When will things change?

(13 Posts)
Xalla Sat 10-Aug-13 06:07:34

I agree you shouldn't really be involved yet OP. If baby's not being breastfed I do think personally that your boyf should be allowed to have his baby alone for a few hours at a time and that he should be able to do that fairly regularly - like 2 / 3 times a week really - but a court may not agree and what Sweetpea says about your boyf not wasting his money on an expensive lawyer is 100% right.

However, I think mediation is worth a go. However harsh this sounds, I think Mum probably does need it pointing out to her that a child has a right to a relationship with both of its parents and that it is the responsibility of BOTH parents to ensure that happens. I agree it's unreasonable of your boyf to expect her to change plans that have been made - routine is important for everyone especially tiny babies! I don't agree that it's reasonable of her to expect him to do all the travelling; imo your boyf should be picking the baby up from Mum at the beginning of contact and his ex should be picking the baby from him at the end of contact.

I think if I were him, I'd write to her, explaining that in order to build a good relationship with his child he'd like to start looking after her alone (and by alone I mean, without you present I'm afraid) for a few hours at a time a few times a week. He should make it clear that eventually he'd like that to become full days and eventually overnights. Personally I think that because so much of the care of small children happens at night, both parents should be sharing that care as early as possible but I realise many wouldn't agree with that sentiment.

My DH was in a similar position several years ago - he had a child with someone he wasn't in a relationship with (and yes, in the words of Jeremy Kyle, he should have wrapped it up wink). I met him when the baby was a few months old and he was having very similar problems to the ones your boyf is; was only allowed to see his daughter with Mum present and she would spend the entire time he was there screaming at him and telling him what a crap Dad he was. I think basically because she wanted to be in a relationship with him. I didn't have anything to do with my DSD at all for the first couple of years; it wouldn't have been appropriate and just the knowledge of our relationship was antagonising Mum and making life much harder for my DH and his child.

We got married when my step-daughter was 2 and regular overnight contact didn't start until after that.

Fast forward to now; my step-daughter is 7 and DH has 50/50 contact with her. There are still a lot of problems with Mum and I think there always will be but he's got a good level of contact with his daughter and he's fully involved in all aspects of her life which is what he wanted. I have a decent relationship with my DSD and a civil one with her Mum - which is as much as I want.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 09-Aug-13 22:14:24

Not all mums are like that though - I felt nothing but relief when I dropped my DD off at nursery when she was 16 weeks old when I went back to work - two months later, her Dad took her to stay with his parents for the werkend while I stayed at home!

mrsravelstein Fri 09-Aug-13 17:57:32

there's no way i'd have handed over any of my dc as a 9 month old baby to anyone for more than a few hours

lunar1 Fri 09-Aug-13 17:54:13

I think you should back right out of the picture. She has cared for her child form birth with no help, it will be hard trusting someone else in that role. Your boyfriend needs to form a relationship with his child and part of the reason his ex is resisting might be you.

The thought of someone taking my babies and playing happy families makes me feel pretty stabby to be honest.

Let him deal with this alone and if you are still together when he has got through this stage I'm sure the
Mum will feel better about you
Being around.

Not exactly what dreams are made of is it, have a baby alone then hand over to your ex and his
Girlfriend.

sweetpea13 Fri 09-Aug-13 16:45:02

Regarding the fact that she won't change arrangements once they have been made and she will only meet somewhere locally to her - it sounds as though she wants him to prove his love and commitment to their child.

Mumandboys is right, even if she doesn't work it doesn't mean she doesn't have any other commitments or plans. I'm a stay at home mum but I'm far busier than when I worked full time. I'm amazed at how I ever used to fit everything in when I worked. A visit to the dentists or the bank or visiting your gran or paying some bills are all things which you used to be able to do in a spare hour but add a baby in to the equation and they become a military operation and can often seem to take up the majority of the day.

It might not seem like a big deal to you for her to change contact arrangements a few days before but it'll probably throw a big spanner in the works for her because everything is about 10 times harder as she's the one who is caring for a baby on her own 24/7.

I'd try just putting yourself in her shoes for a minute because I've been there and they bloody hurt! Most women dream about the day they have a baby from being a young girl, have you ever for one minute imagined that when you have your first baby you'll be doing it all alone? I doubt it. You imagine that you're going to have a man who loves you by your side, sharing the responsibilities but also sharing in the joyous times. I sometimes would cry when DS would do something for the first time eg first smile/laugh/words etc. I would cry because I wished that there was somebody there to share it with. But there's nobody who cares about those little things the way that a parent does. It sucks. Big time.

She knows the day is going to come when she has to let you and your boyfriend have proper contact and in 'play happy families' she's probably dreading it and putting it off as much as possible.

For me, the day came where I realised that it was best for my DS to have a proper relationship with his Dad and that I needed to just let go and let it happen. She will get to that place eventually but if you push too much she'll just dig her heals in and put her guard up. Show some understanding, respect and support and she's more likely to get there sooner.

mumandboys123 Fri 09-Aug-13 16:14:05

A baby of 9 months is a long, long way from being 'independent'. I am inclined to think your expectations are a bit off - she might not work or in your opinion have nowhere to be but how would you know what activities she is involved in with baby or just how difficult things are balancing getting out and about with routine. And she may well still be up twice in the night. And your expectation is that she meets where it's convenient for you?

It can be difficult to venture far with a baby - possibly some of it is psychological and lack of experience. And harder to do if baby is unsettled or hard to settle or prone to screaming habdab attacks!

