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Sister and Brother-In-Law being 'money-orientated' thoughtless


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Writing this and seething at the moment... my husband's sister and her husband live around the corner from us, they own their own house which is big, they have two cars, good jobs etc... we have three children and I don't work as I stay at home to look after them while my husband goes out to work so we don't have very much money.

 

For a while our house looked like a junk shop, sofa's that our friends had given us, television of freecyle etc... and last year we were desperate for a new wardrobe as ours had broken and our clothes were in piles, but they are so expensive we were struggling.. looking I found a wardrobe for sale on Ebay only to discover it was my sister-in-laws from her spare room, it was an old little wardrobe that had been left in the house that they had bought, they wanted rid to buy their own so they offered to SELL it to us and although I was really offended that they actually wanted money (shoe on the other food we would have just given it to them!) anyway we paid because it was still cheaper than buying a new one and at least we now have a wardrobe.

 

Then they announced they were having a baby and so I immediately offered to give them all our stuff as our youngest is now 2 and so I offered them to cot, swing seat, moses basket, car seats, baby gates, baby monitors, electric breastpumps etc.. all for FREE and although they asked to use a few things for the most part they wanted to buy their own new stuff... which they did, state of the art nursery has since been made... then they asked me if I would look after their baby two days a week when it arrives (for free) as my sister-in-law 'can't afford' to stay at home and they 'can't afford' child care... so I said of course, because we are family and I am home anyway with my two younger ones.

 

So at weekend my daughter's toddler bed broke and we are struggling to find the money to replace it this close to after Christmas and then my husband sees that his sister is selling the single bed from their spare room, incidentally the same single bed that my husband bought for them as a present when they first got their own house! so he rang them to ask why they didn't want it and they are converting the second spare room into an office and getting rid so he said "we'll have it, our daughter's bed has just broken" and so his sister gave him a price! an price that we couldn't afford, on principal I said "no, I refuse to buy again something we paid for in the first place!! we would have just given it to them! i cannot believe they are selling something we bought them when we badly need it!"

 

I sent them a message saying "if you are giving it for free we would love it!/need it thanks so let us know if you don't sell it as our daughter is on the floor at the moment" they replied with "sold it sorry"

 

I am SEETHING! but my husband refuses to say anything as he doesnt want to cause a rift or row with his sibling!

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The problem is that a) you know what they are like, and b) they know what you are like.

 

So they ask for you to do stuff for free and get it because they know you will, while you ask them to give you stuff for free and then get angry when they refuse even though you know what they are like.

 

And now you are sitting their daughter for nothing you find yourself feeling even more angry that they won't go against type.

 

Every time you do this, you are setting yourself up for anger and resentment. Don't engage with them on a financial level.

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You can't get angry at them for being who they are. What you could have said is 'I will look after your child, however if we need anything and you have it, taking space, we would appreciate if you gave us these things as a form of payment'..

Now though, I would say you've changed your mind on looking after a third child, as looking after two is exhausting and you only have so many eyes and hands.. Your two are toddlers and toddlers demand attention, so a third child who is also needing constant attention would be too difficult at this time.

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I don't see any good in getting your blood pressure up after the fact by seething that you didn't own your voice in the moment. Your husband is right in not confronting them now--in the moment, yes, not not after the fact. I'm sure he knows his sister and how she is. Expecting her to be someone she's not because you're not as financially liquid (and rapacious) as she is unrealistic. Truth be told, they're not obligated to help you out just because they've got means and you and your husband don't. Would it be nice if they would? Of course; but it's not like you don't know how they are.

 

Your first mistake is in thinking that just because you esteem family one way, that this woman and her husband are obligated to do exactly as you do.

 

Your second mistake was not charging them for watching their child. She'd certainly have charged you for it.

 

If they have the money to kit out a nursery and to convert a bedroom into an office, they can afford to pay you to watch their child and you should have asked for recompense. That was when you needed to own your voice and speak up. You needed the money. If you weren't able do it, they'd have had to pay someone else to watch or she would have had to stay home and watch her kid.

 

When someone shows you who they are--the incident with the wardrobe--and you willfully turn a blind eye towards it, seething with anger is about the most counter-productive thing you can do.

 

From now on, the word "no" needs to be the first thing that comes out of your mouths when they ask you for any favor. Or "I charge __________ for doing that. In cash. 2/3's up front, the rest when done."

 

His sister and her husband put their store and treasure in material things and not family. You and your husband put your store and treasure in you staying home to rear your children. There are pluses and minuses to both tacks, but both lifestyles are choices all 4 of you have made. Proceed knowing that they are not the ones to turn to when it comes to helping out family for free.

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I agree with what the other folks who replied have said and have only this to add:

 

Not only in this situation, but in the whole of our lives, we cannot control what other people do, say, believe, expect or think. We can only control what we do, say, believe, expect or think.

 

The fewer expectations you have of other people, the less likely you are to be disappointed or irritated by them. When you run into those rare individuals who believe in kindness and act in accordance with those beliefs, you are pleasantly surprised.

