'Keeping Score'

justnotmarthaNovember 14, 2008

This was brought up in Nicksmom's post, and I think (if I can be so bold as to put words in mouths) that the thought behind the words is being misconstrued. I say this from my own experience, so feel free to correct me if I'm way off base.

Ima made the rough analogy about 3-4 days vs. 7-9, and several people jumped on her about it not being about the number of days that matter. I agree . . . it's about the attitude behind them.

An example: A month or two ago SD's mom wanted to take SD during one of 'our' weekends for a full day to attend a family party. We said sure, and she went. A couple of weeks ago we asked if SD could come with us for a few mere hours to attend a dinner with out of town family, and BM went on a tirade about stealing SD during 'her' time. SD did not go.

To me, it's not about keeping score - it's about what is good for the goose being good for the gander. If Nicksmom's SD's mom would only 'allow' SD to be gone over Thanksgiving break for 4 days during all the years she was custodial, why does she think she has the right to demand more than that now that the shoe is on the other foot? Because she misses her daughter? Well duh - I'm sure her father missed her as well. My theory? Just like the hockey game, and just like the party with my SD, because it is what MOM wants . . . and so it should be.

I have to say this is one of the hardest things for me to deal with when it comes to SD's mom. She can completely shoot down a request we might have but come back 10 minutes later asking for the same and more, and pitch a fit when she doesn't get it. It's almost mind blowing.

So I don't think it's just about keeping score. It's more expecting that the other parent acknowledge that they are asking for the above and beyond. Acknowledge they are asking for something they always refused when they held the 'power card.' Possibly, understand that the other parent wasn't really being so unreasonable with their requests, now that they are standing in their shoes. Or to make it simplistic, recognize that to get you need to be willing to give as well.

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"I have to say this is one of the hardest things for me to deal with when it comes to SD's mom. She can completely shoot down a request we might have but come back 10 minutes later asking for the same and more, and pitch a fit when she doesn't get it. It's almost mind blowing."

I can really identify with this.

I think it is so important for parents to really try to "put the shoe on the other foot" and look at a situation from the other parent's perspective. Really, this doesn't just apply to stepfamilies but to any situation in life where conflict may arise---work, school, friendships, etc.

My DH is far from perfect. But I will say the one thing he (IMO) has always been with BM is flexible. He is really pretty darn good about compromising and being very reasonable with requests, changes, etc.

But like I said--I think this attitude applies to anything in life!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 8:24AM
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JNM & love-

I agree w/you both.

I think it may come across (here on this forum) as "keeping score", because we try to give specifics to make the story/situation easy to understand. But in real life, I doubt that anyone is saying, "well WE only got 4 days when you lived with other parent, so that's all THEY will get now". At least, that's not how it is in our house. See, the difference here is that Dad realizes the importance of a kiddo having a close relationship with BOTH parents (and does all he can to encourage that), and Mom doesn't necessarily share that feeling. She thinks it's more important to keep up with the Jones', have more $$$, etc. Clearly, that view has come back to bite her in the bum.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 9:35AM
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I agree with you, keeping score is hard not to do when another person is not even attempting to make things equal. When two people in any situation have to make compromises it's human nature to say, at some point, "hey, I'm putting out a lot more than I'm getting back!" Not that what was given was given only so something would be returned, but the disparity in charity becomes impossible to ignore.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 9:37AM
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Keeping score----- My SC's BM tells the kids and anyone who will listen to her that she shouldn't have to pay support because hubby only has the kids 40 more days a year than she does.

She is also court ordered to take them two weeks in the summer and february vacation ... so hubby requested april vacation week and christmas break and she said she couldn't go all that time with out seeing her babies.

My standard response for hubby when BM makes requests is "would she do it for you" and thats the answer she should get ...

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 10:38AM
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While I often feel the same way, and actually say the same thing to my DH (behind closed doors, of course!), I think the question should really be, "What is best for the kids?". Or, if the kids are old enough, "What do you want to do?" Taking older kids wishes into consideration should at least be attempted, assuming they are reasonable mature and the other parent is healthy (mentally, emotionally, etc.). Of course, you also have to stay within the court order.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 10:50AM
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I didn't even respond to the keeping score BS I got because that wasn't what I was trying to say. It wasn't about how many days (keeping score), it was that she's already getting more time than she gave & still pitching a fit. My opinion is that people should be reciprocal and should be putting what's best for the child before what they want, mom or dad. If dad was understanding when SD lived with mom & only got 3 days because SD wanted to spend time with mom or had activities going on, or whatever, then mom should be understanding. I think most people got what I was trying to say and I really didn't want to waste my time to explain it again, for the people that are dead set to be antagonistic.

Last year, when my SD's BM was awarded child support, the day she got the paper from the court showing the amount... it was due retroactively from the 1st of the month, she got it around the third week. She immediately called DH to tell him he was in arrears and if she didn't get a check the next day, she was going to 'take action'. HA! HA! HA! BM was ordered to pay DH back in April and hasn't (willingly) paid a dime. They have collected less than $300 in seven months, but she has 9 dogs that she feeds, takes care of and takes to the vet just about weekly. Priorities! It's a double standard when one side expects so much but when the shoe is on the other foot, they aren't willing to give as much as they expected. It isn't about being 'equal' or keeping score, it's about being fair.

In nicksmom's case, I think dad is being fair. They are letting SD miss time from school & the visit is longer than a normal visit. They are also dealing with a teenager, that despite being a people pleaser, has activities and school responsibilities to think of. Grades should be a priority to both mom & dad if they want her to go to college. Instead, mom is okay with her taking a hit on her grade so mom can have 'her time' and what message does that send to her daughter? Mom is concerned with mom's feelings. Mom isn't concerned with SD's life/activities or possible future. That is being selfish, just as selfish as my SD's mom was last weekend when she told DH that he needs to reschedule a doctor visit for SD's foot because it's 'her time'. Or then expecting me to come pick up SD & drive her three hours back to town for the doctor visit and then drive her back three hours to her mom's.... no concern for putting SD through six hours of driving... because it's 'her time'. (not to mention another 3 hours the next day when I would have had to pick her up again) In nicksmom's case, I can agree she might be selfish because she misses her daughter & isn't trying to be vindictive, like my SD's mom, but either way... the mom's & dad's should be putting the child first, not themselves.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 10:58AM
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I never attempted to have things equal. All i did what was the best for DD's wellbeing. Who cares about equal.

sometimes it is better to be nice than right. of course BM had to let SD go just to be nice, not because you did the same.

i also believe that when kids are involved adults have to put their score keeping aside and do the right thing. It does not matter what the other adult does, you can always do the right thing.

as about fairness, it is very subjective. i always believed that if DD lived wiht me full time it was fair that dad had her for all holidays and breaks, not half of them, but all. other people think that they still have to have half of the holidays. I disagree. NCP already suffers from not seeing children as much, so why denying them more time together? Why denying my child precious time wiht her father just because I want holiday wiht her.

as about what children want, it was always a priority for me. DD is a nice compassionate person but she is very strongly opinionated, she absolutelly not a people pleaser, she would not ever say or do what others want her to. we always knew what she wanted, of course she would compromise if needed to. But she is not a type of person to be brainwashed even at young age. as it comes to other teens ans i read here they are not independent, they tell dad what he wants to hear and then mom what she wants to hear and then SM something else. I would insist on raising children to be independent, i'd rather they argue wiht parents, don't be obedient, be opinionated but be able to say honestly what they need.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 11:06AM
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Thats great FD .... But some of us are dealing with "other" parents who prefer to guilt trip the children than actually put their children first

Most of us are dealing with another parent who says

you shouldn't make plans for the kids on their time .... even though they do it to us all the time

My example:: Mom has wednesdays overnight to 3pm thursday ... they have a half of day of school ... so instead of calling and saying tomorrow is a half day they should just go to your home tomorrow afterschool she sets up playdates for 3 children at 3 different houses with 3 different pick up times ... so on hubby's time he has to go all around town picking up children.

Although that doesn't happen anymore ... she was told either they come here right afterschool or she is to bring them home at 3PM. They come home afterschool now.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 11:38AM
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yeah, wouldn't it be nice if we all were dealing with a NCP like FD's ex? It would be great if BM moved to another country, paid her support, etc. Even better if she would just call/visit regularly & didn't try to tell us how to run our home, while telling us to mind our own business regarding her home. NICE!!!!

