Baby mama won't let partner see child post divorce, but ex wife and step mom can

So I am in a messy situation and I am not sure what to do anymore. The relationships are polyamorous but that's mostly just tangentially relevant in all this.

The cast;
- Lake (32nb)
- Me (26m), partner to Lake for 3 years
- Alexa - Ex Wife & Step Mom (28f), partner to Lake for 9 years up until October when they separated. They are now divorced.
- Cali - Ex Gf & Baby Mama (28??f), college girlfriend of Lake's, Mother of their child, currently living with and engaged to bf of 2 years
- Ava (10f), child of Lake and Cali, no formal custody agreement

Prior to September Ava spent half the week with Cali and half the week with Lake and Alexa. Cali, Lake and Alexa operated as equal co-parents to Ava. Ava sees all three as equal parents as all have been around since as long as she can remember.

In Sept, Cali - with the support of Alexa - took Ava full time as to not expose Ava to the process of Alexa and Lake working though things and ultimately their divorcing. The stated reason was to shelter Ava from the sad change for as long as possible. Ava was ultimately informed by the three of them in the beginning of November. Lake did not support this and wanted to be transparent with Ava but was outvoted.

All things considered Lake and Alexa's separation and divorce has gone smoothly and they maintain regular contact and are friends with one another.

Once Ava was informed, there was the impression things would go back to 50-50 time between Lake and Cali, with Alexa still playing a role in Ava's life and have time with her regularly but not having custody. This has not happened. Lake has been fighting to have time with her again, but at most Cali is allowing Lake to see Ava once a week, with no overnights. On the other hand, Alexa has Ava every Friday and every other weekend Fri-Sun. Lake found out about this through Alexa and not Cali.

"Why?" You may ask- that is a great question I only have partial answers too. Cali says that it should be up to Ava who she gets to see, tho the therapists familiar with the situation say she is too young to be put in the position of choosing between her parents. Furthermore that doesn't seem to be a requirement of Alexa as Cali was the one who asked Alexa to take Ava every other weekend. There also seems to be some sexism going on in valuing Mother's and being "Motherly" over being any other form of parental.

This seems absolutely ridiculous and unfair to me. Lake has a right to see Ava. Alexa is enabling Cali's withholding of custody from Lake - which is shitty, and not a way to treat someone you are supposed to be friends with.

Lake is now considering calling a Lawyer and fighting for a legal custody agreement although they seem worried how that will go. Cali (and Cali's narcissist mother) are likely to be angry and upset by this course of action and there is the concern that this will make things worse.

I do not know how to support Lake in this. What can/should I be doing here? I'm incredibly angry at and disappointed in Alexa over this tho we are no longer in contact. I am not surprised by Cali here although upset with her as well. I feel for Ava as this is all is probably very hard and confusing for her. She deserves more stability and the space for a relationship with her Dad.

I'm just at a loss for what to do- how to help and support Lake, what to encourage them to do or suggest to them as an option...

Tldr; with no formal custody agreement, Baby Mama won't allow my partner to see their child now that they are divorced from their ex-wife however said step mom has been given regular visitation and partial custody. What to do from here? What should my partner do? How can I support?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry this is happening.

Let me see if I get this.
  • Cali and Lake have a bio child named Ava who is 10. No formal custody agreement. Cali, the bio mom, says what goes.
  • Lake used to be married to Alexa. All three were coparents to the child and splitting time 50-50 between Cali's home and Lake+Alexa home.
  • Lake and Alexa got a divorce in Sept 2020. (So basically they've been split up for like 4 mos?)
  • At this time, Cali allows Ava to visit Lake once a week with no overnights.
  • Alexa also has has Ava once a week on Friday. Alexa also has every other weekend Fri-Sun.
Is it possible Cali is allowing slightly more time with Alexa right now because Alexa is a known quantity and location? And right now allows less time with Lake (and you) because because just Lake moved to a new place? Some other reason?

I do not know how to support Lake in this. What can/should I be doing here? I'm incredibly angry at and disappointed in Alexa over this tho we are no longer in contact.

Why mad at Alexa? What did Alexa do wrong?

I am not surprised by Cali here although upset with her as well. I feel for Ava as this is all is probably very hard and confusing for her. She deserves more stability and the space for a relationship with her Dad.

For now, Lake could ask Cali about "working toward" more time with child.

And in the meanwhile do what they can with video and phone calls. Whether the child is with Cali or with Alexa, Lake can call her right? Send letters and mail that's fun for a kid?

Lake could also see a lawyer about their options without informing Cali they are taking a consult. Finding out what the options are is not taking any action. It's a consult.

The kid is going through a lot of changes with a recent divorce in the family if it has only been 4 mos since they broke up. She's also only 10 years old.

If Lake had not sorted out formal custody arrangements in the TEN YEARS before now? It's on Lake.

To rock the boat now just to get Lake more time with the kid -- who is that for really? Lake's divorce transition adjustment? Competing with his ex Alexa? Or the kid's adjustment? Would it really matter that much to wait a few more months to spread the changes out for the kid? What do the kid's therapists suggest?

Cuz a weekend rotation might sound "fair" on paper
  • Cali
  • Alexa
  • Lake
  • Cali
  • Alexa
  • Lake
But that's really rough on the child. School all week and then a different place every weekend? That gets tiring for a kid. Kinda treating them like a suitcase being dragged about. Can't the parents go visit Ava at her primary home on the weekends so she doesn't have to go from pillar to post?

Is this therapy just for the kid? Maybe that's another thing Lake could suggest. Family counseling with the kid, Cali, and Alexa to help them through this transition and maybe work toward better custody arrangements. Not just individual counseling for the kid.

FWIW, I know a divorced family who moved. They got a new family home and got two apartments. Then the parents took turns coming to live in the family house with the kids for a week/weekend. So it was the parents taking the brunt of the suitcase thing through the early childhood years and not the kids. The kids got the stability of the same place/home and not being dragged pillar to post.

Another divorced family got next door houses so the kids could freely visit either house by cutting across the lawn any time.

Galagirl
 
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Thank you for your reply

Sept 2020 the divorce was asked for and Ava's time with Alexa and Lake was taken away. They tried to make it work for another month and agreed to split in October. Ava was informed in November. The divorce was finalized in December.

Lake got the house in the divorce so it's the same place Ava has been living for years now. Alexa moved in with her parents, whom Ava knows. Both household are known entities so I don't think that's what's going on. Also Lake and Cali live within walking distance of each other so there was no "primary" home until four months ago, given time was split 50-50. Living so close is part of what allowed the split parenting to work. Also because of Covid, since September Cali is currently doing school from home with Ava four days a week and Alexa one day a week. Alexa began this right before the divorce around Nov.

I feel angry towards Alexa because by agreeing to watch Ava every other weekend she is enabling Cali to keep Ava from Lake. Cali should have asked Lake first. Lake has been clear about being able, willing and wanting time with Ava. In their divorce, it was clear that Alexa would not have custody or be involved as a parent in the same way going forward, although her personal relationship with Ava would not change. Meaning they would have time together, tho likely less than before, and would still see each other as mother/daughter - but Alexa would no longer be involved in parental decisions, doctors, parent-teacher school things, etc. By assuming custody of Ava every other weekend this goes against the agreement and is actively part of cutting Lake out of Ava's life and subverting the agreement that was made without input or agreement from Lake. I know it's important that Alexa and Ava have time together too, but the fact that this has no roadblocks whereas Lake is having to fight and jump hoops for time seems incredibly unfair.

When Ava found out about the divorce two months ago a three way rotation was her intial idea, which the parents were quick to inform that she would not be splitting the week three ways. You are correct in that that would be alot on a child. I can suggest that perhaps Lake offer to go over to Cali's to see Ava more frequently. On one hand I could see that being well received by Cali but on the other I imagine Lake might be somewhat uncomfortable with that long term. Perhaps this could be part of "working towards" more time?

