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How do you cope with the visitors?

(32 Posts)
stickybean Mon 12-Nov-12 03:36:35

I'll start by saying I know I am probably being unreasonable... I'm just having a little vent, feel free to ignore me!

We live in New York but are both British. I have 2 young kids and another on the way. People come and stay with us ALL the time. I reckon we have guests 50-60% of the time. Some months we'll have no one and then we can have a month or two where we are 3 or 4 different guests back to back.
Mostly it's not too bad and I just get on with it but I'm reaching my limit. I don't want to make polite conversation, I don't want to cook every night... I want to eat cereal for dinner.
I don't want to find a free night to go out. I want to stay at home, watch TV and go to bed.

When people come for a week it's ok but after that I reach my limit. One of my siblings is here for 3 weeks at the moment... It's killing me. There is a reason we don't live with our siblings as adults. Don't even get me started on my mother.

I know I just need to say NO when people ask to come and stay or set strict time limits. But it's easier said then done. I am crap at confrontation so just quietly seeth.

I don't even know what I'm asking... Share your stories, tell me how to deal with it or to suck it up. Or that it's the price you pay for moving precious grandchildren / nieces nephews across the globe and tough luck.

Just venting really.
Sorry for typos, can't proof read on my phone.

TanteRose Mon 12-Nov-12 04:32:10

we live in a small flat with no spare room...seems to deter most people grin

I'm in Japan so its very far and very expensive, so we don't get many visitors.

erm, what else can I say?

you need to say NO! seriously, if its doing your head in, then just write up a set of rules and send them out.

You are going to have 3 DCs soon, so use that as the point of no return.
Limit the numbers per year and limit the length of time for each stay

good luck!

KnockedUpMell Mon 12-Nov-12 04:55:24

Maybe you're putting yourself out too much when they come to stay? My il's stayed with us for a month each at a time when I was pg with dc2 an working ft. I left dh to sort out their meals (I only cook for ds and me on a regular basis anyway as dh is picky about his food), and went to bed whenever I wanted (usually by 9 as I was knackered). I can see it would be more difficult to do that if it was may family that was staying, but perhaps if you we're more boring and didn't have decent food for dinner every night (like me!) they wouldn't stay so long or come as frequebtly! smile

fuzzywuzzy Mon 12-Nov-12 04:55:53

Tell 'guests' to fend or themselves, tell them you don't want to cook/go out, but they're welcome to, I'd also throw in that its lovely being cooked for a change given how you've been cooking for everyone constantly & you love their whatever they are good at cooking.

In future point them to the nearest hotel.

I would, but I have a very low tolerance level for putting up with other people's crap.

Lavenderhoney Mon 12-Nov-12 05:10:20

Can you say that you simply don't have the space now? And what with the dc waking and being unsettled with beds., could they stay at a hotel?

Or say you already have friends coming/ made plans and perhaps they can wait and see you in the uk.

Sounds very disruptive to me- you are not a hotel! And staying for weeks on end!!! That is a problem with being an expat somewhere nice, you might be thinking of accepting a transfer to somewhere not so glamorous and will everyone still be so keen!

Perhaps say you are getting an au pair and she will be having the spare room. ( clutches straws)

FellatioNelson Mon 12-Nov-12 05:12:56

We live someone hot and be achy, and we've just had a family staying with us for ten days. It was five days too long, to be honest, for all the reasons you have said above. I was drained by the time they left - I just cannot be on conversational duty for that many days and nights on the trot! And as it was half term and I don't work I was with them pretty much 24/7.

My DS resented his half term being hijacked by other teenagers he barely knows and he made little effort to socialise with them, which pissed my friend off, but quite honestly one of their children is incredibly hard work, and trying to have fun with him was like pulling teeth, so I don't really blame my son for giving up. He just wanted to do his own thing, with his own friends in his own home, but it was implied several that he was being spoilt and rude. sad Admittedly he didn't show his best side but I can understand why. We won't be putting him through that again.

And I am not a huge TV watchers, it is so hard not to be able to just slump down on the sofa and zone out for a couple of hours at the end of the day. I love my friend, and it was so nice to see her, but I was running out of conversation by day 6. confused

This is why we never go on holiday with people.

FellatioNelson Mon 12-Nov-12 05:14:37

sorry for so many typos, hope you deciphered it all. blush

MortimersRaven Mon 12-Nov-12 06:13:43

Our constant stream of guests during our first year abroad prevented us from having a holiday or travelling at all, which had been the whole point of moving here. Plus extended family are really hard to live with for long periods of time. I think to an extent you have to suck it up but there is a limit.

We moved into a 1 bed place and booked a beach holiday. 2 sets of friends asked separately whether they could come with us and we said no. We've been together almost 4 years and have never had a holiday as a couple!

You need to lay down some boundaries; how about 'we can take guests but only for a max of 7 days as we also need our own space'?

IMO you can totally use being pregnant as a reason to refuse anyone/everyone. They will probably huff about your hormones but they'll understand. Then you can extend that into 'not with a tiny baby' and then 'not with a sleepless toddler' and so on for as long as you want to.

stickybean Mon 12-Nov-12 13:00:03

What a lovely bunch of supportive people you are! I feel better for just having written it down really.

Hotels aren't an option for most but I have got to a point where that can't be my problem anymore.
I have already told my mother I don't want her staying in my house after the baby is born. I feel bad but it will tip me over the edge. It went down like a lead balloon.

I think she's very cross I dared make my own decision / had my own life and moved away. Not sure that she will ever forgive my husband.
I need to keep reminding myself I am in my thirties, have a family of my own. I am not answerable to my mother or anyone else.
God I have issues grin

We are very antisocial and don't give up our bed or shuffle the kids around, we also live slap bang in the middle of absolutely nowhere, so we don't get many visitors smile My father emotionally blackmailed me into letting my mother come and stay straight after my DC2 was born and it was a nightmare, ruined those first weeks and probably also our already not great relationship, so well done you for saying NO ahead of time, it's less damaging than going along with a visit you don't want immediately after the birth!

In your position I'd be wondering how many of the guests would be flocking to stay for weeks if you'd moved somewhere less exciting, and responding to their requests to stay accordingly! For anyone, even if you want to see them and they are over mainly to see you and not New York, I'd set a limit of maybe 4 nights. With 3 small children and a job you are not a hotel!

CaliforniaLeaving Mon 12-Nov-12 20:39:20

We only get my Mother coming to visit, she's fine Dh said she can live with us if need be as she's fairly easy. We aren't in an international tourist area (3 hours to San Francisco) only one small hotel within a 40 minute drive. So no one comes, grin

frenchfancy Tue 13-Nov-12 16:58:40

I love having guests, as long as they pull their weight.

When we first moved here we had a string of visitors who didn't lift a finger and expected to be waited on (the we are on holiday sindrome) they haven't been invited back.

My best friend and her family come for 10 days or more every summer, and we love it. They help out, pull their weight, and don't get offended if we go to bed early. Mum comes out twice a year and she is the same.

50% of the time is a bit much though.

chloeb2002 Tue 13-Nov-12 20:14:39

Id say as you know the answer is no.. In contrast since we have been in Aus we have only had one visit a year! The problem seems to be similar among all our British friends! the phone lines only call out.. not many people know how to call into Aus.. very strange.. but their loss!

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 13-Nov-12 23:43:09

I feel your pain. We are in Paris and have non-stop guests, usually only for a weekend/long weekend, but we counted up the other week and had had guests for 10 weekends on the trot. So we just said to anyone who asked, no, sorry, we need some weekends to ourselves for a bit. And to the cheeky cow who said "But we've already booked our flights", recommended a cheap hotel near us and said "It would be lovely to see you for drinks." grin

I cannot bear: people who expect us to entertain them/come to Montmartre/ go on the batobus etc etc; people who see us as a free/cheap holiday and don't offer to even buy a bottle of wine. We have some friends who are notorious for this. They wandered off on their own in Paris one weekend, but said they wanted to meet us for lunch. We turned up at appointed place at set time, and found they weren't there. I called them, and when they finally answered, it transpired that they were right over the other side of Paris and had already eaten.

The people I hate most are the ones who say to me as soon as I get in from work "What's for dinner? Did you pick up any wine on the way in? There doesn't seem to be any left because we have been sitting here all afternoon drinking it " And Paris isn't cheap, so I would never expect anyone to take us out for a meal, but it would be really nice if they could pay their share. I ended up paying well over 300 euros for a meal for four of us, in a restaurant they wanted to go to - when the bill came, they said "Oh we'll settle up with you later" and never did, despite my reminders. They finally said they had run out of euros, and would send me a cheque for their half. Well, it's like that mythical postal order from Australia - three years on, and I'm still waiting for it.

papooshka Wed 14-Nov-12 11:22:56

We are in Singapore and have had our fair share of visitors which I do love having, however cos we've been here a while now, visitors are fewer and fewer which is hard cos I do miss home.

But when we do have visitors I have a strict 2 week rule, any longer just kills me with the constant going out, not relaxing, having to be on my best behaviour all the time!!

londonmoo Wed 14-Nov-12 13:54:17

Am new to this overseas business but I think it must be very hard to say no, but I think there are some practical ways to make it a bit easier on yourself and you can bring in some constraints and terms & conditions.

When third baby comes along you can get away with a flat 'no' for a good few months - longer if needs be. Who can argue with someone saying: 'Sorry, my 18-month old is still a nightmare at sleeping and we are finding having three to be very exhausting. It'll be a very helpful conversation stopper. Should you find yourself having to do it regardless, then:
• Set maximum stopover times - 7 days max or even less.
• Be honest about having done the tourist thing a lot but turn it into generosity by offering to give people a key and come and go as they wish. It IS generous, anyway.
• You can invent a previous phantom guest who was very useful and get the ghost to set the bar high by suggesting via one of the planning emails something like: 'What we did with our last guests was have one night on and one night off - we'd shop & cook one night, they'd do it the next. We'll do that again this time.' Make sure they know these are your current expectations. It might only work with familiar people who you know well but at least if you can get a couple of visitors per year to play along you will salvage a bit of cash & sanity & energy.
A cousin who used to come and stay with us when we were back in UK bringing three tall kids and a wife (we are a family of three) would pack his car with all the ingredients it took to make one enormous meal, and then cook it, and then clear away. A really lovely gesture and always a gorgeous meal full of French fancies.

