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I really hope its not me (IL related)

(72 Posts)
Kat101 Wed 15-May-13 19:41:42

Back story: since we had kids, my MIL has been down to stay for a week maybe twice a year or so. This has got more complicated as we've had more children, as she doesn't drive and it involves DH going to pick her up and take her back at the weekends (the IL's live 300 miles away). Its basically me babysitting her for a week taking her to garden centres and shopping while trying and failing to juggle work plus the whole young kids routines at the same time. FIL doesn't come as he is not keen to spend a whole week with young children , which is fair enough, and DH usually can't get time off work to help out.

So, fast forward to this summers visit. She wanted to come down for a week in May/June. We are horrifically up against it with change of jobs, house renovations, endless kids hobbies and taxi-ing around, zero time for ourselves let alone enabling a visitor to have a holiday. Nevertheless, I found 5 separate weeks that we could juggle around so she could come and stay.

They phone up, apparently none of those weeks are any good. They have a foreign holiday booked, medical appointments and a wedding to go to. They name 2 different weeks that we can't do as we have a pre-existing commitment (friends visiting) and get a barbed comment back about how busy we are. I stick to my guns though and tell DH I cant cope with her staying on top of the original arrangements, so he puts her off. She's upset. I scrabble around for a solution: aha, DH has a week off in the school summer holidays and the kids will be home all the time, perfect time for MIL to visit and she gets to spend all the time with her DS and DGC's. So we suggest it to her expecting her to jump at the chance, but the suggestion is met with silence and a "oh, I really wanted to laze around go clothes shopping in the daytime and then collect the kids from school".

I am trying to be as flexible as possible but we have so much on our plates and I am not a flaming travel agent They reject ideas of B&B's "don't like them". We are meeting at a mutual friends house this weekend and will talk about it more then apparently.

Any suggestions? Without me caving and then spending a week quietly seething with resentment. They have been good to us in the past, but I just don't have the time or energy for this.

Off to find a backbone

Molehillmountain Fri 17-May-13 08:01:18

I'm sorry, but I'm with op all the way. I just don't get it when people think the mil is having a hard deal. Fwiw, I don't allow my parents to stay at all. They come for day visits and we go away on holiday with them once a year for a week. I know how much I can cope with and I've taken years to realise that giving more will be detrimental to my dc. It doesn't sound as if your mil is an easy person to have as a house guest and you have still done loads to try and accommodate her. Stick to your guns.

DontmindifIdo Fri 17-May-13 08:06:12

Lambzig - my view is, if the MIL wanted to visit to spend time with her child or DGC, then it's reasonable to try to accomodate that, but that she's rejected one week that would work because both her DS and DGC will be on holiday and she'd be expected to spend time with them suggests she only wants to use OP's house for a base for a free holiday, not about seeing her family. that being the case, why should the OP put herself out?

GingerBlondecat Fri 17-May-13 08:48:59

Someone comming over to '*help*' shopuldn't cause 100% more work to the 'recipients of the help'

Team OP, all the way.

YellowDinosaur Fri 17-May-13 09:38:30

Don't cave. Your suggestions are more than reasonable.

I'd go back to them saying their options are:

1) the original dates you've suggested including the one in the summer holidays

2) to come for a couple of days only during one of Weeks she wanted to fit around your existing commitments (in which case fil will need to drop off and collect or stay too since dh will be working)

3) to look for a date in September when the kids are back at school.

She can choose whichever of these options works best for her but there are no other options

Then (the hard bit) stand your ground.

YellowDinosaur Fri 17-May-13 09:40:41

Oh and I'd also reiterate that there are NO OTHER OPTIONS (several times if necessary) so there is no point having some giant family conflab at the weekend since all they need to do is tell you which of these options they want.

claudedebussy Fri 17-May-13 09:55:47

you've given her loads of options. ask her again if she's sure she can't manage one of those.

push for the week where your dh has a week off so you won't have to deal with her nonsense.

don't budge.

mistlethrush Fri 17-May-13 10:03:28

I would also make sure that next time she comes you actually do what you need to do (ie work, sort children and sort the house) most of the time rather than doing 'trips' out for her. If she wanted 'trips' she should have come when DH has the week off and the children are on holiday.

wheredidiputit Fri 17-May-13 11:04:21

I think I would be very blunt with MIL.

I would be saying to her

"Look MIL, we have give you now six weeks dates which you could come to see us. Unfortunatly we work fulltime and have commitments/activities which the dc do. We can not just drop everything for you to visit."

"We have given you dates which we / you can visit your DGC if you can't do any of those well we have to see if there is week in October/November where you can come."

Then leave it don't mention it again and see what happens.

EldritchCleavage Fri 17-May-13 11:16:59

Go and get your big girl pants out and put them on

Ha ha! That, exactly.

Less negotiation, more declaration I think. I wouldn't normally say that but after giving 6 different options and MIL clearly not regarding seeing the children or your DH as a priority, really all you can do is shrug and say 'Oh well, never mind.'

I do feel for her, but she sounds as though she has limited herself quite a lot, and can't really expect you, busy with children, to move heaven and earth to get around these self-imposed limitations.

oscarwilde Fri 17-May-13 11:23:39

Say it's those 6 weeks or alternatively you could put the kids on the train to her? grin

CaptainSweatPants Fri 17-May-13 11:29:50

Do what I do & said dh & kids to theirs for the weekend & relax !

SarahAndFuck Fri 17-May-13 11:35:39

I hate the idea of this - "We are meeting at a mutual friends house this weekend and will talk about it more then apparently."

To me, with my PILs, a request to meet and talk about something meant that they would just sit in front of us making demands, crying, blackmailing and guilt-triping, until they got exactly what they wanted.

When we were first married my DH was immediately sent abroad for six months (armed forces) and I had to cope with moving house alone (250 miles away) and job hunting at the same time. I was up and down the country between the old house and the new flat, moving stuff a car load at a time etc.

And MIL decided one day that she wanted to come with me "to help". It would not have been a help.

I thanked her for the offer but said I had a lot to get done that she wouldn't actually be able to help with, some interviews I had to prepare for etc.

Then I had another phone call saying she really needed to come with me because she wanted to sit in DH's house and think about him. I said she could do that better at home as he'd spent ten years in her house and two nights in our flat.

Then FIL rang up to say she needed a break as they were having trouble with their other son. Then MIL rang up to cry.

Then FIL turned up in person to explain to me just how upset MIL was and how unfair I was being.

Stick to your guns OP. You've given her a choice of six different weeks in the summer and she's rejected every one of them.

It's not you being difficult or you pretending that you are too busy for her to come. You are busy, but you've still managed to offer six different weeks that she might visit for, and it's her own busy plans that have meant she turned them down.

I think she's actually coming to get away from her DH, she sounds like she needs a rest from him, but she could at least return the favour and let you go to her house alone for a week so she can wait on you as well. grin

Kat101 Fri 17-May-13 11:37:17

I am sticking to the week in the school holidays when DH and DC's are home 24/7. She can negotiate any solo trips to the shops with DH and I can stay out of it I think.

Should be interesting at the weekend (family get together coincidental to visiting issue and on neutral ground). Think I'll go for "yes its such a shame we've all got other commitments" over and over like a broken record (thinking if I sympathise with her while holding ground then she
can't argue against that so easily).

Part of it is me be a little bit entitled I think. My reasoning is that if she is coming to stay and help, then some part of the time should be actual help, not 'help' which isn't actually helpful. Eg, covering for an inset day so I can save my annual leave for when the kids are unexpectedly ill or whatever. I would resent enabling her little holiday whilst simultaneously having to be grateful to her for it.

lydiajones Fri 17-May-13 11:51:39

She sounds like a right pain. The fact that she doesn't want to come down when your husband and kids are off says it all really doesn't it?

I find it weird tbh that they both don't come down for a week when your husband is off as he is their son after all!! My PIL live about 400 miles away and we go up for twice a year for about 5 days each trip and they come down twice a year too. In fact we rarely have any time off when they are not here or we are not there!!!

My PIL have never offered to come down and help with the kids in the holidays while we work though, it is always when my husband is off!!! They have offered to have them at theirs in the summer holiday for a week but that will involve us driving up and back on 2 consecutive weekends!!!

Standautocorrected Fri 17-May-13 11:56:06

Op, your mil sounds very much like mine. I can imagine her telling her friends she is coming to visit you to help you out, yet when she arrives expects to be waited on hand and foot and is no help whatsoever.
When it became apparent my mil only came to spend time with dh chatting on the sofa and visiting the shops or pub with him; I called it a day.
It was a gradual process and we had difficulties and those difficulties still arise from time to time, but how it is now works best for me and dh and our dc.
I think you need to reiterate that the weeks you have offered stand but if none work or her, start looking at October half term or whatever works well for you and start offering dates further into the future.
Without sounding like a total dragon, if you cave this time, she will push further and further and get her little holiday at your expense.
What does your dh think?

Dubjackeen Fri 17-May-13 13:19:06

OP, I think you are being very fair, and reasonable.
I agree with what you said, stick with the offer of the week that your husband and children will be around, best of luck.

Kat101 Fri 17-May-13 14:01:08

DH leaves the organisation to me, otherwise we get in a pickle and everyone gets confused. He initially agreed to one of the weeks that is not convenient. When I queried how he was going to entertain his pre-arranged visitors whilst juggling the kids pre-existing hobbies/commitments, and also simultaneously drive down the M1 shuttling MIL home, he just said "oh yeah, that's not going to work is it". He works v long hours so hasn't got the mental capacity left to think it through when MIL phones in the evening and is also oblivious to such tasks as changing the sheets for different guests

DontmindifIdo Fri 17-May-13 14:45:09

Tell your DH again the weeks that do work, and stress how nice for him that he'll get to spend time with his mother rather than you if she comes on the week he's off. Keep saying that you'd rather she came then so she got some "quality time" with him and the DCs. That wouldn't it be nice if he could take his mum out for a few days with the DCs so you could get on with some jobs, some really nice granny bonding time, it's just such a pity she normally visits when they are at school so she doesn't get much time with them, after all, it's him and them she visits for, right? wink

girlywhirly Fri 17-May-13 15:46:27

I am also of the opinion that MIL just wants a nice peaceful break and so far everyone has been too helpful towards her. I think if she wanted to see all of you so badly, she would stop at nothing to get herself there by whatever means of transport, and at a time to suit your family. I also agree with you that as a family member she ought to muck in and do stuff to help, rather than expect to be ferried around shops and waited on.

Basically if she can't do that she doesn't come. YANBU. She needs to appreciate how much actually goes on in your family's life day to day, and she'll never do that if she doesn't experience it first hand.

rainbowbrite1980 Fri 17-May-13 16:32:00

YANBU. Has she never heard of a train? And if her visit is on the premise of helping out, tell her it would be most help when the kids are around!

lljkk Fri 17-May-13 16:48:59

I think let her come whatever week she likes but tell her she'll probably have to take taxis during the visit to go places because of your previous commitments. And then do not give her a lift anywhere at any time if it conflicts with your other plans.

As for sheets: leave them out & let her change them herself! No?

digerd Fri 17-May-13 16:50:39

It will be discussed in the presence of mutual friends?? They are hoping to gang up on you and put DH , their son, in a predicament he can't appear to be nasty by not saying " Whatever you want mummy dearest"

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