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Aunty Bella: Mrs. Mother-in-Law Has Me on Speed Dial



dreamstime_l_11501315Aunty Bella is our agony aunt column on BellaNaija. We launched this column in the early days of BN and periodically feature issues sent in by BN readers. 

We hope the BN family can offer insightful advice.
So I’m a newlywed, but my MIL calls like uncontrollable… everyday… anytime.

It was cute in the beginning but now it’s getting to me. The calls are not like 5 minutes long ‘how is everything’ and full stop…no!

Like she’ll talk at length and even when there’s nothing new – yesterday is no different from today, given that it wasn’t so long ago she called.

We get back from work and boom I already know who that phone call is coming from.

Just when I’m looking to spend time before the next work day with the hubs….worst of it is hubby doesn’t see any wrong, as he’s a momma’s boy, so even better all the attention from the women in his life.

I just need some space – like a few days with no call interruptions. Please am I being selfish dear madam Bella? Help!

~ Nuellla

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  1. Mamacita

    March 19, 2016 at 10:22 am


    • afis

      March 19, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Is this a movie or what?

    • ATL's finest

      March 19, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      @ Mamacita lmao.. That’s all I did too ‘LOL’. Dear writer, it’s called knowing when to pick & when to ignore the call. But on the flip side, it can be done codedly & u wouldn’t come off as been rude. If u constantly pick up, then it will keep occurring 🙂 Kpele ooo. All those saying block her lmao Una bad but that ain’t gonna work. Hubby ain’t gonna ve a problem with it ; after all he’s .

    • Badass

      March 21, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      me thinks you shld give her the “”amma call u back” line whenever you dont feel like talking.she will get the drift soonest.

    • Surely

      March 26, 2016 at 12:58 am

      You guys causing this woman to internalize frustration and making her resent her mother in law and even husband gradually. Enough!!!
      Please tell your husband to talk to her if he hasn’t already. If you guys are close (which you should anyway), he should understand. Also, have him put himself in your shoes. What if your mother was the one bothering you guys so much, would he like it???
      He should be able to step in for you but in the mean time, you can start avoiding her calls nicely. This might be a small issue but it can certainly lead to built up negative feelings towards your MIL and husband. Handle it with love and quickly!

  2. nwaoma

    March 19, 2016 at 10:27 am

    This life sef, you should be happy that she loves you like a daughter, I understand how tiring it can be , have you heard of stories of wicked MIL, you can say mummy mummy don’t worry I will get back to you, on her side she will unda too that u might be busy or back from work, life is not hard . Let me tell u the story of our only boy we love the wife and kids like tomorrow no dey, pls appreciate her love, love her like your mum. I pray my new MIL loves me scatter like yours. Amen

    • Beat

      March 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      She will get back to her? And they will call her rude girl.

    • MOiii

      March 21, 2016 at 9:51 am

      who told u the constant call depicts love, it”s all about control she wants to know all that’s happening in ur house, talking from experience

  3. Sis

    March 19, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Block her temporary . Then in a few days open again, then block again. If she should ask, say ha mummy, MTN has been a problem. Everybody has been complaining that they can’t get me. But be very nice to her. She’s probably lonely. Old women can be like that some times. Don’t complain about his mum to your husband ever. There’re some things you have to learn to do silently

    • Cocolette

      March 19, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Exactly! If you use a Samsung, put her number on your auto reject list, after a few days remove it. Do that each time you want some time for yourself (not permanently…lol). I dunno what you will do sha if she then calls your husband to hand you his phone to speak to her. You’ll have to find an excuse to give him

    • The Cake Lady

      March 19, 2016 at 11:56 am

      I was just about to suggest the same thing

  4. Ada

    March 19, 2016 at 10:33 am

    As far as I am concerned, this isn’t a worthy fight to pick. If you tell her to stop, you tear a fabric which might never be mended and start down a path I am sure you would rather not go.

    Truth is you are a newly wed, she is interested and doing this out of love. She won’t call you like this for the next 20 years. Newer things will happen, other children might get married, grand kids will come and her attention will be shifted.

