or is my BiL being overly controlling?

(91 Posts)
tvmum1976 Tue 02-Apr-13 05:13:45

AIBU to ask my BiL to look after their 2 kids for a couple of hours (actually I guess probably 4 hours total with travel time) while my sister comes with me to choose my wedding dress? He refuses to do it, and has called me a spoiled brat etc for asking. His POV is that he is a SAHD during the week and needs a break- to be fair, it is a demanding job- one of the kids is mildly autistic/ aspergers (although at school during the day) and the other is a toddler (mornings in nursery). I truly understand that it is hard on him, but it was a 4 day weekend so he would have had a break the rest of the time and it is a once in a lifetime special occasion (important to me more emotionally than practically to be fair.) i have never asked him to do anything like this before, and he has never let my sister go out anywhere without him on the weekends since they had kids 5 years ago, as he says the weekends are his only chance to have a break and my sis should be on duty with the kids. She won't be coming to my hen night etc for this reason. they won't use babysitters and there's no one else that can really help out.

happynappies Wed 03-Apr-13 20:17:10

It does sound like a different situation, and you sound like a very thoughtful, caring sis. Is there any way she might have time off in the week like others have said? Does seem such a shame if she wants to go. I'll look after them for her, won't really notice two more grin. Hope you work it out, not good to have things like his while you're planning your wedding, good luck.

tvmum1976 Wed 03-Apr-13 04:28:34

happynappies- thanks for a different perspective and I do totally see your point, and how annoying it must be to have to shlep all over the place for different wedding related activities. I do get that their lives are stressful (although not as much as yours sounds- no bf baby and only 2 kids although obviously the autism thing makes it much harder.) In my defence though it was the one thing I've ever asked her/ him to do in 5 years since they kids were born and was totally understanding about the hen night etc- didn't say a word when she couldn't come. It was also that she seemed so keen to come and have a break and a bit of time off/shopping as well that made it harder (but obviously I was disappointed for myself too so not totally selfless.) I offered to help take care of the kids for the rest of the 4 day weekend so that he/she could have a break.

happynappies Wed 03-Apr-13 04:19:18

Not wishing to make excuses for this man if he is as controlling as he sounds, but there could be another way of looking at it. We have four dc, and no real options for 'having a break'. I look after them in the week, and dh and I do evening routine and weekend together. When my sister was looking for her wedding dress I had to take the baby with me (bf) and went to three different girlie trying on dresses days with other bridesmaid, involving lots of travelling and difficult logistics for me. Hen party was difficult, I couldn't stay overnight but went to the day event. Tried my absolute best to be supportive to my sister but tbh found it so difficult - the day to day looking after four small children (in my case) takes away a lot of my sense of fun, and I tend to view things like this with a bit of a sigh. Have just been invited to travel three hours there and three hours back with 6 mth dd in tow so that I can be at baby shower, have said no. Just can't do it. Don't think my dh is controlling, just that we're up against it with little support and no time off for either of us, and would personally find an email with suggestions about our care arrangements for dc quite difficult. I fell out with a really good friend who suggested I should be able to leave my admittedly then pfb, for a girlie night out. Was bf, baby was feeding every couple of hours at night, didn't feel I could but suggested I did something else with her... She said my then baby was abnormal for not sleeping through, so that friendship bit the dust. I digress... My situation could be different to the d sis of the op, but perhaps she just doesn't really want to go or perhaps they both think this will be the first of many requests on their time for the wedding. Not unreasonable, I know your wedding is v special, but if they have a busy time with their dcs perhaps they have both lost sight of it a bit?

highlander74 Wed 03-Apr-13 03:38:40

I really sympathise with your situation - my DH is a SAHD and I work F/T (purely a financial reason, but DH is also a bit on the lazy side and is glad not to have to work!), and although it pains me to admit it, he does have the same mentality sometimes as the OP's BIL in that he considers my time at work to be time away from the kids so I do the post-dinner routines and look after them at the weekends while DH has some 'time off' from the kids - drives me mental a lot of the time! Even more so bearing in mind that DS is at school and DD is at pre-school 10 hours a week... But having said that, he would never dream of not looking after the kids on his 'time off' to let me go to something as important as sister's hen party or dress shopping! It's up to your sister to stand up to him (if she wants to) although if he's that controlling, it wouldn't be easy. I agree with maybe trying to go one afternoon off work?

tvmum1976 Tue 02-Apr-13 21:34:32

thanks everyone.
I worry about the situation more generally. BiL constantly undermines Dsis, shouting at her in front of the kids or criticising her in front of other people. He is one of those people who thinks everyone apart from him is 'stupid' or an idiot or whatever. He is pretty controlling generally- it always seems as if everything is done to please him, and on his schedule and she is always giving in to him on absolutely everything. I know this is none of my business, but beyond a certain point, am I allowed to be worried about it? He generally

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 16:03:39

Wilsonfrickett it depends on the LEA - it's very different in different areas and it depends on how well the service knows your child and understand the issues.

You're probably right though it would be at least a fight to get support.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Tue 02-Apr-13 15:45:12

He does sound like a controlling arse

By I do think you were wrong to ask him, asking your sister is fine but after that it should have been between the two of them to work out childcare arrangements, he was still totally wrong to talk to you like that though

tomverlaine Tue 02-Apr-13 15:43:20

why don't you take an afternoon off work- both of you and do it together - would be more relaxed then

jollygoose Tue 02-Apr-13 15:39:15

yan bu I feel rather sorry for your sis. It sounds like she never gets any time to herself. I mean how very dare she work full time and expect a break!

If they won't use sitters, is there a teacher at the DS' school who would do some tutoring on the weekend? He would know him/her and it might be easier.

reasonsnotto Tue 02-Apr-13 15:22:05

thanks so much everyone for your supportive messages. I don't know about the inherited ASD thing and don't really feel qualified to speculate about it. It's certainly never been diagnosed.
i don't think my sis was just makign an excuse- she was saying before how much she really wanted to go with me (although i guess she could have been lying- I guess I'll never know, but I agree with PP who said if this was the case he didn't need to be so rude about it...)

As for taking the kids with us- I really don't think that would work- it's a small shop, with no toys or anything else and no one who could really come and help for various reasons. Also I know this is incredibly selfish, but I would like to take my time a bit and find a dress i really like rather than feeling incredibly rushed to get out of there before children melt down (as would be usual on a shopping trip with them- nothing bad against them- just typical kids stuff, and also my nephew with ASD HATES shopping so don't think it would be fair on him either)
thanks for all the support.

starfield Tue 02-Apr-13 13:43:58

She has to go with you. She has to. It's the outing of a lifetime and the culmination of a lifetime of sisterhood. He doesn't own her.

Couldn't your mum step in to help out?

starfield Tue 02-Apr-13 13:43:07

And where is the emotional space for your sister in that marriage? It sounds like he's holding her to ransome because he feels trapped and resentful and insecure. Or else lazy and greedy and just plain mean.

starfield Tue 02-Apr-13 13:41:51

Why is he being such a diva? He has every morning off, not exactly a proper job. And I bet he does nothing in the evenings...

ModernToss Tue 02-Apr-13 13:24:41

What a vile man. So he gets two days off every week, and your sister gets exactly none? That's fair.

zukiecat Tue 02-Apr-13 13:02:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RunningAgain Tue 02-Apr-13 13:02:12

Snooping, the op is also asking her sister to come on a bawdy night out, but she's not allowed to go on that either!

Snoopingforsoup Tue 02-Apr-13 12:46:19

It's your wedding dress for crying out loud.
He's a twat. An uncharitable, selfish, mean spirited twat.
I'd understand if you were asking her to come on a bawdy night out but to choose your wedding dress?
What's wrong with him? Oh yes, he's a controlling martyred man!

houseworkhater Tue 02-Apr-13 12:39:44

Yes I see your point polly.

It could turn into a "Can you remember...we even had to let ds try on a tiara to keep him occupied. In fact we had to buy him the tiara!"

WilsonFrickett Tue 02-Apr-13 12:25:07

Polly slightly off topic but if a child has Asperger's and is able to attend mainstream school the chance of getting respite care from the council is 0%. Not a snowball's. I'm not getting at you, I just think it's important to point out that a lot of the resources people think exist to help children and families really don't exist.

RunningAgain Tue 02-Apr-13 12:16:26

Maybe he would be happier working full time and looking after his children for the rest of his time, while the op's sister is a SAHM with time to herself every morning, and he can look after the children after 5pm and at weekends? I wonder whether he would...

Emilythornesbff Tue 02-Apr-13 12:01:20

Skipping over the asd debate, I think YADNBU and your bil is behaving in a selfish and controlling manner.

Maybe she should " put her foot down" about your hen night?
Not sure what the solution is, sorry.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 11:58:27

But yes regarding the whole sticky fingers in a shop full of expensive white dresses thing... they may need someone else with them to take the dcs out (another friend who can take them off somewhere for a couple of hours).

Also remind twatface that this will be remembered by the whole family for the rest of history - 'remember the time when we had to take the kids to the wedding dress shop because TF wouldn't look after them'... etc etc.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 11:54:56

I don't think she should have to take them - it's not fair or right, but I am putting this forward as a tactical way to deal with his stubbornness. I did the same with mine when there was competition between me and dp. I let him mope about on his own and I just made the best of my time with them. Kids enjoy it, I enjoy it, he misses out. Win win up yours kind of thing.

houseworkhater Tue 02-Apr-13 11:43:04

Also why should she take her dcs with her?
Would a man be expected to trail around his young dcs if he was out with the groom?
Whilst his wife sat at home demanding a break.

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