June 26, 2019, 10:13:40 pm


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MIL is sick

Started by Birdy, April 15, 2010, 12:04:46 pm

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Hi Ladies:

I am currently a DIL, but I thought I would come here to get some thoughts, opinions or even advice with regards to my MIL & DH.  I also apologize - because I am sure this will get wordy.

I am also not sure if I have a MIL problem or a DH with this incident.

My MIL is sick, as in she has cancer.  I am going to be a bit vague on this because at this point she doesn't want people to know the extent or what she has, so although I am posting this I am going to try to aviod speaking directly on what she type/treatment she is going to have.

She is in a Stage 1 time frame - and although the doctor has yet to give out a life expectancy - our research has said about 5-7 years.
She has some additional testing that has to be done to find out how treatment will be done, but right now they are talking about 2 types of treatment that will be given to her at the same time.
In addition my IL's live several hours away from where we live.  They also live in a house that is not fit to live in.  Without going into detail I have spoken to my Peditrician who has stated that our  children should not be in this home even for a visit.  MIL has also informed her doctor of the condition of the house and her doctor has also told her the exact same thing.

I will admit I have had and still have problems with my MIL and I know she has had issues with me as neither one of us is perfect. But I try to look past them for the fact that she is my DH mother and my children's GP.  I also have a SIL who has the exact same issues with her and so we tend to talk about them.  I am also very open with DH and he knows that I talk to SIL and what issues I have/had with MIL.

MIL has not made an demands of yet with regards to her condition, DH has yet to tell her about us not visiting them because of the condition of the house, but his father is aware.  He does not want to upset his mom.

So the problem is right now my DH.  Last week he spent more then 15 hours on the phone with either his brother or mother.  This is after working from 7am to 7:30 pm each night and not helping me with our family, meaning bedtime, dinner etc...   

Last night he tells me that if his mom has a short life expectancy - say 12 months he wants to go up every single weekend to visit.  Please know that although this would be a hard ship on our family unit, I would not stop him from going up there as this is his mother.

He also informed me that he would expect me to go up with him every single time if this is the case.  I have 3 children.  A 3 year old and 2 -15 month old twins.    I don't feel that it is right to ask us to go up every single time, it is asking a lot of me as most if not all the work falls on me.  In addition where would we stay as we can't & I will not stay at his parents house.  Hotel's don't really work with the kids, we have been there done that and I end up getting no sleep the entire time.

We went around and around on this last night and could see that it was quickly going to turn into a fight. 

So I just told him that could we not discuss this until we get the final results which will not be until at least another 2 weeks or more.  Not sure if this was the right move or not.

So here is my questions:  Am I wrong in telling him we should hold off talking about this until the results come in?   
Am I wrong in feeling like it would be too much for us to go up there every single weekend as a family unit to visit his mom? 
Am I wrong to feel that we have a home and responsibilites that we need to take care of and therefore can not be running up every weekend?

Also I told him last night that I don't think our children should be subjected to seeing their GP die.  Meaning the closer we come to the end that they should not go up there.  This happened to me and those are my only memories of my GP.

Please do not think harshly of me, I am not a harsh women at all, but feel like with my DH I some how end up coming off like a female dog, when that is so not my intent.

Sorry this is so long - I look forward to hearing replies and answering any questions I can without revealing to much more about MIL condition.


I agree with you, Birdy, that this schedule will probably be very hard on your kids and on you, but right now your DH is probably in panic mode and may not be thinking logically as much as reacting emotionally. I've been through nursing a parent, and it can be a wild ride. I'm so sorry you all have to go through this - it's rough under the best of circumstances. I'll bet that after one or two of those visits he will understand how it is affecting you and the kids. It may also be hard on his mom who will need a lot of strength to get through all she's going to be dealing with. Best wishes to you.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I think that you should not go borrowing troubles. 

Neither you, nor DH, nor even the Doctor's can know the timing of MIL's passing.  So, what?  If the Doctor says 12 months, and you guys start going over there every weekend, what happens if MIL doesn't die within 12 months?  Do you continue?  Is your DH willing to continue for 5 to 7 years?  That's just ridiculous.

I think that your DH had a little freak out about his Mom's mortality - completely understandable.  He freaked out and had a gut-level reaction.  Hopefully in the future you will be able to laugh about this.

So I agree that you should wait until you get some results.

Then start talking to DH about what you both are going to have to do to make this happen. 

First thing, maybe this house is not suitable for sick-MIL to live in either.  Maybe the IL's will want to move to be in a better (one floor, smaller, smaller yard) place. 

In the meantime, what cutbacks can HE make to afford a hotel room for when you and the kids are there.  Offer for him to go every weekend, with you and the kids coming every other weekend, so that he can spend time alone with his parents.  Also, tell him what chores he's going to have to do in the evenings to make up for missed time on the weekends.  You can do this without fighting, this is BOTH of you trying to find a way to make it work.  If you're lucky, he'll see that everyone going every weekend is impossible.  But if you go in with an attitude of compromise, hopefully he will too.

