MIL a bit of lush and useless in an emergency

(49 Posts)
jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:02:23

My MIL can't go a day without a drink and by drink I mean every evening a bottle if not more of wine. She can't weigh more than 8 stone so the effect this has is dramatic. She is also a bit of a flapper and in any kind of situation no matter how minor, she gets flustered and in utterly useless. My problem is that she keeps asking to have my 3 yo daughter to stay over. My SIL has allowed her kids stay and I have been talking to my MIL on these occasions on the phone and it has been obvious that she has been drinking even while minding the kids (slurred speech). I find this horrendous and would never drink when minding someone elses kids and certainly never drink to excess when my own kids are at home. I am running out of excuses and my other half is well aware of the situation but kind of shrugs it off and says let her stay and says he will tell MIL to lay off the juice but I don't think that is a good compromise.

WorraLiberty Mon 01-Jul-13 12:05:22

All he can do is ask her not to drink while babysitting

If she agrees and you trust her then there's no problem

I take it you don't trust her not to lie about it though?

LastTangoInDevonshire Mon 01-Jul-13 12:05:46

You need to ask? The answer is 'no' - and tell her why.

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 01-Jul-13 12:07:13

No way - my MIL was the same. Thought it was completely reasonable to have a couple of whiskys from 4pm because ir didn't make her 'drunk'. Also that it was ok to smoke like a chimney downstairs with all the windows and doors shut when ds had gone to bed.

Once he stayed there...and never again. Df fought it slightly...his pov was that we could TELL her not to drink or smoke when he was with her and she would stop.

My pov was that if she was so stupid she needed telling such a basic thing in the first place, I wouldn't trust her full stop.

Put your foot down.

purrpurr Mon 01-Jul-13 12:07:35

Why can't you just say no, and keep saying no?

You are the biggest advocate for your child. Your child can't say, no, and here's a reasoned argument why. You can. And if anyone wants to call you overprotective or anything else for that matter, so what. Protect your kid.

And for the Oh MILs Get Such A Hard Time brigade I'd do exactly the same regardless of who it was, the fact that it is your MIL instead of, say, your mum, or a good friend, is irrelevant. Your kid wouldn't be safe overnight in her care so say no and keep saying it. No is bulletproof. Don't entertain the whys.

mrsjay Mon 01-Jul-13 12:10:24

JUst say no as you know she likes a drink in the evenings and you are not comfortable with that , your dd doesn't need to stay over see if she would like her to visit during the day instead,

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:12:07

I don't trust her no. She was confronted before about the wine and the quantity and said she only has a glass of an evening but the recycle box tells the truth and we know for a fact that it's only her drinking and going by the number of bottles in a week (10+), every week there's more than a bottle on the go. And as I said, the last time the cousin stayed there, (3 weeks ago) she was slurring on the phone to me that evening so was clearly partaking.

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:13:58

We see her everyday anyway. Don't know why she wants her to stay over. She doesn't play with them anyway, just puts on "funnies" or horse racing if there is a big meet.

mrsjay Mon 01-Jul-13 12:15:09

can your husband not say something like look mum you are drinking far too much you are going to make yourself ill, she sounds like an alcoholic and just because it is wine and not cheap cider she probably sees it as respectable and just to unwind in the evening, does she live alone she is maybe lonely too?

FWIW my children rarely stayed over at my mums at the weekend my dad used to drink most weekends when they were younger and I didnt feel it was safe for them to be around him, he is a pain in the arse when drunk ,

mrsjay Mon 01-Jul-13 12:16:00

just keep saying no you like DD home in her own bed at night she will grumble and say you are over protecitve blah blah ignore her

BrokenBanana Mon 01-Jul-13 12:20:38

My mum is an alcoholic but keeps offering to have my ds. It's hard to say no at first but once you've said it for the first time it gets easier.

I'm just honest with mine, firm and to the point. "Thankyou for the offer of having DS for me, unfortunately I can't be sure that you won't get drunk so I'd really rather he stayed with me."

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:21:53

Yes. Wine doesn't make the more sophisticated alcho. The other half has given up giving out to her about her drinking and the SIL doesn't give a shit either it would seem, spose she thinks if she can't see her doing it then she isn't. I, however, am so not comfortable with it. My own parents rarely drink but they do both smoke and they ALWAYS go outside to do it when my children are in their house.

I'd say no and tell her why. She needs the truth.

I have got drunk when my own dcs are at home but I think it's different if you're the parents rather than you've been left in charge by the parents.

It must be annoying because if she didn't have this problem she could be a big source of childcare for you.

I'd try to help her sort it out, it normally takes a good few attempts for people to confront their issues.

BrokenBanana Mon 01-Jul-13 12:23:07

Btw if she is an alcoholic then please don't keep going on about how much she might be drinking, or be constantly on her case about it. Tell her you're aware of how much she drinks, advise her to seek help and then leave her to it. No matter how much you think you can help, she won't change just cos you want her to.

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 12:24:09

Say no, and tell her why. My dd is almost 7 weeks old and mil couldn't be better with her, but she has a drink problem (she doesn't think she does) and until I'm confident that she will not be drinking when caring for my child she will not be seeing dd without me or dp present.
When I was 34 weeks pg there was a massive argument at a family get together where I was told to fuck off out her house, that I was turning her precious son against her, that I was the reason he never saw family, you get the drift. I walked out the house and waited on car whilst she accused her own son of punching her. We didn't speak for a week, in which time we took all baby things stored at her house away. It was a big wake up call for her, as she couldn't remember saying any of these things due to the sheer quantity of alcohol she had poured down her neck. She was told in no uncertain terms that if we carried on the way she was going then she would never see the baby. Not supr

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 12:25:10

Posted too soon!
Not surprisingly she changed her ways but I'm still not 100% about it all yet.
Tell the truth, be honest, and d

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 12:26:11

Fucking phone!
Don't be vague tell her straight this is the only thing me mil responded too after years of telling her she has a drink problem.

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:29:06

My MIL is in pure denial, has and will always maintain that it's "only a glass" and so I guess unless the other half does something about it I will just put my foot down then. She always tries to get me on my own to ask though so unless he has another talk with his sister and they both talk to her I will keep saying no. I just don't want to end up in the situation of it's me or her.

thebody Mon 01-Jul-13 12:30:25

My mil and fil were models of decorum as are my dm and df.

Drink far less than we do but never ever felt the need to dump my kids on them overnight.

Why would you? Just visit or ask them to visit but why the need for overnight?

Just say no you would miss him or he would miss you and don't bother to mention the booze. If she ' needs a bottle a night she won't be able to resist when your ds is asleep.

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 12:34:23

Just say you'll discuss it with dp, that's what I do. Mil doesn't like it but I say we make decisions together so I couldn't possibly say without speaking to him. She always try's to talk me round, I think she thinks I'm weak and will cave. Mil is quite forward and outspoken and often tries to bully people into agreeing with her but I often try to think of excuses before hand so I don't feel caught out and end up caving into what she wants.

thebody Mon 01-Jul-13 12:36:09

Op your parents smoking outside makes absolutely no difference to the toxic smoke hanging on their clothes and hair. They may as well not bother look at the research.

I would be just as concerned about their faggin it as your mil getting pissed actually although of course the being drunk makes her incapable of Being responsible.

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:36:14

My excuse for the next year or so could be that her sister would miss her. (She is only 16months and they sleep in the same room). She would never dream of asking for the 2 together as she maintains she can't handle 2 at once .................. However, that is only postponing the inevitable so himself can start telling her why as she is his mother and I am not going to play the villain in this piece.

BrokenBanana Mon 01-Jul-13 12:37:59

Just tell her the truth!

lottiegarbanzo Mon 01-Jul-13 12:39:20

Just no. Your DH knows about the bottles doesn't he? So he's not in any doubt about the scale of the problem. He can't deny it to you then.

BrawToken Mon 01-Jul-13 12:41:31

In my (very wide) experience, people are not alcoholics because they want to be. She needs help, and no I wouldn't leave my kids with her either.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 01-Jul-13 12:44:58

Just say 'no'. So what if she is 'mil'? She is unsuitable, undesirable and that is all you need to care about.

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 12:45:32

I know she needs help but if she won't admit she has a problem, what can be done. The other half doesn't seem to be doing anything and neither does his sister.

BackforGood Mon 01-Jul-13 12:46:11

I too would say "No, because I don't want my children to be looked after by someone who is drinking as much as you are". There's no point in making excuses or making up stories.

bemybebe Mon 01-Jul-13 12:47:14

If it was my MIL I would say absolutely NO and explain why. I was on the receiving end of a mildly drunk family member babysitting me regularly when I was small. It was vile. The only good thing that came out of it is I detested drunken people and never was tempted to drink to that extend myself in my teens or later.

mrsjay Mon 01-Jul-13 12:47:23

you are right you cant force her to get help and if her children are ignoring it then really there is nothing you can do say to your husband though he is maybe used to it has she always been a drinker ? you need to protect your dd though and saying no is the only way,

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 12:48:35

You don't want the showdown we had, it was awful and I never want to go through that again. Honesty really is the best policy but I agree it should come from dp. You are not the villain but you'll be cast as one if this comes from you. Dp did the talking for the pair of us, but every so often she reverts to type and I find having an excuse or reason ready to why I cant commit to her plans better than feeling like I'm trapped into doing what she wants. 99% of the time I really am busy so I'm not lying to her and don't feel guilty when she checks up on me and my plans at a later date!

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 12:58:07

I'm not suggesting lying, but if you're honest and say no you drink too much, and that person still doesn't amend their wys, then surely saying sorry but we have plans for that night is better than saying no because you'll be pissed as a fart within an hour of our arrival and make the evening unbearable for us all? Some of dp's family think im a bad influence on him because I've been honest abou reasons for not doing certain things. Repeating that mils an alcoholic over and over didn't help, it was like I was always attacking her, iyswim. Prefer the white lie myself then telling her she's a drunk, especially since she hasn't listened for the last 5 years. She won't stop until she wants to so nothing I say makes much of a difference.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 01-Jul-13 12:59:01

The thing is, why does she want your dd to stay over anyway? I understand offering as a favour to you but, if there's no actual need, why do it anyway, regardless of her capabilities?

So, while being straight once probably is a good idea, you could just stick with saying you like to have the family together at night and think the time to consider sleepovers for dd is when they become a regular thing with friends, some years off.

jemstipp Mon 01-Jul-13 16:13:25

I don't want to go on at my other half either as it will indeed look like I am attacking her and after all it is his mother and that's not a fair position to put him in so maybe I will mention it to him again if she asks me and then if nothing is done about it I will just use the excuses to keep the peace. If I just say straight to her, no because you are always on the sauce or even the other half says it, it will be denied or made light of and promises not to will be made. I would say the other half will take that as good but I know she was asked before to cut down on the drink and she lasted 2 days without, I mean 2 days ffs!! I guess the real issue here is that I will never trust her.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 01-Jul-13 16:28:23

It is a criminal offence to be drunk in charge of a minor child.

Should a emergency situation happen and she is in charge of your child and is drunk YOU are guilty of criminal neglect for knowingly leaving your child with a drunk.

So sorry I don't wish to have to justify my choice to leave my child with someone who is drunk every night is more than good enough.

Funghoul Mon 01-Jul-13 21:31:05

It's exactly our situation. Dp is well aware of mil and her issues with drink but we can't keep bickering over it. It's far easier to tell her a white lie then make myself into the villain when she is the one with the problem. She has cut back significantly but only because of the huge fight that happened not long ago. Dp is an only child and dd is our first child so she realised that by not speaking to us she would have no contact with her only grandchild. Family (ALL the family) make excuses for her and her drinking, so I am seen as some kind of killjoy for not enjoying getting wasted, especially now I've had my baby. Unbelievably, they criticised me for not having a couple of pints whilst pregnant! Don't make yourself the villain of this piece as it deflects attention away from the real problem. She has a problem that she is not willing to address, so therefore you shouldn't trust her with your children.

jemstipp Tue 02-Jul-13 11:00:58

Funghoul, it's sad that you are in a similar position. If the MIL won't admit it and her own kids are lapse to do anything why should I. I just want my other half to understand why it's such a problem. Deep down I think he knows but just wants to shrug it off. I did actually bring it up today saying to him that she keeps throwing in a comment to the effect of I will have to have her over for a night in a couple of weeks time. I told him that it wasn't going to happen and he didn't even ask me why but you know when she brings it up with him instead of saying no because............ or making some excuse that he will just come over my direction and ask me like it's all down to me to be the bad guy so I'm going to have to kick him up the ass and say no no no no no no always no and you can tell her no no no no always no and you KNOW WHY!!

