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Please help me stop being bitter by a lack of support

(127 Posts)
AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 11:09:53

I am so disapointed by the lack of support. We live in a different city to our families and don't have any help. I am going between anger and tears when I think about the last few months and I need to let this poison go.

I have been working full time, communting 3+ hours a day whilst my 6yo goes to before and after school club. OH had an operation about 3 weeks ago and so I have needed to drop off and pick up on top of everything else.

A stupid parent I don't know stopped me in the street last week to tell me how sorry she felt for my 6yo as he is being dragged out of the house in the early morning. Her lovely little girl was with her and so I just said a lame 'aren't we all just trying to do our best?'. I feel so guilty and tired. I don't have it all; I'm doing it all.

I asked my parents for help and they said they would if I lived nearer. I last spoke to them 2 weeks ago when they rang to tell me how tired they were after looking after my sister's kids. I told them I was hurt and frustrated by their lack of support and that this was insenstive. OH's parents are coming over Easter and I feel so bitter. Nether set of parents have helped and so I can't be fecked having them as visitors.

I am quite blunt but feel ready to explode - I understand this is unfair.

I now have a break and can't understand why, more than ever, I feel so hurt and frustrated. We are now over the worst and I should be enjoying time off with my lovely family and friends. I want to get to a point that I can let insensitive comments aside.

The situation isn't going to get better. They aren't going to change and I need to change how I feel about this. Has anyone been able to put negative feeings aside?

something2say Fri 29-Mar-13 11:14:32

Aww w I think you need a good mate and a whinge of around an hour. It is very unfair on you to be carrying such a load and to then listen to your parents speak about what they have been doing for your sister. Xxx. All I can say is, it won't last forever.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 11:21:44

Oh yes. smile I've been a single parent since birth nearly 13 years ago, live 200 miles from anything approaching family, have few close friends in the area and have therefore muddled through the whole thing, largely paying others for childcare/babysitting and making various sacrifices myself. Sometimes I wonder whether things could have been different/better with more help or a more traditional set-up.... playdates, chatting at the school gates, nights out etc... but this was the route I chose so I don't see the point in crying over spilt milk. Occasionally I get annoyed about insensitive remarks like 'OH was out of town for three days so now I know what it's like to be a single parent like you'... hmm. Most of the time, however, I choose to be extraordinarily proud that I've single-handedly raised a really pleasant soon-to-be teen, provided us with a good lifestyle and that we have a great Mum/Son relationship.

I'd have probably told your 'stupid parent' if she was aware she was being so patronising... smile

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 11:38:11

Cogito, what if your parents and ils helped family with free childcare, diy, etc?

My commute to work by public transport is the same as the car journey from my home city to here.

something2say my friend has asked us over next week. I was going to cry off because I am so tired and the house is a shithole. We're going to go, they are great fun.

I know there are great spects to my life. This self pity and bitterness is doing me no good.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 11:45:01

They do... I have a DB and SIL who live close to my parents and, naturally, my parents can help more with their lives and their DS than mine. Occasionally that strikes me as unfair but it's my choice to live where I do and the way I do, not theirs. I'm a grown-up, they're not responsible for me. If we were all more closely situated I don't know, maybe I'd feel differently.

You asked for their help, they turned you down and you've said you were annoyed about it. End of episode. Bitterness only affects you, not them.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 11:53:58

How do you not care? My OH feels the same as you but I just can't. Financial and practical support should be the same.

I don't think working so hard is a choice for me. I have a mortgage to pay and my OH's salary isn't enough.

I am a better parent and will be a better GP (if I get the chance)

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 12:01:41

How would it benefit me to care? How would it improve my life keeping some kind of balance sheet of what they do for others compared to me? I'm an independent woman, I have a (small) family of my own and I take great pride in providing for and caring for my family to the best of my ability. As a single parent I have even less choice than you to work hard .. but I see that as an accomplishment, don't you? Like many other ambitious women, I didn't get a degree just to sit home doing crosswords and expect some man (or a couple of pensioners) to ease my way through life. I can point to everything I have achieved professionally or personally and say 'I did that'. smile

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 12:28:05

I admire the way you can rise above the unfairness. I feel the same accomplishments as you do but I still do care and can't let it go.

I have asked for help and been turned down. My parents are willing and able to provide an abundance of support - I hope my siblings are as supportive when they need help (is how I feel at the moment).

It has changed the way I feel about this group of pensioners.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 12:35:25

Group of pensioners? So you think all people your parents' age are selfish old bats that deserve to be left to rot? hmm That says more about you than it does about them I think. FWIW I've told my DS ... semi-seriously... not to count on help from 'Granny Cog' when /if that situation arises because she'll be jetting round the world, enjoying cruises and generally blowing his inheritance. Pays to set the expectations low...

Charbon Fri 29-Mar-13 13:01:18

I disagree.

While I agree that parents are entitled to their own lives, I don't think it's at all unreasonable to seek some help from family members when you need it. These were special circumstances when your husband was in hospital, you were working and commuting full time and were 100% responsible for the childcare, while having the worry about your husband and having to fit in hospital visits.

If your parents are fit and well, I think it would have been entirely appropriate to offer some help in these extenuating circumstances, let alone agree to help when they had to wait to be asked.

It's okay to tell them that you're disappointed with their response and to feel disappointment and resentment. You've had a rough ride. I hope DH is soon up to full strength and that you can get a break soon.

NothingsLeft Fri 29-Mar-13 13:18:13

OP I felt the same as you. My DS is only a year but I've had bugger all support from anyone. My parents live 30mins away, i barely see them. They wont help out anyway. My sister is closer but always busy.

I felt massively bitter for ages. It's tough seeing everyone else with their supportive families when you are struggling. I had terrible PND from sleep deprivation and lack of support. I could not get past these fuckers not helping me. I was literally losing my mind and they still wouldn't help. It is shit. i felt betrayed. i will never feel the same about them again.

The positive is I now feel totally absolved from any future caring duties or the need to be helpful grin People fit in with us or we don't go it. I'm less fussed about seeing them, I don't kill myself trying to fit them in.

I've gone above and beyond to help them over the years. I'm generally a helpful person. Not any more. That's it as far as I'm concerned.

Now I spend my thinking time and energy on myself, my immediate family and with people where it's reciprocated. We are all much happier for it too smile

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 13:27:51

Couple of pensioners was your phrase and I changed it to group. Not sure why that offended you so.

They are not old or past it. Last time we saw them, was when we hosted a nice dinner in November. Their journey was not too far then. hmm

I'm very upset that they couldn't help. I'm also upset that they don't want to see their GS unless they get a free meal out of it. My ils should have visited their son. He wasn't seriously ill, but has been in pain. Their parenting and grand parenting had been utterly shite. I'm allowed to think that. They are allowed to believe.(as you do) that I should just get on with it. For the record both sets of parents had enormous amounts of family help with baby sitting. They didn't need childcare because both mums stayed home.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 29-Mar-13 13:32:07

They help your sister with her kids but not you? That kind of favouritism is extremely hurtful. I am not surprised you feel sad and resentful, especially when you are so tired.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 13:32:24

thanks charbon. I hate this pity party funk I am in. I am normally sensible and independent. I so far I have left the room three times to cry. Ffs. I'm a grown woman.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 13:40:20

Nothing, I'm starting to feel as you do with regard to treating them they way they treat me. It sounds like you have been able to put your disappointment aside. thanks

Charbon Fri 29-Mar-13 13:44:53

I think you're probably exhausted as well as disappointed and resentful. When a loved one is in pain and in hospital, there is a lot of unseen emotional labour at a time when the physical workload demands are high. I'm not surprised that you've crashed a bit on the first day you've had the chance to slow down.

If people are selfish then it doesn't magically disappear when they become grandparents or older in years. In fact sometimes selfishness and self-absorption gets worse, combined with short memories about all the help they themselves received when their children were small.

