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My mother in law moved in shortly after my husband did. He and her lived together after his divorce. We have his two teenage boys 50% of the time and my two kids 8 and 4 about 65% of the time. My house is a 4 bedroom home, 1 1/2 bath. I made sure she had a room of her own. She has health problems, 79 yrs old, stroke in 2004 leaving her with mobility issues, diabetes, smokes outside like a chimney, doesn't drive and is passive aggressive. She used to help out making dinner and buying groceries, I would take her to the store before but the 4hr trips to Walmart were too much. I tried to tell her I would drop her off and pick her up, but she wanted me to go with her. I work as a nurse and have 2 young kids, I don't have time to spend that long in a store. Did I mention my husband has 2 other siblings that don't even call her? I feel selfish at times fro feeling resentful towards her and my husband because She washee the dishes and helps with laundry and I can leave my kids at home when I work. She really doesn't watch them, just sits outside and smokes and drinks her coffee. She doesn't have to pay anything. We feed her dinner every night and serve it to her as well. I have always picked up her meds, took her to appointments and buy her cigarettes. I make sure she has everything she needs and my husband lets me. She is pretty much of sound mind. I feel she is ungrateful at times and mopes around the house because she doesn't have a vehicle. I would be afraid of getting that call where she fell getting in or out of her vehicle. She complains about the kids constantly. She has even come into my husband and my bedroom while we were laying there and proceeded to put clothes away. She sits on our love seat, a couch my husband and I bought for him and I, right next to my husband at night watching tv until 2am. I would have to sit on the other couch. I find myself hiding up in my room, to get any privacy. If we move her into an apartment (which he tried before and she said someone was breaking into it, that last 3 months). Then we would be left with finding a sitter while we work. I don't like feeling resentful, but I just can't help it and I knew he cared for her before I married him.

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I'm gonna be blunt here - why doesn't your husband get up from the loveseat? You say he says to MIL he wants to sit by his wife - yet he stays seated by mom. Think of the message that whole dynamic says to her. You also say MIL is passive/aggressive - sounds likes theres an apple under that tree. You'll never get anywhere with her unless it begins with him. Also - do your 8 y/o a favor and find a real babysitter or after-school program, she is too young to be a mother.
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You said she really doesn't watch them. Just sits outside and smokes and drinks coffee. Your kids are 8 and 4 for crying out loud. Let your hubs know that mom needs to go. Senior apartment or assisted living. This sounds bad enough, but it can only get worse, not better. You can do this
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I experienced the same situation in Feb 2015. This forum became my therapy!
I gave my husband an ultimatum...our marriage or MIL. We have 21yrs married, 9yrs MIL lived with us. Within 4 days, he moved her to AL. We retired to move to her home, she is 93. She wanted to go home before her glory day. She became combative, rude, etc.
To date, she is happier than ever. Has a 103 yr boyfriend (love is at any age). Voted best dressed, loved by all. Hubby visits daily and we have our marriage back! She complains weekly of cost, but she has funds. She is 1min from home. Come to find out...we were enabling MIL, but we thought we were doing the best for us and her all those years. Children try to make the decisions, when all is said...we only prolong the inevitable.
My mom chose to be in a nursing home for 9yrs. I went to see her everyday.
Don't wait any longer. Speak up! Hugs.
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You are in a tough spot. Your husband acted as his mother's proxy spouse. Her companion as the sun set every evening. For years.

When you entered the scene, you fell into the "giving trap" -- as most of us women do. And you raised the bar by experimenting with the 4-hour grocery excursions, driving her to hair appointments, "saving" her from MedVan and cooking fabulous meals.

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Instead of responding with respect and seeking meaningful ways to contribute to your blended family, M-I-L responds with the Screw You/Queen Bee routine.

And at the end of the day she reclaims her role as your husband's proxy wife. Literally -- right by his side.

Your husband's attitude is the key to any meaningful change. If he's unwilling to rock the boat with mama, you will always be #2.

It's a shame your children are witnessing such an unhealthy dynamic. So far, their major takeaways are "mom runs herself ragged for 2 adults who disrespect her" and "users win."

And it's more than a shame that M-I-L is nasty to your children. A lot to think about here.
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When my Nana move in with us to Seattle from Wales, UK, I was about 11, and my father told her in no uncertain terms, that my mother is number one his children are number 2 and she was a distant third, period! That set the tone for her to realize that she would have to find her place in our home in order for her to continue living there. It didn't work out for my mom in the long run, as my grandmother was incredibly stubborn and strong-willed. Eventually as her dementia set in, she ultimately ended up in a nursing home, sadly. But he never wavered from his original position, and always took the time to take my mother for drives on Sundays to not only put her first but - set the example.

I find myself in a similar position in that my father-in-law has lived in our home with us for the last 13 years. My husband has always done his best to put me first however my father-in-law's advancing age and ours as well has made it most difficult to continue on in this situation. We are currently intendind to begin the process to sell our home this next spring, and to move his father into a senior living situation. We have done our best to make a comfortable life for him after his wife passed away, but after 13 years it is time for us now to have our senior and retirement life, and we have made that clear to my father-in-law who has come to accept our needs.

I hope you and your husband can figure out a situation soon, that will work well for all of the family. It does sound like it is time for her to move into a senior living type situation where she will be amongst others who are of simular age and interest. Your husband and you, will still need to advocate for her in her daily needs and medical needs. But this can be done if you move her into a place that is near enough to your home, but it is time for you to put you your children and your husband first. I absolutely understand that this is not easy but it is necessary. Your children are too young to be left with a woman that is not capable of managing them both emotionally and physically. The very first step I believe that you need to take care of, is after school care for your children. Because if they are not being looked after appropriately you could be in for trouble, and they are most definitely not getting all of their needs met. Your husband needs to be proactive in this situation and make it clear to his mother that he is now a married man a father and she needs to be in a place where she too and have her needs met. But that is not in your household.
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I think you owe it to your children, your own mental health and your marriage to work with your husband to make living arrangement changes that would bnefit everyone. There are options...and probably resistance to some, but it sems too many sacrifices are being made with the current situation.
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And, too, I feel for the mother-in-law, some. She sounds miserable, like she has some personality disorder, no sense of purpose, no activities outside the house, and is depressed to boot. She may well be happy, or as happy as she can get, in assisted living or her own little apartment - though she won't have the fun of horning in between you and your husband any more, lol.
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Reading and watching the answers here as I have similar situation with my mother in law. You may have bent over backwards in the past to accommodate her because you could, it felt like a loving/ accepting your new family and the right thing to do. Accept that you can ask for changes, that there needs to be a change for the sake of your sanity and family unity going forward.
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As I had been so dreadfully sick of People calling to visit and automatically lighting up, when I had to say, " Oh I'm sorry but this is a NO smoking ZONE here as smoking is definitely not tolerated in Our home, but You can step out side to smoke if You so wish. The shocked faces say it all....therefore I put up signs stating THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING, AS ID PREFER TO DIE FROM NATURAL CAUSES. These signs really hit the spot.
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Your first responsibility is to your kids. You don't have a reliable sitter now for your kids. From your description of her health and attention to them, they are not properly supervised. They are in danger when they are alone with her, especially the 4 yr old. If you do not change that situation TODAY, Child Protective Services is perfectly entitled to come in, remove them from your home and put them in a safe environment and I hope they do.
As for the rest, I believe you know the right things to do. It looks like you are just fishing for someone to tell you it is OK to remain in your current circumstances.
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