One wife and mother was heartbroken when her husband passed away. She and her children were devastated and struggling, but she didn't want to make anything harder on them at such a young age. She wanted to preserve what should could of their childhood. Her brother-in-law disagreed and said her son, his nephew needs to step up and honor his father's memory by being the 'man of the house.'
My husband, Dan, grew up in a single parent household. His dad died when he was young. His older brother, Martin, was definitely parentified and became the “man of the house.”
Together, Dan and I have 3 children: Sydney (12F), Gabe (10M) and Charlotte (3F). Unfortunately, Dan passed away 3 months ago. It’s been a terrible struggle trying to balance my grief, my children’s on top of the rest of the responsibilities. I have a great support system, so I have been cognizant to make sure my babies still have a childhood. I always said I wouldn’t do what my MIL did.
Recently, I was having a bit of a tough time. Charlotte was sick, Sydney is in about a million activities and the housework was piling up. Martin’s wife, Rachel, offered to come by and help me out. She generously cleaned the house and looked after Charlotte while I ran Sydney to her activities.
When I arrived back home, I found Martin and Gabe in the kitchen. Martin was telling him that it shouldn’t have gotten to this stressful point and he should be helping me more. He told him that he was the man of the house and it was up to him to step up.
I cut in and told Gabe to not listen to his uncle, that he is a little boy and it is NOT his job to take over for his father. Rather, it’s his job to play, go to school and just be a kid. I sent him to play.
I tore into Martin. I asked him how dare he say that to my son?! I said he may have been parentified but he will NOT do the same to my son. I said if he pulled crap like that again, he’d never see my kids again.
My children do have chores and help around the house. The work in question was things that are out of their age bracket and were my responsibility. Thus why I was falling behind considering I also have to take care of the kids, drive them places and do more things that are not age appropriate or their job.
Martin told me I was being ungrateful, he was only trying to help. He said more than anything, he was defending his wife as it’s not her job to help me.
I reminded him I never asked Rachel for help, she offered. Martin said she wouldn’t have if I wasn’t complaining about how hard my life is.
Since, Dan’s family has been telling me what a b*tch I am. They say this is all Martin knows and I was way too harsh on him, especially threatening to cut him off. They told me I need to get my sh*t together.
My MIL especially thinks I need to suck it up and expect my kids (not just Gabe, but Sydney too) to help me with Charlotte. I told her off and that only made it worse.
Everyone is accusing me of alienating Dan’s family, which I’m not trying to do. AITA?
NTA. You take those healthy boundaries for your kids and you defend them with your life. It's something your BIL unfortunately hasn't experienced, and that's not his fault, but he is about to learn. We break trauma cycles, we don't perpetuate them.
NTA. You talking to Rachel is called venting. Martin was deflecting to remove the light from his mess up. There are some things the kids could to help; pick up their own toys, put dishes in the sink or away. Small things. Run a vacuum cleaner. It teaches life skills.
I get why you blew up at what he said. Kids don't need to be man of the house. Add to that you are trying to juggle 3 kids, keep the home afloat, and probably haven't gotten to grieve properly.
'He said more than anything, he was defending his wife as it’s not her job to help me.'
I knew way before I got to this thinly veiled line that his real issue was he wanted his wife at home catering to him and not you. NTA. Death is awful. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I'm glad you have a wonderful (minus BIL) support system. Continue seeking assistance when needed, and being your kids' champion.
NTA. Your husband died 3 months ago (very sorry for loss by the way) and you have to stop complaining about having a hard time keeping up with things and adjusting with being a single mother ?
And why do they oldest need to help you with the youngest ? So that you have time to keep à perfectly clean house?
Let me guess, when you had your kids, you MIL wanted to come over to help you out. You thought that would mean doing laundry or helping with cleaning but she just took the baby and let you clean and cook for her.
I think you should start introducing chores for your kids if you haven't done it already, but taking care of their sister should not be their responsibility.