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Need help with making sure we put everything we need in email

Stepmom26745294's picture

Ok so back story is BM signs the kids up for all sorts of stuff without talking it over with DH. She does not think his family is important and she feels DH's attention should only be on their children (she has stated this many times) so she has had lots of tricks up her sleeve but the one that has worked the best in her favor is signing the kids up for multiple sports that takes up all DH's time with the kids as well as on her time as they have games he must attend or she tells the kids he doesn't care and doesn't support them. The kids are exhausted, burnt out, getting sick all the time, sore and having issues at school no to  mention this is not workable at our home because DH is gone all the time and the kids do not have anytime at our house to take care of their responsibilities here like their pets or making their beds....nothing! They come here, sleep, get up the next morning and gone all day then back here, they make a mess and don't pick anything up because they are too tired from playing sports all day. They wanted animals that I have to end up taking care of because they have no time to tend to them and this is every weekend they are with us. It's not okay. Not only that but we never have time to anything we want to do as a family.  We wanted to take all the kids apple picking but couldn't because of sports. Things like that. It's just not working in any aspect. We still want to support them in their sports but DH and I talked and he said he would like to agree to one sport per season. He feels that is enough and that it's better for everyone. Especially the kids. She also signed the oldest up for two weeks of overnight summer camp without discussing it with him and it's over his custody time AND Father's Day. They never agreed to this either but DH has agreed to one week every summer so he wants to only agree to one as well because again, it's a LOT of custody time he would  be missing, we had plans already but she planned over it without talking to him and he pays 100% of everything as well as a huge amount of child support. The camp alone would be 2K and that's just not reasonable. 
So, he wants to email her with the information he wants to relay to her as far as his decision on camp, sports and also Thanksgiving as it's his year to choose which 1/2 of the week he wants. 
So, should he just say "this is my decision" and leave it at that? Should he explain his points behind his decisions? And if so what should he write to get it ALL out in one email so there's no follow up questions? She WILL have a complete fit when she hears this because she feels she can  do whatever she wants even though they both have legal custody because she is their mother and she feels she is the real parent. There should be zero decision making without the other parents consent. He has never once done that and she does it constantly! So any tips would be appreciated. 

STaround's picture

So say sport plus scouts.   Summer camps are harder, it depends on a lot of things.

The ex may think that you pick family activities based on what YOUR kids want, and I note that are there are no ours kids, and she has to fight for her kids.

ExcellenceToolkit's picture

BM used to be a bitch like that. What we did was stop communicating with her altogether and moved her to email. And if she asked for something outrageous we would ignore her question and go to status quo. Never entertain their ridiculous requests. If she plans kids sports on his custody days kid doesn't go unless SHE picks them up and drops them off. Don't pay for the camp and ignore her attempts to convince DH to let SS go.

Goodluck's picture

This too ^^^ but swinging back is dads time should not be mirco managed by mom. Appears this is the case here. YEAR ROUND too.

 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I highly recommend using the "BIFF" method when communicating with someone who is high-conflict.  "Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm." Get the book by Bill Eddy, " BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns." It is a quick read and has lots of valuable information on how to deal with difficult people.

He suggests one topic per communication. Back when we were in the heat of it with BM, I found that worked best. Too much information would overwhelm her and make her lash out even more. Deal with one issue at a time, starting with whichever is most time-sensitive or important.

Each email should stick to the facts and use no emotion at all. DH should state what he wants, and why it is in the best interest of the children, not how it is better for him. If he knows there are phrases that "trigger" her - he should try and avoid them. 

He needs to decide before he starts what he is going to do when she refuses. If he is not going to take any action, then there is no point in even starting. Let her refuse, then respond with what action DH will take. He can formally file with a modification with the court, or he can simply refuse to take the kids to activities he doesn't agree with on his time - knowing all of the consequences that this will cause. If he goes this route, he will need to explain to the kids his reasoning and then be prepared to deal with the fall out.

He also needs to consider what is in the current separation agreement  You said they worked something out and it was filed with the court as the custody order. Legally, whatever is in that is what DH has to do. If it is vague, than he can try and work things out with BM - but he may end up having to file for a modification if she won't change how she is handling things.

I completely agree with what you guys want to do - just know going in it is going to be difficult.

 

Stepmom26745294's picture

Oh this is great! I will order it for sure. Yeah, it can't be any mire difficult then dealing with her craziness. Lol!! The kids are fine. We have told them a few times "we are doing this instead of that" and they have never once been upset. She makes then do sports. They have chosen to do other things. I was taking my daughters to the museum one day and youngest SS had basketball abd he asked if he could skip and go to the museum with us. We said yes. He has a great day!! Of course BM texted later trying to say he was so upset to miss basketball until we told her "he asked to go" yeah, silence after that. She lies constantly! 

