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holidays... suggestions please

(50 Posts)
lateatwork Mon 13-Jun-11 19:02:39

so, am heavily pregnant with twins. DD is 2.5. DSS is 7. I am about to lose my job (disaster financially as I am main breadwinner...) DP has DSS for a week in July. Previous intention was that DP and DSS would holiday alone (bonding etc), DP, DD and I would go later. DP now is talking about us ALL going on holiday together... I simply dont want to do this. DD and DSS dont get along great. They spent Easter together and both faught the whole time with DP bending over backwards for DSS at the expense of DD. DSS obviously wants to spend as much time with DP as possible and that means he will totally monopolise all time with DP. It will be the last holiday that we have before the twins are born and I want it to be as relaxing and 'nice' as possible. Also, if we take DSS costs will be much higher. DSS does not live in same country as us and original plan was for DP to fly over to DSS and for them to go camping / cycling etc for the time. If we are to holiday together we have extra expense of getting DSS to whatever location. Am I being super mean to say no? DP wont now be able to take 2 weeks off cause of our financial situation.... which means unless DD and I go with DSS and DP, I wont get a holiday. What would you do?

lateatwork Mon 13-Jun-11 19:04:01

also, I should add, there is absolutely no chance of DP and DSS holiday NOT going ahead- despite any financial considerations. They will be on holiday no matter what.

allnewtaketwo Mon 13-Jun-11 20:42:02

"also, I should add, there is absolutely no chance of DP and DSS holiday NOT going ahead- despite any financial considerations"

I really think you need to address this. You're having twins and you are about to lose your job. And to be quite honest if you're the main breadwinner about to lose your job, then your DP needs to grow up.

Sorry lateatwork I don't mean to sound harsh with you, but your DP is being ridiculous. Have you chatted it through?

theredhen Mon 13-Jun-11 21:34:53

Aside from the obvious financial issues that allnew mentions, would you feel happy and relaxed just being at home with DD? That way, you are not stopping them from doing what they want but you aren't being forced to do something you won't enjoy.

Do what you want to do. If anyone else doesn't like it, then tough. You need to look after yourself and if you're stressed and harassed, that can't be good.

allnewtaketwo Mon 13-Jun-11 22:33:47

sorry lateatwork I've got a bit of a bee in my bum today!

lateatwork Mon 13-Jun-11 22:54:37

its ok allnewtaketwo... i kinda feel the same!it just feels to me that the whole DP / DSS relationship is ringfenced at the expense of all else. that is their week together and it will not change- fair enough they dont get to see each other that often and I am not totally heartless... but after supporting this family on my own financially for so long now, I just feel that I have to miss out again, so that DP DSS can maintain their relationship (again) blah blah blah. just brings back memories of being preggars with DD when DP called and said he had just booked a holiday for him and DSS to go to Turkey... I was 30 weeks pregnant and wasnt even asked to go. I was working of course- so they could nip off and bond. arghhhh

we chatted again tonight and still dp wants to combine the two holidays. so many restrictions too as we have fixed pick up drop off times / days. DD, DP and I have not been on a holiday together without DSS since DD was 10 months old. DSS always comes. I always pay. It was supposed to be different this time around but it seems not.

thinking about it, cant be bothered now. will just let them go off and do whatever and i will stay home to save the cash. hmmm or maybe DD and i will go somewhere swish to make them both jealous (how old am i now!!!!)

reddaisy Mon 13-Jun-11 23:00:35

If you always pay, then can't you just refuse to pay? And say that as you are about to lose your job that it isn't wise to blow money on a holiday at all?

But there would need to be an alternative so that your DP didn't lose out on the time with DSS, would that mean him staying with you for the week and them having days out instead? Would that be more stressful for you?

Petal02 Tue 14-Jun-11 09:52:34

“It seems like the whole DH/DSS relationship is ring-fenced at the expense of everything else” – this sums it up for me. The whole world can change, yet any finance, time commitments, etc etc previously organised for a step child have to stay in place, no matter what else is going in around them.

We’ve heard about strict pick-up/drop-off times that have to be adhered to even though all parties are snowed- in, we’ve heard about fathers who have to maintain a set amount of access per week, even though their jobs suddenly take them away from home Mon-Fri. And now we’re reading about a father who wants to take his son abroad on an expensive holiday, despite the fact that the family breadwinner is about to lose her job, and there are twins on the way ……..