The therapists who have expressed that Ava is too young to decide her own custody arrangements are My, Ava's and Lakes personal therapists (different people, all sharing this opinion independent of one another). I don't know what Ava's therapist thinks would be the right custody arrangement. Family therapy is a great idea and I will definitely suggest that. I'm not sure how on board Cali would be to join but I am sure Alexa would be.

As for who it is for? I see it as for Lake and Ava but I aknowledge I am quite bias here. Lake misses Ava so much, frankly I do too (I used to always see her for dinner once a week with everyone up until september). I know they really want that time and space back with her so as to build a new normalcy together. I think it's important for their relationship to have that space to heal from this change. Perhaps a few more months won't matter it's hard to say. Ava basically wasn't allowed to see her dad for all of Sept and October and I know she really missed them. Four months is a long time for a kid to not see their parents, especially when they are so young. So this makes me worry that dragging this out would do more harm than good.
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Lake needs to find a lawyer and work out a formal custody arrangement. Full stop.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thank you for more info.

I feel angry towards Alexa because by agreeing to watch Ava every other weekend she is enabling Cali to keep Ava from Lake.

It's not just Alexa grateful to have the time Cali gives her?

Cuz Cali could just put the kid with "Auntie Annie" or "Babysitter Barbara" and Lake still doesn't get any weekends.

Cali should have asked Lake first.

So why is your anger placed on Alexa's head and not Cali's?

In their divorce, it was clear that Alexa would not have custody or be involved as a parent in the same way going forward, although her personal relationship with Ava would not change. Meaning they would have time together, tho likely less than before, and would still see each other as mother/daughter - but Alexa would no longer be involved in parental decisions, doctors, parent-teacher school things, etc.

Doesn't sound like Alexa gets to make any parental decisions, doctors, parent-teacher schools things right now.

Cali gets to pick her weekend babysitter and she offered it to Alexa, who said ok.

By assuming custody of Ava every other weekend this goes against the agreement and is actively part of cutting Lake out of Ava's life and subverting the agreement that was made without input or agreement from Lake. I know it's important that Alexa and Ava have time together too, but the fact that this has no roadblocks whereas Lake is having to fight and jump hoops for time seems incredibly unfair.

I don't understand this sentence as written.

I could be wrong but it sounds like Alexa is just glad to get whatever time with Ava that Cali offers.

If Lake is upset that Cali offers him less time? That's between him and Cali. If he is mad at Cali the bio mom? Or mad himself for not dealing with this sooner? Is not a reason to rock the child's boat. Lake and Alexa fighting over a bone named Ava with Cali moving the puppet strings? That's not right for the kid. I would like to think more charitably of people.

When Ava would come to be with Lake and Alexa -- was it the moms making the arrangements on the phone? If so, the women might just be defaulting to habit.

I know it's important that Alexa and Ava have time together too, but the fact that this has no roadblocks whereas Lake is having to fight and jump hoops for time seems incredibly unfair.

And that is because Lake and Cali did not make custody arrangements way back then, and so Cali has Lake over a barrel today. That is not Alexa's fault.

Lake could go see a lawyer about custody arrangements.

When Ava found out about the divorce two months ago a three way rotation was her intial idea, which the parents were quick to inform that she would not be splitting the week three ways.

Yup. 3 houses a week is a lot of trips for a child.

Prior to September Ava spent half the week with Cali and half the week with Lake and Alexa. Cali, Lake and Alexa operated as equal co-parents to Ava. Ava sees all three as equal parents as all have been around since as long as she can remember.

The "new halfsies" after divorce is going to look different. Because Alexa needs to be included from her separate home since the divorce.

Could it be one MONTH with Cali, one MONTH with Lake since they live close by as the "home base" parents? With Alexa as the once a week+ alternate weekends parent?

