Hi all, going to vent big time but really would like external advice from other parents.
I am a single mum of one, and have been raising my 19 month old DD mostly alone since birth. Birth father and I separated during pregnancy and got back together when DD was 1 month old. We lived 4 hours apart and he stayed 3 nights a week until she was 6 months old, then we split again briefly and he only visited twice until DD and I moved back towards him and my maternal family. We got back together when DD was almost 7 months old and he moved in with us as he became unemployed. We finally split for good 2 months later when I kicked him out after he went out and got heavily drunk, and held a knife to his wrist in front of DD, punched a hole through our screen door, tried to start fights with surrounding neighbours before leaving and coming back black and blue.
Since then (DD was almost 10 months old) it has been very tense between us. He was seeing DD weekly (once or twice by himself at first in my house) and after Christmas the visits slowed down, sometimes fortnightly, but I was helping by driving DD to visit him. However when he moved in with his mother, which is a 15 min train ride from my house at the time, I decided to stop making the effort to drive to him, and have stood by letting him come to DD to visit, which I have NEVER said no to.
Initially it was six weeks before he visited. He was (is) unemployed and did not study, so he had (has) no work commitments to stop him from asking to see DD. His visits became a regular 2-3 weeks, 2-3 hours each, until DD was 15 months old, and I started seeing another person. Birth Father was not pleased and only visited once a month until just over two weeks ago, when he found out I was single again. Since then it has been Father's Day and I made the effort to take DD for a park outing, and now a week later we will be seeing him tomorrow.
The reason I am seeking advice is that he has started visiting more regularly because I said to him that once he is regularly seeing DD I will feel confident enough to hand her over to him for a few hours. I havent and can't because on these occasions he has been seeing her, he has not tended to DD's wellbeing AT ALL. He has not changed her nappy or fed her on any visit this year, so since before she was 11 months old.
He has no concept of her sleeping patterns, what and how much she eats and drinks, what size nappies and clothes she wears etc. DD doesn't say many words and hasn't learnt to ask for food, she relies on crying and signals, and he has NO paternal instincts to pick up on her needs. He is just a 'fun person'.
As for himself he is still unemployed, supposedly living at his mother's which is regularly visited by his schizophrenic drug addict brother and has no setup for a toddler, blows his dole money, is on and off pot - basically just lives a volatile lifestyle.
I do not feel comfortable at all ever handing her over, but we have moved 50km away and am struggling to meet him halfway with visits. They are tense but cannot leave DD in his care as there is no legal paperwork in place yet.
Should I let him have her to himself or should I be going to court and getting something in writing, or both? Any suggestions and opinions would be much appreciated.
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