To not want MIL to invite herself along to our trip

(106 Posts)
EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 22:41:34

I probably am.

We're going to London for boy's birthday treat at half term. Booked two nights, so we're there for one whole day plus two half days.

Planning on doing museums, mostly - boy is 8, never been to London before, and is very keen to go to Natural History and Science.

MIL has decided she's going to come and meet us while we are there (she lives a couple of hours away in the other direction from us). I think she means just for a day. I'm hoping so, anyway.

I am not keen, although I like MIL and we generally get on well she is a "faffer". I have a plan for our brief time in London, and that doesn't include hanging around waiting for her at stations or dithering about in cafes.

I'd never presume to invite myself along to someone else's holiday.

I can't say no though, can I.

(just for the record I'd be equally irritated if my own mother decided to do the same thing).

YANBU, and no, you probably can't say 'no'.

Would sending her an itinerary for the day she's due to be there help? That way, if she's not where she's meant to be on time, or is faffing around when you're ready to move on, she'll know where to catch you up. Saves you missing things and she still gets to feel involved.

An itinerary is an excellent idea. Especially if she is arriving by public transport as you can't be held up as you have so much to fit in.

Good luck and sympathies!

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Feb-13 22:47:06

Is it just you and boy?

Or is Husband going too?

Whoknowswhocares Tue 05-Feb-13 22:48:05

Err, why can't you say no?

Seriously, why?????

TeamEdward Tue 05-Feb-13 22:48:12

You can't say no really, but I'd feel peed off too.
Second the idea of an itinerary sent in advance, and use very strict language - if she says "Oh my train gets in about 2" then you need to say "We'll be at x at 2.15 - we will meet you there."

ImperialBlether Tue 05-Feb-13 22:49:17

I wouldn't let her. I'd say that you don't know what you're doing and when you're doing it and that it would be much better to meet up at another time.

It's just not fair when you've looked forward to this break that she should tag along without even asking whether it's OK.

MerylStrop Tue 05-Feb-13 22:49:22

It's nice of her to want to see you.

Invite her for one of the half days (you decide which) and plan it to accommodate a bit of dithering and faffing.

shutthebloodydoor Tue 05-Feb-13 22:49:38

Itinerary is the way forward! Don't let her turn this trip in to her trip!

gimmecakeandcandy Tue 05-Feb-13 22:51:55

Yes, send her an itinery and say you are sticking to it so if she is happy to do it too she is welcome but otherwise maybe another time

Very rude of her to invite herself

ceeveebee Tue 05-Feb-13 22:54:20

I would have no problem saying no if I didn't want MIL or anyone else coming on an organised trip - perhaps I am unusually rude?

Whoknowswhocares Tue 05-Feb-13 22:55:35

Oh good, ceeveebee I thought it might just be me!!!

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 05-Feb-13 22:58:00

Yep, strict itinerary and when she's late go without her.


BlissfullyIgnorant Tue 05-Feb-13 22:58:06

Ah...but surely you're going to 'play it by ear' and 'take each day as it comes' so you don't get caught out by the weather or some such rubbish???
Don't fix an itinerary, it'll be just like offering yourselves up...imagine MIL chasing you round London grin

2rebecca Tue 05-Feb-13 23:08:03

I don't see why you can't say no, discuss it with your husband. If he's keen then I'd agree to meet her just for an afternoon, if he's not keen then tell her it will be a busy two days of tearing round museums and you'll see her another time as the trip is chaotic enough.
I wouldn't change your schedule to suit her though, if your husband wants her to come along (for some of it make it clear to him you want some time without her) then she fits in with you.
In future don't discuss holiday plans with relatives unless you're happy for them to try tagging along.
I probably would just say no here as it sounds as though you don't want her there and you aren't on her doorstep and will be busy. It isn't rude to say no, it's rude to invite yourself on someone else's holiday. If she can be direct enough to say "Can I come too?" you can be direct enough to say "no it's not convenient".

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:10:11

It will be me, husband and two boys going. Mil is going to bring along their small cousin, as it turns out, which means I definitely can't say no as he'll be disappointed. We are going to visit them at Easter ( by their invitation!)

ElectricSheep Tue 05-Feb-13 23:10:54

Just explain this is your DS's birthday treat and you've got loads planned so would feel rude meeting her because you won't have the time to really enjoy her company. Offer something else instead - another day, a visit etc.

Don't think that would bother me if I were your MIL!

MerylStrop Tue 05-Feb-13 23:12:40

That's why I suggested you tell her which day (a HALF day).

She can meet you at x museum, then you can have tea out, then she can go home and you can go to your hotel, and spend the rest of the time doing all the other stuff.

