Aging Mother in Law

Anonymous writes, “My husband and I relocated earlier this year (just before the pandemic) and I am not…

Anonymous writes, “My husband and I relocated earlier this year (just before the pandemic) and I am not adjusting. I moved away from family and friends to live with my aging mother-in-law…
The transition has not gone well for me. The house is not our own, and I feel like a guest. I have no privacy because I get up every morning to her friend already being here, so I don’t have the quiet morning time I cherish. The house is cluttered, unattractive and dirty.

I am starting to feel like the cleaning lady more than a wife, and my own work (I work remotely) is suffering. My husband is used to his mother’s ways and keeps saying “We’ll get there.” But although I respect my mother-in-law and know she needs someone here, I am unhappy.

We live in a tiny town, are atheists, and have no neighbors. I have no way to make friends, as there isn’t even a book club within an hour’s drive. My mother-in-law needs help with daily tasks but never thanks anyone and I’m tired of hearing, “That’s just how she is.” She is not rude, just oblivious.

Without friends, nowhere to go (we’re in the middle of nowhere), and not being church goers, I feel lost and miserable. Living in someone else’s house and not being able to make it my own home makes it worse. I am afraid my marriage will end over this. How do we get past this?”

  1. Maybe time for your mother-in-law to sell her home and go in a senior assisted housing facility where she can have the help she needs and make new friends. I don’t think your husband is thinking about your needs at all and it’s time you let him know how you feel. If he doesn’t want to change things for the sake of your marriage staying together, it’s time for you to move on.

  2. Start a Book Club if that is your interest. Find out what social activities are already available and attend. Go to church anyway. They always have activities that will have you meeting people. Find a room in the house to “make your own” (I’m currently living with my son and my bedroom is my “cozy cave”. Being a caregiver is a lonely lifestyle, yet I found it rewarding. Try to remind yourself daily that the Mother/Child bond is precious and unbreakable – just like yours and the one with your children. Your MIL probably has some great historical stories she can tell. Write them down or record them. And always look for the humor in everyday happenings. Best of luck to you. Remember – it’s an act of love and the situation is only temporary – but the memories will last forever.

    1. First big step I think is a long serious talk with your husband.second big step is you both have a long serious talk with his mom.then see what happens next.state you feelings and grievances clearly and calmly holding nothing back .it’s the only way to sort it out.hoping it comes right for all concerned ❤️

  3. All of the above. I would add… Consider the idea of going to church. You will find friends there who will welcome you and love you without forcing your allegiance to their beliefs. That part is your choice. I am a believer but have sat in church beside people in church who have said they are not. We are friends and have shared many good experiences together, along with many great conversations. This could be a way for you to find friends you desperately need right now.

    1. she told you-she’s an atheist. church people do not take kindly to non believers. she’s been thrust in the role of caregiver to an ungrateful and difficult woman. I question why she had to move into her house, and not the other way around. no daughter in law owes her mother in law the loss of her own home, nor should any MIL expect that. she made a bad choice from the get go, and she’s been the only one suffering from it. seems like her husband and MIL are getting everything they need as she gets NOTHING-from either of them.

  4. Any social groups at all locally? quilting or craft groups? Discuss getting a cleaner, there is no reason for you to have to do all the chores. If you think your work is suffering that’s no good at all, sit down with Husband and M-i-L and set out some parameters for what you want and need. It’s best to do this in one sitting, otherwise it will come across as “Oh she is always moaning”.

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