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A little background to start: in early Sept., my (then) 24yo son lost his good paying job for third time in 2 years due to cut-backs (jet mechanic, mostly on gov't contracts). For several years we had been telling him that if he were to enroll in college full-time and use the GI Bill he had earned, he could move back home with us. Well, when this 3rd job loss happened he asked us if our offer was still good. Long story short, on three weeks notice, dh & I cleaned out our basement, bought plane tickets, reserved a moving truck, went down to South Carolina and proceeded to move son, his fiance, their 2.5 yo daughter and 2 month old son up to Michigan to live with us.

Before the move occurred, we told them there were some conditions to living with us:

1. They both had to enroll in school full time. Since it was past drops & adds time for fall semester, they needed to get registered and enrolled in classes to start in January when the next semester begins.

2. They should find jobs to work until college (and the GI Bill) kicked in--to pay their monthly expenses such as cell phones, car loan, extra groceries above what dh & I (and our 17yo dd) normally spend each month, any needs of their children such as diapers, clothing, etc

3. We expected them to help out with chores and also be their own family unit. In other words, they are adults in the home with responsibilities, especially for taking care of their children.

4. They had to set a date to get married (they've been 'talking' about it for over 2 years but it hasn't happened yet).

All of these conditions they readily agreed to, and fiance seemed really eager to get a clear goal and schedule for their future.


So. . . now they have been living with us for nearly 2 months. Both have part-time jobs, in fact the fiance just got a second part-time job so will be working something like 40-50 hrs a week until classes start in January. Well and good, right? Except:

--she does not help out with chores hardly at all, the ones we all agreed on two months ago are mostly done by my son

--I'm buying my normal monthly groceries, but we often run out of stuff before it's time for me to go shopping again; in other words, they are not replacing the food they eat from my shopping trips, and they often run out of diapers.

--the parenting (actually, lack of) is driving both dh and I crazy. I just don't understand how you can ignore a toddler and an infant so much. Mostly it is the mother not paying attention, although my son has times of this too (usually when he's worked all day, made dinner, bathed the kids and everyone is in tired melt-down mode)

Things have really hit boiling point with dh this morning when he came in from hunting (he saves his vacation time at work for deer season) to find our son gone to work, no kids in the house, and son's fiance sitting on the couch playing on her phone (Facebooking; which seems to be where most of her not-at-work time is spent). Dh asked where the kids were, and was told fiance had dropped them off at the babysitter an hour before. Then he asked what time she had to be to work (since kids are at the sitter, she must have to work soon, right?) and she replied "Oh, not until one o'clock". Which was more than three hours away.

Are dh and I just massively out of touch with today's society?? I mean, since when did it become OK to pay the babysitter to take care of your kids for FOUR hours before you go to work so that you can have some leisure time?? While you are living with someone rent-free?? (believe me, rent-free status will be changing very quickly!!)

I would have never dreamed of paying for day care so that I could sit in an empty house by myself and do nothing. What she just paid for those four hours makes her six hour work shift (so, kids will be at babysitter for TEN hours today, apparently) something she will make absolutely no money at because it will all go for child care. Not to mention that the babysitter is an old family friend who is quite willing to be walked all over and is only charging them about 1/2 the going rate. Not to mention that kids need to spend time with their parents. . .

:hair:hair:hair:hair:hair

This is just one little facet of what is going on. Dh and I are totally at a loss for how to address the issues. We are both tired of biting our tongues while watching son work, then come home and do 95% of the housework and child care that they both are supposed to be responsible for while the fiance seems to have the attitude of "I worked yesterday, so today I don't have to do anything (including take care of my kids)" or "I have to go to work in five hours, so therefore I shouldn't have to do anything until then (including take care of my kids)."

As someone who felt that being with my kids 100% of the time I was not at work was my responsibility as a parent, not to mention keeping my household clean and running efficiently, it is really hard for me to watch this. I think she is one of those 'children are accessories I can put on when I want and shove in a closet when I don't want to deal with it' kind of people. It is really hard for me to understand the mindset. I suspect it has a lot to do with how she was raised--by her own admission, she was raised by a babysitter because her mom worked a lot and when she wasn't working, mom was tired--but that doesn't make it okay to me for my grandchildren to be raised that way. The 2.5yo gets so frustrated with her mom that she has huge tantrums just for attention, and the frequency is escalating.



:facepalm:
 

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Hindsight is 20/20. You made a mistake in letting them live with you. So now how do you correct that mistake?

Find them a cheap apartment, let them sign the lease, move them into it, then back off and let them tread water.

As for the babysitter, it could be that whether they use the babysitter or not they still get charged the same amount.

But there's no excuse for either parent to ignore their child or refuse to get off their duff and help with the housework. And they should be replacing food and buying diapers. But it's not going to happen as long as they know they can rely on you.
 

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How much does the baby sitter charge? Do you still work outside the home? Maybe you could get that money and spend the time with your grandkids?

Also, I'd sit down with everyone and a chart to mark who works which days and when and so who will be handling what chores and when can also be clearly marked, once a month/ week/ however long between schedules for work are decided.

Could be a cool down period for them. Maybe they just need some time to adjust but I'd say they also need a push to remind them of the deal they agreed to.
 

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You have added 4 people to your household, things are not going to go as planned on 100 percent. I would plan another family meeting and explain that the kids should be the first priority, maybe point out your concerns. I really can't imagine it is easy for any one to blend back into a family without some waves.

If the chores are done, it does not matter who is doing them. That is between them.

I would buy some cloth diapers etc, and then they will never run out of diapers again, I have no idea what they cost now, but I am sure it takes a chunk of money for them, maybe only use disposables at the sitters.
If they are going back to school, I wonder how they will both be able to devote themselves to studying without some help with the kids.
I would resign myself enjoying my grandkids in the evening,helping out with the food, and biting my tongue.
If you expected rent, you probably should have had that agreement before they ever set foot in your house. Unless they are making some mad money right now, how will that be possible once school starts. ( give up the cell phone, one parent stays home with the kids so no babysitter and time to do the chores and save gas money)
 

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The babysitter part I do not understand.

However, I'm a mom and I work full time. I come home, feed the family, do all the kid related stuff like bathing, play, books, etc., put them to bed and then go about doing other chores I have to do. So if you are wanting me to feel like your son, who is working part time, has a hard lot in life because he has to act like an adult....not happening here. I made it look like my DH does nothing there but I assure you we are equal partners. I cook, he does the dishes and such.

Anyway, sounds like this is a problem your son need to address.
 

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I'd also like to remind you that you made this offer to let them better their lives in the long run. Hopefully one day they will be grateful. I might be old fashioned but I'd prefer to insist only one of them go to school at a time so that those little ones get proper attention. I have three with one on the way and I manage to play on facebook and this forum without ignoring my kids.

Also, so when's the wedding date?
 

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You made this generous offer to give your son a future. I think that you should try to just think of this as a housing situation. You are providing shelter and the rest is up to them to figure out.

Give them a list of chores that they must complete and it is up to them who does what. Your son and his fiance are adults. They have their own style of living. Not your style and not mine but that is their choice. If they choose to raise their kids with sitters when not needed that is their choice and they will probably pay the piper at some point. Same for the money situation. If they spend their money on useless things then they will run out. Don't bail them out. It is up to them to provide diapers.

The difficulty for you is that you see all this now. It was undoubtedly happening before when they lived away from you so it is not a great change. You can provide your grandkids with love and attention (and with them close to you they will get a lot more then what they were getting) when you are able but in the end they are the parents and unless you want to take over the kids completely they do have the final say as to what happens with the grandkids. This is hard and will be a harsh thing for you to witness but they will live their life the way they want whether you approve or not. They have to learn or be willing to learn.

If your son is not happy with the distribution of work in HIS family then it is up to him to make the changes. Perhaps the laziness of the fiance is why the wedding has not happened. However two children are now part of the situation so working on making changes is the only responsible option for these two young adults.

