Something’s kinda bothering me. PLEASE someone play Dr. Laura and give me some advice or insight.
My daughter’s mom called me Sunday because she’s concerned that when Christina and I make arrangements to see here a different time (usually for far less time than planned), it takes away the little time she gets to see her because she spends so much time with her friends. I can understand this. Her solution that I agreed to for now is that I “make” Christina see me ONLY during the few set times I have left in an agreed visitation schedule (decreased to accommodate Christina’s growing up and having a heavier social life) — 3 hours on Tuesdays and an average of half a day or less every second weekend, with about 3 hours on other weekends. (An average lately of 6-10 hours a week.)
Just in case anyone is wondering, I’ve always been involved with my daughter excepting restrictions imposed by outside factors, to put it nicely. I don’t see my daughter for my own fun. I give her part of her identity as a parent – a consistent voice of values and love that even a step-parent cannot substitute. (She didn’t have step-parents until she was about 7, so it’s not like he could be a “substitute” for me just becasue he gets to live with her, as good a step-parent as he may be, especially since I never died or disappeared.)
I still insisted that I need face-time with her more than once a week, ESPECIALLY at a time in her life when she’s allergic to people outside her peer group. And no matter how much she is out and about, she gets that from her mother – as she should –
The question is – Am I being a floor mat here?
Seriously. When Christina was 10, she gave Christina the choice to not see me if she didn’t want to. Mind you this has nothing to do with here NOT wanting to see me – this came out of her mom not wanting to make up visitation times if she went on extra vacation times with friends and family. That is EXACTLY the situation that created the problem. And you can’t tell a 10 year old they’re not old enough to arrange their own visitation, and that’s exactly what happened. But I convinced my daughter (as rediculous as it is to have to do so) to maintain a set schedule.
So if she was invited to to do something “more fun” than seeing her dad, she could just say no. And if I told her she had to see me because her mother wouldn’t let me see her another time, it would be my fault.
Her mother’s point is now that she is already the bad guy making her occassionally stay home to spend time with them, and doesn’t want to have to do that even more because I am spending time with her during those few times she isn’t usually with her friends. That made sense to me. That’s why I agreed to push Christina to go by JUST OUR SET TIMES, even if it means the danger of “losing” her – seriously though, I know that wont happen, but it’s still a strain on our relationship and her unecessary level of responsibility.
In the last year or so, her mom talked to me (on her behalf) about not staying overnight anymore. As someone trained in abuse prevention, that would raise a red flag for me, but apparently there are other reasons, such as a phobia of hair she gets from her mom – we have a lot of pets remember, and cat hair is in everything (figuratively, but sometimes seems that way). But anyway, we worked it out to see her less time on weekends, also accommodating her sleeping in so instead of picking her up at 10am on a Saturday, it’s up in the air, usually after Noon.
And then more recently, she’s been really busy and planning things during my time, all the time, because I’ve been letting her just see me more another day I would see her (an extra hour for a missed day, stuff like that), or even see her a few hours another day instead of seeing her on a weekend, etc. Losing even more time, but trying to go along with her mother’s having given her “freedom” to do this. Apparently it backfired, and I am to blame for letting happen exactly what I warned Christina and her mother WOULD happen – Christina being too young to handle her own schedule with the responsibility to allow both her parents to maintain more-than-reasonable contact.
Christina was given the choice to NOT see me when we are “scheduled”, but apparently not the choice to see me when we are not. Her mom says this makes her “the bad guy” by having to tell Christina it’s NOT okay to see her another day when she could be seeing her mother (which in fact is more likely time that would have been spent with friends or doing the same homework).
Moreso, her mother convinced me this was between me and my daughter, when she is the one making that decision. She is the one who let Christina out of court-mandated visitation since that stupid vacation dispute when she was 10, giving her a sense of freedom not healthy for anyone that age. In my opinion it was nothing short of cruel and I had nothing to say about it short of dragging her to court. And even then she told CHristina I would be taking HER to court, not her mother. Is this sick, or is it just me?
ANYWAY, I have to sit down with Christina and tell her she can’t see me anymore outside of the few set times we have. No rescheduling. I have to decide from now on if she goes somewhere during her time with me, with no possibility of seeing her another time. Somehow, this is my decision. Somehow this means her mother is giving her freedom, and I am not, instead of the other way around.
WHAT THE HELL?
Christina’s mom went into the whole “I don’t know why Christina seems to be pushing you out of her life” and “she says you make her feel guilty if you don’t get to see her”, when the more I think about it, this is about her mother not being able to work out her own time with Christina. Yes, I can make things “easier” by doing it her way, but I’m just trying to give Christina that face time with BOTH parents that she needs. I can’t help it what goes on in her mother’s house, and now I have less and ability to do the right thing on my end.
Man, I should jsut write her an email telling her how I feel. I couldn’yt get a word in edgewise – I was interrupted to the point of constant stuttering on the phone with her Sunday. Geez…