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Am I wrong about 50:50??

(23 Posts)
WandOfElderNeverProsper Sat 25-May-13 00:49:50

I'm increasingly coming to think that 50:50 residency is a bad thing. Plenty of reasons personal to me but in general I'm struggling to see the pros outweighing the cons?

On a practical level surely one parent working FT to provide and the other doing PT (mum or dad makes no difference) is better than two parents working PT? One parent could get top up benefits I suppose but what does the other one do? I've yet to find the employer who will be so flexible as to give over and above FT hours one week and school-time only hours the next? Childcare is an issue for the parent working PT without any topups or childcare tax credits etc to enable them to go full time.

Any other children (especially little ones) in each of the houses must find it rough when there is a member of the close family who just disappears for a week at a time? Not like visiting cousins or whatever but a sibling who one minute is there sharing everything n the next is gone? Have a week to adjust n bam - changes again.

The child going between the houses must find it rough at times too - barely unpacked your school bag n then its straight back to the other house. Must be harder to hold down friendships outside of school at different houses, stuff like that too? Getting into one households routine n then having to switch to the next. Extra curricular activities can't be easy based on each parents income, distance to activity, transport, working situation etc. And don't most kids need somewhere to see as "home" - a proper base? I suppose they could feel fully at home in two places but with only a week or however long to settle in to each one then going back to the first must be a bit shit?

I don't know its just something I've been thinking about. I can't see how it benefits anyone. A properly meaningful involved parent-child relationship can be achieved without spending half the time together SL that's not a major motivator. I understand missing your child too and wanting to split it in as fair a way as pos with the ex - but for every week they're with you and not missing you that's a week they're missing the other parent. Better to be with one most the time and get used to the other one not being physically present as often maybe?

Anyone have any thoughts?

schooldidi Sat 25-May-13 01:00:28

50:50 doesn't always mean a week at a time at each house though, does it? My sister and her ex have a 50:50 split and do it on the same days every week, so she works longer hours the days the kids are with her ex, and he pays for them to be in after school club on the days he has them. It works fairly well for them and the kids seem happy with it.

WandOfElderNeverProsper Sat 25-May-13 01:12:19

True, and good if it works for them. I think she's lucky to have an employer that flexible though, and he's pretty lucky to be able to afford childcare. I guess that's an answer to my question though lol - yes it can work - with a good dose of luck and the ability for the two parents to actually work together amicably. Not something DP and the ExW seem capable of though angry

NatashaBee Sat 25-May-13 01:13:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 25-May-13 07:31:34

Despite an incredibly acrimonious split, my ex and I have 50:50 care of DD, one week with each of us. She was 8 when we split, and (apart from a single hiccup where she missed a week with me) it has been stuck to by both of us regardless of what was going on between us.

We both worked F/T before we split, so DDs care arrangements didn't change - she continued with after school club every day and we used school holiday clubs as before.
By the time she got too old for that, I had become self employed and could accommodate her school hours better, and ex changed his hours to work one week of long days followed by one week of short days.

We've both been involved in clubs, parties, activities etc - and DDs friends parents know both of us.

This has all been achieved despite a huge amount of resentment and bitterness from each of us towards the other - we've mediated many times, and frequently exchanged cross words. Things are better now (4 years on) and I'm glad for DDs sake that we persevered.

Xalla Sat 25-May-13 08:12:57

My DH has DSD 50/50. He does work full time and relies on me to handle DSD during work hours. This is something that is becoming more and more problematic for me and is a source of a lot of frustration at the moment.

He's done both routines (the 5,5,2,2 and the week on, week off). Personally I found the 5,5,2,2 easier but he's having to work away quite a bit at the moment so we're doing week on, week off and he's abroad for much of his 'week off'. That's something else I'm not particularly happy about!

It IS hard on the younger siblings, my DS4 is quite a sensitive little chap and I think the coming and goings of his sister affect him a lot. He has a noticeable 'wobble' on the days DSD comes back and it's something we've been called into his school to discuss.

