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Lovely neighbour but this behavior is intrusive, isn’t it?

(108 Posts)
Honeybee85 Tue 19-Nov-19 06:47:13

Not brave enough for AIBU grin

Me, DH and DS who is nearly 6 months old live in a detached house outside the UK.
House is pretty small and we live next to an elderly couple who are actually very lovely people. The garden on right side of our house borders ours, both gardens are very small so whenever the lady next door is working in her garden/ tinkering around her house, which she seems to be doing all day, she is very close to our house.
DS doesnt cry that much fortunately and during the day, he is with me in the living room, either in the cot we put there for daytime sleeping or in his playpen. The living room has a window on the side that opens to our garden, which is bordering on neighbours garden.

I usually leave the window open to air the room but close it asap when DS starts to cry as I don’t want to be a nuisance to the neighbours. Today I was on the toilet as I hear DS starts to cry in the living room, not crying very loud but a typical ‘I am bored, where are you mummy’ cry. It took me about 3 minutes to finish my toilet business blush and when I came in the living room, I hear my neighbour calling my son’s name trough the open window. This hasnt been the first time that she did this. I do not let my DS cry for a long time, but sometimes I am on the toilet/in the shower etc so I am not immediately there when he starts to cry. This is the third time I heard her doing this. The first time I was sure I didn’t hear it correctly as I couldn’t believe she would do that. I think it’s quite intrusive to start speaking to my child trough my house’s window. I have dealt with PND in the past months and though now it only annoys me as I find it very cheeky, it would have made me feel very anxious as it would have contributed to my feelings at that time that I was a failure as a mum.
Plus it gives me the creeps as it kind of feels like she is watching our home all the time as he never cries more then a few minutes. Surely if my DS was old enough to walk to the window and talk back and the male neighbour did this, many people would find that creepy and possibly a sign of grooming?

I have to add though that I am sure she has no malicious intentions, she is otherwise a very lovely lady but I feel uncomfortable about her doing this.

stucknoue Fri 22-Nov-19 07:01:30

Sounds like she's a bit lonely and was trying to calm him to help you. Rather than seeing it as intrusive why not talk to your neighbour, perhaps it could be mutually beneficial ... she gets to talk to someone, perhaps cuddle and play with your son and you can get on with your jobs. My neighbour was great at that age, he would keep an eye on dd whilst I ran to the communal laundry room, he spend most his day in summer sitting on the shared balcony so I wasn't putting him out parking the pram next to him, but I didn't leave her unattended

Honeybee85 Fri 22-Nov-19 06:29:29

JoObrien7 and Catmint

Thanks both for your kind words.
It’s an Asian language, notorious for being very difficult to learn, locals can unfortunately barely speak English (for what it’s worth, I can communicate/ make myself understandable in 3 European languages other then English, including my own native language, but locals rarely speak anything other then their mothertongue so it makes no difference). I actually have asked DH to speak his language to me when we’re at home but usually we’re too exhausted to do effort to speak any other language then English.

After DS was born and we had left the hospital, midwife came to visit us to check upon DS and I asked her about any babygroups for foreign mums, or to mention to other foreign mums she’d visit that I was looking for some friends. She promised me to do so but haven’t heard from her.
DH works in the city’s welfare department as a public servant and therefor knows well what ways of finding support there might be but so far nothing, and he says it will get better when DS will go to nursery school in a few years but I don’t want to wait a few years! Btw, he is a wonderful husband and a great father who is really supportive and if my marriage with him weren’t so strong, I’d probably would have gotten on a plane back home with DS months ago to permanently go back.

I am thinking now to find some expat meet up group but most of them are about drinking and going to bars, which is lovely ofcourse but I can’t fit in my old clothes yet and I feel really selfconcious. I sound superficial, I know.
Promised myself to go to such an event as soon as I have dropped the pregnancy weight (a few kilos to go).

EmMcK Fri 22-Nov-19 06:20:35

Oh OP, I have been where you with the neighbour and I am with you. It is nice, as other posters say, to have a friendly neighbour, but feeling observed is awful. It is really hard to not feel that they are watching every little thing you do. Mine used to stand on her side of the fence and call me loudly to offer advice while Inwas trying to calm DD. It drove me crazy.
Added to this, you have the isolation if being far from home in a country where you dont speak the language. That is SO hard I am sure. Are there any expat groups around?

Catmint Fri 22-Nov-19 05:44:54

Yes, the neighbour's behaviour is intrusive, no matter how well meant. Putting it alongside your DH's caution not to make friends with the neighbours because they are nosy, the situation begins to look rather as if you have the sensation of being trapped/ under undue scrutiny. I think you are justified to feel that way.

Re being isolated. It sounds very, very hard and I'm in awe of your energy to be able to single handedly look after a baby and study.

I'm wondering whether you could go to baby groups, Libraries etc despite not yet being proficient in the language? No one there is likely to start a philosophical debate, there will be small talk mainly. If it feels awkward, could you try to see it as 'fieldwork' for your language study? After all the more you are exposed to it, the quicker you might learn.

It will also be stimulating for your baby.

Wishing you well, OP.

JoObrien7 Fri 22-Nov-19 05:17:24


What language is it? Both my husband and I speak French me rather badly and him fluently lol

You can always use a translation app on your phone that's what I do if I need to speak to someone who is from another country. Also I find a lot of people speak English so you need to find someone in your area who can speak the same language as you there must be someone if you look hard enough.

Honeybee85 Fri 22-Nov-19 01:12:09


I live in a quiet neighborhood of a city of 1,5 million inhabitants. Unfortunately it’s hard to find/join babygroups as I have to speak the local language quite well and though I am making progress, it takes a while. I study every day but for some reason whilst pregnant and after birth I couldn’t remember anything! It was like my memory stopped working. It’s getting better though.

JoObrien7 Thu 21-Nov-19 22:21:42


Are you near to a town? I live in the countryside but I can get to major city in 45 minutes and a town which is 20 minutes away. My daughter has a toddler and she had a very high pressure job before she gave it up to look after him. She goes to various toddler groups and visits petting farms etc. but I know she finds it hard and sometimes boring. I live an 1 hour 30 minutes from her but if she needs me I can get on the motorway and go and stay for a few days to help her out.

FraggleRocking Thu 21-Nov-19 18:41:28

@Honeybee85 You should talk to your DH. Tell him how isolated you are feeling and ask if he can facilitate any further help. Would it be so terrible to spend some of your savings on more babysitting if it means you feel more confident with the local language for example? Or can his parents come and babysit once in a while?

Ponoka7 Thu 21-Nov-19 14:47:36

I speak to other people's dogs as well.

No doubt that annoys some people as well.

Ponoka7 Thu 21-Nov-19 14:46:57

I'm a grandmother, I would do what your neighbour does. Most people of my generation and older would. If they like children.

Before the 80's, people left doors unlocked and neighbours would offer a hand in that situation. They'd at least announce their presence as the came in grin.

I'd say it is PND/anxiety that's making you view the situation as you are. You even seem to want to pick on the fact that she enjoys being out in her garden.

You need a much more detached house.

Honeybee85 Thu 21-Nov-19 14:23:05


You are spot on.
I moved to this country a few months ago whilst pregnant and don’t know anybody here except DH and his parents (he has a few friends but they don’t live close to here and his only family are his parents plus brother but he is NC with his brother).
I am trying to learn the language but it’s difficult, we hire a babysitter every week so I can go to school but apart from that no help because MIL doesn’t want to help us and we can’t afford to hire the babysitter more often without using our savings.

I force myself to go out with DS every day, we like to walk in the park/ nature and on bad days I just pop with him to the supermarket to get something just to have a purpose to go out. DH warned me to not become too close with neighbours as they are nosey.

I talk a lot with my friends at home but I feel very very lonely. I had a very dynamic job back home and lovely friends, a beautiful home.
I miss it. Sometimes I dream that I am back in my old city and meeting my friends for coffee or a dinner and when I wake up I feel shit (I’m crying as I’m writing this). A few weeks ago I was dreaming that I still had a key to my old apartment and went inside there when the new owner was away to do a nap. I missed it so much when I woke up.

DH is away from 7 in the morning to 7.30 in the evening and then it’s just me and DS.
During weekends I try to persuade DH to go out so at least we can enjoy our weekend as a family.
I do really enjoy these moments. Sometimes when he doesn’t feel like going out, I go by myself and visit interesting parts of the city by myself but it feels very lonely as I see others there visiting as tourists or locals out with friends.

