Nana needs help!
Hi. Sorry Long post. Really hoping for advice & honesty please, trying to advise my daughter but I just don’t think she’s being unreasonable.
I’ve been through the court process, I know what it does to parents/children and so does my daughter, she absolutely wanted an amicable co-parenting relationship with her ex, her words were “I do not want this to be like you and my dad” but he’s making it such hard work. They split last year, (he had a new girlfriend) she found out she was expecting, they talked, he would step up etc and he did initially, called her to make sure she was ok, made sure she was eating properly, paid for baby items no questions, went to anti-natal appts. I was relieved. Things started to change, she started to feel awkward at appointments, he clearly didn’t want to be there & was completely disinterested at scans (she had to have them every month), although they were not together she wanted to be excited at scans but he was just making her feel shit, she got messages saying he felt like a “taxi”, I felt the new girlfriend was getting a grip on him.
As things progressed it got worse & more arguments started. He had a new life & the last few months of pregnancy were without him being involved aside from text messages.
Then it started, he wasn’t prepared to come to her house. My daughter put her foot down & gave him a rough plan. First 2 months he could come to hers preferably every day but if not every other day for an hour/two each time, he needed to bond. Then all being well he could take baby for an hour 1/2 times a weeks but still visit at hers in between slowly building it up. Then all being well from around 4/6 months she would think about all day visits and from around 8/10 months an overnight stay once a week. This was all very loose planning because baby was not even here at this point but he had started behaving like an arse quite frankly and so she met him for a coffee and went over this with him. He wasn’t happy but she wanted to prepare him for how it was likely to be based on his lack of involvement as the pregnancy had progressed and the need for him to bond with his child.
I was her birth partner, a decision that was made when he started to lose interest, it was initially him. My daughter couldn’t even hold her son as she was receiving urgent medical attention & at 4 hours old he was taken to SCBU with an infection. He spent 3 days there, my daughter was also in hospital recovering. I stayed in contact with her ex as did she when she was able. In the end they were in a week, I went every day as I was the only person allowed.
She came home, he visited first 2 days then cancelled 3rd saying he “didn’t want his son to get too used to him”!!! In fact he was actually at a party with his girlfriend! Then it’s just been very hit and miss, don’t get me wrong, he has visited several times a week sometimes but he feels “uncomfortable” in her home (even though she goes off and does laundry, cleaning so he has time alone etc) “can’t bond with his son properly” with her there! She has been nothing but pleasant, always asks how he is, how his day was, does he want a drink etc. She pulled him up on it 2 weeks ago because he’s in her home and she’s trying to have any sort of conversation & he just blanks her most the time & it’s now making her uncomfortable. He said “I have nothing to say, I’m not interested in any conversation unless it regards our son”
He’s just behaving like an idiot. Why is this guy not taking advantage of being able to see his son whenever he wants! All he has moaned about since my daughter left hospital is being able to take his son off to his. He is 8 weeks old, still getting a routine, has spent precious little time with his dad because he either “can’t stay long” or cancels
So here we are now, a message that has led me here for advice. He wanted set days and times so he “knew where he was” so my daughter said fine, 3 a week 2hrs each. He has cancelled a few of these. Now going back a few months my daughter said she wanted the new girlfriend to come meet baby at hers a couple of times before he went off to their home. She thought they got on so didn’t see a problem. The stipulation she did make though was that she came alone, not with her ex. He did cheat on her with this woman so she’s already a bigger person than I am having lunch with her and inviting her into her home! Having them both there at the same time she didn’t want though. So my daughter gets a text half an hour before he’s due “can xxxx come over with me”, “no sorry”, “ok”, then a 5 min gap...”why not”, “I discussed this with you, I’m happy for her to come but on her own”, “well baby needs to be settled around her so I need to be there”, “I’m his mum, baby is settled with me, she will be fine”, “well as his dad I’m not happy with that decision”, “ok” Then silence for 5, then “Just so you know I’ve taken some legal advice, I’ve been told I’m entitled to an hour on my own with my son, if we cannot agree then it’s mediation”
My daughter was so upset, exactly what she didn’t want is happening. I’m really angry with him for putting her through all this stress whilst she’s still recovering, she’s gone above & beyond I feel to give him access to his son but he seems to just keep chucking it back in her face. Am I missing something? I totally think this is all the new girlfriend because this behaviour is so far removed from the person I know. He doesn’t understand why it’s always a battle but he’s creating it isn’t he?
He’s due to have his son on his own for an hour in 2 weeks after first immunisations and he’s doing the solicitor speech now!? It doesn’t make any sense to me. The next thing will be overnights, she said possibly 8 months but I just know she’s going to get crap, she’s a new mum, she’s over protective yes because she bonded for 9 months whilst pregnant but then the whole SCBU and trying to get a routine at home & work with his dad, I can’t bear the thought of her spiralling over this. She has taken to motherhood like a pro so far the missing piece is her sons dad being a grown up. It’s causing her so much stress & he still has to see his son, at her home, next visit is this Sunday and she just doesn’t want him there now & I don’t blame her, it’s like he’s trying to intimidate her, push her till she caves, what am I missing here? I really feel she should tell him he’s no longer welcome but then what?
Addition - accident at work. Messaged to say that feeding/changing will be more difficult for a while. My daughter said that in this case bearing in mind he is due to have his son at his from next week that his partner needs to get a few visits in at hers, so she can meet baby, feed, change etc being as he won’t be able to do much. She also asked how he would collect his son. His reply was that she could visit for an hour but only with him there, that he was fed up of jumping through hoops, has said he can take over if his son doesn’t settle with his partner (but he already said he couldn’t do much previously?) & that he would collect.
Now a couple of things here, new partner hasn’t met baby yet. It’s not that she’s not capable, she is but baby has had no contact with her, is it unreasonable to ask her to have a few visits with baby, so baby at least knows who this person is if dad can’t take over? They used to be friends so not strangers. Second, there is no way she is going to let him take his son in the car with a broken wrist! It will undoubtedly affect his driving (it’s gearstick hand) but I just know he will refuse to walk or arrange a lift (my daughter doesn’t drive yet so can’t take him). Can she refuse to allow him to take his son whilst his driving is impaired because I know she’s going to & that will be the next argument they have 🙁
What is my daughter doing wrong here? Can I not see it because I’m her mom?
I’m not easily offended so if I’m missing something please shout.
With a very young child, what if your daughter proposes to ex that he take child somewhere in local area, like a coffee shop? When I was going through courts I started off like that. Spent 1 or 2 hours in local coffee shop with child. When child turned 1, then took her home for few hours. The. Progressed to over nights after child turned 2.
Its a shame that arrangements are difficult. Sadly your daughter can't force her ex to be interested if he isn't. If baby is only 8 weeks old I don't suppose he's going to notice or mind if a stranger changes his nappy.
Is there something more deeper to consider here? How is the ex/father handling having a new baby, is he emotionally well, this is a huge step in his life, has anyone asked? Maybe he feels like his needs and wants are not even being considered, after all it's common for all the agencies to just focus on the mother when in fact the father also goes through very similar and requires support.
In relation to the new partner, could the ex be worried that there may be negative conversations had about him thus impacting his new relationship which is why he always wants to be there? , has your daughter spoken to him about this and reassured him that she has no plans to disrupt his relationship and just wants him to focus on being the best dad he can be?
I agree that it's sensible for new partner to meet mum and baby but maybe consider a neutral venue, cafe or a soft play gym? I can also understand the ex getting stressed at your daughters, neutral places are always better and in time once a co parenting relationship is established hopefully both ex and new partner will feel comfortable at your daughters.
Sometimes things take time to settle down, a new baby impacts people in different ways..
Good luck with things.