Poor thing. Be as honest as you can. The best people will understand competely.


pupsiecola Wed 14-Nov-12 14:09:46

We have the opposite problem. Five months in (!) and still no visitors although MIL is coming for 3 weeks in December. It's just so expensive to get over here and a long flight too so impossible for a weekend sort of a thing. Most of our friends can't afford it. A fair few are going through divorces too. I'm hoping to bring a couple of those out on airmiles but they work and it's hard to to spare the holiday etc when also splitting the childcare in the school holidays etc. Our parents could afford it but aren't that adventurous. Last time my mum was on a plane was 35 years ago and that was only for 2 hours.

Anyway, I feel for you. It sounds like a total nightmare and has made me think maybe it's not so bad not having guests after all!

Some good suggestions there. It's unbelievable that people are so cheeky and thoughtless. Especially "friends"!

londonmoo Wed 14-Nov-12 15:35:47

Poor pupsie. I'll visit you! I'll bring my own lunch AND wash up smile

picklesrule Wed 14-Nov-12 15:46:33

We just had visitors for 8 weeks on the trot actually almost drove me mad! Was a mix of dh's family and mine..not sure which was more annoying actually grin
Was so sick of making conversation by the end of it!!

Sorry that's not remotely helpful just yo say I feel your pain!!

BookieMonster Wed 14-Nov-12 15:59:43

Don't answer the phone or the door!
Seriously, tell them it isn't convenient for you and compile a list of nearby hotels. You don't need to give anyone an explanation.
I got tough after a nightmare Christmas when my PIL booked flights out to stay with us (without checking if it would be OK or convenient) in the full knowledge that their stay would coincide with the planned visit of my parents. That was a fun four weeks. hmm

NapDamnYou Wed 14-Nov-12 18:44:55

We moved into a place with no spare room.
I didn't see why we should pay hundreds of dollars extra rent a month in order to host visitors three months a year.

EspressoMonkey Thu 15-Nov-12 12:34:42

MrsSchadenFreude - snap! We used to live in Paris too and we often had guests weekend after weekend. They left after breakfast inbetween finishing eating and starting the dishes, and turned up at night inbetween meal preparation completion and time for an aperitif, empty handed of course. Then they complain about how expensive drinks and coffee were in Paris whilst helping themselves to my Tassimo machine or wine cabinet.

We are in Switzerland now and bracing ourselves for the start of the ski season, especially as arrival of DD2 means no more spare room. "she can bed down with you!" MIL announced. Grrrrrrr.

Our best guests stayed for one night and came armed with a bottle of Moet and mail ordered a hamper of food. The kids loved them and still talk about them a year later.

Our worst guests were rude to the kids, spilt coffee on the bedroom carpet and didn't clean it up or tell me, emptied our drinks cabinet, got drunk and insulted my husband, and paid for nothing.

FuckingWonderwoman Thu 15-Nov-12 23:06:25

This year we rented a gite and invited a friend of mine, who had had a shit year, to spend a long weekend with us, in the middle of the holiday. She contributed nothing to the weekend at all, didn't lift a finger and only went out to get bread after extreme pressure had been put on her, and we were busy with other stuff. We went out for dinner a couple of times, and she didn't even offer to pay her share or the wine, or offer to drive so that we could get pissed. Or say thank you afterwards.

We have booked the same place again this year - she asked what we were doing for our holiday when she rang the other day, and we told her. She called back the next day, saying enthusiastically that not only had she and her DH booked leave, but also the ferry. Unfortunately, she didn't ask when we had booked for, and we're going a week earlier this year...not to mention the fact that we hadn't actually invited her and her DH this year...

stickybean Fri 16-Nov-12 00:11:40

Arrrrghhhhhh. That's all angry

Your posts have made me feel better and less alone but oh my goodness I can't wait until weds when I finally have my home back. I feel like I have a shadow.
No time alone even when I'm running errands, doing school run, supermarket etc she's coming with me.
It's NYC for gods sake... Go and do something!!!
And breatheeeee.

CordeliaChase Fri 16-Nov-12 00:25:05

We've just moved out to Canada. Luckily, both mine and DHs family hate the cold weather, and we are currently surrounded in pesky white stuff. Peace and quiet for the first Christmas in 6 years grin we are going to be finding a place with a developed basement though, as my mother is planning a 6 week stay with us in February. I don't mind so much as it means me and DH can get out and sample the Canadian night life while she watches our 2 year old wink

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