Help with Conviving mother in law, may end our marriage

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2014
Help with Conviving mother in law, may end our marriage
Wed, 03-19-2014 - 11:56am

I need some help fast. I married my wife not knowing anything about her mom. I mean I've seen her once or twice but she doesn't live in the same state. She lives across the country. The 2 times I've seen her was before me and her daughter got married. For the 2 times I've seen her, she seemed like a nice person but now I know the truth.Prior to having the both in laws meet everything was fine. My mom and my wife got along fine, not issues no drama. Ever since my mother in law met my mom my wife started having "issues" with my mom.

We've been married for 6 years and now have a baby girl. My mom has been helping us for 3 1/2 days till recently. Now she's helping out 2 days out of the week since my mother in law came over. And this is when all the problems started to get worse.

1. I found out that my mother in law wants to move to the same state that we are in but she doesn't want to sell her home and move over. She wants to keep it so that she can go back and stay there when she visits her son and grand son. But she secretly urges my wife (behind my back) to get  2 bedroom place. Now we have a 1 bedroom with our newborn and we are managing. We want to take our time and find a place that we'll like and can afford but with her mom's influence my wife now wants to pull tigger on every unit that we see. We are renting a place for her to live in and it's costing us $600 per month. But she's ungrateful instead she'll come out and complain to my wife how it's to noisy and it's not quiet end because it's close to a side road. Now the place she's staying at is a completely residential area, hardly any heavy traffic. If any it would be people leaving for work or coming home from work.

2. Mother in law either twists everything that my mom says or only tells part of what my mom says to my wife making her angry with my mom. And my wife wll confront me about it and I end up defending my mom. The f*ked up part is that my mother in law slyly hints it to my wife that she doesn't want to cause trouble and etc so my wife (gullible) will say that my mom said it to her and to my mother in law. Which makes it harder for me to defend my mom because if i said it was a lie or a miscommunication I would be accusing my wife of lying. The truth is my wife was never around when it happened. Since my mom is never around when this confrontation happens there's no way to get to the truth. Even if i find out from my mom and go that's not what happen my mother in law mom will twist it and say how my mom is now causing a rift in our marriage by saying that she's making me not believe my wife.

3. I know my mother in law doesn't want my mother to be around. She wants my mom out of the picture by causing issues between my wife and my mom. Once my mom is out then my wife will have no choice but to go with her mom which means we'll be force to get a 2 bedroom place and she'll get her wish of being able to move to the state that we are in. She also doesn't want my baby girl to be with my mom. She hates it when my baby girl wants to be hugged by my mom and not her mom.

In the end of the day it all comes down to this, everytime we fight and argue it has to do with her mom or my mom. I don't know if our marriage will survive this way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002

It won't survive until you two can get on the same page.  Your wife sounds like she's under her mother's thumb, and her infuence is strong.  I would highly recommend you put your foot down regarding the two bedroom, you, your wife, and daughter need to have your own space as a family. 

It's a highly stressful time when a baby is born, your wife may be feeling really unsure of herself being a new mom, and so having her mother there is probably a comfort.  I'm sure having your mother there is a great help too, but she's not her mother.  You don't mention how old your daughter is, but when will it just be your wife (and you) caring for your daughter?  Does your wife work at all? 

Obviously, the dynamic in your household changed with this new baby, and with your MIL came with alot of unecessary drama.  Instead of focusing on the she said/she said, you need to start redirecting your wife to something more productive.  Does your wife go out and do anything for herself, or attend any Mommy and me classes?  I don't know how old your daughter is, so it may be too soon, but I'm sure there are other activities she can do to get her out of the house. 

This may all change as your daughter gets older and you and your wife become more comfortable in your role as parents.  If what you are dealing with is a cultural thing, then it will be harder to change.  If you feel like your mother is being pushed aside (by wife or MIL), you should certainly step up and let both know in no uncertain terms that it is not acceptable.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2014

My daughter is going to be 1 year old next month. My MIL and mom helped us for the first 3 months, then my MIL left and my mom stayed behind to help. And yes you are right, my wife is heavily influenced by my MIL. My wife is 38 years old and if my wife leaves work with something that my MIL does not think is warm enough or looks good to her babbles till my wife changes. I've approached my wife about this but my wife just shrugs it off as "it's not important" to fit her mom on. No my wife is not a very social person, she has some friends but they are all busy and travel a lot for work so she does not see them often. My wife does work and she works 5 days a week. We both do actually.

As for the 2 bedroom place, I don't mind moving to a 2 bedroom because i want my daughter to have her own room but I know that's not my MIL's intentions. And I know if we have a 2 bedroom the second will go to my MIL and the 3 of use will be trapped in our own room. Now I can't go and say "this is what your mom wants to do" because I have no proof but I have my suspicions about my MIL but my wife is gullible when it comes to her mom. She'll buy into anything she says without questioning or even thinking if it's remotely right or not (literally, mother knows best). I never knew this before I married her because when we were dating her mom was never here.

