Five irritating things about staying with my inlaws

(177 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?

she does not put sugar in my tea zing I make sure of it grin

OP and others, why do you stay in such inhospitable houses? What has your DHs got to say for themselves?! My mums house is horrible - dog hairs and stinks of smoke. No way would I stay there and no way would I inflict it on DH or the kids.

Silverfoxballs Tue 03-Sep-13 23:34:47

Your actually staying at my MIL house, the description is exactly the same.

Is her bath pink with grey 1980's wall tiles and a very weird special heat lightbulb. It is supposed to heat up the room but sure it must be illegal now and is the least Eco lightbulb ever I'm convinced it drains the entire national grid when I pop for a wee.

MousyMouse Tue 03-Sep-13 23:35:24

- kaffee und kuchen at 4o'clock on the dot, then huge ploughman type dinner at 6 <bursts at seams>
- fil is a bit hard at hearing so repeats everything mil says about 2 minutes later
- mil (also nicknamed granny shopaholic) buys the dc enourmous amounts of toys plastic tat
- veg are cooked to mush, food is quite bland (as in no herbs, just vast amounts of salt)
- fil pretends to doesn't like forrin food, however we got him some indian take away once and he loved it.

not pil but my parents: guest bedding smells of damp cupboard and the sweat of many many people <boak>.

My gran had one of those bathroom lightbulbs silverfoxballs. My dad used to mutter that its sole purpose was to singe the top of his head whilst he brushed his teeth.

Shodan Tue 03-Sep-13 23:43:59

Fortunately for good relations between all parties I have only had to share a house with my PILs on two occasions, the second of which was a week's holiday in Wales.

They snored. Loudly and consistently. As I have insomnia, at that point I was on sleeping pills. Even with those and industrial-strength earplugs, it still took hours to drop off. Consequently I would stumble out of bed, after four hours' sleep, at around half eight/nine. Every morning they chirpily bellowed 'Good afternoon!' like it was the funniest and most original witticism ever.

Days were spent not enjoying the beauty of Wales but trawling around the small supermarkets/grocers on offer in search of particular fruit for FIL, without which, it appeared, he couldn't possibly survive.

Evenings were spent watching/listening to FIL noisily crunch his way through bowl after bowl of snacks, always balanced on his (large) stomach. Then of course we had the Snoring Symphony to look forward to...

Driving anywhere was planned with military precision because FIL drives like a bat out of hell, slamming on the brakes every five hundred yards or so. Therefore MIL wouldn't drive down any country lanes with him as she was 'too nervous'. Bear in mind we were in rural Wales...

They are nice people, they really are, and would do anything for you, but dear God. I am never staying with them again. grin

MammaTJ Tue 03-Sep-13 23:44:21

I no longer visit the in laws, but in the past-

If I showed even a minor interest in any programme on TV, then FIL would be compelled to turn it over, even if was a programme he had previously expressed an interest in watching.

MIL would never let me cook or help in the kitchen, the DP would moan that I didn't do enough to help, I should 'make her let me'. (NOT MILs fault, DPs)

Three bedroom, two living room house. BILs house. Him and his (lovely) wife got their massive bedroom, and the larger lounge, fair enough, their house. We had to squeeze in the remaining bedrooms with MIL, FIL, DNephew and our 2 DC. This usually meant DP and I sharing a single bed each with one of our DC. Hellish. Again, noones fault but annoying all the same.

Dog walking takes priority over EVERYTHING!!

exexpat Tue 03-Sep-13 23:51:17

I am not a morning person. I do not do conversation at breakfast-time. MiL has known me 25 years, and even when she has already eaten by the time I come down, still insists on coming to sit and watch me eat my bowl of cereal and ask me inane questions when I have my mouth full.

There is also endless faffing around over any decision regarding meals, shopping, timing of journeys (even a 5-minute drive to the supermarket), and anecdotes about the health/educational achievements/reproductive successes etc of people I have never met.

MrsMc82 Wed 04-Sep-13 00:04:13

What is it with not having juice or water with meals? It's odd! My nana and mum seem to think its highly extravagant!

My MIL has to say everything twice too which irritates me.....

MsJupiterJones Wed 04-Sep-13 00:20:26

Oh I nearly wrote this AIBU a few days ago!

My ILs are lovely. They are thoughtful, kind, intelligent, remember birthdays and anniversaries, recycle, talk politics and books, have a beautiful, impeccably decorated house, beautiful, well-adjusted children, eat healthily, throw great parties. I cannot possibly find anything to complain about them.

However:

They wash everything up before putting it in the dishwasher. Not just rinse; proper soapy wash.

They unplug everything. All the time. You go to boil the kettle and twenty minutes later realise it never boiled. Yep. That's because it's not plugged in.

They like to point out that they don't watch tv, use smartphones or know about popular culture. Not heavy-handedly, but they say things like 'oh that's a novelty' or 'oh we wouldn't know about that'.

