Not to want my kids without heating or hot water

(74 Posts)
NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:05:53

DCs (6 and 3) due to go to their dad's on weds until Sun. we have shared residence and a court order stipulating contact. His boiler has broken. It has not worked for over a week. He has no heating and no hot water. Hasn't even got an electric shower. His house is huge and detached and in the middle of nowhere. It is freezing at the best of times and DD feels the cold badly. He has said the repair men have no idea how to fix it and he doesn't know what to do to get it fixed now.

AIBU not to want kids to go? He has a couple of electric heaters but TBH they don't do a lot in that massive draughty house. They are at school in the day during the week but there is no way of having a wash or anything. And it will be freezing overnight and all weekend. He won't get it looked at again until nxt weekend because he is at work all week so no chance of it being fixed by the time they go.

I can't stop them from going because of this tho - can I?

usualsocksprezzie Sun 09-Dec-12 18:09:03

Send them with lots of warm clothes,they will survive,

RedHelenB Sun 09-Dec-12 18:09:41

No, just send them with plenty of warm clothes. They'll be fine!

Longfufu Sun 09-Dec-12 18:14:06

I'm sure he could boil some water on the hob or boil the kettle so they could wash...I did that when my boiler broke.

Warm clothes, fleecy pjs, slippers...they will be fine.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:15:29

Oh ok. No washing weds to sun is ok too? They have swimming lessons on sat and the showers there don't work so they won't be able to shower at home after that either. Not happy about that. A strip wash in front of the fire would be ok but there is no fire... It is due to get v cold too. Last year the pipes froze (even when the boiler worked as he didn't heat while the kids were with me). That was bad enough so am worried that will happen again too...

Sirzy Sun 09-Dec-12 18:15:48

Are you in a position to offer to go and sit and wait for a repair man sooner?

If it was your house with no heating would you send them to stay with him until it was fixed?

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sun 09-Dec-12 18:17:02

It's up to him to keep them warm when they are in his care.

Maybe just let him know that if he thinks it's too cold for them you will be OK to have them back early

LessMissAbs Sun 09-Dec-12 18:17:11

Will be an adventure for them and toughen them up. They'll have a great time!

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:18:36

I grew up in a house without central heating but it did have open fires. I am less worried about the lack of heating and more bothered about the lack of washing facilities in an icy cold house. DS will be fine but DD is cold blooded.

People can and do live without central heating in this country. That's what warm clothes are for.

laptopdancer Sun 09-Dec-12 18:19:19

I have hot water and I'd be lucky if DS (8) has a bath each week. Grubby sod.

roses2 Sun 09-Dec-12 18:21:46

The Victorian's coped fine without hot water and heating. They'll be fine.

usualsocksprezzie Sun 09-Dec-12 18:22:27

They will be ok without a bath for a few days.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:23:45

He won't let me in his house to wait for repair man.

I want to offer them baths here. I know he will refuse. Seems like I ABU anyway. grin

It is really DD I am worried about. She was complaining about how cold it was when the heating worked. Temp in her bedroom is often around 7 deg in the morning even when he heats (she sleeps in roof space). It is same in DS room but he doesn't feel it

If my heating were broken, I at least have a fire and an electric shower. And a very much smaller house which is not on a windy estuary!

AfterEightMintyy Sun 09-Dec-12 18:24:11

I wouldn't want it for my children either. Those of us who grew up in non--centrally heated homes at least had fires/baxi boilers and a proper source of hot water, plus electric blankets, hot water bottles, that sort of thing. We were properly equipped for cold houses. I doubt any of us had no hot water at all!

amillionyears Sun 09-Dec-12 18:25:01

Do they have any health problems such as asthma?

usualsocksprezzie Sun 09-Dec-12 18:26:21

I never have the heating on her a fleece onesie from primark

usualsocksprezzie Sun 09-Dec-12 18:28:21

We never even had a bathroom

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sun 09-Dec-12 18:32:29

I wouldn't be thrilled about it - can they, or would your ex contact you to bring them back if the weather got particularly nasty or your DD was really miserable with it?

HildaOgden Sun 09-Dec-12 18:34:38

I wouldn't be thrilled about it either,but they will be fine.Send them with lots of layers of clothes/pyjamas and a plentiful supply of babywipes.

And just think how cosy a welcome you can give them on Sunday smile

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 18:35:33

'The Victorian's coped fine without hot water and heating. They'll be fine.'

Sure they did, with staggering numbers of children dying young.

