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AIBU to expect to be told...

(86 Posts)
Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 08:14:02

That my DSD will be with us full time for the next month? DH told me today and DSD comes tomorrow. We have 50/50 and her mum is going on holiday for 4 weeks so she is staying with us. DH says 'I forgot' which to give you some history is not a one off but a regular occurrence. I don't have an issue with DSD staying, we have a good relationship but I do enjoy my time when it's just us. We don't have any DC other than DSD. We both work full time but DH works shift work so I do a lot of looking after DSD. AIBU to ask that I be included in discussions? DHs DM will help up but she has been aware of this for ages.

catsmother Mon 23-Jun-14 08:44:47

Of course you're not being unreasonable ... it's common courtesy, and to be honest with you, I wouldn't so much say as you expect to be told but that you expected to be asked. Having a.n.other person stay for a solid month, regardless of who they are, changes the dynamics and will incur extra expense. In the case of a child, quite obviously there is also the added responsibility of caring for them - and all of these considerations should have been discussed before your DH agreed.

In your position I'd be so tempted to refuse any childcare (unless you really want to do it!) which is over and above what I'd normally be prepared to take on. After all, you may well have plans of your own - and that include plans to lounge about and relax at home without having to consider anyone else .... whatever, no-one bothered to check did they. Perhaps DH would then "remember" to consult you next time a similar situation crops up.

In fact, this is quite an astonishing omission ... I'd be sceptical that he "forgot" at all. Do you think he was scared you'd raise objections so decided to present you with a fait accompli ? If so, I'd be raging, because that's so underhand. More so if your workload increases as a result.

Thumbwitch Mon 23-Jun-14 08:50:19

HOw rude! It's not as if she's going to have zero impact on your life, is it? What if you had things arranged? Well if there are likely to be any clashes, please make sure that you don't automatically cave in to deal with them, stick to your guns so that your DH has to sort things out and hopefully then he'll realise that it would benefit him in future to include you in the planning stages!!

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 08:57:13

Thank you for replying Cats. I know he didn't 'forget' because there will have been logistical discussions he has had with his DM to make it work. And, it's not the first(or even tenth!) time this has happened. I feel like saying that if I'm not important enough to involve in the discussions, then I shouldn't be expected to play any part in it at all. Of course I won't do that due to the issues it will cause for DSD having to be transported back and forth to her grandma's constantly. I don't know why he does it. The only time I ever have an issue with it is when he fails to tell me stuff. When he does include me, we work out the arrangements together.

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 08:58:31

Thanks Thumbs. I'm so upset about it I'm currently not speaking to him and don't really know how to deal with it.

brdgrl Mon 23-Jun-14 09:05:42

I can't add anything to what Catsmother has said (spot on as usual!) - you are SO NBU!

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 09:18:55

Thank you brdgrl. 50/50 is difficult mainly because we are renovating an old house so we essentially live in a cupboard with not a lot of room for everyone. But, we make it work because it is what it is. When we first moved to 50/50, I wasn't properly consulted. DH asked if we could have DSD a couple more nights a week which I said was fine. Next thing I know it's 50/50. So there is a history to me feeling like you say Cats, it's a fait accompli.

Thank you all for not flaming me, I don't feel like I'm asking for anything other than respect.

catsmother Mon 23-Jun-14 09:19:23

I'm sorry this isn't the first - or tenth - time this sort of thing has happened. I somehow suspected it wouldn't be.

I think that given the history of disrespect - for that is what this is - along with a great big dose of being taken for granted is that the only way to deal with it is by taking a firm stand. ATM, he continues to drop things on you because he knows that although you'll grumble about it when push comes to shove he gets his own way, and he's not unduly impacted, because you'll pick up the slack as you have a kind heart and don't want SD to be affected. In a way, this is kind of like underhand emotional blackmail if you think about it.

I really think if you want to force him to show more respect that you need to refuse additional childcare duties regardless. Unless your MIL is at the other end of the country then a few weeks of being transported to hers won't have a huge effect on SD ... and if, understandably, there is only so much childcare MIL wants to help out with, then your DH will have to make alternative arrangements whether that's him taking time off work, and/or swapping shifts, and/or paying for childcare and/or asking other family to help out. If you put the ball back in his court and he actually has to consider his responsibilities, and experience just how "inconvenient" they can be, I (almost) guarantee that he won't put you in this position again as he won't want a repeat performance. Standing up to him is the only way he's going to appreciate that if he wants your help he has to start off by being honest and courteous - and, still be prepared not to take the proverbial, and understand that you can't always be there to pick up the slack.

Damn right you should say that "if I'm not important enough to involve in the discussions, then I shouldn't be expected to play any part in it at all". This WON'T cause SD undue distress, though he may well play that card at you to make you feel "guilty". As her parent, he should be making childcare arrangements that disrupt her as little as possible - and that should have included talking to you if he wanted you to be part of the plan. Presumably he wouldn't dream of organising a babysitter for her and then telling the sitter that actually it wasn't going to be a couple of hours but a couple of days regardless of the imposition that placed on them ? This is exactly the same, and the only way he's going to change is if you make life much harder for him. I know that won't be an attractive prospect and no doubt it'll cause a row but the alternative is that you put up with this sort of disrespect ad infinitum.

needaholidaynow Mon 23-Jun-14 09:39:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 09:39:39

I know you're right Cats. His DM lives around the corner. She actually instigated DSDs mother moving to our town for the 50/50 because she said she would help out. But she does a lot of care for DSDs mums 50 % and I do a lot of our time. Unfortunately, I think DSDs mum has got some new things (boyfriend) in her life and is I finding it difficult to juggle everything. My DH is a great father and just wants to do the right thing. He's not Disney at all. But this constant lack of communication with me is breaking us. You are right Cats about there being no consequences. I get grumpy and go quiet and things back to normal. He's, as we speak, trying to engagement in everyday conversation but I can't.

JenniferJo Mon 23-Jun-14 09:41:34

I'd ask him what other child care arrangements (besides DM)he has put in place for when you can't do it. And I'd find "meetings I had to be at.

Sneezecakesmum Mon 23-Jun-14 09:52:41

If this convenient forgetfulness is only around the DSD he may have issues about your commitment to his being a father and you a SM. Maybe he thinks you resent the time DSD spends with him, rightly or wrongly. In which case you both need to be open an honest and reach a compromise that suits both of you.

If he is forgetful and just presents you with a fait accompli on various issues he is being selfish and not treating you with respect and as an equal partner. A much more serious situation which needs some real thinking about.

Him just trying to ignore his behaviour and you going silent won't sort anything out.

RiverTam Mon 23-Jun-14 09:53:25

I would be arranging weekends away and nights out for myself.

He may well be a good father, but he's being a shit husband. I would absolutely explode at him about this, you're being very restrained.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Mon 23-Jun-14 09:57:58

He basically has not one ounce of respect for you.

And it will not change until you REFUSE to accept it.

You won't do this I guess - but I would be taking leave from work, and packing a bag. And disappearing for at least two weeks. If you have anywhere to stay with friends where you can go to work from there, that's what I'd be doing. And telling him that you have no intention of spending that month doing any if his childcare.

Drastic? Yes. You have tried discussing, and it didn't work.

However, is there any point to that, even? What you have here is one of the many men who, post split, seem to think that 'moving on' merely involves getting together with a different woman and slotting her in like a glorified domestic appliance, conveniently plugging the gaps left by his new living arrangements. You aren't really a person - you know, with opinions, someone else who actually has to give permission for something to happen on the house she lives in and pays for. All that adjusting, shaking down, arranging- he's already done that, with his ex. He has his arrangements... you are Mark II, the other half of the partnership is actually still the mother of his child. The other humans are just who they've always been - his mum, other family. You are, somehow, lesser than all of them. Because all the growing up and becoming sorted was done before you were slotted into the already complete picture.

Lots of men seem to be like this. It won't change, EVER, because (especially) you have for some mad reason accepted it up til now. The time to explode was probably years ago, certainly the first time he made arrangements for YOUR life without consulting you.

If you want a true partnership in which to have a family, I would move on right now.

yoyo27 Mon 23-Jun-14 10:04:41

No you are not being unreasonable at all. Certainly not if you are expected to look after her. Plus the extra expense. I also assume he won't be paying maintenance when she is there? So that should cover the extra cost hopefully x

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 10:12:16

I know I haven't dealt with things well in the past. But, I do plan a lot of things with friends and family, and often go away for weekends just doing my own thing, and he doesn't expect me to be available. I know it looks like I have just been slotted in to a child care role but I did make it clear at the start that I would help him but not drastically alter my life to cover his responsibilities. And, he also works around this. Using his DM. And, he sometimes takes DSD with him to work if I have plans. Do you think that is part of the problem? I have wondered. Because I do still make sure I live my own life, maybe he thinks he doesn't have to inform me. But, general decency would still dictate that you inform me of the arrangements. Especially given that when he goes off to work in the afternoon and I get home, I will be looking after DSD.

FartyMcGhee Mon 23-Jun-14 10:15:46

to be honest if this was me I would most certainly be expecting my DH to be available for childcare duties.

MummyA1984 Mon 23-Jun-14 10:26:01

I agree with previous replies. Yanbu at all! He's totally out of order. I would do as FartyMcGhee says and get yourself some alone time booked. I'd be furious to not be ASKED let alone TOLD

catsmother Mon 23-Jun-14 10:27:33

Part of what being a great father is is setting a good example to their children - both boys and girls - about how men should treat women with respect and consideration.

Maybe right now SD doesn't consciously notice how her father treats you. Maybe she's unaware of the dynamics whenever you're looking after her, and there's every chance she doesn't realise (or even think about such things at her age) that her dad has abdicated his responsibilities by taking you for granted. But if this is a regular occurrence I suspect that eventually she'll absorb the message without even being aware of it - firstly, that looking after children appears to be mainly "women's work" and secondly, that it's okay for women to be dumped on.

So really, he's not being that "great" a father after all. And, as RiverTam said, forget about his qualifications as a father for the moment, he's being an awful husband. Whether or not he's a good dad shouldn't be your main concern (.... and to be honest, I've known of a fair few men who like to give the impression of being a fully involved hands on "great" dad when in reality it's their other halves who are doing the majority of the donkey work associated with raising kids. Sorry to say, in my experience at least this kind of patting themselves on the back attitude because "hey at least I've not abandoned my kids like some "deadbeat" dads" does seem most prevalent with separated dads - and again, from what I've seen personally that category of dad does rather seem to get a lot of praise from family, friends and colleagues simply for "sticking around" as if it's somehow "harder" for men to be parents than it is for women ..... and I can't help thinking that some of those men owe everything to their partners. The attractions of seeing/having their own children on a regular basis would be nowhere near as appealing if they didn't have a partner in the background doing the cooking, cleaning, clearing up, laundry, babysitting etc etc. And those women rarely get any credit when their men are lapping up all the praise. Sorry for slight tangent - just annoys me is all.) .... it's whether or not he's a good partner to you that you need to concentrate on.

catsmother Mon 23-Jun-14 10:39:34

OP - the fact you live your own life certainly shouldn't be "part of the problem" !!

And as he's well aware that you have things you like to do and places to go that makes it even more imperative that he discusses stuff like this with you.

Even if he didn't expect you to do one hour of childcare, it's still damn rude just to TELL you that "oh BTW SD is coming for a month" with a day's notice. Most people would want to sort out bedding, plan meals, work out a budget and so on.

But I get the impression that you will be expected to do childcare so getting your consent and agreement to it all is an absolute must which he's completely failed to do.

If you "made it clear" that you'll be independent but would be willing to help on occasion then sorry to say you haven't made that point clearly enough. Anyone kind enough to offer help sometimes should be treated with respect and not taken for granted .... that means there's nothing wrong in him asking and negotiating with you but does not give him carte blanche to force a situation on you.

I agree with Bruno that unfortunately some men do see their partners as the answer to their childcare issues (and housekeeping issues) rather than as an individual in her own right. It's such a sexist and selfish outlook - and I'm always gobsmacked when you read about men who criticise their partners because strangely enough they don't automatically fall head over heels in love with someone else's children and want to spend every waking minute with them. Almost as if it's "unnatural" that a woman, i.e. the "nurturing" sex should feel that way .... and of course, the more a woman kicks back about being taken for granted that way it also means the man in question has to do more work himself so some of them like to heap on the emotional blackmail to try and avoid that.

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 11:13:44

Cats, it's not a tangent. It's a fundamental issue. We've been married 4 years. Him and ex had been split for 5 years when we met and he had DSD EOW which is what we had when I came on the scene. As much as I make my own plans and go about my life, I still feel bad sometimes, as I know we all struggle with as SMs. Up until recently, if I was home with no plans, DH would drop DSD with me while he was at work. Not asking. He would just say ' have you got plans?' Which I quickly worked out was code for I was available for child care. I had started saying I was busy, even though I was only busy doing my own thing. Then I recently spoke with him about it and told him he had to stop asking if I was busy and be honest and ask if I would look after DSD. He's been doing this which is why I feel so thrown by today. One step forward ten back!

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 11:17:28

BTW before me, he had a gf for 18 months. Him and his DH spoke very negatively about her attitude towards DSD. But I increasingly feel as though she was probably having a reasonable response to unreasonable expectations. I know she didn't set down boundaries around her own independence and probably ended up resenting the situation.

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 11:17:59

* I meant him and his DM.

Petal02 Mon 23-Jun-14 11:20:14

OP, I feel your pain! Whilst we never had DSS full time for a month, DH was very good at forgetting to mention extra access - he knew darn fine I'd be mad if I knew he'd agreed to extra without talking to me first, but he never dared say no to DSS or the ex, and (mistakenly) decided not to tell me because he knew it would cause a row. Obviously this is just delaying the inevitable, because I'd find out eventually, and then the delay at being informed became a further insult.

If Granny/Auntie/sister etc were coming to stay for a month, it would be a democratic decision in most households, because of course you'd need to know for bedding, cooking etc. But bring a step child into the equation, and common courtesy tends to go out of the window.

I agree with the posters who suggest you ask your DP exactly what arrangements HE has made to help our during this period, and also that you suddenly become very busy with work, social things etc.

At the end of the day, most men realise that there's not actually very much a woman can do if someone else arrives at their home for a month; most of us only have one home, so it's not like we can simply relocate elsewhere for the duration - so in reality the extra access can be imposed upon you and you're stuck with it. Not ideal, but the situation you describe seems to be quite common.

Gettingmeback Mon 23-Jun-14 11:48:14

Thanks Petal that is exactly it. You write as though you are no longer in the situation? You're right, I do feel obliged to behave in a certain way with someone in my house. And this is a child who is completely blameless in this. Cats is right in saying DH continues to do it because there are no real consequences. Apparently me going grumpy and quiet are tolerable. I know his DM and ex place a lot of pressure on him but I feel like he is more ok for me to be unhappy than them. I know that's what a lot of SPs feel. I know in my gut, DSDs mum is angling towards us having her full time. I've talked to DH about this and he's said it don't happen, 50/50 is best. My fear is that he's never been true to his word.

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