Damage limitation, plus you get to see her and make her happy and your DS and his wee cousin happy

Dothraki Tue 05-Feb-13 23:12:42

Endo - at least you've learnt a lesson - next time - tell her after your trip grin

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:14:51

There will be an itinerary and she will know that there will be, she has known me for too long and would not believe "we are going to play it by ear". Anyway, that would encourage faffery. I think I'll go for the "we'll be in the science museum all afternoon come and find us" approach.

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:19:54

I'm hoping she'll try to book a train then realise why we bought our tickets months ago!

Ah, so you're inviting her for one of the 'peak' days then. grin

suburbophobe Tue 05-Feb-13 23:24:17

It's your day. It's your SON's day.....

Not your MIL'S to hijack.

Just tell her it's all organised like a military operation, from minute to minute and you'll organise her "do" the week(end) after...

(You have to nip this in the bud).

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:29:23

Ah, son will be pleased to see her though, he won't mind. I haven't actually spoken to her, she has phoned when I've been out and has discussed it with husband. He agrees she will bring an added layer of dithering to the trip but can't bring himself to say no.

2rebecca Tue 05-Feb-13 23:34:20

You don't let her dither. You do things as planned, she either keeps up or does her own thing in the museum. You don't have to proceed at the pace of the slowest person if that person is a capable adult. They just join you later. The science museum is huge and if the cousin is very young he may want to look at different things to your son anyway. We usually split into groups of 2 in museums so people can see the bits they want. You're going to visit London not relatives, stick to your original plan. She can be in the same places but it's not all about her.

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:39:42

2rebecca you have it right there, and that's how I usually handle the faffing. Small cousin is 5, mine are 8 and 6 so not too much difference, he can usually keep up!

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 05-Feb-13 23:41:40

Still think she's rude to gatecrash though, am adding to my list of "things I must remember not to do when I am a mil"

ENormaSnob Wed 06-Feb-13 07:23:12


I think it's very rude to gatecrash. Surely you know that if you were wanted you'd have been invited.

ledkr Wed 06-Feb-13 07:48:14

I have loved with pil like this for years. We are carefull not to tell her our plans unless they invite themselves along.
We booked a short break one week after a weekend at theirs. We were truthfull because we thought there was no way they'd follow.
We were then followed down the motorway by them so stopped to foil them where they joined us for lunch in the beach. We then pointedly said we were off to start our holiday so they offered to come to the site and help. We said no thanks. They then watched us trying to fit the pram in the car and offered to bring it to the site <creepy>
You will learn from this to keep quiet and lie grin

chilliplant Wed 06-Feb-13 08:00:15

Last year we booked a long haul holiday and my in-laws called up one day and asked me which hotel/ city we were going to as they were coming too. I was livid and cancelled our trip saying it was too expensive. I now only tell my in-laws what we are doing after the fact. E.g. Oh we won't be able to speak to you on Saturday as we are going to Lapland or Oh just to let you know that we are going on holiday for 2 weeks at the end of Feb so we will pop over to see you next weekend just before we go. That way no one can gatecrash. If they had their own way they would come everywhere with us and every time I have been away with them I have had a nightmare holiday and we end up paying for everything.

why do mil do this???? mine does too.

diddl Wed 06-Feb-13 08:14:08

She´s very rude to gatecrash.

However if son would be OK with it...

Just make sure that she does as she´s told!

(Can I come too-I´d love to go again & will just merrily trot on behind & follow to any museum, art gallery...blush)

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 08:18:40

More sympathies from me.

My DH and i organised a canal boat break a couple of summers ago. 2 nights, so same as OP - one whole day in-between two halves. DH, me and two of the DCs. I know it wasn't a romantic type holiday (what with 2 kids being with us) - but it was the only thing approaching 'us time' we'd had for ages.

The idea was: to cover as much distance as poss. during the first day, arrive in the middle of nowhere, (very rural) have an early night, then spend the 'main day' enjoying the boat, the scenery, the weather (it was hot!) eat easy food and please ourselves. After dark, once the kids were in bed, put teas lights on top of the boat, sit up there and enjoy the peace, the wine and each other!

BUT as soon as MIL heard we'd hired a boat she began making elaborate plans to meet up with us on the second day! This meant we then had to rendezvous with them at a spot where they could park their car near the canal and get to us. This meant getting up early and setting out on a mission on the main day to get there. Not what we had in mind. They then stuck around till evening, being very sensible about everything - wanting 'proper sandwiches' and faffing about where we were going to moor so that they could get ice cream/go in a pub etc. Again, not what we had in mind.

After they'd left we did light the candles and have wine, but we were at a busy mooring spot, we were tired and the evening wasn't as planned at all.

