Help coping with extended visits from Punjabi in laws(14 Posts)
My in laws are genuinely nice people but they are staying for the second time this year and it's making me so anxious I'm becoming unwell.
I'm Scottish and DH has permanent leave to remain in the uk. We've been together 10 years, married for 4 and have a 1 year old. i am v introverted and need to spend some time alone every day or so.
We currently are living in a 2 bed flat with my inlaws who I'm just finding smothering and confusing. Kitchen taken over no choice about food, any conversation no matter what interrupted to offer food. Lots of child rearing advice and also lots of drama around having a cold and my mum visiting...
Most confusing I find is that they often don't say hello or thank you and will sit saying nothing when I am there doing something- this makes me incomfy so I leave the room then they ask DH if I'm offended. Last night all conversations and decisions were all in Hindi and I have no clue what's going on. DH just wants everyone to get on and is knackered with it all. I am knackered with a breastfed toddler, high pressure job which seems to be ignored at home and the total lack of personal space.
Am literally receiving mh support to cope and feel like a total bitch but I just can't become someone else to fit into the Punjabi household transplanted into mine with no info/concession for me.
Is this cultural? Any tips to survive? Thanks in advance
Maybe to an extent. My in laws are gurati. Admittedly their manners aren't the same as British manners (distinct lack of pleasantries like please and thank you) but they do have their own manners that brits lack (offering food is a big thing). They can be quite over baring and are much more sociable than I am (read I find them really annoying). But we have settled over time into a bit of a family rhythm (mostly because they no longer come to stay with us). They do the whole gurati conversation thing in front of me (even though their children call them up on it) but I don't really mind, my father does it sometimes in our langue although he is more aware of it and tries not to be rude. Generally it's helped that my family is also on-British . I think the biggest problem was their attitude in regards to relationships between parents and children. It does seem to be a cultural thing in that part of the world that childrenare subservient to parents and are expected to be respectful without receiving respect back (cue tactless parenting 'advice').
My friend is the same - and it's her parents coming over from India. You do need to have some time for yourself. Are there any other relatives they could visit for a few days (or somewhere they'd like to visit?). You could buy them some cheap bus tour tickets to get them pit of the house for a few hours.
Following... I feel your pain!! I might have more to say when I'm not so sleep deprived...
How are things today OP? Are you able to get out for a coffee with your DC?
Hey sorry thanks for the replies. I work 3 days a week which I find helps but they are not keen on leaving the house and would never go on a trip without us!
Am powering through today I think - how about you common?
Does your DH have any siblings in the UK, OP? The only way they might have a weekend away is if a family member comes to physically collect them and drive them to another relative's house... How long are they staying?
No his sister is in the USA! They're here one more week but it's meant to be practice for them coming to live with us!
Oh goodness. I would seriously consider whether that is a route you want to go down... I understand the cultural expectations (i.e. looking after parents when they get old) but you need to look after your mental health. I speak from experience My biggest tip is to work on building a strong loving relationship with your DH. That was the crucial thing for me. Also I guess accepting any help they offer e.g. MIL cooking. We have another visit coming up and am pretty nervous...! I hope I can stay mentally well this time.
Hi, I'm I was in a very similar situation as you OP, same culture difference. I feel your pain. In the early days I found them so overwhelming, and argued with DH constantly about them being in my space! Tips to survive:
- try to mentally prepare yourself for their next visit if it's longer. I forced myself into a 'whatever, 'go with the flow' mindset even though it's not me at all, otherwise I felt like a total bitch the things I was getting worked up about.
- decide what exactly they do that's a huge problem for you, try to find a solution/compromise with your husband, ask him to pass on the message to his parents and try to let the small things go! For me a deal breaker happened to be keeping kitchen surfaces free of clutter when they weren't cooking (it was getting ridiculous to the point every surface had some pile of snack/namkeen on it). We were both very assertive and persistent about this and they adapted.
- I just accepted the 'sit in silence' thing, it's not awkward at all anymore and I will just get on with what I want to do.
- re parenting advice, just listen and if you don't agree kindly explain that you are going to do it differently anyway, they should come round. Your DH always needs to be on your side here.
- make a big enough space (if possible) for their stuff, wardrobe, cupboard and make it clear that's where they need to store everything they aren't using.
- learn to love the food, just let them cook you every meal and try to see it as an advantage that you don't need to cook
- language - you will pick up Hindi after a few months, enough to understand the just of the convo. They will learn english too!
- not wanting to stereotype at all, but North Indians are so loving, easy going and family-orientated once I got over myself a bit and relaxed about the whole cultural difference, I would say I would live with them over my own parents any day!
I could say a lot more but I'm rambling I know!
Just get on with your normal day. Go out, take extra long at the supermarket, carry on with housework etc
How are you doing OP? I am now in a similar situation to you... Except this visit I feel I understand so much more now than 10 years ago and I wish I could go back in time and speak to my younger self - SO much would have been different in the DIL-MIL relationship.
I disagree with the advice being given to you that you should go out and take extra long. This is your house and if things are forcing you out or violating your mental space to the extent that you need to excuse yourself, then you are losing your power in the relationship.
Try to show that it does not affect you. Don't leave a room in the house if you don't want to. Be cheerful. Carry on with your life and don't change to suit anyone. Continuing doing what you would normally do shows that you are assertive and strong. If you want to invite your friends over, invite a personal trainer over for a workout, play some jazz or invite a friend for a cooking session (kitchen is yours..), just go for it. Let your hair down and be you. Your in-laws will not smother you when they see an assertive you.
Your treatment is the standard Indian daughter in law treatment. I’m Indian (born in Britain, parents from Africa), mother in law is India Indian, and there is a huge culture gap when it comes to how she (and Indian mils) treat their dils compared to Indians from elsewhere.
For me, letting her sit in silence in a room I’m in works for me. I also let her take over the kitchen when she visits because then it means I don’t need to take her displeasure that dh does it when I’m working.
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