Updates: “Pushed by MIL” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Pushed by MIL” who was tired of her mother-in-law showing up at their home uninvited all the time. Keep reading to see if she tried any of the suggestions given to her and whether things with her MIL have improved.

Thank you for posting my letter and for the advice. I tried some of the suggestions, but things only continued to spiral downhill. My husband wasn’t in agreement with some of the other suggestions, like grabbing the coats and pretending we were out the door, and the one time we did try to not answer the door she knew we were home and went crazy banging on the door and screaming, “We know you are inside,” and my husband gave in and said he could just not ignore her. My MIL continued to stop by without notice, so I made sure to take my husband aside and made a comment loud enough for her to hear asking why we couldn’t have received a call to let us know she was stopping by (with other guests as well). She obviously heard my comment because she stopped coming by completely and complains to her son that now she does not see the grandbaby. She blames me for this, and our relationship has deteriorated. I told my husband that it did not matter anymore because I am no longer breastfeeding (that was one of my main reasons for requesting advance notice of her visits) but she does not want to come over anymore so she stopped seeing the baby. We try to bring the baby to her house, but right before we come over (like when we are about out the door, the baby is ready to go) she will cancel for stupid reasons like to go out with her friends. I guess it is a lose-lose situation. I appreciate the help though! (P.S. For some strange reason though she tells her son she wants me to have another baby!).

Maybe it’s not such a lose-lose situation. She’s not showing up unannounced anymore, is she? Hopefully, in time, your relationship with your MIL will improve. Good luck.


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].


  1. Avatar photo theattack says:

    Gaw, I can’t stand when people react this way. Scaling something back doesn’t mean never come over again. She’s being a big whiney, passive aggressive baby. She probably just wants you to apologize and ask her to come over all the time whenever she wants to.

  2. lets_be_honest says:

    Oh ffs. This woman needs to grow the hell up.

  3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    I’m glad it worked out in the end but it was pretty passive aggressive of you to make the comment purposely loud so she could hear. It doesn’t really matter because it worked out in the end, I guess I’m just a little sad your husband wasn’t on board with all the other awesome suggestions Wendy gave. She is pretty terrible and immature – so maybe an aggressive-aggressive stance was needed. Now I’m rambling. I’m happy she doesn’t stop over unannounced. Does she only have boys? I’m just curious – because the most out of control mother-in-laws I know only have sons.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      “because the most out of control mother-in-laws I know only have sons.” You know…now that you said this, it really is true. How weird!

      1. i also concur that is almost always true.

        its that weird bond that forms between mothers and sons (and fathers/daughters too). it has to be.

      2. Rangerchic says:

        Well I have to disagree…I have a fabulous MIL and she has two boys. She never tries to get in the way of our life. IDK…I do feel really lucky to have a good MIL given all the stories I read! I even thanked her once and she said she learned to not be nosy/bossy/whatever from her own MIL!

      3. lol, so she just broke the cycle. that doesnt count.


      4. 6napkinburger says:

        That doesn’t affect what she said at all. Just because you have a rectangle that isn’t a square doesn’t mean that all squares aren’t rectangles. square = crappy MIL; rectangle = MIl with all sons, all = most

      5. Way to use your LSAT logic skillz!

      6. 6napkinburger says:

        Thanks! good to know they are good for something, if not my law career

      7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        My theory is that boys will not keep their moms in check the same way girls will – and this has been proven with every single person I’ve met. Seriously. My husband and his brother will never say the things to my MIL that his sister (god bless her) will.

        Even in my immediate family. I have no problem telling my mom, “Girl 1980 called and they want their hairstyles back – you need to get that shit cut and highlighted. Also you need to stop being so dramatic about Grandma. I know she’s a pain in the ass – but look at her like a child. She can’t help herself sometimes. Plus I want to go on a free vacation soon so don’t fuck that up for me.” My brother would never say those things to her. He will listen (passively) but will never tell her she’s in the wrong.

      8. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I’m jealous of your relationship with your mother. I WISH I could call my mom out on her BS. Everytime I’ve done it, it results in a huge fight that just isn’t worth it. What does your mom do when you say stuff like that to her?

      9. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        She normally laughs and tells me I’m hilarious (which is clearly true) and then agrees that she’s overreacting. I think we just genuinely like each other as people so it’s easy for us to critique each other. Like I know she is one of the greatest people alive – so I take her advice. It helps that we’ve talked about how crazy old women can be (because of my MIL and grandma) and so she’ll always say stuff like “please tell me if I get crazy and controlling when your brother gets married – I want to be the sweet fun old lady”. So I take her up on it, haha.

      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Aww, that’s awesome! It sounds like you two have a great relationship!

