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are we being used or am I just being selfish?

justlisten-tome's picture

ASD lives with her husband two stepGK 350 mile away. I am retired, SO is still working out of necessity. ASD thinks it is acceptable to ask her father to take time off of work (min. of 3 days off) and come to her home to babysit anytime they have an event to go to that requires an over night stay for the two of them. I understand my SO wanting to see his grands and try not to point out to him the expense we take on for these trips but I am growing quite resentful.

ASD has not invited us for a vacation visit when they are at home. Only invites are for our child care services. When they come to our area they stop by our house one time for 3-4 hours per trip. Otherwise they stay with her BM. They have visited us at our cabin (more appropriately they vacationed there while we foot the bill and did the work) twice. They have never taken us out to eat, brought in any food, washed a dish etc. Which all leads me to the feeling that I wouldn't feel so used for the care giving trips if we were treated more like a family and less like free help.

I don't want to go with SO because I end up doing the cooking, cleaning, and care giving and resent every minute of it. Am I just being selfish or are we genuinely being taken advantage here?

2Tired4Drama's picture

You, or more specifically your SO, are definitely being taken advantage of.

However, the easiest way for you to resolve your resentment is to disengage from your SO's adult children (and grandchildren). You can read plenty about disengagement on these boards. You don't have to make any big announcement that you will not have anything to do with his daughter/gskids, you just stop doing it.

Not sure how long you and your SO have been together, nor what your financial situation is like, so it's hard to comment on the "expense you take on." If you are helping foot the bill in any way for his ASD to visit (food, etc.) then you need to make it clear that you will no longer do it. Same goes if you are footing more of the household expenses if your SO is not making enough money due to taking time off of work.

If you are retired, then you should be enjoying this very special time of your life. You should not be worrying about someone else's adult kids.

Likewise, you should have a partner in life who wants to be focused on YOUR lives together and making YOUR priorities the most important, not jumping and running whenever ASD gives him a call.

I hope you have not entangled yourself too much financially with this man, and that you have an exit strategy planned. I don't see this situation changing, to be honest.

justlisten-tome's picture

Thank you for your response 2tired. Let me clarify some things - I have been married to this man for 17+ years. We are not supporting any of our off spring. My comment regarding the expense we take on was in regard to these "command performances" to sit with hi grands - the time off work = $500,00 for a short trip + travel (gas etc.) at roughly 700 miles round trip each time.

and yes, I have funds (that he can't touch) and a way out if need be. I just don't want this to be the reason for an exit. It just appears, to me anyway, that she shows no respect for me, and is using her dad at our expense.

So in order to disengage from this I risk his anger. I have tried talking to him but he sees nothing wrong in what she is doing, or doesn't do :? and only wants to compare MY time spent sitting, (at out house), with my BS's daughter. But we never had to take off from work, and they live w/in 20 miles of us.

Also of note I suppose is that I came into his life long after his divorce.

justlisten-tome's picture

While your solution is a simple one (and yes, he has done this in the past) it doesn't change anything really. Yes, I can stay home while he takes time off work and travels to stay with them but where is her consideration for the time he has to take off work and travel expense to say nothing of the non contributing behavior when she does visit.

I just find it rude and thoughtless.

Doorsy's picture

You finding it rude and thoughtless is just that, you. He is fine with it and wants to go sit with his grandkids. As long as he is financing it you get no say.

Peanut575's picture

Doorsy, a wife gets no say on how her husband spends THEIR money? Bit odd but ok. Definitely wouldn't fly in my household but to each their own. I'm with OP on this one though, I'd be at wits end too, big time.

Justlisten - is it possible to tally up all the money your DH spends on a trip and take yourself away for the weekend when he goes away? I know it's more money spent, but if DH gets upset about it, it could be a good eye opener for him that his spending affects you in the same way yours affects him.

If he still doesn't get it or won't see reason, your options might be to just accept this is how it is, take yourself away when he visits SD as I suggested, or walk away from the situation altogether. I'm sure there are other alternatives, maybe counseling would help your DH understand the impact his choices are having on his wife, who should be his first priority no matter what.

still learning's picture

Yes let DH go off and babysit if he really wants to, tell him you're have *female problems* and won't be able to go this time. When SD comes to visit go in the bathroom, lock the door and draw a bath. Tell everyone you need to take it easy due to your *female problems.*

DH can babysit and entertain to his hearts content, let him. I do this with my DH. He wants his kids to come over, great. What are YOU doing for them for dinner? DH is in charge of cleaning up after they leave too. These are all DH's issues not yours.

IDontCare3117's picture

Wait a sec. These trips affect her life and affect the household finances. She said her DH is continuing to work out of necessity. It's okay if he blows through all his vacation time to go babysit, then doesn't have any vacay days left to take even a short trip with OP? Does that seem right to you? Isn't one of the mantras on ST the marriage comes before children or grandchildren?

OP said each of these trips costs an estimated $500.00 between lost time at work and travel expenses. How many households can afford to have $500.00 walk out the door and not have it have some kind of impact? Bills, mortgages, etc. still have to be paid.

I don't see anything wrong with OP's DH traveling to babysit his grandkids if that's what he wants. Putting a limit on how many times a year (no more than 4) he does that doesn't sound like a bad idea to me.

ldvilen's picture

Agree. I always find these comments about your and mine money, but not ours, rather disturbing. Are people really that ignorant about steps that they think all they do is share a bed together?

DH and SM are married. They are a couple. Couples share finances. What one spends (or doesn't) affects the other. Just like any other married couple. This applies even if DH and SM are just living together too. Granted, there are some step couples who do keep their finances separate, but they are by far in the minority. Like any other normal person, most of us steps couldn't do so, even if we wanted to. In the economy today, shared finances are essential, AND, most importantly, most SMs and DHs do not want to split their finances down to the penny. Too weird.

twoviewpoints's picture

Grandpa could offer to have the grandkids for the weekend occasionally in your home. That means Grandpa doing the kiddie work, cooking and cleaning though. The parents could meet DH half way each exchange.

You could come and go and do as you please while the grandkids are they. Help when and if you want to. It would be easier in your own home. You'd have freedom, as I mentioned, and DH would probably be more comfortable too.

No, I would not like being used as the babysitter. It was the statement of how Dad/you get a few hour visit and then off they go to stay at the other grandparents house that formed my opinion. Pfft. Let that Grandma go running off to spend her time and gas when summoned.

Grandpa and you are being used. I bet the other grandparent won't do it, so your DH and you get asked.

IDontCare3117's picture

And lots of grandparents wouldn't drop their responsibilities to their spouses or employers several times a year to drive 700 miles round trip to babysit their grandkids. That's the reality.

justlisten-tome's picture

while I see your point it does seem that your grandfather voluntarily vacationing to see his grands is not quite the same thing as what we have here. IF we had been invited to visit (the family not just the grands) for a vacation and we felt it was within our means and time we would be happy to consider going. But this isn't the case. We are expected to come to babysit only at our expense (which is not always comfortable).

twoviewpoints's picture

Not 'lots' of senior parents/grandparents take three or more days off work losing part of their pay (indicates not all of this off time is PTO, if it affects DH's paycheck). This man is still working out of necessities.

They aren't being asked to come visit and have a fun socializing family weekend. No, they are asked to come babysit the grandchildren so the SD and her DH can go away for an overnight. I don't know how old this SD is but she can't be a young adult with small children. OP states herself as a senior (profile) , retires, been married 17yrs and the SD was an adult the entire time OP has been with her DH.

I imagine this SD is mid 30's to mid 40's. The grandchild perhaps teenagers. I'm not picturing adorable little 2 to 5 yr old kiddies here. That or the SD started her children fairly late.

I agree, lots of grandparents babysit, myself included. But OP indicates this SD has no lose nor time to just spend with her father and SM. Nope, just come babysit on your time and expense, oh, and don't let the door hit ya in the *ss as soon as we return'.

Relationships are two way streets. Give and take. Respect, appreciation and a genuine desire to spend time together. I'm only seeing give me give give me here with a what can you do for me Dad/SM going on. I'm not surprised the OP has built some resentment.

I 'get' where your thoughts are based on right now as you have this adorable little granddaughter (her photos are precious) and you can and do help out often with her. I've been there, done all that type of stuff too. Loved every minute of it. I left fulltime employment and went into semi retirement almost 17yrs ago (early 40s) to be SAHGMa and babysit my oldest grandson. He was four weeks old when his Mama went back to work and I had him five to six days a week so my son and his wife could work.

I'm not saying this grandfather should not ever babysit nor ever spend time and build lasting memories with his grandchild. Not at all. But I'm seeing from OP's post a very one sided arrangement indicating that GPa/SM can babysit the grands at much time, expense and effort only on the grandparents end and not get any meaningful relationship and effort in return from the SD.

If it were her DH's scheduled vacation PTO and SD called and said 'hey, Dad, why don't you and SM come that week and stay with us. We can do some sights , have some family dinners and just visit , it's been a while' or 'hey, Dad, I really have to go away for the weekend for a work conference and I'd like the kids to come stay a week with you and SM. I'll bring them down and pick them up, and spend a day or two with you at pick-up'.

It isn't the babysitting OP has an issue with, it's the whole overall situation. I can remember when my now deceased retired grandparents on my mother's side would load up the car (usually with my sister and I included in car) at 5am Friday morning for my Aunt's house 8hrs away. We'd come back on Monday and roll in about 5pm. It was a weekend to go visit my Aunt , the grandkids (my cousins) and a fun filled weekend of family time. We went about every three months. Guess what happened inbetween? My Aunt and Uncle with my cousins loaded up their car and made the trip this way. Yep. About every six weeks or so we were out there or they came back here.

When it came time to eat. There were ladies all over the kitchen pitching in with the men keeping us kids out of the way. Or we loaded up a couple cars and went for picnic to park or to a restaurant taking turns paying (if anyone could wrestle the tab away from my grandfather).

Family is what you make it. I'm only reading one side on OP's post showing anyone trying to make this a family. GPa and OP.

justlisten-tome's picture

thank you. You get it! I need to work on getting the nerve to tell DH I am not going this week. I know it is going to create a huge fight, he will go and when he comes back he will still be angry.

SacrificialLamb's picture

He might be angry, but you need to define your boundary and stick to it.

My DH goes to visit his gkids on his own. They are almost 1000 miles away, so he's not been asked to babysit in a while.

If I were you, I would politely tell DH I support his relationship with his children and grandchildren. It' s becoming increasingly tiring to make the frequent trips. You with to stay home and rest and save money to make sure the two of you can still afford to go on trips. You may go in the future, but at the moment you wish to stay home. If he balks at how is he going to take care of his gkids ask him why it was delegated to you in the first place? You're not the family member.

He might be angry, but if so stand your ground. You are not his grandchildren's Assistant Babysitter (who likely does all the work).

mapitout's picture

It's probably a little bit of both going on. DH wanting to do this is understandable and you not wanting to is understandable as well. It's very easy for the SKIDS to let you do the cooking, cleaning and treating with little in return, this is where you and DH have to be on the same page and clear on how these visits are going to be handled. It seems best not to go if it brings up feelings of resentment, I have quit going and quite frankly, don't miss it.

sandye21's picture

Since part of this problem is financial, let DH pay for the travel and time off with his own money. Make sure to schedule firm dates for vacation time for just the two of you. Then disengage from SD. Don't even mention it to DH - just do it. When you take yourself out of thr equation both emotionally and financially it makes BIG difference.

steppingback's picture

Two viewpoints this is a difficult situation because it is cutting into your time with DH at a real vacation. Plus they are being ride for not being thankful.
I have two suggestions for possibly changing the parameters. When you do go there stay longer than they need. And use their pad to do fun things. Explain you want to get the most out of their plane ticket.
2. When they are coming over plan an event for the family together. She should be more proactive in the relationship.
Actually all of the above should be done by DH. I know this isn't perfect but it does change up the routine a bit.

SMforever's picture

What other posters have said about removing yourself from the domestic slave role is key. It sounds like your routine involves, like most women, doing all the food prep, cleanup, helpful stuff at the expense of YOUR leisure time and your pocketbook.

1. Do not accompany him when he goes to babysit. Let him experience the full brunt of all the mundane chores around the littleuns.
2. Either avoid being at the cabin when they visit, or just go limp and helpless and moan about needing help in I once used a zip on cast to fake a bad ankle so the skids would do their chores. Be aggressively vocal when they arrive that you have a role for each person who is visiting since last time you were worn out by doing everything! If they try to guilt you, or ignore you, then DH can do without your presence at the cabin too.
3. Take every chance you can to develop an interest (I love the swimming pool) and plan your time there to coincide with the skid visits. I have some great swims then lounge around the club while DH entertains, and generally finds out that life isn't all fun and games with gkids.

The whole aim is to stop allowing yourself to put their needs first. This is your time to enjoy life, save for retirement, and if DH wants gkids to be part of his enjoyment, then be clear that he can do that on his own.

I've done this to DH and lately I notice he's starting to mention what a pain they answer, set some boundaries hun.

PS. Selfish is not necessarily a bad thing when folks show they have no boundaries. As them for a contribution to costs next time they try to piggyback your vaca.

ldvilen's picture

Love this! "Selfish is not necessarily a bad thing when folks show they have no boundaries." This is one of the biggest lessons anyone could learn in life, and not just in reference to step situations.

disrestep's picture

No, you are definitely not being selfish. It is simply inconsiderate of the ASD and her hubby to expect each and every time she and hubby go on a trip to call up dadee and expect that he drive 350 miles each way to babysit. Seriously, that is selfish of ASD and her husband, not you. Even to expect a younger relative to do this is selfish. Your DH is being taken advantage of.

Your ASD and her hubby need to find a trustworthy babysitter closer to where they live or take their child with them. Why does dadee have to drive that far to babysit? That is terrible to ask an older parent to do this. Ugh!

As far as the cabin visits, I would tell my DH when I go there it is to RELAX and not have to deal with noise and be a hostess, cook, maid, etc. Your DH should respect that and ask the ASD and family stay elsewhere and perhaps visit if they like for a short time.

I witnessed how my mother was taken advantage of by a sibling who kept thinking grandma was their personal babysitter. It wore my mother out. I see it happening with some of our older relatives too. These adult skids thinking gramps and grandma are at their beckon call to babysit their brood whenever they want. B.S! You have a right to relax in your home and cabin and enjoy this time in your life. You should not have to bring up other people's kids. While it can be nice to see the grandkids, it is also nice to hand them back to mommy and daddy. I don't understand why some of these skids have kids to begin with if all they do is just keep pawning off the poor kids to other people.

Good luck with all this.

Curious Georgetta's picture

It is not selfish to say that you will not go on these weekend trios. It is absolutely selfish to tell your husband that he cannot go. If he is not totally clueless, he is aware of all the factors that you have mentioned. He knows your financial circumstances and he is aware of time spent with BM as opposed to you guys. Knowing all of those things , he is willing to give 3 of 4 weekends out of the 52 in a year and the between 1500 to 2000 a year to accommodate his daughter and spend time with his grand kids. In the grand scheme of things that dies not seem like a lot to ask.

The poster should in no way feel compelled to take part in the weekends nor should she feel obligated
to entertain his daughter and her family in her home when they stop over. If she feels as though she is being used, the thing to do is to not host them in her home or cabin. However, her husband should be equally free to spend the desired time with his grandkids. Finding the funds in their joint budget should be his responsibility even if it means that he has to for go some other personal expenditure that is related solely to him.

A spouse is a partner not a possession and each should be free to make decisions that are in their best interest. This seems like a situation where they can both do as they wish with only slight accommodations being required.

sammigirl's picture

It is intrusive in your life for this to be happening. I don't know how long this has been going on, but YOU need to set boundaries for yourself.

My DH and I went through this very situation, while our Gkids were small. SD took advantage of every free moment we had for dinners, babysitting, camp trips, when and where she wanted. It drove me crazy, but I let it go on for years, to keep a "happy family" for my DH's sake. Finally one day I decided nobody appreciated what we were doing and I made up my mind to change it.

I finally told DH I didn't want to participate any longer. I did this one event at a time. There were times I would go with DH and be part of the trip or whatever. I always incorporated some fun for DH and I on a trip to SD's castle. It didn't include her or gkids. I continued to disengage from the babysitting, and doing things at her house. I stayed home and let my DH go alone and when SD brought gkids to our house, I planned an outing with GF's and let DH handle it between him and SD.

Yep! It didn't take long before that was not DH's cup of tea. He began making excuses to SD and no longer played her games. She became very defiant and that's a whole new post here.

I'm thinking if you stay home, have a nice dinner and drink for your DH when he returns; have your hair done, nails done, spa, whatever while he's away. You DH will visit when he wishes, but I'm betting it will curb and not be so convenient for him, if you are not along doing all the chores, while he enjoys his visit with his DD and Gkids. Let him go anytime and as long as he wishes; you break away and see what happens. I do not invite SD or her immediate family to our home or anywhere else. That is up to DH. When they do visit our home, it is also up to him to offer them cold drinks, or snacks; then it is up to SD to get them for herself. I am civil and respectful; thus I never give up my territory for SD and everyone is well aware of where I stand. These are boundaries that work for me. I haven't invited them for dinner or hosted them in any way for years; I totally disengaged from SD for many reasons, which I have previously posted; but I began with no more babysitting years ago.

Keep us posted on it too. It will take some time, but let us know how it's going. Enjoy your time to relax and have a break from it all. I still do this with DH, SD, and grown Gkids today. They have their own time and enjoy; I have my time and enjoy. It works, believe me. Separate all of SD and Gkids from your marriage and you and DH will appreciate your time together even more.

still learning's picture

"I continued to disengage from the babysitting, and doing things at her house. I stayed home and let my DH go alone and when SD brought gkids to our house, I planned an outing with GF's and let DH handle it between him and SD.

Yep! It didn't take long before that was not DH's cup of tea. He began making excuses to SD and no longer played her games."

^Brilliant Sammi! Love the idea of setting him free, let him see gskids all he wants, babysit whenever he wants. Letting him clean up and cook for them too. Ha! DH is not much for babysitting either, I noticed the last few times we saw gskids they came to me to play, for snacks etc. I refered them to grandpa and DH ended up hiding in the garage for the rest of their visit.

SMto2's picture

It sure sounds to me like the SD has no real interest in spending time with her dad and only uses him for babysitting services. I'm sure your DH probably doesn't see it that way or mind going there to babysit because he loves the GKs and wants to spend time with them. He also may be afraid to tell the SKs "no," out of fear they'll get mad at him and end the limited contact they do have. In my experience, a SM who points this out to her DH is "the bad guy." If I were you, I'd let DH go do this on his own. I would put my foot down if it reached a point you & your DH could not take a vacation because he used all his days babysitting for SD.

Also, I would avoid any time with the SKs or SGKs in a situation where you have to be their maid. We went on a vacation with my oldest SS23, his wife & 2 DDs where we rented a large house. Despite being grown "adults," SKs would make a mess in the kitchen & not clean up after themselves. My DH & I decided to cook one meal in because we were paying for everything on the trip and it was expensive for the group to eat out. My SS & SDIL sat contentedly never even offering to help while I prepared all the sides and my DH grilled the meat. I told DH it was my vacation, too, and I wasn't going to be a maid to grown adults & if he wanted to, he could. From that point on, I took care of my own few dishes & let DH clean up after SS & family. While I felt bad, I think DH realized how ridiculous it was, as at the end of the trip, he said we'd never rent a house like that with SS & family again. He was disappointed in them, but there was not much he could say. I'd do the same thing in your situation & tell my DH if he wanted to visit with SD & family in your cabin, or if you do go with him to babysit, you won't be lifting a finger for them. It's sad that it has to be this way, but that's often the reality of a step situation.

justlisten-tome's picture

He also may be afraid to tell the SKs "no," out of fear they'll get mad at him and end the limited contact they do have. In my experience, a SM who points this out to her DH is "the bad guy."


I don't want either one of us to be her doormat but I realize only he can make his choice as to how he will allow her to treat him. I have always treated her and her family, my SS and his wife the same as I treat my BS, wife and child. What I now imagine will happen is that when I disengage she will be mad at him his fears will come true. YIKES!

sandye21's picture

My SD and her husband did not have kids but a similar situation happened with her animals. Whenever they went away they would drop off their dogs. They never asked me if it was convenient, just dropped them off. They ruined a favorite pair of my shoes, which they did not offer to pay for. They also ruined a beautiful 12'x14' living room rug, also not offering to pay for it. They never offered to take care of our dogs - ever. So, even though these were animals, I DO understand how you would feel resentment about SD's attitude that you are not as important enough to have a life of you own. This along with the fact that SD never offered to pick up after herself or offer to pay for a meal out did not help the situation.

As I wrote before, let DH pay for the babysitting trips out of his own pocket. Schedule vacations for the two of you with firm dates. Then disengage from SD. It doesn't sound as if she really wants to have a relationship with you anyway.

fairyo's picture

Justlisten I so identify with this situation, as I was part of this set up of convenience that meant by OSD said 'jump' and DH asked 'how high?' For years I was constantly telling DH he was being used as a free babysitter by his daughter, and he could never see it. We had the grandskids here many times and went there, as I felt my place was being supportive at his side.
The difference for me, which I think some people here don't get, was that is was all her convenience. We once babysat so she could go out with BM- when I asked if BM would babysit for us the same way he just didn't see what I meant.
DH would never see the grandskidswhen he wanted, only when they needed us to babysit. It drove me mad, as I would never have treated my parents this way. I find it disrespectful and rude.
Yes, I babysit for my own daughter- she lives further away so I always have to sleep over, and I'll tell them to go out together for a few hours whilst I'm there, and they appreciate it and never take me for granted. They have no other family to babysit and have only gone out a few times in four years when I have been there.
OSD, however, goes out all the time, and has a long list of babysitters.
When I finally disengaged from OSD he went babysitting by himself- he had to sleep in his daughter's bed and then looked after the kids all the next day before she 'decided' she would come home.
Funny- that was the last time he went to babysit and they have not been here since either.
I know what it is to be a doormat- but I learned my lesson the hard way and it is not easy watching other doormats lying down so that their children can walk all over them.
However, I don't think your DH will listen to you- mine hasn't. My advice would be to let him go alone- it won't be long before he stops going... but he may not approve of your methods. I'm still on the receiving end of DH's 5 month long sulk!

sammigirl's picture

fairyo: My DH still sulks after eight years of disengagement. It changes everything when you disengage from their toxic kids; but it is worth it for me. DH is getting better, but it will never be the same, as when I was a door mat.

I have accepted the fact that my trust, marriage, and respect has changed with my DH, because of my DH and SD56's betrayal. I don't care any more. My only mistake was tolerating the treatment for 30+ years before taking my life back.

If I had never engaged with SD, it would have been good; but I did this to myself, thinking a blended family was making everyone happy. Once you have engaged, the disengagement is an ugly detachment. I have my life back and only wish I had never placed my sanity in jeopardy. The first time I said "No" was so unnerving; but now it is easy.

Disengagement is a leap of faith; go for it, you will never regret it. I will NEVER go back to the mistreatment and I DO NOT regret my disengagement, even though my DH doesn't like it. His problem, not mine.

Imthewife20's picture

No....just no.

We are approaching this stage in life with my SD as well. We have already discussed that we will not be doing this type of expensive babysitting. We both still work and are looking forward to our time.

IF he were to take on this favor, the. SD needs to pay for travel. However, asking your parent to take time off from their job is ridiculous! Hire someone!

Imthewife20's picture

No....just no.

We are approaching this stage in life with my SD as well. We have already discussed that we will not be doing this type of expensive babysitting. We both still work and are looking forward to our time.

IF he were to take on this favor, the. SD needs to pay for travel. However, asking your parent to take time off from their job is ridiculous! Hire someone!

ESMOD's picture

TBH, I guess it would depend on how frequent the babysit trips are and how difficult the financial situation is.

DH may need to work but in a general sense, the cost of his trips to visit his grandbabies may not translate into any significant financial hurt for their household. They also have a vacation cabin themselves and have had the kids visit them there too. Perhaps his need to work is related to needing insurance, or a lessor financial gap filler and not.. "I need to flip burgers for minimum wage or we won't be able to eat this week".

It sounds like the kids have acted like, well, kids. Even adult children can carry on that subordinate role to their parents expecting that parents will buy dinner when they go out and not expect the typical etiquette that an unrelated host would expect. The problem is that her DH is the dad.. but she is not the mother. So, she sees them as adults that should do better, but they see themselves as their dad's kids and he has always treated them to things and not asked nor expected "repayment".

It also sounds like the DH enjoys the time he can spend with his grands. So, to a certain extent, unless it is causing a financial hardship and it isn't expected too often, it may be something that the OP might want to try to avoid resenting. She can stay home and do things she wants instead. Maybe if it's happening too often she can ask her DH to set some limits with his child.

It's also ok for her to ask for help and contributions from his children. You're coming to visit this weekend to the cabin? Great. Can you pick up some steaks and salad fixings with a couple bottles of wine for the group for Saturday night. We are all out of toilet paper and paper towels... please be a dear and pick them up on the way.

I think sometimes looking at people's intention is important and can help to be less annoyed. I don't think the kids are intentionally trying to hurt anyone, they are just doing what dad has always allowed and offered. They split their time with their mother and perhaps stay with her because she has more room? maybe they sense a chill from the new wife? Who knows, but it isn't likely an attempt to avoid dad because they DO come and spend several hours there.

fairyo's picture

I guess it is a case of upbringing too- I was brought up on next to nothing- my parents never had any spare cash- there were treats but they were very small compared to treats kids get now. My DH got things he wanted- no questions asked from his parents and so he does the same for his kids. The problem is a lack of balance here- my daughter often thanks me for the fact that I didn't pamper them, my kids are independent adults and hard working people. Whereas, DH's kids think they are so entitled and all daddee needs to do is put his hand in his pocket. They never got past their teens with him. I cannot reconcile my view of family life with this mindless indulgence, and I used to worry that DH would be left high and dry by his kids when he can no longer work and may need something from them. Now, I don't really care. He's reaping what he sows...

Rags's picture

Time for a spreadsheet. Fill out all of the expenses and time. With them on one side of the balance sheet and you and DH on the other. Then sit down with DH, review it, and if necessary... roll it up and smack him about the head and shoulders with it vigorously until he gains some clarity (figuratively on the smacking of course).

We spend a lot of time at my parents home. When we are with them we make a very concerted effort to participate in their lives and cover the cost of our presence. If we go out..... after years of diving for my wallet in competition to get the bill before my dad does we came to a compromise of splitting the check down the middle. It works fine when it is jus the four of us but when our son is there my dad gets a smug grin because he picks up half anyway even though there are three of us and two of them. I let him enjoy his support of his family but ..... I then make sure to so other things.

When our son was young we avoided dropping him at my parents for them to watch him. We just didn't want to be those people. My brother and his wife on the other hand.... they would dump their three on mom and dad regularly and often without much notice. This has always irked me to no end. Anytime my niece and nephews were dumped on my parents our phone would ring and mom would ask for us to drop our kid off for a visit. She loved having them. We would always make it clear that we didn't want to impose but ..... there is no saying no to my 5'2" very determined southern lady mom. She likes having her grand spawn swarming around her any time she can make it happen.

Now... when we visit my wife's family.... we usually are the ones to pick up all of the bill regardless of how many people are there or what we are doing. It is the only way that we can get their participation and since I want my wife to enjoy activities with her family that is what we do. They wouldn't participate otherwise. It chaps my ass because my family is all about making time and effort with each other while hers is about who is on the shit list of the moment.

Anyway... I would make it a point to start asserting your perspective a bit to foster a change that will reduce your irritation and hopefully help your DH gain some clarity so he can start improving the equity in his relationship with his daughter's family.

Good luck.