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Wedding Woes

Stay in a hotel next time, or don't go. AND tell them why.

Dear Prudence,

I am in my 20s, I’m married, and I have two young children. My husband and I are totally financially independent from my parents and live a few states away. Whenever we visit their house, we’re expected to work. I’m not talking about helping with dishes or putting a load of laundry in the dryer. My parents own four rental properties in addition to the home they live in and consistently expect our help with maintenance. We’ve ripped up carpeting, refinished floors, repainted rooms, hauled large loads to the dump, broken up chunks of rock with shovels, remulched their enormous garden—the list goes on. And we do dishes and laundry and sweeping on top of that.

And they’re there too, working alongside us, criticizing almost everything we do and asking us to redo it to their satisfaction. My dad bangs on our door at 7 a.m. and says, “Time to get to work.” We’re told to pack work clothes before our visits. I openly complain about being asked to do these things (I act like a teenager again), but my parents get offended and act like I’m saying I hate their hardworking way of life. It doesn’t help that my parents get jealous over how we see my husband’s parents more frequently. Of course we do! When we visit their house, we pitch in around the house, but they treat us like guests and make us feel comfortable.

The last two trips, I’ve gotten out of most of it by being pregnant, but my poor husband has spent entire days doing backbreaking work. He hates it. I don’t want to dread the visits, and I definitely don’t want my kids being roped into all this when they get older. I feel like it’s one thing to expect your adult children to help out around the house when they visit, but I don’t think we should be expected to do such demanding work. We have limited vacation time, and plane tickets to see them cost more than $1,000 for the four of us. What are my responsibilities as their daughter here? Can I just refuse to help without causing a fight and ruining our visit?

—Adult Chores

Re: Stay in a hotel next time, or don't go. AND tell them why.

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    This is awful.  Like, every. Single. Time?  I’d see once in a blue moon and you’re given a heads up but every time you visit?  I can’t even imagine my parents asking me to do that for them.  And vacation days are wasted on this?
    nope.

    i’d just visit less.  Have them come over more often.  

    OurWildKingdom
  • I mean, we do this kind of stuff when we go to my parents house.  The difference though is that we are asked, not expected.  Just stop going and invite them to their place.  Or stay in a hotel.  It will absolutely ruffle feathers but you have to be ok with that if you don't' want to do the work.
    VarunaTTcharlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • edited April 11
    I would discuss beforehand what projects we will help with and they can complain but it is what it is. 
    image
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    The work LW described is insane to just expect anyone to do while they are visiting on vacation!  LW needs to stop going out there and invite the parents to stay with them instead.  If the parents resist, and LW wants to still visit, then they should book a hotel and tell them exactly why.

    Funnily enough, each year, our family vacation was to my grandparents beach house.  It was always the last 2 full weeks in August.  Each year, my parents would work on something at the house.  Some years they painted the house, the windows or replace carpeting, etc.  But the work they did was always voluntary.  The one year they did the kitchen, with a very basic upgrades.  I remember taking pictures to show my grandma since she didn't get down there much anymore.  She loved it!  I don't think she got to see it herself in person, she passed the next summer. 

    ei34charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • The work LW described is insane to just expect anyone to do while they are visiting on vacation!  LW needs to stop going out there and invite the parents to stay with them instead.  If the parents resist, and LW wants to still visit, then they should book a hotel and tell them exactly why.

    Funnily enough, each year, our family vacation was to my grandparents beach house.  It was always the last 2 full weeks in August.  Each year, my parents would work on something at the house.  Some years they painted the house, the windows or replace carpeting, etc.  But the work they did was always voluntary.  The one year they did the kitchen, with a very basic upgrades.  I remember taking pictures to show my grandma since she didn't get down there much anymore.  She loved it!  I don't think she got to see it herself in person, she passed the next summer. 

    But the beach house was family property wasn't it?  And if she rented it out that may have been a side gig? 

    @short+sassy who own rental properties and look to use the LW as the unpaid labor in doing the work on them.

    Sure - that's great if "family sticks together" but there comes a time that you have to tell your parents that they're welcome to continue being landords but it's going to come with negotiated fees for your efforts as grown adults.  

    I'd even help out family if it was an aging parent who couldn't paint the ceiling.   But this seems more like mom and dad aren't acknowledging that there are tradesmen in the area. 
    OurWildKingdom
  • Levioosa, or craigslist.
    image
    levioosamrsconn23OurWildKingdomJen4948
  • This goes far beyond being a good house guest and/or helping parents out from time to time.   LW's parents choose to do what they do with their time, money, and life.  LW does not.  LW's parents are being bullies to LW and her H, IMO.  Between the expectations, disparaging the work done, the jealousy over the other grandparents, and the over all attitude that they're owed this.  

