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Living with MIL... an update/vent

So we're still in the throes of unpacking, going through our stuff and getting it organized, settling in.  We have our first meeting with MIL, about one month after first moving in, to kind of get a status-check on how everyone feels about the living situation.

DH is getting very frustrated, some for good reason, some for what was totally foreseeable (he & his mom seeing things their own way and not bending). 

One major issue we have to address is that lately she has taken to smoking around the kids.  It's only been outside, but she is lighting up virtually every time she heads outside, and they are right there with her.  We're not just worried about the physical effects, but also how it looks to see Grandma lighting up every chance she gets.  (Considering W has had to use a nebulizer for the last few years due to occasional wheezing, it rather amazes me.)  It's weird too - when her mother was alive, she was made to hobble into another closed room to smoke while the kids were over there and MIL never smoked.  Now she's kicking it into high gear - maybe for anxiety reasons, maybe pain, maybe coping with the recent loss, who knows.  But any way, we have to address it.

Now I may have to put off taking a kitten in until we get this settled out - if she tells us flat out she won't stop smoking around the kids, I don't think that's an area we are willing to compromise on, and as it's her house, we'd be needing to move out.  Sad 

If anyone has thoughts, advice, criticism, etc - bring it on.  We did have a major meeting before we ever moved in outlining areas we needed to understand and accept about each person's dynamic if this was going to work, and the smoking thing was one of them.  We have also communicated to her repeatedly that she needs to not be around the kids when she smokes, but she'll light up with them right there anyway and we are the ones removing them from the vicinity.


Waiting for some innocuous creativity... I'll let you know.

Re: Living with MIL... an update/vent

  • That's hard.  Is she open to discussion?  Does she understand/believe the medical research on smoking & children?

    Way back when DS1 was a baby, we moved in with (now X)FIL & SMIL.  She smoked 1-2 packs daily. 

    At first she was good about not smoking with DS around, and would go outside if we were home.  It slowly started changing and she eventually smoked in the LR with him playing on the floor.  It seemed like she rationalized it little by little that it was OK because he wasn't getting sick all winter so it really didn't bother him.  I'm not sure if she totally believed the medical info on 2nd hand smoke either.

    It created a lot of tension because I would have to keep taking him out of the room or completely out of the house on a drive or something.  We also didn't have a lot of negotiating power because we had moved in with them because of our poor financial decisions.




  • Designated smoking area some place where the kids are not permitted? (side yard of the house, behind the garage, any place out of the way a bit outside?)

    Also, I wouldn't be above it being a rule that the kids know they can't be around grandma when she is smoking because it is dangerous and bad for you. 

    It is her choice to smoke, and I totally respect that she should be able to do it at her own house. But sooner or later it has to be thought of as your house too, if this is going to work, and you don't want the kids around that for several valid reasons - so a restricted area for smoking ONLY is the only thing I can really think of.

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  • Thanks ladies. :)

    I just talked to my dad too - he and his wife took in her mom for about 10 years before she died and thus were in a similar boat, although moreso what we'd likely experience down the road as she needed physical assistance all the time.  He gave me some good perspectives of how MIL might be feeling, what she might need to voice, and how best to approach it so it turns into a dialogue rather than an ultimatum.

    Waiting for some innocuous creativity... I'll let you know.
  • yeah, I agree, there should be a designated smoking place that's kid free.  Some place where she can go anytime she so chooses, but is far away from the kids.  Maybe the front of the house and kids have to stay in the back?
  • I don't think I've ever seen her smoke, although I saw her mom do it.  Wondering if she's depressed over her mom's death, if she's contemplated  her own mortality and using smoking as an escape, if she has some unspoken unease about the living situation and she feels this is an area she had control over, something else. 

    It just seems to me that such a big change in her behavior might be predicated on something else and she might not even know what it is herself.  It's like smoking a symptom of something... 

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