Do any of you do this with your ex ?(27 Posts)
Brief history. STBX left 3 years ago. I was pregnant at the time and how have 5 year old DD and 2 year old DS. Both have a good relationship with him. I'm happy, kids are happy. We still have yet to divorce but we are separated.
He moved quite a distance away about 18 months ago (south coast - I am in London). I made my feelings on this quite clear as it meant it was difficult to see the DCS but to his credit he comes to the house 3 times a week to help with pick ups and drop offs,but does mean they miss out on weekend activities etc as they are with him on south coast every other weekend.
He now plans to move back to the area (about 2 miles away). He has asked if we can have a more flexible arrangement with the kids. I asked him what he meant. He said that he feels I am quite rigid in my attitude towards contact with them. I would not say I am rigid. I would say that I try wherever possible not to chop and change weekends, or change who is picking up dropping off etc so that they know what they are doing on what day/ weekend.
Now he is moving back I think he may think that we can relax things. Not so he can have them less - I am fortunate that he is very good with them and wants to see them.. but what he means is... having them on his weekends but then also if he wants to do something on my weekend for a few hours or during the week then we can just agree to that.... or maybe suggesting they stay at his new place one night in the week with short notice.
I am not sure this is a good idea, I really promote the kids seeing him and want them to have a good relationship but my gut feeling is that routine is important so that they (particularly our 5 year old DD who questions everything and wants to know what she is doing and when ). Aside from this I work full time and time at the weekends with the 3 of us together is very precious and we have a lovely time.Monday to Friday is rushed and no real quality time so its really only the weekends.
Am I being precious or unreasonable to not feel 100% happy about this ? He will stick to his weekends... I just think he likes the idea of calling me mid week and saying ' Hi there's this thing I'd love to take them to on sat.sun etc (my weekend).
Routines are there for children so they feel secure aren't they ? or am I over thinking this ? Does anyone else have a similar ad hoc arrangement in place that works or doesn't work ?
I am with you that routine is important.
Have you tried talking to him about why you think this way?
Men usually find it hard to understand as their own lives don't have to follow particular routines, I think.
my ex works odd hours, so I have always been flexible, my DC loves it, and I think, it would depend on what the event is, perhaps you could take them, I have been remarried forever, and I still on occassion, take DC out with exh.
FWIW my ex doesn't see DD. He wanted to literally drop in whenever he had a bit of time, usually late when we did arrange something and couldn't guarantee he would be in the country from one week to the next. If he had been a bit more organised we wouldn't have had the arguments we did about this, but he drank a lot and times and dates were never written down...
I think it is lovely he wants to see them more. Just a bit concerned he will end up practically living at yours if he wants to see them in the week. However, perhaps he could be useful picking them up from afternoon/school clubs?
Thanks for your reply.I haven't as yet but generally if I disagree with something he wants to do (in interest of DCs - but am never overly precious ) then I generally get labelled as 'rigid' or 'getting stressed ( I don't - unless he really winds me up) or overly worrying (again - I disagree).
He forces his opinions about me on me if that makes sense so sometimes I question if I am being unreasonable as he will always side against me and oppose what I am doing even though to me its just what any sane person would say!
Ah yes, now he sounds like my ex!
I'd be wary of him moving so close. It could still work well for the kids though. Just make sure he doesn't take over your life. I think you could explain why you are insisting on the routine/structure, but agree that if he is closer, then he can see them maybe every other day for an hour? Could he collect them from school for you or take them to dinner once a week?
I think you need to decide how much time you want to yourself and when and work around that
Insanity - that's exactly what I thought - providing me with more support in a helpful way but not taking them off when It's meant to be our weekend together and the only part of mummy they have seen is me ... rushing to get them dressed and out the house in the morning and in the evening barely seeing them before I put them to bed. They spend the week at childminders, after school clubs etc without being at home much or seeing me much and I feel that our time at weekends is really important and they seem their happiest then.
I would be really open to them having a set night a week when they stay at his.... bbt just not this variable thing where none of us know where we are. Is that too 'rigid' ?
Insanity - I know - I have spent the last 18 months chastising his living so far away but then felt very unsettled when he said he was moving back... be careful what you wish for. I do feel quite weird about it !
My arrangement is ad hoc because it would be that or nothing. Stick to your routine, it's much better
Thanks Colditz. Am learning to trust my gut instinct more after years of trusting his - but is nice to hear I am not being ridiculous.
I wouldn't count flexibility out completely.
I agree it's not really on for him to ask for time during your weekend willy-nilly, or suddenly ask for an overnight at short notice, but in my situation at least my XP ( mum ) frequently asks me to cover childcare on fairly short notice ( usually a weeks notice at least though ).
So I wouldn't count out flexible access , I'd just define it better.
I'd guess that he wants more access without the constaints of a routine. I'd perhaps offer the former but within the constants of a regular routine.
Do you think he wants 50:50 ?
I was going to suggest 50:50 too - it means that both parents share the day to day and leisure time with the DCs.
Maybe book a session with a mediator so you don't feel bulldozed into agreeing something that you're not sure about.
We do that - either of us can ask the other to take the kids (or sometimes just one of them) to something in the time that the other has them. It works as long as you both respect that the other person can say no if they want.
With two kids there's a lot to be gained from flexibility being able to take one each. I've had some lovely weekends away walking with just my DS, and some great days out with just DD. Saves dragging a sibling along to, say, watch a football match, or something that they don't want to do.
Sounds like what you really need is a bit more comitment from him to help out in the week - can he do this? If he could do one or two days a week after school that would give him more time with the DCs and less childminders/expense for you. My ex does one day a week school pick up, and also has them on the odd ocassion after school/kids club if I need to work late.
Being flexible is great as long as it works both ways. And lovely for your kids that he's going to move back nearer.
I agree that routine is very important and you can't have ad hoc contact. My ex has been a pita to pin down on this, so what I enforce is that we have a general routine every other weekend which is only Saturday day time and then every other Monday after school.
However I do agree anything in between is negotiable, so if he calls and wants to see them on a Sunday and we have no other arrangements then that is fine, or if he wants to have them an extra in the week then that is fine as long as we don't have any other plans. As it has worked out he tends to do swimming lessons every Monday as he likes to and so generally when he asks do do swimming lessons I agree.
But if we have plans or my dd wants to stay at home he does accept that and it works fine, I prefers not to swap and change as that does affect dd so if he wants an extra that's fine but ill not swap about.
Disagree, don't think you need to stick to a rigid routine but he needs to accept that it's give & take.
I see lots of positives here if you are willing to be flexible. Also, see it from his side. You mention your concerns about only seeing mummy when rushing for school/bedtime etc but how much does he get to see them? Much less than you and it sounds like he would like it to be more (and has made the commitment to move nearer) so I think you should welcome it but you need obviously to communicate well together.
As others have said, if routine is important to you, maybe 50:50 is the way to go.
I understand your fears! I would write to him. Ask him what contact hew has in mind. Get something concrete. You don't want him brisking in and out of the childrens' lives. By the sound of thinsg that isn't going to happen anyway but, for the sake of your kids, you need to be nsure.
Get what he wants.
Then work from there.
Nothing is ever etched in stone.
Those kids need Dad in their lives and well done you for promoting such good contact.
Thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences with me. It seems that everyone has their own arrangements that work for them (as far as possible) and I guess it's for us to sort out ours.
As some have suggested , I sent him an email in response to one that he sent to me (saying that when he moves back he would like us to have a more flexible arrangement) We email rather than talk as, even though we are individually happy, we are not great at talking and things are clearer and less fraught on email. I asked him in the email what 'more flexibility' meant to him and he has not as yet responded.
A few have mentioned 50/50 and I have wondered if this is ultimately what he has in mind. I do want them to have a strong and meaningful relationship with their Dad but I must admit this idea turns me a bit cold. If I set my feelings on this aside and just think about them... Things work fine how they are for them. The kids like seeing him, our DD quite often says she doesn't want to go to his for the night as she misses me but is apparently fine when there (though sometimes wakes in the night missing me) . DS does have quite a bit of this too but they do seem to enjoy spending time there over all. Ex H is the first to admit that on a longer stretch (ie school hols) after 2/3 nights they are both ready to come home. They are both very secure but equally very attached to me. With this in mind I think a night in the week could work plus possibly him picking them up on a Friday night til Sunday .
