Five irritating things about staying with my inlaws

(182 Posts)

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JustOneMoreBite Tue 03-Sep-13 18:42:52

Sigh. Am four days into a visit to the PILs and am at the point of maximum irritation. They are lovely people, and I realise I am very lucky not to have married into one of the toxic families I read about on here, but nonetheless every visit results in my inevitable descent into tetchy madness by about this point. So for the purposes of catharsis, here are just some of the minor annoyances which are currently elevating my blood pressure:

1. They live in a three-bedroom house, but due to a moderate-level hoarding tendency, only their bedroom actually contains a usable bed. Me and DH have to sleep on a sofa bed downstairs, which is completely open plan. No privacy, no space to put any stuff, and the hum of the fridge all night. Just this lack of a cave to retreat to when it all gets too much is enough to make me a bit stabby by day two.

2. MIL serves up exactly the same meal every night, just with different meat at varying levels of cremation. She started boiling the veg thirty minutes ago and it isn't done yet. I would offer to cook but the kitchen is a total nightmare due to the aforementioned hoarding.

3. The shower is lukewarm and dribbly.

4. No mirrors, anywhere. Probably for the best as I am in dire need of a proper hot shower.

5. I'm made to feel like some kind of weirdo for wanting a glass of water with my dinner (or indeed at any time - tea is offered at 20 minute intervals from breakfast until bedtime). I have to drink my water from a mug because they appear to have no tumblers, despite their kitchen cupboards being stuffed with every other conceivable object known to man.

Thank fuck we are going home tomorrow. Anyone else want to vent about the small things that make you want to murder your relatives?

LesserSpottedFuckwit Wed 04-Sep-13 22:31:02

The Naughty Sausage, you made me laugh til I cried.
And onetiredmummy has inspired a name change.

impecuniousmarmoset Wed 04-Sep-13 22:57:05

On the birdwatching front...On being offered a copy of a bird identification book by MIL, I made the mistake of admitting that I wasn't actually that interested in birds. I mean, they look pretty and all, and I'm delighted to have them in my garden. But I am not so fussed about looking up the rare lesser spotted poodle or a double-crested lemming in a special book.

I may as well have admitted that I liked a little smoke of crack while looking after the children. I was informed that for my children's sake, I'd better start getting interested asap. And DH was later informed of my horrendous confession. Because clearly a life devoid of bird identification skills is, in essence, morally abhorrent. Who knew?

MrsRambo Wed 04-Sep-13 22:58:38

Here's my five:

1. Constant setting of the table. Cup of tea and biscuit? FIL gets up mumbling "I'll set the table"... They are incapable of ingesting anything without the accompaniment of tablecloth, cutlery, plates, placemats and condiments tray. The amount of time spent on this activity is insane.

2. They have a shower every morning and a bath last thing at night. Most days they do not leave the house. This is ablutions gone mad. Plus, it means we can never get near that dribbling shower!

3. Bizarre after shower/bath ritual of wiping down shower cubicle and bath tub with designated sponge to remove all drops of water. WTAF? DP had to teach me how to do it....

4. Constant moaning of how busy they are with all the jobs they have to do every week, like 'high' dusting and painting of weathered gnomes. They are retired. It is all self inflicted madness.

5. Inability to go anywhere without a cool box full of egg sandwiches, a bag full of rotting bananas and a massive thermos of tea. Please, for the love of god could we just go to a cafe?

They are well meaning though. Love em wink

AGnu Wed 04-Sep-13 23:07:25

Oh, I do love a good whinge about my lovely PILs!

1) They have no TV so every evening is filled with FIL giving a lecture about politics or history. He's a highly intelligent man but he has no interest in discussing anything, he just seems to feel the need to tell everyone everything anyone has ever discovered about some small rock... Unless BIL is also staying & then we're all ignored while they have a 'good-natured debate' which involves them talking loudly over each other because they'll always have different views on whatever they're debating. Even if it's known facts about the Roman civilisation. Somehow they'll both come up with different ways that the Romans could've 'done it better'. hmm
I regularly have to avoid giggling at his inability to pronounce various words though 'boogie woogie' who even says that anyway?! is apparently boo-jee woo-jee & just recently one of his evening lectures centred on his exciting discovery that if one doesn't start a YouTube video playing until the little bar at the bottom goes all the way across then it'll play more smoothly & doesn't have to keep stopping to catch up with itself... hmm Buffering has only been around basically since the internet was invented but we're all expected to be amazed by his new discovery. DH did try to point out that this is common knowledge but he still went on about it all evening!

2) After FILs lecture he discusses with himself what time breakfast should be based on what time they want to be going out the following morning. It's always at 8.30.

3) Once that's settled he'll suddenly leap up saying, "Right, well it's X o'clock so we won't keep you up any longer." & everyone scurries up the stairs as quickly as possible. This is mostly annoying because I'll have spent the last 2 hours trying not to fall asleep & pretending to be fascinated by the origins of farming in Europe & then all of a sudden he decides we're allowed to go to bed & we must go that second. DH gets sent back down every night to make me a hot chocolate.

4) We must go out for a walk every day. Either to stately gardens or up some random hill where there's a fort or a view of something or we might won't get to see some endangered cricket. These walks consist of PILs marching off in front commenting on the origins of the Latin names for flowers they pass & me desperately trying to keep up & act like it's effortless.

5) They're so desperate to please me that it gets annoying. MIL gives the appearance of planning meals around what she know I like but invariably gets it wrong. We never stay for longer than a weekend but still she can't get her head around me not eating meat other than chicken/fish & not liking courgette or parsnip or cooked tomato/fruit. That's all I dislike & yet she seems to serve at least one of the above at every meal. It's always really fancy food too. She made macaroni & cheese once... Even that was fancy-ified.

Staying with them is just exhausting!

My family have their faults too though:
1) Their ridiculously enormous TV has to be turned on whenever we sit down. You must not talk while it's on, even if you're talking about the programme. Not exactly social!

2) They never plan anything when we visit, just carry on with their normal lives. When I was little I remember family coming to stay & we'd skip swimming/dance lessons on the Saturday & church on Sunday & go on walks or to the beach or to one of the numerous local tourist attractions. We just get asked what we're planning to do. I mentioned this to my DM once & apparently we don't get any special treatment because I used to live there. 6 years ago. She moans if we don't visit regularly enough but no-one actually spends any time with us when we are there.

4) Their house is dirty. DH cleans the kitchen every time we go. I had to resist the urge to get the hoover out last time I went - it must've been bad for me to even notice, let alone want to do something about it. DS1 kept bringing me bits off the carpet saying "fluff"!

5) 'D'F thinks it's funny to tease us constantly. He doesn't do it so much with me or DB since we moved out but regularly reduces DSis to tears with his 'humour'. I challenged him on it as a teenager & his response was, "If you can't learn to take it from me, how will you cope when the rest of the world does it?" angry Needless to say, I have a few self-esteem issues & have a bit of an 'everyone's out to get me' complex because of him. He genuinely seems to think it's his job to treat us badly so we'll be more resilient. The minute he upsets any of my DC like that is the moment we leave the house for good.

<Ahem> Sorry, got a bit serious there for a moment... The only time we're taken out anywhere with them is when DF has planned a hike through some wilderness or other with his mates. DH is encouraged to tag along. I'm left with the kids. Not really complaining about that though! wink

moondog Wed 04-Sep-13 23:21:02

These are excellent and absolutely fascinating.

Haggischucker Wed 04-Sep-13 23:47:53

Top 5 PIL
1. Tag team chain smoking, literally constantly as one puts one out another starts and a very big deal is made of opening windows so we feel more comfortable. Their house their rules but we honestly need to keep bags in car and take clean underwear per day to limit exposure.

2. The constant passive aggressive digs looking to raise heckles and cause arguments between us and them.

3. No where to put anything (another reason for keeping in car) and single sofa bed for two.

4. The pre-requisite dribbly shower but you need to remove the show towels first so they stay dry, avoid stepping on the bathroom rug so it doesn't get wet and then dry shower completely even if someone going in directly after!

5. The food issues - cans in fridge, no fresh fruit and veg, beef dripping is not actually a vegetarian cooking oil, not being able to cook anything without constant supervision (am chef by trade)

Oh and the late night binge drinking and resulting hangovers mean cannot start the next day with any activity before lunchtime and must tiptoe around house to avoid waking! I do love them but just cannot spend much time with them as they are fundamentally very different from me.

5 things they would say about me

1. Very fussy being vegetarian, should eat what's given, even if meat in a restaurant!
2. That I have no sense of humour or national pride as I don't find racist jokes funny or agree with their stance on immigration
3. That I know nothing about the world as I don't read the mail or sun and I should accept there is no harm in passive smoking and suck it up - their house their rules
4. That I'm a slattern as I do not devote 5-6 cleaning per day
5. That they like me but they wish DH had chosen someone thinner and more attractive - actual quote!

We just let it flow right over heads now smile

PIL don't believe in cleaning their bathroom - every time i stay there I scrub out the bathroom (think MIL got a bit po-faced about that last time, but hey). It was sooooo gross.
Don't wipe down benches or clean kitchen (live in a hot area so flies flock to sticky surfaces ugh)
Don't vacum and complain about DS2 being naughty and undisciplined (at the museum when he's 2 fgs).
MIL spends all day on facebook playing bejewelled blitz.
Going there for a long weekend soon and dreading it. hmm

Parmarella Thu 05-Sep-13 07:00:47

Kiwi that sounds sooooo grim!

