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Access to children, how to gently enforce the bounderies?

23 replies

LadyTambaOfTambaTown · 26/06/2006 09:59

DH has our boys (age 4 and 2) for four days at a time (he works 4 on and 4 off so we have just settled into using that as a basis for access) We are both happy with this arrangement as we boh get to spend large chunks of time with the kids but -

DH seems to think he can look after them here, rather than have them at his moms all day. He takes them to his moms after tea where they sleep over but are back again early in the morning. If I have made plans for the day he wants to know why im not spending time with them. It was my thoughts that if it is 'his day' then he should have them else where, and provide meals for them and take them out, not get under my feet all day and leave me still doing half the child care and having no free time. I dont mind that if we have arranged to go somewhere (like last week Sutton Park) that we all go out together, but feel that it is too much like he still lives here when he has the children.

Is this normally how things work? I realise that this may sound selfish but im concerned that I will never be able to move on properly if he parks himself in my house for 4 days at a time. I think it fudges the bounderies and tbh its annoying me.

I dont want to rock the boat though as everything has been friendly between us so far and I would like to keep it that way. But I have no experience of how the access thing is supposed to work.

OP posts:
sickandtired · 26/06/2006 10:41

tamba, if those are his days they need to be where he lives, it can't work the other way - explain that its probrably confusing for the kids - are you split or not?

Cappucino · 26/06/2006 11:02

no they should definitely be somewhere else

I remember a while back one of my friends who lived quite a way away from his kids had to go to court to sort out access with his ex. He didn't have time to take them to his house and back because of the distance, and my mother agreed to let him have the kids at her house. It was one of the conditions of the access that that was their main place to go. What I'm saying is that even though it wasn't practical for him to take them to his house, he still had to provide a safe and suitable environment.

single fathers have a responsibility to provide somewhere that their kids can go and spend time with them. If his mum's house isn't suitable or she's not happy with that then he needs to get his own place with a spare room for them to sleep in. If this is a temporary solution he's come up with you need to ask him what his plans are long term cos you're right, this can't continue

mistressmiggins · 26/06/2006 19:27

you are not selfish at all
you need to set boundaries for the children else they will be confused

if your H (not DH anymore ) is constantly at your house, the children will not understand that he is no longer living there

my children are 4 & 2 and the eldest STILL seems confused 7 months on
I dont let H help me with DIY or anything simply because I know it would confuse DS.

H too wanted to do day truips with me to begin with but I realised it wasnt reality so I said no.

you can do this and still be friendly - just make sure everything you explain to H is regarding best interests of children


LadyTambaOfTambaTown · 26/06/2006 19:33

He is still here.... His moms place is fine for them to go to, she has even started decorating a bedroom for them (which isnt as nice as it sounds, i think shes planning to try and push dh into going for residency - but he wont.) He thinks it will give them a sense of normality being here. They are staying with me tonight as he has a meeting early in the AM and will pick them up afterwards. Hes watching telly atm.... I should really ask him when hes planning on leving but it feels rude iykwim.

OP posts:
NomDePlume · 26/06/2006 19:35

Tamba, it sounds to me like he thinks you two are still together. MM is right stick to your guns otherwise you'll all be stuck in limbo forever

lou33 · 26/06/2006 19:36

well this is familiar to me, as exh doesnt even have a place to stay when he is seeing the kids, so he ends up crashing with us, sometimes for a few weeks.

normally i manage to go away but sometimes this isn't possible

it's too stressful long term, and it has damaged my attempts at keeping it friendly, mainly because he seems unable to keep out of my private business, and keeps asking more and more personal questions, not relevent to the kids

my way of getting round that last time was to just go out, and leave him to do the childcare bit

if i wanted to go to the pub i went, if i wanted to go shopping i went, if i wanted to surf the internet i did, and let him do everything

it was his turn to take over for a bit so if i was in the house or not, he was going to do it

my kids realise that we are not together anymore and he is just visiting, which makes it easier though

he is back sometime on weds or thurs, but i have told him that this time he cannot expect to be here the entire time, and has to make other arrangements

nutcracker · 26/06/2006 19:37

I found that bit really hard Tamba and most of the time he stayed very late in the end cos I felt awkward saying anything.

LadyTambaOfTambaTown · 26/06/2006 19:44

I am finding it difficult that he always wants to know what im up to that day etc, like because hes around then we should be doing stuff that we used to do when we were still together. Also, I think this should be my break from childcare too and im still doing everything I would if it was 'my days'. It seems like nothing has changed when hes here. Ive been going out more, to the pub and with friends but im still having to explain myself all the time - im trying to get myself a life and feeling guilty for it.

I go through stages of thinking 'oh this is nice' and then 'arrghhh get out of my way'. I think that because he is around so much (everyday) it seems like we are not split and I havent even sorted out IS or CSA yet because it makes me feel mean. Maybe thats what hes hoping.

We are supposed to be working on things, but I want at least 6 months apart to really think about what I want and need and some space to actually be single.

It also annoys me that he will act like he still lives here but will then do no washing up etc 'cause he is a guest' grrrr

OP posts:
nutcracker · 26/06/2006 19:44

Have come to the conclusion that me and you and your dh and my dp are all the same people cos the similarities in our situs sometimes is weird.

mistressmiggins · 26/06/2006 19:50

I have come to the conclusion that men want cake & eat it

my ex still wants to know whats going on / wants to help out round house

wants to know which internet provider I have swapped to
wanted to help me with my internet problem
wanted to install fan in DS's bedroom

BUT didnt want to make a go of our marriage

makes me sooooo angry

tribpot · 26/06/2006 19:55

Tamba, is there any way you can absent yourself during H's time so he realises that - hey, childcare involves laundry, cooking, lots of not-fun stuff? At the very least, this will probably send him back to his mum's if you make it clear that you are prepared to do it each and every time he's on 'duty' so to speak.

