Author Topic: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house  (Read 24006 times)

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lilfox

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2013, 07:43:27 PM »
It wasn't a full redecoration, but this happened when I lived alone.  My mom came for a weekend-long visit and rearranged all the furniture in my living room while I was out for a few hours, "just because."  She thought her layout would work better than mine, so rather than consult me, she decided to show me.

The day she left, I moved it all back. It annoyed me, but it's nothing like if she'd changed my wall art or rearranged bedroom and kitchen drawers or whatever.  I'm glad I never had to deal with any more intrusive behavior than that.

I have to admit, my first thought about the Dear Prudence letter (assuming it's legit) was, get out of the house/relationship.  If the BF is even a little okay with that kind of thing, it'd be an uphill battle every time the (future) MIL crossed a line.

Thipu1

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2013, 07:56:43 PM »
MIL tried this once when she was visiting her DD's family.   The three children were teenagers and both parents worked.  MIL was alone in the house and felt a bit bored.  She thought it would be a 'nice thing' to neaten up her 16 year-old GD's room. 

This included putting the dresser drawers in order.  This was at the time when 'Flashdance' was popular and GD had used some of her baby-sitting money to purchase several artfully distressed shirts.  MIL found them, decided they were disgraceful and cut them up for rags. 

That was the last time that MIL was ever allowed to be alone in SIL's house.

Reading all these posts I have to wonder if we weren't marked by MIL (in the nicest way, of course).

When the ILs retired they were moving to New England and had a lot of furniture they wouldn't have room for in the new house.  Among the items we took were a pair of small armchairs. 

MIL seems obsessed with these very ordinary 1970s chairs.  They're doing yeoman service in our bedroom as a convenient place to put clean laundry.  To MIL, they should have become the center of our household.  Every time we visit we are told that we should have them in our living room.  Every evening we should brew a pot of tea after dinner, sit side by side in the chairs and discuss the events of the day.  That is what she and FIL did. 

She always called her DH 'Daddy' and he always called her 'Darling'.  Our marriage is a little bit different.   


bonyk

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2013, 08:20:34 PM »
My great-aunt did this to her DIL on more than one occasion.  DIL eventually filed for divorce and left.  Great-aunt moved in and spent the rest of her life caring for her boy. 

camlan

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2013, 09:05:12 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.

I'd be dropping my luggage on the floor and not sitting down until everything she's added to the house was in the garbage bin which I would put in the front yard. I'd sit down and ring to give her half an hour to have my things back. While she was coming, I'd be rearranging my stuff back the way I wanted.

I'd also toss all the stuff she'd given me that I didn't really like but kept for politeness reasons.

If BF didn't like it, she could take him home with her.

Pod. Except that you forgot the bill for the toiletries that were thrown out. MIL should have to pay for that, as well.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


onikenbai

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #49 on: July 23, 2013, 09:22:09 PM »
This is entirely something my mother would do and for that reason I moved to the other side of the earth to get away from her.  She seems to have got the message and has now accepted her new boundaries with me.  Now that I have moved back to the same city it is understood the only times she is allowed into my place is when I'm in the process of moving house.  She may indulge in her cleaning obsession prior to any of my stuff arriving on site, or after the last box has left the building.  So basically, when the building is empty.  Any other time she cannot be trusted to clean something to destruction, refinish furniture when I'm not looking, or decide that the side of my desktop computer is really the best surface for my collection of super powerful rare earth element magnets (all been done).  My brother isn't as good at putting his foot down and, although she is not sneaking in the house to do it, she is doing her best to decorate his new house through constant purchases of towels, drapes, rugs, lamps, tables, etc.  Within 6 months of moving into an empty house, the place is bursting with stuff that he didn't buy.  She has since moved on to the garden and is now planting shrubs.

misha412

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #50 on: July 23, 2013, 10:31:07 PM »
This is entirely something my mother would do and for that reason I moved to the other side of the earth to get away from her.  She seems to have got the message and has now accepted her new boundaries with me.  Now that I have moved back to the same city it is understood the only times she is allowed into my place is when I'm in the process of moving house.  She may indulge in her cleaning obsession prior to any of my stuff arriving on site, or after the last box has left the building.  So basically, when the building is empty.  Any other time she cannot be trusted to clean something to destruction, refinish furniture when I'm not looking, or decide that the side of my desktop computer is really the best surface for my collection of super powerful rare earth element magnets (all been done).  My brother isn't as good at putting his foot down and, although she is not sneaking in the house to do it, she is doing her best to decorate his new house through constant purchases of towels, drapes, rugs, lamps, tables, etc.  Within 6 months of moving into an empty house, the place is bursting with stuff that he didn't buy.  She has since moved on to the garden and is now planting shrubs.

