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MIL - housesitting stress with damaging stuff

(40 Posts)
diymania Sun 31-Jan-16 16:46:51

For the last few years my MIL has asked to stay in our house while we are on holiday during the summer for a week a) to do us a favour by feeding our cat and b) to go and visit friends who are around the vicinity.

Tbh it's a hassle. We have a regular cat sitter we use but she enjoys the break, likes being somewhere 'new' and likes to think she's being helpful (and in general life she is!)

Trouble is, she's a bit cack handed and increasingly breaks stuff...

- £500 induction hob cracked needed complete replacement
- dropped £300 dyson vacuum requiring replacement
- dropped £50 iron breaking it
- plus few mugs etc.

She's also not very observant (or is too embarrassed to own up) so has never mentioned any of these breakages except the mugs! We didn't mention them either as we didn't want to embarrass her, she can be defensive and they were obviously accidents and could happen to anyone.

AIBU to ask her not to house sit? I would really, really like her to stop house sitting but I don't want to offend her. If I say the real reason why I can't see it going down well. I could make up a fictitious but plausible other house guest but I don't particularly want to do that either. Should I just suck up the breakages for the greater peaceful good?

Mouthfulofquiz Sun 31-Jan-16 16:49:24

Id have been hopping mad about the hob and the dyson!!!

Mouthfulofquiz Sun 31-Jan-16 16:49:44

Practical solution - don't tell her when you are going away?

MaisyMooMoo Sun 31-Jan-16 16:51:41

Next time you plan to go away tell her a friend is doing it instead. Use the excuse she's having a few problems at home and needs the break from her partner.

theycallmemellojello Sun 31-Jan-16 17:41:44

Are you 100% sure the iron and dyson breaking were her? I drop both my iron and my dyson vac all the time - they're pretty solid! Were they in warranty?

I'd be more concerned about her own safety tbh - is she ok on her own?

OzzieFem Sun 31-Jan-16 17:45:30

Are you sure it's your MIL whose responsible? My BIL will never admit to breaking anything in the house, but my sister knows damn well it wasn't her. Mugs and glasses also mysteriously disappear. I tell her she must have a poltergeist in the house somewhere. grin

diymania Sun 31-Jan-16 19:00:45

Pretty much 100% sure.

She mentioned that she'd found it reall difficult to empty the dust cylinder thing and had had problems finding out how it opened. The cylinder had a small crack in either from being dropped or from someone yanking it forcefully off. It probably was in warranty but I think that only covers if it's faulty. It wasn't a manufacturers fault...

Iron..water dripping/pouring out the side happened recently after she dropped it. I admit I have dropped irons before, but not this one it was only bought in the summer. Again probably would be on warranty, but surely only covers you if you the item with due care (not dropping it from a height!)

loobylou10 Sun 31-Jan-16 19:02:47

What does your husband think?

LIZS Sun 31-Jan-16 19:03:20

Surely you can get a replacement cylinder for less than £300. How can she have broken the hob confused

diymania Sun 31-Jan-16 19:04:32

She is in her 70s but fighting fit (runs, Pilates, swims, etc). I don't think I/we have any concerns for her getting more clumsy and it being age related. She's always been a bit cack handed. She's not a particularly clumsy person but just tends to move with gusto and is a bit heavy handed. Will keep an eye though...

diymania Sun 31-Jan-16 19:19:19

Hoover was £300. Yes, could've got a replacement cylinder for £30-40 but tbh I wasn't all that emanoured with the dyson Anyway so got another brand.

She broke the hob by dropping a mug from a cupboard next to the hob. Mug must've hit the edge of the hob and chipped/crushed a bit on the edge. We left it for a few months but with heating etc the crack spread across the entire width of the hob and was an electrocution risk (according to google). I thought we'd be able to get replacement glass but apparently once the glass is gone it's too costly to replace just the glass you might as well replace the entire unit (according to appliance repair place). We got that on insurance and just had to pay the excess. If I'd known about the cost I probably would've raised it at the time, as she wouldn't want us to be out of pocket to a large sum I'm sure.

Maybe I should just mention when she breaks stuff? Instead of being clandestine?

DH get annoyed by her breaking stuff, and doesn't really want her house sitting either. But probably like me wouldn't want to offend her, or make her feel bad. he would be against making up an alternative house sitter though!

cece Sun 31-Jan-16 19:26:48


I think if she breaks anything this year I would ask her how it happened. That then gives her an opportunity to own up or at least know that you are aware of it. All this not mentioning it is enabling it to happen again isn't it? Then the following year you could use it as an excuse not to have her.

Wolpertinger Sun 31-Jan-16 19:28:39

I would be mentioning it when she breaks stuff. Including costs. A regular update on the growing crack across the hob, threat of electrocution and then need to replace the entire unit and she would have been mortified. And probably never touched it again.

Not mentioning it has now got you into a hole really.

Littleallovertheshop Sun 31-Jan-16 19:36:24

Could your regular cat sitter really do with the cash but you don't want to embarrass them by giving them it without them doing the work iyswim?

If you don't want to tell a fib, I'd make this the last time and def mention any . Or air b and b your home...

TitClash Sun 31-Jan-16 19:37:47

Have you heard of the game called Schlemiel?
Schlemiel breaks stuff, gets off on that, and them gets off on forcing the victim to accept an apology.

The antithesis to the game is not to play. So just say no next time she asks to house sit and see what happens.
You might be in for a surprise as to her real motives...

f1fan2015 Sun 31-Jan-16 19:42:16

Do you have insurance that covers accidental damage? If not, you might want to invest in some if you can't face a bold 'no thank you' when you next go away

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sun 31-Jan-16 19:43:19

Your husband doesn't want her to stay either, so he'll be the one to let her down gently. Bloody hell, it would be cheaper for you to pay for her to stay in a hotel for the week, the way she carries on!

whoreandpeace Sun 31-Jan-16 19:48:42

Tell her that you are going away and when you are away your insurance company has insisted on you having a house alarm and that your insurance will be null and void if you have a 'tenant' or 'housesitter', so you will have to turn down her kind offer to break all your things to housesit.

Veritat Sun 31-Jan-16 19:50:08

Can't you just tell her you're not going away?

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 31-Jan-16 19:52:31

I'd say no too. She can stay with friends/premier inn if she wants to visit people.

LifeIsChaos Sun 31-Jan-16 20:02:07

I feel your pain.

In laws recently stopped at ours to look after our 2 dc. We have had three nights out in 6 year. Great lucky us. However they have failed to use chopping boards and my black kitchen work benches are covered in scratches/knife marks. I've complained to dh but he said at least they did us a favour.

I want to bill them for the damage, no night off is worth thousands of pounds damage and it boils my piss everytime I walk I. Kitchen.

ADishBestEatenCold Sun 31-Jan-16 20:04:21

Take her with you! grin

dlnex Sun 31-Jan-16 20:06:26

Could the cat go to her? Ideally briefed by you to inflict as much damage at her place as cattily possible?

abbsismyhero Sun 31-Jan-16 20:06:56

just tell her you're doing a holiday house swap? therefore you don't need a house sitter

DinosaursRoar Sun 31-Jan-16 20:15:30

I would be going with the friend who wants to catsit for you - perhaps a teen needing the money. Break the habit of her catsitting twice and hopefully that'll do it for the future... She's not doing you a favour, she's actually making your life harder and more stressful.

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