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How can I build a closer relationship with my parents?

(12 Posts)
Penguin13 Fri 11-Mar-16 21:16:05

This has been playing on my mind for ages but especially since Mothers day. I feel awful that even though I am so lucky to still have both my parents around I don't cherish them as I should and don't see them enough. Obviously the simple solution is to see them more, they are not so many hours away, and yet something stops me. They are due to visit us tomorrow and I am ashamed to say that I am dreading it. Instead of thinking how wonderful it will be for DD to spend time with them I am stressing about the silent judgements they will be passing the moment they step through the door. My parents are so house proud that the dust barely gets a chance to settle before it is whisked out of sight and DH and I are just not that way inclined and even if we were we have our hands full with a spirited 14 mo. I have lost count of the number of times DM will go on at length about a place being 'filthy' when the average person would not pass comment so I can only imagine what she says and thinks about our home. When DD was a couple of months old and we'd recently had some building work done my Dad wiped his hand accross the mirror and commented on the dust mere minutes after walking through the door. I wish I could just relax about it but it makes it all so stressful. I am making them sound awful and they really aren't, compared to what some people have to deal with it is nothing, I just wondered if anyone has felt the same and how they deal with it. I would love to build a closer relationship with my parents but at the moment I don't know where to start. It sounds silly but I wanted to start a family WhatsApp group as I am much better at messaging than on the phone which I find stressful (introvert) I thought it would be a good way of building up more regular communication, but no-one even responded to my suggestion. Any suggestions for a way forward welcome.

Aussiebean Fri 11-Mar-16 21:52:59

When they comment about dust just say 'when we retire from our full time jobs and the baby has moved out, then I will spend my time dusting. For now I will spend my free minutes having quality time with my family. '

You can't build a relationship by yourself. You need both sides to try. If you think they would be willing then maybe some honest conversations are needed.

Penguin13 Fri 11-Mar-16 23:13:51

Thanks for replying Aussie. I think both my parents and I would like a closer relationship it's just hard to know how to get there when you've drifted. I guess the cleaning stuff is from my side partially what has caused the drifting apart though it is part of a wider feeling of never being quite good enough. My parents would probably be surprised to hear it affects me that much.

Cabrinha Sat 12-Mar-16 07:38:21

My XFIL sat on my leather sofa rubbing at a mark on the arm once.
It was dirty because my XH (his SS) was a pig, it was 'his' sofa and I was on a work to rule. That said, neither of us were near freaks.

For once, I called him on it. "FIL, I know there's a mark on that arm. But every time you rub it in front of me, you are drawing attention to it and indirectly criticising me, and that is rude."

He blustered a lot. He still behaves like that. But I felt better for saying it!

You won't get a closer relationship without honesty. You don't have to defend your dust - you have to tell them it's rude to point it out.

Triliteral Sat 12-Mar-16 08:05:09

My PIL were similar to that in terms of extreme tidyness and their visits to us were invariably uncomfortable. We gave up inviting them to ours and either visited them or met them out somewhere.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 12-Mar-16 08:19:30

"I think both my parents and I would like a closer relationship it's just hard to know how to get there when you've drifted. I guess the cleaning stuff is from my side partially what has caused the drifting apart though it is part of a wider feeling of never being quite good enough. My parents would probably be surprised to hear it affects me that much".

You do not know that your parents would like you and they to have a closer relationship; I think they are far too preoccupied anyway about dust generally and the perceived dust in your home. Their attitude is not a healthy one to have adopted and your Dad seems to have picked up on that from your mother. Are these people both anxious by their very nature?. What roles are these people also playing here; is your mother for instance also very domineering or critical by nature and is your dad her willing enabler?.

Where has all this "not feeling good enough" stemmed from. Its likely one or both of your parents; they have made you feel like that.

Relationships are two way after all; you cannot build on a relationship with parents if parents do not want to co-operate or listen properly. I am also not surprised to read the last sentence of your above post either; some parents are really that unempathetic and unfeeling. Are they also the sort who would say, "after all we've done for you?".

QuerkyJo Sat 12-Mar-16 09:05:51

I know that feeling so well. The judging when they came to us, the uncomfortable feeling we had in their pristine home. We always felt like we were being a nuisance sitting on their sofas. Heaven help us if we moved a cushion.

I was so tempted to have this poster displayed everywhere.


Penguin13 Sun 13-Mar-16 08:19:46

Thank you for all your replies everyone. Too busy with the visit to answer properly now but some definite food for thought there. Glad it's not just me who doesn't live in a show home!

janethegirl2 Sun 13-Mar-16 08:26:57

Hand them a duster if they comment or point them in the direction of the vacuum cleaner. You may find they like cleaning and your home may be cleaner after their visit.
I once gave my mum a duster when she commented, she never did it again.
Hope the visit goes ok flowers

Whirlydervish Sun 13-Mar-16 15:49:33

I can empathise with this. We've just had work done on the house, my parents have arrived to stay in the recently built annexe and have managed not to say anything positive since they've been here. It's honestly virtually hotel standard with all brand new furniture, bedding and towels and they've still found things to pick at.
The irony is, we'd have been shot as kids if we'd ever been so rude to a host. hmm

janethegirl2 Sun 13-Mar-16 18:55:15

Some people are just totally negative and can never see or say anything positive.

My mum's a bit negative and getting worse as she gets older.

Just ignore as much as possible

Penguin13 Sun 13-Mar-16 20:29:35

Feeling a bit guilty for being so negative about my parents visiting when it was a surprisingly positive experience for once. There were a few comments here and there, actually more about parenting than cleaning but in the main it was a lot less stressful than usual. I also managed to set up a family WhatsApp so we can exchange messages more easily. Not that we are about to have any deep and meaningfuls via WhatsApp but am hoping it's s baby step towards keeping in touch more regularly and knowing what's going on in each others lives.

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