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UPDATE on MIL stops by unannounced

(160 Posts)
Naty Fri 17-Jan-20 02:54:31

I'm updating on my situation (at my peril, I know. Some posters seem to strongly dislike this story..). The unannounced visits have stopped since posting...except for today.

I wouldn't have found it strange, except that my FIL came round at noon to do some gardening (he has vines on our property that he doesn't want to get rid of even though they aren't producing anything) and I pretended not to notice he was there (it's a large property, so it's easy not to spot him from the lower level). He never came to the door. As soon as I spotted him, I stayed upstairs just to see if he'd come to the door so that I could safely ignore it, as we've asked them to just call us before coming.

When my husband came home, he pointedly (and aggressively) told his dad not to peer into the windows and to call if he was stopping by. Apparently, his dad acted like a bad dog who had been hit over the nose with a newspaper (his words, not mine). My husband comes in for lunch and doesn't mention anything to me. As far as he knows, I have no clue his dad was even around. I didn't mention anything to my husband either.

My husband leaves for work.

At 4pm, my FIL comes back, finishes up his gardening and comes up to the house, peering in all the windows. When he gets to the last set, we lock eyes and I was a bit startled. I let him in and we talked for a few minutes. He holds the squirmy baby, trying to wriggle out of his arms as she's shy and then leaves.

He says "oh you only want your mom! Well your mom is your best friend. Then it's your dad. Then it's your grandparents." I find this commentary strange, because this hierarchy is universal, and it's a given...but they always tell the baby some variation of this...

He asks me how baby is doing and tells the baby he hasn't seen her in four days. They also always count the days and comment to the baby about time passed). Mind you, I invited them over 2 days ago, but he didn't come with MIL and MIL has been sick, so she's staying away at my request until 100% better....she said she got really cold the other day and started vomiting at night (she says it was drafty). I told her she probably caught something from someone else and that it could be contagious, so please wait a few says, as baby has taken a week to get over a cold that she still has).

FIL left and I was okay with the unannounced visit, as he hasn't ever done that before unless his wife is around. But when I mentioned his dad coming around later, my husband was shocked that he hadn't called. I too, was then disturbed by the reiteration of a request, ignored by FIL. It's bizarre behaviour, as FIL at noon knew he hadn't finished and was going to come back. He ignored his son's pointed request and peered through the windows anyway. Is this normal?

DH wanted to go and tear a strip off his dad, but he's not great with words and his parents are obviously bad listeners. I'd rather wait it out, but I do think of leaving Italy every day and moving back to Canada and tell my husband this (so he'll follow me...). Writing this out, it all seems crazy and ridiculous. I must be hormonal. Please advise me on this situation and not speculation of my mental state smile.

I was upset about this unannounced visit because it seems like his parents just don't care about reasonable requests and I feel that when I have to go back to work, they won't respect our wishes (putting baby in a carseat/watching English DVDs we give them rather than Italian cartoons). I feel like leaving every day and tell my husband that we shouldn't live around the corner from the in-laws. He said we can pick up and move house to a place outside of walking distance, but I think that's OTT.

Am I being unreasonable?

Naty Fri 17-Jan-20 03:00:43

Perhaps they envisioned hands on baby care every day?

I don't need them to take care of my child right now and I honestly wouldn't leave my child with my own family at this point. She's a needy baby and I don't want to stress her out without me. But we see the in-laws 4 or 5 times a week for about an hour each time, and I usually initiate most visits.

GagaJo Fri 17-Jan-20 05:52:36

I think our husbands idea is great. Just move out of the immediate area.

OR tell his parents that's what you'll do if they don't comply. Maybe that would shock them into behaving.

I'm a devoted granny and I don't think you're being unreasonable.

GagaJo Fri 17-Jan-20 05:53:22

Typo! Not our, YOUR

BlueBelle Fri 17-Jan-20 06:44:42

Are you writing a novel ? Chapter 2 of the drama
Yes do move away then you ll have absolutely nothing to worry about Best all round

Baggs Fri 17-Jan-20 06:53:19

Did the garden belong to your inlaws before you lived there? Did you buy the property from them, or was it a gift?

Yehbutnobut Fri 17-Jan-20 07:28:33

Good question.

DoraMarr Fri 17-Jan-20 08:08:13

I think you need to stop putting your husband in the middle of all this, and I also think you need to get a sense of proportion. Of course your child’s grandparents want to see him frequently- that’s normal, and since you live so close by they are going to expect it. Why don’t you invite them over at a time that suits you? Do you ever drop in on them? When your father in law was tending the garden, instead of watching out of the window, why didn’t you just invite him in for a cup of coffee? You could have strolled drown with the baby and said “when you’re finished, come and have a drink.” You seem to have built this up into something more than it is. When you marry someone you get their family- that’s all there is to it. If you like them, great, but we all have family members that make us grit our teeth, that’s life.
Insisting on safety - using a car seat- is acceptable, but not letting him watch Italian cartoons? Really?

Urmstongran Fri 17-Jan-20 08:31:25

Perhaps buy an appointment book and hand out appointment cards to your in laws - routine appointments given out up to six weeks in advance?

I think you are being unreasonable. You sound as though you can’t relax around people. On your own pretty much all day with as you say, a ‘needy’ baby. You could do with some laughter during your day. Relax a bit more, watch your baby being played with by her grandparents on a more spontaneous platform.

If I were your mother in law I’d be on pins every visit!

DoraMarr Fri 17-Jan-20 08:36:20

Try and look at this from your husband’s point of view. If these were your parents and they wanted to see you and the baby, and your husband watched out of the window so he could ignore them, and then complained to you about it, how would you feel? Would you be happy if he was constantly complaining about your mother ?

Oopsminty Fri 17-Jan-20 08:41:15

I'm not saying this is a cultural thing. But I had my first baby in Tenerife and we didn't go a day without seeing numerous relatives. It was just what they did. All lived very clse and the cousins wanted to see the baby etcetc

I just went with it

It was quite helpful actually as one of the nephews would wheel baby round the plantation giving me chance to catch a few minutes peace

MawB Fri 17-Jan-20 08:54:50

Please don’t take this wrong, but I am amazed your baby is watching DVDs in any language.
You use be aware of the research into children under the age of two and the effects of TV?
At least two studies published since 2007 have concluded that Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby DVDs provide no benefit to children, and, according to one of the studies, might actually slow down language development in infants between eight to 16 months of age. This study, which tracked how much time infants and toddlers spend viewing DVDs and television programs, as well as the content of these programs, found that for every hour per day that babies 8-16 months old watched educational programs, they knew on average six to eight fewer words than babies who didn’t watch them. In addition, the DVDs and videos had no effects, positive or negative, on toddlers between 17 and 24 months of age

If not, please look this up.
It may provide a further bone of contention with your clearly traditional Italian in-laws, and loads of people will shout me down saying Teletubbies/Playschool or Paw Patrol did no harm to their children or grandchildren, but there is a clear correlation between tv, whether in the background or as entertainment and a child’s linguistic development.
And as for the rear-facing car seat - is that not the law in Italy as elsewhere?
Never mind the peering in windows thing (but have you considered plantation shutters?)

Eglantine21 Fri 17-Jan-20 08:55:31

I think I’ve missed the back story. You come from Canada? Is your husband Canadian, moved back to Italy or is he native Italian?

Moving countries is really hard. You’re in a very different culture. Either you have to say(to quote) “This isn’t working for me” and go back to Canada or you have to make changes to make it work in Italy.

Moving out of drop-in distance seems to be a obvious reasonable thing to me. Your world is too tight, too enclosed with baby, husband, in-laws.

Objecting to Italian cartoons doesn’t seem reasonable. Your child is going to need to be truly bilingual. If you stay in Italy Italian will probably be his preferred language.

But maybe you’re just not happy in Italy. Different culture, different language. needy baby, no peer support networks, no social life.

I’m afraid it’s your choice. Integrate or leave........

Hetty58 Fri 17-Jan-20 08:58:36

Oh please God no - not an update! Why not write a book!

GagaJo Fri 17-Jan-20 09:26:48

Naty, ignore the rude people on here.

I had interfering In Laws. They drove myself and my husband away from the US (ex husband is American) back to the UK. NOT their intention but it was the end result.

My mother in law used to drop in, unannounced. And yes, sometimes I stayed upstairs and didn't let her in. My house, my life, my choice. What if I was busy? What if I was ill? What, frankly, if she was just unwelcome?

To those of you on here being rude, GO ELSEWHERE if you don't like it. No need for rudeness!

DoraMarr Fri 17-Jan-20 10:01:32

Who was being rude?

Eglantine21 Fri 17-Jan-20 10:05:57

Was I rude, I didn’t mean to be. Just practical.

The OP doesn't sound as if she has much life outside being at home and caring for her baby.

The key to being happy in a new country (and I have had experience) is to get out there, learn the language, embrace the culture, make contacts and hopefully thereafter friends.

If you can’t change the in laws, you have to make changes yourself.

