Would anyone else be irritated by this?


#1

Hi to all,

I found myself really angry tonight, which is not too common but maybe this is the upshot of a lot of things.

We generally get a visit from my husband's parents yearly. Previously they have both come for a month or so; perhaps five weeks. This time, my father in law could not make it, so the plan was for my mother in law to come for two weeks.

She booked her own tickets. They are for a three-week visit, plus a few days on top. Perhaps that wouldn't be such a big deal in every case, but there are a few factors here: she does not speak English, and my Spanish is limited. She does not drive. Our house is not accessible anywhere on foot. My husband habitually works late hours.

The only thing alleviating the situation is that she would have her own bath and a small kitchen. Still, she has nobody to talk to and nothing to do for most of the days. She is not a reader or much of an introvert like me.

This is stressful! :mad: The in-laws' visit has been difficult for me in the past, but I fear this will be worse. I was given no choice in the matter; it is treated as settled before I get input. I had been planning on taking her out daily with one of my kids (we have four, with one on the way), but for three weeks it will be exhausting at a time when I am starting to get extra tired from the pregnancy.

There have been boundary issues between my mom-in law and myself in the past, so I really don't want to test our mutual limits with a long one-on-one visit. Not to mention the stress the kids can bring in the mix. They are sweet, but very active and prone to messiness and quarrels. Being six months along in pregnancy, I don't want to have to intervene between them and my [bored and stressed] mother-in-law on a regular basis. I think this whole idea is unwise.

How would others see it? I'm feeling that my interests are being violated and ignored, and nobody stands to benefit.

Thanks in advance for any opinions or input.

God Bless,
Joan


#2

I would be angry as well. It sounds like you already have enough on your plate with all your kids and being pregnant.

I am assuming your husband sees nothing wrong with this? That is the issue?

CM


#3

"...Thy will be done." Unfortunately, the only thing you can to is practice patience. Do you have enough knowledge of Spanish to be able to communicate with her?


#4

Isn't there some sort of a spanish/english dodad that they make now adays to assist those quickly with translations?

It's really too bad there is no way for you two to communicate because I bet she has some fabulous stories and life experiences that would be great to listen to especially for the kids. I bet this is difficult for her too and she probably also has concerns.

It is unfortunate that your husband will have to work such long hours as it would be good for him to be able to spend more time with his Mom.

She is a guest but more importantly, she is your husbands Mother and she should feel welcomed in your home.

Take the high road and be gracious, it is only for three weeks and not a lifetime.


#5

my first reaction would be thank God another adult will be home with me during these difficult weeks. welcome her with open arms and you may be pleasantly surprised that she does not want to be entertained but allowed to help you with the house and children. You may find your children more quick to be able to communicate with her and this could out to be the visit from heaven.


#6

Hi to all,

I appreciate the posts. I realize that my mother in law has some good qualities, and that better communication skills might help somewhat. Still, there are some major boundary issues going on here. I have not been given the freedom to express my personal limitations.

There have been problems before with my mother in law being up here for excessively long periods of time. She can get unpleasant when stressed, so it's not just the matter of having a houseguest. I feel she plans for too long a visit every year, but I have never been able to find a kind way to shorten the visits. When my father in law is with her, it is tolerable since they spend most of their time together. For her to be alone, means that I am her only real social recourse. I had planned on doing that for two weeks out of a desire to give to my family (and since it's good for the kids), but I just can't face three.

There are a number of things going on here, but the most obvious to me now is that I will feel under a microscope for the three weeks. She will be in the house all the time, and I have no practical way to get out very often myself. So my life, my personal problems and how I do things are all subject to observation. She has previously demonstrated herself to be judgemental and prone to criticism and unsolicited advice. I don't feel up to giving this, but am not being given a choice.

I do see an option for myself, assuming my husband will not budge to help me out here. That is to pack up myself and my kids and go to my parent's town in Pennsylvania, only for that third week. It would be in a hotel; I don't think imposing on my own parents would be too cool, especially under the circumstances. I know that would seem insulting, but my reasonable interests are going unrespected here- at least so far. I hope to be able to put my foot down today with my husband. The ball is more in his court than it is in the mother-in-law's.

