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How to handle Mom's complaints?

Posted by nicksmom (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 9, 08 at 10:05

Since I'm the one that handles all the flight arrangements for SD15 to visit her mom, I feel like I'm the one that gets the brunt of her mom's snotty replies, remarks and reactions. Maybe I'm taking it personally, but how should I handle this?

Just a quick recap: SD15 came to live with us this year, for the rest of high school (she's a sophmore), after living w/Mom for 10 years several states away.

Recent issue - visitation: SD spent majority of summer w/Mom in anticipation of moving here. She returned here mid-August for volleyball tryouts and showteam auditions (dance). Then school started. She visited her mom late September for a long weekend (Thurs-Sun). Her volleyball schedule prevented scheduling an October visit, then she blew out her ankle late in the season. At that time, she probably COULD have gone to visit, since her v-ball season was done, but flight prices were astronomical with no advanced purchase (over $800). And her mom and stepdad had already planned a trip here to see an NHL game and visit SD for this weekend.

So, the last week of October, I email her mom to tell her I found a good airfare for Thanksgiving ($183), and she would be able to be there for 5 days (Tues-Sat), as opposed to the typical Thurs-Sun. She replied via email that she wanted her there the entire week of T-giving, since she didn't visit in October. She finished her email with "and I am not willing to budge on this" and "I always tried to honor your requests for extra time when you wanted it, and I would appreciate it you would do the same"...which is about as far from the truth as one can get. At that point, I handed it over to DH...not my ex-wife, not my problem.

He emailed her, explaining that while she didn't visit in October, Mom would be seeing her this weekend, and they were welcome to take SD w/them for the entire weekend, if they wanted. He said he understood her frustration entirely, as he, too was often disappointed that he couldn't see daughter as often as he wanted (when she lived w/Mom), especially as she got older and her schedule more involved. He finished his email with "I was always understanding when her schedule prevented her from visiting as often as I would have liked, and I would appreciate it if you would do the same".

Then, there was nothing. No response or reply. So, after a couple days, my DH said we should book the flights for T-giving, before they get more expensive. I was able to find flight for $313 (which is $150 higher than original). She will be there Mon-Sat (missing school Mon & Tues). DH said "book it". So, I did and emailed the itinerary to Mom. She immediately phoned SD to complain to HER. I overheard the conversation (she was standing right next to me), and I told SD if her mom wanted to discuss it, I would be happy to, or her dad would. SD has commitments on Sat & Sunday. I was able to change our tickets for Sunday to the Saturday performance, but the flights were nearly $500. Since she is doing well in her classes, DH said it would be ok for her to miss Mon & Tues, so I booked the first avail. flight on Monday (early a.m. was sold out).

We DO want her to see her mom as much as she can. The fact is, she's a busy girl. And the older they get, the more complex their schedule is. Our goal is for her to visit once a month, but we realize this may not always be possible, given her activities. That was something that we had to accept when she lived with Mom, and that Mom will have to accept now. Dad (and I) really do understand that it sucks.

I don't feel like anything further needs to be said about this visit. But, I anticipate another snippy email from her, demanding extra time at Christmas, etc. Which DH is not willing to do, especially since she will be gone for both Turkey Day and Christmas Day (this is Mom's year for the actual holiday). So, I wonder if it would be best for him to just set the stage for that now, and get it out of the way. So, we're not scrambing for decent airfares at the last minute again.

Would anyone here do anything differently?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

First, I think Dad should be communicating with mom from teh get go. Even if you book the flights. Is he so busy if you email him, he cant cut and paste and send to mom?

Second if becuase of SDs schedule, mom is not able to use all her of her visitiation, i think she should be given extra time. This is not mom not using her time. This is a decision by you dad and/or SD that she can come as originally scheduled.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

kkny,
Dad does communicate w/her. It's just that I book the flights, and as such always want to make sure that dates/times are good for her. Mom and I have always communicated fairly openly, for many years. I met DH 11 years ago, so this isn't anything new.

And Mom is using all of her visitation. The order states that the GOAL for visitation is every 4-8 weeks, to allow for child's schedule/activities. And we are following the order. DH would never keep SD from seeing her mom. I think sometimes visitation just requires some creativity. And he feels just as strongly that our family deserves time together at the holidays, just as Mom's does. Since it's Mom's year, she will likely go from 12/20-12/27, then be here for the 2nd week of vacation. That seems fair for everyone.

And I'm not sure what your last sentence means....


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

One, you may have been on good terms with mom when she had custody -- but situation has changed. I thought you said you would do everythign to accomodate SD visiting her mom should your DH get custody. In any event, situation has changed.

You had said - "Our goal is for her to visit once a month, but we realize this may not always be possible, given her activities." I am not certain who the our is in the sentence, but it seems to indicate to me that it is not mom who doesnt want to avail herself of custody -- and in that case I think DH should be flexible.


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RE: Mom's complaints?

"Our" is DH and me. And because I am a long-standing figure in this equation, I consider myself part of the "our". But if it makes it easier to accept, I could say "Dad's goal is for her to visit once a month....". At any rate, the order says every 4-8 weeks, which we are abiding by. And we ARE doing everything to accomodate her visits, taking into consideration her schedule. Do you find something wrong with that?

"but it seems to indicate to me that it is not mom who doesnt want to avail herself of custody" ---not sure what you mean by this...

"This is a decision by you dad and/or SD that she can come as originally scheduled" ---or this

What exactly do you think Dad should do to be flexible?


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I think that if you and DH (and I hoped that SD was part of hte our) decide her visits have to be less frequent, mom should get more time with SD over vacations.

What I meant that this isnt a situation where mom has abandoned children.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

nicksmom,

Regarding Thanksgiving: If she is taking Monday & Tuesday off from school, then BM is getting more than the regular 'vacation'. It's unfair for her to expect DH to pay more on the ticket so she can get an extra day. I'd also say it's not fair to the child to fly back a day before school. I doubt one day is going to make much difference since her visit with mom is several days already. Am I understanding this correct? BM's issue with Thanksgiving is over one day? She's coming back Saturday instead of Sunday? Or does she also want the weekend preceding Monday? I don't think you/DH are being unreasonable if SD has activities and mom is getting a several day visit, what's the big deal? If SD wants to be there on the extra days, that's another story and BM should pitch in if the ticket is a lot more. DH is being reasonable if the duration of visits is not specified and he's giving her several days. But, at SD's age, I'd give her preferences some weight. You've done your part in getting her a ticket and if BM doesn't like it, then it's between her, DH & SD. But, personally I'd let BM pay the difference to change the ticket if she wants more time. Same for Christmas. I wouldn't argue over who gets actual holidays, but maybe celebrate on a day when she is there. She lives with you full time now so if her mom wants her to be there longer during vacations (and is willing to upgrade/change the tickets to make it happen) then it's really between BM & SD. If SD doesn't want to go because she has activities, then she needs to speak up and tell her mom. That goes back to the issue she had before about being more assertive in telling her mom what she wants.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

ima,
We did give SD a choice when Mom said she wanted her to come the preceeding weekend. Dad told her it was up to her. She could go the weekend before. But she already had plans in place, and she decided to stick with those. One is a performance by her dance studio, and even though she is not dancing now due to her ankle injury, she wants to go. Also, her little sister IS dancing in it, and she wants to see her. The other is tickets to the ballet on Sunday. I told her I could switch the tickets. She said, "no, we have plans. Monday is fine for me to go. I'll be there all week." Her dad told her that her mom probably wouldn't be real excited about that, to which she replied, "I've got business here. Just like I used to have there. It'll be fine." So, we are letting her have some say. I asked her if she'd prefer to go Monday or Tuesday, and she chose Monday. I booked the ticket.

As for Christmas, we don't care about the actual holiday. We are used to celebrating on another day every-other-year for the past 10. No big deal. However, we are not willing to forego having all of our kids here for at least part of it.

kkny,
SD is part of the "our"...read above for details. And no, Mom didn't abandon her kids. However, she also isn't taking advantage of extra time she could have. Case in point, this weekend. She and stepdad flew up for a NHL game. They could have taken SD w/them and had the better part of 2 days. But instead they took her to dinner and a movie and dropped her back off. So, she CHOSE to spend 5 hours w/her instead of 2 days. Her choice.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I totally understand what you are trying to say Nicks - the hockey game is a perfect example. Mom wants 'her' time - as long as it's on 'her' time. The fact she has plans is a perfectly acceptable reason for her not to spend the whole weekend with SD . . . but SD's plans are not an acceptable reason to keep her from seeing mom?!? What part of this smells a little fishy?


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

"I totally understand what you are trying to say Nicks - the hockey game is a perfect example. Mom wants 'her' time - as long as it's on 'her' time. The fact she has plans is a perfectly acceptable reason for her not to spend the whole weekend with SD . . . but SD's plans are not an acceptable reason to keep her from seeing mom?!? What part of this smells a little fishy?"

Exactly.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

And just to add insult to injury...

SD just remembered (after the flight was booked, of course!) that she has a MANDATORY performance on the Monday that she's traveling to see Mom. I'm so pissed! Mostly that I just didn't go with my gut and book the dang flight that I found originally. Instead, I listened to Mom's whining and booked her the day earlier. Luckily, she's in very good standing with her theater director, and will just take a hit on her grade. I did talk w/her director (she knows the custody situation re: court ordered visits, etc.), and told her that if we HAD to change her flights, we would, but if there was any way to avoid it, that would be great. She is going to give SD a big "ding" in her grade for this performance, and give her a lot of grief for being irresponsible about this.

I so wish my DH would have just said, "sorry, she'll be there Tuesday". Would've been cheaper, and SD wouldn't be in the hot seat w/her teacher. And Mom STILL would've gotten more time than we ever did at Thanksgiving! UGH!

OK...done with my vent!


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I don't understand the issue. I was CP and DD was always allowed to see her dad any time he or she wanted (of course reasonably). DD used to take additional time off school, she was almost never sick and never missed school so she would take those allowed days (like 5-6 a semester or so)to add to vacations and holidays to go see dad more.

as about actual holidays, I never had DD wiht me for any of the hoildays or school breaks. never during summer, for 2 and 1/2 months she was gone. never for winter hoildays, she was gone for the whole Christmas break, never Easter break, etc. Yes it was sad. and she is my only child. But i was willing to give up breaks and holidays to be able to live wiht my child.