And the parent who is not being "home base" right now, gets Ava once a week plus walk over to visit, calls, etc? Cuz they know their month is coming up soon.

I think family therapy could figure out the "goal arrangement" and then the "working toward that" steps to ease over into it. Whatever makes the process easiest on the child. And this time with FORMAL custody arrangements actually made. Not just all up to Cali.

I can suggest that perhaps Lake offer to go over to Cali's to see Ava more frequently. On one hand I could see that being well received by Cali but on the other I imagine Lake might be somewhat uncomfortable with that long term. Perhaps this could be part of "working towards" more time?

I think this sounds best so far. Then Lake just has to put up with discomfort short term. People have to give somewhere.

Family therapy is a great idea and I will definitely suggest that. I'm not sure how on board Cali would be to join but I am sure Alexa would be.

See if something can be arranged with the child's therapist recommending someone if they don't do family therapy. Def the child comes first in this situation.

Ava basically wasn't allowed to see her dad for all of Sept and October and I know she really missed them.

So getting to see him once a week NOW is some progress then.

Since Lake lives nearby he could make the effort to visit her at Cali's home. Could he do other stuff? Call to tell her goodnight? Help run groceries for that house with Ava tagging along?

Galagirl
 
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Cuz Cali could just put the kid with "Auntie Annie" or "Babysitter Barbara" and Lake still doesn't get any weekends.

Given the family dynamics and financial situation at play the only other caregivers in the picture would be Lakes parents and Alexa's parents (who Alexa now lives with). So were Alexa to push back on Cali's offer, Lake would be involved.

So why is your anger placed on Alexa's head and not Cali's?

I expect this behavior of Cali given her history. I am upset with her, but I am not surprised. Whereas I have more respect for Alexa and would have expected her to respect Lakes involvement in Ava's life. They still consider each other friends and this is not a way to treat a friend. I suppose I feel angry at her because I expected her to support Lake having time with Ava. Especially when she says things like "Cali should be letting you see her" etc. It feels hypocritical when her involvement is what allows Cali to restrict Lakes time with their daughter.

I could be wrong but it sounds like Alexa is just glad to get whatever time with Ava that Cali offers.

If Lake is upset that Cali offers him less time? That's between him and Cali. If he is mad at Cali the bio mom? Or mad himself for not dealing with this sooner? Is not a reason to rock the child's boat. Lake and Alexa fighting over a bone named Ava with Cali moving the puppet strings? That's not right for the kid. I would like to think more charitably of people.

Perhaps she is just glad for that time. But either way, in accepting it (since a babysitter would not be on the table) she is enabling this treatment. Lake is upset with both Cali and Alexa over this.

To me, it is Cali that has rocked the boat for Ava since it is her who changed things from the 50-50 schedule they had had for years to this "Cali gets to make all the calls" situation that is happening now. The time lake gets with Ava is not regular or consistent which is not great for Ava. If anything and established custody agreement would give everyone stability.

I don't think it's about weather Lake or Alexa gets more time given to them by Cali but rather that in handling things as she is, Cali is demonstrating a lack of respect for Lake as a parent to Ava. This is only exacerbated by the disparity between the way Cali treats Alexa and Lake. This is hurtful.

When Ava would come to be with Lake and Alexa -- was it the moms making the arrangements on the phone? If so, the women might just be defaulting to habit.

I don't know, it's possible.

And that is because Lake and Cali did not make custody arrangements way back then, and so Cali has Lake over a barrel today.

I completely agree. This aspect is definitely on Lake.

The "new halfsies" after divorce is going to look different. Because Alexa needs to be included from her separate home since the divorce.

This is a good point I have not totally thought through. I suppose given the information I had previously, I was under the impression that Alexa would not be having overnights with Ava except on occasion. Perhaps that intial impression/assumption was not fully thought through and further negotiation from the parents is required.

Could it be one MONTH with Cali, one MONTH with Lake since they live close by as the "home base" parents? With Alexa as the once a week+ alternate weekends parent?
...

This is a solid suggestion I will throw out there. Earlier this year every other week was a custody schedule they tried out but Ava was not a fan of staying the full week with a single parent and prefered the half week at each schedule, and so they quickly returned to the 50-50 week split. So I don't think she would be down for one month stints but perhaps some version of this type of schedule could work? Thank you for the suggestion.

So getting to see him once a week NOW is some progress then.

Since Lake lives nearby he could make the effort to visit her at Cali's home. Could he do other stuff? Call to tell her goodnight? Help run groceries for that house with Ava tagging along?

Given how uncommunicative Cali is, even scheduling calls between Ava and Lake has been a challenge in the past. At the same time I know that Cali once expressed an interest in time as the three of them. I think this might be a challenge to navigate given new information.

It came to my attention yesterday that since the divorce Cali has hit on Lake twice. She has a fiance, with whom she is monogamous, and also she is a serial cheater. This adds a layer of complication to the possibility of doing things at/with Cali. Their relationship has come a long way and they do consider themselves friends now but the history there is not great. I have been told she was emotionally abusive when they were together and Ava is the result of Cali getting pregnant on purpose in an effort to prevent the end of their relationship without Lakes consent (ie, lying about birth control).
 
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Oh so apparently now Cali wants to move 45 minutes away, invest everything she has in a few acers of land, and start a weed farm! - something she has no experience with - and which would completely pull Ava away from her life and support system here... 🤦‍♂️

🤞 The lawyer calls back soon. Cause I don't even know what to do or how to react to this development...
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello jayblue122,

I would definitely refer this situation to a lawyer. If not to take immediate action, at least to get some legal advice. Then if Cali starts to take outlandish action, such as moving 45 minutes away to start a weed farm, things with the lawyer could be escalated. I have to say, Cali doesn't sound stable. Good luck.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
Hello jayblue122,

I would definitely refer this situation to a lawyer. If not to take immediate action, at least to get some legal advice. Then if Cali starts to take outlandish action, such as moving 45 minutes away to start a weed farm, things with the lawyer could be escalated. I have to say, Cali doesn't sound stable. Good luck.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.

What about her sounds unstable? She sounds like someone who knows who is able to look after a child and who isn't.
 
She sounds like someone who knows who is able to look after a child and who isn't.

She certaintly thinks so. Although I know personally that I disagree with her judgement on this. But I'd be interested what stands out to you in this thread that makes you trust her character judgement? Is there perhaps something I am not seeing due to my personal bias?
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
She certaintly thinks so. Although I know personally that I disagree with her judgement on this. But I'd be interested what stands out to you in this thread that makes you trust her character judgement? Is there perhaps something I am not seeing due to my personal bias?

Unfortunately, the world is very gendered. Basically, "mom" does the work at home like childcare (even if she also works) and "dad" only goes out and works. Although your partner is NB, I'd be willing to bet they are the biological parent of the child, the one who provided the sperm. And actually even if they are not, you often find with same sex co-parents that there is the "mom/homemaker" and "dad/provider". It's fairly hard to avoid this trap unless you actively fight against it early on because a lot of it comes from how children naturally bond tightly to fewer or even one person when they are very young. Some people (read dads) quite enjoy the freedom of parenting from a distance. This leads me into your situation.

A lot of guys, after divorce from their co-parent, actually bump into the reality of parenting because they've never actually had to do it for real. They then find a new, usually younger partner who they can leave to be "mommy" so they can reassume the "daddy" role. Go look in any stepparent forum for all the posts by step mothers who do everything for their stepkids often for very little appreciation, control and often hostility. Daddy plays the Disney Dad while the women involved (stepmommy and mommy) are the bad guys who try to instill discipline, routine and boundaries.

When we move to the poly world and co-parenting, these patterns stay the same. The women raise the kids while the men enjoy the liberty of non-monogamy.

This is obviously not in every case but it is very easy to slip into this rut because the world is designed this way.
 
Unfortunately, the world is very gendered.

Okay so your judgement here is primarily based on gender roles and stereotypes then. I cannot speak for how bio-mom's household operates but I do have a fair bit of insight into Lake and Alexa's. Both work, and both are queer.

I think there is truth in parts of your comment. I think Alexa took on the lions share of the planning, and mental load of the house (work that did not go unappreciated). At the same time Lake was not hands-off and was quite actively involved in all aspects of raising Ava. Especially for the first few years in their relationship as Cali was uncomfortable and jealous of Alexa (in Alexa's opinion because she was a more motherly person than Cali), and did not allow Alexa to play a large role in Ava's life.

Alexa wanted more kids, and kids of her own whereas Lake did not. Alexa was eager to take on the role of step mom. Being in that role was what she wanted to feel comfortable staying with Lake and not having additional children.

Alexa also holds the action of being Motherly as her primary way to show affection, and as a trait to strive for. She mother's most of the people around her, and takes pride in it - taking the role of "Friend mom" or "group mom" with pride. (Personally this made me uncomfortable as I did not want or consent to be mothered by her). I have seen her judge Cali's character based on how "motherly" she was/became.

IMO this idealization of mothering did not leave much space for valuing other types of parental. "Mothering" is not the only type of way to be a good parent, and the idea that it is, is inherently sexist.

I believe this attitude has been impressed upon Ava and has played a role in how things are shaking out now.

All that said, I don't think Lake is a less capable parent for not being "motherly" in the same way Alexa is. They provide a safe and loving home to Ava and want and are able to meet her needs. To not allow Jared to be in this role with thier kid because of gender norms is sexist and not a good reason to not give them time with Ava.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
So were Alexa to push back on Cali's offer, Lake would be involved.

Well, if this all upsets Lake... has Lake asked Alexa "Hey, can we share some of those overnight weekends with child? And approach Cali about it?"

I get it must be hard for you to watch from the side, but in this situation, you aren't a parent to this child. And legally, neither is Alexa. She's left out on a limb if either Cali or Lake (who do have some legal rights here) decide to cut her out. Since she gave up having children to mother THIS child when she was with Lake? She might not be excited about rocking the boat too much right now and just grateful for whatever time she gets.
The parents have to sort it all out. I think Lake could consult a lawyer, and then talk to the child's therapist / arrange family therapy. While the divorce may be final, they are not all at "the new normal" yet. It's still a time of transition and I would like to think all the parents would put the well being of the child first.

I think in family therapy they could include the child and figure out "the new normal" with the understanding that all parties might have to try different things before the "right one" emerges.

The "old normal" of half a week at Cali's house and half a week at Lake's house could be tried. Adding a "one day a week at Alexa's." And then the 4 weekends in a month? Cali, Lake, Alexa, Ava's choice. The odd 5th weekend here and there? Ava's choice.

Or like one MONTH at the "home base" parents like I suggest above with Alexa one day a week and alternate weekends.

The parents could put the realistic choices in a hat. And then let the child pick what order to try them out in from closed choices.

I hope the parents aren't going to get too fussy over it because the child is already 10. You know what's going to happen? Middle school and then HS and the child wanting her weekends to HERSELF so she can socialize more with her teen friends, eventually date, etc. Not be hanging around with parents all the time. Little birdies do eventually leave the nest.

Given how uncommunicative Cali is, even scheduling calls between Ava and Lake has been a challenge in the past.

The child is 10 years old, not 1. Could give the child a computer and/or cel phone so SHE can call any of her parents whenever SHE wants to and let her schedule some of her own things.

It came to my attention yesterday that since the divorce Cali has hit on Lake twice. She has a fiance, with whom she is monogamous, and also she is a serial cheater. This adds a layer of complication to the possibility of doing things at/with Cali.