Stepmom26745294's picture

Question. You said "what eorks best for the interest of the child, not him" if he states they are exhausted, burnt out and sore she will argue that. She will say it's because he lets then stay up late (he doesn't) should he just ignore that after. Also, should he state that sports is taking up too much time so they do not have time to take care of their responsibilities here (their pets, cleaning up after themselves ect) should he put that as welll? 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I would state the things like exhaustion and soreness and burnout because those are what the kids are directly experiencing and they are negative. They have nothing to do with the kids lives at your house. Maybe give one example of each thing. I wouldn't bring up how sports interfer with responsibilities at your house - that gives her an opportunity to argue that DH thinks things at your house are more important than sports. It makes it more personal to DH than the kids. See the difference?

Goodluck's picture

I want to bring up Apple Picking. OK?

Take them apple picking. Call the sports coach and say they will not be present today because of a FAMILY EVENT. Dad can also talk with coach. HEY there will be some practices or games we do not attend. Do you want me to call you the morning OF or the night before? Dont offer more options.

The kids time with the dad is designed for the child to adapt to two separate homes with two separate dynamics. It is NOT designed for the kids AND dh to adapt to moms year round activities set by MOMS terms.

I know you and dh may be scared To unhook from mom and her shenanigans.

What does your court order say DH must do. Does it in fact say "FATHER MUST during his visitation attend every practice and father MUST see to it that each child attend every practice and ever activity?"

Miss, I would be shocked IF your dh agreed with this unreasonable bs.

you should do as you please within the content of this crazy order. Let BM take dad back to court because dad wanted to take the kids to go apple picking or pumpkin hunting. SHE will look nuts.

Please will you tell us what the 'agreement' reports about what dad MUST do during his visitation?

We want to help you but it appears we are going round and round. It may be as simple as dad agreed to this OR simple as it just the agreement remains silent and BM is a  f big mouth and DH is scared. The scared part is ok. but time is up IF that the case. Dad deserves his time on his terms. NOT bm's micro managing bs.

JMO---

 

 

STaround's picture

they will get kicked off teams if they miss too many games and practices, and DAD may want his kid on the team. 

It is not easy.

Stepmom26745294's picture

No court order. They have a contract. It stated that dad gets to decide what to do on his time and that he only has to contact mom if there is a health issue. It says dad is to pay 100% if agreed upon activities. If he doesn't agree, he has stopped paying. She's flipping out over that. Yeah, he's finally had enough. 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Is the contract filed with the court as part of the divorce decree? Is it part of the custody agreement or order? The court doesn't have to be the one who made the agreement for it to be part of the official order. DH and BM could have come to the agreement themselves, and it would still be part of the order. If it is the official order, than DH is fine. He can do whatever he wants on his time. Your idea to do one sport at a time is reasonable. DH needs to notify BM and then follow through.

ExcellenceToolkit's picture

BM used to badger DH to take skids to church on his weekends. He doesn't go to church. He told  BM I don't go to church. No judge will make me take skids to church. If you want skids to go to church you come get them on my Sundays. She did in fact come get them on his sundays which was absolutely heaven for me and DD because we got to do fun things without the bickering and negative attitude of skids like fun pancake brunches, art fairs, and other activities.  BM got lazy so she stopped coming to get skids for church. No more fun Sundays for us.

Stepmom26745294's picture

That's what she wants though. She doesn't want her kids to think of us as family and she wants to have them as far away from us as possible. If we told her that. She would happily come and take them then say "oh they needed lunch, then they wanted to change before going back, well it's so close to the end of your custody time I'll just take them back with me" 

we would literally never see them. 

tog redux's picture

I wouldn't send an email at all, I'd suggest he just keep doing what he's doing - if he doesn't agree, he doesn't pay and the kid doesn't go.  When it happens, then just send an email saying: "BM, per our agreement, I will pay for all activities if I agree on them, and I don't agree with X activity so I won't be paying or sending the kids".

Be prepared to go to court over it, but honestly, that agreement needs to be revisited - why is HE paying for 100% of activities? That makes it way to enticing for BM to sign them up for everything under the sun.

Stepmom26745294's picture

100% of agreed upon activities. Thars what she talked him into. It's awful. She had a long term affair and he was so distraught and she took full advantage of that. He just said okay to whatever she wanted. He's kicking himself now. That's why the email. She keeps asking. Plus he needs to notify her about Thanksgiving. 

LilyGirl43's picture

Here’s what I would do. Since your DH has already set the precedent that he’ll generally get the kids to/from activities on his time, have him write to BM and set a deadline for when he will stop doing so. It could be when the current sport seasons are over, or he could set a date, such as January 1, 2020. This gives BM time to plan/have her fit, and hopefully doesn’t adversely affect the kids too much. It also makes DH look reasonable should this issue be taken to court, as he gave her some kind of advanced notice.

