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Parent/In law competing - am I being a control freak?

(12 Posts)
bakingbetty Sun 07-Jul-13 22:41:11

My partner and I have seperated but are still living together but only because we have small children and essentially the relationship ended 10 months ago. I am going back to work Part-time (2 days a week) after an 18-month stint as a SAHM. I am close to my parents, they see a lot of my children and are great at helping out etc. Partners parents live close by but don't get involved much and partner is not close to them at all. My mum has offered to have DC for one day a week through the summer hols to help out - she's busy and has a great social life but I know she genuinely wants to help me and loves being with DC so, as far as I'm concerned this is a very positive option. However, partner's response is that if we take my mum up on this then we must also ask his parents to have DC regularly also (not actually saying one day a week but to actively have them for a day here and there and maybe as frequent as my mum), as 'that is fair'. I know I will probably get slated here because it is 'fair' for things to be equal and for my in-laws to see DC as much as my parents. I do not have a problem with this in principle but my problem is that it feels very much like partner is wanting this out of some kind of point of principle rather than the most practical/viable option. They have never looked after the children on their own. They never pop round and rarely invite us round or get particularly involved even though they live a short drive away. They are loving and caring with them when they see them but we always initiate the visits. I know the children would be safe and probably happy with them but leaving them with them for a whole day here and there, all of a sudden, doesn't seem a natural thing to do.

Partner is very angry with me that I'm less than keen and have basically said it seems a bit off of us to ask them seeing as they've never volunteered to do much proactively in the past. He says I'm being a control freak and they have as much right to be with DC as my parents do (I agree with that but the relationship they have is not as easy). Am I being unreasonable to resist this? On the one hand I feel annoyed that I am unable to accept my mum's kind offer unless then go ahead and ask in-laws to do the same when I'm not very comfortable doing that. As the SAHM I am used to being the one who organises all their care. On the other, we will eventually separate 'officially' and then I realise I will have far less control over what he decides to do with the kids when he has them.

I feel so fuzzy-headed from the rows and personal insults I have taken from him about my multitude of personality faults that I feel like I can't decipher when I'm being unreasonable or not any more and would appreciate other peoples advice!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 22:46:27

They're your children and you choose who looks after them and how often. If you're going to be the primary carer and you have to work, you decide on what works best for you. When the children are staying with him, his parents can help him take care of them.

Don't stick around to be punished with insults and rows. Get your own place sooner rather than later. Good luck

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 22:47:37

BTW... grandparents have no legal rights of access to grandchildren. The access you agree is between you and him.

Standautocorrected Sun 07-Jul-13 22:47:56

Can you give it a try for a couple of weeks in the holidays? Give them 2 dates and ask them if they can help out.
When you and your ex no longer live together it might be nice for you to be able to ring them and ask if they could collect from school occasionally perhaps?
I say this as someone who has non caring inlaws and hardly any help. I think the more help you have and the more people that care for your dc the better especially in the school holidays

PrettyPaperweight Sun 07-Jul-13 22:50:15

. However, partner's response is that if we take my mum up on this then we must also ask his parents to have DC regularly

If he's an "ex" partner then there is no we for him to refer to, really.
If he wants to ask his parents to take responsibility for your shared DC, then that's up to him - but that is independent of you accepting an offer from your Mum smile

It's very hard to truely 'end' a relationship when you still share day to day life as well as parenting - is there any chance you can become more Independent in the foreseeable future?

bakingbetty Sun 07-Jul-13 23:01:11

Thanks for responses - really helpful. Yes, Pretty, to be honest I see my starting work as a first and necessary step towards us splitting up properly. When I told him I wanted to separate he just fell apart and begged me not to turf him out. He cried and said he'd never be able to afford anywhere nice to live and have the children stay. I felt so guilty and also concerned about own financial insecurity (ie not working) that I caved and we've just stayed living in same house but with no intimacy etc ever since. I see my salary (only part-time but quite good and with capacity to pay mortgage, bills, part-time nursery etc) as a way to take that step towards independence. I am aware that some men will find that callous and cruel but truth is that when you give up a well-paid and rewarding career to try to be a better partner/parent and end the bloody constant rows and things still don't work out - the least you want to do is make sure you can provide a home for your children!!

I just don't know if he has a point though. I do have control freak tendencies but I do feel in this case that his parents just aren't used to my kids and a whole day is a long time to entertain them.

Nanny0gg Sun 07-Jul-13 23:10:57

I think your Ex is presuming a lot.

His parents may not want a regular child-minding role.

bakingbetty Sun 07-Jul-13 23:14:37

Yes, NannyOgg, there is that! This is almost academic in fact. Because as you say, they might not want or be able to do it. I am really interested to see people's responses as it's part of a wider thing for me, I suppose, ie getting some clarity on how controlling I am/whether some of it is him being unreasonable.

KnittedWaffle Sun 07-Jul-13 23:14:52

Perhaps his parents won't want that much contact if you've always done the arranging in the past?

He's making a huge assumption!

MummytoKatie Sun 07-Jul-13 23:55:55

Yes - do they want to be used as "free childcare". Not that there is anything wrong with having grandparents look after the kids but only if they want to!

I wouldn't worry until he has broached this with them - they may send him away with a flea in his ear for being so cheeky to ask.

If they do seem keen then perhaps start getting them to spend time with the children - just short times to start with. Perhaps they could look after one for a couple of hours while you do something special with the other etc. If you build it up slowly then either you will get comfortable with them as caretakers or they will decide it isn't for them and they'd rather spend their Tuesdays playing Bridge. Either way - as you are about to become a single parent and your stbex sounds like he may become very difficult it will be useful for you to have some extra people that you can call in an emergency.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 08-Jul-13 06:26:08

"his parents just aren't used to my kids and a whole day is a long time to entertain them."

The bigger picture here is that you probably shouldn't make yourself reliant on either him or people connected to him for regular child-care. Naturally, he must be fully involved in the co-parenting of your DD and, if he wants to involve his parents when he is responsible for her, that would be normal. Occasional sleepovers at granny's would also be normal. But, being blunt, if you're trying to hold down a job, having reliable, regular child-care is too important to leave in the hands of a family that - even assuming they want to do it - don't like you very much because you've ditched their son.

calmingtea Mon 08-Jul-13 07:08:22

I understand you said you are still living together because of your child, but perhaps you should consider separating fully. It seems like the boundaries of behaviour are a bit blurred, he thinks he can dictate to you and you are questioning your judgement and wants. If you putting up with anger, rows, personality assassinations, this is not healthy for you emotionally. What he is saying sounds like emotional blackmail. Like others have said you need security when it comes to childcare so you can get to work, rebuild your life and move on.

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