Issues with toxic mothers-in-law is nothing new, especially to Reddit, but every once in a while, a mother-in-law will truly take her position to a new level.
Especially when there’s a new baby coming into the picture, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor NoMaybe3163 came home one day and discovered that her mother-in-law was decluttering her house and throwing a lot of things away with the excuse that she was preparing the home for her future grandchild.
But because she had done all of this without her consent, the Original Poster (OP) promptly put an end to the decluttering.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for kicking my 72-year-old mother-in-law (MIL) out of the house at night because she threw away my things?”
The OP loved her mother-in-law but found her to be too controlling.
“I (36 Female) live with my husband (41 Male). I have a decent relationship with my MIL, compared to a lot of the horror stories I hear from friends, she’s quite sweet and warm.”
“She is, however, a little… over-controlling? Overprotective? I’m not sure of the exact word, but she has very strong ideas about things and no sense of boundaries.”
“For example, when she stays at our house she takes over the kitchen completely and insists on cooking all our meals. She cooks wonderfully, but she won’t let me help her at all, and puts everything away in the wrong places and then insists that her way is more logical.”
“She only really comes for holidays, though, and I do like her a lot. So I don’t mind putting up with these mild annoyances.”
The OP saw a lot more of her mother-in-law once she was expecting.
“I’m currently pregnant with our little girl, who will be born in a few months. This is a miracle; I really didn’t think it would happen, especially so late, but we got lucky.”
“When my MIL heard, she was super excited and said she would come over to help us get ready for the baby. She offered to stay for the next six months or so to help out because my husband and I both work long hours and it will be hard to handle the baby on top of this.”
“She is also pretty emotionally invested in this because she truly sees herself as part of our family. She arrived a few days ago and set herself up, then she started with the cleaning.”
But then the OP’s mother-in-law overstayed her welcome.
“I like collecting things from garage sales and such, things like little sculptures and books and baskets, stuff a lot of people would consider utter junk. Our house is definitely overstuffed, but it’s reasonably tidy and doesn’t seem like a hoarder’s house or anything.”
“My MIL, on the other hand, likes everything surgically clean.”
“Yesterday, I came home from work to find the house like a war zone. She went through my cabinets and cleared out everything she considered junk, and had apparently made several trips to Goodwill before I got home.”
“I was really angry and I asked her why she would ever do this.”
“She said the house has to be tidy for the baby, and that it would be ‘dangerous’ for the baby to be in my cluttered house.”
“Then she took the next huge bag of stuff and tried to walk out the door.”
“I kind of lost it, and I told her she could get out right now.”
“She was shocked that I was serious, and she said she didn’t have anywhere to go and it was so late. It was about 9:30.”
“I booked her a hotel room and called a taxi.”
“My husband came home an hour later, and when I told him what happened, he was furious with me. He says I disrespected his mom and was ungrateful for everything she’s trying to do for us.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some understood the OP’s frustration but felt she wasn’t innocent, either.
“YTA. she’s right. A baby doesn’t need clutter.”
“Put your clutter in a storage unit until the baby is old enough to understand not to put everything in her mouth, and no longer needs baby proofing.” – Chocolate__Ice-cream
“She ‘sees herself’ as part of the family? She IS your family.”
“I’m not defending her actions at all. But kicking her out was rash and illogical. You should have waited till your husband got home to talk this out as a unit.”
“Sounds like your house is a cluttered mess. I’m again NOT defending your MIL throwing away sh*t without your consent. But also maybe she wants to help and you threw an old woman out on the streets for sh*t you didn’t even remember was in your cabinets?”
“Downvote me.” – misguidedsadist1
“YTA. You probably don’t realize how much unnecessary stuff you have. It’s probably not visually appealing either.”
“Speaking as someone with hoarder family members who use the same verbiage, when really they just have anxieties around removing things.” – omnipotant
“Hoarders never think their house looks like the cluttered disgusting mess that it is. YTA merely for the fact that you could have handled this a million different ways. Get a grip.” – iontheball
“My MIL likes to collect things from garage sales, etc… She actually buys things she doesn’t need because it’s too good of a deal. Her house is overcrowded, and I find it uncomfortable. She’s a hoarder but has a ‘home’ for the stuff she has.”
“I could cut the stuff in her kitchen in half. She probably wouldn’t miss anything, but the thought of me organizing anything stresses her out. So I don’t do it. It’s her space.”
“I get you’re upset, but kicking her out at night was really unnecessary. It was actually a bit cruel. The situation needed some firm boundaries, and you should have talked to your husband about how to handle it when he got home after sending your MIL to her room.”
“YTA.” – Legitimate-Stage1296
Most of the subReddit felt the OP’s MIL overstepped and that the OP had a husband problem.
“NTA. What the f**k? You have a husband problem, and you probably need to ask him if he gave her the green flag to ‘tidy’ up.”
“My mom is sorta the same way, though her house can be however she likes it, and threw out some stuff I wasn’t ready to get rid of, well, that’s a boundary she won’t cross again.”
“You need to talk to your husband and then MIL, but I suspect the husband has some explaining to do. Cause this is wild.” – _parenda_
“NTA. What your MIL did crossed every line for a guest in anyone’s home, and, in fact, you could make a very good case for theft of your belongings.”
“If your MIL truly wanted to help you, she would have asked before she touched a single thing and would have accepted it if you told her ‘no’ for any action she wanted to do. Instead, she did everything while you were away when she knew you could not object or tell her no.”
“You also have a husband problem. He made a vow to ‘forsake all others until death do you part,’ and it looks like he is not doing that now; it looks like he is choosing his mother over you.”
“He should have been enforcing the sanctity of the two of your home against her overbearing ways all along. And you need to get this worked out now before the baby comes, or your MIL is going to be running your home, not you.” – bamf1701
“I’m wondering if your husband secretly didn’t like your things and has been complaining to his mom about them. His reaction to you is completely out of line, it almost seems like he knew she would do this and was okay with it.”
“You are NTA, but you have a husband problem. He needs to remind his mom of her place. This is your home, not hers. Your belongings, not hers. Your child, not hers.”
“It’s nice that she wants to help, but she’s asserting authority in an inappropriate way, and you cannot allow her to override your parenting.” – AnonaDogMom
“Totally NTA, OP. And as for hubby calling OP disrespectful and ungrateful, whaaat? It seems MIL got off lightly; she had a taxi called for her, not the police.”
“Hands off a reader’s book collection.”
“OP, again NTA, but I hate to say it, but it sounds like your husband wanted a clear out given he thinks you should’ve been grateful.” – Ok-Status-9627
“Definitely NTA. If you’re in someone else’s house, you don’t throw away their stuff. Period. Of course, if someone hands you a bag and says, ‘Can you throw this out for me?’ That’s another thing entirely.”
“As a fellow, and lifelong, knick knack collector, I would’ve done the same thing. And then went to Goodwill to try to get my stuff back.”
“Besides, inviting herself for six months is a bit excessive, in my not so humble opinion.” – ringwraith6
“NTA. But as ever, you don’t really have a MIL problem so much as a partner problem.”
“If someone comes in and disrespects your home and literally throws your stuff away, he should have your back.”
“I think you were wildly optimistic with her staying to ‘help’ when you already know she’s over-controlling and taking over in your own home.”
“Mark my words draw those boundaries before the baby arrives… as I’m sure she’ll have strong opinions on what to do there.” – CarefulNow-
But then the OP shared an update post that made the subReddit really unhappy.
“Thank you to everyone to replied to my post. I appreciate the advice and wishes for the baby.”
“I talked to my husband after we both cooled down a bit, and I told him I felt let down that he didn’t support me.”
“He said it was just stuff, and he didn’t think I cared that much.”
“I also asked him if he asked his mom to ‘declutter’ and if he has a problem with my things.”
“He said no, he literally has zero opinion about my decor or collections.”
“I believe him because this is the guy who doesn’t know the difference between blue and purple.”
“So he said that’s why he thought I overreacted, because in his mind it’s just stuff and not nearly as important as a person who’s feelings can be hurt.”
“I said that my things matter to me because I’ve put effort into collecting them and fixing them up and that some hold memories, too.”
“He said he understood, and he apologized.”
“We went and brought my MIL home from the hotel in the morning, and I said I was sorry for losing my temper and asked her if we could talk. She was still upset but agreed.”
“I told her I should have said this a long time ago, but I don’t like it when she takes over and doesn’t treat my home like it’s mine.”
“She seemed offended, but she said okay.”
“I told her I would be really grateful if she helped with the baby, and I wanted her in my child’s life, but she has to work with me and not just do everything herself.”
“She said, ‘But you work,’ and I said that I know it’s not what she did when she had a child, but I want to make this work, and I think I can have a job and also be in charge of my home.”
“She was definitely annoyed, but she agreed to everything and didn’t argue. So I think it will work out okay.”
“I unfortunately couldn’t get my stuff back though… but I have plenty more rocks hidden away.”
The subReddit fully expected the cycle to continue after the OP apologized.
“Ugh, what an awful downer ending.”
“The OP said, ‘We went and brought my MIL home from the hotel.’ But whyyy?!”
“Then she said, ‘I told her I should have said this a long time ago, but I don’t like it when she takes over and doesn’t treat my home like it’s mine.’ Has your husband seriously convinced you that this is your fault? It’s not like she didn’t already know all that.”
“And then there’s this: ‘I unfortunately couldn’t get my stuff back, though.’ At the very least, this should be a requirement before she can move back in.”
“I have to ask, what did the police say about any of this? I hope you called them (but I bet you didn’t).” – MountainDewde
“OP, you and your husband need to have a talk about what will happen if/when she disregards you and your stuff again. In your talk, you need to establish and agree on what actions will count as her crossing the boundary (not just getting rid of your stuff but ignoring or going against your asks, etc).”
“And you need to agree if there will be any chances and then what action will be taken.”
“You NEED to have this talk because your MIL does no remorse, no accountability, no sign that she respects you in your role here. In fact, she’s still angry, seems to think only you did something wrong, and clearly indicates she respects you less because you are working. This is not going to be over here.” – LimitlessMegan
“OP, your MIL thinks she’s the victim here, and I’m not completely sure your husband disagrees. Keep an eye out and be prepared to send her all the way home.” – dryadduinath
“There’s a zero percent chance that this is over. OP didn’t listen to the advice and caved. Her husband made regretful noises but didn’t actually sound apologetic. OP apologized to MIL.”
“I put the over/under on MIL line-stepping again at one month.” – DogmaticNuance
“It won’t be ‘if’ MIL does something like this again; it will be ‘when.’ Lay out the consequences for her now, including that if she bad mouths you on social media or to anyone, she will be NC. Have your husband there to tell her, too.” – Puppiesmommy
“We’ll be here for you, OP, when Monster In Law does her next unconscionable thing, and your husband blames you.”
“We will roll our eyes for, you know, but we will try and refrain from saying “I told you so” right out loud.” – Thelibraryvixen
Though there were a few Redditors who felt the OP had overstepped and that she more than likely had too many items in her home, most of the subReddit understood why the OP was so upset and supported her in setting a firm boundary.
But after seeing her husband’s lack of support for her and how the OP had apologized to her mother-in-law, it seemed there was going to be more of this in her future.