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Looking after DPs kids all the time...

(127 Posts)
Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 19:47:04

Evening. Looking for some advice..bit of a long post but bare with me.
So I'm currently 7 months pregnant, live with my boyfriend of 2.5 years and he has 2 young children to his ex wife who he has around 3-4 days/nights a week.
They've never had set days because his ex wife works different shifts/days each week but he gets the same 2 days off during the week. He keeps pushing to get one weekend off a month but its proving difficult and hes only been in the job a few months. Anyway, They tend to work out at the start of the week what days he will have them and what days she will. Some weeks this works fine, but other weeks, she will demand he have them on the days she knows he is working, and if he tells her hes working she then demands he find childcare. The issue is, he can't afford childcare, he has no family that can help either so it's always down to me. Obviously we live together and share all the bills, so basically since we first got together I'd watch the kids for him on my days off or they'd be dropped off with me for a few hours until he finished work and got home. I adore the kids and we have a great relationship but at the minute I'm exhausted, she's had loads of time off work and I've been watching them every week (sometimes running back and forwards to the toilet throwning up) with zero energy, and found out she's just sat in the house. My bf drops me off and picks me up from work as he doesn't want me getting the bus so early or late at night (I work 11 hour shifts) and the other morning the traffic was so bad, the little one was late for school as he'd dropped me off first, even though we left an hour early. This was the first and only time he was late. The ex then rang and told him he can no longer take me to work or pick me up and that I should get the bus.. Or she will send out a solicitors letter! I had to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut but the woman's constantly trying to dictate our lives. Now, I won't get into all of that right now, but I'm finding it difficult to watch the kids on my own, and when my baby is here I know I'm going to struggle with all three of them. I'm thinking, do we pay for childcare on some of the days and basically go without food shopping or get behind on bills (literally can't afford childcare) or do I suck it up, watch them on his days whilst he's at work and try not to have a nervous breakdown. She knows he has no childcare and that I look after them, and if she needs it on her days they just go to her mums house. Also does child maitnance include childcare costs?he pays csa to her too. Some advise would be nice.. Please if you're just going to lay into me, don't comment...

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SLC352 Wed 22-Jan-20 20:10:15

Aww that sounds so tough x how old are his children? Are they excited about the baby?

I completely empathise as I have two step children and a baby and it's hard work even when it's the two of us as it always would be when there's more little people than adults! x it sounds like you are a fabulous step mummy and your partner is very lucky to have you.

Does your partners ex get her rotas in advance or does she only get them the week before? X

Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 20:25:18

@SLC352 thank you 😊 yeah they're so exited, especially the youngest. They're 9 and 4, they're usually really well behaved for me when I watch them, I just feel bad as I can't play with them or run around with them as much, bumps getting huge, babies sat on my bladder all day, bad hips and joints and feel like I'm gunna puke all day.. I don't drive either so its not like I can get them out for some ice cream or go to the cinema etc... I desp need to learn to drive as I could do so much more with them. I'm just nervous about being a first time mum too, want to bond with my baby and don't wanna get stressed or overwhelmed or make them feel or sense that I'm feeling like that too.just wish the ex would be more reasonable instead of being toxic all the time towards my bf

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Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 20:26:30

@SLC352 oh Im unsure when she gets her rota I think it's like 2 weeks in advance, but she's always got social events booked in, birthdays, nights out ect

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PatriciaHolm Wed 22-Jan-20 20:32:42

That sounds really unsettling for everyone, not least the kids, not knowing where they will be from one week to the next. It sounds as if he should push for a set pattern. Ans calculate exactly how many nights he has them - if it's 50/50 then surely he shouldn't be paying maintenance../

Tyersal Wed 22-Jan-20 20:48:17

How about you have then a set 3 days each week and if his ex needs help due to her work she pays for childcare

WeHaveSnowdrops Wed 22-Jan-20 20:55:19

If he's having them that often why is he paying maintenance? Get it reassessed.

You may be able to afford childcare if you dot need to pay her.

SLC352 Wed 22-Jan-20 20:56:33

Yes set days are so important and helpful-for the little ones too! Sounds like her mum might be able to support her on her work days? Maybe going through court to establish a set pattern wouldn't be a bad thing?

I understand your fears of it negatively impacting the children but I just think if you're open and honest (in an age appropriate way) then that'll help them understand x I'll be honest I found the first six months of having my baby REALLY overwhelming with having the kids too (also 50% of the week) but it's now so much easier now we're all in a routine and work well as a team of 5! And the kids totally understand if the baby needs to come first. We just involve them as much as we can (eating all together, joint baths etc!) and it works.

