Four AIBUs in one- looking after my sisters brood

(25 Posts)
BigRubberPlant Tue 05-Feb-13 12:44:48

I fear that this will be long. It's not especially complicated but I just don't want to drip feed!

I am looking after my sisters three DC this weekend as she is at work on Friday and Saturday nights. She's a single mum so I help out where we can (along with my mum) as Dsis works part time shifts.

There are quite a few AIBU questions in my mind this and I am feeling a bit on edge about it all as a result. .

Dsis first mentioned this months ago, probably in November. She didn't ask me to have them but did say that the childcare arrangements she was hoping to have sorted for weekend stuff hadn't worked out, so I offered to have the children. Whilst it's a bit difficult - we have 2 dc of our own and live out in the sticks, so we will be stuck in the house all weekend as 5 kids plus one driver don't fit in my car- they are lovely children and all five get on brilliantly. Also, I want to help my sister out if I can. Just a shame that this weekend my mum is away, as we would normally "share" those weekends where dsis is working both nights. To compound things ds1 (4) has a bday party to go to on Sunday morning 45 mins away. It would mean that I would have to leave 13yo niece in the house whilst I take the other four (8,8, 4 and 12 months) with me to the party, and because of the distance I can't leave him there and come back (plus it's his old nursery friends' party and whilst he's excited to see the birthday girl, there will be lots of unfamiliar faces there as they now attend different schools. He was thrilled to have an invite.) I'm not really comfortable about leaving her alone whilst she's supposed to be in my care, doesn't feel right, and certainly not for nearly four hours. Would also be inappropriate to bring the 8yo's into the party, even if I did sit them down with their nintendos.

Thinking about it, there will also be another mum at the party who my dsis would probably not want the baby to be in contact with- there is no personal issue there but the babys dad is involved with a member of the other mums family and there is a rather unpleasant parental access situation at the moment. Think I've just talked myself out of ds1 going.

Also, DH is out on Saturday night for the first time in months with some friends and will be staying away so he feels like he is missing out on the one free night we have together as it will be a bit of a madhouse. DH is quite stressed at work at the moment and so weekends are incredibly precious. I have no concerns about him going out though, the younger ones will all be in bed eventually (baby is an absolute dream to get to sleep!) and 13 yo DN and I can snuggle up, have popcorn and watch a film. DH thinks dsis takes advantage a bit as he sees it as a massive favour to ask someone. She isn't great at telling us about her plans- so for example I've assumed they are coming Friday night until Sunday lunchtime, but have no idea of what times. Have asked for her to confirm three times now and she says she'll check her rota but hasn't told us yet. She gets the hump a bit if I ask! This is another reason DH is a bit [hmmm] about it too.

So:
1) AIBU to think DH could show more compassion or is she really taking the piss a bit?
2) WIBU to decline the party invite for DS1 now, even though I've already accepted and he would be disappointed to not be going (when he finally realises he's missed it in about a fortnight probably!)
3/ AIBU to hope that Dsis could give me a bit more advance notice of her shifts re: times and so on?
4/ AIBU to feel a little "jangly" about all this?

I thought this would be a long one. Thanks for getting this far if you have!

You sound like an ace sister and aunt! I think that:

1. Your dh should show more compassion. Your sis is taking the pee a bit but I guess she doesn't have many other childcare options.

2. Not U, but is it really necessary? I think a 13 year old would be ok for a few hours alone, and your sis can't expect you to miss the party when you're doing her such a massive favour.

3. YANBU at all, I would raise this with your sis.

4. You are entitled to feel any way you do. I think you're being very kind.

thebody Tue 05-Feb-13 18:50:54

Totally agree with attheendoftheday.

CaptainSweatPants Tue 05-Feb-13 18:51:09

Why can't dh take ds to the party?
Or another mum?

tinierclanger Tue 05-Feb-13 18:52:12

Why can't your DH deal with the party? Have I missed something?

WhateverTrevor Tue 05-Feb-13 18:53:30

I think yabu if you make ds miss the party.

Shelby2010 Tue 05-Feb-13 18:55:23

What time is DH planning on coming back Sun? Can't he come home sooner & either take DS to party or look after the other kids? If he's not back before you have to leave, he could at least get home so that DN wasn't alone for so long.

I don't think your sister is being unreasonable if she raised this weekend as being an issue back in November.

jennybeadle Tue 05-Feb-13 18:56:44

YANBU
I'd start by asking the party mum if she knows anyone who would be able to give DS a lift to the party.

Good luck, whatever you come up with, I wish you were my sister.

CrapBag Tue 05-Feb-13 18:59:02

Is it just this weekend or is this a regular weekend thing? Thats how I read it.

tinierclanger Tue 05-Feb-13 19:02:43

Oh he's away overnight, I see now.

hmm yes another mum take DS to party? Can't see that you can really take all those other children with you to it?! It's a shame though but why did you accept invite if its been planned a while?

deleted203 Tue 05-Feb-13 19:03:25

If I've read your OP correctly your sister asked you roughly in Nov if you could have them this coming weekend? Or do you have them every weekend?

If it's the first, then I don't think it's an awful lot to ask. Yes, it does sound like arrangements will be tricky but I would leave 13 yo at home alone. She should be capable of looking after herself in the daytime.

I wouldn't cancel party for DS - he is really excited about it bless him! Can DH not mind the children for a couple of hours on Sun? (Or his own, at least, whilst keeping a vague eye on DN?) I'd take all kids in - if DSis doesn't like it it's a bit tough titty - you have plans for the weekend that you'll have to drag her kids along to. If she isn't happy she'll either have to find alternative child care or lump it.

DH needs to stop sulking! He is choosing to go out on his 'once in a blue moon' night so he can hardly then complain it's taking up the one free night you have together, can he?

