My mother in law is in a nursing home close by her son an only child, she has gotten angry because she hasn’t been to our house since she has been here. My husband said at Christmas time she can come over. The problem is she is on a wheelchair because she falls easily and we live in a stilt home in the FL keys so you have to climb steps. The other problem is she just doesn’t know when to go to the bathroom and I’m sorry but I just don’t feel like cleaning a couch after this☹️ I feel so confused on what to do and my husband and I are fighting because of all of this. Does anyone else have this problem?

Find Care & Housing
We are in a similar situation this year. My mom is wheelchair bound and incontinent. Instead of doing our usual Christmas Day celebration with my parents at my house my siblings and I are each choosing different evenings to go have dinner with them at the memory care facility where they live. We reserved the private dining room for each visit and made the room feel like Christmas. This way my parents have the celebrations spread out over a few different days and we all get to spends quality time with them. It is not about where you celebrate the holiday but more that you are with your loved ones in my opinion.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Marysd
rocketjcat Dec 20, 2018
I love that your family has worked out a sometimes tricky situation! Spreading it out is perfect as sometimes having the big gang there at once is too overwhelming for them, and the actual day of getting together becomes less and less important. Kudos for getting over the idea it all has to happen on Christmas.
Um.....surely MIL did not end up in her current condition overnight.

How often did MIL visit your home (wherever you might have lived) in the past 5 years? Past 2 years? Past 1 year?

This sounds like classic case MAMA DRAMA. The only body part that hasn’t given out is her mouth, and she’s going in for the kill: holiday guilt.

She asks her only son for the almost-impossible, and won’t let it drop.

Why? For the attention.

When? Christmas - of course!

OK - Let’s pretend you have a elevator and a budget to replace your furniture and a handyman on retainer who will widen your bathroom doorway tomorrow.

What will MIL act like once she gets in your house? Will she be a gracious guest and a good conversationalist?

Or will MIL enter with a recitation of foods she cannot eat (everything you are serving).... and complain about your dog.... and take issue with the temperature of your house.... and demand to know why some moldy ornament from 1951 isn’t on your tree?

This is a tough one. Maybe say yes, and let the old bird ruin your furniture and ruin your day. Afterwards, you’ll have some leverage for the (much-needed) come-to-Jesus convo with your husband.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to BlackHole
Sendhelp Dec 29, 2018
You said:
"What will MIL act like once she gets in your house? Will she be a gracious guest and a good conversationalist?"

That should be the criteria for any guest....coming into our homes.
This crossed my mind over the last 30 days of my suffering and wondering if I could take it from a certain visitor. My mind said: "But they are not a very good guest", and I passed that thought by, continued to suffer.

Outcome: Everyone was on their best behavior out in public, at a restaurant.

I will remember your comment in 2019!
I honestly don’t see how you could possibly get a wheelchair bound person into you stilt home. If your husband has a plan I’d love to hear it. Carrying her is just not an option. Even if he were 6’6 and she was 75 lbs.
The incontinence is simple enough as long as she agrees. Have the staff put her in a pull up. Go with him to pick her up and make sure you ask the staff or physically check if she’s in a clean one before you leave with her. Arrive early to ensure time to check this.
Lay a blanket across your car seats and furniture. All of the furniture, so as to look natural. You could put a towel underneath it too just in case it would leak and for your peace of mind.
I understand mother in law issues!! Believe me I do. But ultimately this is his mom and he wants and needs this time with her at Christmas. Be thankful it’s only this one day! It’s just not a battle I would take on with your spouse over this one visit. Surely he feels guilty about her not seeing your place. Sounds like she’s made sure of this. Guilt tripping mothers are extremely effective at this.
I learned a whole lot about my MIL and my husband in two years of living with my MIL.
If your furniture would get soiled, I would calmly and matter of factly buy new furniture.
Maybe all your husband really wants from you is your willingness to try to do this for him. Once he has your blessing he’ll quickly realize this is an impossible request. I’m picturing lots of wooden small stairs at least 6 to 10 feet up to get to your place.
Then what if there was emergency with her? How would the squad get her down? Unless he can build a ramp or install and elevator I just don’t see it happening.
So give your blessing and do try to make it a nice visit for the two of them. Limit the time for her well-being due to the incontinence to no more than 4 hours start to finish. Unless he and she are ok with her being changed by him and you have a bathroom and a door large enough to accommodate the wheelchair too. Good grief, that’s a whole lot of work just for a location.
A better idea would be to find a restaurant or some other place and spend time with her that way. Go to the nursing home and have Christmas there.
One of our families in the nursing home, recently made a day of having their loved one give gifts to the staff with cards with lotto tickets and a large throw to each of us. Lol they’re very wealthy though. But simply giving out chocolates or cookies is a nice gesture that she may enjoy.
Buy her a small Christmas tree for her room and help her decorate it and exchange gifts. Whatever their old tradition was try to simulate it there.
I’m really thinking he’d rather you be the obstacle then for him to have to tell her it just can’t happen because of her wheelchair. I don’t know you two but your posted information has me wondering if that’s the case? Guilt tripping moms are really difficult to deal with directly, perhaps you’re easier to pick a fight with? Hang tight and refuse to be the bad guy here.
Best wishes!
Let us know how it goes.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Whataboutme

