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How much access to DC does your ex have?(168 Posts)
Sorry, I have just posted this in "Lone Parents" thread as well but realised that there may be more traffic on this one.
I am in the process of setting down how much access my ex should have with our DD. I am thinking either a Saturday or Sunday 10:30am - 4:30pm. I don't in principle have anything against overnight stays, but he does not live somewhere that is appropriate for her to stay the night.
Is this reasonable (I know without a doubt that my ex will not find this reasonable, he will want to come everyday!).
I suppose I would like to know what the norm is (if there is one) and also what I have suggested above is reasonable.
It does sound a pretty meagre amount of time for a child to spend with a parent. If it was the other way round and you were only allowed to see your children once a week between those times I expect you would be heartbroken as most of us would be. I think you need a third party to help sort out something that will be acceptable to both of you.
I think you are being very very generous in doing a joint activity with him for your DDs birthday. I would strongly suggest not doing this again as it could be confusing/give the wrong message to your DD.
I would suggest any "birthday parties" which you both attend are on neutral ground, and preferably just the big party with a lot of the child's friends type.
Other birthday celebrations should be carried out separately.
I would suggest you start thinking about Christmas and come up with a system of swapping (this year at ours, next year at his, or sharing part of the day).
Remember he's a prick. What he cares about is showing everyone what a Wonderful Family Man he is despite being Still Really Cool. So he parades DD like a prop but never has to do anything 'boring' like attend a family party where the focus is not on the Cool Hip Men.
DD is two, she won't compare the two birthday parties, she will just enjoy them. Well, hopefully she will enjoy the one he has arranged and it won't be a case of the kids being ignored while the adults get pissed and tell each other what fab parents they are. But you don't need to go. You don't need to indulge this man at all: just treat him with calm, polite contempt and use the broken record method 'This is what is going to happen. If it's not possible then this will happen instead'. His feelings don't matter.
You are being more than accommodating to this knob but for your own sanity you really need to start detaching. "He is now saying that I will be missing out, that I should be there and making me out to be bad mum for not wanting to go to my own DD's birthday party", letting this arsewipe guilt you is doing your DD a disservice, you are letting this man walk all over her mother and setting her up to follow your lead. I would seriously spend as little time and only communicate strictly when necessary with this man until you are in a position that his twattery does not fill you with self doubt.
Just remember you accommodating his whims only enables him.
Detach, detach, detach.
Unfortunately you're DD's father is a git. He isn't about to change. I know it's annoying, but you can always console yourself with the thought that some other poor cow will have to cope with his delightful personality on a fulltime basis.
He's being an utter hypocrite. Sounds to me like he wants to present himself as this wonderful, involved father to all his friends, and wants you there to window-dress. His problem, not yours. Let him get on with it.
I think he is being very pot-kettle-black/double standardy here by berating me for not wanting to go seeing as he has bailed on the original plan of having the party with my family the next day. The idea of this joint party fills me with dread. He is saying that I am going to miss out seeing my DD mixing and having fun with the other children and that it would look weird to the other parents me not being there. I find him so condescending, I want to hit my head against a wall!!
1) We then arranged to have a birthday party at my parents house the next day (with cake, balloons etc).
2) Ex has now said that he has arranged a joint birthday party for DD following our trip with the DD of some friends of his. He also told me that he will not be able to go to my parent's party as he has friends visiting from London and would like to see them instead.
3) I said that I don't particularly want to go to this party with his friends (because it would be awkward for me, I don't get on well with them etc). He is now saying that I will be missing out, that I should be there and making me out to be bad mum for not wanting to go to my own DD's birthday party.
So you arrange a party together, he then bails for a better offer than his own child's birthday, arranges another with his own (adult) friends to salve his conscience, and is whining because you are going to the main, originally planned event instead?
He's trying to shuffle his own unease at preferring a better offer onto you by seeking to present his own as the main event - that way, he's not letting her down by abandoning a large family party in favour of adult friends. Honestly, I doubt she's going to notice or care, she'll have fun at both - just let him get on with it. Ignore the digs. Not the first time he'll be a manchild, is it.
Glad things are otherwise good.
Things have been continuing well with the new access etc, ex has not been in my house since I started this whole thing and I feel much better for it.
I have a bit of a query that I would like to put out there. It is my DD's 2nd birthday coming up soon. Me and ex agreed that it would be nice to do something as a family (the 3 of us) and have a day trip somewhere as DD has not been out with us altogether for awhile. We then arranged to have a birthday party at my parents house the next day (with cake, balloons etc). Ex has now said that he has arranged a joint birthday party for DD following our trip with the DD of some friends of his. He also told me that he will not be able to go to my parent's party as he has friends visiting from London and would like to see them instead. I said to him that if he does'nt want to come to my parents that is up to him but I said that I don't particularly want to go to this party with his friends (because it would be awkward for me, I don't get on well with them etc). He is now saying that I will be missing out, that I should be there and making me out to be bad mum for not wanting to go to my own DD's birthday party.
Fundamentally I just don't fancy going and having awkward small talk with people I don't get on that well with. I think that if he does'nt want to come to my family's birthday party surely I can do the same. Or am I being selfish, should I just suck it up for my DD's sake?
Any advice greatly appreciated.
Be really careful Jemima. Have you sought legal advice yet? (Sorry if you've already said.) You are offering him a LOT of contact - not just with DD but with you, and I really think it could do you good to talk this through with somebody to work out what is going to be viable over the longer term. The trouble with trying to engage/negotiate with somebody who starts off with an 'extreme' or unreasonable position is that when you meet "halfway" it's actually unfair on you because their position was so hardline in the first place! I fully support anybody wanting the NRP to have a full and involved role in their DCs life (I desperately want that for mine) but you have to think about what is workable for you as well as everybody else.
Last week I phoned the Families Need Fathers helpline hoping to talk to someone who might be more able to see things from a dad's perspective to try to understand what was 'reasonable'. I think during the day their helpline actually diverts to Family Lives which is a more generic helpline giving advice to parents. It was fantastic, I had two long chats with really helpful counsellors to talk through how I felt and what was going on with us.
Fwiw you have offered more than 50/50 at weekends . Remember this could continue at nursery / school.
Poser ignore his ranting. Offer whatever contact send fair and suits dd, and if you get another whiny or abusive reply then go to mediation. You don't need to be treated like this and it sounds like he wants an argument and anything you suggest will be met with the same attitude.
You do not have to justify not allowing contact in your home.
Just emailed him with the offer of 2 weekday afternoons and Saturday 12:30pm to Sunday 6pm on week 1, and then 3 weekday afternoons and the choice of saturday or sunday for week 2. He had only just now finally confirmed how many nights he would be able to commit to a month. I can't even fathom how or why he would continue to argue this is unfair?
I agree with random - you need to be like a broken record, and just not engage with his stream of nonsense. Robbing him of fatherhood? Pfft! What did he think fatherhood was all about then? Being a Disney dad?
Just email him back and restate what you are happy to offer him (I would offer him mid week overnights), tell him you are happy to go to mediation.
Ultimately the only option he has to get different is to take you to court for which you would have to go to mediation.
Overnights count a lot in terms of contact so you offering overnights midweek and alternate weekends is you being reasonable and generous - give him enough rope and he'll hang himself in terms of being unreasonable!
Don't get in to discussions about anything else just stick to what contact you are prepared to offer as a starting point and if he'd like more you are happy to consider it.
He got back to me yesterday stating that he disagrees with everything that I am saying at the moment. He says that I am sending him mixed messages in that I am asking him to do more yet am letting him see DD less i.e. not every day (but not less hours). He said this part of my behaviour is impossible to deal with and that I was depriving him of his fatherhood.
My aims for changing access was (a) so that I could get my home back to myself and (b) that the burden of work was shared a bit more equally. Although he did come round quite a lot prior to all this change, he was'nt really doing anything when he was round. He would just sit around, complaining he was tired from work. I wanted to change the quality of time he spent with his DD rather than quantity.
He says he should see her more at the weekends because he works full time and therefore it follows that all the childcare, shopping etc falls on me. He said "what did you think being a mother would involve?". He said that he came round most nights when most others would'nt. He keeps saying a lesser man would have just left a long time ago.
He also said that I should'nt worry about changing my mind and thinking that I have "lost" and he was "won". I don't think this at all anyway. I don't see it as a competition or anything like that.
The whole thing is grinding me down. Today I just feel run down, tired, irritable etc. I'm fed up of him stating that I am being unreasonable.
I see now reason why he can't have her overnight during the week, for her to settle in staying with it needs to happen fairly regularly. It would you do you good to have to full evenings off, where you can go out or work without need of a babysitter it also makes every other weekend a much more reasonable offer - I really wouldn't want to beholden to him having her one day every weekend - how would you ever go away without it being an issue?
