Comments
1 - 18 of 18 Comments Last updated Jan 6, 2014

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Jan 4, 2014
DEAR AMY: My husband and I play in a band. My mother-in-law takes care of our kids (2 and 6) for some of our show nights.

Some of these are late weekend nights, in which case she sleeps on the couch. We have a baby sitter that we hire half of the time, so she knows we don't depend on her for every show. And we pay her in favors or help around her home. Sometimes we give her money and/or buy her lunch or dinner.

My mother-in-law watches her daughter's child constantly (the daughter is a party animal). The child literally lives with her.

She has started to call us hours before our shows and comes up with reasons why she can't help us. Then she calls my husband selfish because he gets upset. Then she will give us a bunch of grief but will ultimately agree to do it.

I am tired of this. I feel like we bend over backward to make this easy for her. It's exhausting. I want to have a good relationship but she makes me so angry that I can't even look at her.

Are we a bunch of jerks for asking for help with the kids, or is she nuts? Do you have any suggestions on how we can make it easier on her, or should we just cut the baby-sitting ties? I would rather have her say no right away than put us through all of the grief, which has been conveyed to her multiple times.-- Confused DIL

DEAR CONFUSED: Your mother-in-law is already saddled with almost constant child care (according to you), and then you are aggrieved that she doesn't want to baby-sit for you and sleep on your couch a few times a month. This puts you somewhere on the "bunch of jerks" spectrum.

Yes, the baby-sitting she does for you versus her daughter is unequal, but she does not owe either of you automatic child care.

When she tries to say no (calling and making excuses about why she can't do it), you don't accept it. She sounds passive aggressive -- and so you should accept that for her, griping means "no."

She might be willing to have your children spend the night with her a couple of times a month instead of coming to your house. But you should also accept that she does not want to baby-sit. The burden for you is to not take this personally.

DEAR AMY: Seeing all of the letters in your column about workplace affairs inspired me to write. Listen to an old man: Resist temptation. That woman in the next cubicle may be a hottie. You may be down on your wife. But do not have that affair.

I yielded to the charms of a young, tall, athletic, alluring woman. The affair lasted months. My wife found out and was devastated. We had young children. We were separated for more than a year. My kids were baffled. And then -- a miracle. My wife agreed to take me back.

We have built a beautiful life. My children are wonderful. We have been blessed with grandchildren. Yet the "other woman" is always there, certainly not in reality, but in our minds. When we see a movie about a philanderer or a "love triangle" I still wince. I still whisper an apology. My sins may have been forgiven, but are never forgotten.

But as I face "the final curtain," my affair haunts me. I can't put life on rewind, but maybe we can save a reader or two. Please don't stray. It isn't worth it.-- Loving Husband

DEAR HUSBAND: Thank you for your eloquent testimony. Now I hope you will forgive yourself.

DEAR AMY: While I liked your advice to "Understanding Mom," whose son wanted to wear a skirt to a friend-hosted dinner at a fancy restaurant, the solution is simple: She should get him a kilt!-- Practical and Polished

DEAR POLISHED: I understand your suggestion, but my point is that this mother should not be involved in her adult son's wardrobe in any way. He needs to figure this out.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#2 Jan 4, 2014
1- I think Amy completely missed the point. This issue is grandma will agree to watch the kids, then call hours before the show and cancel, leaving them to scramble to find a sitter, then agree after giving them drama to watch the kids after all. The grandma is the one being the jerk. LW should find a full-time sitter and not bother with MIL at all.

2- Screw all that drama, talk the wife into a threesome.

3- A kilt isn't the issue. Mom staying out of her son's wardrobe isn't the issue. Winy bitchboy who loves calling attention to himself is the issue. The solution is simple, he can put on pants or stay home.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#3 Jan 4, 2014
1. I agree with the Dog. If grandma doesn't want to, all she has to do is say Not this time with enough lead time to allow LW to get the sitter.

2. Dog can suck eggs.

3. I agree, but was there when my older daughter had , um, strong wardrobe preferences for important occasions. Pictures last a long time.
boundary painter

San Antonio, TX

#4 Jan 4, 2014
LW1 needs different child care arrangements.

LW2 learned his lesson. good.

LW3 got the right answer.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#5 Jan 4, 2014
LW1: Edog nailed it. LW and husband have gigs scheduled for certain times and the rest of their band members are depending on them to be there. Backing out at the last minute affects the entire show. LW needs to find a couple of dependable sitters or someone who can sit in with the band so that one of them can stay with the kids. Arguing about who is being a jerk is not going to fix the problem.

LW2: Hindsight is 20-20. Tell you what, you picked a great wife. I wouldn't kicked your lying, cheating arse to the curb.

LW3: OMG again? No. Original LW's son was a drama queen. A kilt would not work for him. They should go to dinner in the Castro district of SF. Nobody would bat an eye.
Julie

Chicago, IL

#6 Jan 4, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
1- This issue is grandma will agree to watch the kids, then call hours before the show and cancel, leaving them to scramble to find a sitter, then agree after giving them drama to watch the kids after all. The grandma is the one being the jerk. LW should find a full-time sitter and not bother with MIL at all.
Totally with Dog on this one.
Cass

Claremont, CA

#7 Jan 4, 2014
LW1 - Team Dog.

LW3 - This is now a zombie horse - dead a long time but still roaming around.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#8 Jan 4, 2014
And so it shall be noted, that in the fourth day of the first month of the year two thousand and fourteen, everyone agreed with the "dog," (aka mutt.)

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#9 Jan 4, 2014
Lw1: your MIL sounds exhausted and overwhelmed. Why add to her burden? Stop using (including hiring) her as a babysitter and start just letting her be a grandparent to your kids again. I feel for the little girl whose mommy won't grow up,

L2: poignant truth.

L3: the letter wasn't quite like that. I was surprised that the close family friend was in the dark on this, but whatever.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#10 Jan 5, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
1- I think Amy completely missed the point. This issue is grandma will agree to watch the kids, then call hours before the show and cancel, leaving them to scramble to find a sitter, then agree after giving them drama to watch the kids after all. The grandma is the one being the jerk. LW should find a full-time sitter and not bother with MIL at all.
I see your point here but disagree about Grandma being a jerk. I think she feels some obligation to help out with the babysitting - to try to give equally to both her children. But it has obviously become too much for her. Grandma should stand up for herself and tell both her children that enough is enough and she simply can't do it any more. I suspect she's feeling used as well even though I'm sure she loves all her grandchildren and may feel that by refusing to babysit, she'll not see them very much any more. I wish she'd write in and give her point of view on this matter. I may be making assumptions based on my own personal experience in babysitting for my grandchildren. As long as I'm able to babysit for them, I'll do it. But I can see that at some point it will become too much. So my advice to the lw is to stop ASSUMING that it is Grandma's job and make other arrangements. Then make sure to invite Grandma to family events and outings so she can enjoy her grandchildren often without the full pressure of being responsible for their care. If Grandma has her feelings hurt by being cut off from babysitting, perhaps they can make arrangements to cut the number of times a week she should do this to just once a week or once every two weeks. She might agree to be a back up to their new babysitter in case that person has to back out at the last minute.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#11 Jan 5, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
And so it shall be noted, that in the fourth day of the first month of the year two thousand and fourteen, everyone agreed with the "dog," (aka mutt.)
So let it be written, so let it be done.
And thusly, on the ethernet as people everywhere sought green spaces on which to hit balls with sticks, the Edog appeared and called Foooorrre.

Which translates to: the apocalypse is on us, but hey National Weather Service predicts it is cold enough Monday for Hell ro freeze over, so maybe....

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#12 Jan 5, 2014
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
Lw1: your MIL sounds exhausted and overwhelmed. Why add to her burden? Stop using (including hiring) her as a babysitter and start just letting her be a grandparent to your kids again. I feel for the little girl whose mommy won't grow up,
You seem to be assuming that the band is a recreational thing, but there is no mention of day jobs, so I think that may very well be their source of income.
That's not a mommy who won't grow up. Also, DADDY is in that band, too.
If that is the case, they SHOULD have a regular sitter, and not be depending on the MIL. The same as ANY job would require.
At the same time, MIL should NOT be saying yes, then changing her mind. Just tell them she can't when it's too much. But leaving them scrambling at the last minute IS a jerky thing.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#13 Jan 5, 2014
NWmoon wrote:
<quoted text> You seem to be assuming that the band is a recreational thing, but there is no mention of day jobs, so I think that may very well be their source of income.
That's not a mommy who won't grow up. Also, DADDY is in that band, too.
If that is the case, they SHOULD have a regular sitter, and not be depending on the MIL. The same as ANY job would require.
At the same time, MIL should NOT be saying yes, then changing her mind. Just tell them she can't when it's too much. But leaving them scrambling at the last minute IS a jerky thing.
I should have been more clear. The mommy who needs to,grow,up,is the other daughter who dumps her kid on grandma 24/7, not the band member mom.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#14 Jan 5, 2014
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
Lw1: your MIL sounds exhausted and overwhelmed. Why add to her burden? Stop using (including hiring) her as a babysitter and start just letting her be a grandparent to your kids again. I feel for the little girl whose mommy won't grow up,
L2: poignant truth.
L3: the letter wasn't quite like that. I was surprised that the close family friend was in the dark on this, but whatever.
Wait, what? Mommy won't grow up? Completely disagree. If grandma can't watch them/doesn't want to watch them/is too exhausted to,*SHE* needs to say so. Its not LW's job to determine how overwhelmed Grandma is. And if she decides its too much for her, the grown up thing would be to say so The juvenile thing would be to make a commitment, back out at the last minute when it's too late to find a replacement, and expect everything to be hunky dory.

How you find it acceptable for grandma is puzzling. If the non-related babysitter behaved this way, I doubt you'd be as forgiving.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#15 Jan 5, 2014
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
I should have been more clear. The mommy who needs to,grow,up,is the other daughter who dumps her kid on grandma 24/7, not the band member mom.
Heh. Started typing my previous response, had to stop to go get my kids ready for bed, came back to finish it, only to find you cleared it up already.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#16 Jan 5, 2014
Pippa wrote:
But it has obviously become too much for her. Grandma should stand up for herself and tell both her children that enough is enough and she simply can't do it any more.
She should. But she's not. Instead she's making a commitment and backing out at the most inconvenient time. If she said right from the start that she was unable to watch them, there would be no hard feelings.
Pippa wrote:
So my advice to the lw is to stop ASSUMING that it is Grandma's job and make other arrangements.
But she doesn't assume its grandma's job.

"We have a baby sitter that we hire half of the time, so she knows we don't depend on her for every show."

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#17 Jan 5, 2014
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
I should have been more clear. The mommy who needs to,grow,up,is the other daughter who dumps her kid on grandma 24/7, not the band member mom.
Sorry, I misunderstood. Yeah, that one really needs to get it together.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#18 Jan 6, 2014
NWmoon wrote:
<quoted text> Sorry, I misunderstood. Yeah, that one really needs to get it together.
The midungderstanding was my own fault.:)

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