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Clubs, activities and sports

(2 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Tue 02-Apr-13 18:38:21

Warning; long and rambling but I feel so much better for getting it down!

Over the last two years DSS has become involved in more and more out of school activities; unsurprisingly, they are a source of conflict between DP and his ex, and are increasingly something I resent, because of the impact they have on our family.

DSS is here every other Thurs (after school) until Mon (back to school) plus half of all holidays, by court order. Initially, the only club DSS went to was Swimming, which he'd been doing since before DP and ex separated, very early on Sunday mornings. That worked great for us; DP and DSS went off together while DD and I had a lazy Sunday morning. It moved to Saturdays at about the same time; no problem - even if DD and I needed the car, its only a 20 minute walk away from home for them. DSS attended every week when he was with us but less frequently than weekly because Mum was sometimes at work or sleeping after a night shift. The teacher did raise concerns about DSS progress because he was missing sessions (he was left behind with the younger ones rather than moving up to the big pool, for instance). DP offered to take DSS to lessons when his mum couldn't manage it, but she ignored the offer - made several times.

Then, DSS said to DP that he wants to join the football club that his friends go to. Its on a Friday, so DP spoke to DSS mum - she refused, saying that it wasn't suitable for DSS as he only wanted a kickabout and this was a serious club. As luck would have it, a breakoff club started through the school, also on a Friday, for those that were less serious. Both DP and his ex agreed (by email) that DSS could go, and DP took him every other week. DSS only went once with his Mum, initially she made excuses, saying she'd forgotten, or they were having dinner, sometimes she was at work (and again ignored DPs offer to take DSS when she couldn't) but eventually it was just sort of accepted that DSS went to football when he was at Dads, but not at Mums.

Then came the Thursday after-school activities. DP began receiving texts on the first contact day after each school holiday from his ex, telling him that DSS was signed up to an after school activity (they vary from tag rugby, to chess and cookery) every Thursday for the next 6 weeks, so he needed to pick DSS up later. When DP asked his ex to please check with him before signing DSS up to activities that fell on contact days, she told him that she couldn't be expected to remember what days DSS was with DP!

At about the same time, DSS started attending a martial arts class on Tuesday evenings. This runs all year round, so DP took DSS on the Tuesdays he's with us in the school holidays, and Mum takes him the weeks shes not working. After a while, he began to take part in gradings - which involved additional sessions on Sundays, some of which fell when DSS was with us. DP was 'informed' by his ex about these sessions which were compulsory to achieve the grade and had been paid for in advance. These grading sessions seemed to cause DSS some anxiety and stress; disturbed nights, nausea etc. Whole weekends and even schooldays were disrupted because of DSS's 'worry about his grading'. DP and the school tried talking to his ex about it whose response was "well, DSS is fine about gradings when he's with me". DP talked it through with DSS gradually over several months, and eventually DSS told him that he would prefer it if his Mum took him to the gradings, as he felt that martial arts was something he did with mum, just like football is something he did with Dad.

So, DP explained this to DSS mum and agreed that DSS wouldn't go to class on the occasional Tues that he's here in the holidays and would go back to her the evening before weekend grading sessions and that contact time would be shorter on those weekend. This has happened two or three times in the last 6 months. Each time, DSS mum has 'forgotten' about the agreement and 'told' DP that he will need to take DSS to his grading session. DP has checked with DSS each time and DSS has said that he would prefer Mum to take him if possible, so DP has arranged to drop him home the night before because his ex has subsequently said that she will take him. On the last occasion, we found out from DSD that her Mum would be at work so she (DSD) had been told by Mum that she had to take DSS to his grading rather than do her own weekly activity.

Still with me?

DSS is now on school holidays, first week with mum, second week here. They flew out on holiday last Saturday, returning Friday, less than a day before DSS comes here. A few hours before their flight, DP got a text from his ex to say that DSS has started attending a second weekly martial arts class, on a Saturday (swimming is now on Sundays again) and that DP should pick DSS up earlier than the time agreed so that he could take DSS to class.

DP now feels as if he can't win, and has no chance of speaking to DSS or his ex beforehand and I have no idea what to suggest to him. I want to tell him how hacked off I am that his ex signs DSS up for things that she can't take him to due to her other commitments and yet she expects every evening and weekend DSS is with us to accommodate his activities. I'm fed up of the constant conflict and drama that accompanies anything that involves the DSC.

Xalla Wed 03-Apr-13 07:26:00

Oh I sympathise Disney. This stuff is a minefield. My DH and I organize / pay / sort out the uniform & equipment for DSD to do 4 after-school activities a week. One is really expensive - over £30 a session and takes place on Saturday mornings. Mum wanted DSD to do it and DH paid for the term in advance (£370). DSD loves it. We've taken her every time it's fallen on DH's weekend but Mum has missed 3 out of her 5 that she should have taken DSD to. So DH may as well have chucked upwards of £100 down the drain. Excuses have ranged from I forgot, DSD overslept (she's 7!!) and the car ran out of petrol (it's walking distance from her house). DH doesn't want to pay for this coming term but of course Mum threw all her toys out her pram when she heard that and told DSD "Daddy won't pay, Mummy can't afford it" blah, blah. DH just paid in the end.

We (actually I do as DH is at work for them most of the time) take her to her other 3 weekly activities. They still run in the holidays and Mum doesn't take her during her time at all any more (like you, it started with individual excuses and then it just became accepted that DSD didn't go in Mum's time) which bothers me because a) we're still bloody paying and b) she doesn't do much else with DSD either - she literally spends day after day in the house watching TV but equally I accept that's not my business. I've suggested to DH that if they split the cost of DSD's activities Mum might be more inclined to make the effort to take her but he just says that would cause WW3...

Fortunately for us Mum doesn't organize any activities of her own so DH doesn't have to run around to her schedule at least.

If your DP's ex has refused to take your DSS to football on her Fridays, can your DP decline to take him to the second martial arts class on his Saturdays? I know it's a bit tit for tat but it seems fair enough to me. How old is DSS? Any chance of him getting himself there? Lift with a friend or something?

Again, you have my sympathy.

I'm fed up of the constant conflict and drama that accompanies anything that involves the DSC


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