Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh hai. You has help? I can has some for her?

My friend Sarah needed a safe place to vent, so when she came to me I said, "Sure, here are the keys. Lock up when you're done. I'm going to go take a nap."

Plus, she offered to babysit in return. She doesn't know that, but she totally did.

But please, help this poor lady in need. She has three young boys, for chrissake. She's tired from wiping all that pee off the toilet, so you'll understand if she needs to bounce a few things off of someone who can cut their own food.

If you need me I'll be sleeping. Better yet, you don't need me that badly. Don't even dare try to wake me up.

Shhhh…Sarah here from In the Trenches of Mommyhood. *whispering* Tania is getting some much-needed sleep. So while I’m here playing with the girls, Tania is graciously allowing me to vent on her blog about something that I am unable to mention on my own – THE IN-LAWS.

We’ve had computer “issues” in the Trenches. Basically, I lost 5,000 PHOTOS IN ONE FELL SWOOP! 4 YEARS WORTH OF PRECIOUS MEMORIES!

(Crap, I hope I didn’t just wake up Tania with my yelling.)

Anyway, it was apparent we needed some help. Thankfully, Hubby’s assistant’s husband is a tech guy. She reads my blog, and offered up his services. They came over on Saturday afternoon, along with their 2 little girls, and Brian went to work. Photos restored! Wine consumed!

It was when I was in the kitchen, preparing some appetizers, that I heard something. A car was pulling into our driveway.

The next thing I know, my IN-LAWS walked into my house. Uninvited. While we had guests.

Needless to say, I was FURIOUS. And needless to say, our guests left fairly quickly. Perhaps because they felt uncomfortable? Perhaps because they felt rushed out the door by the random arrival of Hubby’s parents?

So, upon our guests’ departure, I went about my business. Feeding the boyz dinner. Cleaning up the kitchen. Folding laundry upstairs. Anything to avoid contact with the party-crashers.

Eventually, they left.

And then I lit into Hubby: “What was that?! Why were they here? And did you know they were coming?”

He fired back, “No, of course I didn’t know. My dad asked me yesterday what we were doing. I told him that they would be here so Brian could fix the computer. That’s all. They’re 65 years old. They have nothing else in their lives. They don’t know any better. So don’t be mad at ME!”

So, to summarize:

My in-laws knew we would be having company.
They saw a strange car in our driveway.
Yet still walked into our home as if it were no big deal.

Mind you, this behavior is nothing new. Their “drive-bys” usually occur at the most inopportune times – either just when we’re ready to sit down and eat or else right before we’re ready to put the boyz to bed.

THEY KNOW what time we eat dinner. THEY KNOW the boyz’ bedtime.

I’ve held my tongue all this time (over 7 years). Smiled and grinned and offered them a drink upon their disruptive arrival, while silently seething inside.

But I’m done. This was the last straw.

I’ve decided they need to call us first before they just stop by. Which is all well and good IN MY HEAD, but how do I make this rule clear to them? Gulp.

Do I confront them myself? Yuck. Awkward.

Do I make Hubby do it? After all, they’re HIS parents, right? (For the record, Hubby readily agrees that it was extremely rude of them to stop in when they knew we had company. However, he’s nowhere near as irritated as I am.)

Or do I just GET OVER IT? The nice daughter-in-law buried inside me thinks this is the right answer. I don’t want to be a bitch. I don’t want to make any waves. I don’t want to offend them, even though they BUG THE SHIT OUT OF ME. They’re awesome grandparents. They help us out. They love the boyz to death.

What would you do?


Meryl said...

Sweet Husband and I have done well with the, "they're your parents, you talk to 'em" rule. Not necessarily because we don't like or get along with each other's parents, but more because we each understand our own set of parents better. There's no substitute for living with someone for 20 years!

That being said (to the best of my knowledge anyway) any complaints are always from "we" or "I". As in, "We don't like it when you come over uninvited" or "I don't like it when you come over uninvited" NOT "Yeah, Meryl's been bitching because you keep coming over uninvited all the time."

If they're basically good, sane people and you can get over it (or--and this is horrible--they're in bad health and likely to die soon anyway) it might be worth swallowing it. But if it's really bothering you, you've got to get it out.

And who knows? Maybe they'll says, "Ok, we understand. No problem at all."

Liz Jimenez said...

