Unsheduled Parenting Time
My stepson’s mom asked if she could take him on her birthday which just happens to be our weekend. My husband gave her two options, both of which she didn’t like. After not hearing anything for 13 hours, my husband told her that, “If I don’t hear anything, I’ll assume that you aren’t planning to take him.” She responded that she needed to talk to her husband – my husband told her that’s fine, but he’s not going to sit on it for two days. She hasn’t bothered to let us know what she’s decided. My question is… do we bring it back up to her, or just go on with out plans?
I encourage my parents to view the parenting agreement as a “fallback plan”… what we’re gonna do when we are unable to be flexible. A big part of successful coparenting is about respect… for each other’s parenting time, your shared child’s activity schedule and opportunities to enjoy their other parent. This requires flexibility. Many times – the structure and consistency are needed to get to the point where flexibility comes naturally. Because respect and the ability to be flexible “gene” is often missing in the DNA of many new coparent relationships – when it comes to extra parenting time – I suggest that parents establish an “offer and response” timeframe. It should be included in the parenting plan. In your case, you’ve given mom a timeframe to respond. She indicated that she understood. You did a “check in”. She hasn’t met the deadline. If it’s convenient for you to allow more time and it’s what you desire to do, I’d encourage you to do so.
If your generous time frame for a decision isn’t met, you’d be well within your right to proceed with your plans. In the spirit of generosity and respect, send the “haven’t heard from you… hope all is well…we’re planning to go bowling for Josh’s birthday… hope you’re able to celebrate during your next parenting time… I’m sure Josh is looking forward to that time.