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Asking too much ?

(posted on blended families as well)

Background info: DH CO states that for visitation either MIL or DH will escort SS to and from.  This arrangement has worked for us because MIL will meet BM at the airport and MIL will escort SS the 3800 miles it is to where we are currently stationed. MIL has escorted SS to and from visitation on three occasions, but she knows it is not something that we expect her to do.
 In the past she has expressed a desire to spend the visitation with us and we paid for her and SS roundtrip ticket. There was one summer where she had planned on visiting her sister 6000 miles away for the summer and had purchased her ticket already. Because she had an overnight layover in our town we asked if we bought SS ticket if she would be willing to escort him. She was willing to and on her way back from vacation she brought SS back to BM.
This summer DH and I were in Iraq, but knew we would have leave during SS summer vacation. MIL had expressed that she wanted to visit her sister again, but could not afford it.  We told her that we would cover her roundtrip ticket if she was willing to escort SS to SIL house where we would be visiting. She agreed and I purchased both hers and SS tickets for a total of $2,400 in April.
June came around and she brought SS to my SIL home. SS stayed with her and her kids until we arrived. We landed on a Sunday morning and when SIL picked us up she told me to check my email because MIL wanted to go home on Wednesday. DH was fuming! He called his mother and asked her to just stay for the 2 weeks (instead of the 6 weeks her return ticket was for) we would be there so he could spend time with his son. She said he was selfish for asking her to stay just so he could see SS. DH reminded her that we had an agreement and expressed that SS didn?t travel 6,000 miles just to spend 4 days with DH. She refused to agree to stay longer and then asked us to pay for her early flight back.
DH and I both agreed that 4 days was not long enough to spend time with SS and told MIL she was welcome to go back home if she wanted to, but SS was not going with her. When she asked about SS and how he would get home we told her not to worry about it and that we would figure something out for ourselves.
DH could not bring his son home himself because we are required to sign a contract with our command stating that we will only go to the address on our leave form. After discussing the issue with BM she said it would be OK for my mother escort SS home. To purchase my mother a roundtrip ticket and SS a new one way ticket home at last minute faire, we spent over $5,000.
I am so upset because we had an agreement with MIL and last minute she decided that she didn?t want to be a part of it anymore. I am also upset that she called my husband selfish because he wanted to spend time with his son when he was visiting from Iraq. DH has expressed that he won?t ask his mother to be an escort again in fear that she will back out of the arrangement like she did this summer.
With the holidays coming up I have heard from my SIL that MIL would like to come and visit again as long as we purchase the tickets. I personally am not ready for that situation because since she left in June she has acted like nothing happened and refuses to talk about what inspired her to come home early.  If DH is not able to get time off of work to go get SS for this Christmas? visitation, taking MILs offer may be the only way for us to see him.
This brings me to my question. Would it be ?out of line? for me to ask her to sign a contract saying that she will escort SS to and from visitation within the dates for the tickets we purchase and if she decides to violate that agreement she will be financially responsible for repaying us for her ticket?
FYI I would ask anyone to sign this if they had put us in this financial situation. I am still upset that over $5,000 had to be taken from savings for transportation that we had budgeted for and paid in full earlier in the year. 

 

BFP #1 11/07/2012 EDD 07/09/2013 M/C 11/22/2012

BFP #2 02/05/2013 EDD 09/19/2013

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Re: Asking too much ?

  • I too would be VERY wary of paying for her again.  It seems like this has turned into a way for her to get free trips and is less concerned about your needs.

    How old is SS?

    If he's old enough, he may be able to fly as an unaccomponied minor.  As I did many times as a child from the age of 6 to whatever the age is that I could fly alone.

    See this article:

    http://www.independenttraveler.com/resources/article.cfm?AID=203&category=21

     

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  • image EastCoastBride:

    I too would be VERY wary of paying for her again.  It seems like this has turned into a way for her to get free trips and is less concerned about your needs.

    How old is SS?

    If he's old enough, he may be able to fly as an unaccomponied minor.  As I did many times as a child from the age of 6 to whatever the age is that I could fly alone.