    Answer her when you can, apologise when you can’t, make excuses when you can’t chat for long. Just don’t go addressing a non issue please.

  5. Kay

    March 19, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Are the calls obnoxious ? If not I feel you should try to endure. Or if she was your mum would you feel the same way? Anyway if you really cannot cope, try to tell her in the most polite way, probably jokingly that you have work to do or something. Or don’t answer the calls all the time then call her back and say you were busy.

  6. july

    March 19, 2016 at 10:52 am

    No darling, u are not. It can be really vexing, my mum in law calls at 5 am bcos she can’t sleep, calls and says whr did u drop ur phone?, if am not at home, probably in d afternoon, she wld ask u dey house? If I say no, d nxt z whr u go ( I am a seamstress, I work from home) even when I gave birth dt she came for omugwor, she wld open my room to check on us anytime she wakes up to pee, recently she left her house to come stay at mine in d name of she isnt feeling fine, I wonder when I became a nurse, she is hale and hearty now, went to her house yesterday and returned wit a BIG bag, God knows m tired, she doesn’t give me privacy… worst part of when my husband comes back, it’s like he has two wives, I leave d sitting room for dem cos dey wld b speaking deir language nd dey know u don’t understand, den she speaks d language to me and if I don’t respond she shouts nd gets angry at me. It z well, and my husband seems not to c anything wrong. So I can totally relate, am sorry I had to vent too on ur post, just trying to tell u, u r not alone. And start missing her calls on purpose, dts wt I do too

    • Tosin

      March 19, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      learn the language, it will help. even a few words. ask what things mean. and smile.

  7. Halima

    March 19, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Hehehehe Mama misses her son and the only way to express that is to call you to know what’s up with you both.

  8. Muse

    March 19, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Just calls?? Block her number or switch off your phone.

  9. cd

    March 19, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Must u always pick her call? Can’t u pick and tell her u are busy ND u will call will call her back? Went my sister got married, her MIL was doing same so one day, her hubby picked the call and told her to stop calling all d time like dat. In other words he put her in her place .

    • God bless that husband

      March 20, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      I say well done to that Man, I just can’t marry a man that doesn’t have my back!!

  10. Abbey

    March 19, 2016 at 10:58 am

    You re not being selfish my dear!! You do need space and just relax after work. I experienced this from my father in law it brought alot of issues. But i surrendered it to God and he has since stopped calling me.

  11. Sassymsethni

    March 19, 2016 at 10:59 am

    As someone who loves her space so much, i totally get u. It makes me cringe when someone calls me persistently over a period of time…whoever it it. Like can i breathe pls??
    But then again, maybe this woman is lonely. Ever thought about that?? She has a deep emotional connection with her son and now u’re part of his life, it’s a big adjustment for her. Same as it is for u. I know it looks like she’s overbearing. Maybe she is. But it looks to me like it’s with good intentions. She just wants to get to know this lovely angel that has stolen her son’s heart. Apparently, ur hubby is thrilled about the new development and it would more than likely crush him if u try to revolt. So, my advice is that u try to build a solid relationship now with ur MIL. Now is the best time to do that. Keep her close and u’ll not regret it. Eventually, the frequency of those calls will reduce to reasonable levels and u’ll long for them secretly. But for now, pls don’t push her away. Many wives towed that line of hostility and lived to regret it. The best alliance a new wife can have with her new family is with her MIL. With that one move alone, u would have won everyone over to ur side. Cheers mate!!!

  12. afis

    March 19, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Is this a movie or what?

  13. fan

    March 19, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Oooo! Everything na problem,when next she calls tell her politely that you are busy that you will call her back when you are free.Delay the call till next day,atleast her mind will tell her that you don’t like her disturbing you with calls.but don’t complain if she stops calling.

  14. Apples

    March 19, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Pele o!!!! You can start cutting her calls short gradually, all you need do whenever she calls after like 5mins tell her “mama pls I’ll call you back I am doing smth now ema binu”

  15. mc

    March 19, 2016 at 11:47 am

    You are just being silly. Would you complain if that was your mother? Hisssss. So this is why you wrote to aunty bella? E di nnooo nzuzu. Alikirija. I pray it does not take her giving you trouble before you appreciate her caring about you. Ewu congo.

    • A

      March 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Why call her names? It not right. At least if it’s our biological mums,we can say “ha!mummy,e don do.go gist with your hubby :)” and she won’t be angry. Dear writer, handling a mother in-law is very delicate. Don’t be upset;many are praying for what you have. Ask God for wisdom, and please, never complain to your husband.

  16. Niola

    March 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    i like to look at issues like this differently it helps to rationalize things. i think that instead of calling her son all the time which will also piss you off she just decided to respect you and call you instead now that she understands there is a new sheriff in please don’t be pissed off look at it from that angle. And darling when you have your own kids you may begin to understand the sort of loss you may feel when they finally cling to that other half. Be grateful your Mil is not the African magic type and when you are busy just don’t pick and call back when you are available ko le to yen(it’s not that hard)


    March 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Please humour her. If she does not love you, it is her son dat will be getting d calls. You can always say…. Mummy not now…. I will call u back… & make sure you call back.

  18. Niyoola

    March 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Block her number for a few hours a day.

    You call her like 2 times a week. Just call her up to say hi and check up on her. So even if she can’t get through to you, she knows you made effort to check on her a couple of days/hours ago.
    Nosy MILS are annoying. Better nosy and friendly than skoinskoin. 
    Don’t broach the issue with your husband; he def won’t understand and will think you are picking on his mum.

    If she stays in the same state as you, you can also pay her visits alone…… like once in 2 or 3 months. Bear gifts she loves.

    All of this ensures the contact you have with her is on YOUR own terms. She may not like it bcos it’s not frequent enough, but she can’t complain because you actually put in effort.

    Also if she actually gets through to your line, do not pick the call. Return the call 3 hours after, tell her you were @ work, meeting, sleeping, charging phone, cooking etc. So she knows you indulge in other activities asides picking her calls.

    All the best. ‎

  19. Blessed

    March 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Hnmmm when mine doesn’t even care if I exist!

  20. Dr. N

    March 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Pick 1 day in d week to give her your undivided attention. On other days, ignore her call and send a text much later to apologize. You could also leave d phone on speaker while u rattle about in d kitchen. Trust me no one likes that.
    Also prepare topics ahead of time and dont let her monopolize d convo. Since u married mummy’s boy u have to ride with it.
    Find a way to enjoy d calls eg start a blog writing about her (anonymously of course). Even ask her for marriage tips.
    Just know she will be d 1st to get tired. Wait till her other children marry or grandkids come along.
    Finally, marriage is d cure for selfishness so see this as flagyl or something. Lol

  21. Fyfi Salty

    March 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Solution:- Phone setting – Sounds – Silent.
    Land line;- Disconnect from the phone line wall jack for few hours in the evening. Most men’s phone are normally on silent – I doubt she will ring her son – do people’s phone ring out these days? Mine hardly rings out – If it is very important the Voice mail is there to leave a message. Whoever created unlimited minutes deal no try…This will solve the problem for now…Lastly, be a good wife and remember she sees you as a daughter. Happy Saturday!!

  22. Anon

    March 19, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    My MIL does not even call me in a whole year but she calls her son all the time. I am always the one calling her..Appreciate the fact that she sees you as her daughter.

  23. Tosin

    March 19, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    gut reaction: don’t be silly.
    after calming down: she loves you. and there is no law in the land that says you must answer every phone call in life. try whatever works for your style to help her connect and talk to you while not overburdening you, i don’t know, you can call her first and keep it short, or send her texts to show you care, skip the call and text to say how lovely she is and how sorry you are that you had to miss it, sth like that.

  24. Nonamespls

    March 19, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Pick when you can, and sometimes just let the phone ring. This is naughty but bad network is always a good culprit ,that means you pick and drop or dont pick then flash ( let it ring once or twice then cut it off) like 3 times the following day and blame it on the network. That way it seems you are making an effort too. However you should make time to call her too!
    My MIL is one of the busiest people i know, now we have children i assign a day of the week to call her,catch up and have her speak to her grandchildren. Works for us.

