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To tell DH I don't want PIL's babysitting

(27 Posts)
monkeytroubles Sun 28-Dec-14 09:47:10

We are going to an event in a few weeks and will need a babysitter for DD. DH wants to ask his parents who have never looked after her before and got a bit funny with me when I said I wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea. He accepted it and we haven't exactly had a row or anything but I can tell he feels I'm being unreasonable.

Will try to keep this as brief as possible but need to give a bit of background so as not to drip feed. PIL's have only ever seen DD (13 months) quite sporadically. They live locally but will happily go several weeks without seeing her if we don't make the effort to go to them. When they do visit us they only stay an hour or so, although we've told them many times that they are welcome to stay and spend more time with DD there is always some excuse as to why they have to rush off.

They are quite sweet with her (lots of cooing at her, making silly faces, will read her a story if DH suggests it etc) but not very "hands-on" iyswim. They have never offered to feed her, change her, help with bathing etc. (which is fine, I don't expect them to) and would automatically hand her to me or DH if ever she gets a bit upset. Consequently, DD is a lot closer to my parents as they have been very involved with her from day one, enjoy helping with the practical aspects of childcare as well as the fun stuff and are much more confident and natural in their interactions with her. PIL's are quite jealous of DD's relationship with my parents (the only time they visit is if DH happens to mention that my family have been round) but don't seem to understand that this is because of the time and effort they put in.

MIL is a very anxious person and tends to get stressed out about things that don't phase most people who've had kids. For example, when DD was a few weeks old she spit up the tinyest bit of milky sick on MIL's trousers and you would have thought she was the only baby to ever have been sick judging by her reaction. She practically threw DD back at me and they had to go home immediately so she could get changed hmm. I also know that a couple of years ago when they babysat for SIL and BIL she ended up ringing them after an hour or so to say she couldn't get the baby to stop crying so could they cut their night short and take him home. She takes Valium for her anxiety (I suspect more than is recommeded to be honest as she always seems to be popping them) and sometimes seems a bit 'out of it' to me but DH doesn't really notice it as she's been this way since he was a child. PIL is very old-fashioned and has never changed a nappy in his life ("that's the Mother's job") so I doubt he would be much help. In view of all this, plus the fact that have never actually offered to babysit and DD doesn't really know them that well so I don't feel comfortable asking them

I understand that DH wants them to have more of a relationship with DD and for them to be more involved with her upbringing but that's their choice, surely? DD adores my parents and I think it's hard for DH sometimes to see how indifferent she is to his family in comparison but I'm not convinced that asking PIL's to babysit is in anyone's best interests. I don't think DD will settle because she doesn't know them well enough, I think MIL will be in a complete panic and PIL will sit on his arse and do bugger all to help her. I'd rather ask one of the many friends or relations who have actually offered to look after her and who she feels comfortable with. So, MN jury, am I being unreasonable? Should I just let DH ask them to babysit or do my reasons for saying no seem fair?

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 28-Dec-14 09:51:01

I don't think leaving your daughter with people she doesn't know and who haven't shown they can deal with her thus far is good for her to be honest.

WooWooOwl Sun 28-Dec-14 09:51:33

Don't ask them to babysit, but if your DH wants his parents to spend more time with his child then he can think up an activity that you can all do that will encourage the pils to interact with your dd.

Offer to help facilitate the relationship for your DHs sake, but there's no need for you to have a babysitter you aren't comfortable with.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sun 28-Dec-14 09:54:36

I'd let him ask , they might say no first hand.

Be prepared and ask your parents or friend to be a back up incase of the inevitable phone call if she decides she can't cope.

It must be difficult for your dh to see their indifference towards his dd.

Sprink Sun 28-Dec-14 09:55:27

YANBU. Don't even entertain the idea until they offer.

Meanwhile, your husband shouldn't fret too much. They might be the kind of grandparents who shine at a later stage in the child's life. It happens.

Inertia Sun 28-Dec-14 09:56:11

No point asking in laws to babysit , experience indicates you will end up cutting short your evening when they panic.

Much more sensible for them to spend time with all of you.

ThePinkOcelot Sun 28-Dec-14 09:56:43

I agree with you OP. I would ask someone who is comfortable around her and vice versa. You wouldn't enjoy your night if you were worrying and stressed about your dd.

cathpip Sun 28-Dec-14 09:58:47

Yanbu but... I can see where your dh is coming from. Can you ask them to babysit and have one of your friends/relations on stand by for when it will inevitably go tits up so it does not ruin your night out?
If it helps my mil is pretty much the same, we got back from a night out and everything was fine (ds age2 and dd 4months) were asleep etc, only found out the next day that friends dd age 13 had come over to collect the dogs for walking and found nana struggling with doing up a baby gro after she had put on dd's nappy back to front! They all survived, and they never offered to babysit again, win win situation really smile.

