Hosting guests always comes with some level of stress. There’s all the extra cleaning and preparations beforehand, all the energy (and money!) spent making sure the guest is comfortable and happy, and the strange feeling of needing to tip-toe around your own house. One woman joined the Reddit “Am I The A—hole?” thread to talk about her mother-in-law. As soon as we see something about an in-law, our blood pressure rises, so when we saw that this was about hosting a MIL, we started panicking. OP explained that her MIL lives about eight hours away. Now that OP and her husband have a 2-year-old, the MIL insists on staying at OP’s house for a week every two months so she can see her grandkid.
One. Whole. Week. A weekend is exhausting, let alone a whole week!
“The problem is, my husband and I are burnt out of hosting her,” OP wrote. “She doesn’t help out with childcare, housework, etc. only adds to my workload. I don’t want to keep her from her grandchildren, but at the same time, I am tired of hosting a high-maintenance person every two months.”
OP is having a baby in about a month, and her MIL expects to stay with the soon-to-be family of four once they come home from the hospital. Yup, not only would OP have to welcome a newborn into her home, but her MIL as well — who is notoriously unhelpful. And so, she asks, is she an a-hole for telling her MIL she can stay a few times a year, but not every two months?
Honestly, we feel so bad she has to ask.
Where Should She Stay?
Preferably this MIL realizes she shouldn’t come at all at such an exhausting time — but if she insists on visiting as soon as the baby’s born, OP and her husband have “gently suggested” she get a hotel. However, this MIL insists she can’t afford it.
To which we say, if MIL has the money to spend on flights or a lot of gas every two months, she can splurge on a hotel. And if she gets sticker shock, one Redditor said that should put the kibosh on the frequency and length of visits.
“I’ve also suggested she stay with her sister,” OP wrote. “To which she replied that she doesn’t want to see her sister. She wants to see us.”
Oh, come on! MIL has a free place to stay that doesn’t involve imposing on the parents of a newborn — and she’s selfishly turning it down? As one user said, that behavior is “atrocious.” We have to assume this demanding MIL has overstayed her welcome with her sister too.
If she won’t find another place to stay, Reddit suggests this soon-to-be mom of two pack her own bags. Hopefully hearing that her DIL will be staying with a friend or the sister will force the MIL to wake up and smell the roses
It’s Time For Hubby To Step Up To The Plate
However, is a postpartum mom leaving her own house really an option? It’s time for Dad to go to bat for his wife. The internet agrees that OP’s husband needs to be “painfully blunt” with his mother and set this boundary that she is not staying at his house after the baby is born. This DIL does not need to look like the bad guy, nor does she need the stress of confrontation when she is eight months pregnant.
“The only thing I would insist upon is have your husband be the one to draw the line in the sand,” one person said. “You don’t need this woman bad mouthing you to your children!”
It’s Time For The MIL To Carry Her Weight
There is no reason to believe this MIL will lend any sort of a hand, given her track record, and that is unacceptable when visiting a home with a newborn. If she comes, she should be making meals, washing dishes, doing laundry, grocery shopping, entertaining the 2-year-old, and more. And if these trips are all about bonding with her grandchildren, she should spend some time acting as the sole caretaker so her son and DIL can go on a much-needed date.
“My mother also lived far away when my children were young, but when she would come for a visit, she would be HELPFUL, so her visits were a welcome relief,” one Redditor said.
“I tell all new parents the only people who should be around you are those who 1) are helpful 2) don’t give you more to do and 3) you want around,” another said. “Everyone else can pound sand. She hasn’t been helpful in the past, she gives you more to do and you don’t want her around.”
And if this MIL makes the right choice to stay away until everyone has the chance to settle in, she should consider helping from afar. A gift card for a food delivery service or toys to keep the toddler entertained could go a long way in repairing this seemingly-strained relationship.
When Should She Reschedule?
Unless she agrees to change her housing plans, this MIL should not be visiting when her DIL is freshly postpartum. Ideally, she should not visit at all during the fourth trimester. That’s when her son and DIL need help, support, and rest. Not more responsibilities.
Newborn aside, this family needs to reassess the entire situation because, as the internet says, “MIL is like a parasite that kills its host.”
“Six weeks a year is a ridiculous amount to host an easy guest, let alone someone high maintenance,” one Redditor said. “If I were you, I’d put my foot down with my husband [and say that] I’d be up for hosting up to 2 weeks a year, not all at once, and not for a few months after having a baby. That’s about how much I could tolerate. You are well within your rights to tolerate even less than that.”
“This doesn’t mean his mom can’t have a relationship with the kids or that she can’t see them,” another added. “But she needs to stop treating OP and her son like a vacation spa where OP and her husband cater to her whim while she gets her emotional fill of her grandkids.”
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