Help! What can I do about their coming over with my niece? I’m afraid this will become a thing every time they come over and that it will escalate to their coming with more nieces and nephews in the future while my BIL and SIL can go about their day while I watch their kids. — Desperate for less in-law stress
Tell them they MUST call before coming over. When they call, tell them you’d love to see them, but you are only free from 10-11 am or whatever one-hour time-frame works for you (you can handle an hour of their company, right?). If the time isn’t convenient for them, oh well. You have two small children and a third on the way — you’re busy. You have a right to say you’re busy and can’t sit at home hosting all day long. Then end. If they drop by without calling, tell them that, if they’d called, you could have saved them a trip because you’re actually heading out the door in half an hour. (You don’t need to say what you’re doing, but, if they ask, tell them you have errands, plans with friends, a kid’s birthday party, etc.–and that, no, they are not invited.) Even if you weren’t actually planning on going anywhere, you must leave your house in thirty minutes and then do not go home until you’re reasonably sure they’re no longer in the neighborhood. Once you’ve done this a couple times, they will start calling before dropping by, and, when they do, you tell them what time is good for you, being sure to give an end-time.
As for your MIL cooking or doing grocery shopping for her other kids, I’d say that, if you want her to do that stuff for you, too, why don’t you ask? The next time she calls and says she and your FIL want to come over say, “Hey, we’re out of milk and bread — would it be too much trouble for you to stop at the store for us on your way over?” Maybe she’s helping out at her other kids’ homes because they seem to really need the help or ask for it while you are better at giving the illusion that you have everything under control and don’t need (or even want) her help. Honestly, I’ve found that if there’s something you want or expect, it’s almost always best to explicitly ask for it instead of keeping silent and stewing over not getting it.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected]wendy.com.