Finding boundaries with other parents(48 Posts)
Im in a very frustrating position with my daughters best friends parents who are separated. My daughter and her friend are very very close and have regular play dates and sleep overs which always seem to leave me feeling like I am the one doing the running around.
All of the play dates rotate around weekends with my daughters friends Dad at his house or at ours.
I have had issues with sharing pick ups and drop offs. Drop offs on the Dads side have happened way past 9.30 pm at times (our kids are only 8) and have had to do a lot of the runs myself both ways.
Im a single parent which means I do have to really do it all myself!
The Mum has never offered a play date - even when there have been times i have struggled with child care and she has been aware of it. She doesn't work and I work for myself full time.
The most recent sleep over organised at ours with the Dad was cancelled via her daughter informing us her Mum wouldn't allow her.
I intervened and asked if there was a problem. The girls were really looking forward to it.
We worked it out and she allowed her daughter to stay.
It's getting really frustrating though as my daughter and I do a lot of stuff together and we invite her friend out with us a lot.
She is hardly ever allowed to come if its away from the our house and this makes me feel like I am being judged badly in some way.
Stuff the Mum has refused to ;
Trick or treating - too dangerous
Fireworks night - too dangerous
A day trip to the sea side (1.5 hours away) - Motorways too dangerous
camping - never even got a response to this.
To top it off - the Mum doesn't drive so I am expected to do all drop off and pick ups (again). I wouldn't mind but she never even offers to jump on a bus and do a run. She just expects me to do it. On top of that she nearly always states the time as she is either going out or coming back late.
I really feel like picking up late or just saying no to a drop back and letting her work it out for once.
I know if sounds mean but Im trying to work out if I was firm but fair about it - Whether I would be maintaining my own healthy boundaries rather than being selfish.
Has anyone has similar experiences?
I think I'd be tempted to encourage my DDs friendships with other children. They sound like hard work - especially the mum
You are piggy in the middle between mum and dad. I'd cool it tbh, the number of playdates to me sound really ott.
At 8 I think it’s fine that she doesn’t feel comfortable with long trips or camping. And maybe she wants time just with her daughter, especially if she’s sharing care with the dad? I think she’s telling you the play dates are too much for her and maybe drop the intensity? Invite other friends or enjoy some time just the two of you?
The Mum has never offered a play date - even when there have been times i have struggled with child care and she has been aware of it. She doesn't work and I work for myself full time
Your childcare issues are not her problem. It seems they are not as bothered about hosting as you are. The best thing you can do is stop the play dates or if you do continue, then stop the expectation that they should reciprocate.
Also she won’t want her whole weekend to revolve around a drop off time. Especially if she’s on the bus which can take ages, it is likely to mean she can’t go out all day if the time isn’t convenient for her.
I’d cool it off too. Facilitating a friendship like that has to work both ways, and it clearly isn’t. If you don’t want to cool it off because of the kids, then I think you have to accept things the way they are and suck it up. I’m not saying they’re right, far from it, but you won’t change their behaviour and it’s pointless to try.
It seems that you are doing all of the instigating. Maybe they don’t really want her to do any of these things?
She might be depressed, broke and fed up of you organising all the fun stuff she'd like to do with her own kid. She might not be up to looking after your kid.
Are you actually friends with her?
That’s sounds like a lot of play dates for 8yo’s. I wouldn’t be keen for my DC to be going away camping or long journeys without me or close family at age 8.
Why not try to cool it down a bit and spend some time with your daughter / other friends / family and mix it up a bit. It sounds very intense to be honest.
I’d take the signals that you’re getting and back off a bit, it sounds like a very intense situation and a lot of faffing around! If I was sharing care with my ex partner, I’d limit the amount of weekend play dates too!
Thanks for your responses.
Maybe Im being a bit uptight.
To be honest its not me that organises most of the play dates. I have tried to cool it down but the invites keep happening.
As far as childcare is concerned. I can count on one hand the times I have actually asked for a favour. I don't do it as a rule.
Sometimes its nice to know that there are people who have your back in an emergency. I don't think there's anything wrong with that?
I appreciate the feedback.
My ds has a friend like you. It’s so draining. We have other friends and family we want to see and if this girl alternates weekends with each parent, maybe they don’t want to spend their precious limited family time with you all the time. It sounds way too much.
To be honest its not me that organises most of the play dates. I have tried to cool it down but the invites keep happening.
So, the mum has never invited your child for a play date and you haven’t organised most of them-it must therefore be the dad that’s doing the organising?
Is that what he wants, not the mum?
