DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Jay's," parents have informed us they are coming for Christmas and will be staying for six weeks. They need at least three weeks because they're having dental work done by another family member, and it must be staggered.
Long visits are acceptable in their culture, but it usually applies when people visit from another country -– not another state.
The last time they came, they stayed three weeks. It was a stretch for me, but I bit my tongue. I work from home and was with them 24/7 because they don't like to drive. It's hard on me because they get bored and expect me to entertain them. Also, I don't get along well with my father-in-law, and neither of them likes my cooking.
Jay knows six weeks is long, but for him the time goes fast because he works long hours. Jay says he'll talk to his parents about this, but he's miserable at the prospect. Speaking up will cause problems for him, and they'll assume it came from me anyway. They'll be livid. Please tell me what to do. I'm on the verge of tears when I think about what's coming. -- DREADING CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DREADING: Be a gracious hostess for three weeks. After that, schedule a break. Go visit relatives or, if that's not feasible, check into a motel. You may find that having had a breather, you'll be in a better frame of mind to deal with the in-laws upon your return. You may also find that when the entire burden of entertaining his parents falls upon your husband, he'll encourage them to make shorter visits or other living arrangements in subsequent visits.
P.S. Since they don't like your cooking, have your mother-in-law do it. It will lighten the burden for you and give her something to do.