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Advice re weekends

(31 Posts)
Magda72 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:39:58

I'll give some background here as I don't want to drip feed.
Dp is from a town about 1hr 30mins from where I live. His exw lives there with their kids & dp has retained a house there. Many years ago his exw decided she wanted to move closer to her family so they moved to another town again about 1hr 30 mins from where I live but in the opposite direction. Dp is self employed so he moved his business hq to the new town. A few years down the line his exw fell out with her family and insisted on moving back to the first town, which she did. At this point the recession had kicked in and dp was not in a position to move his business so he stayed working around the town they had moved to and would commute home at the weekends to see the kids. At this stage the marriage was breaking down & a few years later they divorced.
When I met dp three years ago he was working all week, getting an early night on Friday & then getting up to drive anywhere between 3-5 hours depending on where exactly he'd been working, to collect the kids for Saturday evening & Sunday.
Obviously this allowed dp & I no time to see each other so he revised his access & now sees them eow. On these weekends he only works a 4 day week, collects them from school on Friday & drops them back to exw on Sunday evening. These changes were done in conjunction with the kids who all said they were fine with it & really do seem to be fine with it.
The problem is integrating his kids into our life as dp now lives with me & is paying out for a house he can ill afford for 4/5 nights a month. On holidays he tends to take them away or bring them up to ours. The weekends are a massive issue though. The two youngest have taken up a sport which takes up all of Saturday so at the moment dp collects from school on Friday, does the Saturday activities, drives 1:30 or 2hrs back home to me with them & then has to drive them back to their mum on Sunday. It's really not working & everyone is knackered!
I've posted on here about this before but it's different this time. His kids aren't resistant to being here, they like being here & are starting to get on really well with my 2.
I'm just looking for practical advice from anyone who's gone through similar.
Dp really needs to sell his house but is prepared to hold on to it for a while so he can have his weekends with his kids down there. However if he does this & minimises the driving, it keeps a big distance between his kids & me & my kids as we'll only see each other during holidays.
Dp and I are hoping to get married & while we're not trying to play happy families we would like everyone to feel integrated.
Dps 3 are 11, 14 & 17. Any practical tips/advice anyone has would be gratefully received.
Dp loves his boys and really wants to do right by them but we don't know the best way to proceed. My ex lives in the same town as us so while access is set as my kids have gotten older they've been able to say no to a weekend with him if they've plans & just meet him for dinner on another day if they choose & if he's free.
Exw no use either as if his boys are with us I'm trying to be their mum & if they're alone with their dad it's obvious I don't like them hmm.
For the record the weekends dp and I are together my kids are with their dad so dp is not shelving his kids to be with another family (before anyone starts shrieking) & he works an extra long day on those Fridays & comes up to me on Saturday morning.
Sorry about long post.

swingofthings Sat 07-Oct-17 12:59:10

So he now has them eow and during these week-ends, he's got a lot of driving and faring around to do because of their activities, is that correct?

I don't think there are any perfect solutions. You've clearly considered everything and nothing works perfectly for everyone.

My view is that dedicating eow to your children doing things you would rather not do but do because that's what they want and the way you are bonding with them is what parents do. It's exhausting, but that's why we should all feel a sense of relief when they finally leave home!

If I understand correctly, your OH has Friday until school day for himself, so that's more free time than some parents have. I'm not being critisizing, but I do think that the only solution is for him to continue as he is if that's what makes his kids happy. They won't probably show much appreciation as he is doing it, but the penny will drop one day when they are older, and this realisation that he has dedicated a lot of energy for them will be rewarded then.

Magda72 Sat 07-Oct-17 13:48:25

Hi Swing - sorry I probably didn't make myself very clear.
He doesn't have those Fridays to himself as such, as he gets up in the town where he works & drives to collect them from school - this can be a 5 hour journey some weeks.
He doesn't mind all the coming and going with activities at the weekend at all - as you said, as parents that's what we do.
The problem is if he tries to bring them to ours for on Saturday (can't bring them Friday as they have activities on Saturday) it's a 90/120 minute journey on Saturday, same back down to their mum on Sunday & another 90 mins for him to return home on Sunday evening. He's wrecked and the kids don't like all the driving. However if he doesn't do this then the two parts of his life don't meet for maybe 8 weeks until holidays come around! This isn't ideal either.
Just so hard to know which route is the best to take for all concerned.

swingofthings Sat 07-Oct-17 15:18:25

One thought that suddenly came to mind, they are old enough to travel by train now. Couldn't they take one if not all the way to where you live, at least a lot closer? It would be more expensive, but easier. If money is an issue, could they do so once a month so that he would only do the long travel once a month too?

Justdontknow4321 Sat 07-Oct-17 15:26:49

Instead of coming to yours after the activities why doesn't he just stay at his place near we're they live ? Saves a lot of driving and hassle for one day.

And if you want to see him why can't you drive to that house with your kids for the weekend and take some of the driving on.

Or just spend the weekend with your kids and he spends it with his and meet up in the holidays with kids and have the Eow with each other.

I can't see any other solution tbh.

Can't he move his businesses to were his ex / kids are and house is so that's cutting out traveling time.

lunar1 Sat 07-Oct-17 15:32:53

If your kids are with their dad anyway could you just go with him for the weekend or are you working?

Bonelessbanquet Sat 07-Oct-17 15:34:22

I don't see why you all need to be together when it's making it harder, surely if you only see your kids eow it's about them. He should stay at his own home then his kids aren't being carted around 3 different houses

Santawontbelong Sat 07-Oct-17 15:40:17

When he sells his house buy a camper van!!

heateallthebuns Sat 07-Oct-17 15:56:37

Someone else said, could you and your kids travel to the spare house where ds kids activities are on those weekends?

NoCryLilSoftSoft Sat 07-Oct-17 16:06:04

It sounds like the only reason for him to bring them to your house is so that he and they can spend time with you. TBH it's their contact weekend with their dad, he has a house in the town they live. I wouldn't be impressed at 11/14 having to spend up to 4 hours travelling so my dad could see his partner on my EOW contact. He can see you on the weekends he doesn't have his children. There really is no need for him to come to you on his contact weekends. Different story if there is an event you are all attending, a birthday celebration etc but for his contact he can just take them to his house in the town they live.

Magda72 Sat 07-Oct-17 16:49:00

I appreciate all the comments but I know if I'd come on here stating I think he should just spend alone time with his kids I'd be accused of not wanting to integrate them!!!
It just feels like you can never win on here!!!
We're adults & don't need to spend every minute together but his youngest is only 11 - that's a long time to adulthood & to never feel part of your dad's 'other life'!!!
Camper van is probably the best idea!!!
Swing - the public transport idea was shot down by his ex. Bear in mind the 17 yo has NEVER been anywhere by himself; no public transport, sleepovers, school trips! Nothing - she won't let them budge to the point where they're not very socially confident.
And no I can't go to his, as the weekends he has his kids I have my kids plus I work pt when my kids are at their Saturday activities.

Justdontknow4321 Sat 07-Oct-17 22:50:41

And no I can't go to his, as the weekends he has his kids I have my kids plus I work pt when my kids are at their Saturday activities.

He has his and he has to drag his kids all the way to yours after there activities on a Saturday so why can't you drag yours all the way to his on a Saturday after your kids activities and you finish work?!

Seems unfair him and his kids are the ones that always have to suffer the car journey when you can't be bothered to make the same journey.

Magda72 Sat 07-Oct-17 23:14:09

Dp has moved in with me & will eventually sell his house. WE have made a decision to live in my town. We have made this decision for various reasons including the fact that it's mid way between his work & his kids. He is the NPR & I am the RP in my situation so it makes no sense for me to move. Also he doesn't work weekends & I do.
I was asking for advice from people who may have been through similar re managing distances - NOT preaching from people with their own agenda to push!
We want to make sure his kids are included in the new family home - THAT was what I was looking for advice on.

