Control or Children's Happiness?
My husband and I have been struggling to co-parent with his ex wife and her husband for some time now. We have tried counciling and mediation and although they might have helped for a bit we always end up right where we started. Unable to communicate without fighting.
We have twin girls (10yo) between us. And they have a son (6yo). Most of our issues root from the same place. Control. Our most recent issue has been bath time.
The girls have been going on a schedule where they take baths on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Being that every Tuesday and every other Thursday and Sunday they are on our 4night/2 week schedule. We have brought up the issue in counceling that we find it unfair and rediculous that we are required to provide the girls with their weekly baths strictly on our limited time with them. But we were told by their mom that it could not possibly be moved because "this is how it has always been done and this is the only way it works" to which we find utterly false and dramatic.
We have conceded to the Tuesday night baths but after going through mediation the girl's pick up time (originally 8pm) has been set back a half hour to accommodate their 8pm bed time at their mom's. So we have not been requiring baths on our Thursday nights every other week.
This has not been brought up until we were having another discussion about extracurricular activities.
We live 40 min from the girls mom and a half hour from their school. We don't have any issues with this situation but it has been a major issue to their mom. We decided to sign them up for an activity located close to where we live. The girls participate in several activities close to their mom and school that occur on both of our times and we always try to make it work for the girls sake. In counceling we asked if they would be agreeable to doing activities close to us if the girls showed interest and they agreed. We have tried to discuss the activity with their mom in the past as it's something both girls are interested in but this was the first true discussion. It has been drug out for many days and finally after the girls not having a bath on our Thursday she has pinned the issue on us for being neglectful irresponsible parents and bc of our actions she will not allow the girls to participate in this activity which occurs on some of her primary custody days. We have expressed to her that we will provide any and all transportation for them and even sacrifice our custody time in exchange for the time of the activity but we will not require the girls to bathe on those Thursdays at our house and she is overstepping her bounds by requiring that of us. And in counceling she was told she cannot control what happens on our time (this not being the only thing she was trying to control prior to counceling) . Yet she continues to threaten the girls happiness over petty issues such as this. It is absolutely heartbreaking to know that this women cannot possibly find it in herself to adjust her bath schedule. She has to have control so badly that she will watch her children suffer. My question is how do we protect these girls from heartbreak without letting their mom control our lives? It's keeping both me and my husband up at night. And I just want what is best for those girls. But we cannot cave to this, if we do we open the gates for her to control more aspects of our lives.
I should include that this issue was not the one that brought us to mediation/counceling in the first place it just happens to be the one we are struggling with atm.