Save. Spend. Splurge.

Every family is f*cked up in its own way

So regular readers will remember my trials and tribulations with my own family (geared around money mostly) but thankfully in recent years this has mellowed down to where we are in a good place.

They even know about my $$ car and have all but congratulated on me for finally enjoying my life and my money because life is too short. They’re being quite generous about my success these days, even if they are still (lightly) hinting about being taken on nice vacations (not happening).

But now, this year, the situation at my partner’s family has come to a head. I never realized it was so bad until we were having screaming matches after the first week.

You better believe I was in tears and I am still smarting about it all.

To put things bluntly:


His brother booked their flights, and never gave us the dates.

We then proceeded to book our flights and when we gave the dates to his brother so they could plan to be there at the same time, they said: Oh we are leaving the day after you’re coming.

I mean…. WTF.

I was a little miffed because the whole point was to see the baby cousins and to meet up with them and hang out.

Fine. Whatever.

For the two days that we arrived, I was jet lagged to the max and his brother and their family basically up and eff off for the whole day without nary a good morning.

They come back in time to eat a lunch that my partner cooked for the family while they were out, and then sort of screw around for the rest of the day.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

And my partner’s sister and family?

They arrive the day we arrive only because there is a wedding to attend.

Otherwise, according to my partner they wouldn’t have bothered to make the trip up to stay on their week off (2 hours), and this rings true because they leave the minute the wedding is done, and head back instead of staying to hang with us.


We are here, and as contractors, my partner and I are basically giving up $20,000 in lost income each, plus the trip and expenses, so $50,000 total.

Do they care? Not really.

No one made the effort to want to meet up with us even when we gave the dates to try and coincide with them, and I think it partly stems from jealousy.

I hate to say it, but when we work, we make 30 times more in income than his sister and her family.

The reason why I think it is jealousy, is because his sister has been griping about how she can’t even afford anything beyond a cheap crappy cellphone for herself and cannot understand how other people can afford things like an iPhone.

I don’t know what to say, but I see that in the past year, her daughter was given:

  • a new car to get around — yes it’s small, but it is a NEW CAR
  • a new iPhone
  • a Macbook 13″ laptop
  • a new PC laptop because they realized she can’t use Macs at school with certain programs
  • everything paid for – she eats out three times a day, and has a free reign of about 1000 EUR a month to buy whatever she wants

…so she doesn’t have money?


Her daughter is also sporting new pairs of Ray-Bans every time I see her, and if SHE cannot “afford” to buy herself a proper phone to use, it is because she is spending it on her kid instead.

I am totally fine with this — you do you boo — but don’t complain that you don’t have money because I see where it’s going even if you say you don’t have anything for yourself.

You are sacrificing your happiness and spending the money on your daughter instead, so…… live with it.


This one hurt the most. They have repeatedly told my partner that they find me useless and lazy. I’m actually very hurt and shocked by this.

What they don’t see is that I DO a lot of the work but no one is there to see it.

For instance, his brother and wife left a mess of the kitchen in the morning before leaving to go to the pool. I spend the morning while they’re out, scrubbing and cleaning all the pots and pans and putting them away.

They come home, to a spotless kitchen and don’t realize that anything even happened because I cleaned it up and they never saw the mess to begin with.

Did I work? #*%%( yes.

Did they think I did anything all morning? No.

Furthermore, I was heavily jetlagged, drugged from the motion sickness patch, and tired from a long international flight and then a bus and train to get up here.


No, the first night apparently, they expected me to do MORE than my fair share of helping out (as in, clean the entire table and put everything away), while having just arrived off a plane, whereas his brother and wife were there with their kids, without nary an excuse for ‘jet lag’.

I thought they would give me a break for the first night but apparently not.

Not only that, when his brother and wife left with the family to fly back, I spent the afternoon taking out the garbage and cleaning the bathroom (they left a huge mess).

Did anyone see it? No.

So… ergo, I didn’t do jack #%(%.

I was even cornered by her the second night and told that I HAD to help Mamie do more around the house because she won’t complain or say anything but she gets sick, bla bla bla… and I gave her a strange look, not understanding why she was even having this conversation with me. My thought was: I know… ??? I do help.

But I was tired and I just said: Ah vrai? .. or something stupid but now I realize what she was actually saying.

So… #%(& them.


My partner said: They are wearing pink glasses ….when it comes to his brother and wife.

In the heat of the moment, I was too angry to see the humour but he meant that they are wearing rose-coloured glasses when it is his brother’s family.

They just prefer him because his brother is more ‘likable’, and my partner truth be told, is a little less easy-going about everything.

They say things like: Oh no! Little Cousin DOES eat everything and eats WELL…

…when the truth of the matter is that I have seen that child only take in chocolate milk in the morning, biscuits, a few olives, 5 tablespoons of mashed potatoes, 2 flavoured yoghurts, and a piece of bread.. all… DAY.

Pardon me, but that is not “eating well” if we are going to compare against Little Bun eating a plain yoghurt, banana, vegetable stew with pasta, another yoghurt, a mango and a full dinner with more fruit at the end. HE eats well.

Little Cousin is NORMAL. He is a normal, picky child who won’t want things that he has had before and stages food rebellions, just like Little Bun does on occasion.

Instead, Little Cousin is the perfect one and Little Bun is not because he isn’t as likable/friendly/pliable/outgoing…. (for now, I say).

His brother and family also pay for ZERO at the house, and Mamie buys everything they want and pays for it all, but we insist and pay for everything we eat ourselves.

We also cook FOR the family, and they only make little dishes to eat amongst themselves or their children, not making enough for everyone to partake in.

His wife does as much as I do in helping out but yet she is seen as being far more hardworking, helpful…

It made me wonder if it is one of those things where they prefer her because she’s French and I am not.

I would hope not but I am starting to wonder WTF is going on and it would explain a lot if that’s the case.

Anyway. Hello Drama.



  • Cleo

    Sorry to hear that your ‘vacation’ didn’t work out. I can feel you; my inlaws are often horrible too. They feel free tot say the most horrible things about other people, without thinking. Think some eldery people go fullcircle to being a child again, very primitive to say the least.

  • C

    This is why I always bring work with me when I visit family… especially my husband’s family. (So does he.) It’s good to have an excuse to take a break from them, and it’s not really like it’s a vacation for the visit anyway… vacation, in my book, is fun. Visits to family can be… fraught. When I really want to strangle my MIL I’m all ” – gotta go finish writing up that report, darn! I’ll see you in a couple of hours!”
    And then too we don’t use up all my work leave time because I’m billing and we can save some for actual vacation, because it is an international trip for us as well which means that it’s always at least a week and a half away otherwise.
    Stay strong!!
    I was happy being an only kid! Especially after I visited my cousins and saw the downsides of having siblings.

  • Linda

    Damn! That truly sucks.
    I wonder what your partner reply was when they first called you lazy.

    Also, if you didn’t know to set the table, you just didn’t know. Perhaps partner should’ve told you. On the other hand, why should you have to just b/c it seems like you were the newbie ?

    Man, family is something else.
    And clearly there a culture thing happening.
    The comparisons of the cousins is a no no, but b/c she old, shrug that off.

    I agree. Do not return. You’ve done your part and they don’t appreciate you or partner and the sacrifice you’ve made.

    We always want to please family, but no! When they don’t reciprocate, then do what makes you feel good.

    Now you know better. When they don’t see you on the next trip, they’ll know why, or not b/c they don’t care. Wish them well and keep it moving.

    Going forward, I wouldn’t share any big “money” news with them…especially not the details.
    I despise ppl who watches your pocket and then wanna be mad abt it.
    Life is based on choices. Everyone is basically living out their choices!

    Go explore and leave them alone.
    I’d purposely explore all day so you don’t have be in the same place.

    And I know you have a sharp mouth on you Sherry, use it if you need to. They need to know their place. They’re already talking ish, so give them more if need be.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Family is something else. I am really stung by all of it to be honest.

      If they came to visit me, I would be hosting them with fresh laundry, cooking, cleaning.. I would not be asking them to do anything. I thought it was the same with them, but apparently not.

      I would rather not start anything so I just bite my tongue and each time my partner says something I just repeat back to him It doesn’t matter. I am NEVER coming back here.

      I think after the 5th time, he finally got it.

  • Clo

    Yep, typical French in-law behavior. Maddening, isn’t it? Everyone is nice and friendly while stealthily monitoring your adherence to a hundred esoteric “codes” for the slightest deviation. It’s even worse when you’re a successful, independent, and/or foreign woman. Backstabbing is a national pastime here, especially in smaller/rural regions (fwiw just bought a house in one of these places as an unmarried femme étrangère, so I know what it’s like). A smile and a bottle of crémant go a looong way.

    Anyway. So sorry you’re not enjoying vacation right now, but this too shall pass. Wishing you some great side trips and things to enjoy outside of family time!

  • GYM

    Man I am sorry to hear about this family drama! That’s not very polite especially since you guys flew across an ocean to go and visit them and spend time together. Your mother in law sounds like a piece of cake comparing her grand children to each other. In law relationships are hard. I have learned to just bite my lip and nod or say nothing.

  • Escape to MI

    You know… this is why my parents only had one child. My husband has 3 sisters and I am always thankful to be an only child!

    Hopefully you can try to find a way to enjoy the time in France beyond the family.

  • Maggie

    I’m so sorry your vacation is being spoiled. I just went through a similar situation with my own parents. I have decided to limit my time at their house and love them from afar. Don’t let the bastards get you down! You are a great parent.

  • Jules

    I am really sorry that you are going through all of this. You seem like a very down to earth person who has her shit together. I think this whole situation stems from two things: jealousy and preferential treatment. Parents always say that they love their kids equally, but from personal experience this is not always true- human nature makes us rankers, pickers, even when we do not try we unconsciously rank experiences, things and even people. So yes, your mother-in-law might have a preference for the other sibling(s). Does this happen? Yes. Is it ok to let is be showcased? Hell no. Also, there might be bias since you are not French- the French are old school about this stuff, the mother might not even realize it herself that she is acting more positively to the other spouse. Also, I smell jealousy, you are at a great place in your life with all of your savings and your paid for condo, people often cannot stomach this , especially family, it is sometimes the worse environment for stuff like that- friends and strangers are often times more complimentary about this stuff. Often times people who are jealous are extremely unhappy with their own lives- I would say let all of this chatter roll off of your back, let it slide (I know-easier said than done, but for your own mental and physical health, please try) I would also strongly suggest you take a year off from going there-this is supposed to be vacation, relaxation. Next year, go wherever the hell you want. You love Baby Bun so much, do not ever doubt your child rearing. Sending you positive vibes and keep doing you!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you. It has completely soured me on my trip here and I keep thinking about it over and over again.

      For sure she prefers her daughter, she is #1, and my partner is the most difficult one because he is very opinionated, everything is black and white with him… I can see that he isn’t going to be the preferred easygoing kid you know?

      For the siblings it might be jealousy.. we do make a lot. 30X what they do so.. *shrug*

      • SRS

        It seems like you like pointing out how much more you make versus them, so maybe that’s the problem? Honestly, why does anyone need to know to the point that it would infect all their opinions of someone? Also, you making 30X what someone else makes doesn’t make you better or more important and therefore your time more valuable. Your time IS valuable, but not necessarily more so to others.

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          I did not say a single word about making more than them. They just know, based on our job and the fact that they asked once. Plus, they also know we just bought a place in cash and I just got a brand new 6-figure car. I think they’re not that stupid, they can put it all together even without having asked.

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          To be more precise – I say it on this blog because (hello) it is partly a MONEY blog so I am detailing out the info, but it was also because I felt as though they were hinting at it, talking about how they had no money to buy an expensive phone, and just talking about expensive cars.. we just stand there and say: Okay..? … but they are the ones bringing up the conversation. In no way have I ever said to them: GEE I MAKE MORE THAN YOU. What? Like 30 times more??

          I will never and have never said that to anyone in my life and I am more than insulted that you think I would have no manners to do so.

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          Lastly, my time IS more valuable than theirs. They all live in the same city and see each other all the time. We only visit once a year for 4-ish weeks and travel on a red-eye, 10+ hours with getting to the airport early, the actual flight, then taking the train or the bus.

          My time with them here, IS more valuable. They should see that we aren’t here all the time and the fact that no one wanted to organize their vacation or at least try to spend some time with us consciously, rather than us pushing for it, is hurtful and really making me annoyed.

  • Financial Orchid

    Did they appear that way when they first met u? Then they might see Chinese as different. Lol watch crazy rich Asians.
    But if it’s just recently or this time only maybe something else is the matter

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      No, not really.. they didn’t seem like this but he told me that they thought I was lazy the first time they met me because I didn’t know the rules for the house like having to set the table each time they eat — in my family we all grab our own plates and cutlery because some like this one, not that one.. — and then I was jetlagged so I slept a lot so I missed out on a lot except for when it was time to eat…

      Whatever. I am not coming back.

  • Ella

    Your partner’s family (especially brother) definitely sounds horrible. Are you getting along with your partner’s mom however? If she is the primary reason for the visit, perhaps just avoid coinciding date with the brother (and sister?) In the future. Totally feel you in the family matter though. In general, I learn that as long as I don’t say anything good about myself and kid, no issues arise among friends and family. The moment they realize we are better off (we are not super rich but have less debt since we only live in condo vs million dollar houses/townhouses), their friendly demeanor change and suddenly they no longer become available or too busy to meet. It is what it is. Sometimes not being in touch with that kind of toxic behavior is best (and you are definitely under no obligation to come visit them if you feel disrespected and attacked). Hope the rest of the trip goes better without the brother and sister around.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      The siblings aren’t around any more, but the mother is the one saying that Little Bun doesn’t like her, why is he not more like Little Cousin. Honestly it feels like one big criticism of my parenting, my life… I really do not want to come back.

      • Ella

        Definitely don’t go back if can. Given your busy lifestyle, you deserve an actual break when you are off instead of getting upset and stressed out even more. If your partner insist (don’t know if he feels he is the black sheep of the family), perhaps he can go back by himself (or with baby bun) or cut the visit really short (just several days and spend the rest traveling rest of Europe). Big hugs and take it easy ><

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          He does feel like the black sheep. Not as loved, his father hated him… sigh. I told him unequivocally that if I come back it will only be to Paris, not to where his mom’s village is. I am sick of fighting every year.

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