I hate having family to stay, AIBU?(18 Posts)
Mine and DH's parents both live 3-4 hours drive away. When they visit us they always stay for 2-3 nights over a weekend - often arriving Thursday/Friday and not leaving until Monday. DH and I both work full time in busy jobs so weekends are very precious and our only downtime to recover from the week and get ready to do it all over again. Our house is small (2 bed, 1 bath) so it's pretty intense having two extra people to stay. They are pretty pleasant people but DH and I are expected to cater for them, make cups of tea, entertain them and spend the whole weekend with them. It's not like they'd ever go out and amuse themselves for a few hours. I find the whole process extremely stressful and I probably have to endure it around 6-8 times per year (3-4 times per each family). I find I am not as pleasant as I could be and often feel I have let myself down by being stroppy and impatient with them but I really do not enjoy having them here. There is never enough space and it's exhausting looking after them all weekend when I have at work all week and not getting any downtime before the next onslaught. We also go to visit them back home 4-6 times per year (2-3 times per family) so it's not that we're not prepared to make the effort. They like to come here because they like doing things in London (despite moaning about how small our house is and how busy / expensive everything is). I am not sure how to handle this going forward and in the future as ideally I would like to not have to host them here. There is no possibility of us getting a bigger house any time soon but we want to try for a baby next year so then space will be even tighter and they will probably want to stay even more often. AIBU? Any thoughts / suggestions from those who have faced similar situations would be gratefully received.
It's difficult if you've got the space as you don't have any excuse really. Before kids I was in the same position and know exactly what you mean. I kind of felt like I'd done a full week in work and that I needed relaxation and not to have to do anything if I didn't want to.
I found it easier with my own parents as I felt it was more relaxed but sorry to say with DH's it always felt much more 'forced' and hard work and I did feel resentful.
What changed everything for us was having kids because the house was basically full and there was no room for staying guests (small house too). They ended up staying nearby in pubs/hotels which took the pressure off a bit and made the weekends much more enjoyable.
Is there no way of talking to them honestly about this? Quite possibly, if they're retired, they don't realize how tiring full-on weekends are when you're working full-time. And I'm willing to bet neither lot have thought that it's a double load for you!
Anyway, they are all close family coming over fairly frequently, that shouldn't require total hosting mode. Tell them you're glad to see them but you also need a rest over the weekend; they can make tea/ cook a meal or whatever. Do you help out when visiting them?
YANBU. That must be very stressful especially with you both working full time in busy jobs. I would have to say something!
I would tackle my own parents and let DH deal with them to explain my problem:
they are welcome to stay, BUT they have to entertain themselves at least 2 half days during the weekend. If you are in London, there are more than enough public transport for them to be independent.
I would also get ready meals (from cooks, M&S or other) to minimise the work, or have a pub lunch together - depending on your budget.
I really would tell my own parents that I am delighted to see them ,but I need a break at the weekend and I want to have a pj day. I would also tell them to make their own cup of tea!
With one bedroom each, and a separate room to meet (your living room), you have enough space. It's more a pain when people have to sleep in the living room. It's the attitude the problem. You are not BU!
Sorry but this sounds pretty normal to me and par for the course when you live some distance away from family.
Does your DH do an equal share in the work involved? Would they help out if asked e.g. muck in with the washing up or whatever? If not it might be just that you have always given the impression that you can cope and don't want them to. Have you ever said e.g. "In the morning we have errands for a couple of hours but if you would like to amuse yourself in the morning we could meet at X for lunch and then go to Y?" They might be OK with that but again, maybe it is you assuming that they want entertaining.
Obviously will get harder to host (and travel) when any LO you have is too big to share your room so maybe then will be the time to suggest they stay in other accommodation. But could be that they will realize that for themselves.
Also just doing the sums then even you hosting 6 - 8 times a year and going to visit 4 - 6 is still only 1/4 of all weekends. You have 3 out of 4 weekends to yourself! Not that bad really.
* is still only 1/4 of all weekends. You have 3 out of 4 weekends to yourself! Not that bad really.*
how generous of you! "Only" sacrificing a quarter of your weekends!
I completely disagree, it is THAT bad. Why would anyone have to give up that much pre children?