Let's put it this way, when I'm home or my wife is home my MIL is very attentive to my daughter however when neither of us is home and we are at work it's a whole different item. I was suspicious of her already to begin with so I setup a hidden camera to record what happens when it's just her and the baby and let me tell you it's not exactly what I would consider "okay" behavior.

She sits herself in front o the TV the whole day and the baby is then in front of her. The TV is 2 foot away from our 32 inch TV. So literally my girl is getting her eyeballs fried the whole day (minus 2 naps she takes and meal time). MIL leaves my daughter alone for 10 minutes and my daughter crawls everywhere with no supervision.I have this on video but I can't show my wife because if i did she will accuse me of mistrust.

MIL influence is to hard to break it seems

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Wow, I think you need some marriage counseling soon!  One reason why I never wanted my MIL to do daycare (my mom couldn't do it cause she lived too far away) was that when you hire a professional babysitter or day care provider, you are the boss and the person has to do what you want or you can find some other babysitter, but when you have relatives doing babysitting, then you can't boss them around like they are employees.  My MIL smoked which was not something I wanted around my baby and she'd even smoke while holding a baby, so that was enough.  Now that you know your MIL isn't even paying attention to your child during the day it's hard not to want to use this info but I'm sure it will cause a big argument w/ your wife.

As far as getting the 2 BR apt, I assume if you get a 2 BR, then you will have one room set up for your baby, so how do you think that your MIL will be able to weasel her way into living there if you don't allow it?  Do you think that she will be able to force you to move your child out of her own room?  I do not see how anyone could do that if you don't let them.  I am curious about why you are paying for your MIL's apt--is it because she is providing babysitting for you?

I do think that you need a marriage counselor so that you can firm up your marriage and help both of you see that right now it should be you & wife & baby as the "family" and that both moms should be outside the family unit and not coming between you.  When you are always defending your mom, when you also were not present during what went on, that's also contributing to the arguments between you & your DW.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2013

Why are you renting a place for your mother in law to live? Stop paying for her and send her home. Find someone else to help with the baby. If you can afford $600 a month for your mother in law's rent then you can afford someone who would be far less trouble.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2014

The first time my MIL came to visit us it was a few months after we got married and before we had our child. She stayed with us in our 1 bedroom place and that did not work out well. 3rd day of her visit she tried to take over our place. She was telling us how to rearrange stuff and actually rearrange my stuff (I came home and went WTF). Complained about what we didn't /did do. My wife was like it's not a "big deal" but i was like are you crazy? She's trying to run our home. My wife says "oh my mom is trying to help us and she means well". Forget about hygenie, she was worse than a single college guy living in their own apartment. Lets say that we had some heat dicussions going between the 3 of us. So after a 6 month break she's back to visit but this time my wife rented a space for her because she didn't want to deal with the drama that's happening between her mom and me. She could not understand why I cant' get along with her mom. 

I want to hire a nanny but my wife basically came out and said you trust a stranger than my mom? (now at this point I didn't know how her mom was going to be  with the baby). I said it's not mistrust it's just that I can't tell your mom to do something like i can a nanny and I don't feel comfortable confronting her if she does something we don't agree on. And vice versa for you and my mom. My wife goes "well if you stop nitpicking then there's nothing to complain. I don't complain about your mom. Besides my mom raised me, my brother, and took care of my nephew. she's not going to do anything to harm the child. Whatever she does it's good for the child". At that point I just left it because any future disccusion would have just turned into a fight since she was adamant that I was just nitpicking and not willing to work with her mom. She can't see my point at all for some reason.

I find it pretty hard to talk to her about her mom. Anything that's remotely negative she closes her mind like a steal trap and starts defending her mom. her response to me is that I'm nitpicking or it's not a big deal. How can you talk to someone who's not willing to listen or to entertain the idea that something is off ?

If we do get a second bedroom my MIL will try to force her way in because our daughter is not completely sleep trained. She still sleeps in the same room with us because she stil wakes up randomly at nights. The second bedroom will basically be an unused empty room to which my wife will point out that it's currently empty so might as well it use it in the mean time. And not that I'm imagining things but I caught my MIL telling my wife that after she leaves this time she won't be back till we have an extra bedroom. She's egging my wife to get a bigger place for her and my wife doesn't seem to give a flying f*K about our daughter

It's like my wife joined a cult and I can't shake her out of the fog. She has no will of her own once her mom is here. I mean it's our family, our place, our daughter but i can't find a way to emphasize this point without making it sound like I'm nitpicking or mean to her mom.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

If you get a 2 bedroom place you set it up as the baby's room and have her start sleeping in it--you could have her nap in it a few times first if you want. Isn't she still in your bedroom because its the only bedroom? I'm not sure what you mean by "sleep trained" but most parents just pick a night that the baby starts sleeping alone and put her in her own room (and she will probably cry at some point), otherwise she could be in your room for years.

