I am the step mom to two wonderful boys (ages 13 & 11) and they are involved in a competitive soccer league. They are very talented (yes, I'm biased, but other parents say the same) and have expressed interest in playing in high school and college and dream of being a professional some day. They have each been playing since the age of 6, originally playing recreational soccer, then moving up to a competitive league once recreational was no longer challenging (i.e. 5+ goals every game).
Needless to say, the demands on a family keeping up with children’s activities are challenging, especially in the competitive soccer arena. Multiple games each weekend (some can be 1 hr+ away from home) several tournaments (some requiring hotel stays) throughout the year plus practice 2x week after school. It is a commitment the family has to commit to or it will not work.
My husband and I are fully committed to it, the BM
, however, is not. She is remarried with two additional children (ages 6 & 2) and has said that the boys soccer schedule isn't "convenient" for her and that she wishes they would go back to recreational soccer. She convinced the youngest not to go to his Olympic Development Camp this summer because she said she wasn't going to see him that much. Mind you, that word Olympic is used just as you would expect -- it's a training ground for possible Olympic athletes and you have to be invited to participate. By him not going to the camp (5 days, overnight) he *will not* be invited. She uses guilt in her approach -- "Don't you want to spend time with family?" How is an 11-yo boy supposed to respond to that?
The boys don't feel comfortable standing up to their mother and saying they want to go to their game, because they've seen her lose her cool (cops were almost called) and they'll avoid that at all costs. My husband and I just don't think what she's doing is fair or in the best interest of the boys.
She has told my husband in the past that she feels like soccer is "his thing" and she doesn't have a "thing" with the boys. He's tried to tell her that since she is a teacher that school is her thing and she's just not realizing it -- and that she should try to be more involved with the boys and their sports. It would be good for her and the boys.
We have gone through mediation before and she signed a document that stated the boys "will continue to participate in the extracurricular activities of their choice so long as it is in the best interest of the children. Each parent will do everything in their power to promote the children’s commitment to these activities. Whichever parent has visitation of the children during one of their scheduled activities will bring that child to their activity according to the predetermined and scheduled time(s). If the visiting parent cannot bring the child to the activity, the other parent should be utilized as the first alternative. "
Do we have grounds to take her to court and mandate that she call us if she can't get the boys to their sports commitments? We're not unreasonable -- her brother recently got married and the boys went to the wedding and missed games which is understandable. But just because it's inconvenient doesn't make it ok for you to hurt the boys when there is a parent that's available to take them.
I would love any thoughts/advice on this topic -- our hearts are breaking for the boys.