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Can't cope much longer

(205 Posts)
Sleepyk Sun 24-Nov-13 14:02:32

I have been with my husband for 6 years and met my sd's (16 and 10 now) 5 years ago they come every Wednesday after school and every other weekend Friday to Sunday night.

My problem is my husband now has to work Saturday and Sunday mornings and doesn't get home until 2/3 o'clock leaving me with all the children ( I have a 16 year old boy and we have a 3 year old girl too). I feel increasingly like an unpaid baby sitter and in my heart think they should be with their mum OR their dad not with me looking after them IF I can't treat them as I would my own children.

I have tried to be a nice as I can but it's not really helping ... The older sd barely speaks at all ( head in phone or fast asleep / out with her mates) and the younger is becoming more difficult as the days go on. Their mum won't speak to me so I can only imagine what she says to the girls when they are at home. Dad spoils them and treads on egg shells trying not to upset them otherwise they won't want to come anymore.

The result is I am left with two children (as well as my own)who I can't " parent" - the little one is becoming more challenging and if I tell her not to do something she just sulks or cries till daddy gets home and the big one just stays in her bed all day unless shopping. The older one blows hot and freezing -but is a different girl when I'm not in the room as I often hear her and her dad laughing away but I don't see that side of her which is really sad. I don't want them to hate me or look back on their childhood and remember me as a miserable ole * but that is what is going to happen

I want to say that they should stay at home with their mum during the day until daddy gets home as they are clearly happier there but I don't know if I am way off or how to address it.

Ps if anyone wants to say " you knew what you letting yourself in for " PLEASE don't waste your time.

ivykaty44 Sun 24-Nov-13 14:06:59

tell the mother that her dc don't like you don't respect you and sadly therefore you think it would be better if they stayed home with her till later on and then saw there dad who they do have a great relationship with. tell it straight and how it is, no bones - so to speak - as that is how it is.

Email them both at the same time and let the pair of them work it out for their children.

RandomMess Sun 24-Nov-13 14:08:49

Tell dh he needs to change contact times for when he is around.

KepekCrumbs Sun 24-Nov-13 14:11:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KepekCrumbs Sun 24-Nov-13 14:11:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MirandaWest Sun 24-Nov-13 14:12:50

Does their mum know that he won't be there most of the time at the weekend? I know there are some times when the DC are at XHs house when his gf is there and she has to look after them but it's a couple of hours occasionally not every time they go there. If I knew he wouldn't be there then I'd suggest they went another time. I can completely see why you aren't happy with the situation.

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 14:40:43

Ah, the wonderful "access by proxy" situation again. I feel your pain. If your DH is anything like mine, his definition of access is "having the children under his roof", irrespective of whether he's there or not.

We used to have DSS from Thurs-Sun EOW, and DH regularly worked Saturdays, leaving me with DSS, which I was never overjoyed about. DH could never see why this was a problem. He argued that he couldn't very well send DSS back to his mother's for the day, when the access arrangement was clearly Thur-Sun. I argued that surely access means parent/child spending time together, not the child simply being at their father's address, under the care of a third party.

It ended up that DH, who's a builder, often took DSS to work with him on a Saturday. Neither DH nor DSS were particularly happy doing this, but I insisted I was not prepared to facilitate "access in absentia" any more.

The ex wouldn't have given two hoots whether father/son were spending time together. Providing DSS was removed from her house for the correct amount of hours each week, she was quite happy.

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 14:56:21

Too many men fight for contact schedules they have no chance of honouring without third party help.

mumandboys123 Sun 24-Nov-13 15:43:38

I don't know if it helps at all but I refuse to have anything to do with my ex's partners but I don't spend my time with my children slagging any of them off to the children or generally being rude about her or trying to influence their behaviour towards her.

I understand that NRPs often have to fight for contact but from the other point of view, why should the PWC be left with 99% of the parenting? I am sure I'm not the only PWC who works full-time and needs some time off every now and then. I enjoy spending time with my children but if they are with their dad, I take the view that it's nothing to do with me who is looking after them. I have no issue if the girlfriend looks after them whilst he works but I don't see that as something I need to police or discuss. It's between them. If she doesn't like it, then they need to sort it out but there is no way on earth I am agreeing to any less contact than every other weekend. I didn't have children on my own, so why on earth am I the only one parenting them?

