Honest opinions wanted please - another MiL one though :)

(96 Posts)
HicDraconis Sun 17-Aug-14 06:33:04

Not sure if IABU or not, and also I change my mind from one day to the next on what to do about it! Yes there's a fairly long backstory which I won't go into (otherwise this will be too long) but MiL and I have a strained relationship. Which is better than the one she has with her son (DH) however.

We live in NZ and will be flying back to the UK for Christmas with the boys (8 and 7). We emailed everyone to say we'd be coming back and would be renting a holiday house for Christmas week so family could come and stay with us - saves us the hassle of spending more time travelling once in the UK and maximises time we can spend with friends and family.

However MiL says it's too far for her to travel (she doesn't have a car and thinks it's too far with public transport) and it will be too much work and too difficult. That said she still wants to see us so can we travel all the way down to her instead for a few days.

I can't decide if IABU in not wanting to spend a whole day travelling down (it'll be public transport for us too, unless we hire a car) and another one travelling back. I also can't decide if IABU in thinking that we've spent thousands of dollars coming back to the UK and 2 days flying to get there travelling thousands of miles, the least someone could do is spend some time travelling a few hundred miles to see us. We would pay for her ticket, her accommodation, her food etc - it's just the time it would take for her to travel up she'd need to find.

She's just got back from spending a weekend in Finland so it seems there is some travelling she's happy to do.

So. Do we go to her or insist she comes to us and risk not seeing her at all?

She is unreasonable, she should come to you.

We also live abroad and when we go back we spend so much time travelling to see people we are exhausted (and skint) by the time we leave.

JoandMax Sun 17-Aug-14 06:39:58

As an expat I can see both sides too (sorry!).....

On the one hand yes you've spent time and money travelling to get back and it would be lovely if everyone could make some effort and fit in with that. On the other hand you're the ones who moved away and you can't expect people to disrupt their lives when you decide to be in the country.

I am just back from 5 weeks in the UK and I think me and DCs stayed in 8 different places while we were there - it was great but exhausting! Some places were lovely and hosts brilliant, others not. But I do it as I want my children to know their family and their background, even if it's a hassle for me.

In your case I would suck it up and go and visit her, purely as I do believe its in your DCs best interest to see their grandparent.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Sun 17-Aug-14 06:40:33

Assuming ahe doesn't have any new health problems, doesn't have to work over the relevant days and you haven't booked accommodation in the middle of nowhere, YANBU.

I think I'd reply (or more to the point get DH to reply) and say that having travelled for x to get to the uk, it's not practical to spend x/y days you have in the uk doing more travel. If she changes her mind, you're happy to buy her rail tickets and she should let you know.

Dressingdown1 Sun 17-Aug-14 06:46:29

Travelling by public transport over Christmas can be very difficult; reduced timetables, crowded trains etc. It is hard to be very helpful without knowing more about the actual journey in question. Does mil live near a convenient train or coach station? Would her journey to see you involve crossing London? Perhaps if you could investigate what her journey involves and find out times of trains/ coaches etc it would help her and you to see if the trip is possible.. Don't forget that if she is actually coming for Christmas itself she may well need to stay for several days because of the disruptions to public transport over the holiday.

Seriouslyffs Sun 17-Aug-14 06:46:55

Any sort of big journey over Christmas in the UK is a big ask for practically anyone!
You should have chosen somewhere easy for her to get to, or at least discussed it before hand. Sorry, it's a nightmare trying to organise trips home and seeing everyone. P

Gooseysgirl Sun 17-Aug-14 06:52:17

I'm inclined to agree with you and she should travel to you, however as a compromise could you not just book somewhere easier for her to get to?

echt Sun 17-Aug-14 06:53:44

YANBU. I was about to say YWBU, but then you're paying for it all and and she did a weekend in in Finland….

There's plenty of time to plan her travel.

crumpet Sun 17-Aug-14 06:54:26

Does the holiday rental have to be 100s miles away?

tohotnot Sun 17-Aug-14 06:54:45

Why are you coming to the UK and staying so far from mil? Or are you staying closer to other family members?

Its hard to say if you are unreasonable until we know why you are staying where you are.

BorisBaby Sun 17-Aug-14 06:56:48

How is MIL's health? If she's healthy then YANBU She should make an effort to see you.

LoveBeingInTheSun Sun 17-Aug-14 06:56:58

Is there anyone that could travel with her?

pukkabo Sun 17-Aug-14 06:58:49

I was about to say ywbu until I read you've offered to pay for everything so yanbu, sounds like she's being a fusspot. If she doesn't drive then I imagine she's used to public transport by now anyway. Yes, it isn't the best over Christmas but as long as you aren't asking her to travel on Christmas Eve then it's fine! It's actually quite quiet those few days after Christmas so it depends when it is really.

