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AIBU to be jealous of my DC's cousins lifestyle?

(14 Posts)
purplepompoms Wed 03-Jul-13 13:22:56

Of course I'm being AIBU but want to know if anyone else is in a similar situation. DH's sister has recently had her first child. DH's family are close knit and I get on very well with DSIL and am very happy for her. My worry is that over time I will find it hard not to resent what she will be able to offer her children compared to what we can provide for our DC. DSIL and her DH are very comfortably off (combination of luck with property and well-paying careers) eg. can afford a large family house in very nice area, private schooling if they wish, foreign holidays and up to DSIL whether she works or is SAHM. We are doing OK and DH is in a job he likes but we can only afford very small house, DCs primary school is good enough but secondary schools of much more dubious quality, no foreign holidays and limited money for expensive activities for DCs. I currently work part-time of choice but am likely to have to go full-time soon as there are no well-paying part-time jobs in my field and we can't afford for me to stay part-time much longer. Anyway, I'm really not moaning about our position as I appreciate we are incredibly lucky compared to lots of people. What I want to know is do you have siblings or in-laws who you are close to but who are in a very different financial position to you and how has that affected your relationship with them and their children as your own children get older?

wonderingsoul Wed 03-Jul-13 13:28:35

ynbu to think it or feel it, its human nature to feel jelouse/envy.

yubu to act on it and to allow it affect your relationship. (that is if they are not rubbing it in your face or boasting)

i get like this sometimes, when i see family together.. or even my frineds having a "break" from their children. i do have to remind my self of the good in my life and we cant all have it all.

aldiwhore Wed 03-Jul-13 13:31:24


My sister and BIL are 'lucky' and hard working, they've received help that I'd have accepted had I been them, they're careful with money and they seem to be well set up. For me, it's not about their 'riches' because they're not rich, rather their opportunities that have enabled them to have long term plans, which I lack.

Does it affect my relationship with my sister? I refuse to let it. It actually takes an effort not to compare yourself to others sometimes, but I will always put that effort in.

My children are happy, healthy, wonderful company, funny, well fed, and they lack for none of the basics, the important stuff.

Yes I/we are always striving to give them more of the important things, we want to be able to comfortably afford every school trip, or out of school club, but these are extras, I never had them and I look back on my childhood with great memories. We have a lot of family time, we have fun. All the things that a mastercard cannot provide, we have, the rest is extra, and not all extras are good, and a lot of extras often require a sacrifice of some really good things.

You have to be confident that you are doing your best for your children, rather than providing everything they could ever dream of... very few people can match that.

My best friend as a child was piss poor. I ENVIED her, the closeness to her family, the time they spent together while my (lovely folks) worked every hour to provide bigger, better, more.

Don't let it affect your relationships, be proud of everything you achieve, be the best parent you can be. It's all you can do without becoming a misery.

quoteunquote Wed 03-Jul-13 13:37:48

Waste of time even thinking about it.

and quite negative, try to focus on the positives, and you won't have time for negative.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Wed 03-Jul-13 13:42:51

I earn about 5x what my siblings do. My children are in private schools. It doesn't seem to make any difference at all to their relationship with their cousins and if I thought my children were showing off I'd have words with them.

holidaybug Wed 03-Jul-13 13:47:12

I'm in a similar position to OP DH's sister and have siblings/siblings in law in a less comfortable position. On the outside, it must look like we have it all but it has its own challenges. DH has to travel a lot and work long hours to pay for a comfortable lifestyle so family weekends are disrupted - a lot. Siblings have jobs where they never travel, work a straight 9 - 5 with no overtime expected. Plus paying for school fees is a huge expense and difficult to know if it will be worthwhile in the long term.

I guess the grass always looks greener and I'd obviously always prefer to be comfortably off than not but it isn't necessarily all it appears at first glance.

Tailtwister Wed 03-Jul-13 13:50:33

YANBU to feel jealous, it's how you feel and there's nothing you can do about that.

However, you really have to let it go. Jealousy can be all consuming and it will seep into your family life in a negative way if you're not careful.

Also, remember that things can change. You may find yourselves in a very different financial position 5 years from now. If the primary schools are good then you're sorted in the medium term.

Arabesque Wed 03-Jul-13 13:51:59

I agree with holiday

Very few people have a perfect life and envying people (even though we all do it) is really a waste of time as you don't really know what worries, problems or upsets they have in their lives. You're SIL could be wishing she was as easy going as you, or as good a mum or whatever.

farewellfigure Wed 03-Jul-13 14:05:08

YANBU as it's just human nature. It's not all about money, holidays, private school though. You may be a much happier family without all the trimmings. You just don't know what their lives are like behind closed doors. Try to enjoy what you DO have and don't worry about what you don't. I had a totally penniless childhood. We literally had to scrabble around for pennies behind the sofa to pay for petrol the day before my Dad's pay day. I didn't go to the cinema until I was 15. We went camping in Cornwall on a farm (free) for 20 years in a row. It was the most blissful and happiest childhood I could have had.

My childless acquaintances just came back from a 2 week holiday in America. I was so fed us with their endless posts and photos on facebook. I revelled in their last post which bemoaned their crushing jetlag. Ha.

becscertainstar Wed 03-Jul-13 14:08:36

A couple of my DSs cousins went to private school, have had foreign holidays in 5* resorts every year, his female cousin has four horses and spends her time getting massages and manicures (she doesn't work or go to college, she says 'why bother, when dad can give me as much money as I want until I get married'), when my nephew wanted to work in a particular field his dad bought a small but successful company in that field and made his son, (ie my nephew) the MD when he was straight out of school. When it went bankrupt, my nephew went to Uni, all paid for by his dad. At the moment my nephew is on an extended luxury holiday with his friends.

My DS is at a state primary and will go to state secondary. We live in a small HA flat and go on holiday to stay with some of DHs family who live near the sea.

A while back my nephew said 'I'm so jealous of your DS'. I asked why and he said 'You and DHsName love each other so much, and it's so chilled at your place. I never had that kind of security.' And I felt ever so sorry for him. His dad gives him loads of stuff but it's all conditional on him agreeing with everything his dad says. And his achievements aren't his own. He and his sister are constantly under an obligation to be grateful for all the money that is spent on them. I feel really sorry for my DSs cousins, they're messed up by my exBILs wealth.

YANBU to envious, it's human nature but you can't buy a happy childhood - you can buy 'set dressing', like if you were shooting a movie scene of a happy childhood and you want to accessorize it with stuff that looks like happiness.... But you can't buy love, laughter and emotional security. You also can't buy achievement, whatever the brochures for private school say - my niece is basically a NEET, even if she's a rich NEET! So try not to feel too bad.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 03-Jul-13 14:14:51

I'm in a much better financial position than some of my family members who have children a bit younger than mine. I'm not that comfortably off, nowhere near as much as your SIL, but better off than my family.

I don't see them that often, but when I do we have a nice time together, but it does put up a barrier. From them, not me IMO. I feel like I have to watch what I say constantly, because they have this impression that my life is perfect. If I'm positive about something that's going on its easily taken as boasting, and if I'm negative about something then I get the impression they are thinking that I'm patronising them, or being ungrateful.

I know it's not nice to be in the position you are in OP, but it's not great on the other side of it either when the differences are between you and people you care about.

cory Wed 03-Jul-13 14:15:57

We have had this to a certain extent. Nephew's family has large house with lovely garden, money for extensive travelling to interesting locations, able to afford any courses etc he wants to do. Also nephew is fit and healthy whereas dd has suffered chronic pain and disability since she was 4.

It has never come between us and I am so thankful for that. One of the greatest gifts life has given dd is her lovely cousin who is like a second brother to her. What's a few holidays compared to that?

purplepompoms Wed 03-Jul-13 14:31:06

Thank you all for such thoughtful replies, I was expecting a lot more people to say IBU. I agree with all of you who say that you can't buy happiness and I'm fairly confident that DH and I can give our DCs a happy secure childhood. I don't think that I'm a particularly envious person and before DCs came along I never resented my SIL or certain friends having luxurious holidays, designer clothes etc. I have always worked in the voluntary or public sector and I cut my cloth accordingly. BUT I believe that we live in an increasingly unequal society and that the financial opportunities that people can give their DCs will in the future have a much greater influence than in the recent past on the sort of lives their DCs can expect as adults. For example, when I went to university, I could do a course for the love of it without thinking about the employment prospects. By the time our DCs are ready to go to university (assuming of course they're academically able enough) the vast cost of courses will mean that only those with money behind them can study for the love of a subject as I did.

cory Wed 03-Jul-13 14:39:18

The way the loan is constructed they can still study for love: they don't have to pay it back if they end up in a lowpaid job.

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