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AIBU to refuse to travel and stay overnight at inlaws

(26 Posts)
marl Mon 04-Jul-11 11:48:29

My SIL and grown up daughter are over from abroad staying with inlaws. She has stipulated that though we were assuming she would come to stay, she does want to see us but doesn't want to travel to us so wants us to come there. This means that either my DP has to have a difficult discussion with her, which he is reluctant to, or we (including DS2 and 3 who are 3 and 1) do the two and a half hours travel to see them. I've said to DP we could pick SIL up to stay here to save her travelling, or we could see them for the day and leave home early and come back before bed time, but I am not at all keen to stay at MILs. His reply is that he will then go and stay over without me, with the kids. TBH I have just finished a period of being totally knackered with DS3 waking at 5am and have just got him back on track. I am just not feeling up to staying over in my MIL's partner's 3 bed manky house which will packed with 6 adults plus our kids, chasing DS3 who will be pulling everything off shelves etc. and dealing with MIL's partner who can't tolerate kids. DP doesn't really get on with his mother or her partner and just wants to see his sister. I guess I'm also not a big fan of being cornered and being dictated to by other people, so maybe I am being unreasonable but I really can't face it! Added to which last time this happened and we did stay over, SIL sniffed the sheets on the double bed and said 'I think they'll be OK. I'm not very smelly' and left us to sleep on the bedding she had been on for a week hmm...though it was kind of her to offer to sleep in the sitting room for us I guess. Do I cave in or stick to my guns and have a peaceful weekend to myself but confirm myself as 'the difficult woman' with the inlaws?

kreecherlivesupstairs Mon 04-Jul-11 11:53:49

Blimey, have you heard of paragraphs?
IIWY, I would send my DH with the children and have some lovely time alone.

mo3d Mon 04-Jul-11 11:58:17

Cant your dp just go for the day on his own to see his sister?

switchtvoffdosomelessboring Mon 04-Jul-11 11:58:20

Stay in a local hotel?

marl Mon 04-Jul-11 11:58:36

Haha yes kreecher - it's my work actually grin! 'Twas the breathless indignation of it all!

lesley33 Mon 04-Jul-11 12:01:48

Why are they stipulating this? Seems a strange thing to stipulate if there is no history there.

IME people sometimes stipulate things like this if they get fed up with 1 part of the family always wanting every other part of the family, to organise themselves around their needs. Is this you?

Catsu Mon 04-Jul-11 12:03:23

If you can't face going then send dp and the kids and you stay home.
If I were you I would make the effort though as dp obviously wants to visit his sister and she wants to see you all.
She has travelled all the way from overseas to get to your in laws, it's a bit pathetic of you then to say that 2.5 hours travelling is too much for your family and you want her to do that as well and come to you!

Birdsgottafly Mon 04-Jul-11 12:06:14

Perhaps she wants the extra time with her mum, or the daughter with her GM, or they would like the whole family there?

You are not being dictated to, you have a choice wether or not to go but it is unreasonable to not let your DC's go with your DH to see their family. You also have the choice of taking your own sheets.

marl Mon 04-Jul-11 12:24:29

Hmm don't think it's me lesley...the only blot on the landscape about a year ago was not having her other daughter to stay at our house with her student mate, who had both scheduled their visit to England about 4 days after I gave birth. I don't think that's unreasonable though perhaps she has forgotten what it's like! Otherwise I think I've been reasonably accommodating with the family, though the sister is usually the only one that's easy to make conversation with. I'm not bothered about the travel really, it's just the staying over at MILs or in fact settling the kids anywhere tricky overnight that's the main problem for me.

dreamingbohemian Mon 04-Jul-11 12:33:18

How far abroad is she coming from and how long will she be here?

I'm supposed to go home to the US next year sometime (from Europe) and I have relatives all over the place assuming we will pop in and see them as 'it's only a few hours away'... but after a transatlantic flight, jet lag, etc., you don't really want to be traveling for hours every other day as well.

So if she's only in town for a week from Australia, or something, I see where she's coming from.

You could send your DH with the older kids and have a lovely cuddly weekend with your youngest.

marl Mon 04-Jul-11 12:36:38

Yes a long flight agreed. She's here nearly a month; seeing her mate for a week, Father for a week, Mother for a week.

onebigchocolatemess Mon 04-Jul-11 12:49:48

I feel your pain re: a 3yo and a 1yo as anything can mess up a settle routiene and they are just bloody hard work in company (esp when its not very welcoming company) but unfortunately unless someone else is in your shoes they can be quick to judge (ie MIL) .
From the other side it doesn't look like a lot of effort as she is only in the country a short amount of time and its only one night and it is their sister/ aunt and so it goes on.

Can you tell I have been somewhere similar?

My solution, lay on the 'not coping' element thick don't be ashamed of this, be loud about it. You have had a bloody difficult few months and you need a break. If you were in a good place right now and the kids were having a good week you would be totally considering going because thats what we do for family. But the fact is you're not feeling that way sooo give yourself a break, cry for some help and send DH along with one or both kids and make the most of the time to re energise yourself.

MIL can't judge you if you are an exhausted mum of 2 toddlers. MIL can judge you if it looks like your not going because you cant be bothered.

Start canvassing your position now!

fedupofnamechanging Mon 04-Jul-11 12:57:30

I would go on the condition that it was a day trip or we stayed in a hotel overnight. That gives you the freedom not to be trapped with your in laws for too long.

I absolutely hate staying in other peoples houses and having no control over bedtimes for the DC, food etc.

Blu Mon 04-Jul-11 12:58:02

I can see that maybe she does not want to be travelling all over the country, all the time.
And to be honest it IS reasonable to assume that her brother could meet her at their mother's, if that is where she will be.

Go as a family, stay in a hotel or Travelodge (to save you the extra pressure of having so many people in the house' is what you - or better your DH - say to MIL), and be gracious. She is your DH's sister, your kids are her neices, just get on with doing the nice family thing. Travelling 2.5 hours with small children isn't the end of the earth, as an occasional thing.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 04-Jul-11 13:01:06

Agree with those who say go, but stay in a hotel. If your SIL is coming from a long way away, she may not feel like whizzing all over the place to visit people having flown a fair distance to be in the country. It'd be a pain to schlep over there and see them, but family is family and unless they're actively unpleasant or hostile it's better in the long run to make an effort sometimes.

If you book a B&B or hotel nearby that could solve lots of problems - you can be sure of peace and quiet, no cramped sleeping arrangements, and if you get fed up making polite chit-chat with your DP's family you can always claim babies' bedtimes and duck out for the evening.

That seems like a reasonable compromise all round.

cjbartlett Mon 04-Jul-11 13:02:29

Agree with Blu
It's only one night
How often do you see your parents? Siblings etc?

OTheHugeManatee Mon 04-Jul-11 13:02:37

Just as a footnote, DP's family live 4 hours' drive away and they have a tiny house. We visit semi-regularly, but always book into a hotel. DP loves his family dearly, but we both appreciate the opportunity for a stiff gin and a clean bathroom to ourselves after visiting grin

iscream Mon 04-Jul-11 13:06:02

I think your idea of your dh picking up sis and bringing her for a night or two to visit at your home is a great idea.
1. There will be more room. (I assume)
2. The children will sleep better in their own beds, which will make for a better visit for all.
3. It is nice for you to be able to welcome sis in your home, and extend hospitality towards her, and for her to see her brothers home.

Another idea would be to book a hotel room close to them for the night, would that be more comfortable sleeping perhaps?

If your dh can't manage to convince sis to visit, you probably should go there though. Like someone suggested, bring bedding, if they notice, say it is to save them laundry as you know how it is with company and so much extra work. (or maybe whisper to mil that you are on your period and don't want to risk an accident on her bedding, bring a plastic bag for mattress protection as well to make it extra believable) We bring sheets to our friends and use that reason, really it is because dh and I are a couple of princesses who don't like to sleep on polyester blend as we get too hot.wink They probably won't notice anyways unless they barge in when you are in bed.

blackeyedsusan Mon 04-Jul-11 13:06:05

you need to sell this to dh in the right way. make a big deal of how stroppy the children get when travelling and how out of soorts they get when their routine is disruppted... then offer him the chance to go and have a lovely time with his sister without the inconvenience of looking after small dc's.

alternatively, threaten him with having to get up if you stay over... until the children get settled again...

I remember that desperate need to keep the children in a routine to get some sleep.

iscream Mon 04-Jul-11 13:07:28

"We bring sheets to our friends and use that reason," that being saving them work, not period...I don't have periods and they know this.

DronesClub Mon 04-Jul-11 13:15:25

I can really see both sides, I live abroad (about a 13 hour flightback to the UK) and also have the two small children and often have the "lovely" early morning wakings to deal with! FWIW the compromise we've reached this year is for us is we fly home, we rent a big house, we stay there and if someone wants to see us, then they travel the relatively short distance and we'll put them up. They don't want to travel - tough we won't see them. This comes after last years holiday from hell where we travelled between peoples houses.

Your SIL already has 3 moves to fit into a months holiday (and I know you could argue thats her choice) but thats already a pain. Also kids will fall in and out of routine for a whole host of reasons, a night away is just one of them, so its no guarantee your kids will stick to the routine you've got them in. Either go for the hotel option or go to your MIL, tell your DH he's changing the sheets and dealing with the early morning wake up. And don't worry about chit chat just deal with your kids (personally I loved using my 2 to give me an escape from the MIL!)

Ormirian Mon 04-Jul-11 13:20:49

I think you are being unreasonable. Let DH and the DC go and you stay at home in peace.

33goingon64 Mon 04-Jul-11 13:33:08

I don't think either party is being unreasonable, you just both have your own, valid preferences. Family is important: unless your in laws are actually unpleasant to be with for you and your DC, find a compromise. Dont give them a reason to think badly of you. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself...?

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 04-Jul-11 13:45:33

Yes, neither party being unreasonable, just that different needs are not compatible. Blu's compromise sounded good, using a Travelodge or some such. Then you can remove DC from MIL's crowded house at a reasonable hour 'to settle them down'; thereby limiting your DC's exposure to someone who can't tolerate kids and your exposure to slept-upon-sheets. Your DH can follow on later after spending more time with his sister.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 04-Jul-11 13:56:37

Hmm, I don't think YABU exactly, but I would still go IIWY.

From the other side: I have a family scattered across the UK and the American eastern seaboard. We rarely get time together as a family, and although we certainly have our tensions (!), we are also close in many ways. My DSis lives in the US and when she comes over, she stays at our mum's - 6 hours from us.

If DP refused to accompany me on a visit to her, unless he were mortally ill, I'd be pretty hurt. The big family reunion, the spending lots of time together, the seeing DSis hugging DM for the first time in 2 years... that's all part of the experience. I'd expect DP to get that and to make a real effort to be there.

If you'd just given birth or were ill, I'd forget it, let DH go without you. But in the circs, I'd show willing by booking a hotel room in the neighbourhood and using your DCs' bedtimes as an excuse.

Honestly, if I were your DH I'd be hurt if you didn't want to go, and if I were your SIL, I'd feel a bit snubbed, too.

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