Mum-in -law and Sister - in- law ganging up on you?

(79 Posts)
mgrg Mon 18-Feb-13 22:55:14

I lost my lovely Mum recently, totally unexpectedly through a heart attack. My Mum was my my main carer for my daughters under 9.I have a job and my Mum helped me to keep the plates from falling. My husband and I both work. On the day of my Mum's funeral my mother-in-law said she would help me with my girls in the school holidays. Neither she nor my SIL (who lives away) have ever had a job at the same time as having children. Any way, my manager is asking me about time off for the Easter holidays. My Mum in law then says that she can't look after her granddaughter because she has to go and look after her daughter's dogs.
My daughter Vs Sil' dogs.
What would u do ?

MrsBeep Tue 19-Feb-13 07:58:29

What with the recent loss of your mother you are not in a very difficult situation, and whilst I'm sorry for your loss it does seem that you're looking for answers that just aren't there or aren't easy.

Childcare with a CM or after school/holidays club looks to be your only solution if your MIL isn't available or willing to help. Maybe sit down with your Dad and assertain whether he feels capable enough to lol after your DD?

And please don't lash out at people who are trying to help you.

MrsBeep Tue 19-Feb-13 07:59:20

Sorry, *look after your DD is what I meant.

TandB Tue 19-Feb-13 07:59:52

I'm sorry you've lost your mum so suddenly, OP. I lost my mum with almost no warning as a child.

But I think you need to recognise that you might not be thinking straight at the moment, and avoid getting yourself into some big argument with your in-laws when you might realise further down the line that the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

Your in-laws don't seem to be "ganging up" on you - your MIL is simply prioritising her daughter's work committments over yours. It's not a question of your children vs SIL's dogs - it's a question of your work needs vs SIL's work needs.

If the discussion at your mum's funeral was just a throwaway comment by your MIL, with no conversation about exact dates, it may well be that your MIL was thinking about the long summer holidays and didn't realise you had assumed she meant all the holidays.

I have to say that your reaction to Worra's perfectly neutral questions has been completely off-kilter, and this does suggest that your thinking process might be knocked out a bit at the moment.

Take a bit of time. Think about things properly, and ask some polite questions about what your MIL understood about your conversation. You may find that she's gone back on her offer, in which case you know you can't rely on her at all. But you may find it's all a miscommunication, in which case you may be able to use her help in the future.

TandB Tue 19-Feb-13 08:02:38

Just a thought, OP, but is English your first language, or are you just upset and mis-typing?

If English isn't your first language, you might be reading things into other people's posts that simply aren't there.

Hissy Tue 19-Feb-13 08:23:23

OP, some people aren't there for others when they need help, some literally do let them down on purpose.

It really doesn't matter WHY your ILs aren't rallying round for you, it says more about them than it does you. So what do you do? You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and find a decent Childminder to help you.

Have you had any compassionate leave, could you use holiday, could your H? The best way of finding holiday care for your DD is to look for holiday play schemes, they are much cheaper than a CM, and your DD will have lots of other children to run around with.

Write your MIL and SIL oFf as caring members of your family, they are never going to be the people you need them to be. What does you H think about this, why is HE not arranging things for you, so you don't have to?

PicaK Tue 19-Feb-13 08:50:20

OP. You are obviously deeply distressed and my heart goes out to you.

Like many I think there was an understanding (her thinking about the summer hols being most likely).

I think (like anyone who suffers bereavement) you are ANGRY and you are channelling it towards the first source of irritation that you come across that links to your mum.

This is a normal response but you need to recognise it's happening and be kind to yourself. Don't fly off the handle at your in laws. Those of us not in your position can see there is no ganging up etc.

Counselling will help you. Book childcare - there will be childminders with spaces over the holds. Then get your DH to write down dates for the summer hols and broach with your mil now. It's 50% his responsibility too.

NopeStillNothing Tue 19-Feb-13 08:54:15

I'm afraid yabu OP. Perfectly understandable but your loss does seem to be affecting your judgement. I'm very sorry about your Mother and I sincerely hope that your childcare arrangements get sorted but a scathing attack on non-working Mums is not going to give you the support you need.

thegreylady Tue 19-Feb-13 08:56:28

Is there a language difficulty here? Worra's original response was supportive as far as I can see.
"If she knew the dates and then decided to dog sit YADNBU"
She is agreeing with you!
I am very sorry for the loss of your mother that is a horrible thing for you.

