Advanced search

To expect inlaws to respect my privacy a bit more

(179 Posts)
Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 06:50:44

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.


coolestmum Tue 23-Apr-19 09:44:32

You live rent free. You say they are nice people.

Buy some shorts and nap in those? and is offering a cuppa every so often when they call round to maintain the garden such a big deal?

If I could live rent free for in exchange for that I'd snap it up in a heartbeat. Hell, I'd make then a damn cake every week too.

ineedaholidaynow Tue 23-Apr-19 09:44:57

Maybe you should have waited to have a baby before DH finished his studies and you could afford your own place and then you could have as much privacy as you want.

I could not cope with having people pop in whenever they want, and I assume they may revert back to their old ways once your baby has arrived.

MirandaGoshawk Tue 23-Apr-19 09:49:46

I would not want to feel obliged to offer them tea - I would want to feel free to ignore them unless I felt like chatting. OP if your house is dark inside it sounds as if they can't see in anyway, so don't worry about it. Seriously, if they were to catch you in your undies it's them who would be embarrassed. They sound as if they ARE usually respectful of privacy if they just do their gardening and don't ring the bell.

saraclara Tue 23-Apr-19 09:52:51

I'm torn between saying you just have to suck it up for the free roof over your head, and saying something.
But if the latter, you're going to have to be SO careful how you word it. It doesn't seem like they're anywhere near as interfering or intrusive as they could be under the circumstances, so be glad of that. They probably work hard on not interfering in your life, so if they feel that that's going unappreciated, you could end up with a shitstorm.

JaneEyre07 Tue 23-Apr-19 09:59:39

I can't believe you are so rude as to moan about people that let you live in a house for free and do the gardening because neither of you can be bothered.

You don't know how lucky you are.

Honestly, some people.

greenlynx Tue 23-Apr-19 10:05:11

I would really struggle with not offering them a cup of tea. And yes, I had awful pregnancy and spent months lying down. That’s why I would prefer for me and my DH to do gardening by ourselves so I could not do socializing if I’m not up to it. It will be even more tricky with baby. They will naturally expect to come in and see baby and it might become a big problem. So I would remove the reason for unexpected visits now and invite them plenty over weekends for tea/lunch/ dinner.

Qweenbee Tue 23-Apr-19 10:06:57

If they are not entering your home and literally just sorting out the garden then I don't think you can complain. It might be they just pop in when out and about, and don't have precise timings to warn you with.

If they enter your home or knock on the door and expect entertaining then that is a completely different matter.

It surely doesn't take much effort to pop on a pair of bigger shorts does it?

Holidayshopping Tue 23-Apr-19 10:08:05

Tbh if they normally let you know, they sound lovely. Can your DH do a -blimey, DW was mortified yesterday-you caught her napping in her pants! Maybe best if you text before you come or you never know what you might see! Type comment?

hammeringinmyhead Tue 23-Apr-19 10:12:32

I'm torn. My in-laws would drop me a text before they come over. What if, when you have a baby, they come round when you and a couple of other mums and babies are sitting in the garden? Bit awkward. Also it depends if the garden is high maintenance because they made it so. Ours is a square of lawn and some pots on purpose!

That said it's not worth falling out about. I'd be more likely to carry on regardless. If they show up unannounced and you're topless bfing then the blushes are theirs really.

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 10:12:37

@holidayshopping I was thinking too that might be a good solution! Thanks smile

VanGoghsDog Tue 23-Apr-19 10:12:45

Trees don't need to be watered.

viques Tue 23-Apr-19 10:14:45

Am I getting this right? You went upstairs and texted your husband, but didn't pull on a pair of joggers and go to say " hi , thanks for doing the garden, didn't realise you were coming but would you like to help yourselves to a cup of tea, sorry i won't join you because I'm not feeling good so I'm going back up for a nap" to the in laws who were giving up their bank holiday?

I imagine you crawling round on the bedroom floor terrified they will see your head peeping through the bedroom curtains. You sound just like the daughter in law they must have dreamed of for years - after eating too much cheese late at night!!!

Pregnancy does not absolve you from manners you know.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Apr-19 10:18:28

“What if, when you have a baby, they come round when you and a couple of other mums and babies are sitting in the garden? Bit awkward. Why would that be awkward? Isn’t that a “Oh how lovely- it’s Little HoneyBee’s granny and grandpa! These are my friends X and Y. Sit down while I get some more tea!” moment?

