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to expect ex partner to be somewhat flexible about looking after DD? (Need some honest advice!)

(12 Posts)
MusicalMummyJules Mon 21-Sep-09 12:02:49

Hey Guys

Please be honest as the situation is slowly driving me crazy!

Okay so I'm currently pregnant with my new DP and have a DD who is 7 from a previous relationship - DD's father and I split up in 2006. Access has always been given to him and a little while into the separation he decided that he was able to look after her one night and roughly half the day. Over the last 3 and a bit years, he has only looked after for more than one night on 2 occasions which a big deal was made of.

Sometimes he can be reasonable and sometimes I ask him if he can have her on a Saturday night instead of a Friday and he agrees. He agreed that he could look after her next Saturday as I have some work on in the evening but at the weekend turnt around and said that he was going back to the agreement of only looking after her on Fridays and this is not debatable as he feel's she needs more stability and he won't look after her ever on a different night or for more than one night.

I think he behaves this way because he likes to still be able to have a little bit of control over me.

I really struggle for babysitters and don't want to have to ask DP ALL the time or one of the only friends who is able to.

He also doesn't seem to be interested in her education and she constantly comes back to me with not having her hair brushed from the previous morning, not brushing her teeth and telling me all the junk food she has had - I know these aren't big issues but on top of always being criticised that I am a bad parent and that she lacks stability I feel it's a bit of a kick in the teeth as it were!

Would love to hear your opinions.

Jules

colditz Mon 21-Sep-09 12:08:13

I don't think there''s anything you can do about this, sorry.Unfortunately, in this country men are pretty much free to walk out of their child's life if and when they feel like it, and to have as much contact of whatever poor quality they deem necessary.

You could probably take it to court and make him 'take' one weekend in two, but whether he would actually arrive to collect her, or keep her for the entire weekend is an entirely different matter. He's free to fuck about as much as he likes.

Irritating, isn't it?

On the subject of your daughter's hygiene, at 7 she's old enough to take responsibility for her own teeth and hair, and the diet thing won't hurt for one night a week.

If I were you I'd try to book all social occasions for a Friday night - and I sympathise with you, because I had to stop my ex having more than 24 hours access at a time, because he couldn't cope[pathetic]

2rebecca Mon 21-Sep-09 15:27:57

I don't think you can force him to do more nights. If you sometimes want to go out on Saturdays you may need to look for a paid babysitter. You could suggest alternate weekends Fri and Sat instead of every Friday, but if he refuses you're probably stuck with fridays if that's what was originally agreed and he's not keen to change.
I doubt it's anything to do with control, at least it sounds like he sticks to having her 1 night a week so he's not controlling anything.
Most separated parents have a fairly rigid access arrangement and don't do adhoc childminding unless emergency.

overmydeadbody Mon 21-Sep-09 15:35:25

YANBU to expect your DD's fther to be more flexible, but at the same time as others have said there isn't much you can do about it really, as annoyig as it is.

A 7yr old should be able to brush her own hair and teeth if her father isn't doing it for her.

You could suggest, and discuss between the three of you (you, DD and ex) changing the arrangements to every other weekend for two nights, instead of every friday?

addictedtomn Mon 21-Sep-09 15:46:40

yanbu - however my advice would be to smile sweetly and say ok - show him that he has got no controll over you or your plans. let him be the cunt bag and when your dd is older she will realise.

then you can vent all you like on here or to your dp!

can i just say as a child who had issues with her parent i would be carefull about what is said in frount of her - for example ex takeing her 2 nights every other week or even 2 nights a week could come accross as 'mummy doesnt want me around with hew partner'

i am NOT saying that will happen i'm just saying thats what happand to me - of cours now i see what my mum put up with i have the upmost respect for her and he (who is my real dad but not my dad) is a cunt

