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What Other Couples Say About Friends & Family

Tags: My, family and friends, good friend, family support, in laws, advice, help with childcare, family problems, emotional support, family life, couple therapy
Categories: Friends & Family

Having a good friend can be a massive source of support during tricky times. Someone to chat things over with can make a problem seem much easier to deal with. But sometimes as parents we don’t have the time to see our friends and can feel isolated and lonely. Our families or in-laws can also be supportive, helping out with childcare and with the finances. But those in-law issues can be troublesome, hurtful and at times undermining. Below are some quotes from various couples about friends and family.

Danielle, Salisbury
“I met Sarah at the clinic. We usually went to the same one. At first it was a friendly smile and comments about the babies. To be honest, I didn’t think she was my type. She seemed very efficient and her baby was so good! Then one week she turned up with her wrist in plaster. She was obviously having difficulties with the buggy, so I offered to walk home her way. I stopped for a drink and I found we had more in common than I thought. She’s now my best mate and she looked after Jamie my older son, when I had the baby.”

Helen, London
“I suppose if you’ve been a parent you have some experience to draw on when you are a grandparent. But Tom’s mum is consistent in her criticism of me – not just my parenting, but me and pretty much everything I do! I think she feels strongly that I should have stayed at home after having Nathanial, but I wanted to continue working. She looks after him two days a week. I rely on her and am hugely grateful but it causes so much tension in the house – I’m sure Nat must know that Mummy and Granny aren’t the best of friends and he is only two! It is just so undermining to be told the food you cook isn’t good enough, that the toys you buy are too expensive, that you aren’t strict enough, blah blah blah. It’s not Tom’s fault, but it causes tension between us – I think he should tell his mum, but he says he ‘doesn’t have a problem so why should I?’! Of course, you know, he loves his mum and is stuck in the middle! In-laws, honestly, I couldn’t cope without her but I feel like I’m being punished for working and bringing in a wage we need!”

Ed, Manchester
“Susy’s parents are fine, great in fact – we get on well, they help out but don’t interfere or anything like that. So that’s great. But Susy’s older sister – the oracle on all parenting issues – who, unfortunately for me, lives a mere two streets away spends 24/7 criticizing Susy. Susy just thinks she is the worst parent ever, of course she isn’t. I think she’s wonderful, but she’s always looked up to her older sister, who has four kids now, you know the real earth mother type, all baby yoga and organic yoghurt that sort of thing! So Susy gets an ear bashing every time she buys disposable nappies instead of using the reusable ones. I mean honestly you can do without it when you become a parent, you’d think after four she’d know – apparently not.”

Laurence, Slough
“So I thought that if my mum babysat and helped out a bit we would have a bit of time and I could do something nice for Em to cheer her up. So my mum came round, just for the afternoon - it was such a disaster - she was trying to help but apparently she interferes too much and tells Em 'how to look after her own baby'. Now Em won't even consider asking my mum around to help out - you know, and her mum lives too far away - and apparently isn't bothered about seeing her own grandson.”

Laurence, Slough
“I have a friend that I see sometimes – not very often now though now, cause I don’t have time and I don’t think my wife would like me going to the pub or anything. I could talk to him but then it just seems a bit weird – talking about personal stuff, we don’t really do that as mates.”

Corinne, Milton Keynes
“As far as my old friends go, a lot of them are carrying on at university and have done masses. When they find out you have a baby it is really difficult – they run a mile. I have found out who my real friends are in the last 12 months.”

Jess, Blackburn
“I had terrific morning sickness for four months but then as it progressed my nana, who I was terrified of telling, was fantastic. I really couldn’t have coped without my mum and my nana. They saw me right for everything, so it felt like it was not just me doing it. They got me the best pram and best toys and all of that – they have been my mainstay.”

Carli, Woking
“Now Jake is a teenager, my God! I couldn’t cope without my friends. We laugh about it but looking after a smelly, spotty angst-y boy is really hard. Without the jokes and laughs I have with the other girls I’d be lost. Thank goodness it won’t be forever!”


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  • Cc admin Flag

    Hello Juju - thanks for your comment. You might find you get more response from other users if you repost in the Relationship Forum ( but you are of course very welcome to post in articles too.

    Mon 4, Jul 2016 at 12:08pm
  • User-anonymous juju Flag

    I have problems with my sister-in-law.She & her husband don't live locally to us so they stay for the weekend once a year. I have always been aware she's had issues with me but, usually ,she manages to keep them mostly under wraps.
    Not so this time. I just couldn't do right for doing/saying wrong.her antagonism was the most thinly veiled it's ever been. This is the reason when my husband goes up to visit them, I don't go. My brother - in- law is fine, by the way.
    I really don't know why it always ends up like some nasty, competitive game with women. I think it's generally much easier for a new male partner to come into an all female environment than it is the other way round.

    I'm not sure if I've posted my problem in the right area, but,hopefully it's o.k.

    Thu 16, Jun 2016 at 8:20am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I think husbands/male partners can sometimes feel ganged up on by women, especially if they suspect you are talking about them and your relationship to your frmale friends. It is even more difficult for my identical twin sister and myself as our husbands definitely think we are closer to one another than we are to them (we are but in a 'different' way) and this has lead to friction e.g. my husband was always making excuses not to go if I wanted to visit my sister (she lives 90 miles away)so I often ended up going on my own. We've come to a compromise on this now.
    So I would say try and understand how your husband is feeling - e.g. worried that your friends criticise him and might convince you to leave him? - he then might see attack as the best means of defense and so the rows start. I think men need reassurane that friendships can help you cope with the ups and downs of life - some stuff he wouldn't want to hear about food prices or the haidresser - so you will be more contented as a result and have less to complain to him about!

    Thu 25, Sep 2008 at 2:27pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I couldn't cope without my friends but i think my husband sometimes sees them as a threat and we have constant rows as he always seems to have a problem with one of them.

    Wed 27, Aug 2008 at 7:42pm