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Saying no

Hastings's picture

After years of reading and learning here, I'm feeling confident about a boundary. No guilt.

So, when SS12 was in first grade, he started participating in the local kids' bowling league -- every Saturday morning from September through March. I don't like bowling. And standing around in a noisy, crowded alley that smells like fried food (I can't fathom wanting fried pickles at 9 am) was not my idea of a good Saturday morning. But, I went because I wanted to be supportive and a part of things.

This went on for three years. The pandemic shut things down of one year, then the next year BM and DH weren't comfortable with it from a Covid standpoint. Last year it didn't come up.

Two days ago, BM texted DH that SS was asking about doing bowling again. DH groaned. He's the one who got SS into it in the first place, but he no longer enjoys it. Also, we used to live 5 minutes from the alley. Now it's more like 20. Things have been stressful lately for both of us with work and Saturdays are our only lazy mornings.

But this is what always happens. SS wants something. BM is ok with it. DH is the one who says no. I don't know if BM is genuinely cool with everything SS wants, doesn't bother to think it through, or sometimes wants to say no but leaves it up to DH.

SS plays baseball and wants to try out for the track team. DH expressed concern that he was getting into too much. She said there shouldn't be overlap. So, it's probably happening. DH told her fine, but he's not going to be there on her weeks.

I told DH I don't intend to be there. I need my Saturdays. I show up for baseball and anything else but I am now drawing a line on bowling. Life's too short.

Thank goodness DH understands and supports me in that.

We also have a bet going on how long it will take for SS to show up with two new bowling balls, shoes and a bag, plus whatever other paraphernalia he asks for.

Whatever. One of the real annoyances is the pattern. BM always says yes. If it's a bad idea or a problem in any way (like when SS asked to change the changeover day), it's totally on DH to say no. Otherwise, SS would never hear the word at all.

Anyway, it's not a big deal. It's a normal activity that SS enjoys. Fine. Nothing to complain about. I'm just easily annoyed these days.


Rumplestiltskin's picture

Can't your DH just drop him off at the start and pick him up at the end? My son did bowling and that's what I did. 

notarelative's picture

...he's not going to be there on her weeks....

In intact families you often see only one parent attending or just dropping off and picking up. Most often, multiple kids in multiple activities mean parents split responsibilities. I don't get why a divorce turns into if you don't watch every game / practice, you are a bad parent. 

DH can go to the bowling alley with his son. You can stay home and have a quiet morning. There's no need for SS to have two adults there. 
Actually, at 12, there is no need for DH to stay either. He can drop SS off and pick up something for you both (coffee, breakfast food) to have at home as a couple. He can time his return so that he sees the last few frames if he feels the need to watch.


Hastings's picture

I would agree. Though knowing DH, there's little chance he'd agree to drop SS off. He worries about something happening-- either Someone doing something to him or SS misbehaving.

i think SS needs more responsibility and nudging toward maturity, but he's also demonstrably irresponsible and untrustworthy.

CLove's picture

I used to want to be "participatory" too. Although in my case, we didnt have the money, and SD's didnt do anything sportswise. I read on here about the skids doing TOO MANY activities, and think - wow! Even one sounds like a lot! The most Skids ever did that was outside was when I got us all hiking that one time, and the different street fairs and music festivals I wanted to go to.

To me, this is a free pass to alone timesville Biggrin

Hastings's picture

Yep. Me time to read or watch the shows I like. I feel for DH having to give up his Saturday morning every other week, but that's his choice.

Rags's picture

Following the specifics of a CO solves this problem.

"Sorry kid, this is the the schedule......"

With a toxic opposition, just roll up a copy of the CO and beat them about the head and shoulders with it.... figuratively of course.

Hastings's picture

Yeah, in the case of the "can we switch over on Saturdays instead of Sundays?" DH just said a flat "no." Didn't come up again, thank goodness. We just thought it was ridiculous she seemed to think it was just fine to let a then-8-year-old set the custody schedule.

TheAccidentalSM's picture

Is this really a thing?  That parents are expected to hang out and watch preteens bowl?  Here, the kids would be dropped off and the parents would return for pick up.  

Hanging out in a stinky bowling alley on Saturday mornings sounds like hell.

Hastings's picture

I know. Kids don't seem to have much freedom anymore. In SS's case, a big reason DH won't drop him off or leave him somewhere is he doesn't trust him to behave or to use common sense.

Hastings's picture

He's playing fall baseball now and will play it again in the spring (practices start in February). He also wants to try out for his school track team. So, he does stay active.