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It's all gone horribly wrong between my sisters and I feel caught in the middle.

(55 Posts)

I'm just looking for some outside persectives really, I can't see the wood for the trees.

I used to be a Childminder, and looked after my sister's DC, she was bossy and micro managed my day, was late picking up more often than not (she used to phone an hour after pick up time to say she was just leaving work!), sent the children to me poorly and 'negotiated' to only pay me for the hours I had them, ie not when the eldest was at preschool for three hours a day.

Despite all this, I loved having the children and tolerated her behaviour towards me far longer than I should have, really. A year ago it all got a bit much and I gave up CMing entirely and now work ft out of the house.

My younger sister registered as a CM and took over with sister1's children. She has had all the same issues. On top of this, my youngest niece (2) has started biting, and has bitten sis2's younger child several times, badly. After nearly a year, sis2 decided, after much thought, that it really wasn't working, and gave Sis1 four weeks notice. A week later DN gouged, scratched and bit sis2's baby terribly (lots of blood, it was pretty horrific tbh) and Sis2 said enough was enough, with immediate effect.

She didn't leave her in the lurch, she spoke to our parents first and arranged for my mum and dad to step in until September, when DN was due to start almost ft nursery anyway.

Still with me? Sorry if it's long and boring complicated.

Sis1 is absolutely FURIOUS and so is her DH. I didn't see her for a couple of weeks after all this and when I eventually saw her at the weekend she was really ranting, horribly so, about how sis2 is not cut out to be a CM and that as family she shoudl be more flexible about lateness and illness and biting. She isn't speaking to her and is spitting with rage about the whole thing.

Back when I was first talking about stopping CMing (I gave her three months notice by the way), we talked about Sis2 looking after my DS2 (also 2) and sis1 finding alternative (ie not family) care. Sis1 went mad at us and said that as I was leaving her without childcare she got 'dibs' on sis2. This was fine and I have used a combination of different CMs since then, with DS2 going to my sister one day a week on the day my nieces don't go.

So now that all this has happened, sis2 has asked if she can have DS2 full time, which I am very happy with as I'd rather he went to the same CM all week. On a purely financial level, sis2 will make the same money from my one child than she has from our two nieces, due to the unpaid preschool hours across the week. And it's a much shorter day as DH and I work differing hours so he is home in time for school pick up.

So sis1 is convinced that sis2 is giving up for an easier life, and just refuses to see that she is in fact a bloody nightmare parent from a CM point of view. When I said than no CM would take a biter for long, particularly not after the fifth or sixth incident of drawn blood, she got really defensive and shouty.

I have tried patiently explaining that no CM would put up with the lateness (up to two hours, and more often than not) let alone everything else, and her response to that was that she can't just walk out of work on time if she's needed and we shoudl be more understanding as she's family. She is an office manager by the way not a surgeon...

So that's where we're at, I have no idea what else to say to her when she rants but I am not prepared to listen to her slagging off sis2 (who is bloody lovely tbh) when we have all, as a family, gone way above and beyond with childcare for her.

Oh, god, I'm sorry this is so long, bravo if you make it through. I think I just needed to get it off my chest.

I'm so stressed about this because if it comes down to a big family row it will be awful, so so far everyone is tiptoeing around sis1 and being all gentle with her but honestly I think I';m going to blow if she keeps ranting about it.

Preciousbane Wed 04-Jun-14 08:53:46

The problem is all about your sis who expects free childcare, you and other sis have done nothing wrong.

I can't imagine any CM Would have put up with her extreme lateness, I was late once when collecting dc from childcare due to traffic and would have been again but a friend collected my DS. That is once in about 8 years.

She is treating people badly because she is exploiting the blood is thicker than water stuff that means families put up with utterly horrendous behaviour because they are related.

I actually think you do need to tell your sister where to get off, I get the tiptoeing around. My mother is a total cow and we are all scared of her, apart from youngest dsis who is literally an extension of our Mother.

She just needs to sort out her own childcare, if you fall out will it be so bad? She sounds bloody awful.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 04-Jun-14 08:59:26

I suggest you 'blow'. Sounds like Sis1 needs her wings seriously clipping and it's long overdue. Life lesson ... never mix family and business. smile

Mintyy Wed 04-Jun-14 09:00:08

Sis1 probably knows she is in the wrong and is just ranting and being a bit shouty. She'll get over it. Is she doing anything to address her dd's tendency to bite? That is at the root cause of her problems and I agree that any other childminder would have eventually given notice in exactly the same way as sis2 has.

TheTerribleBaroness Wed 04-Jun-14 09:04:39

I think you should just blow. DSis1 needs a bit of a reality check.

cozietoesie Wed 04-Jun-14 09:05:14

Yep - I'd blow. It sounds as if she needs a life lesson or two. (Your Sis2 and you sound very lovely and tolerant but her, not so.)

Out of interest, what is she like on matters unconnected with children. Is she so entitled elsewhere?

Her attitude to the biting is awful, really. She keeps saying that all children bite and that sis2 is clueless because she has younger children. Well, I have three (and minded dozens) and NONE of them have bitten more than once, and never drawn blood like this.

Both girls are very very physical, its' funny because sis1 is hyper controlling about some things and then very relaxed (by my standards) about the girls fighting and climbing and jumping and running around. It was something I struggled with, I was forever having to tell them not to climb on my furniture or jump all over each other. But then woe betide me if I gave them the wrong food or let them sleep at the wrong time...

She is quite a difficult woman generally. I love her to bits, and we are close, but she is very much 'my way or the highway' and very highly strung.

We've all always tiptoed around her as she has frightening tantrums when things don't go her way, so it's easier for everyone to let her get her own way, I know that's awful.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 04-Jun-14 09:09:48

On the biting, it sounds like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. hmm

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 04-Jun-14 09:10:33

She's a bully. Never tiptoe around bullies because all you get is a bigger bully.... breeding mini-me bullies....

scarletforya Wed 04-Jun-14 09:12:29

Stop tip toeing around her. Give it to her with both barrels. She needs a reality check.

cozietoesie Wed 04-Jun-14 09:13:25

......I know that's awful.......

Well it is in a way but not, I think, in the way you mean - it's awful for you and others in the crosshairs.

Do you need to associate with her so much? There's no law that says you have to be bosom buddies with blood kin if you don't like them or want to.

minniebar Wed 04-Jun-14 09:18:46

It sounds like your whole family has been enabling sis1's behaviour for years. So while yes, she does deserve both barrels, I wouldn't be surprised if you then become the bad guy for 'overreacting' or 'not being supportive' etc - and not just from sis1.

Tread carefully. Possibly keep your powder dry (if you can) until Sept, when nursery will be raising exactly the same points all over again…

I don;t think we've done her any favours in the long run, tbh. She has a really warped view of what childcare shoudl be, I think. She treated me like a Nanny (for £600 a month for two children!) and has no concept of teh reality of life for most working parents.

I'm off with DS2 today, and Dh was off yesterday, he has a fever and rash so we couldn't (wouldn't) send him to his CM. We've both run out of Annual leave so this is unpaid. That's what you have to do. She sent DN1 to me, and then our parents when I absolutely refused, for two weeks with a raging fever, floppy and proper ill. She ended up in hospital with it. Up to that point my sister kept saying that we'd HAVE to look after her because she couldn't take time off unpaid. Not that it matters but she earns twice as much as any of us.

cozietoesie Wed 04-Jun-14 09:22:53

Pity the poor nursery. (Although having to deal with the 'real world' rather than cowed family members may be good for her.)

BY treated me like a Nanny I mean as though I worked FOR her and had to follow her specific instructions for the day, despite running a thriving business and having several other mindees. God knows how I managed, really, I look back in horror at it all.

I think full time nursery will be a massive wake up for her.

ScrambledSmegs Wed 04-Jun-14 09:24:22

Oh, god, don't blow up at her!

Sorry, I know your family dynamics and you don't want to be the bad guy. If you do you give her the opportunity to play the victim card. I remember your previous threads stalker alert

But I'd be honest. Brutally so, maybe. Every time she rants, tell her she brought it on herself. Stuck record, all of the time. Calmly, pleasantly, but completely honest.

Stuck record approach is a good one I think.

That's pretty much what I did at the weekend, just kept repeating that no cm woudl keep on a biter for long.

cozietoesie Wed 04-Jun-14 09:25:42

x post. You're saying Yes to her too much. More NOs would be a good thing.

How does her DH figure in this? Is he genuinely of the same mindset as her or going for a quiet life like the rest of you?

(I'm edgy about how her kids are going to be in all this though.)

cozietoesie Wed 04-Jun-14 09:26:49

Ah right, Scrambled. I don't recall previous threads.

ScrambledSmegs Wed 04-Jun-14 09:28:29

I've been here a loooong time. I remember when all this <waves arm expansively> was fields.

I also have a spreadshit <lies>

MaryWestmacott Wed 04-Jun-14 09:30:55

I think you can blow, or you can ask her how she's going to change her pick up issues and her DCs behaviour issues as neither are going to be acceptable in a non-family childcare setting. It's just not going to be an option anymore.

She's ranting because the alternative is to accept she's in the wrong, sadly, seems Dsis1 is one of those people who has the world against her and it's never her responsibility. So nothing you say or shout will change that, let her learn for herself when she's looking for new childcare every few months. I'd talk to your parents now and get them to agree that after September they won't do childcare, because Dsis1 needs to learn she's got to change her behaviour, and she won't if they keep solving it for her.

Personally, I'd avoid seeing her for a few months, let her calm down and perhaps have the shock that actually, nurseries won't let you rock up 2 hours late, will change you full rates, won't let your DCs act like terrors...

nilbyname Wed 04-Jun-14 09:33:39

It sounds like you have told her what is going on, and neither you or your other sister are minding her kids, so the problem is over now....

I second scrambled just say the same thing over and over...

"I know you're upset about this, and as I have explained to you, you completely took the proverbial when we CM for you. Its finished now, lets move on"

Her DH is lovely, but clearly on her page with this. They obviously adore their girls and are feeling quite defensive about what they see as a rejection of them.

I have tried to make it clear that from my POV, and our other sister's, it's not a rejection of the girls, but of the whole situation. But then she gets defensive about that. She told me that she was NEVER late picking up from sis2. Well, except for every day over the last eight weeks, but then she CAN'T just walk out of work on time as she has an important job. I just don't know what to say to that.

DH has an 'important job' and he downs tools at 3pm when his day ends, he has even walked out of meetings. His take is that he needs to pick the kids up at 3.30 so that's that (he works 7-3). In five years of CMing I never had any other late parents, all professionals in 'important' jobs.

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