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My husband and I have three children all under four years of age. My husband works 6 days a week 4am-8pm. I knew it was going to be a tough gig raising the kids so close together on my own as a stay-at-home mum, but I didn’t realise it would be so lonely and this hard. Some mornings I just don’t know how I am going to make it through the day. The only person available to help, as in, not working is my husbands mother, yet she refuses to help at all.

The only time I asked her to babysit was when I had to go to a funeral and she flat out said no. Yet on my husbands only day off on a Sunday she makes a big deal if we don’t visit her and gets angry if we don’t stay long. I am starting to get very angry and resent her. I don’t want to cause problems between my husband and his mum but quite frankly I am over it. My dad absolutely adores his grandchildren and if he didn’t work I know he would want to spend any second he could get with them. Is anybody else’s mother-in-law like this? Am I expecting too much from her? How can I deal with this situation? Any advice would be great!


Posted anonymously, 6th August 2014


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  • Wow, your husband works ridiculously long hours, 16 hours a day for 6 days a week. I wonder how long he will be able to work those hours before suffering health issues. My grandson lives close to his other grandparents, they see him just about every day and the grandmother has him all day every Friday. I see him twice a year. It’s do hard when I visit, all I want is to spend time with him, yet all he wants is his other grandparents. I don’t know how anyone can refuse to spend time with their grandkids. It breaks my heart to miss out on so much


  • That’s a hard situation, maybe all sit down and allow your husband to say to her as well that because he works so much to support his family maybe she could support him by also helping out more. My mother in law will have my kids when she can but she never visits even though we are in the same town, only if she is invited for tea or one of the kids birthday parties it frustrates me and is upsetting because she wouldn’t see them if i didn’t go see her


  • My parents lived interstate, so their contact with my kids is minimal, they weren’t interested either or they would’ve made more effort. My mother in law lived up the road and was wonderful. She was happy to have the kids anytime we wanted and she could. She also visited us heaps. She died in 2005, still miss her heaps


  • I would speak with your husband and let him know straight up how you feel. Ask him if he would be willing to speak with his mother, to explain the situation you are in and ask her if she could help. She may have a reason for not contributing.

    At the same time you, your husband and your children need to have some family time just to yourselves. Your husband will need to explain that to his mother as well. Your priority is to your family, his mother is a secondary concern.

    Because your mother-in-law is really annoying you at the moment, maybe you should stay at home while your husband visits her with the kids? You can either relax at home or use the opportunity of peace and quiet to get things done around the house.

    Good luck with your situation. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be easy.


  • Oh that’s so terrible for you. My parents live close by so my mum made her way to my house every day so she could see the baby and my dad the same. I can’t speak for my mother-in-law as she passed away, but I know if she was here she would be just like my parents.

    Do you have any close friend or sibling who could help? I hope you find some help soon.


  • Hey I’m know what your going through. Unfortunately it’s really up to you to speak to hubby and for him to do speak to his mum about it. I also think your amazing for managing 3 kids under 4 on your own. I’m not sure what your finances are like but maybe putting 1 child in daycare 1 day 3 days a week might help or if you prefer 3 kids on the one day so you get a whole day to yourself. I also have a number of friends who work and don’t make much more then covering the cost of dc for 2/3 kids but prefer it because it is actually a break for them. I hope some of my suggestions help as I really feel for you.


  • We moved states to be closer to my family when I was pregnant with baby number 3. My sister who is older with one child but much more dependant on my parents had her son constantly with my mum which meant that I could never get any help with my children. Now my youngest is 3 and my mum assists by taking the children to daycare and school 3 days a week so that I can get to work early in the morning and finish in time to pick the kids up. My inlaws have passed but I do wish they were here just to enjoy the children


  • What a beep! ! Sorry but sadly my mother in law is the same, and with my parents I have to pay them like a child care to watch my kids, I’m not happy about it but I do it just so I get a day to do everything groceries appointments etc!


  • What a difficult situation. If your mother in law is not willing to help, I wouldn’t insist at all. I wouldn’t feel safe leaving my kids to someone that doesn’t want to care for them. My family and my husband’s family live in Europe so I never had any help from them. But I understand that you need some break once in a while. Have you thought about some student that could help you out some hours every week so you can get some time for yourself?


  • That upsets me reading this, that your husbands mother refuses to help. I don’t think your expecting too much at all. She is missing out on her grandchild


  • I’m lucky in that my parents will help out whenever we need them too, and I’m sure my in-laws would be the same. Unfortunately my parents emmigrated from the UK nearly 40 years ago so I didn’t grow up with grandparents but we had plenty of family friends that we ‘adopted’ as aunts, uncles and grandparents. As for your MIL, I can’t believe that she wouldn’t help you out so that you could go to a funeral – that’s just plain rude! My parents love being grandparents, does your MIL not like being a grandmother or something crazy like that? As for seeing her every weekend, I agree with others, I would make it every second or third as it sounds like you don’t spend a lot of time with your hubby as a family, and IMHO that’s more important than extended family…I hope you get some help soon


  • I would ask your husband to speak to his mother about helping out a little bit more. I think it should come from him rather than you.


  • I don’t have any family in the state, so in a way I kind of get how you feel in terms of just having not a soul to help. I don’t have a mother in law anymore, but if I did I think I would feel the same as you – especially when you had to go to a funeral that’s just horrible that she couldn’t help out for a few hours. I guess if I did have a mother in law my dream one would be kind and giving and we could have a close relationship. If I were you I would still be nice and polite as she is the children’s grandmother, but perhaps it’s time to create your own support network independent of her. Like someone else suggested I would put my foot down about the every Sunday visiting. I would make it every couple of weeks or so, especially given that’s the one day you and your kids get with hubby.


  • I’m sorry to hear how little support you seem to have…young children and social isolation definitely equals loneliness. It’s hard to offer advice about what you can do about that as everyone’s circumstance is different. However, a few resources I found helpful when my kids were little were … mother’s group, occasional care centres – these are gr8 if you have one nearby (few and far between tho), as you only pay for the hours you use so quite cost effective if that’s a problem. Alternatively, could you afford one day a week for the littlies to go to childcare so you could get a break? As for you mum-in-law…sounds tricky and I’m a bit shocked that you are expected to turn up on Sundays like some sort of ritual, when it would seem that extended family isn’t her priorty…however on this my advice would be the general rule we’ve followed and that is that it’s hubby’s role to deal with his family and my role to deal with issues with mine. If Sunday’s are becoming a challenge for you then you have a few choices…he can speak with his mum and explain that without any support during the week you as a family (don’t single you out personally) have no time on Sundays to have lunch every week and quite frankly, even with it, every week is not realistic, maybe they could cut it down to once per month. If an open discussion doesn’t work, then you always have the choice to simply not go at all…it’s a tough one as you obviously don’t wanna upset your relationship with your husband, but if he’s working 6 days a week and you spend your only family time with his family…when do you two have time for each other? Maybe mum in law could mind the kids once a month so you two could have a lunch date instead!!!! Good luck.


  • This sounds awful. My mother in law looks after our 3year old five days a week because we both work full time. I don’t know how we would survive without her. Have you spoken to your husband about this? You deserve the support of your family. Have you considered occasional care? This would give you some time to have to yourself.


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