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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.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 07-Apr-13 20:22:23

Dandelion - you do seem a bit defensive tbh.

Also, you only have your brother's word for the claim they can't afford a CM. Your sil may have different spending priorities.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:23:21

Thanks Penelope. It's difficult knowing how to help as they do need to talk but he really is quite scared of the backlash I think. His self esteem has never been great and she does give people a real verbal kicking when she puts her mind to it.

Probably shouldn't have posted but I feel a bit helpless really.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:26:49

zzzz, it was the comparison to fertility treatment that upset me a bit really, as I had only mentioned that in brief to another poster. Saying to someone going through fertility treatment for their own children "well try having 3 and see how YOU like it" - well, yes, it's a bit upsetting, I won't lie.

I have acknowledged throughout the thread that she is unhappy and I do sympathise with that but by the same token, it's depressing for him as well I suppose.

I know they are really hard up financially, largely because of the redundancy and the house move which he gets blamed for.

Sorry, there's been no real defensiveness to my posts apart from the one over the page re fertility treatment so I apologise if I've come across like that as I haven't intended to at all grin

PenelopePortrait Sun 07-Apr-13 20:27:31

I think that's it really - you are helpless re their situation.

I wouldn't take much notice of the posters encouraging you to ask about this that and the other. It's really none of your business and you probably aren't remotely interested in it? Just be sympathetic and supportive ( to both) but try not to pass comment. What's the phrase 'least said soonest mended'?

Iggi101 Sun 07-Apr-13 20:29:12

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

PenelopePortrait Sun 07-Apr-13 20:29:19

dandelion sometimes on here posters are almost goaded into being defensive. I take that view that with the advice given on here 'Take what you like and leave the rest'.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:29:35

Yes, that's pretty much what I have tried to do and he probably wouldn't listen even if I did ask grin

At the heart of it they are both working hard and wanting to do the best they can for their family, I am sure they will sort it out! smile

PenelopePortrait Sun 07-Apr-13 20:30:05

iggi this is not about the SIL, it's about the OP!

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:30:16

iggi - yep, I think we all get that grin but if you can't afford it, you can't afford it can you?

AllYoursBabooshka Sun 07-Apr-13 20:38:30

Of course you feel helpless, you can't win!

Dbrother and SIL came to live with us for 9 months a few years ago and took it apon themselves to appoint me as their live in Sally Jesse Raph-fucking-ael.

Every few days one of them would come to me complaining about the other and they would sometimes call me into their arguments.

God knows why as all I did was gibber about suggesting "A nice cup of tea"

If you get too deep into these things it can only end badly. They will make up and move on and then you'll be the asshole.

My advice is to be a neutral listening ear for your brother, ever encouraging him to sort things out yet reassuring him your are always there.

Just never let them move in with you. grin

AllYoursBabooshka Sun 07-Apr-13 20:43:22

X post. blush

Bath was overflowing.

nooka Sun 07-Apr-13 20:43:33

I think the only real suggestion you can make is that they think about getting some counseling together. It sounds as if they are probably both unhappy and are carrying some sensitivities/hurts that they both bring up repeatedly in arguments, and that neither of them is very good at communicating with the other. It's very easy to get stuck in really unproductive ruts in relationships, especially when they are under significant strain (and they have a lot on their plate - several small children, losing a job, moving to a new area, pressure of a high mortgage, no spare money etc I don't envy them at all).

The other thing to bear in mind is that there is a strong meme around running small businesses from home, it's frequently offered as 'the solution' to mothers of young children, with little or no reality attached about how incredibly hard it is to run a small business successfully, let alone at the same time as bringing up a young family. I think she may have got suckered into the idea that cupcakes will be her salvation, and she sees her dh as screwing up her escape plans. He may well be being more realistic and sensible, but this is an emotional argument, not a rational one I suspect.

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:46:52

Babooshska thanks grin enjoy your bath!

nooka yeah, I think there's probably a great deal of truth in what you say smile Will point this out to DB when he's a bit more calm - thanks.

AThingInYourLife Sun 07-Apr-13 20:47:48

Yeah, nooka's right about the "Mommy Business" thing.

Iggi101 Sun 07-Apr-13 23:22:29

Penelope - "AIBU to think SIL was really out of order?" is the title. Don't really understand your comment to me.

Kiwiinkits Mon 08-Apr-13 00:48:51

It's impossible to tell, if you haven't had experience of it, how flipping draining and hard being at home with three kids is, particularly in a new area and under financial strain. It's tough. I don't blame SIL for seeking an out. But Nooka is so right, a small business is almost impossible to get right. Cupcakes in particular is hardly going to be a money spinner. Just on basic volumes, say your margin per cupcake was 30p once you'd taken into account labour, electricity, wastage, marketing, transport etc. You'd have to sell 10,000 units just to make 3000 pound. I wouldn't bother with all the faff for that sort of money, frankly. It's piddles.

Kiwiinkits Mon 08-Apr-13 00:50:50

If she has teaching experience she could consider setting herself up as a tutor of some sort, or set up an after school education childcare service.

cranverry Mon 08-Apr-13 04:16:30

I have a lot of sympathy for all parties. I'm a SAHM with 2 young children and we've relocated thousands of miles away from family and friends for my husband's work. My husband bears the brunt of my frustrations about being home all day with no support network, he also bears all the financial responsibilityy. I can't do the job I'm qualified to do as the hours are just not compatible with family life when my husband is doing the same kind of hours. I feel I have lost myself over the years I've been home and I'm struggling to find my identity.

After a few crisis meetings I've recently set up a small business to run from home doing some admin and bookkeeping for a couple of local businesses. I'm loving doing it as its a break and a way of building my confidence back up to return to work. However I have to do it in evenings and weekends as we can't commit to childcare costs until I'm bringing in some money. This is something your brother and his wife need to discuss. Does she really want to work or does she just need a break? No harm in the latter but they need to go over the finances together and see if it can be afforded at all.

I also winced at a few of the comments directed towards you. Prior to having our first daughter we went through years of fertility treatments and I feel some of the comments were unnecessarily harsh towards you. You sound a lovely caring sister so I think you can just be there for your brother and his family and hopefully your SIL will find something that she enjoys that will cover the childcare costs.

Timetoask Mon 08-Apr-13 05:09:53

Op, I think your sil is a bit of a dreamer with regards to her business venture! But I really do sympathise with her, it is very hard looking after small children with no support.
Regarding the business: I would suggest to your Db to ask her to first make a plan, talk to people who have done this already to see how long it took to setup, how much did it cost, etc. maybe with some figures on paper he can demonstrate how crazy her idea is (money doesn't grow on trees)
Regarding her complaint about him being made redundant: that is not on really. He needs to be more assertive!
The best he can do is go back home, talk things over with her calmly and give her a hug!

maddening Mon 08-Apr-13 07:32:53

She could do private tutoring?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 08-Apr-13 07:52:24

Your SIL has three kids, has had to move away from her area and has tried a few business ideas that didn't work. That must all be hard. Has she suffered from depression?

Did she and your DBro do the family budget together? Do they both know what money is spent where?

Could your DBro request flexible work to get home earlier once or twice a week and give her a chance to work on something?

Sianilaa Mon 08-Apr-13 08:20:02

Nailak - a fiver for a 6" cake?! You realise she's probably paying to make you a cake?! I couldn't even get ingredients for a fiver let alone actually cover my costs. I expect it's not a business but a hobby?

Also if the SILs business idea is cupcakes, it isn't going to make any money so I think your brother is right to say they will be getting into debt to cover childcare. If she's a qualified teacher it's a much more valuable qualification. Someone mentioned private tutoring? Or a non-teaching role in a school?

cory Mon 08-Apr-13 09:11:41

"we can't afford it" seems fairly clear-cut to me and yelling and shouting about it seems a bit, well, spoiled, to me"

You mean she should take your brother's word for it without arguing?

Surely what two adults should do is to sit down together and look at the budget and work through the various possibilities?

Shouting and yelling is not on but neither is "we will do it this way because I say so".

Your SIL may well be totally unrealistic but you don't know that unless you have actually seen their workings out.

In any case, I really don't think your involvement is helping your brother. He needs to talk this through with somebody neutral- like a counsellor- not with somebody whose emotions are on his side.

zzzzz Mon 08-Apr-13 09:15:53

dandelion as I said I'm sorry is my comparison to fertility treatment upset you. It is of course useless to try and compare levels of stress and sadness. I myself have experienced both situations having only become a parent after many years of trying and then as sometime happens having multiple small children at home. I wish both you and your SIL all the best.

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