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Every weekend or every other weekend?

(155 Posts)
Newmumin2017 Wed 14-Mar-18 00:32:17

Hi ladies, I have been with my partner for 4 years now. He has 3 children (8,10 and 13) from a previous relationship and for the first few years we were together he had them one weeknight then alternate weekends to sleep over. This worked well as it meant we had the ability to go out and do things with friends, my family or as a couple every other weekend and my DPs ex had the same. For a while, the ex stopped DP having overnight contact (long story but she seems to have had some emotional problems which seem to be resolved now). During that time, DP was having kids over every Saturday but not to sleep. He was also having them one weeknight until 8pm and still is.

Thankfully the overnights have started again alternate weekends but on the weekends when they are not staying, DP still has them all day Saturday until at least 8pm but often more like 9pm. This is generally absolutely fine but my concern is that we can’t now ever go out on a Saturday or go away for a weekend unless we take all of the kids with us. We now have another child but we can easily get a babysitter for her but there is no way we will be able to get anyone to look after 4 kids! Also, as the baby gets older there will be things we want to do with her that the older kids won’t want to do, so I am going to end up having to take her without them or DP so DP and our daughter are going to miss out.

Am I being unreasonable to be a bit miffed at this change in the arrangements? I feel awful about feeling this way, but the situation was so different when I got involved and when we decided to have a baby. I have discussed with DP and he would prefer to go back to the original arrangements or have the kids only until the afternoon on the Saturday they aren’t staying rather than the evening but he is worried that if he suggests this his ex will fly off the handle and stop contact again.

LittleKiwi Wed 14-Mar-18 00:36:30

You need to find a way to get over feeling like this. It’s really sad. Yor DP’s children didn’t choose their circumstances or the situation.

TooSassy Wed 14-Mar-18 05:01:54

I feel for you, it's hard but the reality of the situation is that unless child contact arrangements are court ordered and have to be set in stone because of those, arrangements will (and should) be child lead and flexible. They will ebb and change for based on what the children need.

You have every right to feel the way you do; its completely understandable. My DP's DC's come every weekend and as a result we have the same restrictions. No weekends away and even (the extremely rare) breaks we have taken have been never longer than 6 days so that we fit our time around that weekly contact.

I've at times gotten frustrated but all I ask myself is this. How would I feel if this was the all the contact I got with my DC's? As soon as I ask that I know I am being quite self involved and snap out of it. If I was in my DP's shoes, I would take every contact offered, in a heartbeat. And if the the situation was reversed and he made me feel guilty/ resented me over that, I'm afraid to say it would not put us in a good situation.

All I can advise is it's understandable to feel the way you do. But for the children and your relationship, you have to find a way to accept it. In his shoes, I'd be taking that weekly contact. How do you think it feels to see your children so sparingly?

TooSassy Wed 14-Mar-18 05:13:48

I should also add, I'm sometimes a little stunned at these sorts of posts. What would you do if something happened to his DC's mum? And suddenly he needed to be the primary carer? When you meet someone who has DC's, you have to be prepared that one day, they may need to / want to live with their dad. As their partner (unless you have very sound concerns about it), you'd surely need to be supportive? In the same vein, contact will also ebb and flow (especially as these kids get older). You know that deep down he will be utterly concerned about these kids getting older and not wanting to see him (based on how little he sees them now...)

lunar1 Wed 14-Mar-18 06:23:13

Imagine only seeing your own child for this amount of time, can you still justify complaining that it's too much?

The1975 Wed 14-Mar-18 07:22:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhiteCat1704 Wed 14-Mar-18 07:30:14

I get how you are feeling. You should try to go back to the original arrangements as this is what you signed up for.

To posters saying but what if something happens to their DM...well it's a COMPLETELY different scenario. As things stand she is fine and healthy and should spend time with her children 1 weekend per week.

Grobagsforever Wed 14-Mar-18 07:33:45

You're being selfish. Those poor children.

CrabappleBiscuit Wed 14-Mar-18 07:37:50

You’re not being selfish. But things will change as the kids get older, their mothers circs change etc.

It does get easier. But there should be some equity in how much you have them.

GingerAndPrickles Wed 14-Mar-18 07:41:28

You should try to go back to the original arrangements as this is what you signed up for.

Are you really suggesting that the OPs partner and children should reduce their contact so that the OP’s mini-break opportunities remain unaffected? Maybe instead the OP should consider if this relationship is one she still wants to be in since that is her only area of decision-making in this situation, is she in or out.
I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly with everything TooSassy has said; the OP’s partner is taking every opportunity to see and have a good relationship with his kids which is totally normal and understandable.

