Advanced search

to think my SIL is over the top with my nephews?

(83 Posts)
ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 20:28:37

My brother works away a lot abroad and is home probably one week a month. Him and my SIL have two boys, my dear nephews aged 9 and 5.

My SIL is a very enthusiastic mother shall we say, all of her social media accounts are just photos upon photos of my nephews and constant updates about them, in person it is impossible to have a conversation with her about anything other than the boys and at family gatherings if the conversation isn’t about my nephews she will always change the subject so the focus is on them. She also doesn’t allow any of our or her family to look after the boys, or have them overnight or take them on days out.

One thing that I find a bit unsettling is she insists on both the boys sleeping in her bed with her whilst my brother is away. She posts constantly on social media about how they are having “sleepovers in mummys bed” (like she posts this nightly whilst my brother is away) but the boys sleep in their own beds when my brother is home simply because there isn’t room for all of them together in one bed.

So AIBU to think this isn’t normal and SIL needs to stop smothering them? I know it’s not my place to say anything to her and I never would but interested to hear others opinions on this.

Michellebops Wed 17-Jul-19 20:31:28


It's her kids, their lives and her choices.

You don't have to get involved in the conversations. You can try to change the subject or politely move away.

StephanieSJW Wed 17-Jul-19 20:33:26

She's over-sharing. You're overly judgemental.

RainbowPanda Wed 17-Jul-19 20:35:22

What's wrong with her sharing a bed with her 9 & 5 year old? confused

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 20:35:56

Like I said I’d never tell her how to raise her children and have no plans to stop her. I just feel a bit sad for my 9 year old nephew especially who wasn’t allowed a friend to sleepover at the weekend because my SIL said she would miss sharing a bed with nephew too much.

cees Wed 17-Jul-19 20:36:08

Bloody tedious as she sounds its her business not yours.

HaudYerWheeshtYaWeeBellend Wed 17-Jul-19 20:36:30

Are the kids happy ?

Her husband is home 7 days a month, of course he wants his bed and I’d imagine she wants to share the bed with her husband.

The boys are very little, she may parent differently from you, however YABU to judge her.

Parsnippy Wed 17-Jul-19 20:36:53

What are you implying is wrong with her children sleeping in her bed?

Her children are her life. Some people think that is a bad thing. I am not one of those people.

Dollywilde Wed 17-Jul-19 20:36:53

Agree she’s over sharing but YABU.

My DH slept in with his mum until secondary due to a variety of factors. I can promise you he’s a very well adjusted non mummy’s boy at 33!

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 20:39:40

Erm I don’t know how happy my nephews are about the sleepovers every single night, the eldest has complained about feeling tired at school because the youngest has kept him awake during the night, I think it was bad when the youngest was a newborn and cried a lot as that kept eldest up. My SIL is pretty open about the fact she loves my brother being away because it means she gets to have the boys in bed with her, my brother did have to sleep on the couch when he came home for a bit but I think he got pissed off with that arrangement and put his foot down.

SoyDora Wed 17-Jul-19 20:42:33

You seem to be implying that your SIL is forcing your nephews to sleep in her bed against their will, for her own gains?

MyOpinionIsValid Wed 17-Jul-19 20:43:22

Othe peoples relationships, Not really your business is it?

NothingBreaksLikesAHeart Wed 17-Jul-19 20:44:02

Yeah it's weird and I wouldn't do it personally but that's her perogative. Her kids her choice. It is weird tho

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 20:47:12

I’m not implying or stating anything untoward is happening!! I just find it odd and wondered if other people thought it was too.

Neverender Wed 17-Jul-19 20:49:18

Sorry but nothing to do with you...

newmomof1 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:49:34

Your SIL is a proud and protective mom. That's admirable IMO.

The boys sleeping in her bed is fine too. It's only a problem if they don't want to.

