AIBU to want a say in this? Warning MIL related!

(70 Posts)
Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:19:58

Will try and keep this succinct....

FIL died suddenly a year ok. MIL lives a good 2 1/2 drive from us, in a hosue they had only moved to a year previously which is in a small village and she doesn't drive. She is not an outgoing person nor particularly independent (for example we had show her how to use the oven when FIL died, she sends us unopened post to deal with, she cannot/will not deal with anything that us outside her very small comfort zone). She is not particularly old - mid 60s.

She has decided that she wants to move up near us. We're happy with this- it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.

We have chosen an area for her which we really likes - decent selection of shops, a GPs, dentists, vets etc - and have shown her a number of properties in the vicinity all of which haven't been suitable for one reason or another.

She has now got an offer on her house and its a very short chain. She is terrified of losing her buyer and in her words is now 'desperate' to move (for the sale to proceed and because she apparently 'hates' it where she currently is). She has offered on a house here and it has been accepted. However I think it's a mistake.

The house is nothing like what she originally wanted. It's a semi and she was she adamant she wanted a detached. It's further away from the town centre than she wanted - a good 15 min walk, she wanted under 10. It's in a poor state of decoration - at the least it needs a new bathroom and the ceilings and walls plastered in most rooms. The biggest thing for me is that it doesn't have central heating. It has storage heaters, and nothing at all in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway.

Bearing in mind that this is a elderly lady, recently bereaved, who doesnt cope well with change and disruption I don't think this house is the right decision.

DH and my BIL both take the view that its her decision and that if she thinks she can cope with it then its fine. I take the view that the move needs to be easy and this is not easy. Added to this is the BIL and his family live abroad and DH works 13 hour days (with his commute) and we have two small children. At the end of the day it will be me who deals with the fallout of the move when she can't work the heaters, needs a lift somewhere etc etc. All of which I am happy to do, within reason. But this house just makes an already difficult move, even more difficult.

AIBU to want to be able to influence the decision and have people listen to my concerns?

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:54:09

If it softens my use of "elderly" at all, she is not a young 67, though she does not have any physical difficulties. She may not be old in years but her attitude and approach makes her very dependent. I may stop there for fear of offending further....

Gobbolin- perhaps you are right, I may not think she is capable of making the decision. Not because of her age though, but because of being bereaved and being desperate to move. I don't think they're good ingredients for making a rational decision.

Added to that is that she has never really made independent decisions. FIL was very much in charge. Whether they was by design or consequence I don't know but she has never had to do anything for herself. Her attitude now appears to be that DH will step in and do what her husband did her her.

I am thorn in the side of all local estate agents pestering them about new properties on the market.

I just see this going very wrong and I want to stop it now.

oscarwilde Thu 07-Nov-13 14:57:14

Also - given that you have presented her with a selection of far superior properties "which haven't been suitable for one reason or another"; and she has chosen a lessor house, further out from town in a bad state of repair all suggests that she doesn't feel she can afford the houses shown to her to date. All the more reason to get a full costing on the work that needs doing. Too much daytime telly and she'll think she can refurb a house for £10k which is total bollocks

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:57:23

Sorry for typos, now have to do school run. I shall be back!

thegreylady Thu 07-Nov-13 14:59:49

I am 69 and am not elderly! We moved here to be near our dd and we cose a house that needed very little done. Surely she isn't contemplating moving in Winter with no central heating. Have you time to find a suitable alternative? Maybe look for a detached bungalow for her.

oscarwilde Thu 07-Nov-13 15:02:31

Have you looked at assisted living / retirement complexes? Having a site manager to take care of minor repairs etc would take a load of you.

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 07-Nov-13 15:03:07

YANBU. Agree with other posters that she is not terribly elderly, but she is acting as though she is and it will only get worse in time, particularly when you are only a short distance away.

Put your foot down with DH and BIL or you will end up spending all your time sorting this out for her. Find a rental property and suggest that to her, tell all that it is not reasonable to move in somewhere with no central heating in the middle of winter. Storage heaters eat up ££s, I rented somewhere with them back in the 90s and paid out up to £100 a week to heat the place.

