General Etiquette > Family and Children

I don't want to take your mom shopping

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AnnaJ:

--- Quote ---There's a great saying: "Fish and house guests begin to stink after 3 days."
--- End quote ---

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.

Lynn2000:

--- Quote from: NyaChan 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."

--- End quote ---

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.

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