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Custody of 3 year old son at Xmas?

(331 Posts)
Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 11:45:30

Hi. I'm a dad to a 3 year old son. I split up with his mum in February this year so this will be our first Xmas separated.

Since we split, we arranged joint custody of our son by ourselves. Its worked out fine. After the initial couple of months which were tough, we're now friends with each other too.

Sorting out Christmasses took longer. We talked about it in October/November, and finally came to an agreement in mid-November. It hasn't been spoken about since we agreed.

My family live in the Wirral, and hers in Manchester. Before we split, we alternated Christmasses. (one year with my family, one year with her family, etc.). Last year was with her family.

Heres where we disagree: Back when we spoke about it, I wanted to alternate Xmas's with our son. And whoever doesnt have him Xmas day gets to spend boxing day and Christmas eve morning with him. And he effectively gets two Christmasses (xmas day and boxing day).
She wants him to spend half the day with each of us. The problem I saw with her way was the distance between us. Its a 60-90min drive. I think thats disruptive to him... I dont think he'd want to spend that time on Xmas day in a car. I also think it would be too busy for him. Last year, he was knackered, with having so many people there, and it being a really busy day. Her way, we'd be doubling the number of people, with him seeing two families, all fussing over him.

We eventually agreed to do my idea, in part because we were able to split his birthday which is only a month before Xmas. It was also agreed I could have him this year because of the fact that last year, we spent it with her family. This was all sorted out mid-November.

Last night, December 20th, she called me, upset, that she wont see him at all on Xmas day and brought up the arguments again.... and we just repeated the stuff we said over and over again, months ago, with her saying she wants to split the day. I'll be speaking to her again tonight.
I'm frustrated because I thought we had agreed, and we've made arrangements now too. Plus, I think this is best for DS. I think her way is just more messing about for him, on an already busy day.

AIBU to just say to her "Look, we've already agreed whats happening on Xmas, and its too late to be trying to change plans" (worded in a nicer way of course).

Appreciate your advice as I'm wondering if I'm being a d**k? I appreciate that its not nice, not seeing your child on Xmas day, but its going to be the same for me next year.

(We did consider other options, such as spending the day together, but this wouldn't work, as we both want to see our families. For me, its pretty much the only time of year I get to see my entire family all together).

Thanks for reading.

Zampa Thu 21-Dec-17 11:57:49

Whilst in court agreeing contact arrangements, CAFCASS suggested alternate Christmases for my 2 DSC (7 and 10 at the time) but DP's ex was insistent on having them every Christmas Day morning. She offered to do half days but we felt that shipping them over to a different house at 2pm would disrupt their day too much.

We therefore see the DSC from 4pm on Christmas Day and have them until NYD. DP and I have a Christmas Day with our 2 girls on the 25th and a second on the 26th, with presents and lunch on both days. It's ace. We can fit family in over the following week.

I think courts are more likely to agree contact over Christmas as per your suggestion. However, I can sympathise with your ex whilst knowing you'll suffer the same in 2018. However as your DS gets older he'll be able to tolerate the journey and family visitors better. Can a short-term compromise be reached?

Keep talking and hopefully you'll find some common ground.

RyanStartedTheFire Thu 21-Dec-17 12:04:18

We therefore see the DSC from 4pm on Christmas Day and have them until NYD
I have a similar arrangement with my ex. This year he has actually offered to change it to bedtime on Christmas and him having Boxing Day as his day. I do pretty much all of the work, I wouldn't be happy to not see my child at all on Christmas Day. Can you not stay local and have your family come to you?

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 12:12:09

I’ll be lynched but i think it’s cruel to allow a mother wake up without her child on Christmas morning. Believe me I’m usually Mrs equal rights etc and a couple of years ago I’d have been outraged by my own post but I’ve seen in 99.9% of cases the mother usually puts in more work throughout the year.

araiwa Thu 21-Dec-17 12:13:09

Stick to your agreement

Wallywobbles Thu 21-Dec-17 12:19:46

I hate splitting Xmas day. It makes for a shit day for all. Especially the kids

Wide0penSpace Thu 21-Dec-17 12:20:09

I agree with the above posters. I have my son for the majority of the time, (except every other weekend) I do all the school runs and ferrying about to after school clubs, parties, mates houses etc. I want him on Christmas Day too!

He goes to his Dad on Boxing Day morning and stays there until the 27th. They have another Christmas Day effectively on Boxing Day, with presents, meal and grandparents over. It suits us all this way.

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 12:20:33

Your way he gets two Christmases so I think from his pov would be better, a long car journey on Christmas day is never enjoyable. Assuming your op means that whoever gets him on his birthday doesn’t get him on Christmas is a fair compromise.