Whatsnewpussyhat Tue 23-Apr-19 10:33:23

How come your husband has lived there for years, yet heavily pregnant you has only been there a few months?
Where were you living before? Or did you only marry recently ?

TrickyD Tue 23-Apr-19 10:34:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 23-Apr-19 10:34:33

“What if, when you have a baby, they come round when you and a couple of other mums and babies are sitting in the garden? Bit awkward. Why would that be awkward? Isn’t that a “Oh how lovely- it’s Little HoneyBee’s granny and grandpa! These are my friends X and Y. Sit down while I get some more tea!” moment?

You'd think so!

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Apr-19 10:37:07

I don’t understand why it’s such a problem that they live there rend free. If I had a spare house that I didn’t need the rent from I’d let my child live there. Why wouldn’t you? But I would expect to maintain it so that when I decided to sell I’d get the most I could for it.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 23-Apr-19 10:37:51

Wear shorts, get suitable window coverings - there are numerous options.

I'd much rather not be texted in advance. All the easier to ignore them if they don't - which is probably what they want too, to be able to flit by and garden quickly when convenient, without having to interact, or visualise you in your pants! Do NOT impose that mental image upon them by mentioning it FFS.

NaturalBornWoman Tue 23-Apr-19 10:38:47

So that's what he's doing. What are you doing, other than lying on the sofa in your pants complaining about people doing your gardening and giving you a free house? grin

Jux Tue 23-Apr-19 10:43:44

You were wearing knickers and a t-shirt. You would wear less on a beach!!!!! What on earth is your problem?

Presumably you won't ever bf in public either?

AlexaAmbidextra Tue 23-Apr-19 10:47:07

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.

So eager to jump in to condemn the PILS that you didn’t read the post properly. They didn’t let themselves in. They were in the garden.

NewMum19344567 Tue 23-Apr-19 10:52:34

The easy solution would be to do your own garden. If I rented my son and DIL a house and they didn't like gardening so I had to go round and do it THEN Dil complained as she wanted more notice I would think they were the CF? Can you try to see it from their point of view?

I get you are pregnant and some pregnant women aren't able to do much, but surely your husband has no excuse not to do a bit of gardening so his parents don't have to do it?

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Tue 23-Apr-19 10:55:06

VanGogh, trees certainly do need to be watered if they're fairly newly planted, or in large pots, as certain small trees may be.

IncrediblySadToo Tue 23-Apr-19 10:56:58

You need to get this sorted out.

DH can promise to water the trees & they can come over when invited to check on them, visit, see the baby etc Either it’s your home or it’s not, and if it is you’re entitled to privacy and if it’s not then you can move out.

If it’s annoying you now, you’ll be murderous over it once you’ve had the baby. You need to be able to relax!

In the summer you’ll want the garden doors open, to be outside in the garden with the baby, to have friends over etc without them just turning up.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Apr-19 11:04:19

“You need to get this sorted out”

What- this one off incident?

HappyLife21 Tue 23-Apr-19 11:04:34

She says the trees are mature, so unless they’re in pots they don’t need watering.

And as for the ‘you’d wear less at the beach’ comment, my mind boggles at the thought process (or lack thereof) that would go into such an idiotic starptemet.

Definitely get him to have a word!

HotSpotSpot Tue 23-Apr-19 11:05:30

What about buying an automatic watering system. Cost very little and easy to set up. Try Amazon. I use the Hozeloc (?) system.

Get the motion activated alarm while you are online.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 23-Apr-19 11:09:30

You need to get this sorted out

Give over !

LillithsFamiliar Tue 23-Apr-19 11:09:50

They're usually nice. They're providing a free home and doing the gardening. They also usually text. I'd assume it was an oversight this time and wouldn't even mention it.
If this is a massive issue for you then put up some curtains or close the ones that are already there . That would be a much better response imo than trying to make your PIL feel bad when they do so much for you.

JellyNo15 Tue 23-Apr-19 11:13:33

I think if they own the property and they generously let you live there rent free you have to suck it up. They didn't attept to disturb you by knocking or coming in. YABU. If you want to demand total privacy then you should be totally independent.

If they are too much when the baby comes then you can sort it out but at the moment they seem reasonable to me.

Smellslikemiddleagespirit Tue 23-Apr-19 11:20:31

YABU. They’re not coming into the house.
Put some shorts on, and stop complaining about people who are doing you a huge financial favour.
Then maybe make them a cuppa and tell them how grateful you are.

derxa Tue 23-Apr-19 11:23:29

I have no words. hmm

FinallyHere Tue 23-Apr-19 11:25:01

* I really value my privacy

But not your independence?*

^ this

PurpleTrilby Tue 23-Apr-19 11:35:28

I get it, the trees are like children to your in laws. They love them and want to tend to them often. For info, even mature trees need regular watering and lots of it! The ILs probably get really worried when there's a long dry spell and they are right to. Plus I bet they really, really enjoy pottering round the garden. That suggestion about your husband saying 'DW was mortified when you turned up, as she was downstairs in her underwear, please text in future etc', that should do it, perfect tone to me.

NoSauce Tue 23-Apr-19 12:02:19

Did they go into the house or just the garden?
Was this ever clarified?

NaturalBornWoman Tue 23-Apr-19 12:23:32

Did they go into the house or just the garden?
Was this ever clarified?

Just the garden. A few other things haven't been clarified though.

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 12:24:44


This time they didnt go into the house.

They did last week when I was not at home.

NoSauce Tue 23-Apr-19 12:33:43

Ok thanks for answering OP.
It’s a tricky one, I don’t think it’s overstepping the boundaries by coming and sorting the garden out but I can understand why you’d feel uncomfortable with them letting themselves in when you’re out. Even if it is their house.

I think in your shoes I’d talk to them with DH and just ask whether they would let you know if they’re intending to go inside the house whether you’re there or not.

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 12:38:28

DH has just let me know that he sent them a text to say that he can take care of the garden and they dont need to come over esspecially for that.

He says he has told them plenty of times in the past that they should send a message when they want to come over and his dad agrees with him that it’s rude to not do so, but appearently his mum feels she should go there all the time to take care of the garden without announcement or even come in when there is nobody at home.

ineedaholidaynow Tue 23-Apr-19 12:42:09

Bertrand if I had a free house to spare for DS to live in when he was older, we might let him live in it for free (if we didn't need the income) but I would expect him to do the general maintenance/gardening. But in all fairness, unless he was completely on his uppers I would probably charge at least some token rent, even if we put it in a separate account, as otherwise how would he learn to budget and be independent. Also if my DPs did the same for me I would want to give them something or help them out in some way in return.

And if I did give DS a house I wouldn't be letting myself in, which it would appear they used to before OP moved in.

NoSauce Tue 23-Apr-19 12:47:05

Is there somewhere in the garden for you to sit in private if they’re there?
I don’t know what the answer is if MIL won’t adhere to your wishes I’m afraid but you do say in your OP that they usually inform you when they’re coming over, so hopefully the text will do the trick.

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 12:50:55


Unfortunately the garden is the size of a stamp grin. So absolutely nowhere to hide

ineedaholidaynow Tue 23-Apr-19 12:53:28

If the garden is a size of a stamp why do they need to come 2 or 3 times a week? Are the trees in pots?

LightDrizzle Tue 23-Apr-19 12:59:23

Are these bonsai trees then?

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 13:00:03


I feel the same way confused! That’s why DH uses the word ‘obsessed’.

The trees are not in pots but almost all of the other plants are.

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 13:02:27


No, no ‘hight maintanance trees’. Nothing fancy.
Just ordinairy garden trees that would do perfectly fine with just rain, sunshine and perhaps cutting some branches once or twice a year to keep them ‘in shape’.

NoSauce Tue 23-Apr-19 13:04:52

How long is the tree tending going to go on for?

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 13:11:07


They start watering the trees as soon as it becomes spring and will continue on it until it’s winter. Before I moved in they would come to the house all year round and let themselves in when DH was working.

NoSauce Tue 23-Apr-19 13:18:40

I think I’d be insisting on looking after them myself. I mean how much watering does a tree need? I have never watered a tree in my whole life! Hanging baskets only grin
It all sounds obsessive, or are they bored and are using it as an excuse to get out?

What’s going to happen once the baby is here? Do you think there’ll be the doting kind of grandparents that will want to keep popping in or ones that won’t care and will just keep watering the trees?grin

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 13:24:44

@NoSauce I have the same feeling. They are retired and living in a flat so perhaps they feel bored.

