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'Help' from MIL no longer a help!

(18 Posts)
Wiggy29 Sun 03-Feb-13 08:21:37

My MIL offered to come once a week to tidy/ cook us a meal/ pick up dc from school. As DP and I both work full time, this was a lovely offer. I was dubious as we don't have the greatest relationship and was worried she'd snoop etc but thought we'd give it a go as would be really helpful.

We had 3/4 great weeks where we'd come home and she'd have hoovered etc, dinner would be made and we'd all sit down for a mean.

Gradually, the cleaning started to reduce and it was left to me to do dinner. It's got to the point now that she pretty much just uses our house as a base during day for lunch and goes to local shops etc, then we come back from work and have to make their meal and entertain them until about nine. Not only that, but they now complain that they always come to our house (they live over an hour away), even though we are now effectively having them for dinner at ours every week!

I hope I don't sound brat-ish, but what was supposed to be a help has turned into a burden. Neither I nor DP has the best relationship with his parents, generally because they always say/ offer things and then 'twist' things.

How do I (politely) say, 'thanks but no thanks'? [Hmm]

DancingInTheMoonlight Sun 03-Feb-13 08:23:50

Can you make up something you need to do on that day instead? Start the dcs at a after school club/guides etc on that day? Bit of a cowards way out but it stops bad feeling and the DC s get a new activity

Tee2072 Sun 03-Feb-13 08:27:12

Don't be polite. She's not being polite. She's taking the piss and advantage.

Just say 'If you're not actually going to help? Why are you here? Time to stop this if you're not going to help.'

TheProvincialLady Sun 03-Feb-13 08:29:20

Thank them for their very kind help, but you feel too bad about the terrible buren it is placing on them, and won't hear of them coming again. Really lay it on thick, and take back the keys there and then (do it at the end of a day when they have just been).

And then don't be so naive again. What on earth were you thinking?! You already had concerns but let their wants trounce yours. And you have let this carry on for what sounds like weeks at least. The pair of you need to be a lot more assertive and set more boundaries.

shushpenfold Sun 03-Feb-13 08:29:28

Dear MIL

'I hope you don't mind but I don't think that this weekly coming over offer is working for either of us now - it seems silly for you to travel so far all the time and I feel that I'm better coping on my own now. It was a lovely offer and we've really appreciated your help'.

TheProvincialLady Sun 03-Feb-13 08:30:52

I was thinking of the thanking them etc being obviously hollow and piss taking, BTW. Obviously Tee's advice is more grown up.

TotallyBS Sun 03-Feb-13 08:52:10

Having my MIL over once a week is once too many so I think that YANBU for wanting her to stop her weekly visits.

But I think YABU to complain about the other things. Ok she has slacked off on the housework but it was a favour to you in the first place and presumably she is still picking up DC and keeping him/her company until you get home. Is dinner really that big a price for that?

doublecakeplease Sun 03-Feb-13 08:59:44

Just don't make the meal - feed the kids some premade sandwiches or something then sit and wait. If she (actually you refer to 'they' so do you actually mean pil?? If so then it shouldn't just be mil getting the bashing) says anything just say 'oh, i thought this was your day to cook' and wait some more. Repeat until they either cook or leave.

DontmindifIdo Sun 03-Feb-13 09:07:14

how about telling your MIL youve been talking about it after she complained about always being at yours and you & DH are in total agreement you were beinging to take the piss, so you've hired a cleaner to come over on Fridays instead (present as done deal). Could you get her keys from her to give to the cleaners to avoid having to get new ones cut in the short term until you're certain this cleaner will work out?

And of course you think it would be better if she's just a guest when she comes over and you can arrange regular meet ups, oh what's she doing on Sunday? as she's been coming to you so regularly, it must be your turn to do that long drive, you'll come over to them...

Wiggy29 Sun 03-Feb-13 09:47:39

Thank you for all of the advice. In hindsight, it was stupid to go against our better judgement and have landed my self in the situation.