De-lurking to say "hell yeah." Each person is responsible for his or her own parents, which means Hubby needs to call the 'rents and tell them they need to call ahead. He can be all sticky sweet on the first request ("Oh, we just want to make sure the kids are ready to see you!"), but if there's another offense, it's time to discuss privacy and boundaries. It's not that they're unwelcome in your home. It's that all visitors must announce their presence in advance, family or otherwise.

This is why my husband doesn't want us to move to Chicago. My mom's sisters would show up at 8AM and start rearranging my living room. :-)

Ericka said...

hmm, tough one. when dealing with the 'rents, i go with "firm, but fair." you don't have to be a bitch or be rude to deal with this, unless they're crazy - then make hubby do it. actually, meryl's right - him saying it is probably better.

would it help if you set up a regular dinner date with them? then make it clear (or have dh make it clear) that you as a family require a call prior to arrival?

if they do this whenever there's a strange car in the drive, arrange with friends for them to come over, then use the grandparents as babysitters while you go out with your friends. :-)

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I think your husband needs to talk to them. If he won't, withhold sex until he does it. Don't talk to them yourself---then you'll be the daughter-in-law that doesn't love them.

If you think they feel like they aren't invited over enough, have your husband ask them if they'd babysit every other Saturday so you both can go out together. Or, just set a standard time when they are welcome to come over to visit. But, I feel strongly that he has to talk to his parents. Good luck! Drop-ins would make me batty!

Chris O said...

I think you need to tell the in-laws the kids are finding new ways to express themselves and now all of you are having "naked time" at home. Let them know that this can happen as the urge hits so for their own safety they need to always call before coming over. This could play two ways, they are horrified and you never see them again or they too have naked time at their house and are happy to join in.

Seriously, just talk to them, both you and your husband and tell them how you don't want to hurt them or cut them out of your lives, but it's just not feeling respectful when people (say people, not them specifically, this way they think all your friends are losers) drop in unannounced. Tell them that as their daughter in-law, you want to show yourself to them in a positive light and when people don't let you prepare, it's stressful and you end up not enjoying the visit. Tell them that it's not always convinient to have visitors.

If that doesn't work, go back to "naked time"! or maybe a pitbull?

Arwen said...

Good fences make good neighbors. Request that they call first. Make your husband do it. Let him know you will embarrass everyone if he doesn't get the point across to them.

Mags said...

Argh...that sucks!!! My in-laws give us enough grief, and they live over 300 miles away. I wish I could help.

Anonymous said...

My sistah, fairly odd mother, sent me over because, HELL YEAH, she knows I LIVE THIS. Even worse, my hubbie's parents divorced and remarried when he was a kid, so I have TWO SETS of these folks.

But alas, I can't tell you anything that's worked. My husband knows that it's "his job" to address his folks, but he's completely passive and won't say shit even if his mouth is full of it. So I could take things into my own hands, but he BEGS me not to make it all blow to hell. So instead, we don't deal with it until they next time and then I scream like a banshie at my husband. Very effective. We'll be married 7 years next week.

My sister-in-law stopped drop ins with his dad instantly. She and her husband dig the herb. They had just gotten major-league baked and then opened the door. Drops ins stopped after that. Not sure if that would work with you and kids at home. I dream of coming down the stairs half-dressed all sexed like.

How about the next time they show up announce, "Honey! The sitters are here!" and then grab your bag and out you go?

Recently, I started making myself scare. If his folks want to visit, I'll go run errands. Then he gets to deal with them and I'm free. We'll see if that nudges him to address the drops ins.

Give me a shout if something works. Frig.

kittenpie said...

First, you have to make sure your husband is on board and willing to talk to them if that needs to happen. But me? I would change the locks and just not give them a new key. Tell your husband you are going to do it first and tell the in-laws that your key broke in the lock and you needed to change them. Should solve the problem in a hurry when it comes out that you don't answer the door if you are busy. That's how I *mostly* stopped my mom from dropping by.

Patois42 said...

Oh, yeah, you're getting the Dear Abby/Ann Landers answer from most of us. It's up to the husband to stand up to his parents. If he's in agreement, he needs to speak up. If he's not in agreement, he needs to make a very persuasive case to convince you to not be bothered.

And pipe it down over there. Don't wake the napping lady.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else, husband needs to address it.

From what you say it sounds like they are great people in general, so don't let it bother you much after it's been addressed.

I would give anything to have in-laws to be upset with. My husband was 26 when he lost his mother from breast cancer and 29 when he lost his father. It's been 10 years and he still misses them and gets depressed sometimes. And our children will never know their grandparents. So enjoy the time you do have with them, because it won't last forever.

Heather said...

Oooo I'm going to be the odd one for a change. (cowering a little...uncomfortable not agreeing!)

I have in-laws that irritate me to no end. Honestly. It's enough to drive me to drink, and I do, if I'm not pregnant or nursing. (Okay, if I'm nursing I drink too but not as much as if I wasn't.)

Anywho. I'd still say suck it up. These are your husband's parents and your children's grandparents. They mean well. They do. Even when you think they are nuts and hate you. (Oh, that might be about my in-laws.)

And I'd bet your kids really love them.

At my house, I suck it up. (And complain to my husband later but I don't want him to say or do anything.) You never know when you might really appreciate them. (As my in-laws have been giving us money every month all this year.) Or, miss them.

LifeBehindTheCoach.com said...

dear guest blogger
I love it that you can rant on your friends blog! So proud was I of even having a blog i've told everyone I know and love and so consequently worry about really ranting - about anyone, even though I'd dearly love to sometimes. I'mm pushing boundaries now, trying to become more honest, it's an uphill struggle. The professional side of me? Advice? I'd get her working when she arrives. 'Oh I'm SO glad you're here...could you just...' you got it...laundry, nappy changes...washing up...she might think twice next time!

Anonymous said...

I think you and hubby need to say something but this first time of mentioning it should be short and sweet, kind of a casual oh-by-the-way. The less (fewer?) words you use the less material you give them to analyze or interpret and hopefully less they can get their feelings hurt over. "It would help us so much if we could know in advance when you'd like to come over. That way there's a better chance that we can spend some good time together without other guests around, or me doing laundry or bathing the kids or whatever."

Then when they come back with oh but we don't mind all that stuff going on, just tell them that you're glad of that but you guys would be more comfortable.

It sounds like their presence in your lives is a net gain so I can see your dilemma in handling this just right.

Just my two cents. It's so much easier to offer advice than to deal with my own MIL who should be here in about 40 minutes. I love her but recently learned she feels that my boys don't spend enough time outside (she has property on the lake and spends at least 6 hours a day outside hacking bushes or chasing fire ants or what the heck ever) which is partly why she comes over every Wednesday. To make sure my poor withering flowers get the sunlight they need. I guess my 1 to 2 hours a day isn't enough.

Good luck and sorry this got so long!

Heather said...

Well I have turned many a people away from my door because it wasn't a good time. I would simply tell them or ask them to please call before they come over. If they persist to come over I would have Hubby tell them at the door that it isn't a good tim and suggest an alternative time. But make sure hubby is on board and that he delivers the news-if not you will be the bad guy. And never let him start the conversation with the preface "Sarah and I were talking and Sarah decided....." Bad Idea!

Lots of hugs. At least your in laws don't fly across the country once a month and back 2 days later and expect you to take them to the airport at 4 in the friggin' morning so they don't disrupt your day. Ummm..Hello!?!? my day doesn't start at 4!

Gee, I guess I had a vent of my own. (BTW today was that day) Hubby thinks its no biggie cuz he does it, but who wakes up hubby to go?

Anonymous said...

Make the hubby tell the parents. Don't let him blame it on you. I had this situation with my dad and I was the one who talked to him, not my hubby. He still didn't listen to me but he got the hint when I met him at the door before he could even open it the other day and told he'd have to come back another time because I was getting ready to take a shower. (Had just finished mopping actually and didn't want him to ruin floors but wasn't going to say that to him.) He was annoyed and left mad but he was over it by that afternoon.

NotAMeanGirl said...

Ok... here's my assvice. Have husband handle them. Yes. HOWEVER, do it case by case so they don't feel unwelcome. They are oldish. They get offended easily and its liable to make them stubborn on the issue. If you're having company and would prefer they not show up have him call that day and let them know "Hey guys. We're having company tonight. We really can't wait to spend some time with these friends. It's been a while... Hey, why don't YOU come over tomorrow night? (Or Weds or whatever.. PICK A DAY)" This keeps them from feeling excluded and let's them know they're important to you. :)

Amy said...

