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Holiday 'contact'

(25 Posts)
Melonfool Tue 04-Aug-15 17:48:10

So, dp has dss (we're not married but use 'step' as shorthand) EOW/E and one O/N per week and then one evening from school but he goes home to his mum's later in the evening.

For the past several weeks we have had him nearly all the time. I think she has had one weekend in 6, last weekend - and then she phoned dp at 5pm Sunday to say he needed to come back to ours that night, so it wasn't even a 'whole' weekend. We went and picked him up, cutting short the social event we were at (luckily I wasn't drinking anyway and was due to drive).

For the school holidays she has not arranged anything at all.

Dp works from home but can also be sent anywhere at any time. So two days this week he was in London (a 13 hour day) and the last week of the hols he is in the US.

I work in London (13+ hour days for me) but can work from home now and then and we have a visitor from Belarus so I have taken a few days of annual [unpaid as I am self-employed] leave as well.

The ex has two weeks booked off work - she managed to book one of them the same week as we have booked to go away, all three of us, so she will obviously have no contact that week. We did tell her in advance the week we booked so it does tend to look as if she booked the same week on purpose.

The final week/10 days dss is off on a scout camp, paid for by dp.

So, ex will, in theory, have him next week as the ONLY time she will see him all summer, including weekends (as the upcoming weekends we are going to be going away, or coming back, or him going or at camp).

Does it seem reasonable therefore that she should have him the whole week, from the Friday night to the following Fri night, without dp having his two contact evenings/days?

I would just like one quiet week without him. I know it sounds mean but having a 14yo hanging about the whole time whining and asking for things when I am either working or trying to deal with our visitor is starting to do my head in.

We are here on the days that are the usual contact evenings (obviously they are usually after school) and I am betting she just assumes we will have him those two whole days and that we will have him the weekend before as it is, technically, 'our' weekend which would mean she actually only has him three days. Three days of the whole summer holidays!

And she has confirmed she won't be doing anything with him because she's getting some work done on the house so they can't go out.

I had a bit of a fit at dp last week when it transpired I would be left with dss today and yesterday (again). I said "well, it looks like I have to since neither of his parents can be bothered to make any arrangements" and he said that was 'really unfair because he has to work to support us'. I pointed out that he certainly does NOT support me, and that if he didn't take 10 days of his annual leave each year to piss about with his mates then he would have more to take to spend time with his son. That didn't go down very well either.

EatSleepRepeat Tue 04-Aug-15 20:31:06

That seems crazy! So you have him every other weekend normally, one overnight every week, one evening every week and he goes back to mums? What's the other /E?

Melonfool Tue 04-Aug-15 21:59:07

/E is the 'end' of weekend, otherwise it looks like you mean Every Other Week by EOW.

She just doesn't make any arrangements for holiday time and he's been in trouble recently so best not to leave him alone. Be doesn't get on with her dp and we seem to have to pick up the pieces. Which is one thing if it's his father, but another thing altogether when it's me, which it mostly is.

QueenArseClangers Wed 05-Aug-15 08:36:09

Have you informed CMA (if appropriate) so any payment is reduced to her?

Melonfool Wed 05-Aug-15 12:29:10

They don't go via CMA, it is a private arrangement with a consent order.

He pays more than the CMA min, based on fewer nights than we do anyway, but it's never reduced when dss stays longer as he frequently does.

It's a bit galling re the money as a teen does cost quite a bit, but he's not bothered about it really, just decides to leave it as it is.

I just want to make sure we have one quiet week over the summer. Doesn't seem too much to ask for does it?

slkk Wed 05-Aug-15 18:13:42

Holiday contact should take the place of termtime routine so really he should have a whole week with mum.

BlueBlueSea Wed 05-Aug-15 18:48:56

During the holidays, the weeks I have the DC their father does not see them on his normal weekday, and when he has them for a week or two I do not see them.

I think that is pretty normal for holiday contact. So you are not being at all unreasonable to expect him to spend a complete week with her when she has the week off.

Talk to Dh and get him to arrange this then you can have some date nights.

yellowdaisies Wed 05-Aug-15 19:34:23

I can see it all sounds tough and like his DM either doesn't want him much, or can't afford to go anywhere with him. But he's 14. Could you just carry on with your plans as normal - including commuting to work - and leave DSS to his own devices? He shouldn't be needing minding 24-7. Same with the evenings - go out with your DP if you need some quality time together

It is hard to make your annual leave stretch the holidays if you're not able to work from home, and can be tricky booking holiday clubs for a 14 year old, as they need to be things he's actually into - like the scout camp. And if his DM is single or in a new relationship she may be feeling a strong need for one week away without DSS.

If you really want a child free week, maybe best to book it as a holiday, even if you decide not to go away in the end. I don't feel I can say no to having my DSC as per the usual routine just because it's the holidays if we're around as usual. And I'd probably be a bit peed off if my ex said his DW wanted a full week off from having our DCs for no apparent reason, other than "pay back" for having taken them away for a week. I'd feel they weren't welcome there if he said that.

Melonfool Wed 05-Aug-15 21:49:34

We can't leave him on his own for 13+ hours a day, no. I don't think that's right. Apart from anything else he has been getting himself into trouble lately with stealing, smoking, porn etc so I think it's important an adult is around the majority of the time.

She doesn't have a new partner, they've been together five years. No other kids on their side or ours. I can't imagine she is short of money, she works full time in a job you need a qualification for and her dp is a higher rate tax payer, plus she gets £500pm maints. Not sure if she gets any child benefit or tax credits, I don't really follow how these things work. She had a large chunk of money from the house equity.

So, she has him for three week days and two weekend days (of which one we pick him up at 8pm) over seven weeks? And for me to get a week of peace and quiet I have to spend yet more money on a holiday despite us taking dss away twice this year (three times actually, we're going away for Christmas too) and paying for him to go to scout camp?

I can't take another week off work anyway.

Yet she gets a week of peace and quiet when we take him away......and the other six weeks of the summer.

It is really very draining when you're trying to work and you have a teenager dripping around the house constantly asking for things, asking you to do things, arguing when you ask them to do something, getting into a strop if you refuse to give them yet more bloody money to go to the shop etc etc. He has none of his own money at the moment because he had a months pocket money ban due to bad behaviour and then he was fined by the school for destroying something an amount equivalent to two months pocket money. So as he has no money he just constantly asks for some. It seems to me defeat the purpose of having it taken off him if we just give him money whenever he asks, so I end up being the mean one.

And I have to nag him to shower, clean his teeth etc and sort out food which he refuses to eat.

And then he wants lifts into town or to be taken to MacDonalds. Or for me to let him watch an 18 film, or to show me a cat playing the piano on YouTube, or he starts playing music loudly....

dp will ask the mother to have him all week but I just know she will refuse, or agree but then forget or send him over anyway.

MsColouring Wed 05-Aug-15 23:37:07

Seems a shame his parents couldn't get this sorted sooner.

yellowdaisies Thu 06-Aug-15 04:42:37

Could you set him some jobs to earn some money maybe? Mow the lawn? Sort the laundry? Shopping? Might get him out of your way for a while as well as meaning he can then go out spending it any not hanging around being bored.

His dad should be doing the nagging re showering, etc, even if he is out at work quite a bit. He could phone DSS each evening if he's away

YonicScrewdriver Thu 06-Aug-15 06:12:57

Can you go and work in a cafe or a regus or something?

Melonfool Thu 06-Aug-15 09:06:27

I know MsC - it's been the same every summer since I've known them, they never sort the holidays.

It's worse this year due to the trouble he's been in. Also, for the last four years I have taken time off over the summer as I was studying. It didn't make my life any easier as I still has dss a lot of the time, but at least I was off work and dss was so annoying until he hit the dreaded teen years.

