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Ex wants me to screw with sleep pattern so he gets visitation?

(229 Posts)
Badidas5 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:27:01

Separated from ex whilst I was pregnant. I live about 50 minutes away from him now. He was abusive emotionally towards me and I left. We have a son together and he obviously wants to see his son. He never gets home from work before 5. My son is now in a routine (he's 5 months old) and is always asleep between 7 and 8. I'm trying to explain that this is the pattern Our son is in naturally, and I've tried explaining this. He's just reached a point where he does the same thing every night. It's beneficial for me and a pattern that suits both of us.

He wants me to change his whole pattern so he gets longer with him on a weekday. I've said no, it's not beneficial to our son. I'm already travelling almost an hour there and about hour back for a short period of time so he can see him.

I'm close to just saying no and only doing weekend contact. He wants 2 evenings on a weekday and it just doesn't work. I've changed my working hours drastically to suit my son's needs. Taken a significant pay decrease so I can be there to pick him up and take him to nursery every day. He just says 'I finish at 5 sorry' - that's it.

What am I to do? AIBU? Should I really consider changing my son's whole routine

Badidas5 Mon 04-Mar-19 23:42:57

Will they really though? I'm scared they would make me drive a lot and would go with the father's side.

thefirst48 Mon 04-Mar-19 23:43:44

No court would force you to change a child's sleeping pattern.

Sparkles1992 Mon 04-Mar-19 23:44:32

I don't have any advice but I'm currently 31 weeks and my ex left me when I was 19 weeks, he's since told me that I'll have to express my milk and that he won't be treated like every other visitor when I told him he's welcome to come and visit but at my house and the baby won't be leaving me. I'm dreading all of this.

It infuriates me that the men get to walk away when you plan to be a family and then it's mothers who have to miss out on precious time with their babies. I'm devastated at the thought of handing my LO over and also because I don't trust that he would know what he was doing properly.

It's an awful situation to be in and I hope you get an arrangement that suits you! But I agree you shouldn't be travelling and he should be coming to see the baby in the baby's home x

PyongyangKipperbang Mon 04-Mar-19 23:49:00

Sparkles tell him to go to court with his plan. No court would tell you to express, that is patently ridiculous.

And dont forget that you dont have to register him as the father. You can do it alone and leave his name off, forcing him to go to court to get his name added and to get parental responsibility.

This isnt to keep him out of his childs life, but to show the reality. If he really wants to be a father then he will do whatever it takes, but I rather suspect he will not go to court and simply attempt to bully you into doing what he wants.

Sorry to say to both of you but both of these men have "deadbeat" written all over them. They will be parents when you do the hard work, but wont be when they actually have to step up and pay out.

Tolleshunt Mon 04-Mar-19 23:49:38

He's telling me that because I moved that I need to travel.

He can tell you that all he likes, it doesn't make it true. Just refuse. He can't make you bundle DS into the car and drive 50 miles to see him. You are doing that, out of woke misplaced sense of obligation, or fear of being unfair, or not nice, or whatever he has gaslit you into feeling.

Pyongyang's email text is perfect. Use that and stick to it. I agree that he is likely to reduce his desire to see his son once he has to do all the running to make it happen. Ans he may well provide you with some written ammo to use.

If you ever feel like weakening, remember you are doing this for your son. He needs a strong and stable role model, and not to have his sleep routine disrupted, and not to spend 2 hours in a car seat so that a grown man isn't inconvenienced.

Chloemol Mon 04-Mar-19 23:57:31

He can visit you then.

Graphista Tue 05-Mar-19 00:20:40

"Sorry to say to both of you but both of these men have "deadbeat" written all over them. They will be parents when you do the hard work, but wont be when they actually have to step up and pay out." Yep!

They sound a lot like my ex.

Seen it all before.

The men who really DO want to stay in their kids lives when they're no longer with the mum bend over backwards and do whatever's needed and go the extra mile.

The men who are all about THEIR desires and need to control make a pretence at it for appearances sake (always finding excuses for why they can't comply with contact arrangements, cancelling last min or late, moaning about the cost, the travel, the inconvenience, making out its the mum trying to impede contact when the mum has rearranged umpteen times, not paying maintenance...) when push comes to shove they don't step up and gradually fade out of the child's life.

Personally with hindsight view of my own experience (bending over backward for ex, not pursuing maintenance more aggressively, pushing him to see dd when it was clear as soon as we split he wasn't interested - a 10 min walk was too much effort - chasing him when he was late...) I now advise (here and in real life) to NOT make too much effort, let him show IF he's gonna step up and fair enough if he does then you make more effort too, but don't pursue him on it.

Because to be honest if you bend over backwards for a deadbeat who's showing a lack of interest, you're really just delaying the inevitable. And the longer a deadbeat is in your child's life, the harder it is for the child when they disappear out of their lives, that's what I'm dealing with now and believe me when I say it's utterly heartbreaking.

Chocmallows Tue 05-Mar-19 00:20:44

When I went to court (twice) the judges ignored anything that sounded like moaning. They want to hear what is in the best interests of the child and that comes before anything else.

Decisions are based on facts:
Is it better for a dad to drive to and from the visit alone or child to be harnessed in a carseat for long periods?
Is it better for a child to have routine or dad has an hour more playtime but child too tired to sleep normally after and too tired to attend normal activities next day?
It is obvious what the answers are.

I went along with running about for over 2 years before the court case and wish he had taken me sooner as I kept up the keeping him happy stance when I should have put DCs first.

Badidas5 Tue 05-Mar-19 00:25:25

He's shed a lot of tears over it and wants to see his son, it just won't be on his schedule...

Godowneasy Tue 05-Mar-19 04:18:23

You need to use the fact you're going back to work soon to make a lot of changes to contact. And change your whole mind set towards it.
It's tough being a working single parent, without making it even harder on yourself and ds by doing all the travelling to your ex.
Only agree to contact arrangements that are in your ds's best interests. You don't have to agree to him coming into your home at all, and if you're in the least bit intimidated by him, then I would suggest that you don't allow this at all. The onus is on him to find suitable venues etc.
At 5 months old, contact can be kept quite short at just a few hours, especially if you're breast feeding. You could meet in parks when the weather is better or cafes etc for a few hours on a saturday.
You're in control of what you offer ex contact wise at the moment - just always remember to keep if focussed on what's best for baby. If the ex doesn't like it, then he needs to go through the courts to change it.
You'll find that you'll probably need to adjust the contact as ds gets older, perhaps working towards a whole day and ultimately something like every other weekend.
If there's going to be contact on a week night, then the ex needs to come up with a suitable plan that works for you and ds, and definitely not one that requires changing his sleep routines! It's really not for you to have to make the plan!
It'll be interesting to see whether ex can stick to travelling to your area once a week to see his son when you stop doing all the travelling to him. You may find that he wants to cut it down to fortnightly quite quickly. Either way, you'll be able to see what his commitment is to regular contact, and plan accordingly.
I'd suggest that you don't make long term agreements wiith ex at the moment that are written in stone. Suggest you try out a plan for 3 or 6 months and then review it at the end of that time, which gives you the opportunity to make some adjustments if neccessary.
I was in a pretty similar situation to you, and it's not easy. I hope it goes well for you.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 05-Mar-19 04:52:00

He's being unreasonable. He wants to see his son then he comes to yours to see him, so that you can put the baby straight down at the right time.
If he wants longer, then he should leave work earlier.
If he can't be bothered, then that's up to him.

You do what's right for the baby, and if he wants to be any kind of decent father, then so should he.

Birdsgottafly Tue 05-Mar-19 05:44:49

"He's telling me that because I moved that I need to travel."

That's usually what is said. You should have considered the travelling before you moved.

But it would only be practical for you to do, whilst you aren't working.

I'll go against the grain and point out how important a good relationship with their Dad is, to boys.

We tale for granted that Men should cope with a, once a week, visit from their children, but then wonder why they don't Parent equally, when the child is going through tough times.

I don't think you should change the natural sleep pattern, it just leads to a grumpy baby. But it's been stated by posters that you don't have to facilitate your ex's wants, but contact with his Dad, is a need of your Son.

What sort of Dad is he? Will he be able to do overnights? It isn't fair for him to not be given the chance to have a good enough relationship to be able to have him for extended periods and the Court would expect you to do that.

What sort of relationship did you have with your Parents? Would you have been happy seeing your Mum or Dad, just on weekends? Would you be happy seeing your Son just of a weekend?

Mysterycat23 Tue 05-Mar-19 05:55:12

Your ex is not on your side OP or the side of DC. Everything that comes out of that man's mouth is designed to get him what HE wants. Can you see that?

You are no longer together. You have the freedom now to not listen to his bullshit. You no longer need to please him, he is unpleasable. Put yourself and DC first, start today.

NicoAndTheNiners Tue 05-Mar-19 06:34:13

When he says you moved so you need to travel tell him that you moved because he left so so he needs to travel. In fact just stop discussing it and let the court tell him.

The court won't think it's in the best interest of a small baby who has been at nursery to get packed into a car and driven for a lengthy journey and then another journey back home.

He can travel, get to yours at 6pm after work and spend an hour with him before bedtime. Problem is I guess that means he's at your house.

The courts may even say weekend visits only while he's so young and there's the distance. Personally I'd be tempted to move even further away, like about a 5 hour drive!

AuntieStella Tue 05-Mar-19 06:47:04

He's telling me that because I moved that I need to travel.

Yes, this is generally correct, whatever the reason for the end of the relationship between the adults.

You have to out the DC, and their right to a relationship with both parents first. No matter how much you dislike the other. No matter how much effort your choice to move puts on you. No matter how tired you are.

I really think the best thing here would be to amend your DC's sleeping patterns to fit the times that work around contact. People change their DC's sleep patterns all the time, when life brings up something that means a change brings benefits to the child. In this case, the benefit is the facilitation of the relationship with his father.

Yes, you may need to move naps gradually - if you AS MN there are lots of threads about how to go about this. It seems daunting because you're tired, fed up and not inclined to facilitate your DC's relationship with his father. I hope you come to realise interfering in that, especially on unnecessary grounds such as nap time, is a far worse thing for DC in the long run.

And you do have to make contact work for all the years of childhood. You might need to rethink living at a distance from DC's father, because the travel issue won't go away, and it was you who chose to move to your current location.

NicoAndTheNiners Tue 05-Mar-19 06:51:51

But maybe the OP had to move, for a job, for family support, etc? All stuff made necessary by the fact the dad left her.

Maybe she couldn't afford to stay in the area he lives in?

Seems so unfair that she would then be punished by having to do all the travelling. Especially if he earns more which if he isn't changing his work hours because of the responsibility of caring for a DC is more likely. So the OP suffers financially because of choosing a job around a child, does the bulk of the child rearing, and has to do the travelling? Seems very wrong.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 05-Mar-19 06:59:23

I read a thread the other day when the OP said she was separating from her DH but couldn't afford to live. It was suggested that she should move to a cheaper area (away from children's father). You really can't win!

OP my 1st and 3rd were both in natural routines by 3mo. Every single time we went somewhere and were back late for any reason they would SCREAM the place down. It was impossible. Never forget the year we went on holiday and were an hour away at 7pm and all hell broke loose for an hour. Didn't stop crying until she went to sleep. Even IF you have to do it, it likely won't work anyway. However it's not in his best interests so very unlikely that it would happen.

Cornettoninja Tue 05-Mar-19 07:03:01

Realistically evening visitations are going to become more and more untenable as your son gets older. Your ex is asking for your son to travel everyday at a time he should be unwinding and getting ready to sleep with baths/stories/whatever. It would be different if he was asking to be part of that routine in ds’s home but he’s not.

You have to stand firm and insist on a visitation schedule appropriate for ds’s age. It’s ur to expect a baby/toddler/school age child to keep up the current pattern. They’ll be exhausted.

quirkychick Tue 05-Mar-19 07:05:13

A 7 to 8pm bedtime is hardly outrageous, though. Most children will be in bed at this time for a long time, my dd is 9yrs old and is in bed by 8pm, so it's a normal pattern. It's not as though the baby is having to be in bed by 5pm, is it. I know several fathers who finish work early on the days they have contact with their children to pick them up from school, as part of their contact. It's important that your baby has contact with its father, but also that it gets enough sleep.

AnotherEmma Tue 05-Mar-19 07:12:00

It's not just bedtime, it's the 2 x 50 minute round trip in the evening. No one should reasonably expect a baby to do that. The father can travel.

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 05-Mar-19 07:29:38

It’s not the bedtime that’s the problem it’s the 2 hours in a car

AuntieStella Tue 05-Mar-19 07:45:27

I took it as read that the OP would have reasons for the move.

There will be a list of pros and cons.

The relative weighing of those pros and cons might change over time. And yes, the parent who moved is typically required to decide the travelling. That is the con. Now she sees what it is really like, then it might be time to reconsider. Perhaps the other pros will still outweigh the driving time.

But the primacy of the DC's right to a relationship with both parents remains. OP needs to find a way to make this work, including her travel. Which she may as well start planning for, because it is so likely it would be ordered if this ever ended up in court.

BertieBotts Tue 05-Mar-19 07:45:54

Babies of 5 months old should ideally be having contact little and often, ie more than once a week, but they also shouldn't be spending too long in car seats, and they don't usually do overnights at such a young age unless the NRP is very established in bedtime and the baby is not breastfed. I wonder if it would help to speak to Women's Aid or the child maintenance service? It would seem reasonable if he travels to you midweek and you travel, or split the travel, at the weekend perhaps?

Oct18mummy Tue 05-Mar-19 07:47:53

Don’t change routine and don’t do all the travelling.

If he wants to see him he will make it happen (change hours, take half day, work lunch) or see him at weekends

AgentJohnson Tue 05-Mar-19 07:57:07

I get your anger and frustration but routines aren’t etched in stone. How do really think that ‘he’s in a routine’ would go down with a judge? Your Ex can be all worst things in the world but that doesn’t make this request unreasonable.

Out of all the battles there will be on the horizon, this probably isn’t one not to pick.

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