DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: We recently had to do some major work to the outside of our house. My husband’s brother agreed to help. His wife asked if she and their kids could come along to visit while the guys worked. My husband politely asked her to come at a different time.
As I was about to leave for work, my brother-in-law showed up ─ with the rest of the family. My husband looked stunned and said nothing. When I expressed surprise, my sister-in-law simply said, “Yeah, we weren’t going to come, but then just decided to be here.”
I’m not comfortable leaving her inside my home while I’m gone. I felt that I had to cancel my work, which I did, but it was unfair to my place of work.
We think that she was very rude to show up after specifically being asked not to.
What would have been the best way to handle this? --- MIFFED COUPLE
DEAR MIFFED COUPLE: Your sister-in-law sounds like quite the determined woman, to put it mildly, which I’m betting some of the following commenters won’t.
Perhaps except for your husband’s having been too polite, rather than firm in his “no” to his sister-in-law, the situation seems to have been out of both your hands. It’s unfortunate you had to change your schedule and inconvenience your coworkers. That you express discomfort at having your sister-in-law alone in your house is also a pretty big clue this is not the most easy-going relationship in the family, and now, here’s one more straw on the camel’s back.
Since you aren’t in control of your sister-in-law’s impulses, it might be best if your husband finds other help besides his brother on the next big project. That way they can save their time together for visits that work on your and your husband’s terms and schedules.