He refuses to do jobs. He won't mow the lawn. He can't do the shopping - we live in a village and he can't get to the shops, though he will run to the village shop for milk etc if he's allowed some money to spend on himself. Sorting his laundry is his own responsibility anyway so he doesn't get paid for it. I do sometimes ask him to hang stuff out - he doesn't do it very well and then everything is creased but hey ho, at least it's done. We have a general policy of not paying him to do household chores though, no-one pays me to do them. Plus if they are things he should just be doing anyway it has the same effect of replacing his confiscated pocket money.

He is, in theory, getting £2 a day (dp think is should be £5. £5!! A day? I said I'd agree to £3 with £1 taken off if he moans about it) for walking a dog we have staying, which is fine, but he needs nagging to do it and whines about it.

His dad isn't away overnight much until the end of Aug (when dss is on scout camp), and yes, he does text him to remind him stuff.

I can't afford to pay for a Regus room. I could do the odd hour in a cafe I suppose but it means driving into town - and again, the boy being left alone. Mind you, I went into town Tuesday with him and our Belarusian child and it was heaving, I couldn't even go into MacD's even though I had said we would go there, so I can't think where I could go and work. I had this problem when I was studying and never found anywhere suitable. The library wasn't any good either.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 06-Aug-15 09:13:12

I think unless you leave the house for work in some way, his blood parents will continue to assume you can supervise him and work. Hence the suggestion. Anything like a garden centre nearby with a quieter cafe?

Melonfool Thu 06-Aug-15 09:36:07

Not nearby, but I could drive to one.

But it would cause an almighty ruckus if I said to dp "I am technically working at home but am going to a cafe so I won't be there, can you arrange something for dss".

I really just want the mother to have him for at least that one week. We're both working anyway so it's not like it's to get more time together. I can go into London every day if I want but it does cost me c£60 a day to do that and means leaving the house at 6.10am and getting home about 7.30pm, so that's why I work at home when I can.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 06-Aug-15 09:43:00

But it doesn't sound like you can work properly at home while he's there, and if you are looking for "ammunition" in the argument that his mother should have him, no one being at home is good, isn't it?

yellowdaisies Thu 06-Aug-15 10:00:25

I think you've been rather dumped on and taken for granted. But I also think that insisting on one full week "off rota" for the sake of it will look like you're just trying to make a point about your DSS's mum not taking him away anywhere, when you think she ought to. And DSS may already be quite aware enough that his mum seems to prefer being rid of him as much as possible. I understand the issue about not paying for chores they should be helping with anyway, but having no money and nothing to do isn't a great recipe for teenage happiness ime. Paying a higher rate of things like the dog walking are done without complaint may help a bit.

SitsOnFence Thu 06-Aug-15 10:33:43

I said "well, it looks like I have to since neither of his parents can be bothered to make any arrangements"

What you said here. The blame should fall equally with his mother and your DP. Does DP take up the slack with him when he is home, or leave you to it?

YonicScrewdriver Thu 06-Aug-15 10:41:57

Can an alternative punishment be found rather than suspending pocket money? It does seem to be punishing you as much as him!

Melonfool Thu 06-Aug-15 15:24:45

dp does do most stuff when he is here (but there is another issue where he later complains that I don't do enough in the house, to my mind dp should do 2/3rds of the chores, or have those 2/3rds split between him and dss however he likes, and I do 1/3rd, since we both work full time).

So, today dp and I both had a day's leave to look after our Belarusian visitor. I am swamped with work so am working this pm and dp has taken her and dss swimming with a friend and their kids. We all went to a local adventure playground for a couple of hours this morning.

