what would you do?(20 Posts)
I'm seeking some genuine advice here...(I'm a long time lurker occasional poster - under various names).
My DP has 2 children (12 and 10). I have known them for 4 years and we get on well. Their mum really doesn't like me and is quite open about this with the children. In the past she has asked my DP at short notice to collect the children or look after them (because of genuine emergencies). DP has not been able to get home in time to do this as said I would collect/look after - this is never taken up on and the children are collected/looked after by a babysitter. I should also say that I have been abroad with the children numerous times but never flown with them alone.
Anyway, what I'm asking is this...
My partner is going away somewhere nice with work and has suggested that the children and I fly out with him on the Friday and that I fly back with them on the Sunday evening and take them back to their Mum's. The questions is: how do we let their mum know that the children would be flying back with me (and without their dad)...
Those of you with similar challenges - how would you handle this?
I would be honest and up front about it. She does not have to like you - just trust that you will ensure the safety of her children.
If she does not want them to miss out on the chance she will allow it - if not go on your own and have a fantastic time yourself.
I am very lucky that whilst my DH ex and I do not always agree and have had challenges over the years she would not site the kids and would rather suck it up and let me take them (in reality she would rather me have them than change from EW access).
I would get DP to mention it to her first before the children because if she feels that you are trying to sway her decision then she will definitely put her foot and refuse.
I agree with sanity and needaholiday be honest - it will be 100% worse if you try and hide it.
She can either say yes or no but then your DP needs to firmly ask her what her reasons are for saying no.
My DP's exw and I rub along ok but she has her moments. She has tried to pull the 'not trusting me' card at the solicitors when they discussed custody - she had said at a previous mediation that she was pissed off being the primary carer, DP works nights on a 3 on 3 off rolling shifts so only gets 1 full weekend off in 6 where he can have the kids. DP and I talked about it and suggested EOW as he gets 2 part weekends and is up in the afternoons. She agreed and then when it came to the first weekend she refused as DP was at work - she made excuse that DSS was too poorly. She then sat at the next mediation meeting and when DP raised the issue she told the solicitor that she didn't know me and didn't trust me with her kids. The solicitor told her she basically had no right to stop contact on that basis esp as it was documented about her whinging at the previous meeting.
If she does say no and from your post I suspect she will, then your DP needs to seek legal advice over it. I suspect that they will tell his ex that whilst the children are in his care it is not her decision who they can or cannot be left with.
I wouldn't do it. The DCs will know that their Mum won't like it, and they will undoubtedly witness her negativity first hand - and probably anticipate it in advance.
There was a time when i would have agreed with the principle that, as their father, your DP has an equal right to choose whose care and time his children are in.
but, I am living with the consequences of a campaign of negativity by the DSC mum - my DSS experiences physical symptoms of anxiety and stress if he is alone in a room with me (even if DP is elsewhere in the house).
He knows his Mum doesn't like me, and the emotional turmoil it causes him is enormous; both in terms of loyalty to Mum, but also because the situation challenges his faith in his mum. in his eyes, his mum is someone he can trust and believe, but she is saying things about me that he doesn't agree with - so that must mean his Mum is wrong, which is a hard lesson for any child to learn.
It's a no-win situation for you, your DP and the DCs, and I appreciate that my DSC reaction to their Mums behaviour is by no means 'typical' - what DP and I don't know is whether it is a reflection of the level of bad mouthing and slagging off their Mum has engaged in.
When she chooses a babysitter over her ex's partner does she consult her ex about who that babysitter is?
It's double standards and I've had years of it. Only your DP knows whether it is worth the fall-out or not but it stinks anyway.
I would have your DP approach it as,,, you are going to go anyway and if the kids can come, great. If she choses not to allow them, then fine too. If he begs or makes a big deal out it I sense she'll make a deal not of it. That's been our experience anyway.
If she senses it is important to you, she'll use it.
She is being stupid and has no right to say no IMO. She has no right to dictate what happens during dh's contact unless is something that would've detrimental to children's welfare.
I don't understand women like her, I really don't. It's not as though you are 'new on the scene'... 4 years for godsake. She needs to be told that it's not her decision whether you look after them in his contact time or not. Assuming you haven't ever done anything to make her have 'reasonable concerns' re their safety while with you - in which case I doubt you'd be posting here...
If she kicks up a fuss, she can tell the children why they aren't allowed to go.
If she kicks up a fuss, she can tell the children why they aren't allowed to go.
Which in my experience will lead to the DCs doubting their own judgement and accepting their Mums opinion of their stepmum (whether that be the WSM, or being blamed for the breakup of the family, stealing their Dad, etc etc).
When a DC hears the same message over and over again from the same trusted adult, they will believe it even if what they experience is different.
Eventually, DP and I decided it was better to minimise the number of opportunities the DSC mum had to reinforce the message - even if that meant DP had to compromise on the way in which he parented the DCs.
Some issues are so important that they are worth it; others aren't. The OP and her DP will face far more significant issues in the future than whether the DSC spend a weekend away with them or not.
Ladies - I really did think I'd replied to this last night... obviously pressed the wrong button somewhere!
Thank you for your advice - it was varied and yet I agreed with it all - part of the step-minefield!
When we looked into it all the flights were going to be hideously expensive so we decided against it. Probably for the best and, as NADM pointed out, this is such a small thing it may well not be worth battling over, especially given my view that soon things are going to come to a head and there will be an almighty fuss (over schools, holidays, money, birthday and christmas contact etc etc)
Thank you - for commenting on here and for the wise words I lurk over!
Fair enough - save your energy for that! If you need some support when it comes to it - you know where we are and presumably how to PM as well
I'd be interested in if anyone knows what the legal standpoint on this is. We're having a similar issue at the moment. DSD's Mum is insisting DSD 'cannot fly without one of her parents until she is 16'. DH thinks it's farcical because school trips will become an issue before she's 16.
We have a holiday booked next year where my kids have a different school holidays to my DSD. We are going with friends, one of whom is a teacher in a school with the same holiday dates as DSD's school. DH doesn't want DSD to miss any school so our friend offered to take DSD back to her Mum's with them when they fly back. They're some of our best friends, DSD knows them well, is friends with their kids and would be perfectly content to travel with them. Mum's a teacher and Dad's a police officer so they're both 'responsible'.
Mum is insisting DH flies back with DSD himself, drops her off and then flies back to where we're on holiday the following day. DH has an SRO so we're pretty sure he's within his rights to make the decision without his ex's say so but aware that the fall-out may well not be worth it.
Does anyone have experience of this?
Sorry for the hijack OP!
Xalla that sounds ridiculous! I'm sure your DH can make this decision on his own, like you say.
I'm not sure whether the best thing to do is go for the easy life and do what ex says or not. If you do, you'll always be cow-towing to what she says. If not, you may have months of anxt.
I think it's terrible to use your children like this in order to get at your ex partner.
Xalla - Legally either parent with PR can take them abroad for a holiday, and both parents can leave them in someone else's care whenever they like during the time they're responsible for them. I don't think there are any exceptions for flying - except that your DP might want to make sure the friends have a signed letter from him confirming that his DD is to be flying without him (sometimes you hear of customs people objecting to DCS not accompanied by a parent, or even both parents)
Whether they fallout is worth it is another question altogether...
That's what we thought. Our son has flown with my parents before and we provided the letter you've mentioned then (not that according to my mother anyone was remotely interested in seeing it)!
I think we've decided the fall-out is probably not going to be worth it this time. DSD is only 7 so easily manipulated by Mum. I think (hope) these things will get easier as she gets older and can see for herself who's being reasonable.
I hate to say this Xalia but in my (isolated) experience I don't think it does get easier as the children get older especially when they are being manipulated by a parent. We are only just starting to have a very difficult time with my DP's eldest who is (in my view) encouraged by her mum to question all of her dad's parenting decisions (this is definitely due to her age but it's exacerbated by the different parenting styles and DP's ex not backing him up).
So, if DP and I had our time back again we would not ignore these seemingly small incidents like the one you're facing now. Your DSD's mum is not acting in the best interests of her child - your DSD should be able to go on holiday with her dad and his family. Her mum has no reason to prevent this unless there are genuine concerns for the child's wellbeing. Can your DP have a conversation about this with his ex at a time when your DSD is not there (and therefore slightly more protected from the fall out)?
no, purpleroses, you are wrong. There is nothing 'legal' about parents with parental responsibility being automatically allowed to take a child on holiday abroad. If one parent (or indeed both) are holding a Residence Order/Shared Residence Order then they are allowed to take the child out of the country for up to 28 days without having the other parent's permission. If there are no residence orders, then both parents need the permission of the other to remove a child for a holiday (or any other reason for that matter!).
The practice is that at least in the UK, a parent removing a child without the other parent is unlikely to attract any attention at airports and ports. I have not personally heard of anyone being stopped to ask if permission has been sought from the other parent and not being allowed to travel if this permission can't be proven. It is also the case that if taken to court, it is highly unlikely a judge wouldn't grant a child a holiday abroad with either parent (which I think is why most people assume taking the children abroad once a year is allowed/legal). There are exceptions, of course, and would usually be centred around the parent having made threats to remove the child permanently, a history of not returning after contact without the courts having to intervene etc.
So, I suspect there are children taken on holiday abroad every day where the necessary permissions haven't been given but that don't cause the travelling person any problems. However, it is not impossible that the parent left behind shouts 'kidnap' and starts legal proceedings to have the children returned - I am aware of this having happened and of the 'offending' father literally getting a tap on the shoulder from the local police whilst sitting on the beach. As a result, it is certainly sensible that the appropriate permissions are sought and obtained and carried with you when abroad. You never know! And frankly, if my ex were to take the children abroad without first seeking my permission and I found out about it, I wouldn't hesitate to shout 'kidnap' as that's an incredibly worrying thing to do. Why would you do that?
But I agree, assuming that the OP and her partner get permission from mum to take the children abroad (or the courts if necessary), there is nothing to stop them being brought home by sensible adults of their father's choosing so they don't miss school. Sounds very sensible, in fact.
He'd never approach it in front of my DSD Heidi - almost all of his communication with his ex is via email these days anyway.
It's not even that she doesn't want DSD to come on holiday with us - if my DH asked her to have DSD for the week instead, she'd say no! She just wants to make things as awkward as possible and exercise a bit of control over DH.
What would happen is that DSD's Mum would tell her "Daddy couldn't be BOTHERED to bring you back, he wants to DUMP you with HIS friends so he can stay on holiday with his OTHER children" or something to that effect. Not helpful
I hate this stuff. Sorry to hear you're having similar problems with an older child... It's a bloody minefield isn't it?!
Your reply is almost exactly what I would've written had the roles been reversed.
Fortunately my DP and his ex do still talk (although this often causes more problems). So, whenever there is a disagreement to be had DP will call on Saturday morning when we have his children. That way we can keep them safe from the fall out until the Monday... or we used to be able to... now that the oldest has a mobile we can't prevent texts detailing any conversations being sent from mum to daughter. So you're right - it's a bloody minefield.
Really sad stuff for these children who can't hope to grow up into secure and happy adults.
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