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Feeling sidelined by in-laws

By Annie Lane - Dear Annie | May 22, 2024

Dear Annie: I’m writing because I have two sisters-in-law through my husband, and together they have three kids, ages 2 and under. In both cases, they have full custody with minimal support from the fathers. Their entire family lives within five miles of each other, and yet my sisters-in-law choose questionable friends to babysit instead of family nearby, despite us offering to help.

It even got to the point where we have spare rooms open in our brand-new home, and we have offered for one sister-in-law to stay with us while she recovered from postpartum, but she opted to move into the tiny one-bedroom home with her sister instead, despite risking eviction.

Their brothers, mother and I are constantly left feeling like we are only reached out to for rides, grocery pickups or doctor’s visits, but outside of that, we get baby photos in a messenger app. On top of all this, they consistently repost things on social media about having no help, feeling isolated and saying that their “village” doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, the village we’ve been attempting to offer has seemingly been ignored at every turn.

We’re hurt and tired and starting to feel like it may be better to stay away for the time being.

Any advice or tough love would be greatly appreciated. Are we trying too hard? Not hard enough? — Village-in-Waiting

Dear Village-in-Waiting: Have you spoken to your sisters-in-law about this? Are you close? If not, then try to make an effort with them instead of judging them for their choices in who they want to have babysit their children. Trust is the most important thing when leaving your child in the care of someone, family or not. Keep trying to show that you are trustworthy and that you want to be close to them. Make sure you speak with them about your willingness to help babysit the children.

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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