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to think SIL was really out of order?

(74 Posts)
dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 17:43:59

My older brother is the only surviving member of my family, and until he met SIL, we were close. I do want to be fair here so I will say that due to not having any other family members he could 'vent' to I probably heard the downsides to their relationship as there was no one else he could really talk to.

Quite soon into the relationship she discovered she was pregnant (he was 34 and she was 29, so they were hardly teenagers grin) and got married. Their first child was born in spring 2007 and she stopped working to be a SAHM. They had a really difficult period in their relationship after this. My brother was made redundant from his job and managed to get another one in a different area of the country. I accept it must have been difficult for SIL during this time. They then had another child in winter 2009, and another in summer 2012.

The issue is around SIL working, or rather not working. She hated her job before having their first child, but she isn't happy being a SAHM either. What she does do is get interested in doing something or being something and then it gets forgotten about - she has started a number of small business ventures such as making jewellery which are then subsequently forgotten about, and looked into training as a doula for a while, then she got pregnant with DC2, and so on.

Her latest business venture is making cakes, and she has told my brother she wants to 'do it properly' and this includes sending the DCs to a childminder two days a week. He said they couldn't afford it - an almighty row ensued and now my brother is here in my spare room hmm and bearing in mind they live a 2 hour drive away, it seems pretty serious.

Is he being U or is she? I think she is ,but I am obviously a bit biased as he is my brother.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:08:28

LineRunner, this isn't my fault and I'm not going to have it implied that it is - I think that is out of order.

zzzz yeah, point taken. However, he doesn't generally get in until gone 6 in the evening and works full time - not sure what else he could do, to be honest? He obviously can't look after the children when he's at work and he leaves the house at 7. He also works Saturday mornings which is difficult for both of them, but they need the money, so what can you do?

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:08:58

nkf have done. smile Thanks.

SanityClause Sun 07-Apr-13 19:09:57

Perhaps you could point out to him that she doesn't necessarily want solutions, but just wants a hug?

The thing is, they do need to sort it out between themselves, and you should be encouraging him to do that, rather than worrying about who is right and who is wrong in this particular argument.

Iggi101 Sun 07-Apr-13 19:12:58

She may be going mad at home with 3 dcs. The childminder might be to give her a break/let her do something creative.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:14:18

Difficult replying to that without sounding really defensive, but obviously I have suggested that! He doesn't 'get it' though and she is a difficult lady to read - I find her difficult. The other thing is that has a tendency to bring up things about him that displease her in a long list and the most upsetting for him is the redundancy - "you were made redundant, you made me move, so this is all YOUR fault and now you won't even pay for a childminder."

Like I say I can quite see how it's not easy for her, I really can. But I think being made redundant did massively impact on DB and he gets very upset when he's reminded of it. (before anyone says anything, he didn't want to move but as we all know jobs are scarce.)

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:15:33

Iggi - like I have said, I can see that and so can he, but they just can't afford it. When they moved it was to an expensive area because that's just where the job was (he works for a university) and the mortgage is a killer.

Sianilaa Sun 07-Apr-13 19:15:38

Your SIL sounds like me (though I only have 2 DC!). I was a teacher, had 2 children, gave up work and don't/didn't want to go back to teaching and have started my own cake business from home.

It's expensive - training courses, kit, childminder fees. There's a LOT of competition about so you have to be really genuinely talented to get the work. It doesn't bring in a lot of money as a lot of people aren't prepared to pay what the work is worth. I've been doing it for a year almost and am just breaking into the wedding cake market. It's hard work! In fact, I need to get out of the house so I am applying for non-teaching roles in schools and have an interview next week. I think she is being unreasonable quite honestly but it's likely to be a product of the fact she has lost herself a bit and is no doubt feeling frustrated, lacking confidence and direction. Your brother needs to go home and TALK to her, really get to the bottom of it all and come to some agreement. Could she get a small part time job (say, 2 days a week) to earn some money to cover herself while she sets up even? I would put money on her not sticking with it!

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:20:24

Thanks grin I agree they need to talk but it's one of those frustrating situations. He is a bit timid and I think in some ways he's a bit scared of her - obviously not physically, but in the sense that she unleashes all this pent-up frustration on him and makes it his fault and I think he gets a bit scared about hearing "it's your fault anyway for being made redundant, bastard!" (He doesn't even like it if someone mentions it in passing.)

I think the part time job is a good idea grin I think it depends if she can find one of course but that would work well.

I can see it's difficult for her and so can DB, and I think he genuinely would like to help and feels upset when he can't.

Other people's relationships are so easy aren't they!

Good luck with your cakes Sianilaa; I can barely make toast so admire anyone with the skills and the patience, but can see it being very competitive.

LineRunner Sun 07-Apr-13 19:21:25

You do sound fairly defensive, tbh, OP. I think that's understandable, but not necessarily in your brother's or his family's best interests.

You hit the nail on the head about the hug. You got that right smile You have helped him out, but you need to steer him back to adulthood.

No-one's blaming you for anything. You seem like a really caring sister.

