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Living with MIL, Advice?

(20 Posts)
balotelli Sun 20-Jan-13 09:03:50

Hi,
V long story to this but I wont bore you with it.
The short of it is that MIL is coming to live with us later this year when she has sold her house.

I know there will be some good benefits to this as well as some problems.

Has anyone got any experience/advice of living with older parents/ILs.

She is in good physical health and reasonable mental health with some possible early signs of dementia but nothing serious at this time. This is happening because she cant afford to keep her current house going and cant afford her own after SIL buggered off and left her to it.

All experience good or bad and advice is very welcome.

Thanks and Happy Sunday. grin

goonyagoodthing Sun 20-Jan-13 09:29:27

The experience I have is from my Grandmother living with my parents. And I have to be honest, it was a huge strain on them. My grandmother was the most inoffensive, gentlest, quiet, unassuming soul you could ever meet. But it was huge pressure on their marriage, just by the simple fact that there was someone else there all the time.

You don't say you have other options so I am presuming there is no where else for your MIL. Is a granny flat a possiblilty? Try to have it arranged that you can have separate spaces - there is nothing worse than being mid row with your DH and having to remain civil because you have an audience grin. I couldn't do it with my MIL, or with my mother, or anyone else for that matter.

I am struggling now to put a positive slant on it, but I am sure there are lots of positives. Free babysitter maybe? {clutches at straws}.

Someone will be along with something not as negative soon!

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Sun 20-Jan-13 10:54:11

I was brought up in a 3G house. Gran was my DMs Mum. My father called her Mrs Surname until he died hmm

Do you have a large house? If you have the space you should make a room into MILs sitting room so you can have a break from each other.

Good luck!

2rebecca Sun 20-Jan-13 12:49:12

Did you think of sheltered housing? You could have 20+ years of living with her ahead of you and if she is in financial difficulty now it will be worse if in a few years you find like another poster on here that it isn't working.
I'm not sure why you blame your SIL for contributing to your MIL's poverty, she should have no more obligation to live with her mum than your husband to. All adults are entitled to move away from their parents and strike out on their own. Can your MIL just downsize if her current house is too large for her to afford the upkeep of?

GoodtoBetter Sun 20-Jan-13 15:11:25

OMG..NO NO NO!! Don't even think about it. There MUST be a better way than this. Even if she's the sweetest, gentlest, nicest woman on earth, don't uderestimate the awfulness of living with a parent once you're an adult, especially as you mention some dementia. Please, I beg you...look into ALL other options; sheltered housing, downsizing for her...I have lived it and am trying to untangle myself now and it is horrendous (see www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1565077-My-mother-hates-my-husband-long ).
It's a really really really really baaaad idea. Honestly.

3littlefrogs Sun 20-Jan-13 15:51:14

Please, please don't do it.

Living with someone with dementia is hell on earth. It will only get worse.

Use the proceeds from her house to buy or rent a small retirement flat with a warden on site.

In due course you can assess what care she needs.

CPtart Sun 20-Jan-13 15:55:06

My auntie took in my grandma due to frailty, no mental health issues. She lasted a year...couldn't stand it any longer, then GM went into sheltered.

bettydavis Sun 20-Jan-13 16:01:47

Another one saying don't do it. I've lived with my FIL my whole married life. It affects daily my marriage and the relationship I have with my kids.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sun 20-Jan-13 16:38:41

I know someone whose DM took both her grandparents in, physically a little frail, they lived their lives out under the same roof and lasted another 22 and 20 years.

I don't know how old your DCs are. Advantages of MIL living with you are company, babysitting, closeness to an older relative, a richer familiarity with DW's past and her roots. Perhaps a greater tolerance towards older generations.

Do you have a good bond with her? Are you prepared for an extra voice in a democratic household?

I believe you will manage up to a point but dementia will be too much to cope with. When you say there are possible early signs there can be lapses due to dehydration, irregular meals, urine infections. If there is a definite downturn I wonder if as others ^^ have said, you & DW would do better to investigate alternatives to having MIL move in, rather than go through the upheaval for both you and her of a short stay then transfer?

Even untroubled by mental deterioration, any freedom you enjoy and/or anticipate as your DCs become more independent and ultimately leave the nest will be compromised. Spontaneity is tricky when you have to explain or justify or give advance notice.

It's not just social stuff and your own evening meet ups that will be affected. Holidays and weekend breaks become harder to arrange too.

Aware that sounds superficial but time shared in your own sanctuary is a big step.

balotelli Sun 20-Jan-13 17:01:09

DD is 4.

I have quite a good relationship with her and can see that there will be problems but I'm sure DW and have a strong enough relationship to work things out.

MIL has a living will to say that if we cant cope with her as she gets older and possibly worse then we can ship her off to a home so the option is always there.

SIL lived with MIL for 8 years, taking the piss with regards to free childcare and not sharing the bills or housework then as soon as she found some poor married man she upped sticks and buggered off with very little notice leaving DW and I to get MIL's house back into a decent state to sell.
Thanks for your stories of woe!! We are mindful of the pitfalls but we are in the process of agreeing a set of boundaries and rules. We are lucky enough to have a house thats big enough to let MIL have a lounge and a bedroom then share rest of house. She has also agreed to pay for some extra work , re doing bathrooms to improve things. She will also contribute ££ so that will ease things for us all.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sun 20-Jan-13 17:17:25

Well not all woe - I do think there are positives to living with older rellies. If you and DW and MIL have space and certain ground rules, sounds positive.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Sun 20-Jan-13 18:46:02

My advice would be don't do it!!!
Someone once said to me "you need two front doors," and I for one totally agree with that.
I have known three of these situations and they all turned out to be a living hell.

GoodtoBetter Sun 20-Jan-13 18:46:19

I think it's very difficult, i really do and I would always advise against it. before moving in with my DM I would have said we got on really really well and that she got on well with my DH, but it has been a nightmare. Our situation was the other way, we moved ito DM's house, we have our own lounge and bedroom and en suite but the rest of the house is hers, but I don't actually think it makes a difference whose house it is, it's still just too much having another person in your space, especially one who has the early signs of dementia. There must be other options. I think you would be mad to do this and that it will put a great strain on your marriage. I really really don't think it's a good idea. You may think you've thought of everything but don't underestimate how much it will bother you and affect your marriage having another person there all the time.

fallon8 Sun 20-Jan-13 21:14:54

Does she want to do it?

balotelli Sun 20-Jan-13 21:48:30

She is in two minds!!!! She does want to move in with us as she cant bear being alone but she doesnt want to as she wants her own front door and 'space'.

WRT the dementia she has not been offically diagnosed but we have noticed a few 'little' things that make us wonder..... but then again she could be just slightly nuts and we never realised grin

We have all lived together before which went very wrong but that was all down to SIL who lived there too. SIL is a very messy , lazy, moody person . Add to that her alcoholic, drug addicted, agressive, violent, feckless shite of a boyfriend then it really was a living nightmare but that was 11 years ago and we have all moved on and changed since so I think we can make it work.

Many thanks for all your input..... albeit mainly negative.

2rebecca Sun 20-Jan-13 21:53:45

8 year is quite a short length of time to live with someone and I still feel SIL is getting a rough deal here. If MILs house needs alot of work to get it into a decent state to sell it implies neither MIL or SIL did much house maintainance (or your standards are different to theirs) and maybe SIL got fed up of feeling she had to do everything if MIL has dementia. I presume your wife is keen to move in with her mother and you are just having to make the best of it (mainly said as I think few adults with a choice would choose to share a house with their inlaws who are adults they haven't grown up with and sometimes have little in common with).
Having said that I probably would want to put my dad up if he needed to live with us (but would be less inclined to put up my MIL, I do think women can be more difficult both in terms of wanting to be in control of a house, fussing and the emotional blackmail crap)

LemonDrizzled Sun 20-Jan-13 22:14:45

My DP took his parents in after a crisis several years ago and they have been there as long as I have known him. They are delightful and we all rub along nicely. We all share the kitchen and living room. Soon we hope to be able to buy them a bungalow nearby so they can be independent for a few more years. More of a problem now is his 22 year old son with mild learning difficulties who has a degree but doesn't seem to know how to get off the sofa a job (or wash up or use a washing machine!) I think a granny annexe is going to be necessary if we set up home together!

BooBumpDaddyandMe Sun 20-Jan-13 22:17:40

I live with my MiL, was both in laws before FiL passed away last year. My relationship with her is either brilliant or shite, nothing in between. I would describe her as "difficult".
My advice to you would be to choose your battles very, very carefully. Your own front door & kitchen will help you retain your sanity. Good luck.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 20-Jan-13 22:25:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ladamequirit Wed 23-Jan-13 14:10:06

I feel that I can advise you here .. I have lived with my MIL. It took just a year before I had to take anti-d's and anxiety tablets. It put a terrible strain on my relationship with my dh who was always in the middle between us. I think the fact that she might have mild dementia would be difficult, but believe me, it's just the little day-to-day things that will drive you nuts. The fact that you might do things a different 'way' to her (her way being the right way of course) - little comments, moving things around. It culminated in us having a timetable of who could be in the kitchen at any one time. If I cooked a meal, I would have to wash everything up before sitting down to eat otherwise she would be in and out sighing and trying to clear up while we we were eating (this was when things had deteriorated until she wouldn't eat with us). We had to have a 'rota' for jobs. It became unbearable. Two women living in one house just does not work. I had a really good relationship with her before, but it got to the point that if she started having a go, I would have a panic attack. My friend took her MIL in to live with her (despite me telling her all the above) and it broke up her 20-year marriage. Please investigate any alternatives available. The amount of resentment that can build up in a very short time is so toxic to the family dynamic.

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