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Annnnd....here it comes.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My husband's ex accused him of caring more about our (unborn) child than his existing one on the phone last night.

Why? She said: "I need you to take (SD) for a few days. I need a break."
He asked: "Sure. When's her next day off of school?"
That was followed by said accusation. "Does it matter? I NEED A BREAK and I NEED IT NOW. Maybe if you took care of YOUR DAUGHTER instead of focusing on the one with your NEW WIFE in your great house and your great new life, I wouldn't be on the verge of breakdown."

Is it that unreasonable that a father would express concern for his daughter missing school? Note that he didn't even say "no"--he just made the assumption it would be for a school break. Isn't that a pretty normal assumption for kids who go to school?

SD is with her mom during the week, and us on weekends (reversed during the summer). We live 70 miles apart, so taking her on a school night, or worse, multiple school nights, would involve either getting up at 4:30 a.m. to get her there on time (which would mean she would melt down and be unable to function), or calling her out--she likes school and misses enough of it due to "sniffles" and "looking pale."

That and mom gets 24 hours of uninterrupted time off every week--no work, no school, no kid. I don't get 24 hours of uninterrupted anything and I don't expect to.

Yes, we live far apart.
No, it's not ideal, but it is what it is. SD's mom won't move here, and they both freely admit they're better parents when they're not minutes away (it's much easier to enforce very necessary boundaries). This was agreed to years ago by both parents, and the court.

Sigh...I know this is more of a reaction to the "big news" than anything else (though my husband is trying to determine if this is a genuine emergency--in which case, yes, he'd take his daughter, figure out how to deal with the absence from school, and give his ex some time to recover--or just venting, in which case he'd be happy to take her for her next long weekend or school break).
post #2 of 24
She sounds like she's having a tough time with your happy news. sorry

If it were me and my ex (though DD lives with us 6/7) i would call him on it - i would call her and work out how to arrange a break for mom, i would ask if she's gotten work for DD to do during her time with you guys (because it sounds insanely unfair to try to get her up at 4am to get to school!), and which days would be most use. I might even, out of meanness (i'm not recommending this, just feeling prickly at how she spoke to him) hint that maybe if mom can't cope DSD should live with you guys for a while.

It is likely if she was venting she will back down and tell him either when her next school break is or tell him it's not necessary, OR, if it really IS a bad time for her, it will get her thinking more clearly on how to work the kinks out of the idea.

I would certainly TRY to arrange the break because if nothing else, if you don't that is likely to be communicated in some way to DSD and the last thing she needs right now is to be questioning whether daddy still loves her now he's having another baby. this is a really tough time, sorry you're dealing with it.
post #3 of 24
Yikes, I'm sorry! I was sort of wondering if this happens to everyone else. I was hoping your situation was different since it seemed to be going so well! (from reading here and on the ddc)

You know, I think if we were in this situation (we aren't, we live about 2 minutes from DSS's mom ) we would probably take her, and document. If she really is having these emergency situations where she needs time alone, there may be a deeper problem. If you say something like that to her though you probably never be asked again, and never know what is going on. Maybe she could do some work at home, or go to school later? Of course if she's just being dramatic and testing you guys, then forget it!

The accusation is ridiculous, obviously there is a lot of jealousy there!

When we told dss's mom that we were pregnant with my daughter she was all happy and congratulatory for the first few months...then she went crazy. My husband tried to talk to her about claiming dss every other year on taxes because we have him half time. She started screaming at him about taking her money and wanting to file every single year. Then filed papers to take us to court a couple of days later (and we now claim him every other year). It was so obvious it was a jealousy thing, but it was insane. I never expected that from her and she just continued this strange behavior...and hasn't stopped. I don't think she knows we are pregnant again and we aren't telling her, we will let dss tell her if he wants to. I hope your sd's mom is just going through a short phase, or genuinely needs help!

I think the good thing here is that if she is not being dramatic and really feels she needs a break then it would be a good thing she is being open about it, right? She could be totally stressed out or depressed or something without telling you and that would be a bad situation.

I hope you guys figure out if she's just being dramatic or really has an issue. Either way... rude comments!
post #4 of 24
Wow, she sounds really jealous and insecure about your family. I would expect her to keep using the baby as an excuse to make your DH feel guilty and to let off some steam.

The good news is: she was clear that the issue is with her; she is the one who needs a break. She mentions nothing about your DSD, which is huge!

A more mature person would simply admit that she is exhausted and needs a little break, without placing any guilt on your DH or anyone else. A really secure person would even admit to feeling a little scared or threatened by the new baby, but that would never come from an ex, right?

Don't take it personally. I hope you DH is capable of ignoring and not internalizing her comments and accusations.
post #5 of 24
Really, the ideal response to something like this is: "Actually, I'd love to take on more of the daily responsibility for DD. Let's switch to a 50/50 physical custody arrangement." But as you live so far apart, you can't really enact such a change.

Still and all, just as a matter of strategy, it might be useful for your husband to keep putting it out there, any time that this kind of thing occurs, that what he'd PREFER is for his daughter to live with him full-time. Just so there's no doubt about his priorities in that direction, and his ex understands that she can't be randomly freaking out without risking the possibility that he'll seek to be made the primary custodial parent.
post #6 of 24
Oh for Heaven's sake -- is she four?

I mean, I can see a child testing boundaries and commitment at this stage, but an ex? I mean, she's already an ex. Rejection -- at least one way or the other -- has already occurred. "Tell me I'm still your number one Baby Momma and you'll jump when I call!" Please. She needs to grow up and realize your pregnancy is not about her.

And of course, (barring a true emergency), it needs to be a school break -- your DH was right on that one. Presidents' Day is coming up -- does your district have off then?

We expect similar drama over here once she finds out. No plans to tell her yet, and as she won't let us have the kids for Spring Break (long story, but yes, she can do this), we may not be able to see the kids to tell them about my pregnancy until the month before I'm due!
post #7 of 24
Is she re-partnered?

There is a huge difference in being single and doing all the day to day logistics--school, packing lunches, homework, doctors appt.,meetings with teachers, working while doing the above, making dinner and maintaining order in a home as opposed to having a child on the weekends.

Quote:
That and mom gets 24 hours of uninterrupted time off every week--no work, no school, no kid. I don't get 24 hours of uninterrupted anything and I don't expect to.
Being the custodial day to day parent is a lot to deal with. That 24 hours could well be spent a) recovering from the week b) catching up on housework/laundry from the last week and c) preparing for the next week--laundry, lunches, dinners, etc. I would say that I find the day to day of child raising much more intense than anything else I've done. Your comparison of not having the 24 hours off doesn't really compare. (It will once you have your little one!)

Anyway, so yeah. I think it is totally possible to get to a bit of breaking point and feel as though you NEED some help right away. I've been there before. I'm fortunate that there isn't 70 miles distance though so it is easy for their dad to help out. Does she have any history of anxiety/depression? That would just add to it. I don't think that it should reflect on my custody situation though. It happens in two parent families too.

That said, what she said about you and his new family was not cool. Can you ask for some distance from this during your pregnancy? Operate on a need to know?

lvngmm said
Quote:
A more mature person would simply admit that she is exhausted and needs a little break, without placing any guilt on your DH or anyone else. A really secure person would even admit to feeling a little scared or threatened by the new baby, but that would never come from an ex, right?

Don't take it personally. I hope you DH is capable of ignoring and not internalizing her comments and accusations.
I agree with the overall theme here but find that "never come from an ex" statement offensive and a generalization.
post #8 of 24
On the Irony, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend anybody. When I said "ex" I wasn't referring to any group in particular (we're all ex's of somebody in one way or another.) I meant that people who used to be married but aren't anymore, are usually not together because this type of open, honest communication became difficult or non-existent. Yes, it's a generalization, and I apologize for that, but the majority of couples who are no longer together don't enjoy this level of openness. That's all I meant.
post #9 of 24
Thank you.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Oh The Irony--my SD's mom is not repartnered (more on that in a sec) and yes, has a history of depression... I can certainly understand (not from a "been there" perspective but otherwise) where everything would be overwhelming.

I guess I'm frustrated at an old pattern--my husband isn't really even given the chance to ask or answer a simple question without it turning into an attack on his parenting. (A couple of years ago, he got asked: "Can you take SD on MLK Day?" (I think it was MLK--anyway, some three-day-weekend holiday.) His response: "I think that should be OK, let me check." That also got a hostile response, as though taking a few minutes to look at his calendar to make sure that wasn't the day he had committed to teaching a workshop in Illinois or something was egregious and a sign he didn't care about his daughter.)

As far as "needing to know"...in an ideal world, that would be ideal, but often, these conversations happen in my presence, or on our home voice mail, or in some other manner that I already know half of what's going on. Or he goes into the other room, talks on the phone, comes back looking beat up, and then at that point I just have to know. (Overall, it's probably worse for my mental health to hear only half the conversation or see its aftermath and then be left to wonder--I'm not good at letting it go if I feel I'm missing something--than it is to just hear about it. Often, when I type something here, by the time I get back to respond to answers, I'm already over the biggest issues.)

My husband found out today, from SD's mom herself after they talked again, that SD's mom had a promising date--an in-person date after months of Internet flirting--on Saturday night that went non-traumatically but still spectacularly bad, so a lot of her anger came from the overall rejection, in the context of what's going on here. So, not an emergency.

As it turns out, the next days off from school are at the end of February (we don't get the presidents off, but these are inservice days), and we'll be taking SD then. My husband is looking for work (he graduated college recently) but we should be able to manage anyway if he gets a job and starts before then.

SD's mom is planning a two-week trip out of the country, with a girlfriend, this summer, with the proceeds of her tax refunds and a small inheritance she received from her grandmother, and I'm glad (I'm also glad she wisely decided not to do it during the school year, which would be a nightmare logistically). We'll have SD anyway for 5/7 days during the summer, and we can easily keep her over the intervening weekend, too. (We've got Plans A, B, and C for if I go into labor while SD is here--in addition to the "call SD's mom and have her get her" plan that can work some days of the week but not others--so that's not a worry.)
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Oh for Heaven's sake -- is she four?

"Tell me I'm still your number one Baby Momma and you'll jump when I call!"
I dont post in this forum much (just lurk), but I have an 8yo ss, and Ive never seen someone put this so rightously true to what Ive gone through...after dh and I being married for 5yrs and having 3 of our own, and her having 3 with 3 diff guys, she still pulls this with all 3 of the guys! Just had to chime in that I loved this sentence! It never ends, does it?

proto...I really hope you dsd's mother calms down. from what Ive seen on here before it seemed like you all had a pretty amicable relationship...I also have to say i envy the relationship you have with your dsd. Good Luck with the remainder of you preg!


sorry about any typos....one handed typing while nak!
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi.birthdoula View Post
I dont post in this forum much (just lurk), but I have an 8yo ss, and Ive never seen someone put this so rightously true to what Ive gone through...after dh and I being married for 5yrs and having 3 of our own, and her having 3 with 3 diff guys, she still pulls this with all 3 of the guys! Just had to chime in that I loved this sentence! It never ends, does it?
Thanks!

You know, when I saw my sentence quoted back I thought, uh-oh, there I went opening my big mouth again... But then it turned out you said something nice.
Glad I could express what at least several of us have experienced.
post #13 of 24
I think most mamas here can truly understand how much help just an hour a day of "no kid responsibility" time can mean.

Without having that for 6 days a week- those 24 hours sans child aren't the same.