When Cali hits on Lake? Lake could say "We are friendly co-parents. But we are not THAT friendly. We are not starting anything up again between us like that. Please respect my limit." Pleasant, flat, and boring. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Their relationship has come a long way and they do consider themselves friends now but the history there is not great. I have been told she was emotionally abusive when they were together and Ava is the result of Cali getting pregnant on purpose in an effort to prevent the end of their relationship without Lakes consent (ie, lying about birth control).

Sigh. Lake could have been using BC themselves and not leave all the BC choices up to Cali when their relationship was rocky. Water under the bridge now, but I see how this rocky history makes coparenting with Cali challenging!

Oh so apparently now Cali wants to move 45 minutes away, invest everything she has in a few acers of land, and start a weed farm! - something she has no experience with - and which would completely pull Ava away from her life and support system here

Wow! That's out of nowhere! I don't know if that's dreaming out loud or something more real than that.

Well, sounds like Lake already contacted a lawyer. And bio mom taking child away to live elsewhere would be an issue to raise with them.
I think getting formal custody arrangements sorted would make things a lot easier. But again, in consult with the child's therapist for how fast to roll that out.

If YOU need some support, I encourage you to get some and make space for your own self care. I know you are trying to be supportive for Lake... but if this is getting to be too much, it's ok for you to step back and take a time out to rest.

Galagirl
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
Okay so your judgement here is primarily based on gender roles and stereotypes then. I cannot speak for how bio-mom's household operates but I do have a fair bit of insight into Lake and Alexa's. Both work, and both are queer.

I think there is truth in parts of your comment. I think Alexa took on the lions share of the planning, and mental load of the house (work that did not go unappreciated). At the same time Lake was not hands-off and was quite actively involved in all aspects of raising Ava. Especially for the first few years in their relationship as Cali was uncomfortable and jealous of Alexa (in Alexa's opinion because she was a more motherly person than Cali), and did not allow Alexa to play a large role in Ava's life.

Alexa wanted more kids, and kids of her own whereas Lake did not. Alexa was eager to take on the role of step mom. Being in that role was what she wanted to feel comfortable staying with Lake and not having additional children.

Alexa also holds the action of being Motherly as her primary way to show affection, and as a trait to strive for. She mother's most of the people around her, and takes pride in it - taking the role of "Friend mom" or "group mom" with pride. (Personally this made me uncomfortable as I did not want or consent to be mothered by her). I have seen her judge Cali's character based on how "motherly" she was/became.

IMO this idealization of mothering did not leave much space for valuing other types of parental. "Mothering" is not the only type of way to be a good parent, and the idea that it is, is inherently sexist.

I believe this attitude has been impressed upon Ava and has played a role in how things are shaking out now.

All that said, I don't think Lake is a less capable parent for not being "motherly" in the same way Alexa is. They provide a safe and loving home to Ava and want and are able to meet her needs. To not allow Jared to be in this role with thier kid because of gender norms is sexist and not a good reason to not give them time with Ava.

I think you misunderstood what I'm saying. It could be that the Mom only values "mothering", or it could be that Mom's experience as a co-parent with Lake has shown her that Lake is not suited to parenting overnight etc. This could be because the stepparent (sorry I forget their names) did the lion's share of parenting thus Mom has proof of their parenting abilities but not Lake.

I know people who literally only let their kid stay at their dad's for the time they do because the stepparent is there and can oversee everything. That's because when they were with the dad themselves, they facilitated and enabled dad with taking a backseat as well as many dad's enjoying that less laborious role. So it isnt like only the guys involved make this happen but, it happens, and that's why you often get to a stage where grandparents, aunts and other adults are more trusted with the kid(s) than the dad. Sure sometimes it is just hostility by the other parent but there is often more to it than that. More substance.
 
I think you misunderstood what I'm saying. It could be that the Mom only values "mothering", or it could be that Mom's experience as a co-parent with Lake has shown her that Lake is not suited to parenting overnight etc. This could be because the stepparent (sorry I forget their names) did the lion's share of parenting thus Mom has proof of their parenting abilities but not Lake.

I know people who literally only let their kid stay at their dad's for the time they do because the stepparent is there and can oversee everything. That's because when they were with the dad themselves, they facilitated and enabled dad with taking a backseat as well as many dad's enjoying that less laborious role. So it isnt like only the guys involved make this happen but, it happens, and that's why you often get to a stage where grandparents, aunts and other adults are more trusted with the kid(s) than the dad. Sure sometimes it is just hostility by the other parent but there is often more to it than that. More substance.

Thank you for clarifying. This got me thinking about the situation a bit differently. I think this is definitely some of what is going on here as due to the rocky history Alexa would take lead on managing the relationship with Cali.
 
Wow! That's out of nowhere! I don't know if that's dreaming out loud or something more real than that.

I think somewhere in between. She looked a house and didn't like it so it seems like it's not happening this minute anyhow.

If YOU need some support, I encourage you to get some and make space for your own self care. I know you are trying to be supportive for Lake... but if this is getting to be too much, it's ok for you to step back and take a time out to rest.

This is super real. I think I need to step back and let Lake manage their shit.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
I would say, this isn't your problem to be involved in. It's up to Lake to work with Cali on creating a new custody arrangement, and if Cali won't cooperate (or even explain what the problem is), then Lake needs to talk to a lawyer about custody.

You can be supportive of Lake in that process, but I would try to avoid directing your anger at Cali and Alexa. It's not really any of your business if Cali wants to get childcare help from Alexa and/or have Ava keep spending time with her ex-stepmom. I can see that it's upsetting for Lake not to be able to see Ava, but I don't think Alexa deserves any blame here. Alexa clearly gets along with Cali and is doing what she can to remain in Ava's life.

I'm wondering if Lake's pattern is having relationships with people who have a bit stronger personalities than Lake and/or people who spend a lot of energy managing Lake's life/problems/feelings. (Cali, then Alexa, now you). Lake sounds a little passive in their own life.

I would maybe take a step back from being so emotionally involved and let Lake handle Lake's problems.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
This is super real. I think I need to step back and let Lake manage their shit.

Then step back. Be supportive in reasonable and rational ways you can do when you are more willing and able. Simpler things like offer to bring a meal. Listen, if you have the spoons for that. You don't have to burn yourself out on this.

Lake has to figure out his parenting custody stuff with the other bio parent (Cali) who holds it right now. You seem to agree it's on him for not having sorted that out years ago. Well... here is consequence then.

They are the ones actually responsible for this child, for finding a new custody solution, hopefully with help from professionals.

You? You aren't anything to this child legally.

Alexa? She's the ex-wife. Stuff she USED to do for him as his wife she's no longer gonna do.

She is also the ex step-mom. Sounds like she doesn't have a leg to stand on legally for child custody. All she gets is what Cali lets her have as far as time with the child. All of which can be taken way with the snap of a finger on Cali's whim. Cali is the current custody holder.

So neither you nor Alexa are actually responsible for finding "The Solution."

Galagirl
 
I would try to avoid directing your anger at Cali and Alexa.
Yeah I think my anger with Alexa was a bit missplaced in some respects.

I'm wondering if Lake's pattern is having relationships with people who have a bit stronger personalities .... Lake sounds a little passive in their own life.
Yeah, there is truth in that.

I would maybe take a step back from being so emotionally involved and let Lake handle Lake's problems.

I think you are right. It's a bit hard to do in practice tho. I find myself worrying about them and about Ava. Because I care about them and don't want them to get hurt, and unlike Lake, I can see the train wreck coming.

Lake and Alexa may or may not be getting back together on some level (tho not legally, and not telling people yet). It got more complicated.

I'm just gonna try and stay in my lane, I have told Lake to not give me the play by play and to be mindful of how much they are sharing with me. I'm also going to try and "help" less. I'll listen when it is brought up and I'll cuddle them if they need it but I need to let them make their own choices and drive the train.
 
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