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BIL/SIL- are we being unreasonable? (warning- very long)

(157 Posts)
iamsoannoyed Sat 16-Aug-14 16:12:51

This is more of a vent than AIBU. I know it's a difficult situation all round and we are all probably being a bit unreasonable.

I've posted about BIL/SIL before. SIL has a progressive degenerative disease, BIL is her main carer (their choice, they have refused to have help) and they have a large family (6 children). We had a problem earlier this year, as for a number of years now BIL has unable to work the family farm due as he was caring for his wife(FIL signed it over equally to DH and BIL), leaving DH to do it all. There were issues as DH was exhausted by doing all the work but BIL not happy to pay someone to do his share of the work.

Anyway, we have recently bought out their share of the farm, after a long tussle all round as to what was best. I know BIL/SIL were not entirely happy with the situation, and relations between us have been strained. As BIL refused to consider all other options we had to say "either you buy us out, we buy you out or we force the sale of the farm to a 3rd party". BIL could not raise the cash to buy us out, so we bought him out. PIL were upset, but understood things could not carry on as they were, and FIL in particular was angry that BIL would not agree to any other form of compromise that would allow the shared partnership to continue.

SIL is not so well at the moment, and I know she has been relying on MIL to do a lot of extra childcare. Totally understandable, and I am fully aware their arrangements have nothing to do with me. It does mean DC's have seen less of their GPs than normal, but that's not a big issue really and we all understand that at the moment that's kind of the way things are.

I have a conference (3 days- but will be away 4 nights) coming up which is for work, it was arranged a while ago and PIL have agreed to take our DCs while DH gets on with work- they are going to stay at my parents holiday cottage for 10 days and DCs are very excited about this. I should point out that our DCs are only going to spend 4 days with PIL, and then go to my parents for 3 days, who are then going to bring them home. PIL are then going to have the other 6 days as a break on their own. PIL have also said they are looking forward to spending time with their DGCs and to getting a break on their own.

PIL volunteered to take them away, that was not our idea and we would have been happy if they had only been looking after them during the day time when DH was working (and obviously if they hadn't wanted to look after the DCs, we'd have organised some other form of childcare).

Anyway, BIL and SIL are now kicking up a fuss as they want MIL to look after their DCs that week- they have known about this for ages and have had plenty of time to arrange something else. They "forgot" apparently, and now don't want to look elsewhere as "nothing good" will be available at this short notice.

They think as PIL will not lose any money on the cottage as it is owned by my parents, they should just cancel. SIL has said she can't understand why we always get "preferential treatment" and nobody ever thinks about all the extra needs she has. I know the recent situation where PIL essentially "took our side" must make them feel raw, but PIL have done an awful lot for us all and don't deserve to be put in the middle of this. If anything, until recent events I'd say theve done more for BILs family than for DH and our family (and I don't have an issue with that, just stating a fact). This includes building BIL/SIL a custom designed house shortly after SILs mobility became problematic, as well as doing a lot of childcare over the years.

PIL are adamant they are going, but MIL feels guilty that BIL/SIL feel that way and doesn't want any more upset in the family. FIL feels angry that BIL/SIL are being manipulative and has told them so. I think things may have got quite heated, but as neither I, DH or MIL were there at the time, I can't be sure.

SIlL has since phoned and demanded I tell PIL that we have found alternative childcare, so don't need them anymore. She says she's fed up of DH coming before BIL, and our DC "have got everything". Not only that, she is "flabbergasted" that we would expect her and BIL to have to arrange extra childcare on top of everything else they have to deal with- they thought PIL would want to be there for them at this time and are hurt they would want to take our DC away when they and their DCs need help.

I'm afraid I wasn't very diplomatic, partly because I'm fed up of them refusing to take responsibility for anything and partly because I felt that she was laying it on a bit thickly. I said that I had no intention of telling PIL any such thing and that as I don't interfere with their arrangements with PIL, I don't really see why they should interfere with ours. I also said that they have had plenty of time to arrange childcare, and I don't see why my DCs have to miss out on their time with their GPs. I got quite cross, but was not rude and didn't shout. SIL said we were all being "selfish" and then hung up. BIL then phoned DH and PIL saying I'd upset SIL and "that's the last thing she needs".

I might be more understanding if this had been a last minute plan, or BIL/SIL hadn't been able to find childcare despite trying exhaustively. But as they haven't I feel it's a bit of a piss-take. I also think my DC should get time to spend with their GPs, and that to cancel would be unfair. On top of all that, PIL deserve a break- recent events and looking after their grandchildren more often has taken it's toll. I think it is selfish of BIL and SIL to expect the entire family to revolve around them, when they have the ability to get extra help but refuse to do so.

That said, I think BIL and SIL are both quite stressed, and I know are quite resentful towards us following recent events which is colouring things. I was a bit sharper than I'd intended to be with SIL and I didn't intend to upset her. DH agrees with me on the whole, but does feel guilty that BIL thinks he is being favoured by their parents.

I saw them today when they came round, and SIL started up again about us cancelling this. I said I had said everything I had to say on the matter when we last spoke about it, and thought we should leave it at that. SIL then burst into tears and they left. I now feel bad about upsetting them, but also angry with them.

I don't think we've been unreasonable not to cancel arrangements, and I do get why they feel the way they do, even if I don't agree with them.

I think it would be better if we just let things settle between us all, and gave BIL/SIL some space- DH wonders if we should "do more". I'm not in favour of this, as past experience suggests if we start down that road again, it will just prevent them getting the help they need and it will become expected that we'll do whatever they need regardless of the effects it has on us and our DC (which is what happened with the farm business). Also, as we both work full-time what we could do is actually quite limited. I'm happy to help out in emergencies, or now and again- just not for it to become a "drop everything every time they call situation" which is what I fear it would become.


PS Sorry for the epically long post!

RobinHumphries Sat 16-Aug-14 16:25:23

YANBU. I remember your original post when you were wondering what to do with the farm. I'm sorry but you Sil comes across as a manipulative cow.

Electriclaundryland Sat 16-Aug-14 16:25:32

I remember your last thread I think. Yanbu. It is awful that she has an illness but it doesn't mean you should drop everything for them all the time. I'm sure you all want to help them and support them but it doesn't mean you are all supposed to pick up the pieces when they can't be bothered to help themselves.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 16-Aug-14 16:32:07

I remember your previous thread.

I think you and PiL are well within your rights to stay on track with the plans you have already made.

I suspect whatever you changed to accommodate them still wouldn't appease them and every time they perceive that you've 'had more help' you'll get the same emotional blackmail.

You don't need to do more but you know now they're going to pull that card out whenever they think they've been slighted.

Leave them to themselves.

StrangeGlue Sat 16-Aug-14 16:32:30

Yanbu and I think saying that you've said all you will in the matter was a mature and polite version of the mn 'no is a sentence' thing. You've done nothing wrong. Stand your ground.

Ronmione Sat 16-Aug-14 16:33:46

I remember your thread as well, I think your sil and bil are being awful to your pil. Why do they need childcare? Is it to support sil/bil due to ill health, or more of a one off.

If they have other people to ask, It sounds like you have alot if respect for your pil. I would maybe ask their opinion. Your mil must fell stuck in the middle.

Personally I'd stick to my guns as your bil and sil sound very stubborn

Figster Sat 16-Aug-14 16:34:47

I remember your thread glad to hear it's moved on a little since then apologies if I've missed why they need childcare at same as you???

They sound very entitled regardless of her extra needs definitely refuse to give in will only set expectation that she can do this again in future

WooWooOwl Sat 16-Aug-14 16:36:50

Why are they so desperate for PIL to babysit this particular week?

pictish Sat 16-Aug-14 16:38:36

I remember your last post about this as well.
Actually, I think it's good that you were sharp with your sil, because she needed standing up to. Her expectations of you are high indeed.

This idea she has of making you cancel the week planned with childcare and the in laws is outrageous. That she continued to push it even after the no, is even more so. I've got to tell you that the laying it on thick guilt tripping and crying would work against her if it was me she was dealing with.
I am fairly impervious to emotional blackmail. It's a wicked thing to do.

Yanbu. Leave them to stew for a bit, I agree.

GoringBit Sat 16-Aug-14 16:39:42

It strikes me that your BIL and SIL have a number of options open to them, but are choosing to pursue the one that causes you, your DH, DC and IL inconvenience. They are BU, and although it must be horrible to have a degenerative health condition, it just seems that your SIL is using it to try and strong-arm you all.

I think that YANBU and should stand your ground if at all possible.

pictish Sat 16-Aug-14 16:42:36

I do think it's really important that she does not end up getting her way over this, because whatever occurs will set a precedent for the future.

If any of you cave now, she will simply learn to push further and harder to get the result she wants.

She'll lord it over the lot of you if you let her.

pictish Sat 16-Aug-14 16:44:29

And yes...why is childcare so important during that particular week anyway?

Nanny0gg Sat 16-Aug-14 16:45:17

I am glad that you were able to buy them out - I thought that was the best option at the time.

I think it's dreadful that people have to suffer the way your SiL is, but that doesn't mean that others have to live their entire lives around them when there are other options that they are deliberately choosing to not use.

I don't know how old your PiLs are but what will happen when they are too old/infirm to help?

Stick to your plans. They are very, very unreasonable.

MairyHoles Sat 16-Aug-14 16:46:03

I was actually reading through your last thread last night looking for an update, I'm glad that you managed to take over the farm, the situation was not tenable. I think your SIL is unreasonable, it's up to your PILs how much child care they provide and you have nothing to feel guilty about. They have the means to hire help, they choose not to, your arrangements are between PILs and you, much like theirs are between PILs and them. You are doing the right thing, if you bend to her demands she will never try to get the help she actually needs. In the long term they need to get some help in place, I can't imagine anyone doing child care on demand over an extended period of time, especially if the "demand" is literally a demand.

MehsMum Sat 16-Aug-14 16:46:38

Another one who remembers your last thread about the farm and the various ILs, and another one who thinks YANBU.

Your BIL and SIL sound stressed and unhappy, but they also don't seem to be helping themselves very much by trying to find alternatives. Whenever they have a big problem (like working the farm in the last thread, or needing childcare in this one) the rest of the family is expected to bail them out. Despite your SILs health problems, this is not fair of them - it's fair to expect some help, but not to expect everyone else to to pick up all the slack!

twizzleship Sat 16-Aug-14 16:47:25

yanbu, keep being blunt/frank with them both. they chose to have 6 kids and it's their responsibility to manage that. if they cannot be bothered to anything to help themselves then why should anyone else? i would email them details of places they can contact who can help provide respite for bil and the they seriously expect everyone to kow tow to them for as long as she lives?

pictish Sat 16-Aug-14 16:49:54

Anyway, BIL and SIL are now kicking up a fuss as they want MIL to look after their DCs that week- they have known about this for ages and have had plenty of time to arrange something else. They "forgot" apparently, and now don't want to look elsewhere as "nothing good" will be available at this short notice.

That's tough shit in anyone's book isn't it? Really.

BackforGood Sat 16-Aug-14 16:52:36

I'm glad the 'buying them out' situation has been resolved - I remember that thread.

You know you are right with remaining firm.
You sound like you have done, and continue to do what you can, but sometimes people have to accept that what they've got in life isn't perhaps what they hoped for, and start forwards from there. It sounds as is they haven't reached that point in their thinking yet, but that's not your responsibility.

PenisesAreNotPink Sat 16-Aug-14 16:53:57

I also remember your last thread and I'm really glad the farm is yours now, that's fantastic news.

You're doing the right thing, you've been really good at getting those boundaries in place after they took so much advantage that it would be a shame to let them go now.

ZenGardener Sat 16-Aug-14 16:55:53

It's funny but I also remember your last thread too. I'm glad to hear you bought them out.

Of course you are not being unreasonable at all and it sounds like PIL could really use a break. I think you are doing the right thing in being firm and not discussing it any further.

As harsh as it sounds they need to start helping themselves. You are totally doing the right thing.

ValerieTheVodkaFairy Sat 16-Aug-14 16:57:43

Well done on buying out the farm OP- I remember the last thread, and it was definitely the best decision in the circumstances.

Your SIL sounds incredibly manipulative. It is terrible that she is so ill, with 6 children too, and obviously she is entitled to a lot of help and support, however just because someone is ill doesn't make them a saint, and she sounds like she's taking the piss

HappyAgainOneDay Sat 16-Aug-14 16:58:20

The SIL still gets about (she visited the OP) so how ill / disabled / infirm is she? There must be something wrong with her or the BiL would not be her 'carer'. I don't want to trivialise the condition of someone who is really ill but could the SIL have Munchausen's Syndrome?

From the OP's description of their behaviour, the SIL and BIL ought to be in receipt of a few benefits. The OP and her husband have full time jobs (from the sound of it, the DH is doing a two-man job unless he has farm employees) so do not have the time or inclination to pander to every whim of the SIL and BIL.

It sounds as if the PiL are doing their best and are trying to get away for a break from the S and B.

OP, stick to your guns. Where are the SIL's parents / siblings?

TheysayIamparanoid Sat 16-Aug-14 16:58:59

YANBU at all! Its your childrens right as much as hers to have the quality time with GP's!
Off to read your other thread now... brew cake

TheysayIamparanoid Sat 16-Aug-14 16:59:26

YANBU at all! Its your childrens right as much as hers to have the quality time with GP's!
Off to read your other thread now... brew cake

ExamStresses14 Sat 16-Aug-14 17:00:11

I though BIL gave up work to care for SIL and the children? Why then do they need the grandparents to help them that particular week?

Families where there are extra care needs do need to help each other out, but it sounds like they are purposefully saying they need that week so as to cause maximum disruption to you both. Does SIL have any urgent medical appointments or any pressing engagements that require BiL and SIL to be without the children?

If not, I'd dare say that BIL and SIL are manipulating the situation to get back at you and your DH regarding ownership of the farm. Well done for getting a resolution to that issue btw.

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