to want ExP to make some sort of effort for DS - sorry very very LOOOONG!(7 Posts)
My son is 11, 12 in a few months. I know there are mums (and dads) out there who have struggled for years with far more difficult exes but my ex only became quite so difficult fairly recently and I'm not sure how to handle it. We had shared custody although this has now gone more my way than his so he has him every other weekend, and one, occasionally two overnight stays in the week.
I have always been of the mind not to win battles only to lose the war and have often gritted my teeth through stuff that others would not tolerate, like him and his now wife smoking in front of DS, because I felt a good relationship between the three of us that would be beneficial to DS was more important.
Well despite his involvement it increasingly appears that Ex only makes an effort DS when it suits him. I have no phone number for him, I have to go through his wife. From past experience I do actually genuinely believe he hasn't got a mobile, he just doesnt want to have to deal with anyone contacting him and rather it was filtered through her first. This is up to him but it puts me in a mighty awkward position when there are difficult issues to discuss. Her view is that it's ok, she's his step mum, but it's not when I am making her feel put upon because he's avoiding any actual effort for his own son.
Recent examples include: Not wanting to fit round DS's wishes at Christmas. He was spending the day with me and, for the first time since the split, there was a situation where his grandparents, (my ex MIL and FIL, my parents died a long time ago) and his dad and step mum were all spending the day together without him. Ex and step mum (SM) were going to drop presents off at mine in the morning then go. DS was really upset that he wouldn't see them all together so I asked if he could go round there for a couple of hours mid afternoon (after lunch) instead. You would have thought I'd asked if Nick Griffin could visit. Eventually it was sorted but not without a lot of "well we're trying to do the best for everyone" after I'd pointed out I was acting in the interests of DS. And all this had to be through SM, who basically made out that I was only doing it to see my fairly new OH (not true - he was with his kids).
I got a footy season ticket for myself and DS but with the agreement from Ex that he would take him on his weekends when I wasn't able due to work and pay a fraction for it. I was told by SM after I bought them that this would now not be happening as their weekends would be "taken up by football". The matches were on about half the weekends he had him and even less were on those that I couldn't sort. He did eventually take him to some but only after I said I'd just get another dad we both knew to do it.
I got asked by another parent if DS could go round there on an Ex weekend. Asked Ex - no. Asked if it was possible at a later time, I was told I was putting them in an "awkward position".
Rather than a residential DS's school do a week of trips after SATs, a different one each day. There was only one morning during this week that he was at Ex's and Ex overslept meaning he missed the coach, DS very upset. I was told about this more than an hour later. Ex couldn't take him to the destination (20 miles away) for him to catch up with the trip (DS could then get the coach home) as his car was playing up. So I did. On the way back I noticed Ex's car was obviously not bad enough for him to have taken it out somewhere.
Then on Friday I was due to leave for a weekend away at 8pm. Ex was due to pick up DS on his way back from work at 6.15pm-ish. But DS came home at 3.30pm saying the annual school treasure hunt was on, a big event to which all his friends were going, and the last ever as he is going to high school in September, which ends up at a family pub with a barbecue. So I checked if DS could go with some friends and their parents and phoned Ex at work to ask if he could pick him up either at 8 from mine or from the mystery pub if the treasure hunt ended later than that. Ex lives 5 mins away but he couldn't do it because he had to go supermarket shopping, he didn't know exactly when and where the hunt would end (although this could be easily discovered by phoning DS later and he knew the vicinity and rough time) and that it was late notice. It would have been relatively straight forward and not an awful lot of skin off anyone's nose to pick DS up when needed after shopping but he refused. I explained DS would be very upset but Ex just said "you can't always get what you want". Well, no-one apart from him can it would seem!
More stuff - they took a week off on holiday the week after half term, despite knowing it was half term and said they couldn't help. I am always the one to sort cover for school hols. They are taking two weeks off in the summer but not having DS for any of them. SM told me in advance she would have to pick DS up from a party at 9.30 because Ex would have already had too much to drink by then.
Sigh! Like I said I know this isn't the worst case scenario and ulitmately I have no control over his life or his parenting mode but I just don't want DS to miss out on things that he really shouldn't be missing out on purely because his dad is lazy. I suspect his dad might think I spoil him but he really isn't getting to do any more than any other kids. I step in whenever I can to help, which is taken advantage of I'm sure, but sometimes I just can't. The season ticket thing I have decided to just sort out with another dad, offering him the tickets when Ex can't/won't go if he picks up DS. But occurences like Friday are a bit more difficult. Do you think I should just say to him "DS needs picking up at this time from this place. Check with him the exact details by phone later. Here's another parent's number if you need their help." Or would that mean IABU?!
How miserable for your DS - I am not surprised you are pissed off with the XP who does sound very selfish. I think your best bet probably is to try and get other people to help when necessary. Don't discuss it with XP (or his DW) just say 'This is what's happening.' If they fuss about it, say, 'Well I know your time is precious and I didn't want you to feel inconvenienced.'
Unfortunately selfish people can't be shamed or coerced into changing, you just have to develop ways of doing without their help.
Oh he sounds like a twat to be honest. I think you are giving him far too much choice, and discussing things too much - tell him what times/where/what needs to happen if he says no, then sort it yourself without involving him. I think half the fun for him is in annoying you, via ds - take that power from him!
agree with lovesdog
Inform him where and when to pick up ds and if he can't do it, do as you did before talk about someone else picking him up instead.
My ex refused to 'look after' his dcs until I said I would get '*' to do it and all of a sudden a window appeared and he could do it after all.
Stop giving him too much of an option.
I know it;s hard becasue you feel for your ds by shielding him from your ex behaviour but don't think you can anymore.
Thanks for all your messages, sorry for not replying earlier, I couldn't get on the computer.
Shine on, absolutely it's not nearly the worst, I've always felt very lucky until now in fact but it is new to me so I needed to know how to handle situations that no longer worked with a bit of friendly discussion. And yes I've comforted myself with the fact that DS can soon have a bit more choice.
I just think I needed to hear that my proposed approach of being firm and just telling him (rather than politely and apologetically asking as I have until now) what the arrangements are is not BU. So thanks so much for everyone confirming that. Lovesdogs, I suspect you're right about the annoyance thing, I think he likes to believe he is the morally superior one here and I am being a pain. Sigh.
And Mamas yes you're spot on about the shielding thing, I don't want DS to know how crap his dad is, and I think Ex uses that to his advantage. Solid, thanks, great wording, will use it.
Thanks everyone, it means a lot to offload and also get confirmation that I'm not being a crazy biatch for wanting things to be right for DS and taking the firm approach.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.