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Anyone have a more flexible/kid controlled living arrangement?

Posted by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:16 PM
  • 25 Replies

My boyfriend's kids have a flexible policy on which house they go to. SS16 tends to primarily stay with us and really only goes to BM's one night a week if he can help it, more if she calls and forces him. SS12 goes back and forth based on BM's shift schedule which we sometimes get and sometimes don't (and which sometimes gets changed without us knowing).

Has anyone else been in this situation? How do you deal with not really ever knowing if there are going to be kids at home for a given night or a given dinner?

by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:16 PM
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Replies (1-10):
KekeLi938
by Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:17 PM
My son has a pretty flexible schedule when his dad wants to see him. I usually find out about 2 days before the requested time. He is 7 and it works best for everyone.
codysara
by Platinum Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:23 PM
That would be tough. Since he is older have dh ask ss to have a weekly schedule that way you know a little bit a head. I would hate planning a dinner and not having enough.
nfs2014
by Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Well, SS12 refuses to eat the same thing everyone else does anyway, so he's less of an issue. But sometimes SS16 will eat at mom's. Which is fine, but then if I actually planned something I'm frustrated.

I am still trying to adjust to living with kiddos and not really having any 'me'-time or even much 'just us'-time. I don't mind the kids being around, but I feel very frustrated when I expect that we are going to get some much needed adult time, only to find out that BM changed her schedule and actually the kids will be with us.

amantonacci
by Platinum Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM
My ex and I are very flexible with our schedule with our dd... However she's still little so all of the scheduling goes through the 2 of us
nfs2014
by Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM


Quoting KekeLi938: My son has a pretty flexible schedule when his dad wants to see him. I usually find out about 2 days before the requested time. He is 7 and it works best for everyone.

For us it's more like day of or maybe day before... and sometimes they go back and forth multiple times on the same day. It just gets very confusing.

FreedomTruth
by Bronze Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM
1 mom liked this
I assume whem son is older this will just naturally progress.
jules2boys
by Platinum Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Well, I suppose I do.  Though, I'm BM, I'm not SM (never have been SM).  I don't know how SM feels about the boys schedules going to her house or not as I've never asked, as it's not my business to know (nor do I care, that's BFs problem to worry about IF there is a problem). 

ODS is 16 and goes to BF/SMs home only about 10 times a year now.  He has an EC that conflicts with his overnight (only one a week) with BF and it was BFs choice to NOT participate in this EC.  He knows he's welcome to anytime but would rather not.  ODS and I are grateful as at least BF allows ODS free reign to participate without causing issues and this is ODSs lifelong passion. 

YDS is 12 and has now cut his once a week visits down to just about 30 - 35 a year now.  He's looking for more reasons to cut it down farther.  Neither boy cares to go to BFs home.  BF and SM moved over an hour away about 5 years ago and neither feel comfortable there.  They'd both rather just see BF at GMs (xMILs) home, as she lives about 2 miles from me and is near all they're involved in (friends, school, church, sports, ECs, etc.).  BF doesn't like doing extra transport (since he must drive so far to see his BM and the boys anyway - yet I didn't move more than a block from where BF and I lived when we were married) and doesn't want the responsibility so he doesn't take either boy if they have a schedule somewhere else the next day. 

I won't drive to his home unless it's a last minute schedule change and it benefits me and the boy(s) to do so.  BF COULD participate more with the boys activities but chooses not to.  SM is happy he's not (she doesn't see the value to the boys in doing this.  She prefers 'family time' with BF and the girls they have together). 

As for how we 'deal' with it?  BF works an hourly job without a completely set schedule. I work an 8 - 5 job, M-F, (though I can work OT but I can work that around the boys schedules as well or take something with me if I must too) so my schedule doesn't really change.  So, when we separated over 10 years ago, BF began sending me a weekly schedule for when HE would get the boys, based on our CO (though loosely as we don't really follow the CO any longer).  I put my foot down a number of years ago and told him if he didn't give me the schedule, or give me any changes, 3 days prior, I was NOT going to accommodate his last minute changes.  He didn't like it but understood, as I'm not married to him any longer, I don't have to bend for his schedule (changes) any longer.  And, sending a schedule of HIS time, when he has his work schedule at least 2 weeks in advance (so a week prior to needing to send it to me) is more then sufficient to let me know what's coming up.  (he used to call me just hours or less than 24 hours before a schedule change - but this stressed out the boys, and me, so I stopped it). 