I’d like to be generous and call this guilt parenting, but it the case of the OP’s partner, its financial insanity. In a bio family, if circumstances change, the whole family has to cut their cloth accordingly and adjust to the changes, yet anything bestowed on a stepchild does indeed seem to be ring-fenced and elevated to a status un-touched by reality.

If I were the OP, I would NOT be paying for the holiday she’s posting about. Surely this money needs to stay in the bank for when she’s no longer earning, and has two extra mouths to feed?????

What’s going to happen in five/six/seven years time, if money is tight, would the OP’s partner suggest that HIS son gets a trip to Disney, whilst the twins get a day-trip to Blackpool? Because that’s how I can see it panning out if this isn’t nipped in the bud.

WkdSM Tue 14-Jun-11 10:09:37

Would you be able to or feel comfortable flying anyway given your condition?
I would suggest sitting with DP with a speadsheet of current and projected expenses and monthly outgoings (twins will cost more) - and assess it against projected income. Maybe putting it in black and white will make him see sense?
But that is just me - a spreadsheet kind of girl!

catsmother Tue 14-Jun-11 11:06:11

Totally agree with Petal. In fact I'm gobsmacked by your DP's selfishness and insensitivity.

Notwithstanding the fact that he must miss his son, the FACT of the matter is that he should be considering contact in the context of its effect upon the whole family - and not just blithely insisiting on what HE wants. He should, in conjunction with LAW, be considering how contact might be achieved in light of how things stand now, and if he has to compromise (as no doubt LAW and their existing & future children together will also have to compromise about things they want/need) then so be it.

If, in light of your unfortunate redundancy - sorry - DP can only now afford to take a week off work, and if, he still wants "bonding time" whilst LAW needs (given imminent birth of twins) some relaxing time (which isn't likely to happen if SS is about right now, and as LAW is heavily pregnant I don't think she's unreasonable in not feeling too enthusiastic about the prospect of a so-called holiday - as suggested by DP - where the bulk of DD's childcare would fall upon her whilst DP is engrossed with SS) and, you can (??) still afford to put some money towards contact/holiday, then I'd suggest that DP spends 3-4 days visiting SS in the country he lives in .... e.g. going out on Fri night, coming back Mon or Tues night, staying in a hotel nearby, but NOT adding to the expense by arranging a holiday as such. After all, surely contact is the important thing here ? DP then returns Mon/Tues night and spends remainder of week off with LAW and DD whether or not they actually go away. Unless you can comfortably afford to spend money on going away then I'd concentrate on day trips for both SS/DP and DD/you/DP.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 12:10:53

the thing is DSS does not live in this country. DP only sees him two days a month and a couple of weeks per year. DP flies to see him each month. the idea for this week was that DSS and DP had a bonding week near to where DSS currently lives- camping, cycling etc so it was cheaper than flying DSS and DP back here... ie just two flights for DP versus 6 flights (4 for DP and 2 for DSS). DP, DD and I would then go on a holiday later.... but now DP thinks its a great idea for us all to go together. I dont. They will go as DP will have to see DSS. So DSS will get his holiday. But I wont.

Petal- re day-trip to Blackpool- yes.... if we are lucky. and it will probably be expected that I will fund the disneyland trip. ...

ALL of DPs money goes on DSS. I pay for everything. OK, my wage was a lot higher. But since finding out that we were having twins (found out in jan) and then redundancy (6 weeks ago) he has not even applied for a single job to improve his salary... i think he is kinda hoping that i will be able to neg a fab package(doubtful) or do contract work now... arghhhhh... i am so angry and upset and frustrated...

and.... his ex has suddenly got our home number again. i had it changed as when she had it last time she would ring 8 times a day... and now she has it again... and DP maintenance payments have DOUBLED from what he originally told me they had agreed... she is also expecting but i see no reason why that should impact on disposable income in my household...

and yes, i am having a pooh day.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 12:47:29

thanks all...
WkdSM - I tried the spreadsheet approach. he knows the expenses etc but it doesnt seem to sink in and become anything concrete
catsmother you have some good points... i just wish i was more open to spending time all 4 of us- and it makes me feel totally bad that i dont feel that way at all-... but after 5 years of this i know what the outcome will be... and i am not prepared to be second best... again.... and reducing contact with DSS causes all sorts of ripples with the ex and potential court case etc etc etc

he did cancel one of his access weekends and told ex he couldnt afford to come over- but really, that is just an awful thing to do to a 7 year old child- and i am not totally heartless...