NeedlesCuties Tue 19-Feb-13 09:02:48

YANBU for being upset.

I'm sorry your mother has passed away.

I agree with others who said you should find other childcare with no emotional crossover - a childminder, nursery.

My own MIL can be a bit like yours OP. I have lost count of the 'promises' to help with my kids, or promises to come up to visit. Usually 85% of the time she cancels with little or no notice. Now I just don't bother asking, as it isn't worth the stressing.

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 09:17:19

I can sort if see what upset the OP about Worra's post. She was suggesting that when op's mil made the offer - at her mum's funeral - she should have given her the exact dates and made sure she wrote them down otherwise it is unreasonable to be upset when she makes other plans. It's technically true but I think a bit insensitive and has obviously upset the op. The op is obviously going through a lot and when mil made the offer it maybe seemed like a bit of light at the end of the tunnel but when the first opportunity to take up the offer comes up mil refuses and is seemingly (to the op anyway) prioritising dogs over her own grand daughter.

OP, can you take time off over Easter? It seems like you need a break anyway. Take time off and do something lovely with your daughter.

LimboLil Tue 19-Feb-13 09:24:35

tbh I think a death of a parent can send your in laws a bit loopy, a bit like when you have a new baby. Change in dynamics. My dad died a few months ago after a long illness effectively releasing my mum from 5 years of being a carer. My mil keeps pumping me for info about what my mum is doing, how she is, is she busy blah blah. I think it's made her a bit insecure that I (and gc) might be spending more time with her now that she has that freedom to leave the house. If your in laws are being strange, I think best to sort out your own childcare, smile through it and don't get into any power struggles.

Montybojangles Tue 19-Feb-13 09:25:17

I read worras post quite differently. To me she was trying to point out that a one off conversation at a funeral ( when everyone is stressed and upset) is not really making a firm plan, and that it was unlikely that exact dates etc were set.
If the op hadn't mentioned it again with a more firm arrangement, then MIL may well have thought that op had made alternative plans.

redskyatnight Tue 19-Feb-13 09:25:41

I'm sorry for your loss OP.
I know you are upset right not but I suspect this is a case of you and MiL making assumptions about each other which aren't true.

I suspect that you were assuming that MiL would pick up what your mum used to do - having your DDs in all the school holidays precisely as you needed. You perhaps didn't realise that having a family member to do this is incredibly fortunate. In most cases where grandparents help out it is more normally for perhaps a few days or a week at a time.

So I suspect that when MiL offered to help she was probably thinking more along the lines of having the girls for some of the days in some of the holidays and that you would come to some agreement between yourselves as to when this was.

If you've not talked other than at the funeral, which was naturally an upsetting time for you I can see where misunderstanding has arisen.

Why not ask your MiL now if she can help over May half term and see what she says?

Whocansay Tue 19-Feb-13 09:38:20

OP, don't rely on your MIL. She's made her priorities clear. Arrange formal childcare.

Your SIL sounds unhinged. I'm not sure what her text meant - I assume she wants to 'cut you down to size'? What for? Asking your MIL to look after your dd instead of her dogs? Avoid.

So sorry for your loss. It sounds quite recent, so you must be very raw.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Tue 19-Feb-13 09:55:40

Your MIL saying she will 'help you out' probably meant something different to you than it did to her. Maybe she meant she would have them for a few days in the summer when she didn't have other plans and you meant that she would have them every day in every holiday.

You might want her to be more helpful, but she isn't going to be so you need to arrange other childcare and not take it so personally. I wouldn't want to commit to having dgcs every day in the holidays either but I might say 'I'll help you out in the holidays' meaning some of the days, when I can.

Primadonnagirl Tue 19-Feb-13 10:15:24

Mum helped me to keep the plates from falling.... That's such a lovely thing to say and that's what Mums do...you'll find a way round this OP - don't let it distract from grieving properly for your lovely Mum

Bejeena Tue 19-Feb-13 10:17:54

I am a bit puzzled by the situation and sorry for your loss, it cannot be easy.