FelixFelicis6 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:49:45

Going against the grain apparently, but it doesn’t seem particularly healthy, no. Especially if her sons are missing out on social activities because of their mum’s need to have them in bed with her. And it affects their quality of sleep. It does seem rather more about her needs rather than what’s best for the kids.

theworldistoosmall Wed 17-Jul-19 20:50:21

She was probably doing everything she could to minimize noise at night. They cry and wake people up.

FelixFelicis6 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:50:53

theworldistoosmall At 5 and 7? It doesn’t sound like this....

arethereanyleftatall Wed 17-Jul-19 20:51:07

Very strange responses so far!!
I don't think the op is suggesting the boys actually want to sleep in her bed. It's the other way round. Yanbu op. Sounds suffocating for the children.

theworldistoosmall Wed 17-Jul-19 20:52:16

Also is he in a dangerous country or have a dangerous job?

StephanieSJW Wed 17-Jul-19 20:53:43

OP knows what other people's children want and need thank the lord.

SarahSinclair Wed 17-Jul-19 20:54:57

Yes I agree with you and think it’s odd. Wonder what those boys will think of it when they mature.

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 20:56:19

They live in a detached 3 bed cottage in the middle of nowhere, no immediate neighbours so I don’t think she’s minimising noise. Plus she wouldn’t let the eldest go to his own room when youngest was very little and cried a lot, she used to text me at all hours of the night saying neither of them were sleeping and both screaming their heads off! My brother flies between Switzerland and home for work and once every 6 months goes to Canada so not dangerous countries.

newmomof1 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:57:11

I wonder if it's because she feels safer if they're all together, especially if they're in the middle of nowhere?

Xyzzzzz Wed 17-Jul-19 20:57:17

I agree I think it’s weird too. But then again it’s her kids and her parenting.

Ponoka7 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:58:29

She's made them her life, which is always smothering for the children.

It depends on how she takes the eldest's need for greater independence as he goes to high school.

Your Brother should encourage her to get 'herself' back.

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 20:58:30

Yep just to clarify I fully understand it’s HER kids and HER choice. My only question is, am I being unreasonable to think it’s odd?

kalinkafoxtrot45 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:58:46

She sounds smothering and far too enmeshed with the kids. It will be difficult when they start to assert their independence.

FelixFelicis6 Wed 17-Jul-19 20:59:23

It’s not the actual them sleeping in her bed that’s weird, lots of children co-sleep later on in childhood, but it very much seems as though she’s the one that needs them to for her own comfort. Especially as husband wasn’t allowed back in bed when he’s back, and the obsessiveness on social media..

Yellowweatherwarning Wed 17-Jul-19 20:59:47

Yanbu imo.
Your dsis sounds far too relient on her dc when df is away.
Personally would rather stick pins in my eyes than have a dc in my bed!!

Thehop Wed 17-Jul-19 21:00:10

They shouldn’t be made to sleep in her bed, but that’s the only thing o see a problem with here.

Neverender Wed 17-Jul-19 21:00:13

Why do you care so much? I wouldn't bat an eyelid. The choices are hers/theirs and so ore the consequences.

Adoptthisdogornot Wed 17-Jul-19 21:02:24

It's a bit cringey and oversharey, but when you consider the neglect and abuse so many children endure, it hardly seems that terrible does it?

Myriade Wed 17-Jul-19 21:04:55

YANBU because the bed sharing happens to fulfill HER needs and not the dcs.

It’s sad her Dc1 can’t have a sleepover because she can’t cope with him not being in her bed.
I’m also confused at the idea she wants her dcs rather than her DH in her bed. It’s like they have somehow replaced him confused

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 17-Jul-19 21:06:19

It sounds as if she is forcing her eldest. And he’s missing out on sleepovers. My dd sleeps with me. Her choice but it’s soooo nice to have the bed to myself. Dh and I sleep separately for my health. I would never force dd to sleep with me. And we keep up the pretence with her friends that she sleeps in her bed. She has lots of sleepovers at home and a fair amount at friends houses. Her preference is not to sleep alone.

AmeriAnn Wed 17-Jul-19 21:08:34

My son suffered from anxiety when he was younger and would wake me up when he was having a bad worry. "Oh mum, I'm so worried I can't sleep". I'd lift the covers and he'd climb in next to me. He never wanted his dad to know he was needing his mum like that. I think he was about 12 when he stopped. I loved it btw, because I loved to snuggle with my boy and it made him feel better. He'd fall asleep right away when he was next to me. They're only young once and our duty as mums is to mother them.

Maybe her boys are stressed when their dad is gone.

Paramicha Wed 17-Jul-19 21:08:43

People parent differently.

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 21:11:34

@Neverender it’s a question on AIBU, my life doesn’t revolve around it and it’s not like I’m constantly questioning her about it? I don’t know where you got the impression that I “care so much”, half the stuff posted here is a tiny snippet from someone’s life, same as this. That’s what this forum is for after all. And once again, as previously stated, I know it’s her life and her choice.

roothyb Wed 17-Jul-19 21:12:00

She sounds like a pain in the arse.

I don't think yabu. Just unfollow her posts so they don't wind you up!

georgialondon Wed 17-Jul-19 21:12:55

Not your business.

LillithsFamiliar Wed 17-Jul-19 21:13:05

You're too invested in this and determined to make it sound sinister and UR but it simply isn't. As for the sleepover, lots of parents come up with excuses to make it easier for their DC. It could be the other child didn't want to come. It could be they're not allowed sleepovers. It could be your SIL and DB decided they didn't want to invite that particular child for a sleepover. I very much doubt the main motivation was that your SIL would miss her DS hmm

Rarfy Wed 17-Jul-19 21:16:12

Yabu but if you don't have children I can understand why you find it odd.

I have a 6 month old and I don't let her go anywhere and have no plans to any time soon in fact I don't know if I ever will. I spending my time with her and knowing that she is being brought up by my rules so to speak. If I felt safe sleeping in a bed with her I probably would too.

Although you find it a bit strange I think I would just look at the positive and be happy their dm seems to adore them.

BendingSpoons Wed 17-Jul-19 21:16:55

It sounds like SIL is putting her needs before her DC (the older one anyway).

namechangeninjaevervigilant Wed 17-Jul-19 21:17:40

My SIL was like this. As soon as the children reached adolescence they couldn’t move into their own beds fast enough. Let her enjoy cuddles with her boys while they all still enjoy it.

ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk Wed 17-Jul-19 21:17:51

@LillithsFamiliar has the magical power of knowing everything about a situation despite not personally knowing any of the people involved. Incredible.

saraclara Wed 17-Jul-19 21:19:00

Her kids her choice

But how far does that go? It's clear that people harm their children in a variety of weird ways. At what point does someone say 'actually, that's wrong and harmful for your children'?

Personally I think that if a nine year old is losing out socially and can't have friends over because he has to sleep with his mum (even when he doesn't want to) I think it's fair to say...hang on. This isn't right. This isn't in your children's best interests.

The children should not be feeling stultified or having to make up for their father's absence. I think this is very much on the border of NOT being a 'her children, her choice' thing.

louise5754 Wed 17-Jul-19 21:19:09

My DH is hardly ever home. My 9 and 7 yr old are always in my bed. I don't ask them too they just get in. It is a squeeze though. I'd prefer just having the one as there is more room but once one knows the other follows.

Cryalot2 Wed 17-Jul-19 21:20:29

It does sound a bit strange , but maybe it is her way of trying to keep them safe when her husband is away.
The 9 year-old should at least be having sleep overs and not in mums bed most nights. He could get teased for such if his friends found out.
How about a quiet word with your brother .

BlackBirdInMyGarden Wed 17-Jul-19 21:21:32

We tend to think of neglect as children who are ignored or don't have physical needs met, or never get any emotional attention.

But emotional neglect can also happen when a parent smothers a child - and uses their kids to meet their emotional needs, rather than providing emotional support for that child's actual needs.

Whether or not that's what's happening here I wouldn't like to say - but smothering can be every bit as damaging as never paying any attention to a child.

steff13 Wed 17-Jul-19 21:22:29

I don't think it's fair to deny letting the older one go to a sleepover because she would miss him too much.

stuffedpeppers Wed 17-Jul-19 21:24:02

Single Mum here - my DCs slept with me for a long time after EX left.
Part them and if I am honest part me - they both decided themselves when they were happy to sleep on their own but come a stressful time - I find a small tap on the shoulder and a body appears. Eldest is now 13 and exam time, a body arrived wrapped in a duvet and snuggles up to my back!

Security for all concerned - they grow out of it.

HarryElephante Wed 17-Jul-19 21:24:28

She's close to her children. Oh, the humanity.

saraclara Wed 17-Jul-19 21:29:52

But emotional neglect can also happen when a parent smothers a child - and uses their kids to meet their emotional needs, rather than providing emotional support for that child's actual needs.

Exactly. And it sounds as though that's what's happening here. The kis (especially the 9 year old) need space and a bit of independence. If SIL has nothing else in her life, and no topic of conversation other than them, those kids are going to either be stunted socially, or want to get out as fast as they can.

LilQueenie Wed 17-Jul-19 21:31:59

So AIBU to think this isn’t normal and SIL needs to stop smothering them?

why are you judging her and asking here if you have no intention of saying something yet already decided she is in the wrong?

I give it 2 days before this hits the papers or magazines.

Lizzielocket Wed 17-Jul-19 21:32:18

Not weird at all, my DC stayed most nights in my bed when I was a single mother and we lived very rurally. They remember it as happy times.

WhenOneFacePalmDoesntCutIt Wed 17-Jul-19 21:32:31

They live in a detached 3 bed cottage in the middle of nowhere, no immediate neighbours

so it feels safer to have her kids in her bed?

Yes, she probably should try to encourage the 9 year old to sleep in his own bed. My 5 year old would live in my bed if I didn't kick them out!

You seem to forget how hard it can be to be in the middle of nowhere on your own. Some people find it more difficult than others.

HarryElephante Wed 17-Jul-19 21:33:32

Exactly. And it sounds as though that's what's happening here

That's an extraordinary leap to come to this conclusion on the information we have.

Folks, take the internet with a pinch of salt.

justasking111 Wed 17-Jul-19 21:34:23

Wow guess she finds no need for a rampant rabbit while OH is away then grin

GabsAlot Wed 17-Jul-19 21:34:58

She sound smothering cant have a sleep over because she would miss her ds?

Shes not doing anyone any favours

LillithsFamiliar Wed 17-Jul-19 21:39:04

Gosh OP you're funny. You've come here asking for opinions from people who don't know anyone involved. Then you get snarky if posters disagree with you. Keep going, I'm sure you have another 'incident' you forgot to mention until you realised most posters didn't agree with you.

Charlieandthechocolatecake Wed 17-Jul-19 21:39:16

She loves her boys. She is protective of them. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. As for them sleeping in her bed, I'd love for my 2 DS's to sleep in my bed every night, I just prefer my own space!

namechangeninjaevervigilant Wed 17-Jul-19 21:39:55

To be fair to *lillithsfamiliar we all make assumptions about threads based on our own experiences. That’s pretty much the point of any Internet forum - to get the opinions of people whose life is different to ours.

I think you are doing very well on this OP. It’s not a total whitewash, a fair number of people agree with you so it seems unnecessary to get a little snippy with someone whose opinion and experience of this situation doesn’t chime with yours.

sockatoe Wed 17-Jul-19 21:42:08

YANBU. It sounds like particularly the eldest would benefit from a little more independence and possibly even privacy. If he's starting to miss out socially because his mummy will miss his cuddles, it's possibly getting to the time that something was said. Perhaps your brother could start taking him/them out without her occasionally when he's home? Perhaps she's lonely and could do with some social interaction or a hobby without the kids herself? That might be a kinder way round. She's heading for either a big fall when they want to spend more time with their peers or she'll have sad, bullied children who are mocked because they're not allowed out.
No actual problem with kids who want to be in bed with parents though - but it sounds like this is for her benefit not theirs

Onceuponatime21 Wed 17-Jul-19 21:45:30

I think she posts a lot on social media because her husband is away, she wants him to see them, and her family too. Her kids sleep in her bed because they want to - having their DF away so much is probably a bit unsettling for them, and this is how they all cope with that. That her eldest DS probably didn't want the sleepover, but felt embarrassed, so she's taking the blame so he doesn't have to have judgemental in laws asking why he hasn't had a sleepover yet.

I also bet she's probably really nice and would be mortified to see a thread accusing her of basically being too loving towards her kids.

TheBouquets Wed 17-Jul-19 21:48:25

Maybe she feels vulnerable being alone with the DCs in a remote house miles from anywhere. Maybe she feels that if they are all in one room they could be safer together.
Maybe she resents DH for going away and leaving her alone with the DC while he goes various places.
Only my thoughts but perhaps a consideration.

choli Wed 17-Jul-19 22:11:30

My mother used to make at least one of us sleep with her every night after my father passed away. She did it for years. I hated it. I had to put my foot down when I was 12.

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 17-Jul-19 22:23:28

You may well be right. But as an adult she is choosing to live there. The children don’t get that choice. They should be allowed to sleep where they choose - either with mum or in their beds. That is unless there is a big drip feed they were burgled and she feels unsafe as happened in our case - especially as the burglar entered my bedroom with me asleep in it and dd down the hall.

TulipsTwoLips Wed 17-Jul-19 22:28:10

I would have found that far too suffocating as a child.

TuesdaySunshine Wed 17-Jul-19 22:40:30

I think it sounds weird and unhealthy tbh, but how (or even whether) you broach it with her I have no idea. Then again, if she's on MN you probably won't need to now, will you.

Goingonagondola Wed 17-Jul-19 22:41:29

I feel sorry for her because it must be hard being a single parent so much of the time - and then being judged by her SIL as well.

I think you are seeing things how you want to because you don't like her much or because her style of parenting makes you feel insecure about yours.

Mydogmylife Wed 17-Jul-19 22:52:57

From the info supplied it sounds as though th 9 year old may be starting to find this a bit restricting, and it does seem it's more for sil benefit than for the children. Also if I was DH and seeing posts on social media that implied that my dw was happier when I was away and she could be with the Dc on her own I think I would be more than a little hurt and looking at the state of the relationship. Still, this can't go on indefinitely (!) and time will no doubt sort things out

saraclara Wed 17-Jul-19 22:56:12

I feel sorry for her because it must be hard being a single parent so much of the time - and then being judged by her SIL as well.

I think you are seeing things how you want to because you don't like her much or because her style of parenting makes you feel insecure about yours.

You're just making things up. The OP hasn't said anything to her AT ALL. She's come on here to ask what we think. The SIL is oblivous. And the second sentence is pure speculation and fantasy

TheBouquets Wed 17-Jul-19 22:57:36

@Mummyoflittledragon The SIL may not actually have any option but to stay there. If the house is jointly owned she can not sell without DH's permission. If the house is in his name she has less chance of making a decision to move. The only other option would be to split with DH and get only with really being a single parent.

LadyLibre Wed 17-Jul-19 23:00:33

One of my nephews is the second messiah, it's very tiresome 😒

NaviSprite Wed 17-Jul-19 23:04:49

I’m on the “it’s a bit strange” side of this one. Not that she has sleepovers with her DC, that’s sweet. But the obsessive overriding of conversation and potential reality of nixing the sleepover because she wanted her own with the kids.

Now we all know to take what a post says is one side of a story - but I have a couple of cousins who are very much like your SIL @ItsFunnyYouShouldAsk

Everything revolves around them and their DC. To a point where they will start arguments with other Mum’s in the family (myself included) if they parent any other way. They also inundate their SM with pictures (like a minute by minute replay it’s rather tedious.)

Or if (like at the first and last family BBQ I went to since my twins were born) the conversation steers away from their children they derail and go straight back to it as though nobody else has a say - or will become extremely dramatic that nobody cares. They can also be weirdly competitive with their DC’s achievements. It makes their kids a bit uncomfortable too as they’re just trying to play and get told to perform for the family constantly 😳 so if your SIL is of a similar inclination I can fully understand why you find it odd.

I love my DC - they’re only toddlers and I do hope they might choose snuggles with me in bed sometime in the future. But I wouldn’t want to force it on them. I take pride in their achievements but can also talk about other subjects. Doesn’t make any of us the better or worse mums - just different.

With my Cousins thankfully I don’t have to see them regularly and have muted them on any social media so I’m not flooded with a minute by minute update of their days. I’ll pop onto their profiles occasionally to see how everyone is doing and I’m happy that they’re happy and know that - whilst I think they’re a bit over the top - they clearly love their kids and “not my monkeys not my circus” comes into play for me.

As for the bit about 9yo not getting to have a sleepover because the SIL wanted her “sleepover” with both DC is going too far IMO. But as people have said it’s possible this was her version of ‘kind reasoning’ to her Son, rather than an outright no?

YANBU to find it odd, that’s an opinion and you have a right to it - and I agree with you.

Other than the sleepover incident, has her behaviour shown any signs of depriving her DC of normality? If the eldest were to decline sleeping in her bed do you think she would understand or become emotional? If it’s the latter then that’s when you may have a genuine concern.

TheHandsOfNeilBuchanan Wed 17-Jul-19 23:05:25

Maybe if your dear brother was at home with his family, she would have consistency and support which could facilitate her working and seeking that childcare. If she didn't do what she does your brother couldn't jet off whenever he fancies. She sounds lonely and like she had little in her life other than her children.

Tillygetsit Wed 17-Jul-19 23:07:20

I agree with Felix. This is for her benefit not her boys. That said, it's up to her to sort and not really any of your business.

Polly7805 Wed 17-Jul-19 23:08:48

Omg you are definitely being unreasonable
Grow up you silly cow

sweetkitty Wed 17-Jul-19 23:11:00

When my DH is away with work my DC argue whose turn it is to sleep with me as they think I’ll get lonely by myself. The teens have all but stopped now which is sad. DS who is 9 still loves too he’s horrendous to sleep with though I swear he kicks me in the face he wriggles so much but in a few short years there’s no way he’ll want to sleep with Mum

Your nephews will be the same OP.

justasking111 Wed 17-Jul-19 23:13:21

Sitting here wondering if mothers who dote on their children this much today are tomorrows MILs from hell grin

Stompythedinosaur Wed 17-Jul-19 23:19:04

I don't think anything you've described is hugely unusual. My dds are 8 and 6 and jump at a chance to sleep with me when dp is away, despite being fine it their beds 99% of the time.

RonnieScotts Wed 17-Jul-19 23:38:55

I think she's going to find it a bit hard to let go as they grow up and become teenagers who want independence.

I have a friend who's a bit overbearing like this (even though she's a wonderful mum, she's always been a bit full on with her kids) as I've gotten closer to her she's opened up about a bit of a sad childhood, feeling rejected by her parents who always put themselves and their needs first. I think she's overcompensating for this in her own parenting. Now that they are teens she's really struggling and takes their need to be independent very personally and gets angry at them rejecting her (but it's just normal teenage behaviour, being grumpy and preferring their friends etc.)

I think your SIL may need some support and distraction when this starts to happen and her boys start growing up.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »