Glorified Babysitters ... HELP(35 Posts)
In desperate need of advice on how to approach this situation ...
I have a DSD who is 7 and I've been with her dad for over 3 years we are engaged and we live together. We have DSD from Friday night after school to Sunday morning when we return her to BM's for the week ... We do this every weekend! About 18 months ago BM told DD that DSD was starting ballet on a Saturday.(Our day). At the beginning it was fine - DSD used to take her ballet kit to school and we used to take her to ballet and wait outside for 30 mins untill her lesson was finished - collect her and get on with our day together. But over time it's gradually started to change ... BM said that DSD was no longer to take her ballet kit to school and she had to be dropped off at her house 45 MINUTES before her lesson started (she lives no more than a 5 minute walk away from the dance school) and we were to pick her up after her lesson had finished... She has also started taking her round to her nans house to pick up "treats" for the rest of the day we have her (because apperntley we are incapeable of being able to provide treats). About 9 months into her ballet lessons we were then TOLD (again not asked) that DSD was starting a new activity on a Sunday morning and had to be back 1 hour earlier then what we normally dropped her off by. Even though where she went to do the activity was 10 minutes from our house but 25 minutes away from BM's house - so it would make sense for her to pick her up on her way to the activity. BM over the last 3 years also has a nasty habit of forgetting to let us know about when she has booked to go away with DSD or when the school play is on or when parents evening is taking place or when DSD has a birthday party on a friday/saturday and telling us the day before (but it's ok she has already bought the present and DSD a new outfit so she can take her) ... Then since September BM stopped DSD taking her bed-time teddy to school and now BM makes an appearence out our house every Friday night to drop the teddy off .. and keeps DSD and OH at the door easily for 30 mins +. And We have recently received news that DSD is starting SOMETHING ELSE within then next month which is now going to occupy Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons (1 hour a piece) ... Along wiht all of this and an argument that was had about 2 and half years ago where it was repeatedly mentioned that a childs rightful place is with her mother and my OH should only have DSD every other weekend ... Do I have the right to feel that we are being pushed further and further out of DSD's life? She controls our entire weekend with her .. She doesn't go a day without seeing her whereas she goes 5 days with seeing BD! It really irritates me as i beleive children need both their parents (as long as both parents are capeable of caring for them of course). And i hate seeing my OH feel as if he is worthless in her life! I need to change this but just not sure how .. Any advice would be appreciated!!!!
I don't think you give a 7 year old child the responsibility of refereeing between the adults in her life. I also don't think you should have dsd every single weekend, particularly if your dp isn't being allowed by his ex to parent how he would choose to.
The standard arrangement of eow and one midweek would possibly work better for you, and I don't think your dp would be out of line to suggest it.
As far as the dropping her off and picking her up goes....trust me when I tell you that it's only going to get more involved and complicated as she gets older - particularly when she has a mobile and starts making her own arrangements with friends!
Is giving a 7 year old responsibility for choosing which of her parents she spends her time with really what's best for her?
How can you prepare a child for the emotion they feel when they (in their mind) reject one parent in favour of the other?
Time with her Dad is not optional - and the only reason for her Mum to refuse to allow Dad to take her to classes/activities/parties is control - nothing to do with what is best for the child
just her mum would do - no D (never sure if it is dear or darling - each forum seems to differ) if there is no love lost there....
Has anyone asked DSD what she wants - perhaps she loves her Ballet and other activities, perhaps she doesn't want to spend all day with her dad and his fiancee? Perhaps she gets bored with it all..
DSD's DM, Step-mum, DGM, Step-DGM, Mil.
I would go with "DSD's DM".
Imperial - I'm sorry you are offended - can you suggest how in MN posts I can distinguish between mums, stepmums, grandmums, step-grandmums, mum-in-laws and various other important female figures in a DCs life in a way that you'd be more comfortable with? Thanks
It confused me too imperial, I assumed it was mother and step-mother
I hate the use of Birth Mother in this sort of case. It's usual to use it to distinguish between birth and adoptive mother.
She is the child's mother. She's the only mother the child will have.
You need to formalise the access, and stop pandering to the mother on this - there is no reason at all that the ballet kit would ever be at the mother's house, if your DSD only goes to ballet from your house, and you are prepared to clean it, then why wouldn't it stay at your house?
I would point blankly refuse to drop her round first before doing these things, but take her youself directly to them/bring her back.
It does sound like the mother is trying to control what happens in 'your' time, it isn't fair. This will only get worse as she gets older. Best get things properly drawn up.
You don't have to go through court at first. You can have the arrangement in writing by a solicitor and see how that goes. Court isn't that scary if it has to go that far, I can't see any judge restricting access since you've had contact every weekend for this long and the mother is the one putting up barricades to contact.
Your DH should change the arrangement really so that DSD does EoW and a midweek overnight with him. I can't see a court not granting that given the current arrangement.
Pick-ups should be from school so there is rarely a need for your DH's ex to be present when DSD is with her Dad and vice versa. Surely her teddy could be left with the school secretary / receptionist as could ballet uniform etc?
If your DSD gets invited to bday parties during your DH's time the invite should go to him and he should decide whether his daughter attends, sort the party clothes / present etc. It's part of his role as an involved father. Likewise he should be deciding on his weekends the arrangements with regards to clubs etc. Two is more than enough extra-curricular activities for most 7 year olds to have. What with homework and social commitments, that must make for a busy weekend as it is!
I wouldn't want my SC every weekend either. You should definitely discuss this with your DH. Of course you need weekend time to yourselves. Don't expect the ex to understand this though! I think it's likely you'll need a court order to achieve it...
I would echo what NADM says about you being a bystander. You don't have any right to parenting time. You do of course have a right to time with your partner that is not dicated by the ex but it isn't the ex's fault that you don't at the moment, it's your DH's. The ex's attitude is very skewed; she clearly doesn't see your DH as an equal parent and that's a problem he needs to address.
I do sympathise OP as we have my dsd's for 3 out of 4 weekend days - a regime instigated by their mother who doesn't want to have them much over the weekend but then when it suits her she will arrange things for her to do with them over a weekend and then tell DH what is happening.
I would find it very hard to have weekends controlled by your DH's ex - it's not the clubs as much as the fact that she is controlling the arrangements for getting to the clubs. If I was your DH I think I would prefer to have an arrangement in place where he has his dd eow and one night during the week and then when it is his weekend he can take to the clubs under his own rules and it will be nothing to do with his ex.
If you go to court this may be what you end up with and it may be better all round.
OP - your posts are littered with references to us, we, and our when referring to your DSD relationship and time with her Dad.
Whether you realise it or not, that mindset, that you somehow have a stake in this situation, will be contributing to the hostility being shown by DSD mum.
There is no You time with DSD - it is her time, there to build and maintain a relationship with her Dad. If your DH believes that this is being interfered with by his ex then he can seek a court ordered intervention.
You have expressed unhappiness that your DSD's mum has been dictating to you rather than asking/consulting. This is not your fight - if she is dictating to your DH, he has a choice how he responds, you do not. As a stepmum, you are a spectator/bystander - you are not a part of this parenting relationship and any attempt to get involved will only inflame the situation further.
I can see why you want to have her every weekend, but as she gets older she will want to see friends, do sleepovers and do more activities so may not want to come to you every weekend anyway. I think you might want to think about maybe alternating between friday overnight, and friday to sunday, with an extra day in the week - and on the weeks you have her friday to sunday, you take her to the activities. I dont agree with her mum's approach at all, but it sounds like she's trying to squeeze a bit of extra time with her daughter.
goralka's tone could be a bit nicer
well quite honestly so could yours about 'BM'
I think the fact you have your DSD every single weekend is a bit strange. Does her mother want this. Not many mothers would I don't think. Alternate weekends sounds fairer. Or just one night at weekends. But if she doesn't want her child at weekends that is entirely different. I think your DH says she is either with us this weekend or she isn't No more messing about dropping off for ballet kits and the rest of it. That's just a nonsense.
did you name change op? hungryhippo are you the op?
Thanks for the help all .. It's is nice to hear the other side of it as well to be honest even though goralka's tone could be a bit nicer ... It is highly frustrating when all you want to do is spend time with someone and you feel like it's being controlled by somebody else (this is me and OH wanting to spend time DSD) We don't mind the actual doing of the activities but ... it would be nice to be asked rather than told ... which i'm sure most people would agree with ... Maybe i should of pointed out that the main point in this is that .. I feel like our feelings aren't even considered when signing her up to do things... and like i said since we are the ones doing the fetching and taking it would be nice to be asked if it was ok for us to do so rather than being dictated to. We see her for less than half a week ... and when we do see her we want to take her out and do things with her .. I feel like it's being slowly taken away from us ... I was merely looking for a solution to stop it from happening anymore ...
Your OP says that she wanted you to alternate weekends, is this not a possibility? That way she could arrange activities on her weekends and be less likely to interfere during your time? I wouldn't be very happy to do all the school runs and homework during the week and then get no quality time with my DC at weekends.
Cross posts, I see she doesn't want dd at weekends, not nice at all. I think you might need to get a court order in place. This arrangement isn't fair on anyone and she she shouldn't be dictating what you do on your time.
Oh, and I know you are doubt a lot of running around, but honestly, the 'grind' of the working/school week involves a fair bit of running around as well, plus it's tedious and hard work, so I think you'd feel better if you didn't think of mum as someone who is lording it up while you run yourselves ragged (prancing around with OH? That's not your business)
BM does all the running around through the week too though, school runs and friends houses etc, and she is taking her to classes too so its not like her and her OH are 'prancing about', I have DC's and my whole life is filled with clubs and school runs and parties and sleepovers, its part of having children and I think you need to change your view of this tbh.
Your OHs only option is to get a formal agreement through the courts if BM isn't willing to change anything, but this would undoubtably mean less time with his DD though which would be a shame.
Have to say, you having her every weekend is very unfair and not surprised it's starting to grate on mum.
Annoying for you and er...biodad to have your time inpinged upon like this, but it there was a fairer arrangement, you might find she backs off a bit.
ahh, sorry x posted, but it still makes sense.
if you stopped calling this child's mother 'BM' and stopped the sneering tone, you might get more answers.
could dsd not leave her ballet kit at yours if you have her every weekend surely it makes sence for you to wash, iron and keep ballet kit? also could she have another teddy for sleeping with? a special one that looks after her bed while she is away? negates teh need for mum to turn up with teddy?
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