The Original Poster (OP) finds herself in a family tug-of-war when she proposes switching her daughter’s school to ease the morning chaos of transporting stepsiblings. As emotions flare and stakes rise, her daughter takes a dramatic stand, sparking a contentious standoff that leaves both sides grappling for a resolution.
The Joint Custody Arrangement
OP and her ex-husband share custody of their 12-year-old daughter, Kelly. Kelly was just a toddler when they parted ways. Together, they made decisions about her upbringing and education.
The Education Agreement
OP and her ex-husband decided on private schooling for Kelly, sharing the costs equally. Kelly’s school has a distinct focus on STEM, which she loved. She dreamed of becoming an architect one day and building skyscrapers.
The Daily Drive
While Kelly adores her school, there’s a logistical challenge. The school is a 45-minute drive away, and there’s no bus service. Attempts at carpooling and hiring a driver have been unsuccessful.
A New Chapter in Life
Things took a turn when OP remarried. Her new husband had two teenagers, who also attended a private school on financial aid. Although their school was closer, the timing made things complicated.
Two Households Merge
OP’s husband’s previous wife died from cancer. The process was long and painful and left him with many medical bills. He sold his house to pay off his debt and contribute toward OP’s mortgage.
The Widower’s Children
OP’s new husband is the sole caretaker of his kids. They, too, had transportation challenges, relying on OP for their commute. Their school’s timings made the morning routine a frantic dash.
A Solution Presents Itself
OP and her husband brainstormed ways to simplify the daily grind. The logical solution seemed to shift Kelly to her stepsiblings’ school, but this idea brought problems. OP was not sure her ex would be on board with the arrangement.
The Reluctant Conversation
The couple broached the topic with Kelly’s father, who was initially skeptical. However, after some consideration, he said if Kelly agreed, he would relent. Now, the ball was in Kelly’s court to decide whether to switch schools.
Kelly was fiercely opposed to starting over at a new middle school and then high school. Her K-12 school’s STEM program was her passion in life, and leaving her friends was unthinkable. Why not move her stepsiblings to her school?
OP explained the financial burden of paying for three tuitions. Kelly’s father earned significantly more, helping offset her current school’s costs, but paying for all three kids was beyond their means.
An Unyielding Stance
Despite OP’s best efforts, including potential bribes, Kelly stood firm. Her father, seeing her distress, supported her decision. OP’s frustration grew as she felt unsupported by her own family.
A Temporary Compromise
While trying to find a middle ground, OP suggested a two-year switch until the stepsiblings graduated. Kelly, ever resilient, countered, saying she could endure the current situation for that time.
Things reached a boiling point, and Kelly retreated to her father’s house, laying down an ultimatum. She would only return if the school issue was dropped. Her father was happy to have her stay as long as she wanted.
The Mortgage and More
Their current living situation added to their financial woes. They were in a bind with a mortgage to pay and no public transport options. Affording an additional car wasn’t just about its cost but also about fuel and insurance.
Was The Mother’s Behavior Appropriate?
Unsure of which decision was correct, OP posted her story online for feedback. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “I can think of a handful of simple solutions off the top of my head. With a better car, they drive to school together. Put the older kids in an Uber or another car service. Putting up with it for two years.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “I was driving around 20 minutes to school in a rural area myself at that age. And I could get a job, hang out with people, etc.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “As someone who attended a STEM school, it is a big deal. The opportunity I was given from attending a school like that was something I was truly grateful for, knowing I was given that chance.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “It is so hard for women to break into traditionally male industries and having the opportunity to study it and be supported by teachers at 12 would have legitimately cut my struggle in HALF.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.