Author Topic: I don't want to take your mom shopping  (Read 7379 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Miss Unleaded

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1725
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2013, 10:15:16 AM »
You don't have to plan every minute of her stay with you. Some initiative has to come from DH and MIL, too.

Totally!  This is really an important part of being a good guest is coming up with your own ideas to keep yourself occupied and happy so that you're not imposing on your hosts.  Has your MIL given any ideas about how she would like to spend her visit with you or does she expect you to keep her entertained for her every waking moment?

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2013, 10:22:46 AM »
How old is your MIL?  Is she vibrant or frail?  Does she speak English?  Why CAN'T she be left alone with your child? 


Janice

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2013, 11:12:07 AM »
There's a great saying: "Fish and house guests begin to stink after 3 days."

I can't imagine my MIL visiting for months on end, especially if (as it sounds like from your post) her visit was organized by another person and I wasn't consulted. Being expected to be the designated planner on top of that would cause anyone to blow a fuse. Add to that shift work and a demanding toddler, plus being a more introverted personality and I can definitely see why you would be angry/resentful and not want to go out of your way to play Perfect Hostess. Your DH needs to put on his big boy pants and deal with this situation, since it sounds like he's kind of throwing you and your family's needs under the bus here.

If she's here on a longer visit, your or your DH could gather a whole list of "Things to do in YourCity", print it out and put it in a handy binder for her so she has a list of things to pick from. We used to do this when we hosted foreign students, and they loved it.

Stuff I always included was:

  • public transit info, if you're near it and she can take it herself
  • maps
  • major local attractions
  • free events that might interest her
  • shopping destinations and how to get there
  • locations of nearest bank, grocery, drugstore, movie theatre etc.
  • some of your family's favorite activities
  • any areas to avoid
  • anything else you can think of!
 

Part of the responsibility of being a long term guest is taking some responsibility for your own entertainment.This helps her to do that by giving her a list, so she doesn't sit there like a bump on a log with nothing to do. Then if your DH wants something to entertain MIL, she can pick from the list.

I'd also keep up your own routine. If you usually do X on Monday and Y on Tuesday, don't change that. If MIL want's to tag along a few times, I'd grin and bear it, but I certainly wouldn't rearrange your already stressful life, especially if your DH isn't picking up the slack. Can you negotiate at least 1-2 times a week where you get your alone time, and where DH watched your son and entertains MIL?

shygirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1324
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #48 on: June 19, 2013, 11:48:27 AM »
How old is your MIL?  Is she vibrant or frail?  Does she speak English?  Why CAN'T she be left alone with your child?

She's in her 60s.  It's not really an etiquette issue about why we're not asking her to babysit while she's here, so I don't want to give details.  But, the bottom line is that she's not going to babysit right now.

She does speak English, but it's not very good.  In fact, many times she speaks to me in her native language, which I don't understand at all.  She also doesn't seem to understand me that well.  I'm not sure if it's because I don't talk loud enough, or she just doesn't understand what I'm saying.  So, actually I'm a little afraid of what's going to happen once DH goes back to work.  I don't want her to misterpret something I've said and be upset by it.  So far, any misinterpretations, of which there have been several, have been sorted out by DH right away.

Have either of you asked MIL what she would like to do during her stay? Is there anything special she'd like to do or see while she's with you? I'm in Australia and if I were visiting the USA there's so much I'd like to see and do, and you guys have the cheapest, prettiest quiltig fabrics around. I'd be wanting to hit the stores, too, but wouldn't necessarily want you to accompany me - just point me in the general direction and let me loose! So, maybe ask MIL what her plans are. You don't have to plan every minute of her stay with you. Some initiative has to come from DH and MIL, too.

I'll see if I can get DH to ask MIL what she wants to do.  That's a good idea.  I really hope the answer isn't "go everywhere with shygirl when she goes out".

I don't know what she likes to do.  She came here for a visit many years ago, before we were married.  I can't think of anything she really wanted to do, except for some shopping for things to take back home.  And when we went to visit her in her country, she didn't join us for any outings.  As far as I could tell, she stayed home or went to church.  She did have a lot of visitors at her home though, because we were visiting, and DH's old friends would come to the house to see him.

Shygirl, I get the impression that you are stressed and tired, even without this visit from MIL.

What do you mean when you say you and DH work opposite shifts? Is it like, you work 9am-5pm, and he works 6pm-2am type thing? So you get up, go to work, come home, send hubby off to work, feed and bathe toddler and wrestle him into bed, do some chores around the house, go to bed exhausted and then get up and do it all over again the next day? Hubby is home during the day looking after toddler, works all evening, gets home in the wee hours of the morning, grabs a few hours sleep before he gets up and does it all over again? If so, I can understand your frustration and lack of enthusiasm for having a long term houseguest.

This is pretty much all true.

Quote
Do you have a friend who could watch your son for a few hours so you could go shopping/run errands alone once a week? Is there some reason why MIL can't watch your son while you do the groceries. or even take him to the park for a picnic lunch and play so you could have some quiet time on the weekend to get errands done or just relax for an hour or so?

We don't have a lot of babysitting options, and the options we do have we reserve for emergencies or work issues.  Babysitting is not free either, so it doesn't seem like a good idea to use up our limited babysitting options so I can relax, when we do have true conflicts on occasion and need an emergency babysitter.  But, none of this really an etiquette question, it's really more of a parenting decision we've made.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #49 on: June 19, 2013, 11:56:51 AM »
I've had to endure this style of houseguest many times (doing it right now with my grandma).  They are often either older and therefore can't drive, or from another country and therefore can't drive  :-\  Which means that they are just hanging around the house unless you take them out and when you take them out you can't leave them alone because that would be rude (in our culture at least) even if they do speak the language.  It is incredibly stressful because you have to incorporate them into your every day life rather than just adjust for the short term, but they are still guests and so get certain privileges that are irritating to give for long periods of time in your own home. 

I would maybe train MIL to think of your husband being home as being going out time, because normally she wouldn't expect to be out and about all day and evening right?  It just so happens that you are home in the day and DH is home in the evening.  So daytime, "I'm sorry MIL, but this the time where I get housework done and run quick errands, but this way DH can take you out when he is back for the evening.  Is there anything specific you want to do with him/us? I can help plan it out ahead of time so that you/we can go as soon as you/we are ready."


AnnaJ

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 739
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #50 on: June 19, 2013, 12:27:15 PM »
Quote
There's a great saying: "Fish and house guests begin to stink after 3 days."

I've felt that way about guests, too, and think that generally it a good rule.  The problem here, though, is that mom doesn't live close - I don't know where she lives vs the OP and husband, but it sound like a fair distance.  Given the price of travel and how wearing it can be, I understand that MIL doesn't want to go through that trouble and expense for a few days of visiting.

OP, does MIL speak the language of your country?  If so, maybe you could take her with you on some of these errands and let her look around the store while you get what you need - that way you only need to interact on the trip to and from the store.  Also could your child could stay with your husband while you run these errands?  I'm sure you all have worked out a schedule, but having company does call for some compromises.

Sorry OP, by the time this posted you'd answered these questions.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 12:29:21 PM by AnnaJ »

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5554
Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #51 on: June 19, 2013, 12:40:38 PM »
I've had to endure this style of houseguest many times (doing it right now with my grandma).  They are often either older and therefore can't drive, or from another country and therefore can't drive  :-\  Which means that they are just hanging around the house unless you take them out and when you take them out you can't leave them alone because that would be rude (in our culture at least) even if they do speak the language.  It is incredibly stressful because you have to incorporate them into your every day life rather than just adjust for the short term, but they are still guests and so get certain privileges that are irritating to give for long periods of time in your own home. 

I would maybe train MIL to think of your husband being home as being going out time, because normally she wouldn't expect to be out and about all day and evening right?  It just so happens that you are home in the day and DH is home in the evening.  So daytime, "I'm sorry MIL, but this the time where I get housework done and run quick errands, but this way DH can take you out when he is back for the evening.  Is there anything specific you want to do with him/us? I can help plan it out ahead of time so that you/we can go as soon as you/we are ready."

I think this is a good idea. Not that you would completely ignore MIL when it's just the two of you (plus toddler), but maybe set up the expectation (with DH) that her social going-out time will be when DH is around (which sometimes you will join, and sometimes you won't). If you were going to clean the house, clean the house; if you are going out to the grocery store, maybe offer to take her with you every second or third time, but not every time.

I POD the idea of asking DH what some of her hobbies are--if you could get her set up with the TV, or find some books in her native language, or some craft supplies, she could keep herself occupied while you get your normal chores done or relax alone/with Toddler. Yeah, certainly every day you should have some socializing with her, but it doesn't have to be every moment that you're both in the house together. Maybe you could encourage her to walk around the block, or across the street to the park, when she wants some fresh air--in other words someplace close enough that it would be really hard for her to get lost or in much trouble, especially if you went with her the first time.

As far as misinterpretations of the language go, I think your DH just has to tell her, clearly, that you and she aren't fluent in the same language and mistakes are going to happen, but you are going to give her the benefit of the doubt, and she should give you the benefit of the doubt, and not assume you're deliberately saying something offensive to her. Maybe you could find an online/paper dictionary for her language, or a kids' picture dictionary, and use that with each other to clarify specific words; or try writing things down, sometimes people are better at interpreting foreign languages written than verbal. No, you're not going to have long, deep conversations with each other, but you should at least be able to get around each other without someone getting upset.
~Lynn2000