AThingInYourLife Sun 07-Apr-13 19:22:36

I have 3 children of similar ages to your SIL.


dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:26:31

LineRunner - I'm not, honestly grin I did get a bit pissed off with your post, as it sounded a bit like I'd had a hand in the breakup of their marriage when what I actually happened was I opened the door to a sobbing DB saying "please let me stay" so I'm hardly going to say "no, piss off back to your wife!" but that'll be me reading it wrong probably!

Hopefully it'll sort itself out but I can empathise with the money thing - when it isn't there, it just isn't, as we all know grin

I think, thinking about it some more, she's probably grieving for her old life back 'home' and that must be hard but they need to make steps to make a new life for themselves either where they are or at 'home', together.

AThingInYourLife Sun 07-Apr-13 19:27:51

From what you say I think it is unfair to imagine that she doesn't enjoy being at home with her children.

She seems to be keeping herself busy and involved in lots of things.

But 3 small children is really hard work. And the afternoons can be murderous.

If you don't have children it's going to be very hard to understand her perspective, even without being your brother's sister.

Why does he get to decide what they can afford? Have they looked at their budget to see if they can make it work?

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:31:39

AThing - what makes you think I don't have DCs of my own?

I imagine he's looked through the budget, he's certainly anal careful about things like that. The problem is, as he said when he first got here, that they can't guarantee that the business will make much, if any, money and they can't afford to pay childcare without there being some money from her as there's only £50 left after all essential outgoings (including the grocery shop) so having childcare would mean incurring some debt which he doesn't want to do - I can understand that.

lopsided Sun 07-Apr-13 19:35:19

I think they need to go through the finances together to see if this is a goer.

It will be a while before she makes money from this, if at all. I think she would be better off trying to get a regular job as it sounds like she could use a change of scene and adults to talk to. Small businesses can be lonely.

AThingInYourLife Sun 07-Apr-13 19:37:11

Because you said you didn't!

Didn't you! DIDN'T YOU?! grin

Ignore me, I might be hallucinating.

No, they certainly can't go into debt to pay for childcare.

That would be crazy irresponsible.

ImperialBlether Sun 07-Apr-13 19:41:31

I think a small business wouldn't be the right thing for her because she'd have to work alone. If she's lonely and wants adult company, she'd be better off with a job.

Couldn't she get a job where she at least breaks even with the cost of childminders? How much would she have to pay out? Or could she do something in the evening like a course which would give her adult company?

To be fair to her if she was lonely and unhappy before, she'll be even worse now. Tell him to go back and to try to make things right with her. It sounds as though she's lost all her confidence and is trying desperately to think of things that will work.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 19:41:42

AThing - haha, you made me laugh!

(I don't! Yet! Trying to though, so I'm a bit super sensitive to anyone complaining about those who don't have kids not having a clue - I know that's not what you said. Sorry, own insecurities came out a bit there; joys of fertility treatment.)

I think she needs to work part time to be honest but hmm other people, hey!

nailak Sun 07-Apr-13 19:46:54

One of the mums at my dds nursery has cake business, what sells best for her is occassion cakes, not cupcakes, she sells 6 inch cake for a fiver, decoration is not astounding but passable, and the price is good enough that we can order for any get togethers etc, and doesn't just have to be birthdays, so we end up ordering all the time, if people have someone round for coffee etc, as well as for birthdays, mothers day. The taste is amazing though. If it wasnt we wouldnt buy!

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 07-Apr-13 19:48:48

OP said she wasn't married I think?

I would be very wary of getting too involved. Seriously, tell him he can stay for a bit but get him to sort it out soon. You have no idea what her side of this is and it could be your DB at fault.

You could also be a little more sympathetic towards your sil who has given up a formal career and now may be finding it hard to work out what to do next. She wouldn't be the first SAHM to struggle to find her professional mojo after years at home.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 07-Apr-13 19:57:58

Also it is common to feel very undecided between wanting to work and not wanting to give up doing all the caring for children.

I think the things your SIL is saying are things I have heard many times over.

zzzzz Sun 07-Apr-13 20:08:43

If you think infertility treatment can make you insecure, try very limited cash, new area, 3 small children, a failed business, staying at home having had a career, a husband who tells his sister how substandard he thinks you are..... She probably spent ages trying to think up something she can do from home to help. sad

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:14:35

zzzzz that was a very unpleasant message.

DB hasn't said the word 'substandard' once. He turned up here in tears.

I think most of my messages about her HAVE been fairly sympathetic, actually! I have acknowledged how hard it must be for her and I have sympathised with how rotten it must have been moving away.

However, unfortunately, they can't conjure money out of nowhere, can they?

mynewpassion Sun 07-Apr-13 20:17:32

No he didn't say substandard but I am sure he's said other not so nice things. When people vent, its usually never positive. And, he's vented in the past many times to you as you stated in your OP.

PenelopePortrait Sun 07-Apr-13 20:21:25

dandelion people's posts on here often say more about their own situation than the OP's. You know your SIL, just do what you think you'd want if you were in their situation. That way you can't go wrong.

You are in a thankless position. Hope it works itself out soon

zzzzz Sun 07-Apr-13 20:22:09

I think if he is in tears after a 2 hour drive, there may be more to it. Has anyone phoned to see if she is alright?

I'm not sure why it's unpleasant to try and explain that she is probably utterly miserable herself? I'm sorry if it came across that way.

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