Woman Not Letting Stepson Spend Weekend at Home While They're Away Backed

A husband who wants his mother-in-law to look after his stepson for a weekend while he and his wife are away has been criticized by users on Mumsnet, the U.K.-based online forum.

In a post shared by user Weekendawaynightmare on Mumsnet's Am I Being Unreasonable (AIBU) forum, where it received over 200 comments, the wife said her mom will be staying at their house while looking after their toddler when the couple are away "as it's easier for her with everything here."

Her husband said that his 14-year-old stepson asked whether he can stay at their place during the same weekend "as he wants to go out with a friend who lives closer to us."

The user said her husband "doesn't see the problem" with this request but the wife is "insistent that he says no," noting "It's too much to ask of my [mom]" to look after both their toddler and her stepson.

A mother looking concerned at her son.
An older woman looking concerned, with her hand on a teenage boy's shoulder. A woman who doesn't not want her mother to have to look after her stepson for the weekend has received a wave of support from users on Mumsnet. iStock/Getty Images Plus

According to a December 2019 report published in the peer-reviewed journal Demography, around 20 percent of American households have at least one stepparent, while over 10 percent have at least one adult stepchild. Nearly 30 percent of households have "a stepkin tie" among either parents or adult children.

The study said: "Vignettes suggest that both the norms of family obligation and relationship quality affect the willingness of family members to provide help to one another and that step relationships affect both norms and the strength of ties."

According to an August 2019 article by the American Psychological Association (APA), "the most difficult aspect of stepfamily life is parenting" and recent research suggests that younger adolescents (those aged from 10 to 14) may have the most difficult time adjusting to a stepfamily.

"Under the best conditions, it may take two to four years for a new stepfamily to adjust to living together," the APA said.

The user in the latest Mumsnet post said her husband doesn't think it will be a problem for his 14-year-old to stay over because "he barely needs looking after."

But the original poster said: "I don't think that's the point, it's another child in the house my mum will feel responsible for. How is she supposed to okay him going out with friends and police when he comes home etc...

"She'd also need to make his meals and things like that and I just do not think it's on to put that on her when she's already doing us such a huge favor," the wife said, adding: "I do not want to even ask as I know my mum will feel pressure to agree."

The user said: "We are always happy to have DSS [dear stepson] outside of normal contact usually but this time we are away so we can't. If he wants to see this friend he'll have to sort it with his [mom]."

Several Mumsnet users sided with the original poster, with many saying her mother should "absolutely not" have to watch the stepson over the weekend and that her husband would be " imposing massively" on his mother-in-law by asking her to do so.

User ilovemyboys3 said: "It would be an absolute no from me...14 year olds still need looking after. Your [mom] shouldn't be responsible for keeping check of his son when he is out and about and who would be responsible if something were to happen."

Johnnysgirl agreed, stating: "No, your mother should absolutely not be put in this position. He stays at your house to be with his Dad; it's not a hotel to be used for his convenience when your dh isn't even there."

User liveforsummer said: "No way, imagine the worry if he doesn't come home when he should or ends up drunk. Definitely not fair and don't ask her as she might feel obliged to say yes. He can see his friends the weekend after when his dad is there and in charge."

FinallyHere explained: As so often, this is a DH [dear husband] problem. He is imposing massively on the person who has agreed to look after a toddler to, without any discussion, add in a fourteen year old...it is really not fair."

User Goodskin46 commented: "Toddlers are much easier to leave than teens. Dh is the one who needs to step up here. It is not always possible to have nice adult times when you have teens."

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