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My Mom is on oxygen and unable to walk very far. About 4 years ago I moved her into our home. My wife resents my Mom's presence. I know this is not the ideal for any of us but I am doing the best I can. This is particularly hard for me as I have helped raise my wife's kids as my own. I love my wife but I don't understand her. She complains at anything I do for my mom and stops short of insulating that I have an unhealthy attachment to my Mom. I am sick of the complaints about my Mom about my siblings lack of involvement (which is somewhat justified). What my wife doesn't see is that I still love her but the constant complaining from her is killing that love. I feel guilty because I long for the day that I am free of the responsibility of caring for mom AND free from this woman that is killing what feelings I have left for her. If it weren't for my kids, I would take Mom somewhere else and walk away from this fiasco.

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Wow, Burnout, you need to give this some serious thought. Can I ask you how old is your mom and how long have you been married? How old are the kids? Are they just hers or some yours and some hers?

Let me tell you a little about my situation. My husband and I retired and then moved my parents up to live with us. Not under the same roof, but across the driveway, which meant we had to build a small home for them. My brother carried most of the cost for that, but my husband and I were out $40,00.00 on this transition.

My husband was never really happy about bringing my parents up. He had worked all his life, as did I, and for the first time we were in a place where we had some freedom. That ended when my parents moved up and it has been ok, but the effort and loss of freedom is beyond what most would sacrifice. Lately it's been even more difficult as my mom has passed but my dad now lives under our roof due to a stroke and needs 24/7 care.

In the years (7) they have been here, we have never been able to take a trip to visit our son and granddaughter without the expense of paying a sibling to come and stay while we were gone, that included air fare. More often than not, I would stay home and take care of things and my husband would go visit our son and Granddaughter. We've missed out on a lot over the past years because we can't share important times with our children at the same moment.

Since my dad has moved into our home, it has been more stressful. He needs 24/7 care and my husband, who is a very kind and loving person, told me recently that this kind of care is just not in his DNA. I love this man and I appreciate his honesty. It's just not what he wants to do, but he'll help me out for as long as I need him too. Still, it takes a toll on him and on me.

We had a talk this evening and he told me that he understands that I have more to work though in taking care of my parents than he did. I have more emotional baggage, so to speak, than he had with his. Also, his parents passed away from illness and not a lingering old age and he understands that those circumstances are different.

When my husband and I married, I had a young son from a previous marriage. My husband loves that child, now 43 years old, with a passion equal to any biological parent. Same with our Granddaughter. He is a wonderful person, but he just does not want to give his live to caring for my parents (dad) although he has supported me. Let me just say, that the support has not come without complaints.

There are days when I would love to get away from my husband and my dad. Both are not happy, my dad because he can't do what is use to and my husband because he is still waiting to have his retirement and spend time with me. If I absolutely had to give one of them up, it would be my dad.

Think about what you are wiling to forfeit and why. It's not a sin to not want to take on the care of a parent and your mom has been living in your house for 4 years. That's a long time. You don't have to agree 100% with your wife, but can you hold her in your arms and appreciate the loss she feels.

I don't know if this helps. I'm struggling too.
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B:

It's not easy for a wife to play 2nd fiddle in her own home. Look at it like this: #1 -- Mom; #2 -- You; #3 -- Kids; and #4 -- Wife. The last sentence in your post made it crystal clear where your allegiance is. "If it weren't for my kids, I would take Mom somewhere else and walk away from this fiasco." So who's in charge? If I were to visit, I'd probably think your Mom is the wife; and your wife some Home Health Aide about to go ballistic.

If you don't have the movie "Why Did I Get Married?," get it. There's a scene when a husband finally finds the b___s to end the squabbling between his ex and the wife. Another option you have is move out and take your mother with you; because the kids aren't going anywhere.

If I were your wife I'd file for divorce, keep the house, and collect my fair share of child support from my kids' biological father(s). You still love each other, but caring for your mother is driving a wedge between the two of you. It's not your wife's fault; it yours. Fix the problem.
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Burnout, you need counceling before you throw in the towel. Maybe you do pay your mother too much attention and she is able to do somethings for herself. Maybe you wife is just selfish. Who knows? Maybe it is a little of all.

The important thing here is the 13 and 12 year old. What are they experiencing growing up in such stress. Maybe it would be better to put your Mom in AL or a NH and work on the marriage. Sounds as if there are several extreme stressor in your life.

