Author Topic: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house  (Read 26072 times)

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Asharah

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #135 on: July 30, 2013, 09:37:46 AM »
Camlan and Free Range Hippy Chick, I think the situations you describe are exceptions.  Crisis going on?  As long as you are being helpful and not aggravating the person you are helping, all bets are off.  Do things as you need to do them, regardless of how they are normally done; organize things to make it most efficient for you and when the crisis is over, or at least under control, help put things back to the way the person you helped would like them to be.


Of course that's true - but nonetheless, despite the crisis, despite the clear understanding that this is how it needs to be, that there is no alternative, there is still an underlying discomfort both for the person intruded upon and for the intruder, if the intruder, like both Camlan and my MIL (whom I loved dearly) has normal social sensitivities. People are territorial. MY kitchen. MY bedroom. It was less uncomfortable for my mother, who had done my laundry until I went away to university and who had given me space in her kitchen.

Although for sheer 'crossing boundaries! not happy!' 'this never happened and we do not speak of it' you have only to look at my DH. When the crisis overcame us, my mother arrived in a panic and at very short notice, having packed her suitcase while suffering from incapacitating fear for her grandson. She admitted later that she had no idea why she packed some of the things she did or why she forgot some of the things she did. While I was at the hospital my DH had to take her shopping for bras. He still shudders at the memory.
I assume to show her where the store was. I would guess she could handle the rest herself.  ;D
Asharah

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #136 on: July 30, 2013, 01:11:31 PM »

Although for sheer 'crossing boundaries! not happy!' 'this never happened and we do not speak of it' you have only to look at my DH. When the crisis overcame us, my mother arrived in a panic and at very short notice, having packed her suitcase while suffering from incapacitating fear for her grandson. She admitted later that she had no idea why she packed some of the things she did or why she forgot some of the things she did. While I was at the hospital my DH had to take her shopping for bras. He still shudders at the memory.
I assume to show her where the store was. I would guess she could handle the rest herself.  ;D

He says will you please not use the word 'handle' in reference to this story because it brings him out in a cold sweat. And she was in a complete tizz (we all were) so he had to find sizes on packets for her. Although, as I said, it didn't happen, OK?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #137 on: July 30, 2013, 01:50:19 PM »
Reading these stories, I think I have to accept that I probably trampled my MIL's boundaries a few years ago.

MIL and FIL were on vacation when a medical emergency caused them to have to remain out of state for 10 weeks. BIL had been staying at their house while they were gone then he and my DH flew up to help MIL and FIL travel back home. DH asked if I'd go by their house to make sure everything was in order, since we knew BIL wasn't the best housekeeper. And in recent years, MIL hadn't been able to do as much house cleaning as normal so things had already gotten a little out of hand, not bad but things like baseboards not cleaned, cobwebs in corners, doors not wiped down and rust in the bath.

When I got there, BIL had left a complete mess. Newspapers everywhere, pizza box on the counter, soda cans on the coffee table and it didn't look like any dusting or floors had been done since she was gone. When I checked the fridge it had a really bad odor.

So I ended up doing a whirlwind cleaning. After reading these I think I probably should have stopped at just throwing out the garbage, putting fresh sheets on the bed and dusting and doing the floors. But I cleaned out the fridge, throwing out things near expiration and cleaning it completely, cleaning all the doors, baseboards, and cabinets, cleaning all the light fixtures, light switches, and windows, vacuuming under the furniture cushions, and giving their bathroom a thorough cleaning, removing all the rust stains. And their bathmat had mildew I couldn't get out, so I went a bought a new one and some pretty hand towels to match. (I did leave the old one in the linen closet.) 

I don't remember MIL ever really mentioning it. I do seem to remember her thanking me for  stocking the fridge with fresh groceries and for "picking up after BIL" and for the pretty bath rug and hand towels. But now I wonder if I might have really offended her.

Asharah

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #138 on: July 30, 2013, 01:54:13 PM »

Although for sheer 'crossing boundaries! not happy!' 'this never happened and we do not speak of it' you have only to look at my DH. When the crisis overcame us, my mother arrived in a panic and at very short notice, having packed her suitcase while suffering from incapacitating fear for her grandson. She admitted later that she had no idea why she packed some of the things she did or why she forgot some of the things she did. While I was at the hospital my DH had to take her shopping for bras. He still shudders at the memory.
I assume to show her where the store was. I would guess she could handle the rest herself.  ;D

He says will you please not use the word 'handle' in reference to this story because it brings him out in a cold sweat. And she was in a complete tizz (we all were) so he had to find sizes on packets for her. Although, as I said, it didn't happen, OK?
I profoundly apologize.  ;)
Asharah

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #139 on: July 30, 2013, 01:54:33 PM »
Hmmmmm, if you offended her, you can come offend me anytime.   ;D

The only thing that might have been overstepping, in my mind, is replacing the bathmat and hand towels.  But since you didn't throw the old one out and left it in the linen closet, I think you were fine.

Rather than being mad, I think I would have kissed your feet...
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #140 on: July 30, 2013, 01:57:18 PM »
Hmmmmm, I'd give you a pass on extenuating circumstances - no way should she have had to come home to BIL's (really disgusting) mess after 10 weeks away! And yes, you're welcome to offend me any time. :-)
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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #141 on: July 30, 2013, 02:01:15 PM »

Although for sheer 'crossing boundaries! not happy!' 'this never happened and we do not speak of it' you have only to look at my DH. When the crisis overcame us, my mother arrived in a panic and at very short notice, having packed her suitcase while suffering from incapacitating fear for her grandson. She admitted later that she had no idea why she packed some of the things she did or why she forgot some of the things she did. While I was at the hospital my DH had to take her shopping for bras. He still shudders at the memory.
I assume to show her where the store was. I would guess she could handle the rest herself.  ;D

He says will you please not use the word 'handle' in reference to this story because it brings him out in a cold sweat. And she was in a complete tizz (we all were) so he had to find sizes on packets for her. Although, as I said, it didn't happen, OK?

I hope he was rewarded for this.  My ex husband wouldn't bra shop with me, I can only imagine him with my step mom. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #142 on: July 30, 2013, 02:41:24 PM »
Reading these stories, I think I have to accept that I probably trampled my MIL's boundaries a few years ago.

MIL and FIL were on vacation when a medical emergency caused them to have to remain out of state for 10 weeks. BIL had been staying at their house while they were gone then he and my DH flew up to help MIL and FIL travel back home. DH asked if I'd go by their house to make sure everything was in order, since we knew BIL wasn't the best housekeeper. And in recent years, MIL hadn't been able to do as much house cleaning as normal so things had already gotten a little out of hand, not bad but things like baseboards not cleaned, cobwebs in corners, doors not wiped down and rust in the bath.

When I got there, BIL had left a complete mess. Newspapers everywhere, pizza box on the counter, soda cans on the coffee table and it didn't look like any dusting or floors had been done since she was gone. When I checked the fridge it had a really bad odor.

So I ended up doing a whirlwind cleaning. After reading these I think I probably should have stopped at just throwing out the garbage, putting fresh sheets on the bed and dusting and doing the floors. But I cleaned out the fridge, throwing out things near expiration and cleaning it completely, cleaning all the doors, baseboards, and cabinets, cleaning all the light fixtures, light switches, and windows, vacuuming under the furniture cushions, and giving their bathroom a thorough cleaning, removing all the rust stains. And their bathmat had mildew I couldn't get out, so I went a bought a new one and some pretty hand towels to match. (I did leave the old one in the linen closet.) 

I don't remember MIL ever really mentioning it. I do seem to remember her thanking me for  stocking the fridge with fresh groceries and for "picking up after BIL" and for the pretty bath rug and hand towels. But now I wonder if I might have really offended her.

I think all the cleaning, especially in that emergency situation, is absolutely NOT the same thing as the gratuitous "redecorating" the letter-writer's MIL did.

And replacing something really damaged, again, is not "redecorating." Even though bath mats are sort of decorative, they're also not usually the thing that says "this is my home" quite so strongly. I'm wondering--did you try to get one that was somewhat similar to the old one?

