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Mother-in-law stopping by unannounced

(223 Posts)
Naty Thu 28-Nov-19 21:29:51

Hi, I'm looking for advice. I'm 34 years old. I've been married for two years, with husband for 10. We have a four month old and live in Italy. I love my in-laws. They are always there when we need them and paid for a good portion of the house we live in (they wanted us to be helped while they're alive now instead of inheriting money). This is our first child, their fourth grandchild, but the others are 10 years and older. Ours was a much anticipated baby.

We live 400 meters away from them and my MIL is frequently walking by on her way to grocery shop and other errands. She comes right up to the windows and looks in to see if I'm home...it's getting me upset because this can be any time during the day and I'm on mat-leave. I want to enjoy this baby fully, as well as the time I have at home. So far, we usually go over for Saturday lunch and then I make an effort to call them over for a visit every other day or I go there. I always call to see what they are doing first. My issue is, my MIL "is just dropping by" on her way to and from places...but we are ALWAYS on the way...I want her to call before coming. The baby sleeps a lot and I breastfeed her a lot. I don't mind them there when I'm feeding her, but they've peered in the windows and knocked on them while I'm on the couch and I have no choice but to get up and unlock the door for them...the baby wakes and cries..this has happened twice. Other times my MIL comes and doesn't knock, but calls my name. I'm usually upstairs with the baby putting her to sleep and I don't hear her. Then the MIL goes home and calls me to see where I've been. The last straw was the other day I closed all of the shutters at 5pm and had a shower..i get out to draw my baby a bath and my in-laws are at the door calling my name softly but not knocking in case they wake the baby. I ignored them and gave my baby a bath. Pissed! I was so angry. .i have told them to call me before coming many times, but they still show up randomly.

The next day my baby and I visited them (i called first) and they were so happy to see us. They said they had come to the door and I told them i had heard them but didnt answer because we were naked and i was too frazzeled in that moment and to please call before...they were like "oh yes, of course! We didn't have the phone with us. We were just stopping by."

How do I get them to understand? Am I being unreasonable or selfish? They see their grandchild every second day...but the close proximity makes me an easy target for an MIL who doesn't drive. I'm pissed because her own daughter doesn't have to deal with this...but in.all fairness the in-laws and all their friends tend to be stopper-by people. I'm sure it's a generational and cultural thjng

But I'm stressed out and want it to stop. My husband agrees but I haven't sent him to speak on my behalf yet. Help!

Gran2028 Thu 28-Nov-19 21:37:19

SO hard... can you discuss this with your sister in law(?) in the hope she can support you to get the rest of the family to give you space? Can you arrange a signal when you are 'open' for visitors.. plant on windowsill or similar.. a compromise of cultures?
Good luck... you need to be able to be private in your own home..

EllaKeat Thu 28-Nov-19 21:42:43

Is there any way if popping over to their house every morning for a quick coffee?
Then there is absolutely no excuse for them to be bothering you. Use that time to tell them your plans for the day, every now and then saying to them to come over for a cuppa in the afternoon, making it pretty obvious that you will include them in your life, but just not all of the time!

It is very very hard for you right now, but keep them onside if possible, they could be invaluable in the future😉

Hetty58 Thu 28-Nov-19 21:47:33

I suppose I'm lucky. I have a key to my daughter's home and don't need to make an appointment to see her!

quizqueen Thu 28-Nov-19 21:52:58

Why did you buy a house so close to them? You must have known this was the way Italian families do things!!

FlexibleFriend Thu 28-Nov-19 21:57:02

No you are not being unreasonable, especially after you told them you were naked lol . Yes they care but they are intruding so just keep telling them and eventually it will stop. Personally I'd have shutters and close them and tell them if the shutters are closed I'm not receiving visitors so do not knock or call my name as I'm spending time alone with my baby.

jura2 Thu 28-Nov-19 21:57:05

Well perhaps you should try in-laws who don't care, don't want to help, don't want to see u.

It's a different culture- and how wonderful that people can pop in and say hello without making an app in the diary days or weeks ahead.

Very sad- so I hope you can come to see how wonderful to see to have parents in law who love and care. But yes, nought wrong with trying to tell them you find it difficult at the mo. Good idea to sy about popping in at a certain time for coffee- perhaps every other day.

Expats where I live are always complaining that people here want to make advance arrangments and have in laws that don't visit and don't care.

Have you lived in Italy before? Perhaps, if I may say - a bit naïve to expect to live round the corner in a house mostly paid by them ... and not expecting anything in return, as such.

Hope it all works out for you. But having people who care, and will be there to help with childcare, babysitting, etc - is worth its weight in gold- and something many of us never had (nor a house paid for ba anyone, for sure).

annep1 Thu 28-Nov-19 22:06:22

Oh dear. I may be wrong but I think it's a cultural thing. My MIL was half Italian and lived in the same street. When my husband was on nightshift she used to come every evening and stay until bedtime. I had to go to bed at the same time as the children and watch the portable tv upstairs (long time ago) if I wanted an evening alone.
Two other family members lived there too. It was one big extended family. I found it difficult even though we were never short of help/babysitters.
I have to say though my MiL and FiL were so generous and so helpful with the children..
I don't think we could have told her not to call in. She would not have understood.
I would be inclined to rest out of sight and continue to not answer if its not convenient.

