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to think it's the parents responsibility to pay for childcare if they want to work?

(142 Posts)
StandardNetworkCharge Tue 12-Feb-13 10:59:39

My DB and SIL have a little boy who has just turned 1. She gave up work more or less when she found out she was pregnant (by her own admission she exaggerated her symptoms to get herself signed off for various reasons right the way through pregnancy).

In the run up to Christmas my DB lost his job, he got a new one quite quickly but on less money and with a longer commute. SIL was quickly fed up having to economise so she decided to get a job. She found temporary work with irregular shifts, her reasoning being that Db would look after DN when she was working. But very often DB isn't home in time to look after DN or she wanted to take extra shifts whilst he was working. As things were tight for them (and it was the run up to Christmas) family and friends have been stepping in and doing all their childcare to help them out.

SIL is badly organised though and will often leave it until the last minute to sort out childcare and then make begging calls/text/posts on fb. DH and I have helped them out, often being told it would be for an hour or so but ending up with DN for an entire evening, interferring with our plans. On the basis that it was a temporary situation I have tried to temper my annoyance.

However, her work have now offered her a fixed contract. Rather than getting organised and paying out for childcare when it is needed. She is continuing to expect it free from all and sundry and getting shirty with us when we have said no.

As I don't have any children of my own yet I am prepared to admit maybe AIBU to be annoyed at her but I just feel that if she wants to work to earn money for luxuries then she should be factoring childcare costs into that and not expecting everyone to continuously "help them out" at the last minute.

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Tue 12-Feb-13 11:30:21

It is entitled to get shirty with someone when they say no to providing you with free childcare as the OP has done.

If your SIL now has a fixed contract then she and your DB need to sit down and agree on and organise childcare.

Inertia Tue 12-Feb-13 11:30:53

And regular childcare might include family members who are happy to help out- but it needs to be agreed beforehand unless it's an actual emergency. And SIL doesn't have the right to get shirty if people can't / don't want to help out, especially if that means dropping plans they already have.

impty Tue 12-Feb-13 11:31:05

Yanbu that she is being unreasonable in her 'demands' on her extended family.

However, when dd1 was born there was no childcare help for us, or anyone. We had to fund it ourselves. When we chose to have dd2 i gave up work as childcare was too expensive. I only worked limited hours with dd1 as I had to make sure my wages paid for childcare...i rarely made a 'profit'.

I now CHOOSE not to work. Back then it wasn't really a choice. So I can see why this situation arises.

I have a professional job btw and earned much more than minimum wage.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 12-Feb-13 11:32:40

But the OP has only said she isn't happy helping out, that's easily solved, stop helping.

No indication as to how the others feel. Who are the others anyway? Friends, grandparents etc? They might not mind. Shockingly enough a lot of people don't mind helping out people they care about.

I agree that now things are more fixed she should be able to be more organised but it sounds like it's only been a matter of weeks since she started, these things aren't easy and if she's just back into working after being off with her baby for so long it might be taking her a while to get things sorted. Hopefully she'll get into the swing of it soon and let those that are happy to help know in advance.

<awaits mega drip feeding now>

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 12-Feb-13 11:32:43

I think its cheeky to expect people to look after your child. Its even worse to get annoyed with them when they won't.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 12-Feb-13 11:34:25

Define shirty though. She might just have been in a fluster trying to get cover for her irregular shifts. They can't have been regular for very long if she only started at Christmas and by the sounds of it her DH was meant to be able to cover what was needed, sounds like the planned to work back to back for the childcare reason. Why isn't this happening?

MrsKeithRichards Tue 12-Feb-13 11:37:47

On the basis of this part of the OP

DH and I have helped them out, often being told it would be for an hour or so but ending up with DN for an entire evening, interferring with our plans

I'm seeing a situation where the OP's SIL had to be at work at a certain time, leading into the evening, say 6pm, where it was expected that OP's DB would have been at home not too long after to collect - why was an hour then turning into the whole evening? Surely it was the OP's DB's job to collect the child?

I'm uncomfortable with all the fault being laid at SIL's feet.

ThingummyBob Tue 12-Feb-13 11:37:53

Your thread title is misleading.

Your posts very much read as if you belive that responsibilty for childcare lies solely with your sil.

Have a biscuit

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Tue 12-Feb-13 11:43:54

DH and I have helped them out, often being told it would be for an hour or so but ending up with DN for an entire evening, interferring with our plans

That could also be read as the SIL told them it would only be an hour so that they would agree to look after the child whereas if they'd known it would take longer they would have refused as they already had plans.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 12-Feb-13 11:48:50

Yeah but no but I guess what I'm wondering is who is to blame that one hour turns into the whole evening, assuming the SIL has went to work for the evening?

janey68 Tue 12-Feb-13 11:48:58

Yes, of course it's the fathers responsibility as much as the mothers. But the responsibility lies with them alone. When a couple decide to have children it's them who are making that decision. Of course its lovely if the child has good relationships with the wider family too- grandparents, aunties and uncles- but those relationships don't come with conditions and duties attached. Time should be freely given and not expected as a form of free childcare.
Sounds to me like if the parents don't rethink soon, they're going to risk bad relationships with many of the wider family

MrsKeithRichards Tue 12-Feb-13 11:50:31

But why assume the wider family have an issue? The OP does, we don't know about anyone else involved.

janey68 Tue 12-Feb-13 11:58:36

The op says the extended family stepped in because SIL went and got a job with irregular hours and no fixed childcare. That's hardly a situation where she sat down, planned and discussed it, and everyone was upfront and agreed in advance that they were happy to be free childminders. And to make it worse, it seems that arrangements are last minute, conducted via text or Facebook, and then not adhered to anyway!

This is clearly an extreme example, but i think often when relatives are used like this there are unvoiced underlying issues... Eg grandparents may start off being ok with an arrangement but several years down the line are more frail, or want to have the freedom to plan holidays and days out- and they are then trapped in a situation where they feel obliged to continue.

Caring for children on a regular, inflexible basis is a massive commitment. Being a parent is a massive commitment! That's why it belongs to the parents alone. Great for wider family to be interested and involved - but let them do that without taking advantage of them.

lollilou Tue 12-Feb-13 12:01:49

But surely if you are lucky enough to live near family why would you not pitch in and help? If it's the ad-hoc part of the situation could you not formalise it and say I can have him for such and such a day and time? He is your nephew you could discover a wonderful relationship.
I have family around me and we all help each other. My ds and dn are really great friends because my dsis and I do this for each other all the time.

flowery Tue 12-Feb-13 12:04:49

YANBU to think it's the parents' responsibility to sort out childcare.

YABU to blame SIL more than DB - it's both their responsibility. They would both BU to assume family will provide childcare, but if family are not happy to do so, surely they won't?

"I guess I just feel that if you can't organise childcare, then surely you can't work."


Well that's exactly what will happen isn't it? If they can't organise childcare then she won't be able to work will she?

janey68 Tue 12-Feb-13 12:08:54

Sounds like you have a mutual arrangement lollilou which works for you all. The OP doesn't even have children yet! So it seems she and her dh have stepped in to cover the odd hour here and there which then turns into an entire evening! And now the SIL has got regular hours, she still wants to drop the child will various family members so she can avoid paying childcare. hmm
That doesn't sound to me like normal healthy loving family relationships- it sounds like a massive dose of 'what's in this for me me me'

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 12-Feb-13 12:13:45

MrsKeith - how can you defend the DB and SIL when they have said they aren't going to get a CM because it costs too much?

If you cannot afford childcare then you cannot work. If it is a question of keeping a roof over and putting food on the table, then perhaps it would be different - but to expect people to adhoc give up their time for free so that you can earn money for nice extras such as nights out and a regular supply of new clothes is just incredibly rude.

OP - what is the view of other family members? Are you the only ones resisting? Have you spoken to your DB about it?

StandardNetworkCharge Tue 12-Feb-13 12:13:47

Ok, I admit AIBU to mainly blame SIL. I am guilty of being too forgiving on my baby bro obviously!

I see him working very long hours in a difficult job he wouldn't have necessarily chosen (he had to take what he could in order to get back into work quickly) to provide the essentials for his family so that SIL could stay at home if she economised.

As many posters correctly point out just as SIL is asking, DB equally responsible. I will talk to DB about how they are going to sort it out now her working is a permanent situation.

I don't know about SIL's side of the family but judging by the increase in requests, I guess more people are saying no. I do know my DM is getting fed up, more by the ad hoc/ last minute nature of her requests than actually doing it. She loves having DN but she would like more notice. DM has also commented to me that she feels she is 2nd choice and only called in as back up when SIL's DM can't do it. I think she is more hurt by that than anything else.

Apologies if this is drip-feeding!

DontmindifIdo Tue 12-Feb-13 12:17:47

OP - you need to just do what's right for you and not worry about the rest - so say up front (not waiting until she's got a 'crisis' which you'll feel guilted into helping for) that you won't do regular childcare, so she shouldn't ask you.

It's also perfectly reasonable to tell other family that you have said in advance you won't help out regularly, so it stops her going to say MIL and saying "oh Standard has let me down, I asked her to sit and now she can't." (when in fact you never said in the first place you would) or "I know I'm always asking you MIL, but Standard is always saying she can't do it" or "MIL, if you can't do it, can you ask if Standard will do it for you?" - be clear with extended family that if they help out that's their choice but you have said you won't and think DB & SIL should get a childminder. If they can't cover it they shouldn't assume you'll pick up the slack and point out SIL has other options (paying for childcare) so could do that, she's chosing not to do that, but that doesn't then make the childcare a communal problem.

It also might be worth pointing out to them that both DB and SIL could buy childcare vouchers, sell it to them that it would mean they both pay less tax - with those vouchers she could pay a registered childminder (it's a good way of forcing Dads who see childcare as purely the working mother's bill to pay at least part of it each month).

oh and even if they can survive just on DB's wage, he's already lost one job and he's currently still in the probabtionary period with this one. It is very sensible for her to think it's worth keeping that job (even if it costs the same in childcare) just in case he loses his job again. After a year or so of him working at that company, the could reassess, but right now that's not a sensible thing to do - plus you don't know if she's run up debts while he was out of work or used up all their savings, I would want to rebuild that before being able to manage on one wage that requires 'economising' (therefore assume there's no spare for savings).

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Feb-13 12:19:31

They're not offering to help, though, MrsKeith, the sil is making random last minute requests and getting pissy when they're turned down. Slightly different.

StandardNetworkCharge Tue 12-Feb-13 12:19:38

Some confusion here as well which is probably my fault...

SIL's job is now permanent position but will still be irregular hours. She will know week by week what hours she has but they will often call her up and offer her an extra shift on short notice. She wants to take the extra shifts to get as much money as possible.

This is the cause of a lot of the last minute requests.

Also, I don't have children which is why I posted here as I wanted a parents perspective! Perhaps if DH and I are ever blessed with children of our own, I would feel differently!

flowery Tue 12-Feb-13 12:20:11

"I will talk to DB about how they are going to sort it out now her working is a permanent situation."

Why? Are you really that involved in their lives?

I am a big sister. My brothers don't have kids yet, but I can just imagine their faces if I starting trying to "talk to" them about their childcare arrangements.

There would be a lot of this hmm going on. Quite rightly.

Just make sure they are aware that you are not available for regular childcare then leave them to it.

Birdsgottafly Tue 12-Feb-13 12:20:18

This is why women end up in financial abuse situations, or out of the job market and suffering more poverty than men.

For all posters on here know, the SIL may just want decent clothes and an occasional haircut.

The childcare isn't just for her to pay for.

The statement that i would worry about is "it isnt financially viable for her to work", they should both figure in the cost of childcare, or the DB should be "paying" the SIL a reasonable amount for her loss of earnings (to get what she wants).

Also, OP, she may have thought that she could SAH and then things didn't work out how she thought, spending wise.

so that SIL could stay at home if she economised

She shouldn't have to. I doubt that if you had children OP you would be seeing this as so clear cut. Full time parenting isn't for everyone, especially as you see "yourself" slipping more and more away.

Just say no and leave others to make their own decisions.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 12-Feb-13 12:22:31

I can see why paying for a childminder for a full day when there seems to be just an overlap of care needed (again, why isn't DB able to do the bits he was meant to initally?) would be uneconomical.

MrsMelons Tue 12-Feb-13 12:24:56

I don't think she is being unreasonable asking family to help, my mum has my 2 1 day before/after school each week, as does a friend (I recipricate of course) but it is a set day and only changes if it really has to. The other days either I do the school runs or I have them booked into aftercare at school. Many families I know do this.

I think it is unreasonable that she is not organising regular times she needs childcare and great if family/friends are happy to/can help regularly but if not she should pay.

I am surprised people consider it cheeky asking their immediate family to help out. You could always say no if it is inconvenient or if it is regular you tell her the times you are available and if she messes you around say no from then on.

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