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How much is too much?

(102 Posts)
user1473756940 Wed 20-Jun-18 10:40:23

Hi just wanted to see what people's thoughts and opinions were on how much should be expected of step parents in caring for step children when actual parents aren't available.

My partner has two DD6 & DD3, he alternates between having them 3 nights per week one week and 4 nights per week the next week. I have a DD12 who is with us 7 days a week as her father is not on the scene. We both work full-time.

My partner is currently employed but is trying to go self-employed as a sole trader. As anyone who has gone self employed will know, taking the initial plunge, building up a client base etc takes a lot of work at first, but the hope is it will ultimately pay off leaving him more flexible in the long-term for the kids and family whilst also generating a better income. I work 9-5 5 days a week, so my hours are consistent. As his line of work is seasonal he has managed to get quite a few jobs lined up for himself, but for the time being wants to continue working in the week as employed until sole trader really takes off and their is consistent work. So he will be working all week and weekend bar Sunday afternoon for the foreseeable. Which means I will be caring for the DSDs during the weekend. I don't mind this, I love them to bits and I am already planning days out etc to keep everyone busy. My partner has asked the kids mums if she would mind switching some days, or having them back for a few hours on the Saturday etc just so its not entirely on me but she has said no. Which I understand, as I have been a single mum myself and when my daughter's father did used to have her I relished my time. I also appreciate that it is my partner's choice to work on his days for care of the kids and therefore his problem. But... with working all week, and then caring for kids, whilst battling to get on top of housework, plus make sure everyone has a nice weekend, when do I get a break? The children's mum does not work, with 6 year old in full time school and 3 year old in 3 days a week, I appreciate it is her time but AIBU to think having them for a few hours on Saturday wouldn't be the end of the world?

I know that's selfish on my part and I know the majority reaction will be that Dad should be sorting this out, but I really do want him to get his business off the ground as in the long-term it will be better for all, including the ex, as he will be able to have more flexible hours for picking up and taking to school etc.

OP’s posts: |
Sessy19 Wed 20-Jun-18 11:03:37

I really hope you don’t get negative, ‘this is DPs problem’, responses.

FWIW, I think the EW is being pretty unreasonable, and it is thoroughly admirable of you to be partnering your OH in such a committed way. What EW doesn’t also factor (they will cut off their noses to spite faces in my experience), is that if all parents are cooperating, everyone benefits. Your OH is going to put everyone through the little extra pain (more pain for some than for others) in order to build a better future...and presumably that also means better CS for EW later on down the line, right?

Are the DSDs prepared for not seeing so much of their dad? It’s lovely that you are planning to have them because their mother is —a selfish bitch— too busy, but at their ages, I would be conscious of them having some quality time with their dad.

And it is even more important that you book in some me time, with AND without your own child.

Are there any GPs that might be able to facilitate this in any way? Can you book in any play dates for the DSDs so that you can have a (very well deserved) break?

I wouldn’t be able to do this. I’m ‘fortunate’ that my OHs —heinous ex-wench— EW would trip over herself to take DSCs if he had to work on his WEs, and then plaster it all over social media that he was the ‘worlds most irresponsible, flaky, useless human being in the world....poor darling babies always being let down 😔😔’. Even though he has never rearranged anything. It’s just been her. I digress....

You are absolutely not being unreasonable. Just to be clear 😘

NorthernSpirit Wed 20-Jun-18 11:59:39

You are not being unreasonable and you sound really accomadating.

Your partner starting this business will benefit everyone in the long run - the EW will ultimately get more maintenance if he earns more. It’s a shame she can’t see this. I do think she’s being unreasonable especially as she doesn’t even work.

I have 2 DSC and work much longer hours than my OH and have a much longer commute. Consequently all childcare is down to dad. The mum would love me to act as a glorified / unpaid babysitter when she picks and chooses.

Does your OH have a contact order? If he does - then the mother has to make the children available but the dad doesn’t have to take them. I would do what you feel reasonable. They aren’t your kids but I can see that you want to support your OH.

AhWeCanDanceIfWeWantTo Wed 20-Jun-18 12:14:27

when do I get a break? The children's mum does not work, with 6 year old in full time school and 3 year old in 3 days a week, I appreciate it is her time but AIBU to think having them for a few hours on Saturday wouldn't be the end of the world?

It isn’t her job to give you a break. She didn’t have children with you. She had children with your partner. He is the one putting the extra workload on you. Look to him to solve this problem. It isn’t hers to solve.

AhWeCanDanceIfWeWantTo Wed 20-Jun-18 12:17:35

Does your OH have a contact order? If he does - then the mother has to make the children available but the dad doesn’t have to take them.

shock. Yes. That’s what contact orders exist for, dad’s convenience. hmm what is wrong with you?

SoddingUnicorns Wed 20-Jun-18 12:17:52

It isn’t her job to give you a break

It’s isnt OPs to give the mother a break either.

Battleax Wed 20-Jun-18 12:18:30

The EW is completely reasonable to want to stick to the agreed schedule. Childcare during his time is his responsibility to arrange.

Whether he’s being reasonable towards you is the question. Did he ask or just assume? If it’s for the long term benefit of your family unit then maybe he thinks you’ll automatically step in to help him, but it needs to be negotiated properly between you and probably requires some outside support in the way of a cleaner through this busy bit and maybe a Saturday activity club or two? Basically, if you’re willing to do it, he needs to throw some cash at the situation to ease your burden. Presumably if he’s earning six and a half days a week that’s feasible?

Thebluedog Wed 20-Jun-18 12:19:11

I’m afraid this is between you and your dp. It’s not the mothers responsibility to sort rest for you, it’s your dp.

You have one birth child so even if she has the kids you won’t get the rest you desire.

Working for yourself is difficult especially at set up, so it’s a decision you and your dp need to make. It might be that he takes time off during the week evenings and takes your dc out to give you some ‘you’ time

SoddingUnicorns Wed 20-Jun-18 12:19:11

If he does - then the mother has to make the children available but the dad doesn’t have to take them

Unfortunately that’s a legal thing rather than an opinion. I am compelled to make DS1 available for contact EOW. Whether his Dickhead father takes it up or not is a different matter, he cannot be legally compelled to be a decent fucking person have contact.

AhWeCanDanceIfWeWantTo Wed 20-Jun-18 12:20:05

It’s isnt OPs to give the mother a break either.

Who said it was? She’s not giving the mother a break, she providing free childcare for the father.

Battleax Wed 20-Jun-18 12:22:14

It’s isnt OPs to give the mother a break either.

This is nothing to do with “giving the mother a break”. It’s the dad’s days and the question is whether OP is willing to provide childcare for him.

SoddingUnicorns Wed 20-Jun-18 12:22:39

Just evening things up. Neither woman has any obligation to the other.

Although if there can’t be any give and take without good reason it doesn’t say much does it?

NorthernSpirit Wed 20-Jun-18 12:22:54

@ahwecsndanceifwewantto - contact orders don’t ‘exist’ for ‘dads convienence’. They exist because it’s a child’s right to see both parents and sadly many mothers stop that right and dads are forced to go to court so they can see their own children.

SlowlyShrinking Wed 20-Jun-18 12:24:39

I also think it’s down to your dp. It’s him who’s changed his working hours. Did he discuss this wit’s you and ask whether you minded taking on sole responsibility for his kids? Their mum could be more flexible I suppose, but really, why should she?

SlowlyShrinking Wed 20-Jun-18 12:25:07

With you, not wit’s you

AhWeCanDanceIfWeWantTo Wed 20-Jun-18 12:25:43

They exist because it’s a child’s right to see both parents and sadly many mothers stop that right and dads are forced to go to court so they can see their own children.

Indeed. But according to you, dad can take the Mum to court, go through lots of stress and money, get kids hopes up that they will see their father, and then just not bother having the contact he was “forced” to go through court to obtain because he was so desperate to see his kids. Because it doesn’t suit him.

SoddingUnicorns Wed 20-Jun-18 12:27:02

They exist because it’s a child’s right to see both parents and sadly many mothers stop that right and dads are forced to go to court so they can see their own children

I’m sorry but that is not the only reason contact agreements exist, and it’s not always Mums being the unreasonable ones.

user1473756940 Wed 20-Jun-18 13:18:56

Thanks for all your points. For the record I don't expect the ex to give me a break.

This has all been well discussed between me and my OH. He feels awful to put it on me and had preferred to turn down the work so as not to have make things this way. I have told him to go ahead and work if he feels it needs to be done to get things done. We are both young and want to buy our first home, we need to be putting in the hard graft to get there for us and our family. He is a very hands on Dad and this situation is by no way ideal for him. Part of the reason I have also been happy to have the DSC is so that when he gets home from work they are here for him to spend time with, play with, bath and put to bed when he gets home instead of having to travel to pick them up etc.

It was also discussed with the ex and she is aware of the situation. As we have DSCs here 3 to 4 nights a week, he had tried to see if there were some days/nights that could be swapped that would help both parties out etc. Ex has refused, which is her right to. There is no court order, they usually arrange things amicably or when ex digs her heels in like this then he usually goes with the flow for ease. She is happy for me to have them over these periods, instead of them being with her, I wanted to make sure she was aware that this would be the case.

I know I am just going to have to lump it. I want to support my partner to help provide a better future for us all. I myself am working towards exams to qualify for a better position in my line of work. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the long run. I mentioned to my OH last night that if he wouldn't mind seeing if maybe just one Saturday this month if she would mind having them for a few hours so I can get some things done then that would be very appreciated, which he will when he picks them up tonight, so we will see.

Trying to be as reasonable as possible about it, but can't always help the devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear the bad begrudging thoughts, but hey I'm only human

OP’s posts: |
WhiteCat1704 Wed 20-Jun-18 13:31:00

He is your partner..you are not even married. You have one 12 year old and that's so much easier than two young ones...
What's in it for you? Cause you are giving away yours and your DDs time for your DP and his ex...He should have never put you in this position.

AhWeCanDanceIfWeWantTo Wed 20-Jun-18 13:41:28

I myself am working towards exams to qualify for a better position in my line of work.

I truly hope he is caring for your child while you are doing this? Or does he get a pass because 12 year olds don’t need babysat?

ohreallyohreallyoh Wed 20-Jun-18 13:51:22

If your partner wants his children half the time, it really is up to him to make the necessary arrangements to manage that. If you withdraw your goodwill, that's up to you.

I gave up on flexibility with my ex years ago because in his mind, my being flexible is my doing what he says. I am afraid he lost the right to a say in my life when he started sleeping with other women. Whilst he is particularly unpleasant and will simply not pick up the children if it suits him, I refuse any request for switches around because I base my life around the times when I don't have my children. This means parties/events/trips/concerts/over-nights/weekends away with friends etc. etc.etc. are all organised and booked - sometimes months or even a year in advance - and I am not about to discuss the ins and outs of it with my ex. Sometimes I miss out on stuff because it's my ex's weekend and I am not about to say to him 'can I switch because I am going away for the weekend' because he will say yes and then change his mind at the last minute (learnt that one from bitter experience!). So the answer is a flat no. Every time.

It is fine saying 'being flexible' if both parties need or want flexibility. For some of us, the lack of flexibility makes life easier. It's not about being bloody-minded or difficult or a 'selfish bitch' as someone up thread suggested. It's about arranging my life in a consistent way and sticking with it. There is nothing at all wrong with that.

user1473756940 Wed 20-Jun-18 13:53:44

Not quite sure where a comment like what's in it for me comes from? I see me my DD, my partner and his DDs as a family unit. Me and my partner are a team we make decisions together and support each other. I am picking up the flack for him on this occasion and he has done for me before. He is also helpful with my DD12 and I am not sacrificing my time with her either. I make time for her too no matter how stretched I am.

OP’s posts: |
ohreallyohreallyoh Wed 20-Jun-18 13:55:26

Yes. That’s what contact orders exist for, dad’s convenience. hmm what is wrong with you?

There are plenty of posts across a wide range of threads in this forum which suggest that step parents believe the default for care is the ex. When an ex gets fed up of having to switch around, accommodating everyone else and refuses going forwards, she is frequently termed a 'selfish bitch', as seen here.

Personally, if I had 50/50 at this point, I would suggest the children living with me full time and the ex having every other weekend access if he is unable to make the necessary arrangements to care for them (and that's not having a pop at the OP - she is entirely within her rights to decide she doesn't need/want to care for them).

WhiteCat1704 Wed 20-Jun-18 14:07:25

Not quite sure where a comment like what's in it for me comes from?

I' curious why would you sacrifice so much when you are not even married. So legally not a team. What he is starting on your behalf is HIS...

HeddaGarbled Wed 20-Jun-18 14:07:42

It sounds like they have a 50-50 arrangement, so does that mean he isn't paying any maintenance? So her having the children extra daytime hours won't benefit her financially, just you two?

Is there a possible compromise here? e.g. he gives up an overnight and pays the appropriate maintenance based on his increasing income. Then everyone gains something.

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