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AIBU to be upset and annoyed or am I just jealous?

(25 Posts)
laluna Wed 27-Jul-11 09:11:39

Perhaps deep down it is the latter but would appreciate some opinions how to stop feeling so annoyed/upset. I have two children: my older sister has three. My OH and I feel that we should be responsible for childcare and juggle things between us. I work two shifts a week (nights, 12 hr days or 8 hr days) and OH is full time split between home a couple of days and working at the office a two hour commute away. My sister works one day a week and her husband is a hospital consultant. Her 3 are older than mine - eldest 13.5 - but she demands - and I have chosen that word carefully - childcare from my parents. Term times aren't as much of an issue but this school hols my parents are having her 3 on 3 days she works, going abroad with them for a week and has them so she can pop to ikea, get her nails done, go out in the eve, etc. They are babysitting for us for one evening.

TBH it's the holiday abroad (for the second year running) that as upset me as I sit here knackered from being up with DS since 0615 - up with DD in the night and due to manage a 5000 births per year delivery suite tonight! Safe? I think not! I know, on the face if ut, it would appear that DH and I should be more assertive but I feel my kids aren't their responsibility. They should enjoy them on grand parents terms- not mine. I also back off because my parents are both 70 and I know they struggle a bit with childcare so I don't want to overload them iyswim?

Just feel so resentful (sorry for the poor me moan) but I struggle to keep on top of the everyday things - to pop off shopping would be a luxury! Thank you for letting me get it off my chest.

BelleEnd Wed 27-Jul-11 09:14:00

Do your parents mind?

peggotty Wed 27-Jul-11 09:15:44

I think you are a bit jealous really. But I would be too. The crux of the matter is that it is up to your parents whether they agree to your sisters demands to provide childcare. You haven't really mentioned how your parents feel about doing it?

katkitya Wed 27-Jul-11 09:16:21

No you aren't but, would you want them to go abroad on their own with your parents? I think it wouldn't be worth the worry!

coccyx Wed 27-Jul-11 09:18:03

If your parents don't mind then not sure why its an issue for you. Have you asked them to look after your children. You say your OH and you feel you are responsible for your own childcare , so whats the big deal

OrdinaryJo Wed 27-Jul-11 09:18:09

You've made a choice for your family, they've made a different choice for theirs. Unless you've asked your parents to help with cc and they've said no, then I am afraid you ABU. But you're knackered and the holidays are looooong so of course you are forgiven brew

sunnydelight Wed 27-Jul-11 09:18:48

Unfortunately when you are seen as one of "life's copers" you are often left to get on with it. If you would appreciate a bit more help could you ask for it? It may genuinely not have occurred to your mother that you would appreciate it.

Some people are spectacularly good at getting their needs met, rather than feeling resentful of your sister maybe take a leaf out of her book and expect more! If on the other hand you feel that your parents are bullied into helping her and can't really cope then be the better person, know that you are doing a great job, and mutter "what goes round comes" round under your breath when you feel particularly pissed off grin

ZillionChocolate Wed 27-Jul-11 09:20:15

I wonder whether you're envious that you're not bold/inconsiderate enough to make the same demands of your parents? It may be that if you asked for a little more help, they would decline your sister's less urgent demands.

aprilbear Wed 27-Jul-11 09:20:24

I can understand you feeling a bit pissed off, but I don't think you have reason to feel jealous. As you say, grandparents should be enjoyed as grandparents, not as unpaid child minders. The holiday abroad is very odd. I can't imagine I would want to take any grandkids on my holiday abroad when I'm older- I will want to enjoy it with my husband. Sounds like your sister isn't much of a coper tbh if shes not able to organise and fund her own childcare. Personally I would rather have the satisfaction of knowing dh and I organise our family independently now we're in our 40s!

cupofteaplease Wed 27-Jul-11 09:20:44

You are jealous, but I would be too. I'm very jealous of anyone who has free childcare from family as I have to pay through the nose for nursery fees, childminder and after school club. If I didn't have to pay for childcare, I might actually make some money!!

Penelope1980 Wed 27-Jul-11 09:21:16

There is a very good chance that they percieve that she has a greater need (rightly or wrongly) and that you don't as you don't ask as much, hence spending more time with her kids. And, it's possible that they like to feel needed - maybe if you explicitly asked for help they would give you more time too?

greycircles Wed 27-Jul-11 09:21:45

Is it perhaps the case that looking after your sister's children is actually quite an easy job for your parents, because of their ages? I'm not justifying what's happened, just looking for an explanation for the inequality. How old are your children?

My mum has helped me out a lot with my DC. My siblings don't have DC yet, but if/when they do, my mum will definitely not be able to help them out as much as she helped me out becuase she will be that much older. However, since my mum will be older, if my DB and SIL need help with children, I will help them out. Can your sister help you out a bit?

marriedinwhite Wed 27-Jul-11 09:21:57

It sounds as though your children are much younger and tbh my parents could easily manager mine when the youngest hit about 6 and both dc were independent but they could not physically cope with the demands of them when they were very young - my mum couldn't bend much to pick up stuff and was and is very houseproud.

The other thing I would say is that my in-laws did much more to help us when the children were very small and I'm quite sure that sil (even though she lives on a different continent) is resently that she never had any help from her mother. The other thing to think about too, is that your sister's dc will be off her hands before long and she may well be the one that picks up most of the caring for your parents as they get older.

It's tough - you are doing the hard yards. It is not your sister's fault though that she is better off than you financially and it unreasonable that you appear to be so irked about that. You sound as though you need a break and if you are both working take one - even if it's only for a day. Ask your parents to help - they may be delighted and think you are too proud to offer. But if you are embittered they might not be minded to give too much.

Penelope1980 Wed 27-Jul-11 09:23:06

sunnydelight that's a good way of putting it - I know I am considered a "coper" by my parents so get much less help than my siblings.

itisnearlysummer Wed 27-Jul-11 09:23:12

I'd feel the same as you, tbh.

Different circumstances but my BIL and his wife rely heavily on my ILs for childcare and general parenting support - their children sleep overnight in the week, ILs wash and iron their school uniform, they arrive on the doorstep at around 8.30 on a saturday morning and stay pretty much the whole weekend (we know this, because MIL isn't happy with it, but feels she can't say anything to them for various reasons), ILs buy them clothes and toys because they spend so much time with the children they are aware of their wants and needs (although BIL and his wife earn more than us so to all intents and purposes are 'better off' than us).

Conversely, ILs have never babysat for ours, never bought them anything outside of birthdays/christmas, we've seen them twice this year and we live closer to them than BIL does (same small town, we live 3 miles away rather than the 4.5miles away BIL does).

However, ILs do always tell us how much more capable we are than BIL and his wife, how our DCs are more polite, better behaved, and how proud they are of them and their achievements - we speak regularly on the phone.

Whilst this doesn't help us, our emotional wellbeing, our social lives or our relationship, MIL drops strong hints that she respects us more than BIL and his wife. We know she loves them equally, that's not any issue, but in terms of respect, we have that.

As, I am sure, do you.

Callisto Wed 27-Jul-11 09:23:39

Actually, I think your sister is really taking the piss out of your parents. I would be very cross if a sibling of mine was doing this to my father, and it wouldn't be because I was jealous. I also think that when people get into their 70's they are just not up to this much work, and looking after three children is lots of work. If I was you I would be having words with your sister and telling her it isn't on. Whether or not your parents say that they are cool with it is largely irrelevant.

halcyondays Wed 27-Jul-11 09:29:36

Yes, it sounds a bit much to ask if they are both in their 70s. Looking after 3 children can't be easy, even if they are older children. If it was easy, op's sister wouldn't feel the need to palm them off on her parents just to go to Ikea. Some grandparents don't like to say no even though they may feel they are being taken advantage of.

redskyatnight Wed 27-Jul-11 09:33:10

I know what you mean because my brother and SiL are the same. SiL is a SAHM but seemingly always asking my mum (and her own) to babysit while she pops out to do something. Meanwhile mum has babysat for me twice ever - and both were emergency situations.

It's actually not jealousy as such because I wouldn't want to organise my life the way my B and SiL have. It's really annoyance that they have an easier life, but as a result of behaving in a way that I don't think is acceptable

e.g. the reason my mum babysits half as much as she does is because otherwise she wouldn't see her grandchildren very frequently - whereas I think my mum should see her grandchildren on a regular basis and put myself out to organise visits.

e.g.2 B and SiL have "chosen" school and nursery for their DC that are half an hour's drive apart. This means they often have scheduling issues and expect my mum to step in and pick up the slack. Whereas I just wouldn't have made such a choice knowing it so heavily relied on others to help me out.

Unfortunately it's another case of people that are grasping, usually end up better off than those who behave "better".

TandB Wed 27-Jul-11 09:34:17

You have my sympathy. We have a very, very similar situation in our family. SIL and BIL make constant demands on MIL and PIL's time and take the piss massively in terms of childcare - eg agreeing one night of childcare and then leaving them for two, or changing arrangements at the last minute.

MIL and PIL will always help us out when necessary and regularly offer babysitting but we feel we can't accept very often as SIL and BIL will generally then feel that they are then owed yet more of MIL and PIL's time and will often make comments to that effect. We have probably accepted half a dozen nights of babysitting in 2 years as compared to almost every weekend for the other grandchildren.

Our real gripe at the moment is that because of some things that are going on, extra help is needed so DP and I are finding ourselves having to help out too and there is no gratitude or acknowledgement of anything any of us do.

TandB Wed 27-Jul-11 09:36:41

Forgot to say, I strongly agree with the comment about grandchildren not becoming a chore. It is something I have said to MIL when the subject has come up. She is finding the demands difficult but for complicated reasons it is very difficult for her to say no.

CustardCake Wed 27-Jul-11 09:36:57

I think this is really common but I don't blame you for being annoyed. My DH's sister does this all the time. My PILs are elderly and willing to help but not really up to it physically so we don't ask that often and we don't take the piss (we would never ask them to do a 12 hour stint or a two days in a row for example - it is just too much for them).
DH's sister however will ask them to cover the whole of the summer holidays and then still expect them to have her kids on Saturday night and keep them until Sunday lunchtime so she can have a lie-in. If PILs saythey have plans she will ignore this and turn up with the kids regardless. If PIL ask her to be back for a certain time she ignores this too. She often rings at the last minute and tells them that she won;t be back at all and to keep the kids until the next day.

PILs do get annoyed with her but not annoyed enough to say much to her about it (they moan to my DH!) and it does drive me mad that she does it but there's not a lot we can do. PILs seem to believe that we are capable human beings but for some reason SIL isn't and therefore they just accept her rude behaviour.

uninspired Wed 27-Jul-11 09:38:13

TBH that would annoy me too, but if you don't ask you don't get which I guess is your sisters philosophy.

If your DCs are much younger than hers then they are probably too much for your parents, whereas if hers are older then they will be easier - ie not needing help with food, dressing, toilet etc etc

ChristinedePizan Wed 27-Jul-11 09:39:13

I think a lot of it is about actually asking but I think it's hard if you're later to have kids and your parents already have an established routine with one set of grandkids.

Have you asked if your parents feel put upon? They may simply enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.

CustardCake Wed 27-Jul-11 09:48:33

If youre the considersate sibling though, you feel you can't ask. If you know that your PILs were due to have their other grandchildren for 2 days but it suddenly turned into 4 days at the last minute and that they are expected to do the same next week as well, then you don't feel you can ask for them to babysit for Saturday night.

Our Wedding Anniversary is in the school holidays. We never ask MIL to babysit for it as she is shattered. She will have SIL's children around the clock in the school holidays (not just for work - SIL often rings and says she's going out after work or wants to shopon her day off so won't be back and MIL ends up babsitting day and night).
If I asked MIL she would say yes but it would be unfair. There is no way SIL would scale back her demands - in fact if she got wind of the fact that my kids were having a sleepover at Grandmas she would insist her children be allowed to stay as well!

mendipgirl Wed 27-Jul-11 09:50:45

I'm not sure what you want. Your parents to help you more? Or your Sis less? To be honest I understand (my ILS help my SIL more than she does us, but that is because SIL asks more). If you want more help ask for it, it you don't want to ask then you can't really complain that she does...unless your parents are struggling and don't want to help her, but your post doesn't say this.

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