Stephief Tue 22-Sep-09 21:53:37

Hi,
I dont think it is unreasonable. For some reason some --useless waste of space-- parents think when they seperate from their partner, they seperate from their responsibilities as a parent also. Life isnt simple and straightforward, and so unless there is a genuine reason (such as work or a regular commitment) that prevents them from looking after THEIR child, of course they should be willing to help with the childcare as and when needed. In fact it shouldnt even be considered as being childcare, but being a parent.
Of course there are parents who use their kids against one another, but you dont seem like this kind of person. I think he is being very unreasonable.

mmrred Tue 22-Sep-09 22:10:14

I don't think he's being totally unreasonable to want to be able to plan things in advance - I see lots of threads on here from Mums saying they want XP's to commit to a routine. Having a bit of control over his own life eg being able to make arrangements for himself, and for him and DD isn't the same as wanting to control you, is it?

Suppose it depends on how many times you change it and how much notice you give. She probably does need to know when she will see Daddy - my DSS count the sleeps, and he is the same age.

I'm sure one night of junk food won't harm her and having a new sibling will be a huge change - I think I'd be wanting her to have stability, too. If you've got work on, couldn't DP look after her?

2rebecca Tue 22-Sep-09 23:00:23

There is a difference between childcare as and when needed and childcare to suit the other parent's social life and being expected to change your plans because the other parent wants to go down the pub.
Many divorced parents don't live that near one another. My ex and I agree stuff in advance and I would never ring him up just because I fancy going to the pub. If one of us isn't happy with the access agreements we'd sit and discuss them and do a big change eg change which nights each of us has. You could ask him to have his son 1 night or evening during the week as well if it fits in with other stuff, also I would have thought having his son all day Saturday would make more sense rather than half the day as you can do more in a whole day, but I think if he has his son every Friday then he may have other stuff planned for Saturday. On the weekends I have my kids I would never expect my husband to do adhoc childminding to suit my social life.
It is childcare if the only reason the other parent wants you to have the children is because they want a night on the tiles. That is using you as a babysitter rather than paying someone to do it. It has nothing to do with you seeing more of the kids because the kids want it or to have quality time with them as it sounds like most of the time they'd be asleep.
I never describe looking after my kids as babysitting, but if m,y husband wanted to keep changing round when I saw the kids to suit his social life I would feel used, and feel this wasn't being done for the kids' benefit. Kids do like some routine and stability.

edd021208 Wed 23-Sep-09 10:22:40

the op has said she wanted her ex to mind the child on saturday due to work. Its really strange that other posters start talking about 'down the pub' 'night on the tiles' and so on. Only the OP can decide whether it is a 'control' issue going on her past experience, but it also sounds like only she can decide whether it is unreasonable. Regarding the hair brushing and so on - maybe a 7 year old should be expected to look after herself but it might just feel that the ex isn't really 'parenting' as such, which is a whole big other issue altogether...

mmrred Thu 24-Sep-09 00:24:02

Hmm...but if she could decide whether or not it was reasonable, she wouldn't have posted on the internet starting with 'please be honest...' now would she?

Sometimes we get into behaviours that, when challenged, are difficult to justify. I think it is brilliant that OP has sought genuine opinions here, and I can't see that pedantically picking over choices of phrase from people is particularly helpful.

Suggesting that the father in this scenario isn't parenting adequately is possibly connected to your own agenda/experience? As I think you wouldn't have to go far to find a woman happily married to a man who isn't very good at getting the kids to brush their teeth/hair/clean up their toys...it's not really a 'big issue' compared to, say, stability of contact arrangements for a child coping with separated parenting.

thirtypence Thu 24-Sep-09 00:37:34

You could only expect it if he asks to change the day to suit his work sometimes.

edd021208 Thu 24-Sep-09 08:36:21

It isn't pedantic, it is unhelpful that people let their imaginations run away with them and suggest in moralising tones that the op was going out on the tear when in fact she wants the dh to mind his child due to her having to work.
The reference to parenting was as much to do with the op saying her ex wasn't interested in the child's education

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