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Travel arrangements to see skids question

(37 Posts)
Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 08:14:59

I have 3 skids and since December we now live about 4 - 4.5 hours drive away from them as apposed to the hours drive it was before.
When we moved we asked my dh's x if she would mind meeting halfway to drop skids off and do the same on the way back.
She agreed so we thought great that means the day before Xmas eve hubby won't be driving 8-9 hours non stop to pick up his kids.
Only she turned around the week before and said her live in bf couldn't do it as he was working and his x also said why should her bf drop them off anyway (she can't drive) he's not there dad, my dh reminded her that i shuttle her kids about and i am not their mum but she pointedly ignored that so seeing as we were due to move on the 22nd Dec dh had to let his kids down and not see them at all over Xmas which was awful.
We figured it was probably the cost of fuel that put them off so we upped the maintenance to easily cover fuel costs and the costs of food and drinks along the way which they agreed to.
So roll on Easter and we had arranged to have the kids then and he asked her again to drop the kids half way and his x agreed and all went well.
Summer hol's approach and low and behold his x decides that her bf can no longer do the drop so they rope dh's parents into dropping them off and in her defence they gave them half the extra money to cover costs but the x has said she can't pick the kids up which means my dh will have to travel all the way to hers and back (extra fuel costs for him) which would be fine under normal circumstances but my dh had a fractured spine and can no longer sit in a car for longer than 3 hour periods.
I cannot go with him to drive because I am looking after my own 3 kids.
So I was wondering what people do in these situations? I know we can't force her bf to help us out and neither would we want to but surely he can see our point because his dd from his 1st relationship is dropped off via his ex in laws to his.

CountryGal13 Thu 08-Aug-13 08:33:37

It's a difficult situation but it's not really the bf responsibility. I don't transport my dsc around either. I've got a very busy life and and my husband would never expect me to. It's not really fair for the ex to have to pester her bf to drive her children that distance - he may want to spend that time with his own lo.
I really do hope you find a solution soon.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 08-Aug-13 09:23:48

Your DP moved 4-5 hours drive away from his DCs, and agreed with their mum that she would do half the travelling even though she doesn't drive and now the DCs don't see their Dad as much?

Perhaps your DP can arrange to stay with friends or in a hotel near his DCs home once a month or so - the DCs seem to have a pretty raw deal here and it sounds like that's your DPs doing.

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 09:54:11

Well unfortunately due to being in the forces and having to move where they tell him it's not his fault we moved. The x didn't actually agree to doing half the run every time, she thought he just meant one time and then when it transpires its every time they backed out but as soon as extra money was mentioned (£140 for every trip) they agreed. After the first time they changed there mind and passed it on to someone else. The bf doesn't have the responsibility to do it no, it's not his 'job' but sometimes we do things we don't want to do out of the goodness of our heart because we someone struggling.
She walked out and left him with the kids then tricked him into giving them back to her so she could get benefits so she's not the sort of person to do something unless it benefits her so I don't know why we thought she would help us.
I guess dh will have to stay at home with my kids and I'll drive all the way up there and back to get them.
I daren't risk dh's back having a spasm because he could be laid out for weeks and then there would be no point at all.

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 09:59:13

We didn't ask them to drive all the way. Just to a service station under 2 hours from their house, my dh still has to drive 3 hours there and 3 hours back but that's better than just under 5 hours and the same back depending on traffic on the m25 and we thought it perfectly reasonable considering I only passed my driving test last year so my dh has had to drive my kids to their gps 3 hours away while their dad was working away in America and had done for years.

catsmother Thu 08-Aug-13 10:01:08

This is a topic close to my heart as we have been hit significantly with huge travel costs for well over a decade as DP's ex moved several miles away (without compelling reasons like work or housing affordability) and then completely reneged on her promise to do at least half the driving. The cold hard fact is that if we don't pay DP doesn't get to see his kids but on the other hand as we are counting every last £ this expense has also meant my children (one of whom is also DP's) inevitably miss out due to his ex's selfishness. We are easily talking 5 figures here in travel costs - and still rising. It's a huge sum and I readily admit I resent it very much as it was none of our doing.