I always prefer a solution to living with a problem.

annep1 Fri 17-Jan-20 10:10:44

I don't think your husband should have said anything. His father perhaps didn't intend to visit but was annoyed by his son.
I think you should either accept the advantages of living close and get on with your life. Or put up some window covering but it doesn't seem to annoy you enough to do that. Or..move.

GagaJo Fri 17-Jan-20 10:27:18

Hetty was rude. 'Oh please god - not an update.'
Urmstonegran was rude. 'Perhaps buy an appointment book and hand out appointment cards to your in laws - routine appointments given out up to six weeks in advance?'

Don't understand why we're being nasty to a new mum.

Cabbie21 Fri 17-Jan-20 10:39:17

If you didn’t want FiL to call, why did you let him in, when you saw him peering in? Encouraging the very behaviour you have condemned. I don’t get it.

It seems to me that you have choices how you respond to this difficult scenario.
You could embrace their culture and go along with their ways, though that would be very hard for you I think.
You could build a life for yourself, get out of the house more, ignore them as much as possible.
You could move right away and enjoy your family life elsewhere. Canada perhaps?

If you decide to stay, I would definitely reconsider your plan to let the in-laws do childcare when you go back to work. I foresee endless conflicts,

Hetty58 Fri 17-Jan-20 11:16:29

GagaJo, you 'Don't understand why we're being nasty to a new mum.' I, for one, am exasperated!

It's because she writes (at very great length) about her obsession, the behaviour of her husband's parents.

She won't cover her windows yet objects to them 'peering in'.

She can't seem to ignore them and just not answer the door.

She's stressed out looking after one small baby.

She expects the inlaws to always follow her instructions.

She makes mountains out of molehills (one unannounced visit).

She fails to reflect on her own behaviour

How on Earth will she cope with a real problem - out there in the big wide world?

Doodledog Fri 17-Jan-20 11:23:15

I feel like leaving every day and tell my husband that we shouldn't live around the corner from the in-laws. He said we can pick up and move house to a place outside of walking distance, but I think that's OTT.

You are telling your husband that you shouldn't live round the corner from the in-laws, but when he offers to move, you think it is OTT.

You don't want your in-laws to influence your baby, but you want them to look after her so that you can go back to work.

I don't know what you do want, really. TBH, I think that if you are paying them nanny rates to look after her, then you can dictate the rules about things like DVDs. If they are doing it as a favour, then you need to negotiate.

I fully understand your need for privacy - I hate people dropping in - but you do seem to be cherry picking here.

Childcare (in the UK anyway) is very expensive, and they are doing you a big favour (at a cost to their own freedom in retirement) by offering to do it. I'm not saying that you should have no input into what happens when they have her, but I do think that you need to discuss what works for all of you, and that there should be give and take from you as well as them.

pinkquartz Fri 17-Jan-20 11:34:19

There is a lot of nastiness on here.....

If you don't like what the poster says then go away and read another thread.

OP take courage. You re not being listened to . That is why you are upset and it is reason enough.

I don't have any suggestions though as i have not been in a similar situation.
Good Luck and do not let the nasty ones upset you.

MamaCaz Fri 17-Jan-20 11:37:43

I can see that the in-laws' behaviour is a problem for you, because you are one of those (many) people who obviously like your privacy and /or need control over that aspect of your life. There's nothing wrong with that. That's the way you are, and I doubt you could change that even if you wanted to.
This has only become a problem through living in such close proximity to people whose equally 'normal' needs and expectations are the exact opposite. It is probably just as unlikely that they can really change either.

Your husband's suggestion of moving further away from the in-laws might be a reasonable compromise, as it would make unannounced visits on a regular basis impossible, but without putting a vast ocean between you (and their son and granchild) and them.

He says "oh you only want your mom! Well your mom is your best friend. Then it's your dad. Then it's your grandparents." I find this commentary strange, because this hierarchy is universal, and it's a given...but they always tell the baby some variation of this...

I don't find that odd because I say something a bit like that to my 18 month old granddaughter as we pass a photo of her mummy and daddy on our staircase (along the lines of, "your two favourite people in the whole world".) Try not to read too much into that, as stating what to us adults is the obvious is fairly normal behaviour when talking to a baby, I think. ☺

Madgran77 Fri 17-Jan-20 11:44:41

I think you and your husband need to sit down together and discuss ALL aspects of what both of you are feeling about this situation from your perspective as a couple. Then decide on how you as a couple are going to deal with it. Starting with not keeping secrets about who has visited, who has done/said what to whom etc!

I also think you have to start speaking to them as a couple, and if/when they don't follow requests referring to the conversation where you were both present, and sharing with each other as a couple that you have done that