In continuation of my earlier post about our interactions with our parents and in-laws, my post today is a bit about the situation in our household when my in-laws stayed with us for 3 months. Almost everyone, who is not an Indian, reacts to this bit of news with surprise and even horror. However, this span of time is really at the lower end of the scale. You can read about how normal this is in my post about Joint Families.
My in-laws have been at our place for extended periods of time before, the longest being a nearly six month stay when my younger son was born. That they came here leaving their daily routine lives to live with us in a completely different country for the sake of helping us out is something that I am grateful for, yet happy not to go through again! Being a private person, it was very difficult for me to share my home with anyone else, even my own parents, because I enjoy my routine of preparing the food I want, watching TV or chilling when I want, and going out when I want. These things are not so spontaneous when other people, who normally don’t live with you, stay over.
That being said, my in-laws are probably the most chill people in the world who don’t assert their opinions willy-nilly! My mom-in-law essentially takes over kitchen duties and I often see her quietly taking care of dusting and sweeping the living areas once in a while. So, it’s really not a great disruption to our schedule to have them around.
I suppose the hardest part is the food. My in-laws are strict vegetarians and feel uncomfortable with the smell of any fish or meat cooking. Therefore, in deference to their sentiments, we don’t cook or bring anything non-vegetarian into the house while they stay with us. This is where the bone of contention lies at least for my kids!
My own philosophy is that since they are here for a while, I would like them to be comfortable and not mentally gag when I cook meat or fish or hesitate to use the same appliances or dishes. In any case, they don’t prevent us from eating non-vegetarian food outside the home. Effectively what that entailed was is that I would take my kids out to eat frequently during the week, and I assumed that that would satisfy them. Nevertheless, they chafed at the idea of being restricted in their own home, and I heard grumblings more than once a week. More out of love for their dad though, they didn’t voice their complaints to anyone but me.
That in a nutshell is what the last three months were like! I would say, three months is the correct amount of time to have any of our parents over. After that, my own patience wears thin and I long for privacy!
Let me know your thoughts about parents visiting? Do you have any pet peeves?