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Old Yesterday, 11:19 AM
2 posts, read 143 times
Reputation: 10


Thanks for reading. I have a common but seemingly tricky situation at home. I have two boys from a previous marriage (aged 11 and 13) who are with me every second week (FRI-FRI). I am remarried with a woman from Ukraine (she has her residency now here in Canada), we have been together 5 years. She has a 6 year old daughter from a previous marriage but her dad is not around (even when she lived in Ukraine or visits) and I have known her and have a good loving bond with her since she was 1 1/2. We also have a 3 year old girl together.

My wife and I have one recurring fight and it is about time spent with the girls. I admit I find it very hard to spend dedicated play time with them because of their age and their interests (Hatchimals!?) , but I do try to do something with them once a week, last weekend we used a microscope to look at things, this weekend we had a drawing contest. However I am very loving - I tell them I love them every day, I hug them often and we talk quite a bit about things (well mostly with the 6 year old), I have taught her a tonne about science - space, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.. and she loves it all. Also, on the week the boys are not with us I do the book reading at night. We usually spend one day each weekend as a family (with boys or without) - going to the mountains, zoo, parks, etc.. And during the week if the weather is nice we go for a walk after dinner. I am an introverted person and need time to myself to recharge each day, so right after work (I end early around 3) I spend an hour or so unwinding then help with dinner and cleanup.

To her this is not enough. When the boys are with us - yes we play video games together quite a bit and of course they engage me as much as they can because they did not see me for a whole week! I am always there for the girls and try to give my wife days to herself when possible (shopping day, spa day...), and she is good at doing the same for me. Be she sees me playing with the boys and expects the same amount of dedicated time with them when the boys are not around and I can't. What's more it is never about the 3 yr old, she never really mentions her, she is focused on the 6 yr old. My wife was an only child and had a great step-dad who regularly took her along to work (he is a delivery guy) and she worships him as a dad (though he left his first family and children to be with her mother and didn't look back), something I did not and would not ever do.

So I created a timetable so we could lay out my time with kids - I added two week day evenings, when boys are not here, to spend them with girls playing games, including reading and putting them to bed. Saturday would still be a family day and Sunday is for cleaning the house (yes I do my share) and hanging out. I sent it to her and we got into another fight as it still seemed to be not enough. I know it is outdated thinking, but how did we get into a situation where parents are expected to keep their kids entertained? I played with friends, siblings or by myself almost all the time with no complaints and it was very rare that my dad did actual one on one fun things with me. I don't think he ever did with my sisters.

I should add that I am not out with friends more than once every few months and always around for the family (don't travel, drink, gamble, etc.) and work a very demanding (mentally) professional job. I am also 49 and 15 years older than my wife. I am not making excuses, just including situational facts.

Any and all feedback welcome - be honest and as brutal as needed if you think it is warranted!
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Old Yesterday, 01:20 PM
Location: Central, NJ
2,508 posts, read 5,283,408 times
Reputation: 3634
Is it possible she is insecure about her daughter being your "step" daughter, and worrying (incorrectly) about you favoring your "own" children? If so, I would have a discussion with your wife about that.

Someone shared a fun question to ask your kids, and maybe it would help here. It's "what do I need to know about you that will help me be a better mommy/daddy?" Ask her away from your wife, and see what her answer is. If she's feeling like she needs to spend more time with you maybe it would come out as an answer to that question. But at 6 the answer may just be "that I like candy and you should give me more". LOL
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Old Yesterday, 02:20 PM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
48,939 posts, read 47,195,202 times
Reputation: 95837
It sounds like you are underestimating the time you actually spend with your daughters. But first …

Is your wife 1) actually concerned about your own quality interactions with YOUR children, or 2) just wanting more help and time off from baby stuff? Once you figure that out ...

It's easy to spend good time with your boys because you are all gaming together, and that tends to last a LOT longer than other activities. Once a week with your own daughters???? Come on.

You're taking a scientific approach to what should be a matter of feelings and "want to."

If you want to chart something, chart the actual time you spend interacting with all kids. Then IF it comes out fairly even, you can show it to your wife and tell her to stop making it a point of contention.

But I think that method would only end up in a "win the battle, lose the war" situation.
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Old Yesterday, 02:43 PM
2,140 posts, read 883,969 times
Reputation: 3526
Sounds like she is separating the children into yours and mine rather than male and female. It is not unusual whatsoever for the children to gravitate more toward their same sex adult.
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Old Yesterday, 02:53 PM
Location: CT
58 posts, read 12,187 times
Reputation: 165
Originally Posted by h2hjastermereel View Post
What's more it is never about the 3 yr old, she never really mentions her, she is focused on the 6 yr old.
This is what stands out to me. I wonder if there is some sort of insecurity over the 6-year-old being the only child that is not biologically yours? Not assuming that you treat her any differently or spend less time with her... but I wonder if maybe your wife is concerned that her bond with you is different than with the other children? Granted, that can happen with biological children, too, but maybe she is in need of more one-on-one time with you. My youngest child has always been like that; he is quieter and reserved, and can get lost in the crowd of his more boisterous siblings. My husband found it tough to connect with him when he was younger because our son wasn't as demonstrative as our other children, but once he started making the time for one-on-one with him, it made a real difference. That's the thing about quality time with children: it doesn't necessarily have to always be equal in terms of the actual amount of time spent together, so long as each child's emotional needs are being met.
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Old Yesterday, 05:24 PM
6,491 posts, read 10,396,897 times
Reputation: 10995
Your wife sounds ridiculous. You may as well put a time clock in your house. She. Is. Ridiculous.
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Old Yesterday, 09:00 PM
Location: Wisconsin
18,543 posts, read 19,371,699 times
Reputation: 46581
How much time does she spend 1 on 1 with each of her step-sons? Or with both boys together? Or is that totally "your responsibility"?
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Old Today, 07:01 AM
Location: Bloomington IN
7,028 posts, read 8,637,073 times
Reputation: 17532
It seems that you divide your time between the sons and the daughters. I understand wanting some individual time with your sons, but I'm wondering if all 6 of you spend time doing things together when your sons are around? I get the age differences make it tricky, but certainly all of you can enjoy a walk together, a trip to a park or some other outdoor activity. The boys are certainly old enough to read to the younger ones or come up with some kind of activity that will be fun for them and the girls. You might have to organize this, but I think it would be worth the time and effort. Even something simple like organizing an outdoor game of water balloons or splashing in a wading pool.

I think that perhaps your wife is pushing the "lack" of time with the 6 year old in lieu of complaining about the lack of family time. I think spending a bit more time as an entire family would help the situation.
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Old Today, 09:13 AM
Location: West Coast U.S.A.
1,084 posts, read 365,221 times
Reputation: 1605
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
How much time does she spend 1 on 1 with each of her step-sons? Or with both boys together? Or is that totally "your responsibility"?
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Old Today, 01:50 PM
1,406 posts, read 1,057,258 times
Reputation: 3125
You said you take an hour to yourself to unwind each day. How much time does she get each day to unwind? Because you know that watching two young children all day is a job too right?
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