Why isn't dad willing to give up something up since he won custody battle?

Now when she is in college she divides all of her breaks and hoildays between us. do i wish she was wiht me for all her breaks? yes. but would i inists? absolutelly not. She sees dad more than me because her college is closer to him. do i sometimes feel sad? yes. But do i make it difficult on my daughter and my X? No.

Mom didn't want to become NCP, she had to. now CP had to make some changes so mom can see her children too. they live full time with dad. isn't it enough?

And i agree that dad is the one to discuss everything wiht mom. also whatever mom wants to discuss with SD is up to them. complain or not. they can have private talks about whatever.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I agree, I am CP, and my DD can visit with her dad whenever she wants. Only exception is once a year when my relatives comes to visit (and they want to see DD), which I give dates to dad well in advance.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

"And he feels just as strongly that our family deserves time together at the holidays, just as Mom's does."

there are enough children in your family to have around hoildays. You have your own child with DH living wiht you, plus you child from previous marriage. You cannot demand that all 4 children stay with you for the holidays. and no i don't really think that one week with mom and one wiht you for the holidays is fair. SD lives wiht you full time the rest of the year so her breaks and holidays should be wiht mom.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

If I'm not mistaken, the mom is squabbling over an extra day that adds significant cost to the ticket and makes her DD miss a mandatory activity that is going to affect her grade.

My understanding is when SD was with mom, dad got 3-4 days for Thanksgiving, now that SD live with dad, mom wants 7-9 days. (or something to that effect) but I could be wrong.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

why keep the score? who cares 4-5 or 7-9. that's why there is anymosity in stepfamilies. and kids get hurt. mom could feel differently about her daughter than dad did. as painful as it is for either parent, some moms take it much harder than dads. women. my dad does not cry when he misses his granddaughter, my DD. but mom cries. I cry when i miss DD, X misses her but he does not cry.

i belive if kids live wiht one parent full time, holidays and breaks wiht other parent is only fair. i can only imagine drama i would create in my DD's life should i keep scores with X. who cares.

I don't understand any of that.


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finedreams

Not to sidetrack the thread, but are you serious????

Are you trying to say that because men don't cry (or aren't as emotional as women) that they feel differently as in they love their kids less because they don't cry???

It's not about keeping score, it's about what's best for the child and not what MOM wants vs. what DAD wants. The child has an activity that is going to lower her grade because she is going to miss it.

Should we assume:

1. Mom must not care about her daughter's grades???
2. Mom must love her daughter more than the father because she is demanding more time than he did?

Maybe mom wants to engage in a power struggle with dad over a couple of extra days... maybe mom wants to stick it to dad by making him buy the more expensive plan tickets... we can assume all sorts of things, but the bottom line is what's best for the kids. From what I've heard here, dad didn't get to see his daughter as much as he'd have liked because when she lived with mom, she had activities that prevented her from seeing dad sometimes. I don't see why seeing mom is a priority over her activities now. It's not about dad vs. mom. (in my opinion)


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Ima, mom gave up custody without a court fight. I thought OP said she would try to accomodate visits. Now it seems that is limited. Why is it you only seem to preach be the bigger person, accomodate visits when it applies to the mom? I think CPs with responsible NCPs (ie, non-criminal, no drug issues) should be flexible. I know I am, I think FD is.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Well then mom shouldn't have packed up her children 10 years ago and moved away from dad and none of this would be an issue at all ..... kids would be able to freely spend holidays whereever they wanted to and no expenses involved.

Nicksmom tell mom to book flights but you only have this much money and this is SD's schedule work around it.... have fun!!


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Psuedo, Mom had courts permission. And taking a highhanded approach can be less than productive.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

kkny, my original response is that dad should let her have as much time as the child wants, not how much dad wants or how much mom wants. If the girl has activities that she will miss out on because her mom insists on an extra day or two, then it's the daughter that is missing out, not really dad. It should not be about 'accommodating' mom, it is about accommodating SD and if SD wants to skip the activity & take a lower grade to see mom, then of course she should get to see her mom, assuming she isn't flunking and mom understands her daughter is taking a hit on the grade. That decision should be between mother & daughter. However, it's unfair to make dad pay more on an airline ticket because mom wants an extra day or two.

The girl is a teenager and should have some say in whether she wants to have a lower grade & see her mom or if she wants to see her mom after the activity to spare her grade. It should not be up to mom or dad in this case. If she had nothing else going on in her life, I might suggest dad be more accommodating to mom's request, but with a teenager... they are old enough to take part in the decision process and give up activities that might be important to them just because their mom or dad wants to spend time with them. The parents should be thinking of what's best for the child, not worried about how they (the parent) feels.

Also, if a parent is going to make demands or decisions that involve additional costs to the other parent, they should be willing to share in the extra expense if not bear the entire 'extra' cost.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

mom couldn't possibly take kids away from dad. Kids didn't live with dad. Mom was CP and they lived wiht her. Courts gave her permission to move. Dad was OK with it then.

imamommy, of course people should think what is the best for children. Keeping scores is not putting children's interests first. It is not important that kids saw dad 4 days but see mom 7 days. it is not important that SM wants all the kids around holiday. None of this matters.

