Author Topic: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?  (Read 11027 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

girlysprite

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1004
  • I like big books, and I cannot lie
Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« on: October 03, 2012, 07:04:08 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.

LifeOnPluto

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6635
    • Blog
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 07:36:42 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?

Kaypeep

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2302
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 07:54:56 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.

scansons

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 689
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 07:59:31 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. 

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21524
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 08:02:09 AM »
I think they are workimg on Saturday - babysitting. It is a work commitment.

scansons

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 689
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 08:04:12 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.   

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6225
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 08:15:47 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."

fey01

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 114
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2012, 08:24:39 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.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 08:40:45 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).

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6550
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2012, 08:50:03 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.

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2012, 09:33:52 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.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 09:35:26 AM by Zilla »

bopper

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12409
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 09:51:08 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.




Perfect Circle

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2997
  • Birdie in the hand for life's rich demand
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 10:14:19 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.
There's a secret stigma, reaping wheel.
Diminish, a carnival of sorts.
Chronic town, poster torn, reaping wheel.
Stranger, stranger to these parts.

Jaelle

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1509
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 10:28:49 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?
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

girlysprite

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1004
  • I like big books, and I cannot lie
Re: Appointment with parents; what is reasonable?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 10:51:59 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.