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Changing from 50:50 arrangement

(30 Posts)
DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 19:41:02

I'm looking for any advice or MNers experiences of changing their 50:50 contact arrangements please.

Our usual routine is Sun/Mon/Tues with XH and Wed/Thurs/Fri with me, alternate Sat. It's been like this for 7 years and seems to work well. DC are now 16, 14 and 12.

Unfortunately XH had to leave his rented property 5 weeks ago and move into a flat with his partner and her one DC. I have our DC full time now while he looks for another house. He has had them for tea a few times but no overnights. I work almost full time as a GP and I'm absolutely shattered at the moment sad. My working week is set up so there are long days when XH usually has the kids and I can't change without leaving the practice short.

The DC have now decided that the hassle of our previous midweek handover is too much and they prefer living in one main house. I want to accommodate their wishes as much as possible and wondered whether having the DC for a week or two weeks alternate with XH might work. Or whether anyone has had a similar experience and made it work?

I feel we have coparented very well so far and that should continue, sharing the load of school runs, sickness etc. XH has also said he would have them full time when he gets a house but I definitely don't want that either.

I am in awe of those parents that do full time lone parenting, I have no idea how you manage. I feel like I'm failing from all angles at the moment as I'm also struggling to cope with my very busy job too.

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Maybelle345 Tue 10-Nov-20 21:12:24

If ask yiur children what they would like to happen and base your decision on that. They’re all more than old enough to decide

DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 21:26:35

Thank you, they would prefer to stay in one house all the time but I don't think that will work with having contact with both me and XH.

I'm not sure what I'm asking really sad I think mainly I'd like to know that there are ways to compromise that end up working well. I'm worried to continue having the conversation with them at the moment as XH doesn't actually have a house yet and they became upset when I tried to suggest that they could still move between houses but potentially in a different pattern.

I wondered whether others had come across the same problem and managed to work through it somehow.

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DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 21:28:14

They would be equally happy to stay with either me or XH but that will mean one parent will do everything and one will miss out.

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DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 21:30:02

It's the hassle of moving school books etc between houses that appears to be the main sticking point and they prefer less hassle at just one house sad.

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GeorgeTheFirst Tue 10-Nov-20 21:32:54

I think giving their ages, you need to take their views into account. Most adults would not like to move home every 3 or 4 days and whilst this arrangement maybe worked for your children whilst they were young, it may very well not work now. Would you be able to afford to go to child inclusive mediation?

DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 21:36:49

Yes, I agree that the frequent moving is unsettling. I will look into mediation, I hadn't thought about that.

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DonaldTrumpsChopper Tue 10-Nov-20 21:44:05

How close did you live to your ex? Where is his new house likely to be?

My relative and her ex both lived within walking distance from the school. Their dcs switched houses every two days for the first few years.

When they were teenagers, they decided to sleep at their Dad's but saw their Mum pretty much every day - they'd come and go between the houses.

When they were older still, one of them moved in with mum.

No conflict, they just worked around the children.

Light11 Tue 10-Nov-20 21:58:41

They are old enough now to want the stability of a normal home. Bar the smallest one they should be able to function as a unit...

Sorry if this is not helpful I just don’t get the 50/50 at 16, it’s just sounds like hassle

DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 22:01:41

We were about a 5 min walk apart, then he moved into a different rented house about 5 miles away in March. He will be looking for a house anywhere within about a 10 mile radius of me.

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DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 22:08:04

I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with not getting home until 8pm on Mon after a long day, similar on Tues and Wed. XH has recently been on holiday abroad and then had two weeks isolation so I feel like I'm doing everything sad.

I'm fully prepared for people to tell me to get a grip and they're my own kids, people cope with this every day. I'm trying to work out exactly what I'm not coping with, but I think it's everything, including work, and XH taking the pressure off by having the kids was helping the balance.

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DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 22:09:56

The house is in complete disarray as all the DCs things from XH house are here. There are boxes in all the rooms and extra furniture. There is washing everywhere, I just want to leave the house and not come back for a bit.

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DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 22:11:11

Maybe I'm confusing the issues of what I need to do to cope and what the DC want.

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itsovernowthen Tue 10-Nov-20 22:13:34

I know the DC want to stay in one place no, but it's important for them to spend decent time with you both (they will thank you when they are older!).

Have you thought about switching routine to 1 week on, 1 week off for you and ex? Also having 2 of everything, one at each house, may make the DC feel more at home in both.

Good luck, I hope it works out well for you thanks

DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 22:17:57

Thank you smile they have two of everything apart from school books. The main problem was thinking what they'd need for my house on a Wed such as books for the rest of the weeks lessons and special teddies. I do appreciate they'd feel more settled in one house. I hope we can come up with something that works.

