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Started by stilltrying2010, February 27, 2012, 06:15:32 am

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I am turning a sour attitude towards my ILs upcoming visit.  We surprised them with an after Christmas visit which went very well (from my point of view).  There was no pressure to suit GSIL, we visited, they paid attention to our kids, it was relaxed for 3 days & we were out of there.  Although MIL has spoken to my DH (her DS) she has not spoken to me or our kids since.  Last light (3 wks from their arrival date) when DH calls MIL she asks to speak to DD. After DD talks she gives the phone to me & MIL speaks about the weather.  OK, polite conversation, noncontroversial.  She did ask about the baby but when I mentioned things about baby I already heard her twisting the words (dd is thin but growing well, Dr not concerned MIL already talking about how "tiny" she is in worried tone).

During the upcoming 2 wks visit, DH will be at wk, one DD will be at school & other DD doesn't yet speak... I am feeling uncomfortable with how this will proceed.  I asked my DH to take time off while they are here.  He said he'll think about it.  There is some rift btwn DH & MIL that has always been an underlying current.  I tell him he uses me as a buffer which he sort-of denies. 

I am starting the slide into panic mode about this visit where generally I feel like the hostess in a b & b.  I will do all my regular routines with my kids they will rise late, go out for lunch never including me, visit every dollar tree in town, lay down to rest just before dd arrives home, will get up just as dinner is being completed & then act like super grandparents for the 1 hr my DH is home while the kids are up.    I build resentment.  I know I can do this for 3 days but 2 wks - culminating with Easter. Really feeling negative, like this visit will be like every other over the past 7yrs...  I know about not having expectations but I already feel myself putting on the old record.  I am trying to think about that nice 3 day visit... I think some of the success of that was due to the limited time.

Help - any way to talk myself down?   


I get a three day maximum would work best no matter which place you are together. I would suggest you get that changed ASAP and stick by it. It's your home...you get to set the boundaries and make the rules. My guess is that your DH would rather go to work. Take a close look at that. There's no reason you should be without choice, as well. Some people like to run an occasional B & B, many of the rest of us don't and there is nothing written anywhere that says we have to. If they insist on staying that long...then let them know that it can't be at your house. I know I'm not doing very well at talking you down...I would like to talk you up to standing up for yourself. My incredibly beloved DS (our Webmaster) is arriving here in two days. He's coming to WA state from Hawaii to be with me for my 85th birthday and...he never stays with me. We will spend many wonderful hours together but I don't wait on him and give up my privacy. He likes his as well. There are those who have no issues about house guests and love to be knee deep in family and friends, bless their hearts. "The more the merrier...and y'all come!" I respect and admire that. And...we weren't all cut out of the same piece of cloth. That doesn't mean those of us not so endowed are "less-than." My take is we need to listen to our own drummers. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Good Grief! What is that old saying, "after 3 days fish and visitors start to smell". Two weeks is a punishment tour. Do you and DH invite them for 2 weeks? if you do....don't do that again. if they invite themselves you are going to have to be upfront that it doesn't work for you. But you are looking for a way to get through what's coming? I would first of all CLOSE the B&B! if you have to be the hostess, you set the schedule and it should revolve around YOUR schedule. If you need to vacuum the bedrooms on your schedule, and if that means in the morning, oh well. Your DH is going to think about taking time off? I would plan activites for you and your baby, meeting with friends, or how about a playgroup in the house during the morning hours? Just stop feeling you have to make your life revolve around this, it's your home and it's sounds like you are surrounded by some very rude people.


ST, two weeks is way too long, IMHO. It's odd that your ILs would feel comfortable with that long a visit. I go bonkers when DH has more than a week off, lol.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I agree with the others, two weeks is way too long.  Did you and DH invite them out?

I'd be having a conversation with DH about this -- it is not unreasonable to ask for shorter visits.  If anything, it'll only help your relationship with the in laws.  A longer visit will be detrimental, you're already resentful now and they aren't even there yet.

Good luck with this.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


INSIST on DH taking time off. These are his parents and they are mostly his responsibility. My ILs came to see DS graduate and for the first three days DH, who is a Prof. whose semester just ended and he did not have any work to do, but he kept ducking off to his office. He was having an emotional affair at the time, which might have had something to do with it. SD and I both felt abandoned by him. I like his parents, mostly. I hate the way they treat DH, but they treat me passably.

