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Covid, pregnant and family row

  • 05-09-2020 6:21am
    Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭

    Hi All,

    Hoping you might share your thoughts with me on this. Sorry for the long post!!

    My sister moved home recently with her family. The moved in with my mum. My niece got offered a place in primary school in a school that is significantly closer to my house than my mum's and my sister accepted. It is a very good school and they plan to settle nearby, so a sensible decision.

    My sister asked me for help because of the long commute from my mum's to the school. We agreed that her husband and my niece would stay down in my house for the first three weeks of school. In my mind, this gave them time to sort something a bit more stable out.

    At the weekend, she asked if after the first three weeks my brother in law or niece or just my niece could stay down two days week. At first, my instinct was to say yes, she is my niece and my sister and I want to help.

    When I raised it with my husband he did not like the idea. I’m currently pregnant with our first child (and it took us a long time to get pregnant). He raised concerns about the increased risk of me getting Covid from picking my niece up from school twice a week indefinitely. He is concerned about the impact of Covid on pregnant women and unborn babies. Furthermore, he did not think we have the facilities in our home for three people to work from home. Finally, he raised concerns about me looking after my niece in the afternoons but also keeping up with my job. To be honest, after talking to him, I agree with him.

    In the midst of all the me relaying thoughts between my husband and my sister, feeling the pressure from my sister to do sonething but before I really understood what my husband was saying about the increased risk of Covid, i offered to drive my niece up and down to my mum's twice a week. I think this has added confusion as now my sister thinks I’m making up our concerns about Covid.

    Anyway, after a calmer discussion with my husband we agreed that we would offer the option that my sister or her husband could drive down drop my niece in school, work from our house until it is time to pick her up and drive back to my mum's. I think this minimises the risk of me getting Covid if there is an outbreak in her school, but still helps them.

    My husband was concerned though about the working arrangements so I asked my sister for a trial period. I also asked if, come December, when I would be 8 months pregnant, they could find some other arrangement as I preferred having my own space then while I’m waiting to give birth and after the birth.

    I own an apartment nearby and offered to ask my tenants to leave and her family could use it instead come December.

    My sister was not happy with any of this. She is saying that I am using Covid as an excuse not to help her. That she is offended that I would put trial periods and end dates to my offers to help her and that she would not do any of this to me. That she moved home expecting help and that I am not helping her.

    She also doesnt understand how I’m happy to go to the shop, meet the odd friend for coffee and see my family occasionally if I’m so concerned about Covid. I’ve tried to explain I’m trying to minimise exposure without giving up my life but she doen’t seem to understand! She thinks it's all an excuse.

    Honestly, I’m completely lost.

    I guess I’m asking if you think I’m being selfish or unreasonable!! This has caused me so much stress already and I have barely slept for four nights which is not good for the pregnancy.

    Thanks in advance!



  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    Straight old is the child.

    I have kids...working from home and minding a child at the same time is just not really possible.I have done it a lot lately.Especially if the child is smaller.My company have given me leeway, but they are my kids.I cannot imagine that much sympathy would be given if I was minding someone else's kids but had none of my own, and it was interfering with my job.
    That's point 1.

    My gut feeling for you OP is to say no.Just say look, you would love to help, but between time off for maternity appointments, going on maternity leave etc, it is just not a possible long term arrangement and your sister would be better off sorting herself out now with something else.

    What happens if the child's class gets sent home.Will you be asked to mind the child those 2 days of the week??

    Sorry, I probably come across as totally selfish here, but in this circumstance I think any arrangement you put in place needs to have a very definitive end date (ie....when my mat leave starts, this arrangement stops), or you preferably do not get involved in it, other than helping out the odd time (and be very clear about that) for now.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I agree with Shesty,I'd definitely say no,its one of those awkward situations that drag out and make you feel uncomfortable until you sort it out. There may be hard feelings for a while but that's worth it imo, bottom line is you have your own life,you're busy and have a new baby on the way so I'd put yourself first. Say it now and get it over otherwise you'll be over thinking it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,121 ✭✭✭screamer

    Your sister is taking the p!ss to be honest. She wants her daughter in a good school and you have to run around to facilitate that? No tell her to grow up.
    Now what I will say is, I’ve seen this type of using before, and when anything is said to them, they throw their toys out of the pram. So you need to put yourself first. She will not be reasonable and grateful for what you’ve done, she’ll be p:ssed off that you won’t keep doing it. Tell her no. Put yourself and your baby first, because it sounds like she only cares about herself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,317 ✭✭✭mojesius

    You're very accommodating and you sound like a great sister, but this is far too much responsibility for you to be taking on.