If you aren’t orhabibg most of them, and neither is mum, it must be dad? In which case why are you getting frustrated at mum for not doing more?
I think with playdates you should only do the amount you feel comfortable with, without any expectatation of reciprocation.
If your kids get on then keep them going but scale down a bit.
Is the dad organising stuff for the kids on days when the mum has her?
I can see why the mum doesn’t want any of this! I don’t see why you’re cross with her though.
I would not have let my 8yo did do any of the things you listed without me.
Thanks so much for everyone's diplomatic feedback!
I haven't explained the nuances which are many to this situation.
I guess all I was trying to share was experiences that may leave you feeling as though the balance isn't there.
Comments such as - You sound exhausting - and - I have a friend like you- are not really helpful but I have to respect that this game of parenting is a complicated thing and everyone has very strong opinions on what they think is right or wrong.
You sound a little full on to be honest. 8 is very young for a lot of the activities you mentioned. Maybe the other mum likes to spend family time with her daughter at halloween, new yrs. Etc if that is when the fire works are on.
So the little friend has a lot of sleepovers at yours during Dad’s contact time? I’d be a bit pissed off with that if I was the mum.
So the other parent(s) are organizing things and you're simply falling into their suggestions? Well, then stop. If the dad organizes something and you don't want to pick up/drop off or the times are too late for you, then simply say 'Sorry, I can't do <whatever> at that time'. It will be up to him to come up with another plan. As far a the mum goes, if you feel she isn't doing her 'fair share' of planning or hosting, then stop organizing things when the child is with the mother. If you plan something and they say they can't drop the child or pick her up say "Oh that's too bad, well, we'll have to plan something for another time then".
You're creating your own problems.
Why are they not helpful? We’re trying to show you how you’re coming across to the mum and why she might not be as keen as you.
I haven't explained myself or the situation very well.
The way everyone seems to be reading this is mislead. Apologies - I maybe should have explained a bit more.
But I won't now as I don't really feel like being annihilated on a Friday night!
I would encourage other friendships also. You will be shocked how children drop their ‘best friend’ for other friends from this age onwards. I have also found that as some girls get older they fall out so easily. If they have more friends they benefit in these situations
My DD's dad deals with all her playdates due to my mental health (we're separated), i can't facilitate someone else's child at my house but he's happy to do so at his. I appreciate this massively because it means she gets a "normal" childhood and isn't too restricted by me. Personally i don't contact the friends parents at all and when they do contact me i refer them to DD's dad.
I also don't believe in trick or treating as i see it as begging but he thinks it's fine. So she doesn't do it at mine but can with him (because i respect his right to decide that).
Could be a similar situation?
You wouldn't say that if you knew the real story, but I'm not going to tell you what that is!
My daughter has a friend like this. Started off with play dates. Then it was ‘can I just pop her into yours while I go off and do...’ The father was always suggesting sleepovers which set my spider senses to tingle. It was overwhelming and stifling. The little girl has huge issues with anxiety that stem from the parenting and can be a toxic influence trying to make the friendship exclusive. As a result I have pulled back massively from the friendship.
If I was that mum ,I’d be finding you very pushy and wishing you would back of..if she said no to a sleepover ,why didn’t you just respect that..instead of pushing till you got your own way...have you no life of your own that you have to so involved with this girls...you are way over the top pushy wise
Sorry you're getting roasted
You don't need that
I'd personally stop putting yourself out and cool off that friendship x
Is he palming his daughter off during his contact time or making the arrangements for hers?
I wouldn't be wanting my 8 year old out as much as you are implying, especially off to beaches etc etc.
You seem on one hand annoyed that they're not doing enough, but equally annoyed they won't let you do more with her?
How far away is she? I'd drive to save them a bus collection.
'Comments such as - You sound exhausting - and - I have a friend like you- are not really helpful'
And it's bloody boring to read the same comments over and over again on every thread. Bit of variety please people.
@GPatz you are sooooo right. Your comment, on the other hand, is super helpful!
I am sorry that the OP. Feels upset. But I don't agree that she is being roasted. She gave a lengthy post and people are giving their opinions. Mainly to calm the friendship if it is one sided. I think it is fair to point out to her that her post does sound like she is the one pushing to do things all of the time. It is fair that a lot of parents would not be happy with some of the activities. The Original Poster does not like anyone with an opposing view though and is upset. By posting a question in the 1st place means taking on all points of view. I don't see that as being roasted.
Now if it is the case that the Dad is using you for child care when he should be with his daughter then that is a big no, no.
You sound heavily invested in your child’s friendship OP. I also wonder if she is an only child.
Some people are just not that invested and can be a bit flakey when it comes to organising play dates.
In general I wouldn’t invite someone’s DC out unless I was prepared to do the collecting and drop off. I also would offer but I do drive and have DH on hand.
A couple of our DC’s friends parents seem to want my DC to do everything with them. I limit this. Mainly because I am not in the position to return the favour. Camping would be a big no for me if I was not in a position to pay my child’s way.
My DC have plenty of experiences but we do not always see the need to do them with friends. I think you should back off and encourage other friendships. There are parents like you that enjoy getting the children together often and will return the offers.
You don’t have to organise so many play dates and sleepovers. Perhaps dial it back a bit to a sleepover once a month.
Mum sounds like she’s struggling. And each to their own. You’ve got your ways. She’s got hers. You’re both different.
Well, you are a lot more keen than them to make the daughters friendship happen.
You don't have to have her over all the time
It's your choice. So yeah, you drive
If not, well, then the playdate won't happen (fair enough imo)
Yabu to expect the other parents to be just like you
Some parents find looking after their child a lot easier if they have a friend over. It sounds like the dad might be one of those, and you might also be? Its not wrong, but not everyone feels the same way.
DS2's friend's mother (also my friend) rarely has a day without something specidic organised for her DS, especially in school holidays, whereas i only organise a few things for my DSs. They're quite happy having time to mooch at home, and occupying themselves. Her DS, with only a much younger sibling gets bored easily and moans. My friend, his DM, also feels strongly about him doing worthwhile, interesting things. I'm more chilled about it.
But she has a network of people to organise things with, i have fewer. So it balances out for us. But it sounds like your DD is in quite an exclusive friendship. You perhaps need to expand this, especially if her friend's 2 parents have very different expectations.
It's all a bit confusing. Is your child an only child? If it's not you and not the mother doing the asking is it the father? Becuase he has no right organising things when it's the mother's turn to have her daughter (if I've read this correctly).
It's clear you think you're being a nice parent by doing this but you really are doing too much. They are 8. They don't need to be with each other all the time. I certainly wouldn't be allowing my 8 year old away that often. It sounds suffocating tbh. Plus you run the risk of them seeing eachother so much that they'll either become too dependant on eachother with isn't good or they'll fall out.
Back off a bit.
And if I'm reading this correctly I don't blame the mother at all. Having to share her child with the dad is already limiting her time. She shouldn't have to either not see her as she's with you or have things set in stone with you. Maybe she wants a last weekend with her or the chance to be spontaneous.
It reads to me that you really do need to back off for everyone's sake.
Have you considered inviting your daughters friends mum along with her for tea/a movie evening/ picnic etc (I would stick to cheap or free things in case finances would be a problem for paid for activities) if she accepts she may enjoy having a chat and getting to know you while the girls play. Perhaps she would be up for the beach/camping if she came along. Maybe not but get to know her and you will find out.
As she doesn't drive i think you need to accept that you will be doing the running around and only arrange something when you can be bothered to do this. If you two don't know each other well I can understand why she doesn't offer childcare - I wouldn't get involved with someone's childcare unless I knew them well. If you get to know each other she might offer help when needed.
If I understand correctly that sometimes dad arranged sleepover at your but doesn't drop off until 9:30 at night just say when you are arranging it "that's too late for us - we'll leave it for another time when you are free".
My son had a best friend who's parents would hardly ever drop off/pick their son up. He was always over here, and in holidays could be here 4 nights in a row. I would feed him, take him out on day trips etc and it was never reciprocated.They had a car.
I started off resenting their selfishness, then after thinking logically, I realised that my son and his friend enjoyed this time, and that if I refused to be as accommodating, rather than force the parents to reciprocate, it would just stop as they were so lazy and disinterested.
So I carried on because I was doing it for my son and friend, not for their benefit. If it was the only way their friendship could continue in this way, so be it.
Maybe organize to meet out for the girls to go to the movies that way you shouldn’t have to worry about the other girl’s transport
Oh sleepovers do my head in. I'd put in some boundaries or stop doing them for a bit. It's hard especially when you want your dd to have friends.
I'm not sure I've understood. It's the dad who organises all these playdates and they playdates are during his contact time, is that right? So not really the mom's fault about transport and dropoffs, then? Is it possible that mom also thinks her daughter should be spending time with her dad during his contact time, rather than with you and your DD?
Also, and this is completely irrelevant, but I wouldn't let my kids do bonfire, trick or treating, day trips to seaside, camping etc without me. I'm sure you're lovely and that your DD and her friend have a great time together - but at 8 years old I'd like my kids to do that kind of special event fun stuff with their own family, not someone else's.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.