This whole blended family thing sounds workable on paper, but ultimately we now are potentially going to have to make a decisions about which child we spend money on... ie have to make choice of one child over another ie if we only have enough to pay for shoes for DD or for access visit for DP and DSS- what gets priority? Who wants to deal with these loaded emotional conundrums? Ideally you wouldnt have to do this... and if i was to post this on the open forum i am sure i would be shot down in flames... ( saying of course access visit takes priority over shoes for DD...) but we do have to make that choice- and its not easy.

WkdSM Tue 14-Jun-11 13:03:38

If the maintenance payments are a private arrangement is it worth going to CSA - when you have the twins that will be taken into consideration, plus all travel costs.
I know they are usually hopeless from steps point of view but cuold they work in your favour this time?

glasscompletelybroken Tue 14-Jun-11 13:34:07

I completely understand you not wanting to go on holiday all together. Holidays are so intense in terms of being "together" all the time and I know I always find it hard and I'm not pregnant! We generally have 5 days away with my DH & DSD's and it's 5 very long days for me. At home it's easier to shut yourself away or go and visit friends for a break.
As your DP doesn't get that much time with his DS anyway holidays are a good opportunity for them to have the intense one 2 one time they probably need. This is your excuse reason not to go.
Financially I think you may have to go with this as it is planned - maybe making it a bit cheaper where possible. If your finances are the same next year though I would definately be making a big noise about one child having a lovely holiday while the others do without.
Good luck with the twins - very exciting!

Petal02 Tue 14-Jun-11 13:48:25

LAW – I find all this quite incredulous. So once the twins arrive, assuming your DP will still be spending ALL his money on DSS and the ex, you’ll be paying for everything else? What if you can’t afford to pay for everything else?

However once you’ve got two extra children, surely this would actually reduce the amount of maintenance DP has to pay his ex? Mind you, it seems that DP will keep paying out to the ex, regardless. The fact that she’s expecting again is academic, although sadly it seems he’s keener to support HER financially through her pregnancy, than he is YOU.

I think your present dilemma over the holiday is only the tip of the iceberg, it’s just a symptom of the greater problem that exists, ie your DP has got total tunnel vision over his son. Playing devil’s advocate here, does he REALLY not get it, or do you suspect he knows darn fine what he’s doing, and finds it too easy to rely on your good nature and large pay-packet??

He can’t view DSS-related expenditure in isolation; it’s all part of the bigger picture, ie family finances, and unless he changes his stance, I don’t know how you’ll fit it all together when the twins arrive. Do you think he’s genuinely thought it through, or, as you suggest, does he have some vague fantasy that you’ll get a £500k redundancy settlement, and everything will carry on as normal?

As regards what would happen if your daughter or one of the twins needed new shoes, and this couldn’t happen because the money had been spent on flights to see DSS ……. Where on earth do you start with that one? Given DP and DSS live in different countries, I think they do well to see each other every month – not many families could afford this, and it’s doubtful that yours will for much longer. As you say, it’s an emotional/moral minefield, and I don’t know how to advise you. Would DP be quite happy to see the other children in the household go without, providing his DSS-expenditure is protected?

What happens if it’s Mortgage Payment vs Overseas Flight one month?

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 14:40:52

Petal02- yes, am sure DP thinks that the money will materialise from somewhere- mainly me.... and it does feel like he wants to keep her sweet rather than bothering about me.

DP and I just had a 'chat'. He says he is too tired to think about it all. Last time he was having trouble getting his head around it. I calmly told him he needed to find the time to think about it and when he had done so, let me know... but that time is of the essence.

Re holiday...he suggested that he take DD with him to see DSS- to give me a break.... i dont need a bloody break on my own, I want a holiday with the three of us... and there is no way he can look after DSS and DD at the same time. she acts up (she is 2.5...) he acts up (he is 7...) and inevitably DP favours DSS and DD gets a raw deal. He commented that DSS 'will just have to get used to it'... yeah right... like he did at easter when I (working as usual) had to arrange for a friend of mine to go and 'help out' as DP couldnt handle the two on his own... ffs... he can handle multiple other children (and does...) but as he is sooo DSS focussed he totally ignores DD and then the whole cycle starts.

oh and the other thing i said (which he didnt like) was he has been financially 100% DSS focussed DD's entire life- he said thats not fair- but couldnt tell me one single thing he paid for- except a pair of startrite shoes i found on sale for £12 and he bought as I didnt have my card.. He contributes zero to her upkeep- no joke. No rent, clothes, daycare bills, swimming bills etc he will occasionally pay for a grocery load- but not every week. he pays the BT bill- and nothing else. But when Sainsbury's had their 25% off children's clothing a week or so back, what does he do?? goes and chooses a selection of clothing for DSS (not DD) drops them in the trolley and muggins here pays... what about choosing something for DD?? So, I am mean for not allowing him to spend 'pennies' on clothes for his son... hmmm.. Because he pays for nothing, he doesnt have a clue-so I did the whole expense thing... this is how much it costs us to live.... and it still hasnt sunk in....

i am 40 years old. Have worked my entire life. Am strong financially. But do not want all my work and savings squandered and whittled away supporting DP and DSS in their current lifestyle. that's NOT why i have saved all these years. if he wants to maintain a champagne lifestyle he needs to bloody earn more.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 14:41:17

gosh i am angry today....

catsmother Tue 14-Jun-11 14:45:55

Petal has more or less taken the words out of my mouth - again !

The current set up seems ridiculous - and unworkable long term. The pair of you have to look at what's in the total pot, and redistribute that as fairly as possible .... what worries me (and no doubt it does you) is that you say your DP has suddenly announced that maintenance to his ex has "doubled" from what they agreed - just like that. What does that mean exactly ? ..... maintenance doesn't just double arbitrarily ..... it's either set by a court order, set by the CSA, or else your DP has agreed to pay her double. If it's the 3rd option, you and he need to have a very serious talk very soon because that's completely unfair. He's in no position to agree any rise in maintenance without discussing it with you first. So far as his son is concerned, he's legally obliged (unless there's an overriding court order in place) to pay what the CSA's calculator (on their site) suggest ..... if he can afford to pay more and you both agree that, then fair enough, but you are a couple and you need to be fully involved in that decision. Forgive me if I'm speaking out of turn, but in light of everything else you've said about him booking holidays for him & SS and presenting them as a fait accompli, him spending all his money on SS, him insisting on SS holidays no matter what, no effort made to address the drop in income caused by you losing your job and so on, it did cross my mind whether perhaps he might even be trying to protect "his" money (i.e. the money for SS) by saying maintenance had doubled, in an effort to effectively force you into contract work (which it doesn't sound like you want to do) ?? Either way - you need to get to the bottom of what's going on. You said that all DP's money goes on SS ...... but if that consists of flights and maintenance, then how will he be able to double the maintenance anyway ? Sorry for all the questions but it sounds a bit suss to me and I hate to suggest this but I'm worried that you've been taken advantage of up until now, and what will happen if you can't continue to sub him like you have been doing.

Thing is ...... and apologies for being the voice of doom, but what would he do if he didn't have you ? He couldn't possibly spend all his money on SS and still afford to live himself. How would he eat, get to work, where would he live ? There is something very wrong if he's literally not contributing anything to the family pot, and he must be either paying ex way over the odds, and/or spending "his" money on other things you don't know about. As for this proposed holiday ..... really, if he's so insistent upon it, he should pay for it himself. And if he can't, well then, he can't. If you are at the stage - or fear you might soon be at the stage - of choosing between flights and shoes, then there's no way that any money should be frittered away now.

Sorry to say all this LAW but I can't help feeling that he's not being straight with you somewhere along the line. For the sake of your (soon to be) 3 children you need to find out what's what and insist that "his" money is allocated fairly. Am still gobsmacked if he's saying all his money goes on SS - and of course if ex is demanding more because she's pregnant, that's absolutely nothing to do with your DP. He can NOT continue supporting (and some by the sounds of it) just one of his children (if indeed that's where all his money's going) and leave you to support the other three all on your own - that's crazy. If he's so blinkered/selfish/scared of ex stopping contact or a combination of all three, that he refuses to look at this situation objectively then despite the fact it would be terribly scary, heartbreaking and very hard work, I'd be seriously thinking about whether or not I wanted to stay with this man. Why should the lives of four people (you and your 3 children) be dragged down because one child "must" be maintained at a particular level no matter what ? As I said before, it's your generosity enabling him to be so selfish and narrow minded - if he didn't have you he'd soon have to get more objective about this.

catsmother Tue 14-Jun-11 14:48:12

Have just cross posted with your last post. Not surprised you're angry - the way you're being treated is contemptible - and so is the way your DD is - and guess the twins will be too. This can't go on ...... you will go mad with resentment and fury.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 15:18:04

i know he isnt hiding where the money is going. His UK account is a joint account with me so i can access it. His wage is woeful. As DSS is resident in another country, he also maintains a flat in that country (and a car...) so that too is where his money is going. Considering how little DP sees DSS, I think its nuts to keep the flat as it would be cheaper to stay in a hotel each time he goes over. Sure, its a bit rubbish, but when DP sees DSS they dont spend time at the flat anyway as its no where near anyone DP knows and so ends up staying with DSS at friends place (who have kids) anyway. So, the flat is going at the end of the month. The car is also going as it is cheaper to hire one. That will increase the pot too.

as ex is in another country, payments arent decided by csa. dp assures me he didnt agree to the amount- but neither did he tell me about it openly until I asked. which annoyed me no end.

yes, it is my generosity that is enabling to lead this lifestyle and i suppose after doing it for so long, i kinda thought he would step up... but he has known about this for ages now and STILL HAS DONE NOTHING on the job front. i got so pissed off one day that i trawled sites and put all possible opps on a ss for him to follow up... but nothing. he says there arent enough hours in a day. he leaves the house at 0600 and collects DD from nursery at 1700... but to be fair, I dont get home (well not know cause the whole work crap thing) until 1930 and put DD to bed. I was often up at the same time as him taking conf calls... so this 'i'm too tired' rubbish doesnt wash with me. make time. suck it up.

Petal02 Tue 14-Jun-11 15:27:35

So he spends his own salary on a flat and a car in a different country, plus lots of flights, and general stuff for DSS. And over-inflated maintenance payments. And because you earn good money, you can bankroll everything else. I'm not surprised he doesn't want to sit down and do the sums with you, because once you're no longer earning good money, I doubt he'll be able to continue with his present arrangements, and men are very good at sticking their heads in the sand about stuff like that.

He's not "too tired" to have a discussion, he's avoiding a discussion. He doesn't want to face up to reality.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 16:02:04

yup Petal... exactly. it can't continue. and he isnt facing reality.

and yes holiday is the tip of the iceberg. can he afford to go and spend a week with DSS... NO. he cant. we have bills to pay and i wont be earning. he has no savings. I do. but why should i use my savings to fund his week long access visit with DSS? - cause if DP takes that access week with DSS it means his wage will not cover the bills for the month... in fact, his wage when NOT spent on DSS week long access visit will not cover 1/2 our outgoings. some would say why should i 'protect' my savings if it means DSS would go without seeing his father- I would counter that and say, DP knew this was a real possibility 5 months ago (well actually more as we have been trying for a child for ages) and he has NOT planned for it. He has told me that he opted to work part time when DSS was young so he could spend more time with him and thus used up his savings. Admirable. His decision- but we werent together and he didnt have another 3 children to support... why should I be 'guilted' (and I do feel guilty) into using my savings to continue to fund something that DP could only ever afford if I bankrolled him?

but what should happen to the pot of money? should it be split evenly between all? does access and flights and maintenance of DSS / DP relationship take priority? i dont think so. as much as i hate to admit it... my savings are going to be spent on DP and my children and NOT DSS. If DP wants to maintain his fantasy of being able to support 4 children on minimum wage and travel internationally every month, the he has to earn the cash to do that. It isnt coming from my savings- otherwise the pot will be empty and DSS will be fine, but the other 3 wont be.

allnewtaketwo Tue 14-Jun-11 16:11:47

lateatwork - this is really one of the strangest situations I've read about on here with respect to step-families. It really beggars belief.

A bit extreme - but the only way you're guaranteed to get money off him for your own children is to split up and claim child maintenance. Only then, seemingly, would he be forced to step up and help you support them.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 16:36:29

allnew- yup have said that to him at times when the argument has got heated... and when DD was little, the ex used to get financial support AND assitance with parenting of DSS that would mean she had free time- unlike me. But i think that is typical for a lot of blended families.

lateatwork Tue 14-Jun-11 16:37:15

so, am also guessing from the reaction, that this isnt 'normal'... how does it work with others then??

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