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When PIL's come to stay do you treat them like guests or do family get a different kind of treatment?

(4 Posts)
scanner Mon 25-Aug-08 20:55:16

A few days ago there was a post where op's mother had been upset that sil wouldn't allow her to eat in the sitting room - anyway there was a lot of talk about how you treat guests when they come to stay. I think the OP said that she felt you should do what the guests wanted to, so that if they mentioned a tv program they liked you should watch it even if it's not something you'd like ifswim.

Now, I've got the PIL's coming this week and I find it v stressful when they come and I'm wondering if I'm going wrong by not adopting this attitude. I haven't felt that we should do everything the way they would like it in the past and I can't work out if that means I've been rude/unwelcoming or reasonable.

For example, like a lot of older people they are v regimented about meal times and eat their evening meal at 6pm. DH doesn't finish work until 6 at the earliest and then has a long commute home, so we never eat that early. Obviously the dc's eat their meal earlier at about 5-ish. I find this a difficult issue, as often dh is working when they come to stay, so if we all ate at 6 (kids could wait till then) then it would mean that dh would have to have a meal on his own later. FIL doesn't say anything to me about it, but I hear MIL telling him what time we're going to eat with long explanation as to why. I offer a sandwich or similar to keep him going or ask if he'd like to eat at the same time as the dc's, but I get a sort of clubbed seal look. I wonder if they think I'm not accomodating them enough.

I have also in the past asked them not to watch the news while the dc's are around as there can be items that are disturbing for the children. Was this bad or unwelcoming? They tend to put the tv on all day and we don't often watch 'adults' tv during the day.

I don't know how much I should be ensuring that everything we do is to fit in with them when afterall there are two of them and five of us. I think I've been doing it all wrong and have a chance to get it right later this week.

sorry, about length of post.

Gobbledigook Mon 25-Aug-08 20:58:01

When people visit they eat when we eat - I do say to FIL around the 5 o'clock mark when doing the boys' tea that he might want a snack as we won't be eating till 8ish due to when dh gets in from work.

I don't allow smokign in the house regardless of who the guest is and actually, they make sure they are out of sight of the boys altogether.

My ILs are fairly relaxed though, they go with the flow and accept whatever plans I have (I think they know better than to argue grin)

PinkyDinkyDooToo Mon 25-Aug-08 21:10:20

When people are in your house they should go by your rules. I think you have been fair in the past and should continue in the manner you have been. Do your IL's not want to eat with their son?

As with TV shows, if its your house its your choice. If you were at IL's would they turn tv onto what you anted, I dount it, so why should you change at home.

Don't worry you are being a perfectly reasonable host. smile

MsHighwater Mon 25-Aug-08 23:10:52

I think it depends on how close you are to them. It doesn't sound as though you are terribly close, though. You presumably want them to feel welcome but, at the same time you don't want to suspend all normal operations (so to speak) for the duration.

How upset would your dh feel about eating on his own while they are there? On the other hand, how disrupted are your PILs by eating a good bit later than they are used to? Go with the option with least upset.

I'd let them put the television on for at least some of the time. There is a watershed before which even news programmes have to take into account the possibility that children are watching when editing their programmes. That ought to rule out any hugely disturbing images. I have to admit I'm generally in favour of allowing children to know about bad things that happen in the world - as long as you're willing to talk to them about what they see to avoid them being unduly worried.

To cut a long story short, if you are not especially close to them, consider making the sort of effort you might make for house guests who are not related to you or your dh. It doesn't mean abandoning all your "house rules" but neither does it mean "your house, your rules" without any compromise, which I think would be unreasonable.

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