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Struggling to see the point of this overnight stay

(29 Posts)
wantsleepnow Thu 20-Feb-14 14:03:17

DH mentioned this morning that DSS will be staying over tonight. We don't normally have mid-week contact as he lives too far away but DSS's mum is apparently nearby over half term.

All fair enough, except that both DH and I work and he is doing pretty long hours at the moment ie not normally home until about the time DSS normally goes to bed and leaves pretty early, around the time the DCs are normally up. I wouldn't mind DSS being dropped off here to have early evening with me and the other DCs but I know his mum will insist that DH picks him up from wherever she is. And the other DCs are all in childcare from first thing tomorrow while DH and I work.

So, is there any point DSS coming over here, literally just to sleep and to give DH extra pick up and drop off duties (it's not a pleasant commute so they won't get any quality time there)? Do other people have mid-week overnights on this basis?

Petal02 Thu 20-Feb-14 14:53:07

We used to be in a similar situation – DSS stayed with us EOW, and on the weeks when it wasn’t ‘our’ weekend, he’d ‘overnight’ with us on Wednesday.

DH was supposed to pick him up at the bus stop at 4pm, when he arrived back from school. However this meant DH having to literally down tools, leave site at 3pm-3.30pm to be at the bus stop by 4pm, then drive DSS to our empty house, and then return back to work, often not getting back til very late as he’d had his afternoon bisected by the pick-up duties. The following morning DSS would have to get up extremely early, and be dropped off at the bus stop way in advance of the required time, so that DH could be on site for 7.30am.

This meant that alternate Wednesdays were simply lots of chasing around for DH, practically zero quality time for the two of them, and then a ridiculously early start the following morning. And DH used to get through ridiculous amounts of diesel in the process.

Was there any sense in this? Noooooooo. But the ex insisted on a mid-week night (she was always threatening us with having the maintenance payments recalculated if the correct amount of overnights didn’t take place), It would have made more sense if DSS could have gone back to his Mum’s (almost literally across the road from the bus stop) straight after school, and then DH could have collected him when he’d finished work. But it was always decreed that access started at 4pm, as soon as DSS got off the school bus.

DH stubbornly insisted on continuing with alternate Wednesdays; like lots of non-resident Dads he firmly believed that meaningful access was taking place even he was hardly seeing DSS on these nights.

It was all pretty insane, but insanity can become the norm in step families.

BuzzLightbulb Thu 20-Feb-14 15:14:32

Arrangements like this just lead to people being tired and stressed for no reason. Must be completely disruptive for the children involved.

purpleroses Thu 20-Feb-14 15:39:59

Doesn't sound the most sensible of arrangements but it's just a one off presumably? Does your DP's ex need him to have DSS for some reason? Maybe they're just trying to make the most of him being nearby. If your DP is doing the run around and it's a one off I'd leave them to it.

Waggamamma Thu 20-Feb-14 15:56:46

Perhaps DSS mum needs a midweek break? One night she can go to a gym class, meet friends, a date or out for dinner that she can't do when she has dss at home?

it's sad he's been shuffled from pillar to post but his mum prob just needs a bit of extra childcare over half term?

wantsleepnow Thu 20-Feb-14 16:34:13

Yes, it is just a one-off so it's not a big deal. And not nearly as disruptive for DH as poor Petal's situation. It does just seem a spectacularly pointless waste of time and I wondered how others with jobs that aren't 9-5 manage on a regular basis.

And I assume it is indeed to give DSS's mum a midweek break but I'm afraid I have no sympathy with this for many many reasons, but mainly because she has just the one child who is in school and chooses not to work because she's independently wealthy, so not exactly lacking in 'me' time! Just one of many examples of her putting her convenience ahead of her son, but thankfully not my problem.

Petal02 Thu 20-Feb-14 17:03:49

DSS is now away at Uni, but for a number of years it all got rather silly!

daisychain01 Fri 21-Feb-14 05:49:16

I must admit I do question the value of a single isolated overnight stay, as how can that child feel any sense of permanence when its - drive home, have something to eat, bit of play or homework, bath, bed then off to school in the morning and back to other home

My DSS used to have half weeks with us until he expressed the wish for full weeks with each parent, and even then he used to talk about it feeling jumpy when by midweek he was changing households every week. sad

wantsleepnow Fri 21-Feb-14 10:10:59

I agree, Daisy, but what's the answer? I know if DSS were closer, DH would want mid-week overnights as EOW just isn't that much time but it really was a spectacular waste of time yesterday, for all concerned as DSS barely looked up from the ipad in the two waking hours he spent at this house.

Just have to hope all this messing around doesn't affect these SC in the long run.

daisychain01 Fri 21-Feb-14 11:39:01

For your one-off incident, wantsleep I dont think there is an easy 'solution' that I can think of if your DSSs mum is absolutely insisting that she wants it that way, and presumably doing it because she is in your area anyway.

Are you thinking there is a risk this could become a more permanent arrangement? If so I will put my thinking cap on smile.

If its only one situation, I dont suppose your DH will want to rock the boat, it sounds like...

Pantone363 Fri 21-Feb-14 11:49:22

Why does there have to be a point? DSS gets to see his Dad, Dad gets to see his DSS. Why does it matter that its not for a set period of time.

Pantone363 Fri 21-Feb-14 11:53:32

Regarding DS not looking up from his iPad, its his home too, he's just acting like he would do at home, surely thats a good thing.

I always feel theres something false in the step children coming and a big deal being made about interacting and doing stuff and going out. Its good that he is able to act normally like he would at home.

Frogbyanothername Fri 21-Feb-14 12:35:41

pantone Is it his home, though?

Home is a place where a DC is welcome any time, and where they have responsibilities, and consequences. Where family life continues uninterrupted, despite their presence.

If, however, a DC is not expected to "muck in", is excused chores because of their part-time presence, are not subject to the same expectstions regarding stsndards of behaviour or consequences for fear of reprisals (voting with thrir feet) and for whom a special effort is made, then the DC is guest, who is welcome when convenient with the family.

letitallgo Fri 21-Feb-14 12:53:53

Of course its their home! Its where their father lives. My DC themselves say they have 2 homes, it isn't a special treat to go to daddy's house its their other home.

Why aren't they expected to muck in and do chores? DC have the same responsiblilities there as they do here.

letitallgo Fri 21-Feb-14 12:55:08

Why wouldn't they be welcome any time?

Petal02 Fri 21-Feb-14 13:16:18

Why does there have to be a point? DSS gets to see his Dad, Dad gets to see his DSS. Why does it matter that it’s not for a set period of time?

Pantone – I think the OP was frustrated because her DH’s extra pick up/drop off duties don’t actually result in father/son spending any time together. Her post says “is there any point in DSS coming over here, literally just to sleep?” And I have to say I can’t think of any benefits to father or son in this arrangement. You don’t talk/bond/catch up/chill together whilst everyone’s asleep.

It just becomes another one of those ridiculous scenarios that would only ever happen in a step family. Yes, the “overnight stay” box can be ticked, but if parent/child aren’t spending time together, I wouldn’t necessarily call that meaningful access.

Rather like I could drive to the gym once it’s closed in the evening – I could then say, hand on heart, I’d been to the gym, but no benefit would have been derived, because it was closed when I arrived!!!! Totally pointless.

daisychain01 Fri 21-Feb-14 19:58:25

pantone Unfortunately DSCs often have a very 'black-and-white' view of the world, and even if you say something like "you have your home here too", you can bet your bottom dollar they will be thinking "no this isn't my home, I'm only visiting, I don't live here all the time!" That's why mid-week 'visits' can be very tough on the NRP, because it can highlight to them that they are only seeing their DC for a couple of hours and then off they go. It's heart-breaking.

In fact I know of someone who just wasn't prepared to be a "part time parent" - they just couldn't cope with it. I'm not saying that's right, it's awful for that DC, but some folk find the split parenting situation really tough and don't handle it well.

I suspect the distance involved (in wantsleeps scenario) also highlights the impracticality of it all. I think if the distance is somewhere between 10 and 30 mins up the road max, it makes life easier because it doesn't involve massive disruption and organisational all round - but not everyone is lucky enough to live so close.

daisychain01 Fri 21-Feb-14 20:00:48

sorry it isn't just DSCs, but DC's generally that tend to have a black-and-white view of the world!

Ragwort Fri 21-Feb-14 20:07:34

I think it shouldn't matter whether there is a 'point' to it or not, the fact is that your DH has been asked if his DS can sleep over - why on earth can't he? confused. They will presumably have at least half an hour or so of time together, surely the DS wants to see his dad or just feel secure that he can go and sleep in his house. It must be very hard for the boy knowing that the other children are with his Dad every single night of the week.

There isn't a 'point' to a lot of things and it sounds as though the Op is really trying to say that she doesn't actually want her DSS to stay the night. Being a step child can be very hard - I am a step child, but I have to say I was never, ever made to feel unwelcome or unloved.

eslteacher Fri 21-Feb-14 21:26:24

DSS has an overnight stay with us on a fortnightly basis that I think is pretty pointless. DP picks him up from after school club, they have a 45-60 minute drive to our house, DSS does his homework (usually in a really tired state by this point) we eat a super quick dinner and then DSS goes straight to bed. To get up extra-early for the long drive to school the next morning.

But DP doesn't seem to mind doing the driving, DSS likes the idea that he is spending more time with his dad, and DSS's mum is happy with it all because DSS is. So I just don't say anything, I don't think it's really for me to interfere if all other parties are happy with it. It inconveniences me slightly insofar as I rush home from work and sacrifice my workout / music practice so I can make dinner and eat with DSS and DP, but not enough for me to really intervene.

Some things just need to be let go, I think!

wantsleepnow Fri 21-Feb-14 22:19:46

Yes, maybe there doesn't need to be a point. I certainly don't have an issue with DSS staying overnight and I think generally he would consider it his home, despite not spending much time here compared to time at his mum's.

I think I was trying to work out whether it was "worth" the effort. DH ended up missing some work time which he will have to make up another time, when he is already flat out, and all he got in return was a silent child playing on his ipad and ignoring him. But it's not my weighing up exercise, so if they were both happy with it, that's fine.

Not that I ever voiced any doubts to DH anyway!

purpleroses Fri 21-Feb-14 22:32:38

Daisy That's interesting but my experience is completely the opposite of yours - If anything it was me who had the black and white view of things when I first split up with my ex. I expected my home to be their home and them to visit their dad's home. But my DCs were very clear to me that they consider they have two homes.

I guess it's a bit different if you like a long way from their other parent but if you're nearby I think it's quite normal to have an overnight in the week even if you don't spend much quality time together. There's been many many times I've had to leave work early to collect kid who then want to ignore me when we get home so don't see anything wrong in the NRP doing a bit of that to especially if it gives the RP the chance of a night out.

Beccawoo Fri 21-Feb-14 22:43:31

'worth the effort' is an interesting one. My dcs never stay with their dad overnight during the week, they stay with him eow for a long weekend. This is because he lives 30mins from me, and either cannot or will not adapt him working pattern to suit them. If he had them over night, he'd be collecting from me around 6.30-7p., they'd fall asleep on way to his (aged 4 and 2!) and then he'd insist I get up early and collect from him at 7 am so he can go to work..... Answer is no!! I'd love him to adapt his work and spend proper week time with them but he says he can't, instead they end up with midweek icecreams in the local pub around 6.30pm. Far too late imo for them to be out, but not sure what else I can do if he won't adapt.

daisychain01 Fri 21-Feb-14 22:54:15

In fairness purple it is probably an emotive subject and I shouldnt generalise really. My DSSs mum used to say to him that his only home was with her and that was quite a strong influence on him and it was confusing to him because we were saying to him that we wanted him to feel at home in both houses(we thought that was the right thing to do, so he felt loved wherever he was). I have gone beyond feeling upset about it (mainly on DHs behalf) nowadays and it has settled down a lot.

The main thing is having an arrangement that somehow benefits the dynamics of each family, rather than being such a disruption that everyone gets tired and stressy and wonders whats the point? I suppose every bit of time is precious with them so a happy hour or two even on a car journey is better than no time at all!

Petal02 Sat 22-Feb-14 08:39:47

I agree it's definitely an emotive subject. But I can understand the poster who questions if it's "worth" an excessive amount of driving, having to leave work early, then a very early start the next day, followed by lots more driving - just for the smallest amount of contact. In any other scenario common sense would apply and it would be deemed "not worth it", but different rules apply in blended families. Difficult, isn't it?

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