Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: SheryllJane on February 11, 2013, 09:07:55 PM

Title: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: SheryllJane on February 11, 2013, 09:07:55 PM
Wow just wow
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/lending-a-hand-gives-a-mother-in-law-a-voice-in-family-planning/2013/02/11/2b589c3e-6b25-11e2-ada3-d86a4806d5ee_story.html
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Shoo on February 11, 2013, 09:12:19 PM
Whose response has got you saying wow?  I think Carolyn got it right this time. 
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: SiotehCat on February 11, 2013, 09:18:58 PM
I think that LW and her husband are being incredibly irresponsible.

If I were MIL, I would stop all help right away. If the LW can make two children work, then surely she can make it work now.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Sharnita on February 11, 2013, 09:21:24 PM
I would say that if LW feels MIL is overstepping then she/they need to find another financial plan immediately.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: delabela on February 11, 2013, 09:22:21 PM
OK, my first thought was, why is the husband not watching the child all the time if he's out of work? 
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: LEMon on February 11, 2013, 09:37:55 PM
OK, my first thought was, why is the husband not watching the child all the time if he's out of work?
He is working, just not as high a paying job.

This couple has really considered reality.  How the world are they going to make this work?
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Ceallach on February 11, 2013, 09:49:35 PM
There is no indication from the LW that they have made arrangements or plans for how to financially accommodate the extra child, which leads me to believe they are expecting the MIL to continue to bail them out.

Because of that I think the MIL was appropriate in voicing her concerns - they've made it her business by having her so involved in their finances and in childcare duties.     Of course LW and her husband are not obligated to listen to the MIL's advice, but they need to accept that if they choose to go ahead with this particular life choice then she may not continue to support them indefinitely.   For the sake of their children I hope they consider the consequences more thoroughly.   
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: delabela on February 11, 2013, 10:00:57 PM
OK, my first thought was, why is the husband not watching the child all the time if he's out of work?
He is working, just not as high a paying job.

This couple has really considered reality.  How the world are they going to make this work?

You are correct - my mistake.  Gotta pay more attention to my reading comprehension! 
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Erich L-ster on February 11, 2013, 10:22:34 PM
Whose response has got you saying wow?  I think Carolyn got it right this time.
I agree but this reminds me of a previous thread where the OP described a couple who had no apartment (they were bouncing around as guests) no jobs and no health insurance, yet they were trying for a baby.

I posted that they probably shouldn't be trying for a baby until they had a place to live, insurance and a job for at least one of them. I got a bunch of "how dare you" type replies and "no one can question someone else's life choices" type stuff. :P
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: LilacRosey on February 11, 2013, 10:26:19 PM
I think that LW and her husband are being incredibly irresponsible.

If I were MIL, I would stop all help right away. If the LW can make two children work, then surely she can make it work now.

I just stopped teading here because I agree so much! I love kids but this is so irresponsible and the mother shouldn't have said that but I understand where it came from. Truly., LilacRosey
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Honey on February 11, 2013, 10:38:31 PM
I think MIL should cut off all financial support.  If this couple can afford another child, they can certainly manage now without her help.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: WillyNilly on February 11, 2013, 10:44:17 PM
I agree with PP, this family is being ridiculously irresponsible, and MIL is the voice of reason... and the sugar mommy.She should cut back on helping them now.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: jaxsue on February 11, 2013, 10:46:43 PM
I agree with PP, this family is being ridiculously irresponsible, and MIL is the voice of reason... and the sugar mommy.She should cut back on helping them now.

ITA
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: magician5 on February 11, 2013, 11:07:16 PM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

PS - I think she's being irresponsible ... all parent/offspring combinations work, and the kids can look back later and point to their particular family configuration as being the source of their later strength, but for this couple it might be better to wait a while.

And to shut up about intimate private matters.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: SheryllJane on February 11, 2013, 11:07:43 PM
I agree that Carolyn got it right
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Miss Tickle on February 11, 2013, 11:23:50 PM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

... shut up about intimate private matters.

Yes. Why is this so hard?
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: mbbored on February 12, 2013, 12:22:00 AM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

PS - I think she's being irresponsible ... all parent/offspring combinations work, and the kids can look back later and point to their particular family configuration as being the source of their later strength, but for this couple it might be better to wait a while.

And to shut up about intimate private matters.

With the caveat that if your private issues are going to drastically effect somebody, you might want to inform them.

I'm friends with a couple who relies on his mother for childcare. They spoke to her before planning their third child to see if she would be comfortable with taking care of another baby or if they needed to factor in day care. Grandma was looking forward to the older kids going to school so she could have her time back, so my friends waited 2 years until the husband got a promotion and they could afford to pay for child care.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: girlysprite on February 12, 2013, 12:24:08 AM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

... shut up about intimate private matters.

Yes. Why is this so hard?

Because. Like sharing intimate things with people we are intimate with. I don't think it's strange to share family planning news with people you are very close with. Then you can share news, ups and downs, get an extra shoulder to cry on. But yes, sometimes it happens that the reaction is not the one you hoped for. And be mindful with who you share these details.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Queen of Clubs on February 12, 2013, 07:53:52 AM
I think it's fortunate for the mom/MIL that they did.  Hopefully, she can get advice on how to cut off their gravy train so reality sinks in before the next child arrives.

And I'm with the PPs who say that if they can afford another child, they can afford to take care of their own bills and stop relying on the mom/MIL.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: suzieQ on February 12, 2013, 08:09:04 AM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

PS - I think she's being irresponsible ... all parent/offspring combinations work, and the kids can look back later and point to their particular family configuration as being the source of their later strength, but for this couple it might be better to wait a while.

And to shut up about intimate private matters.

With the caveat that if your private issues are going to drastically effect somebody, you might want to inform them.

I'm friends with a couple who relies on his mother for childcare. They spoke to her before planning their third child to see if she would be comfortable with taking care of another baby or if they needed to factor in day care. Grandma was looking forward to the older kids going to school so she could have her time back, so my friends waited 2 years until the husband got a promotion and they could afford to pay for child care.

***applause*** for the couple who consulted their child care person and actually planned!
ITA with all the responses for the LW. If I was that MIL, financial support would stop immediately. Where will the couple get the money for diapers, another crib, etc. if they can't afford living expenses as it is right now?
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: WillyNilly on February 12, 2013, 08:16:30 AM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

... shut up about intimate private matters.

Yes. Why is this so hard?

Because. Like sharing intimate things with people we are intimate with. I don't think it's strange to share family planning news with people you are very close with. Then you can share news, ups and downs, get an extra shoulder to cry on. But yes, sometimes it happens that the reaction is not the one you hoped for. And be mindful with who you share these details.

What a horrible life to never share with "girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters". I agree with Girlysprite: people share details with people they are close with.  I didn't think it was weird for my best friend to tell me she was planning to try to get pregnant before she did, nor do I think its inappropriate for me to have discussed similarly when I was planning for kids. No we don't into graphic details, but yeah we mention it - because we love and trust one another and sometimes a caring outside perspective is a great thing. And by sharing the plan in advance, if gosh forbid there is an issue, its much easier to ask for the support when you don't need to give a whole background first.

Even in this case, while I think the plan to have another kid is horrifically stupid of the couple, I think sharing the plan was smart.  Because now they know their fallback babysitter and financial net is not on board with the plan.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: LadyL on February 12, 2013, 08:32:53 AM
Few things make me more upset than people who think it's ok to bring children into unstable situations.

I have an acquaintance who blogs about her medium-large family. It seemed like they were getting by ok but then after she got pregnant with #5 she started a fund to help her pay for medical expenses. Apparently the whole family has no health insurance. I cannot imagine being responsible for 5 human lives and being one medical emergency away from bankruptcy. Not to mention putting it all out there by having a public campaign to raise money for those expenses.

That said, the attitude justifying this seems to be "children are a blessing" and "family is the most important thing" and "babies aren't that expensive." From my risk averse perspective, it's gambling with human lives.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Shoo on February 12, 2013, 08:47:30 AM
Whose response has got you saying wow?  I think Carolyn got it right this time.
I agree but this reminds me of a previous thread where the OP described a couple who had no apartment (they were bouncing around as guests) no jobs and no health insurance, yet they were trying for a baby.

I posted that they probably shouldn't be trying for a baby until they had a place to live, insurance and a job for at least one of them. I got a bunch of "how dare you" type replies and "no one can question someone else's life choices" type stuff. :P

You got that attitude here?  That surprises me! 

