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How do you politely ask someone to stay out of your kitchen?

A couple of weeks ago, my IL's were staying with us, looking for a place to live in our area. My MIL, bless her heart, felt the need to "help" me by doing the dishes.
I thanked her for her "help", but I would rather her stay out of my kitchen.
I love to cook, so everything has it's place in my kitchen. She screwed my kitchen up, completely, lol! She put cooking utensils with camelbak cleaning supplies, can opener with cutting boards, wine glasses with measuring cups. She would fill up the dishwasher and never turn it on, left knives out ( hello, I have a toddler) and stacked clean dishes where I put dirty dishes waiting to be hand washed, so i was washing clean dishes several times.
It's been several weeks and I'm still putting my kitchen back in order.
My IL's are staying with us again for a couple more weeks later this week.
How do I politely tell my MIL to stay out of the kitchen?

Answer Question

Asked by nwdeserangel at 1:50 PM on Jul. 29, 2009 in Relationships

Level 6 (111 Credits)
Answers (20)
  • Tell her that while you appreciated that she wanted to help out, you're extremely OCD about the organization of your kitchen and do not handle change well, so it would be better for everyone if she let you take care of any clean-up and stayed out of the kitchen. This makes it all your fault, putting no blame on her, and still means she'd better stay away.

    Answer by SWasson at 1:56 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • Either tell her she needs to enjoy her visit while there that means she don't have to lift a finger or just put up with her until she leaves you can bite your tongue just alittle longer can't you.?


    Answer by Butterfly1108 at 1:56 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • She just wants to help. Why not just show her where everything goes? Kindly explain that you have your own order and things would go more smoothly if everything went back to its place.

    Answer by Mousuke at 1:58 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • My MIL was the same. When she left I had to go through my kitchen and change everything back. One time she noticed I had replaced things the way I liked them, and she looked at me and said "You like having things this way!" I agreed that yes, that's the way I like them. Perhaps you could say to her that it will just take you a second to clean up because you have your own way of doing it fast, so please go talk with the guys, or something. If you look at it from her point of view, she is being courteous by helping you out since you have gone to all the trouble planning and cooking. She feels it is the least she can do to show her gratitude and to feel helpful. Something else you can do is to let her wash, but you do the drying and putting away. Or tell her that you don't hand dry that it is more sanitary to air dry, then she won't be putting things away. Knives- I don't put knives with wooden handles in the dishwasher.

    Answer by Bmat at 1:58 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • tell her how much you admire her mothering skills & the kids love to spend time with her, play it up big for her ego. have some activities ready at hand that she can do with the kids, & she might be a big help keeping kids entertained
    tell her creating memories more imporant than dishes
    BUT most likely she will want to help in the kitchen, have some other household chores listed for her - some that take a while, like polishing some silverware or reoraginzing your recipes, she can write down her recipes, go thru magazines for some good ones. anything take keeps her busy, a long project, & you can play it up that it would be SO helpful if she did__
    she could do this task & watch how you put your kitchen together, she may learn & be more helpful in the future
    you can switch with me, husbands dad's wife does NOTHING when she comes over
    i asked if she would like to play with the kids and she did for 5 min

    Answer by boredmom44 at 2:02 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • Op here-
    I wanted to add, I have other issues with my MIL ( who doesn't, lol).
    The whole point of them being here is to find a place to live. My MIL did nothing else while here. She just sat around, watching TV and playing with my ODS, when she should have been helping FIL find a house to live in.
    I already have a rocky relationship with her, but am trying to be a polite as possible with her.
    Though I love some of the suggestions, they wouldn't work with my MIL. I can't continue biting my tongue with a woman that came into my home, on meds that made her borderline suicidal and really depressed, and not telling me that she was on them. She also is really clingy with my children and doesn't know what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior with grandchildren (she took my son into the bathroom with her while she used the bathroom and reported to me how he made a comment on her not having a penis).
    There's so much more-

    Answer by nwdeserangel at 2:23 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • oh
    that is a diifernt story than
    i do not want to switch with you
    i was making light of situation
    you have more to deal with than putting items in wrong place in kitchen

    what does your husband have to say about her behavior??

    Answer by boredmom44 at 2:26 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • I'm doing the best I can trying to create boundaries. I normally would say anything about the dishes because they live so far away. But since they are moving to our area, boundaries need to be established.
    Her helping in the kitchen is just one of many things that need to be addressed.

    Answer by nwdeserangel at 2:27 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • is this your husband's mom?
    if so
    what does he say or think
    OR does he not say or not think

    Answer by boredmom44 at 2:30 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • My DH is going to have a talk with her about some of the bigger things, but I want to handle some of the small things, like helping in the kitchen, giving ODS food and drinks I don't want him to have, etc, etc.
    He just thinks that boundaries need to be set with his parents.
    Also wanted to add- most of their last stay, my DH was out of town for work, so I was dealing with a teething baby, tantruming toddler, borderline suicidal MIL and stressed out FIL that made light of all my issues with MIL.

    Answer by nwdeserangel at 2:32 PM on Jul. 29, 2009

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