Mom is in declining health and I decided to call a family meeting, a few months ago, Siblings only.

It has caused so much conflict with my SIL’s because they were not invited to attend.

* I really just wanted it to be with my brothers only for our first meeting.

I found out after the meeting was over from different sources that they wanted their wives there as well.

I know that the conversation would have been just the wives talking, and the brothers would have not voiced their opinion.

My favorite SIL is the most upset, because I told her because of the way everyone is acting, which is ridiculous, I really don’t want all the SIL’s at the next meeting.

So she said, if your not going to invite the spouses, then don’t ask us to do anything for your Mom.

The plain and simple truth is they don’t do much for Mom anyway.

I have asked them to do things for Mom in the past, and they will if I ask, but they are not happy about it.

I’m not very good at talking about this matter.

It totally upsets me, nor do I want a SIL to take over, I’ve had enough of that in the last 7 yrs since dad past away.

I know; To keep peace they need to be invited to the next meeting. BUT

It makes me anxious thinking about it.

To make matters worst, Mom wants me there with her all the time, and if I’m not there, she talks about me to the other siblings. It’s hurtful.

I just feel like I’m burning out as a caregiver, and all this stress has taken a toll on me. Not sure what to do.

# Not looking forward to when and if, I need to call another meeting with everyone because

It will be, to put Mom in a nursing home because of her falling.

# My husbands family have meetings about their Mom, without spouses being included.

It doesn’t bother me at all.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Maybe completely off the subject, but if you mom is tattling/trashtalking/making stuff up about her care, it may be time to say "mom, sorry, this isn't working out anymore; you have two choices. Live with one of the brothers or go to a facility, where we can all visit and tend your needs".

You sound SO burned out; you will NOT get your brothers (or SIL's) to understand how much you are doing, or that mom, with dementia, is mis-representing what is going on.

Please stop killing yourself and feeling resentful.
Helpful Answer (16)

I think that anything that feels like separation should be avoided. That is how it felt to your SILs, whether you intended that or not is beside the point, they felt that.

I would get the ladies together and ask them to please forgive me, I am really stressed and didn't think this through, I truly only wanted my mother's sons to hear me. I know how much they depend on you as a spouse and I thought that they would never hear me with you all present. I was blind in my thinking and I really hope that you can forgive me. (Hugs all around) then tell them about the meeting and your stress from everything that you are enduring with your mom.

We all screw up, it is how we deal with those mistakes that matters.

I hope you can mend the hard feelings and work together as a family. Hugs for you!
Helpful Answer (16)
mek1951 Jan 2020
This is a brilliant description of "Taking the High Road" and while it may or may not work, it has the best chance of changing the dynamic for the better. There probably is no 'right way' , only the way y'all find. Good luck and God bless.
See 1 more reply
"I really just wanted it to be with my brothers only for our first meeting." If all you wanted to get out of that first meeting was to hear your brother's opinions that could have been achieved by calling each of them individually and asking frankly: "What do you think we need to do about mom?"

I suspect that you are not bothered by your husband having meetings about his mom without you because you have your hands full with your own mother.

Understand that your brothers are married and they make decisions jointly with their wives. The choices made for your mother will affect everyone - you, your spouse, your brothers' spouses, kids, etc. Caregiving must work for everyone involved. If you want your brothers involved, it behooves you to include their wives.

I agree that you have alienated allies. Swallow your pride, call each of your SILs to apologize, and then ask them individually what they think about your mother's declining health. Consider inviting their wives for coffee and cake to your home. The sooner you make peace with your SILs the sooner you will have your brothers' support. If their wives aren't onboard, your brothers won't be either.
Helpful Answer (14)

Rebecca, I think you may have made a tactical misstep in excluding the SILs. You’re married, so you probably discuss your Moms caregiving with your husband? Your profile says you visit her once a probably come back and discuss her condition with him? He may give you advice or you agree on visits or money spent on her? So to exclude the SILs from plans which may include caregiving duties or money that they may need to contribute...the brothers probably wouldn’t make any decisions without their wives, and would go home and talk to them anyway. You say that they don’t do much anyway, but that’s their choice. If my husband committed to something in a meeting to which I wasn’t invited, there would be problems if I don’t agree with it. Their attitudes may not have changed at this meeting, but at least the cards would be on the table. So in my humble option, I would try to backtrack, apologize for the faux pas, make amends, and try to regroup with the entire bunch.
Helpful Answer (13)

There have been numerous posts here about the pros and cons of including spouses in care plans.

I am not married, so I do not have a spouse to include, but I would never exclude my sil from a discussion about my parents' care needs. When my step dad was dying she was an incredible support and help.

You have in the past asked your sils to help with Mum, then excluded them from the meeting where you were discussing Mum's care. That would upset me too. You expect me to step up and help with caregiving, but not have a say in what that care giving may entail.

Or do you expect your brothers to decide what roles their wives will play?

You say you are burning out, yet you are cutting off your nose to spite your face by not including your strongest allies in the discussions. You have hurt your favourite SIL, perhaps permanently damaged that relationship.

How do you reconcile that you want help, but not from your sils?

Who cares is Mum talks about you to your siblings when you are not there? Why is that a problem?

You appear to want to control everything, from who has a say in Mum's care, who provides it, to who Mum talks to and everything in between.

You have 8 potential allies, 4 brothers and 4 sisters in law. 8 people who can help with Mum in some manner. Yes, this also means 8 differing opinions on how Mum's care should be provided, but so many here are having to provide care to their parents with no help at all.

I understand being the oldest and feeling the weight of everything on your shoulders, but you have 8 people who can take some of the burden off you if you are willing to give up some of the control.
Helpful Answer (11)
anonymous997192 Dec 2019
This was a first meeting with my brothers.. I may not have handled it very well, but I don’t feel like I did anything wrong that would hurt their feelings.
You are right in so many ways, but what I didn’t say in my letter, is I was asking for help from my brothers in not telling me everything Mom says. It bothers me because she says untrue things about me and it hurts. I do everything for her and it’s doesn’t seem to be enough.
I was asking them to come see her or call her more.
We made no actual plans for mom.
It was just everyone’s attitude that has me rattled.
My H's mother is still alive (lives alone; is a fall risk). She is 86. If/when the time comes that she needs care, I expect the 2 POA daughters will try to get $ out of everyone (5 sibs total)to fund Mama's at-home help or facility care (although MIL says she will have to be carried out of the house, and I think she means not alive). We believe that the house is to be left to the one D who never married.

I won't agree to chipping in $ for this. MIL inherited $ from a cousin, and she blew through most of that traveling the world. And why should we pay to save someone else's inheritance (the D who will inherit the house)? The house should be sold to fund MIL's care.

So, yes, I would be expected to be involved in any decisions regarding MIL's care that involve MY $.
Helpful Answer (11)
Jada824 Dec 2019
Some people want to be included because if there will be monetary issues, that may be a family decision.

If you are burning out, you may have to let others help.
Helpful Answer (8)

Rebecca, I'm sorry you are going through this. I can tell your mom's behavior (saying untrue things to your brothers about you) and her increasing care needs are depressing you and burning you out. You even said yourself you are feeling a sense of burn out. Girl I get it! The depression that can set in with this can be overwhelming. I've been there and in my duress I would react emotionally and come away worse than I was before.

I see that happening here. You wanted some attention from your brothers to help you deal with mom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I would feel the same way! I'm sure you never intended to hurt your SIL's feelings, but that was unfortunately the take away. And unfortunately it's a valid take away as they are the spouses of your brother. Next time include them, it's not worth the drama not to and their main concern is probably fear that they are going to get volunteered for something they don't want to do.

At this point I think it would be a good idea to just be honest with all of them. Tell them you are depressed and burned out, and why. These people (siblings and spouses) care about you, it's best to let them know you are struggling and then accept whatever help they can give you. The SILs will likely stop being angry when they see that you are actually hurting pretty badly.

The other thing is to work on your own solutions to the depression and burnout. Therapy helped me. Coming here and reaching out really helped me. A little self care can go a long way to help your mental health.

Eventually you will have to figure out what your role will be with your mother going forward, and it's much better to do that when your not crippled with depression.

Good luck and know that you are not alone. Come back often and let us know how things are going.
Helpful Answer (8)
kdcm1011 Jan 2020
I agree. Including SILs in meetings from now on most likely will have them side with you that you’re burnt out, etc. Don’t expect them to step up and take over any caregiving, that will just alienate them all the more. More likely they will put a fire under your brother’s feet to do something — anything — to help with mom’s increasing caregiving needs.
I would feel slighted too.

If anyone (family especially) asked me to meet up but not with my husband, my answer would be HELL NO.

Anything that needs to be said to me can be said in front of my husband too.

If you were worried your brothers wouldn’t listen, then say so up front. “I’m really worried about mom and I need you to hear me out” comes across much better than “I don’t want your wives there.”’
Helpful Answer (8)
Abby2018 Dec 2019
That's fine and works well if everyone has that attitude, but some family dynamics are just, well, difficult. She is already stressed by being mom's caregiver......and quite frankly, her call to make the decision for a siblings only gathering. My MIL passed away recently, and many family discussions ensued prior. I was never part of the conversations or decisions.....and was fine with that. My husband has no desire to participate in meetings with my siblings either. Not that we don't care, but unless the expectation is to be hands on......or an opinion that is requested....Situations like this are often best resolved by the immediate family.
Support comes in all forms.
Family comes in all forms.
When a sibling marries or takes a life partner that person becomes family.
If a sibling has a supportive spouse why exclude them from a family meeting.
Would you exclude a spouse from any other family get together?
As a parent, spouse or friend declines due to health issues you need all the help, love, support that will come your way. In some cases you might even find that spouses are more helpful, more supportive than blood relatives.
The old saying..It takes a so true not just when raising a child but on the other end of the life journey.
Include everyone in your "village"
and another..A burden shared is a burden halved.
Helpful Answer (8)
Abby2018 Dec 2019
I agree if all things are considered equal. If money is involved or a brother taking mom in, then the SIL should certainly be of the utmost consideration. If the care of the MIL is expected to be shared by a SIL in any capacity then an inclusion would be rude and disrespectful. She simply requested a meeting with her brothers to discuss being more engaged with their mom. If the SIL's found that to be offensive, then it is their problem. Nothing wrong with a sister wanting one on one time with her brothers regardless of the circumstances.
See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter