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I call it a 'balance' but maybe I am being selfish!

(18 Posts)
zazas Fri 20-Jan-06 12:24:14

Can anyone give me perspective on this one?? My DP wants his kids (DS6 & DD5) to stay with us also on the Sunday night when they stay the weekend with us. Will take them to school Monday morning (over an hour round trip). Has voiced this before but BM not pleased as felt kids needed to get back on the Sunday to get ready for school week etc. It was dropped but now he has brought it up again. But how I see it is this - he is self employed and works alot at weekends / nights to get work completed - when we have all 4 kids (my two and his) at the weekend - we have no time for any work - just too tired! So when they go back to BM's on the Sunday night - he cracks on with his work and generally gets ready for the week ahead. While I know that he wants more time with them I feel that the reality is that he will still have to do his work and all it does is put pressure on all of us. By Sunday night I also need the space to clear up and also prepare my dd and ds for the week. At the moment he finishes work at 1.15 on the Friday to pick the kids up from school (they finish early on a Fri) and I feel that we are doing a good job at balancing the demands of running your own business with spending time with the kids. Maybe I am just being selfish - in that I need the time on a Sunday evening to create some calm after the hectic weekends - to gain the balance I feel we all need it to start the week off. Or should I just support him and deal with it?? What is the best for the kids as well - all 4??

hotmama Fri 20-Jan-06 12:33:05

tbh - I'd take the ss/sd back on a Sun evening - so they are relaxed for school the next day and you can have an evening of calm. If dh has them for fri night and sat night and all days - quite a weekend I imagine.

It's nice that he wants to see them but he needs to get a balance - and to take account of what you and the bm want/need as well.

zazas Fri 20-Jan-06 12:43:46

Thanks hotmama - somethimes I think he forgets that BM and myself factor into everything!!! I know that he wants to see the children more but the reality is that you have to balance out everyone's needs. Yes they can be quite some (but lovely) weekends with all 4, as all between 4 - 7 years but why I think the weekends work so well is that we have the space at the end to gain a breath! Do you think kids miss the absent parent more as they get older or deal with it better as they understand the situation, have a better perspective on time and can use the phone to catch up on non-contact days? My two seem to handle not seeing their dad every day better as they get older - or maybe they are just use to it now

NotActuallyAMum Fri 20-Jan-06 12:50:08

If I've read this correctly, even if they do stay on Sunday evening your DP is going to be busy working? If this is the case, why put extra stress on your already hectic schedule and disrupt the childrens (all of them) timetable? I can't see how anyone would benefit

zazas Fri 20-Jan-06 13:02:06

Yes he will be working (although from home) but if he can't work he thinks that he will make up the time elsewhere but I know him and the workload (I do the books for the company and also work in the evenings with him) and we just never have enough time to get all that needs to be done! However the upside of working hard is that we can afford to take the kids on wonderful holidays where we get to spend real quality time with them and for me this is worth it all. I guess his arguement is that kids are more important than work but reality is that we need to work and the kids benefit in many other ways. I feel emotion gets in the way with his thoughts and I have to be the voice of reason which makes me seem the 'bad' guy - which I don't enjoy.

tarantula Fri 20-Jan-06 13:05:44

I think you have the balance quite well now and I dont think that having them for Sunday would do anyone any good at all. All the kids need to wind down after the weekend and get themselves psyched up for the week ahead as do you and dp.

the other thing is that I presume dp is thinking of taking the kids straight to school which IMO wouldnt be good either as they go straight into a school with all their baggage from the weekend with them.

otto Fri 20-Jan-06 13:26:34

Agree with everybody else. Dp always takes his daughter back on a Sunday evening so that she can get back into her routine ready for school. If she stays with us it means she has to get up very early so that dp can get her to school in time, which doesn't seem fair. Interesingly, in our case it's BM who wants us to have sd on a Sunday night, so she has another night by herself. She doesn't seem to mind that it's unsettling for her daughter.

zazas Fri 20-Jan-06 13:28:28

Thanks for your voices of reasons! It just helps when I talk to DP about it (not that I mention Mumsnet says so and so!!!). We have a great relationship and he respects my opinions but when dealing with contact time with his kids one does walk on eggshells! Not a problem with taking their stuff to school after a weekend though- as we provide absolutely everything as we also have them one school night during the week. I guess I just wish that it didn't make him so sad taking them back to their BM's and I can make him see that his time with them is quality even if not enough quantity.

zazas Fri 20-Jan-06 13:33:25

That would be the same for his kids - a much earlier start to the day to get to school on time and it is SO hectic trying to get all 4 ready / breakfast finished / hair done and out the door one morning a week as it is!!! Also BM wants the kids back as she hasn't seen them since Friday morning and misses them too - it is all a juggle isn't it?!

Aloha Fri 20-Jan-06 13:33:30

I really don't see why it is so unsettling for the children. Why can't you all wind down together? Families with four children do this every weekend, and I assume you only have your stepchildren every other weekend. A day and a half is not a weekend IMO. When my stepdaughter was younger it really did cut the weekend in half, knowing we had to rush to get her back to her mother's. We couldn't, for example, have a family party on a Sunday or plan a leisurely day out followed by pizza at home. Would you be happy seeing your children for one and a half days a fortnight?
If you organise things properly with the children they shouldn't need 'baggage' to take to school. They should have clothes at your house (not saying they don't btw, just replying to another post). Dh used to pick his dd up from school and she didn't need to bring any 'baggage'.
However, if this is going to cause a row between you, how about this compromise. His children stay on Sunday nights during school holiday and on bank holidays, and go back Friday nights the rest of the time.
I think when work means you can't see your own children, something has to give, personally.
I personally think he is right.

Aloha Fri 20-Jan-06 13:34:41

I am not a huge believer in 'quality time' myself. I think parents and children need to be together just to hang out and do nothing and do routine things.

zazas Fri 20-Jan-06 13:50:37

See this is what I worry about Aloha that I am being selfish or not seeing his point of view and supporting him. He does have the children from 2pm on a Friday and doesn't take them back to Sunday after dinner so around 6.30 or so - so I do feel it is a 'good amount of weekend'. If we have any important family event on or something else then we arrange it so they do go back on the Monday morning - so we are not completely set in our ways! I know other families with 4 kids close in age wind down together but we are not quite the 'same' as a 2 parent / 4 sibling family - no matter which way we look at it - there are more factors involved in the equation to balance it. We also have the children during the week and more than 1/2 the holidays and if it is ever a non- school day the next day then we always have them on the Monday at least. This is all still not enough of course but as I said there will never be enough time when they don't live with you. He is lucky in that he is self employed in that he can finish on Fridays at 1.15 and during the week at 2.30 when he picks them up from school and not get in until 10 once he has dropped them off but there is always a 'cost' to this in that the time has to be made up elsewhere but this is what we choose to do. But surely we still need to balance this out so that work gets completed and child support is paid and we can afford to provide for the kids when we do have them??

otto Fri 20-Jan-06 14:20:56

I think school holidays, or on special occasions it's fine to stay over, but I know that my sd gets upset if she can't go back to see her mum on a Sunday evening and play her playstation. I'm talking 7pm, not Sunday afternoon, so almost bed-time anyway.

zazas Mon 22-May-06 12:29:40

Carrying on from this earlier conversation...... DP has continued to drop his children back on Sunday nights around 7pm until this weekend... Told me by phone on the Saturday (while I was out) that he had spoken to BM and agreed with her that he would from now on have the kids Sunday night and take them to school Monday morning. Then last night BM is phoning asking where the kids are! Overhead the conversation and it seems he just sent her a text on Sunday afternoon saying that we were going to be late back from an outing and so he couldn't bring kids back that night! As it was we were at home from 2.30pm - so a lie! She was furious. His arguement to her was that having them from 2pm Friday to 7pm Sunday was only really 1/2 a weekend - which I could tell she did not agree with!

What has upset me (apart from the lying) is that I feel he is only considering himself. BM belives the kids need to get back so to settle after the weekend (which are always full on with 4 small kids) for Monday morning. I find that my two also need to wind down. Anyway this morning didn't go well.... both step kids were over tired last night and it continued on this morning. Bless them it is like they have this transition period when they prepare to leave after a weekend and it involves a prolonged getting themselves ready and deciding on what they want to take back to their BM's house. On Sunday night we have the time and it goes smoothly - on a school morning we are all under pressure. Ended in tears as my two got upset making sure it wasn't their things that they were taking (on going drama!) - step kids couldn't take what they wanted as were going to school and DP stressed by the time!

OH and I was grumpy too! Not sure who benefited from all of this....and not sure about how to deal with DP's lies to me and BM??? Any thouhts......

cinnamongreyhound Mon 22-May-06 13:11:39

We take my partners son back to school on Monday mornings, this does mean that we have to make up time at work as we are late in but feel it's worth it. He comes from school friday evening in school uniform which is washed and he goes back in on Monday morning. He goes to childminder in mornings before school normally so doesn't have to get up any earlier and doesn't ever complain of missing his mum.

I agree with Aloha about time with kids just being there not necessarily doing something, it means we can get ready together in the morning have breakfast together and aren't rushing to get him back sunday evening so we can do what we want sunday (he lives 40 miles away).

It really depends on how much time your partner would have to spend making up his working hours (and therefore presumably not being with you?) and how the kids feel about it. I personally don't see a problem with having a relaxing evening and preparing for all 4 kids to go to school the next day (but then I don't have 4 kids!).

If the children get used to this every time they come to you it should be as routine as going to school with their mum. As far as taking things home we unfortunately have a strict rule that what is at our house stays there (as we would never see it again, as has happened) and there are no problems with that.

But every family is different, I have to say that in many situations if you tell yourself enough that it'll go wrong it will, may not have been the case here, is there no chance of having a trial period to see how you all get on?

anniemac Mon 22-May-06 13:15:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anniemac Mon 22-May-06 13:17:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zazas Mon 22-May-06 14:15:52

Thanks for the good advice. So far I have not said a word to him about this - him lying to me etc - needed to think things through. We have the kids through the week - so are used to the school run etc. I don't know, I guess where I get slightly annoyed is that if he decides that has a lot to do with work or it is a nice evening and he wants to get out on his bike - then he takes the kids back on the Sunday regardless! Partly I think it is just because I find it all so tiring, we have a small house with everyone on top of each other and I work nearly full time and Sunday is the night I try to get on top of things and getting 4 kids to bed is definitely more than double the effort. There that is my selfish side and also it leaves me trying to catch up with everything on the Monday and not having as much time for my kids. I am just over emotional at the moment as he also wants us to have a baby and I am not sure if I can balance all the needs of all these people........

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