What is a good contact arrangement that keeps the kids close to their dad?

(34 Posts)
abearcalledpaddington Wed 01-Jul-15 14:22:52

Hi, i posted not long ago about an argument i had with my now exdh. The thread had some helpful comments on it and some not so helpful, but i thought i would ask for advice again on here as there's not really anyone i know in real life that is in my situation.

Firstly, even though dh has been quite a prick to me, he is a good dad and the kids adore him, i want them to see him as often as possible.He wants to see them as much as he can too, and our arrangement so far has seen us both spend lots of time with them, but i feel like its too all over the place and the kids are back and forth a lot.I am quite happy to do this and be friendly and so is he.

At the moment it is like this

Monday- daytime with me, evening and overnight at dads

Tuesday-all day and overnight with me

Wednesday- daytime with me, evening and overnight at dads

Thursday-all day and overnight with me

Friday- same as mon and weds

Sat- dad drops them at mine at noon, rest of the day and overnight with me.

Sun-dad picks them up at noon, take them back to his for rest of day and overnight.

Dh is happy with this arrangement and would rather it not change, the kids haven't said they want it to change but they do occasionally moan as i guess sometimes they just want to stay in one place. I had never questioned it until some people on here said it wasn't good for the kids to be dragged between houses every other day... and there is a lot of "whos house are we at today mummy" .

Does anyone have any suggestions for ways we could do it better?

I suggested one night in the week and then weekends but he said that wasn't enough. My friend suggested instead of him having them at his he should come to mine and spend time with them and put them to bed, so they still see him but they are disturbed as much.

I just feel they need some consistency.

Also its worth mentioning they are home educated so when i say they are with me all day, i do mean all day!SO even though he has them more nights than me at the moment i still see them a lot more.

TIA X

abearcalledpaddington Wed 01-Jul-15 14:46:14

I know 50/50 is generally considered to be best but how would we do that as he is working monday to friday?

Starlightbright1 Wed 01-Jul-15 14:58:49

Have you considered keeping the week days the same then every other weekend with each parent which would give a longer chunk of time at both houses.

asking with no experience of HE..Do you consider the time schooling is quality fun time with the children? as that would be my concern for balance..not just physical time...

Starlightbright1 Wed 01-Jul-15 15:06:05

Can I also advise against him coming to your home... these things never tend to work well. What about if you have a relationship in the future. How old are your children?

Savethesm Wed 01-Jul-15 15:08:48

We do the same as you but alternate the weekends in a chunk which my dd has always found fin. It also means we can each go away with or without her and the weekend aren't ruled by lifts back and fore.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 01-Jul-15 15:11:25

The kids are 18m, 2 and a half, 5,6 and 7.

I do starlight because i dont "school" them in the traditional way, we dont really sit down and do work or anything its all playing, going to interesting places and doing creative things, i guess our weekdays are like most peoples weekends.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 01-Jul-15 15:16:49

I have suggested that, the alternate weekends but he said he doesn't want to go that long without seeing them, i might bring it up again though as it would only be 2 nights?

I am still breastfeeding the youngest although i have been slowly weaning for the last month or so, she is quite happy without me feeding her (when im not there!)so i think we could go 2 nights without.

Its difficult because i don't want it to be awkward round the kids but when he comes to get them he doesn't just pick them up, he walks in, sits down and will stay for anything up to 2 hours. As i said i still want to be friends but i really need this to stop because i find that the longer i am around him the harder it is for me to detach from him emotionally, im not sure that makes sense? Even though i hate the situation i know that the less i see of him the easier it will be for me to move on.

sliceofsoup Wed 01-Jul-15 15:33:04

My ex has DD one weeknight (always the same night) and one weekend night which is mostly the same night but does change occasionally.

It works for us, but DD does still find going from one to the other difficult, so I can't imagine how passed around your kids feel.

You say a couple of times in your posts that your ex doesn't want this or that, well, it isn't actually about what he wants. It is about what is best for the kids. And sometimes that requires some tough decisions to be made.

I would also advise against having contact at your house, and you need to stop him coming in to yours too. Not only is it confusing for you but also the kids, and could keep them hopeful that you will get back together.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 01-Jul-15 15:42:27

So what would be best for the kids then?

That is why i am asking.I know its not about him and i will say that when i talk to him about it..

What do people do wrt Christmases and birthdays?

Savethesm Wed 01-Jul-15 15:45:01

"he doesn't want to go that long without seeing them" This is coming from the wrong angle entirely. He is a grown man. It's not about him at all, it is about what is right for the kids. It is absolutely essential that a strong relationship is built and maintained with both parents and a 50/50 arrangement allows for this. But it shouldn't be based on the emotional needs of the adults.

If it's not broken, don't try to fix it. But if things aren't working then maybe sell it to him that although he'd have the whole weekend without them twice a month, when it was his weekend to have them, they could have real quality family time not ruled by lifts and rotas? Ask for a three month trial and see how everyone feels?

Savethesm Wed 01-Jul-15 15:46:25

I don't think anyone can answer about what would be best for your kids. because they are all different. But if the arrangement has been structured around your ex (or you) not wanting to be apart from the kids then i wonder if it's the right one?

sliceofsoup Wed 01-Jul-15 20:08:03

IME kids need time where they can just relax. They seem, with the routine you have posted, to always be on the way somewhere.

Do they ever go to bed in the same house they woke up in?

They absolutely need time with their dad, but the time they have with both of you is redundant if their foot is always half way out the door. By condensing it down the time they have with each of you can be made the most of because it isn't always being cut short.

