Five irritating things about staying with my inlaws

(175 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?

silverten Wed 04-Sep-13 09:11:27

CryingGivesMeAHeadache You need a doorwedge for the bathroom door. That'll piss him off good and proper.

Oooh staying at my MIL's gives us the RAGE.

1. No heating is the norm, so when we come to stay there is a huge song and dance about turning the thermostat up. I personally prefer houses on the cooler side of things, but last time we stayed DD's baby monitor informed us that the temperature was 11C in her bedroom, which is rather too parky for anyone, I think. It hurt to breathe and I found myself sitting in the lounge wearing all my clothes, plus thick socks and my heavy outdoor coat (and was still cold). Unfortunately, because the house is typically so cold, all the heat emerging from the radiators is immediately sucked into the fabric of the building. So you can have the perverse situation where the radiators are blasting out heat to the point that the hairs on your arms frizzle as you walk past, yet the air and contents of the house are icy cold. Then MIL starts to huff and tut and we all play thermostat bingo (she turns it down, we turn it up...). A comfortable temperature is finally reached after a couple of days of this once the walls have warmed up enough. This is usually when we are due to leave.

2. No comfortable furniture to sit on, at all. MIL believes her stuff is 'antique' (no, it's just old) so will not replace it for something that a) fits the average-size modern adult and b) isn't hard and straight-backed so it feels like you're back at school. Except the sofa, which is normal-sized yet unsupportive for the back and uncomfortable on the arms, so you can't relax on it. We usually sit on the floor.

3. Floors covered in small abandoned things. MIL lives on her own and this is her way of 'organising' ongoing stuff like books to read, things to fix, and stuff to take to the charity shop, which is fair enough I suppose. However I inevitably have to do a sweep to make sure that DD can't get hold of craft knives, hammers and nails for hanging pictures, tiny chokeable glass beads in decorative bowls and prescription medicines.

4. Lots of things that work, but not quite. Eg, doors that don't shut unless you turn the handle just so, crap dribbly shower whose head won't stay in one place on its own, shower screen that doesn't quite reach far enough so that you flood the bathroom however you contort yourself, obscure rules about which tap dispenses drinking water (she has some weird salt system to soften the water)- if you want a cup of tea you have to traipse into the utility room to get the water from the sink there, horrible plug strainer thing which means the water from washing up takes an age to drain and stinks to high heaven, weird mis-matched crockery and plastic glassware with children's cartoons on, old and frankly rather knackered 'antique' cutlery with blunt knives and bent prongs on the forks...

5. The fact that no visitor is never, ever allowed to do simple things for themselves without being followed around and reminded of the correct way to do things. So you can't just get a brew quietly- she'll leap up from whatever she's doing and rush into the kitchen to ensure that you can find everything, are using the correct mug (and tap!), not boiling too much water, oh there's no sugar because I NEVER have it polishes halo cue a frantic emptying of all the cupboards to find a single manky-looking bag of Silver Spoon that looks like it's left over from the war and a tiny china ramekin to pour some into, there you are that's YOUR sugar while you're staying you sweetened-tea-loving JUNKIE you , where's the special milk I bought you roots out the world's tiniest bottle of blue top.....

I have more but I'll stop now.

echt Wed 04-Sep-13 09:29:39

This thread has made me laugh.

My late MIL kept all tins in the fridge, thereby making all fresh stuff warmer as the tiny fridge struggled to keep it all cool. "It's a bit fizzy, but I'm sure it's alright." Tons of salt in everything.

If my parents were alive, I'm sure my dad picking his feet of an evening would have palled after a time.

I miss the mad sods.

friday16 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:05:16

"My late MIL kept all tins in the fridge,"

Ditto. What is all that about? Tinned fish kept in the fridge so that the oil hardens is really very nasty indeed.

MrsHoratioNelson Wed 04-Sep-13 10:57:00

The fact that no visitor is never, ever allowed to do simple things for themselves without being followed around and reminded of the correct way to do things. So you can't just get a brew quietly- she'll leap up from whatever she's doing and rush into the kitchen to ensure that you can find everything, are using the correct mug (and tap!)...

<eyes silverten suspiciously>

Hang on, I thought my DH was an only child?

FrauMoose Wed 04-Sep-13 12:14:22

I feel that I am/we are revving up nicely as inlaws-to-be. Perhaps we are sort of inlaws to my stepdaughter's boyfriend already? (He seems to like us though - and regard as a lot easier than my stepdaughter's Mum.)

