We are having trouble with my SO's ex as far as knowing what the plans are for Mother's Day this year. Here is a little history...
I have one DD who I have been a single mother to her whole life (4 years) and my SO has a DD and a DS that he has 50% custody of. The divorce agreement says she gets them starting at 8am on Mother's Day for an overnight. On a normal Sunday, we have them until 7pm. Seems pretty simple, right? Well, since the separation (so the past 2 Mother's Day) she has gotten them at 2pm. This is because she works part time at a restaurant and Mother's Day is their busiest day, so no one is allowed to take off. My SO knows this because she has worked there for years and this is how it has always been. He always just kept them until 2pm.There are other days and holidays where this occurs and he has always willingly accommodated her work schedule.
However, ever since I moved in around Nov/Dec 2011, she has done more to make them stick to the divorce agreement right down to the letter. Again, not a big deal really since it's probably best and easiest this way. However, she does not ALWAYS want to stick to the agreement...she generally only does it if she knows it will inconvenience my SO or makes it so she has more time with the kids during a given time period than he does.
So, here we are, 2 weeks before Mother's Day. This is the first ever Mother's Day for me that I will have an actual family around to celebrate with (even if it is just me, my SO and my DD), so I think it is not unreasonable that I'd like it to be special. I am really looking forward to it. I asked my SO to please find out what kind of schedule his ex wants for Mother's Day. We can't expect her to stick to the 2pm pickup because she's changed a lot of other things she used to do, but we can't expect her to get them at 8am because she won't even be able to pick them up at that time (she will already be at work). He texted her 2 days ago about this and they have an agreement (at HER request) that questions be replied to within 24 hours, even if it's just to say you need more time. She has not responded (but has sent other texts regarding other things since then).
I am fairly certain that she is doing this to purposely f%*$ with our plans for Mother's Day (not that we have specific plans yet, but he has mentioned to her in the past he dislikes transferring kids mid-day because it interrupts whatever we're all doing. We would never tell his kids our plans until that day anyway for fear the ex will show up or ruin the day in some other way. See my other threads if you'd like a better understanding of the type of person we're dealing with). I am wondering what the best way to approach this is because I am sure she is going to wait until the very last minute to tell us what she's doing for Mother's Day so we cannot actually make any plans.
I am leaning towards asking her one more time and then when she doesn't answer, telling her "the agreement is 8am, so get them then and if you don't, we'll be home around 4 or 5pm and you can get them then," but it IS Mother's Day and it is reasonable that they be with her as much of the day as possible. I want to be clear that I have no problem working around her schedule, but I DO have a problem with her withholding her schedule until the last minute. She's also been known to change plans repeatedly, so we're considering if she does give us a schedule for Mother's Day, telling her that she must stick to that schedule because we won't be home otherwise as we have plans now.
What do you think? Am I too harsh? I just want to be able to enjoy my first Mother's Day with my family without having to scramble around at the last minute. I think telling her we follow divorce agreement is fair, but I also know she will not be able to get the kids at 8am.
If you know for "sure" that she won't get them at 8AM, but could possibly pick them up at a later point in the day, then what I would do is plan something special for the morning. Maybe you all could have a special mother's day breakfast. Then after that I would leave the rest of the day "open." Have a few things that you find special lined up that you could "work around."
I would maybe re-ask the question about what she wanted to do for Mother's Day this year. Maybe if you framed the question around HER then you might get a better response. Have her kiddos make her cards or a banner or some cookies or something, and tell her that you need to know when she plans on picking them up because they have a surprise for her that you/they need to prepare before her arrival.
If that tactic doesn't work, and you expect you're just going to get a call ON Mother's Day that she's going to come get them in 30 minutes, then I would just go ahead and do whatever it is that you want to do. Then when you get the call, say "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't know when to expect you! We're all at XYZ place together. Can you come pick up the kiddos from here?"
Just an idea. Maybe it will work for you, and maybe not. Either way I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!
SAHM married to DH since 09/11. Mama to DD (01/08)and DS (06/12)
I like everything MamainTheDesert had to say, not only for Mother's Day.I'd start making that the routine this weekend and carry on that way from now on. I agree with your husband, it'd be annoying to have to be at home at 2PM on a Sunday.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.
If you gave Mom the chance to set the schedule herself, but she has declined to do so by refusing to communicate, you should certainly go ahead and make your own plans and expect her to go along with them.
But your plans need to be fair. If, as long as she has held her current job, she has tended to be available around 2 pm on Mothers' Day and you make plans that keep her away from her kids until 4 or 5, that would appear pretty hostile. Yes, making the kids available to her mid-day will eliminate some special things you guys could do together, but it doesn't eliminate everything. And, regardless of her personality, it's her Mothers' Day too. You and your DH can spend the morning with all the kids, go to lunch together, then plan to go somewhere with your daughter after Mom picks up the other kids.
As you suggested, tell Mom she can pick up the kids at 8am as per the court order. But, since you know she can't, tell her she can alternately pick them up either at your house or wherever you guys plan to be, at the usual time (2pm). Tell her, if that doesn't work for her this year, here's where you guys will be going after 2pm. She may contact you to coordinate picking up the kids there, when it's convenient for her.
I hear you, that she's being difficult lately and changing a lot of things, so you feel like everything's up in the air; that it's no longer safe to assume she'll do what she's done before; and you feel like she's calling all the shots. But, realistically:
> If she wanted to be difficult on Mothers' Day, she would pick up the kids earlier than usual...not get them later than usual and let them spend more of Mothers' Day with you!
> But she can't pick them up earlier than usual, because of work.
So, irritated as you are with her, making your plans around the usual 2pm pick-up time is the most reasonable thing to do, no matter how you cut it.
My husband has parenting time for all of Mother's Day weekend this year (that is its own long and complicated story I won't go into), but he let his ex know that if she had specific plans he would be happy to bring his daughter over for part of Sunday. He offered this about a month ago and hasn't heard anything. While his normal inclination would be to go ahead and plan to have his daughter the whole weekend, since it is Mother's Day he will email his ex (their normal means of communication) again and let her know that unless she gives him a specific time by [a specific date], he will assume she doesn't want to have the offered time. That way a non-answer becomes a default answer, rather than him feeling obligated to change his plans when she gets back to him at the last minute... She either needs to give him an answer of some kind or he will take her non-answer as an answer.
I don't recommend this as a normal means of handling things, especially if there is a good track record of prompt responses. But we have a long history of her not answering until the last minute, so this has helped to keep that from happening as often.
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