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elaeocarpus Tue 10-Nov-20 22:25:12

Do your children share the load at home? From 15 i was pretty much responsible for getting dinner ready most weeknights and helping out with laundry etc

RainingBatsAndFrogs Tue 10-Nov-20 22:33:07

I think it completely unreasonable for kids going through exams to be living this life of moving about. It just isn’t fair in them.

It is clear too that you are under loads of pressure OP.

Cleaner/ housekeeper who comes in and cleans, irons, cooks supper ready for you to come home to? Ask your ex to contribute to the cost since he is not able to do his share of childcare in kind?

Misty9 Tue 10-Nov-20 22:39:18

My dc are younger at 6 and 9 but we had the same pattern as you until early summer when dd started acting out and requested more time at each home. So now we do week on week off with changeover on a weds and it's much better for all I think. We get a decent chunk of time with each other but it's manageable with work as it's not completely different each week. The weekend is in the middle rather than the start or end, so is more relaxed. And I get half of every week to recharge. Its bloody hard work and I'm not surprised you feel overwhelmed at the moment flowers

They have duplicates of nearly everything but I make sure their favourite books/teddies get moved between houses. It can be a pain with ensuring pe kit is at the right house etc as it's on changeover day, but definitely better and more settled for everyone with a week in each.

Misty9 Tue 10-Nov-20 22:45:43

It's easy for people to say kids shouldn't have to move but it is in their best interests to have a good relationship with both parents and I've always been of the opinion that I have no greater right to time with them than their dad.

And as for extra furniture and the like, get your ex to pay for storage! It sounds like he really should be pulling his weight as much as possible even if he can't do overnights at the moment. Does he have a plan for getting somewhere bigger? Maybe if you know there's an end date that would help?

DrFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-20 23:05:20

Thank you everyone thanks there is no date for when we can possibly come to some arrangement. He is looking for a house large enough for him and the DC but larger houses to rent are few and far between here.

The DC do help but I would actually rather them just tidy up after themselves. And turn lights off, not ruin the carpet with paint etc.

I really should not read the 'GPs are doing nothing' threads as they're making me more stressed even though I know it's not supposed to be a generalisation of all GPs. I'm working my arse off and have the kids full time, while XH is at his DP's flat locked down for a month (he owns a pub).

As well as suggestions, this thread is helping me to get it all out brew

Also I'm too embarrassed to get a cleaner, the house is that bad, I don't know where to start.

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HollowTalk Tue 10-Nov-20 23:19:23

Please don't be too embarrassed to get a cleaner. Can you afford to pay for one for a couple of hours a day? I think I would pay for them to come for a whole day to get the house sorted and then for two hours every day if possible and prepared dinner as part of the job.

Fantasisa Tue 10-Nov-20 23:24:11

Can he spend time at your house parenting while you are out at work? You might not want that but it could solve some of the immediate issues as he could do some of the chores and homework supervision etc.

Light11 Tue 10-Nov-20 23:26:13

Ok Dr.

Let me break this down for you,

“ I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with not getting home until 8pm” - of course, this is absolutely a killer schedule, even without the DC in the mix. This long hours, may be necessary but it does not sound like you are coping well, is there room for some flexibility here? At the end of the day your health is at stake. Could you not finish some of your patient calls from home? Is it feasible to have a temporary reduction to let you cope a bit? -have a think.

Seconds, your XH is perfectly within his right to move home, it’s not always possible to lice so close, it’s not always possible to maintain arrangements, again this is what the situation is now and no point in clinging to the past.

Thirds, sit the DC down, put some rules down, they are old enough to understand is there something they can do to help? Tidy up? Team up Make a pasta dinner once a week? -Not a big ask.

It’s totally normal for teens to need the stability of a single home. If there is some freedom aspect or XH dynamics here those are separate issues.

Pinkyxx Wed 11-Nov-20 17:09:42

I think have 3 issues and you're mixing them together..
1. a full time job with long hours
2. Your ex changed contact arrangement short term for housing reasons and now wants this long term.
3. Your kids want stability..

I get where you're coming from - I also work very long hours and have been a lone parent for over 10 years full time in the week, ex has eow only (decided by a court due to concerns ref his parenting). It takes an army..

I think you need to first ask your children what they want and then have mediation with your ex. It's perfectly ok for him to move, but it is not reasonable for him to impose new contact arrangements on you.

I do however agree with others who have said 50:50 is no life for kids.. and they should help at home.

ps. get a cleaner, that's one thing really not worth worrying about!

DrFoxtrot Wed 11-Nov-20 20:15:38

Thank you all, it's been good to get some objective thoughts. I think we can come up with something that will suit everyone better.

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