Author Topic: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax  (Read 7947 times)

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nuit93

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2013, 05:10:01 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.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2013, 08:53:09 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.

blarg314

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2013, 09:18:50 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.

elephantschild

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2013, 09:22:15 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.
"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
-- "Just So Stories," Rudyard Kipling

miranova

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2013, 11:14:26 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.

kareng57

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #50 on: February 12, 2013, 11:30:14 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.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2013, 11:31:04 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.

Shoo

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #52 on: February 12, 2013, 11:37:16 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.


kareng57

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2013, 12:06:33 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.

veryfluffy

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2013, 02:05:47 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.
   

bah12

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2013, 12:39:05 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.

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. 

onyonryngs

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2013, 12:50:43 PM »
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."

TurtleDove

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #57 on: February 13, 2013, 01:01:10 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.

Wordgeek

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Re: Extra kid when couple relies on Mom--Carolyn Hax
« Reply #58 on: February 13, 2013, 01:16:26 PM »
Locked because this isn't an etiquette topic, but rather socio-political.