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Summer holiday 'arrangements'

(22 Posts)
Morien Wed 24-Jun-15 14:31:28

I need to get this off my chest! Long, sorry...

I have 3 DSCs (10, 6 & 5), with us almost 50%, and DD (16 months, with DH). DH is self-employed; I'm employed elsewhere. He has a natural dip in his activity mid-July till mid-August (clients all disappear). His business is really struggling at the moment, so I'm carrying us all financially - mortgage, bills, food, nursery fees, all DD's stuff and much of the DSCs', etc. I can afford it, but there's not much wiggle room. In previous years DH has put the DSC in holiday clubs (non-residential) for a couple of weeks outside of his 'down' period, but he can't afford it this year (he hasn't asked me to pay, and I haven't offered; if there was just one DSC I would, but with 3 of them I just can't afford it on top of everything else). He assured me that he'd arrange with ExW for her to have them during the day when he was working (she's a secretary at the school they attend and is off a good proportion of the school holidays, and we've done this before).

So far, so good. It's not ideal and I hope it won't be like this for long, and not just for the sake of my bank balance (my poor DH is so stressed), but I can live with all this - for richer, for poorer, etc etc.

However, back in JANUARY I insisted we sit down with the calendar to work things out for the summer. The nursery is closed for the first 3 weeks of July. We agreed that he would cover the third week, because it's already in his quiet time, and that I'd take the first week. I don't have much leave left, so IN ORDER TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO WORK THE SECOND WEEK, I asked my parents if they'd come to stay for that week (ie they are flying here from the UK). DH told me at the time that he didn't know if the DSCs would be here that week as the pattern might change in the holidays. A few months ago it became clear that they would be here, and ever since I've been asking DH to do something, as I don't want my parents having to look after 4 children for a week; more to the point, my parents don't want to do it (they love my DSCs and have looked after them before, but 4 is just too much - Mum is over 70). DH has said consistently that it wasn't a problem, ExW was going to have them during the day; I kept asking if he'd actually asked her, and he'd brush me off with things like, 'you know she's always happy to see them' (how many times have I told him he can't expect her to be there at the last minute just because it's convenient to him?) Anyway, THIS MORNING, 10 days before the week in question, FFS, he casually tells me that exW is working that week - but not to worry, my parents won't have to look after them, he'll take the week off. His last possible week of work before the summer closure.

I AM FURIOUS! I try not to rub it in about our financial situation because I know it's deeply uncomfortable for him, but honestly? Why can't he make an effort? His business is in trouble, so he procrastinates and procrastinates, and, oh well, I'll just take the week off. I asked him why he thought my parents were coming, if he was going to be at home anyway, and he said he thought it was just a pleasure trip. So then I asked why we had sat down with the calendar and gone through everything so carefully; he said he didn't know (but on being pressed, he did remember doing it). (It's possible that he just doesn't understand the concept of parents coming purely to help out, as his own would eat their own arms before they did that...and they only live round the corner).

I don't know how long we had to discuss this this morning before the penny dropped (I'm at home getting over a flu virus so it's the last thing I needed), so he's now gone off to ask ExW if she will swap weeks with him, so that the DSCs are here the third week in July, when he's already looking after DD (and his work will be quiet). She'll be well within her rights to refuse at this point! If only he had pulled his finger out a few weeks ago - she's generally quite adaptable for this kind of thing, and we'd have been sorted.

I feel so often that HE is the one who brings the 'step' part to our family, but I'm the one working alone to make it blend. Fed up. Feel better for getting that down, though wink

amarmai Wed 24-Jun-15 14:51:41

You are being taken advantage of. If he did not have you to look after him and his children what would he do ?

Morien Wed 24-Jun-15 15:06:27

This is exactly what I asked him this morning. Yet again. He doesn't have an answer.

Tryharder Wed 24-Jun-15 19:51:24

I dunno really. He's between a rock and a hard place really.

If the XW won't or can't have them, then he can't make her.

If your parents are unable to cope, that's also fine- he's not asking them to!

I don't see what choice he has other than to take the week off.

What would you like him to do?

Morien Thu 25-Jun-15 06:45:29

I would like him to deal with things before they're on top of us. It's not like the school holidays were only announced this week. I don't think that's particularly unreasonable of me.

Morien Thu 25-Jun-15 06:47:31

It's way too late for this year, obviously. He did admit last night that he had completely screwed up, so that's something.

Petal02 Thu 25-Jun-15 08:43:00

I would like him to deal with things before they’re on top of us

Yes, I can understand this. I used to have similar issues with DH; if he knew there was going to be a sticky situation, he’d stick his head in the sand until it was too late to be dealt with sensibly, rather than risk a little choppy water in pursuit of resolution.

I think that’s inherently a male tactic (particularly with divorced fathers), they hate conflict/confrontation/rocking the boat, so defer things as long as possible. Ironically though, this often causes more friction than if they’d tackled the issue when it first came up …….

antimatter Thu 25-Jun-15 08:45:56

What else could he have done?

YonicScrewdriver Thu 25-Jun-15 08:48:12

Tryharder, the point is that he could have asked his ex six months ago and if it had been a no then, different plans could be made. It's not like plans suddenly changed.

antimatter Thu 25-Jun-15 08:52:53

If wife works term-time - can she take holiday off?

SodOffWasp Thu 25-Jun-15 12:45:13

What else could he have done?

Ask his exW if she could cover that week as soon as he knew the DSCs would be coming, so that she had a few months' notice to work with instead of a few days' notice?

Decide he would take that week as holiday much sooner and give OP's parents the opportunity to cancel their trip?

Basically not leave it until 10 days before to sort something out that he's known about for months?

K888 Thu 25-Jun-15 13:35:16

I completely sympathise with this.

My OH hardly ever took holidays and EX and him never had a schedule. When I went on maternity leave that basically meant I had SIX children to look after for holidays (two were mine, four his) and whenever I asked to be at the very least given notice I was told that they were teenagers 'so didn't need looking after'. Anyone with stroppy messy teenagers knows that isn't the case!

I think you've done all you can, insist on a calendar well in advance. Maybe make a big deal of needing a little holiday with him - because that what it has resulted in - loss of any time together as you both seem so busy and squeezed. Like mine he won't see that it is a problem until you point out the loss of something positive together.

HoneyLemon Thu 25-Jun-15 13:56:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Melonfool Thu 25-Jun-15 15:06:57

" Really annoys me when people think that when a stepmum is on maternity leave it means they become default childcare provider for their partner's children for 9-12 months!"

Or taking time out of work for a few months (unpaid) to complete their degree?

Yes, I also had the 'he's a teenager, he just looks after himself' stuff. But then, when I complained about the dog jumping on the bed at night waking me up I was told "just go back to sleep, it's not as if he tries to involve you in a complex debate, is it".

Anyway, we had this same problem for a long time but it has got better.

So much so that smug yesterday dp was able to tell me that after nagging from me he and ex have agreed to the Christmas plans!

Unfortunately you just do have to keep nagging.

K888 Thu 25-Jun-15 16:55:32

HoneyLemon and Melonfool

It is interesting to hear that you have had similar experiences!

But the ex would have just sent them around to our house (which she often did) when it was empty - until I stopped that.

The parents of my step daughters had a bit of a wake up call when the oldest got pregnant! All while supposedly being in charge of younger kids.

And with me it meant cooking/washing daily for six kids with a month old baby and denitting hair for a long two week stretch with no outside help at all!!

Melonfool Thu 25-Jun-15 17:09:16

ex still seems to think it's OK for dss to come to our house when no-one is here, but I've put my foot down on that since the stealing from my bedside drawer (and the discovery that one time, when he said he 'fell asleep' and forgot to go to his club, it turns out he had a girl round).

Currently I am refusing to have him on my own as well as ex bullied me last time into allowing him to come to ours when neither of us were there. Until she stops being controlling about what happens in my house she can stuff having extra child-free times on my dime.

K888 Thu 25-Jun-15 17:16:26

Melonfool you are doing the right thing putting your foot down. There should be a clear separation from her house and yours - what it okay in hers should not be bullied into happening at yours too.

Do it now and you may avoid a pregnancy like we had! Tell your partner that and he may well support you!

HoneyLemon Thu 25-Jun-15 17:30:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

K888 Thu 25-Jun-15 17:45:35


And with me it meant cooking/washing daily for six kids with a month old baby and denitting hair for a long two week stretch with no outside help at all!!

Yep after that I said I should just be the direct link for organising with the EX about holidays - as I was the main one caring for the kids. That wasn't acceptable to either?!

The more I think about it the more of a mug I feel!!!

Hope Morein you have more luck in the future...

Melonfool Thu 25-Jun-15 17:56:28

I have refused being in direct contact with ex, I will now and then (I'm not a dragon) but generally I think it's between them and it's for dp to ask me if my time is going to be affected. And he respects that I can say no.

He does support me though, he agrees with the rule that dss isn't to be in the house on his own and happy that I don't have dss on my own unless I want to. Last time I offered as dp was away over a week and I accept it's not fair on ex with him being away so much. Plus dss gets on better with me than SD, and I think sticking to routines works best for everyone.
When ex phoned to say dss had to be there the next night, after I would have gone back to work, until she could pick him up at 6.30pm, I tried saying no but she just wouldn't have it, just kept saying that's what had to happen (hmm, a bit like I was the child now I think about it). I gave in but she's on her own now. Not that she will realise, she doesn't do long term, she does immediate gratification.

K888 Fri 26-Jun-15 21:38:19

Melonfool is there anyway your partner could talk to mine?! Or the person who started this thread?!

I'm sure you have your ups and downs - but the fact that your dp respects that you can say no - and agrees that dss isn't to be in house on their own - that shows a good union and a level of respect for your position. Good for you both - it's nice to hear of some things actually working.

Wdigin2this Sun 05-Jul-15 12:20:55

In general, I think it is a 'man thing'! My DH puts off telling me about things/arrangements he knows I will have issues with, until the last possible moment, it's a head in the sand situation all the time! But over the years I've become adept at knowing by his demeanour, that something is being kept from me, so I now often say, 'just spit it out, what's going on?'....and I'm rarely wrong!!

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