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.
How can I nip this in the bud?(42 Posts)
Looking for a bit of perspective.
It's by no means life and death but I want opinions as to whether I'm being too touchy here.
We are soon to relocate back near family after many years at the other end of the country. My parents will be 5 mins away.
We have given DM a key to keep an eye on the new place in the interim period whilst we get ready to move in.
She has been popping in regularly, making comments on what does and doesn't need doing to the place etc. which is fine (we have no real plans to do anything much) and going on about getting the garden "sorted" (it's very much a low maintenance blank canvas at the moment)
Then the other day she texted about getting pots and plants for the garden. She is a keen gardener. I, on the other hand, am about the least green fingered person on earth and have no interest in plants (which she knows very well)
I replied very carefully to say that I was not going to have any plants in the garden for the same reasons as mentioned above and added that we have enough things to worry about re this move without having to tend a garden (which is true, jobs, schools etc)
I thought I'd made myself pretty clear.
Today I receive a picture of a bush that she's planted <sigh> along with a message saying its a present for DD (who is six)
I have not replied yet.
I'm feeling pretty frustrated and cross about this but I'm not sure if I'm being unreasonable. On one hand I'm thinking I can't be rude about "a gift" but on the other hand I think why not ask me if there's anything I need? There are a million useful things she could have got us instead of buying something that I've expressly stated would cause me hassle. Does it seem kind of controlling?
And then to say it's for DD is, I'm sure, just an excuse so that if I object she's gonna say, "Well, it's not for you, it's for DD" (who I'm pretty sure will be unfussed about a bush)
It's like she's trying to impose on me.
I really want to tackle this in a sensitive way but at the same time I want to be firm because I don't want this to escalate especially as we are going to be living at such close quarters going forward.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a firm but fair response to this?
I think your silence should speak volumes. I would take the British approach to conflict resolution & ignor & hopes she gets the hint. A bush seems pretty harmless, I just leave it to live or die - hopefully it's hardy.
I would say something like "DM...you know I love you very much and I love that you got us a little gift however you know I don't have your talent with plants so please no more as they will die and it's such a shame for them to come to a sad neglected end. I'm not expecting anything else at all but if you do feel the need to leave anything else at the house we could really do with a kettle (or whatever it is that you need)"
Oh dear. You've made a serious error of judgement in giving the key to a 'blank canvas' to a keen gardener.
Hopefully you'll be able retrieve the key after you've moved in and can fill the garden with dcs toys/climbing frame/swing or sports equipment which will provide reason not to buy plants/flowers that may meet a hasty end if they're beheaded by a football or the swing of a tennis racket..
You'll have to offend them before they get the message.
I had this with my dad when I moved in to my house. He was helping in some ways and I am lazy but he wouldn't be told. I had to slowly and carefully repeat myself like I was demented "yes, but reememmmmberrrrrrrrr
I felt like I was going crazy. My dad lets himself in too.
I'll probably go with something like stumbleymonkeys reply.
I know it's trivial but It's not really about the bush iyswim it's more the bigger picture ie. me saying "no" and her going ahead and doing it anyway.
That's the bit I want to tackle. I don't want that to become a habit.
Also it's Sod's law but the bloody bush is in the one part of garden that I actually had planned to put chips down so it's going to have to be moved anyway!
😄😄 Humbled that's how I feel!
I've had that exact conversation about this same thing! Grrrr!
Please could you send her to my house? I have a "blank canvas" garden and no idea what to do with it, but I would love some low maintenance plants!
On a serious note. Can you just tell her you really appreciate the thought but you DON'T want her planting anything in the garden? You could ask her to do a plan for the garden if you think that would keep her harmlessly busy?!
Does she have other boundary issues? It was a bit weird for her to say the bush is a "present" for your 6yo DD! So I'm wondering if she often tries to get away with doing what she wants while claiming it's a present or favour (my mum does this sometimes and it's a bit annoying!)
Sorry,but at bush indicating a boundary issue.
I'm not sure if I even know what would count as a boundary issue Emma ?
She quite often goes against what I allow for DD with regards to sweets/fizzy pop etc and, whilst annoying, I've just put that down to something grandparents do because they can get away with it.
She gets offended/upset if someone else in the family gets any news form us before she does.
She's extremely good at playing the guilt card and makes me feel like I've kicked a puppy if I ever pull her up on anything.
😄😄Twoton I just realised my own pun in the thread title too!
A boundary issue is not listening when someone says no - just going ahead and doing it anyway.
Giving a child sweets when the parents have asked you not to is also a boundary issue.
They're minor things but she's still not respecting your right to make your own decisions about your own child, garden, house, etc.
She does sound low-level narcissistic/manipulative. Laugh at me if you want. Emotionally healthy people will normally respect it when someone says no.
Oh I've just realised the was about the pun, not at me! So ignore that bit of my last post (sorry!)
That's OK,thought you were being a bit prickly though
Took me a moment to get that one too, Christ I'm slow tonight!
If she's a keen gardener perhaps she will look after the shrub for you?
Bloomin heck I actually think she's done something sweet for your DD.
So many people on here have no family support.
Why does a 6yo girl give a shit about a bush?!
But you make a good point about her looking after the shrub. If she lives 5 mins away maybe she could actually do the gardening. Score
Does she have other boundary issues?
That's a bit of an edge-y question, AnotherEmma!
Right, I'm not gonna beat about the bush here (😉 Sorry!)
Emma exactly!! The "gift" thing is purely an excuse, I'm certain of it, dd has zero interest in plants.
Cutteduppear trust me I know plenty of people have no support, we have managed for many many years just ourselves with occasional visitors. I am normally extremely appreciative for any small thing and I expect nothing, but there are many, many things she could've done/bought for us. She chose the one thing that I had been very careful to explain we did not want, I find that strange.
Text reply. I'm disappointed you have done something I asked you not to. Please don't let it happen again as I don't like having to call you on it and shouldn't have to.
Why not ask her to take over your garden for you? Then you can enjoy the fruits of her labours, and not have to worry about it?
Alternatively, thank her for DDs plant, but point out that you will need to move it, because of plans you have for the garden, and tell her you've decided to delay all planting etc until the various landscaping changes have been done. You should be able to keep her at bay (see what I did there ?) for a year or two at least, by which time the novelty may have worn off.
It can be quite overwhelming I think to move back near your family after years living far away from them.
Definitely not unreasonable to be cross.
Given that you both know that you're not a good gardener, could you use the fact that she's planted it in the wrong place as a way to talk about it...
So something along the lines of
'I have no idea what dd will think of getting a bush as a present. However, please could you move it to xxx spot/put it back in it's pot so it doesn't get established because you've managed to plant it in the where I have plans for putting chips down, so it will have to come out.'
'Please please, as we discussed, don't buy anything for the garden. I'm looking forward to planning it all out myself when I finally get to live in the house and have a chance to do it*.'
*OK so I know you're not really looking forward to planning out your garden. But given that it is a blank canvas you want to be making decisions about how you are going to use the garden and what you want to happen in different bits of it. It may well be that you say to your dm at some point that you would like her to
do all the gardening work to help you create a flower bed or plant some bushes at the back or whatever - but you don't want her to go in and turn it into her perfect garden which doesn't match up with what you need it to do or becomes a high maintenance thing when you want a low maintenance one. You've already done a bit of thinking about it as you know that you want chips in one area... And by saying when you have a chance to do it you're obviously going to be busy so this could give you several years to get to understand the garden before you need to commit to anything!
I'm surprised people are suggesting the IP ask her DM to do the gardening for them when she has boundary issues.
If there are boundary issues you don't invite that person to be even more involve in your life. Wouldn't surprise me if that's what the DM was angle my fit so it would be rewarding her poor behaviour.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.