Trying, and struggling, to believe I'm doing what's best for my babies

(43 Posts)
WishICouldThinkOfAGoodUsername Tue 18-Jun-13 13:02:22

Hi everyone! o/ First post on here though I've lurked on and off for a while.

sooo, background.. I'll probably ramble on for too long so sorry in advance.. if anything just writing it all down might help give me some clarity and stop annoying my parents/friends with my waffling, but if anyone can manage a reply too, that would be great smile

I'm Daddy to two wonderful little angels. Son's 4 and daughter's 3. Their Mum walked out on me more than a year and a half ago and we've mostly worked things out since. A close friend drowned and I got pretty depressed for a while after, so she helped by leaving. (...)

Initially she moved to a place not far away - walking distance. Schedule of child care was vague and often changing (on her end usually) but was mostly 50/50ish and I didn't have to fight with her to get that. She "was leaving you, but not taking the kids away from you".

Six months later, after suggesting that she might move a bit further away, she did. She doesn't drive and moved to a place half an hour's drive away with Mr. New Guy, who she'd been seeing since 10 days after we split up. He worked up there so they'd been "struggling"? for him to get back from work late and such. No mention of how it would affect the kids or their nursery places, me being able to help when she did need it.. If it was a problem anyway, tough, because she'd already rented a place.

We changed to an entire week with both kids for each parent, as a trial. An idea suggested by me as I certainly wasn't too keen to just "pop up" every time she decided she wanted to change today's plans for some reason, nor have to do 2/3 trips up and back each week. She agreed to try it and we've done the same ever since (not that she's happy about it).. more than a year now as I've refused to cave in to her idea: that children should be with their Mother from Monday to Friday "because I'm their Mother".

She still worked in my town and the kids were attending a great nursery here too. Eventually she gave up trying to bring the kids down to my local nursery (and her job down here), and nursery had to tell me they couldn't have the kids any more as they just couldn't have kids one week then not the next.

I found a new nursery, even better than the last, just a bit out of town but not all that far. They're in the grounds of a great primary school too - ideal for the boy to start there this September. She's never been there, doesn't ask how they're getting on, hasn't been to parents' evening or asked to see reports or anything.

For two whole months they also went to a second nursery with their Mum, on her week, in her town. A place that I thought was crap personally and chosen for her convenience but hey, it's her week, "I can do what I like with them when I have them". (which included not telling me she's gone to the other side of the country to see her Mum for a week, but I apparently DO need to tell her if I want to take them abroad [technically correct, yes but it would at least be nice to tell me they're 350 miles away]) Soon she again gave up work and stopped sending them to second nursery, so on her week I feel they've been missing out on the social interaction with other kids, plus have a completely different schedule to a week at my place.

A few months after deciding to quit work and be a SAHM (her bf doesn't make nearly enough for that), she's now back at work and the kids are shuffled around whoever can look after them while she works. Her bf, his mum, a friend of her's.. whoever's willing, it seems. No mention of them going back to nursery.

She instigated mediation between us to try to end up with the kids M-F but now the tables have turned and if I don't change anything, I'll be the one ending up with them M-F.

-------------------------------

Soo, why am I even writing this post/essay?

Schools, maybe, I think. lol

I get Child Benefit for the boy and she gets it for the girl. So essentially, I'm the one choosing or with more clout to choose whichever school I want our son to go to in September. Back in January I filled in the form and put down the school right next to the nursery they are currently at when with me. Come April, I got what I wanted and he has a place at the school, yay.

How we would carry on doing a week each, I wasn't sure, but obviously using public transport to cover a half hour drive turns it into a 2.5 hour trip to and from school, twice a day, for her and of course for the kids to endure as well. Maybe that would have been enough to make her move back to my town and we'd all be closer again. However, she's "not moving back to [mytown] because it's [mytown]" Lol. So, in mediation I'd even offered to do approx 500 miles a week driving up to hers, picking them up, bringing them to school then taking them home again after. For her. Because she moved away and can't very easily travel. Ridiculous, yes, but this was my way of keeping what I wanted - for us each to keep the kids a week each and for him to go to a good school which he's already expecting to go to.

I don't feel it fair on the kids or one parent to only have them for 2/3 nights a week at the weekend. I don't want to only have them m-f myself and don't want her to either. A whole week. It works. Serious/normal "work"/school week plus the fun weekends together too. Balanced, fair for all; suits me fine. Kids aren't missing out on being with either of us. I'm a real Dad, I have my angels 7 days and nights and do everything for them; they love and depend on me and it's frankly the best thing in the world. I'd be crushed if I ended up seeing them for just two or three nights in a week or even one weekend out of two, yikes. Don't get how some Dads out there don't bust a gut to ensure they get greater access to their kids but hey, different story.

Where I have so far done everything I've been able to do for the children, my infinite capacity to screw everything up has left me without a driving license for three years. Stupid, yes. Happened, yes. So where have we gone from here? Well, it's become quite clear that her move a year ago has been sustained by the fact that I could drive and now that I can't, we're all screwed. My fault or hers for moving away when she couldn't drive?

As their Mum's intent on not moving back to where the kids were born and always lived until she moved away, causing a nursery change, leading to me applying to the school he currently still has a place at, I guess I'll have to move and change everything to suit her. Makes everything easier for her, for the kids.. not exactly for me but if I have to move to a crappier town, I'll have to. We'll lose out on having my parents a mile away from me who are always offering dinner and any other help they can. But then "grandparents shouldn't play such a big role in the kids' lives". Facepalm.

So I applied asap to change schools to [hertown]. 1st June rolls up and .. ah. Too late, the three schools are full, have waiting lists and were filled even in the first round of allocations. He's still got his place for now at the school that I can get to but Mummy can't.

Just yesterday I managed to get a call back from the admissions board to let me know exactly how many places are currently available in which schools in the area. (both my area and hers, or at least close to hers but a bit further than the three we applied for in her town).

So for the third time I'm back to looking at schools, comparing results, trying to find what's best as yes, unfortunately, it seems we're going to have to move them from where they are at nursery now to a different school for him and new nursery for her. And a new house for me, if I can even find a suitable one to move to in that dump of a town.

Either I move and we change schools/nursery, or she can move closer to where he already is meant to be going, or I'm going to have to have the children for mon-fri and her at weekends.

Of the schools that I now know have places, the closest ones to her have been ruled out by her because, like my town, "they're not going to school there because it's [townname]" Someone please tell me that this is daft and which town it is is irrelevant; it's more a question of which school will give them the best education and start in their school lives.

While I've looked at every school in the entire county pretty much, three times over, she's done nothing at all as is evidenced by her total lack of comparative knowledge on the schools. Sure, I get his Child Benefit so my decision is "more important" than hers, but some input from her throughout the process sure would have been more helpful. Or rather, useful input would have been useful, instead of just "they should be with me anyway as I'm their Mum" or "not going to a school in [townname]".

Since starting to write this last night, having a sleep and carrying on, she's actually just this morning said to put down two schools that are in the town next to her that she previously refused to consider, which I guess would then be fine, she's also pushing the idea of home schooling and keeping him on a waiting list at a school closer to her. Trying, desperately to get her way and end up with the kids at school right on her doorstep and I'll just have to move close to her and deal with it. We're only talking like 3/4 miles away; one stop on the train or 20 mins on the bus.. hardly impossible. That's as far as I go now to take them to nursery anyway.

As the kids have already been to nursery for about two years, I'd think they can cope with changing to a different school - they've both managed fine when we changed nurseries and are shining more than ever where they are. Not that I'm against home schooling really, I just think being in an actual school, with other kids would be so much better for them. I know that I don't know everything myself and given that they could go to a multitude of schools really, I don't see the point in doing it at home. How would she/I work? How many friends would the kids have? What about the level of teaching itself...

