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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...?

DodgyKnees Fri 05-Jul-13 12:41:47

Mistle, I think you win. I bow down before your tolerance!

Thanks, all, for your responses. She does rather go onto autopilot and just do things if not given a specific task.

Really, what I'd like her to be doing is spending time with my dd, which is what she and my FiL come down for! She really doesn't need to be doing housework.

However, you've all given me some good ideas! Think will wash all of dh's shirts and then offer ironing as an occupation. Also planning to label the cutlery drawer.

halcyondays Fri 05-Jul-13 12:44:08

That sounds very annoying and not particularly helpful.

mistlethrush Fri 05-Jul-13 12:48:39

Dodgy - sorry, it wasn't meant to be a competition, just a groan in sympathy!

I think presenting her with ironing (DH's shirts are perfect as they are her son's so she can't refuse, can she!!!) is a great idea, particularly if couched in the 'if you want a break from DD, I've got these that need doing and it would be really helpful, but only if you need the break' would be good!

DS and I are going to label the baskets in his wardrobe too...

The dishwasher is an alien concept to her - things get stacked in the sink and miraculously end up in the dishwasher, then somehow get back into the cupboards at the moment, so we've not had the cutlery draw situation. All the mugs have been reordered - but they're in the same cupboard and I can still find them so that's not a problem!!!

DodgyKnees Fri 05-Jul-13 12:53:03

No, Mistle, don't worry! Wasn't complaining! It does sound like you have a lot more to deal with.

Love the phrasing for the washing. Will borrow! My mother's terrible with the dishwasher - or was, until I pointed out the ridiculousness of moving the cutlery holder. I can do that with her, though. Don't want to offend the MiL, who's very earnest.

I did say in Dumbledorian tones this morning, though, "Don't use any clothes in the bottom drawer!". What DD was dressed in yesterday was definitely on the small side. I re-dressed her and have dressed her in advance of them coming round today, so I'm hoping that's a strong enough hint!

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 05-Jul-13 12:55:09

I'd talk to her about throwing away food. I might ask her to leave the clothes to one side as 'I need to sort through them'. The rest wouldn't bother me as much.

mistlethrush Fri 05-Jul-13 12:59:40

DS still talks of the day she got him dressed when he was 4 (he's now 8). She'd dug around and found some vests (never worn), then a Tshirt, then a long-sleeved shirt, then a jumper. He came down to breakfast rbright red, and I promptly stripped off all his closed and replaced the Tshirt on its own - we were inside, even though it was the winter - and he is VERY warm blooded so didn't need all the clothes and she knows he never wears that many.... (I normally end up carrying his coat in the winter and he walks around outside in just his Tshirt).

DontmindifIdo Fri 05-Jul-13 13:00:04

oh, I contain my mum with DS - the best line is "actually, the best help you could do is take DS out for an hour so I can get on." keep repeating "oh no, just keep DCs entertained please. Biggest help you can do!"

(And Mistle - you need to lose the bleach, put some of those disposible cleaning wipes in the bathroom and hide all other products)

maras2 Fri 05-Jul-13 13:32:11

No advice,sorry,but how very odd. I am amazed that anyone rather than you or DH mooch about in your house.My DM,DMIL would never do this < why would they? > I too have DIL's and SIL's and would never dream of interfering with their stuff.We are all extremely close and in a very good relationship but to actually mess with their kitchen/bathroom whatever is just not in our mindset.Again,how odd.

zipzap Fri 05-Jul-13 13:39:05

Oh and I feel your pain - my mum and aunt stayed a few days over Christmas and I still haven't rediscovered the remote control for the freeview hard drive recorder thing in the kitchen - which is full thanks to automated recordings that are usually no problem but happened to hit a 'day of' run before we discovered the loss of the remote combined with useless controls on the box that don't let you delete things, you have to use the remote. Arrgghh.

SimplyRedHead Fri 05-Jul-13 13:59:11

My mother in law took the dirty washing out of the laundry bin and folded it before putting it back in!

SueDoku Fri 05-Jul-13 15:36:40

My late MIL was always offering to help us probably because she couldn't stand the mess . One year, when we went on holiday she offered to feed the cats and water the plants -- we came back to find that the house had been cleaned from top to bottom - it shone..! I was torn between delight in seeing it look so clean and horror that she had poked around (and rearranged) every drawer, cupboard etc... shock

I settled for being delighted, as it was easier - and I felt that if she's found anything that horrified her it was her own fault grin grin. The house was never that clean again (and the neighbour fed the cats from then on..!)

Pennyacrossthehall Fri 05-Jul-13 15:58:06

Oh my god! I relate to this thread whole-heartedly.

My MIL has lived near to us since we married 20 years ago, and even closer for the last 5 years. She has a key for our house and is always popping in.

First: I have to say that she was a godsend when the kids were babies/toddlers/little covering sick days, holidays, babysitting etc. She is also prone to pop round and iron our clothes mountain, which is great, and she always means well.

But oh dear lord, the INTERFERING! It drives me MENTAL! The number of times I have stood in my own house barely suppressing the urge to scream "WHERE THE FUCK IS MY STUFF?!?!?!?"

That was therapeutic. And breathe . . ..

lastnightiwenttomanderleyagain Fri 05-Jul-13 18:25:53

Folding the dirty laundry? That is special!

When my MIL comes the first thing she does is fill the sink with water...Errr...why? We have a dishwasher, there's nothibg waiting to be washed and you've only just bloody got here!

Her specialty though is wrapping up Very Small Things in foil and putting them back in the.fridge. I'm regularly finding bits of cheese smaller than.a thimble lurking somewhere. For goodness sake, what am I.going to do with a mouse sized piece of cheese? Just eat/use it the first time!

She also.turns up with a full packed lunch for her and step FIL. She thinks she's helping, I think.she's insulting our hospitality especially as everyone knows I.would spend all day in the kitchen if I could as 'I'M THE HOSTESS!'

londone17 Fri 05-Jul-13 20:44:00

Id go round to theirs and reorganise it.

gail734 Fri 05-Jul-13 21:05:38

I've posted about this before, but it really is a "helpful MIL" classic. After DD's birth I was in a bit of a mess. We received about a million many lovely baby gifts, and I was determined that everyone would eventually get a proper, individual thank you card. As each gift was opened I would go "Oooh, that's lovely!" then carefully slip the item back into its wrapping, with its card. So I would know exactly who had given what. My MIL decided to "help" by editing the pile of gifts, removing and chucking all of the wrapping paper, putting all of the cards in a stack. As she proudly showed me what she'd done, I was like shock.

2rebecca Fri 05-Jul-13 21:14:31

Thankfully I've never had anyone do this but if they did I'd tell them not to. If she moves the toilet roll "can you please leave the toilet roll in x place as it's easier to reach, i'd rather you didn't put it on the holder." Although if you don't use the holder why not just dismantle it?
"Can you please not rearrange stuff I like it where it is"
I think rearranging someone else's stuff is rude and controlling so I'd expect people who do this to be rude and controlling (even if well meaning) so you need to be blunt and a bit rude to stop them taking over.

Pilgit Fri 05-Jul-13 21:27:45

My dm does this. We regularly play hunt the tin opener\peeler! The latest is dd's hair things -she put them away somewhere, god knows where! Now denies it all. I think the pixies now have them.....

Mintyy Fri 05-Jul-13 21:32:47

Another one for whom all this is beyond my comprehension. How can you STAND to have someone else interfering to such an extent in your life? Why don't these people have boundaries? It honestly fraeks me out to think of letting relatives have keys and come in and fill my sink with water and fold my dirty laundry and tidy up after me. I would go ballistic if anyone ever did this in my house.

2rebecca Fri 05-Jul-13 22:10:12

I really wouldn't like the thought of someone creeping round my house rearranging stuff (apart from husband and kids).
I think I'd have zero tolerance for anyone who did this. i'd rather put pets in kennels/ cattaries (not that I have any they're too much hassle and we like travelling and doing stuff at weekends) than have a relative feed them for free and then pry and rummage through my stuff.
I would ask for keys back from nosy parkers, or tell them that I don't want them touching my stuff.
I'm not sure if some of you are tolerant or just weirdly passive.

nenevomito Fri 05-Jul-13 22:12:36

My MIL does this and it drives me bonkers.

She even swapped the spoons and knives around in the sodding cutlery drawer. Have you ever tried to butter toast with a spoon, have you? Have you???

The worst thing she ever did was tidy mine and DH's bedroom "to help us out" didn't touch the rest of the house. grrr.

lisianthus Sat 06-Jul-13 01:13:21

This would send me crazy and I would be getting the keys back. If there's some reason you can't do this, How about getting a label maker and start labelling drawers/shelves Anthea Turner style so it's obvious where things go? And I would remove the defunct toilet paper holder from the wall to make it impossible for her to put toilet paper on it. Of course this would only work if she's doing this because she doesn't know where things go rather than trying to impose her own ideas over yours (which should earn her an automatic ban from "helping").

kickassangel Sat 06-Jul-13 03:07:36

My dad has been known to discover a problem that needs fixing (like a slight drip in the down pipe that we told him about), pull everything out to show us (including pulling apart the pipes) then stand up, smugly proudly declaring it would be easy to fix, and walk away leaving everything out on the floor.

It was my house, but I nearly walked out.

TimeofChange Sat 06-Jul-13 07:21:11

Please remember that if you have sons you will be the annoying MIL in twenty years time, whether you sit idley by or if you try to help.

Dorris83 Sat 06-Jul-13 07:28:14

Aw my MIL is a bit like this too.

She and FIL came to help up move and she insisted on repacking all the boxes in the kitchen ( not sure why) She then created little bundles of things and sellotaped the crap out of them- so we had a mlion little packages of spoons, forks, plates etched bound together by a mountain of tape. We're still picking residual bits of tape off things now, 3 months later!

(Can't complain though, help moving house is invaluable!)

Slightly different topic but, the last time she was here she changes DS' nappy. Next time I changed him I realise that she must have caked his entire nappy area in nappy cream. I only cream his bum as that's where he had a rash once, but my MIL must have creamed EVERYTHING as there was residual white cream on his legs, up to his tummy, penis, everywhere!!

DPIL are fabulous though so I can forgive them their helpful foibles!

lastnightiwenttomanderleyagain Sat 06-Jul-13 07:38:11

I should clarify that my PIL don't have keys and these things only happen on their occasional visits as they live 2hrs away and don't even pop in on their way to.see golden child BIL who lives 20mins further on but that's a whole different issue

I have no idea why those who do have keys seem to think this gives them carte blanche to just appear and take over in someone else's house!

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