Am I Obligated to "Mother-in-Law" Sit?

#21

AMEN.

When you marry someone, you become part of their family.

“Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live. My people will be your people, my God will be your God.”

Those were the words of a daughter in law to her mother in law, they are our example.

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#22

From the responses to this post, I am about to say something that could easily become heated so I hope people understand this as simply an observatsion.

It appears men have no problem putting the burden of caring for their mother onto their wives. As a woman, this offends me. A man is to leave his family and cleave to his wife. A man is not suppose to bring a wife into the family to care for his mother. On a personal level, one of the reasons I am single is because men I have dated thought it was a given that when we would plan our futur, the number 1 consideraton was their mother.

With all that said and done, there is nothing wrong with a woman who helps her MIL. I would like to point out a few things

1-) The OP takes her MIL to doctors appointments so she is helping
2-) The OP admits her husband takes care of his mother. Every second he spends with his mother is 1 less second of energy he has for his wife. The OP NEVER complained about this.
3-) If the daughters won’t hire help, it is NOT the OP faults

It sounds to me like the 2 daugthers have an issue were they can’t say no to their mom. That is not the OPs fault. These woman should not be allowed to guilt trip someone with boundaries

CM

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#23

If the father in law can work, then he probably can take care of his wife. Someone ought ask him whether he is working because he needs to (i.e. he and his wife would starve otherwise) or because that is just what is in his comfort zone. Some men continue to work long past retirement age because they really have nothing else to do. But this guy does have something more important to do and it is his responsibility to take care of his wife.

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#24

[quote="jonesy, post:1, topic:195160"]
I could sure use some help! I have been married - happily - for almost 41yrs. My husband's siblings seem to think that I need to do "my fair share" of caring for their mother. Let me first say that she is 85, not in the best shape, but she does get around. Her husband is 87, still works in landscaping and will not stay home with her to help unless it's winter. I have 2 sisters-in-law who want to "live their own lives", with their social agenda. My brother-in-law works landscaping with his dad but does go over to help out often. My husband works all week and does go over on Saturdays to help with her lunch, visiting and whatever else she wants. But golf season has started and he usually will golf during the day and stop over in the afternoon. She gets around fine but wants someone there to help her "in case she falls". I do what I can but am not in the best of health myself. I don't have the physical nor emotional energy to make a commitment, but will help out when it's necessary. The real problem is my one sister-in-law gets really angry when she can't call the shots, especially at me because the guilt trip won't work. They feel I should make a commitment so they can go to their luncheons, movies, etc., and carry on with their social agenda. They have no problem with laying on the guilt to me that I don't do what they think I should be doing!

I have issues with the fact that their dad should have retired long ago and it's his responsibility to be caring for his wife, along with the siblings. Why is this my responsibility and why should I be made to feel guilty because I say no? I have suggested paying a nursing service to come in several days a week - they can more than afford it - but my mother-in-law doesn't want a "stranger" in the house! I told my sisters-in-law that we could have a luncheon to introduce this person to my mother-in-law so she could get to know her. They won't hear of it because they say "you know mom, she doesn't want that"!

I hope I've explained this ok - I'm just so upset because this happens every spring and it's started again this year. Part of me just wants to keep saying no and the other part wonders if God is putting something in front of me and I'm refusing. I just can't help but wonder why God would ask me to do this when all my in-laws are quite capable and just want to maintain their own social activities.

An objective view of this would be so very much appreciated. I can't even look at it objectively anymore myself! Thank yo all so much.

[/quote]

"Obligated?" Isn't it a matter of do unto others as you would have them do unto you?

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#25

Wow, there’s a lot going on here.

A husband not taking care of his wife and hiding in his work.

Daughters who want to have Cinderella (the daughter in law) do the dirty work while they have fun.

Cinderella’s husband who would rather play golf and let his wife take care of his mother.

Sorry, it might not be that bad, but I don’t know. I would gladly take care of my in laws. I would bridle against being told by my brother in law and sisters-in-law that I had to take care of them. At the very least, I would break it up into each couple doing their fair share, according to the need and their capacity to help. And dad needs to stay home as well…

I felt terrible when my mom was sick with cancer and dementia and the burden fell on my younger brother and his wife, because my older brother was hours away and I was several states away.

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#26

There are things in this world you just have to do. You don't have to like it, but you just do them becasuse it's the right thing to do. A man has to give up his seat on a lifeboat to woman. He HAS to. He can make excuses, he can convinince himself otherwise, but it's something he has an obligation to do. A man who doesn't do it is a scumbag. Pure and simple.

No, this is isn't as set in stone as my lifeboat issue, but it's not far off. When you marry someone, (many women tell me this) you share everything-your parents are her parents, and vice versa.

