Need advice, posted in lone parenting but moved here for the traffic(30 Posts)
Argh this is going to be long. Don't want to drop feed but ill try to keep this as short and simple as poss.
Ok, so some background info. Split up with ex a few months ago. Was an EA relationship and found out he was having an online affair with a woman the entire 2 years we were together. I'm still extremely hurt by that and by the realisation of all of the emotional abuse. Just stating that as maybe the hurt is clouding my judgement.
Dd is 10 months old. When he sees her he often makes excuses to see her at mine (tired from work, don't want to get train back etc) which I ask him not to as that's the only break I get. If he takes her it's often for 2-3 hours. Very occasionally he'll take her to a friends or his mums (who he lives with) from 12 ish till 6:30. I ask 6:30 as that is the time she has her bath ready for milk and bed by 7. He always picks her up late and drops her off about 20 minutes late. Annoying but not the end of the world I guess (although I am a stickler for times).
When he has her I often text things like 'don't forget her yoghurt at half 2' and 'have you changed her nappy yet?' Probably highly annoying for him but other wise he'll feed her late and bring her home in a nappy that weighs a tonne and sometimes even made her clothes damp.
He supports me by paying maintainence but I have told him that 'looking after her' at my flat isn't supporting as I'm having to get everything for her and clear up after them as they play together. I have asked and asked him to have her 10-6 once a week. That way I could sort all cleaning, prepare some meals and get work done (I teach 2 days a week) but as he works nights can only get here by 12 after work and always 'forgets' to tell me when is nights off are.
I do feel like I don't have much support as my family all live over a 5 hour drive away. His family live half an hour away but they've only had dd a handful of times. They like to talk about how supportive they are but I'm yet to see any proof. I'm forever texting them saying 'you can have dd whenever you like' when they ask. Only they rarely do.
Last week I asked if he wanted to have her today (after informing him it was Father's Day as he didn't have a clue) so he sent his sister to pick dd up at 12:30. She turned up at 13:10 (whole family have difficulties being on time) and I asked her, as I'd asked him, to have her back by half 6.
She had a half hour drive but is known for driving slowly so after an hour I text ex to ask if she'd got there and she hadn't. He tried calling and I text. We heard nothing till 14:45 ( at this point I'm worried sick) that they'd decided to go to church
They get back to him around 4. At 18:45 I text to see if they are on the way back and his sister replies yes. So I wait. And wait. At 19:20 they are still not back so after phoning ex numerous times he answers and says dd is still with him. I was really pissed at him and got snappy. I was annoyed that she'd be hungry as they had no milk for her. Obviously that was my fault for not packing any, but I'd asked for her to be home by 18:30. But oh he has a bright idea. He can improvise and give her cows milk (which she won't drink) and some coleslaw!!!!!
We then snap at each other on the phone and he says she's on her way. Sister turns up and I immediately say I'm really pissed off because of blah blah blah and she starts screaming back at me 'were her family too' etc... None of which I disagree with but then it gets personal with insults thrown.
I know I was at fault there but I was just so mad.
I also threw in 'if this happens again ill be phoning the police' probably stupid to say that as I doubt they could do anything.
Following that I text his sister saying that got out of hand but now I'm dealing with a baby completely out of routine and its hard.' Didn't he a reply but didn't expect one either.
The last couple hours has been spent holding a crying baby who won't sleep in her cot as she's overtired and arguing with ex by text
He says he wanted more time as it was Father's Day. I say he could have had it if arranged but needs to stick to what we agreed. Now he says he wants her every weekend Friday to Sunday. I feel she's too young for that and is too attached for me to be away for that length of time. I'm fine with one overnight just not longer.
There are also previous issues I've had with his family. Mainly them thinking I don't like them. All stemming from his mother making it all about her and causing a scene in the hospital ward, crying because she wasn't able to pick her middle name, because I didn't want to rub dds nose everyday to make it narrower and because ex told her dd wasn't her baby. All while I lay there exhausted after being in hospital for 8 days with HELLP Syndrome, until I mustered up the energy to scream at them all to get out.
