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Text contact about the children.

(18 Posts)
Bubblebrush Fri 21-Jun-19 08:17:58

STBXH left 4 months ago. Horrible circumstances - lots of upset etc. We seem to be heading towards him having our two children Saturday 10am to Sunday 3pm every other weekend. I would like it to be more but that may come in time. He is adamant he cannot possibly have them during the working week.

I would like to hear views on how much, and the nature of, contact resident parents here have with the non resident parent during the week. I am not someone who is glued to the phone but STBXH sends regular simple "how are the children?" messages. That's not unreasonable in itself but I am struggling with how to deal with them.

He gets very cross if I don't respond immediately - it isn't always possible and the messages are always at awkward times (mealtimes, getting ready for school, bedtime). If I reply with a simple "they are well - both happy" then it's a bit pointless and he claims I'm not telling him anything and trying to distance him from the children. But I am loath to start long newsy messages when he doesn't reply or really seem interested - and it's a drain on my time especially now I have to do everything on my own.

What's normal here? Is it best to make an effort, for the children? (Although I'm struggling to see how they benefit - it would be best if he would be willing to call them!).

Children are 6 and 2.

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Yukka Fri 21-Jun-19 08:24:44

I haven’t been through this but family member has. They split 50/50 so kids spend one week with mum then one week with dad and so on. It feels like he’s copping out of parenting his children.

I would suggest if he doesn’t want to have then during the week then you organise face time sessions where he can communicate directly. His relationship with them will finish quickly if he only sees them once every two weeks.

Your not responsible for his contact with his children....

Sorry it’s a mess for you.

Ozziewozzie Fri 21-Jun-19 08:33:21

I know exactly where you're coming from. I have this problem too but he sees the kids all the time (only temp st mo)
He calls during the day and texts.
My circumstances are a little diff at moment but very soon will similar to yours.
I Find he texts as an excuse for contact with me. Kids are 3.5 and 1. If I make an effort and send a more descriptive message, he sees it as a sign I'm in to him again. Yuck. If I respond briefly, he accuses me of being a bitch.
I've decided to send an email once a week. Simple, factual as an update as to how kids have been and if they've done anything exciting, been ill etc.
I desperately need a break from him being in my face at every turn.
I know exactly what you mean.

Bubblebrush Fri 21-Jun-19 09:00:07

@Ozziewozzie Yes - that's exactly it. I shouldn't care what he thinks. But it's all just too annoying and I can't get it right. My worry is a once a week email would just do nothing to encourage genuine contact between them.

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CityStroll Fri 21-Jun-19 09:06:30

Just reply when you get a moment free and say 'theyre both fine, DC1 had a good day at school and DC2 went to the park earlier' or whatever was the main event of the day.
You'll probably be happy about keeping communication good when it comes to times like them being away for a week on a holiday etc.

CityStroll Fri 21-Jun-19 09:09:23

Or reply saying 'both are well, they're about to have their tea/bath but will be free in about half an hour if you're free to video chat?'

Dropthedeaddonkey Fri 21-Jun-19 09:47:44

Mine video chat with dad almost daily but are at age where they can do that themselves and I don’t have to get involved. You could use an app like 2houses you can upload photos and calendar then you could share info but he wouldn’t be contacting you directly. I would ask him to make time to video chat them a few times a week and he can just text to arrange times. If that’s not enough for him he will have to make the effort to come and see them. It will be hard to sustain a relationship with children that age fortnightly so if anything I would expect his contact to reduce over time as he gets more used to life without them. It becomes a totally different relationship when you aren’t doing the day to day ordinary stuff and are just weekend holiday camp type dad. And it will work differently for different children and their personalities. Some love to chat and some aren’t good on the phone.if I’m doing something with the kids and take a photo for me i will often share it with ex and he does the same but we don’t expect a blow by blow account of their days. I’d suggest you preempt him by sending or uploading photos to an app with a tag line and leave it at that anything else is up to him to put the effort in. Photos are a lot less effort than writing a newsletter!

