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Am I being a grinch?

(12 Posts)
Mamma66 Mon 11-Sep-23 09:59:59

I genuinely don’t know if I am being a grinch, please advise as I know you will… 😀

My husband has 4 adult children from his first marriage; 3 sons and a daughter. I have an excellent relationship with the oldest and youngest stepson and a passable relationship with the middle son and daughter. For the first nine years of our relationship we had 1,2 and sometimes 3 of the sons living with us, even though the 2 older boys were well in their 20s. Off and on for the next few years they would live with us. Two and a half years ago we moved into my late parents house. Just as we were finishing the major refurbishments eldest son asked if he could move in with us permanently (he is now in his mid 30s). We said he could move in with us on a temporary basis - we specified 3 months. He actually lived with us for about 4/5 months whilst the house he was moving into was being refurbished. We were fine with that.

About 2 months ago youngest asked if he could move in with us “for a few weeks” whilst he was working in the area. We said yes, but specified it would be on a short term basis. In himself he’s not too much trouble, but his partner and stepson come over without mentioning anything, let alone asking.

DH and I both work full time. Both of us have stressful jobs in their own way. My tolerance of small children after a hard day at work is not great. I grit my teeth and hide it, as the boy is nice enough and it’s not his fault, but my heart sinks when I see they’re at our house again.

The other day Stepson’s partner asked what we were doing for Christmas, before I could even open my mouth to reply, she informed me that they were coming to stay. I end up doing everything and as I am not in good health it is a strain.

Stepson has been talking about his contract extending, and even looking for other long term work in our area (he doesn’t drive, and public transport is not an option). I applaud that he wants to remain in employment, but why do we have to be the solution?

I appreciate that the boys welcomed me with open arms. I also know that they consider us as a family. We are, but am I unreasonable to want our own space? I feel like they will never entirely go.

V3ra Mon 11-Sep-23 10:12:14

Where do the partner and her little boy actually live, and why doesn't your stepson go to see them there?
It's a back-handed compliment isn't it when they all feel so comfortable at your house!

If you do end up with them at yours for Christmas, make a list well beforehand, spread the jobs out and make sure they realise they all have to work as a team. On no account let yourself end up doing it all.

V3ra Mon 11-Sep-23 10:24:10

For what it's worth our adult children all came home to live for various lengths of time after they'd originally left.
But the house had been their childhood home.

Do you think you feel more resentful now because you are living in your parents' old home, not your stepsons' old family home?

Baggs Mon 11-Sep-23 10:34:06

You are not being a grinch. These adult kids are being self-centred and selfish. You and your DH need to speak to son2 and tell him his partner's assumptions and self-invites are unacceptable. This is nothing to do with whether you like the partner and partner's offspring. They are taking advantage.

Get assertive and say their proposed "arrangements" (including over Christmas) don't suit you.

Foxygloves Mon 11-Sep-23 10:48:21

If you do end up with them at yours for Christmas
Just say that doesn't work for you.
By all means host a meal if you choose but say that staying is not on the cards.
PS it is much too soon to be making 🎄 plans but you might need to invent one!

Mamma66 Mon 11-Sep-23 10:50:01

V3ra

Where do the partner and her little boy actually live, and why doesn't your stepson go to see them there?
It's a back-handed compliment isn't it when they all feel so comfortable at your house!

If you do end up with them at yours for Christmas, make a list well beforehand, spread the jobs out and make sure they realise they all have to work as a team. On no account let yourself end up doing it all.

You have it exactly right V3ra, I do see it as a back handed compliment, which is why I feel so conflicted. The boys don’t really have a relationship with their mother and the youngest often tells me I am more of a mother to him than his own mother has ever been. Youngest stepson normally lives with his partner, distance wise it is a 35 minute drive, but it is 2 hours on the bus each way and he doesn’t drive.

Whilst the boys have lived with us off (and mostly on) it was never in their family home, but the homes DH and I made together. I feel a bit as though ‘I want my cake and eating it’. Perhaps I just need to suck it up. I do think I need to enlist their help over Christmas.

Mamma66 Mon 11-Sep-23 10:58:16

Baggs

You are not being a grinch. These adult kids are being self-centred and selfish. You and your DH need to speak to son2 and tell him his partner's assumptions and self-invites are unacceptable. This is nothing to do with whether you like the partner and partner's offspring. They are taking advantage.

Get assertive and say their proposed "arrangements" (including over Christmas) don't suit you.

On reflection, I think you have hit the nail on the head somewhat. I think if I am brutally honest that the main issue is youngest stepson’s partner has rubbed me up the wrong way. The boys used to be a bit inconsiderate, but as they know my health isn’t great, they are actually quite helpful these days; especially the youngest lad. It’s funny how when you see your words written down and see the responses it really helps you to see the real issues.

Hithere Mon 11-Sep-23 11:07:07

They need to move out - you know that.

Theexwife Mon 11-Sep-23 12:08:21

It does seem to happen often now that adult children return home for periods of time.

I can understand them wanting a family Christmas, most people do, Simply tell them that you cannot cope with doing it so will have to be elsewhere or that you need help. They won’t know if you don’t tell them.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 12-Sep-23 14:59:31

It is not too soon to make Christmas plans at all, but honestly, what stopped you telling your DIL that it is manners to wait until you are asked?

As your husband and you are equally tired of his children who know they are onto a good thing, TELL THEM SO.

Tell the lad who is looking for a job in your area so he can continue living with you that whether or not he finds a job nearby, he has three months from today to move out.

And should any of the others consider moving back in, say NO.

Explain that neither you nor their father are getting any younger, and it is not the way either of you vizualise your retirement, quite apart from the fact that full-time jobs are becoming increasingly tiring for you both, so no more extended family living.

And stick to your guns.

I have been there and done that and it did not spoil our relationship with the "children" that we put our foot down firmly.

swampy1961 Tue 12-Sep-23 18:25:47

Your stepson needs to be reminded that it is/was a temporary arrangement for a few weeks while he had a short term contract. If he is planning on looking for other work then he needs to think about other accommodation for him and his girlfriend when she stops over with her son. He also needs to thinking about driving lessons for himself so he can be more independent and have a greater choice of job opportunities - he is restricting himself just with this one thing that he can actually change.
Christmas is a minefield for many families but if they should end up with you, then share out the meal planning, preparing, shopping, costs in fact everything ! Make it clear that this is a chance for you and your DH to recharge your batteries. This won't happen if you and your DH are taking on the lions share of hosting and the Christmas prep.
Time with family can be lovely but even they can overstay their welcome sometimes.

crazyH Tue 12-Sep-23 18:36:23

You are obviously a great stepmother 👌