I bet you didn't offend her at all.

gramma dishes

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #143 on: July 30, 2013, 02:46:04 PM »
...    But now I wonder if I might have really offended her.

I doubt it.  She no doubt knew the mess her son would make (and leave) so she probably had a pretty good idea what she would see when she got home.  Instead of that, finding the place immaculate would have been a marvelous relief and I expect she thought "Wow.  I must be the luckiest MIL in the world to have a DIL who would go through all that trouble for me."

At least that's how I would feel if I were your MIL.  And by the way, I'm open to adopting you should you ever find yourself in need of another mother or two!   ;D

Virg

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #144 on: July 30, 2013, 03:20:57 PM »
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I don't remember MIL ever really mentioning it. I do seem to remember her thanking me for  stocking the fridge with fresh groceries and for "picking up after BIL" and for the pretty bath rug and hand towels. But now I wonder if I might have really offended her."

My thought is that you didn't do what the MIL in the OP did.  You didn't go in and change things to suit you, and you didn't go snooping for information.  You cleaned a lot of stuff but the only change was a bath mat (and you left the old one in case she was somehow attached to it) and cleaning out some expired food, which I presume you could replace if she was bothered by it.  So I don't see this anywhere near the level of invasion that the OP describes, and from your comment about her thanks I doubt your MIL did either.

Virg

cattlekid

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #145 on: July 30, 2013, 05:27:15 PM »
I am of two minds on cleaning. 

My mom has cleaned my house on two occasions with no judgement.  I was on five day a week kidney dialysis for a little over two years, plus working full time and things got a little out of hand. 

However, if my MIL were the one doing the cleaning, she would do it with such an air of judgement and martyrdom that I would feel about this small for the rest of my natural life.  Intellectually, I know I shouldn't, but emotionally, it would be impossible.

sagiegirl

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #146 on: July 30, 2013, 07:26:28 PM »
Several years ago I was on bed rest 2 1/2 hrs from home trying to keep baby #2 from arriving.  Although all is well now, she arrived at 26 weeks.  I was discharged, ordered not to return to the hospital for 5 days, and as such was absolutely heartbroken.  I also needed  to return to my 5 yr old. 

It was the dead of winter and I was so swollen that I could not get shoes on.  I cried all the way home, just wanting my bed and familiar surroundings.  I had been told my SIL and AuntIL had straightened up so I would be more comfortable.  I thought that meant run the sweeper, dust, make sure kitchen was clean, etc... However.....

The only room they had touched was my bedroom.  All my drawers were rearranged, tops of furniture rearranged, and the worst....the few baby clothes I had purchased for my daughter were stuffed in a grocery bag and thrown in the back of my closet! 

I completely lost all control.  I spent the next 6 hours on the floor, recovering from an emergency c-section, trying to put everything back in order...

What hurt the most was the baby clothes....it was as though theywere saying she wasn't coming home and just forget about it....

Boy, were they wrong.....she starts third grade next week!

gramma dishes

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #147 on: July 30, 2013, 09:34:47 PM »


...   I completely lost all control.  I spent the next 6 hours on the floor, recovering from an emergency c-section, trying to put everything back in order...



Would it be mean of me to say that I hope your SIL and AIL were still around to see your response to their "help"?  I don't think I'd ever be able to look at them again.

I'm so glad that your story DID have such a happy ending though!!  That part is wonderful.   :)

sagiegirl

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #148 on: July 30, 2013, 09:53:52 PM »
One of them was.  She kept asking if I had been checked for postpartum depression.... :o. As if that could be the only reason I was sobbing on the floor.....

gramma dishes

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Re: Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house
« Reply #149 on: July 30, 2013, 10:01:59 PM »
One of them was.  She kept asking if I had been checked for postpartum depression.... :o. As if that could be the only reason I was sobbing on the floor.....

And you didn't yell at her?  Good grief!  You're so much better a woman than I am!  I'd have let her have it!
 
Did you ever tell them how emotionally devastating their "helpfulness" was for you?  :-\