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Help me stop this behaviour - MIL

(65 Posts)
TravellingSpoon Mon 22-Apr-19 09:58:04

I will start the thread by saying that we have a good relationship overall, she is funny and the kids love her, its just this one thing she does which drives me mad.

She will message that she is popping by and asks if we will be in. Sometimes I will say 'Yes I am but I am going out at X time'. She will then turn up every time without fail extremely close to that time and try and delay us going out, then feel affronted when I am trying to hussle her out of the door, and tell DH that I was abrupt or rude. I have tried explaining to her the stress her behaviour causes (I really dont like to be late, it makes me really anxious), have tried inviting her along, have tried telling her that I need to be out an hour before I do, nothing works. I think its a control thing, but its frustrating. I dont want to say to her that we are not in when we are, but its getting to the point where if its important, like DD's eye test on saturday I tell her we are not in.

She messaged this morning and I told her we were going out at 10.30. She said she would pop in and she still isnt here. She will turn up in about 15 minutes and try and delay us going out, by messing about with the children, telling long winded stories and making a cuppa.

I could leave her here I suppose, let her get on with it.

HennyPennyHorror Mon 22-Apr-19 09:59:19

Has your DH pointed out her bad habit to her?

turnaroundbrighteyes Mon 22-Apr-19 10:00:12

Tell her you're going out at 10am next time?

WhyCantIThinkOfAGoodOne Mon 22-Apr-19 10:02:42

God that sounds frustrating. I think you need to completely ignore her when she delays even if that involves leaving her there. Get the kids out and go. DH also needs to shut her down when she moans to him. He should say flat out "well it was rude of you to come by when you knew we were going out".

AnalUnicorn Mon 22-Apr-19 10:03:07

If you have plans to go out at any time that day then tell her you are not available. That way she won’t be able to disrupt you.

Sciurus83 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:03:26

Tell her you had to leave already and go

CoffeeConnoisseur Mon 22-Apr-19 10:04:54

Well really your DH needs to have a word and tell her that she’s the ride one coming over when she knows you’re back on your way out.

When she turns up you’re going to have to be really blunt. Cut her off mid-long winded story “you’ll have to finish that another time MIL, we’re leaving now, no I don’t have time to make you a cuppa, here’s your coat...” and pack her out of the door.

Do that every single time.

HopeMatters Mon 22-Apr-19 10:05:20

Stop saying 'yes but'

Say 'no because'

'No because we're popping out in half an hour' instead of 'yes but we're popping out in half an hour'

You're inviting her in the way you're currently explaining it.

SophieTurnersEyebrows Mon 22-Apr-19 10:05:47

That's really annoying and would make me anxious too.

How about the next time she asks saying something along the lines of no good popping in as we are going out this morning, but we will be back around x time, so do pop over after then.

If she persists in popping in shortly before you go our, you need to either just tell her this is becoming an issue, or be more abrupt when you're trying to leave, and or give 10 and 5 minute warnings, akin to what you do for a toddler. Don't let her delay you - "sorry MIL, no time for a cup of tea as we are leaving in 5", and do this every time, no matter how much she complains to DH.

CareBear50 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:07:39

Tell her that you'll be free from X o clock (the time you're back from your appointment). Ie you're not lying about being at home or not and it avoids any unnecessary controlling behaviour from her???

Whisky2014 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:07:42

Just dint reply to her textsbif you can't be bothered. And if she dies come just say to kids to get ready to leave and if MIL makes a fuss just say "I did tell you we are leaving as we have x,y z".

BabyBadger2 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:12:52

That's annoying. My mum does this all the time - she just doesn't see time in the same way as us. Even when it's important she will show up late. I love her and we have a great relationship but this drives me crazy.

The problem with telling her that you need to leave half an hour before you do is that it reinforces the message that she can delay you by half an hour... I'd just tell her when you need to leave and consistently leave at that time.

Do you think you are abrupt as she says? I can probably be like this with my mum because it keeps happening and irritation caused by the building resentment can creep in! If so maybe try to be a bit softer/cheerful but still matter of fact? i.e. "we're leaving now, but maybe see you when we get back if you're still here"/ "If you've got time to pop in later then we'd really love to see you properly - we can have a glass of wine/some cake" - whatever.

GuineaPiglet345 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:12:59

I hate the pop in, I’ve pretended I was just leaving just as MIL arrived before, I had to get DD in the car and drive around the block blush

Next time she asks if you’re in just say no, it’s not untrue if you’re going somewhere at 10:30 because technically you’re getting ready to leave from 10 and before that you’re having breakfast and getting the kids dressed etc so you’re not able to host to visitors.

KC225 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:13:03

You need to give YOURSELF a larger window. If you are going out in an hour or two hours she can't come round you as she won't leave in time in time. Only agree to her popping round if you plan to be in all day/rest of the day.

If she complains, call her out on it and say - but then you get upset and complain to DH that I have been rude when I told you we only had an hour before we were on our way out. It also let's her know you and DH are a team and she can't divide and conquer.

Don't answer the phone if you have an appointment and you know she wants to pop round. If she calls, text her just going out - will phone you later. Perhaps she is hinting about some more invitations to cone over.

She is not going to change, you have to change your way of dealing with her.

Good luck OP

Babooshkar Mon 22-Apr-19 10:14:32

This would annoy me no end, if I’m going out, I don’t really want people coming over just beforehand anyway - so I would actually ignore her messages until I was back from going out.

WhatchaMaCalllit Mon 22-Apr-19 10:16:22

Or how about replying something like "No, not in at the moment" (even if you are and you're preparing to go out) "but we will be back at 4pm" so she can pop in when you've done your shopping/optician/dentist/whatever and she has no reason to be peeved.

blackcat86 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:25:03

I would be telling her that you were not available this morning but would she like to come in the afternoon. You know that she'll be a pain so by all means call her on her behaviour but I'm like you and hate being late so I just wouldn't put myself through it

twoshedsjackson Mon 22-Apr-19 10:28:34

Variation on the coat routine (coat on as you answer the door; depending on the caller, you can either say "Oh good I just got in" or "Oh I'm just going out"). And then kindly but firmly go.
I realise that in your case this means having the children ready for the off as well, so might not work as well in your circumstances, but you can shift the "blame" for your "rudeness" by making it time critical, as in "If I miss this optician/ dentist/whatever appointment, I still have to pay! (true for me) or, "Sorry MIL, but you know how hospital appointments are so hard to get", adapt to your situation, and it's force of circumstances making you promptly out of the door; timing is out of your control, you have to fit in.
How would she feel if you had one child to get to the eye appointment, and you would really appreciate leaving siblings at home with granny so they're not bored and stuck in the waiting room for their brother's benefit? You say she's a nice DGM, they might prefer it. She might or might not! Leave some nice biscuits for her, and promise to be back as soon as possible.
My DM was a shocking timekeeper in her later years, and I had to "adapt" timings to keep my sanity, but I see from your post that you tried that already, and it didn't work.
DH is calling you rude; is he there, in which case he can entertain his own DM, or is he getting the edited version later, in which case you can set him straight.........

SmellsLikeAdultSpirit Mon 22-Apr-19 10:32:39

Honestly I would call her out on it
Sorry you can't come as we are going out at 10. 30 and you will be offended when we go

WhyCantIThinkOfAGoodOne Mon 22-Apr-19 10:32:53

Come to think of it I'd agree with PP don't lie but say "we're not free this morning". She can't be trusted to pop in and be gone in time so she doesn't get to pop in when you have plans for later on.

Tinkobell Mon 22-Apr-19 10:34:59

Leave her there. Life doesn't grind to a halt just because she rocks up 10 mins Pre appointment. Tell her to hang on have a cuppa then you get back when you get back. Make her wait around.

GetOffTheTableMabel Mon 22-Apr-19 10:35:03

Would it work to convey the same information in a different way? So, if going out at 10.15 am, you could say “Am due to go out soon so it’s fine to pop round if you can get here before 9.30 am.”
Every word of it is true but you haven’t said what time you’re leaving,

Fairylea Mon 22-Apr-19 10:35:47

I would say I’m already out and will be for the day.

Nanny0gg Mon 22-Apr-19 10:36:00

Just say 'No, not today, we already have plans. See you on such and such a day'

Stop the popping round.

QuickThinkOfAName Mon 22-Apr-19 10:39:18

What does your dh say in all this? When she calls you rude for leaving when you say you will?

Frankly you’ve given her enough chances. She knew the limitations when she rang up. She has 30mins/1 hour/till 11am to stay and then you’re off. If she repeatedly ignores you then she’s the rude one and can’t be trusted to ‘pop in’. I would just say no to everything unless you are free the whole day and she can’t pull this stunt.

I’m curious to know if this behaviour leaks out anywhere else. It seems such an odd disrespectful power play for it to be only in this instance.

