Holiday tension.... WWYD(461 Posts)
Right, to set the scene: Me, my DH, DD, MIL and SFIL are here together on holiday. It is actually my in-laws house half way up a mountain in a warm corner of Europe. It has a pool and is pretty idyllic all round. However it is very remote, nothing around for about 30 min drive. No public transport. Dodgy mountainside roads that aren't safe to walk or cycle on. The In-laws have kindly paid for our flights and refuse to take any money for us staying here and eating their food (which they insist on cooking, and they are brilliant cooks). We're very very lucky.
However, the holiday does come with some T's and C's. It is very well-to-do, middle class, civilised etc. It is very pleasant but very... erm... 'controlled' I think is the right word. In fact, the theme of the holiday could well be 'Everything in moderation'. This is slightly at odds with my idea of a holiday which is more 'everything to excess' .... but I didn't pay for this holiday so I'm willing to go with the flow. This is our 5th-ish time out here as a couple/family.
As a background point, MIL has always monitored how much I eat. She literally raises her eyebrows if I go for second helpings because I'm overweight. It grinds me slightly, but is just a foible of hers and for the most part I ignore it and do my best to have some self control so as not to disgust her.
But anyway, here is the issue...
On day 3 after dinner, MIL stands up and states how she cannot understand why DH (my DH that is, not her DH) has to drink so much. She then turns to me and says I'm not much better. She is upset because DH's biological father is/was an alcoholic. She cannot stand people drinking to access. I agree that my alcohol tolerance has 'improved' lately and DH rolls his eyes and says 'I'm on holiday mum'. And that's that. Off she goes to bed. I didn't say more because I was totally stunned by the confrontation and I'm rubbish with thinking on the spot. Plus I had 3 gins inside me.
I must admit I was pretty annoyed at the accusation of drinking too much. I certainly wasn't drunk and the gin I was drinking was bought by us at the airport. Plus I'm nearly 40, so im really not accustomed to somebody monitoring my alcohol consumption. I had a good old rant to my friend via text and decided I'd continue the holiday booze-free so as not to cause any more upset.
The thing is, my only experience of family holidays (pre-meeting my DH) is to spend all day in the pool messing about, eating whatever we like and drinking from about 4/5pm. No rules. Just having a laugh. I appreciate not all families are like this, but this is my default setting for a holiday if you will. So it is an adjustment for me to be so controlled on holiday. But I'm trying to remind myself.... it's a free holiday, it's a free holiday, it's a free holiday.... and just be greatful.
Yesterday DH, who seems to have fully regressed into a teenager rebillion mode, gets completely shit faced, singing football (?!) chants whilst mooning and dancing around the pool drunk. Eyebrows are raised. MIL is not impressed. We go out for dinner (against my advice) and whilst he goes to the loo MIL asks me why he decided to get so drunk. I explain I'm not sure why, but I think it's an act of defiance. "How very childish" is the response.... and I have to agree.
The atmosphere now is terrible. MIL and DH basically are at loggerheads. DH is in a terrible mood and is not at all fun to be around. Our DD is always a heartbeat away from a tantrum (she's 2) and how I 'parent' her is constantly being watched and critiqued. I just literally can't relax now, and there are 5 days to go. I plan to keep my head down and stay out of the way as much as I can until we go home. But I'm interested to hear... WWYD?
Make that the last holiday with the inlaws.
Hand DD over to MiL and get shitfaced with DH.
I would make sure this was the last time I "holidayed" there. Sounds crap.
In the meantime, do you have a car? If so, I'd be using it for some long day trips either with or without the mooning husband.
We had a similar experience with my in-laws a few years ago when we holidayed with them for the first time. Not as bad as this though, it sounds fucking awful. Yes it's free, but it's not a holiday for you, is it? We vowed never to go again, but feel we have to as we barely see in-laws otherwise. So we're braving it - but just making sure we do lots of activities and getting out and about.
At least if there's been a showdown you have an excuse not to go again. Go to a holiday village, get your DD in the kids club and have a great time. That's what holidays are about!
Poor you, it sounds a bit grim. A free holiday isn't much if you can't enjoy it. I might hire a car and take myself and the DC out where she can have a tantrum whenever she wants and you can eat whatever you want and no DILs or DH to worry about. Nice long day out. But in future, the ILs probably need a bit of a chat along the lines of "this is our ideal holiday, this is yours, compromise?" - don't just never go again because they'd probably really miss you. They just need to be told that it can't be all regimented because you won't have a good time otherwise?
i like a drink or six but even i think its a bit off to start drinking at 4pm
Your DH behaved like a petulant child.
Your MIL probably can't wait for the holiday to be over as well. It must be horrible for her as she has been through living with an alcoholic. If your dh wants to drink thats great but i think he needs to respect his mother a little more.
but yes - fuck that about the food. eat what you want.
I am not surprised your dd is fraught if you are cooped ip in a naice villa all the time.
Doesn't sound like much of a fun holiday with all the tension and rules.
However, I guess your MIL might be overly sensitive about alcohol if she's previously had an alcoholic husband/partner. That can sometimes cause a lot of hurt that you might not even know about. In her own way she might be just trying to protect you from what she went though?
Maybe you could quietly find 5 minutes alone with her to gently explain that while you appreciate that her concern comes from a place of love, she is making you both feel condemned and uncomfortable. You are adults and you ARE able to make these decisions (what you eat, drink, & how you parent your daughter) for yourselves.
Failing that, yes just keep your head down and pray the next 5 days go quickly. Next time maybe holiday by yourselves and just join the IL's for the last day or two.
Both you and DH must know hoe she feels about drinking and excess. It can not have come as shock.
I think your husband was a dick. Her ex husband was an alcoholic. Its possible its genuinely distressing for her. Do you know what its like to be married to alcoholic?
Your dh has known her, his whole life. He must have been aware of these things and went anyway.
It's poor form for a host to criticise and control their guests. You were very gracious and your DH is an arse. Did you agree to take sole care of the toddler so he could get shit faced?
I'd keep out of the argument between DH and mil. Deflect everytime.
Your DH sounds like a twat. I have inlaws that do not drink and do not particularly like it. I drink as much as I like on holiday, but I would never be such a dick as to moon round the pool and act like a complete tosser. Maybe he is the reason they don't like "people drinking to excess. " I think I would hate him too..
Nothing in this life is free!
The food thing is very off but under the circumstances, I'm not sure she's that U about the alcohol.
What you mean your tolerance has improved? You're drinking more?
Your dh sounds like a knob and getting shitfaced on a family holiday that early with his dc and mother who is understandably nervous about drink is a cunty thing to do.
And, sorry, mooning around the pool? Singing football hooligan songs???? Really?!
I agree with LEM and kiwi that the fact your MIL uses to be married to an alcoholic makes a massive difference. Presumably she is terrified that your DH will turn out the same as his dad, and this holiday isn't exactly setting her mind at rest
although I must admit the bit about your DH mooning made me giggle!
I think, for family peace, you and DH should both stop drinking to excess. If this spoils the holiday for you then don't do this again. Maybe a long weekend next time? (Or is it too remote?) A week away with my in-laws would be no treat for me (in fact my MIL sounds somewhat similar to yours - she also likes to comment on other people's eating and drinking) and you shouldn't feel guilty about saying no in future. But if you do say yes, then I think you should abide by her rules even if you disagree with them.
Both your dh and your mil want to run the show, don't they? How stressful for you and not good for your dh? What does SFIL say? Is he a voice of reason?
I'd take my husband to one side and ask him what is happening. Does he know why he's drinking so much and acting in this way? You could gently tell him how embarrassed and upset you are with his behaviour from the drunkenness to the disrespect to his mother, who struggles with alcohol. It may be a reaction to her controlling behaviour and he's probably copying what he learnt from his father. Is he trying to cut the apron strings because this isn't the way to do it? I can imagine your mother tried to control his father's drinking and the more she did, the more he dug his heels in. Your husband may strop and explain that you only want what's best for him and you also need to protect your dd, who shouldn't be exposed to this.
Then if I had a good enough relationship with mil, I'd take my mil to one side and I'd tell her that you will support her, however, she is perhaps trying to control everything and she is at risk of pushing her son away. Gently explain how she's expecting you all to comply with her wishes and as adults, you get to choose. If she wants you to condemn his behaviour, don't as this will lead to a "him and us" mentality, which you are trying to avoid. Tell her you don't want to discuss further how he behaved and you understand her issues with drinking alcohol to excess. Avoid discussions about his infantile behaviour. If she says it, you understand/appreciate how she feels. You sympathise (not empathise). It's fine to say you stuff like you wouldn't live with an adult alcoholic for example and your dh isn't one. But be careful not to let it degenerate into "no he isn't an alcoholic", "yes he is". Bring it back to the issue of getting along for the rest of the holiday. "We can talk about x another time. The issue right is to talk about how we sort this current situation out."
She may also strop. She's a middle class woman of a certain age. She may believe (like my mother) you should defer to your elders and betters.
The holiday sounds awful. Don't go on holiday with your parents in law again, they sound very judgmental regarding everything. The holiday may be free but you're paying for it in other ways...
Why would you drink to excess when you have a toddler with you?? Are you expecting your inlaws to babysit whilst you both get pissed all the time?
Your DH is an idiot. Chanting football songs and mooning would be idiotic in any company, but at home with the family? Do you want your DD to see that her father is such a moron? You should talk to him about behaving decently, especially on the company of a woman who had to deal with an alcoholic DH.
MIL sounds annoying but more the kind of thing you can just roll your eyes at. This seems to be a sit by the pool and relax holiday, not a piss-up holiday. So relax. Explore the surrounds with your DD, play with her, talk to her, swim with her. Just be light and breezy with MIL.
Mine does the same with the food thing and I'm not even overweight. I think some women of that generation think it's feminine to make a show of eating like a bird. And mine does make a show of it. So does DM come to think of it. Just ignore.
Poor you. My DH used to regress to sulky teenager mode when his patent suits were around. For this reason alone I would never consider going in holiday with him and them.
a. Don't go on holiday with them again
b. Have stern words with your DH and also review your own drinking.
c. Make sure your next holiday is somewhere lovely and fun.
Meantime keep your head down.
Look upon this as a lesson to be learnt. That you will NEVER holiday with MIL agin. A free holiday is lovely but not if you cannot relax.
Oh, bless you. It sounds like you are bending over backwards to try and keep your MIL happy. Whilst your DH is being rather less helpful! Yes, your DH is being childish, but I can kind of understand why. However, he is putting you in a really awkward position, which is extremely unfair. It would be nice if he could apologise so that all of you could try and enjoy the end of your holiday!
But it sounds grim. Drinking is one thing, but having someone monitor what you eat? Nope. I couldn't handle that.
It sounds utterly grim, and I say that as someone who does not drink at all.
I have to laugh though at the image of your DH getting drunk in a childish retaliation- I'd do the same in the face of my (also eyebrow raising disapproving mother).
Cooped up together and being constantly monitored and judged? That sounds like a shit holiday, and you have to be grateful about it?
I would probably do what you are doing..head down and endure to the end. Next time (because it is hard to escape seeing the ILs after all) make sure you have a hire car and an escape route- and possibly a location to actually stay in near by.
Oh and I agree with everyone else- your DH ought to growup and not leave you to the parenting (and the fallout from his mother) while he acts up.
If this is the fifth time you've been, how come you've only just noticed how shitty it is? Why on earth would you keep going??
Are you sure she's not behaving like this because your dh is following his dad and does have a problem?
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