 

One other lesson I have recently been reminded of - standing up for yourself can be tough, but it feels amazingly good when you do it and don't allow others to take advantage of you. I have no doubt it will cause some ruffled feathers if you say, "I have my hands full with my own kids and I can't look after your kids, too," but I am also confident you will feel a boost in your self-respect after you stand up for yourself and serve notice that you will not be taken advantage of.

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Just tell them that you have changed your mind about looking after their new baby as looking after 3 young children will be too much for you. Then stick to it. Stuff them. My guess is that it will be too much anyway and you will be glad not to see her and her brand new 'this and that' twice a week while you are stressed to hell and tearing your hair out looking after 3 kids while trying to do your best for everyone and struggling to make ends meet.

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Stop trying to push your value system on them and start charging them for babysitting if you are that hard up for money. Get practical and stop being angry with people for making different choices from you. When you are so broke that your kid is sleeping on the floor, maybe it's time to evaluate your own priorities better and start looking for how you can earn some money. Never live your life expecting others to take care of you or give you things even if that's what you would do. You have to take care of yourself first.

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Your first mistake is in thinking that just because you esteem family one way, that this woman and her husband are obligated to do exactly as you do.

 

Your second mistake was not charging them for watching their child. She'd certainly have charged you for it.

Absolutely.

 

OP, you need to let some time go by and then say that you will charge $X per day for minding their child. And that if they want you to supply diapers, food, and whatever else, they can either bring it with them or the fee will be $Y. Seriously, if they didn't have you in the neighbourhood, they would have to pay someone else. If this was a complete stranger, you wouldn't do it for free. I suggest you find out the going rate for home child care and charge that. That way, it will all be kept professional and above board. And, if your sister decides that she doesn't want to pay you and will find someone else, maybe it's time to consider minding someone else's child for pay to help with the expenses. There may be laws or certificates you would have to get in order to do it, so look into it if you think you could handle it/want to do that.

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>>then they asked me if I would look after their baby two days a week when it arrives (for free) as my sister-in-law 'can't afford' to stay at home and they 'can't afford' child care... so I said of course, because we are family and I am home anyway with my two younger ones.

 

OK, this is a very simple problem to solve. As a stay at home mother, you do not have the luxury of caring for other relative's children in your home if they are not giving you some compensation to help support your family. If you were agreeing to take care of children, especially infants, the going rate for that is VERY high and you could take in some other person's child and earn a lot of money to help your family if you did get paid for that service.

 

So you need to tell the in-laws that you are sorry, but you need to earn some extra money to support your family and they either need to pay you the going rate for child care, or take their children back and make other arrangements so that you can hire out to take care of someone else's children in your home who are willing to pay you to do so because you need the income.

 

Then let them either decide to pay you the fair rate (do your research to determine what it is), or they can take their children back and you can take the slots you were using to care for their children and get paid by taking care of someone else's children instead. It is honestly not your job to take care of their child for free, and if they need to figure out a way to do that that doesn't involve you raising their child for them while your own family is strapped for money. Your responsibility is to your husband and children and giving them the best lifestyle you can, and taking in your relatives children for free when they obviously are living in high style is NOT your responsibility and frankly they have a whole lot of nerve and inconsideration to expect this of you.

 

So use this opportunity to earn some extra money by taking in a child, but do NOT take in the relative's child for free considering they have a high lifestyle and can indeed afford to pay you if they quit lavishing luxuries on themselves. Give them a reasonable amount of time (one month) to make other arrangements for child care, meanwhile start advertising to take in a child for day care money to help your own family's finances.

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btw, your husband's first responsibility is to his wife and children and is NOT to subsidizing his siblings income by caring for their children for free. Tell your husband in no uncertain terms that his sibling is using you, and as a family you need to consider your own welfare and find ways for buying your children what they need, including you getting paid for child care services that are not aimed at your own children. He's spineless if he won't agree to this plan to let you get compensated for your efforts and help with the family's finances. You SHOULD be seething, and he is totally wrong on this and needs to grow a pair when it comes to letting his sibling take advantage of you.

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they have a high lifestyle and can indeed afford to pay you if they quit lavishing luxuries on themselves.

 

Are we sure about this? From the original post, it seems that owning a home and two cars is the extent of their lavishness. Perhaps this is an issue of perspective, given that Francis is apparently renting, having clothes in piles, lives in what she describes as a dump and has a child sleeping on the floor.

 

Like Dancing Fool said, perhaps she needs to reevaluate her own situation. If they are that broke, I'm assuming they have little in the way of investments, retirement savings, education savings... It's noble to want to be at home with the kids but I also know of many moms who work from home, whether it's bringing in more kids (and charging for them!), doing telephone customer service, getting an evening job, etc.

 

These people sound like jerks who are taking advantage, I don't dispute that. Free childcare should be out of the question. But I'm also not sure they're living in the lap of luxury.

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I do work, I work evenings as a cleaner, I did not leave my child sleeping on the floor we have had to buy her a new bed and we are not soooo broke, my husband has a good job that pays for everything, however luxuries or extras are things we have to save for and plan for.. so a wardbrobe is about 3 months worth of saving and a bed is 2 months.. but we are just extra short because we bought our child a bed. We havent been on holiday for YEARS and my inlaws have been on two holidays including one to America in the past year. Our home is not a dump, i just said for a while it was filled with things people had given us, over the years we have replaced these things and our home is lovely.. its just if your family are getting rid of perfectly good furniture and they know its something we need it would be nice to be given it and not asked if we wish to purchase it.. I am definitely re-thinking the whole 'look after their child for free' attitude. x Their combined income is £4,000 more per annum that what my husband earns so they do live in the lap of luxury compared to us. They have the advantage of buying things because they like them, whereas we buy things because we need them! x

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Honestly, you need to stop looking to their finances. When you start to play that comparison game of course you're going to feel bad. And from the outside, even though you see a higher wages, and recent holidays, you don't actually know what their financial situation really is. My sister had a period where she was spending money left, right and center on clothes and make-up and holidays and nights out... and it was when she was at her skintest and most in debt to the bank. It doesn't tell you anything. The fact that they claim to be unable to pay for childcare, and need to make money off stuf... maybe that gives a better picture.

 

They don't owe you anything. Yes, it would be nice, it would be the decent thing to do. But they're showing you over and over that they just don't think like that. They see something they don't need and think "oh, I can make some money off that", they will never look at it and think "Maybe Francis could use that..." You aren't that high up in their considerations.

 

 

But I absolutely agree that you should not be minding their child for free.

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I agree about rescinding the offer to look after their child. That's their problem, not yours.

 

And, I agree with what agent said about not getting too embroiled in their financial situation. People who have a lot of "stuff" -- or who seem to be doing well because they seem to be easily able to afford everything -- might actually be "cash poor" -- that is, everything's on credit, they've got a bunch of loans, etc. A friend of mine is going through the same thing with her husband's brother and family -- they want my friend to pay over $10K for a very expensive family vacation -- some Mediterranean cruise -- for the parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and my friend and her husband can't afford it, so it's created a huge fight, and her husband isn't sticking up for her. The thing is, the brother and his family can't afford it either, really -- they are renting a house (having had to sell their HUGE, expensive house), and have in the past taken extravagant vacations on credit cards. You just have no idea what other people's financial situations are. They could be drowning in debt (hence the selling off of all their stuff!)

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Their combined income is £4,000 more per annum that what my husband earns so they do live in the lap of luxury compared to us.

 

Their combined income is £4,000 more per annum than your husband. If you add in what you make cleaning, wouldn't that make you pretty much on par? I wouldn't have thought £4,000 would make such a difference. I know salaries are lower generally in the UK than in North America but still I feel like I'm missing something. How does £4,000 per year get you all these extra vacations and new furniture?

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How does £4,000 per year get you all these extra vacations and new furniture?
They don't have three children, they are expecting their first, IIRC.

 

Sure, they might be living off their credit cards or accumulating lots of debt. Or, they might be so cheap when it comes to others that they'd skin a flea for its hide.

 

OP, the other thing to consider is that a lot of new moms don't want used stuff. At least, I've seen that happen with some of the women I knew who had children, sort of a "nothing is too good for *my* child!"... Until they got the baby, realised how quickly they grow out of all those cute expensive outfits or how quickly they get them wrecked, how much of a pain in the arse it is to haul around strollers and car seats on vacations and stuff... then they're more willing to take used things.

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I remember pre-baby going on fancy vacays, buying fancy things, and doing fancy things. Now with baby, we pinch and save where possible. While my family gives left and right whatever they can, there are so many families who don't believe in that one bit. Heck, my dad gets money from my brother for picking up and watching his kids in the evening.

 

Trust me, their lavish lifestyle that you're seeing is because they are kid-free. Wait until a year in.

 

Sharing home-use breast-pumps - that's a hygienic thing. I wouldn't want a used one tbh. And car seats have expiration dates. It's their first kid, and don't know any better!

 

Just like you deciding to stay at home - it still was a choice. Everyone can be different - with finances, parenting styles. Not everyone gets "there" at the moment you are already there. Go easy on them, and be kind - now they can go watch your kids while you sit too.

 

So just let them know that you would need this amount to watch their kid, and have it include expenses like gas, food, supplies, etc. just in case, and you need it weekly. Or just say, to shop around at other daycares cuz some provide food, art activities, learning, singing, music, moving...and let them figure it out.

 

I have this awesome much older cousin - she's awesome. When she first came to this country, my mom and dad took her in, and boy was she a giant beyotch to my mom (it's my dad's neice)..so f-ing rude. Then over time, after she got a taste of sponsoring immigrant families, she totally did a 180 and realized how awesome my folks were for helping her out.

 

My point is that some people don't know better. Assuming never helps. If you need someone, want someone, ask them directly. Don't just expect it because that's how you roll.

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