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Living with daughter and son in law.

Started by csusanu, September 12, 2013, 07:34:25 am

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I have been living with my daughter and son in law for 1 year now, primarily to care for grandchildren, but also cook, clean, laundry, etc.  I love my son in law dearly, but he is extremely disrespectful to me at times, and even a little inappropriate.  When it happens in front of my 5 year old granddaughter, she then feels its OK for her to talk to me that way too, since everything daddy does is perfect in her eyes.  My daughter tells me just to ignore him like she does (he does the same thing to her at times), but it's very difficult for me to do that.  My mother's sons in law always treated her with great respect, and I really feel like I deserve the same.  He is in his late 30's, but sometimes is very childish in his behavior.  I really want this to work long term, and I hope perhaps with some support from others out there, maybe I can make this all work.


Welcome C.  Please take a moment to read the posts under "Open Me First".  They are our forum rules and such.  Nothing wrong with your post, we ask all new members to do this.

I'm afraid I'm not going to sound very supportive.  They are adults and if you are being treated disrespectfully, it's time to move out on your own and let them deal with their children, cleaning and laundry.  I'm not sure of your financial situation, and if that's why you are living with them, but IMO, a parent living with AC usually creates tension and doesn't work very well.  Short term, it can be fine, but after time, everyone gets on each other's nerves. 

Your DD can choose to ignore his disrespect, but you don't have to.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Hi C and welcome to our family.

You said "maybe I can make this work"  It sounds to me that the problem is theirs to fix so no,you could not possibly fix it because it is not at all about you or within your control.  You have 2 options, stay there and manage to keep quiet or move to another place.

I would take the later.

taken from another wise woman.....

There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.  You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.  Forget the bad, and focus on the good.  Life is too short to be anything but Happy.  Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't.  Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.  Don't Take Guilt Trips.  Take a trip to the Mall, a trip to the woods, or a trip to the Beach :)


My take...I agree with Pooh. It's their home...therefore, their rules or the blatant lack thereof. You are being supported financially, but you are being abused. Is it worth it? If it is, mum's the word. You can't change a thing...and it will probably only get worse. Not good news, I know. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I'm with the others who say to move out.  If having your own apartment and living independently is a financial strain for you, I suspect you could get a position as a live-in nanny with a family, have your own nice living quarters, be "off-duty" evenings and week-ends, have all your living expenses paid and have a small salary too.  Most importantly, you would be appreciated by the family  for which you are the nanny. 

Free yourself.  You cannot change them. 


Hi, perhaps your son in law is feeling a little hostile living with his mother in law?  He may be a great person and you may be a great person, but perhaps your living arrangements are rubbing him the wrong way so he is expressing himself passive-aggressively?  I think its time to give them space as a family, and you space to be a grandmother and not the cook/maid/caretaker.  Good luck.


In my experience, if you let it be, or just tolerate disrespect for the sake of harmony; not wanting to rock the boat,...well that person increases his rudeness to get a rise out of you. That's why they do it. They want to see a reaction. They don't stop if you don't react, it gets worse. So either you draw the line now, and that with a big bang or you move out.

I know, it's all about the grandchild, and you don't want to miss out on her....but the cost is too high.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne


I'm sorry you have to deal with this, Csusanu. It's too bad that your DD & SIL don't appreciate the help you are giving them. Arranging for (and paying for) a nanny, cook and housekeeper isn't easy so you're saving them a lot of time, money and stress. However, the ladies are right - you can't change them, just your reaction to them. All you can do is take care of yourself in whatever way is appropriate to your situation. Best wishes.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


you didn't give specifics on his disrespect and inappropriateness.  depending on your financial situation and just how disrespectful and inappropriate he is, you have to decide if the living situation is worth it.  it's all very well for us to tell you to move out, but that just may not be viable for you. 

keep in mind that you are not a charity case.  you are pulling your weight.  if they paid you the going rate for a full-time nanny with housekeeping duties, you'd have a nice income.  don't sell your contributions to the family unit short. 

good luck.  remember you'll always find some words of sympathy and support here.  sometimes that's all you need to deal with the trials of daily life.


