You should not be playing happy family with him.
It's OKAY to be scared.
Being scared means you're about
to do something really, really brave.
I'm also waiting for him to get a lawyer so we can get this all in writing and then let my kids know what to expect.
He is effectively hijacking your time with them. Just shows up and tags along. No way in hell would I allow this. You can't stop him showing up but you don't have to hang out. Especially given he doesn't pre-arrange it. Tell him he is not welcome to join you for a meal.
My girls were 4.5 and almost 2 at S. The only time we've sent 'together' was my big girls first day of school. There was no way around it. It was civil but unpleasant.
The events we both attend we each spend separate time with the girls but apart. No together to confuse them.
My XWH was the most involved Dad you've ever seen. Now he blows off visitation whenever he wants -- w/o notifying me! His whole "being" is devoted to doing what OW wants. If she wants to go to the band concert to show herself off, they go. If she doesn't want to go to one single HS football game they don't go. Yep, not one 1/2 time show all year and both kids are in the marching band!
He was supposed to have them Christmas day til school started in Jan -- and he sent them back Christmas night with no explanation.
Someone on here told me that when he does this crap, act like you are SO happy that they will be with you!
Also, since yours are so young, be sure you are documenting all the dates he HAS/ HAS NOT tried to see them. And in your D ask for financial compensation any time he misses a visitation time because you might have to hire a sitter if he backs out on Summer/spring break visitation, or what if you are working on a day and he suddenly doesn't show?
Now I feel like the bad one again, like I'm doing something wrong. I'm in the wrong. I have just burst into tears because now I feel I'm ruining my kids. God help me. I'm losing it.
My post was harsher than intended. I meant it as a wake up not a smack down. A wake up because I KNOW why you're doing this - you're trying to make it as easy as possible for them. It comes from a good place - your intentions are pure.
I too tried to keep up the facade for the sake of my girls. I just couldn't bear to be in his presence - so what I did was for me, not them.
There is no right or wrong way/time to do this.
Please do not beat yourself up. You're not doing anything wrong. You're bleeding out from your heart being torn out yet you are showing up for your kids. You're there - front and centre.
The need you to be OK and you will be. Seeing him hurts you most of all right now - I don't want you to hurt yourself anymore.
Put self care on your To Do list. Seek out support IRL. Have you told anyone? I would tell everyone so your support network can help you.
Please don't do this alone. You don't have to. Are you in IC? Can you get them to see someone too? I needed a lot of guidance because none of us know how to deal with this stuff and we can't think straight because of our own pain.
I'm also waiting for him to get a lawyer
Don't wait for him. Tell your L what YOU want in terms of custody and CS and property settlement and ask your L to draw up an settlement agreement with those terms and file it (if that is the correct procedure) and send it to him.
Take control of the D instead of allowing him to dictate the timing.
You can also ask your L to get your temp orders that specify exact visitation times AND that he must have car seats if he is to take them in his car. If the event does not fall within the court order visitation time then he can say hello to the kids but he cannot have any visitation. If it is his visitation, then he can take them if he has car seats. Where he takes them is not your concern. If he does not have car seats then he can stay at the event place and you will pick the kids back up at the specified end time of his visitation. Also, if he tries to tag along for meals, tell him no and put the kids in the car and drive off.
I understand that you want to wait until the kids are out of school. In the mean time, think about what you need to say to them (including the fact that they cannot ride without car seats and meals are now always separate) and even practice it. It will be a rough ride at first trying to enforce your boundaries. Do not be afraid to ask your L to send him a letter if he consistently is breaking your boundaries or if he tries to create a scene in front of the kids. Always do your best to keep your cool in front of the kids even if he is making a scene. Practice saying like "I am sorry you feel that way", "I will not talk about that right now", and "No."
I do feel better. I actually have a great support network, I'm in IC and my kids have begun child play therapy. My whole immediate family knows, they are the ones I called when he walked out and they came rushing over to pick me up literally. My close circle of friends know. In fact, after I posted here I called one and she calmed me down as well. I know I'm doing all I can with what I know. This site has been part of my support as well. Thank you again. It helps to hear I'm not ruining them
1. Yes, he can show up at their games. Think long term on this...if you make it that he can't show up at games on your nights, that means you can't show up on his nights. 7 years from now when one of your kids is starring in the school play, it falls on his night. Do you want to miss out?
2. Showing up for the game does NOT mean that counts as his visitation, and he does NOT get to hang out with you guys in between events. He can just show up at the next one. It's your time. He can figure out his own food. At the end of the game, just send the kids over to say hi/bye, then you and the kids leave to go to wherever it is you want to eat. If he goes home, fine. If he shows up at the next event, fine. You don't need to talk to him at all.
3. Document. Without emotion. "XH showed up to watch DD's game. 4:00-5:00. I drove kids to/from, fed them."
4. You are right at the start, you need to think through everything right now. How it will affect your kids, how it will affect the future. Set visitation ASAP. Of course, no, he can't start his visitation until he gets car seats. Not your problem. Don't make any "rules" (ie he cant' show up at events on your nights) that will affect you too, if they aren't things you can live with. If you want to have the option to go to kids events regardless of the night, you don't want to refuse him coming on your nights. Our mediator asked if we wanted a clause saying that any future partners of ours could not come to any events of the kids. XH said yeah, sure. I told him no, don't be stupid. No, I don't think either of us need other partners going to parent/teacher interview type stuff, but if 7 years down the road our DD was in a play and his GF was always sitting with DD helping her run her lines, did he really want to tell her she couldn't come to see the play? Or if I was dating someone that was able to coach/teach our son in one of his sports, I didn't think that should mean he could never watch him play. We put that no one else could be involved with school related meetings, but both could bring partners to events. I looked at it from both sides.
You will get there. You can do this.
WH says marriage is over: May 15, 2009.
EA#2 July 20, 2009. Legally sep: Aug 16, 2009. DIVORCED!!!! Signed Nov 23, final Dec 24, 2010, adultery listed.
Anything beyond that my fav phrase is "that doesn't work for me"
What I learned with this one -Perv-is that only things legally written will be things he will follow. So I ended up having to create a schedule of his visitation with them.
He did something similar, bolted and moved out of state with OW and even lied about where he lives. But I had to let them go because the laws favor his parenthood as they do mine, though this is still a bone of contention for me.
One thing I had to learn very soon, because I had the emotion you do, is that I had to do some premature letting go of my own kids when I knew they are in his hands-and DS is only 7 months old. I was really, really freaked out the first times they had to go or he showed up.
But x here is a real bully and knew he could get away with it. It taught me to get a lawyer quick, though I had to borrow money, I swallowed all my pride because I had to protect what I could. Now that I have the legal backup, x will back down on the bullying and though it feels like a kid with no mother's rights, it is better.
And, FWIW, I learned more. I take each day as it comes and also each visit. I don't sweat about "tomorrow" or "what may happen" anymore, rather, go about my stuff and hope for the best. This was not easy. And, I still feel like an ok mom. I had to figure out how to be strong for myself, so I could be strong when they get back.
I hope you will adjust over time. For me, it was small increments that I almost didn't notice. Like, a whole day without crying. Or doing the switch off from parent to parent without a problem.
ETA, I told DD that "daddy has a problem he cannot fix at home and he cannot be around mommy with his problem." She accepted that and we even went on to tell her elementary aged friends, as some other parents needed to tell their kids where x went as well.
[This message edited by Ashland13 at 7:57 PM, May 10th (Saturday)]
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.