I wouldn't want to spend days driving to visit relatives on a weeks holiday either. But I guess as a side note, is the holiday home close to other relatives? Just wondering why you'd choose one hundreds of miles away from relatives.

UptheAnty Sun 17-Aug-14 07:00:39


She can make it to Finland but she can't make it to visit in the UK?

You are traveling a long way and its not fair to out you all through more traveling.

It appears that your mil doesn't value your family, you'd think she could make the effort.

I wouldn't visit her and I'd send her a really pleasant email and offer to pay and sort out her travel arrangements even though she should be sorting it out herself

Unfortunately she may still refuse, would you be able to deal with not seek g her on your visit? That really is the question.

HicDraconis Sun 17-Aug-14 07:04:02

OK, to answer a few questions.

At the time of booking, we didn't have a location for the holiday place in mind - once we knew who was going to be there, we were going to choose something approximately equidistant from everyone. Hence emailing people first before we booked it. Had we chosen something close for MiL, then other family members would have had to travel several hundred miles which we didn't think was fair.

The place we've booked is very close to my family (see, I knew IWBU!) but other people have jumped at the chance to drive down and spend some time with us there.

She doesn't have to travel over Christmas itself, we're staying from the Monday of that week through to the next so she could have come for the whole week. It doesn't involve a trip across London but it's from the South to the South West - I have no idea what the trains are like so it's possible she'd have had to travel into London to travel out again.

Where she lives isn't the easiest to get to although she did say that if we were only coming for a few days probably only needed to bring an overnight rucksack - conveniently forgetting the issue of what we do with all our other luggage!

She is healthy (as far as I know) although she does say her joints ache a lot at times. In her 60s so definitely not old.

BringMeSunshine2014 Sun 17-Aug-14 07:05:49

YANBU - no matter why you are staying where you are. She was quite able to go to Finland, I'm sure she can make it to wherever you are in the UK. I think it's above and beyond the call of duty to pay for her fares etc

What 'TestingTestingWonTooFree' said was good, i'd use that.

HicDraconis Sun 17-Aug-14 07:10:03

UptheAnty I looked on it like that, like she didn't really value us enough to make the effort. But then DH says it's more likely she wants us to prove how much we value her, by making extra effort to travel down to see her. Or that she just doesn't think of how anything would affect anyone other than her - she's been on her own a very long time so hasn't had to.

He thinks we should travel down to see her as she would like it, the boys would like it, she lives in a holiday spot and wants to show us her new flat and the surrounding areas and if I'm honest, I'd enjoy visiting her too. It just galls me that we have to put ourselves out all the time!

Delphiniumsblue Sun 17-Aug-14 07:10:16

She is no age at all and I can't see what is wrong with the arrangement. I should just go ahead and she will probably just fall in when it comes to it.

HicDraconis Sun 17-Aug-14 07:12:06

However, I hadn't thought of the reduced schedules and busyness/crowds, which I am sure she would hate. So I probably am BU and we should factor in 2 more days travel time for visiting her as well as a few days with her. I can see my 5 weeks holiday vanishing!

(I know, I'm lucky to have one at all ... it won't be R&R holidaying though) (looks for the player of the world's smallest violin)

BringMeSunshine2014 Sun 17-Aug-14 07:12:21

It makes sense to book the holiday home nearest to the bulk of the people you want to see.

Apart from that, you have a difficult relationship with your MIL and your DH has an even worse relationship with her - there's obviously a reason for that. Spend the time with people you love and want to see.

You don't have the time to spend two more days travelling then at least one day with someone neither of you particularly want to (MIL/M or not). If she wants to see you, she can come to you.

Her joints don't ache so much she can't go to Finland.

Honestly, don't be manipulated like this. You have told everyone what's happening, they can ALL make whatever plans they want to around that. Stand firm.

Delphiniumsblue Sun 17-Aug-14 07:12:24

Having just read your last post, I have changed my mind- if you would actually all like it then just go and enjoy it- rather than seeing it as her 'winning'.

Have I got this right, you've only got the place for a week, but you have lots of friends and family visiting (and staying by the sounds of it too). Or are you staying longer and I've misunderstood? Surely you are staying longer if you are coming all the way from NZ, where will you be staying the rest of the time?

Is the plan that lots of other people will be coming and going while MIL is with you? Maybe it's that part she doesn't like and wants you to yourself for a few days?

Delphiniumsblue Sun 17-Aug-14 07:14:52

I keep cross posting! It was your post before last where you said that she lives in a nice place and you would actually enjoy it. I can see it is disappointing to live in a flat that your family have never seen.

x-posted, 5 weeks, where else will you be staying? Is it not possible to spend some of the time closer to MIL at least?

Chottie Sun 17-Aug-14 07:17:00

I am a MiL and I would travel from Lands End to John O'Groats to see my DGC, DiL and DS.

You are not being unreasonable, you have given plenty of notice, why doesn't she start looking at travel options now and book her tickets?

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