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AIBU to expect my MIL to look after my DC for a couple of hours while we look after her elderly, frail sister?

(88 Posts)
Semiurban Thu 23-Feb-17 12:23:33

I’m feeling hurt and angry with my in-laws and DH. MIL has always been critical of me and undermines me. On our wedding day she came out after the church service and quizzed my closest friend about whether I would look after her DS properly. I’m a second wife. His first wife was treated similarly until they divorced. Now she can do no wrong.

Everything has to revolve around MIL. She is controlling and my DH can’t see it. He tells me she is sweet and kind, in the absence of all evidence to the contrary. Because of her propensity for drama and tears disrupting every family celebration and fun time, I have very little to do with her. I see her about twice a year. I have posted about her before when she invited us to come to her for lunch, only to tell us after we’d driven 100 miles that we were in a restaurant that didn’t allow dogs. She’d previously said I should bring the dog. She and my DCs and DH ate (for over two hours!) while I sat in the bar area with the dog. I was made to feel really awful for this and DH told me off for being too rigid and making a fuss. I didn’t fuss. I just sat.

To the current upset: MIL has an older sister in her 80s who is a widow and has no children. I’ll call her Aunty J. Aunty J and I have a warmer relationship and speak on the phone regularly. We remember each others birthdays and she seems genuinely interested in the DCs and supportive of us as a family. We are not massively close, but she was like a second mum to my DH when he was growing up and I have a lot of feelings of care and respect towards her.

Aunty J has been ill. She had a series of falls last year and a hip replacement and has osteoporosis. We live about 150 miles away. MIL, FIL, SIL and BIL are all a few miles from Aunty J. This week Aunty J told me she had fractured several vertebrae and is bed bound. She sounded very low and not her usual self. DH and I are worried about her. MIL hasn’t visited her in weeks, as she doesn’t want to impose. Her words.

I suggested that we visit this weekend, to see if Aunty J needs care, help with washing, sheets changed, food cooked, or if we need to get carers in, which I suspect we do. I would gladly bring her back to live with us for a while if she wanted that, but I am not sure she would want to do that.

My MIL and FIL live in a four bedroom house but whenever we visit we cannot stay with them, “because we are not equipped”. They invite us for lunch and then grumble about how much effort it is “to entertain”. My MIL does not cook, she heats ready meals. In the past she tried to feed my 18 month DD a packet of digestive biscuits because she hadn’t bought any food for her, even though DD ate most of whatever we would be eating, MIL told me biscuits would be more nourishing and cried when I took the biscuits away. If I challenge anything, she bursts into tears and accuses me of being aggressive. So whenever we visit, I now take my own food, activities for my DCs and am polite for a few hours, while feeling quite disappointed that this is their relationship with their grandparents. My ILs do not interact with the DC at all, except to sort of “coo” over them in an “ooh, isn’t she pretty/ clever” kind of way.

My FIL has never hugged, picked up or cuddled my DCs. He tried to shake DD (5) hand and she laughed at him and gave him a kiss. He tried to shoo her away when she wanted to cuddle him. It makes me tearful recollecting it.

So, this weekend we are driving on Saturday night as I am working on Saturday, putting the dog in kennels overnight, staying in a hotel that is expensive for us to do, and then seeing Aunty J the following morning. I asked MIL if she would help look after my two youngest (2 and 5) while we see what needs doing at Aunty J and MIL told me not to impose and that she didn't know them well enough to be left with them. I was upset and my Dh took her side and told me not to expect too much and that it is my decision “to impose”. DH told me I have to make another plan for the DCs. He also wants them to come with us so they have an opportunity to see his parents as apparently MIL is sad she doesn't get to see them more often.

I am worried that we have an elderly relative in her 80s who is immobile and in pain and just wanted to be met part way in an attempt to look after her. However, DH and I had a big argument last night and he says because his DM cherished him when he was a boy, I need to respect her. I said respect had to be earned. AIBU?

Soubriquet Thu 23-Feb-17 12:29:13

Actually I'm surprised you want your MIL to have your children in the first place

She obviously not taking their care seriously

I wouldn't want her to have them alone and I'm normally the one telling people that MIL's should be able to see grandchildren

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Thu 23-Feb-17 12:34:03

You have a DH problem as well as a PIA MIL.

I'd take the DC to Aunty J's, it might cheer her up. But why does your DH say it's your job to find childcare?? Is he not their father?

Upduffered Thu 23-Feb-17 12:34:15

Your issue with with you MIL but more so, your 'D' H. Nothing about the way he is handing his mother speaking to you is acceptable.

It's no wonder his ex wife was bullied out of the family. That woman has to be the only man in her sons life, hence pulling the 'she's bullying me/being aggressive/look at me crying' stuff.

LagunaBubbles Thu 23-Feb-17 12:34:19

Your DH doesnt sound very supportive at all.

MollyRedskirts Thu 23-Feb-17 12:39:17

Your DH needs a good head wobble.

Given the history, I am surprised you thought MIL would have the kids (and that you would want her to). YABabitU for that, but only because you already know she's as warm and caring as a shard of glass. YANBU to wish she could act like a decent human being. But... she isn't. She won't ever be, so you need to mentally erase her from any expectations you have of getting help.

LatteLady Thu 23-Feb-17 12:40:50

Cut out MiL and leave not DH at home with the children while you go and see Aunty J. And stay in a hotel overnight, preferably one with a spa.

Ewock Thu 23-Feb-17 12:44:50

As pp have said, as well as having your pita mil you also have a pita dh. He really needs to open his eyes and support you. Ypur mil is being unreasonable and from what you have said down right horrible. I am sorry you are going through this when you are trying to be so kind to umyour relative and support them through such a difficult time.

FrancisCrawford Thu 23-Feb-17 12:47:10

Your DH sounds worse than your MIL

BarbarianMum Thu 23-Feb-17 12:48:01

Your MiL sounds awful but I think you are unreasonable and a bit martyrish. Why would you not have given the dog a quick walk and then joined the rest of the family in the restaurant? Why would you expect a woman who is not at ease with your children to look after them so you can do soneone else a favour?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 23-Feb-17 12:49:41

Are SIL and BIL likely to offer Aunty help?

It is touching you are worried for DH's aunt and want to help her, I am sorry DH seems more interested in pandering to his parents who are in reasonable health and have each other. If you fear Aunty J is unsupported I think on this occasion you could do worse than leave DH with the DCs at his parents' house and visit Aunty J on your own to assess the situation.

I don't think given her condition a journey 150 miles would be sensible.
In any case does DH really agree to Aunty staying with you all or is he likely to backtrack?

Can't help but think this whole 'imposing' malarkey seems tailored to suit MIL whether grudging hostess or reluctant visitor to Aunty J.

Semiurban Thu 23-Feb-17 12:50:33

Thanks Lattelady. That's made me smile.

Yes, DH is their father. I think I'll go on my own!

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Thu 23-Feb-17 12:52:04

Take the snacks and activities to aunty J. . Stop visiting your mil but do tell your dh he is welcome to... I wouldn't be wanting my dc around such a woman tbh.

TheMerryWidow1 Thu 23-Feb-17 12:53:05

brilliant idea LatteLady!! you are doing DH's family a favour by checking out Aunty J, your hubby needs to grow a pair and start backing you up.

Semiurban Thu 23-Feb-17 12:53:48

Barbarianmum, the dog is a springer spaniel and had been in the car for a long journey. The restaurant told me not to tie him up outside with water, which was my first plan. It was a sunny day and I wasn't prepared to leave him in the car. I had been invited to MILs home for lunch, checked it was ok to bring the dog and she'd been emphatic about how they like him and of course to bring him and then she changed plans without telling us.

krustykittens Thu 23-Feb-17 12:54:10

What a charming family you have married into! Your DH needs to cut the apron strings. Leave him at the hotel with the kids. Cut out MIL completley from now on unless your DH wants to make the effort of bringing the kids to see her and looking after them when she gets bored of playing granny.

ohfourfoxache Thu 23-Feb-17 12:56:02

Definitely go on your own.

That way you're not going to have to see MIL at all and, as an added bonus, it might just piss her off grin

murmuration Thu 23-Feb-17 12:57:41

Your DH IBU. So is your MIL, but from experience, I can tell you you're not going to be able to change controlling parents. But perhaps DH can get out from under them.

But YABU to want MIL to look after your kids! That does not sound like a good idea at all. It sounds like she'd do a poor job, and your DH's approach to her is a good example of how she might influence a child - not positive! Why can't they come with you to Aunty J's?

Semiurban Thu 23-Feb-17 12:59:35

DH thought that the children would be too lively for Aunty J and that if we need to do a lot of cleaning, shopping etc, they might be in the way. Taking them is an option.

marvelmummy13 Thu 23-Feb-17 13:00:54

MIL will not watch them as she doesn't know them well enough but MIL moans that she never gets to see them . Thats a catch 22. Tell DH to take them he's the father and explain this RIDICULOUS manipulation by MIL

NewPuppyMum Thu 23-Feb-17 13:00:58

Ask Aunty J if she'd feel up to seeing the dc. Explain you'll bring everything they need and ask that if it would be ok for them to watch a DVD should the need arise. Then give her all the love and care it is obvious she deserves.

Ignore Mil. She no longer exists in your life. Be sure to tell dh to check he's a grown up and stop being a dickhead.

RandomMess Thu 23-Feb-17 13:01:13

AS already suggested the obvious solution is to go on your own and visit Aunt J etc.

I think you just let H deal with his relationship with MIL and not bother anymore...

pocketsaviour Thu 23-Feb-17 13:05:11

Oh dear. Definitely don't leave the DC with MiL. You want to really minimise their contact with such an unhealthy person.

This book might help you:
Toxic In-Laws

SnugglyBedSocks Thu 23-Feb-17 13:05:26

Well...if they are too lively then it's best he stays home with them and you go alone.

May09Bump Thu 23-Feb-17 13:05:32

Leave the kids with DH - if Aunty has been left for while (very sad and concerning), then you don't know what you will be walking into. Hygiene may be not at a level for children to be there, saying this in a kind way as have experienced something similar.

I think you will need to get some kind of care plan in place which will take time, ask permission from Aunty to speak to GP, community nurses and maybe ageconcern can help point you in the right direction.

I'll be honest, your DH needs a verbal kick up the bum and a reality check - how dare you be treated in this way. Don't stand for it, as your children will be witnessing it too. No way in hell should MIL be watching the children in any circumstances - she sounds nuts.

Hope you manage to get some help with Aunty!

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