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Everything posted by MinivanMom

  1. It is standard in some jurisdictions to write a clause into custodial agreements that the other parent has the first right to babysit the kids. My parents had a clause like that, and my bio father tried to use it to prevent us from visiting friends or spending the night at friends' houses; he insisted that anytime we weren't with our mom, we were required to be with him. That isn't the intention of those clauses, but just throwing that out there as a possibility. Holiday custodial arrangements can be particularly contentious. My parents called the police on each other a lot and in hindsi
  2. Get a hotel room. I can't imagine what your mother is thinking, but sometimes people don't think clearly when they are grieving. Get a hotel room, give aunt some space when she needs it, and definitely go to the funeral on your own while your husband watches the kids. I might also reassure your aunt that you are very happy that she's staying with your parents and has support. I just wouldn't want her to feel guilty about displacing you and your family.
  3. I've seen the situation play out this way, especially with couples who take on very traditional roles within their marriage. One of my husband's coworkers was going out-to-lunch with friends, attending his weekly Bible study, and generally doing whatever while his wife sat by the side of his dying mother. And this guy adored his mother. Nobody could understand it. But he just viewed caregiving as women's work, so he thought it was his wife's job. At the office Christmas party after his mother passed away, I was sitting with him at dinner. And he started telling me that he didn't know how
  4. No experience from the parent side, but my husband experienced this situation from the student side. He was a 4.0 student and valedictorian with very, very involved parents who were always present and made sure that he never wobbled. He went to a good university out-of-state and really struggled the first two semesters. Just to be clear, he wasn't partying or blowing off classes (dh doesn't drink). He was just struggling with time management and seeking out academic help, etc. And he was afraid to tell his parents anything, because he had seen them flip their lid over his older sister str
  5. I also think a good divorce attorney would be able to refer her to a good tax attorney. She likely needs professional help to deal with any potential issues involving taxes and penalties. What a terrible situation.
  6. Get a good lawyer. Secure the kids' passports immediately. He's done a terrible thing, but at the end of the day, it's only money. Thank goodness he didn't try to take the kids as well.
  7. Some kids get better and some don't. I have one kid who had good skills in practice, but struggled with the quick action of games. It all came together by age 10. I'm glad we let him continue to choose team sports even when it was painful to watch those early games from the sidelines. He's a teen now and continues to play. He isn't the star or mvp, but he's a decent player and loves the game. I have another kid who struggled in practice, struggled in games, and had no interest in practicing or even playing around with a ball on his own. I would cringe from the sidelines. Yet every se
  8. To the original subject, I experienced serious burnout around the time I had my 5th child. I had 5 children aged 8 and younger, no extended family, and was in the middle of handling a messy estate in another state. Every waking hour was taken up with child care, homeschooling, and estate work. Mostly I would get the kids to bed by 7 pm, work on the estate until 1 or 2 in the morning, and then get up at 6 am with the newborn to start it all again. It wasn't about losing myself. I simply had more than any person could reasonably manage. My husband stepped in beautifully and that made a huge
  9. I feel stressed seeing the long lists of things you all are doing "for yourselves". (Yes, I put that in scare quotes!) I don't want to get a gym membership or join a bunch of clubs or go on girlfriend vacations. I don't want a part-time job or more volunteer work or extended time away from my kids. Omigosh, am I supposed to be doing all those other things too?! I don't want more responsibility and more commitments sucking up my hours. I want more downtime! I will settle for alone time with a book after lunch everyday, working out a few evenings a week while dh handles bedtime, and a
  10. Ours is Dec 22- Jan 2 (12 days). They also get 5 days for Thanksgiving, 10 days for spring break, and lots of non-Christian holidays. But we also have lots of random days off and half-days as well (usually at the end of each quarter and when interim report cards are issued). I always think that if we didn't take off random days (often in the middle of the week!), then we could have a longer Christmas holiday. I would love to have 2 or even 3 full weeks every year.
  11. I agree that these situations have a massive impact on all the kids still living at home - including teens. Those teens still need their parents. And nobody - nobody - should be expected to put their own family and minor children on hold indefinitely, because the older generation demands that their needs be front and center for years or decades. Its not the rosy picture people paint of caring for grandma for a few months while you learn to serve others and set a good example for your own children. Serious long-term care can be tough, traumatizing stuff for kids - including teens. But don'
  12. My husband recently read Educated for a book club he's in, and he raved about it. He's been trying to get me to read it, but I haven't found time. Anyway, our discussions about the book led me to start digging around on the BYU admissions page out of curiosity. It turns out that BYU does not accept homeschool diplomas. I know that's something we usually rail about here on the homeschool boards, but I wonder if that was helpful to the young lady in the book. A neglected unschooled or nonschooled teen is going to have trouble producing a homeschool diploma. Their best bet is a university th
  13. I applied to only two colleges: my local state univ and an out-of-state private school. They were both safeties based on my stats and awarded merit aid without requiring fafsa info (which my mother refused to provide). I also took my ASVAB and spent some time talking with my army recruiter, because I needed a back-up plan and community college is a difficult alternative if you are a homeless teen. In hindsight, I'm kind of amazed that it didn't occur to me to talk to my hs counselor or to anyone at my relatively helpful church. I didn't know that hs counselors were supposed to be helping with
  14. The best Christmas gift my dh ever gave me was telling his family that we were dropping out of the gift exchange (after years and years of drama). The second best gift was choosing a profession where he can't take time off over the holidays. I love my husband. I only do the things that bring me joy! That means staying home, listening to Christmas music, and baking cookies. No shopping or travel or drama. Every year is quiet and peaceful.