Thank you all for your input on this subject.  As some of you already surmised, there is a serious financial component to the living situation, and it would be impossible for me to just leave and go on my own, so I have been leaning on your good words and other friends I have made here for support.  During the last holiday being observed, my DD suggested to my SIL that during his fast, he reflect on his treatment of other people, and try to be less offensive and caustic to others. Since then, things seem to be a little different, so perhaps he took what she said to heart.  I'm hopeful, anyway.  However, I had an incident with my DD this evening that I would love for you all to advise me on.  My GD (Kindergarten) had her first Social Studies assignment for homework tonight, and the first question was how many people are in your family.  When my daughter showed it to me and it said 4, (her, her parents and her little brother), my heart sank.  I felt so sad that I hadn't been included as part of her family.  Later when I mentioned to my daughter that my feelings were hurt, she went into a total tirade that I was being selfish and out of line, why should I be included and not her other grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., and that I was taking an innocent homework assignment and making it all about me. I said I felt that since I live here, it's different than relatives living elsewhere.  I was appalled when she walked through the house ranting how this is just what she needs when she gets home and this is why she'd rather be working.  My anger boiled over and I threw back at her that I work very hard in this house for this family and she should be ashamed for treating me that way.  She proceeded to change the homework to 5, said the issue was over, and has been totally back to normal since.  I need to know if I was wrong to be hurt, or if my desire to be included as part of the family is valid.  Thanks for any input you may have.  Love to you all.


My take is we are not right or wrong when we are hurt. However, it is a perception that I seldom share with my family. They are doing their best just like I am and judging them gets me into more trouble than it resolves anything. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I agree with Luise that we are neither right nor wrong when we hurt, we simply hurt.  It bothered you.  I think the problem lies in that this is a Kindergarten age child that picked that number and we are taught traditionally that our family number is made up of the nuclear family.  Maybe the teacher explained to the children that what they meant how many brothers and sisters, plus parents, plus you to get that number.  For her, that meant 4.

I didn't include my DIL and Grandson in my "family" count when they lived with us, as far as technically.  If someone asked me I would have said, "Oh it's just two, me and DH, all our kids are grown."  Definitely not trying to hurt them, they are family members, but on paperwork, etc. we are taught nuclear family.  Otherwise, I would have to answer, "Oh geesh, we have a huge family....probably 200 if I count all the cousins?"

I know you work hard for them and sounds like you both need each other right now.  I can understand where DIL was upset and I can understand that you feel like you should be in that number because you live there. 

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I think the family count is actually normal. I just bought a minivan, the description said it can seat a family of 7. Well my husband and I have 3 children. Plus both of our parents equals 9. So should we return the van?
Your daughter in law and son have their own family unit apart from yours. It means you raised an woman capable of being independent. Great job!!

On the disrespect of your son in law. I think it would help if you could self reflect on how you came to live with them. Did they ask and say Mom we really need you to move in and help us with GD. You don't have to pay rent if you do nanny type duties?
Or did you fall on hard times and go to them needing place to stay. Maybe you offered child care and cleaning in exchange?
In either case I don't think its ok for your son in law to disrespect you, but what are the motives?

If they came to you, you're being mistreated and you just need to leave.
If you went to them maybe your ship has sailed. Are you staying longer than originally planned.?
That answer is to leave but maybe you'd be more at peace.


Sorry I just reread your last post and saw it is your finances that have you living with them.
Like I said it doesn't give anyone the right to disrespect you. But there are somethings you can do to be proactive.
First get a financial plan. Work hard on how you are going to get yourself back independent. Present a time line as to when you will be moving out. You've become that house guest who won't move out, that's where the tension is breeding.
Second get a job. Tell them the more you can save, the sooner you can move. I'm sure they can find childcare.

my husband and I have our hearts full making sure our three little ones are actually asleep. I'm sure our intimacy would be further stifled by a Mil presence.
I don't think this is good for anyone.


What did you expect DD to do when you expressed that you were hurt you weren't included in the family count?  Was she supposed to make GD make corrections?  Was she supposed to talk to GD and explain how she should have included you in the count but it was ok not to include other relatives?  Maybe you were just looking for a little sympathy, but DD took your words as a complaint she was supposed to do something about.  That would irritate me.  If this is a festering problem in the making, I'd advise you apologize to DD.  Otherwise, just put it in the past.  Hope things get better.