I have been caring for my father for 15 years, Moved in with my 2 kids after my divorce because I was disabled and couldn't afford to live on my own. I got married 5 years ago and my husband moved in. Their personalities clash so hard. Dad is a hard worker and believes every man should get up at 5am and go provide for his family. My husband is an artist, he likes to keep weird hours and doesn't have steady work. Dad wants him to "be a man and get a real job", "help out around the house" My husband wants my dad to take care of his own bills and house and hygiene problems. I am stuck right in the middle and have no idea how to handle it. All it is doing is breaking me down to the point of just running away from both of them. Help?

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You are disabled. Your husband is a self-employed artist. Together you cannot support yourselves and your children. So you are dependent on your dad. This is simply not a healthy situation.

Do your receive disability payments? Is your husband willing to take some employment that would also allow time to be an artist?

It seems to me that the two of you should work on being able to support yourselves and your children.

Being an artist, writer, musician -- wonderful if you can make a living at it, more of a luxury if it is a passion but doesn't pay enough to live on. One of my daughters now supports herself with her art. HooRay!! But for many years she had other jobs as well, and even now she does not have a high standard of living. One of my sons and also a grandson would absolutely love to play music for a living, but they play music on the side and each have jobs to support themselves.

I think what would be ideal here is to move your family out and do whatever it takes to be self-sufficient. Perhaps you could continue to come in and help dad out a predetermined number of hours per week, and he could pay you the fair market value for those hours. If Dad needs more than that, you could offer to help him find it.

You need to put all of your relationships on a better footing, and it might take living on your own to achieve that, in my opinion.
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Hmm, I know quite a few artists. They are also businessmen who work long hours to make and promote their work. They make a good living at what they do, not so much because of the desirable art they create, but because they invest the time in their company made of themselves and their crews. Some of the artists also teach classes to pay bills. They go to art shows and show their work. Making a living at being at artist is really hard work. The truth is that if he is not willing to devote a lot of hours to promote his work, it is best if he not quit his day job... if he had one.

This is not being cruel. I just know the world of art sales. It takes a lot of hours and a good mind for business. Maybe you can help your husband with that. And if he's not interested in doing it, maybe a day job is the way to go.
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You combat the situation by you and your husband becoming financially self sufficient so you can move out and have a life stress free with your husband and children. Your father at his age should not be supporting you and your family while working so much. How is it that your dad needs care if he works 6 days a week?
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Having just read your post about your father's refusal to bathe or keep clean, I hardly think he's in a position to be lecturing your husband. You write that he's a hard worker, yet he won't keep clean....that he smells, but he's lecturing your husband on his husbandly duties? Something's obviously amiss there.

Personally, I don't feel 2 children should be raised in the environment you describe. It wouldn't be wise not only for them to see this family friction but also to have to tolerate the unhealthy conditions. Odors can be absorbed into their clothing, others can smell it when they go to school, and this can affect their self esteem and friendships. Bad situation.

I don't see any solution for this clash of temperament and wills. Unless your father is supporting your family, your husband has no obligation to him.

I can't help wondering if your father is behaving this way just to retaliate for your having brought your family into his house. He may be refusing to be clean just to aggravate you, or your family. Was he like this before you moved in? If not, I think you will get some insight into his behavior.

Perhaps the issue you need to address is how long your family, especially the children, should be living in this kind of environment.

It's hardly appropriate to run away, given that the situation was created when you moved in. You're really the center of the family issue and you need to think of your children and what this is doing to them.

The time line doesn't make sense your other post you wrote that you moved in in 2012. But you would have gotten married in 2010 - I'm not following how your husband could have moved in in 2010 but you moved in in 2012... maybe it's just a typo? Is there something I'm missing? Just trying to figure out how long this situation has been going on.
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I kind of agree with your father. You husband should be a man and get a real job or shut up about what your father. You are earning your keep at your father's house by taking care of him. Your Husband is living off your hard work. He knew what he was in for when he married you. If you are afraid to tell him to knock it off, you should reevaluate your relationship. Your dad is old. He is less likely to change than your husband. And by the way, who was there for you when you went through your divorce?
Helpful Answer (4)

How old is your father? What are his care needs?

The reason I ask is that I wonder what will happen if your father tires of your husband to the point where he kicks you all out.

I'm sorry, I know it's not helpful and I do feel for you. But looked at from your father's point of view: he takes you in and is prepared to support you and your two children (where's their father got to, by the way? Is he pulling his weight?), provides you with a home, and then ten years later along comes Mr Free Spirit and your father accepts him under his roof too. I'm not getting the impression of some tyrannical control freak, here.