    Your sister and her husband made their choice regarding school location/living arrangements and thus should sort out their own arrangements with getting their child to and from school rather than you and your husband having to do the heavy lifting and shift your schedules around.

    I think your sister sounds quite selfish to be honest, not taking your concerns into account and even belittling/discrediting you, even when you've offered them an apartment!!

    I'm 8 months pregnant and avoiding as much public contact as possible and have been since March. I still meet our close family or friend, go to a shop when necessary etc. but no way would I be doing a regular school run for someone else. It's risky, cases are going up and there have been outbreaks in school settings. Also, you'll start to get very tired between work and getting everything ready for the baby pretty soon and childminding your niece will get quite difficult for you.

    It will be tough and may cause a row, but your health and your baby's health is number 1, so you need to tell her that you can't keep up this arrangement any longer and she'll have to sort something else out and respect your concerns.

    Best of luck with the rest of the pregnancy :)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭cannotlogin

    So you're sister moved home without any arrangements in place and expects everyone to sort things out for her now.

    You're pregnant, need to look after yourself, 3 people working from home is a lot especially when it doesn't have to be that way and driving your niece on a long commute will also take time away from your job. You don't need all the hassle at the moment.

    What's wrong with the apartment you offered her? Given her attitude already I could be concerned she would take advantage of that, not pay rent etc.

    It's not your role to help her especially when she is ungrateful for any help she gets. Your husband seems to have the situation sussed out well.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 443 ✭✭TP_CM

    I think the most important thing for you OP is your own feelings and comforts and anyone who doesn't understand that doesn't deserve your help. I agree with your husband's concerns and I actually think you've gone above and beyond as it is. From an outsider's perspective, if I'm understanding this correctly, they're essentially looking for you to co-parent because they don't want the hassle (or expense?) of moving closer to the nicer school.

    Family members are not free childcare. Absolutely, they are great in an emergency or if something unexpected happens, but this type of setup you're describing shouldn't even make it to the table for discussion.

    You and your husband will have enough on your minds over the next few months which is perfectly reasonable. Even on that basis alone I would say no. Covid is simply another layer.

    My advice is to say no, and to do it as soon as you can so that you can all move on. Best of luck with the rest of the pregnancy, put yourself number 1 from here on.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,436 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Sammy96 wrote: »
    My sister was not happy with any of this. She is saying that I am using Covid as an excuse not to help her. That she is offended that I would put trial periods and end dates to my offers to help her and that she would not do any of this to me. That she moved home expecting help and that I am not helping her.

    She moved home. Yet enrolled her child in a school not near home and expects her pregnant sister to take in her child, and her husband, and expects you to not put an end date on it.

    Is she for real?

    Even you offering to keep this arrangement in place until December is bonkers. You originally offered 3 weeks, which was accepted. Then they did nothing to make arrangements for after the 3 weeks and now offering help until December, when you are offering even more help in the form of allowing them to move into your rental house (would you be charging them market rent?!) is still not enough.

    I know dealing with families is tricky, OP, but you need to say no, now. Your sister can't move to one area, send her child to school in another area and expect her family to indefinitely sort it all out for her. She either sorts out a house in your area in the next couple of weeks, or she moves the child to a school closer to where they are living. No end date means this could be an arrangement in place for the rest of the school year - or the rest of the child's time in school.

    You're being taken for a mug, and your sister is being totally unreasonable.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    Sorry, I re-read that again, and I qould definitely say no.

    The reality here OP is that your sister is used to you having no kids and being available.This row will happen in Dec/Jan if it doesn't happen now.What will you do if come Dec/Jan, you are at home waiting for labour and with a newborn, and she still sees nothing wrong with her husband/daughter being there because sure it is only a tiny baby, and you are off anyway, and they are no bother to have there and everyone is used to the arrangement.

    I would have this argument now, tbh, and it is about a lot more than just Covid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,671 ✭✭✭GarIT

    "She thinks it's an excuse" you don't need an excuse "No" is a full sentence.