- Our house is coolish. Thermotstat around 17/18.
- It is quite scruffy and appliances don't get replaced until they are completely caput.
- We have a shower, but not a high-powered one.
- As my stepdaughter's room is right by the bathroom, we have evolved the habit of not flushing the loo at night. (To us that's more considerate than waking people up by activating plumbing. Clearly for others leaving an unflushed loo after someone has gone for a wee is unspeakably gross...)
- We tend to ask guests questions about whether they will be around for meals, rather than being totally chilled/in the moment. We tend to offer breakfast rather than leaving people entirely to their own devices.
- Our policies on fresh towels/towels being assigned to specific individuals do not meet Mumsnet standards.

On the more positive side, we try to be friendly/interested in anyone who comes to stay, reasonably tolerant of others foibles - and to ensure people do not go hungry!

technosausage Wed 04-Sep-13 13:01:02

Only one from me, my mils tea had to be in a bone China cup, I once made her tea in a normal mug (shock horror) only for her to pull a face, turn to dh and ask him to make her a 'proper' tea. Every time I made tea it was after that it was always mentioned, even to the point of telling her neighbours. She made it sound like I had pissed in her cup. hmm

mylittlesunshine Wed 04-Sep-13 13:13:34

Mine serve trifle with no topping, so basically jellied fruit! It's clearly not a trifle...

If we happen to mention an alcoholic drink we enjoy such as crabbies they will buy OH 1 bottle to enjoy and pass me a can of coke (as I'm a lady)

It doesn't matter how many times we say we drink black coffee it always has milk in it and they won't let us make it ourselves.

Tv and all other forms of background noise goes off the minute we enter until we leave (usually there for a few days) so all we hear is awkward silences and the ticking of the clock.

When FIL has decided it's time for bed he leaps up all of a sudden and switches all lights off announcing its time for bed leaving us in complete darkness.

I've stuck to the lighter stuff (they can also be nasty and a complete nightmare)

chickenschicken Wed 04-Sep-13 13:32:51

My mil is lovely really she is just trying to be the nicest person ever and comes across as overbearing. She's another who doesn't allow me to do anything, tea is offered every 20 mins but rarely appears as she is off half doing the things I said I'd help with. So dishes, ironing etc never finished.
If we mention we like something she has to buy it for us, to the point she was offering to buy our new huge telly, all the nursery furniture. She never actually does. which is fine obviously! she was desperate to pay for my wedding underwear, really didn't want her involved in that!
She brings potatoes when she stays with us. Everytime.

FondantNancy Wed 04-Sep-13 13:37:47

Am loving these. Can I just add one more?

The cheap vs not cheap reminded me. This is also the rule at my ILs' place, too. The cheap stuff always always breaks. One summer they were proudly showing off these chairs they got from Cheapmart. One by one over the week we stayed they all broke, usually spectacularly with someone going over backwards, dinner in hand.

What did they do? They bought replacements. From Cheapmart.

Applefallingfromthetree2 Wed 04-Sep-13 13:42:19

Has anyone ever asked their in laws to list the five most irritating things about staying with them?
I am sure it would be interesting.

FondantNancy Wed 04-Sep-13 13:46:45

Oh I think know what mine would say.

1. Drones on about feminism/how immigrants are people too
2. Tunes out at any mention of gardening/village politics
3. Eats all the chocolate biscuits
4. Gets up too early in a creaky house and wakes everyone up
5. Gets uptight at the slightest parenting critique, real or imagined.

chicaguapa Wed 04-Sep-13 13:53:37

Some of these gripes ring a bell with me.

My MIL has 1 bathroom and will not deviate from her lengthy bathroom routine even when she has visitors. So she has to have a shower, do her hair & make up and god knows what else, while we're all outside queuing up for our turn.

We also hate her shower, which despite being new, is like standing under a tap.

The one about the potatoes made me laugh, because DH and I take tea bags when we go to MIL's as we don't like her tea. No doubt we'll be taking them to DC's too when they're older. grin

Lottapianos Wed 04-Sep-13 14:11:10

Dear god, some of these are utterly insane! I feel very lucky, not least of all because PIL's house is absolutely spotless and the bed we use is relatively comfy and warm.

In the spirit of the thread though, there are a few things that drive me nuts when we stay there:

- MIL is deaf as a doorknob. You have to repeat a good 60% of what you say to her
- MIL is obsessed with birds. She puts out food for them on the kitchen window ledge, which she sits facing at the dinner table. Every time a bird comes anywhere near the garden, she has to comment on it and talk directly to them e.g. 'hello birdie, are you hungry?' It's quite sweet in a way but drives me potty after a day or so
- I don't eat red meat but eat chicken, duck and fish. Every time, every time we stay with them, MIL will ask me at some point 'is everyone else in your family a vegetarian as well?' <screams> She just doesn't get it and never will
- FIL does the following you around thing, and either comments on what you do, or directs you how to do things the 'right' way. He cant' just leave anybody be. No wonder MIL is a nervous wreck hmm
- FIL sometimes comes in and looks at us when we're having breakfast, or will make a big show of 'leaving us in peace', then reappearing about 6 nanoseconds later

They are very sweet in many ways but drive me crackers as well!

pawnstar Wed 04-Sep-13 14:14:46

fandango she turned into a noise-based version of the princess and the pea!

this is me! drives my DH nuts

Some of these are very funny grin Mine are;

1. MIL doesn't think that changing beds is necessity, so I remove the mascara stained pillow cases from bed and bring our own bed linen.