BeyondThePage Wed 14-Mar-18 07:51:35

So their mum gets one evening a week and one day a weekend (one day+night EOW) without their 3 children. And that is too much for you?

Try swapping contact time with her for a bit.

WhiteCat1704 Wed 14-Mar-18 07:52:45

Ginger I'm suggesting they go to the original arrangements as this is what they both signed up for. The children have two parents surely their mother wants weekends with them..

And she has definitely more say that being in or out..they have a child together now and presumably it's her home as well as his so she had equal say over who and when comes over.

Magda72 Wed 14-Mar-18 07:57:31

Hi @Newmumin2017 - you're not being selfish nor are you being unreasonable. The fact is nothing has happened to their dm & if something did happen to her that would be a very different scenario.
The other fact is things were a certain way when you met dp. Things have not changed because they HAD to, but rather because the dm has decided they should.
Yet another eg of an exw controlling everything.
I think it's totally unfair - eow is put in place so kids can spend down time with BOTH parents not so one parent can have every weekend 'off'.
I think your dp needs to grow a pair or otherwise you'll find yourself swamped in years to come.
My dps ex tries similar - we have had his three the last four weekends because she went and booked spa days etc. on her time without any consultation with dp. I've told him it's not to happen again. He then said what would happen if anything ever happened to her. I said totally different scenario but at the moment they have two fully functional parents BOTH of whom should be parenting the weekends.

DarkNightDelight Wed 14-Mar-18 07:59:22

I get what you're saying but also you have to think of their mum in my opinion.

So my partner was seeing his dd every other weekend (fri-sun) but she's not really wanting to give up her free time now as she's getting older so he sees her every other weekend but a whole weekend once a month (Friday 4pm-sun 4pm) and he goes to see her on a Saturday (10am - 4pm) takes her for lunch etc.
It's a 4 hour round trip.

We help in the holidays and any other time as we both think it should be fare that both him and his ex get free time. Admittedly he can't help out mid week due to work and travelling but we are always aware that her mum has far less free time than us.

DarkNightDelight Wed 14-Mar-18 08:01:32

It's always tough being a step parent, I've struggled massively but hopefully you can work something out x

CalliopeCass Wed 14-Mar-18 08:02:41

I really sympathise with you as a step-parent. Fortunately, I really don't mind my SD being around and we would take her full time if it ever came to it. I see how happy she makes DP so I could never wish she wasn't around all the time! However, I do get how you feel. They aren't your kids, and in a relationship with no kids involved, this is time you would be spending together alone. Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do and as clichéd as it sounds, you did choose to enter in to a relationship with someone who has a past. My advice would be to suck it up a little and enjoy your sundays together. Do nice things in the evening when they are in bed (movie night, takeaway, play a game). My opinion is that you can never expect a person to put their partner before their kids. Believe me you are lucky to be with a man who cares about his kids this much and actually wants to spend time with them as there are a lot of men (and women of course) out there who couldn't give two hoots!

NotAllTimsWearCapes Wed 14-Mar-18 08:05:40

Also, as the baby gets older there will be things we want to do with her that the older kids won’t want to do

So just like every other family with an age gap then? Had you not considered this when you chose to have a baby?

CalliopeCass Wed 14-Mar-18 08:06:36

Also. I used to nanny/babysit. Never had an issue with looking after 4 kids. I'm one of 4 and we had a number of babysitters when we were kids who looked after us over the years - no issues!

Thirtyrock39 Wed 14-Mar-18 08:09:01

The baby will slot in with the older kids in the way that all families with age gaps tend to do and you'll have to find a middle ground activity.
I don't see why you couldn't get a babysitter on some Saturday nights when they're all sleeping over - it shouldn't really be about the number of kids and ideally the younger ones would already be asleep or all ready for bed
I could understand if you were child free with out Step kids but if you have a baby I wouldn't have thought the impact is so great as a baby limits what you can do possibly more than older kids anyway

NotAllTimsWearCapes Wed 14-Mar-18 08:10:19

Ginger I'm suggesting they go to the original arrangements as this is what they both signed up for

Ha! Yes because children are programmable to work according to adults’ schedule. It doesn’t work like that. Family life adapts according to the changing needs of those in it. Bedtimes get later, children join clubs, schools change, homework’s get more intensive. You can’t just say “well it wasn’t like this 3 years ago so I’m not having it.” You have to be flexible when there are children involved. He’ll you have to be flexible even when there aren’t children involved! No-one is in a permanent routine for life!

Candlelights Wed 14-Mar-18 08:37:11

It doesn't sound all that much contact tbh. You're effectively having them every Saturday and every other Saturday night (and the Sunday too those weekends?).

I would second what others have said that there's no reason a babysitter couldn't look after 4 kids, and it won't be many years before you probably start to feel you can leave the DSC without an adult, or even leave the oldest in change of your DC.

But I don't think you're being unreasonable in feeling that you should sometimes at least have the option of a weekend without them. Could this be done on an ad hoc basis, if you give the ex enough notice? Would it help to get the contact arrangements set out a bit more formally (maybe including an agreement that 4 times a year or something you don't have the DSC for a weekend)?

If your DP would genuinely prefer to go back to the previous EOW arrangement then he ought to be about to discuss with his ex how she feels about this. At present she's not ever getting a full weekend with the kids which may not really suit her either. I'd have thought she might be more likely to try to reduce contact if she's feeling that your DP has too much overall. But be aware that DP may be telling you what he thinks your want to hear (and he knows is not unreasonable) but actually keen to have as much contact as possible with his kids.

Would returning them on the Sunday morning be an option on the full weekend?

CalliopeCass Wed 14-Mar-18 08:43:04

Agree with @Candlelights - DS mum never has an issue with us ad hoc saying 'sorry, can't have SD weekend after next, will pay half for babysitter' - always fine!

Newmumin2017 Wed 14-Mar-18 10:28:31

Thank you for all of your replies, I was prepared for some stick as the stepmom! Just to clarify a few things though, DP and I have the kids one night every week, all weekend one week and all Saturday the alternate weekend so they only have 1 full day with their mum every fortnight. I’m surprised that is enough for her but she tends to go out on Saturdays with her partner and go away every other weekend. When you work out how many hours of time the kids have when not at school or after school club, they are actually with us more than their mother.

We would happily have more contact during the week but she won’t allow unfortunately.

Before deciding to have a baby we did discuss the circumstances but as I said, the arrangements then would have allowed us to take baby to visit my family who live almost the length of the country away for the odd weekend but now we can’t do that.

My DP actually is quite keen to go back to the old arrangements which worked really well (for kids tooas they got a weekend with their mother) and maybe increase weekday contact as they only live 2 minutes drive away. It feels like he has been manipulated by his ex stopping contact then allowing it to resume but only on her terms.

Sorry if my post makes it seem as though I don’t like spending time with the 3 older kids, I do and I spend more time with them than their Dad does because they come over straight from school on the week night we have them before DP is home from work rather than them go to childcare. This was my suggestion as I love spending time with them and I also regularly go to see them when they are at their Grandma’s house. My point is, I am not objecting to the increased contact, quite the opposite! I do, however, need to think of our other child who doesn’t really see DP during the week as she goes to bed just after he gets in from work and she is currently missing out on time with the rest of her family unless I take her away from her Daddy at the weekends, meaning she wouldn’t see him for a whole week.

I know I will get shot down for this, but I do believe it is important for parents to have couple time without any kids now and then to keep the relationship strong, which ultimately benefits the kids. Unfortunately we are not lucky enough to have anyone who lives close by who would be prepared to babysit all of the kids and to be honest, last time DP had his mother watch the 3 older kids during his contact time his ex threatened to stop contact saying he obviously didn’t want to see them so we wouldn’t want to risk that.

Thanks to everyone who has been understanding. I agree that unless DP is able to stand up to his ex and negotiate a fairer arrangement we are stuck with it and DP will just have to accept that he will often miss out on weekends with youngest which is very sad but I don’t see the alternative if she is to have contact with the rest of her family.

Newmumin2017 Wed 14-Mar-18 10:38:35

I should just also say, I do not resent the kids or my DP and have never tried to make anyone feel guilty at all. It’s just a difficult balancing act to ensure fairness for all four kids and for our relationship, as I’m sure anyone in the same sort of position will relate to. I do, however know how lucky I am to have so many kids in my life and wouldn’t change that for anything. I am certainly not ever going to consider splitting my family up as someone suggested!

Thanks again everyone x

Newmumin2017 Wed 14-Mar-18 10:56:14

Why would you pay half for a babysitter if you couldn’t have the kids an occasional weekend? Would their mother really not agree to stay in one occasional night? It’s very generous of you!

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