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MIL expects us to "sign up" to do chores for her

Posted by Anonymous
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MIL's DH (FIL) died about 3 months ago. MIL  is 67 years old. As usual when a tragedy happens and it has been 3 months, help from church and family and friends has pretty much stopped. MIL can't drive, she never really did. When she was in her 20s and 30s, she would drive only when she absolutely had to but once BIL (her oldest child) turned 16 and started driving, she never drove because either her DH would drive or her son. She has 3 children, BIL, SIL and DH. Both sons are married and all three have their children (SIL is divorced). She has decided that since people are no longer calling to see what they can do to help her (because we have our own lives, all 3 of her kids works full time,  BIL and his wife, who is a SAHM have 3 kids, SIL has 2 and I am pregnant with number 5, I am also a SAHM ) she is going to start up a sign up sheet. She started it with me by giving me a paper with all of the chores she needs doing, told me and DH to fill out what we want and then pass it on. Then she said to keep passing it around until all the blanks are full then give it to her and she will make a copy for everyone. She said "if everyone does their share, it shouldn't be too much for anyone". "their share" I didn't know that I am responsible for MIL but whatever

I no longer have it but this is what it looked like

Driving to and from doctors appointments and/or stores (and she sees some kind of doctor about once a week):

Monday morning 9-12  ____________

Wednesday 9-12 ____________

Friday 9-12 ___________________

church on Sunday drop off at 8am pick up at 12________ (none of us go to her church BTW)

Yard work (raking leaves, mowing grass, trimming the hedges, cleaning out gutters, whatever needs to be done that week)

1st Saturday of the month __________

2and Saturday of the month __________

3ird Saturday of the month ___________

4th Saturday of the month ____________

5th Saturday of the month, if there is one_________

I spoke with DH about it and we decided to put at the bottom this note:

"While we will be happy to help where we can, we con not commit ourselves to a regular schedule. If you need anything, please just call us and if we can, we will help"

our names

SIL (DH's sister) got the sheet yesterday from us and looked at it and told me that we are being very cold and that since I am home, I should be willing to at least give up a morning to two a week to help out MIL. Well sorry, I am about to have my 5th child, if I could commit certain days to someone besides my children or my DH, I would get a job. I don't want to be put in the position where if I can't take MIL on "my day" because something is going on with my kids (someone is sick, has a doctor apt, field trip) plus, I will have the baby in January so I am not going to be going anywhere I don't have to go to.

I have talked to my other SIL (BIL's wife, who I am closer to) and while she hasn't gotten the sign up sheet yet, she agrees with me. We also decided to see what we can do to shorten that list. Our first thought is church. We figured that if we called the pastor of her church SOMEONE would be willing to take her. He said he will bring it up on Wednesday to the deacons but he said he was 100% sure that he would be able to find and married deacons (so his wife would be there too) who would be happy to drive her to and from church.

Our next thought was lawn service. Me and SIL realized that with other SIL being single, our DH would be over there ever other Saturday, when they should be spending time with us and their children. We found a lawn service that charges $90 a month. During the spring and summer, they come every week. During the fall and winter, every 2 weeks (there is no snow here so no worries about that). If we all get together, that's only $30 a month so we could give that to MIL as part of her Christmas. 

As for transportation, well unfortunately, there is no senior transit in our area but we thought if MIL needs a ride somewhere, call us. If no one is available, maybe just take a cab.

I called other SIL to see if she would be willing to help pay for the lawn service and we told her of our other plans to limit the help MIL needs from us. She again told me that I am a horrible, cold DIL and so is SIL if she agrees with this. Seriously, I am offering what I can. I am sure MIL won't be happy with this because it's not what she wanted but she can accept it graciously or we won't pay our share of the lawn service and she can forget about calling me for rides.

What would you do in my situation?

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:19 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Platinum Member on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:22 AM
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I think you are trying to be accommodating and realistic

by on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM
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Call around to different high schools. Some of them offer free lawn care to help students get the needed community service hours to graduate.
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by Anonymous 2 on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

How physically able is she? Can you (as a family) devote a few months towards helping her become more self-reliant?
It sucks that many people from that generation had such clearly defined gender roles because now they're really struggling as widows/widowers. 

by Anonymous 3 on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM
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 You sound very reasonable actually.  It's time the woman learned to take care of herself.  I find it unreal that she actually expected you all to do all this.  Does she own a car? 

by on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM
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She needs help she is still grieving and....... I think nothing she is asking is excessive. You do for your family, you care for them even if its inconvient.
by on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM
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So you MIL wants you to cart her and 5 kids to her doctor appts, grocery store, and other errands. That sounds like fun! I agree with you. Help when you can, but how can you commit to these things.

by Anonymous 4 on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM
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Why not just put her in an assisted living facility or adult community? If she's not willing to take care of her home/property then maybe it's time for that step.
by on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM
Sounds like you are being reasonable. Sounds like SIL is taking the situation in a direction that will end up with her being the main caretaker, because she refuses to get her emotions in check and accept reality.
by Platinum Member on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM
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Your solutions are reasonable and respectful.  

You have offered to give her assistance.  Just because it isn't in the form that d her face time doesn't mean that it is cruel.

I would recommend that along with your offer you include a promise that you will have her over for dinner at least once a month.  I suspect part of this is because she wants to SEE everyone, not just be cast aside.

by Anonymous 5 on Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM

she is 67- she can't do things on her own?  get the lawn service. i would help out- but i wouldn't commit to a 

sign up sheet either. she can take a cab for her doctor appts if no one is able to drive her. heck my parents are still going in their early 70's. 

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