Struggling with Mother in Law

by Anonymous

I appreciate this post so much and can relate. 2 years ago I was having my 4th child my in-laws traveled to come see us at the hospital but had some kind of mental breakdown and after about 9.5 hours of getting lost (it was only 20 minutes from the house) they got in a car accident resulting in no injuries, and a month later my father in law passed suddenly in his sleep.

My 67-year-old mother in law was traumatized after finding him, we offered to have her come stay with us for a little bit, she did for about a week and then she went home. About 5 days later she was calling worried about hearing noises and seeing lights around her house, we made a trip to install some sensor lights.

She was very emotional so I asked if she wanted to come stay a bit longer seeing as she clearly wasn't interested in being alone yet (also she wouldn't drive due to the car accident) She was thrilled and I felt great that we could help, and about 15 mins later her sister came over and she announced that she was selling her home and moving in with us.

I felt so trapped and didn't know how to say no, honestly I thought she would change her mind, I had just had a baby for heavens sake! My husband has one brother and he and his wife were not happy she wanted to live with us, but she wouldn't consider living with them.

Anyway we decided to just roll with it, thinking she would change her mind, about 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant again (I consoled my husband too much lol) so baby 5 on the way, mother in law moving in, I need to clean out her home and sell it, and in turn move from my current home and get a bigger one.

I honestly felt good about it all. How could I tell her she couldn't live with us? She raised my husband and to reject her felt cruel.

She didn't change her mind. It has been 2 years now,
she still won't drive-so when we go anywhere I have to sit in the back and she takes the front seat, she is very overweight and cannot sit between a 1 and 2-year-olds in car seats. Now we have a new development of the smells...

I think she has been having accidents urine and diarrhea and she leaves this foul sticky sap-like residue on the toilet seat, it makes me want to vomit.

We have found soiled underwear left in the sink of the main bathroom, I try really hard not to call her out or make her feel bad, but seriously I have children using that bathroom. I want to ship her off as much as possible, she won't stay at my Brother in laws home for more than 2 days at a time and seems to want to be here more and more, I feel so guilty about wanting her gone.

I just want to be focused on my kids and husband, and the kicker is that I always have people tell me how wonderful she is and how lucky I am to have extra help with my kids, but she can't help me; she broke both arms a couple years ago and can't lift my babies and due to her size she can't bend over.

She won't cook or even make her own plate, I am tired of sitting in the back of the car, and the SMELLS!!! She showers every day, and can do her laundry, and can handle personal hygiene but either her nose doesn't work or she doesn't care.

I am cleaning all the time to eradicate the smell.

My husband is very supportive of my feelings but isn't comfortable talking to her about smells and Hygiene.

I feel so angry she is here now. Can't she tell that its too much? She has other options but just won't act on them. I am in my 30's and my oldest is 8, I am feeling overwhelmed and dread even hearing her voice.

What do I do? How do I get over this and not resent her for encroaching in my home? Sorry for the long rant! :(

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Ditch the Guilt
by: Sadie

Dear Anonymous, sorry to read of what you are going through right now and well done you for putting up with it this long. I had something similar with my widowed father-in-law three years ago.

He felt dizzy at home, came to stay with us for a few days and then announced that he couldn't possibly go back home!

This was with no consultation or discussion with us or consideration as to how this might impact our family - my children were 8 and 11 at the time.

It was that blatant disregard for our feelings that gave me the courage I needed to sit him down and tell him that this was not going to happen (my husband left it all to me to deal with). It was horrible but I am so glad I did it as I would have spent the last three years pandering to his every whim; he loves to be waited on by women.

This is not rejection, but helping an adult - and they are adults - take responsibility for themselves. Had there been any consideration of your needs and feelings there would have been a discussion not a presumption of duty.

You are in the prime of your life and should not be having to deal with this, it is just plain wrong. You do realise that at 67 you could easily have two decades of this or more and that things will only deteriorate from here on in.

Think about it. Reading your post again I'm not quite sure how you are managing to get through each day. Finding soiled underwear and dealing with horrendous smells, aside from anything else this is not fair on your children.

No wonder she wants to stay with you. You are sending out signals loud and clear that you can be manipulated via your guilt. She has other options but wont act on them - nor will she while you are blatantly enabling her to divest her responsibility onto you.

If you cannot do this for yourself then please do it for your family because ultimately your family life is going to suffer. Who is the priority in your life, your children and husband or your mother-in-law?

If you are struggling with guilt then get some help for that otherwise the consequences further down the line are going to be far greater than guilt and that could well include your children's resentment as you will struggle to meet their needs while you are consumed by your mother-in-laws. Good Luck.

more to say
by: Greenacres

Hi again. If she has options on where to live, then you need to look into them yourself. You have a lot going on, I think it's really great to have three generations under one roof, but you need help!

don'y, be happy
by: Greenacres

I don't think the resentment will go away, life just isn't always fair. These should be the happiest days of your life so don't you dare feel guilty about the resentment! Boy have you got your hands full.

About the smells, I subtly gave my mom (76 yrs.) fancy bath soaps, sprays, lotions etc. When she snubbed her nose at that she started bathing more. The hint worked. Also offer a shower chair and a shower nozzle with a hose .

Maybe she is afraid of the bath/shower. You need to deal with that no matter how embarrassing! I also added hand rails everywhere. I am sure she knows she has invaded your life. Consider yourself the chosen one.

She may feel more at ease with your family than anywhere else. Take it as a compliment. Also insist on sharing her and all her responsibilities with at least one of your siblings.

My sister and I are taking turns with my mom, but no matter where she is, she is totally miserable and depressed. That's another thing. Dad died 4 years ago and a lot has happened. It has torn our family apart.

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