My Sister-in-Law is a User!

Dear Hillie:

My sister-in-law is such a user. She’s got two young kids and she’s forever dumping them at a moment’s notice on my elderly in-laws (who find it hard looking after them) or me; I’ve got more than enough to do looking after my newborn baby! She borrows food and never replaces it; she borrowed our car and never told us she’d crashed it until we noticed the dent on the wing. Our baby is being christened soon and she’s assumed she can have her children ‘done’ at the same time and muscle in on the party (which has been paid upfront by us) with her guests! She’s beyond belief and we’re fed up. Please advise.

Hillie says:

Try this subterfuge. Tell your sister-in-law that one of the other guests has asked you if she can contribute to the cost of the christening party and wants to know if you want cash or a cheque. You can tell your sister-in-law how much you appreciate the offer. Your sister-in-law will then have an opportunity to offer a contribution and if she doesn’t you can tell her you would to split the cost of the party with her. Unless you do something your sister-in-law will continue to carry on in the same old inconsiderate way. Maybe she doesn’t realise that your in-laws can’t cope and that you are overworked because none of you have told her. It’s time to gently explain that you are prepared to help out occasionally with proper notice but she needs to be responsible for her own family and make alternative arrangements. Be firm; you have more than enough to cope with already.