We'd try again, maybe on the Broads this time, but ever since then she's often said ooooh if you book a boating holiday again give us more notice and we'll come for the whole trip this time! hmm Nothing about 'if that's ok with you two'.

It's made me twitchy about telling her stuff.
Got that off my chest smile thanks OP. And good luck.

ledkr Wed 06-Feb-13 08:19:42

Yrs diddl I'm at a loose end too and have some time off I think I will get a coach and go too.

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 08:23:42

Lets all meet up with OP and help her organise her day! wink

ledkr Wed 06-Feb-13 08:26:21

I'm so glad it's not just me and also not just me that doesn't want it.
Pil once came SEVERAL TIMES to visit us in our romantic luxury log cabin break with hot tub.
Ok we had our five yr old but were newly weds so it was obvious that we would be having some "time alone" but no they kept driving an hour to join us. Was the middle of nowhere so I'd only bought dinner for us but they stayed over mealtimes and I had to feed them.
On the third day out of four I heard them arranging with dh to come again (he's a soft touch) so I put on my bikini opened some wine (11am) jumped into the hit tub and told him I was on holiday so would no longer be polite to visitors. He told them not to come.
They even came to our "us only wedding" making my mum feel terrible.

ledkr Wed 06-Feb-13 08:28:06

Where's the rendezvous then op. shall I bring a sarnie or are you buying lunch?? <cocks head like an expectant puppy>

WorriedTeenMum Wed 06-Feb-13 08:28:16

I second the 'strict language' suggestion from TeamEdward. It does help with my DM who is an inveterate faffer. She says she will be with us at around 2 - I confirm it back by saying 'we will see you between 2 & 2.30'. Stops her arriving any time between 1 & 3 and saves me chewing the furniture.

Now all I have to do is get DH to use it with his DPs.

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 08:33:45

And there's the 'rub' worried.

I so wanted DH to say no to his mum. Although to be fair i would have struggled if it were my mum doing it.

These things just get out of hand. One minute it's oh, p'raps we can join you one day, and you say hmmmm, hoping to sound unenthusiastic and non commital. Next minute your DPs off the phone saying 'mum's coming' and looking sheepish! angry

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 06-Feb-13 08:37:11

Yes, why don't you all come! The only reason she's not bringing FIL is because he's at work.

Ledkr your PILs are famous - at least MIL will buy her own lunch and quite possibly ours as well, stinginess is not one of her faults. Hide like a rhino, on the other hand....

We usually holiday by going to visit in-laws anyway, as they live by the seaside. Or we go to stay in my mum's caravan, and they couldn't invite themselves there as there's no space. We've not had an abroad holiday since children were born, if we do we'll keep it quiet! They did invite us to come and share their villa in France this year, but we declined on the basis that they are twice as expensive during school holidays and we can't afford it.

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 06-Feb-13 08:46:57

YANBU but you should let her come with good grace I think. As long as you don't let her change the plan.

My MIL invited her self on our day trip to london(London eye and natural history museum). All fine but she then decided she really wanted to pop to a shop that was only in London, and wouldn't be much of a diversion. We foolishly said fine but she must buy what she wanted and not faff. (much history of faffing).

It added 1.25 hours to an already busy day and involved DH and I carrying the DCs(5 and3 - but hefty lads) on our shoulders for a mile. By the time we got to the natural history museum everyone had had enough and the queue to get in was enormous, so we only saw the dinosaurs.

She is a lovely lady, and it seemed such a reasonable request, but in retrospect it was a large error to agree.

mrsjay Wed 06-Feb-13 08:50:06

I think you can either say no in a nice way or say yes but say we will be here AT SUCH AND SUCH A TIME you can meet us , then no dithering stop for lunch but no shop browsing no every 5 minute coffee stops, I think she just wants to share in her grandsons birthday although it is a wee bit annoying when they invite themselves my mil when she was with us used to do it all the time even on holidays hmm

mrsjay Wed 06-Feb-13 08:53:10

when dd was about 4 we went away for a long weekend we told MIL we were visiting my relatives or she would want to come and 'help' us with dd1 this was her reason for wanting to come EVERYWHERE with us, she was a lovely lady just really forward,

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 08:55:21

The more the merrier OP wink

You've described the pattern perfectly lifesaved.

I think it's a rare person who could manage to join an outing or holiday without making any changes to it at all.

Which is why you don't invite yourself on other peoples trips.

I'm now seriously worrying i'll somehow loose my social awareness when my kids have kids .....

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 06-Feb-13 09:00:08

That's so rude, and it's not fair of her to use emotional blackmail by bringing the cousin.

