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AIBU to expect better from my PIL?

(19 Posts)
CatsRule Fri 16-Sep-11 16:05:14

My husband and I are expecting our first child in February and in our excitment we told my mum and his parents only - all 3 new it was only them being told. Ever since we have both found his parents a little unbearable. My SIL was getting married the week before our first scan, and we didn't plan on telling anyone until after then anyway (with the exception of the 3 people we thought we could trust the most) plus we both felt it was unfair on her to announce our news before her big day. My SIL's friend had been giving her grief over the fact that her 30th birthday was on the same day as her wedding so that confirmed to us that we were doing the right thing in telling her afterwards. However, we were bombarded by calls from my MIL telling us we were "terrible" keeping the news from my SIL despite us explaining to her our reasons, plus that we didn't want to tell people until after the scan. She knew this but decided to tell other family members anyway despite our wishes. We got over this and ignored it, we had too many other things to worry about at the time to get into any confrontations. My SIL totally understood once we told her.

Since then my PIL have been planning their days out, sleep overs, and generally what they will be doing with our child....within seconds it seems of our child being born! It's becoming very difficult to take. While we both want them involved, but we also want to enjoy our childs first days too.

The added problem I have is that I am asthmatic and both MIL and FIL chain smoke. They have a lovely house but unfortunately there is a constant thick smoke in the air. This has always bothered my asthma but I feel I want to keep away from the smoke more now that I'm pregnant, for both my baby and my sake. My FIL has made attempts to smoke at the other side of the room (I appreciate the effort although this is futile as the smoke doesn't know not to come near me) but my MIL just waves her cigarettes everywhere. I respect that it is their house and would never ask them not to, but they don't understand why I need to limit my time in that kind of atmosphere. I also worry for my future child being in a smokey environment.

They rarely visit us, we had our first visit from them in 8 years at Christmas. We have lived at our house for 12 years and they have visited a total of 5 times. They live 20 miles away, both young, both drive (although drink a lot). Their excuse is we live to far away but it's ok for us to visit them, which we do. The few times they did visit my FIL would not sit in our livingroom, he wanders round our house opening up cupboards and drawers and closed doors and generally being nosey. It does bother me that he wanders around our bedroom (despite the door being closed) and opens up drawers etc. It makes me uncomfortable.

I'm sorry for the long post but any advice on how to handle this situation, especially when our baby arrives would be appreciated.

AIBU to expect them to behave a little better than they have?

kelly2000 Fri 16-Sep-11 16:10:42

DH needs to have a very firm word with them, telling them to back off. I assume they expect to smoke in front of the baby when it is born. Nip their behaviour in the bud now before it gets worse.

5inabed Fri 16-Sep-11 16:12:16

YANBU Your fil should not be going into your private space perhaps locks? You should tel pil that it's not going to happen and explain that you and your child will not be spending any time in a smoky atmosphere! Your mil needs to butt out!

notherdaynotherdollar Fri 16-Sep-11 16:15:07

they are just excited, they will calm down im sure

i expect you are excited as well, how would you feel if everytime you mentioned it, your OH muttered oh ffs, or glared at you

cut them some slack

5inabed Fri 16-Sep-11 16:21:36

notherdatnotherdollar didn't see where the OP mentioned any glaring or ffsing?

CatsRule Fri 16-Sep-11 16:23:28

Thanks for your replies.

My DH has always been very supportive and is more so now. He totally agrees with the smoke thing as it does take me alone quite a few days to recover from visiting. I don't want to not see them and I also don't want to hurt them.

I do understand they are excited and I'm really trying to see things from their point of view, my DH was very angry that they decided to spread our news despite our reasons behind it. We have lost a pregnancy before which they know about and we also explained we didn't want to tell people until we were sure all was ok too. He was more annoyed at that than me at that point.

My DH has always had a rocky relationship with them but I don't want him not seeing them, I feel he would regret it later, believe me life would of been a lot easier for me if I went with it!! But I care too much about him and I know in the end he would be hurt. He has spoken to them but they just go in the huff for a couple of weeks then start all over again. I do love them but not sure how to get the to see our point of view too!

cjbartlett Fri 16-Sep-11 16:27:03

ah you forgot teh golden rule

never tell anyone if you don't want people to know

with our second child I only told my mum, she told dad - fair enough, he let the cat out of the bag to my brother

don't tell anyone next time grin

Flisspaps Fri 16-Sep-11 16:27:51

I don't think you should cut them some slack.

DH needs to tell them that you both understand they are excited, as are you, but they need to appreciate that this was/is your news to tell people, it is your child and the two of you will decide when they can take the baby out - this might not be for years months after the baby is born. The fact that they both 'drink a lot' would be a real concern, I'd have to be absolutely certain that they were in a fit state to care for the child alone.

He also needs to mention to your FIL that it's not appropriate for him to wander around your house looking through drawers and things, that as adults you are entitled to privacy. Alternatively put a load of sex toys in one of the drawers he's most likely to look in, and that may shame him into stopping.

The fact that they don't visit often will be a blessing in disguise though. You and DH will have to make it clear that you can't spend long in their house if they're smoking as it is bad for your health and that of the baby (both before and after birth)

I can forsee problems when it comes to MIL demanding that she be told as soon as you go into labour so she can be at the hospital...prepare DH for that conversation too!

Crosshair Fri 16-Sep-11 16:32:17


stepawayfromtheecclescakes Fri 16-Sep-11 16:32:23

definately let them know now that your precious little one will be spending NO time in their house until they give up the ciggys, perhaps this will be an incentive. as for the opening drawers in your home shock how very dare they! follow him and ask wtf he thinks hes doing.

WhereDidAllThePuffinsGo Fri 16-Sep-11 16:32:29

I wouldn't visit if it meant sitting in a smoky room (another asthmatic here). And I'd be telling them now that the baby won't be going in a room where people are smoking. They need time to get used to that idea, because at the moment they think you'll be bringing the baby to visit them in their smoke-filled living room, don't they?

Ask them to visit you. If they say you are too far away, say "oh well, never mind, we can always talk on the phone" and see how long it takes them to change their minds.

If they ask you to visit them, say "no, I can't sit in the smoke, and anyway you said you were too far away, didn't you?".

If they go through drawers, say "please stop doing that". If they comment, try "it's rude".

But as for planning what they'll be doing, well, let them. Don't agree to anything, obv. If you have to get involved in the conversation, try "the baby isn't even here yet! Ooh, hasn't the weather been dreadful?".

WhereDidAllThePuffinsGo Fri 16-Sep-11 16:41:17

Aah, x-posted with the bit about them going off in a huff and then starting over. In that case, time to set some firm boundaries. They visit you, they don't smoke, and if they invade your privacy you ask them to stop. If they don't, you make them leave. If they go off in a huff, you get some peace.

If they are good, reasonable people who love you and your dh, doing this will not hurt them. If they're not, it doesn't matter anyway.

It's not worth putting up with it / letting them get away with it in order to preserve the relationship as it is. Set boundaries, be clear about what you are willing to live with and what you are not.

And decide with your dh what you're going to allow wrt the baby, too. Sounds like you may not want to allow them to look after the baby without you there, but you need to figure these things out between you.

Much much better to sort some of this out now than in about 8 years time after 8 years of grandparent-related grief ...

diddl Fri 16-Sep-11 16:48:57

Well, they can plan all they like, but it doesn´t have to happen, does it?

I know you don´t want your husband to lose contact with them, but tbh, if he´s happy to keep it to a minimum, I´d go along with that!

Going through someone´s things is really disrespectful.

Do they not realise that you are adults?

CatsRule Fri 16-Sep-11 16:56:43

They are not bad people they are just really thoughtless. We're both in our 30's so it's not like we're kids who've just fallen pregnant, it's been planned for a long time. Our lives are so vastly different from theirs and they can't see why anyone could be different or have a different opinion from theirs. We have never let anyone smoke in our house so them visiting us isn't a problem in that respect.

Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it. At least I know I'm not over-reacting!

acatcalledfelix Fri 16-Sep-11 17:11:19

I'd be furious with them for telling people after you'd expressively telling them not to. I was annoyed with my MIL for telling me that I should be telling people, but not going any further than that. It's noone's decision but yours who you tell.

As for the smoking, it needs to be discussed before your baby arrives that you will not be taking your baby into a house where two people are chain smoking. Get the evidence together so they can see you're not just being "precious". Again, I managed to escape this as most of DH's family had given up by the time DS came along, 5 years earlier and I would have been in exactly your boat. But, there are two relatives who come to stay regularly with MIL who chain smoke, and it was not taken well when we said we expected them to smoke outside if we were there with DS. But, this was non-negotiable to us, and accomodating their bad habit (and this is from an ex-smoker) was far less important than the health of my child.

Good luck!

Tonksforthememories Fri 16-Sep-11 17:23:05

My PIL gave up smoking before DD1 arrived purely because DH told them we wouldn't be bringing our child into a smoky house. They were hell to be around for a while though!

kenobi Fri 16-Sep-11 17:23:09

I can get them to stop looking in your drawers immediately, if you're interested...
Get several pieces of paper, write on them in bright red, BIG letters:
and leave them in various places you'd like them to stay out of, particularly every drawer in your bedroom. Don't say anything about it. In fact, never, ever mention it. He'll stop. He won't mention it either.
In fact if he DOES that's even better as you can say, "Oh we had friends round who like to poke in our stuff and we wanted them to stop. Don't you think that's rude. I mean, it's very, VERY rude, isn't it? How did you find the note, by the way?"

Also, as passive smoking while pregnant and after birth is implicated in SIDS, I think you need to say very plainly that for medical reasons neither while you are pregnant nor after the baby is born can you be in a smoky environment. Point out it's particularly pernicious if you have asthma (that might even be true). Blame it on the doctor/hospital if you don't want it to be about you being 'precious'.

kenobi Fri 16-Sep-11 17:24:48

My parents are delightful (although I know allllll about the snooping from my extended family) and the moment they knew I was preggers that was it, my aunts all knew and by extension all my cousins and so on.

In the nicest possibly way you were a bit naive to think they would keep this secret.

eurochick Fri 16-Sep-11 17:24:57

Can you start meeting them in a pub or restaurant for lunch? That way they will have to smoke outside away from you and you all get a nice meal out.

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