Is your wife from a culture where the mother stays very involved in her married daughter's life? Could your wife actually want her mother this involved in her life/childrearing and welcome her mother's "interference"--so you're trying to get your wife to fight against something that she wants? I think that you and your wife need family counseling. An impartial third party to help each of you understand where the other is coming from and how it is harming your marriage to allow the mothers so much importance.  You may need to remove both grandmothers from the picture for a while. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2014

She does want her mom involved because she thinks her mom knows everything. She trusts her mom implicitly and if i even remotely say anything negative about her mom my wife jumps to defend her mom. If she offers to help with something it's like a gift from god and we should feel blessed. It's crazy. I'll give an example.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, my mom takes care of the baby for us. We both work. It's my MIL day off, but eats dinner with u at nights. So on Tuesday nights, I did laundry (baby clothes as well), cook dinner, made and some baby food. I feed the baby while my mom and MIL eats. After finishing dinner my MIL washes her own plate, washes 1 pan, 1 baking pan (coverd in reynolds wrap to being with), 2 spoons and 2 baby bottles. There were some extra plates and a pot that she didn't wash. Which is fine, I don't complain. She then goes to watch TV. At 9 oclock the baby is tired and sleepy, so my mom who has been watching the baby  the whole day (since 7:30 am) takes her into the bedroom so she can sleep. I'm  trying to finish dinner. My baby is terrible at sleeping and has to be rocked to sleep (which is another story in itself). in another 15 minutes I'm done and start cleaning up the plates/ the table but then I decided to go take a shower and relieve my mom. My MIL just sits there watching TV ignoring everything. Forget about washing dishes, She doesn't even offer to put away the food thats on the dining table. Anyway the same thing happens on Wednesday night. so I mentioned it to my wife on friday about it and this is what the conversation was like:

me: this is an FYI (everything mentioned above) you know mom didn't offer to help.

Wife: she doesn't have to. She doesn't have to

me: I know it's her day off and stuff but she could have offered to put away some of the food

wife: she probably didn't know you and your mom were done with dinner

me:  I was putting dishs into the sink. My mom left the table and said she was done.

WIfe: She probably still didn't know, besides my mom did help, she washed some of the stuff. You want her to do everything?

me: My mom had a long day, I'm finishing up so I can put the baby to sleep. It would have been nice if your mom offered to at least put away the food.

Wife: Well your mom doesn't help my mom out when it's her turn on monday, tuesday and friday's. She doesn't come all the way over to help

Me:That's not the same. When it's your mom's turn my mom is nowhwere here. If my mom came to visit and stayed for dinner on those days, she would have helped out. But you're asking her to make special trip to come over to help your mom as compare to your mom who is already here in the living room.

Wife: well when my mom works those days, she washes everything after you take the baby into the bedroom

me: okay, but that's the same as when your mom wasn't visiting and it was just my mom working. She did the same thing.

Wife: Well, doesn't my mom do enough already, didn't your mom tell you how my mom watched the baby so your mom can eat breakfast?

me: WTF (silence on my lips), i couldn't believe my wife thinks what her mom did was such a huge favor.

Wife: you make everything into a big deal.

me: I'm not making big deal, I'm just saying be considerate, it doesn't hurt.

wife: i'm going to speak to your mom, she's giving you bad influences

me: don't drag my mom or your mom into this. This is a conversation between me and you. Talking to my mom doesn't do anything. I'm not like you, i don't do everything my mom tells me. I actually decided on my on own on what I'm going to do.

End of conversation.

So my wife believes it's her mom's right to be inconsiderate to me and my mom

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004

You work fulltime, then come home and cook, you clean, you take care of the baby, you have two grandmothers involved in the baby care?  What exactly does your WIFE do besides her outside job?  You haven't said one single thing she has done with or for the baby!  I think the problem is that your wife is a spoiled child and gives in to mom so she won't have to get off her lazy arse and be an adult.  Mom gets to run things and be the boss and your wife gets to be mommy's little princess.  Get into marriage counseling NOW! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010

You're providing MIL with a place to live at $600 a month????  WTH would you agree to this when you're trying to find a home for yourselves???  You, along with your W, are enabling MIL to stay around and run things. Not only are you wasting $600 a month that could be going towards your own home, you're basically paying this woman to ruin your marriage. If MIL can't afford to pay her own way there where you live, thank her for her time and send her back to her own home state. If you need childcare and can't afford it, then one of you needs to be a stay at home parent but whatever you do, get MIL OUT of the picture! If your W won't go along with it, then you know where you stand.