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My husband’s father passed away last year. His mother is still devastated. It was an unexpected death and her mother had passed away two weeks before her husband. My husband supports his mother financially and we have been staying with her half the week every week for the last year. He has three sisters and his mom rotates and stays with each sister on the weekends. We have a nine month old and I am going back to work. I cannot keep going back and forth between houses every single week. I am not trying to be mean but her house is dirty and I don’t want the baby crawling around. Am I being selfish? Or what is a reasonable compromise?

I know everyone grieves differently. But I do think that those who have lost a spouse need to learn to be alone. If MILs age is correct 68 then she is not old. She is still young enough to get involved. If she is 68 then Mom had to be in late 80s or early 90s. She lived a good long life. Personally, I would not want to go to a different house every week. IMO, its time for MIL to be left alone. Start backing off. You are doing her no favor in hovering. You will be creating more problems as time goes on. Invite her over for dinner. A movie night. Take her to McDonalds with the kids. There are 4 children. Each have her over one night for dinner and send her home with leftovers. She needs to now establish a new life.

You, she is ur MIL who has 4 kids. You have a perfect reason to bow out. A baby and a job. Think ur going to have a period of adjustment here. At least 10 hrs a day is going to be getting you and baby up, fedand dressed. Drop off a Daycare, work, pick baby up and then home to...cook a meal? So we r looking at 7 or later when u can finally sit down. Oh not really...u now have to get baby ready for bed. By the time you get that done, ur ready for bed. Weekends, your focus should be on the 7 year old. So I see nowhere in there that you can care for MIL. Do the sister's husbands help out. If not, why should you because you are a woman. I think you will have enough on your plate.

And why are u helping MIL financially? Yes, her SS has been cut down. But are there things she can cut down on? House too big, then clean it up and sell it. Use the proceeds to offset the rent on an apartment. When a spouse dies there is loss of income. You have to adjust to a new lifestyle. I see it all the time. The widows sell the home and move into an apt with no upkeep and love it.

You can disable your MIL, by doing for her what she is very capable of doing on her own. I suggest finding her a grief support group. Our Church has one so ask around.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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No you're not being selfish. You're just wanting your life back in your own home. It's now been over a year, since your MIL lost her husband. It's time that she now figure out her life on her own. It is not healthy for her(or you)to be so dependent on her children.
You need to have a heart to heart with your husband, and share what you've shared here. He needs to be putting you and your child before his mom. And yes, I agree, your child needs to be able to stay in a clean environment.
It's now time for mom to spread her wings to fly on her own, and start getting involved with folks her own age. She may actually find that she enjoys having the house to herself. But if she's never given the chance to find out, how will she ever know that?
Perhaps instead of you guys going to stay with her, you can compromise and tell her that she can come stay with you once a month for 1/2 a week. Now please note that I didn't say she could come every week, but only 1/2 week once a month. And I only suggest this if a compromise must be made. Otherwise, I would stop the back and forth completely. Again it's time for your MIL to start rebuilding her life. She will never be able to do that if her family keeps enabling her not to. You might have to use some tough love here. Wishing you the best.
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Josesmom Jun 22, 2021
Thank you, I appreciate your support and kind words.
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I don't think that people grieve well when they have a lot of company. I think a short term support system of folks around and then being alone allows people to get in touch with their emotions.

Has your MIL joined a grief support group?

Has she previously experienced depression? Is she in touch with her PCP, therapist or other health care professional about her depression and grief?

How is your husband doing? Is HE grieving and seeking the support of his mom in that?

I would absolutely say that it's time for you all to go home and get back to living your life as your own family unit. If mom needs support, it needs to be intermittent and professional.
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Myachingass75 Jun 27, 2021
Who pays for this? Does mom have a complete source of income and insurance to cover ongoing and increasing personal expenses? It appears from this entry that is not the case. Examine the financial aspects of being a caregiver, as the weight of watching your financial resources being overlapped by the expenses of living remains an undisputed 99% part of life. Yet one that nobody wants to address. Why?
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Why are you staying there at all? I imagine she is depressed but is she getting any help or just relying on her children to keep her entertained, etc.? I would stop staying there ASAP. Maybe she needs meds and therapy. How do the other siblings feel about this?
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Josesmom Jun 22, 2021
They don’t want her to be alone because they worry that she will be depressed. I agree. I am trying to be supportive of my husband as I personally would approach this differently if it were my parents. She is speaking to a therapist on the phone. My suggestion was that she schedule her therapist when she is home alone so that she can process those feelings while she is on the phone with her therapist.
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You may find that Mom thinks she's doing this for all of you rather than the other way around. It's time for a family meeting with everyone to sort this out.
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Reply to MJ1929
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The family may be enabling the Mom not to move on. As to supporting an elder, this is money you will badly need for your own elder years, and it takes a lifetime of saving to be safe in your elder years. Visits and helping out with grocery trips is great, but to be there all the time is saying you WILL be there all the time. This is difficult loss, and your MIL would likely benefit from support group for grieving. Your husband may be spreading himself thin; I would suggest counseling. A new baby and this grieving process has given you quite a hurdle, and it would help you to talk this out with a mediator, and the ability to openly express your thought.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Your husbands family has suffered two losses. I’m sorry.

Since it has been a year and MIL is not able to stay alone, I think it is safe to say that this plan isn’t working.

People can grieve for a very long time but it is important not to get stuck. Her grief can’t come before your own family.

Thank goodness she didn’t move in with you.

Good for you on being clear that your 7 yr old comes first on the weekends. Now it’s time to do the same for the baby and yourself. You have given up your privacy through your entire pregnancy. You have more than compromised.

If the sisters think their mother needs someone there, they will need to step up. You can’t decide for them but you have to be responsible for your own family.

Perhaps MIL could benefit from a part time job of her own?
She is too young to stop living her life.

You are not being selfish. You are being the voice of reason.
If it feels too abrupt to just stop, then ask DH for him to stay 3 nights the first week, then 2 nights the next week and then 1 night the third week or some such tapering off. It's clear you are not insensitive to her situation but some next step is in order.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I have a friend from church whose husband died early this year. She has several daughters who are taking turns bringing her to church & sitting with her. She recently confided, with a chuckle, that she'd be fine by herself and doesn't need all this taking care of. She lets them do it because it may satisfy some need THEY have.
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Reply to Hummer
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When my husband died after 37 years of marriage, my children and I was devastated. It took 5 years and mental health counseling, and an anti-depressant to finally feel better.
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Reply to outreach6139
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This July 4th will be the second anniversary of my husband’s death (from dementia). I’m still grieving but learning to survive. It didn’t help that Covid followed so that I was forced to be alone. What I do know is that grief is unique. Some can do it alone and some can’t. It’s up to the person grieving to decide how they want to grieve. Ask her. Explain that your schedule needs to change because you’re going back to work. You want her to be comfortable. It should be her choice to be alone so that she is taking ownership of her life. If she’s uncomfortable with the idea then suggest the separation on a trial basis. She may think she’s afraid to be alone only to find out she likes the privacy. Ask her.
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