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A Question to MILs

Started by jdtm, November 04, 2011, 08:29:31 am

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I'm wondering how others deal with this situation.  We live minutes from our son's homes so "what do you say when asked to babysit".  For years I said yes to our elder son's wife - only once I said "no" and she stopped speaking to me - it's now been over six years (for the past two years she is now our Ex-DIL).  Our younger son's wife does not ask me as much to babysit (about once a week or so) but I am so afraid of saying "no" that I always say "yes" even if it means rearranging my life/schedule.  I just got off the phone and committed one day this week-end to babysitging when I had hoped to spend it with my husband.  I'm scared to say no when I know they are aware of my "free time".  What do the rest of you do?  And, does no one hire babysitters any more?  (Oh - we're moving several miles away by the end of the year - can anyone guess why)


Your post convinces me God has a sense of humor and deliberately lines up inlaws to promote clashes - kinda like reality TV.  I got in trouble w/ my ILs for not asking them to babysit enough, which of course I did because I absolutely hated them and had nothing to do with the fact that they both worked full-time and were unavailable when I most needed sitters. 

To your question, yes, people do hire sitters still, but around here it is $5/child/hour, so it does get pricey.

Do you have any reason to suspect DIL #2 would react the same way as DIL #1 did?  I think since you've already agreed, you should go ahead this weekend, but maybe sound out the situation later on, as subtly as possible?.  I know I've had a variety of people decline my request for babysitting and I never thought any less of them.  Hey, no one needs to rearrange their schedule for my convenience (except my spouse, of course). 

Good luck.


So far, when my DD has asked me to babysit and I had other plans, they rearranged their plans.  I do go a lot and there are times when I'm not available, but they will ask DH to watch her - and he does and loves it.  I don't think SIL's parent's have been asked to babysit at all.  But, usually when they ask us, it is a matter of convenience, i.e., they're coming to our town to shop or see a movie.  The other GP's live out in the middle of nowhere.  But, they do see each other as much as they see us.  Other GM HATES squalling, dirty diapered babies, so she will do more interacting with GD when she is older.  Matter of fact, other GP's have a 4/5 month old baby that the GD keeps for 2 hours every day.  GM is not involved at all. 

We try to get our GS for at least a week in the summer (sometimes that is a nightmare - making the arrangements, as DS is very controlling).  DIL is fine with whatever happens.  They will be here for at least a week at Christmas.  We get along pretty good - as I told her to start with, at least listen to what I've got to say, but do exactly what you want too and that has worked out pretty good. 


I'm with herbal.  Any reason to think they wouldn't be understanding?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


This isn't your old DIL, it is your new DIL. If you already commited to watching the child, I think it would be bad to back out now. Next time tho, tell her the truth. You already have plans. I don't think it is a big deal. I wish my parents would watch my kids for me. You wanna be my Gma? lol


Haha herbalescapes, I had the same thought too.  I rarely ask anyone to babysit, I just don't need it.  We usually rotate with friends to take date nights, we watch their kids one night, next night they watch ours etc. But my MIL really, really wants to all the time. 

Anyway, jdtm can you clarify how often both are asking you?  I think once a week is a lot to ask someone to babysit if that's not their job.  I can't imagine what she needs it for. 

I have a SIL like this and she's a stay at home mom.  She wants to go to the salon during the week and have someone watch her kids (I work at home so of course it looks like I'm actually doing nothing of importance LOL.)  Anyway, I ask why she can't just do it when her DH is home, like on the weekends or evening and she says so she has more time with him.  Um...ok, we all have that issue.  I just don't get her.  She wants to go to friends weddings without her kids (even when they are invited) so she can kick back and have a good time but then waits two days before the wedding to ask anyone to watch her kids.  I think it may be a cultural thing, maybe it's normal in her family, I don't know.  We take kids to things like weddings (when they're invited) so they learn how to behave themselves in all types of social settings and situations.  She just doesn't do that, but nothing I can do but tell her no.  She must ask me at least 3 or 4 times a month and my flabber is usually gasted as to why, she's having a yard sale and needs babysitting....um ok.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I am very bad example here....horrid, actually. When I was initially asked to babysit I said, "No...been there, done that...got the T-shirt"...and I didn't. I watched my eldest grandson alone one evening of his whole life and then one weekend he and his little brother. That's it. They both turned out to like me immensely. Go figure! I have never watched my great granddaughter, now 18. But I did crochet a baby blanket for her when she was a new born and I was in my crocheting-period. (She lucked out there because it only lasted about 6 months.) She actually still has it. :-)

When my granchildren were born I was in marriage number three (of five) and having the time of my life. What can I say?
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I'm always amazed at parents who assume the GPs will be available anytime for babysitting duties. We paid a sitter or traded with friends; my kids GPs didn't offer and we never asked them to sit.

