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AIBU to not support BIL's family at the expense of my own?

124 replies

LittleMissLady · 17/08/2015 13:05

Dp's family live in another country. Things - children's clothes - are expensive there and wages are low (aren't they everywhere?)

We have 2 children. Dd(3) and DS(1ish).

Do's brother has 3 children. 2 Dd's (4 &2) DS (6).

I operate a cash flow system with our child stuff, all nursery bits and clothes, toys etc.
everything is bought (usually second hand) and then sold to free up money for next stage stuff.
My kids have nice stuff and this is the only way we can realistically afford it.

MIL recently requested that we send all of Dd's clothes she has grown out of over to BIL as he is really struggling to support his family. DP has basically said he can't say no to this request and told me at the very least to only sell the 'good' stuff and pass all the rest to them.
At no cost. They won't be paying for it,and further more if they attempt to pay for it DP will flatly refuse to take the money.

I want a third child. We have rowed endlessly about having a third child. The long and short of or situation is thy we can't afford another child. ( I know this and am being purely emotional about having another. It would be unfair on us all if we did and actually I'm happy with 2!).
So we are unable to have more kids as we can't afford them but somehow we now have to afford to send all the baby stuff overseas at our own expense to support BIL's family.

AIBU to be saying no this and to be mightily pissed of at DP saying I'm selfish and only care about my family and not his??

For purposes of not drip feeding:

My SIL (my brothers wife) has 2 boys slightly older then my DS and I BUY the clothes and things she is selling as I would never expect her to just give it all away as they also operate a cash flow system this way.

OP posts:
ShuShuFontana · 17/08/2015 14:58

just agree and do and nod.

This is very much a Pick Your Battle, what is the likelihood that your dh is going to even know where the babies vests are, ever mind which ones fit your child, or would fit SIL's child

Carry on as you are, if dh should ask for the out grown clothes, then say, "you're welcome to look....I am pretty sure there's nothing much atm"

Just don't get involved....Passive Resistance. :o

ShuShuFontana · 17/08/2015 15:00

god's vests!

Want2bSupermum · 17/08/2015 15:05

The food banks and government clothing assistance are there for people in need. It is very wrong to put yourself in a position of need to 'help' someone else. Overall you are not helping anyone.

Bahhhhhumbug · 17/08/2015 15:42

Agree with Shu Shu. I do this with DH. I mean parcels do go missing all the time Wink and in places like that is likely to happen anyway.

Rosieliveson · 17/08/2015 16:07

In my opinion, if you need the money that selling things generates for your own family and not having it leaves you short, it doesn't matter whether BIL's need it or not. If you both need something that is yours, it's just that, yours.

I would simply say that if there are any things that you can pass on then you will let DH know so he can arrange it but that you will prioritise getting your own DC clothes first. Surely your DH can not argue with that. Surely he can't and won't expect his children to genuinely go without.

Don't get drawn into any further discussion. If you are selling something and he asks whether it can be posted as a hand down instead, you can say "no because x needs new shoes and this pays half etc."

LittleMissLady · 17/08/2015 16:08

It's not baby vests. It's 2-3 years clothes and shoes and coats and things.

The postage would be very high as it is outside the EU. There would be custom charges and we would have to cover both those costs.

If money was no object then I would send them clothes in a heartbeat. I would send them anything they needed. But I am struggling with the concept that myself and my children should do without or with less quality (and when we're taking clothes quality matters - next will wash and wear well, primary doesn't).

I shop carefully on eBay, in charity shops etc and yet each month there is almost nothing left over.
We are saving for a deposit for a house and I'm already aware that the sending money to mil is going to count against there as we can't really afford to do that.

It does seem to be the general consensus that I ABU.

I would be interested to know how many people would put their distant families before their own in real life though. As this is what I'm being asked to do

OP posts:
GarminGirl · 17/08/2015 16:14

Does mil live with them?

Want2bSupermum · 17/08/2015 16:16

OP - you are not being unreasonable at all. We help family because we can and yet their requests have been unaffordable to us so we said no.

To be able to help others you must first be in a position where you don't need help yourself. It's not selfish to say no. You are doing everyone a favor by ensuring that in the future your BIL and his family don't have to support your MIL.

I agree that those saying you should help have not been in a position where family members rely on them and helping them means you go without. It's an incredibly tough spot to be in.

Stick to your guns on this.

merrymouse · 17/08/2015 16:24

I don't think you really can help - your children are the wrong age. You could buy clothes for them if it really is more economical to buy them here, but in effect that is just increasing the money that you are already sending.

merrymouse · 17/08/2015 16:26

Unless the idea is that you send clothes and then they sell them?

FrenchJunebug · 17/08/2015 16:26

YABVU. They are family. Sometimes in life it is nice to do a good deed.

MatildaTheCat · 17/08/2015 16:27

Sending parcels sounds ridiculous as it will be so expensive. Are there any visits made between countries by any relatives? If so, perhaps you could save some suitable bits and send a package when the opportunity arises.

Get an actual printout of postage costs from google and show your DH how uneconomic it is. Sending by sea may be cheaper in which case save a few key items whenever you are able. Tbh if many items were from charity shops in the first place surely they don't have much resale value?

Perhaps the easiest solution is to send some cash very occasionally for birthdays etc to buy clothing.

Sounds a sad situation for the family concerned to be that poor. Mil is just trying to help.

diddl · 17/08/2015 16:27

It isn't distant family thpugh it is your husband's brother & your nephew & neices!

Of course your husband wants to help them.

But if it can't be done, then it can't.

MuffMuffTweetAndDave · 17/08/2015 16:29

YANBU. If things are sufficiently tight that you need the money generated from the sales of the old stuff to buy new, then you need it. Whenever this topic comes up, and it's been discussed a few times recently, it's generally agreed that if the DP wants to give away the items that represent your income stream, he needs to take responsibility for buying the things you were going to use the money for. So that is what needs to happen here. He can give more money to his family if he wants, which is effectively what he's doing. But he funds your children's next lot of clothes by economising or going without himself. Your kids don't. It's not as if you aren't helping his poorer relatives anyway.

I might actually be tempted to do as shushu says though.

RedDaisyRed · 17/08/2015 16:31

None of this makes sense. big things cost more to post than the cost of the item unless it is a real gold plated cot! £10 baby clothes are worth zero ones worn. Do people really buy such expensive baby stuff it has some kind of big retail value? Our babies had a lot of stuff frmo the charity stuff so no second hand value at all.
Just say yes and then don't send anything.

lastuseraccount123 · 17/08/2015 16:36


I also don't think you're being mean-spirited, just practical. In your shoes I'd see if I could spare a few things but if you're also struggling you're also struggling.

lastuseraccount123 · 17/08/2015 16:38

this also sounds like a cultural difference between you & DH, which, minefield.

AnneOfSleeves · 17/08/2015 16:42

Can they pay you an amount to cover the cost of the clothes 2nd hand? Around what you'd make on them?

Inertia · 17/08/2015 16:43

This arrangement wouldn't even make sense, given the ages of the children. Surely they have to buy for their 4yo daughter before you've bought age 4 clothes for your 3yo daughter? And they can then pass the clothes on to their 2yo?

And their son is several years older than yours so they must surely be buying for him?

Or is MIL just expecting you to send over good quality UK clothes for them to sell?

I think the only way you can realistically do this is start buying your children's clothes and shoes from a part of the budget which will have an impact on your husband rather than the children- so if you need to spend say £40 per month of clothing and shoes, but cannot recoup the cost by reselling older clothes, then the money will need to come from any leisure budget your husband might have, or the food budget for you and him - don't skimp on the food budget for the children, but if sending clothes abroad means that the two of you live on beans on toast so that your own children go without then so be it.

Inertia · 17/08/2015 16:45

Looking further into it- surely if you have to pay postage and customs costs, this would cancel out the value of the clothes anyway?

LittleMissLady · 17/08/2015 16:46

DP would never ask for money and would refuse if offered. Anything else would be disgraceful.

There are massive cultural odds at play here, I dont begrudge helping out mil with living costs as its his mum, a widow with no ability to work and no social security. To not help would be criminal.

OP posts:
LittleMissLady · 17/08/2015 16:50

Posted too soon.

DP won't ask if BIL has requested it, or if mil is asking independently. He won't ask what will happen to the clothes afterwards. He won't ask for money or accept any if offered.
He won't ask what has happened to the 4yr old Dd's clothes and why aren't they available for the 2 yr old.

So it really is a case of, we are being asked to foot the bill of shipping the clothes and then have to reach deeper into our full of holes pockets to buy the next round of clothes for dd.

It is unrelated and possibly doesn't need mentioning but the reason they won't come to the UK, even for a trip to meet me or my children, is that they say this country is not good and is corrupted.... Could be colouring my emotions here but I'm trying to push that to one side

OP posts:
MuffMuffTweetAndDave · 17/08/2015 16:51

Surely you mean if he has to live on beans on toast, inertia? He should make the accommodations, not OP. Wondering if you're right that the plan may just be sending them UK stuff to sell, though.

MuffMuffTweetAndDave · 17/08/2015 16:52

To be fair littlemiss, if they're that badly off and your funds are also limited, surely they couldn't afford to visit the UK anyway?

FreeCoffee · 17/08/2015 16:56

I don't think yabu,

I think I'd go with sending a few bits and bobs but selling the items you would make the most money on.

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