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Step daughter to stay

(18 Posts)
Bankhurst Sun 04-Oct-20 15:15:42

My DH and his daughter have been estranged on and off for 20+ years. She is in her late 40s and has led a troubled life; unemployment, debt, poor housing, abusive boyfriends. Offers of help from my DH (possibly clumsily made) have been rejected or misused. (eg Deposit for a flat put in her bank account had ‘disappeared’ by the time the flat became available). Now she has accepted help, has a job and is out of debt. She lives 250 miles away and I have rarely met her. Now my DH would like her to come to stay. We live in a village and and have a healthy lifestyle, with lots of fruit and veg, country walks etc. Stepdaughter is obese and tells us she eats mainly fish and chips and pizza. Last time we had a meal with her she ate no veg, even scraping the cress garnish off her steak. I am very pleased they are reconciled, but am worried about a visit. I have little in common with her (what shall I talk about?), don’t know what to cook or how to entertain her. My worst fear is I’ll get it wrong and make things worse again. Any ideas welcome!

Lucca Sun 04-Oct-20 15:18:51

Husband could cook, also entertain.

M0nica Sun 04-Oct-20 15:24:53

Simply present yourselves as you are., serve the same meals and do the usual things. perhaps make a few concessions on food, chips with meals and plenty of bread and butter.

Let conversation arise from your everyday lives. How was her journey, hpw long did it take, comments about any roads she may have used, towns or countryside she may have gone through and so on.

She is your husband's child and you barely know her. Expect him to be the active partner in this visit. Ideas are to
find something to do together, perhaps visit a beauty spot, a garden. If she is obese, she may not want to walk very far, but even this time of year, some outside places are nice to visit and will have a cafe serving tea and cakes.

Just relax and be your self.

Madgran77 Sun 04-Oct-20 15:31:47

Get in some pizzas, frozen chips, anything she'll eat with chips etc for the freezer. Give her the choice of that, or what you are eating.

Leave them to spend time together; deliberately make yourself scarce quite a lot; let them chat. They might want to go out together and you might realise it is better not to tag along. Ask your husband what he wants from you. Be around but be conscious of not being inadvertently intrusive in a fledgling relationship truce.

When she is there listen carefully for anything she might like, favourite chocs/flowers/an author, anything really. Maybe buy her or husband buy it, or from both of you ...something that shows you are listening, interested in her likes etc

Chat about your interests and hobbies; ask her about hers; show an interest in her job.

The most important thing really is what your husband wants and needs, followed by picking up cues from her when she is there. Good luck! flowers

alchemilla Mon 05-Oct-20 20:25:06

Leave it to your DH to decide? She's his daughter.

MrsRochester Mon 05-Oct-20 20:46:14

How long is she staying?

Bibbity Mon 05-Oct-20 21:05:15

How long is she staying? A short Visit or longer?

lemsip Mon 05-Oct-20 21:21:00

madgran77 is top advice!

BlueBelle Mon 05-Oct-20 21:25:35

My question too long for? If it’s a week or maybe two weeks suck it up and make it a nice stay for her taking the lead from her dad If it’s a longer period than that might be more trying but as you say she’s working and has her own place I m thinking it’s just a visit

welbeck Mon 05-Oct-20 23:31:00

get in some simple foods that may be more familiar to her. eg oven chips, breaded fish portions, baked beans, pizzas and a variety of possible toppings.
maybe she would prefer to prepare her own food; you could tell her in advance what you are having and offer her to either join in that, or if she prefers to prepare something else. just try to be relaxed. good luck.

Bankhurst Tue 06-Oct-20 12:06:33

Thank you for the advice. I particularly like the idea of chips/pizzas etc in the fridge but also to offer the same meals as we are eating. Probably only 3-4 day visit to start with to see how it goes.

Feelingmyage55 Tue 06-Oct-20 12:32:00

How nice to read a thread about reconciliation. madgran has made some great suggestions. It may be that your stepdaughter eats the way she does out of convenience, maybe doesn’t have the energy or confidence to cook. She would possibly enjoy homemade cottage pie, chilli or lasagne. Baked potatoes with beans for lunch. Combine these with the option of what’s in the freezer. Just ask her what she would like. I really hope you all have a lovely time and a short visit is just right for you all. This lady has turned her life around and can be admired as that is not easy to do.

welbeck Wed 07-Oct-20 03:10:02

some people could feel a bit awkward and put on the spot if asked what they want to eat so that you can cook it for them, if the expectation is that then everyone will have to eat that choice.
i can imagine feeling a bit put on the spot.
that's why i thought it might be more relaxed for the visitor to simply opt in to your meals, or choose to prepare her own.
that way she doesn't feel maybe her preferences are being imposed on her hosts.
you can still sit down together, be sociable, have a chat. but i would avoid discussing food choices, unless she wants to.
i think it sounds hopeful. good luck OP, and husband.

NotSpaghetti Wed 07-Oct-20 06:54:41

If she's turned her life around you may find her diet is improving too. I think you could have some options in the fridge then you can say "shall we have a casserole or pizza for dinner?", for example.

Also,someone suggested making yourself scarce... please be careful she can't misinterpret this as you needing to get away from her

Without being patronising, I'd want to acknowledge the person she's become. If you get a minute with her alone, tell her how pleased you are to get to know her better, how (if true) proud her father is of her. Recognise the good in her and all will be well.
It sounds like she's had a rough time of things to date.

Whatever happens, and I think it will be fine, don't let your husband rake past problems over! My father-in-law had a tendency to do this, especially with his "difficult" daughter. I know he didn't intend to but he was unable to stop it and it didn't turn out well for him.

Good luck!

vampirequeen Wed 07-Oct-20 07:57:31

Don't change anything. You are who you are. There is no point in presenting differently. She'll either get on with you or she won't but she needs to get to know the real you not some chip and pizza eating facsimile.

PECS Wed 07-Oct-20 09:16:00

You have her father/your husband in common. Talk about him!
Re meals I would have a stash of 3 or 4 ready meals in the fridge or freezer that she can prepare if she cannot eat what you are eating. Just let her know what your menu is so she can decide in time to eat with you.
It is my opinion that her father was responsible for her as well as her mother...whilst any child can ' go off the rails' despite care & love... he needs to own his part in who this woman has become. He obviously cares about her and wants a relationship. As his partner you need to support him in achieving this.. as he should if situation was reversed.

mumofmadboys Wed 07-Oct-20 09:52:04

I would just be yourself and serve your usual food. She may find she really enjoys it and show interest in cooking. Just vary your menu and let her serve as much as she wants of each dish/ veg so she isn't stuck with something she doesn't like on her plate. Hope it goes well.

Davidhs Wed 07-Oct-20 11:47:48

You may make some concession but if it is a long term stay stick mainly to your usual routine, she will either adapt or go back to her place. Cooking separately long term becomes areal chore, if it is long term you would of course expect her to share cooking and accommodate to your meal choices.