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 16:05:26

It's ok in theory up say you won't agree to any less contact than EOW, but if you have an ex who, for example, has no choice but to work weekends, and doesn't have a partner to babysit (or he has a partner who can't/won't babysit), then what do you suggest?

Ex wives can't have it both ways - some of them make significant maintenance demands yet expect a contact schedule that prohibits the man earning the maintenance money!

Thants Sun 24-Nov-13 16:20:01

It's not your job to care for them because he as it work. He needs to arrange child care if he is working when he has them. Just as his mother would. Do not involve the mother this is bit her responsibly, he is meant to be looking after them but is palming them off on you. Tell him it's not on.

basgetti Sun 24-Nov-13 16:25:50

Petal, many PWC have to work weekends too and try to schedule it to fit around when the DCs are with their other parent. Are you suggesting that if the NRP's schedule changes then the PWC needs to suck this up so that the man can earn the 'maintenance money?' So is the PWC just earning a bit of pocket money for herself then?

Surely the answer is that the NRP needs to organise childcare during his contact, just like the resident parent has to do the other 90% of the time.

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 16:49:53

My point is that surely access should mean contact between child and parent - rather than the NRP having access at a time when they can't see the child? Would you really expect your ex to collect the children, and drop them straight off at the child minders? As we frequently hear: in a bio family, the parents have 24/7 responsibility. we now seem to have divorced mothers who feel entitled to 'time off" EOW. This is fine in theory, providing the children's father is around to facilitate this.

purpleroses Sun 24-Nov-13 16:57:37

Have you tried asking them what they would prefer? If they say they like to keep coming, then you need to discuss their behaviour and that they need to accept your DH isn't around in the mornings, and they need to accept your authority instead.

But sounds like they'll probably say they don't like being there when their dad is at work, in which case you're right - your DH and his ex should renegotiate contact so that they can be at yours only at times when he's usually around.

Am assuming your DH has no choice about working the mornings here, though if he could alter that, that would obviously be the best solution. Does sound like he's jeopardising the relationship with his DDs though to have spend half the weekends he has with them working, so maybe worth making some other compromises in life (less money or longer hours in the week maybe) in order to reduce the weekend working.

elliebellys Sun 24-Nov-13 16:59:43

Petal why shouldnt they expect it tho,after all the nrp has time off except for 3 or 4 nights a fortnight.nrps cant have it all ways either.the ops dh needs to sort this himself this is notdown to their mum.

basgetti Sun 24-Nov-13 17:00:51

My point is what if the mother isn't around either? What if she has to work? I never felt 'entitled' to EOW off when I was a lone parent, but I did expect DS' Dad to sort out his own childcare if I had work commitments. Why would my job come after his? Especially as I had the financial burden of providing for DS, even with maintenance.

basgetti Sun 24-Nov-13 17:05:28

And you are contradicting yourself Petal. You say that in bio families both parents have 24/7 responsibility, but you seem to exempt non resident Dads from this.

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 17:10:48

But if you're the PWC, then you're the 'main' parent (for want of a better word) and then surely the NRP should have access at a time when he's not working?

And if both parents work weekends, then unfortunately the children are going to spend a lot of time with child minders. But I don't see the point of a PWC despatching a child to a NRP who's going to put them straight into child care. That's not access, is it?

basgetti Sun 24-Nov-13 17:19:47

It may not be access, but it is real life. Many PWC spend all week running around working, dropping children to childcare etc. It is the reality of being a parent. I don't see why one parent should be exempt from that reality by virtue of their non resident status. They are a parent not a playmate. Many PWC would love to just be able to have quality time with their DC but it doesn't happen. Saying that NRPs should only have to parent when they are free to spend uninterrupted time with the child means they are able to opt out of the hard bits of parenting. It also creates an uneven dynamic where Mum is there for all the nagging and hard stuff but Dad gets fun time.