  25. True Sorrella

    March 19, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    This is grade 1 FOMO SYNDROME- ‘fear of missing out’. It is kinda hard for some moms when their sons get married, she just wants to be part of his new life with you. THIS IS A PHASE and it will pass, she go tire just wait and see. In the meantime, try to take control of the situation, text her regularly tell her you can’t talk but you just wanted to text to see how she is doing. Call her before she calls you and keep it short. Miss some calls from her sometimes- it is ok but do whatever you can to make her feel needed and loved. You will be a mother in law one day so be kind.

  26. Lade

    March 19, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    My dear wisdom is profitable to direct,u c an get her off your neck. A lot of comments have spoken my mind.Although I won’t advise you block her,because women like that are nvm…She can use another no and then wahala go start…Oh u blocked my no and all sorts…Anyways u are more powerful than u know..Marriage has automatically put u in charge of Ur man and u need to be aware of that…It is fone calls today,it will be something tomorrow,my husby is a mama’s boy..My mil did all sorts to me when I got married but after 10 yrs,water has found its level…U need to stylishly take your territory and be in charge…Whether she like it or not,u are in charge now….She will be fine,But those Mils that don’t have a husband are the worst sha..God will help u ooo

  27. Nahum

    March 19, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    You this silly poster, your mother in law likes you, do you know how special that is? You better stop being immature and take her calls with excitement. If it were your mother calling your husband and he had the same reaction, how would you feel? So many DILs have been chased out of their homes because their MILs hate them. Spoil this woman, give her what she wants, take care of her and cherish her cause if you don’t……hmm, let’s just say you may not want to plan to stay married for long.

    • Fashionista

      March 20, 2016 at 1:37 am

      Ahn Ahn Nahum, I don’t think your comment is fair. I don’t think it is immature at all, she has only stated that the calls are a lot and I agree with her. It’s not about her being “grateful” that her MIL likes her, it’s about her wanting some breathing space which I believe is fair enough. I don’t even speak to my own mother every week talk less of my MIL every single day, Haba! it will be a lot for me too, no doubt. Especially as these days with in-laws, you don’t even know the angle the “like” is coming from. Just try to give her objective advice.

  28. Tilda

    March 19, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    If you block her calls she’ll come and stay for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time. I’ve had this issue before what I found worked for me was when she called I just announced to the house mama is on the phone o ! I’d then put her on speaker and whilst I rummaged round the house being busy Other people in the house just had random convos with her Best thing was that she was on speaker so no one really had sole responsibility for the call. It worked very well. She hardly calls now, we remain the best of friends.

  29. mrs K

    March 19, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Loooool. I get where you are coming from. My father in law is like that, I can see 10 missed calls and call back and it would be he just wanted to check up on me. It’s just caring on their part. It’s weird cuz my folks aren’t the calling types so its a struggle sometimes. Put your phone on silent. And call back the next day…. You can form sleep or just say your phone was on silent. And send texts so @least she knows she’s on your mind. Better an ever present inlaw than the ones that treat you like you don’t matter.

  30. jules

    March 19, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    My dear urs is just calls, pls don’t complain. My MIL visited us every saturday for complete one year to ” knw how we were fairing”. At a point, it became depressing. Chai! but she later got tired n left us alone. So dear, endure her. Soon she go tire.

  31. Alero

    March 19, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Nuella, if n.a. your mama, you go vex? Sometimes I wish I can talk to mom all day… manage your MIL. That’s all.

  32. Olayemi

    March 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    What I did – don’t pick during the week, pick on weekends only and once too per weekend. When you pick, put it on speaker and shout hubby’s name, mama is on the phone o. They will leave you alone. Thank me later . Afi Fobo na, you want to be catching up on my house gist, na. I don’t love that much or pretend to love you that much.

  33. Kaity

    March 19, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    I can relate but for me it was my sister in law. She no allow us do honey moon sef. We were just married for 2 weeks and the next thing I heard was that sister and her kids were coming to spend some time with us. She even had the guts to tell me she came to check how we were living…. I still don’t get it….and men never understand. They don’t just get it . If it were my sister i will plead with her to give us some time so why can’t he? Its never about my people vs your people….its about us and how we feel. I also wish my mum in law disturbs me with calls maybe it will make us closer …lol. Instead she calls her son and tells him to greet me and that’s after poisoning his mimd some times. I have vowed to be a different sister and mother in law…so help me God.

  34. The real dee

    March 20, 2016 at 9:11 am

    You are not alone o my dear. My MIL too used to call me like that. I appreciated her checking up on me but I was fine with once a week not three times or more.
    And it was never about her even for my mother, once a week was fine with me but I can understand talking to my mum more often cos i’ve not seen her since I got married (we live 13 hours apart) but I’ve seen my MIL severally as we live 5 mins apart.

    I don’t like awkward conversations over the phone and I can’t even properly hold one over the phone if there’s no serious discussion, so having my MIL call regularly was an issue for me. And I used to feel bad cos she ‘ll call all the time and I won’t call and it’s not cos of her, I’m not just into calling, I prefer face to face.

    Anyway to reduce her calling, I left the phone to ring. I won’t pick, then I’ll call later on to tell her I saw her call and have a brief conversation. I also started calling her first to check on her cos I realised from her statements that she just wanted company and it’s just her nature to be caring.

    So,don’t pick her calls when you don’t feel like talking. And when you are free, just call her to say hi. You too call her once in a while and when she calls and says ‘its been long I heard from you’, meanwhile you spoke with her three days before,just apologise and let it slide.

    You have to be wise in your dealings with in laws at least she isn’t showing up at ur door every weekend.

  35. Annie

    March 20, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Just tell her you are pregnant. That may be the news she’s waiting for.

  36. anon

    March 21, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    As someone who has finally managed to get my mum to stop stalking me with calls- for lack of better words. I almost cried when I found out mama in law wanted to talk everyday. You know how some women can talk for days and afterwards, you cant remember what it is all about? Well that is not me. Our conversation must have purpose and not just to fill the blank.

    It took a while but mama finally came around. I spoke to hubby about it (not from a malicious point of view) becuz even he knows I am not big on calls like that. I don’t know if he had a word with her but me self I started missing her call here and there. If she calls during the day, I tell her I am at work and will speak to her later. If she calls later in the evening, I text her the next morning saying I got home late and didn’t get to call her. We went from talking every day (long distance naija to UK) to three to two and now to once a week. I call her once a week over the weekend, dedicated to her and we talk. although to be honest I start to tune out after a while- I am seriously not being mean.

    I do know though that it comes from a good place. she is just that kind of person and well, I am pretty rubbish but we make it work somehow. I think it is best when your partner has your back. I dont think people should let their spouses be uncomfortable in their marriage. They should be able to discuss things openly and honestly. There is no big deal in letting his mum know that you have a different nature from what she is used to. Afterall, you were raised in a different household.

    My husband is also very rubbish at calling people and making small talks (I am slightly better than him). We usually joke about how my mum and siblings speak to his mum more than we do. Once, I found out from my mum that his mum was travelling to the UK and my hubby found out from me. It felt weird but tbh, everyone is different and as long as everyone can do them without causing trouble to others, it should be ok.

    PS- dont be fooled by my intro. I love my family (parents, inlaws and everyone else) to bits and appreciate their acceptance of me even though I am a little different “reads special needs lolZ”

  37. M

    March 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    At least it’s calls and you can choose not to answer. My MIL came to stay with us in the UK in a two bedroom flat for a whole six months last year and she is already planning another extended, no-termination date visit for this year again. When my own mum came (after our first baby) before her two months were up I was already grumbling to hubby, and he understood then. But during His mother’s six months tenure the dude was enjoying having his mama around. Like someone said earlier. Husbandless MILs are tedious. I’m not being mean, it’s the truth. And anyone who blames someone for grumbling when a visitor comes to stay a whole half of a year should do quick and marry and see how it is.

  38. Anonymous

    March 24, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Dear Aunty Bella, how can one post a story to you to be shared online for advise?
    Thank you.


      March 24, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Just leave as a comment or email – bella (at)

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