Page 21 | 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: |
LucieStar Wed 03-Mar-21 18:05:28


*Are you honestly suggesting their dad says this to his children? That would really be cruel and is bound to make them feel unwelcome.....which I'm sure no decent parent would want their child to feel*

I agree it can be approached sensitively, I probably wouldn't start with 'because you're a little shit' as PP said 🤣... I don't actually think there's anything wrong with suggesting to children of this age that if they aren't nice or are rude to someone then they may not want to spend lots of time with you.

It's an important lesson to learn really.

"Because you're a little shit" 😂

Yeah... perhaps not that particular phrasing. grin

Youseethethingis Wed 03-Mar-21 18:27:46

Ha no, definitely not.
If you know a teacher, ask them. My teacher friends have all sorts of code for “your child is a little shit” for reports etc grin
Seriously, a conversation asking “why do you think it could be? Can you honestly say you’ve always behaved well towards Sponge?” might be more the way to go.

AfterEightsBeforeEight Wed 03-Mar-21 18:56:24

"Do you think the way you talk to OP and the way you have behaved with her makes her want to look after you when I'm not here? If you were told you had to look after someone when you knew they didn't have any nice things to say about you, how would you feel?"

Or similar.

LucieStar Wed 03-Mar-21 19:14:54


"Do you think the way you talk to OP and the way you have behaved with her makes her want to look after you when I'm not here? If you were told you had to look after someone when you knew they didn't have any nice things to say about you, how would you feel?"

Or similar.

Good suggestion.

DinoHat Wed 03-Mar-21 19:28:05

Yes - they need their expectations managing. That’s their parents job. Just like you can’t always visit grandparents!

SandyY2K Wed 03-Mar-21 22:31:33

I'm not sure if there's some confusion the OPS case...demands are being made by the SCs mum. Their behaviour isn't the issue's the demands of the mum and feeling that she is entitled.

The behaviour of SC has been brought in by some posters and is going off the point I was making.
No decent parent would want their children to grow up thinking you can treat someone poorly then expect them to want to be around you and do you favours.

I couldn't agree more and a decent parent (if the kids were rude) should address the rudeness as and when it occurs, not wait until something like this happens. Otherwise, the message you send a child is that rudeness is acceptable if you don't deal with it on the spot and they don't face consequences for their bad behaviour.

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