Good luck - this is a hard situation for everyone involved.


Agreeing here about the freak-out.  When everything is calmer, and there's more information, sit down with your DH and work out a plan for the first month, and then agree to revisit things after that.  Your DH will likely be a little nuts about it for a while, but eventually even things like this settle into a routine and become less emotionally frought.  The more you try and hammer out details now, the more your DH will focus on his disagreement with you versus focusing on solutions.  Fighting with you is also a way to pour out all the anger, fear and grief he has over his mother's diagnosis, and a way to distract him from it.

In terms of the safety of MIL's house:  Both of my parents were ill for several years before they died - one with cancer, one with diabetic kidney failure, constant infections and dementia.  One thing that we discovered was that in-home nurses (which people often get for things like wound care, administration of antibiotics, etc.) will make an issue of the condition of your MIL's home, and that they will need to deal with it at that point even if they don't deal with it earlier.  We actually had one nursing service refuse to come stay with my mother until certain things were taken care of.  If it is severe enough, they may involve social services.  The first few months of a diagnosis are not always conducive to talking about and taking care of things like that proactively, because there is a lot of emotion, hope, denial and mental fog involved. 

I do have to add that, for the last 6 months when my father was dying, I ended up leaving most of the home care to my then-husband, because my mother really needed me there.  Even with nurses coming in, mom was exhausted.  Towards the end, one of the kindest things you can do for your DH is not expect him to be a full partner, because he will be extremely caught up in what's going on with his family.  You may have to cut him some slack before then as well.  You'll know better how to handle things when you guys have more information about what's going on with his mom.
This too shall pass.  All is well.


Birdy, this is absolutely devastating news.  I'm so sorry to hear that you and your dh have to deal with this loss at such a young age (I'm assuming you are young since you have 18 month olds).  This is huge - please keep in mind that your understanding will mean the world to your dh.  He will not forget it - especially when the time comes when your dm's end is near.

I think you need to take it a step at a time.  It will all work itself out as you deal with the problems at hand.  If your il's home situation does not improve, the idea of a hotel sounds like a good alternative.  I realize that you have not gotten good sleep in the past staying at a hotel with your children being restless, but perhaps if they had more hotel experiences they would adjust.  I honestly don't think it will end up being as often as your dh would like you to go - I agree with Pen that after a couple visits your dh will see things differently. 

I hope you don't mind if I add that if your dh is working a 12 hour day, even in the best of times, it would be very difficult for him to share in household duties unless you are working equal hours.  I also have three children.  I hope you have the luxury of being an at home mom - I was an at home mom for 12 glorious years and I really appreciated it.  I didn't expect my dh to do any household stuff except home/car repairs b/c I was home all day and I felt like that was my contribution.  When I did go back to work, my youngest was seven years old and I continued to do most of the household chores, but that was me. 

I hope Scoop's suggestion that you may have your mil another 5-7 years is correct (as long as she's not suffering).  I wish you all the best as you work through this trying time.
Big hugs, Hope


Sorry Ladies - I got so wrapped up in the Expectations post - I forgot about this one!  In addition I am a stay home mom with 3 very active kids, so I post when I can.

I agree that I think DH is in a knee jerk reaction right now, because anytime we every talked about our parents being sick it was always my parents and not his.  I know cancer doesn't care who it attacks, but both my parents smoke and have for years and his mom never has.  In addition people in her family live until they are late 90's. 

I lost all of my GP by the time I was 13.  I was devasted at watching my beloved Nanny die in front of my eyes.  She lived with us her last couple of months of life.  It was rough for us all.  Part of my issue with going up each weekend is I will not allow my children to experience that of their GP.  To me it doesn't matter if this happens today or tomorrow or 7 years from now.  Obviously we are hoping for the 7 years.  II will have to walk a line with regards to protecting my children and being their for my DH.

As always when you post you always seem to leave out some important details.  My IL's don't feel that they have a problem with their house - even though it is in horrible shape.  Because the doctor informed MIL that she shouldn't be in this house and she can't go through treatment in the house or construction because of her condition.  They are now talking about delaying treatment and getting the house in order first.

I feel like my DH is wasting huge amounts of his precious time with his children trying to change people's minds who don't want it changed.  He is trying to get them to just move out now and put the house up at a later date.  Since they see nothing wrong with the house they don't understand this.

I would never ever prevent my DH from going up to see his parents, even if he wanted to do it every week for the next 5 years.  I just can't do that now with the babies.  It is to much.  And we have agreed to place this discussion on the back burner until all final results come in and we know where she stands with regards to treatment and such.

Elsieshaye you mentioned cutting him some slack near the end, I guess I wasn't think and I realized that I also need to cut him some slack now.

Scoop & Penstaman Thank you also!


