or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › When one parent doesn't have transportation
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

When one parent doesn't have transportation - Page 2

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
It sounded to me like this was a difference between helping out and being taken advantage of. It sounded to me like it happened all the time. I certainly wouldn't advocate denying visitation or being inflexible if there was a legitimate and/or occasional need. We have certainly changed pick-up and drop-off arrangements when the other parent had a need, and I have offered to do driving that was not technically my responsibility because it made sense given the situation. But I have been on the recieving end of manipulation with someone who knew that ultimately we would continue to do what was right by my step-daughter, and took advantage of that. So I am speaking to that experience and my reading of the original question and situation.

Sorry, I guess I'm feeling defensive because I feel (inadvertantly) accused of advocating inflexibility and not doing everything possible in helping the NCP maintain a relationship with their child... which I am definitely not. I am just advocating step-mothers setting boundaries when needed and giving suggestions on dealing with manipulative behavior based on my own situation and experience.
I think that sometimes because of relationships, and past issues.. it can be difficult to view a situation for what it is. I've seen the word manipulation used on this forum a lot, and in my experience I think its overused. Often, probably because families feel defensive. Step mothers feel defensive, and left out.

Blended parenting is hard. Doubly hard when there is drama brought into the picture. It should be about the kids, and only about the kids.

As I said in my post, I often don't have a working car. It isn't that I don't try very hard to have one, but I really don't have the money to buy brand new or even make the repairs in a timely manner. I can't just work extra hard and work extra hours. I'm on SSDI. I'd love to have a brand new working car, but its just not possible at all.

For a few years my ex husband was a jerk about it. He was a jerk because he got pressure from his new wife to stop falling for my manipulation. So for two years I borrowed money when I couldn't afford gas or repairs. My two children at home went without clothes and food because I needed to fix my car so I could see my oldest daughter. Once we went without electricity for awhile because that was the only place we could take repair money out of. I made those sacrifices so that my oldest didn't have to suffer. But gosh, it would have been nice for my other kids to not have to suffer too. They don't deserve that. Under normal circumstances, I can keep a roof over their head and food on the table. But when my car costs 900 to repair and I just don't have it.. but I know it will crush my oldest not to see me.. I'm left with little other choice.

It would have been nice if my ex husband had used his brain and not been so caught up in his new wife that he couldn't think for himself and realize that he was only hurting our daughter by being this way. His new wife did a good job at making sure that I couldn't "manipulate" him. She did a great job at making sure that he was as horrible as he could be towards me. He couldn't even speak to me civilly because she didn't like that. She wanted him to hate me. Or at least pretend to. That made her feel better, and more important. What she didn't realize is that it wasn't about me, or about her. But only about our daughter.

When his new wife left, he went back to being himself. Someone I most certainly don't want to still be married to.. but a human being at least. And guess what? He started acting kinder. Nicer. Understanding. Helpful. If I can't pick her up, then we don't stress about it. He helps me find a way, or brings her himself. And when something comes up on his end, I try my best to help him out as well. After years, we can finally CO-PARENT! Because there is no one else that is getting in our way. My husband certainly doesn't get involved with drama in the way that my ex's new wife did. As far as my dh is concerned, he loves his step daughter.. but my ex and I are the ones that need to work things out and come to agreements. He can be involved without feeling the need to make my ex disappear.

My point is, in my experience... its the outside influence of the step parent that caused all the problems and introduced the word "manipulate" into the situation to begin with. I am the mother, and was for years the non custodial parent. And I heard the word manipulate a lot used in reference to me, when I have never done anything of the sort. So all my experience surrounding this is about the stepmother making drama for herself and reading into situations that she has absolutely no idea about, because of her own insecurity and jealousy issues.

And before anyone throws things at me, I'm sure everyone has a different story, and by all means this is not meant to be a blanket statement post. We all have our own opinions on things, and are coming from different places in our past and present. You are all individual parents and step parents, just as I am.

I just explained why I think the way I do. Because I'm coming from the total opposite other side.
post #22 of 34
I agree that if this is a chronic thing, which it does seem to be, with her making constant excuses to boot, that you ought to put your foot down. It doesn't sound like she has the same integrity or priorities as Nature here, for instance. If you have previously given her the benefit of the doubt, and attempted to believe in the stretched reasoning behind those excuses such as the ones you gave examples of, and your gut still says she is being untruthful, then she probably is.

The visitation agreement is there to protect all of you. If she honestly is not making the effort to follow it, it truly is not your problem. It's hers. How very sad for her.
post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
It is at least once a week and sometimes more. I don't trust her, which is part of the problem. She is has bipolar disorder which is often untreated and she is an addict. She lies about the littlest things --
(small example-- calls and says she's going to the grocery store so can I take dss to her house instead of her picking him up. I'm a bit confused cuz her house is 10 miles away but the grocery store is by my house so I say can I just drop him off at the grocery store and he can meet you there? She kinda pauses and back tracks and says never mind. She says she'll just pick him up 2 hours late. Ok. So she calls 2 hours later from her boyfriends house-- the guy she is cheating on her live-in boyfriend with-- and says she's ready to come get dss now). Ugg. Just skip the story and say you'll pick him up later!

I understand Nature's story. I really am not the one to introduce the idea of "manipulation" here, as I said she has bipolar disorder and is an addict. She is a manipulator, that's part of her condition as I understand it. I'm often the go-between because dh really wants nothing to do with her. I remind him that it is important for dss to have a relationship with both parents. Dh really thought she was too harmful and toxic. I really try to just help out regardless of the reason, but I guess I'm having two issues.

1. I think she is lying about her car not working at least half the time.

2. Dh and I work. What happens is that dss comes home from school at 4:30 after he's walked home from the busstop. He says, I guess my mom can't pick me up can you take me? I've started dinner so we wait till dh gets home. Dh has worked 10 hours and wants to eat. Then he finally takes dss around 7. She doesn't work.

I don't know where the "line" is between being helpful and being a sucker.

We can't alter child support because she's on SSI so has no obligation.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature View Post
If you have the means to help out, then help out.
Yes. It's easy to say what you *would* do if you didn't have a reliable vehicle, but the reality is that it's easier said than done, I have lived without a vehicle for extended periods so I know this firsthand. My daughter's father does not drive; I do. Our custody agreement says we each are responsible for half the transportation, but reality is I do pickups and dropoffs because it would be a PITA for him to take two busses each way when I could just hop in my car and be to his place in ten minutes.

I think a little consideration goes a really long way in working out a good relationship in co-parenting children, and to me it is worth doing most of the driving if it is easier for you than the other parent to do so.
post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Yes. It's easy to say what you *would* do if you didn't have a reliable vehicle, but the reality is that it's easier said than done, I have lived without a vehicle for extended periods so I know this firsthand. My daughter's father does not drive; I do. Our custody agreement says we each are responsible for half the transportation, but reality is I do pickups and dropoffs because it would be a PITA for him to take two busses each way when I could just hop in my car and be to his place in ten minutes.

I think a little consideration goes a really long way in working out a good relationship in co-parenting children, and to me it is worth doing most of the driving if it is easier for you than the other parent to do so.
I agree, but I don't know if it really is easier for one parent or the other. I think she's not being truthful about everything.

I'm not trying to bore you all with the details. It came to our attention recently that eventhough we'd thought she'd been in recovery for the last few years, she was still drinking during visitiation and was using meth (I assume not during visitaiton). We were shocked that she'd been able to do this without us noticing anything was wrong. I realized that many times when were are just "helping out" by driving or rescheduling or when her boyfriend leaves work to p/u dss it was because she was drinking/high. Her boyfriend covers for her and we thought we were just being nice. We went back to mediation, rewrote court papers, etc. and she is supposed to be clean now, but I do feel like something more than her car is going down these last few months. I probably won't be able to shake that feeling. When it is a once in a while car problem, I feel fine helping out. When it is several weeks of car's not working (but boyfriends driving it), and has to rescedule because of appointment, sick, emergency, forgot to pick him up, all in a row, it sounds like something more. I can't know for sure.

So, at this point, I'm still driving him.
post #26 of 34
Sounds to me like maybe your issues really aren't about the transportation at all?
post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 
Yeah, funny you should say that. I thought when I first posted that it was just a custody question. But, I think it has to do with "being helpful" and being lied to. I think my life's philosophy was, at one time, just help anyone who says they need it. I think addicts are another story, though. I have to decide for myself when I stop helping just because someone says they need help and when I start to feel like I'm enabling and being taken advantage of. I just went to the grocery store and I saw her driving around. But, relistically, I don't think confronting her is helpful so I think I'll just keep driving dss and hoping for the best. Oddly enough, posting here sometimes helps me work out the bigger issues for myself.
post #28 of 34
I think there are two separate issues here. When it's an occasional thing no one seems to mind. When the parent has a very real reason why they can't manage then no one seems to mind. People are only minding when the parent goes to great lengths to be unaccountable, lie, and not help with transportation at all. Which is reasonable...both parties need to make an effort. If the mom in Flor's situation can't make it because her car REALLY isn't working then she needs to be honest and tell them that. She can give them an idea of when she's hoping to get it fixed and she can nicely ask them to help with transportation until then. Calling two hours late with reasons that don't even make sense is just disrespectful.



