What is your arrangement for this Christmas? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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Ugh that sucks. My DSD's mom lives by the same wacky guidelines but fortunately our most recent court order limits her ability to unilaterally be as unreasonable (it states includes specific hours of the day for transfers to happen during the holidays).

 

Normally I'd say your BF's kids' mom has no business knowing (i.e. doesn't get the privilege of demanding to know) your holiday (or any other time together) plans but I wonder if it might be beneficial in this case. For example, identify the (potential) celebration times for having the holidays with your BF and his family, and "make the case" that her proposal isn't in the best interest of the children because it doesn't give them the ability to spend time with their dad and his family for the holiday. Of course, I make the assumption that her schedule prevents a reasonable celebration (my DSD's mom would, for example, offer up some random 8 hours during the day on a Tuesday, when it's not reasonable to get a group of adults all out of work to hold a holiday celebration, and then give a "take it or leave it, if you really want to see your kid, you'll do it during this time" story). It's important for kids to get to know the traditions of both sides of the family, and to celebrate the closeness with both sides of the family. Of course she doesn't think that, but if she says it (or WRITES it) she looks pretty bad. It wouldn't fix this holiday season, but such documentation might be the evidence you need to get a summary judgment for more specific times to be amended to the order.

 

Then, no matter how difficult she is, give those kids the best 9 hours you can possibly give. I find it remarkable how some upbeat holiday music gets my DSD into the spirit, and even the down times are less "boring" (her new favorite word). Being silly and dancing around or singing with the music can be its own kind of special.

 

And, if it's reasonable, ditch the usual sleep schedule if it's at least a few days before they have to go back to school. Some of my favorite memories of Christmas as a child are the hours we spent trying to stay awake until o-dark-thirty for my grandpa to get home from a late shift as a police officer so we could have our celebration together as a family.


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#32 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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We do get them on the 23rd and 24th for Christmas and are happy about that since that is when we'll be celebrating. This argument is about the week after when they are off of school. She seems to think she gets them when the divorce says they are usually in school. She is claiming she had planned to be with them then, but we're letter her take the kids for 5 days that week to visit relatives. We are only asking for two. As for changing their sleep schedule I have to laugh because she throws a fit if we want to make a later pick up time (stating it is detrimental to their health to keep them up late), but she has no qualms asking if she can drop them off at 9 or 10pm when it is convenient for her! We will most likely stay up late though, since they don't have school.

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#33 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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I can't really get a handle on the intricacies of what sounds like a VERY complicated schedule for everyone involved... but it does sound like you are making some exceptions to the schedule so she can travel over the holidays. I would be inclined to go back to the beginning and say "if you aren't going to agree to an equitable vacation schedule, we are just going to have to go back to the schedule specified in the custody agreement." Her other option is to make it fair and equitable, or at least make a reasonable effort to make it more equitable... or to give up the 5 days you graciously gave her.

 

There was one Thanksgiving we had 5 uninterrupted days with my step-daughter. We had plans to go spend a vacation with family-- I had taken time off work, the kids were excited, our relatives were expecting us... but when we asked for her letter of consent (there was an open custody case, so neither parent cold legally travel outside the state without the other's permission and it was standard practice for both parents to get verbal permission to travel, then pick up written documentation a day or two before the trip) she suddenly decided she wasn't going to allow it. We were upset, the kids were upset, our family was upset... but we decided that we could either be miserable for 5 days or we could make the best of the time we had. In the short-term it might feel like it is worth it to let her do whatever she wants so that you can get two days with the kids to celebrate. But it might be better in the long-term to risk the loss of that uninterrupted time to make some changes to the way "agreements" work. It'd be a risk, but right now it doesn't sound like mom has anything to lose, so she just takes and takes and doesn't give anything in return. If you are modifying the schedule, it should be modified equitably or not at all. That's my 2-cents, anyway.


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#34 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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 We don't really see it as giving her the 5 days because she is allowed to request up to 14 days per year for vacation and this is part of those 14 days. He is not allowed to just refuse to let her take them unless she is trying to take the kids when he has already scheduled a vacation and informed her about it. We really just want 2 days during the week off for winter break and she can have the rest. It's in her favor, she gets them more, but because it is not HER schedule the way she wants it, she throws up tons of road blocks. Ultimately, she wants an agreement that will force my BF to have to ask her permission every time he wants to leave the kids alone with me and her way to do that is to essentially say, "You can have those 2 days as long as you agree that you will be home with the kids and they will not be with a caregiver. [she never mentions me by name, just as a potential caregiver] And this rule should apply to any time the kids are with you in the future."
 

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Originally Posted by aricha View Post

I can't really get a handle on the intricacies of what sounds like a VERY complicated schedule for everyone involved... but it does sound like you are making some exceptions to the schedule so she can travel over the holidays. I would be inclined to go back to the beginning and say "if you aren't going to agree to an equitable vacation schedule, we are just going to have to go back to the schedule specified in the custody agreement." Her other option is to make it fair and equitable, or at least make a reasonable effort to make it more equitable... or to give up the 5 days you graciously gave her.

 

There was one Thanksgiving we had 5 uninterrupted days with my step-daughter. We had plans to go spend a vacation with family-- I had taken time off work, the kids were excited, our relatives were expecting us... but when we asked for her letter of consent (there was an open custody case, so neither parent cold legally travel outside the state without the other's permission and it was standard practice for both parents to get verbal permission to travel, then pick up written documentation a day or two before the trip) she suddenly decided she wasn't going to allow it. We were upset, the kids were upset, our family was upset... but we decided that we could either be miserable for 5 days or we could make the best of the time we had. In the short-term it might feel like it is worth it to let her do whatever she wants so that you can get two days with the kids to celebrate. But it might be better in the long-term to risk the loss of that uninterrupted time to make some changes to the way "agreements" work. It'd be a risk, but right now it doesn't sound like mom has anything to lose, so she just takes and takes and doesn't give anything in return. If you are modifying the schedule, it should be modified equitably or not at all. That's my 2-cents, anyway.



 

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#35 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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If she gets 14 days vacation, do you also get 14 days? Could you just call those 2 days part of your vacation time so she can't just tell you no? If ROFR only applies to overnights, then she realy doesn't get a say and your dp needs to pretty much tell her it's none of her business (in an nicer way of course :) Does she have a problem with any and all caregivers or just you specifically? I would ask dp to just tell dsd that he has it covered if she asks about "caregivers," and repeat as necessary. I generally do believe in the principal of ROFR, but in the circumstances you are describing, I think she is taking it too far.  Good luck!


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#36 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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Well, she says it's any caregiver, but this has never been such a big issue until I came into the picture. She did sometimes complain in the past that my BF should ask her to babysit before his parents, but he wants the kids to spend time with their grandparents too, so he just ignored her. She says if the kids are going to be somewhere for a whole day, it should only be with a parent, especially if one parent is available during that time. For the most part I agree, but we're trying to explain that it's not just about being with a parent, but also about not bouncing the kids back and forth multiple times a day like they are now. They both complain about never getting to be in one house for a long enough period of time. Often they've just settled in and it's time to get them dressed and ready for mom's house. The younger one can never remember where he slept the night before or where he is going to sleep the next day. You can tell it's stressful on them so if they can see dad at breakfast, spend the day with me or the grandparents at dad's house and then see dad after work and for the rest of the evening, we feel that is beneficial to them compared to being at dads, then moms, then back to dads every single day. That's going to happen some days, and that's fine, but every day it stressful for everyone. I definitely agree with ROFR in overnight or longer-term situations, but we're talking about a few hours a day, 8 tops (and dad usually comes home for lunch as well, so they'd see him then too).

 

Well, we're waiting patiently for the response to the latest email...I'm hopefully she will agree to giving us the kids for those two days. We compromised and gave her some other stuff she wanted and also told her we'd be open to picking them up later on that Monday if she wanted to spend the morning with the kids...we'll see what happens.

 

 

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