Handling visits from family when living overseas....tips please!!(21 Posts)
myself, DH and DD will shortly be leaving from the UK for the U.S. for DHs job, for about 2years. I will be a SAHM because DD still only a baby.
Parents on both sides already talking about visiting. This is fine in theory but obviously DH only has 5 weeks holiday a year and we would like to take the opportunity to actually see some of the U.S. on our holidays as a family of 3.
Otherwise all our family holiday time could easily get taken up with visits from home!
Useful info: parents on both sides can be very demanding and not very respectful of appropriate 'boundaries'....
For those who have experience of this, how do you manage people's expectations in terms of visits?? (eg that DH will still be working during the week and not on holiday like them!). How do you put boundaries in place for people expecting to be chauffeured around/entertained for weeks on end/ or visiting places?? Also, everyday with my DM or MIL for weeks on end would drive me to distraction(!!) how do I make it clear without being rude or offensive that I would still want some days just me and DD so we can go to baby/toddler groups or whatever??
Well it depends how long they visit.
Less than week = suck it up
More than a week, explain that you have certain commitments that you will need to keep but will keep x days free for them.
You could combine the two and take road trips with your parents, encourage seperate cars, long picnic lunches and big days out.
It might be your idea of hell but it's worth considering as it means they are not in your home and it's much easier to not play host for extended periods to ungrateful guests.
They dont have to come when DH is off, at least not if they are your family
Second the idea of meeting in a holiday destination elsewhere in the us
How long will the journey time be?
None of our visitors have hired a car, and so expected to be ferried everywhere. Try and 'encourage' them to hire a car, and that at least you won't be a glorified taxi driver for the time they are with you.
I may take a few days off but recently I couldn't, I worked for an entire week when my parents last visited. We both work full time and I only got 4 weeks holiday, most of which had been used.
I'd simply look at it this way. Some families have no grandparents. You have grandparents and they want to visit. Just talk to them in advance and tell them if you cannot entertain them constantly and suggest what they can do without you. Tell them in advance your plans. Tell them to respect your plans. If they are your in-laws, then your spouse needs to support you and tell their parents this and vice versa. An unsupportive spouse with in-laws can be awful.
We've had a lot of visitors over the three years we've been overseas, and it has, on the whole, been absolutely amazing. We feel really grateful that family and friends wanted to visit, at great expense to themselves. Sure, it's tying sometimes, but depending on where you live there may be good transport links so your visitors can entertain themselves (not where we are! a car is essential but none of our guests felt confident driving over here - it's CRAZY!) so we would do all the driving. We've done some grea road trips with our families too - a lot of fun for them and us!
Some of our visitors (my parents mostly) came over twice a year for 4 or five weeks and it's been blissful. They help in the house, babysit, don't expect to be 'entertained' and DH can carry on at work as usual, and I work from home so that doesn't change - so wonderful to see them here and for them to share our experience living here.
I suppose it's all about managing expectations and being realistic with your guests about how much time you will have to spend with them. Good luck with the move!
See how things go - you might surprise yourself and welcome the company/ change to routine etc!!
We had numerous visitors when I was overseas and like you wanted to use holiday for 'family of 3' trips. After the first lot of visitors seemed surprised that I had a job/ DP and DS a routine, we made a point of emphasising this in advance for future visitors (just by being very matter of fact). We also learned a lot about potential trips/ public transport so we could 'help' visitors to not be around permanently e.g. a few days with us, a few days away, a day out 'on their own' sightseeing when staying with us etc. We'd normally set this out in emails in advance ('some ideas for your trip' type of thing).
we generally loved having people to stay, and I wouldn't have predicted this in advance! they also brought lots of treats from home and spoilt DS with attention so it was all good. We had to 'manage' my parents a bit as they are prone to sit back and let you do everything unless they're given jobs but overall
we bossed them about and it was fine.
If it's both sets of parents you'd definitely have issues with then I'd suggest renting somewhere with no spare room - that way you cannot be expected to accommodate them!
and nice friends will be happy sleeping on a sofa bed when they visit
MIL came for 8 weeks in 2013-4 (over Xmas- she arrived end Nov, left in Feb, I've still not got over it, dh ended up doing a contract that took him away three days a week, and every single morning I staggered downstairs wanting a cup of tea, to find her dressed, complete with shoes and handbag, with a "what are we doing today?" look on her face.
I know she's on her own in the UK, and loved the company and we have the space, but OMG it almost killed me, I'm still deeply resentful and could barely speak to her by the end.
There is a huge retired community here, with loads of events on, and I suggested many times that she joined some of their things, like tours, lunches, travel talks etc, she would have loved it, but refused because she "didn't want to put me out".
My parents are 15 years younger, and lived in Asia themselves in the 1960s so are quite happy to call themselves a taxi and go off for the day if I'm busy.
Get them to visit and then disappear for a couple of regional trips. My df for example comes to visit for a month but then disappears for a week here and a week there, coming back mostly on weekends of half terms when the kids are around. When we lived in Singapore he visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Australia, Thailand etc. Now we are in the USA, he's done Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico etc. Works pretty well...... Also he found the jet lag difficult to deal with in Asia so he spent the first 3 days in Singapore in a hotel. He was able to sleep in, head back for a nap or stay up til 4am, whatever he needed to do, without the kids waking him up or vice versa. He's a pretty considerate guest. We have the opposite problem ... no-one else wants to visit us and then they get upset when we visit the UK at a time that doesn't suit them....
My parents stay in a hotel down the road. It works really well as gives everyone space, especially in the mornings.
My DH doesn't leave annual leave for visitors. I work from home and will make it clear if I need to work.
MyFriends has got the right idea. Last time the ILs came to stay, they stayed a week, went away for a week, then came back for another week. It meant I was able to cope (they both get on my nerves, MIL in particular).
We have public transport cards loaded and suggest things to do during the day that will suit their interests. If I have time I'm happy to do a bit of hosting and tour guiding. But in general we make it clear that on weekdays, guests are expected to look after themselves.
My ILs came for a month and it almost broke us. They wouldn't go out on their own and just said they would "just fit in with you". Fine, but I'd just had a baby, who was two weeks old and fitting in with me would've meant sitting round in PJs. They were great with our toddler but got very bored, and so did the toddler as she wanted to go outside and ILs wouldn't go further than the garden.
We finally sent them out on their own to a beautiful town that's famous for its panoramic views. They came back at the end of the day with very grumpy faces and FIL said "we've seen much better views".
My advice ... Stick to a week each, and mean it!
although, we did do this and they ignored us and booked a month instead
My advice is to only have them visit when you feel you have got to grips with your new life and are sort of settled.
Also have them do there own research in what they would like to see and do whilst with you .
I made the mistake of having my parents come over when I didn't know my way around ( and had a newborn and a toddler )and so they got totally panicked about leaving the house and drove me barking .
Neither of them could find the country they were visiting on a map let alone muster the courage to take a taxi to the souq.
Now , when I could actually show them the place , they won't come back because they didn't like it last time.
It depends so much on your relationship. Living abroad made my relationship with my MIL (now sadly no longer with us). When I was not working and the kids were little we used to have some great days out - it is was actually fun exploring with my parents or MIL and also showing them round. My advice would be to either get somewhere big enough that they are not under your feet all the time or somewhere small enough that they have to stay in an hotel. Don't have any visitors until you are properly installed and settled then you can take charge during visits. Make a long list of things you miss from home and get them to bring it all out for you. Try to imagine how you'd feel if your baby eventually moved to another country and how much you'd want to visit them and see what their life was like. These are all things that helped me.
Also no one needs to stay more than two weeks at the absolute maximum.
I have the war wounds of PIL who insisted on coming for close to a month. After the first week I opened up the treasure chest and started spending. I hired a shore house for week 3, a driver and a private tour guide who spoke Danish and had them take them everywhere for weeks 2 and 4. It cost a lot but my sanity is worth more.
Now my Mil nor SIL can't get health insurance for their stay we won't let them visit us. It's actually far easier as my PIL are more relaxed at home. Also, dont be surprised if your DH struggles to take off 5 weeks of vacation. Mine has struggled to take 3 weeks off for the past couple of years. My SIL is banned from our home after she pooped her pants on our doorstep. She spent her entire visit drinking our booze and consequently had a very upset stomach.
For us, the folks who won't drive or use public transport on their own come for much shorter time (less than a week) as ferrying them around and entertaining 24/7 is too much. We set this time boundary up front and only agree dates for 5-6 days that suit us.
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