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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!

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.

Standautocorrected Wed 28-Aug-13 09:26:56

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!

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