MIL really pushing my buttons today

Sorry, I only ever seem to come here to moan … MIL has really wound me up today … called in with her weekly shopping this morning. She is housebound, cannot weight bear or transfer without help and has 4 home care visits a day.

Started with “Can you look in my cupboard as “the girls” (carers) are using all my best china”. I could only find one set of plates, so showed her … “yes, they need to be put away as I want to sell them” … its a basic, nothing-special tea set she bought with some money she was left about 30 years ago. I scoured kitchen and couldn’t find any other plates etc, so said these are the only ones (some have got broken over time). I asked who she is planning to sell them to, as no one would want to buy them … “Oh you will be surprised what they are worth, anyway, they have sentimental value so I need to keep them for best at any rate” … I just left them where they are and they will continue to be used.

Then it was “this place is a mess, look at the paintwork around that door, I will have to get someone to decorate” … granted there are a few chips, but nothing major. The carers have to get her in her Sara Stedy and wheel her to bedroom for commode as she refuses to have it brought to her in the lounge. This would be so much easier for them and her, but not the done thing. She is no lightweight and pushing the Sara on the carpet is not easy.

Then it was “Why is there long life milk in my cupboard” … I bought a few cartons back when virus issues started as milk was in short supply and she drinks gallons of tea a day. I said the date runs to November, so we will use up before then … “But I don’t like it” … FFS if there is no milk on the shelf she wouldn’t have any tea … thought I was planning ahead but gets thrown in my face as usual …

Then we hear all about her other son who is in OZ and has a shoulder injury, got to have physio, may even need an operation … Hubby (his brother) had exact same thing 2 years ago … had physio and acupuncture and still gets the odd twinge, but 90% better … so the full sob story about BIL for the 3rd time this week, we nod and smile in the right places. Then I get “Did you post his birthday card as still not arrived?” … I bought it, gave it to her, helped her write the hefty cheque she sent him, addressed the envelope and made a special trip to main post office as our village one has closed to post next day. “Oh as long as its on the way, sorry I didn’t give you much for your anniversary (last week), but didn’t have much cash in the house” … now that sounds like I am after her money which is far from the case, but a level playing field would be nice seeing as we do everything for her, but she just hangs on HIS every word of the fortnightly phone call … “besides, everything is so much more expensive over there”, she tells us …

Then I went to put away her laundry I do every week, and there was a note on dressing table confirming OT visit this week to give her a trial in a self-propelled wheelchair. She has obviously been on the phone to them again. Happens every few months as she has said to us before “I think I would be able to get myself around in a chair now”. She was assessed by physios before she left hospital 2 years back, and had insufficient arm strength to push herself along … if anything its got worse as carers struggle to move her on Sara Stedy as she can no longer hold on to it. Its all going to end in tears again if they bring her a chair to try, but I guess thats best way for her to understand, but we will have to pick up the pieces when she gets down about the situation all over again. She seems to think it will give her freedom and mobility, but she cannot get in or out of it herself, has a threshold ramp to get out of the house and won’t be able to push herself around anyway. She has a small-wheeled transit chair when she goes to her afternoon club once a week, and admitted that when she comes home and is left in it until the carers come at tea time, she uses her foot on the floor to pull herself along and has managed to get to across the room. I can see her trying this and tumbling to the floor … I would like to contact the OT to discuss it, but expect OT will then tell mum I had phoned them, and she will accuse me of interfering … She was saying recently she would love to be able to have a bath … I arrange via Case Co a daycare visit with bath and meal for her, all set up with transport etc, and she was really keen, but then cancelled it day before as she didn’t want to be mixing with “the old people” … she is 86!

Sorry for the rant … I know there are many here with much more serious issues, but she is so ungrateful … a little chipped paint on the door frame and using the wrong plates for her meals is so petty, and I shouldn’t let it wind me up, but there comes a point when … :frowning:

Sorry Witch Hazel that MIL was winding you up today, hope the rant helped.


My mum was very much the same, drove me nuts too.
In the end I gave up trying to please her, when counselling made me realise she would never be pleased.
Mum was a hoarder - it took us a year to empty the house when she finally went into residential care. Everything had a story, and mum wanted me to know each story.
In the end, I said “Sorry mum, I haven’t time for this” and left.
She had carers 3 times a day, a cleaner, and a gardener. I was newly widowed, newly disabled after a car accident nearly killed me, and I’d had cancer surgery 2 years previously. My son had severe learning difficulties, and my husband died suddenly, leaving me with 30 tons of lorry spares to deal with, yet still she “saved” jobs for me as I did them better, still wouldn’t let me cut back her plant that kept scratching my car (in the end I did it without her knowledge). My brothers never visited, seldom phoned, full of excuses. The sun shone out of their backsides, while I was hobbling around with a walking stick, in terrible pain, but expected to do her bidding.
Counselling was life changing. I learned how to manage the never ending stream of requests, saying I’d finish one before I started another, and did it incredibly slowly now and then.