So if, after five years of crashing and banging at all hours and no visible progress towards taking responsibility for his new family from your husband, your father is getting towards the end of his rope, are you surprised? I'm not.

Does your husband have anything to contribute to the discussion besides turning his nose up at the smell of sweat-of-brow?
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Do you and your husband pay your Dad any kind of rent? Pay on groceries, pay on utilities? It is your Dad's house but there are 4 more people living there.

If you are not contributing, and you are saying you both don't have enough to move out, I can kinda understand why your Dad is getting on your husband, but your Dad's approach to this isn't right.

Is your Dad saying "help out around the house" just to add fuel to the fire, or is your husband not the type to help, or when he does Dad doesn't like how it is being done?
Helpful Answer (3)

Sure, you can dream.. we all do. It's a stress reliever and sometimes it can actually create a relaxing environment that allows solutions to be identified.

Wish I could think of something helpful, but it does sound as though you're kind of trapped living with your father, and he's trapped having a caregiver. Neither of you are happy with the situation. I'd suggest a heart to heart talk but I'm not sure it would solve anything.

Tough situation.
Helpful Answer (3)

Fair enough, M/jen; and after all your question was not how do you manage your family's finances but how do you manage the stress arising from conflict between your father and your husband.

As a last resort, I can only suggest you refer them to one another whenever either one of them has a go about the other to you - Dad meet Husband, Husband meet Dad, kind of thing. They're both grown men, technically at least. And their complaining about each other isn't going to get anyone anywhere, is it.

Tell them you value them both and you will have no truck with sniping from either about the other. You all need to pull together. Best of luck, hope they'll come to terms.
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Pam Z., I'm going to gently disagree. They are paying groceries, phone, internet, and cable which is probably several hundred dollars a month, AND providing care and handyman services. That's a pretty square deal though informal. There might be some benefit to making it into an actual caregiver contract, but if that's not possible, just document well all the bills you pay and the things you fix or take care of, as that may come in handy later.

MommyJen, sorry your two billy goats butt heads, it is a stress and you start to want to tell them sorry I left my striped shirt and my referee whistle in my other car :-) - been there, done that, been late to work over that. "Peacemaker" is a very necessary role in some households and I bet you are good at it by now. It is stressful, don't feel bad about being stressed out, and as others have said dump as much back on the head-butting parties as you can. Dad could get increasingly unreasonable with time and hubby will be the one to talk to about cultivating more tolerance as best he can. Ducking out with the kids to let them figure it out on their own, if you think hubby can restrain himself from lashing out physically, is perfectly legit, as is actually GETTING the striped shirt and referee whistle and using them for a comic or at least startling effect to defuse the situation.

Your medical POA entitles you to get information and that's pretty much it. I'll bet he has not entrusted a financial POA to anyone yet. Maybe you can get him in to visit with a financial advisor - not a profiteer as too many of them are, but a reputable investment, estate planning, or credit counseling person, who you prime with a little information first, and then your role can be watchdog to make sure they are not ripping him off with fees or trying to sell bad financial products. Hopefully he is not busy digging himself deeper into debt, if so, that could warrant more aggressive strategies beyond watchful waiting if anything is feasible. You are not going to get guardianship or direct access to manage finances for him unless he is declared incapacitated and at this point that sounds like it is a ways off. His work may be keeping him structured and on an even keel and hey, that gives you time when he's not home. Use a bit of that time to sit down with the paper and a cuppa whatever with hubby, go for walks, talk, and generally chill when you can.

Your situation has its stresses but its not that totally awful. What adds to it is that it could get some point, Dad could have a major health setback, or if you are right about the very early Alzheimer's, he will at some point fail to meet standards at work. You would ideally have a financial POA that would allow you to pay bills, deal with creditors, do that consolidation, etc. Absent that, arm yourself in advance by learning about systems of service locally, e.g. your Area Agency on Aging, any volunteer groups who help, meals on wheels, the Ursulines, and Medicaid should his assets not cover care he might need. Under Medicaid, the house and one car are exempt assets. Finding out, maybe even surreptitiously, where the "Important Papers" are even if you don't have legitimate access to them right now might give you a little peace of mind as well. There is a steep learning curve with elder affairs, and one other recommendation is yes, take a few courses for you - but be careful not to overload. I have a very full time job plus housework and was working on computer science courses for credit, mostly online at a community college, and when my parents' health started to fail ended up having to drop out. Be good to yourself, recognize that everything you are doing is very, very valuable to your family, and do your best not to be spread too thin. I sure wish you well, and hope you can keep sharing about whatever happens next!!
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