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

I'm not sure if there's some confusion here...in the OPS case...demands are being made by the SCs mum. Their behaviour isn't the issue perse.it'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.

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!

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

AfterEightsBeforeEight

"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.

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.

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.

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

PringleMcDingle

*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

PringleMcDingle Wed 03-Mar-21 18:00:14

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.

Youseethethingis Wed 03-Mar-21 17:52:18

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
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.
They are old enough to learn this lesson.

DinoHat Wed 03-Mar-21 17:52:03

aSofaNearYou

*@SandyY2K* I don't think it would go amiss to point out how rude they have been to them, no.

Absolutely, children shouldn’t be sheltered from discipline because of their parents separation.

DinoHat Wed 03-Mar-21 17:50:53

LucieStar

**@SandyY2K**

I don't think @DinoHat was accusing you of lying - it was in response to your comment "you'd have to tell the SCs something of a lie" about why they couldn't stay with OP. I think she was asking "why would OP tell them a lie", rather than asking you "why are you lying".

That's how I read the exchange anyway.

@SandyY2K

As Lucie Star said I wasn’t accusing you of lying.

LucieStar Wed 03-Mar-21 17:46:38

aSofaNearYou

*@SandyY2K* I don't think it would go amiss to point out how rude they have been to them, no.



Me neither. I'd point it out too. Well, DP would.

LucieStar Wed 03-Mar-21 17:44:28

@SandyY2K

I don't think @DinoHat was accusing you of lying - it was in response to your comment "you'd have to tell the SCs something of a lie" about why they couldn't stay with OP. I think she was asking "why would OP tell them a lie", rather than asking you "why are you lying".

That's how I read the exchange anyway.

aSofaNearYou Wed 03-Mar-21 17:35:07

@SandyY2K I don't think it would go amiss to point out how rude they have been to them, no.

SandyY2K Wed 03-Mar-21 17:28:29

Their attitude should really be a good enough response to why SM doesn't fancy looking after them.

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 don't recall the poster I referred to saying there was an issue with her SC specifically. It was more the Ex and not wanting the responsibility of being in sole charge.

@DinoHat

This is totally hypothetical and irrelevant to the issue at hand. The kids aren’t asking, the DM is.

Why lie? OP isn’t being unreasonable

If you read my post properly, rather than being so rude and accuse me of lying....you'd see I was directing my comments at another poster who said her SC are the ones asking their dad to come over....not the OP.

I have not once said the OP is being unreasonable....it's very clear that she isn't being unreasonable. I said that in my first post.

Youseethethingis Wed 03-Mar-21 16:55:29

So am I, can’t remember reading anything untoward on there hmm

SpongebobNoPants Wed 03-Mar-21 16:49:34

Why was my comment deleted? I’m confused confused

OP’s posts: |
Unicant Wed 03-Mar-21 16:40:45

YANBU at all! I cannot believe anyone thinks you are being.

Nanny0gg Wed 03-Mar-21 16:33:41

MessAllOver

It's not free childcare for anyone. A 16 year old doesn't need any childcare at all and a 12 year old only needs a very minimal amount of childcare provided they are not going to be left alone for long periods. So no one, mum or dad, really needs childcare here.

It's merely a question of where the children's home is and therefore where they are free to spend their time. OP, I'm not criticising you and I don't necessarily think you're unreasonable, but what does come across from your posts is that you don't seem to think your SC have a home in your house, in the sense of a place they're welcome to be 24/7. The sense I get from reading your posts is that they should only be there as visitors to their father and it's not their home, which you think is with their mother. However, that might just reflect the family dynamic.

The OP has said that the eldest has a key.

But if the mother demands they go to the OP's house when their father isn't there, there is some additional work for the OP with meals, and clearing up and actually being there.

So she should have an input as to whether that's ok or not. May not matter for the older DC but it does for the younger one.

LucieStar Wed 03-Mar-21 14:52:44

PringleMcDingle

The thing that really fucks me off about replies like *@IceCreamAndCandyfloss*, the 'why can't you just do it' type replies, is that they completely ignore the fact that the ex is treating OP appallingly. And I don't mean by simply asking if she'll have them on the Friday, I mean by the reaction when OP has said no.

Why on earth would you do a favour for someone who treats you that way? Are people like this always such doormats? There are times when being the bigger person may be appropriate, this is not one of them imo. All it does is show someone like this that they can walk all over you, treat you poorly and you'll still say how high when they say jump. No.

I actually wouldn't have a problem doing this. But that is purely because I like my husband's ex, she is nice to me, has never sent me abusive messages or bad mouthed me to the children etc... I have absolutely no problem doing her a favour because we get on.

That would change very fucking quickly if she ever thought it was okay to speak to me or treat me in the way OPs DHs ex treats her. In fact every single act of support from me toward her and my DH (if he didn't deal with it) would be withdrawn sharpish the minute she did anything like this.

You don't have to be such a pushover just because step children are involved for goodness sake. Have a bit of self respect and stand up for yourself! Yes I like my SC, I don't mind doing things for them, but I'm not a doormat there for everyone else's convenience that people can speak to and treat however they like.

YANBU OP.



👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

So much this.

DinoHat Wed 03-Mar-21 13:56:36

If he says no you can't come because I'm working the kids could say, but SM will be there...then he'd have to say something of a lie, rather than telling them you don't want them if he's not around. I understand why you don't and I wouldn't want the responsibility either.

This is totally hypothetical and irrelevant to the issue at hand. The kids aren’t asking, the DM is.

Why lie? OP isn’t being unreasonable.

Youseethethingis Wed 03-Mar-21 13:49:54

That was certainly the case years ago with my DH. Now his ex is fed up with the results of her softly softly babying “mummy is your best friend, we don’t need daddy” approach to child rearing and is desperate for some peace herself!
So now they are on the same page finally, DSD is getting a bit more in the way of boundaries, and DH is no longer afraid to parent her.
It sounds like your DH could still do that!

SpongebobNoPants Wed 03-Mar-21 13:39:39

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

OP’s posts: |
Pleaseaddcaffine Wed 03-Mar-21 12:52:28

Why a lie? Why not just because you are rude and don't treat her with any respect therefore you cannot be here unless I am as it isn't fair.
Tada

Youseethethingis Wed 03-Mar-21 12:48:28

“But dad, why can’t I be in the house with SM?”
“Because you are a little shit to her and she just wants peace”
What’s wrong with that? I don’t see the need to lie. It’s a nice little opportunity for self reflection.

AfterEightsBeforeEight Wed 03-Mar-21 12:33:41

I think what's quite relevant here as well, is that if you have an ExW who is reasonable, pleasant, works with you, and you her, you're never in this situation.

You're not going to see a thread asking AIBU when everyone is acting fairly.

Lots of ExW are perfectly reasonable people. I have experience of one in a last relationship, who caused no issues, we weren't friends particularly, we had no need to be social buddies, but we didn't dislike each other. Everyone respected each other. Worked wonderfully.

Another was awful. Deliberate spite. Manipulation. Constant motives and trying to find ways to position herself as the "main" woman in exDPs life, via her children. That's why he's my exDP. Her continual behaviour.

So when someone posts on here about a situation, the defence of "always looking blame the ExW, the poor woman" as if she were the former, seems rather shortsighted. If she were the former, the situation wouldn't exist. Nice ExWs do exist. People don't tend to post about their difficulties with ExW like that.

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