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To not leave mil alone with dc again?

(64 Posts)
m0therofdragons Mon 11-Apr-16 17:53:18

For background, mil does drive me potty and has done some odd things in the past. She's one of life's pessimists and feels the world is against her although looking in her life's not bad. She's also very anxious re driving and falls out with friends very easily - dh and I struggle to believe all her friends are evil. Last summer she quit her job due to stress (they made changes she didn't like and she doesn't cope well with change.) Gp prescribed pills for depression but she won't take them as she isn't depressed it's everyone else around her who are in the wrong.

Anyway, when we've seen her she's been much happier since quitting but fil is very stressed as they can't afford for her to quit and she's refusing to claim benefits as they'll want her to look for work and she has no intention of doing so. Their relationship is strained and she refuses to talk to him about money.

Last week dh took the dc to visit without me as I was working (we live a fair distance away). Fil wanted spend time with dh (needed to vent) so they went out one morning leaving mil with dc. They expected mil to meet them but there was no sign and she wasn't answering her mobile. They got home to find mil had gone out with dc and her mobile was on the table. No big deal except fil's reaction. Fil confided that mil hadn't left the house on her own for 3 months and he ended up running round the streets looking for her in a panic. Dh was really worried as clearly fil felt dc might not be safe. Turned out they were completely fine and mil had taken them somewhere nearby.

Fil refuses to speak about it and clearly mil didn't do anything wrong and dc were fine but I now feel that if fil thought she may harm my dc I just cannot risk it. Mil loves her gc but if her mental health is questionable I'm not sure that's enough.

More a wwyd rather than aibu.

allowlsthinkalot Mon 11-Apr-16 18:08:10

Your MIL hasn't done anything to make you doubt her ability to care for your dc, has she? It's just your FIL's reaction that has worried you and I wouldn't make a decision based only on that. Couldn't it just be an overreaction on his part?

How old are the dc? Are they able to tell you whether they felt safe with MIL? Are they old enough to tell you if she was behaving in a way that worried them?

What are you afraid might happen? Could you try telling MIL that you'd like her to take her phone if she is with the dc so that you can get hold of her?

Or you could talk to your MIL and FIL together and ask them what it was all about. They can't really refuse to discuss it as it involves the dc.

m0therofdragons Mon 11-Apr-16 18:16:38

What am I afraid might happen? I don't know but I guess worse case mil kills herself and dc. I realise that's totally extreme but fil said he's worried about her mental state. One day she's crying all day then the next she's smashing plates. We haven't seen this but dh did when he was younger witness something similar. Dc are small and need watching.

The sensible part of me realises she's not done anything but the fact fil thought it was a huge issue she wasn't there worries me. Dh is very calm but he was really shaken by it. I'm normally the kind to say "oh it's fine." But these are my babies.
I'm not saying she can't see them at all, just not alone.

AppleSetsSail Mon 11-Apr-16 18:18:12

How old are your children?

QuiteLikely5 Mon 11-Apr-16 18:19:15

On the one hand I think hmmm but on the other hand I wonder if you have MH issues considering you think she might kill the children and herself hmm

m0therofdragons Mon 11-Apr-16 18:19:36

8 and two 4yos.

AppleSetsSail Mon 11-Apr-16 18:20:49

I'd not be too keen on this. I think your husband needs to speak with his father and get to the bottom of things.

FoxesSitOnBoxes Mon 11-Apr-16 18:21:32

It doesn't sound like it would be too hard to ensure she isn't left to look after them alone without having to make any big statements to that effect. I'd just have a word with DH along the lines of not feeling comfortable with it and if she offers to have them just make an excuse without hurting feelings

m0therofdragons Mon 11-Apr-16 18:23:15

My friend from primary school's dad killed himself and my friend's younger sister on Christmas eve when I was about 12. To be honest I've not thought about it for years but fil refuses to explain what he thought might happen so I've gone to worse case scenario.
I don't have mh issues, but thank you for the mn diagnosis.

Flisspaps Mon 11-Apr-16 18:23:52

I'm going to go against the grain here. FIL is with her day in, day out so I'd trust his judgement if he was concerned.

You're bit saying she can't see them, just making sure she's not alone with them as you're not 100% happy with her ability to cope with them right now.

I don't think there's any issue with your mental health in worrying about this - and I'm usually of the "it'll be fine" mentality when it comes to my kids too.

m0therofdragons Mon 11-Apr-16 18:25:15

Dh was there and more adamant than me that she's not to be alone but this is based on fil. Mil actually took them somewhere they loved and dc had a great time so from that point of view it seems harsh.

LIZS Mon 11-Apr-16 18:31:27

Fils reaction does sound rather extreme, is he normally controlling and perhaps part of the problem ? Does he work, or are they together all day every day. She clearly felt comfortable enough to leave the house with her gc. I'm not sure you would want to leave dc with her alone until you know more, but in the end I think she did nothing wrong other than not meet fil's expectation.

m0therofdragons Mon 11-Apr-16 18:34:55

Fil works and because of mil quitting he works overtime to make up money so is out a lot. When fil is out mil refuses to leave the house. Fil is worried about her and wants her to go out. They communicate very badly though (with each other) so it's all very unclear.

Lalalili Mon 11-Apr-16 18:35:27

Trust your gut instinct. If you have an inkling that her judgement might be impaired I would not leave the DC alone with her until you are reassured. Lots of people parent and grandparent sucessfully with MH issues. But it sounds like her behaviour is more erratic than you believed and FILs reaction would worry me too. It doesn't have to be a decision forever and doesn't mean that she can't see the GC.

SovietKitsch Mon 11-Apr-16 18:37:11

Hmm, it's FIL's reaction that bothers me here- is he quite controlling?

Shakey15000 Mon 11-Apr-16 18:39:49

I agree with lalalili

Arfarfanarf Mon 11-Apr-16 18:45:26

I would be concerned because of how terrified your father in law was.
No harm will come to her or them by them not being in her sole care.
Most likely no harm would come if they were but i wouldnt dismiss a frightened reaction. I wouldnt put her in a situation she may not be able to cope with.

Lollipopstick Mon 11-Apr-16 18:45:48

Why assume FIL is controlling - maybe he knows his wife and her current frame of mind.

I've had depression and felt suicidal in the past. I've never wanted to take anyone with me - but it does happen on rare occasions. I wouldnt dismiss this as a concern as it is your children you're talking about after all.

Having the children around seems to have motivated MIL to leave the house so perhaps it's good for her mental health to have them around. Maybe encourage DH to visit but not leave them alone with her if your gut is telling you not to. I wouldn't say anything to her about it as chances are she has no such intentions and would be very upset that you think she does.

XiCi Mon 11-Apr-16 18:46:09

Sounds like you need to try and access some help for your mil

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Mon 11-Apr-16 18:51:06

I can see why you're not keen based on FIL's reaction.

It's a tough one as her actually leaving the house to take the DCs somewhere they enjoy is a huge step forward for her. I'm guessing if she'd taken her phone it wouldn't have been an issue. My gut instinct would be not leaving her alone with the DCs (better safe than sorry) and now it's out in the open about her not going out alone I would be encouraging her to go to back to the GP and involving her (and FIL) on more days out with the kids.

CanadaMoose Mon 11-Apr-16 18:52:34

I don't understand why FIL felt it was ok for MIL to have the kids alone in the house, but not out. Surely if she is a danger to herself and them, she shouldn't have been left with them in the first place?

I think it was an overreaction and that the kids are just fine with MIL. But trust your gut.

CabbagesOnFire Mon 11-Apr-16 18:55:44

Perhaps the reason she went out with the children even though she hadn't left the house in 3 months was that she was trying really hard to make things normal for the children. I have had mental health issues but I've always been able to hold it together for an afternoon. It'd be unfair to judge her as not trustworthy around the children without evidence of any actual wrongdoing. Nonetheless, I can see why you wouldn't want to leave them in her sole care.

TremoloGreen Mon 11-Apr-16 18:58:45

I wouldn't think it was unreasonable to not leave them with MIL again. WHy leave your kids with anyone if there is a doubt over their ability to look after them? All it will do is cause you stress and worry. So YANBU.

Not knowing enough about the situation I can't comment or not on whether your MIL poses any risk to your children but I imagine even witnessing something like granny losing the plot and smashing plates might be very frightening for a young child, it doesn;t have to be worst case scenario. Obviously she needs some help, good luck with it.

To the PP who said the OP has MH issues - the scenario the OP describes is exactly what health professionals are taught to look out for when risk assessing people in charge of small children. It's extreme and worst case but I think OP was just looking for an example to articulate her fears. I have a history of MH and other issues and this question is pretty much what my GP asks me every time I see her.

LIZS Mon 11-Apr-16 19:03:16

How was mil expected to come out and meet dh and fil if she hadn't been out for 3 months. I can understand a certain degree of concern that she didn't arrive and was not at home when they looked. Is she otherwise well?

TrinityForce Mon 11-Apr-16 19:05:57

Poor MIL, sounds like she's having a tough time of it.

I agree though, you don't need to make a song and dance about her not having the DC alone anymore, just agree with DH/FIL that it won't happen. If he's that concerned, he'll take steps to prevent it happening whether you ask it or not, surely?

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