You said BM works shift schedule.  How soon does she know her shift?  Perhaps a weekly email with the schedule availability would help?  Is this solely about meals or are there other considerations (transportation, etc.) to consider with the last minute changes?  Is she changing her schedule to make more $$ for her children or simply to accommodate HER?  I based being flexible or putting my foot down and saying NO to BF on why the schedule changed.  Ideal?  No, but we were all tired of waiting for BF to come up with a final plan (even calling an hour before he was supposed to pick up the boys and tell us he was going home to sleep instead of picking them up, so they missed out on plans with friends as well).  It took a number of years to get to this point too.  I didn't just 'decide' to do this after a week or two, but years (3+) of the schedule constantly changing.  Now it's pretty well set by Tuesday for the weekend and we all know who's going where and how they're getting there by Tuesday night (as I sit here without a schedule for this weekend from BF... LOL  But I can pretty well guess it after all these years). 

Prior to BF/SM moving over an hour away, he had 2 overnights a week (not back to back nights) so he at least got them one of those, but after the move, the school night overnight just wouldn't work so he lost it. 

Oh, and according to both BF and SM, IF he changes something last minute, it doesn't affect meals at their home.  The one overnight he may/may not have the boys, he has dinner with them at his BMs home (near me) so SM doesn't have to worry about that.  She just knows, 95% of the time, he WON'T be home for dinner that night, with or without the boys.  They've never gone this house at the last minute, but they've cancelled going with him at the last minute before.  (I don't get involved, that's between him and them). 

Not sure this helps in your situation though. 

nfs2014
by Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 8:01 PM

This does help a bit... BM knows her shift like 6 weeks in advance, but doesn't always give it to us (she likes to have control I guess?) even when BF asks repeatedly. She also doesn't always tell us about changes to the schedule. I think that the kids know the schedule (at least slightly before we do) if there is a change - but if we have already made plans and don't find out until the last minute it can be a challenge - and then BM complains that we aren't home with the kids on a school night.

The dinner thing is an issue regardless of where the kids spend the night. BM works the night shift, so most days SS12 goes to her house after school. If he's coming to our house, then we pick him up on the way home from work. Sometimes she feeds them, sometimes she doesn't. And there's almost no way for us to know. It's ok, I mean, sometimes we just wind up with a bunch of leftovers or we wind up going out to get something if don't have any easy meal we can throw to gether at the last moment... but it's really frustrating for me. I've never been in the position of cooking for a family on a regular basis and now even if I try, frequently I feel thwarted.

When you put your foot down about schedule changes - were you concerned about how it would negatively impact your kiddo? That is the main concern we have. We don't want the kids to be hurt any more than has already occurred by the situation.

Quoting jules2boys:

As for how we 'deal' with it?  BF works an hourly job without a completely set schedule. I work an 8 - 5 job, M-F, (though I can work OT but I can work that around the boys schedules as well or take something with me if I must too) so my schedule doesn't really change.  So, when we separated over 10 years ago, BF began sending me a weekly schedule for when HE would get the boys, based on our CO (though loosely as we don't really follow the CO any longer).  I put my foot down a number of years ago and told him if he didn't give me the schedule, or give me any changes, 3 days prior, I was NOT going to accommodate his last minute changes.  He didn't like it but understood, as I'm not married to him any longer, I don't have to bend for his schedule (changes) any longer.  And, sending a schedule of HIS time, when he has his work schedule at least 2 weeks in advance (so a week prior to needing to send it to me) is more then sufficient to let me know what's coming up.  (he used to call me just hours or less than 24 hours before a schedule change - but this stressed out the boys, and me, so I stopped it). 

