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BM constantly switching schedule arrangement.

DogsAREeasier's picture

My partner, who I have been with for nearly two years, has two, 6-year-old twin daughters with his ex-wife. They are supposed to have 50/50 (1 week on, 1 week off) shared custody however BM is constantly switching and complicating the schedule. Most of the time, these changes work out in her favor, meaning we never get the time back. Since he continues to accommodate her, she continues to make plans on the weeks she has the children, leaving him (us) to take care of them. This is getting very frustrating to me. I've told my partner that he needs to stop agreeing to take them for her, that she has TWO entire weeks a month that she can make plans with her friends or schedule extra catering shifts. That's far more than many moms out there. My partner has no problem with this schedule. We make plans on the weeks we don’t have the kids. End of story. We basically never have to ask her to take the kids and take responsibility for our week.

My partner and I currently live in separate homes, so I've been putting up with BM’s schedule switches because I can always retreat to my own space if need be, but we are planning on moving in together this fall and I've told him that if he doesn’t start putting his foot down and stick with the schedule, this is going to become a big problem. When we live together, it'll be me babysitting for BM too, and I think it's extremely selfish of her to expect me to give up my time (Remember, I'm already committing myself to 50% custody of children who are not my own) so that she can go out with her friends. When I try to speak to my partner about this he tells me I need to look at it as getting to spend extra time with the kids. As parenting, not babysitting. He thinks I’m being unreasonable. I can’t even believe he doesn’t understand where I’m coming from. It’s bad enough that BM doesn’t get it, but when your own partner doesn’t, it’s disappointing. I should mention that when he does have the kids, I’m trying very hard to be there for them. I buy and cook them healthy foods, I arrange crafts for us to do, we hang out together etc. I’m not just some vacant babysitter, I’m genuinely trying to take interest in the children and help them grow into great little people.

Last week BM told him that he needs to be more flexible with schedule changes. I’ve said I will take them:

- 50% of the time
- In emergency situations
- Special family functions that we don’t want the kids to miss

Is this unreasonable? I don’t even care how the 50/50 split goes, as long as it's a consistent schedule that we can plan around.

I don’t see why we should have to take the children so that BM can go out with her friends or schedule an extra catering shift. She doesn’t realize that while she’s out catering and making MORE money, WE are making less because we can't work - we’re babysitting. And that while she’s out having fun with the girls, we’re at home with the children and I’m getting less one on one time with my partner.

How can I get my partner to understand my position?!

tankh21's picture

My first question is why are you doing all this stuff for these kids if you aren't married to this guy? I understand where you are coming from with the BM is there a CO set in place?

DogsAREeasier's picture

No CO. They split fairly amicably and arranged much of this on their own. I don't think they need to go to court, I think he needs to start putting his foot down so she stops taking advantage. It's very frustrating. He tries to view it as getting to spend more time with his children. I almost think he feels guilty for saying no... as if he's denying his kids. Although I know he loves seeing them, I've also seen him be relieved that they're going back to their mom. And I've seen him get stressed out because he's picking up the slack for BM.

I do these things for the kids because they are nice children who have been very accepting of me, and I'd love to keep it that way. It's been hard to say the least. BM has not been very gracious or grateful to me at all, but my boyfriend is worth keeping around and he comes as a package deal 50% of the time.

tankh21's picture

I think ultimately that BM thinks that she can run the show and take advantage because there is no CO. If there was a CO then she would have to follow it or be in contempt with the courts. To me that is the most effective way for your BF to establish some boundaries with the BM. If your BF sees nothing wrong in "getting more time" with the kids then you have to decide do you really want to be with a man that can't stand up to his ex and trust me it will only get worst. Even with a CO sometimes they try to take advantage and don't want to follow it. I have had the same fight with my DH because his CO states that he gets his kids every Thursday night during the school year well when the week of school got out BM over here was pissed off because DH didn't come pick up the kids for his usual Thursday night so when BM was ranting about it DH highlighted the COand sent her screen shots of the CO that showed where he only picks up the skids on Thursday nights during the school year well she stopped her BS because what could she say so this is why it's a good idea to have a CO in place and follow it to the T so there is no taking advantage of or whatever. My DH saw it the same way as your BF saw it that "he gets more time with his kids" Well I told him it's my birthday and our wedding anniversary so I want to spend time with you before we get the kids for a whole month straight and then he understood.

101Stepmom101's picture

Your man doesn't need to be more flexible with his schedule for HER. She will run all over you guys if he doesn't stick to the court order. Seems like she already is. He should tell her he plans on taking her back to court ~ since it seems like you guys have the children more than 50% ~ make HER pay child support. It costs you extra money for food/transportation etc.
The children need STRUCTURE. So do you guys.

Acratopotes's picture

don't move in together...... not while your BF jumps when his ex demands...

simply go ahead with planing your life, either he joins in or he babysits.. you can only move in when he stepped up and set up some strong boundaries with the ex

Loxy's picture

This is good advice, if you move in with this unresolved it will always remain unresolved. If your BF is not willing to make you a priority, which he's currently not, then I would think very seriously about progressing this relationship.

ybarra357's picture

"My first question is why are you doing all this stuff for these kids if you aren't married to this guy?" - I was thinking the same thing.

OP, these aren't your kids. Why would you be giving up your time for this?

tankh21's picture

Trust me I made that mistake a few months before I got married and now I have been married for about a year and just started disengaging as of yesterday so quit while you are ahead OP please.

DogsAREeasier's picture

Disengaging.... that's interesting that you mentioned that. There has been building resentment towards BM and towards my partner. I have always felt like he is more on BM's side than mine, although he's tells himself that he's on his children's side. This resentment has very much trickled down to the children. I used to want to do things with them and for them a lot more than I do now. It's unfortunate because they are very nice children who I could see growing to love, but BM and my partner, due to not be supportive or appreciative (mostly BM) of me, have ruined it for them. Now I find myself saying "meh" most of the time and just doing the bare minimum.

DogsAREeasier's picture

I knew from the start that he came as package, and as I don't have children of my own, I decided that 50% wasn't too much to ask if it meant being with someone I love. His children are very nice, which helps. They're smart and funny and fairly well behaved... for kids, that is Smile We aren't married but out of all the people I've dated in my life (I'm now 37), he is my best match. I genuinely feel like I could spend my life with him.

tankh21's picture

How old are the kids? Yeah I get it you want to do things for your BF because you love and care about him. Are there any marriage plans in your future?

DogsAREeasier's picture

We have talked about it but want to get into a better financial position before that happens. I moved back to Ontario from BC to take over the family business. It's been a big project, one that my BF has been very helpful with. We would like for both of our businesses to be doing well before getting married. It comes down to time, really. We're both so busy, I can't imagine planning a wedding! But yes, we are headed that direction.

DogsAREeasier's picture

Kids are 6 going on 7 years. They have been very easy to get along with, that I am thankful for. If only BM could follow suit.

DogsAREeasier's picture

It's funny, they have said that they would like my dog to be their step sister and asked me when we're getting married. They know what marriage it too. Not sure to what extent, but they realize that I would be their step mom and that we would live together. I'm not positive, but I think I lucked out with the kids. I think that they were young enough when I came into their lives, and we were very slow and cautious when planning introductions. It's been a very long time since they mentioned anything about mommy and daddy getting back together (over a year I believe) and my BF explained the situation to them very well, so they know that's not a possibility.

DogsAREeasier's picture

I wouldn't say I'm having to give up too much of my own time at the moment. He definitely takes care of the children on his own most of the time right now, with me helping out here and there, or all of us spending time together. I'm more worried about when we move in together. I'm not going to be her babysitter. He tells me that this is what parenting is. That it's better for the children to be with us rather than a babysitter. I think she should just not make plans and then she won't need a babysitter. I have told him that I will "parent" for him, but not for her. Especially since she has been very unappreciative of any efforts I have ever put in. I also don't think that the children mind being with a babysitter once in a while. BM just doesn't want to fork out the cash when she knows my BF will take them for free. Also, which drives me CRAZY, she'll ask my BF to take the kids for an entire night or even a weekend even if she just needs a few hours of babysitting one evening. Totally takes advantage.

