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to be dreading this but think my house, my DC, my rules?

(71 Posts)
unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 20:19:56

My 'MIL' (not married but been together for 20 yrs) is coming for a visit.
She lives overseas and this will be the third time she has visited.
She was emotionally and physically abusive to DP when he was a child and he was no contact for years but decided for himself not to be bitter. She did have a hard life, DP's dad was an alcoholic who used to beat her etc...and she had MH problems - not much of an excuse but some. She phones him every so often, he won't phone her. She did mention she might come to visit and DP said fine, she phoned last Thursday saying she is coming tomorrow for 4 days. A major hassle - she will stay with us (suggested a hotel to DP but he said that would be awkward for her) my house is in chaos, floors need mopping, presents need buying and DCs have got Christmas stuff, parties, extra performances etc. And I will have to rearrange everyone's sleeping arrangements to make space for her. To cap it all I've hurt my back (again!) and have a stinking cold.
When she came before DP tried to avoid her -worked a lot etc and I found her really hard work. She doesn't speak English and she has no real interest in the DDs....very selfish eg got bored when DD's were at a pleasant outdoor play area and lied so we had to leave within 5 mins of getting there. DD's had to hang around the house instead, she didn't want us to go out without her! She didn't help, just made work for me etc. DP has taken time off this time (after I threatened to go to a hotel instead) but he does find it difficult to put his foot down with her (bear in mind she used to terrorise him.)

All this is a bad enough but what is really getting to me is she has become religious. Their background is Muslim but DP wasn't brought up with any faith - for eg they ate pork, never set foot in a mosque etc. She has taken to sending DP religious texts, copies of the Koran, how to pray books etc. She has asked if the DDs have been to the mosque (DP doesn't even know where it is!)
I was brought up christian but am a non believer - (although my DCs go to the local Sunday school, have done for years - the people at the church know I don't believe, it is just across the road, I thought it would be good for DD1 to learn about religion - but they love going, really like the leader (who has watched DD1 grow up) - I do feel awkward sometimes but don't think it is a major problem)
I used to be able to talk to MIL, ignoring the language difficulties, but have found it increasing difficult. For example she once phoned to speak to DP and then we had a 'little chat' - how was I, did I eat well? did I eat meat? did I eat ham - did DP eat ham? and then how we mustn't, pigs were dirty animals etc. She got her friend to phone me and ask if DP was circumcised 'in the muslim way' (he is - she got him done at 11-12 or something - she can't remember - I posted on here about it at the time - I was so shocked!)
Finally she has told DP that she thinks I don't let him speak to her - don't tell him when she has called. That I am opening his post and not giving him the things she sends....(none of which is true)
I am planning on trying to keep the peace but suspect we are going to fall out. I think part of the reason she is coming is to stop my bad influence on DP ..or even to make me see the errors of my ways.
I know it is only 4 days but AIBU to think my house, my rules and if she doesn't like she can go to a hotel.... I am dreading this, don't like confrontation.
To be clear this is not specifically anti-Islam - I'm sure I'd feel the same if she was a born again Christian or a Jehovah's witness or Jewish etc trying to stick her beliefs down my throat...

Phoenixfrights Sun 07-Dec-14 20:25:55

I would think the religious nutbaggery would be the least of your worries in any case. Having an abuser in the house.... big problem. I feel for you. I think I'd be insisting she stays in a hotel.

TravelinColour Sun 07-Dec-14 20:27:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mutternutter Sun 07-Dec-14 20:29:53

Book a hotel and Leave the pair of them to it!

heartisaspade Sun 07-Dec-14 20:31:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 20:34:09

Please don't say it is AGES - I keep telling myself it is ONLY 4 days it can't be that bad ...last time it was a week but felt like a year...
I can't leave DP with her - when I originally freaked out saying I wouldn't stay with her he was almost in tears - he isn't looking forward to it either - maybe we should all go to stay in a hotel...
Normally I can be pretty strong but right now feel like shit anyway - sure it isn't going to end well...
And the Sunday school thing - started as a short term thing because I thought schools were non-religious but actually DD1 (13) loves it - was supposed to leave at 11 and still goes every so often...mainly I think because she likes the leader - who is lovely.

