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Woman who works nights 'disrupts' MIL's sleep, 'I refuse to change the arrangement.' AITA?

Woman who works nights 'disrupts' MIL's sleep, 'I refuse to change the arrangement.' AITA?


"AITA for disrupting my MIL's sleep as she was staying with us and refusing to change our sleeping arrangement?"

My mother in law (Jane - 59F) came to pay us a visit a couple of days ago. We couldn't make it to their house for Christmas, and she decided to spend a few days with us to catch up. For the context, I (34F) take calls quite often. A day when I'm on call includes my phone ringing at a pretty late hour and me having long conversations over the phone. I often have to just get dressed and leave. So it can be pretty loud.

I don't want to disturb my wife (Bella - 33F) or our kids (3 and 5 year old girls) during their sleep. We've got ourselves a system. So for days when I'm on call, I'll go sleep in my reading room downstairs. (It's basically a room with my textbooks, journals, a desk and a bed). Our bedroom and the kids' rooms are upstairs. This way, I don't disturb anyone and I sometimes even catch up on some work.

For the days she was with us, Jane was staying in a guest room close to my reading room downstairs. I was on call, and I answered the phone through the night as usual. I had to leave the house at around 3 AM.

The next day when I came home, Jane was very annoyed with me and said she had heard me through the whole night, had heard me talk and pace around the room like a mad woman and heard me get my car. She said she almost did not sleep at all. Bella tried to calm her down but she was really upset and said Bella herself couldn't take being near me which is why she banished me downstairs for these call days.

I apologized and said I was sorry. Jane insisted she wasn't sleeping anywhere near me during my call days ever again and called it a restless night. I said "I would be on call for a few more days while she was staying with us and unless she had a plan, I would be sleeping downstairs.

I don't wish to change the current arrangement we have mostly because Bella is exhausted as is and I want her to get as much sleep as she can. Jane said maybe I just needed to be more present and support Bella more as her wife and the mother of our children. Was I the ah?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

MizZo2 said:

Ok so first and foremost- you sleeping somewhere else on nights you are on call IS supporting your wife and children. Growing up, both my parents have been on call at various points during my childhood and letting their partner (and kids in nearby rooms) sleep through an entire night by having another place to sleep like you have set up was a huge act of compassion they did for each other. Do not worry about your standard plans being a bad thing. HOWEVER....

Your MIL is an invited guest in your home. You should not insist that SHE come up with a different plan or else you won't change a thing. It is not her house, it's not her routine, it's not her job that's on call. Simply put: is not her responsibility to figure out a compromise- it's yours. So, while not an AH for the normal situation you have in your home with your family, YTA for putting it on your guest to solve the problem you are creating.

Buy a $15 white noise machine for the guest room or your office. Have the kids sleep with your wife or in one room together as a special fun treat the remaining nights you are on call and let your MIL have a kids room. Take the calls outside or further away from MIL's room. This is a temporary issue where you can be accommodating for a few nights, it's not like it's for months at a time.

ZoeZigzagyy said:

No, you're NTA in this situation. You've established a sleeping arrangement that works for your family's needs, especially when you're on call and need to take late-night phone calls without disturbing your wife and kids.

Understandably, your mother-in-law was disturbed by the noise, but it's not fair for her to demand that you change your sleeping arrangement, especially since it's a temporary situation while she's visiting.

You've apologized for any inconvenience caused, but it's important to prioritize the needs of your immediate family and maintain the existing arrangement that ensures everyone gets the rest they need. It's about finding a balance that works for everyone, and your current arrangement seems to be the most practical solution.

anonymom135 said:

NTA. MIL is welcome to book a hotel if she can't stand the free accommodation.

Em0N3rd said:

NTA but your partner just standing there as MIL lays into you about something that is for the best of herself and your children is something I'd be concerned about. Talk to your partner cause my partner and I would never allow that kind of disrespect from an inlaw like that. They'd be asked to leave or find accommodations for the rest of their stay then.

peregrine_throw said:

NTA. She's a guest, she doesn't have the right to speak or behave towards you that way. How rude. Especially since it's for work and not you just messing around for fun. If she has any discomfort issues, she could ASK for help remedying it. And the audacity to use this instance to meddle into your marriage. smh. Your wife needs to speak to her mother to respect her wife or she's out.

She's only visiting for a couple of days, she can bunk with her daughter for those few days. Or set-up a fold-up bed/air mattress in the kids' room for a granny sleepover vacation. If not, she needs to book a hotel for visits.

nikkesen said:

NTA. Give Jane a straw and tell her to suck it up. You have an arrangement that works for Bella and your children. Jane can either appreciate the free accommodations or book a hotel.

Most people were on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

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