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Mom lives with us. At 89 she cooks, cleans, does laundry, pays her bills. But my husband is overly critical of the way she does things. He criticized her washing and made her cry.

So maybe this is not working and it's time to consider other options. I think you need to discuss this living arrangement with your mother and husband, either individually or in a family meeting, to find out exactly what is in their hearts. Maybe mom would be happier living independently in a seniors complex. Maybe DH just wants a little more personal space. How long has mom been living with you and how did it come about, was everyone on board at that time?
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AT1234 Mar 11, 2019
Maybe he should shag his grumpy self down the road!
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Well, to me, your user name says it all "SpouseofGrumpy." Seems like maybe hubby has a personality issue. You say if she wasn't there, he'd be picking on you. Yeah, I think the problem lies with him. That said, it IS tough to live with an elderly parent. I did it for 5 years AFTER I divorced my grumpy hubby. Living with her was only slightly less stressful than living with him. I can't even imagine living with both of them. This is not an ideal situation for anyone, especially you. Do something I'll bet you don't often do - consider your own needs and feelings, maybe talk with a counselor. Change this situation before it defeats you.
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He needs to back off. She is not going to change at this point. You are very lucky she can still do for herself.
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anonymous763470 Mar 11, 2019
DH is displaying bullying behavior; targeting an 89 year old woman is unconscionable.
If you haven’t done so, Sit down and talk to hubby. Come up with a solution/compromise. Yes, your marriage is important, but his behavior towards your mom is unloving. There may be explanations for his attitude/behavior, but there are no excuses for being mean. It’s incredibly disrespectful.
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Since she lives with YOU, I don’t think it’s fair to say that he needs to back off. Ok she’s 89, she’s not going to change. We can say the same for him-he’s not going to change either. If this arrangement isn’t working out, all 3 need to sit down and discuss this and consider other options.
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mmcmahon12000 Mar 9, 2019
Mind your own business Cali! Unlike you, I DO put my husband first, which based on what you said in your profile is more than you can say!
I know your taking ''temporary'' care of your husband so don't even tell me how to help others since you yourself don't seem to be taking your husband's disability too well at this point. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!
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Promises like that are too often made without being properly thought through and frankly I don't believe anyone should feel bound by them. And using your mother to buffer the dysfunction in your marriage is just plain wrong.
If your mom is as capable as you portray then she may very well be happier living among people of her own generation in a place that affords social opportunities. It would also have made it easier when the time came that she needed actual hands on care, and unless people mercifully die in their sleep that time will come. We allowed my mother to continue a lifestyle that was difficult and isolating because she was comfortable with the familiar and afraid of change. In retrospect I realize that a supportive family would have helped sooth her fears and encouraged a change, but let's face it the status quo is easier.
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shad250 Mar 9, 2019
This is a stereotypical comment. Not every person over 80 (or even 90) needs someone to help them with many things. Case in point a lady I knew lived to be 107 still doing many things on her own.
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When I was in my late teens my parents moved my newly-widowed, able-bodied, 81-year-old grandmother in with us because "they didn't think she would live too much longer". She lived to age 96. Resentment built over the years and even though I had moved out, I was dragged into a role of marriage counselor more than once. Grandma died in 2001 but my parents' marriage has never been the same and they carried anger/resentment over it all into their own old age. It's not been nice. I could see both sides but frankly I believe everyone in the situation would have been better off long-term if grandma would have been prompted to get her own senior apartment, or something like that.
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Some people are unkind. Is he unkind with other people? What's in it for him? Does he have some issue with her or does he resent her living with you? If there's no reason, then, I'd consider that he is just one of those people who delights in being mean to nice people for no reason. Those people do exist. I try to avoid them. When someone shows me who they are, I believe it. Living with them both in your home may make it difficult for you to protect mom from mean comments. Would it help to ask him to knock it off? Hmmmm...I hope you have luck with that.
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Your mother sounds like a super lady, and may she long continue to be so independently able.

How long has she been living with you?
What led to your husband giving your father his word that your mother would always live with you; did you consider that a binding promise or just an intention to comfort your father?
What difference has your mother's moving in made to your household? Do you have enough space, has she taken over a room or rooms that you were using?