I hope you don't mind if I add that if your dh is working a 12 hour day, even in the best of times, it would be very difficult for him to share in household duties unless you are working equal hours.  I also have three children.  I hope you have the luxury of being an at home mom - I was an at home mom for 12 glorious years and I really appreciated it.  I didn't expect my dh to do any household stuff except home/car repairs b/c I was home all day and I felt like that was my contribution.  When I did go back to work, my youngest was seven years old and I continued to do most of the household chores, but that was me. 

I hope Scoop's suggestion that you may have your mil another 5-7 years is correct (as long as she's not suffering).  I wish you all the best as you work through this trying time.
Big hugs, Hope

Hope - I am almost 39, got married later in life and had babies later in life:)  I am currently a stay at home mom.  Hardest job I have ever done, but I love it, most days:)

I am kind of old fashion and really don't expect a lot from my DH during the week while he is working.  Usually the most he does is take the trash out and bring the buckets in and I usually end up helping him with that!  I do about 99% of the household cleaning & such.

The only think I refuse to do right now is yard work.  It is just to hard with 3 active kids running around, so he is on his own on that.

He will help clean up the dinner dishes, we eat after the twins are in bed which is most times at 8:00.  He will also help set the dinner table and finish up whatever has to be done on dinner while I am putting the twins to sleep.  Most times it isn't much, it maybe re-heating something up, doing a salad etc...

Some of my tone came in my original post, becasue I failed to mention that when I came down from putting the twins to sleep and saw him sitting on the couch on the phone with the table not set or anything, I went ahead and started to unload the dishwasher.  We have a strict rule in our house that we say Grace and eat dinner together as a family.  This includes are old DD who has already eaten with her brothers but just hangs out with mom & dad while we eat.  Anyway once he got off the phone, he started giving me some grief about dinner not being ready and why was I unloading the dishwasher.  I held my tongue and just got dinner together.  It was all ready just had to be put together and served.

His saving grace is because several times in the last 16 months since the boys have been born he has told me that my job at home is much harder then his and he doesn't know how I do it day in and day out.

Got to go - lunch time & nap time for the twins!

Thanks again Ladies.



Sorry if it sounded that I didn't sympathise in your heavy work load.  Believe me, I realize how much work taking care of three small children is - when I went back to work when my youngest was 4 I felt like I was getting a break being at work (sorry, I think I put 7 in my original post, but she was actually 7 when my hours increased to full time).  I didn't sit down all day when my kids were pre-schoolers - I even ate my lunch standing up!  I am not here to judge and after reading my post I can see where my voice does sound that way.  I'm sure you are very busy and exhausted from all your hard work with the children. 

I am a twin myself and I don't know how my dear mom did it.  She had a four year old, a three year old and an eleven month old when my brother and I were born.  She didn't know she was having twins until we were born and when the doctor told her, she cried.  Six years later she gave birth to her last child, my little sis.  She actually had five children in four years!  She had no help as her only sibling had his own family and her parents both died before she married.  Her inlaws lived out of town.  To make matters worse, my dad was not affectionate and did nothing to build her self esteem. 

I do think it would be hard on you to take three small children to visit your inlaws for the weekend and I think it's very good of you to support your dh if he decides to go on his own.  I'm happy for his dm that she has his support as well and he can be at peace for the rest of his life knowing he was there for his mom at the end of her life. 

Please forgive me for the tone of my first post.
Hugs, Hope


I think you are a kind and sensitve person to be so helpful to your husband while his mother is ill.  I do agree that for you to go there with three kids and stay once a week is just too much on the kids and you.  It will get expensive and your kids will not understand what is happening, and will get bored and irritable being on the road and staying away from home so much.  I think just wait and see what is actually needed from you and your family and then act on it.  You are not a bad lady for wanting to keep your kids at home at this time. If things change and you are needed  you can go up then, but just try to maintain your life as best you can for your kids.  I am hoping for the best for you and your young family.


Bettylou & Hope - thank you both for the kind words.  It does help to at least know I am on the right path at this point.

Hope - I did not take your reply as unsympathic at all, I guess I was just trying to clarify a bit and let the people on the board get a better understanding of Birdy.

I don't know how your mom did it either, I think I would have lost it if I had found out at delivery they were twins.  Thankfully we found out at around 12 weeks so we had time to prepare.  My step-mom was in the same boat as your mom, she had her first DD and then said to the doc that it didn't feel right, she said she felt like she had to push.  The doctor looked and so OHH.  That's it just OHH and then told her what was going on.

My aunt was also the same as your mom 5 babies in 5 years.  To me it sounds crazy, but in someways that is a bit of my life right now.

Some days I wish I still worked for the simple fact that I would get a break, but in the end I know for our family me staying home is the right choice.

One day I will go back to work and I think I will miss this time with my babies.

Lunchtime is over for the kids, so I must be going - bye ladies!