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My husband has 4 siblings and two of the brothers and their wives are very perfectionistic house keepers who have always made my mother-in-law feel nervous and even ashamed. When my mother-in-law was growing up, her own mother was excessively harsh with her and shamed her cleaning, which was never good enough. She had a mother-in-law and a sister-in-law who were very fussy housekeepers as well. Consistently over the last 39 years, my mother-in-law has said how she really doesn't even like having any of them over, even though she is a perfectly good housekeeper herself, because she feels she couldn't ever live up to their expectations of cleanliness and doesn't want to. She is fine with the odd little bit of dust if her kitchen and bathroom are clean and everything is tidy.
She has been in hospital for a few days with an infection and is expected to make a full recovery but now the fussy people are pouncing and saying she isn't coping and wanting to look at care etc. because she isn't quite up to their standards. My mother-in-law has actually been complaining a lot since the Covid lockdown because they are after her about the cleaning and she says it doesn't bother her to have a little bit of dust especially since no one will see her place except herself and family and she doesn't even want them to come over because they are so fussy and make her annoyed.
So, how do I deal with relatives who are pushing their agenda onto my mother-in-law who is not incompetent and has been coping to most people's standards; just not the hyper-perfection people.

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They want to put her in a home because of some dust? I guess I'll be her new roommate then...
Have her tell them when they mention the dust she just saw on NatGeo TV that dust is a wonderful furniture preserver.
Or she can do what one of my MIL's cousins did, keep the vacuum cleaner out in the middle of her living room plugged in at all times. Whenever anyone drops by, say "oh you just caught me about to start vacuuming...that's ok, I can get to it later after you leave..."
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Reply to notgoodenough
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Dis-invite them, formally, in an invitation.

Announcement: Mil is happily ensconced back at home after a brief hospital stay, and does not want visitors.
She has cancelled all family gatherings at her home for the rest of the year, choosing instead to spend her time getting her certificate of health and competence framed with gold leaf. She has purchased a feather duster to keep the frame ever so clean!
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I love Margaret's answer. And if that doesn't work, given MIL is NOT incompetent, she will have to get up the courage to tell people she no longer cares to hear their opinions, and that if they continue to GIVE their opinions, she will cut off all contact with them. She should tell them that she has not yet reached the stage where she either is acting like/or should be treated like a child.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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This is one suggestion. Send an edited version of your post, in writing, to all the fussy relatives. My own edit is at the bottom of this answer. It puts the ‘criticism’ into the past, which is easier for the current problem people to read. The ‘extras’ explain that your mother does not wish to go into care, but wants to have an easier relationship with the family she loves.

"I have recently realised that my much-loved mother-in-law has a problem stemming from years ago, and I would like us to solve it as a family if we can. It seems that when my she was growing up, her own mother was excessively harsh with her and shamed her cleaning, which was never good enough. She had a mother-in-law and a sister-in-law who were also very fussy housekeepers. She confessed to me that for years she really didn’t even like having any of them over, because she felt she could never live up to their expectations of cleanliness - and didn't want to. She is fine with the odd little bit of dust, so long as her kitchen and bathroom are clean and everything is tidy. She has in fact always been a perfectly good housekeeper, by average standards.

"She says that she is starting to get the same feelings now when there are suggestions that she isn’t coping and should go into care. She doesn’t agree at all, but it is making her feel nervous and even ashamed. She says it doesn't bother her to have a little bit of dust, especially since with Covid no one will see her place except herself and family. She is upset to find that she would rather not have visitors at all, if they are going to comment or be critical. It’s got to the point where she doesn't even want them to come over if that’s going to happen.

"I have been looking at my own comments to make sure that I am not part of the problem, and I am sure that the rest of the family will want to do the same. Please could we all think about it? Probably best not to raise it with MIL, as it could embarrass her a lot, but we could talk about it between ourselves."

Do you think that might help? Best wishes, Margaret (also just a 'good enough' housekeeper)
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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