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Just a vent, because I can't talk about this to anyone I know

ok, absolutely cannot stay in this house with the kids much longer or I'll go insane. DIL is a serious harpie and that's putting it very nicely. Both she and son take advantage of me, leaving the house whenever they choose without even telling me. Leaving me with the grandkids like I'm a built in babysitter. Never giving a thought to what I might have planned. Doctor and physical therapy appts that I can't take the grandkids to. Leaving the house in a terrible mess -- piles of dirty laundry all over the laundry room floor, piles of dirty dishes in the sink and all over the counter, overflowing garbage bags that they should be taking out but leave heaped up near the front door. If I do the cleaning, DIL yells at me for trying to "take over the household". If I don't do the cleaning, DIL yells at me and tells me I'm lazy, because I'm home all day and have plenty of time to take care of it. I should just change my name to Hazel Burke. As in Hazel the maid, from the old 1960s tv show. I never should have let them move me in here with them. Shouldn't have listened when they said it was to help me rest, recuperate, and pay off my medical bills without having to worry about rent and utilities at my own place.

Sat. Jun 30, 1:27am

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sounds like you need to call a family meeting after the grand kids go to bed to bed tonight. talk it out calmly. even though your family members are acting like jerks (sorry) I'm sure they honestly do care for you and have your best interest at heart. maybe you can make it work... in the meantime, you should have a backup plan... maybe the way your family is acting is the best they can give, they can treat you crappy and still love you, but you definitely need to set up some rules and boundaries, whether you stay or decide to leave.

Saturday, June 30, 2012, 4:40 AM

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This is YOUR home? It sounds like you've been playing too nice and they're walking all over you, intentionally or not. Sit em down, and either lay down some new rules to living in your home or give em a time frame to find their own place and stick to it.

Saturday, June 30, 2012, 3:06 PM

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Even if it's their home, you need to feel at peace. Start looking for new options that will fit your financial budget. Because it is their home, it will be difficult to set boundaries. On the other hand, you did not move in to become babysitter and maid. Graciously thank them and move on. All the best.


Sunday, July 01, 2012, 12:32 PM

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I agree with the person who said "call a meeting." You adults all need to calmly agree what the expectations and responsibilities are. It may be, for instance, that you expect a cleaner house than they would ordinarily keep, and that they haven't considered a way to deal with that other than to expect you to do it. When households merge even people who honestly love and respect each other have to consciously map out problems and agree on specific adjustments. It doesn't just happen by itself.

Monday, July 02, 2012, 1:19 PM

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Please keep us updated on how you are doing!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 10:34 AM

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DIL apologized to me this morning and told me she really appreciates evertything I do to try to keep the house neat and clean. Said she's sorry she comes home every day and harps at me and will try not to do it anymore.

Not sure how sincere the apology was, or whether she can actually keep her promise. But I know they feel they need me here to watch the kids while they are at work. At least until school starts. They can't afford camp or child care. So that may be why she apologized. To keep me from moving before Sept.

Anyway, I do love them all and I know they all love me. There just doesn't seem to be enough respect here. And there certainly isn't enough caring about cleanliness. So I'm looking for a place to move into and call my own. If it's in a good neighborhood near everything I need, and is handicap accessible and affordable, I'll even be happy with a studio or efficiency. Someplace that I can keep clean to my own standards, that will allow me privacy and my personal alone time.

Then I'll get together with them over dinner at a restaurant or something from time to time. They'll have 3 months to figure out arrangements for the kids during winter break from school...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012, 7:17 PM

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I must be a really tough choice to make, moving out, especially since it's family... but no one likes feeling used, and it seems that might be your case. I'm sorry you are feeling this way. I hope your family relationships are only strengthened, not diminished.

I hope it all works out for you. Sending you much love and strength right now.

Thursday, July 05, 2012, 3:24 AM

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Nothing I do or say is ever good enough. If something in the house goes wrong it's automatically my fault & DIL reams me out. A/C thermostat started acting up and her preset temps for daytime & night time went all wonky. She yelled at me for changing them and told me not to touch the thermostat 'or else'. Well I never touched it since I've been in this house. Maybe one of the kids, maybe it's just malfunctioning. Same with the clothes washer. It's making a loud rumbling noise now and of course that is my fault.

I said no thank you when she offered some fruits and veggies she bought that had stickers saying they were from China and Mexico, because those countries use lots of pesticides that have been banned in the US. She told me to shut up and stop spewing all this racist junk in front of her children. Yes! She says I am a racist because I don't want to eat foods from countries that use dangerous pesticides!

On top of that, practically everything I do and every word that comes out of my mouth is perceived as insulting to her. If she makes a meal of pork chops, french fries and mac & cheese, I don't eat any of it because (1) I don't eat pork, (2) french fries + mac & cheese is a very bad/high glycemic/non-nutritious choice for a diabetic. If I make myself a salad or steam some veggies to go with a baked salmon filet instead of eating what she prepared, I have offended her terribly and insinuated that she's a terrible cook and a rotten mother for feeding her children crap.

Other things that offend her:
I go to bed too early (9:30-10pm)
I bathe too often (every morning)
I wash my hair too often (every other day)
I rinse my mouth with a mixture of peroxide & water before brushing (dentist told me to do this, but she says it give the kids the impression I am drinking it, therefore I am endangering them)
I buy my own toilet paper, soap, shampoo, etc for my bathroom & she thinks I'm being snooty by snubbing the brands she buys, but I'm just trying to not add extra expense to the household by being here

I think it boils down to the fact that DIL hates me being in her house, but she feels she needs me to be here to watch the kids so they don't have to miss work or pay for child care. Because she was also tremendously offended when I mentioned that I was looking for a studio or 1 br apt to move into. But if I'm such a terrible role model and poor example, according to her, why does she try to talk me out of wanting to move???

Saturday, July 07, 2012, 4:45 PM

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Sounds like you need out. I hope you find a place soon! Good luck!!

Saturday, July 07, 2012, 5:05 PM

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Whoo! It sounds to me as if maybe your son invited you to stay without consulting his wife first! This actually did happen in a couple I know, where the husband invited his father to stay with them without ever even running it by his wife. Then he wondered why she was offended.

Perhaps you will get an opportunity to tell your DIL, kindly, that you have lived in your own household for many years, and are as set in your ways (brand preferences, food preferences, bedtime) as she is in hers, and that it is just how you have always done things, not a judgement on her. And why is she so sensitive? Is she constantly criticized at work, or by your son, or by a false friend? Maybe if you could get to the root of that it would help her.

Saturday, July 07, 2012, 6:03 PM

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6:03 again... With a suggestion, which you are free to take or not.

It has served me well, for many years: When someone offers me something special, especially from their hand to mine, I take it with thanks. Even if it is something that is against my principles or diet, I take a little. Double for food, actually -- "breaking bread" is such a strong metaphor in our culture.

I am a vegetarian, but (I mean this literally and am not making it up.) when an impoverished shepherd gave me mutton he had cooked, I took it and ate it. It was the best thing he could think to give me.

Likewise, I think I would have taken Mexican vegetables once, anyway. Ask yourself, did she shop specially for you, in ignorance of pesticides? It doesn't sound as if she usually thinks too much about veggies.

I know you are in a hugely stressful situation, with very justified resentments! But you are also the more experienced human being :-) plus you have all this support here :-) and it may be more in your power to de-escalate this terrible interaction. If you can accept sometimes, that is a gift of approval to her for any little effort she makes.

Saturday, July 07, 2012, 6:19 PM

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