Christmas arrangements - please hrlp(11 Posts)
My husband and I had our decree nisi back in the summer and are working through final points in order to apply for absolute. House is nearly sold, we've been living together for over a year since we agreed to separate and things are unbearable. It was supposed to have been a mutual decision but has turned into him as the victim, I am the one who has ruined everything and I am a dreadful mother. We haven't agreed money split yet but I have agreed to give him more equity as I earn more. This is just to give background.
He wants holiday arrangements all documented as he says he doesn't trust me to be reasonable. We are going to have the children 50/50 and split our weeks every week.
He wants us to alternate Christmas so one parent would have the kids (6 and 3) from 24 until 28th Dec i.e. The whole Christmas period. I have given in on a lot (or so it feels) but can't bear the thought of not seeing them at all during this time. They're still really little and I don't want to miss it all or not be there to share things. I know things have to change. I said could I have them 23-25th and I would drive them Christmas morning to wherever he is (perhaps 1.5hrs away with family) and he could have them next few days, so we all get a bit of the Christmas magic. He says this is unfair on them and I'm just making it all about me. We have had six sessions of mediation and I have said I'm not paying for any more (£700 a go). Please share what you do, I am open to compromise, I'd just like some ideas. Although doing Christmas together is not an option for me. We did that last year and it was very hard. Thank you.
So I went straight for the 24-28th and 29-2nd as I work alternate years.
The years I don't have DD for actual Christmas we have it on another day this year will be 29th December. DD loves this as she gets two christmases and actually it works really well.
My ex came to court with a similar proposal (where he would have dc this year) which was entirely suited to his requirements and didn't take dc into account at all. Personally I think dc need time with each parent over the key dates, like you. That is what is fair for them. How sad for them to go through the whole of Christmas without spending time with their mum. Court decided dc would be with me on Christmas Day and agreed to my proposal for sharing time over the holiday because they could see ex was only interested in himself.
I can see how it works for people like Lonecat who have to work, but ask your ex why he thinks not seeing you over Christmas would be good for the dc. Is he proposing that this year they are with you? If he's proposing they are with him be really careful as he'll change his mind next year when they are supposed to be with you.
It's not fair on the kids to ferry them around on Christmas Day just so that both parents get to see them.
Far better that they have two stress free Christmases one with their dad (which this year happens to be on the day itself) and another with you the day that you collect them. You can make it a bit different from usual (Santa left this clue... what do you think it means? And you're off on a treasure hunt finding little treats in the house). You can have family over and make it seem like Christmas.
My DP and I have never had his children on Christmas Day (which I think is very sad for everyone) but rather than cause stress to the children, at an already stressful time of year, we have an alternative family Christmas as soon after the day as we can. It's fairer on the kids.
Sorry hat it's not what you want to hear. They're little enough to think that two christmases are magical!
Totally understand how daunting spending Christmas without your little ones sounds. My dcs are a similar age to yours and it'll potentially be my first Christmas without them (if my stbxh actually agrees to anything I propose). As awful as the thought of not seeing them at Christmas sounds, I know I'll spend next Xmas with them, and as others say, who's to say we can't celebrate when they get back from their time with their dad. By the way, I love the idea of a treasure hunt when they get back! I'm having a horrid time with my stbxh who's also refusing to move out, has been telling lie after lie about me. I'm quickly learning to pick my battles because the more they get you triggered, the more they cherish their impact/control. Hang in there and know you're not alone x
I think a better compromise would be a shorter period but no driving anywhere on Christmas Day. So perhaps one parent has until 3pm on Christmas Eve and the other has them until 3pm on Boxing Day and then switch over. Four days with one period seems unnecessary but driving 1.5 hours on Christmas Day itself doesn't sound child focused either.
That said - it really doesn't matter which day you celebrate it. Last year we had to do our Christmas Day almost a week early for various reasons. It was just as good as any other year.
Thanks everyone for your kind and thoughtful replies. There's no easy answer, am finding it hard going this week with house exchange imminent and him threatening not to release proceeds. Am sure things will be easier once we're in separate houses.
I actively encouraged my ex to have the children the first Christmas because they saw a lot less of him the rest of the time and I knew his family would make a big effort to make it fun for them, whereas I was a wreck and needed a few days to myself. It worked. I went to have Christmas dinner with friends and spent the rest of the time volunteering and catching up with myself.
Sadly I know lots of dad's who never see their kids at Christmas which seems terribly unfair on the children.
Oh and I meant to say that I feel for you living in the same house. I had the same experience - it was a mutual decision at the start but by God it was acrimonious by the time he left. Worst few months of my life.
I have opposite issue. My soon to be ex has decided to go abroad with his new gf for whole of Xmas period, Christmas eve until mid jan and kids are feeling abandoned and unloved. I'm furious but he's been so distant with them since leaving that im scared to say anything and risk pushing him further away from them. I've planned lots for kids and me to keep them busy but I'm furious that he hasn't seen how much he's upsetting them.
Last year when the divorce was still going through and I was in the family home he came over at 6am and shared the morning (v uncomfortable) he then had them from 26th.
This year at my request he will pick them up at 11am on Xmas day. They wanted to wake up Xmas morning in their own beds and as he has never done a Xmas stocking/gift for them I wasn't letting him screw up the morning for them. I will collect them late on the 26th (we will have our Xmas dinner then!). This is made easier by the fact he lives a 2 min walk from me now (this is not generally a good thing....!). My DC are 9,14 and 18 so very definite on what they want from this.
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