If my mom or dad needed anything, I'd drop whatever I was doing and run to them. I don't care about the circumstances. They're my mom and dad.

This is just how Rascalking thinks. I'm not speaking for anyone else, and I'm just making that choice for me.

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#27

Its never easy to care for an aging parent and even tougher when the parent in question isn’t really addressing the truth situation of their declining health. Even if the MIL doesn’t want a “stranger in the house”, it still might be the best decision the family could make to have a visiting nurse or even to start to consider maybe moving their parents to senior care facility. One that offers progressive care as their decline in health would warrent.

I struggle with this myself with my mom being 83 but still really independent and in fairly good health. But all it would take is one bad fall and things could drastically change.

If I was the OP, I think I would try to get the whole family together for a family meeting and discuss all the concerns, Even if the responsibilites aren’t even shared right now, what is important is the care of the parents and its better to discuss this now while both parents are in decent health than to have the discussion when there’s already been an accident. Surely all involved can put aside their busy schedules and come up with some kind of plan, surely the health of the parents is the most important thing to everyone in the family.

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#28

Again, we are not seeing the full picture here. I may not be either. But since I have had both a mother and MIL die in the past two years, and seeing the issues regarding what kind of care these women needed versus what they wanted and/or or what was readily available, I think I do have some insights.

As far as the thread title question is concerned... "Am I obligated to MIL-sit?" Well that's like asking, "I'm I obligated to obtain clothes for my child?" The simple answer to both questions can be, "Yes." But such questions require further qualification. I would be doing my adult child a disservice by providing all this clothing because I would be interfering with his (and perhaps his spouse's) ability to figure out how to obtain clothing without me.

The MIL in this situation needs assistance. The DIL is able to provide some. As well she should. But that's not really the underlying question here!

The question I think the OP is *really *asking is whether or not her assistance (as had be requested by her SILs) is interfering with the rest of family's ability to understand and manage the situation in the best way.

Right now it seems FIL is using work as an excuse to avoid being at home with his wife. This isn't to say that FIL shouldn't have an outlet for himself but full time work is avoidance, not an outlet. I actually think that the SILs may be trying to provide too much companionship for their mother because this is interfering with the parents' relationship.

The time will no doubt come when more aid truly is required from the OP. (And we have not even begun to address what aid the OP's own parents may need or what her own children and/or grandchildren may require of her.) But the more I think about it, in the short run, the inlaws might need less assistance rather than more.

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#29

First of all, I would like to thank you all for your thoughtful advice. I would like you all to know that I do help with my mil and have always done so. As I stated before, my fil is 87, continues to work in landscaping (great health) and really wants very little to do with my mil. He does do things in the evening - fix dinner, etc., but there's not much of a relationship between him and his wife. He feels it's his "kids" responsibility (old Italian thinking). My sil's try to dictate what everyone will do and that's probably the kink in my mind. They have no right to call the shots. My husband does his share, bil does his, but most of the "lady" stuff falls on my sil's and me. I am glad to help, but not when my sil's have their golf on Monday, luncheons on Tuesdays, card club on Wed, etc. And that's where I have a tremendous resentment. And yes, we do marry the "family", but not to the point where it should impede my relationship with my husband because his siblings and parents want what they want when they want it. Sorry, I absolutely reject that. It's co-dependent, enabling and completely unhealthy.

I took care of my parents and was honored to do so. At the same time, I cared for a sister who died recently of breast cancer. My parents died shortly before she did and this just happened a year ago. And just after that, my niece was killed in an ATV accident, so I've been dealing with extreme loss. And I guarantee you, other than my husband and my bil's wife, NO ONE in my husbands family has ever offered any condolence other than at the funeral. But as I stated in my first post, if my siblings (and there are 10 of us) or I couldn't do something, I would NEVER have dictated to any of my brothers' wives nor my sisters' husbands that they had to do it and SHARE the responsibilities. Furthermore, my sil's husbands are never asked to do anything no do they offer.

I told my husband this morning that I will commit to some more time each week for my mil, out of love and respect for him. But mostly because I will be doing this out of love of God and to see the face of Christ in my mil. As one of you suggested, I will set boundaries, because in this family, you give an inch and they'll take a mile. But I cannot let my resentment and anger dictate what I do in the end. Because in the end, maybe God is putting this in front of me because my mil might just need me in a way I'm not discerning. And in the end, it is Our Lord I will be facing, it is Our Lord whom I want to please. I want to do this with great love in my heart and today, at Mass, I looked at Our Lord and made that decision.

God Bless you all for your thoughts and I ask for your prayers. You will certainly be in mine.