Ozziewozzie Fri 21-Jun-19 10:42:56

Really great ideas on here. It's sometimes hard to think past the end of your own nose when in the midst of it all.

Bubblebrush Fri 21-Jun-19 10:50:50

Thank you. The eldest isn't great on the phone / FaceTime. He gets distracted and bored. And STBXH isn't good at doing anything other than fire questions - not good at actually holding a conversation. But this all might improve with time.

I did try @CityStroll a "they are both well - we are just home so could FaceTime any time today if you're free?" message last week. I thought I was being light in touch but the reply was "Nag, nag, nag. Pressure, pressure, pressure. This is why I fucking left!" Which was nice. I find it all exhausting.

A few photos in the week could help. And thanks for the app suggestions.

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itsrainingagain19 Fri 21-Jun-19 10:57:33

Keep his reply to those offer alternative arrangements. And reply with I've given you some opinions there's no need to be hostile.
Your learning at the moment to communicate, if you do your best to help the dc and he doesn't like it tough. My dp asks how x doing to day. I say good just playing.
I don't send a lengthy description unless he's done something funny or sick and that's to my own dp

FinallyGotAnIPhone Fri 21-Jun-19 11:01:27

My situation is different in that my kids (now 9 and 6 but they’ve been in this pattern since 1 and 3 respectively) stay with their dad on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as often on a weekend. Whenever the kids are with him I don’t text him any sort of “how are the kids?” Messages and the same when they are with me. The only exception is if they are ill clearly the other party texts the other to find out how the child is. We don’t generally talk to the children when they are not with us. Seems to work.

itsrainingagain19 Fri 21-Jun-19 11:02:14

If you want to be petty ( I am sometimes a little petty grin)
Write up 7 information auto replies.
Like today dc 1 ate well and got a star at school and was play with her best friend, dd 2 went to the part and enjoyed a apple.

Then just send them over when needed and he may say you've sent that before, then tell him they do they same things most bloody days and I'll let you know when big things happen! Point made!

FinallyGotAnIPhone Fri 21-Jun-19 11:03:05

Sorry to add we do often share photos of the kids with each other but my ex generally sends an abusive spiteful message back such as “can’t believe you’re eating xx again” or “why isn’t DC’s coat done up?” (I kid you not !)

Walkamileinmyshoesbeforeujudge Fri 21-Jun-19 11:08:32

Get a cheap phone. Stick a tenner on. Give ex the number. Check it once a day. That way you won't fear the ping of your actual phone.
He will get the message. Keep all messages too. Incase he turns extra twatty and you need to seek legal advice...

Yukka Fri 21-Jun-19 12:02:09

Holy cow @Bubblebrush after reading what he texts you back I'd tell him to step up his parenting skills or fuck off! Did he leave just you or did he leave the children too?! He doesn't seem to know himself.

If he wants to know how they are he can phone them before bed to find out or take them for tea during the week. Otherwise he see's them every second weekend as you've agreed. What a proper dick.

Just don't reply to him if he's being abusive like that. You don't need to take that shit?!

ems137 Fri 21-Jun-19 12:09:42

I'd have replied to that "well fuck off then and don't text me again"

You don't have to put up with him anymore, so don't

eve34 Fri 21-Jun-19 18:49:11

To answer your question we have similar contact arrangement eow. Ex has no contact with me or the kids in between times. My eldest has his own phone. He doesn't much text him directly either.

Some good suggestions here and your are in a difficult position of having to answer messages about the kids. But I wouldn't be rushing to answer.

Bubblebrush Fri 21-Jun-19 19:52:13

Thanks all. I think I'll try a week or two of short responses with one bit of info per child, at my own pace / response time. And see how it goes.

It's the accusation that I'm the one creating the distance which hurts. I feel I can just say "no that's not the case" at the moment (leaving out "it's you who is being a total twat) - confidently - so at least if I say something I can continue in that way.

I hate it all. Poor kids!

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