FishWithABicycle Sun 28-Dec-14 10:05:14

YANBU to be concerned but you can be cleverer than just saying no to this.

I would suggest this: "yes of course it would be a lovely idea for your parents to babysit, dh. I'd love them to be more involved with DD. But I don't want their first time to be this event where it would be a right pain if something went wrong. Could we arrange for them to babysit a couple of times between now and then while we are close by (we could go to the cinema?) so that they get used to it and we find out if there are any practical issues in advance of the big event"

If you are lucky, you then get a nice couple of hours break with DH, and return to find all was well, and you go to the event confident that everything is fine in your absence.

Somewhat more likely, the trial-run will be a bit of a disaster and will demonstrate to DH that another option needs to be found for the event, but you don't have to play the role of nasty untrusting DIL to get to that conclusion.

DandyMott Sun 28-Dec-14 10:08:15

Is it babysitting during the night or is it a day event?

BingBongMerrilyOnHigh Sun 28-Dec-14 10:11:05

It must be very hard for your DH to feel they aren't interested enough to get to know her. I'm in a similar situation with DD & my own mum. She lives less than two miles away & while she has a car, we don't so she could easily see DD as much as she wanted - but she often goes many weeks without seeing her. I'd never have left DD with her at that age (still wouldn't for a full evening at 2.7 TBH) as she just wouldn't settle. It makes me sad but it's her loss, ultimately.

In any case, history shows that they will not cope well if the evening doesn't go to plan. What does your DH say about the instance when your SIL & BIL had to return home early, how would he feel if this happened?

Perhaps you can suggest they 'look after' your DD some time/place when you or DH can be on hand if necessary to assist when/if they are unable to cope? At least DH would feel you'd given them a chance and you would feel less worried that something major was going to go wrong. Plus it wouldn't ruin a potential night out for the two of you.

phoenixrose314 Sun 28-Dec-14 10:12:31

Just explain to your DH that you would be worried about his DM because of her anxiety and wouldn't want to put any pressure on them as they aren't always comfortable with the hands-on aspects of having a grandchild. That way it sounds like you're thinking of them rather than suggesting you just don't want them to have her.

BaffledSomeMore Sun 28-Dec-14 10:21:47

I agree with Fish. Suggest a trial run and do something local and easy like a pub trip. If you say they can't babysit then you become the woman who caused a problem whereas if they fail then that's not your fault.
Make sure their trial run includes a meal and bedtime as those are the likely trouble spots they need to feel confident in.

maddening Sun 28-Dec-14 10:42:39

Tell him it's fine that they aren't into the baby stage - that maybe when dd is talking that they come in to their own - his mum and dad telling her stories from when he was a child and sharing interests - his mum is anxious and dad doesn't get involved nor want to - making them feel that they have to babysit when they have made no mention of wanting to and putting them in a situation where his mum is anxious and potentially his dd is unhappy and unsettled would not help their relationship - let them do it on their terms as it is not harming anyone - then see how their relationship develops. If they make noises about wanting to then take baby steps to achieve that.

EugenesAxe Sun 28-Dec-14 10:42:47

YANBU. I get pissed off at people that are pessimistic in the face of a baby crying incessantly. There've been two occasions when we've nearly or actually had to go back because PILs couldn't get DD to settle, but they've always seen crying as a reason to panic and move heaven and earth to give the child what they want. They never have the mindset of trying distraction or 'you can cry all you like but it won't do any good'. They are hands on though and lovely people, it's just the crying = panic thing that bugs me. The time when we did come back (along with SIL and BIL as their DS was upset too), MIL spent ages revelling in the fact that DD was walking the house 'crying for Daddy'. It was because he'd settled her - MIL tends to ignore things like the children thinking DH is someone that visits at weekends, or who 'pays to stay here' (a freaky notion I heard from DS the other day after I tried to explain about the point of work); I just bit my tongue as I know how much family means to her. Sorry I'm being such a bitch - just been exposed a lot to it this season and needed to vent a little. You were unlucky OP that it was very slightly to do with your question...

Thymeout Sun 28-Dec-14 11:00:23

Well, obviously your parents are superstars. But it's a lot easier to develop a close relationship with a daughter's children than a son's. There are enough threads on here with dils complaining about mil taking over - including 'dd was upset and she wouldn't give her back to me but insisted on trying to soothe her herself'. And you're criticising them for doing the opposite.

Mil may be bending over backwards to avoid treading on your toes. She may be aware that unfavourable comparisons are being made with your parents. She may feel less comfortable in your home than your own parents do.

Just something to think about.

Your pils have already brought up a child and I'm sure it will all come back to them. I agree with pp that you should start by asking them to babysit on short daytime occasions. It sounds as if they do interact quite well with her and that's more important than the bathing and the nappy changing.

It's important to work on this for dh's sake.