I better draw this post book to a close, partly because it's so long but also because there's not actually a point to it really. I'm not even asking a question I guess. Just a single 50/50 Dad having a bit of a rant, who's getting too tired of battling ideas that always seem based around what's best/easiest for their Mum, where I'm always prepared to do whatever's best for the children. It shows in how the kids are with me that I'm doing my job as a Dad more than well enough, I've just had enough of being made to feel so shit for everything I do or don't do. Always being threatened that she'll take our daughter away to her Mum's and such.. like huh? You think that's really a good idea, to separate them and move 350 miles away? REALLY?!

Thanks for reading and any snippets of help or wisdom anyone can give would certainly be appreciated, if anyone's gotten this far. smile I need a coffee now...

WishICouldThinkOfAGoodUsername Tue 18-Jun-13 13:02:47

Sheesh, that's a long post..

learnandsay Tue 18-Jun-13 13:10:29

Sorry, waaay to long to read. I just took one look and am exiting the thread.

redskyatnight Tue 18-Jun-13 13:13:19

OP - I'm sorry I tried to read but got lost half way through. Could you summarise?

LaundryLegoLunch Tue 18-Jun-13 13:17:22

As the others have said - waaay too long. Although I did read the random sentence about the person claiming child benefit makes the decision about school places hmm wtf?!?

SaveMeNow Tue 18-Jun-13 14:38:10

Well I have read it - and quite frankly I think it's downright rude of people to just say it's too long and then disappear. Although there are a lot of rude people on MN unfortunately who have no desire to help but just want to stir up trouble.

Anyway, I digress!! It's quite difficult to know what to suggest really as ideally you'd work together to resolve these sorts of things. Are you still having mediation now? It does seem as if you are doing all the compromising which doesn't seem at all fair. Is their mother just not interested or is she trying to force you into the position where you have to move?

learnandsay Tue 18-Jun-13 14:41:55

The OP makes several references to the length herself and asks if anybody's got to the end!

titchy Tue 18-Jun-13 14:50:06

Why don't you stay put, send kid to school he is expecting to go to and mum sees them EOW?

(Incidentally what she does with them on her week is completely up to her, so your whinge about her not sending them to nursery on her week and your kids suffering from a lack of socialising hmm really grates, as does saying it would be nice to be told she's taking kids to her mum's - again - why? It's her week).

Amazinggg Tue 18-Jun-13 14:53:31

I also recommend typing it out again but much shorter! I get that you're partly just wanting to have a bit of a rant and sound off, but if you can highlight or list your main concerns, it will help you and us.

Am I right in saying you have both kids for a week, then she does? If so, I understand why it's lovely for you, but it's not fair on the kids. Splitting up is crap for you and for the kids, of course, but it will be best to either do the weekends or Mon-Fri. And it sounds like you're best placed to do Mon-Fri, with the school situation. Man up and suggest it. You might win it if it went to court anyway. But it's currently far too confusing for the kids, and it sounds (from what I can understand) that you are taking more of an active role in sorting out your son's education anyway. As you say, it's not a given that they should be with their Mum Mon-Fri.

iloveweetos Tue 18-Jun-13 15:02:00

I agree with amazing.

Don't rise to threats etc, just ensure you're doing right by the children.
Dont mention court as of yet. but if things arent sorted then you may have to.
not meaning to pry but how would you work on your ex's weeks where you would travel?

curlew Tue 18-Jun-13 15:04:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Tiggles Tue 18-Jun-13 15:11:31

Am I right in understanding that you sorted a school place for DS (as you had CB) and she sorted for DD (as she has CB?) Or did you sort both school places? If she sorted DD, is there room at that school for your DS too?
Not sure I can offer any useful advice, but good on you for trying to put the kids first, even if that means upheaving again. Personally, if you have got all their schools sorted it sounds like you should offer custody Monday to Friday, but as a mother I'm not sure how happy I'd be if someone suggested that to me about my kids.

juniper9 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:27:39

I think a Mon-Fri arrangement would be best too. It's really hard for small children to be moved forwards and backwards all of the time, especially when they're school age. They need some consistency.

The idea of you making decisions for your son and her for your daughter seems really odd too- what happens if she applies for a place for your DD somewhere completely different, then gets your DS in by using the sibling rule? They could end up on the other side of the other town than you, and that wouldn't work in your favour if you wanted a court to give you equal access or Mon-Fri.

WishICouldThinkOfAGoodUsername Wed 19-Jun-13 03:33:27

Well, I got some clarity from writing out so much at least. Sorry to those that, understandably, found it overly long and abandoned ship. Thanks for trying. Even more thanks to those that slogged their way through to the end and found comments to add. thanks

Shorter summary of things...

Ex wanted out 20 months ago, left.
DS, 4. DD, 3.
I get his CB, ex gets DD's.
ex moved 20 miles away more than a year ago and we've had the kids for a week each since.
I'm on both birth certs as Father so have parental responsibility.

ex started mediation because she insists that in normal separated families, the Mum has the kids M-F "because I'm their Mother". I thought we were in 2013, not 1973. 2 meetings so far have produced nothing much other than quashing a few of ex's ideas that she's somehow entitled to the children more than I am. Third session booked for next week.

DS needs to start PS in Sept so can't be living in two different towns an hour or more of public transport apart. DD won't start till next year. Already have a place for DS at the school next to nursery since first round of allocations.
As I get CB for DS, it doesn't mean I get to choose where he goes, it means that in case of two conflicting applications from ex and myself, my application would be used. Ex's would be used over mine for DD in a year's time. ( LaundryLegoLunch )

I now can't drive for the next three years. (yes, curlew) I can still get to allocated school on my week but she can't unless the kids spend about 2.5 hours travelling a day and twice that for ex. Prior to me being a moron and losing my license, I'd offered in mediation to go pick the kids up from her and take them to school for her. Only (!) 400 miles a week but it would have meant just a 20 minute drive for the kids to and from school. Not appreciated at all on her end but she agreed to it. Daft idea as it was but we can't do that now anyway and frankly, good. I'd never have seen any money or thanks for the taxi service and it's daft to drive past 20 odd schools to get them to a certain one.

I figured that even though she's the one that moved away, it would be easiest and best for all if we changed schools, and where I live, to be closer to her. She's intent on not moving back to my town, so I will move to her. I tried changing schools; there's no places in her town so tough, can't. (second round of allocations)

Instead of blindly putting down three more schools for round three to find out another month later that they're full, I managed to find out how many places are in specific schools near her. Initially she was against it just because the schools were in a certain town which seems a daft reason to rule out schools, but since writing this earlier today, she's agreed to it so I've written in to try to change the school again. So I'm waiting another few weeks to find out if DS can have a place pretty close to ex. Hopefully I can then find a place to move to as soon as I find out for sure. Yep - new home, new school.. to accomodate her move out of the area a year+ ago.

Having been accused of "stealing the kids" from her, "forcing her out of having anything to do with schools" and listening to more than a year of being told my status as a Father qualifies me for perhaps EOW, maybe even one weekend in two, I'm getting a bit tired of it all when my primary and only goal has always been to look after our children as best I can.

There, more concise hopefully.

To try to address the replies..

learnandsay: himself* smile Here's a shorter version of it all for you and others

redskyatnight: Tried to deliver

SaveMeNow: All I've tried to do since day 1 on my own is work with ex to get what's best for the kids. I don't get much feedback on how she wants to do anything, what she does so with them re: discipline, bedtime routines or anything. She doesn't talk/discuss, she barks out what she does and that's the only "right" way, that's how it JUST IS going to happen.
Thanks, yes, I am the one that has always compromised. It's not that she's not interested, she loves our kids as much as I do.. just seems more worried about "seeming" like a bad Mother in the eyes of.. I don't know, whoever it is that's apparently judging her. With not driving, I've either forced her to move back to here and the place DS already has, or forced myself to move up to hers - again me compromising.

titchy: While I certainly could stay put and change nothing except me having them M-F, I've been arguing with her for a year that it's not fair to the kids to only be with me 2/3 days a week and now am trying to work away from the opposite - that they need their Mother more than just 2/3 days a week. re: not sending them to nursery on her week, I was highlighting what they don't get by not going and the lack of consistency. In reality, "If they don't go and I stop work, I end up with more money each week in benefits" - that is not putting their best interests first.
Re: knowing they've gone away, no, I don't have to be told but.. common courtesy? Just letting me know? Should I be slightly sad for the people in a train crash on the news or completely shit a brick as I know it's the train they're on? We have a holiday home in France and I'm legally required to tell her if I go there with them because it's out the UK. I would anyway .. but.. it's my week, I can do what I like, right?

Amazinggg: See reply to titchy re: stopping nursery. That's the main foundation of all my concerns. Most of the time, changes happen to suit ex's convenience, not because it's what is actually best for our kids. So yes, we do have them a week each and have for approx 14 months now, other than my 5 week trip to France with the kids last summer and three weeks next month. They're not confused, both know exactly where they are. They have two homes and they deal with it really well.
The current situation has meant me not only suggesting that I could just have them M-F, the opposite of what she's been trying to get for a year, but in fact if she doesn't move, that's what will have to happen. The realisation that she could end up not seeing her kids during the week has lead to plenty of tears on her part. I do and have "manned up" lots of times, just end up buckling because her pissed off means the kids have a shit week with her and my goal is to keep them as happy as possible. I'm willing to go and move closer to her so we can both be near the one school and still maintain one week each, but with even more similar routines than now.
I don't want to go to court at all, although chances seem pretty high that I'd end up winning... if anybody wins in such a case. I'm trying my best to avoid that ugly experience for everybody's sake. We're their parents, we created the little lumps and it shouldn't be up to someone else to work out how we look after them, in my eyes. We'll get there, it's just like swimming in treacle. Semi-frozen treacle. While wearing lead boots.

iloveweetos: see above plus most of my work's quite location independent, doesn't massively matter where I am.

curlew: see further up or simply, yes.

LittleMissGreen: I sorted DS's place, but DD won't start till 2014.
Thanks. Your last point is what I've been battling against for so long now. Imagine how I feel a year into being told the exact same thing. Basically, all I should get is EOW, according to her. Now the shoe's on the opposite foot, suddenly it seems like an awful idea to her for one parent to have our kids only EOW. As a Dad who'd do anything for our kids, why should either of us be in that situation? Why should I feel that I have the right to take her input in the kids' lives away from her and them?

juniper9: I see Sun-Sun just as consistent as M-F + EOW. I still live in the same house as they always have (for now at least) They'd still go to the same nursery as a year ago if they were able to handle one week on, one off. All the big changes so far have been caused by ex's actions.
It's not that I make choices for DS and ex for DD, just how the school admission team handle it. The one getting CB "wins" if there's a dispute.
Good point that you raised - yes, what if ex does decide to send DD to a completely different school in a year and then reverse hack the sibling rule? I hadn't even thought of it that way around, I just figured that it was for older siblings in a school helping a younger sis/bro get a place later on. I'd like to think I could guess a judge's opinion.. or even the school board's opinion of her separating the kids (DD will be going to nursery in same place as DS' school normally), and the impact of changing DS' school after he's already been there a year.

Darnit, this post's almost as long, isn't it....

Timetoask Wed 19-Jun-13 09:15:56

OP, she moved out of your town to be close to her new boyfriend.
I think she is out of order, she is giving more priority to her new relationship than her own children.
You sound extremely reasonable.
I think it might be a good idea to get legal advice? You need to stay strong and fight for your rights. Give your children stability and chose the school that would give them the best start in life. End of.

learnandsay Wed 19-Jun-13 09:38:12

The requirements of the new partner can often take over because the new person doesn't need to make any compromises. You seem too caught up in the details (lots of them) to get a perspective on things. But what if the relationship with the new man doesn't work out?

What if your son and the new man have a personality clash as so often happens? You can't find a new school place in her dump of a town, so it looks as if a longer term plan is being forced on you anyway, and I don't think that's a bad thing. It all seems far too rushed to me and it looks as if she has put about as much thought into it as taking a dog for a walk.

Personally I think having a third party to relay ideas between you is a great idea because it looks to me as if you're prepared to make all sorts of compromises which really don't make any sense. Sometimes it's worth fighting for what makes sense. I know you want to do what's best for your children, but is being forced into an endless string of half-baked decisions really best for them?

justsstartingtothink Wed 19-Jun-13 10:49:21

OP -- I'm very sorry you have gone through such a traumatic couple of years. It sounds you are making a great effort to offer some stability for your children, which I'm sure they desperately need.
As others have suggested, it seems you might benefit from more than just mediation. There are some legal questions that need to be resolved in terms of parental rights and responsibilities.
As your ex is in a new relationship, has moved a few times and is flitting between jobs, it seems you might be able to argue you offer more stability at the moment and the children should enroll in schools near where you live and work. She's the one who chose to leave so (unless there are extenuating circumstances) she should have to make the greater effort to accommodate the needs of the children.
I think you really do need an objective, qualified third party to try to resolve these conflicts and help find a solution in the best interest of your children.
Good luck!!

(and shame on the posters above who have been so rude! how would you have replied to a woman who ventured onto this board for help?!?!)

curlew Wed 19-Jun-13 11:01:54

I'm sorry you're going through all this, OP- but I do have to say that, even in the simplified version, I do still find it hard to follow. I agree with the people who say that maybe sitting down with an impartial 3rd party to talk things over might be the way forward.

I do think that you might want to think a little bit about whether all the responsibility for all of the problems lies with your ex wife. I am always a little wary of stories that paint one side, regardless of gender, as completely in the right and one side completely in the wrong. You gloss over losing your licence through drink driving, for example. "Stupid, yes. happens, yes" well, no it doesn't, actually- not to responsible people. It's not something that can happen by accident, like, arguably, speeding.

AwsomeMrsFox Wed 19-Jun-13 11:07:48

It seems to me there may be a lack of commitment from the mother. What is to stop her is 2 years time from just moving again, meaning you have to pck up and follow? I missed a few bits of your post, do you have a job that can be transient?

I admire your ethos of placing you childrens happiness and wellbeing first, but I'm not sure that trailing around after her will be great all round in the long run.

Possibly one move to a mutually agreeable location might work, but I doubt there would be anyway to ensure there would be no future moves.

I agree with pp's about sticking to your guns and sending your son to your local school. The mother (and her fickleness will have to fit it round it) - maybe time to get a proper legal custody arrangement in place too as stability will help your children.

AwsomeMrsFox Wed 19-Jun-13 11:28:29

same as what juststartingtothink said, but they put it in a much better way!

TalkativeJim Wed 19-Jun-13 12:34:34

My first thought after getting through a few paragraphs of your very long OP, in which you describe in minute detail how much to blame she is for absolutely everything, made me think 'I'd love to hear her side of this'.

And when I got to the bit where you gloss over your drink-driving conviction, I thought (before stopping reading) that her side of this would probably be quite an eye-opener.

Your glib style is massively irritating and possibly says quite a lot about you - it certainly highlights your ability to excuse your own massive mistakes while ranting endlessly about hers. 'Stupid, yes. Happened, yes'. Do you really think a quick 'too cool for school' soundbite about something so absolutely awful is appropriate? In a nutshell, nothing you now say about your ex's conduct could cut any ice with me - no, drink driving doesn't 'happen' to a reasonable responsible adult. I would deduce from that that you are not the best person to care for your children if you can show such a disregard for basic safety and for human life. Yet you happily judge your ex for not sending your children to nursery.

No point in commenting further, as it's as plain as day that your very long series of complaints tell a very biased story. Perhaps just thank your lucky stars that your ex doesn't now take this to court to make sure a criminal drunk-driver isn't left in charge of her children. Because she might have a very good case.

WishICouldThinkOfAGoodUsername Wed 26-Jun-13 08:49:56

Hi all. Thanks again for all the replies, whichever way they advised. Been too busy to pop back here and reply since.

Yeah, I did skim over my somewhat massive mistake (singular) too much. Not exactly super proud of myself for it but I sure could have addressed it more. I've lost enough family members due to alcohol to know that such a move was completely stupid, irresponsible, dumb as f***, whatever you want to call it.

First time I've even been out for an evening/drink since August; it's hardly a common thing for me. Had had enough of all the crap that's been going on and needed to let go for once. I'm sure most/all do at times which is fine. Unfortunately, what isn't so fine is that at the end of the night, poor judgement found me attempting to drive myself home and consequently being arrested. I'm glad the Police did their job and stopped me before anything tragic happened.

curlew I said it has happenED, not happens - just looking more at what's best for the kids now neither of us drive.

What I've heard a lot of since worries me more than my own one off stupidity.. just two examples: "Oh, shit, you got caught? Gutted. I drive home drunk every week" or "I tend to have three pints each Saturday then drive home, I guess that might put me over the limit". Apparently, it does happen and not just once in a blue moon; weekly.

Don't see how speeding can just happen, however. The limit (e.g. motorway) is 70. Not 70ish, 70. While the law allows you to consume an amount of alcohol and still drive, half a glass of wine might leave one person totally off their face and five pints might not affect someone else at all. Varies a lot based on sex/height/weight/when you ate/many things. Not quite so black and white as the speed limit.

TalkativeJim Whether you'll read it or not.. "her" children? Pretty sure they're here now because of a contribution from both of us. I'm not counting any stars at all. I know it doesn't paint a good picture on my side, yeah. Given that I'm not an alcoholic and obviously didn't have the kids with me at the time, I fail to see how removing me from their lives entirely would benefit them.

I could try to illustrate her side of the argument but that's a bit hard when I'm not her. I know I waffled on and on about what she's done but other than the obvious problem above, even if I'm trying to look at myself from her side, I really don't know what she'd say. I don't get the foundation of most points she raises, if she does, other than how things would be easier/cheaper/make her appear "better" - for HER, not the kids.

I lied about which schools I'd put down. Of three choices, I said I'd put down two in her town but the first preference would be in my town, next to the nursery they already attend. I'd had enough of her tearing into me in front of the kids, so lied to diffuse the arguing and get out of there. I put two in my town instead and he got the place offered at the first school anyway, making whatever the second and third and choices were completely irrelevant.

I took them to France for 5 weeks last summer. This was apparently bad - being away from home for so long... having a great time for so long... a holiday they've spoken about every week since last year and are super excited about going again this year. We're doing three weeks this year because exP would miss them too much while they're gone. Oh, how wrong I am....

It seems nobody's read this thread that is already doing shared 50/50 care time wise. Or at least, not replied anyway. It seems most people think one parent or the other should have the children on weekdays and the other at weekends/holidays. Does nobody out there actually do 50/50 as has worked well for the last year with us? I know I have my failings, as does she. From things the kids say, they don't have the best of times while with her, but I'm not trying to "win" them during the weeks, I'm not saying things like "I'm the better parent" or "I'm their Mother so should have them during the week". I accept what she does even if I don't agree with it, that's her right - to do how she sees best. Still think the kids would benefit most from having the pair of us in their lives as much as possible - it's certainly not their fault that their parents aren't together any more.

Anyhew, thanks again to everyone and all your opinions.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 09:54:01

What exactly has she done that is so wrong? If she is bad for the children you need social services involved. Other that that all you can do is support your angels and let ex make her own mistakes. As far as i can see, you don't like her, it's a personality clash. That isnot a reason to be so sneaky and defensive. You need to let her go and accept who she is. She is their MOTHER and much as you don't like the idea, thatis the deal clincher and always will be, NOT who earns the money, who gets the child benefit, who lives nearer the school.

I agree with others that you both need to make a long term plan and discuss what happens if she separates, if you find someone else, what if either or both of you die. Do this through a solicitor, together, so that it doesn't become a battle. In the meantime, if you want to be closer to them, move closer. If it's a crap town, make the best of it and accept that this is what the woman that you chose to have children with wants.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 09:58:03

I know people that do 50/50, they live close by. They do it because both of them want to and it's for the best.

wonderingagain Wed 26-Jun-13 16:31:09

He's gone all quiet. hmm

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