To expect inlaws to respect my privacy a bit more(179 Posts)
I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and DH and I live in a house that officially still belongs to his parents. Since neither DH or I is a fan of gardening, my MIL and FIL regulary stop by (sometimes a few times per week depending on the weather) to work on the garden. Usually they announce their visits as I am home all day currently due to my pregnancy so I know they walk around the house and might see me trough the windows. Today it was particulary hot here, I wasnt feeling well and taking a nap in my knickers and a tshirt on the couch. Suddenly I can hear my inlaws talking because they decided to show up unannounced. I went upstairs to continue my nap but felt highly uncomfortable as they could have seen me.
I texted DH to ask him if they had notified him about their visit but this wasnt the case. He wants to complain about it later to them but I am not sure if thats a good idea because I dont want to be cheeky. Its their home after all and we dont have to pay any rent. Still I feel I should be able to dress and act inside the home as I like without being afraid to be seen.
No it’s their ‘house’ but your ‘home’. If you have an agreement in lace that youblove inbthosboroperty as your home, rent paid or not then they should respect your privacy.
Sorry not awake yet - I’ll try again !
No it’s their ‘house’ but your ‘home’. If you have an agreement in place that you live in the property as your home, rent paid or not, then they should respect your privacy.
Did they come inside the house?
If not, then YABU. They can walk around the outside of the house that they own and are doing the garden maintenance for while their adult child lives rent free inside it. If your issue is that passers-by can see in you will need to get blinds or voiles.
How long have you lived there?
You need to nip this in the bud now, the last thing you'll want with your newborn is unannounced visitors letting themselves in and wondering about.
I’d just ask your DH to have a really casual word - you don’t mind them popping over whenever really, but could they give you an hours warning so you can make sure you’re prepared?
It’ll be more important when the baby has arrived if you’re BFing!
My husband has lived here for a few years and I
have been for a few months.
Regarding any passers -by : they cant see me from the street but the inlaws can since the house is surrounded by the garden and they come close to the windows
If they don't venture inside I think you are BU. They are doing you a huge favour by making your garden look lovely which you probably won't have time to do when baby arrives. Plus they'd presumably see no more than a postman would.
On the other hand, if they let themselves in, that isn't on.
MaMaMaMySharona - that was exactly my thought as well! I know they mean well but I really value my privacy and it makes me worried about how they will behave once our baby is born.
Solution would be for you to do your own gardening.
Or use the money you don't pay in rent to pay a gardener
Solution would be for you to do your own gardening.
Or move out and pay rent.
Get voiles/nets. Ask them to let you know when they’re planning on heading over. Don’t fall out with them over this.
Move out and stand on your own four feet, maybe?
1. Do your own gardening, or,
2. Get voiles/nets
You shouldn't be precious about being seen when breast feeding as you will have to do it out in public e.g. cafes, public transport, or are you going to just let your baby scream the place down?
Renting a gardener would cause problems because they would perceive that as a big insult to their gardening qualities.
I do not mind them coming over, I just wish they would notify us before they do so I can avoid situations such as today.
I think you need to take a different slant on this - they are letting you stay there rent free (it sounds lovely). - be grateful! They are maintaining the garden for you and not disturbing you by coming inside- they are so thoughtful! You seem to be very fortunate with your inlaws, so don't push back, consider your good fortune in having such a great family.
If they are coming round to do the gardening, it sounds as though you’re not looking after the property properly. Gardens need to be tended to regularly, not left alone. Given that you don’t pay rent, why don’t you employ a gardener to come once a week. This would show his parents that you are looking after the property, and would mean that there is no longer any need for them to come round and do the work themselves.
I think it would be polite and appropriate for them to let you know that they’re coming in advance, but I also think that you both need to step up and maintain the garden properly. If you are not paying rent, it’s not too much to ask.
I don’t think you can stop people gardening in their own garden!
I would get some curtains.
I really value my privacy
But not your independence?
1) Hire a gardener.
2) Do your own gardening.
3) Let them in and serve tea, have a chat. Notice the work they do and thank them for it. Then slowly formalise the times they can come round, and get it down to once a week. Pick up the slack in the garden by doing some of the work and talk to them about it (DH did the weeding on that section of flowers you planted and it looks lovely! No need to stop by until Tuesday. I look forward to a little visit then.)
You are living rent-free in a family house, and that will always come with strings attached.
I think that since you live there rent free, they're looking after the garden and they're not coming into your house, you really will seem petty and ungrateful if you complain about this. Unless they have been standing with their noses pressed against the living room window peering in.
But it’s not the OP’s gardening. It’s the in law’s gardening. It’s their house. It’s up to them whether they do it themselves or hire a gardener.
I agree with RichPetunia. How lovely of them to let you stay in their property rent free and to help you with it! Normally I'm in the camp of 'people only should come when asked' but your ILs sound like they are being genuinely helpful. How often are they coming over? A text from them in advance would be polite but I don't think this is worth falling out over.
Have you actually spoken about this. Maybe just have a general chat saying how you really appreciate them gardening, but in future could they ring first to check its convenient, especially as the baby could be sleeping, feeding, or you could be out, etc. Set some boundaries now.
Dirtyjellycat, wrong assumption . The garden mainly consists out of trees and flowers in pots.
It looks very well and is absolutely not a lot of work. DH’s parents come over esspecially to put water to the trees. I have told DH in the beginning we could do it for them but he said let them do it, MIL is a bit obsessed with the trees and wants to do it herself. I didnt bother since it are her trees and if she enjoys it, why start making a fuss over it.
And yes, I definetly feel grateful we can live here for free! Its the whole reason why I am so careful to bring this up to them. If they were just a landlord I would have complained immediately about this breech of privacy.
There is some real bitterness on here this morning! So OP is lucky enough not to pay rent - the in laws appear to have happily made this offer to her and her DH. Doesn't mean that they shouldn't give a quick heads up to say they are coming around. It's the OP's home. Are we only allowed to make disparaging comments to evil LL's turning up unannounced and not angelic IL's?
I wouldn’t like this. But then I am a real introvert and would hate feeling like people are popping round even if they’re not actually knocking etc.
What’s the long term plan here? Are you saving for your own house? I would want to be in my own home, rented or mortgaged.
it makes me worried about how they will behave once our baby is born
Perhaps they could pay all your childcare bills for you as well?
Not being funny but talk about having cake and eating it.
I own my home but when the window cleaner or gardener turn up they don’t text me first - yes, they try and have a regular routine but it’s disrupted when it’s bad weather so sometimes I look out of the window and there they are. If your ILs aren’t coming inside & you know what job they are doing in the garden (I mean they are not just sitting and chatting there) I don’t think they are invading your privacy really.
I think if they didn’t come in just invest in some curtains or nap upstairs. I am a very private person but in this situation I think you would cause upset to what sound like lovely in laws. If they aren’t letting themselves in then they don’t seem to be trying to impose.
Well you seem comfortable living in thier house free of charge so in this instance I think you'll have to suck it up. Unless you can buy the house from them or move somewhere else?
I’d love to have such lovely in-laws. Free home, they do maintenance and don’t come inside.
If you don’t like it, I’d recommend getting some independence long term of saving up. You must be saving so much, no rent or mortgage!
They are letting you live rent-free. If you don’t like them doing the garden for you (I would be bloody grateful!), why don’t you move out?
I can't imagine anyone, let alone in-laws, coming over to do the garden of my rent free home and disappearing off upstairs. Why wouldn't you go outside to speak to then and offer them a drink. I have a gardener who comes while I'm at work but if I happened to be home I'd be putting the kettle on at least once.
They didn’t come in to the house.
They didn’t press up against the windows and peer in.
You weren’t naked.
Even if they had texted you might have been napping and not seen it.
They’re doing you a massive favour and might not want to religiously plan their day around your potential nap times, feeding times, etc.
I get you want to preempt any issues before baby arrives but the easiest way to do that is to talk to them! And given they only came to potter in the garden you can’t assume they’ll be popping in and out every five minutes once you’ve had the baby.
No idea whether the in laws are nice or nasty- they could be utterly vile. But I don’t think you can stop them gardening their own garden!
Voile curtains. The answer is so obvious. Of course you can't say anything. Living rent free is just a massive thing in your favour. If they were coming in the house, it'd be a different thing. But yes, privacy curtains and don't give it another thought.
I would not call people being in the garden while you're indoors a 'breach of privacy' however if it makes you feel uncomfortable just say you'd appreciate a heads up if they're popping over.
Do people get this catty when parents help their children by paying a deposit on a house? Or allow them to live rent free whilst saving for a deposit? I'm guessing you are not independent or standing on your own two feet if you accept any financial help whatsoever from your parents.
It's their house! You stay there, you don't rent it off them.
You think you should have all the rights of a tenant but none of the responsibilities? Tenants pay rent and maintain gardens themselves!
So, YABU. Your PIL can come and go as they please!
If you don't like the arrangement start paying rent, get a contract and maintain your own garden!!
And imagine if you took over the gardening or got a gardener and the trees died.......
There is some real bitterness on here this morning! So OP is lucky enough not to pay rent - the in laws appear to have happily made this offer to her and her DH. Doesn't mean that they shouldn't give a quick heads up to say they are coming around. It's the OP's home.
The PILs own the house and still maintain their garden, their son has lived their a few years and the OP a few months.
So I can see how they still think of this as their house. A text to say they’re in their way would be thoughtful but I’m not sure they’d see it like that.
If they didn’t come in the house then I don’t think they did anything wrong if I’m honest. The OP needs to close the curtains if she’s napping during the day.
I'm guessing you are not independent or standing on your own two feet if you accept any financial help whatsoever from your parents.
of course you're not standing on your own two feet if you get financial help from your parents.
Usually they announce their visits. Today they forgot. Don't let your partner make a big deal of it, or your lovely generous in laws are going to be very hurt.
Certainly don't "complain" though it's fine to say that you weren't expecting them and were napping, if it comes up in conversation. They'll probably end up apologising and explaining.
I think it's a simple thing for your DH to point out that it would be better for them to drop you a quick text to let you know they are dropping by. You're not telling them not to, you're not telling them when they can or can't, just for them to let you know when they are. Particularly as you will be home during the day now, and can get startled if you've been napping etc.
Who knows, it could lead to a lovely arrangement whereby you and they catch up for a cuppa a couple of times a week when you're on maternity.
Yes I know that. It was an observation.
just go out and say to mother in law, oh mother in law, would it be ok if you gave me a text a few mins before you arrive as today i was napping on the couch and i was just in my smalls, i dont want to embarrass you or father in law if you catch sight of me dressed like that or running up the stairs half dressed with my bum hanging out of my knickers :O
If you know they are likely to pop round at any given time and dont like to be seen in your knickers, dont lay about in your knickers is the easiest solution
Hang on- you say they usually do say they are coming but this time they forgot? So this “breach of privacy” is a one off?
Solutions include curtains, shorts for impromptu naps and a blanket/sheet. You are very lucky, don't blow it out of proportion
Just put blinds up and lock the door. If they say they knocked, say you were having a nap and didn't hear
My in-laws have a key for when we are away. I didn’t realise how often they used it until I went on MAT leave. One time in particular I was napping in the lounge with DD and heard footsteps in the hallway. I almost shat myself thinking it was a burglar. Turned out to be FIL ‘dropping off a few things’. I said why didn’t you ring the bell? He said he didn’t want to ring the bell in case we were asleep and he didn’t want to peer through the window in case I was breastfeeding.
I asked him to message in advance there and then and he has since.
Yes I know that. It was an observation.
Sorry, I misunderstood your post. I thought you were being sarcastic and were saying that you thought it was ridiculous to say that someone wasn't standing on their own two feet just because they get financial help from their parents. Which is why I was .
Loads of solutions here - curtains/voiles, wearing shorts, moving out, taking responsibility for the garden (have you even offered?). But complaining for a one off unannounced walk in the garden by in laws who own that garden - no.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
I would just let this one go to be honest. They are trying to maintain a property they own, as you and your DH don't seem to want to. It is important not to let a garden run wild. If you have an issue with them seeing you in your pants and t shirt, then get some curtains. But really, if you were naked I would see that could be a bit embarrassing, but you were dressed, I doubt they are even looking in your windows, they seem very kind and respectful, as I assume they didn't waltz into your home and make themselves a cuppa. I think you are just feeling a bit tired and you maybe need to take another nap.
It’s not a kind act. It’s perfectly possible and sometimes reasonable to resent “kind acts”!. It is people doing the gardening in their own garden. Presumably to maintain their property as they want it to be maintained.
I think the dilemma is, if you know they are visiting, you would have to go talk to them, offer coffee etc.
Why not get a sensor for the path to let you know?
But actually I would cultivate a good relationship here, not sour it.
I don’t even know what the fuss is if I’m honest. They usually let you know they’re coming round. For whatever reason they didn’t this time. If you’re worried about privacy put voile up.
Did they come in the house OP? Did they actually see you?
Why don’t you just pay for your own housing? Then you wouldn’t have this problem.
If they are doing the garden because you and DH can't be arsed and you are paying no rent I think you need to suck it up or move somewhere else and pay your own bills.
Thanks for all your advice!
I just want to point out we are NOT ungrateful and as PP may have neglected to see, we DID offer to do the garden but they insist on doing so!
