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Out of state MIL visit, 2 weeks/+

My husband and I are finally in the process of buying a house after moving out of state last year.  My MIL and FIL were planning on coming to visit 2 days after we close on the house so my MIL could "help us settle in and paint" - for no less than 2-3 weeks.  We're buying a house, not having a child.  I can't wait to see what happens then.  We have a couch set and a bed, we're not in position to outfit a guest room within 48 hours of moving in.  Also she can be very critical and condescending without realizing it.  Quite honestly I do not want their help, my husband and I are very excited to do these things together.  I actually feel her request is inappropriate and out of line - not in a rude way but in a stepping over the line kind of way.  My husband quickly shut this down because the timing is just too stressful.  So now the plan is for them to visit at the beginning of August so we have time to actually move in.  However they still want to stay for much longer than I am comfortable with.  My husband feels that anything over 3 weeks is just too much.  Meanwhile I'm thinking "THREE WEEKS?!?!?  Are you kidding me?"  I feel 2 weeks is more than generous.  Two weeks is me really stretching.  I would really prefer 1 week.  We can't afford to take that kind of time off of work, and we won't be. 

I'm trying to be understanding in that the family is now spread out over a few states and she wants to spend as much quality time as she's able to, but come on!  Am I being unreasonable?  What do you think is an appropriate length of time to visit?  Is there a way to say "You're welcome to visit but not for that long" without hurting her feelings?  Is this a sign of future trouble to come?

Re: Out of state MIL visit, 2 weeks/+

  • SueBearSueBear member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments Combo Breaker

    OMG!  Nightmare! 

    Can you tell them that they're welcome for as long as they like, but they can only stay at YOUR HOUSE for one week?  And if they want to stay longer, they need to make hotel arrangements?

    I would not want a MIL in my home when I wasn't there.  Especially a new home with projects, etc. that I wanted to tackle ON MY OWN. 

    If you work outside the home, then have a talk with DH about what he expects to get done while his parents are there.  You are not taking 3 weeks off of work to entertain them, and you really don't feel like working 8+ hours, then coming home and entertaining your ILS.  FOR THREE WEEKS!   That's something I would put my foot down over, but I realize that every couple is different.

    I would say, if they do end up visiting for that long, do NOT feel obligated to make plans around their visit.  Make plans with girlfriends, go to your regular book club meetings, go to work, and make yourself scarce on the weekends. 

  • I do think that is pretty odd for them to stay that long. I'd say a few days would be appropriate.....
  • image teresapureber:

    I'm trying to be understanding in that the family is now spread out over a few states and she wants to spend as much quality time as she's able to, but come on!  Am I being unreasonable?  What do you think is an appropriate length of time to visit?  Is there a way to say "You're welcome to visit but not for that long" without hurting her feelings?  Is this a sign of future trouble to come?

    There is no "appropriate length" for a visit - it's completely relative.  I could accomodate my parents for a week, and at the same time, accomodate my sister for a month.  It completely depends on the relationship with the visitor.

    First, get on the same page with your husband as to how long is appropriate for them to stay.  Second, your husband should say to your in-laws, "We're happy to have you visit for up to a week (or agreed upon time)."  Don't give a reason why unless they ask.  If they ask, say that you have other responsibilities that you can't put on hold longer than that while they visit, and offer to visit them later in the year.

  • ITA with Karen2905.
    Natural m/c @ 6 weeks - 3/1/2013 Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Could you have DH tell them that you would like to be more settled in before having visitors?  And remind them that you don't have whatever furniture (it sounded like from your post that you didn't have furniture for a guest room - I might be wrong).  HOTEL??  I definitely agree that 3 weeks is WAY TOO LONG!

    But on the other side, my DH and I bought a house 7 months ago and MIL and FIL have yet to visit with only a 5hr drive (and yes they have been invited).  DH and I are a little offended, but at the same time I can't say that I'm missing out on too much :)

  • To be honest with you, the biggest goal here is not getting your ILs to shorten their trip, it is getting on the same page as your H. He thinks three weeks is too much, and you think two weeks is too much. The first thing you have to do is decide together how long you are comfortable having guests, and be willing to apply that rule equally (for instance, not fair to say his parents can come for two weeks but yours can come for a month unless you agree to that in advance). Once you two agree, inform the ILs of how long you can accommodate them. Like a PP said, don't explain to them WHY they can only stay X days, just that you're so excited to be able to have them for X days! 

    FWIW I think anything over three days and two nights is too long, and our families live out of state too. So you're way more patient than I am! 

  • I guess what all this is really about is I feel like I need to establish boundaries before it goes too far.  I am genuinely concerned that if she wants to visit for 3 weeks because we bought a house, she is going to expect to stay for 6 months once we have kids. I know she means well but I am the kind of person who needs space.  My idea of help is leaving me alone.  I appreciate the gesture, I really do, but it does nothing but stress me out.

    And as I mentioned, she has this way of talking down to my husband and myself.  I really don't think she has any ill intentions but, well she talks to her son like he's a child.  And while he is her son, he is also an adult now, perfectly capable of making well thought out intelligent decisions all by himself without any help from her.  And this is me being catty, but she has some of the most ridiculous, unrealistic suggestions. 

    I have a lot of confidence issues when it comes to issues involving his family.  My husband's family life and my family life growing up were very different.  My mother died when I was in grade school and my father was a not very involved alcoholic who committed suicide a few years.  I am just not used to having a parent hanging over my shoulder looking over everything I do.  So I feel like I never know if I'm being unreasonable or if I'm justified in feeling insulted and suffocated.  I really thinks she's just being a mom, looking out for the best for her son and sometimes it just comes out wrong. However when my maid of honor was planning our wedding shower in coordination with my MIL, she nearly had a break down my MIL stressed her out that much - which in a twisted way actually made me feel better because then I knew I wasn't being overly sensitive about everything.

     Boy is it easy to ramble and rant about mother in laws.  : )

  • image teresapureber:

    So I feel like I never know if I'm being unreasonable or if I'm justified in feeling insulted and suffocated. 

    You are always justified because these are YOUR feelings.  Stop beating yourself up b/c they some of it might stem from the resilience you learned as a child.  It's still YOUR feelings as an adult.  And she can certainly modify her eagerness to deal with you.

    And who wants to host for 3 weeks?  Who wants to answer to a full-time guest and IL while you are putting your new house in order.  NO ONE.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Thanks, sometimes you just need to hear it said.  Or read it written.  : )

  • My in-laws visited less than a month (maybe 2-3 weeks?) after we moved into our house just for the weekend and it was too much. I can't imagine having them stay a week or more. Moving, especially into your new house takes longer than you'd think. We had more cleaning and organizing than we expected and felt the pressure to set up a sleeping area for them etc which had they not been coming would have been the last thing we'd need to do to be settled in. I was trying to be nice by letting them visit (they can be pretty pushy) but we both really regretted it.

    I'd tell them that you appreciate their offer but that you aren't sure the house will be ready for guests. Make them get a hotel room. I bet they stay less than a week. I would start out setting up boundaries or they will keep pushing/staying for long visits. We made the mistake of visiting my in-laws too frequently/allowing them to visit when we were dating/first married and it took a while to get them not to expect such frequent visits. Save yourself the drama, set limits now. Like you said, if they are this excited over a house, imagine what it will be like if you have kids. Do the hard part now.

  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    I agree you need to be on the same page as DH.  In this case, I think you really need to establish a time limit b/c it's not as if you have parents that can stay as long - this rule seems to only apply to his family, kwim?  Tell your dh that it's your house too, and you won't be happy with his family there for so long.  Then think of other options - - having them stay in a hotel, having them only stay a week (or less).  I think you can put your foot down.  Even if they live across country - three weeks is TOO LONG!   

    I would also say - your MIL is used to "acting like a mother hen" because that was always her role and nobody challenged her on it.

    I will never forget when I went to my friends parents house right after she had a baby.  She lived 1/2 way across the country, and was staying with her mom and dad (which is closer to my house).  Her mom was telling her what to do with the baby, and my friend replied "I manage the baby perfectly well in Wisconsin.  I think I can handle him myself." 

    I think you can say something along the same lines "MIL, I've lived on my own for XX years.  I think I can manage my own home."  Don't say it in a mean way, but establish that this is your home, not hers. 

    If dh is comfortable with his mom telling him what to do, that's his problem.  My thought is that if YOU step up and demand to be treated with respect, he'll realize that he is being treated like a child and he'll want to be treated like a grown up too.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • I fully agree- you need to set boundaries and expectations NOW.  Thi sis the time to do it.  Not a year from now, not when you have a kid.

    You and your DH need to get on the same page. And then he needs to tell his mom "We'd love to see you the week of ___". Period. As Karen said- no explanation. Just give them the specific time frame you are open to.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I agree with all the other pps. 

    First, kudos to your H for telling them they can't come when you first move in. Sounds like he respects your marriage and is able to stand up for himself. That is the biggest hurdle in IL management.

    When you talk to H about this, emphasize this is your feelings and your perceptions and not be judgemental. For example - don't say "3 weeks is insane! Over my dead body!!".  Stick with: " I would be uncomfortable if they stayed more than a week."  Talk through what their visit would be like (you can't take off work, they would be in the house alone, MIL has a history of rearranging furniture, you will come home from work every night pissed off).

    I would also talk to H about the parenting style you are used to vs his parent's style. My mom was a lot more hands off than my H's parents. They would do things H thought were helpful that I found insulting & interferring.  Explain this to him with examples. Their style is not wrong, just different. If he made a new friend that didn't like to shake hands, would he still insist on shaking their hands every time he saw them? Probably not.  So, though their initial attempts to "help" may be well intentioned, if they continue the behavior after being told to stop, they are being interferring & disrespectful.

    Good luck!

     

  • 3 weeks is too long.  Period.

    We had my SIL and BIL come visit a couple Christmases ago, and they stayed for 3 weeks each, overlapping only 2 of those, so we had 4 weeks of houseguests.  And I LOVED them.  Really.  Seriously.

    After those 4 weeks I absolutely can't stand them anymore.  It was too long, and even though they weren't even bad house-guests, it was just TOO much.  And heck - they were even helping with dishes and laundry while they were there.  It was just hard to always be "on", if that makes sense? 

    You can't have "good" days every.single.day for that long a time period.  You're bound to have a bad day, and then what?  Well, then it's taken the wrong way, you're tagged as a grouchy biddy, and the atmosphere changes.  (At least this was my experience).

    Not to mention the part where it's vacation for them, so they are looking to have a good time all the time.  Which, during BIL and SIL's visit to stay with us ended up being that they wanted to stay up until midnight playing games, watching movies, etc., which we could do for the week we had off.  But as soon as we were back to work, we had to be up at 6am every morning, while they'd sleep in (it was vacation afterall) until around 9:30 or 10am, take a nap around 3, then expect us to be "on" all night to entertain them.

    I'd explain this to YH.  I don't know that there's a way for it to not come across without hurting feelings, but if they stay with you for that long, there will be sour feelings, irritation, and I can guarantee it will not end well.

  • image Karen2905:

    First, get on the same page with your husband as to how long is appropriate for them to stay.  Second, your husband should say to your in-laws, "We're happy to have you visit for up to a week (or agreed upon time)."  Don't give a reason why unless they ask.  If they ask, say that you have other responsibilities that you can't put on hold longer than that while they visit, and offer to visit them later in the year.

    I'm in total agreement with this. Getting on the same page as your DH is key, and once you have an agreement, follow-through is a lot easier.

    I will say, though, that since you're now away from their "home base", you should expect to get either longer visits, or more frequent ones. And since you're at Day 1 right now, this is the best time to establish the rules for the future. So that might be worth talking to your DH about as well.

  • This is a generalization so please keep that in mind.

    I find that husbands who don't mind extended visits with family are like that because they have a built in 'buffer'.  Eliminate the buffer and you will have a husband that will find his way very quickly to your page. 

    I would tell him that you feel like a week is more than enough, but be willing to compromise a little.  But also let him know that he's in charge of hosting his family.  That doesn't mean you ignore them or treat them rudely, but he is in charge of entertaining them and the BULK of keeping up after them. 

    My husband and I have an balance of 60/40 effort when it comes to entertaining our FOOs.  It works for us, but if you have a mil that is having a hard time not being mommy anymore, and it can be a really tough transition, then you need to go 80/20. 

    That means your hubby doesn't get to disappear off to the garage and leave you to prep dinner while fielding off pa remarks about cooking and home decoration. He gets to figure out what sort of things need to be available to entertain them.  Do they need a rental car? Does he need to get off work early a couple of times to get things ready to do something for them?  Does he need to map out the local stores and restaurants? Does HE need to grocery shop for HIS mom's favorite food items or soap?  How often is he going to clean the guest bathroom for them?

    Also, he  needs to go ahead and practice how to deal with overly critical remarks from his mom to either one of you.  If he's not used to calling her on it, he's not going to magically be prepared on the spot.  You need to know what he's going to say if he hears her say, "You kids can barely wipe your own butts, much less handle a mortgage, let me look things over."

    In my own personal opinion, if your hubby does disappear off with his dad and leaves you too much with his mom, then you need to stick to him like glue.  "Wow, MIL, it looks like hubby has a project going on in the backyard, let's go see if we can help."


  • Three weeks is asinine. In college, I rented my mom's house from her and she wanted to come visit for something like 13 days and I told her, "heck no." I still had work and school and while she was pretty non-intrusive, that's still a lot of time to interrupt someone's flow. ... and she and I are really close and it was her house!

  • I like the old saying" House guests are like fish, after three days they stink"
  • I get antsy over 3 hours with my boyfriend's mother so I can only imagine 3 weeks! Ugh!

    Since it doesn't seem like you're hot on having your in-laws, I would propose hosting them (for a week or less) when the house is settled. It sounds like MIL will be arranging your pantry in the way she wants vs. what works for you, perhaps picking out a tacky paint color? As I have said to my boyfriend's mother numerous times:

    "Your offer to come and assist us is so generous but I worry this might be a physical strain on you. Why don't we properly host and have you as our guest when the house is settled-in which should take a few weeks. We'd like to have you as our proper guest and I believe when the house is in disarray we can't do this".

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