      11. I agree with you. I can say ANYTHING to my mom. I don’t think we’ve been in a fight since I was 16. She knows that I love her in a way I don’t love anyone else, and nothing’s going to change that, even if I tell her that her outfit is frumpy 🙂

      12. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        God what is with that. It’s like they think their mothers are some emotionally fragile creature who must not be upset and can’t be directly challenged yet for some reason this does not extend to their wives or girlfriends. I have a vagina too where is the blind acceptance of all my demands

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        Lol! That’s a great point. ftr, Peter is not like what you guys describe is typical mom/son behavior. Thank god.

      14. PREACH.

      15. Avatar photo shanshantastic says:

        My husband demonstrated this to a T over the last few days. Of course…she sort of proved it to be true last night, but it still irritates the hell out of me.

      16. I concur. My friend’s MIL is a nightmare… She has 2 sons.

    2. Avatar photo Astronomer says:

      This is yet another reminder of how lucky I am to have a mother-in-law who is a man. For real. He’s one of the most non-intrusive people ever, even when he comes to visit and stays with us. Although he does make himself VERY comfortable, going through the cupboards and randomly pulling things off the bookshelves. Still, that’s a minor complaint considering some of the horror stories I’ve heard (like this one!).

  4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:


    Seriously I’m at a loss for words. How can so many people act so immaturely? (LW kudos to you for trying to act like a grown up. But maybe if you had let your MIL in while you were breastfeeding (you know whole boob out action) she would have started calling in advance on her own.)

    1. someone this invasive is not going to be scared off by a little boob… actually, most women who have breastfed probably wouldn’t be

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Well, it was partially a joke but the MIL might take a hint that she ia barging in on personal time (like breastfeeding). Also, that’s a pretty broad statement. I know two women who are breastfeeing right now and my mother who breastfeed two children and all of them found it is/was a personal experience and they did not like to breastfeed with an audiance. So yes, while some women may not care who is or isn’t around while breastfeeding their child, a lot of women do. And if you’ve never experienced breastfeeding (doing it your self or being in close contact with someone who is) it can be a very uncomfortable situation.

      2. Breastfeeding is not personal time. It’s a normal every day activity like bottlefeeding. I wouldn’t even blink if someone yanked out a whole boob in front of me.

  5. theattack is right. She’s being passive aggressive and trying to guilt trip you into giving her what she wants.

    Also, you and your husband need to get on the same page about his mother. He needs to think of her like a small child: if he keeps giving into to her temper tantrums, she’s going to keep believing she’ll get her way by throwing a fit. For example, he should let her keep banging on the door instead of rewarding her poor behavior by giving her the attention she wanted. Unless he changes his behavior, she has no reason to change hers.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Your first sentence is my favorite sentence in the world.

  6. LW – your MIL is being so passive agressive. So the best way to deal with this is to be friendly and do not sink to her level. So when she cancels, say, “So sorry to hear that. What about two weeks from Saturday?” Stay friendly and organized. Another plan, just have your husband go with the baby and give yourself a much needed breather.

    1. “So when she cancels, say, “So sorry to hear that. What about two weeks from Saturday?””

      I like this, but I think I can improve it. How about each time she cancels, you add an extra week? So if she cancelled the two weeks from Saturday engagement, your next offer would be three weeks from Saturday. Repeat as needed. And if she shows up to an agreed meeting time, you can do it the other way around–decrease the interval (within reason, of course).

  7. Ugh, so she is being passive-aggressive as fuck, buuut I agree with IWTTS that it was also a little passive-aggressive for you to take the saying-this-within-your-earshot! approach.

    However, I do understand why you reacted that way out of frustration—not having your husband 100% on your side sort of made this impossible. He should have spoken with her himself, I think.

  8. lets_be_honest says:

    Did you ever actually ask her to call first? I can’t remember. It is a little sad, regardless of how immature she is, that this is just her wanting time with her family. My SO’s mom can be needy like that, but she means well. I was napping once and she came over looking for us, and totally freaked when we didn’t answer. She sent his dad over too. Thought we died from carbon monoxide poisoning or something. She was crying when Peter finally reached her. Some people just overreact.

    1. omg, that was my mother when I was living alone. One time I was out on a date in a loud restaurant and didnt hear her phone call. So of course she went to my house, found a window slightly ajar, and decided she would call the police if I didn’t come home in two hours. Luckily, I did, but I was thoroughly embarrassed in front of my date when her car was chillin there in the parking lot. She has since realized this was ridiculous, thankfully. Normally she is a very sweet woman and we enjoy a good relationship with normal-person boundaries.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        🙂 Normally, his mom’s not bad either. A bit needy, but that’s fine by me. I’m grateful bc it could be MUCH worse.

    2. Temperance says:

      Eh, my mother does that shit, too, and that’s how people see it who don’t deal with her, didn’t grow up like I did, and who have nice, caring, normal mothers.

  9. Whatever you do, don’t validate/enable her!

    The growing child will be an irresistible lure. Just don’t let her rewind the clock and begin that behavior again. After all, you may have a second child ….