 

He ALSO needs to sit down with his kids and have a conversation about this, because BM will surely play the “Daddy doesn’t want you to be involved/Daddy doesn’t love you” song and dance. At least get DH’s perspective in their heads BEFORE BM starts in on them. Ideal timing to send BM the email above is when the kids are with you and DH so you can have that conversation with them first.

 

Also in the email, quote the contract and how activities are to be decided. State that DH will not take the kids to any activities (nor pay for them) that are scheduled on his time if he does not agree to those activities in advance, per the contract. State this may mean that kids do not get to participate in said activities, or may be removed some sports teams. State that DH’s family time with kids is important and beginning on [date], BM no longer gets to dictate, on her own, how he will spend his parenting time. DH is open to kids participating in activities, but per the contract, he needs to be included on deciding which activities they will be involved in. I would not offer to have them available for her to take to those activities, because if she takes them (which you say is likely), that still eats into DH’s time with his kids.

 

The conversation with the kids should get their input. Are they tired? Are they overwhelmed? Would they like an evening at home to relax? Would they like time to hang out with friends/have a sleepover/go to laser tag? Then DH can suggest what he has been thinking, that like he and BM agreed, he should have a say in what they are involved in. DH is going to make a change, is not going to take kids to activities if DH isn’t involved in deciding which activities. Daddy loves the kids, wants them to be involved in sports, but also wants to spend time with them outside of school and sports. Right now, they don’t even have time to have a pizza/movie night at home because they are so busy! BM will probably be upset because Daddy hasn’t been firm on this issue, but he is very concerned about how tired he sees that the kids are and he wants them to be able to have some down time and family time.

 

Be prepared for pushback from BM. She will likely raise heck since she’s been allowed to run roughshod over your DH for so long. It will pass. But DH has to stand firm when the deadline is up. The kids may even be upset, but you can remind them that you gave BM plenty of notice and are wanting her to follow their agreement. Repeat the points in the conversation above as needed.

 

Prepare yourself and DH for fireworks, don’t take it personally, and good luck!

Stepmom26745294's picture

Thank you!! This is great advice. He has come a long way. Believe it or not it was 20X worse in the beginning. This has been an ongoing battle though that we can't seem to break the cycle. He feels like he wants to be fair but not give into everything. It's a tough situation but we are getting there slowly. 
She has already pushed back on a lot of things and he stayed firm so this will just have to bd another one of those situations. 
He doesn't seem to fully know what he should and shouldn't do. Like just this morning he put on the kid calendar that he's traveling for work on Thursday. It's not his day. Why on earth did he do that?? Because she makes him feel kind since they share children she should know his every move. I told him to take it off!  Lol! 

LilyGirl43's picture

Oh my, yes! BM doesn't need to know that info! They split for a reason and she lost the right to know that info. Protect your privacy. My skids are generally great, but they overshare with BM so we have to run everything we say through our "BM filter." If we don't want her to know, we don't talk about it in front of the kids.

It is hard to create and enforce boundaries when there haven't been many for so long. Stick to what's written. DH may have to do no more and no less than what's in the contract for a time while BM has her fit and falls in line. She's used to having her way and it sounds like that's about to change.

Beware that you may become a target as SM's are often perceived as the ones encouraging such changes. Just keep the skids' best interest at heart, shield them from the drama, and have a happy, fun, supportive home when they are with you. You can do it!

Stepmom26745294's picture

Yeah he's almost on autopilot. Once I explain to him "babe, you don't need to tell her where you are" he's like "oh yeah, why did I do that?" He's not arguing against anything I point out and a lot if changes he has made has been directly from him but there's things he just does because that's been what he has done for so long. Once he realizes what he's doing he stops but some things he's just like "duh" it doesn't come naturally to him to figure this all out but she manipulated him for 15 years. They have been apart going on 4 years and he's come a very long way but then he will do something like that and I'm like "uhhhh hello!!?" Lol!! 
Yeah, I get blamed for everything anyway. Some changes have been from me but mostly everything he's recognized and changed himself. She can blame me all she wants. She has to blame someone! It's never her so whatever. Lol 

Rags's picture

No email on this. DH needs to man up and call his XW and give her clarity.   Email is not an effective way of communicating in tense situations.  There is way too many opportunities for manipulation and misinterpretation.

Stepmom26745294's picture

No phone calls. She twists the truth and manipulates that way. Everything has to be in writing with her. It's not about him manning up and calling her. She's a liar and manipulative person. We need EVERYTHING in writing. 

Rags's picture

Record the call.  She can't twist what is recorded.  Check your state laws to make sure that  you can record  your conversations without informing other parties.