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Am I being unreasonable

(51 Posts)
aw11 Fri 25-Oct-13 16:14:38

Hi all, I'm coming to you lot for some objective views here.

Basics are that me and my ex split about two months ago. We have three kids two girls (20mth and 3.5) and a boy (8 months). I'm in the familly home whilst my ex and the children are at her parents.

The routine has been that I pick up the girls every friday when I get back at 6pm (I work an hours drive away from where we live). She then comes to pick them up on Sunday at 5pm. Now, although at first it was hard, have come to accept that this is the way it has to be. It means that I get to spend two nights a week with them and pretty much the whole weekend and I'm happy my relationship with the girls won't suffer too much.

I have my son from 6pm weds night until I leave for work 7:30am on thursday (I pick him up and drop him off). This had been brilliant for me as otherwise I just would not get to see him at all! He's fine with me when he's over.

1. Am I being unreasonable to ask for Monday nights with my son aswell?

2. My ex is now saying I can't have my girls Friday night becasue I'm not able to pick them up until 6pm. She says that it's too late for the 2 minute drive back to mine. Is it unreasonable to have them friday night from 6pm?

Both extra nights are a big deal to me but she just won't even consider changing her mind. I can't force her and I'm loath to go through the courts as I'm afraid of having even less time with them.

All opinions welcolm, thanks.

BruceWillisLovesMe Sun 27-Oct-13 22:59:46

Yes. She gets to do all the everyday stuff. She will miss out on all the children's free time at the weekend. Every day she has them they are at school for six hours. When will she get to take them places or do fun things with them? I wonder if she'd be more likely to agree to what you want with your son if you change it up a bit with your daughters, like swap one weekend for two equivalent weekdays and have your son on those weekdays too?

aw11 Sun 27-Oct-13 23:14:09

@brucewill She also gets school holidays smile Yes, if she'd let me have them weekday nights one week then the usual Friday to Sunday the next I'd be more than happy with that. Trouble is I'm out of the house 7:30am until 6Pm every weekdays. They're all up at 6am so mornings shouldn't really be a problem and 6pm pick ups I don't think is an issue (though see question 2 in the first post).

Weekday 6pm until 7:30am and Saturday until 5pm was my first suggestion to her. That would be proper 50/50 but I can see why she's reluctant to do this.

BruceWillisLovesMe Sun 27-Oct-13 23:22:46

Having school holidays doesn't mean much when she will go for weeks not being able to do anything other than school with them. Anyway, I'm hiding this thread now because its irritating me too much. Hope you get it sorted so that it's fair for everyone and not just Disney Dad.

aw11 Sun 27-Oct-13 23:27:02

@brucewill ouch...

SPsTombRaidingWithCliff Sun 27-Oct-13 23:30:12

When do you think he should have his kids then Bruce?

If he wasn't having them something would be said and that he is asking for them he is a Disney dad? Sounds like he cant win.

OP No harm in asking. You work so you have to work them around that as well just like you would if you were still living with them.

knittedknickers Sun 27-Oct-13 23:31:43

That is not fair, Bruce. aw11 sounds to me like he is trying to work out the best thing for kids whilst retaining a good relationship with them. I agree with others that the mum not having weekends is difficult for her as the rushed routine of school days is stressful and, well, rushed. But it sounds to me like you're able to talk to each other reasonably, OP and that will def help your relationship with your kids.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sun 27-Oct-13 23:42:59

Right now this system is working for you because your ex wife is being very generous & they aren't at school - once they are, things might change - you can't expect her to be happy with school days whilst you have all the weekends. Even now, it's really not fair you have them every weekend - she will be missing out doing stuff with them.

Also, there's no reason you can't have all 3 kids at the same time - it's about being their parent not a Disney Dad. You have three children - not two in one family and one in another. She has to parent all 3 at once, why do you get to 'spend time with them alone' because it's easier? When are her 'nights off'?

Having an 8 month old overnight one night a week sounds very odd to me.

BlackDaisies Mon 28-Oct-13 08:57:33

As a mum I would not be at all happy with the present contact. I strongly believe the children should be together and not split. It won't be long before he notices his sisters disappear every weekend. Also, why on earth does your ex not have some weekends? This will have to change at some point, so doing it sooner to adjust to a new routine would be better. Personally I would try for alt weekends and one midweek night (all children together) and split the holidays.

aw11 Mon 28-Oct-13 10:29:38

I thought a 'Disney Dad' was a father that saw his children once a month for a day kind of thing?

@SPsTomb Yes it's trying to fit it around work, the fact I work so far away from home doesn't help.

@knitted We talk and we're perfectly nice to each other and I hope that continues and even gets better.

@Chipping Yes you're right, I think things may change when they are all at school. She might even become more flexible allowing me to have them all over weeknights. However for the moment she has not said anything about them not being around at the weekend which I suppose is generous (if allowing your kids to spend a decent amount of time with their dad is being generous?).

At the moment I think it's best to have the girls seperatley to my son as I truley believe that it means they get better time with me. My son is still a baby and needs all the attention a baby does. Having the girls over at the same time means that I can't give him that quality of attention. Similarly when I have the girls over, and they are a handful as any one and three year olds are, if I was constantly looking after my son the amount I can do with them suffers. As the two youngest grow older this will of course change. It's in no way because it's easier, I could have all three of them and although it would be harder work I could do it.

