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Need opinions on MIL situation (long sorry)

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fieryred33143

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My MIL was laid off a few months ago and has been struggling with finding a job ever since. She also recently found out she has diabetes and I know she has a heart condition even though she won’t tell anyone about it. So, she’s been very depressed. I have invited her to all of my doctor appointments because it puts a smile on her face. She loves hearing the baby’s heartbeat or seeing her on the screen and I appreciate her company.


Here are the two scenarios I need your opinions on. This is based on a conversation my FI had with her yesterday where she told him that she feels really badly because we aren’t accepting her help:


1. For the past month, she has been asking me to call her so she can come over, do laundry, and clean the house. The problem with this is that I’m not very good with accepting help. It makes me feel incredibly awkward, uncomfortable, and bad to ask her to come over and do my laundry. Granted that if I spend the whole day doing house chores I feel like a bus ran me over the next day. But I’m still not at a point where I can’t do things for myself. Plus, there’s something about having an in-law sorting through your underoos that doesn’t sit right. She feels really bad that we won’t let her come over to help. I know the real problem is that she is feeling useless especially with not being able to find a job. So I don’t know if I should just let her come over to clean/help out. Would you?


2. She saves coins. At first I thought she was nuts but then she tells me that she managed to save $420. That’s great. But then she says that she’s going to deposit the money and write us a check for the amount. She wants that money to go towards the baby. This makes me really uncomfortable because as I mentioned she lost her job, they were recently robbed for $2,500, and FIL is working extra hours to make up for the robbery. They could really use this money. So I thanked her but turned it down which apparently made her cry. She still really wants us to take the money. Should we just accept it? I feel really bad taking money from her knowing their situation.


I’m mostly just looking for opinions. My mom thinks I should just let her come over and help out and that I should take the money because she’s doing it from her heart. But it just makes me feel uncomfortable. What do you think?
 

Lorelei

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I think she needs to try to find a life for herself which does not revolve around you and your new young family so much. A bit of help when needed can be great but for a young expectant Mother to have to turn over her whole house for her MIL to take care of is crossing a huge boundary to me. If you are having trouble coping with the housework and have said that to her then maybe she thinks she is helping by offering and that is what you want - but if not then I would keep it quiet if you are finding it a bit harder than usual otherwise she could get more upset if you say how tired you are but don't want her help. With the money she should be taking care of every penny and $400 isn't chump change, maybe you could ask her to buy some diapers with some of it or some other useful items you can use that won't cost that much, that way she will feel she is helping and contributing. I understand she is in a bad place but you and your Husband and baby are not the key to her present or future happiness - or should not be. If you don't set the boundaries now then she will be getting hurt when the baby is here and making your life difficult by getting upset at other things. She is already still trying to get to be in the delivery room when you have spelled it out to her that it is just to be you and your Husband, so you need to try to be firm with her.

So sorry Fiery that you are having to go through this, stand your ground!
 

Loves Vintage

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I would definitely let her come over to help out!!! Why feel like you''ve been run over by a bus at the end of the day when she wants to come over and help? How about suggesting she take care of other things around the house while you take care of washing your delicates?

Not sure what to do about the money. Did you explain to her why you didn''t want to take it? Maybe they are in a better situation overall financially and you''re not aware of this? I guess I would probably take it if she was that upset about it, but then I would try to find a way to give it back to them, like buying them a weekend getaway or something they need around the house as a gift to them.
 

Bia

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I say, let the old lady help out if she wants, but do it in a way that makes you comfortable nena. If you don''t want her hanging out all the time, then ask her to come once or twice a week. If she wants to do laundry, let her wash the big stuff like towels and sheets, FIs clothes. You keep your (and his) undies and other stuff seperate and do it yourself. I understand about her feeling useless. She is is depressed that she has nothing to do. My grandmother is the same way. That lady is 75 and she''s still jumping around like mexican jumping bean. She needs to have something to do...so they put her to work
Kidding. She has her hobbies, but she also helps out with my little cousins a lot.

As for the money, that''s tough. It is her future grandbaby so I can undrestand why she wants to contribute. Maybe accept it and hold on to it. If at one point you need it, use it. If you don''t, hold on to it until someone does. It sounds like the in-laws might need it at some point if she doesn''t get a job. So maybe you can give it back in another way. Honestly, I don''t know. That doesn''t really solve the part about you being uncomfortable accepting the money. But, she is family Fiery, so maybe you can make an exception. It probably doesn''t make it easier accepting money from her when you are trying to hard to set in place necessary boundaries. That combined with the fact that they are struggling themselves.

I''m not helping much here. LOL.
 

neatfreak

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I''d let her come over and help but CONTROL what she does. Say things like "It would be great if you could cook us a bunch of meals to freeze for when the baby arrives" or "Thanks! I would love some help organizing the closets". I think she really needs to feel helpful and needed here-so it would really be doing her a favor by letting her do this and help. You could also send her OUT on errands so she is helping but isn''t in your face.

