I dont know if many threads have been posted on this topic before but when I married my husband I really did have good intentions of getting along with his mother. I get that she is very important to him and so forth so I have tried my best to create a relationship with her as well but I feel like I am hitting a darn brick wall everytime I try. I tried to be open with her like I am with my own mother and that ended up backfiring in my face like I never could believe. She ended up saying some really nasty things the the rest of the family (Supposedly not intentional) but still really hurt regardless.
Anyways we moved in with her a while back (to save money and before any of that other stuff had happened) and she lived alone so it sounded like a great thing just till my husbands career gets off the ground and we can afford our own place. She comes home and most the time doesnt acknowledge that I'm here and when she does its in a snotty tone ( Which DH has informed me "thats just the way she is"). I guess I'm not used to it and it really does hurt my feelings. But as if that wasnt enough today (I'm a SAHM hence why Im posting on this board) I went to go clean some dishes and the water didnt come on. Thinking logically I assume a water main break, praying it wasnt in our house. As I'm searching around I didnt find anything suspicious so I go to walk over to the neighbors to ask them if their water was working and there was a notice on the door that our water had been past due for at least two months so they turned it off. She has been paying the bills (doesnt want us to help because hubby hasnt had a really stable job yet and been living on unemployment but we still has enough to help out for something like this). I am beyond livid because Im here all day with the kids and no vehicle and yet she didnt bother to tell me or DH this. Sorry this is so long but my question is am I wrong to feel this upset that she didnt tell us something like this especially when we have two young kids in the house?
You may not like this answer, but I hope that you will read with an open mind.
I would take some time to calm yourself down, and reframe this. Instead of following your impulse of "how dare she inconvenience me" I would sit her down and say, "Thank you for your willingness to allow us to live here rent-free. I feel sad that we didn't notice the water company paper on the door earlier, and that you didn't feel comfortable approaching us to ask for help. How much money will it cost to have the water turned back on? Dh and I have talked, here is <whatever you can give, hand it to her in cash or check or whatever>, and we've decided to contribute X towards household expenses every month from this point forward. If you need a different amount, please let us know. Thanks for letting us stay here, we really appreciate that you want to help us out, but we want to contribute towards the household as well."
Obviously, the expense of you guys living there has contributed to this situation. I think that many parents are reluctant to ask for money from their kids; try to appreciate that she's trying to help. She may have been annoyed/stressed with you there all the time because money troubles have been weighing on her mind, and she's supporting you too; it probably wasn't her dream for her son to be helping to support him and his SAHW and kids at this time in her life. It's hard to share your space with someone, doubly so when $$ is tight for everyone.
So I would think and think compassionately BEFORE you act on your lividity; do as much as you possibly can to have an attitude adjustment, scrape up all the money you can spare to help get the water turned back on, and it sounds like while you probably don't have to pay as much as you would have to pay to live independently, living there for free is not going to be in anyone's best interest right now, so you're going to have to come up with some contributory amount. If she truly refuses to take cash money that you put in her hand or on her pillow every month, then you need to put that money in a special savings envelope or not spend it at all, so that you're ready to pay the fee to get basic services turned back on when they need to.
I agree with Tigerchild. And if she just will not take the money at all, call the water company (and/or any other bills that you can afford to help with) and pay the bill directly. If you explain that you don't want any access to the account (you'll need to know either the amount of the bill or how much you want to put on it) you will likely be allowed to pay for it without any security answers or passwords. If they say no, ask to speak to a supervisor. The company wants their money, they are not likely to turn it down, whatever the source.
Thank you for your advice! I took your advice with an open mind and you were right. I know she never planned on having to rely on us and for that I should have looked at it from that point of view instead of my own hurt. Dh and I decided that we would start helping at least as much as we can and offered to give her half of the water bill to help her get it paid. Thank you again. I think I just needed to vent yesterday because I was so frustrated and it all piled up at once on top of me being extremely homesick (my family lives across the country and we just recently moved) but thanks for reading and replying!
I can definitely understand the need to vent. Living with anyone is hard and once you throw in that family-by-marriage thing, I think things get three times worse. The quiet sulking thing is something that one of my ILs has down pat, that is, after the IL in question gets done screaming like a banshee. I could not imagine living with my ILs, my post probably would have been something along the lines of "Talk me out of kicking my ILs in the shins!!!" :) I'm glad that she took your offer on the water bill. I hope all gets better soon. :)
I too agree w/Tigerchild. It is amazing just how much an electricity and/or water bill goes up w/more people in the house. In the past we've taken in a domestic violence survivor and her kids. Our water bill was $175 every month. They also didn't use water very mindfully, imo, but not everyone does. I've gotten much better over the years myself. And the extra electricity and all does hurt. Even when you want to help someone, it does become hard. After they left, our septic was extremely messed up (things flushed by young children, max amount of people for our septic, etc), and was very costly for us for months and months after. In addition, just having extra people really throws off the balance of a household. It's very hard on relationships (We no longer have that family in our lives). I'm sure your MIL didn't want to burden you all w/the stress of the extra $, and maybe she was worried about the impact on the relationships? I would try to make sure that my family all contributed to and took complete care of all the housework and laundry and cooking so that she doesn't feel so overwhelmed. I'm betting that it's quite an adjustment after living by herself.
I'm glad you are able to look at this w/an open mind. And btw, I'm not implying that having to live w/someone else is easy, either. I'm quite sure it's not, but I would want to make as little an impact as possible. Good luck. I used to bitch about my MIL all the time and she didn't even live in my house, but a small house we built next to ours (8 ft or so away). She was mentally and physically challenged and it was very frustrating sometimes. She passed away almost a year ago and I miss her very much. I wish I had sucked it up more often and just hugged her more. Gather those roses now instead of later type of thing...
Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids : dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)
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