AIBU to think my mum is out of order for copying my house key behind my back?

(122 Posts)
FamilarSting Sun 18-Aug-13 18:44:47

So I?ve locked myself out of my house twice in 5 years, once just last week.

My mum has being going on about how I must give her a copy of our key to keep at her house in case it happens again. Yes, it would be a good idea to have a spare, but I do not trust her not to let herself in and snoop around (she was a terrible and persistent snoop when I was growing up and has such destroyed a lot of trust. I do not have a lot to hide but I am quite sure she?d be snooping through my private possessions if she had a key and knew that we were away for any length of time). I haven?t told her my reasons for not wanting to give her a key but have deflected talk of getting a copy and told her I have a hidden spare in case it happens again.

Last week she looked after my children at my house and I gave her my keys so that she could go out for a walk or whatever.

Just now my mum texted me to tell me that I left my keys at her house. (Yeah I know, I really need to stop forgetting my keys!) One of my first thoughts was that I wouldn?t put it past her to take it to be copied if I didn?t rush over to get them.

Then it occurred to me; she has told me that the other day, when she watched the children, that they went for a walk to a hardware store to "try to find a plantpot, but we couldn?t find one big enough". She made sure to mention this trip, I expect, as my chatty daughter would be sure to fill me in on the outing.
This hardware shop also cuts keys etc.

Oh the horror. Would she?

Yes, I think she would.

I asked my bright 4.5 year old if, when they went to the shop the other day, did Grandma gave the man a key.
"yes" she said, "and then we waited and he gave her another key so then there were TWO keys!"

Am I being unreasonable to think that is freaking out of order?! She went completely behind my back to get a copy of my house key after I failed to give her one by choice. It could be argued that I wasn?t totally clear that I didn?t want her to have one, but I have had plenty opportunities to give her one; we have walked past Timpsons together, for example, and I told her that OH can cut keys himself ? he?s a locksmith ffs! She just took it upon herself to copy it without telling me.

Yes I am untrusting and perhaps slightly paranoid, but she was at least partly to blame for that by depriving me of privacy as a teenager and continuously reading private letters/diaries, raiding my drawers etc.

Even if I wasn?t paranoid, she shouldn?t have done that, right?!
I don?t have a healthy idea of how families are supposed to be. I know it?s normal for families to have copies of each other?s keys; I have one to my parents? house, but I don?t go snooping... and it was given to me, I didn?t sneak around behind backs to copy it.

cleopatrasasp Tue 20-Aug-13 21:38:14

Thanks for answering FamiliarSting. If she's generally ok then it maybe isn't quite as big a deal but I do agree with prettybird that you should be able to raise it with her without dreading the outcome. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

Beamur Tue 20-Aug-13 21:16:56

Prettybird makes a brilliant point - the top and bottom of the problem is a lack of communication and more importantly - why that is so hard for you.

FamilarSting Tue 20-Aug-13 18:56:50

Yeah, you're right, prettybird. blush

Thanks, everyone.

prettybird Tue 20-Aug-13 15:14:32

May I gently suggest that you need to address the fact that you are scared to raise it with her because by getting your point across there might be a "horrible atmospehre" hmm

You are I presume wink a grown woman. Your mother needs to start to respect your boundaries - and unless you tell her this, she never will. Otherwise you will be forever tiptoing around her worrying what she is going to do next sad

There might an initial sulk (on her part) - but in the long term you will have a healthier relationship.

PigeonPie Tue 20-Aug-13 13:46:41

I think I'd say 'Mum, DD mentioned that you'd had a key cut when you went to the hardware shop the other day - was it for our house? Unfortunately I've found out that the agent specifies that no keys should be duplicated, so if it was for here, please could I have it back? By the way, it's also been recommended that we should use the alarm, so it'll be set regularly now.'

Will that help?

DuchessFanny Tue 20-Aug-13 13:43:50

You're not happy with it, so you need to say something to her. The fact you've left it a while might go in your favour, kind of a "oh, while i'm here Mum, DC mentioned you'd got a key copied ? is that right ? " then stay silent and see what she says.

2rebecca Tue 20-Aug-13 13:31:55

Agree with fieldfare. Getting a key to someone else's house cut without their position is rude and controlling. Being family is irrelevent. The reason so many families fall out is because people don't respect family members' needs for privacy.
I'd ask for it back and tell her that if you want her to have a key you'll give her one. I'd also tell her you're setting the alarm.
My mum is dead but she would never have cut a key without asking or come into my house uninvited. I miss her because she wasn't a nosy prying mum but a thoughtful one.

fieldfare Tue 20-Aug-13 13:19:24

Just say so - "mum, dd said that you had another key cut the other week when you had them, please give it to me".

Can't you be straight with her and tell her that it's upset you and the snooping must stop?

Loa Tue 20-Aug-13 12:58:02

It is not normal for family to have set of keys when you rent - I rented for over ten years with various landlords and there is usually a clause in the contract about not having the keys copied.

If you do change the locks - with landlords permission - will she just do it again at a later date when she realises?

I would have though setting the alarm would be a deterrent to snooping - have a written list by door you leave house - key, alarms then do a check every time you leave the house.

Otherwise have lots of lockable storage to put everything you don't want her to see in and use them.

FamilarSting Tue 20-Aug-13 12:38:06

Oh and with regards to changing the locks, OH did it not too long ago, and the letting agents didn't mind so long as we gave them a copy. That's interesting about telling my mum that no one can have an unauthorized copy, but knowing my mother she'd say "they don't know so it doesn't matter".

I still haven't brought it up with her, and the longer I wait the harder it will get.
She's supposed to be watching the children next week, how do I talk to her about this, get my point across that it is not ok, without there being a horrible atmosphere?

Nanny0gg Tue 20-Aug-13 12:23:09

Um, changing the locks isn't that simple if your house is rented.

I think she needs to know you know. Because if you catch her snooping, how will you confront that?

FamilarSting Tue 20-Aug-13 11:53:39

cleopatrasasp No, I wouldn't say she does generally overstep other boundaries, in fact she's probably the opposite, to my face at least, she can be quite sneaky, obviously.

bootsycollins Tue 20-Aug-13 09:55:22

You can buy wall mountable, digit coded metal box key stores, genius. My friends holiday home has one and I've seen one by a front door in the UK.

MorningHasBroken Tue 20-Aug-13 09:39:12

PIL stayed at ours for one night to look after the kids for us (we were away for a wedding). At some point before we got home they went and got 3 keys cut from ours, kept one and happily distributed the others to dh's sisters. We only found out when one of them came to stay and mentioned it in passing!

MIL reckons she thought it would be useful to us if they had spares, but as they all live over an hour away we couldn't really work out how! Our NDN has a spare, as does my sister (lives 2 streets away and not a snooper), so in an emergency we have people already that would drop in for us! Made us so angry that she thought she had the right to do this.

Think we've managed to get them all back now but who knows how many extras she made up that we dont know about?!

LydiasLunch Tue 20-Aug-13 08:24:24

If you want to keep a spare key for yourself handy and you have a front garden, i really recommend key stones. They look like a large stone but are hollow and you slide them open and hide keys in them. I keep mine under a hedge and it's been very useful when one of us gets locked out. I got mine off eBay. It does look exactly like a large stone!

gettngbetter Tue 20-Aug-13 07:58:36

My mother is the same - so nosy! She'd love to get her hands on my bank statements & payslips etc!

My solution was to get a big box with a padlock - I store anything private in there. Then she's free to snoop to her heart's content - all she'll find in my bedroom are socks and pyjamas etc - a few times snooping and finding nothing at all interesting and then she won't bother snooping anymore.

Before she calls over to babysit I always quickly run around the house and pick up anything personal like letters that I'd prefer her not to see and lock them away!

cleopatrasasp Mon 19-Aug-13 23:48:09

OP I asked you this earlier but you may have missed it - does your mother have a habit of overstepping boundaries in other areas or is it just with regard to keys and snooping?

FlossyFloozie Mon 19-Aug-13 18:07:46

Yep, tell her your DD told you about the copy, you know she means well (white lie) and you have to ask for it back because the Letting Agent SPECIFICALLY told you last time you went for a spare that it was prohibited under the lease to give extra keys out to persons other than the occupants. Job done.

Bogeyface Mon 19-Aug-13 17:48:56

sorry that should be an UNauthorised copy

Bogeyface Mon 19-Aug-13 17:48:41

Just noticed you are renting. An authorised copy of your house key could cause all sorts of problems if your landlord gets to hear about it. Would they be ok with you changing the locks as long as you cover the cost?

Bogeyface Mon 19-Aug-13 17:47:34

Even when I'm not smoking my mantra has always been "purse, fags, phone, keys" grin

Cerisier Mon 19-Aug-13 17:04:27

OP you need to always take your keys when you go out, whether DH is in or not (he might have to go out) and use the alarm.

As DH is a locksmith I would say just change the lock as you can't trust your DM to be truthful if you speak to her. Leave a copy with the agent then between you, DH and the agent you should be ok.

If DM comes to babysit then she stays in or DD goes to her house.

Like you I would be extremely cross if my keys were copied without permission so YANBU.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Mon 19-Aug-13 16:44:13

put a lock on your bedroom door and keep anything you don't want her to see in there. It will drive her mad to get in the house and find she can't get in a room. I do wonder why adults especially parents want to snoop in their Dc houses though, what do they expect to find? is it just wanting to know everything that goes on or do they want to find something that might shock them? I can understand the urge to snoop with teens at home but once they are off and married or in their own home confused

MadeOfStarDust Mon 19-Aug-13 15:16:51

just a quick question - do you have a copy of her key?

girlywhirly Mon 19-Aug-13 14:42:59

Rather than have a big argument, just go ahead with changing the locks and setting the alarm. For the times when your mum will be in your house with your knowledge i.e. baby sitting, password protect your computers ( good practice to do this anyway) and make sure there are no documents/ correspondence lying around for her to nose through. I suggest a metal filing cabinet that is lockable, protective in the event of a fire and keeps everything together so you can find stuff more easily.

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