Having children is not a right, it's a privilege.  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  If you can't afford to take care of them properly, then you need to wait until you can.  Having kids and then expecting someone else (family or government) to take care of them is just plain irresponsible and reeks of entitlement.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Otterpop on February 12, 2013, 09:46:43 AM
There's another thread on here about a mom who's in financial straights with her teenage son who also let another friend, a girl, move in.  Mother mentioned they share a room.  I and another poster suggested it wasn't a good idea.

Cue a lot of posters saying we were judgemental, uptight, the kids were old enough, they were just friends, etc.  My point was, they were DEPENDENT on mom and could possibly make more mouths for her to feed, don't tempt fate.  But I hightailed it out of there, other poster was beaten down.  Pity.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Yvaine on February 12, 2013, 09:53:58 AM
There's another thread on here about a mom who's in financial straights with her teenage son who also let another friend, a girl, move in.  Mother mentioned they share a room.  I and another poster suggested it wasn't a good idea.

Cue a lot of posters saying we were judgemental, uptight, the kids were old enough, they were just friends, etc.  My point was, they were DEPENDENT on mom and could possibly make more mouths for her to feed, don't tempt fate.  But I hightailed it out of there, other poster was beaten down.  Pity.

The Carolyn Hax column is about people who are specifically declaring the intention to have kids.

And the argument in the other thread was not that it was impossible that they'd hook up and have kids, but that if the OP was OK with the situation, the other poster shouldn't lecture her about it. It was as much about tone, and about not dropping it after being asked nicely to do so, as it was about the issue itself.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: wolfie on February 12, 2013, 09:56:40 AM
There's another thread on here about a mom who's in financial straights with her teenage son who also let another friend, a girl, move in.  Mother mentioned they share a room.  I and another poster suggested it wasn't a good idea.

Cue a lot of posters saying we were judgemental, uptight, the kids were old enough, they were just friends, etc.  My point was, they were DEPENDENT on mom and could possibly make more mouths for her to feed, don't tempt fate.  But I hightailed it out of there, other poster was beaten down.  Pity.

There is a huge difference between a person who is actively trying to get pregnant while being supported by someone other then the father and two teenagers who share a room. Just because they are teens doesn't mean that they can't keep their hands off each other.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: bah12 on February 12, 2013, 09:57:16 AM
Sharing the plan to expand their family with MIL was a good thing to do.  Telling MIL, who currently helps financially support them, that she has no say in the matter, all the while continuing to lean on her for babysitting and money for bills is completely selfish and short sighted.

If this couple were truly looking at the long term, as they claim, they'd have a plan in place to pay MIL back and finance a second child completely on thier own.  Instead, they just say "we want our child to have a sibling and expect that things will get better".  Yet...it won't happen by magic.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Yvaine on February 12, 2013, 10:02:15 AM
There's another thread on here about a mom who's in financial straights with her teenage son who also let another friend, a girl, move in.  Mother mentioned they share a room.  I and another poster suggested it wasn't a good idea.

Cue a lot of posters saying we were judgemental, uptight, the kids were old enough, they were just friends, etc.  My point was, they were DEPENDENT on mom and could possibly make more mouths for her to feed, don't tempt fate.  But I hightailed it out of there, other poster was beaten down.  Pity.

There is a huge difference between a person who is actively trying to get pregnant while being supported by someone other then the father and two teenagers who share a room. Just because they are teens doesn't mean that they can't keep their hands off each other.

Well, and in both this thread and that one, the majority of posters are saying that the person doing the supporting has a right to an opinion, and we shouldn't tell them what that opinion should be. The OP of that thread has a right to say "I'm OK with the room sharing; I'm just concerned about the cleaning." The MIL in the Hax column has a right to say "I'm not OK with this." But she'd have just as much of a right to say "Sure, go ahead and have another kid, the more the merrier!" We might think she's nuts, or that she's not using her money the same way we would, or that the couple is still being irresponsible, but the MIL would have the right to be OK with it if she wanted.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: WillyNilly on February 12, 2013, 10:18:10 AM
There's another thread on here about a mom who's in financial straights with her teenage son who also let another friend, a girl, move in.  Mother mentioned they share a room.  I and another poster suggested it wasn't a good idea.

