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How long is too long to have parents visiting? AIBU?

(31 Posts)
EachToHerOwn Tue 23-Feb-16 04:19:10

I had an operation yesterday which is possibly why I'm awake since 2am and now stressing about this....!
DM&D live a couple of hours away and are planning to visit next weekend for 4 days and nights. They've booked into a local B&B as my op means we can't give them our bed and sleep on roll mats in DD1's room, which is what we'd usually do - so that's ok. But now I'm concerned about the length of visit anyway - what am I going to do with them for 4 days and evenings when they'll be at ours?
They are elderly, DM is particularly frail, so they can't really help with household chores or looking after DDs. I can't drive or lift anything heavy so DH will be coping with school/nursery pickups, household stuff, cooking etc and I'm concerned about adding to all that for him.
Usually if DM&D visit it would be for 2 nights max (same for us visiting them) and then we've pretty much had our fill (on both sides!) - they don't talk much (Mum barely at all), so we'll have exhausted conversation after an hour or two!
I'm struggling to know how to broach this with them without hurting their feelings but the thought of 4 days of their silent presence is stressing me out and taking post-op meds mean I can't drink through it! Should I just suck it up?

MattDillonsPants Tue 23-Feb-16 04:35:05

They want to be with you because you've had an operation I expect.Can you perhaps have takeways a few times so DH isn't cooking all the time? And what about suggesting they go out for a day or something?

araiba Tue 23-Feb-16 05:07:54

in mn world, half an hour is too much and that half hour includes ggiving them all of your house and children rules.

in real life, 4 days is nothing

rageagainsttheBIL Tue 23-Feb-16 05:14:25

My parents stayed with us for 10 days once, in our house - it was actually fine but I was at work for some of it

You don't say how old your DC are... Can they still read to/with the DC, help with homework, or my parents sometimes watch YouTube videos with my DC of interesting stuff or songs. They can sit together at a table and do playdoh or colouring if that's age appropriate.

In the evening rent out some good films perhaps? Maybe even play a board game like Scrabble? Do you watch any TV?

Agree with getting takeaway, or ready meals/ supermarket takeaway type thing if you are on a budget.

AnotherTimeMaybe Tue 23-Feb-16 05:27:39

Why did you ask them to stay that long in the first place? you must have had a good reason when you did it
For me it seems too long as you are not physically in a position to cope it can potentially drive you mad
Did you Dh say he's ok with this?

You could say that you need to go back to work earlier? Or you that you're on specific medication you'd be sleeping all day?

BeardedBear Tue 23-Feb-16 05:38:22

So they know you've had an operation, or will you be trying to hide it?
The stilted conversation is so hard to keep going! 5 days is our limit, after 3 my father completely ignores DS. Can you get a couple of films, "oh I thought you'd be interested to see this." Then you have a couple of evenings covered. It's a lot less stressful when they have a hotel to retreat to, rather than staying with you.

Do you have any food in the freezer? Simple lasagne/bolo sauce type just to reheat?

ICJump Tue 23-Feb-16 06:16:27

Mil spent weeks with us. And will again shortly. We discovered a mural love of a box set. It helped

gooseberryroolz Tue 23-Feb-16 06:46:21

How long is right for YOU?

Jenijena Tue 23-Feb-16 06:50:49

Might they want to go back to the b&b in the evening? In the warmer months my in laws stay in their caravan, and usually go after bath/bedtime...

jalopyjane Tue 23-Feb-16 06:54:36

4 days would be fine for me but they're not frail or slient so it's not really the same! Could you suggest them coming for 2 nights now and 2 nights in say a month's time when you're feeling more up to visitors?

annandale Tue 23-Feb-16 06:57:30

4 days is actually long enough to get comfortable. Have a cup of tea and a chat when they arrive and then get on with your lives. Hand them veg to chop for dinner, play with dc and get them to make a picture 'for dm', etc. Inform them that you're off to the garden/shop/whatever, do they want to come or will they stay at home? My dm and I specialise in reading the paper in the same room, occasional comment to each other.

Blu Tue 23-Feb-16 06:59:15

Do they read the paper?
Can they pop to the shops for it?
If not, arrange to get their favourite paper delivered while they stay. My Dad can read the paper all morning.

Does your Mum knit? Beg her to knit something you would love.

Have crossword and Soduko and puzzle books on the table (if they ever do that stuff)

Go through packets of old family photos with them or hook your computer up to the TV and look at how pics, pics of the children.

Embrace daytime TV , afternoon films. Listen to the play on Women's Hour R4, or whatever it is called.

What do they normally do with themselves during the day?

Is there any kind of outing they could manage / would enjoy, with a taxi?

Do they see this visit as coming to help, coming to visit you in your convalescence, or coming for a mini-break?

bimbobaggins Tue 23-Feb-16 07:04:54

A long lunch is enough for me.

louisejxxx Tue 23-Feb-16 07:15:58

4 days is about right if travelling a long distance I'd say..any less and the travelling turns in to the bulk of the trip.

theycallmemellojello Tue 23-Feb-16 07:22:50

I think if they've booked into a bnb then they are probably sensitive to not wanting to increase the workload. Why can't you just carry on with life as you otherwise would? If they're quiet people they won't expect or want constant conversation.

slebmum1 Tue 23-Feb-16 07:29:17

My fil stays with is two weeks at a time, four times a year. He lives in USA though. We love having him.

Four days is nothing but perhaps not particularly helpful if you are recovering from an op.

WizardOfToss Tue 23-Feb-16 07:33:24

With mine, they have a couple of days with me, plus one day out on their own which they claim to want. They generally retreat quite early to their b&b, because they're tired. Same for DHs parents really although we have to carefully vet eating places as FIL doesn't do 'furrin muck'.

I try to think up ideas for outings in advance otherwise you have the eternal fussing and lack of decision making for about 100 years..

Don't feel you have to entertain them too much - with your op, they're going to have to take you as they find you!

shovetheholly Tue 23-Feb-16 07:54:45

I think it's not the length of visit but the timing in conjunction with your surgery that's the problem. I'd just postpone the visit until you're feeling a bit more up to it.

I speak as someone who did the opposite and it was a disaster. I travelled 5 hours after gynae surgery to spend Xmas with the inlaws. It was extremely painful. They all then went out and left me by myself in a cold house with no heating on Christmas day and I felt extremely sorry for myself. I ended up bursting into tears on my best friend when she rang to wish me merry Christmas, which I do not imagine made her day either. It was, in fact, my first post on Mumsnet under this username - hence the Christmas reference.

Get well first, THEN have them to visit!

maybebabybee Tue 23-Feb-16 07:57:52

How long is a piece of string? It depends on many factors including how well you get on etc etc. I could spend a week with my DM easily but my DF does my head in after an hour!!

tingon Tue 23-Feb-16 08:05:05

I remember your thread shove, it's stayed with me!

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Tue 23-Feb-16 08:10:12

Everyone is different and it depends, its a how long is a piece of string question really...

Staying in a B&B does help.

My parents now always stay in a hotel (the official reason is because they need to be on the same floor as a bathroom - our house is multilevel and the only bedrooms on the same floor as bathrooms are equipped with mid sleepers or toddler beds which there is no way on earth my parents could get in or out of even if we did want to kick two kids out of their bedrooms for them each to take over a mid sleeper...)

I live a thousand miles from my parents and they stay about a week when they visit - when they stay in a hotel it is OK, although finding things to do is a challenge as neither can walk far, my mum struggles with stairs, and my dad needs to be able to get to a toilet frequently... it does rule out most things that appeal to small children except for things that are dull to my parents (involves them sitting about watching the kids do stuff). I do find them sitting about my living room odd as I feel I am supposed to entertain them, and at home the kids don't want to sit and chat politely or be read to by my mum, they want to go out and play with their friends, which is what they normally do on a home day... Still a week is manageable with parents sleeping elsewhere and me able to drive.

My mum came to stay on her own with us in our house for 2 weeks after I'd had an operation once - a c-section. She came to help but she mainly tried to monopolise the baby whilst not lifting a finger with toddler nor anything household, criticising my friends, complaining about the shower, comparing everything negatively to her home, talking loudly and at length about herself in English to people who speak only rusty school English from 20 years ago (I live abroad) and trying to tell me what I should be doing (telling me I should be getting on with washing floors a week after a c-section was a highlight, as was buying and hanging a wall mirror in the room she was sleeping in) while I had her there "to hold the baby" and demanding I drive her to the shops to buy herself clothes as she felt she hadn't packed for the weather - I wished she wasn't there by day 2 and nearly murdered her on day 3, and I still feel angry about those two weeks and struggle with her more than I did before that stay.

I think them being in your house will be difficult by the sound of it, but 4 days should be about survivable. Not being able to drive or get about much will make it very claustrophobic...

shovetheholly Tue 23-Feb-16 08:31:15

tingon- people like you were so kind to me! It really, really made a difference. Very unmumsnetty hugs for you and everyone else who was there for me! (OP, if you do go ahead, I do recommend making a thread on here so we can all support you!!)

NattyTile Tue 23-Feb-16 08:33:55

Jigsaw puzzle? Depending on age of children, but you can get a hideaway mat for them during the day if necessary. Surprisingly absorbing and addictive (just try to get one which isn't all sea and sky).

Oysterbabe Tue 23-Feb-16 08:41:53

I have a 2 night policy with parents. Can you go out for dinner one of the nights?

EachToHerOwn Tue 23-Feb-16 09:46:54

AnotherTimeMaybe - I didn't invite them, they said they'd like to come visit after my op, I said that'd be ok thinking it would be a couple of nights as usual and assumed that they'd check dates with me. DM then texted to tell me they'd booked 4 nights at the B&B 5days after my op and was that ok? I should have replied with "ffs no" "4 nights, are you sure?".
Anyway, in the clear light of day and with your great suggestions it all seems more do-able.
JalopyJane - good idea, I'll gently suggest they do two shorter visits - though Dad not keen on driving any more so that might be one of the reasons for them booking longer.
Dad can spend all day reading newspapers and doing the crosswords and will walk down into the village for it so he's not really the problem. Mum has no hobbies so just sits there in silence watching what everyone else does! But she used to sew a lot and I want to do some sewing in my recuperation time, so I can get her involved in that.
The DCs are 5 and 2.5 so DD1 will be at school for 3 of the 4 days, and DD2 will be at nursery for 2 of the days. DM&D are rubbish with kids though, they love them dearly, but sadly don't have a clue how to interact and play with them. Strange but true.
At least one of the days I'll suggest they go off and visit somewhere together.
Food- Takeaways definitely an option. Cooking big casserole, shepherds pie, bolognaise stuff that is easy to do however many to feed. And they mentioned the pub in the village, so perhaps they'll treat us one night! For lunches, well just provide bread/rolls and fillings so that everyone can make their own.
And generally, I'm just going to get on with whatever I feel like doing and let them just be part of the household without throttling them getting stressed out. The weird thing is, if it was my MIL visiting, I'd have no worries at all as she's chatty, entertaining, knits, looks at her iPad, and is brilliant with the kids!

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