If your x-DIL is no longer speaking to you because you dared to say no to her request (demand?) to sit, she was probably looking for an excuse to cut you off anyway. Is your younger DS's wife of a similar nature or is she easier to get along with? Perhaps you could be honest with her regarding your feelings...but only if you think she'd be understanding.

I understand how your experience with x-DIL has made it difficult for you to say no to your other DIL...my experience with my DIL has created a lot of doubt and insecurity in my life!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


QuoteI'm always amazed at parents who assume the GPs will be available anytime for babysitting duties.

You hit the nail on the head!  Sometimes, I just want to read or watch TV or putter in my house/garden - as I get older, I find I need a lot more "down time" to re-energize - a lot more.  I would not have understood this when younger and I know my children also do not "get" this.  They don't see my "down time" as re-energizing and necessary time - but then again, I didn't see this with my own parents, either. By the way, I rarely asked my parents or ILs to babysit - we seemed to understand to not infringe upon them but those of us born after the second world war (and I blame our generation and not our children's) have been too quick to jump in and solve their problems - money, housing, schooling, parenting, social, etc.  We could "help" and so we did - too much.  Then, when we get on in age (and most of us look/act younger than our parents did at this age - well, I think we do), our children expect our actions to remain the same (and so do we).  It's a catch-22 situation and it is not working. 

Luise was right - been there, done that (and even more so for those of us who are retired teachers).  I love my grandchildren dearly and I love spending time with them but after a couple of hours, the energy is gone.   i am totally wiped; my husband is asleep on the couch and I try to struggle onward.  For every hour I spend with them, it takes about two hours to recover.  So, an afternoon of watching grandchildren (and I have four) means not one afternoon out of my life, but the next day as well.  My friends get this; my children and grandchildren don't.  Luckily, the grandchildren will soon be too old for sitters (and I've already decided I will not babysit great grandchildren).  I feel that my second DIL is the most wonderful DIL in the world and I do not want to jeopardize that relationship in any way.  Being "ousted" from the lives of our elder son and now ex-DIL and children nearly killed me.  I could not endure that again.  Thanks for your answers ...


Quote from: jdtm on November 05, 2011, 06:57:09 am
I feel that my second DIL is the most wonderful DIL in the world and I do not want to jeopardize that relationship in any way. 

Maybe this is handled for you but I thought I would throw in my 2ยข.  If I were you I would just have an honest talk with DIL and tell her what you said here (above) and that you are nervous about the whole thing because of what happened with ex DIL.
Main thing, imo, is to move you out of the being scared about the situation and into some other emotion.  Like cheerful, for example.


I love this topic,  at least makes me feel that I am not a horrible person for not wanting to babysit all the time.  My situation is a bit different as, daughter and gs live in upstairs apartment .  It is way too convienent for dropping downstairs, and asking could you watch him while I run to the store, visit a friend etc.   Most of the time I really don't mind but like many here have said, sometimes I just want to do what I want to do  and that does not involve playing trucks lol.

When I say no, I get this whole guilt thing going on which I must admit has gotten better lately but it is just conforting to know that I am not a horrible person because I don't want to babysit all the time.  When i think back, I know I had four children and the only time I didn't take the kids was when I worked or at an adult get together at night once in a great while.  I always tell her that she only has one child trying doing it with four lol


I love being human and getting I'm doing a great job of it. Trying to be perfect was such hard work and the more I put into it...the less perfect I became.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


QuoteWhen I say no, I get this whole guilt thing going on

Do I understand this - last night my DIL again asked me to babysit (third time in five days but this really is unusual) and as I had a dinner date tonight with five friends I have not seen for several months, I said "no".  Guilt - she has to now cancel her dentist's appointment and I could have "worked around it" ....  Didn't sleep too well last night but I'm not going to call and "work around" it ....

QuoteTrying to be perfect was such hard work

No, I'm not trying to be "perfect" - just trying to make things "easier" for them because when things are "easier" for them, it is "easier" for me.  And, I'm not just referring to our DIL; but also to my husband and sons (who are farmers and whose lives revolve around the weather - literally).  Frankly, I would just like to be "retired" - I wish my husband would retire - I'm getting too old for this ...


IMO, if your DIL had a previously set dental app't she must have had time to find a sitter. To ask you at the last minute, thus having to cancel her app't, is completely on her. Quote from a sign: "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I think we sometimes forget who we are. There is a person inside us that was there before we married and before we had children. That person gets to have dinner with friends...that person needs to do that.

Guilt is an interesting thing. Lots of ways to look at it and define it. I read one time (100 years ago) that we create guilt so we can do what we want to do. 'Suffering' guilt is the price that makes it OK. I always liked that because it seems so honest. Whenever I see myself as an individual and see a situation where that is an inconvenience to someone else...I smile and get that my identity isn't being a convenience.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama