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I had no mother for most of my life, she left me when I was young, just to reappear
six years ago needing care whilst she died. That was okay. Now my mother-in-law has moved into a nice facility near my husband and also near his brother. She has six children, the two men and then four daughters. None of the daughters do a thing, rare visits, if any. It is such a strain on our family as she wants us, or me, to drive the hour and and 1/2 at the drop of a hat. If I don't do it,
my nice husband will. The woman is very selfish, and I don't feel like a person when with her. My family is struggling financially, and while I don't expect her to help, it is hard to watch her spend so much money on luxuries, expect my son to
work for her, work on her house, and not consider paying him. This sounds petty I realize. Yet we, our small family, our fighting our way out of tough times, and we are going to make it. We treasure any bits of down time, that would be an evening every two months. I am recovering from late stage breast cancer. I guess the hardest part is that her daughters are content to do nothing, and this does effect me as I either have to go to her myself or see my tired husband drag himself out there. Yes, I have asked them to help. Don't I sound petty?
She complains and complains, yet her circumstances are quite nice. She was never a grandmother to my son. I must stop my complaining, I leave her feeling
de-personalized, de-moralized and weary.

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Metrie, time for some tough love and setting of boundaries... wish I knew I could have done that 6 years ago with my parents.

I know how you feel regarding the net worth that your mother-in-law has, or so she says or projects... i ran into that with my parents. My parents could have easily hired people to do the work I was doing for them. That made me very resentful so I decided to set boundaries... no more running all over hill and dale because they wanted to get out of the house, just urgent doctor appointments now and to pick up groceries from the on-line grocery service.

There is a reason your mom-in-law's daughters don't help, it's because they know that you and hubby will go at a drop of a hat. Mom-in-law is going to complain anyway, so setting boundaries isn't going to change that except to give you and hubby more control.
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Let me guess that she has driven away her daughters with criticism and complaints. Your husband feels bad about her situation and is working off his feelings of obligation by working on the house. You accomodate him, but you have no obligation to cart her around. She can take the transport, she can participate in the activities where she lives. Step back, your own health issues are far more important than her petty complaints.
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I agree wholeheartedly with CB. And I can suppose that it's easier for you emotionally to blame yourself than to be angry with your husband for failing to stand up to his mom's unfair and unnecessary demands. It is really OK for her to lavish money on herself - I mean unless that 5k mattress is a medical necessity and there is just not funding for it - while her grandchild goes without dental care?
Consider marital counseling, seriously. You surely have a right to know what is going on financially, if workmen are not being paid, because that could be trouble for the whole family. Even more, if her home is being remodeled, is there a plan for her to,return to it? With an assumption that you and hubby will do even more for her to keep her in it?
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Metrie - Please, stop beating yourself up. You are not petty. You do not have a character defect. Any normal person would feel resentful putting out so much energy for an "unloved one" while your own family is left wanting for basic needs. Your MIL is in a facility - you and your husband do not need to be at her beck and call. She clearly has no empathy and no limits on how demanding she's willing to be, and maybe that's her illness, but you're not to blame for not wanting to respond to it. You don't sound petty at all. You and your husband need to draw some boundaries, regardless of whether his sisters are willing to step up. I am wishing for you the strength to help yourself and your husband stay strong and carve out the time you need for yourselves. And yes, demand payment for your husband's work before providing any more free labor. Good luck!
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Let your mother in law know what your family is and is not able to do for her. Perhaps a once a month scheduled visit when you can take her out shopping and then the woman who does for her can fill in for items she needs before then. You should not have to be at her beck and call. My dad does not like to go on the bus that his lovely facility provides, so he has to wait until I am able to bring him what he needs or take him out shopping. As far as the work on her house goes, most workers get paid throughout the job, some percentage to start the job, sometimes a payment in the middle and then a final payment when the work is done. Your husband should tell her he cannot continue the work without being paid. And if the work is taking too much of what little free time he has, he should tell her that too. I wouldn't worry about the daughters. Just focus on your family, keep working on your financial situation and offer your MIL whatever little bit of assistance you and your husband decide you are able to provide.
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Metrie, when you spoke to your SILs about this, what reasons did they give you for not wanting to spend more time on their mother?

Also. What is the difficulty about her signing up for the facility's transportation service? Sounds ideal - praise it in her hearing and say "how wonderful to have your independence!"
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Why do you think you have a character defect? You would like your husband to spend time with you. Cut back on visits, both of you. She will complain. Let her complain to her other children.
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*correction, not 1/2 day, rather 1/2 an hour.
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I wasn't clear. She is living in a lovely residential facility, her house is farther away and it is being remodeled. My son and step-son have worked on her house, pay was negotiated yet has not been forthcoming. I have been told to stay out of this.
My husband is very busy working to get us out of a deep financial hole, I am recovering from late stage cancer and must get back into the work place. She does not drive so the two brothers or her grandsons are her only resource for trips to the store unless she signs up for the transportation provided by the facility. Either I go or my husband will, and thus I loose the precious 1/2 a day I have with him, and see him so tired. I sound petty. Then, as I show you how truly shallow I am, it is hard for me to take her shopping for a $5000.00 mattress when, to my shame, I cannot pay for my son's much needed dental work. This is my character defect. Her constant complaints about the woman that does for her two hours a day don't help. As I write, I see that I am not so nice, yet I took care of my mother, who was not a mother to me. This woman was a mother, has some good qualities, and not a one of her four daughters comes to her. That is hard for me. Sorry.
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"If I don't, my husband has to." No, he doesn't. As long as the two of you allow yourselves to be manipulated and bear the burden, the other siblings will allow you to do all the work.

If you want to change anything, stand your ground and refuse.

You write that MIL has moved into a "nice facility" - you mentioned working on her house, so presumably she's living in a single family residence.

Next time she wants him to do work on her house, find a local handyman, skilled laborer, tradesman in the field of repair, and let her know you've found someone who can do the work for her because your husband can't any more.

You write that she spends "so much money on luxuries" - is she still driving?

If she can't maintain the house, perhaps she should consider living in a facility where she has more support, such as AL.

Unless the two of you take a stand, this is going to continue indefinitely. You and your husband are the only ones who can effectuate a change by standing your ground.
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