Those of you who have followed my story will know that for some time I have been having supported contact which has been facilitated by my mother. Over the past 6 months we have progressed to unsupported contact although just for a few hours.
Over the last few days we have had it confirmed that my ex has agreed in principle that the children can stay overnight with me unsupervised, which is great news. My ex has requested that for her peace mind for me to put together an example schedule of what I intend to do with the kids and she will review and I should have the kids in 2 weeks time.
I'm initially thinking that for the first few occasions I may have my mother stay over to ensure there is a 'witness' to no issues and avoid my ex making up things to stop overnights or contact in general.
For those of you who have progressed to overnights, I'd be interested to hear what things, challenges, issues I should be mindful of and what the pitfalls can be when having the kids overnight. As much as I want to just roll with things and not over think things, Im conscious that everything goes well and I don't overlook anything obvious.. If there is anything you can recommend that I do to make sure the overnight contact goes well then please feel free to suggest.
I live in shared accommodation and my landlord has agreed to go to his partners so that I have the place to myself with the kids which is positive and whilst I don't have enough rooms to sleep the kids my ex has said this wouldn't bother her and will send the kids with sleeping bags if needs be. I know the kids have pushed for this and are keen and so the ex has agreed (I'm sure she will also be glad of the break, having had them all through 3 lockdowns!).
Thanks for your responses in advance..
I just had my two girls overnight for the first time last weekend, thankfully there were no issues and they both slept well. I was worried the youngest would struggle, but she pretty much took herself to bed and went straight to sleep.
I am not sure what to suggest to your ex. Just say during the day you will go out to the park, before bedtime give them their dinner and a bath and watch a film. Explain you will be close by and will check on them regularly. I even suggested to my ex that if one of them ends up really upset and start asking for their mum or they want to go home I will let her know. Thankfully that didn't happen. Just assure the ex the kids have everything they need there, toys, spare clothes etc.
Thanks, yours going well reassures me..
I'm a bit of an over thinker and worry things won't go well.
I'm going to suggest that the kids can do a video call before bed with her as I've benefited hugely from video calls and feel it is only right but also if it reassures her and she doesn't worry then there is less anxiety about letting me have the kids overnight..
With Covid most places are still closed and so my plans are go to the park, picnic depending on weather, dinner, movie and bed..
Weve had some dates suggested today so looks like it's defo happening which is positive.
@Daddyup thats great. I remember your old posts and you have come a long way. if i remember you had been doing a DAPP/DV course and seeing your kids a little in the meantime? how old are your kids? all I can suggest is make sure they have a smooth transition from house to house. that they are well fed. keeping to same bed time routines as they have at their mums. helping them complete their homework if their school age etc. have some calpol/paracetamol at home incase they catch a cold/fever.
@Bill337 thanks for the advice.
Over the past few years, I've been arrested on multiple occasions, gone through the criminal justice system, prosecuted (lost), nearly went to prison, had non mols, occupation orders and Restraining orders imposed, lost my mental health, reputation, friends/family have come and gone, I've also completed BBR (Dapp equivalent via criminal courts), lost my home, job and money.. I've focused on rebuilding myself during this process, which has been hard and still is but it's what I've got to do.
Throughout however, I've been fortunate that by the time I split with the ex I already had a strong bond and relationship with the children and my mother and exes mother have some sense between them and have facilitated contact.
The kids are 14, 12, 10 and whilst progressing contact has been slower than I would have liked, I've been determined to keep things out of the family courts as no doubt CAFCASS would've jumped all over me and tried to prevent the little contact I've had. As the kids have gotten older they have pushed to see me more and I've had to strategically aim to get to this position.
Good advice re bed time, I'm going to get a first aid box, keep the kids well fed and just have some fun..
Late last night its now been agreed for me to have the kids overnight in 2 weekends time..
Just got to keep the faith and remain positive..
This is great news. As said above, having first aid items in the house, and considering a video call are both great things to tell the mother.
Great time of year for this to be happening as well so that you can get out and about with them.
Maybe a movie night and popcorn for your first evening together would be good?
Best of luck