Hmm, teenagers should have their own opinion, but not all can. imamommy you said you were brainwashed by your mother as a teenager. You didn't see your dad because your mom didn't want you to. the way nicksmom described her SD, she is unable to stand up for herself. She does whatever everyone says. Since she lives wiht dad and Sm, they are the first people for her to please. Not every teenager stands up for what they want. Not everyone is that independent. How do we even know what SD wants if she is a people pleaser?

Yes decison is between mom and her daughter, not SM.

and of course men (some men, those that are in the picture) miss their children even if they are not crying, it was just an example, mom is mom, it is in mother's nature to be attached to children.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Ima, this sounds to me like keeping score.

"My understanding is when SD was with mom, dad got 3-4 days for Thanksgiving, now that SD live with dad, mom wants 7-9 days. (or something to that effect) but I could be wrong."

I think it is wrong to keep score, especially after a parent gave up custody without a court battle.


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what does she want?

"my original response is that dad should let her have as much time as the child wants, not how much dad wants or how much mom wants."

But who know what she really wants? This gril allowed her coach to take her cast off. At 16! Not a doctor, her coach or whatever other school worker! It says a lot about her lack of assertiveness and maturity. SD does or says what adults tell her or what she perceives adults might want her to do.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Anyone who tries to insist on a visit schedule for a 15 year old is flogging a dead horse. A teen that age needs to have a great deal of input into when visits will take place. As kids age, they naturally are involved in more things in their primary home, and everyone, mom, dad, and steps all need to realize that and be flexible.

The fact that her grade will get dinged now because she is going to miss Mondays performance is a non issue. The teen didnt mention it until after the arrangements were made and the flight booked. I have to wonder what kind of idiot teacher would put a major performance during Thanksgiving week anyway? MANY people take those days off and travel to family. I would seriously protest if my child lost grades over that.

As for the flight being booked, etc, if Dad is paying for the flight, he has the right to try to book them the most economical ways. If Mom is paying then maybe she has more leeway to insist that flights are on certain days. I forget who is paying in this case.

And yes, I do agree with finedreams that this teen seems to be a people pleaser . Again I am struck by the fact that she needs some assertiveness training. At 15, she should be able to explain to her mom, and her dad, exactly what she wishes to do about visits, and , imo, her wishes should be respected.

Nicksmom shouldnt be dragged into something that should be settled between mom and the girl. Its turning into a power struggle.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I agree with Kathline. The person paying gets to make the decision as long as it's not cutting into school time. And I really can't believe that her teacher scheduled something that is grade-dependent during a holiday. That seems asinine. And, yes, assertiveness training sounds like a must for this young girl, otherwise she's in for a world of trouble from people who take advantage of people pleasers.

As for the original question,,, yes, set the stage now. Offer options like you would for a young child. Give her (biomom) two that would work for you and let her decide. She should be the one making the travel arrangements though. Getting involved in that is just asking for it. When I make travel arrangements for my DD6 I send out options, give a link to airlines, and set a deadline. If no alternatives are met by that time I make my plans. If they don't work, the other parties are free to pay the change fee and do the legwork. So far, no one has!


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

finedreams,
Although you are entitled to your opinion, it's just that...you're opinion. But to address your points:

1. Dad already missed out on the majority of the last 10 years...that's why he's not willing to give up more. He's already BTDT.

2. I agree...why keep score? We aren't keeping score. We are sticking to the current order (which actually gives Mom more time as the NCP than Dad had). I just used the number of days over this holiday to make the point that Mom was actually lucky to be getting more than the "standard" Thanksgiving holiday break.

3. We, too, allow SD to see her Mom as much as she wants, when it's feasible. And we do not make it difficult on her.

4. Even if we had 12 kids, we would want our entire family together for at least some time around the holidays. Our oldest (my son from previous) doesn't live at home...he's in college. Our 2nd (his son, my SS) also doesn't live at home...he's in college. It's important to THE KIDS to spend time with each other at some point over the holidays, since their time all together is limited now. THEY want this...as much as we do.

5. I agree...Dad should do all the conversing w/Mom. I'm just the travel agent. And of course, SD can talk to her mom about anything she wants...fact is, she doesn't want to talk to her mom about too much, because she still gets boatloads of guilt trips from her.

6. Mom and Dad had joint custody (physical and legal), when she petitioned the courts for permission to move w/kids 10 years ago. The courts granted her permission on the basis that "the increased income of their step-father will positively benefit the children's quality of life". And for at least the 10th freakin' time, DAD WASN'T OK WITH IT! HE FOUGHT A VERY EXPENSIVE COURT BATTLE. HE WASN'T OK WITH IT!!! GET IT?????? Good. Hopefully that's really easy to understand in all caps!

7. It's also in my husband's nature to be attached to his children.

8. SD tends to be a people pleaser to those who make her feel that she is responsible for their happiness/well-being. Since she doesn't get that from us, she is much more herself. She has been overheard saying "I'm so glad I can finally just be myself". That, I think, says it all.

9. Mom didn't give up custody without a court battle, sweetie. It was all summer long. Only at the bitter end, when the referee )who had interviewed SD several times behind closed doors) had made his decision to the judge, Mom's attorney advised her that custody would be granted to Dad, did Mom stop. And Dad didn't win....SD did. She got HER wish. She got HER voice heard. The referee's and judge's decision was based solely on the interviews with her.