.... Hotel?

TheUglyFuckling Thu 05-Sep-13 09:17:59

kiwimumof2boys, now when we visit pils I always take my Marigolds, CIF spray, bleach and a scourer. And before any us use the bathroom I scrub it down. It seriously needs doing because everything is thick with limescale and dribbles of old soap and shampoo. And there's always about half an inch of body-debris in the bottom of the bath [heaves]

I used to be really furtive about it but now I'm just brazen. It's the only time their bathroom gets cleaned, my mil humours me but clearly thinks I'm deranged. Because why would you spend time chipping dried shit off the loo seat when you could be watching Homes Under the Hammer and drinking your 11th cup of tea that morning?

GreetingsFrontBottom Thu 05-Sep-13 09:31:24

Because why would you spend time chipping dried shit off the loo seat when you could be watching Homes Under the Hammer and drinking your 11th cup of tea that morning?

grin

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 05-Sep-13 16:14:34

Hello

Thanks for the Classics nominations; we've moved this one now grin

BogStandardOldWoman Thu 05-Sep-13 18:07:28

Lovely people, but. House stinks of smoke. Sport on constantly. Coffee offered every 10 minutes but never water. No soap or towels to be seen in bathroom to wash hands after loo (must be why DH never does it, was never told to). Conversation consists of going up to Tesco and the weather. We don't stay! However, this is nothing compared to when my parents and PILs get together. Sample of conversation: 'So, who have you lost this year?'!
Thanks - that was cathartic!

WipsGlitter Thu 05-Sep-13 18:12:32

We never stay, but
House an utter bomb site - but DSs s get blamed for making a mess
TV on max volume and not turned down so you end up shouting - I've given up trying to make conversation and just select a paper from the extensive collection on the floor that dates from about 1972

My mum is also in possession of a dribbly shower. House stinks of smoke and she doesn't have her teeth in which drives me mad. She looks about 100 without them.

SockQueen Thu 05-Sep-13 22:40:27

My in-laws are in general very lovely, we get on well and they are in general nice, kind, sane people. However, after a few days I do get the rage! My top 5 are:

1) There is no proper upstairs bathroom. FiL ripped it all out 6 years ago, shortly after my first ever visit to their house, intending to re-plumb it all himself. They have an en-suite so when they don't have guests there is no problem. It's still manageable as there is a spare shower (which does actually work!) and a downstairs toilet, but I swear I'm going to break my leg going to the loo in the dark one night.

2) There are also numerous other DIY projects that FiL has started and not finished. There is no ceiling in the kitchen, half the living room is undecorated, no carpet on the stairs etc. He is a total perfectionist and wouldn't trust anyone else to do the work, so suggestions that they just get an actual qualified tradesperson in to do all the relevant jobs are quickly crushed.

3) No TV and no wifi.

4) They are both retired and have always been morning people. DH and I both work long hours and love our lie-ins when not at work. So the fact that we don't want to be up and raring to go at 9am every day when on holiday means there are lots of grumbles about how the day has been wasted, how we're never going to see xyz properly in the time we have etc. I have tried repeatedly asking what their plans are for the next day, and said that if they want to leave by a particular time, we will be ready, but they always say "Oh no, get up in your own time" and then whinge when we do that.

5) They like wine. Great, I hear you say! But they are very serious about liking their wine. Everything has to be savoured and sipped and commented on at length. They seem to like very sophisticated French wines, especially Bordeaux, which tastes like gravel to me - my definition of nice wine is "something fruity around the £5 mark."

onetiredmummy Fri 06-Sep-13 10:23:35

Hahahaa lesserspottedfuckwit, I'm honoured.

Passes you a steaming cup of milk & sugarless Lapsang Souchong ( which an ex boyfriend once christened 'Lapsapjapcrap') & gets the slideshow ready.

Ledkr Fri 06-Sep-13 10:41:29

Take hours and hours to go anywhere due to there anal procrastinating and endless showers.
Feed us tiny portions of ver basic food, no treats or side dishes.
Never get suitable food in for the children.
Eat like escaped convicts when they come to stay with us.
Polish off any treats we have in then tell us we need to buy more.
I actually don't go anymore and take perverse pleasure in allowing my food to run down just before they visit.

TabbyM Tue 17-Sep-13 15:45:05

Just to balance things, my Dad is a hoarder and frequently says we can't visit as there is "no room". This is in a 3 bed-roomed house.

With my ILs:
1. MIL has a thing about squirrels getting into house. In Summer if you crack open a window a tiny bit there will be a lecture on ninja squirrels coming in. I have tried to reason that they are unlikely to climb in over our sleeping bodies, and offering to remove any if required.
2. MIL will go into the bedroom we use (probably checking windows see above) and tidy stuff or talk when we are In Bed.
3. PILs have a mental combi boiler that means the shower runs cold if the hot is used in kitchen sink. This is very annoying.
4. PILS never ask us to go anywhere / do anything but will bog off to shops or whatever and just leave us. In self defence I go to meet friends if possible.
5. PILS always ask how we take tea / coffee and will whip a cup away if unattended.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 29-Sep-13 10:53:51

I love my pils to bits they are amazing, kind, generous people but these are a few bits that annoy me

1) we are not allowed to smoke their house their rules but we aren't allowed to smoke when they visit us and we only smoke in the garden anyway. It's fine for dp who's always working when they come down but I end up hiding in the wardrobe puffing on an e cig
2) they have a dribbley shower
3) toiletries do not live in the bathroom even when dp lived there he had to take wash bag and towel under his arm like he's in the army
4) dp had room inspections when he still lived at home and dmil is always cleaning our house so I guess I don't make the grade
5) they have veg with everything nothing wrong with that but leeks and lasagne?

sheeplikessleep Mon 30-Sep-13 13:51:35

1. That mil smokes. Fair enough, it is her house, I just wish she didn't smoke in the kitchen, immediately before a meal and leave dirty ashtrays out of the reach of the kids.

2. Having to look at the floor whilst walking around, to avoid dog or cat poo (likewise, their garden is covered in animal poo, so can't even escape smoke smell by taking kids outside for a kick around)

3. All of the food is out of date and meat is left out

4. In the spare bed, which is really old, both DH and I end up rolling in the middle

5. TV constantly on at full volume, that we can't even have a conversation.

This Christmas, we are staying in a hotel down the road, to try to minimise smoke inhalation at least overnight.

sheeplikessleep Mon 30-Sep-13 13:53:19

Ooh, can I have 6? FIL sits watching tv picking his nose, ears or toes (boak)

CHST Tue 01-Oct-13 18:11:28

I will add my 2c

1. My ILs are from mainland europe. They eat sandwiches with knives and forks because it is "good manners." They try and force my dc to do the same for the above reason yet MIL is known to lick her knife/plate at the table.

They shower at most once a week and wear the same clothes so stink a lot of the time. They visited us once in a heatwave and put a fan on. I was pregnant at the
time so this lovely smell being wafted round made me vomit.

They make a pot of tea with one teabag. It tastes like dishwater

MIL used to rearrange my kitchen cupboard contents exactly how things were at her house.

They are also hoarders. FIL wears hand me downs from dh when he was a young adult. They penny pinch day to day yet go on several extravagant holidays a year.

Whenever they come to us, they look at every nook and cranny to be nosey and see what is different.

I'm sure more will come to me but they are very odd. I've had quite a few shouts at MIL

chibi Tue 01-Oct-13 18:23:26

mine used to argue over whether i was fatter or thinner since the last time i saw them (FIL:thinner MIL:fatter) hmm grin

sittinginthesun Tue 01-Oct-13 18:34:51

Reading these, I am amazingly starting to realise that my ILs' place is like a 5 star hotel!

Power shower. Three course meal of restaurant quality on arrival. Comfy, clean beds. 24 hour baby sitting service. Lots to do locally.

Only downside is that I am expected to produce similar when they visit. After 2 days, I've run out of steam and want to lock myself in my bedroom.

weebarra Tue 01-Oct-13 19:50:51

I do love my pils and having read many threads on here I know how lucky I am, but
1. MIL uses so much fabric softener that her towels have the absorbent qualities of plastic.
2. She is a very good cook (rarely consumes anything herself) but insists on getting in loads of shite for the DCs, then I look bad when I try to limit consumption of said shite.
3. They have recently moved house and replaced the spare mattress. Prior to that, we slept on a mattress which was more spring than mattress.
4. Their house contains no books.
5. DH and I have been together since we were 18. Now 36. Before we met, DH had a party and the house got a bit messy. We have occasionally had friends over when pils are away. Despite the fact we always leave the place spotless, we are reminded about the party...

Their shower is good though, unlike my parents where you have to run the cold bath tap to get the shower to work!

Op have you been staying at my gran's?
Other than the hoarding everything is identical.

We live too near my in laws to stay but five things that irritate me...hmm..

1. Ds's bedroom at their house is full of crap like stacks of fabric conditioner and crisps
2. MIL can only cook three meals even tho they are really nice
3. FIL and MIL treat SIL like a kid and have to be home to make her tea, take her to work etc. SIL is 19.
4. I can't think of anymore. I'm very lucky they are a lovely family and fab grandparents.

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