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AIBU to think my mum-in-law should have given us more notice of her visit?

(64 Posts)
Bermeir Fri 01-Mar-13 13:47:35

She lives several hundred miles away. A letter arrived TODAY saying that she was going to visit us on sunday (!) and to ring if 'not convenient'. I am thoroughly hacked off with her about this. AIBU? I mean, why only a few days notice, why a LETTER and not what normal person would do and phone (email, even).

Ana Fri 01-Mar-13 17:30:59

But it seems she always does this, Bermeir, i.e. sends a letter. Won't she be expecting you to confirm or otherwise by phone, like last time? Then you could tell her that her son won't be at home that day.

Bags Fri 01-Mar-13 17:37:49

And (you said) the letter said ring if it's inconvenient. So ring her now and tell her it's inconvenient. Even better, get your DH to ring her. I don't see a problem really, except that you don't like her letter.

Does she know you don't like letters?

Did she write to you or to both of you or to her son?

Bags Fri 01-Mar-13 17:39:24

I don't get it, bermeir. Why is a letter worse than an email? Surely they're pretty much the same?

ginny Fri 01-Mar-13 18:39:58

Your DH should ring her and tell her that he is working. If she is visiting on her way to somewhere else, could you not cope with her for a few hours ? Otherwise maybe you and DH could suggest a time that you are free and happy to have her visit. Does she get invites from you ? By the way I love to recieve letters, much nicer than e-mails.

merlotgran Fri 01-Mar-13 18:46:44

How far away is several hundred miles? Does she drive? Long journeys have to be planned so I'm surprised she is taking a chance on you phoning to say it's inconvenient for her to visit.

Grannyknot Fri 01-Mar-13 19:19:47

Okaayyy ... so she won't see her son if she comes. Just phone and tell her that, bet she cancels. Simples wink.

I wish a relative would write to me. I used to love receiving letters from my gran in her wonderful architectural handwriting. Would hold the

Grannyknot Fri 01-Mar-13 19:20:28

oops ... letter and read and reread it and marvel at how she had the same handwriting as my mother.

Elegran Fri 01-Mar-13 19:30:11

I remember this from the previous time round too. Surely you pointed out then (tactfully!) that a phone call to you would have settled the whole question much faster?

If you did not, then maybe she/they thinks that you are happy with organising your social life by the letter route. Get things clear with her/them and then you and they will enjoy future visits much more.

No need to make a row of it, just say how long it took the letter to come and that if you had known sooner you would have been better prepared, and there would have been less chance of your having something already arranged for that day.

Eloethan Fri 01-Mar-13 21:17:14

I don't know how old she is but maybe her hearing isn't that great and she finds phone conversations difficult. It must be quite a journey for an elderly person, and, given the distance between you, presumably she doesn't get to see you that often. Maybe she's feeling down or lonely - and she did ask you to let her know if it's inconvenient. I don't know what your relationship with her is like but surely a few days' stay isn't the end of the world.

harrigran Fri 01-Mar-13 21:52:35

She is your DH's mother, welcome her. You will be old one day.

gracesmum Fri 01-Mar-13 21:58:36

I think the consensus is, OP," Yes, YABU". Why didn't you ring when you got the letter, feign surprise, say of course you're looking forward to seeing her, but DH is at work all day, how about another day/time, or is she happy just to see you etc?
You haven't said how far she is travelling or how, or indeed if this is a one day visit or a "visitation" lasting a week or two, so without that information, it is hard to see why this is such a problem.
It would be interesting to hear how you feel about it now.

Ana Fri 01-Mar-13 22:04:50

Somehow I don't think we will ever know. hmm

gracesmum Fri 01-Mar-13 22:06:58

That's what I thought wink

seasider Sat 02-Mar-13 00:19:02

I love visitors and like my mum before me will always stretch a meal to accommodate them . We may not always be as tidy as we could be if we had a bit of notice but we always manage to find a bed for friends and family . We live by the sea so on more than one occasion have had day visitors who have been persuaded to stay over.

Faye Sat 02-Mar-13 00:37:44

Instead of getting irritated Bermeir maybe you could realise your MIL writes letters and expects you or her son to phone back. It is not too hard, she sounds like she is getting old and not everyone has loads of common sense or a even dour attitude. Give a little and don't make problems where there are none.

Bags Sat 02-Mar-13 06:35:09

Quite right, faye. On the surface all this is a complaint about the form the communications take. Hmm. Sounds like obfuscation to me. If your MiL communicates in a normal way, and writing letters is normal, then you have nothing to complain about.

I suspect that the real problem is that you don't want her to visit you.

Bermeir Sat 02-Mar-13 07:15:52

Dh has called her and she is not visiting us. She is still coming down for another reason, but her schedule is tight and we won't see her.

The letter thing is, I think, a form of emotional blackmail on her part-she's very good at that- consider her words, 'If not convenient, call me'. That is, I'll come down if you don't contact. Who does that? I don't. I say, 'Let me know if this is OK with you'.

