My feed

to access all these features


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:
urbinosparrot · 17/08/2015 16:58

YABU. You could send a small parcel as a gesture. You don't have to send all your DCs' outgrown clothes, or even the best ones that you could sell the most easily.

You haven't visited this country, you have absolutely no idea what life is like there. There are many countries where a large proportion of the population lives a hand-to-mouth existence with no safety net whatsoever - no unemployment benefits, no disability benefits, no social housing, no free healthcare etc and wages that are so low that people struggle to cover their most basic needs. Perhaps your DP's country is like this?

Yes, people in poor countries think everyone in the UK (or any other western country) is rich. Yes, you are well-off in comparison to them! It's a cultural thing to help poorer members of the family, it's considered normal to do so. Can you really not send a few cast-offs?

Babyroobs · 17/08/2015 16:59

I only sell the very best stuff from my dc's. The rest gets passed on to low income families( friends) who I know are struggling. You get so little money sellng second hand childrens clothes ( unless they are designer) that I'd rather give to people I know or the charity shop. I wouldn't think twice about donating to my db's girls if they neede it, they have helped us out fnancially in the past.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar · 17/08/2015 17:06

Maybe you don't need to address this head on. Is your DH a do-er or a teller? If he's the type that agrees to things and then tells you what to do then it's easiest to put aside some clothes that won't sell for much and just wait for him to deal with them, don't package them or even fold them. In my house that's the surest way to put a stop to things that I don't want to do as my H is more of an ideas person than the type to follow through. Overtime he 'reminds' you, you point at the pile and tell him he can send them anytime he wants.

wiltingfast · 17/08/2015 17:11

So he has no personal contact with his brother???? So no way to tell if this is genuine or a mad scheme of some kind or just genuine muddle-headedness by his mother?


And I'm getting a sense that your DH won't be open to going through a breakdown of the costs and gentling telling your MIL that it is just not feasible either? How persistent is your MIL likely to be about this?

At first I thought you were being a bit extreme but in the end, when your own situation is so tight, and those around you so unapproachable, I'd go with ShuShu's approach.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar · 17/08/2015 17:17

Is it possible that clothes aren't being passed down from their 4 yr old to their 2 yr old because of the climate and the quality of the clothes? I know that my H's family in Malaysia have no culture of passing on clothes because it's the same temperature all year round so DC wear their clothes for much longer, whereas here they are only worn for a season. Plus the clothes in Malaysia are often lower quality so they wear out more quickly. By the time the older child has grown out of their clothes there generally isn't enough wear left in them for a younger sibling except as getting messy outfits.

DocHollywood · 17/08/2015 17:25

If you are trying for another child then I wouldn't have thought you would want to sell anything anyway. If your baby is only 1, it makes economical sense to hang on to everything, doesn't it?

bloodyteenagers · 17/08/2015 17:31

Does he have friends here that go back home regularly?
My ex does this. Postal system is corrupt in his country. He has friends that go home, or friends of
Friends and they take stuff over for a small fee. Works out cheaper and the stuff gets to the destination.

But yes he needs to tell you how future stuff will be funded. Shrugs to be met with well until you tell me,
Then we are not in a position to help at this time.

At times we would have huge rows about it. When we were on the bones of our arses and missing meals to feed the kids. Then there would be a request for expensive software. Servers. Hd components. Cash. Clothes. I would say no (I used to source everything) and all hell would break out. And I would ask him to show me where the cash would come from. He would shrug..

When we could things were sent.

Starbrite00 · 17/08/2015 17:39

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?
My thoughts too, maybe you are being too sensitive.

LittleMissLady · 17/08/2015 18:13

I know nothing at all about their financial situation beyond being told this would help them out.

I know they own their own house (as is extremely common there) and BIL runs his own business.
But even if they could afford the trip here BIL's view of the UK is that it is a sinful country that he doesn't want to expose his children too.
This is something I heard from DP.

I am more then prepared to send the stuff that won't likely sell, and yes I will ask about sending it with friends/family whoever is visiting home, but that would probably involve is paying luggage charges, although this will likely be less then shipping costs

OP posts:
Bambambini · 17/08/2015 18:14

"I would stick to your guns. You have these nice things for the children because you are careful with money and you plan and save. "

How smug! I don't know the Op's financial situation, what country the inlaws live in or how poor they are - but do you have any idea how poor some folk in other countries are, often through no fault of their own? I guess all these folk just don't work hard enough, save enough or plan enough.

Spadequeen · 17/08/2015 18:24


Who made your dp master of the house and final decision maker. Fuck that

He needs to engage in a conversation with you and help co,e up with solutions, until he is prepared to do that he and his db can take a running jump.

MuffMuffTweetAndDave · 17/08/2015 18:31

I'm just saying OP that a visit would probably be very expensive. Unless they're pretty well off, in which case one wonders why DBIL isn't helping MIL out too, it might be unaffordable. It's a country outside the EU, and it sounds pretty poor, meaning they'd likely need to apply for a visa which is extra expense in addition to the plane tickets. For a family of five, even if they stayed with you and did everything very cheaply throughout the stay, it would still be thousands. BIL could be spinning DP a line to cover up the financial worries.

Werksallhourz · 17/08/2015 18:34

Postage is expensive. If they live outside of the EU, even luggage sent by cargo will be expensive.

It strikes me that not only will you lose out on the resale value, but you could end up paying £50 to £100+ on sending the clothes, depending on the country and the weight. You may as well just send them the money you would have spent on postage by international transfer and sell the clothes on ebay.

NoisyOyster · 17/08/2015 18:38

Oh sod that for a game of soldiers!

If the UK is so sinful and BIL thinks it may corrupt his children, then surely clothes that have touched the skins of sinners would be just as bad?!

I'd be seething op

TendonQueen · 17/08/2015 18:52

I think Shu and Baaaah have made good suggestions about how this could be handled. I would say 'oh well, ok, I'll sort them something out' and then go quiet. I'd then be initially surprised that a parcel didn't arrive but would then observe that of course such a parcel would be ripe for theft.

slithytove · 17/08/2015 18:53

Yanbu and I feel so sorry for you being put in this position. I get your cash flow system entirely. DS is 2 and DD is nearly 1. I've car booted their 0-9 month clothes to afford their next sizes, and a few Christmas gifts.

I'll car boot another 6 months worth of clothes to get the next size up, and shoes. If someone took these items away, I would not be able to afford to buy my children new (to them, they are second hand) clothes and toys.

I would also not be able to find postage or customs money. We are losing money every month right now.

Lightbulbon · 17/08/2015 19:06

Your DP has a dbro who thinks he UK is 'sinful'! Huge red flag there!

This sounds like a culture clash which is not going to end with kids clothes!

EeyoresTail · 17/08/2015 19:22

'D'BIL thinks the UK is sinful!? Shock
He won't be wanting the clothes for his dc then as surely that would be highly hypocritical.

CombineBananaFister · 17/08/2015 19:23

It doesn't sound like the arrangement will make any sense (postage costs, age of children/sizes/ his view on uk may extend to clothes being considered unsuitable) so I'd just say you'll send those you don't sell.

I completely get your cashflow system too, it's not tight or mean-spirited it's a way of budgeting that suits you and your needs. I sell on Ds' clothes and toys to pay for the next round of things and I see no shame in that. A few books sold for a couple of quid allow me to take him for a hot chocolate as a treat, clothes sold means I can buy the next size up - it's how we can function as a family without going into debt. I help family out with babysitting etc instead if they've got work on.

amarmai · 17/08/2015 21:22

op you are managing with careful planning to look after your family. This will all go out the window because your h is putting his birth family before his own . You already contribute$$ to his mother and now she is demanding more. If you give in to this demand ,what will the next demand be ? How to make your h see reason?

mimishimmi · 17/08/2015 23:12

Buying things inexpensively overseas and bringing them home in your suitcase is very different to buying things inexpensively (relative to in-law's country) in your home country and then having to pay high postage costs for those items. OP, could you explain to your MiL that the postage costs are too high but that you'll bring a few dresses over, or send some with your husband, when you visit them next? I suspect they want to have a side business selling such clothes because, otherwise, what they are asking doesn't really make sense at all. If they are in a Muslim country (only assuming that because you mentioned the terrorism angle and the sanctimonious BiL) they can easily purchase Indian style salwar kameezes/ghagra choli type outfits for their DD's very inexpensively - it's only Western style (and branded) clothing that can sometimes be expensive. Which indicates to me that it's not an issue of actually clothing their kids because otherwise they'd just ask you outright for money ... they hoping to take advantage of both free shipping provided by you and the relatively higher desirability of such clothes in their country.

Werksallhourz · 17/08/2015 23:21

mimi ... yes, it occurred to me that there might be business motive for wanting the clothes, but I daren't say it. Grin

urbinosparrot · 18/08/2015 08:34

If we knew just which country the BIL lives in, we would have a clearer idea of the situation.

Don't be misled by the "owns his own house and runs his own business" - as OP said, owning a home is very common in poor countries, but that home could well be a very basic two-roomed shack (not saying that it is, mind you!) Likewise the business could be anything too - just means he's self-employed and can't count on a regular amount of income.

I think it's unlikely they would be wanting second-hand clothes to sell, as such things are readily available in third-world countries - where do you think most people buy their clothes? They can't afford shop prices so go to flea markets. If these didn't exist, three quarters of the population wouldn't be able to clothe themselves. As it is, the economic situation has worsened so much in recent years that even flea markets are becoming too expensive as people have little or no money left after paying for food and bills.

nauticant · 18/08/2015 09:39

I think it's unlikely they would be wanting second-hand clothes to sell, as such things are readily available in third-world countries - where do you think most people buy their clothes?

If this is the case then it would make sense for the OP just to hand over the postage costs and the importation duties simply as money. But this would mean that the DH would have to face the OP saying "this is £XX (or even £XXX) and we can't afford it".

The problem here is that people are doing things to fulfil duties in a way that actually hides the costs so that everyone can pretend that it was just a few unneeded clothes sent at nominal expense. The OP wants the real costs to be acknowledged and is frustrated that people are ignoring them.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.