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In laws renting a flat down the road - AIBU to feel claustrophobic?

(31 Posts)
ivesufferedenoughfools Thu 15-Sep-11 11:12:39

Background: DH's parents live around three hours away from us, my parents around five hours away. DH and I are very independent, visit parents regularly (every month to six weeks for the weekend) but would not be expecting to rely on the GPs for childcare when our first DC comes along (due anytime in the next couple of weeks).
DH and I found out earlier this week that his parents have rented a flat 2mins from us in order that they can help out (they are reasonably well off and will have the flat in addition to the family home). Whilst it might be nice to have some support, we certainly wouldn't have expected them to do this and we're a bit surprised that this is now a done deal, contracts and everything signed without us having spoken about this first.
Whilst the ILs are generally very nice people, they do have a tendency to be intense, like things done their way etc. and I can't see how we'll be able to stay on good terms if they're always popping in once the LO arrives. Obviously we're planning to make sure the LO sees lots of both sets of GPs - just didn't expect for this to be on their terms and so often... Any advice/suggestions for ways to deal with this welcome...

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 15-Sep-11 11:15:53

DO NOT GIVE THEM A KEY TO YOUR HOUSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They should have consulted you first, thus I think there must be an element of them knowing this may cause problems but will ignore that part. Make ground rules from day one otherwise they will walk all over you.

However, they could be really nice and may come down to save you going up, will offer to have baby while you have a sleep/bath etc.

Good luck!

ZacharyQuack Thu 15-Sep-11 11:19:55

Start telling them that you are thinking of moving somewhere far far away

SnakeOnCrack Thu 15-Sep-11 11:20:27

Well it's a nice sentiment, but in practice it doesn't sound ideal.. I guess it depends what they expect. Do they think they will be over every day, or will they just be popping by occasionally (can't see that happening)?

How long have they signed the lease for?

As cook says, do NOT give them a key and contrive to be "out" or "busy" quite a bit if you feel they are getting a bit too much.. I'd get your partner to have a word with them to see what they're expecting!

diddl Thu 15-Sep-11 11:26:07

Plus side-they don´t have to stay with you-& you can see them "little & often".

"just didn't expect for this to be on their terms and so often"-it still doesn´t have to be.

And they don´t need your permission to rent a flat near you!

fedupofnamechanging Thu 15-Sep-11 11:27:42

MOVE NOW

Seriously, they shouldn't have done this without discussing with you both first, although I'm not sure how you would have said NOOOOO without causing offence. I think you should ask them to call before popping round as you have active social lives and are out a lot (whether that's true or not).

Start as you mean to go on. If you ask them to let you know before the come round and don't rely on them for child care, perhaps they will take the hint that you don't need this and will go home again.

Otoh, you might like the help, once the baby actually arrives. It is nice to have willing babysitters so you can go out.

ivesufferedenoughfools Thu 15-Sep-11 11:29:45

Thank you for the comments so far. The lease is a year so far as I know and I'm planning on taking a year off work. I agree it's a lovely sentiment and in some ways could be seen as a compliment - they want to be involved and help out. However, it's their first grandchild, long awaited and they're both retired so it's almost like this is their next 'project', regardless of what DH and I want/need.
I have made a point of going to lots of antenatal activities so will hopefully have genuine reasons to be out and about a lot - just don't want to feel that I always need to be up and about on the off chance that they might call round (they are early birds) when I'm getting used to being a new mum, hopefully going to be BFing etc. Do you think it would be ok to set some rules (or at least try to) e.g. they don't call round unannounced (can't see this going down well to be honest though)? DH would be supportive of this as he was as surprised as me when we found out.

kat2504 Thu 15-Sep-11 11:29:58

Put your house up for sale today!