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Jul-13 11:07:21

But why will she 'have to have her'? Can't you just tackle that idea and say that actually there is no need and that you and DP like to have the family at home?

Your DP does need to stop being such a wuss and present a united front, I agree! That doesn't necessarily mean having a big discussion about alcoholism.

jemstipp Tue 02-Jul-13 11:11:19

I know Lottie, I don't get it either, the other grandkids live a bit away so I can understand why she want to have them over and as I said, we see her nearly everyday anyway so there is no real need. Mr needs to man up.

thebody Tue 02-Jul-13 11:13:03

Yeah don't get why she needs your dc overnight.

Never felt this was necessary for mine and my inlaws and parents were capable.

Why would you want to leave them?

Agree up thread sleep overs are for the over 10s and teens.

Funghoul Tue 02-Jul-13 12:12:00

Mil is talking of having dd overnight already, has even ordered a bed for her for spare room. Dd 7 weeks old tomorrow! No need for a bed just yet, plus we live 5 minutes down the road! My parents understand that dd taking nowhere overnight and won't be for a long time, until we have genuine need of it.
Your dp will know the reason why, but sounds like my dp in that they never deal with problems head on. If it was my dm who was in this position, I'd have no problem giving her a kick up the backside by saying not until you lay off the booze.
I come from a family of moderate, responsible drinkers and find it hard to understand those who think it perfectly normal to get so unbelievably drunk in front of children, especially when you are responsible for that child.
Sit with dp, explain how you feel, and that he needs to step up. I often told my dp that whilst I have no problem saying things to his dm, it needs to come from him to have impact.
I realise that I'm posting really long replies, but I hope you resolve this.

RenterNomad Tue 02-Jul-13 14:13:25

They're asking to have the children because it's a validation, of course! If other family "trust" her to babysit, it's all part of the "brushing under the carpet" such families do. Very sad and worrying for the children if their interests are less important than the validation that an alcoholic doesn't actually deserve (so not a matter of balancing needs/interests).

Bobyan Tue 02-Jul-13 14:28:38

Mr needs to man up

It's refreshing to hear a poster understand the dynamics of the problem, rather than spiting venom at your mil.

Unfortunately alcoholics will always drink, only they can stop themselves.

Funghoul Tue 02-Jul-13 14:31:09

You've hit the nail on the head. In my family things are discussed, in dp's everything is kept hush hush, for example I've been told that mil doesn't have a drink problem, she's just always been that way, she s the life and soul. It's all bollocks! Then I'm made to feel the bad guy because I don't want a drunk with my child! It beggars belief it really does and as the op realises, it isn't as simple as saying no because then you've offended the entire family, you're denying the mil etc etc, even when you know that this is the only outcome because you aren't willing to take the risk.
I think the op knows she can only say no, it's a case of how to say it more than anything else.

jemstipp Wed 03-Jul-13 11:00:58

Don't get me wrong, I am not against anybody having a few, emphasis on the few, nor do I claim to be mother of the decade and that I'm perfection personified but I NEVER, repeat, NEVER drink in front of my kids let alone get hammered with them in the house. We are quite isolated and I would be terrified if there was an emergency and neither myself not DP could drive as we had been drinking and we certainly wouldn't have any when we are minding the cousins. Lets just see what happens in a couple of weeks when she will ask to have her over........

Bobyan Wed 03-Jul-13 16:59:22

Let's face it having a drink isn't a problem, having an all consuming dependency is.

Good luck!

jemstipp Wed 24-Jul-13 12:44:20

Back from my own hols now so am cringing at the thought of her asking. Had a good talk with OH so have to wait and see what comes of it.

RenterNomad Wed 24-Jul-13 13:50:06

Good luck. If you need a "white lie" excuse, the weather and your holiday have got your DCs' sleeping all messed up, so better to stay at home, innit ? wink Aldo, if you see her in the day anyway, why bother with all the faff for an overnight?

Emilythornesbff Wed 24-Jul-13 14:20:55

You're right renternomad about validation. Spot on.
Agree that a white lie is useful.

You can't fix this. There's too much denial and manipulation involved in alcoholism.

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