You are here

No flexibility for step kids

Mumofsix22's picture

Hi long short I have a blended family of 6 kids, his x3 mine x2 only 1 resident and ours baby. I have only just sorted my child arrangements after 4 horrible years. We managed to agree a summer split 2 children together but this year we flipped the weekends as my sister has a destination wedding and it's the complete opposite week and we're all bridesmaids etc. step kids are of course invited. Here's the complication. They stay with us alternate weekends and alternate mon, stays same over breaks only he can da an extra night in the weekend then has the day times instead of evening pick ups I.e takes the working day. 

my other half has asked mum is she willing to swap the summer break weekends so ensure we can spend time with the kids together and the right leave from work etc so that they can all come to the wedding week away. Mum is rigid that she won't swap her reasonbeing that I shouldn't of swapped my weekends when he has children? I had no choice as it's my sisters wedding and she of course chose her date. She has no plans in terms of breaks and days out etc and her alternative child care is her mum who is retired. Her partner has no children to accommodate etc. 

my question I guess is how should this be managed without having to go back through drawn out court process. We are trying to make sure the children spend the same anniunt of time with us and also come the wedding for the week. It makes a huge difference in terms of booking tickets and travel on mini bus as opposed to cars etc so I'm in a small panic. I feel ou position is reasonable and though a minor inconvenience has the kids at the forefront.




ndc's picture

I'm not sure I followed this. Are you saying that instead of swapping the wedding weekend for just one other weekend with your ex, you changed all of your weekends so that they no longer align with the weekends your OH's kids are with you? Or is BM refusing to accommodate just the wedding weekend?

If the former, I agree with BM. If you wanted the children on similar schedules you shouldn't have switched your schedule and expected BM to change hers. My DH has an amicable relationship with BM and they switch weekends and days here and there to accommodate family events, trips and the like, but neither would agree to swap an entire summer schedule. That doesn't seem like a reasonable request to me.  If the latter, I think the request is much more reasonable, even though BM would be within her rights to refuse.  Some people just follow the CO to the letter and that's their prerogative,  although not always what's best for the kids.  Perhaps there is something BM wants that DH could offer to incentivize her to swap the wedding weekend. Do his kids know your sister well? Is it critical that they attend her wedding, or is it mostly a family vacation?


Mumofsix22's picture

Hi so it's a destination wedding so we are with the bridal party for a week. His mum is there staying with my mum so skids grand mum etc and they do know my sister well etc so this issue is because it is week to week for us over summer it was better to flip the weeks temporarily than the kids be with either of us for 2 week periods. Mum wants him to have the week only as extra time which means that he then has his for almost a 3 week period in summer which can't work cause the time from work etc for wedding. BM is a racist nightmare and always has been toward me. But typically she does the opposite of what is the ideal for the children I.e christmas she fought hard to put the children on opposing Christmas schedules to my children so that we could never walk up together and the judge overruled. Mum has had accommodations outside of CO ie he's taken then children for extra week while mum was on holiday with friends and on his sons birthday he didn't get contact cause she took him on a day out instead. His option is basically to not be able to take his other contact as he will be at the wedding or temporarily shift. Their CO states they should allow flexibility. It is 2 years old it may be due an update even.

Survivingstephell's picture

Four years of struggle ?  In blended families, there comes a time where you have to stop shoving that square peg into a round hole.  You will never have everything perfect.  It's nice the skids are invited to your sister's wedding but it doesn't sound like you will get your way.  That's okay.   Things come up. Life happens and skids don't always get to participate.  This will only become more obvious as they get older.  As your bios have family that is not connected to skids, skids also  have another family.  Those events should be supported.  It's a fact of life.  The sooner you and DH can realize this the better in the long run.  

If you have a high conflict other parent, sticking to the CO is best.  Even if it means some of the kids miss out on things.  Managed disappointments is a life skill and blended family life is full of them.  

As a veteran stepmom who has 4 skids, 3 bios and 1 ours, trying to make a family unit is tough , and even tougher with the revolving door that is visitation.  

Mumofsix22's picture

I was referring to my ex with the struggle sorry. I had all my belongings destroyed and had to leave my home and start from the ground up. He recently befriending my partners ex wife though, that's a whole other story for another day! 


CajunMom's picture

I'm with Surviving on this....stop trying to force the squre peg into a round hole. I fully get your DH wants to be at the wedding and would love his kids there but it's not going to happen. In your words, the CO says "should be flexible." Key word. Should. 

In the high conflict stepworld, you simply must choose your battles. And one way to eliminate some drama is to follow the CO exactly as it's written. You've changed up your schedule to accomdate the wedding but that in no way impacts your DH/BM schedule. Your DH has two choices...take his visitation and miss wedding, or go to wedding and miss visitation. 

