Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Syrse on December 04, 2013, 02:00:55 PM

Title: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Syrse on December 04, 2013, 02:00:55 PM
Hey all...

my mother is driving me up the wall. Ever since we had a baby, we're interesting again, and my parents insist on seeing baby once a month so they can take oodles of pictures of her, treat her like a trophy grandbaby, and then leave us alone for another month. Before we had a baby, we only heard from them about, once a year.
They live about an hour away, and for the first year, they would call to ask when they could visit, drive up to our place, stay half an hour in which they treat baby as a 'thing' to take pictures of (they actually go 'quick take a picture!' whenever she tries to communicate with them, which confuses and upsets her). Then they get mad because baby cries when she sees them, and blame it on the fact that they never see her. Baby smiles at absolutely everybody, just not my parents, because, well, they don't communicate with her, and treat her like an object.
They are also notoriously bad with the agreed upon times. Once, they were supposed to visit at 6. I called them at 6:20, and they were just getting in the car. For an hour drive. And then they got upset when I said baby would be going to bed at 8, and not a minute later.

Last month my mother had surgery. As a result, she cannot come visit. She now wants us to visit them. We did that once, resulting in a very unhappy and upset baby (one hour in car, one hour of pictures, one hour back in car). I honestly do not want to do it again. And even if I wanted to, I don't really see how; baby has to be in bed by 8. Both me and my husband work the week. Even if we left right after work, we'd have to start driving back right away to make it to her bedtime.
I have to repeat this information to my mother every single time she calls. She keeps suggesting weekdays, and keeps acting surprised whenever I mention that 'we work'.

I have half my mind made up to just go with 'sorry, won't be possible' until they can come visit us again. Which, to be honest, I won't like, but at least then I wouldn't have to upset baby's sleeping pattern.

Any ideas on how I could best voice that? My mother has very long toes...
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: TootsNYC on December 04, 2013, 02:06:36 PM
Can you just not answer her phone calls?

Or have a rule--"sorry, Mom, we don't go anywhere on week nights. Gotta go!" <click>


Get off the phone as fast as you can, and then simply decide that you don't care if your mom is unhappy with your decision. Decide that it is not important to please her anymore. Say it out loud--"I don't care if my mom is unhappy. It's not important to please her anymore."
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: TurtleDove on December 04, 2013, 02:15:16 PM
"I already explained this - we cannot drive to visit you on weekdays."
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: esposita on December 04, 2013, 02:19:17 PM
I know exactly what you mean. Some people just don't get it!

I'd get proactive. Set up skype, or schedule a visit for a weekend a month from now. Be very firm on the date and time.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: TootsNYC on December 04, 2013, 02:38:01 PM
You titled this thread:
Quote
"Can't seem to get it into my parent's head"

Here's your problem. You are defining "success" as "getting my parents to think the way I want them to."

That's not sensible, and it's not appropriate. And it's doomed to failure.

Give it up as a goal.

Make your goals be:

reducing your stress when you talk to your mother on the phone
    -screen her calls; return them whenever you want (or don't)
    -hold both hands with your husband, and jump up and down together in the living room chanting, "I do not need to make my mother happy" over and over for a full minute, every day for two weeks.

keeping your parents' whims from disrupting your child's and your family's schedule
    -make a rule: you never, ever travel farther than 20 minutes on a weeknight. Write it down, stick it on the fridge.
   -make another rule: you won't visit with them any more than once every 6 weeks. Block it out on the calendar (use a pencil and gray-shade the non-annoying-grandparents weekends).

figuring out how to buffer your child from their "treat her like an object" approach
    (here I'm a little lost)
     -insist on being the main interacter with your child, and treat them like audience

But the biggie: change your goal.

Your goal is not to "fix" your parents. Your goal is to manage your own family so as to keep them from disrupting you unduly.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Calypso on December 04, 2013, 03:10:51 PM
What do they say when you ask them about visiting on the weekends?

And, if they're aware that Baby doesn't smile at them, and they mind that, can you use that to lead them to some real interaction? "Tell you what, guys, put the cameras down for a while and let's just talk amongst ourselves; then when Baby tries to get someone's attention, you can be the ones to 'talk' with her (play Peek a Boo, hold her, whatever)."

They're (hopefully) going to be her grandparents for a long time. Whey not see if you can steer the ship in a better direction starting now?
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Nemesis on December 04, 2013, 03:36:53 PM
Your response should be as short and curt as possible.

"No."

Or

"No, there is no way that is happening. Please stop asking, the answer is still no".
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: mspallaton on December 04, 2013, 03:38:49 PM
You titled this thread:
Quote
"Can't seem to get it into my parent's head"

Here's your problem. You are defining "success" as "getting my parents to think the way I want them to."

That's not sensible, and it's not appropriate. And it's doomed to failure.

Give it up as a goal.

Make your goals be:

reducing your stress when you talk to your mother on the phone
    -screen her calls; return them whenever you want (or don't)
    -hold both hands with your husband, and jump up and down together in the living room chanting, "I do not need to make my mother happy" over and over for a full minute, every day for two weeks.

keeping your parents' whims from disrupting your child's and your family's schedule
    -make a rule: you never, ever travel farther than 20 minutes on a weeknight. Write it down, stick it on the fridge.
   -make another rule: you won't visit with them any more than once every 6 weeks. Block it out on the calendar (use a pencil and gray-shade the non-annoying-grandparents weekends).

figuring out how to buffer your child from their "treat her like an object" approach
    (here I'm a little lost)
     -insist on being the main interacter with your child, and treat them like audience

But the biggie: change your goal.

Your goal is not to "fix" your parents. Your goal is to manage your own family so as to keep them from disrupting you unduly.

POD to ALL OF THIS.

Your actions show that you have the right priorities - you noticed your baby's negative reaction to them and are trying to mitigate it, you aren't changing your baby's schedule to please them - but the hardest part is remembering that you can't make people be different than how they are.

Your decision becomes - how many times am I willing to say no before I simply stop taking questions?  If they are going to keep asking, maybe it starts to be time for the response "mom, that's been asked and answered - it's not going to happen".

But mostly - POD to setting different goals for the interactions and finding any way you can to get zen about the fact that your parents are who they are - flawed just like the rest of us.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: EllenS on December 04, 2013, 03:46:41 PM
I'm not clear from your post whether you would be willing to visit on the weekend.  It kind of sounds like you don't want to and have maybe avoided suggesting the weekend, because that would remove your excuse about working and lateness.  (I don't blame you for that, I'm just trying to see where you're coming from).

Personally, I would not do an hour car trip with a baby unless I was staying most of the day or overnight.  What about meeting them to hang out at some point halfway between, so it is less of a drive for everybody?

If you just don't want to do it at all, that is totally OK. If you are working and have a baby, I know you are exhausted and you should not have to put up with garbage that just makes your life harder for no good reason.

"Mom, three hours with a baby in the car is torture for everybody.  We'll see you when you are better."
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 04, 2013, 03:49:41 PM
Since you used to only interact with your parents annually, it doesn't sound like keeping a really harmonious relationship is a critical issue for you. So just go back to that.