If witnessing the situation (and for me their behaviour when they are actually in school would be the deciding factor) is too hard for you then you can rescind your offer and they will have to make it on their own - move out and go to school or not.
 

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Specifically, what parts of the original agreement have not been or are not being met?

Chores getting done? Check (By whom matters not that's between them)

School enrollment? Jobs? Check

Groceries? X Cut them off. Sink or swim

Family time? What do you expect from two children who have two children, yet still haven't married? Your time to act on that has long passed.

It seems in your OP the fiancée carries more fault that your son. You have an excuse for him (worked all day and in melt down mode). Sounds odd.
 

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Thanks everyone for replying.

Here's a few clarifications:

babysitter: not the kind where you must pay to reserve your spot. Like I said in the OP, old family friend. She basically is letting them drop off kids according to their needs, not on any set schedule. I'm not sure the exact dollar per hour rate she is charging them, but I'm under the impression it is only $3 per hour. Total. Not per child. Very cheap for child care.

Do I work outside the home? Yes. Mon-Fri mornings. Going into this, I told son and fiance I could not quit my job in order to babysit for free, but if they wanted to pay me for child care I would stay home all the time. Otherwise, free childcare available after 12:30/1:00 pm only and no babysitting after 10:00 p.m. So far, other than the first two weeks, I have not been asked to babysit or pick kids up from the sitter in the afternoons. Yet if I'm home, they kind of turn a blind eye to the toddler and I end up being the one to keep track of her.

No rent: when they left South Carolina, they had a hefty fee for breaking their lease (which was not due to expire until Feb.), so dh told them that they would not have to pay us rent the first couple months so that they could get all their existing bills from SC paid off (with the exception of the car loan). Those bills are now paid, so it is time for the four of us to discuss how much rent will be.

All the problem is the fiance? Yes, it does come across like this. Not that my son isn't slacking on things too (half of our garage is still full of unpacked things they both promised us they would sort through but haven't touched in nearly a month), but he does just the vast majority the taking care of the children when he is not at work. Even if fiance is at home, she will sit on couch and ask him to fetch her stuff while he is feeding the baby, keeping the toddler out of trouble, making meals for everyone home, etc. He just found a job two weeks ago; until then he was taking care of the kids full time (other than going to job interviews); 2-3 hours before she was due to leave for work she would refuse to do anything with the kids because she 'had to get ready for work now'.

What is really scary to me is that he is my least organized child (I have raised four--he's the oldest) and yet he looks totally OCD compared to his fiance, who can't seem to plan ahead from one hour to the next or even keep track of how often the baby needs to be fed. Except for insisting that she needs a minimum of two hours to change her clothes, fix her hair, and put on makeup before she can go to work. That she seems to plan out just fine.

I'm so frustrated. I don't think she is a bad person, really, I just think that she is pretty clueless on how to be an adult and a parent. As the elder woman in the house, I kind of feel like I should be showing her the way, yet her mindset is so obviously different from mine when it comes to wifely and motherly duties that I have no idea where to start.
 

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Oh my, it sounds like that old saying
" You don't really know someone until you live with them."
It must be hard to watch,but they really must have their own way of dealing with things in their relationship and if it seems to work for them there is not much you will ever be able to do or say to change it as far as the work distribution goes.
 

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He must have really like something about her or they wouldn't have two children in a short period of time. Like I said on another post, women have a harder time getting along than two men. Whether it is official or not she is your DIL. Not to make excuses, but her own upbringing may have left something to be desired. It may all be a learn as you go situation for her... Hang in there. Maybe Dad and Grandpa can babysit and the two of you can go out to dinner and a movie... your treat. :thumb:
 

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Sounds like a hard situation.

I agree though, as long as the chores are getting done, it doesn't matter which one of them does them.

The little kids.. that's hard, but those are their kids. If she is finding this move really hard and maybe having trouble adjusting, then she may be "escaping" reality by Facebooking.

As for the groceries, I suggest you set an exact dollar amount on how much you want contributed each month, it sounds like they understand and can follow through on something set in stone.

Hope it works out.
 
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You know, my daughter in law and I had a super hard time getting along at first. I was inclined to see my son as the martyr and her as lazy. There's a lot of readjustment going on, living in another woman's home and having all sorts of things done differently. The unspoken criticism may make her dig in her heels and do nothing. I'm sure your attitude shows----I know mine did!
 

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Well, we told DS and fiancée that they would have to take care of their kid when they lived with us- she brought us a 4 year old grandson when they hooked up- and they would put him outside their room when he woke up at 6 am and tell him "Go watch TV". He put a peanut butter sandwich in the VCR player, unwrapped tampons and poured out alcohol gel in the mailbox and put napkins in the toaster (which caught on fire) We heard him laughing and found the napkins ablaze. I WISH I could've made ds and ddil live up to their promise to watch him but I never could.
After that unpromising start he's turned into a hardworking and conscientious young man, but we've never been 1 on 1 with him since- he just got into things too quickly.
You have my extreme condolences.
 

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You're not going to like this at all, but this is my perspective on the housework matter. My wife and I are equal partners. We try to balance how much work we put into the family and household so that we're both contributing relatively equally.

Based on that calculation, if your son is working 20 hours a week and his partner is working 50, I would think your son should be doing roughly 30 hours more work around the house than she does in order to be an equal partner. I work 50+ hours per week and have a 75 minute commute each way. My wife works 35 hours per week and has a 5 minute commute each way. Naturally, there is a heavier burden on her to complete housework than there is on me, because I am only home and awake for about four hours per day while she is home and awake for nine or ten hours a day.
 

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-Don't buy any diapers or any special foods that you would not normally buy.

-Have your own special time with the little ones, that is what is fun about having grandchildren live with you, but when it is not your time, they are not your problem or concern.

-Let whichever one wants to do the chores do them.

-Do set a certain amount of "rent" per month.

I have done this for years, and you just have to be patient, kind, and enjoy the process. We laugh about it now, but at one point there were 8 adults in this house living together- and we all still like each other!!! It can work, but it really takes some patience at times. The one thing that was really nice here was that every single day everyone came to me and asked me what I wanted or needed them to do, and they really did it very well and respectfully.
 

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I'm very sorry you are going through this...and so many of those things I have been through with my own sons.
I could have wrote many of those same things.
I don't have answers for you. DH and I did sit the son and fiancee down and told them their weren't pulling their own weight and living up to their agreement.
They promptly moved out and moved in with her Mom and left owing some bills here.
They did get married and are now divorced.
Currently son is in a relationship with another flakey girl. :hammer:
I just wish you better luck in the outcome than I have had.
 

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Dh asked where the kids were, and was told fiance had dropped them off at the babysitter an hour before. Then he asked what time she had to be to work (since kids are at the sitter, she must have to work soon, right?) and she replied "Oh, not until one o'clock". Which was more than three hours away.

Are dh and I just massively out of touch with today's society?? I mean, since when did it become OK to pay the babysitter to take care of your kids for FOUR hours before you go to work so that you can have some leisure time??
First of all, it is very common for parents to take their kids to daycare even when they have the day off. I see it all the time among the families I clean for. I thought it was a little weird, too, but apparently it's the way things are done nowadays.

Second, I think some parents have arrangements where they pay the sitter for a block of time whether the kids are there or not. Don't know if that's the case with your son and DIL, but it could explain why she wasn't concerned about the cost.

Also, some people are more vigorous than others. Some can work a part-time job, take care of two small children while living in their in-laws house, and still manage to find a cure for polio before lunch. Others are going to be overwhelmed with half of those challenges. One of the babes is only 2 months old, right? Did she by any chance have a difficult delivery? Perhaps some postpartum depression? Is she missing her family back in SC?

Remember, she's a parent to your precious grandbabies. I say ... be kind. ;)
 
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