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To not stay at PILs because of MILs smoking

(49 Posts)
sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jul-14 22:50:27

I've been with DH for 19 years, married for 7.

PIL live about 4-5 hours away and don't really do travelling (pets), so we visit them 3-4 times a year. Our relationship is fine, DH isn't massively close to his parents, but we all get along OK.

We have 3 DCs, youngest is coming up to a year old. Gradually, my MIL smokes more and more in the house (her own mum used to live with them and didn't know my MIL smoked. Since my DHs nan has passed away, MIL now smokes everywhere in the house).

The smoke has always bothered me, we always come back smelling of fags. Even the baby Grobags. Guess I've got to the age now where I can't be bothered to just happily accept it. It's her house, totally and utterly, but I no longer want to stay there or bring the kids back stinking of fags.

At Christmas, we stayed in a B and B down the road. We spent the whole days in their house, but headed off about 7/8pm and returned the following morning. I would like to do this again. It just felt that we all got some smoke free air overnight, which made the whole experience much nicer.

DH hasn't been honest with his mum, just says it's about space (sort of falls flat on its face, as they have 2 spare bedrooms), being easier for them etc. however, this time, his mum has said "I'd be really upset if you don't stay with us". DH doesn't feel as strongly as me about the smoke, it doesn't bother him that much.

AIBU to ask DH that we don't stay there?

sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jul-14 22:52:41

Probably totally the wrong etiquette, but I am off to bed in a bit, but will check back in tomorrow to see if I am BU.

Any other ideas on how I can manage this whilst keeping the peace really appreciated, thankyou

sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jul-14 22:54:10

Also, mil doesn't smoke in the same room as the kids are in at any given time, but obviously the house does have lingering smoke smells.

RandomMess Mon 21-Jul-14 22:55:20

Urgh, YANBU but DH somehow has to have the courage to tell his mum the truth!

Smokers really don't get how yuck the smell is to non-smokers.

sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jul-14 22:59:24

Random, I know I ask DH to tell MIL the real reason. She won't react well to it and I think he just wants to try to keep the peace.

Mintyy Mon 21-Jul-14 23:02:28

So what if she won't react well to it? That is her problem. Its not like you are saying anything controversial or outrageous.

smallblackcat Mon 21-Jul-14 23:03:44

Kids shouldn't be around smoke. Ring her and discuss it properly. It's not fair not to tell her why you are want to stay in a B&B. You could suggest she smokes in one room while you are there.

RedPony Mon 21-Jul-14 23:05:41

Yanbu, I have family members that smoke in their homes and always have which is fine as it's their home etc but now I have a newborn Ds I won't be visiting as much as I don't want his little lungs being filled up with second hand smoke. I am more than happy for them to visit us whenever they like and I would never dream of asking them to not smoke in the house when we visit so we will just not visit the house until he is bigger and we won't be there for long periods of time.
Yanbu for not wanting to stay there, I would just explain to mil that you love visiting them however you would prefer to stay in a b&b as the smoke makes you uncomfortable.

IMurderedStampyLongnose Mon 21-Jul-14 23:06:28

Yuck,YANBU,I wouldn't want my kids round that either.Get FH to tell her why.

IMurderedStampyLongnose Mon 21-Jul-14 23:06:40


MsVestibule Mon 21-Jul-14 23:08:01

If he won't tell her, why can't you? I know that as the issue is with his mother, it should be him, but it does affect you and your DC. Just phone her and say "I understand you're upset that we're not coming to stay? It's just that we don't like staying overnight in a smoky environment. I fully appreciate it's your house, so I'd never ask you not to smoke in it, so staying in a B&B is a solution/compromise that works for us."

There, job done. And yes, that is word for word what I would say in this situation. I'm not anti-smoking, but I am anti-smoking-around-me-and-my-DCs. I don't think I'd even be visiting them, TBH. Fortunately, none of my family or friends are smokers!

sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jul-14 23:08:26

To be honest small, even if she only smoked in one room whilst we are there, I am still bothered by the residual smell and the fact that we come back smelling of smoke. It's just in the fabrics etc. it still smells of smoke, even if she hasn't smoked in that room for a couple of days, if that makes sense? And the smell travels from another room.

But yes, I do think the truth will be better.

HuggleBuggleBear Mon 21-Jul-14 23:08:58

YANBU since we had children we no longer stay at smoking in laws house. We told them why, they were not happy but accepted it ok

sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jul-14 23:11:04

Thanks all, I will talk to DH tomorrow with the suggestions. I am more than happy to talk to her about it. I'll see if DH is happy for me to do so.

Right, I'm off to bed now, but thanks all.

perfectstorm Tue 22-Jul-14 00:06:59

I'd never take my kids to stay in a smoking house. In fact I'd not be willing to spend whole days in one, either. It's a deeply toxic carcinogen - why would you voluntarily expose babies? Second hand smoke is very damaging, and actually so is third hand. They're your kids, and they rely on you to look after their best interests. That matters more than her feelings - and frankly anyone smoking around kids in this day and age is living under a rock, if they claim they didn't know it was harmful.

PhaedraIsMyName Tue 22-Jul-14 00:38:13


hotdrinkandaliedown Tue 22-Jul-14 04:42:30

YANBU. Sooo much evidence points to the damage passive smoking does, how can she possibly argue with that?

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 22-Jul-14 05:13:45

YANBU. I really hate the smell of cigarette smoke. d
My PIL smokes too and they don't think their house and their clothes stink. Luckily DH is with me on this one. I would stand firm on this one.

TurquoiseDress Tue 22-Jul-14 05:26:15

You are definitely NBU!!

Either your DH or yourself should speak with MIL.
It really is grim being in a house where somebody smokes, even if it's not in the same room.

My DH used to live in a large shared house where everyone smoked (including him)...I'd stay over then head to work or home, conscious that my hair stank of fags, also my clothes, even my hand bag- that annoyed me!

We've got friends who have a DD coming up to 1 year old, they are both smokers and now 'only' smoke in this kitchen with the door open...this is an improvement from when they smoked in the lounge/everywhere.

Their house still smells bad, but it's not as grim as it used to be...but they can't seem to smell it!

I don't blame you at all it's so grim!
Am not anti-smoking but since having my LO I get very cross when anyone smokes near us- including DH!

petalsandstars Tue 22-Jul-14 05:58:38

We do not stay with PIL for primarily this reason and DH told his mum a sanitised reason or he knew I would just say the truth. Issue solved though.

sheeplikessleep Tue 22-Jul-14 06:55:45

Thanks all for posting. I thought I would get a few "you shouldn't deny your in laws a relationship, you should stay over" comments.

I will speak with DH and take the bull by the horns! Thanks all, particularly the wording suggestions.

Inertia Tue 22-Jul-14 06:56:39

YANBU. The smell of smoke is foul, and there's no need for children to be exposed to smoke. If your MIL is that upset about you not staying, she has the option to decide whether smoking indoors is more important than family staying with her.

However, you will probably get a load of smokers telling you that you can't object to smoking because people drive cars and produce exhaust fumes, and also your children will miss out on being with the cool fun people.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 22-Jul-14 08:41:30

Tbh, even if she stopped smoking indoors today, the house will still smell horrible. The smell gets into all the curtains, beddings and sofas. Also, there is warning over third hand smoke

It's new research and all that is shown is potentially harmful. Further research is needed to establish the level of exposure that will be harmful and real life effects. However, I'd like to be staying on the cautious side especially given how easy it is to avoid cigarette smoke (for a non smoker).

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 22-Jul-14 08:43:14

Which is basically what you have said upthread about the residual smoke smell even if she smokes outdoors while you are there. I don't blame you. I don't like staying in smoking rooms in hotels either. It's pretty grim some parts of the world they allow smoking in hotel rooms.

perfectstorm Tue 22-Jul-14 08:55:35

Further info on 3rd hand smoke:

[[ Why is third-hand smoke dangerous?
The 2006 surgeon general's report says there is no risk-free level of tobacco exposure…. There are 250 poisonous toxins found in cigarette smoke. One such substance is lead. Very good studies show that tiny levels of exposure are associated with diminished IQ.

What do you consider the most dangerous compound in cigarette smoke?
I would say cyanide, which is used in chemical weapons. It actually interferes with the release of oxygen to tissues. It competitively binds to hemoglobin [meaning it competes with oxygen for binding sites on the blood's oxygen-carrying molecule, hemoglobin]. Basically people with cyanide poison turn blue…. [And] arsenic, that is a poison used to kill mammals. We [used to] use it to kill rats. And there it is in cigarette smoke.

Why are the risks associated with exposure to third-hand smoke different for children and adults?
The developing brain is uniquely susceptible to extremely low levels of toxins. Remember how we talked about the layers of toxin deposits on surfaces? Who gets exposure to those surfaces? Babies and children are closer to [surfaces such as floors]. They tend to touch or even mouth [put their mouths to] the contaminated surfaces. Imagine a teething infant.

Children ingest twice the amount of dust that grown-ups do. Let's say a grown-up weighs 150 pounds [68 kilograms]. Let's say a baby weighs 15 pounds [seven kilograms]. The infant ingests twice the dust [due to faster respiration and proximity to dusty surfaces]. Effectively, they'll get 20 times the exposure.

Studies in rats suggest that tobacco toxin exposure is the leading cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). We think it is [caused by] respiratory suppression.]]

Bluntly, she's incredibly lucky you take your kids to that house at all, because I wouldn't.

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