Old people lose the ability to see how much others are running around them, their world has shrunk to just one room, they know their lives are drawing to a close. I never doubted that mum loved me, for one moment, but she was too ill to see what I was doing for her, when I was supposed to be in bed myself. They see every little blemish, day dream about what they think they can or will do, when in reality they won’t. It makes life more bearable.
Shopping was a perennial problem. I did my best, despite my stick. Mum desperately wanted some Nimble bread. I bought the nearest thing, but there was no Nimble. in the shop. Still mum kept on about it was the only bread… It’s really sad when someone craves a loaf of rubbish bread!
Let it wash over you, there is nothing you can change. Acknowledge there is a problem or a blemish, but say things like “I can’t deal with that at the moment”, so not actually saying No, even if it’s what you were thinking.

Thanks for replies … reading it back the next day makes me feel like a selfish cow, but it helps at the time to put it down on paper to get it off my chest. I often sit and write down my feelings and then read back and rip them up the next day … sorry I felt the need to rant here instead …

Hubby feels the same about the way she treats me/us, but I try to stop myself whinging to him about her all the time as she is his mother after all. My mum passed away 8 years ago this week, and although she too used to annoy me from time to time, it brings it home to me how much I run around after MIL and would love to still be able to do that for my own mum … just to have her back for a few days, weeks or months. I guess my emotions about that just made me more sensitive to the snappy comments yesterday and I took it to heart far more than usual.

Thank you … :slight_smile:

It was GOOD that you shared them with us, caring for someone who is not your own mum can be very different.

Neither she or your husband can force you to care, and it’s time you carved out more time for yourself, and also became less obliging to either of them. You are not their slave, nor their skivvy, you have just as much right to fulfil your own wishes.

Does your husband leave most of the caring to you?!

Hi, I’d be inclined to tell your husband he needs to be her primary carer after all its his Mum not yours. I do know that a lot of men will do nothing if they can get away with it. Can you talk to him about doing more?
Also I’d be inclined to get her some more crockery for her next birthday or Xmas, you can get cheap plates all all major supermarkets and they are really nice and reasonable.

When did you last have a holiday?
You are getting older too, and don’t have so much strength or stamina. It will soon be time for MIL to move into residential care with a team of carers.

I can identify with the selfishness of someone you are helping. My dad refused to accept any outsider care other than family. After a battle we got him to accept two visits from a carer each week. He’s now told the carer to only come once. Myself and my sister visit but are told what to do; mostly the garden front and back. He won’t accept a gardener to help. I feel I’m just responding to what whim he has each day; at the moment it’s weeds which we had agreed an approach to. He will change what or when we have agreed to tackle things eg goes and exhausts himself the next morning doing the weeds but then will ring up And rant that no one helps him. We work things so that he rarely has more than one day of no one visiting. As both my sister and I work it’s no easy feat. We find his refusal to accept help outside of the family is taking a toll. On us but also on the quality of our relationship with him. I feel quite resentful because even if I’m not visiting he will be recounting all the dissatisfaction he has on the phone. Meanwhile you are trying to live your own life, constantly trying to cope with all the feelings connected with this.

For the sake of your own sanity, change the way you deal with him. Firstly, stick to the tasks he says he wants doing. Go prepared for gardening, doesn’t want gardening, go home. Doesn’t want you to finish a job, go home. YOU are in control of your actions NOT HIM! The best thing to do is remove all the borders, just have grass, and a gardener. There is no other choice!

Omg witch hazel, totally totally empathise. On Monday after keeping me awake the whole night (literally 2 hours of sleep) my MIL dug her heels in about wanting to get out of bed as soon as her son left for work at 7am. Even though she cant bear any weight, to every reason I gave was the same response "but I want to get up now. In the end I gave in, couldn’t stand her up with Zimmer frame to sit on the wheelchair so I used the hoist with great difficult as she cant shift her weight go ger sling underneath I nearly dropped her from a height, then the struggle to get her back into bed - the dead weight I had to pull hurt my back. All of that through tears coz I’d lost it by then coz all my buttons zero through nine were pushed. The lack of appreciation, the absent daughter who doesn’t ask and doesnt care yet is the best thing - i could write a book!!! So yes, I feel your pain! I guess that’s why we’ve got each other on this forum. I get so sick of myself moaning but we all need a release from time to time, otherwise it boils inside us and cripples us. It sounds weird but its comforting to hear others are in the same boat. Its not that I revel in the difficulties of others, it’s just that it feels like I’ve joined a club where people ‘get it’ so rant away, you’re not alone.

Haven’t you done enough? Isn’t it time for residential care now?