The thoughtless parent's comment has probably sent you over the edge a bit too. This was an extraordinarily insensitive thing to say to a woman who was trying her best in difficult circumstances. The only appropriate thing to have said would have been to offer some help herself. Don't suppose she did though?

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 14:09:24

I haven't had more than 5 hours sleep a night for about three months.

I know ibu because I don't want to see my ils tomorrow and yet here I am complaining about not seeing them. My oh is such a nice man. He agreed because our ds would love to see them. I can't be bothered to clean the house. They are very fussy and I cannot be doing with feeding them.
Last thing I want to do is fall out with my oh. We are both tired and frustrated and I'm not in the mood for this visit.

Charbon Fri 29-Mar-13 14:21:30

If your partner is unable to help you with doing 50% of the cleaning and cooking, then I'd suggest he rings his parents and tells them that you'd love to see them but the house is not going to be perfect and your meal is going to be very simple, because you are both exhausted.

The most reasonable response from them would be to say they aren't coming to inspect the house and that they couldn't care less about the bill of fare; they are coming to spend time as family.

The kindest thing to offer if they can afford it is to offer to take you all out for something to eat and to arrive early, make you some tea and get the rubber gloves on.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 14:30:00

He vacuuming using crutches. confused

OhLori Fri 29-Mar-13 14:45:10

I've had waves of this kind of bitterness for similar reasons i.e. no help from parent(s) (and I had no partner to help me either).

All I can say is you are entitled to your bitterness from time to time (who isn't?) but perhaps your energy would be best used to make your own life easier and building plans around creating that? Including your partner helping more once he is better? Also, 3 hours' commute 5-days-a-week is alot, perhaps that could be changed? You could still ask your parents for help regularly too, sometimes things do change a bit in relationships ...

However. for now, 5 hours sleep a night for 3 months is a recipe for disaster IMO. If you really are at the end of your tether, take some time off work sick. You could have one last check with your parents and parents-in-law to ask for help before you choose to do this. See what they say, they may then realise how serious things are, you never know...

independentfriend Fri 29-Mar-13 15:24:58

If neither set of parents will help/both have let you down, then you at least know where you are with them. You can put time and effort into finding other sources of support that are more useful to you/actually around when you need them.

Maybe there's a friend who'll look after your child for a day, while you get a day to rest?
Maybe your OH can get more support from his GP/the district nurse/the hospital with the ongoing recovery?
Maybe you can afford to spend money on things that will save you time effort (online grocery shopping, a cleaner etc)?

There's probably lots more, but my advice is to do find workarounds for the current situation where you don't have enough support and address the difficulties with both sets of parents later on. Maybe you'll find yourselves otherwise engaged the next time they suggest a family get together.

RiffyWammal Fri 29-Mar-13 15:51:41

I understand, it feels so shit and unfair when you're struggling and parents could do so much to help but don't because of their own selfishness. I experienced this myself when our kids were much younger and I still feel bitter! I don't think I will stop feeling resentful until I get the opportunity to tell them all exactly how I feel about them letting me down. I'm not going to be the one to bring it up first though, but I hope the subject comes up one day.

My DH's mother also did (and still does) everything for his brothers' families but was always too busy to help ours. Well all I can say is, I hope his brothers and their wives like looking after old ladies because it won't be us doing it!

NothingsLeft Fri 29-Mar-13 16:08:55

'It sounds like you have been able to put your disappointment aside'

I'm working in it and definitely getting there.

My parents are unable to come and see us next week as they are looking after my sisters dog. The dog often trumps DS. This week they were busy helping friends move and looking after my niece.

I'm obviously hurt but then i made plans to see people that are interested in a reciprocal relationship. As others have said, I can't change it, so I'm now building a support network.

I never thought in a million years I would have to do this but there you go. I won't forget it though.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 17:21:20

NothingsLeft I'm sad and angry. My parents used to use the excuse of their dog.

RiffyWammal I'm not sure I can wait to say anything. This is eating me up. I'm so resentful. If I win the euromillions, they can all go feck themselves.

I am self employed and have unexpected bills to pay. Even so, I'm not going to take my next contract which means I have 3-4 weeks off. I don't have anything lined up. I have a couple of job applications to fill in for the people I have been working for. I just cannot continue to keep going at a million miles an hour. I've always managed to find work and I have to trust that I will after this small break.

I've arranged a sleep over my friend will have my DS for two nights over half term.

I'm still not looking forward to tomorrow. I'm cooking what I was already planning even though they will probably turn their nose up. I'm not going to buy any special needs drinks and OH can run around after them/or not.

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 29-Mar-13 17:38:31

Give yourself a break. Get yourself a cleaner and someone to do the ironing or lower your standards. You have a really challenging job, a child and a dh on crutches. No wonder you are worn out.

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 29-Mar-13 17:42:24

Buy a load of stuff that can be heated up for tomorrow's meal and get your OH to put it in the oven too. Shove all the mess from the house in a cardboard box and chuck in garage. Don't bust a gut when they don't. Run a bath and Relax.

whitecloud Fri 29-Mar-13 18:45:16

I really feel for you. Things like this are always worse when you are exhausted. I think the worst thing is seeing that other people get more support and you don't get any. In my experience families can be very selfish, very biased towards one member or members and really oblivious to the needs of others. But if the boot is ever on the other foot and they are finding things rough they might start thinking you are going to run after them all the time. You won't have to feel guilty then for withdrawing and letting them get on with it.

I remember meeting someone when my dd was little who had in laws and parents very near. All she ever did was moan about them. I had no family help and it used to make me so angry. Many people have absolutely no idea what it is like to cope alone and not much imagination either. Hope you feel better soon. If you can pamper yourself and get a bit of help, I would.

marriedinwhiteagain Fri 29-Mar-13 18:57:54

Because you are exhausted and you are doing your best and other people are making you feel it isn't good enough. It's more than good enough it's awesome.

We didn't have any help either and it used to irk me too but our DC are 14 and 18 now and there is a certain satisfaction in owing nothing to anybody else.

If you are exhausted - why are you having them for Easter? Couldn't you have said I'd love to but I haven't had a break since, Xmas, DH has been ill and I need some me time just with the family.

Good luck - try to have a nice Easter and remember you have held it together this long and you will continue to hold it together selfish bastards

NothingsLeft Fri 29-Mar-13 19:31:34

Bit late now but I agree with married about having people over.

I made this mistake for a while then got really stressed and bitter before realising when you're struggling, your down time is for napping, resting, whatever it takes to recharge a bit. Sod other people.

I have even said 'if you are not coming to help then you are not welcome here at the moment'. They still don't help but taking control helps with the resentment.

I don't think its unreasonable to be very clear when you see them about how hard it's been and that some help would be appreciated. If not, look elsewhere for it. As you say, they won't change and you will make yourself ill keep thinking about it. I know I did.

Really hope you get to rest and take it easy smile.

Kat101 Fri 29-Mar-13 19:51:35

If YABU then so am i, with bells on. My IL's live 200 miles away and only like to visit, not get involved in anything that constitutes work. We have taken a big step back, not invited them for ages and not been up there much. We are 8 years in to parenting with several young children and bloody knackered. I have decided this year that if I'm consigned to do all the graft then I'm at least going to do it on my terms without 2 extra lazy fuckers sat on my couch waiting for cups of tea

Yama Fri 29-Mar-13 20:00:16

What a horrible comment from that school parent. How very dare she comment on your child. Please don't let it get to you. Allow me to be angry on your behalf. My eldest goes to breakfast and after school club. And bloody loves it. Early to bed offsets being up so early.

And yes, you have a right to feel resentful. My parents are 100 miles away and would come down at the drop of a hat if I needed them. So would mil.

I want to be like that for my children no matter how old they are. It gives strength just knowing that someone wants to help.

imaginethat Fri 29-Mar-13 20:10:32

I think you are probably feeling very emotional right now because you are exhausted from caring for an ill/injured OH, a young child, and from work. Anyone would

Give yourself a break. Use a cleaning service for a few weeks. Buy food that only needs heating.

Having people round should be about the joy of seeing them not wearing yourself out.

Corygal Fri 29-Mar-13 20:33:20

I totally sympathise with you - you must both be shattered, you have had an awful time, you poor things. No wonder you're grumpy. I would be.

Re the parents - thing is, just because you've got a point, doesn't mean anything will change. But you can make it easier on yourself by letting go. That is so much easier said than done. Give it a go tho'. Whatever you do, let everyone know your PIL and parents are useless.

Allow yourself the odd remark with a tinkly laugh like 'I hope SIL likes eldercare' when they next bang on re favouritism, not to mention the all-time classic 'So sad we're too far away to help each other' if the tables turn. PS When the tables turn.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 20:38:11

ILs arranged this visit with OH; I would have said it was too much this weekend.

I have quite a good job; my peers all seem to cope with the work life balance of managing children much better than I do. They all some have support. I try not listen to their gripes and moans about free childcare.

The horribily judgemental mother and I aren't on chatting terms. She thinks she knows a lot about my life though hmm. She must be nice because her little girl is so lovely. I'm going to be blunt next time I see her and ask her to keep her judgements to herself.

Kat101 That is it exactly; this is a visit for them. Disgraceful of them to expect my hospitality when they have been no help whatsoever. I would feel a smidge better if they appreciated how hard I work at everything. One snide comment like 'gosh if you are working such long hours you must be loaded' and they will see my arse. Over the last few years we have spent at least £35K on childcare.

I feel a little bit better. thanks everyone.

ElectricSheep Sat 30-Mar-13 01:16:12

Perhaps you need to have a word with your OH too about checking with you before he inflicts his parents on you. Does he understand/appreciate just how much you've had on your plate while he's been ill?

Bedtime1 Sat 30-Mar-13 04:19:10

Im sorry for you op. Parents/ills who'd blooming have em hey? I've no advice on this as I'm coping with bitterness/ anger etc towards my parents. Not child related. All I can say is though, if they aren't thoughtful people then they aren't going to change, no matter what you say and the worst thing is having somebody around who resents it. Have people around that genuinely want to be around. I would get help in, even if it costs because you can't do everything yourself, Don't make yourself poorly.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 07:31:21

I've slept until 7, which is a massive lie in. I feel a bit better but still feel like I could sob or rant if someone says something insensitive.

Being in such a negative place is draining. They aren't worth the time I'm giving them. Not least because they aren't thinking of me. I know this and still can't take my own advice.

I must be mad; I've arrange a weekend away with one of my friends. I feel too tired to make an effort. I'm also going to make time to exercise every day.

I will speak to DH before my next contract. I'm ashamed to feel resentful of my oh. To be fair to him, I think because I've managed, he thinks I'm ok. I feel like this has changed everything. He knows I'm upset but not the extent of it. He probably thinks it will blow over but it's changed how I feel.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 30-Mar-13 08:39:14

What does your OH usually do OP. When he's not recovering from an operation?

I think some people just don't see what others do. My MILs attitude was always "well I didn't have any help". And she didn't but her husband worked shifts and was around sometimes in the day time so she could pop out on her own. My mother had her parents whenever she wanted it and told me I was lucky because on the one hand there was no-one to interfere and on the other I never had to beg for help. she also once told me I was lazy

I do know that the added stress of having a family member recovering from something serious is incalculable though and I have only done it for a week with DH and that was before children and then once or twice with each DC. What you have been through recently is enough to drive you to breaking point and you have my every sympathy. But, I think it will pass and you will feel better as things around you get better.

In all likelihood your DH genuinely didn't appreciate how tired you would be and he probably arranged this ages ago. Parents do forget what it was like and remember all the good bits and I think they do genuinely get tired as they get older and have to pace themselves more; I know I do and I'm only 53.

But a full time job, a 6 year old (do you have other children?), a sick DH, and it's tough. But it will pass. Can you arrange something to look forward to and hang on to it; and when they are here, give them a few little jobs even if it's only taking your ds to the park or buy three cinema tickets and send them out with him for the afternoon.

With love ....and breathe wine bit early brew

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 08:55:20

The idea either set of parents would take my only ds out is laughable. They are coming for a visit and not to help in any way. This is why I'm so upset really. Dh was crazy to arrange a visit on that basis.
We are all off next week and I would have been in a much more positive state of mind if I was less tired. Even a week would have made a difference.

I know he is stuck in the middle but I really need to talk to DH about how upset I am. I am blazing that anyone thinks it appropriate to visit today when they have been no help at all. I am happy to be polite but I have nothing more to offer. They area very demanding and I have no intention of pandering to them. As dh wants them here, he can run around after them or not.

Recipe for disaster. Yesterday I was sad and now I'm angry.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 30-Mar-13 08:59:02

Are they just coming for the day? And then you are off all next week?

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 09:05:36

Oh is a very kind person and is of the opinion you should treat guests as you would liked to be treated and not how others treat you. I'm over that. It means we are good hosts and great guests. They are crap at both.

Oh is a great father and old feel I should be grateful because he isn't down the pub and playing golf all weekend. I earn a lot more than he does and work longer hours. They are very old fashioned. I'm finding it hard to say anything nice about any of them.

I feel more and more that oh keeping the peace is causing more problems. I feel betrayed by his lack of support in this area. He knows they haven't been any help. He is being the bigger person knows ds would like to see them. I want ds to have a good relationship with them. It's the only reason I haven't gone out for the day.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 09:08:53

Ils not old.
I know it seems unreasonable but they were off next week and door the rest of their lives. I was a working yesterday and this is my first day off since I went back after xmas. I am self employed and so often work at night and weekends.

The timing of the visit suits them and them only.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 09:12:21

Predictive text is driving me mad. Sorry for the errors.

Basically they could come anytime. They want to come today between x to x time. They want lunch and dinner. They are stopping somewhere on the way, as usual.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 30-Mar-13 09:32:12

Now, brace yourself.

Our DC are 18 and 14 (nearly 15). I work full-time and DH works full-time plus. Neither of us have had a day off since Xmas either (although we aren't having visitors this weekend except for the usual trail of teenagers and probably a few who will sleep here.

DH and I cannot see both our parents anymore - our fathers are now dead. That means DH visits his elderly mother 250 miles away monthly and I deal with everything those weekends.

This is for one day and they are entitled to see their grandchild. Afterwards they will be going home again - ours used to come for the week - yes the whole week and with a host of dietary requirements.

Your ILs did their childcare and heavy duty household management a generation ago; you are doing it now. Your child and your household are your responsibility and it is also your responsibility to see your in-laws and parents from time to time. You have to cook lunch and dinner anyway - today you are cooking for five not three.

Next week you are off for the week (I'm not) I think you need to get on with it and keep a smile on your face whilst you do. It doesn't seem half as bad to me as you have painted it. Whilst I accept that you are tired and you want some time to yourself - you have that next week. Many many people would like some extra help but it doesn't sound as though usually you are having to support more than your family unit.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 10:01:01

You are entitled to have your views. DH and ds are off for Easter holidays. I'm so tired that I've decided not to renew my current contact because I simply can't do any more. Next week, I'll work 1/2 day in the office and will spend some time looking for my next contract. The rest of the time I'll be sorting the house out and arranging for essential building work to be carried out. I haven't had time to tidy up and now I can't be bothered.

For me this isn't as simple as my ils coming for 7 hours and seeing their ds and Dgs. There is too much history to view this day in isolation. They have not been since way before Christmas. They have avoided coming and offering help. They could have taken DH out for lunch whilst he was house bound. They could have visited when ds's school closed because of snow.

