Update on "Just a big, long, venty, nonsensical post." - post 12 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
vocalise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Dd is 18 mos. and has never seen her father at his apartment. Part of this is due to the fact that the visitation schedule we agreed on when she was younger was hour-long blocks of time several times a week. Part of it is due to the fact that her dad doesn't have a car or driver's license and it would take 45 minutes on the bus to do his share of the transportation. And the largest part of it is due to the fact that his place is an absolute sty.

By sty, I mean this man lives in a bachelor suite that is cleaned once every four months at MOST, that has huge piles of months-old laundry littered everywhere, where empty beer bottles and full ash trays are strewn about, where every single dish is dirty and growing stuff in the sink, where full boxes are piled in towers (moving boxes from his move four years prior), where low shelves are decorated with breakable knick knacks and bongs and other non-child-friendly paraphernalia, where several computers and all their various cords are set up in random spots in the room, and where he has been known to chain smoke regularly.

When dd's dad first expressed interest in taking her to his apartment, I asked him whether he'd be willing to clean up and childproof his place. To which he responded "I don't know what you mean by clean or childproof, but I'll be with her at all times, so I'm sure she'll be safe." I stopped the conversation there. Are you serious, buddy?

But in the meantime, he's been seeing her largely outdoors for his visits, and I'm going back to work in September, and his current visits are first thing in the morning. He hasn't been willing to agree to a schedule that has longer blocks of visitation so far because I am insisting that the schedule be regular and predictable. He doesn't like regular and predictable because he chooses to work on call. To put that in perspective, he has worked approximately one shift per week for two years. Rarely has it interfered with his visitation, and he currently comes six times a week.

At any rate, things are going to have to change when I go back to work in September, and he is going to have to see her less frequently for longer blocks of time. Which means getting his apartment ready.

So... I have a good relationship with his mother. She's very helpful and will be caring for dd a few days/week when I go back to work. Incredibly nice woman. But we don't talk about dd's dad at all or the hell it's been for me dealing with him since the time I got pregnant. Really, I have no idea what she thinks of him or his problems or how he's behaved, or my role in everything. It's a strange dynamic, but seems necessary in a way to keep her from being caught in a drama triangle, kwim?

Anyway, I decided to break the communication barrier on this issue a little bit today because I need to know that dd will be safe before she starts visiting her dad at his place. So I asked his mom if she'd use her judgment and let me know if she thought his place was up to snuff when the time came. She agreed, and said she'd offer to help him get it ready.

Great. But then she said, "Oh, I'm sure he'll be motivated to do it because he really values his time with dd." Excuse me for feeling perplexed, but WTH? Fine, he values his time with her, but he has had TWO YEARS to get his place ready, and he hasn't even started. To be honest, how much does he really value his time with her if he, a) hasn't yet set up an appropriate environment for her, and b) hasn't agreed to a schedule where he would see more of her?

She also said he's working seven days in a row this week, and lamented how hard that would be for him. I think that it's great that he's working. But since when does working have any bearing on whether or not you set up a safe environment for your child to be? Especially when it's the only seven days you've worked in a month? Seriously, I am parenting two children 24/7, and I still have to feed and clothe and house them and make sure they're healthy and safe. And I'll still have to do all that when I go back to working 50+ hours/week.

I don't get her response. Does it make sense to you?

I think maybe I'm just sad that her response was pretty much making excuses for him, when that's exactly what he does for himself all the time. I'd like to believe that his dysfunction is independent of his mom, because she is generally so functional. But there is a definite dynamic there of him being this person who doesn't need to be held accountable for his actions (or, more accurately, lack of action)... BTW, his parents are currently supporting him while he "gets on his feet" with work. The man is 32, has a spotty, unskilled work history, and believes himself to be not only above entry level work, but above the post-secondary educational institutions of the world which might be the gateway to him attaining anything more.

I guess I'm writing all this because I'm feeling a good amount of anxiety about how this schedule change is all going to go down. And if history predicts the future, he's going to spend a good amount of time blaming me for all his choices. Not fun. Sometimes, I just feel like I could use some validation from the people who know him best, because I'm imagining that they have dealt with the same bull as I have. But, OTOH, if they're the ones who are feeding his narcissism and okaying his excuses, they wouldn't see it as bull.

I know it's completely unreasonable to expect the validation from his mom, btw. It's just something I struggle with because I like her and see her so often, and yet also end up spending so much time caught in circles with her son.