Finally, I sat him down and told him that these were HIS parents and they were here to see him and SD, not me or my kids. It was unfair of him to leave them to me to entertain them when they weren't even here to see me. They came all this way to see HIM, he was going to spend the last two days they were here with them while I found some other place to be. My kids and I were more than willing to spend time with them, but it was obvious that they were upset HE wasn't there, and they would much rather be with him. After all, I didn't expect him to spend days with my parents, to call them or to visit them all on his own and he certainly didn't volunteer for such activities, yet he was expecting me to spend days with his parents while he was off doing whatever he wanted and that was going to end right then.

I honestly don't think he understood what he was doing. He was having some issues with his M that made it difficult to spend time with her, but that wasn't MY problem. I would certainly back him up and be there for him, but I would not be a party to him avoiding these issues by avoiding his parents.

Anyway, he did the right thing and entertained his Ps for the rest of their visit and I certainly found other places to be. He was using me as a buffer and I was not going to allow that anymore.

Yeah, your DH is using you as a buffer and you are allowing it. HIS parents are coming to visit HIM and his children, he needs to be there for them to visit or from now on, and any future visits will only be for a weekend. He is ducking his responsibility towards both you and his parents.


I wonder how it would work if you stocked the refrigerator and took off? Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


thanks for responding.  We did not invite them persay, MIL told DH they were "thinking about coming down" and then at Christmas MIL asked me if "BoB" told me they were coming...  Each winter they take a southern "vacation" staying with a variety of friends/distant relatives culminating with our home. Since we are their last stop (and full service) they are wiped out physically and financially.  They insist on driving here so they have their car but since it takes them 3 days to get here and 3 days to get back they need to make their stay "worth it".  In the past we purchased them airline tickets, in effort to control how long they stayed.  They just complained about the flights not having their car (although they used mine). 

Louise, I love the relationship you have with your son- wish my MIL & DH were the same!  I value my privacy and don't like people I don't have a relationship with knowing my personal business. This is the opposite of my DHs family who all know all about everyone. 

Pen,Pam & Trying: I don't know how to curtail the visit.  I guess I am offering myself up instead.  Generally, they do not give a date of departure but when I pressed my husband to find out if they would be here for Easter the answer was yes.  That's 2 wks.  Good pt about not revolving our life around their visit - I know I will set myself up for disappointment in doing so since they usually don't actually spend that much time interacting with us.

Justus: I know you are 100% correct - I already mentioned to DH about being the sacrificial lamb & he will joke about it 'til no end.  The difference being I think my DH knows EXACTLY what he's doing. I never considered that he is ducking a responsibility towards me... interesting thought.

I am already arranging lunch dates with friends & making plans specifically during these times. However, I find myself feeling guilty because I will be taking my littlest with me - not leaving her home with them - while older is in school.  This has been a recurrent problem in our house & marriage and I am done wasting my consideration on people to do not appreciate it or reciprocate it. Is this attitude setting me up to be the bad guy?  I don't want to be mean to them just not invest myself, kwim?  Would this be a worthwhile coping strategy?   


My take: Of course you will be setting yourself up! You are going to be breaking a pattern of long standing. Your feelings of guilt are something they are unfamiliar with and to move on you will probably have to let them go. Your ILs aren't losing any sleep over how comfortable or happy you are. You are probably pretty invisible. I wonder how many people on their "annual circuit" are glad to see them arrive? They are only getting away with it because they bully others instead of consulting them. When we are used, we can't blame the users. Some place along the way we accepted their every-so-subtle abuse and it became the standard. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


QuoteMy take: Of course you will be setting yourself up! You are going to be breaking a pattern of long standing. Your feelings of guilt are something they are unfamiliar with and to move on you will probably have to let them go. Your ILs aren't losing any sleep over how comfortable or happy you are. You are probably pretty invisible. I wonder how many people on their "annual circuit" are glad to see them arrive? They are only getting away with it because they bully others instead of consulting them. When we are used, we can't blame the users. Some place along the way we accepted their every-so-subtle abuse and it became the standard

Luise - Bullseye! I KNOW all of what you said is 100% accurate.   I am thinking how do I stop it- in my brain I think it's as easy as just telling them.  I also know that there would be negative feelings from my DH & his extended family so I continue to throw myself infront of the bus & complain that I am hurt... hmmm...   


That's the hardest part of breaking a habit that was started out of you being a decent and accommodating person. My guess is you will have to do two things: the first is to get your husband on the same page. Then I would pack up the kids and go stay with a friend while they are here...but that's probably why I have been married five times. I would do the second even if I didn't attain the first. LOL! There isn't an easy, comfortable, amicable solution to your situation to my way of thinking. If you decide you have had enough and break the pattern it's all going to come tumbling down. It has always been worth it to me...to maintain my own integrity but I have stepped on the toes of would-be-users in the process. To me, it sometimes  comes down to scrunched toe or tire marks all over us. We have to be willing to face up to endorsing our own value. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I agree with all comments.  Especially Louise.  They have been allowed to do it and they will continue to do it.  Two weeks is too long.  My in laws did they same thing.  They drove 2000 miles and had to "make it worth their while".  And my dh left me alone with them, their smelly cigarettes and their smelly dog.  They were very opinionated and critical of the grandkids.  I was a good sport until they did something unforgivable to me.  And then I said "no more".  My husband fully supported me and took over All  communication.  He set a few boundaries and if they chose to visit, they wold stay at a hotel.  Since they were spending their money, the trip lasted three days.  I didn't have to clean, cook or see them.  It was a win/win for everyone.  They visited a year ago. Not sure if they will be back.  Boundaries are a beautifu thing.  And as everyone indicated.... Your husband has to be the one to communicate and enforce. 


Dearest stilltrying2010,

I just want to share with you what I witnessed my sis go through.....(I don't share the same issues you do because my inlaws live in our town and have no interest spending even 1 night....yay!...even though we do have little get togethers which we all enjoy).

OK, so my 48 yr old brother-in-law just passed away of brain cancer (and we miss him so very much).  I'm going to get right to the point of your post though:  My sister's IL's have come to her small home over the time (they live in another state) my BIL was ill.  My sis found herself not only exhausted because she was her DH's sole caregiver during all of this, but expected to be the hostess to them while they visited.  She took care of her ill DH (a completely physically and emotionally draining job), then cooked, cleaned and did their laundry while they were here!  She finally said, "no more".  The inlaws would even offer to bring over dinner from Kentucky Fried Chicken, then show up without it.  Her DH's siblings also would come from out of town and steal from them during his time of dying.  She put a halt to that garbage too and let them know they were no longer allowed in their home....and even though her IL's knew the situation, it still made bad feelings toward her as they tolerated this from their AC.  Moving on.......during the final days of my BIL dying, the IL's came again and this time though, my sis informed them they were welcome to "visit" but not to sleep over (until that final day of course) and they would have to find lodging elsewhere as she was exhausted and deserved her rest and to have round-the-clock visitors was simply "too much".  She told the IL's she wanted them to visit, but would prefer that they not stay all day every day due to the exhaustion she and DH had.  She informed them she would not be cooking or doing anyone's laundry.  The MIL would say to her she would let her rest while they visited but since the house was small and the spare bedroom was a storage spot, my sis was sleeping on the couch during that last time frame.  Sometimes during their long day visits , sis would even close her eyes in an attempt to rest while her DH rested (kind of like you sleep when a baby sleeps cuz that's how you get your rest and they don't have a normal sleep pattern), but her MIL would sit there and keep talking to her even though her eyes were closed!.....she even had to tell them it was time to leave one night but that they could come back another time.  If my sis didn't insist on taking care of herself and her DH,  they would have stolen not only her physical health, but her mental health as you can imagine she was stressed to the maximum.   It was a very sad situation but sometimes one just has to take control of what they will tolerate or get walked all over. 

If your inlaws do not have $ for a motel after a few days at your home, then I guess it's time to shorten the visit.  If they want to be there for Easter, then maybe they should come closer to Easter and not 2 weeks ahead, unless they have other lodging arrangements. 

My DH and I went to another state for a wedding....we stayed in a motel even though DH's uncle and aunt insisted we stay at their home.  We made the arrangements ahead of time and we did actually go visit them for a few hours after the wedding and before the reception.   Man was I glad we made motel arrangements because the uncle's home was full of a beautiful clock collection , including ones that ringed and dinged on the hour all through the house and cuckoo clocks as well......I think I would have had to either shoot myself in that house of clocks or poke myself in the eye!  How those folks slept in their own home is a mystery to me with all that noise on the hour 24/7.  Plus, I would have felt like I was intruding and it's just nice to have the privacy after a long all day visit for a little R & R. 

My grandmother (God rest her soul) used to tell me if there's one thing she's learned over the years is that if you don't want to do something someone wants you to do, then don't.  She told me when I was young that "you will be the one that is miserable and it isn't worth it."   Wise words from a wise woman!

Sometimes we need to say "no" for our mental health more than we need to let others come and walk all over us for their own benefit. (stress is bad for the physical health too!)

Take care of yourself, stilltrying.....it's best to just gently come out and say it but mean it.  Make the change!  There may be hard feelings initially, but they'll get over it.  You can do this!

"When you allow life to flow... without struggle... your Soul is restored."   ~z2z~


I find that vacuuming at 4 AM deters houseguests.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama