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Mother in law taking photos of inside my house

111 replies 11.2K views


  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
    2.4K posts
    1,000 Posts Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    Not really sure why you invite her round.

    Just let the kids see her at her house.

    Surely someone so unhappy about the state of the place would rather not visit anyway.

    Your husband needs to grow a backbone and put his foot down but it does sound like you both accept her behaviour whilst she is there
  • onwards&upwardsonwards&upwards Forumite
    3.4K posts
    1,000 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    The best solution here is just not to marry people with unbearable parents.
  • NeilCrNeilCr Forumite
    4.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Meanwhile back in a parallel universe

    I sneak round taking photos and then, conveniently, leave my camera in a position where OP can access it. So either that's deliberate (knowing OP would look through it) or it's remarkably careless.
  • belfastgirl23belfastgirl23 Forumite
    8K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    Just noting that the OP is a long term poster so maybe not fair tarring her with the Bluelass brush.

    I’d feel hurt by this as well - if you’re dealing with the impending death of someone close to you and your husband’s mother is taking it as an opportunity to pick you apart about your housekeeping.

    I think I’d be inclined to speak very directly about it to your MIL. Say that you know she disapproves of how you run your house and that you are choosing not to take this personally or argue with her about it because you think it’s important that your husband has a relationship with his mother and your kids have a relationship with their grandma. Make it really clear that you are taking the high road and being the bigger person (because it’s true). And then say that if you ever catch her taking photos of your house again or going through your things, she will no longer be welcome because that’s plain rude. After all we could all take unflattering photos of family of friends or of their belongings, as far as I’m concerned it’s a breaking of trust if we do so without their permission. As is poking about their house.

    And take care of yourself over the next while....

  • rach_krach_k Forumite
    2K posts
    Seventh Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I'd try having a bit of fun with it. Print out some really unflattering photos of her and stand them on top of whatever mess you have. Print a life insurance form (blank) and a receipt for a spade and tarps... leave them on top of your paperwork. Buy some books with messy or untidy in the title and leave them scattered. Next time, do the same for nosy!

    Yes, it's childish. No, it won't help. It might give you a giggle though, and it doesn't sound like she's going to change so you may as well have that.
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  • Blackpool_SaverBlackpool_Saver Forumite
    6.6K posts
    Is she after informing the SS's or something?
    Blackpool_Saver is female, and does not live in Blackpool

  • SystemSystem
    177.8K posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Strikes me reading through that your husband is one of those whose mother is obviously used to having a tidy home, and that he either let her get on with all aspects of keeping him tidy when he was at home so has no need to do it now he has you doing everything for him, (aside from loading the dishwasher!) or he doesn't do much about the house with you because it's such a relief to have a bit of mess and not be nagged about it?

    Is it just a possible that MIL has OCD, and that the photo taking was done as a reminder to her that others aren't so particular? Or that she just can't break the habit because that's how she was raised ?( or what her own husband expected?)

    I really think you need to discuss this more with your OH, WHY does he do so little? Why does he not tell his mum he likes the more casual way you keep the home? Was she always like this when he lived at home? I am guessing he keeps out of it all 'for a quiet life', but he can't just ignore it if it's upsetting you.

    Another thing you might consider, when you go to her house does it worry her if the children are messy? I've known children who run riot and don't understand how much stress that is on someone whose house is always tidy, or even not tidy but has precious things in it ( and by precious I don't mean expensive).
  • SystemSystem
    177.8K posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Sorry just an addition

    "I don't even go in the same room as her when she stays "

    that says to me that the relationship was completely broken long before the photos were taken. You don't like her, she doesn't like you ...or at least neither of you can live like the other does..

    But she does want to see her son and grandchildren...and you presumably want them to see her! So could you not just for the times she's there make some compromise?

    Stuff the paper work in a cupboard ( I do that when someone's coming) throw a duster round, ask the kids to tidy as a bit of a game because "it's nice to make things neat for granny" or some such, and tell your husband that he MUST help tidy up, and smooth things over when she stays :-) Don't leave her time to fixate on any mess, ask her to help make cakes with the kids, take her out for a walk as the children need some 'granny time' and would love to go to the swings with her...some thing to stop her poking around where you don't want her to :-)
  • RebekahRRebekahR Forumite
    5.8K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    elsien wrote: »
    Tell her there's two adults living in the house, and the one with the penis is welcome to put a bit extra into keeping it tidy if he wishes. :)
    (Rephrase if your partner isn't a bloke, obviously)
    Ha! She thinks he does everything round here ...! She half gets that impression because I have no support network or family to help so when she is here I stand back a bit as there are an extra pair of hands. Gotta take the rest and break when you can get it :-) But yes most of the time she tells me to help hubby please. You need to work as a team ...
  • RebekahRRebekahR Forumite
    5.8K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Serious transgression of a visitor's rights to go through personal items and throw things away. She sounds like a domineering MiL from hell. In the short-term could you fit a lock to the door to a room or cupboard where you can stash clutter and paperwork when she visits? In the longer term, I'd be looking at keeping her increasingly at arm's length and asserting control over when she visits.

    Yes actually. I could rearrange a filing cabinet that has a key. She certainly wouldn't go looking for it. She's a nosey old bat but she wouldn't search only look if its there. Long term we see her every 1-2 months as she lives 4 hours away so thankfully visits can be contained a bit!
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