They are coming to visit on my first day off since Christmas. I am resentful they have not helped but expect to be wined and dined. If we needed their help today, they would cancel their visit. I can't be my normal gracious self. I want to feel better about my situation and be less bitter. I feel differently about them all.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 10:14:02

I know I'm not the only working mother. I am not a single parent and have the financial, practical and emotional support of my oh. I know many people do without the help of their families. Our siblings DO HAVE support. I have asked for specific, practical help during a time i have found challenging and been turned down.

I don't feel like they are entitled to see their GC on a specific day that doesn't suit me. Next week would have been much better.

I will endure this visit in the knowledge we won't see them until Christmas or when it next suits them. I have plans to visit my home city but we'll stay with friends. If my oh makes plans I will join in. I shan't take the initiative and won't be making any effort to visit them.

I know how horrible this makes me sound. I need to concentrate in the positive people in my life.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 10:29:58

Married I understand what you are saying and do so want to put this into perspective.

I agree my family are my responsibility. Both sets of parents had a lot of family support.

Bedtime1 Sat 30-Mar-13 11:57:17

Angela- I understand . You really need to get some rest and try and look after yourself. I wish your husband would have discussed this visit with you then you could have told him how you feel and that it's too much right now. If he wanted to see them them so be it but it doesn't mean you have to.
It's happening now though and things can't be changed but you could still nip out . You know do the polite hello for a while then say you have to go somewhere. Your husband can manage tea and take care of little one then you go somewhere and do something that will relax you.

Bedtime1 Sat 30-Mar-13 12:01:39

Oh and I think if you take control. Accept that they will be who they are. If they won't offer then no point in getting then to do something they resent. Better to leave it and sort out child care and work. You need a balance. Can you pay for some help? Child care? Cleaning ? Ironing? .

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 12:12:22

Thanks for putting up with my self pity. I have appreciated all views. Two things will see me through:
1) I have explicitly said to my oh that this visit is ill timed and that they are unfair to expect to visit without being prepared to help. he has a busy afternoon of running around after them.
2) My lovely, elderly neighbor brought homemade casserole thingy and an egg for ds. I get her heavy shopping on my internet shop. She said I looked like I've been busy. It was a lovely surprise and I gave her a big kiss. I don't think she's on MNwink .

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 12:20:37

I've arranged to have my ds's lovely little friend and his mum well reciprocate. I'm not that worried about that. My friends little one has starting for a few nights and she is having ds for the next school holidays.

I'm going to try to reduce my hours. I needed to go through our budget and see what I can do to help myself. They have burnt bridges with me and I need to act differently for my own sanity. I will be polite and have made our fave dinner. It's what we would have had anyway. If they turn their nose up, tough.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 12:23:57

Mning on my phone isn't going well. Sorry.

To recap I have two arranged sleepovers over the next two weeks. Ds deserves a treat and his friends are lovely. At least one well be reciprocated in May.

Bedtime1 Sat 30-Mar-13 12:28:59

Angela sounding so much happier ! Well done you. If they don't like it they can lump it.
I think you taking control will make you feel so much better and empowered that you don't feel you have to rely on them. Then in future you don't have to do much for them In return. Next time they visit make sure it's a day you have chosen or if your husband insists on a day they want then you will have to be already engaged so he will have to see to them. Taking that control back and choosing your day things like this I think will make you feel a better! Good luck today. Lets us know how you get on . Keep calm and carry on

Kat101 Sat 30-Mar-13 13:54:32

Let us know how it goes. My ILs don't like my food because we have to buy basics brand, they like waitrose finest or m+s. They insist on going to the chinese takeaway. It couldn't worry me less tbh - their stomachs, their money, their choice. If they decided not to visit because we can't meet their specific tastes well that would be their choice too. They are not paying guests so tough!

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 21:59:14

Glad that's over with. It was like Christmas with clothes, chocolate and toys. Ds would rather see them. I'm sad for him.

I didn't have any deep conversations because ds was about. I've been blunt about about how I feel without being rude. For my family that it the best thing.

I'm responsible for my own family. I'm going to concentrate on what's best for them and for me. I hope I can leave this negativity behind.

happyon Sat 30-Mar-13 22:14:14

I know lots of posters will tell you you're selfish for expecting parents to help, but I understand. My parents live abroad but will drop anything to help if we need them and I hope to be the same for my children. This is family we are talking about, we are meant to help each other, aren't we? Living in a place full of expats, I've got used to lots of us acting as though we are family and it feels entirely normal to me that people who care about each other, help each other out. I'm glad my children are growing up to expect close family and friends to pitch in when necessary.

AngelaMartinLipton Sat 30-Mar-13 23:27:47

I think our parents should help out and I know this is an unpopular view on mn.

I agree that my family are my responsibility. However, both sets of parents had a lot of family support and had babysitting on tap. I needed help with childcare whilst my oh was in hospital and recovering. Like everyone else we have had tough times over the past few years. I'm gutted that they wouldn't help and it has spoilt things. I can't feel the same about them.

I am hoping I won't always feel so hurt and betrayed. Acting differently will hopefully help this process.

pollypandemonium Sat 30-Mar-13 23:49:32

You shouldn't be feeling betrayed because someone can't help you out. You are overloading this with significance when actually what's happened is that you are exhausted through your own choice of having a big mortgage and choosing to commute and work long hours.

If you want childcare and an easier life move in with your parents/inlaws or closer to them - take a lower mortgage if need be but please don't complain in this way as you are feeding your own hostility and probably destroying a very important relationship.

Stop and take a re-read of your posts. You sound angry and unsympathetic, eg.

They could have taken DH out for lunch whilst he was house bound.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 31-Mar-13 00:15:49

They could have helped but at the time they chose not to. Sadly I suspect that they have already written this off. The worst part of this is when in their heads they have helped god knows how.

My DM was very good at collectivising her help so that helping out one of her DCs was helping out us all.

This sort of thing does change the dynamic. I am guessing that in the years to come you will be less available. The period over which you need help is in fact very short but in that time the need is acute. There will be months and years to come when they would like help. I will understand if you are a bit grudging with that help.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 00:23:34

We will agree to disagree. I haven't got a huge mortgage and don't live on a different continent. It takes me longer to get to work than it would for them to get here.

I think asking for help once in six years isn't too much to ask. Help and support has been one way street from us to them. Now I understand that help will never be forthcoming, I can move on and act differently. If this relationship is important to them, it hasn't been made obvious.

I'm not sure what sympathy they need. I cannot empathise; I am a different type of parent. I can't imagine not helping my ds or his cousins. If they need help - even when they are adults, I will be there and so would my oh.

I am angry because they are only happy to visit when it suits them. They COULD have visited when my DH in hospital or at home poorly. They didn't want to because they wanted a hot meal and to be waited on.

This visit was ill timed and my OH should have put them off for a few days.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 00:30:38

I actually do feel less upset now they have gone. I think deciding to distance myself has helped. To keep giving in such an unequal relationship would be intolerable.

My DH can of course arrange visits and I will be hospitable and polite. We can disagree and get along. I won't be facilitating arrangements. I have made it clear that HE is responsible for making sure ds sees his folks.

pollypandemonium Sun 31-Mar-13 02:24:11

If they didn't think the relationship was important they wouldn't have come to visit you at all. I think you should be grateful that they are interested. We haven't had a MIL visit for 10 years despite numerous requests. DM too old to help and even when younger it was occasional babysitting if we gave her lift there and back. Actually that's a more common scenario than the over-involved GPs. You are being very unreasonable and you should reflect on your motives as there must be more behind it than you are alluding to. You are setting up a conflict between DH and his family simply because you think they have a duty to help you. You are entitled and arrogant. Sorry.

nailak Sun 31-Mar-13 02:45:01

I also think that your lifestyle is your choice. Buying a house was a choice you made with the knowledge of the financial burden this carries. You chose to buy a house an hour and a hlaf away from where you work. If you live an hour away from family you cannot expect as much support as if you live nearer.

However I do think in times of crisis families should support each other, and they were wrong for not doing so.

pollypandemonium Sun 31-Mar-13 02:59:20

I don't think your inlaws need sympathy or empathy from you - just respect. You need to respect that they have their life and are content with it the way it is for now. You need to give them the benefit of the doubt that your time may come later - perhaps when the children are older or if you live closer to them. But if you create conflict now you will simply destroy any chance you had with them. I think you are exhausted and you need to calm down before you create a real problem that will be very hard to fix.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 31-Mar-13 09:08:55

Just to clarify: you're exhausted and have had extenuating circumstances lately. You have asked for help but have recieved none. Your PILs help out teir other children, but never you and OH. They came over to your house (an I right in thinking you weren't asked about this before the arrangements were made?) on their terms?

On page one of this thread you got ehat i feel is sone great advice: basically if it doesnt fit into your life dont do it. I feel a lot of this problem might be avoided in future if you set the terms concerning your life and your family rather than letting someone who isnt in your daily life set the terms for you. In this case I get the feeling that there was no negotiation on what would work for everyone and you just had to go aling with what everyone else wanted. Is that correct?

As for comparasins of what other people have to/dont have to deal with - that serms a bit irrelevant really. Everyone has their own personal limits in what they do and dont find accrptable/managable - yoh sound very at your limit. Whetjer you're an SAHM, PTWM,FTWM...whatever...everyone has there own personal physical, mental, emitional, situational circumstances and being aware of what you can ans can't do andrespectfully setting limits is perfectly acceptable IMHO. Boundaries are important - sounds to me everyone else has theirs firmly in place: where are yours?

I feel if you do that you'll feel more in control and less resentful.

Kat101 Sun 31-Mar-13 09:24:20

Oh my goodness, I am going to print out this thread as a lot of it is so relevant to the way I feel about my ILs. FWIW I think the gp's should really have helped - their son was in hospital, not off on a jolly and their DIL and beloved GC's needed them.

Loolah has it spot on.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 09:48:44

I do understand that they are entitled to have different opinions and to live their life as they want. I moved here after a long and fruitless job search. I totally agree that the situation I am in is of my making.

This isn't a general complaint about a lack of babysitting, picking up ds from school, stepping in when school has unexpectedly closed or ds is ill. I understand distance makes contact harder and that it is logistically easier to give suport to our siblings and their children. It is unfair of them to provide support to the rest of the family and none to mine.

I have realised that if they will not help over the last difficult month, they won't ever and I need to base my future decisions on that. My question is how I can stop feeling negatively and move on;I have decided to stop expecting them to behave differently and to behave differently myself.

Both sets of parents are wrong not to have helped when we needed support and immediately expect us to host a lovely visit because it will make a nice start to the Easter weekend for them. They only want to visit when it suits them AND when there is something in it for them. I will not enable this behaviour anymore. I will support my OH in whatever relationship he wants to to foster; I will not manage contact.

Respect, interest and co-operation should be something families and friends are prepared to do for each other and it can't be all one way. Deferential regard because they are parents and I am their (adult) child is not something I am prepared to do.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 09:57:28

Loolah you are correct. I am upset because this visit was arranged at the last minute outside my control. My OH had the best of intentions in arranging for my DS to see his (uninterested) gps. I finished work on Good Friday, the house was a tip and we had no food in. A few days to get up to date before would have been appreciated and I made this clear.

ILs like to have 2-3 weeks notice if we visit. I feel they should expect the same of themselves. I should be able to say that a visit does not suit and arrange a mutually agreeable time. We are not children; we are all adults and deserve the same respect and consideration. I will feel better to be in control.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 31-Mar-13 10:50:15

The sad thing is that in your PiLs' heads they probably think they are helping out. They are helping out your OH's siblings and if they are anything like my DM they see that as being their grandparental duty satisfied. My DM would help out my DB and see the visits to us (we lived abroad and paid for her to visit regularly) as her well earned holiday. In a week's stay she might babysit one evening but that was grudgingly done and accompanied by much sighing.

Slightly bonkers and illogical but true.

Your need for help was acute but they closed their eyes to that. I understand how hurt you feel. In your shoes I would step back. You can say 'no' to a visit. This shouldnt just be about your OH playing happy families and being the perfect host.

CurrerBell Sun 31-Mar-13 11:38:14

Angela, I could almost have written your OP. I don't have family support of my own (my dad is dead, mum has remarried and lives five hours away, and she only visit on her own terms...). However we only live about 20 mins from my ILs - we actually moved to this area to be close to them when DS was a baby - thinking that our DCs could grow up close to at least one set of grandparents. It hasn't really brought us closer. They have SIL's children one day a week while she works (fair enough - I don't work so I don't begrudge her the help at all). But what grates is that they hardly ever contact us, never seem to ask about our kids or even particularly want to see them. My eldest has been diagnosed with Asperger's; I've had my own health issues, and we've been going through some major stresses in recent months. They know this because SIL and DH have both tried to tell them; yet they have never even rung to ask how we are.

Knowing their limitations, I'm not expecting help as such, but just a tiny bit of moral support, an acknowledgement - and mainly, I would just like to know that our kids have their grandparents' support. I came close to having a breakdown recently but nothing seems to make any difference. It's really changed how I see them, and stopped me wanting to make an effort. Ironically I was the one who tried to push DH to be closer to his parents and move down here!

I've been too scared of starting my own thread in case I get flamed. I do understand exactly what you're saying though - the bitterness is so corrosive and it takes a lot of energy and strength away from what we need to do to support our families. I think anger just ends up hurting ourselves.

I don't want to feel bitter. They are not bad people; they are just oblivious. Ultimately they are the ones missing out on having a relationship with their grandchildren, but I don't think they can see that.

Have you ever read 'Buddhism for Mothers'? I'm not a religious or particularly spiritual person but I read it a couple of years ago and it really, really helped in terms of letting things go and finding a different perspective. I need to re-read it but ironically I have been too angry!

CurrerBell Sun 31-Mar-13 11:55:34

PS Sorry that was a very 'me, me, me' post and probably not very helpful!

I just re-read your latest post and you sound like you are making positive steps to detach yourself from the hurt. You are understandably feeling very let down and this has made you reassess the way you see your ILs and your future expectations. I don't know what the answer is to how to start feeling better, but I think this is the first step. I hope the visit goes as well as can be expected and you can rise above their negativity, knowing you will get a proper rest soon.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 31-Mar-13 12:03:15

I wonder if sometimes the GPs in these situations (routinely helping out with one set of GCs but not helping at all with the others) are thinking that they have done 'their bit' with the ones they help regularly and are thinking that they dont want to add another routine of helping out.

What they are oblivious to is that this extra cry for help is a one off. This isnt going to turn into a routine. At that moment a week of babysitting or whatever would be a godsend. All they are thinking is that they dont want to get dragged into doing something all the time.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 12:35:18

WorrySighWorrySigh - Both sets of parents see a visit here as a lovely treat to get a break away. IMHO boths sets have avoided getting in contact. The point of my parents talking about how busy they are with my dsis's DC, was probably to preemptively ward off requests for help. They all feel like they are doing their bit; they fail to realise how uneven their support is. The unfairness of it all is destructive.

I worry so much that my only child will have no support in the future. If both sets of parents limit their support to his cousins, what is left for him? THEY need to foster a relationship with their gc; it isn't just down to us. They are uninterested/too busy now; he will grow up not knowing them. He is too little to understand the blantant favouritism that exisits and I hope this is always the case. They can't expect a good relationship to appear from nowhere at a mystical future date.

CurrerBell your posts have been insightful and articulate a lot of my own feelings (better than I have). I think Chapter 4 - dealing with anger would be a good place to start (it wasn't available on the preview wink)

Moral support and acknowledgement would normally be enough. To be turned down when I really needed help is deeply hurtful and for me a turning point.

The visit went okish. I was unmoved by their complaints about concentrated fruit juice/unappealing menu. I said we only had enough shopping in for the weekend and we were using what we had in.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 31-Mar-13 12:48:39

OP - in your answer to me I think lies the answer to your problem: you feel they should feel they have to treat others as they expect to be treated. This seems to be the opposite of how they operate.

If you do not accept them for who they are and take control and set the boundaries for them you will continue to feel resentful and bitter - which doesnt hurt them, it hurts you and your immediate relationships around you.

Dont let them get to you. Accept, put in measures to taje control of your sude of the relationship - politely, respectfully. Youll feel so much bettter for it, I think

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 13:17:25

flaminhoopsaloolah I agree. I need to be in control of my side of the relationship and accept that I don't have control over how they behave.

For me to do this I need to explicitly say how disappointed I have been by their lack of support. I can then hopefully move on; they can re-write their own history of these events as they see fit.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 14:18:29

Dinner is prepped and in the oven. I've changed the bed, had a shower, put fresh pjs on and am going to nap and read my kindle. Oh had a nice lie in and is watching a film with our ds.
wine thanks and happy Easter to all. I'm serious about relaxing. wink

cjel Sun 31-Mar-13 15:04:28

I don't think your problem is as much that they did or didn't help, it sounds as if you are just completely drained and didn't want one more thing added to your list of pressure. What a treasure you neighbour sounds perhaps she should have a word with the woman over the road!!!! Don't suppose you could adopt her as a granny? Hope you have a lovely breakxx

BangOn Sun 31-Mar-13 15:44:51

i can sympathise. my inlaws... well it's not so much that theu don't help with the dcs. i could cope with that. it's that they don't seem to care; they don't seem to feel anything very deeply. when we do spend time with them, it all feels so stage-managed, the kids can't relax & neither csn anyone else. there's no joy or spontenity about my pils. my parents live miles away & help sometimes, strictly on their own terms. i remember my paternal grandmother as selfless towards her many, many grandchildren - maybe i'm holding the dcs up to an impossible standard, i don't know. my parents & pils are of thr baby boom generation - they expect different things from the pre-war generation, perhaps.

simplesusan Sun 31-Mar-13 16:16:49

I think you have to focuss on yourself and your immediate family.
Accept that you will get little help. It is unfair, of course it is.

I would reccommend yoga, seriously if you can get to a class, however sparodic. if not get a dvd, though not the same as going out to a class. It really does help to put positive thoughts in your head as well as helping you keep in shape.

Good look with taking control of your life.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 31-Mar-13 16:22:57

Enjoy your afternoon, Angela!

pollypandemonium Sun 31-Mar-13 21:13:23

So they came round and you gave them what you had in plus the neighboirs dish. I don't understand why you feel so resentful about not helping you in the past. I don't undeestand your unwillingness to geive and to share regardless of what you get back. I think you are setting this relationship up to fail

pollypandemonium Sun 31-Mar-13 21:14:12

Excuse typos x 3!

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 21:48:25

Polly, I get that you don't understand and it is hard for me to articulate. This isn't about one day/ visit. I will feel better to conduct an adult relationship on my own terms. I don't believe that our parents deserve deferential respect.

flaminhoopsaloolah It was fab; a nice relaxing and restful day with loads of laughs = complete opposite from yesterday and much needed.

simplesusan, CurrerBell recommended 'Buddhism for Mothers' and it looks like it may be worth a read. I am starting my Shred DVD and walking tomorrow in eth hope It will help me sleep and help with replacing negative with the positive

BangOn I take from this a lesson in how not to be a GP.

Cjel You make a good point, I should celebrate my lovely neighbour and dismiss the negative mother and HER issues.

I'm going to watch a film with my other half so wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine and thanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanks all around.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 31-Mar-13 22:27:33

Good for you, Angela. At the end of the day you're there for your immediate family and you need to do (in a respectful manner, of course) whatever it is you need to do to protect your sense of wellbeing too: you're no good to anyone if you're ragged, exhausted and a few steps away from completely kaput.

AngelaMartinLipton Sun 31-Mar-13 23:14:12

I'm aiming for assertive rather than combative. I do need to say how I feel before I move on.

I may even ask for something specific help such as asking them to stay with ds whilst DH and I go for lunch. I may not mind preparing a feast in that circumstance. If they don't want to look after ds, at least it's out in the open. I have plenty of time to think before the next visit.

springyhippychick Sun 31-Mar-13 23:52:34

I think the early years of a marriage - or, at least, when the kids are growing up, careers are getting properly established, money pressures etc - are hard and I do think it's the responsibility of family to step up if they can. All round, that is ie all helping all if it's needed.

imo they let you down and I'm not surprised you've been apoplectic. I also think that if you get into a state like that then it's not for no reason - I don't think giving yourself a good talking-to is the answer (re 'I'm a grown woman!'). YOu were very upset and that is very probably for good reason, not least you were so tired.

It has also precipitated a major shift in you re your ILs (and parents). Maybe that had to come, you had to reach this painful and uncomfortable position in order to make that fundamental shift.

I tell you what, thank goodness for that fabulous neighbour! How FAB of her to step up and do the decent thing/precisely what you want and need. Bless her! flowers

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 01:45:01

You never know Angela they may really want to help you but don't know how to do approach you about it. You do come across as being slightly over-assertive and I'm not sure I would want to help you out in case I got it wrong!

Be careful HOW you tell them how you feel - I am concerned that you will just offend them. It depends on the type of people they are - do you think they will think you are 'being a right madam' or do you think they will say 'oh I had no idea I'm so sorry what do you want me to do first'?

What are you going to tell them?

springyhippychick Mon 01-Apr-13 02:13:32

polly. You sound like Pollyanna! apart from towards the OP, that is.

I don't think the OP sounds 'a right madam' or 'over-assertive' at all. She posted because she couldn't stop sobbing and was at cracking point. imo this was the urgency of her posts, the desperation.

imo you are barking up the wrong tree. Her ILs don't sound for a minute like they'd say 'oh I had no idea I'm so sorry' etc.

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 02:26:31

I don't think she sounds like a 'right madam' but her inlaws might - I was suggesting that how she responds them should take into account the type of people they are and what their reaction to her may be. I also suggested that they may react completely differently and really want to help her.

My in-laws don't 'get' me at all and I know they never will, so I just play the game. If I tell them 'how I feel' it will just upset everyone and cause conflict and nobody will gain. They are just a bit... set in their ways (to put it politely).

DrGarnettsEasterMixture Mon 01-Apr-13 08:02:18

Polly-the OP has asked for help, and both sets of parents have refused! So I wouldn't feel too bad for them/concerned that they're desperate to help but don't know how to approach the OP-they didn't even visit their DS in hospital, or when he was recovering at home hmm

Angela, I hope you have a peaceful Easter Monday-I do sympathise and think that fitting them in around your plans is a good approach. If they won't put themselves out for you, there is no reason for you to put yourself out for them. As for the cheek of complaining about the food when they visited, just shock

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 01-Apr-13 09:43:57

Pollypandemonium - what I am seeing in your posts is that to you the relationship between PiL & DiL has to be maintained at all costs. Even if no effort is being made by the PiL.

I dont understand this. Surely a relationship requires effort on both sides? The PiL have no 'rights' in this situation. They cant sit by and watch their DS and DiL struggle then expect to be treated to a holiday visit with Angela as smiling hostess.

cjel Mon 01-Apr-13 09:51:28

I think asking for small but specific help - like staying with ds while you have a meal out is a great idea. Like you say you will then get an idea of whether they want to help but don't know what to do or whether they don't want to do anything. Do you think putting it out there early - ie. ask now for ages away and get the feel for what the response may be? rather than spring a surprise nearer the time, I mean perhaps give them time to get used to the idea?

AngelaMartinLipton Mon 01-Apr-13 10:05:15

springyhippychick My neighbour is very opinionated and you never know what she is going to say (I like her very much). I was wary about what she was going to say; this small kindness was timed to perfection. I'm going to make a card with ds and take flowers over.

