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DP’s Ex demanding I do childcare

(506 Posts)
SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:15:34

DP and his ex have an EOW arrangement with SCs, and SCs come for dinner a couple of times a week too but don’t stay over.

DP’s job has always involved some night shift work and he has to do it generally in 3 month chunks twice a year, so he does nights for 6 months of the year. It has been like this for the last 20 years or so and far predates his prior relationship with his ex and obviously was the case before he met me.

When he does night shifts they are full nights from Monday - Friday, which means he sleeps until Saturday afternoon and his weekend is essentially Saturday afternoon until Monday afternoon.

DP did the first 3 month night shift stint from October and it was the first time he had worked nights since we had moved in together. I naively agreed to look after his kids on the Friday nights he was working when it was his contact weekend with SCs.

The reason being is he was told he was going on nights with very short notice and I said it wasn’t really fair to spring it on his ex when she might have made plans for those Fridays in the run up to Christmas and I know how annoying it is when my own ex chops and changes contact arrangements because of changing shift patterns.

So I covered every Friday - Saturday afternoon on our weekend with SCs to be helpful and make everyone’s lives easier... except of course my own.

DP is going back on nights in March and I’ve told him I’m not willing to do it this time. His ex is incredibly hostile towards me and the facts are that no one benefits from me babysitting the kids except her.

DP doesn’t benefit from it.
My SCs don’t benefit from it as their dad isn’t here
I don’t benefit from it and actually find it a bit much.
My kids don’t benefit from it.

The only person who benefits from it is his ex so I’m unwilling to give up my free time so she can have free time.

I work full time in a very pressured job and have been homeschooling 2 primary aged children through lockdown. DP’s ex doesn’t work and the kids are in secondary school so I definitely have it harder in that sense.

DP spoke to his ex and said about the nightshifts starting again and said he would be able to have SCs from when he wakes up on the Saturday, keep them the remainder of the weekend, take them to school on the Monday and also pick them up from school and have dinner with them before dropping them home on his way to work around 6pm on the Monday evening.
That way he still has them 2 nights, they’re spending time with their dad which is what the contact is actually for and I also get every Friday to spend alone with my own children and relax after a long working week.

Before we lived together this was the arrangement when he worked nights.

His ex has hit the roof saying “Why can’t spongebob have them like before?”. DP said because she’s working all week and I’m not here to spend time with them.

I’ve since had awful messages from her (she’s blocked now) calling me selfish, saying she needs a break etc. I responded only to say that I also need a break, I am not their parent and it’s up to DP and her to sort it out between themselves. I’m not a free on demand babysitter and I’m unwilling to do favours for someone who is rude, abuse and outwardly hostile towards me. She will literally ignore me if I say hello to her.

Well she’s like a dog with a bone. Now the kids are saying “mum says you’re being out of order. It’s not fair on her”.

Am I being unreasonable here? The suggested arrangement whilst DP works nights has stood in place for the last 10 years since they split apart from the most recent stint where I covered it.

The kids will be back at school when the nightshifts start which means ex will have a minimum of 30 hours a week of free time. I’ll be working full time, juggling childcare pick ups etc for my own 2 children.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to say I’m not giving up my free time to give her more free time.

OP’s posts: |
blackcatroundabout Sun 28-Feb-21 11:20:12

@SpongebobNoPants I don't think you're being unreasonable at all!

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:21:33

She’s got my SCs involved. The older one is acting like I’ve slighted her mother and “how dare I say no to her”.
I’m absolutely baffled by her entitled attitude to be honest

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HollowTalk Sun 28-Feb-21 11:22:30

You're not unreasonable at all.

MarcelineMissouri Sun 28-Feb-21 11:22:51

Definitely not unreasonable at all. DP needs to put his foot down though and take the heat/get her to leave you alone. He also needs to have a clear conversation with the kids.

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:24:09

I’d like to also point out it’s not because my SCs want to come here to spend time with me, if they did then that would be a different matter and I’d consider it.
If for example the kids were saying they desperately wanted to be here on the Fridays and spend that night at our house then I’d probably say ok because I’m not cruel.

But they’re indifferent about it. The oldest is just annoyed because “my mum said you’re being unfair. She needs her time too” etc.

OP’s posts: |
blackcatroundabout Sun 28-Feb-21 11:26:36

Your DP needs to talk to his DC.

In the grand scheme of things she has it easy - my ex (DC's Dad) works shifts and I only get 6 weeks of his shifts / DC contact schedule at a time!

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:26:44

There’s a long history of drama and DP’s ex being vile to me, calling me names, the kids lying about me to her too so I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t want to.
It’s different when DP is home and SCs are here. He does all the cooking and care for them. He does the discipline, tells them to go to bed and get off their devices etc.

I just don’t want to do all of that as well as looking after my own kids, after a long hard working week whilst his ex gets leisure time

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SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:27:51

@blackcatroundabout yes my ex’s shift patterns were like your ex’s up until a year ago.
I think that’s why I was happy to help out before as I know it’s annoying to not be able to plan things

OP’s posts: |
blackcatroundabout Sun 28-Feb-21 11:29:19

@SpongebobNoPants I've just had to accept that's the way it is. I'd never expect his partner to look after my DC!

