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Last-minute childcare requests(16 Posts)
Keeping it short, so apologies if I leave anything out.
DP works evenings / nights in an environment where kids can be present, but it's not an ideal place to be.
DSS12 sometimes goes with him on early shifts, but hates being there on late ones (understandably).
Since I moved in with DP last year, his hours have increased, and I'm frequently staying home with DSS while DP works.
He has no other childcare options at the moment (hasn't asked friends or family or neighbours if DSS can go over to play for the evening / stay over).
Today I'm told at midday that DSS is staying over tonight, and asked "Does that work?"
It has to work, really, doesn't it?
I don't have much other choice, given that he doesn't have another option. And I'm starting to feel a bit 'glorified babysitter', except without any glory...
I was planning to meet a friend this evening, and it is easily moved, but I'm just starting to resent the assumption that I'll always find a way to make things work when it comes to DSS, especially when it's a last-minute decision. I know I COULD say no, but that's leaving DSS having to go to work with him and he's really not going to enjoy that at all. I'd feel like a real b$%ch saying no, so I won't, but I'm not over the moon about it.
If it were me, I'd imagine I'd find an alternative childcare option and at least ask my partner before deciding I could take my child for an unexpected night at home... but maybe that's me as a non-parent talking?
You need to actually say "no, I have plans"
Him: does that work?
You: check the calendar.
Him: oh shit, sorry. I hadn't realised.
You: I'll move my plans with my friend
Him: you're so kind, thank you, sorry, I won't do it again.
Repeat 3 months later.
That's what would happen here.
Have a chat where you explain that while he is a parent, you are not. If he needs childcare he needs to ask for it. And the answer may be 'no'.
I think that's tricky tbh. At 12 DSS is kind of old enough to be left alone for an evening - depending how sensible he is/his dad thinks he is.
If your DP is of the view that DSS could stay home alone, or doesn't really need looking after then it's going to be hard to say you're not happy about it.
For now, maybe you could make your own plans a bit more formal? Eg, put them in a shared diary, make sure DP knows what they are and don't agree to moving them around on a regular basis?
But in the not too distant future you're going to find DP says DSS can stay home alone. On the one hand that solves your problem - you can go out anyway. On the other hand, you'll inevitably end up looking after him if you're around and DP isn't.
Is it that DSS is increasing saying he doesn't want to go to DP's work? Or is he often staying over extra nights at short notice? If so, why? And could your DP push back a bit more against that? Eg say he'll need to ask you first, or that DSS can only stay if he doesn't mind coming along to work.
You are being treated like a glorified baby sitter. It’s the not asking you beforehand that’s unacceptable. You need to agree the ‘rules’ with him.
I've never had my kids not live with me, but I wouldn't want to live with someone who felt I needed permission to have my kids over. The parent is the default carer - they are never 'not my problem'. Say they go on a school trip and something goes wrong - I have them back, even if I had other plans. However, if the parent is at work, they need to make childcare arrangements, and be nice to the person doing the childcare. It seems like he just needs to excercise a little more consideration. Tell him. He doesn't need permission to have his kid at home, he does need your permission to expect you to babysit.
Love51 - I don't think he needs permission to have his child over – I think he needs to be prepared for when he does, and he needs to check with me before assuming I'll provide childcare – as in, have an option other than me so I feel I actually have the option to say 'no'.
Greendayz – he definitely won't leave DSS home alone. It's more that DP is working more than before, so there's more overlap between nights he's working and nights that DSS is with us.
Honestly, it often happens when I'm going to be home anyway, so it's not as if I have to cancel plans a lot. But having him home is an extra responsibility that demands my attention, so my night becomes about DSS rather than doing the things I'd like to do for myself. Maybe that sounds selfish... maybe it is? Maybe that's OK?
I don't want DSS to end up having a shit time, and I also don't want to become Muggins who drops everything to facilitate everyone else's lives all the time...
Surely he should check with you before saying yes, especially if he’s working.
You need to explain a bit more. I'm assuming is a nrp. What are the formal arrangements? You say the issue is that he is working more, but is that when he used to have his son or is that the pwc is asking to have him at times she normal would but expecting you to look after him?
Are you working yourself? Why won't your OH agree to him being home alone? What time were you planning on coming back?
As a rule, although depending on the above, I would say that if you have no plans, it should be ok. A 12 yo can entertain themselves and dad can sort out a meal they can put in the microwave or something, so it should be little or no demand on you, however, if you have plans, then it's too bad, he goes with his dad, goes elsewhere, or stay home alone.
DH and I would never assume the other parent was just available- we check for our DC.
"Is it ok if I go out today/tomorrow/week Sat" just polite, considerate and shows that childcare is a joint responsibility.
Why should it be different if it's a DSC?
Have you talked to him about it? If you have and it’s not really worked then you need to say no when you do have plans.
My DH tends to say to his ex that it should be ok but he needs to check; if I genuinely have plans then I say so and he’s firm that I don’t change these and then looks to other options then says no if there aren’t any other options.
It’s not your responsibility to stop DSS having to go to work with his dad; that’s up to his dad and Mum.
It's completely reasonable to be annoyed and feel selfish for wanting your time. I get that as well. Not just when my step sons plans change but also when my partner changes things.
It's as simple as him saying I'm going out for a few hours tonight so I decide to catch up on a few programs he doesn't watch and have a dinner he hates, then he decided to stay home and I'm having to change the meal and don't want to watch programs he'll moan and ask questions all through.
You just feel more guilt because it's a child whose fault it isn't.
I would chat to your partner about how you feel. Maybe come to an agreement that the early shifts your partner will take your step son and for the later shifts you will have him at home.
But you need more notice for when you have him so you don't make plans which will then have to be changed.
Surely if it's regular contact but your partner is picking up more evening shifts then he'll know as soon as he gets his shifts when he would like you to have step son at home.
Also mention to him that although you are a team and your happy to have step son you want to be asked and not told.
Even when you have your step son in the evening you should still be able to do some things for yourself. He's 12 so shouldn't need constant company and supervision.
You have plans so it should be a straight up no. You made plans on a day when you thought dss wouldn’t be here, so now that he’s coming at last minute he will just have to go to work with his dad this time because you won’t be in.
Why a 12 year old can't entertain himself for few hours? Why does he need babysitting?
I have been there, and still am there. I am regularly the default carer for my SD, 9/10 I don't mind but there are times when it doesn't suit or quite honestly you just don't want to do it. Step parenting is so hard, you're damned if you and damned if you don't.
It's fair enough he should check with you first. But if the reason he's working extra shifts is because the two of you need the money then I don't think you really have any option but to say yes.
I left mine home alone by that age for a few hours though. Worth having a chat with DP about when he feels that might be appropriate in the future. Some NRPs can lack contact with other parents and be a bit clueless about that sort of thing. Does DSS ever stay home alone at his mum's? What does he do after school every day?