Getting the ex to understand

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    Ok, here's the story. I work in a small rural hospitals ER. Tonight an MVA came in.... by two ambulances... 6 patients total at change of shift. My ex takes care of the kids (12 and 8) while I work most of the time. I called the ex and told him I was going to be late. He blows up. To make a long story short... he does not understand why I have an obligation to stay. (Only one RN after I leave) I have tried to explain to him the morals, and legality involved as well as the risk to license and job were I to leave. Has anyone had similiar experiences? I would be most interested in those with a close relationship with their (not too bright) ex. He thinks that as soon as 11 rolls around I should leave, regardless of what is left in the ER. We can get very busy at times, and I don't like to leave people hanging. We have had this discussion (argument) a million times. Help!
  2. 12 Comments so far...

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    Oh, boy, does your story sound familiar!! I am not divorced, do not have children, but my (very loving, understanding...most of the time) husband of 5 years STILL gives me grief sometimes when I tell him I'll have to stay due to census/acuity/lack of staff. He's an electrical engineer and has NO clue what healthcare is about!! I tell him frequently that one day, I'm gonna strap a camera to my head/badge and tape a shift for him so he can see EXACTLY everything that I go through/deal with!!! It drives me NUTS!!!

    One of the women I work with is going through an UGLY divorce right now, and her husband who's been a basically absentee father for their 4 kids for the past 16 years has now decided to play involved daddy and keep the kids when she's at work sometimes. He gives her the same kind of crap. I think it's just because he's a big a-hole and a major JERK, and is trying to get back at her and make her life MISERABLE. He's a CPA, makes 200k a year, has NO CLUE what it means to have to stay on overtime because of SHORT STAFFING or a high/acute census. She routinely is pulling her hair out because of him.

    You have my sympathies!! Bleah!! Dontcha just wanna SCREAM sometimes??
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    Don't argue. It is clear he is not going to ever "understand" this issue. More likely this is a control issue than a failure to understand issue. This is a, "We must agree to disagree issue."

    During a calm time, when you are not mad as hornets at each other ask him if he has any ideas to deal with this problem: another child care provider, another relative who would be willing to pick the kids up and take them to your house and put them to bed and stay there til you get there, or willingness to live with a situation that essentially neither he nor you can change. If he keeps bringing the conversation back to you just leaving work, you say, "but I cannot. So we are working on other alternatives. I would certainly be willing to hear any ideas you might have." Don't drive it into the ground.

    On nights when you have to call him, be very matter of fact. "We've had a late rush and I cannot leave now. I estimate I will be there in 45 minutes (whatever). I know this is frustrating for you." If he tries to start an argument, say, "I will see you in 45 minutes to an hour. Goodbye." Estimate time generously and try to keep your promises.

    Endlessly arguing on something that neither one of you can or will change (you cannot change your duty; he will not change his attitude or perspective) needlessly erodes the relationships of YOUR CHILDREN"S PARENTS. Remember, your ex knows where your "buttons" are located, how best to push them etc. as you do his. Practicing ignoring and see if there is a better alternative solution that would suit you both.
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    Please forgive me, but I fail to understand? Given the information posted, I see a very easy solution. Arrange to have ex's visitation when you are not at work. I feel I don't have the entire picture here, so any opinion I offer, becomes less than helpful. I appologize in advance if this is the case. I agree with the reply you received stating that this sounds more like a Control Issue. To alleviate that situation, knowing that "Change" on your ex's part is highly improbable. So that leaves the issue of Change, in your court. Have ex visit with kids on nights "Off" and go to dinner with friends, with an expected time of return. Be prompt, and even show up a few minutes early with your friends, say Goodnight to your ex and thank him for his cooperation.(Yes I am aware, that it is his "Duty" also) but I have found that a few kind words can travel far, in situations such as these. I also can see that this "Change" can burden you further, by having the need to find reliable child care on the nights you work. Question becomes, "Can you handle this change?" If you could, it may solve your problem, it may not. If it doesn't, then at least you have narrowed the problem area, so it may be more eaily identified Good Luck and hang in there because this too shall pass "JAYRBORN"
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    Jay--You are on the right track by trying to problem solve and think of solutions here, HOWEVER, if she arranges for outside childcare on the days that she works and then has her x-huband take the kids when she is not working--When does she have time with her children?

    There has to be some flexibility in child custody arrangements. But, I think that galenight needs to re-evaluate her work schedule. She obviously works evening shifts, which means she is picking up her kids pretty late at night. I would like to know how many evenings she is leaving the kids with her husband. Is he paying child support? Can she switch to another shift? Is it possible for her and her husband to sit down and TALK about a better arrangement. I use to work evenings and loved them! But, after I had kids I had to switch to days because it became a hardship for my husband to care for the kids by himself 5 evenings a week. He was tired after working all day and lonely!
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    Sounds like this guy takes care of his kids not because he loves them and wants to be with them but because it's a right and a duty - but don't let them interfere in his life. After all, he does have a schedule and plans dontcha know!! I just had to get that off my chest. For the constructive stuff, refer to the previous posts. And best of luck.
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    Thank you all for your advice and ideas. I realize I did leave out a few key details while trying to make the post short. When we divorced he was out of work. Our verbal arrangement was that he would watch the kids for me while I worked and I wouldn't hound him about the measely child support I ask him to pay.. (don't faint, $20 per week) And he does not have a suitable place in which to take the kids, so he stays at my house to watch them. Yes, I do work afternoon, and he now works days. He still doesn't pay me the child support most of the time. I have chosen not to involve friend of the court so that he stays involved with the kids. He loves them very much and is a good Daddy (but a lousy husband). I'm not sure if the threats of leaving the state are real, but I don't want to take that chance. He has wanted to move to Florida forever, and that's what he says he will do if I "go after him" for child support. He also says he will then work "under the table" so they can't garnish his wages. As for the childcare issue, I have had many babysitters since we split, with little success. I live in a very rural area without many daycare centers and all the ones I've checked out don't keep kids after 6 or 7 p.m. And the ones I've hired to come into my house all had different issues, one of them being they needed guaranteed hours.. which I can understand. Plus, I want them to go to sleep in their own beds. We are normally very amicable. This, and money are our main issues. We have both made sacrifices in order to make this the best possible situation for the kids (with of course, the exception of getting back together). I know he is doing this as a control thing, but I still don't know how to handle it without cutting down his time with the kids. Thanks again for your input!!
  9. 0
    I've been in nursing in hospital settings for over 27 years...& the Dear Husband & Children *still* wonder why I'm not off work immediately at 7:30!

    And I can guarantee you that most of my fellow staff have the same problem. After 27 year, my DH still (!) thinks of nursing as a job despite conversations and actions to the contrary!

    Hmmmmmmmmm If I can't get through to my DH, how do I expect "Joe Public" to fully understand my scope of practice???
  10. 0
    I think I would put in for days because finding child care is a little easier for days and will allow you to go to your kids events. If they offer you a day shift job you don't want, you can always say, "Catch me next time."

    What other "assets" do you have in your community--good friends, extended family? Are you bound to this community? Would relocating to a slightly larger or different community give you more flexibility or support? I agree with the problems of child care; it's why I work the job I do.

    I would resist being held hostage by his threats to go to Florida. If his concerns are that child centered, he won't go there and he would pay child support. I would say, "I believe you should do what you need to do. That's what I plan to do."

    As you know, resolving things legally gives you "clout" but stirs up alot of adrenalin and costs money, all for a big $80 per month. You'll have to do the cost benefit ratio on it.

    This is a difficult situation to be in. Practice not getting in arguments with him over things you cannot change (your lateness, his lack of child support payments).

    Good luck. Someone said that one of the most important decisions we make is who will be the father or mother of our children.
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    Last edit by fiestynurse on Mar 31, '04


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