I think it would be better if I had just 1 friend here but I don’t know how to find them.
I installed a language app to find people who want to teach me their language and vice versa but it seems to be used mainly as a dating app.
Language school hasnt been successful and I don’t speak the language well enough yet to really communicate well. Working on that though.
I can’t really talk with my neighbors other then very basic conversation and they can’t speak English.

Sorry for the long post but just needed to vent.

Beeziekn33ze Thu 21-Nov-19 14:03:50

As a MiL I am boggling at the idea of rearranging my DiL’s underwear. And now Weedinosaurus even found hers had folded used laundry...
There are some weird people around!

Honeybee, you sound isolated, are there other people around for you to be with? Do you get out much?
Your DP sounds supportive, I hope you can put the neighbour’s unappreciated attempts to help aside and enjoy being a mum.

Honeybee85 Thu 21-Nov-19 13:35:44


Awful behavior on MIL’s behalf! I was livid but also didn’t dare to speak up (mid 20’s back then and it was hard to say something because ex MIL is a wonderful person but not quite sensitive re boundaries). As I wrote I DID NOT compare the 2 experiences, just simply used it as an example that even though people mean well and want to help, that unwanted help can, no matter how well intended, really make someone else feel uncomfortable because of massively overstepping their personal boundaries.

OrangeZog Thu 21-Nov-19 13:35:21

I think you are seeing issues where there aren’t any, other than the fact she is being understandably annoying. Unfortunately it’s very common for some people to give their unwanted opinions which includes babies crying too much, not crying enough; when they start solids; what stops teething; what to dress them in etc etc.

I suspect she is slightly bored, means no malice and probably thinks she gets on well with you and is being helpful.

Honeybee85 Thu 21-Nov-19 13:31:06


I think your message is quite harsh. Just because I do not like someone invading my privacy and feeling anxious about their previous intrusive behavior I’m paranoid and everyone will soon stop being helpful to me? How about not having to be grateful for this kind of unwanted and intrusive ‘help’ confused

CookPassBabtridge Thu 21-Nov-19 13:28:22

Hey OP, just picked up on something you said about your ex MIL. Mine also organised my underwear drawer while I was on holiday! and my entire wardrobe. I had a feeling she might have a look around so I took all the sex related stuff and hid it before we went. She's sorted through my dirty underwear before in the laundry pile and folded them up.. She is otherwise a lovely woman. It made me feel really fucking uncomfortable as a grown 35 year old woman! Now I have the confidence to speak up about these things.

GrumpyHoonMain Thu 21-Nov-19 13:27:55

I think your PND is intruding here. Are you on medication?

Weedinosaurus Thu 21-Nov-19 13:23:23

I think you’re a bit paranoid. If I saw a neighbours baby crying and the parent wasn’t there, I’d probably wave/pull a silly face/try some way to cheer it up. I would not be judging the paren.

Honestly, people soon will just give up trying to be kind/helpful. And, your link to grooming is daft.

How about smiling at her and thanking her for caring.

Honeybee85 Thu 21-Nov-19 13:14:10


Thanks, thats a good suggestion!

GoKartMozart Thu 21-Nov-19 13:12:39

Have you considered a one way mirror film on the window? You can see out but the neighbours side will just be a mirror.

I have it on a side window that overlooks and it's brilliant. Just bear in mind at night with a light on the effect is reversed and they then can see it.

Honeybee85 Thu 21-Nov-19 13:07:05

DS is teething and cried uncontrollably today, despite me holding him, offering him a teether, milk etc. and I knew he was so loud she could probably hear him in her garden (not me though, she couldn’t tell if I were comforting him or not).
Windows were closed obviously.
I felt so anxious that she might show up at my door and would try to interfere again, I don’t know if it’s the latent PND talking, but I just got in a very defensive mood just thinking about it confused.

Honeybee85 Thu 21-Nov-19 12:54:31


Unfortunately not 😔.
We choose this spot as it is the safest place for the bed in case of an earthquake (they happen here a lot, sometimes on a weekly basis). Living room is also very small!

thecatsarecrazy Thu 21-Nov-19 10:50:00

Close the window and curtains when you go to the loo or put baby in their room

MsMellivora Thu 21-Nov-19 09:54:38

Please don’t compare this to what your ex mil did, there is a world of difference.

I would probably be this type of person. When babies have been crying in public I try and catch the parents eye and try and basically be nice to them, I remember very clearly how hard it is having a crying baby.

KnittingSister Thu 21-Nov-19 08:47:54

Would it be possible to move the baby away from the window?

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