You said BM works shift schedule.  How soon does she know her shift?  Perhaps a weekly email with the schedule availability would help?  Is this solely about meals or are there other considerations (transportation, etc.) to consider with the last minute changes?  Is she changing her schedule to make more $$ for her children or simply to accommodate HER?  I based being flexible or putting my foot down and saying NO to BF on why the schedule changed.  Ideal?  No, but we were all tired of waiting for BF to come up with a final plan (even calling an hour before he was supposed to pick up the boys and tell us he was going home to sleep instead of picking them up, so they missed out on plans with friends as well).  It took a number of years to get to this point too.  I didn't just 'decide' to do this after a week or two, but years (3+) of the schedule constantly changing.  Now it's pretty well set by Tuesday for the weekend and we all know who's going where and how they're getting there by Tuesday night (as I sit here without a schedule for this weekend from BF... LOL  But I can pretty well guess it after all these years). 

Prior to BF/SM moving over an hour away, he had 2 overnights a week (not back to back nights) so he at least got them one of those, but after the move, the school night overnight just wouldn't work so he lost it. 

Oh, and according to both BF and SM, IF he changes something last minute, it doesn't affect meals at their home.  The one overnight he may/may not have the boys, he has dinner with them at his BMs home (near me) so SM doesn't have to worry about that.  She just knows, 95% of the time, he WON'T be home for dinner that night, with or without the boys.  They've never gone this house at the last minute, but they've cancelled going with him at the last minute before.  (I don't get involved, that's between him and them). 

Not sure this helps in your situation though. 


jules2boys
by Platinum Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Putting my foot down.  Ok, remember, I'm BM, not SM, so I have a bit more 'say' in things in my situation. 

When I first put my foot down, it was because ODS, then about 8 or 9 I think (can't remember, it's been a while) came to me telling me he was really feeling stressed, because he didn't know if he was coming or going with dads schedule.  At that point we spent more time on 'make up time' because BF would cancel his time with the boys (for whatever reason, some legit, some selfish IMO) and then demand his make up time.  I didn't fight it. It drove me batty but I didn't fight it.  I knew the boys needed to see their dad, even if I'd rather throw him under a bus. ;)  But, when my older boy came and told me he was stressed because the schedule kept changing, I had to do something.  I'm not afraid of Bf.  ;)  I did NOT want to screw up my kids so I gave in a lot at that time, but when this happened I realized that the lack of schedule was screwing him up anyway.  So, I asked him what he wanted.  He wanted to know the schedule so he could make plans with his friends without having to cancel them because DAD changed his mind, or he could stop saying no to plans on dads time only to have dad cancel at the last minute, but then it was too late to join his friends (birthday parties that needed an RSVP and final head count, sleepovers where the boy could only invite X number of friends each time, etc. - the important things to a kid that age). 

So, I sent BF an email (that's how we communicated best at that point) and laid it out for him.  I simply stuck to the facts, kept emotion out of it, and left ODS out of it too.  I put it on me (he was already pissed at me, what'd I care if he added another reason to the mix? ;) ) and said that *I* was tired of the changes.  I was no longer married to him so I no longer HAD to go with the flow for his schedule changes.  *I* was tired of being the one to cancel plans for the boy(s) 'last minute' because HE changed his mind or schedule.  I realized that sometimes this change couldn't be helped, but I stated when the last time was we actually followed (somewhat) our schedule (many months prior) and said I was done.  From X date forward (I think I gave him 2 weeks notice), I was NO LONGER going to accommodate changing the schedule on Friday if I received it past Tuesday at 6pm (I didn't say midnight, he'd push it to that).  I was no longer going to do 'make up time'.  I would remain 'flexible' with extra time he wanted the boys, PROVIDED he gave me at least a weeks notice (a full weeks notice) of his intent, and PROVIDED I or the boys didn't already have something scheduled, as I was no longer going to call friends/boys friends and tell them 'oops, sorry, I said ODS could go but now he can't', but if BF wished to do so (he didn't, he never wants to be the bad guy to others), that was on him.  I said this whole thing was stressing me out and I was done.  This was something I COULD control, so I was going to.  I was done being at his whim. 

