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Reposted for skystar70 - to reply hit reply button

Topic: Dealing with Mom (husband is not happy)
posted 03-01-2008 04:01 PM

Hello there. I am at a loss and would appreciate any advice anyone has.
My mom is 76 years old and in good health. She is semi-retired, working a part time job making about $200 a month in part time income. She also gets a $1450 Social Security check each month.
A few years ago, before she retired (forced due to firing), she was having problems with the increasing rent and the lack of attention the landlords gave to problems in the apartment.
My husband and I helped her out by finding a condo that was to her specifications (HAD to have 2 bedrooms, HAD to have attached garage, HAD to have 2 bathrooms, HAD to be 2nd floor or higher, etc.) She did not have the $ for a down payment, so we bought the place and had her pay the mortgage + association + taxes + insurance, as there was no way we could afford to pay our own mortgage and these fees as well. She was okay with this and from the get go, we had told her that we would own the condo and eventually continue to rent it out to her or someone else until we were ready to retire and then we would move in. 
She was OK with this THEN. Now, she is looking at her situation and she only has so much money in the bank from her 401K and realizes that some day she is going to run out of money. 
My husband and I have tried to reason with her and convince her to look for an apartment that has less rent. However, this would mean going down to a 1 bedroom, possibly not having an attached garage (or any garage at all), etc.
She REFUSES to find something that costs less and just wants me and my husband to reduce her rent. 
My husband (who is a bit controlling), has tried to come up with "Options" for her that don't completely mess up financially, but may help her stay in the condo (her preffered choice) for a little less money.
However, there are conditions on the options, such as: she has to pay the year's worth of rent up front, but can pay $1200 instead of $1350 and he gives her deadlines of when she has to decide this by, or he will not renew her lease. There have been a few deals like this that she has said she would take and then backed out at the last minute. 
She also is a spender. My husband and I are very practical and do spend money, but only if we have it. 
She has been known to spend $70 on a pair of cashmere earmuffs. And then, she turns around and tells us we should give her money to help pay for the condo.
Basically, I am stuck in the middle. 
I don't agree that my Mom spends her money foolishly and won't be realistic about finding a place to live that is less money.
I don't 100% agree will all of the "deals" my husband offers my mom. They do benefit her is some way, but are also pretty stringent. I know that he does this because he wants to help, but doesn't like feeling like he is being taken advantage of. I can't disagree with him there. I know my mom isn't MEANING to take advantage, but she is willing to stick her hand out, but not try to help herself.
I have one sibling - a brother. He does not have much money himself and can't help financially, but believes my mom should have WHATEVER she wants (within reason). He thinks she SHOULD get a 2 bedroom place if she WANTS it, he thinks she should RECARPET a rental even though it doesn't need new carpeting. However, he is not paying for these things. She is and she is running out of money. Basically he agrees that my husband and I should help my mom out financially. I don't think it's fair and I HATE being stuck in the middle.
I've thought about divorcing my husband (and he's threatened a couple of times), but I DO love him and he's actually really good to me, just not really willing to give my Mom everything she wants.
I've sided with my husband on most everything so far, because he will divorce me if I don't and I do see his viewpoint.
If it were just me and no husband, I would probably end up in the poor house paying for everything my Mom wanted me to. I'm kind of a push over.
I don't know what to do anymore.
I'm at a total loss.
posted 03-01-2008 06:31 PM

Welcome skystar70,
My concern is first about you and your relationship with your husband.. are you both in a real connected loving relationship or are you afraid to leave him if he is taking care of you and your mother? I think you have to first be true to what is with your husband.
This is what you have explained sounds like to me: I think your husband has probably been quite generous in all he has done for your mother and that your mother has been taking advantage of both of you but this is my opinion.
She is living far past her means, even if she is working. If she can spend $75 for earmuffs at her age, living within the income that she has, I think you need to rethink your mothers spending habits not from your position as a daughter but from a common sense point of view.
I would suggest you bring in an outside party such as a social worker, a minister or someone who can help to mediate with all three of you what is the best for each your highest goods..and come up with some agreeable situations.
It is difficult to give you advice, because there are dynamics that are going on between you and your mother which might be dysfunctional.. and you need to be real clear on your relationships separately with your mother, your husband and the two of them together.
Hope this assist you.
Please keep us posted.
posted 03-01-2008 11:33 PM

Hi skystar70:
I am so sorry to hear what you are going through caring for your mother. It sounds like she has some demands that you are trying to accommodate. That is a good thing to try to do� However, the hard part is that what your mother has expected in the past was affordable. Now prices have gone up so� Perhaps your mother needs to understand that after all. Have you talked to her about what is affordable versus what her income and expectations are? Perhaps, as Gail said, get a third party such as an accountant or attorney.
I am sure your husband is trying his best! After all, he has thought about how to care for your mother and that is because of his relationship with you. Talk to him about what is really realistic in senior care options. Come together if you can�
It sounds like your mother�s health is well? She may live for many more years. Why have two bedrooms and a garage when a studio apartment will do and she will have a roof over her head for a longer period of time? If there is no dementia and she is logical, then hopefully she can see the reason in reducing expenses. As far as the carpet cleaning � that is a minimal expense in any situation� I would think if that is important to your brother, he could probably even accomodate the expense to situate his mother comfortably� There is no reason one sibling should do all the work and carry all the expense on their shoulders!
Meanwhile, do stand up for yourself and say what you believe in. If your husband does love you then he wants to know what you are thinking� Don't do anything hasty... It is okay to be confused and not be clear because of outside factors causing you concern. Hash it out on both sides and do remove yourself from the middle�
Wishing you the Best, Glenda
posted 03-02-2008 09:38 AM

Hi Gail.
My husband and I have been together for 20 years (married 10 of them). We are very different, but I love him very much and want to stay with him. I know I could take care of myself and my mother too if necessary. I just don't want to let all of this come between us.
I guess the problem is that even though my husband has been trying to help my mom (because of his relationship with me), SHE does NOT see it that way. She thinks I should convince him to give her the help she wants - on HER terms. She believes that a family member should be willing to go broke and alter their lives and other relationships to help out BLOOD relatives. She has always done this with her children, so this is the way her children should be in return. (her opinion)
I agree with you that she is living beyond her means and have tried explaining this to her and I try to convince her of this. She is not willing to change her lifestyle, yet she is willing to put her hand out for money and doesn't care if it changes mine and my husband's lifestyle.
Sorry, gotta go. I'll write more later. Thanks!
posted 03-03-2008 06:32 PM

Hi, skystar70.
About a dozen years ago I had to choose between my mother and my husband. It was about living arrangements and money. I chose my husband. Things were strained for about 3 years or so. When the time came that she couldn't live alone anymore, we took her in with open arms. When both their health got worse, she went to assisted living. Three years ago, she had a stroke and is now in a nursing home. We have a good relationship now. I acknowledge to her that I wish I could have her here, but I just can't take care of them both. She says she'd be bored here... which is true. I have 4 sibs, and keep them informed, and they visit when they can, but ultimately, I'm the one who is responsible for her care.
Don't know if this helped. Sometimes you just have to make choices. The stress of being in the middle is bad for YOU!
Good luck and keep us posted.
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