Stubborn Company: Dealing with In-Laws Who Won't Leave

My in-laws are the guests who never leave. When we invite them over or they drop by, they stay for hours, long after any reasonable visit would have ended. How do I get them to leave? I've tried starting my chores, bathing the children, doing laundry, asking them pointed questions about work tomorrow, and so on. I feel uncomfortable just asking them to leave, and my mother-in-law and I have a touchy relationship anyway. Any suggestions? --mom_too_two


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Dear Mom_too_two:

With any situation like this, we have several choices:

One, you can approach them and be direct. Say something like "It's been lovely seeing you tonight, but if you don't mind, I have so many things to do before bed that I don't want to ignore you. Could we pick this up another time?" or "Would you mind terribly if we call it a night? I'd like to go to bed early."

Two, you can do nothing. But since you said that this situation frustrates you, that wouldn't be an ideal option. However, you could speak to your husband and ask that he be the one to speak up. They are, after all, his parents.

Three, you can accept your in-laws and the situation. I would guess that they don't see themselves as guests; they see themselves as family. That's why they probably don't mind you doing chores and otherwise running around while they are there. Are your in-laws the types you can ask to help you with chores? Could you involve them in playing with the kids or putting the kids to bed? It sounds as if they feel comfortable in your home. Lucky you, huh?