34 responses to “Living with my mother-in-law”

  1. Dette

    omigosh – I am LOVING the new look around here!! :)

    Great post – it also reminds me of another story, very similar. Except instead of a separate table, he had a wooden bowl because he kept accidentally dropping his dish.

    Until the parents found their daughter working on something and she happily said she was making *their* wooden bowls.

    lol – every time we go house hunting, Hubz and I are always looking at the option of having an extra room or guest suite for my parents – maybe even a casita. Nice!!

  2. Pete Aldin

    This is my life too! My mother-in-law lives with us, in a part of the house that’s set up as a semi-detached apartment for her. We receive the same benefits, except without the Chinese food and culture. She too lost her husband to cancer, but about 14 years ago, and has lived with us for ten years.

    The other benefit we receive is that when we run out of milk, we just steal hers. :)

    That story is just horrible. I hope it’s fiction, but in fact I can imagine it happening. I think teachign kids empathy is crucial for their development into fully human beings.

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  4. F Rowsell

    I wish I were so saintly – I’m not. My mother in law came to live with us when we moved to another state 10 years ago. She was extremely interesting, funny, and annoying. (We had not been the best of friends). There was certain ‘musts’ for this to work. A separate kitchen and or living space. My husband, of course in a tight spot here, said that this was ‘his’ mother and not mine and he was responsible for her. The acknowledgment of this made it possible and in fact successful. We all gained, her experiences were shared, absolute love of the grandchildren and the knowledge that she was wanted and safe with us.

  5. khema buhgawn

    well actually having a mother in law like mine well you will say “wat a hell out of a mohter in law”

    I am a victim out here, i do aceept the fact that these will turn on my side wen am old but sincererly i will not bother or harcel my son’s wife like that

  6. Garciam

    I wish I could be as grateful as all of you. My mother in law lives with us just because, she is perfectly capable of having her own place at this time, she just doesn’t. It’s currently taking it’s toll on my marriage. We just bought our first house, instead of all 3 of us unpacking my mother had to come help me because my husband and mother in law would not. She refuses to unload the dishwasher “because she doesn’t know where stuff goes” (and we’ve been there 3 months) She brought her 2 cats along with her on top of the 2 we had so I was the only one cleaning litterboxes until I blew up about that and now my husband is trying to make me feel guilty for her having a litterbox in her room when I never asked her to do that, I only asked for HELP. I still clean the main ones all by myself. Plus I get the constant “well I do it this way” I just feel like I’m bashing my ahead against a brick wall! Am I wrong for feeling this way???

  7. smoss

    What about when your mother-in-law is an ex-junky bum who is capable of working but does nothing but lay on the couch all day while I work to support her. I am very glad that you had a good experience with your mother-in-law but I have not. The only thing in life that matters to her is her methadone. Why do I sound so angry? Because I am only 21 years old and she is 49. My husband and I have never had a single night to ourselves and she doesn’t care. All I can say is that if I act like her when I am her age I hope that my kids will kick me out. If she was elderly and honestly needed the help I would understand and lovingly take care of her but there are different situations.

  8. smoss

    Katy,
    I read over my comment now and it does sound harsh. You just can’t understand what it is like to go through this. You also have to remember it’s not just my decision it is my husband’s too. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say what you would do in a situation like this but when you are actually there it’s not that easy.

  9. smoss

    Katy I do understand that your mother in law lives with you but situations are different. I do have to say that the story about the little girl inspired me to try to be a better person toward her. I don’t want to become bitter. Sometimes you just have to vent. :-)

  10. Jane

    My mother in law & father in law live with us too. It’s driving me absolutely crazy. I feel sick just thinking about her. She is a selfish, manipulative slob. We jointly purchased our home and it’s the worst possible situation to be in. Now we can’t afford to separate. I’m stuck with her telling people I don’t know how to raise my child. God help me.

  11. smoss

    Jane,
    I would love to get your e-mail address. Maybe it would help if we could vent to each other. It is really tough sometimes. I understand.

  12. IAFN / itsafullnest.com

    My MIL has been living with us for about 3 years and so far so good.

    Boundaries are a MUST – and it is my hubby’s responsibility to “handle” my MIL if things are getting nutty.

    We’ve had some “level 1″ issues and nipped those in the bud right away (e.g. being sarcastic with the 11 year old, favoring the younger child, no over-night guests…).

    Out of respect I have my hubby work things out, if need be, with his mom. BUT, my MIL and I have had our conversations as well. Often email works best so she can read and hear me – and then read again…and then a face-to-face conversation to work it out.

    I had a good relationship with my MIL before she moved in and we’ve worked out the kinks since she’s moved in. It’s ongoing. The pros outweigh the cons.

    K of IAFN

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  14. lilibelle caronongan

    Though me and my MIL are not best of friends, our relationship is somewhat cordial. The one I dislike is my FIL. I don’t like his presence in our home because he is a couch potato and sets as a bad example to our children. He is 60 years old and is very healthy but all day long he just sits in front of the television exercising his fingers with the remote control. He does not even accompany his wife who has a heart problem, when she goes shopping for their needs. I always tell my husband not to do that to me when we are old. I expect him to be with me when I need his company and help. I am sick of my FIL!

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  16. John

    My Chinese MIL has been living with us since the week after we were married. She is a kind person but i’m finding her very controlling at times and wanting to handle ALL the household jobs including raising my baby – some people would be so happy!

    My FIL ‘lives’ with us when he’s not busy with his secret girlfriend and when he’s threatened by my MIL to be at home.I don’t like him cos he makes zero effort to be with the family during human hours.

    I’m not a demanding or loud person but as the father here, i feel emasculated in the day-to-day life of my family and household.
    I really try to stay positive and say, well I’ve got a free language exchange, culture and babysitter etc etc…
    but sometimes i think gosh it would be nice to have a holiday – i’d savour every second of freedom from her!
    every last second…3….2….1…..ahh!!

  17. Missy

    My mother-in-law sold her house 5 years ago and moved in with her daughter. Her daughter has a new relationship so my MIL has decided to move in with us, our three kids and the dog until she finds her own plave (about 7 months). I offered to redo the basement for her but she chose to move in upstairs (taking over my youngest’s room). I just smiled, rearranged my girls and made their new shared quarters beautiful. I explained that this is what families do for each other and we need to love her and be kind to her. Did I mention that the room is the closest to the master (which is why it was my youngest’s room)? She is not a mean person, a little bossy at times but nothing over the top. But there is tension in an already stressed out marriage. I just don’t want to be around my husband or her so I mostly find things to do to stay away from them until bed time. I know that this is not the way I should be but I don’t know how to force myself to like anything about this. Other countries embrace this much better than we do and I am beating myself up about the whole thing.

    I hope my children’s spouses don’t feel this way about me but then again I like my own space and pray that I never have to move in with any of them. I have even looked into long term care insurance at 35!!! This is a mess on so many levels and I am just sad. I did like the story about the old man and refuse to treat my MIL badly but I don’t want to treat myself badly either. SOOOOO Sad

  18. LB

    Nice to see you are still answering comments here. My MIL is from an Asian country, I am American. I have many of the pros you list but am suffering from the fact that I will never please her. Any hints how to deal with the constant comments that seem like criticisms (but in all honestly – probably aren’t – they are just a way of pointing out how she would do it) would be helpful. I have no choice but to live with her, my husband is the oldest son, but I am SO much happier when she is not here. It’s been two years and the thought of another 25 almost gives me a panic attack. I point out the good things as much as I can – but I just wish it could be me and my husband and child – And I have to come to terms that that will never be the case. I have this need to please her – but since she doesn’t know what will make her happy – I can’t make her happy. I do I not let her bother me? Thanks!

