Author Topic: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house  (Read 20340 times)

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*inviteseller

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2013, 12:16:56 PM »
Me thinks mommy has those apron strings tied real tight to her sonny boy!  An adult should know that his mother went above and beyond rude by doing what she did.  This would be a deal breaker in the relationship for me..my underwear drawer and facebook page are not for anyone to go through.

YummyMummy66

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2013, 12:37:47 PM »
I think that I would be taking those items back that I did not want to my boyfriend's mom and politely thanking her, but it was not her place to decorate your home.  And then I would politely ask her, "Susan, if you went away on vacation, and I had your house key, how would feel if when you returned home, that your home was completely changed, new things added, other things taken away and I had gone thru all of your drawers, closets, etc?".  And when she gets that look on her face, "yeah.  that is exactly how I felt".  Please do not ever do that again.

And I don't see why anyone needed a key unless there were pets to take care of.

kherbert05

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2013, 12:46:53 PM »
Get the locks changed, get any missing items returned, cut off mom, and throw out/goodwill the new stuff.


A similar thing happened to a family friend but
1. The DH hadn't given his Mom the key she fooled the housesitter into letting her in as he left for work the last day of the couples vacation. (Said she was leaving groceries for them - housesitter as a 17 yo friend of the family)


2. Every picture of a "stranger" was removed from the house. Not just taken down, put away but she took them to her house to throw away. These were almost 100% pictures of the wife's family and friends including deceased family members.


3. Art that she had given them that had not been put up because of racist overtones was installed on their walls.


3. They got home, saw the damage,  and the husband immediately called his mom and told her she had a hour to return the missing items are they were calling the cops and reporting her burglarizing their home. (Thankfully it garbage day was a couple days after this happened so the items could be returned)


4. The locks were changed. She was cut off.


I can see having a key to pick up the mail, take in the paper. People in my family don't have paper/mail stopped because 3 burglaries of family homes were traced to having the services stopped. Someone was either robbing home's themselves or selling the information depending on the incident. 
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padua

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2013, 01:01:17 PM »
The MIL did all this in ONE weekend?
And the LW is questioning if this is all OK?

I'm really having trouble believing this one, sorry.


my MIL attempted this. on a few occasions. when i talked about this with a couple of friends, they told me she was just being 'nice.' i can see how the poster could be confused as to how to take this.

*i remember her gleefully telling me as i was recovering from a c-section that she was looking forward to going through my garage and weeding out the boxes of books i have in there. no thank you! now we just have her sending us various things she thinks we need in the mail (such as a shower curtain she likes better than the one i have hanging up) and becomes miffed when i don't put it up. progress!

Xandraea

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2013, 01:17:16 PM »
Unbelievable!  Not her house, not her things, style or business!  The boyfriend's mother was totally in the wrong, way over the line. That she went through the LW's computer, nightstand, medicine cabinet is absolutely appalling.  This is her son's girlfriend, not even a relation (not that it would be right in that case).  I'd be changing the locks, assuring boyfriend's mother was never again in possession of a key or any opportunity to be in my house alone, and if the boyfriend doesn't recognize and acknowledge what a serious overstepping of boundaries this was, he'd be out too.

Lorelei_Evil

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2013, 01:28:51 PM »
POD.  This was mom doing the metaphorical "lifting of her leg" and marking her territory. 

I'd be out of there so fast you'd hear a sonic boom if SonnyBoy couldn't stand up to his mother.  Your read stuff like this on Mother In Law stories!

MommyPenguin

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2013, 01:29:36 PM »
We had a friend commit suicide the morning after our wedding, so things were... really messed up for a while in there.  We'd also just moved into a new house, so we didn't have furniture arranged, everything was in boxes, etc.  My mom was cat-sitting, and while she was gone, she did her best to make sure that when we returned home, it would not be to a house that was a disaster, but to a house we could relax in.  We returned from the honeymoon to find that my mom had rearranged boxes a bit so that we could sit on the couch, had bought me some cute new kitchen towels for my birthday, had bought us flowers and breakfast and put them in the fridge, had gotten photos printed from our wedding and put some of them in frames that were wedding presents, cleared off the dressers in our bedroom and set them up, bought a coverlet for our bed and made it look nice, etc.  Seriously, she did so much that when we came home, we were running from room to room exclaiming over new things we'd discovered.  So I have no problem believing that the mother-in-law, if a hard worker, was capable of doing what was listed... especially if she'd planned it ahead of time.

The big difference between my scenario and this one that I see is that my mother did it without any snooping (she didn't open any boxes, for instance, only rearranged them to make furniture accessible) and without doing anything permanent (even using some wedding frames to put pictures in, we could easily just put different photos in the frames or even put the original packaging back together if we hadn't wanted to keep the frame), etc.  Most things she did were *adding* something, rather than changing something or taking it away.  Also, she is my mother, not my MIL.  And no matter how much you love your MIL (and I do, dearly), there is a difference in relationship, especially if you aren't married or are newly-married, because you may not have known her long.  My mother knew me well enough to know that I would be happy with her doing the things she did... my MIL probably wouldn't have known that, at the time.

If I were the OP in that letter, I probably wouldn't have had any problem with the MIL if she'd, say, gotten photos from the *public* part of my Facebook page (or what she could access if she were Friended) and printed them and put them in frames, then make a cute little display of them without actually mounting them on walls.  The snooping aspects would have disturbed me (doing laundry without permission, going through clothes drawers, looking at my Facebook page from my computer where she'd get full access, etc.).  And changing things out sends a *definite* message of "my taste is better than yours."  It's very different from, say, buying a new set of linens, cushions, or whatever, wrapping them up with a bow, and presenting them with a receipt.  That says, "I thought you might like these!"  The other says, "I like these in your house so I'm going to put them there so it looks like I want it to."  That sort of thing should *only* be done with permission and when the relationship supports it.  My MIL has a much better eye for decoration than I do, so I often ask her for ideas and suggestions, and she loves helping me organize things.  But I wouldn't just say, "Hey, can you do my kitchen for me?" because even though she does have great ideas, sometimes they aren't things I'd want to do.  She often values the aesthetic over the practical, and I'm a practical girl all the way.  Etc.  So actually taking something away and replacing it with something else should never be done without being *asked* to do it, and even then should be done with care to make it reversible if possible until final approval has been given.  This MIL was *way* out of line.

I like the idea somebody else had of having the boyfriend/DH ask other girls he knows.  Girls, especially, because we tend to consider the house our domain more than men do, so we're more likely to a) want to make choices ourselves, and b) feel like our taste/abilities are being called into question by somebody making changes without our approval.  Maybe writing down a list of all the things she did, so the boyfriend can't gloss them over and then claim that people agreed with him.  That might help him to see that he might have been raised that way, but it's not normal.  Definitely need to change the keys, but I do think it's a real eye-opener for a relationship, and she needs to make sure that she sees how he deals with this before she considers him husband material.

SPuck

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 01:30:54 PM »
(Said she was leaving groceries for them - housesitter as a 17 yo friend of the family)

How did the house sitter feel when she found out about this incident?

I think what shocked me most about this letter was reading the comments section from spinless people who thought Prudence was wrong and that the LW should be thankful.  :P

weeblewobble

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2013, 02:17:03 PM »
This is a case of 'too good is no good'. 

We have no idea whether MIL was sincerely trying to be helpful or if this was a subtle attempt to make your taste conform to hers.  Regardless, she stepped over the line. 

The LW has the right to feel violated and should have the locks changed.

That's a really good point about "conforming tastes."  In Toxic In Laws, Susan Forward describes a set of truly awful inlaws who completely rejected their DIL, and one of the MIL's tricks was to completely redecorate the young married couple's home to resemble the inlaws' home, so her son never had to feel as if he'd left the inlaws' home.

Personally, I would tell BF, "I understand that you're "used to" this sort of treatment from your mother, but I am NOT.  I feel invaded and overwhelmed.  If this is my home, I have to have the right to draw some boundaries with your mom.  Otherwise, we're going to have to rethink this living situation."

weeblewobble

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2013, 02:24:55 PM »
Also, if I was the GF, I would not be embarrassed by anything the BF's mom found in the underwear drawer/nightstand.  Frankly, if you are willing to stoop to that level to get information, you deserve whatever feelings of horror/embarrassment you may feel re: your discoveries.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2013, 02:29:07 PM »
Also, if I was the GF, I would not be embarrassed by anything the BF's mom found in the underwear drawer/nightstand.  Frankly, if you are willing to stoop to that level to get information, you deserve whatever feelings of horror/embarrassment you may feel re: your discoveries.

Yes, but . . . a woman who sees no problem rearranging her son's house may also see no problem in making her DIL's personal toys a topic of conversation/rebuke.  Possibly in front of other people.  Even if she doesn't, I could totally see this kind of person dropping heavy-handed conversational tidbits like "Well at least my marriage is strong enough to stand on its own . . ."

gramma dishes

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2013, 02:30:35 PM »
Change the locks. Get counselling. If he doesn't get it, change the boyfriend.

Yikes!!!

Good grief, YES!!!   :o

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2013, 02:41:21 PM »
My cousin went through something similar.  First of all, at the wedding, we all noticed that the Mother of the Groom was sobbing, which should have warned us what her feelings towards her son were.

When Rhoda and her DH returned from the honeymoon, it was to find that her new MIL had completely unpacked all her stuff and arranged everything to MIL's standards.  Then, MIL said, "Well, Rhoda, I noticed that you don't have a lot of underwear, but you keep it laundered."

Rhoda snagged her husband's arm and dragged him into the bedroom.  "Get the key back from her, and she is not allowed access again."

Well, the last didn't happen, so Rhoda is now happily divorced, and exMIL has her hold still tight on exDH.
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weeblewobble

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2013, 02:50:07 PM »
Also, if I was the GF, I would not be embarrassed by anything the BF's mom found in the underwear drawer/nightstand.  Frankly, if you are willing to stoop to that level to get information, you deserve whatever feelings of horror/embarrassment you may feel re: your discoveries.

Yes, but . . . a woman who sees no problem rearranging her son's house may also see no problem in making her DIL's personal toys a topic of conversation/rebuke.  Possibly in front of other people.  Even if she doesn't, I could totally see this kind of person dropping heavy-handed conversational tidbits like "Well at least my marriage is strong enough to stand on its own . . ."

True. But if the MIL is willing to go that far to rebuke (good word) the GF, the relationship is beyond salvaging anyway.


heartmug

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2013, 02:50:43 PM »
Unbelievable!  Not her house, not her things, style or business!  The boyfriend's mother was totally in the wrong, way over the line.

So much this!  The boyfriend might not care that his mother decorates his house, but it is not HIS house it is THEIR house and girlfriend gets a say in it.

My MIL bought us for Christmas one year a very large painting.  It was actually done by DH's aunt.  Did we need it? no  Did we ask for it? no  Was it our style? no.  But MIL could not believe I would not take down something I already had on the wall(s) and put it up somewhere in our home.
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