Wrt christmas and birthdays, we work birthdays out year by year depending on whether she is having a party/what day her birthday falls on.

Xmas is alternate years. So year one I have her xmas eve and xmas morning to open santas presents, then she goes to her dads for xmas dinner and stays til boxing day. I get her back late morning and we do a second xmas dinner (with the leftovers, and some extra crackers, or we go to my parents).

The next year it is reversed. She goes to him for xmas eve and morning and then we have her for dinner and she opens her presents when she gets here.

Pinkandpurplehairedlady Wed 01-Jul-15 20:12:45

Our schedule is: every Thursday after school to Friday morning, every other weekend Saturday morning - Tuesday morning. On the Mondays they aren't with their dad he comes over here and does the school run. It means one week he gets a lot of time with them and the next week I do.

We started off similar to your schedule but it meant neither of us got any solid time with them so we rethought it.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 01-Jul-15 21:18:00

I feel i get lots of solid time with them as i with all of them all day and we do fun things most days, things that most kids only get to do at the weekends.

Its more their time with him, but he works so im not sure what he can do really.

I did try to talk to him about it when he came to get them but it wasnt the best time as the kids were chattering and the dog was due her walk!

I sent an email just saying does he have any ideas how we could make it so they weren't back and forth so much and so that they get a bit more consistency.

Your right they don't ever go to sleep where they have woken up ive never noticed that before.

How about 4 days on, 4 days off (Or similar) or is that a bad idea?

SofiaAmes Wed 01-Jul-15 21:23:21

Shared care is very common here in the usa. Many people I know do a few days at a time before making the switch. I think people with younger kids tend to do 2-3 days and then switch households and those with older kids will do 5-7 days at a time before switching households. It seems to work quite well.

sliceofsoup Wed 01-Jul-15 21:29:43

But how will 4 days on and 4 days off work when he is at work and you are homeschooling?

Penfold007 Wed 01-Jul-15 21:34:10

So their father isn't doing any of the home-schooling but getting loads of quality time.
I'd offer EOW and one evening/night a week, the current regime can't be helping with the schooling.

SofiaAmes Wed 01-Jul-15 21:37:56

I guess one would have to come up with a creative solution. Perhaps they are with a babysitter while dad is at work on his days. Or maybe some of those days are homeschooling field trip days with mom during the hours that dad is at work. I think that the wonderful part about homeschooling is that you can fit it into your children and family's needs. (I would love to homeschool my kids but they are completely uninterested.)

SofiaAmes Wed 01-Jul-15 21:39:12

Penfold007 you make the assumption that the home-schooling time isn't "quality" time. Depending on how it's done, it can be a wonderful shared time.

SofiaAmes Wed 01-Jul-15 21:41:13

I am sure you will find that the kids will have different wants and needs as they get older and you will be readjusting the schedule many many times. But again, isn't it great that you have the flexibility to do so!

sliceofsoup Wed 01-Jul-15 21:52:03

But then OP is basically free childcare.

The arrangement needs to benefit the children first, but OP is also keen to create some emotional distance between her and her ex. Her having the kids while he is at work is basically the same as her being a SAHM. There is no separate lives there at all.

I can see how great home schooling can be, and it is good that OP has flexibility in that, but she is entitled to a life outside of the kids and her ex too.

Starlightbright1 Wed 01-Jul-15 22:06:26

My Ex doesn't see son so have no issues with contact. I suggest you do what I do as a childminder..Have the children ready, bags packed whatever they are taking and when Dad arrives let him know they are ready.

Why don't you suggest you trial the EOW as you feel the children will be more settled at both homes.

SofiaAmes Wed 01-Jul-15 22:09:47

I am not suggesting that the OP becomes free childcare while her ex is at work. He should hire a babysitter for that time, but if some of the time would normally be spent "in school" and the OP has chosen the role of educator (in addition to the role of mom)...if you will allow me the poetic license to separate the two...then she can be educator for part of the time the children are "at dad's."
I think one of the big issues with today's society is that we seem to have so many more options of how to live our lives than we used to, but at the same time many of those options have societal restrictions which don't allow us to choose them. One of the reasons I wanted to homeschool my children is that there is this enormous pressure for bright kids to do nothing but academic pursuits and as much and as fast as possible. Both my dc's are creative (and ds has severe medical issues as well) and they need "downtime" to pursue their non-academic activities, but conventional schooling doesn't allow that. The look on people's faces when I suggest that my ds might take 5 years to complete high school...it's as if I had proposed that I send him off to do hard labor in the country instead of high school. Ironically, because of ds' medical issues the school has had in the end to give him the slower pace he needs.

hampsterdam Fri 03-Jul-15 10:29:39

So they are never waking up and going to bed in the same house on any day of the week?

bf1000 Fri 03-Jul-15 13:25:23

As your weekdays are like most peoples weekends - Could you suggest. Every weekend at his friday evening till sunday pm/Monday am (could build up to this slowly) With you in week with maybe a wed night tea possibly sleepover in week. Kids get a chunk of time with both parents, parents can arrange things with children easier as not tied to daily changeover.

I know it is about the children and what is right but adults are effected by things too and your ex and yourself are bound to have found it hard not being able to see children as often as pre breakup. Your ex may be concerned that changes could result in him seeing even less of his children and worry about the impact of less frequent contact on his relationship with his children. He may have worries that you are slowly trying to remove him from there life and that this change is the first step.

From what you OP said I think you want to promote the childrens relationship with their dad which is great but your ex may not be able to see this clearly mid break up.

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