Thank you so much for all your advice, I really appreciate it. My plan going forward is going to be to adopt your suggestions and ask them to entertain themselves a bit more / explain that I need some downtime, e.g. A lie in!! And they can head out on their own if they want to. There's loads to do nearby to our house so they should have no excuse. I have also decided to say that they either come Fri -Sun or Sat - Mon as I need some time off, either Friday night or Sunday night. Hopefully they won't mind this as thinking about it they do do errands while we're staying with them and in answer to one question yes of course we help out when we visit them! I am also very happy to entertain myself and go out for a wander around their village or go to the gym (there is a gym of the same brand I use where they live). I need DH to help me with this so need to get him on board as he's more of the view that we (I) need to host them and entertain them the whole time and shouldn't go out and do my own thing because we don't see them very often. I do find myself feeling jealous of people who can have relaxed normal relationships with their parents just meeting up for dinner or popping in for coffee - but obviously the distance makes that sort of thing impossible. I am also going to try to cut down the amount we see them - I hadn't realised how many weekends it was - 1/4!!! I am not prepared to give that up any more! Hopefully they (and DH!!) will understand...
Just change the set-up
They come, you cook for them/entertain them the first night.
Then, to manage expectations, you say you and DH will be out for most of Saturday (plan something! Even if just a movie), but tell them where the kettle is/the ham/eggs/bread/little lunch cafe nearby
Then have a meal out with parents or takeaway and spend the evening together.
On Sunday you go out for a bit again after breakfast (a run? Game of tennis? Kensington high and a coffee?) and come back to prepare a simple lunch (pasta/omelet)
Really, there is no need to make tea all the time, or to BE there all the time.
Change the set-up!
I live far away from my family in a small flat dp+2dc, it is a hassle to see them - sleeping on sofas etc making millions of cups of tea, but I love and miss them and enjoy their relationship with the Dc so it's worth it
The sense of my own down time has also vanished since we had the Dc , previously there always had to be 'my' time - with small Dc that concept doesn't exist so don't get too fixed on a solution now that may upset people when life will change radically if you do have dc
I can really relate to this as DH's mum and his Father & step-mum all live hours away and pre DD we had a similar arrangement. It was so exhausting for the same reasons - no help, not helping themselves no matter how many times we suggested it, wanting to stay up drinking until the early hours of the morning, not making beds or tidying up after themselves (DH mum was better at this tbf).
When DD arrived, despite still having the room, we suggested 1 night stay at a time only so that we could enjoy some family time at the weekends (we also both work FT). So they arrive on a Friday evening & leave late afternoon on Sat.
The visits have also become far less frequent, which suits us both! DH keeps in regular weekly contact with them and we visit for an overnight stay a couple of times a year. It's far more manageable and actually enjoyable when it's not a full weekend.
I think it's really unreasonable for anyone to expect to stay for the entirety of a weekend when you've been at work all week - unless they're willing to chip in, help out and entertain themselves a bit. Which certainly wasn't the case for us.
My parents live abroad so when they come its for 2 weeks!! Stop treating them as guests and say you know where the kettle is etc. You do seem to spend an excessive number of weekends with them !
My parents and in-laws usually leave by Sunday morning as they like to give us Sunday afternoon to ourselves. They also make their own tea and coffee, don't expect cooking (we go out or buy picky lunches) and don't mind if I sit and read and ignore them. Maybe try treating them less like guests, gradually, and then you can bugger off for a bath for hours and it'll seem normal!
Fast forward twenty five years and imagine your children writing about you like this! Your parents won't be around forever - make the most of their company while you can.
Nuttyknitter, I hope that in 25 years I won't expect to be waited on hand and foot for a full extended weekend weekend by my children who work full time and also have small children.
I hope that I would chip in with the chores and be considerate of their need for some personal space and down time after a busy week. Maybe I would offer to entertain the grandchildren one morning while they have a lay-in, or cook one or two of the meals. I am certain that I would do my fair share of making cups of tea and clearing up. I wouldn't want to feel like a "guest".
The issue is that the parents in question are looking to be fed, watered and entertained - which makes for a lovely relaxing break for them but an exhausting and very long weekend for the OP.
Try the honest chat but expect them to put down the phone on you, like my lot did when the DH was on nights, as was my nearby db and they were retired and could choose when to come. Drove me nuts. We're also London and were treated as though the house was a hotel for years. I make every effort to entertain people, but now they know not to do weekends, they come for three days during holiday time, much easier.
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