2. MIL serves everything at room temperature.

3. The shower is new but dribbles. The old one dribbled too.

4. MIL believes that if she has the door open in the kitchen then the smoke from her constant fagging will disappear out of the door no matter where she is in the house.

5. Everything must be washed up before it goes in the dishwasher.

6. Her kitchen has never seen bleach or any other cleaning product. I thought that she had a magnolia kitchen for 17 years, until I gave the wall a cursory wipe whilst washing up and it was actually white.

7. She wraps all he silver in cling film so that she doesn't have to clean it, so it resembles Miss Havisham's house.

From MIL's point of view she'd probably say that the most annoying things about us staying are;

1. Children get up at an unreasonably early hour (7 am)

2. Children make noise.

3. DIL covertly cleans kitchen.

4. DS sighs when asked to go into the loft.

exexpat Wed 04-Sep-13 14:28:30

I'm sure my in-laws would have a lot more than five items on the list of irritating things about staying with me. Luckily, it only happens for a few days a couple of times a year.

1) I have a dog, and therefore dog hair, no matter how frantically I Hoover before they arrive. 2) I don't eat meat so there is no meat in the house, not even ham. 3) I don't put every piece of newspaper/magazine in the recycling bin before bedtime. 4) We eat at funny times of day (ie not necessarily at 6pm on the dot). 5) my kitchen looks horribly messy because washing up is not done instantly (at their house, as soon as you have used a single mug/glass, it must immediately be washed up, dried and put back in its allotted place in the cupboard).

Ah, I could go on for ages about this!

1. They keep the house too hot. I say this as someone who feels the cold terribly. I am the person who sleeps with a duvet, quilt and blanket over me and still has toes of ice. At the IL's I am throwing the duvet out of the way and sleeping totally naked and still drenched in sweat. MIL invariably asks every morning "Were you warm enough last night?"

2. I am not allowed to use the fruit teas. Dh once offered me one and MIL took them off him and said "You can just have the ordinary tea" and passed the jar of normal tea bags to Dh. I am allowed to use FIL's Earl Grey tea bags but I still get the fear that I may be told off by MIL.

3. Worse still is when the IL's insist on making me a cup of tea. They are slow at doing things at the best of times but when you're thirsty it's very annoying. It involves boiling the kettle and filling a teapot with the water. Then emptying the kettle, filling with fresh water and boiling again. They then empty the teapot (as it has warmed) add a tea bag and pour over the newly boiled water. They then set the oven timer for what they believe is the ideal brewing time. Then they will pour it, then they invariably add half a jug of milk to it. I like builder's tea - bag in mug, squished against sides, teeny tiny drop of milk.

4. We have to take a picnic whenever we go out for the day. This wouldn't be an issue but MIL insists on making it. Last time it took her an hour and when she served it, it consisted of two sandwiches (to share between 4 of us), a tub of strawberries and a tub of M&S chocolate things. How the fuck she spent an hour making 2 sandwiches I do not know.

5. They are incapable of leaving the house in a timely manner but will repeatedly tell us what time we must be ready for in a patronising manner. "You'll have to be ready to leave at 10.30am, you will be ready won't you? It's very rude to be late." angry. We have generally managed to shower, dress, have breakfast, sort out two kids, sort a bag for the day and MIL & FIL are still thinking about having a shower. At a recent event we repeatedly told them "We are leaving at 9am with or without you " and I can't tell you how amazed I was that we were leaving just after 9am. Dh did admit that MIL seemed rather scared that I would actually just leave them there.

Xiaoxiong Wed 04-Sep-13 14:54:02

I know what mine would say from staying with MIL this summer:

1) House so dusty that DH and I get terrible asthma and have to pretend its a cold or allergies so as not to offend her. I don't know what it is, I know she hoovers regularly and cleans when we come to stay but everything just gives off clouds of dust. DH and I want to get her a cleaner but she won't hear of it, even when she had cancer.

2) She waits on everyone hand and foot and makes me cup after cup after cup of tea - but she always gets in there first before I can offer to make her one, so after cup number 5 I feel so guilty and lazy that I refuse tea just to save her getting me yet another cup.

3) She won't let us do a shop, cook dinner, pay for anything or replace what we use. We've tried bringing groceries with us but we don't know what she's planned to make so sometimes it doesn't fit with her meal plan and gets wasted.

4) She has no money but gives me piles of presents on my birthday, sends me cards all the time and always wants to buy DS things. My family isn't a "card" family so I never think to reciprocate, and she is so lovely and generous but her gifts are sometimes a false economy or cause us major aggro.

eg. We asked her if we could take a nice old bed she had in the loft home with us for DS, she refused and got us a Mothercare gift card for a brand new bed and mattress which has been nothing but a headache from beginning to end because of Mothercare's crap customer service and a month later we still don't have a bed DS can use. Or she buys DS brand new stuff from Next for £££ which I then see BNWT on a FB selling group for £1.

I know it's her money and it's her right to spoil us and DS, but we are more comfortable than she is yet she still buys all this not-great-quality new stuff for DS instead of much cheaper good quality second hand stuff that we would prefer. AND she won't let us help her out financially.

5) She's always telling me and DH what a wonderful job we're doing and what great parents we are and after a while it's hard to accept the compliments gracefully so I start to argue back and try and convince her what crap parents we actually are blush

So basically, she's absolutely wonderful, and by being so wonderful she transforms me into a lazy sullen ungrateful brat blush blush

Xiaoxiong Wed 04-Sep-13 14:56:50

Just have to say how happy I am that so many of everyone else's irritations also involve tea grin

DreamingofSummer Wed 04-Sep-13 15:05:19

To add to the list

TV turned up to maximum
Running commentary on the news
No alcohol in the house
Sheets on the three piece suite to save the cushions from getting dirty and wearing out

Haha. My ILs fancy themselves as born-again self-sufficient hippy types. My main gripes are:

1. No running water or electricity. So no showers, no handwashing facilities, outdoor composting toilet, no fridge.
2. Roof is made of corrugated tin. Freezing at night, boiling during the day.
3. SFIL mends engines and carves things out of wood on the work surfaces where food is prepared (see point one) which hasn't been stored in a fridge anyway.
4. Alcohol consumption. They plead poverty yet get through around two bottles of spirits a night.
5. Isolation of their 'house' and their hatred of driving (partly because doing so means that can't drink, see point 4). So you end up just knocking around in the dirty hovel because they refuse to go anywhere else.

LazyFaire Wed 04-Sep-13 15:23:28

I live close enough to my ILs and Parents that we don't have to stay over. Thank god.

My gripes for day visits are limited;

always being asked how I take my tea. we are there weekly or more and have been for years. I try and tell myself they are just checking so they get it right, but they should know by now! I know how they take theirs!

And their bathroom is always covered in a fine layer of talcum powder. I used it on DS until he came out of nappies, I don't see what other use it has unless you don't/can't dry properly (they can!) and find it sneezy and wasteful. Also if there is a towel in the bathroom, it is usually a wet one from a morning shower, eurgh.

They have a nice garden that DS could play in if it wasn't covered in dog crap that they only pick up once a week!

But they are lovely people and I know from MN how lucky I am to have ILs I don't want to strangle after seeing them for 5 minutes. I go there voluntarily grin

friday16 Wed 04-Sep-13 15:24:02

"No alcohol in the house"

My in-laws do have alcohol in the house. They have a bottle of sherry that was unopened after their wedding reception in 1962. I'm tempted to open it and find out what state it's in.

LadyFlumpalot Wed 04-Sep-13 15:25:07

I suspect that my MILs number one gripe about me is that I'm still alive... grin

For staying at ours it would be:

1) Goes to bed unreasonably early (10:30pmish) - in no way do I expect them to go to bed as well, but MIL always comments on how early it is.

2) I don't like the same films as them and don't watch war films as they upset me and I don't want to be upset. This gives her a very limited selection of DVDs on offer.

3) House is too warm.

4) I'm lazy because I use the dishwasher.

5) The biggy - I get shirty when they are still sat in my house at 11:30 pm on a Sunday evening and DH and I have work the next day. They don't work so have forgotten about getting up early.

PeachesForMe Wed 04-Sep-13 15:39:41

French door open in main room at all times, although there may be a special dispensation if it is blowing an actual gale.

DH commandeered to cook, leaving me to amuse myself and not allowing us to be 'a couple' in their house. I only noticed this when MIL went on for a bit about how BIL and new SIL were clearly so much in love. Yes well BIL isn't immediately whisked off into domestic service hmm therefore can spend time mooning over his wife in front of you.

Talking about the children within their earshot. Things like observations on their behaviour, often not that great. Gah.

A mistrust of puddings, unless it is exquisite local ice cream, which can be talked about in reverential tones. To be fair, I'm not a pudding person, but I've known them to really do people down based on a fondness for cakes. hmm

Constantly asking if we would like things. As a result our house is full of their things. Sometimes I just fill a bag and take them back with a thank you and a grin grin MIL hates that.

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