I honestly dont know what it is going to be like when the baby is born. I asked DH is there any chance they will be obsessed as much over the baby as much as they are over the trees. He says he is not sure. I am sure they will be great and doting grandparents but I already made an agreement with DH that they will not come to the hospital after birth before I say that I feel ready for visitors. I am afraid they will come to water the baby too grin

NoSauce Tue 23-Apr-19 13:31:02


Stick to your guns about visiting once the baby is here, but obviously let them him/her as soon as you’re ready. I guess all you can do is see how things play out and hope for the best and be ready for DH to speak to them ASAP if need be.

In the meantime try and relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy smile

longearedbat Tue 23-Apr-19 13:34:56

With this tree watering - are you on clay op? I just wondered if they are trying to keep the ground moist for the trees so they don't suck all the water out of the soil and cause subsidence.
I would never water a mature tree, and we have quite a few. They do draw an awful lot of water though, so other plants suffer around them in dry spells. However, if the garden is a postage stamp, how many mature trees can you fit in it anyway?
Completely ignoring the point of the thread, just curious as a keen gardener!

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 23-Apr-19 13:36:20

Your in-laws are infantilising you and the two of you are accepting to be infantilised both by taking a free house and making no more than slight murmurs about doing the garden yourselves.

As for extreme pregnancy fatigue, yes, I get extreme fatigue. I have chronic fatigue amongst other ailments. At times I am physically unable to get up and my body forces me to remain completely immobile on the bed / sofa / floor etc. So they’d just see me in whatever attire. However one thing for sure I would not have been so rude to in laws, who are housing me for free if I were able to zip upstairs. So please don’t use pregnancy fatigue as an excuse to be rude.

If you want your in laws to treat you like adults, you need to start acting like ones. For starters, doing the garden yourselves - your dh could ask them over this weekend and get the lowdown of what to do - however batshit their routine. Secondly ask for privacy as you wish to go around in your home in scant clothing as the weather heats up. And if they do come over, offer them a drink. A cold glass of squash shouldn’t be too far to stretch - even when you’re very tired you seem to not have lost your mobility.

All of this needs to be done face to face and not take no for an answer.

Perhaps it’s time to pay a bit of rent even if it’s below market rate and at the very least to cover the on costs of being landlords. Your in laws need to be doing this all properly - gas and electrical safety checks, smoke / carbon monoxide alarms etc regardless of whether you contribute rent or not. I hope they are and I would be checking on that to protect them tbh as they could be imprisoned if something goes desperately wrong at the property.

longearedbat Tue 23-Apr-19 13:36:45

Oh, and having mature trees close to your house is far from ideal structurally, regardless of your soil type.

Waveysnail Tue 23-Apr-19 13:40:41

Iv been in same position but had keys to house and let themselves in. We lasted a year then moved out

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 13:42:43

Yes, I will definetly put my foot down if they step in too much. At least the baby is ours, so then I feel I am entitled to, do you know what I mean?

And thanks for your well wishes, much appreciated given all the negativity here xx

Darayan20 Tue 23-Apr-19 13:47:16

Why don't you rent somewhere else

Sparkletastic Tue 23-Apr-19 13:49:41

I don't think your in-laws understand how trees work.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Apr-19 14:03:42

“Iv been in same position but had keys to house and let themselves in. We lasted a year then moved out”

So not the same position at all...........

IncrediblySadToo Tue 23-Apr-19 15:10:02

[You need to get this sorted out{

What- this one off incident?

🙄 it’s NOT a ‘one off incident’. They’re ‘popping around’ several times a week to garden a postage stamp AND going in when they’re not home. They’ve been asked not to, but carry on.

The in-laws have allowed their son to live in a property they own so he can study with less financial pressure, that’s lovely, but it’s rude of them not to allow their son & his partner their privacy. It’s their HOUSE, but it’s horrible of them to act like it’s their HOME to come and go as they please.

If they can’t respect the boundaries now, there’s no hope of them doing so once the baby is here.

NaturalBornWoman Tue 23-Apr-19 15:28:54

The in-laws have allowed their son to live in a property they own so he can study with less financial pressure

If they can’t respect the boundaries now, there’s no hope of them doing so once the baby is here

So yet another example of rushing into procreation before getting their life in order then. Better way: study, get decent jobs, provide own home for baby and put in place massive boundaries if you want because it's your house and you're an independent adult.

IncrediblySadToo Tue 23-Apr-19 15:46:18


Did you actually read the thread?

The Son has been there a few years, it’s not uncommon in families.

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

It’s not like they’re a pair of kids on JSA slouching about the place.

IncrediblySadToo Tue 23-Apr-19 15:48:35

Or are you suggesting only people who have bought a house can have a family 🧐

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:02:52

@IncrediblySadToo, thank you! Finally someone understanding the situation.

DH has a very decent job, I was a home owner but sold mine to move and live with him since we had a long distance relationship and we decided it would be best to stay where he lives as a family. This is also the reason I do not have a job now: I HAD to resign to move.

So all those people reacting like we are some irresponsable idiots, I would strongly advice to have a good look at their own financial situation.
We have no debts, only savings, DH works fulltime in a decent job AND studying to get an even better one and yes, I can afford to focus on my pregnancy now.

So I think we are a lot more responsable then some people here who are giving me an earful about not owning this place.

IncrediblySadToo Tue 23-Apr-19 16:09:04

So I think we are a lot more responsable then some people here who are giving me an earful about not owning this place

🤣 such is MN these days, unfortunately!

NaturalBornWoman Tue 23-Apr-19 16:21:10

IncrediblySadToo, thank you! Finally someone understanding the situation!

The situation which you've just deigned to outline, having previously merely moaned about not having the privacy you want to loaf about in your underwear all day with 10 weeks of pregnancy still to go, in a house which is being provided and maintained for free by your partner's family. hmm

Honeybee85 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:23:25


Yes, finally after today I realised it wasnt a smart move to sell my house at a very nice profit, appearently I instantly degraded myself to scum of the earth by that move grin.

And now I live for free on someone else’s property so that makes me not only scum of the earth but very irresponsable and certainly unfit as a future parent shock

SnakesBarmitzvah Tue 23-Apr-19 16:24:30

I would make a joke of it and ask them to let you know if they are popping round in future...

"sorry for scaring you earlier with the sight of me in my pants! This heat is getting to me. Please let one of us know if you are planning to pop over so we can make sure we are dressed and don't give you a scare again, lol!"

Something like that. They'll get the message but shouldnt be offended.

hammeringinmyhead Tue 23-Apr-19 16:30:29

Sigh. Of course I meant it's awkward if they turn up to do the garden with watering cans and tools while OP, mums, and prams or babies on picnic blankets are occupying it, not that OP would feel awkward introducing them. If I was a guest I'd feel like I ought to get out the way.

oblada Tue 23-Apr-19 16:32:47

Nobody said you were not "responsable" or living rent free. Only that you can't have your cake and eat it ie live rent free and complain that effectively you're living in someone else's house with the downside that this involves (esp when not paying rent).

oblada Tue 23-Apr-19 16:35:21

Arch... 'to be living rent free'. Not sure how that became 'or living rent free'.
If you want proper privacy then get your own place. In the meanwhile compromise with the in laws. They sound like nice ppl so it should be ok.

RomanyQueen1 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:41:06

Just ask them to contact you before coming round.
You are very lucky to not have the responsibility of having to provide for yourselves.
Maybe look at getting your own place now you are having a baby.

tillytrotter1 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:48:56

Learn to look after your own garden then you'll have one less thing to worry about! They're welcome to then come and do mine.

ineedaholidaynow Tue 23-Apr-19 17:06:15

If you have proceeds from a sale of your house why can't you afford a place of your own now, why would moving out mean DH couldn't afford to study? Surely DH must have savings too if he has been living rent free for a number of years.

CheshireChat Tue 23-Apr-19 17:10:26

Perhaps gently encourage them to get an allotment? It sounds like they enjoy gardening but left the better house to their son.

Flaverings Tue 23-Apr-19 17:24:27

YANBU to want a bit of privacy. However, them popping round seems to be part of the deal of getting your greatest cost paid for you. So you've made your choice and YABU to complain about it.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Tue 23-Apr-19 18:51:50

You just can't get the staff these days.

Yabbers Tue 23-Apr-19 18:54:00

I would strongly advice to have a good look at their own financial situation.

<takes a look> yep. There’s the mortgage payment I pay for my own home. <looks again> yep, and the savings I have.

Was there something in particular you think I need to be looking at?

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Tue 23-Apr-19 19:15:27

Yabbers are you sure you checked the small print? <squints, wipes glasses and squints some more> Is your offical mortgage payment for the home you officially or unofficially own? In an officially unoffical way?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »