To think that my family could help out

(46 Posts)
ThisIsYourSong Tue 30-Apr-13 14:17:12

I have DTs who are 3.6 and DS who is 2.1. It's the school holidays here and the weather is changeable and the DSs have been unwell. BIL and SIL and my niece (29) had last week off work. Niece is off this week too, she is here on holiday. This is because another niece had a baby.

I said last week I could do with some support as the holidays are hard. Two of the DCs clash and a bit of distraction (ie visitors) does wonders as well as giving me someone to talk to.

Haven't heard from them at all and its been a hard couple of weeks. The DCs are used to being out and about a lot but I find it hard taking them all out by myself in the school holidays when everything is overrun with older kids.

I went through a period of depression last year and have been feeling really down lately as my Dad's just been diagnosed with cancer, so coping with the stress of the three of them at home has been hard.

Niece posted on Facebook today that they had fish and chips on the beach. The boys would have loved that and I am upset they didn't ask us. Even though the DCs argue at home they are very social and love being out so are generally really well behaved.

AIBU to think they could have helped out just a bit? Or am I expecting too much?

redexpat Tue 30-Apr-13 14:21:05

Some people just don't get it. I'd ring and ask when they wanted to meet up, "because the DCs would love to see them". It doesn't sound like they're doing it to spite you, they just don't get how much it would mean to you.

Callisto Tue 30-Apr-13 14:22:19

Pre-DD I would have done anything to avoid three small children and would have been very hmm about being expected to help out so I don't think your neice is being U. She is on holiday, I'm not suprised she doesn't want to provide childcare, especially as your children are not easy to entertain.

Your in-laws probably don't realise you're struggling.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 30-Apr-13 14:22:27

It would be nice if they wanted to. I think it is nice for families (and friends) to help each other out. I do think it's sad when people aren't willing to help one another.

But, unfortunately, the truth is that if they don't want to, they're under no obligation to whatsoever, sad as that is.

Did you ask for help from individuals in a clear way? "Can you help me" or did you just do a vague "could really do with a hand..." that they may have interpreted as a moan rather than a request? iyswim. did you invite anyone over? Did you suggest a trip out?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 30-Apr-13 14:23:35

sad that they don't want to, not sad that they don't have to. I'm not saying helping people should become mandatory!



Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 30-Apr-13 14:25:54

Why not suggest doing something in a positive way?

Don't frame it as 'I could do with some help', but 'shall we all go to X for the day/afternoon together?'.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 14:25:58

I would not want to take out unwell children, sorry.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 14:26:42

It's also possible they don't care for small children. A lot of people don't.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Tue 30-Apr-13 14:29:27

I am so sorrysad You have an awful lot on your plate there. I also had dt's and a toddler at one point and it was the hardest, hardest thing I've ever done. People don't really understand unless they've been there.

But you also have the extra worry of your dad toosad. Yadnbu. Could you directly ask them. They clearly haven't taken the hint and won't really know what you're going through.

Failing that would you be able to arrange some paid childcare. You sound as though you need a break.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Tue 30-Apr-13 14:29:30

what expat said.

i know it's hard with 3 under 4, especially when they are sick. but no-one else made a comittment to care for them or help you out. if tehy are over on holiday then TBH they last thing they probably want to be doing is looking after someone else's sick toddlers.

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 30-Apr-13 14:31:16

Some people don't enjoy spending time with kids.
My SIL doesn't bother with ours ever.

However, she recently said when she has a child she will go on nights, and I might get a knock in the door and a child dropped off so she can sleep.

Think not love you'll get the exact same back as you've given me - nowt!

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 14:35:51

'However, she recently said when she has a child she will go on nights, and I might get a knock in the door and a child dropped off so she can sleep.

Think not love you'll get the exact same back as you've given me - nowt!'

Quite right, and I would make that well known to her now.

ThisIsYourSong Tue 30-Apr-13 14:36:02

I've asked a couple of times when is good to meet up. Have suggested coming here for morning tea. Haven't had a response.

