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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 11-03-2008, 09:09 AM
davedad davedad is offline
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Default Balancing kids and time etc

Hi Everybody

I just read the "too busy to be a dad", and I'm trying NOT to be. My ex and I split about 5 years ago. We're pretty civil, all things considered, and for the year after I left (she stayed in the mat home, I lived with my mum), she gave me unfettered access and I did weekends and the odd day during the week. When I bought my house (end-2005), I started week on/week off.

Fast forward to Aug 2007.

I met someone who has older kids and didn't want to be in the middle or the target of anything as trying to be a "fill-in mom", so she is pretty much outside my kids. We do some things as the 4 of us, but not really much and she doesn't stay over etc.

Here's the issue. My ex is extremely angry at me because I am not available at a moment's notice or whenever something comes up if I don't have the kids. She would call about a homework issue (not done, not understood, etc), in the evening and want to talk about it.

Am I wrong in thinking that a balance can be that the other parent can deal with issues and if it is serious share or discuss? For big issues we do discuss and figure out.

I'm just trying to see what others do for a "balanced time" with the kids. I'm as involved as I can be (on school council, know their friends and parents, do activities, etc) but when I don't have the kids I do things for myself and am not home much at all.
  #2  
Old 11-03-2008, 12:01 PM
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Kimberley Kimberley is offline
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It's reads to me as though your ex needs to find herself a 'life' when you have the kids. I'd recommend speaking to her about the issue so there will be better understanding about the fact that you won't be there for every phone call, or every waking moment, and she needs to understand that.

Good luck
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:36 PM
davedad davedad is offline
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I'm glad that the first response confirms what I thought...

Angry at me that I wasn't available on a Friday evening at 9pm to discuss a homework situation was a bit much. I replied that I would have wanted to talk to her about it even if were TOGETHER.

I do have to say that overall, compared to many stories and experiences I have read here, she is quite rational and civil to deal with. I feel awful for the situations that others are in, being denied access or effectively losing their children outright.

Personally, I have found that over the 5 years my relationship with my kids has improved and my overall happiness much better.
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Old 11-04-2008, 08:21 AM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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I agree. A line needs to be drawn. Not too thin, and not too thick either. It's a difficult balance. But it also depends on your situation. You say you are week-on/week-off. In that case, I would assume that during your week-on, you're the one helping with homework, running around from activity to activity, tucking the kids into bed, etc. Well, when it's her week-on, she should be expected to do the same. You are no longer a nuclear family, and sadly enough, your access schedule pretty much dictates your parenting role (except in the case of emergencies, naturally).

An example from my experience... when my stepson was a baby/toddler, we had 45% physical custody, despite the 40km drive (one way) at the time. But, mine and my fiancé's schedules allowed us enough time to make this work. (We were full-time students, and we would schedule our classes so that one of us was always able to pick up the little one from daycare.) However, once my stepson's mom moved further away, and my fiancé and I began working the typical 9-5 job, it was impossible for us to continue a split custody arrangement. Needless to say, the bio-mom took us to court and fought for sole custody (no reason, other than another one of her whims). Well, we got joint custody, with primary physical going to her... due to the distance between our homes. So, we started exercising regular every-second-weekend access. It wasn't long before the bio-mom grew tired of the full-time parent responsibilities, and tried to drop a bunch of those responsibilities on us (ex. picking the child up from school, taking him home, then driving him back to her place of residence in the evening - 60km away - for when she was ready to be a mom and receive him). Well, that was just too bad. She fought so hard to be a primary caregiver, she now had to be forced to face the responsibilities. We told her that if she couldn't handle being a parent, we'd gladly go back to court to take over primary custody, so that she could go party and do whatever she pleases. That shut her up quickly. The point is... that in split-family life, you become a parent - most of the time - only when your child is with you. Granted, there are exceptions, like emergencies, special events, etc. when you must be with your child(ren) outside of your access time... but for the most part, the court only expects you to fulfill your personal parenting obligations, not those of the other parent. That's why there's sole custody, joint custody, split custody, shared custody, etc!

Just my two cents worth! ;-)
  #5  
Old 11-04-2008, 11:00 AM
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Well stated #1StepMom!
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:37 AM
davedad davedad is offline
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Thanks for the detailed response and information.

The potential for a move was suggested 2 years ago and I replied with a factual and what I considered solid rationale why I would not permit it (at 150kms, the kids would shortly not want to return on weekends, possibly missing activities, so I would have to stay there or not see them). The reaction was quite ... emotional ... however the move was cancelled and the subject ended. Still burns her a bit, however she has respected it.

Do people tell their ex's when things happen that might spark questions? For example, when you meet someone but do not tell the kids (10 and 8) that you are dating - would you tell your ex in advance that you will be telling the kids or that the other person would be meeting the kids? Do you tell them in advance that the kids saw you kissing (after dating for nearly a year and the kids knowing that you're dating). I am constantly berated for my "lack of respect" and "obvious hatred" for my ex because I don't tell her in advance when situations like this happen. I don't plan them, my smart 10yr old simply asks questions that I answer straight up and don't make it into a big deal.

<sigh>

Sorry to take up people's time, but I really like and appreciate hearing others' opinions and situations. And as I mentioned earlier, I really sympathize with those who have rough or challenging situations with their ex's that affects their access to their children.

Thanks
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:32 PM
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To be blunt, it is absolutely none of her business what you do. You seem to have things very well put together, with the children's best interests coming first.
Personally I would be a little more open with the children then the ex as she has no need to have this common curtsey, whereas, (in some instances) the kids may respond better knowing, IE that you are seeing someone new and that there is a possibility that you may want her to be a part of some occasion, that type of thing.

For her to want to know all these "advance notices" is simply, IMO, a person that is nosey and not willing to face the fact that you have moved on and that you no longer require her approval or opinion. She is simply trying to control you.

Note: This does not include any situation that affects the children directly of course.
But what she has asked is stepping over the obvious boundry!
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:04 PM
davedad davedad is offline
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That's what a few friends - married so I took their input with a grain of salt - had said to me.

I have dealt with questions from the kids about their mom, and I take it in stride or try to be supportive and positive about it.

I agree about the kid-issue - anything about them I try to communicate as soon as possible and likewise is done.

Thanks for the confirmation. I hate taking up people's time but it helps to hear from those "in the know" that I'm not being completely horrible by not telling my ex every time my g/f comes over to do something with the kids or if she is invited to my family's dinner parties. Funny how typing that really reinforces in my head what you said, but I didn't get it quite so plainly before...
  #9  
Old 11-04-2008, 02:14 PM
Ihave2kidsIcannotsee Ihave2kidsIcannotsee is offline
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I think she needs to give her head a shake does she not know you divorced? that means that you aren't there at a moments notice your not married anymore, it looks as if she may be trying to remain attached to you? maybe she really regrets the divorce? I would sit her down and just tell her look we are not married we are divorced and that means that I won't be around whenever you need me to be. If she can't understand that then I say she is living unrealistically , looks like she may be a little jealous of your new relationship.
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