Originally Posted by GuildJenn
My MIL is really, really helpful.
My own mother really wants to be, but it rarely works out. There's the germ phobia (so she can't help if my son is sick, at least not with certain kinds of illness) and a bunch of other reasons. She has helped sometimes; I'm not trying to say she hasn't. But it is always on her terms and it's not something I can rely on for the most part (sometimes if it's extreme enough she will sort of rouse herself).
But I also jumped in because my mother loves to stay with my sister and brother-in-law. They tend to have large "McMansion" type homes - really lovely and really new and really sterile, and with big guest bedrooms with nothing in the closets and their own bathrooms. Which is great. I live in an urban area where space is at a premium (although we're suburban) and I guess I also have a philosophy that our space is primarily for us to live in, so we don't have dedicated guest rooms - we have rooms with pull-out couches that are also dens and such.
In my defense I have to say my space is clean and not very cluttered and it's pleasant, I think. But we don't own houses where we have sort of no-live zones.
Anyways my mother lives close, but when we were thinking of moving further away she out and out told me she prefers to stay with my sister and that she prefers how my sister and her husband live. Even though I was 34 and had had therapy wow did that ever hurt. There's no question that we're more laid-back and casual and not all my cutlery matches, but not only did I not think that was very important - when I was growing up my parents were hippies and TAUGHT me that those things were NOT IMPORTANT.
So I felt really cheated.
However, after years of mulling it over I've realized that's my mom. She does at this point prefer my sister and...it sucks and I really don't think parents should ever SAY that...but that's how it is. I try to just work with her and my relationship where it is rather than comparing.
The irony is...years later, she basically implied to my sister that I'm a better mother...WHAT??? My sister is the best mother to her child that she can be. It's nuts.
I hope you can find support, but it doesn't sound like your MIL is it. I was wondering if you guys had room for an au pair on top of your daycare? (Some more money, definitely some space loss.) It might help.
Well, once again, my friend, I feel like you get this and put it in perspective.
We are so alike, you and I. What you described is my philosophy about life and space. I don't like clutter. A few years ago I began reading the decluttering forum here on MDC and books like the Not So Big House. I decided I was going to declutter my home and 4 years later, it's pretty decluttered. If anything is unuseful, doesn't have a space, and unnecessary, I donate it.
I don't have a lot of pictures on the walls (just some of my son's art work). I put all breakable knick knack kind of stuff like picture frames and some small pieces of art in storage in boxes when I babyproofed and the rest I donated. I do miss a few of the special pieces but with an ADHD pre-schooler running around, I'm going to wait a few years before setting them out again.
We don't own a lot of furniture. We got rid of a worn, sagging love seat/couch that was really too short about a year ago and I haven't replaced it due to finances and instability with DH. What am I going to do? Buy a new couch and then try to sell my house and move into an apartment? Now isn't the time to buy furniture.
But MIL mentions the missing couch...a lot. We have chairs. No couch. Sorry.
MIL also mentioned to my DH she doesn't like visiting because our home isn't homey. She noted the lack of pictures on the walls and a few storage boxes. She doesn't like it.
We have a very small tv by American standards. MIL also has pointed this out. We have a small, older 19 inch tv for the main, living room tv. I shut it in a cabinet. I don't think tv is important and I never want it to be the centerpiece of my living room, you know? With all furniture oriented around the tv? Nope. Not my style.
We also do not have a guest bedroom. And we have no plans to add one soon. When MIL comes, she uses an inflatable mattress. I don't see a problem with that.
By contrast, MIL and FIL have a giant television with all furniture oriented towards it. BIL does, too. MIL and FIL love the giant flat screen tv. It's something understand, as DH has said. They don't get a 19 inch tv. They think it's sort of crazy.
MIL and FIL love BIL's in ground pool. He lives in a warmer climate where it makes sense to have a pool, I guess. I on the other hand am an environmentalist and I probably would not have a personal play pool for water conservation reasons and money pit reasons. I like the public pool and splash park (free!). But MIL and FIL love in ground pools.
We don't have a grill. We don't grill a lot of food. I'm vegetarian and I don't buy meat for the house. MIL and FIL love to grill and to see a vegetarian meal as missing the main course. So, of course they love the grill BIL has and have spoken of it fondly.
Let's see...I'm sure there are other things.
Yes, we definitely have different lifestyles. FIL smokes and I don't allow smoking in my house. I have a child with asthma. My own dad smokes and when he visits, I treat him the same as I treat my FIL, but FIL gets offended and sullen while my dad takes it in stride. My son gets on both my dad and FIL to stop smoking because it's bad for your health. My dad responds by saying, "hey, kid, good job, maybe you'll save me money if I quit!" FIL gets mightily offended and thinks I'm feeding my kid lines.
But still to hear MIL say she can't visit because I'm not a SAHM and SIL is just is crazy!! That's not the real reason!