OP, I don't have any advice but I just wanted to say its amazing how you are so thoughtful toward the ex wife and the kids. Even if they don't know it, you're a great person for putting so much thought and effort into keeping things civil and stable for the kids.
I am not a single mom, but my DH is in the army and has been deployed for 8 months. So I have of course been doing everything myself for those months. And I can say that if my kids were with, for example, a sitter, and it was my time to have them back, I would drop everything to get them. Yes, I understand wanting time to yourself to recharge. But to refuse to pick them up because she is brewing beer is outrageous. If I was in the middle of a massage, drinking wine and downing chocolate, I would drop all that and run of it meant being with my kids again. I don't care how tired I am or how much I would like a break..I would always choose to be with them. I realize that sounds judgmental and I am sorry. I just don't get it.
wife of my soldier Steve, mama to my beautiful girls Rowan (11/07) and Linden (03/10)!