Mom: Can you guys drive down next week?
You: I don't think our work schedule will allow it but I'll check. Hope your feeling better. I'll call you next week.

Mom: You were going to call me last week.
You: Sorry we were busy. How are you feeling?
Mom: Are you coming next week?
You: I'll have to check our schedule. I'll call you soon.

Mom: When are you coming?
You: I don't know. You remember how busy it is with a baby.
Mom: Well you need to come.
You:  How's Dad? Let me talk with him.

I just don't see how a woman you used to interact with only once a year can suddenly start creating this much drama for you or start insisting on anything.

If they do come visit, you have the power to control the interaction.

Dad, please put away the camera. DD's tired of having her photo taken.

But don't give excuses for anything. A 3 hour car trip with our kids was heaven because they slept the entire time.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Pen^2 on December 04, 2013, 03:52:24 PM
First, well done for standing up with what you already have. Bedtime at 8pm sharp and so on. Very good. It is not worth upsetting your daughter's sleeping pattern in order to do something that will upset her. Your mother is an adult and can cope with this. A baby comes first.

Don't JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain). JADEing opens up a discussion, which is not something you should do when it's not something optional. You aren't going to debate whether or not this will happen--no matter what she thinks, it won't happen. So just don't go there.

Nemesis has the right idea. "No." Or, "No. I'm afraid that won't be possible." Repeat as often as you need to. "But why?" etc. can be met with the same response, word-for-word. They'll get the point pretty quickly.

Once your mother has healed (I have no idea of what the surgery was, so maybe this isn't something worth worrying about in the near future), I'd keep using the same response for them coming over to see you. "No. That day/time doesn't work for us." Don't give a reason and don't JADE. Once you give a reason, they can start explaining how to overcome it. That's not what this is about.

I'd also limit the time they have holding or handling your baby. If she gets upset while she's being photographed and passed around like an ornament, start limiting the time they have with her. Seriously, that's just not okay to do to a baby (upset her, I mean, not holding/passing), and it should stop ASAP. I'd use now as a time to polish up your polite spine, since otherwise this'll likely get worse as your daughter starts being more "interesting" as she grows. Use a line like, "You're upsetting the baby, so I'll have to soothe her now," as you take her back. Next time they want to juggle her, state politely but firmly, "Last time you upset her, so let's limit it to X minutes this time. I wouldn't want you to have to deal with a cranky baby." Keep reducing X until you find a number that works. Don't factor in your parents' enjoyment, but only your daughter's. If she's unhappy, then your adult parents are going to have to accept that their wants don't come first.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: cwm on December 04, 2013, 04:03:13 PM
your adult parents are going to have to accept that their wants don't come first.

This stood out at me the most.

When my niece Sproglet was young, she wasn't the easiest of tots to deal with. Sis had a hard time keeping her happy and on a set schedule, and Sproglet's dad always messed it up every weekend, without fail. Sis had to keep telling our dad that no, she was not going to let him take them out to dinner at 6:45. Dad complained far and wide about how terrible Sis was being, that this was his granddaughter and he was only trying to be nice, didn't Sis need help with food? He was offering to feed her, how was that so bad?

Finally, Sproglet calmed down into a happy baby and spring came. Dad offered to watch Sproglet once a week during the week so Sis could go to work and pay less for daycare. Every time she came home, her nap schedule was off, her feeding schedule was off, she had been given foods that Sis had specifically told Dad not to give her, and all sorts of other boundaries were trampled. Sis finally said no more and has not let Dad have the kid unsupervised. Which severely limits the time Dad can spend with Sproglet, but has made Sis and Sproglet's lives much happier.

OP, you are responsible for the health and happiness of you, your husband, and your daughter. If your parents aren't happy with the situation, they have the means to change it. Maybe not so much when your mother is recovering, but sometimes situations happen that are out of our control, and we have to deal with them. They have to learn to deal with you taking care of your family. Good for you for setting boundaries early, continue to live them. It may get easier with time, when the "novelty" of a new baby wears off. Good luck!
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: EllenS on December 04, 2013, 04:31:46 PM
Since you used to only interact with your parents annually, it doesn't sound like keeping a really harmonious relationship is a critical issue for you. So just go back to that.

Mom: Can you guys drive down next week?
You: I don't think our work schedule will allow it but I'll check. Hope your feeling better. I'll call you next week.

Mom: You were going to call me last week.
You: Sorry we were busy. How are you feeling?
Mom: Are you coming next week?
You: I'll have to check our schedule. I'll call you soon.

Mom: When are you coming?
You: I don't know. You remember how busy it is with a baby.
Mom: Well you need to come.
You:  How's Dad? Let me talk with him.


The only problem with this approach is that it maintains the illusion that next week things will be different, so Mom will keep asking (why shouldn't she? After all, that's what she was told.)

If, in reality, this is not a case-by-case thing, but a decision, then that needs to be clear.  Otherwise, this conversation will go on and on forever (which sounds maddening).
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: LadyL on December 04, 2013, 04:41:32 PM
Hey all...

my mother is driving me up the wall. Ever since we had a baby, we're interesting again, and my parents insist on seeing baby once a month so they can take oodles of pictures of her, treat her like a trophy grandbaby, and then leave us alone for another month. Before we had a baby, we only heard from them about, once a year.
They live about an hour away, and for the first year, they would call to ask when they could visit, drive up to our place, stay half an hour in which they treat baby as a 'thing' to take pictures of (they actually go 'quick take a picture!' whenever she tries to communicate with them, which confuses and upsets her). Then they get mad because baby cries when she sees them, and blame it on the fact that they never see her. Baby smiles at absolutely everybody, just not my parents, because, well, they don't communicate with her, and treat her like an object.

You've gotten good advice about avoiding visits at all but here are some suggestions for if/when you do have a visit with them.

Since this dynamic isn't working for you (I understand why - it sounds tedious, the  very opposite of "quality time") have you tried to change it entirely? That worked for us with visits to see LordL's parents.  Simply changing the dynamic from being in their home to being at a restaurant led to a positive change in their behavior. Could you meet your parents at a park, the zoo, an indoor play place, or a museum - ANYWHERE where there would be an activity, things to see and do, so they can't turn it into a photoshoot and then leave as soon as they're done with photos?


Or, have you tried redirecting the behavior? I.e. saying something like "the constant camera flash upsets baby, so let's limit it to 5 photos this time" or "if you talk directly to her or dangle this toy she will probably smile instead of cry"? Is there a chance they just don't know what to *do* with a baby?
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 04, 2013, 04:51:15 PM
Since you used to only interact with your parents annually, it doesn't sound like keeping a really harmonious relationship is a critical issue for you. So just go back to that.

Mom: Can you guys drive down next week?
You: I don't think our work schedule will allow it but I'll check. Hope your feeling better. I'll call you next week.

Mom: You were going to call me last week.
You: Sorry we were busy. How are you feeling?
Mom: Are you coming next week?
You: I'll have to check our schedule. I'll call you soon.

Mom: When are you coming?
You: I don't know. You remember how busy it is with a baby.
Mom: Well you need to come.
You:  How's Dad? Let me talk with him.