Totallybs- yes, she does still pick dc up but, as dp and I both teach fulltime, we normally have work to do on an evening. After we cook/ wash up/ put dc to bed, they just sit on sofa and then stay an extra couple of hours meaning we then both have to work until late at night. It would actually be far easier for us if childminder had him for an hour.

Doublecake- it was initially just MIL but when tables turned and we started having to make the meals etc then FIL started turning up for his tea too! I came in a couple of weeks back and they were both just sat up with their feet on the sofa, no offer to make even a cuppa while DP tried to sort DS's homework and I made a meal- they then commented I should 'stop doing so much' (I teach fulltime and at that point was 35 weeks pregnant)! Not only do they know expect to be fed, but they're on a diet so they expect a meal that suits the diet plan they are on angry.

I've put off saying something as they always flip things so that 'we're being ungrateful'- they have a very black and white view of the world and basically, if you don't agree with them, you're wrong.

I'm about to start maternity leave so I'm thinking this would be the ideal time to break away and say I no longer need her (ahem) 'help'.

Just glad to know that we're not being unreasonable. I know it'll mean we have to visit them more but this in itself is a farce as when we visit, we often stay overnight as it's a trek but when we get there we find out they've made plans and we're expected to just hang round the house while they go off to play sports with friends etc!

ProphetOfDoom Sun 03-Feb-13 09:54:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wiggy29 Sun 03-Feb-13 10:09:48

schmaltzing- I agree, really hard as there have been times when dp is ready to cut all ties with them but I really believe in trying to keep family close and would be so sad that dc would not have contact with their grandparents. Ironically, they barely speak to several members of their family (and they are angry that dp and I are friendly with everyone and won't take their 'side'). I would feel a hypocrite cutting contact as I'm so angry that they have cut out so many of their own close family members for no real reason but can never see that other people may have different opinions or that their demands may be unreasonable. They tend to have two or three very close friends for a couple of years and then they'll go on holiday with them (or something) and will fall out/ friends distance themselves and they just find new 'friends'. Yet, still, they never see the problems as theirs.

I am honest with them as far as possible so think I'll just have to bite the bullet and maternity is a great 'reason' to do it as hopefully it will avoid confrontation. I know many people on here may say it's better to be honest but we have spoke to them several times about issues but it never gets us anywhere... except more frustrated!

DontmindifIdo Sun 03-Feb-13 18:36:28

Yes, maternity leave, you don't need them to pick up DS anymore, all changes. You don't need their 'help'.

okthen Sun 03-Feb-13 19:18:48

Ugh this is so familiar to me, and you have my sympathies OP! So many things in common here... Including wanting to maintain ties despite it all.

We were daft enough to accept my very....complex.... mil's offer of weekly childcare. She was/is good with dd but all the drama we had to deal with meant that I was dying to start mat leave so we could tactfully end the arrangement.

Thankfully she got there first by 'resigning' (by letter, with 2 days notice) so we didn't have to handle that delicate issue. But I think for you mat leave is a good reason to end it which avoids conflict.

okthen Sun 03-Feb-13 19:21:52

Oh also... Your other half MUST handle all 'negotiations', IMO. They are his parents- and one thing that has helped matters between mil and I is keeping that boundary very clear. If there is drama now I keep well out of it.

exoticfruits Sun 03-Feb-13 19:33:30

Just say that you want to stop because it hasn't worked as you thought.

ChasedByBees Sun 03-Feb-13 19:33:37

Agree with others - stop this now. I'd be direct about it but if that's difficult, a very easy way out would be if they complain about coming round, say, 'you're right. We'll visit you next week instead, so see you on x day' (and follow up with talk about plans for 'their day'at yours which don't include them).

I think if your DP wants to cut contact you should let him. Your children won't benefit from toxic people and it should be his choice to make.

Arithmeticulous Sun 03-Feb-13 19:45:41

You really don't want them (or anyone) coming round for one day a week every week while you are on maternity leave and expecting you to wait on them.

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