Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Schedules and Stepkids

I could have just named this "schedules and stepkids," because either way, schedules are annoying. It's a tricky situation, because if you argue about a schedule with the kid's biomom, you look petty and like you don't want the kid around. But, if you don't bring up perceived or real inequities, it always feels like we're being taken advantage of. Of course I have an interest in the schedule, but I want things to be fair--not just for us, but for my stepson, too.

My husband and his ex never stipulated anything about holidays, sick days, or vacations in their custody agreement. When I first heard that, I thought it was crazy. They were so meticulous about every other little detail. Biomom would have him every Monday and Tuesday. We'd have him every Wednesday and Thursday. We would alternate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Great.

Originally, whoever had stepson on the day the particular holiday or break fell on would keep him for the day, but that started to get really fuzzy (especially when it seemed to be biomom's day but she didn't agree). The thought was initially that if both parents had to work but stepson had the day off from school (say, Presidents' Day), they would alternate taking care of him. But, if the holiday fell on a day both parents had off, whoever had him that day would take him. For example, we always have had him the past four years on Thanksgiving because Thursday is our day. She would have him Memorial Day and Labor Day, because Monday is her day. Now, biomom made up these rules, but she always seemed to forget the rule on her day to take care of stepson.

To compound the problems, what happens if stepson is sick? What happens on trade-off days? Such as, if he's sick on Wednesday morning, does she keep him because he's been at her house, or do we take him because he would be coming to ours? Do we trade? Do we split the day? Such a headache.

So, just a few weeks ago, biomom drafted up something she wanted us to sign off on. We promptly took a look at it, and she wanted to make it so whoever had SS on a three-day weekend would be required to take him that Monday, too. I looked at the calendar and that means we would've had him every three-day weekend this year and all but one next year. She also wants him every Christmas, and she wants all birthday parties to be joint parties. There was more, but these were the standouts. So, we promptly looked over her requests and countered with our requests for modification. We did this less than three days after she gave it to us. Over two weeks later, we still have not heard anything back. What the heck? We have to hurry to get back to her, but she can take as long as she wants to get back to us? Yep, those seem to be her rules. Her rules are made for everyone else to follow--not her.

Anyone else have to deal with this?


Nikki said...

Yep, step-schedules have always been, and I imagine will be for us for the next 8 years, a major issue. We have had a lot of changing work schedules over the past six years and there have been some really rough times. It seems like the hardest times fall around the holidays too.
My DH & the biomom also never went to court with schedules, so we've just tried to keep things as consistent as possible for SS. Thankfully we have a lot of grandparents who are willing to chip in when needed.
Last winter, I found that I was "babysitting" SS more than anyone else in the family (including biomom). I *almost* had a mental breakdown, esp. since all the house duties were falling on me too (cooking, cleaning, bill paying, etc.) I remember telling DH that I felt like I was giving, giving, giving, and not getting anything back in return.
I guess my advice would be just to make sure you and DH are always on the same team so you can better deal with biomom and any unrealistic expectations. Good luck, friend!

Junkgirl said...

Thanks for the advice, Nikki! Sometimes in these situations I start feeling like the third wheel, and I think DH forgets I'm part of the equation. He does a pretty good job of keeping me in the loop and part of the decision-making process, but from time to time, I'll find out about some switch or change after he and BM have worked out the details. That really bugs me. It also bugs me that we are hardly the ones asking for any changes, but she seems to have schedule change requests on a monthly basis. It's annoying! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has gone through with it.