Irritated with family visits

posted 10 months ago in Relationships
Post # 2
2704 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

I think the key to what you’ve said is this: you feel like a guest in your own home when your in-laws visit.  1.5 months is a hell of a long time to have visitors, even if you like them a lot.  I’d sit down with your husband and tell him that while you love his parents, the way they completely take over your house when they visit  is very difficult for you, and tell him that while they are trying to be incredibly helpful, it does make you feel like a guest in your own home.  I love my Mother-In-Law but I wouldn’t be comfortable with her washing my underwear and making my bed – she doesn’t set foot in our bedroom unless invited for whatever reason, and I think that’s a perfectly reasonable boundary to have.  Gentle nagging is still nagging.  Loving meddling is still meddling.  Kind but nosy probing is still nosy probing.  

It strikes me that it’s very important to have this conversation with your husband now – because otherwise this resentment will build and build and build, and one day when your in-laws have been staying with you for a month, something tiny will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, you’ll lose the plot and scream at your Mother-In-Law which will ruin the relationship forever.  Best to get it sorted before that happens.  And also – your husband’s family sounds horrendously enmeshed, to an unhealthy degree, and you, not coming from an enmeshed family, understandably find this difficult.  And your child being their complete focus in life isn’t healthy for them or your child either.

Personally I’d put a maximum time limit (of much less than six weeks!) on any visit.  What’s happened in the past is done, plus a newborn baby with your husband working insane hours means that your mom’s help was probably invaluable, it’s time for a clean slate, move on and new rules and boundaries to be put in place around visits.

Post # 3
2092 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

It sounds like you have both allowed extended family visits in the past. I’d work on setting boundaries in the future to limit *both* families visits, or ask both families to look into a hotel or air bnb for all or part of their trips. Start having the conversation now with your husband about limiting future extending visits to allow the 3 of you time to bond as a family.  I can totally see where are you coming from regarding his family, but honestly, I don’t think you have much of an argument given that your mother has stayed for 10 weeks this year alone. That being said, I think you should set some ground rules about not leaving articles behind and what type of help you would appreciate (cooking, help with baby etc) and what you would prefer to do yourselves (laundry, bed making). You can appreciate what his family does while they visit without wanting them to touch your underwear. Not mutually exclusive.

How far are you from both families? Even for long-distance, these seem like unnecessarily long visits from both sides. Sounds like this has been the norm for you guys in the past, but I’d work on limiting length of future visits, however, keep in mind that really both families should be treated equally so if you are limiting his family visits your family visits would be limited as well.

Post # 4
2628 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

wahwahwah :  Yeah we understand  *your* family is fabulous,  *his* are irritating. That’s the jist of what you said…  Almost everyone feels like that op!  However you’re married, a unit now.  So you either limit *both* side family visits or you suck it up and give his family the *same* visitation/latitude as your own… *Your mother* stayed for almost 2 MONTHS but you’re complaining about *his* family visiting?!  smh

Post # 5
6139 posts
Bee Keeper

Six weeks is too, too long. Make a reasonable counter-offer and then keep it consistent with both sides. Figure out some nice bins for your ILs to store their personal things in the guest room so they can be put away when they aren’t there. Graciously accept their help where it’s helpful and graciously decline when it’s not. If you don’t want them making your bed or laundering your panties just tell them thank you, no need, you’ve got that covered. Set boundaries now before it all becomes a major issue. 

Post # 6
2409 posts
Buzzing bee

Why are your families coming for such long visits?  Do they live overseas?  Could you institute a new rule of letting guests stay a maximum of 2 weeks and also institute a rule about not allowing guests in your bedroom?  Perhaps some basic boundaries would make visits from both sets of in-laws easier for both of you. 

Post # 7
1993 posts
Buzzing bee

1.5 Months!!  I can stand my mom for a few hours, DH’s maybe for a few days.  I’m not sure what advice to give just curious why the visits would be anywhere near so long?

Post # 8
11912 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

wahwahwah :  I think you need to limit both families equally so it’s fair, although I would give you mom leeway since she just lost her husband and obviously might need more support. (very sorry for your loss, bee.)

as for your feelings, they are perfectly natural. This is your home and his parents aren’t your parents, and they, while well intentioned, seem to treat you all a bit like children.

Overall, they seem like wonderful in laws, though, and so I think you need to address this issue from the stand point of limiting all guests who visit now that you have a child and are last the newborn phase. 

Just word it like a normal adjustment for a family, and don’t make it about his parents, and make it app,y to everyone. Good luck bee! I’d go batty if I had houseguests for a month! 

Post # 10
876 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

In the past 12 months I’ve shared a house for a week with both my parents and my Future In Laws on separate occasions. A week was enough for both sets of parents. Fiance agrees. Heaven knows what will happen if and when we have kids. My family lives 8 mins up the road, but his family live 3000ks away. I think boundaries will need to be set for extended stays from the In-Laws! 

Post # 11
4994 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

This is diffucult because I can understand it can be tough to have visitors and how you could feel like a guest in your own home, but you husband probably feels this way when your family come to visit.

Particularly as your family stay for weeks at a time as well but they don’t help out. 1.5 months sounds like a long time on it’s own and I can see how bees would be like ‘omg your inlaws want to visit for 1.5 months NO WAY’ but the fact is you have set a precdent for this.  Your mom stayed for 7 weeks, did you run that by your husband? Did he give an enthusiastic yes?

I admit I was hoping someone would come up with a magical “fair is not equal” solution that would allow me to insist my family stay as long as I want and his family stay…as long as I want too, but I still really appreciate the feedback.

Oh come on! Surely you can appreciate how selfish you are being? 

I would go ahead with this visit that is in the works and then I would sit down with each family individually and put a two week limit on visits next year. Explain to them that with a baby 2 weeks is the max you can host them for. 

Post # 12
540 posts
Busy bee

To me, anyway, it seems like the doing the laundry and making the bed are your IL’s way of being loving. Some people just really can’t stand the sight of an unmade bed or dirty laundry. Also, the fact that their family is really involved with each other and always has been probably means that it has never occurred to them that you might have a problem with this.

However, this does not give them a right to come into your house and start taking over. They may be family, but they are still guests. I come from a family which always encouraged a lot of independence, so while we are close, we all very much have separate lives and respect each other’s space. Having family come in and be that invasive would make me very uncomfortable and irritated. And coming into your bedroom! Heavens above.

I think the first thing is that you do need to curtail the length of the visits somewhat. 6 weeks is a very long time, even if you gel with someone perfectly, never mind if they do things that irk you. It’s a bit too long to be patient, so I think you need to find ways of trimming the length of those visits. I agree with PPs that there should be the same limit for both sides of the family, otherwise it will definitely look like favouritism.

Then, when your ILs do come, you need to have calm (very calm), kind, but firm conversations about what you do and don’t want. You need to set boundaries. Frame it from the point of view that you know they are trying to help, but you prefer to do your own laundry and make your own bed, and that you’d rather they didn’t come into your bedroom to tidy up because you like things to be where you’ve left them. Perhaps be proactive and give them tasks that you would appreciate help with, like changing nappies or doing dishes, buying groceries etc. Whatever. Just make it clear, calmly, that certain tasks you’d like to do yourself. Set a new normal. See if you can get them into the habit of asking you if you need help with something rather than just doing it.

As far as the meddling/probing, you really do not need to give information or share decision making if you do not want to. Perfect the art of being smiling yet vague and not being drawn on certain issues. It is possible, and people do eventually respect it.

Post # 13
622 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Are you a stay at home mother, in other words are you expected to host whoever comes while your husband works? I’m afraid I’d put my foot down right there – if he wants his parents there for 6 weeks, he takes 6 weeks off and he deals with them. If he is only able to take a week off, that’s all they can come for. 

Maybe you have a dynamic that means you don’t mind hosting them, but I can’t imagine telling my husband he has to spend 6 weeks with my family without me, so if I was expected to do it for his family….. it wouldn’t be pretty. 

Post # 14
1120 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

If you’re going to allow your mother to stay that long, your in-laws will expect it too. 


In all honesty though, why are you allowing any of this? I would rip my hair out if anyone stayed with us longer than a few days. I’d literally go insane. I’m not exaggerating. 

Post # 15
9245 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

That would be waaaay too much time for me for any of the grandparents.

Even for ~12 hours of travel, I think 2-3 weeks is more than enough for visitors. I think it’s totally reasonable to cut down the visits to less time in general, but you need to be fair to your husband as well.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, well I want my mom to come for 6 weeks, but your family can only come for 2. Especially when it sounds like his family is actually more helpful? My only exception to this would be if you husband is still working those crazy hours. No way would I sit around with just my inlaws for that much time; Dh can be there to entertain them if he wants them to stay that long.

I also think you need to speak up and just tell them what you want/don’t want. Keep your bedroom door shut and tell them that area is off limits for example. They can’t change their behavior if they don’t know it bothers you.

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors