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Co parenting problem

Community Member

My ex and i have kids together and we share care week to week. I feel so lost when my kids aren't with me. I work a casual job during school hours and so I am basically a stay home mum, I also have a new partner who's children live with us fulltime, they attend school also. My ex works full time and will start at 6am and finish around 6pm mon-fri, sometimes on a Saturday until after midday.. his gf picks kids up from school and cares for them when he is not home. She is good to the kids but I just can't feel comfortable that she is caring for them when they could be with me. It makes me feel sad as it was my world to care for my kids for many years and last couple of years has changed so dramatically. I tried to explain this but it unfortunately backfired and I've hurt the ex and exs gfs feelings. The exs gf has lashed out fully at me and now we don't speak at all. The ex just flogs me off and ignores anything other than talking about the kids. I've recently tried emailing explaining I would like to change the care times around so that he can be present when the kids are at his. Its now been weeks since a response, he shuts me down everything, saying things like don't harrass me about it and I don't at all so it makes me feel even more awful. I find this to be really hurtful and frustrating. I would just like to know if anyone else has gone through something similar and maybe some advice on how I can feel better about this situation as it just feels like such a mess that I do not want in my life.

8 Replies 8

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome


Such situations (I've had similar) is delicate and easily transforms to a no speak result that doesnt help the kids.


It is more common to read of this dynamic when the step mum is cruel or disliked by the children. In this case you are lucky that your children are liked by her and cares for them well. Isn't that the ultimate wish? A close bond with your children doesnt mean you are replaced but sadly, it appears you have taken it that way. Also the father of your children loves your kids as much as you and is his children and deserves as much right as yourself to determine their care and well being, it's his decisions that matter when in his care unless- they are mistreated. Reading your post I haven't seen any evidence they have been mistreated so there should be no complaints made and such complaints result in a defence of their rights. 


So what can you do? It is hard to back pedal from this because the step mum would feel that she is treating kids not hers in a good way only to be criticised. Your ex would feel you are interfering in his parenthood. So I suggest you organise a meeting (no email, no texts) with the 3 of you and explain why you involved yourself in a situation that was unfair to them and importantly you mention you are indeed grateful for the care of the children that in effect is healthy and appreciated. Apologies may not be accepted but its good to try.


I used to have my kids every fortnight for a weekend, 12 days without them. I know it hurts. Keeping yourself busy with activities is the only answer to that hurt. The hurt you feel when your kids are with their dad is likely what he feels in reverse.


I'm sorry if I appear appear harsh. In fact your love for your kids drove you to this situation and that is remarkable but a trap for loving parents like you.



Community Champion
Community Champion



I too have a shared care arrangement.

Week on. Week off. 


I have times where my ex refuses to get back to me about things.


Im like you in that respect,the lack of a response is frustrating. And i have even had to get the children to ask their father, which is not ideal as i don't want them caught in the middle.


You are juat trying to make things easier. I get it. I completely understand.


In the end, i made it so i would talk to my ex when his partner was present. He would answer me, and be civil. But its tricky.. 


Co-parenting is not an easy gig at the best of times.


I have seen parents use a communication book. Where you write in it, and the other parent has to sign to say they have read it. It goes back and fowards with the children. Not sure if its something you have already tried?


All the best



Thanks TonyWK,

I appreciate your reply. I really want to correct this issue. Sadly I have already apologised to the father and explained to both ex and gf my reasoning. Just to be clear also the reason I did say the boys can stay with me fully and which obviously didn't happen as I apologise the very next day as I recognised how over the top i was being... this was said as a result of built up frustration from the exs lack of responsibility, for example the kids missed school excursions, important incursions such as sex ed because notes would go to dads and nothing would happen. Also my child has put on a lot of unhealthy weight as their is a lot of takeaway and gaming over at the exs and this is mostly due to the gfs attitude to foods and gaming. I can see it taking a toll on my child's mental health already as they are soon a teenager. I tried to address this issue but was shut down. So when my kid is with me I encourage all exercise and healthy eating, they love it and I can tell it makes them happy, some weight is lost and then after going back to dads the next time its like the weight doubles. 

So many reasons why I feel sad not just that I want them with me but I want to give them the best life. 

The ex has tried getting in their ear making out i was going to go to their house and get them when I wasn't.

She has told them these things and told them not to tell me. 

She has said in a text to my mother she wants to hurt me, and that she is a better mother than me with a laughing emoji.

There is also so much more to this story but I think that might say enough..

Where im at with all of this is I've said nothing for far too long and because I spoke up and addressed my concerns I'm in this awful situation. Its like I get hurt either way to say nothing or say something and its bad either way. 


Thanks for explaining the situation in more detail.

I can feel from your writing how you want the best for your child and you are concerned that there is a healthy diet. Putting on weight then losing then gaining weight etc is a concern. 
I can see how you feel stuck because if you express your concerns you may be seen as mean spirited yet if you don’t say anything you will worry. 
Is there someone you can talk to about how you feel. 


Thanks J,


I really thought I would never be in a situation like this one. Co parenting is difficult. I hope that it will get easier and more comfortable for everyone in time. 


This suggestion may help you to get support.


you can get help from a mediator or relationship counsellor. You can also call the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321 or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.

Thankyou Quirkywords,

I appreciate the links you have sent me. I've been talking with my husband and some family although I feel like it started to consume my positivity in our conversations so I've stopped talking about it all. I've been trying to put a blind eye to it all but it still is very upsetting for me. I tried reasoning with my ex and asking him to come up with a solution so that I could have the kids mon to fri every week so that I could take to and from school, focus on sports and healthy habits  and he would see them with overnight exeptions during Thur/Fri through to Sunday everyweek and holiday leave etc. I'm also trying to find a way past how uncomfortable it's all become with the way the exs gf has treated me and I'm frustrated that she has all this alone time with my kids. I've been left in the lurch as usual, the ex has not replied in 4weeks and counting .. He will always find excuses to prolong getting back to my email. I tried asking and reasoning first but as he is aware I have already been quoted a price for mediation. I really don't want to have to go down that road. It feels really messy and like I'm the bad guy for doing that. I just can't get any answers or solutions to move forward from all of this.