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To Expect inlaws to be more willing and accommodating?

(58 Posts)
Galaxymum Mon 19-Aug-13 15:46:02

My mum died last summer, and my dad died before I had DD, I have no siblings and she is an only child. So basically I have no close family to babysit or take her out. DH works quite long hours and I work part time from home - works brilliantly during school term but I am very cautious on her going off to places as she has Aspergers and is quite anxious and needs security.

Anyway before the school hols my in laws said they would be happy to take her out a few times - so I was stupidly thinking this would accommodate me to work and also she would go out with them on a day we hadn't anything planned with friends. So she has been to their house (not out) twice and that will be it. First week I was told "We'll pick her up Monday or Tuesday" - and she had something booked those days so didn't go. Once the next week as I rearranged another activity to accommodate them.

And once last week - this week they rang and said that Tuesday was best for them. But we have a day out planned with her friends. Soooooo thinking they'd accommodate her as we go away Saturday and then she is back at school, I made suggestions. "Oh no we're busy" was basically the answer.

I feel very frustrated and angry that they are frankly too busy to see their grandchild. Not just that they don't ask if I NEED some babysitting time so I can work but seem like they are too busy to see my DD who is only 7.

Then yesterday we got a summons to tea on Friday - come at 4 o'clock as my DH's brother and family are coming down to visit for first time this year. So we all have to fit in - DH was basically expected to finish work early and be accommodating though we go away Saturday morning.

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 19-Aug-13 23:08:40

Mintyy that is absolutely true - sometimes I scan AIBU thread titles and every single "AIBU to expect <third party> to..." gets a big fat YABU from me without even opening the thread. It's hugely risky and entitled to expect anything of anyone, even (alas) common courtesy. Learning to expect very little of people is quite liberating.

That said, there exists in law and in general life the concept of Reasonable Expectations - if someone has made you an offer (in this case, caring for DD) then it is reasonable to expect them not to retract that offer or impose significant conditions or barriers to "cashing in" that offer.

cory Mon 19-Aug-13 23:28:32

WestieMamma Mon 19-Aug-13 17:44:02
"YABU it sounds more like your daughter is too busy to see them. They offered several times but she had other plans. Funny how you expect them to change their plans to accommodate you but aren't prepared to change your plans to accommodate them."

This. They offered, you declined because you prioritised your friends over them, they concluded you and your dd weren't that interested.

Considering that there were 2 declined offers and 2 actual visits, it seems to me that they have certainly fulfilled their initial offer of having your dd "a few times" (Horry's Reasonable Expectation).

My parents almost certainly would prioritise me and dc. But it's a two way street- dc and I also prioritise them. If you want GP's to put you first, you and your dd will have to show that you are also putting them first.

If you send the signals that "you are not terribly important in my overall scheme of things" they won't think you actually care that much about your dd seeing them.

yoniwherethesundontshine Tue 20-Aug-13 00:06:08


I really like the way you phrased :" then it is reasonable to expect them not to retract that offer or impose significant conditions or barriers to "cashing in" that offer.". And I totally agree with you.

I always think a good rule is - do unto others what you would have done to yourself.

In this case I would be thinking about what I would do for my grandchildren.

I have family member's with retinues of nannies and lots of extra house help. They still have their own mother zig zagging at 72 across the world to see/baby sit and spend time with her grandchildren. She is just devoted to them.

I think I would do almost anything for mine, I can't think of anything more important than spend time with them and at the same time help out my own DC.

The problem with these things is though, we do not know how op has spoken to the GP maybe they also think - time with them should be prioritised over time spent with her little friends. Maybe as previously said you didn't make it clear enough to them.

To simply say to you that they are busy though and then summons you to Friday tea tells me they are used to making the rules and other people fall in.

If I were you I would speak to them and profusely apologise for your lack of communication, say you are very sorry, but you will not be able to make Friday either as you are packing and that you thought they would be able to arrange baby sitting along with also helping you out whilst your working, and in the next hols, perhaps you could both speak well in advance to arrange so they do not get let down?

cjel Tue 20-Aug-13 09:09:27

Yoni, that's just crazy. GPs can't be expectd to drop their plans on the whim of a dil. Whatever the plans they have made they are very important to them and may involve letting other people down to accommodate dil. As was suggested above, it she really wanted their help she could have changed a couple of play dates or even the time she worked from home.
I have my dgs in the holidays today and tomorrow in fact, but when I have other things on my d works round me as well.
As for tea on Friday, that is hardly the same as a whole day childminding and they probably see it as a lovely invitation for OP to see her bil as well. What sort of person refuses to go somewhere nice for a happy occasion to 'show' them? A person who won't rearrange a play date and expects in laws to be sitting at home waiting for her next available demand to babysitsad

This thread looks like it is the start of how to have a family feud with very normal reasonable in laws!!!

RiffyWammal Tue 20-Aug-13 10:31:14

I wonder if unhelpful grandparents (not specifically the OP's but the kind who say they've 'had their kids' etc) have considered that their behaviour might come back on them. That one day, they may want their children to help them. And it would serve them right if those children, now their own children are grown and don't need so much attention, were suddenly too busy with their own social lives to do so.

My MIL once remarked that she 'had her own life to live' when we asked for a lift somewhere when we had three small children and no car. Her other constant excuses for not helping us included that she was 'too busy' with her other grandchildren or going shopping. In the end we gave up and resigned ourselves to the fact that she just wasn't interested in our family and we got on with life, paying for childcare and so on.

I am civil with the woman now, and we've never had words, but if the day comes when she wants us to help her as she gets old and infirm, I am afraid I will tell her she can ask the families of her more favoured sons if they would like to repay her for all the help she gave them, as we have our own lives to lead.

chocoluvva Tue 20-Aug-13 11:01:22

I hope I become a granny one day. Life with a baby/little children is difficult IME and I'm sure I'll be delighted to help with my grandchildren.

Like Riffly I know what it's like to have unhelpful ILs - disappointing and hurtful and I know I will offer help if/when they need it, but I'll resent it and will not feel as sympathetic to them I probably would have if they'd been a bit nicer.

If the OP's ILs are busy that's lovely for them but you'd think they would ask the OP when would be most helpful for her.

Thurlow Tue 20-Aug-13 11:21:39

I'm sure a lot of the problem will depend on how GPs are asked - and whether they feel they are treated just as free babysitters. As much as that means they get to see their GC, that's just not nice, only being asked over or to have the kids when babysitting is required.

I still wonder whether the OP has actually explained why she would appreciate help on a particular day, rather than just expecting them to jump to her requests.

Cravey Tue 20-Aug-13 12:28:40

Yabu I can't believe that you expect them to drop everything for your dd when you say so. It sounds as if its all on your terms and never mind of they have plans etc. they are grandparents not bloody childminders.

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