MIL thinks her son should support her financially - FamilyEducation
MIL thinks her son should support her financially
02/13/2009 at 09:54 AM

I have a slight dilemna that I go back and forth with. My MIL who was a single parent and raised 4 kids who turned out well and love her deeply, lives in our house. I am married to her oldest son. She retired from a successful teaching career and receives a nice pension as well as social security. (She also has 401 money that she doesn't even have to touch). She pays us $600 a month and lives in a fully equipped in-law suite. She does not have to pay any utilities at all. The only other bills she has are ones she creates herself (shopping, car payment, credit cards) other than $600 she pays for medical insurance (she has serious health issues).

She keeps hinting to me that she can't wait until my husband makes more money so that she doesn't have to give us the $600 anymore. I have a problem with this. I don't think anyone lives for free, and I don't think my husband and I should support her finanically because she doesn't need us to. I also don't think that $600 a month is too much money for her to pay us.

Am I being selfish? Does she have a right to assume that since she raised my husband well, that he should support her? In my opinion, she already has it easy. She will never have to worry about a mortgage or rent increase. She doesn't have to pay taxes. She doesn't even have to worry about home maintenance or lawn care or trash removal. Am I selfish for thinking she needs to continue to pay us even when my husband is making more money, or is she being selfish for assuming she's earned a free ride?

Thank you for reading this and please be honest. I haven't discussed this with my husband yet, but I will have to soon as he is now working in a very lucrative position and my MIL's hints are coming more often.

Did you mention if you had children? If you have children you can tell MIL that you need all the extra $$ you have to support your own children. If you don't have children say mom, we pay all the rest of your expenses and we don't feel $600 a month is a burden for you. We are young in our marriage and have other plans and we had no intention of paying your rent for you as we would like to save for trips, a new house, a new car, etc. FOR US. Don't buckle. If need be let her move out. And remember how much it costs to live in the real world. She'll be back ;)

Yes we do have 2 children, 11 and 13 years old. So yes, we do have a need for her $600, with their expenses and college right around the corner. I don't think I'm being unreasonable. Thanks for the response.

I don't think you are being unreasonable either. I know she has done a great job raising her children, and if she had financial problems then I would say perhaps you and her other children could help bear her living costs. As it is, it sounds like she can more than afford to pay what she is paying. As another poster said, nobody lives for free. Stick to your guns on this.

Perhaps you could explain that you need your privacy. As your children enter their teen years it is likely that they will want to entertain at home and the noise and confusion will, no doubt, make it difficult for her to be comfortable. Figure out another way to come up with what you clear on her rent.

I also raised my 31 y/o son well. I would never expect him to support me or to live for free in his home. It would be wonderful to be invited to live with my son and daughter-in-law someday and I hope she is as gracious and cares enough to allow me to be part of my grandchildren's lives on a daily basis. What a lucky woman!!

Personally speaking, I don't think I cld ever take $ from my MIL even if she had it to give. I think the only way I wld take $ from her wld be if I really needed it. It sounds like you cld use the $ but that you're also not desperate. In my opinion, I wld ask my MIL to contribute in other ways. If she's capable (I know you mentioned she has medical problems), ask her to help out w/ light housework, laundry and cooking. I know if it was my MIL, I wldn't have to ask. She also can assist your kids w/ homework and take care of them when you're not at home. If you have a dog, why not let her take him for walks and dogsit when you're away? I don't think your MIL shld get a free ride by any means, but expecting her to pay rent is something I wldn't feel comfortable w/. There's only one thing you said that bothers me a bit. You mentioned your MIL hinting not paying rent if your husband starts bringing home more $. I don't like that she just assumes you will go for this. You'd think she'd be more grateful for her current living situation and that she wld only stop paying rent if you suggested it. It's not for her to say, but maybe there can be a compromise somewhere so everyone's happy. Best of luck. I think it's really great of you to take in your MIL, especially w/ her medical issues. I know how much responsibility and added burden that can be for anyone. First I wld talk to your husband. Then together talk to your MIL. Ask her why she feels this way? Is it b/c she expects you to care for her w/ no strings attached, or maybe it's b/c she needs the $ for something else. Who knows. Be straight forward and honest w/ your MIL, but try not to hurt her feelings. She may not even realize what she's suggesting is unreasonable to you. Hope this helps.

I believe your MIL should pay rent and that she should continue to do so no matter what her son's income is. I think you are doing the right thing by taking care of most of her needs and looking after her since she has health issues. Maybe it's really not her business how much money her son makes and maybe she does not even need to know if he gets a raise. I would try to ignore her "hint" of eventually being able to stop paying rent. Once the time comes that she asks to discontinue paying; deal with it then. Explain that you feel $600.00 per month is a good/fair arrangement and that it will work best for you and your husband.

Thank you all for your help. I've read all the comments and they are really helping me deal with this. The hints keep coming but with the support I've received here, I am able to shrug them off without feeling like I want to vomit. I think what I'll do is continue to ignore the hints until/unless it becomes an actual request. Then I will deal with it directly. Thank you all for your comments.

After finding out how old your children are I assume that you are working and your hubby is working? don't NEED her money. I agree with the other poster maybe ask her to contribute in other ways.