Sorry first time posting here. Just so frustrated as she has always had someone take care of everything. She gives me $200 a month and she does expect us to take care of the house, animals, appointments, shopping etc. How can we both get over the hurt and anger? I did apologize to her. She is a passive aggressive person.

Do you realize that your comment to her was equally passive aggressive (and very telling)? You didn't say something you didn't mean -- you DID mean it. You just blurted it out from a place of resentment and fatigue. So, what are you going to do about the fact that the caregiving seems to be burning you out? Patching things up with your MIL is not enough. Of course she'll "get over" it..she needs her servant! Please have a calm, honest discussion with your husband. If he doesn't put you as a priority before his mother, this is a red flag in your marriage that you need to deal with immediately. I wish you success in navigating this situation and sincerely hope your husband will be your defender.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to Geaton777

Unfortunately when you get paid to do things then people are entitled to expect us to do the things that we are paid to do. Even when we accept a pittance it gives us a disadvantage of being viewed as paid help.

If you feel like it is not enough pay then address that issue and then let her know that she is entitled to expect that you will do what you agreed to do if you are being paid a fair wage for what you are doing.

It is a challenge to make sure that we don't get trapped into being used by our elders because they pay us. They don't understand the economics of 2020 and think that they are being overly generous by paying 200.00 a month for a personal slave. It is up to us to help them understand that they are really only paying for the fuel, if that, so we can do what we do.

I would have the hard conversation with her and hopefully there will be peace achieved, if not tell her that you will help her find someone that can help her instead of you. She might just decide that she doesn't need a personal slave when she is confronted with the actual expense.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
anilyn Jul 14, 2020
Peace may not happen. She will, however, have a better understanding of your thoughts. You can probably bet your bottom dollar that she will think you are being selfish - just accept that has her opinion (every body gets one). Ask for more money. Show gas receipts. Be firm and clear.
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Why isn’t your husband taking care of her? She’s not YOUR mother. Let your husband deal with her demands and entitlement.
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Reply to LoopyLoo
nysnlovlylady Jul 17, 2020
We do most of the work together. Certain things I will not do and he is supporting of that.
It’s difficult to change money terms once it’s already established. If DH is willing, have him tell her that since he and you are getting older, you’re not able to do all those tasks. Then change the way it’s handled.

Arrange for home delivery of her groceries. Many places it’s free or low cost for seniors. Switch to Doctors Who Make House Calls, so no doctor appointments to deal with. And, assign out most things to others who will have their own charge.

If she can’t afford to do that, I’d just try to downscale the tasks as much as possible. With someone that age....I’d just try to make it work. She won’t change. When dealing with frustrating family dynamics, I try to forgive, distract myself with positive things, prayer, give thanks for all my blessings and realize I will get jewels in my crown one day. Lol
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
MichaelEzekiel Jul 13, 2020
Good ideas, and they work! Everything for my mom is farmed out, and I just talk to her on the phone most days and visit once a week, bringing a goody. Life is much better!
I don't have enough info to figure out if she just caught you at a bad moment and you were unable to be gracious or if she is a nightmare person and you finally snapped. My response would be different depending on the circumstances. If you were tired and stressed and when she said it you just blurted out your real feelings then I'd apologize to her and try to realize that she probably does appreciate what you do for her, she just doesn't understand ALL that you do for her and she probably never will. My dad never really understood all that it took to keep him in his home, and I was the only one doing it all. If she is a generally non-appreciative and truly demanding person and thinks that she owns your life because she gives you $200 a month to be at her beck and call, then I'd try to talk with her, along with your husband, to try to find a way to lessen your burden while still meeting her needs. He needs to be part of this since it's his mother.
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Reply to jkm999


I have read the replies and I can hear the frustration in your post.

It is ok that you snapped, we all do at some point. There is a sometimes fine and sometimes very broad line between appreciation and expectation. And the view from either side of the line is different.

$200 a month is not very much money at all. In my province at minimum wage it pays for 13 hours of work. How many hours a month are you and your dh having to devote to your MIL's needs?

You have not given much in the way of details, age, where she is living, how close it is to your home etc.

My former MIL played the needy woman to a T. She had two sons, but somehow everyone expected me to step up. Like your MIL she has diabetes and anxiety. My last straw was when her neighbour called me to say she needed groceries. I had called her 2 days prior when I was going shopping to ask if she needed anything. She said nope. I was thoroughly ticked off.

I had a year or more before suggested she sign up for free grocery delivery. She refused, why? Because she wanted to go to Walmart and spend hours going up and down every aisle in the store. I do not shop at Walmart and was not going to waste an afternoon there.

After her neighbour called her, I told her enough, she signed up for grocery delivery or took a cab, I was not helping any more. She signed up the next day and loved the service until she went into AL. Years before this, she had signed up for Rx delivery and that was a godsend.

I also told her sons that she was not my mother and I was not doing anything further for her. Keep in mind I was working 6 days a week, had kids at home and a hubby who worked from home 4 days a week, who set his own hours and could easily take her to appointments.

It is hard to put boundaries in place, but in the long run it is worth it. You are the one who decides how much or how little you are willing to do for her. Not your MIL, not your DH. You decide which days you will be available and what times on those days. And choosing to no longer be available is an option too.

I have a mother who has complained for my entire life that she does not have a decent carving knife. Not my problem. I respond with why in 50+ years have you not bought one if it is an issue? If your mother in law needs house work done, that is her responsibility as a home owner. If her pets need care, that is her responsibility as a pet owner. Not your problem.
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Reply to Tothill
Educ8r Jul 14, 2020
Well said. Your comments are spot on and I applaud your resolve to protect your needs for your own wellbeing. That is the most important strategy for one who wants to continue in the caregiver role!
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We ALL say things out of frustration and fatigue that we wouldn't normally say.

Not knowing your base relationship with your MIL--maybe she'll let it go after a while.

MY MIL remembers things that happened in the Truman administration and is absolutely as angry NOW as she was in the '50's. Not HER 50's the 1950's.

Dh and I were dating when she had her gallbladder out. We were not bothering her at all, in fact, I cooked several meals for her specifically, but she hated me being in her house and would wait up until DH and I had finished studying to yell down the stairs "TAKE HER HOME ALREADY. I CAN'T GO TO SLEEP WITH 'HER' HERE."

Ok, at the time, kinda funny.

Flash forward 44 years and she maintains she has not slept since 1976 when I entered her life.

It's taken almost all of those 44 years to get to a point where she is NOT in my life in any way, shape or form.

In her case, there is no hope for any kind of reconciliation, nor do I want one.

I did practice the 'I'm sorry, this is my fault' for many years and it made things much worse. Distance was the only saving grace. I think you can mend things with your MIL--but DH has to be involved. That was part of my problem. DH would NOT step up for me. Never, not once.

Marrying a mama's boy is a rough way to go.
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Reply to Midkid58
Davenport Jul 14, 2020
I'm sorry you had such a rough experience, Midkid. Your strength and wisdom are admirable!

As far as your husband not stepping up for you, here's my story--my younger sister would show up occasionally and be really vicious toward me (no reason, except she was always jealous--she's an enchilada short of a combination plate, slightly 'off bubble', etc.). I was the ONLY one of three daughters who did anything for my mom, who needed a lot of care--and I also needed a lot of care and support, which I didn't get. The viciousness was over the top, and was NEVER done in front of my mom--sister was very careful about that. I told my mom over and over of what sister had done and sister's behavior because I was so hurt and was figuratively, running to mother's skirt for consolation--and my mom's response was consistently "oh, you girls, stop being silly", or "I never heard her say [that]', or "I didn't see her do that", and when I'd insist, mom would shut down. As time went on, mom started to draw a deep, angry breath, lifted shoulders, eyes closed. I did finally accept that my mom couldn't be there for me and that she literally did not have the emotional capacity to 'deal' with what was going on. I tell that long story to perhaps illustrate that I also know what it's like to not have someone stepping up to defend you. And it's NOT only 'mama's boys'!!
So she said something really nice to you and she got a slap down for it? I guess she won't try THAT again.
Apparently you have taken on this care without setting any boundaries for your own life and your own home. That is on you, not on your MIL.
Apology is fine. Now it is time to sit and set down in writing a c. ontract and rules. You say she is passive aggressive. Why is she living with you? Is she in some way, either physically or mentally disabled? If not it is time to figure out what her part of the activities needed for daily living she will be responsible. What nights of the week she will cook in return for your taking her say shopping, to appointments and etc.
You make your own choices in life. Good luck moving forward for a better agreement.
Where does your husband fit in all of this? He just lets the girls squabble?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Davenport Jul 14, 2020
Maybe it's just how I'm feeling today, but from my experience, the last thing I needed was to have all the countless things I didn't to 'right' pointed out to me in a harsh manner. I say this with total respect. I think we all could benefit most here from 'gentle guidance' and (for me) hard, factual guidance regarding the practical, physical stuff, since we ALL come into our situations never having had deal with 'this'. None of the decisions I made, including emotional, were easy to resolve; all of these things can be *extremely* complicated and just don't have easy solutions (if any). God bless us all.
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As our elders grow older they do become more demanding. Certain unpleasant aspects of their personalities become stronger. For me it has helped a great deal to email all of the family suggesting ways they can help. It took a while but eventually everyone took a part, of course some more than others. My mom and my husband's aunt both have sitters which relieves a lot of the work needed. They are enjoying a good relationship with these ladies. Even part time help would be a welcome relief.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to kmich0001

I don't see where poster says that her MIL is living with her or v.v. Nor does she suggest her MIL has dementia.

In my experience with my own MIL, she thought $200 was A LOT of money. Period. My MIL also used money as a form of control as in "I'm paying and therefore I dictate the terms and I get what I want."

You apologized; however, as others have pointed out, you did not resolve the problem. You need to sit down with your husband and discuss with him what you are willing to do and what you aren't willing to do for his mother.

I would bring it up again with her in a calm and loving manner, something along the lines of "MIL dear, I'm getting older and taking care of your house, pets and errands is becoming more difficult for me. My outburst the other day was out of frustration. Let's talk about making some changes to how we get your needs met that's within your budget." Then be quiet and listen to what she says.

Things to consider:
Grocery delivery
Cleaning service or housekeeper who comes highly recommended
Car service to appointments

What type of pets? Does she need a dog walker?

Appointments can become overwhelming for caregivers. Not all appointments are necessary, and you don't have to accompany her to all appointments. More and more patients are requesting telehealth services. Maybe she needs a helper one or two days a week.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

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