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to say DD should be able to attend parties/activities during fathers contact time?

(137 Posts)
alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:25:50

DD is 5.5 years old, her father and I have been separated for over 3.5 years and he sees her once per fortnight only through his own choice. Up until now, if DD had a party to attend or dance show/gymnastics competition etc to take part in which fell on her dads contact weekend then I'd swap contact weekends so DD could attend/take part - he refuses to take her to any parties or activities but she also doesn't want him to. However, now DD is getting older I no longer attend parties with her like I used to so am missing out on time with her there. She's good at/enjoys dance, gymnastics and swimming and now she's older has competitions and shows to take part in. I have no problem in ferrying her to/from these if her dad won't but AIBU to say I will not replace contact missed due to parties/activities?
For example, next month it's her dance schools annual shows. One weekend there is a dress rehearsal (dads weekend so he'll expect me to replace the day though I won't see her all day) the next weekend (mine) there are 5 shows which I'll take her to/from but will barely see her. The following week there are 3 shows so he'll expect another day to be replaced thereby not leaving DD any weekend time with her sister and I for an entire month.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:18:02

She's already reluctant and him not letting her attend parties/activities and blaming me is just shooting himself in the foot even more. DD has been scouted for county swim team when she turns 6 but if he won't take her to meets and won't let me take her then she won't be able to do it and will be heartbroken.

Heartbroken? At 6? I think you need to take a look at your role in this. And when I said he should choose what they do, I meant as opposed to you choosing for him.
I do think its really easy to fall into a trap of feeling like you get to control contact because you are the primary carer. What's wrong with tv and restaurants? She doesn't like the food? Does she tell you that or do you ask\remind her?

OccamsRaiser Fri 08-Mar-13 01:41:38

I think that he needs to remember that contact weekends are still about the welfare of the child.

If she wants to go to a party/attend swim meets/practice or perform dancing, then he should be looking for a way to facilitate this unless he has something else planned for her to enjoy. And that doesn't have to be going out/expensive hobbies... My DN (5) is just as happy with an afternoon marathon of his favourite board games, as it's still 'family time'.

Whether that means him ferrying her around, or choosing (and it would be his choice!) to not take her for the weekend, then it's up to him.

I don't think you should have to swap all your weekends so that you don't get any time outside the activities. It's only fair that you should both be able to enjoy leisure time with your DD.

KobayashiMaru Fri 08-Mar-13 02:04:01

Why are you accomodating his whims? So what if he thinks you should make up the time if he has chosen not to see her on his contact days because of clashes, just don't do it!
And more fool you standing for hours to get him tickets, let him get his own. He can only take what you give, so stop giving.

Bogeyface Fri 08-Mar-13 02:09:54

notactually my 15, 11, 8 and 7 year olds are involved in local rugby thanks to my ex, he pays their subs, buys their kit and takes them there. They really would be heartbroken if I didnt allow them to go on "my" weekends, it means that much to them.

OP YANBU. You need to remind him that access is not about the rights of the parents (parents dont have rights, just responsibilities), but about the right of the child to have a meaningful and ongoing relationship with the parent when it is in the best interests of the child. What he is doing is not in her best interests, therefore he does not get to demand "time in lieu". She does, he doesnt. She doesnt want it, so he can swing.

MidniteScribbler Fri 08-Mar-13 04:15:02

Just say no. Then he can decide whether or not she can do the activities on those weekends. She's getting to the age where she will place pressure on him to want to go to the events themselves if they are that important to her. But kids don't actually need to be doing many many activities. Your daughter may need to pick and choose which sport she wishes to participate in if her activities are severely cutting in to time as a family with you and with her father. You say that you are missing out on family time with your daughter, but you don't care that he doesn't get family time with her because of all the activities that you have her signed up for.

Is your contact formalised? You could consider going to mediation or court to get them set in stone, and make a request as part of your claim that he attends certain events. The one thing I would say is to consider the location of some of these events. If every event requires him to do several hours driving, but is local for you, then I can understand some of his reluctance. He could argue that he is losing a lot of his contact time driving back to your area to attend these events. Perhaps consider looking for a swimming club or dance school (and one with a lot less competitions or shows - she can still learn a sport without needing to do all that many shows) that is half way between the two, which would give him one less cause for arguments.

mathanxiety Fri 08-Mar-13 04:25:45

YANBU and that is complete BS on his part.

It is not about him and his physical possession of the child, squeezing every single possible minute of her company out of her when she is 'his' for the weekend. It is about him as a father facilitating his child's life -- it is about him supporting her in her activities and friendships. He has got completely the wrong idea about what the weekend thing is all about.

It's about the child and not the parents.

Stop switching weekends and get courts involved if he demonstrates he thinks this is about his rights and not his child's life. The two of you may need to compromise about the number of activities, and you will certainly need to communicate about events like children's parties, etc., but there is absolutely no way a parent can just fold his arms and say NO to facilitating a child's social life or activities on the grounds that he has a right to her physical presence for an entire weekend.

sashh Fri 08-Mar-13 04:50:11

You both need to stop thinking this is 'me time' or 'my quality time'. This is not about you and your ex it is about your daughter.

Your daughter does a number of activities, she should have a parent with her for those.

Longdistance Fri 08-Mar-13 05:06:48

I agree. They activities and hobbies she as are his responsibility too, not just yours op.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 08-Mar-13 06:20:58

With your DD being under 6, I wonder how many of these activities are actually chosen by your DD.

seeker Fri 08-Mar-13 06:29:51

Did you say you had to queue 2.5 hours for tickets for a 5 year old's dance show?????

Oh, and I would be very wary of letting a 6 year old join a county swim team- in my experience the commitment and training level expected is extraordinary- think training til 9 pr 10 on school nights and early mornings at weekends.........

Glittertwins Fri 08-Mar-13 06:38:31

There are no recognised swim competitions for a 6 year old. County Champs start age 9.

Glittertwins Fri 08-Mar-13 06:41:18

But your DD should make the choice surely, none of this was of her making?

IsThatTrue Fri 08-Mar-13 06:59:48

My XH won't take dcs to parties or activities, that's part of the reason that they don't do things at the weekend as I know they could only attend 1 weekend out of 2. It's bollocks and I wish he could see how unfair it is in them (they can attend his friends/friends kids parties but not ones for their friends) but I'm consoling myself with the fact that one day when they grow up they will see the situation for what it is!

YANBU, stop switching contact and let him miss out if he refuses to take her.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:05:23

I'm a divorced mother. My ex has my younger kids every other weekend

We do usually manage to work it so that they get to parties and events.

But. I would be spitting mad if he started to impose rules on me that I HAD to take the kids to this or that activity. It's up to him to do what he wants with your dd when he has her and the same goes for you. If she doesn't like it she has to learn to tell him.

At 6, realistically, she's doing the activities you have chosen for her.

nooka Fri 08-Mar-13 07:07:06

If I'm reading this right you have your 5 year old involved heavily with three different activities all of which involve shows and competitions. Over the next three weeks she apparently has eight shows and an all day dress rehearsal!

You complain that over the next month your dd won't spend any weekend time with you and her sister, but only two days of that are her contact days, so are you really saying that for the other six days she will be performing at one thing or another?

I think this is totally excessive and frankly unsustainable. Your dd may have many talents, but she is very young and surely needs downtime, let alone family time. It's really quite unusual to be spending so much time on hobbies at such a young age, whereas I would imagine it's probably not that unusual to think that it probably doesn't really matter to be missing a few.

I can understand that having a very uninvolved father is probably mostly an irritation to you, but it is important for children to spend time with both parents if possible. I really think that you should be looking to cut back on the activities. Your poor dd is going to burn out.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:12:31

What I'm trying to say is that his contact time is his contact time. He comes, picks her up and delivers her back. What he does in between is none of your business. And you can't insist that he takes your dd to shows or rehearsals or such and such party.

I know it's unfair that your dd won't get to do everything you'd like her to though and I know how frustrating that is but imagine the boot was on the other foot and he had booked her an activity on his weekends near him and was insisting that you ferried her to that on your weekends.

How would you feel?

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:23:30

He won't see her if he takes her to these events either will he? He sees her one day a fortnight and you see her the other 13 days.
YABVU not leaving his day clear or giving him an empty day.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:26:14

I also wonder how you would react if he started telling you what to do/ arranging places you have to go on your 13 days.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 07:29:28

"It is not about him and his physical possession of the child, squeezing every single possible minute of her company out of her when she is 'his' for the weekend."

^ this

If he won't accommodate her life, then he is being a selfish prick and treating her like a pet.

But I agree that the level of activities sounds a bit full on for such a small child.

She should have some time to just hang out with her Dad watching TV and going to restaurants.

What does he think about the county swimming? I know that's something I would not want a 6 year old doing.

MrsMushroom Fri 08-Mar-13 07:31:20

Yanbu. It's a common problem, my DD has had a couple of dissapointments when her friends could not attend parties because it was their Dad's weekend. I could not fathom it!

Why are men like that not keen to take their DC to events? It's very unfair on your DD and on you too. I don't know what the issue is.

zoo lots of things our children take part in are "full on" and we don;t always want to do them but we DO because our kids benefit!

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:32:12

* If he won't accommodate her life, then he is being a selfish prick and treating her like a pet.*
At 5years old 'her life', social life is created by the mother. She can swop things round.

3littlefrogs Fri 08-Mar-13 07:32:59

To me this sounds like a situation that is practically engineered to cause friction. It sounds very expensive and time consuming.

I really don't think a 5 year old needs to do all those activities that involve rehearsals and shows. It is completely unsustainable IME.

My DS had to give up his gymnastics when his sister was born. I just couldn't cope with a new baby and trailing to training 3 times a week. He survived. He took up another sport when he was a bit older and enjoyed that for several years until he went to university. Then he took up something else.

However, you have decided she will do all these activities. Did your ex have any say in this? I wonder if he feels it is all a bit much?

I agree with the poster who mentioned burnout.

Maybe the answer would be to reduce the number of activities so that your dd has quality time with both of you?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 08-Mar-13 07:34:05

I think you are being totally OTT about her activities. She is 5, not 10.
County swim team?? Utterly bonkers at her age, she needs time to just play and be a child.

All that aside, he should be taking her to any parties that crop up on his contact day.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:34:29

This man doesn't stop his DD from going to things her mum has arranged. He just wants to trade weekends.

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