VERY Frustrated with SIL need to vent-LONG post

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2014
VERY Frustrated with SIL need to vent-LONG post
6
Fri, 08-15-2014 - 9:48am

This is my first post here so bear with me please :)

A little background on me: I am in my early 40s, single, no children and I USED to have a nice job, stable life...until 2008, I lost my job and had to move in with my brother and sister in law.  Like so many others, I'm sure, I now am 'stuck'....I DID look for work, anything I could get, but the state I live in was hard hit and is now just recovering. I am now going back to college so when I get back out there, I have (hopefully) a leg up in the job market.

So, here's my frustrating story:

My SIL and brother have 2 children, ages 5 and 2.  I have been with both kids since birth - held them and cared for them straight from the delivery room.  So as you can imagine, I am very close the the little ones. My brother works in law enforcement and works long, unpredictable hours. My SIL works with the school district but has summers off.  In January, my brother and SIL suddenly called it quits and divorced so my brother is living elsewhere - not far, but I still don't see him much.

This summer has come and gone and I have been nothing but frustrated, mad, sad, lonely...you name it.  All summer my SIL has been reading (let me digress...I love to read but there is a time/place) when I say she has just been reading I mean to the extreme.  She wakes up, she has either a book or her ipad open and reading, during the day, same thing and before bed.  I would not get so irritated with this IF she stepped up and helped me with HER kids.  The kids will ask mommy a question and she completely ignores them. She doesn't do any housework nor cooks (never has-I am the one who cooks, cleans, and takes care of the kids) I even make my nephew's lunch for school (he's in summer school before starting kindergarten)SHe even calls them 'brats' to their face if they make noise and interrupt her reading. Since then, my nephew has now been calling is little sister a brat. I don't think that will go over too well in kindergarten when he calls someone a brat to their face, but they will have to deal with that bridge if it ever comes to that.

I ask my SIL a question, try to talk to her (you know, carry on an adult conversation), whatever and I have to repeat myself and call her name, to which then she looks up from her ipad, surprised and says, "huh"

I know this is SO VERY petty compared to what other problems there are but for years I have been enduring this and I fear I am getting to the brink, if not aleady there, to caregiver burnout. I could go on and on with some whopper of more stories with SIL but I will spare you.

I know there really is no sound advice out there, but what would you do i this situation or handle the SIL?

Also, my 2 year old niece is becoming more and more toddler-ish...naturally.  Any parenting advice as to how to get her to listen to me since it appears I am the major caregiver?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Fri, 08-15-2014 - 12:00pm

Okay, let me get this straight, you have lived with your brother and SIL for 6 years, and in that time have had no job nor attended school to get a job (until now)?  I assume you don't pay rent?  In effect, you have created your own problem, you've overstayed your welcome and now are seen merely as "the help" to your SIL.  I don't know why she and your brother divorced, but it's odd that you are still living with your now ex-SIL, as opposed to your own flesh and blood brother...?  I realize you have a close bond with your niece and nephew, but they are not your children.  Have you ever asked your SIL to put down her book/iPad and had a face to face conversation about the situation?  If not, why not?  If you don't change what YOU are doing, nothing around you will change either.  You need to start getting out there looking for a job (any job), getting your own place, and going to school.  Where do you think you will be in 6 more years if you don't? 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 08-15-2014 - 1:18pm

I am thinking that your SIL reads a lot because she is probably trying to avoid you.  I can just imagine that maybe your DB and SIL thought they might be taking you in for a few months and here you are 6 yrs later and with no end in sight!  I also assume that you aren't paying rent and agreed to help around the house in exchange for living there.  So I guess there is no "handling" of your SIL--it's her house and you are lucky that she isn't kicking you out.  I assume that you didn't go w/ your B because maybe there was no place to go and maybe both of them thought it would be more convenient for everyone if you stayed and could help out with their kids--but she is not your relative, so she kind of has to put up with you.  So you are basically the nanny.  But it's too bad that when she is off from work, she doesn't take the time to spend with her own children and enjoy the time she has with them--but that is really her loss and there is nothing you can really do about it, except maybe remind her sometimes if her kids are asking for her.  If you are really burned out, you could look for other living arrangements, but how could you do that with no income?  You could even try being a live-in nanny to someone else's kids--sometimes if they aren't your relatives it's easier to set boundaries as far as your working hours.  I don't think another family would expect the nanny to be working 24/7--they always get some time off and you would actually get paid.  Plus most parents actually like spending some time with their kids when they get home from work.

As far as the 2 yr old question, you could get some books from the library about the toddler years and get some ideas.  It's a difficult age group because you have to watch them all the time and they aren't always cooperative--there is a lot of repeating stuff.  Our kids liked to throw all the books from the book shelves onto the floor constantly so we finally just took all the books off the shelves that they could reach--sometimes it's easier than trying to correct them all the time.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 08-16-2014 - 1:22am

For 6 years, your DB & SIL have totally supported you.  Fed you, clothed you, sheltered you, paid all the utilities, provided you with internet access, and more I'm sure.  And you are complaining that in return you are expected, to cook, clean and care for the kids.  What, exactly, do you think you SHOULD be doing?  Sitting on your rear, while the people who work, pay the bills, and support you, do the house work and child care also?

What you are doing for this couple is your JOB.  It is how you pay for everything they give you.  If you don't like this job, you are free to find another one.  But do remember, that when you find that other job, in addition to working every day, and paying for your own rent, food, utilities, car, electronics, clothes, etc, you will STILL have to cook and clean.  By yourself.

As for your SIL, it's fairly obvious that she is suffering from depression, and using the books as an escape.  She needs help, not criticism.  You should tell your brother that unless he wants his kids AND you, full time, he'd better see if he can help her get the care she needs.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2014
Sat, 08-16-2014 - 2:44pm
@itchick, @musiclover12, @sabrtooth: Thank you all for your replies. I DO understand the fact that it is the fact I am without a real job and been mooching for 6 years from my family. I have discussed the fact that I need to get a job, several times. I even volunteered to move out when the little one was born, I told both my SIL and my brother I have to find any kind of job - to same money and get out on my own. They always say that they would not be able to afford childcare for the kids, they would not be able to go on vacations, etc. without me. I know every other parent(s) 'somehow' afford childcare when they are working....I told them my grandmother wants me to move closer to her (another state) and they said they'd be very mad with me if I move. At one point they said they would not even be together if it were not for me. Well, ultimately, they ended in divorce. I am seeing a therapist (they are NOT paying for it, I am) - to help push and motivate my a$$ to get out and do for myself instead of being a leech I realize that nothing will change without ME changing. Again thanks, I appreciate everyone's honesty.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Tue, 08-19-2014 - 12:49pm

I don't understand your response...why would you need to get the okay from your brother and SIL to leave and have a life of your own?  What they did (and you allowed them to do) was to manipulate you into the situation you are in now!  You should just do what you need to do for you, not be the reason for them not divorcing (which they did anyway).  I think you're just too comfortable with the current set up, regardless of your venting.  It's hard to make a change, but until you do, the situation at hand will not.  What if SIL meets a new man, are you going to live with them?  You are just too involved here and need to extradite yourself by your own volition before you are forced to do so without a safety net.  Good luck.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2006
Thu, 08-21-2014 - 1:45pm

1st of all..WHY didn't you move in with YOUR brother?!! I'm sure if you were a guy..you would have moved in with your brother.Let me guess...because you're the female..you thought you should stay with your sisterinlaw because she has the kids?This is a bunch of BS if you ask me.You should have moved in with your brother since he left.This lady really isn't family so I don't know why you didn't move with family.Move to your brother;s and this sister in law will straighten up.