Even if you find the beginning tricky it WILL get easier, and just focus on being the best step mummy you can be and building a great relationship with the kids x having a baby has really brought me closer to my step kids so hopefully that'll increase your bond too!

I was the same and didn't drive until recently and that's a huge help! X

SandyY2K Wed 22-Jan-20 20:56:45

If his working pattern is the same every week, then he needs to tell her what days he can have the kids?

It sounds like they have a 50/50 split...in which case she needs to sort out childcare on the days she has them...or if I was him, I'd be tempted to tell her he'll deduct the childcare cost from the CS if he pays any.

Does she actually pay for any childcare?

HillAreas Wed 22-Jan-20 21:01:36

Is it that realistic to expect to click your fingers on a week by week basis and find adhoc childcare and the money to pay for it? It’s no way to arrange your lives or finances, that’s for sure.
I agree with PP, for all your sakes you need to sort out fixed days, and nail down who owes who child maintenance. It doesn’t go to the parent with the vagina, it goes to the parent with majority care of the children. Then you can work out if/when/what childcare is required.
Finally, you need to realise that lovely as your relationship with the kids is, you are not responsible for them. Your health and your baby should be your priority, with no guilt or fear. Other mothers get to put their children first. You have that right, too.
She would soon be screaming like a banshee if you started taking them for haircuts, to the doctors, told them to call you “mum” wouldn’t she? It works both ways.

Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 22:38:54

Thanks for all your responses, I'm trying to respond to each of you.
Basically, they're still in the middle of divorcing.. Its been a nightmare with his solicitors he's had to find a new one and owes a fortune out in solicitors fees so it's taking forever for them to be divorced. If he does one thing wrong or something she doesn't like she threatens to send out more solitors letters... There's never been set days ad I wish there was so we all knew where we were not just the kids... Like this week for instance, because the youngest was late for school she's now told him he's not allowed to see them this week because SHE needs to make sure they're getting to school on time. It's not been that though when she's been sat in her pj's and asked him to go and take them to school because she wasn't feeling well.. Even though she lives 5 minutes from the school. Anyway, the whole csa child maitnance does need to be revised..... She was the one who dropped him down to 3 nights like a year ago.. And then she said he needed to be more flexible but she still wanted the csa money...every week it varies.. In December we had them 21 days out of 31...some weeks we will have them 3 nights in a row, shell get them back for 2 then we have them for 2 again.. She never has them usually more than 3 nights in a row... But if he talks about csa, she's straight down to 3 nights with him again... Or she'll threaten to put him down to 1 night.
Shes a total control freak. She hasn't even told him what days on the weekend he's having them.. Its now Wednesday night and I have to not make any plans for Sunday as he's at work and at the last minute she'll tell him we're having them sat nights and all day sunday/Sunday night... If he says to her he's made plans she'll say "tough find childcare" as if it's that easy.
I'd love to see my day with her.

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tenlittlecygnets Wed 22-Jan-20 22:44:20

He has to stand up to her. Can he go through CMS and tot up what he should pay her for the number if days he has the dc?

Sounds like she is so unreasonable you will need to go to court, though. You have to get contact decided in advance, don’t just wait for her to decide when you will see the dc!

HillAreas Wed 22-Jan-20 22:47:40

I’d honestly let her put him down to one night. It sounds as if her social life couldn’t take the hit so it wouldn’t last long by the sounds of things confused

Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 22:48:23

@SandyY2K nope she doesn't pay for childcare at all, gets her mum or dad to help if she's at work. There's been times my partners had to call in sick at work though because he's had no one to help on "his days" even though they don't have set days... So he's lost work. She wouldnt ring in sick if it was her... She just expects him to find a childminder last minute, he doesn't know any childminders.. She's said things like "somebody better be in that house at X time because I'm dropping them off" and I'm like.. Who does she think she is? It's days where she's not even at work as well yet she's happy for him to risk losing his job to have the kids so she can go off and do her own thing. I wouldn't care he literally picks them up the minute he finishes work. Ive told him to ask her what the hell does she want, like would she rather him just go on the dole and not work? She's impossible, stresses me out so much.

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Helini Wed 22-Jan-20 22:55:34

Agree with PP and call her bluff on dropping to 1 night. It won't last long, she needs you more than you need her.

Id get legal advice on how to set in stone set days and re evaluate CMS.

Good luck

Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 22:56:33

@tenlittlecygnets the csa were horrid to him on the phone when he rang, he did ring a few weeks back as he has to tell them his wage has dropped and he's got another baby on the way so he will have a case worker ring him back. I write on the calender every day we have the kids to keep track. I don't know if child care costs are included in csa payments, he pays her £300 a month I think, but she still wants more. He absolutely needs to stand up to her but he won't. I don't think he realises how hard it is for me to listen to the toxic shit that comes out of her mouth and not say anything. I'd be firing things back in her face and backing it up with dates and examples but he's not quick enough he just wants to avoid all confrontation. And I have no place to say anything so I keep my mouth shut.. Whilst my face boils red and steam blows out me ears lol

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Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 22:59:48

I've just got a short fuse with all these pregnancy hormones. I try to go and put on some nice music and chill out and let it go over my head but it's one thing after the other.

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tenlittlecygnets Wed 22-Jan-20 23:06:25

He absolutely needs to stand up to her but he won't. I'd be firing things back in her face and backing it up with dates and examples but he's not quick enough he just wants to avoid all confrontation.

This needs to change then. If it doesn't, you will both get the same behaviour from his ex, because she's learned she won't be challenged.

But she does sound toally unreasonable, which is why I think you may need legal help to sort this. She won't listen to you, will she?

Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 23:26:07

@tenlittlecygnets I doubt it. My friends who are all mothers tell me to not get involved, whereas my family are worried that this is all effecting my mental health, which it completely is and they tell me to talk to her if she's not willing to. To be honest, I'm a very patient person I'm never disrespectful, I wouldn't dream of badmouthing her in front of the kids as I know my own mother used to do that with us about my own dad and it totally messes you up.. So I'd never do that. But there's no boundaries in place with them 2. The kids are learning whoever shouts the loudest rules the roost, she constantly bad mouths him in front of them and he's a decent man doing the best he can for his kids and trying to keep everyone happy meanwhile making a rod for his own back by letting her dominate his entire life. Once the solicitors fees are paid I think it is going to court, so I hope they get set days and explain exactly what the csa covers so we all know where we are and she cant continue to behave like a spoilt brat all the time. I've never known anything like it in my life. Babies can sense tense atmospheres and stress as well and I'm not letting my newborn be exposed to that. His kids never feel like that when they're here either, we're trying to shield them from that as much as we can. Sorry for the vent, it's keeping me awake tonight. Pregnancy insomnia

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HillAreas Wed 22-Jan-20 23:30:32

I’m all for a good MN rant to clear the tubes out but how much of this is your DP actually award of? Does he know how much the stress of it all is affecting your mental and physical health? You wouldn’t be the first woman to try to shield her partner from her feelings when he’s already up against it with his ex, but it’s not healthy to continue that way.

Rhcat1 Wed 22-Jan-20 23:40:23

@HillAreas yeah he knows but he says the same thing over and over again. "it's not always going to be this way. It'll get better I promise you. I'll sort it. It'll be easier when we're divorced." I actually lost my hair 8 months into the relationship and developed alopecia because of the stress of it all, its grown back since but I've still got little bald patches peeking through. He just likes to Bury his head in the sand. When I tell him I'm unhappy and struggling, he will listen, but the next week he's asking if it's OK if I watch the kids again. I've already told him if it continues I cant see myself staying in the relationship. It's been going on for 2.5 years now and I'm just mentally done with it all

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HillAreas Thu 23-Jan-20 00:21:21

I feel sorry for the guy but really, he watched you physically lose your hair because of the stress and he’s STILL not put his foot down with his ex?
He’s going to have to start operating as if you have already split up, as far as his kids are concerned, in order to save your relationship. What would he do if you weren’t there? Whatever that is is what he needs to do now. No excuses.

MollyButton Thu 23-Jan-20 06:10:51

I think you need to start being selfish for yourself and your baby. To be honest I don't know why you are having a child with him. If you lost your hair due to stress within the first 8 months - didn't that hint that maybe this relationship wasn't worth it?

I don't understand moving in and having a baby with someone who isn't even divorced.
Can you possibly move out?
You have been very supportive so far, but neither of them have got their shit together. I do feel very sorry for the children. But you need to take care of yourself and your baby.

Rhcat1 Thu 23-Jan-20 08:27:07

We nearly did split up 8 months into the relationship but we ended up working through it. She was civil for a couple of months so I thought maybe it was all changing for the better but then she was right back to being a cow again when she didn't get her own way one time and has pretty much been like that on and off since. She's civil as long as shes getting what she wants, the minute she doesn't shes awful.
This baby wasn't planned but I could never ever bring myself to have an abortion, and now I'm totally Inlove with the baby and she's not even here yet.
I know it's not great when he's not divorced, I never expected his divorce to take his long... But they can't move forward when solicitors are waiting to be paid and there's no money to pay them.
It's put me off marriage that's for sure. Divorce is extortionate.

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LatentPhase Thu 23-Jan-20 15:04:02

What a mess. These parents are too caught up in their bollox to actually separate and get something workable in place for the kids.

Surely it would be better to go and stay somewhere else (your mum? A friend?) and leave them to it.

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