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Summer Plans - seriously?

Cover1W's picture

We’ve had plans for at least a year to go on a 3-4 week trip to Europe. SD11 wants to go to England. SD11 and SD9 are in no way ready for an international trip. 1) lack of patience 2) incredibly picky eaters and I won’t travel with them to new places more than 3 days at a time 3) no rules/ramifications. I’ve said no way will I travel with them overseas until they are at least two years older AND eating more normally. I will not have to go to 4 different restaurants before finding something they will eat at. They don’t get that choice any longer.
Well, we have the dates set and are getting ready to purchase plane tickets today. DP tells SDs. I get a text this morning.
DP: ...can we talk about the summer plans? I’m concerned about the girls.
WTF? So I tell him to call when he can. Bet they had a meltdown. Note: Each summer THEY go away with BM for 3 WEEKS to the east coast. No DP. THAT’s apparently OK. But if WE go away...? I’m going to be really, really pissed if he cancels this due to princesses.

Evil3's picture

I have been in the same boat as you. For many years, I didn't travel, because of the same issues with my SKs as yours. DH wouldn't travel at all, because God forbid he leave the preciouses behind. I took matters into my own hands and booked a trip for DD and I. If your DH cancels, is it possible for you to follow through and go on your own or with any bios you may have? When I did that, it taught my DH that I was no longer willing to stop my or our DD's life over picky-eating, spoiled, misbehaved brats. DH has been booking trips for us ever since.

No saint's picture

If they are picky, don't even consider England, or at least London with them; I love food and had a hard time finding half decent one.
Can't you reach a compromise? SO and I usually have 1 week away with SS and another just the two of us.

Snowflake's picture

What is it with these parents. Hubby and I are going on a little v-day trips ( albeit only a couple of hours away) with no probs or guilt that our kids will have a babysitter.

Now if it had been a skid weekend (which due to PAS it is not an issue), it would have been a big ordeal to get a sitter. Or the fact that the skids would not be able to come would have been an issue.

Calypso1977's picture

maybe youll be lucky like me and their mother will refuse (despite court order) to sign off on a passport for them. until they are 16 it requires the signatures of both parents.

kathc's picture

I've canceled more trips than I care to count because of this crap. ("Well, BM doesn't take them anywhere because she can't afford to!" "Well, I shouldn't have to subsidize vacations for children who aren't mine!")

I finally told him flat out, "It is NOT a vacation for ME if there are children along. I work hard and I deserve a BREAK!"

Mine finally got it, I hope yours does.

Cover1W's picture

HA! I have no bios.

The good thing is we do go on weekend trips or short holidays together frequently, w/o SDs. SD11 has recently (since onset of puberty) been protesting these excursions made ON OUR TIME. After some reading on this site, it seems like the good old SD = wife issue coming up. If she doesn't like it, DP shouldn't do it. Especially if it involves me.

We take SDs to my family's area each spring break so we can all get some sun and warmth. It's a good trip overall. This year with SD11 acting up it'll be more interesting. This trip is already booked. DP is planning another trip just with them in August to visit his family (I may fly out for just a weekend). So it's not like they aren't getting to get out.

After an exhausting trip to a new place this past summer I put my foot down about NEW places until they are older (see my weekend only comment above to August trip). The food thing my #1 issue and then the attitude/rules thing the next. I won't cater to them.

The funny thing about the spring break trip is SD11 has also been nagging DP about "getting the good bed" at the resort we are staying at. Hell NO. I remind DP to be strong about that and not cave for god's sake; WE are the adults and decision makers. Not an 11 yo.

I should be hearing what DP has on his mind in the next hour or so...

SweetMom's picture

Damn! Spring vacations, summer trips and Europe. I'll marry your ass and dump my kids haha

Cover1W's picture

My DP is from England too! SD11 knows that part of her family is there and a NEW COUSIN so she's playing the baby card. But she'll see baby in August anyway. I keep telling DP, when she's 16 and her sister is 14.

We discussed all our trips this year and after this year it'll be two years of only local road trips. We've been planning the Europe thing for a YEAR so if this is cancelled or altered at the last minute I'll be really pissed off. And he knows it. We're really good at planning trips so get pretty good deals. We did nix a trip to Disneyland due to cost. It was either AZ or CA. SDs were happy with the AZ choice (they didn't really have one, we just framed it that way).

Still no call...I think DP is avoiding me. :O

Cover1W's picture

Well, DP just texted and asked if we could talk about the trip tonight.
This means that we are not purchasing today, and now have to wait until Tuesday, when the travel agency is open again. AND it means it's serious.
Maybe it's not, but jeez, come on!
Tell the SDs we are going and when and if they cry and whine and beg, tell them, "This is an adult trip and an adult decision. Discussion over." Why in the world does the world stop spinning if they shed some tears?

I do have some lovely wine ready for this evening. I know how we all love it!

No saint's picture

If you have already planned for vacations with the kids, which you have, I am with you 100%: take this one alone with DH and enjoy!

onthefence2's picture

I don't know what you people do for a living, but it sounds like you could afford to hire a nanny in England to take the girls around so you don't have to deal with them. I would not leave my kids for 3-4 weeks. I know the "in" thing these days is shove the kids off to school and babysitters and whoever will take them every minute a parent is not working, but I see my kids all day long and would not leave them to leave the country for 3-4 weeks. Of course, I can't afford all these vacations and we are lucky to get a week at the beach, but if my SO insisted we go for 3-4 weeks without my kids, he would be going without me. If I get one vacation for the year, my kids will, too. As a matter of fact, when I was married, my h wanted me to pawn the littles off on someone while we went on the one vacation of the year. I didn't have kids so I could leave them every time something fun was coming up. I found out later he just doesn't give a rip about his own kids...a whole different topic.

Cover1W's picture

SKs will be with their BM when we are gone, away on their annual trip to Her family visit. Trip has been planned and saved for. We are not wealthy but good planners.

DP has postponed plans because SKs were really upset (oh no!) that he was going with me. Yep, I was right.

So he's proposed some family counseling as apparently they have been telling him 'Cover1W has ruined our lives.' I was not happy and am not, Nd he has to get over SKs dictating our adult lives. Counseling good for all of us apparently. I need to understand the divorce dynamic...fine. Girls don't make decisions, IMHO, because 'they would feel left out.' Seriously?! Then he said something about well, we could do something with them and then go ourselves. Wait, we are already taking them to AZ and to MN and now another thing? No way. Just to basically make them placated. He didn't like that word. Ok, what do you call it then?

Btw, I a totally fine with counseling and encouraged it.
Especially now that I know they really do think I am 'ruining their life.' If that means they can't do whatever they want then fine, yes. Let's see what comes next.

onthefence2's picture

I shared what I shared about my feelings as a bm to help you see that he has a different perspective than you. But I also was a SM for 8 years and TOTALLY get your side as well. No way in hell would I be leaving the country with someone else's child. I've been just trying to plan a trip to the beach w/ my SO of 2 years and can't do it around his son (we are 18 hours from the beach) so it hasn't happened.

Sometimes it helps to take a step back and look at a situation from the outside. I've never been a skid, but I bet *most* skids feel that a sparent has ruined their lives. I mean, first of all, they take the parent they hardly see away from them (whether it's 5 hours or 50 hours), and when a skid "lets down her hair" with a bio-parent (which is normal) they catch all kinds of grief because there is an outsider there who raises a big stink about it. I used to see kids out and wish my kids were that nice to one another, or that pleasant, etc. and once I talk to the mom, find out at home things are WAY different. It's the same in my house. But if there were a stepdad here, a "parent" who always wants them to mind their p's and q's, they can't gripe or grumble in that safe environment without creating a big issue between the 'rents. They are not allowed to let off steam (adults do it, too) at either house if both parents are remarried. I'm not saying it's okay for everyone to treat each other like crap at home. I'm saying that skids (and all kids) often have a need to scream, cry, get angry, etc. because it's a part of life, and actually normal development.

So just your presence, your existence, is a problem. If you don't get that, you will ALWAYS have issues. I'm not one of those "catch more flies with honey" kind of person. But I try to be honest. If I'm honest with my kids about what I know they are feeling, they realize I get it, and was once a kid myself, and I have some good advice to offer. If you had a conversation with them and showed them that you understand how they might feel having a SM and what that entails, etc. it will get you WAY further than a counseling session. Kids want to be heard, they don't want to be manipulated.

