My Sister is Taking Advantage of Our Parents!
By Mouthy Housewives on February 01, 2012
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My older sister has 3 children. Her husband works out of town on various construction projects and is home only 3-4 times a year. Needless to say, she needed help and my parents kept the kids every week for a sleepover to give my sister some well-deserved rest. I also kept the kids or took them for an afternoon just so she could get some errands done.
When the economy turned sour, they unfortunately lost their home and moved in with my parents. This provided the kids with 24/7 access to my parents and they happily stepped in to take even more of the burden off my sister. My problem is this: since moving in with them over a year ago, my parents STILL take care of the kids once a week so my sister can have a night alone. But now she also expects them to watch the kids at a moment's notice so she can go to the store, get her nails done, or go to the gym. They take the kids to school functions, afterschool activities, on trips. My father is now the primary disciplinarian. Did I mention they both also work full time and own their own business?
Dear Fed Up,
I hate to jump to conclusions, but I'm finding it hard not to just GO OFF on your sister and this insanely selfish behavior.
So, I'll do just that!
1. What your sister is doing is most certainly unacceptable.
2. She is not only taking advantage of your parents, but now it seems that she's missing out on some quality time with her children as well.
3. If they're so financially strapped, WHY IS SHE GETTING HER NAILS DONE AND GOING TO THE GYM? I have two words for her: Richard. Simmons.
4. I think this problem requires an intervention.
BUT. (And these are pretty big buts, and I cannot lie.)
1. It sounds like your parents aren't doing very much at all to curb this behavior. I realize that you feel for your parents, but your first step should be to talk to your Mom and Dad, not your sister. Ask them how they feel about the situation, and what they're willing to do to change the arrangement. If they aren't on board, this argument will undoubtedly be dead in the water. (Whatever the hell that means.)
2. If they are on board to start setting some limits, then let them do the talking, and offer any support. If you are the ringleader in this discussion, your sister is more likely to see it as some sort of attack. (So maybe also don't wear your brass knuckles.)
3. If you want this to go smoothly, you need the lines of communication to be open, but you also need to make sure that everyone feels safe. If you go in with judgment and anger, that is what you'll get in return. (Try bringing ice cream instead.) Be honest, but gentle.
This unfortunate living arrangement makes things all the more challenging, but if you keep your love for your sister and parents at the forefront, there's no reason why this can't all be worked out for the benefit of everyone.
Best of luck!
Photo Credit: prefvotuporanga.