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Wife vs Mom a constant battle

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This topic contains 31 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by avatar JD 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #759648 Reply

    Eight years ago my wife and I decided to buy a bigger house to accommodate an in-law apartment for my parents (her idea). My fathers health was failing and their financial situation wasn’t that good. Both parents were in their 70’s.
    After 2-1/2 “hard” years of dealing with dementia, 10 months ago my father passed away, I know my mother still struggles with losing him and I still have my moments.
    When we first moved into the house as one big happy family (their apartment is completely separate, its own deck area in the back, and their own entrance). Someone told me once to beware “Two women can’t live together under the same roof” I know this is a completely stupid statement and I dismissed the comment as chauvinistic and ignorant.
    However, in these last few years I have noticed a building atmosphere between my wife and my mother.
    I try to appease everyone,
    My wife gets upset if I spend time talking to my mother or fixing maintaining things for her now my dad is gone. She claims my mother sucks me into her world of sadness and it changes my mood around everyone else.
    My mother, doesn’t get upset with my wife but she always plays the “woe is me card”
    – “why is “wife” so upset with me all the time?”,
    – “What did I do this time?”,
    – “Well I guess I should just keep my mouth shut and I won’t upset “wife”. And many other comments. They don’t hate each other, quite the contrary, but I think my wife believes my mother oversteps “a boundary” in the grand scheme of our home.
    I’m trying my hardest to give my wife “the world” and also be there for my mom when she needs to talk to someone.
    I know it’s not my place to fix my mothers life, she needs to move on and start this new phase of her life without my dad.
    I have a lot of complicated decisions to make in regards to work and our future, both my kids have moved back home and one of them has my grandson of 3, and a fiancé. (None are working at the moment).
    I have never felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders, I just work hard support my family and live life, that’s the life I chose and it’s never felt like a struggle.
    But now I feel torn apart, the atmosphere between my wife and mother can be gut-wrenching. The current household situation with all the kids can be stressful to say the least (for my wife). Sometimes I just want to shut out the world, walk away from this all….. Buy I’m not a quitter, I want this to work.
    We are in our 50’s and I thought we are supposed to be enjoying this part of our lives, not fighting with each other and arguing about how to handle family members.
    What am I missing here?
    Can this be fixed?
    Do I step back and let them have it out with each other?
    God knows I’ve asked for some direction in handling this the right way.

    #759649 Reply

    I’m sorry you are going through this! Sounds like a lot. Is it possible to set a schedule? For example, you spend a couple of evenings a week with your mom for a set amount of time. Then also schedule entire family time and wife time. Maybe if there is a schedule where your wife knows you’ll be spending an hour or two with mom on a regular schedule it will ease tensions? Just a thought. I hope you are able to work through everything!

    P.S. I totally get the want to drop everything and leave. Of course it’s not the solution but I feel you. I’ve been feeling that way myself!

    #759651 Reply

    It sounds like your wife is exhausted with all these people in your home. On top of mom there are both your kids and a child. This is exhausting for anyone let alone someone who didn’t expect a toddler in their home. Have you fully discussed this with her? Asked her why she is stressed? What could change. Frankly I would lose my damn mind with that many people milling about my home. I wouldn’t want to be there. I think you two need to have a big talk. Did you ASK her if the kids could move in or did you just let it happen? it sounds like she could be resentful and exhausted with it.

    #759652 Reply

    I should note I don’t think your mother and wife are the main issue. You really buried the lead with three more people suddenly moving in. I think it is ALL of it that’s the issue.

    #759656 Reply

    It’s sounds likely that your wife needs some time with you, without your various family members around. It’s is nice to be there for and share your grief with your mother, but she also needs to find an outlet. I like the scheduling idea. Schedule a date night with your wife once a week. Spend 2 hours with your mom 1-3 times a week, but you should also help her find a social outlet, a grief group, a volunteer position, a club or something else for her. Maybe she could babysit your grandchild part time. is helpful, or even check your local library for events.

    You should also insist your child and hopefully the fiancée get a job ASAP. You should not be carrying everyone. Almost all the people mentioned could work or volunteer and that can also be a social outlet.

    #759657 Reply

    The biggest issue I see here is three adults (2 kids + fiancé) living with you and not working. Why are they not working? If they absolutely cannot find any type of gainful employment (really?) why aren’t *they* helping out with stuff around your mom’s apartment? Seriously, you can’t do everything. They have to pitch in.

    #759658 Reply

    “I should note I don’t think your mother and wife are the main issue. You really buried the lead with three more people suddenly moving in. I think it is ALL of it that’s the issue.”

    Four people – both kids, the fiance, and the grandkid.

    I agree that this, if not the cause, is a significant stressor.

    #759664 Reply
    Northern Star

    I agree with the others. Your deadbeat kids are probably the reason your wife is suddenly resenting the time you’re spending with your mother.

    She’s dealing with three moochers and a young child underfoot all the time, while you’re off fixing someone else’s space and coming home sad and probably a little worn out. She’s probably worn out, too. It sounds absolutely AWFUL for both of you. You said, “Sometimes I just want to shut out the world, walk away from this all…” I’m sure your wife feels the same.

    Time for a come-to-Jesus meeting with your jobless kids and the fiance. They need to pull their weight by getting a job (and then moving out) or helping with Grandma (support for whatever she needs) or taking on household repairs/chores (so they’re not waiting for you or your wife to handle). Or you need to kick them out. This can’t go on.

    #759671 Reply

    Can you afford to take your wife on a vacation?

    #759676 Reply
    Advice guru
    #759677 Reply

    I’d give the adult kids a deadline for employment. They can at least get jobs in fast food or waiter/waitress in a restaurant. Give them something like two weeks and then quit feeding them. Explain the rules before they go into effect. Don’t cook them meals and don’t clean up after them. If they leave a mess in the kitchen they get banned from using the kitchen. Treat them like adults rather than children. I get not wanting to kick them out because that would mean the grandchild was kicked out and young children need stability and a secure home and need to be fed and clothed. I’d feed and cloth the grandchild and try in every way to meet their needs but I wouldn’t do the same for the parents.

    Think about your expectations and discuss this with your wife and come up with a joint list of requirements. Some suggestions.

    An adult works.
    An adult feeds themself.
    An adult buys their own clothes.
    An adult provides their own transportation.
    An adult does their own laundry.
    An adult cleans up after themself in the kitchen.
    An adult does their share of household chores.

    What is a reasonable list for you and your wife? Can you come up with a list of chores that are split between the five adults living in your area of the house? Can you come up with a list of expenses that each person will pay? If they don’t do their share then have consequences.

    #759723 Reply

    Thank you all with your input/support, my thoughts were the same as your suggestions but I wasn’t sure if I should act on them. My wife is my world, and my mom is my mom. But you all hit it on the head, I am so focused on trying to make everyone happy that I miss the attention and needs of my “one and only”. She needs to come first, the others WILL pitch in and help it isn’t an option for them.

    I have never gone on one of these forum sites because I usually speak to my wife when I have these issues……we always work together and find a solution (30 years worth).

    As much as we are all strangers on this platform the input from an outside prospective helps clear my mind and offers guidance and ideas.
    I hope to update this situation one day soon with positive news.
    Once again, thank you all

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