I'd say sorry but this is our trip, the four of us only – we'll organise another visit to London or somewhere soon and you and cousin can come then.

mrsjay Wed 06-Feb-13 09:13:58

I dont think it is rude as such she wants to see her grandson on his birthday but normally when an extra person tags along on these days out it is such a faff as they always want to do something else or the 5 minute coffee stops it changes the whole day out ime,

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 06-Feb-13 09:14:57

It really isn't rude to say "we want to do something as a family"

OP, you have the cousin complication so go along with it this time but afterwards please get DH to say to MIL that you had planned it for just the four of you and not to mention things like this to the cousin in future without asking first (and I mean asking - not checking,not telling, asking!)

TobyLerone Wed 06-Feb-13 09:21:17

Some of you are really nasty pieces of work.

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Feb-13 09:29:45

ooooh, the cousin she's bringing, are they much younger than your DS's?

Perfect excuse time! Call and say that you are planning to do things that DS wants as it's his birthday treat and it might be a bit much for younger cousin, but you really don't think it's fair to tell DS he can't do what you've planned on his birthday treat because his cousin will be there so would she mind missing out on this one and you'll arrange to see them another time when you can do something more suitable for all the children?

Stress it's just that you don't think it would be fair to stop DS's treats. She might think you're over worrying and try to say that cousin will cope but keep saying things like "oh but he'll be bored, do you really want to spend £X on train fairs and museum costs just to drag a grumpy bored child around? That sounds like a really bad day for you. I just think it's going to be an expensive disaster."

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Feb-13 09:36:23

oh, just seen the cousin is 5 and your youngest is 6 - you can still push the "this is our plan and I dont think cousin will like it" angle. Or get DH to call back and say that you've thought about it, and you'd rather keep it to just the 4 of you as DS has specific things he wants to see/do as it's his birthday treat and while your other DS understands it's his brother's day so he has to fit round him, it's hard to tell cousin that too.

offer a day out for them all near your MIL in a few weeks time. BTW - you know you'll end up just looking after said cousin all day as well, don't you?

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 09:39:13

toby - why?

malteserzz Wed 06-Feb-13 09:39:38

Let her come she is part of the family after all, I hope I'm welcomed when I'm a MIL threads like this make me so sad for the grandparents

We are going to London soon too. We mentioned the possibility of meeting up briefly to my parents. They have said they'd love to (they are within an hour of London) but not to worry if it doesn't fit in with our plans.

IMHO that's normal.

TobyLerone Wed 06-Feb-13 09:45:02

She's the OP's DS's grandmother (I assume), she'd like to see him on his birthday, and he'd love to see her.

Yet all most of you can do is bitch about her, how 'rude' she is, and how much of an inconvenience this would be.

I hope none of your sons marry people who will be this nasty to/about you.

Really horrible sad

diddl Wed 06-Feb-13 09:56:17

I might be a rare person-I´d happily tag along to an already worked out itinerary!

Although would struggle if shopping involved-yuk, yuk, yuk!!

We were in London for a couple of days & everyone chose something.

Bloody daughter wanting shoppinghmm

I mean-what a waste-there´s so much more to do-& it´s not as if you can´t shop where we are!!

So son & I went to the National gallery whilst daughter dragged husband shopping.

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 09:58:49

It is rude to invite yourself to something. Family or not.

It's not 'horrible' to lay out careful plans for a trip and not want them to be changed (for the worse) at the last minute by someone else's ideas.

Why the emotive 'bitching' comment? This is a discussion board.

If you go everywhere with your family without an invite then the chances are that some of the time you probably wont be welcome malteserzz.

Yfronts Wed 06-Feb-13 10:09:24

Can you email your plan for the day with expected times and tell her she can just catch up with while you are busy and leave when she wants without disturbing your organised day.

Or could she meet you on the day you do home?

valiumredhead Wed 06-Feb-13 10:18:39

Perhaps your sone would enjoy having his granny there for his birthday treat, I know mine would!

valiumredhead Wed 06-Feb-13 10:18:46


HintofBream Wed 06-Feb-13 10:24:00

Our DSs plus partner and DGCs do frequently come on holiday with us because we invite them and we would not dream of expecting them to pay for themselves, particularly if like EndRec's ILs it was something like a villa in France which we would be going to and paying for anyway.

chilliplant Wed 06-Feb-13 10:28:10

The thing is Tobe, that some of us would like to hang out with our own children and husband some of the time without having to invite other people. I really cannot see what is wrong with that. My own MIL wants to be included in everything we do and buy, however only saw her own MIL once a year if that poor woman was lucky.

diddl Wed 06-Feb-13 10:30:57

Well if the son would like it that´s great as it is his bday.

As long as Granny doesn´t think that´s a red light to invite herself-& be accepted to everything!

An yes, sometimes you want to do things without your mum!

ENormaSnob Wed 06-Feb-13 10:35:25

I really like my mil and her partner and we do lots together inc nights out and weekends away.

The difference is that it's a joint plan from the start.

They wouldn't dream of gate crashing something we had planned, likewise we wouldn't do that to them. Although their valentines meal sounds tempting grin

Same goes for my own parents.

oldraver Wed 06-Feb-13 12:34:08

My Mum tried this recently for my sons Graduation,,she tried to invite herself along even though I had told her many times tickets were limited but she decided she would 'hang about' for us, but wanted to be able to take DS 2 with her rather than him go to the ceremony.

We were slightly undecided as to the actual itinery until we found out the timings and she was trying to organise us to hotels when it suited her. In the end DS was working till 5ish, it was a 5 hour journey and he had the 9am ceremony so that sort of dictated an after work drive to a hotel then straight off in the morning...she was still trying to get us to fit in with her.

She wanted us to use the opportunity to go and pick a case up from her friends who lived another hour North form where we are as "they would love to see DS2". She seemed to totally loose sight that it was DS1 's important occasion.

I didnt even tell her till after the fact that we had stopped at a Motorway services half an hour from her (but opposite direction to where we were going)

BegoniaBampot Wed 06-Feb-13 13:02:01

Must be weird as we even go on holiday with my PIL's and actually enjoy spending time with them. not saying you are being totally unreasonable, just think the whole tone here is sad. dreading being a MIL, especially as I only have sons.

fluffyraggies Wed 06-Feb-13 13:13:47

But no one here is saying they don't ever like spending time with their ILs.

I've been on holiday abroad with mine and it was great. Because it was planned that way. They are welcome to our home, and visit often. They weren't, however, welcome on the boating holiday. They muscled in. It spoiled it for us. Why is it 'sad' to say this here.

If we were talking about DBs or DSs or D cousins inviting themselves along to stuff i don't think there would be anyone saying oh god i hope i'm never a brother, or a sister or a cousin.

diddl Wed 06-Feb-13 13:15:57

I think if you want to do it & enjoy it, that´s fine.

It´s not a norm for us, so I suppose if/when my son marries, then we can´t complain if it doesn´t become a norm for them either!

Hopefully though, we have a better relationship than my husband does with his parents!

Inertia Wed 06-Feb-13 14:21:22

I think your plan to say 'we'll at at the science museum from x time to y time, ring us when you get there' is ideal. Do not agree to any faffing/ meeting elsewhere/ change of plan!

Kat101 Wed 06-Feb-13 14:35:55

I would put her off. Nicely but firmly. With something like "we really feel that we'd like to stick to our original plans and arranging meet ups and accomodating a 5 yo are just not going to work on this occasion. Why don't we all meet up on saturday xth march at the zoo / soft play etc?

Always offer an alternative, it will refocus her mind on a future meetup.

I wouldn't go along with how it is now, but then I'd be quietly seething and resentful and it would spoil the weekend for me. it is important that you as DS's mother are respected as your needs matter too. Weekends cost a lot of money and the time is precious, don't compromise it, offer her an alternative instead.

I've had years of IL-pleasing and I've come to the conclusion that sometimes its ok to put my own family's needs first.

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 06-Feb-13 16:23:10

Tobey - I have not bitched about her. As you can see from my OP, I said I'd be equally miffed if my mum had done this. Or my brother. It's not that it's MIL, it's that it's rude.

As a mother of two boys, I have already said I'm adding it to my list of "things to remember not to do when I'm a MIL"

She means no harm, she just doesn't think.

Oh and those who mentioned cousin wouldn't like it - he'll love it. Boy is obsessed with dinosaurs, so we'd probably plan Natural History when/if they come. I'm not sure I'd muscle my boys in on cousin's birthday treat though. MIL will also leave him with us while she goes shopping / for cups of tea. So we'll be looking after an extra, essentially. Although I'm sure MIL hasn't actually asked BIL and SIL (nephew's parents) if he's free for this jaunt, it may be that they have other plans for him over half term. Hell, perhaps they'll all come.

Husband also assures me she would only be coming for a day / half day and would not be expecting to stay over at our holiday apartment. I hope that this is the case, but have a nagging worry...

2rebecca Wed 06-Feb-13 16:36:44

You just say no to the holiday apartment and that maybe another time you'll invite her to join you but this time there isn't room. Why is saying no to her so difficult? Worrying she may ask to stay with you is pointless. if she asks say "no we just booked it for the 4 of us, maybe another time"
With people who have brass necks you just have to be brass necked back. There's no reason to feel upset at saying no to her. I wouldn't discuss where you are staying with her and if there is any spare space don't tell her.
This isn't being unpleasant it's just trying to have the weekend break the 4 of you had planned, not the weekend break someone else wants you to have.

