Thursday, July 25, 2013

RV In-Laws

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been full-timers for about three years. It is a great lifestyle with few problems until my husband's parents show up. They are elderly but still traveling occasionally with their pickup camper. They will often hook up with us and spend a few weeks. I try to be patient and kind, but they are opinionated, selfish and often rude. It changes our whole travel experience. They complain if they have to stay anywhere that costs more than five dollars per night, won’t dump unless it’s free. They would be happy to spend every night in a Walmart parking lot. They also want the cheapest gas and prefer to travel about a hundred miles per day with a long nap about half way. They are always complaining it is too cold, their battery power is too low or there is no flush toilet in the five dollar campgrounds we find. Their favorite pastime is sitting around critiquing other campers who are too loud, too fat, don’t know how to raise their children, don’t know how to drive, or are rich because they have a nicer rig than their own. Am I being selfish? I want to ditch them the day after they show up. --Two too close for comfort in Corvallis

Dear Two Too:
Just because you bought an RV and hit the open road doesn’t mean you have solved all your family relationship problems. As you have found out, “You can run, but you cannot hide.” There are several ways to look at your particular problem. You have to consider that they are your husband's parents. All of us have to deal with in-laws. They may need some extra care at their age. It is wonderful that they can still travel rather independently. They are probably on a small fixed income and need to be extra thrifty when looking for services. I am not making excuses for their behavior, I am just suggesting you give them a lot of behavioral leeway. You may want to pick the one thing that annoys you the most and try discussing it with them. If that improves their behavior you can slowly move on to other issues. If they are embarrassing you it might be your baggage. Most people will see your situation and be understanding of remarks made by your in-laws. These situations can be very frustrating, but you are only making yourself miserable. Take a deep breath, bite your tongue, check your manners, and keep looking for those free dump stations, five dollar campgrounds and cheap gas.
 --Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink



Anonymous said...

Being that they are your in-laws, I assume that they are not very young...Try to enjoy them while you have the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I could deal with the "cheap" behaviors, but the putting others down that would have to stop. If you don't say anything you are basically agreeing with their behavior. If one person speaks rudely about another, say something, and let them know if they cannot keep such cruel comments to their selves that you won't be there to listen and then walk away when it happens. I have done this with others, including my own father and it worked. You just have to be willing to speak up for what you believe is right.

walt66 said...

Good advice. Fortunately I was blessed with awesome in laws. Now the dad is gone and I so miss him traveling with us. Mom was on board for 5 summers in a row, some times for only a few weeks some times for 5 months. Be careful what you wish for, they will be gone one day and no longer a "problem " to you.
HR Endeavor 40 DST

Doug said...

I think there are several other options that could be tried. The wife should talk to her husband about his parents. What does he think about all of this? They could come up together with some plans or changes that might help them out. For example, they could tell the parents that they need a few days in a park to recharge their batteries, do laundry, dump their tanks, etc. so this is where they will stop. The nearest Wal Mart is a mile or two away and the parents can stay there or join them in the campground during the day if they don't want to stay inn the RV park. They could also tell the parents that they will be moving 250 miles today and will spend the next week or so at XYZ town. The parents can follow at 100 miles a day and meet up with them when they get there. This gives the couple a couple days of break without the in-laws. The in-laws should be able to drive to the next destination on their own. If not, driving in caravan does not keep them from driving off the road or not stopping in time or whatever. The parents should not be driving if this is the case. Lastly, we find it entertaining to watch the neighbors and see them try to back into a site. I think the wife is a bit uptight about their attitude.

Anonymous said...

Well, my husband and I are the in-laws, as the oldest folks in our family. We try to be considerate of our childrens' lives when we visit and always stay at a hotel. We just sold our wonderful 40ft Dutch Star because my husband didn't want to wait until he couldn't handle or take care of the rig. If the in-laws are that bad, perhaps they shouldn't be camping anymore. We can afford to stay in motels at the moment but who knows about these folks. As you age, often your best or worst character traits become exaggerated. Sounds like this is the case. If they are clever, these folks can camp in places were their in-laws don't want to go, and gradually wean them of this habit.
Geezer Grandma

Anonymous said...

Track where they are and make sure you are across the country. Life is too short to be around miserable people.

Bob said...

Yup. I'd avoid them like the plague. There's none of this, "Oh enjoy them while they're around." That doesn't seem enjoyable to me!
I have a less than charming sister-in-law, and hey I enjoy my brother's company, but I've seen neither of them for over five years. Miserable annoying people are best avoided. AND, if you're tolerating the rudeness, then you're "enabling" the behavior.
Cut it out.

Very Frank said...

Give them a gps and program in all the cheap campgrounds and dumpsites. Then you avoid them and your paths will never cross.

Anonymous said...

My own mom is as mean as a snake and I don't expect my husband to put up with her any more than bare minimum politeness would necessitate. We stop by to take her to dinner once or twice a year and the rest of the time we are 'unavailable' in some remote area of the country. Husband here is not kind to his wife to inflict his unpleasant relatives on her for weeks on end. Shame on him.

Unknown said...

I feel for you as I have a mother-in-law who god should never of created!! So I would say something to your husband even though it is his parents you both need to survive this not just you. Talk this out with your husband and it should be a 50/50 thing so no one has anything like a one better. And good luck any condition like this is never easy