When this man is appalled by his in-laws' behavior and needs advice, he asks Reddit:
My wife and I recently had a baby and as a result we’ve set some family babysitting schedules to help us with daycare spend. One day a week my wife’s father and his partner come to my house to watch the baby. They both have a history of not respecting boundaries with their children…
A few months ago, my father in laws partner was here watching the baby and before I left for work, she asked if she could do any laundry for me. I told her no thanks, I didn’t have much and I appreciated the offer.
Getting back from work that evening, there were some freshly folded clothes on my bed. I got upset about the situation because she went into my bedroom, opened my closet, and looked for clothes to wash.
I understand her intentions were well but I didn’t appreciate her going into my room, into my closet. I felt like my privacy was invaded a bit. So I pulled her to the side and essentially told her, I appreciate you trying to help but I’d prefer you not going through my stuff in the future.
Fast forward to today, I come home from work, and she’s cleaned out and reorganized stuff in my office. Now, I’m upset. I just have a big problem with people going through my stuff for whatever reason.
I haven’t said anything to her yet, but I wanted to call her angrily. Another point is that there’s literally no reason to go into my office or bedroom while watching the baby. Nothing there for them.
So I told my wife we need to have a conversation with them about this and she thinks I’m overreacting and she’s just trying to be nice but I would never in my life go anywhere in someone’s house that I didn’t need to be.
NTA. The first time with the laundry she was already pushing it after she offered to help and you said no. But then you told her clearly that you didn't want her invading your privacy, even if it was to try to do something to help you out.
She completely disregarded that, so you have every right to be upset. That being said, maybe your wife should be the one to address this since it's her side of the family?
One thing to note is that you should definitely make sure you and your wife are on the same page. Is it possible you and she have been communicating different ideas of what is OK and helpful as far as cleaning when watching the baby?
It’s definitely not ok that she’s doing that and needs a conversation. But could she be bored while looking after the baby and be looking for something to do (and thinks she’s helping you)?
I know my mom can’t sit down for 10mins without looking for something to clean or tidy. If this is a possibility, why not come up with a few things that you’re comfortable for her to help with and let her know what these are?
Eg don’t go into the bedroom or office but if you’re bored/looking for something to do then mopping the floors or cooking dinner would be much appreciated. Win/win for both of you and you don’t lose childcare.
NTA. Don't talk to FIL's partner while angry though. When talking to her say you appreciate her looking after your baby but she doesn't need to do your housework and tidy up after you...
she probably thinks she's being helpful, suggest other ways she can help, as someone else suggested, may be she could cook dinner or something like that if she wants to do something while baby is sleeping.
NTA "While I want to say I appreciate your 'help', I also really, reallly want to tell you to not f-g do it again. As I have already told you not to go into my private spaces. I do not like it. And you did it again.
Now I have to spend hours I should not have to finding my stuff to put it back where I want it. Do it again, and we will have words. Remember, this was me being nice about it."
You should not have to come up with busy body tasks to keep her invasiveness in check.
You have asked her nicely, once, to not do something she is completely capable of not doing. I would not "ask" nicely a 2nd time.
"Do not go into my bedroom. Do not go into my office. Do not rearrange things. Do not reorganize things. That is not why you are here. You will be tasked with returning them to where they belong."
NTA. I think everyone need to watch and see how dreadful this behavior is. Knowing she is like this I would set up a honey pot. Install cameras but don't tell anyone. Have the conversation and just sit back.
Let her snoop, be caught, and be forced to watch it together as a family. Mess up the bed, buy & throw a new adult toy or 3 in the sheets for fun and grab the popcorn.
NTA. I think it is important to consult with your spouse to they are on the same page. I typed a couple responses and finally realized that if it were MY mom, she would feel comfortable doing laundry, especially with a little one at home.
My sister and nephew live with us and for the first 6 months, my mom practically lived here. While my husband loves my mom, he does have his limits, and he draws the line at doing laundry…if it’s his underwear. Off limits (and I get that).
But the office…OMG! It would be world war 3! I would have lost my absolute shit on her!
I’m very close with my sister but one day she thought she’d re-organize my panty a bit and move things around. She’ll never do that again. The first time I text her to ask where things were, she said she immediately regretted her decision.
As someone with ADHD you do not move anything without my consent and if anything, it gets shoved into a basket but I always know I can search for it later, in one place.