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to be irritated by my in-laws approach

(38 Posts)
herbgarden Mon 06-Dec-10 08:39:17

DH and I both work - I do a part time (but professional career part time so not that easy for me to work "fixed" hours). DH works the full week. On my days not in the office I do pretty much everything else....
On my days when I work - DH drops DS at the childminder (DS then goes to school) - I take DD to nursery. I then pick everyone up and take them home, do tea, bath and bed. DH rarely gets home before 7.30. I then cook our dinner. As DH's career has got further up the ladder this seems to be the place we've got to. DH does try to get home early one day and then works in the evenings but otherwise even things like illness leave me trying to grapple childcare and work together from home.

On the odd day, the grandparents look after the kids. My in-laws e-mailed me over the weekend to say that when they look after the kids on thursday they'd have to leave by a certain time meaning yet again I'd have to leave work by a certain time (not DH) . Usually when they are there, which will be a day I work, I leave out the lunch, kids lunch and tea and get something arranged for dinner which I cook - DH doesn't give it a second thought.

It really really riled me that they chose to e-mail me only - not DH and that they are expecting me to get home from work to relieve them. This isn't about them and the childcare - they love to do it and I'm very very grateful for what they do and they are fantastic with our kids - it's about their attitude of DH's job isn't to deal with childcare, it's yours so we'll contact you.

For whatever reason I was livid about it and did go over the top in my reaction (to DH) . All DH could say was " oh well I think I've got a day off that day so it doesn't matter"....IT DOES !!!....

What's your view on my situation - Unreasonable reaction and pull yourself together ? Maybe I'm mad with DH more than anything ? GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

DH and I often get to this point of me feeling undervalued and the world revolving around his job. I really don't want to give up but I think I'm getting a bee in my bonnet about it all.....

pleasechange Mon 06-Dec-10 08:43:49

I can see what it has wound you up

On the other hand, it winds me up that MIL speaks only to DH about arrangements for coming over/us coming up etc., when it's me that has to make all the family arrangements otherwise, about which DH has no clue and so generally gets us signed up to obligations which are a PITA given our other commitments. So I'd rather MIL made arrangements through me

herbgarden Mon 06-Dec-10 08:47:51

If I was being reasonable I think that in-laws get irritated by the fact that DH never passes on messages to me or bothers to tell me things that they tell him - he speaks to them regularly. I work on the basis that I have my own parents to handle and that's the one job he can sort out - they really aren't horrible/malicious people - more naive sometimes I think. They also have no clue sometimes what our slightly busy life is like (I'm sure theirs was at one point but I think it's easy to forget isn't it) or that I have an equally demanding and responsible (paid) job even though I do it only half the week.

alfabetty Mon 06-Dec-10 08:48:42

Well - we're in a similar situation, DH works full time, I work part-time. So we made a decision that his career would take priority (we both do similar jobs). And I'm the primary carer for the children.

So if push comes to shove, as it will sometimes, we have to preserve DH's position over mine. So I leave early, take the sick days. On the basis that it's best to have one strong, reliable career and income, and rather than both of adapting some of the time and both of us suffering, career-wise.

So I don't think your ILs are being unreasonable - in their eyes (and in fact) you are the one who has adapted your working pattern and career path to accommodate family life.

Would be different if you both worked full-time.

ConstanceFelicity Mon 06-Dec-10 08:51:04

I don't think they're being unresonable, I think they're a scapegoat for the stress of your DH's work.

MoonUnitAlpha Mon 06-Dec-10 08:51:16

It's not that the inlaws attitude that DH's job isn't to deal with childcare - it's yours and DH's attitude. They're just reacting to the set-up you already have, not causing it.

ivykaty44 Mon 06-Dec-10 08:55:36


lucy101 Mon 06-Dec-10 08:57:37

It does sound like your problem is with yours and DH's setup (and how you feel about it) and not the PIL. Is it easier to get angry with them than him and the decision you have I guess jointly made?

justaboutdreamsofsleep Mon 06-Dec-10 09:00:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dinkystinky Mon 06-Dec-10 09:01:37

Herbgarden - FWIW, both DH and I work full time (though I'm on fixed hours) and its me that ends up sorting out childcare/babysitting etc. 95% of the time - and liaising with grandparents re birthday presents/christmas stuff etc. I mostly think of it as DH and I playing to our strengths as he takes the strain in other areas of our joint life.

I dont think they meant to piss you off - or to send the message that only you are responsible for childcare/household matters; its probably that they know that you are the more responsive (and probably also responsible) of you and DH.

MrsWobble Mon 06-Dec-10 09:05:55

I understand your frustration but honestly life's too short to get wound up about it. I have similar issues with my inlaws except that in my case I'm full time and dh isn't - but as far as my inlaws are concerned he has the career and I'm neglecting my domestic responsibilities by going out to work. The fact that I bring in most of the household income will never have occurred to them. I gave up getting cross about it years ago - they will never change and it makes no difference anyway. I do sympathise though.

rookiemater Mon 06-Dec-10 09:05:58

Agree with ConstanceFelicity, your beef isn't with your in laws it's with your current set up.

If it's any help I'm in the same situation, DH is a contractor so every day he is not at work he doesn't get paid,same if he leaves early he loses out. I have adapted by reducing my grade so I have a genuinely part time job rather than trying to juggle everything and log into the lap top in the evening. It has worked for me, but we do still get the thing where DH thinks he has worked the hardest because he has been at work for long hours and I feel hard done by because I have to juggle everything on a daily basis. Overall however it does work and maybe you need to consider why your particular arrangement isn't working for you at the minute and what steps you can take to make it better.

pjbean Mon 06-Dec-10 09:10:27

I am in a similar situation, and can understand coming to the end of your rope over something that seems trivial. It's probably more to do with the build up than this specific incident. Sounds like you need a bit of 'me-time'. Suggest speaking with DH and seeing if he can give you an evening of relief. Go out with some girlfriends for dinner/drink, it makes a world of difference!

spikeycow Mon 06-Dec-10 09:10:33

So now the partner who works longer hours has to take care of household stuff so the part time worker doesn't feel used confused. I'm single and work shifts but if my partner worked part time they would definetely be responsible for childcare. What's the problem?

senua Mon 06-Dec-10 09:13:01

I don't understand what you are upset about. You said that most of the time, "I pick everyone up and take them home, do tea, bath and bed. DH rarely gets home before 7.30. I then cook our dinner." Why is the routine to be different on the day that PILs get involved?

What are you really upset about? - the fact that DH is never around. Does he really need to work those hours or are they a handy excuse to be out of the house and the domestic chores?

spikeycow Mon 06-Dec-10 09:14:32

Should both parents work part time then? What about money?

fedupofnamechanging Mon 06-Dec-10 09:14:40

I don't think this is about your ILs at all. The fact is, you have always done all the arranging and have put DHs career ahead of yours, by being the one to leave work early etc and your DH has become accostomed to this. He is perhaps taking it for granted and not appreciating that this is impacting on your career.

The ILs are just communicating with the person who is 'responsible' and that is you.

You have put yourself in this position really, by letting your DH get away with not doing much. You have a choice. You can either say that his career and job security is ultimately more important than yours (because he presumably earns more by working full time), in which case you will have to continue taking time off if one of the DC is ill.
Alternatively, start viewing your job as equally important and make your DH take some responsibility for his own children. That would mean him coming home on time and taking some time off when they are sick.

If you could afford it, perhaps a nanny/au pair would be of more help to you than grandparents, as they would do all the prep for the DC meals etc.

This is a tough situation and I feel for you. I am a SAHM, so have effectively given up on my career. If I'd carried on, I think I would be where you are now. In the end it comes down to what you can most easily live with. Either way though I'd be making my DH pull his finger out a bit, because it's not fair for him to make assumptions that you will just handle everything. I think your ILs are getting the brunt of what should be reserved for your DH.

herbgarden Mon 06-Dec-10 09:16:36 are always so wise....I sometimes wish my strengths were not in the organisational department. I am going to come back to this world as a disorganised man.

rookiemater Mon 06-Dec-10 09:22:33

Amen to that herbgarden, I do sometimes wonder why the sheer physical fact that I am a women rather than a man means that I am somehow magically meant to want to do a whole load of rubbish jobs just because of my gender.

Thinking about it maybe part of the problem is your childcare arrangements, it must be frustrating having to rely on favours from grandparents on a regular basis that result in you having to leave your job early. Is there anything you can do about that ?

herbgarden Mon 06-Dec-10 09:25:49

karma and everyone else. I think I'm having a "no-one appreciates" me day. One of the issues is that on any given day I could be in the office longer it's just that I have to leave for the childcare. The grandparent day is the one day in my week when I can stay later and relieve some of the pressure of my other days of being at work but having to leave early.

I really really appreciate what they do - but I would also say that I frequently have asked them if they want to carry on doing it - they do it once a month - and they love coming to have time on their own to get to know their grandchildren so although this might sound controversial - they were visibly upset when I suggested that DD get another day in nursery if things got too much....So, this isn't really about them and what they do for us - I think I already said that my appreciation is a given.

I think I have to do a bit more accepting - there are quite a lot of other pressures on in our lives at the moment and perhaps this was the thing that just burst my fuse once and for all. I've just phoned DH (a bit tearful) and we're going to talk tonight.

mummytoatribe Mon 06-Dec-10 09:36:28

It sounds like a symptom of the real problem which you and your DH ending up in a place where you are doing 100% of the childcare arrangements despite working too.

He needs to be told that as you work in a high pressured career too, albeit on shorter hours, he needs to take some responsibility for the children and not just assume that you will be theone to finish early/take time off etc

Hope you sort it out

alfabetty Mon 06-Dec-10 09:51:03

It is hard - don't feel got at, OP. I've had similar discussions with DH because a) I feel slightly resentful that his life and career have carried on while I am tied by family commitments and domestic chores and b) he works long hours so although I'm tired by my p/t work, I still do the lion's share of the domestic stuff - and it's the mental effort involved, too!

We made things better by getting a cleaner so the physical work is less and I can live with a bit of dust as I know it will be dealt with on Thursday (!), DH is great when he's home, but I just accept the limitations on family life his job imposes (easier I think as I've seen it first hand) and I make a real effort to remember how fortunate I am to be able to work p/t to keep my career going, but also to have lots of time at home with the DCs.

Hope that doesn't sound patronising, but it helps me get through the dips when I'm surrounded by washing up, kids are shrieking, I've been at work all day and DH won't be home for hours!

I agree with other posters, though, you need an hour or two a week to yourself, otherwise it is work, work, work of various types (inside and outside the home).

herbgarden Mon 06-Dec-10 10:03:26

Thanks alfabetty - you are not in the least bit being patronising - you sound very sensible and actually your post reflects very much how I feel. I too have a cleaner and do very little cleaning myself other than day to day superficial stuff . You know I think I get to this place every so often and it often makes me realise that I think I miss the fact that I don't feel that DH and I are seen as "equals" any more even though at one time I earned more money than him and everyone is so much more interested in his job than mine....That said, I know a lot of people who I've met at school who once had a career and say that they are envious that they can't keep their hand in part time (just not being possible) - and still still have time to spend with their DC's.

I love my days off with the kids and feel lucky that I can do that and also (albeit that I don't see DH and that he too has his horrible work stressees) that he actually still has job in the current situation (we nearly thought he didnt' recently).

Ho hum

alfabetty Mon 06-Dec-10 10:15:37

Your situation is so similar to mine! I was actually senior to DH and took a lot of pride in my professional achievements. And then we used to meet people and they ask DH about work and are impressed... and I want to screech BUT I CAN DO THAT TOO! I even had someone say 'aren't you lucky to be married to a .... (DH's job)'.

I have got over that a bit - I see the pressure DH is under and know that I'm glad I don't have to live that day-to-day for the whole of my life, and how unmanageable that would be for us as a family, if we were both under such huge professional pressure.

Also, now the DCs are at nursery and school, I fill up my spare time with interesting things so work and professional achievements aren't so important. I have other interests and other things to talk about.

The other important thing is that DH respects the choices I have made and knows I have made them for us - the whole family. And he recognises he is free to focus on his job because I adapted my career aspirations. That counts for quite a lot, actually, as it's his opinion that matters most smile

rookiemater Mon 06-Dec-10 10:22:47

Something which has also helped me enormously was that DS has started 5 days a week preschool this August.

I could have rejigged my hours to work 5 days a week so he wasn't in afterschool, but instead have kept my day off, it is absolutely lovely having some time to myself and indeed has turned out to be quite useful for all the errands, post office runs, car servicing and other stuff that accumulates during the week.

If you feel that having DD booked in the nursery for an extra day would help you as a family, then I say go for it, even if she ends up not going some of the time then at least it buys you a cushion of time.

Also I agree about the careers, when DH and I met we both earned the same and our careers were on similar trajectories, now as his has risen mine has gone down. Luckily for me I'm not a particularly driven person,but I can see that if you were it would be harder. If it's any help I think you are doing the right thing as it appears to be a very hard path to choose for young children when both parents have big full time full on careers.

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