My husband and I are 39 and 40 years old and have been married for 12 years and we have 3 children and 2 have developmental delays. We live in Texas and I’m a stay at home mom now since last year. At the beginning of pandemic in 2020, my husband began to talk about moving his 72 year old mom in. He is her oldest and only child living in the state. She has another son who is out of the country. We live a in 3 bedroom rancher so we didn’t have space to move her in at the time. Well, about 3 months ago my husband told me we are putting our home up for sale and he’s going to build a home big enough to move her in. He never once asked me if it was ok. She can barely walk. She still drives but she shouldn’t. She just fell again last week when I was visiting her and I couldn’t help her. I had to call her nephew who lives nearby to come over and pick her up. What if she falls again after she moves in with us? I think she needs to go to the nursing home where they have the equipment and staff to take care of her but my husband is dead set against it yet he’s not going to be the one caring for her and the children. Our new home is going to be finished by the end of year and instead of feeling excited, I just feel like this is going to be a mess if he doesn’t get her some home health workers over. I can’t take care her by myself.

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Elise, my children were 8 and 10 when I moved my mom into my house. She stayed with us for 2 long stressful years.

During that time, we had no privacy, no vacations, no rest, no peace. Everything we did had to revolve around my mother and her needs. We couldn't go anywhere unless we arranged to have someone stay with her. Getting her to agree to stay with the sitter was in itself a monumental task that took months and several trials. My children became resentful of my mother. They disliked her. They kept begging me to move her out. The stress and tension were always ALWAYS present in the house. There was no peace.The home felt like a prison. My only escape was when I went out to walk the dog, or take the kids to school. I was burned out. Even my dog didn't like my mom.

Eliss, your life will change for the worse. Your marriage will be at risk. Your health will suffer. Your children will suffer.

You have been warned!

Fight for your life or get run over by the freight train of caregiving.

Get your husband to see what he is getting you all into by getting him to this forum to read the real life stories of care giving.
Helpful Answer (11)
BurntCaregiver May 2021
Wow, polarbear.

I know firsthand the misery and resentment that caring for an elderly parent can cause because I live in it.
What I don't do, and refuse to do is cater to her in any way. She never catered to me a moment in my life, so I don't owe her.
There is no getting her to agree to anything in this house.
If I make an arrangement, that's the end of it. I don't care if she likes it or not.
Life is still a wretched misery for me though.
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Elise, you say “not happy about it but I don’t want to fight over it either”. That’s for now. When it happens, you will have two choices. Choice one is that yes you will fight about it, big time, far worse than drawing the line now. Choice two is that you will be an unpaid cook, cleaner and nursemaid for the rest of your ‘life’ - except that you will join all the others who say ‘I don’t have a life anymore’.

DH said “I thought you loved my mommy.” This is not about loving her. You will be a better loving daughter in law when you can visit, complete with one grandchild (more is hard to control, believe me). Being the unpaid servant with increasingly dirty work interferes with the loving.

Yes, very very occasionally we have people where it did work. It worked for me when I moved in with my mother while she died of cancer, and I’m glad and proud that I did it with her. The move-in lasted just over a month before she died at home, though admittedly my life had revolved around the hospital for the previous 2 months. Yes, it was the most intensive time possible to be caring, but I knew I couldn’t have done it for much longer. My children were with their other grandmother, and that wasn’t viable longer term. Ex-husband (actually his partner) said he was not prepared ‘to be my backstop' and take them while my mother died. I couldn’t work (in my own business, no paid leave), and that couldn’t last either. My mother woke every 4 hours, incontinent, and I wasn’t coping with the lack of sleep. She was ‘well behaved’, and was very grateful for all I was doing. She was a very intelligent woman, and I loved her.

The people for whom it works are either short term (like me), or unusually nice elders (not bossy, judgemental, argumentative, unreasonable), plus there is other family help so that you can still get a break, take your children out for sports etc. So many people have difficult cases, that get progressively worse, and that last for years and years. It’s the roll of the dice. How much of a gambler are you?

It’s hard, but please believe the people who are speaking from bitter experience. Yours, Margaret
Helpful Answer (9)


Your husband is being unreasonable. Period. He is putting his mother ahead of his wife and children. What he thinks - oh the kids will love having grandma around - and what will be is why we all are waving red flags.

She is sick. Her needs will only increase. She will fall again.

She also hasn't saved any money to pay for her care. Your husband expects you to take care of his mother for free and you neither can nor should do that. And from the little I know about Texas, longterm care including home health is expensive. And she will not get 24/7 care in the home. So the burden of filling the gaps in her care will fall on you because your husband has a job, right? Does she already have Medicaid for indigent seniors? If not, it sounds like it's time.

You need to stop thinking it's either "be nice" or "fight". What your husband is asking (expecting? demanding??) of you is life changing. Imagine all of a sudden he declared "I want another baby". He wants what he wants but you obviously would have to agree.

As for the new house, is your husband building her an in-law suite? Everyone needs privacy and personal space. If you're not willing to stand up for yourself on anything that your husband wants, then you will be miserable. Most people on this forum who have moved their parents or in-laws in with them *while also raising young children* regret the decision.

You need to write the plan for his mother because he won't. You need to educate him about what it will take to care for her in your home i.e. mobility, bathing, toileting, meals, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, just to name a few. Hiring extra in-home help will cost at least $15 per hour. Is he going to pay for it? What is that going to do to your family's financial security?

Elise- you have young children to protect. You also have to protect yourself from being injured and getting sick from burnout. You must put caring for your children first. And I agree with others who have suggested that your marriage needs counseling.
Helpful Answer (9)

Elise - there are so many things many of us didn't know until we moved our parents in and found out the hard way, and that it was too late to move them out.

It's easy to move your MIL in but it will be almost impossible to move her out. It will feel like you are kicking her out when she needs so much help.

Here are a few things that some of us have to deal with:

--MIL now shares the house and starts criticizing the way DIL cooks, manages house, the kitchen, disciplines the kids, all while the husband does nothing about it, or sides with his mother.

--The parent takes over the living room and the TV all day all night and won't give the couple any privacy. If the parent has hearing loss, the TV will be on full blast.

--The parent takes over the conversation at every meal and wants to be the center of attention.

--The parent will demand to be included in all the social activities and be brought along, and will get angry if left at home.

--The MIL now sees her son's house as hers, and the wife becomes the outsider or the third wheel.

Since your MIL has mobility issues, here are some issues you might have to deal with:
--MIL will fall, even if you're standing next to her. Can you pick her up? How's that back of yours?
--MIL might need help with personal hygiene. Who's going to help bathe her and dress her? Who's going to help her with #1 and #2? Who's going to clean up bathroom messes when she has accidents? Who's going to pick up and launder her soiled clothes? If she uses a bedside commode (since she can barely walks), who's going to dump out the bucket and clean it daily?
--Eventually in a few years, she will become incontinent. Who's going to do diaper duties? And clean her nether regions?

--If she has other health problems, who's going to transport her to doctor appointments, and help her in and out of the car?

--Since she's still driving and shouldn't, who's going to tell her she has to stop driving before she kills someone? This issue is a big one for many people because the elder is so stubborn and won't give up the keys.

One other thing, not only you can't go on vacations, you won't have much (if any) of a social life either. Friends will move on. You will feel isolated and stuck.

Your MIL may not have any of the issues I mentioned above, but that will change. Her needs will get more and more. Your husband is clueless as to what is waiting in store for you all, especially you Elise.

Some of us made the mistake of moving our in-laws in, and found out we have become a 24/7 unpaid servant doing the hardest, most unwanted and thankless job, and worst of all, we can't get out of it, then we think to ourselves, it's better to be divorced than to be in this horrible situation.
Helpful Answer (8)
Tothill May 2021
This needs to be a top post that automatically appears when anyone asks about moving a parent into their home.
"I have tried to calmly discuss it with him and he said I thought you loved my mommy."

This is CLASSIC passive-aggressive behavior. The implication here being "if you don't agree with what I want to do, I am going to turn it around on you and claim that this means you don't love my mom. So you will give in, because you are afraid of being accused of not being a loving daughter-in-law, and it makes YOU the bad guy in this scenario, not me - the person who is making life changing, family changing decisions without the COURTESY of consulting my spouse."

That's what that one line he used on you is actually saying.

As far as I can see it, you really only have very limited choices. You either
1) acquiesce. Accept the fact you MIL is going to become a permanent part of your household and deal with all the fallout that will cause.
2) Fight now with your husband, and maybe convince him this is NOT a good idea for anyone, including his mother.
3) pack your bags and the kids and leave.

You said don't want MIL living with you. You said you don't want to leave your husband. So that really only leaves one viable option.

You might not win the fight. But you'll never know until you try.

Oh - and a great comeback for "I thought you loved my mommy" - "And I thought you loved ME - at least enough to ask for and respect my HONEST INPUT on this life altering decision YOU have decided to make on your own." Put the blame right back at him.

I really, really hope you can find the voice you need to stand up for yourself and your kids.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (8)
lealonnie1 May 2021
Wise words right here. Passive/aggressive behavior is a tricky manipulative technique designed to make the other person question HERSELF instead of the person dishing out the PA behavior!
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I just read where you said "he doesn't have a plan for her" and that is not true. He does indeed have a plan for her and for you, too. There is no reason you should have to take this on. It's a huge job. If HE is personally going to take this on, it should not happen in your house. Be clear and firm. Tell him you have done the research and you are not capable of taking care of her and likely, neither is he. It has nothing to do with what she saved or didn't save or prepare for, and you should try to leave that out of it even if it's true, lol.

But let's be honest, he is not going to help. Men in the US often don't. That's a problem. But it's not his problem, it's yours. So you have to be clear with yourself, you are not obligated to do this. Just because you are a woman not working outside the house does not mean you are free to do a job that takes a staff to do in a care facility. This starts with you. Don't let the house be built with the MIL in mind. Just say no. You are not obligated to do this. And if things progress further, you will need to without tipping off your husband, arrange to see a divorce lawyer and find out your options. If you allow this to happen it will surely seal the fate of your marriage anyway. Why bother waiting until you're worn out and broken down?
Helpful Answer (6)

Have you and your husband discussed the impact his mother living with the family will have on your young children? I haven't seen one word about that, and it's a huge consideration. Who's going to get the most attention -- a child, or the woman who's falling down and getting hurt?

I'll bet your husband doesn't really know what a "nursing home" is these days. It isn't a place where you send Grandma to die, but rather a place where there are activities and friends as well as assistance as whatever level you need. I would think your MIL could go to assisted living, have an apartment, and most important, have FRIENDS. Your family shouldn't be her entire social circle. She should have friends closer to her own age and experiences, and she deserves to have that. It's more stimulating for her, plus it gives her things to do that are more interesting to her than what she'll get at your house. You can always bring her to your house for lunch or dinner or for the weekend if you like, but she has a place of her own and activities of her own. It's no different than refusing to ever send your kids to school or let them spend time with other kids their age and expecting them to become well-rounded people when they never see anyone but you.

I think you should demand your husband and MIL at least tour a few assisted living facilities. Has anyone even asked HER what she wants to do? It sounds like your husband is consumed by his self-imposed guilt and obligation as to what he thinks a good son does without talking to any of the affected parties here, nor having much knowledge of the options available that would give his mother a better quality of life.
Helpful Answer (6)
EliseM May 2021
The children are the main reason Im on the fence about it. No He hasn’t thought about it. He just feels the children will enjoy having her around. They are 9, 7 and 4. He sees me as super mom and super wife and I can handle everything.
You say,  "I’m not happy about it but I don’t want to fight over it either." It sounds to me like you've agreed to the building of this new home by staying silent out of not wanting to fight with your husband. Now you're facing the ruination of your life and your entire family's lives once your MIL moves in. And what about when your folks want to move in, too? Will you be the sole caregiver to every one of them since DH "sees me as super mom and super wife and I can handle everything"?

