Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: girlysprite on October 03, 2012, 06:04:08 AM

Title: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 03, 2012, 06:04:08 AM
Background: me and my DH are expecting our first child, which is due at 5 December. Everyone is excited, and lately my parents in law offered to buy playpen for us. I believe the idea was that we'd pick one together (parents in law and us) and they'd pay for it. me and my DH work fulltime, my FIL works fulltime. On saturday, they always watch the kid from SIL1 (6 year old boy). He requires a lot of attention and throws a lot of tantrums. SIL1 is a single mom by choice - a clinic provided the 'materials' to get her pregnant. She works part time in a clothing store with variable hours (new schedules are made every 3 weeks), though she always chooses to work on saturdays. Because of that, seeing the parents in law requires quite some coordination in general. SIL is also be a bit entitled about it - one time when DH planned a vacation for his parents with SIL2 and SIL1 as a birthday present, SIL1 was upset that they couldn't be around on saturday to watch her kid...while she had this information 3 months in advance.
(not sure if everything is relevant btw, just adding all of it to be sure)

Because of this setup, it's impossible to actually get to a store together (parents in law and us). Stores are closed on sunday where we live. My husband decided to call his parents on monday, proposing that they would come over to us to look for playpens on saturday. He figured that that would leave them and SIL with enough time to find other accommodations for nephew.
Well, some calls have gone back and forth, and apparently this amount of time was not good enough. In the end FIL decided that he would babysit nephew and MIL would come over anyways. My husband was upset by the conversations because a warning of a week beforehand isn't enough, but his parents can't indicate what would be enough. He feels as if he is coming on a second place and he has to jump through a bundle of hoops just to see his parents because of this. And in this case we can't say 'oh we'll do this in 2 months', because then the baby is likely already born. Bringing nephew along is not an option, because he is quite a difficult child, and not a good mix with baby stuff shopping.

Questions are:
-Is DH reasonable upset?
-What would a reasonable time window to request parent in law's saturday for such visits?
-Does anyone else have experience with parents who are not so available because they are busy with siblings? If so, how does or did it work out for you?

As for myself - I'm a bit on the fence about it. The parents in law agreed to watch their grandson every saturday, and an agreement is an agreement. But it's annoying at times that it makes it so difficult to schedule a visit with them. I also wonder if his parents really realize that it makes visiting harder that way, but I can't think of a good way in which DH could communicate such a concern.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 03, 2012, 06:36:42 AM
The first thought that came to my mind was late night trading. Does your region have it? (Mine has it on Friday nights - all the shops stay open until 9pm). If so, why not go then?
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Kaypeep on October 03, 2012, 06:54:56 AM
I think you and your DH are being a bit unreasonable by focusing so much on Saturday.  What if Saturday were the day your FIL worked and that made it hard to see him, would that be unreasonable?  They are watching your nephew.  I don't see why you can't visit them when he's there and spend time with him as well.  If he misbehaves, then talk to him and try to teach him some better manners.  You're going to have your own child soon, if you have no patience now what will you do when your own child starts to act out?  I don't understand how an outing with 4 adults can't take place because of one 6 year old who has tantrums.  I can't believe that not one single adult in the group can occupy the kid so that the shopping goal can take place.  I'm sorry OP but I think this situation is not entirely unreasonable and that the only reason you're stuck is because you have backed yourself into a corner by your own doing.  While your SIL may be too dependent on your parents, I don't think 1 day a week babysitting is unreasonable, plus it's time for your nephew to spend with his grandparents.  The only unreasonableness I see if you and your DH refusing to work with your ILs because the nephew is present.  Sure, your IL's could ask SIL to give them a day off once in a while, but it's one day a week and other than the store being open on Saturday it's not like it's impossible to have any other time with them.  I just don't see why this is such an ordeal, I feel like a mountain is being made from a molehill.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: scansons on October 03, 2012, 06:59:31 AM
Would it be possible to go pick out what you want, put it on hold, and have IL's pick it up when it's good for them?

Normally, I would consider a week plenty of time to set up something.  Apparently, that is not the family dynamic here.  Is that frustrating? Yes.  Is that fair?  No.  If I was your DH I would be a little upset.  On the other hand, it's his family.  So getting upset about what he knew was probably going to happen seems a little dramatic.  If they can only see you rarely now, how are they planning to spend time with their new grandchild?  It may be a good time to inquire about that, in a way totally unrelated to this incident. 

Sadly for your DH, I think the situation with SIL1 is your IL's to deal with.  They don't have to babysit if they don't want to.  They can ask her to change her schedule and they don't.  I don't think there is to much you can do about this, except continue to try and spend time with them, and hope they see the light.  Or stop trying to spend time with them and when they ask point out they are always to busy to get together with you.  I'm not sure either method is going to help.  Sometime parents get so fixated on helping one child they overlook the others.  Although I'd be willing to bet this is a dynamic that was around long before she had a child. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 07:02:09 AM
I think they are workimg on Saturday - babysitting. It is a work commitment.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: scansons on October 03, 2012, 07:04:12 AM
I think you and your DH are being a bit unreasonable by focusing so much on Saturday.  What if Saturday were the day your FIL worked and that made it hard to see him, would that be unreasonable?  They are watching your nephew.  I don't see why you can't visit them when he's there and spend time with him as well.  If he misbehaves, then talk to him and try to teach him some better manners.  You're going to have your own child soon, if you have no patience now what will you do when your own child starts to act out?  I don't understand how an outing with 4 adults can't take place because of one 6 year old who has tantrums.  I can't believe that not one single adult in the group can occupy the kid so that the shopping goal can take place.  I'm sorry OP but I think this situation is not entirely unreasonable and that the only reason you're stuck is because you have backed yourself into a corner by your own doing.  While your SIL may be too dependent on your parents, I don't think 1 day a week babysitting is unreasonable, plus it's time for your nephew to spend with his grandparents.  The only unreasonableness I see if you and your DH refusing to work with your ILs because the nephew is present.  Sure, your IL's could ask SIL to give them a day off once in a while, but it's one day a week and other than the store being open on Saturday it's not like it's impossible to have any other time with them.  I just don't see why this is such an ordeal, I feel like a mountain is being made from a molehill.

Ooohhh.  I have a six year old.  A six year old having a fit in public is not something anyone wants to deal with.  If the child has been trained that when he throws a fit, he gets what he wants.  Shopping with him is a particularly bad idea.  Unless you are planning to bribe him.  What the parent has made, cannot always be undone by the rest of the family.   
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: JenJay on October 03, 2012, 07:15:47 AM
I don't think a week is enough notice to ask your SIL to find another babysitter so your in-laws can meet up with you. I understand how frustrating it must be to have to choose between not seeing them or dealing with a spoiled, tantrum-throwing child, but it's their choice to keep him every Saturday.

That said, because they choose to keep him, if you prefer to shop without him (and I would!), I think you get to say "We don't want to take Nephew out with us when we look for the playpen. We'll browse around and narrow our choice to two or three and you can choose which one to purchase and pick it up at your convenience."
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: fey01 on October 03, 2012, 07:24:39 AM
I think that the grandparents made a reasonable compromise to fulfill both obligations. One babysits, as promised, and the other goes shopping, as promised. If your DH is unhappy about the long term commitment that his parents made to his sister, he needs to have a conversation with them about that. He could mention that they will soon have another grandchild with whom they can spend time, but the current agreement might need to be reassessed. But that is separate from the shopping for a crib issue, which has been resolved.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: WillyNilly on October 03, 2012, 07:40:45 AM
I think the situation of shopping is resolved (it does not take 4 adults to pick out 1 playpen). I think there was always the option of internet shopping as well (even if you went in person to browse, you could send your ILs the links when you got home "we liked any of these").

As for the question about your DHs feelings and and how much time... yes your DH is justified in being hurt that spending time with him is less of a priority to his parents then their grandkid. But it is what it is. And you'd do well t understand and accept they will probably have kid going forward - so no Saturday babysitting for you.

I do think more then 1 week is needed to schedule time off though. Even if your SIL's schedule is done weekly if she's the regular Saturday person finding a replacement might take some time. Also if she works on commission taking a Saturday off in an area with no Sunday shopping could have HUGE financial implications for her. Plus it means she'd have to work another day and find childcare (since your ILs work during the week).
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 03, 2012, 07:50:03 AM
I think that the grandparents made a reasonable compromise to fulfill both obligations. One babysits, as promised, and the other goes shopping, as promised. If your DH is unhappy about the long term commitment that his parents made to his sister, he needs to have a conversation with them about that. He could mention that they will soon have another grandchild with whom they can spend time, but the current agreement might need to be reassessed. But that is separate from the shopping for a crib issue, which has been resolved.

POD to this.  In reading the post, it seemed to me that DH is a little put out that SIL decided on a path for both work and children that has required his parents to be more involved in than a more traditional family arrangement would require.  I can also see where he will feel concerned his child will get less time with them because of their commitment.  But he needs to wait to address that after your baby arrives.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Zilla on October 03, 2012, 08:33:52 AM

Questions are:
-Is DH reasonable upset?
-What would a reasonable time window to request parent in law's saturday for such visits?
-Does anyone else have experience with parents who are not so available because they are busy with siblings? If so, how does or did it work out for you?



All the background isn't relevant as to how she got pregnant, or that her schedule is flexible etc.  What matters is that you already know that Saturdays aren't a good day.  Period.


Your dh essentially tried to make his parents choose him or his sister when it's already been established that they watch the grandson on Saturdays.  i would have tried to meet after work during the week, or find out what time Saturdays the sil works and meet before or after.  As for making visits difficult, you can't visit them on Sundays or any other day of the week?   It isn't trying to put your husband in second place, it's respecting what's already was put in place before you got pregnant etc. It sucks but it is what it is and instead of getting upset over it, I would ask your husband to accept it as well.


And yes I have been in your husband's shoes and after years of having been upset about it, I have just accepted it.  I can tell you that I am so much more peaceful now about it.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: bopper on October 03, 2012, 08:51:08 AM
Your DH is thinking that the ILs are "spending resources/time for SIL, and not for him."
Your ILs are thinking "I have committed to babysit Grandson".

I would say that the ILs have committed to babysitting their grandson on Saturdays. It is like a job to them.  To SIL she has a reliable babysitter.    If you have a reliable babysitter, would it annoy you for them to say "Sorry, I want to go shopping that day, find someone else?"  I imagine it would.

The ILs have agreed with SIL to babysit, and whether they take money or not is up to them and SIL, not your DH.  And they have found a way to go shopping with you and also honor their committment.



Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Perfect Circle on October 03, 2012, 09:14:19 AM

Questions are:
-Is DH reasonable upset?
-What would a reasonable time window to request parent in law's saturday for such visits?
-Does anyone else have experience with parents who are not so available because they are busy with siblings? If so, how does or did it work out for you?



All the background isn't relevant as to how she got pregnant, or that her schedule is flexible etc.  What matters is that you already know that Saturdays aren't a good day.  Period.


Your dh essentially tried to make his parents choose him or his sister when it's already been established that they watch the grandson on Saturdays.  i would have tried to meet after work during the week, or find out what time Saturdays the sil works and meet before or after.  As for making visits difficult, you can't visit them on Sundays or any other day of the week?   It isn't trying to put your husband in second place, it's respecting what's already was put in place before you got pregnant etc. It sucks but it is what it is and instead of getting upset over it, I would ask your husband to accept it as well.


And yes I have been in your husband's shoes and after years of having been upset about it, I have just accepted it.  I can tell you that I am so much more peaceful now about it.

I agree. Also, surely this does not have to happen straight away? You have plenty of time to buy a playpen which you won't need until your baby is mobile, so perhaps you can give them lengthier notice if it is important both of them go to buy one with you.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Jaelle on October 03, 2012, 09:28:49 AM
I get the impression ... correct me if I'm wrong, OP ... that the playpen-buying excursion may have been a sort of bonding event, for lack of a better word. I remember going shopping with my SIL or my MIL or my mom for baby items while I was pregnant and then out to lunch, etc. It was a great time bonding over the impending arrival and involving the family.  And perhaps that's why everyone wants/needs to actually go. I can understand that.

However, I agree with others that babysitting for your SIL's work hours is a commitment they have made, and you need to be more flexible. She doesn't work 24/7 on Saturday, does she? What about evenings after you and your DH are done work? Why does it have to be SIL's work hours on Saturday, or nothing?

If you absolutely need it to be those hours, for whatever reason, I do think a week is too short notice. What is the hurry? Why not later October, or early November?
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 03, 2012, 09:51:59 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I did not completely agree with DH, and what I described was mostly his POV. Yesterday I didn't want to go into an explanation to him why because he was just upset, and telling an upset person why they may be wrong is rarely a very good idea. However, I just wasn't sure if his feelings were reasonable or not.

I think that since his parents have made an agreement with SIL, it is their duty to live up to that agreement. On top of that, even if they weren't watching their grandson, I'm not sure if making appointments would still be easy - they have 4 dogs and live one hour with the car away from us. I think that DH is just generally frustrated with a lot of little and bigger things, with the two main things being that it is difficult to make a one on one appointment with them (SIL tends to be at their house at sundays too) and while visiting them while sil and nephew are around is doable, they do create an unpleasant atmosphere. He and SIL don't get along, and that is coloring his vision of these events.
Not that there is some kind of etiquette mistakes made here, but just the 'where does the frustration come from' background. And yeah, I do sense that DH is afraid that his parents will pass up chances to see our child because of these duties.

As for a few specific points:
elephantschild; you are spot on, it is meant as a fun bonding event.
bopper: I think pretty much the way way you do.
Zilla; Due to travel times and the opening hours of shops, shopping after or before work isn't possible, sadly.

I'll talk some more with him about it I think. If I do, I'll post updates.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: bah12 on October 03, 2012, 10:10:07 AM
Yeah, I do think your DH is a being a bit unreasonable.  I think being annoyed and disappointed is justified, but his parents have commitments on Saturday.  Not only is a week not long enough notice, IMO, but even if it was a year, his parents have the right to honor the first commitment they made.  And I do think that childcare trumps them buying a playpen for you.

It sounds like his parents came up with a reasonable solution to the day and while I get that it would have been a fun outing for everyone, if there isn't a time that all four adults can get together before the baby is born, then this really is the best solution.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Zilla on October 03, 2012, 10:15:32 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I did not completely agree with DH, and what I described was mostly his POV. Yesterday I didn't want to go into an explanation to him why because he was just upset, and telling an upset person why they may be wrong is rarely a very good idea. However, I just wasn't sure if his feelings were reasonable or not.

I think that since his parents have made an agreement with SIL, it is their duty to live up to that agreement. On top of that, even if they weren't watching their grandson, I'm not sure if making appointments would still be easy - they have 4 dogs and live one hour with the car away from us. I think that DH is just generally frustrated with a lot of little and bigger things, with the two main things being that it is difficult to make a one on one appointment with them (SIL tends to be at their house at sundays too) and while visiting them while sil and nephew are around is doable, they do create an unpleasant atmosphere. He and SIL don't get along, and that is coloring his vision of these events.
Not that there is some kind of etiquette mistakes made here, but just the 'where does the frustration come from' background. And yeah, I do sense that DH is afraid that his parents will pass up chances to see our child because of these duties.

As for a few specific points:
elephantschild; you are spot on, it is meant as a fun bonding event.
bopper: I think pretty much the way way you do.
Zilla; Due to travel times and the opening hours of shops, shopping after or before work isn't possible, sadly.

I'll talk some more with him about it I think. If I do, I'll post updates.


As per bolded, the focus on his sister is a bit unfair as well since if it isn't the sister, it could be the dogs or the car ride etc.  And with your background telling how the sister got impregnated artificially (still not sure why this had to be mentioned) and all the other bg, it sounds like he needs to take a step back and look at himself and resolve it for his own sanity.  Hugs, sounds like a rough time.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: NyaChan on October 03, 2012, 10:24:52 AM
I think that to get the best results, you should separate the two issues.  1) the playpen and 2) the priorities of your in laws.

1)  You can't make them back out on an arrangement they've set up with someone else.  1 week really isn't much notice to find a babysitter for the whole day and also, do you really want your inlaws or SIL to pay for a whole day's babysitting in addition to the 2 hours driving and the playpen?  I would let this one go even though it does seem sad that the bonding event has changed a bit in nature.  You could perhaps mention while the one in-law is with you "We are so enjoying getting to spend time with you like this - if splitting up is the only way you and Other-in-law can visit, maybe we can set up more one-on-one outings from now on?"

2)  There seems to be the larger problem here that your DH feels he means less to them, and I think also that there is a worry that when your child is born, the grandparents will still focus more on the other grandchild.  To start off, they live near to SIL correct?  So just as a matter of course, they are likely to spend more time with her and that child.  To make sure that your child doesn't feel left out, I would be proactive.  Have a conversation, not about SIL, but about what sort of relationship you and they would like this grandchild to have with them.  "We really want our child to have a close relationship with you and get to spend time with you even though we live an hour away.  What do you guys think about setting up a regular time for you to see the baby one-on-one?  We know you are busy every Saturday with nephew, but maybe we can find a time on another day, or just once a month where you can spend time with just us as a family."
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 03, 2012, 11:45:54 AM
I understand that your DH is feeling second-best. I have a lot of sympathy for him, and I can see why he'd feel that. He's about to have a baby, and his parents' attention is completely diverted to his sister's child. And if he feels he *always* has to compete w/ his sister for their attention, it's perfectly understandable.

But a week really is short notice.

Maybe he needs to sort of share his feelings with his folks--not accusingly, but longingly. Wistfully. And ask them to be the ones to set an "enough notice" standard, or even to help his find someone to fill in for them so that they are free to give HIM some of their "grandparent" time and attention and affection.

Also, in terms of sheer logistics, you truly don't need a playpen until the baby is old enough to scooch around. You have at least 3, maybe 5, months after the baby arrives.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 03, 2012, 12:22:28 PM
I discussed it a bit more with him. A one clarifications first: We are happy with the appointment that is made now. DH just wasn't happy with how much effort it took to come to an appointment.

I think he is directing his bitterness about his sister to his parents. Like I said earlier, he doesn't get along with SIL well. To be honest, from my POV as well, she indeed isn't a very easy person (always angry, quick to snap at anyone) and entitled when it comes to the babysitting. The few times the parents in law went on vacation and announced in months in advance, she had been acting up about it. That contributes to the feeling of DH that his sister walks over their parents (their spines not always being very strong) and claiming their time and attention.
But! it's not like it changes the facts. The parents in law agreed to watch over the child, and that's what they do. And I agree that one week in advance is still a small amount of time. Plus, whether the SIL is being difficult or not, this arrangement is something his parents chose to do themselves. No one pointed a gun at them. DH has been a bit dark about this whole issue and spouting lines such as 'well, we'd better not land into the hospital on a saturday then' --> which is very uncharitable towards his parents, as they have helped us out in the past and I believe that they would do so again in the future if an emergency would come up.

Geez, it is soe difficult to untangle conflicts and issues when not directly involved. In case anyone wonders, I'm not putting myself in the middle, but I'm just trying to help my husband to come to terms with this and give him other views on this issue, hoping it will help him.

ps: the reason I gave too much background is because I didn't know anymore either what was relevant or not. Maybe it's the 'she made this choice to be a single parent and lets others pay the 'price' for it' vibe I got from DH. But as noted above - the help she gets was a deal that all involved people agreed with.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Zilla on October 03, 2012, 12:34:54 PM

ps: the reason I gave too much background is because I didn't know anymore either what was relevant or not. Maybe it's the 'she made this choice to be a single parent and lets others pay the 'price' for it' vibe I got from DH. But as noted above - the help she gets was a deal that all involved people agreed with.


So her having herself artificially inseminated is her making a choice to be a single parent and letting "others" like her parents pay the price?  Yeah your husband needs to take a huge step back.


But i am glad you are realizing this and can help your husband in this.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: NyaChan on October 03, 2012, 12:38:25 PM

ps: the reason I gave too much background is because I didn't know anymore either what was relevant or not. Maybe it's the 'she made this choice to be a single parent and lets others pay the 'price' for it' vibe I got from DH. But as noted above - the help she gets was a deal that all involved people agreed with.


So her having herself artificially inseminated is her making a choice to be a single parent and letting "others" like her parents pay the price?  Yeah your husband needs to take a huge step back.


But i am glad you are realizing this and can help your husband in this.  Good luck!

I think it was more that she deliberately chose to have a child but did so with the expectation and need of help from others.  (I don't necessarily agree that this is bad since the grandparents seem willing to help out & I come from a family helps family background) but I think her husband seems to think that his parents are being imposed upon rather than happy to help out.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 03, 2012, 12:43:11 PM

ps: the reason I gave too much background is because I didn't know anymore either what was relevant or not. Maybe it's the 'she made this choice to be a single parent and lets others pay the 'price' for it' vibe I got from DH. But as noted above - the help she gets was a deal that all involved people agreed with.


So her having herself artificially inseminated is her making a choice to be a single parent and letting "others" like her parents pay the price?  Yeah your husband needs to take a huge step back.


But i am glad you are realizing this and can help your husband in this.  Good luck!

I think it was more that she deliberately chose to have a child but did so with the expectation and need of help from others.  (I don't necessarily agree that this is bad since the grandparents seem willing to help out & I come from a family helps family background) but I think her husband seems to think that his parents are being imposed upon rather than happy to help out.

Nyachan - yeah that is exactly how he feels. However, I don't agree with that view. I am a strong fan of personal responsibility and standing by your choices. If his parents really don't want to help anymore, I'm sure that they'll invent a new way to say no.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: bah12 on October 03, 2012, 12:50:56 PM
I don't see how she's letting others 'pay the price' for her having a baby.  Choosing to be single parent and utilizing childcare options is no different than choosing to be any kind of parent and utilizing childcare.  If I had the option of free childcare, where my DD would also get to spend quality time with her grandparents, I'd surely jump at the chance.  And I'm not a single parent...but I did deliberately choose to be a parent and I did it knowing that I would eventually need to arrange for daycare (since I also choose to work), paid or otherwise.

I agree that is more of a case with DH having a beef with his sister, then the sister being an SS because she works on Saturday's and lets her child stay with his Grandparents.  In this story, he's the one that seems unreasonable.  His parents are gifting him a playpen for his yet unborn child...a playpen that won't actually be needed for a few months after the baby is born.  His parents have to drive 2 hours to go shopping and buy this thing and he's upset because instead of leaving his sister in the lurch, with only a week's notice, to find alternate care (after they've committed to it), they are choosing to split the duties and care for both thier kids.  The grandparents are being more than accommodating.

I think that whatever issue he has with his sister is clouding his ability to put this scenario into perspective.  His sister may be difficult and bratty most days and she may be overly demanding of their parents' time, but Saturday childcare commitments are what they are.  And his parents are absolutely right to honor their commitments.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on October 03, 2012, 12:53:27 PM
Your husband is not going to be able to change his parents or his entitled sister.

I think what your husband is starting to realize is, "Where exactly will his child fit into his parent's world when they currently revolve their world around his nephew and the demands of his mother?". 

As for the playpen, couldn't you look them up online and send the pic of your chosen one to his parents and when they can go out and buy it, they are able to do so?   I think that this situation is being made more difficult than it needs to be.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 03, 2012, 01:01:28 PM
I'll chime in with the others and ask why the playpen has to be bought this Saturday? Especially when you know the in-laws have a longstanding commitment? Why not pencil in a date next month for a big visit/shopping trip?
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 01:03:04 PM
OP, you mentioned that ILs are one hour away from you and have 4 dogs.  Do they live in closer proximity to SIL?  If so I think it might be wise now to discuss the reality that distance might create a slightly different relationship and it doesn't mean anybody is showing favoritism, it is just the reality of situation.  A 1 hour drive when you have 4 dogs seems pretty tricky so I would imagine they might not be seeing you on a daily or even weekly basis.  OTOH, if SIL is local to them, they might see her very frequently.  It will create a slightly different dynamic between them and various grandkids.  That doesn't mean anybody has done anything wrong, it is just the reality of how distance can affect things.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Dindrane on October 03, 2012, 01:16:59 PM
With regard to the playpen, a lot of them have a sort of bassinet and/or diaper changing station as part of what is included, and they also frequently have a bottom that can be raised about halfway up while the child is an infant. So while the playpen wouldn't be necessary to contain the child until he/she is mobile, it likely would be very useful as an auxiliary crib/changing table right from day one. My brother and SIL had a playpen when my niece was born, and they set it up in the living room so they wouldn't always have to go upstairs to the main crib/changing table for naps and diapers. It helped them enormously in the first few weeks to have one set-up downstairs and one upstairs, because it meant there was always something close by.

With regard to your DH's hurt feelings, I have all the sympathy in the world for him. It is always hard when you feel your parents are favoring another sibling, and I imagine it particularly stings when you don't get along with that sibling. I also think that his sister has been legitimately snowflakey about her parents babysitting her child in the past. The trick is that she really isn't being snowflakey in this specific situation. You might talk to your DH about how his past experiences with her are leaving him kind of primed to be annoyed with her and the situation, even when it isn't warranted.