I read so often how the other parent (in intact relationships) should step up and lend a hand in the child rearing. Moms need a break sometimes. I am really surprised someone suggested that the mom-who-parents-24/6- should be made to feel badly about needing a break. That is really cruel .
post #14 of 24
No-kid? What is this No-Kid of which you speak

I have to admit, i agree. I was doing it alone 24/6 (well, XP would visit, but not take on full care or take DD out or anything, he came to play with her, i still had to be Mum in the background) and i coped but i loved my break. It's only since i moved in with DH (a year ago) that i realise how much of a massive difference it makes just having another person who can be responsible there with you. I have felt like i'm on vacation ever since we moved together

It's really the stupid things for me, like when DH is here if i need to pee i can pee WITHOUT having to listen out to what DD is up to. If i'm tired i can lay down for a bit. If i want to make a coffee i can do it without coming back to check DD is ok 4 times. I think for me it's the mental strain of knowing the buck has stopped and it's on my lap that tired me out most. We still really appreciate our weekend breaks when DD is happily off playing with Dada, but it's more about us reconnecting as a couple now, rather than me limp on a sofa getting my breath back!
post #15 of 24
Just want to point out that ProtoL's step-daughter is in school, so mom is not actually parenting 24/6. My husband stays home with our kids, so I am VERY aware of the difference between being home with children 24/7 and working or having children in school... sure I am still their parent and have to be "on call" if something comes up, but I would definitely not say that my 24 hours of parenting even compares to his 24 hours of parenting.

I'm not saying there's no reason for her to want a break, I'm just pointing out that her situation is very different than, say, a stay-at-home parent with a toddler in need of constant supervision.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm by no means trying to make her feel bad or be snarky at her for needing a break...but, to answer questions: yes, SD is in school, which does mean there's a rush in the morning, hurry to work, and another rush in the evening. SD's mom does get one weekday off, which doesn't eliminate the morning and evening rush that days but it is some time to get things done or relax or whatever. At least two days a week, she's off an hour or two before she needs to pick SD up at school, too.

SD does not night-wake at her house anymore, and if she does, it's just to go to the bathroom and come back (they full-time co-sleep over there). So nighttime parenting is minimal (it's more here, though we seem to have gotten over the latest sleep regression and into one brief waking/needing a hug).

Part of it seems that much of their time is kind of the routine, boring, wake-breakfast-school-work-home-dinner-homework-bedtime argument-start over stuff, but changing that would mean less break time (the parenting plan actually calls for one weekend a month with Mom, which my husband has offered to break into two Sundays because Mom works Saturdays, but she says no to either), which she doesn't want.

She does come at us with this weird air whenever we even ask about something that might encroach on the time off, no matter how legitimate it is (no, we don't ask if it's just something like finding a sitter for my work brunch, nor did we ask if we could have "alone time" the day after we got married--but we once asked if she wanted to take SD on Mother's Day, as the parenting plan is written, and she got downright angry at my husband for even suggesting that being with her daughter on Mother's Day was preferable to having a break).


Regardless...I don't think it's appropriate for any party in a divorce/blended situation to take their frustrations out on the other side (especially, indirectly, on a pregant woman and an unborn child), when the other side isn't being unreasonable or obnoxious. I have no idea if SD was in the room or heard any of the conversation (she was at her mom's during the discussion, it was past her bedtime but who knows).

I do know (well, again, not in the "been-there" way) that even if SD was here full time, it would be 100% easier for my husband and I to handle things than just my husband by himself. (Heck, as I've been "down for the count" recently due to pregnancy/exhaustion, I can tell he's not at his best, either--many people just parent better when they know they have backup, even if the backup isn't actively doing anything right then.)
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
Just want to point out that ProtoL's step-daughter is in school, so mom is not actually parenting 24/6. My husband stays home with our kids, so I am VERY aware of the difference between being home with children 24/7 and working or having children in school... sure I am still their parent and have to be "on call" if something comes up, but I would definitely not say that my 24 hours of parenting even compares to his 24 hours of parenting.

