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Non-custodial parents and childcare

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've talked about this before, but just wanna talk again.

SO and I are the custodial parents of dss (9 years old). Biomom wasn't a huge part of his life until this past year and a half. THis past summer we all made arrangements for a set schedule for dss to be with biomom (every tuesday until 8pm, every other thursday until 8pm and every other weekend, friday-sunday at 7pm).

Well, maybe 2 months ago biomom gets a job and starts TELLING us 'sorry can't have him this day/time' etc, and bring him home. It was frustrating to begin with, but we tried dealing, and knew we couldn't change how biomom was.

SO and I both work, and can't afford daycare either (we understand that biomom can't), so we work our schedules for work so that we can watch the children while the other works. If one of us has to do an extra day/time, the other will take off of work to accomodate.

Biomom has a live-in boyfriend, they have a baby together. She's done the schedule thing to fit around her bf's schedule so he can watch their baby, but he won't watch dss. So, biomom just drops him off here telling us 'i'll bring him by this time and pick him up this time', not asking if we had plans or anything, just TELLING us.

Honestly, I'm fed up.

When we have dss (more than 2/3's of each month), WE take care of childcare. Either myself or SO, or SO's mother. We cannot afford sitters, and don't have friends to watch the children etc. (same situation as biomom, can't afford sitters, no friends, but has her bf and mother). But biomom just drops him off here, instead of asking her mother or boyfriend.

How come we can work around our work schedules, and have our family watch the kids when we're working, but she can't?

How can we remedy this?

This past weekend, SO had to work on Sat, so I took off that day, to watch BOTH children. But this Sat, biomom has to work and is bringing dss here for us to watch, while her bf stays home with their baby.

Going by what she does, I suppose I should've called and TOLD her we would drop dss off and pick him up when SO was done work. (since DD is the child we have together etc)

I wouldn't do that, and don't feel that way one bit, but I sometimes wonder how biomom would feel if we did to her what she does to us...

SO loosely agrees, although he wishes dss didn't have to see biomom period, and he'd rather him be with us 24/7 and with her never. I know dss needs time with his mom, and hate that I have to fight with her to get it for him

Vent over!
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry for this thread guys... Just once again I'm sitting here crying feeling frustrated and used. I don't like that biomom wants to just drop dss like a hot potato. I don't like that she thinks I'm here and her beckon call, and she can just tell my SO when she'll drop dss off with ME, and SO just says 'okay' and 'frogets' to even consult me I'm feeling kinda like a prisoner... I have no say in this, and feel like free childcare

I know it's wrong of me... This is MY child too... BUt, I want my time too. Dss and I get along MUCH better when we have time apart. Our relationship improved tenfold when we set up the schedule, and it's been going downhill since biomom started just leaving him with me during times she was supposed to be seeing him.

I don't know what to do. I feel so horrible. I'm supposed to love this child, and I do, but it doesn't seem like my feelings and actions SAY that, ya know? My SO thinks I'm just saying I don't want dss around...

I do, but I also know our relationship requires us to have time apart... We're still figuring out each other.

I'm starting to think I'm not equipped for this, and am so depressed over my feelings
post #3 of 14
Oh dear one... I am so sorry. You need to at least keep your partner on your side. Be very clear with him that your isue has nothing to do with the boy. That it has everything to do with the stress of not being able to plan a day and of feeling taken advantage of and taken for granted. As for the desire to sometimes have time apart from dss... don't let anyone guilt trip you about that. People want space from their birth children, too. It's not a step parent issue. Don't let them make it one.

It's hard to see a solution. If SO was on the same page with you, if you had a united front you could simply be clear. You are not available to watch dss during her time with him. But I can also understand his concerns about leaving his son with his ex, and I would have concerns about leaving a child with someone who I didn't know well, wasn't sure I trusted and who had been clear about not wanting the child around. (I mean ex's new partner there.)

So.. no real help. But I feel you and you are really between a rock and a hard spot.
post #4 of 14
I agree, I think the first step (and probably the hardest) is to get SO on your side, and understanding you. You can't approach the ex about this and fix what she does, without dealing with your SO *allowing* her to do this in the first place. I guess my best advice would be to say how you feel and give some solutions (guys are always looking for how to fix it) without sounding like you have a problem (judging from your other posts your SO sounds like mine, and this is the only way that works for us) Then after you guys have come to an understanding, deal with biomom.
I hope you guys can work this all out, I can see how you would feel like free childcare and how you would be upset that there IS someone who can keep him for her when its her time and still be able to come home to him when she gets off work.
post #5 of 14
I know it sucks but around here, we parent like she's not around. If dss is sick, I'll stay home from work even though his biomom doesn't work. We just can't count on her, so we don't ask. The free time has to be worked out between dh and me, as if she wasn't around and wasn't an option. Sucks. Unfair. I know.
post #6 of 14
First, I would like to know if this visitation schedule is in writing, i.e. if the courts have ordered it or if you have signed a settlement agreement setting it out. If not, you have no obligation to allow her visitation unless she goes to court and demands it. It's harsh, but it is true.
That being said, if there is no court-ordered schedule then you should realize you are the one in power. (This is what I hate as a non-custodial stepmom.) You can let her see your dss, but only if she gives you advanced notice. If she can't do that, she can't schedule time with the kid.
If there is an agreement, and/or she can't even give you advanced notice, then I agree you have to operate as if she's not there and cannot be counted on. Though you may not be able to afford child care, know that a portion of whatever you would spend in child care would be payable by mom to you as child support.
Further, an increased inability on her part to take her visitation may prompt you to revise your visitation agrement in court (if you have it).
Just a legal pov, which is unfortunate to discuss, but a reality.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
What's written in the court order is from 4 years ago which states 'sporatic supervised visitation', not even a set time frame. She used this for a long time, and only saw him once every few months for a couple years.

Last summer, she was still doing supervised visits, but when she became pregnant with her new baby, she asked what she could do to see him more and 'get more custody' (her words). They never went back to court, but SO was just thrilled that she wanted something to do with him. She seemed clean and was acting more mature and responsible. She slowly got better. So this past summer we all set up the agreement. Nothing legal, nothing in writing. Just our word.

Our word means alot though, so we're not gonna go pulling the old 'this is what the court order says crap'. We're adults, we made this choice, and we made it because we know DSS needs to see his mother. We've talked about going back to court and changing the visitation etc, but are not sure we want to go that route.

Honestly, I don't think I'm ever going to get SO to believe that this isn't about me not wanting DSS around. Last night he was telling me 'but it feels like that sometimes', and when I tell him it's not true, all he says is I'm telling hiim he can't have feelings, or that his feelings are wrong.

How can I argue with that? It's not working to 'fix' this at all. So, honestly, I'm just gonna give up for a while and let biomom walk all over me... Maybe one day SO will see it better and understand...

(he also tried to say last night that I'm trying to get biomom to lose her job, by trying to get her to stick to the schedule. So, really, I'm just done talking about it with him )
post #8 of 14
Do you have to go to court to get a new schedule? In california, we do it through mediation (free) and they file it with the court. We just go to court when we don't agree. Is her job sporatic? Does she have a schedule at work that she sticks to or what?

On another tangent--
Do you guys officially have custody? It's always up for question with us. Our last order is from when dss was in preschool (he's in 5th grade now) and it gave dh custody but said for "6 months then back to court" which never happened. We assume we have custody, but we never pull the "we have custody, so we have the upper hand" because from what I understand, she could really do the same thing without an official custody order. We don't want things to get ugly.

I keep thinking, just a few more years and custody isn't an issue (ok, 7 years), but then I guess we'll all argue about grandkids!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes, SO has official custody. At the time of the divorce and mediation, biomom wanted nothing to do with custody, so that's what's 'official' really. I don't like the idea of it being 'we have custody, so we have the say', I'd much rather it be, 'we're also adults in dss's life and deserve respect'... Simply, ya know?

Biomom doesn't have a normal work schedule, it changes slightly each week, not by much though. What I don't understand is that is she does have a set schedule with dss, why can't she work something out with her boss? It just feels like she only wanted to think about and accomodate her new
baby, and not dss. And that hurts alot too...

SO believes he would have to go through the court to get visitation changed. I'm new to CA and have never done this, I go by what he says, if that makes sense... Also, I think he knows they wouldn't agree on anything, (thinking back to his last mediation with her)...

I just think he would rather stay civil with her and have me pissed off or feeling hurt, hoenstly.. I know that's not the case on a whole, but it sure as heck feels like it...
post #10 of 14
I totally know what you mean about SO not being on your side. My DH does that, and he "knows" I love his kids. It just seems that any significant disagreement becomes an issue of "You just don't want them around" or whatever. I am very, very lucky that we rarely disagree about the children.