He argued about it for a bit (a couple of weeks), tried pushing me to 'make this one exception', etc., but I said no, stayed firm, and he realized that it was actually EASIER on him too.  He was 'free' to make his own plans but I wasn't going to be inconvenienced.  I simply 'planned' on the boys being with me every night, and if they weren't, it didn't mess up my schedule any, I could adjust MY schedule easily enough, but no longer had to adjust anyone else's schedule as well.  And, the stress went away (nearly) for a while.  ODS came to me about a month after that and mentioned that he liked this 'much better'.  He missed seeing dad more BUT he loved seeing his friends again, so he was good.  YDS was still a bit young to voice his feelings (6 or so at the time) but even he seemed less stressed once he knew where he'd be 5 of the 7 nights a week, at least.  And, I arranged with xMIL (I'm very close to her, we joke that I kept her in the divorce LOL) that any time it was BFs night to have the boys, and he didn't take them, YDS went to her place.  They both loved it.  YDS didn't have friends to stay the night with like ODS did (still doesn't :( ) but he adores xMIL (and my mom too) and she him, so they enjoyed the times that BF didn't take the boys and everyone was happier.  Now, if xMIL had plans this didn't happen, but she usually didn't have plans as she was the full-time caregiver for her elderly mother, so having YDS there was a 'break' for her (he'd do things for xGMIL to help out and he calmed xGMIL too - she wasn't so mean when he was around.  And, if she was, he'd put his hands on his hips (like only a 6yo can do) and tell her 'what for'.  LOL). 

Oh, one thing I've always done with BF that seems to help is, I've asked him to 'try' something for, say, 3 months.. and if after that time it's not working for any one of us, we'll try something else for 3 months.  He'll balk but do it because it doesn't seem like 'forever' (he's an 'all or nothing' guy naturally, so not making it seem like 'forever'  helps).  I also give all of my 'reasons' for choosing this 'first' path to 'try', so he knows where I'm coming from and realizes I'm not doing it 'just to piss him off' (even if it does piss him off at the beginning, my intentions were otherwise).  If after 3 months he's not happy, then HE needs to come up with a new plan, as well as his reasonings for it. 

Good luck!

Quoting nfs2014:

This does help a bit... BM knows her shift like 6 weeks in advance, but doesn't always give it to us (she likes to have control I guess?) even when BF asks repeatedly. She also doesn't always tell us about changes to the schedule. I think that the kids know the schedule (at least slightly before we do) if there is a change - but if we have already made plans and don't find out until the last minute it can be a challenge - and then BM complains that we aren't home with the kids on a school night.

The dinner thing is an issue regardless of where the kids spend the night. BM works the night shift, so most days SS12 goes to her house after school. If he's coming to our house, then we pick him up on the way home from work. Sometimes she feeds them, sometimes she doesn't. And there's almost no way for us to know. It's ok, I mean, sometimes we just wind up with a bunch of leftovers or we wind up going out to get something if don't have any easy meal we can throw to gether at the last moment... but it's really frustrating for me. I've never been in the position of cooking for a family on a regular basis and now even if I try, frequently I feel thwarted.

When you put your foot down about schedule changes - were you concerned about how it would negatively impact your kiddo? That is the main concern we have. We don't want the kids to be hurt any more than has already occurred by the situation.

Quoting jules2boys:
KekeLi938
by Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 10:53 PM
My son's father use to ask me the same day. Thankfully he was more understanding when I told him that I needed at least 2 days notice, as we do have other plans.

Quoting nfs2014:

Quoting KekeLi938: My son has a pretty flexible schedule when his dad wants to see him. I usually find out about 2 days before the requested time. He is 7 and it works best for everyone.

For us it's more like day of or maybe day before... and sometimes they go back and forth multiple times on the same day. It just gets very confusing.

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