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RE: Mom's complaints?

ima-

You hit it right on the head! If I didn't know better, I'd think maybe you KNOW stepmom....LOL! You have her pegged!

kkny-
You continue to say that Mom gave up custody without a fight...NOT the case. Long, expensive custody battle. And we do want her to see Mom as much as possible.

And as I mentioned, I was happy to find out that they have an extra day off this year. I thought it would be nice for SD to get an extra day w/Mom and stepdad.

And, despite the fact that Mom had permission to move the kids, it certainly wasn't in their best interest. And the fact that they both wanted (and were able to) move back here, makes me think that even they, as youngsters, could figure that out. I think that Mom is pissed because things didn't work out quite like she planned (ie, the kids could care less about stepdad's salary!).

kath,
I agree....


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

And interestingly, SS is home this weekend from college, visiting. I asked him about his plans for the holidays. I figured he'd want to spend 2 weeks here and 2 weeks there, since he's got a month off. But no, he said "I really don't want to be down there for 2 whole weeks." I was surprised, since he and his mom have a good relationship. But, she continues to try and guilt him into changing colleges, and I think he's simply tired of hearing it. So, he'll probably make the "required appearance" and spend 10 days or so there (including Christmas), and then spend the rest of his break here. We're happy, but I doubt Mom will be. But again, I doubt she's even recognizing the strain she causes on her relationships with her kids via "parenting by guilt". Maybe someday she'll have an aha moment, but it will probably be when her kids are all grown up.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

"Selective denseness" can be a wonderful thing.

After my years of tribulations with Ex, I'd have probably kept to the original travel schedule unless he wanted to jump through the hoops and pay the extra charges to change things. And now that he knows that I truly don't care if he rants, raves, swears and goes apoplectic at me (I simply hang up), he is much more accommodating.

Of course, you're nicer than I am ;-)


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

as about college breaks, it is not very parctical to divide breaks in half. DD figured it is less expensive and more parctical to alternate college breaks and holidays between us. Dad gets more because he is closer geographically and it is less expensive. Dividing breaks in half would be too complicated though when parenst are not close by.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I disagree, finedreams~

It's perfectly practical to divide the breaks, especially ones that are a month long. For example, my SS finishes final exams December 11. I assumed he would fly to Mom's the next day and stay for a couple weeks. Maybe fly back here with SD a couple days after Christmas. Then he'd have a couple weeks here to see friends, hang out, etc, before resuming classes Jan 12. One round-trip flight.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

I think FDs spouse lives overseas, so if you have 3 locations, mom, dad and college, it can get more expensive.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Most situations don't involve both parents and child all living on different countries/continents. FD's situation is not the norm, it is unique.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

But if mon and dad dont live near each other, going to two different homes for shorter breaks like Thanksiving and Spring when child is away at college is not practical. I think FD should be commended for reasonable answers.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Well, duh. Of course you aren't going to split a 4-day weekend 50/50. We are talking about a month-long break at this point. And while I agree that dividing a short break between 2 homes isn't logical, dividing a 4 week Christmas break is.

Historically, we have alternated Thanksgiving/Christmas every year, and Spring Break was w/NCP. Now, Mom gets all long weekend breaks (Thanksgiving included), Spring Break, 1/2 of Christmas and 7 weeks of summer.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

DD and her dad both live in Europe. Not in the same country though. She lives only about 2 hours flight from him and 7 hours flight from me. She had break in early November and went to dads. She comes to Christmas break to me, 2 and a half week. then February break goes to dad for a week. I go to her for Easter break etc etc. She obviously has no Thanksgiving breaks, so she stays at school. Sometimes I and X combine breaks because when she is at dads during summer break I travel oversees anyways so I spend time with her as well. I don't work during summer.

Of course my situation is unusual since DD decided to attend University in UK. But frankly if she would attend any of let's say California colleges it would still be 4 hours flight from me. So some areas in the US are as far away from me as flying oversees.

So dividing breaks would be as unpractical.

Not every college gives a month break in Christams, DD has only 2 weeks but then she has 10 days in November and a week in February off.


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imamommy

imamommy, US such a huge country that some of the areas are much farther away from each other as countries in Europe. If people live on the different sides of the US it is further away as if one lived on different sides of European continent. So there is not much unique in my situation. if one person lives in Alaska or Seattle and other in Florida? It is as far as flying from east Coast US to London. what's so unique?

it is also not that unique to attend college far away from home. plenty of people do.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

But your DD is in college not covered under "standard visitation" agreements anymore .... so again your situation is unique.

How did you do it when your DD was in high school? Would be more appropriate than how you do it now.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

lol, good point pseudo! 20 year old college student is not a child that has to visit either parent... she can stay home on her vacations or hang out with friends. Technically, she's an adult.

Oh, by the way... I was never brainwashed when I was a teenager. There's a difference between a child that is made to feel guilty and one that is brainwashed. I can relate to nicksmom's SD because my mom also made me feel guilty and I also had a hard time learning to stand up for what I wanted. I could tell my dad and he'd understand if I said I didn't want to go visit. As a teenager, I chose to stay at my mom's on many holidays for a few reasons, but one was because of my social life, I didn't want to leave town when all my friends were out on vacation too. I wanted to hang out or get together with my friends. and I also knew that my mom would guilt me into staying.. either by saying "oh, you'd rather go over there than stay here with me?" or by telling me how lonely she would be. And if I did go, always without fail, I had to give a rundown of all activities that happened at dad's house. What did I do? What did my SM say? Does my dad look happy? Oh gosh! The endless questions I dreaded, so yeah it was easier for me to just stay at mom's and hang out with my friends. But, I was in no way 'brainwashed'. I knew my dad wanted to see me and we loved each other, but it was my mom's actions that affected my spending time with him and I resented her for it. It eventually affected my relationship with her and the saddest part of all is she cannot see what she did, even after I became an adult and told her. lol, I hoped it would open her eyes when I told her and she might apologize or feel bad, but she got defensive and denied she ever did any such thing. BTW, she still badgers me for information but I have become able to tell her to take a flying leap... sometimes nicer than that, other times, not so much.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Ima, some of us, like FD and myself, actually expect that parents will pay college expenses, and expect there will be equity in visitation at college level.


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kkny: $$$=obligation to visit?

WOW, are you saying that paying college tuition entitles you to visitation with adult children at college level? Wonder what other strings are attached to the money.

By college age, lots of young adults may not want to go home for every vacation/break, especially spring break. They may also be in a relationship and want to visit their SO's family.


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Equity

Ima, I didnt say every vacation, I said equity. So you would prefer, that my DDs dad pays for college and never sees her. OK. But somehow I get the feeling that you just have to disagree with everything a mom says.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Didn't you say he was leaving the country?

Guessing in HS visitation doesn't have the same "equity" as college ... since he isn't paying for HS...

So when his visitation and college gain "equity" he decides to leave the country.


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kkny

Why would she go visit dad when she's in college when she doesn't visit him now? Just because he's paying her tuition?

Again, it's redundant to say I disagree with everything a mom says when I AM A MOM!!!

If I support my college aged son & pay for college while he lives at home, I was told I'm being unreasonable for expecting him to abide by curfew, clean his room, follow rules like a bedtime, etc. but I guess by your philosophy, it he lived away from home, I could expect him to visit me because I pay his tuition or living expenses? That doesn't make any sense to me... again, it's redundant.

How about, let grown kids visit who they want, when they want, regardless of financial help.... Just like child support is not tied to visitation when they are minor's, why should that change when they grow up. If your ex wants a relationship with his daughter, he should be fostering it now. She certainly should not feel obligated to visit him merely because he pays for her college, rather it should be because she wants to. If she doesn't want to see him, but he has already agreed to pay for her college, then he should pay for it, even if she doesn't visit. A relationship should never be contingent on money or gifts (or guilt), but should be based on feelings of caring and love, shown over the years, not just when it's convenient.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

ima absolutelly correct, DD works a lot of hours and has hard time taking much time off. She only goes with visits 2 weeks out of summer, the rest of the summer though she stays put and works, she has to pay her rent even when she travels. she does not live on campus, she and her GF rent a room. So they have to pay rent no matter where they go. we do not pay her living expenses, she is on her own. she lives in a very expensive city, there is no way we can help wiht rent or food. other kids live at home 4 months during summer. DD only goes home for two weeks, can't afford the whole summer.

well this thread was about nicksmom's situation. She has two grown kids in college, her own and stepkid and they live at home the whole break and she still wants them to stay home around holidays, divinde breaks in half etc.

My situation is just an exmaple of how impractical is to demand grown kids spend all of their holidays at home and especially diving those breaks in half. most college kids cannot afford diving their breaks because they simply, cannot afford sitting around during holidays. If they only get two weeks they have to choose which parent to go to. Nicksmom's kids get a month to do nothing. That's a lot to take off work. Dd cannot do that.


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pseudo

I already explained many times. DD spend ALL of her breaks and holidays with her dad because she lived the rest of the year with me when she was young. all of her breaks, day one to the last day. I already said it on this thread. i consider it fair. she was also allowed to see her dad any time they both wanted not when i said it is OK.

nicksmom thinks it is not fair. i think it is enough that SD lives with dad. holidays and breaks should be with mom, all of it.


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ima

DD works a lot and makes decent money. I don't know about your kids,.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

finedreams,

We do have 2 kids in college, but neither of them live at home. Both visit regularly. I don't expect my stepson to be here the whole break. As a matter of fact, I assumed he would spend the vast majority of his break w/Mom and her family, since it is their educational trust that is funding his college expenses, and he is reminded regularly that there are "strings attached"...again, parenting by guilt sure isn't working out so well for Mom.

My son is a different story. His father died 5 years ago, so I assume he will be here most holidays. However, last Christmas, he went back to Europe to spend time with his former "host" family and ski and see friends. And this year, he was hoping to go visit his paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles & cousins... however, he made some unwise financial decisions, and now cannot take the time off work for a long trip. It will have to wait until spring, but I had no problem with him spending time with the other side of his family during the holidays.

I think that children of divorce or blended families are faced with a unique set of circumstances. Clearly, both parents want to spend some "down time" with their kids during the holidays. Some folks here think that all holidays should be spent with the NCP. I personally don't agree. But I think each family has to decide what is workable for them. We are lucky that we have been at this a long time, and a precedent has been set. When Mom was custodial parent, we got 1/2 of Christmas, so that's what continues now that we have custody. It works for us.

The whole point of my original post has been lost in this thread. I wonder if any of the custodial SMs or would handle the situation any differently, or do you just let Dad do all the travel plans, etc. Specifically, if the NCP complains or wants things significantly different that what is planned, do you oblige? do you pay? do they?


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

dad and mom have to do all travel plans, not Stepparents. If NCP complains, CP handles it with NCP, not stepparent. Do you pay? No, stepparents don't pay, either CP or NCP pay, depends how they decide and negotiate. Every family is different, but moms and dads are to figure out visitations together with their kids.


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finedreams

"Do you pay? No, stepparents don't pay"

I pay for just about everything my SD needs, including the cost to pick her up from her mom every Sunday. We don't have to deal with airline tickets, thank goodness, but that doesn't stop BM from trying to increase our costs, just because. haha, you read about the fiasco regarding SD's appointment with the foot doctor. BM actually suggested that we pick up SD from her house, take her to the appointment and bring her back... a total of 12 hours driving for me, unless DH took the day off work to do it. Then, it would be 12 hours driving plus a loss of a day's pay... since he works for commission, he can't recoup that. BM didn't offer to pay for our fuel, let alone our time which is also worth something. In fact, she didn't even give her half of the co-pay...

So, yeah!!! Sometimes a stepparent does have a right to complain. DH and BM finally agreed to have SD picked up when DH was not working so he drove, but it also affected me because I had SD home from school for two days... which affects how much I can work. I can't very well drag her around with me everywhere I need to go and I had to take her to her appointment & pay for it. Their choice affects me, I get to have a say as well. (It was me that pointed out that she was wanting to put her daughter through 6 hours in the car on Monday and another 3 hours on Tuesday.. just because she wanted to make US take her because she didn't want to take her own daughter)

I know, it's not the same as flying but saying it's all between mom and dad... nothing to do with stepparents can only come from someone that has not been a stepparent because those things do affect everyone... including the stepparent and even siblings.

and I guess under your philosophy finedreams, I should have more say in my SD's life than her own mother? I pay for much of what she needs, her mom pays nothing. Guess that gives me decision/veto power!!! hahaha


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

of course stepparents have rights to complain, everyone can complain but I do not believe they are the ones to decide about visitations, tickets, custody etc. if your husband wants you to financially support his kid and him it is up to you and him, but it is parental obligation to care for the children not yours. of course you can and should contribute your ideas but I do not believe that stepparents can make decisions when, where and for how long kids go to the other parent.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

hahaha, well I made the decision, not DH, to tell BM that SD is not going to be picked up on Monday by me or him and driven back to BM's to finish out her long weekend.. so yes, I did make a decision regarding how long her weekend was going to be. It went from 4 days to 2 days because I refused to drive SD back to her. DH could have taken the day off to drive SD and make sure BM got her 4 days but then again, he isn't in a financial position to do that, and even if he was... he won't take time off to go on vacation, why would he take time off to convenience BM. She should have gotten off her butt and taken her own daughter to the doctor and she would have had her 4 days, not just 2. She chose to give up the two days because she didn't want the inconvenience or expense of taking her daughter to the doctor.

In OP's case, if BM wants the extra time, she should pay the extra costs involved. Dad was doing his part in paying for the original ticket (and the cost does affect his wife) so if BM expects him to send her a day early, she should pay for the added costs. He wasn't denying the visit, he wasn't refusing to pay for the initial ticket, but he is really not obligated to fork out more money just because BM says so. Just as in the other thread about sending kids to dad's wedding, if dad wants to request mom bring kids, he should pay for it. It really is quite simple.... you want to call the shots, you get to pay for it. How nice it would be if we can all tell someone else what to do AND make them pay for it. It would be really sweet... unless you are the one that is being told what to do and having to pay for it. Not exactly very fair at all!!!


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

yes he should negotiate with mom who pays for what and he can also demand that she pays her share. It is between him and her, not SM's place. I don't even know why is she discussing it wiht BM or buys tickets? It is not that tough to look up tickets, dad is not some uneducated computer illiterate guy. he can do it. I don't object mom paying for whatever (we do not know the whole story anyways), I object SM controlling the situation.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

FD when your DD went to visit who selected and paid for the tickets... (let's assume ex)

I bet if you ask ex who "really" scheduled your DD's flights since of course now she is over 18 it really doesn't matter .... I will bet SM planned one or two. :)


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Nicksmom

Nicksmom - I would love to talk to you sometime about the wording of your papers now that SD lives with you. We are going to have to get something together. I knew it was going to be bad, but FDH always has some pie-in-the-sky vision of how things will work out.

We haven't seen FSD in 14 weeks. We've tried, but there's always some stupid excuse. Never a good one. So, after a huge debacle and a lot of lying on BM's part, FSD "decided she didn't want to spend her whole Thanksgiving break traveling" even though my brother offered to buy her plane ticket. That's right........MY brother. MY family wanted her to be with us for Thanksgiving. Not FDH's family......MY family. They love her and include her in everything. Well, BM doesn't want us to have her for Christmas either so we don't get her until the day after. By that time it would've been almost 20 weeks since we'd have seen her. That is f-ing ridiculous! So, in order to help curb that, we decided to ask BM to send her this past weekend. She did and it was a really wonderful 39 hours! that's right.....39 hours. She came in at 10:30 PM on Friday night and then left at 1:50 PM on Sunday. So after not having seen her for 14 weeks, we get all of 39 hours. I see no reason she can't send her at 6 PM on Friday and have her home at 6 PM on Sunday. But, because there are no papers and no guidelines, BM can do whatever the hell she wants.

