General Question

peschiavone's avatar

How can I ask when my mother-in-law is leaving without being offensive?

Asked by peschiavone (3points) July 18th, 2009

My mother-in-law has been visiting for almost 2 months. Neither her or my husband will tell when she is leaving. Our home is in an uproar.

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24 Answers

BBSDTfamily's avatar

If I were you I wouldn’t worry about being offensive… SHE is being offensive already! Two months with not letting you know her plans of when she’ll leave? Why does she get to decide that anyway? It’s your house! I would be very angry with my husband, and I would just ask her when she planned on leaving b/c there are things you need to get done around the house.

Jeruba's avatar

“How long are you planning to stay?” asks the same question as “When are you leaving?,” but more politely.

marinelife's avatar

Welcome to the collective. I am more concerned about your relationship with your husband that he will a) not understand and support your desire to know and b) be the one doing the asking.

I like Jeruba’s way of putting it. You can even soap that up some and say, “Mom, how long are we going to get to enjoy your company this trip?”

You should also say something like, “You know we love having you here, but since your visit is longer this time, we need to reestablish some of our usual household routines. So, blah, blah, blah.” (add the appropriate specifics).

Make sure that in future visits you know ahead of time a firm departure date before she arrives.

Fly's avatar

Do you have any trips, big projects, etc. coming up? There’s always the “We’ve got a big _____ coming up, and we need to start preparing/we’ll need more space for ___/we can’t have you staying here while we’re gone,” etc.
Even if you don’t, you could always pretend like you do. ;)

As @Jeruba and @Marina said, you could simply use a more tactful form of the question, such as “How long are you planning to stay?” or “When do you need to get back to your house? I could never leave my house unattended for so long.”

However, it seems like you need to talk with your husband privately and discuss the matter. You two need to be on the same page about the situation with your mother-in-law. There’s a fine line between visiting and imposing, and it seems to me that she has crossed this line. There may be something going on behind-the-scenes that would explain her long stay, and even so it seems she’s definitely overstayed her welcome. It’s probably time to give her the boot. You need to remind her politely that this is your home and although you love her visits, she simply can’t stay with you indefinitely.

In the future, make sure that your mother-in-law’s visits have specific check-in and check-out times to avoid more similar situations.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’d ask your husband before her but yeah, no matter how you ask, she’s going to read you loud and clear and that’s okay because a visit from 99.9% of anyone’s in-laws for longer than a week under your roof is a long time.

Garebo's avatar

Tell her you have a bad bat problem in the attic and that they should just ignore the noise at night, and only rarely do they find there way into the living area. Of course before you tell them that you have to put a little stereo in the attic continuously playing your favorite bat sounds.

Darwin's avatar

You need to talk to your husband. She is his mother but you are his wife. Doesn’t she have her own place to live? Or is she being shuttled around from child to child because no one wants to take care of her? Why is she staying with you for so long?

cookieman's avatar

Within earshot of your mother-in-law.

“So…honey; When’s the battleaxe hitting the road?”

what? I kid, I kid.

whatthefluther's avatar

Tell her you wish to schedule visits and/or attendance to amusement parks, concerts, restaurants, etc. and would like to have her join in on the fun but need to know her schedule so you can buy advanced tickets/make reservations that will work for everyone.
That is a nice way to get your answer but as others said above, there is a bigger problem with your husband’s unwillingness or inability to address the issue. See ya…wtf (my initials)
PS: Welcome to fluther.

Hambayuti's avatar

If you can’t ask your mother-in-law directly (in a nice way, of course), then you should talk to your husband and let him know how you feel. If he feels the same way as you, then he can talk to her about this (she’s his mother anyway) and just make it sound like he is asking and not you. Probably say something like, “I’m planning to take my wife for a surprise trip somewhere (since she’s been stressed out lately. lol – mental note only) and would like to know when I can plan for this blah, blah, blah…”

Now, in case your husband doesn’t feel the same way and would want his mother to stay, you can pack your bags and go for a vacation. You deserve it. Tell your husband to call you when his mother decides to “cut her visit short”.

Jeruba's avatar

@peschiavone, what’s the size of your household? Who else lives with you besides your husband (and now your mother-in-law)? Do you have children? other relatives?

peschiavone's avatar

Thanks for the feedback. All of your suggests are really great. I’m afraid my husband wants her to stay indefinetly, which really hurts me, because he does know that I don’t care for her. Of course, it’s the same crap – ‘It’s just me and I’m over-reacting’ – it makes me crazy. Our household consists of one teenager.

Hambayuti's avatar

@peschiavone that’s sad. did he say why?

peschiavone's avatar

Very sad, I don’t think I can use profanity on this, but he says it just because I’m a b*tch and I don’t want to share him with anyone. Not, He has three children from a previous and there’s never a conflict with them. He also says she’s lonely, I say, get a puppy. She’s so awful she has 2 daughters that won’t even speak to her.

Hambayuti's avatar

@peschiavone I’m surprised that your husband actually said that to you. Maybe you should have asked him if he is actually ready to grow up and leave his mother’s side. Sharing is one thing but actually living with them “indefinitely” is another. Where are the 3 children from his previous marriage staying? Maybe she can live with them since they get along well.

peschiavone's avatar

Tell me about it. He has been away from his mother for over 20 years. I have heard through the grapevine that they are reconnecting with each other, because when he was little Mummy sent him to boarding school for about 8 years. This apparently scarred him. His daughter lives with us. The other two live with his ex-wife. My husband’s children do not like their Grandmother, but my husband blames that on ‘brainwashing’ of the kids from the ex. I just know I’m going out of my mind. To much is to much. Everytime I bring it up to my husband, he turns on me and we end up quarreling.

fireside's avatar

Sounds like he’s reliving his childhood.
I’d find a place to stay for a while and see if he really wants to choose his mother over your relationship.

whatthefluther's avatar

He should be begging your patience while he worked out other arrangements for his mother. Instead he calls you names and accuses you of not wanting to share him? If I were in your position, I would not only not want to share him, I would want nothing to do with him. Sounds like he and his mother were made for each other, and although his sisters “got it”, he never did. Let his mom have all of him.

peschiavone's avatar

Once again, great advise. If I leave that means she has won. He doesn’t normally act like such a butt head, it seems it is only when his mother is with us. His mother wasn’t even a bad person when I first met her, it started after we got married. About 6 months into our marriage, she decides she wants to move to the US with us. I did manage to tell her that I could never live with her. My husband was not happy at all. I don’t think he has ever really forgiven me. I’m really not trying to be cruel, but the woman is insane and nasty.

whatthefluther's avatar

If you must look at it as someone winning, consider the prize.

Darwin's avatar

Looks like you have a choice: live with him + mom, or move out. Which would be worse? Bear in mind that option 2 might make him wake up and realize you are more valuable to him than mom, but OTOH, it might not.

Why did he and the mother of his children separate? Could it possibly have anything to do with his mother?

peschiavone's avatar

Yes, apparently she caused a rift. But because they had a very nasty divorce, my husband like to blame it all on the ex.

Jeruba's avatar

Let her win. It takes guts to walk away from a battle.

Maybe it will even bring him to his senses.

peschiavone's avatar

I doubt it. I have finally got a date of when the old bat is leaving. She is leaving on Sept 16. She actually asked me if it was ok, if she stayed….whatever..I’m sure it’s a set-up.

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