Loxy's picture

We had to work very hard with BM in the early years to put in clear boundaries with custody as she wanted DH to be her babysitter and take the kids whenever she needed and the constant chopping and changing was not acceptable to us – nor is it good for the kids to have so little stability.

The arrangement we ended up with is good – we stick to the schedule 98% of the time and plan stuff around it and both sides are flexible with accommodating changes when needed.

Loxy's picture

The only way you will get it is if you can get your BF completely on-board which sounds like quite a challenge. My DH and I have always been on the same page with this stuff so that really helps - BM was the issue.

The trick is to treat BM like a child - put the boundaries in place and just keep reinforcing the same messages until it eventually sinks in. It took DH about 2 years to get the custody situation in a good place - ie locked down with minimal changes but flexibility on both sides when change is needed. It took probably 6-7 years for BM to truly accept she has no control over what happens in our household and it took her a little longer again to accept me and the role I play in the skids lives.

BM has always felt very threatened by me, so much so we went to mediation about 3-4 years ago to try and resolve some of her issues. Didn't really resolve anything much because I wasn't willing to be told what I can and can't do in my own home, although we did agree on a few ground rules and I also got her to accept the fact that the skids view me as family and their third parent so what I do will always be in their best interests as opposed to pandering to her insecurities.

DogsAREeasier's picture

It sounds like a long road ahead.

I have often told him that I think it's funny that he'll put his foot down to his children, even if it creates conflict, but he won't to BM because he "doesn't want to create trouble". I guess he feels like it's worth the effort with his kids, but not with BM. He does need to start treating her more like a child!

I honestly feel like BM's jealously towards me, not because of who I am specifically, she doesn't even know me really, but because of the role I play in his and the kids lives - she put me through so much crap. I feel ripped off. I feel like I was denied all the wonderful moments and feelings that come with having a new boyfriend. From the start, his BM, their past and her immature/selfish ways overshadowed me and our new relationship. I feel like if my boyfriend and I split up right now, the next woman would have it so easy because I laid all the grunt work with BM. She's definitely coming around finally. She'll even say my name now! It really was mainly because she felt threatened by me. She was too bust seeing the negative to see that I'm actually a really nice person who is taking a genuine interest in HER children.

Now she wants more flexibility with the schedule. She thinks it's best. I think bouncing the kids back and forth between houses is not ideal unless it has to be done. I feel like one week on, one week off is great for us and the kids. The only person it doesn't suit is BM, for selfish reasons IMO.

Thank you for your responses. They've been helpful.

Loxy's picture

It's natural for bio-mums to feel threatened by the new women in their ex's lives, I would have had a lot more sympathy for BM about this over the years if she wasn't such a cow ha ha.

On the issue of the custody schedule - do some research as you will find out that the majority of it supports frequent transitions between houses when the kids are very young (ie pre-school) so they get regular contact with both parents. However, once kids start school the focus should be on minimising transitions (ie back and forth between houses) and providing more stability for kids in the form of block periods with each parent. They also say transitions should happen on school days wherever possible ie one parent drops kids off in the morning and the other picks them up in the afternoon as this is less stressful than transitions direct between houses.

If you take this angle with DH then maybe you can get him on-board and then tackle BM. That being, I still think you need to address the issue that DH is not showing you the respect or understanding you deserve!

hereiam's picture

When I try to speak to my partner about this he tells me I need to look at it as getting to spend extra time with the kids. As parenting, not babysitting.

Except, YOU are not their parent.

Look, he sees nothing wrong with how things are being done. He thinks you are being unreasonable. Do you really think anything is going to change? In fact, it's only going to get worse when you live together.

You have both decided that these kids are as much your responsibility, as their parents' responsibility. They are not. You have set yourself up here and it's going to be very hard to backtrack without backlash from your partner.

Loxy's picture

Your partner needs a reality check - no one likes spending that much time with someone else's kids. I would suggest counselling to work through expectations and boundaries. And don't move in with him until this is resolved!

DogsAREeasier's picture

Thank you. I'm definitely re-thinking the move in. We do have other options and live close by. There's no reason we can't continue like this.

101Stepmom101's picture

I bet he doesn't know how to say "NO" to Bio.
(Same issue in my life...) My DH doesn't like to piss off BIO... even though she goes out of her way to upset DH.

