Author Topic: Am I doing okay here?  (Read 4972 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

RubyCat

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 349
Am I doing okay here?
« on: April 13, 2013, 09:07:08 AM »
A few years back, for dh's milestone birthday, we celebrated by inviting his family to a clambake at our house. It was a lot of work and expensive but a nice time was had by all. We had wanted to do it the following year but it never came about. Last year oldest sister kind of hounded us (when are you going to have it? Ect. Even offered to chip in $). We did go ahead and have a clambake that year but did not ask for any contributions, not that it really matters.

I'm not sure if this really should be a separate post but, even though I like his family, these parties stress me. Partly, because my house has been in the process of being remodeled for the last 3 years and is still not finished. But they're his family and know how he is. Problem is that he does things at the last minute. First year, he decided to complete the second bathroom the morning of the party, finishing 15 minutes before guests arrived. Last year he decided to rip out the old, broken dishwasher and install the new one the morning of the party, tying up the kitchen. Grrrr. I managed to get the prep done, made salads and sides but was very annoyed and very stressed. I joke that maybe I should have his family down more often because I get major projects done. Anyway, I managed to get everything done, only to have all of the food go pretty much untouched because he didn't tell me he was going to start putting out the lobsters before I had a chance to put out the sides. And his family go berserk when you put out lobster. I actually told him that his family turn into bleeping barbarians and he laughed and said "I know."  I actually had to leave and go sit in the truck to calm down.

Dh's birthday is late August. I just got a text from middle SIL asking when we're having dh's party. Ugh. I replied that its too soon to know when (or if) we're doing it this year.  Now that I've typed all this out, it doesn't seem as harsh as I thought it might. I think I'm ok here?

As I was typing all this, just got a reply from SIL telling me that she has to figure out her weekends way out in advance (she works every other, as do I). And then she included the weekends she has off in August. Sigh. I'm beginning to have flashbacks to last year when the two older sisters were first pressuring us to choose a day and then trying to get us to change. Didn't happen but it was annoying. I don't even feel like replying. It wouldn't be rude to not reply and just leave that hanging, would it?

 And the more I think about it, the less inclined I feel to have a party for dh's birthday.

guihong

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6311
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 09:21:18 AM »
Berserk when you put out lobster?  In a bad way or a "Oh, yum!" way?

I think you would be in the rights to get the house finished before taking on a big party, but if that can't happen, I would sit down with your DH and tell him you need help and exactly how.  What about a far less complicated menu, or even bringing in food? 

Parties are work, but shouldn't stress you to the max.  And back to the question, I think you were fine to put her off, though I think you and DH should decide either way and get back to her.



Kiara

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2518
    • My dragons!
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 09:35:40 AM »
I'd concentrate on what she's saying, not any subtext she may or may not have.  She wants to know the weekend because of scheduling - that's reasonable.  So I'd go with "We're not sure what weekend yet.  I understand about scheduling time off early - I promise I'll let you know as soon as we figure it out - thanks for letting me know your schedule."

Addresses her stated concerns, while ignoring any pushiness she might have.

RubyCat

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 349
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2013, 09:41:38 AM »
Now that I think about it, berserk is too strong a term and leaves too much to the imagination. I guess I would describe them as developing a sort of tunnel vision in which they become grabby. They all gather around the table only coming up for air to ask if we have any more nut crackers or is there more melted butter.  Maybe joyous gluttony is a better description.  (Or feeding frenzy).

RubyCat

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 349
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2013, 09:49:57 AM »
I'd concentrate on what she's saying, not any subtext she may or may not have.  She wants to know the weekend because of scheduling - that's reasonable.  So I'd go with "We're not sure what weekend yet.  I understand about scheduling time off early - I promise I'll let you know as soon as we figure it out - thanks for letting me know your schedule."

Addresses her stated concerns, while ignoring any pushiness she might have.

That is good advise for any situation. I think I should just settle down a bit before I reply. I confess to being annoyed. I wish I weren't because I feel petty. 

I'm considering telling her to talk to dh and let him deal with this. Of course, he's the king of procrastination, which is why they call me.

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8341
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2013, 10:20:51 AM »
Let's look at the positive side of this. You and your SILs get along. They like you and your DH. They like the way you throw a party. They want to celebrate occasions with their brother.

All they are doing at this point is asking if there will be a party, and if so, when, so they can save the date. That's really not so bad. Right now, I'd respond, and tell her that nothing has been decided yet, but you'll let her know as soon as plans are made.

The real problem with these parties, as I see it, isn't the in-laws. It's your DH that is making them stressful. He starts big projects in the house just before the party. He's working in the kitchen while you are trying to cook. He doesn't communicate with you about when his part of the food is ready, so that you can get the other food out on time.

I'd sit down with DH and discuss the party. Do you want one this year? (Perfectly okay to have the party every year, every other year, decide on a lower-key party except for milestone birthdays, or not have a party at all.) If you are going to have a party, set the date.

Then discuss the problems with the previous parties--the projects, the project in the kitchen, the lack of communication. Tell him these need to be solved, as they are simply causing you too much stress, on top of the stress of having the party to begin with.

I wouldn't prevent him from working on a project the morning of the party, since that seems to be the best way to get something done around the house. But I would declare the kitchen off-limits. And I'd work out a plan or a system or something so that the two of you are on the same page as to what food gets served, and when.

My family acts the same way around lobster, clams, oysters and corn on the cob--joyous gluttony all around, a sort of tunnel vision, so I know the feeling.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

Kiara

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2518
    • My dragons!
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2013, 10:21:31 AM »
I'd concentrate on what she's saying, not any subtext she may or may not have.  She wants to know the weekend because of scheduling - that's reasonable.  So I'd go with "We're not sure what weekend yet.  I understand about scheduling time off early - I promise I'll let you know as soon as we figure it out - thanks for letting me know your schedule."

Addresses her stated concerns, while ignoring any pushiness she might have.

That is good advise for any situation. I think I should just settle down a bit before I reply. I confess to being annoyed. I wish I weren't because I feel petty. 

I'm considering telling her to talk to dh and let him deal with this. Of course, he's the king of procrastination, which is why they call me.
Oh, I understand.  When my dad's family was alive, we had the same issues.  My mom would always just answer the question asked, not the subtext.  Had the added bonus of frustrating the heck out of them.   :)

Cami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1307
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2013, 10:22:38 AM »
How about you ask his sisters to throw the party if they want one so much?

Honestly, I wouldn't be entertaining under conditions like that. It would make me craaaaazy. I don't do craaaaazy any more. Life's too short.

*inviteseller

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1821
  • I am Queen Mommy
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2013, 10:27:00 AM »
So, does his family want to celebrate his birthday or just use it as an excuse for the free lobster fest?  If it is for the lobster fest, I hear a certain chain restaurant has lobster fest, and it wouldn't stress you out!  If you normally have a family party every year for DH, still have one, but due something easier...pizza and cake and ice cream maybe.  As far as SIL, just tell her it is too far in advance and IF you decide to do it, you will give her enough notice.  Stress the 'if' so should you decide not to do it, they can't come back and say you said you 'would' be doing it.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6077
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2013, 10:37:49 AM »
If you don't want to host the party again because of your DHs behavior (and his behavior would prevent me from hosting again) and his family, then don't host.

Just tell him your not up for it this year and then tell your SILs now that there won't be a party this year.

And be straight with your DH. "Your replacing the dishwasher while I needed to prepare for the party stressed me and has made me not want to host events anymore."

something.new.every.day

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 613
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2013, 10:45:59 AM »
Do your inlaws host you regularly?  Does your DH throw you a birthday party or do anything special?

Do your inlaws bring birthday presents for your DH and provide any of the meal (a few bottles of wine/the birthday cake)? 

I'd be interested to know if they just take, or if they give too.  Maybe they just take and thus need to get free lobster on their calendar for August (!) or maybe they give, too, and are just really enthusiastic about your hosting skills.

I think you and your DH need to have a calm talk and then communicate with the ILs.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 10:48:32 AM by something.new.every.day »

Luci45

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5776
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2013, 11:35:59 AM »
How about you ask his sisters to throw the party if they want one so much?

Honestly, I wouldn't be entertaining under conditions like that. It would make me craaaaazy. I don't do craaaaazy any more. Life's too short.

Actually, doing crazy makes life seem much longer. I know because I have been doing the same with the inlaws for 40 years. We are the only ones with the space, the energy, and money to do it.

However, we do have others bring in the side dishes, which helps a lot, with the stress, especially. We just clean like mad, prepare as best we can, then when the party takes on a life of it's own, we just go with it as best we can. Then clean like mad again!

Yes, please talk to your DH about his project schedule and get help with the side dishes. Then make the best of of it and try to enjoy. If you decide to limit to every 2 years or 5 years for your own sanity, just do it.

For us, everyone is very grateful, we have had no really toxic incidents, and we feel good about it. (For all their quirks and eccentricities, these are pretty good people.)

AnnaJ

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 500
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2013, 12:35:35 PM »
Let's look at the positive side of this. You and your SILs get along. They like you and your DH. They like the way you throw a party. They want to celebrate occasions with their brother.

All they are doing at this point is asking if there will be a party, and if so, when, so they can save the date. That's really not so bad. Right now, I'd respond, and tell her that nothing has been decided yet, but you'll let her know as soon as plans are made.

The real problem with these parties, as I see it, isn't the in-laws. It's your DH that is making them stressful. He starts big projects in the house just before the party. He's working in the kitchen while you are trying to cook. He doesn't communicate with you about when his part of the food is ready, so that you can get the other food out on time.

I'd sit down with DH and discuss the party. Do you want one this year? (Perfectly okay to have the party every year, every other year, decide on a lower-key party except for milestone birthdays, or not have a party at all.) If you are going to have a party, set the date.

Then discuss the problems with the previous parties--the projects, the project in the kitchen, the lack of communication. Tell him these need to be solved, as they are simply causing you too much stress, on top of the stress of having the party to begin with.

I wouldn't prevent him from working on a project the morning of the party, since that seems to be the best way to get something done around the house. But I would declare the kitchen off-limits. And I'd work out a plan or a system or something so that the two of you are on the same page as to what food gets served, and when.

My family acts the same way around lobster, clams, oysters and corn on the cob--joyous gluttony all around, a sort of tunnel vision, so I know the feeling.

Agree with Camlan, especially the bolded.  Is there any way you can direct him to a bedroom or closet?  Or better yet, direct him to my house, I've still got half of a floor to tile   ;D

SPuck

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 937
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2013, 12:50:17 PM »
I think you have two separate issues here: pushy extended family and your husband's scheduling problem. I think you need to work on the scheduling issue first then tackle the family. The Lobster situation was rude, but your stress might just be the result of your husband's antics then his families.

Lady Godiva

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 103
Re: Am I doing okay here?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2013, 02:53:52 PM »
When I heard "they go berserk about lobster" I was picturing my friend's four Norfolk terriers, who go utterly berserk , bonkers and crackerdog when they bring home live lobsters.
Glad to hear they remain human!