Just send the clothes back with the kid! The joys of coparenting with a spiteful Ex

Co parenting Lego parents

Aussie single mum musingsMusings of a salty Australian single mum

The good, the bad and the mostly ugly musings and opinions of a overly-opinionated Aussie single mum

Co parenting Lego parents

Co parenting is all well and good – until you try to do it with a toxic ex-partner.

Sure, there are great dads out there to co parent with – but this isn’t about them, so pipe down! This is for those mums trying to cope with bio dads that aren’t so great in the shared-parenting department.

Let’s look at some common co-parenting dad styles Australian single mum’s are trying to cope with, shall we? Off we go…

The cheap single Dad

Money hungry Lego Dad

You may recognise him by…his inability to let go of a dollar for his kids

You may also recognise him by…

You send your kids to his place in good quality clothes, and they come back in 2-sizes-too-small Kmart specials and no shoes.

He wants you to take on the burden of the expense (and distance) of drop offs and pick ups for access, even when he was the one that decided to move further away from them.

He doesn’t buy or rent a bigger place to give the kid their own room or space in his home when they are staying with him. He may be sharing a house with other men, and even may have the kid sleeping on the couch.

He pays for or takes his new step kids on holidays whilst financially neglecting his own kids

He either spends nothing on the kids,  or spends a fortune being a Disney Dad but has a huge child support debt with you at the same time

He thinks that the tiny amount of Child Support you get from him should be payed back to him for anything he buys when HE has the kid with him.

Feels like…

You are left the bear the brunt of the financial cost of the kids, and there’s little you can do about it thanks to Australia’s pathetic child support policies with its plethora of dad-focused loopholes. Don’t let him bluff you into paying for his time with the kids too. Any expenses when the kids are with him are his responsibility. Clothes, food, entertainment, nappies.. all of it.
That said, don’t take any risks. If you feel any actions you intend to take with your ex might put you in danger, reach out to the domestic violence numbers at the end of this article for advice and support first.

The message you wish you could get through to him:

Hey Dad – stop being cheap – pay up for your own kid and give them a better quality of life!

The petty, controlling single Dad

Petty Lego Dad

You may recognise him by…his bloody-minded ability to dedicate his life to “making you pay for leaving him”

You may also recognise him by…

He takes your daughter for a big haircut against her will. Or buzz cuts your son’s baby locks because it’s “girly”. Or get their ears pierced without consulting with you first.

He “confiscates” your kid’s new mobile phone – or forces them to turn it off – because he thinks you’re spying on him or using his time if you call your kid to say goodnight.

He may not allow the kid to have any contact with you at all when they are in his custody, no matter how long they’re away from you, or how much they want to contact their mum.

He decides to keep the children for longer than he is supposed to, threatens not to bring them back to you at all, and/or continually returns them late.

He attempts to alienate the kids from you by bad-mouthing you to them.

He doesn’t allow the kid to attend their regular sport or activity, or refuses to take them to a friend’s birthday party when they are with him because it’s on “his time”

He doesn’t allow the kid to take anything between the two homes, like a Nintendo Switch or any other portable presents he may have given them.

He refuses to give the kid their regular medication or treatment because he says he doesn’t believe a medical diagnosis like ADHD or Autism that was assessed whilst in your care

Feels like…

Your hands are tied because you were controlled in the partnership and are probably still wary of how far he’ll go to try to continue to control you now you’re out of the relationship. Family Court (and so now the new Federal Circuit Court system) is unfortunately good at perpetuating ongoing control and abuse by forcing mums to co parenting with a controlling or violent ex. They aren’t seen as a threat to the kids for some reason.
Don’t take any risks. If you feel any actions you intend to take with your ex might put you in danger, reach out to the domestic violence numbers at the end of this article for advice and support first.

The message you wish you could get through to him:

Hey Dad – stop being mean – the only person you’re hurting here is your own kid.

The somehow hopelessly incompetent or lazy single Dad

Lego single Dad

You may recognise him by…his complete disinterest in parenting, despite originally fighting for custody of his child

You may also recognise him by…

He frequently goes missing in action, doesn’t turn up for access pick ups, or begs off due to work or illness – sometimes for weeks or months at a time.

He’s the one that sends the kids back to you starving because he can’t cook, or he doesn’t have any food in the fridge.

Or the kids have been fed junk food for every-single-meal they were away. Or cereal.

He may send toddlers back with a nappy rash, or even in the same nappy.

He forgets to give the kid their regular medication or treatment.

He doesn’t help to keep a child’s routine or coordinate with you when toilet training.

The kids may even come back in the same clothes, now filthy, days later.

Or sunburnt to a crisp. Or sick, or injured.

Feels like…

Child neglect, pure and simple. And it often feels like there’s very little you can do about it.  People may even unfairly call YOU out for being “petty” about it if you complain because “at least he’s seeing them”. Give that man a medal *rolls eyes*. You can try welfare checks through the police, or Child Protection if warranted in your opinion.
That said, don’t take any risks. If you feel any actions you intend to take with your ex might put you in danger, reach out to the domestic violence numbers at the end of this article for advice and support first.

The message you wish you could get through to him:

Hey Dad – stop leaving everything to Mum and look after your kid properly on your time!

Incompetent Lego Dad
Did I forget to mention gamer dads? Maybe next time…

Single Dads are super heroes, or just plain misunderstood, apparently…

Lego super dad

You see it every day in the media. If a single Dad does something – anything – for his kid the world turns the cameras on him, whips out the tissues to wipe a tear and croons about what a legend he is…whilst the multitude of single mums groan under the massive weight of doing absolutely-everything-else whilst no one even batts an eyelid.

You may attempt to vent to a (usually married) girlfriend. Save it for another single mum unless you want to hear delusional standpoints “oh, men think differently” or, “men don’t operate the same as we women do”. They may even impart with such gems like telling you that the Dad needs to be taught how to care for a child. Sort-of like they are a child themselves, or mentally incapable of common sense. Like feeding the child healthy food and washing their clothes is somehow mentally challenging, or women’s work, and it’s your responsibility to pick up the slack. That you should pay for everything, provide everything and even send food with the kids to Dad’s house…. I call bullsh*t!

Don’t let him walk all over you (if it’s safe to do so)

This is co-parenting – both parents opted (or were compelled by the Family Court) in to it. That means both parents should take on the responsibility of caring for said child when in their respective care. Both parents are adults, and are expected to behave like it. 

Even if he is a new Dad, he’s just as capable of picking up a parenting book or watching a YouTube as you were before the birth of the child. 

If you aren’t in danger or threatened by him (see the Domestic Violence info below), stand up for yourself firmly where you can – because this co parenting gig is for the long haul.

This blog is a fellow single mum’s opinon ONLY and is not professional advice.  If in doubt, always seek professional advice before taking any actions. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please give it a Facebook “Like” or comment below, to keep them coming!

Do you recognise any of these co-parenting Dads? Or have you ever lost clothes – or anything else – when coparenting? Please join the conversation, and comment below!

Join the Australian single mum support Facebook group here
Family and Domestic Violence help

Call 000 if you are in danger. Call 1800RESPECT, a sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service for support – Phone: 1800 737 732 available 24 hours a day 7 days a week


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