08 Sep
Roommate Unwanted

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My mother in law’s kitchen burned down which led to damage to the rest of the house, so she and her 16 year-old son are staying with us for a while. But it’s only been 2 weeks and, already, I can’t take it anymore. She’s a conniving, two-faced drama queen. It never bothered me before because we rarely saw her. Now my husband, 2 year old and I share our apartment with her and her son.

They have taken over my life. I haven’t had a minute alone with my husband since they got here. She won’t eat my food, and when she cooks she turns my kitchen into a salmonella- infested war zone. They don’t knock. They’re filthy. They’re loud. They are everything I hate in this world. But… she has nowhere else to go.

I’m 6 months pregnant. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. How can I get her to respect that it’s my house and that I need privacy, peace and quiet, without having her throw an award winning sob fest while making me look like a monster? Help!




Dear Frustrated,

Living in such close quarters with so many people would be maddening under the best of circumstances. Your situation, however, sounds like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, peppered with a little bit of Super Nanny and infused with Hoarders.

As much as you cannot change her or your brother-in-law’s behavior, you can absolutely lay some ground rules.   Any success with that, however, is probably going to be contingent on your husband. This is his mother, and if she’s prone to drama and victim-playing, it will be much easier for him to establish an understanding without her pegging you as some sort of tyrant.

As awkward as it may be at first, some firmness and rules should help relieve some of your stress. It’s not unfair for you to request that she clean up after cooking, for instance. Both you and your   toddler can be more susceptible to viruses and infection; her selfishness and laziness should not be catered to at the expense of your health. Of course, delivery is key, so avoid phrases like “I hate you” or “you’re ruining my life” or “here’s the number to the motor lodge.” Instead opt for phrases such as “to help us all feel more comfortable” or “to avoid conflict” or “so that I don’t end up duct-taping you and your son and throwing you both in a hall closet.” That kind of thing.

Now, if the discussion turns into a confrontation, try to work on the problem from another angle. Reach out to her friends or other family to see if they can host them for even just a week at a time. Also, consider overseeing or helping to expedite the clean-up process at her house, since it will only benefit you in the long run. Whatever you do, be selfish. Advocate for yourself in your own home, and get your husband’s complete support in dealing with his I’m-sure-she’s-lovely-but-omfg-I’m-glad-she’s-not-mine mother.


Kristine, TMH

18 Responses to “Roommate Unwanted”


Comment by Cate8.

EWW….did your husband get any of his family’s habits.
He should have laid down the law with his Mom. But it’s never too late.
Your home=your rules.


Comment by Tinne from T and T.

I agree with laying down the law.And the next time she makes a war zone of your kitchen get her a sponge and lock her in.


Comment by Karin.

I’m so sorry! There are a few simple things that you can do: lock all doors when you go thru them so they can’t barge in (even if this means you install interior keyed doorknobs); create a cocoon of clean in your bedroom/bathroom AND LOCK THE DOOR WHEN YOU GO THRU IT; make your husband take care of her – if she leaves a mess in the kitchen/living room/dining room, HE needs to clean it up or tell her too; Finally, you need to check into a hotel (with or without hubby depending on how he’s handling his mother) for a weekend – pick one with a pool and stuff to do and bring your toddler – you’ll have a blast and hopefully be revived when you get home, if you go home!

honestly, how my husband handles his family is make-or-break for me – our wedding almost got called off by me b/c of how his sister was treating me without hubby standing up to her.


Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

Does she have insurance? If so, her insurance company should be giving her money and a living allowance for a place to stay until her house is habitable. Don’t let her pocket that money while you suffer!

N and Em's mom Reply:

That was my first thought, too. She should be paying rent.

Penne Reply:

Me three. Her insurance will cover a motel… call her agent and get it set up. Tell her it’s so she can “spread out” or something – but make her go…and your husband should be the one to tell her to pack her bags.


Comment by Marinka, TMH.

Any chance she’s the prime suspect in that kitchen fire and will be dealt with by the authorities shortly?

Rosstwinmom Reply:

This. How I’ve prayed for years I could get my MIL arrested…..

Karin Reply:

love it!


Comment by Plano Mom.

Family meeting. Everyone has mandatory attendance. The agenda:
1. Boundaries
2. Responsibilities

I lived with my in-laws for 9 years. It was a wonderful experience for me and for my children, however it only worked when boundaries were respected and responsibilities were met – on both sides.


Comment by danielle.

Men seem to have a real problem standing up to their families. Completely baffling to me.


Comment by Sandra @creativebug.

OMG – these issues bother me a lot, too, with people in my home. Magnify them by about x1000 when I am 6 months pregnant. A dangerous mix. Prego card wins every time, even if it is really them.


Comment by rojopaul.

Oh, I so feel your pain. I wholeheartedly agree with the others that you should encourage them to contact their insurance company who should put them up in a hotel while the damage is being repaired. If you don’t, the ins. co. will drag their feet in getting everything done.

I know this firsthand. We had a flood and it took two months to get our floors replaced. We didn’t want to move out because we didn’t want to board our two dogs. My girlfriend also had a flood. Hers was resolved in a month because the ins. co. was paying $2000 a month for her to live in a furnished apt. When they are shelling out dough on a claim, they want to get it resolved quickly.

On a side note, did anyone else pause at the mention of a MIL with a 16 year old son? That just seems odd to me.

If nothing else, you shouldn’t have to deal with things for more than another month. If it were permanent, it would be one thing, but I tell myself I can deal with anything on a short term basis such as 1-2 months.

Good luck to you!

Karin Reply:



Comment by Leah.

Yeah, husbands are not good at standing up to their mothers. Take my husband who refused to tell his mom to leave her (uninvited) dog outside when it was causing our son to have asthma attacks. I finally had to speak up and tell her to get the eff-out of my house.
Good lukc and I hope your hubby is better at taking your side then mine is.


Comment by Psycho: This Time It's the Mother-in-Law | The Mouthy Housewives.

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Comment by Ace.

man o man, I am so thankful my husband is super up-front with his mom! I wish it were the same with the rest of his family, but he has never hesitated to put her in her place.


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