Thank you for visiting Adventures In Parenting - where we talk about raising good kids.

Subscribe to RSS feed to get my latest posts, sign up for a newsletter, and join me on Facebook!

Win $50 for children's formal wear! Enter here.

More on living with my mother-in-law

October 27th, 2011 / 8 Comments

In my previous post on living with my mother-in-law, several of the comments indicate the sentiment that they wish they did not have to live with their in-laws.  They want to get out of that situation, but have no choice.

Not many of us, if any, marry our spouses wanting to invite the in-laws to live with us.  When we got married, we may have had an idea that “someday” when the parents get old, there is a possibility that we would have to take care of them, but we were naïve, and had no idea what that would be like.  But now here we are…

Having my MIL living with us is definitely not my ideal family life. I had imagined a cozy little cottage with a vegetable garden, my husband and I and our perfect children picking flowers while walking our dog…chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

Is life ever exactly what we want it to be??

How do we deal with other curve balls of life? We handle it, we make the best of it, we adjust to it, and we grow from it. We don’t like it, but we accept it.  For some reason when it comes to in-laws, we have the idea that we are entitled to have our way rather than helping family. I know it’s disrupting, I know it seems like forever, and there is no glory in it.  The only thing is, it’s the human thing to do.

I am not saying that you should not try to change things up if possible.  You should definitely do everything that you can to have boundaries, cooperation, and full support from your spouse. Enlist other family members to help, etc.

But after all that’s said and done, the change ultimately comes from you.

I look at it this way: if I was my MIL, would I want to be in this situation where I have to live with my daughter-in-law? My answer would be no, and I am sure my MIL’s answer would be the same.  I’m sure she wishes her husband was still alive.  I’m sure this is not where she thought she would end up.  I’m sure she would rather retire in Hawaii or traveling the world on a cruise.  Instead she has to live with me. Whoopee.

I’m not the only one suffering here.  Life has thrown her a few curve balls too.  I need to have some compassion.  At least I still have options.  I picked up more hobbies to distract myself. I go out more rather than hanging around the house. And sometimes I just stay in my room and read. Yes, I have to make adjustments, and yes, I wish I didn’t have to.  But I do know that I’m doing the right thing to have my MIL living with us.  And when you live in obedience to God, He will not forget you. The kindness you are showing will not be wasted.

As with every negative situation, you have to think of the positives to get you through.  Attitude is everything.

The important thing here is not to keep bucking against it.  As my pastor used to say, lean into the pain.  Accept it for what it is and you will be a better person for it.

Now let me talk about a few survival skills:

1. Don’t expect too much of yourself.  I don’t try to be my MIL’s best friend. I don’t think I can be, nor want to be.  I keep a bit of distance so that I can be polite to her as I would a friend.  I think that if we get too comfortable, it would be a case of familiarity breeds contempt. This is just my personality, but some of you may be able to have a close relationship with your MIL, and I applaud you.

2. Don’t punish your husband for what his mother does, unless you want a divorce. It’s not fair to him or to you. He is on your side, so don’t make him the enemy.

3. Don’t let things fester. If your MIL does something that bothers you and you know it is within her control to stop it, you need to ask her to. For example, giving advice on child raising is a big one. I don’t like anyone giving me unsolicited advice, my MIL or anyone else. If you think she is overstepping her bounds, tell her that you are the mother and will make the decisions concerning your kids. She’s already had her chance raising her kids, now it’s your turn to have the fun.

4. Do take advantage of whatever your MIL likes to do and let her do it. My MIL likes to cook, so I let her do it. Sure, I like to cook too, but rather than jockeying for position, I can use my time to experiment the fun stuff, like french desserts 🙂 With my MIL at home with my kids, I take advantage of it and go out more with my husband. Win-win all around.

That’s it for now. Maybe I’ll add more later, after I have a chance to practice them!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


  1. […] mother-in-law lives with […]

  2. My MOTHER is living with us (it’s now been well over a year this time) and she is driving me CRAZY. It is odd how much it sounds like the MIL problems.

    I moved out at 16, but she has been living with my on-and-off for the past 6 years – she wants things her way, and wants to make me miserable if I try to say otherwise.

    We just bought our first house in September, we live in an amazing neighborhood, and my son now goes to a great school, and a million other great things . . . but I am hating my life.

    It doesn’t feel like MY house and MY stuff, it feels like I am just this troublemaker going around and messing up HER clean counters with my paperwork/bills/books. (NO!, you can’t throw my stuff out – I put it there because that is where I want it. But since it’s not my house and that means it’s not my decision, right?)

    It is the same with the kids, the dog, the laundry, and even my husband. She loves to tell him what to do, and what is (and is not) exceptable behavior from him.

    I don’t think I’m really expressing how deep my frustration is – but I pretty much end up hiding in my room (like a morose teenager) all day, just so I don’t get angry or make her angry.

    I don’t know how to get over this anger that has built up in me, when I talk to her she either screams at me (“Oh! Nothing is every YOUR fault, is it?!!”) or she starts in about how horrible everything is for her (“Well, I’m TRYING to get a job, but nobody wants to hire ME” “You know, if I had any choice I wouldn’t be here in the first place! But I don’t have any choice, do I?!”)

    If she didn’t live with me, she would probably end up in a shelter (which she did a couple years ago – and when she moved in with me after that she couldn’t stop telling me how the shelter was preferable to living in my house).

    I really need to get out of my own funk, and take charge of my house, but I really just want to hide from her.

    Since I moved out of her house at 16, I have striven to live with positivity, and now my husband and kids also strive for that. But she is nothing but a giant bomb of negativity. I don’t know how to fight against it when it is in my own house.

  3. Sorry for the uber-long comment, I guess I just needed to share!

  4. Jenny, my heart goes out to you! I think it’s harder to live with your own mother. There is baggage from the past, and your mother will always see you as a child and not respect you as an adult. Since it sounds like your mother is not playing nice, I suggest you set up some house rules and ask your husband to handle it as the man of the house. It’s hard to take charge when it’s your own mother. That’s why I am suggesting that your husband need to support you. If you have done your share of accommodating, your mother must do her part.

    At the same time, I suggest that you get out of the house more, volunteer at the school, take some classes at the community center, do things you enjoy, and make those the center of your life, not your mother.

  5. I live with my mother in law, and I love it. I’ve been living with her now for almost a year and a half. She was recently widowed and was finding herself lonely. My husband was coming over regularly (like 3-4x a week) to do things for her and it was taxing our family a bit.

    We ended both selling out homes, and having a custom one build. She has an apartment on the lower level (walk out basement, separate entrance) — we live on the upper 2 floor. She calls or knocks before visiting. We try and do the same. We have her up for dinner a few times a week, she spends lots of time with her grand kids but still has her own space. She regularly has company over and we don’t even notice (other then there might be a car or 2 out front).

    It truly is a win-win situation.

  6. […] Source: […]

  7. Wow. And i thought i was the only one having this kind of dilemma. You see, i have to be fair and say that my MIL is actually kind and understanding to me (not the ones from hell) so i feel a little guilty saying that i would still prefer not living with her. On the other hand, i’m just never really comfortable enough to act myself with her around…..

  8. Ms. choy, I too, do not feel comfortable, and I know it’s not my MIL’s fault. The situation is what it is, so I am learning to be more confident, keep my boundaries, and just don’t expect too much.


Leave A Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>