So.....guess what FSD says? FSD says "mom wants me back early enough so we can spend time together because it's her day off". WTF???????? Since when was that our problem? It's not. She gets to see her every damn day! And we get 39 measly hours? So not right.

I would like to hear your opinion on this and how to help FDH handle it. Thanks!


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

Nope. I always selected, booked and bought tickets (yes he paid for the most of it) because it was much cheaper to buy them from my location than his, why make him pay extra? Why asking her to book tickets when she has no clue what to buy, how and when? I and X discussed what is the best for DD and both of us.

I cannot imagine getting an email from her saying hey, I bought tickets for DD. lol that would be weird. How would she even know what day DD gets off school or when i can take her to airport.

Suppose she can know when X is avilable but how can she know about me? I once ended up not being able to drive DD to airport because I turned out to have an exam in graduate school (professor change schedule), i had my mom driving her. It happened once and I was the one to buy tickets, but if SM would buy DD's tickets it would happen all the time! how does she know when i am avilable tp drive DD? Or help pack or maybe I have something else to do that day? makes no sense.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

First, for those who can't figure it out for themselves...when I asked "do you pay?"..."do they". I wasn't referring to myself personally paying, although I have put tickets on my credit card just as much as Dad has. It all comes from the same "pot", so to speak. We are a family, a household. We both pay the bills. We don't have his & hers. I know that you ex-wives would like to believe that Dad & next wife really only have a marriage of convenience and that things are markedly separate, but, and I hate to dissappoint you, that's not the case. And while my stepkids are not my biologic children, they are part of my family. And I treat them as such. So, I pay for all kinds of crazy stuff....airfares included. And when I say I, I mean we.

And while my DH is a master's prepared teacher, he is not particularly internet savvy. I am. So, I am the "best fare finder" in our house. And the next time I book the flight (and it will be ME booking it), I will decide when and where she flies. Of course I'd love to send her to an airport 2.5 hours from Mom's house, and have her make the drive that we always had to make when we were at her mercy for booking flights. However, I wouldn't do that to my SD. She HATES being in the car. So, while Mom had no problem forcing a 5+ hour drive, just to "stick it" to Dad, I (the EVIL stepmom) will actually do what is best for the kiddo. I will make the decisions, since I am the custodial stepmom, and I (we) pay the bills. Just like when Mom was custodial parent and she (and stepdad) did.

But rest assured, I am not controlling the situation. My husband, SD and I discuss things. I just happen to be the one hogging the computer...just like now!

Oh yeah...BTW...I'm with you, imamommy!!!!!


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

ashley~
The first part of trick is to have two adults (Mom & Dad), who can at least try to work together for the best of the kiddo, and who can agree to disagree, but try to be accomodating and flexible when possible.

If you have no custody orders in place, you cannot legally hold Mom to anything. First, your FDH needs to get custody arrangements on paper. You do NOT need an attorney to do this. If Mom & Dad can agree to something, they can file it with the family court themselves. There may be a nomimal fee for processing the paperwork, but I think it's less than $50.

How old is your FSD? How far away does Mom live from you? And if you think you got 39 hours, I hate to be the one to dash your reality...because she likely slept for about 16 of those hours, right? So, sadly, you really only got 23 hours with her. Trust me, we did that crap for years. And it's hard on the kids. Just when they get unpacked, it's time to pack. We try to send SD on Thursday after school, let her miss Friday (her grades are good), and come back Sunday night. So she gets an extra day w/Mom. We also try to arrange flights into the closest airport to Mom's, so they are spending more quality time toghether at home, as opposed to endless hours in the car.

Our papers are pretty open-ended. Remember, my SD is 15 and involved in a couple extra-curriculars, and we live 5 states apart, so all travel is by air. So, for visitation it states "a goal of visitation every 4-8 weeks, to allow for child's involvement in school or extra-curricular activities". Mom also gets "all 4-day weekends, to include Thanksgiving". We continue to split Christmas break 50/50, alternating years for the actual holiday. Spring Break continues to be w/NCP, so now that will be w/Mom. And she gets "7 weeks in summer, not necessarily consecutive, to allow for other required/requested special activities (dance recitals, national dance competitions and volleyball camp)that the child chooses to participate in".

Hope this helps.


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RE: How to handle Mom's complaints?

does SD wants to see her dad but mom prevents her? this is unacceptable. It should be addressed with attorney.

Could he go there stay in the hotel and see her there, in mom's town?

but does SD want to come and see him? unfortunatelly I do know children (grown or teens) who do not want to see the other parent, just do not want to, just have no relationship. i do not know what to do about it, but it does happen. my DD's GF never wants to see her father, maybe like once a year the most, and he lives in the same town. not to say it is good enough excuse, but if she is a teenager what can one do?

Could he go there stay in the hotel and see her there, in mom's town?


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