I sort of lost my mind over Rebecca Eckler‘s piece about not disciplining her stepchildren. It should also be noted I consider Rebecca a friend, I like her a ton and I one day hope to spend many hours having many cocktails with her, but that doesn’t mean that we parent in the same way. First of all, if your methods of dealing with your kids end up with you crying in the backyard you are doing it wrong. And then there is this:
So this is what happens. They do something that I don’t agree with (leaving their dirty dishes on the couch, not walking the dog, making racist jokes etc.) and then I tell their father and he has a talk with them.
This is all unacceptable for teenagers. I don’t care if you are their stepmother. I don’t care if you aren’t “really” their stepmother because you aren’t married to their father – and no, I won’t get into that here because what in the holy hell sort of comments where those? Good God, it was as if suddenly our wonderful readers were replaced by judge-y One Million Moms-esque moral majority weirdos who seriously had issues with your marital status which was so old-fashioned and absurd I. can’t. even.
I don’t care if this is just a pack of teens you have never laid eyes on before hanging out in the parking lost of your local Tim Hortons. This is all unacceptable for teenagers.
My kids have been putting their dishes in the dishwasher or sink since they were old enough to toddle. Including my stepson. You don’t have to yell, but I would also not just leave a list, like you said you were planning on doing. You and your husband (and no, I’m not going to get into semantics here, you live together, you parent together, you let him put a baby inside you, he is basically your husband), as a united front, need to sit all of the people who reside in your home, even on a part-time basis, and give them the word together. The word is that everyone is old enough to put their shit away, and the adults are not maids, and this is all going to change. You can keep the list on the ‘fridge as a reminder, but the two adults need to sit everyone down for a big ‘ol “Come To Jesus” meeting.
You don’t have to be a “bitch.” You don’t even have to yell. But for your sanity and the happiness of your home you need to have this meeting. Make it fun. Serve fancy snacks. But have the damn meeting.
And the dog. Oh man, the dog. I have a dog. I sorta hate my dog. He always wants to go out and he destroys every toy we buy him and he still barks like a maniac no matter who comes to the door. But I adore him to pieces. Before I got him I thought long and hard about who would end up doing the majority of dog care and this has fallen on me and my husband, not the children. You HAVE to walk the dog. Since the dog belongs to the kids they have to walk the dog. Or someone has to pay someone to come walk the dog. But this is all horribly unfair to the poor dog and if you guys can’t work this out you need to adopt the dog out to someone who can and never get another dog ever.