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to be pissed off with ex and his pregnant missus?

(233 Posts)
urtwistingmymelonman Thu 18-Jul-13 07:06:15

so ex and I have an eight year old son together who he sees every weekend.
they are expecting a baby together and so are my oh and I(bit Jeremy kyle I know!).
its ds's birthday in a couple of weeks and it will be falling on a weekend when his dad has him.
I presumed his dad would be happy about this and would be doing something with him as he has whinged for the last six years about how he never has him on his birthday and never gets to take him out for birthday either.
considering I have arranged and payed for trips to theme parks,animal parks,parties etc for his birthdays for the past six years I don't think this is a unfair expectation.
I have also arranged to take him and a couple of school friends out to the cinema and pizza hut the Friday before his birthday as my b'day treat to him.
however,son comes home last weekend and says that dad wont be doing anything for him on his birthday as pregnant missus doesn't really want to be on her feet much and cant go on rides etc.
im royally pissed off about this as I feel that that's her rigfht but why cant they go out without her?
it seems that since she has been pregnant ive had to pull ex up on a lot of things regarding my son being affected by her needy mood swings.
imten years older than her,on my second pregnancy and just getting on with things as normal.
very worried that ds will start to feel pushed out by them and new baby and also as a result may start to feel that it will be the same with my bubba too which it most definitely wont!

mathanxiety Sat 27-Jul-13 06:17:35

Sorry, links again
The Guide for Separated Parents: Putting Children First by Karen and Nick Woodall

Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids by Christina McGhee.

mathanxiety Sat 27-Jul-13 06:12:40

This is stated as Melon's guiding principle for divorced parents.
two parents who are separated should parent in the same way. its called consistency. if you don't have consistency in a childs life it just confuses them.

She doesn't indicate whether the parents ever sit down and decide between themselves how they will parent the child. Instead there is every indication from her other posts that she thinks she can listen to tales from the other household and make the people there perform what she considers appropriate parenting behaviour. She claims things are not like that and that she and her ex get along reasonably but her basic pronouncements on this thread bespeak an expectation that her way is the way things will be done, that her suspicions must be correct, and that people should dance to her tune.

She expects her ex to pander to her fears of the DS being pushed aside by a woman she feels isn't handling pregnancy properly vis a vis the needs of her DS.
goodness why does son have to be stuck in doors on his birthday pampering to a pregnant woman. i wouldn't expect it of him so why should she?
Parents must sing from the same sheet no matter how little consultation there has been about the approach she expects the other parent to take, and another woman must do pregnancy and mothering of her DS the way Melon does.

These are basic attitudes of Melon's. Arising from those attitudes came the anger that inspired the OP, from which she calmed down, thankfully. I think her life would be less fraught if she examined her basic attitudes and accepted the reality that her DS is not going to be treated just as she wants him to be treated when he is not with her. (Abuse and neglect aside of course -- one pot noodle all day is horrible). This kind of issue is going to surface more often as the new families all expand.

There are books on separated families that might be helpful.
'Putting Children First...' by Karen Woodall and Nick Woodall[[ 'Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents can Raise Happy ans Secure Kids' by Christina McGhee

Tuckshop Fri 26-Jul-13 09:17:31

I think she's dealt with it perfectly. I would see your way as much more abrasive. She hasn't dictated that he should do anything, and seeing as he wants to bung her £20 for her to do something rather than do anything himself I'd say he just wants to opt out and is happy to do so. I think you are seeing things in this that just aren't there.

mathanxiety Fri 26-Jul-13 00:07:18

I am not making Melon out to be 'the bad guy'. It's possible for two people to behave badly at the same time, each in their individual way. It's possible to lose track of what is reasonable where your child is concerned and expect that your child will have not just one nice birthday treat but two, provided by separate parents. It's possible to get carried away by your current concerns and decide to follow the path of least resistance.

I have acknowledged that her ex has serious defects. I am suggesting to her that she can deal with this in a better way than the way she is dealing with it, and pointing out that bad and all though he is, he has a right to do whatever he likes with the DS on his birthday short of abuse or neglect, that she has no right to try to dictate what the ex does, and that this would be rightly resented just as interference by the ex with her plans would be rejected.

mathanxiety Thu 25-Jul-13 23:58:15

She used the phrase 'at last' in reference to his years of carping about not having the DS on his birthday. She basically put it up to him that he might have some sort of big plan -- while all the time she suspected that he didn't because the DS had told her what was afoot. A neutral way to ask the question would have been, 'Are you making any plans for DS's birthday?' but she said, 'well you have ds on birthday at last.doing anything nice?'

So yes, that is game playing, and by definition it is not behaviour or a communication style that puts the child first. It is a way of carrying on an old fight. The conflict has morphed into one where the child's birthday celebration is the occasion for the fight, but it's probably not the cause.

Tuckshop Thu 25-Jul-13 10:21:04

She asked him what his plans were casually. That sounds to me like the sort of small talk you'd make with someone at the school gate. Nothing else.

