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I need to stop being MIL's babysitter.

(64 Posts)
SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 10:16:40

And I also need a backbone.

DH has three cousins, all girls, who all have children. MIL helps them out quite a bit and often has one of them every day in the holidays. I have three DC's, and how its worked out is that each of DH's cousins children are close in age to one of mine.

The problem is that MIL doesn't really want to take care of them (I don't think), so she ends up coming to my house with whichever one/two she has that day. Twice over the Easter holidays she turned up and then left 'to run some errands', she was gone 2 hours the first time, and nearly 4 the second time. At which point I rang her house as she wasnt answering her mobile and she answered. If I go out with my own children, she complains about what she is going to do, and when we went our on Good Friday, this was an 'inconvenience' hmm.

She is already making mutterings about may half term. She is very good company and I like spending time with her, but in small doses, not every single day of the holidays. My other issue is that the cousins are eating us out of house and home, and 2 of them tend to be quite rude and bossy.

AIBU to try and put a stop to it all of the time, or to go away for half term grin

Goldmandra Tue 22-Apr-14 11:56:23

Just tell her straight out that you enjoy their company but not every day of the holidays because you'd like some time with your DCs to do things as a family. You'd like to choose just one or two days to see them over half term please.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Tue 22-Apr-14 11:57:13

Odd she had those three children rather than yours to whom she is more nearly related.

fuzzpig Tue 22-Apr-14 12:00:07


2rebecca Tue 22-Apr-14 13:23:20

Agree with other. Tell her you find it too stressful with all the children and that if she chooses to babysit children then you'd rather she didn't come round as much in the holidays and just did her own thing with them. Yes she'll grumble but it's her choice to have them. Make excuses if she talks about coming round. Don't let her go out on errands without them.
If she finds it too much she needs to sort it with her nephew, it's not as though they're her grandchildren and she feels obliged to have them

QueenofallIsee Tue 22-Apr-14 13:52:41

I really sympathise with you Steady, I think this must be a very awkward situation for you. Sounds like your MIL enjoys being thought of as a 'wonderful help' to the family but doesn't really like babysitting!

As she is taking such liberties by leaving the children with you without prior arrangement and complaining if you are out when she turns up without notice, I can't see being busy/on your way out working with. I think your DH (as its his Mother) needs to help you actually say bluntly 'Don't bring them round every day, we find it a bit much to take as well as expensive'. Good luck though OP, its not an easy one I'd imagine

SteadyEddie Tue 22-Apr-14 17:11:52

Sounds like your MIL enjoys being thought of as a 'wonderful help' to the family but doesn't really like babysitting!

I think you have hit the nail on the head.

I am going to get DH to say something - he has made comments to me before about her taking the mickey, and he got quite cross about the 4 hour absence. She does offer to have our DC's in the holidays but I always decline because I see how much she doesn't actually enjoy it. I have tried before to make arrangements with her, but she just turns up on the day, saying the children want to come and visit.

We are going away in the summer and she exclaimed that she doesnt know what she is going to do. I even jokingly offered her a key to the house and she seemed over the moon.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Apr-14 17:18:44

Well spotted OP it can take a long time for the penny to drop. You're too nice and MIL has been taking advantage. Agree with others why should you fake going out, it's perfectly reasonable to want to chill at home by yourselves.

TheWordFactory Tue 22-Apr-14 17:25:51

Absolutely get your DH tp tell her she can't drop in and leave the otehr DC with you. It's too much. Also, it presumably means you can't go out yourself!

Other than that - be out!

Scrounger Tue 22-Apr-14 17:28:46

We had (hopefully it is in the past) something like this, PILs would come over to ours with our DN and stay over. We are just over an hour away so they can't pop in like your MIL which I'm sure would have happended. We have three small children, my SIL & BIL had one, so we ended up running around with four while they had a night and day off. It was much harder work with this additional child (some children slot in and it isn't any different but this was) and we had to work harder, clearing up, maintaining some sense of discipline etc.

I think that we are now out of it after DH kept dropping hints about how it was much harder, the children weren't getting to see their GPs as they spent all their time with DN etc. and they haven't asked in ages. I think the penny has dropped. In our case it happened because my SIL pushed it because DN loves my DS1 (and they had a night off) and my MIL doesn't like to say no to SIL and knows that we are pushovers. Yes as a PP said, no one cared about how we felt or if they did rationalised it as there were more adults so it was easier for us than if they didn't come over.

FelineLou Tue 22-Apr-14 17:30:58

Please do not give her that key. And start letting her know that the visits are too frequent and cost you money. The parents of these girls should be approached to stop some of this too.
Its that spine you need to strengthen.

rollonthesummer Tue 22-Apr-14 17:38:09

Why on earth would you offer her a key? I just don't understand?!

Fizzybangfanny Tue 22-Apr-14 17:38:58

op I have the same mil - I've had to cancel outings because she dropped niece and nephew off. Then pissed off to a party I should have been going to myself !!

So not to cause a huge drama just go out,make your self very unreachable. I had to pretend I wasn't in sometimes and lock the door then she would hammer, like the fucking police

If you bring this up, she won't see it as her taking the piss,it will be seen as you simply dont want the kids there.

Been there - lived that shit. Just hide and don't tell her any plans.

Fizzybangfanny Tue 22-Apr-14 17:39:59

Oh my god ! Don't offer her a fucking key !!!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Apr-14 17:40:25

OP said 'jokingly' but she (MIL) is going to cling onto that I fear.

thebodydoestricks Tue 22-Apr-14 17:45:03

Are you fucking insane??? No key and tell her there's an alarm set.....

You need to grow a pair op and more importantly so does your dh, it's his mother.

You might also ring up the cousins and tell them the score. Be upfront.

rollonthesummer Tue 22-Apr-14 17:47:47

I just don't understand how you've got into this situation? What do you say when she just turns up? Didn't you say anything as she was walking out leaving you with the children? Didn't you say something when she wasn't back for 4 hours??

If you've never complained-how will she know? If you've never complained-why not??

AnneElliott Tue 22-Apr-14 17:53:00

OP I feel your pain. My SIL was like this even before I had DS. On one occasion she suggested popping in with her 3 for a cup of tea. She came, went out to get something from her car( or so I thought) and disappeared for 5 hours! I had no kids of my own then and the youngest was a babyshock

You do need to get DH to be firm and say it is too much. One day by arrangement is fine, but constant dropping in is not.

ssd Tue 22-Apr-14 18:05:13

I don't know why you've put up with this so long..........

Fizzybangfanny Tue 22-Apr-14 18:09:44

rollon it's actually a lot harder than you expect.

You don't want to cause offence or trouble and if mil is confrontational, it's even harder.

I was intimidated by my mil for quite sometime until she bought random guests unexpected and I shouted at her, a complete over reaction on my part - but she's been wary since grin

expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:10:19

FFS. Don't give her a key. Your DH calls her or stops by on person.

'It's not on for you to keep offering to have the kids and then rocking up to my house and dumping them on us. That stops now. Don't offer to take them if you can't have them at yours. We are not going to babysit them.'

She rocks up and you don't let her in. 'We told you we are not available.'

ssd Tue 22-Apr-14 18:12:39


expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:22:04

And no, it is not hard to say.

Stop being such a doormat! Feeding these kids or putting up with rude or bossy brats.

YellowTulips Tue 22-Apr-14 18:22:48

Do the parents of the kids know, when they accept "help" from MIL that it's actually you doing all the work and paying for food?

I would do 3 things:

1. DH to contact the children's parents (assume his brother/sister - sorry not clear on the relationship) and explain what's happening. He needs to say that you can't continue to provide this level of childcare. They may be supportive, they may not. Best guess is they (if half decent) will feel embarrassed at accepting MIL's offers only to find they have been thanking the wrong person and think about alternate arrangements - at least most of the time.

2. Get your DH to speak to MIL and spell out the situation. Quite simply she looks after the kids as promised or she gets their parents to contact you directly for "play dates" if she can't. That way everyone is clear what is happening. She needs to cease this sporadic and somewhat disingenuous arrangement right now. Say looking after the kids on occasion is ok - but you are not her personal childminder (or at least not an unpaid one smile).

3. Looking after this many kids is hard. You can't actually go anywhere without the right car (not sure if you have an MPV) and it's costing you nearly double looking after your own kids. So to shore up your resolve start saving the money you should have spent on them and save up for a nice outing for your own family.

Lastly DO NOT give keys to your house over the holiday. confused

SquidgyMummy Tue 22-Apr-14 18:23:31

Everyone in your family just seems to take the piss; The cousins-in-law and the MIL.
No extra advice to add but I hope you do learn to stand up to her...

expatinscotland Tue 22-Apr-14 18:27:29

Move all the play equipment indoors, too, so she can't come use your garden.

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