As an aside my parents separated when I was 12 and detested each other, but we continued to have Christmas day together at mums house because of this exact scenario. Is it an option to put differences aside for one day a year or is this just not possible?

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Thu 21-Dec-17 12:20:39

My kids are older and I live about 50 mins from ex. Splitting the day works well for us as the children see both parents. We alternate 23rd/24th and 26th/27th.

However I think your arguments are valid. It's very last minute and your child won't be as excited at 2pm Xmas Day as he was at 9am.
But then again that's an adult concern- there is lots that he will enjoy during the second half of Xmas Day smile

It is unfair that she wants all Xmas mornings but at the end of the day it all depends on whether or not you're willing to risk ruining your good co-parenting relationship with your ex. (You know her best )

mummmy2017 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:21:29

Your the dad, but think of it like this,
She can't cope without seeing her son on Christmas morning...
It won't always be like this, but for now it hurts her.
In helping her this year next year, say when you want to take him away for a week, your more lightly to get her to be willing to agree.
Also 60 mins in a car after the child being up early in the morning will mean he naps, and arrives fresh to enjoy it all again.
Don't be too ridged in it all.
We do have friends who just booked into somewhere and had rooms nearby every xmas, so the child can swap at will and no one misses out....

JacquesHammer Thu 21-Dec-17 12:23:06

I think your arrangement is perfectly fair OP and you're putting thought into what would be best for your son.

As hard as it is, she will have to manage this year and next year she will have all the joy of Christmas with your son. She just needs to recalibrate her thinking into having a different sort of Christmas

AngelsSins Thu 21-Dec-17 12:28:11

I think your suggestion does sound best. Growing up my parents had split so I got 2 christmasses too and loved it. BUT, I think you need to keep in mind how extremely hard this is going to be for her not having him there on Christmas Day. If you get on well enough, could you invite her to join you for some of the day? Or maybe pick him up early Christmas morning? As time goes on I'm sure it will get easier, but this is the first year and it's going to be painful.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Thu 21-Dec-17 12:28:42

I think your way makes more sense, but her way is better. A 90 minute journey is long for sure, but loads of people do it on Christmas Day and not just for their kids. We did it every year to see grandparents.

I’d be so upset to not see my kids on Christmas Day regardless of any other arrangements either side. And I absolutely disagree about kids getting less excited - arriving at granny’s for more presents?! Come on now!

JenniferL90 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:29:09

Could you not cope with it together for his sake?

I couldn't bear the thought of Christmas morning without my DC.

I'd put up with anyone as long a she was there....

SeaToSki Thu 21-Dec-17 12:36:06

I think its a bit unfair to try and renegotiate so last minute, but I can also understand agreeing to something because you thought it would be OK and then realising that it wasnt. Its a tough spot.
The only helpful nugget I could throw out would be that actually, a 90 min car nap in the middle of Xmas day might be very helpful for an over excited 3 yr old. Could DS start the day with her, she then drives him to your house (she gets the drive as the penalty for the last minute change of plans) while he naps and then you have a lovely afternoon and evening?

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 12:38:51

I think seatoskis way sounds best.
You know she’s upset, she’s the mother of your very young child and this isn’t the first Christmas not as a family so give her a break.

ilovekitkats Thu 21-Dec-17 12:38:57

I think you need to start afresh from this year? Ignore what happened last year, doesn't matter where you where then, the situation has changed since then.

This is the first Christmas that your child has separated parents. Maybe let your XW have your DS this year, but on the firm understanding that you have him from teatime so he can wake up with you on Boxing Day, and then next year reverse it?

I think that every other Christmas is a fair arrangement in a situation where the NRP has the child EOW. In a situation where the RP has the child 95% of the time, it would be very unfair to not have the child at Christmas.

ilovekitkats Thu 21-Dec-17 12:39:41

*teatime should say near bedtime

GreenTulips Thu 21-Dec-17 12:41:00

3 year plus 90 car journey = nap time

Sounds a good option to me

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 12:41:38

Out of curiosity who has majority of custody and responsibility ordinarily? As other posters have said this may influence what the best process is.

feetlikeahobbit Thu 21-Dec-17 12:41:44

DD is with me Christmas eve till 3pm Christmas day and then with her DF till Boxing Day 7pm it works for us because the one time he had her Christmas eve he couldn't cope with her over excitement.

She's 15 now so no over excitement now but it stuck and seems to suit everyone.

Christmas morning was strange without her (she was only 6) but at the end of the day he is her DF and we gave it a go in the name of fairness.