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  20. Stacey

    My MIL has been living with us for over two years due to her ill-health caused by her poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. She helps out financially and with a couple of household chores, but is physically incapable of doing any serious child-minding in her debilitated condition. Sometimes, I feel like she needs just as much minding as my child (Did you check your blood sugar? Do you need a snack? Do you realize your oxygen machine is not plugged in? Could you please clean your bathroom?). She also has fairly lofty ideas regarding what she wants us to do for her and what she is physically capable of doing for herself. She has the means to pay for extra help and transportation, but doesn’t feel like she needs it – no matter how much we have covered these topics, she feels like I am selfish because I do not fulfill these roles for her. It took several huge upheavals and battles just to get her the little bit of assistance she receives (and of course she loves it now that she has it).

    I have gone through the whole gambit of feelings over the matter: compassion, guilt, anger, apathy, resentment, etc. The resource that I found most helpful in understanding what I was feeling and giving me concrete ways to handle the situation is a book called: Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent : A Guide for Stressed-Out Children by Grace Lebow.

    The suggestions presented there greatly reduced my stress, but unfortunately, I still don’t love the situation. I have found that the best way for me to cope is to set boundaries (regardless of her expectations of me), to be out of the house as much as possible and to talk openly about it with people who can relate and/or give me Godly advice.

    I know that when she passes I will feel lots of regret regarding why wasn’t I more accepting, loving, nurturing and open to the blessing of sharing my family with my MIL, but I also acknowledge that I am just not there yet in regards to my spiritual maturity.

    The reality is that the physical and mental ill-health of America is a disease much like alcoholism that affects more than just the person with the disease. It is a compound problem that is not only an economical drain, but causes all sorts of unnatural and unhealthy dependencies on family members. Yes, we are to love and care for one another, but we can’t be expected to take on the responsibility of a life poorly lived. We are ultimately all accountable for how we choose to live.

  21. Jane

    My MIL lives with us and it has only be a year and some change. I do not feel safe because I feel I am being watched. I am not home very much and when I am home I never know where I can be for privacy. I hate feeling this way. I thought I was way more loving than I am. I am disappointed in myself.

  22. Sherry

    Reading these comments is helping me with this new situation of my mother-in-law coming living with us. She moved in last week, and I have daydreams of mixing up her medicines so we can not have this (her) in our lives. I know how terrible that is. I am also disappointed in myself. I want to be better. The story of the separate table helped me, because I recognize myself in it. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about the money I thought she needed to give us. For my own selfish sake, I must do better with this situation. I’m just going to “fake it until I make it” for a few daysand see how it goes.

  23. Sara (Living a Dream in China)

    Thank you for this post!

    I’m currently living with my future in-laws and have been thinking a lot what the situation could be like when we have kids. It’s great that you reminded me of all the good sides that are when three generations live under the same roof. I totally want my children to have a closer relationship with their grandparents, closer than I’ve had with mine.

  24. Rita

    My MIL has lived with us for a year now since the passing of her husband due to cancer. My husband and I have been married nearly 40 years now and I’ve always had a good relationship with my MIL until she moved in with us. I always knew she wasn’t the cleanest person around. (she’s an admitted hoarder). When she came to live with us she almost took over our home with her “stuff” I had to put a stop to that real fast. She also enjoys being taken care of even though she’s perfectly capable of doing for herself. She’s 83 years old and is diabetic and occasionally has stomach issues. She messes the toilet and leaves it as it is and I have pointed out that she needs to keep it clean as it is also the toilet guests use when they visit. She has been know to walk from the bathroom to her room naked because she’s lazy to put clothes on. There are way too many issues I face with her every day to list here right now but this is a tid bit of what I go through with her. I have to say my husband has spoken to her about our concerns and she tries to fix them. My issue with her now is why doesn’t she respect my home in the first place before these problems arise. My relationship with her now is zero, the resentment has set itself in place and I cannot stand to even look at her anymore. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks.

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