Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

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Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by KellyM on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:21 am

Having a spouse who is not the biological parent of your children is not the easiest thing. My husband has never had children of his own. Then when my kids were 6 and 8 he moved in. He has taken care of them, loves them and raised them over the last 10 years. However since he popped into the picture when they were already 6 and 8 he isn't used to a lot of things. He is very territorial over his stuff and his space. He spent all of his adult life not having to share his space or his things. As parents who raise our children from babies, we are used to giving up/sharing everything we have because that's how it is. He's never gone through that.

So, we were talking about the new house and JJ's birthday. Kris has already claimed the finished basement as his, (it was one of the must haves that we were looking for while we were looking for houses so that he could have his office in it). Also so I could eliminate cluttering up my main living area with a huge desk, two monitors, tower, books, etc. He has also claimed the garage as his, in other words he doesn't want JJ messing around in there at all. ( In his defense I do have to say that JJ has made a mess out of the garage before, taking apart bicycles and leaving the parts and tools all over the floor). There is a storage shed out back, a nice big one (big enough to have a garage door on it). Since we don't have anything to store in it, JJ asked if he could use it to put his bike in and either put a workbench in there or a punching bag. I thought that the punching bag would be a great idea for a birthday gift. That way he could have his own small space to call his own.( I n JJ"s defense, I don't see what the problem is in having his own little space. We don't need the shed to store anything right now and it would keep JJ from messing in the garage if he has his own area) Kris doesn't like the idea at all. So now I have to negotiate with the both of them back and forth until I can get them to come to an agreement. I have to convince Kris that it won't become a wreck, and let JJ know that I might be able to talk Kris into letting him use the shed if and only if he keeps it clean, doesn't destroy it, make any alterations to it that might affect how we would use it at a later date. I have had to be the one to negotiate since we all became a family, there have been many situations over the course of 10 years where I have had to be moderator. If I leave it up to them to discuss it, it starts a war because neither of them will listen to what the other has to say.
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by kleenaechs on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:44 am

Best of luck to you Kelly. I actually don't think this has anything to do with your husband not having his own kids. I have a step father who married my mother when he was in his 30's and she already had 4 kids 13-5. He was never like you describe, despite never having been around kids at all before us. It is a just a part of your husband's personality. He might well be that way even if you had a baby together. Many men, my husband included, are rather selfish and not as "understanding" about the needs of the children (or even the wife sometimes as in my case with my husband) if they conflict with their needs.

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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by edbson on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:47 am

Best of luck, but I would mention that you are a family who shares. There is only one room in my house that is off limits, my bedroom....kids allowed only if they are sleeping, on fire or bleeding. .
I think if your dh has the basement and the garage, then he needs to share the rest.
As the breadwinner I am guessing he thinks he is in control, I would change that....casseroles and not doing laundry work well here, although I have had to resort to starching of the boxers.....liquid starch and an iron works well.

Dh and I have an agreement, he works, I take care of the kids, house , yard, pets etc...and he defers to me in decisions concerning them. Maybe coming to an agreement of sorts would work?

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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by KellyM on Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:55 pm

I know that I will be able to work something out, it's just that I get tired of doing it all of the time.
Kris prefers to do his own laundry and will cook if need be without complaint. I am making him sound like a caveman but he really isn't. As I mentioned, before moving in with us he was used to living on his own with no kids. Second, he has had his share of the kids "borrowing" many things of his only to have them disappear or become damaged over the last 10 years. His point is that he doesn't go into JJ's space and take or damage anything, so he should expect the same from him, especially now where he is older. My part is going to be to convince him to give JJ a chance. I think that if I can find something to give JJ for out there that would give the shed a purpose. That way when he's out there, we know he's doing something constructive and not destructive.
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by edbson on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:11 pm

I agree, my kid is younger, and would not DARE go into dh's or my things. If she did she would pay the consequences, and they would not be pleasant. I am HUGE on scrubbing walls for a weekend.
He is old enough to know better, and to clean after himself.
My neighbors have an unused shed, it is not filled with teenage boys and their electric guitars and drums.....every afternoon.

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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by thebigscott on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:30 pm

I'm sorry, but I had to laugh about I-don't-go-into-his-space-ruin-anything-why-should-I-let-him-into-mine. That sounds just like Zoe complaining about Quinn and she's five! Maybe you could tell him what I told Zoe. He's only doing what all kids do, and what you did when you were his age. Oh and be sure to point out that Kris knows in his heart that he would rather have JJ around and have to put up with someone ruining his toys than to have perfect toys and no one to play with.

Seriously, though. Hasn't he heard of sharing? He's got plenty of room for his own things. A basement, a garage, and I'm assuming he has use of a bedroom, too. Plus he has use of the common areas like the living room, kitchen, etc. JJ should get the shed. It'll let him play loud music without disturbing you guys and it's help him feel independant. And he should have a nice incentive to keep it clean. Maybe he can pay to fix it up with his own money so that he wants it to stay nice. Or the punching bag and other accesories can be rewards for keeping it in good condition for 3 months or 6 months or whatever.

You can always make it part of the agreement that he can lose the use of it if it's not kept in good condition.
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by Rebecca1340 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:49 pm

I think I'd be skipping the negotiating and just tell them both what will be happening with the shed. Sounds to me like JJ is better at sharing than Kris! Just because JJ has use of the shed doesn't mean that a parent wouldn't wander in there from time to time to make sure everything was up to par.

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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by trax on Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:36 pm

I walked into a marriage with knowledge of two sons which to that i am not the mother. boys were 11 and 14. they r 43 and 39 today - I said only one thing - i am sharing these 4 walls with u - we can opt to make it a home or not - what do u want to do - it worked.
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by Lori on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:07 pm

He seems to be claiming quite a bit of the square footage of the new home. Do you have any privately claimed areas like he does? The basement looks pretty big, as well as the garage...

At this point, JJ is practically an adult and really needs to be treated with respect. Kris can set some rules, but really, as Trax pointed out, it won't feel much like a home with all the he-man territorial claims.

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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by bizzeedee on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:40 pm

I have nothing to add... Trax, Lori, Eric and Rebecca. as well as Karen have said everything I'm thinking!
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by KellyM on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:06 am

Well, to get it out of the way, I sat everyone down tonight. Kris promised to let JJ have the shed for his own "space" as long as JJ promised not to demolish or trash it. When we get there, they will both look at the shed to see if it's strong enough to hold the weight of the punching bag JJ was interested in. If not, they talked about a speed bag or maybe a weight bench.
I know Kris was being a little childish, however I do understand him a little. I don't think I have had one thing that's been just mine since I had the kids, while you immediately realize thats just a part of having kids, at some point you feel something should be sacred. They need to have a certain level of respect. I have had Wynonna paw through and give away my jewelry (3 of my rings, which weren't necessarily valuable money-wise but sentimentally they were valuable), wear my last couple pairs of contacts (even though she had perfect vision, but she wanted to wear them because they were tinted and she thought it would be cool). Take my perfume, use the last of my eyeliner without telling me,etc I could name countless things..to me that shows little or no respect.. I NEVER would have gone through my mothers things, or taken anything of hers without permission. On occasion JJ has left bike parts and tools spread all over the garage, played around with and broken some power tools, etc..though it has been some time since he did those things. Part of it is a respect issue too. So in sitting down and talking about it we all agreed that they would compromise to have respect for each others need to have a space. JJ would have respect by not destroying it and Kris would have respect for him by allowing JJ to have the personal space for himself.
JJ deserves a chance to have his own space and so he will.
As far as space for me goes, we already agreed that no computer items or anything like that will be allowed in any of the rooms upstairs except for JJ"s bedroom. Since we have lived here, there has always been a big hulking desk smack dab in the middle of the livingroom with tons of computer equipment on it. So the wish for him to have the finished basement wasn't only his wish, it was mine that he have it for his desk and computer stuff as well. That way, the upstairs will be clutter and component free. I can decorate any way I like and the spare bedrooms are mine to do what I want with. Also at some point I would like to get a pool table which will go in one corner of the basement, which he agreed on. And I agreed at some point when we are empty nesters that the basement bedroom will become a exercise equipment room.
It just took a little convincing on both sides...
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by edbson on Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:31 am

Glad you worked it out.
I am the type to just say " this is the way it is, like it or leave", and dh knows it.
You do need to have some personal space, I have my bedroom and sewing room. Dh has the garage...but kids are allowed in both,

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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by KellyM on Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:36 am

I do have the spare bedrooms to do with as I please, maybe use one for a scrapbooking/sewing room and the other for guests. The space I am most looking forward to is the deck out back. I can't wait until the snow melts and its warm enough to sit out there. Of course I will need to scour the garage sales and find some patio furniture.
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Re: Why do I always have to be the negotiator?

Post by thebigscott on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:39 pm

Our house was built by generation after generation of family adding rooms. If I had a floor plan it would almost look like a puzzle box, LOL. But the up-shot of this is that the downstairs is not laid out for anyone to have any privacy. You literally have to walk through the master bedroom to get to the only bathroom. It was an addition (the house was built before indoor plumbing was available) and the only door to it is in my bedroom. We could convert the room to a family room, but the other rooms are either tiny or upstairs. The upstairs isn't an option for me because I would never make it from there to the bathroom in time. I have a tiny bladder, LOL.

One day we'll do an addition of our own and it will certainly include an extra bathroom. Until then, we just share the spaces and don't worry about it. However, each of our older kids (teens) have their own room. And both of their rooms have good locks on them so they have privacy and don't have to worry about the little ones walking in on them. Personally, I have become accustomed to it all. It doesn't seem odd to have the kids come in our room. In fact, I kind of like it. They'll come sit on the foot of the bed to visit and talk in the morning while waiting for their turn in the bathroom. Or they'll jump in bed with us for a quick snuggle on a Saturday morning. Even the big kids hang out with us more than when we're visiting family and each have a bigger space. And when we have company, everyone ends up in our room hanging out. Their friends and even our friends all gather there.
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