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Skiing lessons vs basketball...continued

strugglingSM's picture

Yesterday, BM sends DH an email informing him that both kids are playing basketball and giving him the dates of the games. She is sure to say "you got emails from the school about this, so you should have known about it." Um, the emails DH got were "youth basketball registration is open". Neither kid has mentioned basketball and BM did not say "hey, the kids want to play basketball, so I'm going to register them. Many of the games are on your weekends, is that ok?" BM also includes the receipt and tells DH how much she paid for basketball.

For some backstory - Last year, DH decided he wanted the boys to learn to ski. They both loved it. Last year, BM had also registered one kid for basketball without telling DH. We scheduled our ski weekends around basketball games. We scheduled the third lesson on DH's last weekend in February with the kids, after basketball had ended. We told the kids that we had scheduled it and said "next time we see you, we'll be going skiing." Then three days before the ski lesson, BM texts DH to say she's signing the kids up for flag football, which begins...that same weekend. DH said that they couldn't go to flag football because he had scheduled a ski lesson. BM said "well, can't you reschedule it, it's only one day." Well, no, we couldn't reschedule it because flag football was going to be every weekend from that weekend through April. DH said "fine, I'll ask the kids." They both said they wanted to ski, but then one called back later and said he wanted to do flag football. So, one kid went skiing and skipped flag football, while the other skipped his final ski lesson (meaning we lost the $130 we paid for it) to play flag football. After that, DH told the kids on multiple occasions that if they wanted to play a winter sport, that was fine, but they would have to choose that or ski lessons, because the schedule conflicted. This year, neither boy mentions basketball, but both have repeatedly asked, "when are we going skiing this year?" and also asked specifically about taking lessons.

So, after DH gets the email from BM telling him that the kids are signed up and directing him to the dates of the games, he replies and says, "well, I had planned to take the boys to ski lessons on my weekends for the winter, so now we have two options: 1) make the boys choose if they would like to do basketball or skiing; or 2) we switch weekends, so I have the boys on all the weekends over the winter where they don't have basketball. Also, if you want me to contribute to basketball that's fine, but I would expect you to contribute to skiing (and he provides the amount ski lessons will cost)."

BM replies - "I don't think it's fair to make the boys choose. How was I supposed to know that you wanted to take the boys skiing, you never mentioned it to me. You're now just trying to force me to take on all the responsibility of taking the boys to their activities. I don't care if you pay for basketball, I'm done trying to get you to comply with the parenting plan." Her response was much longer and more histrionic, but that's essentially what she said.

A few things:

1) I don't think it's terrible for kids to choose one activity or the other. You can't do everything and because DH only has them every other weekend, adding another sport makes it impossible to get ski lessons in.

2) DH doesn't need to tell BM what he's planning to do with the kids on his weekends, but she sure as hell needs to tell them if she's going to sign the kids up for something that will happen on his weekends. DH actually wanted to sign the kids up for the six weeks of skiing lessons, but I pointed out to him that only four of the weekends in that program fell on his weekends, so we didn't schedule it. If we had followed BM's lead, we would have signed them up and told her she had to get them there. (What DH really wanted to do was have the kids on extra weekends to take them to skiing lessons, but BM still would have said no.)

3) If she signs the kids up for something without telling DH, then yes, she should expect to be responsible for taking them to all of those activities. As it is, in his compromise, DH said he would take two weekends when the boys had games and get them to their games, but under the current schedule more of the games fell on his weekends. How is that "fair" (since BM always loves to say things aren't fair) for BM to sign the kids up for something and then tell DH he has to make it happen. He could easily say "tough sh%t, it's my weekend and I won't take them." In the past, BM signed the kids up for baseball camp in her town (40 miles away from DH at the time) on one of his summer weeks with the kids.

4) Last year, DH told BM he wanted to sit down at the beginning of the year and work out a budget they could both agree to for sports and activities and a plan for those activities for the year. I realize that things come up, but I think when you're a divorced parent, you have to put a little more planning into being a parent, because you are co-parenting. That's your responsibility, especially if you - like BM - wanted the divorce and demanded that you be the CP. Any time DH tries to have a discussion with her where they work together on a solution, she views it as her opportunity to veto DH's plan, without offering her own plan. She just vetos. Last year, in the summer, DH presented his budget, which was reasonable and for which BM had no counter budget to offer. I even helped him worked up a proposed cost spreadsheet to share with her. He told BM that he planned to take the boys for skiing lessons because we had taken them skiing once and they both loved it. BM's response "they've never mentioned skiing to me and I refuse to pay for it." DH said, "that's fine, I'll just subtract the full amount of ski lessons from my budget for the year and when my budget's gone, I'll be done paying for any more sports and activities." Because BM makes so much more than DH, they split the cost of extras 70/30, with DH being responsible for 30% of the cost. Needless to say, skiing ate up our entire budget.

5) BM has decided she doesn't want to demand that DH pay for basketball, because it's less than 1/5th of the cost of skiing lessons. So, she'll just pretend that DH "never" pays. Last year, she wanted DH to buy football cleats for one of the boys. He said, he could do that, but wouldn't be able to buy them until the following weekend. BM screamed that, that would be "too late" and then - because she's totally disorganized - she ended up buying them the weekend DH had said he'd buy them and had to deliver them to the child at the game. After that, she gave DH a receipt for the cleats and some "fruit chews" her husband had purchased when he purchased the cleats, wanting DH to pay her for 100% of the cost. This was the same weekend she wanted him to give her, her child support check 2 weeks early. The following weekend, DH gave her a check for 30% of the cost of the cleats - in compliance with their parenting plan. BM sent him a long handwritten letter about how he was "wasting her time" and sent his check back. We still have the letter and the check. We also have emails back and forth reminding her that DH had said he would pay 100% for the ski lessons, but that would come out of his budget, so yeah, if she wants to go off and say he's "out of compliance" with the plan because he doesn't just hand over money, she can do that, but we can prove she's lying.

6) In their parenting plan DH and BM have "joint decision-making" over medical care, education, and sports / activities. BM never includes DH in any of her decision-making. He's lucky if he finds out about something after the fact. But of course, in her mind, he's the only one out of compliance.

So done with all this BS.

She also ended by saying that special snowflake SS11 has "mentioned to me several times" that he feels that you only say something to him when you have something negative to say, but never praise him and that makes him feel bad. According to her (and yes, this is a quote), he said, "I don't feel like I can feel proud of my accomplishments, because Dad never tells me he's proud of me." Seriously, I almost barfed when I saw that. DH is always hugging both of his sons and telling them how much he loves them and how wonderful they both are. Also, he tells this SS all the time how "you have a great arm for football." He also goes to every game and video tapes every play that SS is in and plasters it on facebook and talks to SS about football all the time. How is that not showing pride in your child? What he doesn't do is give out random "you're so wonderful praise." He does call the kids to tell them they need to hand in their homework (when they don't) and doesn't accept the trade of an A in gym class for a C in some other course, because homework wasn't turned in. He also gives them helpful parenting pointers - like, "when you're on the sidelines in a game, make sure you're paying attention to what's going on, on the field and listening to the coach. that will help you learn about the game and also show the coach you're dedicated to the team" or "when you're learning to ski, it's going to be difficult, but you can't give up, the only way to get better is to work hard." Whenever he says those things, both SSs, but especially special snowflake, say "Dad, why are you always picking on us?!" I sometimes say, "he's not picking on you, he's trying to help you get better. You both need to stop thinking everyone's picking on you." Of course, they spend most of their time with BM who thinks everyone is picking on her and with her DH who believes every crazy crackpot conspiracy theory known to man, so good luck to us. Seriously, though, how will I stand this kid when he's an adult and still crying that daddy didn't give him enough praise.


strugglingSM's picture

Yeah, that's our plan. DH was trying to switch weekends, so the boys would miss fewer games. He also agreed to take them to 2 games, which I thought was a reasonable compromise.

Goodluck's picture

Activities are one of the biggest bones of contentions. Especially when 1 parent signs a child UP and expects the other parent to suck it up during their time.

I have no problem with kids being signed up IF that parent realizes the kid can participate as long as the other parents time is not screwed with.