And she didn't know the answer already. She was checking out that her ds wasn't misunderstanding things. IMO she was giving her ex opportunity to prove her wrong about what she suspected and actually finding out the facts direct from the horses mouth.

I don't get why you seem to be wanting to make melon out to be the bad guy.

LittleBearPad Thu 25-Jul-13 08:15:09

Math. You are over thinking this A LOT.

mathanxiety Thu 25-Jul-13 04:17:39

No matter what sort of low life your ex is you don't have to stoop to the same level as him in order to communicate.

You do not normally get anywhere with people by game playing, which is what that was. It's too easy when you do that to be dismissed as a bitter, snide nag who likes point scoring more than honest discussion of things that come up.

It's always a better choice to be principled and to use direct and businesslike speech.

mathanxiety Thu 25-Jul-13 04:11:55

I think you are still fighting Melon.
You asked 'casually', though you knew from DS what the answer would be:
'well you have ds on birthday at last.doing anything nice?'
How was that supposed to advance the business of peaceful co-parenting?

PrettyPaperweight Wed 24-Jul-13 08:14:44

An 8 year olds birthday should involve more than sitting in front of the wii all day, especially as this is what he does on his other contact days. Is it too much to ask for a parent to come up with something a bit more special

Perfect parenting still rife I see!

Spend a week with the DCs and families I meet every day and then, perhaps, your expectations of parents (separated or otherwise) may change.

I remember once spending a day discussing 'child protection' and the facilitator warning us not to apply our own values to other families parenting choices. She used the example of a newly qualified professional that she was responsible for who wrote up a report because the DCs she'd visited didn't have free access to a fruit bowl in their home.
Failing to Celebrate a birthday by 'doing something special' isn't child abuse or neglect. When parents separate, they lose any influence they had on the way in which the other parent raises their child unless there is abuse or neglect.
Yes, it's frustrating when your DC is disappointed by their other parents behaviour, or has seen/done/heard something you didn't want them to. But that's the reality of separated parenting.

I guess it's easier for me; I have to stand by and watch my DSC being screwed up by their parents without being able to do a thing about it - in comparison, the way my ex parents my DD doesn't seem quite so bad!

urtwistingmymelonman Wed 24-Jul-13 07:27:37

im not still fighting though am I math.
you are.
ive let it go.
this has become the 'math and how her style of parenting is far superior to anyone elses' thread.
im just finding it a bit amusing now.
pass me the popcorn someone?

mathanxiety Wed 24-Jul-13 07:22:16

I think you are getting a little snippy there Melons but heyho.

I am in a similar situation to you except I have more children to juggle and possibly less money to lavish.

It's not smug to advise someone who is trying to co-parent to do unto others what you would like done to yourself. If you wouldn't like your ex putting an oar in about your choices wrt the DS's b-day then don't do it to him.

Otherwise you need to ask yourself if it's really about the child or if you are still fighting about whatever it was that split you up.

There are other ways of fighting besides trying to make someone put on more of a celebration than they are willing to for whatever reason. Maybe the ex knows about the expense that has been spent on the trips etc. that have been provided up to now and wonders if you are doing all this to show him up? How would you feel if your ex was the one who did what you have been doing and you couldn't afford to or suffered ill health and couldn't be out for a day?

In general:

Fighting about a DC's birthday or other child-related matter should never reach that child's ears.
Planting expectations or other suggestions about the absent parent is not on no matter how horrible he is.
The other parent will always be your child's parent and your child will always carry half his DNA no matter how deficient he is.
Don't compensate with material things.

urtwistingmymelonman Wed 24-Jul-13 07:15:42

what an amazing expert on everything you are.

mathanxiety Wed 24-Jul-13 07:11:46

The DS will shortly have two siblings and will need to adjust his expectations of parental attention. He doesn't have four siblings yet. But he might end up with a good few more. What happens if next year one of his siblings is ill on his birthday?

Life happens and not all of it is going to scar a child. Most people with siblings have learned at some point that they can only have what is realistic. Most children of divorced parents get an inkling at some point why exactly mum couldn't live with dad any more.

urtwistingmymelonman Wed 24-Jul-13 07:09:10

isn't you and your family and how you live your life wonderful math?
we are not you fortunately.
I can honestly say ive never met someone so preachy and pleased with themselves.
talk about dog with a bone.

mathanxiety Wed 24-Jul-13 07:05:26

Deleted these paragraphs by accident:

When they have a birthday on a visitation weekend they get dinner and cake provided by exH. I am invited to dinner at exH's for the birthday celebration and he is invited to my place for the celebration if I have them for a weekend birthday. Most birthdays fall midweek. exH gets invited to come to dinner and cake. If a party is planned both parents are involved in the planning and both come to it. ExH and I have planned two parties each for each DC.

When they were all small I was pregnant or dealing with an ever growing number of small children when the birthdays of the first four fell. The first four were all born within four weeks of each other calendar-wise, over a span of 8 years, 1990 to 1998. I was 37 to 41 weeks pg three years and had babies or toddlers to deal with the rest of the time. When DD2 turned 3 I had a week old baby. DD1 put up with 8 birthdays when it really stretched me to make her special dinner and whatever cake took her fancy. When I was pregnant the last time and due in August I had gestational diabetes and anemia and wasn't up to much even though I wasn't about to pop for anyone's birthday that year.

