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In-laws coming for 6 days after Xmas. Again.

(144 Posts)
MaryEli Thu 14-Nov-19 16:42:07

Apologies that this is so long. I need to vent.

OH is from another European country and we see his parents, who live in his home country, 5 or 6 times a year, including staying with them for a week or two in the summer. They are in their late 60s/early 70s. We have a 3-year-old DC. We lived with PIL from when DC was 9 to 20 months old, so they got to spend a great deal of time with DC and they developed a special bond which I am pleased about.

Before I met him, OH was actually estranged from his DP for around 15 years. This will be the sixth consecutive year that they have spent time with their son over the Xmas period after he resumed contact with them.

My DP live in the same town as us and we see them once or twice a month, but not normally for very long. Last year we did not see them at all over Christmas. DF has been diagnosed with a long-term illness and this year we have decided to invite my parents for Xmas Day, along with my grandmother, who is 97. They are really touched we have asked them and I want to make it special for them.

OH is very in demand by his employer throughout November and December (working 7-day weeks) and does not currently know which days he can get off over Xmas other than the bank holidays. Because of the nature of OH’s job, I run the home and do pretty much all of the admin and childcare when DC is not at nursery. I also work full time. I do not have a weekend and am always shattered, but particularly so at the end of the year. I have been working from home for the past few months and managing household stuff during breaks but will be starting a new full-time office job at the start of December and will no doubt be more tired than usual.

Last year, OH’s parents came to stay with us from 27 Dec to 2 Jan, leaving on the morning I went back to work. We lived in a very small flat not much bigger than a studio with one main living area /kitchen, where PIL slept. It was very cramped and after 6 days I had more than had enough of us all being piled up like sardines. DP afterwards reassured me that we would put our foot down next time and not have them to stay for so long. Claiming that MIL gets ill every time she flies because she came down with a really nasty cold once, they had insisted on driving to see us (it’s several hundred km so more than a day each way) and taking the ferry.

I am off work for the days between Xmas and New Year because DC’s nursery will be closed. I would relish the chance of a bit of rest (as much as is possible with a 3-year-old in tow) between Xmas and and going back to work, but lo and behold OH has informed me that PIL are once again coming to stay with us from 27 Dec to 2 Jan (i.e. 6 nights and 6 full days), leaving once again on the morning I return to work.

To arrange this, OH and his parents have had discussions on the phone, always when OH is not home so I am not privy to what has been said. Just like last year, it has transpired that they will be driving and taking the ferry. I am totally convinced that they do this in order to stay for longer, because they need time to get over the journey and it would be too much to head back after 3 days. They need help with the internet so OH books their travel for them, which means he does have an element of control, but in spite of this he always ends up agreeing to the dates that suit PIL. They are not retired and return to work on 4 Jan so basically come to us for all of the spare time they have. They would come on Boxing Day if we let them but we have at least managed to convince them that we need our space then.

Last year we were in the same situation, both in full-time jobs. We went to my grandmother’s from Xmas Eve to Boxing Day and returned home on 27 Dec late morning. PIL were due that evening but showed up during the afternoon because they’d managed to get an earlier ferry, even though OH had been quite clear with them that we would not be ready to welcome them (unpacking, doing laundry, getting flat ready etc) before the evening. OH told them they weren’t being reasonable and they told us that they hadn't considered it from our point of view.

What makes me feel guilty at being annoyed is that PIL are lovely to us when we stay with them, feed us lovely home-grown food and let us relax. They have a large house with 2 spare rooms, so we can all spend time together without getting on top of each other, and the weather is always good so we spend a lot of time outdoors. When they come to us, PIL are not difficult guests other than FIL having a few little irritating habits (e.g. leaving toilet seat up) that are easy enough to ignore most of the time.

Last year PIL were so tired from the journey that they just sat on the sofa for 2 days, not interacting with DC not doing anything to help me. I found it hard to keep them entertained. OH was only able to have a couple of days off out of the 6 that his parents were here. This year he says he will try and take more time off, but it is pretty likely that he will have to cancel the days off and go in. I don’t drive, so we cannot go very far afield if OH is not around, and PIL do not speak any English at all, so are completely dependent on me to interpret for them whenever we do go anywhere.

