Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Am I neurotically obsessed about boundaries or is she insane?

Today while I was at university, my mother-in-law

  • vacuumed the apartment
  • swept and mopped the balcony
  • repotted my plants
  • moved my plants to new locations around the house
  • cleaned out the dishwasher drain
  • cleaned the shower
  • bought geraniums for the balcony
  • bought a new set of water glasses and new containers to keep breakfast cereals in.
So why is it that instead of being grateful, I feel incredibly insulted?


StyleyGeek said...

I should add that our apartment was pretty near spotless before she began. We had to spring clean three times in the last month: once for an official annual inspection by the property manager, once because the landlord was visiting to do some repairs, and once just before the mothers arrived.

We are very tidy at the best of times (I have been called obsessive-compulsive by messier friends), and the last few weeks the place has been even cleaner than usual.

(The INSIDE of my drawers/cupboards, etc, are another story, I have to admit: I just can't stand mess I can see, but have nothing against it being locked away in a wardrobe -- see post below.)

Anastasia said...

uuugghhhh I would be totally insulted by this. to me, it says "this apartment isn't good enough! here, let me make it better in various ways."

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

You're insulted because it's YOUR home and she's trying to put her mark on it.

Having said that, can you send her to my place next?

kermitthefrog said...

I'll come down in favor of the purchasing (geraniums actually seem like a nice house-visiting gift), but definitively against the cleaning. Especially if you're already clean.

Twirly said...

Is it because she is your mother-in-law, would you feel the same way if it was your mom?

My mom does this everytime she comes to visit - and while it annoys me, secretly I like it a little because I don't have the time to be obssessive. Anyways I'd be a bit upset if my (currently non-existant) mother-in-law tried to tidy. Plus I told my mom she is liable to find condoms and/or sex toys if she cleans and the look on her face was worth it.

Twirly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BernieRA said...

Forget about feeling insulted... why does 'vacuum' have two u's? I know it's right, but it never LOOKS that way.

Oh- sorry. Yeah, insulted is right. My mother-in-law used to do the same. My wife found it cool. I found it offensive. Then, when my laundry kept showing up done, I got over it.

I'm so easy. I'm a laundry ho!

StyleyGeek said...

I think it might be different if she visited more often and I got used to having her around. But since we live in different countries, she comes over once every couple of years, and this is the first time she's seen this apartment. So it feels a bit like, if she is wasting one of her five days in the country by cleaning, she must think the place is pretty bad!

I gave her the keys, the car keys, a bus map, directions to touristy things and some suggestions for nice walks around the neighbourhood for while I was out, and she chose to clean instead!

(I also just discovered this morning that she took out all the things from the cupboards, cleaned them out, and lined them with paper! This means she saw the scungy backs of the cupboards and drawers we never go into -- we cleaned out the front halves but didn't bother with the rest -- and also in the bathroom cupboards, she must have come across the sex toys. Oh dear.)

StyleyGeek said...

It's a good question about whether it would be different if it were my Mum, though. I think I'd still be a little bit offended, but not as much.

And I think Brazen Hussy is right about it being about marking territory. That is what makes me think I should just get over it. I don't want to be all territorial about my home.

Psycgirl said...

Oooo how irritating. Except the dishwasher trap, I hate that.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'd be a bit offended as well, like your clean appartment isn't clean enough for her to stay in? On the other hand, I'm sure she was just being useful, in her own way, and didn't intend offense. I learned long ago that if an in-law doesn't intend offense, you shouldn't be offended --- they don't know you as well as your own relatives and don't see that their behavior is problematic...

If Geekman has brothers, ask their wives if she does this to them as well -- I'd guess the answer is 'yes'. Next visit, why not leave a particularly hairy closet re-organization for her to do - it would get a nasty chore out of the way for you and give her some reason to feel useful...