Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Winter (Time-sharing) is Coming

Image credit (here)

Good grief.  Why am I surprised, when I should know by now that it’s not a surprise?  Insert (Wall and My Head Banging Against It) here.   
(p.s. and yes, I did put a picture of Jon Snow up there so I could have some eye candy, lol)

So the facts:  Christmas happens to be on a mom week end.  New Year’s is on a dad week end.  The girls winter breaks unfortunately do not align, one starts a week before the other, they overlap for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, then the other extends through the third week after New Year’s.

By decree, we split the winter break by “halves.”

And on the special holidays of Christmas and New Year’s themselves, we share by sending the girls to spend some of the time with the other parent for five hours.

The proposal:  Because of the way the breaks fall, I came up with a plan that equitably balanced out the three different weeks, and at the same time minimized the back and forth.  Because even though the girls are getting older, DD2 still has transition challenges when we’re present at the exchanges (i.e. cries her little eyes out), and the easier we can make it for her, the better.

So in the spirit of keeping things simple, I even threw in an extra day and a half for Dad for the week after New Year’s.

I ran the plan by the coparenting counselor, she said, good luck, send it to him, and see what happens.

The response:  At first, it was, I’ll get back to you by the end of the week.  Two weeks go by.  Then another email, saying I’ll get back to you by the end of the week. Another week and a half goes by. 

I check in with the coparenting counselor and she advised to give a deadline.

I follow up with the an email, saying, thanks for discussing this, if I don’t hear from you by X (two days later), I’ll understand you’re in agreement and will plan accordingly.

Within two hours, I hear back, and he’s having a hissy fit because Christmas is on a mom week end this year and he wants it, because Christmas was on mom time last year. 

My first reaction:  Good grief.  We split the day, deal with it.  Days fall on days and that’s just how it is, i.e. because of how Halloween has landed on the calendar for the last four years, I've had to wait around for your late a$$ to return the kids so I can squeeze in a half an hour of trick or treating before everyone shuts down.  Do I complain and DEMAND changes?  No, I buck up because I’m a damn grown up.  (okay and to be fair he was actually five minutes early this year, yay).    

I checked in with my attorney, to make sure I wasn’t being a total jerk, and she said, no, you’re not being unreasonable for not wanting to give up your week end, and by the way you’re already giving up part of your week end because Christmas is on a week end! 

Okay.  Feeling confident.  Understand it might be time to put my foot down.

So I book an appointment with the coparenting counselor the next day, and in I walk with a December calendar and a January calendar all marked to show how awesomely fair and generous I was being.  My back is up, I’m ready to hold the line.

And then she says, Jane, look, if all he’s wanting is Christmas eve, and you really did have Christmas Eve last year, why don’t you think about giving it to him?  And then make a schedule that works for you for the rest of the break, because we all know he’s too disorganized to figure out the rest of it.


And then

Me:  But my attorney said x,y,z, and I’m trying to minimize the back and forth for the kids and he even gets an extra day and a half in this first proposal…

Her:  Well, at this point it doesn’t really matter what your attorney says, it only matters if you two can agree on a plan.  And if you can give him this, then it provides an act of goodwill for the future.

Me:  (swallowing tears of frustration, because let’s face it, I’m always swallowing tears of frustration) you know, these acts of goodwill?  They seem to go down the toilet as far as I’m concerned, it’s not like he’s become easier to work with after FIVE (under my breath !@#$ing) years.

Her:  Well, yes, that may be true, but then when he comes to me about x, y, z, I can also remind him of these acts of goodwill (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist).

Me:  FINE.

And then we commence to make a new calendar, with lots of Fs to denote dad days (although in my head I’m thinking of another word, lol), and Ms to designate Mom days.

So where it stands—Plan 2:  I gave up Christmas eve, but still will have time with the girls before the week end so we can do our baking cookies for santa, and for the rest of the break, the back and forth is minimized.  And he doesn’t get an extra day and a half, and even though the days are even, I do have a longer stretch of continual time with the girls, so that’s nice.  I have a calendar all marked up to show that it’s equitable between the two of us, taking into account the two separate breaks, and keeping the kids together, and the coparenting counselor has the calendar, too.

I sent the proposal to him last week, with a request that he gets back to me by the end of this week.  (And per the counselor, when, er, I mean, IF he doesn’t get back to me, then I can send him another email saying, thanks for considering this plan, and since it seems you don’t have any problems with this, I’ll plan accordingly…)

So we shall see. 

Le sigh.  He sure loves his passive aggressive communication.  So let’s just hope this can all get resolved sooner rather than later. 

And now I'm going to look at Jon Snow again.

p.s. and while i'm all cavalier, this back and forth business takes a toll, and i really wish there was an anti_EXiety pill I could take.  I'm trying to be the bigger person but dealing with him triggers all of my PTSD around his threats and anger and violence and I'm so so so tired of being strong all the damn time.   One day it will get easier, right?


  1. Oh Jane. This reads like my life. I keep hoping it will get easier too. It will, right?

    1. i hope so :( i heard back from him and he's grasping for more, of course. i'm handing it off to the coparenting counselor and hope this gets resolved soon. I'm trying to meditate on the 'it's out of my hands right now so don't worry' but it's so hard :( :( :(