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Author Topic: Opinions from NCP's please  (Read 2457 times)

Mamacass

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Opinions from NCP's please
« on: Dec 20, 2006, 02:26:41 PM »
We have tried to be very nice about giving BM extra time since the custody change in September.  She actually wasn't supposed to see my SS until christmas day, but we have allowed her to have him every other weekend and to pick him up on Tuesdays to do homework and dinner.  

I have told my husband that he is a much nicer person than I, b/c BM is always 30 mnutes late getting SS home when she has him.  This bothers me becuase Sunday nights and Tuesday nights are school nights and at 7 years old, I think 7 pm is a reasonable time for him to get home, settle in, take a shower have a snack and get ready for bed.  I personally feel that if she can't return him within the time we agreed upon that he should suspend her visits on Tuesdays, or shorten her weekend visits until she can get the point.  I figure if she's keeping him later to get extra time, she'll stop once she realizes that she will lose time in the long run.  I don't want to punish her, but I'm trying to make sure SS has some stability on school nights and isn't rushed to bed, or put to bed late.  
Please let me know your opinions, because sometimes I think my dislike of her clouds my judgment.  However, on nights when she doesn't do his homework with him correctly, I hate writing to his teacher to explain that he will redo his work on Wednesday nights, b/c there's not enough time once he gets home.  

Also, since we had SS last weekend we would normally let her have him this weekend.  However, she is by court order supposed to have him 4pm Christmas day until 4pm New Year's day.  This means thatwe would have him for less than 24 hours for Christmas.  Since we know she isn't going to give up her court ordered time and switch weekends, we told her that we are keeping him with us this weekend.  This is also because all of our family is celebrating Christmas over this weekend, and we don't want SS to miss out on all of the festivities.  And in years past, she always had him for the beginning of Christmas break and we had him for the week after Christmas, so it made sense to us that we would also split this break.  
She got really upset when we told her that we were keeping SS this weekend.  She seems to think we owe her some make up time since we are "denying her time".  What's funny, is DH actually told her she could pick him up for a few extra hours this week if she wanted, but not on Friday, because my mom is baking cookies with all the grandkids, and SS has been looking forward to that for weeks.  Now she's mad b/c she can't get him this weekend or on Friday.  
I'm to the point where I'm tired of trying to work with her and be reasonable.  She doesn't seem to think that it is important for SS to spend time with anyone but her.  She even was upset about him playing soccer, which he LOVED, because she felt it took away time from her.  Which is dumb, because she actually shortened her weekends with him so that she wouldn't have to take him to practice and games b/c she said it wasn't quality time.  

So are we being unreasonable by changing the weekend so that he can do Christmas with our families?  I'm trying to think of how I would feel if I were her.  But honestly, what I keep coming back to is that SS is going to be so upset if he misses all the Christmas traditions at our house.  We have always scheduled it for when he could be there, but if we let her have him this weekend, we won't be able to accomodate him.  
Any opinions?  Do y'all think we're being unreasonable?


FLMom

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #1 on: Dec 20, 2006, 11:42:15 PM »
Mama Cass,

I hope that you seriously want an NCP's opinion here. I don't know your family's history or how your hubby gained custody, so if there's a specific reason why certain things are the way they are, please forgive me for being ignorant of your situation. That being said, here is my opinion from the mind of an NCP mother. (BTW, luckily we are about 50/50 now, so this kind of schedule is now in the past for me personally, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone.)

". . . custody change in September. She actually wasn't supposed to see my SS until christmas day, but we have allowed her to have him every other weekend and to pick him up on Tuesdays to do homework and dinner. "

Sounds like your husband has been doing the right thing so far. Just because a custody order says a child shouldn't see one of his parents for an extended period of time doesn't always make it right. Kudos to him for making the right thing happen.



"BM is always 30 mnutes late getting SS home when she has him."

Instead of taking away this time during the week, maybe consider changing the drop off time to 6:30pm? That way if she's a half hour late, then she's really on time. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think 30 minutes leeway is reason to pull an entire visitation.



"Please let me know your opinions, because sometimes I think my dislike of her clouds my judgment. However, on nights when she doesn't do his homework with him correctly, I hate writing to his teacher to explain that he will redo his work on Wednesday nights, b/c there's not enough time once he gets home."