The incident kept me in hospital longer has caused my blood pressure to rise which I really resented her for (still do I guess) as my mum only had a week off work to visit and I wanted and needed to be with her.
I just don't know what to do. Do I apply for a residency order? Can I?
What is likely to happen if we sort things out legally?
I feel like he still has a hold over me
Not short or simple sorry!
I've just read through and it feels so jumbled but I'm just too tired to start again. Probably loads of mistakes too! If anyone can get through that mess, advice will be greatly welcomed!
Anyone? Can't sleep for replaying today's events in my head
Didn't want to read and run. I would suggest to see a solicitor to see what your options are.
Agree with Moxie, see a solicitor and get times set. The way you can demand he sticks to it. My children have often been away from me, both sets of grandparent lived a distance away and had my children when quite young. Then their dad and I separated and they spent time with him. He was an idiot at times too, but I won't go into that here. Coleslaw though, that's original. ! ? ! ?
Maybe speak to him at a quiet time and explain that if he says how long he wants her for you can plan her food and stuff. However he should have mile and nappies for her. Also state that you'd rather he doesn't visit at yours as she needs to get used to you being apart.
Would you be able to move back to the area your parent live. That's what I did in the end, it was easier. Also, join a group like Gingerbread, the guys in my group were lifesavers.
Certainly you and ex should come to a more formal arrangement about contact. You may need a solicitor to make it 'official' and for everyone to stick to the agreement.
But my heavens you need to get some perspective. They brought DD home when tonight? Maybe 8? That's much later than 6.30, I agree, and they should do a much better job of sticking to the timings so you're not always waiting around. However, it's hardly like they stumbled in from the pub with her at gone 10. I get that you're annoyed, but you threatened to call the police and that is way, way OTT.
His idea to give her cow's milk at 10 months may not be the best, but it's also a far cry from child abuse (unless she is allergic and he knows that). Is she breastfed? If not, tell him what formula she drinks and let him buy some for her when she's visiting.
And texting/ringing him about yoghurt... c'mon. He's her father and you cannot micromanage his time with her. He will parent her differently than you do. But as long as he cares for her well, and loves her, and wants to be with her... you need to stop imposing all your rules from afar. Pick your battles.
Do you get on well with your parents? Could you move nearer to them?
I think you need to relax the routine a little bit tbh. At 10 months most babies can begin to be a bit more flexible, she should be able to cope with her yoghurt slightly later and going to bed a bit later shouldn't be a disaster either. Maybe mix things up a bit and she won't be so upset when someone else changes her routine slightly.
Thanks for the replies.
I do agree I we t completely OTT but think it was just a build up of them ALWAYS being late and the worry I felt over not knowing where she was which none of them could understand.
The texts I know he must find infuriating, but how else do I ensure he cares for her properly? And I don't mean giving her a snack a bit late, late for him could be 2 or more hours late, running in to her dinner time.
I know that she should be able to cope with change and she does. But not having her bath, milk and bed at the time she always does (without preparation and careful planning) means she turns in to a nightmare child. Both of us got so little sleep last night and she's been up awake for an hour already (normal time to get up in half 6/7).
Guess I'm just annoyed that as usual I'm left to deal with the consequences.
I think that you need to calm down a bit about her routine, a bedtime routine is lovely and very useful but you don't want to get into the situation where you are so reliant on the routine that a change of plan causes such a lot of disruption. I can't see anything wrong with giving a 10 month old coleslaw, why would that be a problem? The constant texting is rude and over tge top, I consider myself to be a pretty good mum but ds's snack times are not always at the same time and I change his nappy 3 times a day (first thing in the morning/at lunch/before bed) modern nappies are so good, I see it as a waste to change him every couple of hours. My ds is in a nappy from 12-6/7 everyday with no ill effects.
