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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!

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.

WhatchaMaCalllit Wed 28-Aug-13 07:42:56

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?

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