However your SIL wants to 'size you to size'? That sounds like a threat to me and I would not be letting this woman, or anyone related to her near my children personally.

I would just find other childcare arrangements.

rodandtheemu Tue 19-Feb-13 10:39:01

mgrg so sorry to hear about your mum, you must feel very lost.
I would also take that message as a threat and would expect DH to support you on it.
I would how ever arrange offical child care for kids, even though it is expensive, i would feel miffed to at dogs coming before children but some people are just like like. Also sounds as if SIL is not very nice so might have pressured MIL.

Big hugs to you (( )))

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 10:45:41

OP as many others have said, I wasn't having a go at you...I was trying to ascertain the facts from your somewhat vague posts.

I wasn't suggesting you should have produced a list of term dates at you Mother's funeral...but that if your MIL didn't know what those dates were, she couldn't realistically be expected to put everything else on hold - though she could have rang and checked I suppose.

I was going to address your posts about my late Mother and employment choices but it's best not to go there...as I can see you appear to be in a pretty stressed state right now.

As others have suggested, paid childcare seems to be the best option here.

cory Tue 19-Feb-13 10:52:23

Sorry for your bereavement. sad

Re your SIL, I agree with the poster who thought "size you down to size" is probably a mis-typing for "cut you down to size"
(very common kind of scribal error where your brain has already leaped ahead to a word that is coming)

Not a physical threat at all imo: I think she just meant that she wants to make you realise your arrangements are no more important than those of other people. "cut down to size" is common parlance for making someone realise their relative (lack of) importance.

And frankly, she might have a point. You sound outraged at the thought that your dd might have to rely on her own parents to make arrangements for her, or that your MIL might prioritise her own dd's ability to work over yours. But as parents you are closest to taking responsibility for your dd, and your MIL might well feel she is closest to taking responsibility for your SIL.

simplesusan Tue 19-Feb-13 10:53:17

I agree with using a paid childminder.

You and your dh will have to split your holidays to cover childcare too.

Astelia Tue 19-Feb-13 11:00:41

You need paid reliable childcare OP. Ad hoc arrangements will drive you and DH up the wall and will not help you be professional at work.

FellatioNels0n Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:38

Aaaaand.......no OP. confused

DontmindifIdo Tue 19-Feb-13 11:30:06

OP - very sorry for your loss.

It must be putting an extra burden on if you've always been able to just rely on your mum for childcare and not think about it to suddenly have to make plans. The assumption you had is that your MIL would be as reliable as your mum has upset you further because you've never had to do this.

But it's ok, you don't have to rely on your MIL or SIL - what you do now is say "OK" to them saying they can't do it and get on with finding alternatives. How many days a week do you work, full time or not? If parttime, work out if your DH can cover any dates you need to work, and then do you know any other parents who are working who might be interested in a 'childcare swop' over the holidays (you have their DCs on your non-working days, they cover yours).

If you need full time or don't know anyone who could cover any days, your best option is to get a list of local childminders and start calling for who has availablity over the Easter holidays. (book them in now for the summer as well if you can). Look on your local council website - ours has a function where you can put in your post code and they'll list all registered childminders in a certain radius of your house (starting with the physically closest). It's also worth asking any other mum friends if they can recommend anyone.

It's shit you have to do this when dealing with losing your mum too, can your DH take on some of the calling round?

It could well be your MIL has done that thing of saying "if there's anything I can do" without actually meaning it. She's knows she should be saying she'll help out, and saying that at the time was comforting to you, but really hasn't thought of that as an actual commitment. So at least you've got some warning and now know a) not to ask them and b) her offers are more about making her feel good for offering, she doesn't mean it, so you can just smile and say "thanks, but we've got it sorted" without relying on her and then being let down closer to the event.

DontmindifIdo Tue 19-Feb-13 11:33:18

Oh and just ignore all texts from your SIL, don't rise to them or answer them.

Cut them out completely and don't try to get them to help. Don't even ask.

Your DH will have to use some holiday allowance or parental leave if you can't get paid childminder at short notice.

Also, if your SIL is threatening you, has your DH not had a word with his sister to tell her that it's unacceptable to talk to his wife like that? He should be wading in and stoping that, even if that does involve burning some bridges with his family.

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