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My mil never helps us and I think my sil is a bad influence on her

(131 Posts)
ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 16:26:52

I have two boys a 3 year old and a 5 year old, I dont speak to my own family due to a number of reasons (abuse and neglect when I was younger). I have a decent relationship with my mother in law, she helped me out when I had my first and she used to come once a week to babysit when I went back to work. When I had my second she stopped helping she had a routine operation but for some reason after she had recovered (6 months later) she kept coming up with excuses not to come over. Over the past 3 years she has baby sat once or twice a year so that doesnt leave me or my husband much time alone(Also she retired a year ago and we saw even less of her).

I have spoken to other members of my husbands family and they are shocked that she doesn't help out. I have asked her previously and politely why she is reluctant but she denies that she is reluctant or that any thing is wrong. We do have a few other friends and neighbours that help us out but I want my kids to have a close relationship with their grandma. It's not just help with chores etc It would be nice for my kids to have a closeness with my mil.

Also I want to mention that I do have sister laws, the youngest has helped in the past but she has gotten married and is very busy. The second middle sister is visually impaired she is independent and has a guide dog and she is very sweet but I get the feeling that since my mil became retired I feel she may have been influencing her decisions. I am speculating so I could be wrong, I did have a conversation with my sil about going back to work after having kids and i said that I dont have that option at the moment. She asked me how my friends do it all when I mentioned they had in laws and parents to help them I also said that I dont have that support she didn't respond, in fact there was a very uncomfortable silence.

Last point...i know this is getting long but that same sister in law organised her bday dinner and invited us but she booked it for 7pm on a Saturday night and wanted the kids to come. She also booked it at a restaurant where it is £50 a head for food when she knows that my husband and I are still looking for full time work (my husband is contracting as a freelancer). I feel like it was intentional so that we would not attend.

Would like to know if I am being unreasonable or if anyone has been through something like this?

NoSauce Mon 21-Oct-19 16:32:35

Whatever her reasons are I’m afraid you can’t force people into helping you out.

Nobody apart from you and your husband decided to have two children. You need to get a babysitter if you want to go out.

Maybe she felt put on, it’s hard to say without hearing her side of the story but it sounds like there’s a definite reason to why she’s stopped coming round.

Maybe invite her round just for a nice meal? One Sunday afternoon, make a fuss of her without asking anything of her.

Oodlesandpoodles Mon 21-Oct-19 16:33:43

It does sound like maybe it was betting too much for her, people can help you without having to look after your children

DeathStare Mon 21-Oct-19 16:34:16

Your MIL isn't obliged to help you. TBH it sounds like for whatever reason babysitting once a week wasn't working for her, so she made used the operation as her get-out and stuck to it. She's not unreasonable for not babysitting if it doesn't work for her.

Lots of people use a nursery or childminder when they go back to work - and your remark to SIL was rather pointed. I'm not surprised there was uncomfortable silence.

And your SIL should arrange her birthday dinner wherever she wants to go. It's HER birthday. If you can't go just politely decline. She's not unreasonable for not arranging her birthday around you.

WhenISnappedAndFarted Mon 21-Oct-19 16:37:14

Maybe she can't cope with having to look after two and that's fine.

Do you ever invite her round to spend time with her or is the only time you see her when you want her to look after your children?

You've spoken to other members of the family who you said are shocked that she doesn't help - do they offer to help?

I do agree with the first poster - they are your children and you can't force people to help. It is a shame but maybe two children is just too much for her and she feels put upon.

NoSauce Mon 21-Oct-19 16:37:30

It sounds like you’re too reliant on other people to look after your children full stop.

Neighbours, friends and MIL?

Windydaysuponus Mon 21-Oct-19 16:38:19

Ime my sil made damn sure ils were never free /not in charge of her dc and so had no time for my dc.
I quickly accepted my dc were not going to have any sort of relationship with dgps.
They never did.
Unlike sil's dc who went on holidays /trips out /sleepovers.
We all lived within 3 St's of each other...
Sadly you can't force relationships to happen.

ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 16:38:26

It isn't just to help out as i put in my original post she only sees her grandchildren once every 2 months. I am just confused why she doesn't just want to see them more or have a closer relationship (with us there not just to babysit).

Aquamarine1029 Mon 21-Oct-19 16:38:50

I don't think it's worth your time trying to figure out why your MIL doesn't want to babysit, the fact is is she doesn't. You've even asked her about it and that got you nowhere. I'm thinking she has distanced herself so much because she dreads you asking to watch the children and wants to avoid awkwardness. It's hard, but she's under no obligation to provide childcare.

ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 16:39:18

We only asked my neighbour 3 times in the last two years i am talking about emergencies or our anniversary once a year thats it.

NoSauce Mon 21-Oct-19 16:40:58

Maybe she’s keeping her distance because she doesn’t want to be put in a position to be asked to babysit.

