Nosy Mother in Law

Updated on January 23, 2009
A.G. asks from Sarasota, FL
10 answers

I thought my mother in law was a very nice lady but this last few months she has been showing her true colors. she has gotten in between her brother and his wife so bad that they are heading for a divorce and they have only been married for seven months!! as you can imagine I am very scared about moving in with her. she owns a house but can't pay the taxs on it;we can no longer afford our rent with only me working so it seemed like a good idea at the time. as long as we pay the taxes and keep the house up than we were going to move in( that's the same thing that her brother did) and now that he is moving out we have to move in. other than praying and keeping my fingers crossed is there anyone who can give me advice on things that I can do so that I don't end up in the same sitution as his uncle is in

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So What Happened?

well I can tell that this is going to be an up hill battle that might just turn into a war. My mother in law wants me and my husband to pay all the bills and give her money to watch the children. I am currently on a waiting list for RK4C to help me with child care. I also found out that if I leave anything out of place before I go to bed then I'll hear about it for a week. She also calls my youngest child butterball because she has rolls ( which the first couple of times it was ok but now that's the only thing that she calls her). I guess somethings in this world I'll never understand but please please please someone say an extra prayer for me because I think I'm going to need it.

More Answers



answers from Tampa on

Hello A.;

First, I know a lot of people may turn their noses up at this suggestion, but, have you thought about renting a mobile home. I know some may think that it's trashy or whatever, but I have lived in mobile homes my whole life, my husband and I were buying a house up north, and I hated it, I just wanted back home and into my mobile home. They are much cheaper than renting a house a lot of time, and have better ammenities ;O) Just a thought.

Ok, I've been with my husband for 10 years now, and his mother is a very nosy woman without a filter, but I love her to death now. It hasn't always been that way between us, she used to call me immature and everything else, and say that my husband and I will never last. Well, here we are, 10 years later, happier now than we were back then (I still can't wait to see my husband everyday when he comes home, I still run out to give him hugs and kisses). My advice to you, is yes you should try to avoid living with her, but if there is no way to get around it at this time, then don't forget you are not married to her. You are married to her son, and he is not his mother. A lot of people make the mistake of forgetting that these are two seperate people, with their own seperate thoughts and feelings. So if she says something that you don't like, or does something that just makes you want to scream, just ignore it, look at your husband and remember why you married him, and how much you love him, and forget whatever it is that she does that you don't approve of. It is her house, and you have to live by her rules, and so does your husband, he's most likely not going to speak up and cause any conflict because it is his mother, and he really doesn't want to fight with her. You have to understand that from the beginning, and know that you are only doing this to get back on your feet. Keep a smile on your face, and if you need a breather, take one, but don't let it get under your skin, and don't take it out on him. The last thing he's going to want to hear everyday is how much you can't stand his mother, just let everything roll off of your back, and treat him the same way you would if you were still living as just a couple. I hope that advice helps you, and I know you'll get a lot more, keep us updated on what happens. Take care.

Candi ;O)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

DON'T DO IT!! Don't move in with your mother in law, your mother, or any other woman!! It's a scientific fact that for an adult woman to live with any other adult woman is unhealthy to both women. Basic getting on one's nerves, yes... but even more serious with living with your mother-in-law. You are married to HER SON.

I heard on radio station WQYK Friday afternoon that (I think China) studies have proven this health risk (anxiety, stress, leading to diabetes even) of living with your mother in law.

Imagine living with one of your daughters when she is grown and married. As hard as you may try, you will inevitably inject your opinion on something in their life and relationship... as well-meaning as you may be, it never has a good outcome as far as your relationship with your child and his/her spouse.

SOME mothers just can't find anything good about their daughter/son-in-law... even if she hand-picked the spouse herself for her grown child, the more she knows about their relationship, parenting, and other intimate things in their lives, the rockier the relationships of everyone involved.

And, you have evidence that YOUR mother-in-law is, at the very least, suceptible to being nosy or even nasty. Regardless of who is "to blame" for it getting to this point with her brother and his wife. Imagine how much worse it would be when she gets in the middle of HER SONS life.

I swear to you that I'd rather pack my family in a one-bed-hotel room than take the risk you are heading for. It's not just your marriage you are risking. Think of the mental and emotional well-being of your daughters. They are too young to mentally process the intentions of people who say hurtful things. They will take this with them the rest of their lives. Don't add this kind of emotional baggage to your children. Focus on what you want their memories of their childhood to be like.


M. (someone who KNOWS what it's like to live with in-laws!!)



answers from Tampa on

Steer clear from your mother-in-laws home. Visiting is completely different than living with someone. I was in the same position and at the time we thought it would be the best for our family, but it was not. My husband was in school and I was staying home, as I made no money after childcare and gas (in fact I made negative $13 each week) and my in-laws couldn't pay their mortgage, water, and electric. We decided to step in and pay the water and electric and 1/2 of the food bill in exchange for them paying the mortgage. Myself and my husband now have a very shaky relationship with my in-laws. Why doesn't your husband work? Can he get a part-time job or perhaps you can get a second job. The stress that living with family brings can be too much to handle and it caused severe arguements with my husband and I. After a few months we decided that due to having a child and wanting the best home for him (one without constant arguements) we figured out a way to make it on our own. Try looking for rentals that are listed as one bedooms with a den. The den may not have a window or closet (a legal bedroom must have both). A one bedroom can be much less expensive than a 2 bedroom. Also try looking on Craigslist for rentals owned privately and always offer less. We are getting ready to move into a 2 bedrooms that was listed for $950, but we will be paying $850 (thats a $1200 savings in a year)! Good luck with whatever you do. Make sure you are really comfortable with your decision. -Remeber although it may sound mean, the fact that your mother-in-law cannot afford her payments is not your fault- you have your own family to worry about and they must always come first.



