Where Should She Stay When She Visits?

By Amy Dickinson | September 1st, 2023

Grandma says she should stay with her son and his family

An angry woman staring at the camera. Image by Ian Allenden. For article, "Where Should She Stay When She Visits?"

A mother and her grown son are at an impasse: where should she stay when she visits? He insists she stay at an Airbnb, she wants to stay at his house, with him, his wife, and their new baby. See what Amy Dickinson advises in “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

I became a grandmother this year.

I am a boomer widow and I live alone on a limited income.

My son, daughter-in-law and grandson moved to another state, about an eight-hour drive from where I live. I do not feel comfortable making the drive by myself, but I can fly.

Even though he lives in a three-bedroom home, my son wants me to stay in an Airbnb when I visit.

So in order to visit them, according to his demands, I need to pay for the long-distance parking at the airport, the airfare, the Airbnb, and rent a car to get back and forth from the Airbnb to their house.

This is about $1,000 to visit for a couple of days.

I have done this twice.

He tells me, “Don’t give us gifts, save up for the trip.” But it’s not just the cost; I don’t like staying by myself at an Airbnb.

I told him that if he wants me to visit them (the baby is adorable and will be a year old soon) he should, please, pick me up from the airport and let me have a spot on their floor.

I’ll make it work. I’m not a princess; I am very easy.

We are at an impasse. I have decided that I’m just not going to visit until I am welcome to stay with them, which is the whole purpose of the trip. I don’t want to sit around from sunset to mid-morning in some isolated room.

What do you think?

– Boomer

Dear Boomer:

This is a very sad situation.

As absolutely reasonable as your query is, it is hard to imagine anyone (including you) being comfortable if you basically forced your presence upon this family. (And with a three-bedroom home, would sleeping on the floor even be necessary?)

However, families with new babies (especially first children) sometimes feel stressed to the breaking point. You don’t mention your daughter-in-law, but she may be struggling with postpartum issues that make the prospect of in-house overnight visits overwhelming.

Your son’s selfishness here must be very disappointing. All the same, he has created a firm boundary, and if you want to see this little family, you seem to have no choice but to work within it.

If you could afford a visit longer than just a couple of days, you might be able to get to know their area better – finding diverting things to do when you’re not with the family. Also, staying in a guest-suite type of hotel with a coffee shop in the lobby might be less expensive – and decidedly less lonely – than an Airbnb.

Or you could remain staunchly on your side of this impasse, and decline to visit at all.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from where Grandmom should stay when she visits to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

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