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how often do you see your parents? aibu to kind of wish mine would get a life of there own?

(31 Posts)
icedcoffeecake Sun 07-Jun-09 19:06:29

before i get flamed can i just say that i love my parents to bits and am so lucky that they take such an interest in my life and dote on my dd's and thank god i still have them around

but

every weekend they come to see us and spend time with us, they stay an hour away so we dont see them at all during the week.

i feel that we cant do nything as a family though without them wanting to come along, this includes day trips, visits to the park, weekends away and now they have decided that when we go away on holiday next year (our first big holiday abroad) they want to come with us.

actually even as i am writing this i realise that its not my dad, he has hobbies that keep him happy but my mum has issues with him doing anything without her so he gets dragged along to ours every weekend as well.

i am actually at the stage now where i am scared to open my mouth and say what we have planned because i know that my mum will make plans to come with us.

god i sound like such a cow writing all this down but it really is starting to suffocate me now. i am one of three but both my siblings are still single and leading there own lives.

dh is prettylaid back about it but i get the feeling when he finds out that they are planning on coming round the world with us next year he wont be quite so happy about it.

any adice would would be appreciated! i honestly love seeing them and spending time together but i feel like we are a family of 6 rather than 4!

notnowbernard Sun 07-Jun-09 19:10:02

Mine live nearby and I guess I see them about once every 1-2 weeks. Which is fine

But they both are aware that we have our own lives to lead (and now they have lots more free time on their hands they are quite enjoying leading theirs independently of their DC toosmile)

So it works well (am sure the DDs are the main draw anyway)

They wouldn't dream of inviting themselves along on family outings or turning up unannounced. And we wouldn't go on holiday together

HecatesTwopenceworth Sun 07-Jun-09 19:11:06

I'm afraid you just have to be firm and say no.

TheProfiteroleThief Sun 07-Jun-09 19:11:21

My paretns were pretty close like this. I think it worked for us, becuase we really focussed on the positives and invited them to do things with us, so they were not offended when we said we needed some family time.

No better babysitters on hols imo!

Can you try planning something lovely with them and then something for your family? Also getting them to take the dc and give you some couple time!

I know it can be tricky, but I really miss my parents

nickytwotimes Sun 07-Jun-09 19:12:02

Yanbu.

No matter how much you love them, you need a bt of space and family trips out.

COuld you gently suggest that you have a family day involving them say, once a month, and the rest of the time you go on your own trips? Or have them for Sunday dinners, so that is the BIG FAMILY time, while the rest of the weekend is yours?

I love my Mum to bits (Dad died 4 yrs ago) and my ILs, but that would drive me insane.

CarGirl Sun 07-Jun-09 19:12:14

Perhaps you need to prempt by saying next weekend we are doing x & y so we're not available but how about the weekend after you come on Saturday to do q with us.

Get it down to twice a month?

wonderingwondering Sun 07-Jun-09 19:12:54

I had this. I had to be firm, without being unkind. My IL's used to pop round every Saturday or Sunday morning for coffee - but then they wouldn't leave! It was fine having them pop in for a hour, but not all day. So I just starting making plans to be somewhere at 12, so they could be shooed out. I think they were a bit confused, and maybe hurt, but it got the point where out marriage was suffering. And that was more important.

I also just said, when they suggested holidays and future plans, that DH and I liked going away on our own, rather than making different excuses each time.

It is fine now, they respect us a separate family unit, and they have plenty of involvement with the grandchildren, but as grandparents, not alternative parents, which is what I think they instinctively would have done, if you see what I mean?

icedcoffeecake Sun 07-Jun-09 19:17:32

i am just so frustrated by it all at the moment.

my mum does have major issues about so many things, she does not have many friends outside of work and does not like my dad doing anything without her.

he is a really keen cyclist and used to compete at a high level but had to give it all up because of how much pressure she put on him.

even now if he tries to go out for a bike ride she tags along so instead of doing his usual spped he is left going at a snails pace.

part of me thinks that i must be helping out by taking some of the pressure of him but at the same time i feel like i am going mental.

dh will be working away for 7 months next year and we are saving for a big holiday to celebrate when he gets back (and to spend some much needed time together) and my mum is making plans to come along aarrrgghhh

i said that i did not think it would be a good idea as we need some time as a family but apparently we wont even know she is there hmm

WinkyWinkola Sun 07-Jun-09 19:17:35

This would drive me absolutely potty. You sound very tolerant indeed to have put up with it for so long. As does your DH.