When you say that your husband's criticism of your mother is impatient and he has made her cry...

To the outside observer, that presents a whole spectrum of possibilities with scope for right and wrong on both sides.

I mean, what did he say to her about her washing? It could be:

she dyed all his office shirts pink by leaving red socks in the washing machine

he wishes she wouldn't leave wet laundry draped around the living room

he turned purple because she added a teaspoonful too much detergent

she starched his Y-fronts and he mildly asked her not to next time

But if your husband is *constantly* critical, not just of her but of everyone, it could well be that this is part of his personality and he intends no offence by it.

How did they get on before she moved in?
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I will comment, although I do not have a dog in the fight. You may want to consider asking hubby to leave any criticism to you. That could be coupled with a request that he talk with you privately when he has concerns about mom's way of doing things.

It seems obvious to me that your husband would be happier if she was not there.
However, she IS there and functioning well. I have a hunch she is much too capable to consider assisted living.

I am remined of a one of the ten commandments: "honor thy father and mother that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth." This does not say one has to like or love his mother-in-law, but it does say we are to honor our parents (and I would assume that includes mothers-in-law. )

Being nearly 83 years old myself and quite adequately functional, I am nevertheless quite aware of my aging and becoming less capable in a number of activity areas, and of course slowly-deteriorating health in some respects.

Grace + Peace,
Old Bob in North Carolina
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Riley2166 May 13, 2019
I would like to add something that some people don't think about. If you had a good, loving relationship with your parents, then by all means do whatever you can for them to the best of your ability - but not at the cost of destroying yourself or your life. They lived their lives, now it is your turn. If on the other hand the parents were cold, mean, controlling, abusive, etc., then YOU OWE THEM NOTHING - And if you are stupid enough to think you do, you are a fool.
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Dear SoG,

As you may see from the many questions posed, there is not enough information about your situation to offer a real solution to your dilemma, and a dilemma it is indeed. It is incredibly difficult to be stuck in the middle between two people you love, and that is exactly where you are :(

Maybe grumpy is just your fellas way in the world, or maybe this situation has brought this part of his personality to the fore... hard to say. What I can say confidently, is that it can be pretty tough to be where you are - but it is also tough to be where he is.

I have personal experience here. Suddenly your space has gone from a world governed by two adults, to one whose schedule and agenda is dictated (consciously or not) by a parent’s presence. For many of us, it has been literally decades since we shared our ‘space’ with a mom or a dad.

Suddenly, our wife is also a daughter, with all the baggage and scripts that entails. We become the person ‘in the way’ of a powerful mother daughter dynamic - no matter whether it is positive or negative - and those roles may not jibe well with our long-standing ‘husband/wife’ groove. It’s a complicated situation, a target rich environment for emotional charge and subsurface stress and resentment. No surprise that those issues are bubbling to the surface.

As a family therapist, and the spouse of a caregiver dealing with a love-in MIL, my suggestion would be this: blame is irrelevant and unhelpful - understanding and live, is key. Find somewhere you and your spouse can listen, and really hear, one another. Some respite time, a friend’s comfy living room, or if need be, a therapists office might work.

Sometimes the loss of (and subsequent grief over) the ‘we’ you two used to be, of the partners you both built your life with, can be like a constant pain - as onerous as nails on a chalkboard, day in, day out. Expressing it, and feeling it directly, can be a release valve that can drain away all that resentment and irritation. That way, it doesn’t have to come out side-ways. It was like that for us.

I was so sad about my home and partner - my ‘safe haven’ feeling lost, and missing the woman I knew and loved - it floored me when I realized just how much. When I did, my resentment of having my SO’s mom around, which had gotten pretty burdensome, became not only something much bearable, but something we could bear together.

Of course, it goes without saying that abusive behavior is never ok - no amount of hurt feelings justifies that choice. That said, most people don’t WANT to be grumpy... I’m not sure if this is what’s going on for you both, but maybe it is. Talking , formally or informally, might just be the antidote.

Wishing the three of you well,

-Andy
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Leelor Mar 12, 2019
*** Or... for some of us, it has been literally decades OF sharing our ‘space’ with a mom or a dad.
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