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

Birdsighland Tue 22-Apr-14 23:51:20

I don't think they are her grandchildren, Maddening. I think the op said they are her grandnieces/grandnephews.

It sounds relentless, op. I can't get over the fact she had left them at yours and was quite nicely ensconced back at her house.

I hope you succeed in setting up some boundaries, for your own family's sake.

Joylin Tue 22-Apr-14 23:31:40

Excellent idea mimishimmi!!

mimishimmi Tue 22-Apr-14 23:03:19

Is she agreeing to take them on in advance or is she getting dumped upon at the last minute too? If it's the latter, I'd actually turn up at the cousin's work a few times, all the kids in tow, with their child and say that MiL has suddenly dumped them on you, you can't get in touch with her and she could be gone for hours. Then I'd add you have planned something else to do with your own children today and that you will have to leave theirs with them. If they don't know what's going on, they'll soon start declining her offers to take the kids in the holidays. If they do know, they'll now be aware it's unacceptable to you and will worry you will return them right back at an inconvenient time again. Caring for other people's children in the holidays is NOT your problem.

2rebecca Tue 22-Apr-14 22:31:40

I agree that people who take offense easily are often people who don't care how offensively they behave to other people. They rely on their "I'm so upset and offended act" to manipulate people and get their own way.
If she chooses to get upset when you tell her you want some peace in your holiday she chooses to get upset. her choice. She can easily stop the babysitting if she really doesn't want to do it so she's getting upset over nothing.
You don't always let children who get easily upset have their own way so I don't see why people behave differently to overemotional adults.

rollonthesummer Tue 22-Apr-14 22:16:35

She's taking the piss massively and won't stop till you tell her to.

Joylin Tue 22-Apr-14 21:58:37

She doesn't care for offending or imposing on you so don't concern yourself with her reaction. Practice using 'no', don't indulge her, tell her you're busy, don't answer the door to her, be unavailable at all times until she gives up and finds someone else to impose on.

Don't ever let her into the house uninvited again, set strong boundaries and don't give her room to cross them.

As someone else said, people like this take advantage of your fear of appearing rude when they're being the rude ones. Lose that fear and run your own life the way you want.

maddening Tue 22-Apr-14 21:14:43

she could look after her other gc in their own homes while the parents are out for a start rather than in her own home.

So offend her! If she takes the huff and stops speaking to you, what exactly is the downside?

Kundry Tue 22-Apr-14 21:00:32

Of course she takes offense easily - it keeps you all in line!

I think you have to be OK with offending her this time, especially as you also hold more cards than you think ie access to your DH and your kids.

The world will not fall in if she is offended (honestly, it really won't)

expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:37:42

So that gives her a license to treat you like shit?

No, nothing difficult about it at all.

Your DH or both of you be just as fucking forceful back.

TheFarceAndTheSpurious Tue 22-Apr-14 18:33:50

You could be breezily PA and create one of those online 'family diary' things ... Put what you are doing in each day (or whatever) or only have certain days 'open' talk about streamlining and moving forward say here are the slots you have as options to visit us... Lets diarise etc.

YellowTulips Tue 22-Apr-14 18:30:40

It's you who have the right to be offended - not her.

She's making out she's such a great help at the expense of someone else. Her behaviour is offensive. Remember that. Let her huff and puff.

YellowTulips Tue 22-Apr-14 18:28:18

Good idea Expat re: the summer when you are away.

SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 18:27:52

I was joking about the key. I wont be giving her the key and my DB will be staying at our house while we are away anyway.

Its difficult because she is so forceful and not the kind of person you can say no to, plus she takes offense very easily.

expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:27:29

Move all the play equipment indoors, too, so she can't come use your garden.

SquidgyMummy Tue 22-Apr-14 18:23:31

Everyone in your family just seems to take the piss; The cousins-in-law and the MIL.
No extra advice to add but I hope you do learn to stand up to her...

YellowTulips Tue 22-Apr-14 18:22:48

Do the parents of the kids know, when they accept "help" from MIL that it's actually you doing all the work and paying for food?

I would do 3 things:

1. DH to contact the children's parents (assume his brother/sister - sorry not clear on the relationship) and explain what's happening. He needs to say that you can't continue to provide this level of childcare. They may be supportive, they may not. Best guess is they (if half decent) will feel embarrassed at accepting MIL's offers only to find they have been thanking the wrong person and think about alternate arrangements - at least most of the time.

2. Get your DH to speak to MIL and spell out the situation. Quite simply she looks after the kids as promised or she gets their parents to contact you directly for "play dates" if she can't. That way everyone is clear what is happening. She needs to cease this sporadic and somewhat disingenuous arrangement right now. Say looking after the kids on occasion is ok - but you are not her personal childminder (or at least not an unpaid one smile).

3. Looking after this many kids is hard. You can't actually go anywhere without the right car (not sure if you have an MPV) and it's costing you nearly double looking after your own kids. So to shore up your resolve start saving the money you should have spent on them and save up for a nice outing for your own family.

Lastly DO NOT give keys to your house over the holiday. confused

expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:22:04

And no, it is not hard to say.

Stop being such a doormat! Feeding these kids or putting up with rude or bossy brats.

ssd Tue 22-Apr-14 18:12:39

exactly

expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:10:19

FFS. Don't give her a key. Your DH calls her or stops by on person.

'It's not on for you to keep offering to have the kids and then rocking up to my house and dumping them on us. That stops now. Don't offer to take them if you can't have them at yours. We are not going to babysit them.'

She rocks up and you don't let her in. 'We told you we are not available.'

Fizzybangfanny Tue 22-Apr-14 18:09:44

rollon it's actually a lot harder than you expect.

You don't want to cause offence or trouble and if mil is confrontational, it's even harder.

I was intimidated by my mil for quite sometime until she bought random guests unexpected and I shouted at her, a complete over reaction on my part - but she's been wary since grin

ssd Tue 22-Apr-14 18:05:13

I don't know why you've put up with this so long..........

AnneElliott Tue 22-Apr-14 17:53:00

OP I feel your pain. My SIL was like this even before I had DS. On one occasion she suggested popping in with her 3 for a cup of tea. She came, went out to get something from her car( or so I thought) and disappeared for 5 hours! I had no kids of my own then and the youngest was a babyshock

You do need to get DH to be firm and say it is too much. One day by arrangement is fine, but constant dropping in is not.

rollonthesummer Tue 22-Apr-14 17:47:47

I just don't understand how you've got into this situation? What do you say when she just turns up? Didn't you say anything as she was walking out leaving you with the children? Didn't you say something when she wasn't back for 4 hours??

If you've never complained-how will she know? If you've never complained-why not??

thebodydoestricks Tue 22-Apr-14 17:45:03

Are you fucking insane??? No key and tell her there's an alarm set.....

You need to grow a pair op and more importantly so does your dh, it's his mother.

You might also ring up the cousins and tell them the score. Be upfront.

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