In thinking MIL is seriously overstepping

(364 Posts)
Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 05:25:46

I have posted similar before.

DSD(8) lives with us. Before me DH was a young single parent so MIL helped him a lot. As a result I have been more lenient with her blatant disregard for our family life.

We also have a 9 week old DS.

These things seem small, but she often lets herself into my house. She makes a beeline for DSDs room ( often with a brief you don't mind do you?... Over her shoulder), cleans it up, collects her laundry, makes her bed.

DSD went to stay for a few days over hols. Decided she didn't like a belt on some trousers. MIL "oh DSD says she doesn't like belt, so I have kept it." Why? Why not send it home and let me deal with it??

She 'popped' round today, asked me if she could take the children's washing home. Was visibly surprised and annoyed when I said I'd done it. Just to point up here - I'm not the type to have mountains of laundry piling up, she will literally leap on a few pairs of pants.

She also said "by the way, I'd you know the baby has a drs app on tues? I saw the note in your nappy bag. Who does she think made it????!!!

I may be sleep deprived over sensitive but this is lik, every other day. She is overstepping the mark isn't she??

It is constant. I feel that she thinks I am incapable, which I'm not.

Oh and we have lived together for 4 years now so I'm hardly new on the scene!

TylerHopkins Wed 28-Aug-13 05:27:29

What does your DH think about this?

ivykaty44 Wed 28-Aug-13 05:29:46

you have a 9 week old baby and your MIL is offering to help with the washing - sorry but I think it is you with the problem. my MIL would come round and do some ironing and my own mum would help with washing and tiding up etc.

Sorry but I think your mIL sounds lovely wanting to help out.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 05:29:57

He says she is being 'helpful' after all, who wouldn't want the laundry done?

Chottie Wed 28-Aug-13 05:32:21

Yes, it is too much. My DM and I had the key to each other's house for emergencies and would always ring at the door. It's a complete disregard for your privacy. What does your DP think of her behaviour? Why does she want to do your washing??? it seems a really personal thing?

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 05:33:36

She has been doing this since day one though. I know it comes from a good place. But honestly, it is all the time. She will come round when we aren't in to 'collect some bits' once when she was angry that I'd had the audacity to do my own laundry, she took it home to 'air' it - ecause you don't have an airing cupboard do you dear' she makes snide remarks about how I should not cuddle DS so much, all together it makes me feel inadequate. It is stifling,

TylerHopkins Wed 28-Aug-13 05:34:43

I agree offering to do the washing is helpful however letting herself into the house would annoy me to be honest. I think it's time to draw some lines in the most tactful way possible. She sounds a little controlling but is probably feeling a bit pushed out re DSD.

Chottie Wed 28-Aug-13 05:34:49

Keep cuddling and ignore her!

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 05:36:05

And I have asked her politely to stop. Explained that I know she's trying to be helpful. Tried joking about it. Now she just comes round and tells me she's 'sure I won't mind if she just 'pops upstairs' so that she has technically asked permission. Often I will say 'why dot you relax and have a cu of tea instead' she will just tell me she'll be down when she's finished!

LovesBeingOnHoliday Wed 28-Aug-13 05:38:59

She's just carrying on as she always has, does she live alone? I feel sorry for her she seems to need to be needed. Could she do some volunteer stuff?

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 05:42:23

No she doesn't live alone. Yes she does definitely need to be needed. I once suggested she volunteered at DSDs school, thinking it would help her to feel involved and needed. She told me I was ridiculous and insensitive p! I do think there is an element of control (not necessarily malicious or even conscious) but definitely control

Theironfistofarkus Wed 28-Aug-13 05:42:40

Oh dear. I don't think she thinks you are incapable. She had clearly become used to being the mother figure and probably is finding it hard to let go of that. But she has to respect the fact that the house is your space and she can't treat it as her own. I would ask my Dh to tell her this nicely and to say that you are grateful for offers of help but that it is important that she gives you space as a family, does not let herself in, asks before doing things and doesn't take offence if her offers are refused. My mil had to be asked not to wash MY knickers and to stop trying to clean the kitchen constantly and empty out my bathroom bin (containing some discarded ovulation sticks which I thought were safely out of sight and obv private). I feel your pain on this.

PTA Wed 28-Aug-13 05:53:48

Either change the locks or fit another lock/bolt to the door. That way she can't let herself in when you are there but will be able to if you want her to. Eg when you are away and want her to water the plants.

With a new baby you might be being a bit over-sensitive but I don't think so. Reading between the lines there seems to be history/back story so put a stop to it now while your new baby is still young and prevent any escalation of events.

At 8 DSD should be cleaning her own room! You seem to have cut MIL a lot of slack and it will be difficult to reign her in but you need to now and the new baby is the perfect excuse. If you don't draw up some boundaries then it's going to get worse. Just look at some of the MIL threads on here!

Alternatively, move to the other end of the country/abroad. ;-)

Theironfistofarkus Wed 28-Aug-13 05:54:19

Ps I don't think it is wrong for mils to offer to help. But it is not helping if you don't want it to happen. Once someone has been told that what they are doing is unhelpful trying to carry on is no longer about helping any more than it would be if you let yourself in her house without asking and started to do her washing or a bit of hoovering.

Mixxy Wed 28-Aug-13 05:57:08

That would bug the utter shit out of me. If she wants to help perhaps you could assign tasks that aren't quite so personal as laundry. Like, "oh, would you mind running the hoover over the living room, I haven't had time".

I would feel really under pressure to keep my home hotel-perfect just to maintain a sense of privacy.

I understand her deep attachment to her GD. Perhaps you could engineer time they could spend together outside of your home, where you don't feel so invaded and judged. If it helps, she only does it because she probably has no input or influence with youe DSDs mum.

Breath deep. I have no contact with my MIL anymore (following massive blow out). Yes, you are filled with hormones, but that doesn't mean you've lost your mind.

PoppyAmex Wed 28-Aug-13 06:06:26

She helped raise her grandchild so I think it might be a tough adjustment for her.

I understand where your position but it sounds like she's coming from a good place so I'd try to be kind.

waltzingmathilda Wed 28-Aug-13 06:23:35

She is all but name the childs mother - your OP reads as though the natural mother wasnt on the scene, very unusual for a young single man to be given residency. It's hard for her to hand the child over to you I'm afraid. There is the blood link that you don't have. She is ensuring her grandchilds interests are best served.

cantreachmytoes Wed 28-Aug-13 06:27:01

That would drive me CRAZY! Airing your washing?!

She's not offering to help, in that case there would be a question involved and an answer listened to. Helping someone does not involve letting yourself into their house uninvited, family member or not.

OP have you asked/told her directly that you appreciate her "kindness", but you want to do things for your family yourself?

Do you know the Australian residency visa thread? If she won't stop, then perhaps you need to do something like that! ;-)

Perhaps too having a clear word with your DP about it too and having him speak to her would help. He doesn't need her like he did when he was single and she's encroaching on your family space.

cantreachmytoes Wed 28-Aug-13 06:27:22


exoticfruits Wed 28-Aug-13 06:40:53

I think that you just need to sit down with her and DH and discuss it in a kindly manner. It seems that the situation evolved and no one liked to make any changes once you were on the scene and yet no one was prepared to discuss it - now is the time to start.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 28-Aug-13 06:46:43

I could not live like this and would have been much blunter, long ago.

You've been around for four years. She's had plenty of time - half dsds life in fact - to adjust to you being the stepmother.

The problem is your DP in the end though. If he won't see your point of view and communicate your wishes, she will continue to feel she has permission and it's him and her against the world.

You can ask him to think about whether anyone has asked you if you want help at home. If they did, what would your answer be? Of course a big part of the problem here is that he wants to be looked after, rather than doing housework himself and is accustomed to this. The very fact that doing laundry is seen as helping you, tells us he sees laundry as your job. He is concerned that if his mother stops mothering him, he might be asked to pull his weight domestically.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Aug-13 06:50:46

She had the parent role for a while. It messed with logic. My mother had exactly the same situation. She had been like a mother to her first grandson. When my brother met his partner it was very difficult for her to revert to Grandma - and she was aware of that and trying very hard to adjust.

It's difficult but maybe you should talk about it instead of getting annoyed and taking it personally. Is it not possible to say 'we know how much you love DSD and we know you have helped raise her but we are tryingto give her a regular family here and we want you to be involved for more of the fun grandma stuff -outings and games and going out for cake - and let the washing and tidying be done by all of us who actually live here'

Jinty64 Wed 28-Aug-13 07:01:30

Whilst I think she is just trying to help she should not be allowed to walk in unannounced and should not be going upstairs without your say so.

Motheatenwardrobeofdross Wed 28-Aug-13 07:11:10

She shouldn't have a key to your house, that is stepping way over boundaries.
She shouldn't be doing your washing unless you ask her to, nor cleaning up, going upstairs etc.
I would try and have her do more GP duties such as having the children round her house, making a mess baking cookies in her kitchen etc.

lunar1 Wed 28-Aug-13 07:12:23

I feel quite sorry for her. I appreciate it must be difficult for you but she stepped up when her DGD needed a mother. Then she got replaced, my eldest is 4 and I'm trying to imagine how I would feel if I was suddenly forced to take a step back in his life.

She is basically a mother with no rights, I would be very gentle and never forget this however you approach it. At least it will give you time with your new baby,.

Mixxy Wed 28-Aug-13 07:20:57

I think lots of us can see how she is replaced as a mother in a role. But the OP is trying her best to take that role as mother, not out of spite, but out of love too. Trying to make a blended family and offer her DSD a 'normal' (hate that word) family unit life.

It is hard for the MIL to accept. She has a deeply loving maternal instinct for her GD. But she is treating the OP as a type of sibling of her DH who is out of her depth, when she is not.

OP, I think when your MIL gets used to seeing you as a mother, she might be more at ease. She will accept the fact that you are in the parenting role now. It will take her time to accept. Be kind. But maybe take that key off her, yeah?

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 07:28:41

It does annoy me and I appreciate I have winged but honestly I have tried discussing this with her, I have explained that she is very helpful but I now I have DS I need to learn to manage my own home, I have tried saying about how much dsd would enjoy seeing her and about her going back to being a normal grandparent. I have tried so hard, but it is exhausting. I completely understand how hard it has been for her. But establishing a step family is hrd enough without all of this. We generally get on well so I have been careful not to upset her but perhaps it is time to be more blunt.

I may be being over sensitive Mathilda but I think it's unfair that you say that she she is in 'all but name the child's mother'... She is 8. I have done day to day child care inc school runs, doc appointments, scraped knees, friendship fallouts etc etc for 4 years. Prior to this she helped with nursery pick ups whilst DH was at work for 2 years. I appreciate that she had a big role and is extremely attached but if anyone is her mother in 'all but name', I would argue that it is me. I'll sit here and wait for the flaming.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Aug-13 07:30:02

Mixxy - of course. That is well said.

But I think the OPs irritation is making her see her MIL as judgy and interfering rather than remembering the impulse that motivates it.

It's actually a potential win win if both op and mil can find a way to both see themselves as allies.
There just needs to be a gentle re focussing of what mils role is. Someone said upthread about giving her tasks. I would do tht - and make them all grandma ones.
For my DD that would be 'can you listen to her music practice /reading practice. Could you take her out for half an hours - she has been in front of the telly too long. She needs a new cardigan - could you go and help her chose one. Can you help her make some cakes/biscuits.
Actually for my dd it would be 'she is making up a dance routine. For the love of god could you watch it for an hour because I am ready to poke my eyes out grin

Pagwatch Wed 28-Aug-13 07:31:13


Donnadoon Wed 28-Aug-13 07:31:29

No flaming here OP, you're doing grand. She is over stepping boundaries, and it is for your DP to say something smile

QualityScout Wed 28-Aug-13 07:32:41

I think your son definitely needs a stairgate now - a fiendishly complicated one that's impossible for granny to open. That would slow her up. And you need to lock the door when you're in the house. Just for a bit anyway - both things will slow her up enough for you to say "i do mind actually."

Pagwatch Wed 28-Aug-13 07:36:31

I don't think there has been any flaming has there? confused

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 07:41:52

No, no flaming pag, I've had 3 hours sleep and being a bitch a tad snippy.

For the record, DSD does have an actual mother. She loved wih her until she was 2ish ( with lots of input from DH), until she met the bf that liked to set fire to things.

Contact now is very hit and miss. This is another reason why I cut MIL lots of slack - I understand that she doesn't want her let down again but I am desperately trying to get DSD to know that she can rely on me. I love her as my own.

The next time she pops around and starts making her way upstairs 'because you don't mind, do you?' reply to her with "Actually I do mind". Don't offer any other comment and see what happens. Tell her straight out that if DSD doesn't like any item of clothing she has that it is now up to you to sort out, not her. As others have posted, she stepped in when it was necessary, but it's not necessary anymore.
I would also ask DH to have a word with her about her snooping in the baby's changing bag and the number of unplanned visits she is making and her letting herself into your house.

KirstyJC Wed 28-Aug-13 07:47:21

You haven't mentioned how DH feels about this. What does he think? It's his mother after all - he should be the one talking to her.

Theironfistofarkus Wed 28-Aug-13 07:48:53

Sadly for all of us who are parents our roles are to be there for our children when needed but to let them do their own thing and fly by themselves so they can grow and learn wherever possible. It's a natural instinct for your MIL to want to carry on being needed especially in these circs (i dread the day when my dc dont need me to help). But it isn't right or fair for her to keep doing this. The right thing for her to do is to step back. So I think a strong recognition for all she has done but a firm steer on what is ok going forward is best. I intend to take up wild hedonism full time when my Dc don't need my help any more.

Pagwatch Wed 28-Aug-13 07:49:16

I was at the swimming pool at 5.45. I am pretty fucking snippy myself .

I just think everyone gets your pov Fairy and sympathises.
It's a crappy situation. I worried my posts and some others might have sounded arsy and you were feeling got at.

Inertia Wed 28-Aug-13 07:52:52

She is over stepping the boundaries. Sounds like she is using her gd as an excuse to be nosy.

If she wants to spend her time helping her gd, surely it would be much better for both of them if they played together, went out to the park, read together? Frankly I don't see how poking about in laundry baskets is essential to building a strong gm / gd relationship.

daftdame Wed 28-Aug-13 08:12:38

Bolt the door or get a security chain. She can't just walk in then when you are in.

If you don't like her doing the washing just collect it up and put it straight in the washer.

I think this would alleviate her catching you unaware and walking in and straight up to DSD's room when you are busy.

Oh and practise shrugging your shoulders, yes you did your families washing, yes you know you have an appointment. You don't need to challenge her as there nothing to challenge, that is you are the wife and mother here. Her overbearing behaviour will then be blocked, there will be no need for it as you have stuff under control. She can then get on with being a Granny.

Bonsoir Wed 28-Aug-13 08:16:57

It sounds as if your MIL has the best of intentions - wanting to help you with chores - but that she is going about it in a very intrusive manner. She needs to offer and ask you, not impose.

exoticfruits Wed 28-Aug-13 08:18:39

I wouldn't just start bolting the door- talk about it. The whole situation has arisen because no one will bring it out into the open and discuss. You don't have to discuss it in a hostile manner.

SubliminalMassaging Wed 28-Aug-13 08:22:09

I think she sounds really helpful and prepared to be involved by mucking in with the practical things rather than by just monopolising the baby, so I'd say you should enjoy it and be thankful!

However, you are right of course - she should not be letting herself in, and she is overstepping boundaries. I think she's finding it hard to let go of the important part she played in DH's and DSD's life before you. Get your DH to have a friendly chat with her, saying that you both really do appreciate how helpful she is, but you are starting to feel a bit invaded by her and she should give you some space to form your own routines, while you are grateful for the practical help that you ask for, she doesn't need to run your lives for you. Try not to alienate her though - you may regret it later when you need impromptu childcare etc.

holidaysarenice Wed 28-Aug-13 08:25:57

'Ill just pop upstairs'

'No we would rather you didn't,there is no need, please stay down here, would you like to pop the kettle on?'

fluffyraggies Wed 28-Aug-13 08:41:24

And I have asked her politely to stop. Explained that I know she's trying to be helpful. Tried joking about it. I have tried saying about how much dsd would enjoy seeing her and about her going back to being a normal grandparent.

