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Dad's new life...

(19 Posts)
babybels Sun 05-Mar-17 13:41:36

Hi,
Any advice on this would be great.
Split from ex 3 years ago. Have 3 kids. 3,8 and 11. One has special needs.
I am at stay at home mum. Kind of slipped into it due to managing the special needs child and my ex having erratic hours and travel with work. Now he has them every Wednesday and every other weekend. Nearly every week one or sometimes two kids don't want to go to his and cry about it to such an extent I mostly let them stay with me when this happens. I've tried to address with my ex but he blames me and won't discuss any further.
I actually really need a break and am happy for them to go.
What's happened lately is he has a new girlfriend and is away with her a lot abroad for 3/4 days at a time. On his free weekends usually but I do have to swap dates around to accommodate these trips. Also, he takes holidays with friends quite often and then can't have the kids midweek.
He seems to have embraced the child free lifestyle and has gradually become less and less interested in the kids. During the school holidays he takes days off work to meet his girlfriend/ have holidays/ take a day to relax with her and I'm with the kids all the time and getting increasingly shattered. I have tried to express this to him but no change so far. I can't leave kids with babysitters and have no friends or family who can manage the children for an evening/ weekend or even a few hours.
I need some coping strategies and a strategy for how to manage my ex as I'm getting more and more resentful towards him as I feel like a drudge!
Thanks for reading.

wettunwindee Sun 05-Mar-17 13:58:26

Why do the children not want to go to his place?

I can imagine why, if I were the parent who moved away and the children wouldn't see me, I'd drift away from them too.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 05-Mar-17 14:04:31

Why don't the kids want to go, and are they actually safe when they do go, and do they enjoy it once they are there?
My youngest went through a long stage (years) of not wanting to go, clinging to me, hiding behind the sofa or in the cupboard - but not once did I think he wasn't well looked after or loved by his dad. He probably wasn't quite as happy there as at home because he was and still is very very attached to me, but he wasn't as happy at the childminders or his grandma's etc but he still went there as well.
I once, after a long period of this, told ExH that I wasn't making ds2 go, I wasn't stopping ExH taking him but I just couldn't peel him off and make him go myself. As soon as he was out of the door ds2 put his hand in his dad's and happily trotted off to the car with him.

If I'd have had any concerns about his well being it would have been different, but in my circumstances if I'd have any concerns that he wasn't actually okay when he was there I would have moved heaven and earth not to send him, but knowing that he was okay I wouldn't have let him stay home either.

Dies your Ex resent you letting the kids stay home? I think mine would, quite rightly, have hit the roof at me.

babybels Sun 05-Mar-17 14:08:07

I'm not sure for sure why they don't want to go. I have my suspicions though. We have very different parenting styles and he just wants the kids to get on with it and let him relax. He quite often has hour long baths when they visit him. He's not very responsive to them and has no bedtime routine or structure. I think they find that difficult.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 05-Mar-17 14:09:38

Yeah that ko d of thing would annoy me too.

babybels Sun 05-Mar-17 14:11:35

It's interesting to hear others experiences.
When they don't want to go they become hysterical and cry and hide when he arrives. The only way to make them go in those circumstances would be to pick them up kicking and screaming and carry them to the car. I'm not prepared to do that.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 05-Mar-17 14:26:17

Umm, that's what was happening with my youngest, between maybe 3 to 5 yo. It's horrible, but as I said in my situation I know he was fine when they left.
And if can't be doing that with 11yos.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 05-Mar-17 14:30:43

Another thing we did was ExH started picking up from school, rather than from me a bit later - so it cut out the "having to leave mum/home" thing, could you consider alternate handover arrangements?

Willyoujustbequiet Sun 05-Mar-17 14:34:44

Yanbu. I feel for you OP but at the end of the day you cant make someone be a parent.

My deadbeat was down to once a month and otherwise living the life of riley.

You could go to court to get contact on a more formal footing?

FrogFairy Sun 05-Mar-17 14:37:06

Are his parents nearby?

They might enjoy having say one weekend a month with their grandchildren, the kids would get time with their grandparents and you would get a respite break.

cheeeeselover Sun 05-Mar-17 14:43:00

I think you should encourage /make the children go when it's his weekends then you can have a break.

He is entitled to go on holidays when he doesn't have them. If you can't change weekends then don't, but from what you've said you don't work or have any commitments. Is he still supporting you and the kids financially? It spending that on his holidays?

