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How to manage family? Lock Rss

I am looking for suggestions on how to manage family expectations.

I have a brother who has a seven year old son, who is the only cousin of my little man. Recently I have been under a LOT of pressure to entertain them at my house and visit my brother and his family at theirs - they live approx an hours drive away.

I should point out I have struggled to leave the house virtually at all over the past fifteen weeks, due to my own anxiety and depression, plus a multitude of other factors.

My bros family are vegetarian (we aren't) and have a habit of eating everything and anything when they come here. They leave a massive mess to clean up and have very high expectations of what they will get to eat and do. Yet when we visit them we don't really get any food at all! We're down to one income and are already struggling. They get offended when we ask them to bring some food.

They also bring my nephew with nothing to do - so he runs around, yells and plays as all little dudes do... SO our little man doesn't sleep. They also get upset that we ask them to bring something for him to do - they state that we are trying to keep him away from our son.

It's so frustrating! My mum keeps on at me all the time about how sad it is that I don't want a relationship with my bro and his family and that I'm mean (money wise) for not letting them come over all the time.

Any suggestions? I've tried talking to my mum but she won't listen to me (she gets angry and then cries so I feel even more guilty).

I'm at a total loss and feeling very, very stressed about this whole thing. I feel like they have completely forgotten what it's like to have a new baby, and their expectations are way too high!



Stop inviting them around! They are mooching off of you. I have a friend that would do the same thing, so I stopped inviting her around and the very odd occasion she does come I put away most of the kids toys, I dont offer her kids snacks, she has her own in the bag, she just waits to see what I have to offer first and waits before breaking into her own stash. I only provide lunch now and the kids only get sandwiches.

Your mum isn't there. She obviously doesn't want to hear what you have to say so stop trying to plead your case. It isn't her business whether you and your brother catch up or not.

I have had my brother and his family visit once (other than parties), so I might be missing something, but I just don't understand why you feel like you have to have them around or go to their house at all?

Sorry if this is harsh, I don't mean to be. You need to stick up for yourself! Even if that simply mean saying no to your brother.
I don't think it's intentional. It's just how they are. I think that's what makes it so annoying! I've actually talked to my bro about it and he just doesn't understand. They don't bring snacks at all, anywhere, as it just doesn't occur to them. If I ask them to he says I'm cheap.

Mum usually is here when they are, and knows exactly what they're like. She gets just as frustrated as we do when she's in our situation, but doesn't understand we can't afford it like they can.

You don't sound harsh at all, I wish I had the guts to tell them all how I feel, but I'm not doing too good a job at getting my message across!



Obviously your brother is not going to change, so you have 2 options. The first is to not have him around - and deal with it.

Or the 2nd is to accept that he is who is is, and all you can do is try to make the most of the situation. I know it sounds harsh, but I have lost both my brother and sister (they were only young, 25 and 21) and I would give anything to have another moment with them, life is short.
I know money is tight, believe me , I am on a very tight food budget too and it would make me cranky.

I would just keep a whole lot of scrap paper and cheap pencils etc and toys for your nephew for when he comes over, yes they should bring him stuff to do, but like I said - your brother wont change.
As for food, buy some homebrand vegetarian tin food - it sucks but if you know they are coming over, do something for them, that costs very little.

I know it sucks, but life is short and if you try to just take a chill pill they might see that and also change a little, good luck
I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for some space whilst you're going through what your going through post birth. Your bub is only 3 months old and I know from previous posts it hasn't been easy. Your family need to be respectful of your situation and your feelings here, you have a newborn and it's not always easy.

I don't think it's as simple as taking a 'chill pill' (WTH was that about?!?!). But a few things you could do if they're not going to respect your wishes is only put out one plate of food and that's it. Some crackers and dip or something. That's it. Easy to clean up, won't break the bank. Have some fruit around for your nephew too. You don't have to put out the works for them every time. If its your ds's nap time put on a DVD for your nephew or give him a ball to play with outside and explain to him that his cousin needs a nap so it's time for a quiet activity.

I think if you start being a bit more assertive and telling it how you want it things will begin to change and they'll stop walking all over you. Good luck smile
I would cook for them if it wasn't so difficult. They are extremely picky about what they eat (types of cheese and dairy products, etc). I end up having to buy the more expensive stuff that is organic or 'true vegetarian' even though we aren't vegetarians!

He even complains if I cook something simple and cheap or the same thing more than once. In fact my bro has made comments about how little with give them and the poor quality of the food. Which is rich, if we go there we have to eat before we go because there isn't usually enough food for everyone at dinner, literally; there will be five people and he'll serve four potatoes!

My nephew has some behavioral problems and can't really do stuff by himself, plus I'm not allowed to let him watch DVD's (his parents rules). He won't sit by himself and do anything.

Thanks *misskel* for noticing that, it has been what feels like a rough road.

Despite all my complaints, I do want to spend time with them, I guess I just want a little understanding, rather than having to do all the work, with no thanks... I guess I feel overwhelmed by everything and need to stand up for myself more. I'll talk to my bro again. Wish me luck



If it's becoming an issue and he's not making food for you guys etc then I would stop catering for them. Just buy what you want to buy from the shops and make food using that. If he complains let him know that you can't afford to continue buying the expensive stuff and that you're happy to cook something for them if they bring something suitable for you guys to all eat...

Good luck talking to him tho. Hope you manage to sort it out...
Hope and Hysteria wrote:
Perhaps meet at a park/playground and everyone BYO picnic? That way there's entertainment for your nephew and no catering issues. Will your little one sleep in the pram?


Brilliant idea. Find a park that's approx half way in between you all so no one is overly put out.
There is some great advice about this in the Bullies be Gone website. I'd say don't involve your mother. Set up your own boundaries. For example, if baby sleeps between 12 and 2 pm, stick to it like glue - leave parties, kick guests out if they are not quiet or take baby on a walk during this time. Don't worry if your family don't like them. You be the difficult one.

Give your bro's a little reminder if they take food. Say things like "show a bit of respect", "food doesn't grow on trees" (ha ha it does) "my partner worked hard for that". Be firm, state your rules and stick to them. Just because you cook for them, don't expect them to cook for you. If you like cooking for them do so, if they are taking advantage of it pull them in a bit, but don't expect them to reciprocate, because they probably won't. Don't expect thanks or praise (welcome to motherhood) - demand it i.e. say to them "be thankful for what I just made for you".

Be truthful and tell them point blank that you are trying to keep their son from your baby at times and that you don't want him over sometimes. I had to do that with my lovely step daughters (one is 6) as they kept waking him and wanting to play with him like a doll.

Set your boundaries, the things you will not tolerate in your home and don't worry if others are offended by your boundaries.
Demonica18 wrote:
Hope and Hysteria wrote:
Perhaps meet at a park/playground and everyone BYO picnic? That way there's entertainment for your nephew and no catering issues. Will your little one sleep in the pram?

Brilliant idea. Find a park that's approx half way in between you all so no one is overly put out.


Was reading through & this is exactly what I do with these types of people. Everyone caters for themselves & entertainment is there.
Your situation made me think of the song by Akimbo with the lyrics "I love you but if you treat me like s*** you can just f*** off". This may sound silly but why don't you try a practise conversation with your partner pretending to be your brother (should be a laugh if nothing else). Tell him what you want eg. Bring two dishes of food with you, have activities ready to entertain your child, you can come over once every month, etc. Practise being firm and dealing with his objections. Or you could just sing the song.....
We ended up going out for lunch over the weekend. Was a nightmare.

We ended up having to floor walk with our little man cause he was super stressed and over tired (shocking that). He cried when anyone other than us held him too, which pissed off the family and they got a bit shirty with us.

We ended up going to my brothers house where we had to ask for so much as a coffee and my brother went to sleep! Seriously, ASLEEP! blink

I guess some things never change!

Thanks for the support and advice guys smile



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