I know its not about me, and maybe this is the wrong thing to say but there's no point being anything but honest on here... I didn't have children to only see them for half of their lives. Nor did he but he felt able to walk away from us as a family without even thinking about how this would affect them. I could never have done that without at least trying to save my marriage first if only for theor sake. I went through pregnancy with DS alone after he left whilst he would have preferred me not to go through with it. (I thank my lucky stars every day that I did and thank goodness he has managed to build a good relationship with DS ) . Reading back this sounds like I am a bit bitter. I am not - am just putting things in context. But if I sit down and consider what I think they would be happier with, its 'living' here, perhaps building up to seeing more of him and with plenty of involvement from him in making decisions, day to day stuff.
I do know that there are many lone parents out there who are completely alone with no interest from the other parent who would give anything for their ex to play more of a role in their lives. I do get that him moving back and wanting to see them more is a good thing - however I do not want to be so 'grateful' for this that I lose sight of what works best for us all.
Does this sound reasonable ? Sorry for long post!!
oh and on the subject of my original post.... Yes some of my fears of him breezing in and out of our lives. Its taken things a long time to settle and for me to get over the break up I am now fine seeing him on the days that we have arranged but that's not to say that I relish the thought. Things get very blurry and miscommunicated when he is around from lateness to 'I thought you were going to feed them' to 'Oh sorry I can't take them in tomorrow - you'll need to do it' etc etc. It's just messy and I would prefer to avoid any more communication with him than necessary. That said I suppose if, as one of you said there is a time when we aren't busy and the kids want to see him then I see how it might work.
In mediation I suggested one weekend a month (he sees her every Sunday) and he said yes thats fine and maybe I could see her in between if she is free, so I said do you want her every other weekend then and he said, only if shes not doing anything..... I said NO, DO YOU WANT HER EOW?! He said no after mediation pushed him for an answer, but we are moving to that when she turns 5 in March.
He would also text me during the week if he was available to see her on a Wednesday after school, then change his mind, and do different times every week, so I said set times or not at all.....
Having said that, if I want a weekend away (which isnt often) I ask him if he wants an extra weekend with her, before I ask my mum to have her.
But I find for me, that routine works well. My STBXH is the sort that cannot organise anything, cannot arrive on time, etc, so I have to have a routine or it would drive me insane.....
I think it sounds from your last post, like his flexible is similar to my exs fleable, as and when he fancies. Forgive me if this is wrong. But my dd will not sleep at my exps now as he would call up when ever he wanted to see her and although it would be regular, ie, one and often twice a week. It threw her out of routine and she did not know if she was coming or going and so she will not sleep at his now as she said she never knew when it would be and so she was happy at home and then all of a sudden have to go off to his with little notice, so she would then just resort to saying no, as it was offered to her rather than part of her routine.
Now I have pinned him on a routine she still won't sleep there but is more receptive to the extras amongst the general routine.
I think from what you post the way forward is a routine that is generally not deviated from ie choping and changing, but if any extras fit in then that is negotiable.
Sadly my dd has to fit in with exps life if I was to allow it, now with a routine they fit nicely into each others lives.
I think for most LPs a regular structured routine is best all round, but not always achievable, depending on circumstances. having some knowledge of your ex's work pattern gives you a starting point. Marrying that up with your DC's routine/interests/your work pattern is where you will get more of an idea what might work for all concerned. But, he can still refuse, or just not stick to any agreement.
I knew most of my ex's routines/outside interests, and regular socialising, suggested days/nights/weekends that fit around those events. He refused, because he preferred not to be restricted by time committed to our DD, for when 'ad hoc' socialising came about.
I think your email pinning him down on exactly what he means by flexible is the right thing to do. His answer should kick off negotiations, and hopefully you'll reach an agreements that works.
We found that full weekends made it hard for both parents with my DSS. We now have Friday night to sat night one week, and sat night to sun night the following week, means both families get me and adult ie but have a share of the weekend too.
Now DSS is 14 he does swap about a bit more and bth parents have always been flexible fir weekends away organised in advance.
Ie should be time.
We've had this routine since DSS was about 6
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