Nancy - posted on 03/13/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )
My mother in law moved closer to us to help out with our two children (22 months and 3 months old). When she came it was initially supposed to just be for a month so she could help out when the baby was born. It became clear that she was hoping to stay permanently and after some discussion with my husband I reluctantly decided to see if it would work. We needed the help, he works outside the home and I work from home, and we can't afford daycare for our toddler right now.
My main concern in having my MIL here is that with the exception of having an extra set of eyes on my toddler (the little baby won't let anyone else hold her but me right now) MIL would be more work than help - and this seems to be the case. She is overall a decent person and tries to be friendly with me, but she is also completely incapable of doing even the smallest thing by herself due to a combination of various health and psychological issues (she gets fatigued very easily and is also extremely paranoid and anxious). When she first moved here I specifically said that I did not want her living within walking distance to our home because I was afraid that we'd end up seeing her every day. I constantly looked for apartments that were a couple of miles away so it would be just a little difficult for her to get here (she didn't bring her car when she moved) but she refused to see them, and told me that she'd contact the people renting the apartment but behind my back told my husband that she didn't want to live that far away. When she found an apartment three blocks away she jumped at it (I am still mad at my husband for not intervening here).
As I suspected, she is constantly in need of things from us. My husband has to drive her to her various doctors appointments even when she's feeling well, he has to drive her to the ATM because she's afraid to take money out alone, he has to drive her to the grocery store because she doesn't want to be by herself, she is constantly asking to spend the night at our place because she doesn't feel well or feels too tired to walk to her apartment. She does her laundry here, she eats here, she calls to ask if she can have lunch here on the days when my husband is home from work. All of this is justified by her 'health' issues - which my husband has been dealing with his whole life, and so he's used to it.
The problem is that I can tell often when she just doesn't want to do something not because she doesn't feel well but because she wants someone to do it for her - when you've been taken care of your whole life the line between what you can do for yourself and what you can't becomes blurred. But the times that I've said something to my husband about it he tells me that he can't not help her when she's sick or tired, that she has such and such problems, and then I end up feeling like the bad guy because I'm either essentially calling her a faker or being insensitive to her various health issues.
I feel like I'm in a no win situation. We need the help and can't afford daycare, but I hate spending my days with her when my husband is at work, I find her constantly irritating and we have nothing in common except for my husband and the kids. I find things to do throughout the day to put some distance between us, but that means less time with my older daughter, which makes me feel terrible especially when the new baby takes up so much of my time already. I guess this is more a rant than anything else, but I welcome any comments, etc.