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#30

[quote="jonesy, post:29, topic:195160"]
First of all, I would like to thank you all for your thoughtful advice. I would like you all to know that I do help with my mil and have always done so. As I stated before, my fil is 87, continues to work in landscaping (great health) and really wants very little to do with my mil. He does do things in the evening - fix dinner, etc., but there's not much of a relationship between him and his wife. He feels it's his "kids" responsibility (old Italian thinking). My sil's try to dictate what everyone will do and that's probably the kink in my mind. They have no right to call the shots. My husband does his share, bil does his, but most of the "lady" stuff falls on my sil's and me. I am glad to help, but not when my sil's have their golf on Monday, luncheons on Tuesdays, card club on Wed, etc. And that's where I have a tremendous resentment. And yes, we do marry the "family", but not to the point where it should impede my relationship with my husband because his siblings and parents want what they want when they want it. Sorry, I absolutely reject that. It's co-dependent, enabling and completely unhealthy.

I took care of my parents and was honored to do so. At the same time, I cared for a sister who died recently of breast cancer. My parents died shortly before she did and this just happened a year ago. And just after that, my niece was killed in an ATV accident, so I've been dealing with extreme loss. And I guarantee you, other than my husband and my bil's wife, NO ONE in my husbands family has ever offered any condolence other than at the funeral. But as I stated in my first post, if my siblings (and there are 10 of us) or I couldn't do something, I would NEVER have dictated to any of my brothers' wives nor my sisters' husbands that they had to do it and SHARE the responsibilities. Furthermore, my sil's husbands are never asked to do anything no do they offer.

I told my husband this morning that I will commit to some more time each week for my mil, out of love and respect for him. But mostly because I will be doing this out of love of God and to see the face of Christ in my mil. As one of you suggested, I will set boundaries, because in this family, you give an inch and they'll take a mile. But I cannot let my resentment and anger dictate what I do in the end. Because in the end, maybe God is putting this in front of me because my mil might just need me in a way I'm not discerning. And in the end, it is Our Lord I will be facing, it is Our Lord whom I want to please. I want to do this with great love in my heart and today, at Mass, I looked at Our Lord and made that decision.

God Bless you all for your thoughts and I ask for your prayers. You will certainly be in mine.

[/quote]

You sound like a wonderful person. Sorry if any of my answers where blunt or mean.

God Bless you as well.

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#31

jonesy, I must add this.
I was sole caregiver to each of my parents, although many years apart.
One essential thing I learned is that (yoo-hoo) I was not enough.

The big lesson was confirmed whan I had to move a distance away and FINALLY, my brothers stepped in. Not only was this good for my mother and me it was tremendously good for my brothers. At long last they could see and hear what I'd been reporting to them. At long last, our darling mother had the joy of spending time with her many sons. I could maybe be my brothers' keeper but I could NOT be my brothers to our mother! With that change (brothers joined in) life changed for all of us - for the better.

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#32

[quote="jonesy, post:29, topic:195160"]

I took care of my parents and was honored to do so. At the same time, I cared for a sister who died recently of breast cancer. My parents died shortly before she did and this just happened a year ago. And just after that, my niece was killed in an ATV accident, so I've been dealing with extreme loss.

[/quote]

Wow! I am sorry for your losses.

If I were in your husband's family not only would I give you a pass on caring for mother, but I would also feel terrible for not helping you more.

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#33

I did not take your responses as blunt or mean in any way. I asked for guidance and you were all forthcoming with so many wonderful suggestions. I had much food for thought last night and was able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to come to decisions today which I have not been able to do in many months. I appreciate everyone’s time and concern from the bottom of my heart!

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#34

I too apologize if I came across in any kind of manner that was hurtful.

I wonder Jonesy, if your MIL prefers your company, that she trusts you because of the way you handled your sister’s illness and all the losses you’ve had to endure this past year. Maybe she just likes having you around.

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#35

[quote="PatriceA, post:34, topic:195160"]
I too apologize if I came across in any kind of manner that was hurtful.

I wonder Jonesy, if your MIL prefers your company, that she trusts you because of the way you handled your sister's illness and all the losses you've had to endure this past year. Maybe she just likes having you around.

[/quote]

That's a good point. Maybe they are asking for you, because she likes you best. :)

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#36

[quote="jonesy, post:29, topic:195160"]
First of all, I would like to thank you all for your thoughtful advice. I would like you all to know that I do help with my mil and have always done so. As I stated before, my fil is 87, continues to work in landscaping (great health) and really wants very little to do with my mil. He does do things in the evening - fix dinner, etc., but there's not much of a relationship between him and his wife. He feels it's his "kids" responsibility (old Italian thinking). My sil's try to dictate what everyone will do and that's probably the kink in my mind. They have no right to call the shots. My husband does his share, bil does his, but most of the "lady" stuff falls on my sil's and me. I am glad to help, but not when my sil's have their golf on Monday, luncheons on Tuesdays, card club on Wed, etc. And that's where I have a tremendous resentment. And yes, we do marry the "family", but not to the point where it should impede my relationship with my husband because his siblings and parents want what they want when they want it. Sorry, I absolutely reject that. It's co-dependent, enabling and completely unhealthy.

I took care of my parents and was honored to do so. At the same time, I cared for a sister who died recently of breast cancer. My parents died shortly before she did and this just happened a year ago. And just after that, my niece was killed in an ATV accident, so I've been dealing with extreme loss. And I guarantee you, other than my husband and my bil's wife, NO ONE in my husbands family has ever offered any condolence other than at the funeral. But as I stated in my first post, if my siblings (and there are 10 of us) or I couldn't do something, I would NEVER have dictated to any of my brothers' wives nor my sisters' husbands that they had to do it and SHARE the responsibilities. Furthermore, my sil's husbands are never asked to do anything no do they offer.

I told my husband this morning that I will commit to some more time each week for my mil, out of love and respect for him. But mostly because I will be doing this out of love of God and to see the face of Christ in my mil. As one of you suggested, I will set boundaries, because in this family, you give an inch and they'll take a mile. But I cannot let my resentment and anger dictate what I do in the end. Because in the end, maybe God is putting this in front of me because my mil might just need me in a way I'm not discerning. And in the end, it is Our Lord I will be facing, it is Our Lord whom I want to please. I want to do this with great love in my heart and today, at Mass, I looked at Our Lord and made that decision.

God Bless you all for your thoughts and I ask for your prayers. You will certainly be in mine.

[/quote]

Ok, to me it sounds like you have caregiver burnout yourself, so take care of yourself. You sisters can work out their mon-tues-wed play dates :rolleyes: That's just nuts. They don't need to be out playing every day while you take care of their mother. Sounds like they want you to take over where you left off with your sister, and that's just plain unkind. You need to take care of you as well.

Sounds like you have a good plan! Stick with it! Contribute as you can, and set those boundaries :)

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#37

I think that those of you who are trying to guilt the OP with the Naomi-Ruth story are waaaayyy off base. Read her post closely. If the OP steps up to the plate more, she is helping her SILs and FIL to shirk their responsibility. I recently had a difficult situation with my MIL and contemplated the Naomi-Ruth story for my situation and realized that it didn’t really apply. It doesn’t apply to every DIL/MIL situation. It doesn’t in this situation because there are other family members to care for the MIL (not the case in the book of Ruth), the OP probably has caregiver burnout, and the reasons the other family members want the OP to contribute more sound very trivial, manipulative and controlling to me. It sounds like they are dumping on the OP. The OP should do what she can do out of love for her MIL and not more than she is capable of doing in a loving way.

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#38

Seriously? I don’t see why so many of you are trying to guilt the OP into helping the MIL while the SIL’s have fun.

A MIL is nothing like one’s own child. A child is truly your family, and you are responsible for it. The in laws are not your relatives, and while you might help them you’re certainly not obligated to do anything for them the way you are for your child.

The OP says how most of the inlaws didn’t even give give their condolences when her family members died, much less help take care of them.

There’s no reason for her to feel guilty for not being a doormat/slave to them. I would say the OP should be strong and learn not to be manipulated by these selfish people who want to go to their luncheons, play golf, and go to the movies while she fulfills their responsibilities to their mother.

The OP, you’re being taken advantage of. Ask yourself why it’s so easy to guilt you into doing things that you don’t have to do and that mess up your own life. Seems like these people know they can manipulate you into slaving away for them, and you’re falling for it.

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#39

I just want to mention another point on this topic. I am not saying this is the case for the OP but it is a dynamic that I have often seen.

When I woman is being asked to care for her mother in law and she REALLY has a problem with it, I think it is because no one is giving credit to the woman for all she does for her husband and kids.

I remember once my neighbour telling me she was mad because her husband sent $300 to his mother who is lives in their home country (they are immigrants). This was money they could not afford to give

The husband told me 'She is my mother she changed my diapers of course I will help'. I nearly fainted. They had 2 kids, one in diapers. He NEVER changed a diaper and all he wanted to do was help a woman who changed his diaper 35 years ago and do nothing for the woman who was changing his sons diaper.

I really think before helping in laws it needs to be clear what can be expected and how much thanks should be given

CM

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#40

???

If that’s what people take from my posting then I need to quit!

Of course the OP has an obligation to her MIL. The other posters were correct. But I certainly don’t think she should accept primary responsibility. Just as one does not take primary responsibility for a grown child’s welfare.

I was explaining why the best way to help the MIL might be to get out of the way and force FIL, MIL, and the children to accept their share of the responsibility.

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