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At my furious. WWYD?

(74 Posts)
Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:11:17

OK my mum is a bit difficult, borderline NPD IMHO. She dotes on my kids though she is incredibly fussy and house proud and almost follows them round with a DustBuster. Not very restful.

We are staying with her for a few days. I can tell her stress levels are high. She is conflicted because she loves the kids but they obviously make her immaculate house messy. Just general untidiness which I always clear up when they go to bed. Kids are 3, 5 and 8.

However she is panicking that they will stain her carpet at mealtimes and they are both sitting on tea towels on chairs with a mat under the table. I don't mind this as is her house but tonight they were a bit giddy at the table as tired so that was difficult and DS dropped a bit of dinner on himself. She was huffing and puffing and wiping.....I got so exasperated that I said, ' you want us to visit and this is the reality of having three small children in your house. They ares messy.'

So.....she took massive offence at this. I didn't rise to the bait. Later heard her slagging me off to my enabler father. Didn't hear it all but definately heard her say my kids have appalling table manners. They don't. They are not great but they are little kids. I am working on it. They are improving as kids do as they get older. So I said 'please don't talk about me. And my kids do not have awful manners.'

I am bloody furious. AIBU? Just feel like leaving tbh.

she sounds like a pain. Could you stay somewhere else?

temporarilyjerry Tue 22-Apr-14 19:14:04

YANBU and I think you have handled it well.

Squitten Tue 22-Apr-14 19:14:51

So leave.

If it's going to cause that much drama every time they eat a meal, I wouldn't visit. Nobody seems to be enjoying it so what's the point?

OwlCapone Tue 22-Apr-14 19:15:01

6 of one, half a dozen of the other IMO.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:17:51

Is the slagging me off behind my back am most mad at.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:18:29

No can't stay anywhere else.....only one more day to go thankfully.

Pigginnora Tue 22-Apr-14 19:18:41

I would leave. What's anyone gaining by you staying?

Maybe organise your visits differently so the stress is manageable.

Floralnomad Tue 22-Apr-14 19:19:36

Its a difficult one , when you said about this is the reality that was fine ,but you know what she is like so probably didn't need to go back and say about not talking about you as that is just going to be antagonistic. TBH I wouldn't stay in future ,could she not come to yours instead as it sounds like too much stress for all involved .

poppetpuppet Tue 22-Apr-14 19:19:48

Oh dear, sounds really tense. ��

I think I'd ask if she wants a cuppa, then calmly as possible tell her that you are feeling really uncomfortable and judged, and that she seems to be a little strung out too. Then just see where the conversation takes you. If you feel you need to leave then do so in the morning, and tell her that you know she loves you all and that she's welcome to visit at your house.

Sorry, my advice is always a bit rubbish and wishy washy. If I were in your place I'd probably just drink winewink

smellysammy Tue 22-Apr-14 19:20:05


I agree. A little bit of disipline required, perhaps?

Pigginnora Tue 22-Apr-14 19:20:11

Could you make your visits shorter?

Mum stay with you?

Stay in a b & b?

It's obviously very difficult.

Forgettable Tue 22-Apr-14 19:20:29

Gosh yes, gather up clobber and depart, fulsome thanks and heave sigh of relief

Make mental note to not bother again, if they want to see the children, fine,they come to you or do days out if you stay in a travelodge/premier inn neaarby (but really, why bother)

I do understand that mess can make folk twitchy or uncomfortable, ofc but to be so unwelcoming is pretty awful

storynanny2 Tue 22-Apr-14 19:21:18

My mother is and always was the same. She seemed to get no pleasure at all from any of her visiting grandchildren. Although she is 4 hours away I now visit just for the day. I am 57, take no children with me and eat nicely at the table when told to. She is no different though from when I took my children with me.
You wont change her, try to work round it a d make very short visits.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 22-Apr-14 19:21:21

I wouldn't stay over night again TBH.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:21:48

God the drama if I left.........think will have to grin and bear it. A bit upset tbh. Is the latest in a series of difficult situations. Don't want to drop feed or bore anyone with the gory details.

She is trying to act like nothing was said. I would like an apology. Would it be wrong to ask for one?

drnoitall Tue 22-Apr-14 19:22:13

What a useful insight into what I could probably be like in the future.
I adore my dc of course but the mess drives me insane at times.
Your mum sounds very house proud and the mess is probably stressful. It is for me, I cannot relax until it's tidy.
Try being kind, have a chat, I often say to my dh when he is cooking, I'm going, because the mess bothers me, ask your mum if it's really really an emotional problem, which for me it is, I know how that sounds, really wierd, but it's true.
She may end up not eating with your dc because if she comes into the room after they have eaten and it's how she left it, whats to moan about?
Yes I have an OCD.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 22-Apr-14 19:23:27

Pack up and go.

MIL has OCD and as a result I know my children do her head in!

Again, not bad children, not overly messy. Just children.

She would never dream of complaining she's just quick to clean up after them unless I get there first! And she constantly picks up their toys before they're finished playing so causes more stress for everyone really!

Last time ds(2) cried that Grandma kept taking his toys then she cried that he didn't love her (I know.)

Anyway, I have said that if we visit again (it's a big if - a lot of unrelated issues) then we're staying in a hotel because although she would never act like your mother I can't be dealing with all the drama!

You either want children there and accept that they are occasionally messy or you don't!

Martorana Tue 22-Apr-14 19:23:36

5 and 8 should be able to eat without dropping dinner or being giddy.8 should certainly be able to behave at the table like a grown up.

3- not so much.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:25:34

A bit of discipline? What do you mean?

Maybe I should have sucked it up but god it is wearing. You get out of bed for a wee in the morning and before you can maybe hop back on for a few mins, she's been in, made the bed and opened the windows and curtains! Makes you feel you are just on the way.

Sorry. Drip feeding and said I wouldn't.

onedayatatimeLondon Tue 22-Apr-14 19:26:45

Sounds like my mum. If my mum goes this far my dsis and I will point it out and try and turn it in to a tease. As they have got our older the dcs will also gently tease. She adores them so does try to back off. We are used to her striping our beds on sunday morning and getting the hoover out before we have left! Oh and the sofas are always covered when we get there!

If it gets too much at least my dsis and I can let off steam with each other. Do you have siblings? It is exasperating - we had to live with it as we grew up and my dsis and I are now completely the opposite in reaction. We are untidy and pay for a cleaner rather than do it ourselves. We drive our dm mad and vice versa. But we love each other. So we put up with our idiosyncrasies. Try and relax and maybe your dm will too

Journey Tue 22-Apr-14 19:27:18

You clear up their mess when they go to bed! That would drive me mad. I think you need to clear up a bit more frequently than that. I have four dcs and tidy up throughout the day. I couldn't cope with having a messy house all day.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:29:22

Well tidy up when we go out too. I am quite a tidy freak myself tbh but wouldn't act like her.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 22-Apr-14 19:30:13

I heard MIL one morning mopping at about 6. I felt really sorry for her then.

And when we go out for the day unless we organise it it's not terribly child friendly so they end up only having play time in her house (no garden to speak of.)

I run around after them like a blue arsed fly but it's just really uncomfortable for everyone. So best avoided at all costs overall, I think.

Also, I wouldn't think there was anything wrong with a 5 year old accidentally dropping something at the table!!

Massive sympathy from me, my mother is very similar. It's difficult to stay quiet when you are being made to feel so uncomfortable, and like your children are untrained chimps. (Mine are normal too!)

My mum also used to make me feel really bad about the state of my house - which is generally clean and tidy, but not up to her show home standards. I ended up having a talk with her. I picked a moment when we were alone, getting on, sitting in the garden actually, relaxed. I said, I need to talk with you about something... then I told her how upset her little comments made me. I said I know my house is far from perfect, but I work full time, I have 2 young kids, I do my best. I told her she makes me feel judged, like she's disappointed in me. She cried. She felt terrible and admits she has got a problem (OCD). She said she shouldn't have made me feel like that. She told me she thinks I'm a great mother, and loves my kids. We both cried.

Anyway, she has been much better since then. I still sense her feelings at times, she can't help the look on her face when one of the kids looks grubby, or my bin is overflowing. But she keeps it zipped.

Could you try a similar approach? i.e. don't just snap in exasperation and say something snarky. Wait until you are getting along, on your own, then bring it up in a non-confrontational way?

hamptoncourt Tue 22-Apr-14 19:33:27

Why are you so worried about her drama? If you are unhappy just leave. She will never change, you do realise that? There is no point in talking to her about her behaviour. It won't be her fault and you will have "upset her."

Life is too short for all this tedious nonsense, limit contact and keep yourself sane grin

Floralnomad Tue 22-Apr-14 19:35:04

If you want to continue to have a relationship with your mum I wouldn't ask for an apology ,just move on . I honestly feel for you but I think this is one of those times when you need to just rise above it and be the 'bigger' person.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:36:03

Thanks for your views folks. Some suggestions are really sensible but I know she won't take anything I say well and will probably stir up a hornets nest.

Going to have to grin and bear it. She isn't speaking at the moment. Nice evening ahead. Not.

Lweji Tue 22-Apr-14 19:36:27

Why does she have a carpet where you eat?

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:37:27

Good point. She lives in a small house. No room for a Kitchen table so dining table in lounge.

pud1 Tue 22-Apr-14 19:37:46

Are you staying at MY mothers. Have I got a sister I didn't know about.

I feel your pain

My mums lives about a 2 hour drive away. I don't normally do over night at hers as she is so house proud it drives me mad. It just makes me feel so uncomfortable. She rolls the rug up when gc come to visit. Her house is stifling as she will not open windows as it disturbs her perfectly pleated net curtains. If you take too long with a cup of tea she takes it away and washes it up before you have finished

I could go on forever.

BosieDufflecoat Tue 22-Apr-14 19:38:05

I sympathise. Can't stand overly fussy houses. There's being tidy, and then there's having every trace of your existence removed ASAP, which is seriously unwelcoming.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 19:39:10

Ha ha pud. You must be related. The cup thing is legendary with me and DH. Dinner is also eaten in 5 mins flat so she can quickly get the kitchen clean all back to normal.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 22-Apr-14 19:50:34

Gosh she sounds incredibly hard work. My first boyfriend lived with his folks and whenever he came to.mine, he had to be home at a set time so his mum could clean the shower after he had been in, and this needed to be before her bedtime.

Needless to say we didnt last long.

If I were you I would jusy try and avoid more than a one night stay in the futire.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 22-Apr-14 19:56:03

I once nipped to the loo during supper at MIL's and when I got back my food was gone and the whole place was cleaned to within an inch of its life.

I genuinely wondered if I'd imagined the whole meal.

Vivacia Tue 22-Apr-14 20:02:42

Presumably you know that she's like this, and yet you choose to stay with her. She sounds unbearable, but not unpredictable, in her ways.

I can't see the difference between her letting off steam to her husband and you letting off steam on here.

Please don't demand an apology. Grin and bear it, and survive until you can leave tomorrow. In future, make sure visits are short enough not to cause any of you any distress.

Hissy Tue 22-Apr-14 20:06:33

Get your stuff together tomorrow morning and go home after breakfast. Tell her you feel ill or something, and don't allow her to bamboozle you.

Go home and don't ever stay with her again.

-- or do I have to come down there and get you?--

Hissy Tue 22-Apr-14 20:06:59

Gah! strikeout fail

Olddear Tue 22-Apr-14 20:09:26

When I have young child relatives here (2 & 4) they eat snacks/juice in sitting room where they can watch tv or sit at a table I have for them where they can draw etc. I put a cover down because I don't want things spilled on my carpet either! Who wants orange juice etc on their carpet? I don't think I'm house proud, they have lots of freedom, but nothing wrong with being careful! And I tidy up the toys they've finished playing with when they move onto doing something else! Can't stand a really messy house plus it teaches them to tidy up behind themselves too

spatchcock Tue 22-Apr-14 20:14:01

Has she always been this way, OP? My mum has always been like this. Visits home sound a bit like yours. When I first visited (from abroad) with four month old DD, I was sat in the guest room bfing after a long journey and she came and threw my shoes at me, just missing us, because I'd left them in the wrong place. I told her if she ever did anything like that again I'd leave and never return.

My dominant memories from childhood are being told off for spilling something on the floor. I remember feeling paralysed with fear and dread because I had a blobby pen and some ink got on my (pristine) bedspread. Now I look back and think how dysfunctional this is.

It's a shame they can't enjoy their grandchildren, mess and all. As my MIL says when one of the kids breaks/dirties something, "they're just things, it doesn't matter".

HermioneWeasley Tue 22-Apr-14 20:15:13

Go home and don't visit her again

storynanny2 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:21:10

Spatchcock, my mother is the same. I think she has ocd and some mental health issues but she laughs off any attempt to talk about it and says she is right about everything. She is now 86 and cant cope with a door being open at the wrong angle. I also have memories of a scary childhood because of the way she is.

eightandthreequarters Tue 22-Apr-14 20:22:28

My mum once threw away my DC's final dose of antibiotics because it was sitting on the kitchen shelf - looking untidy. I had poured it out into a measuring cup, then gone to get DC, came back within 60 seconds... and yes, she did know what it was.

Do I win the neurotic mother prize??

mineofuselessinformation Tue 22-Apr-14 20:27:33

Waltermitty, going off at a complete tangent, but are you from East Anglia? I've never heard anyone outside of my family say 'blue arsed fly'. grin

storynanny2 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:28:23

Does anyone have a mother who only allows visitor to have a cup of tea at a certain time and who washes up the washing up bowl and puts it away in its allotted space in the cupboard?
Also puts the lights out at 10.30pm on the dot and everyone has to go to bed?
Curtains drawn at the "right" time even if it is light outside?


Please do not take this the wrong way but what on earth possessed you to visit this awful pair in the first place and with your children in tow as well?. Such people do NOT change and your Dad is playing the enabler role here to perfection. Women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them. They've both trained you well haven't they - your children should never have to sit on tea towels up at the table with a further mat under the table!.

"So I said 'please don't talk about me. And my kids do not have awful manners."

That perfectly reasoned request to your mother was to her a red rag to a bull and thus likely made her even more nasty. Asking her to be nicer was doomed to failure from the start; doing that set you up for yet more verbal crap from her.

Re an apology - well you can forget about that as well from her I am sorry to say. No narcissist ever apologises nor even accepts any responsibility for their actions. You are always wrong and your mother in her mind is always right. Its her way or no way as far as she is concerned and you are always wrong. And no, she does not dote or even love your children either, well not in the ways you think she should. She sees them primarily as narcissistic supply; she will tire of them soon enough or use them to get back at you (which is also what she has done here).

Go home asap tomorrow - and never visit them within their domain ever again. Such people as well make for being deplorably bad grandparents; your children certainly do not benefit at all in seeing these people and nor do you.

I would suggest you go onto read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown.

clam Tue 22-Apr-14 20:36:14

eightandthreequarters I had that once. Dd was taking some really important medication, that she couldn't miss, yet couldn't have a double dose. It was sitting by her cereal bowl, next to her juice, and she usually took it at some point during breakfast. Bil poured it away and I didn't know whether she'd had it or not, as he said "there was only a bit left," but there was "only a bit" to start with.
SIL and he clearly thought I was fussing about nothing, but I wasn't a fraction as hysterical cross as they would have been had it been their child.

storynanny2 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:36:34

Attila, your post makes good sense, is that book readily available? I would like to read it.
In my case I cant possibly not visit as I love my lovely dad dearly. How he has coped for 70 years I dont know, except that he has lots of outside friends and hobbies and a fantastic big cosy workshop in the garden.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 22-Apr-14 20:36:40

mine no, we're from Dublin!

I always thought that was a completely commonplace saying! grin

Mactaff Tue 22-Apr-14 20:45:19

We stopped visiting my MIL for the same sort of behaviour. You won't change her and it's better that your children aren't exposed to her neuroses and aggression.

I'm not suggesting we should all just give up on cleaning, far from it, but when avoiding carpet stains and having an organised cutlery drawer are more important to someone than their relationship with their family they are in the grip of a psychosis in my opinion. As others have said, life is too short to waste on irrelevances like uber-tidiness.

storynanny2 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:57:33

Fortunately my adult children think her ways are eccentric and funny! So it doesn't seem to have affected them adversely but that is probably because we only visited a couple of times a year when they were young. If they ever visited us they didnt stay in our house but in b and b. Never the same one more than once as there was never one up to my mothers standards.
She used to regard it as being on holiday and called in to see us once or twice. Always after the childrens "bedtime" in her opinion. If I kept them up to see her and my dad, she would say " oh shouldnt they be in bed by now" Er no, they actually wanted to see their grandparents.

Lagoonablue Tue 22-Apr-14 22:48:31

Attila what you say rings true. My relationship with my mother is so difficult and needs a whole new set of threads to be honest. I only manage it by living 200mls away from her!

I can't see a time when I would cut things off though. Would be too painful. Though if I felt my kids were suffering I guess I might. They already have verbalised how fussy they find her.

My Dad came up to me tonight and said 'you have been very patient' and smiled wryly. I think that is probably only the second time he has ever really acknowledged how difficult she is. I was amazed.

She has gone to bed. I am going tomorrow, relations are frosty. It will be a while,before I return. If I tell DH he will refuse to come here. He can't stand her and had his own run in a few years ago. He massively keeps his distance. I may investigate hotels for next time. Am fed up,of tiptoeing around.

Thanks everyone. The stories of food whisked away etc ring so true but have cheered me up too. The one one about the shower.....yes I have that as well. As soon as you get out she is in there with a squeegy and cloth. Windows thrown open. It just doesn't make you feel welcome really.

eightandthreequarters Tue 22-Apr-14 22:53:27

clam That IS worse.

Good luck, OP. At least you're outta there tomorrow.

Thank goodness you're leaving. Must be so stressful for you and your dcs.

Deathraystare Wed 23-Apr-14 07:52:26

What is it with older generation of mothers? Have they forgotten what kids are like? Kids are messy. THey learn table manners eventually!
When I read the thread about the family coming to see a baby and the sister (was it?) had chicken pox. My mum would have been the first to voice an opinion on that one and she is not always the most lucid of people! Also those who whizz around the minute mum and baby get home and expect the new mum to wait on them.

It might be best to not eat over there and make your visits short. She only has herself to blame although I accept OCD is an illness that she cannot help.

They must be picking up on her stressing or are they very young?

Martorana Wed 23-Apr-14 09:06:34

Well, speaking as a representative of the "older generation of mothers" I don't mind mess at all. But I also don't go for the "they learn table manners eventually" line either. I would expect an 8 year old to have the table manners of an adult- unless they were being expected to eat something very difficult which they hadn't had before or balance a plate on their knees or something, And I would have pretty high expectations of a 5 year old too- particularly in someone else's house/cafe/restaurant.

Brittapieandchips Wed 23-Apr-14 09:09:57

How did she manage when you were small? Presumably she had to deal with child mess then...

DowntonTrout Wed 23-Apr-14 09:32:16

It can be very stressful having visitors to stay, even family, when your own children have grown up and left home.

I am not OCD at all. My DD, her DH and my GS come to stay. I don't mind the mess as such, GS is a baby. We have hard floors in the kitchen, he can make as much mess with his food as he likes, it will wipe. All his toys, that it have here are brought down and put in one sitting room and I don't put them away until they leave.

BUT I do find all the stuff, bags, paraphernalia etc, all over the place, stressful. I can imagine that with 3 DC it could be chaotic, especially if it's a small house. I'm not making excuses for your mum, she sounds completely OTT. Perhaps it's getting to the stage where you only stay one night or she comes to you instead. I don't think you'll change her, or get her to see it from your point of view though.


I would not even bother with hotels next time; I would not go within a mile of their hometown at all. The fact that you would even countenance going back is itself concerning. At least you have physical distance; you need mental distance from them too.

Re your comment:-
"I can't see a time when I would cut things off though. Would be too painful"

Painful for whom and why are you thinking this way?. I have an idea; you may well feel FOG with regards to them and your mother in particular. Fear, obligation, guilt. Maybe you still see them out of some innate desire that one day your mother will come good and actually say something like ,"sorry I've treated you so bad" and actually mean it. It will not happen. If she is a narcissist then it is not possible to have a relationship with such a person.

If you really cannot go no contact (and your mother will continue to ride roughshod over any boundary you care to set) perhaps low contact is a way forward. You certainly cannot subject yourself or for that matter your children to a few days spent with them again.

Looks like your Dad is still on his wife's side ultimately; he is a weak man who is playing out his role of enabler to his wife to perfection. He is still weak and has failed you as well as a parent by failing to protect you from his wife's behaviours.

Your children are already saying that they find her fussy. She will treat them not too dissimilarly to how you were treated when you were growing up within that household. Think carefully about further exposing them to such behaviours.

Lagoonablue Wed 23-Apr-14 09:46:16

Their table manners are fine. The youngest was struggling with a full size fork as we didn't have a small one. The oldest was eating chips with her fingers. Not the end of the world. Really the comment she made about the table manners was just to,lash out. It is an aside.

I can get a bit fed up of mess and the stuff people bring but I try and relax so my visitors can have a nice time, on one hand she makes a massive fuss of how she can't wait to see us but then follows us round the house with a dustpan when we are there. She gets so stressed.

Anyway going today.

Lagoonablue Wed 23-Apr-14 09:48:31

Thanks Attila. Food for thought.

Martorana Wed 23-Apr-14 09:49:02

So when you said their table manners were "not great"...... ?

littlegreengloworm Wed 23-Apr-14 09:54:31

I woud leave it go for now, though definitely stay in a hotel the next time and have meals out/picnics.

She had some sort of problem. I have an aunt a bit obsessive. Though its different, she feeds and feeds people too. I love a clean house and don't mind housework, but where is her sense of fun.

Your mums life sounds so, so sad and lonely.

DistanceCall Wed 23-Apr-14 13:10:00

She didn't really say anything to your face - she was talking in private to her husband. So I don't think you really can demand an apology.

She sounds like an obsessive compulsive. You are not going to get her to stop being that, whatever you say, and however reasonable your arguments are (and they are - hell, even grownups can occasionally drop food on the floor by accident). And kicking up a ruckus will be rather pointless, as she won't be shocked into changing.

So you need to decide what YOU want to. Whether you want to continue visiting with your children, whether it would be better to meet somewhere else, etc.

Nanny0gg Wed 23-Apr-14 13:45:29

Go home asap tomorrow - and never visit them within their domain ever again. Such people as well make for being deplorably bad grandparents; your children certainly do not benefit at all in seeing these people and nor do you.

Somewhat harsh I feel.

Looks like your Dad is still on his wife's side ultimately; he is a weak man who is playing out his role of enabler to his wife to perfection

Maybe he loves her?

starfishmummy Wed 23-Apr-14 13:51:15

Really Martorana? Even adults drop food sometimes.


Why is that harsh?. OP has had a verbal pasting from her mother and so have her children. Such narcissistic women can and do use their grandchildren to get back at their "errant" offspring. The children have also vocalised their own concerns to their mum.

Not so much love I think so much as an unhealthy co-dependency; that is often behind such awful partnerships. OP has also stated her dad is an enabler to his wife.

Hissy Wed 23-Apr-14 14:51:42

Interesting how the opinions of names I am aware of via Stately Homes etc are of the one mind; don't put up with it, and others are 'but they're your parents!'

Sadly the 'parents' camp have not seen that no matter what anyone does with a parental dynamic like that, you can't win. they also can't seem to see the harm this behaviour does to children.

The DC were being NORMAL DC, and to put up with this constant stress, comments and digs for days when you are doing the very best, only to overhear yet more barbaric criticism when clearly there has been years of it, requires the patience of a saint. My 8yo has impeccable manners, has eaten in fine restaurants since before he was 2, but he can make a mess sometimes. Yes I despair at times, but it's NORMAL child behaviour.

OP WAS right to pull her mother up on this unreasonable expectations business, and even more justified in telling her NOT to bitch about her or her DC. This is further supported by the fact that the enabler father secretly gave support to Lagoona

And yes, this man has allowed his wife to criticise and comment and guilt-trip HIS daughter for DECADES. That IS weak. I'd not stand by and let others tear my DS to bits once, let alone years. I'd go into battle alright and i'd not stop until they stopped too.