MissBattleaxe Sun 28-Dec-14 12:35:55

YANBU for not wanting to leave your child with them for the first time.

BUT- it does sound a bit as if they're following your lead and they are on the periphery. Maybe if they were asked to be more involved then they would be. They sound as if they are trying not to take over or tread on your toes and in their shoes I would feel terribly left out knowing my DILs parents were much closer to the grandchild.

I get a slight feeling that you have (possibly unconsciously) kept them at a distance and are now saying "no they're too distant to get more involved". I may be wrong, but its just my impression. I would work with your DH to involve them more.

JT05 Sun 28-Dec-14 12:43:36

Well said Thymeout. Sometimes being the PILs is like treading on eggshells.
I wonder how they managed to bring up their own children ?
As for the Vallium, she may have been driven to it!

grumpyoldgitagain Sun 28-Dec-14 13:01:19

Well I can understand where you are coming from but for me I didn't want my parents to babysit the girls when they were babies but was quite happy for my DW's mum and dad to look after them.
I just never get the feeling that my mother is comfortable and natural around babies whereas both of my PIL are.

Why not ask whoever you would prefer to look after your DC if they are ok as a backup because your DH wants to ask his parents and you think they will ring after an hour as soon as sick appears and say they can't cope

That way you have something in place when the call comes and he gets to ask so they feel included until they prove themselves incapable

monkeytroubles Sun 28-Dec-14 14:11:30

Thank you all for replying. For those posters who feel that I have been keeping PIL's at arms length and need to involve them more, I understand your point of view but I'm not sure how? We invite them over regularly and they are either too busy or they come round but leave after an hour. We take DD to see them regularly (if we didn't they would never see her), email them photos of her, invite them to come with us on days out. On several occassions I have asked "would you like to help me bath/feed DD/take her for a walk?" and this is always declined. How am I supposed to involve them more without being pushy or making them feel uncomfortable?

JT05, as for how they managed to bring up their own children, according to DH, FIL was always either working or at the pub and didn't really have anything to do with them when they were little. He is very clear that he feels child care is women's work. MIL was OK when DH was little but then had some kind of breakdown (it's not really talked about) when he was about 7 so they were looked after by his Grandmother a lot until DH was old enough to be self-sufficient and look after his sister.

gotthemoononastick Sun 28-Dec-14 15:03:02

Thymeout!!!(I was too scared to say this)

OP,only you can decide if you trust them enough.
Do not discount the nerves she will be having at the responsibility!We sat up all night on watch the first time and this was our Ddaughter,s baby.

It took me ages to learn that the little animal is on the front of the disposable nappy,not to mention arthritic fingers and all those sleepsuit poppers on a wriggly baby.

Did manage to bring up a family a hundred years ago with lethal safety pin nappies though!

Be careful ,your husband is picking up on it that his parents are not really liked.

monkeytroubles Sun 28-Dec-14 15:22:29

Gotthemoononastick, just because I don't want my in laws to babysit that doesn't mean that I don't like them. I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving DD with anyone she didn't know well and who didn't seem keen to spend time with her, no matter how much I liked them. I find PIL's hard work at times but I have always treated them with respect and tried to make them feel welcome in our home. There seems to be a general feeling that I'm not doing enough to nurture the relationship between them and DD but I genuinely don't know what more I can do.

RandomMess Sun 28-Dec-14 15:28:26

TBH I think I would approach your dh with the truth "I don't think they're ready yet - have you any ideas what they would enjoy doing with DD and us?" They may come into their own a lot more once DD is walking, talking and more openly interactive.

Pretty sad that your MIL had a breakdown she doesn't seem to have got over.

Phineyj Sun 28-Dec-14 15:33:27

I think what you are doing is fine, and given what you've said about your DMIL's difficulties (plus the fact that no-one will discuss them), I think you are getting a gut feeling that the babysitting arrangement is a bad idea, because it is (especially given your PILs have not even shown interest in babysitting). Your and DH's primary duty is to your DD and NOT to extended family.

My DF is perfectly lovely but I wouldn't leave toddler DD with him to look after alone because I doubt that he would be able to do so safely.

monkeytroubles Sun 28-Dec-14 15:41:25

I agree they may be more receptive to spending time with DD when she's older. They have a 6 year old GC (very bright and independent for her age) that they see a bit more regularly and seem more relaxed with. They didn't have much to do with her when she was a baby but they seem to enjoy seeing her now. MIL did mention that there is a particular park they take her to and I said "oh, that's just down the road from us! Next time you're going give me a ring and DD and I could meet you there" but she never did. Maybe I should mention it again but I don't want to seem pushy.

It is sad, although she was much better by the time DH left school and now has a very full life (she has a part time job, is involved with the local church, has got herself a nice circle of friends and lots of hobbies etc.) I get the impression she was really quite unwell when DH was young.

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