  10. honestly, i think the real issue here is with your husband, not with her. he needs to cut the apron strings and make you/his family the priority.

    but yes, WEES about her being a big baby- jesus. what a toddler mentality. i feel so bad for mothers like her…

  11. sarolabelle says:

    He should have answered the door and said:

    “Oh hey mom, good to see you. We don’t really want company right now so can you please come back at [time to come back]?”

    I can’t imagine the woman going “no, I’m coming in” If she DID do that then your husband should say.

    “Really, Mom, I mean it. Please leave us alone now.”

    Seriously, any woman would listen to her son. I really do not think this has EVER happened, which is sad. Instead he probably opened the door and said. “Hi Mom, come on in”

    Ugh! Sounds like the LW is taking care of two babies!

  12. gIRL.IN.LA says:

    You guys are a little harsh. What if it was her mom visiting unannounced, would it bother her? Would it bother you ladies? I’m sorry but that’s pretty f**ked up. I would never make my husband ignore his mom, because I wouldn’t want him to do that to my mother. Our moms drops by unannounced all the tiime but it doesn’t bother me, it can’t, sure it annoys me once in a while but I let it go I know they mean well. Have you thought about what type of positon you are putting your husband in, don’t you think it really hurts him. He might not tell you it hurts because he loves you and might want to avoid an argument. Why not apologize to clear the air be the bigger person, explain the breast feeding issues I just think it’s sad to treat the mother of the man you love that way.

    1. Temperance says:

      Of course that would bother me! I wouldn’t let my mother disrupt my husband and I, either.

      Being the “bigger person” is overrated. It would just lead to me being steamrolled.

    2. It would bug the hell out of me if my parents stopped by unannounced. And it bugs me when husband when his parents do it. It’s one thing if they call and ask if we mind, it is a completely different thing if they show up at your doorstep. Especially because we rarely wear pants at my house…

      1. My FiL had a bad habit of stopping by unannounced. We normally wear pants, but my wife normally does not wear socks in the house. My FIL would become very indignant, like it was a personal offense and great disrespect to him, that she wasn’t wearing shoes and socks when he dropped in. On the mornings when she wasn’t wearing pants, I got to entertain my lovely, complaining FIL, while wife dressed.

    3. It’s not about treating her badly though, or” being mean”. Ignoring her at the door isn’t an action to take just to be a bitch—this woman obviously needs CLEAR messages so she learns to respect boundaries. She, right now, has no sense of boundary & isn’t responding to reason.

  13. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    I get that you feel bad about this. I probably would, too. But really? This is truly all on your MIL. Frankly, she is getting exactly what she deserves — not seeing her grandbaby — simply because she remains steadfast and determined to be a complete and total cunt. This is her freaking bed, I wouldn’t shed any tears over her now lying it all alone.

    Some people just need to fucking grow up. Some people, though, are simply beyond all hope. So, I say, FUCK your mother-in-law.

  14. YOU WIN! You get to live in a peaceful environment… your hubby can keep dealing with her comments (because that’s what he gets by not understanding boundaries are for grownups) and you can keep your head up while continuing to offer to head over to her house to give her time to be with the baby. If she says no, that’s on her. When she starts spreading stories about how you are “keeping” her from her grandchild… you can refer back to the clear evidence to the contrary.

    $20 says she wants you to have another kid because she assumes you will need more help and that would give her an in. 😉

  15. A timely Miss Manners column!!! Maybe the LW’s MIL wrote in 🙂

    DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am old enough to recall when guests came first. Drop-ins might have been unexpected, but never unwanted or unwelcome. The family made accommodations as if they had been invited — even if guests got most of the meal or the children of the household ate peanut butter sandwiches. Nowadays the family’s schedule comes first, and drop-ins might not even be invited in for a brief chat and coffee. Calling first does not mean they will be welcome either. Is this a sign of the rudeness that is so pervasive in society?

    GENTLE READER: At first, Miss Manners thought you must have meant to write that you recalled when guests “called” first. It seemed unlikely that you would be old enough to predate the telephone, the invention that made asking-before-appearing possible. Certainly, people should show great consideration for their guests. But guests are also obliged to show consideration. Popping up unexpectedly and eating the children’s dinner does not meet that standard.

    1. Temperance says:

      I bet her MIL wrote that. Damn.

  16. No, it’s about 60% about the MIL. The other 40% is about LW’s husband not supporting his wife and standing up to his mother. That is his job, when his wife’s requests are reasonable and his mother’s behavior is outrageous. Showing unnanouced with friends to the home of a nursing mother is just awful.

  17. I get that the LW’s tactic was technically passive-aggressive, but when you’ve got someone who bangs on your door yelling to be let in, I think you can do whatever the hell you want. Passive-aggression only matters when you’re dealing with a sane person.

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