Hubby needs to let them know that dinner time and bed time are knocked off a much needed routine for the boyz when company arrives, and ask that they not come at those times. Focus on protecting the routine the boys need to calm down, get enough sleep, do well in school, all that bullshit. This will appeal to them because it's for the best for the children. And he can casually tack on at the end of this conversation that they can just "give us a quick call before stopping over" so if we're in the middle of something we can let you know when to come. (So he's saying - "we want you to come and we're helping you by letting you know the best time.")

My in-laws live 15 minutes from me and haven't seen my kids in MONTHS. I'm not sure which problem is worse.

Anonymous said...

I say meet them at the door and say, "Wow, it's so great to see you, but we have guests over right now. What a pity! If only you'd called we could have saved you the trip over here. Well, we'd better get back to our guests. See you next week!"

T with Honey said...

I think this is one of the reasons that deep down inside I am actually a little reluctant to move back home. There are distinct advantages to living 300 miles or more from all blood relatives.

No one ever takes the chance of spending 7 hours in a car or paying for airfare to discover that we're not home. They ALWAYS call first.

Usedtobeme said...

I have the same problem with my in-laws, exacerbated by the fact that for the first 11 years of our marriage, they lived in a different state and didn't get to see us or the grand kids.

I mentioned several times on different occasions that I thought it was rude to simply drop by unannounced. I even call them before we go over and when the ask why I call, I say the same thing.

You know what they do now? They call and say "are you home? We're outside."

Bloody hell!

Anonymous said...

ok,sarah,this cracks me up that you are sneaking around on friend's blog..I too share this problem...both sets of our parents live w/i 20min of us. His parent's saw us once a week for a couple hours visit and one day his dad tells us that his mom is "sad" b/c she doesn't see enough of us!!--seriously--this pissed me off b/c, well, that was plenty of my time to see and visit,soooo I was NOT putting out more time. I even promptly told his dad that if they wanted to see the kids more we would be happy to pick a day every wk that they could come over..but she didn't want to do that???! We have still never spent more time than that and I think it's fair (we are very busy and they have slowed down a bit)...She put his dad up to it, so I put ed up to telling them that we don't have the xtra time...and it was left at that...this is how she and i always communicate and it is annoying...ed also had to tell his mom that i don't do mother's day with her after i was spending my entire MD running around with her and my mom (i had had enough)--that was fun--the whole conversation went s/thing like this,"hey mom,Kim is entitled to shop and hang with her mom on MOther's day, since well,she is a mom,so she will do her own thing every mother's day" and she said "OK" and hung up..........................you know how i felt then...like a schmuk, but hey, now mother's day is all me....you do have the upper hand (grandkids and their son) and they know it. So, i say let Scott draw some straight boundaries and gulp hard b/c the men just aren't as eloquent and manipulative as us...until we blow and you will at some point (and then it's much worse)...and i know how frustrated you are,believe me...ugh. that's my story---let me know what you do :)
~your old rm mate~Kim

ewe are here said...

Make your husband talk to them. Tell them you require a phone call before visits. And if they ignore him and show up unannounced again, meet them at the door and say "Sorry, this isn't a good time. We were just about to _____." ('go out' or 'sit down to dinner' or 'put the kids to bed'). "Please give us a call in advance next time you want to visit so you don't waste a trip." Then shut the door. Seriously. Shut it. They'll get the picture.

And change your locks.

Sharon said...

I am going to sound like a broken record, but I also say let the hubby do it! I think each set of parents take things easier from their own child you know. Although I will admit that if I need to tell my IL something and I know my husband won't do it, I have been known to send them an email from our joint account and sign his name to it and them tell him later!! Hahaha! I am a big chicken and HATE confrontation, so I usually choose email so I don't actually have to hear their voice or see their facial expressions when I have to hit them with bad news. One thing that absolutely annoyed the crap out of me is when my daughter was a baby and just starting to eat solids, my MIL always questioned what I was giving her. She would say stuff like, "Hmm... she eats that?? Doesn't that have a lot of fat or sugar".... UGH! I was like, hello, I have read the books and talked to my pediatrician, this stuff is fine, leave me alone! I honestly think that everyone has some in-law issues of some sort, so you just gotta find a way to deal with it and stick to that strategy! Good Luck!!

carrie said...

Haven't they ever heard of cell phones?

Oh yeah, they're OLD. If they're anything like my mom, they can hardly figure out how to turn the darn thing on.

I'd make my husband deal with it. You have enough to do.