Page 2 | 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: |
WaltzingBetty Sun 28-Feb-21 12:20:09

Not unreasonable. If the stepDC start mouthing off I'd point out to them that surely they'd rather spend time with their mum or dad than with you, and that's what you're facilitating.

Fundamentally it's up to their parents to sort out childcare, not you

timeisnotaline Sun 28-Feb-21 12:21:03

In this case fine as it was the contact arrangement previously, but even if she doesn’t work it’s ok that she feels hard done by because her ex won’t do any midweek childcare. He’s not pulling a parent weight. He’s not alone among divorced dads, but there is a huge amount of privilege in having had contact arranged around his work. His ex is still facilitating his life by doing this, and maybe this pisses her off? My dp would have to work out some childcare if we split. I wouldn’t be there to jump in for every shift change he has, as I wouldn’t be his wife anymore. Regular pattern over years or not, it’s blind not to realise the privilege of it.

wusbanker Sun 28-Feb-21 12:22:54

She doesn't work! What a CF.

Honestly just get DP to say "they aren't her kids", no need for all the (very valid) explanations or for you to ever be engaging with her at all.

PanamaPattie Sun 28-Feb-21 12:32:54

It always makes laugh when I read on here that parents need a break. You chose to have DC - you don’t get breaks from being a parent. These are not your DC and not your responsibility. You helped when you could, the situation has changed. His ex appears to have free time - why doesn’t she want to spend it with her DC?

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:33:22

@timeisnotaline yes I get that. But none of that is my problem.

There’s little childcare to be done to be fair, the kids are 12 & 16. Beyond cooking meals and doing washing, realistically how much childcare is there to be done? My own DD is 10 and is easy to look after as she’s fairly independent.
It’s not like they are toddlers

OP’s posts: |
Shinyletsbebadguys Sun 28-Feb-21 12:33:36

Of course you aren't unreasonable, I'm the resident parent and my DC going to their fathers is never , and should never be about me having free time. I wouldn't have that if I hadn't split with their father. The contact should always be about them spending time with their df, not about having a break.

Of course I appreciate it in that I appreciate the odd lie in , and it was a relief to have a break after the initial 12 week lockdown where they couldn't see exdh. Ultimately though that is not the reason why they go and where shift changes impact (as they have with my exdh sometimes ) we just figure out a change like you have done.

Nope she needs to seriously consider what message she sends her DC if they think they need to be shipped off for her to have a break.

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:35:56

Honestly all we here is “I need a break! I need a break!”
It’s quite sad really. I have one of my DCs full time and the other I’m the RP with 80% care. It’s nice to have a bit of me time occasionally but I don’t have an overwhelming urge to get rid of my kids and be alone.

OP’s posts: |
SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:36:19

we hear*

OP’s posts: |
FoxtrotOscarPoppet Sun 28-Feb-21 12:39:42

Of course YANBU.

1) Block her and don’t engage any more.

2) Get your DH to speak with his children ASAP and set them straight on the matter.

She is being completely unreasonable. You’re not there to provide free childcare and you are not answerable to any of them.

Courtney555 Sun 28-Feb-21 12:43:53

It seems she is not bothered at all about the very point of what child contact is about. The children having contact with the non resident parent. She's been offered two nights, just substituting the Friday night for the Sunday night, because this means the children actually see their father. It's not like she's got a job that this would put her out for.

No, she just wants them out of the house to anyone so she can have her Friday night after a busy week of not working, while OP has just signed off from her full time job. Not that I mean that OP is just anybody, I mean that unless they're seeing their father, anybody else makes the child contact irrelevant.

It sounds like she's made Friday night plans that she doesn't want her children around for, and would rather not change this as opposed to accept the perfectly reasonable suggestion that Friday night is replaced with Sunday night so her children benefit. Quite right OP it's not for you to look after children you have no parental responsibility for, who have a history of telling lies about you, because their own mother would rather not have them on a night they can't see their father. She's been offered the Sunday so her children benefit from maximum time with dad. Not your problem if she wants her children's contact to be with someone who isn't their parent.

RB68 Sun 28-Feb-21 12:47:42

you are within your rights to say No however its DPs contact time so his responsibility to sort car not ex's. He needs to sort something else out.

VintageDiamonds Sun 28-Feb-21 12:49:52

There’s absolutely no debate here, she’s their mother, they are her children, they are her (and their fathers) responsibility.

She’s sounds unusually selfish and cold to want you to be caring for them rather than seizing an opportunity to have more time with them herself. Why did she have children? She is poisoning her children by deflecting the problem onto you.

Her attitude suggests almost something more than selfishness. It’s very cold, very selfish, very manipulative. Where are her family? Why can’t she ask them to help out? Let me guess, they’re equally as cold. But none of that is your problem.