Once, I went to get them a clean plate for their salad and they said, oh no we'll keep our plates from the main course, we're very European.

They drink hot water instead of tea or coffee as a treat.

I mean, really. The things I have to put up with.

CharityFunDay Wed 04-Sep-13 00:36:43

They drink hot water instead of tea or coffee as a treat.

Christ, that's grim!

ZingWantsCake Wed 04-Sep-13 00:50:24

charity I knew a very old lady who once asked for "wilk" - that is hot water with milk. (she had to explain it.)

I didn't want to ask her but I do wonder if it was a WW2 thing.
so hot water as treat might be in the same vein.

If my ds had his way, he'd be filling himself up with juice/water/milk during a meal rather than with food - maybe this no drinks with a meal thing is something to do with that?

FondantNancy Wed 04-Sep-13 03:16:53

MusieB also get the refrigeration thing at the ILs house.

At Christmas the turkey gets left uncovered on the dining room table overnight and then on Boxing Day everyone goes in to get leftovers. Everyone except for me.

SIL is a vegetarian. MIL cooked a vegetarian meal that consisted of: boiled potatoes, boiled carrots, boiled parsnip, boiled peas - you get the idea. No sauce (because gravy is not vegetarian). I finally understood why my ILs "didn't understand why anyone would be a vegetarian."

FondantNancy Wed 04-Sep-13 03:27:01

Oh yeah, and I started a thread about this a couple of months ago - the insistence that they are simply so incredibly busy, all the time. This is despite being retired. "I just don't have time!" is repeated like a mantra.

They do have time to walk the dog, go to the cafe for croissants and coffee, drop in on friends, have a 2-hour lunch followed by a nap, drink copiously every evening etc etc etc. When something out of the ordinary is factored in like a trip to buy a pair of shoes it is a major operation and will be talked about for days afterwards.

I don't actually care what they do with their day but it is a bit galling to be told wistfully "oh I wish I had time to read like you do," when you've grabbed 10 minutes in between the latest nappy change/skinned knee/tantrum etc to finally sit down!

Need to step away from this thread now...

runawaysimba Wed 04-Sep-13 03:51:47

We used to live near PILs, so haven't stayed with them as we saw them regularly anyway. We've moved though, and DP said the other day MIL is dying to have us to stay overnight next time we're in the area. Dear Christ.
They live in a tiny, dirty three-bedroom with SIL and her DD.
MIL is mostly nice, but a passive aggressive drama queen. When she dishes up meals, instead of doing it like a sane person - line up the plates, put meat on each one, veg on each one, etc - she gets a plate, puts a piece of chicken on it, some potatoes, some salad, some bread, brings it out. Gets another plate, puts some chicken on it, some potatoes... On and on. I'm always served first, as the guest. I used to wait until everyone was served, so it was cold when I ate. Now I eat straight away, per her insistence, so she's left eating by herself. So she can say passive aggressive things about finally getting to sit down.
I just can't do that for several days. My parents live near her, and have plenty of space, but that would be favouritism. Sigh.

chickenschicken Wed 04-Sep-13 03:56:22

My mil puts the electric blanket on at around 4pm so the bed is the same temperature as the sun., DH protests and switches it off, but has same conversation about it every day.
I also get woken up at 6/7am to ask if I would like tea when I get up. If she is going to work she comes in and says don't wake up I'm just leaving. Hoarding levels are limited by FIL but you can't shut any doors properly for all the clothes on the handles. She buys all the bras in the m&s sales because they are 50p. Chicken are you a 28aa or a 38h?

MrsHoratioNelson Wed 04-Sep-13 04:43:21

Fondant my in laws are like this too. They are just so terribly busy and are always moaning about how wrung out they are from it all. Except that none of it is compulsory (they are retired) and its all stuff like spending hours researching the history of MIL's choir (that no-one is interested in) or going to the local records office to look up some distant illustrious relatives when she could have spent ten minutes on the Internet doing the same thing.

DH and I both work full time ++ in very demanding jobs and we've been renovating our house for the past two years so anything else has to be fitted around that. MIL switches between telling us that we need a break from time to time and that work will just have to employ some more people hmm to suggesting that they know just how we feel because they're very busy too...

LadyFlumpalot Wed 04-Sep-13 05:01:02

1) They are both grossly overweight so do not feel the cold. Their thermostat is set to come on when the house reaches 7c.

2) Because they don't feel the cold their guest duvet is like a sheet in thickness and warmth

3) DH and I sleep on a lumpy leaky air mattress on the floor of the living room. There is a clock that ticks and chimes on the half hour and plays a merry little tune on the hour. I now deliberately stop the pendulum when I go to bed and re set it each morning.

4) They don't go to bed until 3 or 4 am. They like to sit in the living room (where I am supposed to be sleeping) watching films til then.