They all love their birthday celebrations and have also loved and appreciated the two parties each they have had with schoolfriends. It is not all about the amount you spend on a birthday or how long you get to spend with the child on their day. Family togetherness and having a little peace of mind that your parents are not fighting over it go a long way to making a birthday truly about the child.

urtwistingmymelonman Wed 24-Jul-13 07:00:43

math you really are grasping at straws now.
just let it go.
I have.

LittleBearPad Wed 24-Jul-13 06:50:29

I'm sorry but this 8 year old doesn't have siblings (yet) or any exams either. Birthday treats don't have to cost much either; it doesn't have to involve a theme park. The XH is being shit.

mathanxiety Wed 24-Jul-13 06:43:17

I'm not apologising.

The DS is having a birthday celebration and is getting a gift of a wii game.

I have 5 DCs, four of whose birthdays fall within a four week period right at the end of school They have spent most of their birthdays in school. As they got older they often spent their birthdays either doing an exam or studying for an exam coming up the next day. The one whose birthday falls in summer has always got exactly the same kind of birthday treat everyone else has had - dinner of choice plus cake of choice afterwards. They have each received a gift from parents and from godparents and grandparents, when they were alive. Having five of them makes you focus on keeping it real, expense wise. Having a job means nobody gets to do much that is special on a birthday even if it falls in summer.

I have an ex who has provided exactly one pack of cards for the DCs to amuse themselves with when they visit. There is a tv and a dvd player but he uses those too. I provide the dvds and pack books and used to pack markers and drawing paper. I also pack clothes because exH doesn't keep any at his place because I can't afford to buy two sets and if it was up to ex he would trawl through dumpsters for castoffs for them. At one point I was doing this every second friday for four DCs.

Nothing exH does or doesn't do is anywhere close to abuse and though it pains me to see the DCs head off with long faces and come home hopping off the walls from drinking coke all weekend off they have to go every second friday, and it is up to exH to either speak to them or spend his two days with them on his computer or patting his dog or out running. All I can do is hope he come to his senses now that there are three DCs no longer in touch with him or visiting voluntarily, having outgrown visitation. If he doesn't, then he stands to lose the other two once they are old enough not to go. The DCs lose out on having a father who actually spends time with them and expresses an interest in their lives. But ultimately he is the loser because they do not want to share all of that with him. They have me at home and it evens out.

I suspect the DS here will decide to cut his dad out of his life if it becomes clear to him that he is a nuisance or that his dad is not willing to spend time with him. Up to then all Melons can do is hope things will change for the better and stand back. Bad and all as the dad sounds he is not abusing the DS here -- having a horrible, lazy personality isn't a crime. And he does have expenses coming up. Too bad he seems to be unable to pay attention to the big picture and understand all of his responsibilities, not just the most obvious, but for Melons the big picture has to mean letting that relationship develop however it is fated to develop and to offer a shoulder to cry on. Planting ideas will come back to bite her in the bum. She needs to play the long game here and not try to score points.

'well you have ds on birthday at last.doing anything nice?'
This is a tone calculated to put someone in the defensive and limit constructive communication about the matter at hand. It's a cheap shot.

Compensating for the deficiencies of the dad with material things or big days out is not a good idea either. I hope Melons is on her guard against that.

SpiderCharlotte Wed 24-Jul-13 06:39:37

If my ex makes promises to our DCs I don't expect him to let them down. Nothing to do with interfering/bitterness or whatever else people like to make up, its about not making promises you are unwilling to fulfill.

LittleBearPad Wed 24-Jul-13 06:15:59

Come on Math why are you apologising for the Dad. He's being crap. An 8 year olds birthday should involve more than sitting in front of the wii all day, especially as this is what he does on his other contact days. Is it too much to ask for a parent to come up with something a bit more special. Your expectations seem pretty low.

mathanxiety Wed 24-Jul-13 06:04:00

Looking at it another way -- the DS is having a birthday celebration and is also getting a wii game. Has he said he wants more? Or are you assuming he wants more? Does he not like the wii? Has he said he wants to spend the whole day with his dad and not play the wii game?

You have definite feelings about the ex but unless your DS has said he is disappointed then I don't think you can assume he shares your disappointment.

there really isn't much I can do about the situation except be the best mum to my boy that I can and let him know that he will never be pushed out by me.
Hopefully you will not plant the seed in your DS's head that he is being pushed out by his dad and the stepmum.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 23-Jul-13 08:33:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tuckshop Tue 23-Jul-13 07:40:50

So he's not even fussed about doing anything with him on his birthday. You poor ds. It's hard to sit back and watch that happen isn't it? Both my girls have been pushed out by their Dads new gf, and him as he is allowing it, and to watch them hurt and cry over it is unbearable.

He's lucky to have you - hope he has a brilliant birthday.

urtwistingmymelonman Mon 22-Jul-13 15:54:27

thanks for the support and advice ladies.Flowers

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