I want to start off by saying I have been married to my husband for a year, and we are expecting our first child in three short months. I am extremely excited but dreading it all the more because of my mother-in-law.

My husband and I are somewhat young, 20 to be exact, and we really can’t afford to live on our own with a newborn, so we live with his parents. Now everything was fine before we got married and even after we got married. Then I found out I was having a baby and everything changed.

My mother-in-law showed her true colors. Once we told her she was going to be a grandma, she bought everything for the nursery. I mean everything. The only thing we had a say in was the crib, because my brother-in-law bought it for us. After that, I noticed more of her true self.

She is an alcoholic, misses work to drink, and blames everyone else. We try, but she is in such denial it seems hopeless. She claims to clean, which means wiping up a coffee stain. When she gets home and I don’t clean (which I never get thanked for when I do, which is about every single day), she screams and cries and says nobody helps around the house.

Oh wait, did I mention she thinks her grandchild is her baby, because my husband and I are “too immature” to raise a child. I have nightmares she’s going to run away with my baby because she is “nuts.”

I need help, advice or something. Nobody wants to question her because she’s been like this so long. The problem is it’s starting to affect my relationship with my husband.

~ Kiki

Kiki, your nightmare is not about your mother-in-law. It’s about you. Your mother-in-law has a home, a job, and a grandbaby on the way. She’s not going anywhere. You are the one who wants to run away.

In an ideal world the pregnant mother would be the center of the universe, bathed and showered with attention and gifts. But your situation is not ideal. You are a guest in someone else’s home, and as Ben Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

Perhaps it’s the alcohol or perhaps it’s her personality, but your mother-in-law isn’t sugarcoating anything. You don’t help around the house as you should, and you and your husband don’t have the resources to do what you are doing.

In addition, you resent the person who helps you the most. That is common. People often misdirect their resentment, even as their focus should be on what they themselves can do to alter the situation.

You are being confronted with reality, and finding out that, Ouch!, it hurts. You’d like to be thanked for doing the dishes, and your mother-in-law is thinking, “I now have a three-person family I will have to support for who knows how long.”

She needs an end date when this will be solved. That is where your focus should be. What are your plans and your husband’s plans to obtain the combination of education and income you need to support yourselves?

You should be doing everything you can to unwind your mother-in-law, not to wind her up. The added stress of more people in her house won’t make her drink less, and there is nothing you can do to stop her drinking. This is going to be your world until you do something about it.

You should not expect your husband to see the situation he grew up in as abnormal, and no one should defend a drunk with free access to an infant. That’s why every ounce of your energy needs to be focused on how you two can get on your feet financially, so you three can have a home of your own.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Email Wayne & Tamara: [email protected]

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