5) When it comes to going home time MIL will suddenly.remember 600 little things she wants DH to do or look at. I am sure this is deliberate to keep us there for as long as possible. This is fine, only I have a grumpy and tired toddler to entertain and a 3 hour car ride home on a Sunday evening.

Don't even ask about when they come to our house...

RoadToTuapeka Wed 04-Sep-13 05:48:10

My sympathies! My MIL is lovely but some gripes from an ungrateful me...

The kitchen sink...she is of the school of chuck everything into it when used, fill it to brimming, then sort it into the dishwasher later; when I am putting stuff into the dishwasher I have to plunge hand into vile sink of solidifying grimness to get it out.

Heating set on thermonuclear

Shower head is one of those trendy dinner plate sized ones that hose down on you from up high, tiny shower cubicle and hard to control the temperature; you are blasted with hot/freezing if you test the temperature whilst within its confines or you flood the bathroom if trying to get it right from outside; and are blasted on from atop once in the shower.

Stocks up bigtime on festive crackers, nibbled etc that we then are offered for the rest of the year; Christmas is usually a year in arrears for out of date crackers and the fridge/freezer are horror stories of out if date food. I just close my eyes and hope for the best.

Love her to bits though!

I live 10 minutes from my MiL so ever stay there anymore but before we moved out DP and I would alternate between there and my parents' house.

You couldn't have the tv on after she went to bed as it would wake her no matter how quiet it was. She'd sleep in front of the telly snoring like a trooper from 4pm onwards but once she was upstairs (from 7:30 as she works an early shift) she turned into a noise-based version of the princess and the pea!

She didn't have central heating or double glazing and would never ever put the fires on. We realised why when she went on holiday and found her bed had 2 duvets and 2 horse hair blankets! We had to sleep fully clothed. Last week she told me she was a bit nippy and had the heating on at home. It was 22 degrees outside.

GreetingsFrontBottom Wed 04-Sep-13 06:59:49

These are hilarious!

The main irritating things about my PIL is that - in spite of being quite well off - they are so freaking tight. Everything is judged on the basis of whether it is 'cheap'. Cheap = good; Not Cheap = bad. Honestly, they use the word so much they sound like a couple of budgies.

Due to electricity being Not Cheap, they refuse to have the heating on ever. No matter how cold it is. DH and I ended up with kidney problems after spending 2 weeks with them. This was in spite of us spending our days wandering around random shopping centres in an effort to keep warm.

They also don't speak to me at all if DH isn't there. They just stare serenely into space and sigh a lot. I have no idea what that means.

coughingbeanintheoven Wed 04-Sep-13 07:25:47

I lived with my MIL for about a year, such a lovely woman but by the end I was tearing my hair out.
Little things turn into big things when it happens every day!

The curtains were always closed when she came home from work which was about 4:30 even in the height of summer

There was NO shower

The door to downstairs was locked every night, made me feel very trapped.

No microwave, which actually I learned to live with quite well.

every Tuesday me and DP had to clear out of the house as she had her friends round, which I can kind of understand but still made me angry !

I bet I had a lot few annoying habits that got on her nerves too grin

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 04-Sep-13 07:55:49

"My mil puts the electric blanket on at around 4pm so the bed is the same temperature as the sun."

haha grin

thatsnotmypineapple Wed 04-Sep-13 08:04:42

ILs and DPs are at opposite ends of the irritation scale:

PIL are obsessed by eating vegetables, five with every meal, never mind five a day. Prior to cooking, they must always have a detailed conversation about exactly how long they need to be cooked for. My DM thinks that of a vegetable is still recognisable in its original form, it is undercooked.

PIL house is always cold, despite having not one ounce of fat between them due to their super healthy diet. My parents have an aga and an open fire in the same room, making it just slightly hotter than the sun. It drives DH potty and he ends up stripping off and sitting at one end of the room with the door open.

PIL have a no flush before 8am rule. Drives me mad, as invariably one of them will have used the loo in the night, and being pregnant I am always desperate to go when DD wakes me up at 6.

PIL are not early risers meaning that entertaining DD for 4 hours in the morning is challenging. My parents wake up at the crack of dawn, and frequently make arrangements for us to set off somewhere at 8 or 8.30, and can't possibly understand why we wouldn't want to make the most of our holiday in this way. I can cope with this, for DH it is more of a challenge.

PIL house is locked up at night like Fort Knox. All doors, including internal doors are locked, and bizarrely the keys are then swapped around, so in the morning, you have to go searching and trying out random keys from other doors to gain access to the room of your choice.

PIL also have rather lax standards of food safety. On the hottest day of the year last year they left a joint of meat and bowl of coleslaw from lunch out uncovered on their dining table. I was curious as to how long it would be left for. Needless to say it was still there when they served it up for lunch the next day. Same with the turkey at Christmas. Fortunately I managed to avoid looking rude at boxing day lunch as DH proclaimed that neither he, DD or myself would be eating it.

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