We can't take care of twin babies and an elderly mother living in our home! Any advice?


I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy with twins. My spouse is very enmeshed w/ her mother and has been taking care of her for the past 8 years. We got married and she moved in with us about 2 years ago.
She had a recent acute health problem which she has been hospitalized for the past week. In light of this recent health difficulty, I think it's best if we find alternative living arrangements for my MIL. We have twins on the way!!!! My spouse does not see it this way and does not want to be separated from her mom. She thinks that she will be able to manage caring for 2 babies and her mother. It's not fair that we have to try to juggle being new parents and taking care of MIL---she lived her life and her poor health is a result of poor lifestyle choices and she never saved up money to plan for her future. Her sister who lives 8 hours away is ready and willing to have their mom move in with them. How can I get my wife to realize that this is the best option for us all? It's time for her to live her life and I think we both deserve to raise these babies without the added stress of taking care of her elderly mom as well. Please help!

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This must be so disappointing! You both have been hoping to be parents and looking forward to this wonderful experience, and now that is somewhat diluted. Sad. But having these babies is still going to be awesome and wonderful and amazing. Hold on to that thought!

Has your wife gone to birthing classes with you? Does she accompany you on doctor appointments? Have your friends given baby showers that she also attended? Only one of you can be carrying these babies, but how involved is she in the other aspects of this pregnancy? Many guys I know proudly announce "We're pregnant!" (didn't happen in my generation but does now.) Is that how your wife feels about it? Or does she consider this pregnancy just your thing?

How much longer will MIL be in the hospital? Hospitalization is often a time to consider changes in living arrangements. Will she be in a transition care unit for rehab or regaining her strength before she comes home? Or are you expecting her to be discharged any day?

You've seen how enmeshed your wife is with her mother. This isn't a new realization for you. If you haven't been able to make progress on this issue until now, in may not be realistic to think you can solve it the last couple of months of your pregnancy.

Were you planning to continue as the main bread winner, with your wife being home with the twins while you work? That may be the shock that convinces your wife that she cannot take care of two babies and her mother at the same time. Or, if a miracle happens, and she can do it all, then I guess you could relax, right?

Having a baby in your twenties is hard and challenging and tiring and stressful (and wonderful, of course.) Having a baby in your forties is extremely tiring above all else. You have the advantage of maturity and a lot of prep time and the wisdom that comes with age. But you just do not have the same level of energy and stamina that you did when you were younger. You can compensate for that a lot with two parents sharing the load. Being a single parent (in a household of three adults) would be tough!!

Twins are twice as wonderful as one baby -- and nearly twice the work. You are probably right when you say you and your wife can't take care of twins with a needy elderly mother in the house. You may have to actually try it for the reality to hit home for your wife.

Try to convince your wife that she NEEDS to go to counseling with you. Continue counselling on your own if she won't.

Congratulations on the upcoming family expansion! I hope all the enormous satisfaction of that event far outweighs your present worries.

Let us know how this works out.
Helpful Answer (6)

Coconuts I'm sorry if you felt I was being unfair - I'd have sent you a hug to apologise but your settings don't allow them.

Harsh I accept, but I said that in the interests of cold clarity. Someone in the dynamic is not being realistic: when I asked about your wife's involvement, how deeply she involved herself, in the pregnancy, it was because I wasn't sure if it was her or you.

I'm sure you're right about your MIL's progressing needs. But as she becomes more frail and needy, your wife is going to be more involved in her care and more concerned about her - and therefore a lot less likely to be content to farm her out. Forget the sister: it was nice of her to offer but she is clueless and can't possibly know what she would be taking on. If MIL were to go to her she'd boomerang back to you...

On the other hand. Here's an idea. What's MIL's attitude to her imminent grand babies? - when she's not acutely ill, that is. How about if SIL comes to see them on arrival, everyone has a lovely day cooing over them, and then SIL takes MIL home for a week or two to give the new parents time to settle in to a routine? And you all see how it goes.

