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My in-laws 72 and 86, have lived with us for only....um five months. I have nine children of my own and their father's job is changing dramatically so there adds some more stress. Felt like I was losing my marbles completely the last few weeks as my five year old had an ER visit with his asthma and my 83 year old father had some sort of mental break down while my 16 year old son was staying with him so my mom could get a respite. I wish my mother in law would take my suggestions and let me take her to a church group or something to make some friends as she is up to that. My father-in-law takes most of the day to get ready and then it is time for him to go to bed.......can't seem to move around the house without bumping into each other and I can not stand the pouting. I am as kind and gracious as I feel is humanly possible as I also care for my own kids, with two out of the house. Ideas? Experience? How to handle? I need some space and a break badly!

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Oh.....adding on is in the plan but you have to have money to do that. Saving and hoping dear husband gets a promotion soon. There is that possibility. We were thinking about it before they moved in anyway as there is that potential future of our children and their families coming to visit.
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Great responses. I appreciate your thoughts. MIL helps with the laundry and that works pretty well. I have pondered their emotions and fears a lot through the months they have been here and remind my husband of that too. The boundary issues are tricky when she wants to punish us for simple requests. So......I have begun to ask her gently if she already knows the answer to her questions. "Am I allowed to help with the kitchen clean up?"......."Well mom, what is the answer to your question?" Asking her to take some time to think through what she is asking seems to be a way to disable her ability to imply we are doing something to her or that she is in jail or something.

Yes......I am sort of used to overload so am doing what I can to carve out time to plan our schedule for the fall. Predictability of daily living helps the 4 year old and the 72 year old who seems much like the 4 year old. Going to keep it as simple as possible. What with my husbands traveling increasing, I think we will have to make the schedule assuming he won't be here much. Ugh. Thankful for a helpful neighbor who comes a nd helps with the kitchen and food prep. Understatement on the thankful part. I joke that we live in a gated community. :o) Speaking of schedule........
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What a generous and organized person you are! My thoughts are these:
- if the In-Laws have just moved in, I'm assuming that means they have lost their home to do this. Sometimes it is easy to overlook what the Elders may be feeling when WE are so overloaded with care-giving. The sense of loss for them might be far bigger than they are letting on, THIS may be some of the unconscious source of some of the pouting and irritation. Imagine how we would feel if we lost our home and had to move in with our children...the emotions are very big for them too and it will take some time for them to adjust to the losses of freedom, independence, body functions etc, and simply facing the fact that they can no longer take care of themselves. These issues are hugely stressful for them too, but my guess is that they don't want to burden you further with their feelings...but it has to slip out from time to time and this may be what you are seeing in the pouting and the uncooperative behavior. it is not about you, it's about what they have lost and what they will continue to loose as they get older.

- Are there any small ways you can turn over some chores to MIL ? Things may not get done the way you would like, but she would be contributing and that would help her feel better, especially if she is a "doer". It is important to accept that it will not be done YOUR way but hers, so pick chores where this is manageable to your sensibilities. It is important to make sure she is not criticized for her way, but is allowed to contribute something to the household. This gets tricky when we are used to running our homes the way WE want to. The more of your load that you can delegate and actually have getting done, the better it is all the way around. Can she do some of the teaching regarding home skills to your children? That would free you up for a few minutes of "me" time.

- Does your area have an Elder day care? It may be something that Dad could take part in if his cognitive abilities would allow it.

- YES to getting them out and about and meeting new friends....they need to find a purpose and not feel like they are a burden. It takes time, but it will make a huge difference.

- Our local Senior center takes lots of day and half-day trips to various places in and around the general area...is there something like this that might work for you?

- this is a big thought: is it possible to build a small addition to your home? This would be so useful now especially but could really open up options later on for your family too after they no longer are with you....visiting children with grandchildren can use the space or you could rent it out. It's a big option, but if your In-laws are here for a long haul it just might be the best investment. A bedroom, bath and small living area would give them a sense of privacy, be less stress on your growing family and you could still cook for them and have meals together. We did that here and it has been an incredible blessing to just have the clear separation. The Elders appreciate the privacy to be on their own and the kids like not having to share their Mom with the In-laws all the time.

- I don't know how you feel about Flower Essence therapy but for some people they are quite effective and very helpful, especially for dealing with emotional stresses of various kinds. Speak with a Naturopathic physician or a knowledgeable Health food store manager who can help you select the remedies that best suit your needs. They will not hurt you to take them. The Bach flower remedies are the standard...and the website may be helpful too.

- find a certain time of day for 15 minutes that is YOURS and yours alone. Same time every day. Let everyone know that these 15 minutes are yours and that you are not to be interrupted for any reason unless someone needs an ambulance. Make a space in a place where you can get away and close the door...and do NOT let anyone interrupt you during that time. For over-givers this is really hard to do, but, carving out those 15 minutes every day can make a HUGE difference. Use the time to meditate, have a cup of tea, do some napping, whatever....but it is time that YOU devote to YOU. Make sure you're not mending, planning, tending others in any way...this is YOUR time. After you and the family get good at 15 minutes go for 30! Time enough for a bath!!! :-)

Blessings and best of luck to you!!
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I think you possibly are so used to being overwhelmed that you said yes to a situation that you should have said absolutely no to. There is no going back in time, so it is more difficult to set some boundaries and ground rules down AFTER they are in your home, but better late than never.
The history here according to your statements are that they have already worn their welcome out at other relatives' home(s), so that should be a red flag. Remember, it is YOUR home, YOUR rules. Don't like it (sorry to sound callous), leave. Whatever you need to make this work, first, I would suggest that you also put a timeline on it for a better long term solution. Proactive, not reactive.
You have a family who needs you and you need, for that, with 9 kids (!) to keep your sanity and your health. I'm sorry, but if they run out of money, they are eligible for Medicaid and nursing home care. You have a lot of miles to go, girl, before you sleep!
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I would certainly look into either nursing home or independent living for both of them. It would be better for them AND you and your family. There is just too much for you to deal with there.
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I am very tired.......sigh.
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Oh my goodness, nine children AND pouty in-laws. And I thought my mom (who lives in another state) and arrogant brother were a problem. NOT ANY MORE!!!!!!! I am counting my blessing to be an eleven hour drive away.

Kidding aside, take care of yourself. You must be an angel.
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Oh and....those rules......I stopped dear mil from asking me questions about household cleaning in her tracks. I am trying to get something done and am always interrupted by someone so......I just stated it clearly that I was not concerned about thus and such now and am trying to focus. Good grief. I am tired. When she quickly turned around and started to stomp off I added for good measure that I couldn't worry about what I just said and it was perfectly fine for me to state my wishes and.....I couldn't prevent her from being mad about it. She actually took it pretty well and was smiling soon afterward. She is a doer and thinks that what she sees as important needs everyone's attention. Not.
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You are so wise to be looking into care facilities and try to stay ahead of the game. God bless you for all you are doing. Depending on the situation; grandparents living in our homes can pose significant problems for our children. My youngest, a teenager, was significantly effected by having my MIL with alzheimers live with us. I had to work hard at finding a balance for her and coping strategies. It is difficult enough being a teen these days without the added stress of an elders problems on top of it. I found humor goes a long way as well as constantly being there to listen to my daughter and really hear how she felt about the situation. It is not easy by any means.

Glad you and your husband enjoyed a night out - keep them coming!!!! You need and deserve it! Hugs and blessings to you.
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Lol! Well.......my husband and I finally went out to celebrate our 25th anniversary last night and spent most of the time discussing coping mechanisms. I LOVE the ideas you all have posted here so am glad I posted. The in-laws are here as they have little money and have already burned out my bil and sil. I am going to work on the list of to dos. Yes, school is pretty well taken care of for the school age kids. A few are 'homeschooled' at home but they are online this year and the eleven year old girl with too many brains is well beyond her years so will keep shoving more stuff her way and teach her household helping stuff. I MUST have time away!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dear husband listened better than he really ever has last night. Yay! It probably appeared we were having a business meeting but we dressed to the nines and had some good wine. I am making an appointment with mil's doc and nurse to talk WITH her about various issues. I was SOOOO down and burned out earlier this week. Sigh. Yes......looking into care facilities quietly to see what the options are. Will probably solicit help from bil and sil to tell me the financial facts and I am going to insist they go to some social event once a week at a minimum to bond with people their age. Feel like I can barely move around here without being observed. Argh. Keep the ideas and experience coming.
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mom29, you sound like a gracious woman who has been pushed beyond the limits. I get the feeling that you are very family oriented, which I like a lot. If family is important to you as it seems, the main suggestion I would make is to set aside a day each week for yourself and protect it like a rattlesnake if anyone should dare to tread on your personal time. There are many to share the responsibility, and you deserve that personal time. I hope you are able to get enough of it to keep yourself refreshed. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job of caring for a lot of people. They can "care back" for you when you have your personal time.
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Mercy woman, just get in the car and drive away!!!!! I hope you know I am kidding, but why on earth would you take two more people into your home..... bless your heart.... are they in a situation they could go to assisted living or independant living for seniors???? I think you have a huge heart and broad shoulders, but maybe it is time to consider placing them somewhere... your kids need you first and formost.... I'm sure others will have suggestions also.... just know you are in my prayers and pouting is the least of your stressors.....let us know how it's going....
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