News: There is a new Ehell Kindness Project!  Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • May 28, 2016, 09:18:40 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Problems with SIL and our family unit  (Read 308 times)

8 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

saturngoddess

  • Member
  • Posts: 2
Problems with SIL and our family unit
« on: Today at 07:18:52 PM »
Hi All -

I'll try to make this short.  I'm really in a quandary and I figured that you fine folks would be able to help relieve my stress level with SIL.

DH and I have been married for 28 years.  We've lived with his mom for the last 13 to take care of her in her house after she had a stroke.  DH's brother and sister lived on opposite coasts and wanted nothing to do with changing their lives, until last year when SIL decided that she wanted to move in with us since her mom is declining and she didn't like her job anymore.   She moved from the East coast and hasn't ever been married.  She's 55 and has only lived alone. 

So, 2 problems have arisen from this.   When birthdays come around, my MIL has always treated both myself and my husband (her son) whenever we have gone out to celebrate birthdays.  SIL doesn't understand why MIL should pay for me when it's DH's birthday. 

Second problem:  We have a housekeeper that comes every 2 weeks due to my MIL's request.  DH and I and MIL have traded off paying for this housekeeper (we pay one tuesday, next MIL pays).  Now, because SIL has moved in, and is using 2 rooms and the bathroom (not the master) and the kitchen, we feel that she should be included in the rotation for the housekeeper.   We (DH, I and SIL) use the upstairs and the kitchen, MIL uses the downstairs, bathroom, maids quarters, and her caregiver uses the kitchen).   For some reason, SIL believes we should count bodies instead of units.   

I don't know whether it's because she has never been married, or she just thinks that she is getting the raw end of the deal (which she isn't as I do more of the cleanup of the kitchen than anyone - she doesn't do her dishes), but the stress from dealing with this is making more health issues for me. 

BTW- DH will not move out.  He doesn't feel SIL gives his mom the care she deserves (they fight like cats and dogs).  I'd love to move, as the last 12 years have been hard, but I love hubby. 

How would you handle this?

Thanks!!!



Nikko-chan

  • Member
  • Posts: 3350
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #1 on: Today at 07:34:51 PM »
I would personally tell moochy sil to help around the house as well as help pay for house keeper. If she can do neither of these things she can get out. I think her moving back was not just a way to be closer to her mother,  but a way for her to get free housekeeping etc.

ladyknight1

  • Member
  • Posts: 12037
  • Not all those who wander are lost
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #2 on: Today at 07:35:00 PM »
I would have a family meeting with the four of you who live in the house. You need to discuss usage of the home, finances and what traditions will continue and what need to change.

Anyone who tries to unilaterally control a situation like this will cause friction. I hope things work out for all involved.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

sammycat

  • Member
  • Posts: 7333
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #3 on: Today at 07:56:39 PM »
I would personally tell moochy sil to help around the house as well as help pay for house keeper. If she can do neither of these things she can get out. I think her moving back was not just a way to be closer to her mother,  but a way for her to get free housekeeping etc.

Pod to all, especially the part I bolded.

saturngoddess

  • Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #4 on: Today at 07:58:29 PM »
Thanks.   

Unfortunately, MIL is on the decline with Alzheimers.  The stroke she had 13 years ago, and her age (87) has made MIL not remember a few things and she won't stand up to SIL.  SIL and DH are in charge of her checkbook as she couldn't remember to write down checks and it was a nightmare between the time she was losing it and finally realized she couldn't handle it anymore.

My DH's brother is married and so is DH, so I have a feeling this may be a jealousy issue. We have 2 kids, and a grandkid but all of them avoid Aunt Crazy if possible. 


There has been much discontent in DH's family because of my family - my family was overly generous at Christmas (my parents are divorced so it seemed over excessive to my DH's family and they let me know it all the time).  So, to avoid this, DH and I and the kids put up a separate small tree in our room, so that we could celebrate in peace.  That seemed to send my SIL over the moon.  I explained that just because we moved back in with her mom (which she wasn't doing BTW), doesn't mean that our family unit doesn't exist and we can and will do some things separately.

It still bugs her to this day.  I don't think she understands what a "family unit" is even though she lived in one as a child. 

