I've suddenly got three teens. Help me!
October 1, 2008 10:12 AM Subscribe
I started dating someone pretty seriously at the beginning of the summer. Due to his former wife's emotional instability, his three children (a 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twin sons) are living with us in my small two-bedroom apartment. I always wanted to have kids, but this is rather sudden! I'm lost and stumbling. Please offer any advice you think relevant.
posted by Jaie to human relations (73 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
A few more details. I'm in my late 30s, divorced, no kids, two small dogs, used to live a really quiet life eating organic food, taking belly dance classes and knitting. I know there's a high potential I'm being used, but don't know how to extricate myself from this situation in good conscience. Plus, I genuinely feel for these kids; they deserve so much more than they've gotten from life.
He's in his early 40s. Neither of us has much money; in fact, until his court date next week, he is still paying child support (being held in escrow until court date). He works from noon to 9 p.m., so I'm with the kids from 6:30 or so until he gets in around 9:15. The kids go to bed around 9:30 because school starts so early. After the court date he plans to rent another apartment in the same complex; the apartment above mine, in fact. As it is also 2 bedrooms (no 3 bedrooms are available), the 16-year-old will probably stay with me. Except for the additional room and a bit more money, I don't anticipate anything changing.
Since he isn't home in the evenings, I'm the one cooking, doing homework, trying to get chores done, caring for his puppy (did I mention the puppy?), and so on. I've had to give up all my after-work and evening activities, including what little physical exercise I get, because there simply isn't time or money.
I need all kinds of advice, from recipes that feed five healthy appetites to communication strategies for tweens to how to cope with a 16-year-old pining for her 19-year-old high-school-dropout boyfriend of two years, all bearing in mind that I'm not their mother. I don't know how much authority it's appropriate for me to have, how to stop the chaos on school nights, how to get the boys to do their homework, how to evaluate my relationship with my boyfriend independent of the kids, or where to turn for good information. (Google brings back far too many results.)
It's been almost six weeks, and I'm so strung out I don't even know how to formulate my question except to ask for any and all advice and/or resources.