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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...?

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Jul-13 07:19:09

Agree the idea that those of us who have sons should worry as we'll be the hated mil is nonsense, partly because my mil is lovely, it's my bloody mother who's a nightmare (of course this means db's dp has a nightmare mil!)

When dealing with a future dil, my mantra will be "don't be a twat", I'm sure if I avoid batshit crazy behaviour we'll get along fine...

zeno Wed 10-Jul-13 17:54:19

Oh the tiny food parcels in the fridge- yes yes yes! Just throw it or eat it ffs. And they are always in the wrong containers - I found a tiny amount of elderly fruit purée in a ceramic pot that lives on the windowsill as a plant holder. Blurgh.

My special hate, which covers the entire IL clan, is leaving the remote control for the tv beside the bloody tv. Why would you do that!? MIL used to come in while I was bf dd1, turn the telly on to check the score, turn the volume right up and then leave the room, with the remote safely back beside the tv. Rage!

lisianthus Wed 10-Jul-13 01:38:07

Why does someone always mutter darkly on a thread about insensitive MILs that "if you have sons, this will be you one day"?

If you have sons, it will only be you if you act in an insensitive manner and disregard your DILs preferences in her own home! if your DIL or DS says "MIL/Mum, I'd prefer you not do X", just don't do it! Don't argue, get other family members to say you are being treated unfairly, play the "wobbly lip" or get aggressive. Just don't do it. Simple.

wigglybeezer Sat 06-Jul-13 20:53:47

My MIL ironed (and slightly melted) my washable breastpads once. She would have ironed the nappies too if she could have worked out a way, she settled for elaborate airing rituals.

DodgyKnees Sat 06-Jul-13 20:41:10

Shodam, I've had this experience with laundry too - massively helpful not to have to do any ironing, but knickers should be forbidden territory!

The cutlery drawer's much better today, although I did have to move some utensils from an entirely separate drawer into the utensil section and the measuring jug out of the nest of saucepans.

The ironing ploy was brilliant - MiL usefully occupied all of yesterday evening.

A lot of people have asked about the toilet roll holder - we're not inclined to move it, because there's nowhere else it can actually go and we're moving house soon (we hope!).

Three days to go...

Shodan Sat 06-Jul-13 08:41:16

The last-but-one time we went on holiday the PILs were looking after the cats so popping in daily.

When we came back MIL had 'organised' all the cutlery so they were all lined up neatly. For some reason this really irked me, but wasn't as bad as finding all our washing done and ironed on our bed. Lovely, you may be thinking- but she'd done all my knickers too, which made me squirm with embarrassment. No amount of DH's assurance that MIL was a woman too, plus had had a daughter so was used to these things, would reconcile me to the fact that someone else had handled my undercrackers. grin

KittyTwatknicker Sat 06-Jul-13 08:07:14

My MIL does loads to help us out, but it can be frustrating. My sofa is ALWAYS rearranged, which drives me nuts. When DH asked her why she did this, she said "because Kitty does it wrong!" ?!?!?!?!?!

When we were first living together, she rearranged all my pots in the a
garden and I lost my rag. She did it every time she came over. So I stopped doing any gardening: I flatly refuse to do it, so she does it all (who's the silly one eh?). She also assists DH with all our DIY as I couldn't possibly do it properly!

Suits me! But still annoying...

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Jul-13 07:57:36

Minty - from my mum, even asking as nicely as possible for her to desist from reorganising /murdering tropical fish via bleach gets you the wobbly bottom lip "I was only trying to help" response, swiftly followed by the bollocking from dad. Db stood his ground last year, the fall out was dramatic (although these fish are now one, so there's hope at least that message has gone in). I think it doesn't help that Db is gay and my mum doesn't have another woman to defer to at their house (and bil isn't out with his family so they think he's DBS lodger).

I will never give my mum unsupervised access to my house. She just can't be trusted.

My mil on the other hand is sane. Thank god.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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").

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.

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.

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.

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.....

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.

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.

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

Id go round to theirs and reorganise it.

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!'

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 . . ..

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..!)

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!

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.

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