We have always had a very rigid rota right down to organising bank holidays a year ahead in January. Now all the SKs are over 18 this has seemed more and more bizarre - especially as it continues during the holidays. Now we only have on SD aged 18 at home. When she started 6 form DP suggested we move to EOW but her mum wasn't keen. DP left it but asked again at the beginning of this year when she asked about bank holidays. She agreed and we started the new rota at the beginning of this month. SD has always been happy about this when asked.
This w/e SD asked if we could go back to the old rota. When DP asked why she was quite evasive but it became clear that it was her mum and her mum's BF who have been complaining - DP thinks the problem is that his ex's BF is unhappy because she didn't ask him before agreeing to the move. I really don't want to move back to the old rota - EOW suits us much more. DP is unhappy that his ex didn't speak to him directly rather than through SD and just said that we should give it a bit longer before deciding. He has said that if SD keeps asking we should change back but I am really not happy about this as it seems we've got caught up with an argument that is nothing to do with SD and the rota.
Sympathies redhen, didn't realise you have this too. DSS1 has no concept of a "his own life" that is separate to that of his parents. It hasn't occurred to him at all. DH has tried to get it across to him, but he either just doesn't get it (possible due to his mothers brainwashing) or he's not interested (also possible as he's very apathetic). Or both.
I believe DSD1 is being held back by living by a rota
Yes - and I don't believe the rota has done DSS any favours either. When he visits us for access (although I hate using that term in relation to an adult) this is his 'distraction'; its almost become his hobby and his social life, which, in my opinion, has inhibited 'normal' teenage social development.
I know there's a bit of distance between you and your dp's ex so I think that has always been used as an excuse for sticking to a rota and for inhibiting his social development.
Dsd1 lives near to us and can still see all friends she sees at mums but she's choosing to do less and less. Mum actively encourages her boyfriend to stay over every free night she's at mums and she's lost touch with all her old friends. So she's lost when she comes to us, no friends and no boyfriend. Dp tries to encourage her to go out but she often turns down invitations and hasn't had a friend over for a long long time now.
I think she's realised that her peers are getting their own lives and moving on whilst she is still stuck in a rut. If she had the freedom from the rota, the same school run (she chose to stay at school rather than go to college because thats what suited mum) maybe she would feel more free to be independent.
That's really sad Redhen. My DP has also reassured the SC that he won't be hurt/upset if they want to do their thing but the message seems to need to come from both households. It's worrying when the rota extends beyond school years - perhaps it be more common in future.
I recall DH's solicitor once telling him that rota's only really came about when the CSA introduced their method of calculating maintenance, ie by establishing how many nights per week a child spent in each household. Prior to that, fixed access only usually happened when it was court ordered, as the only way of ensuring a father saw his children.
I doubt it was ever intended to become a blue-print for life across separated families.
My DSD, once she reached 16, was allowed to decide when she visited us / stayed at mums etc.
At 18 she was living at uni, making her own decisions. Neither set of parents actually benefited/were favoured in any of this decision making, it just shows she prefers to spend the majority of her time with her friends/boyfriend/working/uni life.
I don't understand why 'mum' can't still have her 'me time' if adult children are in the house.
I suspect quite a few ex-wives like to keep the rota's going, because it guarantees them a fixed allocation of child- free time per week.
Does it really matter to you/your DP what the rota is though?
What is actually the issue? Surely with adult children you can just make your own plans and they can join in or not if they are around - you don't need to plan activities around the children
For instance, if you are going on holiday for a week when it is your "access", the adult kids can use their own key to let themselves into the house when you are away. Or if you wanted to invite them to come with you they could, and they could decide if they want to come or stay with their mum/in your empty house.
I mean, no married couple with children in their late teens/early twenties plans their time around their kids.
You're rightma'ama, but that would not take onto account young adults who have become so institutionalised by the rota that they actually expect as adults to spend the time being physically welded to the parent, having no separate life of their own. DSS1 expects that he comes here for DH to have "access" to him. I can't see his view or behaviour changing at all to be honest. The concept of us doing normal stuff while he comes and goes at the weekend just wouldn't happen. He arrives here expecting to be entertained, and does literally everything with DH. That means that normal adult life simply can't take place because of the rota
But why would DSS need to visit our house when we're in holiday? I don't visit my Dad's empty house when he's away. Surely access is about the parent/child spending time together, not sitting in empty houses just to be rota-compliant?
But it doesn't matter, if you're not there. Your DSS has two homes, so surely he can choose when he wants to be in which - does it matter if he chooses by rota or not?
allnewtaketwo - well that is a different problem to a rota! An adult shouldn't expect another adult to entertain them regardless. Surely your DH needs to change that behaviour if he doesn't like it?
The behaviour has resulted largely FROM the rota though. The judge said, when he was 6, that his father could have access to him EOW. He has become somewhat institutionalised by it over the last 11 years to the extent that he cannot think outside of it. So as sure as night follows day, he comes EOW, for "access".
No DH doesn't like it. What do you suggest?
And I'm not convinced that "2 homes" applies to adults.
Take DH's sister. She lived with her father until the age if 35. Should MIL have kept a room dedicated to SIL until she was 35, do she felt she had 2 homes?
If your step children don't have a home with you now but just visit occasionally, then I guess I can understand why they see the "access" weekends as time meant to be spent together.
If your DH doesn't like entertaining/spending every minute with his son, why doesn't he stop? "I'm going out, see you later".
Because there is a younger sibling. So the 17yo trails along as he has nothing else to do (we only live 2 miles from his house, with plenty of public transport). The 17 yo is free to come any time during the week, but for various reasons sticks to the tots and believes it is DH's job to entertain him during that time.
If DH goes out, the 17yo goes with him. If DH goes into the garden, he follows him. B&Q, he follows him. You get the gist.
Sticks to the rota not the tots!
Even spellcheck does not like the rota
I'm not convinced that the "two homes" theory should apply to adults either. I can completely understand why a young child may need to feel he/she has a home with both mum and dad, but by the time the child is an adult, surely they are old enough to comprehend the "I live with mum and visit dad" reality?
As with Allnew, when DH and his ex split up, an arrangement was put in place, and followed by the letter until 6 months ago. And even then, the change in arrangements had to be carefully calculated to ensure that the correct amount of access was continued, to the exact hour.
I think the whole point of this thread, is surely young adults would no longer wish to stick to an arrangement that's more suited to much younger children? Shouldn't they be too busy with friends/opposite sex/ social life/study etc to need the structure of a rota?
It does institutionalise them. They can't think beyond the rota. As far as DSS18 was concerned, school work kept him busy, he had a weekend away once a fortnight (ie access weekend) and sadly that was enough for him. He had no interest in life outside the rota. University is going to be the most enormous shock.
PS - I agree with Allnew that normal adult life cannot continue when access is taking place. A couple of examples: we can't paint the landing, shop for kitchen tiles, see the vet for boosters etc etc, because access is supposed to be intense 'Daddy time' for DSS, and any 'normal' activities would dilute this. If DH and his ex were still together, there's no way they would suspend reality EOW, this sort of rubbish only takes place in separated families.
When DH and I first lived together, I wasn't supposed to have friends or family around on access weekends, DSS wasn't particularly keen on it, and if course it meant he had to share DH's attention. I soon knocked that on the head (after all, it would never happen in a bio family) but it illustrates how 'access' was viewed as sacred, ring-fenced time, purely for DSS - I din't think DH could ever have lived with a lady who had her own children; their lives would have needed to fit exclusively around DSS, it would never have worked.
MajaB - in our case I think the problem is not what the SC choose to do. They all do plan their own social stuff when they are with us and we do the same. The problem is that we are unable to break the rota without their mother's support.
If we went away for a week when SD was supposed to be with us, DP's ex would effectively make us swap that week. This is one other aspect of the whole rota thing which I find really annoying - even with adult stepchildren, we still have to go through DP's ex before we can plan holidays and I do believe that is another reason why she favours keeping the rota.
Libby, it's completely ridiculous that you have to make arrangements with the ex, and swap weeks, when you go on holiday. Your DP needs to grow a pair!!!!
So how does this happen Libby?
You tell you adult step children that you are on holiday next week - does the ex phone you and say "SD has to come to yours the week after"?
Why not just say - "SD has her own key so she can come and go as she pleases"? Why speak to the ex at all now?
Petal - who polices the no painting the landing/seeing the vet stuff? Your DH or his son?
Can't you just plan holidays anyway? If DSD chooses (aided by her mum or not) to swap around to spend an extra weekend with you when you get back, so be it. But her mum cannot stop you going on holiday and tell you you are required to "look after" an 18 year old surely?
libby are you DSC refused access to their Mums house during Dads weeks?
Why do you have to 'look after' an 18 year old?
Why can't she stay at home on her own?
Why isn't your DP standing up to his ex?
I've been a stepmum for 20 years and whilst there have been some disagreements over access arrangements when DSD was a child we have never allowed DSDs mum to dictate what happens in our house and what we do when we have DSD.
DSDs mum did not tell us when we 'had' to book our holidays.
When DSD was 18 she was left at home when mum went on holiday, she had the choice to come and stay with us but wanted to stay on her own (and have friends round/party) but knew she could ring us if there was a problem and we would have gone over or she could have come to us.
Why would you have to stop having a 'normal life' just cos your stepchildren are visiting, why would you not take them to the vet with you, take them to visit relatives or sit them down with a DVD whilst you painted the stairs?
I'm sorry but I just don't get this extreme rota stuff, someone needs to grow a pair.
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