Concerns about future Mother in Law
#1
I have some concerns about my future mother-in-law. We work together at a nursing home, which is, as most of you know, a very high-stress environment. There’s a lot of gossip, backstabbing, and big egos to contend with (the place is entirely run by women).

MIL (mother in law) has had a hard life—seven children with one stillborn and a very bad relationship with her own in-laws. Her husband (my future father in law) farms full-time and isn’t home much. I think she is pretty lonely and thus dumps a lot of her problems on me. She constantly complains about her marriage, her lazy husband, people at work, and just about everything else. Her negativity towards marriage and men in general is very discouraging and toxic, and frankly the last thing a young girl who is considering marriage needs to hear. I am not her therapist, obviously, nor do I think it’s appropriate for her to tell me all of her personal problems.

MIL is also very difficult to please and loves to micromanage everything I do at work (I’m the current handyman and maintenance guru since we had to fire our last handyman for gross negligence). She got me the job in the first place, but takes it upon herself to control and comment on everything I do or aspire to do. This week she insisted on driving me, a grown adult, to a different nursing home so I could shadow their handyman, stuck by my side like a barnacle the entire time, and frequently accosted me with “Are you writing this down? Did you get that?” Unbelievable.

Now, the man I am dating is a very holy, responsible, and hardworking person, and I don’t want to dump him due to his mother. His mother is not his fault. My parents have been happily married for 36 years and my dad’s mother is a holy terror. But I’m rather concerned, especially since we’ll probably end up living right across the road from his folks (like most farming families).

Any suggestions from those of you out there in a similar situation? If you are married and knew what you know now about your in-laws, would you not have gotten married?
Some people say “If you can’t beat them, join them." I say “If you can’t beat them, beat them,” because they will be expecting you to join them, so you will have the element of surprise.

St. Mary of Egypt, Ora Pro Nobis!







Reply
#2
Get a hold of an old pre-1960's (even one from 1912 !) little devotional Catholic book that explains the Duties of Married Couples. One of the sentences says that married couples should never live on the same property as their parents and the parents are not to interfere in their lives. Especially the newly married! In the section on Duties of Parents, the parents are to guide the children in a job or career towards their natural talents. They are not to decide their job for them. I had such a mother-in-law as yours and wish that I had not let her get me my job! If I had it to do over again, I would find my own job. One method I have which stops a lot of people from dumping their problems on me is to start giving them natural health advice and psychology advice. I have some training in both. Most people just want to talk out their problems and they do not want advice. When they get advice, they fairly quickly turn to some other poor victim to load all their problems onto them. One piece of excellent advice is to ask them if they have tried praying the Rosary. Then start saying it yourself, silently, a whisper, or audibly, as the situation warrants. If your mother-in-law is Catholic, she may understand, or even if she is, she will probably resent anything that does not go her own way. You might tease her out of micro-managing. "Oh, I'll bet you'd be able to micro-manage the Virgin Mary's life just fine! Let's see, how would you improve upon how Anne raised her, anyways?" Humor often alleviates difficult situations. It is never good to let people walk all over you and often meeting them head on stops them. Usually people are not that stupid. They, just like children, know they are doing wrong, but if you let them get away with it, they will keep on doing it and think you pretty weak and stupid for you letting them get away with it! Better develop some character yourself before tackling this marriage with its potential home wrecker! On the other hand, do not forget to praise her for the good advice she does give you! If you let the micro-manager know you already know the job, or that you do appreciate what you have learned from them, you eliminate their need to micro-manage, hopefully, anyways. Prayers!
[-] The following 1 user Likes greatdame's post:
  • Sacred Heart lover
Reply
#3
You are smart to be thinking about this problem now rather than waiting until after the wedding.
.
You and your future husband have to set the boundaries, especially your husband since this is his mother.
.
Sometimes people just want someone to listen to their problems, not solve them, just listen and nod, maybe get a pat on the shoulder or offered some ice cream.  Yes, she sounds lonely.
.
The complaining about men thing.....maybe you should ask her if she is trying to tell you to not marry her sonHuh?  I don't think that is what she is doing, I think she is lonely and unhappy with life, but maybe if you ask her that question you can understand her better.  YOU CANNOT FIX HER, but understanding someone is helpful.
.
I can't explain the following you around thing, maybe she wants to make sure you are successful, or maybe she feels she stuck her neck out for you and wants to make sure you don't embarrass her, I have no idea.  I can see my own mother doing this.
.
Most importantly, how does your future husband feel about his mother and these behaviors?  Does he see a problem, no big deal, or does he see this as perfectly normal?  What really matters, deep down, is that you and your future husband understand each other, agree on most issues, are day-to-day compatible, and support each other, stick up for each other.  You are worried, concerned, so you two need to talk about this, really talk about this, maybe more than one talk - everything between you two needs to be clear, honest and upfront. 
.
 And if you plan to have children you should have that talk now, too.  Do you want to stay home with the kids?  Does he want his Mom to take care of the kids while you work?  Daycare?  Full-time work or part-time work?  How does he see his mother in your lives when you have children?  "I don't know, I never really thought about it" is probably the first answer, but with Mom across the road, that is not a good enough answer.  Be kind, be gentle, not hostile, but get this out in the open, too.
.
And get good locks on the doors and use them, every day and every night, even out in the country.  Good locks make good in-laws.
.
Should you not marry him because of his mother, I don't know. This may be manageable. This may be a big problem. But men/husbands are not interchangeable. Is he THE ONE? Not the one who is willing to marry you, but the one you want to spend every day with for the rest of your life? Marry the right man for the right reasons.
.
Good luck and I will be praying for you both.
[-] The following 2 users Like MaryTN's post:
  • mpk1987, Sacred Heart lover
Reply
#4
(11-02-2018, 06:43 PM)greatdame Wrote: Get a hold of an old pre-1960's (even one from 1912 !) little devotional Catholic book that explains the Duties of Married Couples.  One of the sentences says that married couples should never live on the same property as their parents ...

That sounds highly questionable to me. A hundred years ago there were no nursing homes so someone had to take care of grandma, right? Wasn't it almost always one of her children and their spouse? I know people didn't live that long a hundred years ago, so that may be a factor since granny and gramps weren't around long enough to become unable to care for themselves. But when did the idea of a nuclear family being the ideal begin?

ETA: more later after Mass. I've lots of experience and thus lots to say on the subject!
[-] The following 2 users Like JacafamalaRedux's post:
  • jovan66102, mpk1987
Reply
#5
(11-02-2018, 04:41 PM)SacraCor714 Wrote: I have some concerns about my future mother-in-law. We work together at a nursing home, which is, as most of you know, a very high-stress environment. There’s a lot of gossip, backstabbing, and big egos to contend with (the place is entirely run by women).

MIL (mother in law) has had a hard life—seven children with one stillborn and a very bad relationship with her own in-laws. Her husband (my future father in law) farms full-time and isn’t home much. I think she is pretty lonely and thus dumps a lot of her problems on me. She constantly complains about her marriage, her lazy husband, people at work, and just about everything else. Her negativity towards marriage and men in general is very discouraging and toxic, and frankly the last thing a young girl who is considering marriage needs to hear. I am not her therapist, obviously, nor do I think it’s appropriate for her to tell me all of her personal problems.

MIL is also very difficult to please and loves to micromanage everything I do at work (I’m the current handyman and maintenance guru since we had to fire our last handyman for gross negligence). She got me the job in the first place, but takes it upon herself to control and comment on everything I do or aspire to do. This week she insisted on driving me, a grown adult, to a different nursing home so I could shadow their handyman, stuck by my side like a barnacle the entire time, and frequently accosted me with “Are you writing this down? Did you get that?” Unbelievable.

Oh, that's rough. Is there any way you can find another job so she's not always breathing down your back? If not is there any way to two of you can work different shifts, or else in different parts of the nursing home?

As far as having her live across the street, you may find this is excellent. Set limitations up early on, such as 'we'll have dinners together on Sunday night' or 'visiting times are going to be this, but not that.' 

You may find (as I did) it's a God-send once the babies come along and you need to pop out to the supermarket without having to lug your darling brood into their snowsuits, boots, mittens, gloves, etc... And if m-i-l's sick or say has a dead car battery, you'll be close by and helping won't be so difficult 

Quote:Now, the man I am dating is a very holy, responsible, and hardworking person, and I don’t want to dump him due to his mother. His mother is not his fault. My parents have been happily married for 36 years and my dad’s mother is a holy terror. But I’m rather concerned, especially since we’ll probably end up living right across the road from his folks (like most farming families). 

Good! Then mother-in-law or not,  he's a keeper. Just be prepared for the fact that he'll eventually appear a somewhat less holy after you're married a little while and the glow to some extent begins to wear off.  Big Grin


Quote:Any suggestions from those of you out there in a similar situation? 

Yes, realize that to some extent your husband and his family will be a package deal. I know folks like to quote Genesis where God says he's to 'leave his father and cleave to his wife', which is true in as much as you and hubs have to have all the say in raising the children. 

But if m-i-l (or any other extended family member) ends up broke, or an invalid or somehow otherwise unable to care for themselves, what are you really going to do? Assuming you don't have the money to pay their rent and or care,  I doubt very much you're gonna kick her out onto the curb with only a suitcase and good wishes, are you? 

So the other point in all this is that if that happens, and she ends up living with you, I honestly believe God will give you the graces you need to handle the situation and if He allows it to happen, it will be for your own spiritual benefit. Because He's going to produce certain virtues in you through it. At least that's what I'm finding now living with my m-i-l. 

Her memory is bad and she'll be asking me the same questions over and over throughout the day, or she'll be reading me the same weather report ad nauseam. So I'm developing more patience through it. I'm also learning to share my "me time" with her being as she's camped out at the kitchen table most of the day. So I have to sacrifice the time I used to spend being alone in my head for the sake of charity--to her.

The other point is that my m-i-l has brought certain blessings into the house that may have not been given to us were she not here. For example, dinners are the absolute highlight of her day. She takes great care in setting the dining room table just so, and also asking how many will be home on any given night. Her doing that has made me step up my game, and I'm trying to plan the meals a little more carefully. Heck I used to almost throw the silverware on the table a minute or two before the meal and let everyone fend for themselves. 

Whatever else, you need to share your feelings and concerns with your future husband and make sure you're both on the same page as far as extended family policies will go. Good luck, hope it all goes well for you guys!!!
[-] The following 5 users Like JacafamalaRedux's post:
  • Catherine, jovan66102, MaryTN, mpk1987, SacraCor714
Reply
#6
Thank you everybody!

FE is the best Wink
Some people say “If you can’t beat them, join them." I say “If you can’t beat them, beat them,” because they will be expecting you to join them, so you will have the element of surprise.

St. Mary of Egypt, Ora Pro Nobis!







Reply
#7
Jacajambalaya kinda summed up my thoughts.  Definitely address your concerns regarding your future MIL with your fiancée now, and consider setting boundaries regarding visitation.  I was in a similar situation with my MIL, and setting concrete limits is something my wife and I wish we had done earlier in our marriage.  It would've made things much easier on everyone, especially after we had kids.  Grandma popping in unannounced is not conducive to getting little ones down for a nap, spending time alone with your spouse, etc.  For awhile she live about a mile from us, but we ended up moving about 30 minutes away.  Best decision ever, as it forced enforceable limits. Big Grin

That being said, having my MIL nearby has been a mutual blessing for us all.  She can come to visit and babysit, and if she's sick, one of us can bounce up to her place to help out for the day.

Best of luck, hope this is of some help, and I'll keep you in my Rosary intentions.
-sent by howitzer via the breech.

God's love is manifest in the landscape as in a face.  - John Muir

I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you clear remembrance of the Creator.  A single plant, a blade of grass, or one speck of dust is sufficient to occupy all your intelligence in beholding the art with which it has been made  - Saint Basil

Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads. - Thoreau, Walden
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)