To be annoyed at PIL?(43 Posts)
DH and I have been together for 11 years, his parents live 5 hours away. Parents are very nice but very full on, you all know the type.
They used to come and stay with us a few times a year before we had DD a few years ago, and we also used to go up there a few times a year too.
Since DD was born (not their first grandchild) things have turned a little strange... they haven't been to us since July 2016 despite numerous invites. They attended DD christening in May 2016 but stayed in a hotel night before and drove home straight after the christening (we offered them to stay with us night before and night of, again declined). And they've not returned since.
But we are still expected and have been going there and it's starting to piss me off. They know hard it is driving for 5 hours with a toddler in tow, all the packing etc etc. They are both retired so can come down here as leisurely as they please but they just won't. Last time DH asked them down for DD birthday this year they said they had "plans". They go NOWHERE. Once a week to the supermarket, that's it.
I'm starting to resent this situation, I've discussed it with my DH but he hasn't outright asked them what the issue is.
And now somehow it looks like we're going up again over xmas holidays despite me now being pregnant again!
I don't want to go!!! I want to dig my heals in and say no.
Don't go up for Christmas then. "Hi PIL, we're going to take it easy this Christmas, being pregnant and having the toddler to entertain and all. But you're welcome to join us if you like, say from X day to X day."
Sorry, just reread my message and it sounded a bit terse. Didn't mean it to be!
Will your DH be on board with not going?
Dd would much prefer a Christmas at home. Tell them it's all about dc but they are welcome to visit on boxing day. And meant it. Can't understand why people put other's Christmas wishes over their own!!
No it didn't sound like that
Hmm I'm not sure... he likes seeing them and likes PIL to spend time with DD. But I would rather call their bluff and make them come here. As it seems to somehow become the norm that we only ever go there and I don't know how that's happened to be honest.
It's not even about Christmas, it's more the point that somehow it's ended up being us only ever going there! I've tried getting DH to be more outspoken and confident which he has been over the years but I don't know why some men struggle to stand up to their mothers!
Do you think it’s just because they’ve got older and it’s easier for them if you go to them?
Not an all out excuse but perhaps they’re tired? Less confident on the road. They too have to travel 5 hours and are elderly? Is it 5 hours there and back?
I was wondering this China yes, it's possible. I just wish they would tell us if there was a reason. It would make me a lot more understanding and sympathetic.
How old are they? I can think of lots of health-related reasons why they may not be comfortable with and/or able to travel down to you frequently, or comfortable with staying with you if they do.
You say they go nowhere. Is this a recent thing?
They're in their late 60s. And no, they've always been the same, don't go anywhere! They used to love coming to us, we could get rid of them before lol x
The thing is, they may not wish to share their growing foecal incontinence, enlarged prostate problems, or onset of dementia with you.
One of the very first symptoms of dementia my dad showed was an increasing dislike of driving long distances and being away from home. And this was a good 3 years before we (including my mum) realised there was actually a problem.
Just a thought, they are late 60’s, could one of them have perhaps become incontinent and this is the reason why they don’t want to stay over at your house? Embarrassment?
I wonder if they think a 5 hour drive is just too much at their age. And did it for the Christening because it was a special occasion.
I would tell them that you are having Christmas at home, as it is much easier with a small child and also easier for you being pregnant. You can invite them to spend some or all of the holiday with you.
It could be an age thing, my DF has just turned 70 and has definitely slowed down in the last 5 years. He is very used to driving long distances (from before he retired) but it just takes it out of him now (he also doesn't like to drive in the dark any more).
I would have no problem issuing an invite and making it clear I wasn't budging.
If there is another reason they won't do the journey they need to tell you and you can make your decisions with that in mind but till then I agree it's too much.
As an aside, five hours is a fair distance, is there no train alternative?
If the situation has changed since you had DD, I'd say it was to do with them finding your home less relaxing now there's a child on the loose than anything to do with their health.
Is there less space for guests/do you play CBeebies all day/are there toys all over the floor yadda yadda? Maybe they prefer you to go theirs because they can (consciously or not) control the noise levels or meal times or whatevs better?
I'm not saying there's necessarily anything you can do about it btw- or even that you should if it's simply down to them being unused to the chaos that comes with small children. Just a suggestion based on some of the problems we have with DP's parents.
I would use the pregnancy as an excuse to see if you and DH can find a way round it, tell him you don't feel up to the journey, but would it be possible for his parents to use the train, or fly and you pick them up?
We seem to often have threads about how hard travelling with a toddler is. When we had DC1 my parents lived in Europe. We had a ferry and several hours drive to do several times a year.
We ended up with 4 DC very close in age, and every Christmas, Easter, Holiday we made the 4 hour journey to my parents, despite us both working and having a carful. Yes it was a pain but it really isn't that difficult.
Now we are in our 50s I really don't like driving anywhere. We both find it really tiring. So if your ILs are in their late 60s I can imagine that journey is very tiring for them. If your DH has the sort of relationship where he can ask whether there is an issue I think he should.
While the health issues are a possibility I would think it is more likely that someone made a "helpful" comment, or they thought it up themselves, that you wouldnt want them staying over after the baby came. And it transformed into them never travelling to you at all as they got used to never having to make the effort. Perhaps they had friends or other family who fell out with DS's or DD's about being OTT after a baby came and they wanted to avoid being accused of taking over or being over involved?
If DH wont ask, cant you ring and say "Why wont you ever come to us these days?"
My PIL refuse to come to our house, as they 'don't know where it is'. My BIL very helpfully has twice picked them up (5 hour round trip for him) and brought them here, so they can get familiar with the route, but sadly they still won't make the effort.
We live just under 2 hours drive away. They could also get a direct train from a station 5 minutes walk from their house - we are more than happy to pick them up from the station at our end, again they refuse. We would not see them if we did not drive to their house. They have plenty of money, no commitments and are in generally good health but just can't be bothered.
I try not to bring it up anymore, as it upsets my husband. He sometimes takes the children to go and see them without me and sometimes we all go. You can't force people to do something they don't want to do, sadly some people are selfish and lazy, even if the consequence means they won't see their children or grandchildren. I think they see it as their role to be visited, as they are the elder statesmen or something. They also make a massive fuss about cooking a tasteless meal in tiny portions, then complain about how tired they are about it. Have tried taking them out to eat (and paying for it for all of us) but then MIL complains about how expensive it is, the food is too fancy, portions too big etc.
Sorry ended up in a rant about my inlaws.... In short, I would reconcile myself to only seeing them when you visit them and make it less often, particularly if you are pregnancy sick and tired out.
Hi OP. My Pil live about 3 hours away so I sympathise as it’s a nightmare going to visit them as we have the expense of a hotel as well as a nightmare journey etc. They do come here too though maybe once or twice a year. I send DH up on his own once or twice and then we meet halfway occasionally. Perhaps you could suggest that? It’s a pain travelling for ages to somewhere that doesn’t have your DC’s toys etc I’d just be honest with them or rather, get DH to be honest with them!
Considering they changed their behaviour after you had a baby I wonder if they found being around a baby too much for them, perhaps they have an aversion to crying or something? Just trying to figure out why they would suddenly stop visiting when most GPs go into overdrive when a grandchild comes on the scene. Very peculiar.
I agree with putting your foot down and calling their bluff, if you don't now while they are still able to drive easily (I'm assuming) it will only get worse in future.
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