    See this article:

    http://www.independenttraveler.com/resources/article.cfm?AID=203&category=21

     

     

     

    SS is almost 8 years old and I would love to go the unaccompanied, but it is specifically outlined in the CO that SS will be escorted. I am hoping that when SS is older we will be able to renegotiate this part of the CO with BM.

    BFP #1 11/07/2012 EDD 07/09/2013 M/C 11/22/2012

    BFP #2 02/05/2013 EDD 09/19/2013

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  • What if you told your MIL that you will reimburse her for the cost AFTER she fulfills the agreed upon travel. That way, if she screws you over again, you are not on the hook for her flights.
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  • image *HiS ChAmAoLe GiRL*:

    If DH is not able to get time off of work to go get SS for this Christmas? visitation, taking MILs offer may be the only way for us to see him

     

    That's your answer.  If she is the only way to see his son, then she's who you have to deal with.  Anything that would jeopardize the likelihood of her helping out would be, no matter how fair/reasonable, out of the question.

    I personally would talk to your mother again to see if she'd be available to make it happen in the future, particularly since BM doesn't seem to be acting legalistic.  I would tell your MIL that your airplane funds have dried up having used the money for the winter-holidays to cover your own mother and SSs additional tickets from this summer when she backed out.

    As for your MILs comments on selfishness...I was really going to ask what she was changing the plans around for...that to me makes a difference.  I'm gathering it wasn't asked about at the time because in the later part of your story you say she won't talk to you about why she changed.  It's strange to me that it was not asked for or offered during the initial conversation.

    Honestly, if you are stuck using her and she is, as you say, acting as if everything is the norm...then I would have the conversation stating - again - that your plane ticket savings fund has been depleted...that she can be "loaned" the money via contract or you can pay RT for SS but only one way for MIL and she'll have to foot the return flight on her own dime (after all, she's getting a family trip out of this) and have your mom again as back up.  

    How old is the kiddo now?  Is he at all old enough to make the trip on his own with the attendants assisting?  Edited - I just saw the same Q&A above.  OK, he's 8 and I already understood the CO stating he needed to be accompanied.  Perhaps, though, since BM isn't being legalistic about the CO she might be willing to negotiate this considering you/your DH are locked into only visiting one address.  If she says no, which is understandable especially with holiday air traffic, then you are no worse for wear.  If she says yes, then you're golden.  Another thing (and I'm not military so this is foreign to me) would be to see what can be done from your end so that DH can travel with the kid as per CO.  You can't be the first military family to have dealt with this scenario.  Maybe there's a route that's a bit out of the box which you haven't been made aware of?

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  • is there a reason you cant go to where SS is? That way you just rent a car and pick him up and stay at a hotel. Thats probably cheaper than the 2 round trip tickets for SS and her.

     

  • Can your SIL accompany him? Frankly, I would use MIL as the last and only resort and I damn sure would be furious with the selfish statement. Seems she likes to get a paid vacation off of her son and isn't doing it to help you see SS. Is there any family member BM would allow you to accompany their son?

    The contract isn't going to work because there is no good way for it to turn out. Would you take her to court? It would get ugly fast. I'd use the money to go back to court to change the CO for travel. No more funds spent on MIL's travel should equal the court costs.

  • Talk to the BM about changing the CO. Like the pp said, a contract with MIL will get ugly fast if you have to enforce it, why not just work out a different solution?
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  • Honestly, I think the agreement is asking a lot out of your MIL. Although the last incident may have been her taking advantage of you, you've been asking a lot of her in turn. There are elements of selfishness in both camps here. You've relied on MIL  because it's easy for you to do so, rather than figuring out other options (and there are others, but it would take initiative on your end). That's taking advantage of her.

    Get a new order with specifications that allow for more options. If it's "impossible" for your DH to escort (and think hard about that), come up with more options than just MIL.

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  • You made a deal with the devil. It was as unreasonable to aks for 6 additional weeks out of her life as it was for her to take the money and run in 4 days.

    Since I'm not a fan of unaccompanied minors on long hauls, I'd stick with the plan of going to him for now and revisiting the CO in 4 years when he's older. I once ended up on a canceled Air France flight where they put 15 unaccompanied minors of various ages, genders and native languages together in the care of a single ground agent who was also trying to contact parents and rebook flights. So not cool.

