MIL--what's yours like?

No, not military. I mean the dreaded Mother-In-Law. Mine asks for money.

I should write to Dr. Laura, really. I don't know what I should be doing. Giving money, not giving money? Seems like every time we get some savings put away, she has a crisis and it completely wipes us out and we go back to living paycheck to paycheck. Not that we're hard up, but still..

Voyeur's picture

I got lucky, I love my MIL. I like her better than my own mother most of the time. If you asked my husband what he thought about his MIL, I'm sure the response would be quite different hehe.

I have a friend who's MIL is kind of like yours, except that she asks for money and favors (rides to places, etc) constantly so they've just started ignoring her. If I were you I'd let your partner know that you really feel like you should be putting your own family (self, husband, children) first and say no, because gods forbid YOU should have a crisis that requires your savings there won't BE a savings because the money keeps going to your MIL. Helping out a little is one thing but don't give her everything you've got, you have to look out for yourselves as well.

VoyeurSM's picture

... and the more horror stories I hear about people's in-laws, the more greatful I am that mine adore me to pieces. Seriously, the biggest issue I ever had with my FiL was competing football teams. I miss him a lot. My MiL thinks I'm the best of the women her sons chose, and that's not cause I gave them the best granddaughter ever. I wish she lived closer so we could take care of her, but she threw a huge fit when we offered to move to KC to keep her out of a home.

Gudy's picture


Her worst traits are that she gets way less done these days than she thinks, occasionally leaving us hanging when we rely on her to do something, and that she spoils our daughter rotten, even in cases when we make it explicit that she really shouldn't. I don't have many complaints otherwise, and if my wife looks half as good as her mother when she has reached her age, I'll count myself a lucky bastard indeed.

Katie, I don't know if you're looking for advice, and it seems hard to give good advice not knowing the specifics, but I think you might want to look long and hard at whether your MIL just has shitty luck or whether you're enabling her in some way. In the latter case I think a talk with your hubby about financial priorities might be in order.

Beebalm's picture

My friend has a Mother-in-Law about like yours. Of course the actual son complains about it more than she does. Basically the woman would mismanage her finances and then call up asking for money because she hadn't eaten in days, or some such nonsense. Now, once they finally have a leg up in the world, the mother-in-law had a heart attack (40 years of not seeing the doctor or taking blood pressure medicine) and they're looking at an in-home care bill because the doctors will not sign the paper saying she cannot live on her own, despite the fact she is not capable of living alone any more.

Oh, and in her senility she's prone to random outbursts against her daughter-in-law. that. don't. make. sense.

Nye's picture


There are some things that I like about her, many things I admire about her, and we get along fairly well. On the other hand she has a number of serious faults.

She's an alcoholic workaholic with serious medical issues that she ignores completely. She spends money like water and cannot budget, even if her life depends on it. She has expensive tastes. She yells. She demands that others take care of the things that she doesn't want to deal with, which can be a lot. She is horribly and irrevocably computer illiterate. She has no attention span.

She has 3 doctorates and multiple degrees (6?). She has wonderful taste, loves her son, is loyal to her family. She has business and professional contacts that are amazing and has done some great things. She's built up her own company, and works her butt off to make it succeed.

TheFerret's picture


Katie -

I do highly recommend sitting down with the hubby and discussing the family (YOUR family) priorities, especially financial right now, then. The top priority of anyone has got to be to get that safety net in place for "just in case"!! If it's paycheck to paycheck, then all you need is one medium-sized crisis, and you're in real trouble. (now ask me if we've managed to do that yet).

My advice would be to put away what you can, and never let that stash get below a particular level while you're building it. The level has to keep, rising of course, but AFTER your stash gets over your current minimum level, THEN help the mil, but never ever when risking your own families security.

And how's mine? She drives me nuts. She's a type 2 diabetic who will NOT stick to a good diet. She does have some muscle wasting disease and seems to use it as an excuse to not do things, like climb stairs, bend over, walk very far etc.

BUT - she babysits my girls, her grandkids for pretty much FREE. She buys medicine for friends who desperately need some & can't scrape the $$ up for it. She combs yard sales (by phone, even) for a very particular Betty Crocker cook book because another friend lost everything in a tornado, including her own mother's betty crocker book. She really has one of the largest hearts I know.

And we're both so similar we can drive each other up the wall in under 30 seconds.

A's picture


I second TheFerret's financial advice. Emphatically.

Katie's picture


It just seems so WRONG that she asks us for money. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The lastest handout was a relatively small amount of money, but...she doesn't have $150 set aside for emergencies? Seriously?

And I have no way of knowing what she's spending her money ON. But yeah, hubby and I have talked it over and decided we really can't give her money all the time. It's a tough decision! There's soooooo much guilt involved.

Actually...the latest one? Picking up Pedro's (hubby's grandpa) funeral bill. That one I'm not doing for my MIL, I'm doing for my hubby. Last gift kinda thing. Still frustrates me, as the funeral was over a year ago, my MIL agreed to pay 1/3rd of the bill, and hasn't paid a thing.
Yeah, long story. Sorry. Biggrin

sarianna's picture


Well, we're not married yet (but most likely will get around to it in about 3 years), but I'll say that I wish I had a MIL to look forward to (negatively or positively) girl's mother died in 1986 of AIDS-related complications. Her mother-figure died three years ago of cancer, too, though I did meet her a few times. And the only other maternal-type person in her life has mostly disappeared out of the country. I wish I could meet the women who shaped her life so much, but...I can't. Sigh. It'd make certain types of understanding so much easier, I think.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

has helped me understand Sir that much better, yes, and I think him knowing mine helps him. I get along fine with my in-laws; they're a bit afraid of me, and I like it that way. Wink

A's picture


My MIL thinks that Rush Limbaugh is well-reasoned and insightful and that FOX News is fair and balanced. These bizarre flaws aside, she's a lovely lady. We haven't always got along (she did NOT want me to marry her son 'cause my mom was a hippie from '67 to '69) but I've always admired something about her--her non-smothering love for her children, the fact that she's not a hypocritical Catholic--she does walk the walk and talk the talk, etc.

Now, my FIL--he's a whole other story. Toxic. Don't get me started.

But neither of them would ever dream of asking their children for money. They would be shocked at the notion.

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