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grandparents wanting to babysit

(27 Posts)
joolsangel Wed 27-Mar-13 00:12:11

my MIL and FIL are fabulous grandparents. They live about 2.5 hrs drive away and we have a 4 yr old. They do enjoy a drink but we didn't realise quite how much until the other week they came to stay for a week. Every single night for a week they bought a 1L bottle of vodka, opened it at 5pm and it was empty by 8.30pm. MIL then kept going upstairs without my knowledge after she had finished her vodka, and lifting our 4yr old out of her bed and putting her in another room as she likes sleeping in our childs bedroom rather than with FIL as he snores heavily. I had no idea she had been lifting our 4 yr old while she was drunk until I went upstairs later to say goodnight to her before going to bed myself. my problem is they want her to stay with them for a few days during the holidays and there is absolutely no way I want her to stay with them. I told my husband they are welcome to come to ours as we will be sober, we don't really drink, but my husband thinks im being vindictive and nasty against his parents and cannot see that there is a problem with them looking after her, even tho they drink a 1l bottle of vodka every single day starting at 5pm. MIL is not the kind of person you can talk reasonably with or bring the subject up with as she is extremely fiery, gets hysterical, demands her own way and I don't want to cause a family rift or put bad feeling between us. any ideas please?

TheSydenhamSet Wed 27-Mar-13 00:14:13

No way would I ever allow it. What I'd there was a fire? Your dd got sick? YANBU

merrymuzzie Wed 27-Mar-13 00:15:05

Really, one litre a day ?

That is an addiction.

YANBU to not allow them to take your DD.

SarahStratton Wed 27-Mar-13 00:18:07

Bloody hell, they must be pretty much 100% proof. No way would they be babysitting here. and I wouldn't let them too close to any naked flames either

lisianthus Wed 27-Mar-13 00:19:39

YANBU Holy moly. That is a LOT of alcohol. There is no way on earth I'd allow someone who had drunk that much to have unsupervised care of my children.

Why on earth does your husband think you are being vindictive? Even if there is some sort of backstory here, it's irrelevant given that this kind of alcohol intake on its own would cause most normal people to bar them from looking after their kids.

Maybe he's normalised this kind of drinking. Show him the thread, perhaps?

scurryfunge Wed 27-Mar-13 00:21:49

You have to say no.

SquinkieBunnies Wed 27-Mar-13 00:23:55

Oh god no, your Dh needs to take off the rosy glasses, his parents have a drinking problem, no way my kids would be alone with them.

SarahStratton Wed 27-Mar-13 00:25:06

I don't think it would be unreasonable to say no anyway, neither of mine would have coped with being away from me at that age they still hate sleepovers

YouTheCat Wed 27-Mar-13 00:25:33

I'd be saying 'no'.

Compromise with an afternoon maybe? Before they get going on the booze?

KenAdams Wed 27-Mar-13 00:27:03

Is offending them reason enough to risk your child's safety? I think not. YANBU.

LittleEdie Wed 27-Mar-13 00:27:11

You're allowed to say no, even if they don't drink.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 27-Mar-13 00:43:58

Your dh thinks your being mean because you won't leave 2 alcoholics who are drinking in sole charge of your child?

Is he normally that irresponsible or just when it comes to his parents?

VestaCurry Wed 27-Mar-13 00:55:29


They have a very serious problem with alcohol. Your dh may not recognise it in the way you do, if they have been heavy drinkers for years.

Gruntfuttocks Wed 27-Mar-13 00:57:41

Never mind the alcohol, I'd be pretty furious about MIL moving the child out of her bedroom without even discussing with me!

Is it possible they were drinking more heavily than usual due to being 'on holiday'? Even so, the amount is very worrying and suggests that they are regularly drinking heavily. I definitely wouldn't be leaving them in charge of a child. I think you can stall them on the grounds of age (4 is very young) for now, but if MIL starts complaining, you may have to give her a straight answer "Sorry, but I'm concerned about how well you would cope if there was a problem in the evening after you had had your half bottle of vodka each".

DH needs a reality check, no?

MildDrPepperAddiction Wed 27-Mar-13 01:08:09

Absolutely not. They both sound like they have a problem with alcohol. Your DH needs to wise up.

MidnightMasquerader Wed 27-Mar-13 01:08:53

Wow, a 1L bottle demolished in 3.5 hours? A 1L bottle demolished over an entire evening is shock but over 3 and a 1/2 hours is just crazy.

How are they by that point? I assume they pretty much just have to pass out in bed...?


WhereYouLeftIt Wed 27-Mar-13 01:26:51

"but my husband thinks im being vindictive and nasty against his parents and cannot see that there is a problem with them looking after her, even tho they drink a 1l bottle of vodka every single day"
Wow, there's denial and then there's your husband! You couldn't even show him how bad this is by asking him to drink half a litre in three and a half hours whilst you film him and show him the film next day - the risk to a non-alcoholic of suffering alcohol poisoning would be too high. If he really can't see the problem of their consumption, then he is a complete arse.

"MIL is not the kind of person you can talk reasonably with or bring the subject up with as she is extremely fiery, gets hysterical, demands her own way and I don't want to cause a family rift or put bad feeling between us."
Well, she's just going to have to get all hysterical and demanding, but you cannot give her her own way, you just can't. Your daughter would be at risk sad. Probably it's best to just go with the broken record - 'No, she's too young.' Hell, on a litre a day you might not have to hold that line for too long, their livers will pack up soon enough.

anonymosity Wed 27-Mar-13 03:26:25

Agree - say she's too young. I wasn't allowed to stay at my grandparents until I was about 9. And then I was a stroppy nightmare the entire time because I missed my mum.

Icelollycraving Wed 27-Mar-13 03:32:42


MrsTerryPratchett Wed 27-Mar-13 04:10:17

OK, simple maths. 1L of vodka is about 40 units. So, 20 units each. the definition of an alcoholic is someone who is dependent on alcohol. The easy rule is one hour for your liver to clear one unit plus an hour. So, 21 hours to clear 20 units. There are only 24 hours in a day. Your PIL are alcoholics or very close to it.

Maybe they don't drink that every day. I would bet they do because as others have said, a 'normal' drinker would throw up or pass out or be very ill drinking that much.

I worked in a rehab and I'm afraid that extremely fiery, gets hysterical, demands her own way describes a lot of people in denial about their addictions. No coping mechanisms, no normal ways to deal with people.

I also worked for SS and you can tell your DH that I would be very concerned with these people looking after a 4 yo child. I would be reporting.

CatsRule Wed 27-Mar-13 05:17:37


Until fairly recently my pil thought nothing of tanning a ltr bottle of vodka per night, they are now surprised that they have both had different health scares, one of is alcohol related...what a shocker!

This is one of the many reasons I will supervise any contact they have with my ds...and sadly, but luckily enough for me, dh feels the same about his parents.

Your dh needs a reality check and hopefully not to the detriment of your dd.

Say no no no...sometimes no matter how much you want to avoid it, confrontation is the only way. If your mil throws a tantrum then she is just adding reason to why you cannot trust them with something as precious as your dd.

greenfolder Wed 27-Mar-13 06:17:09

Alcoholics are often fiery and irrational.

Dd2 had a close friend whose dad was an alcoholic-terribly so. I wouldn't let her stay there overnight, ever. It caused some problems that were tough to handle, but my childs safety came first.

ArtVandelay Wed 27-Mar-13 06:33:21

YADNBU! Your DH is in massive denial, thank goodness you aren't. Maybe speak to an alcohol addiction charity or GP to furnish him with some facts.

joolsangel Wed 27-Mar-13 07:32:02

you know the saying you cant see the woods for the trees. well I think my DH is obviously finding it difficult to cope admitting his parents drink excessively (he doesn't like me using the word 'alcoholics') so I can see that point of view. im very disappointed he hasn't thought to put our daughter's safety first. in the past he has always taken his mother's side so im not used to him supporting me when it comes to an issue with his mother. however, I absolutely cannot and will not ever ever put my daughters safety and wellbeing at risk and I am definitely not going to allow her to have unsupervised stays with them but this is now causing severe problems between DH and myself. my daughter has in the past stayed with them for a day or two but i didnt realise they were drinking heavily then. and so now its difficult to suddenly say no. i would like to calmly talk to MIL about this but my DH has said this is totally out of the question as she will go nuts and cut off the relationship with us (which im not worried about) but obviously i don't want to cause my DH family rift with this family. my daughter's safety and wellbeing is paramount. really don't know how im going to handle this one without saying direct to MIL. and my husband has said he will drive our daughter to his parents next week for a few days. I told him if he does this then I will drive down the same day and bring her back from theirs and I will explain to them bluntly the reason why which will cause irreversible problems and so I suggested he invite them here. but he isn't happy with my attitude to his family and I really don't see a solution which will keep al parties happy. thanks for your replies.

VIX1980 Wed 27-Mar-13 08:22:59

OP, I have no useful advice but just wanted to let you know your not alone as im having the same problem with my dp. 3 of his family members have died from liver problems due to drinking within the last 5 years alone, his parents continue to drink heavily every night, oh the odd night they may go for a walk round the park instead of to the pub but mil will get home and pull out the litre bottle of cider.

The 1 time they have babysat ds whose now 9 months we came home to find fil rolling round drunk and mil sat there drinking her cider as usual. They havent been asked to babysit again. It does cause major arguements as he takes their side and can see no wrong in what they do, but i stick to my guns which im afraid you shall have to do also.

I asked for advice a while ago on the same subject and somebody said something that has stuck in my head, if anything where to happen (god forbid) what would the coroner say. I keep thinking if they were minding him and something happened while they were drunk, they wouldnt be able to get him to a hospital, they wouldnt probably even know as they would be getting so drunk themselves and not keeping an eye or ear out for ds. Same for you, they would be too busy pouring themselves another drink. It makes me angry and sad at the same time that they would act this way but its the way they are and we cant tell them what to do with their own lives, what we can do though is protect the ones we are responsible for, and if that causes arguements along the way then so be it. Id much rather have a fall out with alcoholic mil than be sitting here saying i wish i hadnt let ds go there now! Good luck though, it is tough, but your child comes first every. single. time.

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