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AIBU to worry that three weeks away from me will be too much for my DD when she is seven?

(23 Posts)
gingercat2 Sat 08-Feb-14 13:15:54

Previously posted on Divorce/Separation, but also posting here for more traffic.

ExP and I have been separated for three years, since DD was three.

In case it is considered relevant (and I'm genuinely unsure if it is or not), ExP is also female - ie we were a two-mum family. I am DD's biological mum.

I was the main carer during our relationship. Since separating, we have had varying access arrangements ranging from ExP having very little, to having 50%. She has always been keen to remain in DD's life.

DD has only ever been away from me with ExP for a week at a time when she was 4. She coped but did miss me, according to ExP. Usually she is only away from me for between one and three nights at a time. She has never shown any emotional distress about being away from ExP for longer periods of time - but is always happy to be with her, as far as I can tell.

ExP wants to change arrangements so that over the summer school holidays, DD who will be seven by then will spend three weeks in a block with each of us in turn.

My question is, will my DD be OK emotionally, or should I negotiate a shorter time block away from me eg one to two weeks?

I've tried to remember back to when I was seven. I think I would have hated to be left with my father for three weeks (or even less) - but I think I would have been just fine if left with my grandparents. So that line of thinking hasn't really helped me, except that I've always thought of ExP as having more like a grandparent relationship with DD than a mother relationship.

FlipFlippingFlippers Sat 08-Feb-14 13:19:13

Can you ask your dd how she feels? Or try 2 weeks this year and see how that goes first. The jump from 1 to 3 is quite high at that age.

iwantavuvezela Sat 08-Feb-14 13:20:32

My DD at 6 spent 3 weeks away. I seemed to find it harder in the beginning, she was a bit tearful at times when we spoke, but overall she had a wonderful time. Perhaps different is that my DH took her to see family abroad, I couldn't go and we are not separated. Overall she had a great time, and she certainly became closer to her dad with spending so much time with him.
Could you agree in theory to it, but ask to assess every week that she is away how your dd is, and if needed, let her come home?

musicposy Sat 08-Feb-14 13:22:18

I don't think the gender of exP makes a difference. I think 3 weeks is rather long but can you just talk to DD and see what she thinks? I think personally I'd do shorter blocks but on the other hand it does give you both time to have a really long block of time with your DD.
I don't think there's a right or wrong on this (sorry) and only you know your DD so I would be guided by her. If you do do 3 weeks, can you implement something where it is reviewed with your DD after a week or so and she comes home if unhappy?

helenthemadex Sat 08-Feb-14 13:25:35

similar situation to you op, my dd spend half of all the holidays with exh in the summer they spend 4 weeks with him it has been that way since they were 5 and 4, its normal to them now and although I am sure they miss me they are ok

MissWimpyDimple Sat 08-Feb-14 13:33:47

It would be too much for my DD who is also 7. She misses me a lot when she is away from me, and the longest she has been away is a week which she struggled with and I noticed a shift in her behaviour and clingy ness when she got back.

For what it's worth, I've also always thought that DD has more of a "favourite uncle" relationship with her dad, specially as he never lived with her and therefore missed out (in my opinion) on the critical bonding - the hours of night feeds, cuddles with poorly babies etc etc.

Could you suggest more of a week on week off type of scenario?

uselessinformation Sat 08-Feb-14 15:23:57

Ds has done this since he was three with no problem. I've never made a fuss and just say have a great time. I don't fuss about phone calls.

ImperialBlether Sat 08-Feb-14 15:28:48

Three weeks would've been too much for my children, by about two weeks.

I think it depends how much she's in your daughter's life. Does she see her a few times a week?

Why does she want to change now?

How is the birth registered when there are two women involved, one who's the biological mother? Can the other partner adopt the child?

WilsonFrickett Sat 08-Feb-14 15:31:58

Does it have to be three weeks in one block? I think it would be kinder for DD to have, say, 2 blocks of 10 days for the first couple of years?

SooticaTheWitchesCat Sat 08-Feb-14 15:32:19

It depends on your DD. I know my girls wouldn't want to be away from me that long, they have not even been apart form me for 1 night.

At 7 I wouldn't have wanted to be away from my mum for that long either.

I think you need yo talk to your DD and try to work out how long would be enough.

gingercat2 Sat 08-Feb-14 19:06:35

Thanks for the responses everyone, it's very helpful. It's so hard to find out from DD how she really feels without "prompting" her for what I want to hear.

paxtecum Sat 08-Feb-14 19:10:50

I'm not sure that a 7 year old would know what length of time 3 weeks is.

I don't think they would know if they would be ok or not.

I think it's too long to be away.

tangledzebra Sat 08-Feb-14 19:22:38

We split the sunmer holiday but do one week on, one week off so that we both get the same time. My daughter will be 6 this summer always cries about going to see her dad but when she is there she is fine. I try to be positive about it otherwise they can pick up on your emotions. I phone quite frequently and we also skype as she 'wants to see me'.

I don't think it would be fair to ask her out right as you could be putting her in an awkward position and it is important for her other parent to have the opportunity to build a relati

tangledzebra Sat 08-Feb-14 19:24:16

Sorry posted too soon! ...relationship with your dd.

It is tough but it does get easier and I do try to remember that I don't have the exclusive on my dd we are both her parents.

tangledzebra Sat 08-Feb-14 19:27:15

If it helps we have been split since she was a few months old but last year was the first time we split holidays. I am the main carer and her dad sees her EOW

clam Sat 08-Feb-14 19:30:25

How far away would you be, geographically? I mean, could you still have access, in the same way that your exP does when dd is with you?

I wouldn't fancy a period of 3 weeks away from my child, at that or any age. From her point of view, I don't know whether it would be an issue either - just that if any random thing happened to upset her (which could happen at any point within the 3 weeks) she might want you for comfort. But your ex might also be able to provide that comfort too.

PorkPieandPickle Sat 08-Feb-14 19:30:51

How far away is exP? Would dd be able to come back early if it wasn't working out?

HadABadDay2014 Sat 08-Feb-14 19:34:31

How about 2 weeks at the start and then 2 weeks with you then 1 week with ex then 1 week home before school starts.

I think 3 weeks is way to long

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 08-Feb-14 19:35:18

YANBU. My younger sister was 6 when my parents divorced (I am 3 yrs older). I remember her being quite tearful and missing our mum when we went on a 2 week holiday with our dad. We only used to spend 3 hours on a Sunday with him, so it was quite a jump!

Clouddancer Sat 08-Feb-14 19:38:36

It is too long. My DSD used to come for 2- 3 weeks at a time, and she found it difficult. I would suggest building it up. 3 nights to three weeks could be done by adding a few days each holiday over the year. I think it would be better to have a plan for achieving it than to say no outright, because on paper it seems fair.

ChubbyFeets Sat 08-Feb-14 19:52:19

I think it depends on what kind of child your dd is. My dd went and stayed with my sister (who she hadn't seen since aged 3 years) in another country for 3 weeks when she was 4. She was fine and didn't miss me at all. She was kept busy with outings and we kept in touch over Skype every day but she never stayed infront of the camera for more than a few mins. She was having too much fun.

I know that's a completely different situation but once a year for 3 weeks over the summer holidays doesn't sound too bad for a 7 year old to me.

LaCerbiatta Sat 08-Feb-14 20:01:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ikeaismylocal Sat 08-Feb-14 20:47:11

Is there a reason for your ex wanting 3 weeks at the same time? Is she planning a long holiday?

I would have thought that ideally your dd shouldn't be away from either of you for more that a week or 2.

As a one off is your ex wanted to take her away on an extended holiday I'd say it's probably fine, but if it's easy to travel between the 2 of yiu I would think a more regularly change over would be preferable.

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