Oblahdeeoblahdoe Sun 28-Feb-21 11:29:38

What would happen if your DP didn't have you or anyone else?
Stand your ground, don't engage anymore and ask DP to have a word with his DC about being disrespectful to you.

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:31:16

@Oblahdeeoblahdoe exactly. If we weren’t living together then it would be the same arrangement as it has been for the last nearly 11 years

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MeridianB Sun 28-Feb-21 11:34:25

Oh Sponge, of course it’s nuts.

Stop engaging with the ex and the SCs on this. If they say anything, tell them to speak to their father. Totally unacceptable for them to be rude and get involved - and now even more reason not to have them on your own!

Not sure how old they are but can their mum go out without them?

Surely a non-working mother of teens would get five days a week break from them when they are back at school in a couple of weeks?

PurpleBiro21 Sun 28-Feb-21 11:36:50

I don’t think you are being unreasonable at all.

I’d direct the ex and kids complaints to their dad.

MadameMinimes Sun 28-Feb-21 11:37:27

I don’t blame you for saying no but ultimately it’s his responsibility to find childcare for the times when he is responsible for the children, not his ex’s. On his days he needs to pay for or arrange childcare. I’m not surprised his ex is pissed off that he thinks that his lack of childcare on the days he is meant to have the children is her problem to solve. That definitely doesn’t make it your problem either though!

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 11:48:41

I’m not surprised his ex is pissed off that he thinks that his lack of childcare on the days he is meant to have the children is her problem to solve
But she’s been perfectly happy with this arrangement for nearly 11 years. And the days he is meant to have them changes every 3 months. It’s generally 3 months on, 3 months off and repeat. So it’s not like he’s chopping and changing.
Last time it was short notice because he’d changed companies so it happened sooner than the usual pattern, and that’s why I helped out... to be kind to his ex.
But I’m not doing it again. They’ve had this arrangement for over a decade and I’m loathe to give up my free time to allow his ex to have yet more free time.
She has a minimum of 30 hours a week to herself during school time. Plus the evenings we have the kids for dinner. Plus every other weekend and any extra weekend nights the kids want to stay over in between normal contact weekends.

She has more spare time than anyone I know!

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aSofaNearYou Sun 28-Feb-21 11:50:12

Not unreasonable at all, and I wouldn't waste any time worrying about it given the way the SC actually behave towards you. Your DP needs to talk to them and set them straight about you being "unfair". It's very weird that they have been brainwashed into advocating for their mum's need for time away from them 🤔

aSofaNearYou Sun 28-Feb-21 11:51:03


I don’t blame you for saying no but ultimately it’s his responsibility to find childcare for the times when he is responsible for the children, not his ex’s. On his days he needs to pay for or arrange childcare. I’m not surprised his ex is pissed off that he thinks that his lack of childcare on the days he is meant to have the children is her problem to solve. That definitely doesn’t make it your problem either though!

It doesn't sound like this is "his time" since this has been a factor in the contact arrangement for a decade.

Courtney555 Sun 28-Feb-21 11:57:41

Well, it seems pretty easy. Given that you're so unreasonable, selfish, unfair blah blah blah, ExW won't be wanting her children to spend their time solely with you when their father isn't at home wink

2bazookas Sun 28-Feb-21 11:59:20

Just ride it out. She'll get used to it, and you're in the right.

Tell DH what his children have been told; and ask him to correct their error.

To them, you just reply " Did she? Sometimes children misunderstand what's going on,but Dad will explain it all to you. "

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:05:13

She also kicked off recently about me not having them here in the week.
DP goes to work at 6am so the kids can’t stay over in the week. I work from home at the moment and I’ve had “well why can’t spongebob have them?”
Well 5 reasons:
1. I’m not their parent and shouldn’t even be factored into the equation
2. I’m working and trying to homeschool 2 young kids at the same time
3. Our internet isn’t the best and definitely couldn’t withstand 5 of us on it trying to zoom, send emails etc concurrently
4. I don’t want to
5. She doesn’t work, wtf should I juggle all the children whilst trying to work when her kids have an available parent at home, literally doing nothing

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Throwntothewolves Sun 28-Feb-21 12:09:02

She is being very unreasonable to have a go at you. But in his contact time it is his responsibility to arrange for the kids to be cared for. If his ex isn't willing to compromise on days then he will have to find another person to look after them. I'm not saying you should do it at all. Does he have a relative who could assist?

He needs to talk to her again, and tell her, and his kids to wind it in where you're concerned. They both need to find a solution for the care of the children. If neither is willing or able to look after them then they will have to outsource childcare

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:09:54

@Throwntothewolves but this is the contact arrangement between them and has been for over a decade

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EL8888 Sun 28-Feb-21 12:13:08

Don’t feed into it or debate it, just say no. They are your not your children and you have your own life. Oh and your OH need to speak the children. They are sticking their noses into something that is none of their business and they need to be told that

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:15:07

Also another relevant point to mention is my kids are mine from previous relationships so it’s not like I’m depriving them of time with siblings or anything

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