answers from Fort Myers on


I do not know if you like to read or what your beliefs about God are. There are two book titles that come to mind. One is a book called Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend. This should help with some basic but important arrangements. The second is called Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb. An excellent book that has helped me to see my own mothers emotional outbursts in a new way. It is about marriage but also about the difference of need verses desire and goals. I also would recommend your husband talk with your uncle to get a better understanding of the dynamics you are about to face. Amazon is a good place to order both books at a discount. Thanks, B.



answers from Sarasota on

I'm so glad you posted this, and I'll pray that a better solutions works out. I have tried 3 times to have my mother-in-law live with us at my husband's request, and it's like each time I had forgotten what a terrible idea it is. I love her (from a distance) and she's a great help around the house...but our problem is...SHE TOTALLY TAKES OVER! She starts seriously acting (and believing) she's my children's mother. She starts redecorating things, reorganizing, and doesn't follow any of my rules. My husband loves the babysitting and cleaning she provides, but I'd rather be exhausted from doing it all myself! I hope this helps and again, I'll pray that your husband finds work and you two find a place of your own to raise your family. Good luck!



answers from Tampa on

I highly recommend that you and your husband have a discussion on this and think it through. I recommend that you be completely honest with him about your concerns and even have a plan on how to handle any issues that come up.

When you described your mil, you described mine to a T. But the marriage she is trying to split up is my husband's brother and his wife. And she lives with them. They have been married for two years and I'm surprised they've made it that long. I'll be shocked if that marriage makes it. I could tell you things that would make your jaw hit the floor. She has pretty much admitted to wanting the wife out of the house so it would be like it used to be. My brother-in-law is so stressed that he is in counseling and had to cut back hours of work.

One issue is he will not stand up to her. I'm surprised the stress level in that house has not blown the roof off. There have been blow ups. But that was between the wife and mil. Bil won't say anything. My husband has tried to get his brother to stand up to her but he won't. He's tried talking to my mil but she refuses to discuss it with him. She has admitted to me that she's encouraged bil to get a divorce. I let her know I disagreed with her and she should be showing them support, not trying to split them up. She didn't speak to me for days on that one. It was kind of peaceful. :-) But she refuses to listen. I have no doubt in my mind that if she didn't live with them, they would have no major issues. SHe is their issue.

And she does not live directly in the house with them. WHen they decided to get married, they converted the 2 car garage into a beautiful apartment for her. They invested a lot of money and had it done really, really nice. That still doesn't keep her from coming in and saying/doing anything she pleases.

So please think it through and talk to your husband about it.



answers from Lakeland on

Hi there. I think this is a possible temporary solution as long as a few factors are in place:
1) It's temporary and you and your husband have a well thought-out plan and solution for getting out, whether that includes your husband starting a new career, getting some addition training/education, whatever.
2) Your husband is strong enough to stand up to his mother when needed.
3) You and your husband are a unified front against any of her onslaughts. You need to know he's not going to switch sides on you.
4) Set some ground rules with her before you guys sign the papers. She is not to a,b,c. You will respect her as far as a,b,c. Put them in writing. If she starts nosing around, call her out.

If you can establish boundaries and not feel too sheepish because it is her house (truth is, if you are paying the taxes and doing the upkeep you have every right to be there and to defend your rights), then you guys might be able to make it work. A lot of families, especially in other countries and cultures, have extended families living in the same home and it works just fine.

That said, with your MIL's track record, I would seriously consider some of the suggestions from the other posters and make sure your husband and you have a strong united front before moving forward with this.

Good luck!



answers from Tampa on

Hi A., Im sorry about your situation. I think the biggest thing is for you and your husband to discuss a time frame when you want to be out of her house by. When my husband and I 1st moved here we lived with my mother-in-law and I think the key is to know its not permanent, also make sure you and your husband are open and honest about everything and that your on the same team no matter what. Luckily my mother-in-law annoyed my husband as much as me. I would sit with your husband and make a plan for when you want to be out by then discuss it with his mother. Good luck to you :)



answers from Tampa on

Don't do it!! Since there is a downturn in the real estate market, I am sure you can find a house to rent. Why is your husband not working? And how far is the house from the mil? If it's far enough, then maybe. But I don't think it's a good idea. Maybe you could get some insight from the brother and his wife? Like I said before, DON'T DO IT. You will regret it.



answers from Tampa on

My mother-in-law is the sweetest woman alive but I honestly couldn't live with her. She used to visit us for a month at a time when she was visiting from up north and it drove me crazy. She was a big help but she also hovered when I did things like cooking or giving the kids a bath. I didn't have any privacy at all. She's also a smoker and she burned holes in my carpet, blankets and the couch on different occasions. Most times she smoked outside but ocassionally she'd forget and smoke in the house.

One thing, I found out was she enjoyed her cocktails in the evening. As a result, she fell down many times at night when she got up to use the bathroom sometimes she would get black eyes from the falls. I felt like I was taking care of another child. These are the weird things you find out about a person that you didn't know about until they start living with you. She always came across as very sensible, normal and fun. Then I discovered from her visits that she was anorexic and bullemic all her life, she drank heavily every night and was miserable being married to my father-in-law.

Anyway, she eventually decided she wanted to move down here permanetly but get her own apartment. She stayed with us for a week and I immediately found her something. We've been getting along fine ever since. I think I helped her to get healthy and I think she stopped drinking.

Best of luck with your decision.

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