I'm not saying there's no reason for her to want a break, I'm just pointing out that her situation is very different than, say, a stay-at-home parent with a toddler in need of constant supervision.
I'm not in a blended family, I'm a single mom, but I sometimes read here because I feel like it gives me some insight into what many of the families I work with deal with. I just have to say, that as a working single parent, the hours I spend at work putting food on the table, are definitely parenting. I also say that having been lucky enough to spend time at home with DS (I'm a teacher and didn't work summers until he was older), that for me, and I can't speak for others, the routine of caring for a house, and a child, and getting homework done, grocery shopping, finishing up things from work etc . . . when he's in school and I'm in work is way more exhausting that staying home with a toddler was.
post #18 of 24
ProtoLawyer I agree that this is a reaction to your big news - don't be surprised if things like this start to happen more often. It did with us when I was expecting DD1...and a couple of months after she was born we got an invitation to court for an increase in child support. This happened while DH was working away for several months. I'm sure filing that when DH would not be able to respond was part of her strategy. I had a newborn, my husband was away and I had to worry about retaining a lawyer to help settle this. When DH returned we were still trying to work something out with her and DH requested more visitation for the time that he was home and his ex said no because DSS felt like the new baby was going to interfere with his activites. She didn't want increased visitation on the record but when she had a boyfriend, DSS spent more time with us than he did with his mom. Many times DH's ex has accused him of neglecting their son to take care of our DD's, while in reality the CS allowes her to provide much more for DSS than we can provide for our DD's - but that's another discussion.

I think Violet said it best! I don't think this is about her needing a break at all, I think her actions are a direct result of her jealousy! I'm not saying that custodial parents don't need breaks, I just think in this particular situation, jealousy was the cause. A new baby can really bring that out in some ex's and I know that from personal experience.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post
I think most mamas here can truly understand how much help just an hour a day of "no kid responsibility" time can mean.

Without having that for 6 days a week- those 24 hours sans child aren't the same.
I was going to respond to the above quote, but it looks like aricha's put voice to my thoughts already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
Just want to point out that ProtoL's step-daughter is in school, so mom is not actually parenting 24/6. My husband stays home with our kids, so I am VERY aware of the difference between being home with children 24/7 and working or having children in school... sure I am still their parent and have to be "on call" if something comes up, but I would definitely not say that my 24 hours of parenting even compares to his 24 hours of parenting.

I'm not saying there's no reason for her to want a break, I'm just pointing out that her situation is very different than, say, a stay-at-home parent with a toddler in need of constant supervision.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
I was going to respond to the above quote, but it looks like aricha's put voice to my thoughts already.
So tell me if I might need a break nad if I were in an intact relationship would you all say that "DH" needs to step up once in a while....

Monday through Friday-

Morning routine (wake, breakfast, dress, hygeine, get to school)
Drop at school then work 7 hours.
Pick up from sitter by 5pm sharp.
Get home at 5:30.
Make dinner, talk about kid's day.
Do homework for 30 mins to an hour.
Play for a few minutes.
Prepare for bed.
Kid in bed by 8 ( but another period of time *an hour?* doing the whole "I need a drink, I need to potty, I need ____")
Make lunches, do laundry, read email, maybe sew some clothes for another 2-3 hours.
Go to bed and start over.

Saturday (because I have to work 6 days a week to make 40 hours becuase of the school/sitter hours):

Same as above but instead of taking kid to school, I take her to dad's. Yup, I save us both money by working on his day!

Sunday is our day to possibly have a bit of "Free" time together. Maybe hit the zoo, go to the museum. Maybe we'll go food shopping, buy new glasses for kid, get her a new pair of shoes, do a long-term school project, or dig out from the snow. Some weekends we actually clean the house! So no, I wouldn't switch the weekend days (as PL suggested in an earlier post) with BD since it would cost us both money and it would mean another day with a sitter instead of with her dad.

So yeah, I sympathize with the mom. Kid is in school but those hours are chock full with actual working for pay by the mom. It isn't free time for her. Notice the lack of time for cleaning in my schedule? Maybe the mom is cleaning the house that hour or two a day that her kid is still in school and mom is home? Lord knows my house could stand an hour every day of cleaning!

Mother's Day? Would I be horrified at thought of not seeing my child? Uh, probably not (I'd personally not be happy, but I can see how another might think a free day might be the best present). I see her almost every Sunday. If I really needed a break, I'd let BD keep her if it fell on the requisite weekend.

Honestly, I am exhausted most weeks but not crazy yet. I could see how another might feel really stressed, though.
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