That said, bio-dad needs a bit of a wake up call. I can choose to take my own vacations or just take MY kids, because I am not married. But he chose to marry you and he needs to figure out what that means. Sometimes that means disappointing your kids because they won't ALWAYS get their way (do they always get to choose what's for dinner, or the restaurant?!) His compromise and dragging bm into it is STOOPID crazy. A better compromise...he will take each of them for one week when they graduate high school. They will be older and appreciate it more, they have to earn it, AND you don't have to go. They don't get what they want right now, but that is life, and actually a good thing to sort of show them who's in charge, but while being fair to them...they will get it later. If bio-dad's only goal is placating them no matter what, I agree that something needs to be done. An outsider like a counselor should be able to point out some things that might need to change in his behavior with them. I know you probably feel like an outsider watching them, and I did, too. But while an outsider, you are also the "instigator" even if unwillingly, and he probably doesn't trust your assessment because of it.

Cover1W's picture

1) I totally understand what you are saying and DP and I have discussed it to great extent. We have a super good relationship and are not at odds with each other for the most part and where we disagree his parenting comes first because they are his kids.

2) SDs are generally great. I have been with DP for 1.5 years now (not married). When I moved in a year ago DP and I agreed some 'house rules' were made; it's a small house so can get cluttered and dirty very fast. Basically, clean up after yourself, don't use furniture as gymnastics equipment (several pieces have been damaged by SDs, a full set of curtains pulled down, a bed broken from jumping on it and a set of blinds ruined because they were using a window as a door), showers once a week, wear pjs not dirty clothes at night and brush teeth nightly.

3) DP continuously expects SDs to do the above, but if they don't, no real ramifications. They see me, not him or us, as the one who changed things. DP is great at supporting me when they talk back or badly about me and reinforces 'us' to them. And yes, I have talked with them about it, as DP has. I acknowledge I am not their mom, not trying to take daddy away, want to help, be there if they are upset, even pick them up at school if DP can't. But this gets no where. They nod and get right back to it. And behind my back. And to my face. And to DP. And to their friends.

4) in spite of DP support and me pulling back, I suspected something was going on this fall. SD9 completely started ignoring me, wouldn't talk to me at all. Me nor DP could understand why. SD11 started talking back to me, even after simple things like, "good night see you tomorrow." Seriously. Then in December they booby-trapped by bedroom and did some damage to some of my things. DP DID thankfully get all over them at that point. It went way too far and they refused to explain themselves to him. Their crappy attidude has persisted. I am not a rule maker or enforcer. I make their lunches, dinners on the weekends, and help DP with laundry. We cannot get them to talk.

5) So with the travel, they freak out completely according to DP. He was clearly shaken enough to himself suggest counseling. SD11 is having some other issues that he's thought she may benefit from a counselor already. We don't know what happens at BMs, but he has td her of the unacceptable attitude they have for me and he wants to find out how she is handling some basic things on her end (like teeth brushing, hygiene and basic chores) so we are all on the same page. We've got radio silence back so far.

So DP has now proposed that girls come with us to England for a week. Then they return in their own with a direct flight and a child-handler. That's the only option he decided to give. He told BM this because she wanted an answer by the end of the weekend so she could get her plans settled. I have agreed to this plan. I still don't think BM will go for it and SDs are not independent enough for them to be comfortable with it. It's up to DP at this point.

onthefence2's picture

Okay, now I'm kind of understanding more. You have only been together for a year and a half, and want to leave the country for 3 weeks together without skids. And you have no idea what's going on at bms, but something is amiss. IMO, you need to wait longer before taking this trip. The girls are not doing well, and I can kinda see why. It isn't that you are doing anything wrong, but it's a lot of changes. Even if they are only there EOWE, it still changes EVERYTHING about their time with Dad. They have not grown into the new scenario, and chances are, bm is causing problems from her end because she has her own issues with him being happy. More than likely, that's what started the whole thing. If the week in England works for everyone, it's not a bad plan. As the mom of a 12 and 13, I can tell you that what you are dealing with will likely get way worse in the next couple of years. Especially if bm is filling their heads.

Cover1W's picture

Yep. There's something going on that we don't know, a missing piece somewhere. I suggest canceling Europe plans for this year and just a
Take each other to Hawaii for a week instead. LOL.

Just to note, DP has SDs 50% and most holidays during school year. Including Xmas. And we have them a full half of summer. During BMs half of summer they usually go away for a three week trip, and hardly ever call DP. So they do fine without him, and they know we go on other trips without them. I thinks they are totally not prepared for a trip like this and god forbid we should get engaged. All hell would break loose.

Good thing DP and I are both optimists, but I'm not looking forward to the full on teen years for sure.

onthefence2's picture

If they are there 50%, then that means even MORE of their life is affected by you being around. I do NOT envy you. Could you postpone the England trip and go to Hawaii while they are w/ bm? Would they even need to know about it? LOL You are going to need a vacation and they don't need to know everything that goes on. There's lots of things my kids don't know and I have them ALL the time. I go "run errands" all the time LOL. And I'm not doing anything illegal or creepy. But I could if I wanted }:)

Miss Claire 1985's picture

Haha - yep I can relate to this! After 4 nights on a caravan park last summer I won't even consider going overseas for a week. Hell on earth.

Cover1W's picture

Latest plan from DP this morning...
We take girls with us to England. Stay with one of his sisters outside of London. Travel via train for excursions (SDs who dislike traveling without a car will love this one). Then somehow convince BM to take a vacation to Switzerland to visit friends who happen to have a daughter who is/was friends with SD9. After England visit somehow SDs meet up with BM in Switzerland and we continue our vacation. Then SDs not left out.
I agreed to this (mostly b/c it'll never happen) and only if counseling starts ASAP.
Because now I know how they really feel I also to him I am worried about the upcoming AZ trip. No way in hell is SD11 getting our bed and when we stay with my sister I WILL have say over behavior in her house. My sister won't put up with it either (she has my wonderful 11yo niece and I suspect the two 11 yos will not get along this time, just a hunch, because of SD attitude).
DP agreed to all this and I'm glad he knows exactly where I stand now. I also told him their shitty attitude and statements to him against me make me not want to do anything for them. He got that loud and clear.
Counseling is going to bring some things to light and I'm looking forward to it actually.

luchay's picture

WTF? YOUR holiday plans are contingent on convincing BM to take a trip to Switzerland? HOW likely is that?

Sheesh your man is the king of the Disney Dads at this point.

TheAccidentalSM's picture

Don't take them. Leaving aside the food issues and the logistical nightmare, they don't sound like the kind of kids who will be happy to spend the day at an art gallery or museum. You won't be able to get the most out of your trip.

My parents took me and my two sisters to London for a couple of weeks at that age BUT we were very well behaved and really liked art and site seeing. But we had had a really different upbringing to most kids. We lived in multiple countries and mom used to take us to galleries almost daily when we were somewhere hot for the air con.

I went to Normandy with DH and SSs when they were about 10, 12, 14. They didn't have the patience to even do the Normandy landing museums. After literally 5 minutes they were saying "We're done. Can we leave?" Even the eldest who had loved Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. Their SD at the time was ex-forces so they knew about the war. But even with all that they couldn't hack it. I'd been before so wasn't too bothered and DH let them wait for us in the carpark.

Don't bring them if there is any chance they'll behave like this. London isn't the kind of place where you can tell them to wait for you outside. You don't want to make the trip and then find that your sightseeing is limited to the M&M World London and Hamleys Toy Store.

Rags's picture

For the first few years of our marriage my bride would not take summer vacations during the Skid's SPerm Land summer visitaiton (5wks). She did not want him to miss it. For a few years I capitulated. My family invited us on several trips but because SS was not available we did not go.

Finally I put my foot down. It made no sense to me that my bride expected 9 people (DW and me, mom and dad, my brother, SIL and their 3 kids) to accomodate one person. Invariably the Sperm Clan would schedule their visitation to begin over 4th of July weekend which meant the kid was gone from early July until midish August. School in Texas at that time started either the second or third week of August which left the only available vacation time with Skid availability as early June through the first couple of days of July.

We started going on vacations with my family upon occassion whether the Skid was available or not.

