Ex wants to take DD to Australia

(270 Posts)
skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 13:08:47

Looking for some honest opinions on this please. Ex and I split this time last year (his decision) we have a daughter who is two (three in October) since the split I have tried to facilitate as much contact between them as possible he has her a couple of nights a week and sees her in-between we also do things together the three of us at weekends or go out for dinner during the week. It has been hard for me to have this much contact with him particularly early on when I was very hurt over the split but I have always been very conscious of not letting my feelings get in the way of them having a great relationship.

My dilemma is this; his only sister and her family emigrated last week to Australia for work. Since he found out about their plans he has been asking to take DD to Australia for two weeks in the winter to see them. I have told him from the start that I am not comfortable with this. I think she is too young to be away from her main caregiver for that length of time. The main reason is that it's too far away and I am terrified that i wouldn't be able to get to her in an emergency. Also I think a flight of that length is too much to ask of a very active toddler for the sake of a two week holiday. He is taking this badly and keeps pushing the subject. I wouldn't mind but when his sister lived an hour up the road he only brought DD to see them maybe twice in the last year so it's not like they're particularly close. I have tried to be reasonable and even suggested if he was really set on it I would fly out with them and visit friends in another part of Australia for the two weeks just to get over my fear of her being so far away. He said he didn't want this either.

He brought this up again today and said he feels I am
just saying no to get at him or punish him for breaking up with me when this is really not the case at all. I feel like I have been so accommodating to him in all this and he just throws it back in my face because he can't get his own way in this scenario. I just wish he would accept my decision and stop pushing it.


HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:11:39

We, he is an equal parent here. He has good contact and your post is full of reasons why YOU would suffer

The flight itself? Many kids do it

Hrrrm Sun 23-Jun-13 13:13:23

Well no, it's not like you're saying absolutely not. You've suggested a solution that would make you feel more comfortable and allow him to get exactly what he wants. He is being unreasonable by not wanting you to go to Australia at the same time. I thought that would have been a really good solution.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 23-Jun-13 13:13:32

Whether yabu or not I would be uncomfortable with thattoo since your Dd is so young. The flight, the length of time away and the issue you raise of you being so faraway if needed. Really, really hard.

notapizzaeater Sun 23-Jun-13 13:14:00

So what Doyle think will happen when you want to take dd away for a 2 week holiday ? You could FaceTime with her. Personally I think you are being unfair.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 23-Jun-13 13:14:48

I think the Op is balanced in terms of worries about her Dd and about herself

Solo Sun 23-Jun-13 13:15:34

I don't think you bare being unreasonable at all!
The flight thing wouldn't worry me, my Ds did it at the same age, but I would be more concerned about the child being brought back to me in the UK, but I am a deeply distrusting person over that sort of thing, so I too would be saying no.

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:16:10

What worries are their for dd?

jollygoose Sun 23-Jun-13 13:16:20

I dont agree soul sister, mum is main carer and Australia a very long way. I think its too long to be apart from her mother at that age and would say maybe in a year or two.
Also typical male he has been disloyal and now he is trying to justify his actions by making her seem unreasonable.

Thumbtack Sun 23-Jun-13 13:16:22

No, you have given him an option - going with them and HE has rejected that. I don't think you're being unreasonable.

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:17:18

I don't you are being unreasonable. If they lived in a closer country, then I would be prepared to say that you are being unreasonable. However, a long flight to Australia is a lot to ask of a 2 year old just for a holiday. Also, your daughter being that far away from you for that amount of time will undoubtedly make both of you feel very uncomfortable.

But then again she needs to be with her dad and see her family on her dad's side. Could they not come over here, and when your daughter is older she can go over to Australia to see them?

Solo Sun 23-Jun-13 13:17:58

My Dd's father wanted me to take her over to the UAE for a 'holiday' so that he could see her, but even that I wouldn't do, because I wouldn't trust him not to disappear with her.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 23-Jun-13 13:20:11

Legit reasons for not agreeing to a dc going abroad with a nrp are things like

There is a real risk they will not return

They cannot adequately care for the child.

But I can understand your concerns re her age,why don't you ask him to wait until she's a bit older

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 13:20:21

My worries for my daughter are that she would find a flight that long very uncomfortable, that she would be upset to be away from me for that long when previously we have only spent a night or two apart and finally that if she got sick or anything happened that she wouldn't have me there to comfort or look after her.

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:20:24

She will be over 3 by the time of the flights

And bear in mind he has pr.... He can also refuse to let you take your dd out if the country ( jurisdiction) at any time. Would he do that?

SavoyCabbage Sun 23-Jun-13 13:20:37

You know what, I bet it's all pie in the sky. He thinks he's going to do it, but when it comes to the cost and the fligh and the time off work, it will all fall on its arse.

When you emigrate, everybody tells you they will come and see you. But they don't because real life gets in the way.

Goldmandra Sun 23-Jun-13 13:20:57

I would want to know a bit more about why he doesn't want you to go over at the same time. It's not as if you're going to gate-crash their holiday, just share the journey.

You are willing to spend a lot of money in order to accompany them which is a massive compromise.

I don't think it's unreasonable to not want her to be that far away for two weeks. You are her main care-giver and she is used to being with you.

Does he have ties here? He isn't planning to stay there with her and his sister is he?

LastTangoInDevonshire Sun 23-Jun-13 13:21:14

"He sees her a couple of nights a week, and in between, and we do things together at the weekends".

Therefore he is as much the caregiver as you are, OP. YABU in not letting him take her on holiday.

Your post is all about YOU and how YOU would feel.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 13:21:25

To clarify we have a very amicable relationship normally and I genuinely don't think there is a risk of him not returning with her.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 13:21:52

I can see why you're a bit wary but realistically speaking out of the country is out of the country. Doesn't really matter if its Spain or Australia,if there was an emergency then you wouldn't be able to get there quickly.

It's hardly fair to tell him no when it's likely you will want to take her abroad yourself.

If you have a good relationship and there are no genuine concerns he wouldn't come back then you are being unfair. He is an equal parent here is he not?

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:22:02

Or he could go to court to force you to let this happen.... And from what I know of family courts, he would prob get it

You have t

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 13:22:07


HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:22:41

Oops! You have time between now and then to build up contact in term of length of time apart from you...

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:23:48

It isn't all about herself at all. The OP has raised her concerns about how her daughter would take to the whole experience.

My DS aged 2 isn't going to Mexico for a holiday with his nanna, because he is the same age as the OP's child. Even if my MIL had have invited him to come along, i would have said no.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 23-Jun-13 13:24:48

No he could take her to court to try and force her.

You don't automatically get what you want just because you take someone to court,it could go both ways.

Goldmandra Sun 23-Jun-13 13:26:08

Would you feel better if he waited until she was a year older to take her?

crumblepie Sun 23-Jun-13 13:28:46

i would not trust him to bring her back , do not see a problem with your solution of you going and being in the same country and staying with friends and keeping hold of her passport, hes being awkward i wouldnt trust him at all .

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:31:46

This is crazy!!

Op has already said she trusts him to return her! He has her alone overnight already and he is an equal parent.....

MrsEdinburgh Sun 23-Jun-13 13:31:49

You are being perfectly reasonable and have offered a compromise, which has been rejected.

I would say exactly the same thing if it was your ex posting about you wanting to take DD to Australia.

Stick to your guns & trust your instincts.

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:31:52

He can't stop you from being in Australia at the same time as he is.

MerryOnMerlot Sun 23-Jun-13 13:32:21

I think YAB a bit U.

Presumably you would expect him to be OK with you taking her overseas for 2 weeks? Don't you think (given the level of contact) she would miss her dad just as much as you are predicting she will miss you?

We took our very active DD (plus older DS) to Australia when she was 3 and the flight was fine - think I was more stir crazy than the kids.

As there will also be other family there and his DSis will have been there for a while so will know local GP etc I think you're overreacting and being a bit insulting of his abilities as a parent tbh.

Dadthelion Sun 23-Jun-13 13:32:48

The OP doesn't say he's been disloyal or untrustworthy.

I don't like my children going away on holiday without me, never have.

But that's my feelings.

I just try to imagine justifying it to them when they're older.

I stopped you from go to America (or wherever) because I'd miss you too much.

I'd sound unreasonable.

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:35:08

I don't think there's anything unreasonable about stopping your child from going on holiday if you aren't happy with it. And they aren't going to sit you down when they're 18 and demand to know why they didn't get to go on a certain holiday when they were 2 are they??

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:37:57

Does that work both ways?

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:38:24

Does what work both ways?

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 13:40:48

I think soul was asking does the dad get to veto childhood holidays the OP might like to take their dd on because he would miss her too much?

He isn't an absent dad from what OP has said,he plays an active role in their dds life,see her often.

SerBrienne Sun 23-Jun-13 13:40:49

Maybe he could take her away for a long weekend or even a week this summer, in England, and see how he gets on? Then you can look at the Oz thing in the light of that.

ladylambkin Sun 23-Jun-13 13:41:09

My ex took my 2 children to Florida a year after we split. It hurt like hell but I wouldn't have stood in the way of my childrens quality time with their Dad who loves then as much as I do.

cantreachmytoes Sun 23-Jun-13 13:41:45

I think you've offered a compromise and assuming you'd be funding your ticket, then I can't see why he wouldn't accept a second adult on the plane and at the airports to help!!

I don't think I'd find it easy to be away from my DS for two weeks either, but I'm not sure you really have a choice as long as your concerns are only about being apart for two weeks.

I've done the journey and can say I wouldn't fancy it alone with a toddler who will then be jet-lagged along with me on both ends! Has he done long hauls before? Perhaps remind him it won't be 24ish hours of napping, watching movies and having a drink!

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:43:20

I think both parents should be happy if their joint child is going on holiday. So yes I think it does work both ways.

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:45:35

However, as the children get older I do think the parents should definitely relax about it and not get in the way, but at 2 years old? Come on, the OP has got a point! Just as the little girl's dad would if it was the other way around and the OP wanted to take her.

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:46:26

Ok, so he is likely to veto op taking dd on holiday too.... Even in the uk as it will disrupt 'his' contact time with her as well. Poor child might never have a holiday if he takes that stance

And surely long haul is better now before she is in the education system

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 13:47:04

She will be over 3 by the time of the flight

Nanny0gg Sun 23-Jun-13 13:48:02

Why give the OP a hard time for her not wanting to be apart from her DD for two weeks? Especially when we're talking the other side of the world.

How many of you would want to be apart from your (very young)children for that length of time (whatever the rights of the other parent)?

I'd hate it.

Pennyacrossthehall Sun 23-Jun-13 13:52:13

I imagine the reason that he is not happy with your suggestion that you come to Australia is that you are essentially saying he is not an adequate parent. He should be equally capable of caring for/looking after his daughter and he probably find it offensive that you are suggesting he can't.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 13:52:21


It's the reality of being separated (and amicable), what you want does have to be compromised at some point in a way it doesn't when not separated.

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Jun-13 13:53:13

I did say further up thread that if the country was closer then I'd find the OP unreasonable. Maybe I should have said that both parents should be happy that they joint child is going on holiday to the other side of the world at the age of 2/3. But "depriving" her child of a holiday so young isn't going to affect her at all.

Maybe he could take her in a few years, when she is older? Maybe then, the OP would be unreasonable. But saying no in this instance is absolutely not going to create any problems between her and her child in the future.

LadyRabbit Sun 23-Jun-13 13:57:50


I did the same journey on my own last year when DS was 23 months. It nearly killed me. And we were in business, I am in awe of anyone who does that journey alone upright.
Then the jet lag for a toddler was insane. 2 weeks is not long enough to do that journey, overcome the jet lag and then come all the way back again. It took my DS two weeks to return to his routine when we got home.

You have offered a compromise - ex doesn't want that, just his own way. Stick to your guns, and don't be bullied into something you don't want happening.

Viviennemary Sun 23-Jun-13 14:02:26

YANBU to be very unhappy about this long journey for a two year old. And his sister has only just gone out there. So it's not as if they haven't seen her yet. I agree that it's far far too long a flight for a child of that age, especially for a not very necessary trip.

TheBirdsFellDownToDingADong Sun 23-Jun-13 14:10:02

YANBU to worry about it, no. It is a long way away and she will still be very young, and presumably far more used to you, than to him.

I can't see why on earth he would have a problem with the compromise though.

It sounds to me like maybe he is not as amicable to you as you might think. Why on earth does he not want you flying out there as well? You presumably wouldn't be with him? But you would be considerably nearer if your dd needed you.

If he's not prepared to "let" you do that, then I'd not let him take her tbh, because he's now showing how bloody minded he can clearly be.

inabeautifulplace Sun 23-Jun-13 14:16:41

To me it doesn't seem that sensible a plan. Frankly it's a bit silly to go all that way for 2 weeks. Much better to wait another year, then plan to go for a bit longer. Both father and daughter would get more out of it then. However, I don't think he's unreasonable to go, and should be perfectly capable of looking after your daughter.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 14:22:48

Thanks for all the replies, variety of responses has been an eye opener as admittedly I was feeling quite self righteous and angry when I posted.

