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Is she asking too much?

(17 Posts)
mamafridi Fri 08-Aug-14 16:09:05

My Dsis is going through a very messy break up. Her H was/is to all intents a complete bastard and she's well rid of him.
However, now that she is a single mum she is counting a lot on me and our mum for emotional help and childcare (she has 1 dd). We are trying our best to help out especially DM, but I have been starting to notice that DM is exhausted after looking after her granddaughter and even though she is a fit and active woman she is also in her 70s and several hours with a very demanding 4 yr old is a lot to handle at the best of times. I try to help out too but I have my 3 yr old to look after and work commitments (although I am freelance) and I just can't offer as much as I wish I could.
I feel guilty that I can't help as much but in a way if wish my Dsis could see that we are doing what we can but there has to be a time when she finds some other means of childcare because it's just too much.
Is my opinion unreasonable?

puntasticusername Fri 08-Aug-14 16:20:29

Not UR at all - neither you or your DM can keep this level of support up forever and your dsis needs to know that so she can start making other arrangements! Obviously you've been happy to go above and beyond to help her through the immediate crisis, and you'll still help as and when you can, but you do need to let her know that the level of support you are providing is not sustainable long term. There's nothing bad about letting her know that, gently!

QueenofallIsee Fri 08-Aug-14 16:20:44

Not at all, you are only human and while you are pulling together to help her over this shitty time, its not a long term option...she has to lead her own life and arrange things properly

SingingPigs Fri 08-Aug-14 16:34:10

This is a really tricky one.

We also have an almost identical situation - DSis in hideous break-up from bastard, her two DC (5 & 2) distressed, DM doing much of the childcare (and looking horrendous) and me helping out where/when I can. On the one hand you want to pull out all the stops and support 24/7, on the other you're worried that everyone else will "break" too. And then where would we be?

Sympathies OP thanks

mamafridi Fri 08-Aug-14 17:28:25

Thanks for replies.
It is starting to become a real strain on the family and I can't help but feel resentments are beginning to form on all 3 sides. The thing is that because of the nastiness of the break up and the fact that my Dsis and d-niece never deserved the horrible things that happened to them thanks to w****er b-in-law, me and DM are extra conscious not to let my Dsis down even when sometimes we find it hard ourselves to help out. I'm just anticipating the time when one of us explodes from the pressure of treading on eggshells all the time with my Dsis who is definitely going through the stage of believing her life will never get better and can't rationalise the situation (completely understandable considering what she's gone through). I suppose I need to know that I am not being a bitch if one day in the future I say to her that I won't be able to help out as much as I have and I think DM needs to know it's ok to slowly step back too.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Fri 08-Aug-14 17:39:20

I think the most helpful thing you can do is look at where your DSis can source other, regular, help that is separate from you/your DM. I did that myself after trying to muddle on hoping my ex would step up, and I prefer to keep the childcare non-family as it's more reliable and less likely to result in fallout.

What is it your DSis is needing help with most? Regular childcare to cover work? A break on the odd evening? A weekend/night out occasionally? Knowing where the need stems from, then you can try and come up with alternatives, but in a way that helps encourage more independence as opposed to letting your DSis feel she's becoming a burden. It's a tricky balance but it can be done with the right amount of diplomacy wink

MrsWinnibago Fri 08-Aug-14 18:03:13

How much is she asking you? On a regular basis? Daily? Weekly?

mamafridi Fri 08-Aug-14 18:05:48

She needs regular childcare help. She works part time, but she can't afford the nursery fees especially as one of the days is a Saturday. And of course the occasional evening to give her a break.
I agree that she really needs to start becoming less dependent on us especially my DM, but the thing I dread most and this goes for DM is when that point will be and how to approach the problem without her breaking into sobs and accusing us of not caring?

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Fri 08-Aug-14 18:29:41

Your DSis needs to look at the whole picture - has she got her accommodation in order or is that under threat? Is she getting maintenance? Has she checked out all the entitlement she has re tax credits etc? Has she asked about changing shifts to avoid days where childcare is impossible/restrictively expensive?

Looking at the situation from the narrow view that Saturday childcare is too expensive/impossible to secure is going to be a brick wall if that is where your DSis' focus is. It might help to sit down and look at her situation in a very basic way, working out her sums, seeing where things can change/she can explore changes, then that might help her see a way out that also empowers her towards her own independence. If she's having a hard time over the past, then maybe everything seems too overwhelming to her to work out how to move to a better place financially and in terms of security too. She may not realise there are some things she can explore and change her life (and yours/DM) for the better. If you can either work some of that out for her, our at least with her, then it'll help ease the pressure off all of you, meaning that when you can/do help, it's a better outcome all round.

Try entitledto website 1st - you can fiddle about with hours of work/wages/childcare costs to optimise the best scenario for your DSis in her situation. Make sure she's put a claim into the CSA if her ex is working/not self employed. Check her bills against price comparison websites etc.

Basically anything you can think if that might just help her see past the obstacles she's struggling with just now.

greeneggsandjam Fri 08-Aug-14 18:55:18

Isn't she able to get help towards paying childcare? How occasional are the evenings to give her a break? I'm assuming her daughter is in school, do they have an afterschool club she could go to if that's the times her mum is at work? Or is it because its summer holidays?

Purplepoodle Fri 08-Aug-14 19:13:47

Will it get better in sept when dd starts nursery? Perhaps it will take the pressure off a bit

chanie44 Fri 08-Aug-14 20:00:02

If her dd is 4, surely she will be starting school in September? Maybe that's the opportunity to bring up future plans. You and your mum need to help her become more self reliant.

Both my Dsis and sil are single parents and struggling with childcare costs. I do what I can to help and sometimes feel guilty I can't do more, but I have my own family to think about.

allisgood1 Fri 08-Aug-14 20:11:50

Who did the childcare before the split? Just because she's splitting doesn't mean dad gives up all his responsibility....

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 08-Aug-14 20:15:35

Sorry about your situation. Im sure you're doing your best for your ssister when she really needs help.

Im not sure there is enough information here to say whether she is asking too much tbh. Does she rant and rave if she doesnt get the help she needs?

What other choices/ options does she have. Her dc will be in school- sept? Or nursery at least?
What childcare arrangements do you have? Could you put her in touch with them? Or would that be out of her reach?

If she is on a low income she might well qualify for nursery funding.

This is a bad time for her. Its hard to say if yabu. How many days can or do you help her?

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 08-Aug-14 20:16:40

And this is not really about your sister asking too much.
What has happened is your DN's father has left you all in the shit.

mamafridi Fri 08-Aug-14 20:22:15

Thanks so much all of you for great advice!
Her daughter will be starting school in sept which will ease the strain of helping out with childcare. And it has been an on-going issue that she works on a Saturday and she knows that she will have to confront her boss about it so in a way this will be a push for her to finally get that side of things sorted.
I must say that all the suggestions given have made our situation seem a lot more manageable.
Thanks again xxx

missymayhemsmum Fri 08-Aug-14 23:01:20

If the cousins get on can you equalise things a bit by dsis having yours while you work in exchange? Having two little ones for half a day can be easier than 1 all day, iyswim, as they can play together. Now that things are settling down she needs to sort out a childminder (and tax credits claim) as well though, and not be relying on Grandma

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