As for the money-I''d either give her something specific to buy (that isn''t super expensive but isn''t cheap either-pack n play maybe?) so that she doesn''t feel like you are rejecting her-but also is a bit more comfortable than just taking a check from her.

Bottom line is that she really means well, wants to help, and you just need to guide her into doing things that will help you rather than stress you out.
 

fieryred33143

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Thanks ladies.

Lor-Thank you for your words. I think the pressure I''m feeling is just that: our baby has become her whole world. I love it but its a lot of pressure.

LV-Thanks. I did explain why we weren''t taking the money and she seemed fine with it while *I* was talking to her. But when she spoke with FI that''s when she cried. I think she didn''t want to make me feel bad. As for their situation, they may be in a better position than I think but I''ve seen FIL stressed out recently which makes me think that they may be struggling.

Bia-You made me laugh. My mom feels the same way about letting her come over.

NF-I''m glad you came over to give your opinion. I think you are right in letting her come over but giving her something specific to do. It''s just weird to think of her coming over and cleaning the bathroom, you know??

As for the money, after FI told me that she was upset I suggested that maybe we tell her to buy one of our big ticket items like the car seat or the PNP.

I am planning on picking her up on Saturday to take her with me and my mom, who will be visiting, to register for some stuff. I''ve been pretty confused on some of the things and asked my mom to help out so I''m sure his mom will appreciate going along also.
 

NovemberBride

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Fiery,

This is a tough situation to be in. Normally I would jsut say let her come over, but your MIL seems to have some issues with boundaries and I think in the end you will be a lot happier if you set the boundaries you are comfortable with before the baby comes. The idea of asking her to do specific things is a good one.

The money is a very tough one. I had a similar situation with my MIL as well. She was a single mom without a college degree and with very little help from DH''s dad. Our wedding was paid for by my parents, who are very well off. When we opened our wedding gifts, we were shocked to find a card with a very large check from my MIL (who also paid for the rehearsal dinner). We both agreed that there was no way we were accepting the check and DH called her to let her know. She became very upset and told DH that she would be insulted if we did not accept her gift, that she had been saving since we got engaged. In the end, we accepted the check. Similar to your MIL, I know my MIL could really have used that money. But, she is an adult and it was her money to give and it was obviously important to her to do so. Perhaps your MIL feels the same way? Is there anyway to accept her money, but then slowly give it back to her by buying things they need, doing things around their house, etc?
 

princesss

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Okay, I get not wanting people to touch your underoos. But maybe once a week to help out (while you''ve socked away or already washed all underoos) would be good for both of you? I hate having people touch my stuff, but it''s also really nice every now and then to feel taken care of.

And for the money...well, even if they are hurting, it is her money to do what she likes with. Maybe she could start a college fund or something? That''s something that could really be useful down the road, and she could feel like she''s really taking care of something *important*, you know? And that way you''re not taking it directly now, but she still gets to put it towards the baby.
 

swingirl

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She wants to do something valuable with her time. At her age and stage in life she wants to focus some of her time and energy on the next generation.

Let her come over and help. She might just want to be with you and cleaning and caregiving might be therapeutic for her as it is for many women. My mom would also like to do laundry and dishes whenever she came over. At first I was a little uncomfortable with her doing undies but eventually I got to realize she just enjoyed folding laundry, it reminded her of her days as a "housewife", made her feel useful and she really loved touching the kids clothes. She''d remark how cute an outfit was, or how nice this must look on so-an-so.

And honestly if you want to get along well with in-law don''t refuse gifts. It''s such an insult. Don''t tell someone they should take their gift to you and give it to themselves. I think she is well aware of what she can afford.

I think you need to invite her over for tea or something and repair your relationship.
 

Lorelei

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Date: 4/8/2009 10:41:49 AM
Author: fieryred33143
Thanks ladies.

Lor-Thank you for your words. I think the pressure I''m feeling is just that: our baby has become her whole world. I love it but its a lot of pressure.

LV-Thanks. I did explain why we weren''t taking the money and she seemed fine with it while *I* was talking to her. But when she spoke with FI that''s when she cried. I think she didn''t want to make me feel bad. As for their situation, they may be in a better position than I think but I''ve seen FIL stressed out recently which makes me think that they may be struggling.

Bia-You made me laugh. My mom feels the same way about letting her come over.

NF-I''m glad you came over to give your opinion. I think you are right in letting her come over but giving her something specific to do. It''s just weird to think of her coming over and cleaning the bathroom, you know??

As for the money, after FI told me that she was upset I suggested that maybe we tell her to buy one of our big ticket items like the car seat or the PNP.

I am planning on picking her up on Saturday to take her with me and my mom, who will be visiting, to register for some stuff. I''ve been pretty confused on some of the things and asked my mom to help out so I''m sure his mom will appreciate going along also.
Most welcome Fiery! I must admit I was really appalled to hear how she keeps on with her campaign to force her way into the delivery room while you are in labour when she has been told repeatedly that you are uncomfortable with that and want it to be just you and your DH, and it sounds to me as if she won''t respect boundaries by keeping on about it and trying to recruit people to convince you to let her be present.
This is YOUR baby, YOUR time and YOU make the decisions. Hang in there sweetheart!
 

swingirl

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Uh, I didn''t realize that there is already some history with your MIL over boundaries. Now it sounds like the house cleaning/laundry offer is just one more way for her to intrude. That''s different than helping. The stress involved to keep someone in check is exhausting. Maybe it''s time for hubby to jump in let her know that her offers are appreciated but you need some space.
 

MichelleCarmen

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For the first, I''d take her up on all the chores EXCEPT the laundry. Mostly because I''m really picky about how my stuff is sorted and how it''s washed and even line dry stuff. Let her vaccum, do dishes and dust. This is *for her* not you. It''ll make her feel better.

For the second, I''m not sure. I guess just take the money and save it for when/if you need it. If you are financially okay, then open a bank account for your baby.
 

fieryred33143

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Date: 4/8/2009 4:44:00 PM
Author: swingirl
Uh, I didn''t realize that there is already some history with your MIL over boundaries. Now it sounds like the house cleaning/laundry offer is just one more way for her to intrude. That''s different than helping. The stress involved to keep someone in check is exhausting. Maybe it''s time for hubby to jump in let her know that her offers are appreciated but you need some space.
The whole thing is really weird because she was never like this before. We lived with them for a short period before getting into our place. She never interfered. She never asked if everything was ok and didn''t bother us while we were there. We would spend time in his room watching TV and she''s never come in. She just wasn''t like that. She did grab our laundry from time to time out of the room which made me uncomfortable *but* the first thing my mom likes to do when she visits is head to our laundry room and rearrange stuff. So I just let it go.

I think she''s having a serious case of baby fever which I can slightly understand. She doesn''t have any daughters and her other son who is 38 has already said that he absolutely wants no children. I''m thinking she''s just very thrilled to finally get a grandchild but the boundaries issue is getting out of control. And because she wasn''t like this before, its thrown me for a loop.
 

swingirl

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Your pregnancy and her job loss has probably thrown her for a loop too! Hopefully she'll chill.
 

bee*

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I think that if she keeps asking to come over and help, I''d let her do it but as others said, tell her exactly what you''d like done. With the money thing, if she really doesn''t want to keep it then I''d put it towards getting something for the baby. Or take it with you when you register at the weekend and let her buy something for the baby out of it.
 

packrat

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I don''t know that I''d let her do things, but that''s me. I don''t have a good relationship w/my MIL at all. I got tired of the incessant wanting to help, wanting to cook for us, wanting to "help us out". She wants to be needed, and I understand that, but there are limits, and it got to the point that she was making herself the center of attention. Husband at first was so tired of it, he''d cave and say just let her do it, but that just encouraged her and I got to the point I was pulling my hair out. After our 1st baby came, I handled it for a few months, but it didn''t last long, and it went downhill from there. She''s overly critical but in a saccharine voice and tee hee giggles.

If she gave me the money, I''d keep having my husband take it back to her house. It''s one thing for her to want to buy the baby something nice, it''s another thing to put herself in the position she would need to eat catfood for a year (yes I''m exaggerating) to give you money. To me, then it goes beyond buying a gift for the new grandbaby and into martyrdom. She should take care of her own needs first.

And like I said, I don''t get along w/my MIL so take what I say w/a grain of salt-it''s just my experiences w/similar situations.

What is your husbands take on it?
 

Italiahaircolor

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I think that maybe having a genuine heart to heart with her may help...

Letting her know that you love and appreciate her will mean the world to her. She''s going through a lot inside right--diabetes and a heart condition is nothing to over look. She is probably scared that her time is going to be limited now and wants to make the most of what she is guaranteed. Let her know that at this point you''re doing okay managing the house, but that soon you''ll need the extra help and will be sure to ask for it when it becomes to much. Just because she''s going to be doing laundry doesn''t mean she has to sort your underpants...you can do your intimates but let her tackle the jeans and towels. If she wants to vacuum or wipe down windows, let her...it''s a win/win. You will have more time for the baby, and she''ll feel important and useful.

If you''re uncomfortable taking money from her, that''s okay--don''t feel guilty about that. But make sure she knows that your heart is in the right place. Tell her that although you appreciate her obvious effort and generosity that she should spend the money on her grandchild. Turn the negative into a postive. If she wants to spend time with you and that''s clearly important to her, arrange an outting where she can buy the baby things with the money she''s saved and you can point her in the right direction. This way you both get only the good out of the experience...she gets to spoil her grandbaby and you don''t have to physically take the money from her.

I know MIL''s can be a trip...but it sounds like you both are genuinely warm hearted people who love each other and you''re both taking the other into consideration.
 
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