Author Topic: I don't want to take your mom shopping  (Read 7371 times)

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shygirl

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I don't want to take your mom shopping
« on: June 18, 2013, 02:31:12 PM »
My mother-in-law is visiting.  She lives in a different country, and is here for a couple of months.  She's not staying us the whole time, since she also has a daughter who lives about 8 hours away from us.

Anyway, my husband wants me to take MIL out for shopping.  I don't want to.  I'm going to anyway, but I don't want to start taking her with me everytime I do errands.  It's bad enough that I have to take my toddler with me everytime I go somewhere (that's not work). 

One reason that I don't want to go shopping with MIL might be petty.  But, when my mom comes to visit, I don't try to foist my mom onto my husband to keep her busy.  In fact, my husband usually makes himself scarce when my mom is here visiting.  So, I feel like this is HIS mom.  He should be going places with her, doing errands with her, etc.

Am I being mean about this?  Is there any nice to explain to my husband that I'm not planning to take MIL with me everywhere I go?

(Also, in case anyone suggests using MIL as a babysitter so I can go out alone, this is not an option right now.)

Shoo

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2013, 02:39:23 PM »
You are not being mean at all.  It's HIS mother, he should take her shopping.  I totally get where you're coming from on this and I agree with you. 

Sit him down and tell him just what you wrote here.  Tell him you are happy to do things as a family with his mom, and that means WITH HIM too, but you don't want to be the one to keep busy all the time, especially since he doesn't feel it necessary to do the same with YOUR mom when she's there. 

gramma dishes

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2013, 02:41:15 PM »
My mother-in-law is visiting.  She lives in a different country, and is here for a couple of months.  She's not staying us the whole time, since she also has a daughter who lives about 8 hours away from us.

Anyway, my husband wants me to take MIL out for shopping.  I don't want to.  I'm going to anyway, but I don't want to start taking her with me every time I do errands. It's bad enough that I have to take my toddler with me everytime I go somewhere (that's not work). 

One reason that I don't want to go shopping with MIL might be petty.  But, when my mom comes to visit, I don't try to foist my mom onto my husband to keep her busy.  In fact, my husband usually makes himself scarce when my mom is here visiting.  So, I feel like this is HIS mom.  He should be going places with her, doing errands with her, etc.

Am I being mean about this?  Is there any nice to explain to my husband that I'm not planning to take MIL with me everywhere I go?

(Also, in case anyone suggests using MIL as a babysitter so I can go out alone, this is not an option right now.)

I'm not absolutely sure you and your husband are on the same page here.  Are you sure he actually wants and expects you to take his mother with you every time you leave your house for any reason?

He may just think it would be nice if once or twice during her stay you'd take her to the mall or something so she can do a little shopping for herself.   Since she lives in a different country, he may think something like this would be a treat for her.

If he really did mean dragging her to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the bakery, the laundromat, etc. (in other words every place you go) then I think he'd probably understand that not only do you not want to do that, but even SHE might not want to do that.   You could also ask him if he plans to do anything special with her while she is here.

delabela

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013, 02:47:41 PM »
I think this is a tough one.  How long is she actually staying with you?  I agree that in general, the person who's relative it is is usually on the hook for the entertainment.  But it does seem hospitable to offer a long term guest some opportunities to get out of the house.  I assume if she's staying for like a month, neither you nor your husband will be off of work the whole time, so there are necessarily times when he just isn't going to be available to hang out with her.  Now, I'm not saying you need to entertain her every minute of every day, but it would be nice to see if she wants to get out every once in a while. 

lowspark

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 02:49:37 PM »
I think there's a lot of missing information (aside from what gramma dishes is asking).

How long is she going to be here? Do you both work outside the home? Is DH taking off any vacation time to spend with her? Assuming the scenario of you taking her with you every time you leave the house, what will she do with her time if you don't? And what will she do with her time when you're not taking her somewhere? Aside from shopping (and obviously, spending time with her son and grandchild) is there anything else on her agenda that she wishes to do while visiting?

Was any of this discussed or even considered before she planned her trip?