For what it's worth, before I was disengaged from DHs kids, we had multiple events where SKs missed out due to us following the CO to the T. It was unfortunate but it's the reality of step life. 

Mumofsix22's picture

I agree but she will add guilt to him if he chooses to go the wedding (which he will because he is coming withme and our son regardless. She will tell the children he loves the new baby more because he's cancelled his time with them for the wedding with us etc and she still has him over a barrell basically. He lets Her lead mostly to rescue drama but even when she flips the order up he's too accommodating in that he won't even mention it as an issue. Never ending.

Winterglow's picture

Pre-emptive strike - sorry kiddo, we're all invited to a wedding but your mother won't let you go. Dammit, tell the kid the truth!

CajunMom's picture

and it can be done in a way that is not "ugly." Just be honest with the kids. "Explain it's a major life event where a spouse would accompany his partner to their sister's wedding and while you've tried to get the schedules temporarily changed for the wedding so they can attend, it doesn't match the CO and BM does not want to change." 

Now the ball is in her court. You have not bashed BM to kids....just explained the situation with truth...and the BM can say what she wants but again, kids know the truth. In situations like this, I am 100% for truth being told to kids. 

Survivingstephell's picture

Two things. Facts.  You have a signed document from a judge that spells out things.  Kids can know this fact.  It will not harm them.  

Dissappointment.  Learning how to accept disappointment is a much needed life skill.  Even for DH is he can't make the wedding. Even for you OP, if the whole group can't go to the wedding.  It is one of the most difficult things , but there are times where blended families have to part along blood lines,  weddings are one of those times.  It would be fabulous if we all got along, but you ended up here and this is where people end up that have a difficult time of it.  There will be no magic answer that makes BM behave the way you want.  You just have to make the best of it.  

BM like this get insecure about the skids finding your home better than hers.  That insecurity will cause her to lash out, put up roadblocks, put down your way, put down dad , cause loyalty bonds and any other negative thing you can think of, just to keep her more than, better than, and more deserving of love from the skids.    

As for her telling the skids Dad has moved on and loves them better, that's crap and he should correct that lie each and every time she uses it.  Critical thinking skills are called for.  How? Ask them " why would you mother say that?"  Let them figure it out.  Or just say " I can't figure out why your mother would say that, it's not true. ".  Sending them back to BM with questions is not bad mouthing her.   It might expose her motivations but those skids are stuck with her.  For The Rest of their lives!  They are going to need to know how to deal with it.  

ESMOD's picture

As others said.. simply "sorry... we tried to work it out so that you could attend, but your mother was not going to accomodate the necessary change."

The CO is what the CO is.. this is for your sister.. not necessarily the skid's blood relations.. yeah.. they are missing a vacation.. but it is what it is... the alternate is your DH stays home.. he has little to no choice.

(but prepare for her to change her mind after you have made non changeable travel

Rags's picture

after the wedding week.

Document attempting to work with BM reasonably, and her lack of reason.

DH should just keep his kids and return them upon returning from the wedding. Once returned, it pulls BM's teeth as most courts will not go too hard once the Skids are returned.

We smacked the SpermClan with contempt motions when they failed to return SS per the CO'd visitation schedule, but we also could invoke consequences on our own volition because of DW's personal relationships with the Chief of Police and County Sheriff so we could have SS collected in publically humiliating ways when the SpermClan failed to comply with the CO regarding end of visitation return of the SKid.

I usually will not advise violating the CO. But.. in this case, do not give BM any more power than she desrves.

Mumofsix22's picture

Thanks everyone for your input. After the push and pull of you can take them... but im not swapping the court order... but I will on that week but not any other week etc etc hes made the wise decisions to stick to his own court order and move forward with that. So his children wont attend the wedding and we will stay on opposite schedules over the summer but it is what it is and I agree with others on sticking a square peg in a round hole. I think it has taken for this point for OH to see that BM will not allow any changes unless it personally benefits herself (i.e. a week childcare). I am lucky and curse in that I have my own non resident teen with her dad at present and even he has the insight to see why the children should switch up the weekends, that said, I can manage if he chose not to. Such is the blended life. Onward we go. 

Harry's picture

Had a kid with her.  It's his problem,  BM is his problem.  If he can't work it out then he goes to the wedding with out his kids.  And you get family time.  You can't fix BM. So just stop,  DH can work for Uber as a second job to make enough money to go back to court ti clean up his mess after the wedding.

ESMOD's picture

That's right.. or he stays home and misses her family's wedding.. 

ultimately if sticking to the CO means the least drama.. then for better or worse.. do it.  too much flexibility can be exhausting and end up being frustrating for other people like the step parents that deal with the constant uncertainty of parents that are willing to flex all the time.