  15. This is a good way of summing it up. But I've always liked the ending. Outwardly, she appears to be making similar choices to her mother. She moves to a rural, isolated place as an outsider. She marries a local. She discovers that every community has their faults and challenges. But she is treating people differently. She is consciously making a choice to build healthier relationships. And she's taken that childhood pain and channeled it into a life helping others. In that sense, it's really a beautiful ending.
  16. I adored the book when I was young. And I still identify with it deeply. But I grew up in a home with some highly dysfunctional dynamics. I was the child that was expected to step in and act as an adult, but I was also the targeted child who acted as a scapegoat. So I was deeply moved by the way the main character was able to leave her island and forge her own independent identity without family support. Other books I loved as a young person: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Jane Eyre, & The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I do think that certain books and certain themes resonate more
  17. I stagger their schedules so that no one works on math at the same time. I also work piano practice into the mix. So with my 3 boys, I will be working on math with boy A while boy B sits on the other side of me working independently (handwriting practice or journal) and boy C practices piano. Then they rotate. This only works, because they enjoy practicing piano and don't need my help. Otherwise I could send the third boy to read a book in the other room or to practice typing at the computer - anything that would be worthwhile and completely independent.
  18. For many years my teen dd participated in our homeschool group's spelling bee. Every time, she would go up against one particular boy who was phenomenal. They would go round after round, but in the end he would win. It was disappointing to her, but he was better than she was. And every time, he would go on to win the regional bee and then place very high at the national bee. It was only when he moved to public middle school that dd was able to win the homeschool bee, but she was still the runner-up to him at the regional bee. This is a common problem in highly-educated areas with competi
  19. My mother (5th of 6 children) also came up with this "modification". Nobody is in charge; you are just in charge of yourselves. Except that someone is in charge. Whoever is responsible for making sure toddlers don't hang out windows or run in the street or play with matches. Which is generally the oldest and/or most responsible child (almost always a girl). So someone is in charge, but you aren't giving her the authority she needs to supervise the younger children or to intervene when things are dangerous. Nor are you giving her any recognition for the regular hard work she is doing as a
  20. If you have a reasonable judge who can see through your stbx's bs, then it's probably best to continue with the path you are on now. I will be honest and say that I laughed out loud when I read your stbx's "offer". Anyone with even a passing experience with divorce would laugh at that "offer". Go ahead and take it to trial. Your stbx can't drag it out forever, and at this point, he's just making himself look like an irrational bully.
  21. This is also my background, and I know it plays a role in my tendency to over-commit to activities. I struggle to tell my kids no to good activities that give them opportunities to develop talents and socialize with other kids. And I have struggled to accept that my younger kids can't do quite as much as the older kids did, because it doesn't feel right or fair. But it is my responsibility to help our family have balance. And that includes a balance between busyness & downtime, a balance between activities & family time, and a balance between the needs of the teens & the young
  22. We have: Monday: choir for tween dd & orchestra for teen dd Tuesday: ballet for tween dd & Scouts for the boys Wednesday: piano lessons for younger kids & sports practice for the boys Thursday: ballet for tween dd & strings lesson for teen dd Fridays: Free Saturdays: soccer & baseball games for the boys, ballet rehearsal for tween dd, & ensemble rehearsal for teen dd Sundays: Free I love our current schedule, but I know it would be too much for many people. Your schedule looks pretty heavy to me (and I have a very high tolerance f
  23. I'm going to agree with previous posters that this is not a light schedule. Your son may be having some challenges with his attitude right now, but nothing in your post sounds like laziness to me. This is a very heavy schedule. How do you know that "he will coast through by gaming the system"? How do you know that he won't be one of those "independent high achievers"? Any kid who can handle AOPS, Lukeion Latin 2, and the rest of it - even with complaining and sloppiness - is most definitely a high achiever. There can sometimes be this funny dynamic where certain kids with certain persona
  24. Dh and I did not keep our families in the loop. We were a couple and the seriousness of our relationship was between us. I think I shared enough with my family that they guessed it was serious, but I didn't tell them I was getting married until dh proposed with a ring. Dh actually had a blow up with his mom, because she flipped out over him being "secretive" and not sharing information with her, so he felt forced to tell her that he was planning to propose ahead of time. He was not happy that she blew up at him and forced the disclosure; he thought she was being pushy and controlling. And
  25. Just curious based on the other thread. Did you keep your family in the loop when you and future dh were getting serious? Did you tell them marriage was on the horizon prior to the official proposal with ring? Did your dh keep his family in the loop? And do you think the couple is obligated to do so? Would you view the couple as dishonest if they kept their plans to themselves or only confided in one side of the family prior to the official engagement?
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