I also currently have to interpret what DC says for PIL as DC does understand their language but does not speak it in full sentences yet. FIL largely ignores my efforts and makes little effort to try and grasp any words at all in English. He also likes to spend a lot of time comparing culture in the UK with his own culture, which starts to grate after a couple of days as he says the same stuff every time they visit.

Although we now live in a larger flat, we do not have a spare room. PIL will be sleeping in the small dining room/playroom on an inflatable bed that will have to be shoved out of the way every morning so we can have breakfast. PIL live in a very rural area with a large garden and have chickens, goats etc. As a result they are constantly in and out of their house. But when they are with us they end up cooped up indoors unless I suggest something and pretty much push them out the door, even though they have visited our town several times now.

I think it really bothers me that I have adapted to their culture and that they have not really adapted to mine.

I have just had an argument with OH because once again I wasn’t given a say in the dates that he’s agreed with his DP. He says that I did agree, and that I agreed last year as well. But there is no way I would ever have accepted such a long stay, not when I’m the one that has to do all the entertaining / organising. He just informs me which dates have been chosen, which is definitely not the same as asking me what I think and taking my preferences into consideration. He never normally behaves like this.

OH admitted last night that he hasn’t actually booked the travel yet, so I asked him to consider booking flights instead of a ferry and for a shorter period such as from 29 Dec to 2 Jan, and to just inform his DP that that is what suits us best. It would make more sense because PIL would be much less tired and much less bored, and we might all appreciate the time we have together more. Not to mention we wouldn’t have to find somewhere for them to leave their car (we live in an area with very restricted parking). It would also mean OH was keeping his promise of making things less difficult for me this year.

OH has said that not living in the same country as PIL justifies the length of the visit. I get that Xmas is important to them, but it doesn’t make sense to me that they would come for such a long time when their son is not around to spend time with them (he will have a lot more availability from January onwards) and the days are so short and dark.

I have told him I have nothing against seeing them. I just find 6 days is too much and I am really annoyed that I don’t get a say in it. I have told him I would be happy for PIL to come and stay more often for long weekends during the year.

I am dreading having to entertain PIL, meal plan, prepare food, do extra washing up etc for 6 whole days when I could be taking it a bit more easy. But more importantly than that I am particularly worried about managing PIL’s expectations, as OH has confessed to me that unlike my parents they expect to see us every year at Xmas. It certainly already feels like a pattern has been established.

Thank you if you've read this far.

AIBU to be pissed off that my wishes are being ignored or am I just making a big bah humbug fuss about nothing?

LightDrizzle Thu 14-Nov-19 16:48:07

If he pushes ahead with the 6 days, can you go and visit your own family for a few of them? Otherwise I’d insist he takes the time off and acts as the primary host.

Snipples Thu 14-Nov-19 16:49:52

Agree he needs to take the time off. Just don't host them OP. You have things to do, off you go. He's being totally selfish and if you don't start putting your foot down this will be a yearly thing. He's sending you a message that he doesn't care about what you think. That would piss me right off.

Shoxfordian Thu 14-Nov-19 16:50:14

Is there any way pil can get an airbnb or something? You'd be perfectly justified saying there is not enough space to stay with you

Really though you have an oh problem

ChuckleBuckles Thu 14-Nov-19 16:52:36

OH has confessed to me that unlike my parents they expect to see us every year at Xmas

But they don't see you both at Christmas do they, as your OH fu*ks off to work leaving you to act the little woman on the short break you get, running yourself ragged over his parents. So this year either he books them into an air b&b or you stay at your parents house seeing your family for the full length of time his guests are staying. You already see them 5 to 6 times a year, let him host them for the 6 days over Christmas and stop letting him make a mug out of you.

ChuckleBuckles Thu 14-Nov-19 16:55:42

Because of the nature of OH’s job, I run the home and do pretty much all of the admin and childcare when DC is not at nursery. I also work full time

Does OH do anything to make life easier for you at all?

Abraid2 Thu 14-Nov-19 16:56:09

It’s not a particularly long journey by car and ferry. Why do they need so much time to recover?