 >:(  :o >:( EEEKKKK!!!!  Computers and magnets DO NOT MIX!!!

Minmom3

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #51 on: July 23, 2013, 10:48:35 PM »
Oh, do NOT be messing with MY GARDEN.  Oh, no.  No, no, no!  The unwanted items will go in the yard waste bin, and if something I planted left in the trash, you WILL be replacing it.  Possibly with a bigger version to get my point across.  There will be WORDS spoken, and they will be uncivil and curt.  You will cry.  (I might too, but they will steam off my face in the heat of my RAGE).  For realz. 

I'll be mad if you mess with my house, but I'll be UGLY if you mess with my garden and YOU WILL BE VERY SORRY you even thought of it.  There will be NO grandchildren named after you, and possibly after your entire side of the family.  You won't step FOOT on the property again.  Scorched Earth comes to mind....  If time permits, I may clean the ENTIRE house in a fit of fury, and it Will Sparkle and Be Perfect.  The cats will hide under the bed.  DH may join them there.  The pile of discards at the curb Will Be Large and comprehensive.
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

Library Dragon

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2013, 11:46:38 PM »
Wow!  I'll have to thank my DIL for trusting me with her apartment key.  Last year I was in DS & DIL's area on business.  DS was in another state with Army training & DIL was here.  DIL gave me her key. I didn't even pick up DS's stuff mess as it was his responsibility to get it cleaned up before DIL came home.

I do admit to making meals and freezing them so that when they came home they didn't have to worry about something to eat when they arrived home. 

My MIL used to drive me nuts with her attempts to be nice.  She would do my laundry, washing everything on hot and drying everything on high heat.  I had many pieces clothing ruined.  It also took me weeks to find everything in my kitchen.  I would give her lists of things she could do if she insisted on being helpful, but she never wanted to do those (i.e., dust, sweep, etc.)

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Psychopoesie

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2013, 01:02:22 AM »
Agree the locks would be changed and possibly my living arrangements, if this happened to me.

My mother has the spare key to my place which is under 10 minutes drive from hers. At first, she had some issues respecting my privacy.

She would let herself in (while I was home) without ringing the bell. Once I was sleeping in and woke to the sound of an unknown person moving through my home (not a happy way to wake up). Yes, I did talk with her about this - she just didn't get why it was a problem.   :o

The final straw was when I came home from work late and very very tired and realised that things weren't where I left them (usually very untidily). I'd had a burglary not long before where the first thing I'd noticed was that things weren't where I'd left them. So I thought that had happened again - really freaked out. Took a while for me to realise that my house had been thoroughly tidied (not usually something a burglar would do) and this was my mum at work. (very kind intentions but not great execution).

After a talk that involved some voice raising unfortunately (my hands were still shaking - I probably should have calmed down a bit first), we sorted it out. She's since earned my trust around having a key (still don't think she really gets it but knows it upsets me).




Cherry91

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2013, 03:52:52 AM »
MIL tried this once when she was visiting her DD's family.   The three children were teenagers and both parents worked.  MIL was alone in the house and felt a bit bored.  She thought it would be a 'nice thing' to neaten up her 16 year-old GD's room. 

This included putting the dresser drawers in order.  This was at the time when 'Flashdance' was popular and GD had used some of her baby-sitting money to purchase several artfully distressed shirts.  MIL found them, decided they were disgraceful and cut them up for rags. 

That was the last time that MIL was ever allowed to be alone in SIL's house.

Reading all these posts I have to wonder if we weren't marked by MIL (in the nicest way, of course).

When the ILs retired they were moving to New England and had a lot of furniture they wouldn't have room for in the new house.  Among the items we took were a pair of small armchairs. 

MIL seems obsessed with these very ordinary 1970s chairs.  They're doing yeoman service in our bedroom as a convenient place to put clean laundry.  To MIL, they should have become the center of our household.  Every time we visit we are told that we should have them in our living room.  Every evening we should brew a pot of tea after dinner, sit side by side in the chairs and discuss the events of the day.  That is what she and FIL did. 

