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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!!!

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?

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.

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.

emsyj Mon 19-Aug-13 23:02:34

YANBU to feel sad that your ILs seem to you to be unwilling to make time for your DD, however I do agree with a previous poster that you perhaps would be best off trying to fix dates with them well in advance - some people work a diary system and are quite rigid once something is in the diary, perhaps they are like this and it's not a case of your DD being unimportant but rather that some thought and organisation needs to go into it from both sides to make sure that your respective schedules don't clash.

Mintyy Mon 19-Aug-13 22:41:31

I am sick and tired of seeing all these countless threads on Mumsnet where people "expect" other people, usually grandparents, to look after their children.

maddening Mon 19-Aug-13 22:38:35

Why shouldn't they be able to try and work it so it's more mutually beneficial for both gp and parents though? Fair enough it's free child care but at the same time gps get time that they say they want and the parents get to do something they need time for - surely the gps can get their diaries out and find dates that suit everyone?

My mum at one point offered to do a day a week now she is semi retured but I took voluntary redundancy and we spent lots of days all together - was lovely. Now am back full time and mum said straight out that she didn't want to commit to a day every week so now she helps out in school hols (pre school) which helps us loads and mum picks and chooses which days ahe wants - every one wins and mum and ds have had a fab time.

cjel Mon 19-Aug-13 21:15:19

Hope SNazzy was joking? retired people are the busiest I know!!!!

chocoluvva Mon 19-Aug-13 20:49:59

That's a shame OP and you have my sympathy. It will get easier for you as your DD gets older. smile

LittleBearPad Mon 19-Aug-13 20:47:42

It would be nice if retired people could be a little more flexible

Why? Aren't they allowed to organise their own lives like we all do?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Mon 19-Aug-13 19:53:25

YANBU though as Procrastinating says, that isn't the party line on these threads. It would be nice if retired people could be a little more flexible but the lesson from this, as other posts have now said, is to book in specific days with them - that way you know work is covered and they know about keeping those days free. Santana also makes a good point - what share of the summer holiday is being covered by your DH? He also ought to pitch in.

mrsjay Mon 19-Aug-13 19:44:35

surely her grandparents are more important than friends no ? they said when it was ok for them to have her you cant dictate when it suits you if you want them to have her while you work then ask them, but you are not breaking any other arrangements so she can see her grandparents are you it is give and take imo

SantanaLopez Mon 19-Aug-13 19:41:31


You both need to be a little more flexible.

Also, it's mid-August and this is your BIL's first time home this year? I'd expect your DH to be there.

SueDoku Mon 19-Aug-13 19:38:02

What ArtexMonkey said. Next holiday, sit down with them as soon as they show any desire to take DD out, and get some dates in your (and their) diary... That way, neither of you is disappointed.

DontmindifIdo Mon 19-Aug-13 19:13:35

Oh and did mil work outside the home when your dh was at school? Also IME grandparents that had a SAHM don't automatically get it with holiday childcare, esp if you normally work school hours so don't need paid childcare in term time. If they stopped to think about it they might realise you need care of some sort, but if not, then they might need it pointing out- you don't want them just to spend time with dd for dd's sake, you need childcare, and for those days to be a firm commitment (or enough warning to arrange alternative care).

mrsravelstein Mon 19-Aug-13 19:08:11

dh's parents are both dead. my parents live locally and will help out with an hour here or an hour there once a week, but that's it. it's not really a case of being reasonable or unreasonable, you have to take what's offered. i am envious of friends who have very actively involved grandparents who take kids overnight/while parents work etc etc, but ho hum.

DontmindifIdo Mon 19-Aug-13 19:07:17

See, I don't think YABU to expect retired people who are living close by who have offered to have you dd to help out, however, you are massively U to just assume they have no other plans or commitments at short notice.

For next holiday, don't go with a vague "help out some days", what about "could you have dd every other Tuesday over the summer so I can commit to work?" and ask this way back at Easter so it's in everyone's diaries. If they say no or offer a different day, then you can plan around it and will be far easier.

Childcare IME is much easier when it's clearly set out and regimented, as you've found this summer, ad hock arrangements are a working mother's head ache.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 19-Aug-13 19:03:27

YANBU but neither are they.
We have exactly the same thing, my ils are the same. I know where you are coming from, its not the child care aspect but the fact they are your dds extended family. I lost my parents too and sometimes it is hurtful that they have time to visit and don't.
But they do have their own lives that will probably involve lots of health appointments unless they are young and in very good health.
I think with more comunication it would be better for your dd. It wasn't their fault that they only had tuesday free and you were already busy.

Procrastinating Mon 19-Aug-13 18:55:33

YANBU but I know that goes against MN orthodoxy. Grandparents these days are mostly shit (except you Riffy).
I hope you said you were 'too busy' for tea on Friday.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Aug-13 18:48:06

I think Horry is right.

OP's pil quite obviously do want to see their granddaughter but I think it's unfair to expect them to change their plans for your convenience when it's already been admitted that OP won't change her plans.

I find this whole thing a bit baffling. My own parents will still all be working when I have children (next year or so hopefully) and will be for a good few years thereafter (well over 10).

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 19-Aug-13 18:23:20

That is, GMIL did their wraparound care for years so they could both work, so it isn't an alien concept to them.

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