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Pampered Chef: Personal What would you do?

  1. akrebecca

    akrebecca Rebecca M. Silver Member

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    My MIL has asked us to watch her son (my BIL-now 16 yo) for three days this week while she goes out of town to celebrate her birthday. Background: She is married but her husband is in Iraq as a civilian contract worker and has been there for 5-6 years now. Since she moved back to Alaska 4 years ago, I basically viewed her as a single parent and did whatever I could to help her-I was a single parent for nine years. Including picking my BIL up from school for weekly Speech & PT appts. (he has Down's), sharing my pantry items, watching BIL while she is 'stuck' in town etc... In the last year, I have cut back what I have been willing to do. She is constantely asking, never planning (ie schedules her hair appts during the weekly Speech & PT appts.). They make 4x what we do yet seem to be out of $ and ask us for gas & grocery $.

    Back to my question. This week she would like to spend her Bday out of town doing 'adult' things (not sure what that is) because she 'never' gets to do anything for herself. I asked her for two things. First, I would like the bus to stop at my house. Second, the respite worker needs to come over in the morning to help him get ready. Her response? The bus won't change the stop location (I plan to check on this) so he does not need to go to school which also settles the need to have someone come over in the morning to help him get ready. I explained to her that Kids go to school unless they are sick and he would be bored at my house all day because I don't let anyone sit & play games or watch tv all day. My DH cannot leave his job during the day to help shuttle kids or get them ready. Right now she is on the waiting list for another respite worker (whole other story).

    My FIL called on Saturday to 'remind' me of all the times they have helped us out. I explained to him that I was grateful for the help (which really was not asked for or needed). About two minutes into the conversation I realized he was trying to guilt trip me into saying yes. I ended the phone call before I said something rude.

    What would you do? Am I wrong in asking for at least the bus to pick up/drop off? Am I selfish? Should I set aside my feelings and beliefs and let him stay out of school & OD on tv & video games?
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #1
  2. Nanisu

    Nanisu Veteran Member Gold Member

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    I would just take him to school--it's only 3 days. Is there a reason why you can't do this?
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #2
  3. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

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    I don't think that's the point.

    The point is that she is being taken advantage of....it sounds to me like she already does quite a bit to help out, and the things she is asking are not unreasonable or demanding - she's just trying to maintain her life and schedule at the same time.

    It sounds like you are willing to help out - I don't see why your MIL can't meet you half-way.

    And why wouldn't she be able to do these "adult things" on a weekend, when it would be easier to schedule? When DH and I want some time away, we don't schedule it on weekdays...because we know that it will be easier for whoever is watching our son if it's a weekend. Duh!
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #3
  4. wadesgirl

    wadesgirl Legend Member Gold Member

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    Have you discussed this with your husband?
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #4
  5. NooraK

    NooraK Legend Member Gold Member

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    The way I was reading it, it sounds like there may only be one vehicle which her husband drives to work.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #5
  6. akrebecca

    akrebecca Rebecca M. Silver Member

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    My husband is behind me 100% with my requests. We both understand about not having a respite worker (timing issue on her part). I forgot to put in that we have three kids. One in HS-17yo & she catches the bus at 6:15 (!), 7yo who catches the bus at 8:15 & a 5yo who I drive to school at 10:15. Times home are 2:30 & 4:15. BIL's school day starts at 9:30 and ends at 1:50. He cannot ride my DD's bus because he has Downs. His bus stops at his house at 8:20 am. Timing wise the mornings really don't work. I have issues leaving my 7yo at home while I try to catch his bus (yes, this was an 'option' my MIL suggested). There is no one who can take care of him at school if he gets there before his day starts. I could drive him to & from school but that means I am in & out of the house most of the day with all the other things I do on Th & Fri-I volunteer at the elementary school & food bank.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #6
  7. cmdtrgd

    cmdtrgd Legacy Member Gold Member

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    Sounds like you can't do it.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #7
  8. akrebecca

    akrebecca Rebecca M. Silver Member

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    We do have two vehicles. Mine is the gas guzzler because I don't have to drive as much as DH. Thursday is BIL's weekly Speech & PT-which would mean the day would go as follows-DD17 takes care of herself as usual. 7 am all kids up. 8:15 DD7 catches bus. 9:10 leave house to d/o BIL at school. Back home around 9:40. Leave at 10:15 to take DS5 to school. Volunteer for 1 1/2 hours (half what I usually do) at school. Leave at 12noon to pick up BIL for appt at 12:30. Wait for 45 minutes (just enough time to make phone calls) to take him back to school-don't forget to pick up lunch for him on the way because he will have missed his lunch time and he ONLY eats McD's which is a bit out of the way. Then I can either wait for him to get out of school for the day (school gets out at 1:50), meet his bus at his house, or not take him back for the rest of the day. He does not like errands and I am not comfortable leaving him at my house all alone. Which means I would have to wait for DD17 to get home run thru 3 hours of errands in a record time and still have dinner on the table by 5:30.

    I can bow out of volunteering this week and have DH do dinner so I can grocery shop & etc... As for why she can't wait for the weekend? "Because my birthday is on Thursday and I want to celebrate it on Thursday." exact words.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #8
  9. pampchefsarah

    pampchefsarah Senior Member Gold Member

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    Would it be easier for you to help on the weekend? If so, I'd tell her you'd love to help her out, and want her to enjoy her birthday, but it will have to be on the weekend, and it can't be an extended weekend since you're busy on Thursday and Friday.

    If even the weekend won't make much of a difference, tell her you're very sorry, and you hope she can find other arrangements so she can enjoy her birthday, but your family has to come first - just like hers did when they were younger.

    Just remember, she keeps asking and expecting a 'Yes' answer, because she keeps asking and receiving a 'Yes' answer.
     
  10. Shell Northway

    Shell Northway Member

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    Sounds to me that she need to stay home and be a Mom. I would love to be able to take day's off of my everyday life to for my birthday, but reality is it can't happen. Explain what you can do, and if nobody else likes it then that is there problem not yours. You can't feel guility about putting your family first. All children must go to school, no matter what their issue's are. Even though he has Down's doesn't mean he won't miss his school day, I am sure that is something he looks forward to.
     
  11. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

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    There's a saying, "Do a little more every day, and soon they'll expect you to do a little more every day." She is asking a favor. No matter how many favors you've been done in the past, you are under no obligation to do something that clearly does not fit into your current family schedule. I like Sarah's suggestion. Tell her you'll be glad to help out on the weekend but a weekday won't work.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #11
  12. wadesgirl

    wadesgirl Legend Member Gold Member

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    If DH is behind you, I would suggest that he talks to his parents and let them know that while you would love to help out that right now is not a good time due to all you have going on.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #12
  13. pc_jessica

    pc_jessica Advanced Member

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    i think you neeed to tell your MIL to grow up and take care of her responsbilities...her bday is on a thursday so what! she can celebrate it on the weekend! i have never celebrated my bday on the exact day, we always wait for the weekend! i agree with other ppl if you keep telling her 'yes' then she will keep asking you for things because she knows you will say 'yes'! you need to tell her you have a family of your own that comes first and foremost in your life, and that if she needs help you would be glad to help her but ONLY if does not interfer with YOUR family! she needs to realize that your life and the life of YOUR family does not revolve around HER and BIL. You would think she would know that, but maybe you should remind her...as for your FIL calling you, that was a total guilt trip and if i were you i would have made it very clear that you have helped them enough since HE has been gone for so long and this time is just not something that will work with YOUR family's schedule.
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #13
  14. pampered1224

    pampered1224 Legacy Member Silver Member

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    What I want to know is why are you shouldering and dealing with any of this in the first place? Your husbands family is your husbands responsibility! Sounds selfish but really. He is a big boy right? He is an adult right? Then he shoudl eb the one telling them no or not then. Not you! And I have Dear Abby to back me on that one! A few years back, I read one of her letters from a woman who was sort of dealing with the same issues. Her MIL woudl take advatage of her DIL with guilt trips brough on by the fact that the MIL and FIL helped them when they first go tmarried financially. The couple aid them back but, the guilt trips and what not continued. The DIL got fed up. When she confronted her husband to make it stop, He chickened out. Dear Abby said plain ans simply, His family, his responsibility. It is NOT your job to tell HIS mother no. It is his! Tell him to be a man and talk to her. Only he can make this terrible trend stop!
     
  15. Sheila

    Sheila Legend Member Gold Member

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    I definitely think that your MIL is overstepping her bounds by the comment that she schedules hair appointments during therapy session times. It sounds like she's basically seeing you as the nanny who's on call 24/7. I do think that it's time for you to have a sit-down talk with her & let her know that while her husband was out of the country, you didn't have a problem with stepping up to help out, but now that he's back, you feel that it's time for him to shoulder some of the parental responsibilities and that you should move back into the SIL role. You do have a life of your own, and although you have made many sacrifices in the past to help out, it is definitely time for you to start putting your children first. It sounds like you are willing to help, but she needs to understand that she needs to work WITH your schedule and not expect you to conform to her schedule. You are a volunteer when it comes to helping out, not hired help. She needs to see the difference.

    And I totally agree that it's okay to tell her that due to the bus conflict and other commitments that you had made prior to her request, that this time is not going to work out. If you are willing to watch him over the weekend, then you can offer that as an alternative. But you are under NO obligation to be her personal nanny. ;)
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #15
  16. susanr613

    susanr613 Senior Member Gold Member

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    Sounds to me like your MIL needs to hire someone/increase the respite worker's time to give her scheduled breaks from her Downs child, rather than expect you to do it for free. The facts that the dad is gone (for several years) and that she schedules "me time" (hair appts) during her son's obligations, as well as the insistence on being "free" for her birthday point to someone who is overwhelmed or tired of the daily grind of managing a special needs person alone.
    What she's doing is not fair to you, and you should not be guilted into doing anything that throws your own home into chaos. Perhaps DH can have a heart to heart with his parents about the situation and come up with alternatives to her leaning on you whenever she needs a break.
    This is a hard one - good luck!
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #16
  17. pcchefjane

    pcchefjane Senior Member Gold Member

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    I don't quite understand why the husband has been gone YEARS and leaving her alone! What "adult" things does she want to do with her in Iraq? I'm with everyone else. You or DH need to tell her that you have obligations you can't change.... Sounds like she is taking advantage of the help you have provided in the past. I can't imagine taking care of a Special Needs child all day but she does get the time he is at school DAILY away from him so not sure of her complaint that she needs "me" time!
     
    Oct 5, 2009
    #17
  18. akwife

    akwife

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    I decided that if my MIL could leave on Thursday evening we could watch my BIL. I also planned on letting her know a few other things. Called three times yesterday and once this morning. No answers from her or the machine which means she is peeved at me. Ok. Fine. I tried.

    Late this afternoon, she calls while I am otherwise occupied (always happens). "I am calling to inform you that I have found someone to watch (BIL) and I would like you guys to come over for cake & icecream after dinner"

    Sigh. Great that she was able to find someone else who could accomadate her schedule. Not sure if we are doing the cake & icecream.

    For over 7 years I have been asking her to ask me her questions regarding the kids. I am the one who knows what size they wear, what their plans are for the weekend and what they like. DH loves them but just can't remember these things. No matter how many times he tells her to ask me, she will bug him until she needs to know now then she will call/talk to me.

    As for why this was up to me is because I would be taking care of BIL. Not my DH. I have no problem 'dealing' with the inlaws. For a couple years my mom & I had issues because I was speaking my mind regarding her situation. I am done with being nice with the inlaws and will be speaking my mind from this point forward. No food? Send BIL over for dinner. No more buying clothes-they will not be accepted. Sorry you ran out of gas & have no $. Anytime she starts talking about how much she 'misses' her DH-I will remind her of all the toys she has bought and how he can't come home except for vacations because she put them into debt.

    I hated doing this to my mom because it caused tension. But it had to be done. She was stuck in a 'poor me' rut. Now, she has been asking for advice because I am the only one who will give it to her straight. MIL has been stuck in the Poor Me rut for over 6 years. DH speaks his mind to her and has no problem doing that. I will also stand firm in what I say.

    Thanks to all who gave advice. I don't think I was selfish in my two requests. I feel sorry for BIL because he has no choice in his situation. Not his fault his mom is done parenting. Not his fault she does not look out for his best interests.
     
    Oct 6, 2009
    #18
  19. AJPratt

    AJPratt Legend Member Silver Member

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    I hope it works out for you. I think you were very fair with your requests.
     
    Oct 7, 2009
    #19
  20. Sheila

    Sheila Legend Member Gold Member

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    I agree that you should not have to jump through hoops to conform to her schedule. If she was asking you to watch him because she was going to be in the hospital or something that she couldn't be more flexible about ... I could see her needing you to work with her schedule. But in this circumstance, she needs to conform to whoever is volunteering to be the caregiver! ;) It will probably cause some hurt feelings in the near future, but I think in the long run you will be much more happy that you are voicing your opinion more. Way to go!!! :D
     
    Oct 7, 2009
    #20
  21. pampered1224

    pampered1224 Legacy Member Silver Member

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    Yes very good for you! Dear Abby would be proud of you! You odviously have a MIL that also does not respect you. That is odvious by the mere fact that she asks your husband questions that she already knows from past experiences, that only you can answer. Hopefully by taking a stance and remaining in that stance, she will begin to understand that you ARE there to help but it has to be on your terms.
     
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