Struggling with disinterested in-laws

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    I never ever ask for help, but last weekend I felt so overwhelmed that I needed to ask my in-laws to have my baby girl.

    She is 7 months old and I have started back at work full time, I have had washing to do, i’m doing house renovation and trying to get her bedroom done so she has a nice new room (currently its floorboards and plaster!)

    So I asked for help.

    Only to realise that they didn’t really want to. It was met with “ermmm”…. and eventually they said yes. When we dug deeper the reason was past few weekends they were also quite burnt out. Mother in law still works full time / Father in law is retired. They had planned 40th party last weekend for their son, weekend before they had their other grandson for 2 nights, which i will also add they have him every thursday for tea after nursery.

    We never ask for help. I do not want to depend on them, but when I feel like we really need it, we asked.

    It felt like it ended up us telling them to enjoy the lovely sunshine in the garden and have a break, whilst we ended up trying to continue juggling everything with a baby.

    I have come to the conclusion, they dislike responsibility. They also find it hard to say no. I don’t want them looking after my baby if they feel pressured, but at the same time if I really need help, I should be able to ask? I mean once every 7 months, surely should be acceptable?

    Weirdly though they do help out, but in their own way. His mum will come and do our garden, his dad is a DIY-er, but they always seem to help when we don’t need it, then don’t help when we actually do. For instance, our garden is absolutely goregous (we have a gardener too who comes twice a month), it’s stunning… but it doesn’t need anymore work, however because his mum enjoys it we let her get on with it!

    In return, in the past we cook them dinner, go for meals, holidays and evenings out.

    I’m lost here, as I am really hurt they don’t have any interest in helping when I really feel I needed it. Normally if anyone asks, they say yes, through gritted teeth it feels. But most of the time they do accept. But I feel reluctant, I would rather do it all myself, than someone look at her because they feel they “have” to. I don’t want that guilt. Which is why i never ask.

    I am starting to feel annoyed at myself for asking.


    Dear claref:

    I just read your posts in your previous thread, beginning in August 2016, almost five years ago. At the time, you were 26, I believe, and you expressed regarding whom I believe to be your current husband: “I just want to be hugged/loved by my partner all the time…I want to get married, I’m eager to have the security. I guess deep down I fear he will leave me”.

    In November 2016, at 27,  you shared about your past relationships before your current partner/ husband: “My past relationships were extremely volatile and stressful. I was in bad relationships”, particularly a 6-year relationship that was  “emotionally/ physically abusive”, from the time you were 17 to the time you were 23.

    You then shared in regard to that 6-year relationship: “As a result (I believe) I developed Reactive Hypoglycemia and Polycystic Ovaries”, and as a result of these conditions, as well as “general PMS”, every month, during the 7-10 days before your period, you experienced the following: “I get irrational, I snap, I lose control, I throw things, I break down, I am an emotional wreck”. You added: “I am working with 2 therapists and a nutritionist. I eat extremely well and I exercise. I am doing everything I can to help manage this…. I have worked with a therapist for over 6 yrs working through past and current events and root causes”.

    In January 2017, at 27, you shared: “I have just got engaged and I am extremely happy!”

    In June 2019, at 29, you shared: “I’m a successful business owner… I have a lovely converted farmhouse and lifestyle”, and today, July 19, 2021, at 31, you shared that you are (still a wife and) a mother to a 7-month old girl, that you are back to working full time from home, and doing house renovation again, that you and your husband are “juggling everything with a baby”, that his parents do not help you when you need help, and offer to help where you don’t need help, such as with your gorgeous, stunning garden, which is cared for by a hired gardener twice a month.

    My thoughts today: welcome back, claref. It looks like you are doing very well: it is a breath of fresh air for me, to read about a person who is doing so well, living a busy and meaningful life before… and after the pandemic! It looks like the years long therapy you attended (and maybe still do), as well as your wit, humor and drive led you to your successes.

    In regard to your parents-in-law not wanting to bother themselves with help that you need, I know that a lot of grandparents, being older, get easily tired, and have no interest in re-experiencing the hardships involved in taking care of young children. It would be nice perhaps,  if you could place your daughter in a responsible, loving and professional child-care setting for, let’s say, Mondays and Thursday, three-four hours each day, giving you a breathing room to attend to things you need to attend to, be it your career, home renovations, or do nothing but rest.




    Thank you so much for your reply. I was nervous when I started reading your message thinking “oh no what happened back then!” I have come a LONG way and I am developing and learning skills to deal with situations. However, I still do struggle and sometimes I can over think massively.

    My daughter goes to nursery throughout the week, which are the days myself and husband are working, so our time to get jobs done is on the evenings/weekends, which is also when we have the baby and much of our attention is on her. We have found a way around such as splitting responsibility and doing a few hours each.. but it’s not the same as just having some time out the two of us and getting stuff done for a few hours – together!

    At this moment in time, I don’t think that will happen, I am just having to find a way to accept them for who they are (which is very hard).


    Dear claref:

    You are very welcome. I understand your wish that your parents-in-law would be different.

    “I have come a LONG way and I am developing and learning skills to deal with situations. However, I still do struggle and sometimes I can over think massively”- congratulations for coming a long way and for developing and learning skills to deal with situations effectively! As far as struggling, I don’t know if there is a single person in our disturbed and disturbing world (with its politics, corruption and most disturbing to me- climate change) who does not struggle with anxiety and worry. It would be.. quite insane to be perfectly sane in an insane world, wouldn’t it…


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