just did not make her bed on the weekends, hogged shared storage areas, did not do the required house chores, left hand washables hanging in a shared bathroom, etc. and she was actually kicked out of the sorority for it.

My daughter did not have a large closet at our house or a lot of clothes, just a typical small bedroom closet. But she had room for less than 25% of the clothes that she felt that she needed in her dorm room.

What if SD lives in an apartment and demands that she gets ALL of the counter space and ALL of the shared closet space. She won't be able to keep her room mates happy for very long.

Perhaps, hubby can approach it with his ex-wife as the two of them need to help prepare their daughter for when she is living in dorms & apartments in college (and beyond). Less clothes, less toiletries, less gifts, less stuff in general, plus insisting that she care for the things that she does receive.

Last edited by germaine2626; 10-05-2014 at 09:59 PM..
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:46 PM
 
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Do you think that SD mother is just trying to make up to her daughter for the time they are apart? Albeit not the correct way to go about it, but may be the only way she thinks/knows to show her that even though she isn't with her throughout the school year that she cares about her? Just a thought.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NEOhioBound View Post
Do you think that SD mother is just trying to make up to her daughter for the time they are apart? Albeit not the correct way to go about it, but may be the only way she thinks/knows to show her that even though she isn't with her throughout the school year that she cares about her? Just a thought.
I have considered this but this all went on prior to her getting promoted and traveling more. Up until a few years ago SD lived with her mom full-time and came here on the weekends, had rooms both here and there. Some weekends she would not come because they would be shopping or at the hair salon. Like I said, it was fine when she had two rooms and half the house when she lived with her mother. She still had tons of stuff but it was not as overwhelming as it is now if you get what I mean.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
Excellent points.

Or it can be handled just like other room mates handle shared space, One drawer and one shelf for each teen daughter and the rest stays neatly in their room. If she shares a closet, it get shared equally.

Can you imagine when SD has to share a tiny dorm room with someone her freshman year of college? Clothes, candles & shoes all over the floor can be a major, major problem between room mates. One of my daughter's sorority sisters was a little messy (nowhere near as bad as the OP's SD) just did not make her bed on the weekends, hogged shared storage areas, did not do the required house chores, left hand washables hanging in a shared bathroom, etc. and she was actually kicked out of the sorority for it.

My daughter did not have a large closet at our house or a lot of clothes, just a typical small bedroom closet. But she had room for less than 25% of the clothes that she felt that she needed in her dorm room.

What if SD lives in an apartment and demands that she gets ALL of the counter space and ALL of the shared closet space. She won't be able to keep her room mates happy for very long.

Perhaps, hubby can approach it with his ex-wife as the two of them need to help prepare their daughter for when she is living in dorms & apartments in college (and beyond). Less clothes, less toiletries, less gifts, less stuff in general, plus insisting that she care for the things that she does receive.
How funny you mention this. We have mentioned this to SD before and have explained how college living works. I even showed her pictures of dorms at UNC-CH as an example of what sort of space she will have. Of course she has insisted that she will have a single or her own apartment. Her reasoning though is less about having space for her junk and more about not having to share a room I have explained to her that sharing a room is not the worst thing and that I did it back in my day. I dared to mention my experience and was told that was two hundred years ago and that I didn't know what I was talking about

DH is laid back and doesn't see the problem. No it doesn't cause fights between us but it does cause me stress. He makes excuses like, "Women shop. That's what they do." and he goes about his business. I asked him to speak with SD's mother and he said something like, "Let's ease up on the gifts." Hopefully something will give but she's already getting gifts in the mail. Where she will continue putting it, I don't know. Tonight I moved her clothes (the ones with tags) to the downstair's closet and I had to clear out that space to do that. I hated to because I feel like I'm enabling but we cleaned out her closet tonight and there was no more room.
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:58 AM
 
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There are a some issues and you have control over only part.

You have control over your house. Family meeting time and rules. Each person's personal stuff has to stay in rooms. Each person needs space for bathroom needs. Rules must apply to everyone. Consequences apply to everyone.

Suggestion: Clothes are in personal room or in laundry waiting to be washed. Mom, your kids are old enough to take care of the clothes in their room. If messy or whatever, let it be on them. The only big rule about rooms is that there is to be no food in the room due to sanitation. You need to get over the "clean room" or "clothes with tags" syndrome. If anything is found outside, piled up, left somewhere, it is either put in the appropriate room (wherever) or put in a big bag and donated.

Write all this down and post somewhere like the bathroom door or refrigerator. No excuses from anyone that they did not know or could not remember. If they dont remember or give you grief, just hand them a copy. No arguments allowed.

IF your SD asks for help organizing, fine. You can always let her fill her room with those portable closet racks. But, pleast do not fill your houses closets with her stuff. This issue, a full or clean room, is not the one to really worry about in the long run. You can model good behavior but you are not going to overcome mom AND dad issues.

Good teachable moment about donation too.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:22 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
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I assume your husband's ex is a Air hostess or a Pilot. Because they do this kind of luxury shopping for their kids. Because they can get is for no cost. I know my SIL was a Lady Pilot for British Airways. Of course my guess might be wrong. If I were you what ever on the floor I would take under my custody. but I think it is much better if you can have some time with your SD and have talk . I have the feeling that something psychologically not right with her, might be she is hurt may be she is missing her mother very much, or the feeling her mam throw gifts to her but she is not there for her. Some times children go through mental traumas due to divorces. So think on that too. But I think first you better dicuss with your husband first how you feel and how you frustrate. And see together what you both can do.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:22 AM
 
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A suggestion is to have her donate some of the items that she no longer uses or wears to make room for the new.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:08 AM
 
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Sounds like she's trying to make up for the fact that she's not there a lot.

The twins will just have to understand that this is the way her mom is. Just because you don't buy them all that stuff doesn't mean you don't love them or don't want them to have it. Is SD willing to give her step-sisters some of the junk?
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