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July 2, 2022

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Katherine CrapoSeptember 26, 2021

I think if I were in that situation I would consider adopting the children. Being a part-time caregiver i think would be more difficult than being completely in charge and being able to creatively provide a loving, structured, consistent environment for these children. Sometimes the seemingly harder path turns out to be the most fulfilling and in the end easier one. If your brother-in-law or husband balks, your offer would only serve to awaken them to the heavy responsibility it is to care for a family.

MikeSeptember 22, 2021

I am going to disagree. My sainted grandmother graduated from nursing school a year before the Spanish influenza. She saved many lives and helped many more into their transition to the next life, including both of her parents. She raised her children during the Great Depression. When grandfather had a stroke and couldn't work as hard, they lost the dairy farm. They moved into the little rock house up in the mountains in a climate about like Sundance Ski resort. They had 5 rocky acres and grew quite a bit of their food. They raised chickens, cows and a pig. Her sons poached an occasional deer when their was no meat left. The 3 room rock house was the size of a one car garage with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen. They had no electricity, and heated it with a wood/coal stove. They had a spring right outside the door and the privy was a short walk away. They raised their 9 children there. The little ones slept in the same room with the parents and up to 5 girls in one bed in the other room. The boys slept outside on the back porch. When grandma's sister was killed, the grieving louse of a husband left their 6 poorly disciplined children with grandma and ran off to a life of adventure in California. Her 2 oldest daughters married young. One to a drunk who beat her. She moved back to the rock house with her 2 children and her ex-husband's illegitimate child from a 15 year old girl. One teenage daughter got pregnant by a soldier home on leave at a similar age and eventually they married after the war, but she lived in the rock house, with a baby. Grandma's 4 sons and 4 sons-in-law fought in WWII. Her oldest son was missing in action for 3 years and came home with severe shell-shock after spending the time hiding in the jungle and as a prisoner of war. He never fully recovered. Her second son was wounded in the battle of the bulge. One son-in-law lost his legs in Italy and another lost an eye and his hearing. Her youngest, the smallest and scrappiest of the boys, was 1 of only 3 out of a group of about 50 guys in his unit to make it home alive, with terrible scars on his face. A group of 3 pregnant Japanese women were hiding nearby in the mountains because they did not want to have their babies in a prison camp. Grandma gave them food and firewood and delivered their babies. She got other ladies in the tiny town to help them. One day she went to visit them and found them all dead. She got blamed for "poisoning the japs," but was never prosecuted for it. When I came along, life had improved. They had a better house, financed by the soldiers pay the 8 boys had saved. I knew all of these people and the next generation were my cousins. I got the impression that the years in the rock house were the happiest times of their lives. I guess bad experiences do make for great memories. When it comes to children, especially close kin, there are no self-focused boundaries and no legalistic excuses. If the original parents can't cut it (or won't) people like my grandmother have to step in. Else the problems get magnified each generation. A few of my cousins went on to do great things. Most are living normal lives. One became a gangster, killed and raped people, and died in a shoot-out. A couple struggled and eventually overcame alcohol or drug abuse. A handful got pregnant before marriage. Most but not all of the boys served missions. A few had divorces. Grandma made a huge difference, down to the 3rd and 4th generation. These numbers would have been markedly skewed the other direction without her sacrifice. This challenge is an opportunity for you to be, not just a good person, but a saint. The children will pay you back for your efforts, one way or another. Image being there for their graduation, from school or prison, the birth of their children, into a loving marriage or into desperate conditions. Take the long view; not weeks and months, but decades and generations.

JeannieSeptember 21, 2021

Take control of this situation! Instead of agreeing to babysit at anytime, tell your husband and brother in law both of the weekends you are available for the next 6 months--that might be one weekend, or more--but you set the calendar. If the brother in law needs help during a time when you are not available, then your husband can watch the children or the brother in law will have to make other arrangements. You also probably know this, but the brother in law is not your major issue here--it is the lack of respect and consideration from your husband. I am guessing that there are other issues in your marriage with your husband besides being taken advantage of by the brother in law. You are in charge of you and you and your husband need to work some things out. God bless you in your charity--but don't put your own health at risk. Take charge of this situation. You can do this and set your own boundaries!

Emily M.September 19, 2021

I'm adding in my strong support that the wife needs to set boundaries with her husband, and they both need to set boundaries with the brother-in-law. I have been discussing this with my own therapist. She told me to think of all the times in the temple where God sets boundaries. It's actually pretty stunning, everything from boundaries on when the world is created, to getting to stay in Eden, to casting out evil. God is a God of boundaries. And, as His children, He is setting an example for us to place and hold our boundaries as well. I have since started reading the Book of Mormon through the lens of how God sets boundaries and it's very, very illuminating. This appears in the Book of Mormon too, where King Benjamin tells his people that they need to serve others but do so in wisdom and in order, and not run faster than they have strength. Wisdom and order means that it's okay and important to set boundaries on service. I completely agree that this is no longer a situation of acute need. It's chronic. The husband and the brother-in-law may resist setting boundaries, but that is still what needs to happen here. What's a realistic amount that their family can be involved with the children and not burn out? This is a hard situation since the wife does not have the kind of support she needs from her husband. I hope that he reads this and realizes that, while his heart has been in the right place, with a desire to serve, it's simply not right to place his brother above his wife in her divine need to set and hold boundaries here.

LindaSeptember 17, 2021

It's easy. Stop being a doormat, and tell him NO.

FelicitySeptember 17, 2021

I think that it's very unfair of the brother-in-law to expect his family to watch his children. This is his lot in life to take care of his children and yes, granted neither he nor the children asked for the wife and mom to pass away. This dear sister's husband is just as selfish as his brother expecting his wife to take care of the children. It has already built up resentment and her needs, like so many sisters, are not taken into account. I don't know if her question has been adequately answered considering that she suffers from mental fatigue which is what I would call it. Telling her to put her foot down and discuss this with her husband to find a solution means that all the responsibility and the stress falls on her which is unfair considering that she is the one who is left with the children. Personally, I would pack up my children and move to one of her family members for a little while so that her husband and his brother can sort things out. Why are men so selfish and demanding and yes, this is a broad statement as I know some are exceptionally kind and supportive.

Maryann TaylorSeptember 17, 2021

The husband does not have the right to say "yes" to his brother regarding work that will actually be done by his wife. He seems to be more concerned about his brother than the health and well-being of his own wife. Since the brother has the means to provide childcare for his children, he is taking advantage of his brother and wife. This is especially troubling since some of his trips are for pleasure. It is not surprising that the brother had a falling out with other family members who previously cared for his children. Since the wife has already told her husband it is too much for her, she needs to be more assertive. The next time the husband says his wife will care for his brother's children, she might respond with, "Sorry, I am NOT taking care of the children. YOU will have to make other arrangements since YOU are the one who agreed." Sounds like this husband is guilt-driven, which has absolutely nothing to do with living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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