I certainly don't expect my niece to 'provide childcare' and think that sounds really rude. I never asked anyone to look after them or take them out. They were unwell for a couple of days but are not now.

And I've said they are not hard to entertain, they are just difficult when its all three of them and me.

Also is only 10 years between my eldest niece and I. I spent countless holidays visiting them or having them visit us, taking the 5 kids out to the park, playground, movies etc, playing with them, babysitting etc.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 14:37:53

They won't ask, and they don't want to be around your kids from your last post.

It's sad but there isn't a lot you can do about it.

PoppyWearer Tue 30-Apr-13 14:42:06

I sympathise. I was struggling with school runs for DC1 recently whilst DC2 was poorly. And DC2 up every night crying, I was exhausted.

In the meantime, lovely photos posted by SIL of DNs and PILs having a lovely day out just down the road. They could easily have popped over and made just one of those school runs less of a pain. As it was, some very lovely school mums offered to help me, without me even asking.

I wanted to cry "what about me/us?!" to SILs/PILs but what other posters have said is true, there is no obligation for them to help me and I didn't want to ask so I had to grit my teeth and carry on.

I do feel for you though, it sounds rough.

BabsAndTheRu Tue 30-Apr-13 14:42:50

I think redexpat is right, some people just don't get it. I babysat for years my six nieces and nephews and helped out where I could my brother and sister, would go over help with housework etc, bath the kds, story time at night etc. now have 3 of my own, 4,2 and 8 months. Not once have any of them offered to babysit, come to help. DP and I haven't been out together for 3 years. My lovely mum has offered to babysit but she has cancer which has caused a pathological fracture of her spine, so we would never take her up on the offer and DP'S mum has dementia. His brothers and there partners live to far away. We live in the same village as parents so not only do we take care of our DC's but also our mums as well. It's tough going sometimes as you can imagine. So basically what I'm saying is YANBU and you would think just once they might offer. I have asked before but always an excuse, also told once by one of them, no way been there done that. Nice attitude eh. Really empathise with you.

ThisIsYourSong Tue 30-Apr-13 14:46:06

Thanks Hecsy that's what I mean. I can't understand why family wouldn't want to help.

They do claim to love my kids and do have fun with them but I guess their own lives are just too important. My niece lived with us for four months when she got to London so its not like we aren't close.

ThisIsYourSong Tue 30-Apr-13 14:54:27

Poppy hope things are better now

Babs that sounds so tough hmm. So hard seeing your Mum going through that. Hope you get a break soon. Do you have friends you could do a babysitting swap with?

GrendelsMum Tue 30-Apr-13 14:59:51

So, speaking from my own experience as someone without DCs of my own

a) I'd wait to be asked before coming to visit, rather than 'imposing myself' on relatives with small children, although I can see that you have asked them.
b) I don't have any experience with children of that age (even though I work with children aged 6 and up), so I don't have any confidence looking after them for more than about 10 mins.
c) I don't find young children a huge amount of fun to look after - stressful, but not fun, presumably because I don't have any confidence with them.
d) to be honest, things that children enjoy aren't always very interesting for adults. Horrific memories of taking DNs to a themed tractor experience come back to mind... I also find that I don't get to talk to the adults, because all the focus is on the children, so I leave feeling that I haven't spent any time with the adult relatives.

I think that by originally saying you need some support, it might sound like you're asking for more than your relatives feel able to offer. Could you make another attempt to suggest some low-key, short activity that you could all do together?

BabsAndTheRu Tue 30-Apr-13 15:11:48

I've got a couple of friends who's daughters will soon be doing babysitting, one especially knows the kids really well as was childminders daughter, so hopefully get out soon. Written down does look tough going but you just deal with the situation you've got and we are blessed with the most gorgeous and fun kids (didn't think we could have any). Mums a real trooper, been through so much but still smiling, cancer dormant at the moment so fingers crossed stays away for a good while. I think more the fact that we look after parents as well that it gets to me that no offer from rest of family.

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 30-Apr-13 15:57:37

Expat - I am a CM.
So they will either have to pay me or not bring said baby.

I looked after my DSis DS1 for nothing but my DSis has done loads for me in terms of looking after mine. But now my business is up and running I can't do it for nothing for anyone.

OP do you have friends that you can call on instead? My friends got me through the toddler years. With meet ups at toddler groups or each others houses for lunch.

It would be nice to be asked to go out with family though.

Bridgetbidet Tue 30-Apr-13 21:39:44

Sorry, OP I really sympathise with the horrible time you are going through but I do think YAB a bit U.

The way I read this one of your BIL and SILs daughters has had a baby and this is why they are off work and why the other DN is visiting. In the circumstances I think their focus will quite fairly be on the girl who's just had the baby, I think she will be needing the help a bit more in the first few weeks.

Also they are on annual leave and on holiday and I think it's a bit unfair for you to expect them to be picking up your chores with the kids when they won't get much annual leave.

If you need more help I think the best thing to do is to wait until everything has settled down with the new baby and ask BIL and SIL to help out perhaps with a few hours at the weekend or something. But when they've just had a new baby in the family and they're on leave I think it's unfair to ask them to prioritise you to be honest.

ThisIsYourSong Wed 01-May-13 04:51:29

FGS I never thought they would
- pick up my chores
- look after my children
- make me a priority
- take lots of time out of their week

Just to visit for half an hour so the DCs and I can have some company or think to invite us places that would be suitable like fish and chips on the beach.

Yes my niece has had a baby but she, her partner, my other niece, brother and SIL and partner's mother were all around. I don't think it takes six people full time to look after one breastfed baby in a small 2 bed flat.

Clearly lots of people think that its unreasonable to hope for some support from family when you are struggling, depressed and have a young family, which is fine, that's your opinion. But I'm not some entitled bitch expecting people to look after my kids and do my dishes.


ThisIsYourSong Wed 01-May-13 04:52:59

Sorry meant to say... Thanks to those who have tried to understand where I am coming from and sorry for those who have experienced the same

claraschu Wed 01-May-13 05:49:38

Some MNers have a bee in their bonnet, and will go to absurd lengths to call you "entitled". It's completely obvious that YANBU.

Unfortunately, people are selfish and thoughtless.Sometimes, very nice people don't take the trouble to put themselves in someone else's shoes. (I'm talking about your relatives here.)

They may be fond of you and love your kids, but be having fun together, and not thinking about you. They may actually prefer to be alone. It's hard to tell. Either way, I think they should make the effort (if it is an effort for them) to be with you. I am sure that being with you and your lovely children would be a pleasure.

Please try not to let the annoying comments on here make you feel worse. These people don't read your posts carefully; they give knee jerk reactions, possibly because of something in their own lives.

Doubledare Wed 01-May-13 06:06:40

No you are not being unreasonable. I'm lucky, I get lots of help. It makes me feel quite depressed when I read about other parents who get not enough or nothing.

BlueberryHill Wed 01-May-13 07:52:21

YANBU, I am in a similar position in having 2.9 DTs and a 6 yo and I find the holidays a real struggle, however I have help and support from my parents and sometimes by PILs. One summer I asked for some help, a couple of days, they said yes. My SIL then asked for help, they looked after her child for 2 days a week, the timing meant that they couldn't help me, I felt it would be too much to ask of them as they are getting older. They cheerfully said, just let us know when you want help, when practically there weren't any times that they could do so. I was really upset about it, DH agreed, some back history but my SIL gets more help and assistance than DH does.

I feel your pain, it is really difficult having twins at 2/3 yo as they don't have any reasoning yet and think it is hilarious to run off in different directions. It is difficult managing them, the safety aspect for me is the hardest as if one heads for danger / trouble it is more difficult to get to them in time as well as keeping the other one safe. (BTW I use reins on both of them, it is once I am in the park and they want to explore it is difficult).

I don't think people understand unless they have experienced it, I don't think that having children close in age is the same, they both hit phases at the same time.

Your ILs sound really selfish, maybe try to set a specific meeting, e.g. how about us all going to x on Friday?

Good luck , I keep thinking that next holiday I will be fine and able to manage more on my own. Next time...

OrbisNonSufficit Wed 01-May-13 08:03:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ssd Wed 01-May-13 08:15:17

op, I get it totally, you just want family interested enough in you and your kids to maybe visit, have a cuppa and a chat, maybe even play with your kids for 5 minutes...its not too much to ask, but the family dont see it, its all about them and what they want

yep I get it, totally

ssd Wed 01-May-13 08:23:57

orbis shes asked for support but didnt get it can you not read the thread???

she needs support and family that give a shit, not crap here about depression etc etc of course shes feeling down her family are selfish gits!!

and breathe.....

maddening Wed 01-May-13 08:34:28

Yanbu to hope for some support but at the same time tanbu to not offer it.

That being said it is the nice and right thing to do for family (if you are normally relatively close) - if they are normally close to you and thoughtful with reciprocal family favours and visiting then the only defence for them is just being wrapped up in the new baby - not busy necessarily but just no head space for anything else.

Has your dh asked his brother/sis (not sure which it is) if they could fit you in - sometimes a blunt request is easier but I would say that should come from a direct relative such as parent or sibling.

Alwayscheerful Wed 01-May-13 08:50:58

Tell them it's difficult for you to get out and about with three little ones, invite them over to you for a catch up with coffee & biscuits or Danish pastries. Tell them the children love to see them and get very excited to see visitors. Explain fish and chips on the beach would much easier with 4 pairs of hands and tell them how much it cheers you up to get out and about.

I agree they sound very thoughtless, a little help would be greatly appreciated by you and you are not unreasonable to expect.

seriouscakeeater Wed 01-May-13 08:51:02

Op hope your ok and sort your issues out.
What I've learned is that people avoid stressed out depressed people. It's human nature.

ssd Wed 01-May-13 09:00:42

op, I really feel for you, you've got a lot on your plate. Am really hoping your family see you are struggling to cope and offer to help/visit/take the kids to the park for an hour so you can get a rest..its so hard being in your position. This might sound daft but do they know about your dad, do they realise how much you've got on just now?

I've found the people who got a lot of help when their kids were small usually are the last to offer help to anyone else, its the mums who struggle who offer as they know how hard it is.

hugs for you xx

seriouscakeeater Wed 01-May-13 10:07:37

Try your local sure start centre as mine do a lot of trips out during the summer/holidays
Build up your own net work of support with other ladies like your self x

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Wed 01-May-13 10:16:23

I understand exactly what you mean OP sad

It's not that you want them to do everything - it's just that you'd like them to care enough to think of you.

We've just been through an awful few months with homelessness etc and the lack of support from my big family has caused more of a lasting effect then anything else.

I very quickly came to realise I am the doormat of the family and nothing that I have done for them will ever be returned.

I've never been able to say anything to them about it though. It somehow seems too tantrumy to bring up doesn't it?

I hope the rest of the holidays go smoothly,

ThisIsYourSong Wed 01-May-13 10:28:47

Thanks all, the support is appreciated. Have had a great day today, the sun was shining and we all got out and got some fresh air and had a lovely day, once I got my head together!

My nieces arranged to meet this afternoon but pulled out at 2.30 as they were out - so I know where I stand and have accepted that but still find it sad for me and the boys. I've got some (paid) help in tomorrow so I can get some breathing space and the DCs will love having someone to play with them.