LadyLuck10 Sun 07-Dec-14 20:34:51

Yanbu, she needs to go to a hotel. Her 'ways' should not be tolerated. You can feel a fallout will happen so why let it? If your dp won't stand up to her, why don't you? What have you got to lose really. She probably doesn't like you, so telling her she isn't welcome with all her nonsense isn't going to make her like you anyway. Life's too short to feel obligated to people just because.

FishWithABicycle Sun 07-Dec-14 20:36:09

DP making himself scarce and forcing you to cope is very unreasonable - if he does not swear honestly not to do that this time, you and the kids should go and stay somewhere else (your mum? a nearby B&B?) for the 4 nights. Second thoughts even if he does swear this, consider booking somewhere that you can retreat to as a back-up plan if it gets unbearable.

Viviennemary Sun 07-Dec-14 20:38:37

I just skimmed your post. And forget all the ins and outs. Four days notice at this time of year is just ridiculous. I wouldn't allow her to come. She's got a nerve. Tell Your DP to take her away on a four day break somewhere. (of course he won't). It's just cheeky. I wouldn't stand for it and would create an almighty fuss.

ReputableBiscuit Sun 07-Dec-14 20:43:08

Hotel. Get it booked. A nice one. And then invite her over in the evenings.

unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 20:44:00

My parents are hundreds of miles away and the DCs have school ...I'm a SAHM/work from home - already planning how I can go out ...a lot...
This is hard for DP too - I kind of think I should support him - I persuaded him to go and see her years ago when he was no contact ...for himself more than anything ...I didn't know it would end up like this.

Really thought someone might say stop worrying it will be fine sad

Lucked Sun 07-Dec-14 20:48:23

Yes your house your rules but I think it would be good manners to not have pork in or serve any (even if not to her) during her stay. Agree beforehand with your husband that he tackles her about any religious nagging and that he has to have your back regarding any accusations of being a bad wife, no dealing with it later or ignoring it.

Lastly plan as many outing as possible and if she wants to go home stick her in a taxi.

LadyLuck10 Sun 07-Dec-14 20:49:03

Why should the op of away for a few days while she visits confused
You really have no obligation to this woman. You know that you will have a fallout. She possibly could like you less for putting her in a hotel, but does her opinions of you really matter?

Phoenixfrights Sun 07-Dec-14 20:49:39

Thing is, your DPs' thinking will have been seriously warped by his mother's abuse. I don' t think it would be kind to just 'leave him to it' but it would be kind to help him stand up to her and say "no" to housing her. So what if there's a scene? It won't be of your making and she'll be long gone by christmas.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 07-Dec-14 20:51:34

Its happening, she's coming, you have for what ever reason agreed/ been sufficiently unable to say no that it is a reality.

The options from here on in are to say we've booked a hotel for you and move her out before in, or have a bingo list and when you get a row move her to a hotel, if you go onto get a full house cease contact.

You really need some polite but firm comebacks in hand and a clear schedule of activities she can opt in and out of. But at all costs empower yourself, you've nothing to loose. Be polite, firm and in control.

Do your DD's like seeing her? Any other family you could divert her to for some of the time?

unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 21:25:59

DPs point on the hotel - and I have to agree with him really - is she doesn't speak English, the nearest one is about 5 miles away and she doesn't drive... it does feel a bit mean.
And I agree what does make it so difficult is DP doesn't stand up to her - he should have said no, it isn't convenient right now.
I don't have a great relationship with my mother - we will usually fall out if we spend too much time together - the difference is I can and will speak up - DP won't/can't.
No other family around - and no idea what to do with her - last time she didn't want to even go shopping in the local town centre...
But there are lots of reasonably priced travel lodge type hotels in the town - so we can find a room at the last minute if necessary....

Youngest DD can't remember her and seems quite excited - the oldest found her a bit scary - but then I guess at 8 you would - strange old woman, who doesn't even speak the same language...

And I do intend to avoid pork...and obvious alcohol (might get a hipflask of gin to doctor my tea to bear it!) but that's about it ...

I am just going to have tough it out as much as I can - and be prepared to tell her where to go. I don't care what she thinks of me - but don't want her making my DPs life harder - or make a bad atmosphere for the DDs ...

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 07-Dec-14 21:39:23

At the end of the four days, where is she going/ whats her exit plan?

unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 21:49:56

She's going home - Dp is picking her up - so I assume taking her to the airport about 50 miles away.
But we don't know what time yet...something else to worry about (already seen we have snow forecast - was wishing her flight will be cancelled tomorrow ...but actually forecast is worse later in the week ....not even going to think about that)

woodychip Sun 07-Dec-14 21:50:21

You need to make sure you keep to the routine you usually do. If you want to go to the shops ask her if she wants to come. If she says yes, fine, you go where you want to go. If she says no, say fine, we will see you in an hours or three, here's the remote control. Don't let her dominate what you do.
Why did you leave soft play after five mins cos she didn't like it? If she wanted to go, you should have let her or sit in the car until you were ready to go. If she starts a debate about religion, just don't engage, say you are happy with your family set up and you are happy that she is happy with her, but you don't want to change what you do and presumably she doesn't want to change either? No? Neither do we.
If she doesn't want to go out, say fine and go. Be breezily cheerful and ignore sulking or starting arguments.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 07-Dec-14 21:57:33

Does the airport have hotels? If so thats your exit plan. Hotel at the airport if she misbehaves. She is not your responsibility. You are not morally obliged to look after this women.

I agree with woodychip. Keep to your routine. Get your DH to write it down for your MIL, so she has notice of what you're doing.

At the soft play, work through in your mind how things could have been handled differently. Could you have sent her in a taxi back to your house? Could your DH have collected her if it was a genuine emergency on her part?

I have enormous sympathy. I nurtured a relationship between my DH and his abusive mother and we're now no contact.

cookiefiend Sun 07-Dec-14 22:11:54

Wow what an odd time of year uto visit if she doesn't celebrate Christmas. hope she doesn't intend to stop you celebrating.

Stick firmly to your plans. Tell her what they are and how long they will last. Explain they are important to to your children so if she comes she will need to stay for the duration.

unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 22:18:21

It wasn't soft play - it was an outdoor play area with PYO strawberries etc- a lovely sunny afternoon, not too noisy, busy etc, she could sit on a bench with fantastic views of the countryside, browse in the small shop whilst the DCs played - she had said she wanted to go. 30+ min drive to get there, it cost me a fortune in entrance to the play area for us all, then she said she was hungry so I paid a fortune at the onsite cafe for sandwiches all round (even though we had had a reasonable lunch just before we left) back outside, DCs just starting to enjoy themselves on the trampolines when she announced we had to go home - she'd forgotten her 'heart medicine'. hmm
At the time I wasn't sure whether it was true or not but then she pulled the same stunt the next day when I thought she might enjoy a shopping trip in the town more ....she showed no real interest in any of the shops, had lunch in a cafe (I paid again). In the square there was a temporary climbing wall - not a big queue or anything - DD1 wanted a go so I said she could - then MIL announced we had to go home for her medicine - nearly put her on the bus home on her own...

unlucky83 Sun 07-Dec-14 22:31:47

And DH was at work and I'd imagine a taxi would have been £20 at least - it is in the middle of nowhere, so you would be paying for the taxi to come out and go back. If she does want to go anywhere I will check she has her medicine with her next time!
Actually writing it down made me think that she really doesn't like seeing the DCs having any kind of fun ... maybe she feels guilty or something if they are ...but then why is she bothering coming at all?

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 07-Dec-14 22:35:13

Could you have stuck her in a taxi from town/ the strawberry field (i appreciate it was far away but to have called her bluff)? Would she have had UK currency to pay, or would you have felt obliged to?

I get that its happened but I'm not quite sure why you're allowing her so much control both now in the inevitability she's going to control things and by not having plans to terminate her stay if she is trouble.

You need to sit down with your DH and agree house rules. He needs to tell them to his mum. It shouldn't be negotiable. What happened before is not acceptable.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 07-Dec-14 22:36:47

Sorry cross posts. And a little harsh. I just hate controlling parents.

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