YANBU. There's no way I'd go without a bath or shower from Sun. to Wed. or permit my children to except in an emergency.

AfterEightMintyy Sun 09-Dec-12 18:36:15

Why are you all so keen to send them? They will survive and be fine but won't they be miserable? Op doesn't seem bothered about not getting her "me" time.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sun 09-Dec-12 18:37:42

Unless there are health problems yabu.

what would you do if your boiler broke and you had to wait to get it fixed?

Sirzy Sun 09-Dec-12 18:39:26

Because there is joint custody and no real reason for them not to go.

AfterEightMintyy Sun 09-Dec-12 18:40:26

I would have thought there is some room for flexibility.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:41:04

I never have my heating on overnight. And my house is colder than most. I always have fleece on inside in the winter.

I am more worried about them not being able to wash without both getting v cold

No health issues. DD prone to chest infections and does have a horrid cough at the moment. But we all do.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sun 09-Dec-12 18:42:06

"Why are you all so keen to send them?"

I'm just thinking that they're going to one of their homes.

They're not being sent anywhere.

If the boiler breaks in your home, you just deal until it is fixed.

DeltaUniformDeltaEcho Sun 09-Dec-12 18:42:11

We've just survived 2 weeks with no heating or hot water so it is doable.

Make sure they have plenty of warm clothing and maybe some hot water bottles. Maybe you could make it clear they are welcome back if they feel miserable with it.

It wasn't so hard - we just heated one room and hung out together with lots of snuggling under blankets. Having no hot water was the worst bit but we heated water on the hob and filled the kitchen sink to wash hair etc.

HazleNutt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:42:25

Yes I'm sure they will survive, but honestly, 7 degrees and no hot water? YANBU.

zookeeper Sun 09-Dec-12 18:43:19

Send them with hot water bottles and hand warmers and warm clothes. They'll be warm in bed. Their relationship with their dad is more important than a few days without a bath. YABU

Our house had no on demand hot water or heating until I was 14.
We had one tank of hot water once a week, when Mum lit the boiler, and that was enough for a (small)weekly bath each.
No heating at all in the bedrooms, only one room had a coal fire. Washes were from water heated on the stove. And we were fine.

<Realises she sounds like Monty Python' Yorkshiremen>

As the poster above says, fleeces and socks plus hot water bottles in bed.

squeakytoy Sun 09-Dec-12 20:27:29

Hot water is easily obtained, there is a magical invention called a kettle... wink

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 09-Dec-12 20:36:05

It is his responsibility to make sure he can keep them warm. Do you have reason to believe he won't?

zukiecat Sun 09-Dec-12 20:38:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 22:50:08

sockreturningpixie (pls can I have my socks back?!). He doesn't feel the cold and neither does DS. I honestly don't think he realises how cold it is even tho the thermometer on the baby monitor shows 7 degrees in the bedroom. I know this because he told me. And I lived in the house for 7 yrs so I know how cold it gets and have seen those sort of temps with my eyes even with heating

I phone to speak to the kids and hear DD complaining she is cold and she talks about it when she is here. So even when he 'heats' it still isn't warm enough for her. I do think on the whole he doesn't understand that she really is cold. Therefore I think that when the house hasn't been heated for over 2 weeks, there is no way Dd will be warm enough there next weekend. I hate to think how cold she would feel if he got her to have a strip wash with a bowl of water in an untested room

Last winter when the pipes froze, he ended up with no running hot or cold water in the kitchen for 3 weeks. He wasn't in a rush to get it fixed. You can probably imagine how I felt about that.

lisad123 Sun 09-Dec-12 22:53:07

Warm clothes, hot water bottles and ask him to boil water for wash.
They will live

VelvetSpoon Sun 09-Dec-12 23:06:48

The lack of heating wouldn't worry me, I haven't put my heating on yet (tbh it doesnt make much difference to the house temp when it is switched on, as I only have 4 working radiators). My DS2 is always cold, but he would be unless I heated the house to tropical temperatures (as my Ex-PIL do) and even putting the heating on full all day and night only makes it a little warmer than it is now, so not worth it.

I wouldn't be overly happy about lack of hot water though, yes you can boil a kettle, hot water bottles etc but in a cold house one of the things I rely on to keep me warm is a hot bath. It won't hurt the DC not to have a bath for a few days, and just have to strip wash etc but imo it won't be very comfortable for them either. I think I would probably still send them on balance, but on the basis if they were really distressed he'd bring them back early, and that it was fixed (at least the hot water if not the heating too) before next contact.

ChristmasIsForPlutocrats Sun 09-Dec-12 23:09:28

Won't he switch weeks? It seems unkind to put them through that if there's a warm house and hot water for them.

All you well 'ard people, bully for you, but you're being a bit too 'ard and it's voming out as unkindness.

ChristmasIsForPlutocrats Sun 09-Dec-12 23:09:57

Coming, not voming (or even vomming!)

ChristmasIsForPlutocrats Sun 09-Dec-12 23:10:28

Coming, not voming (or even vomming!)

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 23:13:56

Thanks all. Seems I am on balance maybe being just a bit unreasonable which is fine.

No he won't switch weeks. He thinks it is funny to have no hot water or heating. Yeah. Hilarious when your pipes burst hmm

I know the kids won't die. It is just I know how grim it will be for DD. and it is hard as mum just to stand by and let it happen. Spend my life standing by and watching things happen that I don't like. That is the joy of shared residence...

brighthair Sun 09-Dec-12 23:14:42

I wouldn't be happy. We had a power cut when I was 5 and we did the snuggling together, hot drinks etc etc. I ended up being taken to the doctors on day 4 of no power because I had actually turned blue with cold. It was snowing outside then but not actually frozen as we still had water

ThoughtsPlease Sun 09-Dec-12 23:19:09

We ran out of oil this time 2 years ago, when it was cold and snowing, I had to wait days for a delivery. We have and open fire, and I borrowed some electric heaters, and it was cold! But the children who were 3 and 4 at the time seemed ok, I was bloody frozen! Does he not have an immersion heater for the water?

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 23:20:47

No. Just a combi boiler. No immersion heater and no electric shower.

garlicbaubles Sun 09-Dec-12 23:21:52

I'm rubbish at being cold and have extremely miserable recollections of being cold as a child. I agree with everyone else, though, I'm afraid. Make it more about helping DD to cope than resisting. She's going to have to put up with cold at other times in her life; she may as well get some coping strategies now. Lots of fleece & woollies, hot water bottles, running about and hot drinks will help. I used to get dressed and undressed in bed! She could do that for a week. How about giving them loads of wet wipes so they have do a "festival bath" in bed?

garlicbaubles Sun 09-Dec-12 23:23:00

* was meant to say can have a "festival bath"

toomuchturkeyatendofthedinner Sun 09-Dec-12 23:28:20

I will go against the main feeling of this thread and say, no I would not be happy sending a 3 year old with an already bad cough to a freezing house with no heating or hot water. If he can't provide the basic necessities to keep the children warm, then I feel he is not entitled to have them until the utilities are repaired. OP, IMO, Yanbu.

KeatsiePie Mon 10-Dec-12 01:19:54

I am with toomuch, I think 3 is too little for being in an unheated house in December. But I have the impression that British adults are tougher about cold weather and limited access to indoor heating than Americans. I know, giant generalization, sorry! But it is my impression.

The crucial thing though is that if the ex were going to make an ongoing family activity out of keeping warm with electric blankets, space heaters, all staying in one room, keeping an eye on how cold the children get, then I would think it would be okay. But it sounds like he will not do anything to make up for it, so I think it is reasonable to say that conditions are not acceptable for small children to stay there.

CaliforniaSucksSnowballs Mon 10-Dec-12 01:58:25

They'll be fine missing bath, we used to boil the kettle and fill a wash bowl to wash in the mornings at my grans house, no central heat, no hot water unless she switched it on for a half hour so she could have a bath. She used hot water bottles at night, and boiled a kettle for washing dishes and for us to wash. We were fine.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 10-Dec-12 02:12:46

send hot water bottles and lots of layers and cosy PJs, extra blankets. have you any spare heaters or electric blankets? i would also offer to bath them at yours.

if he layers them up well, feeds them good filling warm meals, porridge and tea for breakfast, gets the main room they'll be in warm with the heaters and has plenty of blankets on the sofas they'll be fine. electric blankets or hot water bottles in their beds, a heater in teh room for an hour or so before they are ready for bed. boil the kettle for strip washes infront of the heaters.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 10-Dec-12 02:18:21

oh i've just seen that DD is 3 and so probably wont know to just put on extra clothes and wrap a blanket round her if she's cold unless she is told to/helped. which it doesn't sound like your EX will realise she needs to. in that case i would just say DD is going to stay at home as she has the chest infection and really feels the cold. let him go to court over it. the judge will agree with you.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Mon 10-Dec-12 02:39:13

I never heat my house overnight. We just wear fleecy pyjamas from primark, and fluffy socks from poundland, or onesies.

Hot water bottles or wheat bags help, as do layers of blankets. We usually use a wool blanket with a fleece one on top.

They'll be fine with strip washes - I don't smell and I've not had a bath or shower in eight years, I strip wash twice a day. Can't use a bath due to epilepsy and Housing Association won't let me fit a shower, so no choice.

They will be fine.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Mon 10-Dec-12 02:47:32

I don't see it as a reason to stop them from going to their other home.

And I say this as a 'cold' person. I feel cold constantly when other people claim to be warm, but you have to learn to deal with it. The house has to be heated to near tropical temperatures for me to feel 'ok' temperature-wise. And I can't afford that.

All you can do is talk to your DC about how to layer up - send them with vests, and leggings or tights to go under jeans and pyjama bottoms.

And central heating is not that good for you anyway if you have a cough or asthma.

MyCannyBairn Mon 10-Dec-12 02:57:18

I grew up without central heating and didn't have heating in my bedroom for years as an adult. I had ice on the inside of the windows in some winters.
No way would I be happy for a 3 year old to have no heating and no access to a hot bath in Winter, no way. This is 2012 ffs.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Mon 10-Dec-12 02:58:53

There is a huge difference between a house where the heating goes off at night, to a house where they heating hasn't been on in over a week. Where there is not hot water & precious little other heating.

It will be freezing.

I wouldn't let them go and I'd tell him to take me to court if he doesn't like it, but that they wont be going until it's fixed. Why the hell should they? It's not to their benefit - shared residency is meant to be to the benefit of the children, not the parents.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Mon 10-Dec-12 03:00:44

They are 6 & 3 - you can't expect them to be able to layer up properly and I don't get the impression he will make sure they are warm enough as most of us would if it were our boiler that had gone.

TapirAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 10-Dec-12 03:03:50

If it were older children, then I wouldn't have a problem sending them off to a cold unheated house - even one that hadn't had any heating for over a week, so likely to be just as cold inside as out.

Not so for 3 & 5 yr olds though - it's all very well saying about wrapping up warm etc, but children that age don't deal with the cold as well as us adults/older children would, especially when one child already has a cough.


TapirAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 10-Dec-12 03:05:36

6, not 5.

sashh Mon 10-Dec-12 03:34:22

Do you have a tent? A tent in a room is really cosy.

A boiled kettle can be used for hot water to sponge bath.

Not ideal, I think the only thing you could do is contac SS, but I don't think this is enough of an emergency (not because it isn't good, just because there are children worse off).

HollyBerryBush Mon 10-Dec-12 05:44:35

TB H with you they wiill be fine. Even on week long residential trips with school we parents were told not to bothr with a toothbrush or underpants bacause boys never bath anyway and they have better things to do like swinging from trees, to be be trying to march them to the showers every morning grin.

Silverlace Mon 10-Dec-12 07:15:34

YANBU. I, like others, here grew up in an uncentrally heated house, ice on the inside of windows etc.

I now live in an old farmhouse and our boiler has been broken since last Wednesday and it is damn miserable and we have an open fire, emersion heater and electric heaters. Just the act of moving from one room to another is a pain.

When an old house gets cold the temperature really drops, everything gets damp and cold. It can take ages to heat a room and the heat goes so quickly once the heater is turned off.

If he was going to make every effort to keep them warm then I would say OK but it doesn't sound like he is set up for it. If one of your DC has a chest infection I would use that as an excuse not to send and negotiate a longer stay once the heating is fixed and an icy blast from Siberia isn't forecast.

ChristmasIsForPlutocrats Mon 10-Dec-12 09:26:38

If he thinks it funny, he is an arse.

Has he put that hilarity in writing?

<crosses fingers>

ginnybag Mon 10-Dec-12 09:42:13

I wouldn't be sending an already sick 3 year old, no.

That said, you can buy a decent little fan heater in argos for around £17. It works very well, and even has a setting to switch on and off to maintain temp. Worked very well in my DD's room when my boiler had issue a few weeks ago.

It's not your electric, so I'd send them with one of those and say he either use them or you'll keep (at least) DD home. Get a medical note if you need to.

It's not the fact that it's cold that's bothering me, it's the fact that he doesn't seem to care that his DD is unhappy.

choceyes Mon 10-Dec-12 09:42:58

I agree with Chipping YANBU. I wouldn't send a 3yr old with a nasty cough to a house that's not been heated at all for a week in Dec.

We don't have heating on at night either, but the house is still warm from the heating during the day and we have hot water, so that is a huge difference.

Can you send just your DS?

forevergreek Mon 10-Dec-12 09:48:55

I think it will be fine. Give them a bath wed morning before they leave. And they can strip wash for a couple of evenings.

They will be at school for a few days so will be warm there, plus maybe he will take them out ( cinema or something) over the weekend.

Get them to have a few warm drinks, and tell them to wrap up warm overnight.

You can greet with a warm bath and heat on Sunday

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Mon 10-Dec-12 09:49:21

People die from not having heating in this country.

I think the British are pretty silly in their lack of respect for the damaging effects of the cold weather.

In Scandinavia, people heat their houses night and day, and promote and even temperature to keep healthy. But here, people try to be stoic and put themselves and their children to cold damp houses in what is literally an island climate which is cold and damp whatever way you look up on it. It is utter madness. No wonder kids have green snot and coughs and cold throughout the winter months in this country. I am still amazed how we managed to live 3 years in Norway and our two sons had a perfect attendance record in school, they were not ill even once, despite the cold temperatures. It would not have been possibly without adequately heated houses.

Can you not try and discuss an alternative time for visitation due to the lack of heating? Or insist that he gets a couple of electric heaters for the main rooms?

expatinscotland Mon 10-Dec-12 10:20:11

I totally agree, Quint!

The Victorians coped. There's plenty of evidence they didn't. Open fires that don't draw well still kill plenty of children in the world via respiratory illnesses, too.

I think YANBU. We live in an old house, no adjoining neighbours. Our heating has been disconnected for the last 9 days (builders are in doing work to convert garage). We have a 2.5 year old - and we have moved out. I was in the house at the weekend doing some pretty heavy physical work and I was still freezing. After 9 days with no heat the house is unbearably cold and there is no way I would have my DD living in it while I have a better available option. It's always been a chilly house but I was shocked at just how much colder it has become.

And the fact is there is an available option - it's different if your heating breaks and you have nowhere to go.

whois Mon 10-Dec-12 10:40:39


Send them with warm clothes and a fan heater!

They can have a splash in the bath with a few kettle fills of hot water and a bit if cold.

Honestly, how precious!

whois Mon 10-Dec-12 10:42:10

Or tell him to go out and buy a portsme oil filled radiator for each of the DCs bedrooms. They're great.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Mon 10-Dec-12 11:54:13

Ah well. I have polarised opinion and am either NBU or precious. Will have to let them go anyway or he will go absolutely nuts. I will offer a bath each night after school which he will refuse. I only live .5 mile from the school and he lives 10 miles away so it isn't a hardship to pop in after he picks them up from wraparound care.

AfterEightMintyy Mon 10-Dec-12 13:15:28

He sounds like an absolute arse to me if he is going to insist your dc come to him in those conditions. Truly an arse. Why can't he miss a week ffs?

NoNoNoMYDoIt Mon 10-Dec-12 13:41:55

It isn't a week. It is 4 nights. To be fair I don't really want to stop them going as I know it is important for them. And it would cause far too much anger from him if I tried to stand in the way of it. Plus they would never forgive me as they have 5 days of advent calendar chocolates at his waiting for them since they last went grin. I suppose if we could compromise on them coming here after school for a bath and some tea in the warm, they could then go back and sleep overnight and would probably be ok. The weekend worries me too although hopefully they will be out all day. And it is really DD I worry about. DS will be fine

As a baby, DD wet through her sleep suit one night in February as she had an explosive teething poo. When I got her up in the morning she was absolutely freezing. Blue lips and mottled skin. Took two hours to warm her up slowly. And that was when I lived there and we heated. I know she isn't a baby now but she really doesn't thermo-regulate well even now.

Anyway - nothing I can do except hand them over and make my offer of warm baths here.

Itsnotahoover Mon 10-Dec-12 15:14:32

I have no heating or hot water at the minute. Boiler has been on it's last legs for a month or two but, until this week, I've been working 7 days a week so not been able to be home for a plumber to come. Now it's packed up completely and I have the plumber moving tomorrow morning. It is a pain, but you survive! We've got electric heaters dotted around, plenty of warm clothes and a kettle for hot water. It is driving me insane though!!

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