She has to parent all three of them, however she now lives with her familly so there is always someone there aswell as having the extended familly and friends she grew up with around. Of course when she was with me she always had me there after 6pm and all weekend. When I have the children it's just me as I now have no support network where I live. Which is fine, but see the above paragraph.

And please, even if you ignore all of the above answer me why a perfectly capable, loving dad with a clean and suitable environment having his eight month old son overnight is odd?

@blackdaiseys This thread has certainly pointed out to me the children should not be split as much as possible which is why I'm going to ask to have him on Sundays with the girls. The ex doesn't have some weekends as if she did it, as your plan suggests, it would mean drastically reducing the time they get to spend with their father. Maybe having them all over weds, thurs and friday nights, then sharing the weekend would be a better comprimise? Although, again, I doubt she'd even consider it.

Oh and how do people usually do school holidays and fit it around working full time?

Sorry for the essay but I think it's doing me some good going through all this with people with a different perspective!

JustMe1993 Mon 28-Oct-13 12:18:20

As a mum (single mum) nobody had my DS to he was 1 and that took my mum asking every weekend and me being in hospital otherwise it wouldn't of happened. However if I had other children there is no way on earth I'd split them up for contact because you find it easier to pay attention to them at different times. You're there dad and you should have them all together it doesn't matter that she has family this is your time.

Her doing the school run isn't fun or really quality time with the children it's very stressful. I don't think your bond will be effected by changing contact so you have all the children at once. It will when your daughters realise you don't have them together and so will your son.

If I was her I would be saying you have all 3 every other weekend and maybe one day in the week.

imnotwhoyouthinkiam Mon 28-Oct-13 22:33:10

Just like to add my opinion,.as a child who's dad rarely had my siblings and me all at once. (i think Christmas and holidays were the only times)

I LOVED it (sorry) one on one time away from my brothers? Hell yes!

That said, we only went for 1night at a time, so had most days together. And my 2dc would hate to be apart for 4nights per week. So on balance, I don't think I'd be happy with that.

Imo, 6pm is not too late for a pick up, mine don't come home until between 6-7pm from their dads, so personally think that's ok.

However. I agree with other posts about you having them every weekend. My ex has the dc every Sunday, and every other Saturday. This means I never get a whole weekend with them (unless I ask him, and then he slates me to everyone saying I won't let him see his dc hmm )
His reasoning is much the same as yours, that I ser them everyday. BUT by the time we've done homework/reading/dinner/baths/all the boring shit, I actually have very little quality time with them.

actually i have 1/14 days with no school (although there is still homework to be done)
He has 3/14 (and refuses to do homework)

JustMe1993 Tue 29-Oct-13 11:43:49

For me as well (i think I missed what time your LO's go to bed) 6pm is late for me, however my LO has a bath and is in bed at 6pm.

aw11 Tue 29-Oct-13 15:22:59

Well, I suggest having my son saterday night. She said no. She still refuses to let me have the girls at 6pm on a friday (They go for a bath at 7pm Justme) so I have to mess work about by leaving early.

So I just have to do what she says this particular week.

pinklady1107 Sun 03-Nov-13 03:15:05

Keep persevering with her, you must do that for your children.

If every wknd suits you and your ex that's great, but remember when she wants to change it to every other wknd, fight for a midweek night.

I'm a single mum and firmly believe unless there's welfare reasons all contact should start at 50/50 and worked back from there, not built up over time. Ill get slated no doubt but there you go, kids need mum and dad Disney or otherwise.

TensionSquealsGhoulsHeels Sun 03-Nov-13 09:29:06

aw11 if you have the view that you are 'messing your work about' despite have 3 small children therefore the right to request more family friendly hours, then you'll continue to have excuses as to why you can't work around your DC's needs. If you don't have your DC every work night then you have the option to work more on non-DC nights (if you ask for that) giving you the chance to leave early on DC nights. Plenty of parents have to work their job around their DC, and if your aim is more contact, or 50/50 at some point then you need to think about how you can do that. Just because you are an NRP doesn't mean you don't have to make sacrifices in terms or your work life in order to meet your DC's needs. So far you haven't had to as your now ex has been at home providing you with the childcare that has allowed you to work full time without any changes to you own work pattern. You'll need to change your mindset on that if more time with DC is your aim long term.

Lionessnurturingcubs Sun 03-Nov-13 14:10:27

Aw11 As a single mum I don't envy the life of your ex.
She has no weekends aka fun time with her kids.
She has no time off on her own as she always has a child with her.
She has to do all the stressfull school routine etc.

You on the other hand get quality one on one time with the children at seperate times, you don't do the stressful aspects of bringing up a child, and you get lots of time to yourself.

Now do you see what a Disney Dad is? wink

freemanbatch Sun 03-Nov-13 16:29:27

I'm a single mum of 2 girls doing it ALL on my own, no family within 100 miles and an ex who should, but sadly isn't being taken through the courts for Domestic violence offenses that have had my eldest in total emotional meltdown until I stopped contact and called in the police and children's services to help, I also have a baby on the way in a couple of weeks. I will look after all three totally on my own every day, whatever the issues and I will balance the individual needs of the three of them as best I can because I'm their parent and they didn't choose to be in this position.

Aw11 you could look after all three of your children at the same time, its a scary prospect and looks like far too much for one person to do but you could do it and do a great job you just need to believe you can. It isn't fair on the children to be split, their life is already in pieces now that mummy and daddy live apart their sibling group needs to remain strong not divided down gender lines. The gender split is an accident of ages I know but in the eyes of children adjusting to separate parents they can easily see the situation differently than you might hope.

If I was you Aw11 I would offer to drop contact to every other weekend and to have all of your children at the same time and I would then speak to my employer about changing hours at work so that you can pick up your children before tea one night a week and return them after breakfast the following day, again having all three children.

Right now everything is fitting around your schedule and eventually that is going to annoy your ex to a degree that makes discussing things very difficult. You can't expect her to have tea made and eaten for you to pick the children up when you are ready EVERY Friday night for the rest of time, neither can you expect her to be up and about for you to drop your son home when it fits with you.

Being a parent is about compromise and if you want long term success sometimes you have to step back and make sacrifices in the short term and show that you respect the other parent and their need to have a life, routine and eventually career of their own.

aw11 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:49:12

Thanks for the further responses! Yeh I know the every weekend thing won't last forever. I know I could handle all three of them together, my ex wouldn't allow it at the moment. Re work: I am the boss, I run it. There's only 4 of us though and we're always up to our eyeballs. But yes, thinking of saying I won't be in Mondays and late in Tuesdays so I could have them sat eve too Tues morning. This would then split the weekend and give me some if the midweek routine (which I do miss). However, ex is happy with the routine at the moment, so I'll wait until she says something. She wont let me have my son any other time than weds night. Every other week thing would be awful and so I'd have to do the above really.

Thanks again all, its really good to get the mums perspective and objective(!) Opinion on what's beat for the kids.

TensionSquealsGhoulsHeels Sun 03-Nov-13 17:59:49

aw11 have you had a conversation your ex about what she thinks would work re you seeing more of the baby/having all DC at once? Or do you just ask for x/y/z and see what answer you get? Even getting her to think of a timescale where things change/adapt as they all get older would be a step in the right direction. If she's refusing to talk full stop, you could try/suggest mediation to try and figure out how she sees contact progressing in future and you get your POV listened to as well. Oh, and if you are the boss then I'm sure you can juggle things around so you are still pulling your weight but get the flexibility you need to adapt to your new situation/your DC's needs/routines.

Good luck, I hope you both come to an agreement/arrangement that suits everyone.

aw11 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:10:06

Thanks tension, Yeh it's a bit brick wall about having my son with the girls. Good thing is we're getting on pretty well so hopefully mediation won't be necessary. Early days and I'm sure things will change as the youngest gets older. I'll just have to wait until she's ready to l

aw11 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:13:11

Let go a bit more. So I'll just be the best I can be until that time. Mediation scares me because of the every other weekend arrangement which seems

aw11 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:13:49

To be the default.

Bloody phone!

FigRolls Mon 04-Nov-13 14:14:56

So do you only see your son once per week? Surely more frequent but shorter contact would be better with such a young child?

itwillgetbettersoon Mon 04-Nov-13 18:21:29

Aw11 it seems to me that on this tread you can't win whatever you say! I can see why you have the days you do. The mum doesn't work so is home from 3:30 until 7 every night. Kids that age don't get much homework so there is no way she is sitting with them every night doing boring stuff. I work Sch hours but still get to take my kids swimming, have tea dates, do arts and crafts with them. It is an insult to me that this is just the dull stuff!

A lot of parents that I know are getting 50:50 care irrespective as to whether the parents work full time or not. Childcare is used as required - they arrange it so that each parent gets a part of the weekend but it rotates. I would suggest you start another post and ask what options there are for 50:50 or other options.

It is an insult to call the OP a Disney dad! He is infact doing a lot more with his kids than a lot of dads that are still in the traditional family set up. Most working fathers do not get home until 7 and then leave in the morning then do very little at the weekend so give the OP some credit.

I do agree with others that you should have all three children as that is your family. As they get older one child wil be at a party or a club so it isn't the case that you will never spend one to one time with any of the children. Obviously 50:50 care with an 8 mth is difficult but I bet it isn't impossible and I would imagine there are some parents on this forum who have such a set up using childcare and family. In a funny way I think it is very reasonable of the OP that his wife doesn't work. A lot of families now have to have both parents working so his exs time at home is a privaledge and certainly not a right nowadays.

aw11 Mon 04-Nov-13 21:52:19

@ figrolls Did you actually read any of the thread?

@itwillget thanks for that. I actually thinks it's been a reasonably split response here. And yes, I've come to realise I should be seeing them all together. Had a good chat with the ex over text tonight, we'll see what happens. Oh and she's never been my wife, and i'd certainly never want her to have to work until they are all in school. Up to her though I guess.

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