Agree, don't give them a key if they are a bit intense and not good at respecting your personal space. But it is better than them coming to stay in your house for a fortnight at at time surely

exaspomum Thu 15-Sep-11 11:31:49

Such a mixed blessing! Will this be their first grandchild? If so they're probably REALLY excited at the prospect. Try to go with the flow as much as you can (easier said than done when you're exhausted and hormonal) as lots of little things will suddenly be more out of your control than you're used to. Try to use the bits of advice they give you that you like and ignore the other stuff. Hopefully they'll run around you after you while you sit on your sofa in a lovely fug of breastfeeding hormones, smug that only you can do this most important of all thing!
In the difficult times take heart by remembering that this new baby time will soon pass (even if it doesn't feel like it at the time).
Lots of luck.

ivesufferedenoughfools Thu 15-Sep-11 11:33:19

Diddl - I agree, it just scares me that the only reason they've done this is the impending arrival of their first DGC! No other reason for them to want/need to be in this part of the world...

Flisspaps Thu 15-Sep-11 11:35:20

Glad DH is onside. If he's willing to do the 'talk' about ground rules, then go for it.

Definitely no key if you think they're likely to turn up when it's inconvenient (when you're in the shower perhaps?!) and make sure they're clear that you're not relying on GPs for childcare - that's why you're taking a year off, to spend it with your DC yourself.

Please don't feel you have to be up and dressed in case they call round - if you're in bed, and you don't want to get up, then don't answer the door. If they phone asking where you are, tell them you're in bed. You have enough on your plate with a baby, never mind people coming to 'give you a break' when you might not want one.

<waits for someone to turn up to say how lovely it is you have people wanting to help and you should be grateful they're interested and they bet it would be different if it was YOUR parents>

mistressploppy Thu 15-Sep-11 11:35:24

It'll be O.K. <glares at scaremongery posters> grin

You're right - set some very clear ground rules and make it really obvious that you are 'a private person' (even if they get a bit miffed in the first instance) when it comes to people popping in. They'll soon realise how this is going to work.

If it were me, I'd try to set more of a precedent of YOU going to THEIR house. That way you can leave when you want! Maybe once the baby arrives and is a bit bigger, you can say it's your way of getting out of the house for half an hour, but - oh dear - you can't stay too long as the baby needs his own bed or some other bolleaux

lurkerspeaks Thu 15-Sep-11 11:35:41

Surely it depends on how much time they are planning on spending there vs. their family home?

If they have a social life, hobbies, businesss or voluntary commitments they won't be there all the time and it means that when they are there they aren't with you 24/7.

My friends parents did this for 3 months around the birth of her second child. It worked really well. They were available. They helped out but they had somewhere else to go.

Would you feel the same way if it was your parents?

I live very close to my parents and I have strict 'no dropping in' rule. They always phone (sometimes from the car outside) but I can defnitely say that a visit isn't convenient. I don't however show them the same courtesy and drop in unannouced frequently blush.

ExpensivePants Thu 15-Sep-11 11:35:43

Eek! I love my in laws but <shudder>

I understand they're really excited but renting a flat in your road is not normal behaviour, it's bunny boiler material! Ground rules needed immediately!

diddl Thu 15-Sep-11 11:35:53

Definitely need some ground rules!

They probably are hoping just to pop by when they want-without realising that you´ll have a life of your own.

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Thu 15-Sep-11 11:38:17

I predict a riot, I predict a riot.
IIWY, there would be ground rules. Basic things like phoning before the visit, leaving you, DH and DC at least one GP free evening a week, no new toys or clothes without you seeing them first. The last becomes more important once your DC is able to play with toys obviously.
OP I am asonished that you need to ask IYABU.

ChaoticAngeloftheUnderworld Thu 15-Sep-11 11:38:39

Buy an answer machine, if you don't already have one, and tell them to phone before they come around. If the answering machine is on then that means you're resting/out/don't want to be disturbed.

MumblingRagDoll Thu 15-Sep-11 11:38:52

Mine thought it was perfectly reasonable to move in to my home for three months a year....I dont think they did the right thing in not mentioning this to you...lay out the ground rules....NO key...they also have to call before they come round.

LadyMontdore Thu 15-Sep-11 11:47:35

WHat mistressploppy said!

No need to panic but caution definately needed. At least they aren't staying in your house.

Personally I would act like you assume they'll be just using the flat at weekends (which may be true) and it'll be nice to see a bit more of them. Maybe they'll be able to help with the garden or something? I would INVITE them round, ie. before they get there (say it's a sat) say 'would you like to come round for tea on Sun.' Thus setting precedent for invitations. Also talk about the groups you'll be doing so they know you aren't going to be in all the time. Tell them you are going to 'babymoon' (even if you aren't) and will be bf so may be quite naked for a few weeks (this should alarm FIL). Ask them what they'll be doing when they aren't with you.

starfishmummy Thu 15-Sep-11 11:53:35

Establish the rules from the start - they check that it is ok to come round, they leave when you ask and if they want to do things to help then they ask you/dh what you would like them to do.
Memories of MIL coming to "help" unannounced and doing unnecessary jobs which caused me more work/trouble.

fedupofnamechanging Thu 15-Sep-11 11:54:13

When my ds1 was born, my IL's took to turning up unannounced and parking themselves in my house for hours on end. I took to not answering the door and using call screening. I had to tell my mil in the end that I felt crowded and needed some space. It's not a nice conversation to have, but people with any sort of sensitivity should think things through before expecting to spend lots of time with a couple who've just had a new baby.

It's not unreasonable to ask them to phone before coming round. DH can tell them that you want to sleep when the baby sleeps and that you have lots of activities with friends planned, so might not be in. When your dh has days off, you should not get into the habit of spending hours with them - it's very important to have time just as a family.

Agree about the key and also it is okay to not answer a phone/doorbell (take the batteries out).

Psammead Thu 15-Sep-11 12:05:29

I live next door to my in-laws.

There are good times. There are bad times. More good than bad, though. It can be very nice to be so close for baby sitting purposes, for practical purposes like visiting without having to take your entire house with you in the car etc grin, and for just getting out somewhere when you need to.

And it's comforting knowing you have people close by who could step up if you needed them to, like if you were taken ill or something.

On the downside, it's very annoying to have 'oh, we popped round earlier but you were not home. Shopping, were you? Out visiting?' type of questions. And if the are there often, your MIL will see the non-tidied version of your home, and how you live, which can feel like and boundaries are being knocked down whether you want them to be or not.

Of course, all this depends on the people involved. How nosy/private you are, etc.

I do find it slightly odd that they didn't bring it up in conversation beforehand. Maybe they are relying on you being grateful for it after the fact, which you may very well be.

Put down ground rules, but for you and them. They probably value their privacy too. It could work really well. Totally depends on the personalities involved.

sausagesandmarmelade Thu 15-Sep-11 12:06:47

Arrange to have a proper chat with them and set some ground rules (as diplomatically as possible) NOW....before they move in.

ie - encouraging them to give you a ring before coming around

and allowing you some space to do your own thing...
For instance, they could pop in for a cuppa once a week (?) with a longer visit once a month....OR you could share the visits. If you visit them then you can choose when and leave when you've had enough.

You definitely need to have this chat! (sooner rather than later!) and you have to be strong...

LydiaWickham Thu 15-Sep-11 12:10:05

they need to call before coming round, no just popping in. They shouldn't have keys. Tell them now that your parents, friends etc will be visiting over the first few weeks, make it clear you won't be available to see them every day.

Other options, get details now of every baby club, antenatal class etc. Plan something for every day (possibly allocating one day as your NCT meet up group) put a table listing them up in your kitchen, let them see it and say you intend to make the most of your maternity leave and aren't going to sit round the house. Make it clear you won't be around much. You need to manage their expectations.

loudee Thu 15-Sep-11 14:28:07

OMG!!! You are not not NOT being unreasonable!!

I would be really struggling to deal with this. Especially as not long til you're due. Especially as it's your first DC and presumably would want everything calm and no sudden surprises!

I would feel the same if it was my own parents incidentally, just way too much without any kind of discussion/invitation before.

Huge congratulations on LO btw grin

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