...to want MIL to stop moaning about books?

(119 Posts)
jammygem Sun 05-Jan-14 13:59:04

I know this is nothing compared to most problems people have with their MILs!

As part of my job (academia) I use lots of books, and we have set aside the spare room as a sort of 'study' so I can carry on working at home, and to store my books/articles. [Side note: I've always wanted my own mini library, so this is a dream come true for me!] Admittedly there are a lot, but I read them both for academic work and for my own pleasure, and have often caught DP reading them too!

Whenever MIL visits she makes snide comments about the amount of books I own and about the validity and usefulness of my subject. She also makes comments on DP not having his 'own room', as she calls it.

My subject was one of the first things my DP and I bonded over when we first got together, and he has always retained an interest in my work throughout my relationship. Whilst he may not have his 'own room', he does love starting DIY projects which never get finished. Neither I nor MIL comment on or get annoyed about the various half-finished DIY projects scattered around the place, nor would I ever want to complain about it.

AIBU to think MIL has not right to criticise how many books I own and what I use them for? I've often held my tongue for the sake of our relationship, as we get on fairly well besides this, but the constant criticisms during her visits are getting harder and harder to ignore.

DameDeepRedBetty Sun 05-Jan-14 14:02:24

Is she always so spectacularly ignorant? It shows a really old fashioned mindset, that your academic career can't possibly be as important as a 'real job'.

RedorBlack Sun 05-Jan-14 14:04:11

Yanbu. Not her house, not her business!

As long as you & DP are happy then carry on, and if she insists on complaining get DP to tell her to back off

Nb very jealous. I would love my own library smile

Redcliff Sun 05-Jan-14 14:04:14

I also have always wanted my own mini library so very impressed you have one . Of course your not being unreasonable - I am guessing you have one spare room , you have the greater need so you have it . Have you ever asked her why your DP should have priority over you?

SofaKing Sun 05-Jan-14 14:04:22

No, that would get on my wick too. I have lots of books in the bedroom and I just don't let anyone in there as I am fed up of people asking why I have them.

Just shut the door,and refer to it as you and dh's hobby room if you are asked about it.

Anymore snide remarks and you can say she should be glad her DS is with someone with a brain instead of someone who uses the room for clothes and makeup.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Sun 05-Jan-14 14:05:50

Tell her that her son has the rest of the house when you are in your room, so technically he has lots of rooms. wink
Do you have a garage? If so could your DH start referring to that as his room, storing all his DIY bits.
Every time she says anything about your books just repeat that it is for your career, which helps pay the bills.

You can't change how she views your room, but you can just brush off her comments. Once she gets bored of hearing the same reply she may stop having a go at you.

redcaryellowcar Sun 05-Jan-14 14:06:03

yanbu i think its your and dps decision on how you use the rooms in your house, perhaps book her a b and b next time she wants to come to stay, if she finds it tricky being in your home.

revivingsnowshower Sun 05-Jan-14 14:09:41

Also this is connected to your work so not exactly just a hobby. If your do wants his "own" room and is keen on diy he could have a workshop, he could even build it himself! Why not tell mil that he is planning to start building one soon even if he isn't planning to start for a few years.

PicaK Sun 05-Jan-14 14:12:27

Your office sounds great - I have something like that myself. DH has a massive shed tho!

The only one you need to worry about is your dh.

FredFredGeorge Sun 05-Jan-14 14:14:32

Have you got a garden shed? Can you move all DP's clothes and things into it next time MIL comes to visit, filling his wardrobe with more books?

lainiekazan Sun 05-Jan-14 14:15:51

Some people just do not like books.

Upon first visiting my flat sil looked round with a turned-up nose and asked, "Why have you kept all these old books? Can't you take them to the charity shop?"

Some people think that a nice coffee table copy of "Classic FM's Guide to Classical Music" is all you need.

My FIL regularly comments on how few books we have. We probably have 8 tall bookcases of books, so plenty of books, more than most of our friends. But we haven't had to line the walls of multiple rooms with shelves and stack them 2 books deep, so we don't have enough books apparently.

You can't win. And YANBU.

"Anymore snide remarks and you can say she should be glad her DS is with someone with a brain instead of someone who uses the room for clothes and makeup."

