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Oh Boy Do I Need to Vent - advice?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
It's that time of year - tax time. *sigh. DH's child support payment went up by $200 starting this month/next month? and My child tax credit went down by $400. So we are supposed to live with $600 LESS per month than we have been. I realize this is life and we have to deal with it...but it's so discouraging when finances are so tight. DH is upset about the higher child support payment and I tried to remind him that I also RECEIVE child support so really in the end it more than zero's out (because he has two kids and i have three).

I guess the most frustrating part of the child support payment is we provide SO MUCH for the children on top of the cs payment. DH's ex doesn't send the children here in weather (or size) appropriate clothing so I end up buying them everything they need - because when they are here and its minus 30 degrees (celcius) outside, they NEED a winter jacket or the opposite, the kids will come dressed for winter and it will be plus thirty degrees outside. Other times dsd (3) who wears size FOUR will come in clothes label 18 months! This is completely obsurd to me - especially since I made a point one day of going out and buying each child a few brand new outfits and took them over there, and gave them to their mom and said...here is some new clothes - please give me all the stuff that doesn't fit anymore and I'd be happy to take it to Goodwill for you. (I've never seen the children wear the clothes I bought).

DH ex doesn't send ANYTHING with the children when they come - only the clothes on their backs. Now, we live in Canada so weather needs to be checked to make sure they need sweaters, or sandles etc. I've asked DH to at least ask her if she could pack ONE change of clothes with the kids so they have something to come home in since I do my laundry during the week and often don't have time to throw in a load to clean their things before they leave. Of course, if she could just send UNDERWEAR I'd be happy with that but dss (5) came not wearing ANY underwear this time which imo forces me to send him home in underwear that I have bought which doesn't get returned. NOTHING I send home with the children ever comes back even if we ask.

I'm really not sure what to do about the situation because it seems that everything we have tried hasn't worked. We tried sending a bag back and forth and explaining to her that if she put stuff directly in the bag when she is done with it so we can collect the bag when we pick up the kids next (this is how I work it with my ex and it works perfectly). We've tried asking her to send things - even specifically and still they show up in unsuitable clothing and footwear.

I've also explained to her that I bargain shop BIG TIME. I don't buy anything new and my kids dress to the nine's. I never spend more than $3 on any article of clothing. I've offered to buy her whatever she needs for the kids and give her the bill so she doesn't have to go spend money on new clothes. Her response is that it's a good idea but she doesn't need anything.


The other part of the child support issue is DH used to have the kids 40-50% of the time which affected his payment (since he had them half the time) and it has slowly gotten less and less so now we don't have them much at all. I feel like I should tell him to ask for his time back. I actually found it easier when the kids were here every Thurs-Sun because at least all the kids were together on a regular basis. Now things are to the point that my kids and his kids only see each other a day or two out of the month and it's starting to cause a bit of a wall between them and they aren't getting along anymore. DSD (5) was in kindergarten last year which is why they started coming on Friday's instead of Thursday's and at the time he wasn't ready for school (a whole other issue) so this year he is repeating kindergarten, he has experience with going to school now so it's not a new issue and I feel we should go back to Thursdays....DH can drop him off and I can pick him up from school.

Does anyone have any suggestions or have similar things that they go through? DH is emotional about the whole thing and I don't have the answer so I feel like I can't help because I don't understand why things have to be so difficult.
post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by weezix View Post
Other times dsd (3) who wears size FOUR will come in clothes label 18 months! This is completely obsurd to me - especially since I made a point one day of going out and buying each child a few brand new outfits and took them over there, and gave them to their mom and said...here is some new clothes - please give me all the stuff that doesn't fit anymore and I'd be happy to take it to Goodwill for you. (I've never seen the children wear the clothes I bought).

NOTHING I send home with the children ever comes back even if we ask.

I'm really not sure what to do about the situation because it seems that everything we have tried hasn't worked. We tried sending a bag back and forth and explaining to her that if she put stuff directly in the bag when she is done with it so we can collect the bag when we pick up the kids next (this is how I work it with my ex and it works perfectly). We've tried asking her to send things - even specifically and still they show up in unsuitable clothing and footwear.
We had problems similar to this when we started out, right down to the showing up in clothes three sizes too small. I think that part of it (in our case) is some weird obsession with skinniness, "Oh, my DD is so skinny, she can wear an 18-24 mo skirt to kindergarten!" DSD's mom really prides herself on DSD's body size and is vocal about it.