But that's cos I'm still recovering from 40 odd years of criticism myself and know what it does to a person.

Hissy Wed 23-Apr-14 14:52:50

Looks like your Dad is still on his wife's side ultimately; he is a weak man who is playing out his role of enabler to his wife to perfection

Maybe he loves her?

No, he's scared of her. HUGE difference.

stottiecakes Wed 23-Apr-14 15:01:53

My mother spends all her free time cleaning and ironing and her house is immaculate. You drink a cup of coffe finish it and the cups gone, washed and in the cupbaord. When the washing is dry on the line the ironing boards out and clothes ironed as they are unpegged. When i go to my parents house i am always on edge and end up following my kids around, putting tea towels on seats. She doesn't do it but i know she will not be happy if they spill something or get a mark on her sofa. She's always been like this, i just have to accept it. Her behaviour hasn't rubbed off on me as i find it annoying. Theres no way if i had guests i would whip the ironing board out.

DidoTheDodo Wed 23-Apr-14 15:08:20

I think I might be your mother! My DD and DGD stayed at Christmas for a few days and we ended up having a bit of a row over the same sort of thing. My house is very small. It is almost 30 years since I had small children around constantly. I do like things to be tidy. It is really hard to adjust - and difficult, if not impossible, to discipline children who are not yours. And I expect you mother's house is not really set up for children in the same way it is at your home.

Whilst I understand it is very hard for you, I also feel for your mother, whose best is not good enough for you. I would never have understood this position until I was in it myself!

Lagoonablue Wed 23-Apr-14 15:24:41

My mothers best is not good enough. Not sure I know what you mean? I just want her to relax!

It is just the contradiction about guilt tripping me into visiting, stating how much she loves having us there but then appearing to be annoyed all the time we are there! Stressed about crumbs, unmade beds, ornaments placed back in slightly the wrong way. All that behaviour tells me is that we are in the way. I am a tidy person too but know there is no point chasing kids around tidying constantly. I do it at lunchtime or when we go out or bedtime. Her house isn't being trashed.

Thing is, on its own this incident would not be such an issue. There is a lot of baggage. Attila's assessments are close to the truth in many ways.

Also hearing someone saying your kids manners are appalling to someone is a bit inflammatory. I couldn't ignore it. I was mad. I said they weren't great but they are not appalling. They don't throw food or anything like that. She knows they aren't appalling. She likes barbs. She was having a go because I expressed annoyance at her constant, cleaning and wiping. I was at the end of my tether and was trying to point out the contradiction in her words v her actions. I did it in a clumsy way. It's true though, will never make progress with her. She doesn't behave like an adult.

As we left for the train today she said 'well it was a good few days wasn't it?' Hmmmmm not for me.

MaryWestmacott Wed 23-Apr-14 15:34:57

She wants you to visit, but then behave exactly as she plans for you to in her head. She isn't allowing for children not behaving like adults, she's not accepting that things will get messy or just moved slightly. She wants you to visit because in her head, she's going to enjoy it, then you turn up and don't act as she decided you would, so she gets upset and disappointed.

Therefore, if you don't think she's "all bad" and you want to keep a relationship with her, you have to accept you going to her house doesn't work for you, your DCs or even for your parents (even if they say they want you there, the reality is going to upset her and therefore upset your dad).

The only way to make it work is to see her elsewhere. Either stay in a hotel/B&B and just visit, ideally arranging to do days out away from her home, or invite them to you, or arrange to go away to a 3rd location and invite them to stay there at the same time (but if you do that, don't be tempted to do a sharing a self catering cottage type holiday, that will be the same problem but more expensive! A hotel, or separate small cottages in the same area might work).

All in all, you have to accept whatever the reason, be it NPD, or mental health issues around dirt/mess, or just going a bit hard work in old age, this is the mother you've got. You can't change her, so if you do the same thing again, you'll get the same situation. Make alternative arrangements if you want to see her & your dad, but if you visit there again and stay at that house you will have exactly the same experience, and life is far far too short for that.

coolcookie Wed 23-Apr-14 16:09:24

I somethinng can't eat without spilling something down me so I wouldn't expect a child of 5 to be able to all the time.

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