I also agree with Toots that if he is going to talk to his parents about their relationship with his child (and I do think I would want to address it, if I were in his shoes) that the best approach is to expressing a desire for what he wants rather than annoyance for what he doesn't like. Approach it positively, and make it about their relationship with his child rather than their relationship with SIL's child. Trying to exert any influence over their relationship with SIL and her child will be, at best, ineffective. He'll probably just end up ticking them off and inadvertently making their relationship with his child more difficult.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2012, 01:28:12 PM
I also agree with Toots that if he is going to talk to his parents about their relationship with his child (and I do think I would want to address it, if I were in his shoes) that the best approach is to expressing a desire for what he wants rather than annoyance for what he doesn't like. Approach it positively, and make it about their relationship with his child rather than their relationship with SIL's child. Trying to exert any influence over their relationship with SIL and her child will be, at best, ineffective. He'll probably just end up ticking them off and inadvertently making their relationship with his child more difficult.

Great advice.  I also think your DH needs to recognize that of course his parents are spending more time with their 6 year old grandchild than they are with a child that is not yet born.  I don't see any evidence that they intend to favor one grandchild over the other - the situation has not arisen!
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 03, 2012, 01:35:14 PM
With regard to the playpen, a lot of them have a sort of bassinet and/or diaper changing station as part of what is included, and they also frequently have a bottom that can be raised about halfway up while the child is an infant. So while the playpen wouldn't be necessary to contain the child until he/she is mobile, it likely would be very useful as an auxiliary crib/changing table right from day one. My brother and SIL had a playpen when my niece was born, and they set it up in the living room so they wouldn't always have to go upstairs to the main crib/changing table for naps and diapers. It helped them enormously in the first few weeks to have one set-up downstairs and one upstairs, because it meant there was always something close by.

Good point, but again, the child is not due until December. That leaves 2 whole months to have this item bought. It doesn't need to be bought this weekend.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Dindrane on October 03, 2012, 03:33:02 PM
With regard to the playpen, a lot of them have a sort of bassinet and/or diaper changing station as part of what is included, and they also frequently have a bottom that can be raised about halfway up while the child is an infant. So while the playpen wouldn't be necessary to contain the child until he/she is mobile, it likely would be very useful as an auxiliary crib/changing table right from day one. My brother and SIL had a playpen when my niece was born, and they set it up in the living room so they wouldn't always have to go upstairs to the main crib/changing table for naps and diapers. It helped them enormously in the first few weeks to have one set-up downstairs and one upstairs, because it meant there was always something close by.

Good point, but again, the child is not due until December. That leaves 2 whole months to have this item bought. It doesn't need to be bought this weekend.

It does change the scope of over-anxiety, though. Getting anxious to buy a relatively large item you will need in roughly two months is different than getting anxious to buy a relatively large item you will need in half a year or more. Given that the OP and most of this thread agrees that more than week to schedule a shopping trip is necessary under these circumstances, two months really is not that far in advance.

Since the plan was to determine what they want with the in-laws in attendance, then have the in-laws buy it, all while leaving enough time for SIL to arrange alternative childcare because the only shopping day that falls outside everyone's work hours is Saturday, two months sounds like barely enough time to manage it all. That is especially true when you remember that the OP's due date is two months away, and their new baby could make an appearance sooner than that.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: O'Dell on October 03, 2012, 04:27:09 PM
Your husband is not going to be able to change his parents or his entitled sister.

I think what your husband is starting to realize is, "Where exactly will his child fit into his parent's world when they currently revolve their world around his nephew and the demands of his mother?". 

As for the playpen, couldn't you look them up online and send the pic of your chosen one to his parents and when they can go out and buy it, they are able to do so?   I think that this situation is being made more difficult than it needs to be.

I agree...especially with the bolded.

And I think SIL is massively rude to kick up a fuss when her parents/babysitters go on vacation. They may have agreed to babysit for free on Saturdays, but that doesn't mean that they can't take off a Saturday for themselves occasionally. SIL should accept that gracefully. I can see how that gives the impression that SIL takes advantage...did she act that way to get them to agree to babysit in the first place? Makes one wonder.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: secretrebel on October 04, 2012, 07:48:03 AM

ps: the reason I gave too much background is because I didn't know anymore either what was relevant or not. Maybe it's the 'she made this choice to be a single parent and lets others pay the 'price' for it' vibe I got from DH. But as noted above - the help she gets was a deal that all involved people agreed with.


So her having herself artificially inseminated is her making a choice to be a single parent and letting "others" like her parents pay the price?  Yeah your husband needs to take a huge step back.


But i am glad you are realizing this and can help your husband in this.  Good luck!

I think it was more that she deliberately chose to have a child but did so with the expectation and need of help from others.  (I don't necessarily agree that this is bad since the grandparents seem willing to help out & I come from a family helps family background) but I think her husband seems to think that his parents are being imposed upon rather than happy to help out.

Nyachan - yeah that is exactly how he feels. However, I don't agree with that view. I am a strong fan of personal responsibility and standing by your choices. If his parents really don't want to help anymore, I'm sure that they'll invent a new way to say no.

I think DH needs to untangle this particular set of feelings.

What if SIL was married or partnered and still wanted her child to spend saturdays with grandparents, would he then feel "but she has a partner, she doesn't need childcare?"
What is SIL was divorced, would he assess whether the divorce was her fault before deciding whether she is entitled to childcare?
What is SIL was widowed? Is that the only circumstance in which he'd think it fair for her to ask for childcare help?

SIL does sound like a bit of a pain re the vacation but your DH really isn't being fair to characterise her as "single by choice" so undeserving of support.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: GrammarNerd on October 04, 2012, 09:25:17 AM
We had the same issue with my ILs when we had our first child.  They babysat for the other grandchild three days a week, and the days changed each week.  By the end of the first year, I can't tell you how sick I was of hearing that they could come and visit DS, but always with the caveat of if they didn't have to watch the other grandchild.  Hearing it like that was like a slap in the face every single time that our kid was second best in their eyes, and first consideration always belonged to the other grandchild. 

Pretty much everything revolved around the first grandchild, and just because they babysat her, it seemed like she (they) got first dibs on everything and DS (and us) were the afterthoughts. And yes, to me, SIL always acted very entitled about her parents' time.  She had no backup plan for anyone else to watch her child.  One time we asked her a month in advance if she could use her backup for one day, so ILS could watch DS when we knew our daycare would be closed.  DH (and I) viewed it like....ILs may babysit for their grandchild, and she may pay them, but there are TWO grandchildren.  Do we not have the right to ask for the same type of arrangement once in a while (NOT on a regular basis)?  If it helps, we were going to pay them too so they didn't lose any money.  She agreed, and DH thought it was settled, and we saw them again a week beforehand and I told him to make sure.  He was pretty surprised when she went absolutely ballistic when he brought it up again and if everything was settled for that day!  Of course, she hadn't done a darn thing about securing a backup for that one day despite a polite and reasonable request with a month's notice.  She made it seem like she would, but then she just never did, which is why she went nuts when DH brought it up again.  How DARE anyone challenge what she viewed as her exclusive right to her parents' time!

See, the lines were blurred b/c of the grandparent thing.  DH was just as much of their child as his sister, and yes, we felt we deserved some of the same considerations.  Not equal time, but something fair.  And we didn't feel that giving us 1 day with a month's notice was unfair (even though SIL did, obviously).  And SIL took advantage in other ways, like if we would visit ILS for the weekend, SIL would drop off her child and then go run errands.  Hello?  Our kid gets to see his GPs maybe once a month.  Why did she have to infringe on that little bit of time that my kid had with his GPs?  And no, she wasn't paying ILs for those times, so they weren't 'working'.  I never bought the 'we want to visit with you,' because they'd do the 'dump and run' with the kid, or they'd sit there and not talk.  That's not visiting, that's....almost like marking your territory.

If it bothers your DH as much as it appears to (and like I said, I TOTALLY get that), then I'd advise your DH to bring it up to them NOW.  They have 6 years of entitlement and 6 years of having their world revolve around one grandchild that they have to undo.  And I think perhaps it would be a good thing to get some of that out of the way earlier rather than later.  Give them a heads up that you're already starting to feel favoritism, and the baby isn't even here yet.  Ask them how they're going to handle it when the baby does get here.  Make them aware that you don't want to feel like you have to have an appointment with them or jump through hoops for them to see and spend some time with their OTHER grandchild.  And also stress that you want some time with just them.  SIL and her son get that, so you want to make sure that your child has alone/exclusive time with his grandparents too, so they can get to know him/her and he/she can get to know them.  That is NOT unreasonable.  And no, the cousins don't need to spend time together.  They're 6 years apart, and yours is a baby.  Grandparent time is much more precious right now.