Your baby's father is her parent and however much of an idiot you think he is he is the only father your dd will ever have, you should address the visiting yiur house and the making excuses not to visit but the lateness and the missed snack times need to be ignored.
Him having dd every weekend would surely solve all the problems? She will attach soon enough to her father.
I think he and his family sound really disorganised and if he wants more contact, he'll have to work on that.
Tbh you need to separate the issues here. You are clearly still hurting because of your past history with your ex and that is understandable, however the hurt he has caused you is a separate issue from the fact he is also your dd’s parent.
When you are no longer with your dc’s other parent that unfortunately means you also lose control of what happens with that child for the time when they are with that parent. As much as you may have your baby in a routine which works for you, reality is that it may not work for her father, and he may choose to do things differently. And tbh at ten months, if it’s got to a point where you end up with a baby who has been screaming for hours because her routine was out of kilter by an hour it’s probably too rigid anyway and you are setting yourself up for potential problems in the future. And I speak as someone who is a great believer in routine, and who followed one almost to the minute with my ds when he was a baby, so it’s not a criticism of routine. In truth the routine is going to be disrupted more anyway due to the fact you and xp are no longer together and contact visits are going to be factored into your lives, so you might need to relax that somewhat if you don’t want to be in this position every weekend.
It is very hard not to want to dictate what happens with your baby when she isn’t with you, but again, she is with her other parent. Unless he is actually endangering her, if she doesn’t have a snack at x time or a nappy change at y time it is not going to be the end of the world. Texting to say that she needs to have yoghurt at 2:30 or has xp changed her nappy is completely OTT and will only make things worse between you in the long term. Remember that you are going to be in this situation for the next sixteen years or so, although things will obviously change as dd gets older, but it is going to be best for everyone in the long term if you can both reach an agreement which is mutually agreeable. And overnights and weekends and even weeks away in the future will become part of that arrangement, and you won’t be able to keep control then, so small steps in letting go of the texting now will make things far easier for you when you start handing dd over for overnights in the likely near future.
And even not knowing where dd was when your sil had collected her – she was with your sil. You had handed her over for a contact visit with her dad – if anything happened they would let you know. You don’t need to be told when they have arrived etc.
You need to stop texting and dictating, and you need to sit down with your ex and come to an arrangement which works for you, progressing from his having dd for days to overnights and then weekends/ mid week/with possible 50/50 in mind for the future. And said arrangement should include the need for ex to provide nappies/milk etc for dd during the time she is with him.
Residence orders are all very well, but if you go to court and he contests it and wants 50/50 parenting it is likely to be costly and end up with the court agreeing with that anyway. So it is better to come to these arrangements mutually and amicably rather than spending money you don’t have on the process.
They are working very hard at being part of DDs life. Your issue is the timings and locations don't suit you, not that they don't suit DD. DD is absolutely fine, I'm sure, and attaching to her father and her father's family as she should. Nothing has happened to badly disrupt her routine or upset her, coming back at 8 rather than 6.30 won't be a problem to her at all.
I don't like waiting around for DC to be dropped off, but it is part of parenting, whether it is fathers, cousins, GP, friends or who ever.
You seem to be torn between wanting her off your hands, and worrying about her when she is out of sight. Both completely natural.
I would suggest simply apologising to your ex, and his family, and explaining how worried you get, and asking them to understand, and help you feel more secure.
I would suggest simply adjusting the times to accommodate their lateness- that's what i do with my in laws and dh! So tell them 530 next time.
Wannabe, the nappy changing I'd a problem as she drinks a lot in the day and fills a nappy very quickly and shows signs of discomfort in a soaking nappy.
I have apologised to them and tried to explain but they don't really understand.
When my sil had collected her neither myself or her father knew where she was. We were both worried. She had been ask to collect her and bring her to him but instead went to church without saying where she was and we couldn't get hold of her. That is not ok.
Also, they don't work hard at all at being in her life. They see her once every 6 weeks / 2 months through their choosing. I've given up texting inviting them over / asking if they want to have her.
I agree with what one of you said about being torn between wanting a break and feeling worried when she's with them. It's so hard doing the majority of stuff by myself and I have looked forward to having a break the times she's gone there. I just worry as although she is well adjusted and has always happily gone with her childminder 2 days a week never crying once, as well as my family who make a massive effort to make sure she is comfortable with them including visits and FaceTime, she always leaves with them crying hysterically.
She already has a good bond with her dad and gets excited at seeing him. I don't want to discourage that at all.
With the routine comments, her routine suits us both and I want to keep it that way. Obviously there are times when that wont happen, but because of that I make certain arrangements like an extra nap in the day or slightly changing eating times to accommodate that. My annoyance was that he didn't tell me she wouldn't be back until she wasn't.
My feelings are a bit of a mess right now. Perhaps I do want to be in control when I shouldn't.
Thank you for all your advice. I know I am very PFB but I just love her so much and don't plan on ever having more children as I can't imagine ever being able to trust a man again and I just want her life to be perfect.
I worry about how differently her dad wants to do things. For example I was talking about how I couldn't wait till she was old enough to be excited about Xmas and how magical it would be. He said nah she's not gonna think Santa brings presents, ill ruin that Xmas spirit as soon as I can.
It's things like that that just really annoy me about him.
i don't think the start time is the issue its the 6.30 time that causes the most problems as a former single parent myself causing a child problems then dropping her back to mom to sort out is a B*****D trick my own mom did this she gave DD wotsits she reacts badly to powdered cheese (as i had told her) she rang because she was having a meltdown demanding i take her back so i told her i was out i will be back soon four hours later i decided to be "home" (i had been at the shop then in the back garden) i made my mom live through the meltdown because this was not the first time she had done this it wasn't the last but it certainly improved things for awhile
I think you need to have a meeting with your ex and his family. Perhaps have your parents there too so they can't gang up on you.
Everyone puts their wants and needs on the table. Perhaps you could explain that you realise you need to stop micro-managing BUT as DD is primarily with you, it's in her best interests if you can all work together to give her continuity. If it's better for her to have her yoghurt at a certain time, etc, it's not much to ask of them that they stick to it. But if you're all seeing it as a power struggle, that's different and they're losing sight of the goal, which is obviously to co-parent well. At the moment you clearly know more than they do about DD, which is probably annoying, and the way you're giving information may sound more like instructions, which is undermining.
If you have a time each fortnight where you and ex touch base with each other for half an hour and share information about what's working and not working in caring for DD, you might find him more receptive. You don't have to agree on everything but it might help him to know how you handle potty and time outs etc. in the future. And he may see things you don't. Whether you involve a solicitor or not, your DD will be so much happier if she feels you and your ex are working together in a friendly way. I would really stress that as a goal. It may not have occurred to them as a possibility.
So you explain how much you want to work with them and what's getting you frustrated - in a non-accusatory way, tell them about the nappy changes, the lateness, what you would like from them in terms of support. I would be much clearer about what you want (e.g., rather than sending a vague text saying 'you can have DD whenever you want her' say 'can you have DD between 3 and 5 next Thursday?') I would stress that as a first-time mum, you're taking everything so seriously and you do feel ultra-concerned that everything goes well - they may be able to sympathise with that. Listen to what they want and hear what they're willing to offer. Take seriously what's bugging them and ignore comments like 'you've got to learn we're her family too'. (^' Of course you are and no one's arguing with that - we're discussing how to get some continuity and unity in caring for DD!'^) See if you can negotiate some kind of compromise.
I can quite understand why you feel taken for granted and controlled at the moment - you're giving time up waiting and worrying, and you're having to deal with an overtired baby, which is totally unfair on her. It is a big deal but perhaps your ex hasn't seen that and doesn't realise. There's no reason at all why she should go through that simply because they can't be bothered to be on time with her. The arrangements aren't for their welfare! Explain you're willing to work with them about timing but once a time has been arranged, it's not fair on you when it's not kept to and it's making the relationship between you all needlessly difficult.