WooWooOwl Thu 07-Nov-13 15:08:30

Some people do behave as if they are elderly when they're in their 60's. my mil is like that. She was early 60s when I first met her, she was definitely old before her time and more dependant than my Nan who is 25 years older than her. No physical or mental issues, she just likes playing at being elderly.

FoxyRoxy Thu 07-Nov-13 15:09:54

My mum is mid 60s and gallivants around Europe visiting family, not all 60+ people are like this though and some can appear more frail and older than their years. I suspect the mil of the op comes across as being like this because she seems quite weak and lost at the moment.

Will it kill her to wear jumpers while the central heating is installed? No. Can you take the cat for a while? I would presume so. I think the major point is the fact that its further out of town and she will not be 67 forever. Is there a bus route or anything? Maybe sit down with her and explain you're worried her independence will suffer long term.

Is it at all an option for her to stay with you a while so she doesn't feel rushed into buying somewhere and can still sell? I don't think you are being unreasonable but I'm not sure how much you can do if your dh and bil don't agree.

mercibucket Thu 07-Nov-13 15:11:13

getting all the work done will be a big job

do your dh and bil think she is up to organising builders etc? my mik, who sounds similar, hates doing this

PukingCat Thu 07-Nov-13 15:12:53

I think you need to be careful about continuing this tradition of treating her as though she is elderly and can't do stuff for herself. Some people like it that way as they can push responsibility onto others. It doesn't mean she couldn't cope with these things on her own, just that she doesn't want to.

Perhaps you should back off a bit.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Nov-13 15:19:13

I agree the shock loss of FIL will have taken a lot out of her, but sometimes the apparently less capable less dominant partner can bloom when they are free to exercise their own opinions.

You are concerned she won't cope and of course if DH and BIL are not around to sort things out if she flounders, no prizes for who will be called upon to step up. I am glad you have voiced your concerns so her sons know you have severe misgivings.

I read this wondering if she might be persuaded to rent an unfurnished place to get the lie of the land and see how she likes the area. I see now that she has rejected this idea. I would pester the other agents in the area to death to try and find a house closer to town which is in better nick. Even try pushing leaflets through doors, "Seeking a home like yours, have you considered selling?"

We "sold" our flat in a short chain (three properties in total) in October 2010, and didn't move until February 2011. Council offices and conveyancing solicitors don't seem to work in December hmm so all the professionals involved thought things had gone very smoothly. I went from 15-32 weeks pregnant in that time so I thought it took ages!!

I agree with pps that spelling out exactly what would be required, including disruption for the poor cat, and saying what you wouldn't be able to help with, will at least set out your stall, without being too obstructive. And in the meantime set up alerts on Rightmove so you don't miss out on anything else that comes on the market.

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 16:26:28

I have alerts on right move and am registered with all local agents who call me before they even get onto rightmove. I haven't done a leaflet drop, I could do that. I think though I've lost sight of what will be acceptable to her. Her criteria was modern detached three bed house. This property is a two bed semi bungalow requiring work. I know she is entitled to compromise on her wish list but this is so far removed from the original spec.

I am concerned that she won't cope and in turn that it will fall to me to deal with it. I think she hears my reservations as me not wanting her to move up here and trying to frustrate the move. And yes, I do find her difficult at times but I genuinely want it to be a positive and successful move for her.

pukingcat yep I could back off, not sure how that would help any of us in these particular circumstances but I get your point about enabling her behaviour.

FoxyRoxy my mum is the same as yours, yet I would still try very hard to dissuade her from such a decision. Thing is, with her independence I don't think she would have made it anyway because she would acknowledge that it wasn't a good call. She could live with us whilst looking for somewhere else but I don't think she wants to. Perhaps we do need to clarify that the option is there though. I can see what the objection will be now though, her cat!

oscarwilde yes we've considered assisted living/supported places but they generally come without private gardens and her garden is very important to her. She also doesn't see herself in the category that needs such a place and I think questions the need when we will be so close.....

mercibucket no she won't be able to project manage the work. (She asked us to find her a local taxi company not long ago despite her having a thompson directory/yellow pages!) That will fall to us. Luckily we know a good builder and as soon as the survey is through (and like a poster above said I hope it is shocking!) we will walk through the place with him and ask him to properly quote. He has already given us a ballpark quote and idea of the level of disruption.

A couple of people have mentioned money. She will comfortably clear a £100K from the difference in prices so the cost of renovations isn't an issue which is one comfort.

Perhaps I just need to let her/them get on with it. I've voiced my concerns and they don't think that they are issues. Maybe all I need to do now is work out how far I go to deal with the consequences of their decision. I am more that a bit pissed off though that DH doesn't give more weight to my concerns than he has done so far.

mercibucket Thu 07-Nov-13 16:33:01

if you have a good builder lined up, i would just back off and leave her to it. you have warned her, she might be prepared or she migh5 not, but the work will eventually be finished
i wonder if by playing the 'bad guy', your dh, bil and mil are pushing against that. if you stop raising objections, they might start voicing their own doubts

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 16:40:08

True. And playing the bad guy means that they're all concentrating on my reasons for saying things, rather than what I'm actually saying.

diddl Thu 07-Nov-13 16:46:37

Well apart from the fact that it needs work, a 2bed bungalow rather than a three bed detached for one person sounds sensible tbh.

The problem might be where she is whilst the work is done if it all goes ahead.

Perhaps you could look at what you could realistically do, and what others will have to do, rather than you doing nothing to prove a point iyswim.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Nov-13 16:59:12

DH will think he'll sort things out at weekends, and good old DW will be free at a moment's notice to take charge Mon - Fri. BIL will think lucky old DBro and SIL, Mum only round the corner, instant free babysitting.

If I were you I'd develop pastimes now with or without your DCs that will lessen your availability during the week. Big difference imo between DIL glad to see MIL for occasional coffee and catch up with GDCs and trip to the shops or garden centre now and then, and you having to run around in lieu of DH doing a million and one chores.

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 17:20:30

Diddl- sensible apart from the fact it needs work including the not so small task of installing central heating and is almost double the distance from the town centre she said she wanted. The comments now that it is a "little further out than ideal" will soon become "it's too far for me to walk" I'm sure. It's not far from a good bus route but she's said she doesn't want to / won't do buses. She is used to being driven around. She doesn't understand bus timetables and will not try (believe me we have tried to explain trains to her). And whereas you or I might stand at the stop and wait for one to turn up she would not contemplate that.

Donkeys- exactly. I have fingers in lots of pies outside of looking after the children and they have busy little lives as well so actually there won't be masses of time for me to do all the extras I imagine will come my way. Just wish they could see my point that none of this needs to be an issue if we found a property that was in a better location and needed far less work done - like she originally told us she wanted!!!

Retroformica Thu 07-Nov-13 17:29:47

List all the jobs - putting in central heating, redecorating etc and get your DH to tell mil and BIL that that is too much for you to organise and that you would prefer her to have something in good order and modern.

diddl Thu 07-Nov-13 17:29:50

Perhaps she has panicked a little, then?

Central heating won't be a big job in itself though?

So it's the distance as much as anything?

Any buses?

Can she afford taxis?

Does she know that you can't ferry her about & does your husband know that you'll be wanting to see him at weekends & that you won't want him to always be on taxi duty?

diddl Thu 07-Nov-13 17:30:24

And what Retrosaid!

Retroformica Thu 07-Nov-13 17:30:45

Look on her her behalf for nicer options

thelittlemothersucker Thu 07-Nov-13 17:42:00

We dissuaded my FIL from buying a flat he very much wanted - because it was too far from shops, etc, and we could see that when he gave up his car (realistically, in not many more years) it would be very difficult for him.

He is soooo grateful now that we persuaded him to move in with us for a bit and wait for a good flat in a more useful location to come up.

Could you cope with her living with you for a bit? So that she could look properly, not in a panic stricken 'I'm only here for a day, must choose something now' sort of way? The sale of her house could go ahead.

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 07-Nov-13 17:44:28

I like the posters who have said that you can state what you will do, rather than what you will not.

So say if you are prepared to drive MIL to shops once a week, then that means she knows she will have to get her head round public transport, or walk the distance. Be very firm on this, that way if she does move in and it proves tricky then you won't be the bad guy then.

friday16 Thu 07-Nov-13 20:39:36

It's not far from a good bus route but she's said she doesn't want to / won't do buses. She is used to being driven around.

Then she'd better learn to drive, hadn't she?

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