Paleninteresting Thu 21-Dec-17 12:43:28

This is so hard for everyone involved. There is no easy answer. I cannot fathom how she must be feeling when realising she won't see her boy on Christmas Day. In the cold light of day when you made the arrangements it probably felt OK but now I can understand why she is upset.

Try a resolution as opposed to sticking to what you have agreed, it will benefit you next year.

Jaxhog Thu 21-Dec-17 12:46:22

It seems to me that you're thinking of your son, while she's thinking of herself. It also seems unfair of her to want to keep trying to change the agreement to suit herself.

Having got that out of the way, I wonder if you could alternate with christmas eve/christmas morning and christmas afternoon/boxing day? With the afternoon parent doing the collecting (less chance of morning parent hanging onto son). Not ideal, but would give your son a chance to nap between you.

mummmy2017 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:46:59

Another Plus, YOU get the same next year and get to see your son at Christmas, and he will wake at your house next year and 4 year olds are much much more excited by it all the night before than they are on as 3 year olds...
You drive him home next year and then you can be back in time for late lunch...
Personally this would be my preferred thing, and who ever has him for xmas morning gets to have Xmas dinner the next year.

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 12:47:45

Out of curiosity who has majority of custody and responsibility ordinarily? As other posters have said this may influence what the best process is

I find that parents who have a smidgen over EOWeekend call it “shared” or 50/50 but the other parent would usually disagree! Generally.

Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:48:08

Thanks for the replies. Thats quite a mix of opinions! But thats to be expected I guess.

Just wanted to add that although this is an argument, its not a heated argument (as you might expect, being exes). She was upset, and I felt bad about that.

And since the split, she's always been fair (i.e. she was fine when I said I'd like joint custody, and we've babysat for each other before, etc.).

And in the interest of openness... to give her argument, she said "I think DS will want to see us both on Xmas".

A lot of this is stuff we spoke about a month or two ago. The frustrating thing for me is that she's waited until just 4 days before Xmas to bring it up again.

And to answer some of the things asked.....

- I don't think my family would come up to mine at all to be honest, but certainly not at this short notice (reason being, a lot of extended family come over to my mum & dad's, who all live local. I don't think many would make the trip).

- Yes, I think he'd be excited going to his other nana's in the afternoon for more presents, but I also think it would be really tiring for him.

- Neither of us drive, so inviting her over for part of the day wouldn't really work. But, to be honest.... I've been wondering if I should invite her to spend the day with us? It would mean having to take the train up together on Xmas eve.
I get on with her fine. Whats holding me back is, would things become awkward for everyone else there?

Gerbil17 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:48:51

I dont think either of you are BU. It is hard to bare the thought of not seeing your child on christmas day.

What we do is alternate christmas eve. So the kids wake up one christmas morning at their dads, and then with me the next. They go to the other parent around 3pm.

I dont think travelling on christmas day will upset your lo so much. A lovely nap in the car will reset him ready for the next lot of excitement

ZigZagandDustin Thu 21-Dec-17 12:48:59

I think this is one of the things that you have to accept and work with when you're separated. As long as it's done fairly, so whatever happens this year is reversed next year.

I personally don't see too much harm in a car journey on Christmas Day. We always travelled to family 2 hrs away after chirch on Christmas Day and it was kind of fun, having some time to chat and enjoy the excitement and anticipation quietly in the car. Just think of it as a bit of special chatting time before handover if that's the way you decide to go.

Chewbecca Thu 21-Dec-17 12:49:15

I do agree your suggestion is more fair.

However, as a mum, I would be really upset if I couldn't spend Christmas Day with my son. I know DS's Dad doesn't feel quite the way I do and he'd cope better with not seeing him and DS would cope better without his Dad than without me. The reality is that I am closer to DS than Dad is.

So if you were able to let your ex spend Christmas Day with your and you have Boxing Day, it would be really kind, even though that is not the most fair.

Doremisofarsogood Thu 21-Dec-17 12:50:47

Splitting the day is a nightmare! Disruptive for everyone - my husband has had to leave in the middle of Xmas dinner before to go and fetch his son 9 (as his ex would never travel unless it was convenient for her). We have done this for over 10 years now and this year is the first year we'e going against the grain and I can't wait! Stepson is nearly 16 so isn't excited at the prospect of Xmas - last year he stayed at ours Xmas Eve as per the old arrangement (3pm Xmas Eve till 3pm Xmas Day or vice versa) and we had to wake him up so it's not like either parent gets the benefit of seeing their child's excitement on Xmas Day! When they're little yes I understand that but even so I think Xmas Day / Boxing Day is much fairer to everyone.

LemonysSnicket Thu 21-Dec-17 12:51:19

My family did it where I had Xmas day with mum and then Boxing day was dads xmas .... its just a day, make a new one.

Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:52:12


I have him 5 days one week, and 2 days the next.

I have him every Monday and Tuesday. (til wednesday morning actually, when I drop him at nursery).

I also have him alternating Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

WhatHappensInVagas411 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:52:53

I think YAB a bit U. Think of it like this.. You left her. Now you want to take her son away on Christmas. It's got to be hard for her.

I think the fairest way is to let your ex have your DS this Christmas. Maybe you could visit first thing if you're desperate to see him on Christmas. It's also been an unsettling year for your DS. I think he'd prefer to spend Christmas in his own home with his mum. Then you have him boxing day. Next year, you have him Christmas day.

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 12:54:23

I think you could suggest her joining you and if she really wants to spend the day with him she will tolerate the awkwardness, otherwise you can take comfort in knowing you gave her an option and continue with your original plan

hereitis Thu 21-Dec-17 12:55:09

I know it's not how you're supposed to view custody arrangments, but my opinion on the right thing to do would be very influenced by knowing who left who... If it was an amicable split that's one thing, if one of you left to be with someone else and destroyed the family then I don't think they should get to have Christmas. But that's not what it's about I know, needs to be what's best for the LO.

JacquesHammer Thu 21-Dec-17 12:55:51

You left her. Now you want to take her son away on Christmas. It's got to be hard for her

That's an incredibly simplistic view.

NoStraightEdges Thu 21-Dec-17 12:57:52

I think your son is very lucky to have two people who love him wanting to be kind to each other despite the split.

And I think that's the key here-being kind (which you are, it's not a criticism). So I think your idea of inviting her and travelling all together is perfect. What a great example to set!

I hope you get this Christmas sorted and I hope you two continue to be so amiable in future.

MrsBonato Thu 21-Dec-17 12:58:30

I think she is right, your DS would want to see both of you. I understand you want to see your family but he is your priority and you should be doing what's best for him. If you can spend it together then I think that would be best for your ds.

midnightmisssuki Thu 21-Dec-17 12:58:46

CaptainCorellisBigToe bit mean to say it’s cruel that you feel a mother should never wake up without her kids on Christmas morning... fathers have feelings too you know...

Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 12:59:44


Yes I left her, but because she had been violent multiple times, so I think I was justified. Infact, the day we effectively split, she threw a punch at my head when I had hold of DS.

(Because of that, it surprises a lot of people that we're able to get along now. But, we do).

LemonysSnicket..... Exactly! Its just a day, and that's what I plan to do next year. Just turn boxing day into Christmas day.

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 13:00:48

Op hasn’t specified who decided to end the relationship.
I think if you can manage to make it so your ds gets to spend christmas with both parents it’ll be better for him too (ok he’s three now but as he gets older he’ll notice the separation too)
I have to say my parents were by no means perfect but as an adult with dc in hindsight I really admire their ability to put their differences aside and be adults to give us a united family Christmas. If you can manage it op I think it would be lovely for all of you and help maintain the goodwill for the year to come fsmile

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 13:01:25

Oops cross posted there

NachoAddict Thu 21-Dec-17 13:03:03

we alternate Christmas day but the children always wake up with me and on Dads year he collects them at 11am, after they have opened their presents. Would that be a viable alternative?

I can understand your point of view but I can also totally see where she is coming from.

Justwaitingforaline Thu 21-Dec-17 13:03:15

We alternate.

Ex DP’a family live 3 hours away and he will be taking DD to stay there so he’s having her from the afternoon of the 23rd til morning of the 27th. Whoever doesn’t have her at Christmas has her on her birthday. Next year, it will be the reverse. It sucks, a lot, because I will miss her horribly especially as DH is working on Christmas Day but it is what it is and I think it’s what’s best for DD - she’ll get two christmases as will be doing our Christmas morning on the 27th, stockings and all.

IfyouseeRitaMoreno Thu 21-Dec-17 13:04:45

If you get on then get her to travel up Xmas Eve and have Christmas together.

Although if she was violent I’m not sure why you’re not scared to be with her.

Heartofglass12345 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:04:45

You are most definitely not being a dick, you are on here trying to come up with a solution. Shes obviously feeling upset about not seeing him on christmas day which is understandable.
You are a good dad, which some people on here cant seem to get their heads around, and assume that it was all your fault you split up and you shouldnt see your son on christmas day because of that!
I think its amazing that you are considering inviting her to yours, i would do that. How would she have him in the afternoon if neither of you can drive and there's no public transport?

crispbuttie Thu 21-Dec-17 13:05:51

If neither of you drive, how did your ex wife plan for your ds to travel between your two homes on Christmas day?

Inviting her to spend Christmas with you is a lovely idea.

mogonfoxnight Thu 21-Dec-17 13:05:58

i haven't been through this, but I think when my dc were 3, they would have preferred to see me in the morning and also see their father later in the day. I would probably agree to her request that she wakes up with your 3 year old, and bringing him to you, or you picking him up, or meeting half way, this year at least. 60 mins in a car with nice music would be quite calming is the other way to think of it! I think it would be fair for you to ask that he is with you by lunch. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

JacquesHammer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:07:54

OP I think you need to consider if you change plans this time will it set a precedent meaning you lose out every year?

And if you invite her to yours will she reciprocate next year?

CaptainCorellisBigToe Thu 21-Dec-17 13:08:06

bit mean to say it’s cruel that you feel a mother should never wake up without her kids on Christmas morning... fathers have feelings too you know...

But in the vast majority of cases, the mother does the lions share of raising the child the rest of the year so I don’t really care about the fathers feelings in those cases

mummmy2017 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:08:10

Can she maybe ask her Father to do the driving .
Or do you have a friend who doesn't drink, you could book a room or crash at the EX's and drive home Xmas morning, life really is about compromise.
And yes the asking her to stay is another good option.
Just talk to her, you will find a way if you want to.

mogonfoxnight Thu 21-Dec-17 13:09:26

I didn't read your updates by accident, so I missed the bit about not driving and why you left her.

Inviting her sounds really nice too. If you get on that is so much better for dc.

Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:10:57

Most of the things being posted are stuff we spoke about in October/November. But do you think she's BU to want to change it, only 4/5 days beforehand, now that arrangements have been made? That's what I find frustrating. Just last night, my dad drove up here to pick up all my presents to people. It was too much to carry on a train by myself.

He couldn't do it on Xmas eve and give us a lift at the same time because he'll be too busy then (hes a taxi driver).

To whoever said something along the lines of the mother doing more work throughout the year..... I can actually see why you might say that, given that, usually, the mother usually has more time with the child. I don't think thats the case with us though.

On the days I have him, I work a shorter day, and make the hours up on the days I don't have him. I just love having him around. I've been kicking up a fuss at his nursery too, recently, over another kid attacking him. Something his mum hasn't done (to be fair, she actually works at the nursery! So its an awkward situation for her).

MagicFajita Thu 21-Dec-17 13:11:52

We've never split Xmas day , we live a 20 minute walk away from each other but it just seems wrong to make the kids travel on the day. We do alternate Xmas days and the parent that doesn't have Xmas day gets boxing day.

Jerseysilkvelour Thu 21-Dec-17 13:12:34

Are you thinking about what would be best for your son? Your posts seem to be about what you want and what your partner wants. Your DS is young but it won't be very many years before he will want his own input (I'd say two or three yrs....).

My DD is nearly 6, she's been staying with me xmas day and going to her dads on xmas eve and Boxing Day. This year she wanted to spend xmas eve and xmas day with me. No one insisted she stick to the original arrangements made for the parents benefit, we let her decide without pressure.

I can't say I'll be delighted if/when she decides she'd like to spend xmas day there, but I will let her decide.

Another thing, I think her calling up and wanting to change things last minute might be indicative of how picarious your arrangements/friendship actually is. Is she going to be nice if you say no, let's stick to the original arrangement, or is she going to start being shitty with you? If you do go with what she says, is she going to keep pushing and pushing for more of what she wants?

NachoAddict Thu 21-Dec-17 13:13:15

If neither f you drive you can't really split Christmas day anyway so its a moot point, wo will want to ferry you (or her) on a 3 hour round trip?

MagicFajita Thu 21-Dec-17 13:13:27

And yes , to change plans so close to the day is unreasonable.

JacquesHammer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:13:59

But do you think she's BU to want to change it, only 4/5 days beforehand, now that arrangements have been made?


We've done it like you @Smeags84 - all amicably and ourselves. We put in place a rule that changes to contact can't be made any less than 28 days before the date unless in an emergency which means we can both make plans without fear of change.

Gerbil17 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:14:00

I cant say that i believe she is being BU to want to change it so close to the day. Yes...anything else and id probably agree. Only this is a mother, with christmas day fast approaching and having to realise she will not be spending it with her ds. Lots of emotions will be at play for her.

It is the first christmas you have had to make arrangements like this and it is incredibly difficult for a lot of parents.

Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:16:18

Thanks for all the replies. I didn't expect so many!

I think its a matter of opinion isn't it. Some people think I'm BU, some people think I'm not being. As I said, I was thinking to myself "Am I being a d**k?" and I can at least see the answer isn't an overwhelming yes... (although some of you think yes ).

