Post # 1
Have any of you had a hard time setting boundaries when your Mother-In-Law comes to visit? As the lockdown is coming to an end I’m starting to wonder how to make my voice heard without coming off as rude.
My Mother-In-Law is not a witch, not a bad person at all. But as soon as comes through the door she will comment on my weight, my clothes, open my fridge (I always have snaks ready for my guests, no need to open my fridge) and the worst part- she will find something to clean which makes me feel very uncomfortable. Both my husband and I are very tidy people and have no children, so our house is pretty much always clean. I get that she might just be trying to be nice, but it seriously gets on my nerves when she moves stuff around. Also, there was already a, well, misunderstanding regarding her teenage daughter getting mad because I once physically removed a broom from her. So this is def tricky ground.
Thank you all & Stay safe!
Post # 2
Have something easy ready for her to tidy that you don’t mind, or have something she can help with.
Setting up a cracker tray maybe?
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
What does your husband say when she comments on your weight and your clothes? Personally I would be telling her before her visit that any comment on your weight, clothes, and any other subject you deem off limits will be the end of her stay in your house and she will be asked to leave. This only works if she’s been asked to stop before, though – if nothing has been said, she needs to be told that those topics are off limits and you won’t be entertaining any conversation on the subject. Same for the cleaning – have you told her you don’t want her to clean anywhere in your house? If you have, and she hasn’t stopped, same thing – if she starts cleaning, she’ll be asked to leave. This does rely on your husband being on your side though – where does he stand on this? You may find further help at the DWIL board over at the babycenter website, or if you’re on Reddit, r/JUSTNOMIL is helpful too.
Post # 4
- Wedding: June 2019 - City, State
This is a conversation you need to have first with your husband. Hopefully (!) he will take your side and agree that these things do indeed cross boundaries. I think it would be healthy and helpful for him to have this convo with Mother-In-Law because that’s his mom after all. Hope you are able to get a healthier set of boundaries soon!
Post # 5
There are things you can say in the moment and should say to make it clear to her that her comments are unacceptable.
-she comments on your weight. “My weight isn’t up for discussion or comment. Do not comment on my weight again.” Or ” comments about my weight aren’t ok, I don’t want to hear another one again.” Or “what do you mean by that?” When she comments negatively about your clothes. Usually asking someone to explain their comment makes them realize how rude it was. If she explains she doesn’t like your outfit you can then say, “that’s rude to say” and then walk away from her.
-she starts cleaning your home. “Can you not clean while visiting us? We don’t need the help and would rather this just be a visit with you not a time to clean” if she keeps cleaning, “This isn’t a time to clean it’s a time to visit each other, if you need to keep cleaning right now let’s reschedule this visit”
about the cleaning. If she really can’t stop the cleaning and you don’t want to have to keep telling her no than you can totally stop having her visit in your home at all. Meet her for lunch at restaurants etc. if she asks why you can just say, visiting in our home doesn’t work for us as you don’t seem able to just be with us and have a need to clean which we don’t enjoy.
Boundaries only really work when you and your husband are willing to enforce them. Enforcing boundaries might be hard at first. She might react badly to being told no. She might cry, storm out, throw a tantrum etc. you need to be ok with that and not cave to those manipulations. You need to respond to any tantrum or crying with telling her, ” you sound upset, let’s visit another time when you aren’t so emotional” or ” We asked that you not clean our home on visits, since you aren’t listening, this visit is over, let’s try again when your ready to listen” Or, ” I told you that comments on my weight isn’t appropriate or ok, if you can’t keep those comments to yourself than we will be visiting with you a lot less”
Post # 6
This has been an issue ever since we started dating. My husband does take my side, mostly, but he also insists it’s just his mom’s personality and cannot be changed. I do have to admit my Mother-In-Law acts this way towards everyone, so it’s not personal. I guess One thing HAS improved over the years:
-she used to slap my butt. Yeah, like, just walk by comment on my butt and slap it. One time I finally had enough and slapped her butt back. Never happened again LOL.
I kind of got used to her weird ways whenever I visited, but now thay we are married and have our own house I feel the need to set boundaries. I guess I will ask DH to talk to her first and see how that goes.
Post # 7
Just because this is her personality does not mean you have to accept it. Your husband needs to step up and set boundaries. If not, I personally would be marching off to couples counseling.
Post # 8
p.s. next time she opens your fridge, “I see you are putting on some weight, maybe you shouldn’t have a snack.”
Post # 9
This doesn’t sound like she’s just trying to be nice – sounds like she’s trying to intentionally make you feel uncomfortable in your own home. Not acceptable. Like
suggested, you have to start sounding off in not so subtle ways or she won’t get the hint.
I can’t believe she slapped your butt. Like – what? She sounds insane.
Post # 11
If your husband backs you up then just tell her to cut it out. I HATE when visitors clean at my house. My husband has an uncle who does the dishes after every meal no matter whose house he is at and he cannot be stopped. I have told him not to do the dishes at my house and was made out to be the bad guy because “he likes doing it!”. No – you don’t do them the way I prefer and it makes all of the other guests feel like they should be cleaning when I want to be socializing. I straight up don’t invite them to my house anymore because it pisses me off that much. If you can’t respect that this is my space then you can’t come into it. Simple as that.
Post # 12
Can you add a lock to your kitchen door and store the cleaning supplies there when she visits? I’d also suggest discussing a signal to remind your husband to step in if his mother is misbehaving.
Post # 13
The problem is, if you plan on having kids you will need strong boundaries with her even if you can live with her crazy now. Are you really going to allow her to comment on your child’s bodies and do possibly permanent damage to their self esteem? I think not.
Your husband can talk to her first and hope that helps. But then you and he need to reinforce what he told her. He tells her no cleaning when she comes over anymore. She comes over and tries to clean you either stop letting her visit in your home and meet at a neutral location, or you tell her to stop and if she doesn’t the visit is over. And your husband saying she just is who she is and can’t be changed is bullshit. She stopped slapping your ass didn’t she? She knows what she is doing and regardless your husband married you and not his mom. Your feelings come first and her actions make you unhappy and not want to be around her. I’d just let him know that you will not tolerate her behavior especially if/ when it comes to future kids. So he can deal with it or he can do nothing and watch as his mom makes you more and more angry and unhappy being around her until you get to the point where you don’t want to see her ever and the relationship with his mom is completely torpedoed. His choice. He can set boundaries with you about her, and hopefully foster a healthy relationship between you and his mom. Or he can keep saying she is who she is and eventually you will get fed up and hate the woman so much so that you won’t even have her in your life.
Post # 14
Can you herd her to where you want her to be? If she comments on everyone’s clothes and body, and you don’t have body image issues, I might ignore those to start and focus on her opening the fridge and cleaning the house which would piss me right the hell off. So, if there’s a way that when she comes in, the food is already out and she physically cannot enter the kitchen, that could be a start.
Another option is to put a child lock on your refrigerator when she comes over, so when she goes to open your fridge, she can’t, and then you can tell her “I don’t like you opening my refrigerator or cleaning my home. So you’re going to stop.”
Post # 15
Open’s door..” Good morning Mother-In-Law. My goodness! I see you have really packed on those “lockdown pounds”. That yellow blouse is looking quite tight. Actually, just between us girls, I have meaning to tell you that any shade of yellow really makes you look sallow and ill and while we are being honest, up your pant size as your usual muffin top is now becoming quite pronounced.
Now, here is the toilet brush because if you insist on cleaning when you come over then I will save the toilets for you to do each visit and By The Way, the dog threw up in the downstairs one. The rest of the house it off limits from this point on. As soon as you’re done let me know as I have to go out.”