Author Topic: Out of Town Parents Visiting  (Read 7196 times)

COlady

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Out of Town Parents Visiting
« on: May 19, 2016, 09:28:38 AM »
Not money related but thought you smart people could help me decide what is reasonable here.

My in-laws live 7 hours away and my mother lives 4 hours away. My husband averages 50 hours weeks and I work 3 days per week (about 24 hrs/week). We have 14 month old twin boy. Everyone told me that the grandparents come out of the woodwork when grandchildren are born and man is it true. My in-laws visit on average every 6 weeks for usually about 4 days, 3 nights. They are extremely helpful when they come to visit. My FIL is the "can't sit down type" so he is always helping my husband plant trees in the backyard or mow the lawn, etc. My MIL is very active and is always up to take the boys to the park or swimming with me and is eager to help make dinner.  She always changes the sheets on the guest bed before she leaves so that I don't have to worry about it. They are just very thoughtful people.

In the beginning my mom was visiting one weekend per month, which was fine with me.  But over the last 3-4 months it's been creeping up to 2X per month.  When she visits she sleeps in until 9 or 10 am, then she lounges around in her pajamas on the couch reading a magazine for a few hours. She'll usually take a shower around 2 pm and spend 1.5 hours getting dressed and doing her hair (where are we going?). I suggest a walk and she looks at me like, do we have to? She has a history of substance abuse and depression. She knows my expectations about our house (no drinking, no drugs) and I've not suspected her of doing those things when she's at our house. She knows that if she does she will be asked to immediately leave (but that's a whole 'nother post). We have never left the boys with her alone (in case anyone has red flags flying). She asks what's for dinner and expects me to go pick up food or make something.  I love her, she's my mom, but sometimes by the end of day 2 I'm ready for her to leave and then I feel terrible. Who WANTS their own mother to leave? She doesn't have a lot of friends....mostly because she locks herself in her house and watches tv when she isn't working. I think she comes to see the boys but also because she's lonely and she just wants some company which makes me sad.

My mom last visited on 5/7, we had the weekend of 5/14 to ourselves, my in-laws come today (5/19) until Monday. My mom asked me a couple nights ago if she could visit Memorial weekend (next weekend). That means we'll have guests 3 out of 4 weekends this month. Weekends are our only family time as my husband typically works 8 to 6 pm M-F. What do I do here??? HHEEELLLPPP!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 10:10:44 AM »
Maybe you husband "has something planned" for that weekend that you're going to do? Or just say no.

MrsDinero

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2016, 10:16:38 AM »
Very politely yet firmly say that there have been too many visitors this month and your family needs togetherness/alone/bonding time.  Don't lie or many excuses just tell the truth and stick to your decision.


SimplyMarvie

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2016, 10:30:53 AM »
Very politely yet firmly say that there have been too many visitors this month and your family needs togetherness/alone/bonding time.  Don't lie or many excuses just tell the truth and stick to your decision.

This, with lots of sympathies. Setting boundaries with family is HARD. But worth it.

historienne

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 10:54:44 AM »
Very politely yet firmly say that there have been too many visitors this month and your family needs togetherness/alone/bonding time.  Don't lie or many excuses just tell the truth and stick to your decision.

Yes, this.  Also, when your mother does come, I would not plan your days around her.  If she's not going to be ready to leave the house until 4 pm, you absolutely should leave here there and go out to the park without her.  Basically, do what you would be doing anyway.  If she's not ready to come with you, that's not a problem - you are getting to spend time as a nuclear family. 

We are very close to both of our sets of parents.  Mine visit frequently, my husband's live internationally so they come less frequently but for longer stays (they'll be here for 6 weeks in September/October this year).  That's how we handle visits with both sets of parents - we live our lives, and if they want to come with us, that's great.  If not, that's also great.  Sometimes they go do touristy stuff by themselves, sometimes we plan day trips together.  But we never feel like we have to fit our schedules to theirs.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2016, 11:08:49 AM »
I also really like the suggestion above, with one potential addition: how about offering an alternative weekend, say, in late June, so it doesn't feel like a complete rejection?

bridget

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2016, 12:00:25 PM »
...
Who WANTS their own mother to leave?
...

If it makes you feel better at all, the answer to this question is "mostly everyone." ;) My mom has no substance abuse problems, and every time she visits me she spends half the time cooking and cleaning. If I had kids I'd trust her to babysit, no problem. BUT, I'm aching for her to get out of my apartment after 48 hours.

Ceridwen

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2016, 01:02:09 PM »
I also really like the suggestion above, with one potential addition: how about offering an alternative weekend, say, in late June, so it doesn't feel like a complete rejection?

This exactly.

If you want to address the issue of her behavior when she visits, I suggest being direct with requests. 

"Could you please make dinner tonight?  XYZ is in the fridge"
"Could you please take the kids to the park for me this afternoon?"
"Could you please empty the dishwasher for me?"

This worked well for me when my sister visits.  She's not as bad as you described your mom to be, but she is on the lazy side and not overly helpful around the house or with the kids when she visits.  I find that giving her specific tasks is what works, rather than just hoping she'll step up and be helpful, and then inevitably being disappointed and frustrated when it doesn't happen.

MerryMcQ

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2016, 02:30:37 PM »
We must be related, because our mothers sound just alike! Especially taking 1.5 hours to get dressed/do hair... which she does in our only bathroom...

After my mother's last visit, we decided that future visits from mothers (mine or his) will involve a stay at a local airBnB or hotel. We'll arrange for activities together but we will meet at specific times & places. We don't expect any help around the house or with the kids. 

Likewise, when we visit, we're going to stay in a hotel... I would rather spend less time together, but enjoy the time, than have my mom with me 24/7 and be constantly annoyed.


Retire-Canada

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2016, 02:35:36 PM »
What do I do here??? HHEEELLLPPP!

Just tell your mom you have a lot going on and visiting more than once per month is not welcome. Simple open and honest communication.

Worst thing that could happen is she gets mad and doesn't visit for a couple months until she cools off. That's still a win.

Goldielocks

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2016, 09:31:00 PM »
What do I do here??? HHEEELLLPPP!

Just tell your mom you have a lot going on and visiting more than once per month is not welcome. Simple open and honest communication.

Worst thing that could happen is she gets mad and doesn't visit for a couple months until she cools off. That's still a win.

Retire-Canada,  you did not mention that tried and true Canadian tactic in avoiding the confrontation.   Quickly book an activity, then call up mom to say she can't come, because you have other plans for that weekend.   It could be as simple as a walk somewhere out of town for a couple of hours, but she does not need to know that.

My parents do this every Christmas, booking a trip deliberately on Boxing day, so that there is no way my Aunt can visit for more than 4 days.

Dezrah

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2016, 07:57:00 AM »
That means we'll have guests 3 out of 4 weekends this month. Weekends are our only family time as my husband typically works 8 to 6 pm M-F. What do I do here??? HHEEELLLPPP!

I joke all the time that we need to have guests over every weekend to make sure we always stayed on top of the chores we would otherwise let slide.

In all seriousness though, three "busy" weekends in a row is definitely our limit.  After that, we just decline invites/requests and are honest that we want the time to ourselves.  No one has pushed back yet.

Is there a compromise where your mom will accept a nice long Skype conversation with the kids instead?  If this is not enough for her, there might be another reason why she doesn't want to be at her own house.

jeromedawg

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2016, 12:44:10 PM »
Yep, just be up-front and say you've got plans on the weekend for just you guys and that you need some space. Maybe schedule her visits so that it's 1-2 times a month *max* and make that clear with her. It's nice to have her around but especially as the kids get older, it's going to be harder when people are staying with you every weekend. My in-laws initially were coming every week after our son was born. It got to the point where it was just too much though - they live 1.5 hours away and run a restaurant. My wife would also be driven crazy by her mom, who lacks tons of self-awareness (she cut herself and bled without realizing it and was dripping blood all over the carpet. that's just one of the things.... dropping food and drink on the carpet is not uncommon with her or my FIL). Her mom likes to help clean, etc, but it usually turns out worse than when she started (poor eyesight and doesn't realize when she drops or spills stuff). It got to the point where my wife would badger her mom and her mom couldn't take it either, so she volunteered to reduce their visits to once every two weeks. That has been much better for us. Turns out the problem is deeper than just eyesight and no self-awareness - my MIL was never criticized by her own mom nor by many others, so all the criticism (even if it's constructive) makes her feel sad. My wife is much more cognizant of this after discussing with her but it's still tough - she has to let a lot of things go. Anyway, major digression. The key here is to really push for doing what works for you. You don't want to be slave to others' desires and wants when you are already slave to the needs of your own kids.

Fishindude

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2016, 12:52:41 PM »
You could move and not give them your new address :)

dcozad999

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2016, 01:33:32 PM »
My mother can be quite annoying (unintentionally), but I don't think I could ever tell her that she couldn't come for a visit. But we also wouldn't rearrange our day for her. She would be welcome to join us in our endeavors or she could stay at the house or do her own thing.

My mother has done way too many things for me throughout my life, so I wouldn't have the heart to turn her down like that.

mm1970

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2016, 01:50:32 PM »
Very politely yet firmly say that there have been too many visitors this month and your family needs togetherness/alone/bonding time.  Don't lie or many excuses just tell the truth and stick to your decision.
+1

And...I'm sorry.  My mother was much like yours.  When she visited, I felt almost like I had another child.  True whether she visited alone or with step dad.  A lot of sitting around, asking me when dinner was ready, expecting me to drive them places (they stayed in hotels if they both came, stayed with me if just her).

The last 10 years she spiraled into depression and alcoholism (which killed her).  The last trip here she was sick as a dog for 2 full days.  Then she perked up after she got wine (I didn't have any in the house).  She drank about a bottle of wine a day.  Google told me that her symptoms were all detoxing from the trip out here.  Because she lived on the opposite coast, it was a good 10 hours with driving, flights and driving.  So at least it was annual, not more often than that.

Sometimes you just have to say no.  Pick a different weekend for her to visit.  I think it's reasonable to expect you to get 3 weekends a month for your own family.

galliver

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2016, 03:39:33 PM »
When I was in college, I don't remember how this came up exactly, but I may have expressed to my mom something about how nice it was to come home, and that mom would cook my favorite dinner and might even throw my laundry in if she was starting a load, how I had this new appreciation for being cared for after going away for a bit. And she got this faraway look in her eye and said that back in *her* day she would take a night bus for 10 hrs each way to help plant the garden, weed, dig up potatoes, and chop wood. Not relaxing at all. And it really changed my perspective, because I think all my friends were basically of the same outlook--their parents pampered them a bit whether they came home or the parents visited campus, and no one went home routinely to help out.

And that's fine, really...that parents continue to help out their adult children, and that guests to try to make themselves helpful. I certainly try to do so when I am visiting someone and I see something I can do. But...I think it's different to expect this by default, rather than appreciating it as a favor on the guest's part. And in my mind that's particularly true with parents/mom; I had no qualms asking my sisters to do dishes, but felt bad when I found my mom already did before I got home. I realize my parental relationship is not everybody's, that regular visits are different than occasional visits, and that kids in the picture make help even more desirable...but I still think there's a benefit to seeing things from the "no one owes me anything" perspective and being pleasantly surprised when help materializes.

It's not like she's making (that much) more work for you. She sleeps in-zero work. She reads-zero work. She eats dinner with you-marginally more work to make 1 extra serving of whatever you were making anyway. You have to do her sheets when she leaves...maybe ask if she minds changing them before she leaves, or at least strip them off, and you take 5 mins of actual work to launder them. She sounds like a lonely lady who just wants to be around her loved ones...and doing so is probably good for her sobriety/addiction recovery. So maybe don't put her off visiting generally, though if Mem day is just too much, sure, ask her to move her plans forward by a week or two.

debbie does duncan

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2016, 02:39:04 PM »
I think it is time to have a tough conversation with your mom.
Your in laws sound lovely and I think they are setting the bar really high.

Your mom needs to respect your life , needs and new family.
 I believe she is walking all over you b/c she can. Stop her now.
 There is nothing wrong with wanting an unwanted guest to leave, even if she is your mom.
 Dr Susan Forward has several books that may help.
Reddit has a Raised by Narcissist thread .......awesome.
You are not alone.

COlady

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2016, 11:48:25 AM »
Thank you all for the feedback. My mom admitted to me last night that she has been drinking and that it's out of control....not really a surprise given her past. I think she wants to come visit to avoid being lonely and wanting to drink. I think she's low on energy when she comes on the weekend because she's drinking during the week and not getting adequate sleep when working long, demanding days. I have to figure out how much of this I'm willing to tolerate when she visits and it's depressing and frustrating to be around even if she isn't actively drinking.  I realize since having gone through this with her in the past that no one can make her happy or make her not drink. As far as I know she doesn't drink when she visits but I also don't get up in the middle of the night to confirm that. She might be staying up late and drinking at our house and that's why she sleeps in until 10.  I urged her to get professional help but got the typical addict push back "I'm not going through that again (she's referring to treatment)".  I told her that I love her and that I hope she decides to get help because as she and I both know well, she cannot get better or even stay in the same place without help...it's a progressive disease and will only get worse.

It's frustrating being your mother's mother. I'm planning on going to Alanon tomorrow night to sharpen my don't be a co-dependent skills because I think I'm gonna need them. If anyone has tips...bring em on.

COlady

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2016, 11:50:24 AM »
Oh also, I told her that this weekend doesn't work because we've had a lot of company stay with us this month and we need time to ourselves. Honesty wins.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2016, 11:52:14 AM »
Know that your responsibility lies with your children and not your mother. Any help you give your mother is generosity. With toddler twins you have lots of non-optional responsibility. Do not let yourself feel guilty about being unable to help her, or uncomfortable having her around, for that matter.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2016, 12:07:59 PM »
Do you have room to have both sets of parents there at the same time? That way it is one less weekend you have to entertain, your mom can see some good model behavior, and you will have your in-laws helping you with your kids so you have a bit more time with your mom.

Apples

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2016, 12:23:34 PM »
Something to keep in the back of your mind is that in 2 years or so, you boys will notice that grandma sleeps in, doesn't play with them, spends time in the bathroom, etc.  There is, in my opinion, only a short time left that she can pull off "visiting" you with this routine and using your family as a crutch every few weeks.  Soon the kids will notice, and you'll either have to start covering for grandma or not letting grandma continue this routine at your house. 

I think it's totally fair to have each set visit up to once a month.  That leaves one weekend for you guys to do something, and another weekend to rest/recuperate/clean/garden/etc. With them visiting so frequently I think it's fair game for you guys to not doing anything special with your schedule and just have them around during errands/small trips/naptime/etc.

And yay honesty win!

COlady

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2016, 01:22:52 PM »
Do you have room to have both sets of parents there at the same time? That way it is one less weekend you have to entertain, your mom can see some good model behavior, and you will have your in-laws helping you with your kids so you have a bit more time with your mom.

Nope, we have a 3 bedroom 2 bath house. Even if we had a larger house I don't feel like that is fair to any of the grandparents to make them share time regularly. If it's  a birthday or other special event that's different.

debbie does duncan

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2016, 09:29:09 AM »
So your mom admits to drinking and you allow her in your home.

http://www.americasangel.org/research/adverse-childhood-experiences-ace-study/

ACE scores are not what children need.
 Allowing problems with alcohol in the home sets the ACE at 1........when will you stop it.

COlady

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2016, 11:12:56 AM »
So your mom admits to drinking and you allow her in your home.

http://www.americasangel.org/research/adverse-childhood-experiences-ace-study/

ACE scores are not what children need.
 Allowing problems with alcohol in the home sets the ACE at 1........when will you stop it.

My mother just admitted her relapse to me on Sunday night. I am planning on attending an Alanon meeting tonight to help decide how to move forward. There are a lot of feeling involved here...can you go easy on me please? I'm doing that best I can here. I'm not ignoring the situation, I can tell you that much.

What I don't know at this point is if my mother is using when she is at home but does not use AT our house (I would smell alcohol), should I allow her to visit? I would never leave the children alone with her. I'm going to Alanon to learn more about what I should and should not be doing and how to not be a co-dependent daughter.

bridget

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2016, 11:26:53 AM »
So your mom admits to drinking and you allow her in your home.

http://www.americasangel.org/research/adverse-childhood-experiences-ace-study/

ACE scores are not what children need.
 Allowing problems with alcohol in the home sets the ACE at 1........when will you stop it.

My mother just admitted her relapse to me on Sunday night. I am planning on attending an Alanon meeting tonight to help decide how to move forward. There are a lot of feeling involved here...can you go easy on me please? I'm doing that best I can here. I'm not ignoring the situation, I can tell you that much.

What I don't know at this point is if my mother is using when she is at home but does not use AT our house (I would smell alcohol), should I allow her to visit? I would never leave the children alone with her. I'm going to Alanon to learn more about what I should and should not be doing and how to not be a co-dependent daughter.

Try not to get too down based on random interneters who don't know your deal :) It seems to me like you are being a very responsible parent, while trying to be as good of a daughter as you healthily can be. You certainly have done much more research on problem drinking than the average bear, and are much more familiar with your personal situation and family than anybody else is.

Also, I suspect the risk factor of "problems with alcohol in the home" is not addressing your situation, where your children spend an occasional weekend with their grandmother and are not exposed to her drinking; it's talking about parents or other adults kids live with day in and day out having conspicuous problems with alcohol in a way that affects the kids' lives negatively. Kids can thrive even if their parents do not ruthlessly cut off every adult they know with problems out of their lives and family.

You seem like you are gracefully balancing compassion with firm boundaries and taking family responsibility and loyalty seriously while studiously avoiding codependency. Go you!

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2016, 12:23:25 PM »
So your mom admits to drinking and you allow her in your home.

http://www.americasangel.org/research/adverse-childhood-experiences-ace-study/

ACE scores are not what children need.
 Allowing problems with alcohol in the home sets the ACE at 1........when will you stop it.

That study says "in the household" not visiting in the house.  Her mother isn't a household member.  Not applicable.

COlady

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2016, 01:06:27 PM »
Thank you both and I agree that this doesn't apply as my mother is not a member of the household.

COlady

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2016, 10:59:29 AM »
I know the smart people of this community might have some advice for me here. I'm trying to determine how to or whether to deal with my mom's alcohol/drug abuse. I've been attending Alanon but it doesn't seem to be all that useful. They just preach detach with love, etc. and I'm not sure how to apply their teachings in a practical situation. Example:

We returned from a long family trip on Tuesday afternoon. My mom called me Tuesday evening and was surprised when I answered the phone, she said she thought we weren't coming back until Wednesday. We talk about how we got home yesterday (Tuesday), the car ride with the boys went pretty well, what we did on our trip, one of the boys got bitten by a mosquito under his eye and had to go to urgent care for antibiotics due to infection, etc. It was probably a 15 min. conversation. She starts slurring her speech so I told her I needed to go (my standard response when I can tell she's under the influence of something).

Last night she texts me "are you back? how was the trip? Did the boys do well in the car?" Obviously she had no recollection of our conversation.   I'm a busy person. I work and have 16 month old twins. I have approximately 2 hours of me time in the evening and if I talk to you and you don't remember that's clearly a waste of everyone's time. I'm just frustrated. Should I tell her exactly this??? I've encouraged her to get help (she's probably been to rehab 5 times in her life) and she says she's "not doing that right now". Of course she's not, she's an addict. I don't know where to go from here. I love my mom and I enjoy chatting with her, she is one of my best friends but I'm worried about her. Is this enabling behavior? I don't know what I should/shouldn't be doing at this point.

honeybbq

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2016, 11:21:12 AM »
Very politely yet firmly say that there have been too many visitors this month and your family needs togetherness/alone/bonding time.  Don't lie or many excuses just tell the truth and stick to your decision.
+1

And...I'm sorry.  My mother was much like yours.  When she visited, I felt almost like I had another child.  True whether she visited alone or with step dad.  A lot of sitting around, asking me when dinner was ready, expecting me to drive them places (they stayed in hotels if they both came, stayed with me if just her).



I agree. You are not alone. My Mom wanted a medal because she watched my easy toddler for 5 hours once. Luckily she lives far away and I only have to see her 1-2x a year.

Establish boundaries. Your house is not for lounging and vacation. It's for visiting or helping. End of story.

Apples

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Re: Out of Town Parents Visiting
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2016, 11:32:50 AM »
I know the smart people of this community might have some advice for me here. I'm trying to determine how to or whether to deal with my mom's alcohol/drug abuse. I've been attending Alanon but it doesn't seem to be all that useful. They just preach detach with love, etc. and I'm not sure how to apply their teachings in a practical situation. Example:

We returned from a long family trip on Tuesday afternoon. My mom called me Tuesday evening and was surprised when I answered the phone, she said she thought we weren't coming back until Wednesday. We talk about how we got home yesterday (Tuesday), the car ride with the boys went pretty well, what we did on our trip, one of the boys got bitten by a mosquito under his eye and had to go to urgent care for antibiotics due to infection, etc. It was probably a 15 min. conversation. She starts slurring her speech so I told her I needed to go (my standard response when I can tell she's under the influence of something).

Last night she texts me "are you back? how was the trip? Did the boys do well in the car?" Obviously she had no recollection of our conversation.   I'm a busy person. I work and have 16 month old twins. I have approximately 2 hours of me time in the evening and if I talk to you and you don't remember that's clearly a waste of everyone's time. I'm just frustrated. Should I tell her exactly this??? I've encouraged her to get help (she's probably been to rehab 5 times in her life) and she says she's "not doing that right now". Of course she's not, she's an addict. I don't know where to go from here. I love my mom and I enjoy chatting with her, she is one of my best friends but I'm worried about her. Is this enabling behavior? I don't know what I should/shouldn't be doing at this point.

Someone else on this forum will probably have a better answer, so I hope more people chime in.  I don't have addicted relatives, and don't have to deal with this type of situation.  But the most straightforward response would be to text back "yes, we talked about the trip earlier, don't you remember?".  That way you don't immediately turn to anger at her (which I would be mad and telling her so, but that's probably not productive).  Tell her you don't have time to chat now since you chatted earlier.  Tell her you'll talk again on X day or next week.  I so feel your frustration, and I would be well beyond frustration at this point, but I think the more proactive route would be to say clearly that you all talked earlier in the day, and you plan to talk with her again at x future date.  Even if at that point your repeat the conversation from yesterday.