I can understand him thinking it is a massive ask if you are having her kids every weekend. Can't understand it if she asked you in Nov to have them for one weekend in Feb, TBH.

NatashaBee Tue 05-Feb-13 19:03:32

YANBU at all - your sister is very lucky to have family childcare, and she should be thoughtful enough to give you adequate notice. I don't see anything wrong with leaving the 13yo at home whilst you go to the party.

Cocktailsorcakes Tue 05-Feb-13 19:04:52

Can your sister come over to your house and stay with her kids there while you rake your DS to his party?

ll31 Tue 05-Feb-13 19:08:23

think you sound v nice, think your sis is taking the piss a bit... sureky she cant use you for childcare all the time -esp if its affecting your family. def go to party. I would tell sis you'll be leaving dn alone, if she's not happy she needs to make other arrangements for her

Merrylegs Tue 05-Feb-13 19:14:58

Ah was just going to say we what cocktail said! Your sis should come over on Sunday and pick up kids or stay with them so you can go to the party.

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 05-Feb-13 19:20:21

Yabu because you need to firmly but politely state what your parameters are to the arrangement. You need to do this for your sanity, for your DS, for your DH and for your sis to be clear where she stands.

Like others i wonder what time your DH can be back on the Sunday to reduce the potential time 13 yo DN is on her own?

Could he potentially pick up the older DC on his way home?

Could your sis sleep at yours on Sunday after her night shift so 13yo is not on her own but sis still gets to sleep.

You have accepted the party invite and your DS is excited about it. Your sisters child access issues shouldn't stop you attending unless they pose an actual risk to the child - to an extent if you are doing her a favour she shouldn't be dictating how you manage your own family. Hers need to fit around your needs as well.

I would suggest you email or text her asking her to clarify drop off time, whether the kids will have been fed etc and pick up time and whether they'll need feeding. Don't apologise in this communication, say that you need to make arrangements and you need these answers.

If this is going to be an ongoing arrangement you need to find out when she gets her shifts and when she has this info to share.

honeytea Tue 05-Feb-13 19:27:25

If it was my situation to solve I would either leave the 2 8 year olds with 13 year old dn or get dp to take ds to the party.

I hope your dsis buys you a nice bottle of wine as a thankyou gift.

Maybe just be direct with your sis about the info you need.

I can't see it has anything to do with your dp as he is going out for a jolly anyway.

Yfronts Tue 05-Feb-13 19:32:57

I do think it's fine to leave a 13 year old on her own but in your shoes, I'd cancel the party and rearrange for party boy to have a sleep over with birthday boy at a later date. I'm sure the mum will understand if you explain. Do it sooner rather then later.

It's lovely you are supporting your sister and I would do the same.

Yfronts Tue 05-Feb-13 19:33:43

Keep asking about collection/drop off times though. You should know.

Squeakygate Tue 05-Feb-13 19:38:46

Im with honeytea word for word.

ENormaSnob Tue 05-Feb-13 19:42:45

I Wouldn't cancel the party, especially of you've already accepted.

13 yo can be left for a while imo.

Friday to Sunday is a massive favour for someone.

Whether your sister is taking the piss or not depends on the amount of childcare you are doing.

Viviennemary Tue 05-Feb-13 19:43:45

I think your sister will have to find other childcare. I don't think you should be doing weekend care as a regular thing unless you absolutely don't mind doing it and this just doesn't sound like the case.

Can't the thirteen year old have a friend over to your house so she won't be on her own while you are all away at the party. I don't see why your child should miss out on a party. I think a thirteen year old can amuse themselves for a few hours. I wouldn't leave the younger children with her. Or could the 13 year old not go to a friends that day.

defineme Tue 05-Feb-13 19:51:16

If it's once every couple of months and they're good kids, then yes it's a big ask, but I'd do it for my dbro in a second.
She's needs to sort out not telling you the times though- my guess is she's either embarrassed about asking so gets grumpy or just crap at arranging: both unacceptable.
13 year old fine on own and other kids could they go to a friend or sit at party venue cafe or something?
If it's planned this far in advance and it's ok with you, then dh could try harder.
Jangly-you have a lot on!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 20:17:36

Pray for snow so the party is cancelled grin.

You sound like a concerned sister and the sort of person who helps everyone out. Dates clash all the time and this time granny happens to be away too.

Is the party at birthday boy's house or hired venue, if a leisure centre or similar there should be a cafe? If it's not at the boy's home take the younger DCs with you but teen will probably be happy slopping around the house on her own, tv or pc and late breakfast. Otoh if DH comes home in time, just take DS and youngest niece and leave the rest with him. I don't suppose other mums of guests will make a rumpus if you show up with your baby niece.

Bit rich for your sister to get the hump when you try and pin her down sometimes. She may feel you are somehow pressuring her but you childminding her lot affects your family too. Perhaps DH is worried you'll let yourself be bulldozed into helping out.

I'm sure you'll find a tactful way to sort things out between you, mum and sister.

BigRubberPlant Wed 06-Feb-13 12:51:11

Thanks all. Donkeys you have got it exactly right, DH worries that I will end up doing more than we are reasonably able to cope with! We both work 5 days a week and so time is quite short which is where his concerns lie.

Have spoken with her now, party problem is solved as she is going to pick them up straight after her shift finishes on Sunday morning. She does not have to work again for a few days so says she will go to bed at the same time as them on Sunday night and all will be ok.

I'm looking forward to seeing them all, not spent any proper time with them since Christmas so will be really good to have them here. Just need to start another thread in chat now asking for tips on how to entertain 5 dc of varying ages in one house (other than garden) for 36 hours... smile

Thanks for opinions. MN scores again.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now