Court should be a last resort and probably only if she is blocking access entirely. Baby is still very young - I would be waiting to at least 18 months before pushing for more. In the mean time asking her to go to mediation to come up with a plan of how and when to move things forward would be a good idea. I would stand back for now - I am sure you mean well but it is very hard to stomach your baby playi g happy families with another 'mum' (even if logically a nice wants to be involved step mum is better than one who couldn't care less).

sweetpea13 Fri 09-Aug-13 14:26:57

btw I have a friend who has an 18 month old and she still doesn't leave her with ANYBODY, not even her husband. But baby nearly died when she was born and stopped breathing twice so she's super super paranoid and worries so much.
That is an extreme case but her fears are genuine and she's entitled to have those fears, nobody can say that a mother is wrong to worry about something.
There's no right time to start handing a baby over, if a baby isn't breastfed then really there's no reason why dad/grandparent/aunt/best friend/next door neighbour/stranger you've never met before couldn't look after that baby. But does it mean that it should happen? Or that the Mum is right or wrong to do it? It's a personal decision for that Mum and nobody can tell any Mum what they should or shouldn't do, we all have the right to decide what is best.

I wouldn't bother with court yet, if I'm honest it's a bit of a waste of time, you can spend thousands and thousands on the best solicitor in the land, you can get a court order granting unsupervised access but it's not really worth the paper it's written on, not really. The system is all wrong really but in the UK there's no way of enforcing the court order.
By going to court you're risking pissing Mum off and then she could stop access completely and then there's not much you can do.

Mediation might not be a bad idea but before that I'd try just trying to sit her down and talk like adults, be nice to her.

Does your boyfriend have any contact with any of her family or friends? Maybe she'd take more notice if for example her Mum was helping to make a realise she can trust him?

sweetpea13 Fri 09-Aug-13 14:10:10

I was on my own when I had my DS, I split with his Dad when I was 5 months pregnant then he started a new relationship with someone else almost immediately after but I didn't find out about her until DS was 6 weeks old.
Things were very difficult to begin with, it's hard because you have this tiny little person who you don't want to let out of your sight, your natural instinct as a mother is to protect and look after this precious little baby. I remember when DS was a week or so old his Dad came round to see him and took him out for a walk whilst I had a nap and I remember thinking to myself 'what if a car comes flying round the corner from nowhere and crashes in to them?' but then I immediately realised that I was being daft and his Dad is quite capable of crossing the road. But thats how Mums of babies think (well some, probably not all).
I have a new baby and even though I'm in a long term, steady, trusting relationship with her Dad it was strange to leave our baby with him (or anybody) at first.

Ultimately it comes down to trust. She needs to feel happy that her baby is safe with him, this may take some time.

I think it would be good for him to talk to her sensibly and openly and explain that he loves their baby but long term he doesn't think that the current arrangement is sustainable and that one day, when she is older, and his ex is happy with it, he wants to be able to be a proper Dad to their daughter so they need to start gradually building up to that. I'd stress that he wants to build it gradually over time and at a pace that everybody is happy with.
But the main thing is that when she does give him a little trust that he doesn't abuse it and sticks to his promises every time. That he doesn't lose his temper, spit his dummy out or give her any reason to doubt her trust in him.

Another thing I would say is if she is since she is so untrusting it could be that she is suffering with a bit of PND, I know that when my PND was worse I didn't want to leave baby with anybody, didn't trust people and just wanted complete control of her.

Btw, DS is now 4 and has a great relationship with his Dad, I leave his Dad do what he wants with him, even if there's something I'm not 100% happy with I now have the attitude of 'well what he does with him in his time is up to him, the same way as he has no right to comment on how I chose to parent him during the time that I have'.
I know not all Mum's get to that point, my DP's ex still tries to control everything but that's how she is in all areas of her life.

Petal02 Fri 09-Aug-13 13:59:55

I'm not saying the ex is right here, but I can totally understand her stance. I think routine is important for such small babies?

nancerama Fri 09-Aug-13 13:57:13

9 months is still really tiny. Some mums find it harder to let go, and some babies are harder to let go.

My DH and I are a couple with no relationship issues, but at 9 months DS was still refusing solids and breast feeding constantly so I couldn't have left him if I'd wanted to.

JessQuestion Fri 09-Aug-13 13:56:20

I don't have children, I can understand it being hard with a small baby, it's just that she's now moving and eating and more independent and nothing seems to be changing.

I wasn't involved, it was a short relationship, they split at the start of the pregnancy and she's never seemed to have a problem with me face to face. What sort of age do you think a baby should be allowed to be handed over?
Have you got any suggestions for convincing her before we get money together for court or mediation?

mumandboys123 Fri 09-Aug-13 13:38:55

Do you have children? can you imagine handing your baby to someone you are at odds with to look after?

There is no real right or wrong with babies. The courts would likely order little and often with a build up to overnights by the age of 3 at the latest. Has your partner suggested mediation?

Are the circumstances of their break up making things difficult? Bluntly, were you involved?

JessQuestion Fri 09-Aug-13 12:56:40

I've been with my boyfriend for a year. He has a 9 month old daughter but he still isn't allowed her alone, her mum hasn't stopped access, but is just very controlling. She won't meet up anywhere other than locally to herself though she doesn't work or have any commitments, she refuses to change time or day for seeing her if anything changes after access is arranged no matter how flexible boyfriend is, and she won't even let boyfriend go out of sight with the baby. He's finding it hard, he says it doesn't feel like she's his daughter because he's always being watched and micromanaged.

I have been able to see her three times but now she's saying no to that too.

How can we persuade her to stop being so controlling and realise she's my boyfriends baby too?
He is paying a large maintenance payment each month so court would be a last resort, has anyone else had a similar situation and what helped get a good outcome? Its causing so much stress in our relationship at the moment.

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