AnnaMagnani Mon 22-Apr-19 10:39:28

If it isn't convenient for her to come round as her coming round always takes ages and she delays you leaving, just say so.

So instead of saying 'Yes, but we have to leave at 10.30', say 'No we aren't in' or 'No, about to leave the house'

At the moment in her head, it's a mixed message. OK it isn't a mixed message but she is receiving it as such

You don't have to be in every time she wants to pop round.

Holidayshopping Mon 22-Apr-19 10:40:09

and tell DH that I was abrupt or rude

Is your DH on side? Presumably he explains to her ‘we told you we needed to leave at X o’clock!’

WhoKnewBeefStew Mon 22-Apr-19 10:40:23

Ignore her ‘are you in’ question and answer that

MIL. ‘Will you be in at 9, I’m just popping by’
YOU. ‘Sorry were going out at 10, we’ll be home at 4 if you’re still in the area’

Serialweightwatcher Mon 22-Apr-19 10:41:23

If you have plans, don't answer the message - if she turns up at the door say you've been too busy to look at phone and didn't hear notification - you're on your way out soon and today isn't convenient - if she gets pissed off, let her ... play it your way and she'll soon get fed up

NataliaOsipova Mon 22-Apr-19 10:43:09

HopeMatters has it. Change “yes but....” to “no because....”. The meaning subtly shifts.

Sindragosan Mon 22-Apr-19 10:45:37

If you're happy seeing her regularly, plan time in. Set aside a morning or afternoon and invite her around then, or visit her if it's ok.

Don't bother beyond that. Sorry, got x,y and z to do but will see you Wednesday afternoon as planned.

NoHolidaysforyou Mon 22-Apr-19 10:46:07

You should tell her that you're busy/already out doing other errands before whatever it was you were trying to go to.

ChrisPrattsFace Mon 22-Apr-19 10:48:53

I agree with the ‘we are going out, but will be back at X time if you still want to pop round’
You’re not being rude by ushering her out, and your avoiding the question of wether you’re in or not!

Jaxhog Mon 22-Apr-19 10:59:51

If you have plans to go out at any time that day then tell her you are not available. That way she won’t be able to disrupt you.

This. And if she does just still turn up, don't answer the door. She will eventually stop.

TravellingSpoon Mon 22-Apr-19 11:00:50

She is still here.

I am leaving in 2 minutes and she can stay here for as long as she likes!

DH has spoken to her about it but he also feels bad because she is lonely (he feels). I think it would help her loneliness if he spent more time with her but that is another thread.

TravellingSpoon Mon 22-Apr-19 11:02:32

Next time I am going to say we are not available in the morning and give her a time when we are.

EL8888 Mon 22-Apr-19 11:09:33

Straight away the vibe l got was control thing. I would bulldozer over this by leaving the house at the time l needed to. She's rude and selfish. If your OH doesn't speak to her about it then l would if l was you. Her making you late (or nearly late) must be causing you stress and disruption

ProserpinaPontypridd Mon 22-Apr-19 11:12:52

Oh God if I say to my mum I am going out at 10 she will make a silent phone call at 10 to see if I have gone.

Blondebakingmumma Mon 22-Apr-19 11:13:49

“Sorry MIL, this morning doesn’t work for me, come over any time after 1pm.”

DrReed Mon 22-Apr-19 11:14:37

In the OP you said you needed to go out at 10.30. Why are you still there at 11? You’re just giving her the message that she’s able to delay you.

FlossieTeacakesFurCoat18 Mon 22-Apr-19 11:14:49

To be extra nice you could sound enthusiastic about her coming - "Great! We'll be in from 3pm onwards so any time after that works l!"

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 22-Apr-19 11:16:23

Yeh I’m sure your dh is “on her side”. That way he doesn’t get to see his mother as much as she needs to reduce her loneliness. Think you’ve had some good advice glad you’ve taken it on board.

When you get to the appointment, send your dh a text that she arrived at x time when she knew you were going out at y time. Then he has something in b&w to see her unreasonableness. Do this every time. If he doesn’t like it he will have to react in some way.

NoSauce Mon 22-Apr-19 11:17:21

She will then turn up every time without fail extremely close to that time and try and delay us going out, then feel affronted when I am trying to hussle her out of the door, and tell DH that I was abrupt or rude

And? It’s her problem not yours. Stop pandering to her. Either tell her that it does r suit you or when you’re ready to leave just get your stuff and say you’ve got to go.

I don’t understand this at all. Would you put up with this behaviour from your friend or another family member??

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 22-Apr-19 11:17:28

Blonde
Bloody hell. 😳

cuppycakey Mon 22-Apr-19 11:20:35

This is very simple to resolve.

You just stop saying Yes if you know you are going out.

Twickerhun Mon 22-Apr-19 11:23:10

Go out right before you expect she will arrive - she will soon get the nessage

Fairenuff Mon 22-Apr-19 11:28:42

You told her you had to go out at 10.30 yet you are still there at 11.00.

You are giving mixed messages.

Next time just say 'Ooops it's 10.30, I have to dash, see you later' and go.

regmover Mon 22-Apr-19 11:31:37

Not now, we're about to go out. No timescales required.

PuppyMonkey Mon 22-Apr-19 11:39:08

Sounds like you’ve come up with the best solution yourself OP. Tell her when you are free, not what all your precise plans for the day are.

So “we’re free from 1pm” and not “we’re free until we’ve got to leave the house at 11am.”

I’d just be worried she might start turning up anyway, once she works out your new policy.wink

Twillow Mon 22-Apr-19 11:44:27

If you know you're going out, tell her you are already out. Simple.

Oldraver Mon 22-Apr-19 11:48:32

Why were you still at home at 11am if you told her 10.30 ?

makingmammaries Mon 22-Apr-19 11:55:20

‘We are not available just now, have to go out shortly.’

Blondebakingmumma Mon 22-Apr-19 11:56:28

Mummyoflittledragon
Just curious - do you think that sounds rude?

TheViceOfReason Mon 22-Apr-19 12:01:07

Stop telling her when you are going out!

Sorry MIL, we are out and about this morning, but i will be home after 2pm.

Redshoeblueshoe Mon 22-Apr-19 12:02:15

Blonde I read your post twice, it was not rude.
Good luck OP

GreenTulips Mon 22-Apr-19 12:09:51

I’d go the other way

Say you are leaving at 10:15 when you really are going at 10 so you are already out when she pops over

HopefulAgain10 Mon 22-Apr-19 12:12:19

Why on earth are you still there at 11??
You have a problem with this yet still hang around and entertain her.
You need to be very blunt with her in future. Either tell her no can do or leave when you need to. While shes busy talking/ stalling then you go about your day getting ready and ignoring her. She will feel awkward and out of place and hopefully stop doing this.

Penguincake Mon 22-Apr-19 17:19:39

Did you get away on the end OP?

Likethebattle Mon 22-Apr-19 20:30:36

Maybe op isn’t at home maybe she updated from her phone.

Deelish75 Mon 22-Apr-19 21:42:42

I had something similar with my own mother, she was ringing up for chats at random times of the day, expecting my full undivided attention which with a toddler I couldn’t do. I lost count how many times I told her evening were better but she still carried on during the day. She would then get upset at me “for having no time for her” it was about control and manipulation for her.
You can’t change your MIL’s behaviour, only yours, and your DH needs to back you all the way. As others have said make it inconvenient for her to come around before you are going out and only arrange for after you are home.

gokartdillydilly Tue 23-Apr-19 14:40:47

She is not going to change, you have to change your way of dealing with her

^ this. It's always the same rule for anyone who get on your tits. Kids/MILs/husbands/colleagues/CFs. They are unlikely to change bad habits, so you change your approach. Suddenly you're in control and their behaviour alters

MulticolourMophead Tue 23-Apr-19 15:15:36

DH has spoken to her about it but he also feels bad because she is lonely (he feels). I think it would help her loneliness if he spent more time with her but that is another thread.

I felt this was all a control thing, given she's so predictable at turning up just before your stated time to leave.

I also think your DH needs to stop feeling bad. If he is more firmly on your side to his mum, she may find other ways to combat any loneliness.

Yes, it's nice to spend time with family, but not when its interfering with things you have to do.

It'll also be good for MIL to find things to do to maintain independence rather than rely on you and your DCs to entertain her when she wants it. Which leads us right back to the control thing.

ScrambledToe Tue 23-Apr-19 15:22:48

Did you go out and leave her there?

WhatchaMaCalllit Mon 20-May-19 12:45:44

@Travelling Spoon - have things improved? Are you being firmer with when you want to leave if she arrives close to that time?

simplekindoflife Mon 20-May-19 13:09:00

If you need to be out by 10.30, tell her 9.30?? Just change the time.

Or stop trying to squeeze her in somewhere and say sorry we are out this morning but we can do tomorrow afternoon at this time.

Is she somehow feeling pushed out or that she's not spending enough time with the kids?

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