Cue a lot of posters saying we were judgemental, uptight, the kids were old enough, they were just friends, etc.  My point was, they were DEPENDENT on mom and could possibly make more mouths for her to feed, don't tempt fate.  But I hightailed it out of there, other poster was beaten down.  Pity.

That thread has nothing in common with this thread.  The poster who was questioning the sleeping arrangements was shut down because her comments had no bearing on the topic of that thread which was housekeeping.  And besides that extra mouth to feed, the young woman, was an already existing person.  This thread is about creating a new, not already existing, person. In the other thread the girl was already there, alive, etc and had her own clothes (and the poster wasn't complaining abut having to feed her), in this thread the second kid does not already exist and does not currently need to be fed... but will exist and will need to be fed and clothed if the couple goes forth with their plan.  You are comparing apples to oysters.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Amava on February 12, 2013, 10:19:04 AM
There's another thread on here about a mom who's in financial straights with her teenage son who also let another friend, a girl, move in.  Mother mentioned they share a room.  I and another poster suggested it wasn't a good idea.

Cue a lot of posters saying we were judgemental, uptight, the kids were old enough, they were just friends, etc.  My point was, they were DEPENDENT on mom and could possibly make more mouths for her to feed, don't tempt fate.  But I hightailed it out of there, other poster was beaten down.  Pity.
I don't think /anyone/ in that topic was advocating that the son and his friend should start having babies.
Two things: sleeping in the same room does not equal having sex, and having sex does not equal making babies.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Mikayla on February 12, 2013, 10:24:44 AM
Whose response has got you saying wow?  I think Carolyn got it right this time.
I agree but this reminds me of a previous thread where the OP described a couple who had no apartment (they were bouncing around as guests) no jobs and no health insurance, yet they were trying for a baby.

I posted that they probably shouldn't be trying for a baby until they had a place to live, insurance and a job for at least one of them. I got a bunch of "how dare you" type replies and "no one can question someone else's life choices" type stuff. :P

You got that attitude here?  That surprises me! 

Having children is not a right, it's a privilege.  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  If you can't afford to take care of them properly, then you need to wait until you can.  Having kids and then expecting someone else (family or government) to take care of them is just plain irresponsible and reeks of entitlement.

That struck me too when I was reading it.  I don't remember the thread, but my guess is that people were sticking to the etiquette of the situation.  And etiquette says it's fine to think these things, but it's not ok to comment on someone else's choices.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Otterpop on February 12, 2013, 10:31:05 AM
Planning a baby and accidentally getting pregnant result in the same thing.  Having to support your grandchildren financially is the same aggravation for all parents, regardless of how they came about.  Having teens share such an intimate space as a bedroom is, in many people's opinions, setting up such a situation. 
 
But, points taken, OP in the other thread had a right to her own household rules and, as I said, I left that thread after one post.  My bringing it up here is to demonstrate that yes, people do "pile-on" about life choices at this site.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Sharnita on February 12, 2013, 10:41:41 AM
There's a bog difference between getting in car accident because of black ice and sogning up for the demolition derby. Maybe my car is totalled either way but only in the first case, would cash strapped me feel comfortable asking my parents if they could help me out.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: cass2591 on February 12, 2013, 10:53:17 AM
Otterpop, I can't help but wonder why you brought up the other thread other than maybe you were trying to get in the last word. And what this thread has to with piling on is beyond me.

Everyone, end of dscussion about the other thread and go back to the topic at hand please.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Bexx27 on February 12, 2013, 10:59:47 AM
I think that LW and her husband are being incredibly irresponsible.

If I were MIL, I would stop all help right away. If the LW can make two children work, then surely she can make it work now.

I agree, it's totally irresponsible to have a baby when you're relying on your own parents for support. The MIL at least needed to be consulted about providing child care for another child. This couple sounds very entitled.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: heartmug on February 12, 2013, 11:38:57 AM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!


POD!!!  I was just having this discussion with my SIL at our niece's wedding.  She was saying how niece and her husband only want 2 kids.  I said they should not be telling people that.  What if they have 3 kids?  Will everyone know that #3 was not really wanted?  Keep the private stuff private.  There are so few surprises in life anymore.  Surprise people and keep them out of your business.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: LadyR on February 12, 2013, 11:40:38 AM
I'm having a second child while depending on my mother for childcare for my first. We also get some financial assisstance from our parents (not a lot, but a little bit here an there). We are both in school, finishing our degrees. Too many people, it might seem foolish, but we had our reasons and we could survive without any help from our families, it would just be harder. Luckily our families are very supportive and encouraged us to start our family and then to expand it.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: WillyNilly on February 12, 2013, 11:43:52 AM
I'm having a second child while depending on my mother for childcare for my first. We also get some financial assisstance from our parents (not a lot, but a little bit here an there). We are both in school, finishing our degrees. Too many people, it might seem foolish, but we had our reasons and we could survive without any help from our families, it would just be harder. Luckily our families are very supportive and encouraged us to start our family and then to expand it.

Well its sounds like you discussed your plans with your childcare provider/mother and have her on-board, or have a definite (not just hopeful) plan how how to handle things by the time the second one arrives. The couple who wrote to CH do not have the support or the solid plans (or seemingly the ability to go without the support like you could if you had to).
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Judah on February 12, 2013, 12:28:36 PM
I'm having a second child while depending on my mother for childcare for my first. We also get some financial assisstance from our parents (not a lot, but a little bit here an there). We are both in school, finishing our degrees. Too many people, it might seem foolish, but we had our reasons and we could survive without any help from our families, it would just be harder. Luckily our families are very supportive and encouraged us to start our family and then to expand it.

Whether it's irresponsible to have more kids in your situation is not really the question, nor is it really a question of etiquette. If the people who are supporting you are on board with your decision, more power to you.

The etiquette question is whether the grandmother in the story should have offered her opinion on the subject.  I think that since she is supporting the couple and they are reliant on her for childcare, she has an absolute right to offer her opinion. They've made it her business. If they don't want to hear other people's opinions, they need to be fully supporting themselves.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: CakeBeret on February 12, 2013, 03:32:06 PM
Oh, boy.

My mother watches our DS 3 days a week while we work. We both are employed FT but daycare is so cost-prohibitive that we simply cannot afford it. We briefly entertained the idea of having another child but a major factor in that was childcare--I think it would be obscenely presumptuous to plan another baby and expect my mother to care for him/her.

I think the grandmother in the letter is absolutely correct to object to this plan *now*. I'm not sure where the LW gets off thinking she can double her MIL's workload and call it none of MIL's business.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Redneck Gravy on February 12, 2013, 03:36:30 PM
I'm having a second child while depending on my mother for childcare for my first. We also get some financial assisstance from our parents (not a lot, but a little bit here an there). We are both in school, finishing our degrees. Too many people, it might seem foolish, but we had our reasons and we could survive without any help from our families, it would just be harder. Luckily our families are very supportive and encouraged us to start our family and then to expand it.

Whether it's irresponsible to have more kids in your situation is not really the question, not is it really a question of etiquette. If the people who are supporting you are on board with your decision, more power to you.

The etiquette question is whether the grandmother in the story should have offered her opinion on the subject.  I think that since she is supporting the couple and they are reliant on her for childcare, she has an absolute right to offer her opinion. They've made it her business. If they don't want to hear other people's opinions, they need to be fully supporting themselves.

I think if LW didn't want MIL's opinion, she shouldn't have asked. 

I can't even fathom having another child when you are unable to support the first one.  And if I were asked I would say so, otherwise I would be keeping my opinions to myself (which in itself is almost a miracle sometimes).
   
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: GratefulMaria on February 12, 2013, 03:45:31 PM
I think the MIL sounds as though she's already doing more than she's happy doing and that she needs to scale back.  And if the LW does conceive, she should have a plan in place that doesn't rely on MIL's help and should let MIL know that.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: strangetimes on February 12, 2013, 03:53:47 PM
I disagree with most people here-

It doesn't sound like the couple has asked the mother in law for support- from the way it's worded, it sounds like she offered and they took her up on it. (and have been working on paying her back) The mother in law shouldn't be commenting on their family planning- it's really none of her business. What she should do if she's upset about it, is pull back on the support. She doesn't even have to tell them why- she could just say that it's getting to be too much for her. Let the couple figure out if they can handle another child when they're really on their own- but it should be for them to figure out.

I agree with Carolyn- they should tell the mother in law, "thanks for your help, but we'll manage" and then find a way to do it.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: auntmeegs on February 12, 2013, 04:02:44 PM
I disagree with most people here-

It doesn't sound like the couple has asked the mother in law for support- from the way it's worded, it sounds like she offered and they took her up on it. (and have been working on paying her back) The mother in law shouldn't be commenting on their family planning- it's really none of her business. What she should do if she's upset about it, is pull back on the support. She doesn't even have to tell them why- she could just say that it's getting to be too much for her. Let the couple figure out if they can handle another child when they're really on their own- but it should be for them to figure out.

I agree with Carolyn- they should tell the mother in law, "thanks for your help, but we'll manage" and then find a way to do it.

I disagree that it is not her business if she is expected to help support the child, either financially or as a care-giver. 
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Kaypeep on February 12, 2013, 04:03:07 PM
No matter what the LW says, it sounds like MIL already feels she's done enough and the mere thought that she may be called upon to do more (watch a toddler AND an infant at the same time) caused her to react strongly to this news.  I understand LW's justification that the un/under employment may be temporary so why push kids to later when they're willing to struggle a bit now.  However, the reality is employment is hard to find, benefits cost more and salaries are not as great as they used to be.  Heck, with the payroll tax exemption expired, take home pay for most families in the US has dropped almost $2K alone this year. Less income + More kids + increased cost of living = TROUBLE.  But if they want to take the chance or live with less money, that's fine. That's their choice.  But they have to realize MIL doesn't mean free babysitting forever.  Grandparents can often feel taken advantage of.  Even if you offered MIL to babysit it doesn't mean she wants to.  Having had MIL as part of their living equation right now I think it was reasonable to share their plans with her, but only as long as they didn't assume she'd continue as things are. I hope MIL stands up for herself with however she decides to go.  Maybe she cuts back on financial help, or babysitting.  Not out of spite, but simply because reality is she needs her own money and she needs to enjoy her retirement or simply doesn't want to babysit so much.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: nuit93 on February 12, 2013, 04:10:01 PM
I'm having a second child while depending on my mother for childcare for my first. We also get some financial assisstance from our parents (not a lot, but a little bit here an there). We are both in school, finishing our degrees. Too many people, it might seem foolish, but we had our reasons and we could survive without any help from our families, it would just be harder. Luckily our families are very supportive and encouraged us to start our family and then to expand it.

Whether it's irresponsible to have more kids in your situation is not really the question, not is it really a question of etiquette. If the people who are supporting you are on board with your decision, more power to you.

The etiquette question is whether the grandmother in the story should have offered her opinion on the subject.  I think that since she is supporting the couple and they are reliant on her for childcare, she has an absolute right to offer her opinion. They've made it her business. If they don't want to hear other people's opinions, they need to be fully supporting themselves.

I think if LW didn't want MIL's opinion, she shouldn't have asked. 

I can't even fathom having another child when you are unable to support the first one.  And if I were asked I would say so, otherwise I would be keeping my opinions to myself (which in itself is almost a miracle sometimes).
 

I can't either, but then again I'm not the LW.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: LifeOnPluto on February 12, 2013, 07:53:09 PM
So long as the MIL didn't voice her opinion rudely (eg "Are you freaking nuts, wanting to have a second baby when you idiots can't even manage with just one?!") I think she was perfectly fine.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: blarg314 on February 12, 2013, 08:18:50 PM

I don't know, I think an "Are you freaking nuts!?" would be a legitimate response in this situation.

I agree that the MIL is probably already doing more than she really wants to, but is pitching in because it's family, and because they are in a tight spot - losing a job and having to take a much lower paying one can do that even to good planners.  But there's a huge different in pitching in to help, at a disadvantage to yourself, when life happens, and doing so because of people's deliberate decisions.  If MIL were babysitting by choice, and the LW asked about her willingness to take on a second child, and MIL said great, that would be a totally different (and more responsible) situation.

As it is, as far as I can tell, the LW's plans are "Oh, I'm sure things will get better for us in the future", without any actual evidence or concrete plans for this.

If your current ability to support your family is dependent on someone else's generosity, you don't deliberately add to the family size, and you are very careful with birth control. And I do think that anybody who is helping to pay for your current family's support gets a say on whether you have another.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Jaelle on February 12, 2013, 08:22:15 PM
Sigh.

Our son was 14 months old when DH very unexpectedly lost his job. We wanted another child, and there was a ... deadline, of sorts ... for it to happen. We weren't dependent at all on our parents for help or childcare, but we know we wouldn't start trying until DH found something and we were in a much better place financially.

I had just about given up on that happening by the "deadline" when he was hired for the job he still holds today. Ten months later, DS2 was born. :)

I'm the first person to say that if you wait for the perfect time, it will never come. But there's a difference between "the perfect time" and a time when you're just plain responsibly prepared.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: miranova on February 12, 2013, 10:14:26 PM
Well I completely agree that the couple is irresponsible and entitled.  However, all the MIL has to do if she doesn't want to help is....stop helping.  She doesn't have to make this her problem.  So I'm not really sure where all of the "it's her business if she is expected to help" is coming from really.  It doesn't really matter what is "expected", she still has the perfect right and ability to say "no, I can't help you with this".  And I honestly think that would have been a better response.  People get REALLY defensive when you question their choices and I don't think it's productive, no matter how ridiculous those choices may seem.  I think the far better option for MIL would have been to take a deep breath, take a week to think about what she was and wasn't willing to do, and then tell the couple "I want you to be aware that I will not be able to do X, Y, and Z for this new baby as I feel it would just be too much to be responsible for both babies, etc etc etc" whatever she wants to say.  That way she is simply stating her OWN choices and not judging the couple's choices.  Then the couple is forced to make their own difficult decisions and pay for their own choices, as it should be.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: kareng57 on February 12, 2013, 10:30:14 PM
I'm back to my usual response to so many topics: how about you DON'T TALK ABOUT PRIVATE ISSUES WITH ANYBODY? Not your girlfriends, not your mother, not your sisters, don't put it on your Facebook page ... NOBODY!

PS - I think she's being irresponsible ... all parent/offspring combinations work, and the kids can look back later and point to their particular family configuration as being the source of their later strength, but for this couple it might be better to wait a while.

And to shut up about intimate private matters.


To some extent I agree - but if they're taking it for granted that extended-family will keep helping them out then yes, they'd better be telling people.  And they'd better be prepared for the answers that they might get.

I'm not a Grandma yet, but I'm confident that my kids will not contemplate parenthood until they can support their children themselves - including paying daycare.  And yes, I'm also aware that misfortune happens and of course I would do whatever I could in that case.  But if I was helping out on an emergency basis and they told me that they were planning for another baby? - my reaction would likely be similar to that of the grandmother in the newspaper column.  No one is "entitled" to have all the children that he/she wants.  My late Dh and I would have liked to have had more than two children (and we were very middle-income) - but we had to reach a conclusion that it just would not have been realistic for us.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: GratefulMaria on February 12, 2013, 10:31:04 PM
Well I completely agree that the couple is irresponsible and entitled.  However, all the MIL has to do if she doesn't want to help is....stop helping.  She doesn't have to make this her problem.  So I'm not really sure where all of the "it's her business if she is expected to help" is coming from really.  It doesn't really matter what is "expected", she still has the perfect right and ability to say "no, I can't help you with this".  And I honestly think that would have been a better response.  People get REALLY defensive when you question their choices and I don't think it's productive, no matter how ridiculous those choices may seem.  I think the far better option for MIL would have been to take a deep breath, take a week to think about what she was and wasn't willing to do, and then tell the couple "I want you to be aware that I will not be able to do X, Y, and Z for this new baby as I feel it would just be too much to be responsible for both babies, etc etc etc" whatever she wants to say.  That way she is simply stating her OWN choices and not judging the couple's choices.  Then the couple is forced to make their own difficult decisions and pay for their own choices, as it should be.

Very well put.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Shoo on February 12, 2013, 10:37:16 PM
I think it's a lot easier to say the grandmother should just put her foot down than it is to actually do it.  I know that when it comes to kids, most of us would do whatever we had to do to make sure they weren't impoverished.  That's why this is such a rotten deal for the grandmother.  She loves her kids and she loves her grandchild(ren).  It would be extremely hard for her to turn her back on them if they find themselves in deep trouble.  I think the couple knows this.  They're probably counting on it.

Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: kareng57 on February 12, 2013, 11:06:33 PM
I think it's a lot easier to say the grandmother should just put her foot down than it is to actually do it.  I know that when it comes to kids, most of us would do whatever we had to do to make sure they weren't impoverished.  That's why this is such a rotten deal for the grandmother.  She loves her kids and she loves her grandchild(ren).  It would be extremely hard for her to turn her back on them if they find themselves in deep trouble.  I think the couple knows this.  They're probably counting on it.


Yes, I agree.  Even if the most unfortunate circumstances were to occur (not necessarily this couple, but it happens to plenty of other people every day) - "someone in the family must take these children or they will go to foster care" - even the most weary grandparent will probably step up.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: veryfluffy on February 13, 2013, 01:05:47 AM

If your current ability to support your family is dependent on someone else's generosity, you don't deliberately add to the family size, and you are very careful with birth control. And I do think that anybody who is helping to pay for your current family's support gets a say on whether you have another.

As a British taxpayer, I truly wish this was true.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: bah12 on February 13, 2013, 11:39:05 AM
I think it's a lot easier to say the grandmother should just put her foot down than it is to actually do it.  I know that when it comes to kids, most of us would do whatever we had to do to make sure they weren't impoverished.  That's why this is such a rotten deal for the grandmother.  She loves her kids and she loves her grandchild(ren).  It would be extremely hard for her to turn her back on them if they find themselves in deep trouble.  I think the couple knows this.  They're probably counting on it.


Yes, I agree.  Even if the most unfortunate circumstances were to occur (not necessarily this couple, but it happens to plenty of other people every day) - "someone in the family must take these children or they will go to foster care" - even the most weary grandparent will probably step up.

While I agree that things happen and sometimes family members step up to raise children when the parents can't for some unfortunate reason, I still think that it's incredibly short sighted and even selfish to purposely have another child when the circumstances already require family members to help financially support and raise the kids. 

But, what bothers me even more is that this couple told the MIL their desires and then acted as if she had no right to give her own input, even though she's currently financially supporting the whole family.  They either don't tell her (though I think they were right to tell her) or they accept that she has a right to say something about it.

When my brother and SIL had their first child, they asked me and DH if they could list us as guardians if something ever happened to them.  We agreed.  And when they decided to try for a second, my SIL called me and said "I hate to even think about this, but should something happen to us, it would be very important to me that the kids stay together.  You are already DD's guardian and we want you to be ok with another child should the unthinkable happen."  Even though in this case, had I said 'no' it probably would have resulted in a different guardian vs no child.  But the point is, assuming that family members will automatically step up is not fair.   It's kind to consider their feelings when you are asking them to do something for your family and when they are actively doing something, you should consider their feelings...or at the very least recognize that they have a right to express them. 
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: onyonryngs on February 13, 2013, 11:50:43 AM
I think that the couple should stop accepting the MIL's help if they don't want her input.  She may not have worded it in the best possible way, but they do need to think about the consequences of their actions and also show a bit of appreciation for what she had done for them up to that point.  I think it was extremely short-sighted of them to spring it on MIL that way.  Really, if she actually put some thought into that conversation she could envision MIL's feelings on the matter and have her talking points ready.  For example, MIL has been taking care of the kid and giving us money, I don't want her to feel like we'll be infringing on her further so let me start out with something like, "MIL, we've appreciated all your help and couldn't be more grateful!  I know this doesn't seem like the best time to approach this, but DH and I are contemplating having another child for XYZ reasons.  I wanted you to know this because you have given us so much support in the past and I didn't want you to think we'd be putting you out further.  We do not want you to continue to offer us money, but we still encourage you to spend as much time with the child as you want - and I don't mean as a babysitter."
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: TurtleDove on February 13, 2013, 12:01:10 PM
I think that the couple should stop accepting the MIL's help if they don't want her input. 

This.  This is how I feel about nearly all posts about "so and so isn't treating me like an adult" when the person is, for example, living rent free with their parents or depending on someone else to pay their bills.  There is (arguably) nothing wrong with living with your parents or having them financially support you as an adult (I wouldn't do it, but that's me) but then I really think you lose your argument of "I am adult!  They get no say over my life!"  Well, if you depend on them to live, I think they legitimately DO have a say.  If you don't like what they have to say about your life, support yourself and then their opinion won't matter in the same way.
Title: Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
Post by: Wordgeek on February 13, 2013, 12:16:26 PM
Locked because this isn't an etiquette topic, but rather socio-political.