About MIL popping over?

(188 Posts)

So today we've been really busy - shopping this morning/early afternoon, we got back, had lunch, then been doing various bits and pieces round the house.

MIL lives a street away from us.

About half an hour ago she turned up - at the time the living room was a state because DH is sorting out his aquarium (he has to move furniture when he does this) and I was trying to entertain the DCs while prepping the dinner. I answered the door, said hi, and asked what's up. She said, "oh, nothing, just thought I'd pop over."

I said that we were a bit busy atm and indicated the carnage around me. She looked very hurt and said, I did text you earlier but you didn't reply. I said well yes, we've been busy all day, I didn't hear my phone go off.

She still stayed for 10 mins, and then made a big show and dance about leaving, because we're so busy, we have so much better things to do, etc etc.

Now I never go to hers without texting or ringing first. If she doesn't answer I assume she's not available.

WIBU to tell her we were busy? Was it rude? She's done this before, always when we're eating/prepping dinner, or when we're putting the kids to bed. I've never said anything before, but I knew it was her when the doorbell went, and it really irritated me.

Wanksock Tue 08-Jan-13 22:41:21

My ILs used to do this and I found it extremely rude/entitled and it seriously put me on edge, they would look in living room window before coming to door as well. And I would not like my own parents doing this either btw. I like hosting but only with a bit of notice so that the house is tidy, I am suitably dressed, have milk/cake/wine etc in.

MIL told me to just pop in on them any time, I said I would never do that as they could be doing anything/busy etc. She said oh i don't mind and i explained that I do, and it is just not something that I like. Did it stop after that conversation? No. In the end, we bought a house with living room at the back to avoid the looking in through window and you cannot just walk round the back of this house like in our old house. That and SIl giving them a new grandchild has put a stop to the popping in and it is great smile

fedupofnamechanging Tue 08-Jan-13 17:23:10

I hate 'poppers' too. I have 4 dc, who never sleep and sometimes the only time I get to be with dh, even if we are not doing anything in particular, is when they are at school and he has a rare day off. I value that time and don't want someone else just assuming that we have nothing planned or that their plans outweigh ours.

My ILs used to 'pop round' with out prior warning, let alone checking if it was actually convenient - I felt stifled and as if I had no personal or private space. In the end DH had to have a word and it was awkward and embarrassing and so easily avoided if they'd just given us a bit of thought. She does phone and check now and I have the option to say no. It still feels a bit awkward but i'd rather that, than the alternative.

I think 'poppers' shouldn't have such a high opinion of themselves, as to assume that people always want to see them!

MollyMurphy Tue 08-Jan-13 16:01:31

How amazingly entitled to pop by when you KNOW the person your visiting doesn't like it. If my MIL spouted such nonsense to me Jins I would be none to polite about it either.

2rebecca Tue 08-Jan-13 13:37:58

My doors are usually locked (front door always locked) if people knocked and came in both would be always locked. You knock and you wait, otherwise what is the point of knocking? Some of you have very entitled sounding relatives. Different if you know someone is ill in bed and they have asked you to come straight in but if they are able bodied why is waiting for 2 minutes so unbearable?

Jins Tue 08-Jan-13 10:02:48

My mother is the complete opposite. She decided to break her journey in a cafe about 3 minutes from my house once because her phone battery had run out.

OmgATalkingOnion Tue 08-Jan-13 09:47:50

I think there are two distinct camps. Either you are a lover of popper overers (and probably are one too) or you are not and the twain will never understand the other's feelings on the subject. Never.

I am not a fan of people popping about. My mil is one too. I know she thinks I'm right frosty about it but she has an uncanny knack of popping at the worst possible moment and I don't like it.

Jins Tue 08-Jan-13 09:41:38

MIL is a popper. When told once that it wasn't a good time she told me that she was perfectly entitled to visit her son whenever she wanted to, she didn't need to ring first and I should effectively get a grip. Problem was that DH was at work as he usually is at lunchtime and I'd taken a day off to go shopping. It didn't end well to be honest.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 08-Jan-13 09:13:21

People just knock and walk in here.

Matildaduck Tue 08-Jan-13 07:37:45

Being a popper does not make you more interested in people or more friendly.

You are not considering others feelings. If you have popped a non popper you have made them feel uncomfortable and possibly spoilt their day.

Of course they will not tell you..poeople are too polite.

Yesterday was planned out for me, now you poppers might think matilda has nothing on today, children at school. You would have been wrong.

I love people and i am very friendly but i do not want to inconvenience anyone or them me. People are always welcome but must ring first.

allnewtaketwo Tue 08-Jan-13 06:14:29

Ell elephant, I completely disagree with your assertion that poppers in ate just more interested in other people and 'friendlier' than non poppers in.

What a drastic value judgement. It's a different personality type. Some people feel a need to be around other people more, and draw energy from being around others. Other personality types find a lack of personal space draining, and need more time away from others. The former type of person calling unannounced at the latter persons house unannounced will purely be them adhering to their own preferences of interaction. This does not make them 'more interested' in person B than vice versa FGS

Morloth Tue 08-Jan-13 05:58:10

I don't think either way is wrong being a 'popper' or a 'non-popper' is fine as long as you as a 'popper' only 'pop' other 'poppers'.

LOL, it was fun typing that.

Knocking is of course a necessity whether you pop or not. I will ignore the phone/door if I don't feel like people and am not expecting anyone. I would be less than impressed by someone peeking through windows.

As my front door is usually open (we have a security screen), if it is closed it means we are out (or not interested).

EmmaBemma Tue 08-Jan-13 05:53:34

I would never "just pop in" to see someone else, even family, and I hate it when people do it to me. My in-laws just knock once and let themselves in! But I still try to be welcoming and offer a cup of tea and so on. It just seems so selfish and arrogant - "stop what you're doing and talk to me!". And I do feel like I have to entertain people - whatever people here say, I don't think many pop-inners would be happy to be left sitting silently with their cup of tea whilst the person they're visiting gets on with their day.

In this instance I can understand why PurpleCrutches was annoyed, but I agree with her that she handled the situation badly, and if it were me I would also phone to apologise, whilst also trying to encourage my MIL to make sure it's OK before coming round.

lisianthus Tue 08-Jan-13 01:05:16

YANBU. If your MIL didn't know whether you are a pop-in family or not, the onus was on her to be polite and find this out before just turning up and getting huffy at your daring to be too busy to entertain her properly. I do think that pop-inners are rude if they turn up unannounced and expect to be entertained if it is a bad time. The other side of being a pop-inner is that you should be prepared to go away again if it is a bad time.

And I certainly don't think pop-inners are "friendlier and more interested in other people". It's arguable that it is entirely the other way around- non- popinners are interested in other people because they take the trouble to be considerate of the visitee and find out what is going on in their life and whether it is a convenient time for a visit. Pop-inners are often just thinking "I've nothing to do at the moment. i know, I'll drop in on X." Whether X wants this to happen doesn't figure in this at all.

elleephant Tue 08-Jan-13 00:16:57

Well I don't do popping and I'm not mad about being popped in on either!

But I still think you were rude.

Pop inners are not being rude they are just friendlier and more interested in other people than the non pop inners.

Ime those who pop in don't expect a big palavar, esp family. I'd just treat her as one of the family, ask her to distract kids or set table or something and give her some tea. Just try and relax into it and just work around her and have a bit of a chat. It'll make for happier family relations. And if she doesn't like being asked to help, she probably start to think more carefully about her pop in times...

But as a non popper, I do feel your pain!

jessjessjess Mon 07-Jan-13 22:49:29

These MILs who just pop in and peer through the windows... do they know how grandchildren are made?!

DontmindifIdo Mon 07-Jan-13 16:45:07

I do think the problem lies with poppers in who don't accept that they are taking the risk it's not a good time - and then being told that actually the random time they have picked for a visit isn't good, getting offended by the fact. OP's MIL hadn't driven for hours, she just popped round, she shouldn't have insisted on staying for 10-15 mintues once she was told at the door it was a bad time. She was then being rude by insisting on being in someone's home who had told her they didn't want a visit.

There are some people on here who can't comprehend that for others there's ever a time they don't want visitors because they always do, and that's fine for them, but for most people, there are times when they want just to get on with stuff without others there.

But then I find it really hard to comprehend why anyone would think it wasn't rude not to entertain a guest in your home, of course you don't just tell someone to make themselves a drink, of course if it's a meal time you feed them, of course you stop, take time to give them attention when they are in your home.

If I was visiting your house (after making sure you told me it was a suitable time for you) and you just got on with your housework, I'd think you were rude. If it was over a meal time, I'd expect you to have planned either to feed me too or us all to go out but then I'd not just turn up without giving you chance to plan. If you have this view of 'hosting' guests, then poppers in are hard work.

2rebecca Mon 07-Jan-13 15:24:15

I do agree that living round the corner from relatives is asking for this sort of problem. It's good to have at least a 10 minute drive between you.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 07-Jan-13 14:41:40

As per your OP, yanbu.

However, yabvu to live one street away from MIL, get the For Sale sign up, pronto!

EldritchCleavage Mon 07-Jan-13 14:14:17

The only unreasonable thing is being annoyed with her coming unannounced if you've never had the conversation about not coming round unannounced. She won't know you don't like it if you don't tell her.

I would smooth things over and get your DH to speak to her about ringing you in good time whenever she wants to visit.

everlong Mon 07-Jan-13 13:24:51

I don't like people just popping in.
Especially if we are busy.

Fil has done it a few times, usually when we are just about to sit down to eat but I wouldn't send him away or make him feel uncomfortable. I make him a cup of tea or offer him some food.

But I think Mil was a bit off with you and didn't need to react the way she did.

gotthemoononastick Mon 07-Jan-13 13:18:50

Oh she got the hint allright. You know this too,or wouldn't be giving it a thought.Probably will withdraw more now and soon we will all read about how she doesn't give a fig at Christmas and birthdays.Damned if I would go near your home again after that welcome.(Cuts off nose)

chickensarmpit Mon 07-Jan-13 13:04:34

My MIL pops in whenever she likes it too. Tea time, kids bed time and once she came around and invited her clan with her while we were decorating! Grrrr i was up a ladder and she was telling me to put the kettle on. I was not amused.

NamingOfParts Mon 07-Jan-13 13:00:09

I think that the automatic assumption that the popper-in can be expected to help out, muck in can be way off as well. Elderly & infirm or inveterate faffers are not to be trusted with helping out & mucking in!

I guess it's all a question of how you define your space and time. I'm at home most of the day, but either with a toddler or with a to-do list, and currently also with pregnancy tiredness and a retrenched husband. We schedule our day around all the stuff we need to do and splitting the childcare. After more than two years, and having had it written down for him, my father still thinks I'll / we'll be available for an hour or two's tea-drinking and chatting whenever he pops in. Which he does without fail ten minutes after the toddler's finally gone down for her nap. If you don't answer the door he lets himself in, makes tea and waits for you.

And that is why we now tell him that it's not a good time when it isn't and close the door in his face. And make him schedule his visits. Because he is very welcome but not on those terms!

Everyone is different I suppose.

If one of my friends pops by and I'm in the middle of something, they get stuck in and help or go and put the kettle on.

My mum often comes by unannounced between her appointments at work, I love her, why wouldn't I want to see her?!

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