Unwanted In-Law Visits are Affecting Her Work

Dear Relationshipper,

Working at home is something I appreciate and I do my best not to abuse my employer's trust in me.  He pays me for the hours I submit on my time report and I have never reported working any time that I didn't.  I've set up a schedule for myself and have informed friends/family of the hours I consider to be work time.  You'd think that would work, wouldn't you?

My mother-in-law constantly drops in without warning and is offended if I don't drop everything to talk with her.  She expects me to put on the coffee and eat doughnuts with her.  Her reason for doing this?  She says that everyone else has a "real" job and I'm the only one who's home.  What she's doing is disrupting my day so I spend night hours working and my husband gets irritated that I'm not paying attention to him.  He knows what she does but says I should just tell her to "get lost" and feels if I don't have the guts to tell her, I'm out of luck.  He refuses to get involved.

Is there a good way to deal with this without causing bad feelings and upheaval in the family?


Dear Daughter,

Sounds like you’re not getting a lot of respect from your husband or his mother.  In a way, your husband’s lack of consideration for your situation is the real problem.  You should really express to him that you need his support.  Tell him that when he refuses to get involved, he is essentially saying that he doesn’t respect your job or your relationship.  It’s funny how he doesn’t want you to work nights, yet he will do nothing to solve the problem.

If you still get nowhere with your husband, consider finding an office outside the home if your job is conducive to a move.  By “office”, I mean a local coffee shop or even town park.  When the inevitable question comes from your MIL about where you were, tell her you “couldn’t concentrate – there’ve been so many distractions lately, the phone ringing, things like that – and I couldn’t get my job done.”  All without mentioning her specifically, of course.  Remind her how important your job is to you, and the work you do is important to your boss and his clients.  If you can ward off the drop-ins for a while, you may be able to return to a full time home office.

If you’re home the next time she drops by, let her know that you can’t have coffee now because you’re swamped with work, but you’d love for her to come over Sunday morning (when your husband will be around).  Tell her you’re going to make her favorite cake and you’re excited to see her then.  If this causes a huge family upheaval, it okay – you haven’t done anything wrong.  It’s important to create harmonious relations between yourself and your in-laws, but you really must stand up for yourself (with kindness, of course) when you are being disrespected and oppressed.

I hope this helps.

What’s on your mind today?  Let me know at: lisa@relationshipper.com


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