Need to get off the computer to do stuff now. But will check back later in a few hours to see whats been said.

Thanks again.

Seasonseatings Thu 21-Dec-17 13:16:49

Its the first year so why not offer to swap Christmas day with her? gesture of goodwill, for the season of goodwill etc

Next year there will a whole year beyond the break up and easier for everyone.

As the child in this situation I didn't mind breaking up Christmas day, tbh it gave me a bit more energy with the change of scene, so maybe consider it when he is older? or might he nap in the car of you considered that option now?

EmilyChambers79 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:17:10

What about Christmas Eve 1230 pm till Christmas Day 1pm for one then drop off so the other has him 2pm Christmas Day until Boxing Day then contact as normal.

What are your regular contact days?

Imstickingwiththisone Thu 21-Dec-17 13:18:33

I think your way is better OP. And I think she is BU to expect plans to be changed at this point especially when it's at an inconvenience to other people who want to enjoy Christmas. In the interests of keeping your relationship amicable and to soften the blow, could you offer her this Xmas and you have next Xmas? I'm with you and would just make boxing day our Christmas, but if she doesn't feel able to do that this year then could you swap things around?

GetOutOfMYGarden Thu 21-Dec-17 13:18:46

She's being unreasonable to try and change plans a few days before christmas, most definitely. Ignore the PP clearly putting their own situations onto yours. Explain the logistics issue - neither of you drive, you like 90 minutes away, there is no public transport on christmas day, how in the hell does she intend to split it?

You need to get all christmas arrangements in writing in future. None of this changing it all last minute shit in future. It's disruptive to all of your plans and your DS.

WishingOnABar Thu 21-Dec-17 13:19:43

Reason and emotion rarely work well together.
You don’t sound like a dick to me, it sounds like you have tried to get everything sorted fairly and put a lot of effort into maintaining a good relationship.
I hope you manage to sort something out that keeps everyone happy and you all have a great Christmas regardless

kaytee87 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:20:30

Sorry I don't have time to read the whole thing as not feeling well but just wanted to say that if the drive was timed for the middle of the day then your son would probably nap for an hour in the car and that could work out well in terms of any tiredness

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:21:23

Yanbu and she is BU to seek to change the arrangement that was agreed.

I agree with you that it is much better for DS not to have a “split” xmas day every year involving two lots of extended family and a motorway trip.

AngelsSins Thu 21-Dec-17 13:21:51

Of course she's being unareasonable to want to change things this close, but it's also completely understandable. Being human means how we feel isn't always reasonable! I get your frustration, but I can understand her upset too, this isn't easy for anyone.

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:22:07

Plenty of DC rarely or never nap in cars.

Smeags84 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:22:51


Thanks. Thats something for me to think about at the end of your post.

To answer to the start of it... I suppose, in part, it is what we want, because he's too young to communicate what he wants himself (but in my thinking, I'm genuinely trying to think about what is best for him. And as said above, I think having two Christmasses is pretty good! To me, It's not just about the presents... its about having dinner together, and seeing family. And he has two big extended families. I think its too much to fit all those people into one day).

Giftdilema Thu 21-Dec-17 13:24:16

I think the ops way is better.
Doing split days means a small child not getting to enjoy his presents and having to leave his toys he has just opened and everyone rushing Christmas lunch in order to travel.

kaytee87 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:24:37

@Dozer I haven't met one yet that didn't if it was around a normal nap time. I do concede I haven't met all the children though grinwink

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:25:04

I agree, he will very likely get overwhelmed.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 21-Dec-17 13:25:36

We found because of travelling and trying to make it a normal Christmas that we used to do Christmas Eve until 27th every other year and the "other" would get New Year that year.

If you factor in your own going to bed on Christmas Eve/presents and lunch/seeing your side Boxing day etc it just worked better without people stressing to do drop offs, taking child away from extended family etc.

It gets easier the years you don't have them and more special the years you do.

I hope you can work it out.

Lovemusic33 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:26:39

I think you might need to back down and let her see him Christmas Day. It’s very hard and I know you have just as much right to see him. My dd’s Dad does not see them Christmas Day unless he pops over (he’s welcome to come and see them in the morning), this is for many reasons, he only sees them once a week and rarely helps out with anything, also he has other children and a new GF which he can spend Christmas Day with but I don’t really have anyone (so would be alone). He’s pretty understanding so Agee’s to either have them Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. I would be really upset if I didn’t have my dd’s On Christmas Day as I would be alone.

It sounds like you have plans to go to your parents for Christmas so although it would be hard for you not to see your ds you can still have a good day with your family?

As it’s your first year separated I think I would be inclined to let her have your ds Christmas Eve night until later Christmas Day, then you can have him Christmas Day night and do Christmas no2 on Boxing Day? That way you still get to see him Christmas Day and so does she. We also find spreading Christmas over 2 days makes the fun last longer too.

TheHolidayArmadillo Thu 21-Dec-17 13:26:58

It's a tricky one. My initial reaction to "it's only a day" is that it's easy to say that when the plans are currently in your favour - if you're happy enough to do your Christmas on boxing day next year, what's the big deal about letting her have this this year? It is very short notice though.

I do agree that the splitting the day in half when neither of you drive sounds like a complete PITA - it would be different if either of you were drivers. If you drove, then the nap would actually be really handy in terms of giving him a rest so he's at his best for the remainder of the day.

What's your usual contact arrangement?

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:28:00

I know a few, my DC1 being one, and neither of mine has a “normal” nap time. mine strongly disliked car journeys.

DCs’ sleep / eating is often all over the place during festive family gatherings too.

It’s really disruptive to have a 60-90 min journey on xmas day. The parent who doesn’t get him then gets xmas eve and boxing day.

Unicornfluffycloudsandrainbows Thu 21-Dec-17 13:29:40

I agree with CaptainCorellisBigToe and wifeopenspace. I have my ds the majority of Christmas Day and he goes to his df on the evening and for Boxing Day aswell. I do most of the groundwork so it seems unfair that the one day of the year I don’t get to spend Christmas morning with my DS ex appreciates that and is accommodating on that basis. He normally gets an extra day after boxing day aswell but due to his work he can’t this year.

Rikalaily Thu 21-Dec-17 13:30:59

I think alternate Christmases is the fairest to both of you and most of all for your child. Children need consistency and being moved around and passed about on Chirstmas day is rediculous. I'm afraid that when parents split and they have kids the consequence is that you will sometime miss special occasions with them so the other parent can be equally involved too.

My ex and I do alternate years, no it's not nice not being with them for Christmas day and missing the excitement etc, but their dad misses that every other year too, it's just something we have to deal with. It's more important that the kids can have a nice fun settled day without being dragged away from their presents and chucked in a car for an hour to travel to the other parents half way through the day.

IncyWincyGrownUp Thu 21-Dec-17 13:31:18

Your ex is being very unreasonable. Turning on the waterworks at late notice is a piss poor way of trying to negotiate.

Say no, or you’ll never have a hristmas with your son as she will pull the same stunt every year.

I’d also be tempted to get your contact arrangements formalised in the new year.

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:31:55

NExt year he’ll be 4, then 5: he is v unlikely to nap! Much more likely to be pissed off about the journey and transitions.

Girlsworld92 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:32:55

My parents split when I was young and we always had xmas with Mum & Boxing Day with Dad. It was the same every year and worked well.
I might get into trouble for saying this but why would Mum be more upset than Dad not having the kids on xmas day? I have 2 young children and I like to hope that if I did ever split with my hubby we could work out a sensible arrangement. I think Ops suggestion is best. Not being funny but the kids matter in this overall not the adults. Christmas day isn't about the actual date, it's about what you do as a family when you are together.

stitchglitched Thu 21-Dec-17 13:37:04

I can understand her being upset. When you originally discussed it she wanted to split the day and you wanted to alternate. Not only did you get your way, but you also get to have xmas day this year because you are continuing the pattern from last year despite the fact that you have now separated and should probably have started over from scratch with new arrangements. Why do you get to decide everything?

iBiscuit Thu 21-Dec-17 13:38:11

Mine was much older when I spent the first Christmas day post-split without ds. The age probably makes a difference so that's a massive caveat, but you know what? Aside from a couple of wobbles, it was fine. I don't go with the argument that it's harder for mothers at all, tbh.

I knew that mine was with his dad, his grandparents, cousins etc and having an absolute ball. If he'd been with me he'd have missed that (not much in the way of family on my side - but I was with friends so not exactly sobbing alone into my ready-meal). It was about making Christmas as good as possible for the dc, and not about how I felt.

A few years down the line and he's spending Christmas and Boxing day mainly with his dad and dad's family, but the run up with me, his stepsibs and my dp. It's all cool.

1stX Thu 21-Dec-17 13:39:31

are you going to your parents on Christmas Day? As it’s the first one apart could she come over to see your child before you set off to your family and she goes to hers?

allthgoodusernamesaretaken Thu 21-Dec-17 13:40:07

I'm not a big fan of children travelling around on Christmas Day. It seems to me that that's mostly about what suits the parents, not what suits the child

AcrossthePond55 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:43:31

I think you should stick to the original agreement. Less disruptive than whisking DS off in the middle of the day.

Dads can miss their children just as much as mums do. And I don't think that 'whoever does the most gets Christmas'. It's about the child, not about tit for tat.

Just a 'by the way' with the caveat that I live in notoriously car-dependent California, but don't you think it would be a good idea for you to learn to drive (assuming there's no reason you can't)? There's going to be a lot of to-and-fro as divorced parents and I'd think it would be much easier all round to be able to drive on one's own rather than using public transport or depending on family.

natwebb79 Thu 21-Dec-17 13:43:46

Has she said how she thinks splitting the day willwork whrn neither of you drive and there won't be any public transport running? For what it's worth I think you're in the right here OP. You have 50/50 custody and you both agreed on what you would do.

iBiscuit Thu 21-Dec-17 13:45:08

I agree all - although in our case it's just me running ds to his dad's in the morning after present opening and breakfast, so it's not too bad (other than the fact I won't be able to have any champagne with breakfast grin ).

It's usually about an hour, but will be faster as there's zero traffic on Christmas morning.

Sullabylullaby Thu 21-Dec-17 13:47:02

Sounds like spending time with your family is more important to you than spending time with your son. If your family is so important, let his Mum have him.

TabbyMumz Thu 21-Dec-17 13:47:09

So...she works at a nursery, has a violent temperament and threw a punch at you in the past when you were holding DS....that's a good scenario that?! shock

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:47:41

He doesn’t “get to decide everything”, it was his family’s turn this year anyway and his plan is far better for DS.

iBiscuit Thu 21-Dec-17 13:48:02

I agree, Across - yes it's not essential to drive in many parts of the UK, but it makes life immeasurably easier if you have children, especially where shared residency is involved.

TheHolidayArmadillo Thu 21-Dec-17 13:48:54

I might get into trouble for saying this but why would Mum be more upset than Dad not having the kids on xmas day?

I think (and preparing to get told I'm talking shite fgrin) that typically it will be the mum who is the resident parent, and doing the majority of the grunt work involved in child-rearing.

Typically, there is also a higher likelihood that the dad will be in a new relationship sooner than the mum, which means that even if he doesn't have the children on the day, chances are he's not going to be stuck dwelling on it/on their own. Again, based on my own observations.

The date does matter to a lot of people - look at all the adverts where you've got the mum fussing in the kitchen to get the big family dinner ready, or sitting wrapping presents until 2 in the morning. Women, consciously or unconsciously and generally, place a lot of pressure on themselves at this time of year to have everything perfect. As the countless Christmas Angst threads on here demonstrate.

Dozer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:50:43

What bollocks sully. Are you really saying that unless OP, who has shared custody, never sees his family on xmas day and stays local to his ex in order to fulfil HER wish to split the day every year he doesn’t care about seeing his son?


iBiscuit Thu 21-Dec-17 13:51:24

Op's family is also his son's family Sulla - the child has a right to spend Christmas with these people.

JacquesHammer Thu 21-Dec-17 13:51:49

Sounds like spending time with your family is more important to you than spending time with your son. If your family is so important, let his Mum have him

What utter and complete nonsense

stitchglitched Thu 21-Dec-17 13:52:33

Well with the Mum's suggestion both of them would see their DS on xmas day, with his suggestion it just so happens that the child spends all of xmas with him and doesn't see the Mum at all. Yes it will alternate next year but the first year separated it is hard, and I can understand why he is upset. He has got everything the way he wanted, the Mum has got nothing she wanted. So to me it seems like he has dictated things and got his way. Whether it is better for the child or not is a decision for both parents and I don't think one happy parent and one heartbroken one is a good outcome for anyone.

Floellabumbags Thu 21-Dec-17 13:53:11

You're not being a dick. It sounds like she's trying to manipulate you and I think you need to hold firm.

I really object to the notion that mothers are more emotionally invested in their kids and, therefore, have rights on Christmas day.

AdaColeman Thu 21-Dec-17 13:55:43

You've said several times Smeags that you feel your way of dividing the holiday is best for your little boy.

So in the spirit of Christmas goodwill, why not keep to those planned days/hours but with the change of the child's mother having him on Christmas Day etc, rather than him being with you. You will have him next Christmas.

This is the first of your separate Christmas Days, those family arrangements you had in the past are over now.
It would be a generous gesture to your little boy and to his Mum to let them have Christmas Day together.

It won't be too hard to be without your DS for the day, as you will be with your family, and after all you expect your Ex to manage without seeing him.

Whatever you finally do, I hope you all enjoy your Christmas.

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