And I didn't view my son's time with his Dad as access for them to have fun together, I saw it as his Dad's time to do some parenting. How he organised his time was up to him.

mumandboys123 Sun 24-Nov-13 17:26:36 when I work and I need to be in work earlier than I would be if I dropped my children at school, what do I do? And if I need to be at work later than my children finish school, what do I do? And if I need to work at the weekend or in the evenings or overnight, what do I do? do I not bother working or do I make alternative arrangements?

Are you suggesting that PWC don't have careers or work responsibilities or just the simple need to bring in money into their own household outwith any maintenance their ex may or may not provide? Are you suggesting that we should drop everything - including our work - if our ex's need to change contact schedules to fit around their work?

I have 24/7 responsibility for my children, despite the fact they have another parent who has regular contact set out in a Court Order that he spent £20K obtaining only to ignore it. I have childcare in place - which I have to pay for 52 weeks of the year even if I don't use it - for the days my ex decides that he's 'stuck in traffic' or 'ill' or on holiday or in a meeting or got out of work late.... so that I can work uninterrupted and without fear of losing my job 'cos my ex phones at the last minute saying he can't pick up as planned. Or perhaps my job isn't as important as my ex's job and I should just suck it up and get sacked? After all, my ex will pay maintenance so I can just add that to all the single mum benefits, can't I?

As for some PWC making demands for maintenance money, I have yet to see a PWC who spends only 15/20/25 of their income on managing the financial responsibility of their children and...shock, horror....some of us don't even receive tax credits or child benefit (either in our own right or because joint income with a new partner dictates that's the case). But then again, if that's the case, I suppose you'll be suggesting that as we earn good money or have good money coming into our households, our ex's shouldn't have to take any of the financial responsibility for bringing up their children?

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 18:06:48

The point I was trying to make, is that "access" is surely supposed to take place with the objective of the child maintaining a relationship with the NRP. If access takes place in the absence of the NRP, then surely this isn't meeting the main objective? If the NRP's partner has to facilitate the access, then what has been achieved, other than the PWC being satisfied that someone other than them has had the child for a few days?

AliceinWonderhell Sun 24-Nov-13 18:11:39

There seems to be some confusion between 'shared care' - where both parents have an equal role in parenting their DCs, and a resident/contact arrangement, where one parent is the primary carer and the NRP takes less day-to-day responsibility for parenting the DCs.

My DD has a shared care arrangement, and her Stepmum has agreed to see her off to school from her Dads when she's there. My ex, and to a lesser extent his DW, both play a significant role in parenting DD - attend parents evenings, take her to medical appointments etc. whereas, when my DSS was having regular contact, he was not left in my care on a regular basis because DH does not have an equal role as parent - so the time DSS spends here is in order to maintain their relationship, not for DH to be an equal parent to him.

There are, unfortunately, some RP who want the benefits of equal parenting in terms of flexibility/care, but are reluctant to share other aspects of parenting, such as discipline, decision making and so forth.

OP - regardless of which 'model' your DSC parenting falls into, you are not under any obligation to provide 'child care' to your DSC - especially not when you are unable to effectively care for them due to restrictions placed on you by their parents. You are definitely not being unreasonable if you say no, you are not prepared to do it. How the DSC parents choose to work things out is up to them.

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 18:17:45

I was making comments based on the OP's situation, which sounds like a 'contact' arrangement, rather than shared care.

Sleepyk Sun 24-Nov-13 18:43:18

The arrangements were made when he wasn't working at weekends but he has no choice we need to earn enough to pay the extra 500 to give to the ex .. We can't afford a tea childcare but the mum only lives down the road and is def NOT working at the weekends. So it's not that thst is the prob ... My husband works everyday through necessity not for want of something to do. I just hate the fact that there is building animosity that no one is willing to deal with - their mum has a new boyfriend so would much rather had a weekend off and dad doesn't want to upset things I think ...

Petal02 Sun 24-Nov-13 18:59:51

The ex gets £500 per month??????

If you put your foot down, refused to babysit, and gave your DH no choice but to rock the boat ...... How would that pan out?

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