I do personally feel that unless it's completely avoidable the parent doing the moving should bear a greater moral responsibility for facilitating contact - I accept people want to move for all sorts of reasons, not just when they have no choice - but believe that when you have young kids the impact upon them needs to be considered and minimised as far as possible. To be fair, I do recognise that you discussed this with your DP's ex beforehand and you weren't to know that the agreement she made would later be broken. It sounds to me as if quite possibly she "agreed" on her boyfriend's behalf but hadn't actually spoken to him and/or he hadn't actually realised how long the journey would be. I also recognise that you've upped the maintenance to cover off the ex's "half" of the travel (which is more than DP's ex has done, i.e. there's no way in the world she'd ever voluntarily agree to a reduction in maintenance to cover our costs) but agree with the other posters that this really isn't the ex's BF's issue to sort out (regardless of his own contact arrangements for his child).

Have you asked if ex would consider learning to drive ? A big ask, but she may do as this would benefit her in all sorts of other ways and perhaps you could make a contribution to this ? A bit annoying but in the long run if she passed her test and did half the driving it would help you lots.

The other thing as others have said is whether given the distance it's cost and time effective for the kids to be brought back to yours at all ? If you took the "extra" maintenance and DP used that to book a Travelodge for a couple of nights, maybe he could see the kids that way and he'd get a break from driving. i.e. 4 hours up - 2 days rest - then 4 hours back as opposed to 8-9 hours all at once (plus loo/food stops).

How old are the kids ?If older, could they travel by coach to a point closer to yours so you could collect them from there ? (suggest coach instead of train as I feel it's safer, they're less likely to get off at wrong stop etc).

Hope you sort something out - obviously don't know the circumstances of your move and though it's tempting to say in effect you've brought this upon yourself, I don't think it's entirely fair to do so as when you did move you took ex's agreement at face value - and at the end of the day, it's the children who are missing out on a relationship with their dad.

burberryqueen Thu 08-Aug-13 10:02:40

yeh but if the ex doesnt drive then getting to a service station 2 hours up the motorway is not that easy. Also being handed over at a service station is not very nice for children. They are children, not 'skids' btw.

catsmother Thu 08-Aug-13 10:09:23

Big X-post there !!!

Obviously you had no choice about the move and I understand full well the frustration of people going back on promises.

It's very very hard as in my step situation I have frequently felt very let down when others involved have caused additional expense, bother, frustration and upset simply because they don't behave as I would. In other words, they're more selfish than me.

I was a single mum before I was a stepmum and so far as maintaining contact was concerned my largest consideration was minimising the effect upon my child rather than thinking I was ever doing my ex a "favour" by helping out with travel. When you see other people behaving differently and not giving a stuff about the impact on the kids it's very upsetting - and more so when extra work and expense then falls on you when you try to do the "right thing".

If you do take on this mammoth trip yourself make sure you don't give them any more maintenance.

catsmother Thu 08-Aug-13 10:13:51

Burberry - surely "skids" is not now considered an offensive term ? It's an abbreviation for step-kids for heaven's sake.

I've handed over my child at various service stations, rail stations, bus stations and car parks in my time. It's a sensible and logical place to stop and park if there's any distance between parents. I really don't think the location of the handover ever did my son any harm - he was simply excited to see his dad, his surroundings made no difference and as far as he was concerned service stations (in particular) had the added benefit of lots of lorries (when he was young enough to care about such things!) plus McDs and Starbucks.

burberryqueen Thu 08-Aug-13 10:21:20

would you like to be known as 'the skids'?
no i thought not.

catsmother Thu 08-Aug-13 10:28:39

It's an abbreviation - used for speed of typing. It stands for something quite innocuous and factual (step-kid) and there's no possible negative connotation (unlike the recent "BM" furore).

I'm quite sure that anyone who uses that abbreviation here doesn't use it in their real life speech and certainly not to or about their step children as you'd use their names (which you can't do here).

(Personally speaking - and if it makes any difference - I always read "skid" and ess - kid and not skid).

(Oh, and if I was called "skid" it would be a vast improvement on slut/whore/slag/bitch etc etc which is what I'm usually called by DP's ex - even though we met long long after they separated and what's more she's repeated that in front of her children).

Sorry OP for hijacking somewhat !!!

SpecialAgentCuntSnake Thu 08-Aug-13 10:32:47

Are you sure she thought it was 'the once off' and isn't hiding the fact her new partner might be a bit of a knob?

Sorry, paranoid probably but just checking.

burberryqueen Thu 08-Aug-13 10:32:47

I'm quite sure that anyone who uses that abbreviation here doesn't use it in their real life speech
you might be quite sure but i am not.
it is bye- the -bye though as you say.
and what your partners ex calls you is even more bye the bye.

gymboywalton Thu 08-Aug-13 10:33:11

when i saw this thread title i thought it was about poo marks in undies

thats what skids are in this house

burberryqueen Thu 08-Aug-13 10:33:52

yes in this house too - nasty annoying stains.

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 10:47:01

I think it's going to be down to me to do the travel 'catsmother' my dh really cannot do it and money is so flipping tight since we moved because the cost of living has gone up and his wages have gone down due to a cut in his home to duty that I can't afford to keep paying way over and then pay my fuel costs. I don't have anywhere to stay and his x has kindly offered a coffee and the use of her loo so I will just have to suck it up.
I think it's a bit double standard though how because we moved we are made to feel like its all down to us but she moved away first, she made my dh move somewhere he didn't want to go a posting he didn't want and then kicked him out and then moved an hour away so he couldn't see his kids or intrude on her life so my dh has always had to bend over backwards to help her and she's never helped him at all. She also knows all about his back problems because she ran off with some bloke a few days after he fractured his spine and left him to manage 3 kids one being a baby who was only 6months old. Oh and she never asked her bf about driving to the service station because we caught her out over it. She came up with excuse after excuse before she rolled out the 'its not my bf's job but its ok if your dw picks them up when you are unexpectedly called into work line'.
Roll on when they are old enough to get the coach down, eldest step child is almost 10 and youngest is 6 so quite awhile to go.
I beg your pardon to all those who took offence to me using the term 'skids' other peeps used it and I thought it was ok.
Thanks for the replies too.

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 10:51:12

I promise I don't say skids except for on here.
I really think that the drop off place has no bearing on a child's life. It's not like they are abandoned there and dh always treats them when they arrive and they love seeing all the cars and especially their dad.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 08-Aug-13 10:54:16

Oh, FFS - nowhere else on MN is the terminology used by the OP judged by people who have no interest in helping the OP.

I saw a post this morning describing the OPs DCs SM as the OW, even though the OP made it clear the DSC dad had been on his own for years.
I chose not to post out of respect for the OP - pity that SM doesn't get the same.

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 10:58:28

Do you know I am so confused by all the terminology that its given me a headache ;)
China your comment was a blinder and I still can't figure out exactly who's who ;) but thanks though as I had a chuckle.

emilyeggs Thu 08-Aug-13 11:14:35

China, when will you learn, SM's are always the OW wink

catsmother Thu 08-Aug-13 11:26:55

Red ..... now you've elaborated I agree it sucks. I feel very much the same, for similar reasons, as you do - even though we are in effect on "different" sides of the fence because the ex in my case did the moving and in your case, you moved (albeit you had no choice). As you say in situations like this it's the double standards which are so frustrating and upsetting. I think of all the times DP had bent over backwards for his ex and older kids - times when the ex was being selfish and/or manipulative and he still did it in order to keep the peace and minimise the chances of the children being involved (though this often didn't work) and just how much she benefited .... and then I think of how she's resolutely refused to "help" him, even though she created the distance (and she did have a choice!) and my blood boils. On one occasion when the kids were with us they let slip the ex was away for the weekend at a location close to us and en route back to her house. The logical thing would have been for DP to take them to where she was staying as she had to drive home anyway - and thus save himself at least a 5 hour round trip back - but no, she utterly refused to say where exactly she was, and refused to meet him, so you then had the stupid, spiteful, ridiculous scenario of both of them driving back to her house, probably within minutes of each other, on the same bloody road - except we had to bear completely unnecessary expense and DP had to spend hours of extra time making a journey that could have been avoided.

It is just so so frustrating when you realise that other people don't share the same common sense, honesty and compassion as you do. Above all, it really should be a case of what's best for the children. For example, we found that because DP had to do all the driving his kids were invariably getting back here and going to bed really late. The alternative would have been him getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sat to fetch them which would have then cut into contact time so he couldn't win.

It does sound as if your DP's ex doesn't give a stuff if the kids see their dad or not. I think a large part of my DP's ex's attitude was also due to her hoping that he'd give up and disappear if she made it as difficult as possible practically for him to see them.

It's a shame they're not old enough to coach it - I guess it depends on the child but when the oldest is 14 you might be able to trust them enough to look after the younger ones on a coach if it has a conductor but appreciate that's still several journeys in the meantime. The only other thing I can suggest is less frequent visits, but longer visits during the school holidays maybe which would at least reduce the number of journeys required though that's hardly ideal I know.

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 12:53:24

Thanks catsmother, I shall look forward to when they get the coach and until then I shall do my (evil) step mother duty and pick them up ;)

sweetpea13 Thu 08-Aug-13 16:04:22

I'm not getting in to the 'skids' argument, it also seems a little petty when it's quite clear that OP was just using an abbreviation.

Regarding the drop offs though, it is really annoying but I agree that it shouldn't be down to Mum's bf to do the drop offs, nor should it be down to her parent's or his parents or anybody else by that matter. If she drove then I'd say that it would be fair, if she was happy to that driving.

But if I was her then I wouldn't be best pleased with having to spend half a day taking my children half way to their Dad because HE CHOSE to move 4.5 hours away from his children.
If my DP asked me to drive 4.5 hours to pick his kids up and then 4.5 hours to drop them off again, so 9 hours driving for one visit, I'd laugh and tell him to do one! Yes I'll drive them around whilst they're with us but there's a big difference between ferrying them around taking them to friend's houses, taking them out for tea, taking them shopping etc than to spend a whole 9 hours driving.

yes she agreed to meet you half way because her bf said he'd do the driving, but what if they split up? What if he lost his license? what if they had to sell their car? My point is, your DH made a decision to move 4.5 hours away from his children, it was silly to base that decision on the promise of her bf being able to bring the kids half way. If he wants to live 4.5 hours away from his kids then it comes at a price, he needs to be prepared to spend 9 hours driving in order to see them. Yes it's fantastic if they can meet in the middle but he can't expect it.

My friend's DH's ex moved 4 hours away but he is still the one who has to do ALL the driving to see them, basically it's a case of "if you want to see them you can come and get them yourself". That wasn't even his decision but you hardly ever hear him grumbling about it.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 08-Aug-13 16:22:02

sweetpea the OP has explained that her DP is in the forces and so has no choice but to move - BUT, the forces dads I know go and stay close to their DCs as often as they can - they don't expect the DCs to travel!

I appreciate that means that the OP won't see her DP as often during leave or whatever, but it's not like this situation is unexpected - being in the forces comes with the expectation of moving around, and if the OPs DSC parents solution when they initially split was to rely on their 'new' partners to do the ferrying around then it makes you wonder about their commitment to the DC maintaining a relationship with their Dad at all!

Reddwarflover Thu 08-Aug-13 16:26:46

Like I said my dh is in the forces and he can't refuse a posting, you go where you are told to go!
I have already confirmed that because of my dh's poor back I will be collecting and returning the kids. I am willing to put myself out even if his x and her dp won't. End of!

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