mil blues

I posted this elsewhere on the Internet today, but thought I’d put it here as well to get additional perspectives. Sorry for the length and depressing subject matter.

My FiL died in January of 08 after a year and a half battle with leukemia. It was horrible and awful and my MiL was understandably deeply affected by the illness and loss. DW and I did all we could to help during this time. DW had a somewhat rocky relationship with both parents and shortly before FiL was diagnosed, she was planning to start scaling back her interactions with them. Not a CO or anything like that, but just not as involved. Then she was pulled in like WHOA.

In March of 08, we decided to start trying for a baby. Our son was born in 12/09. Though of course this did not factor into our decision to have a child, we thought it might help MiL deal with her grief and give her something new and wonderful to focus on. She was thrilled about the coming grandbaby.

In the years since FiL’s death, MiL has become more and more self-involved, selfish, and demanding/needy. In my opinion, she is showing hypochondriac symptoms. She has had an ailment and surgery pretty much every few months for the last couple of years for mystery type ailments like sleep apnea, back pain. Not that these can’t be real problems, but in her case, it’s like she needs to be the center of attention and has constant health issues. She expects DW to be on-call for her during these crises despite the fact that we live 45 minutes away, DW is a stay-at-home mom, I work full-time, and we have a 22 month old. Selfishly, I am seriously annoyed that not only have we had zero support from her in the baby department, but she is super demanding. Example: DW is driving 45 minutes each way in the morning to take MiL to a doctor’s appointment that is 15 minutes from her home. She can’t drive due to her most recent surgery, but seriously, she can’t take a cab or find a friend to shuttle her to her appointment? Instead DW has to take half a day, I have to lose half a day of work, etc., etc. She gets all bent out of shape when DW resists at all.

Also, she doesn’t work, has very little money and we know when the time comes that her money runs out, it’ll be on us to support her. DW says she will not allow her to live with us and I hope she stays true to that as I’d hate it and I know it would make DW miserable, meaning our lives would be somewhat miserable. I’m so upset that there is all this crap to deal with when I just want to be focusing on my own family. I’m worried MiL is going to be a downer and drain us of money, time, etc. for the rest of her life.

DW is an only child so there is no one else to call on for help. MiL also lost her brother to a heart attack about 2 years ago. It’s been a horrible few years for her, no doubt, and I want to help out where we can. Trouble is she just needs/expects way too much – it’s more than we can give.

How would you handle this situation?


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4 responses to “mil blues

  1. Jdz

    That is a very difficult situation. You know my selfish, needy mother who has no money is living in MY house so I kind of get where you’re coming from. Fortunately when S was born she changed completely not that she is any less of a pain on my ass but at least she’s a good grandmother.
    The reality is if MIL has no one else
    your responsiblity for her will only increase as she ages. We are the sandwich generation.
    If you don’t want to be as involved I’d pt more than 45 min between you. ):

  2. oy, no good answers here. i think you and DW should agree on your family’s boundaries and then stick to them. not letting her move in is a good start. re: the doctors’ appointments, it sounds like those are very disruptive to your life. maybe you could research other options for her – shuttles, car services, etc. and then make it happen next time she wants a ride. honestly 45 minutes each way just to take her to an appointment is a bit out of control. (but, i totally get why DW has a hard time saying “no” to her mother…)

  3. I agree with AOOL. You need to stick to your boundaries because once you give in, it’s that much harder to enforce any rules. I would find alternatives for her including public transportation. Maybe even find someone online ( is a good resource) that can assist with her care and bringing her to appointments. You should be clear in what you will and can do and what you can’t. Like, agree to bring her to one appointment a month or something, but after that, let her know alternate arrangements need to be made and you’d be happy to help in finding a solution. She’s probably going to make you feel incredibly guilty, but you all have lives to lead and if you feel it’s too much right now…well, it is.

  4. next in line

    That is really sticky. Is there anything that is enjoyable to do together? Maybe that would help fill some of the need without making you crazy. I am thinking hiring some help when needed could be a great idea.

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