Polly our ils sound quite similar. The difference is I have changed the rules of game. I don't care if they think I'm 'a right madam' and I'm not interested in having an unequal relationship. We are all adults and I deserve the same consideration they expect for themselves. They haven't helped and I don't really expect that to change; this is the elephant in the room.

If my ds was in hospital I would visit him. When DH's DF was in hospital overnight last year, DH drove up to see him that weekend. DH cut the grass and took a bit of shopping/some curry I made. I asked for help in either picking ds up from school or DH from hospital. I'm not expecting them to pick a day to do the school run or commit to babysitting once a month.

I'm not going to go in all guns blazing. I will say something like 'I've found things things difficult and I'm feeling hurt you didn't help'. I think they will say one of two things:
- If you lived closer we'd help. My response will be: 'We would love to move closer to home but we need to live where we can find work. If we came up for the day, would you look after ds so we can go to the cinema/whatever?'
- We don't know how to help. 'DS finishes school early at the end of term. Would you pick him and look after him so we can work late?' Or, I will ask what do you think you could do?

Bedtime1 Mon 01-Apr-13 14:21:42

Glad it went Okay.

'I've found things things difficult and I'm feeling hurt you didn't help'.
I know what you mean about not going in all guns blazing but saying the comment about "you didn't help" they will immediately be on the defence . Your still focusing your energies on them helping you and your angry about this understandably but this will not bode well for a civilised conversation right now with them. Focus on getting help elsewhere if you need it. You'll feel more in control because you will have your life sorted out and wont feel you need to rely on anybody to help with your son. Therefore if they help they help, if not then it won't affect your day to day life. Maybe try having a heart to heart when you have calmed down and are not so angry.
If your looking for love, support etc which Is understandable that you want this from family but if they aren't forthcoming then it will always be fake. Focus on the people that will Say kind words to you.

Bedtime1 Mon 01-Apr-13 14:27:12

I know it hurts very much when family aren't acting in the way you see a family should be, but how can you change them? They are who they are sadly and sadly that's true for many of us. I wish I had supportive parents too. it is hard to come to terms with when others have that and you don't. But just remember all families have there troubles and not every single member will get along.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 01-Apr-13 14:40:15

While it is just the way some parents are, IME they will have the people they help and the people they ask for help from. We have seen this at first hand.

I wouldnt be surprised to find that in the years to come it will be Angela that the DParents and DPiL turn to for help. This will be justified on the grounds that a) they were always there for them when the DGCs were little (forgetting that they were only there for some of the DGCs) and b) 'Angela just seems to be able to cope so well'.

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 15:48:47

I think you should also tell them about your wonderful adopted granny next door. It might spur them on a bit if you seem less needy and knowing that there may be competition.

Also remind them (in a roundabout subtle way!) that it is a privilege to be asked to look after someone else's children. It really is.

Use adopted granny more - she sounds perfect!

AngelaMartinLipton Mon 01-Apr-13 20:19:36

If I don't say anything, I'm letting them off the hook. It isn't about changing the situation. How can I say how I feel without putting them on the defensive?

Next door lady is in her 90s and not so good on her feet.

I won't be helping. I'll contribute to whatever my siblings sorry out. DJ can sort his own folks out with his family.

NothingsLeft Mon 01-Apr-13 20:58:56

I think there is nothing wrong in being honest about how you feel. It has the potential for defensiveness but that is their issue and you do not have to manage their response. The normal response to 'I felt hurt when you did X' is to apologise or at least recognise someone else's pain. Whether you agree with the cause is a separate issue.

I spelt out my feelings with both sets of parents because I felt it unfair to change our relationship without them understanding why.

Mine were silent, agreed I had a point but haven't changed. MIL had been worried about interfering and treading on people's toes. I explained there are no toes to tread on, she has been far more supportive. Our relationship has improved massively as a result.

I completely agree with worry which is why it will be useful to be clear now. There will be lots of times you need to put the new 'rules' in place.

Having been too busy to see us for six weeks, my parents want to crash our day out for DS first birthday. I have been able to say a firm no without feeling bad. It's no ok with me to play happy families when it suits them and I am starting as I mean to go on smile

AngelaMartinLipton Mon 01-Apr-13 21:25:52

Stating how I feel is a way of marking the change.

Things can't get any worse. If they stay the same, I won't be any worse off. If anything improves great.

NothingsLeft Mon 01-Apr-13 22:23:08

Totally agree. Good luck with it. Pleased you're feeling better smile

AngelaMartinLipton Mon 01-Apr-13 22:47:42

I'm not given to the vapours and so the tears were a shock to me. I just needed a little time to decompress and a tiny about of moral support or acknowledgement.

The last two came from here and were much appreciated.

I've had a lovely day with friends and laughed until my sides ached. thanks wine

I will feel better when things are out in the open.

cjel Mon 01-Apr-13 23:24:04

Angela just read decompress as decompose - Hope things aren't that bad!!!

Mumsyblouse Mon 01-Apr-13 23:57:03

Angela reading this, I really feel for you, carrying so much and you just get exhausted. who cares if someone else does all that, charity work in their spare time and paints a smile on their face whilst presenting their MIL/parents with a home-made casserole, you are exhausted you had an ill husband and you don't get to see enough of your gorgeous child (which IMO is where some of this upset is coming from, the parent who said anything should be poked in the eye on next sighting).

I also agree you can't give more than you have to give and so you are right to focus on your own family given that the wider family are simply not going to be there for you in a crisis, let alone for regular support. I don't see this as entitled - in our family my mum helps out with the children and I help out with the older generation, and it's sad if you don't have that, not even in times of real difficulty.

The danger is that if you carry on trying to be supermum you will exhaust yourself physically and emotionally, so if your parents/IL's get less attention, or have to come when it is less convenient so be it.

Bedtime1 Tue 02-Apr-13 03:19:22

Looking back at your original post you have already asked for help from your own parents and they have said no/ haven't bothered to help. So from them you know where you stand. You haven't said wether you have asked for help from the ils. So have you actually ever asked them for help ? Have you ever said I'm struggling etc and then asked them for the help you want from them? If you haven't asked they may not be aware. They might think your okay. They might not see you as struggling if you have never told them.

Bedtime1 Tue 02-Apr-13 03:35:40

It s a case really of how you say things to them. What are you hoping to gain from the situation. If you want to fall out for good then go in all guns blazing. You can have a conversation without making the other person defensive. Saying to someone you didn't do this you didn't do that it isn't going to get off to a good start. They then on the defence might bring up other things or pick and pike at things about you. All I am saying is if you are angry and annoyed at the moment , then things will not be said well in a conversation. I hope you can have this conversation and get the results that you want.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 09:13:37

cjel I had to read back to make sure I hadn't made a freudian slip.

Mumsy I do feel guilty but I am working hard for my family. Sometimes 30 mins before bed is all I've seen my ds; we communicate by notes. My HD is fab.

OH asked his parents for help. I'm upset on his behalf that they didin't come to see him. I'm angry that they came on my first day off in ages expecting the boat to be pushed out.

We have no plans to see each other and I won't be making a special trip. I hav eplenty of time to think of something. There is no point in having a row, I just need to tell them once before I move on. They can re-write history afterwards if they want.

crje Tue 02-Apr-13 12:04:56

I was the same -dh was working away and I was here alone with 4 children - one a new baby. Both familys live quite close and never called . Dh rang il to help when I was sick and they dropped in a pot of cooked mice meat at 10pm but wouldn't come in........
My own family come here to eat and drink tea but im never invited to theirs. Ive now come out the other end and am a hard cow in relation to all of them . I hate thet I am like this but just feel so let down by them . Our once close relationship is now more like acquaintances. I turn a blind eye when they are in need blush thats not who I am !!!!!

Ive been unable to get over it , not sure how it can be done . I can only offer a sympathetic ear op and hope things pick up for you soon brew

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 12:23:51

Deciding I have a choice to act differently rather than reacting has made me feel so much better already.

I overreacted because I was so tired. This is the culmination of years of meh and was the straw that broke this camel's back. To continue to help others when there is nothing forthcoming for my family would be intolerable for my mental health.

CurrerBell Tue 02-Apr-13 14:27:22

Angela, just caught up and am glad you're starting to feel a bit better.

I think their behaviour was unacceptable, and in the future they need to be told explicitly - ideally by DH - what your boundaries are. They should not have come over expecting you to wait on them so soon after DH has been ill. But - as they sound quite oblivious of your feelings - they must have thought it was ok as your DH agreed to the meal. I get the idea that your DH is more resigned to their behaviour, as he's been used to it all his life. But hopefully, your reaction might help him to understand how you feel, and you can both put each other first in future and agree on some joint boundaries.

BTW, I was surprised at how rude they have been about your food/hospitality, and I would certainly not be inviting them again due to this alone! Let them make the effort in future.

I really get what you said about being furious on your DH's behalf - I get worked up at times, as I can't understand how parents can be so disinterested in their own son. But my DH just says he learned at an early age to be independent and moved away from them. He is very resigned to it so I feel like I'm wasting a lot of energy in getting so worked up!

I saw my ILs a couple of days ago at a family gathering (it was the first time we've seen them in a few weeks), and it helped me take the first step in letting go of the anger. Whilst we were there, it came out that FIL is still letting DNephew watch violent war films at their house (he is 4...) and he has already fostered in him an obsession with guns. He's not a bad person, but FIL is very much in his own world - he does what he likes and doesn't respect my SIL's wishes. DH said to me afterwards that at least we don't have to rely on them for childcare, and thankfully our sensitive DS doesn't have much of FIL's influence.

It's crap that we don't get family support, but I've decided I'm not going to push for us to be closer; staying on good but distant terms is all we can do. Somehow I need to pick myself up and find my own support network from people that can reciprocate.

I know this is different to you as you specifically asked for help in a time of need, and you were turned down. I can see how hurtful this has been, on top of the stress you've had to cope with. But it sounds like this has come to a head now so you can start to move forward and work out what's right for you.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 15:44:04

Angela late back to this thread but just to say I fully support your thinking on this. Regarding your own parents and family, if you make a reasonable request for specific help and it gets turned down, it is okay to articulate your disappointment about that. The same goes for your in-laws. Your own mental health will be protected as long as you are straight with people and let them know where they stand with you. In people who are just being a bit thoughtless and not intentionally selfish or unkind, being straight with them can pull them up short a bit and can lead to better relationships all round, especially if they have the good grace to think about it and come back and apologise.

In those who can't or won't see, being direct about your needs and feelings means that you can stop any pretence of warmth or kinship where none exists.

It's a very good example to give to children if you are direct and honest with family members. When children see parents silently seething and martyring themselves, then acting falsely sweetly with the adults who have caused the upset - it is confusing and gives them bad examples of conflict resolution.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 16:20:31

You have both given me a lot to think about.

Do I actually want these people looking after my lovely boy?

How can I resolve this and be a good example for my DS?

I need to talk to my OH about my rules of engagement. I need to decide what they are first. wink

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 16:48:27

I wanted to add something about enabling the children to see their grandparents and supporting those important extended family relationships.

However, I have personally found my in-laws to be unprepared to visit and spend time with dgcs, even when we went up there (a bit of a trek) they got shirty about not being able to smoke and dp sleeping on the campbed (he wanted to- they thought he should be in the big bed). There are birthday cards and christmas cards but dcs have hardly seen them. We can't stay with them and they get grumpy if we book somewhere nearby.

We haven't been affected by this greatly (I don't like them much and they are no loss to me peronally) but it has put pressure on our other family relationships (particularly for the children) and we expect more from them I guess and that in itself has become a bit of a problem.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 16:50:16

I used to worry about similar things when mine were smaller. Would they absorb thoughtless racism or sexism, for example? Or mimic food/body issues?

I needn't have worried. Grandparents who they see occasionally will never counteract the different and more positive messages given by daily parental interaction and influences. It's different if they are subjected to those influences on a daily basis, which is never going to be the case for you.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 17:04:23

I agree Charbon, it's more important that children know there are other adults around they can depend on and that show an interest in them than what their political affiliations / personal habits are. I think that's why I'm not comfortable with OP's attitude, because it shouldn't be about her getting support - it should be about the GCs. Perhaps approaching the in-laws with that in mind would be more productive.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 17:29:32

Well I disagree with part of that. The OP and her husband needed support at a very difficult time and will go on needing that at points in the future. They have a child-parent relationship too and so I don't think these relationships are just for the grandchildren's benefit. They are meant to exist for everyone's benefit and mutual support. It's okay as an adult to reach out and ask for support when it's needed, from people who are supposed to love us and have our best interests at heart. People don't just need support when they are very young or very old.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 02-Apr-13 19:15:25

Grandchildren dont need to have a relationship with their grandparents. Many, many people are distant from GPs for lots of different reasons. It is also normal for DCs to have no relationship with GPs and for them to come to no harm because of it.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 22:52:32

This has made me think about how sad I feel for myself. I need to provide an example to my ds of what I think a parent/gp/auntie/friend should be.

I need to worry less about building a relationship between gp and gc. That is out of my control. They aren't proactive to date and may never be. I think both sets have a sense that there should be a deference or submission because of parent/child relationship.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 23:23:45

But that's the essence of the parent/adult child relationship - there is deference but with that comes a level of 'letting go' of handing things on to the next generation. That process has to be allowed to happen and it can't if they don't see you hosting Christmas, inviting them on holiday, letting them stay at your house etc. If you don't have that stage the relationship becomes fixed with this 'deference' expectation.

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 08:49:15

I don't believe I should be deferencial simply because they are my parents. That may have been a normal way for our parents to interact with theirs. Times change.

I would like to think that in my family, we wll treat each other as respectful adults. My ds sees us host and visit within a circle of friends and I hope he learns from those relationships rather than the one with his gps. I don't want him to feel like he owes me for having him.

I would not want our parents to take regular care of my ds. They should be helpful during difficult times. There should not be such obvious differences between the help they deign to give.

Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:11:32

When you say your husband asked for help. What did he say? Did he give any specific times eg can you pick my son up from school? Can you have my son for the day on x y z day?

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 18:39:39

He rang and told them before he went in that we had needed someone to pick him up from hospital and DS from school at the same time. He may not have been explicit in his dealings with them as I would have been with my folks. It doesn't change the fact that they didn't visit DH in hospital, nor for the three weeks afterwards. They weren't very happy that DS was attending before and after school clubs for long hours; they didn't offer to reduce that time by looking after him. As they have never picked him up from nursery or school, I didn't expect them to.

pollypandemonium Wed 03-Apr-13 19:33:08

But you said you don't want them doing regular childcare anyway.

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 19:59:45

They haven't been asked to provide regular childcare, baby sitting or help. They haven't in 6 years. They could have supported their ds/my DH.

Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:14:23

So when he said to them we need someone to pick ds up from school and Someone to pick him up from the hospital, what did they say? They must have said something.

Maybe they wanted you to ask them if they could pick ds up from after school club perhaps ?

Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:17:52

I have a funny thing about asking for things but mine is a story in itself and this relates to feeling/ being rejected eg I find it hard to ask say friends if they want to do something as I'm worried they will say no. This stems from low self Esteem. Due to my parents not being so nice. I find it hard to trust and believe people Actually want to be around me so I kind of don't ask then no need to feel rejected,

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 20:42:30

I try to leave dealings with my ills to my oh. I think both sets are more worried about dragged into regular help.

They had about two weeks notice but were busy. I have spoken to my DH and said that they should have been more help and that they are wrong to expect far more from us than they are willing to provide. I have asked that in future he checks before arranging visits and I will do the same. Weekends are generally quite busy. I am happy to visit ils if DH makes arrangements. I'm glad to have a bit of thinking space before that happens.

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