Skiing on dads time, basketball on mom's.

Easy fix.

THEN tell the kids this is the way it is.

strugglingSM's picture

BM is the CP and she thinks that gives her free rein over everything the kids do. She also refuses to believe that they want to do anything they never mention to her, hence the issue with skiing. She's said to DH multiple times, "the kids never mention skiing to me." "SS told me he doesn't even want to go skiing." (I'm sure in response to a question from her like "you don't want to go skiing, do you?!") Meanwhile, she tells DH he is lying when he tells her he had no idea about basketball, because he never heard any interest from either kid. Granted, he didn't ask them, because they have been asking about skiing lessons since the summer.

At this point, DH has agreed to take them to two basketball games and they'll have to settle for fewer ski trips.

Next year, I think there's a school basketball team that plays during the week, so it won't be an issue. But seriously, it really sets me off when BM acts as if DH should just do whatever she wants and says he is "hurting the kids" or "punishing the kids" if he doesn't.

When she ever came back and said he only wanted to change weekends because he wanted her to bear all the responsibility of taking the kids to all their activities...yeah, lady, you decide, you're responsible. She wants to act like she's some big martyr because she signed the kids up without consulting DH and then he doesn't want to just take that on.

notarelative's picture

"...Next year, I think there's a school basketball team that plays during the week, so it won't be an issue...."

There's always an issue.
One potential issue. In some places school teams are intermural teams and everyone who signs up plays. If the school team is that way it is good. But, in some places school teams are selective and there are a limited number of spots. If it is a selective team it will be DH's fault if he doesn't make the team as he went skiing instead of going to basketball.

Realistically, there's always something to complain about if you want to complain.

strugglingSM's picture

So true...

DH sent BM an email saying "I'm not required to tell you what I'm planning on my weekends, but you're required to tell me if you're signing the boys up for something on my weekend." He then went on to remind her all of the times he paid for things, including giving her his % of the cost, as required by the CO, and including all the times she returned his checks because she thought she was entitled to more money. He then closed by saying, she was never cooperative and also made things a battle and he was sick of it. He was entitled to have a voice in the decision-making process for his children and when he asks for information she refuses to provide it. He provided several examples for each of his points.

She replied by saying, "You're just rambling and you make no sense." Um, ok, talk about proving his point that she's uncooperative.

I sincerely hope that he now realizes that it's not worth responding to her for anything. She's not getting what she wants - which is for DH to just suck it up and take the kids to basketball every weekend and for DH to pay for sports and activities that she signed the kids up for without telling him - so she's just going to call him stupid and hope that he cowers.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Stick with

"I was not included in the choice to sign the boys up for basketball. As such I have no responsibility to pay for any of the cost, nor did I agree to facilitate their attendance during the time they are ordered to be with me."

It's not worth it to try and get her to see how she's not co-parenting because she doesn't care and she never will. In her mind he is nothing except a pay check.

Kirby's picture

I don't know of any CO that allows parents to schedule things on the other parents time without their knowledge or consent. Do what you want on your time, and document the rest if you wanna go back to court. I tell my DH constantly do the right thing, follow the CO alert the other parent of everything and other than that, IGNORE. She sends a nasty email, don't read it. She gets mad on the phone hang up. She sends a stupid text. Delete. Until she wants to speak like an adult about things she can be treated like a child. She cannot control his life.

strugglingSM's picture

I'm slowly getting my DH there. He still thinks that sometimes he can "reason" with her, but then I ask him to think of one instance - whether they were dating, married, or divorced - where she could be reasoned with. He admits he can't think of one, but tells me he's an eternal optimist.

He's now at a place where he doesn't go along with whatever she wants, because they've been divorced long enough that he's seen the light (with a little help from me) and realized she doesn't control him anymore. Now I just have to get him to the place where he ignores her outright.

Maxwell09's picture

My Dh signs up SS for sports that sometimes overlap into BMs time, but of course he sends her the obligatory email saying she has her rights to say no to taking SS to it, make Dh take him instead and pay for everything himself. She’s the type that thinks “yes I want SS in soccer” but the second she receives an email about DH wanting to signing him up she fights and argues about all these supposed problems just for her to eventually say “well I never said “no” I was just pointing out the details” All nothing but her satisfaction of getting to fight another fight. So now DH just says “This is what I’m doing, this is how it might effect your time and I understand if you refuse-it’s up to you” And ironically when she responds it’s not raging about signing him up, it’s raging about not being included. It’s the shorter or two evils really.

strugglingSM's picture

Sounds like my BM. Whenever DH asks for anything - to take SSs with him to a family event on one of her weekends, to take the kids trick or treating on Halloween, to sign them up for skiing lessons (which do not impact her time at all) - her first response is a loud and immediate NO!

She then loves to come back and claim "I never said no", because she doesn't want SSs to find out that DH asked if they could do something and she said no.

My favorite was for MIL's surprise party. DH emailed BM a month in advance and said "we're having a party for my mother on this day at this time. This is your weekend, but I would really like it if the boys could attend." She replied "I don't owe you any favors and if you can't ask me nicely, I'm not going to let them go." DH was freaking out, thinking his kids weren't going to be able to go, so he sent her another message, "I would be incredibly grateful to you if you could allow the boys to attend my mother's birthday party on this date at this time." Her response to that, "well, you don't have to be sarcastic" and then went on to say something about DH being stupid. I told him "you need to stop responding, because now she's just being abusive. You know she will let your children go, because she doesn't want your mother or your brother to think ill of her." Sure enough, they went to the party. I'm surprised BM didn't try to send a present for MIL.

secret's picture

Lol. Closest I can relate with is that although ex-dh and I have 50/50 and no child support, we do have joint-decision making on activities etc... we have a budget, we both contribute towards a joint account for the kids, which neither of us touch without the other's knowledge and consent.

If he wants to go above the budget about something, I can say yes or no - if no, he pays alone. If yes, I pay half. Same the other way around.

Last year, he wanted to put the kids in karate... and while I didn't mind the kids being in karate per se, the class times just didn't work for me.

Sorry...but I work compressed hours from September to June... so while during the summer I'm home by 4, now I'm home closer to 5:45pm. Classes start at at 5, and there's a second one at 6. We wouldn't make either of them. There are classes each weekday, and one on Saturday mornings - you can go 6 times if you want... or as little as one. Didn't matter.

He said he wanted them in there anyway - so I told him I'd have no problem paying half, as long as he dropped them off during my weeks... I could pick them up, but not take them, and that Saturday mornings were out of the question. He said yes. It went fine for about 3 weeks.

After that, he told me I had to start taking them - I told him no can do, we made the agreement, sorry. He said he wasn't going to be taking them on my weeks anymore. Ok, no problem - they'll just miss the classes, no big deal.

Well HE thought it certainly was a big deal, goes off on me about how he has to do all this driving and his time is precious blah blah crap...and that I should just change my hours so I could take them... I cut him short and told him that he really should stop complaining... and that he's just bringing this drama on himself. He wanted them in karate but didn't want to follow through on it... I paid for half when I didn't have to, and that he should just stop being a little b!tch. The kids don't care about missing some classes when they're with me... I don't care... HE cares. It's HIS problem, HE can fix continuing with the arrangement HE agreed to.

strugglingSM's picture

Isn't it funny how easily people forget what they agreed to and then they try to push whatever off on the other person.

DH reminded BM again that when they tried to sit down to agree to a budget last year, he presented her with the amount he was willing to spend for the year. She did not object to his amount or propose a new one. She refused to consider ski lessons because "the boys have never mentioned skiing to me." He said, that's all fine, but I plan to take them skiing, so I'll subtract that from my budget. He did and then he was done for the year. Then one kid missed his last lesson because she scheduled something else over it. She told DH "SS never wanted to go skiing anyway. He doesn't like skiing." Too bad he talks about it with us.

When they had the budget meeting, DH gave her info on what he was prepared to spend and mapped out the cost for activities that he thought the children wanted to do and how he thought they could cover all those with his budget and her corresponding budget (in accordance with the CO, he made his budget 30% of the total budget, as that's what he's obligated to pay for extras). She practically cried during the meeting and told him he was questioning her as a mother and he was always so combative, etc.

Before that, BM would just send DH a monthly demand for extra money she had supposedly spent on extras for the children. She even threatened to report him to child support enforcement because she said he owed her $30 for school pictures. When I came along, I said "why are you paying her if you have no proof that she paid for any of these things?" When he asked her for receipts, you would have thought he has killed her puppy. She got so angry with him and said he was "questioning her as a mother" and it was "so insulting" to have to prove that she paid and on and on and on. The first thing she gave him was just her handwritten list of things she had paid for. When he again, asked for actual receipts, she sent him pictures of the front of checks - including one for "golf lessons" which was written out for the wrong amount and to the wrong last name - according to the website for the golf lessons. Now that I've gotten married and tried to cash checks that had my first name and DH's last name on them, I know that it's impossible to cash a check with the wrong last name written on it, so again, she wasn't even being honest with what she was sharing. He said "those are just pictures of checks, not receipts." She said, well, you can see they were, no you couldn't, there were no marks on them from the bank.

She also used to demand he pay for other things all the time. For example, she after the divorce she demanded that he pay for a broken window in her house, because according to her "your kids broke it." Um, lady, they are your kids, too and it's your house - the one you rent with your boyfriend, the one that has nothing to do with DH. Later, DH found out that BM's SS broke it, so it wasn't even his kids.

If they had a joint account for the kids, she would spend it down to nothing on herself - even though she makes at least twice what DH makes. She also can't get it out of her head that she is not the one who makes decisions for the kids, they are supposed to make them together, that's what co-parenting is. Whenever DH says that to her - We're co-parents, we're supposed to decide on things together. It's not your right to make all the decisions and just demand money from me afterwards. - she responds in one of three ways: 1) telling him he's only saying that because he hates her; 2) telling him he's talking gibberish and making no sense; 3) telling him he's just being difficult and she's given up trying to get him to comply with the parenting plan. I now know what it feels like to be totally gaslit, because none of her responses logically address what he's saying. They just offer some alternative reality where she's the martyr and he's the bad guy who just doesn't want to provide for his kids.

secret's picture

1) yes, I do hate you - but I don't let that prevent me from trying to cooperate with you
2) Just because you don't understand what I'm telling you, doesn't make it gibberish or mean that it makes no sense
3) I AM complying. You aren't...and I have the documentation to show it.

strugglingSM's picture

He said # 3 to her yesterday (complete with examples) and she responded by saying "you're just rambling, you make no sense."

strugglingSM's picture

What would really get her going was if we sent en email like the one you mention in #4 as if it was an official legal notice. She would have a heart attack and say DH was threatening her, even though she has given DH documents letters that she wrote "served on X date" and listed her DH the "witness" to the papers being served.

She would use the kids to emotionally manipulate DH. They already say to him, "why do you hate mom?" "why don't you respond to her texts?" I cannot be emotionally manipulated and would likely tell them, "that's none of your business and your mom shouldn't be talking about those things with you."

I've been pushing DH to do #2 and have sent him so many articles about parallel parenting. When he's wanted extra time with the kids or when he's suggested that we do something on his weekend and he'll just ask BM to switch, I tell him that I'm not interested in the drama either option would cause. I still dream of the day when we'll actually have achieved parallel parenting and don't have to deal with any of this drama.

I know that now that we've switched weekends to allow for skiing, she will have a conflict with one of her new weekends (which she confirmed in writing). Her employer has an annual ski retreat that falls on my birthday weekend. Last year, we did not have the kids, so DH made plans for us to go away, then BM created drama after DH offered to help to have his family look after the kids for the weekend. This year, we're going to see my family on my birthday weekend, since we can't go as a couple to see them for Christmas (BM insists on having every Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, so DH has every Christmas Day with his kids). If BM wants to know if DH can help her out, I'm going to insist he not only say "no, I can't" and leave it at that. No offering to reach out to his mom or brother, which only allows BM to make it his problem that she has no one to care for the kids. If she wants to go away during the week with her husband, she can figure out her own accommodation for the kids.