EldritchCleavage Wed 06-Feb-13 16:59:03

I think MIL should be able to ask, and you should be able to say no, without offence on either side. That's what happens in my family:

"Ooh, can I come?"
"Well, no, we just want a nuclear family outing. "
"Fair enough, I might go later in half-term."

etc. But OP, you'll never get to that stage with MIL unless someone actually speaks to her about it. I do feel a bit sorry for her-tactless perhaps, but she'll be with you all day not realising she's put her foot in it but probably sensing it's not entirely comfortable. Just tell her.

Kat101 Wed 06-Feb-13 17:39:20

If the BIL and SIL haven't yet been asked then its your golden opportunity to get in first and postpone MIL and the cousin til a later occasion. Don't give up, relent and resent. You'll feel so much better if you regain ownership of YOUR weekend.

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 06-Feb-13 17:43:02

Eldritch - she hasn't asked me, she has said to husband "oooh we'll come and join you" and he hasn't had the heart to say no, especially now small cousin is involved. If she'd spoken to me on the phone first I may have deflected her.

I don't think I can say no now. But I feel it's taken a bit of a shine off our first trip as I'll be worried about it being spoilt by the dithering. If we were going for a week I wouldn't have minded so much about a wasted hour or two.

usualsuspect Wed 06-Feb-13 17:50:09

I agree with Toby,

I would be ok saying "I don't think meeting up this weekend is going to work, but I'd love to plan one for another time, when would be good for you?"

Inertia Wed 06-Feb-13 20:34:34

You will need to re-iterate that she is in sole charge of cousin, and there will not be opportunity to leave him with you while she goes shopping ! We took our two to the NHM and SM for the first time, and they each wanted to look at different things, so needed one adult per child.

Tell her in advance that she won't be able to stay in the apartment - they are very strict on numbers due to fire regulations.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:41:03

I don't know if it's just me, but I think you're being a bit inflexible. Birthdays are for sharing, and it sounds like your DS will enjoy it. It is hard and tiring to rush around London, so I can't see what's wrong with stopping for cups of tea etc! It's a holiday, not a military operation!

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Feb-13 20:44:13

OP - your DH should have dealt with it at the time, as he didn't, he needs to call back, and say "mum, have you bought your tickets to london yet?" if she says no say "oh good, look we've been talking about it and if you don't mind, we'd prefer to keep it to just the boys, EndoplasmicReticulum and me for this trip, but I'd love to see you on [x date] to see you with the boys."

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Feb-13 20:45:35

also might be worth speaking to BIL and SIL to tell them what's happened and that you'd love to see DN, but not on this trip, unless they were coming to london too - but not staying with you.

Gentleness Wed 06-Feb-13 20:59:02

When I was a kid I loved the occasional trips or times when it was just our family, nobody else. I loved both sets of grandparents and all the family friends who visited frequently ( or we visited). But I would feel so disappointed and cross when I'd expected family time and then mum and dad got all hospitable again! The trials of the introvert... Just throwing a potential kid perspective into the mix.

I would say no, and would be incensed if dh agreed without checking - or worse, asked while she was still on the phone so she'd be offended. I love mil, but I am mamma-bear about our family time with just us.

ThePinkOcelot Wed 06-Feb-13 21:33:05

I don't understand all this "boy" and "husband" talk TBH!

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Feb-13 21:42:00

Xmasbaby11 - you might want to just do things at a lazy pace and stop for cuppas regularly, but if the OP and her DCS don't want to do that, then they shouldn't have to have someone along on their trip who will stop them doing what they want, particularly if they didn't want to invite them and fit round them in the first place.

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 06-Feb-13 21:52:42

PinkOcelot - sorry, I just never got the hang of DS / DH. Although I do use MIL as it's much quicker to type than Mother In Law. Also not going to tell you their real names.

xmasbaby - it's dithering on a massive scale. It's not just "shall we stop for a cuppa" - it's "ooh, shall we go in this cafe, or shall we go and see if there's another one down here, and oooh look we've passed a shop, this looks interesting, I'll just pop in to see if they've got any trousers, and then before we get to the cafe I need to find a cashpoint, and ooh now I'm feeling a bit peckish so maybe we'll go to the next cafe because they might have nicer cake....."

I'm definitely going to say no to staying over.

EggRules Wed 06-Feb-13 22:23:03


Just said no about the same thing. Since he started school, I take DS away on my own twice a year. We get the train somewhere and stay overnight in a £29 room. I have said no twice this week to female relatives asking to join us.

I don't even think what we do is that exciting. I think people either can't be arsed to plan anything it's easier for them to join in OR hate to feel left out (even when it's not that interesting).