There comes a time when you have to use your voice and stand up for yourself and for your children, letting everyone know what YOU want. Now is that time.

My mother is 94 and lives in Memory Care Assisted Living. Since she moved into regular Assisted Living in April of 2015, she's fallen 72x. Just since moving into the Memory Care bldg in June of 2019, she's fallen 32x. If she was living with me, I'd have had to call 911 every single time she fell b/c she weighs almost 200 lbs. Not to mention, she'd have been lying on the floor for God knows how long before either myself or my DH got home from work and found her. She's always been fiercely against authority of any kind, meaning she refuses to wear a call button/Life Alert bracelet or anything like that, so no call for help would have gone out when she fell. I thank God every day that I made the decision long ago to NEVER have elders come live in my home.

I think you need to have a serious talk with your husband now and with both sets of parents about what you're willing to do and what you're unwilling to do in terms of caregiving. You're very young and you have decades of caregiving ahead of you, should you choose to go down that path. Read this forum to see what THAT looks like, should you choose that path.

Good luck
Helpful Answer (6)
EliseM May 2021
My parents are not moving in with us. We know that for a fact. They have made their own arrangements. I’m not wrong for wanting to keep my marriage in tact. Im not letting her win by walking away.
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Elise - I reread all your comments, including the one asking why no one is saying it will all be fine and go well. I pondered all night about MIL/DIL situations that worked out beautifully and joyfully... Ruth and Naomi from the Bible came to mind. It struck me that it was so unique and noteworthy it made it into the Bible! In my own 62 years I could not think of any that went so well.

From my reading of your comments, it still seems to me that what we reading here are seeing is not a problem with your MIL. She is almost a side-issue to everything you are saying. You love her and want her cared for, but are talking about major changes to your life and the way you raise your children being imposed on you without, as you describe it, your active willing consent. That is what makes this appear to be a husband/wife issue rather than an elderly care issue. “He never once asked me if it was okay.”

You can read from many here the workload and difficulties in store for you caring for your MIL in your home. Even those who are glad they did it admit is is a tremendous amount of work and burden on your life, on top of all you are doing now. If you aren’t even beginning this new task and role with a glad heart and willing spirit, it will not go well from Day 1. You resenting what is being put on you against your will and wishes makes what would be difficult under the best of circumstances into something that could destroy you and your family. That’s where you must decide, not divorce, but a change in the way your marriage appears to be, from your words, to become where you and and your husband are solidly equal partners and make decisions AND compromises together. Maybe you say, “I would welcome your mother into MY home, BUT...” and state your conditions. Then you start to negotiate. I really hope you two can work it out for the best of all of you.
Helpful Answer (6)

Elise, you seem to think that the choices are to fold and acquiece to your husband's demands or have a "fight".

If standing up for your wants and needs and thise of your kids results in a "fight" then this isn't a marriage. A marriage respects the needs and desires of both of the participants.

HE isnt the one who will be doing the work, is he?

Find that marriage counselor today. Also, even if you don't think divorce is the way to go, consult an attorney to find out how much you can expect in child support, maintenance and split of assets.

My ex told me I'd be dirt poor if we divorced. In fact, it was quite the opposite. But I needed a lawyer to educate me on the laws in my state. And I benefited from having someone else stand up for me.
Helpful Answer (6)
NeedHelpWithMom May 2021
I love your response! I love answers that relay a message of hope, and Barb, your message certainly delivers hope in a situation that can be quite challenging to endure but well worth the risk!

I suppose that it is normal to somewhat fear the unknown but it can be a fresh and exciting start to a new life.

People become crippled by fear, fear of letting go of their current situation and the past, fear of what lies ahead for them, fear of what others will think. Oh my gosh, I can say that now, I don’t give a rat’s a** what others think!

I have learned that letting go can be extremely liberating. It took me long enough to realize it, but with the help of therapy and this forum, I managed to do it.

I was blind. I was stuck in a rut. So, if I could adapt to change, anyone can.
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