I think you had every right to point out that he wants equality in the fun time with her, but has done sod all of the hard work, actually. That's not rude. That's the reality, and he's making out he's this put-upon Papa when he's anything but. Given I know damn good fathers who are blocked from contact with kids they love very much and actively co-parented before the split, I think he's taking the piss in whining because you want a routine that would suit and support your dd's developmental needs and to have your own space instead of his looming over your shoulder every time he wants contact.
I would be very wary of agreeing to his having her every weekend. Every other weekend is fair on both parents because week nights, once the kids are at school, are the stressful and grunt-work ones. Offering him one overnight in the week and every other weekend, plus more on an informal arrangement as suits you both, seems fair, but he has to build up to that by spending more time with her and being responsible for her overnight. It's just not fair on her to do a 0 to 60 that way in one go. I don't think a camping trip is the ideal test for a baby who isn't yet 2 when he's not had her in a house yet, either. I think a suitable place for her to stay overnight and then her getting really familiar with that place before she does stay overnight seems a lot more child-focused. He's a dad. He needs a home his daughter can stay in. That's part of the deal of being a parent, if at all financially possible, which from what you've said it is for him.
He sounds very much more focused on his rights and emotional needs than her welfare, though I do give him credit for voluntarily paying more than the CSA would ask. He does love her, then. Money speaks loudly on that front, in my sad experience. But that's what he SHOULD be doing. And so is selecting somewhere to live that would allow him to have his own daughter to stay with him.
Yeah I sort of regret the last bit as I have been trying to be as adult and non-provoking as possible. I think it is all getting to me though. His emails are full of shouty sentences with caps on "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO ME" sort of stuff and accusing me of being a cow so I think I just snapped and told him a bit of stuff back that I've had on my mind. But I will keep my eye on it in the future.
He does provide me with financial support, basically what the CSA advise based on his income. He only started this just over a year ago.
Also, did you know that you can setup a filter on most email accounts so mail from a certain person or with a certain subject is automatically put in a specific folder? That way you can set aside a set time to check and deal with email from him, rather than facing it every time you look at your inbox.
I think your email is good. I understand why you added the last but, but I'd try to be factual about dd and not mention myself if possible. If he continues in this vein I would write back suggesting mediation or some other professional assistance in agreeing a contact schedule. Otherwise I think he's trying to wear you down. No point in having the same conversation again and again.
Do you have regular financial support from him? If not, have you had advice from a solicitor or an organisation that can help with contact and financial support?
Thanks for all your responses and advice! I really do appreciate it!!
I have just sent him another email in response to his previous one. I reiterated that I am standing by my original proposal of 2 weekday afternoon/evenings a week (where he drops DD off at mine before bedtime) and then the choice of either a full day on Saturday or Sunday, to be agreed in advance. I stated the reasons being that we need to establish long term access which will survive when I increase my workload/DD goes to school etc and that it is important that we set up a routine for DD. If we change the routine again in the future when I work more or she is at school, this will be be unsettling.
I also pointed out to him that he is not seeing her less during the week - for example before I started changing the access he would come round to my house most nights just after 6pm and leave at 7pm and would often have Friday's off so that he could go down the pub with his mates etc. So that is 4 hours which is actually under the amount of time he will be seeing her now where he sees her for 2 nights during the week.
I have also asked him to give me specific confirmation as to whether he is willing to do overnights, from when, how often and whether he truthfully thinks this is something he can commit too. So far he has not given me any information as to any of this so it is difficult to offer him or plan overnight stays when he won't tell me when he is available.
I ended my email stating that there has been a massive inequality in that I have been solely responsible for the entire workload of raising DD - laundry, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining her, classes, money etc. I told him that knowing the amount of work that I do I know the reality of what it takes to look after a small child and that when I look at him, what he does scarcely scratches the surface.I told him I was sorry if that hurt his feelings but that is the truth of what I think. I slightly regret adding that last bit but I was so pissed off with all. What do others think?
You're right, I should have qualified that with 'some men'. I happen to have been married to a highly controlling man who just cannot cope AT ALL with the fact that I have SOME power in this situation. He sadly interprets the fact that I have the power to say no to mean that I am 'controlling'. I am desperate for him to see the children, he has chosen not to because I don't accept the schedule he suggests. It is ludicrous.
Although I agree that resident parents can also be controlling, as I travel the path through divorce I am yet to meet a woman in a similar situation who is withholding contact or who seeks to alienate her children from the NRP. Although of course it happens, I happen to think it's hugely exaggerated.
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