Is it OK for everyone to assume you will look after DSC when their parents are away?(41 Posts)
My DH is away for a week for work and his ex has now decided that she also needs to be away (for work) - and the assumption is that I will have DSS for the week they are both away...
The ex has a partner (the DSC stepfather) but he has decided to accompany the ex (it is a craft show in a lovely place!) However DSS doesn't want miss the last week of school's activities and doesn't want go with them (although DSD is going with them).
I/we have 3 children and work full time - with my DH and therefore with him being away I am even more pulled upon running the business. It is already a busy week and I am relying on friends to help me out with DH not being there to support us. I have a lot on my plate at the moment and adding an extra person in the mix is not as easy as the ex might imagine - especially with all the demands that the last week of school entails.
I feel that this is something that the ex and her DP should have given consideration to before deciding that they both were going to be away since they knew my DH was also going to be away for work. I also think that DSS's needs also needed to be considered from the offset before any decisions were made.
We have the DSC once a week and every second weekend and whenever the ex has extra things on - including a week recently so she could go to Glastonbury BUT we always ensure that both of us are here as our jobs are very demanding and the domestic side of caring for 5 children is not shall we say easy!
The irony is that I should really be accompanying my DH to the trade show he is attending as part of our joint work responsibilities but we have had to make the decision for me not to go because of the putting first the needs of the DC first.
However I find it hard to say no. After all I love my DSS and of course I want to support my DH but I just have this feeling that I am a bit of a mug and my usual attitude is to say yes regardless of the impact on me. So please someone tell me that it is OK to have these feelings or just to 'pull my socks up' and cope?!
I definitely would not be doing it. But I don't have anykind of relationship with the kids mum. It is dp and his exW to find alternate child care when they are both unavailable.
If you say yes now you will always feel like you have to.
No it is not alright!
I have been in the same position. What hurt me most was the assumption that I would just look after DSCs, and it can lead to a lot of resentment. That strain is not good for you and DH.
It may depend on how much outside of this you feel you are being 'dumped on'. If it is relatively rare - then it might be an idea to say YES but make it clear that you need at the very least to be asked next time (and allowed to say no for any reason). If this 'taking for granted' is building up for you, I would definately say NO and draw a line in the sand.
I was once given 3 teenage DSDs to look after for 2 weeks with no notice, no agreement from me, no thanks and no appreciation. I was on maternity leave, with a tiny baby and my own 12 year old DS, so 5 KIDS in total! No joke. Their mum was 'on holiday' but had not asked anyone in advance but made out there was no way she could take them when OH said he had to work - and I found out whilst getting the lice out from youngest DSDs hair that actually she was just lounging about in her house around the corner while I was nearly killing myself trying to look after them all. OHs response was that 'they should always be able to come here anytime anyway' and I should be more relaxed. I nearly just ran for the hills there and then!!
No, it's not OK for them to assume that you are the default child care. They are thinking of themselves first. His mother should be putting his needs first just as you are doing for your children by sacrificing your attendance to a work function. Been there. Got the t-shirt.
I would be saying oh, so where is dss staying then?
With me? Nope doesn't work for me... No explanation.. Just repeating does not work for me. Sorry.
Surely both of them don't have to go and I would be bringing that into the mix.
If they still push I would be very snippy and say look it's a busy week for me. I've had to arrange a huge rota of childcare because Dh is away. My arrangements are made and cannot be changed. No he cannot take along.
I'd be starting off as bloodyteenagers suggests - with Oh so where's dss staying? - with the rider of 'as he obviously can't be here with me that week' thrown in there right from the beginning - with lots of emphasis on the obviously.
And if you love your dss (sounds like you do!) and don't mind helping out some times then you can add that other weeks, with more notice, when dh is here, then of course we can try to work something out. But that week - no can do.
That way hopefully they won't turn it around so that your dss thinks that you don't like him - that's got nothing to do with it, it's his parents' inability to sort out proper care that's the issue!
It's never ok to "assume" for anything so important as childcare. Even if you take the step-children / parent relationships out of the mix.
Your dp should be sorting alternate childcare for the days he normally has dss, as the ex is away; and the ex should be sorting alternate childcare for the times she normally has him as your dp is away.
Each if them can ask their respective dp, of course, and their second option is to see if their ex's dp can help - in your case, no, you cannot, you are working and have arranged childcare for the other dc as your dp is away.
It's never OK for this to be assumed, no. So just "he can't be with me, I'm not even here for my own kids" would do.
Thanks for the replies and the backing up of my feelings that nothing should be assumed! My DP totally agrees with me by the way but he of course just feels that he doesn't want his DS to feel in anyway that he is not wanted etc plus of course to allow him to stay here and go to all the things he wants to. So by default that becomes my 'problem' if I say no...
By the way the 6 days that the ex is away falls exactly when we wouldn't normally have the DSC - as they are with us the weekend before she leaves and my DH is back when the next mid week visit would be.
I had this from DH's ex, 'I've booked xxx week off to have the kids, you book xxx week off and if Gemma books xxx week off thats the holidays covered'
errr, no, Gemma uses her holidays as Gemma see's fit, not as unpaid childcare for your convenience.
Stepmothers are not free nannies/emergency childcare. Of course this is not OK.
Tbh I think your dp is the one at fault here. He is agreeing with you in theory but not in practice. His ex is going away and is assuming that ds will stay with his dad (your dp) it should be down to your dp to say "no, I'm away that week so it's not convenient."
If I were going away I would have a conversation with my xh about it, and would expect him to tell me if it wasn't convenient for him. It would never occur to me that his dp should be expected to look after my child when I am not able to do so, any arrangement which involved his dp looking after my ds would be between him and her and have nothing to do with me.
It is, unfortunately, quite common for parents to entertain the idea that their DC should be welcome at their home 100% of the time, without quantifying all the work and logistics this entails for their partner.
wannaBe - yep that is how I would do it too!
I also think my DP is at fault - as his first question to me was "It's no problem having DS for a week while I am away is it?" When I took my time to think through and explain why actually it was, he did in fairness immediately see my point of view (even if he did try to say but "DS is no problem etc etc". Which of course is the truth BUT all DC need support and time regardless of how 'good' they are!!!) He was only looking at it from providing for his DS and not seeing how his Ex had not considered their DS and had made a rather large assumption on my behalf.
The thing is that I just know that I will end up with my DSS regardless of what I say - I know the ex will not back down (as in ask her DP to stay behind to look after DS) and will somehow twist it so I am the selfish one and then it will upset my DH too much if he felt that his DS was at all made to feel that he was not welcome with me. AND of course I am much to soft to allow this to happen.
I just feel it is so unfair
Zsazsa, cna you ask your husband what he would do if you werent there? Say you're away, what exaclt would you husband do in this instance then?
This is not fair on you you are not the unpaid help. As far as I'm concenred when a parent is not avaialbe to care for their child they pay for alternative arrangmenets ask famiy members ot step in as a favour. They not dump their child on others.
I 'm not a step parent, but I think you need to be less worried aobut looking mean, you are not. You are being taken advantage of.
Put it to him straight.
He either pisses of ex, or you the person that he lives with.
The ex saying you are selfish put a stop to that and tell her no actually it's the one that is tagging along and the one that agreed to that arrangement. That's what is selfish.
Either they all go or half stays behind.
Don't end up with him put your foot down! If it's mums week surely it's mums problem to sort childcare. Dad is not available, you are not available sorry no can do.
I wouldn't do it.
My DP totally agrees with me by the way but he of course just feels that he doesn't want his DS to feel in anyway that he is not wanted etc plus of course to allow him to stay here and go to all the things he wants to.
Well, he can sort it then. Just tell him that you are pushed with him being away as it is.
Time to put your foot down, OP, or this will carry on for years.
Well, if you are a wooss then they will put on you.
How will the DCs and DSCs respect you if you are everyone's slave.
Are there no GPs, aunts, friends of DSS, sports weeks away etc etc for DSS?
I hear you all That is why so far I have said no and asked DH to explain the reasons to his ex.
That doesn't mean though that I don't feel something with regard to not helping DSS in this instance. I have been his stepmother since he was little and obviously my feelings towards him are very maternal. It is just that it seems it is only me who puts his needs first and I just feel in this instance that it is about time that I stood up and let them know that my needs are just as important...
Scoobydoo8 - yes there is a grandma (who is near by and very fit and able and could quite easily stay at their house) but apparently in ex's words - she doesn't want to bother her with this...
Sorry I would say to your partner it is selfish of him to go away and leave x-amount of children with you. He can either take time off or tell his ex to make other arrangements such as the grand-parents. You need to draw a line here and say no because otherwise you will start being resentful and stressed and that could make you I'll then he would have to cover everything
Jphilips19 - he has to go away on this trip - it is a Trade Show that he is part of and can't not go - it is also not over any time that we would normally have DSC...
Your partner has to go away, his ex says she has to go away but her partner also chooses to go. Mean while you who have to deal with other children on your own and everything else going on. Why have the grand parents not been asked? You cannot complain if you yourself won't set a boundary. If you statted you were going with your partner his ex would have to make other arrangements, so would you for your own children. Just because his parents aren't making other arrangements for this poor boy doesn't make him your responsibility. When boundaries are made everyone knows where they stand. That does not mean that you wouldn't help in an emergency it just means that you are doing what's right for everyone because if you get stressed then ultimately it affects the children and it's not their fault.
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