My mother-in-law is crazy

Monday, July 09, 2012

... and living in my house. She had made this habit of spending several weeks with us every summer. This year, she arrived June 18, and is planning to leave around July 30.

I feel like an intruder in my own home. For more than a month every summer, I walk around with a knot in my stomach wanting my home - my sanctuary - back under my control.

I don't think I can last another week. Saturday, I was questioning if I would last another DAY. I want her out. I try to be understanding, but she is crazy. I can't even go into all the ways she irritates me, but here's a partial list.

* She went out and bought a new brand of toilet cleaner. Mine (Clorox) isn't good enough.
* She refuses to put my dog in her kennel when she leaves the house.
* She bad mouths our dog trainer at every turn. She can't even train hers to come when she calls or walk on hardwood floors, but our trainer who gets consistant results "sounds nutty."
* She won't park in the street, and instead parks in our 2-car driveway, forcing us to find her and get her to move every time we need to pull in or out.
* She washes the dishes - in hot soapy water - and THEN loads them in the diswasher and runs a full cycle. Won't listen when I tell her she's wasting water and energy.
* She refuses to wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.
* She tells me she has gout, and can't eat beef, chicken, tomatoes or gluten, but goes out every night and has a Big Mac or a Whopper after picking at the fish or egg dish I've made the whole family eat in deference to her.
* She buys my kids fast food at least once a day.
* She can't figure out that our cat, Merlin IS A MALE. Not "She."
* When Liam's friends come over, she pouts because I won't send them away and make Liam play with Grandma.
* Whines that we go on vacation with my parents and never with her - even though she hates flying, won't talk to anyone she doesn't know, and will never set foot in a place where she doesn't speak the language.
* Accuses me of hating her because I scheduled Liam for daycare this month - never mind her habit of arriving at our doorstep with less than a day warning, and taking off again the same way, and daycare arrangements have to be made a month in advance.
* Ignores my older son Alaric at birthdays and Christmas for the last twelve years, and then suddenly announces that "he's her favorite grandchild." and that I "sent him away from her" on his regularly scheduled annual visit to his father in North Carolina. You know, the trip he takes for the first two weeks of EVERY JULY for the last FIVE YEARS?!?!

I think next year, I'm putting my foot down. She needs to schedule a visit of no more than two weeks, with our discretion to veto, and she needs to plan the precise dates of those two weeks at least two months in advance. If she shows up any other time, I will happily provide her with a list of nearby hotels.

And I can't even vent on Facebook, because my brilliant husband signed her up and now we're "friends."
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • EZRIN101
    It's so sad to hear you have to go through this emoticon
    2882 days ago
    Wow, this is so complicated because of her husband's death when your sweet husband was only 4. That sets up some very difficult dynamics with their relationship.

    Here are a couple of things to think about.

    1. She will be his mother until she dies

    No matter what you figure out for the short term, make sure that it won't impact the long term. Yes it is your husband's responsibility to deal with her but I would submit that he is conflicted because of his father's death and having to step into "The man of the family" at such a young age.

    2. Short term solutions are a must. It's time to start filling your calendar with real or imagined engagements that get you out of the house on a pretty regular basis. You might even want to look for a part time job and ask her to step up and take care of the house and child while you are at "work".

    3. Time to join a gym if you don't already. A great place to hang out and get a little exercise if you are so inspired.

    4. I agree that there needs to be boundaries but that isn't always easy in families. You might want to find a counsellor to work with for your special situation to come up with a plan for now and for the years to come.

    5. Think everything through three times before you open your mouth to speak.

    And last but not least. Find a way to love yourself through this hard time.
    2883 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1114095
    Someone mentioned bounderies and that reminded me, there is a book called Boundaries: When to say yes, When to say no, that peopple have told me is excellent.
    2883 days ago
    I'm so sorry. I know I would go crazy if my MIL came to stay with me for that long. I hope the time passes quickly for you!
    2883 days ago
    Your husband needs to man up and set the rules with his family. You can never win this one. She will just resent you. If possible, give her tasks? Can you assign her things that get her out of your space--ask for help with yard work, send her on errands, etc?
    2883 days ago
    I am SOOO sympathetic.

    My SIL stayed with us for three and a half months last fall because she 'had no where else to go.' She'd been gone for five months when she decided the new situation wasn't working out and she needed to 'come home.'

    Home??? This is MY home. And her brother's, but when did 50yo sisters become the responsibility of their brothers?

    So this time, on the first day, I set down rules, including a rent schedule. Guess who went back to her 'boyfriend' after two days.

    It was really empowering to "set boundaries." That's all we're the 'hopes' (ha-ha, like it would ever happen) of minimizing conflicts.
    2883 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2012 9:13:20 PM
    You guys definitely need to draw some boundaries. It's so hard when you have allowed her to do this in the past to then tell her that she is no longer welcome in your home. Maybe there is an extended stay motel that she could stay in when she visits. Tell her that you would enjoy doing specific activities with her during her visit, but that living together is out of the question. Or you can just VENT and we will all LISTEN! My husband has never stood up for me with his parents except that they didn't think we should marry and he married me anyway. ;) Even when she said that it was all MY fault that we have given them four granddaughters and haven't produced a single grandson to carry on the family name! My DH just sighed and said that you can't teach an old woman that they have proven it is the MAN who determines the sex of our beautiful children.
    2883 days ago
    Thanks for the encouragement. I just needed to vent a bit. With any other kind of a probem, I vent at my husband but I don't want to put him in the middle of this any more than absolutely necessary, so I took it to the one website I know neither of them ever check.
    2883 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2012 5:41:55 PM
    Just a bit more background. She's been a widow for nearly 40 years. Her husband died when her only child, my husband, was 4 years old, and she never even dated after. My husband was literally all she had in the world until he married me.

    I think she got it into her head that her life might as well have ended when he got his own family.
    2883 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2012 5:42:19 PM
  • no profile photo CD10445892
    Just read your blog. Oh my goodness, she is a piece of work.

    So sorry you have to live with this. But hey it does feel good to vent.

    by the way next time instead of making her a "special dinner" to suit her diet. Cook what you like and pick up a big mac for her. emoticon emoticon
    2884 days ago
    I am sorry you are going through this she sounds like my MOTHER. I feel for you so much, Like bob240 said go to the gym go for a walk. What does your husband say about this. I would put your foot down she is your mother in law however it is your house..
    Hang in there.
    2884 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1114095
    What does your husband say about it? It is his mother and he should be the one to stand up and say "Mom--you are crossing the line here!". Maybe you should get a hotel while she is there. ----just kidding! Maybe you should schedule vacation somewhere and not tell her--then she shows up unannounced and no one is there. *cricket sounds* . Hang in there...this too shall pass! emoticon
    2884 days ago
  • BOB240
    Go to the gym more often...
    Take the kids out for long walks. (she has gout ;/)
    Every afternoon when you get home look around and sigh. Then declare
    "well I'd better clean up I guess - I'm sure the house wasn't this untidy when I left"

    It's important to say this even if she has spent the afternoon tidying your house...

    I give her 5 days with this strategy..
    2884 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2012 2:26:37 PM
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