She always called her DH 'Daddy' and he always called her 'Darling'.  Our marriage is a little bit different.   

I hope the MIL was ordered to reimburse her GD for the "rags". Because if I had come home and found that my GM had done such a thing with clothing I'd worked long and hard to earn the money for, I'd have been very upset and angry.

Nesca

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2013, 03:55:05 AM »
My parents in law encroached on a few boundaries when my boyfriend (now DH) and I first moved out together. We had moved into a small townhouse that included a small garden. Because we were on a budget I had been using the fallen leaves from the trees as mulch for the garden, instead of buying the processed neat stuff from the garden shop. I had also planted a number of cuttings that I had propagated.

One day we came home from work to find that someone had been in our yard. They had raked up and disposed of all the leaves, leaving the earth bare, as well as picked out a few minor weeds and taken out most of my cuttings. DH and I assumed that the landlord had come over for a nosey and decided to tidy up. We happened to mention at a family dinner how annoyed we were that it had happened and that I was upset that my cuttings had been removed. That's when DH's parents admitted to coming over and doing the "work". It was the last time they came over to surprise us since it turned out so badly. I do love my PIL, they thought they were genuinely helping us.

cicero

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2013, 06:05:34 AM »
There is a lesson to be learned in all this:  If you discover that the guy you're dating is a mama's boy, fly -- don't run -- as far away and as fast as you can and go back on the hunt.
Oh. Yes.

It ain't going to get better unless sonny boy stands up to his mom.

I think that there are things a MIL /Parent can do for a couple that are nice - depending on the relationship, this could be buying groceries, watering the plants, taking in the mail, leaving a nice dinner for their first night back... but this? this goes beyond the pale

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GratefulMaria

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2013, 08:28:21 AM »
This is so timely!  DS1 just signed a lease with his girlfriend.  Apartment is within two hours' drive for us (where DS1 is spending the summer).  Girlfriend has a temporary job hundreds of miles away, and her family is in another time zone.  So she entrusted DS1 with the apartment hunt, with long-distance and online consultation.  Now they're working out what, how, and when to do the move-in.  We have some furniture we've offered them, and we can help buy and install a lot of things ahead of time, but he's running everything by her first, including whether she'd like him to wait on getting started until she's there with him.  I cannot imagine unilaterally presenting her with a done deal; that would feel so dismissive.

VorFemme

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #58 on: July 24, 2013, 09:15:22 AM »
I rather like the idea of allowing unlimited help from ILs - before you move in or after the moving van leaves....

I've gotten to ONE house (military family) two days before the moving van did - I vacuumed the entire place (twice) and dumped the contents of my tank vacuum into the trash (cups of scented baking powder or possibly talc powder - explained why the place smelled so *floral* that it was giving me a headache) both times. 

The second time we bought a new house, I did some vacuuming but not much else. I'd learned from the last time we had a new house - we had no vacuum cleaner, as VorGuy had ordered one from a catalog instead of buying one to have on hand....new carpet shed fibers to our knees on uniform pants.

I can especially see help with repainting, cleaning areas where furniture will soon be blocking access, or positioning furniture in the first place - more hands make it easier to move a couch or dining room table!

But not AFTER the residents have arranged things to their liking....
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

lowspark

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #59 on: July 24, 2013, 10:24:20 AM »
My mom foisted a key to their house off on me a few years ago when I was there for a visit.  I didn't think it made sense because I lived several hundred miles away and my sister was a quick hour drive away.  I took it anyhow and then locked it in my firesafe because I didn't feel the need to carry it with my regular keys. 

Stories like this are the main reason why my ILs did not receive a key to our home when they asked for one.  They ostensibly asked for one in  case of emergency and I knew that their definition of "emergency" and mine did not mesh.

Eek. Just the idea of her asking for a key rubs me the wrong way. Both my sons and daughter-in-law have a key to my house because they're my kids so I want them to always consider my house as their house too. But it doesn't work in the reverse. If they wanted to give me a key for emergency purposes, fine. But I would never ask.

Oh. Well, my sons already had keys from before they moved out. DIL actually asked me for a key as there were reasons she needed to come over when I wasn't home. So it wasn't a matter of me saying, Here, take a key. It was a matter of them just figuring I'd be ok with it. And I am.

They all live in the same city as I, just a few miles away.