The only problem with this approach is that it maintains the illusion that next week things will be different, so Mom will keep asking (why shouldn't she? After all, that's what she was told.)

If, in reality, this is not a case-by-case thing, but a decision, then that needs to be clear.  Otherwise, this conversation will go on and on forever (which sounds maddening).
But I'm ok with that. It's like putting off that acquaintance who is always suggesting you get together for happy hour. It's just not worth getting into why you don't want to go so you put off till they finally realize you'll never say yes.

I'm really advocating reducing contact back down to the pre- baby relationship. And if she keeps postponing making commitments her mom will finally get the hint.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: GlassHalfFull on December 04, 2013, 05:00:07 PM
As far as the photos go, have you tried just saying, "The baby gets stressed out with so many photos, let's stop with that so she can enjoy your visit."  And add, "Don't worry, I'll take plenty and text/email/whatever them to you."  And then do that, of course.

Good for sticking to your guns on bedtimes etc; fold now and the requests/demands will exponentially become more frequent and expected to be followed as your child gets older.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Addy on December 04, 2013, 05:02:44 PM
(snipped for length)

If they do come visit, you have the power to control the interaction.

Dad, please put away the camera. DD's tired of having her photo taken.



I agree with this advice. Also, what about sending your own photos of the little darling?  That way, they will have less need to take those trophy baby shots and may find the relationship with baby improves when they can interact more naturally. Or, they may need to come visit less often. Either way, it's an improvement.

Stories like these make me appreciate the closeness I have with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter, and also make me vow to be a kind, helpful, but not overbearing grandmother who appreciates every minute with my granddaughter and only offers advice when asked. I do so solemnly swear. ;)
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: EllenS on December 04, 2013, 05:05:22 PM
Since you used to only interact with your parents annually, it doesn't sound like keeping a really harmonious relationship is a critical issue for you. So just go back to that.

Mom: Can you guys drive down next week?
You: I don't think our work schedule will allow it but I'll check. Hope your feeling better. I'll call you next week.

Mom: You were going to call me last week.
You: Sorry we were busy. How are you feeling?
Mom: Are you coming next week?
You: I'll have to check our schedule. I'll call you soon.

Mom: When are you coming?
You: I don't know. You remember how busy it is with a baby.
Mom: Well you need to come.
You:  How's Dad? Let me talk with him.


The only problem with this approach is that it maintains the illusion that next week things will be different, so Mom will keep asking (why shouldn't she? After all, that's what she was told.)

If, in reality, this is not a case-by-case thing, but a decision, then that needs to be clear.  Otherwise, this conversation will go on and on forever (which sounds maddening).
But I'm ok with that. It's like putting off that acquaintance who is always suggesting you get together for happy hour. It's just not worth getting into why you don't want to go so you put off till they finally realize you'll never say yes.

I'm really advocating reducing contact back down to the pre- baby relationship. And if she keeps postponing making commitments her mom will finally get the hint.

I get what you're saying, just personally it would drive me batty to invite the same conversation over and over, if I had already made up my mind. 
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 04, 2013, 05:11:43 PM
Since you used to only interact with your parents annually, it doesn't sound like keeping a really harmonious relationship is a critical issue for you. So just go back to that.

Mom: Can you guys drive down next week?
You: I don't think our work schedule will allow it but I'll check. Hope your feeling better. I'll call you next week.

Mom: You were going to call me last week.
You: Sorry we were busy. How are you feeling?
Mom: Are you coming next week?
You: I'll have to check our schedule. I'll call you soon.

Mom: When are you coming?
You: I don't know. You remember how busy it is with a baby.
Mom: Well you need to come.
You:  How's Dad? Let me talk with him.


The only problem with this approach is that it maintains the illusion that next week things will be different, so Mom will keep asking (why shouldn't she? After all, that's what she was told.)

If, in reality, this is not a case-by-case thing, but a decision, then that needs to be clear.  Otherwise, this conversation will go on and on forever (which sounds maddening).
But I'm ok with that. It's like putting off that acquaintance who is always suggesting you get together for happy hour. It's just not worth getting into why you don't want to go so you put off till they finally realize you'll never say yes.

I'm really advocating reducing contact back down to the pre- baby relationship. And if she keeps postponing making commitments her mom will finally get the hint.

I get what you're saying, just personally it would drive me batty to invite the same conversation over and over, if I had already made up my mind.
But they are having the same conversation any way with OP becoming frustrated with her parents not listening or understanding.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: anonymousmac on December 05, 2013, 08:05:02 AM
    -hold both hands with your husband, and jump up and down together in the living room chanting, "I do not need to make my mother happy" over and over for a full minute, every day for two weeks.

I just want to say that this is among the best advice I've read on this board, ever.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Julsie on December 05, 2013, 08:17:02 AM
    -hold both hands with your husband, and jump up and down together in the living room chanting, "I do not need to make my mother happy" over and over for a full minute, every day for two weeks.

I just want to say that this is among the best advice I've read on this board, ever.

I completely agree.  It may sound silly and Toots probably meant it as a joke but there is a kernel of profound wisdom in there!
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Secret on December 05, 2013, 12:43:38 PM
I'm assuming you aren't interested in a relationship with your parents?  Are you not interested in coming down once per month for the afternoon to visit? Why only 1 hour?  Can you not stay for dinner or order in dinner or go out for dinner?

My parents live 1 hour away and hubby me and our 2 kids have been going down since the first one was 3 weeks old. usually 2x per month.  It is doable if you want to do it.  We've always had a schedule with our oldest.  We'd leave to go down right after the little one was fed and was going to nap in the car. (reverse on the way home- found that the hard way).  You can work with a scheduled baby.

To be honest it sounds like you aren't interested in going to their place at all.  That is okay, but not the greatest idea to use a baby as an excuse because they grow and become more flexible and then you lose your excuse.

My dad is quite the shutterbug and he is always wanting the baby to  smile.  So I showed him how baby #2 loves to be sung to, x particular song or likes this toy.  You can "show" your parents how to interact with the baby by showing them what baby likes and doesn't like. 
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: esposita on December 05, 2013, 01:27:55 PM
I'm assuming you aren't interested in a relationship with your parents?  Are you not interested in coming down once per month for the afternoon to visit? Why only 1 hour?  Can you not stay for dinner or order in dinner or go out for dinner?

My parents live 1 hour away and hubby me and our 2 kids have been going down since the first one was 3 weeks old. usually 2x per month.  It is doable if you want to do it.  We've always had a schedule with our oldest.  We'd leave to go down right after the little one was fed and was going to nap in the car. (reverse on the way home- found that the hard way).  You can work with a scheduled baby.

To be honest it sounds like you aren't interested in going to their place at all.  That is okay, but not the greatest idea to use a baby as an excuse because they grow and become more flexible and then you lose your excuse.

My dad is quite the shutterbug and he is always wanting the baby to  smile.  So I showed him how baby #2 loves to be sung to, x particular song or likes this toy.  You can "show" your parents how to interact with the baby by showing them what baby likes and doesn't like.