Take care of your family first. Your Mom will someday no longer be with you and your family could be in shambles. Make your family your first priority.
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I feel for your wife, I have my mother live with me and I sometimes resent her! But, you really need to make some changes, like consider your WIFE first! Move your Mom to a nice home other than your own, where she will have people her own age and will be taken care of and then you can go see her once in a while, and save your marriage!! Good luck,
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To expand a bit on Eddie's comments, I'm not sure it is easy for any adult woman to play 2nd fiddle in her home (wife, mother, sister or otherwise). It might not work for a man either - I can't speak to that.

I do know I resent the heck out of being treated like the hired help (with zero pay, mind you) and having my husband appropriated as my MIL's "surrogate". It's not in my nature to be confrontational, but I had to pitch a mild fit to get either one of them to understand that I really didn't think it appropriate to be relegated to the back seat of my own car! I'm not opposed to yielding that space to a guest as appropriate, but I really do not appreciate being demoted to also-ran in absolutely every communal aspect of home life. My gripe list is long, but this isn't the time...

To Burnout, I'm don't mean to say that your perspective on this situation is wrong at all. You wife may be coming from an unreasonable and selfish place - we can't know that. I do get the impression, though, that she is feeling slighted, unloved and overlooked, and I have some sympathy there. My suggestion would be to check out Gary Chapman's "The 5 Love Languages." It's not rocket science, but it might offer some insight and some tools to help you express care for her in a way she can recognize. It might also help you identify and ask for what you need from her in order for YOU to feel cared for and fed too. You guys may be working mightily to love each other - but not in the way your partner can "hear." In the face of EXHAUSTING elder care, it's so much more difficult to remember to put the first work on the marriage.

Good luck to you, friend.
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Also, it is often true when someone goes to therapy and learns new skills and then puts them to use in a relationship things shift. You stop taking the "bate" so to speak and learn to address the comments in a way that is more in tune with your values. You learn to be who you are without having to have a negative response to those who might want to get one from you. There's an old therapy book called, "The Dance of Anger" and I don't remember the author off hand, but it gives great insight on how to break the cycle of negative repetition in a relationship. Might be worth a read.
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Here's my thoughts for what they're worth. I alone cared for my mother for only 18 months. However she was completely immobile. I slept with one ear open and with dementia they seem to never sleep, especially at night. I was exhausted but grateful for this experience.

#1 Prior to marriage do we discuss taking care of our parents? Probably not, but should. #2 I take offense for all women when I hear "it's probably her time of the month" or "She's menopausal or hormonal." Deal with it. Without these 'hormone's my friends none of us would be walking planet earth. I think it's time we show more respect and compassion and less insults and blame toward woman. Besides, men too have this going on but due to a lack of research we discount it. #3 What DOES your wife do for "your" mother? Maybe there is more than jealousy (if) going on here. She signed up to be a wife and a mother, not a care taker, correct? Was she in agreement to your mother moving in? Was there a time limit put on this agreement? Is this your decision alone regardless of what your 'life partner" wanted? How thorough was this discussed? Also one does not know what they are in for until they are in it. Maybe a family meeting would help.

I felt compelled to make this decision and forced to view my life and make the necessary changes prior to my care-taking. I would (if I were you) treat your wife to a night out, and humble yourself to discuss this arrangement and the impact it is having on your relationship with her. My guess is that she is sacrificing far more than you are giving her credit for. The decision for taking care of a parent must be made out of love and not guilt or finances. There are other options that you could discuss the pros and cons of that will allow you more harmony in your commitment to your wife and your relationship with her.

Women/Men with nurturing abilities typically find themselves taken for granted and then become confused as to how to turn it around; They now seem to stand alone in their confusion since those people around them are benefitting and don't see the need to disrupt their life to now accommodate hers/his.
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Burntout, have you tried counselling? Perhaps an objective third party -- a professional listener -- could help the two of you sort out your conflicts and figure out better ways to get along than just hanging on until Mom is gone.

My heart goes out to everyone in your household.
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Has your wife always felt that way about possessions and her appearance? I'm just wondering if she might be dealing with change of life issues. Hormonal changes can make a person feel more irritable. Maybe she is worried that her best years are behind her. I'm not making excuses for her behavior. If you can get her to go to counseling with you that might be helpful. It also might be good for her to have a few sessions alone. I'm sorry that things are so difficult for you. Good luck and stay in touch.
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Burnout, you have two kids 12 and 13 that still need an intact family. Get some counseling for you and your wife before you do anything rash. The kids are always the ones that suffer. Your wife has a lot of resentment towards your mother which is coming from somewhere. Gotta find out the 'why' and 'where' first and foremost.
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