Your man should ALWAYS tell BIO ~ if he is having them extra that he needs to OK it with you and make sure YOU do not have plans.
Bio seems like she just wants to socialize and be kiddo free. That's not the real world when you have children.
Unexpected extra time affects YOU and your life/plans. It's not fair. I'm sorry.

DogsAREeasier's picture

He definitely avoids conflict with her at all costs. It makes me angry because he knows that avoiding conflict with her usually means creating conflict with me, but he chooses to appease her anyway. Just another case of him being supportive of his EX instead of me.

DogsAREeasier's picture

Thank you. Luckily I own a home in BC and a cottage here in Ontario. Neither will be sold anytime soon Smile I'm am thinking we'll continue on as is, living in separate spaces for another year.

ESMOD's picture

Your SO obviously will agree to taking his children whenever possible. He is a parent full time, not just 50%. Now, I understand that currently the agreement is 50/50 but that apparently is a fluid arrangement and tbh, his EX could kick the bucket and it would be full time.

When you say that he doesn't "get the time back" you aren't referring to him getting custody time back.. you mean child free time right?

I believe you are seeing what your life will be like with him. You need to decide if having him is worth it and accept that he will allow his kids over whenever.

I get your frustration in that your plans may change due to unexpected kids over, that would be my frustration too, but I lived a bit like that myself and I either had to accept the reality of my DH having kids.. or not be with him. thankfully, my SD's were pretty normal and decent kids. BM was a whack job.. but I disengaged from her. Both girls are grown and on their own.. totally financially independent. So, I survived.

DogsAREeasier's picture

I feel like having them full time would be easier. Yes, it would pose MANY different challenges but we would have control over our lives. It's not that I don't like the children, they are great kids. If BM has to be in the picture then I want her to hold up her end of things.

Yes, last spring/summer (so, over the course of 3 or 4 months) I wrote down every time he took the children for her. He ended up taking the kids for something like 15 additional days in that time-frame. Then we asked her to take them for us, and she said she owed him nothing lol. I just think that's a little unreasonable. Once he reminded her though, she did take them. I'm not sure she realizes how much she asks him for favors.

secret's picture

I feel for you.

SO has his kid all the freakin' time... and that's ok... but I relish the planned kid free time, and it drives me bonkers when the kid gets dumped on SO. Not because he takes him - that I can understand... but more the fact that BM has every evening free, and every weekend free... I fa-king want one too!

Since January, BM has had the kid :

1 Saturday from wake up to bedtime.
11 Fridays from pick up at daycare to bedtime.
4 Sundays from 1pm to bedtime.

She has him each night from 7:45pm to bedtime... which is 8pm
She has him each morning from wake up 6:30am-ish to daycare drop off time (7am)

Hennypenny's picture

I agree. A week is a long time for SO to go without having his kids so of course he will take them whenever he can. He is their father 100 percent of the time and he loves and misses them. Unless ithere are specific plans being affected then don't look at it as a big deal. If you don't want to give up your time, then do something else when it happens. Don't feel like you have to be there to feed or entertain them when it happens and the frustration and resentment will subside. Remember, these are little girls still, and it's better with them to be with a parent than a babysitter. Try not getting caught up in the idea of "the schedule" or of BM "getting her way" and go with the flow for a while.

DogsAREeasier's picture

Yes, a week is a long time but that's how my bf wants it, and what they agreed upon when they split. He believes it's easier on the children not to be bounced around every couple days, just getting settled into one home and then being sent back to the other. He thinks this provides more stability for them. I suggested discussing different schedule options with BM, still 50/50 but less time between seeing them. It's not the schedule that bothers me, or him, it's all the changes, complications due to the changes, and the BM's expectations. And yes, it IS better for them to be with a parent rather then a babysitter. But I consider parenting a responsibility. If you only have custody of your children 50% of the time, make your plans on the 50% you don't have them.

Right now I can just go do something else if the children are around, I'm more worried about what it's going to be like when we move in together, which is going to happen at some point.