What about hosts who say "Dinner is at X" and then what that actually means is that dinner is supposed to be finished cooking at X but then the table has to be set, the dinner has to cool, biscuits or rolls have to be cooked, the salad tossed...etc. And dinner isn't until 6:30. Then you eat, chat, and feel guilted into helping clean... oh and then its time for coffee and dessert and the wrath of thunder will descend if you do not wish to partake in any of these "gifts" of hospitality. And then by the time you are headed home it is past eight and baby gets disturbed going from bed to car seat and you basically don't sleep again that night.

Just saying that its great if it works, but not wanting to drive an hour both ways, with a baby, for dinner doesn't mean that someone isn't interested in making it work. :)
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: bopper on December 05, 2013, 01:36:40 PM
I agree with whoever said to be proactive.

Have you and your husband decide how often you want to have your parents see your baby. Once a week, once a month, once every two months, twice a year whatever.

Then talk to your mom and say "Mom, it would work better for us if we could get on schedule visiting with you guys. You keep wanting to visit on a weekday and that does not work out for us. What would work for us would be to visit you once a month on the first Sunday (or whatever) for the next 3 months, and then after you have regained your strength you could come visit us (or you could alternate or whatever.).  In between that we could skype/I could send you pictures/videos.  I want you guys to have a relationship with babyOP but we need to do something that works for everyone."
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: TootsNYC on December 05, 2013, 01:40:58 PM
    -hold both hands with your husband, and jump up and down together in the living room chanting, "I do not need to make my mother happy" over and over for a full minute, every day for two weeks.

I just want to say that this is among the best advice I've read on this board, ever.

I completely agree.  It may sound silly and Toots probably meant it as a joke but there is a kernel of profound wisdom in there!

Actually, I was sort of serious. I stole it from someone who said that she and her husband do this with a mantra that addresses an issue she struggles with (in her case, she worries about whether her witnessing actually reaches anybody, and her pastor husband started this with her, and they chant "I am not the Holy Spirit").

It captured my mind--it was years ago now, but I still think of it. I think it would really help you start to feel free about that issue, whatever it was.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: EllenS on December 05, 2013, 03:52:34 PM

What about hosts who say "Dinner is at X" and then what that actually means is that dinner is supposed to be finished cooking at X but then the table has to be set, the dinner has to cool, biscuits or rolls have to be cooked, the salad tossed...etc. And dinner isn't until 6:30. Then you eat, chat, and feel guilted into helping clean... oh and then its time for coffee and dessert and the wrath of thunder will descend if you do not wish to partake in any of these "gifts" of hospitality. And then by the time you are headed home it is past eight and baby gets disturbed going from bed to car seat and you basically don't sleep again that night.

Just saying that its great if it works, but not wanting to drive an hour both ways, with a baby, for dinner doesn't mean that someone isn't interested in making it work. :)

Gee, I think that's more about the relationship than the timing.  I mean, if waiting for the table to be set and actually taking time to chat is going to annoy you, or if helping your parents clean up the dishes after they cooked you dinner is about guilt, and the wrath of thunder, then yeah it is not worth it to make the trip at all.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: esposita on December 05, 2013, 04:27:40 PM

What about hosts who say "Dinner is at X" and then what that actually means is that dinner is supposed to be finished cooking at X but then the table has to be set, the dinner has to cool, biscuits or rolls have to be cooked, the salad tossed...etc. And dinner isn't until 6:30. Then you eat, chat, and feel guilted into helping clean... oh and then its time for coffee and dessert and the wrath of thunder will descend if you do not wish to partake in any of these "gifts" of hospitality. And then by the time you are headed home it is past eight and baby gets disturbed going from bed to car seat and you basically don't sleep again that night.

Just saying that its great if it works, but not wanting to drive an hour both ways, with a baby, for dinner doesn't mean that someone isn't interested in making it work. :)

Gee, I think that's more about the relationship than the timing.  I mean, if waiting for the table to be set and actually taking time to chat is going to annoy you, or if helping your parents clean up the dishes after they cooked you dinner is about guilt, and the wrath of thunder, then yeah it is not worth it to make the trip at all.

I apologize, I can see how my post seems very harsh. I should have given more background.

We were frequently made to feel guilty at baulking over a dinner invitation to a certain home. Our reason (too long of a drive for a baby that has a firm bedtime) was seen as being very special snowflakey and we were assured that it would just be a quick dinner. Every. Single. Time. the visit was drawn out and dinner was late and they insisted that we stay for coffee and more chatting. The next time, we'd go again, hoping for the best, try to be firm, and still end up home very late with a cranky baby.

If we tried to go on time, sad faces, "one more thing conversations," and passive aggressive comments about our not enjoying their company were plentiful. (Oh, and I should mention that these weren't my parents, but we were relatives.)

I will admit that it struck a nerve with me that it would be said that someone "wasn't trying" simply because they were not willing to do this one thing. I'm just saying that its not always as simple as driving an hour, eating an hour, and driving home in time for baby to go to bed in the crib. I am happy to help prepare, clean, or chat. But not to be guilted into a bait and switch. If you tell me not to worry, and then keep me emotionally hostage for three hours on top of the two hours of driving, I'm not okay with that.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Twik on December 05, 2013, 05:11:02 PM

What about hosts who say "Dinner is at X" and then what that actually means is that dinner is supposed to be finished cooking at X but then the table has to be set, the dinner has to cool, biscuits or rolls have to be cooked, the salad tossed...etc. And dinner isn't until 6:30. Then you eat, chat, and feel guilted into helping clean... oh and then its time for coffee and dessert and the wrath of thunder will descend if you do not wish to partake in any of these "gifts" of hospitality. And then by the time you are headed home it is past eight and baby gets disturbed going from bed to car seat and you basically don't sleep again that night.

Just saying that its great if it works, but not wanting to drive an hour both ways, with a baby, for dinner doesn't mean that someone isn't interested in making it work. :)

Gee, I think that's more about the relationship than the timing.  I mean, if waiting for the table to be set and actually taking time to chat is going to annoy you, or if helping your parents clean up the dishes after they cooked you dinner is about guilt, and the wrath of thunder, then yeah it is not worth it to make the trip at all.

It's not about waiting for the table to be set. It's about letting people know your time frame, and have them agree to it, and then ignore it completely.

Let's say you told your parents you had to leave for the airport by 8, and they said they understood, but were just putting the main course on the table at 7:45. Would you not be annoyed, particularly if they then tried to guilt you to stay till 9?
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: esposita on December 05, 2013, 05:19:32 PM

What about hosts who say "Dinner is at X" and then what that actually means is that dinner is supposed to be finished cooking at X but then the table has to be set, the dinner has to cool, biscuits or rolls have to be cooked, the salad tossed...etc. And dinner isn't until 6:30. Then you eat, chat, and feel guilted into helping clean... oh and then its time for coffee and dessert and the wrath of thunder will descend if you do not wish to partake in any of these "gifts" of hospitality. And then by the time you are headed home it is past eight and baby gets disturbed going from bed to car seat and you basically don't sleep again that night.

Just saying that its great if it works, but not wanting to drive an hour both ways, with a baby, for dinner doesn't mean that someone isn't interested in making it work. :)

Gee, I think that's more about the relationship than the timing.  I mean, if waiting for the table to be set and actually taking time to chat is going to annoy you, or if helping your parents clean up the dishes after they cooked you dinner is about guilt, and the wrath of thunder, then yeah it is not worth it to make the trip at all.

It's not about waiting for the table to be set. It's about letting people know your time frame, and have them agree to it, and then ignore it completely.

Let's say you told your parents you had to leave for the airport by 8, and they said they understood, but were just putting the main course on the table at 7:45. Would you not be annoyed, particularly if they then tried to guilt you to stay till 9?

Exactly, yes, thank you Twik. You said perfectly what I was trying to communicate! (And in many fewer words! ;D)
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Secret on December 05, 2013, 06:32:49 PM
I guess I"m stuck at the 3 hour total time frame.  We used to go after lunch when baby either went down for a nap in the car, or after the baby got up from the nap and then were leaving for home at 730. 

Now, as for those folks who do not respect the baby's time schedule.  My in Laws!!  I can relate.  Our child had difficulty sleeping through the night and sometimes would get up and cry at night.  It was not to bad at home.  Get up with baby, rock them for a long time and put them to bed.  At some other place trying to do it quietly was a nightmare.  One of the best things was the night we were at their tiny cottage and baby was up for a couple of hours in the night, keeping everyone up.  Hubby and I told in laws that baby sometimes wakes up the house.  They said it'd be fine.  Then they saw what we went through.  She stopped badgering us to stay the night.

then baby got older and she started in on "baby is having fun playing with the cousins, baby doesn't need an afternoon nap.'  That's easy to say when you aren't putting the exhausted baby down at 7 pm!

Bottom line, all babies are different, some are easygoing, some are NOT.  Some live by routine and some do not.  No matter what, babies change and evolve.  What worked for them yesterday, may not work for them today.  Basically  you tell MIL and FIL that as your little baby grows, it won't always be that way.  You baby will be going for longer periods without a nap, will be able to interact more. (Hold toys and such).  Tell them it won't always be this way, and it  will get easier to schedule visits as your little on matures a bit.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: TootsNYC on December 05, 2013, 07:53:36 PM
I guess I"m stuck at the 3 hour total time frame.  We used to go after lunch when baby either went down for a nap in the car, or after the baby got up from the nap and then were leaving for home at 730. 

Yes, but for the OP, that's not possible because it's the workweek--all her examples involved evening and bedtime.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Secret on December 05, 2013, 08:04:23 PM
Ah missed that, I was thinking weekend.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: blarg314 on December 05, 2013, 08:22:05 PM

Even with an older child, I don't think I'd be keen on finishing work, picking up the kids from daycare, driving an hour, spending an hour eating dinner, and driving back for an hour.

For a baby it's the bedtime/eating time issues. For young kids, bedtime is still an issue - leaving at 6 still means getting home at 9, after which you've got baths and bedtime routine, etc. A nap in the car with a sleepy kid can make things worse, depending on the child - you have to get them out of the car and into bed after they get home. With older kids you run into extracurricular activities, the need to do homework, etc.

From the OP's posting, it sounds like the grandparents prefer short visits in general, even when they're doing the driving - half an hour or an hour for photos, until the baby gets cranky or stops performing, then it's over.

Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Syrse on December 08, 2013, 06:31:40 AM
OP here, thanks for the many responses and stories :) It helps a lot.

A few people asked about weekends; at the moment I am working saturdays, and my husband is working sundays. It'll be like that until the end of the year, which I have already explained to my mother. Which she then forgets.
I do send them pictures when they ask.
As for meeting them at another place, restaurant etc., it's been tried, and it gets about the same result, with an added 'look at my grandbaby everybody!'

Before she had surgery, the visits were about once a month, at our place, and I can live with that, as long as I can keep hope alive that it will get less and less over time  ::)

The main thing that irks me is the repetition of it all. I do ask them to put the camera away, and to just play with her instead. It works for 5 minutes, and then they grab the camera again. Or dad will play with her in such a way that he is always dangling stuff in front of her or talking to her or poking her, without giving her any time to respond, which simply confuses her and upsets her. They have absolutely no idea how to handle a baby.

To be perfectly honest, if we went back to the once every year bit, I would be perfectly fine with that. I have no connection with my parents. They tell us every single time that they're not here for us, they're here for the baby only. They run right up to baby without even talking to us when they get here. When they do try to strike up conversation, they will lose interest halfway our answer, or they will repeat the same question two minutes later because they forgot they asked.

All in all, it's just very stressful. We are firm, but we are already telling baby 'no' every two minutes (she's in the everything-is-mine phase), I really don't feel like taking on two extra kids, if that makes sense.

I love the jumping up and down bit. I am so going to try that ;D
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Emmy on December 08, 2013, 08:53:28 AM
I'm sorry you have this type of relationship with your parents.  Their visit sounds like a charade.  You should send them plenty of baby pictures.  That way, you don't have to visit, baby doesn't have to suffer through a visit, they get their all important baby pictures, and everybody will be happy.  Working full time and caring for a baby is very demanding so it sounds like you have precious little time and you shouldn't have to spend it doing something that makes you and the baby unhappy.  Definitely don't take a chunk of your precious weekend for a visit to appease them.

I would let your mother know it won't be possible to visit, but you'll be happy to send pictures of that baby (which is all they seem to want anyway) and you will see them when they can make the trip.  If she tries to argue, end the call and avoid her calls for a period of time.

Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Promise on December 08, 2013, 08:59:45 AM
Honestly, it's normal for family to want to get together once a month, especially with a new grandchild. That this is a problem, says that there are deeper issues that you don't want this. My family - cousins, aunts, parents, grandparents - all got together once a WEEK with some of living an hour away from each other. An hour isn't a long distance. Perhaps you've made it crystal clear that they are not welcome and they take so many pictures just in case you cut off contact with their grandchild. Perhaps your parents don't know how to relate to you well and are giving an effort through your baby. There is an attitude that comes across in your writing that seems to say that you don't want them to be a part of your lives. Perhaps I'm wrong, but everything about your post says, "Stay away from my family, we just don't want to bother."

Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Kariachi on December 08, 2013, 09:16:56 AM
Honestly, it's normal for family to want to get together once a month, especially with a new grandchild. That this is a problem, says that there are deeper issues that you don't want this. My family - cousins, aunts, parents, grandparents - all got together once a WEEK with some of living an hour away from each other. An hour isn't a long distance. Perhaps you've made it crystal clear that they are not welcome and they take so many pictures just in case you cut off contact with their grandchild. Perhaps your parents don't know how to relate to you well and are giving an effort through your baby. There is an attitude that comes across in your writing that seems to say that you don't want them to be a part of your lives. Perhaps I'm wrong, but everything about your post says, "Stay away from my family, we just don't want to bother."

I'm sorry but, given these are her parents making it clear when they visit that they don't care to see her, but would much rather hassle the baby? And yes, it is hassling. Play involves some actual interaction, not just dangling random stuff in front of the baby real quick, or poking and prodding her for a reaction. I don't blame her for not wanting them around.

And given that the OP has already noted that, before they started the "let's hassle the grandbaby" thing they were around even less, it's pretty safe to say that there's some background here that the OP doesn't feel is necessary to understand the situation.

You're post seems to imply that there's something wrong with the OP for not wanting people who openly don't care about her and seem to view her child as a prop hanging around her house, or wanting to drive two hours to see them on their own turf. There isn't. Chances are your family is close and cares about each other. I see nothing to say that this family is close, or that OPs parents really care.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Julsie on December 08, 2013, 09:36:44 AM
Kariachi, if this forum had a "Like" button, I would be clicking it right now.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: RubyCat on December 08, 2013, 09:45:00 AM
OP here, thanks for the many responses and stories :) It helps a lot.

A few people asked about weekends; at the moment I am working saturdays, and my husband is working sundays. It'll be like that until the end of the year, which I have already explained to my mother. Which she then forgets.
I do send them pictures when they ask.
As for meeting them at another place, restaurant etc., it's been tried, and it gets about the same result, with an added 'look at my grandbaby everybody!'

Before she had surgery, the visits were about once a month, at our place, and I can live with that, as long as I can keep hope alive that it will get less and less over time  ::)

The main thing that irks me is the repetition of it all. I do ask them to put the camera away, and to just play with her instead. It works for 5 minutes, and then they grab the camera again. Or dad will play with her in such a way that he is always dangling stuff in front of her or talking to her or poking her, without giving her any time to respond, which simply confuses her and upsets her. They have absolutely no idea how to handle a baby.

To be perfectly honest, if we went back to the once every year bit, I would be perfectly fine with that. I have no connection with my parents. They tell us every single time that they're not here for us, they're here for the baby only. They run right up to baby without even talking to us when they get here. When they do try to strike up conversation, they will lose interest halfway our answer, or they will repeat the same question two minutes later because they forgot they asked.

All in all, it's just very stressful. We are firm, but we are already telling baby 'no' every two minutes (she's in the everything-is-mine phase), I really don't feel like taking on two extra kids, if that makes sense.

I love the jumping up and down bit. I am so going to try that ;D

I agree.  In light of the bolded and the other information you mentioned, your parents sound incredibly self absorbed.  Maybe you should go back to seeing them once a year. From the way they're behaving, it doesn't seem like baby will get any benefit out of a relationship with them. In fact, it doesn't sound like they treat these visits as a way of building a relationship with your baby. The behavior you describe sounds more like the way people act on a trip to the zoo, treating baby as an object and not a person.

They've already made it clear that they're not interested in a relationship with you, which is hurtful. I'm not so sure they deserve to have a relationship with baby. It sounds as though they are not capable of forming healthy bonds and baby deserves better.  I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. They don't sound like nice people.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Promise on December 08, 2013, 10:20:57 AM
Apologies for my previous post. I made assumptions based off of personal experience in other ways.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: *inviteseller on December 08, 2013, 10:29:55 AM
they actually don't deserve to be around the baby.  This isn't a relationship..all they want is for the baby to entertain them the way they want.  My MIL was like this.  The women detested me (yes, she made sure to tell me this) but when older DD came along, well she was so far up my butt so she could be the doting grandma.  The problem was she still made no attempt to get along with me.  I was just  a walking womb to her and I had to cut back on her interactions because I didn't want my child to ever pick up on this.  I did try, after my husband and I split, to maintain a relationship for the sake of faaaaamily, but she was no longer interested in either of us so I dropped the rope.  I don't care if they are grandparents..no one is allowed to disrespect me in my home (and ignoring you and treating you like you weren't even there or ignoring your instructions on how to best interact with your child is disrespectful) and that is not something you need your child to see and possibly emulate.  I would bluntly tell them that the visits stress the baby out because they treat her as a toy and your busy schedule doesn't mesh with their wants so YOU will decide when and where the visits will be.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Pen^2 on December 08, 2013, 11:15:46 AM
Syrse, after jumping up and down, may I politely suggest being stricter when it comes to your baby's comfort with your parents? You're already being firm, which is good. They put away their cameras when you ask, and that's great, but they're taking them out again after a few minutes, so it's not working and something needs to be changed. If it were me, I'd first buy a big bottle of spine polish, and then implement something like a "2 warnings" rule. They are only told not to harass/annoy/poke/distress/etc. the baby two times, and after that, no matter what, it's oh my goodness look at the time baby has an urgent appointment I'll just take her from you okay let me help you get your coats see you next visit goodbye.

Seriously, if they show that they are going to continue distressing your child, then they can't be allowed to continue having her. And as you've pointed out, the last thing you need is two extra infants.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: mspallaton on December 08, 2013, 12:10:20 PM
OP - after reading your update - you owe your parents NOTHING.  That they actually made it clear they aren't interested in you, but only the baby is disgraceful and unforgivable behavior.

I would be wondering just how long it will be before they abandon that small child for their next shiny object - except this time, instead of a grown up, well adjusted adult - they'll be harming a young child with their neglect.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but what your parents have said and how they are acting is not reasonable and you have no obligation to them at this point.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Corvid on December 08, 2013, 12:30:13 PM
Honestly, it's normal for family to want to get together once a month, especially with a new grandchild. That this is a problem, says that there are deeper issues that you don't want this. My family - cousins, aunts, parents, grandparents - all got together once a WEEK with some of living an hour away from each other. An hour isn't a long distance.

I think you mean it's normal for your family.  My family is close and loves each other to pieces, but we're all very busy.  We don't physically get together every month and there aren't any "deeper issues".
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: artk2002 on December 08, 2013, 01:33:05 PM
Some advice that I repeat in similar threads: No child was permanently damaged because of little or no contact with their grandparents. Many children, though, are damaged by contact with uncaring, toxic people. Your baby doesn't deserve to be treated like a prop or a toy. You deserve to be treated like a person, not a prop or toy factory.

Reduce contact to the absolute minimum that you are comfortable with. If your parents are upset, that's their issue, not yours. They can either play nice or not play at all. It stinks to have to parent your own parents, but that's the hand you've been dealt.

Edited to add: Some thoughts on dealing with unreasonable people. (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=126586.0)
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Julsie on December 08, 2013, 02:23:33 PM
Artk2002, your link could not have come at a better time.  I had an ugly encounter today with an unreasonable person.  I really appreciate what you have to say in that thread.  Thank you, thank you!
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: miranova on December 08, 2013, 05:08:05 PM
I have been given the "we're not here to see you" line and so have many people I know.  I can not, for the life of me, understand this.  I can't wrap my mind around it.  After all, presumably the reason people love their grandchildren is because they love their own flesh and blood, and if that's the case, why would they not want to see their own children as well?  I don't get it.  And if there IS some kind of toxicity or bad blood between parents and child, yet you still want to see your grandchildren, I really don't think the way to achieve that is to say "You are irrelevant, just pass the kid here".  At best, that's an extremely ineffective way to get what you want.  At worst, it's pretty cruel to just come right out and say that.  You can think it, I guess, but to say it?  MEAN.  Why do people think this is an ok thing to say, to the point that I've heard this story over and over?
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: cicero on December 09, 2013, 02:40:33 AM
Some advice that I repeat in similar threads: No child was permanently damaged because of little or no contact with their grandparents. Many children, though, are damaged by contact with uncaring, toxic people. Your baby doesn't deserve to be treated like a prop or a toy. You deserve to be treated like a person, not a prop or toy factory.

