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Advice on time with Dad

(21 Posts)
Cassie85 Sun 23-Dec-18 18:20:00

Hi guys,

I am new to this forum and joined so I could tap into all the knowledge and experience on here.

Basically I am unsure how much time for my child to spend with dad. I truly want them to have a good relationship, and don’t want to let my feelings get in the way, it’s just so hard.

My baby is 5months old, I don’t know if there’s a standard amount or if you just have to gauge it baby by baby. I don’t feel ready for him to go away overnight yet, he is difficult through the night and I worry he might be more distressed if I’m not there. His dad has had him overnight once when he was about 10 weeks old. Apart from that, it’s been day visits. I’d prefer to wait a bit until they have a more established relationship and my baby has a better sleeping pattern. Is this wrong? Or unfair? Any advice is great.

OP’s posts: |
MumUnderTheMoon Sun 23-Dec-18 20:05:25

If being fair is what you want then you should be splitting time 50-50. Is dad a good person? Is he kind and capable? If there is no reasonable objection then he should have as much time to bond with his child as you do. Agree a routine which you both follow and your ds should be fine.

Sistersofmercy101 Sun 23-Dec-18 20:17:45

mumunderthemoon the OP has stated that she is concerned about the affects of separation from his resident parent on her very young son. Your advice on fairness ignores the welfare of the child concerned.
fair to whom? Fair to the adults involved? Or fair to the child involved? 50/50 is only suitable as 'fair' IF the non resident parent was a hands on involved carer to the child for 50% of the time prior to the split of the family household.
If the non resident parent was not particularly involved in the day to day hands on care of the child, baths, feeding, playing, changing, stories, bedtime, medication and doctors appointments then 50/50 is deeply unfair and distressing to the child.

Dreaming23 Sun 23-Dec-18 20:44:12

I've got a 5 month old and her father sees her for a couple of hours twice a week at the moment, I'm trying to build it up so she's used to him so he can take her without me being there for the couple of hours but I'm really over protective and exclusively breastfeeding at the moment so he can't take her without me just yet (I've not even left her with my mum!). When I'm comfortable he will take her for a couple of hours once or twice a week building up to full days and then overnights eventually but probably won't happen until I stop breastfeeding which I have no plans to prior to 1 yr. I think 5 months old is far too young for over nights imo and 50/50 is a ridiculous suggestion for a baby so young.

Cassie85 Sun 23-Dec-18 22:44:58

Moonie - I think 50/50 isn’t fair, like sisters says, it might seem like a black and white fair deal for the adults but it’s not fair to my son who has been seeing his dad once a week. Dad has never done night time duties with the baby and I feel that this would be really distressing for my DS to all of a sudden not have me there.

Sisters - thank you. I agree with you completely. I want my son to have a relationship with his dad but I feel to go from nothing to a lot straight away will be difficult. I want to build it up in a way that easy for my DS to cope with.

Dreaming - how does he take that? Is he quite accepting to go at your pace?i am formula feeding so that isn’t an issue for me and I’m ok about DS being left all day. I have done this since he was quite young with both his grandmothers and feel comfortable. Although his dad has only had him one day on his own, and one night. Any other times, I have been there, which is why I’m a bit apprehensive.

OP’s posts: |
Cassie85 Sun 23-Dec-18 22:46:44

I should probably also add that my ex and I never properly lived together. I did move in in an attempt to make a go of things about 6 weeks ago, but I left and ended the relationship due to getting very little help in the house or with the baby. So no, he was definately not caring for him on a 50/50 basis before we split.

OP’s posts: |
MumUnderTheMoon Sun 23-Dec-18 23:10:29

Obviously my point didn't come across in the way I intended if this is only about being seen to be fair then 50-50 is fair. Increased time with dad wouldn't be an issue if he is a good one and does all the necessary things and sticks to an agreed routine.

Your child is very young, so it's probably important to recognise that what is right for your son right now probably won't be right in the future. I think it is perfectly reasonable to set 50/50 as a long term ambition - I'm a big fan of it, as it ensures the child has a strong relationship with both their parents, and there's a wealth of evidence as to why that's a good thing. But it's also reasonable to recognise that it wouldn't be right to jump straight from where you are to a 50/50 arrangement - indeed, 50/50 may not be right for a couple of years. Much will depend on the child.

I'd therefore suggest gradually increasing time with his Dad, with a long term ambition of proper shared care. Keep the pace of that increase flexible, to see how things go. And don't be too scared by everyone who will tell you that a baby has to be with Mum overnight - it's pure bunkum, other than where breast feeding is a practical concern.

Good luck.

Cassie85 Mon 24-Dec-18 15:07:46

Thanks again for your advice guys. 50/50 probably won’t be practical for a few reason. I live in a different town to my ex, not that far, about 15 miles, but enough that nursery and school would be an issue. Also he works full time, my job is part time, but I’m considering taking a couple of years out of my career to concentrate on my babies (I am currently pregnant, same dad).

I do want him to see dad more, but I feel this has to be worked up to, because he has been used to me as his sole care provider for so long and he is still so young.

Dad was supposed to get him yesterday and turned up very late, still half cut and hadn’t been home from the night before, so I feel like this doesn’t give me lot of confidence.

We are currently disagreeing about Christmas, I am having DS tomorrow and dad is getting him on Boxing Day. Is this fair? He wants to visit at my mums house tomorrow but I feel uncomfortable with this and have said no. Which he sees as me stopping him seeing DS. It’s all very messy and stressful but I want to do what’s best.

Thanks again. Having a sounding board with people who have been through similar really helps.

OP’s posts: |
ohhi Mon 24-Dec-18 16:02:55

I'm sorry but how anyone can say that 50/50 is 'fair' is beyond me. A child needs routine and being split between 2 parents in that way is just not practical. What happens when the child goes to school?

My son is 10 months old and sees his father for a couple of hours a week. His father isn't very hands on and never has been nor does he show any interest in becoming more hands on. To be honest I don't know how he is going to build a relationship with his son in this way (which does upset me because I have tried to make the visits longer and more often) but there is no way I would consider splitting access 50/50. I think it's ridiculous to assume a mother would happily agree to it too. @MumUnderTheMoon

Sistersofmercy101 Mon 24-Dec-18 16:13:15

A relationship with both parents is absolutely a good and beneficial thing to aspire to - provided that the best interests of the child in terms of their health, safety, psychological and emotional welfare are protected characteristics by both parents.
I'm saying this because I'm tired of seeing contact protected and pushed with parents who have a history of being unreliable, unreasonable, drunk, on drugs, emotionally abusive, psychologically abusive, mentally unstable, physically abusive or financially abusive because people use the caveat of "oh but the child NEEDS to have a relationship with them - it's fair" it's only in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with a person who acts in the childs best interests and puts them first.
It's concerning that the child's father has turned up to spend time caring for a child in such an unacceptable state and believes that to be ok?? - As diplomatically as possible, it's important to make clear your computer-parenting guidelines on what is acceptable when caring for your son - this way each parent knows where the other stands with no ambiguity or misunderstanding, although there will be points of negotiation. Perhaps once this is set out in black and white, you may feel more assured as to your son's welfare and more confident in supporting contact as he grows.
For now little and often! It's been well documented that under three's experience distress at prolonged separation from their primary caregiver. When he is older and more used to being able to trust his father to meet his needs then overnights would be beneficial to a strong relationship with his father.

Sistersofmercy101 Mon 24-Dec-18 16:15:11

Co-parenting NOT computer! Sorry.

Cassie85 Mon 24-Dec-18 16:16:35

Thanks sisters, you speak a lot of sense. I absolute want to help foster a close relationship between father and son, but I’m not prepared to distress my very young baby at this stage, to please his father and to make me ‘look good’.

OP’s posts: |
Sistersofmercy101 Mon 24-Dec-18 16:19:40

Also no it is absolutely not unreasonable for you to say no. Because you need boundaries, you cannot have him thinking that he is allowed to access his son at any time he wants when his son is in your care - where would it end? You need boundaries because you are allowed privacy and a life separately your own away from him. He cannot use your son to barge his way into your life whenever he wants - this IS unreasonable. You have Xmas, he has boxing day. That is equitable and fair to all.

blueskiesandforests Mon 24-Dec-18 16:21:59

Cassie85 It doesn't matter at all what is "fair" for the adults.

Your baby is only 5 months old.

The one and only thing that matters is what is best for him, now.

As others say, what is best for a 5 month old is not the same as what is best for a 15 month old or a 5 year old or a 10 year old. If 50/50 is an aim, it's an aim to build towards, it's highly unlikely to be best for your 5 month old baby when his dad has never cared for him 50/50 or anything even remotely approaching that.

Your baby doesn't know or care about Christmas and isn't a toy a trophy or a fashion accessory. He doesn't need sharing fairly at Christmas. Christmas is irrelevant. He needs what is best for him as a 5 month old baby. A couple of hours with his father and then back to you atm

Cassie85 Mon 24-Dec-18 16:37:17

Thanks blue. I totally agree with you.

It’s just hard when I’m being told that I’m stopping them have a relationship, I’ve screwed him over, I’m selfish etc.

It makes me doubt myself. You guys are making me feel better about trusting my instincts and sticking to my guns. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Guest275 Mon 24-Dec-18 16:58:37

Having a close relationship with both parents IS the best for the child. He should be allowed to see his own child. It's a shame how many people think it's a bad thing if father wants more access. Why can't he visit your mum? Do you have a good reason to stop him or are you actually trying to keep him away from your child? What does your mum think?

Cassie85 Mon 24-Dec-18 17:03:03

He is allowed to see him, he’s getting him on Boxing Day?

My mum doesn’t like him due to the way he’s treated me over the length of our relationship but she would put up with him being here if I wanted it. The reason I don’t want it is because he is controlling and a lot of the time he tries to use the fact that we have a child together, to find out my plans, who I spend time with etc.

He has also criticised my household, for having animals, because I live with my family etc. So no one feels particularly at ease when he is here. He has also threatened to take me to court. So I feel that if he wants to behave like that, he has burned any bridges about sitting in my family home, with my family, during a family time. It makes everyone feel uncomfortable and DS is too young to know what Christmas is so it won’t benefit him at all.

OP’s posts: |
Cassie85 Mon 24-Dec-18 17:03:38

How can I be keeping him from his child if he is getting him on Boxing Day and I am having him on Christmas?

OP’s posts: |
Cassie85 Mon 24-Dec-18 17:04:25

This guy was supposed to get his DS yesterday and turned up still drunk, 90 minutes late. I am not trying to stop him seeing his son, I just want a right to my own privacy too.

OP’s posts: |
Sistersofmercy101 Mon 24-Dec-18 17:38:55

guest it is obvious that SOME non resident parents use the child as a form of control - they use contact with the child to monitor, harangue, harass, distress and control the resident parent. It is clear that by turning up extremely late and intoxicated that this particular individual does not have the childs best interest at heart nor a healthy relationship in mind. Boundaries cassie a parenting plan is recommended by authorities to avoid ambiguity, you can find the template on government websites. He may refuse but it's important to try. As a parenting plan sets boundaries. Also it's clear that your family have concerns regarding your exs treatment of you and his behaviour - I'd listen to their concerns as it sounds as if you are being emotionally manipulated and coercively controlled by this individual through your son.

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