I don't want company; I was clear and polite about not wanting to change my plans. I'm happy to make alternative plans to do something else; 'no' to gegging in though.

2rebecca Thu 07-Feb-13 08:43:59

I would have a word with your husband Endo about saying to his mum when she says she wants to join you on jaunts like this "I'll mention to Endo that you would like to join our holiday and see what she thinks, a smaller group is sometimes easier to manage and we don't go away as a family very often".
My dad now he's alone enjoys coming away with us (but never invites himself) if he did mention wanting to come somewhere I wouldn't just say yes without discussing it with husband and if he's OK with it teenage kids, unless it was just me going on my own. Your husband may have thought he was being nice to his mum to not tell her it needed discussing but he should have been thinking of you. Extra people on a holiday alter the dynamics and slow things down.
If she does start dithering on the trip then you make it clear to her that you are doing certain things and if she wants to stop in cafes then she catches you up later.
It may be as well to phone her and explain that there won't be lots of cafe stops in your trip and it will be busy and also that you expect her to look after the cousin she is bringing and not give you an extra child to look after on a busy day. This also means that if she stops for coffee she keep the cousin with her and doesn't have to try and find you when it's time to take the cousin home.

flaggybannel Thu 07-Feb-13 09:32:03

Its so wrong when anyone invites themselves anywhere!
I had something similar with my xp's family.
Myself, xp and my ds were planning to go to a two -day outdoor fair, was meant as a family outing as we didnt get to do much together because of work commitments and funds.
Day before planned outing xp tells his sister and she gets really enthusiastic and decides that her , her hub and 2dc must come too. Fine. We will meet you all there says i, thinking they will all do thier own thing as a family and we will do ours.
Before i know it xp is on the phone to his sis planning a military operation for the day starting with us meeting them at thier house so we can set off together in seperate cars. Couldnt see the point myself but i go along with it.
Morning of the trip comes and we duly arrive at the sisters. She answers door in dressing gown and announces that the hubs has changed his mind and will be going fishing instead, but thats okay because here are her two dc ready to go!
Xp bats not an eyelid and gets them in the car. Sis closes door. We all set off for the day out from hell where these unfortunetly spoilt children demanded everything in sight, ignored me and my ds, got cranky, dictated mealtimes etc etc. I ended up spending the day alone with ds when we got off a fairground ride to find the 3of them hadnt waited for us and had wandered off. Was a long day that never seemed to endi when we dropped them home the kids ran in without a thanks and the sister didnt needs even a cup of tea .
Xp saw no wrong in any of this and said i was a selfish cow for not wanting to spend time with his dn/n!
Maybe i am ? Anyway, my point is that you should do things to please you and yours or you end up feeling resentful.
Btw the twe dc's have been on fabulous holidays and been to the same fair every year since. Me and ds? Nowhere. And now my ds is too old to want to go on days out with his mum.
Tell her no.

fallon8 Thu 07-Feb-13 10:52:40

Another post,complains her Mil won't leave her six dogs to visit her complain because your Mil is taking the time to see you!,, we can't bloody win!,,

2rebecca Thu 07-Feb-13 11:43:46

Yes you can, visit your children but only when invited, if you don't get an invite then invite them or say "I'd love to see you can we arrange to meet up some time".
Most parents of adult children manage to find a happy medium, It's only a minority who either will never visit or only visit with a menagerie or invite themselves to other peoples holidays.
My oldest is now 16 and I don't see myself assuming he'll want me tagging along whenever he tells me he's going somewhere with his friends or girlfriend, just as he wouldn't just invite himself out with my friends.
Just because someone is family it doesn't follow that you have to be rude and inconsiderate.
I think the key to being a good parent or inlaw is to see your adult children as adults you have to be pleasant to and treat with respect like a close friend, not children you can impose upon; also having your own interests and not trying to revolve your life around the younger generation.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 07-Feb-13 12:02:31

fallon I'm not complaining that she is coming to see us. I actually like her. We are going to visit her for a week, at Easter. I am complaining that she's hijacking my son's birthday trip, and (going on past form) will want to change our plans.

BuiltForComfort Thu 07-Feb-13 12:22:32

Re NHM, SM etc, you need to be clear with MIL that you will be doing things that ds wants to see, at your / his pace. Eg get to NHM for opening and go straight to dinosaurs as they get v busy. No meeting elsewhere or waiting around for her. If small cousin wants to see something else, she must take him. IME of NHM / SM etc dc can be quite surprising by the things that engage them and the stuff they are bored by. Ds is nearly 6, loves all the rocks / geology / volcano stuff but is bored rigid by the dinosaurs. I would be mad if I planned a special trip for him which turned into having to work to someone else's schedule or preferences.

VenusRising Thu 07-Feb-13 12:28:16

Make an arrangement to see her separately, at another time. Say this time would not suit.
Say she may not be up for the crazy that is London midterm, and that you won't be spending any quality time with her, just going from museum to museum, spending some time catching up with your own DS, and no time for shopping.

Suggest a concrete day to see her after the midterm.

Guard your family time - it's precious.

VenusRising Thu 07-Feb-13 12:36:17

I've got a lot more assertive with family, especially when I end up looking after a gaggle of cousins, as their parents think they're on a 'day off'.
Now I just say "no", or limit the time I meet people to the end of our day, and then we leave to go home when I've had enough baby sitting for others.
I like all the cousins, but after a while of them I also want to interact with my own DCs and see something's for myself, not just head count, and wipe bums.
My DH knows this now!

It's bad manners to invite yourself to any event.

Fallon: you can win, by being considerate and not pushing your own agenda, and realising that adding to someone's workload is not welcome.

BegoniaBampot Thu 07-Feb-13 12:40:51

2rebecca "Yes you can, visit your children but only when invited, if you don't get an invite then invite them or say "I'd love to see you can we arrange to meet up some time".

But I think this can be the problem. Many people and families don't live their lives by invites. They just pop round on the off chance or if passing. They see their families perhaps daily. Think it's strange this invite thing and people can't just turn up. There is no right way, just different and what you have been used to.

ledkr Thu 07-Feb-13 12:53:28

begonia I get what you say but when someone marries into a family then you need to respect their feelings as well.
My in laws have this popping in policy and all do lots if stuff together. My family is very different and I'm very uncomfortable with people just dropping by and being around us for every occasion.
I have been privy to the displeasure if the other in laws partners when they are descended upon unexpectedly.
Pil must remember that their own children have grown up around them whereas the partners have ky know. Them a short time and sometimes need their space.

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Feb-13 13:24:48

The problem with that Begonia - is what the OP and her DH have learned from this is to keep plans from MIL to avoid the same situation again.

BegoniaBampot Thu 07-Feb-13 13:53:43

Was just talking in general, not necessarily regarding the OP. Think many of these problems IS when you have two kinds of families come together. One partner comes from the stiff upper lip, invite, front parlour brigade whilst other partner comes from family where there were five in a bed with granny in the corner, protect your food at all costs, everything is up for grabs, whole family live within a 1/2 mile radius and use the same toothbrush brigade. Almost like a clash of cultures. Neither is wrong but don't always rub along together. Wonder is there is a class/ regional element involved. I come from the second type, people didn't really do invites but just popped round. Find the first type quite cold and formal.

ledkr Thu 07-Feb-13 16:26:04

Begonia - my pil invite themselves push boundaries and eat all my food but have stiff upper lips too. I got unlucky I guess grin

BegoniaBampot Thu 07-Feb-13 17:05:09

Ha, sounds like they got it sussed!

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 07-Feb-13 19:09:40

We have a culture clash - my family love an itinerary and plan everything carefully, are always early. In-laws are so laid back they are horizontal, enjoy being late for things (FIL thinks it's funny) and don't like to plan. They prefer to wing it.

Hence why going on holiday with them gives me stress.

DontmindifIdo Fri 08-Feb-13 09:53:29

Where does your DH fit on the spectrum of 'laid back vs planning' - is he closer to you?

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 08-Feb-13 18:45:34

Don't mind - he's nearer to me, probably because I've had 21 years to train him.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 14-Feb-13 19:00:50

Update - it's now MIL, nephew, and BIL (cousin's dad) coming. They are coming on our one full day, arriving at about 11 apparently. Husband has said "great, phone us when you get to London and we'll tell you where we are".

Actually, with more of them coming that will be better because they can just go and do their own thing and we don't need to deviate from The Plan. And husband has said he's not going to let her suggest spending hours finding a restaurant for lunch (our plan was to have a quick sandwich, and we're sticking to it!).

PerditaXDream Thu 14-Feb-13 20:17:45

You can do the sandwich thing in the museums - when we went to the Science Museum in October last year, we spent nearly the whole day in the museum and just had lunch in the cafe on the ground floor - DCs had lunch bags, (they choose 5 things for a set price). It was pretty reasonable for London prices and much quicker than trying to find somewhere outside.

Having said that you can go prepared with your own sandwich, which pre-empts the restaurant search completely!

PommePoire Thu 14-Feb-13 20:28:20

True, in addition to the ground floor cafe the NHM has a cafeteria and loos in the basement which is also a picnic area, it's used by school during the week. Science museum has similar arrangement.

sounds like it might actually work out!!

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