I need to stop being MIL's babysitter.

(64 Posts)
SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 10:16:40

And I also need a backbone.

DH has three cousins, all girls, who all have children. MIL helps them out quite a bit and often has one of them every day in the holidays. I have three DC's, and how its worked out is that each of DH's cousins children are close in age to one of mine.

The problem is that MIL doesn't really want to take care of them (I don't think), so she ends up coming to my house with whichever one/two she has that day. Twice over the Easter holidays she turned up and then left 'to run some errands', she was gone 2 hours the first time, and nearly 4 the second time. At which point I rang her house as she wasnt answering her mobile and she answered. If I go out with my own children, she complains about what she is going to do, and when we went our on Good Friday, this was an 'inconvenience' hmm.

She is already making mutterings about may half term. She is very good company and I like spending time with her, but in small doses, not every single day of the holidays. My other issue is that the cousins are eating us out of house and home, and 2 of them tend to be quite rude and bossy.

AIBU to try and put a stop to it all of the time, or to go away for half term grin

SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 10:17:24

I should add that when she brings them round she just sits and drinks coffee, while I have to run round after 4 or 5 children.

LouiseAderyn Tue 22-Apr-14 10:19:04

You have to say something. These are not your kids and not your responsibility and if you say nothing then nothing will change!

littlegreengloworm Tue 22-Apr-14 10:19:24

I'd either say to her you are popping out ( she will offer to come though ) or sad away for half term!

I think I wouldn't mind the once, but it not to be that regular.

JennyOnAPlate Tue 22-Apr-14 10:23:14

Something needs to be said to her, and if she doesn't want to look after these children she needs to tell their parents!

What does your dh say?

SaucyJack Tue 22-Apr-14 10:23:28

YANBU, but tbf it sounds as tho she's being put upon just as much as you.

Why do your DH's cousins think your MIL wants to spend all day with somebody else's children/grandchildren?

SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 10:25:10

She offers to take them, which is the bit I can't understand. She says she loves spending time with children (probably because she has someone else to do all the leg work!)

shewhowines Tue 22-Apr-14 10:27:02

Set boundaries now or you will be doing this forever.

Say your dcs need time together on their own with you and you need time with other friends. Start small and build up the amount of times you refuse.

shewhowines Tue 22-Apr-14 10:29:14

She probably does enjoy spending time with them but it also pleasanter when another adult is present to bounce off each other, plus you "help" do the hard bits.
Set the boundaries.

What does your DH say?

Personally, I'd be out. A lot.

shewhowines Tue 22-Apr-14 10:31:50

Why should she need to be out though. It's perfectly reasonable to want to spend some downtime chilling at home, without entertaining.

AndHarry Tue 22-Apr-14 10:34:03

Maybe gently set some boundaries. Suggest an outing now for one day in the half term break. Something like: "We'd really like to do something with you and [DNs] over half term so can we schedule something now so I don't fill my calendar? How about the zoo on Monday?"

gamerchick Tue 22-Apr-14 10:34:54

I wouldn't be having that.. but I don't like people coming over through the day.

Could you go away for half term? Or tell her the next time she brings it up that you're going to be busy so won't be in a lot of the time.

and stop the running errands thing as well.. tell her to take them with her.

TheNumberfaker Tue 22-Apr-14 10:35:21

Be out... 'Such a nice day, we went for a loooong walk!' Or 'Such terrible weather, didn't want the kids cooped up in the house, we went to the museum/ soft play etc.'

I know OP shouldn't HAVE to be out of her own house, but it's just about breaking the habit.

MIL will have to look after the kids on her own and either a) quite enjoy it and get over the fear of being stuck with them all day b) decide it's too stressful and tell their parents its too much c) find someone else to dump on

Either way, OP gets her house back without being the baddie here.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 22-Apr-14 10:56:13

I would arrange directly with the cousins' parents for them to come to you, in small numbers or one at a time, for an afternoon or couple of hours each - whatever suits you, so your children do get a relationship with them.

That way your MIL gets defined time off from that child. If she suggests coming over, you can say, 'no, we had x here on Tuesday, we're doing our own thing today'.

Or, how would she feel about your DCs going to her house to play with the cousins?

You could also mention to the parents that she's struggling and perhaps they need to think about making other plans.

pictish Tue 22-Apr-14 10:58:37

Yanbu...I wouldn't be having this, and would put a stop to it pronto.
Just be 'busy' for as long as it takes for her to stop assuming that she can come round and put her metaphorical feet up while you do her donkey work.
You have allowed this to develop into a habit by not resisting...time for that to change.

PunkHedgehog Tue 22-Apr-14 11:32:34

Pre-empt her. Drop all your kids off at her house first thing while you 'run some errands' for 4 hours.

SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 11:40:41

He house isn't very child friendly - not toys and lots of delicate furniture. I cant actually remember the last time we were invited over.

I think that this plays a big part in why she comes to us, because its easy as we have a nice back garden with toys/trampoline as well as lots of other things to play with.

EverythingCounts Tue 22-Apr-14 11:41:21

Yes, you need to do something to break the habit. Or get your husband to have a word and say you are stressed and need to not have extra kids to look after.

thebodydoestricks Tue 22-Apr-14 11:46:43

You and your dh need to tell her straight that it's too much for both of you.

You are no longer able to have so many extra kids in your house as it's not fair to your own children.

Tell her you have plans.

Tell her it's up to her if she had the kids but you are only available at certain pre arranged times.

You are going to have to be direct and do is your dh.

MistressDeeCee Tue 22-Apr-14 11:47:45

Id have said something ages ago and don't understand why you are letting this woman take the piss.

You don't need to go away for half-term. Just tell her calmly you can't do childcare for extra children its a lot of work and impacts on you financially too. She's being a bully really, imposing her will on you. But you need to develop a backbone somehow; you're a mother there may be times when you have to stand up for your children along the way in this life and that can't happen if you're in the habit of allowing yourself to be a pushover. Find your tongue and your voice, and speak out.

Its a shame for the cousin's children tho. You sound a good person to be doing all that and they will probably miss not being at yours so much. But MIL needs to get lost. If she can't manage the children then tell their parents, and don't have them. Simple as that. Its not your call

Answer the door with your coat on and a pair of DC's shoes in your hand.

So sorry, just on your way out, let's arrange for another day...

RiverTam Tue 22-Apr-14 11:54:51

if MIL's house is obviously not set up for having hoardes of young around, what do the cousins think she is doing with them? Why hasn't she got any toys etc there, if she wants to have them so much? When my DM started looking after DN she got some stuff in - new, from charity shops, and passed on from neighbours.

It all sounds a bit odd. I wonder how much pressure she is under to look after these DC - I know she is saying she wants to, but it doesn't really sound like it (not that I blame her).

Nothing wrong with properly arranging a day or two per holidays that she brings the DC over. But she can't just keep either popping round or expecting you to be there. If she can't cope she needs to say so.

I would start by getting DH to speak to his cousins, get their take on it.

LouiseAderyn Tue 22-Apr-14 11:55:41

A lot of people fear being the baddie or coming across as rude and this is why other people take ruthless advantage.

I wouldn't be out or arrange to have the cousins over - it really is okay to just be honest and tell the truth. Your mil isn't worrying too much about inconveniencing you so don't worry too much about inconveniencing her and reclaiming your home.

In the end all these sorts of issues on MN, where one person is being put upon, comes down to a selfish person putting what they want above the needs of the person they are taking advantage of and that person being too polite and kind to put a stop to it.

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