SMforever's picture

You lost me at "I've told my partner he needs to..." Oh, honey, you can't change a man. Don't move in if and until he gets a CO. As long as his balls are in BM's handbag you don't have a snowball's chance in hades of getting the situation you are magically dreaming of.

skatermom's picture

I'm 8 yrs into a mess very much like this. When DH and I started dating, he would take the kids whenever BM wanted, never once asked her to take them on his time. It's gotten a lot better, but it's still happening.

BM got a job and starts on 6/19, of course she just assumes DH will now be taking the kids during the day while she works her new job. DH works 3rd shift and needs to sleep during the day. He can't have 9 yr old twins and a 12 yr old running wild in the house all day. He told her this, today and she showed up in our driveway bawling about how could he be so insensitive.

My point is, this will never end. Unless you disengage somewhat when he gets them and do your own thing, you will come to resent him and the kids more than you already do. Trust me.

DogsAREeasier's picture

Bah, I swear I would not be such an unreasonable BM.... it looks like the BM you have to deal with is similar to the one I have to deal with. I look at my sister and her ex (they have a child together), and they are so reasonable and fair with each other. If he needs a day, he gives a day back, vice versa. They don't make changes for any old reason, they know they have a commitment to their daughter 50% of the time and a commitment to each other to hold up their end of things.

I want to disengage but I'm not sure how that's possible if we are planning on sharing a life together and living under the same roof. I'd prefer that his EX become more reasonable Blum 3

Loxy's picture

Your BF's ex will never become more reasonable unless your BF grows some balls and stands up to her by setting boundaries and sticking to them. And the hardest part to accept is that if he actually does this (which all indications from you are he won't) she will actually become more difficult initially as she rages against the boundaries so it would get harder before eventually getting easier.

What concerns me the most is that you still talk about moving in together despite almost unanimous advice from all on this site against it. If you move in with your BF as things are now then you are giving him no reason to change and he won't change. You will end up angry and resentful and most likely with a bucket load of regret.

Right now you have the upper hand. Set your expectations with BF and link it to whether you do or don't move in. Reinforce those expectations constantly - every time DH accepts the skids on BM's time - go back to your house and stay there until skids are gone. If DH is still not motivated to make any changes after 6 months or this then you will need to decide if you can accept it permanently or end the relationship.

Good luck!

SMforever's picture

The most important thing you can do for your own mental health in the long term is, set YOUR boundaries now, and be prepared to give up on the living together plan if he doesn't comply. You know the chances he will comply are pretty low.

Just sit down and calculate how many of the best years of your life you are going to be wasting either mothering his spawn, cancelling your plans, arguing, just just plain hating on BM. Why do you want that sort of life. Why is it that a 37 year old with all sorts of choices thinks just because the biological clock is ticking that she must compromise? If younhave your own child, how will you cope with skids as well? How will you run your own business successfully ... You have some time allocation choices to make.

You have already conceded a lot, ie. The move from BC, the business set up, his active involvement in that, etc. A lot of invested time and emotion. However, he knows he has you over a barrel emotionally and so feels no compulsion whatever to make any concessions. He deserves to lose you because he is making a huge passive power play on you. Can you see how that is so very disrespectful? He sounds like one of those men who,deep,down see you as the inferior partner...a sort of accessory to his life.

It will continue to frustrate and eat at you as time goes on. I lived with that, and finally walked out after some years of resentment at his LIMITING and CONTROLLING my life's development...and it was because he refused to stand up to other relatives about the kids.

Sure, you have fun together now, but that's because he is like a satisfied cat, getting all he wants. Sex with you, already churned out some trophy kids, and an ex to give him victim excuses for his behaviour. You owe it to YOU to consider some major alternatives.

DogsAREeasier's picture

You've made some interesting points. Things I can speak to him about. I wish he would read this thread. I think he doesn't believe me when I say he's being unreasonable. He thinks that I'M being the unreasonable one. What he doesn't seem to realize is that I'M the one making the choice to be a third party in a 2 party (BM & BD) show, and that is a big gesture IMO. It is not my duty. I am forfeiting a lot of my freedoms... and my sanity. I already had to have a less than honeymoon-like first year of a relationship because of him and his EX sorting out their business. There is resentment in my heart. I think the only way it'll go is if he truly understands MY position in all this. I have been more than accommodating about his.

Thanks for your comment!