To be furious with my MIL when she tells my husband my laundry skills are lacking??

(164 Posts)
MadWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 22:18:05

Hey, my DH and MIL have had a serious chat about all the things the in-laws find very hard to take. The stuff that really worries them. This includes: the mess in the sideroom, grey underpants that used to be white their grandson is wearing, smelly shirts their grandson is wearing to school and the general disarray of our house. I am absolutely furious. What on earth is she thinking. My DH never does anything in the house, and besides, who cares. My household is up to my standards, and yes, sometimes I see stuff that needs to be done differently but either don't know a better solution (the grey underpants are 2 years old, my DS grabs them from the bottom of the pile as he loves them so much, and I have been meaning to throw them away, and yes the smelly shirts sounds awful, but sometimes the room they are drying in is a tad too cold and it takes too long for them to dry and then they have a slight smell, no idea what to do about that really). Anyway, so I don't know a better solution, or, frankly it hasn't been my priority (the mess in the sideroom has been on my to do list for a year, but there's always a leaky tap or a lawn to be mown first). But what on earth is she doing even thinking about this, then commenting on it and discussing it with my DH. And why on earth do I even bother defending myself in my own mind??? Surely this is none of her business. Or should I be grateful someone cares? Should I be grateful someone bothers to let me know? Should I enlist her for advice on what detergent to use and how to hang my laundry??

Oh yes, a friend had a dehumidifier in her laundry area and it worked fab!

PropertyNightmare Sun 02-Dec-12 23:16:03

But there are ways of kindly addressing any issues. For MIL to go on a general slagfest about OP to her dh (when dh is equally responsible for ds) is out of order. I stand by my comment that OP should tell mil to fuck off.

Bestof7 Sun 02-Dec-12 23:17:14

My SIL is not much of a housekeeper. Neither my brother. So, their house often looks messy, and on the odd occasion even a bit dirty.

My mum and dad complain loudly and often about SIL's 'slovenly ways'. They complain that DB is 'not man enough' to stand up to her. (Nor man enough to work a washing machine or clean the kitchen, it would appear.) I tell them both to wind their necks in and focus on the fact that the kids are thriving, none ever smelly, all taken to docs and dentists as necessary and homework supervised and after school activities sorted. All children happy. And SIL and DB often find time to visit my mum and dad and bring the children over. SIL rings them for a chat several times a week.

If my PIL spoke to me the way my parents speak to her, the visits and photos and phonecalls would stop dead. (I have often told my parents this.) Your MIL might want to learn some manners (hey, I noticed you had a musty smell problem with the laundry. I had that. It can happen to anyone! Here's a great product that can help) or she'll be relying on her lazy-arse son for all contact with the grandchildren.

MadWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 23:21:57

Ooh, I sooo agree with all of you. Thanks for all these super opinions. The heated airer is already ordered, and will make sure not to leave them too long in the washing machine either.

Very grateful with the 'slagfest' bit there Property. Thanks. Because that is what it is. There's one or two genuine points in a barrage of criticism, all behind my back.

And who knows, this might spur my DH on to tidy up the sideroom. He knows I believe he should pull his weight, even though his mum might think it's all my job. I am looking forward to that!

PropertyNightmare Sun 02-Dec-12 23:23:11

YY to everything Bestof7 said.

stargirl1701 Sun 02-Dec-12 23:23:17

Best response:

It must've been so hard for you in the past when women were judged on things like this. I'm so glad to be a mum now. I feel for you MIL. smile

mynewpassion Sun 02-Dec-12 23:33:10

Its good that you took on board that your children shouldn't go to school wearing smelly clothes.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Sun 02-Dec-12 23:47:27

Inge - do you understand that it's just as judgemental and unpleasant to say Personally I believe the sign of a clean house is the sign of a wasted life. I'd rather spend time on my job and make sure I further my career?

Some of us manage both, & more. I don't care how much anyone else cleans etc, but I do mind being judged as lacking for having a clean house.

As others have said, I do think it is your MIL's right to be upset that her grandchild is going out in smelly clothes (and it's great you have sorted things out so that shouldn't happen now) & to say something to one of you. It's a shame she can't talk to you though. Next time she's here I would say 'Thank you for noticing that DS's clothes didn't smell fresh, we have doen xyz so that they don't anymore. If you have anything else you're worried about, you should tell me while you are here - no need to wait until you get home to tell DH over the phone smile'

As for your DH - why does he tell you what his mother says, why doesn't he just deal with whatever it is or ask you how you should both deal with it and why can't you discuss things with her, when it's OK for her to tell him all her gripes? There's no way I'd be standing for that!

PerryCombover Mon 03-Dec-12 00:16:21

I have some foreigners (English) married into my family ( Irish )
My aunts were hellish to them.

Take the decent bits out of what she says and ignore the rest.
Listen fairly, try not to be defensive ( although I'd guess you are often pushed) and consider what she says. She may want to help but has no people skills
If she wants to clean and moan and judge that is her circus.
If she wants to help..listen

There can be a middle ground.
Let her know the bits you considered and implemented and the bits you considered and didn't. You can explain that her feelings on some things are a little different than yours.
Let her know that her feelings and opinions are important and that you are happy to consider. She may be trying to show love in entirely the wrong way. It might be the only way she has though.

Monty27 Mon 03-Dec-12 00:22:40

I always had pride in how my dc's were turned out. Each to their own.

Frankly exdh could wear what he wanted, he was after all an adult and quite capable of doing his own laundry.

PerryCombover Mon 03-Dec-12 00:31:08

I also often think how spotlessly clean your household is or how immaculately turned out your children are are perfect indicators of social class

Most working class families have amazingly high standards of cleanliness

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 03-Dec-12 00:32:59

I always find people who are proud to live in a mess a bit strange. It doesn't take much to keep things organised, in fact it saves time IMO because you aren't chasing your tail.

Very glad you are going to sort the stinky laundry out, that is the worst.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 03-Dec-12 00:37:33

what I can't really understand is why your DH felt he had to tell you what his DM said to him as you say she doesn't tell you direct. Why didn't he defend you to her?

AreYouADurtBirdOrALadyBird Mon 03-Dec-12 00:52:30

Perry come to think of it,I am from a working class background and all my friends houses were immaculate (as was ours) and all clothes like new,even the hand me downs. I wonder is there some physcology to it.

Iteotwawki Mon 03-Dec-12 03:57:43

My house is spotlessly clean. Well, when it isn't a building site it is.

Fuck all to do with class and everything to do with paying a really lovely lady to clean it thoroughly once a week. Far easier to keep on top of it during the week then.

Damp smelling clothes aren't nice but you've had lots of advice on that.

I'd say to your DH that if she's so concerned, either she discusses it properly with you, or he sorts it out. Haven't done a laundry load for years personally (DH does it).

Also, I would seriously question why it is so vital to retain a good relationship with a woman who clearly has no qualms about insulting you to the man who is supposed to love, honour and damn well defend you. In a few years, when she's making these snidey undermining comments to your child directly ("what a shame mummy doesn't care about XXX, lets see if granny can do it properly shall we?") - will he still think this relationship one that adds value to your life, to your child's life?

I adore my MiL, but no way will she criticise my parenting, my cleanliness, my standards - my damn well anything - to anyone but me. She tried it with DH once, who told her it was none of her business and to talk to me about it if she felt she had to.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 03-Dec-12 04:35:09

1)what the fuck is the problem with grey pants? seriously!

2)smelly shirts are bad- dehumidifier in the room you dry clothes in, dry them on the radiator, hang them out to dry if possible, hang them up on the curtain rails above open windows, hang them in the hotpress, send them to granny to dry in her tumble dryer.

3) invite her to come and clean out the side room if it bothers her from all the way over in her house

4) bollock your DH for not pulling his own adult, parent weight in his own home in his own adult relationship.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 03-Dec-12 04:35:49

hotpress= airing cupboard.

FellatioNelson Mon 03-Dec-12 04:48:30

There is no excuse for grey items that should be white, or smelly laundry whatsoever.

Separate your whites from all other colours ALWAYS and wash them hot enough and long enough. Simple, really.

If you have nowhere warm with decent air circulation to hang stuff in winter then buy a tumble dryer. Also simple.

Do I really need to be saying this in 2012? confused

I think your MIL is right tbh. She should not interfere of course, but if your poor child smells then someone needs to say something so it may as well be her.

Iteotwawki Mon 03-Dec-12 05:01:30

"Buy a tumble drier" - yes, simple if you have a few hundred pounds lying around spare. Most people don't.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 03-Dec-12 05:18:38

of course there is an excuse for grey underwear!

i always separate my whites from colours, i am 100% on it yet i still end up with greying bras and knickers. i dont care enough about this to go and buy a whitening powder or sachet thing.

and you know what sometimes a white pair of knickers can get thrown in with the colours an comes out grey. it is no big deal. they're still fit for purpose unless you are going to wear them under white trousers (but there is no excuse for white trousers!)

it's just discolouration. no-one sees them!

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 03-Dec-12 05:19:38

what does 2012 have to do with anything? confused

In one breath you say you don't have the sort of relationship where you can talk to her about this stuff then slate her for mentioning to DH! She's in a no win situation.

IMO sending your kid to school smelly is neglect, especially when you so bluntly put it that you are putting the effort into your career! Buy a dryer, an electric airer, send your stuff to a laundry but don't send your kid to school smelly FFS. At some point one of the other kids will point it out and then another and another and that would be awful for your child.

And tidy up, make an effort. The side room can be done in a day and the lawn won't grow so much in 24hrs that it will cause a huge problem. Or get a cleaner so tidying is all you have to do.

Lots of kids are embarrassed by their parents slovenly attitude to cleaning and tidying and to some degree it has a negative effect on the kids lives, won't bring other children home, know they are dirty/smell but feel embarrassed to say anything to their parents. And for her to feel the need to point out stuff it must be pretty bad!

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 03-Dec-12 05:50:49

why should she tidy her side room? for starters it's a side room and secondly it's her side room, she can keep it messy of she wants!. i'm guessing the fact that it's a side room means it isn't in regular use so what does it matter if anyone comes over? shut the door and nobody sees it. as long as it hasn't got rubbish or rotten food in it's no issue. if people had a problem with a room in my house that I didn't have a problem with they would either have to accept it's a messy room or tidy it themselves.

FellatioNelson Mon 03-Dec-12 05:55:40

With the exception of a few towels which are about 12 years old none of my whites have gone grey ever. I never use those glo-white sachets either.

I use decent quality biological powder, I use one type for whites and one type for coloreds, I separate whites from all other colours rigorously and I use a mimumum of 40 degree but frequently a 60 degree or even higher wash, on a full length cycle. Not quick wash. That just won't cut it over a long period of time, although it is ok for very occasional use if things are not very dirty.

Tumble dryers do not have to be that expensive. A small basic one will not break the bank and perhaps the OP could ask parents to club together for joint Xmas/birthday present for both her and her DH. It sounds like she needs it more than book tokens or bath salts.

and it doesn't need to send the electric bill through the roof either, if it is used sparingly and sensibly. Plus it will cut down on the ironing provided things are not crammed in and over-dried, and are folded/hung immediately.

FellatioNelson Mon 03-Dec-12 05:56:16

mimumum? hmm

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