Things only changed when we moved house after thirteen years.. I did miss them though. And my children have such wonderful memories of a happy childhood with the most loving grandparents.

Cherrytree59 Thu 28-Nov-19 22:08:11

If you posted this on mumsnet,
I think the response would be that you need to first discuss with your husband the problem you have with your Mil calling round.

Explain to him, how you feel and how it affects you.
Your husband then needs to speak to his mother and to use mumsnet speak 'set boundaries'.

However, I also fear that it may be cultural in that his mother is the matriarch of the family and your DH will probably feel that this is how his family works.
Your DH will also feel beholden to his parents due to their financial contribution to your lifestyle.

I think my solution would be to sell up and move a few miles away, so you are not within walking distance

I wish you luck shamrock

DillytheGardener Thu 28-Nov-19 22:11:17

I think the other posters are being a bit unfair. I had a mother in law who popped in constantly who lived next door. She had no sense of personal space, and it really caused issues in our marriage. The posters in-laws are very lucky that their son and dil live in their country rather than where dil is from so they need to compromise.
Get the son to do it, my husband was a mummy’s boy so I had no luck but hoping you fare better than I did.

annep1 Thu 28-Nov-19 22:11:31

I must add although I found it difficult to get used to I did love having company and support.

annep1 Thu 28-Nov-19 22:14:15

The mother is indeed the matriarch Good luck with getting her son to change that!😊

Curlywhirly Thu 28-Nov-19 22:36:05

I think that when the baby is a little older, it won't be such a problem. Once you have a toddler who can't keep still and wants lots of your attention, you will probably be glad of another pair of hands! Also, you say you are on maternity leave, so presume you will be returning to work in the future, so you won't be there in the day. I'd just hang on in there, the situation will change soon enough.

Callistemon Thu 28-Nov-19 22:43:18

Yes, it is in the main a cultural thing, the matriarchal society found in many Italian and other countries with similar cultures.
The trouble is, too, that the sons may always think the matriarch is right and cannot understand that their wives from a more reserved culture may find this extended family and familiarity difficult to handle.

Did you make the choice to live so near to them? Would it be difficult to move so that you could see them frequently but not on a daily basis without prior arrangements?

Grammaretto Thu 28-Nov-19 22:45:17

Having just come home from an Italian meal cooked by Italians in our community here in Scotland , I can confirm that they are far more exuberant and gregarious than the shy Scots.
You must have known what they were like before the baby was born, surely?
You'll have to make a strict rule that they can only call at certain times if you need to have peace and quiet.

Your baby is still very young and in a few months time you might be more than grateful for all that lavish affection!

Barmeyoldbat Thu 28-Nov-19 22:48:12

Just give it time and I would love to have people just popping in, When you go back to work who is going to look after the baby, if its mil you need to have her on your side. Good luck and just relax.

Callistemon Thu 28-Nov-19 22:51:03

You are calling in every other day - could you suggest to your MIL that she calls in for coffee on one of these days say Tuesday, then say 'see you on Thursday - I'll pop round to yours', setting dates in p,ace.

Do you not have friends to visit or who could visit you? You sound as if you are stuck at home all the time with the baby and a bit lonely. Are there any groups etc you could join?

Naty Thu 28-Nov-19 22:52:37

I don't want them to make an appointment to see me. But I would like them to call ahead to see if it's a good time or not. Sometimes I'm just tired and it's not a good time...or I had a fight with my husband..or want to make love. I think some boundary could be a good thing.

Naty Thu 28-Nov-19 22:54:55

I think I'd feel too obligated to keep up going there every single morning. They are also out and about and active, and I'm scheduling lots of activities during the mornings for my baby to get out.. baby and mom groups , music and massage class etc

MissAdventure Thu 28-Nov-19 22:55:32

I have no advice, but I have a neighbour who calls in every single time she is passing, which can be 5+ times a day, so I know something of how you feel.

Callistemon Thu 28-Nov-19 22:56:32

Have they got a key?

If they just knock the door and you can't answer won't they just go away?

Naty Thu 28-Nov-19 22:56:32

Yes! I have an activity almost every morning with the baby out and about with other moms and I go for walks with her every day.

Callistemon Thu 28-Nov-19 22:58:14

Oh, good.
You just sounded a bit lonely, stuck at home with the baby, dreading a knock at the door.
smile

Naty Thu 28-Nov-19 23:01:37

The Sister in law enjoys popping in too... she comes at a specific time and day now so it's not random anymore.

MissAdventure Thu 28-Nov-19 23:05:33

I find its like living in a goldfish bowl, regardless of whether I open the door or not, I find it really stressful.