Just a fantasy, but a nice one!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 11:47AM
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how would you check up on her if she moves far away?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:57PM
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I have realized that it doesn't work like a bank. You can't withdrawl what you deposit. X wouldn't let me have DS for a few hours to see some out of town relatives after Christmas. It made me very angry because I had given up some of "my" time for HIS mother when they wanted to see DS and when they had relatives in town. So, even though I made "deposits" throughout the year, I wasn't able to make any "withdrawls". So, guess what.......I quit making a deposit unless a withdrawl was already scheduled.

And it's hard not to keep score when I'm always being the bigger person and I'm the only one considering what's best for DS. People get jaded when they are always making deposits and there's never anything to withdrawl.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:59PM
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That's exactly what my Ex did Ashley! My relatives all live very far away (closest is 1,000 miles) and visit infrequently and for short durations. So when they're here, it's a Big Deal.

But Ex would only give me ONE HOUR out of his weekend when my sister's family visited all the way from Australia! (I had already agreed to make up for the lost time.) And my sister has two kids DS' age. Yet he expected me to give up an extra week during the summer so DS could see Ex's parents.

I'm not one to keep score when things are anywhere close to even. But when they're 90/10 lopsided? It's frustrating.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 1:10PM
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I look at it as, teaching others how to treat you. I try to treat others, as I want them to treat me, and assume others do the same. So, if someone is unbending, or unwilling to work cooperatively with me, I assume that is how they handle all similar situations, and would respond to them in kind. If however, they have shown that they are willing to discuss and compromise when dealing with issues, then I too, would respond in a nature of compromise.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 1:18PM
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This is a good example of Ex's idea of 'fair' --

Him: "Can we trade Tuesday for Wednesday next week? We've got a function we need to go to on Tuesday."
Me: "I've got a meeting on Tuesday, but StepDad will be home."
Him: "So can we trade Tuesday for Wednesday?"
Me: "Trade? No - because I won't be able to see him for more than a few minutes on Tuesday. But if you need a sitter, we're happy to help."
Him: "OK, so can we have Wednesday since you're getting him Tuesday?"
Me: "Huh? Isn't that a trade? You want me to trade a day I when can see him and spend time with him for one where I can't? That's not a good trade, so no."
Him: "I can't believe you won't watch him! That's just ridiculous!"
Me: "That's not what I said. I'm happy to have him any time."
Him: "But then you're getting extra time! When are you going to give me time to make up for that?"
Me: "Never mind. Then I guess I can't take him Tuesday."
Him: "What?! You won't even take your own son?"
Me: "You want a free babysitter Tuesday or not?"
Him "You're so unreasonable!"


    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 1:21PM
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But Fine, what if DD wanted to spend the holiday with you rather than have 'precious time' with her father? Then what, if you are putting her first?

"I would insist on raising children to be independent, i'd rather they argue wiht parents, don't be obedient, be opinionated but be able to say honestly what they need."

I totally agree, however some kids are emotionally punished when they say what they need because it doesn't fall in line with what one of their parents 'needs'. In a perfect world kids should be able to freely speak about their feelings and needs, but this world is far from perfect.

One can certainly always do the right thing regardless of what others do. BUT - what if it's only right for the other parent? What if it isn't what the child wants, and certianly not something the other parent would do in return? Should it still be done? Nicksmom's SD as an example - SD doesn't want to go early and has spoke up to say so (to dad and SM) and Dad and SM don't want to to go earlier as it will be an additional cost they will have to cover to give mom what only she wants. What part of this sounds like the 'right' thing to do for anyone . . .other than mom??

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 1:56PM
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I crossed your possed and it just cracked me up as I think DH has had that same conversation with his ex more than once. Its draining to try to speak Logic to someone who only speaks Self Serving.

There are just some people who can't see past their own nose.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:02PM
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JNM, of course DD would spend holidays wiht whoever she wants to. But my DD is not a people pleaser, she speaks her mind. Others don't. And logically after seeing me every day, she wanted her father for at least holidays and breaks. I cannot imagine DD not wanting to see her father. Why? think about it, she'd rather have her parents both together. But it is not the case, when she saw me every day logically she wanted to be with dad when she was off school.

that's why if nick's SD lives with dad, holidays with mom is only logical decision. unless she is pressured to not do so, then it is a different story. I was never able to pressure my kid, and at times i wished I could (like her attending college closer by etc). couldn't.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 3:08PM
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