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MIL makes farm visits miserable

SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2012

Dear Annie: My husband’s parents live on the farm where he grew up, which is about an hour away from my folks’ house. When we go home to visit, I prefer to stay with my parents.

I have no problem visiting the farm and spending time with my husband’s family, but the accommodations at my parents’ house are more comfortable. We have an entire section of the house to ourselves, including a private bathroom. At my in-laws’, the entire family shares a bathroom. Also, my mother-in-law has OCD and insists we shower every time we enter the house, and anything in our possession (phone, watch, wallet) must be wiped off. The last time we visited, my husband had to tell his mother three times not to wipe off my dry-clean-only outfit with her wet dishrag. In addition, all of our belongings end up smelling like manure.

I think the family is only enabling my mother-in-law’s issues by accommodating all of her odd requests. I’ve tried to tell my husband how uncomfortable this makes me, and that I’d rather spend the night at my parents’ home and split the daylight hours between the two houses. But he says it’s not fair, it hurts his feelings and we should spend nights at the farm, too. What is your take on the situation? – Sick of the Farm

Dear Sick: We can certainly understand your discomfort, but you also must consider your husband’s preferences. If you visit only once or twice a year, we say suck it up and stay there half the time and wear clothes you don’t mind wiping with a wet dishrag. His mother’s issues are not really your business unless you live with her. But also discuss this calmly with your husband and ask if you can spend more daylight hours at the farm to make up for fewer sleepovers. Find other things to like and admire about his family so this doesn’t turn into a power play. He needs to know that you don’t consider his folks inferior to yours.


 

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