DP and babysitting - are we being unreasonable?(142 Posts)
A bit of context for you. About six weeks ago BM said she wanted to stop evening visits with us (6.00 until 8.00 one night in the week), and have DP go to hers to see the kids (DSD's 9, 3, 12m) while she goes out. She says having the kids here for an evening is too disruptive as she struggles to get the into bed early enough.
After trying it out for a while we want to go back to having the kids, the reasons being:
1. DP babysitting there blurs the boundaries between what's acceptable behaviour with Mum and what's ok with Dad (we are much hotter on table manners etc)
2. BM takes the opportunity to undermine DP's parenting in front of the girls
3. The place is a tip and DP can't find anything. Formula, PJ's, nappies, wipes are always disappeared somewhere...
4. BM is always later than planned coming back and as DP goes there straight from work he hasn't been getting anything to eat until 8.30 - 9.00 pm
5. I draw the line at going with him to BM's house to sit the kids as I feel very uncomfortable there, so I've only seen the DSD's EOW for the last couple of months
We've always said that we would rather have the kids here, they can stay overnight and we'll get them all to where they need to go the following morning so BM can have a proper night off, but she won't have it.
Is DP unreasonable to say he won't sit over there any more?
Does anyone else have an arrangement like this?
No, I would also feel uncomfortable with this. I would also suggest overnight. What is her reason not to enable this?
I can see that a visit 6-8 to yours means bedtime is very delayed, esp for a 3yr and 12m old.
Your DP should let her know it's not working for him (but don't go into critical stuff like "your house is too messy", "you don't enforce good manners" - that's just inflammatory. I would concentrate on what is best for the children.
It always irritates me when people see their children as "belongings", possessions to pass around. I am presuming this break up is not amicable, and she is perhaps trying to punish your DP.
Yanbu, overnight makes much more sense. It must be confusing for the kids like you said and the undermining really is unacceptable. Why won't she let them stay? I'd love a night off!
Thanks UC. We've never been given a reason for the kids not staying overnight, BM just doesn't like it. And you are quite right, she does see the children as possessions rather than people. I find it very sad.
Im sorry but 6-8 is far too disruptive for a weekday routine.
By the time they all get home, teeth brushed, bedtime stories, changed, faffed around a bit and asleep it's probably gone near 10. That is far far too late and probably very stressful for mum and I'm not surprised she's wanting to change this.
Maybe she's not quite ready for her kids to stay overnight with step mum yet. I think that's ok for her to feel that.
Also, your dp is not 'babysitting'. He is taking care of/spending time with his own children.
And how does she get the chance to undermine his parenting in front of the girls when she goes out when he goes over ?
Finally, your DP's dinner is not more important than his daughters' routine. He could take a packed lunch with himself on that particular evening. It's only one evening a week.
An I'm guessing she undermines him in the cross over, when they are both there
And also, they would be staying over night with there dad! What's so bad about the step mum being there? I
Mumsrush. Correct they stay Eow Friday and Saturday night, no problem.
TeaJunky yes, 8.00 pickup is too late, but that was BM's idea not ours. Overnight in the week has never been a problem when it suits BM, but when it's best for the kids or us it suddenly becomes an issue.
If your dp was os hot on table manners for all these years then surely that would be ingrained in them by now? You sound a bit superior to be frank and this must all be early days if the baby is just 12 months? I would just sit tight for a year or so and let the dust settle and allow this mum to get used to the situation, 3 kids on your own most of the week is not easy. Give her some slack and stop looking down your nose at her, that will communicate itself to the children.
Ok so they do stay over, fair enough.
I do agree with bamboo though. Bamboo has actually written what I was feeling reading that op but couldn't quite identify it !
Tbf, I think my house would be a mess if I had 3 kids of that age on my own I do agree with letting the dust settle but I think you're are right in that arrangement not working for your dp or the kids.
She's just their Mum, not their birth mum. They have no other Mum so I never see the need to differentiate like that.
I can kind of understand where she's coming from tbh. It's very disruptive for mine aged 7 and 10 to be out and then coming back and having to get bedtime routine done, I find myself just hanging around waiting for it to start. At the ages her children are I can imagine she dreads the changeover. It's not like she can get anything much done is it. If she goes out, by the time she gets there it's time to come back.
However he's not happy with it so he will have to tell her won't he?
Btw it sounds like there is NOTHING this woman could get right for you two. Are one of those couples who are mainly united by bitter resentment of the ex W?
I don't think you're being unreasonable at all
I can understand the timings maybe not working and needing to be tweaked but the answer is not your DP having contact at her house, I would think that's a bad solution for everyone
I think 6-8 at yours during the week is a terrible idea, the two youngest will go to bed far too late.
Every one of the 5 reasons you posted is more about how your DP feels about it and what's comfortable for him, rather than what's best for the children. A grown man can wait til 8.30 to eat dinner once a week fgs.
I think you should stick with it for now, wait til the kids are a bit older and the dust settles, and then try to get overnights. You'll just have to be patient, as bamboo said the breakup must be really recent and already they are adjusting to dad's new partner.
I would suggest that 6-8 is too late for the 3 yr old and 1 year old, and possibly the 9 year old too (esp on a school night).
Could you/DP pick the children up earlier/from school for the midweek and get them back by 6/7?
If not, then I can see why their mum wants them in their own home/beds tbh. I think I'd be tempted to suck it up if I were you, it's only a couple of hours a week after all.
Sounds like things may still be a bit raw in her mind - agree with previous poster - she is their MOTHER - DM not BM....... the youngest is only 12m - sounds like a recent break...
it would probably be best for the kids if you went too... however uncomfortable that might feel... perhaps you could get a takeaway to eat there and offer to stay longer if needed... 6-8 at yours sounds awful for all 3 little ones... it is a school night for the eldest..
I would say that he wants them overnight, or else he'll just ring them for a chat by phone instead. And maybe give her a month or so's notice of this change so she has time to sort out some other babysitting option if she won't agree to him having them overnight.
Agree that 8pm pick up from yours (esp if she often runs late) is too late to get them to bed at a reasonable hour. But if you're happy to have them overnight then that's what should be offered. It's ultimately up to your DP where he has the DCs during his contact time.
The reasons you give are sound, but the ones that will probably go down best with his ex are that:
- it's confusing for the DCs to have their dad caring for them in their mum's house,
- it makes it hard for the two of them to move on from being a couple (ie they're arguing with each other because they're back under the same roof),
- and simply that he prefers to be at home with them, and to eat some dinner.
Thanks for all the comments, it's given me lots to think about. BM, Ew, Mum, whoever walked out before the baby was born and since then DP, and more recently me too have done everything we can to put the kids first and support their mum. I'm sure we'll thrash out something that works for everyone.
Agree with all Purpleroses says ..... but DP could also point out to her that if the kids stay overnight with him, she gets to stay out longer and doesn't have to worry about the morning routine the following day. As you say she's already pooh-poohed that idea however, it really does sound as if she's being controlling for the sake of it IMO. Fair enough that an 8pm bedtime is too late if they have to be returned from yours at that time, but don't understand her objection to an overnight stay.
What's so difficult about calling her their Mum?
To be honest, I wouldn't want an overnight stay mid a school week. It would be really unsettling and disruptive to our routine as things would be done differently and certain things may not get done due to changeover such as homework etc. No. Id really not have that and mum is deff not BU.
Maybe she doesn't want to be away from them for another overnight? I don't, I hate being away from my children and certainly at that age I would have found it very hard. Maybe she's not ready to add to the time away from them if she doesn't HAVE to and was trying to find a workable solution that only put one adult out instead of three children.
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