OP has tried talking to her ^ ^

I think MIL is going to ignore all gentle attempts tbh. Gentle attempts from OP anyway.

I don't think MIL's behaviour is bourne out of a desire to help the OP out at all. It's got nothing to do with 'helping out with the new baby' FGS, this has been going on for 4 years. The baby is only 9 weeks old.

I could not abide anyone letting themselves into my home and doing as they please upstairs. It's not the way things work. She should be respecting her son's steady long term relationship with OP, and support them in building a family unit.

I think the answer lies with your DP, OP. As with many threads here about family issues your DP is your biggest ally here. He is the one who needs to tell his mum to back off a bit now and give you the space and respect you need as step mum to the girl, and mum to his new baby.

Locketjuice Wed 28-Aug-13 08:45:13

The key thing.. You lost yours and need to 'borrow back' hers smile

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 28-Aug-13 08:47:12

She has had a huge caring role in her grand daughters life and it will be very hard for her to let go and perhaps DSD wants that to continue anyway.

She's also likely to want to ensure DSD isnt left out given the new baby with a new partner and is feeling more protective than usual.

A little chat could soon sort this out but tread carefully as this could all go badly wrong and your DSD will be the one to suffer.

quesadilla Wed 28-Aug-13 09:03:00

I do have some sympathy but I think letting herself into your house uninvited and taking it upon herself to do laundry is taking the piss.
I would ask your DH to have a word.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 28-Aug-13 09:03:28

Fairy, what sort of help do you want from her? What sort of relationship do you want her to have with your children?

Is there a way of steering her towards this? 'Actually, rather than do DSD's bedroom, is there any chance you can listen to her read a chapter of her book/check her homework/show her to make those brilliant pies of yours? DS has been cluster-feeding all day, and I know she'd appreciate the time with you.' Or 'Oh, actually, while you're here don't dash off yet - I've got some brilliant pics of DSD and DS that I know you'd like. Take DS for a tick and I'll find them for you.' Include her, but in ways you feel comfortable with.

When my DS was born, MIL got very excited about it, and certain things were said in terms of 'I'll be in charge of X or Y.' It pissed me off royally, put my back up, and I instantly got defensive. Slowly, and it did take a while, we started compromising and working together rather than against each other. Certainly it helped when I started including her in terms of 'would you mind doing...' or 'DS would love it if you could...' Even today she does things with the children in a way that I don't massively like, but it's her relationship with them, and she's not harming them. I can't control the way every single person is with them, and she's a big and important part of their lives which is a good thing.

I do think you need to take a deep breath and try to remain calm about it. 'Seriously overstepping the mark...' would make it sound, to me, as though she's doing something damaging or harmful to your family. If she were to have said to DSD 'of course you can't expect Fairy to love you as much as she loves DS...' that would be seriously overstepping the mark. Wanting to do your laundry is irritating, largely because she hasn't listened to you, but not damaging. Ditto the belt. I'm not entirely sure in what way the belt needed returning to you 'to deal with'. I'm not sure that the belt needed controlling in some way; she's just mentioning to you she's got it, and that DSD didn't lose it or anything.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Wed 28-Aug-13 09:08:10

Op has it got worse since you were of/tge baby arrived?

Nanny0gg Wed 28-Aug-13 09:08:52

So, what does your DH think?

tiggerishtom Wed 28-Aug-13 09:18:56

Op has said her DH "says she is being 'helpful' after all, who wouldn't want the laundry done?"

Rosesarebeautiful Wed 28-Aug-13 09:23:14

Apart from the whole mum/step mum/ gran bit, is she just one of these women obsessed with doing washing.

My MIL is obsessed with washing clothes, hanging them out, turning them when they're drying. It goes on.. Our washing is described as being 'her' washing. Thank goodness she lives 150 miles away.
Mine is also one who used to see herself as the mum. Just took over when she visited- even 'accidentally' called herself mum.

I think you want to set boundaries - treading carefully because no point in causing upset. Preferably get you DH to set them. Make the point to him that you want to give his daughter a secure family life, with no confusion about who her mum is. Then get him to speak to his mum - doesn't need to be a long discussion - just keep directing her away from the tasks

Your MIL could well have been like this even without a step-daughter. She's trying to be nice - but it is too much.

Maybe get her to help with the baby instead - get her to see the children as siblings - rather than her focussing on the elder one.

I think you're doing very well. Keep calm and set boundaries.

To be honest, she sounds really nice to me. Perhaps letting herself in to dsd's room is overstepping but you get round that by announcing when she arrives that all the dirty clothes are in the basket and the ironing pile is x.
She obviously just needs directing with her help!

My mil has never so much as folded a towel or made more than 2 cups of tea (for anyone) in 9 years even when i was very ill with a young baby.

As for the belt, just ask her or it back.

buss Wed 28-Aug-13 09:31:26

she's treating the house as dh's and dsd's home, not the OP's .
Letting herself in and going upstairs to potter about is very rude.

Get the key back.
When you answer the door to her you can say, 'Please don't go upstairs I'll be putting baby down to sleep soon,' or something like that.

ems1910 Wed 28-Aug-13 09:34:26

Tricky as we can all see where it comes from but my goodness, that would bug the hell out of me!

My nephew's girlfriend is going through similar with my sister in law. I couldn't handle it as well as you seem to be. I'd have gone mad by now!

Obviously kindness is the first step, kill her with kindness but if it doesn't stop then take the key away. I think the snooping in your nappy bag did it for me.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 09:39:42

The belt is a tiny, tiny example in a whole heap.
DSD has just asked me where her swimming costume is as she is going with a friend today. It is not in the usual drawer. Only one culprit for this. Text MIL asking if she's seen it... 'Oh yes I brought it home with me as I didn't think you'd be able to take her swimming this holidays what with the baby and everything!' (She also already has a swimming costume at her house, it's just not dsd's favourite) so now I will have to do a 40mile round trip to get it. Gahhhhhhhh

Think so e suggestions on here have been really helpful re redirecting her efforts. Will definitely try that.

eatriskier Wed 28-Aug-13 09:41:17

I second all the change the locks. also, get a complicated baby gate in 'preparation' for ds and don't show her how to open it. then learn to say no. to say something mumsnety - no is a complete sentence too.

or at least use them for long enough to say 'actually if you really want to help could you do x, y or z'

buss Wed 28-Aug-13 09:44:09

this is an opportunity to say something!

MCos Wed 28-Aug-13 09:47:25

Can you pick up a cheap swimsuit locally, rather than do 40 miles return trip? (And maybe say to DSD that it is a pity that Gran took her favorite swimsuit...)

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 09:52:45

Oh gosh. Poor you! This sounds like a really really frustrating situation.

I can't think of what to suggest other than what you have said...redirecting her efforts somehow.

It's lovely that DSD has got such an involved grandmother but it must put a big din't in your family unit.

Could you just drop a huge bag of laundry round at MIL's house when you pick up the swimming costume, then gush at her at how much you appreciate it as you are really busy today with new baby and what a help she is bring? Perhaps give her regular tasks to do? You have got more control over her involvement?

Maybe a reverse psychology approach would be a good leveller?

Take her out for coffees regularly, try and equalise your relationship a bit...

I don't know, poor you, you are doing a great job though. I think i'd be tearing my hair out and blowing a fuse..

Inertia Wed 28-Aug-13 09:52:56

This is your 'in' - "Mil, I understand that you are only trying to help, but now this interference with laundry and clothing means that DSD might end up missing out on an activity with a friend that she was really excited about. Please stop, it isn't helpful and it's now becoming an inconvenience. We would really love you to spend time time with DSD, but she values time spent with you doing fun activities - we can sort the laundry ourselves but we can't provide granny time for DSD".

TheCraicDealer Wed 28-Aug-13 09:58:09

Go to Matalan and get her a new one for a few pounds to save traisping over there and insist that she brings it back over on her next visit. And while you're out, nip into B&Q and get a chain for the door. See how she likes them apples.

SarahAndFuck Wed 28-Aug-13 10:06:06

It's only helpful if you actually need or want the help.

Or, in the case of the swimming costume, not helpful at all to take something without telling you because she's made some weird assumption.

Rather than make the trip can you ask her to bring it back now, as she took it. She caused the inconvenience so she should rectify it. Or can you buy or borrow another one?

You will need your DH on your side for this. Mostly it sounds like her heart is in the right place but one or two things, including taking something she didn't need to take, do sound a little bit off, like there might be a little bit more than helpfulness behind them.

But before you tackle her, you need your DH to understand your point of view and know that he will back you up.

Because having him do that is more than half the battle. If he's not prepared to do it then everything gets put on you and it makes your stance a lot more difficult.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 28-Aug-13 10:13:19

Again, interesting that she thinks you're the only person who might take dsd swimming, not your DH. Is care of children your job, or is that 'you' plural?

You're being very quiet about your DH and why he's so happy with the current arrangement and so unwilling to try to see your pov or to challenge her. I strongly suspect you are focusing on the symptoms of your problem, not the cause.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:14:40

I'm tempted to ask her to bring it here and say would you mind watching the baby whilst you're here so I can drop dsd at her friends house. Oh, he's asleep, would you mind cleaning the toilet if you have a free moment, that would be SO helpful. Oh and the nappy bin could do with being taken out. Thanks SO much.


Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:19:40

Lottie - it was 'you' plural. Dh is working during the week, but they often do fun things together at the weekends/evenings. He is very hands on.

I suspect part of the problem with DH is that he does get it. He and MIL had a fractious relationship in the early days of dsd with her undermining him constantly and taking over (not to say I can't understand why she felt she had to, he was only 20). They have rebuilt this and I think he feels now that we should pick our battles rather than the relationship breaking down. He feels that she has improved dramatically compared to how things used to be.

ems1910 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:25:53

Umm yes, the swimming costume thing is odd and definitely overstepping. Why does she think your H wouldn't take her? Or that she may have friends to go with?

Go and buy a cheap one or tell her to bring it over. Don't let her in though lol

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 10:30:58

I'm tempted to ask her to bring it here and say would you mind watching the baby whilst you're here so I can drop dsd at her friends house. Oh, he's asleep, would you mind cleaning the toilet if you have a free moment, that would be SO helpful. Oh and the nappy bin could do with being taken out. Thanks SO much.


D'you know what Fairy ? Do it !! (with love of course)

It must be a blimming nightmare but the last thing you want is your DSD to be caught in the middle of a battle.

Your DMIL obviously wants to be busy and involved so make best use of her energy as without you to direct it a bit it seems to be all over the place.

Please can you let us know how you get on?

I'm on Mat leave and live for the outcomes of these AIBU dilemmas smile

Choos123 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:34:49

The only thing I'd say is if she can be made to call before appearing, arrive less frequently, respect that it is your house etc, she could be a fantastic help to you. DH and you need to sit her down for a serious chat about what your ground rules are. I'd avoid having a big fall out but definitely don't go and collect the costume yourself.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:37:13

Me too cat, it has got so out of hand that I have started thinking in terms of 'DS' blush.

I'm texting.
'Sorry if it is inconvenient for you but would you mind bringing DSDs swimming costume back here as she had plans to go swimming with a friend today and I don't want her to miss out. Didn't want to drag the kids all the way down there to get it when it should be here anyway...' Then spring the unsterilised bottles/nappy bin/bathroom to her 'helpful' hands

hermioneweasley Wed 28-Aug-13 10:44:17

She should not be letting herself into your house. Ask for the keys back.

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 10:44:19

Good move fairy ! Make her a lovely cuppa, then spring the jobs on her :D

If you find things for her to do EVERY time she visits and kill her with kindness she might not feel so enthusiastic...

...or it might make her worse. :/ I guess it'll be trial and error.

Sounds like she could do with a bit of a life of her own....

iwantanafternoonnap Wed 28-Aug-13 10:49:09

Yes send that text and I would also tell her that in future she is not to take stuff from the house. I think she is seriously overstepping too OP and I would be annoyed at the amount of times she comes over and the washing thing is just barmy!!! Get her to do the ironing grin

I would ask for the key back and say that is she is unable to respect that it is your home and not hers that you now feel that you need the key back. You have been far more patient than I would have been an I think your DH needs to say something and present her with a list of ground rules and explain how you feel i.e. that she is taking over.

ExcuseTypos Wed 28-Aug-13 10:51:21


She is over stepping the mark hugely! I say this as someone who lived with my grandma for 2 years when my parents' marriage ended. I was 4-5 and my Grandma was a mum to me. However as soon as my dad remarried she reverted to Grandma mode again.

Your MIL sounds very like mine in regard to the 'fussing' that goes on. I used to live down the lane to mine, when I first married. She would walk into the house at all hours, she was absolutely obsessed with airing things (even though I had a flipping tumble dryer) and she'd give the dc sweets 10 mins before their lunch. We movedsmile

Well done for asking her to bring the swimming costume back. Carry on being assertive, in a pleasant way. And ask for the key back!

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 10:54:04

I also wonder how DSD might feel about her GM taking things from her room? If she carries on doing that she won't be very popular in a year or two!

Youhaventseenme Wed 28-Aug-13 10:58:49

Jesus, she is some operator.

Can you put your key on the inside, so it doesn't work from the outside. I think it is called deadlocking.

Then you have to let her in and can shepherd her into your kitchen as opposed to her sprinting up the stairs like a robbers dog.

Davsmum Wed 28-Aug-13 11:06:00

She is definitely over stepping the mark in your home but she must have been needed and useful to her DS before you came along so it would be difficult for her to step back I should think.

Your DH should really be the one to sort this out with his mother.

Sawdust Wed 28-Aug-13 11:12:33

Wow! Offering to help out is one thing, but marching into someone's house and disappearing upstairs to take their laundry is something else entirely!

I wouldn't actually ask her to help out with anything because she'll take that as agreement that you need help, and that her input is even appreciated.

It's hard, but you may have to be blunt "I want to do my family's washing from now on" leaves no possibility for understanding. I know that's not easy though!

My sympathies!

nocarsgo Wed 28-Aug-13 11:13:40

I can't believe she just waltzes into your house to interfere with stuff. It isn't "helping", it's utterly disrespectful of your personal space. Not to mention insulting your ability to parent and run a home.

She needs to be told to let go AND relinquish the bloody key!

DuelingFanjo Wed 28-Aug-13 11:13:49

can you get the house key back?

SarahAndFuck Wed 28-Aug-13 11:47:53

I wouldn't play the games with her because she may play them back.

You ask her to mind DS and empty the nappy bin, you come home to find out she's done all that and also tidied up your underwear drawer and painted the bathroom.

Then when you complain she can say "But you asked for my help!"

The best way to deal with her is with honesty, and with your DH's full backing.

It rings alarm bells for me that your DH has used words like "pick the battles" and feels the relationship would otherwise break down.

Can you imagine your relationship with your child breaking down because s/he asked you not to to do their laundry?

Would you want your child to be too afraid to ask you not to do it because otherwise they felt their relationship with you would deteriorate?

Would you want your child to say to their partner "We have to pick our battles with Mum?"

No? Because no normal parent would.

I can appreciate that it must be hard for her to step back if she has been used to helping more. But if it's making it harder for you to live as a family then she has to step back. Otherwise, it's not helping out of goodness, it's forcing herself on you all out of self interest.

But don't join in with the game playing. Speak to your DH about your feelings, don't let him dismiss them and when you are both in agreement with what you will all be happy with, speak to her. It should either come from him or both of you together.

The advice from Pag was good, tell her that you want her to be Grandma now and more than that, her grandchildren need her to be Grandma as well.

And take back the key.

MCos Wed 28-Aug-13 13:44:55

Can you put your key on the inside, so it doesn't work from the outside. I think it is called deadlocking.

^^ That. Until you get a chain installed on inside of door.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 14:09:22

We have a chain. She lets herself in when we re not here. When I am here she will try and open the door, frown at me when she notices that the chain is on. Since I have explained to her that I think I need to start managing my own home life, she makes a joke out of it 'you know me, just got to pop upstairs, you don't mind' pushes past.

