Family Matters
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What is your view on this?

I'm in need of an unbiased, genuine opinion on this matter from people who can look at both sides...

3 years ago my husband (then fiance) and I began renovations on a home that has been in his family for 1 generation and he inherited after the passing of his relative. For extra insight, his mother grew up in the house.

As we were living in my home town, 70 miles away, his parents helped by overseeing the renovations.  Note: They did more than I was comfortable with but it's in the past now.  After moving in, it took about 6 months for them/us to adjust (they'd stop in whenever to suggest doing work, etc.) but we finally set some boundaries and everything was very amicable.

DH and I are 100% independent from everyone, financially and otherwise.  I have even set the boundaries that I don't want his family "helping" here because it's our first home that we should work on together, without his father putting himself in the middle.  

Also, to add, naturally the 1st year DH's parents wanted to bring their family/friends in through the house to show them everything.  I was incredibly patient with this (remember we've been moved in and these are last minute calls to "stop over" with whomever).  Finally, it died down, DH and I continued working on the house independently, turning it into our home with our tastes, personalities, etc.  Here's where the issue is:

We hosted my family for a holiday party the weekend before Christmas.  The next morning at 11am MIL calls DH and asks if they can come through and show their friends everything we've done.  We said no, primarily because we were still in bed and nothing was cleaned up from the night before, but also for the principle of the matter that it's our home, not a house for my IL's to show to whomever, whenever they'd like.  

Last weekend at a function we saw the friends of my IL's and while they didn't say anything about that event specifically, they kept referring to the fact that it was DH's family's old house.  The way it was said came off very matter-of-fact and offensively as if saying to me it wasn't my right to say no to DH's mother coming over with her friends.  IDK if it irritated me for that reason, or that 3 years later people are still focusing on the fact of who's house it originally was (I haven't/won't forget but it's nothing like the house it was then) .

It wasn't wrong to tell my IL's they couldn't come by that day, was it?   

Re: What is your view on this?

  • image marriedlady25:
    We said no, primarily because we were still in bed and nothing was cleaned up from the night before, but also for the principle of the matter that it's our home, not a house for my IL's to show to whomever, whenever they'd like. 
    Well, from the perspective that you were still in bed and you weren't prepared for company, absolutely you weren't wrong. 

    However, I don't really understand the "principle of the matter" arguement.  

    Yes, it is your home, and yes, MIL needs to understand that.  But at the same time, she 1- grew up there, and 2- she and FIL put a lot of time and effort into the home.  And you even say that the initial "showing the house" off has largely died down.

    I don't see what the harm is in occasionally letting them show the house off a little bit more.  When it's convenient for YOU, for sure.  But I just don't get why this needs to be a territorial issue.

    Plus, I feel like I'm reading a whole lot of "I I I I I" in your post.  No "we" - as in, where does your DH stand on this?

    Oh, and be careful about reading into what people are saying.  You're clearly very territorial about the home, and it makes me wonder if you're automatically on the defense and as such, you "hear" insult where none is really intended. 

    "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

  • To answer your question: No you definitely were not wrong. Was she around for the back lash you received. It should be brought up to her in a way that points out that it's not fair for "no" not to be an option since it is your home now.

  • i agree that you should not have let them come over if you were still in bed HOWEVER they did call and ask if they could show the house----so they did not show it when ever and to whoever they want so your 'principle' argument is silly. i dont know if you realize this but IT IS DHS FAMILY'S OLD HOUSE!!! you've simply moved into a house that clearly many many people have been through over the years and people are curious as to what it looks like. you did move into dh's family's old house. you need to stop acting like you didn't.
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • No, you're not wrong to decide who can come to your house and when they are welcome.  As long as you and your H are happy with your decisions, it doesn't matter if anybody else gets upset.  Is your H willing to stand up for you guys to his parents?

    For the people that were around when your MIL lived in the house, it's always going to be referred to as MIL's house.  That's how they remember it.  Better get used to it, 'cus people are always going to associate the house with MIL.

    My friends have a similar situation.  It was originally Grandma's house.  She moved out, and her son moved in for like 10 years, then it was empty for 10 or so, then a grandson lived there for like 5 years, then a different grandson lived there for about 7 years.  Even after 30+ years and 3 different families living there, it's still generally referred to as Grandma's house.

    Put together a lovely photo album with before and after pictures for your ILs to show whoever they want whenever they want.  Change your locks and don't give ILs a key.

  • your decision to say 'no' on that occasion is fine. it is your home.

    please understand a few things -- you did move into a home that is essentially a family heirloom that his parents are very proud of - especially with the work done on the home.  they simply want to celebrate it, and sadly - that's getting in your way.


    have you hosted a 'see the house' party yet?  hubby and I did some major renovations on our home and keep getting requests of 'I'd love to see the house...", so we're going to have a "hey we're going to be home all day -- come on over" day.  that way anyone in the area can stop by whenever, knowing that we're okay with visitors to see the house.

     maybe you can sit down with your IL, and discuss doing that instead of them constantly having people come through your home?  i know its a few years later, but clearly they're missing something. gently letting them know that it's a pain for you to have constant visits, while still offering to open your home for a day, might be a decent compromise.

    also, talk with your hubby. see what he thinks about the issue.  it does sound like you're a very private person based on your 'independent' comment, and that he has a very close family --which might be part of this too.  You might need to get used to having family constantly around to help you (for better or worse!)...that IS the definition of family in some cases.  baby steps!

  • I don't think you're wrong at all, regardless of the origins of your home, it's your home now and you and DH should feel comfortable in it.  You shouldn't need to feel like guests and be on constant stand-by for potential visitors to come waltzing through.  By all means, you should be able to sleep late, leave a mess for the next morning, and not worry about it.  It was very rude of them to make you feel that way.

    As PPs suggested, I would put together a nice photo book of before/after shots showing all the work you and ILs did to the house and give it to them so they can use it like a brag book with their friends.  Then I would have DH talk with his parents and let them know that as much as you appreciate their help and respect them, you need to feel comfortable in your own home, and that "pop in" visits don't work well for you- if they want to visit, they need to set it up in advance.

    I also like PPs suggestion about having an open-house party.  Maybe if you plan it together with ILs and let them invite their friends, you could get everyone through the house at once and then be left alone. 

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  • This would drive me nuts. No you weren't wrong and I can totally see how this is getting on your nerves. 

    I would have laughed and said, sorry we were still in bed and the house was a wreck. Then H and I would be having a long conversation as to the fact that MIL needs to stop bringing people in and out of our home like it is a model. I understand that she grew up in that house but if strangers lived in the house she wouldn't have free rein either.  

  • Thank you for all of your responses!

    To clarify a few things that were shady: while IL's helped a whole lot with the home in the beginning (through the initial renovations--new electric/plumbing/drywall/addition), we completely took over after the drywall went up.  From painting the entire house, to refinishing floors, etc.  The first year we moved in I completely understood them wanting to show the house to people, granted at that point 90% of work could be credited to their watch over the contractors while we had made the decisions.  I also stood a step back throughout that time.

    Also, when we moved in, the house was just live-able.  We still aren't finished completely, but for the past 3 years DH and I have been the sole people making improvements.  It's also 100% furnished/decorated with belongings I've had since before I met DH.  So I guess I feel like it's more ours to "show off" at this point rather than my IL's--if we took everything out and the curtains down, the things that don't correspond to their family, it'd just be a plain shell.

    I agree with a poster who said I shouldn't read into things someone said as I may have interpreted it wrong.  It just seemed very intentional.  Also, I am interested in doing somewhat of an "open house" to let everyone come through who would like in one pre-planned day. 

  • Eh, I don't get the outrage.

    Your ILs are proud of the house and want to show it to their friends.  In my book, that is NBD.  It's kind of flattering if you think of it.

    Calling the morning after a party is a bit much, but that was your call completely.

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • You were in bed, no you were not wrong to say no.  I get that it is the families old home, but its not anymore and I think the in-laws need to get over showing it off to everyone since it has been 3 years.  However, I would talk to your husband and in-laws about hosting a housewarming party and inviting everyone they want to show the house off to to get it over with in one party rather than constantly getting calls to show it off.  I also like pp idea of making your in-laws a before and after picture book to show people.  Once you do those things, I think you are justified in saying no to everyone, that's just my opinion because I wouldn't want to have to clean up for complete strangers all the time.  And if the complete strangers were that interested then they would have came to the housewarming party. 
  • Ah- I was thinking they were more involved in the remodeling.  Even so, it was her childhood home and I can still see why it's exciting to her to show people what it looks like now.

    BUT - again, not "whenever" she wants and at your inconvenience!  

    I think doing an open house is a great idea, and if you talk to her about it and let her know it's coming, perhaps that will get her to be content about showing it to people - she'll know there will be a chance to do it. 

    "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 think another poster just came up with your solution...when she asks if she can show someone the house answer "we're hoping to have a house warming party in the future and everyone will have a chance to see it then"

    if she says "but they are in town now" you can just answer "well I hope they can still make it for the housewarming party"

    Also, why you try taking some photographs, maybe even make a shutterfly book for MIL...and suggest she show people this instead

  • People have ties to homes.

    Just moved into a new home in an older neighborhood (25 years old) and bought from the original owners.

    Our now neighbors constantly refer to our house as the "Smith House." As in "This is A and J, they just moved into the Smith House."

    I've resigned myself to this fact as being the peole who bought the "Smith House."

    It's probably the same type of thing with your MILs previous home. I liked the PP's idea of a visitation party so people can see what you've done.

  • No, you weren't wrong.  I haven't read all the responses so I'm not sure if what I'll say has been covered.

    I'd have your DH talk to your in-laws & let them know that while you appreciate everything that they've done, this is now your house & they need to respect that.  If someone else had bought the house and renovated it, they wouldn't come over for tours.

    Since they really want to show off the changes, try having an open-house.  That way they can invite all of their friends to see it & (hopefully) that will be the end of it.  Any other tours after that need to be with proper notice (if you're comfortable with that) and you decide what length of time that is.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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