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Holidays, advice needed

(20 Posts)
onionlove Sat 02-Jul-11 21:02:44

Hi everyone,
I'm in a bit of a state about holidays, I'll try to keep the message short as I can but if anyone can read and offer advice it would be much appreciated.

I have a 10 year old SD and a 18 month old DS. At easter nursery shut for a week so we were all on holiday together (DH has SD a week at easter and a week in summer). I have to say that it was a total struggle as SD is so quiet and introvert (we don't know why, DH asks and asks but she won't talk to him). I'm sure I don't need to go into it too much but I feel like we have a shadow as she won't go and do anything independently (even waits at the table for DH to bring her breakfast cereal!) and whatever we suggest from ice cream to movies to shopping to park is met with 'don't mind' all the time. I hear from MIL that DH was the same at this age! Although at the weekends lately she has started to spend time with a friend a similar age who is also visiting her dad on access weekends and this has perked her up. Basically I think she needs more interactions with people her own age to help her gain confidence.

SOOOO, DH planned with this girl's Dad to have SD the same holiday week to do things together, I am working half the week, nursery is open so we all get a bit of breathing space and are able to do some things together too which to me was a great solution.

Until, yesterday when DH gets an email (the only way he communicates with his ex) saying she wanted to swap weeks to a week when I have to be off on holiday because nursery is shut, I have already booked the holiday from work and that was tough to do because everyone wants to be off those weeks and my colleagues have made other arrangements to fit round me. It causes stress for DH at work too. I don't want to go into work and leave DS with DH and SD because I know DH will find it too stressful with SD as she is at the moment and everyone will suffer. Also I have made plans with DS little friends for a few days out and activities etc.

To me its simple, we say on this occasion, sorry but no we have things planned and we cannot change it, perhaps offer a different week when I am working but not that precise week, it will be a disaster with DH in the middle running around trying to please everyone. BUT DH won't say no to her because he is afraid when we need a favor next time she will say no. I can see his point but we have swapped things around before and its been fine, this time it just isn't, its too short notice and it just doesn't make sense (to me!) If she couldn't swap at some point we would just have to put up with it e.g. like when I first had DS and SD was with us for a week. I suppose at the root of it I don't like my life being controlled by someone else's whims which I guess is the endless problem with this situation.

I'm just feeling really fed up DH won't say no to her. I can't talk to him about it anymore because he is getting stressed trying to please everyone as usual but he can't see that by swapping this around it won't be such a good holiday time for SD and it will be more stressful for everyone. Any suggestions anyone?


Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 08:25:47

I think it depends on her reasons for asking. Is it a would it be possible type request, or is it I'm really stuck for childcare that week type request.

I'm not sure I've followed your story completed, does it mean that you dh will swap his week's leave so he is off at the same time as you have your dsd?

Could you leave the week you've planned as it is, and offer to have her for both weeks?

onionlove Sun 03-Jul-11 09:33:39

Thanks Vibrant - I think she wants to go on holidays but I'm not sure what her reasons are or the way it was worded. DH will swap weeks if he can arrange from work, I don't really want to have her for both weeks or the week I am off as all of us together just creates stress. We said after the easter week which was tough that it would be better if DH was off with SD alone so he could devote time to her and I wouldn't find it so frustrating with us all stuck together all the time.

Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 09:47:21

Maybe having her with you for longer would help her relax a little more? I guess I'm just struggling a little with the thought of saying "no we can't have her then", as that was not really something I would have done. If we were working or whatever, dsd fitted in around our plans. And it wasn't all plain sailing, I just figured that it was an equal responsibility for dsd's mum and dad to look after her and saying no wasn't an option. What if both parents said "no I can't have you that week"?! Why should dsd's mum HAVE to because her dad and I wouldn't, it would mean taking away her choices. But I don't know your back story, I'm just telling you how I felt about things.

glasscompletelybroken Sun 03-Jul-11 11:36:06

But Vibrant the OP and her DH had already arranged to have her - it's not that they don't want to have her it's just that having made all their plans the ex is now wanting to change things. It is the ex who is saying she can't have her DD that week! Why can't she - presumably she has made arrangements for the other weeks of the holiday?
As someone who is permanently at the mercy of my DH's ex I can completely understand the OP. We have the same issues all the time and my DH won't say no either. It's infuriating and I am left feeling that what I want is much less important than keeping the ex happy. It's nothing to do with what the DSC's want or what's best for them - it's purely their mother being difficult just because she can get away with it.

Onionlove I wish I had the answer but I suspect things will happen the way the ex wants and you will have to go along with it as usual.

onionlove Sun 03-Jul-11 13:57:38

glasscompletelybroken - hit the nail on the head, I try to be flexible and easy going but I feel like my opinion doesn't matter as they will decide what happens anyway. just can't seem to make DH see that I feel less important too. Just would have liked him to say that he couldn't change because of work being messed around or something, white lie, just so we can keep things the way they were which suited us rather than changing everything around to suit her. Wish I could see the answer :-(

swash Sun 03-Jul-11 15:13:28

onion, I would definitely say no to the ex. You have already made arrangements with another family and that should take precedence. I would insist that your DH respects your arrangements, which you have obviously thought about a great deal and which give your SD the best chance of having a nice time while she is with you. Even if insisting causes conflict between you and DH it is better than the alternative imo.

Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 19:13:30

It depends on the context really. On the face of it a request to change a week's contact could be for all sorts of reasons. Maybe she can't get time off work other than that week, maybe she's been offered the chance to have a cheap week away because others are going and the cost is being shared, maybe it just fits better with other things she might have planned. It's not necessarily her being difficult.

And she is saying no she won't have her an additional week, as well as to a swap. And my point is should it even be optional that you say you can't have your own child? I know in reality loads of people do but it's something that doesn't sit well with me. When xh and I were together we couldn't suddenly say "oh it's not convenient to have dd this week because we have things planned", things got planned around dd and arrangements made for her if necessary. There was no PWC to pick up what we wouldn't do, and I applied the same theory to dsd and having her. It wasn't optional.

glasscompletelybroken Sun 03-Jul-11 19:40:57

Yes but things were planned around the OP's dsd and when she was coming to stay and then the ex changed it. It's not about whether it's convenient or whether it is optional - it's about the ex controlling the situation. The change of plan is not for the benefit of the child. They had an arrangement and now the ex is the one saying it's not convenient for her to have her dd so wants to change it.

Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 19:53:41

Equally she could be looking at it in exactly the same way - that he is controlling the situation, and her ability to be able to take a week's holiday when she wants to depends on him agreeing to have her.

onionlove Sun 03-Jul-11 19:56:37

Hi Vibrant, I appreciate you coming back and in an ideal world it would be great to parent in that way. However, DH and his ex have totally broken down communication, it is only emails, very short to make arrangements nothing else which is another issue and why it makes these access weekends so difficult. Believe me, this woman is being difficult, she has a considerable history of doing so. The reality of the situation is SD is always with grandparents anyway and doesn't spend that much time with her mum. We just don't have that kind of set up and never will. Our situation is business like but on the whole manageable for everyone concerned, that's just the way it is, not ideal, but it what it is. Again GCB is right about the control thing, it is not for the child's benefit it is probably like you say she has had a better offer and wants to go away without SD. My issue is that even though I can say to DH please don't change it, my opinion means jack s**t to him as he fears this woman's wrath more, that tells you the sort of person she is. For the first year we were together DH had to see SD whenever her mother dictated it even if it meant seeing her at a contact centre and I wasn't allowed to meet her, however her new boyfriend moved in within two weeks, I think you get the picture.... (not necessarily having SD's best interests at heart).

onionlove Sun 03-Jul-11 19:57:22

She has agreed the arrangements, if she wants to change she has to make other provisions, this time, that's all!

Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 19:59:45

Also things change, new things to do come up, things get cancelled, other people's plans alter and affect yours. What's the harm in asking if a swap can be done?

ivykaty44 Sun 03-Jul-11 20:02:22

Can you have her for both weeks - rahter than the swap?

That way you are doing the favour, you get dsd and her friends comes over - then the extra week your dh gets more time with her and possibly with more time with her she may open up a bit more and with you having her the extra week dsd may fell welcome in your home

Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 20:03:16

I'm getting more of a picture and feel for her now grin. Can't be easy for your dsd then if she's hardly ever with her mum and hardly ever with her dad sad.

glasscompletelybroken Sun 03-Jul-11 20:08:16

There's no harm in asking as long as you don't mind if the answer is no!

It sounds like the OP and her DH are just having her for one week out of the holiday - that gives the ex 5 weeks to arrange her own holiday if that is what she is doing! Yes things come up but that doesn't mean it's OK to mess around with the 1 week her Dad has with her in the holidays.

My DH is the same - his ex gets what she wants because she is the mother of his children and she is difficult. I am not either of those things so apparently have no say.

Vibrant Sun 03-Jul-11 20:18:31

If they only have her for one week and it's not being changed, doesn't that only gives the ex one week when she can have the holiday - if the only way she can go is if her dd is with her Dad?

onionlove Sun 03-Jul-11 22:52:15

Ok guys thanks for replying believe me this woman does what she likes as she uses DSd as a pawn to her grandparents she will always find a way to get her way hey ho she even took off on honeymoon without telling dsd who was them with grandparents just wanted to find a way dh would see my views too

Smum99 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:18:27

Do we share the same ex? Also a similar attitude for stepchild. There is nothing wrong in your DH politely saying no. We had a similar situation last year, right at last minute ex asked to change dates (and trust me we are never, never allowed to change dates at short notice). Like you we had lots of activities lined up so it really didn't work but we did get grief. DSS was even asked to challenged us. It did all settle down and I'm glad we stuck to our position. The ex is bullying and it never works to back down to a bully, we have learnt that too our cost and I think a lesson for all step parents. I do wish we hadn't been so accommodating (read scared of ex) for the first few years as it really didn't achieve anything positive.

I hope your DH feels he can say No, if he is mostly accommodating then no reason to feel bad when it can't work. If he is agreeing to the change because he is scared then that isn't a good reason.

onionlove Tue 05-Jul-11 22:22:54

Hi Smum,
DH didn't say yes on this occasion partly because of work at the moment and means he has one less day's holiday to take off. I put my foot down and said we would swap but not have DSD for the weekend after as well as we have had to shift some days out around to the weekend so not too bad. He had loads of abuse calling him a rubbish dad etc. but I think he is getting more wise to it now and he told her he is not prepared to be 'spoken' to like that particularly when she wants a favour. I told him I'm not swapping again if it doesn't suit us, this is the final time so he is going to fix holidays at the beginning of the year then it won't be swapped unless its an emergency or DSD wants to. Its not that he feels he can say no but I think he knows he will get grief whatever happens for something or other sooner or later its always his fault and he's a bad dad etc. I actually think her bitterness is beginning to fall on deaf ears with him - hooorraaay!!!

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