How do I broach a difficult in laws subject - LONG post !

I need some advice please girlies, let me give you the full story.

My in laws live in a really remote farm in the middle of the galloway national forest in Scotland, it is a good 7 hour or more drive if we drive up over night when its quiet. Anyway they never come down to see us, they have only been down once in the 2+ years they've lived there and that was for 1 day for our wedding in 2007.

In addition to this I dont really like my FIL very much as he is rude, racist, drunkard, and constantly has a go at me about being English and constantly puts down my Mum for not giving me and hubby money (mum was a single parent and currently earns less than I do but helps us in a million other ways, hubbys parents are millionaires and thats no exageration and gave us ??5k for our wedding but nothing else) which really annoys me. The last time we went to see them was September when I was signed off work with stress and depression, we thought the remote location might help me but we ended up walking out after 3 days due to the FIL having a dig at me about not being too pregnant to put more wood in the fire (its a long story !). MIL on the other hand is lovely !

Anyway added to this they both seriously smoke really really heavy and as an asthma sufferer when I go there I do struggle to breathe and cant stand what I smell like ! They refuse to not smoke around me and when they were living in England and came to see our new house when we moved in FIL threw a wobbley when we wouldnt let him smoke in our house.

Anyway the issue I have is when Charlie Girl is born my hubby wants us to take her up there. Now he's hoping that at least one of his parents will come down to us in the days after Charlie is born but it wouldnt surprise me if they dont as they have dogs and would expect us to travel up to them. Plus FIL is always saying how he hates England and wants to never cross the border again !

How do I broach with hubby that a) - I dont think a child of that age and up to about a year old should be subected to that kind of car journey. b) - that I am really really concerned by the smokey atmosphere and even if they shockingly agreed not to smoke directly around Charlie Girl the stench of smoke is completly overwhelming even for my adult lungs so i dread what it would be like for her, and c) - that now we have a baby it shouldnt be expected that we always travel up to them and we should make that clear to them that we will also excpect them to come down to us.
I have tried to speak to hubby but i sort of sugar coat what i'm saying as he always gets upset as my whole family are all within 5 minutes of us and obviously he wants to see his parents. I just think its unfair that we always have to go up there !!! Hubby was saying about spending Charlie Girls first Xmas up there and I said no as I want our first Xmas at home in our own house !!!!!

I just know in my heart that his parents will never come down to us voluntarirly and because they have a farm that they think we should go up there as its better for children (they've not got farm animals or anything just a lot of land).

I'm throughly dreading the situation coming up and worried about how I weigh my husbands need to see his family against my disdain for their attitude, hate for FIL and concern about the smoking !

Sorry for the super long post but please can anyone offer any advice ! :\?

MrsW 29+6


  • Hi,how very unreasonable! It is not good for a babies spine to be in a car seat for more than about 2 hours! Tell hubby that you will not be taking her up for at least 4/5 months. Unless his parents want to pay for flights and agree not to smoke. It's always difficult when it's someone else's family but your hubby should surely also not want his daughter exposed to that sort of smoke??

    I'd stand firm hun,for your baby's good! xx k 11+5
  • oooh thats a toughie! I think you are totally right to not want your baby in such a smoky environment, even a couple of days there would probably not do her little lungs much good! Also, if your FIL is so selfish he wont even refrain from smoking around you when he knows you're asthmatic, then i doubt he'll not smoke around your daughter! So i think (if it were me) i would tell my husband that under no circumstances will our child be entering a house where to all intents and purposes she'll be smoking as much as they are, and that he needs to call his parents and tell them that. I'm sure he wont want his daughter stinking of fags either! I can understand him missing his parents and feeling like you should make an effort to go to them, but you are right in saying that with a small baby that kind of journey would be very difficult and stressful, and that you would be happy for them to come over and stay for a few days? That way if they say no they cant, you know you've done your best and its their decision not to see their grandchild. I know you dont want to hurt your OH's feelings but i'm sure he'll understand, its the baby you're thinking of, and you're not just making up excuses not to go there! I hope it all works out for the best, let us know how you get on! xx
  • Hello lovely.

    I'm in a sort of similar situation... but that my in-laws and hubby's brothers only live 3hrs away so not that bad. However, they are just as bad at coming to see us - we have lived in our house for 3.5yrs now and have only had visits from them all twice!!!

    I am confident they will come and see Angus when he / she comes but they won't stay long (mainly as we are not putting them up) and I have no doubt that when the 'novelty' wears off, the visits will reduce dramatically.

    Hubby and I have already had large discussions about long car journey's as I can't cope with them at the moment. I have made it clear to him that we won't be off visiting his family every minute when Angus is born, mainly as the baby can't sit in a car seat from more than 2hrs (I think that's the 'rule'). Luckily for me, I don't sugar coat my feelings towards his family, and although we do have small arguments over it, he has to learn that ME and ANGUS are his priority now. And that's what your hubby has to do! Not saying he doesn't think you're a priority at the moment - but what I'm getting at is that a 7hr car journey is NOT good for a baby (sorry but it's not in my personal opinion) and your hubby needs to see that.

    So my shorter answer (!!!) is that I don't really know what to say, except you aren't alone! But you really must try hard to explain to him how it makes you feel.

    My one suggestion is both of you investing in a web-cam? My real Dad lives abroad (Qatar of all places!!!) so he chats to my sister and brother and their kids on web cams a lot.

    Am really sorry this is stressing you out and thinking of you lots and sorry if I've not helped at all.

    Joo xxxxxxxx
  • Just be strong, tell your husband that you love him and all you want is for him to be happy but he surely has to understand that he can't subject his new baby to that sort of environment. He has been a bit selfish in my eyes to be honest to subject you to it up till now. Don't sugar cote it just tell him, it'll be better to get it sorted out now before the baby comes.

    hope it goes well
  • I agree. He is your husband so you should feel that you cam be completely honest.

    I wouldnt want my baby to be subjected to a 7 hour car ride and then be subjected to a smoky atmosphere. Its bad for an adult let alone a child!

    If it were me I would tell my husband my concerns. I would explain that its easier for them to come down and see you than for you (not long after giving birth) and a new baby to travel that far. The first week is critical where parents and baby can get into a routine and my having to go away in the middle of it wont help one bit.

    I know that when I have grandchildren I would walk across the atlantic to seem them! so his parents should do the same. Its easier for them to find a sitter for the dogs and having no ties, than you, husband and baby having to travel all that way.

    Besides, as they are rich, flights down would be nothing for them. I think that its unfair that you should be out out because of them - if they want to see the baby they should make every effort.

    I also think that having to listen to the rantings of rude, racist, drunkard is no good for anyone. I wouldnt want to listen to that and when people are in their own home environment, they tend to be more open than if they are in someones else home so its another reason why you should get them to come to you!

    You say that MIL is lovely? if thats the case then I would speak to her on her own if hubby wont do it. You dont have to say all the reasons why you would like them to come to you, but as she has had children herself then she should understand.

    as for moaning about English people - his grandad will be half english!! booo to him!

    good luck in what you decide. parents in law can be difficult.
  • oops meant to say 'grandaugher would be half english'
  • Hi

    I agree with everything that the rest of the girls are saying. Also the risks of cot death are increased in a smoking atmosphere and there is evidence to suggest that the chemicals absorbed through third hand smoking are dangerous. I would swing it by saying that they meet half way somewhere and spend a lovely day together and pacify hubby with 'just think of the years ahead when Charlie will love playing on the farm'...There's plenty of time in the future for longer visits.

    Hope the comments helped x x

    Kirsten x
  • hi girls,

    i completely agree with what everyone else has said. Whilst my situation is nowhere near as bad as yours, I hate going to my inlaws too, in fact I hate them coming to ours as well, but have always compromised for my hubby's sake! My inlaws do help us out a lot, and will be even more with stuff for the baby, so I always try and put aside my feelings as much as possible, sometimes easier said than done! FYI - I have asthma too, and my MIL insists on all bedding being feather, I've now learnt that if I want to get any sleep I always take my own duvet and pillows. She always used to get huffy about it, but I've explained that otherwise I would cough all night and also it helps her with the washing so she's ok with it now!

    I think you need to speak to your husband. Start with saying you know how important it is that his parents see your baby but there are a couple of things worrying you which need sorting out before it's born. Mention the fact that the journey is 7 hours and ask him if he thinks you could all afford to fly there instead. Show him some prices (try and find expensive ones) and he might change his mind about going there. Also mention the smoking problem and say that you put up with it for his sake, but its not fair on the baby, and there is the cot death problem too. Suggest that you stay in a hotel instead, again find expensive ones! Finally suggest that he invites his parents down to yours instead. I think this will show that you're not being difficult, you just have concerns and yu're trying to find the best way for everyone.

    Don't criticise his dad, as he may get upset and it could cause a row. If your husband is still not prepared to co-operate, speak to your MIL. You've already said that she's nice, ask her advice, what should you do explain that you really want them to see their grandchild but you have a couple of concerns, how can she help you? Say that you're concerned about the smoking, ask if it would be possible for them both to not smoke in the same room as the baby. not ideal, but a compromise none the less!

    Hope it goes well, let us all know how you got on!

    C. x 30+6
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