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... To want to cut back on parent visiting?

(60 Posts)
souperb Thu 11-Aug-16 21:52:58

Before we had children our parents lived within 30 mins of each other. When I was pregnant my parents announced they were going to move to the other side of the country. They have always been very upfront about not wanting to help with or look after our children and I appreciate their honesty. They like hearing about the children and enjoy us visiting. Because of the distance, we visited 3-4 times a year. In laws also like being visited and have been similarly disinclined to babysit until the death of FIL a few years ago. MIL now has one child at a time for a sleepover 1-2 times a year and they really enjoy this time they spend with her. After FIL died, MIL moved away to the same city as SIL. MIL is getting more "elderly" and needs help with shopping and general wrangling. SIL works full time and is often away at weekends, so this tends to fall to us, usually at the weekend when DH is about with the car. My parents are also getting on. DM is in early stages of dementia. DF is struggling to cope. Last year they moved again to a more remote area. It takes me nearly 7 hours to get there by train and taxi (I don't drive). It's 3 hours in the car, but we ALL have to go and so the DC essentially get no weekend (so no parties, friends, hobbies or relaxing) and neither do DH and I. I have 2 sisters who visit them 1-2 times a year (both are single and childless, so I feel they are less encumbered than me). I have asked my parents to consider moving nearer, but they refuse despite the fact that they are very car dependant and are unlikely to be able to stay there long term.

I am increasingly fed up of feeling we are the ones that do everything. That our sisters do not pull their weight. But also that the "social contract" has been broken - both sets of parents have refused to babysit even occasionally, and have made positive decisions to relocate away from us. AIBU to cut back our visits (whether the slack is picked up by our sisters or not)?

Heatherplant Thu 11-Aug-16 21:57:50

If they moved away and made a point of not helping you then feel no guilt whatsoever in saying 'no' to any visit you don't want to make. It's not fair on the children who are missing out on other things. They made their bed so they can lie in it.

Turbinaria Thu 11-Aug-16 21:58:58

YANBU as you say they made their choices and they should live with the consequences. I suspect they will soon be more reasonable when they realise how much support they get from you when it's withdrawn. In your position I would not compromise my own family life and health because of your dps and PILs choices.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Thu 11-Aug-16 22:01:59

Yanbu at all.

3 hour car journey? Id be doing that 3 or 4 times a year max. Especially when they moved away.

If you keep visiting frequently they have no incentive to move closer to you. You are doing all the running.

If suddenly it's more of a struggle for them maybe they will think more about moving closer?

I would be firm and say the kids are older, have hobbies/clubs and you now have commitments at home at weekends.

Marilynsbigsister Thu 11-Aug-16 22:27:49

No, you anbu. They moved away and have made it clear they didn't want to help. It cuts both ways.

The only thing I can't get my head around is the fact that you 'don't drive' yet your DH does. If you drove, you could at least leave the dcs with your DH occasionally and go visit your parents on your own. This would mean you know longer have to drag dcs with you. They could then stay with DH and stop missing out on weekend activities. Being a driver would halve the burden on your DH especially as time moves on , as your DM could become quite poorly and you would need to make emergency visits.

If there is a car in the household, ( finances afford a car,so the not learning to drive is not a matter of not being able to afford it ) I have never understood this willingness for women to accept that driving is for the husband...
It's 2016 you know.

Marilynsbigsister Thu 11-Aug-16 22:29:32

'Know longer' = no longer .... (I'm tired that's my excuse blush)

Turbinaria Thu 11-Aug-16 22:31:38

If they want to live in the middle of nowhere they need to sort out regular paid help. If they want you to visit more often and help out they need to move nearer to you. I'd put that to them, then step back and let them make their choice I would not sacrifice myself or my family so they can have exactly what they want: to live in the arse end of nowhere and have you running after them.

SquinkiesRule Thu 11-Aug-16 22:43:32

You are being unreasonable by expecting the whole family to trek to them each week. They were unreasonable to move to a remote place when they knew they were getting older. Your sisters are being unreasonable expecting you to do all the visiting and helping, they need to pull their finger out and take a turn maybe once every three weeks wouldn't be so bad, or maybe one sister every other week, so you'd go every 6 weeks.
Not driving makes things more difficult, but it is what it is, no judgement from me.
The parents can grocery shop online, and get carers to come if if they don't like the way you and the sisters arrange things.

souperb Thu 11-Aug-16 22:44:11

I'm medically disqualified from driving, so it's not an option. It's not some surrendered wife thing. I can drive, but not allowed anymore. And I do try to go on the train without DH and DC when I can jiggle work around. But it leaves me less jiggle-room for school/medical stuff.

But thanks for the rest of the input - gives me a bit of courage!

DementedUnicorn Thu 11-Aug-16 22:44:12


I hate all this balls that you're apparently indebted to your parents forevermore, regardless of their behaviour or your circumstances angry

0nTheEdge Thu 11-Aug-16 22:51:11

It sounds like you're burning yourself out running round after everyone and it's obviously because you care. I think it's entirely reasonable to take a step back, especially as you can't drive. If they complain, explain that you have a young family and can't maintain what you've been doing. Let them know you love them and would be happy to help if they were nearer and it was more manageable.

LizzieVereker Thu 11-Aug-16 22:59:25

YADNBU. It was their choice to move away, and you have a young family to consider. I am sorry that you find yourself in this position though, it must be difficult for you.

gillybeanz Thu 11-Aug-16 23:12:07

YANBU, no way can you be expected to do this.
You need to talk to them and say whilst you don't mind travelling every now and then it isn't practical.
If they want your help they need to move closer, simple as that.
My parents both died years ago, I spend the last 3 months visiting my df who was in hospital for most of it. I looked after the house and did a train and bus journey, because I could.
If it wasn't as near as it was, about 90 min/2 hour travel I couldn't have done it.
I had dh at home most of the time and not working, with a teen to help out with other 2 kids.
It was bloody hard enough with all the help.

Put your foot down now, this is unacceptable and not fair on your family.
You sound lovely and so caring thanks You aren't a robot.

maninawomansworld01 Thu 11-Aug-16 23:48:05

Both your siblings need to start pulling their weight, simple as that.

Sat to each set of parents you get one visit a month... The rest is up to you, or you move closer!
A friend of mine has parents who moved 5 hours away in their late 60's and were getting less and less able to cope (and more and more demanding).
He was there most weekends and was taking annual leave to see them in the week to sort out the latest (usually self inflicted) drama until he said enough is enough. One weekend in 4 or you move home.

They were back living 10 mins from him within the year.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Fri 12-Aug-16 00:28:02

They have always been very upfront about not wanting to help with or look after our children and I appreciate their honesty.

So you should have no qualms about explaining upfront that you have no interest in looking after a trio of pensioners who've located themselves to the arsehole of nowhere and expect their adult children to dance attendance on them.

Floralnomad Fri 12-Aug-16 00:36:06

YANBU to stop running around after them but it is unreasonable to expect your sisters and SIL to do more , especially just because you feel they have less commitments than yourself . Your sisters make their own decisions on how much / little involvement they want in exactly the same way that you can .

GiddyOnZackHunt Fri 12-Aug-16 00:50:48

Yanbu. We had a relative move from their normal area to somewhere that was a 3 hr drive away. They had never provided any caring duty to anyone including their own dc. They've regretted that.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 12-Aug-16 02:00:34

I think you and your husband need to step back fr a bit, and stop being the family default. And you need to let everyone know that that is what you are doing.

I would tell your parents the travelling to them so often is no longer possible, it's preventing you from meeting your commitments to work and your husband/children. Such a pity they live so far away, blah blah blah. Perhaps, Dad, seeing as you don't want to move closer to us you should consider getting in some paid help. Maybe talk to your GP about care for Mum as her dementia increases. Anyway, I'll phone next week, talk more then, bye.

And a quick call to your sisters - not with the expectation that they'll step up their involvement, but just to keep them in the loop. Let them know you're not going to be running up there nearly as much, travel is now too much especially as you can't drive any more. Work's getting so busy now you need your downtime, and the DC don't get to see their friends if they're always being dragged to grandparents. And how are you, how's work/your hobby/pets these days? Oh, how lovely.

Then your husband. He needs to call MIL and say he's going to be busy for the next few months. Work, you know how it is, so busy yadda yadda yadda. Won't be able to come over, she needs to arrange for her shopping to be delivered, or something. Maybe speak to her daughter about how to do that. Love you, bye. (Yeah, bit sexist assuming the only reason she'd accept from a son would be work commitments, but I'd put money on her not challenging him on it.)

Then he calls his sister, keeping her in the loop. Sorting mum out on the weekends no longer sustainable, can't keep leaving everything to my wife, want to spend time with my kids, she gets me to help her shop, could you maybe help her get online with Tesco/whatever. Thanks sis. And how are you?

And then - step back. Live your own lives.

Yes, eventually it will be realised by all that the three parents need some structured support. BUT - and this is the crucial bit - nobody is going to assume that this support is automatically your and your husband's responsibility. And at that point you, and your siblings, and your parents can jointly discuss what's the best plan for the future.

So step back now, do not be the default.

AnnieOnnieMouse Fri 12-Aug-16 05:10:31

MIL moved from a 2 hour drive to a 5 hour drive away. DH and the kids saw her once more, in her remaining 3 years, I never did. Previously we went about every 6 weeks. Her choice, she moved to be near her dd. Step away from the obligation others have left to you.

mollie123 Fri 12-Aug-16 05:27:29

how old are your parents and MIL ?
I can understand they want to live their own lives (and decided not to do childcare in the past) but they need to be realistic about their own capabilities - but they will not appreciate how vulnerable they are (or realise they can cope after all) unless you stop being their support system.

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Fri 12-Aug-16 05:32:48

YANBU - this is not fair on you or your DC. Your priority is your own family now not in laws or parents who have moved far away and did not support or offer help to you with their own GC when they were able. They are taking the proverbial and you need to reprioritise what matters.

AnnaMarlowe Fri 12-Aug-16 05:45:20

In your position I'd try and get all the family together and have a really blunt discussion about how to manage things fairly, including some future proofing.

This would work well in my family. Not so much in DH's. I'll be doing it anyway when the time comes.

Thankfully we're years away from these kind of decisions but seeing what my parents went through with the generation above I'm hoping that they'll be pretty practical.

davos Fri 12-Aug-16 06:42:41

Dh told his parents not to expect much help in terms of care if they went ahead with their move to 3 hours away.

He was really upfront about it. They accepted it and understood. We have cared or help care for 3 sets of our grandparents. What I have never done is expect other relatives to do it just because I choose to. Regardless of their situation. It's not fair to impose my choices on someone else.

You can't carry on like this and need to take a step back, but you can't enforce other people doing what you do.

Penfold007 Fri 12-Aug-16 07:44:29

Look at your personal boundaries and check any FOG issues. Your parents made the adult choice to move away and you are under no obligation to help nor are your siblings. Similarly MIL decided to move closer to SIL but she seems to have no issues not being her mother's carer.

You could suggest a care assessment from adult social services to see what's available locally to them.

GoblinLittleOwl Fri 12-Aug-16 10:23:53

You have to face the fact that both sets of parents are far less likely to compromise and be reasonable the older they get. Call a family conference and insist that siblings take a more active role. (Good luck with that!)
Learn to drive. It is unfair that the whole family has to give up their weekend every time a visit is necessary.
Contact social services and find out what packages of help are available, and important contact numbers for when inevitable crises occur.

Persuading parents to accept help is a different matter; my father thwarted all my attempts to establish more care and support within the home, including refusing to spend the care allowance I obtained for my mother on her care; he wanted to 'save it for the future'. Eventually they had to go into a nursing home, which he blamed me for.
Your husband needs to do the same for his parents.

I don't know what this 'social contract' is which you consider the parents to have broken; they didn't help with childcare, therefore that absolves you of responsibility for their welfare in old age.

Bit callous, isn't it?
Help as much as you are able.

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