This is just speculation, but I'd feel concerned that your ex MIL may not truly want to get along with you because it would mean having to do things your way sometimes when she has your DD, rather than pretending DD belongs to her for that period of time. If that's the case you really need to get your ex on board. You and he are the co-parenting unit. Hopefully that will be functioning well and benefitting your DD for many years - when all the hurt you've endured will be a distant memory.
Wouldbemedic that's really good advice, think ill do just that. Won't be able to get any of my family with me at short notice but I'm sure I can brave it by myself (bravado talking!)
You've hit the bail on the head with MIL. she even calls her by one of her middle names (that was given to please her by ex) instead of her first name. Infuriates me! Ex said his mum would probably hit me with something hard because of things we'd been arguing about. I'm assuming that's bull as if that happened they'd risk having the baby at theirs.
Actually, I don't think you're being unreasonable.
He sounds a bit all-over-the-place. What parent has their 10 month old for the day without arranging baby milk? And a sopping wet nappy is just not on - true, they don't need to be changed every 5 minutes but for a modern disposable to be so full that it's leaked... that would need to be on for most of the day, surely?
Regular consistent pickup & dropoff is a basic courtesy between seperated parents. So is an agreement on basics like sleeping and eating. It doesn't have to be rigid, just a framework that both parents agree with.
I'm sure your ex loves your shared daughter but it sounds like he's a bit clueless on the basics of looking after a baby and being adult about being on time. Waiting over an hour past the expected time for your baby isn't like waiting for a mate who's running late. It's a sick feeling, and pretty disrespectful.
Thank you, always nice to have someone who agrees with you!
It's a horrible feeling. I was imagining all sorts. Namely, a car accident. Sil just took that as an attack on her driving and blasted me for being older and 'not even being able to drive.'
Good luck OP I don't envy your that ex MIL.
I think given that sil disappeared with your dd so even your ex didn't know where she was would be reason enough to not let her take her again tbh.
I agree wannabe. Problem though is that they'll all stick together. Ex says he's grilled her and that's enough she won't do it again.
He better be right...
Just wish the could act like normal people. And by that I do mean like me. Whether or not I'm normal though
FYI 50:50 is not as comon result as people appear to think, according to gingerbread its only 9% of separated parents with that type of arangement
You need to take a breath and look at the bigger picture.
I was just like this at one point . DDs father and I separated before she was born. It was a nasty one too. As soon as he'd leave the house with her, I'd be fretting and texting. All it did was build up barriers between us. He needs to learn to be a father the same as you had to learn to be a mother. He'll f*ck up at times, like we all do. But no child perished from coming home 30 mins late or a late nappy change.
Try to enjoy your time alone a bit more. Step away from the phone. She's with the only person with the same connection as you have with her. Pack some extra milk and bottles if it helps
Thank you keletubbie I hope in time I'll stop feeling this way.
I've asked ex if he can arrange a meeting with his family and he's said yes but I've yet to hear anything...
I've let him have her to stay tonight and tomorrow day as he's got time off work. Little but pissed that he couldn't stick to arrangements yet again.
Numerous times throughout the week I've checked that he's still picking her up at 4 to which he agreed and he told me that that was the plan. Checked once more last night and yes it's still the plan... Roll on this morning and he says what time can he get her. When told 4 he starts with 'wtf? That's way too late etc...'
I was not going to back down on the time as dd had been invited to a birthday party weeks ago that finished at 3. So he says how unfair I am and so on and demands I get the train half way to drop her off.
That was literally my last £3 and I told him I couldn't do it because of money but he just says well I can't help you.
He annoys me so much.
AI really being that U?
Is it really that hard to remember what you've agreed and stick to it?
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