Do you consider yourself to be 'on call' while DCs are with their dad?(6 Posts)
It's been a long, complicated and very trying time establishing 3yo DD's contact with her dad. The arrangement as it currently stands is EOW and alternate Mondays after pre-school until mid Tuesday morning.
He went through a period earlier in the year when he was bringing her back at 9/10 o'clock on a Saturday night because he couldn't get her to settle and go to sleep. On one occasion he summoned me back from my cousin's house 40 minutes away where I was meant to be spending the night.
He says she is asking for me and that she wants to come home and that if that's what she wants, she should be allowed to. If she's a bit under the weather, he says she should come home.
Yesterday he rang at 6pm saying she was crying and asking for me. He said she was ill and that I should go over there and pick her up. She'd been a bit snotty in the morning, but had managed a day at pre-school so it can't have been anything too dreadful (and wasn't). He left absolutely no room for negotiation, wouldn't listen to any of my suggestions. His mind was made up so I ended up going to pick her up. He lives 25 minutes away.
So my problem is basically this: if I refuse to go and get her or if I argue with him about it I feel like I'm being a neglectful mother. But at the same time she gets more and more confused about where she stands with him and he isn't doing any parenting. I ask him what he would do if I was away and couldn't get back but he never has an answer for that. If there were an emergency then of course I'd be there in a flash, but instead I'm changing plans, letting people down and losing sleep because he can't and won't deal with a 3 year old who doesn't want to go to bed.
I'm losing any empathy or sympathy I might ever have had for him because he just won't be consistant with her.
personally I would stop overnight contact and find a reliable babysitter so my life could get back on track. If he kicked up a stink about no overnights I'd make a clear statement via solicitor about my DC's needs re stability, consistency and parenting - mine are 1 and 3 FWIW and go e.o.w overnight on the saturday night. If their dad started playing silly buggers, that overnight would stop and we would go back to 9-5 access saturday and sunday. A pain in the arse for me, but better than them being messed around by a man child.
I have found the only answers to this kind of thing have been clear, firm, enforced boundaries. Much as you would give your 3yo DD actually sorry to not have a magic bullet, but I do feel your pain. I hope it improves!
Turn your phone off. He can't cherry pick being a dad when the child is calm and happy, and refuse to put effort in to bedtime or colds. Ridiculous man-child. Either stop overnights or tell him unless he is calling an ambulance not to ring you and hand him a parenting manual (last thing passive aggressive but still).
Thank you for your replies.
I've stopped the overnights before and then when he asked to start again I made it very clear that I would be unavailable, which I was. It was fine and has been since then. I was ill recently and he stepped up and had her for lots of extra nights which was great until he used that as a reason for me to pick her up the other night ("I did you lots of favours when you were ill" )
Man-child and cherry picking are exactly the right words. I found a brilliant passive aggressive book to give him for his birthday earlier this year but wasn't brave enough
I really don't know what he'll do long term. He contradicts everything he says and it's exhausting. I think I'll have to threaten the legal route if he does it again. The EA just continues even though we're divorced and it pisses me off.
Definitely on call. The time before last when my son stayed with his father, he was brought home after less than 12 hours as he and his gf had split up. In my opinion, his father should have taken him to stay at his dad's house (son's grandfather) but oh no, fighting with his gf was more important than spending time with him.
It's tricky. With my 3 year old I expect exh to get on with it. Which he does. With my 8 month old I give him the benefit of the doubt plus she doesn't do overnights yet.
I think you could corner him and say look what's the problem? Is it lack of confidence? Are you worried about dd being upset? Do you think overnights are making dd v unhappy - put all this on him then see what he says - from your post I am guessing its none of these issues and he either doesn't want to be the bad guy or he just wants to mess you about. If its the latter I agree with pp - firm boundaries! But....if you switch your phone off and he says to dd oh I will ask mummy to fetch you and then you don't she will be even more confused.....sigh I see your predicament! In light of that I think you should stop the overnights as its dds welfare really
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