The depression part is hard, I thought I had it sorted but this stuff with my Dad has hit me hard and combined with stress means I'm just not onto things. Am seeing Mum and Dad at the weekend for the first time since the diagnosis so that should help me work through things a bit. Its my brother so his Dad too, the family knows about it. They know about my last period of depression as I told them, but otherwise I actually think most people are pretty good at hiding moderate depression which I what I have. My brother is training to be a counsellor which somehow makes it worse. I think they just aren't interested below the surface, they turn up when they want and everyone is smiles and happy to see them.

claraschu & ssd - I think you have hit the nail on the head - I can't really understand that they are nice caring people and my family but they are not bothered enough to help me out when I have asked for it. I also know that when my niece struggles she will come to me for help and I will give up my time to help her, as by then everyone will be gone - and I know too much what its like to be able to turn my back on her.

Anyway my kids are great, they are so much fun. And I'm really lucky that the twins are very compliant when out, its just DS3 who thinks its hilarious to run off. Its just an intense time with three so close together. But our time will come smile. Yours will too Blueberry Hill. Things are already noticeably easier from under three to 3.5 and the DTs are more independent and when we are out play/amuse themselves for longer.

Can I just reiterate its so nice that you all have just listened and offered support. There are many many people worse off than me out there

Aww Charlie have just seen your post... so sad. Wish I could do something to help. Hope things improve soon xx

Bedtime1 Wed 01-May-13 12:32:21

Charlie I get what you are saying about doormat of the family. I feel that way too. It's when you have a problem such as yours with being homeless that they can't even step up to the mark then. If they can't step up then, then when will they? It must be hard for you to accept that they probably never will. I just wonder what goes through there heads to be so self absorbed that they can't see somebody else's pain and help .

BlueberryHill Wed 01-May-13 12:36:30

Thanks Thisisyoursong, glad it is a better day for you.

ssd Wed 01-May-13 16:02:33

op, so glad you and the kids are having a better day, the sun does make a difference doesnt it.

I can understand totally what you're saying, have something similar but different going on myself, involves me grieving and no one seeing it or asking how I am. Strange how family dont see the obvious.

And so glad you've got some help coming in, I'm rubbish at accepting help and it does me no favours.

ssd Wed 01-May-13 16:09:48

charlie I could have wrote your post

wonderingagain Wed 01-May-13 16:23:01

I think you have to think of looking after your children as a privilege and not as a chore. Your family should feel lucky to be able to spend time with your children, not begrudge it. If they don't appreciate it, it's their loss and sad for them. Find people who will appreciate you and your dcs.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Wed 01-May-13 19:49:16

Thisisyoyursong - glad you had a better day. Hopefully tomorrow will give you the chance to regroup your marbles!

We are doing well thanks! Over the worst bit and in temporary housing for a long while now doing much better smile

As hard as it was I think it's been a blessing in disguise really. It's made me stand up and be accountable to myself for my emotional support/happiness. I know where I stand now and it's made me prioritise myself more now I know I've no one else to do that for me. A bit sad yes but I've just had to accept it and move on.

And in a way it's made me feel a bit better about myself as I coped with all that crap by myself. I kept us together and I can be a teeny bit proud of that and whatever happens in the future I know I can be strong if I need to be smile

ThisIsYourSong Thu 02-May-13 12:01:17

That's great news!!

Yay for sorting it and dealing with it all yourself. Your family should be proud of you smile

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Thu 02-May-13 16:15:21

Glad you had a lovely day.

I do think it is better for you if you try to get out the mindset that they should help you out. I have always worked on te basis that if I get help - great and if I don't, we'll I don't.
Apart from DH and my Mum I have never received any help from any family member. We get together and like each other but they didn't offer and I didn't ask. I also had three kids under 4 and, I suppose, it would have been nice to have been offered some help.

You also don't want to go down the route of thinking that because you help them they are obliged to help you. Help them if you want to and don't if you don't want to. It shouldn't be any ore complicated than that.

ssd Thu 02-May-13 21:11:27

charlie, am really appreciating your honest posts here, I feel just the same as you about my situation, am putting my priorities first now, too

glad you're feeling better op x

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