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Please help! My MIL does not listen.

(47 Posts)
Ohdear11 Sat 21-Dec-19 09:31:17

Hi everyone,

Where do I start? Please bare wth me, it may be slightly long xx

My partner and I are living on the a family farm and we are only 500 metres down the road from his parents.

I never had an issue with my mil until my daughter was born this year (I am a second time but this is her first grand child). My mil and I have always gotten along well enough, but never really had much in common, so our relationship has never been very close.

We use to see each other maybe once a fortnight and for all special occasions.

Once my daughter arrived , it seemed like all common courtesy went out the window. She just drops in when she feels like it and walks straight into my house without even knocking. Sometimes I’m only half dressed, breast feeding or trying to catch up on sleep while the baby is having a nap. It’s almost every week but it gets much worse in school holidays when she has time off (she is a teacher), then it can be anything from every other day! Even once I said we aren’t up for a visit (the one time she asked and that is no exaggeration) she came over anyway.

On 3 occasions she has not given me my daughter back when I have asked (as she was getting really upset), one time I had to actually pull her out of mils arms, then she turned around to tell me my daughter was fine. Well she wasn’t she was upset and wanted to be fed.
My mil makes me feel like I need to justify everything I do with my daughter, this is a result of having my parenting questioned on various occasions ie why I was feeding my daughter again and questioning me if that’s what she really needed.

My biggest issue is that we had asked her before we had our daughter, that we didn’t want people to just drop in and we needed her to call and check first. Not once has she done this. My partner even said something to her and she still continues to do it.
I’ve since sent a message as I actually had failed verbally to get across to her and thought a clear message might work. She sent me a thumbs up, then showed up a week later to “drop” something off.... Surprise it was when I was tying to catch up on sleep.
What do I do?
I really feel like she knows that she is crossing every boundary Ive tried to put in place.
She makes me feel very pressured and like I owe her a visit all the time. Living so close to her has created this anxiety that she might drop in anytime. I feel like I have no privacy and that my request to have her not drop in unannounced has offended her or she believes I don’t deserve that respect.

Is this behaviour out of line or am I over reacting?

Smileless2012 Sat 21-Dec-19 09:43:41

Her behaviour is definitely out of line and no, you are not over reacting Ohdear. All I could think as I was reading your post was 'oh dear'.

In your position I would get my H to speak to his mother again and tell her she is not to call round without checking with you first. If she does, she will find the door locked as it will mean you are busy with other things, and you don't want visitors.

You have to find a way of putting a stop to this and her constant questioning of your parenting. The next time she does this don't respond, simply ignore her. You could turn away or leave the room.

I hope she'll learn to respect your boundaries sooner rather than later and you'll have a lovely Christmas with your new baby.

quizqueen Sat 21-Dec-19 09:49:08

Don't leave your door unlocked then she can't just walk in, remove any key to your home she may have and don't answer the door if anyone knocks, whom you are not expecting, if you don't want to. When she questions things, tell her this is how you and your husband have decided to do things...repeat, repeat and expect your partner to do likewise.

On a lighter note, don't expect gransnetters to take off their clothes to support you and be grateful she still works full time! Consider moving house .

Daisymae Sat 21-Dec-19 09:51:01

I think that you have recently posted on this topic? It seems that nothing ha changed. Well you could start by getting a bolt on the door. That would stop her just barging in. However I think that she is not going to take a hint. Your partner needs to talk to her and maybe say that you are considering moving if this does not stop. I wonder why you presumably choose to live so close?

Calendargirl Sat 21-Dec-19 10:12:17

The OP says they live on the family farm, I take it there is a house/cottage that was available for them to live there economically perhaps.
It looks like MIL is very excited to have a grandchild, and if the son and daughter in law are living in a tied cottage, so to speak, probably views it as her right to pop in whenever.
That isn’t acceptable of course, and really needs the son to have a good chat with her about privacy and own space, within reason. What does the FIL think about it all, if he is still around? Can he speak to her also? Does the OP’s partner work at home on the farm? MIL probably feels she is now the family matriarch, and it’s gone to her head slightly.

Grammaretto Sat 21-Dec-19 11:32:38

Uh Oh. Not a good start is it.
No wonder MiLs get such a bad press, if they behave like this one.
I would consider moving further away if you possibly can. Let out the cottage and rent something else. Do you have parents? What is your relationship like with them?
Do you find it hard to be assertive?

You say you have an older child, who is not her DGC. Is this causing any extra difficulties?

If you have once been very close and now have to draw apart, it is tricky. I hope you find a way which doesn't spoil a potentially good relationship.

Perhaps when you said you didn't want people dropping in she didn't think that rule applied to her!!

