Annoying Shviger Visits

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    my shviger has been coming every other shabbos since january. originally she said it was only for the winter. coz it was too cold for her to go out . while she is helpful in folding laundry etc , she likes going through anything and everything that is not locked up. today she took a few photos that were on my desk and put them in her bag but told me about it later and i told her to give them back and we would make copies for her. the pix were of my parents mostly.

    how do i tactfully revert to how things were before the winter.

    it is a given that she comes to us every yom tov as her other child is not frum.


    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Does she have a husband? If not, you should try to understand how great a mitzvah you are doing, lock everything up, and grin and bear it.

    (Easy for me to say, I’m not the one living through it!)


    daas, no sadly she does not. he passed away more than 10 yrs ago.

    i’m trying really hard. honest. she was here 2 weeks for pesach. i got hrough it . but going through things on my desk and then taking them is hurtful to me. what if she didnt give the pix back? i would not have known where they were.


    The reason why the Yiddish word for MIL is Shvigger is because they could not think of an uglier sounding word.


    Start laying down some rules, like “don’t take anything unless you ask”. My MIL sometimes feels too at home and annoys us also. She was talking to some friends her age, and they (her friends) have said that their kids tell them that they don’t have tact. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t live with anyone, you forget boundaries. Your job is to reinstate some boundaries.

    yaakov doe

    What does your wife have to say about this? Does she know about her mother’s snooping?


    yaakov, im the wife. i told my dear hubby and he was upset as well.

    MDG, i fear that since i didnt lay the rule down the moment it happened i cant really bring it back up now.

    i truly hate having any issues with her. i shop for the foods i know she likes to make her feel good when she is here and i also like our children to see that we do what we do for her. so i feel funny having this on my head as well.


    my MIL gives unsolicited advice about anything and everything when she comes for shabbos. I grit my teeth and try to act appreciative. I know she means well and is trying to be helpful, not critical…but it is still very annoying. I think it must be part of the MIL job description.

    What helps me the most is reminding myself that it’s not personal. Your MIL has personality quirks that are hard to live with…don’t they all?


    oy oy oy that is sounds so annoying.

    I would just say “Yoy mommy PLLLeaasseeeE ask me before you take anything from my house! Please. Ok? I dont like that.”


    Have you considered the idea that something might be going on with her neurologically speaking? it makes no sense that she would take photos of your parents and put them in her bag (even if she DID tell you). Has she always acted this way? If not, it is time to get her to a doctor for a complete evaluation. In fact, I would take her anyway. Her behavior sounds a little indiscreet.



    I agree that taking those pics is strange, but what can you say to get her to the doctor? Perhaps say that a full check-up is needed.


    I think that you can revisit that issue and tell her the problem. Better yet, the two of you (you and husband) should stand together while one of you speak with her. I have a feeling that she feels that he is OK with whatever she does. He has to voice/show his dissatisfaction, otherwise she will assume that he really agrees with her against you.


    I think that you have to let her know that her unsolicited advice is not needed nor wanted. It may get her to be quiet. BTDT.

    She may be looking to feel important and/or needed. Maybe find other ways for her to feel important, like take care of the kids, read books to them, help set & clear the table, etc.

    Many parents are used to lording over their children and treating them like little kids. Some times, we need to break out of that rut OR change how that relationship works.

    am yisrael chai

    Hashem sent mothers-in-law as shlichim to let their kids-in-law EARN their olam haba…

    Shticky Guy

    Actually the word shvigger was chosen cos it rhymes with trigger…

    Yes, many mils do unfortunately tell their kids what to do the whole time, not differentiating between before you got married and after. You are still their little child no matter how old you are, no matter how many kids you have ??? ??? ???. This is where the mil jokes come in.

    Eg when she gives you ‘advice’ on how to bring up your kids, just tell her that you dont need advice from her cos you’re married to one of her kids and, believe me, you’ve noticed much room for improvement!

    Or yakov miller’s: you open your front door to find your mil standing there. ‘What are you doing here?’ you ask. She replies ‘I’ve come to stay with you’. ‘How long for?’ you ask with dread. ‘Its up to you’ she says. ‘Oh’ you reply, ‘so you’re not even staying for a coffee??’


    Mewho – you aren’t in an easy situation. You seem like very considerate children.

    About confronting her – care must be taken. Particularly as she is an elderly widow. Laying down rules may be appropriate as a young couple, but circumstances change with an elderly MIL.

    I’d say ‘always runs’ method is the gentlest.


    thank you all for your advice. i truly appreciate it. i am still afraid to bring it up coz she is sensitive. she will cry etc. i dont want to hurt her. i just want her not to take things from me. pictures of my parents are irreplaceable if lost. they are no longer here. copies can be made. all she needs to do is ask.

    i guess that last sentence is exactly what i should say should the picture subject come up again.


    hatzlacha, mewho.


    Mewho, I will reiterate what I said. Her behavior sounds to be NOT normal, especially if it is of recent onset. She might be experiencing the beginnings of dementia and aneurological exam and general health exam are both crucial to early detection. My friend’s mom started to do things such as you are describing, became paranoid and secretive. She refused medical attention, and like you, her daughter didn;t know what to make of it, and couldn’t get her to go for a checkup. Eventually she was forced to go because she fell, so they did a neurop work up as part of her battery of tests, and it turned out she had advanced dementia. By that time, she had cut off all contact with people, and insisted her husband was not her husband.

    There are many things that can trigger odd behavior, including emotional pain, but this sounds to me like something that needs to be addressed right now. Your husband should insist on taking her for a checkup. If she is resistant, he should remind her that he loves her, and he is concerned that she is not feeling well but not telling him. If she still objects he should play the guilt card that moms often use and say,” Do this for me, if you love me.”


    thanks choc and oomis and all.



    Mewho, it sounds to me as well, that something is off. What is her relationship with your parents? Does she have reason to be jealous of your parents? Is she feeling afraid or anxious? Does she feel unwelcome in any way? How old is she?

    She might know that she is “off” in some way and is having anxiety about it. She might be scared to be alone in her home for Shabbos when she can’t pick up a phone or turn on the TV, etc. It is pretty obvious that she needs to be loved, needed and wanted. After all she is alone.

    There comes a time in everyone’s life when our lives turn around and WE start to take care of our parents. It is called the sandwich generation. We need to do this with humor, generosity and with respect. It is NOT always easy. Yes, it can be very difficult at times, but we have to give back to our parents what they gave to us. As she cannot go to her other child as you pointed out, she has no choice but to go to your husband, her son. It is his and your obligation to care for her and by understanding this maybe you can do it in a pleasant and respectful way, and not find it so much of a burden. Let her know that she is more than welcome in your home. Let her have a sense of safety and security. Let her feel that she is NOT a burden to you but a welcome family member. Let her know how she can help so she feels needed. Include her in what is going on, ask her to test the kids on their spelling words. Set the rules by saying, “thats OK Mom, I have that under control” or “that’s ok Mom, Chanie knows the rules about candy before dinner”.

    When she does leave she will be leaving knowing that she will be welcomed back with open arms and that she does not have anything to worry about. If she doesn’t want to leave, then know that she needs you more than you thought she did and work on yourself to accept that.


    aries2756: I, for one, REALLY like your response! Such a grateful, pleasant, peaceful attitude. If only it would be ingrained in today’s society…


    Shticky Guy –

    What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws?



    aries, thank you for your suggestions. her relationship with my parents is one of the past. unfortunately they are no longer liveng for quite some time.

    i have always welcomed her with open arms. i tell her how much i appreciate her folding laundry , hanging jackets etc.

    she is a clean a holic but i dont need things to be cleaned such as my desk, or for my things to be taken.


    mewho, maybe she misses your parents as well, or maybe she is wistful about the losses in your lives. She might have been remembering the past and the good times as well as what she has lost and the losses you suffered as well. You can ask her.

    Whether you have welcomed her with open arms or told her you appreciate her, if you didn’t really mean it, she might have known. So if she is the only living parent left, and the only grandparent left for your grandchildren how much more precious is this woman who you call “shviger”? No matter how annoying she gets, no matter how uncomfortable you feel, what does this woman deserve from her children and grandchildren when she is all alone? What does she really mean to you? Is there anything that you need to do to change your attitude about her?

    Your original post was about getting rid of her and getting YOUR life back to normal. Your life may never get back to what you consider normal. THIS might be your normal for a while until it gets even more complicated and invasive. And as your shviger gets older and possibly has medical and emotional issues it is not her that will be able to change and be in control of her attitude or emotions or even actions. YOU are the one that will have to change and learn how to deal with what is happening to her, how to deal with her needs, wants and wishes while maintaining your home, family and hopefully your sanity.

    You might need the help of a therapist that you can vent to, a good friend that will lend you an ear to chew on, or a very generous Rebetzin who can help build your strength and emunah. Whatever happens, Hatzlocha, we are rooting for you.


    thank you for all your wise words aries.


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