Hello everyone. So this might be kind of long. Four years ago, my mother-in-law asked my husband and I to move into their home with her and my father-in-law. We had discussions about sharing and dividing space, chores, and the fact that my husband and I would eventually get the home. My husband, our son, and I rented out our house (which is right next door), and moved in with them to help them stay in the home. They adamantly did not want to live in a nursing home or assisted living. In the fall of 2020, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and her doctor told me that Mom would no longer be able to care for my father (who had dementia) and that he would need to go into a nursing home. I found a good home for Dad even in the midst of the pandemic and Dad started living in the home in January 2021. March 2021 I was diagnosed with breast cancer (caught blessedly early) and opted for a bilateral mastectomy. Dad passed away in May 2021, followed by my father-in-law in September 2021 and Mom in April 2022. Did I mention that I also work full-time outside the home, and was the primary caregiver for my mother in her final days as well as being the executrix of her estate? Also, in the final three days of my father-in-laws life, I was his primary caregiver, even so far as sleeping in my in-laws bedroom with them both and holding his hand so I could feel any agitation. None of his children came in those last few days, not even my husband, who was out of town for work. My mother-in-law is healthy except for some mobility issues. She is 90 and still drives well. She is used to being in charge and quite frankly, I am miserable. She still cooks big evening meals even though both my husband and I have asked her not to. She treats us like she is offended if we want to be outside in the summer instead of eating a heavy meal (which I have to clean up after). To date, my husband, son, and I have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. This is a four bedroom, four bath home. She did not clean out any closets or cupboards. I even had to clean out the closets in our bedrooms. I am extremely unhappy with our living situation and want to insist she follow the agreement. I think I might need a spine because she is formidable. My husband tells me to just take what I want. If I want space, just start cleaning out space and telling her she has to get rid of things. And, yes, all of our belongings with the exception of our bedroom furniture, clothing, electronics, and some books, are in storage.


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If she's in good shape, why do you have to live with her at ALL? When does the lease expire on your house next door? I'd move back into IT if I were in your shoes, and leave the old bat alone to cook extravagant meals for herself. She can hire in home caregivers if the need arises or GASP go into the dreaded HOME which isn't the house of horrors these elders insist it is. You have your own health to worry about (glad your BC was caught early, thank God) and your own life to live. You've gone above and beyond the call of duty already, enough is enough! Move your stuff out of storage and back into your own home once the rental lease expires. Your husband knows darn well you can't just 'take what you want' in terms of space in HIS MOTHER'S home, who's kidding who? Like that's gonna fly, with a control freak personality who still cooks huge meals after being repeatedly asked not to? Uh huh.

Time to 'grow a spine' as you call it, and put your foot down in terms of what YOU want now!

Wishing you the best of luck taking your life back, you deserve to. It always irks me to no end hearing about how a strong woman like you has laid down her life for so many others while suffering yourself. When is it YOUR TURN?? How about now!?
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to lealonnie1

Whenever I hear the "will eventually get the home" words I cringe. Your MIL is 90 years old and currently in good health. You are miserable and working yourself to death. Your husband, as men often do, just ignores the situation because you are taking care of everything. This is never going to get better, only worse. Your MIL can go on for years and years (I know this, my dad is now 101) and she's never going to want to move out of the house. She will become less and less able to take care of herself. You've already set yourself up as the caregiver on some promise of getting the house someday, But when she eventually really does need more and more care you'll need the money out of that house to pay for her nursing home care and then those promises can't be kept. I hate to be so negative without any constructive suggestions but the best I can advise is to move back into your own home NOW. You are close enough to keep an eye on your mother in law but still have your own home and life. Do not become financially dependent on living in her home or have her become dependent on having you as her 24 hour caregiver. Read the stories of people on this forum and you'll see how your situation rarely goes according to plan and generally gets very, very messy at the end, especially as your mother-in-law has other children who don't seem to be part of this agreement. Your problem is not cleaning out closets and getting more room. Your problem is changing this living arrangement to something that is going to work long term.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to jkm999

I may be confused from the beginning if you lived next door why would you need to live with them in the first place? Why not move back to your house and have a life?

She obviously can manage without you living right on top of her.

Seems like there is a simple solution to this problem.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to MeDolly
lealonnie1 Aug 2, 2022
My thoughts exactly.
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My thoughts are that you are done caregiving.

And it has not occurred to anyone that it is perfectly okay.
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Reply to Sendhelp

So Mom and I just met with a social worker today, and she said to me that I just need to take charge. Just start doing things, clearing stuff out, etc. The fighting will happen either way, so might as well be accomplishing something. So your husband is kinda right. But I think HE needs to just do it. It's his mother, right? Or at least be with you and work on it together...
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Reply to cinderblock

KinWPA, you mention other siblings besides your husband. Is there actually a will that bequeaths the house to you and your husband?

I would hate for you guys to be burned after all you’ve been through.
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Reply to SnoopyLove

I think you have been through a h3ll of a lot over a short period of time and you need a nice long vacation. Book yourself into a place that focuses on rest and relaxation, maybe a spa that specializes on women who have undergone breast cancer and mastectomy (I'm sure there must be ones like that). Tell your husband you expect to see a change in attitude from his mother when you return because HE will have had a conversation with her. And don't forget to give him a floor plan that shows where you want your furniture to be when you return.

Oh and BTW, are any of the promises of inheriting the house in writing? Because unless they are you just may end up with bupkis.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cwillie

You are burnt out and rightfully so.

The "promise" for her to never go into a facility is null and void since neither she nor her caregiver could ever imagine the toll it would eventually extract (inheriting the house or not) at the time of this promise.

Unless you see a copy of the Will and the house goes to your husband AND you (since you did all the actual work) then I'd be very skeptical. Also, the siblings won't be happy about it. I've had the exact same thing happen to my cousin who cared non-stop for her 2 ailing parents, giving up so much, living with them 24/7 and then having her siblings sue her for the house afterwards. If I were you I'd insist she sign the title over now (or whatever legal transaction is appropriate for ownership) even is the care is going to end. A promise is a promise. And I bet she won't do it.

If your husband is not his mother's PoA then I'd also be very skeptical of how anyone is going to be able to legally manage her affairs if she develops dementia (and it sounds like she's well on her way since "stubbornness" is a hallmark early symptom. Or, she could be very deaf and no one realizes it. Or both.) So, her assigning PoA to you and your husband should be required for any care to continue.

You can decide that you're done and go to bed with a clear conscience. Have the renters move out and go back to your own home and don't attempt to manage 2 households. Tell your husband you no longer want to do it — don't say you *can't* do it because they'll desperately try to figure out ways to get you back into the mix. They can't solve it if you *won't* do it. That's a boundary.

I think you need counseling for boundaries and also for your marriage. You are a doormat (which is what a modern-day martyr actually is). You're not responsible for your MIL's happiness. Give your husband a chance to step up by moving out of the mix. NO ONE can legitimately criticize you for bowing out. You must act in your own best interests now because it's apparernt no one else is going to defend you, so you must do it yourself. I wish you clarity and wisdom and peace in your heart as you find and erect strong boundaries!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Geaton777

"You'll get the house" can mean anything. A legal document. A lightweight throw away promise. Straight out manipulation.

I've had it tossed casually at me.. I assumed it meant *do this thing I want & I'll reward you... one day*. Such BS - it will go to blood offspring (or be sold for a NH bed).

Rather have my freedom - like ex-royals Megan & Harry.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Beatty

Men! I still cannot get it thru my DHs head that 2 women cannot live in the same house and especially when one of them owns it. You CANNOT clean out your MILs house. Its HER house and she can live in it the way she wants. Just like your MIL cannot come into your home and start cleaning it out. Its YOUR house.

Time to tell the renters that you will not be renewing the lease. Time to tell DH that his Mom is capable of caring for herself. Actually, maybe she should start downsizing and sell the house and buy a smaller one. If yours is smaller, maybe trade.

Also, time to tell DH that your Caregiving days are over. That if his Mom ever needs care, that will be his and his siblings responsibility.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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