The pocket money thing - we only imposed one month pocket money loss (that was for downloading hard core porn videos on his iphone, which has now been confiscated, and some other similar level misdemeanors). The other two months were a fine by the school, so we can't change that and we're not paying the fine ourselves. He has also been suspended from school twice.
I can't think of other sanctions. And it is access to money that is causing his ability to behave badly - some of the behaviour stems from buying things so the income has to be stopped or at least tightly controlled.

I'm not actually bothered if his mother takes him away or does stuff with him - that is between him and her, I just think she should have him for one of thew two weeks she has booked off work.
When I said 'she hasn't arranged anything' I meant childcare/cover for him being off school, he's just left to us to sort out, she just assumes we'd deal with it all.

She could at very least have coordinated her holidays so her two weeks didn't clash with ours and she could have had him two weeks and we'd have had him three then scout camp for one.

As it stands currently we'll have him for all except the three days she will do and the scout camp 10 days.

Having nothing to do is a symptom of living in a village I'm afraid. But he can go out on his bike, play football, meet his mates, he has computer games he seems happy to play 24/7 and books and TV/films on his tablet.... What else should a teenager be doing?

Quesera21 Thu 06-Aug-15 15:45:20

Why doesn't your DP actually ask her and get the response before you moan about it?

Alot of I bet she will, i am sure she did it deliberately etc etc ........... She might not and then all the blood pressure worrying done for nothing.

Melonfool Thu 06-Aug-15 16:08:06

"Why doesn't your DP actually ask her and get the response before you moan about it?

Alot of I bet she will, i am sure she did it deliberately"

I don't know why he doesn't ask her. I have asked him to ask her, he has said he will ask her, he hasn't asked her. And it's next week.

I don't think there is "a lot of I bet she will" I think in fact I only said it once. Same with 'she did it deliberately' - I didn't say "I am sure she did" I said "it does tend to look like she did".

Whether she did or not, that is still a week she is not working but cannot see her ds as she already knew that was the week we were away, we told her months ago. When I spoke to her on the phone (because she rang for some other reason) she didn't say "oh no! I forgot, I've gone and got the dates wrong" or "well, I did my best but that was the only two weeks I could book off", she didn't say anything.

Melonfool Fri 07-Aug-15 14:55:12

So, I reminded him this morning that dss should going to DM today

She finishes work at one, but she can't have him because she has a haircut at 4pm and has asked if we can take him over on Sunday.

dp has him for the day Monday anyway, he's got something booked for him (we offered DM the chance to take him to this instead of dp, already paid for, especially as she is off work but she didn't want to, so dp has taken another day off work to do it).

So, as it stood, she was due to have him from Tuesday. I told dp to tell her to pick him up tonight after her haircut. And she is.

I expect he'll be back Sunday afternoon though.

Melonfool Fri 07-Aug-15 17:25:10

Aaand she's just called......she can't make it today so will come Sunday. He took the call as I was trying to work do was on another phone.

Why can't she see how mean this is to the boy?

Kkaty Fri 07-Aug-15 22:59:43

OP I feel for you, you are basically being taken for granted by the Ex and by your DP - and the boy stuck in the middle is being dumped by his mother for her convenience.

I have been in a similar situation - so much so that I am now at breaking point as the stress it puts on a relationship is pretty big. If I ever said 'Excuse me but you know having all (3 teenage) DSDs next week means that I am at home and will have to be the parent' was met by 'they can take care of themselves' or being blamed for obstructing his relationship with his daughters. So you get into an awful position of having to highlight all the difficulties which are actually none of your fault - but weirdly you probably feel like the bad guy.

In the end I insisted on a regular calendar as I was going crazy. I had to really force my OH which felt horrible, and when he presented it to EX she went crazy - even though it was totally weighted in her favour still. But it has helped massively, and even to see how much time was allocated. I also talked with my ex and said that I didn't care what age his kids were, if he wasn't around to parent them, then I had to be asked whether this was okay with me - and like you I don't think teenagers do well if left alone for a long amount of time. They need as much as younger kids - just in different ways.

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