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Am I wrong to feel this way?(11 Posts)
Long time lurker here needing advice.
Basically my uncle has a wife that we got introduced to about 8 years ago.
When we first met her, she was really nice to me and my siblings and cousins. But over the years she has started to make snidey comments which I have always ignored.
In these 8 years, my uncle and his wife have had 2 kids.
These 2 kids have practically come to our house every weekend since they were born 8 years ago for us (well my mum and dad) to babysit.
She hardly invites us to their house but invites herself round when she pleases.
My mum cooks for my uncle and wife and the kids, but if we go to theirs, she doesn't make us anything.
She's now started doing the kids birthday parties are our house where my mum cooks and cleans.
Since then, I've hated her. I cannot believe my uncle is allowing her to do this. My parents are too nice and just let her walk all over them. This ends up with us having to cook and clean up, she doesn't help out.
This is because my uncle has financially supported my dad for years as he wasn't in good position financially.
They have taken us both on holidays with them.
Is my uncle helping my dad out financially and us going on holiday a good enough reason for us having to look after the kids, hold their birthday parties and not be allowed to come to their house?
I really hate her now as I believe she's manipulative towards us and my uncle. But am I wrong to feel this way? Should I be grateful that my uncle helped us out?
My uncle helped us out, not her with money.
This has strained my once good relationship with my uncle and he loves her a lot so he can't see it from my side.
But I don't know whether I should just accept this scenario of the above.
How old are you, out of curiosity?
Yes, your parents are certainly accepting to be treated like staff, and it is possible that they are doing it out of a feeling of obligation towards your uncle for helping them out financially.
If that is the case, then this sounds like very unhealthy models of behaviour to present to you and your siblings, who are growing up witnessing and absorbing all this. Good for you for having enough of an independent streak to question what is going on.
Keep questioning anything your gut tells you is wrong.
I agree with the PP. The relationship is between your parents, the uncle and his wife. If your parents feel that financial help obliges them to act in a particular way, that's their decision. If your uncle and aunt (that's the usual term for an uncle's wife) want to take advantage of your parents, that's their decision. You clearly don't like your aunt and seem to want to make her the bête noire of the story. However, they are a couple and you have to assume that what one does, the other agrees with. Your uncle is therefore equally to blame.
You're entitled to tell your parents that you believe they are being exploited. They are entitled to tell you that it's none of your business. Ultimately, if you don't want to have a relationship with your uncle and aunt, you can leave them behind when you have a family of your own.
Why don't you ask you uncle out for coffee. Instead of laying the blame with his wife, which will obviously piss him off, you can couch it in terms of
"You know, I really want mum and dad to have some time to actually relax. They've had their children, and they deserve some time to enjoy the fact they are older now. Is there any way that you could give them a break from babysitting every weekend? Or from hosting every single children's party? I know childcare is hard, and I also know that technically this is between them and you - but I am an adult too, and don't want to sit back and just watch whilst I feel like my parents and their good will are being taken advantage of."
Obviously your tone will matter a lot here, and you have to not even mention his wife in any of this. They are a unit, and he is your uncle. Anything you have to say should be to him. The aim will be to make your uncle realise that they are asking too much, and to make steps to stop being so reliant on them. Not to cause a massive screaming fight.
I also disagree that it's not your place to say anything. It might between them and your parents, but they are YOUR parents. You aren't a child. You have every right to voice your opinion and to assert yourself.
You should also speak to your parents and ask them flat out "why do you allow yourselves to be treated like staff to their children? You are being taken advantage of beyond belief, and it's very disrespectful. If you are too scared to say something because of some misplaced sense of obligation due to history, then I will".
You could also, in a more subtle way, make plans for a few weekends in january which means they won't be able to do childcare. When the inevitable phone call from your aunt comes "oh I'll be around to drop off the kids at X time" you can calmly reply "Sorry Aunt X, but I am taking mum and dad out this weekend, so you will have to arrange alternative childcare".
If you wanted to be REALLY cheeky, you could add "...for once" onto the end of that sentence ;-)
Every weekend watching the children since how old?
The thing is, is this money a significant amount each month? If it's been paid for years then I'm sure your uncle feels entitled to something in return and that is the arrangement you have described above.
Your parents could stop looking after the children at anytime but that means they won't get paid right?
Do they work? Can they work?
Why are you getting involved?
You also have no right to be invited to your aunt and uncles house. Lots of folk don't get invited to their families houses. It's not that unusual.
I do sympathise with you but you need to remember your parents are getting something in exchange for all of this. It's not free. They are being paid.
Do they complain?
In agree this is between your parents and your uncle and his wife. Also you are putting all the blame on her, they are your uncle's children too. He is also choosing to bring them to your parents for babysitting and for the parties to be held at your parents house.
Whilst it does sound like an odd situation I suspect you don't have the full picture and it's not fair to put the blame entirely on the wife.
@kaykayblue... how do you know the OP isn't a child?
Thank you for all the replies.
I don't blame his wife but they split their affairs and money. So I don't know why we have to cater for her too? She hasn't helped us. She's always implied their money isn't joint.
She's taken me out to coffee, if she pays she says she'll get the money off my uncle. So basically none of HER money is spent on us, ever. She calls us my uncle nieces and nephews.
I just don't think it's fair on my mum, who's 60 and ill.
Yes my uncle is paying my dad, but that stopped years ago. We are all elder so contribute to the house bills. My dad's hours kept getting reduced and it's hard getting a full time job for him. He probably gives a couple hundred quid. You have to remember though that we feed the kids and them, buy them presents. They never buy us presents.
I don't mind my uncle coming over, but when he does. My mum makes him breakfast, feeds the kids, and then he comes over to have dinner as well.
Yes I know they are not obliged to have us over, but why is it ok for them to eat at our house but we can never go to theirs?
She invites her family over all the time.
I just feel like slaves and a hotel.
We are expected to be home on the weekend or rush home if they come over and we are out.
I just don't think it's fair as I never asked for this.
Who hosts their kids parties at their brothers house?
The thing is, if the roles were switched and my dad was helping my uncle out. He would never expect him to do this, or drop us off at their house. I think that what bugs me the most.
She sounds very selfish and entitled. I'm shocked that she won't even buy you coffee, or rather makes a point that your uncle will cover it (as you are nothing to her). The fact that she doesn't refer to you as nieces and nephews says it all. She sounds a very controlling and unloving woman.
She's a taker, and your parents are givers.
There's nothing that you can do about their relationship, though.
All you can do is choose how you manage your own relationships with them.
How much do you want to see your aunt? Do only that.
What statements do you feel like pulling her up on? Pull her up on those.
Do you want to tell your parents how you feel? Then tell them.
Do you want to keep living at home? Move out, if you would prefer to be free from all this family dysfunction.
If you and your siblings all live at home, pay the bills, finance your parents and are responsible for your sick mother then get together with your parents, tell them that you're not prepared to keep bankrolling this ridiculous situation, and tell your uncle and aunt that whatever arrangement they used to have is over.
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