What I will say though is that DSD7 has been very vocal for a couple of years now about wanting to split her time equally between her two parents. It is without doubt, something SHE wants. Whether that's because she genuinely wants to divide her time between Mum and Dad or whether it's because she sees the tension between her two parents and hopes to minimise conflict by being 'fair' is something I'm less certain of. I suspect it may be the latter.

There are benefits; DSD certainly feels part of both families and will state that she has two homes. DH is involved with her academic life and both of her parents are involved with all aspects of her life. I think there's much less of risk of 'disneying' with a 50/50 contact schedule in place too.

There's half an hour between DSD's two homes. She goes to school near her mother's home but we deliberately put my DS in a school close to hers so we could manage the school runs. We do have her school friends to play. Far more so than her Mum actually regardless of her being closer to school.

After school activities are a problem at the moment; DH pays for them but Mum often doesn't take DSD on her weeks. It was easier when we were on the old routine and had DSD each Wed and Thurs so we took her every week.

So what I'm saying is for us, 50/50 works well for DSD and for DH. It doesn't work for me or for our two younger children. I don't really have any better solutions though.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 25-May-13 09:47:58

xalla that's so unfair!

One thing I've always been very careful not to do is rely on DP to care for DD on her days with me; that's not to say he hasn't, but I don't assume that he will, always ask and ensure that I can put other arrangements in place.

My ex is a bit more dependent on his DW and both his and her family - we did negotiate a 'right of first refusal' for overnights, though.

WandOfElderNeverProsper Sat 25-May-13 10:47:56

Xalla - that really isn't very fair. What I'm looking for is a solution that suits everyone and that doesn't seem to be it for you? Why should you and your kids be the ones to suffer?

DP doesn't rely on me for his childcare. He used to, every free fucking minute I had was taken up with his kid. Until his kid went and told his mum I'd been battering him (not true) and she phoned the police. Nowt came of it but I told him I'd never be left alone with DSS again. Now he has to do it all himself which has led to some of the other problems - I.e he can't contribute fully to the household income as he can't find a job in childcare hours. Best he's found so far is a week of Early's followed by a week of lates - planning to have DSS on his Early's week so he can spend time with him in the afternoons... But the childcare we will need will have to start at 5:30am... Where are we going to find that?

I suppose its easy if you can find an employer willing to be flexible, and pay enough for part time flexible childcare. Most childminders will want you to pay a retaining fee for the weeks not used.

My DD is similar to your child with the wobbles Xalla. Visibly upset from the moment DSS walks through the door until he leaves the next week.

I suppose it's all too tricky for a one size fitting all solution..

Xalla Sat 25-May-13 14:22:40

I actually don't know how I let myself get into this situation! I was very anxious to help with DSD when we got married and bonded with her quite quickly - she was only 2 and DH only had her EoW. Gradually over the years though that's become 50/50 and at the same time I've had two of my own children so my time's become more precious while DSD's needs have become more and more time consuming.

Both DH and her Mum quite happily leave me to do all her haircuts, dental apts, school cake sales, birthday parties and I've even had to go to her open afternoons at school on my own. DH works too much and her Mum is, dare I say it, bloody lazy and far more concerned with her latest boyfriend / baby.

I've totally lost patience with it all and have told DH I'm not prepared to do it from September. I'm expecting my third child in October and there's a complication with the pregnancy which means I'm likely to be on bed rest for the 4 - 6 weeks before the birth / the baby's likely to be delivered prematurely. It's going to be difficult enough getting my own two through it let alone having to make arrangements for DSD too.

What that means is that either DH gets a different job or he gives up his 50/50 - something neither DSD or her Mum are going to be very happy about. I'm beyond caring about the financial impact.

My DSD accused me of hitting her once and her Mum threatened to call SS etc. I said there and then I won't be alone with DSD anymore at which point Mum backed down and decided she didn't believe DSD anyway. Damn it wink

We haven't got as far as DH looking for a new job yet. I think he reckons I'll change my mind but I won't!

I swing from telling myself "you made your bed when you married him" and telling myself "she's not your bloody problem"!

You're right wandofelder it's all too tricky for a one size fitting all solution..!

BabyHMummy Sat 25-May-13 20:03:20

My friend and her ex do 50/50 but she has them Monday-Fri am and ex has them fri-mon. They have done this for 6 years and works brill for them. Plus ex lives nr their schools so better for kids to see friends etc.

Booyhoo Sat 25-May-13 20:11:08

"one parent working FT to provide and the other doing PT (mum or dad makes no difference) is better than two parents working PT? One parent could get top up benefits I suppose but what does the other one do? "

why should one parent's career be compromised more than teh others? they should both have the same chance to work

also, i'm not sure why one would need to work part-time. both parents working full time is a perfectly accpetable way to bring up dcs and especially if it would require top up benefits to get by on a part time wage.

Booyhoo Sat 25-May-13 20:11:54

unless of course one or both are happy to work part-time.

ProbablyJustGas Sun 26-May-13 01:23:22

50/50 on a week on/week off schedule has worked out better for us. It used to be a few days at a time instead but this frustrated dsd and her parents. a week gives her plenty of time just now to settle in whereas before she was more frequently back and forth.

week on/week off can work just fine, but you need to be committed to it. we live close enough to take dsd to same childminder, school events, Brownies, swimming and other activities. all activities are based local to the two houses and dh and ex consult each other about whether they can manage to take her before signing her up. her friends parents know both of them. Friends outside of school has gotten easier for dsd as she's done more after school activities with them. and everyone works full time, so we use one childminder to pick dsd from school. Both mum and dad have a clue about dsd schoolwork, progress, development, friendships and feelings.

if the arrangement begins to feel like less of a good fit we'll revisit it. but it can work. smile smile

Xalla Sun 26-May-13 07:03:31

I think probablyjustgas raises a crucial point; that for 50/50 to work well requires good communication between the child's two parents and commitment by both to making the routine work for the child.

Those things are absent in my case. DH and his ex are openly hostile towards each other and I don't think their personal reasons for continuing with 50/50 have much to do with DSD's welfare either hmm

For my DH I think he became so frustrated by the fight for decent contact that he lost sight of what was best for DSD and just focussed on 'winning' - his end goal being 50/50. Now he's got it he's loathe to give it up regardless of the fact that it's making life at home very difficult and DSD is spending 80% of her time when she's here alone with me.

For DSD's ex, once DH had got his 50/50 she very quickly got accustomed to her 'time-off' and refuses to have DSD anymore than that.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 26-May-13 08:56:42

Xalla In my ex's case, it has definitely been a case of 'winning' equal time - DDs welfare has been quite a long way down his list at times hmm
There have been one or two occasions when I've sought legal advise with a view to changing the arrangement because I didn't think it was suiting DD - but each time, mediation has resolved the issue and DD is still thriving smile

I don't believe it's impossible to achieve with a hostile relationship but there has to be an underlying commitment to the DC's welfare by both parents which they may need to be reminded of by a third party now and again!

WandOfElderNeverProsper Sun 26-May-13 21:38:25

Because booyhoo working full time when you have on/off contact with a child can be close to impossible? Maybe in the case of say a 2:2:3:3 routine its easier as you know you have the child the same days, so, Monday Tuesday say every week childcare is needed. But if its week on week off then where are you supposed to find the childcare that will happily do two weeks a month without charging a giant retaining fee for the remaining two? Or the employer that will say "yeah sure course you can blow off 20+ hours every other week"...? I know mine wouldn't! I'd either have to go part time permanently or be full time permanently - no chopping and changing. And is it even good for a child that on contact days or weeks with one parent they're in childcare all that day and not actually spending any time with that parent?? Such as in Xallas situation - whats the bloody point in the DSC having contact with her? She's not the parent? The kid may as well stay with the EX and Xallas P have her when he can actually see her.

I suppose there are different angles, and I'm putting my own perspective on it. From my perspective DSSs mum refuses to work, so may as well have DSS so DP can work? But she enjoys her time off too much - so dp is forced into this part time thing. I don't think it sets a good example to DSS to see his mum doing nothing with her life and DP fannying around part time and relying on me to pay for stuff for his kids tbh. DSS has said before when asked "what are you going to do when you're older" - "nothing". Dream big there little man! He also sees me slogging my guts out for very little return so working isn't looking so hot to him right now lol.

Of course two parents working full time is a workable way to raise children. Just don't think DSS would appreciate being passed between 4 different types of childcare. With us we could get him with a childminder (retaining fees aside for the moment) but at mums, he's passed between her mum n dad, boyfriends mum n dad, and a childminder. (Who I think is qualified but its her friend so I'm not sure how it works and we've asked if we can share and pay proper rates etc and been told no. He can't go to grandparents when with us - so we have to find our own childcare which is fine its just a bit shit for DSS)
We asked if DP were to go full time and find a childminder would she like to find one together and her use them on her weeks? Told No.

.. So our solution is to keep DSS at home mostly with DP whilst he works part time and for me to either go up another load of hours (yeah because I love 50+ hour weeks with my own kids at home) or stay at the same hours and just hope work don't notice the holes in my shoes as its a disciplinary offence to not conform to dress codes thumbs up

Feel bad for DSS being passed to and fro all the time, feel bad for my kids that they get fuck all, and tbh I do feel a bit sorry for myself at times!

Haha maybe the thread shouldnt have been about 50:50 (although I was hoping to get some good points to try and put across to dp ) but about what to do when the Ex is an unreasonable moo lol.

At least I have my health (sort of) and my sense of humour lol. I feel like if I couldnt laugh at half the shit that goes on for us I'd definitely cry.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 26-May-13 22:43:18

Or the employer that will say "yeah sure course you can blow off 20+ hours every other week"...? I know mine wouldn't! I'd either have to go part time permanently or be full time permanently - no chopping and changing

In many sectors, it's not at all unusual - it's often written into flexible working policies as 'condensed hours''.
Legally, parents have the right to work flexibly unless the employer can give reasons why not.

I can't see it working in your DSC case, though - it sounds like neither of their parents are prioritising their wellbeing.

WandOfElderNeverProsper Sun 26-May-13 22:50:54

The contact isn't court ordered, its just between them and on paper DSS lives at his mums and she is "main carer" and DP is "NRP" even though in reality when you add all the nights here n there on top of contact, he's here more! Does DPs employer still have this responsibility towards him even though as far as all the legalities are concerned, DSS doesn't live here?

And no, I think one day when ExW grows up a bit it may be possible, but until then...? Probably not Lol x

NotaDisneyMum Sun 26-May-13 23:21:48

Well, he can only try!

My ex is in the same situation - DD officially lives here - but ex has secured flexible working etc and is entitled to emergency leave etc.

Petal02 Mon 27-May-13 17:17:16

It sounds like a lot of 50:50 situations end up with the non-resident father's partner doing the lion's share of his parenting, which seems insane to me. In Xalla's situation, it almost seems that the 50/50 care is split between Xalla and the ex, instead of Xalla's partner and his ex.

I've never understood access by proxy, why do so many men fight for contact hours that they're not going to be present for?

Xalla Mon 27-May-13 18:36:14

You're right Petal. That's exactly what's happening! Will steal that line for my next 'conversation' with my DH if you don't mind wink

Flicktheswitch Mon 27-May-13 18:53:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Petal02 Tue 28-May-13 09:49:24

I just don’t know if it’s ever possible to find a solution that works for the child, both parents, and any “new” children from the parents’ subsequent relationships, and any “existing” children that the new partner(s) may already have. Even if there’s goodwill in abundance and sensible logistics, I agree with the poster who suggested there’s no “one size fits all” solution.

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