If it’s MIL, tell hubby she’s his to clean up after, if he wants her over. The problem is a complex one which, sometimes, must be handled with a simple answer! Enough of women doing all the world’s dirty (& unpaid) work!!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to annemculver

I'm curious, what is your husband's solution to getting her up the stairs and into your home?
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to cwillie

You've received some truly helpful responses, most of which focus on you being able to say "no"... Please understand that whatever decision you make, you will have uncomfortable feelings... Situations like this have no perfect solution where everyone is happy and satisfied. We have to look at the greater good. As people have mentioned, that even if you could get her into your home... maybe hiring an ambulette and their drivers carry her in, and out, and you hire an aide to be with her all day to help with bathroom needs, etc. there will be stress and tension.
If you decide to bring your Christmas celebration to her NH, there will be upset (on her part) and maybe disappointment and guilt, so you now get to decide which feelings you are willing to deal with and process.
remember, it's not our feelings that get us into trouble, it's our actions... Choose the actions that will be for your greater good and for the greater overall good of your holiday celebrations. Recognize that there is no perfect solution, just the one you and your husband can live with in the best possible way...
I wish you ease, and the ability to enjoy Christmas... and we breathe...
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to LorenMGG

Had a very similar situation with Mom in nursing home. Would have been nice to let her visit home but would have faced all of your issues. We used one of the lounge rooms at the nursing home, made all the usual Christmas foods, invited a few other relatives to join us. My aunt was also in same facility, so of course she and some of her immediate family were included. All of us together sort of took some of " the sting" out of the situation. Was my mom's last Christmas, we tried our best. It helps if you bring some " hooch" along. Good luck, it's hard.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Friendtotheend

As for protecting the furniture, purchase the disposable pads they sell for the beds and place on the couch/chairs/car seat/ under a blanket incase the disposable underwear leaks. She never has to know. Be accommodating to your husband, but make it clear he must have a plan for getting her in and out of the house that does not involve you (save your back)! Beyond that be as accommodating as possible and he just may realize you have been right all along!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to guiltridden64

visit my DW in rehab. Hold her hand and feed her. Assist in changing her underwear and daily grooming. Cry if I need to.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to OldSailor
JoAnn29 Dec 21, 2018
You are a good hubby. Deep down she knows your there.
See 1 more reply
If you go through with this, make her 100% his problem. He can figure out how to get her in the house, she needs to wear Depends, and he changes her if she needs changing. He doesn't want to do all that? Gee, too bad Mom can't come visit for Christmas. I get that's his mother, but you shouldn't be uncomfortable in your home. There are other options besides trying to carry her up the stairs, like having Christmas somewhere else. I have a guilt-trippy MIL too. Luckily my husband does see it and does shut her down, as do I. The older I get the less tolerance I have for BS. Dealing with the ultimate travel agent for guilt trips will do that to you and I'm only 42 years old.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Spoiledpets
BlackHole Dec 21, 2018
Spot on, Spoiledpets.
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter