Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Widdowed Mother in Law... Help(30 Posts)
I'm new to this so apologies if i'm off-etiquette in any way or if a similar thread already exists. I was really just hoping for views on what is acceptible in this situ... Would really appreciate any views or advice!!
To cut a long story... We got married a few years ago, unfortunately FIL passed away a couple of years ago leaving MIL widowed and living abroad (but close by - France) so a couple of hours flight away. She has a lot of friends surrounding her and a good life there from what i can gather BUT... She has decided to move back to the UK. Its taking a while to sell her apartment and she refuses to drop the price although she can afford it, in the meantime she has taken to booking one way flights to visit us. The longest visit to date being 10 weeks... And total visiting time for last year... 17 weeks. She uses excuses about staying for so long like cost of flights but tbh i think she just likes staying with us and being waited on hand and foot. She doesnt do anything around the house and refuses to drive (does so at home but doesnt seem to see the point when visiting us) so we are cheauffer and servant the entire time. We now have a six month old baby and this gives even more of an excuse. I'm worried that the whole situ is a play to live with us eventually as she doesnt seem to have any real plan for what she's going to do in the long run. She is relatively young and in good health so i find the lack of direction really odd for someone who is so together.
Poor Dh just seems completely at a loss... Clearly its a sensitive subject to address, but i know he wants the same as me and her imposing drives him mad too. He aboids her around the house and leaves me to talk to her all the time - and she is pretty exhausting to say the least!!! She is quite old fashioned and think she just expects this as our obligation... But i really dont see it that way. I think a week or 2 at a time is absolutely more than enough - equating to approx a month per year - thats a lot of time to have someone live in your house right?
The last thing i want to do is be mean or upset her, i just want my home and life back...
Has anyone had a similar experience?? Should i say something or is it purely down to him?
Apologies for the essay
picked this up from mn.
Any communication needs to come from your dh so she knows it's a united front.
Does she have any other family over here who could talk go her?
My widowed mil has moved near us and it's taken a long while for her to become more independent and not reliant on us being her social life, especially as we have 2 young dc.
I think you need to make sure you are presenting a united front and that you don't turn into the evil DiL.
I would NOT be able to cope with my MiL living with me for more than about 3 days (it's not a MiL thing, it would be the same with my Mum if she were still alive) so I think you must be a saint, but I think you need to not be waiting on her hand and foot, and not driving her around everywhere.
Next time she rings, you need dh to explain that now you are starting to settle into routines with the baby, you have commitments and won't be around to entertain her all the time when she comes, and obviously you are pretty tired, so certainly won't be able to 'look after her' for long periods of time.
Is it her intention to come and live close to you when she sells ?
Would it be worth picking up details of flats / small houses / sheltered housing / retirement village type places for sale near you, and seeing if she wants to go and have a look at any when she's over ?
Newmum Oh dear my heart goes out to you cos this is certainly more than I could bear! You're quite right, a few weeks/yr is more than adequate. Anything more and she should be looking to stay in an actual hotel!
But your husband needs to definately initiate the conversation with her, as it's his mother, but failing that I would broach the subject and he can back me up, if I were in your shoes.
One things for certain, I wouldn't let things go on as they are. That's how resentment builds. Best of luck
I appreciate your predicament, but grieving for a husband, of many years, can take a long time and produce out of character behaviour.
She obviously has a need to feel close to you all.
JT05 That hardly gives her carte blanche to just put her feet up and expect to be waited on, never lifting a finger to do anything and refusing to drive! She's not in a bloody 5 star all-inclusive. How sodding dare someone blatently take the piss like that?! I'd be livid and would tolerate no further visits. But someone ( obv the son ideally ) needs to tell her wot's wot rather than give her the impression they're both a pair of doormats for her to reign over
The woman needs a reality check and a bit of straight talking. Sounds like she has zero consideration to me and is behaving incredibly selfishly.
I think you have fallen into the trap of treating a long term visitor like a short term guest and at the very minimum you need to gently but firmly push back the boundaries.
Ideally your DH needs to have a firm word - does he have siblings ? If so make a family get-together to jump start - How can we get things moving on the sale of your flat Mum ? New Year, New house and all that
A little bit tongue in cheek - but starting charging her rent ? After all you could be on maternity leave and finding things a little bit tricky financially ? Accept this could be a 2 edged sword..
Also where is she sleeping ? Is it possible she's in the baby's room and now the baby is 6 mths, you want to start thinking of moving him/ her into own room. Sofa may not be as appealing.
Could your Mum have the 'so what are your plans ' talk ?
Oh and just stop waiting on her for goodness sake -
'oh MIL - I'd love a cuppa - put the kettle on there's a love'.
Your turn to make lunch today - mine's a cheese toastie
Leave her fresh bed linen outside her door
don't offer / do her washing
and say No to giving her lifts
Oh dear, yes you need to put your Big Girl Pants on, and so does DH. Time to stop allowing her to visit whenever she wants for as long as she wants. Are you worried DH won't back you up?
It sounds like he just bails out and leaves you to deal with her which is seriously not on.
Time for a serious chat.
Thanks for all your replies. So glad its not just me - its bloody infuriating!!!
So one at a time... Dh has a brother but he lives in Oz, she has some family about 50 miles away from us - she uses visits to see them as an excuse for staying longer, so she will make out like she wont be with us such a long time as she will be going to see x, y and z... Only the reality turns out to be a couple of days here and there that hardly makes a dent in the mammoth visit, oh and dh has to take her there too.
Re the flat sale, we've done all the "so how can we make this happen / help you to move over" etc but that made it even more apparent to me that she has no intentions of selling up and making an independant life for herself... the trouble is there is a room for her to stay - but that doesnt mean she can!! I kinda wonder whether in her mind we have made room specifically for her to park herself for months on end.
She just always manages to stretch it out with one excuse or another and its getting to the point where im going to explode. Sometimes i cant look at her because i resent her intrusions so much. I know how awful that sounds - and its very out of character for me - but i feel that she just decides what she wants to do and everyone else has to deal with it, tbh it really pisses me off.
Dh tries to talk to her i've overheard, but she responds with things like "oh i'm going to see suchabody and suchabody so i wont be around for long" then low and behold she's staying for weeks longer and having a weekend elsewhere and i feel like i've literally been duped - again. My mum is very good at talking to her but since she has tried to hint a couple of times about the issues MIL has turned deaf to her and doesnt make much of an effort anymore - assume because its not what she wants to hear.
I think its just going to take a straight discussion from DH with a clear limit on how long she can stay, its just a shame jt has to come to that, why oh why do they always have to push it too far?!
Lol littleleftie that made me laugh, youre absolutely right though. I just needed to hear that im not being the unreasonable dil and that i should be more sympathetic! Which i was of course, in the beginning...
Goodness 17 weeks!!! Your DH definitely needs to say something.
Next time she says she is coming over your DH needs to tell her "No, that doesn't work for us. You can come for 2 weeks only in x month" Yes there will be fireworks but he needs to resolute and like a stuck record.
You need to decide on what is acceptable and stick to it and you need to really support him through having to stand up to her!
A 10 week open ended visit is absolutely calculated and taking the piss. Bloody Well done on not exploding yet, although ultimately, that's what it might take for things to change.
Unfortunately it's going to take your DH being very firm about frequency and length of visits, ensuring the return flight is booked, and if necessary even booking her into a local B&B in future, no excuses, no stretching the visits out for even one extra day.
"Yes mum, 20th January is fine for us for one week. Is your flight home booked... No? Ok if you're planning on staying longer, I'll book you in to the local premier inn from 27th onwards, you'll have to give them a call to confirm your credit card details. I'm working and NewMum is busy with the baby/whatever, so I'll mail you the details of a local car hire company/ train timetables/buses so you can get yourself out and about to visit uncle John, etc".
After 3 or 4 days, anyone staying at our house would be expected to chip in with shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. I'd be very hard faced... "while I'm making lunch could you run the Hoover round please", "we're running low on milk, could you pop out and grab us a few bits please", "I'm just going to the shops, your turn to cook tomorrow MIL, any particular ingredients you'd like me to get?".
Agree with DrGoogle. You're both just going to have to tell her in black and white terms, so there can be no misunderstandings or grey areas. She can't be using your home as a base or like a B&B where everyone runs round after her! I would just be so offended that this is how she views the situation.
So put the flipping "Dew Drop Inn" to rest and get her told. I'd be interested how she takes it and if she changes her tune.....
Why not suggest that she rents out the flat in France and then rents somewhere here - halfway between her DS and rest of family.
That would get her out from under your feet quicker than waiting to sell her flat in France...which sounds like might be the wrong decision if she has a big social network there already...?
But the situation is currently is WAY, WAY in appropriate and your DH needs to be v clear on the new rules for visiting arrangements very soon.
Look at it as taking preventative action -- if you want to preserve your relationship with your MIL and it not to implode and become irrepairable....
I agree with others. A conversation needs to take place, between your DH and MIL. I would also suggest that the waiting on her hand and foot, and the driving around, stops. I remember a similar thread, some time ago, where one set of parents, had laid claim to the basement of their son and daughter-in-law's house, without as much as by your leave. They had sold their own house, if I remember correctly, and were arriving for long visits, as and when it suited them.
I'm not sure what the end result was, but I do know that the OP had to take matters in hand, because her husband was not making it clear to his parents, that it just wasn't acceptable.
Best of luck, I do hope that things can be sorted, reasonably amicably, all around, and that you get your home back. FWIW, you have far more patience than I would have, with someone staying on open ended visits.
Hi ladies, thanks so much for all your support and advice. The latest visit has been cut short which is a relief (still a good couple of weeks which she thinks is short but progress at least). Not sure whether its been made clear that this applies to all future visits or whether she thinks its a one off but will see when she starts planning the next visit - my intention is to make sure the return is lined up before arrival in future.
Re the suggestions about rentals... Yep, we did that too. She doesnt like the idea of renting her place! Well why would you, when you can live in both countries with a free hotel to hand?! Lol maybe it will change once the realisation hits that its over for those long ass stays!!!
I do want to add that now that i know when she is going home i want to look after her and be the perfect host, because that's the kind of person i am. But the issue there is i feel the nicer and more hospitable i am - the more she takes liberties!! Such a shame :-(
Can you make plans to turn "her" room into an office/playroom/sewing room/whatever ie not her "bedroom".
Paint the guest room completely red, few people can stand it and leave after three or four days. Always works for me.
The latest visit has been cut short which is a relief
That sounds like real progress, Newmum ... can I ask if i was the result of some sort of "conversation" or came about in another way?
Why haven't you replied to posters' comments about not waiting on her hand and foot, not driving her around etc? It sounds a bit passive aggressive to resent doing so many extras for her but continuing to do them
Can you put a really uncomfy futon in the spare room? I had a lumpy sofa bed for years that kept wider family at bay!
Sorry i'm replying by mobile so am losing track of names to respond to
She stays in my step-daughter's room when she comes, SD is generally happy to give the room up as she only uses it a few nights a month - but it is wearing thin even with her as MIL leaves all her belongings in the room as if its hers. Its almost territorial.
The early departure was the result of a conversation with DH who pushed for details of what she had planned and for when etc, he already had details for flights lined up and got it booked straight after the conversation had happened. Really happy with him as he has clearly taken our discussions om board and acted on them finally i think she was left with no choice (this time), it is a major breakthrough for me, i'm chuffed to say the least.
Re waiting on her. I wasnt ignoring these comments. It has reached a point over time where i do the minimum for her but there are things that are tricky to get around, such as cooking her meals every day - i was doing this when heavily pregnant and working 40 hours a week without so much as an offer to peel potatoes! Tidying up after her etc. because i would be doing it for the family anyway. I know its wrong but i resent doing it for her when she stays for such a long time it makes me feel like her slave! i think in her mind she is helpful as if she is making herself a drink she might wipe a surface down - then tell me about it 5 times as though i should be really grateful and thank her repeatedly for doing it... So its almost easier not to ask for help as she goes on about the smallest task over and over again and i end up even more irritated!
Re driving her around, most of the time she is happy to sit on the sofa ALL day and watch tv. The problem is less about running her around, and more the fact she wont leave the house... So unless we take her out or she visits other family she is always present.. I have suggested she lease a car but she says she doesnt know her way around - suggested sat nav, even going out with her until she is familiar.. She just refuses saying she would rather wait "until next time" but it never happens.
It has reached a point over time where i do the minimum for her but there are things that are tricky to get around
Cooking every single meal for her doesn't sound like the minimum to me.
And with respect, at first you said she treated you like taxi drivers and now you're saying that you decide she needs taking somewhere.
How much do you actually want things to change?
Join the discussion
Please login first.