Cappucino · 26/06/2006 19:59

tribpot i'd fear that all the laundry would be left for Tamba on her return

I think if you're not happy with this situation you need to say so sooner rather than later. cos otherwise it will fester on till it becomes completely entrenched

lou33 · 26/06/2006 20:01

tamba, i used to feel like that as well

you havent been separated long have you?

i think it was 4months before i told xh clearly that my private life was none of his business since we split, and 2months later he still asks me stuff like did i shag the bloke i went on a date with, and where did i do it!

just keep reminding yourself that you dont have to explain anything about your personal life to him, and refuse to discuss it, and don't feel guilty

am about on msn if you need me btw

NomDePlume · 26/06/2006 20:05

My old next door neighbour has been separated from her exH (he had an affair and left her with teeny baby DD) in January 2004, he still thinks her private life is his business, despite the fact that he is still with his fling, and they are getting married in Sept! What a wanker.

mistressmiggins · 26/06/2006 20:07


sounds like my ex !!

missed you friday

lou33 · 26/06/2006 20:08

yep, xh told me he is in love with someone else but still saying he loves me and he has to know these things to help him move on

(rolls eyes and raises eyebrow)

and yes he still comes on here to read my posts

NomDePlume · 26/06/2006 20:10

It's a real case of 'I don't want you, but I don't want anyone else to have you either'. We used to think it was him convincing himself that if mate did move on, her new bloke would try to replace him as a father to DD, however the more time goes by, we realise that actually it has nothing to do with DD, he just uses her as a way to get at mate .

Thanks MM . IL's came over from Cheshire and we had a fab time. Hopefully I'll be a bit more organised next time! AND I missed vetting the newbies

sparklemagic · 26/06/2006 20:22

Tamba, how do the kids find this current arrangement? Do they seem happy and settled or not?

I completely understand that you need to feel able to have your own life and move on, and it is unusual that he would come to his ex's home so much, however if the kids are benefitting from it then I really would go carefully when changing's so unusual for a split to be so amicable and I take my hat off to you for that; I think you might have to tread a fine line so as to get your own space while not interfering with the kids ability to see their mum and dad getting on so well.

I do agree it can be difficult for kids to understand why, if their mum and dad get on, they are not still together. However I think this confusion has to be better for them than never seeing you two together, or experiencing animosity between their parents...whatever the situation, when their parents split children DO experience confusion and upset, so I wouldn't worry too much about them seeing you get on well!better than the alternative!

good luck, and well done to you...

jordylass · 11/08/2006 23:40

I was pretty much like you, and am still not where I want to be, but felt like it was the same as during our relationship, I was still bending over backwards to keep things amicable 'for the kids'.

We have seperate houses but only because I moved out and left him there, there is no chance he would have moved out.

We did 'family' things together at the weekends, holidayed as a family and kids birthdays and stuff.

I really didn't want this level of intimacy but didn't want him to be upset either. I sort of eased out of it gently, had other things to do at the weekend etc, and although I was told it would be confusing for the children as they wouldn't really be sure of what was happening with us that doesn't seem to have been the case, and I think it has been better for them that the change has been gradual.

I don;t know why i should still be concerned that he would be upset and lots of the time, I just think to hell with him I'll do what I want but can't carry it through, now I'm starting to worry about Christmas, I know he'll expect I'm going back to the family house for it, and lay on the guilt if the kids want to stay here with me.

Good luck

Judy1234 · 13/08/2006 12:27

It is not usual at all. It's very strange. Normally they are seen out of the house. Most mothers wouldn't let the ex be in the house ever. That's the norm, although my ex never sees some of our children. His choice but not fair on me.

Culturalmum · 23/08/2006 10:37

When we 1st split he crashed with his brother who lived an hour or more away so on his midweek access he usually was at mine. It really pissed me off, but I put up with it for nearly 4 years!! as he was broke and I didnt see where he might be able to take her at that hour (he came after work for 2 or 3 hours). But he had to take her at weekends, I'd never have let him abuse my 'me time'.

CaligulaCorday · 23/08/2006 10:50

I agree with MM it's him having his cake and eating it. When it comes to childcare, so many men assume a woman will do it, whether it's wife, ex, or mother. He just hasn't realised that when it's his days, he's ... er... responsible for looking after the kids himself, he's not supposed to expect you to do it with him. This arrangement is great for him - all the benefits of marriage (with woman doing the lion's share of the work) with none of the obligations (washing up, pulling his weight, loving you).

I wouldn't say it's normal, but it's not unheard of. I think you need to change it quite quickly as boundaries are much harder to establish later on - it will feel much more like you're being unreasonable if you've put up with an unsatisfactory situation for months and then you want to change it, than if you put down firm boundaries at the beginning.

bluejelly · 23/08/2006 14:42

I think if it works for both parties, there is nothing wrong with spending some time together as a family. Much nicer for the kids than gritted teeth type handovers.
I quite regularly go out with my dd and her dad for meals out or a trip to the park etc
However I also have some me time, every other week where she stays at his for 24 hours and I think that is vital, for me, for her, for him.
It has taken a while to get to this stage (2 years since we broke, was rather difficult for the first year) but I think it's fine now and don't anticipate any big future probs.

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