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#1 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I hope I'm in the right place. Let me start off by saying I'm not a parent myself but could do with the input of mothers and to help me understand a problem I have.

Ill try to keep it as brief as possible but in short my husband and I are in our late twenties and have been married for two years now. We don't have kids yet out of choice as we are both extremely busy in our careers (both in publishing) and want to have children in a few years when we are ready and able to do so.

My husbands sister is a single parent of a six year old child. He requires a lot of attention and energy (as I imagine all 6 year olds would). My problem is that hubby's sister has just got a bar job every Saturday evening from 6 till 10. She asked hubby whether we would have her son every Saturday night while she works.

I don't want to sound rude but I feel as though she is asking too much of us! We both work so much during the week we barely get to see each other. By the weekend we are so exhausted we like to relax, maybe get dinner or see a movie on a Saturday. I've tried to speak about it with hubby but he thinks we should just babysit for free because its family but its eating into our quality time together. Hubby isn't happy but he says you do what you have to for family.

There are other family members that could watch her son but as we always treat him well and play games Etc he says he wants to
Come to us which is lovely and flattering but I can't cope with it every Saturday. We don't have our own kids yet for a reason because we enjoy the child free life at the moment so I don't see why we should look after someone else's during our weekend.

Please let me know how to tackle this problem and maybe try and put your perspective on things as a mother. Maybe I'm being too harsh I don't know.
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#2 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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Its only four hours. If you really don't want to watch him go out with your friends and leave your husband to do it. I don't think it sounds liek  a huge deal. If it was all day or even half of the day then maybe but 4 hours at night once a week is not bad. And by doing this favor for her she will be more inclined to do favors for you. He is your nephew. Your husband wants to do it. I would just let it be. You might be surprised how after a couple months you will really enjoy that time.

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#3 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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Been there. Done that. More later.
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#4 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 05:32 PM
 
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Do not assume she will be inclined to do anything for either you or your husband. If you can give up the time and not feel resentful go ahead. It'll be good practice for when you do have children, you'll have close ties to this nephew, who will probably look out for your children, like a big brother. Then, if she does give to you in return, great! That'll be icing. Do it for your husband or nephew. Then if she doesn't give to you, you'll have less resentment. Also, if you and your husband want to go out on an occasional Saturday night, just let her know with enough time to make other arrangements. Just be sure you aren't expecting anything from her in return. I thought my sister would return the favor, and she saw no reason to give me anything. To say I'm angry is an understatement.
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#5 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 06:21 PM
 
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I don't think you are out of line for not wanting to do it every week.  Like you said, you don't have kids yet for a reason!  I love my niece and nephew dearly and would happily babysit them, but wouldn't necessarily give up a large chunk of my free time each week every single week unless my sister really had no other option (in which case, obviously, I would be happy to do whatever I could to help!)

 

I would probably offer to do it every other weekend and switch off with another family member since there are other people available.  It is so sweet that your nephew asked to go to your house, but that doesn't obligate you into anything.  I think you guys are great for being there for your dh's sister when she needs help. 

 

Similar situation, my parents have said that they love my kids and love to watch them and spend time with them, but will never be the type of grandparents who commit to being daycare for them or watching them on a regular set schedule basis because they simply don't want to be tied down to it!  That is understandable!  I know they would drop everything (and have) to help me when I desperately need it and that is more than enough for me to know that I have that backup :)

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#6 of 25 Old 11-04-2012, 11:25 AM
 
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Agree with PP, do it when you want, your DH will do it the rest of the time, because he wants too. Be generous. 

If you are opposed, then how about once every other week? Then your relatives get a chunk of time to be together. What a great gift you would be giving them. You might receive a lot more than you can imagine. And if you don't, then after a month or two give them notice that you are not willing to do it anymore.

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#7 of 25 Old 11-04-2012, 04:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JessicaMay10 View Post
Please let me know how to tackle this problem and maybe try and put your perspective on things as a mother. Maybe I'm being too harsh I don't know.


If you don't want to do it every Saturday then just say so. Don't agree to do it and seethe inside though. If you are willing to do it every other week then tell her that. If you don't want to do it at all then say so.

 

It isn't rude to ask a close family member that her son really likes if they would be willing to spend time with him and keep him safe 4 hours a week. She must think very highly of you both.

