in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

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tootiefruttie
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in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby tootiefruttie » Fri May 28, 2021 3:22 pm

I would love some advice on how to speak with my in laws about the fact that they don't ever help us with childcare and if they do offer they never see it through. This weekend they were due to have our two young children overnight so that we could do some DIY and pulled out this morning as they now have plans.

They are both recently retired, in good health and active, live less than hour away with lots of space inside and out but just don't want to seem to want to go that extra mile for our kids. In contrast, they do quite a lot for their daughter which my husband is finding increasingly annoying.

I don't want to in law bash but it all seems a bit unfair, just not sure of the best way to start a conversation with them, especially as they aren't my parents.
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2009Kat
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby 2009Kat » Fri May 28, 2021 9:42 pm

I wouldn’t bother to be honest and just don’t expect them to help. My in laws have never helped, we just don’t ask now. They’re kind but just don’t want to help out (obvs in an emergency they would).
I have plenty of friends whose parents whilst adoring grandparents don’t want to help out.
They just say they’ve done their bit with child rearing! I guess they’re honest at least.
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abcdefg
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby abcdefg » Mon May 31, 2021 7:57 am

That used to happen to us all the time.  My children are a bit older now (as am I) and I have accepted it. My family don't help either so we really don't have anyone, but we are lucky in other ways so I try and live with that.  It's hard though and probably really upsetting - I always saw it as a rejection of my children, but there isn't much I ever found I can do.  Hopefully you are lucky in other ways too and can focus on that.

Good luck 
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MagnoliaMum
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby MagnoliaMum » Mon May 31, 2021 5:50 pm

That is so sad. My in laws have regularly said how much they loved the times looking after our kids without us, as they bonded directly, undistracted by adult chat. 

I wouldn't give up yet, but I would strongly advise that you aren't the right person to talk to your in laws about this. However carefully you word it, it will come across as criticism of them and could negatively impact your relationship with them. As other posters show so clearly, grandparents can define their roles however they choose. Your husband might still cause them offence by complaining about being let down and the unequal treatment of himself and his sister, but they are more likely to listen to him and hopefully to take it seriously - and to forgive any angry words. Encourage him to do the talking instead, maybe starting with trying to reschedule the DIY weekend and explaining the advantages for everyone. I hope you get somewhere, good luck.
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ClaphamMomma
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby ClaphamMomma » Tue Jun 01, 2021 7:34 am

Hi, we have exactly the same situation. My in laws ALWAYS help my wife’s brother and their son, but never us and our children. It is really sad and has taken a long time to get used to but in the end you just have to accept it. We have a nanny / babysitter when we need help with our kids. This has been such a crazy year and if you don’t end up accepting it and just making the most of the time you do spend with them then you’ll end up resenting them and that’s not good for your relationship or your children’s relationship with their grandparents, especially when we are all lucky that we’re healthy and happy in general (having seen the devastation that covid has had on so many other families and people). Hope that helps and sending you a big hug - we are in the same boat!
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londonite
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby londonite » Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:06 am

I’m sorry you’re going through this; this sort of situation is always hurtful and disappointing - and it’s pretty inconsiderate of them to make additionally plans when they are already committed to helping at a specific time.

However, as other posters have said there are plenty of grandparents who are in a similar boat: they like the idea of grandparent time in principle, but in practice it can edge in on their other priorities. Some see it as a huge favour to you (which it is), but sometimes that favour takes a backseat to other fun they want to have (which is rude if you’ve already agreed the caring arrangements for that day). I think this is even more so when people are newly retired and see themselves as gaining a new freedom on their time, or if kids are younger and a big more demanding in terms of watching them eg managing rough bedtimes, baths, feeding, nappies/potty training, etc

When we were in this boat, we decided to view it as they were newly retired and doing this for free, so there wasn’t much worth saying to them about it. My large family abroad are very ‘it takes a village’ and there is literally always someone around to help out (and keen to do so), so this was a huge adjustment for me. Ultimately, everyone is different - some see childcare as an obligation they aren’t keen to fulfil, and other see it as an exciting opportunity to spend time with the grandkids.

What IS worth discussing is your husband’s hurt at what he feels is unequal treatment between he and his sister. There are many reasons (not necessarily fair) why they are more willing to watch the sisters kids - perhaps the sisters kids are of an age that requires less direct supervision? Perhaps they’ve been doing it longer so already have a routine down? Either way, I would suggest that it’s a heart-to-heart that he needs to have with them rather than you saying anything, as it otherwise risks introducing additional emotions and relationship dynamics that can complicate things. Good luck!
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Dub75
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby Dub75 » Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:12 am

Hi, it’s clear from your post that you’re hurt and feeling a sense of injustice and that’s very hard. I feel for your husband in this especially if he’s receiving different treatment to his sister and I also can appreciate your frustration at childcare arrangements being removed by your in-laws at the last minute which isn’t fair.
I’m a little conflicted on this issue in general however as I don’t believe grandparents should automatically take on childcare roles. You’ve described them as fit and healthy newly-retired people and for me they deserve to enjoy their new-found freedom. They have, after all, already raised their family.
It’s perhaps best to have your husband speak to them about how willing they would be to give you a dig out from time to time and take it from there. Maybe they are concerned that their precious free time will be taken up minding their grandchildren if they agree to too much. Perhaps he could reassure them? In these cases it’s also nuanced- one grandparent could want to do it and the other might be feeling trapped by it. The main thing I believe is to keep the communication open between you like you want to which will maintain the relationship.

You’re doing the right thing by approaching this in a considered way.
Good luck and hope it works out for you.
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alenaraphaella
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby alenaraphaella » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:16 am

I really sympathise with you. We have a similar situation with my mother in law (MIL) who is a fully fledged narcissist and who is now made worse following her divorce with my FIL. Ironically that ​decision was her choosing because she wasn't getting the full attention she demands (again, narcissist). The situation has backfired spectacularly because she continues to find fault with the world everywhere she looks and constantly plays the victim. She hasn't met anyone else which presumably largely has to do with putting anyone decent off.

With regards to our children she complains endlessly that she is being deprived of seeing them, based on the fact that she isn't able to simply drop in without any notice or the fact that we don't drop all our plans when she announces she wants to visit. The end result is she rarely visits as when she does, the entire experience is exhausting because if she isn't 'hosted' - meaning everyone focuses on her, listening to her stories, centring the conversation around her, etc - she storms out.

The bit that still irritates me to no end is when she does visit, she loudly goes on about how proud she is of each grandchild, and how well we are doing as parents, and how beautiful the bond is as a grandparent. As she barely knows any of her grandchildren it grates on me, and when she makes similar comments on social media with photos including her, many a teeth are gritted. 

Sorry if this is a bit off track, I realise it's different from your scenario. It's mainly to share the irony of having in-laws who make all the noises of wanting to be involved, but do the very opposite. It's exhausting but with the help of a couples therapist, my husband & I have been able to find a really good solution involving providing her with a list of all available dates in 3-month periods listing out all activities we've got planned, or times that would be great for her to visit. That way we've done everything to make her feel 'valued' and 'included' - but of course she doesn't respond to any of it, as it's all planned out and doesn't allow her to drop in whenever she wants.

In a nutshell my MIL doesn't help at all but will do everything to make it appear as if she's a dedicated grandparent - I suppose it could be worse from the many stories one hears :) 
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CrysB
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Re: in laws constantly duck out of helping with our children

Postby CrysB » Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:19 am

I think the only wrong thing in this is that they gave their word and ducked out.
But I also agree that being newly retired they are probably suddenly enjoying opportunities that they have had to pass on before with work commitments.
It's hard not having support. I've been there.
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