Devlesko Sun 28-Feb-21 12:55:48

Your dp needs to sort this, she can't demand you do anything.
Perhaps say yes, we'll swop for the day, you have mine.
He also needs to talk to his son.

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 12:57:26

@RB68 but no it isn’t DP’s contact time. They’ve had the same arrangement for nearly 11 years.
3 months of Fri-Sun EOW
3 months of Sat-Mon EOW
And repeat.
This has been their ongoing arrangement. She’s just decided that I should start babysitting for her every other Friday because she’s also insisting that not only should I have them on the Friday but that DP should keep to the previous arrangement of Sat-Mon as per the usual contact when he works nights.

So essentially she wants more time off and for me to cover it

OP’s posts: |
nimbuscloud Sun 28-Feb-21 12:59:53

So what’s your dp going to do? It’s his issue.

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 13:01:33

He’s told her no chance is it happening.
It didn’t stop the abuse from her though. Or the kids being rude.
He’s pulled the kids up on it but they’re acting like I’m in the wrong

OP’s posts: |
rawalpindithelabrador Sun 28-Feb-21 13:03:26

Not your circus, not your monkeys.

UhtredRagnarson Sun 28-Feb-21 13:06:05

SpongebobNoPants

Honestly all we here is “I need a break! I need a break!”
It’s quite sad really. I have one of my DCs full time and the other I’m the RP with 80% care. It’s nice to have a bit of me time occasionally but I don’t have an overwhelming urge to get rid of my kids and be alone.

Oh come on! You’re fooling no one with your totally disingenuous “it’s so sad” comment. You’re just being nasty with that. All parents, in all circumstances are entitled to feel they need a break. Parenting is hard full stop. I’m speaking as a parent who has 100% care of mine due to other parent being entirely absent. I don’t resent other parents for being glad of their break every other weekend. I don’t think it’s sad that they look forward to that break. I totally get it. It’s not sad that parents enjoy a break from their children.

UhtredRagnarson Sun 28-Feb-21 13:07:33

And no, that doesn’t mean I think you should look after his children on Friday nights before anyone decides that’s what I’m saying. They aren’t your kids- it’s for him and her to sort.

Courtney555 Sun 28-Feb-21 13:17:18

All parents, in all circumstances are entitled to feel they need a break

And she's getting just that, from Saturday to Monday like she always used too when the dad had to work Fri nights previously. OP made the mistake of doing the Fri nights on one occasion to be helpful in the lead up to Christmas. Now the ExW wants to maintain that, leaving her DC with one night less with their father. The ExW is refusing to continue the arrangement that has always been in place because OP helped out once.

SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 13:17:30

@UhtredRagnarson it’s every bloody day though. It is sad. When I say she is saying she needs a break, it’s fucking constant and yeah maybe there is a bit of vitriol in me towards her for acting like she’s so hard done by when she literally does nothing all day yet still moans that she needs a break!

OP’s posts: |
SpongebobNoPants Sun 28-Feb-21 13:19:59

I’m speaking as a parent who has 100% care of mine due to other parent being entirely absent. I don’t resent other parents for being glad of their break every other weekend
Yup me too. I have my eldest 100% of the time too.
What I don’t do is moan about needing a break every other day, especially not in front my DD.
She does get a break... they come to us after school twice a week for dinner and she has every other weekend to herself... and from 8.20-4.00 every single school day.
If that’s not getting a break then I don’t know what is grin

OP’s posts: |
UhtredRagnarson Sun 28-Feb-21 13:21:11

And she's getting just that, from Saturday to Monday like she always used too when the dad had to work Fri nights previously.

My comment wasn’t about what she is getting, it was in response to OPs comment that it’s sad she wants “rid” of her children.

Tiredoftattler Sun 28-Feb-21 13:21:32

If it is so critical to the ex to maintain the current schedule, why can't the dad pay for a sitter, minder for his Friday night -Saturday afternoon
schedule? It is only for 3 months, and may not be an exorbitant price to maintain peace and consistency.

If your partner lives in your home, he can offer to pay to have the sitter go to his ex's home during that time period. It might not be an ideal arrangement, but it could be a the solution to the problem at hand.

No partner should be expected to be the defacto fill in sitter particularly if the dad is not working to support the partner while she is a SAHM.

I think that SAHM's who accept support should feel a sense of obligation to take on certain responsibilities in exchange for abdicating their responsibility to be a self supporting adult. I do not believe that it is ever acceptable to accept more than you are willing to give.

UhtredRagnarson Sun 28-Feb-21 13:22:03

it’s every bloody day though. It is sad. When I say she is saying she needs a break, it’s fucking constant and yeah maybe there is a bit of vitriol in me towards her for acting like she’s so hard done by when she literally does nothing all day yet still moans that she needs a break!

What do you mean every day? She doesn’t have her children ever? Is that what you mean?

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