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(287 Posts)
mumtobealloveragain Sat 22-Feb-14 14:30:29

DP has 50:50 residency if his children and shared residency. We and his ex also alternate their birthdays and Christmas days-which takes priority over the normal pattern, if that makes sense.

This year is our new baby's first birthday. My DP has asked ex to agree to us having an extra day with their children for that day (as with the current pattern they would be with her). We want them here for baby's 1st birthday, family gathering , little tea party etc. She's said no. It's not until the end of the year so not like she already has plans. It's one single day out of the whole year for goodness sake, no big deal for her but it's important to us.

Is this request really that unreasonable? It is normal/ possible for this sort of thing to be written into an Order along with alternate Christmas' etc?

purpleroses Sat 22-Feb-14 14:47:11

Are your DP and his ex normally flexible with one another, or is the rota normally followed without exception?

If there's usually a bit of flexibility, and the birthday's not til the end of the year, then you could let it drop for now, but when she next asks you for some swapping around to suit her, bring it up for bargaining with. (ie she can have DSC for whatever extra she wants, but you get them for the baby's birthday)

Otherwise your options are to go to court to get it written in - I guess it could be just like your alternating Christmas, etc is written in but it could be a lot of hassle and expense for a relatively small thing. Or simply celebrate your baby's birthday on a different day with the DSC. One year olds don't actually know when their birthday is.

Is the ex usually difficult with you? She might just be feeling a bit jealous and left out of the new baby and think you're creating an unnecessary issue planning a birthday party for a baby who's presumably only 2 or 3 months old. If she's normally OK, then leave it a bit and ask her again when she might be more relaxed. And offer a swap, rather than asking for an extra.

Frogbyanothername Sat 22-Feb-14 14:52:21

Does it really matter? Cant you celebrate all together when you are next a 'family unit '? Your DC is too young to understand, and plenty of families celebrate special events on different days to account for one or other being away.

Court should really be a last resort when parents cannot agree what is best for their DCs. If you run to court over every little thing, I'm not surprised the DCs mum is digging her heels in and resisting changes. From her perspective, her DCs don't "suffer" if she says no - and she's obviously not willing to do something nice for you out of the goodness of her heart.

Think yourself lucky you have the special dates you have already scheduled by the court - plenty of NRP never spend a birthday or Xmas with their DCs - but they still manage to make it special when they do have contact.

CountryGal13 Sat 22-Feb-14 15:44:10

Has she said why she doesn't want them to stay an extra day? It sounds like she's being completely unreasonable and spiteful. I'm sure the children would love to be there and I can't understand why she'd be happy for them to miss out.

RandomMess Sat 22-Feb-14 15:48:18

Just have the party on a night they will be with you. It's not worth upsetting the apple cart in an otherwise working co-parenting situation.

I should imagine it is very hard when your ex partner goes on to have a new child with someone else and it starts to impinge on your life through your dc - she is probably feeling very raw still.

mumtobealloveragain Sat 22-Feb-14 15:59:55

Thanks it's good to hear other opinions. smile

Purple. She never asks for extra days although DP has bend quite clear he's happy to be flexible. She doesn't ask for them to attend family events weddings of parties if they fall on days they are with us as per "the rota". Honestly, I think she'd rather do things without them l, but that's just my opinion. Oh and yeah, she's jealous. She's the one who bought the kids a kitten (the very day out baby was born) so they "had a baby in each home"! Which I found bloody weird! Although that seems to have backfired on her as the kids have been telling us it pees everywhere in her house and she's always shouting at it and smacking it so hard it cries hmm

We sometimes ask for extra days, not too often, perhaps once every few months in average . It's always a polite request and DP doesn't complain if she says no. He asks for then for family events, weddings, parties, if they get invited for a day trip with our friends etc if it's on days they are due to be with her. Sometimes she says yes sometimes no and sometimes she won't answer.

Frogs. We don't see it as "lucky" to have alternate Xmas and birthdays. I know we could celebrate on a different day and I know a 1 yr old doesn't remember it but I see that as sort of beside the point. It's a family occasion and we want all our family there. I'm just annoyed she's so bloody difficult. If it wasn't for us they wouldn't do anything nice!

Her reason for saying no was "I don't see the need for them to be there on that day, it's your child's birthday, not theirs". God she makes me want to scream!

purpleroses Sat 22-Feb-14 16:06:36

I really don't think it's worth getting upset about - especially more than half a year in advance. You've asked, she's said no, so either go ahead and celebrate with family without the DSC, or simply organise it for a day that they are with you. You have them 50-50 so it can't be that difficult to find a time they're with you. Noone else is going to mind - most people celebrate birthdays on the nearest available weekend that happens to suit.

Like you say, the fact that the baby won't mind isn't really the point - but if the only reason to keep pushing to have them an "extra" is to make a point, why bother? Yes, she's jealous, she probably thought that she'd be the one to give them a younger sibling, with your DP. She's feeling left out and excluded from all the fun, and a new kitten really isn't going to change that. Why rub her nose in it?

trooperlooperdo Sat 22-Feb-14 16:33:33

if you've got 50-50 custody I think it's a bit odd to ask for additional days to celebrate with a 1yr old. Different if it's EoW contact

Frogbyanothername Sat 22-Feb-14 16:56:14

We don't see it as "lucky" to have alternate Xmas and birthdays

Then perhaps you should.

These little irritations wouldn't bother you as much if you realised how fortunate your DSC (and your own DCs?) are to have parents who can broadly agree to share parenting equally.
If you consider for a moment how rare that scenario is, and how many DCs have never even met their half-siblings because of their parents animosity, perhaps celebrating your DCs birthday a few days early or late won't seem like such a big deal?

You can strive for the ideal, equal, cooperative model all you like, but you're likely to be frustrated and disappointed if you expect to achieve it 100% of the time.

Pick your battles - the fact that you immediately considered court action indicates that you consider your relationship with your DSC mum in an adversarial way.

WaitMonkey Sat 22-Feb-14 16:59:37

If she's smacking a kitten, you need to report her to the RSPCA or Police. She sounds vile. angry

elliebellys Sat 22-Feb-14 22:02:05

Wait monkey,dont be so quick to judge.unless its seen with own eyes who knows what happened with the kitten.op as others have said as you have 50/50 split,just celebrate on nearest date..

mumtobealloveragain Sat 22-Feb-14 23:08:38

Oh DP knows it's too small a thing to consider applying to Court over but the whole situation has become difficult and DP is going to have to take things back to Court anyway so if was going to have the Order amended and "tightened" it makes sense to try and get everything we want for the children put in at the same time, or at least try and get his ex to agree out of Court to have things amended/added, if that makes sense. I just wondered if siblings birthdays are something that is regularly (or ever) added into Court orders like I know Mothers/Father's Day often is (that's not something DP is bothered about though).

We aren't making a big deal out of this one situation/issue. I understand where the opinion of "well you have 50/50 just celebrate another day" come from but equally it goes the other way too, 50/50 means giving up one day with the kids means there's always the day before and the day after with them, it's not like giving up one days contact when you only get every other weekend. We live very local and so it's easy as pie to change a day here or there. If there's something nice/special event for the kids to do with us and she has no particular plans then what difference does one single day make. Likewise I can't work out why she never wants the kids for any alternative/extra days even when her family has parties/weddings etc. There's a specific provision in the order allowing changes by agreement too so that's not an issue. Such a different way of thinking to us.

mumtobealloveragain Sat 22-Feb-14 23:12:03

Oh and Monkey- Ellies is correct. We haven't seen the kitten being hurt, it's just what DSC have said. Can't really go to RSPCA on hearsay from young children. It may not be true but it's a strange thing for little kids to make up. DSS said to me the other day "hope my kittens not dead when we go back to mummy's" and so I replied something like I'm sure he's fine etc and that's when they told us she smacks it for peeing on the carpet and in the bath and it cries loudly and hides.

Frogbyanothername Sun 23-Feb-14 08:43:30

Poor kids. Sounds like they are being fought over by their parents.

I'm struggling to understand how your DCs birthday party is such a big issue for your DH if other aspects of the arrangement have broken down so badly that he considers returning to court to change/enforce the existing order is the only option left.

You've got ongoing court intervention regarding your DCs, too, haven't you?

Sounds to me like there are far more important issues to be getting uptight about than the day a birthday party is held on - perhaps investing in a short consultation with a solicitor who is a member of Res

Frogbyanothername Sun 23-Feb-14 08:45:01

....Resolution would help keep things in perspective?

nocontactforevermore Sun 23-Feb-14 10:05:06

In all honesty mumtobe, it sounds to me like you can't find enough ways to get under her skin. I don't see the kitten thing in as sinister a way as you do, and I think that with a new baby on your hands, you shouldn't have the time to obsess over this one extra day. As another poster said....your new baby is impacting on her time with her children. I think you should leave her alone.

nocontactforevermore Sun 23-Feb-14 10:09:56

I also agree wholeheartedly with frog that wanting to run to court over this is nonsensical and having been through the system myself, I would say you're in with a chance of being given short shrift by a judge. Too many of your posts are about legal/court action against this other parent. It's no way to live. You already have 50-50 and admit to asking for extra days etc. Why can't you see that you are being unreasonable to insist on it? Asking is one thing, pushing for it and considering legal action to achieve it is quite another. I think you and your partner sound like bullies in all honesty.

Funnyfoot Sun 23-Feb-14 10:13:27

The ex is being unreasonable.

However I would not give her the satisfaction of letting it upset me or spoil the day.

Have the party on the day you have SDC and enjoy it as a special family birthday. By the sounds of it this will piss EXW off and she will be able to do sod all about it.

basgetti Sun 23-Feb-14 11:30:11

Why don't you just leave her alone to enjoy her time with the DCs and make your own plans for when you have them, which is perfectly possible since you have them half the time. She can't be that unreasonable if she sometimes agrees to your requests for extra days, but maybe she feels that your regular requests are intruding on her time and she has had enough.

And why does it concern you that she choses not to ask for additional days? She might just be happy with the 50-50 and be able to organise her life well around that arrangement, and wish you could do the same. You sound like you are creating drama and conflict for the sake of it.

catsmother Sun 23-Feb-14 12:39:50

Actually, leaving aside any arguments about contact arrangements and whether or not the OP apparently (?) wants to get under the ex's skin etc., what she's heard about the kitten would concern me a great deal.

I've had cats all my life and cannot imagine why on earth any child would say such a thing - "hope my kitten's not dead when we go back" - unless they'd witnessed violence against it. There's no way a child would say something like that out of the blue with no provocation. Granted, I understand the RSPCA may or may not wish to get involved on hearsay .... and TBH, lots I've read about that organisation's policies which isn't impressive .... but OP, in your shoes, you have nothing to lose by calling them, relating what you've heard and asking their advice. If they brush you off then at least you've done all you can .... but they may for example, see fit to call round to speak to ex and to check if there's any evidence of mistreatment themselves. I don't know ..... but reporting your concern for a small defenceless animal is NOT about "getting at" the ex or whatever. I think the possible animal mistreatment here is an entirely separate issue to everything else and you shouldn't stop yourself from doing the right thing because other people might see it as you goading the ex.

If I'd heard a child say similar - whoever they were - I'd call the RSPCA ... like I said, I don't know how they'd respond to that, but at least then my conscience would be clear. If nothing else you could look at it as giving the ex an opportunity to be educated in how to toilet train and generally treat a kitten properly, or, an opportunity for her to admit she's finding it too much hard work and should think about rehoming.

Frogbyanothername Sun 23-Feb-14 12:58:26

In my experience, DCs in high-conflict parenting situations are at pains to avoid saying anything 'bad' about one parent to the other. Unless violence is commonplace in these DCs lives, it is unlikely that they will have disclosed their Mums behaviour towards the kitten unless they are very worried about it and seeking the OPs support (even subconsciously) to address it. DCs don't "tell tales on their parents" and when they do disclose something that is bothering them, they feel a great deal of guilt and emotional conflict.

These DCs are inevitably being damaged by their parents ongoing hostility - repeated court intervention for disruption to plans, disperate values in each house, changes to family dynamics and poorly established contact arrangements has an impact on even the youngest of DCs. Couple that with the disclosure of witnessing violence towards animals in one home, and it is likely that as they get older, they will be identified as needing some additional emotional support.

Any chance you can convince your DH to put that in place for your DSC, mumtobe?

catsmother Sun 23-Feb-14 16:21:53

Yes Frog .... totally agree with your 1st para above. Which makes it more likely that what they say about the kitten's treatment is true - rather than some flight of fancy, or exaggeration, or whatever. I've seen my SC visibly blanch when they've been chatting and have inadvertently said something even very remotely negative about their mum ... stuff which probably wouldn't even register in a "together" family other than as a very small bit of good natured joshing. They will then typically backtrack, tie themselves up in knots trying to backtrack and explain whatever "abomination" they've "carelessly" uttered, thereby drawing far more attention to whatever "bad thing" they've said than if the conversation had just proceeded naturally - and they are older teens! In our case, there's been a number of quite serious things occur over the years that the SC have never mentioned and which we've only found out about at a later date - because, I think, like you say, they are loathe to do so for fear of "dissing" their mother .... even though it was often stuff we could have helped with. Kids with extremely divided loyalties would, IMO, have to be very worried indeed to have implicated their mother as described re: this kitten (poor thing).

Riakin Sun 23-Feb-14 17:07:58


You aren't being unreasonable at all. You want a day to have with your SD and her sibling. Looking back on pictures it will be nice to be there so she can have pictures. Like you say it is one (ONE) day ffs. You can tell from some of these posters who are the bitter scorned women we hear about so much.

The way you need to start thinking about it is: if it inconveniences you or upsets you, the ex will be fine with doing whatever it takes and if the kids get hurt in the process that's fine by her.

Yes that cat thing IS wierd and she's clearly got a lot of insecurities. The fact your DH is flexible shows he is reasonable and the exw is not. I see it day in day out

Viviennemary Sun 23-Feb-14 17:10:59

I think it depends on how accommodating and flexible you are with her requests. If there is a good relationship then there would appear to be no reason to say no. But if there is resentment and bad feeling then that's different.

Frogbyanothername Sun 23-Feb-14 17:28:04

You can tell from some of these posters who are the bitter scorned women we hear about so much.


I have 50:50 care of my DD shared with my ex, and yet i just can't relate to the way in which mumtobe views the care arrangement of her DSC.

The reality is that when DCs have separated parents, then they can't always be at the home where the special occasion is taking place.

It's clear that the emphasis placed on special occasions is different in each home; the OP and her DP place value on having the DCs present at all family events on specific days, whereas the DCs mum appears to place more value on a regular routine without additional swaps and changes.

The age, nature and adaptability of the DC may well dictate which approach is more suitable - I've done both with my DD as she has gone through various childhood stages.

Neither is right or wrong - but the OPs immediate consideration of court as a recourse suggests that she (and her DP) want their own way on everything, and are not prepared to accept the different way of the DCs mum when it is something that is important to them.

Lets be clear - the OP is referring to something that in no way is of benefit or detriment to any of the DCs involved. Hosting the party on a specific day is entirely for the benefit/convenience of the adults involved.

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