ExH and I are currently in family court under his application for shared residence and 50:50 EOW parenting time. Prior to this, I have been the resident parent and they have spent 2/3 nights per week regular and established time with him for the last 5 years.
Both children (12 and 14) seem to want this arrangement and therefore we are currently trialling it. There are a host of issues that ExH and I have, mostly in terms of his need to control and double standards that he holds for me yet cannot himself fulfil. I could go on and on, but it really wont be anything new to those with difficult and manipulative ex's.
Whatever the issues he may have with me, I dont have an issue generally with him as a parent. Sure, I would prefer he didnt badmouth me or feel the need to discuss our financial arrangements or opinions of me as a parent to them, but I would not say there are any welfare issues and the children seem to like being with him and his wife.
However, I feel strongly that the EOW is not working for several reasons - timetabling, communication, organisational issues for the children, very different home structures and parenting principles in addition to the fact that I feel the children have gone from having 'two homes but one main base' to 'two homes but no home'.
I feel so strongly about this - that the children need a stable home with 'regular and frequent contact' with the other parent, that I genuinely think it would be better for them if that home was EITHER with me or their father, but not 50:50.
Am I totally mad to think that I could be suggesting that I would be the one that sees them every other weekend, Friday to Monday, and a midweek overnight/dinner? I cant get over the idea that I believe stability to be so important that I would 'give up' being the main resident parent so they can have that elsewhere. But I do think that. He has indicated that there is no way that he would voluntarily go back to the previous arrangement as this new 50:50 is what the children want.
But when does what is best for the children overide what they want? I am sure they want this to make things 'fair and equal' (ExH likes to talk of this alot..) but I dont see the fair and equal thing really - surely they should be having what they Need, not what is equal in timeshare?
Is it alternate weeks that you're trialing? Have you considered having fixed days at each house? (either Sun-Wed with one parent, Wed-Sat with the other and alternate the Saturdays, or Mon-Wed with one, Wed-Fri with the other, and alternate whole weekends)? Would that help with the weekly routine, organisation, etc?
I know several people who've done that succcessfully. Though personally I feel like you that it's easier to have one main home where most of the belongings are, and one parent who knows it is their job to fill in forms for school, buy clothes, take to GPs, etc. My ex doesn't rival me for this role so in a way I guess I'm lucky. But I don't think you're mad for considering being a NRP if it would work out well for your kids. They're getting older, and maybe not so needy for their mum. Could you have them less in the week, but more at weekends or holidays?
Or are there any ways you can make your ex feel like more of an equal parent without necessarily having the kids 50-50 with him?
Are the kids close and wanting to be together always? Or would it suit them for one to be mainly with each parent in the week, but still spending their weekends together?
No I don't think you would be mad. It's always assumed that the mother should fight for more access but I am beginning to question that. I am a single parent too btw, with a manipulative narcissistic x. So I do appreciate what you're up against. I get that you can never reason with him. he'll never 'get' it if you just phrase it a little better for example.
ps, he means equal and fair to him.
I am not a religious person at all but I seem to remember a bible story (?) about two mothers fighting over a child, both claiming to be its mother... the one who let go first let go because she didn't want to hurt the child. That popped into my head.
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