AIBU to dread my parents' visits?(24 Posts)
I moved to the UK a decade ago. My parents used to visit once a year but now that I have DS (who is nearly 3 months old) they're visiting a lot more often. I love them and we're close. DF is 70 and DM is 60. They're getting on a bit but by no means elderly - both active and well.
My problem is that I've always found their visits quite stressful, and now that I have DS it's a completely new level of stressful. Take today. DH doesn't speak our language so I have to do all the translating/talking. DPs have practically no English. We went to a NT property - I actually suggested DH should go off and do his hobby as when he's not with us it's slightly easier for me because of the language barrier. Anyway everything went wrong. They are always cold, can't order themselves a coffee, don't like any of the food, the walk was too muddy, and so on. They have very different habits and I try and accommodate things. I knew they would get cold and muddy, I have spare wellies and socks for them. But they said no, only to moan afterwards. I always ask what they want to do, offer options, make sure we don't walk too fast etc. But they don't seem to enjoy things much. DF is lovely and very docile but he does my head in with constant random comments (parking sensors go off, DF asks if it's the airbags - WTF?!). Mum is very hands on with DS but is very judgy and difficult. Set in her ways. No matter how many times I have said I'm feeding DS on demand, she still clock watches and says things like 'it's not time for a feed yet'.
Maybe I should stop trying to organise activities and I should just flop on the sofa while they entertain DS. The thing is, DS is still so small and wants me a lot of the time. So I end up stressing that he's sat on DM's lap crying and I'm sat there helpless.
I find the whole experience stressful and knackering. Today it was like being out with 2 extra children. I have to do all the driving, planning, entertaining, talking and cooking, as well as looking after a 12 week old baby. DDog was there too to add to the experience!
Should I just take a chill pill? Do I need to resign to the fact that there are age and cultural differences and it's only going to get worse? Things are much better when I go and visit them as they're on home ground and there's only so much stress for me to deal with - mainly to do with the fact that DS isn't wearing enough clothes! Clearly I'm letting this baby die of exposure.
How can I make their visits more enjoyable for everyone? DM is currently making dinner and has suggested I have a nap while DF watches DS. It's all well and good but she comes in every 5 minutes to ask where things are/how to use the oven.
Please don't suggest they don't stay here - they spend a lot of money to come and see us, we have the space and I just couldn't turf them out to a hotel.
I realise this is a massive rant - I feel better just for getting things out.
Oh my goodness you sound like super mum and super daughter. Don't have any answers as I too get infuriated by my parents, yet am very close to them... and I don't have a little baby to look after. I hope it gets easier for you.
Thanks Jazzmin. Infuriated is a good description. It takes all my will to not say anything!
I'm an expat and I find my parents' and inlaw visits really draining. I've actually stopped my dad from coming as he is a total arse, but my mum is ok
in small doses but I find her very challenging over a week. My inlaws are lovely but it is very tiring having them over because of the inane chatter etc. I have no advice though, sorry - I think it's just something you have to deal with as an expat.
I don't have the answers either!
Be aware that your relationship needs to transition and this is very difficult when you only see them rarely. I have 2 BIL abroad and their relationship with my ILs is much more fractious than ours.
Basically they need to accept that you are now the adult/ parent.
They are guests / aging adults.
This is not the same dynamic as your parent/child relationship with them - where they were in charge and you sought their approval.
Meeting the needs of your child is a higher priority than pleasing them.
The irritating thing I think you just have to grit your teeth!
It's probably an awful way to look at things, but when I am particularly infuriated (!) I think of some of my close friends who have lost their parents and I know would love the chance to be infuriated by them again! Try and focus on the positives, however little. At least you can rant to your DH and they won't understand what you're saying!
Thanks fc. Some good points there.
Im0gen I certainly can and we do. I guess if I visited more they would come here less. Would also have the added bonus of seeing my sisters more often. It's a good suggestion. Poor DH would have to stay at home though or learn my language
no chance of that after so many years
I know what you mean. It's the stress of having to ensure everyone is happy and oh my god the dawdling walks! On top of the stress of a new baby. My parents stayed from 2-4 weeks. I love them dearly but as you say my mum was in and out the kitchen asking where things were. My mum is also hugely judgemental about how children behave so now my child is a toddler I'm on edge in case he kicks off because then will be judgement about him having a tantrum!
He wouldn't have to learn your language, you'll just have to translate for him. Like you do now anyway.
IME, parents have to learn how to be grandparents - with your help. Of course it is added stress when you don't live near each other so the visits are longer and have added pressure when a lot of money has been spent and expectations built up. BUT, you have a 12 week old. They should be looking after you so you can look after the baby. I wouldn't bother with days out, just a little potter about locally with the pram (which they will be thrilled to push).
It is stressful though. We live a plane ride away from both our parents and it is still hard to strike the right balance during visits so that everyone is happy.
Your mother is only 60! That is not old and she should be more adaptable.
If your newborn baby is sat on your mother's knee crying, take him back! He needs you- he's the helpless one. You cannot abdicate responsibility for meeting his needs just because your mother behaves in an overbearing manner towards you.
I think you're trying to do too much in terms of activities. If they want to just sit about, let them. could you go on a shorter walk to a local park if you need some fresh air?
I'd take the opportunity to visit home. This sounds incredibly stressful. Your parents do need to learn you're the parent now and they're guests for a period of time and need to fit in to your routine now that you have a child.
Oh OP I feel for you.
You sound like you are doing an amazing job in tricky situation.
Find my DParents very hard work when they come-we are also a long haul fight away. They don't drive here.
I have said having them visit is a bit like having 2 giant toddlers with ideas above their stations
Having Grandparents is an important relationship for your DS. Perhaps you can help them find a role...
Your husband really needs to learn your language. That would help in the long term. After all, presumably your child will learn it, so he will be the odd one out if he doesn't.
Stop organising stuff, take your son back when he cries!
They do sound like hard work though.
How long are they with you?
Could they take themselves off locally for a walk, take your son if he settles for enough time between feeds?
Leave instructions/get everything out first if your mum is going to cook & you rest.
hopefully this is only a short phrase - like you say very soon DS won't be so clingy/need feeding and you will be able to chill out/have a nap and let them play with him without being bothered.
can you suggest they wait to come again until its warm? I imagine UK does seem cold and miserable compared to, say Spain, and would be a bit of a shock to the system. The weather also limits the amount of stuff you can do. If they came in April and August things like Nat Trust properties would be a lot more enjoyable, you could spend all day at the beach or in a nice park and just chill more rather than have to plan activities all the time.
you could visit them in the winter months (also gives you a chance to enjoy some sun).
How many times have they visited you in the last 3 months?
I'm getting the feeling that they have been here quite a lot, you need time to yourselves too. As previous poster suggested tell them to wait for better weather before next visit.
Is your language very difficult? I only ask because I have been learning a language with Duolingo (free app and website) and have found it quite easy. At school I was dreadful at languages.
Thank you, some very good suggestions.
Jazzmin I have done that, my best friend recently lost her mum and I felt very guilty and lucky to still have them.
feesh Gosh the inane chatter. I can't hear myself think.
tax the walks are the worst. Sorry about the situation with your toddler.
diddl Only 5 days this time. I shall send them out with DS tomorrow - we live rurally and nothing is straightforward but we shall try.
dust and bear They came over when DS was 9 days old to meet him. We then all went down in September as DF had a big birthday. Now they're here and we're going down at Christmas. Mum mentioned visiting again in February. Perhaps I can suggest I'll go instead! I do want them to see their grandson grow up (he's the only one they have so far, hence the huge interest).
Hedwig he has tried although not very hard. Even took classes but nothing went in. Agree he should make more effort. The language is Italian, quite run of the mill. DH is dreadful at languages, I said he should apply himself but he insists it's not one of his skills. A bit like when I say that DIY isn't one of mine (I do sympathise, I could never learn to do some of the jobs he does)!
Today it was like being out with 2 extra children.
I can relate to this. It's draining...and it's difficult, because - unlike your children - they don't think you're in charge and don't do as they're told! No great words of wisdom, but I can sympathise...
Latest update - DF has been sick since Saturday night. Very high fever. I've had to run to the pharmacy twice, go and buy foods that he feels like eating, every time left DS behind as he hates the car. DM gave him a bottle of expressed milk while I was out, which was a nice bonding experience for them. Now there's talk of postponing the flight if DF doesn't feel better. I completely support the decision as it must be really shit to travel all day being that ill.
Somebody give me strength...
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