I'm not sure why he outright rejected my suggestion that I visit another part of Aus at the same time. I would of course pay my way and to be honest it would be a very bit expense for a holiday that is essentially to facilitate his wishes. I guess he felt I would be stepping on their trip which he wants to be just their thing. Also maybe as someone suggested up thread it implied I don't trust his parenting which is not the case.

Another feature of his argument is that I did take dd to France with my parents last year. This had been booked before he decided he wanted to separate. It had been booked with the intention of all three of us going. I just think there is a world of difference between France which I could get to in a few hours if necessary and Australia. If he was suggesting a European holiday then sure id miss dd but I dont think I'd feel so unsettled.

In a couple of years I don't think I would be concerned but I'm still conscious of all the upheaval dd has been through in the last year and I feel like I've been the only constant for her and I worry she's too young to understand that that's still the case if I disappear out of her life for two weeks

poppycock6 Sun 23-Jun-13 14:23:10

Another one here who thinks she's too young for such a long flight and not to have her mum with her during it. Put your foot down OP.
I would tell him that he'll have to wait until she's older.

JassyRadlett Sun 23-Jun-13 14:27:38

Christ, you must all think I'm a crap parent, my toddler does that flight at least once a year. In my experience kids manage the flight better than adults, and if you manage the jetlag properly you can generally be done with it in 2-3 days.

That said the flight is a hell of a lot easier with two adults, and there are many other factors at play here to make your concerns understandable. But I don't buy 'the flight is too young for a 3 year old' as a reason.

Ginderella Sun 23-Jun-13 14:29:26

I suspect that he would like to move on with his life and create some distance from you and DD.

I also suspect he has another woman in his sights and he is deliberately picking this fight with you. He knows that you would say no to this trip to Australia.

He can then justify the lack of contact between him and DD because you "are being unreasonable" and not agreeing to his request.

Tooearlyintheday Sun 23-Jun-13 14:32:35

I think the fact that you're not objecting to long haul flight as such since you would be willing to let her do it if you accompany her makes your position unreasonable. I don't honestly think a two week holiday with her other parent is too much to ask for at age 3 and while you may be uncomfortable with her being so far away she will be along with her Dad who presumably is a capable person. I also think you are setting a precedent for her Dad to object to any holidays you may want to take her on in the future.

Tooearlyintheday Sun 23-Jun-13 14:33:48

Why do you suspect that Ginderella? Why can it not be a case of a decent parent wanting to take their child on holiday to visit family?

zippey Sun 23-Jun-13 14:37:10

I don't think the comprise is that great, if it were the other way round, the OP probably wouldn't like the ex tagging along like a bad smell.

I don't think the request is unreasonable but at the same time I don't think the OP is entirely unreasonable either.

Being apart for a few weeks won't harm anyone.

beela Sun 23-Jun-13 14:39:43

OP, my DS is exactly the same age as your DD and I would not be happy about this. YANBU.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 14:40:58

I understand my views re the flight seem contradictory, to clarify I'm sure she would survive but I think it's a lot for her to go through for the sake of two weeks holiday. It's not something I would consider doing with her myself unless absolutely necessary. The reason I would compromise and go with them on the flight is that I understand how important family is so if he was really insistent I would go along for the journey as I also think it would be easier on her with two adults, plus I have always been the calmer one and better able to cope in that type of situation my ex has a short fuse and can be quite reactionary when he's stressed.

To reply to ginderella I don't think that's the case at all, perhaps he does have another woman in his life I don't know but I certainly can't see him trying to distance himself from Dd - he really does dote on her.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 14:43:08

Also I had no intention of gate crashing their holiday I would only take the flight with them and then fly on to stay with friends some distance away. It just means I could get to her if she needed me.

WhiteBirdBlueSky Sun 23-Jun-13 14:45:45

I think a parent taking a child away for two weeks is fine. It might not be prefect, but it is fine.

If my ex wanted to accompany me on my holiday journey for no good reason I would tell him to fuck off.

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 15:06:49

Why do you think you will need to get to her quickly op?

Sparklysilversequins Sun 23-Jun-13 15:07:06

I wouldn't be happy with this. Why can't he wait a couple of years till everything is a bit less raw and you and she more used to being apart, eg. When she starts school? It's not like she's going to remember the experience at that age. Two/three year olds don't care where they are as long as they are with someone they love who loves them. I think it's too young and more for HIS benefit that dd's.

Sparklysilversequins Sun 23-Jun-13 15:09:59

I think as ever on MN it's a matter of personal opinion. Some posters would be happy to be apart from their two year olds for that length of time, some wouldn't, neither are wrong for that and I don't think OP is wrong for feeling that way she does.

OP, I have to say your ex's plans leave me a little uneasy. I know you say that you "genuinely don't think there is a risk of him not returning with her", but I expect a lot of other parents, mothers and fathers, have genuinely thought that too.

We've been considering visiting friends in Australia, but two weeks seemed too short to me given the amount of time it takes to get there. So him planning to go for only two weeks seems a bit 'off' to me. Then the fact that there wasn't much contact with his sister prior to her emigration ("when his sister lived an hour up the road he only brought DD to see them maybe twice in the last year"), so this determination to undertake an expensive and frankly arduous journey seems out of proportion. And yes, I do find his rejection of your being in Australia (not with him/DD, just on the plane and then in the same country) unsettling. Why would he reject your offer when it costs him nothing, could make the journey easier, and won't impinge on his/DD's holiday?

I've got a vague memory of Australia refusing to allow children to leave to rejoin their parent, but I think it was for an Australian parent in Australia IYSWIM, which wouldn't apply here. I guess I'm thinking worst case scenario here OP; IF he decided he wasn't coming back, even with Australia co-operating, getting your daughter back could be difficult, time-consuming and expensive; especially with you on the other side of the world in a different time-zone. Whereas in the same time-zone etc - maybe more straightforward. Yes, worst case scenario, but I don't know any of the people involved so that's the way my mind runs. Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Changing the subject - I really don't think the current contact arrangements are healthy for you. You're having to be in way too much day-to-day contact with this man to allow you to move on with your life. He sounds like he is always there - "a couple of nights a week and sees her in-between we also do things together the three of us at weekends or go out for dinner during the week." Where does this contact take place? How is handover managed? Could you take a step back, i.e. handover handled by an intermediary so that you don't have to see him in person? IMO your being so accommodating may be part of the reason why he is so incensed at you saying no to this trip - because you don't sound as if you've said no to anything else so far. Have you?

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:18:06

Heysoulsister I don't know possibly being irrational on this point but my thoughts were if she got sick, had an accident or if anything happened to her dad and she was left alone there or just if she was jet lagged and out of routine in an unfamiliar place and was really upset and worried that I wasn't there.

I'm well aware that these are very unlikely scenarios but the thought of being unable to get to her if she needed me just fills me with dread. I'm normally a very level headed person and am totally willing to accept I'm being a pfb on this but it just makes me so uneasy.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 15:24:51


The current arrangements sound healthy for the child which is the most important thing surely?

I saw my dad daily when my parents split and my mum managed to move on just fine.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:27:03

Whereyouleftit thanks for your post. I just want to reiterate that I'm would have close to 100% confidence in him coming back and that really dosen't feature in my reasoning for this at all. I know we can never be certain but knowing him as I do it is not at all a concern.

Regarding the second part of your post you have really hit the nail on the head though. This is what has been so upsetting for me. I really feel like I have bent over backwards to make sure he sees her almost as much as he wants and I have never once tried to stand in the way of him spending time with her even when it hurt or inconvenienced me.

I feel like he has had all the freedom and lack of responsibility he wanted from the split with me doing all the donkey work and him swooping in for fun times with her whenever it suits him. This is why I got so upset when he said I was doing it to punish him as never once in the year since we split have I tried to do anything but facilitate him. This one time where he oversteps my boundaries and asks what I feel too much and all of a sudden I'm the vindictive jilted woman in his eyes. It couldn't be further from the truth. I feel it's somewhat 'give an inch and hell take a mile'.

LondonInHighHeeledBoots Sun 23-Jun-13 15:27:21

I'd say it is probably fine.

Personally, I think the reason he's reacted to the fact that you want to come on the flight too is, from your OP you are still acting somewhat like a single family unit many weekends - he probably doesn't actually want to go out with you at weekends or have dinner with you often, he broke up with you. He probably just wants some time just with DD without his ex. And going and seeing his sister in convenient. Also, is he into cricket? There is a big cricket thing in Oz this winter, this could be why he's so fussed to go to Oz?

Not sure how much she would get from an Australia trip at just turned three though - I think a few more years would be a better option, but on a safety note, its likely fine.

If you are seriously seriously worried about being close, go see your friends in the other part of Oz anyway, or go to Bali or something, so you can get there in an emergency (which probably won't happen anyway) but you are not in any way part of their trip.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:38:29

Thanks, I genuinely don't want to come on the flight to be honest it was just something I had suggested as a compromise if he was 100% set on going this year.

Also I don't agree with your point about me crowding their time together as generally when we do things as a threesome it's on 'my time' with DD and if he's at a loose end hell invite himself along to whatever were doing.

dubstarr73 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:42:37

Op i think its time to cut this relationship dead.You are hanging on going out to dinner and weekends out.You are seperated take this time to do something for yourself.

You will never move on you are still too close emotionally.
If the child goes to the dads gfor the weekend dont golLet your dc have time wiht that parent as hard as it sounds it will only get harder as the years go on.
Suggest he takes her somewhere for the weekend and see how they get on.He might realise you are right about Australia

ZZZenagain Sun 23-Jun-13 15:52:49

I think it would be a bit hard on dd to be away from her main carer for 2 weeks at her age. If things go well, she'll no doubt enjoy it but something might happen to upset her or she might miss you and just feel homesick, even with her dad there by her side. It is all new and strange for her in Australia. A flight to Australia in itself is not too much for a toddler though the long flight/jetlage is tough on anyone. I think as others have said, he should plan to build up to it by smaller things first, go to Australia when she is a bit older.

FannyFifer Sun 23-Jun-13 15:58:12

I wouldn't like my children to be that distance away from me for the sole reason that I couldn't get there quickly in an emergency.

I'd suggest that he have her for a week at his own home, with no contact (other than skype/ phone) to see how she would cope without you for longer than a night. (I'm pretty sure she would be fine with it). And go from there. He may change his mind after she wakes him up in the middle of the night!
I can see that you are uncomfortable with the idea, and it must be difficult for you; but I don't think it's a particularly unreasonable request of his.

TimeofChange Sun 23-Jun-13 16:19:24

I agree with Dubstar: Stop being so accomodating.

He still wants to play happy families when it suits him, when he has free time.

Maybe this is the catalyst needed to stop this happening.
Stop going out to dinner with him and don't invite him along at the weekends.

Maybe the Oz trip will fade away when reality of coping along hits in.

Best wishes to you.

Goldmandra Sun 23-Jun-13 17:02:23

Why don't you ask him what is so special about Australia?

At her age it will just be a place with people who sound slightly different and which takes a horrible journey to get there.

I know his sister will be there but maybe she'll be able to see your DD on visits back here for a year or two instead.

We took DD1 to Australia when she was 5 to see her Aunt and Uncle and packed in some fantastic touristy experiences too. She has some good memories but they aren't particularly clear. She wouldn't remember anything if she'd been younger.

We went for three weeks and about four days of that was lost through packing, travelling and jet-lag. So is it worth putting her through all that plus taking her away from her primary carer for a ten day holiday when she's so small?

Couldn't he have her for a couple of separate week-long holidays closer to home in the first year at least? That doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

DoctorRobert Sun 23-Jun-13 17:07:53

yanbu. no way would I let a child of that age go so far without me.

babyhmummy01 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:15:12

I think your worries are valid but I don't think they are reason enough to stop her from going with him.

He is her father and if ur primary reason is she's never spent that long away from u then let her stay will him longer between now and then and see how she copes

Talkinpeace Sun 23-Jun-13 17:15:34

Would he object to you taking her on holiday?

You are being sexist to assume that he cannot cope.

Flights with little kids are no great shakes : airlines are geared up for it

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:18:48

I think think I'm happy with my decision to say no on this occasion and I'm pretty sure ill be sticking to it.

This thread has opened my eyes to a lot if other issues around boundaries and how it's not really normal to carry in playing happy families every so often and it's the first time I've seen it like that. I think I was so hurt and upset that in some ways I did want to punish ex for leaving us but as a reaction I went the other extreme to prove I was being the bigger person and not going to hold it against him.

I think the suggestion of setting boundaries and having minimal contact from here on in is a good one. There had been nights he's been here till 11pm telling me about his work problems. I need to cut all that out and make a clean break and maybe then he will respect me when I say I'm making a decision in the interests of our daughter

kitbit Sun 23-Jun-13 17:21:21

Older, yes. This year, no. Too young to be away from Mum, even if exh is 'used to' every quirk of your dd and is finely attuned to her (is he?)

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:22:40

Again it's not the holiday more the distance, I would be ok with two weeks in Europe somewhere.

If roles were reversed no I don't think he'd object to me taking her to Australia because she would be with her primary caregiver so he would know she was ok.

YANBU. I think 2 is very little to be away from the main caregiver for that long.

allnewtaketwo Sun 23-Jun-13 17:30:19

Whilst I get your point OP, and I wouldn't like it either, I think your overuse do the "primary caregiver" phrase is a potential issue going forward. Whilst that phrase may be relevant when. Child is very young (as yours is now), it does become less relevant over time. Be mindful of this, it's very easy I think for PWC to fall into the trap as seeing themselves as more "primary" than is helpful for the child.

Talkinpeace Sun 23-Jun-13 17:36:34

when I was 2 my parents separated - by 3000 miles
I used to fly back and forth on my own from the age of 5
and when I was away from my mum - for 7 weeks a year - she coped (partied actually)

Tooearlyintheday Sun 23-Jun-13 17:39:25

I'm unclear on the usefulness of the term "primary caregiver" if the child has two involved parents. From what you've described OP your ex sees DD practically every day and has her overnight away from you twice a week. He sounds more than capable of taking over the role of "primary caregiver" for a fortnight. I mean I'm my DCs primary caregiver but its circumstantial as my DH works more hours than me. If he worked fewer hours he would be the primary caregiver but it wouldn't make either one of us more or less their parent. For that matter if a child's in full time daycare or with a CM they could well be their primary caregiver, doesn't make them parents iykwim.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 17:48:28

I think given how much time he spends with her there isn't really a clear cut "primary care giver" in the same way there is with other people's child care arrangements.

Basically,you think you are more important because you're the mum. I'm not saying that to be unkind,but that seems to be the crux of it.

As she gets older you won't like the idea of her being away from you any more than you now but will have no even half legitimate reason to say no.

dubstarr73 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:52:42

Yes i do think you have to be so available emotionally to him.His work problems a re just that his.He made that choice.Also i wouldnt say no straight out,give them a few weekends here and there.
I bet when you realise you have a life outside your child it will make it easier about letting her go.

Also you are not more important but you are both equally important to your child

dubstarr73 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:53:24


skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:58:04

You're right I suppose. The reason I overuse that phrase is that when we split dd and I have to move house and I had to move her out of a crèche that she was very happy in into a new one. I suppose by saying that I mean that since she was born I've been the only think that was there reliably and consistently and though I facilitate access I'm still worried about her loosing that while she's still so young.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:01:10

Also to be honest I do have a life outside my daughter, I work full time and am currently finishing up my phd, have plenty of friends that I would live to see more of etc. I'm just trying to do what I feel is right as a parent though in many ways the break (if I could relax) would be great. I just don't think this is best for her or me right now

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:01:27

Love not live

Goldmandra Sun 23-Jun-13 18:13:16

I don't think you overuse the phrase, OP, unless your ex takes responsibility for arranging vaccinations, checking that her shoes fit, arranging childcare, making decisions about medication, arranging playdates, monitoring her diet, deciding on her daily routine, etc.

How many nights a week could you go out and stay out late without giving a thought as to who would be there to care for your DD and how many nights can he do that?

The picture you paint on here is of a so far very successful and positive arrangement in which you are very much the primary care giver, taking ultimate responsibility for virtually all of your DD's needs while your ex sees her lots because he cares for her deeply.

Don't do yourself down. If his role is as much the caregiver as yours he will know her shoe size, her sock size, her favourite everything, who she like to play with, which bubble bath and shampoo is used for her, what her last bad dream was about, when she last had Calpol,......

There's a big difference between a caring , involved parent and a primary care giver.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 18:14:48


Does the current arrangement work for you? It sounds incredibly amicable and good for your dd. it wouldn't be unreasonable of you to slightly curtail him joining you as and when he feels like. It is a fairly similar set up to my parents when they split. My brother was the same age as your dd,I was older. It was very beneficial I think,in the long run.

It's fine to say no not this year.

Apologies if I came across as rude.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:28:17

Not rude at all Ali, I really appreciate the input particularly from a child of this situation who came out unharmed. Gives me a bit of hope really.

This is all so new to me, I never envisaged this situation. I get frustrated for example he has her tonight and tomorrow so I text him to ask him to ring the crèche to tell them she won't be in tomorrow. His response; what is their number. I gave him the number last year when she started and maybe twenty times since when he has been late to pick her up. It makes me angry that he claims equal parenting rights without knowing these basics.

Somethingtothinkabout Sun 23-Jun-13 18:46:15

Hi OP, I remember a recent thread on here from a man wanting to take his 2+ year old daughter to a family wedding in France for 2 days without his ex partner. He was mostly told he was being unreasonable, that it would distress the toddler to be away from her primary caregiver, etc.

Taking a 3 year old away from her mum to the other side of the planet for 2 weeks is ludicrous. I'd be telling ex than he is massively taking advantage of your good nature and throwing it back in your face, then I think you should set down some proper boundaries.

allnewtaketwo Sun 23-Jun-13 18:47:07

"I don't think you overuse the phrase, OP, unless your ex takes responsibility for arranging vaccinations, checking that her shoes fit, arranging childcare, making decisions about medication, arranging playdates, monitoring her diet, deciding on her daily routine, etc."

None of that is remotely relevant to the emotional or physical well being of the child when on holiday with her other parent. Those things I would say are things that a parents feel makes them "primary", the "main parent", whatever. But a parent acting as though this makes them more 'important' to the child will, over time, not be good for the child IMO.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 23-Jun-13 18:53:54

Sorry skippy but I think your 15:27 post says it all. Its about your feelings of resentment towards your ex (You "do all the donkey work" and he "swoops in")

Please believe that I have every sympathy to your feelings (I also separated from my DCs' dadwhen they were young and I know how heart wrenching it can be. But YABU here

Having said that I'd rather eat my own head than take a 3yo on a 24-hour flight!!

Xmasbaby11 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:54:45

YANBU. That is a very long time to be away from you, and the distance would terrify me too. I think your concerns are reasonable and you shouldn't feel bad about saying no. If your ex doesn't understand, this just shows he hasn't considered your DD.

Surely if the sister has emigrated, they can go in a year or two. There is no rush.

zipzap Sun 23-Jun-13 18:57:04

Could you also soften the blow and say that whilst you think she is too young for it this year, in another couple of years you think that she will be fine to go and she is much more likely to enjoy it and remember it, if it is supposed to be daddy/dd bonding time, big adventure trip etc. (Of course by then school will have kicked in making it more difficult to take her away but hey ho grin)

If she went now, chances are she wouldn't remember it in a year or two, let alone when she is older. If she goes when she is a bit older she at least has a chance of remembering the trip or at least that she had an amazing time.

Just out of interest - what was the turn around time between his sis saying she was emigrating and going - did he bother to take her to see her then? And how long are they out there for - if it's just a year then I can see that he wants to go now. If it's for much longer then wait.

Persuade him to visit his sister now and do all the Oz tourist things that will be tricky to do as he'd like maybe if he has a 3 year old in tow. Then when he goes back in a couple of years time he can do kiddy-focused Oz.

dopeysheep Sun 23-Jun-13 18:58:30

I think it's weird he wants to deal with a huge long haul flight with a toddler to visit a sister he has only seen a coupke of times a year when she lived up the road.
For two weeks,which is no time at all given travel times and jet lag.

And OP I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. It

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:59:41

It's just so interesting the division of opinion when this was so black and white in my own head.

I did and do think I was saying no to put DD first but I think I may well it be as amicable as I thought and that certain things about our arrangement need to change. I don't think I would be hurting their relationship by making it more formal and regular as opposed to what we have at the moment. It really is like I've been trying to keep everything normal incase he changes his mind which is so sad and embarrassing

thebody Sun 23-Jun-13 19:01:50

He sounds the selfish one here determined to get his own way and controlling to the extent of not being happy with your plan to go to Australia as well.

He fucked off, don't let him whine in your sofa till 11 pm, he has list that right.

Just say no she's too young and stop being always available for the twat.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 19:03:18

Zipzap they are going for the foreseeable future so she will obviously visit but just maybe not this year

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 19:06:56

Also sorry for all the typos, am not illiterate just on the phone and a bit wound up

HopHopHopSplash Sun 23-Jun-13 19:17:50

If she was school aged and not very clingy with you, then I would say YABU, but I agree 2 is too young. You have been very reasonable to offer to go and stay elsewhere but he seems to be too set on getting his own way to look at what will work best for DD.

I don't know your DD, or what her relationship with her dad is like, but practically is he used to doing sole care for long periods? If not then a huge flight and foreign country would not be a good place to learn this. What happens if after a few days she is hysterically missing you? it's too far away and she's too young to understand the concept of how long it will be until she sees you.

On a separate note, personally I'd be worried (probably slightly irrationally) about all the poisonous things living in Australia with my ex, as he takes a fairly none existent view on supervising!

mummytime Sun 23-Jun-13 19:20:37

Could you make him a book of key phone numbers (Doctors, Creche, Dentist etc.)?
I would also make a regular arrangement of contact which needs to always be outside your home. He collects from the step (or front gate) and drops off there too. Do this as it is "less confusing for her". He needs to build up to 2 weeks contact and care giving for her full-time before he takes her for a 2 week holiday.
Keep a diary of how this goes. Yes to some flexibility in a real crisis, but generally he needs to be taking charge and she needs to be getting used to "being with Daddy".

You could even discuss issues such as "What happens when she is invited to a party on his weekend?". This is a real issue for a lot of children I know at school.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 23-Jun-13 19:22:15

I don't think "formal" is the right word skippy. But I do think more strutured is the way to go.

exH and I have a very long-srtanding, very regular routine with the DC which everyone knows and suits the DC and our respective jobs. Not to say we don't play tunes on it. We do (for holidays. work committments, whatever) But it is agreed and settled and structured and it suits everyone well.

We get on very well and go out for dinner twce a year for the kids' birthdays and do each other little favours if we can. For isntance, he's got me an item from his work at trade price. I gave him a lift last week when his car was at the garage.

But we are not each other's emotional / practical first port of call if you know what I mean.

Good luck OP you sound like a lovely mom x

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 19:53:46

Structured seems to be the way to go. I feel so lost in all this. My parents are still married and none of my friends have kids, really miss having a frame of reference sometimes

happyhev Sun 23-Jun-13 19:59:13

I think you've been more than reasonable. 2yrs old is simply too young to take a child so far from it's mother. I would say the same if the genders were reversed. Perhaps you could offer to let your daughter go in a year or two, in the meantime perhaps her Dad could take her on some more local holidays.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 19:59:56

skippy honestly,she will be fine. Separated happy parents are better than miserable together parents. My brother can't even remember my parents living together and finds the idea laughable (they are very very different people)

I can understand it feels daunting, it's all a learning curve. But it's not as though you're saying he can't take her to Cornwall or even that he can't take her to Australia ever,just not this year.

skippy84 Sun 23-Jun-13 20:06:24

Thank you smile

Goldmandra Sun 23-Jun-13 20:07:56

None of that is remotely relevant to the emotional or physical well being of the child when on holiday with her other parent.

No, of course not unless she needs those things on holiday. They are, however, a clear indicator of who is there for the child as the primary person who cares for and supports them on a daily basis and the person the child is most likely to rely on emotionally.

You can't claim to be taking equal care of a child of this age or be equally able to meet their needs alone for two weeks if you don't take on any of these responsibilities. That isn't to say that the child won't be fine with you of course but the experience would not be the same for the child at all.

harverina Sun 23-Jun-13 20:15:25

In theory I suppose you Abu - but in practice there is no way I would be separated from my dd for 2 weeks at this age so I actually don't think that you are being unreasonable at all!

I think you have been very reasonable offering to go along too. I'm sure he perhaps likes the idea of having her to himself for the two weeks but in practice if you are the one who looks after her all the time she may not take a long separation away from you too well.

allnewtaketwo Sun 23-Jun-13 20:29:25

"You can't claim to be taking equal care of a child of this age or be equally able to meet their needs alone for two weeks if you don't take on any of these responsibilities. That isn't to say that the child won't be fine with you of course but the experience would not be the same for the child at all".

The experience does not need to be the same for the child when with each parent. Mums and dads are different, do things different ways. My way is different to DH's way, and I do more of the tasks you describe, but it would be extremely arrogant ans misplaced for me to assume that DS wouldn't have as good a holiday with DH compared to with me. And the fact that I do more of those daily tasks in no way means DH wouldn't be able to take care of DS for 2 weeks without me. To think that would be more about how important I view myself rather than what DS needs

TwinkleSparkleBling Sun 23-Jun-13 20:38:19

My DD is the same age (3 in December). She is not clingy and although she spends a lot of time with me, she is also frequently cared for my GP and DH.

However, there is NO way she would cope with not seeing me for 2 weeks. On this basis alone YANBU.