Hetty58 Sat 21-Dec-19 11:37:10

This is almost exactly the same as a recent post about an Italian MIL, isn't it? Put a bolt on the door - problem solved!

TrendyNannie6 Sat 21-Dec-19 11:54:26

Oh no no no love you are certainly not over reacting, well that door would be locked pronto,you and your husband need to sit down with her and explain while you don’t have a problem seeing her it can’t carry on like this, you will parent your child YOUR way not hers,! She’s clearly trying to control you. You asked her not to come over and she did anyway!!, What’s that all about. You do not have to justify anything to do with your daughter to her, it’s your daughter. Your way! Reading this makes me very sad, it’s obvious she knows she’s crossing every boundary, I had very similar things with my ex mother in law for years, she made me feel like s.... her son wouldn’t stand up to her, to cut a long story I left, I’m not going into my story as it’s your thread, but just wanted to let you know I understand, nor am I trying to suggest that’s what you should do either, but you and your husband do have to speak to her together, calmly and firmly, if that doesn’t work then I would consider moving best of luck to you. Please let us know how you get on

sodapop Sat 21-Dec-19 12:40:39

This behaviour is definitely both rude and intrusive. I would get your husband to have a proper talk with his mother and explain what is acceptable and what is not. If things don't change after that then you may have to resort to locking or bolting the doors which would be quite sad I think. If you do go down this road then arrange a time when it would be convenient for all of you to meet up and enjoy a drink and time with the children. Good luck ohdear11

Nannarose Sat 21-Dec-19 14:16:51

I wondered if the clue was 'the family farm'. Having grown up in a rural area, friendly with lots of farming families, I can see exactly how this arose. It's our old friend 'cultural expectations' as Calendargirl says.
I do think your DH needs to help with this - and wonder how he feels, both about his mother's behaviour, and your reaction to it. You need to talk about that before taking any more steps.
If your family's livelihood and housing are tied up with the family farm, then you need to talk to your DH about those expectations and boundaries as well. I have known families where the the son, once married, has said "now I must have a proper wage and pay proper rent / buy the house" instead of the vague 'get low wage & live on the farm you'll inherit some day' situation that used to be common. I have no idea if this applies to you, just wondering.
Is there anyone else you can talk to? Are there family friends or wise relatives who would understand where MiL is coming from? Having said that, she is a teacher, so should really have some insight into young families, and there is no excuse for not responding to your previous requests.
I do hope that you can find a way of explaining and setting boundaries that gets through to her, otherwise you will have to do some of the more drastic things suggested above - but please only do these with DH alongside.

BlueBelle Sat 21-Dec-19 14:23:56

So is this the Italian mother in law ?

notanan2 Sat 21-Dec-19 14:29:32

I think your DH needs to present a united front about this otherwise it'll be perceived as you Vs MIL.

HE needs to do more about it

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 21-Dec-19 14:36:08

I'm not 'teacher bashing' but do you think that as she is in charge of a classroom she is used to being in charge and therefore is a talker rather than a listener?
My BIL was a manager and is still in 'manager mode' at home, not only in the office. He doesn't mean to dominate, it's just his personality.

annep1 Sat 21-Dec-19 14:46:42

I'm afraid I might be rude and ask her to leave as she doesn't seem to understand when you tell her nicely. And tell her she is not to come unless invited. And the sooner you can live further away the better.

timetogo2016 Sat 21-Dec-19 14:54:54

Spot on Hetty58.
She can`t get in if the door is bolted.
Both front and back and keep windows locked too.
She sounds like a bluddy nightmare.

M0nica Sat 21-Dec-19 15:30:47

There is a simple solution - Lock your door and if she comes without warning do not answer it.

Anyway, your husband should have taken this in hand and spoken to his mother firmly and made it clear, that access all hours is not on and that no visits should be made without warning. If he was ignored he should have told her that you would do what I mentioned above, namely lock the doors and not open them if it is not convenient.

As you present your case your MiL is a bully. If she starts telling you what to do, ignore her, do not say anything, no one stands a chance of winning with women like that.

The only thing bullies take notice of is people who refuse to be bullied. Make rules, impose them without exception. Ignore all 'advice' by not replying or changing the subject. She will get the message, even though it takes a bit of time.

notanan2 Sat 21-Dec-19 17:28:17

Ppl saying "lock the door": the GPS most likely have a key anyway. Thats standard in family farm clusters.

And wouldnt solve the fundamental issue anyway.

Plus what about summer: batton the hatches and let no air in?

Cherrytree59 Sat 21-Dec-19 18:05:11

Ask your husband to speak to his mother.

Put a notice on your locked doors saying 'please do not disturb, baby is asleep'.

Hithere Sat 21-Dec-19 18:14:43


OutsideDave Sat 21-Dec-19 18:25:51

Move. And lock doors until you can. This is a you issue. Lock the door. Get a ring doorbell. You can tell her to go away when she shows up through the doorbell.

TerriBull Sat 21-Dec-19 18:37:54

Same as everyone else, lock the doors and if you aren't expecting a visit don't answer. After experiencing that for a while it should focus her mind.

What is with these grandmothers who won't hand baby back when askedshock

Nico97 Sat 21-Dec-19 18:53:56

Ppl saying "lock the door": the GPS most likely have a key anyway. Thats standard in family farm clusters.

Easily solved - either ask for the key back or just leave your key in the lock so that she can't use hers smile

Buffybee Sat 21-Dec-19 19:04:00

This problem sounds exactly like the Italian Mil who peers through the windows before barging in.
All I can suggest is locking the doors and ignore her knocking, if she has a key change the lock or put a bolt on the door.
Also as others have said, ignore any unwanted opinions, just don't answer and if she keeps hold of the baby, just take it off her.
It sounds to me as if there is a power struggle going on here, for your own sanity you must win it.

Ohdear11 Sat 21-Dec-19 19:13:19

Awwwww you have been all so lovely and supportive! Thank you so much smile
I feel so much better to know that my expectations are reasonable and that I haven’t over reacted.

So firstly, this is not the Italian Mil. We are in New Zealand.
Though I will go look at that discussion too and see if there’s any other tips.

I have tried locking the door, unfortunately its usually when my older daughter is home (after school or holidays) and it is obvious we are home.
I thought at the time it maybe when I had locked the door and she showed up that it had sent a message but not long after on another occasion she walked on in again.
But I am going to be persistent and keep locking the house up!

As in regards to FIL, he is lovely and mostly easy going, I am always happy to give him the baby for a cuddle as he is always happy to give her back when she’s getting fussy etc. So I feel very comfortable. I think he knows MIL has been a bit too much for me but I think even he would be offended if I came to him about her behaviour.
She tends to make all the plans and organises everything.
In honesty before we had DD she would not take no for answer very well and would insist on booking things for us etc. if we were going away and twice we ended up in the same hotel room lol rather than our own so....I put a stop to that. She also had made a few comments criticising me on my choices with the my older child, once at dinner and I left feeling absolutely horrible and the fact DH sat next to me and let it happen. But that’s in the past....I get I can’t hold onto everything, a lot of the behaviour just seems to make sense to me now and seems it was always there but now that I have DD (baby) she feels she has more right to do so.

My parents are great, I am closer with my mum who only lives 20min away and my father is in Australia. My mum has this rule too and she is more than happy to call before visiting and she respects my parenting choices , so I naturally feel more comfortable to want to be around her.
I’m at the point where visits with MIL cause anxiety. I go over all the scenarios in my head of what to do if she won’t give me back DD or what I’ll say if she questions me needing to feed her etc etc. Sometimes DD is needing go to sleep etc but I can just feel MIL staring at me wanting a hold and sometimes because she shown up unexpected it’s just not the time for holds!

We do live in our own cottage down the road and yes I totally get that culture of popping into neighbours when you are rural, which is why when she asked if these rules applied to her before dd was born, I said yes absolutely it applies to you too. And since, as I said my DH has said something (he came home thinking maybe he’d been too brash!) she showed up the next morning!
Both him and I couldn’t believe it.
I since sent the message, which I feel has caused tension and she’s shown up once since then and I’ve seen her a few times after smile
Even when relatives were coming up on various occasions (MIL Side) and I attached them to visit, she showed up with them on a different day thank arranger.

There’s no issues with my older daughter, FIL is great with her and even MIL likes to spend time with her too. Which of course I am very grateful for smile

And my SIL who is in USA has told me she had my back and told MIL to respect me etc, unfortunately that meant MIL had complained or talked about me in regards to these requests/boundaries I’ve made and me wanting DD when she starts to cry etc. but oh well, thankfully SIL supported me.

DH is prepared to say something but I know it makes him really uncomfortable.

I am very grateful for the support and tips on how to deal with it all. The main thing I really wanted was to know that my boundaries weren’t unreasonable etc and that I was justified to feel this way. I’ve felt a bit alone sometimes and just confused by the behaviour as it’s not something I’ve had to deal with before.
But I feel better now from reading the replies so far smile

endlessstrife Sat 21-Dec-19 19:17:34

You’re the only one who can sort this. I had similar problems with late MIL. My husband tried to talk to her, but she thought it was just my words coming through his mouth! Lock your doors. She shouldn’t have a key. This is so important to settle now if you can. Try to talk, all of there a FIL? What does he think about his wife’s behaviour? You’re definitely not being out of line at all. Your baby is the most important, and depends on you for everything.