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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've posted on here before, shortly after my separation in early 2012. I got some strong advice, some chastisement, and I'm making progress (I think). I thought I would come back for more advice.

So, my WAW and I have been separated 9 months, we have two kids (7 and 3). We're working with a mediator, and we're having a lot of success with our kids embracing the changes and while it was challenging to get them both enthusiastic to come to my new house it's going really well now.

My ex started dating not long after we separated, and that relationship only lasted a few months but she bounced right into another one. In December she wanted to go away for the weekend and asked me to watch the kids. Normally I have them from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon and she has them Saturday night and Sunday night and we have an equally complicated routine for the weekdays. I agreed to keep the kids for the weekend so she could go away, and it went fine. Certainly the kids asked about her a lot, and I explained she'd be home soon. We managed.

Now she wants to go away again later this month, and wants me to watch the kids from Friday to Monday. I love my kids, with all my heart. I'm doing the best job I can to be a good and happy dad to them, and make sure they have lots of fun when they're with me. Money is very tight, but we find lots of ways to enjoy our time. But I loathe the idea of being my wife's babysitter so she can go away whenever she wants a weekend off. This is on top of almost weekly requests to take the kids on an extra day so she can get some extra rest. And a few weeks ago she got a babysitter for the kids so she could go out with her new partner, and called me drunk at midnight to argue about money.

It's a terrible position to be in when you have to choose between sacrificing your last little bit of free time to rest and get ready for the coming week or spending time with your kids. The knee-jerk reaction is to always say you'll take the kids as much as you can, but how do you draw a line so that your WAW doesn't just take advantage at every turn? She wants me to be on stand-by in case she ever doesn't have the energy to watch the kids on a Sunday, wants me to drop any plans I have at any given time. How do I keep from being a door-mat, and how do I create healthy boundaries without turning my back on my kids?

She's made it clear that if I don't want to watch the kids for the weekend she'll ask her parents to watch them, so she's going either way. Any advice is appreciated, even (or especially) council telling my I have my head in my ass.

Sorry if I used the acronyms wrong, I'm new to this.
 

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babysitter?

Really?

When you have kids you really don't get the option of deciding when to watch them or not.

If she wasn't dating, would you be more keen to "babysit" your own kids?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't follow. I want to, but I missed your point.

Did you object to my calling the situation 'babysitting'? It might have been a poor choice of words.

"When you have kids you really don't get the option of deciding when to watch them or not."

Are you referring to me or her? She's the one who would normally have the kids for the second half of the weekend but wants to go away instead.

I love having my kids with me, it's not a chore. What's to stop her from going away every weekend? Or every other weekend? Just texting me to say someone has to watch the kids, either me or her parents?
 

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I am a SAHM, I don't have the liberty of resting up for the week, or taking the weekend off. Get your head out of your ass.
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I think what they're trying to say is enjoy your children without question.

The time goes by so fast before you know it all they're going to want from you is the car keys.
 

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What's to stop her from going away every weekend? Or every other weekend?
You.

Don't give in to her requests. It's as simple as that.

Let her parents deal with that, and maybe they'll take a stand, too.

She's trying to have a "single life" while still being a mom. These two things are at odds with each other. Look, she walked away from your relationship and now she needs a dose of reality. Don't make life easy for her.

It's not about your kids or your duty as a dad.

It's about your wife being responsible. She needs to learn this.
 

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I would tell her to go pound sound, they need mommy time just as much as they need daddt time, so let it be on her concious that she gives them to her parents for the week end.

Let her parents feel the pain of the kids missing there mother, so they can give her sh1t for being an absent parent.

Stick to your schedule so others can take witness to your WW behavior.
 

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It’s easy. Make your own plans and live your life.

If you are available to take your children when she asks you to take them, the take them. Do this as often as you can to spend as much time as you can with your children.

If you have plans that you do not want to break, tell her you have plans when she asks.

I think that you are upset about her getting on with her life. Drop that. It’s out of your control now. It’s all about you and the children.
 

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What percent of the time does your agreed upon schedule give you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Interesting cross-section of opinions. My wife is a SAHM, I have my son 4 nights a week and Saturday during the day, and my daughter 3 nights a week and Saturday as well. I work as hard as I can during the week because money is much, much tighter now - obviously.

The advice I read on this site (and others) is to try to rebuild your life, find the things that you're passionate about and discover who you are outside of your marriage. So on Wednesday nights and Sundays I try to find things to do that make me happy.

It's eight months later and I still ache sometimes for missing her. It wasn't a good marriage, and we weren't making each other happy, but I miss her terribly sometimes, and then I try to move on. And I still get choked up sometimes when I drop my kids off at her house, my old house, and have to hug them and say see you tomorrow, but I do it, and I smile for them.

But every weekend I'll get a text saying 'I'm really tired, can you take the kids' and if I say no, I have plans it's a fight. And now it's turning into weekend trip that I have to accommodate.

You'll have to take my word for it that I adore my kids, but working full time and being a single dad is kicking my ass. Being asked to do yet more, on a whim, is difficult to accept.
 

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Unless keeping the kids for an extra night would interfere with plans that I had previously made, I would choose to keep my kids. I would not cancel my plans so that she could live her single life though. Also, I would not alter your agreed upon visitation schedule just so that she can catch up on her rest.
My stbxh and I have our custody schedule set up so that we each have our children every other weekend. That schedule allows each of us to spend non-work/school days with our boys and we both have non-work/school days to pursue future relationships.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I think that you are upset about her getting on with her life. Drop that. It’s out of your control now. It’s all about you and the children.
This is absolutely true, and I strive to be a good person and separate those feelings. I find it very difficult, maybe because she's the one who left me and I feel insecure and inadequate.

I'm careful never to ask her about her plans, never try to read anything into her comments, never ask the kids about any changes. I'm trying to just be a responsible, normal, healthy parent.

It's hard to ignore, but I'm really trying. It stings that she never has to worry that I'm leaving the kids with a babysitter, never has to worry that I'm introducing the kids to new people, never has to worry that I'm sneaking someone into the house after they go to sleep, and having them sneak back out before they wake up the next day, and she's doing all those things. I really want to be able to wish her well and hope she makes good decisions, but I am undeniably hurt, jealous, sad, and scared of my future. All useless feelings, but real nonetheless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My stbxh and I have our custody schedule set up so that we each have our children every other weekend. That schedule allows each of us to spend non-work/school days with our boys and we both have non-work/school days to pursue future relationships.
That's an interesting approach, and it might be something we should consider. Maybe splitting the weekends is impractical, and we should alternate. It's been easy to have my son over, he loves it here and asks to come on the nights he's not supposed to be (he's 3) but my daughter is more reticent, she loves me but doesn't like to leave her friends for long stretches. Maybe it's time to start extending those stays and continue making advancements.
 

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I understand that you are upset about her getting on with her life. My stbxh left me 6 months ago and has been in a new relationship for about 5 1/2 months now. It was very difficult at times and I've only recently started to accept that life isn't fair. I kept thinking...He is the one who screwed up and he left me but he is also the one who get the new relationship and happiness. I just had to refocus my attention to me and my kids. I can't control him or change him. All I can control is me. I choose to live my life, be there for my kids, and always look for the good things.
I love my stbx and I do wish him happiness. It is difficult to accept that he can't/won't be happy with me but I had to accept that and move on. If I didn't I would be living a miserable life and I don't want that!
 

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I don't follow. I want to, but I missed your point.

Did you object to my calling the situation 'babysitting'? It might have been a poor choice of words.

"When you have kids you really don't get the option of deciding when to watch them or not."

Are you referring to me or her? She's the one who would normally have the kids for the second half of the weekend but wants to go away instead.

I love having my kids with me, it's not a chore. What's to stop her from going away every weekend? Or every other weekend? Just texting me to say someone has to watch the kids, either me or her parents?
Who has them Monday through Friday?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The schedules are different for both kids, but overlap somewhat.

I have my son (almost 4) M, T, Th, Fr and Saturday until dinner. I have my daughter (almost 7) M, T, Fri and Saturday until dinner. Daughter is in school during the day, obviously. Son is in school M, W, F for the mornings - a preschool.

So they come over around 2:30 in the afternoon, and I leave work early. I drop them off at school or at my wife's house, as the case may be. Does that make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think your wife needs to get a job more than find the next shack up.
She's retired, medically, for depression. So she gets most of her pay, but can't/doesn't work. So she doesn't really have to worry about money, and doesn't have to think about working.

It would be hypocritical of me to criticize that arrangement now. Her getting paid while staying home with the kids let us live a two-income lifestyle while I was the only one working.
 
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