Drum2018 Thu 14-Nov-19 16:57:15

Put your foot down now before any travel arrangements are booked and say No. it is ridiculous to have them stay with you at all given that you simply don't have space. And the fact that your Dh will be working means you're left to host them. Just say No, you are not willing to do it again. And seriously, if your Dh insists on them coming then either he or they need to book and pay for alternative accommodation. There is no way I would put up with this when you don't have space and Dh is not even there most of the time.

fluffiphlox Thu 14-Nov-19 16:58:52

Premier Inns are really very reasonable.

sarahstanley Thu 14-Nov-19 16:59:43

I am constantly amazed what people put up with!! No just fucking no way, the lack of space alone is reason enough for them not to stay at all. Fuck that for a laugh what a nightmare! Come down with an ‘illness’ so they can’t stay if all else fails and tell your husband next year he will have to put his foot down!

Flower777 Thu 14-Nov-19 17:03:47

Why was your OH not in contact with his DPs for so long?

Anyway no YANBU.

5foot5 Thu 14-Nov-19 17:04:04

I think you should ask him what he is intending to do to entertain them while they are here, advise him to do his meal plans in good time so that he can get the shopping done and not to forget to leave himself time to make beds up etc. In other words "I don't give a flying f**k about the difficulties with work. You invited them, they are your parents so all the work entailed in putting them up is YOUR responsibility." And stick to it.

LillianGish Thu 14-Nov-19 17:04:15

I'm another one saying AirBnB. It is difficult - they obviously can't just pop over for an afternoon or even for the day, but you really don't have room to put them up. You need to talk to your DH about this - does he not agree with you? I actually think you should show him this post - you are not being unreasonable. You need to bite the bullet on this is as it is a situation that is going to keep arising.

Antigon Thu 14-Nov-19 17:04:26

I second the suggestion of going away for a few days on the day PIL arrive.

Him telling you that you agreed last year and this year would seriously piss me off.

You need to do something like go away for a few days to show that you mean business.

Sceptre86 Thu 14-Nov-19 17:06:00

You go to see them and stay a week or two at a time and they host you happily from what you have said. However, for you 6 days is too much. That is sad in my opinion and if I was your in laws I would limit your stay to no more than a week too. So what if they have more space to host than you, families are supposed to make time for each other and small inconveniences should be accepted.

I do agree that the chores of hosting should be shared though and everything should not fall to you. At their age a long journey driving plus taking the ferry will take them time to recover from and I agree that you should get your oh to book flights for them instead.

Seeing your in laws from abroad 5-6 times a year is not a lot considering your oh sees your parents once or twice a month ( assuming he is home when they visit). You have an oh problem as he could take time off to make your life easier.

MaryEli Thu 14-Nov-19 17:07:11

@Abraid2 it's several hundred km and they are in their late 60s/early 70s. They drive all day as in 12 hours.

fedup21 Thu 14-Nov-19 17:07:20

Say, ‘no bloody way’ before the tickets are booked.


Apileofballyhoo Thu 14-Nov-19 17:07:56

It's really rude of your DH to not take time off when his parents travel a considerable distance to see him.

Could you all go somewhere together for part of the time - rent a house somewhere touristy with more space and country walks etc?

Or in future could you go to them for part of Christmas?

Sceptre86 Thu 14-Nov-19 17:08:18

Also no harming saying you have plans of your own next Christmas and won't be able to host!

MaryEli Thu 14-Nov-19 17:09:18

@Flower777 because they were so bloody manipulative and wanted him to build a house on their land and live next to them forever and didn't want him to move away and spread his wings.

ChocoChunk1 Thu 14-Nov-19 17:09:39

My parents visit often and stay in a nearby Travelodge. They don't spend every moment with us, and take time for themselves. It's much better.

HollowTalk Thu 14-Nov-19 17:10:08

That would completely ruin my holiday. Everyone wants to enjoy the Christmas break and how can you do that if you're having to cook and clean and cope with ILs in such a small space?

MaryEli Thu 14-Nov-19 17:13:20

I would love to put them in the local Travelodge but they would take it very badly.

Reallybadidea Thu 14-Nov-19 17:13:28

Put your foot down and say absolutely no way. Stop trying to be all nice and reasonable and say it is unacceptable for him to invite them for a long visit, without your agreement and when he's at work. His problem to sort out what happens, but the current plan isn't happening.

I think you've slightly made a rod for your own back by taking on so much of the domestic stuff tbh. Maybe think about how you can make things more equitable in future, cos your life sounds not much fun at the moment.

Reallybadidea Thu 14-Nov-19 17:14:27

they would take it very badly.

Well tough shit. It's your Christmas (and apartment) too.

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