    The only way LW can change this situation is for them to not be there, if that means staying in a hotel or staying home.  LW needs to break free from the guilt.  They've gone above and beyond.  And this will impact their marriage, if it hasn't already. 
    ei34levioosaOurWildKingdom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Truly, I'd just stop visiting. 

    VarunaTTcharlotte989875STARMOON44OurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:

    The work LW described is insane to just expect anyone to do while they are visiting on vacation!  LW needs to stop going out there and invite the parents to stay with them instead.  If the parents resist, and LW wants to still visit, then they should book a hotel and tell them exactly why.

    Funnily enough, each year, our family vacation was to my grandparents beach house.  It was always the last 2 full weeks in August.  Each year, my parents would work on something at the house.  Some years they painted the house, the windows or replace carpeting, etc.  But the work they did was always voluntary.  The one year they did the kitchen, with a very basic upgrades.  I remember taking pictures to show my grandma since she didn't get down there much anymore.  She loved it!  I don't think she got to see it herself in person, she passed the next summer. 

    But the beach house was family property wasn't it?  And if she rented it out that may have been a side gig? 

    @short+sassy who own rental properties and look to use the LW as the unpaid labor in doing the work on them.

    Sure - that's great if "family sticks together" but there comes a time that you have to tell your parents that they're welcome to continue being landords but it's going to come with negotiated fees for your efforts as grown adults.  

    I'd even help out family if it was an aging parent who couldn't paint the ceiling.   But this seems more like mom and dad aren't acknowledging that there are tradesmen in the area. 
    Yes!  I wonder if Prudie would pass along to the LW that, if they are looking for a free place to stay for a visit to New Orleans, I can hook them up ;).  I'm quite impressed by their "handy people" resume. 

    Seriously though, I realize the LW has already complained to their parents, but it needs to go further than that.  They need to set the ground rules for their next visit and stick to them.  That it is a VACATION and they are not doing any kind of repair or maintenance work.  And if the parents won't agree to that, they're not going and will vacation elsewhere.

    But here is my additional confusion.  Coincidentally, I also own four properties, including my personal duplex.  Some of the other properties are also duplexes, so I have a total of 6 rental units.  Now, when we first buy a property...because we always buy fixer-uppers...there is a LOT of the kind of work the LW is describing.  We typically spend about 2 months fixing a property up, because we do a lot of the work DIY.  As in my H.  But we don't round up friends and family for free labor.  We sometimes round up a couple friends who are in the trades, but pay them their normal rates.  Sometimes, between tenants, there is a good bit of work to do.  Our worst was 3 weeks getting the place back rent ready, mainly because we had to repaint the interior.  Usually it's a couple days and no longer than a week.

    However, when tenants are in the units...which thankfully is the vast majority of the time...we don't spend any time doing repairs/maintenance, other than the occasional random repair item.  Plus, it's hard enough to repaint or do anything major with flooring for a person's own home.  It's almost impossible if tenants are living there.

    On my last note, I also see a big difference between adult children helping out their older parents with projects on their own home.  It should still be voluntary, of course, but is more understandable that a parent will ask for help.  But for a parent's rental properties?!?!  As in, their own profitable business!  Oh, HELL to the no.  The parents can DIY and/or hire help.  Those are expenses of the business.   
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    OurWildKingdomMyNameIsNot
  • banana468 said:

    The work LW described is insane to just expect anyone to do while they are visiting on vacation!  LW needs to stop going out there and invite the parents to stay with them instead.  If the parents resist, and LW wants to still visit, then they should book a hotel and tell them exactly why.

    Funnily enough, each year, our family vacation was to my grandparents beach house.  It was always the last 2 full weeks in August.  Each year, my parents would work on something at the house.  Some years they painted the house, the windows or replace carpeting, etc.  But the work they did was always voluntary.  The one year they did the kitchen, with a very basic upgrades.  I remember taking pictures to show my grandma since she didn't get down there much anymore.  She loved it!  I don't think she got to see it herself in person, she passed the next summer. 

    But the beach house was family property wasn't it?  And if she rented it out that may have been a side gig? 

    @short+sassy who own rental properties and look to use the LW as the unpaid labor in doing the work on them.

    Sure - that's great if "family sticks together" but there comes a time that you have to tell your parents that they're welcome to continue being landords but it's going to come with negotiated fees for your efforts as grown adults.  

    I'd even help out family if it was an aging parent who couldn't paint the ceiling.   But this seems more like mom and dad aren't acknowledging that there are tradesmen in the area. 
    Yes!  I wonder if Prudie would pass along to the LW that, if they are looking for a free place to stay for a visit to New Orleans, I can hook them up ;).  I'm quite impressed by their "handy people" resume. 

    Seriously though, I realize the LW has already complained to their parents, but it needs to go further than that.  They need to set the ground rules for their next visit and stick to them.  That it is a VACATION and they are not doing any kind of repair or maintenance work.  And if the parents won't agree to that, they're not going and will vacation elsewhere.

    But here is my additional confusion.  Coincidentally, I also own four properties, including my personal duplex.  Some of the other properties are also duplexes, so I have a total of 6 rental units.  Now, when we first buy a property...because we always buy fixer-uppers...there is a LOT of the kind of work the LW is describing.  We typically spend about 2 months fixing a property up, because we do a lot of the work DIY.  As in my H.  But we don't round up friends and family for free labor.  We sometimes round up a couple friends who are in the trades, but pay them their normal rates.  Sometimes, between tenants, there is a good bit of work to do.  Our worst was 3 weeks getting the place back rent ready, mainly because we had to repaint the interior.  Usually it's a couple days and no longer than a week.

    However, when tenants are in the units...which thankfully is the vast majority of the time...we don't spend any time doing repairs/maintenance, other than the occasional random repair item.  Plus, it's hard enough to repaint or do anything major with flooring for a person's own home.  It's almost impossible if tenants are living there.

    On my last note, I also see a big difference between adult children helping out their older parents with projects on their own home.  It should still be voluntary, of course, but is more understandable that a parent will ask for help.  But for a parent's rental properties?!?!  As in, their own profitable business!  Oh, HELL to the no.  The parents can DIY and/or hire help.  Those are expenses of the business.   
    Yup.   I would call BS if every vacation involved mom wanting new curtains up or kitchen refurbishments in their own home.  That's annoying enough.

    But here, mom and dad will be paid by tenants and are not paying their daughter or son in-law for their labor and will be profiting off of it by way of monthly rent.  


    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:

    The work LW described is insane to just expect anyone to do while they are visiting on vacation!  LW needs to stop going out there and invite the parents to stay with them instead.  If the parents resist, and LW wants to still visit, then they should book a hotel and tell them exactly why.

    Funnily enough, each year, our family vacation was to my grandparents beach house.  It was always the last 2 full weeks in August.  Each year, my parents would work on something at the house.  Some years they painted the house, the windows or replace carpeting, etc.  But the work they did was always voluntary.  The one year they did the kitchen, with a very basic upgrades.  I remember taking pictures to show my grandma since she didn't get down there much anymore.  She loved it!  I don't think she got to see it herself in person, she passed the next summer. 

    But the beach house was family property wasn't it?  And if she rented it out that may have been a side gig? 

    @short+sassy who own rental properties and look to use the LW as the unpaid labor in doing the work on them.

    Sure - that's great if "family sticks together" but there comes a time that you have to tell your parents that they're welcome to continue being landords but it's going to come with negotiated fees for your efforts as grown adults.  

    I'd even help out family if it was an aging parent who couldn't paint the ceiling.   But this seems more like mom and dad aren't acknowledging that there are tradesmen in the area. 


    Yes, it was family property and never rented out.  Any relative who wanted to stay was welcomed to stay for free.  My grandma never expected anyone to do anything at the house other than enjoy it. 

    I just thought it was funny that my parents always did some work on vacation, though there was much down time and no early wake-ups!  But they always volunteered to do the work they did.  And never attempted anything bigger than what they could accomplish over 2 weeks time.

    I don't think LW or her H should be expected to do manual labor, like they are, for free.  The work on these houses directly impacts LW's parents income and they should be paying people to do this work.

    short+sassyMesmrEweOurWildKingdom
  • Sounds like my Grandfather...  We'd go to the "family house" on vacation, and up on the roof he'd have my brothers as slave labor (which he'd done since they were kids)...  NEVER anyone else in the family of 20 kids/spouses and 22+ cousins mind you, just my family.  Then the AH had the balls to list us as "predeceased" in his will..  

    It's time for LW to get the hotel room and set some boundaries of "We'll meet up for dinner!" SNS - I'm fine with helping out on "bigger projects" because you want to or there's a mutual agreement of compensation in some form, but it's not right for them to spend $$$$ on travel for a Vacation and spend it working, that's what Habitat for Humanity is for!..
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    short+sassy
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    "Mom, Dad, you seem to have confused us with contractors. We're staying at hotels for all future visits and are no longer willing to be expected to provide you with free labor. From now on, our visits are strictly vacation time for us, with no repair or maintenance work on your properties."
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEweOliveOilsMom
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