Your parents, or at least your mum, sounds very needy and dependent. Has she never had her own interests and friends and social life to keep her busy? It's a lot of pressure on you IMO.

I think it's really important for you, your DH and your DCs to spend quality time alone together at the weekend and on holiday. And often.

You can:

i. not tell your mum what you're up to at the weekend - just say you've not made up your mind or

ii. continually tell her you're visiting friends that she might feel bad about coming along too or

iii. just say that you and your little family would like some time alone or

iv. be very assertive and tell them you'd like to start diarising one Saturday a month where you see your parents. If they say that's not enough, you say that you need more time alone with your own family.

If they sulk or strop then that's emotional blackmail and the best way to handle that is really to ignore it.

There are bound to be more suggestions coming along in a minute. I'm sure mine are lacking.

CarGirl Sun 07-Jun-09 19:20:49

Can you let your Mum come over once a month to look after the dcs whilst you go out? Your dad can go cycling she'll get a day of company and you get a day off?

Then one other day per month have a family day together.

I think you have to be blunt with your Mum and help her accept that she needs some hobbies and friends of her own.

icedcoffeecake Sun 07-Jun-09 19:21:16

no thats great winky, lots of helpfull advice. i am just at the end of my tether at the moment.

wondering has a very good point about the alternative parent thing which can be a problem at times.

sarah293 Sun 07-Jun-09 19:24:25

Message withdrawn

ItsGrimUpNorth Sun 07-Jun-09 19:27:41

IcedCoffeeCake, you might find that being gentle with them works. Or you might have to brace yourself and be rather more blunt to get the message across. If you're really not happy with the current set up then it's little wonder you feel so tense.

I do often wonder about GPs and their level of expectation regarding involvement in their adult DCs lives.

My mum and dad are really happy doing their own stuff, love their own company, love seeing us when we can (Mum once a month, Dad six times a year or so - they're divorced).

But my PIL - they really expected to be involved in every aspect of our parenting lives, calling me several times a day, wanting to come and visit at every single opportunity, making nasty remarks about our way of parenting. I was shocked and freaked out by all this and began to understand what kind of pressure my SIL had been under for the last six years with her DCs. She moved away last year and her relationship with her parents has never been better.

But I don't know where they get this expectation of total involvement from - they certainly didn't involve their own parents to the anything like the same extent.

And there was definitely an element of wanting to be parents again which involved a lot of treading on my toes and I had to stamp theirs back to get the message across.

pickupthismess Sun 07-Jun-09 19:38:30

iced, I can so empathise.

My parents live 1.5 hours away. They come every weekend unless I make up excuses about being at kids parties and making it clear they can't come. They favour my eldest (though they'd deny it) and won't come in the week even though my youngest is at home and we are often twiddling our thumbs and would welcome the company. Instead they will only come when DS1 is fully available. To add to it they insist they can't drive both ways and so often stay the night, so writing off the weekend.

They have a house abroad but although all my siblings use it at will (they have no kids)when I thought we might all go, next thing I know they are planning the trip with us.

I feel so mean because they can be incredibly helpful but only on their own terms. I am trying to be v firm and I think you have to do the same. Particularly about your holiday.

bicci Sun 07-Jun-09 19:45:24

It's difficult.
icedcoffee I think you've just got to be assertive about when and where you want to see them; to come on holiday with you is the limit!
Put your foot down. They are being utterly insensitive and self centred.
They may sulk for a while, but will soon want to see you and the dcs and stop.
My parents live near too, and they help me quite a bit, picking up from school when I have to work later than I expected etc.
But when it comes to the weekend, they are at a bit of a loss, particularly in winter when they can't garden etc, and we really want family time, which changes if they come along- it's just different.
But I feel I owe them, so do Sunday lunch more than I would want to.
We always ask them, they wouldn't dream of expecting to come every w/e, and are fairly alert to what we want to do.

screamingabdab Sun 07-Jun-09 20:13:30

Really interesting reading this. I have a very similar situation with my parents. We have got into the habit of seeing them nearly every weekend.

On the one hand I now get on better with my mum than I ever have, and she is a brilliant grandmother, but my dad suffers from depression and anxiety, and TBH their relationship isn't great, so it feels like we are some kind of "escape" for my mum, and also an excuse for my dad to justify going off to football every weekend and leave her here with us. Also, he is a bit hard to be around because he can be a fuss-pot over the kids: overly critical and also worrying about them.

We have been on several holidays with them, including Center Parcs. This year I booked for just us to go, but suffered real pangs of guilt. BUT we had a really great, relaxing time.

My mum is quite sensitive to the situation (though we are never open about this subject) and I don't think she resented it. I just wish they had a more full life together.

screamingabdab Sun 07-Jun-09 20:18:33

Just read biccis post, and it makes me aware that over the years we have been really lucky to have parents who have had the DSs overnight when we have gone away. I suppose the quid pro quo for that is providing them with support in the way they need it!

FairLadyRantALot Sun 07-Jun-09 20:18:43

awww sonds like your mu has empty nest sundrome, maybe...bless her...
can see how it can be annoying though...

what sort of things does your mum like doing, and is it possible that you could help her getting herself some hobbies and a life of her own...that , in return, should mean that maybe she wouldn't want to participate in your life so much...

minxthemanx Sun 07-Jun-09 20:19:59

Hmm, can really see that it's a bit suffocating, but I only see my Mum every 6 weeks or so, (she lives a quite a long way away, doesn't drive on motorways THANK GOD, and is semi-disabled.) I really really miss her. Would love to see her a lot more, and for the DC to see more of her. But I think your situation is OTT - the suggestion of "OH, we've got something on next weekend, so we're not around, but shall we catch up the Saturday after?" sounds good. Hopefully they'll get the message.

icedcoffeecake Sun 07-Jun-09 20:20:17

she works long hours so by the time she gets in at night and eats the day is pretty much over, then at weekends she is with us hmmgrin

i really dont know what i can try and do to make her a bit more independent!

FairLadyRantALot Sun 07-Jun-09 20:27:19

oh right she is working..so you are kinda her hobby....hm...I suppose than the suggestion of " Oh, we've got something on next weekend, so we're not around, but shall we catch up the Saturday after?" might be your best option

bicci Sun 07-Jun-09 20:28:07

screamingabdab- yes, that's how I think of it really- quid pro quo. And I do enjoy their company.
It's just the weekends are short, there's so much to fit in, and- it's not just me- my dh is brilliant about it, but think sometimes he's rather not have them here most sundays, ( we do go to them sometimes too actually- and he ducks out of that more often than not) - and the dc's sometimes complain that their grandparents are coming again- eldest getting teenagery....

Longtalljosie Sun 07-Jun-09 20:29:27

Your husband is away for 7 months? Goodness, you deserve the holiday at the end of it. Do put your foot down. Just say you've discussed it and you really do want the time to yourself.

What about your in-laws? Do you see much of them? It could be helpful to say you need to see them one weekend to break the routine.

pamelat Sun 07-Jun-09 20:36:34

Hello, only read OP. We alternate my parents and in the inlaws every Sunday afternoon, it kind of works for us. We get fed and DD (17 months) is distracted for a couple of hours.

Pacita Sun 07-Jun-09 21:06:54

YANBU, most definitely. The situation would drive me insane. It is terribly important for a family to have time alone together, and your mum needs to understand that. Your DH is being reasonable now, but he too may get tired.

Since your dad seems more independent, could you not have a chat with him, asking him for help dealing with the problem? Perhaps encouraging him to make plan for them two as a couple?

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