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AIBU re MIL's reorganisation of everything every time she visits?

(58 Posts)
DodgyKnees Fri 05-Jul-13 10:14:03

First up, I realise I'm probably being unreasonable and ungrateful, but this is driving me bananas.

My MIL is lovely and very keen to help out every time she visits. We have a 6 mo, so housework isn't top of the list of priorities. I do appreciate this a lot, but what drives me mad is that she reorganises everything without telling me, then says "Oh, I expect you can't find anything!" in a jokey way - NO, I CAN'T!!

Examples:
- Moving/chucking out food from the fridge, moving things on the kitchen surfaces.
- Being seemingly incapable of putting the cutlery back in the right sections of the cutlery drawer so that I have to re-sort it anyway.
- Making an assumption that we're not using the toilet roll holder for no good reason (it's difficult to reach and so we just tend to use the vertical one on the floor) and moving the toilet roll.
- Mixing up different sizes of baby clothes and interfering with the organisation of them so that AGAIN I have to re-sort them.

How do I tell her to leave things alone without putting her off helping, which she really wants to do and which is really very helpful? Or should I just put up with it and go quietly mad...?

NotAnotherPackedLunch Fri 05-Jul-13 10:17:43

If it was your own mother doing this what would do?
I would tend to do the same with MIL as I do with my mother, but a bit more tactfully and politely as we're not as close.

geeandfeesmum Fri 05-Jul-13 10:19:32

Oh, I feel your pain OP!!

We have:-

- Cutlery placed back in the wrong sections
- Dishwashing the same items over and over again (even though they haven't been used)
- Hiding of scissors, knives and anything deemed "dangerous" inc pen lids!!
- Putting clothes back in the drawers that have been put in a charity bag
- Turning the toilet roll around (because our way is wrong!!)

All under the name of "helping".

I am sure we are both being unreasonable, but it does get so irritating!!

geeandfeesmum Fri 05-Jul-13 10:20:21

Oh, that is my own mother and my MIL.

BabsAndTheRu Fri 05-Jul-13 10:20:53

If she likes helping give her a list of what needs doing, ie oh glad you're here could you Hoover for me, clean bathroom or make beds etc.

selsigfach Fri 05-Jul-13 10:24:04

Suggest tasks that don't involve things getting misplaced - hoovering, mopping, ironing.

MaxPepsi Fri 05-Jul-13 10:27:20

God that would annoy the hell out of me.

My mum offers to help me when I moan about what a shit tip my house is or how massive my ironing pile is but I always have to say, no it's ok thanks.
She cleans and irons brilliantly but it's ever so slightly different to the way I do things and therefore drives me bloody bonkers!
Ungrateful wench that I am!

mistlethrush Fri 05-Jul-13 10:30:14

Do you get the huffs to go with it and the 'well I've tidied up DS's room because it was in a state' and that means you have to resort all the clothes AGAIN and take out the too small ones AGAIN and remove the ones that you'd only put back in the right place the day before so that DS can actually find things without turning his room upside down... ????

Oh and the half an onion carefully put in the fridge with a bit of foil over it.. or the packed of cold meat with a bit of foil ineffectively over it rather than in a box (I'm vegetarian so have particular problems with this one) and the bits of this and that that are not finished up and put in a box or a pot in the fridge and left until they go mouldy and either DH or I find them...

MiL is currently living with us and the loss of control over the kitchen is driving us mad. That and DS's wardrobe, and the bath mat. And the copious use of bleach on the toilet. Neat. On the seat. I don't think I need to go on really....

ThreeEyedRaven Fri 05-Jul-13 10:41:53

This would make my teeth itch. I agree with the above poster who said to chanel her energy into another useful task like hooveribg or cleaning the bathroom. She sounds lovely and helpful, but your house, your way!

Loulybelle Fri 05-Jul-13 10:51:55

That would bug the shit out of me, i dont like, people touching my stuff.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 05-Jul-13 10:52:52

that would drive me mental. mum came and helped asahup. she put things away in the wrong place, BUT she was trying to put them in the rright place. if she had just reorganised it for the hell of it I would be so annoyed.

oh goodnness, mistle. you have made me feel ill just reading that. I could not do it.

JRmumma Fri 05-Jul-13 10:57:15

They all sound like relatively minor things (apart from chucking your food away, id have to tell her about that one straight away) that would also irritate me, but in the scheme of things if she is doing a massive pile of washing up for you, is it really a biggie if you reach in the drawer for a fork and get a spoon? Maybe put a fresh toilet roll on the thing you dont use to stop her moving the one you are using, or take the holder off the wall perhaps?

What would be worse is if she was trying to dictate how you are parenting your child, overstepping her boundaries etc. Sounds like you have quite a good relationship with your MIL so maybe think about whether you feel you could bring this up without ruining that.

If on balance she is being a massive help, id say leave it and try not to let it drive you insane!

mistlethrush Fri 05-Jul-13 11:00:31

Its just 'one of those things' - she got taken ill, was planning a house move to be closer (but not this close) and its not gone through yet...

Actually its worse... because, for instance, the food that DH had specially done for her was ready and she decided that, as it was in the saucepan it must not be hot enough so faffed about trying to get the cooker on - when I'd only just served myself with some so I knew it was piping hot. - whatever we do isn't quite good enough.

I'm seriously considering sellotaping the bathmat down. I know its such a little thing but it REALLY irritates me - why can't the mat be left in the way we have it??? At least we've got rid of the frame round the toilet - which we had to have because she was unwell - and which she was using to hang the two bathmats up on either side. I managed to stop that by saying that, although DS was pretty good, if he did miss it is much better mopping the floor than having it all down the bathmats either side envy (not envy)

JRmumma Fri 05-Jul-13 11:26:21

mistle - i feel your pain at the long term houseguests situation! When we had some, my kitchen and bathroom seemed to disappear under water completely. more on the floor than in the sink/shower/bath every time they were used and just left there. Commandeering an entire surface in the kitchen to charge an array of electrical products and just unplugging each one as needed and plugging back in afterwards whether as opposed to charging them up when necessary and putting them away.

DontmindifIdo Fri 05-Jul-13 11:41:36

Mistle - I also have a bleach obsessed mother, I hide it in my house, my DB doesn't - she has used bleavh to clean the filter of DB's DPs fishtank, killing all the fish. They restocked and she did it again. She also put all DBs DPs carefully sorted tax docs that were in separate piles on the dining room table in one big pile, because she didn't like the mess. Any complaints are met with wobbly bottom lip and "I was only trying to help" followed by my dad tell me or DB off for upsetting our mother. She's not allowed alone in my house and is discouraged from 'helping'. I just don't have the energy to fix what shes done.

Crinkle77 Fri 05-Jul-13 11:43:56

If she really wants to help could you give her a very specific task to do with instructions or does she just do it when your back is turned?

rhetorician Fri 05-Jul-13 11:47:47

I think I'd be happy for any help of any kind. Our mothers are of the sitting in a chair waiting to be served variety...seriously though, would she listen if you said how appreciative you were, but that it's tricky when you can't find things

mistlethrush Fri 05-Jul-13 11:50:46

Its when the bleach is trickling down the bowl on the outside and you can see big smears of completely undiluted bleach on the seat that I've been worrying - because I react badly to detergent and soap as it is and I really don't want to sit on bleach neat - neither do I want DS to or to get it on his hands. I'm not sure what she thinks she might catch from the loo seat.

Funnily enough, despite our clear lack of cleanliness based on her actions, she's not gone down with anything whilst in our house.

DH has shown her how to make semolina in the microwave (only she is eating it). This means one bowl (which she then eats from) is used. Yes, it does mean she needs to get it out of the microwave a few times and stir it. However, she now makes it in a pan on the cooker because 'its more efficient'. DH pointed out that she wasn't taking into account the fact that he then had to wash up the saucepan. 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that'. hmm

I've also had some of DS's new (second hand) uniform which had been washed and needs nametapes sewn on for next term, hung up, wet in his room rather than left to dry with the rest of the washing. (He would just put it on and not realise it wasn't named and then lose it...)

Its strange it's the little things that get to you isn't it!

JRmumma Fri 05-Jul-13 11:57:13

Mistle is she actually trying to help you or just insulting you by religiously cleaning your toilet?

missuswife Fri 05-Jul-13 12:01:54

That would annoy me too but my mother lives 3000 miles away and MIL 5,000 miles away so I would gladly let them rearrange my kitchen.

zipzap Fri 05-Jul-13 12:14:15

Give her the cutlery drawer to sort the next time she is in need of a job - dictating explaining very carefully what goes into which section.

And make sure when you go to her house that you repay the favour by putting everything away in the wrong place and burst into tears saying I was only trying to help when anybody tackles you on it grin

RiffyWammal Fri 05-Jul-13 12:14:31

My DM does this and it drives me insane. It's such a difficult thing to bring up because of course she is 'helping' but as previous posters have said I wish she'd stick to things like cleaning floors, hoovering, maybe a bit of ironing, and stop rearranging things and loading the dishwasher wrong!

My DM does things in an unnecessarily fussy way and faffs around folding everything. The other day it was a blanket that the cat had been sick on, that I'd put on the floor to be taken downstairs and washed. I found it the next day neatly folded over my bannister with the sick still on it envy

My DM goes crazy when we go away and rearranges my cupboards etc. She has a key to feed the cat and can't seem to help herself from 'improving' things. Last time she rearranged my pantry and threw away some of my things that she deemed rubbish, and put her spare duvets and covers on my DS's beds - mine must not be good enough? - and cleaned my 19-year-old DS's bedroom, sorting through things that could well have been private, and filling a bin bag with his stuff. When I remarked that it was not a good idea to poke around in his room without asking him, she replied 'but I didn't find anything private'. hmm

I will have to speak to her before we go away in a few weeks time, because it's causing me to resent her helping at all, and I am actually grateful for her assistance and don't want to be ungrateful. I just want her to respect reasonable boundaries and privacy! This is after all my territory and I don't want her spraying her metaphorical pee all over it!

DontmindifIdo Fri 05-Jul-13 12:22:22

RiffyWammal - get that key back, find someone else to feed the cat, pay a neighbours child to do it...

Actually, my mum's done the full reorganisation of my brother's kitchen as well - she did it on a sunday when they'd left her alone in his house when my dad had gone to B&Q with my DB (it was before his DP moved in). DB didn't notice she'd done this until Monday morning, when he tried to find a cereal bowl, spoon and a mug, all of these things had been moved to different drawers/cupboards. (She has also told him it's a pity he doesn't have space on the other side of the kitchen to move his fridge as it would be better over there, roughly translated she'd have moved it if she could!)

Every time she comes to my house, she comments that she can't find the mugs (I have lived in his house for nearly 4 years, the mugs have always been in the same cupboard) because she thinks they should be in a cupboard in a different part of the kitchen (where they are in her kitchen). She'll open that cupboard and make a comment that the mugs are there, then pretend to not have any idea where they might be, then say "are you sure you don't want them in this cupboard" and look hopeful that this time, I might say "of course, yes, you rearrange it all." Rather than "no, if I wanted them in that cupboard, i'd put them in there."

mistlethrush Fri 05-Jul-13 12:24:23

JR - there's a bit of both - she thinks she's helping, and is going to some effort with it. In terms of the bleach though - no, I really don't know what she's thinking - apart from the fact that it makes me think she thinks that we're all SO dirty that she daren't sit on the loo seat after us. Either that or she thinks that she's that dirty - which I doubt.

She clearly doesn't approve of the way we do things - and has even suggested that I should stay at home at the weekend and do chores rather than go out for a walk with the dog (and DH and DS). I have since managed to comment how much I preferred working part time (more like she did) and how it meant I had so much more time for things round the house and garden... so I had to prioritise my time at the weekends and put my health and the family time high on the agenda.... (She's not managed to come back with anything on that one yet!!!)

sherbetpips Fri 05-Jul-13 12:25:31

ha ha my MIL does the cutlery drawer thing. She insists on emptying the dishwasher but then has no idea where it all goes so leaves it scatted in piles around the kitchen, the piles never make sense though as they are not the same type of things, there might be a mug, a plastic bowl and a knife on one bit, then a few plates and some mixer parts on another pile....

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