Anyway, got her over here, to bring swimming costume. Left her with DS to drop of DSD. Asked her to wash up, sterilise bottles and clean bathroom if she 'had a spare minute' as those are things I would find really helpful.

Came back. 'Sorry darling, didnt have time to help you with those bits.' Dsd's room is now spotless, laundry basket suspiciously empty and a bad of her old clothes I had put to one side ready to be given to someone else have dissapeared. Unfortunately I didn't notice until she had left. Have just text dh to say that we need to talk to her about this.

My plan of action is a two pronged approach.
1)invite her to start slimming world with me to encourage a good relationship away from her 'help' around the house

2) sit down with her and dh and explain that whilst we appreciate what she does for us it is too much. Not really sure how to word it but I think we need to be explicit.

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 14:14:45

I would be LIVID about this. I actually think her having cared for DSD when younger is a red herring. The point now is that she's letting herself into your house uninvited, and poking about in bedrooms and cupboards without your say-so and REMOVING ITEMS FROM YOUR HOUSE UNASKED. That's tantamount to stealing actually.

You have to act more assertively here. You've tried the nicey-nicey approach and she's abused it. If your dh says "who wouldn't want their laundry done," say "I wouldn't, actually."

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 14:16:03

Oh and phone her back/text and ask for the bag of clothes back. Lie if you must and say you were planning on giving them to a friend. And while you're at it, say you'd really prefer it if she didn't remove things from your house in future.

The only thing i would say is unreasonable, is her letting herself in and the belt. But she seems to want to help you and surely you should be greatful for the help?
I would however take the keys off her and ask if she mind not letting herself in unannounced.

I think your dh caused this, as he required a lot of help previously and she is used to helping, maybe it is hard for her to let go.

mrspaddy Wed 28-Aug-13 14:19:47

Totally agree that this is too much... Yes I can see the nice gesture but it i all to help the dsd.. Understandable but I think you are a new family unit now with new baby, the dynamics have changed. I think it is her son who needs to deal with it. I would get the key back. Honestly I would. I know there might e a fallout.. But I think she knows full well that she is overstepping the mark. How many more hints can you give. I had to do this with my own mother. You have to be able to relax in your own home.i would hate this situation.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Wed 28-Aug-13 14:25:24

Wanting to help someone who doesn't want that particular help is... not helpful. Someone who does not live in a house letting themselves in when not asked to do so is...overbearing.

I'm really surprised at some of the reactions on this thread.

"Coming from a good place" "Kind hearted" - it's neither of these things if the recipient of all these good intentions is feeling overwhelmed by them - and if the good intentions are making the recipient feel worse, not better. If you want to help - and you are a kind hearted person - you find out what help is genuinely needed: you don't decide for yourself what needs to be done and do it regardless of what someone else says!

Your DH should be able to explain this to her - and, to be honest, she should be able to understand it - it's not hard! I doubt very much whether she would like it if someone else took over her home in this way.

StanleyLambchop Wed 28-Aug-13 14:26:39

I agree with Clam. Phone her and ask her where the bag of clothes are- you had promised them to a friend so you need them back. Then just be firm and say you would appreciate it if she did not take things from your DD's room- not washing, not swimming costumes, not old clothes. Be firm. This is your opportunity now, I would take it!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 28-Aug-13 14:33:46

Don't give her jobs: you're giving her a mixed message that you do need/want her help in your house. And then she's going to carry on doing other things, and furthermore she is going to think that's a good and helpful thing.

You're certainly not unreasonable to think she's overstepping the mark - she is, and it must be horribly annoying.

Just once, a genuinely stroppy 'I can do my own washing, THANK YOU' will probably stop her. Yes she might think you're an arsey cow, but if you want her to stop you mustn't play games with her - it is obviously not helping at all.

And say that you'd feel happier if she didn't use her key while you're not there unless there's a plan for her to do so that you're aware of.

This really really needs nipping in the bud.

Viking1 Wed 28-Aug-13 14:35:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlehPukeVomit Wed 28-Aug-13 14:38:03

Sounds like a good plan Fairy.

mynameismskane Wed 28-Aug-13 14:43:50

Take the key off her!
She is soooooo overstepping the mark!

LoreleisSecret Wed 28-Aug-13 14:52:06

I feel very stabby reading this.
You REALLY need to nip this in the bud now. Shes completely disregarding your feelings and role.

I feel very cross for you (and i have a fairly interfering MIL myself) hmm

eatriskier Wed 28-Aug-13 15:00:18

definitely text or call her and get her to return the clothes. all of the clothes. and say very bluntly that what she is doing is not helping.

then sit your dh down and explain it to him and tell him to exp,ain it to her. also you may want to explain that the disparity between how she is treating your dsd and your ds is just not on, she only seems willing to do what she wants for DSD and that is not fair.

then change the locks.

can you leave your house via a back door so you can leave the chain on the front whilst you're out? if so, do that.

Phone her up and ask if she has seen the bag of clothes that you had put aside for your friend. If she says she has it, ask her to bring it back to today as you had already arranged for your friend to collect them today (even if that isn't 100% true). Maybe if she has to keep travelling back & forth returning your stuff she will stop taking it in the first place.

Your DH needs to talk with her. I really wouldn't be inviting her along to slimming world or elsewhere for the time bring until things get on a better footing.

You also need to get your key back - how you manage that is another matter.

OctopusWrangler Wed 28-Aug-13 15:03:37

Tell her to fuck off. Time for being polite is past. She knows what she is doing so time to stop her in her tracks. Get the locks changed and do not permit her to go anywhee other than your kitchen.

ExcuseTypos Wed 28-Aug-13 15:07:33

I expect she's taken the clothes today as she knows you'll phone her about them, and she'll have an excuse to come back to your house.

Your idea of sitting down with her is good. You need to just tell her that whilst you love having her around as a grandma, she is not to go upstairs anymore to DSDs room, she isn't to take any clothes and she isn't to let herself in.

If you aren't very explicit I expect she'll just carry on.

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 15:23:41

Just had a thought that maybe the old clothes were ones that she had originally bought for dsd. Even so, she is still out of order taking them away without permission.

Viking1 Wed 28-Aug-13 15:25:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggerishtom Wed 28-Aug-13 15:31:47

I also agree with everyone who has said call her and ask or the clothes back TODAY.

She will never learn unless you make her.

MoominsYonisAreScary Wed 28-Aug-13 15:36:25

She's not listening is she? I think its time your dh spoke to her and told her to stop

Sawdust Wed 28-Aug-13 15:37:09

Uncomfortable as it may be, you are going to have to be brutally honest with her. She is being far ruder than you will be by telling her not to help herself to your laundry.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 28-Aug-13 15:44:41

My MIL is a bit like this first, when DD1 was tiny I HATED it but now I've accepted it......I imagine it's my Mum saying or doing the things...and then they magically don't bother me.

My own Mum would clean my oven while I was out...MIL is the same...I just let the buggers get on with it! grin

Today MIL said "Oh I will give your bathroom a good clean when the DC go back to school."


That's SEVEN days away...does she really think I won't do it between then and now? grin I just said "I might get to it myself before then MIL I do it thoroughly once a week...but whatever floats your boat!"

daftdame Wed 28-Aug-13 15:47:19

I agree with the other posters. What if she took an item away (to wash) that DSD needed next day for school or which she had borrowed off a friend? Change the locks, I wouldn't trust her to give a key back because
she might get another cut. No further discussion is then needed.

You can continue to see her, but treat her as a guest in your house, you arrange to meet at a mutually convenient time and she does not randomly take things from your house. Follow her around and keep talking to her if need be. Even if you have to make an excuse to go upstairs with her, for example, 'Oh I wanted to show you such and such'. Do this until you feel more comfortable she will not overstep the boundaries.

DorisIsWaiting Wed 28-Aug-13 15:48:01

Get the clothes back today (she has to be put out and inconvienced.

You are far far far nicer than I would be!

The key needs to be returned and she needs to understand why.

EldritchCleavage Wed 28-Aug-13 15:49:32

Change locks. That way, even if she decides not to listen to you you've stopped her.

Sit-down chat with MIL, you and DH. You will both have to be very clear, blunt even. It cannot happen any more.

She will end up disrupting the family unit as she mothers DD (or tries to) and leaves DS to you. That would be very bad for both children. Plus it's bloody annoying.

I do sympathise. I had a surprisingly long battle to get my mother to observe proper boundaries in my house (coming to stay whenever and for as long as it suited without asking me, rearranging things in my kitchen, changing the central heating settings, answering the phone for me even though I was right there). A lot of arguably small things but it drove me potty. Fortunately, as it was my own mother I was less inhibited about reading the riot act. It's fine now.

FixItUpChappie Wed 28-Aug-13 15:52:36

I wouldn't just start bolting the door- talk about it. The whole situation has arisen because no one will bring it out into the open and discuss. You don't have to discuss it in a hostile manner.

^^This. It will be uncomfortable but its best to air it out now OP or it will just carry on this way and get worse. Be respectful, acknowledge her support and good intentions - then be clear about what you need.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Wed 28-Aug-13 15:54:15

I gather that the house you are in was your DH. She has never accepted that it is a joint home now.

FriskyHenderson Wed 28-Aug-13 15:56:38

What sort of lock do you have on the door? You can change the barrel of a Yale lock very easily.

She needs to start accepting that she is a guest in your home; and that your belongings are yours

It's going to be hard and I bet it's the last thing you want to do but you have to pull her up every time. She doesn't get to go upstairs, she doesn't get to let herself in, she doesn't get to steal your washing.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 15:57:21

I've just asked her to bring them back. I also asked why she took them. I'm awaiting response.

Daftedame- she literally has an itemised list of all dsd's clothes in her head, knows who bought them, whether they fit etc and where they are at ALL times. She has been known to ask me where an item is eg 'what's happened to the pink m&s skirt?' Or, 'I see your mother has bought her ANOTHER new outfit'...

She has, in the past taken uniform home, leaving me with one spare which got ink on it. She got bollocked them but did she learn her lesson? Did she fuck

FixItUpChappie Wed 28-Aug-13 15:59:14

Also I think asking her to do extra things is very mixed messaging and not helpful

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 16:00:17

So worried - nope, it the home we own together. When we were living in his flat she did the same although I hoped it would stop once we bought the house.

Sawdust Wed 28-Aug-13 16:00:28

Good start - now tell her that you don't want her to take them!

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 16:02:28

Fixitup- I was trying to gently redirect her efforts as I understand why she is so desperate o be needed and to help.

It is one of many tactics I have employed (incl asking her nicely), none of which have worked.

Agree it's time for dh to read the riot act.

daftdame Wed 28-Aug-13 16:05:10

She doesn't actually sound very well...the clothing stuff is obsessive.

Changing the locks is the first necessary step. As for your relationship with her you will need to be understanding but firm, just do not give her the opportunity to take stuff.

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 16:18:08

Oh dear. All her obsessive focus seems to be on DSD doesn't it?

It sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing re slimming world and sitting down to have a chat with her. She is really struggling to let go and adapt to her change in role isn't she?

It would also be really nice if she is going to give you some help that it is shared between both children, not just DSD.

I hope you get it sorted out soon. You sound very tolerant and lovely, i think i would be blowing a few fuses!

asmallandnoisymonkey Wed 28-Aug-13 16:18:45

I'm getting quite excited about this. I know it's sad but I really like seeing how these turn out (hopefully well!).

I must say that you're awfully patient with her. If it was my mother in law we'd have had some sort of fisticuffs as she tried to push past me.

NatashaBee Wed 28-Aug-13 16:19:32

She really does have a cheek! I had some sympathy for her up until your last post, it must be really hard for her to step out of DSD's life when she's been so involved in the past. But to directly ignore your request and then do something else... ridiculous. I would insist she returns the clothes today, and every time she moves something, call her at 11pm to ask where it is. Maybe after a few more round trips to your house and late night phone calls she'll get the hint.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 28-Aug-13 16:26:21

Yes, she's overstepping. How annoying for you.

Do you ever visit her house? Why not randomly start bringing clothes/belongings of hers home, wander around upstairs after all 'you don't mind dearie, do you?' to see what she says about it.

Cerisier Wed 28-Aug-13 16:40:34

DH needs to speak to her about her behaviour. He needs to make it very clear what is and is not acceptable. If she subsequently oversteps the mark then change the locks and do not give her a spare ever (she will copy it).

You should be able to have privacy in your own home and things should not be removed/washed/cleaned without your express permission. I can't believe she took the swimming costume and the bag of clothes. Unbelievable.

I think your MIL is behaving appallingly.

pigsDOfly Wed 28-Aug-13 16:41:45

Obviously it must be difficult for MIL to let go of the mothering role in her GD life but what has that got to do with her feeling she can walk into the home of another woman and just walk upstairs and behave as she likes. How bloody rude.

I'm sure no one is stopping her seeing her GD and spending time with her.

I would change the locks. Tell her that you lost your key and had to have the locks changed and make sure she doesn't get a copy.

She is massively overstepping the line of good manners and needs to be told. I don't see this as being helpful. Helpful is asking if there is anything she can do. Helpful, when you've got a new baby, is bringing round a casserole and going away again. Helpful is not coming into your house uninvited and acting as if she owns the place.

SarahAndFuck Wed 28-Aug-13 17:08:47

This is why I thought giving her jobs was a bad idea.

She's just ignored you completely and done as she pleased, but when you speak to her about it she will say "but you asked me to help."

I don't get on with my PILs and haven't visited them or had them visit us for almost three years now. It's a very long story.

While I was still speaking to them I went to stay at their house. DH was working in the area, BIL and SIL lived near-by. One evening FIL was upstairs on his computer and we were with MIL in the living room watching a film and she burst into tears. Big fuss from DH to find out why.

She started off with "I'm sorry about your Dad <being upstairs on the computer> but we are just so upset. Both of us, we've been upset all week, that's why he's staying out of the way."

It turned out that four days earlier SIL had asked them not to let themselves into her house to do the ironing because they were repeatedly ruining the children's clothes with a too hot iron.

And (MIL didn't tell us this bit but SIL did later) they were also taking baths and showers, eating the food she had in the fridge that she planned to make the evening meal with, using her phone and generally acting like they owned the place.

SIL was coming home from work with four children she'd just picked up from school and childminder and finding they had no food, no hot water, ruined clothes and nowhere to sit because FIL was laid on the sofa and MIL was in the armchair watching some true life drama nonsense on the Hallmark channel. And then they were expecting to stay for something to eat (even though they had already eaten it).

MIL wanted my DH to talk to his brother about the way SIL had treated them because they were offended and upset. I told him not to get involved.

BIL eventually had to have a talk to PILs about the way they were treating SIL and set some boundaries for PILs. PILs responded by moving 250 miles away to live in the next street to us. We immediately put our house on the market and BIL and SIL emigrated not long after. grin

Those are extreme but necessary measures (and I'm still thinking emigrating might not be a bad idea). My point is, I've had my battles with someone who uses "I'm only trying to help" as a way to do exactly what they please whenever they feel like doing it, regardless of what the person they are 'helping' has to say about it.

Tread carefully. This story and the hundreds of others just like it that I could tell you about my PILs is why I said don't try to play her at her own game. A united front and total honesty is the only thing that will stop your MIL if her mind is set on continuing as she is.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Wed 28-Aug-13 17:09:09

As this is yours and your Dh joint home then she needs to be reminded of that fact.

She probably doesn't realise how unacceptable her behaviour is as she has just carried on as if you were still in the flat.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Wed 28-Aug-13 17:09:30

As this is yours and your Dh joint home then she needs to be reminded of that fact.

She probably doesn't realise how unacceptable her behaviour is as she has just carried on as if you were still in the flat.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 17:14:00

So worried - it was still unacceptable in the flat though - it was still my home, I was still contributing to it, I was still her parent. I just thought it would be more explicit when we moved into a proper family home and had the baby.

P.s - I'm still awaiting my response!!

fluffyraggies Wed 28-Aug-13 17:31:18


I'm so cross on your behalf, fairy, that i need to lie down nearly!

(although i have to admit i just nearly spat my tea out laughing at *If it was my mother in law we'd have had some sort of fisticuffs as she tried to push past me.*)

Please please please get your DH to see that the house is your space too and this is a battle you need to pick. For your DSs sake too. DOn't ask her to help with anything else, and get your key back somehow.

asmallandnoisymonkey Wed 28-Aug-13 17:31:52

It sounds as if she's one of those people that can't take hints. It's hard to be explicit when you know the outcome will be histrionics and her trying to make everyone think you're an awful person. You just have to be strong and remember that you're in the right and she really has no business treating you like that in your home.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Wed 28-Aug-13 17:36:12

She will retort with the "only trying to help" line but stand firm and say that you can see why she would see it that way, however you want it to stop now.

She can be in no doubt what you mean. I would also change the locks.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 28-Aug-13 17:38:50

Anyone letting themselves into my house would drive me nuts. It's totally over stepping the boundaries.

There's helping, and interfering.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 28-Aug-13 17:49:32

Oh, this thread has wound me up. She sounds deranged.

She has actually stolen from your home - right in front of your very eyes. That is absolutely not on. If she wasn't your MIL, you'd be calling the police for advice on being harassed/stalked/burgled.

No more being nice. She knows exactly what she's doing. Demand she brings back everything she's appropriated and change the locks. And she owes you a massive apology too.

What's with the stealing clothes and belts? Does she have a life sized doll somewhere being dressed up as your step daughter? That is not normal behaviour at all.
It seems to me that she is needy and jealous and missing her old role in your husband's life. Your husband needs to speak to her, if only to reassure her, however it will cause hysterics and tantrums, feigned illness and lunacy... Oh well.

I have a Grandmother who plays this game like a pro, but all the pussy footing around her has only made her more of a monster, and her demands become ever more ridiculous.

Change the locks. She is engaging in some territorial pissing in your home, and you need to piss back.

Sawdust Wed 28-Aug-13 18:20:30

Littlegrey's last sentence is funny - but it sums up the situation perfectly!

rumbleinthrjungle Wed 28-Aug-13 19:04:29

Agree with Littlegrey, very succinct! Whether she's doing it fully consciously or not this is a control thing.

She isn't going to like boundaries being put down, she is going to show you upset behaviour about it because she won't want things to change from this way that is meeting her needs, but the situation isn't all about her.

Now I see she has removed clothes, I would change my plan. Do talk to dh and come up with a plan to a) get key off her and b) reduce her visits.

ErmtheTrude Wed 28-Aug-13 19:37:05

Hmmm, MIL and I breeze in and out of each other's houses constantly, only ring each other's bells if the other blighter has been inconsiderate enough to lie in leaving their key in the door!

If you don't like what she's doing one option is to tell her but that seems a bit brutal, as lunar says, she's kind of a mother with no rights which must be agony. However, I'd suggest using her desire to be helpful to your advantage, knock washing the kids clothes off your to do list along with cleaning DSD's room and just tell her you hugely appreciate it, take her up a cup of tea and let her get on with it. You could try manipulating the time/ day that she comes by suggesting that you take DS to rhythm and bounce (local library 20 min baby bounce along thing, most libraries seem to do them) or whatever other baby festivity you fancy then back to yours after for a spot of highly usefulness/ lunch. Or maybe she could pick her granddaughter up from school or take her to an activity on a regular day which might mean she then comes round that day?

Not sure if any of that helps but I'd take all the help you can get, my DMIL was ill when my DD was tiny and I missed her support so much. I doubt very much she thinks you are incapable, she is just trying to help in the way that she knows and she probably hopes won't crowd you and DS by focussing on DSD. The Dr appointment comment was almost certainly a desperate angle for an invite so please give the poor woman a blow by blow account!

justanuthermanicmumsday Wed 28-Aug-13 19:58:45

Like others have said this situation is different she was like a mother figure to your step daughter and all of a sudden she's been pushed out. So you should be sensitive yet firm when setting new boundaries. Let her do certain chores that you are happy with but on your terms not when she feels like it. Rather than chores maybe suggest they spend time together outings?

I think you should have a word but tell your husband first. In my experience telling your husband to pass on the message could make her bitter towards you. She may think why didn't she confront me why ask my son behind my back?

Your husband should ask for the key back he initially gave it to her right?

I do feel sorry for her, but I can understand you being annoyed. I live with my mil!

Nip this in the bud OP as well as interfering with your home life and invading your personal space I think she might also be standing between you and your step daughter and almost preventing you from being a mother figure to her by trying to fill that role herself.

MrsHoratioNelson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:09:10

When you tackle this with her, make sure you are both there (you and DH) and make sure that he backs you up. Otherwise you will be the wicked witch and she will be able to paint it so that your are stopping we from seeing her DS and causing difficulties - and if only your DH had his way, she would be free to do as she pleased. She needs to know that you and DH are as one on this.

tiredaftertwo Wed 28-Aug-13 20:29:12

You poor thing. I agree with others - you can't send her mixed messages. I have been in a slightly similar position and think the only thing to do is say that what you want is grandparent time with you dc, that's it, that's all that matters - and if necessary that you are teaching your dsd boundaries and one of them is you don't go into other people's bedrooms unasked, so she needs to stay downstairs.

And I would treat her firmly as a guest. When she turns up, sit her at the kitchen table and put the kettle on, if she starts to go upstairs say "where are you going?", don't engage with washing or household jobs and if she asks about them or anything else that you consider private, just change the subject or don't answer, if she steals your laundry, ask for it back, as you have done. It probably will mean there is a chill between you, tbh, but I can't see how you can go on like this, with someone coming into your home and removing stuff, and I agree your dh has to act too.

I am sure there are much more complicated things going on here as well but people who grew up in small damp houses in the 40s can be quite obsessive about airing and drying clothes and rotating them through the house in a complicated system smile.

AgathaF Wed 28-Aug-13 20:50:15

I agree with Tired. Treat her as a guest. Be firm in checking what she is removing and continue to ask for it to be returned immediately and at her inconvenience. Tell her that she simply cannot remove family things from the family home without asking for permission first because it helps no-one and inconveniences the family who owns the stuff. Tell her straight that you feel undermined.

Instead of getting her key off her, could you add an additional lock to the door?

ems1910 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:56:10

Has she replied to your last text op? I really feel for you, I also think that she will not take it well when you and your H talk to her so be prepared for tears.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Wed 28-Aug-13 21:15:21

This is absolutely ridiculous. It's actually a bit creepy. Why is she only tidying one room and now others? What is with that compulsion. Would certainly not be happening in my house!

EldritchCleavage Wed 28-Aug-13 21:19:36

Maybe you just need to lock DSD's room! That would spike MIL's guns.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:44:52

I have had a phone call.

She 'suspected from the tone of my text that i may be upset'.

She says she took the clothes as she had her friends granddaughter in mind for them, she didn't think I would mind. Did I have them in mind for somebody then? (I did)

I explained that I did, I had promised them to a friend who we are seeing tomorrow (true). She apologised and said she hadn't realised.

tbh this put me on backfoot as was all very reasonable - but why just assume she could take them?? why not ask if she wanted to give them to someone specific?

I said that I was upset, that I don't want to seem ungrateful or unkind but that I feel that she thinks I can't look after DSD properly, and that her constant (used that word) coming round, letting herself in and busying herself with chores, and chores specifically related to DSD is compounding this. I have said that that DSD is finally starting to accept that I am not going to leave her, that she can rely on me and that we are a family, and she is as important as DS, and part of that family unit is that I look after her things.

I have said that I feel that it may be confusing for DSD as she does not know who is her parent. She loves you MIL, you are her granny, she needs a granny, my mum isn't the same (play into her hands).

MIL says she understands the way I feel. she is sorry, she thought she had made an effort and thought she was helping. She can't help but notice that I am struggling with DS as he is such a 'difficult baby' who 'wont be put down'. she supposes she will have to accept that I am now the matriarch of the family and taken over. hmm

I have invited her for coffee tomorrow to discuss.
Am I mad?

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:45:42

By mad I mean glutton for bloody punishment.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 28-Aug-13 21:46:22

Yes, I think so a little bit! She'll steamroller you, she's already insulted you in a very reasonable way over your baby. She knows what she's up to.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:49:56

I think we need to have this out though.
She's just followed with a text telling me how hurt she feels.
I need a fucking psychology degree.

Donnadoon Wed 28-Aug-13 21:51:19

Aww you are lovely, your DP is a lucky man. No advice I'm afraid.

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 21:51:38

Sounds as though you put your point across fairly and tactfully, under the circumstances. Bit hmm about the dig about your baby being 'difficult.' I guess you'll be best off ignoring that one, unless she repeats it, in which case I think I'd dispute it by laughing lightly and saying of course he can be put down and he's no more difficult than most babies at this age.
Good luck tomorrow. Not sure what else there is to say, though. Be careful you don't back-track.
I wouldn't accept the "I didn't realise you wanted them" excuse, by the way. Why would she realise your intentions for things in your own house. She was way out of line, taking your possessions to give away to her friends without your permission.

Patilla Wed 28-Aug-13 21:51:55

I wouldn't have invited her around after the comment about struggling with the baby.

Given that you have I would simply be business like and treat it as if there is nothing further to be discussed and have a cup of tea ready but refuse I let her upstairs saying something along the lines of "come now DMIL we agreed that this wasn't going to happen any more".

And continue to act as if you have her agreement and could not even begin to believe she might do anything other than go along with it

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 21:52:40

Just seen your latest post. You could always text back and say that you also feel hurt. Don't let her set the agenda as victim here.

Donnadoon Wed 28-Aug-13 21:52:46

Don't text back, discuss it tomorrow, let her think on for tonight.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 28-Aug-13 21:53:33

You need to counter the matriarch comment with the statement that we are all the matriarch IN OUR OWN HOMES.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:54:59

I've turned my phone off. I'm letting her sweat.
I'm actually finding it quite entertaining blush
feel a bit empowered!

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 21:55:34

No you are not mad fairy it sounds like you are handling things really well and are being really decent and respectful. She will have to agree to adjust, and it sounds like she is doing that. Perhaps go out for coffee if you can as people tend to behave better when they are on neutral territory? She sounds like she's open to being in a different role.

You could say something like. 'keep hold of the key in case of emergencies' That i think gives her a clear message that letting herself in whenever she likes is not ok but at the same time you are not punishing her and demanding key back.

I hope it goes well tomorrow.

"Can't help but notice" angry

I would seriously struggle not to slap her fecking face for that passive aggressive bullshit. Fight fire with fire OP... You "can't help but notice" that she has boundary issues, and despite repeated requests she can't seem to respect your space, your family and your repeated requests for her to stop therefore, with regret, she needs to hand over your key. Now.

catinabox Wed 28-Aug-13 21:56:28

...failing that if she lets herself in again, just whip off all your clothes and let her walk in on you doing naked house work!

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 28-Aug-13 21:56:35

I agree with Patilla. Don't reply to tonight's text and tomorrow behave as though she's agreed things are going to be your way in future.

That way she will have to explain to you why things should be any different to the way you want them - instead of you having to explain to her why things should be different to the way she wants them. And if you do go ahead with it, remember the value of silence when she says something out of order. Silence and leaving the room even. Let her flounder, let her try to fill the silence.

It sounds cruel but you could be on the way to anti-natal depression if this goes on.

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:57:44

Just made the baby jump in his sleep laughing at naked housework!

daftdame Wed 28-Aug-13 22:03:17

Listen, be pleasant. However, don't agree to anything, say you'll discuss with DH, if you have to stall. Then change the locks or add an extra. Then she just can't do this any longer.

You deserve a medal!

Nanny0gg Wed 28-Aug-13 22:04:32

Don't let her hurt trump your hurt.

Would she have accepted her MIL behaving this way? I wouldn't do any of this with my own daughter let alone a DiL. I only let myself into her house if she knows I'm coming or if she asks me to. Otherwise I knock. And I would have my fortune well and truly told if I tried to take over any of her domestic duties.

She isn't going to listen to you if you give one tiny inch to her tears and 'upset'.

It's your house and your family and if she wants to continue to be a part of it she has to back off and start behaving like a guest.

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 22:04:56

Actually, what does your dh say about these latest developments? Do you have him on side?

tiredaftertwo Wed 28-Aug-13 22:05:02

I think these are all good suggestions.

I think you could also text back saying you are sorry she feels hurt, that was not your intention, but you think that now the air has been cleared perhaps the subject should be left for a few days and so would she like to come round on Sunday for a family lunch and to teach dsd to play monopoly (or whatever) - so a nice friendly invitation to her as a guest and doting grandmother. Then switch your phone off again and go out tomorrow morning.

And then tell dh he must deal with it if she tries to start rootling through your washing basket. I think you have done more than enough, it sounds like you made your point really clearly and kindly - but I wouldn't go any further in the direction of this being about you having difficulties. Her behaviour is unacceptable. I am glad you feel empowered. Do look after yourself, this sounds very hard with a tiny baby.

clam Wed 28-Aug-13 22:06:10

Hurt? She should be feeling embarrassed.

Orianne Wed 28-Aug-13 22:07:21

She'll be texting your DH as we speak...

AgathaF Wed 28-Aug-13 22:09:22

She is a real player!

Why would it not occur to her that taking a bag of clothes from your home (not her home) was unacceptable. What's she even doing looking in bags in your home???

Would she like it if you took random items from her house without seeking her permission? Is it technically theft?

Every time you feel on the back foot from one of her comments, ask yourself - what would happen if I did that your your house?

Fairy1303 Wed 28-Aug-13 22:09:24

DH is completely onside (although he is finding it funny - particularly the matriarch comment).

He says to just pretend all is normal tomorrow (as in friendly chit chat, not let her do as she pleases)

if not he says he will have a gentle chat with her.
He says he is bracing himself for text from FIL saying mum is upset!
(generally FIL is bloody ace so this would be slightly tongue in cheek if it happens)

Nanny0gg Wed 28-Aug-13 22:11:36

She has a hide like a rhinoceros.

Why be gentle?

Mrchip Wed 28-Aug-13 22:11:58

What a cow. So she's noticed you're struggling but couldn't find the time to sterilise the bottles for you?!

Seriously she's rude. Maybe say you've noticed that she's struggling to fill her time and hand her some info on volunteering or night classes- say it 'might give you a bit of purpose'

FriskyHenderson Wed 28-Aug-13 22:12:47

How tall is she?

Can you put a hook or sliding bolt at the top of DSD's bedroom door?

Good luck tomorrow!

When you see her for coffee tomorrow she may keep turning the conversation back to her repeatedly.

You'll need to master not getting side tracked and saying: 'I understand you're hurting but.... '

I don't think the chat will work. But afterwards you know you couldn't have made it clearer. You can try and draw up some new agreements on what's acceptable though. I'd have some notes with you. May look very formal to her but you may not remember/ think clearly in the emotional fall out.

It's time to change the locks tbh. You can say keys have been stolen if you wish, to soften the blow but do not give her a new set.

I'd personally say you will be changing them at the meeting tomorrow and that she doesn't need a key anymore. But that's easy for me to say.

sarine1 Wed 28-Aug-13 22:14:39

Be assertive when you see her. She'll play the hurt card, maybe get upset? I would have a couple of phrases planned:
'I can see that you're upset but we do need to be clear about boundaries'
'We need you to be a loving Gran - I can manage my house and family'.

or something to that effect...

Wow - a lot can happen in a short space of time on MN.

I think you did really well with the phone call. Did you comment to your MIL that she should have asked whether or not you had plans for the old clothes before she took them? That is what normal people do - "Ah, Fairy, I see that you have a big bag of old clothes that X used to wear. Are you doing anything with them?" sorts out a load of confusion but that isn't what she did.

As for her follow up text She's just followed with a text telling me how hurt she feels. well that is ok. She is allowed to feel hurt and she is allowed to tell you about that but you don't have to do anything more about it to be honest. You have told her you were upset about how she carried on--carries on-- and that you were not trying to be unkind or ungrateful but in all honesty, there isn't a thing you can do about how she feels, you can only do something about how you react to her comments/feelings etc.

Best of luck to you when you have her around and have a very clear idea of what you want to achieve and also don't agree to anything that you're unsure of.

knickernicker Wed 28-Aug-13 22:22:38

Of course you're not being unreasonable. Which of us would ever dream of letting ourselves into someone else's house and not only that but into the house of someone who has politely asked you not to enter.
I wish I didn't open these MIL threads, my blood boils every time.

mynameismskane Wed 28-Aug-13 22:25:46

Please don't let her guilt you with her stupid comments. You must stand firm however 'resonable' she sounds (she is not reasonable).

Stand firm, take away the key and lay some ground rules.

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Wed 28-Aug-13 22:42:27

Sorry, so she took something from your home with the intention of giving it to someone else?! How is that ever acceptable?!!

Inertia Wed 28-Aug-13 23:02:33

You are being incredibly patient under the circumstances.

I think you're right to keep reinforcing the point that DSD wants her to be a granny , not a laundry service. It's a really crucial time in DSD's life, and it would be much better for her to have a granny who did fun things with her, rather than spending all her time trying to point-score.

I'd also make a couple of other points:

1. It's not a competition to be matriarch, you haven't taken over- you just want to run your own household. If you were trying to take over you would be letting yourself into her house, rooting around in her laundry, and taking out of the house things you thought you had a better use for.

2. Her actions don't help- they have the opposite effect. She's now done 3 things which have actively inconvenienced you and/ or DSD (the belt, the swimming costume, and the bag of clothes).

ExcuseTypos Wed 28-Aug-13 23:06:15

I agree that when she comes tomorrow just act as if she's accepted everything you said today.

If she try's to do anything you don't like just say calmly 'no, we talked about this yesterday, I'd rather you didn't do that' repeat until she gets the message.

Well done for sorting this out I'm such a reasonable way.

2rebecca Wed 28-Aug-13 23:30:49

So what if she's upset. Her behaviour was upsetting you. Now you're both upset, her only because she's been pulled up on unreasonable behaviour.
She'll get over it but if the relationship between you is to work long term she has to let you do the mothering and step back and be a granny only visiting when invited and not over ruling you and letting herself into your house and doing stuff in your house uninvited. Your husband has to back you up on this and tell his mum that you are a couple now and although she was really helpful when he was a single parent she has to adapt to the fact that he is married now, and she has to be a granny not a mother and give you both more privacy and autonomy.
If tomorrow she starts going on about how you've upset her you can retaliate by telling her how much her behaviour was upsetting you by making you feel over ruled and undermined and could she please only come into your house and do stuff when invited as you feel she is trying to push you out and she has her own house.
I'd be wanting locks changed if she didn't behave herself. I wouldn't want anyone letting themselves into my house uninvited and taking stuff and fiddling with my stuff. Fine if you employ a cleaner or ask for help but randomly doing someone else's washing isn't on and is controlling.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 28-Aug-13 23:32:16

The idea of someone coming into the house like that is so awful, so unbelievably awful, it would piss me off no end. It needs to stop.

Tortington Wed 28-Aug-13 23:37:53

i think you have been more than reasonable and i am in awe of the way you have handled it.

zipzap Wed 28-Aug-13 23:49:53

She's feeling upset and hurt after this one text?

I think the appropriate answer is 'welcome to my world - all your actions seem designed to upset and belittle me'. and then let her stew on that for a while...

How does she think you feel about all this? Doesn't sound like she has ever stopped to really think about what you feel about her actions other than the convenient stuff that make her feel good about herself - that's she's helping you or your dsd and therefore you must like it.

I think if she has taken stuff home before when it's been needed then the swimming costume disappearing is something that can be turned into a big thing quite easily and reasonably. You can't afford for any of dsd or ds's stuff to be at her house because they are likely to need it in their own house before they get to her house and they will always take the stuff they need with them anyway. Especially with babies, catch them on a bad day and they can go through loads of outfits, you don't want to discover you don't have anything as they are all at MIL's. I'd also get the belt back - just because dsd doesn't like it today, she might like it next week on a different outfit.

If she starts to say that she didn't think you'd mind then jump in and tell her exactly, she didn't think. at all. of any of the consequences. She is trying to be thoughtful but she's just thinking of herself and actually being selfish and thoughtless.

Another vote here for changing the lock - I don't think getting the key back from her will work. Was it you that had a locksmith dh? If you did, I bet he could change the barrel really easily. And then when you go away and do need her or someone else to pop in, he can change back to the old barrel, then if MIL tries to get a sneaky key cut, when she comes back she'll discover that her new key doesn't work when you are back and your dh has put the new barrel in again.

Good luck - I think you're going to need it! And I think it's going to take several goes to get MIL to realise what she is doing is wrong. Is there any way that you could get FIL on side - at least with the swim suit at the moment there is a golden opportunity for you or dh to say something to him to see if he has any suggestions as to how to get your MIL not to take stuff as she doesn't know what plans you have for it.

Hope you get the swimsuit back in time and the bag of clothes in time to give to your friend!

DuckToWater Thu 29-Aug-13 00:01:54

My PIL have keys to the house and live 5 mins walk away, but wouldn't dream of letting themselves into the house unless we had told them they could for a specific purpose. And vice versa.

Also if they want to help out, they ask how they can help, not just go and pick up random washing.

Regardless of how loose things were in the past when it was only DH and DSD in the house, now it's perfectly normal for there to be a different arrangement.

You all need space and boundaries. How would she feel if you went into her house and took something she needed for the next day? Pretty miffed I would think! It's just so obvious, but clearly she is completely socially awkward or being wilfully obtuse and needs to be sat down in a family conference to discuss the way forward.

SarahAndFuck Thu 29-Aug-13 00:45:36

Again, the text from her saying she is now the one who is upset/hurt rings alarm bells for me.

My MIL is known for doing exactly this.

If you raise a problem in a reasonable and adult way I can guarantee that within a very short space of time it will somehow have become your fault rather than hers.

Mine made a series of upsetting, hurtful and cruel comments to me, which she then compounded with telling lies about me to others in the family. I was upset, DH spoke to her, she told him she was sorry she had upset me.

She didn't apologise to me when I saw her later on and we had a slightly awkward and embarrassed but still polite and reasonably friendly visit for about an hour before she suddenly stood up and walked out of the house. FIL followed. It was all a bit bizarre because it came out of the blue.

They rang DH from the car ten minutes later to say MIL was weeping and very upset with me because I was being 'off' with her and that they would never return to our house until I was prepared to make them feel more welcome.

I knew that something like that would happen when DH said he would speak to her about the things she had said to upset me. She cannot live with being confronted about something, it drives her crazy until she can find a way to turn it back onto the person she has hurt or upset.

I suspect your MIL may now be doing the same thing. She knows you've made a fair point and a reasonable request but she doesn't like it. So she's had a dig about you 'struggling' and is now playing 'poor me' to try and make you feel guilty.

Rosesarebeautiful Thu 29-Aug-13 07:15:32

Sorry - short post - I need to get kids ready for school

Can you play her at her own game & ask her to take your baby out for a walk - so you can get some housework done?

You're doing really well - stay calm, pleasant and in charge when she comes.

eatriskier Thu 29-Aug-13 07:22:19

you've had some really good advice here. and you handled it really well. I agree with others that you should just keep shutting her down
- I appreciate you are trying to help but you aren't. if you want to help please ask what needs doing
- we spoke about this yesterday, yes I do mind

alternatively like pp says, if she starts trying to do anything then fling a preferably screaming ds at her and firmly say no, taking ds for a walk will help me more wink

You aren't going to get far with words. Her behavior is too habitual. You will have to put physical barriers in order for to learn new more acceptable behaviors.

Theironfistofarkus Thu 29-Aug-13 08:22:32

The problem you have is that she doesn't want to help or she would do the jobs you ask her to do. Her comment about you being the new "matriarch" shows how she really sees things which is that control and power are important to her and she wants to keep control by doing what she wants to do. But she can't have that in your house or relating to your children. She needs to be a loving grandmother and get her control fix from another source.

Sawdust Thu 29-Aug-13 08:23:19

I agree with the others. Try to see it as a done deal, nothing more really to discuss.

Keep it unemotional if you can. Try not to let her talk about the relationship with your daughter and stick to the totally indefensible behaviour that you want to change.

Best of luck! You have put up with this for long enough!

Charlottehere Thu 29-Aug-13 08:34:26

Help is only helpful if wanted.

tiredaftertwo Thu 29-Aug-13 08:34:44

I would not ask her to do anything - apart from be lovely to her gdc - for the moment. I think asking for any specific "jobs" at all blur the lines - she can then say she was trying to be "helpful" again and get obsessed with your bins or socks or something.

I think I would stick to the line that you do not want and do not need help. What you want is a loving grandmother who spends time with her lovely grandchildren. That is more valuable. If this all settles down in time, they you could let her load the dishwasher with tea cups or some other job that guests do from time to time, as a reward!

It is horrible, but you have the trump card here. She wants to see the dc. She is likely to see more of them if she gets on with their mother (I know you would never deny her access, but at the margins, when wondering whether to ask her to join you on a family picnic or not.....)

And I agree with others - get the locks changed and do not give her keys. You can make some excuse, but if she pushes it I would explain that you have keys with a neighbour for emergencies and there is no reason for her to be in your house when you are not there.

Good luck.

Charlottehere Thu 29-Aug-13 08:36:45

My fil used to insist on doing the ironing. It was nice having crease free clothes but tbh I really didn't like it. He would do it at the weekend and I would have piles of clothes all over my house to be put away. Sod that at the weekend unless I choose too. You life.

EldritchCleavage Thu 29-Aug-13 11:29:21

You aren't going to get far with words. Her behavior is too habitual. You will have to put physical barriers in order for to learn new more acceptable behaviors

This is bang on. Unfortunately, and for whatever misguided reason, I don't think the fact that you are annoyed and unhappy is going to stop her indulging in this behaviour. She will have to be prevented from being able to do it.

2rebecca Thu 29-Aug-13 12:18:35

When you discuss things with her i think you have to be kind but firm.

Kind in expressing thanks for the support she gave to your husband and stepdaughter when your husband was a widower (as no mother is mentioned here I'm presuming this is the case as it's very unusual for mothers to have no contact at all with children). Thanks for her thinking about doing helpful things for you as you have a baby.

Firm in making it clear that you are finding the current behaviour too intrusive (you could use a better word) and asking her to phone before visiting to check it is convenient in the same way you phone her before visiting. Make it clear being "family" doesn't excuse you from social niceties and it's better to be a welcome expected visitor than to be in the way.

Firm in asking her not to let herself in if there is no-one in, but if she phones first she shouldn't be turning up when there is no-one in.

Firm in asking her not to do your housework/ laundary/ remove stuff from the house unless she discusses this with you or your husband first. Mention that she'd think it odd if you let yourself into her house and took her laundary away without asking.

Kind in then stressing that you really appreciate the bond she has with your stepdaughter, hope she forms as good a bond with your son and hope she can enjoy seeing her grandchildren without having to do all the housework/ parental stuff which now you and your husband will be doing.

If she doesn't accept this carries on as before then the locks get changed and the house is kept locked even if you're in for a few weeks. (My front door is always locked)

Ffs I would have changed the locks and had an extremely stabby face on if she dared to come over more than once a week

I like privacy

You are a saint

clam Thu 29-Aug-13 14:12:02

How did the coffee chat go?

LongTailedTit Thu 29-Aug-13 18:51:16

Bloomin heck OP, just read the thread and want quite believe she's so thick skinned after so many direct comments from you!

One of the main things I've picked up on is her sense of ownership. She doesn't feel like she is a guest or visitor, she feels it's her house too.
Exemplified by things like taking the bag of old clothes, because why in a million years would she think she had a right to help herself unless she thought everything of DSDs belonged to her by default anyway?
She needs to be told by your DP that she can't help herself to anything in your house ever!

Also a good idea to ask for her key back or change the locks - v cheap do do.

I think she may need more than a 'gentle' word tho, it's a pretty big deal for her, a passing cooment won't make any impact!

Hope the chat went well... brew

catinabox Thu 29-Aug-13 18:54:55

How did it go fairy ? Are you o.k?

LongTailedTit Thu 29-Aug-13 18:55:13

Meant to add - when she said that she felt hurt, I'd have told how hurtful it is for you to be constantly undermined in your own home. angry

Hope OP isn't burying her MIL under the patio. wink

everlong Thu 29-Aug-13 19:34:48

I know this thread will have moved on and I'm sure someone has already said it but just in case..

Get the fucking key off her!

eatriskier Thu 29-Aug-13 19:41:39

oh I don't know SB, I sorta hope she is grin


hope the chat went ok today op

Ireallymustbemad Thu 29-Aug-13 21:09:37

How did it go today OP?

Caoilainn Thu 29-Aug-13 21:21:53

Update please!

Just hoping the "chat" went well Fairy.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Fri 30-Aug-13 11:06:54

Uh oh.... What's happened fairy? You've been away for too long!

BeansAndToast Fri 30-Aug-13 15:01:16

I've been checking for an update all day as well. I really hope it went well, you have handled all of it much better than I would.

carlywurly Fri 30-Aug-13 15:22:06

The obsessive behaviour with clothes is distinctly odd. I just read this and think mental health issues, but apologies if I'm way off the mark. Either way, a nightmare to deal with.

I hope it went okay OP! I would get the key off her A.S.A.P.

fluffyraggies Fri 30-Aug-13 16:01:24

Don't leave us hanging OP, we're all gnashing our teeth in outrage for you here grin

Hope you're ok.

Fairy1303 Fri 30-Aug-13 16:02:11

Sorry for committing the cardinal sin and keeping you all waiting! It has been a stressful and hectic couple of days!

Are you all sitting comfortably? I'll begin.

She arrived. With bag full of washed clothes (when did she even pick those up?!) did her usual, went upstairs, put them away.

I sat her down and cited this as an example of all of what is wrong.
I told her that we have appreciated it all andi could understand why but that I am a grown woman and I can look after my own family.

She could not understand AT ALL. Said she thought she had made an effort to be helpful but 'allow' me my independence and that she couldn't understand why I had suddenly become so obtuse.

She finds me 'most ungracious'. I have thrown her attempts at love back in her face and I am undermining her relationship with her grandchildren.

She thinks I am unfair on DSD and she didn't want to say anything but I am really unfair not keeping her room tidy for her hmm.

She doesn't understand where she went wrong with her children so that they all hate her so much.

We are making her feel depressed and ill and she hadn't been able to sleep since our phone call.

All she has ever tried to do was help us.

She then gathered up her things and left! She has resigned herself to the fact that we will not let her see her grandchildren!! I have told her I am sorry she feels that way but to contact me when she has taken some time out and feels ready to move on positively.
I said that it has never been our intention to stop her seeing her grandchildren and she is welcome to see them, have them to stay, play, whatever when she wants to, but that it is not appropriate for her to be so involved in day to day chores and that it is time I put my foot down!

So now she is not talking to us.


Long may it last. I suspect not long!

ClaraOswald Fri 30-Aug-13 16:04:57

She has thrown an almighty tantrum. Let her stew. But do be prepared to fight the rumour machine as she n starts telling everyone about how are.

DIYapprentice Fri 30-Aug-13 16:07:26

She doesn't understand where she went wrong with her children so that they all hate her so much.

Hmm. So this isn't an isolated example of her controlling behaviour, is it?!

fluffyraggies Fri 30-Aug-13 16:08:08

Cheers OP.

As clara says - let her have er tantrum. She has much much more to loose than you by disappearing in a huff. If the dust is left to settle i would hope she will have sense to make the first move.

Don't bow to emotional blackmail.

eatriskier Fri 30-Aug-13 16:10:22

Oh fairy

She obviously does not get it. You need to change your locks now. She will be in your house when you are out of it.

A few other posters have said she will not take this rationally with words. You now need to back your words up with actions.

Don't initiate contact with her, its another way of controlling things. Let her contact you then take your sweet time returning contact. Time to drag control back. Or as someone else brilliantly put it, time to piss back!

FixItUpChappie Fri 30-Aug-13 16:11:20

Sounds like you stayed calm and were respectful OP - good on you for setting straight what you need to happen. Its in her court really - I hope she was only so childish out of sheer shock and that its not going to be an ongoing sulk.

clam Fri 30-Aug-13 16:13:00

Oh wow! shock

Well done you, anyway, for being assertively pleasant, even if she has flounced!

GobTheGoblin Fri 30-Aug-13 16:17:16

Did you take the key off her? If not I suggest you change your locks pronto or she'll coming in when you are out.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Fri 30-Aug-13 16:20:59

Good question Gob ... Are you taking the key or getting the locks changed? I would go bat shit crazy if someone touched my washing like that. Freaky freaky.

Viking1 Fri 30-Aug-13 16:21:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Donnadoon Fri 30-Aug-13 16:26:33

<snort> Sorry that is so funny ^ " regularly gets cancer when anyone stands up to her"

buss Fri 30-Aug-13 16:36:59

well done OP - what does dh think?

Sawdust Fri 30-Aug-13 16:53:34

Well done you!!

What you said was reasonable and balanced.

And right!!!!

She will have to get over the fact that she is not DSD's mum, which she will when she finally realises that she is getting no-where!

Go you!

Consider my gob well and truly smacked smile. Well done Fairy. As others have suggested, now is the opportune time to change the lock on the door as it really won't impact on her now <insert evil grin smiley here>

Well done OP, have you updated your DH, what does he think about it all?

LongTailedTit Fri 30-Aug-13 17:28:10

If I had pompoms I'd be shaking them! "F! A! I! R! Y! Go Fairy! Go Fairy!"

Well done for keeping a cool head.

Tel: 0800 LOCKSMITH?

Youhaventseenme Fri 30-Aug-13 17:32:32

Oh well done.

birdybear Fri 30-Aug-13 17:36:43

You didn't mention the key? Uh oh. Big mistake! But well done for sitting and discussing it kindly with her.

EldritchCleavage Fri 30-Aug-13 17:38:51

Oh blimey, she arrived with her stroppy pants on, didn't she? I don't think what you said was unreasonable or unkind, and there seems to have been more than a little guilt trippery in what she had to say to you.

Mind you, we can make merry quips but it isn't nice for you, not least as you will have to explain her sudden absence to your DSD.

I suppose there is no point in talking to her until she has calmed down, and you will have to look determined if she is to accept the new regime. Change the locks, wait for her to ring you. If she hasn't done it in 3 weeks time, your DH could invite her to tea or something and take it from there.

Katisha Fri 30-Aug-13 17:44:41

I think changing the locks will add fuel to her flames actually. It shouldnt now be necessary. I suppose if she lets herself in AGAIN then you might have to do it.
I reckon it's over to DH now to back you up. You sound like you were reasonableness itself.
What a remarkably silly woman she is and, as has been said on here before, the architect of her own misery.
(And yes - be on guard now for the sudden "illnesses" and "crises" that will occur as a result of all this.)

LadyClariceCannockMonty Fri 30-Aug-13 17:52:46

I'm late to this but, OP, I want to give you a standing ovation! You handled it very assertively – polite but firm – and she has been loopy unreasonable.

She was 'allowing' you your independence? How magnanimous hmm
And yes, the rest of her visit just sounds like a massive tantrum.

TBH the previous comments about a 'difficult baby' who 'wont be put down' would have been the final straw for me.

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Fri 30-Aug-13 18:02:03

I would change the locks because if she's taken on board what you've said and respects it she won't need to be letting herself in, will she?!

Lethologica Fri 30-Aug-13 18:40:43

What a silly moo! shock

OP, it sounds like you were very restrained.

well done op!

but did she give the bag of clothes back? <nosey>

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 30-Aug-13 19:18:04

Well done for standing your ground, though I'd also say change the locks. She clearly just doesn't get where you're coming from - either she's intentionally being awkward or she truly can't see. Either way, that is not your problem. She has taken things from your property, has no respect for boundaries (you, your right to a family life, your property) and as such, deserves no place in your life until she can remedy that. What happens now is down to her.

You sound like a great mum and stepmum and she should be bloody grateful that her granddaughter has someone like you on her side.

2rebecca Fri 30-Aug-13 19:34:41

I wouldn't change the locks yet, mainly because changing locks is a hassle especially if you have 5 lever mortice locks. I'd be hoping she has time out and sees sense. The comments on all her kids hating her do make it sound as though she has had this conversation before and her over reaction isn't normal.
Don't contact her, give her time to calm down and see how things go.
If she lets herself in and nicks the washing/ does stuff uninvited again you change the locks then.

angeltattoo Fri 30-Aug-13 20:51:38

I just can't conceive of a person thinking it is in any way acceptable or normal to take laundry from someone else's house, then waltz around their home, putting said laundry away, as if they own the place.

I like m privacy, and as a grown woman am also confused and angry on your behalf!

Well done fairy for tackling this head on, it soooo needed to be done.

Make sure DH presents a clear united front, she can have her tantrum, leave it for her to contact you, and ensure future meetings in your home take place on your terms.

At no point did you mention contact with her grandchildren - how mad must she be, to have heard that from what you said?

and as for suggesting you are struggling, as evidenced by the fact you cuddle your baby, further batshit crazy talk right there

Dubjackeen Fri 30-Aug-13 20:58:45

Well done OP. You were very dignified. I hope that she sees the light, and cops on a bit, in her behaviour. Hope you can have some well earned cake or wine tonight.

auntpetunia Fri 30-Aug-13 21:35:06

She sounds a bit obssessed with your DSD …you're not being fair to her by not keeping her room tidy! I hope you told her it was up to 8 year old DSD to keep her own room tidy and that granny constantly taking stuff from the room as nd ultimately the house was unfair as she couldn't find her own stuff!

I hope your DH is on board now to back you up as she is going to kick off big style I reckon.

LegoLegoEverywhere Fri 30-Aug-13 22:10:01

Good post Viking.

Your mil has no boundaries with you, she thinks its acceptable to take things from your house anytime she likes and cannot see that this is wrong.

Batten down the hatches OP because this is not over. While you are lovely and tolerant, she is not. She'll badmouth you to family and/or feint illness next.

Change the locks asap. She has not taken any responsibility for her dysfunctional behaviour so will ignore anything you say, no matter how reasonable you have been.

tiggerishtom Fri 30-Aug-13 22:17:21

Well done, sounds like you handled it perfectly!!!!!

acer12 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:05:49

My mil was similar. I don't think it's about her thinking you can't cope, I think it's really about her feeling needed.

My mil used to let herself in my house and clean up whole we was in work and no one could understand why it was pissing me off lol . It is about boundaries and there was a stand off situation when dd2 was born, but things are better now I did that.

My ex mil is lovely, was helpful when it was needed and was not pushy at all so I've seen both sides.

Regarding DSD you might have to let her be the queen be with her as she was there first but with your new baby, you got to subtley let her know who is momma bear.

Fairy1303 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:11:23

Still all quiet on the western front!
DH was an eye roller when I told him. He says he's not surprised at the tactics employed and to ignore her. He says she will have forgotten all about it in a few weeks and will claim not to have even had the conversation! He has agreed that if when things are back on an even keel she tries to pull the same stunts that he will put his foot down with her.

He feels (and I agree to an extent) that revoking key would be overkill and add fuel to the fire, but has quietly text FIL asking him to put the key in a 'safe' (read, hidden) place and has emphasised that it is for EMERGENCIES only.
BTW i am shock at 'regularly gets cancer'!! What is wrong with these people?!

The funniest thing about this whole thing and I think what has shocked MIL the most is that this isn't even the most extreme her behaviour has ever been, it was just the tip of the iceburg.

I was talking about it to a friend today and she was shock - I think being around someone normal after being immersed in daily nuttyness drove it home.

Did I ever tell you about the time she drank the babies formula? when I joked that I had semi skimmed in the fridge she told me how nice it was and how she used to put DSD's on her cereal. ON HER CEREAL.

MovingForward0719 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:29:28

Blimey. I could tell you a million stories but I daren't. Sadly I think stuff like this is why my bil's relationships don't last. There is a kind of 3 way parenting going on between him, his ex and my mil. His latest partner has moved out and into a flat of her own, although they are still together, I suspect it is down to mil meddling. I don't get involved, the whole drama fest keeps her off my back!!

CoconutRing Fri 30-Aug-13 23:30:15

Oh my goodness Fairy - she is barking isn't she!!

Fairy1303 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:37:34

Spoke too soon.
FIL has text DH.
MIL is suffering from depression and insomnia and 'in a very bad way'.

DH is getting cold feet.

mrspaddy Fri 30-Aug-13 23:46:25

Uh oh.... Thought this was coming.

Deja vu... Have dealt with a similar woman. Hmmm... She is sick and the innocent party ... hmm

Dh needs to stick to his guns and support you

selsigfach Fri 30-Aug-13 23:47:49

Noooo! DH was doing so well!

Fairy1303 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:51:17

I have told DH to text dad and tell him it is not a conversation for text (ironic) and that he will speak to him in the morning.

We will formulate a proper response overnight I think.

I'm inclined to say that she is making me bloody depressed and I am an insomniac due to my 'difficult' baby but I don't go around bloody complaining!

MovingForward0719 Sat 31-Aug-13 00:03:08

If she is depressed then she needs to visit the docs.

Katisha Sat 31-Aug-13 00:08:30

Does FIL generally enable her behaviour? If not what does he want to achieve by telling you she is depressed and insomniac?

sicutlilium Sat 31-Aug-13 00:10:01

This was accurately predicted in Viking's "flying monkeys/mysterious illness" post.

SarahAndFuck Sat 31-Aug-13 00:18:02

OP your updates have been a bit like in-law bingo for me.

Everything is coming along as though your MIL has a list to tick off.

Not getting her own way? Can't understand why.

Someone feels she's at fault? How can she be, she's tried to help and has "allowed" you your space. (Allowed always provokes me though. PIL's used to 'let' us have some time together as a family. As in "We will only stay a couple of hours and then we will let you have some time alone." angry )

You've made a reasonable request? No, you've been ungracious, undermining and unfair.

You've tried to talk to her as equals? She's flounced out and is now calling depression and wondering why everyone hates her.

You didn't give in? Lets guilt trip your DH instead.

I hope your DH is strong enough to stick by what's right for you and your children and doesn't give in to this manipulative nonsense. Good luck for tomorrow. Experience tells me you are going to need it.

ovenbun Sat 31-Aug-13 00:24:15

hope dh and you stay strong...if you dont sort it this time, she will just make it more difficult next time..imagine dsds teenage years...granny will soon start to use these manipulative tactics on her..i would say sorry to hear she is unwell, but that it doesnt change the conversation you previously had. xxx

catinabox Sat 31-Aug-13 00:26:59

Oh dear fairy it sounds like you have got a bit of a narcissist on your hands. Google narcissistic mothers...there are lots of pages full of advice and info.

I hope you find a way though. It's really hard to hold your own with Narcissists because they know how to railroad boundaries, move the goal posts, trigger guilt etc... it will all be about her.

You are doing well. FIL must be a bit aware of what she's like ?

KatHavingKittens Sat 31-Aug-13 00:55:23

YANBU imo. It would drive me nuts too.

It means you can't pad about with no clothes on, or do other things in private, or nap or poop in peace. Laundry is very personal. DSD is going to be turning into a young woman in the next few years, which means she will be wanting underwear or other women's products she doesn't want grandma seeing.

I would be constantly on-edge that she was watching the way I was looking after DS, and judging the state of the house.

Is there anything you could get her to do to 'ween her off' being involved in such a personal way? Send her out on errands or to buy food or something?

If it were me, I think I would be sitting her down with coffee and cake and being really kind, honest and boundaried. Meaning, I would thank her for all she does, say what a big help it has been and how appreciated it is, but that I needed space/privacy now, and would prefer for her to have the fun stuff with GD rather than chores.

Good luck!

KatHavingKittens Sat 31-Aug-13 02:47:44

Sorry, didn't realise there was more than one page... wow... just reading now...

kickassangel Sat 31-Aug-13 04:57:02

Fairy, I remember about the formula. The thread was about something else, but that just made me scream WTF? shock

Honestly, she is barking.

And depression is a serious illness, not the same as having a sulk cos she isn't getting her own way.

angeltattoo Sat 31-Aug-13 05:48:13


DH must stick with you on this, any chink in a presenting a united front and she will take that as carte blanch to a) continue to piss on you and your home b) feel invincible and ramp it up

She really, really hates you doesn't she? She must have hated you coming along and usurping her as 'mother' to her son's children. But she honestly feels like she is wonderful for 'allowing' you to play at being wife and mum, and cannot bear you being anything but subserviant and grateful. Oh fairy, why won't you just learn your much lower place?

Ok, this really is it. DO NOT BACK DOWN ONE TINY BIT. Pressure might be put on you, as a reasonable person, to do so, but please don't! You've done the hard bit, now you just breezily repeat a stock phrase of 'we've discussed this. Thereis nothing else to say'. It is already resolved, bhlah blah blah...

If she is ill, she needs to see a Dr, of course a simple, reasonable conversation can't have possible actually made her ill, haha at the suggestion, breezy, breezy..

And never let that woman up the stairs of your home again. It's completely unnecessary, she now knows this. If she does, keys back for sure. She can then arrange with her DS when to visit him when he will be in.

Am grrrrrrrr on your behalf!

AgathaF Sat 31-Aug-13 06:35:20

Ovenbun makes a good point about sorting this before your DSD becomes a teenager. The last thing you will want when dealing with normal teenage problems is an interfering granny sticking her nose in and making things worse.

Hope you manage to present a united front today. Her depression and insomnia are a red herring. She cannot have developed depression over just what has been said this week. If she already had depression and insomnia then then that is a different issue totally and she needs to speak to her GP. It is simply not relevant to your discussion.

eatriskier Sat 31-Aug-13 06:35:54

your dh needs to back you up here. being depressed is not an excuse you use to get your own way. all your dh has to say to fil is 'I'm sorry if mil isn't well however that doesn't not give her the right to enter our house as and when, nor does it give her the right to keep removing things without permission. seeing the kids has never been an issue but the other stuff has to stop'. and argument at her helping needs to be met with her not to let herself in and that removing things is not helping, its causing problems. maybe dh should point out that of she wanted to help she should ask how not assume she knows best. its quite obvious your mil isn't going to do that.

and maybe ask him to say fairy is cooing fine with the kids, it's mil and her invasions and removal of items she isn't coping with wink

it takes 5 mins to change the barrel of a lock, even a 5 lever. if she does overstep again then change them.

Euphemia Sat 31-Aug-13 07:16:59

Bloody hell what a manipulative cow.

My MIL would be like yours if she had the brains to remember who said what when, in order to then deny the conversation ever took place! grin

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Sat 31-Aug-13 07:21:23

Do not give in Fairy. She is manipulating you. She's making it all about her and making out you are the unreasonable one as "she was only trying to help"
She sounds very controlling. My mother is very similar but perhaps more extreme (uses violence as a method of control as well as guilting and selective memory). Google NPD. I think this is what my mother has.
I gave my mother chance after chance, went low contact and in the end cut her off. She was a negative influence in my life and I'm scared of her. She still believes she has done nothing wrong. Ever.
I'm not suggesting you should cut your mil off but you do need to regain control of your own home.

fluffyraggies Sat 31-Aug-13 07:48:42

'Depression' isn't something you develop over night. What she has is, in professional terms, is called ''nose out of joint syndrome'' wink

If she is clinically depressed then FIL should be actively encouraged to get her to the docs. In fact i think that it might be an idea to run with that theory.

Very serious: ''oh God MIL is experiencing mental health problems. This explains allot. Let get her to the docs, yes?.''

That might put an end to the 'depression' terminology being bandied about.

eatriskier Sat 31-Aug-13 07:59:56

what fluffy said grin


Welcome to the world of the toxic narcissist inlaw. I would also think your H's mother is a narcissist.

re this comment:-
"She doesn't understand where she went wrong with her children so that they all hate her so much".

That comment above says it all (its because she was and remains a poor example of parenting). I would also suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward as a starting point. I see too that MIL has pulled the usual illness stunt following your discussion aided and abetted by toxic FIL. You have a long and difficult road ahead of you which may ultimately end up in you cutting these people out.

Your H needs to wise up and fast; his own family unit is at risk of being further undermined here. Unfortunately due to years of conditioning on the part of his not so nice parents, he is unwilling and unable to see the harm being done in from of him.