To solve the problem, have the children return in exactly what they arrived in. That is really the only way to preserve your budget. If they show up in sweatshirts and need parkas, have your DH drive them in parkas collect the parkas upon drop-off. Since she refuses to return things, you are under no obligation to send them to the other house. Buy the things you need for your house and keep them there.

You also have to let go of what she does, you can only control what happens at your house. Whenever we see DSD at a school function on her mom's day, DH remarks how much more disheveled she looks compared to how she does at our house. It used to drive me nuts. I am pretty sure that her teachers can tell exactly whose week it is. But what happens at her mom's happens at her mom's. I can only control the personal hygiene/appearance of the children in my own home.
post #3 of 34
We have the same problem as well and there is a big size difference in the 2 kids. So we have been doing what pinksprklybarefoot said, returning the kids in the clothes their mom sends them because she would keep what we would buy them.
post #4 of 34
I agree with Pink.

And we had this nonsense for a long time, too. She used to send the worst of the clothes, maybe 2-3 pairs of underwear for the whole summer, etc. Things have improved a lot, but really in the meantime you just have to let it go. We ignored all the clothing issues and just bought stuff for while they were here. We always buy underwear and socks since we don't know if she'll pack any and it's a pain to deal with when they're already here. The kids know they have [our state] clothes and [her state] clothes and they are pretty good about going home in the right stuff. DSS asked this time if he could take [our] underwear back with him after the summer, and we felt silly saying no, but truly we buy it so he has some here, not as some donation. So we compromised and let him wear one back so he could show his mother that that's the kind he likes now.

I think from her perspective she's their only parent and their only home and it never occurs to her to return things to us. Ever. I don't expect that to change.

That being said, clothing issues have improved a lot over the years, in that she sends more and better stuff with the kids when they come here than she used to. Hopefully when the bitterness fades the clothing issues you're dealing with will diminish as well.

Oh, and as far as items, toys, clothes that got sent by request or mistake, and things we asked to be sent home, not once has anything ever been returned to us. So we have just accepted that, and we don't send things there that we ever want to see again.
post #5 of 34
If your DH wants to use all his parenting time, then he should pursue that. If he doesn't, then he shouldn't. But money shouldn't be a factor in that decision - especially not $200/month. He should think about what's best for his kids. And depending on how far apart you live, what kind of routine they have going on during the week, etc., I could see that one going either way.
post #6 of 34
From the flip side.....

I used to send my kids with extra clothes. And would get back clothes that no longer fit, too-big clothes for our daughter that were her SMom's cast-offs, etc. After having to replace the clothes they wore here a few months in a row? I quit sending anything extra.
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
If your DH wants to use all his parenting time, then he should pursue that. If he doesn't, then he shouldn't. But money shouldn't be a factor in that decision - especially not $200/month. He should think about what's best for his kids. And depending on how far apart you live, what kind of routine they have going on during the week, etc., I could see that one going either way.

DH DOES want his parenting time. We went through a short rough patch where we were doing a MAJOR renovation on our house and I was unbelievably sick with a new pregnancy and the kids were getting all torn out of shape because they would come and DH would be spending all his time on reno's and I was too sick to give them much attention. I think that's where it all started, where he asked if he could not take them on one of his weekends so that he could get more of the reno done so when they came next time he could devote his time to them and it kind of went from there.

The money thing ISN'T the issue, in fact we discussed tonight that even if he does get his 40-50% time back and he still has to pay the full child support we will and there is no worries about it. Time with his kids is far more important than that money.

He did talk to her tonight asking her for his Thursdays back and also asked her to send one change of clothes with the kids when they came so that if I didn't get a chance to do laundry that weekend then they would have something to go home in. She flipped out and said absolutely not we can take her to court. Nice. GRRR. Of course she went off on why ...and it was mostly MY fault.

I'm pretty confident that DH would win the case if he went back to court/mediation and asked for his day back. We are in a position to provide what the children need and still have them be able to attend their schools with no disruption. Their school is only a couple blocks from DH work and he only works half days on Friday so he can do all the driving to and from.