KC225 Sun 05-Mar-17 15:05:14

Cheeeeselover - bit harsh. I wouldn't call three kids, one with special needs and no family help - no commitments. She is not saying he can't go on holiday. Are you the girlfriend?

babybels Sun 05-Mar-17 15:41:52

Thanks for your advice chasing squirrels and others.
Cheeselover... I'm not bothered by him taking holidays but he does expect me to accommodate frequent changes to his days when he sees the kids and often misses a week as he's away. He also complains that he's struggling financially. hmm In the last 6 months he's managed 5 trips abroad!
Kc225 thank you for your support. Yes my child with special needs is hard work. Constant meetings, hospital appointments and behaviour issues. Also an incredible amount of admin. Anyone who's been through the EHCP process will know what I'm on about!
No grandparents on Dads side are alive to give any respite and my parents don't want that level of involvement and never have done.

babybels Sun 05-Mar-17 15:42:49

And willyoujustbequiet you are absolutely right!

IonaNE Sun 05-Mar-17 16:02:29

I'm not sure for sure why they don't want to go
Ask them?

ShowMePotatoSalad Sun 05-Mar-17 16:06:21

Under what circumstances has he told you he is struggling financially? Does he pay all the child maintenance that he owes? Has he ever missed a payment or been late with a payment?

If not, you and he shouldn't be discussing finances at all. What he does with his life and his girlfriend when he hasn't got kids is totally irrelevant.

I suggest you don't agree to change weekends to accommodate his holidays. That would resolve that particular issue.

Are you concerned about the children's safety when they are with their father? If so I suggest you go to court to ask for supervised visits. If you aren't concerned about their safety, but rather just don't agree with the way he does things, then I suggest you need to step back and allow him to parent them when he has them. In all probability the children get upset at the thought of leaving you, but that doesn't automatically mean the children don't want to see their father. As you have them the majority of the time, separation from you is not going to be easy. I can understand why you allow them to stay with you under these circumstances but at their age they need their parents to decide what happens rather than them making the decisions. Whether that means supervised visitation or ensuring that contact happens as scheduled.

ShowMePotatoSalad Sun 05-Mar-17 16:10:42

I've just come out of this thread and looked at the title again. "Dad's new life". I think that's an interesting title. Are you upset that he has a new girlfriend and they go on holidays? If so why are you upset about it?

You say he's not much of a father because he's flitting here and there but you're also not happy at how he does things when he does have them, and when the kids say they don't want to go, you say they can stay with you. Do you ever ask them if they want to go, or are you just reacting to them saying they don't want to go? Because those are two very different scenarios. If you ask them, then that is disrupting contact, because it's putting them under pressure to decide, and they may not want to disappoint you by saying they want to see their dad. Just some thoughts, I'm not saying that's what you're doing, but I'd like to ask you that question.

SeaCabbage Sun 05-Mar-17 16:14:36

I feel for you. I agree with a PP. Would it be possible for him to leave work early on occasion so that he picks them up from school on the Wednesdays and on his Fridays. That would cut out the emotional bit at your house.

also, stop saying yes to him buggering about with his weekends. Say he has to have them more in the holidays.

Can you go to court to fix the contact more fairly?

snowycat Sun 05-Mar-17 16:38:37

Potato salad that's an interesting point. I think I feel trapped into not working and being a drudge. My youngest starts school in sept but even then it would have to be term time only and school hours as I also have to get 3 kids to school and one of them who has special needs can be particularly difficult. After school care is not an option for him although I am investigating finding a specialist teacher/ carer who might be able to do this. So I am a bit trapped in that sense and also in relation to the kids as they are so reluctant to go to his house. It's not every week but there are phases when it is every week and it's been like this for 3 years! Also, if they are ill then they don't want to go. I never try to stop them going and have put in lots of work behind the scenes to enable visits to him that he's not aware of. Such as preparing the kids and reassuring them, being positive and upbeat about them seeing him, being flexible so he can be late picking them up and I don't get annoyed.
I do have some safety concerns about my ex as he is chaotic and disorganised and there were a number of accidents with the children caused by him when we were together.
So I guess I feel his life has changed for the better in that he has more freedom and time for himself and mine in some ways has become harder. I don't have to put up with living with him but I do have limited breaks from the children, and find it hard to plan for my free time as I don't always get it!
Financially our divorce is yet to be finalised so it's all still being negotiated.

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