Do set some new boundaries with ExP though. He sounds like he's got one foot in with you and one his new single life. That's not fair on anyone.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Sun 23-Jun-13 20:40:19

Why is he so keen to go and see his sister so soon when he barely saw her when she lived here?

Why only two weeks?

Why does he want to take DD when she doesn't really know his sister anyway?

It all seems a bit odd.

I've done the flight many times, there's no way in hell I'd want to do it with a 2/3 year old, for a 2 week holiday unless there was a bloody good reason for going and it was completely impossible to extend it.

Has he any idea of how long that flight seems with a small child and how patient would he be with her?

Would he leave her with people she doesn't really know to go out with his sister etc?

amicissimma Sun 23-Jun-13 20:48:55

I took DD to Australia on my own when she was 9 months. There wasn't anything about the flight that was a particular trial to her. She was away from DH, whom she was used to seeing every day, for about 19 days and they both survived the experience. Medical care in Oz is as good as, if not better than, in the UK.

You say you work FT and are studying, so your DD is used to spending time away from you. She probably doesn't have the concept of 2 weeks -she'll just be with Daddy and Auntie again each day.

I think it's a good idea to take her before she starts school and the problems of holidays and terms arise.

Sorry, but, although I'm sure you'll miss her, I think YABU. If some crisis arises you can be there in 48 hours. How would you feel if he suggested that you couldn't be trusted to deal with a crisis for 48 hours?

Tooearlyintheday Sun 23-Jun-13 20:49:47

I'm wondering if perhaps I'm very naive but to me it genuinely sounds like this man dotes on his DD, is trying to be as decent a NRP as he can be and wants to take his DD on holiday with him. I'm not saying the OP is being unreasonable to object on a practical level to a 3 year old travelling so far for a relatively short stay but I'm surprised at the posters who are trying to attribute sinister motive to this man. Maybe he just genuinely, albeit without considering the full implications of an Australia trip, wants to share a holiday with his DD to visit family? Sure a shitty parent would just have told the OP that he was away on holiday and would be missing contact for the duration?

Talkinpeace Sun 23-Jun-13 20:56:07

Once parents have split up they have to accept that they may not see their children every day.

So long as she knows she'll see mummy when the adventure to Australia is over, she'll be fine
you are putting thought processes into her head that do not exist

apparently when Mum and I arrived in this country I asked to see my Dad for a few weeks and then got on with life
when I was away for the summer I knew I'd see her come term time so did not worry at all.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 23-Jun-13 21:21:09

Skippy we are feeling our way through this and yu sound like a really grounded, reasonable, lovely person and you'll make it work x

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 23-Jun-13 21:39:49

He is an equal parent, he trusts you but because of his sex you dont give him the same credit.

Why should he not be able to take his own child on holiday, would you be happy if he refused you permission.

The default should be 50/50 shared care and holidays, men and women can be equal parents despite what some women would have you believe.

AnneElliott Sun 23-Jun-13 21:59:34

OP I do not think UABU. It's a long way and she's so young. Why does he not try a week a bit closer to home and see how he gets on?

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 23-Jun-13 22:43:27

I went to NZ with work for 2 weeks when my youngest was 2. He stayed here with his dad. He was absolutely fine and so was I. We prepared him for it well in advance and I spoke to him every day. Every situation is different and my DS was in familiar surroundings but being apart from mum who was off having an adventure and who would be home soon was not an issue.

And we have been to NZ a couple of times with the kids for 2 week periods and it's fine. The jet lag is ok and it's not too short a time to bother.

I agree with you that you need to make your arrangements with you ex more structured and that there's too much having of cake and eating it going on if he feels he can offload till 11pm. Separated is separated. He needs to know this.

Goldmandra Sun 23-Jun-13 22:43:37

men and women can be equal parents despite what some women would have you believe

Absolutely! Men can be primary care givers too just as easily as women.

There is absolutely no reason why the OP should have had to even remind her ex to phone the creche to let them know he wasn't bringing her in the next day, let alone have to provide the number for him to do so. He is perfectly capable of taking on that role but he hasn't because he is not the primary care giver or even an equal care giver. He is happy to allow the OP to take on that role.

She takes on the bulk of the responsibility for their child's well being and spends the majority of the her time with her. Therefore the child will rely on her more for her emotional and physical well-being and struggle more being away from her for two weeks than she would her father.

Spero Sun 23-Jun-13 22:51:15

I think it's a mad suggestion from him. She will be just three, she won't remember it, the journey is hellish and two weeks is NOT enough to make it worth while. Took me at least a week to get over jet lag. I would not go back to Australia for less than a month.

If his family have emigrated they will still be there in a few years time when she will get a lot more out of trip plus will be able to speak to you if she is missing you.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 07:22:03

"She takes on the bulk of the responsibility for their child's well being and spends the majority of the her time with her. Therefore the child will rely on her more for her emotional and physical well-being and struggle more being away from her for two weeks than she would her father"

One thing is certain - if a mother is absolutely determined that a child will struggle without her, than that will become a self fulfilling prophecy. And I'm not talking about the OP here, more the tone and content of Goldmandra's post. A secure child (from the age of 3-4 probably, depending on the child) with two loving parents who do not put their anxiety onto the child will not struggle without one of them for 2 weeks. But a parent who does do this will most likely result in a child who struggles emotionally in general, not just with holidays.

If he would like to take her I can't see a problem, it will be a fun trip, a bit of an adventure and a chance for your DD to see her cousins/auntie etc.

The flight is fine, I have done it many times with my children from six months in age up. It will take a few days to catch up but this is not a big deal.

I am sure there will come a time when you wish to take your DD on a holiday where your XH won't be able to have contact, how would you feel if he said no to you doing this?

IMHO you are trying to punish him.

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 09:28:37

If you are a seasoned traveller or going first class maybe it gets easier to tolerate the journey but I have done it four times and found it a horrible experience, especially with a short stop off. My daughter was just 2. I would not do anything like that again.

She is so young, I can't see what she will get out of the experience. Surely it is much better to wait and spend all that money on a holiday that she can enjoy or at least remember?

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 24-Jun-13 09:37:14

I would not feel comfortable with anyone taking my dc (3 and 5) that distance, for a fortnight, without me. That includes df!

I am not clingy in the slightest. It would be a straight no from me and that would be that. Yanbu.

bluebell8782 Mon 24-Jun-13 10:42:53

I imagine he's pissed because while he is here and having contact you kindly view him as 'equal' but as soon as something like this is happening when you won't be involved he's suddenly 'not so equal'...

I'll bet he's annoyed that you are basically saying he won't be able to look after his own child for two weeks without you. Would you appreciate his involvement if you decided to take the child away with you for two weeks on your own? I'm sure you would not like him 'allowing' or 'disallowing'.

It's not going to be fun for you and it will be a tough couple of weeks but everything you have said could be turned around and said to you if you decided to go away. What if there was an emergency and he couldn't get to his child etc... tis exactly the same.. is your ex going to be attending all your holidays too?

Goldmandra Mon 24-Jun-13 10:49:33

if a mother is absolutely determined that a child will struggle without her, than that will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

I don't know where that was plucked from but I'm glad that you have clarified that it is not about the OP. She has clearly made every effort to support her ex's relationship with her daughter.

She remains, however, this child's primary care giver and she has every right to call herself such.

The fact that a child is more used to being with one parent than another and that one knows the details of the child's needs and routines better doesn't make the other any less of a parent. It's just a fact of life that very small children gain comfort from being with the person who is their most consistent and enduring carer. Why is acknowledging that construed as a determination that the child will fail without them?

Has it now become politically incorrect to acknowledge that children have and need primary care givers (sometimes more than one) just in case some parents who are not in this role feel disenfranchised?

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 10:53:27

I have some sympathy for op. You are not necessarily a clinging man hating child abuser if you have some doubts about how your ex will cope with full on full time care of a very small child in unfamiliar environment.

I don't know whether it is 'learned helplessness', genuinely being shit or being disabled by the over clingy mother etc but I have experience of many fathers not being so great at full on care of small children over long periods of time.

My ex left our daughter in a cloth nappy for six hours whilst I was sitting an exam. She had been left in cold soaking nappy for hours. It never occured to him to change her.

When I came home from a day trip and went to freezer to get a pre prepared toddler meal of spag bol as I was too knackered to cook, I found he had eaten it as there was nothing else in the fridge and it didn't occur to him to go shopping.

These are just two of many examples where he failed to even think about her basic physical needs, despite being a highly educated and I assume intelligent man. Hence ex.

So I think there can often be a real issue of concern about just how 'equal' parents are. If the op was really this awful person who thinks that just because she is the mother she is right, do you really think she would be posting here?

But the bottom line is - she is far too young, this is a stupid, crazy expensive idea. She can have any number of lovely,shorter holidays with her dad in the UK.

And btw the English courts are increasingly relying on Australian research which shows that over night stays away from primary carers are not necessarily in the best interests of pre school age children and can be very destablising and stressful. I think this is more work of Jennifer MacKintosh. I have had it used against me a few times now when representing fathers who are not primary carers.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 11:08:47

"Has it now become politically incorrect to acknowledge that children have and need primary care givers (sometimes more than one) just in case some parents who are not in this role feel disenfranchised?"

It's not about how the parent feels, it should be about the child. For such a young child, imo it isn't a problem so much to think about primary carer etc etc. What I said initially which led to this line of discussion, was that this can often become an issue when one parent sticks to the "primary carer" line beyond the yound child stage. This is when it becomes more about the adult than the child. And not about the child's welfare, but about the parent wanting to feel "primary".

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 11:24:57

Yes, and as research is now showing it does matter very much to the child that there are not long periods of separation from the primary carer. With children so young it is quite difficult to achieve 'equal parenting'.

One parent may be perfectly competent for an afternoon or one overnight but would struggle for longer. This does matter when a child can't communicate well with words.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 11:28:15

Agreed - the only problem is when the parent can't/won't move on from this line of thinking as the child develops.

I have a 2 year old dd, my dp (her dd) is very involved in caring for her, and I have every confidence in his ability to do so. I still think 2 weeks is too long for her to be away from me, her primary carer. A few nights would be fine, though. I think we encourage confidence in our dc by allowing them to be appropriately attached to us.

*her df, obviously, not dd.

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 11:34:19

Of course, there is a real risk when one parent is too emotionally invested in being the 'primary' carer, it doesn't work so well when a child is a teenager!

This does happen quite a lot, or at least it does in the cases I see.

But I don't think it is an inappropriate concern for a pre school child and I don't see any signs that this particular op is heading to be one of 'those' parents - quite the reverse, she seems to be going out of her way to make things work, at no small cost to her own emotional stability.

Goldmandra Mon 24-Jun-13 11:44:19

It's not about how the parent feels, it should be about the child.

That is exactly my point.

Mimishimi Mon 24-Jun-13 11:50:41

If you're certain he would come back and he hasn't a history of being negligent with her on contact weekends, I'd let her go. Our summers are very nice and he would be her primary carer whilst she is here. Our DD still has good (but admittedly vague) memories of a trip we made when she was that age .

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 12:13:05

If you let her go make sure you have it in writing signed by home that this is expressly a two week HOLIDAY. Have the dates of departure and dates if return included in the agreement and gave it signed by home, you and possibly a witness too.

You would not believe the bullshit lies some people tell the authorities when it comes to international Hague proceedings. I know you feel that he would bring her back but us better to be safe than sorry.

For more information read New York lawyer, Heresy Morley's blog on international travel and red flags/precautions.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 12:13:52

Jeremy Morley....

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 12:15:57

My daughter lived in Australia from the age of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2. She is now 8 and sadly has no memories of that time at all.

I also found the summers in Perth oppressive and no fun at all with toddler. Too hot to go out for most of the day - Christmas Day was spent indoors with air con on as it was over 40 degrees outside. We finally went outside at 7pm.

I think an older child would get a lot out of such a trip but I doubt most 3 year olds would be much more than tired, hot and confused.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 12:18:08

"If you let her go make sure you have it in writing signed by home that this is expressly a two week HOLIDAY. Have the dates of departure and dates if return included in the agreement and gave it signed by home, you and possibly a witness too"

Oh FGS hmm

bakingaddict Mon 24-Jun-13 12:24:45

For a child this age, I think 2 weeks away from either parent is not something that they can emotionally process very well. An overnight stay here and there is fine but 2 weeks is a long time to be away from any parent.

My DS is 5 and has only ever tolerated overnight sleepovers at his GPs, the next morning he asks MIL to bring him back to mummy and daddy. I would love for him to have a long weekend at his GPs but he just doesn't cope well being away from me and DH.

I guessing that even at this age, his emotional security derives from both his parents being a constant fixed presence. If either/or both of us are not around then it causes him some anxiety. Only the OP knows how her child will cope with this separation and that alone should form the basis of her decision.

bluebell8782 Mon 24-Jun-13 12:26:40

spero you've made some good points and I do agree with you. My DH is a very clever man but will neglect to think of the basic things sometimes that you or I will automatically do. Maybe that is the problem - there is an inherent thought process that 'we' (usually the female partner) will sort it out. However, there are many men that have taken sole care of the child from baby years that are perfectly capable and will think of things automatically and this is perhaps because they haven't got that back-up subconsciously, so they do have to think for themselves.

I do think in this case if the father takes the child, he will have sole care and will be perfectly capable of thinking of basic things because he will have too.

FadedSapphire Mon 24-Jun-13 12:40:55

I understand your concerns op. I would not be comfortable either. She is two and Australia is not France... Done trip myself with children. Would be worried about her age and whether she would come back.
Would expect to be considered unreasonable but so be it....

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 24-Jun-13 13:34:11

I've only read the OP so that I'm not biased by anybody else's response. I'd say this:

Your daughter's 2. That's very young. Too young for a really long flight and truly, what is SHE going to get out of this visit? Your ex could visit before and after and she probably won't even have noticed that he wasn't there, she so young.

He doesn't own Australia. Tell him that. You made a very viable offer and he turned it down. Why?

I think when your DD is 5+ she could get something out of a trip that long but for now, no.

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 15:28:14

Important sorry alllnewtaketwo....do you have personal experience with what can happen when a parent skips the country with a child on the pretense that they were simply going on holiday?

Did you mean to be do rude ad to assume Im simply talking out of my arse when you don't know me from Adam?

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 15:45:38

Also OP it might be wise to make sure your DD's father has a copy of your permission with him: countries such.as the UK, USAGES and Australia are becoming increasingly aware of the ruse in children being taken to other countries and its not uncommon fir a parent travelling alone to be stopped at entry/exit....documentation showing that everything is above board may help to avoid hassle for your DD and her dad when travelling.
I think it would be a lovely opportunity for them to visit a different country together...though the massive jet lag might not be worth it for only two weeks.

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 16:06:25

I would have been very reluctant to agree to my ex taking our 3 yr old so far way for 2 weeks because he was so demonstrably crap at meeting her needs when we were together. I don't really care WHY he was so crap and whether he would suddenly shape up because he had no other choice. That would have been an unacceptable risk to our child and I would not have agreed to the trip proposed by op's ex.

I refused to agree to a 3 day trip to Slovakia to go to his friends wedding when she was five because it would have meant taking her out of school to an environment where her dad would have wanted to get drunk with his friends and I had no confidence that he would put her to bed or feed her in the morning. Ok, she was unlikely to die from this but I know she was likely to end up confused, miserable and hungry.

Now she is older I worry less.

If that makes me a controlling insecure mother then so be it. I don't pretend to be a perfect mother simply by virtue of that title, so equally fathers don't get a free pass just because they manage short periods of time reasonably competently.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 16:07:45

Quote from the OP

"I genuinely don't think there is a risk of him not returning with her"

shewhowines Mon 24-Jun-13 16:19:38

Haven't read all of the op but

I wouldn't be comfortable with my very young child going to Australia or anywhere abroad. When they are old enough to understand the concept of a holiday properly, and are old enough to discuss their feelings on the subject - yes, but only just three is a little young IMO.

You have been more than fair compromising, especially given he didn't really take her to visit them much, whilst in the UK.

Build up the holidays. He doesn't have her for longer than a couple of nights at the moment. I would want to do no more than 3/4 nights at first then build up to week.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 16:23:00

Yes, I did rhad that. Loss of parents genuinely don't think it will happen....and then it does. Lots of parents genuinely don't think it will happen and it doesn't. However, Im guessing that most people wot know what the red flags are for situations where the risk is increased...I do and whilst I done know the OP or her DD's father I can say he's displaying a couple of red flags...and Im nite the only one who has thought that this all sounds a little odd.

Better to be safe than sorry....I genuinely didn't think my ex would do it...and Important very glad I got some advice before I let him take our DC because i knew NOTHING about parental child abduction at the time and thought taking precautions was a preposterous idea....several years later I now know different...taking precautions was the BEST thing I did for our child's welfare.

Unless you gave experience either this particular issue I really think you need to refrain front scooping at others who do have experience with it.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 16:23:59

Scoffing, not scooping.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 16:33:37

So presumably the OP's ex should take similar precautions next time she plans taking their child on holiday (i.e. writting agreement, witness etc.). Or do your precautions only apply to fathers?

We all have bad experiences of some sort. I prefer not to project mine onto other people when they've confirmed this isn't relevant to their situation.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 16:46:52

And you are assuming that I think this is only applicable to fathers....why? Way do you assume I am sexist? You know what they say about assuming

Projecting? Nope....over 500 children were abducted by a parent out of the UK last year...many of the left behind parents didn't think the abduction parent would do that.

Compare that to 300 children who die of sids in the UK each year...im sure you wouldn't scoff at a parent or
abuse them of projecting if they suggested precautions

bluebell8782 Mon 24-Jun-13 16:48:31

Your ex does sound particularly incompetent though spero. There is no indication the OP's is that bad. You did have a point in what you were saying but not every ex partner is as unreliable as yours so I don't think the unacceptable risk applies here. Also I meant that perhaps some fathers recognise basic needs when thrown into a situation indefinitely afterwards, not just for short periods of time.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 16:54:26

Of FGS you're likening the risk of the OP's ex abducting their child to the risk of a child dying of sids?

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 17:01:39

Im saying its more common than sids and has become a very real issue in the past few years. Im saying that taking reasonable precautions can do no harm. Im saying that a parent who's sister whom they barely see has moved to Australia and now that parent wants to visit...for only two weeks? It could be completely innocent...and there's no harm in having it in writing and you'll find that a large proportion of solicitors now advise that an agreement at least is in writing before a parent leaves the jurisdiction of a child's habitual residence with that child....especially if that parent has ties to the country the child is being taken to...which this parent now has - family living legally out there.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 17:13:03

I regularly visit another country with DS where I have strong ties and where I would prefer to live. If DH ever asked me to sign an agreement I'd tell him where to shove it tbh

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 17:21:19

Ah...so it is you who are projecting.

You say DH...you're not divorced or going through the process of divorce....its different and a higher risk fir families who are separated ire are going through separation.

Australia is pretty hot on international child abduction by parents....the lack or a written agreement could pose problems for the ddi and her dad on entry...not very nice after a long haul flightt, wouldn't you agree?

Im not making this up....cafcass, the Foreign Office, the Official Solicitor and a whole other hoard of experienced organisations suggest that written s with clear timeframes are the way to go in these circumstances....possibly more if the proposing parent displays certain red flags.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 17:25:16

projecting? No, child abduction is not something either DH or I would accuse each other of attempting. It would only be relevant to use the word 'projecting' if there was a link. Me, I only go on holiday, perfectly innocent. No projection at all.

Erm maybe you should start a campaign instead of hijacking the thread when the OP has already said this is not a concern she has.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 24-Jun-13 17:31:26

She's right they do advise that and some circumstances do raise massive red flags.

Its why loads of parents travelling alone with kids now get hassled when trying to leave unless they have a signed permission letter court order or residency order (the pwc if they have a residency order does not need permission to go on holiday for less than a month).

Last time I left the uk with a few of my kids I had to show residency order and proof that nobody else has pr for the youngest.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 17:32:25

And maybe you should stop making irrelevant, disparaging, accessory and frankly childish comments.

OP if you feel your thread has been hijacked I apologise...I've seen you feel it isnt an issue for you but I felt it best to make you aware of the current climate...if only to save your ex and DD aground at the other end if you change your Monday and decide to let her go.

I hope iy works out amicably for you all and you come to some sort of compromise that everyone is happy with.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 17:37:36

Goodness Pink, you do sound, err, cross. And rather sensitive to say the least. Rather than upset you further I'll leave the thread hmm

Spero Mon 24-Jun-13 18:19:37

Yes I do hope my ex was unusual (but I am not so sure...)

I am trying to make point that just because someone is related to a child and has looked after them for the odd afternoon here and there, this does not necessarily equate to mother being complete unreasonable bitch if she is not 100% on board with that father taking very young child away for 2 weeks.

I think someof the disparaging comments about op's motivations have been very harsh and unfair.

pinkballetflats Mon 24-Jun-13 18:26:43

You see it on here often, Spero. Mum is automatically an unreasonable, bitter, controlling bitch.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 24-Jun-13 18:47:50

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people automaticly jump to the she's being a bitch or its about her own needs thing, granted day to day I don't come across ex couples who have decent relationships but Ime
Its quite usual for a concern to be valid especially with very young children.

ukatlast Mon 24-Jun-13 20:20:39

YANBU The fact that he wouldn't be happy with you going along and staying separately smacks of him maybe planning to stay there with her?
Age 2-3 is far too long to be away from main caregiver for 2 weeks just for the sake of seeing a stray Auntie. Surely the law must be on your side here?

PrincessScrumpy Mon 24-Jun-13 20:28:23

You don't allow it, be prepared for him not to allow you a2 week holiday with your dd. I think you are being unfair on him but also her - what an amazing opportunity for her and at over 3 she might remember some of it.
We just took 19mo twins on a flight to Canada (9.5 hours), yes Australia is further but she will be fine. Many do it!
He actually sounds like he's being really upfront with you and trying to parent with you, and loving his dd.
Having said that, I wouldn't want dh to take dds from me for 2 Weeks but I would be being selfish. I understand your side. X

notanyanymore Mon 24-Jun-13 20:40:16

YANBU I'd do exactly the same in your situation, and if he's that keen on taking her you have offered him a compromise (which sounds very accommodating and a big gesture to try and find a solution IMO). If he doesn't like it, fuck him.

ukatlast Mon 24-Jun-13 20:49:51

'We just took 19mo twins on a flight to Canada (9.5 hours), yes Australia is further but she will be fine. Many do it!'

Princess Scrumpy they will remember nothing....3 year olds also remember nothing even when you show them photos and videos. The child would be missing out only on her Mum if she went and likely be very confused.

allnewtaketwo Mon 24-Jun-13 21:07:21

Lol, my 5 year old, when hearing we were going camping to Scotland this year (we last went 2 summers ago) said "I hope we don't get my finger trapped in the car door again". At first I didn't know what he was talking about but then remembered. He also remembered playing with a little boy on the site called Jack, and what we did while we were there. We've been camping several times since then but he remembers it well.

Sarah1611 Mon 24-Jun-13 21:13:53

It doesn't sound like you're being unreasonable to be honest! You came up with a compromise so it's his problem if he can't do the same!

carabossse Mon 24-Jun-13 21:43:58

A friend's just back from Australia with her 2yo and husband, and I quote "never again". Too young for the journey even with 2 parents there. Jet-lagged while there (the full 3 weeks) and also jet-lagged on return. No-one enjoyed it (they stayed with family who are unused to toddlers awake all night , jet lagged and A but young to realise what was happening.)

Strange food, people, home. No mum?

Do you think he has thought through the practicalities beyond "sister / Australia / free holiday"?

carabossse Mon 24-Jun-13 22:00:20

Oops- not jet lagged for 3 weeks, jet lagged initially then ill from picking up an infection that needed antibiotics, and unhappy for the entire trip. Mum and dad both there for stability and comfort, but still a "horrible trip".

Solo Mon 24-Jun-13 23:04:56

My Ds was 3.2 when I took him to Australia for a month and the only thing he remembers is a Manta Ray swimming over the tunnel in the Sydney Aquarium and that's probably because he saw the photo!

lisbethsopposite Tue 25-Jun-13 01:31:59

I wouldn't allow it. He's fooled you before- I think you didn't see the walk out coming. Oz for a fortnight. Deeply suspicious. Short skip over to New Zealand..... No no no way.

I can't understand the argument that she won't remember it.

My children don't remember meeting their great-grandmother in the years before she died. Perhaps at the time I should have scrapped those visits as a waste of time as the children would not remember her confused

Any opportunity can be taken for children to spend time and build friendships/share good times with family. Especially family who they won't get to see very often.

Australia and New Zealand are not mysterious lands where abducted children go missing. They are as hot as you like on immigration.

allnewtaketwo Tue 25-Jun-13 06:06:08

"I wouldn't allow it. He's fooled you before- I think you didn't see the walk out coming. Oz for a fortnight. Deeply suspicious. Short skip over to New Zealand..... No no no way"

Interesting - so you don't see it as a "primary carer" issue, or even a "such a young child" issue. You just "wouldn't allow it" and that's that? Until what age?

Spero Tue 25-Jun-13 08:30:59

I think the remembering point is important because I assume this will be a very expensive trip. Seems bonkers to spend that kind of money when she is 3 and may spend much of trip whinging.

I assume as his sister has emigrated she is spending a few years there so he can go when his daughter is older. I also assume his sister is not as old as your typical great grandmother so the clock is perhaps ticking a bit less urgently there.

And be honest - visits between very young children and very old adults are unlikely to be of much interest or benefit to the very young children - they are arranged to give pleasure to the adults involved.