 

Keep in mind that this is your nephew and it is nice to nurture a close relationship with him and your sil. Once a week for 4 hours isn't really super demanding... if he has an early bed time like a lot of young kids he may even sleep part of that time so you or your dh really wouldn't have to do much at all. It doesn't have to ruin your quality time as a couple unless you have a negative attitude toward doing it.


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#8 of 25 Old 11-04-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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Hmmmm... Well, I think she is asking too much. Yes, it's only 4 hours but it is premium time for a couple who work all week. How many invitations will you have to turn down because of this prior commitment? I would never ask anyone to do this. However, if your husband wants to do it then I think you should make peace with the idea but make it clear that you will be going out with the girls some Saturdays. I also think the every other week compromise is a good idea.

Your SIL is lucky to have family who are willing to help out. I hope she appreciates it.
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#9 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 07:19 AM
 
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I think it would be good for bonding between nephew and uncle. That said, maybe have  another family member do it once or twice a month, for your sake.  

But really, its only 4hours.  It sounds like your husband is more inclined to do it because its his nephew.

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#10 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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I don't want to sound rude but I feel as though she is asking too much of us! We both work so much during the week we barely get to see each other. By the weekend we are so exhausted we like to relax, maybe get dinner or see a movie on a Saturday. I've tried to speak about it with hubby but he thinks we should just babysit for free because its family but its eating into our quality time together. Hubby isn't happy but he says you do what you have to for family.
There are other family members that could watch her son but as we always treat him well and play games Etc he says he wants to
Come to us which is lovely and flattering but I can't cope with it every Saturday. We don't have our own kids yet for a reason because we enjoy the child free life at the moment so I don't see why we should look after someone else's during our weekend.
Please let me know how to tackle this problem and maybe try and put your perspective on things as a mother. Maybe I'm being too harsh I don't know.

 

I bolded all the statements that I think are significant. You are unhappy with the idea and don't think you can manage it well. It sounds like it is creating problems between you and your husband and eventually the resentment will disrupt your extended family relationships with your SIL and likely others too. Agreeing to do this when you really don't want to do it sounds like a recipe for resentment and disaster. 

 

I think you need to be honest with everyone and tell them that you aren't able to help out every weekend. How much you explain to others aside from your SIL is up to you but you may just want to stick with a simple "no, it just isn't something we can do every Saturday" to avoid arguments. 

 

If I was the mother of this child, I would not want to leave him with someone who didn't really want him there. I also wouldn't want to create friction in someone else's marriage. 

 

My answer might be different f there was no one else to help out but it sounds like there is. FWIW, I don't think your SIL is asking too much, if you and your DH were happy and expected to enjoy taking care of the 6 y.o. Since that's not the case, I would suggest that you offer to help 2 or 3 times per month and set up a schedule with other family members. I don't know if even that is too much for you to consider. 

 

One other idea, if you can afford it, is to offer to pay for babysitting once or twice a month instead of helping every Saturday. 

 

If your DH insists on taking the child in every Saturday, then I think you have to find a way to make peace with it. As others have suggested, make your own plans and go about them on your own.

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#11 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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My husband is a wonderful, loving guy. He has in the past had us do things with family that I haven't wanted to do (having his mom stay at our house for a week after the baby was born) and what I learned from that was the best thing for our marriage is for me to go along with it without complaining about it. If he wants to do something nice for his sister, don't give him a hard time about it.


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#12 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 05:17 PM
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My husband is a wonderful, loving guy. He has in the past had us do things with family that I haven't wanted to do (having his mom stay at our house for a week after the baby was born) and what I learned from that was the best thing for our marriage is for me to go along with it without complaining about it. If he wants to do something nice for his sister, don't give him a hard time about it.

 

 And I've found the opposite.......not stating how I feel just leaves me resentful.  


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#13 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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I wouldn't want to do it every Saturday night either.  I'd do it once a month, and let him sleep over,(it could be a blast)   but I wouldn't want to do it every week. 

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#14 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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I would not agree to do it based on what you wrote, that could cause a lot more issues like a domino effect.  Keep your relationship with the little guy a happy one, not a forced one.  I think the PP who said maybe once a month had a good idea.  


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#15 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 06:40 PM
 
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It would be wonderful for your SIL if you wanted to, but it sounds like you don't and that's okay, too. I'm inclined to agree with PPs who have said that since your husband wants to do it, you should be fine with it and respect that he wants to help out his sister and spend time with his nephew. But on the other hand you, even though it's only four hours once a week, Saturday nights are pretty important to couples who don't have kids! I agree that I would try to work out an arrangement of doing it a couple of times a month and swapping with other family members. This might out of line... but maybe agree to it with a clause that you'll help front the cost for a babysitter (if you're able) on nights when you guys have plans/don't feel like doing it? I only suggest this because it seems like your SIL is trying to save money/might be strapped for cash. I know money and family can be messy, but if I were in your shoes, I'd probably help her pay for childcare if I was able to.


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#16 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 06:40 PM
 
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I just went through something similar with my own sister only in this case *I* am the mom and i asked her to watch my kids for ONE nine hour day so i could do something important. I had no one else to watch them. She said no without much explanation and it really hurt my feelings and confused me.

 

I'm going to implore you if you decide to not watch your nephew PLEASE at least act like you're sorry about that. She's not asking you to watch him so she can party, or go to the spa, or have a leisurely day alone...she is asking so she can WORK. i dont know your SIL or if there is "history" there of her asking for lots of favors or not being responsible, but if there arent outstanding issues that make you want to steer clear....please at least attempt to help her out. I understand not wanting to make a commitment for EVERY saturday....can you do every other saturday? One saturday a month??? Can you say "i'd hate to commit to every single saturday because we might have other obligations, but we'd love to be able to help you out every other saturday (or whatever you decide)...maybe sister/grandma/aunt/bestfriend/etc can do the other days?" or something like that. When i asked my sister for this ONE day of help she simply said "nope, i dont want to do that." It would have made me feel a bit better about it if she would have at least said "oh im so sorry, wish i could help but its just too much for me..." or *something.*

 

As a mom, i know my kids are my responsibility and no one else's. And as a single mom by choice i know this IS my choice and its up to me to figure out stuff like childcare. But just being honest...it would bug me if my childfree brother/wife complained about FOUR hours one time a week because it was going to eat into their leisure time when i was just trying to work to pay the bills. I would KNOW it wasnt their problem but i would still FEEL bummed. Before my boys started preK i got NO free time at all. No lunches with friends or movies by myself or anything like that. And i have a large closeknit family and NONE of them would offer to keep my kids for a couple of hours so i could, say, go to the grocery store in peace (let alone do something just for ME to recharge my 'batteries') A year ago i found a respite type place that i could drop them off 3 hours twice a week, i nearly kissed the woman (it was free too!) And now they go to preK part time thats helpful in being able to run errands and such. But it just hurts to know that no harm would come to my sister by offering a few hours a MONTH or something just to help out, and she doesnt.

 

So i guess my vote is if there is any way you can help, in the interest of family harmony and helping out a single mom i say do it. Maybe not every week if you feel really strongly about it but please offer something. Otherwise i think you just look selfish. (And, again as a disclaimer, you have every "right" to be "selfish" but it still would bum me out if i was the mom.)
 


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#17 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 07:05 PM
 
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Let me start by saying that I love kids and am very good with them.  It comes natural to me.  High needs kids don't stress me out.  Repeat: I love kids!

 

But...My oldest is now an adult and my youngest is a tween and I am SO done with the little kid stuff!  I no longer have the desire to be around kids.  I'm getting old and feel like I've left that season of life far behind me.  Do I love my nieces and nephew?  Of course!  But do I want to be committed to a regular schedule of babysitting?  Heck NO!

 

I work hard all week and then the weekends are for relaxing.  Every other weekend with my kiddos and EOW without.  So we have it common that we claim our "free" time as our own.  My suggestion?  Offer the first Saturday (or 2nd, or whichever) of each month and be unavailable the other three.  You are child-free by choice and deserve the freedom that comes aong with that choice.  The time will come when your house will be ruled by a small person and then it will no bib deal to add a nephew/cousin to the mix each week.  But now, you deserve your free time.

 

And FTR, I am a single mama.  But I always managed to find work that didn't require me to ask others for help caring for my kids.  So I can feel your SIL WRT to needing help, but I can see the other side of it because I never relied on anyone to babysit for me.  But that was my choice, YMMV.


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#18 of 25 Old 11-06-2012, 05:31 AM
 
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Do not assume she will be inclined to do anything for either you or your husband. If you can give up the time and not feel resentful go ahead. It'll be good practice for when you do have children, you'll have close ties to this nephew, who will probably look out for your children, like a big brother. Then, if she does give to you in return, great! That'll be icing. Do it for your husband or nephew. Then if she doesn't give to you, you'll have less resentment. Also, if you and your husband want to go out on an occasional Saturday night, just let her know with enough time to make other arrangements. Just be sure you aren't expecting anything from her in return. I thought my sister would return the favor, and she saw no reason to give me anything. To say I'm angry is an understatement.

I agree with this.

 

If you decide to babysit, make sure you set up clear rules. Decide how you're going to deal with misbehavior and clear that with your SIL. Decide how you're going to handle meals and bedtime and all that - details! Make a clear plan and hendle it like you would for a neighbor or friend. When it comes to family we can sometimes blur all those lines and assume we think/behave more similarly than we do.

 

Many years ago I was in a similar position.  I had no children and my sister had a young son. She was and is a single parent and asked for help now and then. Whenever I said yes, she pushed for more and more. Whenever I said no, she cut me off and wouldn't let me see my nephew. We went back and forth many years until just recently when I watched my nephew (now a teen) for a week while she went on vacaction. And then two more weeks when he got suspended from school and she had to work. And then she asked me to watch him after school "to keep him out of trouble" and he disobeyed and went missing for half an hour. I yelled at him about it (poor parenting choice but I was extremely angry because I had no idea where he was and thought something terrible happened) but then I apologized to him. But he complained to my sister and now she won't talk to me.

 

Keep in mind that in return she's watched my son a handful of times. And she rarely respects my rules. She feeds him whatever she wants, lets him watch South Park and other inappropriate TV, and refuses to get CPR although I've asked her to do so for over 3 years. Moreover, she showed up late and missed his adoption (the court date was set weeks in advance). She's simply selfish and unwilling to accept much personal responsibility.

 

I don't know what your SIL is like. But if I were you I wouldn't be expecting any favors in return.

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#19 of 25 Old 11-06-2012, 11:51 PM
 
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 And I've found the opposite.......not stating how I feel just leaves me resentful.  

 

I think there's a difference between sharing how I feel and complaining/making a big deal out of it. 


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#20 of 25 Old 11-07-2012, 04:56 AM
 
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I often think of how i used to be  before i had kids.  (im not saying you are like this OP, far from it) Some good friends of mine asked me once only, to watch their son for a day. I panicked, i had no idea what i  would do with him, and was afraid something bad would happen, and it would be all my  fault so i said no.  Perhaps if they had explained, that it wouldnt be so hard, or given me some tips, i would have been more willing. In retrospect, im glad they still talked to me after that.  There is no reason for non parents to have any clue about what its like to be a parent, its a 24/7 job. I mean, i call it planet parent. Thats where i live now.

 

 Since its a saturday night, and that is prime time for childless working  couples, i vote for every other saturday. Perhaps offer if you have an extra free saturday. If something important comes up, give her PLENTY OF WARNING.  Maybe let her know that sometimes you wont be able to do it, so she has a back up.  Im still in favor of the bonding issue between uncle and  nephew, that is an additional factor...

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#21 of 25 Old 11-07-2012, 06:00 AM
 
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I am a mom but I wouldn't want to watch anyone's else's kid every. single. week. I get that it feels like a huge commitment, though it's only 4 hours, but on a Saturday night? No. I just wouldn't want to do it. Depending on who & why, I might do it anyway, but I wouldn't love it or anything. You can't go anywhere for the day on Saturdays, you can't take off for the weekend, you can't go to an event on a Saturday night... it just sounds like a situation you will ultimately resent.

So yeah, I agree with offering to do once or twice a month, since she has other options. If she had no other caregivers available, I'd probably just do it every week for a bit, but why cause yourself all that resentment if there are other options? Maybe once a month you watch him together, and once you go out while DH watches him, and she asks someone else to do the other 2-3 weeks each month.

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#22 of 25 Old 11-07-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies but here is my .02:

 

I don't know anything about the family dynamics at work here so this may all be invalid depending, but here goes:

Before I had a child I had no idea how freaking hard it is to be a parent. None. At. All. On top of that, your SIL is a single mom. I can't even imagine. I have the support of family (occasionally), daycare, a babysitter (sometimes), and a very active husband who loves being a Papa.....and yet I feel overwhelmed and pushed to my limits more than I ever imagined I would be. I cannot even begin to imagine what a single mama must endure and the inner strength she must find to be a good parent let alone a good-enough parent. I assume she is working to help support herself and her son. Good on her! I agree that if her brother wants to and is able to help her out, not out of obligation but because he wants to (and it did sound a bit like maybe he doesn't want to but feels like he has to....maybe have a real heart-to-heart with him about this and find out), then you should try to find a compromise, as well as see the best in this.

First off you could and should set a limit and say you/your hubby only babysit every other week and make the other Saturday night your extra-special date night. See if your SIL can find a babysitter or another family member, or a friend to trade babysitting with or some other arrangement for the other Saturdays. Also, I would try to look at this as practice and getting a sneak preview of parenting. Not only the time spent with your nephew but learning to balance the needs of a marital relationship and the huge demands of a child. I did learn a lot from watching my friends who went before me raise their kids. I wish I had had more experience and time spent with children before I had my own. I might have felt better prepared. Because I can tell you, and there's no way you'll know until you're there: but being a parent is really intense. Maybe spending the time with your nephew will give you a glimpse so you won't be as shocked as I was to discover just how hard it can be.

 

And if all else fails, and your hubby really wants to help his sister and isn't just doing it out of a grudging obligation, then just make Saturday night your girls night or your night for yourself and enjoy that, and find time somewhere else to connect with your hubby. BTW that is another skill you'll need once you become parents so might as well practice now. thumb.gif Oh and I forgot to mention, once you have a kid this will be time banked and your SIL will probably feel more interested in helping you guys out (which you will need!)

 

Best of luck to you. Your feelings and needs are legitimate and I hope you can find a balanced solution.


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#23 of 25 Old 11-07-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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I can certainly understand the reticence at taking on this obligation every Saturday. But I can also understand Hubby's feeling of obligation to his family. And I tend to side with hubby, because it really is a matter of family helping one another.

 

I'm a single Mom. My parents have, over the years, helped a lot with the kids. My bro & SIL? Not really. Over the 14 years I've been divorced, I think they watched the kids maybe twice. That is what it is. But when my bro's MI fell ill, and they needed help caring for her? My Mom and I stepped up to help them. Mom spent nearly every day there. Feeding her, talking to her, cleaning her, etc. I gave up my two days off a week to spell her. Because... its what family does.

 

Just another perspective.

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#24 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 12:19 AM
 
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I both agree and disagree with other comments here though it is all up to you if what will be your decision.

If I were in your position, Not to accept to babysit?slightly harsh,.your husband's sister will be working maybe she see's you and your husband to be trustworthy to babysit and the kid loves you. But I agree with the suggestion that you might accept the babysitting for 1-3 times a month though it was just 4 hours a week having to babysit every week is too much. The kid can be in his other relative when he is not with you.

 

I'm happy for you. You can see how considerate and understanding your husband towards his family whereas this show that he will be very responsible and caring for your own family.joy.gif Goodluck!


Living is great but being a MOM is even better

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#25 of 25 Old 11-08-2012, 05:23 AM
 
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Id tell her that for the first month, you'd watch him ever Sat night, because you know she needs the help and it would likely take a lot of stress off her plate to not have to worry about finding a sitter while she is settling into a new job. After the first month, I wouldnt want to watch a kid every.saturday.night. If you work a normal week, Saturday is the only day that you have been off all day, and you dont have to work the next day- making it the most optimal date night, IMO. 

 

I'd say something like, "Hey, we are totally cool to take him every Sat night for the first month, but after that I think we'll need to find someone to alternate weeks with because sometimes we like to spend Saturday nights together since our schedules are so busy and we dont get to spend as much time together as we'd like." 


Holly and David partners.gif

Adaline love.gif (3/20/10), and Charlie brokenheart.gif (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical  rainbow1284.gif  twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)

SIDS happens. 

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