I really hope its not me (IL related)

(72 Posts)
Kat101 Wed 15-May-13 19:41:42

Back story: since we had kids, my MIL has been down to stay for a week maybe twice a year or so. This has got more complicated as we've had more children, as she doesn't drive and it involves DH going to pick her up and take her back at the weekends (the IL's live 300 miles away). Its basically me babysitting her for a week taking her to garden centres and shopping while trying and failing to juggle work plus the whole young kids routines at the same time. FIL doesn't come as he is not keen to spend a whole week with young children , which is fair enough, and DH usually can't get time off work to help out.

So, fast forward to this summers visit. She wanted to come down for a week in May/June. We are horrifically up against it with change of jobs, house renovations, endless kids hobbies and taxi-ing around, zero time for ourselves let alone enabling a visitor to have a holiday. Nevertheless, I found 5 separate weeks that we could juggle around so she could come and stay.

They phone up, apparently none of those weeks are any good. They have a foreign holiday booked, medical appointments and a wedding to go to. They name 2 different weeks that we can't do as we have a pre-existing commitment (friends visiting) and get a barbed comment back about how busy we are. I stick to my guns though and tell DH I cant cope with her staying on top of the original arrangements, so he puts her off. She's upset. I scrabble around for a solution: aha, DH has a week off in the school summer holidays and the kids will be home all the time, perfect time for MIL to visit and she gets to spend all the time with her DS and DGC's. So we suggest it to her expecting her to jump at the chance, but the suggestion is met with silence and a "oh, I really wanted to laze around go clothes shopping in the daytime and then collect the kids from school".

I am trying to be as flexible as possible but we have so much on our plates and I am not a flaming travel agent They reject ideas of B&B's "don't like them". We are meeting at a mutual friends house this weekend and will talk about it more then apparently.

Any suggestions? Without me caving and then spending a week quietly seething with resentment. They have been good to us in the past, but I just don't have the time or energy for this.

Off to find a backbone

StrangeGlue Wed 15-May-13 21:19:40

YANBU! I think your dh should be fielding this and arranging dates when he can entertain her seeing as she's his mother. She also needs to start getting the train/coach/taxi. Do not cave you have bent over backwards and you should now be feeling totally pisses off!

Kat101 Wed 15-May-13 21:40:45

DH does field her although he's basically transmitting my decisions to her (he's very laid back). Can't let him make any decisions on when she can visit, he doesn't think it through and books a week that just won't work, and then has to phone her back and change plans and she gets upset and then he tries another date repeat x 100

She's a kept woman, her husband drives, controls all the money, moans if she cooks anything that is not a meat and 3 veg meal, she does all housework, you get the picture. She worked nights I think when her kids were young for what she called pin money.

Ledkr Wed 15-May-13 22:03:54

My mil was like this at first. She soon realised it wasn't happening.
It's still a work in progress.
Fwiw I don't have them to stay unless dh is mostly off work. I can't be getting in from work at 6 with two tired kids and making proper dinner at a table clothed table. It's boiled eggs in front if the tv for us.

Kat101 Wed 15-May-13 22:17:14

Does it sound as though they are being intentionally manipulative? I just assumed they were out of touch (their life is a very slow pace) and clueless. I can't understand why they are piling more pressure on our lives sad

LemonsLimes Wed 15-May-13 22:27:51


Noun 1. kept woman - an adulterous womankept woman - an adulterous woman; a woman who has an ongoing extramarital sexual relationship with a man
mistress, fancy woman
lover - a significant other to whom you are not related by marriage
concubine, courtesan, doxy, paramour - a woman who cohabits with an important man
adult female, woman - an adult female person (as opposed to a man); "the woman kept house while the man hunted"

LemonsLimes Wed 15-May-13 22:34:54

Is she of retirement age? It doesn't sound like she is too lazy if she does all the housework, cooks meals to her dh's specification and worked in the evenings after looking after small kids in the day. I think she is being unreasonable about coming to visit, but the kept woman and pin money comment sounds a bit sneery. Just say no and stick to it.

spiritedaway Wed 15-May-13 22:36:00

To be honest i would let her come any week that suits her but carry on regardless, telling her that will be the plan. She may be forced to muck in more or just do her own thing and then the established cycle of you being her travel agent will be broken. If she hates it then in future she might learn to stick to time slots you suggest. I am all for open house for family but, then again, i often don't even make them a cup of tea. Though i often offer ;)

spiritedaway Wed 15-May-13 22:40:38

Lemons i agree actually and am wondering if OP is maybe a bit superwoman control freaky. Let Grandma into the chaos and let her sink or swim. You may find an ally.

polkadotsrock Wed 15-May-13 22:40:46

I have a lovely albeit demanding mil. DH hates confrontation/actually conversing for more than 5 mins on the phone, so I am often left to a bizarre dance of skipping round the issue when saying no to her for any reason. I understand it isn't always easy but once you've done it once there'll be no stopping you!!!

gail734 Wed 15-May-13 22:44:05

Well, OP, I knew what you meant by "kept woman" and "pin money"! I think if you offer repeated solutions and they're all rejected, then you're just dealing with someone who's waiting for you to come up with the one week that they (she) wants! Stick to your guns, or she'll be bossing you about for years to come.

KatOD Wed 15-May-13 22:53:15

Had similar issue with MIL who does drive but won't to ours and can't possibly stay for less than 5 days as it's so tiring not driving 110 miles... Anyway ended up doing what others suggested and let her stay when she wanted... Once she'd seen us going to work early and me getting back after 9pm a couple of nights (before DD) not being able to have a nice family meal together (and the shock of DH doing his own washing!) she started to realise that yes, we actually genuinely were that busy... And that a trip to Morrison's and a visit to the bowls club did not constitute a "busy day".... Aaaargh! Still not perfect but made a point.

lisianthus Thu 16-May-13 03:33:38

How is the "pin money" comment "sneery"? OP is saying that this is the phrase used by MIL, not OP's choice of phrase. It's quite a telling phrase, really, if the MIL doesn't regard the WOH job held by the woman in the family as a "real" job. It reflects her belief that the OP can't really be busy, because even if the OP does WOH as well as everything else, it's probably not a proper job on which the family relies.

Mutley77 Thu 16-May-13 04:44:02

Say no - you are a saint to be doing that in the first place (although I'm assuming you get on alright with her!)

Tee2072 Thu 16-May-13 06:23:41

I agree to let her come when she wants and leave her to it.

Why can't she take a train?

Ledkr Thu 16-May-13 07:56:31

Mine have different half terms and mils a ta so gets stroppy as they simply must visit every holiday so they pretty much enforced a visit when it wasn't half term for us.
We just carried on with our working days and childcare plans (which she assumed they'd do) dd only just started nursery so didn't want a gap during settling time.
It really was horrible staying dressed until bedtime,expectations for meals and conversation when we just wanted to veg in front of tv.
I won't be doing it again and they know it.

DoJo Thu 16-May-13 08:50:31

And MIL is lonely, doesn't drive and gets depressed.

She can't be that lonely if she would rather come at a time when she'd be getting under your feet all day rather than spending time with her son and grandchildren.

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 16-May-13 09:00:45

Why can't the fil drive her down, stay one night, and then go back if he doesn't want to stay. This would at least help.
I wouldn't let her come when you are likely to be stressed. Might not do your relationship much good if you end up snapping at her.

Kat101 Thu 16-May-13 10:23:22

I can't really let her come when she wants, our pre-planned visitors wouldn't have a bed to sleep in! Also the sudden change from nothing to hectic-ness starts her flapping around and panicking.

Nn to the sneering ( I feel more sorry for her than anything, the world has left her behind), but Yy to me having superwoman control freak tendancies. I need them with our schedule!

The train would be out, I seem to remember we mentioned the idea before and they came back with i don't feel i could manage that trains are beneath me. Yes, FIL has driven her all the way down a couple of times which is fair enough.

messalina Thu 16-May-13 21:06:19

She sounds indulged and a pain in the backside. You have been more than accommodating. And clearly doesn't have the faintest idea how busy you are.

DontmindifIdo Thu 16-May-13 21:15:26

if she makes comments about how busy you are say "yes, yes we are busy, but we're trying so hard to make time for you to see the grandchildren and your son, the best week is the one when they are all available to spend time with you, I just can't cancel everything else to fit round when you want to come this time, I'm trying my best, I wish you could see that." and look sad.

Make sure your DH has the dates, tell him to talk to his mother and he's not allowed to offer anything other than those 6 weeks.

DontmindifIdo Thu 16-May-13 21:17:47

BTW - it does'nt sound like her primary reason for the visit is to see her son or grandchildren, it's to have a bit of a holiday - you don't have to feel bad about her not being able to come until September then so be it.

Pigsmummy Thu 16-May-13 21:54:04

Just offer dates later?

ArtexMonkey Thu 16-May-13 22:01:28

Move house, change your names and don't tell her.

Lambzig Thu 16-May-13 22:02:44

I can understand your frustration, but some of the nasty comments from others on here are making me feel sorry for her.

Obviously, you should stick to what weeks you can do, but be gentle. I don't think she is asking too much to stay twice a year.

Your posts sound very irritated, and I can see why, but stick to your guns in a nice way. We will all be the in laws one day and my heart sinks when I read some of the responses

cheeseandchive Fri 17-May-13 07:54:34

Lamb, I understand what you're saying but the problem isn't that MIL wants to stay - it's that she's totally inflexible and unaccommodating about a) when she comes to stay and b) what it'll be like when she comes and c) makes the OP feel guilty even though MIL has rejected 6 separate offers. One of those she could even make but just didn't want to because the grandchildren would be around.

It's not the staying that's the problem, as far as I can see, it's MIL's expectations and responses.

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