And if SIL keeps showing up when you're there, or if MIL/FIL won't stop trying to include her in your plans/invite her or GS over when you're there, then employ the tactic I used once (worked like a charm): "Oh, if you'd rather visit with SIL now, then I guess we'll just go.  We'll make plans another time." And then leave.  There will probably be the protestations that SIL wants to see you too, and then you can just say that you were looking forward to some time with ILS, and let's be honest: SIL doesn't seem to enjoy your company very much anyway.  (I was blunt like that with MIL once and she sputtered, but it worked.)  SIL can call you and set up a visit if she wants to see you that badly.  But for now, you'll just reschedule your visit for when they don't have any other committments with SIL.  Yes, your contact may decrease for a bit, and maybe it will hurt.  But if his parents care about seeing you, then they can make it work.  And you won't have to put up with SIL or the nephew, so that's a plus.

Sorry for the book; this just brought back a lot of unpleasant memories.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: fountainof on October 04, 2012, 12:06:44 PM
I think when grandparents agree to be a childcare provider it is a job and it comes with responsibilities.  For this reason I would never use a grandparent as formal childcare ever as it is hard to give your parents/ILs a contract to sign.

If I had a formal arrangement with my parents to provide childcare I would not be happy to be expected to get alternate care.  If my parent agreed to provide a contract of regular childcare on Saturday, he/she has an employment contract for that day and isn't available unless it is something my child can attend.  It isn't because of loving one kid more than the other or loving a grandkid more, it is a formal employment contract that has been previously arranged.  I think it is disrespectful to expect a prior arrangement to change because another child was born.  If the contract needs to be renegotiated the grandparent must do that and provide notice similar to what you would a licensed childcare facility - 2 weeks.

Because I am as formal as the above and could never have the risk of a grandparent saying, sorry fountainof we are going away next week, or we want to spend next Saturday with other grandchild find alternate care I would never use a relative for childcare, except as oneoff babysitting here and there, nothing regular.

In the OPs case, a reasonable solution of one GP going to shop was offered and I think it is a good solution overall.  Sometimes people get things because they were their first.  In this case, the SIL already arranges childcare for Saturdays so it is something that must be factored in.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Roe on October 04, 2012, 12:23:06 PM
Not sure if this has been mentioned but why can't you pick out the playpen online?  The grandparents can order it and have it shipped directly to you.

But from the sounds of it, it really doesn't have much to do with a playpen, does it?  After all, you won't need this item for months.  Your DH has issues with his sister that go beyond a playpen.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 04, 2012, 12:23:30 PM
Sometimes people get things because they were their first.  In this case, the SIL already arranges childcare for Saturdays so it is something that must be factored in.

This.  I still don't see that the grandparents have indicated in any way that the 6 year old grandchild will be favored over the yet to be born one.  I think the DH will either have to get over his issues with SIL and allow the yet to be born child to be cared for along with/spend time with his or her cousin or will have to accept that Saturdays his parents have agreed to watch his nephew.  This is not a slight to DH or to the yet to be born child.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 04, 2012, 01:17:41 PM
Sometimes people get things because they were their first.  In this case, the SIL already arranges childcare for Saturdays so it is something that must be factored in.

This.  I still don't see that the grandparents have indicated in any way that the 6 year old grandchild will be favored over the yet to be born one.  I think the DH will either have to get over his issues with SIL and allow the yet to be born child to be cared for along with/spend time with his or her cousin or will have to accept that Saturdays his parents have agreed to watch his nephew.  This is not a slight to DH or to the yet to be born child.

Yeah, I think it's pretty much this. SIL has a history of bad behavior and entitlement so it't easy to cast her into the role of ms. entitlement and the parents into the role of 'people being walked over by mean sil'. But I just think it doesn't work like that - I think MIL does enjoy watching over her grandson, and she takes the responsibility seriously.

As for the playpen, we do intend to use it quite early on, as a safe place where the baby can lie in the living room. We have two cats that sometimes run around the room, so I wouldn't feel safe leaving my baby 'in the open' when I can't hold it for a few minutes. Having the playpen set up before the baby is born would be even better, but option - it allows me to train the cats not to jump in it. (ps; cats are not mean or scratchy or afraid of little children, but they can be boisterous when playing with each other)
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: HermioneGranger on October 04, 2012, 01:23:21 PM
With regard to the playpen, a lot of them have a sort of bassinet and/or diaper changing station as part of what is included, and they also frequently have a bottom that can be raised about halfway up while the child is an infant. So while the playpen wouldn't be necessary to contain the child until he/she is mobile, it likely would be very useful as an auxiliary crib/changing table right from day one. My brother and SIL had a playpen when my niece was born, and they set it up in the living room so they wouldn't always have to go upstairs to the main crib/changing table for naps and diapers. It helped them enormously in the first few weeks to have one set-up downstairs and one upstairs, because it meant there was always something close by.

Good point, but again, the child is not due until December. That leaves 2 whole months to have this item bought. It doesn't need to be bought this weekend.

It does change the scope of over-anxiety, though. Getting anxious to buy a relatively large item you will need in roughly two months is different than getting anxious to buy a relatively large item you will need in half a year or more. Given that the OP and most of this thread agrees that more than week to schedule a shopping trip is necessary under these circumstances, two months really is not that far in advance.

Since the plan was to determine what they want with the in-laws in attendance, then have the in-laws buy it, all while leaving enough time for SIL to arrange alternative childcare because the only shopping day that falls outside everyone's work hours is Saturday, two months sounds like barely enough time to manage it all. That is especially true when you remember that the OP's due date is two months away, and their new baby could make an appearance sooner than that.

Not to mention that many women, myself included, could barely walk the last month of pregnancy, much less take extended shopping trips. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: HermioneGranger on October 04, 2012, 01:29:42 PM
Your husband is not going to be able to change his parents or his entitled sister.

I think what your husband is starting to realize is, "Where exactly will his child fit into his parent's world when they currently revolve their world around his nephew and the demands of his mother?". 

As for the playpen, couldn't you look them up online and send the pic of your chosen one to his parents and when they can go out and buy it, they are able to do so?   I think that this situation is being made more difficult than it needs to be.

I agree...especially with the bolded.

And I think SIL is massively rude to kick up a fuss when her parents/babysitters go on vacation. They may have agreed to babysit for free on Saturdays, but that doesn't mean that they can't take off a Saturday for themselves occasionally. SIL should accept that gracefully. I can see how that gives the impression that SIL takes advantage...did she act that way to get them to agree to babysit in the first place? Makes one wonder.

Yep.  My daughter is second (grand)child, second best to my parents, just like I was.  My nephew got far far more from day 1 from parents than my daughter has or ever will.  It hurts, but we'll deal with it.  She has two parents that love her and can afford the best for her (within reason), which is more than I can say for my nephew. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 04, 2012, 01:42:21 PM

Not to mention that many women, myself included, could barely walk the last month of pregnancy, much less take extended shopping trips.
Off topic, but why couldn't you walk?  I was hitting up the gym up until the day I was induced! I am so glad I was fully mobile because being pregnant is not comfy.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: QueenfaninCA on October 04, 2012, 01:43:04 PM
And if SIL keeps showing up when you're there, or if MIL/FIL won't stop trying to include her in your plans/invite her or GS over when you're there, then employ the tactic I used once (worked like a charm): "Oh, if you'd rather visit with SIL now, then I guess we'll just go.  We'll make plans another time." And then leave.  There will probably be the protestations that SIL wants to see you too, and then you can just say that you were looking forward to some time with ILS, and let's be honest: SIL doesn't seem to enjoy your company very much anyway.  (I was blunt like that with MIL once and she sputtered, but it worked.)  SIL can call you and set up a visit if she wants to see you that badly.  But for now, you'll just reschedule your visit for when they don't have any other committments with SIL.  Yes, your contact may decrease for a bit, and maybe it will hurt.  But if his parents care about seeing you, then they can make it work.  And you won't have to put up with SIL or the nephew, so that's a plus.

I'm actually surprised that they didn't do something like that ages ago instead of being miserable that SIL  always intrudes on DH's time with his parents.

PS: There is no rule in the universe that grandchildren need regular contact with their grandparents to grow up into normal human beings. If the grandparents make contact difficult I'd just decide it's their loss.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: HermioneGranger on October 04, 2012, 01:57:44 PM

Not to mention that many women, myself included, could barely walk the last month of pregnancy, much less take extended shopping trips.
Off topic, but why couldn't you walk?  I was hitting up the gym up until the day I was induced! I am so glad I was fully mobile because being pregnant is not comfy.

I could physically only go to work, doctor's appointments, and home again.  By the last week, I could barely walk up a flight of stairs.  I should have been put on partial (or full) bedrest, but my doctor was none too sympathetic and kept dismissing my complaints. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Yvaine on October 04, 2012, 02:02:43 PM

Not to mention that many women, myself included, could barely walk the last month of pregnancy, much less take extended shopping trips.
Off topic, but why couldn't you walk?  I was hitting up the gym up until the day I was induced! I am so glad I was fully mobile because being pregnant is not comfy.

Some women are on bed rest or have other issues with complications. I'm glad your pregnancy was so impeccably smooth.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Moray on October 04, 2012, 02:11:22 PM

Not to mention that many women, myself included, could barely walk the last month of pregnancy, much less take extended shopping trips.
Off topic, but why couldn't you walk?  I was hitting up the gym up until the day I was induced! I am so glad I was fully mobile because being pregnant is not comfy.

Some women are on bed rest or have other issues with complications. I'm glad your pregnancy was so impeccably smooth.

Not to mention that even without complications, by the very end many women are in so much discomfort that wandering around a store, let alone hitting the gym, is entirely out of the question.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 04, 2012, 02:11:40 PM
Some women are on bed rest or have other issues with complications. I'm glad your pregnancy was so impeccably smooth.

I was on bed rest for two weeks because my baby was small, but I was taken off bedrest two weeks before she was born (because she was not growing any faster while I was on bedrest - I was gaining weight throughout the pregnancy but she stopped gaining significantly at 6 months) and at no time did I have any mobility issues.  I thought the poster was saying she physically couldn't walk, not that she was on bed rest! And being physically unable to walk because of being pregnant sounds miserable!  Anyway, back to topic!
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 04, 2012, 02:16:32 PM
...    With regard to the playpen, a lot of them have a sort of bassinet and/or diaper changing station as part of what is included, and they also frequently have a bottom that can be raised about halfway up while the child is an infant. So while the playpen wouldn't be necessary to contain the child until he/she is mobile, it likely would be very useful as an auxiliary crib/changing table right from day one. My brother and SIL had a playpen when my niece was born, and they set it up in the living room so they wouldn't always have to go upstairs to the main crib/changing table for naps and diapers. It helped them enormously in the first few weeks to have one set-up downstairs and one upstairs, because it meant there was always something close by.   ....

I think the majority of people do this (except here they're usually referred to as Pack N' Plays).  It's basically a convenient "extra" sleeping place and changing table for houses equipped with an upstairs and downstairs and has the advantage of also being instantly foldable and can be taken for visits to Grandma's house or wherever there might not be a crib. 

My daughter's first baby was Caesarian and she was incredibly grateful for her Pack N' Play.  The baby practically lived in it for the first three months.  Even then, with the bottom lowered, it was used as a travel bed until he was over 1-1/2 when Baby Brother needed it.

So I think it's fair to say that it is probably more important  (or at least as important) than a lot of other 'essential' baby equipment to have this item as soon as the little one arrives.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: MrsO on October 04, 2012, 02:20:23 PM
Some women are on bed rest or have other issues with complications. I'm glad your pregnancy was so impeccably smooth.

I was on bed rest for two weeks because my baby was small, but I was taken off bedrest two weeks before she was born (because she was not growing any faster while I was on bedrest - I was gaining weight throughout the pregnancy but she stopped gaining significantly at 6 months) and at no time did I have any mobility issues.  I thought the poster was saying she physically couldn't walk, not that she was on bed rest! And being physically unable to walk because of being pregnant sounds miserable!  Anyway, back to topic!

I had severe Symphasis Pubis Dysfunction throughout my last pregnancy. I was on crutches from about halfway through, and couldn't walk at all at the end. I believe it's quite a common condition (some women get a mild case, some like me get it more severely).
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Sophia on October 04, 2012, 04:23:35 PM
I understand his frustration.  For one thing, while they do babysit, she chooses to always work on Saturdays.  Since schedules are done three weeks out, one month notice should be enough to actually get a Saturday off, particularly since she always works them by choice. 

I find it sad that the kid is so badly behaved that he can't be taken shopping.  It colors my view of the SIL.  I also think that the fact that she is a single mom by choice is pertinent.  She should have had a backup babysitter in place before ever having a child in the first place.  It isn't like she had planned to be a SAHM and then the baby daddy abandoned her. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: bah12 on October 04, 2012, 05:50:27 PM
I understand his frustration.  For one thing, while they do babysit, she chooses to always work on Saturdays.  Since schedules are done three weeks out, one month notice should be enough to actually get a Saturday off, particularly since she always works them by choice. 

I find it sad that the kid is so badly behaved that he can't be taken shopping.  It colors my view of the SIL.  I also think that the fact that she is a single mom by choice is pertinent.  She should have had a backup babysitter in place before ever having a child in the first place.  It isn't like she had planned to be a SAHM and then the baby daddy abandoned her.

Why is the sister obligated to change her work schedule to accommodate her brother?  Only her parents can ask her to do that with some sort of legitimacy and they chose not to.  I'm guessing she chooses to work on Saturdays not because she wants to torture her brother and monopolize her parents, but because as a single mother, she could use the extra money.  While I don't know the nature of her job, my experience with any place that makes revolving work schedules is usually not the same job where you can make $100K a year.

Also, it still doesn't matter that she chose to be single mom.  What kind of backup is she required to come up with separate from a couple?  She has a childcare option that I'm going to go ahead and assume she arranged while she was pregnant or shortly after the baby was born.  I don't have backup babysitters waiting in line as a non-single mother.
And while I get that contingency plans, especially when balancing child care and work obligations, need to be in place, they shouldn't have to be exercised everytime her brother decides that he needs his parents' attention.  I would be annoyed if my parents had agreed to watch my child and then told me "oh sorry...you need to come up with a backup plan because your brother wants a new playpen and he wants us to go shopping for it on Saturday."

I agree that the sister sounds like a regular PITA, but I just don't think that this specific situation qualifies.  The parents came up with a reasonable solution.  Both siblings should be happy.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 04, 2012, 07:19:20 PM


Why is the sister obligated to change her work schedule to accommodate her brother?  Only her parents can ask her to do that with some sort of legitimacy and they chose not to. 

Whoa--wait!

I didn't think it was a matter of the grandparents NOT asking Sis to change her schedule.

And she wouldn't be accommodating her BROTHER--she would be accommodating her PARENTS, who are the ones who want to spend this time with their son.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: kherbert05 on October 05, 2012, 05:10:39 AM
I think you and your DH need to start distancing yourselves emotionally from his parents. Go back and find the threads were people on this board are dealing with the fact that one sibling is the golden child and their children are the golden grandchildren and the effect that has on the other children and grandchildren. Decide how you are going to deal with the situations were your child is always pushed aside because a spoiled older child might have a fit. (A six yo having public fits that make it impossible for him to accompany 4 adults to a shop needs intense therapy, and the parents need to be required to go to parenting classed. Your SIL sounds like a neglectful parent of the overindulging type - unforgettably society doesn't recognized that as criminal abuse.)
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 05, 2012, 06:32:15 AM
When it comes to details of 'how entitles is SIL?' or 'Is she really that bad?' - I could of course give a whole background, but it doesn't really matter for this situation. After all, it isn't so much about SIL's choices but about my DH's parent's choices. I don't think that SIL is their golden child though, as in 'the one that can do no wrong'. But I still think that they like looking after their grandson and feel that they are helping him too. SIL may be entitled, but the parents made this choice for their own reason, not because someone is entitled here I think (though DH's opinion might differ a bit here).
We just have to accept that Saturdays are usually not feasible for social appointments, and we'll have to stick with Sundays.

However, as SIL tends to hang out in her parents house too on Sundays (the parents would never turn their children away) and she/her son cause too much fuss or noise, I do intend to tell them in an etiquette approved manner that the fuss is causing stress for me (and likely - my baby).
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: HermioneGranger on October 05, 2012, 07:35:40 AM
When it comes to details of 'how entitles is SIL?' or 'Is she really that bad?' - I could of course give a whole background, but it doesn't really matter for this situation. After all, it isn't so much about SIL's choices but about my DH's parent's choices. I don't think that SIL is their golden child though, as in 'the one that can do no wrong'. But I still think that they like looking after their grandson and feel that they are helping him too. SIL may be entitled, but the parents made this choice for their own reason, not because someone is entitled here I think (though DH's opinion might differ a bit here).
We just have to accept that Saturdays are usually not feasible for social appointments, and we'll have to stick with Sundays.

However, as SIL tends to hang out in her parents house too on Sundays (the parents would never turn their children away) and she/her son cause too much fuss or noise, I do intend to tell them in an etiquette approved manner that the fuss is causing stress for me (and likely - my baby).

I hope that you're able to do that.  It's only right and fair that your child be able to develop a relationship with his/her grandparents without their aunt and cousin always.being.there.  If your inlaws balk at that, well, at least you'll know where your family stands and you can distance yourself accordingly. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: GrammarNerd on October 05, 2012, 08:59:34 AM
However, as SIL tends to hang out in her parents house too on Sundays (the parents would never turn their children away) and she/her son cause too much fuss or noise, I do intend to tell them in an etiquette approved manner that the fuss is causing stress for me (and likely - my baby).

Re: the bolded, that may be the case, but essentially they're turning YOU away by not putting some boundaries on SIL, and they need to realize that.  And like I said in a PP, that's where you'll probably need to be politely blunt that you'd like to enjoy a visit with them, but not SIL/nephew.  You'll just visit another time if SIL/nephew will be there.  And incidentally, when I did that with my MIL, I was also pregnant and going through some more emotional and stressful times.  When I told MIL that, I think I honestly came off as very stressed (because I was) and I think at one point I even teared up because of the stress.  That really drove the point home to her that I wasn't kidding and it wasn't pleasant for me to be around SIL, or good for me or the baby, no matter what she thought.  I sort of remember how the conversation went down, so if you want a play-by-play for sort of a template, then PM me.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 05, 2012, 09:27:05 AM
Maybe I missed the backstory, but I think the DH is overreacting, especially becuase the baby is not even born yet.  The grandparents are NOT choosing the 6 year old over the baby.  Right now they are watching their only grandchild.  I don't see any indication why they would not do the same for the DH's baby when it is born, unless the DH says, "I don't like my nephew or my sister so you need to choose which child and grandchild you like best."  Because really, this is likely to backfire, especially because the grandparents have already agreed to and have enjoyed watching their 6 year old grandchild on Saturdays.  Again, this is not a slight to DH or the yet to be born baby -- it is not about them.  It is about the grandparents love for the 6 year old grandchild. I see no indication that they would not show the same love to the new grandchild once it arrives, unless the DH prevents them from doing so because he does not want to be around his sister.  That is within the DH's rights, but then that is on him, not his parents.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: bah12 on October 05, 2012, 10:05:52 AM


Why is the sister obligated to change her work schedule to accommodate her brother?  Only her parents can ask her to do that with some sort of legitimacy and they chose not to. 

Whoa--wait!

I didn't think it was a matter of the grandparents NOT asking Sis to change her schedule.

And she wouldn't be accommodating her BROTHER--she would be accommodating her PARENTS, who are the ones who want to spend this time with their son.

They asked the sister if she could find other accommodations in less than a week and she couldn't.  And less than a week really isn't a lot of time to change a schedule.

Again, the parents have every right to say "we can't babysit on Saturday", but they aren't saying that.  And I do think it's awfully unreasonable for the brother to maintain that because his sister "chooses" to work on Saturday that she should change her schedule or pay someone else (probably more money) to watch her kid so that he can go shopping for a playpen with his parents.

I suppose it's quite possible that his sister is independantly wealthy and doesn't have to work at all but "chooses" to because she just loves her job that much or because she wants to torment her brother, imprison her parents, and monopolize their time...but I doubt it.  I think it's more reasonable that she chooses to work on Saturdays so that she can make money to support her and her child.  And having a babysitting arrangement with her parents makes that easier for her to do.

And in this scenario, I'm really feeling sorry for the parents.  It seems that both of their kids are being awfully demanding of their time and not very flexible when it comes to allowing them to spend time with the other or even alone.  I imagine that unless some heart to heart talk with all adults occurs, things are only going to get worse when grandchild #2 arrives and starts competing for time/attention as well.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Minmom3 on October 05, 2012, 10:32:57 AM
I had severe Symphasis Pubis Dysfunction throughout my last pregnancy. I was on crutches from about halfway through, and couldn't walk at all at the end. I believe it's quite a common condition (some women get a mild case, some like me get it more severely).

Continuing the OT - what is that?  Is it where the ligaments loosen a little enthusiastically and early?  I can certainly see where that would be an issue!
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Giggity on October 05, 2012, 10:41:57 AM
Of course the grandparents like the six-year-old more. He actually exists outside someone else's body and has a personality and has bonded to them. It's sort of a stretch to think that they will dislike the upcoming one because of how much they like the current one.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: GrammarNerd on October 05, 2012, 01:07:01 PM
Of course the grandparents like the six-year-old more. He actually exists outside someone else's body and has a personality and has bonded to them. It's sort of a stretch to think that they will dislike the upcoming one because of how much they like the current one.

From my perspective (from my own experience), it happened.  And it's not that they actively disliked our child, it was just that he was the afterthought.  If they thought of their grandchildren, they always thought of the other one first.  We went on vacation with ILs once, and I had to endure the stories about the other grandkid until I'd just about bitten my lip off from not saying something impolite.  They were WITH our kid, yet they couldn't even seem to enjoy him; they just had to keep talking about the other one.  I can't tell you the number of times that we would be talking about something, and MIL would turn the conversation back to GC#1.  We were supposed to visit them one time and DS was coming down with something (mild, but contagious).  We called them to tell them, and the VERY first thing that MIL said after finding out was NOT to ask how DS was doing, but was to make a comment about how this would affect the other grandchild.  Really?

And knowing my SIL and her entitlement tendencies and how the ILs seemed to think she can do no wrong, I predicted it.  I remember telling my DH that SIL was going to have her parents babysit (i.e., claim their time) and they wouldn't have any time left for our kids.  I didn't realize at the time how true this would be. 

And yes, this is mostly on the grandparents, but I don't doubt that SIL cultivates this, as mine did. 

And OP, not to be melodramatic, but if this 6 year old is that out of control, I would SERIOUSLY worry about him around a newborn.  Even well-behaved children might feel displaced because of the attention lavished on a new baby, but I would worry that with his behavior and apparent lack of  impulse control, he could do something harmful to the baby if he perceived it as a threat to his grandparents' attention.  Remember, IL's house is his second home, so I'd imagine he'd feel pretty comfortable there and possessive of it.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 05, 2012, 01:23:50 PM
I think this is a matter of perspecitve.  If the OP and her DH look for a slight by his parents, they will see that.  Or they can see grandparents who love their existing grandchild and who will love their new grandchild.  I don't think it does any good to try to draw comparisons among incomparable relationships.

My sister has four children, and my mother had been providing childcare for them (paid) for almost six years when my daughter was born.  She just stopped a few months ago, when my daughter was 3.5.  My mother spent every weekday with my sister's kids, and saw my daughter only once or twice a week, often in the presence of my sister's kids.  My mother likes to talk about what is happening in her life, which obviously is largely consumed by taking care of her grandchildren (that is, my sister's kids, not mine). My sister's kids are talked about a lot more than my daughter because 1) they have been alive longer and 2) my mom spends more time with them.  Even when talking to me she talks about my sisters kids.

I could choose to look at this as my mother clearly favoring my sister and her family.  But I know that's not the case.  And even if it were true, what good would it do for me to be bitter?  I think the DH should decide if he wants to be upset about this - he will I am sure find people to help him justify that feeling (and I'm not saying it's not justified).  Or he can decide to be happy and to accept that his sister and nephews relationship with his parents is not about him. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: darkprincess on October 05, 2012, 01:39:12 PM
I agree with most of you who pointed out that it sounds like a compromise has been made about the main point, getting the pack N play.
However I recognize how the DH feels. The difficult time he he had finding time to do this and the different expectations (bonding vs simply paying) that might have existed in shopping may be signs of things to come.

While things may change once the baby is born, in many cases if something is currently the situation it is not likely to change too dramatically once the baby is born. ILs will still baby sit on Saturday. SIL will still be at the grandparents house on Sunday. This is what your husband is probably recognizing and he wants to see changes so that he and his child have time too.

If you want bonding time alone with the grandparents you will need to make your wants very clear and be willing to not visit or have less visits if they say no. Or you can visit with them but under their expectations. If they choose to not be available on Saturday because of another commitment they are making that choice. Your husband should let them know how this makes him feel. He should clearly state his expectations. For example for him the shopping was bonding time and when they cannot find time to bond he feels hurt.

It can hurt because your expectations are not being met. If you are the only one compromising or giving in then eventually you will begin to resent it. I know I did. Eventually I just stopped seeing them as much. I continue to invite people and I clearly and politely talk about expectations. I am willing to compromise on somethings and not others. If they cannot meet those expectations or find a compromise that meets both of our expectations, I simply say I understand and maybe we can do something at a different time.

Turtle Dove said that you need to be happy and to accept your sister and nephews relationship with your parents and recognize that their relationship is not about you. This is true.
You and husband need to make a relationship with your child and grandparents outside of SIL. The grandparents will help decide what that looks like. It may not include visits on Saturdays. But that is their decision. You will need to let them know what you want the relationship to look like and see what they want it to look like. Unfortunatley possibly because of their priorites to babysit, or the distance away, or the fact that stores are closed on Sunday your relationship might not be as close or have as much time as someone else's.
The hard part is accepting this.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: bah12 on October 05, 2012, 03:49:00 PM
I agree with TurtleDove, and I think that the family really needs to sit down and go through expectations.  Sister may be a giant pain most of the times, but I do think it's a little unfair to assume that the grandparents are going to love baby #2 less because sister and her kid get so much attention now.

The truth is, sister and her kid are going to continue to get more attention.  They live close to the grandparents and she has a babysitting arrangement for Saturdays.  They fact is that the grandparents are going to spend more time sister's kid than the new baby...just as a result of logistics.

But, I don't think the amount of time matters.  I live in the same city as my sister and my parents and my sister and her kids still get more time?  Why? Because my sister doesn't work and is able to take our parents with the younger kids out for lunch, shopping, etc during the work week.  I don't have that kind of time.

But, the quality of time that my parents spend with my DD and their special bond does matter...and those are both great.  No, my DD doesn't get as much alone time as her cousins do, but it's still very obvious to her that her Nana and Papa love her and she has a special relationship with them.

DH would do well to be realistic about his situation.  He doesn't live close to his parents and it may not be feasible to make a 2 hour drive every weekend to visit.  But, he can still talk to his parents about the kind of relationship they will have his child and about the things they can do together when they are able to visit.  I wouldn't be so quick to assume that they aren't going to love the new baby or will never see the new baby because of sister.
And let sister continue to be a SS...it's who she is.  He'll be a lot better off accpeting her that way than he will trying to convince his parents that she doesn't deserve the time she gets.  He needs to let it go.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: girlysprite on October 06, 2012, 03:15:45 AM
I had another short talk with DH on the subject, and I discovered that another contribution to his irk is at nephew is being watched almost every day. On weekdays MIL picks him from school, and around dinnertime SIL picks hhim up or joins for dinner. Sometimes MIL picks him up and brings him to school too.

I think a talk about expectations is in order, but I'm not really sure if DH actually wants to do that. On the other hand, I think it isn't so much about how much the child will be loved. There is also another SIL who has two girls - she also lives near MIL, which makes organisation a bit easier - and the girls also stay over at times and get enough love and attention.

In the perspective of the parents in law ; nephew is a child that needs more attention and care. Lately he has been diagnosed with a mild developmental delay, his iq is rather low and he has occasional behavioral issues. I think that MIL doesn't want him into a daycare while SIL works, and sees this as the better option for nephew.

Sometimes it's too easy to simplify a situation because one person isn't likable so it's easy to place all the blame there. It's certainly easier then placing blame with the ones we love (if they deserve it).

For now this is a closed case - we're looking forward to the shopping and bonding moment today :) . And as DH doesn't really want to reopen the issue now, I'll just see if it comes up again another time and take it from there.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: CakeEater on October 06, 2012, 05:38:26 AM
I had another short talk with DH on the subject, and I discovered that another contribution to his irk is at nephew is being watched almost every day. On weekdays MIL picks him from school, and around dinnertime SIL picks hhim up or joins for dinner. Sometimes MIL picks him up and brings him to school too.

I think a talk about expectations is in order, but I'm not really sure if DH actually wants to do that. On the other hand, I think it isn't so much about how much the child will be loved. There is also another SIL who has two girls - she also lives near MIL, which makes organisation a bit easier - and the girls also stay over at times and get enough love and attention.

In the perspective of the parents in law ; nephew is a child that needs more attention and care. Lately he has been diagnosed with a mild developmental delay, his iq is rather low and he has occasional behavioral issues. I think that MIL doesn't want him into a daycare while SIL works, and sees this as the better option for nephew.

Sometimes it's too easy to simplify a situation because one person isn't likable so it's easy to place all the blame there. It's certainly easier then placing blame with the ones we love (if they deserve it).

For now this is a closed case - we're looking forward to the shopping and bonding moment today :) . And as DH doesn't really want to reopen the issue now, I'll just see if it comes up again another time and take it from there.

I'm guessing his problem here is that he either thinks his sister is taking advantage of his parents, or that there won't be time for his child in his parents' lives. If it's the former, it's not really his problem. Assuming his parents are fully functioning adults, it's their job to decide whether they agree to this much care of their grandson.

If it's the latter, as Turtle Dove has said, it's a situation that has yet to arise. If it actually becomes a problem later, you and DH can decide to have a chat with his parents, or let it go and accept that they spend more time with nephew.

My parents have done quite a lot more for my brother in terms of babysitting and financial support that they have done for me. He's been in a situation where he needed it more. I don't begrudge that, because I know that if the situation arose, they would do the same for me in a heartbeat.
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: AmethystAnne on October 06, 2012, 11:29:51 AM
Girlysprite.....would it be possible for you and DH to invite his parents to your house for a Sunday visit? Or you guys go to their house and pick them and go somewhere?

Possible scenario: leave the house by 7:30am, make the drive, visit, out for lunch, go to a park or mall or somewhere, leave that area around 3 or 4pm, drive back home, get home before dark.



Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: White Lotus on October 06, 2012, 12:03:22 PM
SIL's schedule is set three weeks in advance.  With adequate notice she can arrange the occasional Saturday off, liberating the ILs.  She probably works Saturday because she gets a premium for it.  She'd probably work Sunday, except OP said most businesses are closed Sunday where they live.  So how much notice do SIL and ILs need?  Right!  More than three weeks.

If Saturday with Nephew is OK with the grandparents, they are likely giving SIL a boost and want to do this.  Most people would accommodate this commitment most of the time.

OP lives an hour away, and wants to figure out, basically, how to schedule with ILs because, apparently, OP wants alone time with the ILs and SILs weekend schedule with the ILs makes that impossible, in OP's opinion. They have scheduled the playpen date, so this is now for future use.

Nephew is a brat. Nobody likes him or wants to be around him or take him anywhere for this reason. This is an etiquette problem.  He needs to learn some.  He isn't going to learn better until someone teaches him. As people who see him rarely, OP and DH are in an excellent position to give Nephew alternatives, to show him better ways to be heard and to get what he wants, because they are now outside the established dynamic. He is also a Big Boy now and Big Boys know these things. 
 "That doesn't work here", or "work with me" is usually enormously effective when followed by ignoring.  "I told you before, that doesn't work here.  Figure out a way that works" is the followup.  "Nope, that doesn't work either.  Try again." By this time, IME, the tantrum is stopped because the child is into the puzzle. Letting the child know you know the bad behavior is a tactic to obtain a reward is key, IME.  When they demonstrate the correct behavior, which I tell them once they calm down, if they have not guessed,  they get the reward.  Six is not too young to learn the better way, the polite way, the one that works with you, or at your house, or in society, quickly.  I have stopped tantrums on the part of habitual throwers (who were in therapy for this) in their tracks with this very dispassionate and business-like counter strategy.
I do not like tantrums and they do not work with me. Letting children discover, or even telling them straight out, what tactics will solve their problems and get their needs met in the real world is effective because that is the real issue: they simply did not know what worked (was polite) because no one had never told them.  Teaching Nephew manners will change the whole dynamic and might just solve the problem.  It is a little work, but it is also a public service and good practice.

If SIL is a pill, that exact form of behavior modification works on bratty adults, too.  OP could also make it Saturday visits with the ILs to avoid her.  The key to solving this seems to be teaching Nephew some manners and the adults acting adult.  The underlying issue of sibling rivalry is best worked out by DH in therapy. 
Title: Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
Post by: Slartibartfast on October 06, 2012, 01:42:49 PM
Surely your SIL doesn't work ALL day on Saturdays - can't you join your ILs for dinner and evening shopping?