Re: ILs cleaning up the yard...should I feel guilty?

Avatar for chimichanga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2000
Re: ILs cleaning up the yard...should I feel guilty?
11
Mon, 11-12-2012 - 9:57am

I think most of you know by now that my ILs live for 6 mos/year with me. We are originally from India and Dh feels duty bound to have his parents with us as they grow older. So he and his brother take turns in having them over. Now it is our turn.

I know many of you might actually love to have this problem. My MIL hates to stay idle and is always bustling in the kitchen, putting dishes away or trying to wipe off stains on the counter etc. Today she and FIL are cleaning up the leaves in the yard. I feel bad to see them toiling away and I have told them many times that DH and I would do it later.  We try to make yard cleaning a family activity on the weekends, so there is no real need for ILs to clean on weekdays. I have also told MIL that I will do the dishes/wipe stains in due course at my convenience (I am a subsitute teacher). MIL/FIL like to do things "right now." We also have a lawn service so there is no need for them to work in the yard.  But ILs claim this is one physical activity they like and they want to help us out. 

Earlier, I used to feel obligated to clean the yard with them and also rush to the kitchen when I would hear MIL washing dishes. This really cuts into "me" time when I am with the kids or doing my thing. But now they are with us every year, I do not feel the necessity to do so when I have clearly told them 10 times I will clean later. So I am not going to feel guilty. If ILs badmouth me and say that Chimi does not help us, so be it.

Dh says they are bored and if cleaning makes them happy, let them clean and I should not worry.

What do you all think?

Thanks so much,

Chimi

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Community Leader
Registered: 05-19-2008

Hi Chimi,

 

I think they want to do it because it makes them feel like they are contributing and that you should just let them without feeling any guilt at all.  You are opening your home to them for months so this is them in my opinion trying to pay you back and say thank you.

 

When you mil goes to wipe things down just enjoy it. 

 

I make dinner for my DH every day and often bring it to him.  He politely says thank you.  When I make the bed and do the laundry and all the other things - I don't get a thank you.  But, in turn when he does something that I see is for me, I say thank you.  But, when he mows the lawn I don't.  I think that similar rule applies to you and your inlaws.  If they are wiping things down then that is just them doing their fair share of the duties around your home. 

Avatar for chimichanga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2000
Thank you summergirl 123:-))). Chimi
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

Don't feel guilty. They are doing it because they want to. Maybe they want to contribute to the upkeep of the home, maybe they are bored and want something to do, maybe they know they need exercise and raking leaves is a fun way to move. 

My MIL is like yours, she can't sit still or unoccupied for very long and always has to be doing something. She used to wash dishes etc and I felt bad that she was working, or like I was a bad housekeeper. Over the years I have let that go, my house is not as spotless as hers but its fine; and if somebody wants to clean it more they can go for it!  Since MIL discovered Sudoku she can kill a lot of time with that so less pressure on me...when she is just sitting around I feel like I have to entertain her so I let her do things if she wants to.

Just wondering, how do your ILs like the situation of moving between your home and your BIL's home? Do they feel like they "belong" in both houses, or one more than the other, or do they feel like eternal guests in both houses? I know that my MIL is more comfortable staying in her daughters' homes than her sons' homes, probably because she feels the home is more the woman's so it is more her DIL's home, even though we try to make her feel as comfortable as possible. If she had to live with one of her kids I think she would choose a daughter, even though the sons could provide her a better economic situation..

Avatar for chimichanga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2000
Thank you, Elc11. My ILs are perfectly happy with us (my DH is their older son) and their younger son. They think it is their right to stay with us indefinitely and also with BIL. Chimi
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2012
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 2:40pm

Chimi,

Similar situation here. My MIL has come to live with us and probably permanently. She is 84 very active but has had two tiny (self correcting) strokes due to not taking care of herself by eating meals regularly. She has gotten more healthy while with us, but we know if she returns home she will go back to her bad habits of not eating regularly.

She keeps herself busy doing dishes off and on, we still have 4 kids at home, and our oldest is staying with us with her two children. So we do have a full and busy house.

I work full time and then some, and my DH is home retired. My MIL sweeps the deck, cleans the kitchen, does laundry and is always asking how to help out. We know it is because she wants to feel useful and needed. We don't "need" her to do these things as we all pitch in and the kids have their chore lists.

But, we know if we make her do nothing she will wilt and that is not what we want for her. She has earned the right to DO nothing, but we will not force that on her.

So if the ILs help out, just say thank you, and mean it. That is all they are probably looking for.

MoCyn

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Although I agree with everyone who already posted, my initial reaction was "that would drive me frickin' crazy!"

I think that unless it is interfering with your childrens chores, or time alone with your DH and children, than relax and let them.  I am guessing she is not like Everyone Loves Raymond's Marie!  Oh my.  And that was my initial reaction when I read your post.  If that were the case, then you would have a problem.

My second MIL used to kind of take over and yes, that was a problem.  Oh, the stories I could tell...ugh! 

One idea.  Is there something that DOES need to be done that you could ask them to do?  A chore or errand that you really don't want to do?  Something that would really be helpful and not just busy work.  (i.e.  lawn work that you are already paying someone to do, or taking away from your kids learning how to do it) 

Just an idea.  Laughing

Serenity
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Although I agree with everyone who already posted, my initial reaction was "that would drive me frickin' crazy!"

I think that unless it is interfering with your childrens chores, or time alone with your DH and children, than relax and let them.  I am guessing she is not like Everyone Loves Raymond's Marie!  Oh my.  And that was my initial reaction when I read your post.  If that were the case, then you would have a problem.

My second MIL used to kind of take over and yes, that was a problem.  Oh, the stories I could tell...ugh! 

One idea.  Is there something that DOES need to be done that you could ask them to do?  A chore or errand that you really don't want to do?  Something that would really be helpful and not just busy work.  (i.e.  lawn work that you are already paying someone to do, or taking away from your kids learning how to do it) 

Just an idea.  Laughing

Serenity
Avatar for chimichanga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2000

Thank you all. If ILs want to clean, let them. I've other things to worry about and they are here all the time, not like a guest who leave after two days.

Chimi

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002

I think instead of worrying about them doing the work, just appreciate it for what it is.  Why not plan a special dinner out or some other activity with them as a thank you for their help?  I realize they are staying with you for 6 months, but I'm sure they would still like some quality time with you and your children doing an activity you all enjoy.  I know how you feel, I too would be put out by someone doing my chores, but as you said, they are active and healthy, and if they can do it, let them.  I don't understand your comment "If ILs badmouth me and say that Chimi does not help us, so be it.", do you think your ILs expect you to be right out there with them doing the work too?

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

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2004

My grandmother was of a generation that being idle was a Sunday thing, so when she  grew old, she just loved helping out otherwise she just got bored and she said  her mind started to fade away.  So she helped my mum and dad  with raising us, cut the grass, chopp wood and what ever she wanted to do she did and we would just give her  the helped she wanted when she needed.  My dad loved his mother in law , he truely saw her as  close friend.  

How would you feel as old if you  werent allowed to do anything you loved from your past?

Be happy, you are blessed and ask them what they want to do instead.

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