Thanks for the listen.

God Bless,
Joan


#7

[quote="puzzleannie, post:5, topic:245668"]
my first reaction would be thank God another adult will be home with me during these difficult weeks. welcome her with open arms and you may be pleasantly surprised that she does not want to be entertained but allowed to help you with the house and children. You may find your children more quick to be able to communicate with her and this could out to be the visit from heaven.

[/quote]

Hi Annie,

Thanks for writing. I posted my reply to the first three messages before I read yours. I know what you're saying, but since the mother in law has already made a good dozen visits over the course of my marriage, I know her pretty well and negative as it sounds I would prefer not to have anyone at all than to have her visit alone for three weeks.

She is coming all the way from Argentina, so it is understandable to make a somewhat longer visit. I know that, but the fact remains that I am tired as well for my own reasons, and I think I had the right to be consulted as the main hostess.

God Bless,
Joan


#8

as you know I write from the grandmother's POV, and also one whose visits by necessity are infrequent so longer than my SIL's probably wish for, and getting ready to leave on my annual pilgrimage next week.

the way I see it the only thing you can control is your attitude, because you already know you cannot change her, or the situation, you just have to plan a strategy to make this all work in your favor. welcome her as a cherished member of the family, not as the grand inquisitor (and believe me I know exactly what you mean by being under scrutiny. the first thing my MIL did when she came to visit, or we went there, was to wash all my kid's clothes, starting with the clean ones from the drawers and suitcase).


#9

Your husband should proactively find out/seek your limitations and lay down the law to the mother in law, period. This is an easy fix especially given the pregnancy, as long as your husband is willing to step up. Show him this thread.


#10

Also, can you put her to work, for example, taking the kids to the park, etc while you get some rest,or do what you want around the house?


#11

I have my mother every other weekend. She is difficult and not helpful. I also have to visit with her at least once every week to help with laundry, shopping, cleaning, etc.

If I could have my mom for three weeks once a year and then have 48 weeks of peace, I would thank my lucky stars.
Ask your husband for help making a schedule of your normal activities- food shopping, playground visits, Mass, etc and have it ready for your MIL so she can decide to join you or not in those activities. Perhaps your husband can take a vacation week and your family can take a trip with her or day trips if money is tight. Try doing an internet search of South American events in your area that she might enjoy seeing. Get your children on board with the planning and as best you can make it a good thing for them.

My heart goes out to you, as being pregnant and having a visitor is a lot any time of the year, especially summertime and for three weeks. I have to believe she really wants to see your family to make such an expensive trip, so try to make the best of it.

Oh, and to answer your question, yes, I would be irritated. I can not imagine a soul who wouldn't be.


#12

She is your husband’s mother. She will not be around forever. She needs this time to be around her son and his family. Your children need this time with her as well. My advice to you is that she is your guest, your husband’s loving mother…pray for the grace from God to get through this with a smile. Fake it, do whatever you have to. This should be a time dedicated to making your guest feel at home. It’s 3 weeks; not 3 months. It won’t be too bad.


#13

C'mon Joan. You can do this for 3 weeks.''

My MIL was an alcoholic, over the counter med addicted whack job that made a career of being rude and ugly to everyone including me. I believe I just might have been her favorite target. :) I also had a very difficult time being around her because I just never knew when her train would run off the track and verbally attack me to the point of tears.

Did I mention she was a whack job???

Kill the old girl with kindness (not literally) and take the high road. The more gracious you are the quicker she will have to settle down otherwise she will risk looking like the problem.

You can do this. ;)

P.S. But don't be so very gracious that she will want to move in with you. LOL!!


#14

Hi to all,

I am still thinking about it. I tend to see the idea of trying to just "smile and kill her with kindness" as a mild form of enabling. Not that she has such major personality flaws as some of the posters described in their relations, but neither does she have an objective need to be here for three weeks. She is quite capable of changing the visit's length.

I do understand her value to myself and my family, which is why I have opened my home to herself and my father in law each and every year, for a month to six weeks, for over a decade. I have made more accomodations than I can count, so this is not a matter of not being willing to recogize her legitimate role in my life. Its' a matter of setting boundaries. I had understood that the visit was to be for a couple of weeks, but she chose to book for over three. It is my position that she needs to be told (with tact and kindness) to change this back to two weeks (maybe an extra day or two for travel days). It's true that the ball is more in my husband's court than anywhere else.

I am not a flyer with anything like frequency, so I don't really know how hard this change will be nowadays, but it seems to me that it can be done with only moderate inconvenience to her. She plans to visit again at Christmas, so to me it is very reasonable to ask that she make the visit short enough so that we are not getting stressed with each other and the situation.

And thanks again for the time people are taking to share their opinions.

God Bless,
Joan


#15

I feel your pain, as I had an incredibly strained relationship with my in-laws, and it's only since my re-version to the faith that I have tried hard to work on it. They still do things that really annoy me of course, things that I could tally up as being enough to never speak to them again - however, Christ tells me that's not His way, and so I struggle on with them.

I know you're dreading this visit, particularly with your hands full and pregnant too - the timing and circumstances are clearly very bad. However, I'd advise against visiting your parents during that 3rd week, really I would, because that move will only increase the bitterness in you towards this inopportune visit and also let the MIL know that despite the fact she only visits once a year, you deliberately chose to spend 1 of those weeks away from her. That would be a bit rude, even though it's just the kind of thing I myself would have done in the past. In fact, I considered emigrating to avoid my in-laws who are only a 10 minute drive away, yes, seriously I did. If only they lived in Argentina. Also, that third week, you would probably spend wondering what she was thinking, doing, etc., what your husband thought of it all, so hey, you might as well just spend that third week with her and get it over with. Then it's done, finito for another year - imagine the relief when it's finished, and God will reward you for your patience. Maybe if you pack activities into those 3 weeks, maybe one event per day so it's not too much for you, the time will pass faster?

I am currently trying to aim for that line of St. Paul "Let love be genuine" - as another poster said above, I kill them with love now, (even though it nearly kills me), and although I still feel like I'm being nice to them out of duty rather than real genuine love, that's what I'm aiming for.

Despite the fact that my weaker human side wants them out of my face, I do actually regret now the times I failed God as regards my relationship with them, especially the times I drove a wedge between my husband and his parents. And if anything were to happen to your MIL in the near future, on reflection, you would probably beat yourself up with guilt if you did spend that 3rd week away.

No I wouldn't like to be in your shoes for those 3 weeks, and you may find me starting a thread next week on my in-laws, but I know what God's way is - the narrow stony path, that leads to growth in patience and love and all those wonderful things.


#16

Hi Trials,

I tend to doubt I will do the thing about my parents’ house. I know what you are saying, and I am not trying to be hurtful to anyone. I am unsure about how else to draw the line here. It’s good to get some feedback about the idea, since I know it would be extreme. If anyone else could come up with a less abrupt means of getting my point across…well, talking to my husband is obviously the first approach. I wish it were easier to communicate with the in-laws directly.

The plan as it stands would be for her to visit again at Christmas. If I say and do nothing (I mean to my MIL), then chances are excellent that Christmas will be another three weeks. That’s what I mean by boundary issues. She has booked trips longer than previously planned many years previous to this one.

One event per day had been the plan for the two-week visit. I feel it would drain me too much to do it three weeks. Doing things with four small children (two being autistic) is very draining, so I’m tired going into the vist. I do not anticipate its being anything like relief for me.

I have always striven to give my in-laws a reasonably pleasant visit when they come, and to be polite even when I have not always received it myself. I am also willing to recognize my own mistakes in the relationship. But I need to start sticking up for myself as well, because I am feeling like a doormat here.

God Bless,
Joan


#17

Can't your husband just communicate to his parents that you really are exhausted with being pregnant and having the other kids to take care of ?

Having to entertain someone everyday, plus take care of kids, plus being pregnant, would absolutely do me in. One event per day is really too much.

There really is a very respectful way to approach this whole thing and that's just telling the truth. You are tired and actually sound like a rest is in order.

Do you think that your MIL will be helpful while visiting or will she expect you to go out of your way for her with little regard for your health. Does your husband expect that too?

I think I'm beginning to see your point. ;)


#18

[quote="horselvr, post:17, topic:245668"]
Can't your husband just communicate to his parents that you really are exhausted with being pregnant and having the other kids to take care of ?

Having to entertain someone everyday, plus take care of kids, plus being pregnant, would absolutely do me in. One event per day is really too much.

There really is a very respectful way to approach this whole thing and that's just telling the truth...

Do you think that your MIL will be helpful while visiting...

I think I'm beginning to see your point. ;)

[/quote]

Hi Horselvr,

Thanks for the understanding. It's more psychological than physical- the feeling that ones routines and problems are being observed by someone who does not understand you. My MIL is not a bad person at all, but she is unempathetic and has, in the past, been quite prone to criticism and unwanted advice. This has been reduced in recent visits because my reaction to such things is getting increasingly negative, but if I am alone with her, I am fearful that the third week especially may go badly. Then there are the kids, who act as wild cards as any group of four small children would.

To be fair, she would not expect me to do anything directly for her in the way of cleaning after she's here, but I will have to deep clean the whole house in preparation and I will need to drive here somewhere most days. She will make some of the meals. I would not let her do any house cleaning to be frank.

So, two weeks is the most I can give for the sake of my husband's family and my kids. I feel I am justified in taking a very strong stand about week three and sticking to my guns, so to speak. My DH will, indeed, need to be in the middle here since I don't speak Spanish very well, and they are his parents.

God Bless,
Joan

p.s. I also love horses, though my exposure to them is woefully limited nowadays.


#19

[quote="Joan1969, post:18, topic:245668"]
It's more psychological than physical- the feeling that ones routines and problems are being observed by someone who does not understand you.

[/quote]

If that's the case, I would say you should honestly just deal with it...grin and bear it so to speak. It sounds like you wouldn't be happy with a 3 week visit no matter when the timing may be and that's not really fair to her either. This is her son....she probably has to pay for a plane ride, go through a lot of hassel to get there, and 2 weeks probably doesn't seem worth it to her. I can't say I blame her.

I also feel your pain. I really do. But I think her needs trump yours at this time, based on the info you have given (you don't have to clean after her, you are physically well enough to have her over, etc.). She won't be around forever and your husband and his mother will never get this time back.

[quote="Joan1969, post:18, topic:245668"]
My MIL is not a bad person at all, but she is unempathetic and has, in the past, been quite prone to criticism and unwanted advice.

[/quote]

Sounds like most inlaws! LOL

[quote="Joan1969, post:18, topic:245668"]
So, two weeks is the most I can give for the sake of my husband's family and my kids. I feel I am justified in taking a very strong stand about week three and sticking to my guns, so to speak. My DH will, indeed, need to be in the middle here since I don't speak Spanish very well, and they are his parents.

[/quote]

I think I would rethink causing all this turmoil, and putting your husband through this with the family he doesn't see very often, for the sake of only 7 extra days. But, just my opinion of course. You need to pray about it and listen carefully to what God tells you. He'll have better answers than we will. God Bless!

God Bless,
Joan

p.s. I also love horses, though my exposure to them is woefully limited nowadays.


#20

I am coming in a little late I am hearing a lot of yeah buts- and my case is different. And this might not sound nice, you seem determined to have a miserable time. you don't seem to want advise but to complain.....you can do this.
I can go on and on about the crazy things my MIL has done, she is nuts, and I can't trust her with my kids.
How are you enabeling her when you kill her with kindness????? what is the alternative?
Do you think she is looking forward to being alone with you for three weeks without her husband in a country where she doesn't speak the language?


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