And about being financially dependent on them- thats absolutely not the case! We do have our own money and could rent something but DH is currently doing a very expensive study besides working fulltime in a steady job, study will become useful in the future to have a better chance of getting a high paid job. Moving out would mean he would have to quit his study. Honestly speaking, some comments suggesting we are irresponsable, financially unstable etc are quite insulting as none of you knows the whole story and therefor should not judge. We have no debts and are working hard to ensure a better future for ourselves and baby.
I will have a talk with DH about the best solution.
Did they come in the house and see you in your pants though?
If anything needs doing in the house maintenance wise, do you do it or do they?
Are you planning to get your own place anytime soon?
According to your original post, this was a one-off and they normally do let you know they’re coming round. So wanting to complain and instantly starting to worry about them descending without warning after the baby’s born is a huge over-reaction. Just put some nets up.
They're providing you with a free home, on your own, maintaining it for you, respecting your privacy (not coming into the house unannounced) and you don't even make them a drink by the sounds of it
Nap upstairs or with a sheet/blanket downstairs. And give your head a wobble while you're at it.
Just say that you're easily startled by people suddenly popping up by the windows ....can they quickly text before setting off next time, you might end up dropping the baby!
I do think given rent free living that you're getting that you seem to want everyone dancing to your tune. Honestly if you want stuff more on your terms stick up curtains and pay rent.
You said in you OP,
‘Since neither DH or I is a fan of gardening, my MIL and FIL regulary stop by (sometimes a few times per week depending on the weather) to work on the garden.’
This implies that they do the gardening because you don’t want to, but you contradict this later on. It sounds like they don’t trust you to do it - I’m not criticising them or you with that statement, but this is why I suggested getting a gardener.
However, if they don’t want to do this and prefer to do it themselves, the only option is that you speak to them about this. Just be honest and say that you would appreciate it if they let you know when they are coming in case you’re lying on the sofa in your knickers, breastfeeding etc. I think most reasonable people would understand this. If they don’t, or won’t do this, you really do need blinds or voiles as people suggest. It might they their house, but you still have a right to some privacy.
You have it easy at the moment OP, I really wouldn’t rock the boat. You don’t even know if they saw you, and even if they did I’m sure they didn’t stare and point.
It’s not like they are entering the house and traipsing through. It sounds like they do respect your privacy. You could upset them by saying anything.
My house is similar as everyone comes to our back door, rather than the front. It’s been this way for years, and I just don’t take the chance of being seen half dressed.
Stay dressed or nap upstairs.
I think you'll have to accept the downside of living rent free and not having to do your own gardening is that you will have to nap upstairs or get curtains.
I wouldn't complain, it's just the outcome of living in their house and having them garden. You can't live like a fully independent adult.
“Just be honest and say that you would appreciate it if they let you know when they are coming in“
They do. They just didn’t on this one occasion.
Dirtyjellycat, thanks for your reasonable answer.
They are, in the words of DH ‘ obsessed over the trees’ so its not really that they dont trust us, its them tbh. I just meant to say I didnt want to make a fuss over it as I dont mind someone else doing the garden .
We do have some voiles but they are see trough, and since the house is quite dark inside already I prefer to not use fully closing curtains during daytime. Otherwise this place feels like a coffin .
I will have a talk with DH tonight, and ask what he thinks is best, since before I moved in they would go in regulary without announcement and it really bothered him. They still did last week when I wasnt home and tbh felt a bit embarased as I hadnt tied up everything perfectly and I am a very neat person despite what PP might think because of gardening is not my hobby
If they were coming in the house I would back you entirely OP but if they are just in the garden I think YABU. Either put up nets/voiles or nap upstairs. If you are BF turn the chair away from the window.
Your current set up sounds fantastic, living rent free, having the garden taken care of, in laws that don’t expect to come in for a cup,of tea when they are gardening and normally let you know to expect them. Having to adjust where you nap sounds like a very small price to pay for that.
You don't have to water trees! Are they very new, young baby trees that are still getting established? Otherwise I really don't think they'd need any watering whatsoever.
The pots will, but definitely not trees...
You could get magic (one way)blinds.
I think yabu about the gardening. If you're worried about being seen, just cover up or nap in a bedroom where you're not visible.
I would however ask them not to let themselves in, regardless of whether you are out. Ask for notice - Just be honest and say you're self conscious about the mess and usually make an effort if visitors come over. I'd ask DH to do it.
How about putting up a motion sensor which sounds a wee alarm in the house when they come into the garden. You will be able to get one that can be configured to only sound if a person walks by.
we DID offer to do the garden but they insist on doing so! To be fair you did not say this in your OP - you said that you and your DH are not fans of gardening. That sounds like you don't want to do it anyway.
I'm really not sure about this one. I don't believe that because you live there rent free (lucky you) it means that they should walk in when they feel like it, though that's not what happened. I don't really see what's wrong with them coming into the garden if they tend to it. Perhaps you can ask that they give you a quick ring when they're leaving to come over so that you can get the kettle on/make sure you're in to see them etc?
Oh and your in-laws sound very kind OP.
OP, you said,
‘I will have a talk with DH tonight, and ask what he thinks is best, since before I moved in they would go in regulary without announcement and it really bothered him.’
I think this is the heart of the problem. They’ve done this for some time and either don’t want to change their behaviour or don’t realise that it’s inappropriate. I can imagine that some parents of a single man would keep coming round the house and ‘looking after things’. But that has to change once a partner moves in. I don’t think it matters that they own the house, as someone said earlier, it’s your home and you are entitled to privacy. It’s probsbly a tough conversation though as the fact that you aren’t paying rent means that you feel beholden to them and less able to make (perfectly reasonable) requests. It’s an uneven power relationship!
I’m shocked that you think it’s OK to skulk in the house when they come round. Wouldn’t most normal people go out and speak to them and offer them a cup of tea?
we DID offer to do the garden but they insist on doing so!
Yes, but you also said you weren’t gardening fans!
From their point of view, they are letting you live rent-free in property that they could be generating an income from. If you let their garden get into a mess (and gardens do need a fair amount of regular upkeep), that will negatively affect their investment even more. I’m not surprised they want to keep on top of it.
This is one of those things you just need to accept. If you were paying rent then they’d need to leave off, but you aren’t and your MIL clearly wants to continue looking after the garden if she is proud of it. It seems the trade here is free rent in exchange for continued access to the garden.
Get some blinds and close them.
I agree with everyone else. Just get voile curtains or blinds or opaque window film for the living room. It will be handy for when you are breastfeeding and don’t want postman or window cleaner seeing in.
Speak to them about texting ahead for when baby is born so they can combine gardening with a visit to the baby rather than calling in when you are out or both sleeping.
@Dirtyjellycat, I am afraid so. They are genuinely nice people and they are always friendly with me.
DH talked to them before I moved in to ask them to please respect my privacy. They did for a while but I am afraid it’s going to be as it was before I lived here from now on.
@Alsohuman, expecting me to get up as I dont feel well and getting dressed etc. just to offer them tea as they show up unannounced....have you ever experienced extreme fatigue during pregnancy? If so, I am surprised that you state such opinion.
@Holidayshopping if you had taken the effort to read my other posts, you could have read that the garden is EASY to maintain, its NOT a mess and its MAINLY about watering trees, that are mature and could easily wait until it starts to rain a bit.
Seems like you just want to accuse me of being sloppy instead of reading what I also wrote: they are obsessed with unneccesairily watering the trees and NO, the garden would not become a mess if we did that for them.
OP, they're nice people. They generally respect your privacy. They're allowing you to live rent free in their house. They don't appear to have put a time limit on this.
You only recently moved in with your DP and are pregnant. You are off work right now. They maybe concerned that your DP is overdoing things right now, including his FT job and studies.
To keep then feeling positive about you, do you really not see that you could have popped your head out of an upstairs window and said "hi there! Wasn't expecting to see you today. I'm having a nap right now, but if you're still here in an hour I'll make us a cup of tea. Hope you're both well!"
Yes, I’ve been pregnant twice and never been unable to be polite or too tired to put the kettle on. Lucky, I guess.
Letting you live there rent free should not come with strings. It's either your home or their house.
Mind boggles how they will be when your dc arrives......
You’re living rent free, I think you have to suck it up, your in laws make the rules all the while you are dependent on them I’m afraid. I just couldn’t like like that, independence is everything. You say you can afford to pay rent, I suggest you start looking for your own place if your privacy is so important to you.
So we’ve gone from not wanting to to the garden, to wanting to do it but PIL prefer it, to it’s not gardening, it’s just watering trees which don’t actually need watered.
Maybe the “extreme fatigue” will get you the sympathy you are looking for, but I’m curious which drip feed will actually answer the question of “why not put some curtains up”
Wish my in laws would let me live rent free and do my gardening
Net curtains or nap clothed or upstairs. If they don't come in the house then I don't think it's really an invasion of privacy.
Make it clear they shouldn't just drop in unannounced when the baby comes. If breast feeding you might prefer net curtains anyway as you can't easily duck upstairs mid-feed.
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