I suggest that you schedule your Europe trip during BM's summer visitation time with the Skids. End of problem. "Sorry girls. You will be with your mom. Maybe next time."

As for age of the kids.... that makes no difference IMHO. We took trips with the Skid from day one when he was 2yo. We did all of the US, Europe when he was 6, Asia when he was 8, Mexico several times from age 2-12ish. The only thing required to make a kid ready to travel internationally is parents who will not tolerate behavioral bullshit including picky eaters. "Sit, eat, and shut up with the complaining and whining." End of problem.

Cover1W's picture

Still no answer from BM or DP about trip.
SDs arrive for their EOW visit tomorrow (Wed eve - Mon morning).
It's going to be a hairy one.

IslandGal's picture

Wow! Sounds like your DH is the King of all Disney Dads!! Doesn't he realise that by trying to please everyone, he's going to end up pleasing noone??

When we had counselling, I remember quite clearly, our Counsellor telling SO.

Your relationship is like an onion. Only the 2 people in the core of the relationship are the main ones who make decisions etc. Layers signify others..e.g. skids, family etc. Once you allow others to cross over into the core.. the onion will begin to rot and you'd have to throw it out.

This turned on the light in SO's eyes about how he would allow his SD11 (at the time) to make adult decisions.

We went away for 4 days, about a year into our relationship and left skids in the care of SO's Mom. SD about went mental. We were in a secluded aera and had to drive 20 mins to use the club's phone to call her.. when we got to the club, the phone was out.. I had to watch my SO almost have a melt down. He was so desparate to call SD that he offered a private home $20 to make a local call so she wouldn't "fret". THAT was quite an experience for me!!

Thankfully, he no longer does that and has stepped aside (long story).

I would NOT take skids on this holiday and I would be so damn pissed at my SO for all this procrastinating that I'd be sorely tempted to take off on my own!

Cover1W's picture

"Sounds like your DH is the King of all Disney Dads!! Doesn't he realise that by trying to please everyone, he's going to end up pleasing noone??"

That's exactly what his sister told him (who I like very much). Just waiting for this all to unfold. Sitting with popcorn and wine and maybe a ticket to a yoga retreat in myself.

Stepintime0111's picture

If Dh and I could go back in time before we had our bios and take a vacation to Europe without kids, we would be all over it! We have little ones now, one with special needs and nobody that would be willing to watch them while we vacation. Many times, I have envied childless people who can travel when they want or people with involved parents who will watch the grandchildren. My son could never deal with me leaving for a week. If the sds will be in their own vacation with bm at this time, I don't get the issue. We always take 2 vacations. One is with all the kids and one is just us with our little bios. There's a big age gap and that way we can do things geared toward the younger kids.

Cover1W's picture

DP's issue is that the SDs are "upset" and "feel left out" even though they will be with BM as usually planned. That's why he's waffling. Period. No other reason.

Cover1W's picture

I was in agreement with him telling them about our trip (we are visiting some family in England who they are also in communication with and just talking about it would make it evident). I told him to expect at least SD11 to be pissed. He shrugged it off.

DP doesn't realize the ramifications in total yet. He is slllloooowly getting there though. SD11 didn't speak to me at all last night and he was put out by that. "Hey, DP, it's ok with me, but you can't be surprised."

We're going to meet with a realtor this weekend, and I've made it clear NO SDs are allowed at the meeting but I am expecting SD11 to have another fit and demand to join (she's made it clear she wants to 'help' find a house). If he in any way caves, I'm immediately cancelling the meeting altogether.

misSTEP's picture

We would never tell the skids our plans. They would tell BM and she would do something to ruin it. Either withhold the kids or scare them about the trip.

Too late for that, I guess.

wth was I thinking's picture

My DH is from South America. He hasn't been back in many years. I want to go maybe sometime next year (I'm thinking next winter, get away from this awful cold...) and meet his family etc etc... I've never been to SA, I think it would be amazing. He has said he will not go without skids. To me that sounds like an absolute nightmare. Not to mention insanely expensive, and there is no way in HELL I am subsidizing their travel expenses. Plus it will mean way less adult fun with his sibling/cousins, traveling to nearby cities, etc...

So, needless to say, we, or at the very least, I, will not be going for at least 7 years till they are adults.