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XH 'babysitting'(10 Posts)
Regular lurker and occasional poster, but Ive namechanged for this. I could really do with some Mumsnet wisdom and perspective.
STBXH left a year ago, having made it extremely clear that it was because I was inadequate in so many ways that he couldnt bear to stay in the marriage, and having put me through two months of pointless counselling in which he focussed exclusively on my faults without ever acknowledging any responsibility for the problems. It was a horrendous time, but I have come through it, rediscovered friends and activities that bring joy into my life, and focussed on my job and bringing up two early primary school aged DC alone. Although my self-confidence has taken a massive nose-dive, to the extent that I cant imagine ever having another relationship, I do genuinely feel happier without that selfish, lazy, arrogant man who didnt appreciate me.
We have been on an EOW pattern of contact right from the start (his idea). Initially he was babysitting one night a week, coming round after work, putting the kids to bed and staying until I came back from an activity. Although I did appreciate the night off, I hated coming home from my fun night out to him and the negative feelings he triggered. But I felt it was important for the DC to see him, so I put up with it.
For the past few months, STBXH has been working away, and coming back to the area just for contact weekends. Ive had minimal contact with him at handovers, and the DC and I have settled into a good routine.
Now he wants to reinstate the babysitting on a more irregular basis (cant be weekly due to work). My initial, and quite visceral, reaction was no. I just dont want him in my home. It feels like an invasion of my privacy. Im also quite concerned that my older DC really struggles with feelings around handovers hating leaving one of us, while wanting to go to the other, and can be withdrawn and difficult/challenging for at least a day or so either side of contact weekends. A change in routine over the bank holiday resulted in major upset and tantrums, and Im worried that STBXH being here sometimes will be disruptive for her (while I dont want her to have a difficult time with it, there is also a significant part of me that doesnt want to have to cope with more difficult behaviour). But maybe swallowing my feelings and having STBXH here would be less disruptive than irregular midweek overnights, which I honestly dont think would be in my childrens best interests.
I know he will think me unreasonable if I respond with my instinctive no, but I honestly dont know what to do, and would be so grateful for your insights and advice.
You don't have to have him in your house. Could he not just take them out for tea and bring them back for bed time?
I agree that having him there is difficult for you and won't help the DC. also routine is important for children and this sounds like a "when it suits him" arrangement.
If you can i would formalise arrangements. you presumably sort out work around your DC...so can he, perhaps he could commit to every other Wednesday or something similar.
Thanks foolonthehill - he is working abroad, with lots of travel, so a regular schedule as you suggest just isn't feasible. I'll definitely think about suggesting him taking them out for tea, which would be easier for me, although probably not for DC1.
I don't think you should have to have him in your house either. Even with a former partner on good terms that would be potentially awkward so I can certainly see the problems with it with this man.
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." William Morris
Your home is your sanctuary and should be where you feel happy, secure and in control. Rather than 'suggesting' he takes them out, just tell him that's how it's going to be in future.
First of all stop calling it babysitting.
A babysitter is someone who is paid to look after a child/children. He's parenting.
And no you don't have to have him in your home.
Could your DC1s reaction be confusion, from seeing him in your home? And not understand why he's in your home sometimes and not others?
Not a good idea to resurrect that and frankly what of it if he does think yabu. He already holds your personal qualities and habits in contempt. Might as well be hung for a sheep as they say.
Anyway it already muddles DC1 and has potential to blur boundaries further. It gives him scope to nose about and spoils your evening knowing you come back to ypur home your sanctuary (well put, Cogito) with him there. I bet he'd look dimly on you having access to his stuff if situations were reversed. You can word it quite coolly and unambiguously: "No that doesn't work for me". Contact can be outside your home.
Make it clear that you're not refusing him access to his children, just to your home. If he wants to see them mid-week then he can take them out somewhere.
Say it upsets your children and contact should take place anywhere he wants other than your home as it blurs boundaries.
Contact will not take place in your home and he can see your children as he wants.
I would never allow ex to step foot in my house, I know he'd spend the entire time going thro my personal things! The very thought makes my skin crawl.
Thanks everyone. You are so right Cogito, my home is my sanctuary - I'm struggling to keep it (former marital home) for the sake of stability for the DC, and have worked hard to make it feel like mine. Your comments about him looking dimly on me having access to his stuff really puts things in perspective Donkeys. I have not been 'allowed' to see his place (in fact he does all drop offs and pick ups because he seems not to want me anywhere near it). He has presented this whole idea as 'doing me a favour', but it really isn't doing me a favour if it makes me uncomfortable, undermines my confidence, and feels like a violation of my privacy, is it?
I will tell him contact will have to be elsewhere - I strongly suspect that if he has to take them out he will want to have them overnight. I suppose that all I can do is make clear my belief that that will not be in the best interests of the children, but if he decides to go ahead I guess there is nothing I can do. The divorce is going ahead on the basis that we will agree arrangements for the children between ourselves. I don't want to jeopardise the fairly amicable communication (email only) that we have managed to maintain.
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