Author Topic: A visit just won't work...  (Read 4307 times)

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TaurusGirl

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A visit just won't work...
« on: December 20, 2012, 10:56:26 AM »
Hi all! I have a time-sensitive issue I hope I can get some guidance on.

Some b/g: The Hawk (my partner) and I live in a small Northern community, about 1300km from where our families are. It is a tiny community - there is one road in, and one airline comes here. The options to get to NorthernTown are to drive for 14 hours (the last 4 of which are on a snow-covered gravel road) or to pay upwards of $900/person for a round trip ticket. The Hawk's brother & family also live here, but they have opted to go South for Christmas.

More b/g: I work in the only retail store in town, and The Hawk works for a government agency. We will have Christmas Day and Boxing Day (Dec 26th for non-Canadian members) off, and then The Hawk goes into major overtime for a few days, and I am back at the retail grind.

Due to some family circumstances, The Hawk and I will be "alone" for Christmas. My parents are staying South to see the rest of my family (which is fine, they've been up here for the previous 3 Christmases), and The Hawk's parents are staying South because the grandbabies will be there... at least that was the plan.

Hawkmomma is broken-hearted that she won't see her baby boy for Christmas. It will literally be the first time in 30+ years that they won't be together. She called me the other day, and said she wanted to surprise the Hawk by coming up for a few days. Normally that would be great! Except the only time she can get here is to fly up the evening of the 26th, and then leave on the 29th.

This means that Hawkmomma would see us for a late supper on the 26th... and that's about it. The Hawk's over-time shifts are generally from 6:30am-8pm; he gets home at 8:30, has a snack, and goes to bed. I work 6:30am-4pm, and often later as I am in  supervisory role at work and have to cover if people are late. I know The Hawk - he loves his family dearly, but when he is working over-time, he barely has the energy to visit with me, never mind hosting his mom. I told him what his mom was planning, and he asked me to talk her out of it. I am 100% comfortable doing this.. but I'm stuck as to how.

I had told her about the over-time shifts, and she said that she would be "fine with just visiting a little each night". How can I politely tell her that The Hawk is generally EXHAUSTED after 12+ hours of work, and will not have the energy to visit? Hawkmomma is a lovely and kind woman, but has a tendency to be a little clingy - she has come to NorthernTown before as a surprise, and stayed for ONE day - she sees nothing wrong with exhausting herself just to show up for a hug. She is aware that she is a little extreme in this manner, but I don't want to dash her hopes of an amazing Christmas surprise.

Help...

amylouky

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 11:03:28 AM »
I think your title sums it up perfectly. "HawkMama, a visit just won't work right now. We'd love to see you though, how about the second week in January?"

MyFamily

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 11:04:14 AM »
You tell her that while you'd love to see her and you know that Hawk would be so happy to have her come up, that those days simply don't work for you.  Explain Hawk's exhausting schedule to her, including the fact that he will not have the energy to visit even for a few minutes and then work with her to identify other dates that do work.  Tell her how much you do want to see her, but when you see her you want to enjoy her visit. 


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 11:05:40 AM »
I would tell her the truth - that the Hawk is generally EXHAUSTED after 12+ hours of work, and will not have the energy to visit.  Then go into the positive stuff - plan a phone call or Skype with her on Christmas, and also talk about when you are going to see her again.  If you concentrate on the positive part, then perhaps it will ease the sting of not being able to see him for Christmas. 

TaurusGirl

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 11:42:28 AM »
Thank you for the replies!

I have already explained to her the shifts, and that The Hawk won't have time/energy to visit. Her reply was that we can all just have dinner on the 26th, and she'll just "help around the house" for the next 3 days.

Part of the awkwardness is that The Hawk doesn't want her to come; if she does, he will feel pressured to visit, which means he'll get less sleep, which will make work harder etc etc etc.

I love Hawkmomma very much, but she can be blissfully unaware of things sometimes. I'm trying not to come out and say that we don't want her to visit because it will cause too much stress. We've already suggested an early-January visit, but "that isn't Christmas!".

I will try suggesting a Skype-date on Christmas eve/day, and see if we can work from there.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 11:44:26 AM »
Thank you for the replies!

I have already explained to her the shifts, and that The Hawk won't have time/energy to visit. Her reply was that we can all just have dinner on the 26th, and she'll just "help around the house" for the next 3 days.

Part of the awkwardness is that The Hawk doesn't want her to come; if she does, he will feel pressured to visit, which means he'll get less sleep, which will make work harder etc etc etc.

I love Hawkmomma very much, but she can be blissfully unaware of things sometimes. I'm trying not to come out and say that we don't want her to visit because it will cause too much stress. We've already suggested an early-January visit, but "that isn't Christmas!".

I will try suggesting a Skype-date on Christmas eve/day, and see if we can work from there.

TaurusGirl, if she's that oblivious, then I think you should keep repeating things like, "Mom, we love you, but that won't work for us.  We're looking forward to a Skype-date with you on Christmas eve/day!" 

MyFamily

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 12:14:29 PM »
Why do you need to be soft when your mother-in-law isn't being polite?  She is ignoring your response to her visit, it is about what she wants and when she wants it.  If her feelings are hurt, it is because she isn't listening to you.  So, be blunt - Mom, no, do not come that time.  We'd love you to come whenever but we do not want you, or anyone else, to come during those days. 


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

BarensMom

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 12:39:20 PM »
I think that Hawkmomma is ignoring you, because it isn't you she's coming to see.  You could tell her not to come until the cows come home and she is going to blow you off.  It's time for Hawk to step up and tell his mother bluntly, "don't come."

Winterlight

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 01:45:54 PM »
I think that Hawkmomma is ignoring you, because it isn't you she's coming to see.  You could tell her not to come until the cows come home and she is going to blow you off.  It's time for Hawk to step up and tell his mother bluntly, "don't come."

Agreed. His mom, so he needs to make it clear this isn't possible.
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Twik

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 03:09:36 PM »
Yes. This is not really your fight, this is his.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Eden

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 03:48:37 PM »
I'd start with a very straightforward "Hawkmomma, do not visit us during that time. I know it's disappointing, but that just doesn't work for us. Sometime mid-January (or whenever) would be great." No more reasons or justification. As you've seen, that just gives her the opportunity to justify her own side. If you get nowhere with a flat, straightforward no, Hawk is going to need to reveal to his mom he knows about the surprise and tell his mom no. If he can't do that, well, I suppose that's his issue to deal with.

peach2play

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 03:55:12 PM »
There is no getting around "hurting" her feelings and you have to be ok with that.  He seems like he's hiding behind you and doesn't want to stand up to his mom himself.  Ok, then he's going to be tired while working overtime.  His mom is coming because she's never been told no before.  You also have the choice to not answer the door.

Thipu1

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2012, 05:46:02 PM »
We recently had a situation like this with Mr. Thipu's Mom and wrote about it on E-Hell.  She wanted us to come for Thanksgiving two days after we returned from a three week vacation.  We had to tell her that a visit then was just not possible. 

She was hurt but got over it.  We did visit a few weeks later and all was well. 

Things like this happen and I blame neither party.  The people in the OP seem to really like each other.  It's just a case of someone thinking one way and someone else thinking in a very different way.

 There will be hard feelings for a time but 'laying down the law' to Hawksmomma will do no good.  Making a reasonable offer of a visit at a more convenient time is about the best you can do.

Just keep to the facts here and don't get emotional.  Eventually, you'll get through. 
       


Kaypeep

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 06:01:36 PM »
Thank you for the replies!

I have already explained to her the shifts, and that The Hawk won't have time/energy to visit. Her reply was that we can all just have dinner on the 26th, and she'll just "help around the house" for the next 3 days.

Part of the awkwardness is that The Hawk doesn't want her to come; if she does, he will feel pressured to visit, which means he'll get less sleep, which will make work harder etc etc etc.

I love Hawkmomma very much, but she can be blissfully unaware of things sometimes. I'm trying not to come out and say that we don't want her to visit because it will cause too much stress. We've already suggested an early-January visit, but "that isn't Christmas!".

I will try suggesting a Skype-date on Christmas eve/day, and see if we can work from there.

You need to make it clear to her.  Call her up and say "I wanted to call you because there's been a lot of pushback on us with your plan to visit for christmas.  We've told you how we won't have much time to visit, we'll be tired and working, yada  yada but you've been insisting on visiting anyway even though we won't really have time for a quality visit.   Now believe me, we love that you are willing to go through so much trouble for so little of a visit, it means a lot to us.  HOWEVER, we're being very truthful when we tell you that it JUST.WON'T.WORK.FOR.US.  So please, do not visit us this holiday. We would much rather skype with you and then look forward to a longer and relaxing visit in January.  It will make us happier to do this, and we think it's in your best interest to do it this way, too. Please understand and respect our decision.  It's a final decision and while your arguements are lovely, they don't change the fact that we want and need you to come in January and NOT for Christmas.  Okay?"

As the others said, she's the one being rude, not you.  She's ignoring your wishes and that's not right.  You need to draw a line before she gets even worse.  If you start having kids I could see her doing this pushback too, and you don't want that.  It's time to stand firm.  She'll get over it, and if she doesn't then that's her problem.  Your requests are more than reasonable. She is not.  This is her issue to deal with.

TaurusGirl

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Re: A visit just won't work...
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 06:52:14 PM »
Hi all! The situation is resolved :)
We spoke on the phone, and when I walked her through how little time she would get to spend with The Hawk, she laughed at herself and agreed to a January trip! Yay!
Thank you all

P.s. The only reason The Hawk didn't address the issue was that it was supposed to be a surprise for him. I knew the timing wa off, so I told him what she was planning just to make sure my instinct was correct.