I guess I'm just going to have to suck it up and send the kids back in their inappropriate rags of clothes. I've learned my lesson and not sent back nice stuff in a while and I really don't care about getting the clothes back. I just don't understand why she can't eventually give it back - or let the kids wear the stuff I send home so they are coming in decent clothes!! haha.

The part that bothers me is we often go out and do family things on the day they go back. I don't like taking the kids out looking like that. So at what point do they change their clothes to go home. You know?
post #8 of 34
Yeah, we had the same problem--one time DSD came off the airplane wearing a size 4 skirt (she was 7--and really tall for her age) that barely covered her bottom. And no underwear. We buy her decent stuff and it kills me to tell her she can't take it home, but the reality is we would never see the clothes again. Her mom NEVER combs her hair; it usually takes me an hour the first night she is here to get it combed through. And the latest thing is her mom (who makes six figures) is buying her clothes we can't afford and telling her the clothes we buy are "not nice at all." Which would be OK, she can wear the clothes her mom wears--we do send them back--except that they are, um, really mature clothes for a third grader. We are not prudes but wow! Some of that stuff is really something else.

Any more I just laugh. It's amazing to me that people who have been divorced for seven years still play these games. I mean, seriously? I guess if I ever end up divorced, at least I'll know how not to be THAT ex-wife.
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
From the flip side.....

I used to send my kids with extra clothes. And would get back clothes that no longer fit, too-big clothes for our daughter that were her SMom's cast-offs, etc. After having to replace the clothes they wore here a few months in a row? I quit sending anything extra.
I can totally understand her not wanting to send an extra outfit if SHE was the one worried about not getting stuff back. I have a bag hanging in my laundry room that I put their stuff in as soon as it comes out of the dryer and every week that bag goes back to them. It's been long enough now for her to realize that she gets EVERYTHING back even down to the mis-matched socks.

So do people in this situation just make sure they do laundry on the weekends before they go back? I guess it's really not a HUGE deal but I work my butt of on laundry all week because we have a large family and I really don't like doing a small load on the weekend just to clean 2 outfits - especially if we have plans and are busy.
post #10 of 34
Yes, when we lived in the same town and had her every weekend, we did her laundry so at least she could wear clean clothes home (we'd send her home in what she came in; she wore "our" clothes in between). You do what you gotta do. And once I washed a sweater she brought that was covered with cat hair. I have never really had pets so I didn't think to brush the hair off first, so the whole rubber ring on the front-loading washer was FULL of cat hair. My husband wanted to put it in a baggie and send it home, since she came with it. That was kind of funny, but I did talk him out of it.
post #11 of 34
Maybe if you don't have time to wash an extra outfit just to send the kids home in the clothes they came in, she doesn't either. That sounds like a pretty tall order to me- having separate clothes at two different houses and keeping track of whose are whose? I guess that from my perspective clothes are a minor issue, mainly because my kids wear what they want, and they often insist on some outlandish stuff! Some of my daughter's favorite clothes are stained and too small, simply because she loves them. But if you offered to buy her a new outfit, she would be delighted and would want to wear it home.

I consider myself a good mom, but my kids have certainly looked scraggly and inappropriate at times, especially since I became a single mother.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by weezix View Post
I have a bag hanging in my laundry room that I put their stuff in as soon as it comes out of the dryer and every week that bag goes back to them. It's been long enough now for her to realize that she gets EVERYTHING back even down to the mis-matched socks.

So do people in this situation just make sure they do laundry on the weekends before they go back? I guess it's really not a HUGE deal but I work my butt of on laundry all week because we have a large family and I really don't like doing a small load on the weekend just to clean 2 outfits - especially if we have plans and are busy.
It sounds like you usually send the previous week's clean outfit back with them -- why couldn't they just wear it instead of packing it up?
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
It sounds like you usually send the previous week's clean outfit back with them -- why couldn't they just wear it instead of packing it up?
lately i have been doing a special load just for them. i'm usually not pulling it out of the dryer until moments before they get picked up though. i will just continue to do the laundry which really isn't a huge issue, but it's still really hard for me to put those clothes back ON them to send them home in since they aren't weather and size appropriate.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by weezix View Post
it's still really hard for me to put those clothes back ON them to send them home in since they aren't weather and size appropriate.
That's because for any decent mom, (with or without a step- at the front,) it's about putting the kids first.

As a kid who grew up with clothes that didn't fit or were old or out of fashion, this thread hurts to read.

Venting on a message board like this is a healthy thing to do. Not giving in to the games other people play (for instance if you felt the other parent had plenty of money/clothes and were not sending them along) can also be a healthy thing to do depending on the circumstances. Actually allowing children to go without what they need is not.
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by weezix View Post


He did talk to her tonight asking her for his Thursdays back and also asked her to send one change of clothes with the kids when they came so that if I didn't get a chance to do laundry that weekend then they would have something to go home in. She flipped out and said absolutely not we can take her to court. Nice. GRRR. Of course she went off on why ...and it was mostly MY fault.
Is she denying his COURT ORDERED visitation? B/c if the most current court order says thats his day, its his. And he can exercise it. He may have to go to court over it, but she's in contempt of court if she's not allowing him his court ordered visitation.
post #16 of 34
I would not put clothes that don't fit back on a child. I would thrift and take hand me downs from people and send them back with at least one outfit that fits. This may be a battle with the x but it's the child who is being made uncomfortable. I would also keep the small outfits and if they are asked about I would say that I have them but thought they must have been put on by accident since they were so many sizes too small and that I have them in a box to donate but if they would like to donate them instead...

For the people who have distance visitation (summers and such) what is the point of keeping the clothing you get for them and not allowing them to return with it? There is a good chance it won't fit next time they visit. Really? Not allowing them to keep their underwear? Weird.
post #17 of 34
If the clothing they show up in is that inappropriate, I'd be thrifting and asking friends/church/etc. for donations so I had huge supply of correctly sized basic items that I could send them home in. For coats, I'd collect them at door during the handoff. And your husband should document, in detail via email communication, every single instance of the kids being inadequately dressed on dropoff. "On November 15th 2010, you dropped off our children wearing short sleeves with no coats or sweatshirts in 10 degree weather. Our children were inadequately dressed and I am concerned for their well-being. Please dress our children appropriately for the weather when you drop them off again on November 29th." Overandoverandoveragain. If she gets the idea that you are documenting, she might cut this nonsense out. Also, calling somebody in a calm way on their unacceptable behavior can help you let it go, instead of having it fester inside you. Once your biweekly documentation email is sent, then you'll probably both be able to put it out of your minds.

I am so glad your husband wants his Thursday back and the the logistics would be workable. But yeah, you're likely going to have to take that one back to court.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
I would not put clothes that don't fit back on a child. I would thrift and take hand me downs from people and send them back with at least one outfit that fits. This may be a battle with the x but it's the child who is being made uncomfortable. I would also keep the small outfits and if they are asked about I would say that I have them but thought they must have been put on by accident since they were so many sizes too small and that I have them in a box to donate but if they would like to donate them instead...

For the people who have distance visitation (summers and such) what is the point of keeping the clothing you get for them and not allowing them to return with it? There is a good chance it won't fit next time they visit. Really? Not allowing them to keep their underwear? Weird.
Of course. We're the weird ones here, wanting to be able to use what we buy (no, a 9 year old does not outgrow underwear in a month or even two -- "summers and such" is usually around ten visits per year) instead of having it thrown out. And I know, being the reasonable person you are, that if the shoe were on the other foot and we just kept all the clothes that were sent our way and never returned anything, that you would tell her to buy clothes for each and every visit to send to us and that she'd be "weird" to want anything back. Perfect logic. You can bet, if there's a dad involved, any conflict is his fault.
post #19 of 34
yeah. I think denying a child's request to take his new underwear with him is weird and their mother would still need to send clothes even if they weren't returned. What's the alternative? Send them naked. I sent my son on a visit with his dad wearing a brand new coat. The only new new coat he'd had in years. They didn't return it and have failed to mail it back. Doesn't mean I will send him without a coat if they visit him when its cold. That only punishes my son.
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post #20 of 34
I also don't see where any of this is father related. My point is that the kids are the ones suffering in the stupid clothes game. Why put the kids back in ill-fitting clothes to send them home?
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