I wonder if you could make it so that he is the one always inconvienenced by his ex's behavior. If he had to cancel plans, call out of work, whatever the case may be, whenever biomom decided to just drop off his son, maybe he would get the point more quickly.

That said, I do think that in some ways you just have to accept that you have to deal with things. My DH's ex is extremely unfair and manipulative, and it bothers me much more than it does DH. He expects it of her, while I expect her to honestly work in the best interest of the children and to play fair. She's an AP mom, and I expect her to act like it. He expects her to give him the shaft at every opportunity.

The bottom line is that he is much less affected by her behavior. I have had to learn to accept that she's like that, and to accept that he doesn't care, which honestly bothers me quite a bit, too.

It's often unfair, and it often affects me even more than him, or at least as much. However, my stress level went way down when I finally made myself see that my role is to love and care for the kids, and let him deal (or not) with his ex. I still get aggravated, but I let it slide more easily these days.

mama. Someday your SO and your stepson will appreciate that you've tried so hard!
post #11 of 14
We don't have custody of my dss, but the custody is very difficult to deal with, because dss's mom can be pretty manipulative. I also have to deal with the problem where whenever we don't see eye-to-eye, dh accuses me of not really wanting dss around (NOT true, I have always loved him like my own son, he's a real joy to me).

It sounds like a case of his mom just going back to old behaviour, unfortunately. dh's mom was like this a lot growing up, and it really hurt dh. To me, and I'm sorry I have to say this, it looks like you will just have to parent as if she's not around. And, I understand you wanting to be able to deal with this like adults, and not have to deal with the courts and legal system, but while you and your so may be adults, it doesn't sound like she can act like one. So, you may want to take that into consideration.

Above all, I just wanted to give you a because sometimes being a stepparent is a very difficult position to be in. Above all, though, I'm sure your dss knows just how much you care for him, and that's what counts for me
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone so much for the replies! I'm honestly surprised that my SO isn't the only one who pulls that 'you don't want them around' crap...lol I have been convinced that I must be doing or not doing something, or saying or not saying something to make him think that, and it's been killing me inside... I'm glad to know it's his issue and not mine, and will start working on KNOWING that emotionally as well...

I am starting to realize I'm just gonna have to go with the flow. Really, biomom is half my beef and SO is the other half. It does hurt when she calls him and TELLS him her plans with dss, and then he just says 'okay, okay that's fine', EVEN WHEN it's times that he won't be around, just me, ya know? This is my issue with him, and I've tried talking with him about it, but he forgets alot (dss gets this from him, forgetfulness, and it drives me INSANE...lol)

This weekend, biomom has dss on Friday, then will drop him off Sat from 830am to 6pm, then have him Sat night and bring him home Sun at 3pm. I told SO that we should suggest she just have him Friday night, and then make up for Saturday night by offering her to have him next Friday night as well.

He got very angry saying that I 'didn't want dss around', and that maybe he (SO) 'wants dss here this weekend'... Which dumbfounded me... How would me saying he should only spend ONE NIGHT instead of TWO, mean I don't want him around?!?! I simply didn't like the arrangement AT ALL for Saturday, and when SO asked 'is that okay with you?', I was honest instead of lying... I told him, no Saturday's plan was not okay with me... But I know it doesn't matter anyway...

So, things will go this weekend how biomom planned them to go, and because I (haha) don't want dss around *rolls eyes*

Thanks for the replies everyone, it really helps to talk it out and know I'm not alone...
post #13 of 14
Don't forget, the biggest insult you can pay someone is to fail to respect that miraculous little person you made together. It really really hurts: and I think your SO is saying some of the stuff he should say to his ex, to you, because he loves and trusts you to let him say it. It doesn't make it OK, but that might be why.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by flapjack
Don't forget, the biggest insult you can pay someone is to fail to respect that miraculous little person you made together. It really really hurts: and I think your SO is saying some of the stuff he should say to his ex, to you, because he loves and trusts you to let him say it. It doesn't make it OK, but that might be why.
That somewhat makes sense, like logically it does, but emotionally, to me it doesn't...

Why risk hurting someone who loves you, and is raising your child and fighting biomom right along with you? I've almost left him a few times over him treating me badly over this issue.... Why risk it??
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