Also if she is a narcissist she's already pegged your DSD as the golden child. I would keep your children well away from her and her enabler H; such types always but always need a willing enabler to help them.

olympicsrock Sat 31-Aug-13 08:11:20

My Mil is staying with us for a few days as CM is on holiday. I work FT. The first day while i was at work she did 3 hours of ironing including my clothes. Then over the last few days she has done masses of laundry which was left in each of our rooms all neatly folded and pressed, looked after DS aged 21 months, made us a lovely dinner, cleaned the bathrooms, washed the kitchen floor and asked if she could empty the kitchen drawers and clean them.
What a complete bitch!
Seriously i gave her a hug and thanked her for everything she had done for us. Perhaps you could be less defensive and more grateful that someone is trying to help when you are exhausted with a baby.

MerrilyWatkins Sat 31-Aug-13 08:16:47

The difference being, Olympics, that you ASKED your MIL to help.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 08:21:38

If she is seriously depressed it means she is not thinking rationally which means you have to be the voice of reason. Her behaviour could be a symptom of it, so you make allowances in terms of not hating her, but you don't enable her to carry on with the incorrect behaviour, or provide further temptation for her to be able to carry on with it.

So you can be understanding as in 'Ah that is why she thinks this is OK' but reassure yourself it is not the way she should be acting. May be get a locking wardrobe and take the key away! All washing from the basket goes in the machine and if you have a garage may be lock some stuff up in there when you go out. That is if you don't want to change locks.

angeltattoo Sat 31-Aug-13 08:22:04

nose out of joint syndrome grin

It is only help olympic if you want and welcome it.

In this case, it's someone intruding, unwanted and unwelcome, in Fairy's home and privacy.

bubblebabeuk Sat 31-Aug-13 08:28:12

Following this thread with bated breath........ be strong fairy

Nanny0gg Sat 31-Aug-13 08:30:02

and asked if she could empty the kitchen drawers and clean them.

She asked!

She didn't let herself into your home, or barge past you and march straight upstairs, taking things from people's rooms (without asking so that OP has no idea where things are) and generally take over when not wanted.

I wish that people would at least read the OP's posts, if not the rest of the thread!

No-one would like this level of interference - it's insane!

BranchingOut Sat 31-Aug-13 08:34:03

My lovely MIL does quite a bit around the house when she looks after my DS. BUT, it is always stuff we are happy for her to do eg. DS's laundry, stacking dishwasher. And i am hugely grateful! However, the key thing is that she knows our respective roles. BUT, we did go through an awkward period of adjustment when DS was born, as our roles were changing and all the emotion of a new baby was flowing around.

I think that you are doing the right thing, but bear in mind that it might all settle down naturally too as you all come out of the post-birth phase.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 08:37:27

Can FiL maybe give her more attention or spend more time doing things with her to take the heat off?

Or may be OP could start leaving 'decoy' washing about, as a last resort?

If DSD was in a sports team she could do their kit?

Sort some stained stuff out for her to dye / sort out? Mending for her to do?

Olympics, The difference is your MIL is helping for a few days. Not treating your home as her own.

Fairy the only conversation I would have with FIL would be to suggest he takes MIL to the doctors for help with her 'depression'. And that it is not a excuse to treat you badly.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 08:43:25

Maybe she could iron DH's shirts every week?

A nice defined task which DH will have to tackle if goes wrong.

Viking1 Sat 31-Aug-13 08:49:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clam Sat 31-Aug-13 08:50:55

daftdame why should she lock things away in cupboards and the garage in her own house to guard against an uninvited person barging in and removing things at will? That's an intolerable way to have to live. Far better to get the "intruder" to back off and learn acceptable boundaries.

'Depression' my arse!

auntpetunia Sat 31-Aug-13 08:52:49

Olympics earlier on Fairy said she's left MIL with a few tasks that needed doing while she took DSD out MILs response was "sorry didn't have time to do those" BUT she'd gone upstairs tidied DSDs room and taken a bag of clothes which Fairy had put to one side for a friend as well as all DSDs washing!

She's not interested in helping only in guarding her precious granddaughter from fairy who isn't being fair to said DSD by not keeping the 8 year olds room tidy!

She's got problems! fairy hope your DH doesn't waiver …I recommend response back to FIL "oh God that makes sense, she's got mental health problems …what's the Dr said?" That will promptly stop any talk of depression etc, because I bet she'd hate you to think she was unstable.

Good luck

Nanny0gg Sat 31-Aug-13 08:54:35

TBH I think the only way forward is for her to be treated and act like, a guest.

So, comes when specifically invited (Sunday lunch) or when specific arrangements have been made, preferably with FiL in tow as well. She is not allowed upstairs at all (unless there is no downstairs loo).
She is given no jobs - not even washing up, and all offers are politely declined.

And make very, very sure that she leaves empty-handed...

bootsycollins Sat 31-Aug-13 08:55:51

Stay strong Fairy your almost there. Defo go with the concerned " oh no mil is having mental health problems, lets get her an appointment at the doctors first thing Monday morning". Your situation has gone way past any compromise deals it's time for you and dh to stand your ground, no arguments. You can make a shit sandwich out of it for her " oh mil its's high time you stopped to smell the roses, I really feel undermined and upset when you continue to ignore my requests, I just want you and the DC to enjoy each others company".

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 09:00:04

clam Of course she shouldn't have to but the OP said they didn't want to change the locks. This was just a short term solution. The MiL may have depression (quite badly), it would explain the, quite frankly, strange behaviour.

However I do not think the OP should give in to MiL's destructive and divisive behaviour just recognise it is not her own (OP's) fault. Doing this would vindicate the MiL and perhaps feed a denial of how wrong her behaviour has become.

Viking1 Sat 31-Aug-13 09:05:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsTomHardy Sat 31-Aug-13 09:29:48

Just found this thread.

Please don't give in to your MIL. If you give in now this will be your life forever more.

MovingForward0719 Sat 31-Aug-13 09:31:17

I think the issue here is that she has slit seen the control slipping away from her. She

MovingForward0719 Sat 31-Aug-13 09:38:29

... was used to playing the central part in your DH and SDD lives and then you came along. MILs seem to go abut batty when a new baby comes along. This isn't about seeing the kids, it's about having control. I think the key thing here is that she really wants to be able to let herself into your home, I would be taking that key away. Could you not get DH to go visit his mum once a week for an hour or two without you,so
she gets to see the kids regularly and do stuff at your house for more social moments like birthdays etc. This seems to work for us, though my mil has started to push against it recently, I think maybe because she has fallen out with bil's girlfriend. Let her sulk. Don't react.

angeltattoo Sat 31-Aug-13 10:04:05

I think previously she was 'mother', having had kids, and you were just 'DS girlfriend/wife'. Now you are a mother in your own right, this strengthens and reinforces your role of mother, and she no likely.

Tough shit. Please don't let her make DSD golden child, your DS will be scapegoat by default. You sound like a lovely SM, don't let EMIL come between and damage the relationship between your children.

angeltattoo Sat 31-Aug-13 10:05:34

Strengthens your role of stepmum, I mean!

Sawdust Sat 31-Aug-13 10:10:32

Just another voice saying 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!'

The illness was so predictable, wasn't it!

If you give in now you will be in a worse position than before because she will know:

a) that is right

b) exactly what to do to 'make you behave' next time (and there will be one, oh yes!)

Sawdust Sat 31-Aug-13 10:11:05

that SHE is right, of course!!

clam Sat 31-Aug-13 10:11:35

As someone else said upthread, I don't think that giving her select little jobs to do is the answer. It just blurs the boundaries. And anyway, you've tried that and she bulldozered through the idea and did what she wanted to do.

You really need to continue to be firm about this (to your dh as well) and say "I'm sorry to hear she's feeling this way, but I really cannot continue with having her accessing my home like this." As if "depression" hmm could be magically cured by being allowed to rifle through your laundry and get her own way!

aderynlas Sat 31-Aug-13 10:15:02

Fairy, I think you have been very kind and sound like a lovely dil. Hope your mil sees how silly she is being. She will miss out on being a grandmother to both of your children if she continues this way.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 10:15:47

clam grin

"As if "depression" hmm could be magically cured by being allowed to rifle through your laundry and get her own way!"

Just think, 'launderette therapy", "cleaning therapy" etc. Government would love it. People would have to work unpaid for 'therapeutic' reasons....

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 10:16:43

^That I may add is a horrible outrageous thought!

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 31-Aug-13 10:42:46

This is why I leapt at the chance to live far far away from the inlaws. We might consider moving closer again once his other siblings have had children, but while we're the only ones? No way.

Dubjackeen Sat 31-Aug-13 10:49:32

Stick to your guns OP. If she is depressed, or claiming to be, then she genuinely needs help, and that is the angle your husband must take in this. Some excellent advice up thread from people who have obviously seen the outcome of similar situations. Wishing you the strength you will need, and your husband needs to stand strong, on your side.

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Sat 31-Aug-13 11:00:08

Agree with what clam said, her depression (if indeed she is depressed) will not be cured by rifling through your washing. She's kind of shot herself in the foot by playing the depression card IMO. Either she genuinely does have depression, in which case she needs to focus on herself and not worry about others, meaning that you can present y

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Sat 31-Aug-13 11:02:54

Posted too soon!

....your argument in a sympathetic 'oh don't worry about DSD's washing etc MIL, you need to rest'. Or she's made it up because you've said this to her which reflects very poorly on her and will reinforce that this is the right thing to do.

I'd suggest as PP's have said that you enquire whether she has seen a doctor, and if not offer to make an appointment.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 11:11:52

It could be that FiL is finding it difficult to cope with her and it is him who thinks she is depressed. (So she might not be playing this 'card') She might have kept him awake etc and he is worrying about her.

I think genuine sympathy is needed regarding her depression / strange behaviour, she does not sound very well.

However it is not acceptable behaviour and should not be enabled. Being supportive means you do not let someone do whatever they want even if it is harmful, it means you do all you can to save them from themselves.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 11:13:14

For example is it good parenting to let a child behave badly? No you correct them and do all you can to prevent the bad behaviour.

2rebecca Sat 31-Aug-13 11:15:21

Agree, if she's depressed then you act understanding and say it explains some of her odd behaviour recently and she should go and see her GP and let you know when she's feeling better.
If the "depression" has just come on overnight then it's not depression it's "getting in a tizz because you haven't got your own way".
Either way you and your husband should be sticking together and being firm that her previous abnormal behaviour can't continue and she needs to start engaging more with her own life with her husband and friends and interests and less with trying to take over yours and become you.

knickernicker Sat 31-Aug-13 11:31:25

Olympicsrock- this woman is not lime your mother in law. For example, if you told her you didn't want her help anymore she would perhaps be offended but would she:
•storm off
•tell you this has given her depression
•say she doesn't know what she's done to make the whole family turn against her

No of course she wouldn't. I don't think your smug post is very helpful to the OP.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 11:32:58

Maybe if FiL can be trusted he should look after the spare key. Only if OP knows he will not give in to MiL though.

I personally would change the locks and have no qualms about it since it is my property. People update doors and locks all the time, I would just say they don't need to keep a spare key, since you don't need washing doing etc.

I understand if this is what has always happened it might be difficult to broach - but that is why I wouldn't even broach it. Maybe get a new door and lock if I could afford it.

I would be as kind, supportive and friendly as possible though, they are strictly guests in your house however. You want to fuss over them, make sure they have fun with the grandchildren, do fun things. MiL has not been well so she shouldn't be overworking herself.

I think that FIL acts as her willing enabler in all this as well as acting out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Narcissistic women always but always need a willing enabler to help them. He is a truly weak man and no way would I give him a key either because his wife will surely get it. He is as bad as his wife is, he has never seemingly tried to reign in any aspect of her behaviours. He's probably happy as well that fairy is copping it rather than he.

MIL's own comment to Fairy below when they had a "discussion" speaks volumes:-
"She doesn't understand where she went wrong with her children so that they all hate her so much".

clam Sat 31-Aug-13 11:43:29

I too think that changing the locks would be unnecessarily inflammatory at this stage. You've told her not to do it; if she still persists, even now, ask her for the key back. If she says she needs it "for emergencies," you say that you will be giving it to a neighbour/local friend as it is quicker and more convenient if you happen to lock yourself out. If she still persists, then maybe think about new locks.


Many toxic parents also play the "illness" card in such circumstances and indeed another poster Viking predicted as much. Not all grandparents by any means are kind and loving. I would be keeping my children away from such people because if they are unkind to the parents, they could well do the same to their grandchildren.

She will likely refuse to give the key back even if asked nicely. This woman cannot understand any idea of boundaries and has no concept of same.

Fairy, what if anything do you know of this woman's family background, what was her childhood like for instance?.

I would change the locks as of now. The situation is already inflamed as it is by MILs behaviours.

clam Sat 31-Aug-13 11:46:58

Yes, Attila, it's an indicator to a whole load of unseen footage! I had problems with a colleague recently, who I had to speak to (gently but firmly) about his behaviour/attitude/performance. He immediately tried to turn it around to, "why do you dislike me so much. I'm obviously a horrible person then."
His issues, not mine!

Indeed clam.

BTW Fairy I have dysfunctional narcissistic inlaws and the only way forward for me has been to have as little contact with them as humanely possible. I cannot and will not get involved in the car crash that are their lives.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 11:57:11

AttilaTheMeerkat Hmm but if you are toxic you are ill in a way... (bit metaphysical, are they ill or just bad? If they are bad are they ill?)

Mental illness can lead people to behave in some very strange, selfish and generally toxic ways. Can be very difficult to be around. Whether she is actually clinically depressed would be something only a doctor could tell you though.

OP shouldn't discount the illness, in that her sympathy is correct, but as I have said you don't enable it either because you want a positive outcome and recovery. Just as if someone was an alcoholic you wouldn't give them an alcoholic drink saying, "They need to drink, they can't help it because they're addicted to it".

MissMarplesBloomers Sat 31-Aug-13 12:04:36

I agree the lock changing might be a bit inflammatory but a way round that is to drop the "snib" on the 5 lever lock at the front & go out the back! grin

<please don't tell me she has aback door key too?>

I also think the "depression" is what we used to call haemademtia when the doctors wanted to code a stroppy patients notes.

AKA Not Getting Her Own Way.

As well as being bloody annoying to you, what's going ot happen when your baby is old enough to take notice of the blatant favouritism? If you & your DH are trying to promote a family unit, and DSD is finally learning to relax into that then the last thing you want is the Auld Bint causing sibling rivalry/jealousy.

2rebecca Sat 31-Aug-13 12:25:33

I agree that FIL is sounding manipulative in this as well by bandying round medical terms like "depression" and "insomnia" in a text.
If this was my dad he'd phone me to chat not text, and would be saying "Rebecca your mum is really upset and not sleeping due to the fall out with you and your husband. Can we maybe try and find a way to resolve things?" He wouldn't be going for the medicalised language and making it sound as though my mum had an illness rather than just being upset.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 12:39:49

It doesn't really matter if the illness is genuine. This should not scare the OP into allowing her to have free access to OP's property, at will. All it does is require a bit of sympathy and kindness, which you can give to someone who is just wilfully behaving badly in any case, because they will be heading for a fall if they continue... It will be sad if OP has to go as far as cutting MiL off completely, but she is not at this stage yet.

CoconutRing Sat 31-Aug-13 12:41:07

I would go so far as to suggest that the locks are changed, MIL is no longer invited into your home and all contact with you and your family is held on neutral ground. If you met for lunch at a pub for example, MIL couldn't dash upstairs for some "therapeutic" tidying and washing grabbing.

PurpleRayne Sat 31-Aug-13 12:52:15

Her depression is not the responsibility of her son, or you. She needs to see a doctor.

Your DH could consider your responses as a family towards her behaviour. Perhaps he should think about what the likely consequences of actions A, B, or C, would be.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sat 31-Aug-13 13:23:53

Unfortunate that she's now 'ill'. Oh well, she'd better stay away until she feels up to a visit to a busy household complete with newborn, hadn't she?

Rosesarebeautiful Sat 31-Aug-13 20:55:03

You do need to stay strong. My MIL would have been like yours if we'd lived nearer by. Lucky for me we moved to another city early in our marriage.
But she still interfered and belittled me when she visited. I think if we'd been nearer her our marriage may not have lasted.

Make it clear you are the mum and she is Gran. A Gran is a very important person - her relationship with your children should be more fun than practical.

petalsandstars Sun 01-Sep-13 12:34:43

How did DHs chat with FIL go? [nosy]

nennypops Sun 01-Sep-13 14:47:13

Bumped as also curious about the chat with FIL

ovenbun Mon 02-Sep-13 10:02:05

what happened op? xx hope youre okxx

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Tue 03-Sep-13 22:46:07

How's things Fairy? Have the waters calmed yet???

Ireallymustbemad Wed 04-Sep-13 09:40:09

Any update OP? Hope it's going ok.

Fairy1303 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:09:30

Sorry for the silence.
Things well and truly blew up. It was bloody awful. FIL said that MiL very very unwell and we had triggered it.
She feels extremely pushed out of everything,particularly as DSD is back to school and she would have liked to have been more involved. She tried desperately to get me to hand over all uniform for her to 'mark' and was upset that I had treated DSD to a one direction bag for school as she is too young and she had wanted to get her one.

We went to see my mum this weekend and that also triggered her freak out, she says that she is not allowed to see DSD and baby but my mother - who is not even biologically linked to DSD and is 'nothing to do with her' is allowed to have us to stay for a weekend.

She is sending me an almost constant barrage of text messages with various rankings about this that and the other.

I have told her that I think she needs to see doc.

To top it all off, Hv has said that she thinks I have PND which explains a lot to me so I really don't need this shit.

DH has spoken to her and said that it is completely inappropriate, irrational and ridiculous and she needs to leave me be. I'm conscious though that I don't want her to know about the PND - I don't want to fall into her DIL has given me depression' camp, and also that I don't want her to know about this. I don't want to confirm her suspicions that I am a crap mother who can't cope.

EldritchCleavage Wed 04-Sep-13 11:36:32

Oh, blimey, sorry to hear it.
But it seems that any mothering of DSD by you (marking her uniform, getting her a treat) is going to be characterised as wrong, unreasonable, pushing MIL out. That's so wrong-headed and unfair, it's actually quite hard to get to grips with it. It does show how important it is to stand firm on this now though. I feel sorry for you MIL but if you let this carry on it would damage your family unit (not to mention, drive you mad).

I'm glad that your DH is dealing with it and supporting you. Sounds as though you're both doing all the right things: ignore the emotional blackmail, restate the boundaries.

Perhaps you need to block her texts for a while, while you get to grips with the PND thing?

Dejected Wed 04-Sep-13 11:39:26

I am delurking to say YOU ARE NOT A CRAP MOTHER at all! PND doesn't equal crap mother at all so please please don't think that.

I am so pleased to hear that your DH is supporting you. Can you block her number on your phone or if not, just delete her texts without reading them? Failing that can your DH ask her to contact him not you in future?

I really hope you are ok and can enjoy time with your family flowerscakewine

HumphreyCobbler Wed 04-Sep-13 11:44:15

Your PND is none of her business and she needs to know nothing about it. I am sorry you are ill, it really sucks but there is help out there.

It is great that your DH is so on board. Your MIL is really throwing all her toys out of the pram but it is rightly getting her nowhere. I would ignore all unreasonable communication from her, just block her texts. You do not need this right now and you can take steps to remove her aggression from your life until you feel you want to cope. Your DH is doing a good job of communicating the essentials, you don't have to be involved.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 04-Sep-13 11:44:59

I agree, block her.

Your DH needs to keep supporting you – I'm glad he is.

And you're not a crap mother and you ARE coping. If you have PND then you're ill. You will get support for that from your hv, doctor and your DH I'm sure.

Chin up and the MIL can fuck right off. thanks cake

AgathaF Wed 04-Sep-13 11:58:24

What a piece of work.

You are not a crap mother - PND is about hormonal imbalances etc following childbirth, not about you personally. It can and does happen to anyone,whether they be rich or poor, good or bad, etc, etc. She has no reason to know about it. It is your business, not hers.

I'm so glad your DH is supporting you and trying to protect you.

It's outrageous that she is bombarding you with texts. If you can't get her number blocked, is it possible to change your number? Or just let DH read and delete/act upon texts as appropriate without you even looking at them?

Would a strongly worded letter telling her that unless she acts appropriately around you all as a family, and respects boundaries both personally and within your home, you will, as a family, have no option but to withdraw contact from her until such time as she can?

prettybird Wed 04-Sep-13 12:53:52

She really does think that the world revolves around her, doesn't she?! shock

You did not cause her depression if indeed she has it . It is her over reaction to you doing your own (natural) things as a family and her inflated expectation about how much she should be involved that may have caused it. Or it might just be her throwing her toys out of her pram! wink

PND is not being a bad mum - it is a physiological condition caused by hormones being out of balance after having a baby. Being a good mum is dealing with it (if you are aware of it), trying to deal with feeling overwhelmed (if you are undiagnosed) and just by the fact that you want to be a good mum. You are obviously doing a good job as you are sorting out your dsd for school - and getting her nice things like her new school bag, as well as doing her washing when it hasn't been stolen wink. This at the same time as coping with a new born.

This is not the time to have to cope with a grown-up toddler having a tantrum.

Block her, leave your dh to deal with her and FiL(from the sound of it, he is being really supportive smile) and wait twenty years until she has grown up a bit.

And don't you dare feel guilty about going to see your own mum - you don't need to justify yourself to anyone! smile

God this woman just gets worse, she thinks she can dictate what school bag dsd has and wants to mark her uniformshock bloody hell, christ on a bike she needs help pronto!

Maybe you do have pnd, maybe you don't, either your mil is causing it or she is stressing you out so much the hv thinks you have it.

Block her number or change your number, it will be the best thing you ever did!

eatriskier Wed 04-Sep-13 13:15:27

oh dear. I'd hoped no news was good news. you are right, she needs to see a medical professional.

here's some bad but fun advice. every time she texts you forward it back to her. see how long it takes her to notice wink . seriously though get yourself a new cheap phone on payg and get your phone company to swap the numbers. give those you care about the new no, they can keep the old number - you can switch the phone off all day or leave it on silent. your dh can read them when he gets home and deal as appropriate.

you are not forcing your mil out, though her actions may. it does not have to be an all or nothing situation but this is how she sees it. these things are not your problem. you are doing a very good thing for your dsd as she will get confused eventually. also if mil has form and has ruined her relationship with her other kids, she is probably trying to replace them with DSD and do you really want DSD going through that?

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 04-Sep-13 13:53:38

Exactly what eat said, get a cheap PAYG you cna swap the sims & leave the old one with your DH 7 let him deal with them.

You are SO doing the right thing, for you all as a family, for DSD as she grows up , but most of all for the increasingly close relationship you are having with her which sounds like it has been difficult but is now paying off and she deserves this closeness as do you and the baby.

Your DH is being brilliant glad he is standing up to the old bag!

gentle <<hugs>> on the PND - been there twice, not good, do what you have to do to get through, cuddle your scrummy little babe & enjoy your family without guilt, it will pass, don't refuse any help, it will pass.

5madthings Wed 04-Sep-13 14:00:53

oh dear she really is deluded!

you are NOT a.crap.parent at all!! that is the pnd talking, you are doing great in spite of a crazy mil!

dh her.

ignore.ignore ignore. if you wamt.her to see kids maybe offer at park etc so she cant intefere xxx

mrspaddy Wed 04-Sep-13 14:15:06

Hope you feel better soon op.. Look after yourself and make sure you do nice things that you enjoy and try not to let her ruin this special time for you. Not fair how you are being treated. Why not book nice hair appointment or something to look forward to.. Defo change the number!!!

squoosh Wed 04-Sep-13 14:27:58

I've read this thread in horror! You have been so gracious in your dealings with her, she truly is deluded and a narcissist. I'm happy for you that your DH is supporting you completely.

Stay strong, she definitely doesn't need to know about your PND. She sounds like the kind of witch that would use it against you for years to come.

Good luck, you sound as though you're an amazing Mum to both your kids.

Viking1 Wed 04-Sep-13 14:38:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mynameismskane Wed 04-Sep-13 15:50:04

You ARE NOT A CRAP MUM! She is a deluded, sick woman and you have been amazingly restrained! Don't - don't, don't, don't, get sucked in by ANYTHING she says!

fluffyraggies Wed 04-Sep-13 16:05:18

It's the PND making you doubt yourself. (hug) And MIL is adding to it.

You are not a crap mum.
You are not a crap mum.
You are not a crap mum.

You are a wonderful mum smile

I hesitate to say this - but the escalation of her madness behaviour is at least proving what you knew all along - that there is something wrong with her, not you.

It was borderline stuff before maybe. At the beginning of this thread there were some posters on the fence about her actions.

No doubt about it now OP! You have every right to keep her well at arms length for your and your families sake. It's a sad situation - but at least now it's obvious to anyone with an oz of sense that you are so not the one being unreasonable.

Block her no. and let DH deal with her.

Squitten Wed 04-Sep-13 16:10:24

I've just read the whole thread with my mouth hanging open! She is really determined that you are not going to be any sort of parent to that girl, isn't she?! She really does sound a bit unhinged...

All you can do now is step back from her TBH. She seems hell-bent on continuing to behave this way and nothing either you or your DH are saying to her is having the slightest effect. I wouldn't respond to any of these messages and just let her stew until she (hopefully!) comes to her senses. I wouldn't let her in the house under any circumstances. Definitely don't tell her about the PND - it's irrelevant to this particular situation and she'll just try to use it against you.

2rebecca Wed 04-Sep-13 17:25:46

I think your husband needs to firmly tell her that if you push someone their natural response is to either back off or push you back and this is what is happening here. She has to accept she is not her grand daughter's parent and stop expecting to be treated like one and back off and stop being so unpleasant and demanding and self centred.

Quangle Wed 04-Sep-13 17:53:00

Wow. To be honest, the "depression and insomnia" bit just made me want to laugh <mean>

What a self-obsessed nutcase. OP you have done a sterling job in horrific circumstances. I can't really get beyond coming into your house and taking things because she "thought you wouldn't need them" - shock

I'm not entirely sure your DH shouldn't be handling all of this but to be honest it sounds like she's too much for him so you end up handling it. This is why MIL/DIL issues blow up - because the people who should be managing it (DHs and also in this case FIL) take a back seat.

Stay firm OP - you are not wrong about any of this. Help is fine but she's not helping - she's manipulating all of you.

auntpetunia Wed 04-Sep-13 18:43:23

She's a bloody psycho! She needs medical help. You are not a crap mother! She has serious issues. I agree cheap paygo phone and swap sim into it, and just ignore it.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Wed 04-Sep-13 18:59:05

You're a good Mum, you are selfless and care so much about your little family. Your MiL is a crazy lady who sounds very narcissistic. My Mum can be like this and no matter what happens it has to be all about them.

(Example from this week: I was very ill, mentioned it to my Dad when he phoned about something.... Mum then calls back and proceeds to stay on the phone for 45 mins. Very woe is me because I didn't inform her and why do I never tell her anything.... hmm)

Fairy would you like to come hide in my house? I have doors that lock and no-one else has the key smilesmilesmile

Katisha Wed 04-Sep-13 19:35:46

Gosh she's spectacular. Glad DH is on board and not going for he quiet life route, but disappointed to see FIL is busy enabling.

KoalaFace Wed 04-Sep-13 19:48:22

shock What a self involved, self obsessed specimen she is!

You'd think she'd be so pleased to have you in DSD's life, looking after her and giving her a nice, stable family home. Instead she is dwelling on what she wants. Selfish.

I'm so sorry you're going through this as well as PND which comes with its own set of challenges.

You are doing amazingly well as a DM, DSM, DW and DIL. I hope your DH continues to support you and I agree with the PP who said its best to leave him to handle PIL from now on while you concentrate on yourself and your family.

LozzaCro Wed 04-Sep-13 20:42:32

Hi Fairy.
I have just read the whole thread, and I must say you have acted with restraint and calm that I could only dream of. My MIL is bi polar and uses very similar tactics to get her way. She calls DP up to 4/5 times a day, insists he visits at least twice a week and gets very tetchy if DS is not with him. I have removed myself from the equation to save my sanity. It works so far!
Please don't doubt yourself, look at how many people are agreeing with you and confirming she is nutty. She is stamping her feet because she isn't getting her own way.
Stay strong!

LongTailedTit Wed 04-Sep-13 21:00:51

I'm sorry it's turned out like this Fairy. sad Really not what you need with a new baby!

A combination of anti-Ds and CBT helped me deal with mine, though currently I'm getting a rather good endorphin rush from laughing my arse off at 'Funniest Ever You've Been Framed'... grin

2rebecca makes a very good point - given that you've both shown you're not going to stand for it, what on earth does she think she can gain by haranguing you and being unpleasant? The only logical thing is to back off and see less of her, she's hardly endearing herself to you.
She has been hoisted by her own petard. The prat.

SarahAndFuck Wed 04-Sep-13 21:45:07

You sound like you are coping very well to me.

I know I keep talking about my MIL, but she sounds very much of a type with yours.

I did my best for years to get along with her, to find a compromise, to bite my tongue for the sake of not rocking the boat.

When I finally stopped putting her feelings first while she trampled all over mine, all hell broke loose, much as you have described.

And my big mistake was to try and reason or argue with her. I thought it might help her understand but she didn't want to. It didn't matter to her what I did or said, it was fuel to her fire and that was all good in her eyes.

When I eventually realised that I was not getting though to her, I stopped trying. My actual words were falling on deaf ears and she was just taking them and using them against me rather than listening.

That was when I realised that she would never change her behaviour, which is what I was hoping for, but that I could change mine.

I blocked her number, returned her letters unopened, refused to see her and left DH to deal with her as he chose. And because I had issues with the way she treated DS, I stopped PILs from seeing him too. That was a hard decision but I believe necessary. And I made it clear to everybody that I would not change my mind until she had changed the way she was behaving.

She still hasn't, she still seems to think that pushing and bullying and making people feel guilty and crying and making demands is the best way to force people to want to be with her.

I hope it doesn't get that extreme in your case, but to be honest it sounds like it's well on the way. I hope your DH is being supportive and can continue to be in the face of the onslaught.

But please don't feel ashamed about your PND or believe you are a crap mum. You are not.

Ireallymustbemad Wed 04-Sep-13 22:05:44

Oh dear OP - I'd been hoping DH had had words and she's accepted she needed to step back a bit.

Really sorry to hear that she has turned so nasty. Really sorry also to hear that you have PND

Please don't think you're a bad mum, you sound like a very good mum and stepmum to me.

Take care of yourself, I'm glad DH is being supportive.

ovenbun Thu 05-Sep-13 08:21:19

This is exactly what I thought your MIL would do...and things will probably get a little worse before they get better...shes like a toddler having a consistent stick with it and things will get better.

As for you you are not a crap mum at all...please dont believe that.

You will make it through this smile


IneedAsockamnesty Thu 05-Sep-13 10:02:10

She won't go to a doc because they don't tend to treat manipulation like an illness

beginnings Sat 07-Sep-13 21:12:39

Block her. And make sure your DH stays onside. He sounds great. OP you are clearly a fab Mum, to both your children. They're very lucky to have you. Best of luck as you get through the PND.

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 08-Sep-13 07:17:24

Hows things with you Fairy?

Fairy1303 Sun 08-Sep-13 08:17:52

Things are ok thanks, the abusive ranting messages have stopped now since DH stepped in and I have welcomed the break. DSD has been asking when we are next seeing granny as she hasn't seen her in so long so I am going to have to contact to arrange some sort of visit soon but I am putting it off at the mo!

Fairy1303 Sun 08-Sep-13 08:19:39

Also wanted to say thank you for all your support, you have all been amazing. For a while there I thought I might be going a bit crazy getting so upset with her and you gave me the push needed to make some desperately needed changes x

LozzaCro Sun 08-Sep-13 10:09:04

Ah Fairy.

Well done your DH. My OH still very much panders to his mother - but he has seen the light these last few months and I have put my foot down with