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Weekdays/weekends/holidays - how to split time with DC best?

(14 Posts)
misscph1973 Tue 23-Jan-18 11:15:35

My STBXH moved out 2 weeks ago. We have been working very hard on keeping it amicable and mostly we succeed. DC are 10 and 13.

We agreed that I was to be resident parent and STBXH moved 12 miles away from DC's school and he doesn't drive, so overnight stays on school nights are not an option. So far he has had them the last 2 weekends from Friday after school to Sunday late afternoon. I drive DC over on Friday and we all have dinner together and then I pick them up Sunday. I also bring them over on Wednesdays after school where again we have all have dinner together and then I take DC home.

But I am beginning to regret this arrangement as I would quite like to see my DC in the weekend as well. We haven't as yet made firm arrangements about holidays other than we agreed that we can each take them away for 2 weeks in the summer holidays and that holidays generally should be split more or less down the middle.

I asked STBXH over the phone Saturday night if I could have DC a weekend. He got very defensive and was very threatening. After the phone call DC both texted me that I should probably have asked this before STBXH had started drinking (he has form for drinking too much but that's another story). So I really hope that the way he spoke to me was because had had a drink. I decided to leave it at that for the moment, we are both trying to find our feet in the new arrangement, and of course I am happy that he wants to see the DC - but I feel that I am missing out and also that the DC are missing out (I do realise that one the unfortunate consequences of splitting up is that you don't get to see your DC as much).

What I am trying to work out is how I can find a solution that is good for everybody. I've been looking at the school holidays calendar and there are holidays in all months apart from June, so I am guessing that I will get to see my DC enough even if I give up weekends. But still. It doesn't seem fair and not in the best interest of the children. I am thinking perhaps I can suggest that every other weekend DC spend Friday night with me and then I drive them to STBXH Saturday morning.

MrsBertBibby Tue 23-Jan-18 19:25:40

It isn't fair. Every other weekend, or weekends shared. At their age and with him not driving I would suggest the first.

He was drunk enough to get shitty while the kids were with him? Nice.

Is the not driving down to the booze.

"Amicable" is not the same as "giving him whatever he wants because he's an aggressive drunk".

misscph1973 Tue 23-Jan-18 20:17:25

MrsBertBibby, thanks for your thoughts, I think you are right, it's not fair. I think he got defensive and threatening because he, like me, misses the DC when he is not with them. But of course there are reasons that I told him it was over, and the drinking is one of many.

The not driving is down to his poor eyesight, he's almost blind. Over the years I have let him get away with far too much because of his eyesight. I am beginning to think that him having the DC all weekends is another example of me letting him get away with what he wants. I always try to see things from his perspective, but I can't remember him ever doing the same for me.

I am still thinking about this. First of all I want to make sure that the DC are okay. And I do not want them hearing us arguing again. So I am going to give it some time and really think it through plus let the dust settle.

MrsBertBibby Tue 23-Jan-18 20:26:37

Good luck.

user1493413286 Tue 23-Jan-18 20:34:21

I think every other weekend then holidays in half as much as possible with the Wednesday night each week if it can be maintained.
It’s not fair that you’re doing all the hard work in the week of the school routine then not getting to enjoy time with them at the weekends. Also at some point your children will want to be seeing their friends regularly at the weekends so you’ll both have to share in that way too.

misscph1973 Tue 23-Jan-18 21:07:27

Thanks, *MrsBertBitty", I think I am going to need it!

user, thanks. I am really trying to see beyond me missing my DC at the weekend. I think I would also miss them in the week if the situation was reversed. Because of my STBXH's eyesight (disability, really) it's never going to be fair on me, I will always be doing the hard work, but I guess I prefer that to being almost blind. I guess I should have put the eyesight problem in my opening post, not sure why I didn't. I feel a bit bad about that now! I think I was mainly thinking of how unfair the current arrangement feels to me.

user1493413286 Wed 24-Jan-18 07:40:07

I think though in seeing beyond you missing your children, there’s also the fact they’ll miss not seeing you at the weekends as then they’re missing out on their quality time with you.

misscph1973 Wed 24-Jan-18 09:10:13

Yes, there is that. It is becoming more and more clear to me that although we are now separated, I am actually continuing the dynamic in the marriage - which is letting STBXH put his needs above everybody elses. I was the one who instigated the breakup, so I have a lot of guilt over that.

I had really hoped that we could keep it amicable and avoid the courts. I have given up yet, but I am already beginning to see that as a possibility now.

FredaNerkk Sun 28-Jan-18 01:33:40

Are you a full time SAHM? or do you work?
If you are working, especially if you are working FT, you have a strong case for EOW. If he and the children are currently used to every weekend with him you could introduce the change gradually.
If you don't arrange to spend weekend time with your kids, you end up doing all the grunt work, and you are just the person who nags the kids to 'get ready', 'do this', 'do that'.
Immediately after separation, when you are emotionally exhausted, it can be a relief to have a break from parenting. But in the long run, spending time together on the weekends will be really important for you and your kids.
Plus - soon, if not already, your children are at an age where they will want the chance to spend weekends at their regular weekday home so that they can catch up with friends.

misscph1973 Sun 28-Jan-18 09:40:56

Hi Freda, I work full time, but I am self-employed and work from home so I mainly work school hours. So I guess I have the best of both worlds, I see my DC during the week as much as a SAHM.

At the moment it is actually very nice to have the weekends on my own, catching up on work and housework and seeing friends. I think from my STBXH he enjoys having the DC all weekend. But I think long term this is not going to work. I do think that it will be more "tactical" from my perspective if I just let this happen naturally, ie. I wait until STBXH finds that he would like some weekends on his own. He has already started talking about finding activities he can send them to without him and inviting me to come for family dinner this Saturday (I declined), so I don't think it will be long before I get what I want with very little effort. This way I should be able to avoid any further conflict between me and STBXH arising from me asking to see DC in the weekend. I really want to avoid conflict as the results have immediate effect on my DCs behaviour and my own mood.

I am picking them up this afternoon and we have nice dinner and a film planned for Sunday evening, can't wait!

Also I have contacted a counsellor I saw last summer (really helped me to clear my head and find my priorities), I could do with the support, and I start weekly sessions next week.

FredaNerkk Sun 28-Jan-18 15:10:48

Other people need to be careful setting up a status quo that they're not happy with in the mid- or long-term. Varying the status quo can be difficult if the other parent disagrees.

But fortunately your children are of an age where they will be able to express their views and have them given a lot of weight. So in due course, if they would like more leisure time with you or their friends, they will be able to say so and will be listened to by a court if it has to go that far.

Just a couple of things to watch out for:
1) Are your children confident enough to speak up for what they want, and to disagree with their DF? ;

2) Is there a risk that your children might see it as their duty now that you and DF have separated to spend every weekend with their DF to help him, and/or to keep him company? Might they worry about him being the underdog who needs protecting, including at their own expense? Is he the sort of person to encourage this kind of thinking?

misscph1973 Sun 28-Jan-18 21:24:19

I got the DC home and I had to peel them off the ceiling, they were such hard work - like the previous weekends. DD had broken her glasses and they were bickering all through dinner.They went to bed ok. I think they were exhausted from late nights and had spent far too much time together. STBXH also admitted to falling asleep as soon as they had sat down to watch a film Saturday night - he had had too much to drink. He did agree that he needs to knock that on the head, but who knows.

DC find it very hard to go from being with their dad to being with me. Unfortunately we have very different parenting styles, and we have had a lot of conflict over that through the years. STBXH is old fashioned and I am permissive. We have both really tried to agree about parenting, but with no succes. It must be confusing for the DC.

No, I don't think that DC would say to their dad that they wanted to be with me. He doesn't exactly encourage them to tell him how they feel. They would tell me, I hope. But I also think that in a divorce kids are worried about abandoning the other parent. He's no underdog, but he does put his own needs first. He has just hired a cleaner and he's away on business mid week, so he's fine, he doesn't need that much help, which I keep reminding the DC about, I would hate it if they felt responsible for him. I am pretty sure they are not as worried about him as they were to begin with. He's very resourceful and will find a way.

I still think that I would do best if I wait it out. He has a habit of changing his mind about just about everything. And he will resist most requests I make unless they are very obviously in his favour.

I actually had a great weekend, I was on a course all Saturday (nutrition, a big interest of mine) and I worked Sunday (good work, I enjoyed it). So there is that as well, I don't mind it too much personally, I am not feeling sorry for myself, but I still think that both myself and DC are missing out.

Anyway, DC have a couple of Saturday events coming up that I will take them to as I drive. Hopefully STBXH will agree that they should go. I can't imagine he wouldn't. I'm hoping he will enjoy the down time. I'm sure the weekends are quite intense, he's is a 2 bed flat (a nice, spacious one, but still).

Thanks for bringing those aspects to my attention, Freda, they are definitely worth considering.

misscph1973 Tue 30-Jan-18 11:22:13

I've just had a good chat to STBXH about working more on DC getting better sleep and more outdoor time/exercise while they are at his, and the conversation naturally progressed to him saying that they should not stay all weekends with him going forward!

We have not decided on any details yet, we will tweak as we go ahead, but it's such a relief that at least in principle I will get a fairer distribution of weekdays/weekends.

FredaNerkk Thu 01-Feb-18 14:13:44

yay! Your intuition was right.

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