It is really great that so many of you will do anything to facilitate a relationship with your children's parent. I don't see what we do as blocking a relationship. It has been so many years (7) since DSD's mother has had consistent involvement in her life. I've only been in DSD's life for 4 years. This pattern of not being there and showing up for a day and then not being there for another year was started long before I was around. I suppose it sounds like I'm defending myself but I don't feel defensive. I think the way DH and I have worked things out is completely logical. It is hugely damaging to DSD to have her mother in and out of her life. Most of the time it is an out of sight - out of mind issue for DSD. Because when she does think about her it doesn't change anything...she just gets upset because she doesn't understand why her mother won't be there for her. At this point of us it's all about boundaries and not crossing the line. If DSD's mom would step up to the plate and show the slightest bit of interest then we'd bend over backwards to make DSD available to her BUT not without some limits and direction.
post #29 of 34
I guess, with your last post, that perhaps you should consider it this way: maybe you're just making life easier for your STEP-CHILD. Forget about how you are enabling the parent (because you may very well be!), and think about how it makes your step child's life just a little easier in a quite difficult situation. That MAY make it a little easier to swallow!?
post #30 of 34
I'm a little jealous of everyone's replies... : It seems that everyone's expectations that both parties will do their part for driving. Ugh... Not!

We do 100% of transportation, to and from. Always. 45 mins to pick up, 45 mins back. 45 mins to drop off, and then 45 mins back. Almost 40 miles on Friday just for pick up drive. Almost 40 miles on Sunday, for the drop off drive...

Financially we are in a worse spot than dp's ex, so it's not a "pick up the the slack when needed" drive. It's our choice as a way to see DSD without facing arguing, and dragging DSD through confrontations that can be avoided.

I like our talks on the way though, I wonder if DSD will think back on these rides with fond memories. Over 200 miles a month with gas and wear and tear on our cars is worth it... right?
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I'm a little jealous of everyone's replies... : It seems that everyone's expectations that both parties will do their part for driving. Ugh... Not!

We do 100% of transportation, to and from. Always. 45 mins to pick up, 45 mins back. 45 mins to drop off, and then 45 mins back. Almost 40 miles on Friday just for pick up drive. Almost 40 miles on Sunday, for the drop off drive...

Financially we are in a worse spot than dp's ex, so it's not a "pick up the the slack when needed" drive. It's our choice as a way to see DSD without facing arguing, and dragging DSD through confrontations that can be avoided.

I like our talks on the way though, I wonder if DSD will think back on these rides with fond memories. Over 200 miles a month with gas and wear and tear on our cars is worth it... right?
Yeah, us too. DH (or I) flies 2000 miles to go pick them up, but then must rent a car (and either rent a carseat or be sure to have brought one along on the flight) and drive to pick them up. Problem is, the flights are such that there's no time to do this and fly back home with them the same day, so usually we have to get a hotel and stay overnight too. Recently, we were able to book it all for one day (no hotel) but there was less than an hour between flights so we asked her to actually drive all the way to the airport (about ten minutes). She flipped out at first (gee, what an imposition!) but then mellowed and actually did it and it all worked out.
post #32 of 34
I guess I think if one party is going to end up being responsible for all the driving, they should just BE responsible for the driving and KNOW they are responsible for the driving... that's where my second suggestion came from. If you are going to have to do it, it ought to be predictible for all of you, not something you just end up doing. It's not that I think the transportation has to be split equally, it's that I think it should feel fair.

So, flor, if you are driving him, I would just set a new schedule that is more convenient for everyone. And even if she has no CS obligation, I believe the cost of transportation for visitation can be figured into YOUR obligation... I remember, though, that you have an unusual situation, and I'm guessing you know more about it than I do!
post #33 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I guess I think if one party is going to end up being responsible for all the driving, they should just BE responsible for the driving and KNOW they are responsible for the driving... that's where my second suggestion came from. If you are going to have to do it, it ought to be predictible for all of you, not something you just end up doing. It's not that I think the transportation has to be split equally, it's that I think it should feel fair.

So, flor, if you are driving him, I would just set a new schedule that is more convenient for everyone. And even if she has no CS obligation, I believe the cost of transportation for visitation can be figured into YOUR obligation... I remember, though, that you have an unusual situation, and I'm guessing you know more about it than I do!
That's true. If I knew I was going to do it and it was scheduled for a time when I could do it, it would be fine. I think you may be right about it being subtracted from our obligation; I hadn't thought about it that way. That might get her on the ball. . . but it's really not a money thing, it's a time/respect thing.
post #34 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
I guess, with your last post, that perhaps you should consider it this way: maybe you're just making life easier for your STEP-CHILD. Forget about how you are enabling the parent (because you may very well be!), and think about how it makes your step child's life just a little easier in a quite difficult situation. That MAY make it a little easier to swallow!?
You're right. When dss walks in the door and says, "My mom didn't come, can you take me. . ." my brain immediatly goes, "No, because x, y, z," but none of that is his fault. He just wants to hang out with his mom and brothers.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › When one parent doesn't have transportation