Reduce contact to the absolute minimum that you are comfortable with. If your parents are upset, that's their issue, not yours. They can either play nice or not play at all. It stinks to have to parent your own parents, but that's the hand you've been dealt.

Edited to add: Some thoughts on dealing with unreasonable people. (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=126586.0)
thank you for this.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Emmy on December 09, 2013, 08:39:40 AM
I have been given the "we're not here to see you" line and so have many people I know.  I can not, for the life of me, understand this.  I can't wrap my mind around it.  After all, presumably the reason people love their grandchildren is because they love their own flesh and blood, and if that's the case, why would they not want to see their own children as well?  I don't get it.  And if there IS some kind of toxicity or bad blood between parents and child, yet you still want to see your grandchildren, I really don't think the way to achieve that is to say "You are irrelevant, just pass the kid here".  At best, that's an extremely ineffective way to get what you want.  At worst, it's pretty cruel to just come right out and say that.  You can think it, I guess, but to say it?  MEAN.  Why do people think this is an ok thing to say, to the point that I've heard this story over and over?

It's similar rudeness to saying, 'I invited you not for your company, but because I wanted you to bring a gift'.  Yet people who would never dream of saying that think "we're not here to see you" is OK.  I've heard a similar line, 'if you aren't going to bring the kids, don't bother coming'.  Granted it was said in jest by my parents.  I threw back, 'So glad I have no value any more after giving you grandchildren'.  If somebody throws out that line again, I might have to joke about charging them for seeing the kids.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: nuit93 on December 09, 2013, 01:30:54 PM
Some advice that I repeat in similar threads: No child was permanently damaged because of little or no contact with their grandparents. Many children, though, are damaged by contact with uncaring, toxic people. Your baby doesn't deserve to be treated like a prop or a toy. You deserve to be treated like a person, not a prop or toy factory.

Reduce contact to the absolute minimum that you are comfortable with. If your parents are upset, that's their issue, not yours. They can either play nice or not play at all. It stinks to have to parent your own parents, but that's the hand you've been dealt.

Edited to add: Some thoughts on dealing with unreasonable people. (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=126586.0)

THIS!
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: bopper on December 09, 2013, 01:56:51 PM
I still say to take charge...figure out the relationship you want (some, all, none) and tell them how it is going to be.
You have the power..you have the baby.  Kind of harsh, but if they don't like it, you can back off even further.

If they want pictures and you want to give them to them...don't wait until they ask, put pictures on FB or a private photo area or email them or whatever.  That may help reduce the request to get together in person.

Tell them that you think that once a month/etc/ visits will work out nicely with you sending pix in between.

If they complain, then just "I am so sorry that you don't want to visit monthly.  That is what we can do.  Talk to you later."
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Syrse on December 20, 2013, 06:16:10 PM
Slight update:

We didn't end up visiting, and after a few weeks dad called to say that if we weren't able to visit this year, they'd do their best to come visit next year. So I guess we'll cross that bridge when that day arrives.

On another note, he sent out an email about a family reunion, asking us to block a certain date in may. I replied asking him about specifics, like starting time, and he replied 'well it will be during the day AS THE KIDS WILL NEED TO BE IN BED ON TIME'.
Yes, he used all capitals. Is it just me, or are they a bit miffed about the evening rule?  ::)
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Marbles on December 20, 2013, 06:31:39 PM
Tee hee. It sounds like you got that message across.  ;D
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 21, 2013, 02:06:08 AM
*snicker* and then you reply in the affirmative that daytime will work great and you look forward to getting the details
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: CakeEater on December 21, 2013, 05:09:08 AM
*snicker* and then you reply in the affirmative that daytime will work great and you look forward to getting the details

Yes, all the while resisting the urge to add, 'Oh my goodness, are you 12?' to the message.

We had terrible sleepers, and we did sometimes mess up their sleep schedules if the event was important, but I don't feel like people realised just how difficult that was for us. I absolutely support anyone's decision to keep to sleep schedules above all.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Pen^2 on December 21, 2013, 08:55:07 AM
Ah well, I'm glad that in the immediate future things are going to be a bit smoother for you, OP. The all-caps thing is rather petulant, but it's so silly that I'm more amused than anything else. At least he's finally listened to you! It seems like he might use following a completely normal and understandable request like this as a grudge, which is pre-teenager in terms of maturity. Oh well, at least he's not completely ignoring your requests. One step at a time...
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: JenJay on December 21, 2013, 09:03:25 AM
You should reply "YES THEY WILL AND THANK YOU FOR THINKING OF THAT! So, what time again?"  ;D
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Syrse on December 21, 2013, 03:23:09 PM
haha, so very tempting, but I'll behave  ;D
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 21, 2013, 07:53:16 PM
Kariachi, if this forum had a "Like" button, I would be clicking it right now.

POD, I agree. 

And I do understand the reluctance to go over.  Heck when we lived closer to my parents and were still speaking to them we were only 5 minutes drive but going over there still always felt like a hassle.  They'd say "Come over for dinner around 6," but then dinner would be at 7 and would last till 8 and then we'd have to hurry to get the kids home to be ready for their 8:30 bedtime while my folks kind of mocked us for being so strict with bedtimes.  ::)





Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Syrse on December 25, 2013, 03:19:11 PM
OP here again, sigh...

So, my mom called yesterday. Twice on my voice mail at work, third time when I had just gotten home. Merry Christmas and all that, then she told me that she was mobile again, so they could come visit us. I said great, let me know what works for you guys in January, and we'll go from there. No says mom, we want to see you guys this month. I tell her that won't be possible. We end the call.

What happens a lot of these times, is that mom is sitting next to dad, she hangs up, gets all upset, and he suggests something, and then she'll call me back right away. So sure enough, not 30 seconds later, I get a second call.
mom: How about you guys visit us the 1st of January for new years!
Me: that will not be possible.
mom: why?
Me: we already have plans.
Mom hems and haws a bit, we end the call.

30 seconds pass... third call.
Mom: 'Dad says we'll be coming over the 30th of December!'
Me: (quite short) that will not be possible.
Mom: Why??
Me: Me and DH both work that day.
Mom: Well, till when?
Me: 7:45. Baby goes to bed at 8.
Mom hems and haws, we end the call.

Then today, I get a text.
Mom: Thanks for forgetting about us again on Christmas. We want to see you on new years day, dad too.
(tries not to bang head against nearest wall at this point)
Me: We called yesterday, didn't we? New Years day will not be possible. As said, give a few options in January.

Honestly, I'll see what she suggests now, but she's getting on my nerves. There's this whole 'we have rights as grandparents!' vibe. 

So far she suggested two dates in two separate messages, both of which are already blocked in our calendar. I am honestly not making any plans up, but I am not about to suggest a date either, not if she can't follow the simple instruction of giving us a few options at a time! Ugh...

*edit*

Ok, so mom suggests the 13th, I ok it, ask her for a time... and she suddenly calls me. Starts to insist, again, we come over for new years day. I tell her, again, that this will not be possible. (I am losing count!) She gets all upset and starts ranting, so I tell her to pass the phone to dad, hoping he'll be calmer. Vain hope  ::) He starts demanding we come over, because we never take the effort to visit and I should respect my mom more and he knows I've been visiting my sister and I better not deny it, so pretty soon we're both going off (argh...) and I try to take control back by asking of they're going to come the 13th or not, take it or leave it. He says they'll come, but he'll be very much excepting that after that one, I'll put the effort in to come visit them in return. (I have to take a deep breath). I reply that this will not be for the immediate future, since we have holidays and the move to the house coming up. We decide on a visiting time for the 13th, and we end the call.

... honestly! *goes to cool off a bit*

Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Roses on December 25, 2013, 03:49:06 PM
On the plus side, if you go there, and they start to misbehave, you can get up and leave.  I find it's always easier to leave a place than to try and get someone else to leave. 

Your parents strike me as expecting you to do what they want you to do, with no regard or thought that you might actually not want to see them/be with them/expose your baby to poking/etc.  If it keeps up OP, you might have to have a heart to heart with them and tell them that we are unable to visit you more often because it's not enjoyable for us or baby, your picture taking, poking, interaction with baby upset her.  We do visit sister more often because sister is very good with baby and baby enjoys her company. 

Sorry you have having to deal with this during the holidays.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Pen^2 on December 26, 2013, 12:27:36 AM
Wow, OP. That really is a "bang your head on the wall" situation. The only thing I can think of is, next time your mother starts raving and ignoring you/being rude, don't ask her to pass the phone to your father. Say something like, "This is going nowhere. Please call back when you're going to talk about this reasonably." And hang up. If she calls back in 30 seconds, the moment she starts, don't let her finish the sentence, and just repeat yourself before hanging up. Possibly then don't answer your phone for a while. It'll infuriate them for the first few times, but they'll learn. Think of it as behaviour-training. Because since they're not willing to listen to what you're saying, it's what they've forced you to have to do now. Whenever they start to get unreasonable, don't discuss it, because they've proven that they're not going to discuss things like adults. Just hang up or walk away or leave or whatever to cut off the conversation. It's time to stop indulging them. Treating them like reasonable adults, when they refuse to behave thus, is indulging.

I'd have been very tempted to reply to the PA text with, "Sorry, since you seem to be angry with me, it's probably best that I don't waste your time on the 13th either. Happy holidays! See you in February!"

I can't believe the nerve of your father to demand that you go and visit them to repay them for all the trouble they're giving you over this. :o
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Syrse on December 26, 2013, 12:50:48 AM
Wow, OP. That really is a "bang your head on the wall" situation. The only thing I can think of is, next time your mother starts raving and ignoring you/being rude, don't ask her to pass the phone to your father. Say something like, "This is going nowhere. Please call back when you're going to talk about this reasonably." And hang up.

I really should start doing this. Would save me a lot of headaches.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that they still seem to think of themselves as the parents, and I am supposed to listen to them, or else. How on earth do I get across that I am not 12 anymore?  ???

I might try and have a talk with them on the 13th, but I'm not sure how that'll work. I mean, I've tried to explain our work situation so many times now, and all they seem to take away from that is 'oh, but there's holidays, surely they can spend those with us because they don't have to work then!'
Since they didn't spend time with us before baby was born, we started our own holiday traditions, and no, I am not about to sweep those aside just for their convenience.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 01:59:51 AM
'
Since they didn't spend time with us before baby was born, we started our own holiday traditions, and no, I am not about to sweep those aside just for their convenience.

I know you were thinking aloud there and that sentence was meant for us on the forum, but think that's exactly what you should tell them, actually. It's blunt but it isn't rude.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: Minmom3 on December 26, 2013, 11:42:46 PM
I think the parents DO need to hear it.  Might puncture their balloon of illusion that they still rule the family.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: lkdrymom on December 27, 2013, 05:55:56 AM
Next time your Dad starts ordering you around...ask him how old you are. Then point out that at your age YOU get to decided what YOU do, not them.  I think it is tim eto be blunt and tell them that it is not pleasant being around them so no you are in no hurry to visit.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: YummyMummy66 on December 27, 2013, 06:14:02 AM
You discussed the 13th.   You stated that would be possible.  You asked for specific times.

What I would do now is either send them an email or however you wish to respond, and state specifically what will work for you that day. 

Mom and Dad, as we discussed, you had stated coming down on the 13th to visit.   Here is the time frame that will work for our schedule that day.  Please confirm final details by Dec. 31st, so that we do not make other plans.   

Details should be an approx. time they are coming.  With a small window.  Say, arrival between noon and one.   If they do not arrive by one thirty, I would be out the door for a shopping excursion or something.  And when they call and ask where you are, "Oh, so sorry.  I thought we agreed upon such and such a time?  You never arrived.  So, I thought you had changed your plans.  Sorry, but we cannot make it back in time now. We are at mall. You are welcome to come visit with us for a few minutes before you head back home or we can arrange another date and time".

It seems that you have to be specific about when mom and dad visit and the plans involved. Same if you go to visit them.  And always be firm.
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: JenJay on December 28, 2013, 03:13:33 PM
I think the next time they try to demand that you clear your calendar for them you should go ahead and be blunt - "We want to see you, and we will, when it's convenient for ALL of us, not just you. It's time you accepted the fact that we have a life here and we're not always available to visit with you when you want. The constant demands and guilt trips need to stop. I may be your child but I am not a child."
Title: Re: Can't seem to get it into my parent's head that we cannot simply 'pop over'.
Post by: kherbert05 on December 28, 2013, 07:34:25 PM
I think you made a couple of tactical errors

1. I would have said we are available to meet you (place in your city) from X - Y on Z date or (Other place different time and date) give them three options. Why do the dance of dates. Give them 2 - 3 choices if those don't work you will talk to them in mid next month to talk about 2 months from now. In the mean time don't answer calls from them. Wait till mid next month and you initiate the contact with dates, times and places established. If that doesn't work then you will call them mid 2 months from now about 3 months from now. 

2. Meet them on neutral territory - not your favorite place where you will be embarressed to go back. Not your home so you can leave.

If you do meet at your house have a plan for when they irritate your daughter, when they won't leave on time. Since these are your parents the basic plan is your DH retreats with DD to her room, or your room if her door doesn't have locks. Or the bathroom if she likes baths the sound of the water will help cover any angry words. You tell your parents the visit is over and theyave to leave. If you have any reason to fear for you safety with this plan cancel they don't ever get to see you or your kids again.

If they give you anymore guff about the Jan 13 date. Cancel and you will talk to them in Feb about some time in March. If the level of contact you had before worked  - then keep them at that level by refusing to meet up more/not accepting calls/texts/e-mails off schedule.

I've been doing some family genealogy and found out some relatives I knew about but never met died decades later than I thought. (I had assumed they had passed before I was old enough to remember). I aske my older cousins about it. They both said the same thing. They were cut off because of what we would now call toxic behavior. Believe me when I heard the type of things they said about my grandmother and mother I'm glad my grandparents/parents/aunt & uncle cut them off. It didn't hurt me to not know them. My parents surrounded me with family and friends who protected and taught me to be a good person.