Justdontknow4321 Sat 07-Oct-17 23:56:55

Who said anything about moving?!

God, going up to his place on a every other weekend to save him the hassle or the driving is obviously to much for you.

You said you worked sat when your children have activities, that's it. No reason you can't go up to his house after.. unless you work all weekend in which case it seems pointless him bringing the kids to your house in the first place.

And what agenda do i have to push? i don't care how selfish you are, making him drive backwards and forwards for the sake of one night every other weekend. It would be much nicer if he could spend that night looking after his kids instead of trying to please you by dragging them to your house so you can feel involved.

NoCryLilSoftSoft Sun 08-Oct-17 00:04:11

He's not actually living with you though is he? He lives Monday -Friday where his job is then EOW he stays Friday in his own house where his kids live and comes to you on the Saturday night with his DC. When he leaves them back on Sunday does he stay in that town or come to yours or just go straight on to his job town? Even if he is staying Sunday night with you he is only at yours 3 nights a fortnight as the weekend he doesn't have his kids he stays the Friday night in his work town. Is he paying rent/mortgage and bills at yours?

eyebrowsonfleek Sun 08-Oct-17 00:04:27

Think Justknow means you could alternate whose house you stay at.
Week 1 He+kids+you+ your kids stay at his house,
Week 3 He + kids drive to your house
That way your kids are shouldering some of the travelling burden that his kids do.

swingofthings Sun 08-Oct-17 07:23:38

that's a long time to adulthood & to never feel part of your dad's 'other life'!!!
The main, most important part is, what does the children want? To have time with their dad sharing their life, activity etc..., or wanting to travel so that they can be part of their dad's other life?

If the latter, then that's absolutely fair enough, but I would think that the vast majority of teenagers want to spend time with their dad, not with his new partner and her family. It's that mindset that got my son to not want to go to his dad any longer because being part of dad's other life and is all is dad care about when what DS needed is at least a some of his time for his dad to be part of DS' other life.

If them taking the train is a real solution, then your OH need to do something about this. If their mum is really concerned about it, how about he does the trip with them two or three times and then agree that they only do it once a month.

In the end, the situation is not ideal and someone will have to accept they are not getting what they want out of it, whether it's you because your OH decides to keep the house and travels every other week-end, so you'll have to accept that you will be without him two week-ends a month, or it's him who will have to accept the exhaustion that comes with all the travelling, or it will have to be the kids who will have to also travel, and spend time with the whole family rather then the arrangement that worked for them.

Magda72 Sun 08-Oct-17 07:32:58

Dp & I are living together by mutual agreement. He considers this his home & his stuff is here. He contributes very happily to his portion of running the house. Does a man/woman working on an oil rig not consider the house he/she shares with their partner home on the weeks they're positioned on the oil rig???? Do people like you tell that couple they're not actually living together just because it doesn't fit your narrow version of family life???
How dare you try to tell me the status of my home life or my relationship!
Furthermore I repeatedly said dp will have to sell his house fairly soon - this is for financial reasons that have nothing to do with me & are related to his divorce agreement. Where I live is the family home & his kids are very happy to be here but everyone is struggling with the distances.
This site is fantastic if you come on here as a mum looking for advice but God forbid you come on as a sm as you will get flayed by the bitter & twisted brigade no matter what you say.
I asked for constructive advice/reassurance from people who may have experienced a similar situation, not opinions on my home status from people who know nothing about me & who clearly haven't a clue what I'm on about.
Dropping this now.

Loopytiles Sun 08-Oct-17 07:42:37

How old are his DC?

How far away in travel time are the towns his ex lives in and the one he has a property in and bases his business?

He sounds like a good father who has tried to live close to his DC and maintain a good relationship with them.

The obvious solution if the towns are not too far apart is for him and
his DC to stay at his property eow, and for his DCs’ visits to you to be less frequent.

Or, if his DC are still young and there will be years of this, or he simply can’t afford the current set up anymore, for him to sell the property, rent a room near his business somewhere cheaper and stay with the DC in hotels or air bnbs in the DCs’ town on his contact weekends.

You are being rude. Posters are not criticising, just being practical.

Justdontknow4321 Sun 08-Oct-17 07:59:14

Eyebrowsonfleek- that's exactly what I mean, sharing those other weekend journeys to give him a break for all the driving.

You actually said that he's prepared to hang on to the house and sell it eventually to see his kids, now all of a sudden he has to sell it soon.

I'm also a step mum, I am by no way bitter and twisted towards step mums.

I gave constructive advice about you making some effort to go up to his instead of him packing the kids Into the car and dragging them to yours for the sack of one night eow. You just didn't like my advice. he's all ready dropped seeing his children every weekend to every other weekend so he can see you so why not let him actually spend some time with his kids instead of moving them backwards and forwards and not making a massive issue out of it just so you can play happy families or make some effort to go up there while he's still got the house.

Magda72 Sun 08-Oct-17 08:05:31

Swing- before I leave this thanks for your measured, helpful response smile.
I really don't mind if dp holds on to a home where his kids live. I was single for years & am very ok in my own company. And I totally get his kids wanting alone time with him - that can be a massive issue for my kids with their dad also. I would be very sensitive to that & when his kids are here we do separate stuff on Sundays but have a family meal on Saturdays.
Dps ex however twists things and if the boys don't come up to us & just stay with their dad she tells them it's because I don't like them or want them around. They have told dp this & have asked if it's true! Dp explained that we have never pushed them coming to ours as we were both trying to respect their need for time with their dad but that they are more than welcome here whenever they want. They said they wanted to come up here more so that's what we've been doing but dp & his youngest seem particularly tired from all the travelling.
I did actually talk to dp about it last night we think that if he can manage to hang on to the house until the eldest finishes school in 18 months then that might be a mid term solution. That way they could come up here once a month. However he can't hold on to the house for the next 7 years & it still leaves his ex free to tell the boys that they're obviously not welcome here. The two eldest cam see that's not the case but the youngest still has his mum as the centre of his world (he's a very young 11) & believes everything she says. Dp has discussed this with her but she doesn't take anything on board.

Magda72 Sun 08-Oct-17 08:15:40

Justdontknow if you'd read my posts properly you'd know that I'm not expecting him or his kids to travel constantly - we have been doing this for the sake of his kids who were being told by their mum that I had no interest in them. We may have been doing the wrong thing but it was for the right reasons.
Furthermore, he has not dropped his kids - he rearranged his access. He now has full weekends with them which they have said they prefer. He has them every holiday, every bank holiday & does all the school stuff. There are many ways to parent. My ex sees our kids way more but most of the time he's not present emotionally or physically - constantly out or 'working'. When dp is with his kids he's WITH them.
You really need to ask yourself why you're so judgemental.

Justdontknow4321 Sun 08-Oct-17 09:31:00

I won't be asking myself anything, I offered advice and you were rude. i don't actually care so I won't waste my time replying to you anymore.

swingofthings Sun 08-Oct-17 10:48:30

Thanks Magda.
I think your OH handle the situation perfectly re. comment about you not wanting to be with them. It's great they felt they could ask him and it's great he answered as he did. In the end, you can't make decisions on the basis of defending her accusations. You know that's not the case, so does their dad and your SCs. That's all that matters.

I would really consider the train option. Again, if your OH does it with them a few times, they both feel comfortable with it, he compromises on once a month, and they tell her that they are ok with it, who cares what she says. She could threatened for them not to go, but considering it sounds like they have a great relationship with their dad, and their age, I don't think she will be able to emotionally stop them with no sound reasons for doing so.

NoCryLilSoftSoft Sun 08-Oct-17 11:35:15

I've realised who OP is, they've changed details in this post but it's still apparent who they are. Just a heads up for anyone offering advice, unless it's in total support of OP expect an aggressive response. I also fully expect a flat out denial of what I have said here. It's what they do.

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