Dear Teacher,
BM is too dumb to do a 7-yr old's work. It's not even worth turning in, she's so dumb. Therefore, I will fix it and send it with SS Thursday.

You may indeed be helping SS, and yes it's a pain to redo homework. However, there is no reason that SS couldn't take this work into class and allow the teacher to show him how to do it right. Every time you "fix" what BM has done, you either sub- or un- consciously put the BM down in the eyes of her son.



"I'm to the point where I'm tired of trying to work with her and be reasonable. She doesn't seem to think that it is important for SS to spend time with anyone but her."

Now, like I said earlier, I have no idea about the history of how all of this came to pass. That being said, I have no idea why it seems that your hubby is OK with all of this and you sound so frazzled. Who is making these schedules? Who is calling BM to make arrangements? Could it possibly be that maybe BM and hubby should be making these plans and then you getting the schedule after they decide?

The reason I say this is my own historical perspective (or hysterical, whichever you prefer) on schedules. When my ex's wife wrote and planned the schedules, they always sucked, she couldn't stand me so they were always unfair, and time after time BF would duck his head and go by whatever she had planned. It kept peace in their home. It wasn't until she was elbowed out of the scheduling picture (and a couple of other frames also) that the ex and I started to rationally work things out. It also made our kids a lot less tense.

Is it possible that your hubby doesn't have quite as much animosity as you, and that maybe left to their own devices things might come out less stressful on all ends, even if it meant that you weren't always the first to know what's going on?

As far as with the schedule for Christmas, I'd be a little irked too. Yes, you're giving her extra time when she should have actually not seen SS in three months. You've been doing this every other weekend for these three months. It's the holidays, emotions are at a high point for everyone's families. Now, suddenly, you are going to go by "schedule" when you've not gone by it for this time period. If I were her, I would have felt like I had a rug pulled out from under me. Maybe she didn't know about all of your holiday family plans, and what specific days they'd fall? If it was me and I'd been used to 1) EOW and 2) extra time, I would be suprised also. Probably a little miffed too.

Look at it this way. If a court decided that she's to go that long without seeing her son, hubby pretty much owns the bakery. Keep throwing her bread crusts.

As far as the soccer thing, as an NCP mom I too balked at extra activities. Why? At that time I was only allowed EOW and one three hour period a week with the kids (not court ordered, BTW--ex's personal decree), so I do understand where BM is coming from.  Of COURSE she thinks her time with him is more important than soccer, because it is. I'm sure SS is loving soccer, but with the schedule that's now in place, I don't understand how you can justify a team sport over what is considered minimal parenting time in most states. Minimal.

Once again, you hold all the marbles. Is an organized sport that important, really?

MamaCass, it sounds like you've been thrown front and center in front of a train you didn't buy a ticket for. I think that you're dead on about how maybe your feelings for BM may be clouded. You've dealt with stuff from strictly one perspective, and it sounds like it's probably been pretty darn nasty. Truth is, though, your hubby and BM kinda created this kiddo, and maybe they need to be the ones doing the haggling instead of you getting caught in the middle. Put your feet up on the coffee table, and just breathe.

My hat is off to you for being a SM. They should give hazzard pay for the job. I truly hope that nothing I said pi*&%# you off too bad. JMHO. *grin* (you asked!)

Happy Holidays,
FLMom





wysiwyg

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good advice - nm
« Reply #2 on: Dec 21, 2006, 06:54:19 AM »
nm

Mamacass

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #3 on: Dec 21, 2006, 08:37:01 AM »
Hey, I posted on here b/c I wanted an honest opinion.  I remember being upset when she would take away our extra time to take SS to an easter egg hunt, or some such other event.  I feel like me and DH really work to try to schedule everything around stepson so he doesn't miss out on anything at our house, and his mom doesn't miss any time.  We know what its like to be on her end, but its hard to know if we are really being fair.  She is always complaining that she doesn't get enough time w/ SS and we know how that feels.  And if she wasn't such a mess, I know we would offer to split time 50/50.  The problems is, she has no stability for SS, and although she loves him, she is not capable of being what he needs.  
As far as taking this weekend, she is not willing to give us the following weekend since it is her court ordered time, even though by the unofficial schedule it would be our weekend.  We aren't trying to take "her time" with SS away from her, we just want to make sure that he has time with both families this Christmas.  
When DH told her about the change for the weekend, she was upset at first until DH told her that she would have SS for an entire week.  Apparently she didn't really read the CO.  She was fine with the change at first, but called back the next night, with SS in the car with her and started throwing a fit about how DH never lets her see him.  
As far as scheduling SS's time, I do leave that up to Dh to discuss with her, and just offer occasional suggestions, or reminders of things that are already scheduled.  He makes decisions based on what he feels is the best for SS, rather than what is best for us adults.  I admire him a lot for that.  Honestly, he hates talking to her because everything with her is drama, and she is always looking for an argument.  (she actually went off once when she found out that SS had a PBJ for dinner one night.)  He often ends up giving in to whatever she asks for because other wise she gets really nasty and of course tells SS negative things about us.  But it is draining on both DH and me.  
I like your suggestion of changing the time to 6:30 for drop offs.  I think I'll suggest that to DH.  I'm sure she'll throw a fit, but that's nothing new.
Oh, and by the way, where the homework is concerned, SS has the same assignment every Tuesday.  Sometimes he does it correctly, sometimes not.  The days he does it wrong he has told me that he has argued with his mom and finally gives up and does it the way she tells him to.  He knows that she's wrong, and understands that he has to redo it correctly.  We never tell the teacher that it's his mom's fault, just that he visited with his mom and didn't have enough time to complete the assignment, and let her know it will be a day late.  I really like the note you costructed and may use that in the future ;).  
With the sports, I understand that she wants all the time she can get with SS, but he has been asking since he started school to play sports.  When he lived with her she didn't drive, so he could never get involved with sports.  (although she always gave him a lame excuse, like he was too young, even though his younger cousin would play).  While I feel badly for her, she also chose to give up 1/3 of her weekend with him, just because of an hour of practice and an hour of game time.  While the sport may not be that improtant to her, it is the world to SS, especially since his younger brother plays too.  
I guess I don't understand why she wouldn't want to be involved with aspects of his life that don't center around her.  I know last year we came to assemblies and conferences, whether we actually got to spend time ss or not.   I got to know his teacher, and still email her to update her on how he is doing, even though he no longer attends that school.  BM won't attend his practices, or conferences, and only comes at the end of the games if she gets to pick him up.  Poor SS can't understand why Mommy never came to practice and missed most of his games.  
Again, I thank you for your opinions.  No, it did not upset me.  After all, we want to make sure we are being fair to everyone involved and are always doing whats best for SS.  Its just hard to know where to draw the line, and I admit that sometimes my emotions get the best of me.  That is one of the reasons that DH deals with BM.  And that is also why I asked for opinions.  

FLMom

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #4 on: Dec 21, 2006, 10:26:48 AM »
Well, sometimes people say they want an honest opinion, but when you give it to them they find out that they really don't want to hear it. I'm glad you were willing to listen.

It sounds like you and your husband are trying to give this little guy a good life. Just don't let the animosity poison it. Yes, it sounds like she gets a little off her rocker, but don't we all sometimes? You're just as peeved as she is, but for different reasons right now. It's really hard too, when you have been in the position of being the visitor in the child's life, then custody changes. It's a constant struggle not to remember every single time that visitation was dangled in front of you, and it's hard to not want to do the same to her in return. I know what ya'll are dealing with--big time.

My feeling on the schedule is torn. You said he's 7, right? There will be plenty of other Christmases where it will be your year. She may be a mess, but if she managed to pull a good Christmas off, my hats off to her. I've barely managed it myself this year! You're going to have to be doing this for years to come. I don't know if this would work for you, but here's what we did. We do our Christmases every other year, Christmas Eve until 9pm at one parent's home, then they get to wake up Christmas morning at the other parent's home. They still get to have Christmas with both families, just a little different. It's kinda fun for a kid to have two Christmases, and they don't have to get up and leave in the middle of the day, dropping all of their toys, to go somewhere else. Just a thought.

Here's another perception on the team sport thing. Ever thought that maybe it's uncomfortable for her to be there, watching your son from the sidelines? When ex signed ours up for team sports, he had other friends on the league. When I did take our kids to these events, I spent a majority of the time getting the stink-eye from other parents. Why? Cause ex had told them that I was the most evil bitch on the face of the planet. It's apparent that you guys are well involved, as you say there's a cousin and a younger sibling also involved. No one wants to be disliked in a crowd. Even if it's not true, she may be feeling it.

P.S. DO NOT (lol) use the teacher letter. It was pure sarcasm.

P.P. S. I'd freak too if I found out my kids ate PB & J's for dinner. Even if that's all they wanted.

Good luck,
FLMom




Jade

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #5 on: Dec 21, 2006, 12:00:03 PM »
>We have tried to be very nice about giving BM extra time
>since the custody change in September.  She actually wasn't
>supposed to see my SS until christmas day, but we have allowed
>her to have him every other weekend and to pick him up on
>Tuesdays to do homework and dinner.  
>
>I have told my husband that he is a much nicer person than I,
>b/c BM is always 30 mnutes late getting SS home when she has
>him.  This bothers me becuase Sunday nights and Tuesday nights
>are school nights and at 7 years old, I think 7 pm is a
>reasonable time for him to get home, settle in, take a shower
>have a snack and get ready for bed.  I personally feel that if
>she can't return him within the time we agreed upon that he
>should suspend her visits on Tuesdays, or shorten her weekend
>visits until she can get the point.  I figure if she's keeping
>him later to get extra time, she'll stop once she realizes
>that she will lose time in the long run.  I don't want to
>punish her, but I'm trying to make sure SS has some stability
>on school nights and isn't rushed to bed, or put to bed late.
>
>Please let me know your opinions, because sometimes I think my
>dislike of her clouds my judgment.  However, on nights when
>she doesn't do his homework with him correctly, I hate writing
>to his teacher to explain that he will redo his work on
>Wednesday nights, b/c there's not enough time once he gets
>home.  
>
>Also, since we had SS last weekend we would normally let her
>have him this weekend.  However, she is by court order
>supposed to have him 4pm Christmas day until 4pm New Year's
>day.  This means thatwe would have him for less than 24 hours
>for Christmas.  Since we know she isn't going to give up her
>court ordered time and switch weekends, we told her that we
>are keeping him with us this weekend.  This is also because
>all of our family is celebrating Christmas over this weekend,
>and we don't want SS to miss out on all of the festivities.
>And in years past, she always had him for the beginning of
>Christmas break and we had him for the week after Christmas,
>so it made sense to us that we would also split this break.  
>She got really upset when we told her that we were keeping SS
>this weekend.  She seems to think we owe her some make up time
>since we are "denying her time".  What's funny, is DH actually
>told her she could pick him up for a few extra hours this week
>if she wanted, but not on Friday, because my mom is baking
>cookies with all the grandkids, and SS has been looking
>forward to that for weeks.  Now she's mad b/c she can't get
>him this weekend or on Friday.  
>I'm to the point where I'm tired of trying to work with her
>and be reasonable.  She doesn't seem to think that it is
>important for SS to spend time with anyone but her.  She even
>was upset about him playing soccer, which he LOVED, because
>she felt it took away time from her.  Which is dumb, because
>she actually shortened her weekends with him so that she
>wouldn't have to take him to practice and games b/c she said
>it wasn't quality time.  
>
>So are we being unreasonable by changing the weekend so that
>he can do Christmas with our families?  I'm trying to think of
>how I would feel if I were her.  But honestly, what I keep
>coming back to is that SS is going to be so upset if he misses
>all the Christmas traditions at our house.  We have always
>scheduled it for when he could be there, but if we let her
>have him this weekend, we won't be able to accomodate him.  
>Any opinions?  Do y'all think we're being unreasonable?

What does your stepson's father say about the drop off being late?  Because it really is up to him, not you, to enforce it.  If he is alright with it, there is nothing you can do.  

Mamacass

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #6 on: Dec 21, 2006, 12:44:57 PM »
In the past, she's had SS before christmas and Christmas afternoon, and we would get him the afternoon of christmas and for the week after.  The only reason we wanted to change the weekend, is that otherwise we would have less than 24 hours for SS to do christmas do presents at home with us and at each of the grandparents house.  I don't think its fair that either parent have 3 days before and 7 days after Christmas, with the other parent getting less than 24 hours in between.  All we are doing is basically switching weekends so that SS gets time with both of his families.
As far as the sports, his cousin played football last year and this year.  He had wanted to play last year and his mom told him he wasn't old enough.  This year, he played soccer, and was b/c of age in a different division than his brother.  We didn't know anyone on his team.  She never had to deal with anything you talked about.  She just didn't have a license for part of the season, and when she got one could only come when she could borrow a car.  That's also why she never came to practices or games unless she had to (to pick him up).
We definitely know how it feels to have someone play games with visitation time.  This is why I'm glad that we have custody.  No matter how awful she is to us, DH never makes SS pay for it by missing time with his mom.  
I'll admit that yes I'm peeved.  I hate the pain she has put DH through.  I hate that she has yanked us around for years.  I hate what she is still putting SS through.  I keep reminding myself that she isn't normal.  she has mental issues, and I know I can't expect her to act like a normal person.  It's just so tough, b/c I know SS needs his mom in his life, and I know she loves him.  But at the same time, I see how much damage it does to him everytime he visits with her.  
As far as the PBJ thing, it was one night.  It is defiitely not the norm.  However, we are working parents, and don't have time to cook a nice meal every night.  That night the lasagna wasn't going to be ready until 7:30, and we weren't going to make the kids wait.  So we gave them PBJ and when the lasagna was ready they had that for snack.  I could understand if we gave him cookies or something like that, but I figured PBJ was a healthy quick option.  I don't see the harm in occasionally giving a sandwhich for dinner.  And quite honestly we found it a bit comical that she made such a big deal out of the sandwich because of the way she lives her life.  (Trust me on this, if you knew her you would understand.)

Mamacass

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #7 on: Dec 21, 2006, 01:06:34 PM »
He's irritated with it, but not sure how to deal with her about it.  Like I said, everything with her is drama.  We're torn between trying to do what's best for SS all the time and trying not to upset his mom.  We know its best for SS if we can keep the peace and so we let most stuff go without saying anything.  DH is very non-confrontational.  I usually suggest something to him, and he says no, then months later he'll tell me he wished he had taken my advice.  But I think for the most part we even each other out.  
So at this point we'll try to decide if it is worth it to have a conversation with her about being on time.  I guess in the long run, its not going to hurt him to turn in homework late sometimes.  And I'm sure rushing bed time or going to bed a little late won't hurt him too bad.  It's just annoying that we can't have a normal conversation with her.  

gemini3

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RE: Opinions from NCP's please
« Reply #8 on: Dec 25, 2006, 06:01:47 PM »
Maybe you and your husband could pick him up, instead of wait for him to be dropped off late every time?  

If the issue is homework, then I would say it's worth it.  His education is important, and it's probably not a good idea for him to get in the habit of thinking that it's ok to blow it off or turn it in late.  If the issue isn't really the homework, it's that she's being disrespectful of your family's time and schedules and it (rightfully) pisses you off, then maybe this is something you have to suck up.

No matter how you feel about this woman, she is his mother and no matter what kind of person you think she is he needs time with her and to feel loved by her.  That goes for any child that has a NCP.  He is lucky to get to see her for an afternoon every week.  We wish we could get that with my fiance's kids.  


Mamacass

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Update about Christmas visistation
« Reply #9 on: Dec 27, 2006, 12:05:16 PM »
So we kept him for the weekend as we decided.  and although we told BM that she could pick him up for a few hours one evening before the weekend, she never did.  In fact, she didn't even ask, and didn't call to talk to SS at all.  But we did have SS call her Christmas Eve.
Also, she was supposed to pick him up at 4 on Christmas, and even though we were supposed to be at DH's brother's house, we came back early so BM could pick up SS.  (She hates Dh's brother and his wife, so we figured we could cut the visit short instead of asking her to pick up SS from there.)  
Anyways, she was 25 minutes late.  Funny, if I was complaining all the time how I never see my child, I would think that I would try to be on time on Christmas to pick him up.  And she didn't call until 4:10 to let us and SS know that she would be late.  He didn't really care though, he was too busy playing.  
And in the spirit of Christmas, we gave SS a tray of homemade cookies to take to his mom's house.  We also gave him a poster to put up in his new room at his mom's house.  (They live with her parents, and he used to sleep on the couch in the living room when he went over there.  Apparently they finished a room upstairs for him and his mom to share.)

 

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