Anyway - MIL is pretty much with us one minute and not sure the next, so a family meeting would only result in anger from the SIL.  She just doesn't know how to live with others - she puts herself first at every time and doesn't understand communication etc.  Can't kick her out because its not our house. 

Bales

  • Member
  • Posts: 311
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #5 on: Today at 08:12:01 PM »
I think you just have to keep living your boundaries, which is especially challenging when living under one roof with others.  The first problem you mention - the birthday dinners - doesn't seem like a problem.  "Because that's always been how she has treated DH for his birthday - to pay for both of us, since she wouldn't take only him out to dinner when we are a family unit."  If she still doesn't understand, well then tough.  And it sounds like the dinners may be coming to an end anyway if your MIL is not able to get out of the house much due to declining health.

Regarding the housekeeper, I'm curious if the fee went up due to extra cleaning?  If so, then it's reasonable to expect SIL to pay.  If not, then I'd say she benefits from the situation, but there's no reason to ask her to pay 1/3 of the time.  That doesn't mean she shouldn't clean up after herself regardless of whether she pays for the housekeeper.  I'd stop doing her dishes and remind her they are needing to be done, for example. 

Since a family meeting isn't possible, you can meet with her separately to discuss common household agreements, like advance notice if either of you will have company, maintaining general cleanliness, etc.  As you said, she's never lived with anyone, so she may not realize she has to compromise.  If she refuses, though, don't feel you have to back down.  Ask her to clean up her belonging, clean her dishes, etc.


#borecore

  • Member
  • Posts: 4640
  • Formerly marvellous, now a bore
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #6 on: Today at 08:18:38 PM »
I personally think it's fair for you to pay 1/2 of the cleaning bills.  Family units don't create messes, individuals do.

But jealousy room craziness or whatever are separate issues. I don't have an answer for how to handle that because I don't have a real understanding from your post what her issue actually is, or if it's just that you don't like her.

EllenS

  • Member
  • Posts: 4108
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #7 on: Today at 08:30:42 PM »
I think you deal with Sis like a sloppy roommate. Ask her what she thinks is reasonable, and tell her what you think is reasonable.

It is not reasonable for her to use dishes and never wash them. It is not reasonable for her to use a bathroom and other rooms and never take responsibility for keeping them clean. If she is willing to chip in but doesn't think 1/3 of the total is fair, I'd think about what % of the house each "unit" uses. You mentioned kids at one point. I don't think a single individual should have to pay as much for cleaning as a family of 4 or 5. If the kids don't live with you, then I think splitting the cleaning costs by individuals is reasonable.

Ask her whether she would rather pitch in on a regular rotation of kp and the housekeeping costs, or keep her housekeeping separate.

If she doesn't want to participate in the rotation, then the cleaner can skip her rooms. If she doesn't want to take turns with everybody's dishes, then she can stack and keep hers separate, and wash them on her own time.

There's no reason why she has to do things your way, but there's also no reason why you have to clean up after, or pay for, her.

Her opinions about birthdays and Christmas are just that-her opinions. You can simply ignore them.

Runningstar

  • Member
  • Posts: 627
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #8 on: Today at 09:04:10 PM »

  Can't kick her out because its not our house.

That is what I think might be most of SIL's issue, you are living in her mother's house.  Does SIL value the caretaking you have done?  Can other siblings move back in also?  I give you credit for doing this for MIL, it doesn't sound like it is easy. 

But as far as the housekeeping goes, if you have to pay more for cleaning because SIL is there, then that is one thing - but if the cost is the same I would just pay it as usual.  You might be able to use that as a "goodwill" gesture, and maybe DH could convince her to do her dishes in a timely manner. 




gramma dishes

  • Member
  • Posts: 9104
Re: Problems with SIL and our family unit
« Reply #9 on: Today at 09:16:50 PM »
...   SIL and DH are in charge of her checkbook as she couldn't remember to write down checks and it was a nightmare between the time she was losing it and finally realized she couldn't handle it anymore. ...
 

...  Can't kick her out because its not our house.

This is NOT legal advice and I don't want to start anyone else down that path either, but surely your husband and his mother and sister have established a power of attorney, made sure a will has been written, and made known in writing the mother's intentions  relating to what happens to the house after her death, right? 

Because it sounds to me like this may be the kind of concern that has prompted your SIL to come back home to "be with Mom".