Okay, I'm going to stop now. If you read this far, you're amazing.
vocalise is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 11:12 AM
 
doubledutch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,531
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
that is sucky. i suppose this is the story she has to tell herself in order to keep things as they are (like, to continue supporting him, to keep him from blaming her for everything like he does to you).

you are a saint for letting him be a part of your day, nearly every single day. i wouldn't want to deal with that. blech. hopefully things will work out for a more normal visitation schedule. as for working on call, he may have to find out that being a parent sometimes means you make a different choice from what you would ideally like to do.
doubledutch is offline  
#3 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 12:53 PM
 
homewithtwinsmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think I would leave it up to his mother to make him "clean his room". I think he needs to do the visits at her home. Period.
homewithtwinsmama is offline  
#4 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Jenne's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,945
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I didn't want to read and not respond. I wish you the best with this change come September.

Jenne

joy.gifOur joy is born!  joy.gif
            02/11/2011   
                   
Jenne is offline  
#5 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
vocalise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
I don't think I would leave it up to his mother to make him "clean his room". I think he needs to do the visits at her home. Period.
That's a great suggestion, and would be totally fine with me. Unfortunately, she lives quite far out of town. To care for dd when I'm working, she will be driving in on the days she comes, which takes 45 minutes by car. With her dad, it would take over 1.5 hours by bus.

For a whole host of reasons that basically boil down to him abusing the privilege of being in my home (not to mention being a total UV with me), I won't have him here.

So that leaves... either he cleans up his place, or he continues to see her in public, which I think is fine for really short visits, but he's saying he wants to increase the time he spends with her. We'll see if he puts his effort where his mouth is. To clarify, I didn't ask his mom to make him do anything, I just asked her to tell me if he does it or not.
vocalise is offline  
#6 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 01:14 PM
 
doubledutch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,531
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
this sounds so much like stbx, it's not even funny. i've been thinking about where he will have visitation, and his mom's house has come to mind as a possibility (because in our case, mil lives in town and, most importantly, on the bus line). once he is out of our home and it becomes my home, there is no way i would ever allow him to use it for visitation, so i totally understand that. boundaries are good.
doubledutch is offline  
#7 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 01:47 PM
 
*MamaJen*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Huh, what's his name? I think I've probably dated him before. Like ten times between the ages of 15 - 30.
So thing thing here is that pretty much everyone is enabling this guy -- and though it may not feel that way, you are too. By letting him into your house every day for visitation, and subjecting yourself to his blame games and verbal abuse, you're still playing a role in the cycle.
So I'm super bad at setting boundaries (though I'm trying really hard to get better, honest) and I know I have codependent tendencies. It sounds like you may have a similar personality as mine.
Since boundary setting isn't inherent in my personality, one trick I've been using is trying to figure out how someone who is super-strong and fierce and no-nonsense and even kind of selfish and witchy would handle a situation. I'm not saying I want to be selfish, but if I shoot for acting really self-preserving I'll probably land somewhere near normal.
So think about your situation. If you were not acting in an enabling way, how would you handle it? You'd lay out a series of acceptable options and let him pick between it. You wouldn't express them in a wishy washy or apologetic way, you would say them clearly and without apology. "You can either create a clean and safe space to take the baby to your house, or you can have brief public visits with her." End of story. It is good to facilitate his relationship with the baby, but he has to be the one to do the leg work. You can't do it for him.
Have you ever picked up a book like "Codependent no more" or "Women who Love Too Much"? I got a lot out of them.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
*MamaJen* is offline  
#8 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 04:42 PM
 
Halfasianmomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 3,713
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Funny you should post this because I recently had a minor blowout with my XH about letting DD go visit him in his place. The difference i think is that I have sole custody and was given discretion with regard to visitation...i.e. if I think that the conditions there are unsafe (as in, like a sty, with questionable roommates, not childproofed, etc), I can just say NO. Where do you stand legally on custody?

Would you be willing to find alternate childcare to your X, seeing as he's unable to provide your DD with an adequate environment?

I agree with MamaJen...time to set boundaries. Either he provide your DD with a safe and clean environment, or he sucks it up and sees his child less. He can whine to whomever, but at the end of the day, no social visiting social worker would approve his apartment as suitable living for a toddler.

Regarding your X-MIL, since you've got such a good relationship, I'd really advise honesty with her. Tell her that you're surprised that she doesn't see how disgusting and unsafe her son's place is. She can say what she wants about her son working 7 days a week...as if it somehow granted him a free pass or won him a prize.

i also have a great relationship with my X-MIL and though she agrees with me wholeheartedly about her son being a "$%?&*, there was a time where we didn't know each other that well, and I took a chance and told her what I thought. It really helped bring us closer in the long run...
Halfasianmomma is offline  
#9 of 12 Old 06-15-2010, 09:53 PM
 
Ceinwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: The cold, crazy north
Posts: 2,599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My ex-MIL never saw my ex for what he was until we divorced.

I'm sure he's since filled her head with all kinds of stories, but I know in the first months we were separated - she really had her eyes opened.

I wasn't there to cover for his bad behaviour anymore.

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
Ceinwen is offline  
#10 of 12 Old 06-16-2010, 08:16 AM
 
goodlife2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Vocalise,

I am new to the board and don't have any helpful advise to offer. But I do wish you and your lil one the best.
MamaJen: you are so on point w/ your responses!.
goodlife2010 is offline  
#11 of 12 Old 06-17-2010, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
vocalise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks so much for the responses, everyone. I love this board!

Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
Huh, what's his name? I think I've probably dated him before. Like ten times between the ages of 15 - 30.
So thing thing here is that pretty much everyone is enabling this guy -- and though it may not feel that way, you are too. By letting him into your house every day for visitation, and subjecting yourself to his blame games and verbal abuse, you're still playing a role in the cycle.
So I'm super bad at setting boundaries (though I'm trying really hard to get better, honest) and I know I have codependent tendencies. It sounds like you may have a similar personality as mine.
Since boundary setting isn't inherent in my personality, one trick I've been using is trying to figure out how someone who is super-strong and fierce and no-nonsense and even kind of selfish and witchy would handle a situation. I'm not saying I want to be selfish, but if I shoot for acting really self-preserving I'll probably land somewhere near normal.
So think about your situation. If you were not acting in an enabling way, how would you handle it? You'd lay out a series of acceptable options and let him pick between it. You wouldn't express them in a wishy washy or apologetic way, you would say them clearly and without apology. "You can either create a clean and safe space to take the baby to your house, or you can have brief public visits with her." End of story. It is good to facilitate his relationship with the baby, but he has to be the one to do the leg work. You can't do it for him.
Have you ever picked up a book like "Codependent no more" or "Women who Love Too Much"? I got a lot out of them.
So, right after I read this, I went to the library and checked out "Codependent No More". I know codependency is definitely something I struggle with sometimes, and I had already read the author's "The New Codependency", but found it just told me over and over to go read her first book for strategies. Ha ha. I'm about half way through, now. LOTS of good stuff for me in there.

Ever since dd was born, I've been working on making and upholding strong boundaries with dd's dad. I don't think I've done too badly on that front, but I'm still struggling internally and still fearing his anger and still not wanting to be characterized as a b!*ch. As if his opinions and feelings matter! I know the way I give his tantrums and judgement power over me is completely my responsibility. So, yeah, nurturing my inner b!*ch and that part of me that just doesn't care what he has to say or what kind of fit he's going to pitch is definitely something I'm working on.

Just to clarify, though, he doesn't see dd at my place, and he won't be doing so. I'm also not counting on him for any kind of child care. But the visitation schedule does need to change because I'll be at work already at the days/times we originally arranged, and dd will be in daycare. He's in no way reliable, so counting on him for anything would be a big mistake.
vocalise is offline  
#12 of 12 Old 06-23-2010, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
vocalise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, just to update...

Apparently, he turned his mother down on the offer, and said he'd like to see dd at her place on Sundays. This came to me through his mom, though, so I'm not sure if he meant he wants the Sundays and doesn't plan to get his place ready at all, or if he still plans to do it, but without his mother's help. At the pace he moves, I don't think it'll get done.

I'm not willing to rehash the visitation schedule issue with him again until next summer, so if he doesn't pull off getting his place ready, I guess it will be Sunday visits at his mom's for the year. That will work well for dd, anyway, I think. It will take him an hour to get dd out there by bus, which could be a little rough, but his mom will drive back, apparently.

I know functional NCPs tend to see their kids more often and for more time, but this guy isn't so functional, is he?
vocalise is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off