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Woman Bans ‘Old Crone’ MIL From Visiting Unless Husband Stops Her From Criticizing House

Mother and adult daughter washing dishes together.
Gary John Norman/GettyImages

Visiting family isn’t always a good time.

Sure it’s nice to see them, especially when they’re being helpful.

But when they have tendencies that make people uncomfortable, the situation can be stressful.

Tears are shed and the drama begins.

Redditor Formal-Emotion-7532 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for not sticking up for my wife to my mother?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My (32 M[ale]) mother lives out of state and comes twice a year to visit my wife (31 F[emale]) and I, as well as my sister who lives nearby too.”

“She usually spends like 4-5 nights here.”

“While she’s here, she tends to make some off-the-cuff judgmental comments.”

“My mom has always been a little nit-picky about things and I’ve handled it by ignoring her – it’s a few comments per trip and otherwise she’s ok and helpful to us.”

“For example, I picked her up at the train station and she immediately said, ‘Oops, looks like someone needs a car wash.'”

“My wife feels that more comments are directed at her because she is the woman, especially about home decor and cleaning, despite my wife also working full time.”

“For example, we have a junk drawer that has admittedly got overfull lately.”

“My mom said ‘It’s too bad I’m not here longer, I would help you organize that. I noticed it hasn’t been done.’”

“Or she will come into our house and immediately start cleaning something and say she saw it was horribly dirty.”

“Or on her last visit, my wife’s suitcase was still out from a trip the month before, and she said, ‘Hm I see someone doesn’t like to unpack right away.'”

“My wife takes these things really personally and is hurt.”

“I usually try to support her behind the scenes, tell her my mother is kind of an old crone (true) and that we all just ignore her, and she should too.”

“But she recently got upset with me for not saying anything back in the moment.”

“I do want to stick up for her but my mind is kind of slow and my mother always slips these comments in when I’m not paying attention.”

“I can’t respond well within a few seconds when I wasn’t expecting it.”

“My wife is upset with me and says my mother can’t come over anymore unless I’m planning to stick up for her.”

The OP was left to wonder:

“AITA for not saying something to my mother?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.

“YTA. Your mother’s behavior is upsetting your wife.”

“You can’t bury your head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening and that your wife just needs to deal with it.”

“Be a husband and have a conversation with your mom that her comments aren’t appreciated and won’t be tolerated.”

“Look at it this way, would you walk into someone else’s house and start commenting on how clean it is?”

“If no, then you already knew the answer before you came here.” ~ AgnarCrackenhammer

“‘She takes these things really personally.'”


“Your mother is coming into your wife’s home and attacking her and you’re just like Oh! Hahaha, walk it off.”

“YTA for allowing someone you should have input with to abuse your wife.”

“Don’t have kids unless you’re going to rein your mother in, because I’m betting she’ll be as abusive as she is to your wife.” ~ booksycat

“Let your wife see this: every time M[other]-I[n]-L[aw] disses her, you pay your wife $100.”

“If you are present and don’t defend her, it’s $200.”

“Your wife keeps score.”

“Like your wife, I suffered under the constant and passive-aggressive judgments—until I started charging for it.”

“I just said bring it on! I made $600 over one holiday.”

“My husband got with the program pretty quickly after that.”

“See, OP, nothing will change until you are the one affected by your mother’s disrespect for your wife.”

“YTA until you pay up for Mom’s insults.” ~ shorthandgregg

“OP, This is a terrific idea.”

“Please go to the bank and have cash on hand for the visit so you can pay your wife and be sure to do it in front of your Mother.”

“If your Mother asks about it, tell her that, while you have learned to ignore it when she says mean and hurtful things so you can avoid conflict; it hurts your wife’s feelings.”

“You agreed to start paying your wife $100 for every hurtful comment.”

“After the visit, she can buy herself something nice.”

“Either that or tell your Mother what Thumper’s mother says, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.’ (From Bambi).” ~ Key_Plastic_3372

“YTA big time.”

“It’s your RESPONSIBILITY as a spouse to take your spouse’s part when your parent oversteps.”

“You are failing your wife in a pretty classic way, dude.”

“You don’t have the backbone to yell your mother not to treat you a certain way and you expect your wife to suck it up, too, because it’s easier for you than being an adult and saying, ‘Mom, it’s not ok for you to speak to me/us/spouse like that.'”

“It’s called separation and it’s an important part of growing up.”

“Are you an adult or a little boy whose mommy is always in charge?” ~ anacluephone

“YTA. Since you have trouble responding in the moment, sit down with your wife and work together to come up with some generic responses you can have ready to go.”

“’That’s an unkind thing to say as a guest in someone else’s home’ is a good start.” ~ AllegraO

“Agree, and if she doesn’t stop immediately, she doesn’t stay. Period.”

“It’s your wife’s home.”

“Her safe space.”

“You’re allowing your mom to make it unsafe and uncomfortable.”

“This makes YOU unsafe and untrustworthy to your wife, which builds resentment and leads to anger and eventually divorce.”

“Ask me how I know. 34 years later I’m finally freeing myself from this very situation and I am so grateful.”

“If you’re not man enough to protect your wife from ANYONE who’s disrespecting her, then she deserves better.”

“I hope she values herself enough to understand that.” ~ StunningSun3384

“Adding to this that even if OP doesn’t respond in the moment right after the comment has been made that he can still circle back and cite specific examples of comments that upset his wife.”

“It actually might be better to approach his mother with a few examples so that his mom can fully understand what OP and his wife are talking about.”

“And why they are upset because he should be treating it as if they are a team and therefore both are upset by the comments regardless of who the comments are specifically targeted towards.” ~ emjdownbad

“I think it’s more about being A MAN, not just a husband.”

“Any idiot can marry someone, a real man takes up for his wife and tells his mom to shut up or get out. That’s it.”

“That’s all you have to do.”

“In the future, when mom is planning to visit, you have to tell her before she comes that you will not tolerate her childish, infantile, immature comments, and if she can’t keep her stupid pas-ag comments to herself she is no longer welcome.”

“And if she ignores you for a few months, ok.”

“It’s really more her loss than yours.”

“When you got married, you chose 1 woman to be most important in your life.”

“Your mother is not that person.”

“YTA. Do better.”

“You’re not slow, you are just so used to being berated that you think it’s normal. It’s not.”

“Good parents don’t find joy in shaming and judging their kids.”

“Maybe 6 months of no contact with mom will fix her issues.”

“And if 6 months doesn’t work, make it 6 more.”

“Or 12 more.” ~ Zestyclose_Minute_69

“You can’t bury your head in the sand…”

“Yes, this is exactly what OP is doing.”

“He claims to want to help but then gives a bunch of excuses for why he doesn’t.”

“He admits that he wants his wife to ignore his mom, and says that he is ‘kind of slow,’ ‘not paying attention,’ and that his ‘family is very passive-aggressive. All excuses.”

“If he knows that his wife is bothered, then he would make sure to pay attention and call out his mom’s comments ASAP. YTA, OP.” ~ Hello_JustSayin

“YTA. This is an ongoing issue with your mother – it isn’t just one or two off-the-cuff comments that caught you flat-footed.”

“You know she’s constantly criticizing, you know your wife doesn’t like it.”

“By your description, your mother sounds exhausting and unpleasant to be around.”

“You need to grow up and have an uncomfortable conversation in which you actually tell her that her behavior bothers you.”

“Not that it bothers your wife, that it bothers *you*, and that you don’t want to invite her to your home to insult you.” ~ DueIsland2983

“Yeah sorry but YTA.”

“Coming over and starting cleaning is I guess a ‘mum thing’ but still super disrespectful to your wife.”

“Just like the rest of your mum’s actions.”

“You don’t need to say something at the moment but by now you had like a million opportunities to say something before or after one of your mum’s trips.” ~ sabreyna

“YTA – so your mom is a rude, mean, petty woman and you have let it slide all these years, and now wonder if your wife should also enable her bad, egregious behavior?”

“No, she shouldn’t and YTA for not having a backbone.”

“Your wife doesn’t even have a husband who stands up for her against mean comments.” ~ heather20202024

OP came back to chat…

“My wife has asked me not to confront my mother outside of these comments as she feels she’ll receive blowback for it, and it’ll look like it came from her.”

“She wants me to respond when my mother says something at the moment.”

“I guess I am slow because I have trouble doing that.”

“Also, my family is very passive-aggressive and we almost never confront things head-on – I’ve tried to change that and it ends with them just refusing to speak to me for a few months.”

Well, OP, you have quite the conundrum on your hands.

Being stuck between a spouse and a parent is never fun.

Reddit clearly takes some issue with your lack of action.

It may be time for a serious, calm chat with your mom.

Good luck.