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Communication Bypass

(14 Posts)
mdoodledoo Mon 25-Jul-11 21:27:05

Hello everyone - I'd appreciate some advice. It's really obvious that communication about the kids (DSS & DSD) bypasses me.

Today's been a good example, DSD (7) phoned this morning and asked to speak to her Dad to make some arrangements about collecting them tomorrow. These are arrangements that I could just have easily made with her as I was just as likely to be the adult collecting them.

Then, this evening, a schoolfriend's dad has just phoned to make arrangements about his daughter coming back to ours tomorrow and staying for tea - again I answered the phone but he asked for my DP rather than make the arrangements with me.

I'm not upset about it (I've got a much thicker skin these days than to worry about a tiddly little thing like this!) and I entirely appreciate that this may be the usual situation in many households but we don't want it to be the norm in our family - so have any of you guys made the shift so that these sorts of communication are more 50/50?

I don't want to step on their Mum's toes and so I'm not expecting her to communicate with me on an equal basis if she doesn't want to. All her communication is still with my DP. But in terms of other people - what have you guys done to make the balance more equal?

Thanks in advance for any perspectives or pearls of wisdom.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Jul-11 07:15:31

Tell them he is out/busy/in the bath/in the garden etc and as you are the person collecting/doing tea they might as well speak to you as speak to him and have him relay it.
Or just say brightly 'I will be the one collecting, doing tea etc-better to talk to me'.
Or hand phone to DP and get him to say -'Oh -you need to speak to nddodledoo'.

On reflection I would go for the last one.

Bonkerz Tue 26-Jul-11 07:24:26

I'm the one who arranges everything for dsd. Dh works and I'm the one who does the childcare so it makes sense that I'm the one who arranges visits etc. We have dsd every weekend and half of all holidays. I speak to dsd mum every few days to check all is ok

theredhen Tue 26-Jul-11 09:30:44

I don't think there is much you can do. People probably talk to DP because every household is different and some step Mums take a very active role and some less so. People have no way of telling which sort of step mum you are, so perhaps think it's best to go to the actual parent.

I think what would offend me is if the same people kept on bypassing me when they got to know that I am the one cooking the tea/dong the school run etc.

barleymow Tue 26-Jul-11 09:58:32

In our household the comms stay between DP and exP (DSS lives with us) for the most part but because I tend to sort all the meals, washing and general remembering of stuff DP always consults me on almost every communication (usually text messages). I would talk to your DP about it and get him to say - talk to Mdoodledoo or as exoticfruits says, tell them he is unavailable and take the call yourself. Trust me, it is so much easier all round if everyone knows everything. We also have a large family calendar that things get marked on especially DSS's visits to his Mum.

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Jul-11 10:22:56

I get this all the time too and I do understand that I am not the parent so it's right that arrangements are made with my DSD's dad BUT - when the arrangements affect me (more than him!) I do think I ought to have some involvement in them or at least be consulted.
Kids coming to play after school is a classic in our house. I am very much in favour of this and have encouraged it but would prefer it not to be on a Friday as the kids have school dinners on a Friday which means I don't have to cook for them on that day. (I get no enjoyment out of cooking for them but that is a whole other thread!) They have a sandwich for tea and I cook us something later when they are in bed. If they have friends over it means I have to cook a meal for them and their friends when I wouldn't normally have to cook anything at that time of day at all. I work from home and the phone rings constantly, with Friday pm being a very busy time, and it isn't always easy to cook at the same time.
I don't think it's too much to ask that this doesn't happen or that I am at least consulted, but inspite of my mentioning this (often) nothing changes - if the DSD's want it then it will happen!

berkshirefem Tue 26-Jul-11 11:39:42

My DSD will always communicate via her dad, unless he is away on business. I prefer it that way as I have my own busy life and 5 year old of my own plus my ex who is difficult to communicate with at the best of times. I also think it keeps him involved in her life as it would be easy for me to take over.

I wouldn't expect my DP to liaise with my ex or make plans with my DD so I don't really want to be doing this with DSD. He always consults me about anything that will effect me so I let them get on with it.

The other reason I like it that way is that i don't then have to deal with unreasonable requests. He usually says "I'll speak to berkshirefem and let you know" Then I say yes or no, and he tells her. Much easier.

Mdoodledo, how long have the children been in your life?

brdgrl Tue 26-Jul-11 13:14:38

In our house, DH handles the kids' social lives and communications with friends' parents, etc. That feels natural to me, since he's known most of the parents for years and I have barely met them (DH was a stay at home dad, and used to talk to all the mummies in the schoolyard, etc - now the kids are older, but the pattern is set.) I also don't drive (which I hope will be rectified soon!) so running kids around is really down to DH, thank goodness - but now we encourage the kids to use the bus most of the time anyway.

"Kids coming to play after school is a classic in our house. I am very much in favour of this and have encouraged it but would prefer it not to be on a Friday as the kids have school dinners on a Friday which means I don't have to cook for them on that day."
I hear you! The kids never used to have friends over, in their old house, because it was such a pit (really, really grim!!). Now we have a lovely big house and we keep it really tidy, and we can all have friends over, which is wonderful. So I don't want to discourage that. However - I am writing my dissertation. DH and I have worked out a careful schedule of times when he takes the baby so I can write - Thursday is my one FULL day; he has DD all day so I can really get stuck in. Thursday evening is also our 'takeaway night' - no one cooks, we get takeaway, and we usually end up watching a dvd with the kids that evening. I also get a few hours of work time on Friday morning. So my strong and stated preference is that the kids NOT have company on Thursdays. DH didn’t really understand this at first, but I think he gets it now. Seems like little enough to ask!

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Jul-11 13:35:34

I am happy for them to have friends on a Thursday or either day on the weekend but not Friday - I don't think it's too much to ask but apparently it is! I am really trying to get the message across that just because they want something it doesn't mean they have to have it! I mean - is any age too young to start considering other people?

brdgrl Tue 26-Jul-11 13:47:03

I guess you could say "well, in that case, someone else will have to sort out the cooking, because as you know, Friday is my Day Off!" grin

and stick to it...why should you have to be the one who is put out in order for them to get what they want? If DH won't make a reasonable compromise - let him do the cooking.

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Jul-11 13:55:01

That's a good theory but am ROFL at it actually happening!

brdgrl Tue 26-Jul-11 14:08:31

i know what you mean. maybe just give them lousy food and they'll stop wanting to come over!!!

glasscompletelybroken Tue 26-Jul-11 14:14:01

Yeah - maybe that's the answer!

NotaDisneyMum Tue 26-Jul-11 16:53:21

DSD (7) phoned this morning and asked to speak to her Dad to make some arrangements about collecting them tomorrow. These are arrangements that I could just have easily made with her as I was just as likely to be the adult collecting them.

Through past experience, I prefer that these types of arrangements are made between the two responsible adults involved; the default in our situation is the arrangements are made between parents of the child involved, with step-p's only getting involved if they are actually going to be the one engaging in the "transaction".

My DP's daughter took advantage of making arrangements direct with DP to play one parent off against each other and it resulted in an almighty scene, on the doorstep, in front of both SC's and my DD on New Years Eve angry Never again.

As for other parents calling to make arrangements - unless I knew the situation well, I'd probably ensure I was dealing with "the parent" and if the parent of one of DSS made contact with me, I'd refer it straight to DP to deal with - if he made arrangements for a child to come to dinner, or after school without discussing it with me first then I'd assume that he'd be the one cooking and supervising wink

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