Am I being unreasonable – in-laws?

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 16
Hostess
3173 posts
Sugar bee

splishsplash :  Well, I heartily disagree with some of the Bees who have responded. It sounds like you have quite long work weeks (plus whatever commute time you have), plus you’re pregnant. Yes, definitely, Father-In-Law is doing you guys a tremendous favor by helping out so much.

But there’s nothing unreasonable about expecting and needing down time over the weekend. And it doesn’t give them a free pass to show up whenever they feel like it with no warning. Is that the only time they’re able to come over, btw, weekends? 

My bigger concern would be it’s a boundary issue. You made plans of when they’d come over, they agreed, then they showed up hours earlier. Was your husband given advance warning?

I’d be pissed off too, especially if my husband knew and didn’t warn me. But I’d also probably just stay in my room and sloth around like I wanted to, and let Mother-In-Law entertain herself. She is an adult, after all, and I can’t imagine you needing to keep her company the entire time they’re working.

Post # 17
Member
12128 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Sorry, walking in on you is rude. Personally, I think your Mother-In-Law is being disrespectful and that whatever your H and Father-In-Law are doing to the house and as generous as that is, still does not translate into making it OK for her to just drop by for social visits whenever. The two are not equivalent. I think you should have H speak to her or say you were not expecting company and have other plans. 

Or call her up preemptively and arrange the next time when it would be convenient.

Post # 18
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee

You need to get over yourself. Yes, it’s a bit annoying but it probably never occurred to them that showing up early to help you guys out would piss you off so much. It does come across as ungrateful and I am a little amused that you are so angry that they arrived a couple hours early to help fix up YOUR house that you needed to post to a forum. Also — why do you feel like you need to entertain your mother in law? Turn on the tv or give her a book and go back to sleep for a few hours. If you want people to work on your house and leave you alone, hire a contractor. LOL.

Post # 19
Member
734 posts
Busy bee

You’re not being unreasonable at all. Your feelings make perfect sense. At least to me. When you are working long hours all week long it is only natural that you want to sleep in and relax on your only 2 days off. And you are pregnant. And you are an introvert. People who say you are being emotional/oversenstive/overreacting have obviously never experienced the intense overwhelm that threatens to engulf an introvert if we don’t manage our lives and get downtime. It is a need. And you do need to get your downtime.

Furthermore, people with depression are very draining, and there is no reason why you should have to listen to your mother-in-law’s depressive vents week in and week out, especially if you are feeling fragile yourself.

Now that that’s out of the way, you have accepted your father-in-law’s help and now you are in this situation. You need to manage it and not let it overwhelm you. You need to get your own needs met and you also need to preserve the relationship with your in-laws. I don’t think confronting them is the right approach because it will just create tension. The first thing I think you need to do is that you must get over caring so much what they think. You will not get anywhere until you do that. Your only obligation is to be kind to them and to treat them like family – you do not have to clean like they want you to, do housework like they want you to, get out of bed when they want you to, or spend your weekends like they want you to. If they comment in a negative way on what you are doing, just gently but firmly say that that is what works for you.

You have 3 options here I think: 1) Sleep in and go about doing your own thing whilst your in-laws are there. Personally, this would not be enough downtime for me. 2) Get your husband to speak to his parents and set boundaries for when they come over. Ask him to make it clear to them that, while you very much appreciate the help, if they say they are coming over at 2 pm, arriving at 10 am is not ok. This is perfectly reasonable. 3) Stop accepting the help from your father-in-law. This is what I would do, personally, but that’s just me. It’s always tricky having family involved in your life and home to this extent, and you are bound to come up against some boundary issues. It just depends on your willingness to handle them.

Post # 20
Member
734 posts
Busy bee

cmm067 :  

It never occurred to the in-laws that arriving several hours early would be inconvenient? Come on. Everyone in the civilised world knows that. Whilst it is great that they are helping the OP with fixing up their house, basic boundaries and courtesy should not go out the window.

It’s interesting that people on this thread can say that the OP is being unreasonable for minding this, but I bet if their in-laws were showing up unannounced several hours early every Saturday morning they’d be singing a different tune.

Post # 21
Member
8832 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

splishsplash :  It’s not reasonable to say “your husband is coming over to spend his time and energy doing me and my husband/your son a favor, but you’re not welcome to tag along. Stay home by yourself.” You need to either get comfortable resting and relaxing while she’s there, or do the renovations yourself whether that means doing the work yourselves or paying someone else to. This is completely different than if they were coming over to socialize or for you guys to help them with something. If you want the help, stop caring whether they think your wifey enough or not, and get over the self-imposed expectation that you play hostess. It’s ok to say “I’m exhausted from a long week of work and I’ll be lounging in bed most of the day.”

Post # 22
Member
8832 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

weddingmaven :  Where do you see that the mil “dropped by” and walked in on the OP? I just reread all the posts and I still don’t see that. It looks to me like the mil is accompanying her husband to their son’s house. It’s perfectly acceptable for OP to say “I’m not up to socializing today so you’ll have to either entertain yourself or hang out with the guys” but it would be absurd to call up her husband’s mom and say “don’t come with your husband to see your son today” while accepting free labor.

Post # 23
Member
733 posts
Busy bee

I’m kind of split on this. I am an introvert and I know that if I planned on sleeping in and having a relaxing, low-key morning but woke up to find house guests who came a few hours earlier than expected, I would be annoyed. But, it does sound like your father-in-law is doing a lot for you, in which case I would do my best to suck up my feelings and put on a smile for them.

To give you my perspective as someone who has been in shoes similar to your in-laws – my sister-in-law is constantly looking for help with my nieces. She’ll invite me or my mom to come any time we want (which involves a plane ride for both of us) because it means she gets a break from the day-to-day stress of parenting. We’ll take her kids out so that she can relax or get other projects done, we’ll cook meals, take her kids to school and pick them up, do their laundry, wake up early with them so that she can sleep in, etc. Then all of a sudden, she’s just clearly over having house guests, is moody and makes you feel like a total imposition. My mom in particular is burnt out by how ungrateful she seems at the end of every visit and it’s been a bit damaging for their relationship.

So my advice is to be as gracious as you can given the fact that your in-laws are going out of their way to help you. If you need a break from hosting your mother-in-law, make other plans for the day. Or tell them you’re not feeling well and you’re going to your room to rest for a while. If it’s really too much for you, hire a contractor who you don’t need to entertain. Although dealing with contractors will certainly come with its own set of stressors.

Post # 24
Member
12128 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Daisy_Mae :  I really have to disagree. The Father-In-Law is there to do work with his son, not for a social call. Maybe, if Mother-In-Law has no other means of transportation and they have  to be somewhere afterward I could see it, but just because they are married doesn’t mean they have to be joined at the hip every weekend or that the Mother-In-Law should feel free to visit without asking if it would be convenient. 

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for OP to welcome her Mother-In-Law or to be gracious on some or many of these occasions but likewise Mother-In-Law should not assume it’s OK to impose on OP’s day whenever she wants, which is what she’s doing. 

Post # 25
Member
8832 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

weddingmaven :  It’s not your place, or the OPs, to decide how joined at the hip another couple should be. And yes, the main purpose is the work, but the reason fil is doing the work is because this is his son. And it’s also the mil’s son. It’s a way for them to do something productive while spending time together. If the wife doesn’t want to join that family time, she doesn’t have to. She is absolutely within her rights to say “I’m sitting on my my ass and if you’re judging that you can bite me.” But it would be incredibly shitty for her to say “sorry mil, but you’re not painting or running a tablesaw so you can’t see your husband or son today.”

Post # 26
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee

indigobee :  

It would be inconvenient for them to show up with no particular reason. Helping renovate a house is a huge favor and is saving OP a ton of money. I am definitely more of an introvert but no, “everyone in the civilized world” does not view something like that as inconvenient. I know tons of extroverts that show up either randomly or early because it wouldn’t bother them if the same happened to them. If there are boundary issues, then she and her husband need to get on the same page and he needs to talk about it with them but it doesn’t really seem like anything they do would make her happy. They offer free labor and she complains that they arrive early. She complains about having to host them even though they brought over lunch.

You can’t always have the best of both worlds. You cannot expect a family member to work on your house for free, only talk to you when you want, and leave when you want. If you want to be left alone, start paying someone for the work that you don’t need to talk to.

Post # 28
Member
1099 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

splishsplash : i wuld hardly call it lazy sleeping in on the weekends if you work 60+ hours during the week while pregnant. I wouldn’t really consider Mother-In-Law a house guest either she is close family. Since she is there so often I don’t think you need to be expected to entertain her. Thats JMO.

Post # 29
Member
8832 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

splishsplash :  “she always comes too … expecting me to chat to her…. I spent 7 hours listening to her complain…” — Just because she expects you to chat doesn’t mean you have to. I understand that you feel like you SHOULD, but you didn’t invite them over for tea and conversation. You are allowed to say “I’m going to be resting.” You don’t even have to be home. Since you’re so well off, why don’t you get yourself a nice hotel room next weekend? If mil asks your husband where you’re at, he can just say you’re out taking care of some things, which is completely true — you’re taking care of your need for peace and quiet. 

you bees are better humans than me if you can honestly say you could spend 14 hours just sitting on the couch with your mother-in-law giving a depressive monologue” — I haven’t seen anybody say that. We’re saying that she is not making you do this, you’re choosing to. In this most recent case where they showed up early, I wouldn’t have even gotten out of bed. I would have asked husband to bring me my coffee and toast, and to tell his mom that I’m in bed not feeling well. Maybe at some point I would feel up for a chat, and it would have been 2 or 3 hours instead of 7. That seems like a fair trade for her husband’s 7 hours of manual labor. And then going forward I would tell her “It’s nice to see you Phyllis. I wish I was up for a chat, but I’m wiped out from a 60-hour week at work. Here’s the tv remote. Help yourself to anything in the kitchen.” If you invited them over for dinner and did this, it would be terrible. But she knows that this is mainly a working visit. You do not have to entertain her, but on the other hand you can’t really be mad at her for wanting to tag along so she can be with her husband and son while they do some work for you.

Post # 30
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee

splishsplash :  You really need to have a discussion with your husband. Have you told him what you’ve said on here?? Whether or not we think you are being unreasonable, if this situation is making you that miserable your husband needs to understand that and you need to work together to come up with a solution.

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