Clothing Responsibility Issues and "Co-Parenting"

Timothy Mark - posted on 04/15/2017 ( 5 moms have responded )

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First I'd like to apologize if I offend anyone by utilizing this website as a male. Unfortunately their aren't any sites I could find at this time that are "Circle of Men" on parenting topics, so I thought I would try to reach out on this website.

To put a little background: our current parenting plan is a Primary and Secondary plan with me being the secondary parent. At the time of our separation I had financial situations that prevented me from fully supporting my child properly for the first 2 months when she was an infant (that year was tuff with me losing 40 lbs in two months because I couldn't pay for the food that I needed - was starving myself in order to provide what I could for my child-, pay for the unforeseen financial situations, and support my child completely as I would have liked to), in addition both of us had agreed she would spend the majority of the time with my ex since we wanted her to have time with her mother during her early months in order to breastfeed properly and to establish the mother daughter connection. After those 2 months a parenting plan was set in place and after another month of said plan (once I managed to financially stabilize to where I was able to reasonably survive) I paid the full amount of the plan and have done so since (and will continue to do so happily).

Since that year I have managed to stabilize financially and have my daughter 50% of the week and I pay for over 50% of her base cost designated by the courts in child support in addition to that (both parents work and make good reasonable income) I provide and pay for all of her Major and Minor needs when she is with me or staying at my location. Which brings me to my predicament: My ex is very wasteful financially and will throw belongings away and/or lose track of them and this habit of hers is being applied to the clothes I have my daughter in when I drop her off with her mother. I have spoken to her about this situation by essentially stating, "Please return the clothes that I by my daughter to me."; however, from her response I understand that she finds it easier to by new clothes and/or take the ones I have provided for my daughter, than to keep proper track of said items. For me this is an issue because: I want to pay off my car and save money where I can, to buy a home so that my daughter can grow up in that environment - it is very important to me and is an end goal I strive to achieve within the next ten years. However, I don't feel it is right for my ex to take items that I pay for when my daughter is with me, and then not return them (She has done so since day 1 off and on); especially since it is due to her bad habit and since I support my daughter where I can when I can in both time, finances, and relationship. (if you add it up I am paying for almost100% of my daughters base cost between child support and what I provide when she is with me since I have her half the week). Maybe this is fair? I mean my father provided for everything with us kids while he was alive so I have no real room to complain....but the reason she takes the item feels like theft on my end and a complete disregard to the effort I put in to parenting my child versus her wastefulness. What should I do? I have spoken to her as I said about the situation and she diverted the conversation somewhat and said she just loses things and buys her new clothes every paycheck in the, "As a matter of fact" tone - which is where the discussion ended since she left with to meet up with her ride from work.

I was thinking of creating a list of incidences with what items she takes when I drop my daughter off and doesn't return, including the cost of replacing said items; in order to present to her and show her how much she is wasting and/or taking to try to show her the importance - to me - that returning the items is needed instead of just "replacing" them constantly. (Due to her negligence) Understand this, I am looking for suggestions and am in no way trying to look for legal grounds over physical belongings to take her to court: I do think it is important to address this issue now while my child is still young (1:6 years) in order to better the communication between my ex and I; and to prevent a mindset of "Not addressing issues until they becoming major problems in parenting" (Major problems tend to start on Minor scales) - but the topic of clothing expenses is not important enough in my eyes for "all out war". It is simply a mindset of disregard that could cause problems in the future, which I want to address in a positive way now before it escalates to other topics and areas of my and my exes co-parenting in the foreseeable future.

Sorry for the length of the post, but I hope it explained properly the situation, my mindset, and my perception and importance of addressing this situation. Please leave positive and understanding comments below - and if this isn't posted because I am a man on the reverse of most parenting problems, I apologize for utilizing this site. Again thank you for your time and have a wonderful day:)

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Dove - posted on 04/15/2017

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If you each have her about 50% of the time then you should each have an equal amount of items for her at your own households. There should be no reason to send your daughter to her mother w/ anything other than the clothes that she is wearing at drop off... Her mother obviously can not send her home naked (or at least shouldn't), so simply send the child back to her mother in the same outfit that she was last dropped off in. You have items for your child at your house that stay at your house... and her mother can do the same.

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Ev - posted on 04/16/2017

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I have to agree with the others. To keep from loosing all the clothing you buy for your child to use at your house you need to set boundaries. My ex and I did the same thing. I kept enough clothing in their sizes until they hit their teens at my house and he kept stuff at his. When they were with me they wore what they had at my house and I would send them back to him in their clothing they had come to me in washed and dried--clean. We had the opposite of your situation. He had primary residence and we had legal and joint custody. I made the choice to save them from being hurt further down the road wondering what home they would go to every few months in custody battles.

Tiffany - posted on 04/16/2017

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Hi, Timothy. First, no need to apologize, I think it's great that you are looking for resources in order to make an informed, not hasty, decision. You may want to start documenting your communication with your ex regarding this issue. This can be done through emails, even if she doesn't respond. I agree with another response that said you should keep items at your house and she should keep items at her house. Explain that this may be the better approach due to both of you trying to develop consistency for yourselves and your daughter. Mention that as your daughter grows, there will be other more important expenses than clothing that will need to be paid. I think you should, first, send an email stating your intentions. Try to keep the email emotion free, just stating the facts. I agree clothing issues should not be something that drives you both back to court. That's why trying this through emails may help. In this type of relationship, I think it's best that you don't try to do certain things together instead establish separate boundaries.

Dove - posted on 04/15/2017

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Let her know ahead of time that if you are dropping the child off w/ a babysitter that she needs to make sure the babysitter has items for your child... or let her know that she needs to be available for drop offs and you will keep the child w/ you (or w/ YOUR babysitter) until she can pick up the child.

Timothy Mark - posted on 04/15/2017

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Alright, that makes sense for when I drop her off directly with her mother; but, what about when their is a babysitter in-between? It has occurred multiple times throughout the recent year, where she will bring our daughter in pajamas to me in the morning; but will not have a bottle, shoes, socks, or supply of another type in her diaper back. (Normally only one at a time, when this occurs.) I'm not going to drop my daughter off at a sitter without the necessities and I know that she is absent minded at times; but, when she won't return said items upon request after such instances, then I have an issue on my hands. In that circumstance what say you? To put an idea as to how often this occurs: I have bought 4 packs of socks in the last 3 months so a little over 40 pairs of socks - I only have 5 pairs left. I think that's a little ridiculous and it doesn't just happen with socks, but a lot of other items. Maybe that's normal, not sure, that's why I am asking for advice:)

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