    I wouldn't want my pregnant wife around someone going to school. And there is no way I could handle someone working from home in my house but you might have a bigger house.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭kerry cow

    you can pick your friends but not your relations .
    every family has a member who has a ENTITLEMENT and it's always offensive when they dont get there own wsy

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    So she moved home without sorting out her own living arrangements, and by the sound of things she doesn’t seem to have a plan in place about moving out of your Mum’s. And like a previous poster said, would she even want to pay proper rent for your apartment. I highly doubt it.

    The point regarding your work is very true. Unless your employers are some kind of saints, you or your husband taking time out to pick up your niece or look after her after school is just not on. There is leeway being given to parents at the moment - because the parents have no other choice. You however do have a choice, so I can see how your / your husband’s employer would be unimpressed. I’d tell her that your employer says no to this arrangement. It might be easier for you than saying an outright no (which you’d be so very much entitled to do!).

    I’d be very much with you re COVID concerns. In my mind, your sister should have made very sure she was in her own accommodation before her daughter started school, so that they could manage any risks appropriately - and within their own family. But she’s happy to put your family and your mother at risk. Even if she doesn’t believe there’s any risk, you’ve said that you’re not comfortable with it - and that should be enough for her.

    She is acting like a spoilt child, who expects the world to come running to sort out her problems, and stamps her foot when that doesn’t happen. I’d be inclined to not help at all - because it sounds like she will come up with every excuse or guilt trip to keep you facilitating her. And what is she doing in all this? It’s all about her husband / you / your husband sorting out her child’s arrangements. What is she doing to play her part in sorting out a mess she created?

  • Administrators Posts: 13,436 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    When you have children and are in a family unit with the other parent then you are both the ones with main responsibility for your child. Help from family members is not a substitute for actually being responsible for the child you have decided to have and the place where you have decided to send them to school. Help is babysitting occasionally, or maybe collecting the child if a parent is stuck or delayed.

    It is not taking the child (and her father) into your family for a few weeks, or a few days a week. Feeding them, collecting them, preparing them for school, doing homework, dealing with sanitising bags, books, lunch boxes etc. That's not the "help" that anyone should expect from their family. Offering that sort of a help on a short term basis is completely fine.

    The fact that she is annoyed at you for putting an end date (of DECEMBER!!!!!) on it is very telling of how much "help" she actually expects from her family. It's not workable. She's not looking for help. She's looking for her family to take over their role as parents and primary carers of their child.

    Edit: I wouldn't even use Covid as a reason anymore. It's just not a workable situation in the longterm. She needs to sort herself out and find somewhere more suitable to live.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,121 ✭✭✭screamer

    Oh and don’t let her move into your apartment either. How long before she starts taking that for granted and pays you no rent? Then what do you say? If you can’t get her to see sense with school drop offs, how will you throw her out of your apartment? No, don’t be a doormat for her, she is a total advantage taker. Next your niece will be dumped on you full time when on maternity leave. stand up to her and remember the fallout from this is in her, not on you.
    Get your husband to talk with her along with you to show a firm united front on this so she knows there is no wriggle room and STOP making compromises to accommodate her wants, trust me, she’s the kind of person who wouldn’t be happy or grateful if you gave her your last penny.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    No, no, no, no eh NO. Give an inch and she will take a mile. If you are spinning her child around she's as much a risk to you as if she's in your home. You do not need to facilitate her, her partner or her child or ANYONE working in your home bar you and your own partner. You are better off saying no to all than comprising. If she made choices regarding school location she needs to live with them and work around them herself, not make everyone bend over backwards for your needs. You don't need any justification to say no. In fact say actually you're tight it's probably not safe to have your kid in car either now that I think of it. Look after number one

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,209 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    No, you're not at all unreasonable.

    She doesn't get to dictate what you do either, btw, meeting your friends and whatever else. You make your choices, just as she makes hers. Except that she thinks that everyone else should support her, at their own expense.

    I wouldn't be asking your tenants to move out either.

    I know she is your sister but she is a user. Put yourself and your own family first.
    Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    The poster who said this is so right: “In fact say actually you're right it's probably not safe to have your kid in car either now that I think of it”.

    That is such a good response, and turns her stupid selfish comments back on her.

    This is not your problem OP, it’s hers. Why are you running around in circles after her? And who ‘moves home expecting help’. Jebus wept. She sounds very selfish and pushy and manipulative.

  • Registered Users Posts: 335 ✭✭fallen01angel

    Your sister sounds like a nightmare OP. How incredibly selfish of her, she enrolled her child in a school without even thinking through the schematics of how SHE'D manage the school run but that's ok cos she can offload the responsibility on you, her pregnant sister during Covid 19.
    You need to calmly explain to her that for the health and safety of YOUR family you will not be getting involved in the school situation.Don't get caught up in an arguement, the last thing you need is additional stress.
    Also don't even consider asking your tenants to leave,that will be something you'll live to regret judging by her recent behaviour.
    Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Amazing how the more you do for some people , the more you end up accused of doing nothing.

    Id lay out your very reasonable concerns and just weather the inevitable sh/t storm that'll come from someone who expects so much (and probably gives very little when it impacts her needs).

    No good deed goes unpunished...etc etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 360 ✭✭Jimi H

    Your sister has found a lot of great solutions to her difficulties. Pregnancy, working from home and living with Covid is plenty for you to be dealing with. Your sister needs to find suitable accommodation for her family. It would be absolutely reasonable for you to say no. You don’t need to explain yourself to her.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,898 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    Your sister is not family now, your husband and the baby you’re expecting are .
    She is just using you so her daughter can go it better school ??
    This is YOUR HOME.
    It’s not a place for you’re relatives to send their children to and then work from .
    Say NO to all the above scenarios

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  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Op, you sound like a very reasonable, generous human being with healthy boundaries. Absolutely, stay united with your husband and continue to trust that the two of you know what's best. You are nowhere near selfish! Far from that.

    Stay strong in relation to your sister, keep focusing on the fact that you are the kind of a person who is able to look at all aspects of a situation and do what's right. It's possible that you'll lose your sister as a result of not giving into her expectations/demands. Take this into account, accept it, maybe grieve if it comes to it, but remember, if your end up being estranged from your sister at the end of this, it's really not your fault.

    Congratulations by the way, enjoy your pregnancy and your baby!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,676 ✭✭✭strandroad

    Just to add to all the other voices OP, your sister is selfish, rude, unreasonable and a user of everyone around her. If my sister offered me what you're offering her already, I'll be showering her with spa bookings and restaurant vouchers in return. Free childcare and logistics help, free work from home space, convenient apartment... And she is not only unhappy but has further demands? Do not feel bad for setting boundaries at all, in fact I would reconsider your offer. Your sister is deluded.
    Oh and your husband is sound, appreciate his advice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭Sammy96

    Thank you all. I REALLY appreciate your thoughts on this. It is very reassuring to hear what you all think! You're right, I have to stand my ground. I think it will damage me and my sister's relationship, but as upsetting as it is, I'll have to live with it.

    Thanks again!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,584 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    Sammy96 wrote: »
    Thank you all. I REALLY appreciate your thoughts on this. It is very reassuring to hear what you all think! You're right, I have to stand my ground. I think it will damage me and my sister's relationship, but as upsetting as it is, I'll have to live with it.

    Thanks again!

    Your not the one doing the damage though... She is!

    Reasonable people don't add work to a pregnant woman at the best of times nevermind when there's a virus about.

    Don't evict your tenants especially if they are good, as I suspect your sister would be the tenant from hell.

  • Registered Users Posts: 769 ✭✭✭annoyedgal

    Your sister sounds extremely entitled and selfish sorry to say OP. Her childcare and school run responsibilities are hers alone and you have given an inch and she's taking a mile.
    You'll have enough on your plate with new baby, draw down your line now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    I did wonder if there’s any extenuating circumstances, like did she move home to look after your parents? You’ve mentioned her husband, so apparently they’re still together. I guess I’m wondering what the reason for the move home was (which you don’t have to get into here, just thinking if there’s any explanation for her vast expectations of ‘help’ or ‘support’). None of that would excuse her behaviour towards you though.

    If they just moved home because they wanted to, then I’d put money on this is how she’s always treated you, and she’s in shock that you’re not just rolling over and accepting it. Your husband sounds like he’s very (very!) well aware of what she’s really like, and I thought he dealt with it very well. If she pushes for any other favours, I’d tell her that you have to talk to your husband first. Not because you have to ‘ask his permission’ or any mad idea like that - but because this affects him too, and as someone else said, he and your future baby are your immediate family now. And he’s also at a bit of a remove, as it’s not his direct family - so it’s easier for him to view things without a prism of feeling obligated (or guilted into things).

    I’m glad to read that this thread made you feel reassured. You are so completely in the right here, and are a very good sister. Just be careful that you don’t get taken advantage of - or pushed into anything that puts your health, your pregnancy or your job at risk. I genuinely believe that her ‘requests’ of you put all three of those things at risk. And your finances are at risk too, in my opinion, if you let her move into your apartment.

    The essential point is that she is completely ignoring your concerns (and worse, making you feel bad and stressed for voicing them) - and that you offered what support you felt you could reasonably do (and I personally think you were way too accommodating in that) - but instead of thanks, you get it all thrown back in your face. That tells me all that I need to know about your sister.

  • Registered Users Posts: 461 ✭✭Pistachio19

    What a b*tch your sister is. She sounds like a spoilt brat expecting to live with your mother, have you to mind her child and do school runs, accommodate her or her husband etc. Either text or call her and say that you and your husband have talked about the situation again and unfortunately you are not in a position to help. Don't engage in further conversation about it. There's no need to make excuses or give explanations. Simply say it won't work for you and your husband - she can't argue with that.

    Do not give notice to your tenants. You could end up in a battle there if they refuse to move out, causing you more unecessary stress.

    Pull all offers off the table now and let her and her husband figure out how to manage their own lives. They are not your responsibility.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought

    OP - you sound like a cery kind and considerate sister - from your post I don’t doubt that you would gave been helpful and supportive of your sisters and ger needs in the past but the time to draw a firm line is now. Your tenants have paid they way and supoorted you and your financial goals - din’t mess them around and risk litigation and costs because your sister hasn’t organised her life or needs properly. As with everyone else on this thread , I think your sister hs taken a huge amount for granted both with your parents and with you and your husband. Even without the Covid it is extraordinarily selfish and egocentric of her to expect you while expecting a much longed for and long awaited child to put you to this stress, and out such extraordinarily selfish demands and expectations on you.

    Coupling this with a young school-going child being a high risk carrier and children being in close contact with 30 others in class each day and multiply this by 3 or 4 for their working parents and siblings and then whomever else they come in contact with she is really putting both you, your husband and unborn child at huge risk of exposure. It is absolutely horrifyingly selfish and callous.

    Tell your sister that she has to make other arrangements IMMEDIATELY for her child - you cannot risk a further day of exposure to covid or risking your unborn child. Tell her also that it is abaolutely shocking that she is putting you to such stress in your condition. Don’t give her a single additional day - she hs to do her commute herself and mind her own child or organise and pay a childminder to drive her to and from the school and wherever she is now living/renting.

    Where did she move from - lets hope its not the UK. Either way your husband is 100% right - get him to tell her no if needs be while you are there and present a unified front - she cannot use your house/ wifi and home as an office nor can her child live with you, move in or visit. You can skype her to keep the contact up. Don’t move your tenants - they have been loyal to you and your contract and deserve better.

    Your sister seems to have it all worked out with postcode shopping for schools, skipping another family and child who has lost a possible place because of the lies she has told the school, is now saving considerably on childcare, rent, commuting and also wants you as a high risk live in unlaid namny - she is totally taking the piss and will take as mich as she thinks she can get regardless of the risk or cost to you and your unborn child.

    A friend of mine has serious consequences as a consequence of catching the covid. she now has over 40 blood clots in her lungs that cannot be resolved and continies to get more, she has had to give up her job and business ( medical field) now is in serious problems with her mortgge and home, is utterly exhausted and now deeply in debt. No doubt it might be convenient for your sister to have everyone do her jobs of homemaking, providing a home, paying rent and childminding for her but the time to be strong and put your foot down is now. Every day could be your last one of health and every day you risk your babys life or heaLth os one you will forever regret. End it all today. You sister will have to take the consequences of her decisions herself - your husband and his unborn child now has to come first in your decision making - do not risk another day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭elainers

    OP, in my opinion there are some people in this world who only see others for their utility value to them. They don’t recognise these people as having needs of their own. I suspect your sister is one of these people.

    She’s only seeing your utility to her own needs at the moment. She’s not recognising that you have conflicting needs because you’re pregnant.

    In my view when dealing with these types of people, you need to:

    A. Recognise what they are.
    B. Make sure you put yourself first because they definitely won’t.

    I really think you need to do what’s best for you and let her off.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,578 ✭✭✭Scraggs

    Agree with most of the advice given here, your sis is taking advantage of your kindness.

    Not sure if its been mentioned already but there is a ban on evictions at present due to covid so seek legal advice before asking current tenants to leave just in case there are consequences. I personally think its asking for trouble if she moves in (won't pay rent or won't move out etc.) and would rescind the offer.