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Living with MIL. Help!

To make a long story short, both my husband and I lost our jobs earlier this year, racked up a ton of debt trying to stay afloat.  We ultimately had to give up the house we had been renting for 2.5 years and had to move in with my husband's mother.  My husband's since found a job, although he's not making nearly as much as his previous job, and he's only getting about 30 hours a week, and since I had no luck finding any work, I opted to go back to school full time. 

We've been living with her for 5 months now, and she's been driving me absolutely crazy, because no matter how hard we try, we can't please her.  She's incredibly OCD, and things must be done EXACTLY to her specifications.  Her refrigerator is always stuffed full, so we can never buy our own food, but she complains if we eat something that "she had plans for", even though she has more food than she can possibly eat by herself.  She's incredibly passive aggressive and instead of talking to us directly, she leaves nasty passive aggressive notes around the house.  

I'm thankful that she's allowing us to stay with her rent free (in the garage), and I understand since it's her house, it's her rules, but I'm tired of being treated like a child.  We have no privacy, and she walks in on our "living area" unannounced all the time.  I really, really want to move out, but we're still trying to catch up on the debt we acquired and my husband doesn't make enough money by himself to even afford us a studio.  I've been looking for a part time job to help out, but I go to school 9 am-9 pm M-Th, and no one wants to hire someone to just work on the weekend.  Help!

Re: Living with MIL. Help!

  • You are in a very tough spot. Sorry about your money problems.

    As you can see, this is what happens when you live with another person. Not just a relative; when it is "their" home, "their rules."

    Eating something "she had plans for"? That kind of reminds me of that old George Carlin routine about the weeks-old piece of ??? that is still in the refrigerator and somebody throws it out, eats it, etc: "I ws SAVING that! You sholdn't have TAKEN it!";)

    Suppose you guys get your own little fridge or just buy your own food? And put your names on it, like it's the fridge in the break room at work? Maybe that will solve one of the problems?

    She also needs to understand people need privacy. She's wrong on all of this.

    Sit down and talk to her.  And tell her you appreciate her accommodating both of you and that it's downright embarrassing when she just walks in. She shoujld be okay with that.


    ETA: I HATE notes.  It isn't as if she is leaving a note for a thing like "Don't use the light in the hallway; it's sparking and out of order and I've called an electrician". Notes are passive aggressive and just plain cowardly.

    f she has something to say, let her say it in person. I'd very kindly tell her that, also.

  • PP is right.

    I can totally relate to you, too. As we speak, H and I are on an air mattress in a very small guest room at MILs. And I think the only thing different about our MILs is mine doesn't have any food ever, so we have to buy our own food, and she actually minds her own business most of the time. It shouldn't be much longer until we move out, thank god.

  • I am going to differ from the PPs a bit. 

    It sounds like you are not buying food or contributing to the grocery bill, but you are eating her food. She doesn't like that. Whether she is crazy and the food is more than she can eat or not, she has made it clear she doesn't want you eating her food. So, stop it!

    Tarpon had a good idea of buying a mini-fridge to put food you purchase into. Or, food labeling could be good. Ask her which foods she does not "have plans for" so you'll know which food of hers is okay to eat.

     I need more clarification on what the "living area" is. Is she walking into your bedroom unannounced, or is this a different room? Depending on the answer, she is out of line, or you have unreasonable expectations. 

    You are living in her house rent free, how much privacy do you expect to have? 

    [IMG]http://i39.tinypic.com/rkd75g.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/23r1e34.jpg[/IMG]
  • image vikkela:

      I've been looking for a part time job to help out, but I go to school 9 am-9 pm M-Th, and no one wants to hire someone to just work on the weekend. 



    False. Plenty of people are hiring for weekends only. Or you could consider working a seasonal job, because a lot of retailers hire in during the crazy holiday times. It's not ideal, but something to put on your resume and bring in some money to pay off debts.

    How are you in school for 48 hours? I would guess that you just have spaced out classes 4 days a week. I would highly suggest that next semester you plan your classes accordingly so you can have somewhat of an available work schedule. 

    Also, I highly suggest what PPs recommended - Either buy a separate mini fridge for yourself (check CL), or ask MIL about specific foods.
  •  Her refrigerator is always stuffed full, so we can never buy our own food, but she complains if we eat something that "she had plans for",

    You all need to talk to her, then.  "Hey - we're sorry we ate ___. However, there is no room to buy our own food.  Is it possible for us to all go through the fridge together and find some room where we can have a shelf or a section of shelf to put stuff?". 

    If she says "no", then ask HER for a solution.  You can't eat her food but you can't have any space either...???

    SHE may be passive aggressive, but that doesn't mean you and DH can't be direct. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image hesakeeper:


    How are you in school for 48 hours? I would guess that you just have spaced out classes 4 days a week. I would highly suggest that next semester you plan your classes accordingly so you can have somewhat of an available work schedule.

    I'm taking 19 units of all science classes, so have several 3-4 hour 1-2 unit lab classes daily (7 classes total).  I get about an ~hour and a half break between my afternoon and evening class, but that doesn't give me much time other than to eat and do some homework. I'm hoping next semester I can arrange things  so I at least have most of my Monday and Wednesdays open, but with the way budget cuts are, sometimes there's only one class being offered that is mandatory to take.  (I'm trying to finish up requirements to apply to pharmacy school hopefully next fall)

     We wanted to get a mini-fridge, but MIL balked at having to pay more for the electric bill, even though we offered to help contribute.  

    We live in the garage.  Part of it has been partitioned off with fabric as our "room".  She walks in all the time unannounced. 

    Thanks for the input.  She left a note for my husband saying "we need to talk" (my least favorite phrase EVER), and I'm going to ask if he can be firm with her.  We're happy to help contribute with various bills (especially groceries, since my husband works for a grocery store), but she doesn't give us the opportunity, and complains if we try to stock up on staples. 

  • image vikkela:
     

     We wanted to get a mini-fridge, but MIL balked at having to pay more for the electric bill, even though we offered to help contribute.  

    FFS. 

    Seriously- using this example AS an example, he needs to lay it out:

    "Mom - you get upset w/ us when we eat anything out of the fridge, but you won't make room in the fridge for us and you won't let us get a fridge.  What do you suggest we do? We will buy our own stuff, but we need somewhere to put it! What do you suggest we do?".

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • And I'll add- I think I'd back off on the school thing and focus on getting a job so that you can MOVE OUT.  I'm not saying give it up, but maybe going to Pharmacy school next fall needs to be pushed back a little so that you can lighten up on your classes so that you can get a job.
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Before the "talk", look around the garage and see if there is a proper plug for a fridge.  If there is, inform her that you will be getting a refrigerator for yourselves (look at craigslist) and putting it in the garage with you.  Tell her that you will give her $25 or $30 a month to cover it.

    If she is not giving you another suggestion, you have a right to propose a solution.

    And you need a weekend job.  It will suck, but it will suck less than living with her. 

  • Honestly, it just sounds like she wants the two of you out of her garage and kitchen, and feels obligated to let you stay anyway.  She sounds really angry.
    image
  • I don't understand all the posts about living with parents and complaining.

    No where does it say you are intitled to move into you or your spouse's parent's home just because you made or are making bad decisions or even if you just are having bad luck.

    She doesn't owe you anything. Maybe you should just be a little thankful you are not out on the street. Make her life easier, not harder by you being there.

    As for rights, I think you checked most of them at the door when you decided to mooch off of her.

    Also, I wonder how these posts would read if the mother moved in with the kids. Would you be talking about her rights?

  • I'm grateful that she's allowed us to stay, but I really can't take the passive aggressive emotional abuse anymore.  I used to be on medication for major depression, but since we no longer have health insurance, can't afford them anymore, so I've sense quit.

    I've seriously been thinking of packing a bag with some of my clothes, and my school books and moving out by myself, and either staying in a shelter or with some friends.  I've dropped a class to try and have more of my schedule open, and I applied to about 15 jobs today.  I figure she might be nicer to my husband if I'm out of the house since he's "her baby".

  • image vikkela:

    I've seriously been thinking of packing a bag with some of my clothes, and my school books and moving out by myself, and either staying in a shelter or with some friends.  I've dropped a class to try and have more of my schedule open, and I applied to about 15 jobs today.  I figure she might be nicer to my husband if I'm out of the house since he's "her baby".

    This is a horrible idea. You need to stay with your husband and make a plan and way together. High-tailing it will not help things. 

  • There are plenty of weekend jobs in healthcare, retail, and food service. It may not be glamorous, but it's better than living with your MIL.  

  • image vikkela:

    I'm grateful that she's allowed us to stay, but I really can't take the passive aggressive emotional abuse anymore.  I used to be on medication for major depression, but since we no longer have health insurance, can't afford them anymore, so I've sense quit.

    I've seriously been thinking of packing a bag with some of my clothes, and my school books and moving out by myself, and either staying in a shelter or with some friends.  I've dropped a class to try and have more of my schedule open, and I applied to about 15 jobs today.  I figure she might be nicer to my husband if I'm out of the house since he's "her baby".



    Try a clinic for meds!  There has to be some type of mental health clinic at a hospital nearby you --- speak to the doc that is treating you; maybe he can get you samples of what you need.

    You can't go without. This is vital to your health.

    And you and your H need to stick together on this.  I know the fence is between your legs on this one. The both of you need to tell her as a team that it is not cool and just plain bad manners for her to walk in on you and/or him! would she like it if you did it to her? Probably not.

    What is your H doing about all of this? He needs to speak up and stand together with you on all of this. if he won't this is an H problem and much worse than a MIL problem.
  • Just a bit of advice from a 3rd year Pharmacy Student......GET A JOB AT A PHARMACY!!!!!

    1. It will MORE than HELP your application to pharmacy school. They LOVE to see some sort of experience in the field. 

    2. By working in a pharmacy, as a technician, you gain VALUABLE knowledge that will further help you in school and your career.

    3. Great Flexible schedule and they always love someone who will work the weekends.

    4. Great Pay - especially if you do get into pharmacy school!

    5. Future Job opportunities when you finish pharmacy school.

     

    On another note - I highly suggest that if pharmacy school is what you want to do you, that your husband and you need to sit down now and seriously make a financial game plan. It is not cheap by any means. Yes, there are loans, however, you need to plan for your living accommodations and other things that your loans will not cover. Pharmacy school is a 4 year commitment. If you are unhappy living at your MIL's, it will only get worse when in pharmacy school because those 4 years will be some of the most stressful and demanding years of your life.

  • don't feel bad i have the EXACT same problem almost and have no idea what to do either... :( :)
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