Two years ago my recently retired husband and I moved out of state to move into my mother's house. My father's been gone 10 years. My mother is 81, has had some health issues, but for the most part is in good health. She still drives. She lived alone for 10 years after my dad's passing. I have severe fibrymyalgia (am on permanent disability) and was not able to handle the stairs in our home. My mother's home is all on one level and is handicapped "friendly" due to my father's illnesses. She also informed us that she was beginning to run low on funds, having had sole responsibility of the house and all its expenses for ten years. So, we took the plunge, put our house on the market, and moved out of state two years ago to move in with her.
It hasn't been all bad, most days it works well. Two of the biggest problems are that 1) it's still "her" house, and 2) my husband tends to hold onto things. He's not as far gone as a hoarder, it's just that he grew up in a financially deprived household, and was raised with the thought that it's better to hold onto something, you may need it. My mother, on the other hand, hates any kind of clutter. She'll throw things out just because they're "in the way," whether it's something she'll use or not. My husband has pulled event tickets and even envelopes containing cash out of her recycling trash. As for me, I'm smack in the middle of them, trying to explain him to her, and her to him.
And what doesn't help at all is my overall relationship with my mother. If I tell you she says, "I'm the parent, and you're the child, and that's one thing that will never change!" does that give you a clue? I'm 62 years old, and she can make me feel like a 10 year old with absolutely no effort. I don't feel like we're 3 adults living in this house -- we're two kids living in HER home.
We need to make this work -- our home in another state, while not "sold," is unavailable to us to move back in to. The arguments are beginning to come more frequently. Of course it's also causing tension between my husband and I, which isn't pleasant.
Does anyone have any advice for us on how to handle (live through) this situation?
I also want to compliment the advice given by InstEasy, for this is all important (I had already taken care of legal things before I arrived). This stuff is important!
As for the discord between you, your mom, and your husband, it sounds like things mostly work out OK, but that you get on each other's nerves at times. That's to be expected with a husband and wife. Add a mother (-in law) into the mix and...well, it can't always be rosy. Keep the lines of communication open as possible. When your mom asserts her role as mom (and reminds you that you're the 'kid'), it's probably just because you get on her nerves sometimes, too, and she might long for the time when you were an actual kid and she could assert herself more easily. The living arrangement you've embarked on isn't an easy one, but it sounds like it's working Ok for the most part.
As a practical matter, it's probably best to provide areas for your husband and your mom that are 'off limits' to the other person. A clutterer can't stand their 'treasures' being vulnerable to being tossed out and someone who abhors clutter can't be expected to live comfortably when someone else's 'junk' is allowed to accumulate in every room of the house. If it's just the three of you, can't you designate a room as a 'man cave' for your husband (and make it off limits to your mom)?