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Does this sound reasonable contact for DD and her dad?

(10 Posts)
Licketysplit123 Fri 06-Dec-13 21:57:24

Id really like some unbiased opinions please...

DD has just turned two and her dad and I split two months ago.

I am trying so hard to do things that are absolutely in her best interest, but sometimes it's hard to know to be honest. And then I get myself in a twist, worrying if Im being selfish.

She of course loves spending time with her dad but is very clingy to me. She's always been like that really, although in the last couple of months we have struggled with separation anxiety and it has been a lot worse

Her dad wants her for three nights a week.

Before the split, he was rarely at home. He would probably spend an hour a day with her. Every now and then, they'd have a day together. He is very good with her, but I have been very much primary carer.

Since the split, he has made more of an effort to spend time with her.

My thoughts are this....

There is no way he could arrange his work so he could get into a pattern that would allow three nights a week. It would have to be ad hoc and she would be all over the place.

I think he should see her on a Monday afternoon and a Wednesday afternoon and a night and day over the weekend. Over the next several months building up to making the Wednesday an overnight too.

I just think she needs routine more than anything

if when she gets to school age she wants to see DH more and he can arrange his work to allow this then I will absolutely not stand in her way

What do you think? Fair? Selfish?

We are trying to agree and not go to court

purpleroses Fri 06-Dec-13 22:06:26

I think what you're suggesting sounds the more sensible. You're right that they need routine, and if you've been her primary carer until now she would find being away from you for 3 nights a week a huge change. She'd probably manage a night a week, as you suggest though, with support and routine.

My DD was only 3 months when we split up and she (along with older DS, nearly 4) used to do 24 hours over the weekend, plus a few bits and pieces of time in the week, but always dropping back at my house before bed. I made it clear to my ex that I was up for him having them as much as he wanted of the time when I was working if he wasn't, and for splitting the weekends but that I thought it better for them to have one main home. He was OK about that though and tbh I don't think really wanted them any more than that.

Can you do anything to reassure your ex that you see him as an equal parent, and that you will co-parent your DD, but that you still think it better she spends only 1 night a week away from you for now, whilst she's small?

I do know some families with older children (aged 7+) who do more like a 50-50 split and it works fine for them, but older children have a much better sense of routine, and don't find 3-5 nights at a time away from their primary carer to be such an issue.

Licketysplit123 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:13:40

Thanks for your reply.

Unfortunately, he doesn't think this is reasonable really and that is a reason I posted, because I was doubting myself.

He really dislikes the idea of her having her "home" with me. He wants her to have a home with him also, so it has been difficult persuading him that actually, that isn't in her best interests.

I have been reading a lot about 50/50 and this worries me with her being so little. If she was older and that's what she wanted then fine. But then I started to wonder if that was just my own underlying selfish wishes iykwim.

Do you think you will progress to 50/50 when they are older?

Kyrptonite Fri 06-Dec-13 22:14:54

She can still have a home with him without 50:50. We have DSD EOW but she still calls our house home as she does her mums.

purpleroses Fri 06-Dec-13 22:35:54

They're 10 and 13 now - it was a while back we split up! (10 years almost to the day I think). We've not progressed to 50-50 because nobody is pushing for that. My ex has a new DW who tolerates the DCs but wouldn't like them around any more than currently.

We have made various changes over the years though. Ex now has them alternate weekends and then the Monday night on the other week. That seems to suit all of us.

What Kryptonite says is absolutely right though - I felt like you that they needed one main home and that would be with me - but actually my DCs are quite clear that they have 2 homes. They refuse to call either house as "home" a they tell me that term is confusing for them - they are "mum's house" and "dad's house" but both are very much their homes.

No I don't think you're being selfish in worrying about 50-50 for a 2 year old. If you've hardly ever spent a night away from her, and she's just at the age when you try to settle a child into a nursery and get used to a few hours away from you then 3 nights a time would be too long. I think if your ex seeks legal advice he'd probably be told that was unlikely to be successful for a 2 year old, so might be good to suggest that he does ask around a bit.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 07-Dec-13 10:38:02

There is a middle ground between you agreeing and court - mediation. That might help you to bring up the need for consistency with his work rota without being confrontational. Maybe mediation would help you start from what you are suggesting and create a plan to eventually build to what he would like.
Though don't underestimate the ability to change work to get consistency. I work nights and weekends and prior to our split my rota was all over the place, I have jumped through all sorts of hoops and put myself to an enormous amount of effort so that DD is always with me on the same nights to allow 50:50 with consistency. I do work one night in two and it's worse when someone is on holiday which gives you an idea of how much effort I have to go to.

wallaby73 Sat 14-Dec-13 12:15:29

My Dc's are now 8 and 12, when we seperated they were 6 and 10, so a good deal older than your toddler. We went 50/50 straight away, i feel strongly that they need to feel as "at home" in both our houses, and to be honest, i think unless there are safeguarding issues or one parent just isn't or has never pulled their weight, then it's selfish on the part of the parent wanting "their" home to be the "main" home; this isn't about the kids, it's about the parent's fears and insecurities, as understandable as they are, they want to remain "number 1" and feel something will be lost in 50/50. Why should the other parent's home be relegated? However in your case, your Dd is so young, it sounds like your ex has not played an equal part in her upbringing thus far and you have been the main carer....throw the natural clinginess of a 2 yr old into the mix, i think your suggestion is very reasonable, sounds like your ex is reacting based on fear of being relegated to a very part time father, rather than truly seeing what's best for his very young dd. All the best x

Minime85 Sun 15-Dec-13 07:39:43

I think it sounds reasonable given her age, lack of routine that could be offered and previous caring arrangement. u said too that the plan is to build it up.

my eldest dd (8) isn't ready to stay at her dad's and neither of us is pushing it. but trying to build up contact as u suggest to help her fears and insecurities.

as much as I would have them all the time I think its important to keep a strong relationship with dad. his job doesn't allow any routine at all.

1983mummy Mon 23-Dec-13 18:07:41

My dd is 2. She stays at her dads on a Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday night. He is living with family who have her waiting for him when gets back from work and then he drops her off with me Thursday morning. He then collects sat lunchtime and drops her off at nursery on a Monday.

It works for us.

1983mummy Mon 23-Dec-13 18:09:08

Meant to add that when we were together my ex was a useless father but I gave him the benefit of the doubt (we split when she was 1) and he is actually an amazing father now. He appreciates how difficult it is and enjoys his time with her grin

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