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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know I'm putting myself at the risk of getting clobbered with comments about being selfish, but here goes.

Setup: I work overnight, then get our daughter ready for school, then sleep. My wife works dawn to afternoon, normally we have some family time, then I go to work...and she does our kid's bedtime routine.

My mother in law, who lives below us, fell walking to the bus to go to work nearly 2 weeks ago. She tore up her leg pretty bad. I didn't know how bad it was when I helped her back to her house and called an ambulance.

Yes, it is serious. My wife's mom has had surgeries and is going to need lots and lots of rehab. But she is alert and "being herself" according to my wife. Meaning, she's being very demanding and ordering my wife around. Her words.

My wife has been at the hospital every spare moment until she MUST be home so I can leave for work. On work days, she goes directly from the office in the afternoon. On off days, she goes from morning until about 5pm. She's telling me she's chasing down nurses, chasing down doctors to give them forms, going out on meal runs, and doing things like connecting electronic devices so her mom has her entertainment. I've been at home, picking up child, making sure homework gets done, washing dishes, folding clothes, and generally doing the housework that otherwise won't get done. Now she's thinking about backing out of an upcoming weekend out of town which revolves around a doctor's appointment for our daughter.

Things have been tense, as I have suggested that she's overdoing it a bit. There are other family members around, like her mom's sisters, but as she puts it, "I'm the daughter." OUR daughter, meanwhile, is acting out because mom isn't home. And I'm stuck with those tantrums and messes too.

I know I have to do my part...I even ensured she had a Valentine's Day gift today. But when I said I hadn't had a shower she said it was my fault for sleeping too late (did I mention I work overnights?)

I'm stressed. I know she is too.
 

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For what my opinion is worth, I agree with you. Her own family (you and children) should be her first priority especially since the MIL situation is not an emergency any longer.

At a minimum she should be working out a schedule between herself, the MIL's sisters and any other family that is close by to take turns visiting MIL. That would have her visiting MIL at most one or two days per week.

Have you told her that her child is starting to act out from missing having her family intact? She needs a wakeup call.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I have. She is aware. I've basically been told to handle it. I was also criticized for relaxing a "no TV" punishment for an hour so I could get housework done. I like your idea about her working out a schedule with them. They all work full-time though, so it's tricky. At least they are available evenings, which my wife is not. They are, as a family, not very good at planning and coordinating. Nevertheless, I will make the suggestion.
 

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I agree with you too OP. I understand her popping daily to the hospital, but she doesn't need to stay for hours, or do the "meal runs". Hospitals have meals, if your MIL doesn't like them too bad.

The only exception to this would be if her mum was terminal, in that case yes, you would be being selfish. That's not the case here though, your wife needs to be told.
 

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I once had surgery that kept me in the hospital for about 8 days. My husband came to visit me every day but for only a couple of hours, enough time to go out to dinner and come back. I just don't recall my needing him t chase down doctors and nurses.

Is it possible to ensure that her mother has access to a TV and few magazines. Or if she is "high-tech savvy" access to the internet.

So, yes, whatever role your wife is acting out on....... does she feel like the unloved daughter and she hopes to make a go of it in her mother's moment of need or what?

Other than being direct with your wife and perhaps visiting your MIL to tell her as well what's going on at home, I'm not sure what else to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My wife is an only child. But yes, I think she is trying to win favor. She and her mom have a strange sort of codependent but not at all warm relationship. She has even admitted she's trying to "be the good daughter." And that her mother is lonely, and she's vulnerable. But I think it's more out of fear of repercussions, or what her mother might say or do, if she isn't there enough. Because that's just the type of woman her mother is. The smallest thing, like a comment, has sparked a war in the past.
 

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My wife is an only child. But yes, I think she is trying to win favor. She and her mom have a strange sort of codependent but not at all warm relationship. She has even admitted she's trying to "be the good daughter." And that her mother is lonely, and she's vulnerable. But I think it's more out of fear of repercussions, or what her mother might say or do, if she isn't there enough. Because that's just the type of woman her mother is. The smallest thing, like a comment, has sparked a war in the past.
She's trying to be the perfect daughter, over the top caring and helpful, just to get one smidgen of her mother's gratitude. To finally get that approval and sense of being needed by her mother. She believes that doing so will finally win her mother's love and end all the criticism forever.

I think you need to remind her that it's a pointless battle and it is more important that she be a better mother to her daughter.
 

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If your wife is hooking up electronics for her, the MIL can't be THAT needy.

Nurses can handle her basic needs just fine. A daily, brief visit is to be expected, but not hours every day.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Today she took a half personal day from work, went to the hospital at 10, returned home at 4, and went directly to the computer to work on her mom's insurance forms more.

Our daughter, who I'd just taken to dance class, wanted to play Wii. I'm scheduled to drive my 25 miles to work in an hour.

For the next hour, "Daddy, tie my doll's shoes. Daddy, I want a different game. Daddy, I can't make this shot. Daddy helllllllp." I'm trying to wash dishes and clean mud out of a rug. Daughter needs attention.

Finally, after stopping for x, y, and z, I snapped. "FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF!!!"

Wife emerges from computer desk and asks me why I lost my temper. Cue big fight. "EIGHT HOURS!!" I said. I'm told I'm being as needy as our child. And if I can't handle this, go live with my dad.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It appears she doesn't care if she's married to you or not.
Sometimes. But I think it's just tempers. Each day the steam valves have needed to be opened. I just hate for our daughter to keep seeing it.

We are still in love, crazy as it seems.

Ironically, it was always her mom living downstairs, meddling, that caused friction before...but because she was gone working all week, it wasn't this bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Visitng hours are as long as 6 hours at some hospitals?

Even Miss Manners says 15 to 39 minutes is sufficient.
I would even understand 2 hours, being she's the only child and her mom's sisters are tied up at work.

Apparently, it's the insurance forms...ensuring that she gets paid while in the hospital. But easily 25 hours spent at the hospital each week? And she says this may continue on our little trip out of town, so have my Fax app installed. Holy crow.
 
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