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I am being un-reasonable and I need some help and ideas on how to cope so I can stop being so!

(16 Posts)
LadyFlumpalot Tue 09-Aug-11 11:41:53

Please make yourself comfy - this may be long and waffley.

I have always had a very protective, insular feeling about my house. It is my home, where I live and where I relax. I hate other people coming into my home. Not because it's messy or anything, but because I feel it is an intrusion into the private part of my life. This has become a lot more so since DS (7 months) was born. I really become very anxious and upset if I am expecting company.

PIL live 120 odd miles away and do not have any spare room at their house (SIL moved back home after an abusive relationship ended) so we cannot visit them there, at least not for a decent amount of time. We simply cannot afford travelling costs and a hotel or BandB.

I do not want PIL to miss out on seeing their grandson growing up so I need to figure out a way to be comfortable with them staying at my house. This is the tricky part. My MIL is very, very overbearing and loud. She will arrive at 10am on the Saturday with a whole load of food that she has bought with her and expect us to cook for her. She will have a pre-planned itinerary of what she wants us to do activity wise. She will go into my garden and remove plants and shrubs that she doesn't like.

She will go to bed at about 3am, then knock us up at 9am in our own home to make her a breakfast. Then she will leave at about 2am Monday morning, or, as she has done in the past, suddenly announce that as FIL has the next day booked off they are staying an extra day...

My fiance is lovely, but very much a mummy boy. Please don't all pile in and tell me he has to grow a pair and talk to her because he has done, and she has toned down a lot. Before she would have been inviting half her extended family along as well!

I really need some help and advise on how I can stop feeling so anxious about it, and just go with the flow while they are here...

Thank you if you have got this far reading this! I know there are far more pressing problems happening today.

<And....breathe!>

TubbyDuffs Tue 09-Aug-11 11:49:42

Sorry, but you need to grow a pair too!

Don't let her take over, its your house, and you are well within your rights to tell her not to take plants from the garden etc.

As for the going to bed at 3am, does she expect you to stay up with her? If so, just tell her you are off to bed at a decent time, and if she complains tell her you need to so that you can get up and make breakfast (then get her up at 8am!).

I do feel for you, I don't mind visitors as long as they are the kind who will make a brew and load the dishwasher, but the ones that want waiting on are a pita.

Also, you could head her off at the pass so to speak and organise your own itinerary, telling her what you have planned before she can get in there. '

Really, if there is anything you can't live with, you have to say something, for your own sanity if nothing else.

ZillionChocolate Tue 09-Aug-11 11:56:33

I agree with TubbyDuffs, you need to be more assertive. Maybe offer a range of activities, or make it clear that she can go out on her own if there are things that wouldn't suit you. Give her a tour of the kitchen, "here's the kettle, there's milk in the fridge and bread in the cupboard, you can make yourself breakfast if you get up before us". Rather than having her bring food, wouldn't you be better off eating out?

The garden is just rude, and you ought to challenge her. She might think she's being helpful, so make it clear you want it left alone.

NoMoreWasabi Tue 09-Aug-11 11:58:02

Er, no you don’t need to stop being unreasonable, she does and both you and DH need to present a united front on this for the sake of both your sanities.

Before any state parental visit you need to agree with them:

- Timing of when they will arrive and leave
- What activities will be happening
- Who will be providing and cooking food
- At what time you will be going to bed (and that you expect to be able to sleep when you do)
- That you are happy for her to help herself to cereal toast etc if you’re still asleep when she wants to eat
- That she will not remove plants from the garden

I had relatives that would behave in a similar manner and it became intolerable having them visit. When I finally took back control they actually behaved much better.

Primafacie Tue 09-Aug-11 12:00:30

She does sound unpleasant, so YANBtotallyU. Could you have a quiet chat with her, emphasising these are your issues and asking for her understanding so you together find a way to make her stay enjoyable for both of you?

Or try breaking it up into small things It should be easy to tell her the garden is off limits. Just tell her you enjoy gardening, you prefer to do it yourself, and while you are grateful for her help, you would rather she sits down with a glass of wine. As for food, maybe enjoy the fact she has gone grocery shopping as a nice gesture?

As for breakfast, I am in awe you can manage a lie in until 9 am with a 7 month old! Why don't you show her the kettle and toaster and tell her to feel free to use them in the morning?

MardyBra Tue 09-Aug-11 12:01:56

You could write her an email, like a reverse situation of the one from the MIL in the papers recently, and see if it goes viral.
[sorry not being helpful emoticon]

She does sound a nightmare, and Tubby's advice makes a lot of sense. Can you also enlist her help, something along the lines of "I'm finding it hard to get the dishwasher unloaded with the baby needing a feed, can you help out..."

Also, you do state: "I hate other people coming into my home." Maybe you need to loosen up a little too.

LadyFlumpalot Tue 09-Aug-11 12:03:04

Thank you TubbyDuffs and ZillionChocolate

I do need to be more assertive, but I am really not very confident. Ok, I'm a coward when it comes to things like that.

I have tried saying to her not to bring food, but she will say that she has already bought it, then throw a massive sulk. Ditto with the eating out - it doesn't suit her, is too expensive etc. Oh, she'll do it - but will make a massive fuss the whole way through the meal - food is not good enough, service too slow, counting her pennies out to the exact amount she has spent at the end of the meal etc.

Giving her a tour of the kitchen though, and going to bed regardless (she doesn't expect me to stay up, but I don't feel I can go to bed until she has) are good ideas though. As is planning activities before she gets here - maybe next time I shall tell her that I need her help to plan next years veg patch...that way she will feel useful and valuable.

Hmmmm.

LadyFlumpalot Tue 09-Aug-11 12:05:49

Sorry cross-posted with a few people!

DS comes in with us and plays with his toys etc at the weekend - so we are not asleep but still lying in IYSWIM?

I will try to enjoy the fact that she has gone food shopping for us - I think it may be the sheer fact that I resent being bossed about so much in my own home?

NoMoreWasabi Tue 09-Aug-11 12:10:21

You need to raise the matter suitably in advance of them arriving. Saying "no food" the day before will annoy them, two weeks before and they can't claim they've already got it. YOu can offer to get in anything specific they want eg particular sort of bread or milk.

MardyBra Tue 09-Aug-11 12:13:07

Why not suggest you share the cooking - she does Saturday lunch with some food she's brought with her. You do some other meals and everyone helps themselves to breakfast. (Get the croissants in!)

redexpat Tue 09-Aug-11 12:49:02

I've never understood making breakfast. My mum always set the table the night before, cereals out, places laid etc and then when you got up you helped yourself and cleared up your part. Worth a try methinks.

belledechocchipcookie Tue 09-Aug-11 12:51:01

Book her into a hotel.

LadyFlumpalot Tue 09-Aug-11 13:07:56

Sorry guys, DS is awake and hungry - will be back to read and reply in full in a little bit.

pommedechocolat Tue 09-Aug-11 13:13:12

I have been in a similar situation with my MIL. She turned up with lots of food, would load it into my fridge herself and then take herself off to cook our tea on my cooker with her food when she decided. She moved all the laundry about, went into our wardrobe to hang things up. Put dd's washing round etc etc.

Add in a BIL who cannot help himself but get into our garden and start gardening it makes me very anxious. DH struggles to see what the problem is as he seems to like all this 'help'.

When I asked him to imagine me behaving in their house like they do in mine he kinda got it though and spoke to his dad. Things have been more bearable since.

diddl Tue 09-Aug-11 13:16:55

I can´t see a problem with her bringing food tbh-although she should cook or help imo.

Garden-absolute no no, as is waking others & an inability to get one´s own breakfast.

Ideas of things to do-also not a problem-you don´t have to do all of them & you don´t all have to do them.

EndangeredSpecies Tue 09-Aug-11 13:28:57

You are trying the daughter-in-lawing by consent approach. It is not working. Robust action, possibly water cannons, are necessary.

Seriously YAB massively massively U. I had one of these women - a flatmate's mother - do similar things re knocking on bedroom door early in the morning and telling me to tidy up, what I should be eating for dinner etc. - in MY flat. I was so angry I could barely connect brain with mouth for long enough to tell her to fuck off.

I am angry now FGS just thinking that people believe it's OK for them to act like this and I have never even seen your MIL (thank god). Tell her to read this thread. She has ABSOLUTELY NO RESPECT for you but you need to stand up for yourself before she will give you any. Best of luck.

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