05 Oct
Wonder Twin Powers Activate!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m having a problem with my wife’s twin sister. She used to live 90 miles away but has recently moved within 20 miles of us. The problem is that she drops her three kids off at our house 5-6 days a week from 3pm-1am! This has been going on for over a year! She used to live with us, but I made her move out. I got her a car and helped put her kids into their own school system. But my wife still watches them all the time. I want to tell her that she can’t do it anymore and I feel like we are being taken advantage of. Help!

Signed,

2 Against 1

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Dear 2 Against 1,

First off, Shhhhhhhh! I’m pretty sure her twin can hear you. Don’t most twins have that superpower where they know exactly what is going on in the other twin’s life?  Also, aren’t they able to change themselves into various forms of precipitation? I’m pretty sure that cartoon was based on real scientific evidence. So I would be very careful how you proceed.

Image source

An aside: Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of the cartoon characters when you put “Wonder Twin Powers” in Google? Most of the images are of breasts. Why?

Secondly, you and your wife have obviously established yourselves as the “stable, responsible” ones in the family. This is always a huge mistake. I make sure that when my husband’s or my families are around, we listen to gangsta rap as loud as possible. I also like to flash random, pretend gang signs (they are pretend because, really, who am I to do all that research and figure out some real ones?) whenever I’m speaking and I make sure to throw in phrases like: “Biiiiaaatch, please!” and “Watcha looking at mofo?” while at the dinner table. Plus, nothing says “Don’t leave your kids with me” more than giving my own 3-year-old an eyebrow piercing and his first “MOM” tattoo! Needless to say, the spouse and I have never ever been asked for any babysitting services.

But, if this tactic isn’t up your alley, perhaps it’s time you sat down with your wife and her sister and talked all of this out? The fact that you have purchased your sister-in-law a car and assisted in her kids’ school arrangements is commendable. And while I do agree that 5-6 days a week from 3pm to 1am is quite a lot of free childcare, it’s important to understand how your wife feels about all of this, first and foremost. It’s possible that she enjoys watching her sister’s children. Or, at the very least, wants to do whatever she can to help her sister and the children. I’m guessing here that the father/husband is no longer in the picture? Or is not an active participant? If this is also the case, perhaps it means even more to your wife to be a helping hand to her sister right now?

One of my best friends is a twin and I can tell you that it is a very special relationship even if superpowers aren’t involved. Aside from having the usual pressures of family obligation, you also have to take into account the uniqueness of a twin relationship. You must remember that your wife and her sister are not merely siblings (which, in itself is quite a bond) but they have shared their lives together in ways that most of us could never understand.   So while I do believe you have a right to be upset by the amount of responsibility that you and your wife have inadvertently been given, it’s up to your wife to decide how she wants to handle this matter. And as her husband it’s important for you to support whatever decision she comes to even if that means that you both may have to spend some more quality time with your nieces and nephews.

Good Luck,

Tonya, TMH

10 Responses to “Wonder Twin Powers Activate!”

10.05.11#1

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

While I agree that a twins’ relationship is unique, I don’t think our friend here should just stand back and support whatever decision his wife makes: it’s his house, too; it’s his marriage and 5-6 days a week 3 pm – 1 am is a hell of a long time to have someone else’s kids around, even if it’s his nieces.

I think you should talk to your wife first and state your needs as a husband and as the other owner of the house. I guess if you helped your SIL before it was to get rid of her, and your wife sure understood this.

State your needs and assess your wife’s, then find a compromise (after all marriage is all about compromises isn’t it?) and ONLY AFTER you’ve cleared things among yourselves, confront the SIL.

No doubt, if she leans on her sister she needs support; she should also strive for independence, because you never know what may happen in the future. You set her on her way to independence once, she got tired of it and came back and has been a weight on your shoulders for over a year: time to get back on her own, don’t you think?

10.05.11#2

Comment by suburbancorrespondent.

Yes, I do think you are disregarding the importance of the marriage here. If he lets the wife do as she likes and he resents it, what good is that? He doesn’t mention whether they have children of their own, by the way…

Maybe if he finds another childcare arrangement for at least half of the week, that would be a good compromise. Essentially, the sister is being given free childcare. Is she at poverty level? Is she not receiving child support? These are all factors in determining how much one sister should help the other.

10.05.11#3

Comment by Kathy.

That’s way too much to foist on a family! With only two kids I have enough to do running them around and keeping up with my own household and maintaining a relationship with my husband to take on three kids from someone else – even if that person is a sibling. His feelings are completely justified! I just hope his wife isn’t taking on sis’ kids as a means to distance herself from her husband 🙁

10.05.11#4

Comment by Plano Mom.

I was going to say the exact thing that has already been said, but I’ll say it a different way.

Husband needs to talk to wife. They need to get on the same page. Then talk to sister. She needs to grow up.

Husband didn’t marry the sister too, and he didn’t sign up for more kids than he has.

10.05.11#5

Comment by Bean.

Seriously, seriously sit down with your wife. Did she agree to this? Or is sis taking advantage?

To me it also makes a difference where is she from 3 – 1? Work? Or partying? One of the reasons I’m a SAHM is because until we don’t have to pay for FT child care, my salary would barely cover the daycare, much less bring money home. If she’s starting over with kids and without a partner, family-assisted child care may well be the only way she can go to work.

10.05.11#6

Comment by N and Em's mom.

From 3pm to 1am? Really? Is she picking the kids up at 1am and dragging them “home” and then putting them on a school bus at 7 in the morning? I am seething as I write this. Your wife’s compassion is hurting these children. There is no way that the kids are doing as well in school as they could with this kind of schedule, not to mention the safety of driving night after night at 1am in the morning.

10.05.11#7

Comment by Tonya.

I hadn’t thought about the fact that they would have to wake up the kids at 1 am. This is a really good point.

10.05.11#8

Comment by Ken.

There seem to be some recurring themes in the comments here. One, I do think Tonya suggested that he needs to talk to his wife about the situation. And I think everyone agrees with that.

Where opinions seem to get split is over how much say the wife has in this situation. I think to some degree when we marry, we do actually also marry our spouse’s family. And depending on the family dynamic, that means spending more time than you’d like with people who may not be your favorite people on the planet. And I agree with Tonya on the twin front; I think this is a bit of a special situation. I would even argue that if this guy were to have sex with the twin, it wouldn’t even be cheating. I mean genetically, they are really the same person. Ok, now I’m just stirring the pot. I’m kidding. But I do think that the twin bond is different. And that the situation is not so cut and dry.

So, yes, they should talk. And yes, they should compromise. But it is really going to come down to how his wife feels about the situation and what she is comfortable doing about the situation. Over time, he may have to help her shift her comfort zone. But if blood is thicker than water, I can only imagine what exact DNA replica is thicker than.

10.05.11#9

Comment by Regina.

i’m with ken (except for the sex idea – though i also heard a rumor that blow jobs aren’t cheating either…perhaps that’s a better option).

inappropriateness aside, it seems to me that we haven’t heard the wife’s side to the situation. perhaps she enjoys taking care of the children, or perhaps she feels the need to help her twin sister.

obviously he should talk with his wife, but it seems there will be no easy out to this. like it or not, you do all become family when you marry someone.

06.13.12#10

Comment by Stop the Parent Guilt Trips | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] not always be about the distance. Perhaps you just don’t want to see your family as much as your twin. And that’s okay. But just because she likes to go home frequently doesn’t mean she […]

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