  • image susiederkins:

    Honestly, I think the agreement is asking a lot out of your MIL. Although the last incident may have been her taking advantage of you, you've been asking a lot of her in turn. There are elements of selfishness in both camps here. You've relied on MIL  because it's easy for you to do so, rather than figuring out other options (and there are others, but it would take initiative on your end). That's taking advantage of her.

    Get a new order with specifications that allow for more options. If it's "impossible" for your DH to escort (and think hard about that), come up with more options than just MIL.

     

    That answer is what i was thinking but didn't know how to articulate.  I do understand being upset about the money.  There has to be a better way.

  • Can you get a revision to the court order? It sounds like BM is reasonable, so maybe you could add a couple of ther people as options? Or unaccompanied minor? Or even get it updated so he can be unaccompanied as of age 10 or 12 or whatever BM thinks is appropriate.
  • image Spin313:
    What if you told your MIL that you will reimburse her for the cost AFTER she fulfills the agreed upon travel. That way, if she screws you over again, you are not on the hook for her flights.

     

    That might work on some occasions, but in the case of this summer she couldnt afford a ticket in the first place. Thats why we bought hers. This might work in the future thought. Thanks for the advice

    BFP #1 11/07/2012 EDD 07/09/2013 M/C 11/22/2012

    BFP #2 02/05/2013 EDD 09/19/2013

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  • image SusanH.:

    is there a reason you cant go to where SS is? That way you just rent a car and pick him up and stay at a hotel. Thats probably cheaper than the 2 round trip tickets for SS and her.

     

    Yes we could visit SS where he is, but we have found it works better when he is with us in our care without BM around to play mommy vs daddy. SS lives on a small island so the idea of spending the whole summer visitation there is not appealing and not possible for DH and I to get that much time off work. For shorter trips (leave before and after deployments/spring break) we go to him.

    BFP #1 11/07/2012 EDD 07/09/2013 M/C 11/22/2012

    BFP #2 02/05/2013 EDD 09/19/2013

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  • image *HiS ChAmAoLe GiRL*:
    image SusanH.:

    is there a reason you cant go to where SS is? That way you just rent a car and pick him up and stay at a hotel. Thats probably cheaper than the 2 round trip tickets for SS and her.

     

    Yes we could visit SS where he is, but we have found it works better when he is with us in our care without BM around to play mommy vs daddy. SS lives on a small island so the idea of spending the whole summer visitation there is not appealing and not possible for DH and I to get that much time off work. For shorter trips (leave before and after deployments/spring break) we go to him.

    I'm sorry...I'm confused...so you can visit SS without the extra expense or loop with the MIL...and it doesn't require your using MIL or anyone else, taking advantage of their time or requiring someone else to put themselves out...and you aren't taking it because the BM will be on the same island?  I get the potential for exes to play interference with another's relationship...but unless you are holed up with her in her own home, I'm not seeing why you can't spend a few weeks at a rental without engaging with the BM if it means it's cheaper for you, more guaranteed to see the kid, and removes someone else's obligation to help you out and doesn't leave you dependent on someone else keeping their word.  The infrequent or yearly family reunion so he can visit other areas is fine if you can manage another travel guardian (again, you can't be the first military family working this problem out...are you positive there isn't something available to you that you aren't using?) but it sounds like it's flipped...that the the shorter visits on the island are more infrequent?  Is that correct?

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  • I would cut MIL out of the loop with this. You can't rely on her anymore to help out.

    I would contact BM about revising the order. If not, can you hire someone to escort him? A babysitter or grad student type? 

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  • I would never use MIL again or pay for any of her transportation for any trip she wants to take. With no explaination or apology for completely reneging on your agreement, I mean a big apology, I wouldn't even consider it.

    And if all parties are in agreement (BM and BF) then there is no issue with using another escort. With the BM already agreeing to another person, you have precidence. No judge in the world would look at the issue and new solutions and have a problem with it. I don't really see the fear in using another resource.

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  • Yes, it is asking too much to expect me to read that longass post.
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  • image sapphireb:
    Yes, it is asking too much to expect me to read that longass post.
    Thank you for the words of wisdom -_-
    BFP #1 11/07/2012 EDD 07/09/2013 M/C 11/22/2012

    BFP #2 02/05/2013 EDD 09/19/2013

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