I agree that I would not want the dynamic to be such that he doesn't have to spend any time with my relatives when they come to visit but I have to spend all of my time with his when they visit. But I would think that this discussion should have taken place before the visit was planned so that everyone was on the same page. And my attitude about this would depend on what was expected of me, what my husband was doing, how long she was going to be here, how well I get along with her, and what other things are on my agenda.

AvidReader

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 02:52:02 PM »
No. You are not being petty.  Just state to your DH what you stated here.  POD to what Shoo said about pointing out his behavior when your mom visits.  Your DH needs to be available (time off from work?) to help entertain his mother.  And you need to schedule some private time away so that he can visit with her.  Your private time can be a few hours at the library, out to see a movie, visit with a friend. 

NyaChan

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 02:55:43 PM »
Are you the only one home during the day or is he asking you to take her during times that he would be free? 

I get your frustration completely, however, if you are home all day and he is at work, it is kind of inhospitable to just leave her stranded at home while you go out and about.  At the same time, you are right that it is unfair for him to make himself scarce when your mom is visiting, yet expect you to entertain his own mom when she visits. 

I would talk to him about this and explain how you feel this is unfair to you, why it is unfair, and how you want things to change.  Would you be ok with entertaining MIL if he spends more time with your mom when she visits?  Would you prefer that he take time off of work to entertain MIL himself or accept that his mom is going to sit at home until he comes to take her out, and then he is absolved of any responsibility when your own mom visits? 

For now, I think you are wise to agree to take her out at least once, maybe twice because she is your MIL and a guest in your home and its the nice thing to do.  I don't think you have any obligation whether he spent time with your mom or not to take her everywhere you go though - everyone needs some alone time! 

WillyNilly

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 02:57:44 PM »
Where are the dads in this picture? You talk about your mom visiting and his mom visiting - are there no dads? I ask because is this maybe a gender role thing? Like your DH thinks the 'women-folk' socialize with the women-folk doing woman stuff (cooking, shopping, taking care of kids) and the men-folk hang with the men-folk doing man stuff? It might not even occur to your DH he should be taking his mom out, since he is a he.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 03:00:39 PM by WillyNilly »

TootsNYC

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 03:04:02 PM »
I would expect my husband to take my visiting dad with him if he went to the "traditional guy" places (hardware store; bookstore), and even more so if I knew that it was in any way something my dad was interested in. (like, bookstore, games store, hardware store)

And if my MIL were visiting from out of town, I'd be expected (by me and by my DH and by my MIL and by my own mom) to take her with me to the grocery store, or maybe clothes shopping. I could decide to NOT take her to some of those if I wanted to.

But I'd absolutely take her some of the places I went. She is after all here to visit me as well as my DH. She's not just "his mother"; she's *my* mother-in-law. She's my children's grandmother.

Spending time with us is what the whole visit is for. Sitting alone at home is no fun; and shopping together can be "something to do" and "something to talk about." It's also the way you build a relationship--by creating shared memories.

I had the best time grocery shopping with a friend once; i probably wouldn't have the same "great time" w/ a visiting relative (aunt, MIL, whatever), but it would be *A* "time," and we'd have to make it enjoyable.

shygirl

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 03:12:03 PM »
I think there's a lot of missing information (aside from what gramma dishes is asking).

How long is she going to be here? Do you both work outside the home? Is DH taking off any vacation time to spend with her? Assuming the scenario of you taking her with you every time you leave the house, what will she do with her time if you don't? And what will she do with her time when you're not taking her somewhere? Aside from shopping (and obviously, spending time with her son and grandchild) is there anything else on her agenda that she wishes to do while visiting?

Was any of this discussed or even considered before she planned her trip?

I agree that I would not want the dynamic to be such that he doesn't have to spend any time with my relatives when they come to visit but I have to spend all of my time with his when they visit. But I would think that this discussion should have taken place before the visit was planned so that everyone was on the same page. And my attitude about this would depend on what was expected of me, what my husband was doing, how long she was going to be here, how well I get along with her, and what other things are on my agenda.

I don't know exactly how long she is going to stay with us, but she's going back to her home country in a few months,  probably Oct-Nov time frame.  My husband and I both work outside the home, but opposite shifts so we don't have to pay for daycare.  He is taking this week off, but he can't afford to do that the whole time she is visiting.

Nothing was discussed beforehand because my husband can't plan his way out of a paper bag.  He is the absolute worst planner in the whole world.  I'm a planner, but things that go on with his family are a nightmare to plan.  His sister actually is the one who arranged the trip for MIL, and I'm sure talked to my husband about it.  But the actual expectatations of what's going to happen during her trip, my husband can't plan that stuff.  He just likes to "see how things are going, and then decide want to do".

If I didn't take her with me, she would just have to hang out at home by herself.  I do get along with her fine, but we're not terribly close and I find it difficult to talk to her.   I don't want to inhospitable, but I also don't want to hang out with MIL every day when I get home from work.

Where are the dads in this picture? You talk about your mom visiting and his mom visiting - are there no dads? I ask because is this maybe a gender role thing? Like your DH thinks the 'women-folk' socialize with the women-folk doing woman stuff (cooking, shopping, taking care of kids) and the men-folk hang with the men-folk doing man stuff? It might not even occur to your DH he should be taking his mom out, since he is a he.

My husband's dad passed away a long time ago.  My own dad has only come to visit about 3 times, and his visits are very short.  I do think you are right though, that because I'm the "daughter", I am expected to hang out with MIL. 

TootsNYC

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 03:14:06 PM »
Quote
If I didn't take her with me, she would just have to hang out at home by herself.  I do get along with her fine, but we're not terribly close and I find it difficult to talk to her.   I don't want to inhospitable, but I also don't want to hang out with MIL every day when I get home from work.


Consider this: If you go to the grocery store together, you will have something completely neutral to talk about--the grocery store, the food, etc. You may find it much easier to talk to her there and afterward.

WillyNilly

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 03:23:39 PM »
Where are the dads in this picture? You talk about your mom visiting and his mom visiting - are there no dads? I ask because is this maybe a gender role thing? Like your DH thinks the 'women-folk' socialize with the women-folk doing woman stuff (cooking, shopping, taking care of kids) and the men-folk hang with the men-folk doing man stuff? It might not even occur to your DH he should be taking his mom out, since he is a he.

My husband's dad passed away a long time ago.  My own dad has only come to visit about 3 times, and his visits are very short.  I do think you are right though, that because I'm the "daughter", I am expected to hang out with MIL.

I think Toots did a great job of better explaining gender roles in relationships in post #8. To a certain extent this is simply part of the traditional role of a wife. And I say that as someone from a family that isn't too hardcore into gender roles - both my grandmothers worked outside the home at real careers (one grandmother, born in the 19-teens, even had her masters degree), my mom worked, my grandfather taught me, a female plumbing and electrical stuff, etc - but there were some roles, more social ones, that really did fall along gender lines. Women would all help out with cooking and serving meals and tending to one anothers kids, men would help with moving stuff or yard work.

I think you are pretty much stuck with the situation for now. Your husband might not be a planner but you let this lack-of-planning visit happen, so now you have to deal with it. You have to hang out with her because she is your house guest!

One thing to remember though is that something like grocery shopping while a menial boring task usually, is a very interesting, sorta cool task in a foreign country. I know whenever I travel I make sure to visit a grocery store - even in not so weird places (I live in NYC, but say visiting London) the products and culture of the stores are different. Heck California grocery stores are a trip for me with the liquor! Food is a way people bond too, so it really might be fun for you MIL - and maybe seeing the experience through her eyes would make it more fun for you.

TootsNYC

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2013, 03:32:51 PM »
If I were visiting my daughter-in-law in Des Moines, a city I've traveled to many times, I'd still expect to tag along when she went to the grocery store.
(I don't have a DIL--I'm projecting.)

Or, since I love hardware stores, I'd expect to tag along w/ my SIL when he went to the hardware store. I'm going to visit them, and I would expect to go do whatever sorts of things with them that they were already going to do. Because doing those things together is a way to get to know one another.

My mother would have expected to be invited along to the bookstore by my husband. My dad went dress shopping w/ me and my mom, because what else was he going to do--sit in my apartment? He found it fun, and he was really helpful. It's one of my favorite memories now.

It gives us something to talk about. Both "in the moment" and much later.

I think that in gender roles, there is a greater expectation of common ground. But in general, whoever is going somewhere, I think, should *much of the time* (not always, of course) invite the visiting parent to come along.

Lynn2000

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2013, 03:38:01 PM »
Yeah, it's tough when you can pin anyone down about their expectations and plans.  :-\  Just trying to picture what happens here--you need to go grocery shopping, DH is at work, you have to take your toddler because MIL doesn't babysit. So the question is, do you leave MIL at home alone, or offer to let her come with you? One question I have is, what does she do when she's home alone? Is she the type to enjoy the downtime and get some reading done, or would she boredly watch TV for a while then start snooping in your closets?

Obviously if she can't be trusted at home alone, that's bad, and you would pretty much have to take her with you every time just so you don't worry about what she's getting up to. But if it's just a matter of her being bored, I don't think it's rude to let her stay home sometimes. I think it's reasonable to expect that adults can entertain themselves alone on occasion, especially if she's staying with you a long time. (If she was only staying three days, I think it would be weird to leave her home alone, but multiple weeks is different.)

So I think you could say, "Toddler and I are going to the store, we'll be back in about two hours. Help yourself to the XYZ!" and then bustle out the door. Not every time, but maybe every other time. Maybe you could even say something like, "MIL, I feel bad dragging you along to these boring errands with me and Toddler. Have I shown you how the magic Netflix box works? Could I run you to the library to check out some books?" In other words giving her suggestions about stuff she can do at home alone, while you're getting the normal chores of living done.

Also, is she capable of getting out on her own to do things by herself? Are there places she will want to go on her own, or special places you can all go as a family? If you think she'll do it, you could come up with some suggestions of places nearby she could go on her own, and encourage her to do so--like, "The museum exhibit is open at these times, you can take the Blue bus to get there, I'll drop you at the bus station on my way to the grocery store..." Or, if she won't go alone, you could plan some all-family outings (you, MIL, Toddler, and DH), and get your "togetherness" then, so that when you leave her home alone while you grocery shop, no one will be able to say you didn't spend any time with her.

Regarding your DH's general expectations about spending time with her--that's a tricky one. Maybe you could proactively plan (and tell him about) blocks of time when you will make yourself scarce, "so that he can spend time with his mom." As long as they're in his general "free time," shouldn't be a problem, right? And then you get some time away from her, even if you have to leave the house to get it.
~Lynn2000

bah12

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Re: I don't want to take your mom shopping
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2013, 03:46:38 PM »
First, I think there's a difference between "taking your MIL shopping" and "dragging her around while you run errands."  If your DH asked you to take her shopping, did he mean take her with you to do your day-to-day stuff or take her out shopping because it's an activity that she enjoys and one you may enjoy doing together? 

I understand that she's visiting for a long time and entertaining her 24/7 is a bit much.  But, at the same time, she is coming to visit you right?  I think that some effort needs to be given to actually spend time with her.  Nothing says "I'm not into this visit" more than going about your life as if you had no guest.   Not to say that you can't run errands alone, or can't go to work if you need to, etc, but some time to say "let's do something together" or show her around where you live is hospitable.  And that goes for both you and your DH.  Since he's off this week, is he taking her anywhere? Doing anything with her?

I think it would be nice, if at least once during her visit, you planned on doing something with her outside of your day-to-day routine.  Whether that's shopping, going to a park, for a drive, whatever.  I also think you can invite her along on your errands once or twice so that she has the opportunity to leave the house.  But, no, you're not required to take her out everytime.

And what about weekends?  Is your DH planning (I know he's not a planner) on doing anything with her (or with all of you) when everyone is off work?