Making Arrangements In The Other Parents Contact Time

(276 Posts)
SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 09:46:17

Hi everyone, I have another thread too but have some other issues that I'd like to pose to mumsnetters. Everyone gave very honest advice (even if it was a little harsh at times) on my other thread (which I will update as soon as we have an update) and I (and my DP) would very much appreciate some honest opinions here too, and ideas of what to do etc.

My DSD (3) is starting a new preschool in January. She has been on the waiting list for over a year and was finally offered a place in October. It's so much better in every way than her current one, which has just had a "satisfactory" Ofsted report, and this one is "outstanding" - not that Ofsted reports are everything but it just adds to the list of reasons why the new one is better. It's bigger, more activities, better facilities, nicer location etc.

DSD's mum doesn't want her to change preschool but decided to leave it until 2 weeks ago to email DP to tell him. She likes the old one and wants her to stay there. We now have a very awkward situation as she is already enrolled in the new one and deposit is paid. For those of you who have not read my other thread, DSD's mum has only been having her and my other DSD on a 50/50 basis for the last 6/7 months. Before that, she was only seeing them about 1 night per week for around 2 years. During this time things like pre schools and schools were considered, visited, chosen and applied for - she wasn't interested in what choices were made, didn't want to visit any etc, so my DP and I did this, until 6 mths ago she had never been to see DSD's preschool. There is no residency order in place, no court involvement so far, which sort of makes things harder as when DSD's parents can't agree I guess it's a bit of a stalemate!

She hasn't actually given any particular reason for wanting to stop the move just "I like the current one". DP has asked her to visit the new one so she can see how great it is, she won't, she also doesn't want the prospectus we picked up for her, she just will not discuss it. DSD knows she is going to the new pre school after Xmas, she has been and visited with us a couple of times already too.

So my 1st question is What do we do? Cancel the new better preschool because her mum doesn't want her going there, even though she has been waiting for a space for so long, knows that's where she is going and we have paid deposit and we believe it's much better (hence the long waiting list).

My 2nd question is a little bit last minute. Next week, during the DSD's time with their mother, the new pre school is having their "induction" session for all new January starters. The children meet the staff and key workers and all the other new starters, parents have coffee and introduce themselves etc. This is only done once and unfortunately falls on a day when DSD's are with their mum. DP has written to her about 5 weeks ago and explained this all and proposed we take DSD to it (it's only 2 hrs). DSD's mum is at work that particular day, so DSD will be at pre school all day that day anyway so we would pick her up, take her for two hours and drop her back to preschool. DSD's mum has said no, DP cannot take her out of preschool for 2 hours as it is her week with the children.

Now as there is no court order in place DP knows he can very easily just go and get DSD and take her and return her but he is torn as to what to do. He has never once planned something during their time with their mum or asked to take them to anything during that time- and as she is working it doesn't make a difference to her anyway as DSD will be at pre school. He has asked their mum if she could get the time off work to take her instead of us, or we all go together, but she has ignored this possible idea. So what do you guys think? It is for DSD's pre school education but it's certainly not compulsory, it would just be very nice for her and I would think helpful for DSD to go. DP doesn't want to cause problems or act unreasonably during their mums contact time, but equally we know she is saying no because she doesn't want her to start at the new preschool at all (she may have other reasons but she hasn't mentioned any).

All advice greatly received, some of you have so much experience as step parents and of step family situations perhaps someone has been in a similar situation? Part of me just wants to say to DP, forget it, let her mum make the decisions just to keep the peace.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 17:33:17

Oh what a coincidence, you want your Dsd 2 to to the preschool attached to you own children's primary. That would be very handy for you. Not so much for their mother, as she lives an hour away and DSD1 goes to a different school. That would be impossible for a full time working mother. She really would be set up to fail then, being late for school would be a certainty.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 17:41:54

Oh what a coincidence, you want your Dsd 2 to to the preschool attached to you own children's primary. That would be very handy for you. Not so much for their mother, as she lives an hour away and DSD1 goes to a different school. That would be impossible for a full time working mother. She really would be set up to fail then, being late for school would be a certainty

Not really a coincidence though it it? My children have always lived in this village and they of course go to the village primary. My DSD2 has lived here with my DP and I for approx 2 years and this has been her permanent home the entire time whilst her mother was only seeing her one night per week. Her preschool is in this village a short walk from our house as she hardly saw her mum when we enrolled her and her mum only ever had her at the weekend for the one night a week so we enrolled her in preschool near her home, of course we would! The new preschool is just around the corner from the current one and is the feeder pre-school to the school where she is likely to be offered a place. It makes no difference logistically to the current situation. Pre school starts well after primary school so their mum drops eldest DSD at school then drives to pre-school to drop youngest DSD, as do DP or I when the DSD's are with us! It's not any more or less "handy" for anyone! Their mum is constantly late for school anyway and the DSD1's school is no further from her than it is us! Nobody is setting her up to fail at all!

I knew that's why you were asking though! There is nothing untoward about it all, this is DSD's home hence why her pre school is here and why she is likely to be offered a primary school here and we would have to appeal to get her into the same one as DSD1.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:08:18

It makes sense logistically to you, of course. But circumstances have changed now and her mother had been encouraged, by your DO, to have 50:50 apparently. How is she supposed to do this when DSD2 is at school an hour away from her house?

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:10:40

And what do you mean "this is DSD's home". That's simply not the case in a 50:50 situation.

Non of this is making any sense. Your DP pushed 50:50 but equally you insist your home is Dsd's home, not her mothers

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 18:20:03

Why all of a sudden did your dp push for every other week?

DollyTwat Wed 05-Dec-12 18:34:21

Op this all sounds very familiar

Did you used to live in the marital home whilst the ex had to move out?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:34:53

He encouraged her to have more contact with them than every other night. She appeared to be more reliable than she had before, she had sorted out a suitable home (new house to live in with her new partner) and she said she'd like them more. That started, however we had handovers every few days and it was difficult, she became quite shouty and abusive at some handover, some of which were at our house and it upset the DSD's and my Dc too. So DP decided it was best to minimise handovers and so we sort of came to the week-at-a-time solution, which she asked for and DP agreed to as long as they both agreed it was trial period only to see how it was affecting the DSD's. DP regrets agreeing to week-at-a-time and wishes he has been firm about a gradual build up to it, as to be honest it must be hard to go from seeing your kids one night a week to having them 50% of the time and it's hard for them too.

This is DD's home. I know she now has a new home with her mum, which has been her second home for 6 mths but both DSd's still cal our house home and mums house "mums house" over time I'm sure that will change, it's all so new too them still.

So what do you suggest then allnewtaketwo? DSD1 is at school about a 30 min drive from her mums house. Not much we can do about that, unless she changes school, which I think would be very very difficult for her and the school really is a lovely one. DSD2 is at preschool near our house and is unlikely to get into DSD1's school unless we appeal (which we will if we can) and will likely be offered a school place here. Any ideas?

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:36:00

No Dollytwat, they were never married. DP left the family home and he and I got a new home together in the village I have always lived in. DP's EX also moved out and now lives somewhere else with her new partner.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:36:46

Sorry my post at 18:34 should say "more contact than one night every week" not "more than every other night" oooops!

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:40:22

My primary idea would be for to get your story straight. Previously you've said you and your DP were encouraging the mother to have more time, 50 50. Now you seem to be reneging on that.

Not only the school situation, but also the alleged 'abuse' by the mother sounds very familiar from previous posts I've read

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Wed 05-Dec-12 18:41:04

OP I think you need to go back through some of the posts being made and really read what's being said. This situation seems to just bounce from once major 'issue' to another, with no real thinking being done beyond the immediate 'crisis' to hand. You have a 3 yr old, currently experiencing a 50/50 split in care between both her parents, and who has been at a preschool your DP decided to enroll her in, when the decision came to pick where she would go. Placing her on a waiting list for another, better, pre-school, when she only had that option when the time came to make that choice, was a pretty futile exercise as the disruption any move would cause your DSD just would not be worth the effect that would have on her. All this stuff about ofsted reports, it being a 'pretty crap pre-school' etc. is not helping this situation. You have a 3yr old who is settled, and has no reason to want to move anywhere. Being 'flighty' over which preschool is best, now, at this stage, when she is so close to going to primary school, and not in anyway being abused or neglected or badly treated in the setting she is in now, just isn't in that little girl's best interests. The decision to move her, is one that I really don't understand as there is no real reason to even consider it unless there is real concern over the level of care being provided by the preschool she currently attends. That desire to 'always want the absolute best' for children is something that can cause utter chaos in a young life, if that's what is more important to the grown ups around her. Children thrive when they are in a loving, supportive, nurturing environment, and if that little girl isn't thriving in a way you expect her to be, then you need to start looking at the life your DP and you are providing her, alongside the life she has with her mother. Pre-school does not have the ability to negate all the negative stuff going on in her life, and if you change preschool now, she's not going to do any better just because of an outstanding ofsted report.

There seems to be a theme coming through your posts, you and your DP seem to get into an almighty panic when you come up with some idea you think is 'best' or 'better' that what currently exists, and are trying everything you can think of/come up with, to make that happen But without really thinking through whether such a 'flighty' attitude to the welfare of 2 children, who have been through enough already in their short lives, is the right way to be. This obsession with how your DP's ex reacts to things you come up with, and how she does not conform to your expected 'social norms' when it comes to the 2 girls stuck in the middle, only serves to fuel the ongoing conflict. Being so focussed on her responses/lack or interest/refusal to discuss anything, means that rather than stop and think 'is this actually a good idea for the girls' you both seem to ramp up the pressure, scouring the interent for ideas on how to get past the obstruction you see his ex as. You both need to just stop the endless rumminating on how to deal with the ex to achieve what you both want, and start looking at how all this conflict and tension is affecting those 2 girls.

Something needs to be done to establish a life for them that is free from conflict, and if your DP isn't capable of taking the steps needed to do that, then it will likely come from an official agency at some point in the future when one or both of those girls start to unravel through the pressure this situation is putting them under.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 18:44:05

See this is were its gone so wrong.it was far to big a jump.its no good sayin its only a trial.its all been ill thought out.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 18:52:59

Allnewtaketwo - We were encouraging her to have more time with them, they are still so little and she would often not even turn up or turn up late. DP wanted her to take responsibility and have proper contact time, her wanted them to be able to see ehr more, she wanted them more, problems with handovers, etc all led to him agreeing to week-at-a-time. She's not "abusing" them, she's just, well, I'm not entirely sure what she is and isn't really.

Yes, Elliesbelly, yes he regrets not insisting it was much more gradual or getting some sort of professional help / intervention / court involvement to have in laid out in stone. sad Hindsight is wonderful.

allnewtaketwo Wed 05-Dec-12 18:56:17

I was referring to her alleged verbal abuse of your DP on the doorstep, which sounded very familiar.

Lookingatclouds Wed 05-Dec-12 19:00:18

I just don't get why you would agree to 50:50 care, or push for more contact with someone who couldn't prove themselves to be reliable on the little contact she was having, and with someone who allegedly wasn't showing any interest in things like education.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 19:07:01

Its no good blamin mum,all 3 of you have caused this situation,nd not one of you are really doin anythin bout it.what hop is there for these 2 girls.its just goin to get worse.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 05-Dec-12 19:15:15

snow why does your DP regret not getting professional support and help - its something he can still do!

Yet again, my last few posts seem to have been in invisible font as you've been very quick to address/defend yourself and your DP from challenges by other posters, but you don't seem willing to express an opinionated response about the advice I've given.

Is it unwelcome? If you'd prefer me not to post, then I'll hide your threads if my suggestions upset you.

sanityseeker75 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:52:54

How long has 50/50 accees been a trial? I'm sure I read on another thread that it has been in place for 7 months now? Am I wrong?

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 20:02:04

I totally agree with bunchamunch the move is not in the best interest of DSD and I really don't think that you're acknowledging how much stress moving her for 2 terms is going to cause her, this has got more to do with you wanting to prove to yourselves and probably others that you're giving her the best and you haven't stopped to think about what actually is best for her. She will survive another 2 terms there, she will be fine, she'll settle in to her new school just as well. SHE DOES NOT NEED TO BE MOVED!
I've posted twice saying this and other people are saying the same but you just ignore those comments, it seems that you're more bothered about all the irrelevant stuff 'she's done this.../he said that etc'. I get the impression this is more about winning the fight with her mum than it is actually about doing what is best for the girls.
I don't think that a 50:50 split can really work when you live so far away from each other and DP and his ex are unable to make joint decisions, I think one person has to be the main carer who gets the final say over things like this or else you're going to come up against problems like this all the time for many years to come.

PoppyPrincess Wed 05-Dec-12 20:04:54

And am I not correct in thinking that ofsted reports are only done every 4 years unless they are under performing? Also a report can depend on who's doing it, whether they've got pmt that day etc

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:08:10

Notadisney.. No please don't be offended, I really do appreciate your posts, they just contain so much advice, useful, really useful ideas and suggestions that I will have to sit and read them properly and think about them and think about my replies when everyone is in bed and I have some time to think. Other posters posing small quick questions are easy to reply to whilst sorting dinner and the children!

He is going to have to get something sorted, he knows that even if he is hesitant about apply to court for residency but I will support him to do so. I know they are not my girls but I have lived with them for over 2 years as a family now and most of that time their mother has hardly been in their lives at all, I've lived with them since they were babies, so really I do care for them and want what is best for them.

Writing it all down is actually making me see just how silly this has all become, we are hopping from one issue to another and it's impossible to make joint parenting decisions with someone who will not communicate and who doesn't really want to make any decisions but wants to complain about them.

Allnewtaketwo...Are you confusing me with another poster? I'm sure lots of people have experienced or given abuse from/to their ex or their DP's ex and moaned about it on here!

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:11:29

PoppyPrincess. The Ofsted report isn't the be all and end all for us, not at all, it was just one of many points. The "current" report that has been done before DSD started was "good" the latest one was "satisfactory".

Sanityseeker, yes 6-7 months, over the summer July/Aug we (I) had them a bit more often when their mum worked but it's been generally week-at-a-time 50/50. Since the eldest went back to school in Sept it's been evident there are some issues with the week-at-a-time, especially the lack of communication from their mum, amongst other things.

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:15:59

You're right Poppy.. DSD2 doesn't need to be moved, but plenty of people move their children's school or pre-school when they are unhappy with the current one and have the option of a much better one. DD2 is very confident, outgoing and bright, she shows no signs of distress, anxiety or anything, she has been to visit this new pre-school a few times and the staff even said to me how sociable she is and how it's hard to tell who the new child is! I know she will have no problems settling there. She may not be my own child but my partner and I have raised her form a baby and I know her as if she were my own child and she will do fabulously there, and it will be much better for her than her current one. However, it will be up to Dp to make the actual decision of course, I will show him all your advice later.

elliebellys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:23:26

From your post,it seems to me your the driving force in this not your dp,nd that you want him to agree with you..

SnowWhiteWinter Wed 05-Dec-12 20:27:03

Elliesbellys - I think that's unavoidable as it's me writing here, me giving my opinions and only stating his opinions second hand. He makes the decision, but we are a family, I have helped him raise his 2 girls (as they mum has been all but absent, especially with decisions or the big stuff) since they were little, so he values my opinions and we make decisions that affect our family (his girls and my DC) together. To be honest we both generally agree on the big stuff, we are quite similar in our parenting styles.

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