Overbearing sister in law — The Bump
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Overbearing sister in law

I need help setting boundaries with my sister in law. 
I have two children, and a baby on the way. When my youngest was brought home from the hospital, my SIL wanted to cime over at least once a week. I had quite a bit of tearing during delivery, and am introverted and just wanted some time with my husband and tge baby to recover. I sent her a text message, saying that I rrally wanted time for just tge three of us for the next week. My SIL completely ignored my request, and sent a message the next day stating that her husband "would like to see his nephew". At this point she had already been over atleast twice to see my son. And stupid me, I caved and let her whole family come.
Fast forward to our current situation. My son is now 4 and my daughter is 3. My SIL texts and asks to baby at least once a month. Many times I don't have plans to go anywhere, but just let her watch them and figure out something to go and do for the day, so she will be happy. Last week she and her family kept our children at their house for the day while I was on bed rest due to complications with my current pregnancy. This week my husband had it set up for her daughter to watch tge kuds while I went to a doctor appt. I ended up having to cancel on her and have my friend watch the kids because my appt. time was changed and it was too early for her to get here. My SIL text asking if the kids had fun last weekend at her house. I said yes. She then sent a reply saying, "Plan on spending more time with them this summer too". 
It's almost as if she gets offended when she or her daughter can't keep the kids. I HATE feeling like I always have to alter my schedule so that she can keep the kids. I honestly feel like she has ruined a big my of my child rearing years.
I know that I need to work on my assertiveness skills and setting boundaries. I really need tips on how to go about doing this, and what to say tge next time she texts asking to watch the kids? Side note: My SIL is a 40 year old with 3 grown kids of her own. Also, her and my husbands mother passed away about 15 years ago. Not sure if this is part of the reason she is so overbearing or not? PLEASE OFFER ADVICE



Re: Overbearing sister in law

  • Perhaps you could try proactively asking her to watch the kids? It seems like you're fine with her watching them sometimes, it just messes with your schedule. Why not ask her if she can watch your children on x day and plan your shopping or haircut or whatever for that day? Then it doesn't mess with your schedule. Do that once a month or so and the rest of the time say, "I don't need anyone to watch them right now. Thanks for offering and I'll let you know when I do!"
  • I don't mind her watching them here and there. Once every other or even every few months. It bugs me that her texts are almost scheduled, once a month. And if I do say I don't need her, she will offer to watch them the next week. I have a feeling she asks so often, because the only other time she sees the kids is at their or her chikdrens birthday gatherings, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, plus a random family get together maybe once more a year. I personally feel that this should me more than enough. Also, she is my husbands only sibling, and these are her only niece and nephew. But Good Lord, that's not my fault. I come from a very large family, so each of my siblings has a few young kids of their own, and we mind our own buisness, and aren't constantly asking for time with nieces/nephews. I really don't want to make her upset, but I just want to live my life without having to constantly wonder when the next text is coming and what I'll say.

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  • And we have asked to her watch the kids on "x" day, for haircuts, dr. appointments, etc. But it never seems to be enough. There she is 3-4 weeks later asking if I "need her to watch kid's" again...
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing member
    edited May 2018
    Maybe I'm weird, but if family lives close by and assuming you're not estranged, I think it's a little odd that you only see them on a couple major holidays and a couple get togethers. My H's siblings and my siblings that are close have visited and seen us half a dozen times apiece so far this year.

     I don't see why you're dreading her texts coming. It's just a text, and with a generous offer at that. Just say what I said, "I don't need any childcare right now, but I'll let you know when I do. Thanks!" And if she says next week, "It doesn't look like it at this point, but I'll let you know."

     That said, personally, I'd embrace her a little more. Again, assuming you're not estranged or have reason to believe they're dangerous, I think having family around and being with family is wonderful. You don't have to acquiesce to her every request, but I do think you should stop trying to keep her at arms length. It's your H's sister, what's his opinion? When it comes to birth stuff, you two need to be on the same page. Let him tell her she can't come over and then enforce it!
  • nackienackie member
    For family that’s local, seeing nieces and nephews once a month and for major holidays doesn’t seem like it’s asking a lot.  I live 300 miles from most of mine and we still visit back and forth almost that often.
    She probably just wants to be a part of their lives and is trying to do it in a way she thinks will be helpful to you. If it’s inconvenient at a particular time, I would feel free to say no and let her know what would be helpful. But I would definitely make an effort to get her involved. 
    If you don’t want her coming by often when your new baby is first born, that seems totally fair, but try to prepare her in advance. If you tell her now something like we’re not having any visitors at the hospital and we’re asking all family to only come once for an hour during the first two weeks (or whatever you and YH decide on) then she’s got time to adjust to that. You may have to repeat it a few times, but as long as both of you hold firm she’ll have to accept it eventually. 
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