NandH Tue 25-Jun-13 08:40:44

I have a 2 year old dd, I wouldnt allow her to fly to other side of the world for 2 weeks with anyone!!! .....Jeeeeeez!!!

skippy84 Tue 25-Jun-13 20:21:36

Thanks everyone for your input, you have given me an awful lot to think over.

Firstly I just want to reiterate that the risk of ex not returning with DD is not something that concerns me at all. He has no ties to Australia and has a job and life here that he is very invested in. I trust him 100% on this and though I know you can never be certain it really is not even vaguely a consideration in my decision making on this.

Though I genuinely thought my reasoning was based on what is best for DD I am now increasingly questioning this. I think maybe the dominant factor is my fear about having her so far away and my concerns about her missing me ect and honestly I haven't been thinking of ex as an equal parent because she lives with me 5 + days a week.

I guess I have been seeing myself as her stable anchor with him as a very welcome addition but not an equal in all this. I think I really need to revisit how I view the whole shared parenting situation and maybe review my decision on the trip.

I do trust him with her and I don't want to deprive her of enjoyable experiences because of my unwillingness to 'let go'. It's just very hard, I never anticipated being in this situation and having to make these compromises.

allnewtaketwo Tue 25-Jun-13 20:56:41

Skippy you sound lovely. All the best whatever you do smile

skippy84 Tue 25-Jun-13 23:03:52

Thanks so much and to everyone else who replied - definitely an eye opener!

inabeautifulplace Tue 25-Jun-13 23:12:01

A big positive for your dd, whenever and if ever she goes, would be an extended time with her dad.

pinkballetflats Wed 26-Jun-13 06:49:02

You're a really great mum, OP and it is so very obvious that your ex accusing you of being spiteful is way off base.

Spero Wed 26-Jun-13 12:21:49

You have got to do what is right for your daughter, doing your best to make sure that decision is not clouded by any feelings of resentment or dislike of her dad.

It sounds as though you are trying your utmost to do that.

BUT it is it not unreasonable or wrong to be worried about pre school children being away from their primary careers for extended period of time. This is not unreasoned misandry, assuming dads aren't important, but results of Australian research that is now being relied on by courts in England and Wales.

Yes, she needs and deserves a good relationship with her dad. Just curious as to why he thinks this kind of trip is best way to demonstrate that. I suspect this is more about his needs than hers. This is not the kind of trip such a small child is likely to enjoy.

Dadthelion Wed 26-Jun-13 12:43:25

I assume the Australian research is from Jennifer MacKintosh?

I think, and what her research seems to say it that 50-50 isnt good if the parents are hostile, and lets face it two hostile parents aren't any good for children no matter what the split of child care.

I don't quite get her primary carer argument, as with this argument children shouldn't go to Nursey or child minders.

fromparistoberlin Wed 26-Jun-13 13:06:10


I feel for you, my 2 year old DS will spend 3 weeks away from me this summer with his Dad. I was worried, and then DS started to really grow up, and be less clingy, but its hard

If I am being honest, whilst i 1000% understand and emphasise I think alot of is it about you, put it another way I reckon you would mind alot less if you guys were still together??

flight, thats a non issue as 10000s of kids do it
distance, I get it. But thats more about your worries
emotions, thats the hard one that I think you need to get your head around

I think you need to have a good think about this, and you do have my sympathies its a hard decision to make

Goldmandra Wed 26-Jun-13 15:18:54

You are putting a lot of care and thought into your approach to this problem while keeping your DD's happiness at the centre of everything.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask you ex to consider your feelings and those of your DD in this.

You and your DD live together and see each other for a good part of every day. It sounds like your lives very much centre on each other. You will miss her and missing you will probably be quite a large element of her experience of the holiday.

Of course your ex has the right to have time alone with his daughter and to take her to nice places. I just wonder whether upsetting both of you by taking her a long way away for a long time is fair on her or you.

You may not have the right to stop this trip in some people's eyes but he has a responsibility to consider the effect it will have on everyone involved.

Spero Wed 26-Jun-13 16:19:45

Dadthelion - yes it is JM but sheis not talking about hostile parents or going to nursery etc. she is talking about overnight stays and the potential for this to have stressful impact. You may be thinking about her earlier research as to how the Australian presumption of shared care was working out.

I have had this used against me when representing fathers and judges are keen to follow it, I suspect it has been part of judicial training as the first I heard of it was last year when a judge raised it off his own bat.

I can see the point, particularly for a young child who isn't verbal, how does he or she communicate clearly if upset or worried by something 'different' about their environment? This is not to say that Nrp are not 'good' parents but that for young children it may cause them stress to be removed overnight from their most familiar environment.

startlife Wed 26-Jun-13 18:21:13

Just wondered if you could look at any positives from your dd going? I think it could be a opportunity for your ex and dd to really bond.If your ex does care for your dd then he will look after her and meet her needs.It could be a wonderful experience for them and a positive relationship with a caring dad is invaluable.My dd is now a young adult, but like you I separated from her dad.She has such good memories of their time together which I'm sure has contributed to her development.We are extremely close and she is so grateful that I 'shared' her with her dad and other relatives.It means she has a strong network of support which makes her feel very secure.

If they went could you use the time for yourself?

everlong Wed 26-Jun-13 18:37:16

I'm prob in minority but I would say no. Not at that age. It just wouldn't feel right. It might be right but for me it would be a no.

I think in all honesty the child would be nearer to 5 before I let them go and that's being generous

fabergeegg Wed 26-Jun-13 20:32:38

I think your ex sounds incredibly unpleasant. After all the efforts you've made to accommodate him and ensure he's not excluded from your DD's life, he now won't even agree to your being in another part of Australia seeing friends! That has to be more about him than about your DD's needs since there is no way that having her mum on a long flight could be anything but a huge bonus for her. Also, you're well rid of a man like that. He doesn't seem to care at all that you might find it easier if you were in the country and could come if necessary.

I think you're perhaps being too nice here. How are you going to meet someone new when you're putting your heart and soul into pretending to still be a family? Is your DP going to put aside as much time when he meets someone new? How will you feel then, given that it's hard to be an older single woman than an older single man? And why does he feel entitled to take your DD away for two weeks anyway? Does he not realise a child needs her mother? You certainly seem to appreciate that she needs her dad too. Where's the effort from him?

I don't think parenting is an equal playing field, actually. The roles are just different and equally important. For the day-to-day stuff, the comfort and stability of a Mummy is so important and Daddy is not a substitute. I believe.

fabergeegg Wed 26-Jun-13 20:33:24

harder to be an older single woman, sorry

fabergeegg Wed 26-Jun-13 20:40:53

Also, your DD is really, really tiny! She's not camping, quality time with Daddy stage! She needs routine and will not appreciate changes from the routine. It's all very well to highlight the importance of the dad's relationship but that is completely irrelevant here, given your DD's age and the fact that they already have a relationship that doesn't need saving or bolstering up. It sounds like your ex is doing a good steady job of being the live-out parent so far. Great. Let him keep it up and when your DD's face lights up at the prospect of a long adventure with him, then it will be time to let him go. I only hope your ex has turned into a nicer person by then, for your sake. He sounds very manipulative and you sound so earnest to do the right thing that it's possible for him to convince you what the right thing is, against your gut instinct. 'Equal parenting' doesn't mean equal rights for the parent. He moved out, he changed the status quo, now he's at the mercy of whatever is right for the child. If a parent isn't living in the home, they can jolly well turn up when and where it's appropriate for the child.

I think our PC 'fair's fair' society has completely lost sight of common sense about what a young child needs.

Sorry, rant over smile

imademarion Wed 26-Jun-13 21:32:58

Also typical male he has been disloyal and now he is trying to justify his actions by making her seem unreasonable

What an unpleasant judgement. He wants to take his daughter on holiday, which us more than many absent (or indeed present) fathers do.

Many hundreds of small children fly thousands of miles every day and don't find the 'discomfort' too debilitating.

It sounds as though you're a bit jealous that he's giving her this amazing opportunity not you.

Your objections are a bit selfish.

Good idea to be there at the same time if it makes you happier though.

Spero Wed 26-Jun-13 23:44:02

There are many 'amazing opportunities' that are closer than a 24 hour flight away. I don't know why Australia is so rated. The summers are hideous.

An 'amazing opportunity' for a 3 year old would just be the chance to play with her dad and be the focus of his attention. All these long haul flight destinations are purely for the adults to get excited about. I don't believe for a moment that your average 3 year old would either know or care about their holiday destination.

jellybeans Wed 26-Jun-13 23:52:18

YANBU. I would hate my young child to be in another country to me. I don't think a toddler should be away from its main carer for that long. Your compromise was more then fair. Refuse till she is older. Put your compromise in writing so you can prove it if it comes to court. Most people will realise few mothers would want their child on the other side of the world to them at 2 or 3 years old! Only some people deny the importance of mother or main care giver or are obsessed over exact same contact.

Gonnabmummy Wed 26-Jun-13 23:53:20

I don't think Yabu together or not I wouldn't want DP to take ds that far away for 2 weeks at that age. A holiday maybe but the other side of the world. As you said if anything were to happen you are a very long way away and accidents happen not saying he would snatch her away. He could wait a while and it would be a great experience when she's older I went when I was 15 for a month and it was mind blowing we did everything. But to be honest if I was much younger I wouldn't have appreciated it half as much I would of been as happen in Spain or even Blackpool blush

fabergeegg Thu 27-Jun-13 00:29:52

oh yes and the heat. For a child who is used to the UK! She will spend the entire time indoors. How horrid. Your DP is definitely only thinking of himself in thinking this is a good idea. I'm not usually this vociferous but I really, really don't think you should do this. Your DP sounds a bit flaky and immature - he's walked out of a relationship where he was committed and had a baby to think of; he now wants to head off to a inappropriate location and bans you from the country; he doesn't seem to show you respect and consideration as his DD's mummy... I personally would feel the jury was still out on how stringently he'd protect a tiny child in a strange location. Does he drink? Is absolutely sure who is going to be staying in the house at all times? Has he done his homework on how to help DD through the stress of being in a new environment without Mummy? And how likely is it that female relatives will end up doing all, or most, of the childcare? That's definitely no help to your DD for an extended period of time! I've seen unsettled children who have lost their anchor. It's heartbreaking. Your DD will not understand where you have gone, nor will she understand when you're coming back! She is not equipped to handle the emotions that will entail. Please don't go. Although you may be saintly enough to take it on the chin, there's also the possibility that she could get home and reject you, however briefly. Why put her in that position?

Sometimes you need to be selfish as a mother to tiny kids. There's a reason why female animals protecting their young are the most dangerous in nature. It's necessary.

MrRected Thu 27-Jun-13 00:36:05

Yabu. If the shoe was on the other foot and it was your family in Australia, I reckon you'd be out there like a shot. He is her father and has absolutely equal rights.

FWIW my DH took our 2.8 year old abroad for 4 weeks to spend time with his family - I couldn't go due to work commitments. It was fine.

niceguy2 Thu 27-Jun-13 00:42:20

I wonder how the general consensus would be different if it were OP's family in Australia and the ex was 'uncomfortable' with the long flight?

I suspect there'd be a long chain of posters telling OP to ignore him and he's being a twunt.

So based on that YABU.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 27-Jun-13 00:52:13
wannaBe Thu 27-Jun-13 01:22:11

I don’t think that either parent should be allowed to dictate. And IMO two nights a week plus stuff on weekends sounds like 50/50 to me rather than op being the “main carer,”

But that aside, one of the hardest things about splitting up with someone is that the children come first. And that means that you missing your child is not important in the scheme of things and absolutely is not grounds to be allowed to veto a holiday just because you don’t like it.

Reality is that your daughter will be with her father. He is no less a parent than you are, and in all honesty, she will not pine away without you, as hard as it is to admit that as a parent – children really can cope without one parent or the other for a couple of weeks, esp if they are with their other parent.

If the op was wanting to take her dd on holiday to Australia the response on this thread would be vastly different.

differentnameforthis Thu 27-Jun-13 06:04:32

Would you expect HIM to allow you take your dd to visit your friend in Australia, on your own?

differentnameforthis Thu 27-Jun-13 06:12:02

You'd still be several hours away from her in another part of Australia, op!

differentnameforthis Thu 27-Jun-13 06:14:20

oh yes and the heat. For a child who is used to the UK! She will spend the entire time indoors. How horrid

Don't be so dramatic! How do you think Aussie kids survive? Plenty of water, sunscreen, keep covered up & outta the sun at the hottest times.

Australia does have cold weather too, he doesn't have to choose to go at the height of summer.

Cravingdairy Thu 27-Jun-13 06:48:35

MrRected Parents don't have rights, only responsibilities.

differentname Er, they are used to it? The OP has stated the trip is proposed for the winter. I find it a massive PITA keeping my toddler out of the sun in the UK when it's hot, it's much harder to have fun IMO. I wouldn't contemplate taking her on holiday somewhere really hot. I know many feel differently but for us, no one would have much fun.

I wouldn't have wanted to go away for two weeks with my dad and not my mum when I was tiny, and I lived with both parents. No reflection on my dad, it would just have seemed an eternity to be without my mum.

niceguy OP is U based on the hypothetical response of posters to a different original post. OK then. confused

Tenacity Thu 27-Jun-13 06:51:14

It's not about the father's rights or even the mother's rights.
This is about what's good for the child.

I am not really sure how separating a toddler from their main carer, and FAMILIAR surroundings will help them in their development? This trip is purely for the benefit of the EX.

OP, you sound like you have been very reasonable in dealing with your EX but that he might be making unreasonable demands.
I also think that ultimately, you should trust your 'gut instinct' as you know the situation best. It's too easy to be swayed by differing opinions. This is your reality, and your life after all.

somersethouse Thu 27-Jun-13 06:58:15

Sorry, haven't read all the thread, only got to the bit about 'signed agreements' on taking a child out of the country.

Totally necessary and not an overeaction.

Me and my separated DH do this for any trip out of the country DD was born in, every time.

I have actually needed to produce it once.

One thought OP, is her going on his own on this flight? Are you sure of it?

nooka Thu 27-Jun-13 07:02:47

I don't see this trip as 'an amazing opportunity' for the dd either. My BIL lives in Australia and so they have done the trip a few times (then emigrated and are now returning). It looks like an absolute killer. Both parents and children are exhausted for days at either end of the flights, and I would say that a 2/3 year old is the worst age for traveling. He is visiting a sister who will only have been our there for six months, and who he didn't see very much in the UK, so not a close and much loved relative.

My dh took my two children for a trip to Canada when they were 4/5 and we had recently separated and although they had fun I found it very hard (and got really really bothered about them not coming back) plus keeping in contact was very hard with the time difference, and when they were sad that was hard too. We had a 50:50 set up at the time and dh has always been a very hands on father, so I had no worries about their care (although he did make some decisions which when I discovered made me very angry). I would not have said yes to two weeks, nor would I have suggested a holiday that long for me either. Oh and 8 years later they can hardly remember anything they did.

OP can you perhaps say yes for next year, so it seems less obstructive (and when it will probably be more enjoyable all round for everyone).

nooka Thu 27-Jun-13 07:03:30

Oh yes, we did the signed letter for dh, when he took the children to Canada and it was asked for too.

somersethouse Thu 27-Jun-13 07:09:28

YY Nooka glad you have backed me up on that - it is needed, especially as the DD will have to have some sort of temporary visa.

Personally, with a now 5 yr old DD, I know the OP s DD will not remember any of it at all.

Much better to do it in a few years.

arfishy Thu 27-Jun-13 08:06:54

I did this trip on my own with DD when she was 2 and it was an experience I never want to repeat. There is no way on earth my DP would have managed it - she didn't sleep at all on the flight (30+ hours of travelling), I couldn't sleep as I needed to watch her, and then the jet lag at the other end was horrendous. Add trying to carry all the bags, passports, tired and grumpy children, finding food they'll eat, adjusting too big headphones every 15 seconds for 30 hours, dealing with trays/toys/dropped things/"no don't kick the seat in front" x 14,000, ears hurting at take off, nappy changing, changing wet clothes etc. Honestly, having done that trip I can cope with just about anything life flings at me and it won't be as bad.

Unless he is the most patient, attentive, thoughtful parent on the planet it will not be fun for anybody. She won't remember a thing and can experience the sun and sand anywhere else. Tell him to put the cost of her flight into a savings account for her and that you'll do what you can to facilitate a more age appropriate trip closer to home.

pianodoodle Thu 27-Jun-13 09:12:37

OP if your DD would find it difficult to be away from you for that long then I think you're fine to say no.

pinkballetflats Thu 27-Jun-13 09:17:16

Niceguy I have to say Important a tad disappointed: you usually gave interesting and insightful things to say but sweeping statements about posters you don't know that much about is grossly unfair. Id be willing to be that there are several posters on here who would say exactly what they've said if it were the other way around and dad wad the main caregiver and mum wanted to take child to Australia to family living out there.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 09:37:59

My advice to any parent would be NOT to take a child under five on a long haul flight. It is grim, for you, the child and everyone around you. Unless there is some burning crucial reason, why do it? There is no way that is an experience of enjoyment or benefit for the child, this is all about what the adult wants.

Thanks for the link Susan, that is really interesting. I think the research the English Judges have been relying on is the 2010 Separated Parenting research by Mcintosh. There really needs to be more robust ways of getting information from the psychologists to the lawyers as I only tend to find out about stuff by chance.

bumbleymummy Thu 27-Jun-13 09:48:43

I agree with others who say that this would not be the best for the child. I think it's unnecessarily far to travel for a holiday. She won't have any appreciation of the fact that she's in Australia. I also agree that it's unfair to take her away from her main carer ( and 2 nights a week with outings at the weekend does not sound like equal-care to me) She's too young now. Maybe in a few years when she would actually get excited about the trip and want to go it would be different but now I think he is being unreasonable by trying to force the issue.

There can be a bit of a strange competitive streak on MN about how laid back a parent you can be and I think there may some evidence of that on this thread.

Pennyacrossthehall Thu 27-Jun-13 10:04:52

Spero My advice to any parent would be NOT to take a child under five on a long haul flight. It is grim, for you, the child and everyone around you.

Sorry, but that is just not good advice. First, it is just a means to get there and (as in both this instance and in my own case) if you have family on the other side of the world it is the only way to go and see them.

Secondly, it's not that bad. Honestly, it is quite possible to take children on planes without self-destructing.

differentnameforthis Thu 27-Jun-13 10:09:34

Spero My advice to any parent would be NOT to take a child under five on a long haul flight. It is grim, for you, the child and everyone around you

Well we did it twice with dd1 (at 20mths for holiday & when we emigrated - she was three) then did it with dd2 who was 4.

None of the trips were grim at all.

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Thu 27-Jun-13 10:12:12

Your dd will get nothing from this trip at her age. I have experience of this.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 10:51:59

I said if there is an important reason, then yes you go. The sister appears to be in good health and will be in Australia for at least the next few years I assume as she is emigrating, so I am not understanding the urgent need to go this Christmas (when weather is arguably the worst for young children)

And for those of you who cope, well good for you. I found it horrible. My daughter could not sleep, got very distressed and didn't like any of the food on offer. We weren't allowed to take her milk in for her as she wasn't a baby.

I was with my ex at the time - I don't think I could have coped on my own.

BeCool Thu 27-Jun-13 10:56:42

the flight for a 2/3yo really isn't an issue (I've done it many times).

But YANBU to not want your DD to go such a long way without you. But I guess they will go eventually.

part of this separated parenting (I do it too) is learning to trust that the other parent can and will parent their way. They may do things differently, which is hard, but still they are entitled to make their own decisions.

BeCool Thu 27-Jun-13 10:59:14

I've done longer flights than UK-Oz with 4 week old, 5 month old, 10 month old, 2 year old, 4 year old - not one flight was even close to grim.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 11:03:58

Maybe the clue is that you have done it 'many times'. And that the primary carer is travelling with the very young children.

I have done it as an adult and hated it - at least 30 hours in transit. It took me a week to get over it.

I have done it with a 2 1/2 year old and found it even more grim.

Clearly my experiences don't speak for all. But if it is your first time trying it, you are travelling economy and you are coping with a very small child who may be missing her mum, sounds a recipe for disaster frankly.

And this is just for a jolly! no one is dying, no one is getting married. Not something I would entertain, but it is for the op who knows her daughter and what she can cope with to make the call. She has certainly got a number of perspectives, which probably just makes it more confusing...

HebeJeeby Thu 27-Jun-13 11:14:38

Sorry but I think YABU and I think this is more about how you will feel rather than DD. I know you would miss her but surely her dad has a right to see her. You say you are uncomfortable with the length of the flight, yet overcome this objection but saying that she could go if you went with her. You either object to the flight time or you don't. For those that say it's not good for a child under 4 to be separated from their primary carer for too long, well the dad sees his daughter quite a lot in this case, so its not like she doesn't know him and has no bond with him already. From personal experience I know that my DD coped not seeing me for 4 months when she had just turned 3, as I had to go to Afghanistan. DD was just fine with her dad, it was me that was a complete mess and head case being without her, so I do understand where you are coming from and do sympathise. However, my DD is now 6 and there were no problems with her during or after my tour of duty, she is a very happy, loving and well adjusted little girl.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 27-Jun-13 11:23:17

Hebe, he does see her and its not the dad who lives abroad.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 12:03:52

Hebe, the point the research is making is that little children often need to identify with a carer and an environment to feel truly secure. It is particularly difficult for them at night times when they may feel more anxious and don't have the capacity to communicate well with adults.

Your little girl was at home with her dad while you were away. So clearly it is not the same as removing a very young child not only from her primary carer but also her home environment.

Of course individual children will react differently. but I think it is worth paying attention to research that appears to have been well conducted and looking at a large number of children -which is how I understand McIntosh's research.

Its not about men v women or mothers automatically being better. But if we all mean what we say that our actions as separated parents should be directed at what is best for the child, we should seriously consider the research in this field.

fabergeegg Thu 27-Jun-13 14:52:02

To those who are saying they've done the flight many times and it wasn't an issue - come on! Maybe that was the case for you, but how is it relevant given that:
* You're mums who live in the family home with your kids. It's easier for you. You're not a first-time access visit dad.
* You're experienced with children.
* You weren't taking charge of a child whose primary carer has been left behind.
* As anyone who has been on a long haul flight could confirm, your experience is definitely not par for the course!

fabergeegg Thu 27-Jun-13 15:05:55

hebe Just because your DD managed when you chose to go away for four months does not mean that the OP is any more obliged to do so or that you have a right to question her motives. You chose to ignore gut instinct and become a head case. Fine. Your choice. I happen to think that no mother in her right mind, once having bought into the responsibility of having children, should then allow long periods of distance when they are still tiny and vulnerable. We don't have to have children. There are no rights, just responsibilities. All that matters is the child's welfare. And how can you question the OP's motives when she's bent over backwards and gone through great emotional pain and inconvenience, all because she's committed to promoting this relationship? At what point does her suffering become relevant. If you want to blame someone for being selfish, surely you would have a far stronger case against the ex, who will not allow the OP to be in the country at the same time as the DD?

Similarly, extended families have no rights, just responsibilities to show love. If the OP's DD needs to know extended family members who love her, but it is not yet appropriate for her to go on such a long visit, let them visit her and get to know her in a way that is not stressful or upsetting for her. Let them take the crazy hour change, long flight and time away from primary caregiver/familiar surroundings. They're grown-ups. the OP's DD is not a show for their entertainment. She's a person without a voice in all this. What will all this faffing around with rights have to do with a child who is confused and unsettled and doesn't understand where Mummy's gone? No adult 'right' should be implemented when that is the outcome.

My brothers were racing through Heathrow within hours of DD's birth. They would never have expected me to bring DD to them - not for one moment.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 27-Jun-13 15:14:56

The more I read of this thread the worse I feel about the prospect of allowing the exp to take the little girl so far away for so long. I think it is a very unreasonable request on his part and,sorry, I think it is very unusual for a mum to be ok with this when her dd is that young.

Pennyacrossthehall Thu 27-Jun-13 15:15:17

People keep wittering on about the "primary carer won't be with the child."

We are talking about the child's father. He is not some random stranger. Worse, if you keep blocking him from taking his child away you are actively preventing him from becoming a "primary" carer.

Let them go. If it turns out the flight is grim, he will just have to deal with it.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 27-Jun-13 15:18:04

I really don't mean to cause offence hebe. I think it is different in your case because your dd was staying at home.

Pennyacrossthehall Thu 27-Jun-13 15:21:09

hebe Just because your DD managed when you chose to go away for four months does not mean that the OP is any more obliged to do so or that you have a right to question her motives. You chose to ignore gut instinct and become a head case. Fine. Your choice.

fabergegg, I don't think that is a fair comment. As I read hebe's comment, she was posted overseas - I'm not in the services but I don't think you can get out of that without going awol (or whatever the correct term is). People outside the services also have to do business trips / secondments.

hebe's points were that it apparently had a greater effect on her than her child and that her DP managed just fine.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 27-Jun-13 15:22:11

My impression is that op isn't blocking him per se she has said if the destination were closer or her dd was older she would be ok with it.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 16:10:40

It is hardly 'wittering' to point out what circumstances and issues are relevant should this become an application to court.

Just because you are related to a child does not automatically endow you with the capacity to meet that child's needs. Another interesting thing about blackeyedsusans link was the consideration of hierarchy of attachment.

This child will be barely 3 years old at the time of the proposed trip. I think that is very relevant.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 16:13:23

Fabergegg, yes I wish all these people who sail serenely through long haul flights with their new borns had been on my airplanes. Sadly I seemed only to meet the more usual types of parents.

nooka Thu 27-Jun-13 16:13:53

If the trip was necessary I am sure that the OP, her ex and her dd would cope with it. But it's not necessary. This is not about visiting close family that have never seen the dd and who would therefore treasure the trip. This is just a holiday to visit a sister who has chosen to emigrate, will only have been out there six months and is planning on a permanent move. The trip could just as easily happen the year after when the split will be less raw and the dd that little bit older and better able to cope.

My experience from flying long haul relatively frequently is that toddlers are the worst travellers. They get tired and fractious, they are too big for bassinets, too small for in flight entertainment to really occupy, they aren't easy to reason with and they want to run around. I don't mind sitting next to babies or small children, but my heart really really drops if there is a toddler nearby, and that's on 'just' a ten hour flight!

HebeJeeby Thu 27-Jun-13 16:20:37


Thank you for putting my point across more succinctly than I did. For what it's worth I was in the military and had no choice about serving overseas - yes my choice, but my point was not to criticise (I did say I understood and sympathised with the OP) but to say that children are more robust than we think. OK maybe not all but lots.

Pennyacrossthehall Thu 27-Jun-13 16:24:47

Spero Just because you are related to a child does not automatically endow you with the capacity to meet that child's needs.

Yes, that is where every parent starts and then they learn . . . .

HebeJeeby Thu 27-Jun-13 16:25:38

I am prepared to admit that I might have a different attitude towards children being separated from their parents that others on this thread, as it really is the norm in the military, or at least something we all expect to do at some point in our careers and so we either have to adjust and get on with it or leave.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 16:57:47

Not all of them sadly. My ex didn't.

I don't want to hijack the thread - the op has made it clear this is an involved and committed father. But he doesn't live with his child. He is not the one who does the majority of the care.

And she will only be 3 at time of trip.

In what bizarre world is this op to be criticised for finding his proposals worrying?

pinkballetflats Thu 27-Jun-13 17:06:25

In this bizzare wired, Spero. I sometimes feel that the need for political correctness and a redress of the balance of mothers often being the residential parent that what is actually best for a child gets lost in people straining to be PC. If someone dares to question something based on what is actually best for the child they are often accuses of being sexist and anti-fathers.

fabergeegg Thu 27-Jun-13 17:27:49

Differentnameforthis - you clearly don't know much about children coping with heat - or the thread. The OP's ex is proposing to go at the height of summer. Children living in hot countries acclimatise. We are planning a trip to India with a child who will be the same age, but we wouldn't dream of trying it in summer, regardless of the Indian children who will be surviving perfectly well! Also, I was making the point that it will be necessary for the child to spend a lot of time indoors at that time of the year, especially as she's used to the UK, detracting from the idea that it would be an unmissable experience (although that's hard to credit anyway since children of this age don't tend to value what they're supposed to, because everything is new and exciting). We have friends from Arizona, now living in the UK. They don't have the expectations of their DD that they would have if she lived there.

maddy68 Thu 27-Jun-13 17:35:28

I think your feelings are totally understandable however she will be fine with her dad and her extended family.
It's you who is worrying unnecessarily tbh.
It is a long flight but that's her dads concern and worry.

I think you should let her go. I do know how hard it is for you

fabergeegg Thu 27-Jun-13 17:45:09

Ah, I see my post above repeated what had already been said. Sorry. Hebe - I did not mean to cause offence - I felt you were making a point based on your own choices (and you chose to have children and stay in the military, so yes, your choices). Fair enough, but you were making them in a way that implied that the OP's concerns weren't valid and were more about herself than the child. I perceived as an 'it's all in your selfish little head' comment - a demeaning and unnecessary way to speak to a woman who is being a heroine in a thankless situation. And while I have every hope that your little girl is actually as fine as you think, research has suggested that this isn't always the way it appears.

Penny - Regarding primary carer - the live-in parent is definitely the primary carer, say what you wish! The child's emotional security will be built on that at the moment. You can't eradicate that reality with a quick squirt of human rights. To others who have suggested that the ex will not have a chance to become a primary carer unless he takes DD to Australia...what rot. He's being given every opportunity and that is only likely to grow, given the OP's sensitivity. I would like to think that nobody would concoct this scheme as the ideal way to foster a primary bond between parent and child. High stress, new individuals, new surroundings, complete withdrawal of primary care giver and no concept of that ending, crazy stuff happening with sleep and heat...desperately awful idea and I sincerely hope the OP develops a sense of her own significance as an essential, daily part of her daughter's life, at least right now. We don't see any suggestions from her about going off on holiday...I wonder how the ex would feel.

notafan0fy00 Thu 27-Jun-13 18:11:35

There is no way on God's green earth that I would allow this, and I don't think you should either.

There is NO benefit to her in this. It is a long flight, a very, very long way away from home comfort and security, a long way from her primary caregiver - and for what? To see some people who live a very, very long way away and will not really be a significant part of her life, growing up? THEY are the ones that chose to go, if they want to see her, they know where she lives. She won't even remember the trip in a year or two.

She is a very small toddler and does not deserve to be hauled halfway around the world to be a pawn in what the adults in her life want to do. She deserves to feel safe, be around her mother and other people who choose to be involved in her life (ie not ones that fuck off to Oz).

I think the OP is being a great, concerned and bonded mother and the dad is being a selfish twat.

allnewtaketwo Thu 27-Jun-13 18:16:37

"and you chose to have children and stay in the military, so yes, your choices"

Yeah, how dare you choose to have a job and provide for your child hmm

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 19:05:35

I agree it seems an odd career choice if leaving your child is so traumatic. No one is forced to join the army in this country or have a child. So I agree it is a question of choice ultimately.

allnewtaketwo Thu 27-Jun-13 19:07:49

Yes cos there's such a wide range of job choices in a recession

fabergeegg Thu 27-Jun-13 20:12:27

allnewtaketwo There are other jobs in the world. They don't all involve being thousands of miles away for months at a time. I don't think it's a wise or fair choice to have children if you are going to choose that occupation. But I expect someone will be along who will see it as a 'right' in a minute...

Prozacbear Thu 27-Jun-13 20:58:07

Having been in a similar situation, I think you are being a BU. And I entirely disagree with notafanofyoo - since we split, x-DP has taken DS (2.4) to Asia and the UAE, to see family who live and work there. Nobody has 'fucked off' - people live globally these days - half my family is in Africa and I would be livid if x-DP said DS couldn't see his family!

2/3 year olds do surprisingly well on long flights if they aren't too highly strung (at least as far as I can see - I've flown with DS a few times and there are always lots of babies/toddlers about). We use decent airlines where there is legroom so they can shuffle about, and the stewards/stewerdesses are really helpful with colouring books, sweets, etc. I'm biased, as my DS doesn't mind flying at all, and has had a great time on holiday - but taking children on flights isn't a cruel thing.

As for contact - if you get Skype on your phone you can speak to DD whenever you want, for pennies. I know it will be difficult, but she's with her dad who loves her and family who love her, and will care for her.

Prozacbear Thu 27-Jun-13 21:01:18

p.s. I should add that x-DP found the flights, shall we say, tiring(!) but it definitely hadn't put him off taking DS on hols again - they certainly weren't 'grim'.

And what DS (and many children who fly young) will get out of it is, hopefully, a love of travel and new places. I think that's a great thing to have.

Spero Thu 27-Jun-13 22:56:50

Colouring books! On a 24 hour flight hahahahahahah.

Clearly I live in a parallel universe or I have only ever flown on really cheap shitty planes.

Don't think I have ever seem a toddler allowed to 'shuffle about' on a long haul flight - or indeed any flight. Sounds a bit dangerous as well as irritating for any adult passengers.

Sorry, I don't want my post traumatic stress disorder following my last long haul flight to colour my judgment. I am clearly in a minority here and had a very odd toddler who weirdly found a very long trip in a confined space quite taxing. And who was distracted by colouring books for about 5 mins and who didn't want to watch any inflight entertainment thank you.

Pennyacrossthehall Thu 27-Jun-13 23:03:32

Fabergegg while it may be semantically incorrect, there can be more than one "primary" carer.

My DB has been in this position for years. His daughter sees him as often a possible every week, stays with him at least one night a week and every other weekend and he has taken her on holiday to another country to visit our parents, her grandparents, since she was very young. He is not a secondary parent!

Also, if it were not for those visits, from a young age, my niece would not have developed the relationship that she has with her grandparents.

Prozacbear Thu 27-Jun-13 23:20:25

Clearly no 2-year-old is going to colour for 24 hours (if only, yeezus), but my point is that they don't have to sit there silently, staring at the seat in front, for the entire time with their eyes propped open with matchsticks.

We've clearly had different experiences on planes, with toddlers. In any case, OP will not have to suffer either experience as she wouldn't be on the plane. My point is that it isn't Chinese water torture for small kids.

p.s. DS did indeed shuffle about and once the seatbelt lights were off, it was allowed. Perhaps this was a violation, but I've seen more turbulence on a stationary London bus.

mollygibson Fri 28-Jun-13 01:18:06

Sorry, haven't read whole thread.

But to the posters saying OP is making this all about herself - isn't that what ex is doing here? He's taking his daughter to Australia purely for his own gratification - what will a 3 year old possibly get out of this? If he's serious about taking her there why not wait a year or so until she's old enough to appreciate it? Especially since the sister only just moved - so it can't be that long since she saw her niece.

It's not all about the parents and what they have the "right" to do or not as the case may be - surely the child's wellbeing and comfort is the most important thing. Just because you have a legal right to do something doesn't mean you should!

fabergeegg Fri 28-Jun-13 02:34:02

penny Without getting hopelessly tied up in semantic knots, I see what you mean and wasn't exactly trying to suggest a dad was only a secondary parent. But I have a little girl of around this age and there is just no substitute for either of us - she needs us both around having regular input on a daily basis. She can do without if she has to but is does show. Personally, I think four is time enough to start being without mummy for ages, I just do. And if the OP thinks this I'd have every sympathy. It's not going to affect long-term relationships. And the OP was willing to go out there herself, so she's clearly not the sort to allow her DD to miss out on any of that anyway. She'll just do it in her own time, and why not.

Spero Fri 28-Jun-13 09:47:27

Unless separated parents live next door to each other and child is in and out of the houses and spending pretty much equal time with each, you can only have one primary carer. This isn't semantics, it's a statement of fact.

This is the sad reality of separated parenting. If you don't live with your child you inevitably play a lesser role in their day to day routine - and the younger the child the more significant this is for them.

This doesn't mean you are a 'bad' parent or your child doesn't love you or have a strong relationship with you - just that they may get quite distressed and unhappy if parted from their primary carer for a long time and worried about unfamiliar environment.

I didn't have any turbulence in my flights that I can remember. But I travelled economy with aisles too narrow for adults to pass comfortably so an attempt to 'shuffle about' with my toddler soon met a trolley or another adult wanting the loo.

I guess it must depend a lot on the temperament of your child. Mine was too young to watch the TV, she didn't fancy colouring for more than five minutes, she just desperately wanted to lie down and sleep which she couldn't do. So I would never ever travel a long distance with a child who was too small to zone out in front of a film for a while.

If I was op's ex I would want to try a shorter flight first and see how it went before plunging into long haul. I am guessing this planned trip to Australia would be her first airplane trip?

fabergeegg Fri 28-Jun-13 12:23:38

I think I agree Spero.

Spero Fri 28-Jun-13 12:40:13

I appreciate this pushes a lot of buttons for some people, particularly as it usually the father who ends up being NRP and of course I accept that sadly there are mothers who genuinely and maliously seek to belittle the father and push him out.

But just because some mothers do that does not alter what seems to be inescapable to me (and increasingly many judges) that if you have a pre school child who has had the majority of physical and emotional care provided by one parent, it is that parent who provides the primary attachment and you shouldn't go messing about with that to meet an adults wish to go on holiday.

As the op is very clearly NOT one of those mothers trying to interfere with fathers bond with his child, it is sad that he cannot apparently recognise this and be grateful for it.

Why not go away for a week in the UK, have a lovely time, and plan an OZ trip in next couple of years?

My mum had to leave me for a week to go into hospital when I was three. When she came back I was still in the same dress she left me in as dad did not think to change my clothes. But I told her I had had 'a lovely time' just me and dad. But this was in my home. Whether I would have been quite so happy to go around the world on a plane is another matter entirely.

fabergeegg Fri 28-Jun-13 15:11:33

Well said Spero. That perspective seems to require more thought and teamwork than the old 'I get half, you get half' approach.

Dadthelion Fri 28-Jun-13 16:23:37

I agree with Spero.

I wouldn't have wanted my ex to take our son away to Australia at that age for two weeks, but that's not important.

And our son wouldn't have wanted to go without me, and would have been very upset. That is important.

Spero Fri 28-Jun-13 16:45:00

Yes, it is not a mum/dad battle, it's asking yourself if a very young child would be upset being away from primary carer for so long.

If the answer is 'yes' you then have to weigh the degree of upset against the importance of the reason for travelling.

I think it's adult rationalising to say these kind of trips will inspire very little children to have love of adventure. Very little children find even a walk to the park an adventure. They don't need or want to be overwhelmed by long haul travel.

Sounds like op has really tried to think things through - the ex, not at all.

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