So I feel like a crybaby. I protested quite loudly beforehand but here I am -- primary caregiver to my husband's mother (she is bipolar and has dementia). In the 29 years we've been married, I met her 6 times before we brought her to our state. She went to assisted living for about 16 months. That was fine in the beginning but her needs increased and her income did not. We brought her to live with us at the end of January. I have caregivers 4 hours a day Monday through Saturday. The rest of the time, she is our responsibility. My husband works full-time and I notice that he's coming home later and later during the week. On the weekends, my husband has been good about placing her in a chair near wherever he's working. It still is SUCH a huge responsibility -- cooking, cleaning, shopping, showering, bringing her water, helping her up/down stairs, appointments, paperwork, filling prescriptions, dolling out meds, listening to her "stories" (she's currently focused on Paul McCartney -- apparently, they're getting married). Everything. Everything. What does she do for herself? Well -- sometimes in the middle of the night she'll change her clothes. Anyway -- I'm just so disappointed in how I feel about being in this situation. I don't even know the woman. She has four children, including a DAUGHTER. We're all in our 50's - 60's. I just don't know how to accept this. I want to scream. I want to run away. I want to disappear. But I feel like such a brat for feeling this way.

"What I would like is for the daughter to step up and do the right thing. In my mind, she should be the one caring for her mother. Not me -- the daughter-in-law."

Take another step in your thinking and realize it's never a daughter's responsibility rather than a son's. Don't focus on what you think your SIL should be doing, but rather focus on what YOU WILL NOT DO ANY LONGER.

As has already been pointed out, the current situation suits everyone but YOU. You have choices. Besides being thrilled that they aren't taking care of MIL, I'm sure the sibs won't like it if the house in WI has to be sold to pay for MIL's care, but that is beside the point. This is wrong for YOU. YOU did not agree to this (or did you?).

I really like the idea of taking off and making your H deal with his mother for a few days...a it! And check out the available resources.

Here's the thing, though. So many times on this board people get the wise advice of posters here, and are then unable to follow through. I'd suggest deciding now which camp you will be in -- the ones who read everything but then decide they just can't take the necessary steps for whatever reason, and then the much smaller camp of strong folks who actually take the advice and make the changes to improve their situation.

Which camp will you be in?
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to CTTN55

What kind of sales job did your absentee husband do on you to convince you that his mother was your responsibility. Did he guilt you into it? This goes beyond just trying to be nice to her and to him. He’s sitting in the catbird seat. So he puts her in a chair next to him on the weekends. Whoop Dee do.

Tell him you’re done and can no longer give up your life to care for her. It’s not 1953. You are an equal partner in this marriage...or you should be. Start researching memory care facilities for her. Apply for Medicaid. Stand your ground. There are no “deals” like him promising he will help more. She needs to be in a place where everyone is on board with her care.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Ahmijoy

Why is this your responsibility and not HER CHILDREN? Notice I did not say her DAUGHTER. You need to tell your husband that this is not working for you. Tell him you know he is avoiding the situation by his late work hours. Tell him he needs to come up with another solution. Give him one month the meantime plan a little get away at the end of that month and let him know you will be gone for a few days so he needs to figure something out for his mother.

Did you actually agreed to do this or was it assumed you would?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to lkdrymom
Wench62 Mar 10, 2020
I protested very loudly. At the same time, I realized we didn't have much choice. My loud protests resulted in spending as much money as she could afford to pay for caregivers. Her money doesn't go far enough, unfortunately. I already told him I plan to attend my uncle's funeral in California (it's just a matter of time). We live in Colorado. It'll be nice to be together with MY family, if even for a few days.
You are not alone in this. Caregivers give advice from personal experiences to help you.

Now is not the time to slip into denial that this is a serious issue, needing to be addressed. You will be okay, but please consider carefully each complaint you have expressed. All is valid.
You are not a cry baby, and not a brat.
You said:
"I needed validation. I want to give the siblings a BIG piece of my mind. They are all scattered throughout the country. But still. How about forking over some money for additional caregivers? I may get to the point of insisting my husband ask them for financial support for their mother. It's the least they can do."

Please do not waste your time on correcting the siblings. You will be surprised on what they come up with. I tried this, and they became hostile, saying: "What would you have us do, we won't give money, haven't seen her in 20 years for a reason, and we are
far away." This is also NOT a daughter-in-law's role.

Then, you have said:
"My husband works full-time and I notice that he's coming home later and later during the week."
That is not how your best friend should be coping with this issue.
If anything, that should be addressed and confronted, imo.

You and your husband are in this together, like you said, best friends. Still, you should not be taking on this caregiving against your will.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Sendhelp

Wench 62
When you go to California I think that you should enjoy an extended stay. Most of us have some kind of health condition and after uncle's funeral my condition would cause me to be unable to return for about another week or so (wink 😉). Let hubby find a caregiver for HIS mother during that time or do it himself. This just may open his eyes, because he will have to deal with his mother's day to day care. Even if you and your husband had a fabulous relationship before you are the one left holding the bag right now. Sometimes it is better to speak less and show folk your struggles (ie. caring for his mother all day without much assistance). I wish you well.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Grace21
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 12, 2020
Not a bad idea! Actions speak louder than words. Good point!
Flip this on DH.

Ask him if HE'D like YOUR mom to move in and he can care for her? And you go back to work.

Guarantee you'll see such a deer in the headlights!!

My DH once said "we need to bring my mom here to care for her" I said, "who's we? You got a mouse in your pocket b/c if you bring your mother here I will be GONE in a hot minute. Why don't you just go live with her?"

He felt it was 'in my nature' to CG for all and sundry.

I don't even do CG for my own mother. And he has not seen not spoken to my mom for 5 years, if not longer.
I DID do in home CG for his father the last 6 months of his life, but I would NOT bring him to the house. I went to his place. It was BRUTAL, but having him here would have been worse.

You got sideswiped into doing this--and you need to get out of it, ASAP. Make sure DH has all the chores on the w/e and you leave. It won't last long before he's finding alternate care for her.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Midkid58

I hear you & you are certainly not a cry-baby. Your concerns are real & should have been respected.

A care plan was put in place. It is not working for ALL of you. It's working for MIL, working for the siblings & even working for your DH. But NOT working for you.

You can speak your mind, rant at the siblings, ask for money for care, ask for help. My guess is silence is all you will hear. Maybe even from DH too.

So you have to decide. Will you continue & learn to accept this (for now)? Or do you feel strongly enough to change it?

You will need support, advice and ACTION to get a plan whether now or in the future.

People here have lived this & hopefully have the advice you need for change if that is the path you choose.

It WILL have to be YOU that changes this situation - the others will not.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Beatty
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 11, 2020
Absolutely correct. The siblings are not going to offer to do anything as long as they see that mom is being well cared for.
Horrible that your husband would do this to you. You are definitely not a brat. I actually said right to my M I L's face once when she was hinting that it would be great if she and F I L moved in with hubs and I one day. "I don't want to live with you guys!" I figured she might as well know where I stand from day one.

I'm all for being charitable but not when it's thrown at you and especially when it shouldn't be your job to begin with.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Gershun

Is hubs sacrificing his relationship with you over this? What are your choices? Do you have any?

Protect the house? Sell it so MIL gets the care she needs. Why the hesitation? An inheritance that will be shared between hubs and four sibs that are doing nothing to help? Really?

Medicaid will pay for memory care. Talking with the Area Agency on Aging, in the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments will be a tremendous help to you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to gladimhere

Nursing home.

Failing that, divorce.

Use money from divorce to something extravagent for yourself.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to HelloImMinsu

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter