9 April 2012

The in laws and the need for space

The in laws arrived on Wednesday and moments like that always present a bucketful of pros and cons. Top of the pro list is it means we have babysitters. I have occasionally regularly grumbled on Twitter about the frustrations of having no family nearby to help out so the husband and I have been able to leave the house on our own. The father in law (FIL) has helped the husband put up a fence and make huge advances in the battle of the garden. The mother in law (MIL) has fixed holes in Alban's trousers and beaten me to the pile of washing up after each meal time. All good so far. HOWEVER.........

A big issue I have with seeing the in laws is that it is always at our house. My FIL made the decision to leave England and buy a wreck barn to renovate in the middle of nowhere in France. Actually, wreck is a pretty good choice of word. So we cannot go and see them anymore for a break and change of scenery. They always come to us. I have a big issue with space and we have a severe lack of it in our house. It doesn't take long until we are all bumping into each other, desperate for the toilet at the same time, telling the children different things and needing our own little bit of breathing space. Eventually I want to SCREAM.

The husband and I thought we had come up with a reasonable solution for space - extend the house at the back with a simple kitchen/diner extension and turn the existing box of a kitchen into a downstairs loo and small utility. This would also mean our current lounge could be used as an extra room - a spare room for visitors which would give everybody a bit more space.

Now, according to the Government, we are wealthy. (This judgement was discussed in this post from Mutterings of a Fool who summed up my feelings well) My husband earns enough to be taxed at a higher rate and we will take a huge cut in Child Benefits next year. I'm returning to work next week so we thought our income situation may put us in a good position to borrow some extra with our current mortgage to improve our living space and make life easier at home. The reality was different. I rang the Halifax who made an appointment for us knowing full well their mortgage advisor was not at work that day (?!) so we ended up being told, rather patronisingly over the phone, that we could not borrow any money. Not once were we asked about our income but were judged on the value of our house and our current mortgage - amazingly Halifax valued the house over the phone (again ?!) 20k less than the local estate agents. So, the Government see us as wealthy, the banks see us as a financial risk. Head. Wall. Bang.

Anyway, back to the in laws. The Halifax meeting made me even more frustrated with our space issues and then I started feeling resentful towards the in laws that they buggered off to the France and put all the pressure on us and our house to get together as a family. I am banging my head against the wall as there is no way for us to get some space added to our house. I am banging my head against the wall as I am fed up with being classed as well off due to my husband's income, regardless of the fact I currently earn nothing and when I return to work will be earning a low salary. I am banging my head against the wall with frustration at friends earning more as a joint income, losing nothing and being able to borrow big mortgages to buy big houses.

I am worried about how resentful and rarrggghhhhhh I have become.

Maybe my FIL is onto something leaving the country?




  1. Rant away, love, rant away. Can totally empathize with you on this one. We too are taxed at the higher rate but the four of us are bursting at the seams in our 2 bed flat. It's a gorgeous flat in a lovely area, but ALL our friends have 4/5/6 bedroom houses. Envy is an emotion I'm too familiar with I'm ashamed to say. In theory, we should be able to afford a 4 bed house, but the mortgage repayments would absolutely cripple us on top of childcare costs and it's not a financial risk we're willing to take. It drives me mad and for years now I've avoided inviting friends round as I'm too embarrassed by the size of our flat. Add 2 in-laws or even 1 grandparent into the mix and I'm homicidal within 24 hours. We have so little space I'm extremely reluctant to share it, so I totally understand where you're coming from. Our solution is to bugger off back to Scotland in the near future where we'll be cash poor but time rich in a cheap as chips 4 bed house that costs less than the market value of our flat! Crazy.

    1. Envy is a horrible feeling but I feel it! Thanks for your understanding, some people I know just don't get it. We thought about me going back into teaching part time and taking out a huge mortgage but it is such a tie....and a risk x x The snob in me wants to do it, the sensible bit in me says chill out!

  2. I totally relate on the space thing, our place isnt bad but put a few extra people in it and it drives me crazy.
    Have you been to get proper independent financial advice though? See what the real story is for borrowing. Your own mortgage company may not give you the best offer. My suggestion on money topics is always to read the advice on moneysavingexpert.com.
    Oh and get a tent, that'll sort the in laws issue :)

  3. That is very frustrating for you. Would a different mortgage company be an option?


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