Yes, she is old and slightly deaf, however, my husband spent absolutely ages getting teaching her to e-mail (and she has done so many a time). Why not email now? She is well aware of it. She isn't a ditzy old lady! She's driving hundreds of miles for goodness sake.

Yes, I don't want her to visit, however, I've NEVER stopped her from doing so. Believe me, I am not the sort to take against people for no reason.

Bags Sat 02-Mar-13 07:20:37

But the simple line "call me if it's not convenient" is a standard device and very easy to implement. Stop complaining. Taking against someone for writing a letter when you want them to call instead is silly. She is asking you to call (or your husband) and you are complaining!! You want her to call and she writes instead and you are complaining.

Net result: you are complaining.

Says it all really hmm

Bermeir Sat 02-Mar-13 07:30:28

You say it's a standard device and I'll take you at your word, but how do you implement the line in reality? If you said in a letter, 'call me if not convenient' and you DIDN'T hear back from the person you wrote the letter to, would you just turn up anyway?

It's not really silly to complain when my mil has access to a phone, my husband's mobile number, his email address-that really irks as she is more than capable of emailing.

The truth is that she wants everybody under her thumb, she hopes that we'll get the letter too late to tell her it's not convenient and are emotionally blackmailed into meeting her.

Bags Sat 02-Mar-13 08:31:09

Good point, bermeir, about what I would do myself. Actually, no, if someone didn't reply to my letter in some way (letter, email, phone, text), I would assume it wasn't convenient and not turn up. But I don't think it's actually wrong for someone to turn up in the circumstances you describe. If your MiL is the sort of person who isn't very sensitive to what you want, then take her at her word and call her to say it's inconvenient when it is. It really is no use getting annoyed about er way of doing things. She isn't going to change, but you can make your behaviour effective. If you don't want her to visit, tell her that (politely as in "it's inconvenient"). Just be straightforward and cope with what you regard as her unreasonableness. Far less stressful than agonising about it and getting corss.

But from what you say, it sounds as if she just wanted to drop in on her way to or from something else. In the past, people would do that without any prior communication if it was family.

I've had a similar situation with one of my sisters-in-law. I lived a long way away from my brother and didn't see him very often. Once, when I was visiting my mother for a week, I rang SiL to ask if, since we were nearer, I could come over one afternoon so the cousins could play and I could see her and my brother. Her reply was that it wasn't convenient because she had to go shopping. That's code for "No, I don't want you to visit, even just for a cup of tea." I know that because it was my last attempt – there had been a few. I suspect that my brother never even knew I'd called.

It has become clear since then that it's not a personal thing with my SiL. She doesn't let anyone visit. She's the one with the problem. Perhaps if you view your MiL as having a problem (such as wanting to be in control, as you suggest), you will cope better. Good luck with your assertiveness.

Elegran Sat 02-Mar-13 08:39:59

So you need to be pro-active. Instead of waiting for a letter to annoy you, make sure that you invite her by phone often enough and get into the conversation somehow that you do prefer it if she phones you.

That is quite reasonable - you could quite easily be away from home from before the letter arrives until she herself arrives after a long and wasted journey. Be a bit unpredictable and play the "If only you had phoned you would have found out that we were away and saved yourself - and us - the disppointment"

Or if you are not confident enough for that, say that the post has been so erratic lately that a phone call would be certain to get you in time.

It may be, of course, that she is finding it painfully hard to see enough of her son (Do you have any sons? If so you might empathise with her one day) because of the attitude of his wife, who appears to find her presence an imposition.

Consideration is a two-way street.

Stansgran Sat 02-Mar-13 09:16:13

My MIL didnt like me and unless I agreed with her very strong opinions she was always on the attack. Therefore I wrote to her with news of the children and of course her DS? I sent photos and then I didn't hear the criticism and antagonism. My DH worked dreadful hours and the last thing he wanted to do was talk to her on the phone to hear how badly done to she was(widowed)(son at a distance) this was the only way we could work it. Maybe your MIL doesn't want to hear in your voice how little your want her presence.your DCs have a GM give her a chance

dorsetpennt Sat 02-Mar-13 09:27:10

Unless I had a] other plans or b] other visitors, two days notice of an impending visit from a family member of friend would be more then welcome.

Bermeir Sat 02-Mar-13 09:29:17

I appreciate that she doesn't want to hear my voice, but she could ring my dh's mobile and/or email him.

I don't like her. She is vindictive, quick to bully when she senses a weakness, ALWAYS takes against me when my husband (foolishly, though he is getting better) and I argue, deliberately sets me up to fail (she insisted on buying me a birthday gift one year then refused point blank to buy it-basically humiliating me by saying in a loud voice how bad my taste was). Damned right I don't want her around.

Bermeir Sat 02-Mar-13 09:30:22

Foolishly as in telling her our business, I should add.