What about asking her round for Sunday lunch to spend time with you all, like I suggested?

Windydaysuponus Mon 21-Oct-19 16:42:27

We lived 3 St's from ils. They never visited. Babysat once and I can back at the curfew time of 1030 while dh stayed in the pub....
Op you seriously need to let it go or it will do your head in.

CarolDanvers Mon 21-Oct-19 16:43:25

* I feel like it was intentional so that we would not attend.*

Maybe she wants to ensure no one gets button holed and guilted into providing childcare for you?

Marcipex Mon 21-Oct-19 16:44:06

I think looking after two very young children is MASSIVELY harder than looking after one.
I find babies very easy and a pleasure to look after. Once they are mobile it’s a different matter and I think it’s why your mother in law is reluctant.
Your children will be better off at nursery with outside play and climbing equipment, and importantly, other children to play with.

ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 16:44:52

@WhenISnappedAndFarted "Do you ever invite her round to spend time with her or is the only time you see her when you want her to look after your children?"

Yes we used to all the time, sometimes they would come round and recently its a bit less. I have lost count of the times we have cooked and entertained them all with dinners, bbq's etc. Anytime they have asked us to come round we have attended too.

Kaykay06 Mon 21-Oct-19 16:48:30

Maybe she doesn’t want to babysit or feels that’s all she’s wanted for. My mum doesn’t babysit at all but comes to spend time with kids when she’s here.
Perhaps sil is enjoying spending time with her mum now she’s retired? She’s entitled to spend time with her mum
As for the birthday you’ll need to explain its too much for you all right now. Bit rubbish but some gps aren’t really what you imagine

swingofthings Mon 21-Oct-19 16:49:07

It's probably just getting too much for her, and more importantly, she doesn't want to set a precedence. Maybe she is worried that you are relying too much on her helping out and she doesn't want to be tied to any arrangement.

Nothing you can do as ultimately, she doesn't have to help at all.

ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 16:49:51

@NoSauce yes we will ask again, although she umms and ahhs everytime we ask her to come over even for lunch! I think i find it hard not to take it personally and I am desperate to have a relationship because I dont have a mother type figure in my life, but as @Windydaysuponus @Aquamarine1029 have posted I think i need to face facts, you can't over think or please people or force relationships.

swingofthings Mon 21-Oct-19 16:50:16

Another thing is she might not agree with you not working and see it that as you don't, you don't need her support. If she's always worked herself, she might feel a bit strongly about it.

ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 16:53:33

@swingofthings I am job hunting as I do want to work im in a catch 22 situation. I will have to go for a full time role to afford childcare. When I mentioned this to her she did say she would look after the kids once in a while if they ever fell ill. But I am not expecting any help from her nor will I be asking her again.

Drum2018 Mon 21-Oct-19 16:53:48

YABU. Your mil was good to mind one child for you. A jump to 2 kids was obviously too much for her - completely understandable. I cannot believe you actually asked her why she was reluctant to mind your kids and that you discussed it with other family members. She is under no obligation whatsoever to mind your kids and maybe she felt taken for granted the first time round so decided she wouldn't help out after the second was born - that was her way out. You and your Dh getting alone time is something you should have thought of before having kids - not many people get that luxury once kids come along. You can however get time out with your own friends while the other stays home with the kids. Or you could source a local babysitter and get out for an evening. How do you think people with no family nearby manage?

ladmum Mon 21-Oct-19 17:02:25

@Drum2018 I do believe that 2 became too much. I only asked other family members (her sisters) because they were concerned because they all help their daughters/daughter in laws out. I have no bad blood with my ils at all. When i discussed it with my mil i politely asked her if I had offended her or if there was anything wrong. I didnt outright ask her why she wasnt babysitting, I think i am entitled to free speech to ask her what her feelings were. How else are you supposed to have a relationship?? We didnt want her to babysit not just for nights out it was for the occasional job interview or meetings.

SprinkleDash Mon 21-Oct-19 17:02:51

@ladmum she’s wants to enjoy her life!! There is no obligation for grandparents to look after or even be involved in their grandchildren’s lives. She’s done the drudgery of childrearing, leave her be! You choose to have two children, it’s your job to look after them.

NoSauce Mon 21-Oct-19 17:05:07

What was the operation she had? If you think it’s because she found two hard to look after there’s your answer. You can’t force her.
She’s done her bit. Maybe she feels put on and used? It’s hard to say obviously as I don’t know either of you but somethings got to her.

What does your H think?

Josette77 Mon 21-Oct-19 17:05:16

I think you telling your sil that your friends can work because they all have inlaws who help out was a bit silly. Many people (including your friends I would suspect) do it without help, myself included. It sounds like she has created space because two kids are too much, and she is worried you will depend on her too much.

As for your SIL's birthday party. That's a pretty self absorbed way of looking at it. It makes it about you and not your sil's birthday.

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