Surviving the In-Laws (Love it or Hate it?)

That title sounds rather formidable. Maybe it should read more like “how do I survive hosting guests for multiple nights while keeping my children, myself, and my household alive”.

My husband’s parents arrived the middle of last week to stay for five days. On the one hand, I was ecstatic that they could come see Baby M while she’s so young and hear Little N tell stories over and over again about random things like how the power went out at her daycare four months ago. Skype just doesn’t quite cut it after a while.

On the other hand, I hate playing host. Some people are amazing at hosting. I will be the first to admit, that is just not me.

Here is what I don’t like about hosting:

  1. Planning, preparing, and making meals. To be fair, I don’t even like planning meals for my own family of four let alone adding two more adults. And yet every single day, they all turn to me like “so what should we have for dinner?”. My preferred response:Errm beats me! Can’t you just rummage in the cupboard for something? I’ll just be over here making food for the baby, then for the toddler, then making sure I’m fed so I can breastfeed the baby and not faint from hunger. Of course, I’d love to plan and make another huge meal for everyone else as well. Then after, I’ll be so exhausted despite needing to be cheery and drink wine and communicate instead of retiring to the bath straight after the kids are off to bed like I really really would like to…..”. Instead, I’ll politely respond: “well, let me just check what we have in the fridge….”
  2. After everyone leaves and the fun is over, massive, massive amounts of crap (ie. errands, cleaning, laundry) is sitting there waiting to be done.
  3. Spending a massive amount on groceries that somehow disappear overnight. I think I tripled the grocery bill this month.
  4. No alone time. Ever.
  5. The kids schedule gets epically thrown off track. That sometimes results in epically grumpy children.

So now that I’ve dished out all the things I could possibly complain about (heavy emphasis on point #1). Here are the things I loved about having them visit:

  1. Having adults to communicate and drink wine with once the kids were in bed (once I pushed past exhaustion, this was quite nice). My husband and I really miss the socializing that used to happen pre-baby as it virtually never happens anymore.
  2. Having them entertain and really play with the kids. You can throw discipline right out the window with grandparents, but they sure do make the kids smile and also keep them out of my way when I’m cooking!
  3. They put the kids to bed and lay with them as they fall asleep. It’s heartwarming to know your kids are having that bonding time with their grandparents.
  4. We do more elaborate things outside the home. Like go to the zoo. And even if we don’t plan anything outrageous, simply going to the park seems like the best thing in the world to the kids (and to the grandparents).

Despite the ‘hate’ list looking slightly longer than the ‘love’ list – I did really love their visit. I also just love to get real with you all 🙂

Let me know your experiences with having guests + kids? Love it or hate it?

Mummaknows
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29 thoughts on “Surviving the In-Laws (Love it or Hate it?)

  1. Pingback: #FamJamLinky | Link Up Your Family Posts #8 | Mummaknows

  2. Fortunately our grandparents all live close by so we have no reason to stay at each other’s houses. I completely get the bad points and totally relate tithe good points. Grandparents seem to have so much more time and patience. I can’t seem to sit down and play without thinking in the back of my mind about all the jobs that need doing, it’s so sad really. X

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  3. This is EXACTLY how I feel too. It’s not that I don’t like seeing people, and it is lovely for the kids to see family, but I do find it stressful to have people stay in the house, especially for more than one night. Our house isn’t very big, and I like space, so I find it claustrophobic, & it’s always work making room. I like the house clean & tidy & I keep it so, but I don’t actually enjoy housework, so the thought of all the extra cleaning for people coming & then dealing with all the mess & work from the extra people a few days later makes my heart sink. & I agree – the kids love it but it often throws them off course for days, and I am the only one who ever has to deal with that. &, yes, the meals, the washing up, the finding room to sit – I hate it. I also find it hard enough to do that just for us. I am someone who would decide food at the last minute and probably eat cereal left to my own devices – I hate having to do proper meals! The key for me is that I prefer to have plenty of notice and time to prepare myself and house for guests coming for more than a day visit. I find it stressful anyway, so I’m not a fan of last minute plans, sudden visits, extra people turning up last minute, etc. #famjamlinky

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    • totally agree with all your points too!! We have a small house too and we had to set up an air mattress in the office which is on the main floor next to the kitchen. No privacy for either parties really! And….i’ll let you in on a little secret too – they were ACTUALLY going to surprise us and just show up at the airport instead of letting us know in advance!!! Other people convinced them that they should probably let us know. So they called us 3 or so days before to let us know they were coming. Ermmm thanks!! 🙂 🙂

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      • Oh god, I would hit the roof if anyone turned up for days with no notice at all! I mean, I get where people think surprises are a nice idea, but you have to show a bit of common sense! Especially if you plan to stay in someone’s house, not a hotel – that’s the sort of thing people like to know about.

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  4. Being an expat I completely get this! I must admit I HATE having some visitors. The thing is some people forget that this is your life they’re stepping into not a holiday.
    I used to get jealous of friends and colleagues who talked about their family being so helpful and doing loads for the kids etc. i just feel totally stressed. Sometimes I look forward to a visit then after 2 days can’t wait for them to leave. When people stay you can’t escape you are forced into this pressure cooker situation and all feelings seem to become heightened! #famjamlinky

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    • Yes! I have this problem a lot – people just can’t get that I don’t find people in my house ‘helping’ helpful. I find it stressful. I realise a lot of people do love having people come & stay & do things, but I am not one of those people. I had some real trouble explaining this when my first was newborn, because I wasn’t someone who wanted people to come and stay and ‘help’ me. I wanted to do it myself, and I didn’t need help, but didn’t therefore want long term house guests. I wanted to get on with things without the stress of no space and guests in my house. I was repeatedly told that they were helping. Well, no, you can’t decide you are helping. If someone has said they don’t find it helpful and don’t want it, and you do it anyway, you are deliberately not helping, as far as I am concerned. I was very upset, stressed and annoyed about it at the time, and still think it was unfair.

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      • Did they end up staying? The whole having someone come stay with you to “help” when you have a newborn is a little overrated. The only exception being my mom…because she will ACTUALLY help and clean and do whatever and she could care less if I just sat in my pjs while she did it. As for anyone else – not a chance.

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  5. Have tried it before with my friends who came round for a visit, it’s nice for the social side of things and catching up with stuff, but yes, there seemed to be so much things to do, a lot of demands at my end of course. I was a bit upset when they left but I was glad they only stayed for 3 days though. #famjamlinky

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  6. Yes I agree with both lists. I love having guests over! The tidy up before & after & getting things back on track – laundry etc that you said, is not fun times! It’s great that your visit went so well & the kids had bonding time with their grandparents #FamJamlinky

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  7. LOL! I am so with you. I am happy they come and happy the kids get time with them, but blogging goes out the window, and chores. Then it’s all there waiting when they leave and it’s a mad scramble to catch up! I moved into a home without an extra bedroom for just this reason. People can come and stay a night, but not a week! LOL

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  8. I can relate to all of this! Especially the part when everyone looks to me for what I’m going to cook. My in-laws came to visit when our newborn was barely 4 weeks old and to say he was extremely colicky and cried constantly is an understatment! I don’t even know how I showered or went to the bathroom during that time let alone how I took care of my 2 older children, and here comes the in-laws to visit, wanting to take outings (the baby screamed his head off in the car the entire time he was ever in his car seat for the first 5 months), wanting me to cook them a fab dinner the night they drove in because it was a long trip and my MIL didn’t feel like eating out or getting take out. I wanted to scream because they said they were going to eat dinner on the road then didn’t! I cried many, many times that visit and still have resentment about it because she never wanted to hold the baby because “he cried too much.” He is now 9 months old and they are visiting again this weekend. Ugh. Luckily they stay in a hotel (which is good and bad) because they wake very early and expect to do something very early with us, they also leave before we do any bath time/bed time stuff so no help with any of that, but it is nice to get a break during the visit. Reading from #famjamlinky

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  9. My in-laws travel a lot, and where my husband & I live is usually the halfway point of their trip, so they might stop by for the night. I don’t have a problem with that – except they tell my husband, who forgets to tell me -_- So I’ll be on my way home planning something else to do, and I suddenly get a text, “Hey, my parents are stopping by for the night!” The lack of notice is something that irritates me, but I love when they come to visit and the opportunity to spend time with them.

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  12. We just had my mom here for a week and then 1 day later my husband’s mom for a week, so I’m in the same boat! I just have a 5 month old, and they tried to help entertain him, but he’s been eeeextra fussy lately so he still usually ended up hanging off of me… The hubby and I have always LOVED entertaining, but it’s a whole new game now!! And I never know when I’ll suddenly end up having to be in the nursery with my son for 30min. “I know I invited you to my house, but can you just sit in the living room and text or something for about half an hour while I sneak off?” 😉

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  13. Just left a long comment and then lost it when I had to sign in…. :/ Let’s try this again.

    We just had my mom here for a week and then one day later my husband’s mom for a week, so I’m in the same boat! I just have a 5 month old and they tried to help out with him, but he’s been eeeeextra fussy lately and still usually ended up hanging off me… The hubby and I used to LOVE entertaining, but it’s a whole new game now! And I never know when I’ll suddenly have to be in the nursery with my son for about 30min. “I know I invited you over, but can you just chill in the living room while I sneak off for half an hour?” 😉

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  14. Pingback: Where’s the #famjamlinky This Week? | Mummaknows

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