If the babies usurp MIL it's not going to work. If MIL goes to SIL's house and by some happy stroke of fortune they click - DO NOT COUNT ON IT - then who knows? At the very least you'll have some breathing space.
Helpful Answer (2)

Churchmouse: you are quite harsh by telling me I am on my own. Yes, I do think part of the reason my wife doesn't make time to go to a counselor is because she doesn't want to hear the truth about her relationship w/ her mom. Perhaps I do need to wake up and realize that my wifes priority is her mom...however we both have always wanted children more than anything and made the decision together. I think the concern is that w/ the most recent decline in health, it has even more come to my realization that it will be impossible to care for all 3 humans at once. Veronica91: what exactly do you think I do all day to not step up to the plate? I work full-time, I am the main breadwinner. I cook, I clean, I organize, and I'm carrying twins! My wife and I both purchased the house together. I'm not sure where you got the assumption that I sit on my arse all day watching TV.
Helpful Answer (1)

cmagnum, modern science can do wonderful things for couples who wish to have children.... sperm banks have been around for decades.

As for the profile, I noticed there is no option to use "mother-in-law", just "mother". Wish AgingCare would add more options.
Helpful Answer (3)

Let C be Coconuts.
Let CW be Coconuts' wife.
Let M be C's MIL/CW's mother.

C & CW are a married couple. CW has been caring for M for eight years. Two years ago, on the marriage, C, CW & M all moved in to the same house. Being now in the third trimester of pregnancy with twins, and following discussion (though not necessarily agreement: the OP says that she 'would not budge' on this issue which implies that there must have been some kind of opposition), C became pregnant approximately 6-8 months ago.

Out of courtesy, one forbears to ask how. But it is highly relevant to ask about CW's consent to the conception. Did she agree? Did she help pay? Did she contribute in any kind of active supporting role?

The situation as of now is that the twins, quite correctly, are their mother's primary concern. The question is, were they ever and are they now CW's primary concern? Because it really doesn't sound like it: that place in CW's life appears to be occupied by her mother. Which is why I myself conclude that C is effectively on her own.
Helpful Answer (2)

To further complicate things. Coconuts' profile reads:

"I am caring for my mother, living at my home and the primary ailment is lung disease."

Also, if there are two moms, how is it that the OP states how determined they were to have children? One mom can't make the other mom get pregnant.

We need some clarification.
Helpful Answer (0)

cwillie, I am also reading the post the same way you are.... that the twins are going to be raised by two Moms.   But one of the Moms is quite busy caring for her own Mother and refuses to let her own Mom move in with another relative.
Helpful Answer (3)

Uhm, the OP says "I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy with twins".

A lot of you are giving advice based on the assumption that coconuts is a man, I'm not reading it that way, but I could be wrong...
Helpful Answer (3)

Coconuts you are between a rock and a hard place. If you want your marriage to survive and be able to raise happy healthy little ones you are going to have to step up to the plate and relieve your wife of some of her responsibilities rather than sit around feeling sorry for yourself and abandoned. Start thinking of the tasks you can take on to relieve ur wife. provide dinner several times a week. Note I am not saying cook, it's fine to bring home take out. How about doing some of the laundry. Dare I say do some of the home cleaning or shopping.
You say your MIL has made poor life choices. That is in the past this is the present. MIL has health problems and presumably is not safe to live alone. YOU choose to marry and move into the home wife shared with mother. Was that a poor choice on your part?
You are going to be a parent in a few short weeks. When those lovely babies arrive your wife does not need four people to care for. Feel free to yell at me this is just my opinion.
Helpful Answer (1)

Coconuts, your wife "hasn't time" to go and see the counsellor.

You know that's complete nonsense, don't you? Your wife doesn't want to see the counsellor who will help her untangle herself from her mother - because she has not the slightest impulse ever to do that. She wants to take care of her mother.

And, with respect, the time to resolve this issue was before you committed to having children. You weren't willing to budge on that: fine. But that was your choice, and these are your consequences.

Your wife could not have made her priorities clearer, or been more consistent in stating them. You are on your own.
Helpful Answer (3)

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