Or we could just butt out of other peoples business, accept that we are all individuals, as valid as each other and that gone are the days when a "wifey" gave up all interests and played second fiddle in the house she was expected to dedicate her life to.

Whether that is reading, hill walking or painting/preening ourselves (I do all three, so awards herself a medal).

SomethingkindaOod Sun 05-Jan-14 14:28:10

no advice apart from telling her straight to butt out tbh! I am very envy of you having a library of your own, my dream house has a library with an open fire and a big comfy chair that only I am allowed to sit in!!

AramintaDeWinter Sun 05-Jan-14 14:28:31

I think a good way to deal with people like your MIL is to tackle her head-on. She thinks you have a problem - ask her how to deal with the "problem" and ask why it is a problem. Keep questioning her and eventually she'll back off. (in theory anyway!)

jammygem Sun 05-Jan-14 14:32:11

Thanks everyone for your replies, makes me feel a lot better!

revivingsnowshower I love your idea, may have to try that... In fact if I mentioned it to DP he probably would actually start building one haha!

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Sun 05-Jan-14 14:34:21

My PiL always comment on the number of books we have. Isn't it odd (and rude)?

lookatmybutt Sun 05-Jan-14 14:41:56

What books do you like, just out of curiosity?

I've got a load, but I do have a clearout once in a while and donate them or leave them at book drops (or on the tube with a little note saying 'enjoy!'). Realised that I am NEVER going to read Joyce's Ulysses for example.

I've had this conversation with my mum many times:

"Why do you have so many books?"
"I like to read."
"But why so many?"
"Believe it or not they all tell different stories about different things and are written by different people."

It's like some people think you should have just one or two and that's enough.

It reminds me that I need to get a new copy of "Our Man in Havana" because one of the cats peed on my copy. Bloody furry philistine book hater. It's one of my favourites!

MidLifeCrys1s Sun 05-Jan-14 14:48:40

Family joke: "What do you need a book for? We've got a book." (Note: we have a room set aside for books, but they overspill all over the rest of the house.)

gotthemoononastick Sun 05-Jan-14 14:59:37

I have book towers serving as side tables and a huge 'ottoman' built out of books with a plank and tasteful rug over it!!

'So sue me 'as I have learned to say from young ones!

Wevet Sun 05-Jan-14 15:00:23

I am an academic, and I have a study at home for my exclusive use, lined with books. My husband does not have an equivalent. His job happens almost exclusively at his workplace, and any work he does from home mostly involves making calls, whereas I do a lot of research at home. We are not five year old who need to have the same numbers of toys to be 'fair'.

Your MiL is being a dinosaur. Clearly your wifey little job should be done on the kitchen table between mealtimes. Tell her you are a grown up who writes books and it's 2014.

On the specific sneering at visible books thing, I remain baffled at it when it comes up on Mumsnet, which it does regularly. I'm not from the UK, and I have never encountered this in any other country I have ever lived in. I conclude it's English philistinism...?

TheHeadlessLadyofCannock Sun 05-Jan-14 15:02:25

'MIL, it's getting very boring hearing you go on about how many books I have and what you think of my subject. Couldn't you find something else to try to criticise me over?'

Actually, it does sound like the MIL doesn't value the OP's work. She sounds like she expects OP to be "wifey", prioritising her DH.

SkinnybitchWannabe Sun 05-Jan-14 15:08:19

I love my books and wish I had enough room to display them all so I can actually see what I've got!
They are currently in boxes in my big wardrobe sad
Im afraid if I were you, when I knew she was coming I'd make stacks of them and leave them all round my house just to pee her off abit more!!
But I am quite childish and passive aggressive grin

carabos Sun 05-Jan-14 15:14:59

I have a room like yours OP and we have other bookcases around the house. I don't think I have a lot of books, fewer than 1000 at the last count. My parents have more, I have friends with similar amount and more.

I'm always surprised at people who are surprised by my books - mutual incomprehension- I guess you're either a book lover or you aren't. What makes me cross is when people describe books as dirty.

Your books are making your MiL uncomfortable, perhaps because your education makes her uncomfortable. My ex MiL used to describe me as an "intellectual" for no reason other than I was an undergraduate when she first met me hmm. She described my mother as an "academic" because she was a teacher with a Master's degree hmm. I reckon it's more likely to be that than the fact of your having a career. For some people it's just not "done" to be brainy.

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